SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO You tired of hearing about ~SLOW
FOOD NATION~ yet? I know, I know. It’s definitely
been the hot topic burning up all the blogs and papers this week.
All in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful event for
its first year. Ambitious, that’s for sure. Friday I visited
the full-tilt bountiful Victory Garden, which was charmingly
a kid magnet, and is actually going to be with
us until November! Awesome—thanks for letting it stay,
Gavster. Now we just need it to become permanent. What’s
next? Alice is allllll fired up on getting a garden planted on
the White House lawn. She cannot be denied.
What was not to love about lunch in the Civic Center at Slow
On the Go? It looked very Burning Man-esque, with the
food kiosks set up on lo-fi scaffolding and planks, and folks
cooking and prepping outside in the baking sun. Busy people working
hard. I even saw some vendors barter for sandwiches! The only
thing missing was some sandstorms.
Highlights: the ridiculously scrumptious Scott Peacock biscuit
with Benton County Ham and raspberry jam, and I also liked the
bastard muffaletta, which was more a good sandwich than a resemblance
of anything I ate in New Orleans, but tasty nonetheless. Speaking
of NOLA, bless Blue Bottle for the massive supply of iced New Orleans
coffee they made in advance, it was appreciated on that hot day.
It was also a kick to see all kinds of people sitting on hay bales,
eating their lunch, and talking to strangers.
also enjoyed buying and trying some produce and products from
all the vendors in the special Farmers’ Market—my
only question, where were the eggs? But there were some killer
peaches from Healdsburg, plus dry-farmed Early Girls that were
pure sugar, and wickedly affordable strawberries, yay! I bruised
some of my produce on my bike ride home, not so yay. (Oh, and thanks
SFBC for the
bike valet so I didn’t have to worry about my
seat getting jacked while I was in the Civic Center.) Also had
a good time that night hitting up non-official events, like the
drop-in party at the Cheese School, followed with a Magnanimus
wine house party. Wanna
see some pics of all the action? Here’s my flickr
Saturday I went to a Food for Thought panel discussion,
with the oh-so-eloquent-and-self-effacing Wendell Berry (current
winner of my favorite drawl contest), the ever-animated Carlo Petrini,
the compelling and no-nonsense Vandana Shiva, smarty pants writer
dudes Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, and naturally, Alice Waters.
While a few lamented this session of “preaching to the choir,” my
kvetch is that I just wish it was held in a larger venue so more
people could have attended, especially those who made the trek
to the Bay Area from afar. The demand was there. Or at least project
it on screens outside so people could watch the entire thing if
they had the three hours to spare.
Sunday, Sunday, Sunday. Be there, be there, be there. The much-anticipated Taste
Pavilions. (Thank you SFBC for the bike valet action
again! Woot.) I prepared myself for the long lines friends who
had attended the day prior warned me about (advice: hit charcuterie
and pizza first!). First, I have to commend everyone who
donated their time and expertise in pulling these pavilions off—it
looked like a LOT of work. To wit: the army of folks making pizzas;
the mind boggling amount of hours that went into the pavilion
designs, like the ceiling of the pickle pavilion; all the food
preparation; and whoa, the charcuterie pavilion was so cool (kudos
to tablehopper and Meatpaper designer Sasha Wizansky who did
a brill job on the meat scans/panels, and custom butcher paper!).
Another lovely thing in the charcuterie pavilion (besides
the crazy delicious prosciutto from Col.
Bill Newsom’s Hams in Kentucky) were the “meatrines”—the
large wood display boxes holding hanging salumi.
I was ready to set up camp in the pickle pavilion—what
a treat to taste pickles from all over the U.S., and don’t
get me started on the country ham on cornbread topped with Appalachian-style
sour corn made by farmer’s daughter in Carrboro, North Carolina.
The seafood pavilion display
was remarkable, ugly monkfish and all. There was also some good
opportunity for education while hanging out and eating in this
pavilion. And a big UP to Foreign Cinema’s dish of cured local sardines with
heirloom summer panzanella—more of that, please.
Had an engrossing walk-through of all the historical artifacts
on display in the cocktail pavilion thanks to
John Burton while sipping some delish Bloody Marys and Marias,
a veritable tomato-vaganza. And a Ramos Gin Fizz with a little
hint of honey, purr. Here’s a
video of me all fired up in
the cocktail pavilion, filmed by roving reporters Carla Borelli
and Beth LaDove, who snagged me for an interview for the SFN website.
believe the time the people staffing the coffee
pavilion dedicated to teaching about single origin coffees—it
was practically decadent. And a lovely discovery in the honey
and preserves pavilion was the coffee honey, sign me
up. I got all sticky from the fruity jams, too.
had a good laugh over someone walking by who said, “Oh
yeah, I am all about cheese today.” I could only concur,
standing in the ice cream line while finishing off my cheese plate—talk
about a total dairy overload. Really, not a pretty picture. Can
you say good, clean, and fat? And definitely not the place to be
better to tour the chocolate pavilion with
than Elizabeth Falkner? Serendipitous indeed. Finished the day
with some soon-to-be released Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Winter
Solstice seasonal ale in the beer pavilion (and
what a gleaming tap wall—I want one in my apartment). I wish
I had come both days—I hardly had enough time in the beer,
tea, and wine pavilions.
I snapped some pic of my debauched
day at the Taste Pavilion; some are not my best work, but oh well.
Check out my flickr
set of the bounty here.
know the Taste Pavilion was not meant to be a commercial event,
but I really wanted to have more info about how to reach some
of the purveyors and producers, and even the opportunity to buy
some of the items we were all tasting. Besides, it’s a
great way to support these folks and insure they stick around
and keep doing the voodoo that they do. That sour corn would
have sold out in one day, mark my words. Anyway.
lines were a bit tedious, but it was a nice way to hang out and
talk with cohorts, watch for friends, and digest. Literally.
I appreciated the no-plastic stance, instead of selling water
bottles, the organizers had municipal tap water available for
free at stations throughout the event. And thank heavens for
my long bike ride home, with plenty o’ hills to assist in burning off at least a
few bites of the day’s bounty, yet another reason why I was
so glad this event was held in San Francisco. And next time I’m
going jump on tickets early for the various events before they
sell out, including the farm tours! There was no lack of demand,
that’s for damned sure.
and there is a fantastic exhibit in Fort Mason’s Museo
ItaloAmericano called ~SLOW:
LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN~ by award-winning Italian American
photographer and cinematographer Douglas Gayeton. Just take one
look at the arresting image in the linked flyer, and expect to
see another 35 or more like it. Great stories in each image. The
show is wrapping up on the 10th, this is one not to miss.
Okay, to the news. Over the weekend, ~O'REILLY'S
HOLY GRAIL~ served its last chalice o’ beer.
I couldn’t get a comment from owner Myles O’Reilly,
who is in Ireland. Stand by for more on the new tenant. 1233
Polk St. at Bush.
of closures, here’s one in the “not yet” category:
I was incorrect about the closure of ~KOOKEZ
CAFE~ in Noe Valley—they were just on vacation,
and expect to return and reopen on September 3rd, staying open
until the new mystery owner takes over. 4123 24th St. at Castro,
~PAUL K RESTAURANT~,
an intimate Mediterranean venue in Hayes Valley, has a new chef
in place, Shawn Bayless, who has also revamped the menu. He’s
a local boy from Martinez, and was a sous chef at Incanto for the
past two years. He was also at Troya and Alan Wong’s Restaurant
in Hawaii. He was also the executive chef at Fly Trap for a year,
and has worked at One Market, Farallon, and more, Some tasty-sounding
items on the menu include a meze of lamb riblets and kebabs, and
starters like seared albacore crudo with pickled Fresno chilies,
radish, and orange oil; pan-fried summer peppers with lime salt;
and Little Gems with fried chickpeas, avocado, and Niçoise
olives. Mains include a seafood tagine; eggplant and spinach moussaka;
and Syrian spiced-duck breast with spelt, roasted figs, hazelnuts,
and watercress. You can check out the entire menu here.
Just in time for the symphony season! 199 Gough St. at Oak, 415-552-7132.
Was sorry to learn ~MISTRAL
ROTISSERIE~ in the Ferry Building Marketplace
will be closing at the end of October. I spoke with co-owner
Betty Marcon, and she said it’s due to a combination
of things, but primarily because of a complicated situation
with a business partner, and the way to get out of the partnership
was to leave the Ferry Building. Betty and husband Fabrice
are currently looking for a commissary-like space, where they
can get a catering kitchen going, providing food for farmers’ markets,
wholesaling, and potentially a café (they are also looking
for a new business partner/investor). Marcon stated it was
time for them to move on, and said things at the Ferry Building
Marketplace definitely aren’t like how they were in the
beginning. She cited, “It’s a difficult environment
to work in, it’s competitive,” and the numbers
of tourists can be challenging. Will let you know how things
map out for them.
Also in Ferry-land, ~BLUE
BOTTLE COFFEE~ is opening a second coffee bar
in the former Oak Hill Farm space this fall; the Tuesday and
Saturday farmers' markets stands outside will remain, but look
for shorter lines for sure. I’ve heard some musing that
the lines at Peet’s will probably be a little shorter,
Okay, ex-Chicago residents and hot dog fans: last week I did a
little recon on a new Chicago hot dog outpost in the city, and
my report is YUM. ~DA BEEF~ is
a new cart open in SoMa, serving Chicago-style hot dogs, polish
sausages, and in a few weeks, Italian beef! I had a fully loaded
Vienna Beef dog, topped with feisty sport peppers, celery salt,
atomic green relish, mustard, onion, and some honking pickle wedges.
Word. The stand is open Tue–Sat 10:30am–6pm, and the ladies running
the cart are thinking about opening on Mondays if enough folks
start coming by. Make it happen. 300 7th St. at Folsom.
got an email flyer this week about what Nick Fasanella, formerly
but no longer the Nick behind Nick’s Crispy Tacos on Polk
Street, has decided to open in the Underdogs space
in the Sunset. One guess. No, not hot dogs. Tacos, baby! Duh. Hence
the new name: ~THE TACO SHOP AT UNDERDOGS~. Tacos
will be in effect starting this Thursday September 4th in honor
of the Giants NFL game, and will be served 5pm–10pm
daily. Since it’s a bar, you can get margaritas or your beers
or whatever until 2am. There will also be breakfast burritos (with
house-made chorizo) starting at 9am on the weekends. My original
benchmark for Baja fish tacos returns! 1824 Irving St. at 19th
Yay, another classy place to add to your list of Sunday dinner
spots: starting Sunday September 7th, ~CHEZ
SPENCER~ will be open for dinner from 6pm–10:30pm.
Just in time for Indian summer on their glorious patio. 82 14th
St. at Folsom, 415-864-2191.
Found out the San Francisco outpost of ~IL
BUCO~ in the 54 Mint space won’t be happening.
Bummer. Stand by for more on who the new tenant will be.
the new FiDi place from Nate Valentine, Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo,
Todd Palmerton, and Gian-Paolo Veronese, you know, the joint
with the booze lockers, is opening in a few weeks or so. And
they found their chef, David Faro, who was formerly in charge
of the lunch menu at Campton Place. 582 Washington St. at Hotaling
(between Montgomery and Sansome).
A birdie told a birdie who told me that the ~MOSS ROOM
AT THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES~ will be taking reservations
on OpenTable starting September 20th for the September 27th opening. This
is totally unsubstantiated, so I guess we’ll have to wait
until the 20th to see if the game of telephone was true.
It’s not quite our version of Top Chef Harold Dieterle’s
Perilla (which is in New York), but Thrillist noted a
new Vietnamese joint called ~PERILLA~ opened
in the SoMa/Financial District area. The menu includes classic
rolls, some salads, and affordable vermicelli or rice plates (or
pho or garlic noodles for a little extra) with your choice of meats
(charbroiled beef, prawns, five-spice chicken, or pork). Check
out the menu here.
510 Mission St. at 1st St., 415-777-1893.
Got a note that after seven years, starting this month, both locations
of ~DELESSIO MARKET~ are
moving to sustainable, local, and organic products. We’re
talking about over 350 products in all, including bakery and prepared
foods. Here’s more from their newsletter: “Recently
we began to notice that […] products were coming from further
and further away, often from foreign countries. We no longer recognized
the farmers or producers; nor were we confident how these products
were grown or produced. Even products labeled ‘organic’ did
not offer real assurance because we knew little about the certification
process. Frustrated by this increasing disconnection from our food
supply, the need for a radical change to our purchasing methods
became apparent.” 1695 Market St. at Valencia, and 302 Broderick
St. at Oak.
all cookin’ beginners. Nothing to do tomorrow night?
Phillip Gums, “just a regular guy who loves food and has
some secrets to share about how easy home cooking can be” will
be at the ~MACY’S CELLAR~ in Union Square.
You’ll be able to watch the demo, munch a sample, and swig
some Stella Artois beer. For free! Wednesday September 3rd, 6:30pm
at The Cellar Demonstration Kitchen. 170 O'Farrell St. at Stockton.
Here’s another freebie event: a kickoff event on Monday September
15th for ~CURRY CELEBRASIAN~, featuring a Southeast
Asian bazaar at The Blues Jean Bar in Cow Hollow. Starting at 6pm,
there will be free Tiger Beer and curry pairings, Thai massage,
and CurrySimple.com’s Mike Moran offering advice (on curry,
I suppose—not sure if he’ll be offering relationship,
decorating, or fashion advice). Curry CelebrASIAN will be continuing
through October 15th, with several participating restaurants offering
special curry dishes. 1827 Union St. at Octavia.
Just got more details about the ~OPEN
CITY 2008 RESTAURANT EVENT~ on Saturday September
13th that I mentioned last week in the
socialite: this time around, as a way to include as
many people as possible, the dinner will be held in two parts.
The first part is by reservation only, a three-course dinner
for 50 people at $65, with reservation times at 7pm and 7:30pm.
For reservations, subscribe to the New
Langton Arts email list. New Langton will start
taking reservations for the first seating on Wednesday September
The second part is an open seating, no reservations are required,
after the first seating starting around 8pm. Tapas-style smaller
plates will be served, at $5 each, available to anyone throughout
the restaurant. They encourage everyone to come by, dining or not,
starting at 6:30pm. The bar will be open, serving beer, wine, and
non-alcoholic drinks, plus plenty of extra seating in the bleachers
all evening. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th St.
For those who missed out the Slow Food Nation festivities and
tours, coming up on Friday September 12th is an ~URBAN
FARMING TOUR~, sponsored by The Center for Urban Education
About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Farmer David Winsberg of
Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto will take guests on a tour
of his greenhouse and shade houses that are home to 30 of varieties
of peppers, through his vegetable patch, and introduce visitors
to his flock of chickens, ending the tour with a tasting of Happy
Quail peppers. Next is Alemany Farm, the largest farm in San Francisco,
for lunch and a tour by farm manager, Jason Mark, plus you will
help plant whatever vegetable needs to get into the ground that
day. The tour costs $25 and includes lunch made from farmers' market
foods. Tickets are nonrefundable. Visitors will leave and return
to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. There is no minimum
age, but the tour is geared toward adults and not recommended for
children under 12. Meeting place is in front of the Ferry Building
(San Francisco), south of the clock tower. Please arrive between
9:45am and 10am. The bus leaves promptly at 10:15am, and the intended
return time is 3:30pm, traffic permitting. Bring a water bottle,
sun protection, sturdy walking shoes, and clothes that can get
dirty. Buy tickets.
In case you are interested in attending ~A
FOOD AFFAIRE~ on Monday September 22nd, tablehopper
readers now get a special ticket price of $88 (the same as the
industry ticket price). The code is Tablehopper; click here for
Chocoholics, the annual ~CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL AT LARK CREEK
RESTAURANT GROUP~ is running throughout the month of
September, with all of the restaurants in the Group offering
a special dessert menu, including at least three extra chocolate
dessert items. Local restaurants include: The Lark Creek Inn,
One Market Restaurant, LarkCreekSteak, Lark Creek Walnut Creek,
Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Yankee Pier in Lafayette, Yankee Pier
at Santana Row in San Jose, and Parcel 104 in Santa Clara. One
Market and The Lark Creek Inn are also doing chocolate tasting
With the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival coming up, ~BAR
MARCHÉ~ chef Brian Crawford has put together
a six-course prix-fixe menu with wine pairings leading up to and
throughout the festival (September 1st–7th), including chocolate
in each of the dishes. $125 per person (includes wine pairings
with each course), and a complimentary ticket to the Ghirardelli
Chocolate Festival running September 6th and 7th. 900 North Point
at Larkin, 415-359-0365.
And then for you mozzarella lovers, ~POGGIO~ is
hosting their first-ever mozzarella festival from Tuesday September
9th–Saturday September 13th. Chef Peter McNee will be making
fresh cheese up to three times a day, so it’s always soft
and oh-so addictive. Release the tomatoes! Dishes will be
priced from $9–$12. 777 Bridgeway at Bay, Sausalito,
So, we’ve got even more street fairs on the horizon. Coming
up on Saturday September 20th in historic South Park is the very
first ever ~A
TASTE OF SOUTH BEACH AND MISSION BAY STREET FAIR~.
The fair will feature favorite local restaurants and bars, including:
21st Amendment, Anchor Brewing Co., District, Hennessy’s
Wines, Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant, MoMo’s, O’Neill’s
Irish Pub, Paragon, Pete’s Tavern, Tres Agaves, and The Butler
and The Chef Bistro—more are expected to be added in the
coming weeks. There will be two stages of entertainment, bands,
and DJs from Green Gorilla Lounge, Sunset, Supperclub, Get YER
Freak on! and more. (Utz utz utz.) The event will benefit two local
non-profit organizations, The South Beach/Mission Bay Merchant
Association and The South Park Improvement Association. 11am–6pm.
Over at Terra in Rincon Hill on September 17th will be an evening
of African, Latin, and modern ballroom dance performances, plus
wine, and treats from Fifth Floor, Jack Falstaff, One Market, and
XYZ. The event is called the ~NGOMA/DANCE SHOW~,
and is a fundraiser for Mama
Ngina Orphanage. Dmitri Chaplin from the show So You Think
You Can Dance? will also be performing. Tickets are $50 advance
purchase/$75 at the door (cash or check only), available online
at www.mamangina.org or
at the One Rincon Hill Sales Center at 511 Harrison St. The admission
fee will be donated to the charity. 7pm–9pm. Terra, 511 Harrison
St. at 1st St.
Sunday September 7th is a ~BOOK SIGNING WITH DAVID TANIS~ and
then a week of special menus (Tuesday–Saturday) in the downstairs
restaurant at Chez Panisse in
honor of his new cookbook, A Platter of Figs & Other Recipes.
Space is limited. Call 510-548-5525 for dinner reservations. Signing
is 2:30pm–5pm. 1517 Shattuck Ave. at Cedar, Berkeley.
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to