OPENrestaurant Is Back: Now Presenting OPENwater


After last October’s meat spectacle at SFMOMA (“OPENfuture: Spinning Marinetti’s Wheels”) from OPENrestaurant, I can’t wait to see what they plan to unleash this coming weekend for ~OPENWATER~ at St. George Spirits in Alameda. This is another ambitious event in conjunction with SFMOMA, designed to unfold the hidden connections in food. The question this event centers around is: how does water flow in the Bay Area?

OPENwater will examine some of the issues at the heart of the Bay-Delta watershed and the California water system. It’s going to be pondered, presented, discussed, and experienced in a variety of ways, including video, installations, and an immersive and quadrophonic sound experience from Meyer Sound (yeah, the folks who do Dead shows, the Beijing Olympics, events at Zellerbach, and other big stadium events). I also heard about an installation of a wall of commercial dishwashers, special plates made just for the event by the CCA, and many, many other surprises, I am sure.

There will be two sit-down dinners ($65) and a lunch ($30), which, if you can afford it, will be really special, with highly sourced ingredients, a drink, and specially hand-printed menus printed at the St. George letterpress shop by Sasha Wizansky that you can keep. Be sure to look at the site for the background on each meal—like why the “The Chinook Salmon” dinner doesn’t feature salmon. Make a reservation for the dinners here and the lunch here.

But in case you can’t do a sit-down meal, swing on by and hang out at the bar area, where there will be food from Peko Peko, beer curated by Magnolia Brewery, coffee from Four Barrel, various dry-farmed wines from Beaune Imports, and special concoctions made for the event from St. George (all $5-$10)—so you can drop by at any time for a quick bite and drink. And hanging out by the bar will be fishermen and other people to meet and chat with. Admission is free!

On Saturday November 13th, at 3pm there will be a salting and quick pickle workshop, followed by a roundtable discussion at 4pm with Dena Beard, MATRIX Curatorial Assistant, Berkeley Art Museum; Jennifer Frazier, Cell Biologist and Project Director, Exploratorium; Christopher Richard, Associate Curator of Aquatic Biology, Oakland Museum of California; and Peter Vorster, Hydrogeographer, The Bay Institute. Dinner is at 5:30pm, with the theme The Water Cycle, prepared by Cal Peternell/Chez Panisse. The menu includes briny consommé of Pacific seafood and seaweed; risotto of rice from the Central Valley with duck raised on the rice fields, and Sierra wild mushrooms; and warm buckwheat crêpes with pears from the Delta.

Sunday November 14th features a lunch, The Lower Sacramento Watershed, at 11:30am with Chris Kronner/Bar Tartine. The menu includes an herb and endive salad with Soul Food Farm egg; braised grass-fed beef crépinette with Tartine bakery bun, onion rings, and dry-farmed tomato ketchup; and an almond tart. Then at 4pm is a roundtable discussion with Ed Ueber, moderator; Marc Alley, fisherman; Lloyd G. Carter, journalist; Cynthia Hooper, artist; Jon Rosenfield, president, SalmonAID Foundation; and Tom Worthington, partner, Monterey Fish.

Dinner, The Chinook Salmon, will be prepared by chef Chris Lee, formerly of Eccolo, at 5:30pm. The menu includes grilled sardines with nasturtium pods, Meyer lemon, and pickled cucumbers; cioppino, the traditional San Francisco fish stew, with local fish and shellfish; and Sierra persimmon pudding.

Here’s more on all the events each day.

Be sure to look at the schedule at a glance.

Installations and performances by Sita Bhaumik, Denise King, Leslie Terzian Markoff, Lauren Marsden, Travis McFlynn, Jessica Niello, David Wilson, and The Perish Trust. Video works by Kim Anno and Ricardo Rivera, Cynthia Hooper, Martin Machado, Christina McPhee, and Chris Sollars, with others. Sound works by Jen Belleville, and James Goode, with others.

OPENrestaurant is the project of Stacie Pierce, Jerome Waag, and Sam White, all part of the Chez Panisse restaurant staff.

Event Info

Saturday Nov 13, 2010 – Sunday Nov 14, 2010