January 10, 2012

January 10, 2012
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The bar at Lolo. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Good news for ~TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS~ (and their customers!): starting this Friday January 13th, the Hayes Valley boîte is launching a full cocktail program designed by bartender Michael Cecconi. The list will include four takes on the classic Manhattan, sign me up! Please note they are cash only. Open Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am, Sun 11am-10pm. The kitchen is open Tue-Sat 4pm-10pm, and brunch is served Sun 11am-4pm. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655.

Over in the Mission, the ever-cheerful ~LOLÓ~ is in the process of transferring the liquor license from Charanga. The partners have been trying to secure a liquor license for a long time, and are excited to launch their updated gastro-cantina concept this spring or summer. Partner Jorge Martinez tells me the cocktail list is going to be agave-centric, with tequilas, mezcals, and raicilla figuring prominently. In fact, Jorge told me the mezcal they will use is from a distillery that was going to close in Durango, and he offered to buy the production of it to save it. Even more interesting: it’s made from a wild pink agave; sadly the distillery can only provide it in small batches in order to evade confiscation by cartels on delivery runs. Intense. There is also a house raicilla Loló will carry, made on the coast of Jalisco. Both of these spirits are in their two restaurants in Mexico (i latina and Anita li).

One last bit of news: there is a new partner, Juan Carlos Ruelas (opening partner Merdol Erkal sold his share, is now focused on another exciting venture to help fix our country’s school lunch programs). Look for a new menu to be launched in a couple weeks, with even more of a focus on Mexican dishes. It all looks like the start of a very feliz año nuevo for this sweet neighborhood business!

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The sign for the ladies’ room at the Gold Dust Lounge. Yup, it says “Bustles.” Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I was very sorry to hear the ~GOLD DUST LOUNGE~ in Union Square is facing eviction. Scoop reports the owner, Tasios Bovis, has been told his lease is cancelled and he is supposed to vacate in the next three months so a Chicago-based clothing company can move in.

Um, hello, this bar has been open since 1906! Wait, someone else says 1905. Anyway, that’s a long-ass time it’s been open. Bovis is appealing to City Hall—stand by for more about what can be done to protest the eviction. I personally love this kooky and historic bar, and all the bleary-eyed times I’ve had there. I really hope we can save it. You can follow @GoldDustLounge on Twitter and Facebook for updates on how to help. 247 Powell St. at Geary, 415-397-1695.

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The new Murio’s. Photo by Brian Smeets for Grub Street.

I received word that ~MURIO’S TROPHY ROOM~ reopened with its brand-new look and partnership (owner Roger Howell has brought on a new business partner, Edward Sargent). As mentioned in an earlier piece, the new look from Haleh Cunningham and Bernadette Holmes of Thornbird Styling features tufted caramel-colored banquettes, sexy 70s wallpaper, vintage and mid-century chairs, and newly recovered barstools. It’s very far from its original dive bar look—even the entrance (now with windows!) looks very different. You can peek at a slideshow on Grub Street here. Hours are 11am-2am. 1811 Haight St. at Shrader.

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Photo by Jeff Steinmetz/rockstarshots.com.

Oakland is bizzzeee with the bar openings (and in this case, refreshers)! I just got word about another one to add to the list, ~THE NEW EASY~, which used to be Easy Lounge in the Grand Lake district. The owners decided to change things up after five years, and have launched a new cocktail program featuring fresh and local ingredients, handmade soda syrups, bitters, infusions, seasonal fresh juices, and herbs, along with a new food offering (sausages with housemade sauerkrauts and chutneys, grilled cheese, a fondue made with local spirits, and a root beer float using chocolate stout). On the cocktail menu, there’s the Apple Hill Bubbly, with bonded apple brandy, rosemary-infused honey, and lemon topped with hard apple cider, and the Gator Tooth, with moonshine, absinthe, pear nectar, and tarragon. New hires include Summer-Jane Bell (who has been brought in as a partner). 3255 Lakeshore Ave. at Lake Park, Oakland, 510-338-4911.

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Hooray for bubbles! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

~COI~ has hired a new sommelier to replace Andrew Mosblech, who left last year. His name is Roland Micu, and he is currently the wine director for La Toque in Napa. He is going to start on January 31st, after COI’s January break the week of January 23rd, when Daniel Patterson is going to Paris for Paris Des Chefs (his duo presentation is with Blixa Bargeld!) and he is then presenting at Madrid Fusion. Globetrotter. COI also has a new GM, Michael Cima, who was AGM at The Village Pub in Woodside.

I heard through the grapevine (har!) that ~PERBACCO~ and ~BARBACCO~ wine director Mauro Cirilli was leaving his position. Inside Scoop shares that “He’s opted to move in a new direction, leading seminars and events for the North American Sommelier Association. He also plans to do more restaurant wine consulting and is working on a new website ‘dedicated to job sourcing specifically for the San Francisco Bay Area food and beverage industry.’”

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ZAP photo by Wayde Carroll.

The ~ZINFANDEL ADVOCATES & PRODUCERS FESTIVAL~, aka ZAP, is back for the 21st time with a new venue for two events, The Concourse at 8th and Brannan Streets. Thursday January 26th is Epicuria at The Concourse (food and zinfandel pairing), Friday January 27th is the Winemakers’ Dinner at The Westin St. Francis, and Saturday January 28th is the Grand Tasting, also at The Concourse.

On January 26th from 6pm-9pm at The Concourse, 50 zinfandel vintners and 50 Bay Area chefs and restaurateurs will collaborate on food-wine pairings at Epicuria: Food & Zinfandel Pairings. Teams include Klinker Brick Winery with Fifth Floor, Peachy Canyon Winery with Swan Oyster Depot, Mazzocco Winery with Radio Africa Kitchen, and Carol Shelton Wines with Picán, and many more. Plus there’s the ZinKitchen, where chefs demo their dishes and explain why they pair well with zin. Expect to see chef Mark Dommen and sommelier Tonya Pitts from One Market, chef David Taylor and sommelier Shelley Lindgren from A16, and chef Michael Thiemann and sommelier Ken Wagstaff from Wayfare Tavern. $95 ZAP members, $125 non-members. 635 8th St. at Brannan.

Friday January 27th, experience a Vegas-style Winemakers’ Dinner hosted by the winemakers from 5pm-10pm at The Westin St. Francis. Dress to impress, and for good luck at the live and silent auctions, featuring rare and one-of-a-kind lifestyle lots, with proceeds benefiting ZAP programming, education, and Heritage Projects. Participating wineries include Alderbrook Winery, Ancient Peaks Winery, Artezin Wines, Robert Biale Vineyards, Charter Oak Winery, D-Cubed Cellars, Dogwood Cellars, Four Vines Winery, Grey Wolf Vineyards & Cellars, Hendry Wines, JR Wines, Lange Twins Winery & Vineyards, Mauritson Family Winery, McCay Cellars, Peachy Canyon Winery, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosenblum Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, Scott Harvey Wines, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Carol Shelton Wines, St. Francis Winery & Vineyard, Starry Night Winery, Terra d’Oro, Three Wine Company, Trentadue Winery and Wilson Winery & Vineyards. Get your tickets soon, it’s almost sold out; $225, including an annual advocate membership for two. 335 Powell St. at Geary.

Finally, put it all together on Saturday January 28th for the Grand Tasting: From A To Zin, 2pm-5pm at The Concourse. Taste hundreds of barrel samples and new releases, and meet winemakers from different zinfandel regions—it’s the most comprehensive showing of zinfandel wineries in the world. Members enter at 1pm, and enjoy a complimentary members-only lounge with seminars throughout the day. $49 ZAP members, $59 non-members, $69 at the door.