If you have friends coming to town, the new place to park 'em should be the Pacific Rim-styled Acqua Hotel (no, it is not affiliated with Charles Condy's similarly named restaurant) on Richardson Bay in Mill Valley. That way you'll have an excuse to get out of town and take in the views of Mount Tam. It's the newest boutique hotel in the breast pocket of the Joie de Vivre empire.
Vinga, the little Spanish "restaurant that could" down on Third Street near Folsom closed mysteriously last month. Three days later, the doors were thrown open to reveal the (slightly remodeled) face of a revolutionary -- Che. The new name trumpets a new partnership between Vinga owner Elissa Hambrecht and chef Johnny Alamilla. Johnny's been around the block in this town (Farallon, Boulevard, Wild Hare) but he's never had his own spot, and San Francisco hasn't had his "Nuevo Latino" cooking. Look for yucca, chipotle, plantain, tequila, and jicama featured on his medium-priced menu. The revolution will not be televised, so get your butt down to Che.
Peel Me a Grape
What ever happened to that little cafe on Hyde Street? You know, the one sandwiched between the laundromat and the alley. With that cute coffee jock? Well, it has re-blossomed a year later as Bacchus, the god of the grape. Russian Hill has ascended to the top of the heap because residents there now have their very own 12-seat wine bar. The space on Hyde will serve coffee and cafe fare during the day and wine at night. Fifteen to 20 selections will be available by the glass, 10 to 15 by the bottle only, including a fun smattering of half-bottles. The room is owned by club kids extraordinaire Martel Toler and Nabiel Musleh (last names are back in), so it will be decidedly "now" and the food will stay on the "just a nibble" side.
Royal Flush (Continued)
Harry's Ostentatious Outhouse Pageant gurgles on with submissions in the Sinking Feeling category. Dog Bites forwarded her thoughts on the bathroom in Yountville's Bouchon -- "It's so artsy that there's nowhere to put your purse. Plus, the lighting is so unflattering that anyone over the age of 23 is going to be paralyzed in horror at her reflection." No comment on the men's room; Dog Bites is an inny.
A friend, Nicola, retreats in horror at the all-black commode at Zuni. She can't explain it, but her butt just doesn't like black. I thought once you go black, you never go back. Anything is an improvement over Zuni's old facilities: a hole in the ground and a wet towel sewn onto a rod.
Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.