September 27, 2011

September 27, 2011
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Joel Teitelbaum behind the new bar at the Starlight Room; photo from Kimpton.

After the SF Cocktail Week Legends Awards wrapped up on Saturday night, I had a chance to hit the after party in ~HARRY DENTON’S STARLIGHT ROOM~ and check out the new look by Dawson Design Associates. It’s still very glitzy and glam, with lots of red and gold and pattern and punchy color (drama, baby!). There are some tucked-away booths, plenty of sparkly new light fixtures, and a new dance floor.

Former Zero Zero barman Joel Teitelbaum (working with Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group’s Master Mixologist Jacques Bezuidenhout) is behind the new bar program that spans from the 1600s to some current concoctions, and of course Starlight legacy cocktails like the Cable Car by Tony Abou-Ganim, Marco Dionyos’ Chartreuse Swizzle, and Bezuidenhout’s La Perla will also be available. Executive chef Jen Biesty of Scala’s Bistro downstairs has put together a new bar menu (think tuna ceviche cones, and mac and cheese balls). And the view remains as smashing as ever. Open Tue 6pm-12am, Wed-Sat 6pm-1:30am, Sun for Sunday’s a Drag brunch at 11am for a noon show and at 1:30pm for a 2pm show; and again from 6pm-12am. Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 21st floor, 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-395-8595.

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Flickr photo by Grégory Tonon.

Guess what I cracked open shortly after my return from Turkey? Yup, a bottle of Champagne (Henriot, to be exact)—you won’t find that being poured by the glass in Istanbul restaurants. Mama was thirsty! And this event tomorrow night (Wednesday September 28th) at ~QUINCE~ is going to be awash in bubbles: Champagne Louis Roederer, to be exact. The all-Champagne wine pairing dinner will feature five different Roederer cuvées (Brut Vintage 2004, Blanc de Blancs 2004, Brut Rosé 2005, Cristal 2004, and Carte Blanche Demi-Sec NV), and Export Manager Charles Fournier will be available to explain the different Champagne styles and offer tips for successfully pairing it with food. $295 per person; seating is limited. Reservations: Ryan Curran, 415-775-8505 x31. And for guests dining at the restaurant, you will also be able to select Roederer Champagnes throughout the week of September 26th.

In the much more affordable tip, on Wednesday October 12th, ~18 REASONS~ will be hosting Farm Wine Favorites: SPARKLINGS. Jeff Viera will be leading a class on sparkling wines, from cavas to Champagne. $40 for 18 Reasons members; $50 for the general public. Order tickets here. 7pm-9pm.

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Schmidt’s flight; photo by Ron Kurti.

There are numerous Oktoberfest events and special beer releases happening around town, but here are a couple for your radar.

Through October 16th, ~SCHMIDT’S~ is offering a full lineup of Oktoberfest specials: 10 seasonal Märzen beers only available for a short time in the fall, two beer flights served with a Bavarian soft pretzel, and their own local/seasonal renditions of traditional German dishes to pair with the beers. The two beer flights will include a combination of bottle and draft selections like Weihenstephaner Festbier (from the oldest brewery in the world, dated 1040, whoa), Paulaner (first brewed by monks in 1634), Hacker Pschor (established 1417), and Spaten Ur-Märzen (considered “the original Märzen” made with Munich hops), and more.

As for the food, choose from smaller plates like a traditional German cheese or cured meat plate, or larger plates like housemade herbed cheese spätzle, smoked pork chop with curried apricot chutney, and cauliflower “schnitzel.” You can’t go wrong with 20 varieties of sausages to choose from, including a local Berliner currywurst, fresh duck sausage, and Märzenbier bratwurst. (Yup, a total sausage fest.) Order the Oktoberfest wurstteller special and get your choice of three sausages on a bed of sauerkraut with potato salad. Also on the the menu are fresh pea pancakes served with house cured salmon and chive sour cream; and for brunch, fischplatte with herring, smoked trout, and house-cured gravlax; and leberkase—pork and veal terrine with a fried egg and roasted onions. Specials this week include purée of celeriac and apple soup; baby red beet salad with mint, quark, and lamb’s lettuce; heirloom cucumber salad; herbed cheese spätzle with roasted king trumpet mushrooms; and strawberry and pluot tartlet with honey, lime, and whipped cream. 2400 Folsom St. at 20th St., 415-401-0200.

~EPIC ROASTHOUSE~ is joining in the Oktoberfest fun with a celebration on Saturday October 1st from noon-4pm. $50 buys you admission and unlimited German-inspired dishes from chef Jan Birnbaum, unlimited local beer tastings (first beer will be served in a special Oktoberfest mug), and live music from Deutscher Musikverein. The fun fare includes pretzels with beer mustard, red beer soup with spicy cabbage kraut, EPIC homemade bratwurst sausages with housemade sauerkraut, roasted porchetta with jalapeño apple relish, pork and beans “our way,” potato dumplings braised in Guinness stout, pork schnitzel with warm potato salad, and ginger and vanilla ice cream floats with stout beer. Get tix online in advance ‘cause they won’t be sold at the door. Valet parking available.