Archive for the ‘San Francisco’ Category

Mountain Lion Shot & Killed Near Chez Panisse, Berkeley – San Francisco

Friday, September 3rd, 2010
A cougar was shot and killed by police in the area adajacent to Alice Waters’Chez Panisse. Was it entirely necessary to kill this animal? The Fish & Game Department were too slow to react, as they have a large
region to cover
with limited staff, and most likely do not carry the necessary tranquilizer guns and large nets required to deal with this type of situation and tranquillizer darts are often slow to react.


Sadly, a cougar was shot and killed by police while roaming in the residential area adjacent to Alice Water’s restaurant Chez Panisse. Was it entirely necessary to kill this animal?  It seems that apparently the Fish & Game Department were too slow to react, due to the large region they cover with a limited staff, and in any case, they most likely do not carry the necessary tranquilizer guns and large nets required to deal with this type of situation. In addition, tranquilizer darts are often slow to react. Berkeley Police thought that it was prudent to kill the animal as it was leaping over back garden fences and presumably posed a threat to residents, homeless people and others.

SPQR Restaurant, Natural Wine Week – San Francisco

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

SPQR 3Orange is Natural! Promoting Natural Wine is a cause that this website, Restaurant Dining Critiques is very supportive of. We believe in using as few additives in wines and organic if possible.

SPQR is excited to be part of San Francisco’s natural wine week starting on Monday August 23rd. Supporting “Natural” wines is something that comes naturally to SPQR as most of the wines they pour tend to favor little manipulation and/or organic wine making practices. However to further celebrate natural wine making week they are emphasizing a class of wines often referred to as “orange wines”. “Orange wines” are made by ultra purist wine makers with a philosophy of practically zero intervention or manipulation. During Natural Wine Week they will also be honoring natural women wine makers by pouring the ‘Aretha’ flight named for the song “Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”. Orange is a color said to promote happiness so please join SPQR and get happy with orange wines!

The restaurant will be highlighting the following producers as follows:

Monday August 23- Radikon
Tuesday August 24- Rusticum
Wednesday August 25- Gravner
Thursday August 26- Vodopivec
Friday August 27- Damijan & COS Pithos Bianco
Saturday August 28- Movia Lunar
Sunday August 29- La Castellada Ribolla

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They welcome you to make your reservation through their website:

Make a Reservation

A16 Restaurant, S.F. Natural Wine Week, August 23-29 – San Francisco

Friday, August 20th, 2010


2355 Chestnut St. | 415.771.2216 | Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30pm-10:00pm, Fri 5:30pm-11pm, Sat 5:00pm-11:00pm, Sun 5:00pm-10:00pm | Lunch: Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm

A16 – The cuisine of Campania and the wood fired pizzas of Naples brought to San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood.

SF Natural Wine Week, August 23-29
Ciao amici!

In celebration of Natural Wine Week, A16 Restaurant & Wine Bar will be hosting seven natural wine making leaders each night this coming week, the masters behind these great wines will be
joining us here at A16 as we will be pouring a lineup of their wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. We are honored to be participating in the city wide celebration of sustainable wine making practices and hope that you can join these wonderful wine makers to learn more about their craft and vision. Here is the line up for this coming week.

Monday, August 23 – Palmina Wines with Chrystal & Steve Clifton

Tuesday, August 24- Robert Sinskey Vineyards with Robert & Maria Helm Sinskey

Wednesday, August 25- Bonny Doon Vineyards with Randall Graham

Thursday, August 26- Unti Vineyards Mick and George Unti

Friday, August 27- Whetstone Wine Cellars with Jamey Whetstone

Saturday, August 28- Peay Vineyards with Andy Peay

Sunday, August 29- Brown Estate Vineyards with Deneen Brown & Stefanie Kelly

For more information about SF Natural wine week please see ( )

click here

Jeremiah Tower’s Tumultuous Times in San Francisco

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Stars Restaurant, San Francisco

Jeremiah Tower was indeed a colorful character in his heyday in San Francisco, he was an infamous tippler who favored prodigious quantities of Champagne; he usually wore red socks, never mind if they clashed with the rest of his outfit; by his many public admissions, including a few catty remarks he made about two-timing Alice Water with her own boyfriend (apparently he would go in any direction when it came to his sexual preferences); during the stormy business relationship between he and his partner Doyle Moon, Tower commented, that Moon was . . . “a fierce Apache in mirrored sunglasses”.

If you were not living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80s and early 90s you might not be aware that Jeremiah Tower was the head chef at Chez Panisse and together with Alice Waters were instrumental in spearheading what was to be called “California Cuisine”. He did a stint as chef at Balboa Cafe, he was also the chef and co-owner of Santa Fe Bar and Grill, a 50% partner, the chef, and center of attention at the “super restaurant” Stars.

Below is a link to William Grimes, the New York Times Critic’s brilliant piece written after the release of Tower’s controversial book, “California Dish: What I saw (and cooked) at the American Culinary Revolution” (2003).

Critic’s Notebook; Raising a Glass to Himself; Jeremiah Tower Grills His Peers

Another link to an interesting article, written around the same time period, by Kim Severson, SF Chronicle Staff Writer, follows:

Jeremiah Tower’s memoir of a turning point in American cuisine is hot and salty, sweet and sour

Recently J.T. has been reported living between Italy and Mexico, scuba diving and resurrecting old colonial houses.

Jeremiah Tower, Robert Lawrence Balzer (image credit: Alan Berliner for SF Chronicle)Jeremiah Tower with wine author, Robert Lawrence Balzer (image credit: Alan Berliner for SF Chronicle)

La Folie Restaurant – San Francisco

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

La Folie, San Francisco (image credit: La Folie)

2316 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tel. 415-776-5577
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Expensive

Roland Passot, the chef-owner of La Folie opened the strictly French restaurant about 20 years ago, I remember I made it a habit to stop by for dinner on each visit to the bay area; at that time it was family run, although it still maintained a certain formality. In the dining room his wife Jamie was at the door, and brother Georges would pour wine.

Recently the restaurant has gone through another redo, and has emerged looking like a sophisticated Manhattan establishment with polished wood paneling and vertical mirrors and a reshuffled menu. Passot is still behind the stoves—and loving it! Foie Gras reigns as King at La Folie and his presentation of foie gras with brioche is a must, along with many other dishes concocted in the fashion of Lyon where he grew up.

La Folie Lounge, a smart spot for cocktails and small-bites next door is already collecting its own clientele, in addition to those who drop in before or after dinner at La Folie.

Saison – San Francisco

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Saison Restaurant, San Francisco (image credit: Mission
2124 Folsom Street
(between 17th St & 18th St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Tel. 415.828.7990
Fri. 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Sat-Sun. 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Attire: Casual
Credit Cards: Yes
Parking: Street
Prices: Expensive

Reservations: For Reservations, please call: 415.828.7990 or online at:
reservations are taken by phone tuesday through sunday 11am-5pm, one month to the calendar date.

Saison, hidden behind the Stable Cafe, is dubbed these days as a “Pop-Up” operation, it is a new type of emerging restaurant, an establishment that began operation by restricting opening to only one night a week, on Sunday nights.  Since then, it has expanded the schedule to include weekend nights Friday, Saturday & Sunday. In Saison’s case, the space has a dual use as chef Joshua Skenes contracts the use of the kitchen during weekdays to make gourmet sandwiches to be sold on a food cart. This entire situation was brought about and evolved into what it is, because of the challenging times facing restaurant ownership today. Joshua Skenes and his friend Mark Bright, a wine consultant, conceived this idea to make the best use of the space. Kris Esqueda handles the dining room and seating. To obtain a reservation you must make it online through Open Table, one seating on Friday and two seatings on Saturday and Sunday or by telephone at the number listed above.

Skenes held a position in the kitchen of famed Chef, Jean-George Vongerichtten. He was spotted by Michael Mina and he asked Skenes to help open Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Resort in Monarch Beach at Dana Point. Skenes accepted a position as the Executive Chef at Stonehill Tavern. Mark Bright also assisted in the wine programs at many of Mina’s restaurants including Arcadia in San Jose, Sea Blue and Nob Hill at MGM Grand Las Vegas, and Stonehill Tavern at the St. Regis Monarch Bay.

Quince – San Francisco

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

470 Pacific Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133
Tel. 415-775-8500
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Expensive

Michael & Lindsay Tusk’s restaurant Quince is settling into its new digs, an airy and modern room that was the former space of Myth on Pacific Ave. If any improvement has been made to Quince’s already exemplary cooking, in all likelihood, it was due to adding more kitchen space.
David Lynch, a former wine director of Babbo, opened by Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich, is also a member of the Quince team and manages the beverage end of the operation.
Two of the cooking highlights sampled were; a tagliatelle and crab, laden with succulent, fresh Dungeness crab meat, and a moist and juicy pigeon was roasted to perfection.

During his career Michael was a chef at Chez Panisse and Oliveto and Lindsay worked the front at Oliveto and Boulevard.

Hong Kong Lounge, Richmond – San Francisco

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Hong Kong Lounge, RichmondContributed by Carole Chung

Hong Kong Lounge
(formerly Hong Kong Flower Lounge)
5322 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121 (Richmond)
Tel. 415-668-8836
Credit Cards: Yes
Prices: Inexpensive

Is this just another loud and dirty Chinese restaurant with children running wild around the tables under harsh fluorescent lighting? It is loud, and it isn’t sparkling clean, and you must take a number slip and wait in  long lines, but the dim sum is good here, although it is delivered sans carts (you order from a paper list) and servers will bring them bit by bit in due time. Go early, stick to the basics, avoid the weekends and you should be all right—and remember, the prices are right!

Smuggler’s Cove Bar – San Francisco

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco (image file credit: Smuggler's Cove)

650 Gough Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
Tel. 415.869.1900

Smuggler’s Cove offers a whole new approach to rum by featuring a vast array of traditional Caribbean drinks, classic libations of Prohibition-Era Havana, and famous exotic cocktails from legendary tiki bars. In addition, Smuggler’s Cove will offer an unparalleled selection of rare and premium rums from around the world to sip slowly on their own or blended into exotic cocktails. Martin Cate is a San Francisco Bay Area based rum & exotic cocktail expert who for over a decade has been passionate about rum & tropical cocktails. He was the co-creator, designer and chief mixologist for Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge in Alameda, CA. He has met with over a dozen rum distillers in five countries, and lectured at Bourbon and Branch’s Beverage Academy, Tales of the Cocktail, and Tiki Oasis. “I am very excited to help showcase this wonderfully varied spirit both on its own and in delicious cocktails. A great rum drink can be simple and elegant, or complex and dynamic, but it must always be balanced, approachable, and just a pleasure to drink”, says Martin Cate.  Martin has traveled the world to learn the rich history and explore the traditional spices and regional ingredients of the world’s rum producing countries in order to feature them in the cocktails of Smuggler’s Cove. As an award-winning mixologist and member of the United States Bartenders Guild for the last four years, Martin is committed to using only the best quality spirits, fresh-squeezed juices, and housemade ingredients. But while Martin is serious about the drinks, he knows that people are looking for a memorable and fun experience as well. Smuggler’s Cove will be more than just a tiki bar, but it will feature the kind of dramatic, mysterious, and escapist atmosphere that makes a tiki bar so special and makes rum taste better! Smuggler’s Cove will include waterfalls, vintage nautical decor and rum memorabilia, and relics from some of San Francisco’s most famous historic watering holes.  The drinks list has over 80 drinks and more than 200 hundred different rums. They also feature an exclusive, handcrafted rum: Eurydice, a 100% California grown and produced artisan product from the distillers at St. George Spirits, and 100% fresh citrus juice is squeezed in-house daily.

A crew of expert bartenders and mixologists behind the bar who have honed their craft at some of the top spots in San Francisco and Los Angeles, including Gitane, Heaven’s Dog, Malo, Range, Seven Grand, Trader Vic’s, and The Varnish.

Meredith Brody, Restaurant Critic, Terminated by SF Weekly – San Francisco

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

small logo RDC(Culinary Tidbits . . . Meredith Brody, one of the major restaurant critics in San Francisco, has been terminated from SF Weekly. They are searching for a new replacement and there may be a long queue, until applicants find out that for the most part critics are highly underpaid. In the meantime, Matthew Stafford, her predecessor, will temporarily fill her boots. However, under the surface, it might be that the Weekly wanted a change from long-form critical reviews to a more blogger-type, breezy and newsy style.