July 17, 2007

A friend forwarded this story to me about a robber who turned into a hugger after some wine and cheese. Too good not to share. (The story, and wine and cheese in general.)

~PALMETTO~, the new incarnation of Home on Union, has opened! Chef Andy Kitko, formerly of Aqua, Gary Danko, Bar Tartine, and Café Boulud in New York, has put together a contemporary Mediterranean menu that looks mighty appetizing. The menu has some small bites, like arancini with tarragon crème fraîche, some pasta dishes (served in two sizes) like sweet corn ravioli with mascarpone and wild mushrooms, and some mains, like chicken Basquiase with roasted peppers, chorizo, and arugula, with none over $24. 2032 Union St. between Buchanan and Webster, 415-931-5006.

If I am reading a Yelp posting correctly, I think ~SULTAN~ has reopened in their new digs! (I tried calling on Sunday to no avail, so I’m not 100-percent sure.) 340 O'Farrell St. between Mason and Taylor, 415-775-1709.

~FRJTZ VALENCIA~ has finally opened. Belgian fries in the hizzy. Crepes too. And Chimay! 590 Valencia between 16th and 17th Streets, 415-864-7654.

Wowza, we have some serious local talent competing to be the next ~IRON CHEF AMERICA~! How about TWO chefs: Chris Cosentino and Traci Des Jardins! Rawk. There are eight U.S. chefs in all who will compete—the show is called The Next Iron Chef and will air on October 7 on the Food Network. The winner will be included in the super-chef line-up of Mario Batali, Cat Cora, Bobby Flay and Masaharu Morimoto. Other chefs competing include: John Besh (New Orleans, LA), Executive Chef, Restaurant August, Besh Steak, Lüke and La Provence; Jill Davie (Santa Monica, CA), Executive Chef, JOSIE; Gavin Kaysen (San Diego, CA), Chef de Cuisine, El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn; Morou Ouattara (Washington, DC), Executive Chef and Owner, Farrah Olivia; Aarón Sánchez (New York, NY), Executive Chef and Owner, Centrico and Paladar; and Michael Symon (Cleveland, OH), Executive Chef and Owner, Lola, Lolita and Porco. Judging the competition will be Michael Ruhlman (James Beard Foundation Award-winning author, cookbook author and food writer), Andrew Knowlton (Restaurant Editor of Bon Appétit magazine) and Donatella Arpaia (restaurateur and owner of acclaimed New York City restaurants davidburke&donatella and Anthos). Judges will narrow the field until the last chef standing is deemed an Iron Chef and he or she will then take their place behind the counter in the famed Kitchen Stadium to compete in the newest season of Iron Chef America. Bring it!.

I didn’t get a chance to come by and check it out, but this last Sunday ~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ kicked off their Mai Tai Sundays and suckling pig roasts, which are part of the new nightly specials on offer (prime rib is on Mondays!). Tim Stookey is behind those Mai Tais, so you know they are swell swill. Presidio Social Club is also starting new Sunday hours (cocktails start at 4pm, supper starts at 4:30pm, open until 9:30pm), a Sunday bar special (a pitcher of Mai Tais for two and Pua Pua Platter for $20), and weeknight specials available Sunday–Thursday. Presidio, Bldg. 563, Ruger St., 415-885-1888.

Speaking of dranks, to celebrate Peru's independence (on July 28) and the delicious spirit known as pisco, ~CANTINA~ will be featuring eight different pisco cocktails that Saturday night, as well as a flight of three different piscos for their guests' drinking pleasure. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.

Aspiring Italian wine experts, check this out: ~PERBACCO~ and the Associazione Italiana Sommelier will join together to host the first English-certified Sommelier Training Courses offered in San Francisco. Recognized by the Association de la Sommeliere International, the program is divided into three levels with specific areas of focus, and, at the culmination of the course, students will take an examination to become a Certified Professional Sommelier. It starts August 13, and runs until February 16. It’ll put you back $2,600.00, plus $100.00 in non-refundable Association fees that include some nice perks. The deadline to enroll in the course is July 9. For further information or to register for the course, contact Mauro Cirilli at 415-955-0663.

Okay, one more thing on the drinking tip: Jason and Juri over at ~DELL’UVA~, the new casual wine bar in North Beach (just across the street from Nua) said if you come in and mention Marcia/tablehopper, you’ll get a free pizza with the purchase of two glasses of wine. Considering all the wines are $6 a glass, I’d say that’s a good deal. Perhaps this is where the “Marcia rhymes with pizzeria” pronunciation device will be helpful. 565 Green St., between Grant and Columbus, 415-393-9930.