Food and Drink

Appetite: Refreshing the Starlight

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Sampling the new, revamped Harry Denton's Starlight Room cocktails. All photos by Virginia Miller

Tonight, September 6th, Harry Denton's legendary Starlight Room will reopen, revamped, with brand new menus and look. Though the space wasn't quite ready for a sneak peek, I was able sample a few of the cocktails that will be on offer from bar manager Joel Teitelbaum's winning menu.

Grouped together by time periods, the menu starts with the 1600s and punch, ending with Starlight Room classics from great bartenders who have launched from here over the years (like Tony Abou-Ganim, Marco Dionysos, Jacques Bezuidenhout). Other sections include The Jerry Thomas Years (1860's), The Dry Years - Prohibition (1920-1933), and Dark Times (1980's - this one with updated versions of '80's hits like the Fuzzy Navel).

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Appetite: 3 to watch -- new restaurants, noteworthy bites

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Open for a matter of weeks or months, these new spots show promise with dishes I'm still thinking about...

LE BORDEAUX - French sausage
The new Le Bordeaux, tucked away in North Beach, holds some subtle surprises. General description: ultra-traditional French bistro fare in a Euro cafe with woodsy, rustic country lodge feel. It's a blessedly mellow respite for lunch or dinner. The winning dish thus far is Boudin blanc ($18), that light, gentle white pork sausage I love so, common in France as well as in New Orleans cuisine.

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Appetite: Oompah and bratwurst in Larkspur

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Think towering redwoods, smoky aromas of sausages, onions and peppers wafting from a grill, German beers on tap from a cooler, and a darling oompah band of elderly gentleman playing with spunk and skill. Enter the just-launched-this-week Biergarten at the Tavern at Lark Creek. For a short jaunt from the city to Larkspur, it feels worlds away.

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Buche on a bike? Dreams come true, courtesy of El Taco Bike

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Why does Alfonso Dominguez, owner of Oakland's Tamarindo, La Calle, and partial owner of Era Art Bar and Lounge, spend his free time hawking tacos from a bike? An avid cyclist and owner of six different bikes himself, we got the idea talking to him last week that Dominguez built El Taco Bike to prove it was possible in the first place.

We're in full support. Too few snack foods come off the back of bicycles these days. Read more »

Bluestem Brasserie

Sean Canavan's dishes are exercises in well-controlled forcefulness, and James Ormsby's deserts offer a delightful finish

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paulr@sfbg.com

DINE In Bizarro world, dinner would begin with dessert — I know someone who truly hopes this particular sun will indeed rise in the west one day. And if your pastry chef happened to be James Ormsby, you not only would probably not get around to your savory courses, you might very well not be able to get up from the table. Ormsby, interestingly, is the pastry chef at the newly opened Bluestem, and he does not disappoint, though his confections are right where convention says they should be, at the end of the meal.Read more »

Of wings and thumbs

A Sang Tung disappointment, but a good save by Perilla

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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Hedgehog has a favorite restaurant in San Francisco. No, it's not John's Snack & Deli, but only because you can't sit down in there, and so it's hard sometimes to think of it as a restaurant. Hedgehog's favorite restaurant restaurant is San Tung, the incredible chicken wing place.

We tried to go there during our Avenue Days. We did, we walked through the Golden Gate Park, past the De Young Museum, around that other thing, and then across the Big Rec baseball diamonds diagonally.Read more »

Parking on the park

Rec-Park proposes facilities for more food trucks in Dolores Park
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news@sfbg.com

In a steering committee meeting for the Dolores Park Rehabilitation Project on August 4, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department (RPD) officials stunned the committee with a proposal to bring in more food trucks. The move came just two days after a ballot measure that would have banned more such leases in city parks was removed from the fall ballot.Read more »

Appetite: Orson cocktails -- worth a revisit?

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Orson bar manager Ian Adams shows inspired vision in his cocktails. He's having fun pairing them with a new four-course dinner, but even more so, his everyday cocktails shine with enough twists to keep me intrigued. Read more »

Sweet streets: Gelatin dessert art at this weekend's Street Food Festival

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As the foodie masses descend on the Mission for Sat/20's Street Food Festival, they'll be met with a diverse representation of what San Francisco eats. In this corner, fancy brick and mortar spots: Slanted Door, 15 Romolo, and Rye are but a few representatives of the eateries that are taking grills and spatulas into the fresh air this weekend. But for sheer culinary comeliness, the big guys have a serious contender when it comes to Sweets Collection arty gelatin creations. 

Graduates of the La Cocina street food incubator program will total a solid 50 percent of the 60 vendors in attendance at the festival. The varying styles of food preparation are meant to express the breadth of eats in San Francisco, but also to reinforce the fact that the huarache you buy at your local farmer's market has the culinary chops to stand up against many places that take Visa. Read more »

Munchies

Our new Herbwise column tells you what to smoke (and eat) for this year's SF Street Food Festival

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HERBWISE There will be things at this weekend's Street Food Festival that you will want to eat. Oh yes, very much so. And damn if there won't be things that you will want to look at — and then eat.

One of these things will be Rosa Rodriguez' Sweets Collection gelatin desserts: small, sweet cups in which three dimensional flowers bloom, taunting you to stick a spoon in them. I will take them over designer cupcakes any day.Read more »