After relocating from a Pacific Ave. hole-in-the-wall to its current, slightly cozier digs, Shanghai-style Chinese Jai Yun (680 Clay at Kearny) is not your average dining experience. Frankly, it’s a tough nut to crack, but the promise of the most refined and elaborate Chinese dishes in the Bay Area is reason enough to go the distance. The catch? Timing is everything. Jai Yun is open only three hours a day, and like it or not, reservations are required at least one day in advance. The menu, which maintains the tradition of some of the greatest Asian cuisine, is ever-changing based on what’s fresh that day, chosen at the whim of chef Nei Chia Ji. Starting at $45 a pop and going up to $100 a person, expect roughly a dozen cold appetizers served Korean panchan-style, followed by another dozen or so hot selections. Top among them: dried rice noodles and dried pork — called the ultimate wok-fried noodle dish by SF Weekly’s own Robert Lauriston (who gives Jai Yun top merits as the best Chinese in town) — and a hot pot of meaty eel, taro dumplings, whole garlic, and cilantro. For more info, call 981-7438 or visit www.menuscan.com/jaiyun.
Prix-fixe is the name of the game at the Seventh Annual Dine About Town San Francisco (Jan. 15-31), when more than 100 of the city’s finest restaurants arrange specially prepared three-course lunches ($21.95) and dinners ($31.95). With a wide variety of cuisines and locales represented —from Italian to Vietnamese to French — there is no better way to acquaint your belly with the best San Francisco has to offer without eating yourself out of house and home. With a list that long, it’s hard to play favorites, but local standouts A16, Foreign Cinema, and Campton Place are sure to pull off some incredible culinary feats. For more info, call 391-2000 or visit www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/dineabouttown.
Take one part dinner, one part exhibition, and one part film, and mix thoroughly. You’ve got one heck of a date, and it goes by the name of Cinema Supper Club at the San Francisco Legion of Honor (100 34th Ave. at Lincoln Park). Celebrating the theme "The Real Drama Queens," the Legion Cafe lays out a dinner of French-inspired fare to compliment the museum’s special exhibition Marie-Antoinette and the Petit Trianon at Versailles. Then comes the main event: a screening of the classic Mozart vs. Salieri story Amadeus at the Florence Gould Theater. Thursday, January 17, with tickets starting at $20 for nonmembers. First dinner seating (by reservation only) at 6:00 p.m. Film begins at 8:00 p.m. For reservations, call 750-7633 or visit www.famsf.org.
As activists say: Be part of the solution, not the problem. And if you happen to cop a stiff organic buzz in the process, so much the better. That’s exactly what’s in store for patrons of the Green & Tonic Launch Party, Wednesday, January 16, at the Mission’s historic Elixir Saloon (3200 16th St. at Guerrero). Notable as the only certified “green” bar in San Francisco, Elixir has been mixing a potent cocktail of booze and environmentalism for some time now (as shown by its full menu of excellent organic beers, wines, and spirits), which leads to this fund-raiser for Green & Tonic, a group pushing for more bars to take the leap to sustainability. Still need convincing? Behold the organic Pretty Pepper: hibiscus-infused Square One organic vodka, habanero- and red-bell-pepper-infused Corralejo Reposado tequila, Cointreau, agave nectar, and fresh lime and lemon juice, garnished with dried hibiscus flower. Two of those, my friends, and believe me, you’ll be one of nature’s children. For more call 553-1633 or visit www.elixirsf.com.
It’s time to make the rounds of new joints sprouting up across San Francisco, starting in the Mission at the modern Californian joint Conduit (280 Valencia at 14th St.) boasting design by famed local architect Stanley Saitowitz, a impressive wine list, and chef Justin Deering (formerly of Boulevard) at the helm. For more info, call 552-5200. In its third San Francisco locale, Pizza Orgasmica (2 Embarcadero Center at Clay) is a beacon of lunchtime hope for in the — let’s not kid ourselves — often maddeningly dull Financial District dining scene. The name, it seems, says it all. For more info, call 834-9600 or visit www.pizzaorgasmica.com.