February 17, 2009

February 17, 2009

Looks like ~15 ROMOLO~ will be opening its doors this Wednesday or Thursday. As I mentioned in earlier columns, it has a sexy new look, new lighting, new tunes on the jukebox, new seating, and there will be a tasty new menu of bar snacks. And there will be a new bartender in the mix, too. How’s that for a big ole heap o’ new? I was told I’ll be getting more info next week, but here’s one teaser about a bar-snack item on the menu (Justin Simoneaux from Moss Room helped consult on it): a Southside San Antonio Crispy Dog. What the hell is that? Let’s just say the dog is stuffed with cheese, wrapped in a corn tortilla, and fried. Yup, it’s like a Bronx flauta, or a Mexican pig in a blanket. No matter what you call it, I’d definitely say that dog sounds like pure evil, a veritable hound of the Baskervilles. The joint will be open from 5:30pm–2am, with the kitchen open from 6pm–1:30am. 15 Romolo Pl. at Broadway, 415-398-1359.

Hey, it’s smackdown time. First up in the ring: tonight at the Commonwealth Club, Skyy Spirits presents: ~COCKTAIL SMACKDOWN: SAN FRANCISCO'S BEST MIXOLOGISTS~ from 6:30pm–8:30pm. Jordan MacKay will be moderating a panel to discuss trends in the industry, expert advice for at-home mixology, and to demonstrate cocktail mixology first-hand, followed with a cocktail tasting and voting. The panelists include H. Joseph Ehrmann, proprietor, Elixir; Jackie Patterson, cocktailian and bartender, Heaven's Dog; Jeff Hollinger, general manager, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar, co-author, The Art of the Bar; and Jon Gasparini, owner, Rye on the Road. Event details are on the Commonwealth Club website.

Don’t forget tomorrow (Wednesday) is the ~WINTER FARMERS' MARKET COCKTAIL NIGHT~ from 5:30-8:00pm at the Ferry Building.

And now for the second smackdown: Master Sommelier Emily Wines is hosting the next event in her series of ~THREE ON FIVE BEVERAGE BATTLES AT FIFTH FLOOR~. The battles in the past have been with two fellow experts in wine, spirits, and beer, competing against her in finding the most perfect pairings for a five-course meal. This Wednesday February 18th is Battle of the Somms: Emily will face consultant Master Sommelier Brian Cronin and sommelier Paul Einbund (formerly of Coi). They will be pairing the dishes in the categories of old-world wines, new-world wines, and anything but wine.

Executive chef Jennie Lorenzo will create a menu of modern French dishes from the Gascony region. Guests will sample all three beverage pairings and determine the winners. The winning pairings and dishes will then be offered as a special package in addition to the regular à la carte menu the week following the competition for $125/person. 7:30pm. $125 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. Please specify “Beverage Battle” when making your reservation. 12 Fourth St. at Mission, 415-348-1555.

Mark your calendar, because on March 18th, Emily will pair wines against beer selections from Craig & Beth Wathen of City Beer Store, and cocktails from mixologist Marco Dionysos of the Clockbar, with the added pairing challenge of a Gascony-inspired vegetarian menu.

On a more somber note, there is a benefit in the Petite Café at ~GRAND CAFÉ~ next Monday February 23rd in honor of bartender Joe Andrew, a longtime SF bartender. He sadly passed away after seven-plus years of service at the Grand Cafe, so they are holding a benefit in his name to help his family with funeral and memorial costs. There will be a raffle, complimentary small bites, and no door charge. All proceeds will go to the family. If anyone wants to donate anything for the raffle, email Danielle Kuzinich [at] grandcafe-sf [dot] com. 8pm. 501 Geary St. at Taylor.

Just across the street, ~CORTEZ RESTAURANT AND BAR~ will be hosting Cocktail School, a series of workshops designed to teach the art of the cocktail. Once a month, guests will learn to make bitters, infusions, edible garnishes, and more. And the best part—it’s free, yo! A wide range of spirits will be featured and paired with bar bites from executive chef Jenn Puccio. Here’s the line-up of featured spirits:Â February:Â Don Julio Tequila; March: Grey Goose vodka; April: Jim Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection; May:Â 209 Gin; June: Bacardi rums. The event will be held on the third Thursday of the month, from 5:30pm–7pm. 550 Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-6360.

Looks like you’ll be seeing Carlos Yturria, cocktail competition winner, superb barman, and all-around nice guy behind the bar at ~CONDUIT~. He'll be working a couple of days during the week (to be determined). 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-552-5200.

This looks amazing: ~ACQUERELLO~ is hosting a special 1960’s Barolo dinner on Thursday February 26th at 6:30pm. These wines are in unusually pristine condition: they have been kept in only one private cellar in Italy, and just recently were shipped to California. Here’s what will be poured: 1964 Voerzio; 1964 Pasquale Veglio; 1961 Terre di Barolo; 1961 Giacomo Borgogno; 1961 Luigi Alessandria; and 1961 Marchesi di Barolo. Chef Suzette Gresham-Tognetti will prepare several Piemontese-style dishes to complement the wines. Limited to 12 guests. $275, inclusive of wines, tax, and gratuity. 1722 Sacramento St. at Polk, 415-567-5432.

I must love Italian wines or something. Uh, yeah. Mark your calendar and get your tickets, because March 4th is the ~TRE BICCHIERI~ event, my favorite Italian wine event of the year (and it’s not just because of all the hot Italians suddenly in town). The event is put on by Gambero Rosso in conjunction with Slow Food, and showcases producers who have been honored with the Tre Bicchieri (three glasses) award. Over 100 wines will be featured. Tickets may be purchased for $50, which includes a complimentary copy of Gambero Rosso’s Italian Wines 2009 (a $40 value). Tickets are on sale now through K&L Wine Merchants. 4:30pm–7pm. Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason Center.