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Friday, February 5, 2016

Bar Fight: Brass Tacks Vs. Two Sisters

Posted By on Fri, Feb 5, 2016 at 2:00 AM

click image This might get rough. - EVERETT COLLECTION/REX FEATURES, VIA THE GUARDIAN.
  • Everett Collection/Rex Features, via the Guardian.
  • This might get rough.

In a city brimming with brilliant bars, how’s a person supposed to decide where to go for a decent drink? Introducing: Bar Fight, a one-man mission to hit up San Francisco’s finest watering holes, and pit them against each other two at a time, drink by drink, to see who does it best.

The rules are: entirely made up. I’ll try to pick two bars in the same neighborhood with a similar aesthetic (i.e. dives won’t go up against “craft cocktail” places), giving focus both to new spots and to veterans. That said, because (most) barkeeps are capable of pulling a beer, this will necessarily skew towards places that make drinks. Most of the focus will go to the drink itself, to maintain some semblance of objectivity, but points are also given for style, ambiance, etc. Let the games begin!

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Checking In On: The Reopened Orbit Room

Posted By on Wed, Nov 25, 2015 at 3:13 PM


Oh, man how we love a resurrection story. After going dark for approximately six months after the previous owner's passing in March, The Orbit Room — that ground-floor Deco-accented bar with Mercator projections and a chandelier that looks like a representation of the Big Bang — is back. Very little has changed: There are still $18 pizzas, and the decor is mostly the same (including the dead zone between the restroom and the rear of the bar). I think a couple of tchotchkes are gone, but at least they take credit cards now.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Hayes Valley's Project Juice Makes Food for the Nutrition-Averse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 1:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

San Francisco does not want for juice joints, and the latest, Project Juice (on Hayes Street, in what used to house the ill-fated Schulzies Bread Pudding) does a good job of evading the drink-your-medicine, carrot-kale-banana trap. Not to knock those keystones of the food pyramid or anything, but nutrition-averse people like myself are going to want more than mere phytonutrients and antioxidants.

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The Tacos at Tacos Cala Are Terrific

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

When I ate at Cala some weeks ago, I was impressed with with frito mixto, the tamal de mijilloes, and the mixiote of black cod with red chile adobo. All delicious, and all — at $15-$36 — priced for dinner. To make better use of Cala’s space (it fronts onto Fell, with its rear end on a weird block of Hickory Street that doesn’t see much traffic, vehicular or pedestrian), chef-owner Gabriela Cámara has opened things up during the day for tacos.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

MEOW: The KitTea Cafe Is Open!

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 8:01 AM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane
  • So many cats!

It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!

KitTea co-founder Michael Wiggins took me on a small, casual tour, during which I stopped paying any attention to him on at least three distinct occasions because cats are so damn cute. He and his team sought to re-create the cat cafes that are all over Tokyo and Taipei (being cities with tiny apartments not always suited to animal companions) but without the emphasis on dollhouse furniture and other kitsch.

“They’re not always environments you’d spend time in absent the cats,” Wiggins said.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Caffeine Scene: Artís Coffee Opens in Hayes Valley

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • Artís Coffee
Artís Coffee in Hayes Valley serves up one of the smoothest cups of coffee, period. The newly opened, cozy, 500-square-foot space specializes in live coffee roasting, and ably marries the old world (beans) with the new, new third-wave world (technology via roasting and brewing machines with coffee accessories every which way). I honed in on a double filtered machine called the Blossom One, which was the source of a fruity and mild cup of hot Galena Abaya coffee made with beans from Ethiopia. 

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Monday, April 27, 2015

Dominique Crenn Nabs Former Bar Jules Space

Posted By on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Flickr

When Jessica Boncutter announced that Bar Jules was closing after eight years of handwritten menus in the window announcing that day’s kitchen output, Hayes Valley groaned in collective dismay.

But the space at 609 Hayes won’t be collecting cobwebs for long, since Atelier Crenn’s Dominique Crenn is moving in with something called Petit Crenn.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

Eat This: Grilled Paris Ham at Monsieur Benjamin's New Brunch

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 9:31 AM

Grilled Paris Ham at Monsieur Benjamin - ALICE DISHES
  • Alice Dishes
  • Grilled Paris Ham at Monsieur Benjamin

Don’t tell anyone, but there’s an amazing place to get weekend brunch in trendy Hayes Valley and there are no lines. Last weekend, without fanfare or announcements, the Parisian-bistro inspired Monsieur Benjamin, which opened in September, quietly started offering brunch. The lack of lines won’t last long, so be sure to get there before word gets around.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Souvla Announces Takeaway Rotisserie Chickens, Weekend Brunch

Posted By on Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 3:12 PM

Soon Souvla will offer more than wraps and salads. - JESSICA CHRISTIAN
  • Jessica Christian
  • Soon Souvla will offer more than wraps and salads.

Good news for anyone who loves Hayes Valley's newish Greek spot, Souvla, as much as I do. Feta-brined, Rocky Jr. free-range rotisserie chickens are dropping on the menu today, $20 each, only available for takeout and only available for purchase in the store (meaning they're not available on Square Order or through the Souvla website yet). Chickens be available from 6 p.m. until sold out, and because of production constraints and rotisserie real estate they're only starting with a dozen a day, so get there early.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Watch This Sweet Video of Candy-Making at Papabubble SF

Posted By on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

Papabubble's rainbow confections sometimes have messages inside. - INSTAGRAM/PAPABUBBLE

If you haven't made it to Hayes Valley's newest candy store, Papabubble yet, you're missing out on a wondrous world of confections.

See, much like Willy Wonka's famous factory, the mini-chain makes its intricate candies in-store, and it is quite a production to behold if you're lucky enough to catch them mid-process (most afternoons).

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  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"