Secret Santa bar alert
Christmas has already arrived at local bars like PCH in Union Square, now dressed up as the very festive holiday pop-up Miracle, and the Square in North Beach, currently Deck the Halls for the season. But another Christmas pop-up, Santa’s Speakeasy at the SoMa cocktail den Oddjob, managed to sneak in through the chimney, with free cotton candy and drag Santa performances in its bag of toys. The first Santa’s Speakeasy took place this past Friday with a Drag Santa, and the next (and final) two evenings, with more “mystery Santa” entertainment and DJs, are this Friday, December 22, and Saturday, December 23. The special Christmas cocktail list includes drinks like OddNog and a concoction of whiskey and chocolates bitters called Ohhhh Fuuuudge.
Sumo Stew returns to San Francisco
A sumo wrestling binge watching and sumo stew eating event that took SF by storm last year is coming back in January. Sumo Stew will be held at Magnolia Smokestack in the Dogpatch, with Nick Balla and Cortney Burns of Duna making the stew, chankonobe, while diners enjoy/experience live broadcasts of sumo wrestling. Japanese whisky from Nikka and local sake from Sequoia Sake will be there, too. Tickets are now on sale for Sumo Stew’s two nights, January 17th and 18th.
Exploring Chez Panisse’s wine cellar
Chez Panisse’s longtime beverage director Jonathan Waters, no relation to Alice, took Punch magazine for a tour of the restaurant’s wine cellar, which, according to Punch, “dismantled convention, not only with its affordability and relatively small size, but, more critically, with its embrace of the Old-World notion of ‘table wine.’” Waters even distills the restaurant’s wine program into five defining bottles.
Popular Noe Valley takeout spot closes for good
Noe Valley’s Pasta Gina, popular for its take-out gourmet items like pasta and meatballs, closed suddenly last month. It doesn’t look like it will reopen, as according to documents, the business just received a three-day eviction notice from its landlord for unpaid rent.
Foreign Cinema chef/co-owner has definitely had it
Responding to allegations of sexual harassment against Ken Friedman, a New York restaurateur who operates Tosca in San Francisco, Foreign Cinema chef and co-owner Gayle Pirie wrote an essay in the Chronicle. She’s personally saddened and angered to learn of Friedman’s behavior and of his partner, chef April Bloomfield’s, alleged complicity. “As a female chef in a busy, dynamic, swirling work environment that is scrutinized daily, a huge part of my job, over that last 17 years, has been to understand what makes a safe environment for all employees, and what makes a work environment toxic and unsustainable,” Pirie writes. While “it’s not easy” to run a restaurant with proper management, it’s got to be the goal, she says, and “delicious comfort food is no reason to ignore sexual harassment, people.”