September 8, 2009

~THE CARNELIAN ROOM~, the old-school restaurant known for its mega views (and Grand Marnier soufflés) at the top of the Bank of America building will be closing after almost 40 years in business. From what I heard, the restaurant is serving its last Caesar salad on December 31st, 2009 (it's not closing on Christmas Eve, as reported elsewhere). I liked this post from Jordan Mackay about sommelier Mike Jabari and the wine list he amassed during his 30-plus years there. Best of luck to the staff working there, many of them long-term employees. 555 California St. at Montgomery, 415-433-7500.

Looks like ~ESSENCIA~, the Peruvian corner place in Hayes Valley has closed. The number is disconnected, so I wasn't able to get in touch with anyone there. 401 Gough St. at Hayes.

Some changes in the Western Addition/NOPA: neighborhood favorite ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~ is moving out of its tiny corner location and into the now-closed Café Neon space at McAllister and Baker, just one block away. GCK anticipates opening in the new space in October. The bigger space with a full kitchen and fryer mean an expanded menu, which will include sopapillas, green chile burgers, and chile rellenos! Owner Trevor Logan hopes to open an ice cream and dessert place in the "old" GCK space (601 Baker at Fulton) called Chile Ice Cream, but the primary focus is getting the new GCK location up and running first. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-614-9411.

Another switcheroo: wanted to update you on the timing for the new ~QUINCE~ location. Quince's last dinner at the Octavia Street restaurant will be served on Saturday September 19th, and on October 1st, they will open Quince in the new Jackson Square location. (They are currently accepting reservations for both locations at 415-775-8500.) Cotogna, the more casual café, will open in a few months next door to Quince (in the former Myth Café space). 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery.

One more switch: based on permit changes, I discovered the Argentine steakhouse in North Beach, ~EL RAIGON~, is closing. The location is going to become the casa for Don Pisto's (Don Pisto's was previously trying to take over the vacant North Beach Lobster Shack space). Now, what is Don Pisto's? I have no freaking idea. Eater does have some details on the deal: it looks like El Raigon will close in October, and they have hopes of reopening elsewhere, perhaps in wine country. 510 Union St. at Grant, 415-291-0927.

Over in the Presidio, the owners of ~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ have hired the Puccini Group as consultants to help with the day-to-day management of the restaurant, effective now. Plans include adding a lounge area, new patio design, making some adjustments to the menu (favorites will stay, while some new dishes will be added, including more easy-to-share small plates in the bar area), and late-night dining will be introduced, with specials in the bar and lounge. The changes are still being discussed and are to be determined, but it's expected that everything will be in place by mid October. Building 563, Ruger St., 415-885-1888.

Chef Erica Holland-Toll's menu is now in place at ~DUCCA~, you can check out a PDF of it here. 50 3rd St. at Mission, 415-977-0271.



~POLENG LOUNGE~ is going to be open for lunch, starting today! The menu will highlight Asian street food, served in ready-to-go biodegradable containers. Dishes include a glass noodle salad, chicken adobo, ma po tofu, and more. You can see the menu o' deliciousness here; all items are $8. The lunch service is designed to be efficient and quick: just order from the cashier/bartender, get your number, take a seat wherever you want, and your food will be brought out to you. (Later in the month, chef Tim Luym will be unveiling a line of tea-oriented pastries.) But check this out: Poleng Lounge is giving away 50 free lunches every day for this week, through September 15th. They want people to come check out the menu, so nothing will quite do that like free food, right? Lunch is served from 11am–4pm. 1751 Fulton Ave. at Masonic, 415-441-1751.

More street food news: was sorry to hear Namu's ~HAPPY BELLY~ hot dog cart will no longer be operating in Golden Gate Park, home of their kimchee dog (read more from Eater on the what and why here), but at least they will continue rocking their lunchtime stand at the Thursday farmers' market at the Ferry Building.

Looks like while I was away, ~BITE~ opened in the TenderNob. According to Yelpers, there are hefty deli sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken, soup, and more. The owner, Ike Aboubzou, owns the Yogi Food Market next door at 908 Sutter, plus Dolce Gelato (916 Sutter). Hours are 4pm–2am daily—and starting next week, they will be opening at 11:30am. 912 Sutter St. at Leavenworth, 415-563-2483.

Based on permit changes, it looks like ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ may be opening a second location on Mission Street in the Café Arguello location. According to GrubStreet, negotiations are underway for the 2,000-square-foot space. How novel, you'll be able to order a beer in the same establishment where you ordered your sausage. Will keep you posted on timing and more. 2832 Mission St. at 24th St.

Fans of ~MISSION MINIS~ organic cupcakes will be happy to hear they are opening a retail space and bakery in the Mission soon, according to a post on their Twitter feed. Perhaps you've tried their red velvet cupcake at Philz, a horchata one at El Metate, or you've seen the golf cart that they use for deliveries tooling around the neighborhood? Brandon Arnovick and his posse of helpers are busy freshening the space and tiling, and once City sign-offs are complete, they will be open for business. They'll just have to see how the permits go—the plan is for October. And there are going to be some cool flavors in the works, stand by! Hours will be potentially 6am–6pm daily. 3168 22nd St. at Mission, 415-378-7827.

And now, a little news about two of my favorite and friendly front-of-house faces you'll be seeing around town: Jim Minch, formerly of Postrio, is the new general manager at Spruce, and you'll find Daniel Detorie hosting and acting as the manager at Florio on Monday and Tuesday nights.

The food community was horrified with the terrible news about a fire that broke out at ~SOUL FOOD FARM~ in Vacaville, home of my very favorite eggs (and the favorite of many chefs around town, who also love Alexis Koefoed's chickens). The family tragically lost over 1,000 baby chickens, their beloved barn from the 1880s, chicken houses, and over 30 grazing acres of the 55-acre property burned. In a word, devastating. You can read more in this post by Bonnie Powell on The Ethicurean, and there is a new Soul Food Farm blog with photos and more on the harrowing story.

There is a Soul Food Farm Fire Fund that has been set up on PayPal if you can possibly donate money (any amount helps) and assist them as they try to rebuild: they will need cash in order to build new chicken coops and order replacement birds in the hopes of keeping this precious business afloat. They are a wonderful family (perhaps you saw the Edible San Francisco article about them?) and trust me, we want to be able to buy their oh-so-special eggs and pastured chickens. Even if you don't know them, perhaps you will be inspired to help them rebuild. Here's wishing them all the best in their efforts to get back on their feet. You can keep track of things on their newly launched blog.

On a more uplifting note, this was just too cute to not mention: Jennifer McMahon, chef at Da Flora in North Beach, and Darren Lacey, the chef at the Chancellor Hotel, got married a few weeks back at the Carnelian Room. The wedding ring featured a small pearl Darren found in an oyster at the Hog Island Oyster Company at the Ferry Building. The first pearl found in a Hog Island oyster! Congrats to the new couple.

A tidbit from reader Jason B.: "The stand-alone ~BRYAN'S QUALITY MEATS~ has shuttered and reopened inside of a remodeled front section of Bryan's." 3445 California St. at Laurel, 415-752-0179.

~METRO CAFÉ 311~ in the Lower Haight/Divisadero Corridor has launched a wickedly affordable $25 three-course prix-fixe deal, and here's the best part: you can order anything you want on the menu, all night, any night. You could start with an app of roasted beets and goat cheese, escargot in puff pastry, or grilled squid with white beans; mains include duck confit, braised lamb shank, or grilled wild salmon, and there's also a cheeseburger. 311 Divisadero St. at Page, 415-552-0903.

Next Saturday September 19th is the second year of the ~TASTE OF SOUTH BEACH AND MISSION BAY~ fair at South Park, San Francisco's oldest public park. The focus will be on the many restaurants, bars, and businesses in the South Beach and Mission Bay Area. Some of the participating restaurants and bars are District, 21st Amendment, Bacar, Zuppa, Hotel Utah, Philz Coffee, Brickhouse Café, Hennessy's, O'Neill's Irish Pub, Tres Agaves, Paragon, and MoMo's. Local restaurants' signature dishes and drinks will be available for purchase at a moderate cost. There will also be an entertainment stage with live music performances, a children's activity area, and other vendors. 12pm–6pm.

~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting a special evening and fundraiser for the California Artisan Cheese Guild called Meet the Cheesemakers on Friday September 25th. The event will be in a cocktail party format, with a selection of cheeses, wines, and accompaniments. Guests will be able to mix and mingle with several of California's most celebrated cheesemakers (like the makers of Humboldt Fog and Cowgirl Creamery) during an intimate tasting where artisans will share their very best standbys as well as new creations. $35 per person. Advance registration is required. Call for more information or to make reservations at 415-346-7530. The event is from 6pm–9pm. 2155 Powell St. at Francisco.

Fans of David Lebovitz will want to head to ~FOG CITY NEWS~ on Friday September 25th to listen to him talk about and sign copies of his new book, The Sweet Life In Paris (Broadway Books; $24.95). One of America's most respected pastry chefs and cookbook authors and now one of the most widely read food bloggers, David moved to Paris from San Francisco in 2002 to start a new life following the sudden death of his partner. This is a funny, instructive book about life in Paris from the perspective of an American as he embarks on various adventures, meets new people, and tastes different things. Complete with fifty original recipes for dishes both sweet and savory. Valrhona chocolate will be sampled during David's visit. 12pm–2pm. 455 Market St. at 1st St., 415-543-7400.

Bruce Aidells will be at ~THE TYLER FLORENCE SHOP~ in Mill Valley signing books (The Complete Book Of Pork and The Complete Meat Cookbook) and talking about artisan ham and bacon on Thursday September 10th from 6pm–8pm. (He is introducing a line of artisan ham and bacon that he developed for Vande Rose Farms, an Oskaloosa, Iowa producer of all-natural, premium Duroc pork.) And Mary Karlin will be signing copies of her new book, Wood-Fired Cooking on Thursday September 17th from 6pm–8pm. 59 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415-380-9200.

The Julie & Julia madness continues: ~PARTIES THAT COOK~ is hosting a special Julie & Julia Cooking Class this Friday September 11th. The class will showcase recipes and techniques from the movie, and will begin with a demo by Parties That Cook owner, Bibby Gignilliat, featuring techniques like how to make a mayonnaise, hollandaise, and the perfect pastry crust. You'll then be divided into two teams and each team will be responsible for cooking four dishes from the evening's menu. Don't be afraid of butter if you're coming to this one. $95 per person. 6:30pm–9:30pm. Dacor Kitchen, 871 Dubuque Ave., South San Francisco.

More cookin': ~ROSETTA COSTANTINO~ just posted the latest schedule of her Calabrese cooking classes on her website, which includes how to make ricotta cheese, or how to prepare a wild mushroom feast. Check it out now, because her classes fill up fast. Various dates. Paulding & Company, 1410-D 62nd St., Emeryville.