Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

SF Cocktail Week

I’ll be posting a reminder on the 13th, but since you can never have too much prior notice…

The second annual San Francisco Cocktail Week is coming. Running from May 13th – 19th, SFCW celebrates, as the name suggests, cocktails and “the dynamic beverage culture of our community.”

From the Opening Gala at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room to the Closing Party at Absinthe, attendees will be able to learn more about the history of cocktails, observe San Francisco’s bar illuminati in action and, more importantly, sample the essence of their labors. Select restaurants will offer tasting menus with specially paired cocktails. Neighborhood-favorite Elixir will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a tribute to the Sazerac. On the 14th, you’ll even be able to imbibe with the best — renowned guest bartenders from across the country will display their craft at bars around The City.

So put on your drinking shoes (closed-toe highly recommended) and come celebrate San Francisco’s hallowed place at the altar of fine drinkables. Just don’t forget to designate a driver or MUNI navigator.

Rapid Restaurant Review: Bar Jules

Welcome to the first of (hopefully) many Rapid Restaurant Reviews.

You won’t find star ratings here. You won’t find a lot of flowery descriptions of food or snarky comments about service. And you especially won’t find any charming back story about how the chef’s first job was cleaning the deep fryers at McDonald’s before securing the financing to open a wildly successful San Francisco bistro.

Instead, you’ll find the answer to ten questions that, to me, encapsulate the San Francisco dining experience:

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Dine Out For Life On Thursday

The Stop AIDS project’s biggest annual fundraiser is Thursday night April 24th, and to participate all you have to do to help is something you were likely to do anyway… eat. Many local restaurants will donate 25% of your check to the Stop Aids Foundation just for dining between 6 & 10 pm…

It’s the 7th annual evening, and last year’s raised over $200,000 for Aids related charities, and they hope to exceed that this year.

Amongst the participating restaurants in Dining Out For Life this Thursday, April 24th are numerous joints ranging from high end to many mid priced indie run spots from the ballpark’s Acme Chophouse to Alamo Sq Grill, or Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro.

In the chain dept. all the local Amici’s Pizza & Pasta Pomodoro locations…

Whether you like Askew or Zazil, there’s something on the list in almost anyone’s potential price range…

more info and link to the
complete list at

http://www.DiningOutForLife.com/SanFrancisco

Please don’t cough on my meal…

Back in January the the new local ordinance (or law, not sure) which mandated that local eateries provide a health care option for their employees went into effect. Maybe you have noticed new surcharges appearing on your tabs, as many eateries are complying with this law already.

Today, on the WSJ’s blog, they make note of the fact that this new ordinance is taking effect. Not that notable, but the comments are pretty obnoxious. E.g.

Great posting. It seems that the communists got what they wanted. How sad. I moved from New York City to Texas. I considered moving to CA, but could not bring myself to life with all that red tape, high taxes and nanny state. It is a pity, though. The nature in CA is stunning.

A pretty complicated issue no doubt, curious as to whether people think it’s the right thing to do, that is mandating that businesses provide healthcare for employees?

[poll=7]

Friday Lunch

photo.jpg
Nothing seems so decadent as a 1 1/2 hour Friday afternoon lunch in North Beach. Just sayin’. Is it the weekend yet?

Pictured: from La Gondola at Columbus & Jackson

Bourbon and Branch Updates

We have a follow-up to the news about Bourbon and Branch‘s Todd Smith stepping down from his management position…

Smith’s successors are Joel Baker and Yanni Kehagiaras (pictured above), a couple of local comptetion-winning bartenders (or as B&B calls them, “Bar Chefs”), both who have been working at B&B for a while now.

As mentioned previously, Smith remains connected with Bourbon and Branch’s Beverage Academy, participating in upcoming classes Cocktails 101 and A Taste of Absinthe.

Rumor has it that Bourbon and Branch is polishing up a new “secret” room dubbed “Russell’s Room”, occupying a space that was formerly J.J. Russell’s cigar shop during prohibition in the 1920′s. Hm, how many secret rooms can a speakeasy have?

Photo courtesy of Bourbon and Branch

Ghirardelli Past & Future

free wifi
I was pretty excited by Eater SF’s ongoing commentary about the bright new future of Ghirardelli Square. Needless to say, the purported wi-fi here wasn’t very strong at all. And I was standing right in front of the sign.

I walked around it with my Mom, who remembers it “back in the day,” which could either be the 50s when her girlfriend Martha lived on Nob Hill, and she would take the cable car here to visit my mom and listen to beatniks play the guitar- that was a vivid memory- but otherwise, she kept saying it was “pretty much the same.” So what does rejuvenation mean?

Condos

As a neighbor, I’ve only been here a handful of times. The shops don’t appeal, but then again, I noticed Lola of North Beach, the best stationer’s store I’ve ever been to, now has a branch in the Square. Also, found Waterfront Bakery, my new favorite European cafe (note: technically Cannery not Ghirardelli). If there’s any discernible reason for the Russian Hillers to come down and enjoy Ghirardelli Square, and not just for oversweet ice cream (they do have Swenson’s) a gourmet grocery is it. There’s Safeway and Trader Joe’s nearby, but nothing like Bi-Rite in the Mission or Whole Foods Deli. The spread of Danko-ism is something exciting, and I’ll be sure to report back here if anything else pops up that’s neat & noteworthy.

Yelp S*itstorm

So journalist Karen Solomon wrote a review of the review site Yelp in San Francisco Magazine, and how it’s a one-town biz, and all of the other reasons that have been stated before about the online recommendation system. Well, with a lot more muscle, and from a journalist (vs. blogger, mea culpa). The response? Eater SF gets their bunchie in a wad, and Valleywag gets all huffy that K. Sol has some kind of conflict of interest- as she writes reviews, and SF Mag is in competition with Yelp. SF Eater gets response quotes that are interesting, but… So let’s see, they’re not happy that someone used to reviewing restaurants has taken on the job of writing about a restaurant review site. Let’s go back to the article… was anything actually wrong with it? Lord knows I’m Over Yelp. I’m wondering if the myopic blogger world can’t grasp that 100 reviews of a restaurant in tweener SMS speak is *not* useful in finding a good late night Chinese restaurant. From the front page, I didn’t have to look far: “san-francisco-white-chicks-dating-asian-guys-how-often-do-you-see-it”- join that thread now! Sigh.

Developer Implosion: Pompei & Hanson Empire

The J B'corn So, Luisa’s on Union St. is closed by the health inspectors. Her new restaurant- she took over neighborhood bar Barleycorn, and her revamp of the adjoining Front Room- Pompei (sic)- is on Eater SF’s Deathwatch. Word is she’s replacing Barleycorn with a “neighborhood Irish bar.” Wow, that’s really gonna rake in the bitter locals.

On Luisa’s flagship restaurant, Luisa’s on Union St., is closed due to, (quoting health inspector via EaterSF)

High Risk: Rodents/Roaches/Flies/Other Animals (Rodents – Immediate Risk)
High Risk: Food in Poor Condition; unsafe/adulterated (Any food is adulterated if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance that may render it impure or injurious to health.)

Can 1,000 Yelpers be wrong? Choice quotes on Luisa’s restaurant
“I could care less if they announced free eats here for me until the day I die. ” – Julie A
and oddly,
“I can’t forget the Risotto alla Pescatore, even though it tasted of amnesia.” – John McdM

Getting Over Yelp

I sat at friend’s friend’s restaurant (Cav- rocks, check it out), drinking a great Italian wine, polishing off an excellent ravioli, and discussing Yelp with the staff. Fellow patron, who is a bartender in Oakland, talked about how her boss’s bar doesn’t quite work the Yelp right. In usual digerati showoff mode, I got my iPhone out and we reviewed each one of her reviews. Her bar had 35 reviews, and the first one, where she was called the c-word for cutting off someone who was drunk, was accurate, and she even remembered said patron. So we agreed, if there was a critical mass of serious reviews in general it sustained the project of a user-based review site.
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