Range's acclaimed pastry chef, Michelle Polzine, is converting a Hayes Valley laundromat across the street from Rich Table restaurant into a new Eastern European-influenced hideaway called the 20th Century Cafe. It's coming soon, but Polzine isn't ready to divulge how soon.
"I don't want to say [an opening date] because I have jinxed it before by doing that," Polzine admits. "Let's just say 'spring!'"
Belinda Leong had a fantastic problem when her b. patisserie (2821 California) opened earlier this week on Feb. 12. Though her weekday hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., every fresh-baked good was sold out by around 1 p.m. on the first day, forcing an early closure. By the time SFoodie arrived to survey the scene, all that remained were signs.
A tour around the current projects bidding for your bucks over at Kickstarter reveals ideas designed to make your cooking and eating pursuits a little bit easier. San Francisco's Alite Designs is looking for assistance to finish creating the Clover Cook Set, which combines a spoon, spatula, and pair of tongs into a three-in-one, interlocking utensil. A donation of at least $20 will get you one of the first sets, and the incentives to give more include other smart Alite products such as hiking and camping kits.
We first encountered New York chef and restaurateur Eddie Huang a few years ago when he fired the metaphorical warning shots that eventually made the San Francisco food truck Chairman Bao bow down. A lawyer himself, Huang had already been using the name for a signature item at his Baohaus and knew he didn't have to sit idly by while this newcomer gained fame for the name.
When we met him in Manhattan in late 2010, Huang -- who had also clocked hours as a standup comedian -- gave us some alternate name suggestions to bring back home to the S.F. truck. He thought that that it could be rechristened after some other great leader in Chinese history, like Long Duk Dong Bao. Or Connie Chung Bao. Not a huge surprise from someone known to call himself Magic Dong Huang.
Chairman Bao is now the Chairman Truck and Eddie Huang is now an author with the publication of his memoir, Fresh Off The Boat, with a VICE web series of the same name. Huang is about to make his third-ever trip to San Francisco, but this time he comes in peace. He'll be interviewed by fellow author Adam Mansbach at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4 at Omnivore Books (3885A Cesar Chavez).
We know the digits for the Magic Dong, so we gave Huang a call.
Ryan Maxey and Ian Begg recently expanded their Naked Lunch café into the space where they formerly operated Txoko restaurant, which they shuttered on New Year's Eve. The former Enrico's space has morphed into somewhat of a sports bar, complete with pool table and basketball hoop shooting game. The kitchen is now open for both lunch and dinner, with a new burger ($10) on the menu.
See Also: Naked Lunch Expands Into Txoko Space
The Mission's new bean-to-bar chocolate factory, Dandelion Chocolate (740 Valencia), opened its café component last week. Included on the menu of hot chocolates (served by the cup or pot) and European drinking chocolate is an extra unusual item: cacao fruit smoothies.
This is a rare opportunity to taste the flavor of cacao fruit pulp, which Dandelion likens to lychee (we think it is slightly more tart). If you have traveled to South America or Africa, maybe you've had this fruit, but the only time we've previously spotted it in San Francisco was at one of TasteTV's Chocolate Salons, when sample tastes of fruit flown in from South Africa were offered.
See Also: Dandelion Chocolate: Now Open!
Knife Sharpening and Skills Intensive
Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St., 568-2710
When: Sun., Feb. 3, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cost: $120 (purchase in advance via Brown Paper Tickets)
The rundown: Josh Donald of Bernal Cutlery will arm you with the right way to take care of your knives and keep them properly pointy. Meanwhile, Bi-Rite Market's John Lee will equip you with knife techniques in this boot camp-like session while you prepare a group lunch. Bring your chef's knife for onsite sharpening; you'll also get a bag of vegetables and recipes to play with later.
See Also: Dish Duel: Tempura Soba
SFoodie has previously fired warning shots to restaurants to get their act together when it comes to making a website. But it seems the industry hasn't listened, and now it's time to name names. These five restaurants may have fine food, but you'd never know it by their terrible websites. These five examples illustrate various archetypes and honestly make us feel like kicking something:
Four months ago, we wrote about a brand new restaurant called Shanghai and how it was attempting to break the curse of a space that had previously been home to a five-month restaurant called Gingerfruit and a three-month restaurant with the most-appetizing name of Pudong. The chef came from the recently-closed Shanghai 1930 restaurant and brought a fair standard of fine Chinese cooking with him. Prices were high, but not outrageous compared to other restaurants within blocks of it on Market Street in the Castro.
This week, Inside Scoop SF reports that Shanghai has closed after four months.
Our three days spent wandering the aisles at the Fancy Food Show yielded the observation of an awful lot of convenience food and packaging and a lot of the same items we've seen on display there for the past five years. But amidst all that mainstream sameness was a strong pocket of companies actually doing something different and interesting. A number of Bay Area-based companies impressed with brand-new and/or young products to challenge the marketplace.