tablehopper
table of contents This week's tablehopper: checking out namu (it’s not a bank).

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews
the jetsetter
get outta dodge

the socialite
shindigs/feasts/festivals
the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Cellar 360

Lost Art Salon

DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Hey. For the record, some chef pal had to go and have a birthday on a Monday night, so I lost a couple precious hours of writing/sleep. I’m a little tired. So if I happen to get chefs both named Bruce mixed up, that’s my excuse. At least I got my espresso machine’s gasket fixed last week, so semi-decent pulls are back in my life. As the repairman said, "incontinent espresso, no fun." Incontinent anything, no fun.

Just in time for Hanukkah, here’s this week’s latest addition to the Hi Helens archive: Hadassah arms! A reader says, “There’s a Jewish women’s organization called Hadassah, so the name’s grown to also be known to stand for old Jewish ladies.” Fabulous. Wave and swing ‘em proud.

Are we done? Anyone gonna pipe up with one more? Maybe? Maybe not.

Operators are standing by.

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox
Cellar360DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Friday the tablehopper was on the town for twelve hours (I crawled home at 5am); I painted it vermilion. I started with some celebratory bubbles at ~CORKAGE~, the new sake and retail wine and tasting shop from the Dajani Group—it’s where the magazine stand used to be, in between Tsunami Sushi and the renovated Café Abir. There is a petite bar where you can stand and taste, and the engaging JoJo from Tsunami will probably be the one doing the pouring. The shop is getting more bottles in the coming weeks, but I’m already impressed with the massive array of sakes. And I’m happy to have so many international wines only a block from my apartment. Cheers. 1304 Fulton St. at Divisadero.

Next, my cohort and I headed on over to the Sunset to check out the second SF location of ~PACIFIC CATCH~ in the former Canvas Gallery space. Tried some tasty poke, ceviche, and fried calamari with a kicky dipping sauce that meant business—washed it all down with an expertly made Pisco Sour. The big windows and vaulted ceiling make for a spacious feeling, and you can tell this place is going to do well in the neighborhood, especially with the fab cocktails and the later hours (restaurant open Sun–Thu 11am–10pm, bar until midnight with bar food service until 11:30pm; Fri–Sat 11am–11pm, bar until 1am, with bar food service until 12:30am). Open today! 1200 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-504-6905.

Then headed over to ~LOCAL KITCHEN AND WINE MERCHANT~ for a preview dinner—once you pass through the tall industrial “Open Sesame” door (similar to the one at Oola) you’ll find a sleek and minimalist space, with lots of marble, niches in the walls for fresh flowers (and inset track lighting in the ceiling), a wine shop, plus a wine bar in a corner of the restaurant, a long communal table, and an open kitchen. The best seat was just across the counter from the blazing pizza oven since it was a pretty chilly night (and the place was a little drafty). I liked all the custom metalwork details, like the very ingenious footrest at the kitchen counter. We were ordering off a limited menu, but some highlights were the butter lettuce and watercress salad laden with bacon and blue cheese (great vinaigrette), and the mahi mahi with a tomato beurre blanc and hearts of palm. There were some other bistro classics, like mussels, a tuna Niçoise salad, and rotisserie chicken, plus pizzas they are busy fine-tuning. For now, the opening is slated for December 10, stand by. 330 1st St. at Folsom, 415-777-4200.

Now, my whereabouts from 10:30pm until 5am that night are off the record, LOL.

Some changes over at the newly reopened ~MECCA~: executive chef Randy Lewis is moving on, but will continue working with owner Steve Weber on their Best-O-Burger concept, which is now slated to open at the end of January. (A second location is beginning to look like it will open in Hawaii, and then a third location in SF is also being considered.) Moving into Lewis’s place is Mecca’s recent chef de cuisine, Michael Rogers, who was hired from Fog City Diner a few months back. After speaking with Weber, he mentioned Rogers and Lewis have been transitioning the menu into more of an accessible/casual style. It also sounds like there may be another deal in the works, which would involve chef Lewis—stand by for more details. 2029 Market St. at Church, 415-621-7000.

I’ve also been hearing all kinds of rumblings about the ever-popular ~MYTH~—one big rumor (that chef Sean O’Brien denied) is that he has a new restaurant. But the other buzz I’ve been hearing is that the restaurant is being sold to some big restaurant group. No one is confirming details yet, so stay tuned.

I have always adored “The Drug Store” space on Mission—you know the place that used to house all the vintage mini-shops, right across from El Rio? Well, by early spring, a new barbecue joint will be moving in: ~BABY BLUES BBQ~. The project is a second location of the one that was started in Venice Beach three years ago by Rick McCarthy and Rick Fischer—brother Paul Fischer is the one launching the SF location. The Fischer brothers come from a restaurant family from Philly, with ten siblings who all started working in the restaurant business at a young age. The building dates back to 1900, and local firm Levy Art and Architecture is busy getting permits underway for the space, which will also house an art gallery.

So, the ‘cue! It embodies all styles of southern BBQ, from Texas ribs to North Carolina sauces—just whatever is good! It will all be made with either organic or top-quality meats, and there will be 16 feet of grill space and three smokers, wow. Based on a Food Network segment I watched about the original location, hello pulled pork and grilled corn! The joint will have 45 seats, serving lunch and dinner daily, with beer and wine. What’s different is table service will be offered instead of the usual barbecue joint counter-only style of service, and it’s geared to be family friendly. Can’t wait. 3149 Mission St. at Precita.

Back in June, I announced a barbecue place was coming to the Divisadero corridor, next door to the Transfer Market. Well, the joint now has a name, ~AL'S BACKYARD BBQ & GRILL~, and they are hoping to open in February. When I originally wrote it up, I said there will be “slooooooow-smoked brisket, pork ribs, chicken, and links made by someone specially chosen for the task, so the casing will be less tough/more refined.” Pant pant. 853 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

More happenings in the Western Addition: last week I mentioned mini bar sf, and opening around the corner on Fulton will be ~CANDYBAR~, the city’s first dessert lounge (and combination wine bar offering international wines). Owner Tan Truong comes from a family of restaurant owners, and has worked front of house at Asia de Cuba, and in the kitchen at Out the Door. Inspired by New York dessert-only places like ChikaLicious, look for a rotating list of desserts and homemade ice creams—who will be concocting these delights is still TBD, so I’ll let you know once the pastry chef or consultant is final. The space will have two sections, a front lounge area with bench seating by the big windows, and the back area will have tables geared for dates and dessert, with cream walls and a rotating art gallery. If all goes according to plan, this 49-seat space will be open by mid February. Hours look like 5pm until (hopefully) midnight, or even 1am on Fri–Sat—we’ll have to see what happens with approvals. My two cents: It would be nice to have a place to hang out in the evenings that’s not necessarily a bar. 1335 Fulton St., Suite 101, at Divisadero, 415-577-4331.

Lost Art SalonAnother person hoping for late hours is J.D. Petras, the owner of ~CAFÉ FLORE~. He is applying for the option to serve liquor until 2am (he currently has to close at 11pm, or midnight on the weekends) and permission for DJs to spin. Petras has also wanted to be able to serve food 24 hours a day for some time now. He is stating that without getting these approvals/permits, the future of Café Flore is bleak. A website has been launched, and they are (begging) people to attend the city planning commission hearing this Thursday at City Hall to support them. Café Flore is first on the meeting agenda—it starts at 1:30pm in the Commission Chambers-Room 400. The café is one of the more pleasant places to hang out in the Castro, and I’d like to see it thrive and stick around. 2298 Market St. at Noe, 415-621-8579.

I’m looking into my crystal ball, and I’m seeing another very successful restaurant moving into a former bank. Yes, like Nopa. Although this time it’s another four-letter restaurant: ~DOSA~. The space is in the lower Fillmore, in the old Goodwill across from the Kabuki. Once the 5,800-square-foot restaurant opens, it should have around 120 seats, with room for another 20–30 for private dining. The space is still being designed, but the goal is for it to become a neighborhood place that appeals to a diverse crowd, like it does in the Mission, serving dinner and weekend lunch. Owner Anjan Mitra just returned from two weeks in South India, and is inspired to expose San Francisco diners to authentic dishes specific to certain regions (he was telling me about a mango curry that sounded delicious). The menu will rotate with the seasons, with spicier dishes in the winter, and lighter and/or fish-based dishes in the summer. The Mitras use local ingredients as much as possible—they even have a local source for curry leaves, so that approach will continue. The wine list will be expanded, and they are hoping to secure a liquor license as well. The opening is slated for end of summer or fall in 2008. 1700 Fillmore St. at Post.

Things are getting very close for ~SERPENTINE~ in Dogpatch. Depending on how daily inspections go this week, they might open for a (very soft) opening on Friday. 2495 Third St. at 22nd, 415-252-2000.

Eater had the scoop on chef Thierry Clement of Fringale’s new project, ~L’ARDOISE~, moving into the former Los Flamingos space at Noe and Henry. The name means “blackboard,” and should clue you in to the bistro style of cuisine that will be offered (dinner to start), made with organic ingredients. The remodel will kick off in the beginning of the year, and Clement hopes to open by February or March. There’s also some room for outdoor tables once the weather warms up. Clement’s replacement at Fringale should be named soon—he anticipates that he will be departing Fringale by the end of the year, and perhaps consulting in the new year during the transition.

Now you can get crabby! After the two-week delay, the local crab season is underway (but now there are those pesky monster waves to deal with). The ~WOODHOUSE FISH COMPANY~ restaurant is one of the first to offer fresh local crab picked up daily from Pier 45. This week they are running the second annual “Dungeness Madness” crab feed, offering an all-crab menu, featuring a whole cooked and cracked crab for $13. You can also go nuts with some crab Louis, crab cocktails, crab cakes, crab sandwich or cioppino. 2073 Market St. at 14th, 415-437-CRAB (2722).

At last, ~LA TRAPPE~ opens this Saturday in the former Buca Giovanni space. Release the ale. And the mussels. And fries. 800 Greenwich St. at Mason, 415-440-8727.

A few blocks away on Washington Square Park, ~MOOSE’S~ got freshened up and now has more of a neighborhood restaurant menu (complete with "risotto carnitas") from 29-year old partner/executive chef Travis Flood—in fact, there are two menus, a dining room menu and a lounge menu. The new look from Michael Brennan, who is behind Cortez and Circa’s décor, means no more white tablecloths, a 20-person communal table has been added, and the bar has been refurbished and will be serving new specialty cocktails. Wine director Glen Standish has put together a list showcasing boutique producers and organic and biodynamically produced wines. Dinner nightly 5:30pm–10pm; brunch Sundays 10:30am–2:30pm. 1652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

I love getting together with friends for holiday lunches. There are two places that begin with “B” that I think are particularly well suited: the ~BIG 4 AT THE HUNTINGTON~, and from now until Christmas, ~BIX~ will be serving lunch Monday through Friday as well. Order a couple martinis and think of me. Cheers.

Since the holiday season is in full effect, look for an upcoming tablehopper giveaway and gift guide next week! In the meantime, I thought you’d be fired up to enter this contest on yumsugar, ~THE ULTIMATE HOLIDAY ENTERTAINING GIVEAWAY~. The prizes are pretty sweet. I want them all. Good luck!

Starting December 9, sous chef William Pilz is going to be the chef de cuisine at ~CITIZEN CAKE~. His background includes working under Laurent Gras at Fifth Floor, David Kinch at Manresa, and Ron Segal at Masa’s. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.

Some more Elizabeth Falkner-land news: Pal Camper English at Alcademics.com had the word that the fabulous ~JACKIE PATTERSON~ from Le Colonial, the mixmeistress, will be the bar manager at Orson when it opens. Her last day at Le Colonial is New Year’s Eve, and she is scheduled to be starting up at Orson in mid January.

More news in the bar world: I am sad to report that ~GINGER'S TROIS~ (I can’t mention its naughty alias), the last of the downtown gay bars, is closing down after the first of the year. Waaaah! This divey/campy little number has been open for 17 years, and when I worked downtown I loved getting soused with my homo pals here—you’d practically need a chaser with your greyhound, and I always got a kick out of the feisty regulars who had been parked on barstools since lunch. I seem to recall some crazy boozy cherries you could order too. Anyway. Will report more on what’s moving in there soon—I was asked not to tell. Let’s just say they aren’t strangers to the local bar scene. 246 Kearny St. at Sutter.

On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified, repealing Prohibition. So of course, this is an excellent excuse for a party. Elixir, one of the oldest continually running saloons in San Francisco, is throwing a ~REPEAL DAY PARTY~ this Wednesday, December 5th. Bluecoat Gin is sponsoring this event, with $5 cocktails all night, 9pm to close. 3200 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-1633.

~CANTINA~ is also throwing a party, sponsored by Dewar’s, from 8pm–12am, free of cost. There will be actors and models and picketers and all sorts of strange and fun stuff to recreate the moment booze came back. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.

And fans of ~VICTORIA DAMATO-MORAN’S~ fab drinks will be happy to find her at Bar Johnny on Sundays, the former Tablespoon. She starts this Sunday the 9th, and will be there from 11am until 5pm. Buckle up. Oh wait, the bar stools don’t have seatbelts. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-268-0140.

Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

 
the sponsor

Cellar 360

Come to Cellar360 in Ghirardelli Square to enjoy a day in wine country, without leaving the city.

Great wines make great gifts! For the 2007 holiday, Cellar360 is proud to offer an unrivaled collection of wines from around the world, offering a great selection as you plan for the holiday season. For this special time of the year, we've gathered some of the most popular, impressive, and food-friendly wines to make your choices easier. tablehopper readers receive 50% off shipping until December 16, 2007, when you enter code tablehop.  

Sail the Smooth Seas of Port at Cellar 360 in our Food & Wine Education Center
Sat., December 8, 2007, 2:30pm–4pm, $60.
 
Navigate the history, culture, and pleasures of remarkable port wines with COPIA’s Senior Vice President of Wine, Peter Marks MW. You’ll taste eight fabulous ports along with a complementary tasting plate prepared by Cellar360 Culinary Specialist Kasey Passen. Event info.

 
fresh meat

image

Namu
439 Balboa St.
Cross: 6th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

415-386-8332
website

Dinner
Daily 5:30pm–10:30pm
Thu–Sat until 1am

Lunch
Tue–Fri 11:30am–3pm

Brunch
Sat–Sun 10am–3pm

Happy hour
Mon–Fri 5pm–7pm

Small plates $6–$15
Grilled $5–$18
Desserts $4–$7

 

Cellar360

DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO I love surprises. Like finding money in pockets or an old purse, and boy, do I remember the joy of tax returns (and miss them). Finding a parking space in North Beach always feels like a surprise. Guys who call the next day… I wish that wasn’t a surprise. (But most women can testify that it usually is.) And restaurant surprises, hell, it’s a big reason why I do what I do—I relish the hunt (and sometimes hunt some relish).

Not sure why it took me so long to visit ~NAMU~ in the Inner Richmond. Maybe I was trying to forget I knew about it and surprise myself? Namu is a total gem of a restaurant—one that I know some local chefs enjoy (sorry guys, I’m writing it up) and is now on my list of joints I’m fired up about.

The place is small, but big on style: it sports a dark and sleek vibe, Danish modern Arne Jacobsen butterfly chairs, an open kitchen, moody urban photos that reminded me of Todd Hido’s work, floors of hand-carved oak, and a five-seat wood bar made from a tree that fell in Golden Gate Park, which inspired the name (namu means tree in Korean). Wait until you see the minimalist Zen spa bathroom, with a resin-covered rock and bamboo sink, with bamboo walls layered with bands of glass—it wins for one of the city’s best loos (although Gary Danko’s shoe polisher is hard to beat).

I am anti flat-screen TVs, especially in non-sports bar restaurants, but at least this one was playing an arty samurai flick, Sword of Doom. The music was good—a combo of jazz and some Ninja Tunes tracks and pop—they actually have DJs Thursday through Saturday nights, although I have no idea where they put them.

Brothers Dennis and David Lee of Happy Belly food carts are behind Namu, crafting a mostly Japanese menu with Korean and California flair. A meal starts with a complimentary trio of banchan of house-made kimchee, some of the best I’ve tasted in a while, alongside some cucumber and seaweed, and carrot. We ordered four ridiculously fresh Sweetwater oysters from Hog Island (yeah, oyster season!), and played with combos of yuzu ponzu and daikon, and our fave, lemon and chojang Korean chili sauce.

The menu is a small plates format (I know, I know, but it’s really good food!), ranging from six Fulton Valley chicken wings ($10) to all kinds of seafood, like one night’s special crudo of Kona Kampachi and chili oil, or Hog Island sake-steamed Manila clams ($15), or scallop carpaccio ($8) with a yuzu vinaigrette. We tried the tai snapper ceviche ($10) served in crispy gyoza wrapper cups, but found the flavors a bit muddled and the presentation a little “classic buffet party appetizer” compared to the clarity and artfulness of everything else.

Who can resist dumplings? Resistance is futile. The shiitake dumplings ($9) come four to an order, with a dusting of nori on top. They were simple and delicate, but what knocked our socks off was the fab broth—if only there was a way to mop it all up. (We asked for spoons, it was that good.)

It ends up the Lees’ mother, who started the restaurant bug in the family back east, is a master of sauces. A sauce meister. Her recipe is behind the kalbi-style skirt steak ($11), a delicious serving of perfectly tender and medium rare steak sporting that unmistakable Korean BBQ flavor, but how handy, you don’t have to go home smelling like a barbecue. The steak was so juicy and savory—the sole flaw was just a little too much of mom’s good marinade. The three spicy pork ribs ($10) with fried leeks had a killer sake marinade—these meaty numbers disappeared quickly.

We also lost it over the black cod ($16) that a Bodega Bay fisherman line catches for the restaurant. It was a generous portion, and the fish was so fresh and dense, with a lightly caramelized crust. The cod is skewered and cooked over Sumi charcoal, not grilled, so the smoky flavor is subtle and haunting. We tried a side of the Brussels sprouts, which had a total new winning addition for me: bonito flakes! The smaller sprouts were cooked best, the larger ones were a touch underdone.

The dessert of kabocha chawan mushi ($7) had good flavors, but was undercooked and not worth the price tag—I’d opt for a glass of the Kamoizumi Komemoke from Hiroshima instead. (I also know someone who loves the chocolate brioche, which feels a little out of step with the menu, but hey, chocoholics don’t care about these things.)

Dennis Lee, the head chef, is a total talent, and I hear he is occasionally joined by Taka from Ozumo on Saturdays and Sundays—these guys really rock it. Our server Sarah was quite knowledgeable about all the sakes, and friendly. I plan to return for the burger (it comes with sliced pickled daikon) or the stonepot rice with egg for lunch, which sounds like a version of bi bim bap.

I hear brunch is really good too—ranging from three kinds of Benedicts to a fried egg sandwich with soy-glazed onions to loco moco (Niman Ranch beef patty topped with two eggs and gravy over rice). Might be an ideal time for the lightly effervescent sake, the Tedorigawa Arabashiri Namazake from Ishikawa.

The sake list is fun to explore—after doing a tasting of five, our fave was the food friendly and nutty Chikurin Fukamari ($8.50), an organic sake from Okayama. Delicious with red meat. There is also Koshihikari Echigo, a light lager ($8/17 oz.) that easily went down the hatch, and Orion ($7/22 oz.) beer from Okinawa, which I have only seen at Sebo.

There are a number of wines by the glass, some lovely teas, and my favorite, at least five infused sojus behind the bar, including the Thai chili (do it!), and the pu-er tea-infused one which will really get you going. Like, hi-yah!

This place would be great for a date, or a small group of friends, like four folks. I also think you could cheat with someone here because it’s a bit off the beaten path. (Not like I’m encouraging cheating or anything.) And here’s the big bonus: they are open until 1am Thursday–Saturday. Like, wow, great chow until 1am, and no drive-thru or pizza? Sign me up.

Parking in this neighborhood is a beast, which is why I happily rode my bike here through Golden Gate Park. But the owners plan to start offering valet parking Friday–Sunday, and supposedly Mondays aren’t too painful. But you know, I’d circle around for half an hour, the place is so worth it.

 

 
the sponsor

Lost Art Salon

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Currently we are featuring a spectacular collection of original period fashion illustrations, many of which were created for the SF Chronicle and Examiner in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

If you would like to be on our contact list for future events, write us at partners@lostartsalon.com. We are located at 245 S. Van Ness, Suite 303, (at the top of the Post Tool building), and we are open to the public Tuesday through Saturday.

 
the jetsetter

DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO By Chef Charlie Kleinman

Four pounds of foie gras. That, according to the best estimates of the three of us (all chefs with ample experience working with foie) is how much we consumed of the lipidinous substance in our two-hour dinner at Au Pied De Cochon. Certainly after a goring like that we would stop our binge eating and find the nearest salad to try and correct our dangerously high cholesterol levels. Well, maybe if we were normal people. But we are not. We are chefs, a different breed, and we were determined to eat all we could after years and years of staff meals that left us (not quite) satiated.

I am a New Yorker, and count myself as one of the chosen people, not only as it applies to my religion, but perhaps more importantly as it applies to my bagel eating. You see, bagels really are better in New York, and yes I really do believe it is our water (that and a little bit of our superior attitude as well). So imagine my surprise when a trip to Maison du Bagel (263 St. Viateur Ouest, Montreal, 514-276-8044), the bagel shop in Montreal that some people claim rivals any New York bagel, actually left me satisfied.

These bagels are good, really good even, but they are still not as good as the best New York City has to offer—give me Columbia Hot Bagels or H&H any day. That said, these bagels are excellent and different than anything found in the U.S. For one thing, they are cooked in a wood-fired oven, which gives them a smoky and rich flavor not often associated with the bagels of my youth. They are also a little flatter than what I am used to, which helped save them from the cottony texture that plagues the impostor bagels across this country. Their texture was an excellent blend of crispy and chewy, and the bagel had just enough malty sugar mixed in with salty topping to officially make it the best bagel I have ever had outside of New York.

The trip to Maison du Bagel satisfied my intellectual quest for finding the best of the best in culinary delights, but our next stop would be purely visceral. We were on a daytrip to Quebec City, that capital of French-speaking Canada, and one of the most beautiful cities in North America. This walled city surrounded by cannons and gun turrets is the fastest and cheapest way to feel like you are in a European medieval city that I know of. On every corner is another bistro that looks warm and inviting, offering classics such as steak frites and tartare.

However, we didn’t go to Quebec to mess around with any of that frou-frou. We were here to eat poutine, the uniquely French-Canadian food that is an ambrosial blend of crispy French fries, meaty gravy, and squeaky cheese curd. (Yes I described the cheese curd as squeaky, and I challenge you to find a better word to describe this pleasant yet slightly foreign texture and flavor.)

imageThere are a myriad of places where one can enjoy this treat, but after much research, we chose Chez Ashton (54 Cote Du Palais, Quebec City, QE, 418-692-3055). This chain of fast food restaurants has the look and feel of a McDonald’s, and the added bonus of employing a cashier who made us feel as if we had walked in to the Canadian remake of Clerks. We all ordered the poutine avec saucisson, or poutine with hot dogs for the less sophisticated of you out there.

How to describe this treat? Ethereal? Subtle? No. How about stick-to-your-ribs, make-you-want-to-take-a-nap, no-need-to-eat-again-for-the-rest of-the-day good. I’m glad we did this, and am relieved that I won’t have to eat it again for a while since I’m not sure my system could take it.

imageWhile we had a blast in Montreal and Quebec City, we were excited to move on to Toronto for the next stage in our trip. There were many reasons we were looking forward to Toronto. The Hockey Hall of Fame (okay that was just me), Wayne Gretzky’s restaurant (okay, again just me), and last but not the least of all, Susur (601 King Street West, Toronto, OT, 416-504-7886). We had all wanted to visit Susur Lee’s eponymous restaurant for as long as we knew about it, and this reservation had been burning a whole in our itinerary for over a week now.

That said, how can I best describe our experience after weeks of great food? I guess Susur would have to be categorized somewhere in between disappointing and criminal. It is one thing to leave a meal you simply didn’t like, and quite another to feel like you had been held up at dinner. Nothing was done correctly here. The service was inattentive and awful. The wine was overpriced and did not deliver on its promise. But the food, the reason we had visited this restaurant, nay, this city? Under seasoned, poorly delivered, uninspiring, and well, lets just leave it at that. Let’s move on to happier meals.

imageThis was not hard to do as we had one more stop on our tour before arriving back in New York City. We woke up bright and early to make our last trip to Buffalo. That's right, you read it correctly. Buffalo was the next stop on our road trip for two reasons. First of all, we had to drop chef pal Ryan Farr off at the airport, but more importantly, we needed to see the culinary mecca, the place in which my favorite food was invented, and hopefully still executed in its truest form.

The place was the Anchor Bar (1047 Main St. Buffalo, 716-886-8920), and the food is, as some of you may have guessed, Buffalo wings. The wings delivered. The three of us polished off a heaping pile of these wings with such alacrity that we were ready to head to Nathan’s and challenge Kobayashi to a hotdog-eating contest. These spicy, salty, and crispy fried treats were the only positive thing about Buffalo so far as we could tell, so we made haste back to NYC and the end of our culinary adventures.

With 15 days of eating and drinking under my belt, there are quite a few things I have learned. For one, there is just simply not enough room on tablehopper to tell you about every meal. The casualties of this limitation include (but are not limited to) Sri Pa Pai, an amazing Thai restaurant in Queens, New York, and Shake Shack has one of the best burgers I have yet to taste. I am sure many of you who are a wee bit jealous of this trip may be happy to find out that I have wrecked my stomach to the point where I get heartburn after almost every meal. That said, I will carry on, but might for the time being try and change my focus back to feeding people, and away from feeding myself.

Thank you, Marcia, for a forum to share tales of my gluttony. Let me know the next time you need someone to help you out with your dirty work.

 
the socialite

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Bar Crudo Winter Belgian Beer Dinner
Sun., Dec. 9, 2007

Bar Crudo
603 Bush St.
Cross: Stockton St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

415-956-0396
website

7pm–10pm

$70

To reserve a seat
call Tim at
415-517-3768,
or email

DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Mmmmmm, beer. Many of you know the list at Bar Crudo is downright impressive, so good news! They are starting a ~MONTHLY BEER DINNER~! Yup, get ready for “Seafood & Ale.” Chef Mike Selvera will create a seafood menu that will match the many unique styles of Belgian ale selected by his brother, Tim.

Six courses, and six unique Belgian ales. There are only 31 seats, so get on it! Credit card information will be required to reserve a seat, so have that plastic ready.

image

The Art and History of Tamales; A History Lesson in Three Parts     
Wed., Dec. 19, 2007

La Cocina
2948 Folsom St.
Cross: 25th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

website
6:30pm–9pm

$100

Buy tickets online
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DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO No, you don’t have to get drunk and hope the Tamale Lady shows up the next time you’re craving tamales. Join La Cocina entrepreneurs Dilsa Lugo, Maria del Carmen Flores, and Veronica Salazar for a ~TAMALE CLASS~, where you will learn how to prepare three types of tamales while learning about their history, cultural relevance, and regional variations. You'll walk away with an understanding of why the tamale you buy from one cart is different from another, and three no-fail recipes for preparing your own at home.

You will also enjoy some paired wines from Courtney Cochran of Hip Tastes, and then everyone will sit down to the kind of meal that food-lovers dream about: Tamales, of course, with a bevy of Mexican antojitos, Salvadoran side dishes, and Dilsa's Mexican desserts.

Space is limited—there’s only room for 19 students, so order your tickets now! A portion is tax-deductible.

The chefs:

Veronica Salazar, El Huarache Loco
Veronica, the co-winner of the annual Tamales by the Bay, will present her tamales with mole, a classic from Mexico City. Cornhusks, pulled chicken, and homemade mole, these are not to be missed.

Maria del Carmen Flores, Estrellita's Snacks
Think tamales only come one way? Maria's Salvadoran tamales, wrapped in banana leaves, will change the way you think about tamales. Filled with slow-roasted pork, garbanzo beans, and olives, you will not forget these tamales.

Dilsa Lugo, Los Cilantros
Dilsa's focus on local and organic ingredients give her classic tamales a twist. Locally-grown chiles, with the balance of cheese, make a perfect combination of flavors for Dilsa's corn-husk wrapped tamales.

 
the starlet

DECEMBER 04, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Anthony Hopkins was spotted dining at New Delhi Restaurant. And no, he didn’t order lamb, and everyone knows fava beans aren’t in season.

Queen Latifah and about 15 guests came into Postrio’s bar area after her Sunday night performance at Davies Symphony Hall. She reportedly could not have had a nicer group of folks, and the staff said she is even more beautiful in person. All hail the queen!

Vince Vaughn and an entourage headed into Sanraku last night.

 

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