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Big Biotech Conference Prompts ‘Congestive Pricing’ at Nob Hill Restaurant

Plus: A new restaurant at Pier 47

Fairmont Hotel Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Diners at the Fairmont Hotel face a $50 minimum order and a time limit for their meals

The 38th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference kicks off in San Francisco today, attracting over 9000 well-heeled businesspeople from around the globe. The conference means space in the city center is at a premium, the SF Business Times reports, with hotels charging landmark prices for even a seat in their lobbies. According to the Chron, for example, the Fairmont Hotel’s Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar requires a “food & beverage minimum of $50 per person” for breakfast meetings this week, in addition to an 18 percent “service charge.” Diners who stay longer that 90 minutes will also face a $30-per-hour ding for any time spent thereafter, all fees the head of San Francisco Travel characterizes as “premium or congestive pricing.”

Laptops stolen from Bay Area cafe patrons likely end up overseas

The death of Shuo Zeng, an Oakland man killed on New Year’s Eve when he attempted to stop thieves who grabbed his laptop from a Montclair Starbucks, is a reminder to cafe patrons that robbers often target folks using their laptops in cafes, bars, and restaurants. According to the East Bay Times, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Marisa McKeown says that “it’s so easy to take a laptop, and so easy to flip it,” as thieves “can get a couple hundred dollars cash for each.” Fremont police Lt. Mike Tegner says that the stolen laptops are taken to “fences throughout the Bay Area,” who pay the thieves then ship the goods “out of the United States” where recipients “are able to wipe the computers and restart them in other countries.”

A French Laundry veteran is opening his own spot in Palo Alto

Scott Nishiyama, who has toiled in the kitchens of the French Laundry and Chez TJ, is plotting a “casual, neighborhood restaurant” in the downtown Palo Alto spot most recently occupied by 39-year-old bakery the Prolific Oven, Palo Alto Online reports. The restaurant will be called Ethel’s Fancy, and counts big-name restaurant investor Allison Rose as one of its backers, the Nob Hill Gazette reported last fall. It’ll be a dinner-only spot with food sporting Japanese, French and California influences, and should open in late 2020.

Mother Jones just dropped a podcast interview with Brown Sugar Kitchen’s Tanya Holland

Tom Philpott, the food writer for Mother Jones, interviewed chef Tanya Holland as part of a San Francisco Jazz Center event last year. Perhaps spurred by the news that Holland’s only SF venue will close this weekend, the magazine released the discussion as the most recent episode of its Bite podcast, describing it as a conversation on “Chicken, Waffles, and Smashing the Patriarchy.” In the discussion, Holland doesn’t pull any punches: for example, she says that “people will go and pay $20 for fried chicken at Ad Hoc, but they’ll sneer at paying $18 for my chicken and waffles. I’m sorry, but I know mine’s better, because I’ve had the Ad Hoc fried chicken.” The full episode is here.

A meat and seafood purveyor is plotting two Bay Area restaurants

StoneRoot Field & Sea launched in the Bay Area last year, a fish and meat company focused on farmer’s market sales. Now the Chron reports that the company — which was started by Doug Stonebreaker (the founder of Prather Ranch Meat Co.) and Gary Root (Same Day Seafood) — will open a restaurant in San Francisco’s Pier 47, in the Old Wharf Smokehouse spot. They’re also planning a restaurant at StoneRoot’s farm in Green Valley, with an opening planned for some time in 2021. The SF spot will launch some time after that, they say.

Brown Sugar Kitchen

, , CA 94111 (415) 938-8090 Visit Website

The French Laundry

6640 Washington Street, , CA 94599 (707) 944-2380 Visit Website