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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bobby Lozoff: Local Liquor Legend and Inventor of the Tequila Sunrise

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 11:00 AM

Bobby Lozoff - JOSE CUERVO
  • Jose Cuervo
  • Bobby Lozoff

To earn the title of legend in the booze business, you need carry some serious credentials to the table. Enter Sausalito native, Bobby Lozoff. A Bay Area bartender with some 50 years of experience behind the stick, the man invented the Tequila Sunrise, introduced it to the Rolling Stones on their infamous 1972 tour, and slung spirits to some of the biggest rock stars of the '60s and '70s. A resume such as that comes with a stable of certifiably insane anecdotes. Without too much discretion, here are a few of Lozoff's most cherished memories.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

A Master Class on Oysters, From Waterbar's Eric Hyman

Posted By on Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Betty Wang

Oysters and something sparkling poured into stemware (with a side of fries for me because I'm always trying to be low carb) show up on many "Things I Love" lists. Can't get enough of these gooey, briny beauties? Waterbar's 7th Annual OysterFest is just around the corner this Sunday, August 30, for your fix.

Delicious though they are, oysters can be intimidating, both in terms of knowing one variety from another and the possibility of committing a faux pas while eating one. So when I was invited to an exclusive "oyster experience" led by oyster master Eric Hyman at Waterbar by IfOnly (a company that sells specifically curated experiences), naturally I said, "Hell yes!"

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Sous Chefs Take Center Stage at Marla Bakery's "Sousdays"

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 1:30 PM

Mint chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches and watermelon popsicles - ALEXIS KATSILOMETES
  • Alexis Katsilometes
  • Mint chocolate chunk ice cream sandwiches and watermelon popsicles

We live in a weirdly beautiful age in which hearts beat as quickly at the thought of seeing David Chang or René Redzepi as they do about spotting one of the Kardashians. All right, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get what I mean. It’s the heyday of the celebrity chef. But when we say “chef,” what oftentimes comes to mind is the name whose name is at the bottom of the menu or the bleached-blonde Food Network star who patronizes places based on his producer’s love of alliteration.

At the risk of being the shatter-er of dreams, I will go out on a not-so-long-limb and tell you that the big name chef isn’t always one actually cooking your food. Yes, that's correct; there’s a very good chance that your steak reached a perfect medium rare and your frites were crisped to a beautiful golden brown by the sous chef(s).

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Pad See-Ew in Paradise: The Craziest SF Food Truck Expansion Yet

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 4:00 PM

The Phat Thai trucked parked in Union Plaza on a foggy Monday. - JESSICA FENDER
  • Jessica Fender
  • The Phat Thai trucked parked in Union Plaza on a foggy Monday.

When you work inside a 22-foot-by-7-foot box, there are only so many places you can go. So when the champs of San Francisco's food truck scene want to expand, they get creative.

Trucks like the perennially popular Chairman (nee Chairman Bao) put down brick-and mortar roots — see the new Tenderloin storefront that opened in April. Shops like olfactory favorite Bacon Bacon go wide, growing to three trucks, a trailer, and a cafe. And if you're Bobby Hossain, the mastermind behind Phat Thai, you get wild. Real wild.

After four-plus years as a fixture in the city’s food truck parks, the 32-year-old purveyor of homestyle Thai is expanding his brand – to a 14-room motel on Lake Tahoe’s south side.

Hossain is pushing for a grand opening of the newly remodeled Paradice Motel – soon to be redubbed “Phat Thai Paradice” – on July 4. And, in lieu of a motel restaurant, a more stationary version of his food truck will be parked out front, dishing up classics like pad thai and steamy bowls of pho at peak times throughout the year.

“Our food will be something different,” Hossain told SF Weekly. “It’s all pizza and barbecue up there now.”

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Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Art of the Burn, at Hearth Coffee

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Eric S. Burkett

Given the rapid comings and goings of businesses in the Castro lately, particularly cafes, I had completely missed the opening last fall of Hearth Coffee at 17th and Castro. That's my loss, because Hearth is worth seeking out.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Going Boldly (And Coldly) Behind the Scenes at Restaurant Depot

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 3:01 PM

A million French fries - JESSICA FENDER
  • Jessica Fender
  • A million French fries

Stepping through the warehouse’s massive sliding doors, I avoid eye contact with the greeter at the check-in stand by slowly turning my back to her and hoping she’ll fail to notice I exist. (Smooth, right?) I’m an impostor! The world’s most awkward James Bond. But instead of slipping polonium into some poor bastard’s cocktail, I’m here to sneak behind the stainless steel curtain for my first glimpse at the forbidden Restaurant Depot, on Evans Avenue in the Bayview.

For years, I’ve been obsessed with the wholesaler, which supplies San Francisco's food trucks, restaurants, and the like with everything from aprons to zucchini. It’s partly curiosity about the restaurant biz, and partly the fact that Restaurant Depot refuses to let me in. Its industrial-sized wonders are, sadly, available only to business licensees, as I’ve been reminded on two previous attempts slip past the guards.

Today, even though a bona fide restaurateur has agreed to escort me inside, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m one wrong move from being bounced. Fortunately, playing it cool is my strong suit. (See above).

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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Behind the Window: Life on Bacon Bacon's Food Truck

Posted By on Thu, Apr 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM

A line formed mere minutes after opening. - PHOTO BY MIKE VANGEL.
  • Photo by Mike Vangel.
  • A line formed mere minutes after opening.

As San Francisco was just waking up last Sunday, behind an unmarked brown door and 21 steps up a dingy white stairway in Soma, half a dozen people rushed between storage vaults, loading a cart with supplies. At 9:30, satisfied they had what they needed, they left the staging area and descended to the street. Two heavy black trucks squatted outside, waiting.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Boat Noodles and the Secret Menu at Zen Yai

Posted By on Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 9:20 AM

  • Camila McHugh
  • Guay Tiew Yum

The menu at Zen Yai Thai Restaurant has a long menu of noodles and curries with careful English translations, but no one is ordering off it. 

Recently, we walked in for a late lunch, leaving the streets of Little Saigon and entering a room filled with Thai chatter and people slurping from little bowls. A piece of paper taped to a back wall reads "Boat Noodles, $2.50 each." Most people have two or three bowls in front of them and we are eager to follow suit. I decide to start with one bowl and in my best tonal Thai, I order Guay Tiew Ruew (Guay Tiew means noodle and Ruew means boat.) My Thai friend helps me specify that I don't want any liver on mine. 

This is my first time trying boat noodles, and it is something I had to wrap my mind around. This Thai specialty tends to make people squeamish because the broth is made with blood. If you can get over this, trust me, you'll thank yourself you did. 

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Foodies Unleash For "Kitchen Confidential" Storytelling Series

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2012 at 11:00 AM

  • Porch Light Storytelling Series Facebook Page

What: Porch Light Storytelling Series: "Kitchen Confidential"

When: Mon. April 16, 8-10 p.m.

Where: Verdi Club

Cost: $15

The rundown: Co-founders Beth Lisick and Arlinne Klatte's monthly story telling series features speakers sharing their experiences with the food industry this month.

Sharing "good times from the front and back of house" BBQ expert Dontaye Ball, food writer Stephanie Lucianovic, cook, teacher and writer Samin Nosrat, Locanda executive chef Anthony Strong and more will dish food-prep memories without using notes or memorization.

The Streatery food truck will also be on site. More information can be found on the Porch Light Storytelling Series Facebook page.

Click here for tickets.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Q&A with Greens Chef Annie Somerville, part 2: Keeping a 33-Year-Old Restaurant Fresh

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM

Greens chef Annie Somerville, loaded up from a farmers' market run. - SETH JOEL
  • Seth Joel
  • Greens chef Annie Somerville, loaded up from a farmers' market run.

Annie Somerville, executive chef of Greens Restaurant, came to the world of cooking through unexpected means. Somerville moved to San Francisco in 1973 to study at the San Francisco Zen Center, and became chef of Greens -- which the center then owned -- in 1985. Somerville recently talked with SFoodie about the challenges, demands, and surprises of a restaurant that has become an institution - both in San Francisco and in the larger vegetarian community. Part one of this interview ran yesterday, and tomorrow we'll post one of Somerville's recipes.

After cooking at Greens for 30 years, how do you keep it fresh, and where do you get your inspiration?

I utilize a lot of cookbooks, but more often now I read magazines, newspapers, and stuff on the Internet. I'm always looking around to see what's going on, and that includes going to other restaurants, reading other restaurant menus, and tasting other chefs' food. I also shop at the farmers' market twice a week, so a lot of the inspiration comes from the vegetables themselves. I will say that I always have a really hard time letting go of certain seasons. Summer into fall is easy, but fall into winter is a tough one for me. I'm always the last one buying the cherry tomatoes at the market.

What dishes have come to define Greens?

There are certain dishes that are pretty much part of the Greens pantheon. Our wilted spinach salad has been with us since day one, and we just vary the ingredients. It could have seeds and olives, or Asian pears and blue cheese, or cherry tomatoes and gorgonzola -- there are a lot of ways to prepare that salad. The mesquite-grilled brochettes are a solid dish that I'm sure no one ever thought would still be on the menu. Again, we vary the sauces, like a honey-ginger miso sauce with red and brown rice, but some other time it might be chimichurri with quinoa. The soft tacos are hard to get off the menu - everyone loves tacos. And in the summer, people love our little griddled corn cakes.

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