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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Just How Good Is Comstock Saloon's Daily Free Lunch?

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The Cherry Bounce ($10) alone makes it worth a visit. - LOU BUSTAMANTE
  • Lou Bustamante
  • The Cherry Bounce ($10) alone makes it worth a visit.

We reported last week that Comstock Saloon's offering a meal on the house with the purchase of two full-price drinks Monday through Friday (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.). SFoodie has a hard time resisting the allure of a free lunch, especially one that provides an adequate excuse to enjoy a few cocktails at lunch on a Friday.

First off, we were surprised by the enormous plate. Our large-and-in-charge lunch came with a chopped lettuce salad, roasted potatoes, and a nicely sized hamburger. There was only one condiment -- a hot tomato-soup-like sauce -- and we drenched our whole meal in it. The whole thing was filling, tasty, and of the same high quality chef Carlo Espinas always serves. It wasn't a dumbed-down version of something from the menu -- it was something from the menu. Yesterday's lunch was a pork belly sandwich and today's special is the Hamburg steak, for those who missed it on Friday.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Year-Old Comstock Saloon Revives an Ancient Practice: The Free Lunch

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2011 at 10:15 AM

Comstock Saloon fits its odd little corner at Columbus and Kearny so well you might think it's been there since 1907, the year the building was constructed. (A cynic might credit any confusion to the potency of Comstock's drinks, which SFoodie can attest to.) The décor, the food and cocktail menus ― everything fits together so well it's hard to believe Comstock has been around just shy of a year.

Tomorrow ― Friday ― the saloon officially marks its first year with a day of music, $4 shots, $3 Anchor Steam beers, and the revival of a tradition from the Barbary Coast era: free lunch. It was common practice in San Francisco saloons during the 19th century, a patron buying drinks was fed a hot meal as a means to encourage regular visits. As the temperance movement picked up steam, these amenities were blasted as window dressing to disguise saloons' real purpose ― facilitating hard drinking. From most accounts, though, patrons were genuinely interested in the food.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Consolidation Takes Hold in Deal-a-Day Coupon Biz

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 4:14 PM

Nobody can touch Groupon, but smaller companies are being swallowed up. - MYCODETRIP.COM
  • Nobody can touch Groupon, but smaller companies are being swallowed up.

Three Knocks, who's there? Nobody, according to the company's website. After barely seven months, this Emeryville-based Groupon-type business has bowed out.

Groupon-style promotions have been controversial for many restaurants who see them as little more than an exercise in giving away free meals, resulting in a decline of dining offers. By contrast, owners of service-based businesses rave about coupons' benefits, though on the customer side, a handful of horror stories has tarnished the industry.

That's no longer a concern for Three Knocks, Inc. CEO and founder Taylor Wang, who gets to cash out from GroopSwoop, which he founded in 2009 (New York-based BuyWithMe acquired the GroopSwoop domain last month). Online daily-deal promotion companies are going through a period of consolidation, as big players with deep pockets are acquiring smaller regional competitors. Chicago-based Groupon leads the pack by far, followed by Washington D.C.-based LivingSocial.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

¡Viva San Francisco! with CUESA and La Cocina

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Hecho en San Francisco
Where: CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Building (in front near Gott's formerly Taylor's Refresher)

When: Thurs., May 5, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.

The rundown: Cinco de Mayo is an easy holiday to handle -- it requires nothing more than hanging out with friends and indulging in Mexican food and margaritas. The fiesta commemorates the Mexican army's victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1892 -- and not Mexico's Independence Day, which is actually celebrated September 16. Regardless of its historical importance, it's a great day for a party like Hecho in San Francisco, being hosted by CUESA, La Cocina, and Tacolicious. Since the event benefits the nonprofits CUESA and La Cocina, and the food utilizes sustainable produce and meats, you'll wake up the next day feeling good about yourself even if you enjoy a little too much tequila.

The tequila line up includes Don Julio, El Himador, Herradura, Tres Agaves, and cocktails of course. Wine from Caliberico and Urbanite Cellars will be poured, along with beer from Corona and Victoria if you still have bad tequila memories from last year. Oh yeah, we heard.

The food spread is impressive with all-you-can-handle grub from Alicia Tamales Los Mayas (mini tamales with chicken or beef), Chaac Mool (mini tacos with their famous cochinita pibil), La Torta Gorda (tlacoyos, a Mexican style pupusa), Nopalito (mini carnitas tostadas), Rancho Gordo (Zarco beans with indio oregano), and La Palma teaming up to make fresh blue corn tortillas for Tacolicious's three signature tacos. Restaurants Mijita, Tropisueño, and Sweets Collection round out the spread.

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk.
Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Burger Giveaway Today at Super Duper

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 11:13 AM

The superburger at Super Duper. Consider the lettuce a cape. - J. BIRDSALL
  • J. Birdsall
  • The superburger at Super Duper. Consider the lettuce a cape.

According to Eater SF, Super Duper Burger in the Castro is celebrating its first anniversary with a burger giveaway. From 2 to 3 this afternoon, the burger shop will be giving out burgers and slices of cake: totally worth skipping lunch for.

On second thought, eat a banana before you go to stave off a low-blood-sugar psychotic break. The giveaway may attract the kinds of crowds that were supposed to amass for Britney.

Super Duper 2304 Market (at 16th St.), 558-8213.

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Sweet Deals on Some of Our Favorite Sweets

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions are half-off this week via Yelp. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions are half-off this week via Yelp.

Let's hope you didn't give up sugar for Lent. This week Yelp has partnered up with sweets pushers all over the city to brighten your smile (while destroying your teeth). Participating shops, many of them SFoodie favorites, are offering deep discounts on some of their most treasured treats between Mar. 21 and 27. Highlights include half off the irresistible sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions, half-price shortbread minis at Batter Bakery, and discount pies and pop tarts from Black Jet Baking Company. You can also grab some half-off rugelach for your Purim basket from Noe Valley Bakery (though sadly, the fig bread is full price). Even old-school Cinderella Bakery is part of the action, even if you tend not to think of beef piroshkis as sweets. Check out the full menu at Yelp and you'll be mainlining Mission Minis by the end of the week.

New York refugee Jesse Hirsch tweets at @Jesse_Hirsch. Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie, and like us on Facebook.

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Discount Site BlackboardEats Makes a Play for Foodie Insiders

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Betelnut's salt-and-pepper sweetbreads, one of four dishes available to BlackboardEats subscribers. - SARA KRAUS PHOTOGRAPHY/BLACKBOARDEATS
  • Sara Kraus Photography/BlackboardEats
  • Betelnut's salt-and-pepper sweetbreads, one of four dishes available to BlackboardEats subscribers.

Coupon deals are the club-night postcards cluttering up your windshield, so how does a deal site get noticed? The six-month-old San Francisco franchise of BlackboardEats is hoping to stand out, not just by pimping percent-off deals to the masses, but by framing the discounts as insider perks for foodies eager for so-called secret menus. Example: The offal-centric Malaysian dishes available starting today at Betelnut for subscribers to BlackboardEats, part of a 60-day promotion.

BlackBoard Eats launched first in New York, then L.A. Amy Sherman, the site's San Francisco editor, says the Betelnut menu is a first here, though she previously engineered an upsized tasting menu for BlackboardEats members at Mr. Pollo. The way it works: Deals are announced Tuesdays and Thursdays, and you have 24 hours to log onto the BE site, subscribe, and download a special passcode. Then, when you make reservation at a participating restaurant you mention the code, or just recite it to the waiter (or flash it on your phone's screen). Discounts are typically 30 percent, and it normally it costs $1 to download the code, but ― for Betelnut ― the buck service fee is being waived.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

Cheap Tickets for Drink at the Fairmont

Posted By on Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 1:31 PM


Where: Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason (at California), 772-5000

When: Sat., Mar. 12, 7-9 p.m.

Cost: $15 (discounted from $50)

Next Saturday, SF Weekly is hosting Drink, a two-hour glass-drainer devoted to cocktails, beer, and wine. Normal admission price is $50, but for today only ― like jewel-eyed cat brooches on QVC or something ― tickets are priced to move! Click fast and you can pick them up for $15, not much more than the cost of a cab ride home. Because, believe us, you don't want to think about getting behind the wheel of the Camry after this one.

Purchase at the Voice Deal of the Day page

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Discount Cooking Classes in Berkeley

Posted By on Wed, Mar 2, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Yep, sort of like that.
  • Yep, sort of like that.

Where: Kitchen on Fire, 1509 Shattuck (at Vine), Berkeley, 510-548-2665

When: Tapas class, Sun., Mar. 6, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; knife skills class, Mon., Mar. 7, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Cost: $55/$50

Peek at the website of Berkeley's Kitchen on Fire and you'll see two zany, high-intensity dudes with 100-watt smiles horsing around in the kitchen. Don't be put off by the silliness; these guys can cook. And at discount classes offered Sunday and Monday night, you'll see why their events can sell out weeks in advance. As part of Yelp Culture Club, KoF is offering a pair of cooking classes for $25 off the regular rates.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Luella Pouring $4 Wines by the Glass All Month

Posted By on Tue, Mar 1, 2011 at 12:50 PM

  • Luella/Facebook

Where: Luella, 1896 Hyde (at Green), 674-4343

When: Sun.-Thu. throughout the month of March

Restaurant years are like dog ones, especially for neighborhood places. Luella's has survived six, which lands it firmly in restaurant middle age. To celebrate, the owners are pouring $4 glasses of wine all month. Oh, and that middle age metaphor? Just like 50 is the new 30, six is the new four. Really.

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