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Yelp Removes Hundreds of French Laundry Reviews

Also: How smoke-tainted wine tastes, and more news to know today

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In this photo illustration the Yelp logo is seen displayed...
Yelp has pulled hundreds of reviews of the French Laundry, days after prominent California officials admitted to attending multi-household events there during the pandemic
Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.

  • The East Bay Times reported Wednesday that reviews site Yelp had paused all user-generated assessments of Thomas Keller’s French Laundry restaurant, after it saw “unusual activity” on the Yountville fine dining spot’s page. The activity, no doubt, was a result of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and SF Mayor London Breed’s recent visits to the venue, outings that have spurred cries of hypocrisy from constituents who believe the politicians’ partying demonstrates a pandemic-era do as I say, not as I do attitude. But by Thursday morning, the restaurant’s page is again open to reviewers, but a look at its not recommended/removed entries page tells the tale, with hundreds of recently-pulled reviews from as far afield as Texas, New Hampshire, and Arizona. Either politically-motivated shenanigans are afoot, or a whole lot of people were disappointed by that $850 Bond-villain menu in the last couple days.
  • NorCal wines made from smoke-tainted grapes evoke thoughts of Laphroaig, mezcal, and cigarettes. [SF Chronicle]
  • Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group is set to win big with San Francisco-based delivery app DoorDash, as the tech company’s coming IPO could — if all goes well — turn SoftBank’s $680 million investment into $5 billion. [Wall Street Journal]
  • San Francisco Unified School District officials say that starting this week, every child in the city can pick up free meals at food distribution centers across SF. [Bay City News]
  • Marin County is one of the only places left in the state that’s not in the purple coronavirus danger zone — but its health officers think that could change next week. [SF Chronicle]
  • To support restaurants in its downtown area, San Jose might shut off parking meters, institute a delivery service fee cap, and advocate for the legalization of to-go drinks even after the pandemic. [Bay Area News Group]
  • Berkeley’s 20-year-old Finfine Ethiopian restaurant is looking for a new home, as its building is set to be demolished and replaced with a housing complex. [Berkeleyside]