Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Starbucks Launching McCartney's Latest

IN THE NEWS: If you can't stand Paul McCartney music, you don't want to go into one of the many San Jose-area Starbucks on June 5. That's the day the Seattle coffee giant will launch McCartney's first album recorded on Starbucks' Hear Music label, called "Memory Almost Full," the Pugent Sound Business Journal reports. The album will be played in all Starbucks stores, all day, all over the world, Starbucks officials said. "Customers from Taipei to Topeka have the opportunity to experience this extraordinary album all within a span of 24 hours," said Ken Lombard, who is president of Starbucks Entertainment and runs Hear Music, in a statement. In March, Starbucks Corp. announced that former Beatle McCartney would be the first musician signed for Los Angeles-based Hear Music. ... The Mercury News' Aleta Wastson awards three and a half stars in her review of The Grill on the Alley (172 S. Market St., at the Fairmont Hotel, San Jose), while Steven Chae stops by Whiz Burger (802 N. 13th St., San Jose). . mercurynews.com ... Metro Active's Stett Holbrook reviews three Afghani eateries: Ariana's Kabob House (4342 Thornton Ave., Fremont), Zaytoon Steak and Kabab (3701 Peralta Blvd., Fremont) and De Afghanistan Kabob House (37405 Fremont Blvd., Fremont). metroactive.com ... A Boston Globe story details Boston chef Chris Douglass' (co-owner of Icarus in the South End and Ashmont Grill in Dorchester) recent stint as a "celebrity chef ambassador" at Monterey Bay Aquarium's conference on fish stewardship. boston.com ... Blogger Food Notebook foodnotebook.com stops by Little Belmont Cafe (232 Harbor Blvd, Belmont).

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 21, 2007

SF Weekly's Best of San Francisco List

SF Weekly's sfweekly.com annual Best of San Francisco is out, with Coi named the critics' Best New High End Restaurant. As for the readers choices:

Best Restaurant: Delfina
Best New Restaurant: Umami
Best Chef: Craig Stoll
Best Late-Night Eats: Sparky’s
Best Hidden Restaurant: Nopa
Best Patio: The Ramp
Best Romantic Restaurant: Fleur de Lys
Best Vegetarian Restaurant: Greens
Best Seafood Restaurant: Aqua
Best Greasy Spoon: The Pork Store
Best Thai Restaurant: Marnee Thai
Best Ethiopian Restaurant: Axum Café
Best Middle Eastern Restaurant: Yumma’s Mediterranean Grill
Best Italian Restaurant: Delfina
Best Chinese Restaurant: House of Nanking
Best Greek Restaurant: Kokkari Estiatorio
Best Japanese Restaurant: Umami
Best Indian Restaurant: Naan n Curry
Best French Restaurant: Jeanty at Jack’s
Best California Cuisine: Zuni
Best Bakery: Tartine
Best Desserts: Citizen Cake
Best Ice Cream: Mitchell’s
Best Sandwiches: House of Bagels
Best Burrito: Papalote
Best Burger: Burgermeister
Best Steak: Izzy’s
Best Dim Sum: Yank Sing
Best Pizza: Little Star
Best Sushi: Ozumo
Best Brunch: Mama’s
Best Tapas/Small Plates: Cha Cha Cha
Best Barbecue: Memphis Minnie’s
Best Coffeehouse: Philz Coffee
Best Teahouse: Samovar
Best Grocery Store: Rainbow
Best Produce: Whole Foods
Best Farmers’ Market: Ferry Plaza
Best Bar: Zeitgeist
Best Brewpub: San Francisco Brewing Company
Best Wine Bar: CAV Wine Bar and Kitchen
Best Pickup Bar: Beauty Bar
Best Dyke Bar: The Lexington
Best Gay Bar: The Café
Best Hipster Bar: Zeitgeist
Best Karaoke Bar: The Mint
Best Smoking Bar: Amber
Best Happy Hour: The Elbo Room

Esquire's Best Bars Includes SF Foursome
Esquire magazine's second annual Best Bars of America list is out in the June 2007 issue. They include:

Lou's Pub & Package, Birmingham, Ala.; J Lounge, Golden Gopher, The Edison, The Broadway Bar, La Cita, Bordello, Redwood, and Bar 107, Los Angeles; Musso & Frank Grill, Hollywood, Calif.; The Polo Lounge, Beverly Hills; Beach Ball, Newport Beach, Calif.; Brennan's Pub, Marina Del Ray, Calif.; Bourbon & Branch, The Owl Tree, Vesuvio, and Zeitgeist, San Francisco; The Sportsman, Sonora, Calif.; Cruise Room, and El Chapultepec, Denver; Jimbo's, and Churchill's Pub, Miami; The Clermont Lounge, Atlanta; Lewers Lounge at the Halekulani Hotel, and La Mariana Sailing Club, Honolulu; The California Clipper, The Red Lion Pub, Bungalow, The Matchbox, Hideout, and Chipp Inn, Chicago; The Red Key, and Nicky Blaine's, Indianapolis; The Old Seelbach Bar, Louisville; The Chart Room, The Bar at Tujague's, Fritzel's European Jazz Pub, and Napoleon House, New Orleans; The Brewer's Art, and Shamrock Inn, Baltimore; B-Side Lounge, Cambridge, Mass.; No. 9 Park, Boston; Doyle's Cafe, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; The Bar at Seldom Blues, Detroit; Miller's Bar, Dearborn, Mich.; Bulldog NE, and Nye's Polonaise Room, Minneapolis; Half Time Rec, St. Paul; John D. McGurk's, St. Louis; Any bar on the Strip, Double Down Saloon, and Petrossian Bar, Las Vegas; Bemelmans Bar in the Carlyle Hotel, Little Branch, The Bar at Keens Steakhouse, Minetta Tavern, Jimmy's Corner, The Angel's Share, The Brooklyn Inn, The Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, Flatiron Lounge, The Saloon, San Domenico Restaurant, Spuyten Duyvil, 21 Club, Grassroots Tavern, Bill's Gay 90s, Julius', and Pegu Club, New York City; Freddy's Bar & Backroom, Brooklyn; Bohemian Hall & Beer Garden, Queens; Thomas Street Tavern, Charlotte, NC; Andyman's Treehouse, Columbus, Ohio; The Library Bar & Grill, Norman, Okla.; Friendly Lounge, The Grey Lodge, and Southwark, Philadelphia; Dee's Cafe, Pittsburgh; Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and Robert's Western World, Nashville; La Tuna, San Antonio; Donn's Depot, Austin; The Inwood Lounge, Dallas; Shooting Star Saloon, Huntsville, Utah; Sambar, Zig Zag Cafe, and Fu Kun Wu, Seattle; Hawk 'n' Dove, and The Tune Inn, Washington, DC; Holler House, Milwaukee.

IN THE NEWS: The New York Times reports on the revival of San Jose and references restaurants Arcadia and Original Joe's. nytimes.com ... The Mercury News' Aleta Watson gives two and a half stars to Palace B.B.Q. Buffet (1092 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale). mercurynews.com ... Metro Active's Stett Holbrook reviews Udupi Palace (976 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale). metroactive.com ... FoodNotebook.com stops by Two restaurant in SOMA.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Monday, May 14, 2007

SF No. 3 on Best Restaurant Cities List

"Today ... most major cities in the U.S. have the kind of gastronomic diversity and regionality that is rich in every department, and even if you’ve visited recently, you can be sure that next time you go, there’ll be more new and enticing restaurants than you could possibly visit," writes Donald Burnam in a recent ForbesTraveler.com piece, "America's Best Restaurant Cities." "It’s getting hard not to have a great meal anywhere in the U.S.." Burnam continues.

Forbes' Top 10 Restaurant Cities:
1. New York City
2. Chicago
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
5. New Orleans
6. Houston
7. Washington, D.C.
8. Atlanta
9. Boston
10. Las Vegas

Rankings were based on: Overall number of restaurants above the fast food level; Number of fine dining restaurants with national and international standing; Solid representation of regional American food; A wide segment of second-tier restaurants that would include seafood, steakhouses, and independently chef-owned restaurants; Breadth and depth of ethnic restaurants, especially if the city has neighborhood such as a Chinatown; A significant number of neigborhood restaurants where the locals tend to eat out regularly; A well-traveled clientele that regards eating out in that city one of the real pleasures of going there.

IN THE NEWS: Critic Aleta Watson reviews Los Gatos Brewing Co. (130 N. Santa Cruz Ave., at Grays Lane, Los Gatos) in the Mercury News, while Sylvia Ulloa critiques Red Kwali with Martin Yan (179 Ranch Drive, Milpitas). mercurynews.com ... Metro Active reviews the pizza at Slice (266 E. Campbell Ave., Campbell). metroactive.com

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Keller, Des Jardins Among Beard Winners

Chicago's Frontera Grill won Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Michel Richard of Michel Richard Citronelle in Washington, D.C. was named Outstanding Chef at the 2007 James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony. Hosted by CBS Early Show anchor Hannah Storm, the Beard Awards were held May 7 at Avery Fisher Hall in New York's Lincoln Center. More than 60 awards were presented by the country's pre-eminent nonprofit culinary organization, in its 20th anniversary celebration, and more than 1,600 industry leaders attended the ceremony. Other top awards went to: New York's L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, named Best New Restaurant; Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Yountville, Ca.) received the award for Outstanding Restaurateur; and David Chang (Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York) received the Rising Star Chef of the Year award. Celebrity and culinary superstar attendees included Stephanie March, Ted Allen, Katie Lee Joel, Martha Stewart, Wolfgang Puck, Bobby Flay, Thomas Keller, Jose Andres, Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Padma Lakshmi, and Marcus Samuelsson. The Foundation's Media Awards took place at a separate event at the Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway Hotel on May 6. All Award winners received a bronze medallion etched with the image of the late James Beard, the esteemed chef, cookbook author, and food journalist. There are no cash awards. Established in 1990, the James Beard Foundation Awards recognizes outstanding achievement within the fine food and beverage industry in North America. For full awards results, please visit http://www.jamesbeard.org.

Beard Award highlights are:

AMERICA'S CLASSICS: Primanti Brothers, Demetrios Patrinos, Pittsburgh, Pa.; The Pickwick, Christopher Wisocki, Duluth, Minn.; Doe's Eat Place, The Signa Family, Greenville, Miss.; Aunt Carrie's, Elsie Foy, Narragansett, R.I.; I

Brookville Hotel, Mark and Connie Martin, Abilene, Kan.; Weaver D's, Dexter Weaver, Athens, Ga.

BEST CHEF, GREAT LAKES: Grant Achatz, Alinea, Chicago

BEST CHEF, MID-ATLANTIC: R.J. Cooper, III, Vidalia, Washington, DC

BEST CHEF, MIDWEST: Celina Tio, The American Restaurant, Kansas City, Mo.

BEST CHEF, NEW YORK CITY: David Waltuck, Chanterelle, New York, NY

BEST CHEF, NORTHEAST: Frank McClelland, L'Espalier, Boston

BEST CHEF, NORTHWEST: John Sundstrom, Lark, Seattle

BEST CHEF, PACIFIC: Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière, San Francisco

BEST CHEF, SOUTH: Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

BEST CHEF, SOUTHEAST: Scott Peacock, Watershed, Decatur, Ga.

BEST CHEF, SOUTHWEST: Nobuo Fukuda, Sea Saw, Scottsdale, Ariz.

BEST NEW RESTAURANT: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Chef-Owner: Joël Robuchon, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING CHEF: Michel Richard, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF: Michael Laskonis, Le Bernardin, New York, NY

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT: Frontera Grill, chef-owner: Rick and Deann Bayless, Chicago

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR: Thomas Keller, The French Laundry, Yountville, Calif.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE: Rick Tramonto, Gale Gand, and Richard Melman, Tru, Chicago

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL: Paul Draper, Ridge Vineyards, Cupertino, Calif.

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE: Mark Slater, Michel Richard Citronelle, Washington, DC

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR: David Chang, Momofuku Noodle Bar, New York, NY

In other area Beard award winners, the San Francisco Chronicle's Food and Wine sections were named Best Newspaper Section for the second straight year. Chronicle staff writer Janet Fletcher's story on how to cook duck won in the category of Best Feature Story with Recipes. And winner for Best Local Television Food Show went to Check, Please! Bay Area, with host Leslie Sbrocco at KQED Public Television in San Francisco, with producer Tina Salter.

IN THE NEWS: USA Today's May 4 story on the ethical eating movement -- which is driven by customers who seek out food that is produced locally, organically and in a manner that has minimal effect on animals and the environment -- includes mention of these restaurants: Red Avocado, Iowa City, Iowa; T'afia, Houston; Sage's Cafe, Salt Lake City; Early Girl Eatery, Asheville, N.C.; Chez Panisse, Berkeley, Calif.; Restaurant Nora, Washington, D.C. ... Mercury News critic Aleta Watson awards three stars in her review of the Indian restaurant Rangoli, 3695 Union Ave., at Camden in San Jose ... Metro Active critic Stett Holbrook reviews the Malaysian eatery Rasa Malaysian (formerly Penang Garden), 1290 Coleman Ave. in Santa Clara ... Blogger A Taste of the Suburbs visits Crepes Cafe, 1195 Merrill St. in Menlo Park ... New York blogger The Amateur Gourmet visits San Francisco and lists his favorite stops.

Compiled by Pat Embry, WhereTheLocalsEat.com