April 11, 2006

FiDi workers will be fired up on a new lunch destination opening on April 18, ~MIXT GREENS~. The project comes from executive chef Andrew Swallow, a former manager of Restaurant Gary Danko, who also did a stint in the kitchen of Gramercy Tavern in NYC. The restaurant will be offering ten tossed-to-order, gourmet, organic salads, like "The Bachelor," with dirty socks (kidding), herb-encrusted flat iron steak, roasted fingerling potatoes, cherry tomatoes, balsamic onion marmalade, Point Reyes blue cheese, and topped with frizzled leeks. Most salads will put you back $6.95-$10.95. An additional green thing to note: all their take-away packaging is 100% compostable, and the space itself followed green building practices: the use of formaldehyde-free plywood, FSC certified wood, zero VOC paint, recycled and renewable materials, and energy-efficient lighting and appliances. They'll even have some vino, online ordering, and pre-packaged take-away salads. Sign up on their mailing list for some special offers. 120 Sansome St. between Pine and Bush, 415-433-6498.

Many of you already heard the announcement that San Francisco and the wine country will be covered by the prestigious ~MICHELIN GUIDE~ in 2007, but just in case you didn't... The battle of the stars with the big frogs (La Folie, Fleur de Lys, etc.) and the big guns (the Ritz, Michael Mina, Gary Danko, Masa's) should be interesting to say the least. I don't think you'll find La Taqueria listed, ha ha. The anonymous inspectors have been visiting the city for some time—let's hope they trek south and include Manresa in the mix. It should hit the shelves by October.

I spoke with Kurt Abney of Dottie's True Blue Café about his new offshoot, ~DOTTIE'S~, which was originally slated to open in springtime in Hayes Valley at 330 Fell St. (near Gough St.). Unfortunately, the process and permits have proven to be a bear, and optimistically the soonest we could hope to munch on his heavenly pancakes and delicious cornbread with chipotle jam in the new Dottie's will be the end of 2006. Meow.

Starting this Wednesday, you will now have another reason to visit the Laurel Village Shopping Center: ~CHARLES CHOCOLATES~ (you know the ones, in the cute little boxes, chock-full of organic herbs and nuts, with organic cream and butter from Straus Dairy) will be opening a "test" retail store in the old Home Chef space for the next two months. See, now you know where to get their P.M.S. assortment (no joke!). They'll also feature products you can't get anywhere else. I can only imagine. Open 10am-7pm daily, 3527 California St.

So about the other Charles, as in Mister Phan of ~SLANTED DOOR~. I've received some questions about the long-vacant Valencia Street space, so here's an update, of sorts: he still owns it, but it will unfortunately be an expensive build-out, so that's why nothing is happening just yet. The concept hasn't been totally nailed down, but we can plan on seeing something in 2007, whatever fabulous thing that may be.

According to the Marina Times, Chestnut Street should be getting its own ~SQUAT & GOBBLE CAFÉ & CREPERY~ [sic] this weekend in the former Lux location. You can expect to find their hearty omelettes, crepes, sandwiches, and salads, seven days a week. 2263 Chestnut St., 415-441-2200.

Food & Wine has announced their Best New Chefs for 2006, and I was very happy to see Douglas Keane of ~CYRUS~ up in Healdsburg on it. Helps soften their omission in the James Beard Awards. Go Douglas.

This sounds like fun: chef Mike Yakura of ~LE COLONIAL~ (who many of you saw recently on Top Chef) was inspired on a trip to Vietnam and has launched a pho bar in the lounge—you just select the ingredients you want from a checklist card. He has also placed some traditional Vietnamese street food specialties, like banh xao tom (rice flour and mung bean crepes filled with prawns and sprouts) on the lounge menu. Sounds perfect for early evening munching—I'll be sure to check it out soon enough and let you know. The street food menu and pho bar are available in the upstairs lounge Tue-Fri, starting at 4:30pm.

Ends up there's a new executive chef at the ~CARNELIAN ROOM~, Alfonso Valledor. He's a native of Argentina, which should help him deal with the altitude of working on the 52nd floor of the B of A building.

Found out from Mister Daniel Patterson that ~COÍ'S~ opening delay is due to PG&E moving a little slowly—surprise surprise. They are hoping to open this Thursday, the 13th. 373 Broadway St., between Montgomery and Sansome Streets, 415-393-9000.
Also, everyone is wondering, "What's up with ~BEARD PAPA~? I want cream puffs!" Yeah, yeah, me too. But we have to sit tight until May. I'll let you know when the cream puffs are ready for consumption, I promise! 99 Yerba Buena Ln., between Mission and Market Street near the Four Seasons hotel, across from the Yerba Buena Gardens.