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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sushi or Dim Sum? Ice House's Fan Tuan Is Kind of Both

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:30 PM

Ice House's savory fan tuan, or rice roll. - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Ice House's savory fan tuan, or rice roll.

This week's review of i-Skewers put SFoodie in a dumpling frame of mind -- specifically, a Shanghai-style sheng jian bao frame of mind -- and in our zig-zagging travels around the Avenues, looking for the puffy, pan-fried pork dumplings, we ended up at Ice House on Noriega and 20th Ave. 

In addition to a meandering menu of Canto-American rice plates and fried noodles, Ice House (whose Chinese name translates as the not-very-icy "Sun Tea House") serves complementary glasses of warm soy milk and Shanghai-style dumplings and street snacks. The sheng jian bao may not be so great here, but the restaurant's fan tuan, or rice rolls, brought us back for a second visit -- in the same week.

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Brain Wilson Is Bowling, Martin Mack's Is Back, and Radio Africa & Kitchen Readies to Open

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 4:18 PM

The past 24 hours in gossip, innuendo, and cold hard facts about the San Francisco food scene.

S.F.'s favorite bearded pitcher is ditching his orange cleats for some bowling shoes. Inside Scoop reports Brian Wilson is now a partner/owner of Lucky Strike. While there are 21 locations of the bowling alley-restaurant across the country, his alignment with the company falls perfectly in sync with the soon-to-open S.F. location. No word on how much of the bowling chain he owns.

That was quick: Less than a week after Martin Mack's was forced to close, due to a court order granting ownership to (now) former owner Brian Maloney's business partner, it's back open. Haighteration reports the legal details surrounding the turnover, including the fact former staff members were offered their jobs back under the new management. Time will tell if the new Martin Mack's has another 22 years in it.

Pop-up no more: Radio Africa & Kitchen is readying to open its brick-and-mortar Bayview location. The team behind the Ethiopian-inspired restaurant let us know dinner hours will start on March 8, the day after their opening party. Lunch hours will follow on April 3.

An apple, and a drink, for the teacher: 7x7 discovers that the school-themed Gold Star Bar has opened on Nob Hill (1548 California at Polk). The new bar is complete with chalkboards, desks, and yes, even tests - of sorts - they're introducing Pictionary night.

Not far from the school-days bar, Grub Street notes another bar is on the way. This one is thinking large, and will open as Big in the adjacent spot next to Vantaggio Suites. Expect an opening in a few months.

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Mission Pie Goes Solar

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 1:37 PM

  • Luminalt

Mission Pie, already one of the few restaurants to achieve green certification, just ramped up its sustainability with the installation of rooftop solar panels to provide up to a third of its power.

"It keeps getting windier in the Mission. Maybe we should have gone with wind power," joked co-owner Karen Heisler.

Solar power has been on the Mission Pie wishlist since it opened in 2007, but starting a food business is time-consuming and costly; Heisler and co-owner Krystin Rubin had other projects to tackle first. When they finally started talking to Claire Hill of the small SF solar company Luminalt last year, they were ready to take the plunge.

Rubin said the installation price was neither "shockingly high or delightfully low," but will reduce Mission Pie's significant electric bill by one quarter to one third. "It's an act of faith that our business will thrive long enough for the cost to be absorbed," she said.

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Flour + Water's Chef Previews New Project At Pub

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 1:30 PM


What: Salumeria pop-up preview

Where: Clooney's Pub

When: Fri., March 2, 6:30-10 p.m.

Cost: $10 condiment plates and other sandwiches. Cash only.

The rundown: Flour + Water's executive chef Thomas Mcnaughton and Matt Sigler are giving us a taste of what to expect at Salumeria, a traditional Italian-style deli. Why gourmet sandwiches at a pub? The Salumeria crew recently told SFoodie that it's just neighborly love. House-cured meats as part of the condiment plates include prosciutto cotto and mortadella sandwiches, a large Italian sausage, are on Friday's menu. Salumeria is slated to open in late April or early May.

With McNuaghton, Flour + Water owners David Steele and David White have been working on Salumeria and Central Kitchen, a dinner destination right next to Salumeria, designed with a more refined vibe. Mcnaughton will serve as executive chef for both Salumeria and Central Kitchen. If they get enough people hooked on these Italian delights, more pop-ups might...pop up.

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i-Skewers Actually Specializes in Dumplings and Grilled Vegetables

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Boiled dumplings from i-Skewers. - MELISSA BARNES
  • Melissa Barnes
  • Boiled dumplings from i-Skewers.

Why would you go to a restaurant named i-Skewers? How can you not check out a restaurant named i-Skewers? I asked myself that not a few times before finally stopping in this new Northern Chinese restaurant in the Sunset. I ended up writing this week's full-length restaurant review about the place.

It's a funny little restaurant, where half of the dining room has been turned into a dumpling-production kitchen, the guests' iPhones are the only i-Things in sight, and the meat skewers turn out to be the only part of the menu not worth ordering from. (One more warning: Don't order the grilled "sliced bread," aka toast, either.) 

But i-Skewers' boiled dumplings -- which you can also order pan-fried -- are often flavorful and plump with juice. The restaurant's grilled vegetables, covered in tiny cumin seeds and chiles, are unlike any I've eaten at other northern Chinese restaurants. And you can feast on an order of dumplings and a-choy for $10.

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Follow me at @JonKauffman.

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Top 5 Racist Food Faux Pas

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 9:00 AM

By now, you've probably heard about Ben & Jerry's limited-release ice cream flavor, "Taste the Lin-Sanity," which included a lychee swirl and Fortune Cookies. You know, because he's Asian. Because, you know, if he was African-American, Ben and Jerry woulda thought it was a good idea to fill it with watermelon and fried chicken. OH WAIT. Anyway, we live in an incredibly racist world filled with crap like this that happens all the time, and so we thought we'd take a walk down memory lane and see what other fun food campaigns turned out to be just the tiniest bit racist. And by "tiniest bit racist," we mean, Long Duk Dong-level racist.

5. NYPD Cases Muslim Restaurants
Turns out, the NYPD just really loves to keep an eye on Muslim restaurants. Maybe it's because some of them sell donuts? Or maybe it's because they're profiling based on race. One or the other, we guess. Maybe both!

4. Fun with receipts!
Restaurants just can't stop being racist on their receipts. Not only are these people racist, they're also incredibly stupid. Customers get copies of their receipts, brainiacs.


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San Francisco Goes in for Guerrilla Grafting, While Seattle Plants an Edible Park

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 7:30 AM

These crab apple trees could one day grow fat Galas or Cameos, too.
  • These crab apple trees could one day grow fat Galas or Cameos, too.

The San Francisco-based Guerrilla Grafters have been receiving a slew of press this past month, including writeups in the Bay Citizen and Huffington Post. The Grafters are a loose group of people trying to transform, one limb at a time, some of the ornamental apple and pear trees in San Francisco so they bear edible fruit. 

SFoodie first talked to guerrilla grafters in the East Bay a half-dozen years ago -- gardeners who approached it as with a surrealist's joy, often doing their work in public parks. The new movement is approaching the work with a food-justice bent of mind, growing fruit in neighborhoods with few produce stores.

Seattle, though, is one-upping the Guerrilla Grafters -- heck, it's more like 25-upping. Urban foraging in Seattle is a civic sport there, and every resident there has a favorite spot in some alley or public park where they pick blackberries for jam or, in SFoodie's brother-in-law's case, porcinis for Sunday dinner. Now, a group of Seattleites have come up with the funds to plant a seven-acre "edible forest" this summer. 

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More on Food Trucks and Schools: Shrinking SF Guidelines, Amending AB 1678

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:10 PM

So threatening you need to keep your kid three blocks away from it at all times. - ALBERT LAW
  • Albert Law
  • So threatening you need to keep your kid three blocks away from it at all times.

Last week, SFoodie reported that a new bill introduced into the state assembly threatens San Francisco's growing street food scene. AB 1678, introduced by Assemblymember Bill Monning of Carmel, would prohibit food trucks from parking within 1,500 feet of any elementary or secondary school during school hours. 

A number of San Franciscans, including Supervisor Scott Wiener, have pointed out that in a dense city like ours, the combined exclusion zones would end up covering 80 percent of the city.

This morning, Wiener announced that he's introducing legislation to the Board of Supervisors that would change San Francisco's food truck regulations, which currently prevent food trucks from parking within 1,500 -- three blocks -- from middle or high schools. His proposed legislation would reduce the exclusion zone around schools to 500 feet, or one block. 

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Coffee Buzz: Four Barrel on the Way to Western Addition, and Sightglass Logo Controversy

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

The past 24 hours in gossip, innuendo, and cold hard facts about the San Francisco food scene.

The Four Barrel coffee slated for Divisadero is making progress, and the beans may be brewing as early as June. Local Addition discovers the pending spot will also serve bakery treats from Josey Baker Bread; all the better -- visitors will be able to enjoy them at the recently approved parklet planned for out front.

That looks familiar: It appears skater-surf brand Volcom may have picked up inspiration for a new design alongside a coffee order. Eater SF reports a shirt from the Southern-California company looks exactly like the Sightglass logo, which was out for some time before the cotton t hit stores. The design company that created Sightglass' logo has now sent a cease and desist letter to Volcom, but, as of yet, hasn't heard back.

Schulzies Bread Pudding won't be serving sweet treats in its new S.F. location quite yet. While they had initially planned on opening before the end of the month, Grub Street notes the debut of their Hayes Valley store was been pushed back, but shares, via Hayswire, that they'll pop-up at Place Pigalle tomorrow from 6-9 p.m.

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The Sandwich King Is Not Especially Informative about Sandwiches or Royalty

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Heavy weighs the made-up crown.
  • Heavy weighs the made-up crown.

Each week we take a quick, cautious look at what's going on with televised cooking. This week: Sandwich King, a half-hour show about the Black Plague, Sundays at 11 a.m. on the Food Network.

Jeff Mauro, former stand-up comic, is the Sandwich King, but how he ascended to nobility I know not. I fear he may have been christened under a false god, because, you know, my fucking uncle is the Sandwich King every time he has four beers. I'm the Sandwich King whenever I buy ham. Being a Sandwich King is like being a Cereal King or Salad King. There's not much of a kingdom there. Verily, it's a fucking sandwich.

Still, I acknowledge his reign and sit down for the premiere of Sandwich King, season number two (the first season slipped quietly by last summer, veiled by an invisibility cloak). His sovereignty begins with tomato soup. He's making us wait for the sandwich. I'm impressed. That's how you rule the sandwich kingdom, by not making sandwiches. I really can't wait for that sandwich!

Earlier in the show his majesty went to a restaurant to watch someone else make a sandwich, and before he went in he did a little pop-and-lock move on the street corner -- my liege lord is a thirty-something white guy who, it's clear by now, failed as a stand-up. I've was sort of mulling this over while he made this tomato soup, so when the bread finally came out it took me a while to determine just what his lordship was doing.

But then I understood all to well. The first sandwich the Sandwich King made on premiere of The Sandwich King was a grilled-cheese sandwich -- for the prince.


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