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Archive for October, 2012

Happy Halloween!

“Harvey,” Trev’s Bistro’s Pumpkin

From your spooky friends at Trev’s Bistro, we wish you a most safe and happy Halloween!!! May it be full of wonderful cheer, costumes, and many tricks and treats.

So far, I’ve avoided the candy in favor of sampling more pumpkin ice creams, but a Snickers bar is staring me down from across the table.

Sorry Snickers, but in these parts, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups will always be the Halloween candy of choice until a candy with banana added to the dynamic chocolate and peanut butter comes to the candy store shelves. Kit-Kat, Crunch, and Twix all would tie for second with their excellent, consistent wafer-chocolate combination. For some reason I go for the candies without nuts despite my adoration for the chocolate covered macadamia nuts mentioned in the Smithsonian Magazine‘s look at regional candy favorites across the country.

Having lived in Ohio, I would love some of those buckeye candies shipped to me (much preferred to the local favorite It’s It).

What is the most frequently handed out candy this year for trick or treaters? Surprisingly, it’s Candy Corn.

We also want to send our best to those affected by Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast and we’d like to send you all packages of the magnificent Atlantic City saltwater taffy to help brighten your Halloween.

Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Urban Wineries? Yes, Just the Grapes Aren’t Urban

When you think of Wine Country, the rolling hills of Sonoma County, the chateaus of the Loire Valley countryside, and the (congested) floor of the Napa Valley come to mind where happy grapes grow for happy wine drinkers. There, visitors sample the eventual product of those aged and stomped grapes in the adjacent tasting rooms. This…this is the Wine Country.

An urban industrial neighborhood? Perhaps a fine location for a chic wine bar in a re-designed brick warehouse.

But, this is where the wines are made?

It’s happening now. Urban wineries are sprouting up everywhere across the country, from major cities near major wine growing regions, such as Seattle and San Francisco to cities not associated much with wine, such as Brooklyn, Dallas, and Cincinnati.

Dogpatch Wine Works

Breweries or even distilleries? Yes, we’ve had those for centuries in urban warehouses, from Anchor in San Francisco to Brooklyn Brewing Co., but not wine. Wine is for the pastoral countryside, to be grown, made, and sipped where the morning starts when the rooster crows and the evening concludes as the sun sets without neon lights turning on.

It’s now wine’s turn in the urban warehouse renovation trend, that in the previous decade included countless bars, restaurants, and start up ventures. (more…)

Tuesday’s Project: Pumpkin Caramel Whoopie Pies

On this Halloween Eve, the nation’s A.P.O. (Autumnal Pumpkin Obsession) reaches a fever pitch level. Pumpkin lattes with pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bagels covered with pumpkin cream cheese for lunch. Pumpkin bread with pumpkin sage soup then for lunch with a pumpkin smoothie from Jamba Juice. Then for dinner, perhaps a pork tenderloin with pumpkin gastrique, pumpkin cranberry stuffing, and for good measure, acorn squash with maple butter.

What?! Acorn squash? It’s not quite pumpkin…

Then to drink, of course pumpkin beer, or if you’re so inclined, a Manhattan variation with pumpkin liqueur. Let’s hope pumpkin wines don’t arrive in the footsteps of pineapple wine.

Pumpkin pie is très Thanksgiving and it’s not even Halloween for another few hours. Tomorrow you can eat all the Kit-Kats, Crunch bars, and Butterfingers for dessert you can handle without climbing up the walls from the increased levels of sugar in your system, so hold off a few hours for the candy spree.

But with A.P.O. in full swing, let’s enjoy this week’s project, a sensational autumnal whoopie pie recipe from the wonderful pastry chef of San Francisco restaurants Farallon and Waterbar and the newest weekly contributor to The San Francisco Chronicle, Emily Luchetti.

Whoopie pies are much more of a beloved East Coast dessert icon, often given many confusing descriptions as to what a whoopie pie really is. First of all, whoopie pie is not a pie. if you really want to be adventurous, go ahead and translate a whoopie pie into a pie, complete with crust. It certainly would be intriguing. (more…)

Monday’s Neighborhood: Dogpatch, San Francisco

Last week we covered the ballpark district around San Francisco’s AT&T Park, where the baseball crowds, diners enjoying some of the city’s premier restaurants, start-up venture workers who occupy slivers of renovated warehouses with no heat, and computer programmers who fill airy loft office spaces mingle together for one of the country’s most dynamic neighborhoods of the present day.

Of course, what happens when the renovated neighborhood starts becoming too renovated, and drives those previously attractive rent prices up and space becomes a premium?


The same exact discover then renovate then become the latest “it” neighborhood cycle continues. That certainly is the case as you venture south on the MUNI 3rd Street street car line, leaving AT&T Park, traveling through the UCSF Mission Bay Campus’ new, shimmering buildings that make gritty China Basin’s old maritime based economy a distant, watery memory, and arrive in the Dogpatch.

Whether the Dogpatch becomes the “next” SoMa, influenced heavily by its neighboring tech-savvy neighborhood, or the Mission, its neighboring diverse and culturally focused neighborhood, remains to be seen. The Dogpatch is sandwiched between Potrero Hill and the I 280 viaduct to the west and the waterfront and its maritime warehouses to the east. While the east and west boundaries are very defined, it’s hard to say exactly where the Dogpatch starts and ends to the north and south. My estimate would be 18th St. to the north and Cesar Chavez St. to the south, roughly 10 blocks. Don’t call yours truly the official city zoning planner, though.

Mr. and Mrs Miscellaneous

For such a small neighborhood, such lavish attention has been given to this latest neighborhood in vogue for San Francisco. Of course that would mostly be for its startling wealth of restaurants, food shops, and bars, being a neighborhood not much larger than perhaps a pirate’s eye patch. (more…)

Plat du Jour October 29: Your 2012 World Champions

Matt Cain might not have thrown another perfect game in last night’s Game 4 of the World Series, but after ten innings, his San Francisco Giants swept the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series for the second time in three seasons.

How should we celebrate?

Last week the bartenders at Hiro Sone’s outstanding Ame in San Francisco’s St. Regis Hotel started crafting this orange and black masterpiece, “The Perfect Cain.” (more…)

The World Series: San Francisco vs Detroit, Dungeness Crab vs Coney Island Hot Dogs

The 2012 World Series is under way (1-0 Giants on a Pablo “Kung Fu Panda” Sandoval home run!) in San Francisco between the Detroit Tigers and the San Francisco Giants. As mayors of the cities participating in such important postseason series usually do, the mayors of San Francisco and Detroit have a friendly wager for this World Series.

Except there is a catch with this wager. Most of the time the wager involves the iconic foods of the participating cities, which was the case as we reported last week in the National League Championship Series between San Francisco and St. Louis (we’re enjoying the toasted ravioli, Budweiser, and St. Louis bbq here in the Bay Area now…).

San Francisco’s Ed Lee and Detroit’s Dave Bing instead will perform a day of community service in the victorious city. Lee would visit Detroit and talk to young people, along with tour a Chevy Volt factory (something Lee would probably be fascinated by knowing his love of new, environmentally friendly technologies). Bing would come to San Francisco to talk to youth in the Junior Giants program, along with tour some of the city’s many high-tech companies (perhaps Tesla in Palo Alto?).

If this isn’t San Francisco, I don’t know what is…

With the help of a Detroit born and Bay Area based colleague, we’ll take matters into our own hands for the imaginary food-side of this World Series wager. Dungeness crab or Coney Island hot dogs? (more…)

Plat du Jour October 24, 2012: California’s Prop 37 and How to be a Portland Celebrity Chef

On this late October Wednesday, a week from Halloween and opening night of the World Series, appropriately for the World Series starting in San Francisco the Michelin Guide announced its 2013 stars for San Francisco and the Bay Area. The city still does not have any restaurants with three stars, though the Napa Valley’s gastronomic temples The Restaurant at Meadowood and The French Laundry retained their trio of stars. Six total restaurants have two stars, four of whom are in the city.

At first glance, you certainly notice that the Michelin inspectors must love elaborate, artistic plating landscapes and molecular gastronomy with Atelier Crenn and Baumé receiving two stars, despite not being universally adored by local critics. Meanwhile many of the city’s more traditional Italian and French influenced stalwarts such as Quince, Masa’s, Michael Mina, and Gary Danko (certainly not deserving of two stars) remain at the single star line.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Staying in California, it’s less than two weeks until Election Day, and one of the state’s most debated propositions is a food related one. (more…)