table of contents This week's tablehopper: there's something about sherry.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
the bookworm
another place for your nose
the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Bi-Rite Wine Blitz

Georgopoulos & Economidis

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO You coming down off that Halloween candy sugar high? I didn't have one single trick or treater (yeah, a different kind of boo), so guess who has a dangerous amount of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the house? Aw heck. A friend asked what my Halloween costume was going to be, and I said, "A writer at home in her slippers doing book edits." Yeah, it was a really rowdy Halloween, let me tell you. Although it would be an easy costume, complete with a coffee mug, sweatpants, a wrist brace, hair in a ponytail, and a bunch of take-out containers. Maybe a slight hunch in the shoulders. Filing that away for another year—too much reality at the moment.

But up until Friday, I had quite the week off-leash. Last Tuesday I went to Namu to finally experience the "KFC" (Korean Fried Chicken), which was stupidly delicious, and was totally scarfed, but the $32 for half a bird was getting too close to Zuni prices in the Inner Richmond for my taste. Wednesday I went to Omnivore Books to see William Grimes speak (can't wait to crack his book, Appetite City), and then I said, "Bridge be damned!" and caught a BART train for dinner at Commis. One hell of a meal, full of stunning flavors and presentations—and they do really good things to eggs over there, always a plus in my book. My dinner was rather similar to what the Bunrabs ate, check out pics of their meal here.

Thursday was the unofficial Porchetta Tour: 2009: my sis and I split sandwiches from RoliRoti at the Thursday market and Cane Rosso (in the end, RoliRoti's won—Cane Rosso's is more like a really good pork sandwich). But the sneaker fave hit of the day was Cane Rosso's egg salad sandwich. God damn, that sandwich is the best egg salad in the city, total perfection. Aged provolone on top, what a flourish. May they never change a thing.

Friday was quite a memorable evening: I was invited for a New Orleans dinner (click for pics) to celebrate the one-year anniversary of The Perish Trust, where they converted the space into the coolest dinner party set (they are going to start allowing people to host dinner parties there—it's quite atmospheric). We had bourbon, catfish-cornbread muffins, and some mighty tasty gumbo, followed by the chef's own Hooker's Sweet Treats. Maybe I need to do a tablehopper supper there, hmmmm...

And of course my family totally rocked my birthday dinner Sunday night, from the J brut rose, to the Moroccan lamb and carrots my mom made (so dang good), to my dad's fried peppers and homemade spicy coppa, to almond cake, all the way to the remarkable bottle of Naima from De Conciliis that my parents hand carried from their recent trip from Italy (wow, what an aglianico). I am so spoiled.

In the meantime, are you coming to the tablehopper sherry tasting event at Stable Cafe next week or what? Cast away the mental image you have of sherry being sweet or cloying, and get ready to embrace a new frontier of food and wine pairing, trust me. Our tasting leader César is the best guide you could hope for, and chef James Stolich of CookWithJames and I have quite a menu mapped out—it's shaping up to be rather feast-y, check it out in the lush. Since I turn my book edits in next Monday, I'll be ready to raise a glass with you (or two, or three, or four) next Tuesday, hope to see you!

This week I just have a quick bite for you since I have too much on my plate (literally). But thanks to Pete from Green Apple Books, I have a bookworm for you on the much-discussed David Chang's new Momofuku book, plus there are a couple very special out-of-town events in the socialite (hello, Laurent Gras is coming out here!). Since some of you have asked me about Thanksgiving dinner locations, expect a roundup next week.

Hope you get to enjoy this last gasp of Indian Summer,


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the chatterbox

Bi-Rite Wine BlitzNOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Was interesting to learn that ~VERNON MORALES~, formerly of Winterland, is back in town (thanks Steven O. for the Twitter tip), and he's now the chef over at Town Hall. I know, not the first place you'd think this innovative and boundary-pushing chef would land, but he's excited to shift his refined molecular style toward the hearty and lively Town Hall style, and not the other way around (so no, you won't be finding any foams on the fried chicken). 342 Howard St. at Fremont, 415-908-3900.

Looks like yet another tenant is giving it a go in the ~MAYES OYSTER HOUSE~ location (recently the short-lived Midpoint, and prior to that, O'Reilly's Holy Grail). The menu is going to focus on San Francisco classics and seafood; since the restaurant's history dates back to 1867, lets hope returning to the original concept is what it takes to stick around. Late-night dining, happy hour, full bar. Open this Wednesday. 1233 Polk St. at Bush, 415-885-1233.

Now, this is definitely a soft opening, but I thought you should know that Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher of Broken Record fame are (quietly) ready to begin feeding folks at ~BRUNO'S~, starting this evening. They're going to be making adjustments to the menu, staffing, and more in the coming weeks, so remember, this is a soft opening—there are just two of them in the kitchen! Looking forward to their delicious and affordable Southern-American fare being back on our culinary scene. Bar opens at 5:30pm, and the kitchen will be open Tue–Sat from 6pm–10:30pm (perhaps later, to be determined). 2389 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-643-5200.

Thanks to my super sleuth-y intern, Erin, she noticed a sign about an upcoming ~INDOOR MARKETPLACE~ coming to Bernal Heights (name TBD). A group of six tenants will be taking over a former dry cleaner location, and hope to open before the holiday season wraps up, sometime in December. So far, confirmed tenants include Paulie's Pickling, which will be serving sandwiches, and salads incorporating their pickled vegetables; Bernal Cutlery, where you can get your knives sharpened by hand (check out the site for a peek at knives for sale—am loving this Laguiole wine key and the vintage pocket knives); organic produce from Della Terra Produce; plus a few other vendors. Amuse Bouche has a lease to be a tenant, but due to unfortunate recent immigration issues, that might not be happening (fingers crossed—you can follow updates here). Will keep you posted as this project evolves. I think this is such a clever solution to helping small businesses get a storefront—open in a space together! 331 Cortland Ave. at Bennington.

My other star intern Daisy investigated what was happening at the former J's Pots of Soul, now just ~SOUL~: one of the new chefs is Nigerian-born Chris Nwagwu. The menu features a combination of breakfast fare (omelets, egg dishes, blueberry pancakes—sorry, no more pumpkin), plus southern/soul food (like fried chicken wings, catfish) and African and Jamaican dishes (like melon soup and chicken pepper soup). Hours are 9am–8pm daily. They definitely win for the most inexpensive new signage solution (just paint over the "J's Pots of"). 203 Octavia St. at Page, 415-626-1844.

As previously mentioned, ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~, will be opening in its new digs just up the street from its original location this Wednesday. The access to a fryer means you'll be seeing sopapillas and chile rellenos, along with other additions to the menu, like green chile burgers. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-614-9411.

And just across the street, ~MATCHING HALF~ now has a beer and wine license, so hours have been extended to 9pm in the evenings. 1799 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-674-8699.

Moving west: lots of things are percolating in the Inner Sunset. Thanks to reader Karena for the tip, ~BEAUTIFULL~ is opening in the former Pasta Pomodoro space; I hear they are currently shooting for late November/early December. 816 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

According to Eater, ~TOASTIES~ (a sandwich shop) has moved up the block into the now-closed Cafe Gratitude space. 1336 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-682-9980.

For those who are wondering what's going on with the project from the ~FRESCA~ team that is opening in the PJ's Oyster Bed space, FYI, it's still going to be a few months out, so I'll have to keep you posted on the concept, menu, timing, and all that good stuff. 737 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

And lastly, according to permits (and reader Paul G.), there's a wine bar called ~INNER FOG~ opening in the old Crossroads Trading Co. corner space from owner John Nettesheim. Alas, I don't have any details on this one (yet!). 555 Irving St. at 7th Ave.

For those of you who couldn't get into 7x7's ~DAVID CHANG~ chef talk happening this Wednesday, here are some other places where you can find him signing books (thanks to Food Gal for the list): Thursday November 5th at Williams-Sonoma Union Square from 5pm–7pm; Saturday November 7th at 11am at Sur La Table in the San Francisco Ferry Building; also November 7th at 4pm at Kepler's in Menlo Park with David Kinch of Manresa; and noon on Sunday November 8th at Omnivore Books with Jeremy Fox of Napa's Ubuntu.

For a much less formal gathering (read: probably booze-soaked and packed with F-bombs), swing by ~SWEETIE'S~, a divey joint in North Point this Thursday starting at 7:30pm. Both David Chang and author Peter Meehan will be signing books while balancing drinks in hand. Should be a fun one. 475 Francisco St. at Mason.

Georgopoulos & EconomidisWhoa, is ~LETICIA'S~ coming back from the dead to do further damage to every Castro District resident's liver? If permits are to be believed, it will be opening in the Thai Corner Express location. Stand by, fishbowl-sized margaritas may be imminent. 2200 Market St. at Sanchez.

Sally's Restaurant at the base of Potrero Hill, the place where World Gym folks go for egg white omelets after their workout, is now hosting dinner service, called ~SALLY'S AFTER DARK~. Created by Francisco Sanchez, the new dinner menu has some hearty dishes like sliders and braised short ribs, skillet chicken, and all-inclusive dinners for $24. Dinner service is Wed–Sat 5:30pm–11pm for now. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-626-6006.

As a warm-up to Martin Cate's upcoming move to Hayes Valley (Smuggler's Cove is getting close!), ~JARDINIÈRE~ is going "Tiki Bar" next Monday November 9th with a tiki bar theme. The prix-fixe dinner includes three courses (pu pu platter in effect!) and three wine pairings for $45, plus Cate will be behind the bar mixing up three vintage tropical cocktails for $10 each. Check out the menu here. Reservations are recommended. 300 Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.

White truffles are definitely on tour around town: ~AMERICANO~ (8 Mission St., 415-278-3777) is offering special dishes until November 6th (including breakfast eggs, available all day!—but they're $45 breakfast eggs, due to the five grams shaved on top); ~DELFINA~ (3621 18th St., 415-552-4055) has truffle dishes today Tuesday November 3rd and tomorrow the 4th (read more on their Facebook page); and ~POGGIO~ (777 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito, 415-332-7771) is running their series of truffle dishes during their third annual Festa di Tartufi from November 10th–15th.

More Italian feasting: ~LUCE~ is hosting a special Tuscan dinner on Wednesday November 11th to benefit CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn of Luce and Donatella Zampoli from the wine estates of Marchesi de' Frescobaldi will come together to create a six-course dinner inspired by Tuscany, paired with award-winning wines from the Frescobaldi family, who have been making wines in Tuscany for more than 700 years. Chef Zampoli oversees the culinary programs and special events at the Frescobaldi estates, and also owns Donatella's Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Budapest. $75 per person, and wine pairings will be offered for an additional $30 per person. $10 per person will be donated to CUESA. 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6566.

Want a taste of the wild, like foraged acorn bread and wild boar? Check out the menu of this ~WILD GAME AND FORAGED FEAST~ at a private residence in Mill Valley—it's a fundraiser for the upcoming Swamp Cabbage film. It will be hosted on Sunday afternoon on November 15th from 3:30pm–6:30pm. Ticket info and more here.

~ARI WEINZWEIG~, co-founder of the famed Zingerman's Delicatessen, is visiting The Pasta Shop on Thursday November 12th for a book signing, conversation, and of course, a bacon tasting. The book is ZINGERMAN'S GUIDE TO BETTER BACON, Stories of Pork Bellies, Hush Puppies, Rock 'n' Roll and Bacon Fat Mayonnaise. 4:30pm–6:30pm. No cost except for purchases. The Pasta Shop Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave., Oakland, 510-250-6005.

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

the sponsor

Bi-Rite Wine Blitz

Despite its small size, Bi-Rite Market has one of the best wine selections in town. Wine buyer Trac Le's selection of artisan wines includes great organic and biodynamic producers from California, Italy, France, Spain, and beyond, with more than 50 hand-picked wines under $15, a selection of great food wines at all prices, and bottles from cult producers like Quintarelli, Pegau, Huet, and Radio Coteau.

During Bi-Rite's two Holiday Wine Blitzes (November 12th–15th and December 10th–13th), all wines are 20% off when you purchase any 12 or more bottles. The sale includes every wine in the store, and delivery is free in San Francisco! For more details, click here.

Bi-Rite Market, 3639 18th St. between Dolores and Guerrero, in the Mission District. For more information, call the store at 415-241-9760 or email

the lush

Bi-Rite Wine BlitzNOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO This Wednesday November 4th is a Sagatiba distiller dinner at ~SPRUCE~, who will be pouring their line of cachaças, including Pura, Velha, and their yet-to-be-released Preciosa. Bartender Brandon Clements will be concocting a variety of cocktails to pair with the five-course menu, which includes hors d'oeuvres during the reception. $125 (exclusive of tax and gratuity). 6:30pm. 3640 Sacramento St. at Spruce, 415-931-5100.

On Monday November 9th, ~AUTHOR KARA NEWMAN~ of Spice & Ice–70 Tongue-Tingling Cocktails, will be at Cantina for an evening of spicy cocktails from her new book. (Here's a recent review from Camper English of You will be able to sample drinks made with jalapenos, hot sauce, and other fiery ingredients, and will have an opportunity to try your hand at making your own spicy cocktail. Light refreshments will be served. 5:30pm–7:30pm. 580 Sutter St. at Mason. (Note: Newman will also be at Omnivore Books on November 11th from 6pm–7pm.)

If you're extra-crafty, you can do a double play next Monday November 9th, and also try to get in to a special (and free!) event for the ~SECRET SHERRY SOCIETY~, which is just a few blocks away. (Well, it's more like "secret" since I'm telling you about it.) You and a guest are invited to enjoy a party with complimentary cocktails, "live collaborative art," and DJs at Swig from 6pm–9pm (view the invite). RSVP by emailing I can't guarantee there will be room, so act quickly if you're interested. 561 Geary St. at Taylor.

And just in case you get really excited about how delicious sherry is and you want more, more, more, you should come the next evening to the ~TABLEHOPPER SHERRY TASTING~ at the cool Stable Cafe (the event is Tuesday November 10th). As I mentioned last week, sherry educator supreme, César Salda ña, will lead us through all the different styles of sherry, like a palo cortado and manzanilla. And James Stolich of CookWithJames is preparing quite the meal for us; while these items are TBD, it's looking like during the reception we'll be sipping fino and manzanilla (and a sherry cocktail) while grazing on pimientos de Padrón, authentic Spanish artisan chorizo, aceitunas rellenas con anchoas (anchovy-stuffed olives), Marcona almonds, and a specialty of Jerez, salmorejo con pan, a wonderful smooth tomato sauce on bread. Once we sit down, the menu is currently slated to include a chicken dish (pollo casero with garlic and red Spanish pimentos is being discussed) and beef cheeks braised in red wine seasoned with smoked, sweet Spanish paprika (pimentón dulce). Plus a cheese course. And ice cream with Pedro Ximénez for dessert. AND cocktails to start (and finish) from Neyah White from nopa. I know, it's a total flavor fiesta. Tickets are just $59, all inclusive. The event runs from 6:30pm–9pm, and since there's always a great crowd (we're talking about faboo tablehopper readers, right?), it's sure to run over with more talking and drinking. Stable Cafe, 2128 Folsom St. at 17th St.

A couple beer dinners for your radar: don't forget this Wednesday November 4th is a ~DEVIL'S GULCH BELGIAN BEER DINNER~ at Magnolia. The three-course dinner ($45 with beer pairings) will feature pork, quail, and rabbit from farmer Mark Pasternak (who will be at the event). 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

And then on Sunday November 8th, Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery are hosting a dinner at ~ANA MANDARA~ to debut the release of Life & Limb, their new beer collaboration. Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada, and Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head, will be on hand to answer questions, drink beers (hic), and tell stories throughout the evening. The five-course French-Vietnamese dinner will be paired with eight beers, including hand-pulled cask firkins of the two collaborations: Limb & Life and Life & Limb. The remaining courses will be paired with a mix of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada specialty beers. Tickets are on sale now. $100. 891 Beach St. at Polk.

Anyone know about this new wine bar coming to the Castro? Permits call it ~CORK: A WINE BAR~. Bueller? 2111 Market St. at Church.

Over in the East Bay, ~DASHE CELLARS~ is hosting a Spanish-themed Fall Open House this Saturday November 7th from 4pm–8pm. There will be new release wines, giant paella pans by Gerard's Paella, and flamenco performances by Roberto Aguilar's trio. Online tickets are available for $25 ($20 for wine club or ZAP members); tickets at the door are $30 ($25 for wine club or ZAP members). Entry includes wine tastings, food, and a complimentary Riedel glass. 55 4th St., Oakland, 510-452-1800.

the sponsor

Georgopoulos & Economidis

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the socialite



The Twelve Days of Christmas
Dec. 4th–19th, 2009

Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Ln.
St. Helena, CA 94574


$950 per couple, per night, with lodging

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I know, I can't believe the holidays are creeping up (extra unbelievable with this beach weather we're currently having). But for those of you who can afford it, I wanted to make sure you knew about these special dinners since some of them are filling up: ~THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS~ is a Meadowood signature event, when twelve renowned chefs from around the country collaborate with twelve of Napa Valley's preeminent vintners to present holiday feasts on twelve December evenings. Here's a two-minute short film about the event.

The event is a fundraiser for Share Our Strength, a national organization working to end childhood hunger in America by 2015. Share Our Strength receives a percentage of the dinner seating revenue throughout the event. Meadowood will also make a $2,000 donation to Share Our Strength in the name of each of the twelve chefs who have generously donated their time and talent.

The 2009 Twelve Days of Christmas line-up of guest chefs and partner vintners includes:

Day 1 ~ December 4th
Mark Sullivan, Spruce, San Francisco
Chuck & Ann McMinn, Vineyard 29

Day 2 ~ December 5th
Marcus Samuelsson, Aquavit, New York
Philip & Carol Norfleet, The Napa Valley Reserve

Day 3 ~ December 8th
Josiah Citrin, Melisse, Santa Monica, CA
Darioush Khaledi, Darioush

Day 4 ~ December 9th
Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, Animal, Los Angeles
Hugh Davies, Schramsberg Vineyards and J. Davies Vineyards

Day 5 ~ December 10th
Gabriel Rucker (Le Pigeon), Jason Barwikowski (Clyde Common)
and Naomi Pomeroy, (Beast) in Portland
Susan Boswell, Chateau Boswell and Joshua & Jacquelynn Peeples, Jacquelynn Wines

Day 6 ~ December 11th
Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles
Michael Polenske, Blackbird Vineyards

Day 7~ December 12th
Nancy Oakes and Ravi Kapur, Boulevard, San Francisco
Kelly & Paul Fleming, Kelly Fleming Wines

Day 8 ~ December 15th
Paul Liebrandt, Corton, New York
John Conover, PlumpJack and CADE Wineries

Day 9 ~ December 16th
Laurent Gras, L20, Chicago
Bob & Stacy Bressler, Bressler Vineyards and Mia Klein, Selene Wines

Day 10: December 17th
Cat Cora, Bon Appetit Magazine
The Stephens Family, HUNNICUTT and D.R. Stephens Estate

Day 11~ December 18th
Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina, Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles
Lindy, Mary and Beth Novak, Spottswoode Estate Vineyard & Winery

Day 12: December 19th
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood
Bill and Deborah Harlan, Harlan Estate

There will only be one seating per evening and space for each dinner is very limited. A sparkling wine reception runs from 6pm–7pm, and dinner is 7pm–10pm. Pricing begins at $950 per couple per night, and includes one night's lodging at Meadowood and dinner seating for two.


Chefs' Holidays at The Ahwahnee
Jan. 10th–Feb. 5th, 2010

The Ahwahnee Hotel
Yosemite, CA


NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO This year marks the 25th anniversary of ~YOSEMITE'S CHEFS' HOLIDAYS AT THE AHWAHNEE~, held each year in January and February, featuring many innovative and acclaimed chefs. Each session includes a "Meet the Chefs" reception, cooking classes and demonstrations, a behind-the-scenes kitchen tour, and a five-course Chefs' Holidays gala dinner that includes four paired wines. (Traci Des Jardins, guest chef in 2008, wrote this first-hand report of her experience cooking at Chefs' Holidays.) And winter is also a wonderful time to visit the park.

Here's the lineup o' talent for 2010:

Kickoff Session: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, January 10, 11, 12
A Cooperative Dinner featuring one course from each chef:

Percy Whatley—The Ahwahnee

Demonstrator: Cal Stamenov—Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley, CA

Demonstrator: Matt Bolton—Pacific's Edge at The Highlands Inn, Carmel, CA

Demonstrator: David Kinch—Manresa, Los Gatos, CA

Paul Padua—The Ahwahnee (pastry)

Session 2: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, January 13, 14, 15

Headliner: Bruce Sherman—North Pond, Chicago, IL

Demonstrators: Peg Smith & Sue Conley—Cowgirl Creamery-Pt. Reyes, CA

Demonstrator: Elizabeth Falkner—Citizen Cake & Orson, San Francisco

Session 3: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, January 17, 18, 19

Headliner: Christopher Lee—Aureole, New York, NY

Demonstrator: Hoss Zaré—Zaré at Flytrap, San Francisco

Demonstrator: Douglas Keane—Cyrus, Healdsburg, CA

Session 4: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, January 20, 21, 22

Headliner: Brad Farmerie—PUBLIC, New York, NY

Demonstrator: Chris Cosentino—Incanto & Boccalone, San Francisco

Demonstrator: Paul Virant—Vie, Western Springs, IL

Session 5: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, January 24, 25, 26

Headliner: Suzanne Goin—Lucques, Los Angeles

Demonstrators: Duskie Estes & John Stewart—Zazu & Bovolo, Sonoma County

Demonstrator: Jody Adams—Rialto, Boston, MA

Session 6: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, January 27, 28, 29

Theme: Bravo TV's Top Chefs

Headliner: Ariane Duarte—CulinAriane of Montclair, NJ

Demonstrator: Ryan Scott—San Francisco

Demonstrator: Carla Hall—Alchemy Caterers, Washington D.C.

Session 7: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, January 31, February 1, 2

Headliner: Ken Frank—La Toque, Napa Valley

Demonstrator: Michelle Mah—midi, San Francisco

Demonstrator: Loretta Keller—COCO500, San Francisco

Session 8: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, February 3, 4, 5

Headliners: Bernard Guillas & Ron Oliver—La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club

Demonstrator: Nancy Silverton—Osteria Mozza & Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles

Demonstrator: Annie Somerville—Greens, San Francisco

Odd-numbered sessions include three nights of lodging, even-numbered sessions include two nights of lodging. Call for pricing and reservations at 801-559-4884.

the bookworm







Georgopoulos & Economidis

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Don't forget: the books mentioned below are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

Cookbooks consider several potential audiences, it seems to me: basic home cooks looking for some new dishes and inspiration, advanced home cooks refining technique and broadening their horizons, and the professional. The best have something for all three, like Alice Waters' Art of Simple Food. Momofuku is mostly for the latter two audiences, I think.

Momofuku (Japanese for "lucky peach") is a small restaurant group in New York's East Village started by David Chang (who already has three James Beard awards at a pretty young age). And their new book feels like an only-in-New-York kind of thing. Like the $85 tasting menu starting with a chicharron. Or standing room only at a ramen shop. And judging by the sheer number of F bombs in the introduction alone, there's some serious attitude.

But people swear by the places, and each restaurant evolved uniquely, so there's certainly much there beyond the hype. In fact, the stories of each space's evolution make for some interesting reading, like how the "Korean burrito" joint with no servers morphed into Ko, featuring "kaiseki cuisine through an American lens."

As for recipes, Momofuku offers many in variable degrees of complexity, from simple pickling recipes to a Fuji apple salad with kimchi, smoked jowl, and maple labne. Perhaps too much sourcing for the home cook or anyone too impatient to make their own kimchi, but inspiring, gorgeous, and mouthwateringly tempting.

Like any cookbook that demands $40, the production value is high, with lush photography, notes on sources, an index, etc. It's one of those cookbooks that you probably won't use day in and day out, but it'll inspire you when you have the time and it might teach you how NOT to open a restaurant.

The only other things I can say about Momofuku is that it was surprisingly challenging to review—it doesn't fit neatly into most cookbook categories. And that's probably a perfect match for the eclectic cuisine of Momofuku.

Thanks for reading.

the starlet

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Reader Joe K. found himself sitting next to Ron Livingston (Office Space, Sex and the City) at Beretta. (He's reportedly "much hotter in person than he is on Sex and the City.")


All content © 2009 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.

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