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Archive for October, 2012

Monday’s Neighborhood: At&T Park, San Francisco

Halloween is still over a week away, but you can certainly tell with today’s articles that orange and black is certainly on the mind of Trev’s Bistro. Tonight is of course Game 7 of the National League Championship Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants at At&T Park in San Francisco. And since the Giants will win (knock on wood), the World Series will then begin in San Francisco on Wednesday.

At&T Park is certainly in the spotlight now. It would be a treat to write this Monday neighborhood installment on the dining choices inside the ballpark. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t spending $500 for standing room only tickets, so let’s focus on the wealth of dining and drinking options that surround At&T Park. Since the ballpark opened in 2000, it is truly astonishing how the surrounding area has experienced a complete renaissance. At&T Park may be America’s premier ballpark and it is also possibly the premier symbol of how a ballpark can change a previously neglected neighborhood into a thriving one. (more…)

Plat du Jour: October 22, 2012: What The St. Louis Mayor Really Should Bet

Last week I mentioned the mayoral wager between San Francisco’s Ed Lee and St. Louis’ Francis Slay over whose team will win the National League Championship Series. If the Giants win, then St. Louis must send toasted ravioli, local barbeque, and “The King of Beers,” also known as Budweiser. If the Cardinals win, San Francisco must send to the Midwest some dim sum and Anchor Steam.

I wrote my thoughts on what really should be sent in both cases…I neglected to mention that it’s not Dungeness crab season in Northern California, so while the idea would be very symbolic of this region, sending crab as part of the wager would not be the best of ideas. Instead, St. Louis would receive some Hog Island or Tomales Bay oysters, and why not a filet of sand dabs too while we’re at it.

Now for the St. Louis perspective, our local correspondent there Eva Pearlstone chimed in on this Game 7 occasion with what she feels Mayor Slay should send to Mayor Lee. She also wanted to mention her displeasure at how the series has now turned slightly in favor of the Giants, she is still confident that Mayor Slay will win this wager and St. Louis can enjoy the San Francisco dim sum. (more…)

Wine of the Week: 2009 Evening Land Vineyards Auxey Duresses Chardonnay, Burgundy

If the name “Evening Land” sounds a bit strange for a Burgundy label, it’s because indeed Evening Land is a very unique winemaking project. Based in Oregon, Evening Land spans the west coast and tiny villages of France with vineyards strategically based in Burgundy, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, the Sonoma Coast, and Santa Barbara County’s Santa Rita Hills. It’s all in search of the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay expressions, with vines planted in the Motherland and the New World terroirs that seem to be exemplify Burgundy best.

A sip of the 2009 Chardonnay from Auxey Duresses, a village in the Côte de Beaune, not far from Meursault, and you’ll shake your head in dismay about what oak and butter explosions Chardonnay has been transformed into by many New world producers. Unfortunately, much of the wine drinking public now believes that Chardonnay is supposed to be like those explosions, not a subtle, textured wine full of finesse.

Mark Tarlov is the guiding force behind Evening Land, spanning the wide world of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with a trio of winemakers, a legendary French winemaker as a consultant, and one of the country’s top sommeliers as general manager. It’s truly an all star team in all star locations.

Example of an Evening Land label, not the Auxey Duresses Chardonnay. Courtesy:


Tarlov himself is as fascinating a story as Evening Land. Originally going down the Washington D.C. path as a politician’s speech writer an obtaining a law degree from Columbia University, Tarlov switched to the Hollywood path and became a film producer in the early 1980’s. The film world led to money, which of course leads to lavish meals, accompanied by appropriately lavish wines. And, it’s amazing how the world is opened with those wines, whether as an artist working on films, or inspiring the producer to leap into the wine business. (more…)

Friday’s Bites of the Week (or 3 Weeks…)

It’s been a long time, too long since the grand weekly finale recap of the tastes that mattered most graced these pages. Without further ado, here we go through the first half of October.

And no, none of these dishes have pumpkin in them. Perhaps San Francisco’s Mission Bowling Club should start putting a pumpkin aioli on their beloved burger?

Bar Tartine, San Francisco: Smørrebrod of Lox, Onion Quark, Beet Relish, Horseradish, and Dill on Open Faced Rye Bread

Bar Tartine’s Smørrebrød

We’ve mentioned before the myriad reasons smørrebrød are superior to traditional sandwiches. But, then are smørrebrod and there are smørrebrod of the caliber presented by Nick Balla at Bar Tartine’s lunch and brunch services. From the robust rye to the edible Monet landscape presentations to the spot on combinations, lunch doesn’t get better than this. Ask me to choose? You can’t go wrong with a variation of a cobb salad or the version that makes dessert for lunch very acceptable with chocolate mousse and a schmear of hazelnut butter. But the smørrebrød is most at home with smoked salmon, especially with some beets and strong notes of horseradish and dill. Marvelous work by Balla. (more…)

Plat du Jour: October 18, 2012: Why So Many People Have APO (Autumnal Pumpkin Obsession), St. Louis vs San Francisco, and Much More

It’s the middle of October, with Halloween just around the bend, and believe it or not, the “Christmas” of the food world (Thanksgiving) is barely a month away. This can only mean one thing (besides that the sunlight these days is noticeably shorter): APO.

Say what?

Chances are you have it, or if you are not part of the majority, then you certainly know somebody close to you who has APO. No, APO is not a bad thing unless you spend too much time at Starbucks or Cheesecake Factory. Then again, too many lattes or cheesecake slices have never been a recommended lifestyle choice, regardless of the flavor or time of year.

APO is everywhere at this time of year: in your coffee, your ice cream, your pasta, your beer, your morning granola, your roasted duck’s sauce. Who knows? It may be the next big thing for that other main part of this time of year: the wine harvest.

APO is our new term to describe “Autumnal Pumpkin Obsession,” a case where between late September and Thanksgiving the public becomes chronically hooked on everything edible and drinkable with pumpkin somehow involved. (more…)

Beer of the Week: Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra Imperial Stout, San Diego

Sitting recently at one of San Francisco’s premier craft beer bar/stores with a 7 ounce petite tulip glass of the Indra Kunindra in front of me, a man entered asking the shop’s manager what beer he recommends. He owed a friend whose computer he broke. Sir, there are hundreds of excellent beers in this store, it’s sort of hard to just recommend one. Well, the friend likes Blue Moon. O.k., then he clearly loves good beer.

I would pay good money to see the reaction of that Blue Moon-loving friend if he sampled this thrilling expedition to Southeast Asia in stout form from the innovative folks at Ballast Point, in Beer Paradise (also known as San Diego County). A friend recently mentioned this beer as his favorite beer, but recommended it with a warning. It’s epic. (more…)

Restaurants: Rich Table, San Francisco

Rich Table is a new neighborhood restaurant opened by a husband and wife couple who previously worked at some of San Francisco and New York’s premiere gastronomic destinations, and now have opened a more casual restaurant with an emphasis on seasonal and local ingredients.

Tell me something new.

Well, yes, in theory Rich Table is just that. Not that it’s bad to be a neighborhood restaurant whatsoever. Emphasizing ingredients from the fertile land all around Northern California is very commendable.
Rich Table is by definition a neighborhood restaurant because there is no dress code, there is no foie gras on the menu (make that truffles or lobster since this is post-June 2012 California), and the decor consists of a compact, open kitchen and scruffy, exposed wooden beams from a saw mill north of San Francisco that make the space feel more like a carpenter’s workshop than a restaurant worth reserving for dinner a month in advance.

But, the term neighborhood restaurant is thoroughly over-used these days. Rich Table is already a quintessential part of the neighborhood known as Hayes Valley. In just barely a year, Hayes Valley has spruced itself up with boutiques, restaurants, and open urban space and transformed into one of the country’s leading neighborhood gentrification examples. Rich Table symbolizes this new strength for the area.

At the same time, Rich Table is a destination, with cooking by Evan and Sarah Rich that is some of the most captivating these days in the Bay Area. No, there are no undressed figs on a plate here. For that, you still need to look at the dessert menu at Chez Panisse Cafe. No, this is not a high wire act either with tweezer food served in morsels, as is the case where Evan Rich most recently served as chef de cuisine, San Francisco’s Coi.

King Salmon Tartare, Cucumbers, Douglas Fir

Rich Table is in that prime innovative cooking meets comfort zone that absolutely speaks of what the passionate food public gets so excited about at this particular time. (more…)