clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Chill Out with a Korean Barbecue Box, and More Weekend Entertainment

Welcome to the Weekend Digest, with recs for what to eat, drink, read, and watch

If you buy something from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Korean barbecue box Umma

Welcome to the Weekend Digest, a column from Eater SF where the site’s editors recommend what to eat, drink, read, and watch this weekend while you’re cooped up at home. Have you heard of a cool takeout item, or do you have a favorite book or movie, that you’d like listed here? Send it our way at sf@eater.com.

December 17

What to Eat

Umma, that cool new spot in the Sunset, is selling Korean barbecue kits. Which is actually a delicious dinner and entertaining activity all boxed up into one fun package. Because instead of trying to rehash old traditions in holiday lockdown, why not try something new? And who needs another board game, when you could have ribeye? “It’s fun to barbecue,” says chef Chris Oh. “And even if it’s a little chilly, you know what they say about a drink tasting better with the sand between your toes? Well, maybe barbecue tastes better with the wind in your hair.”

Umma started offering kits for everyone who’s bored at home, and they’ve taken off in SF and LA. “It’s a fun thing, because Korean barbecue is one of those things you have to experience in person … ” says Oh. “But for the novice, who maybe doesn’t know what to buy from the grocery store, they can open the box, and it’s a one-stop shop.” That includes marinated meats, with a choice of kalbi (short ribs), bulgogi (steak), or pork belly, and all of the banchan with piles of kimchi, corn cheese, sweet-and-sour cucumbers, and sesame bean sprouts. You don’t even have to cook your own rice, and you can hit it with a squeezie bottle of spicy mayo.

Pricing starts at $60 for two people, or $100 for four people, and extra meat is sold a la carte, including wagyu, if you want to go big. You could buy a tabletop charcoal grill, but Oh says you can totally fire up a standard gas or charcoal grill, or even take this party indoors with a cast-iron grill pan or skillet. For all those ready to try Korean barbecue outdoors in December, it’s probably worth throwing in a bottle of soju to ward off the chill. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

The Bayview’s Old Skool Cafe well known as a jazz-themed nonprofit supper club that supports area youth, but this week it’s making a name for itself as blink-and-you’ll-miss-it holiday cocktail destination. Through December 19, they’re serving a “winter time mulled wine” and a ”boozy hot chocolate” (with Baileys, whiskey or bourbon). A two-serving order is $24.99, and comes in a golden Old Skool Cafe mug. After Saturday, Old Skool will close for the season until January 7, so grab those drinks fast. — Eve Batey, editor

Virtual Event

MY China’s Westfield Centre location is closed for good, but you can still get a healthy heaping of its owner, celebrity chef Martin Yan. The Yan Can Cook star is teaching a virtual cooking class with the San Francisco Public Library from 2–3 p.m. on Friday, December 18. During the free class, participants will learn to make dumplings, lettuce wraps, and a roasted duck. The shopping list for the class is here, and you can register for the course via Zoom or just tune in on YouTube. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Read

Local pastry chef Nick Muncy dropped the latest issue of Toothache, the indie mag that’s “by chefs, for chefs,” and of course, numerous Bay Area characters turn up in this edition. Nelson German of Alamar and Sobre Mesa talks about exploring his Afro-Caribbean roots, and the support that the community has poured into Black-owned businesses in Oakland. Geoff Davis from True Laurel talks about Americana, digging into his grandmother’s recipes, and without changing them, making each dish “taste more like what it is.” Evan and Sarah Rich describe their wild trajectory over the past decade, kids, expansion, pandemic, and all. Roy Shavartzapel, as in that Roy with the panettone, makes an appearance, and Jaynelle Saint Jean of Pietisserie describes losing her sweet shop, while finding creativity elsewhere. The Q&A style is so refreshingly direct, and honestly, it’s a welcome news break to just stare at photos of custard for a while. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

SoMa restaurant and drag bar Oasis has been a holiday stop for years, as its take on the Christmas episodes of the classic 1980s sitcom the Golden Girls is an end-of-year tradition for many. This year, the drag show’s moved online, with a cast of local drag superstars playing Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia. From Dec 17–20, one can catch the show once a day, a livestream from the Oasis stage that’s at 7 p.m. Thursday–Saturday, with a Sunday matinee at 3. This is where I’ll mention that the well-reviewed Golden Girls Cookbook was just released a couple months ago, so you could fire up the Kindle version and make this a very theme-appropriate celebration. Tickets are $30 and can be found here. — Eve Batey, editor


December 10

Virtual Event

According to its founder, Halal Restaurant Week is the first event of its kind in the U.S. — and it’s happening in the Bay Area from December 9 to 13 at more than 30 restaurants and vendor locations at cities in the East Bay, South Bay, and in San Francisco. You can see a list of all the participants here, and there’s a competitive aspect to the event too, as diners are encouraged to post reviews of their meals (among other activities) for a chance at up to $1,500 in prizes. There’s even a scavenger hunt! With stickers! More details can be found on Halal Restaurant Week’s Facebook page. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat

A pastel, garnished with a decorative purple flower on the side Coco Breeze

It’s the season for pastelles (aka pasteles), those fragrant and banana leaf–wrapped bundles that are synonymous with Christmas throughout much of the Caribbean. Here in the Bay Area, however, they’re pretty hard to come by — which is all the more reason to be excited that they’re on the menu this weekend, and through the end of the holiday season, at Coco Breeze, which is easily the most festive new restaurant in Oakland even during non-holiday times. Chef Annabelle Goodridge makes the Trinidadian style, filling cornmeal masa with a well-seasoned stew of ground beef, capers, raisins, peppers, and olives before it gets wrapped in banana leaves and boiled until the whole package reaches the ideal level of tenderness. The pastelles are priced at two for $6.50 (for a plate of two), and a vegan version is available as well. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

San Francisco’s buzziest cocktail is at the Snug, that corner bar and restaurant on the Pac Heights stretch of Fillmore. It’s a hot, brown buttered coffee, co-owner Zack Schwab tells me, a creation of partner/beverage director Jacob Racusin. The drink is a concoction of brown buttered bourbon, chestnut liqueur, coffee, and amaro cream, making it the kind of thing you drink during the holiday season when you don’t want to be bashed over the head with cinnamon and cloves. Think of it as bulletproof coffee for grownups, but don’t think of it as an item you can order online — it’s not currently on their to-go menu, so the only way to score it is to walk up to their takeout window, located just a step from Clay Street. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Watch

I thought I had already watched every mediocre Christmas movie that could ever be made, but there is a fresh contender this year! Has everyone seen that Mario Lopez is starring as a sexy Colonel Sanders in a new mini Lifetime Christmas movie? It’s called A Recipe for Seduction. Issues: First of all, despite the wholesome aura of Saved by the Bell, let’s not forget that Lopez was accused of date rape in 1993. Second, yes, this is obviously an extended and mustachioed commercial for KFC. But I can’t not watch, and I think the best way to clap back at this whole situation would be to watch the movie while ordering fried chicken from your favorite local independent restaurant. May I suggest Firefly in Noe Valley, a neighborhood gem known for crispy bird and damn fine biscuits. But there is good fried chicken all over town. — Becky Duffett, reporter

December 3

Virtual Event

For so many folks, a mainstay of the holidays is a matinee of the Nutcracker, followed by a holiday tea. Obviously, this year we won’t be doing that, but let’s look on the bright side: between the panoply of to-go tea parties and the multitude of streamed performances of the iconic Christmas ballet, you can have your cake and eat it while watching the show, and you won’t even have to get dressed up or deal with Civic Center parking hassles to do it. My Nutcracker pick, of course, is the San Francisco Ballet’s version, which is choreographed by longtime George Balanchine collaborator Helgi Tomasson (Balanchine, as you likely know, is responsible for the most recognizable take of the Tchaikovsky classic). Tickets for the show provide 48-hour access to the ballet, as well, which means you can stop and start the performance if you need to take a break to score a few more sugar plums or combat some aggressive rats. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat

pozole at Hermanita Hermanita

Back in the halcyon days of 2019, Hermanita was one of San Francisco’s most charming new pop-ups. It was chef Nicole Marin’s tribute to her childhood in Mexicali, in Baja California — a childhood that, as customers were pleased to discover, was full of wonders like lamb barbacoa served on fresh tortillas and chile-dusted elote. Thankfully, after a long hiatus, Hermanita marks its return this weekend at Nana’s, the new women-of-color-focused pop-up market at 500 Columbus Avenue in North Beach. It’ll be a cozy, late-fall menu: Marin’s grandmother’s red pork pozole and Mexican wedding cookies rolled in powdered sugar. The pop-up runs for noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 6. Can’t make it this weekend? The good news is that Hermanita will be a staple on the market every Sunday moving forward, with buñuelos on the horizon as we get closer to the holidays. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

In very refreshing news, San Francisco Proper Hotel actually brought back their pastry chef! Sohrob Esmali, who came through Jean-Georges and Gramercy Tavern in New York, is now back in the kitchen at Villon, and just in time for the holidays. That means afternoon tea has been restored, with sandwiches, scones, tea, bubbles, and the works. But also, one new menu item that he’s dropping are hot chocolate bombs, which are Valrhona chocolate shells filled with cocoa and marshmallows (see photo above). Just pour hot milk over, give it a swirl, and the chocolate should dissolve. Oh what fun. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

Deborah Madison, the vegetable authority, has come out not with yet another vegetarian cookbook, but actually a memoir. An Onion in My Pocket details her years as a buddhist priest at the San Francisco Zen Center, cook at Chez Panisse, and founding chef at Greens, the groundbreaking vegetarian restaurant. Madison brought vegetarian cooking to the forefront in the 80s, and she’s long since moved to New Mexico, but the legacy of the nut loaf endures. Sample an excerpt here, or pick up a copy at Omnivore. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

There’s something incredibly refreshing about watching non-English food television — food shows that by their very nature aren’t explicitly, or at least primarily, made with a Western/American audience in mind. That’s part of the reason I’ve gotten hooked on Flavorful Origins, the Chinese-produced Netflix documentary series whose latest season — focused on the food of the Gansu province in Northwest China — dropped a couple of weeks ago. The show is narrated in Mandarin, with subtitles, and while it’s as gorgeously shot as the most big-budget American food documentaries, it also challenges American norms of what makes for beautiful food: Consider the slow-motion shots of, say, a big vat of fermented tofu, which were for me a form of ASMR. The show will also make you damn hungry! And while there aren’t a lot of Bay Area restaurants that serve Gansu specialties as chopped sheep entrails (episode 3) , there are at least a few spots where you can find Lanzhou pulled noodles (episode 6), arguably the region’s most famous export. Consider Skyview Noodle in Pittsburg, which has a Gansu chef, or Fremont’s Shinry Lamian if you get a craving. — Luke Tsai, food editor

November 25

Virtual Event

For The Culture, an online holiday market for Black women makers, artists, and craftspeople, runs on November 27 and 28 with a roster of over 50 vendors (many food-focused) including CoCo Noir Wine Shop & Bar, Pietisserie, and Fresh Pond Tea Company. Browsing the marketplace — which organizers casually refer to as “the Black Etsy” — is free with an RSVP, or for $50 you can get a full, VIP experience that includes yoga classes, shop tours, maker talks, and a “wine down.” Registration, tickets, and the full participant list can be found here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat

As Eater SF’s Reuben nerd, I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend Wise Sons’ newest offering, a Georgia Reuben special that co-founder Evan Bloom says will only be on the menu until January 5, 2021. It’s a Georgia Reuben (that’s a Reuben with turkey instead of pastrami or corned beef) griddled with cole slaw, Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and smoked turkey on Jewish rye. A portion of proceeds from every sale will go to Stacey Abrams’ anti-voter-suppression group Fair Fight, which is mobilizing to rock the vote in Georgia’s January senate runoff election. The sandwich is available at every Wise Sons location, including its Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Drink

Fans of beers old and new have options at San Francisco-based Anchor Steam, as the company is offering a Christmas Ale Vintage 6-packs (two each of the 2017, ’18 and ’19 brew) for $10, in addition to six-packs of the 2020 (also $10). “Christmas Ale spices age gracefully over the years,” an Anchor spokesperson tells Eater SF, so one needn’t fear a holiday skunk, but the vintage ales are only available for pickup from Anchor Public Taps, the taproom of the Potrero Hill brewery. You can order both online here, and, hey, there’s a pretty snazzy Anchor sweater available for purchase, too. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Watch

Mainstream media has discovered Ratatouille: The Musical, the TikTok-created Broadway-style musical version of the 2007 Pixar film. Honestly, I’d been bracing to write a Bay Area-Based Pixar Shuts Down Playful Pandemic Tribute story, so I was relieved to see a Disney-affiliated tweet which appears to give its blessing to the fanciful project. Even if you don’t use TikTok, you can still check out a lot of its content via this Vulture item, and users of the platform can start at @ratatouillemusical, with more songs and storylines to be found via the #ratatouillemusical hash tag. The combination of talent, creativity, and wholehearted joy will give you chills — and a lot of the songs, like the “Ratatouille Tango” (above) will remain in your head for days. — Eve Batey, editor

November 19

Virtual Event

The drive-in movies are still rolling at Fort Mason, and there’s a fun dinner-and-flick situation this Saturday, November 21. The Italian Cultural Institute and the Consulate General of Italy are hosting an Italian theme night. It’s a double feature of A Fistful of Dollars, the classic spaghetti western, and An American in Rome, a midcentury comedy that apparently has an iconic maccheroni scene. And you can preorder pizza margherita, croquettes, and cookies to be delivered to the comfort of your car, courtesy of Montescaro Pinseria Romana. Tickets to the drive-in are here, tickets for the dinner over here. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

You may have read about how Peony, the last big Chinese banquet house and dim sum parlor in Oakland Chinatown, is in danger of closing. It has, like so many other Chinese restaurants across the U.S., been hit even longer and harder by the coronavirus crisis than the restaurant community at large — you can read Oaklandside’s recent, heart-wrenching feature to get caught up to speed. You can also order some dim sum takeout this weekend, not just to help a struggling restaurant stay afloat, but also because Peony has long been one of the better dim sum spots in the East Bay. Both fresh and frozen, ready-to-steam options are available. I’m a big fan of the pan-fried daikon cake with XO sauce, the crispy-garlic-topped “typhoon style” taro cake, and, of course, the classic har gow — and it’s the kind of place that has those cute piggy-faced steamed custard buns too, if that’s how you roll. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

In some of the most exciting cocktail news this year, the cappuccinos are back at century-old Tosca Cafe. The North Beach institution has had truly terrible luck with timing, finally reopening on the exact day that the city shut down indoor dining, but they are making it work with a covered and heated parklet on Columbus, and who doesn’t love settling in with a cappuccino and people watching on the Barbary Coast? This iteration of the iconic house cocktail pours together bourbon, cognac, and steamed milk with a thick stack of foam. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

It may seem overly self-interested for me to say so, but we are truly living in a golden age of excellent food writing. And if your weekend plans include cozying up with a good (and also occasionally hunger-inducing book), you’d be hard-pressed to do much better than the latest edition of the Best American Food Writing anthology, which also serves as a window into where food writing is going today — which is to say, in part, that it’s less white and more willing to slay some of the golden calves of old. You can get a good taste of the flavor of the book by reading a few of the pieces that are online — on Eater, no less: chef Kwame Onwuachi’s harrowing account of the verbal abuse he experienced as a Black chef working in the Per Se kitchen, Korsha Wilson’s devastating critique of the enduring white-maleness of American restaurant criticism, and Jose Ralat’s paean to Kansas City’s home-grown, parmesan-dusted taco style, to highlight just a few of the certifiable bangers. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

Super fans of food-related TV and movies might know Jon Favreau as the guy on Netflix’s The Chef Show, a gig he reportedly got after he wrote, starred in, and directed a 2014 film called Chef. Super fans of everything else know him as the guy who arguably ignited the Marvel Cinematic Universe. These days, when Favreau’s not following chef Roy Choi around the kitchen, he’s working with another gourmand with distinctly Bay Area roots: the (descendant? relative? clone?) of Yoda, a pop culture figure who lives in fountain form in the city’s Presidio. That’s right, I’m talking about the so-called “Baby Yoda,” the breakout star of Favreau’s Disney+ show The Mandalorian. As you live in the world, you likely know that the cute little critter enraged the internet for the crime of eating unfertilized eggs, as if that’s not something most non-vegans do all the damn time. Did Favreau’s relationship to the restaurant world inspire in him a desire to prod diners innate hypocrisy? (Before you @ me, imagine opening a restaurant that serves dog with all the same branding a place that serves chicken uses.) Beats me, but I’d sure love to ask him. Until then, I’ll be taking these things completely meta by whipping up a batch of these, and tuning into the newest episode this Sunday. You can catch up on the show here. — Eve Batey, editor

November 12

Virtual Event

Like so many other big festivals, Cochon 555, the nationally roving spectacle of whole heritage-hog cookery — characterized, in typical years, by the sight of those roasting pigs splayed out on a metal stake — has moved this year’s festivities onto Zoom. Thankfully, there’s a takeout component, which means there’s still porcine deliciousness to be had. For the San Francisco edition, which kicked off earlier this week, perhaps the biggest highlight comes this Saturday, November 14, when Francis Ang (Pinoy Heritage) and Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven) team up on a four-course Filipino-inspired feast that includes a heritage breed lechon, cocktails, wine, and a dish — pork lumpia — that you cook along with the chef over the course of a ~45-minute Zoom session. The deadline to buy tickets is today, and the whole meal ($100 for one person; $185 for two) will be available for pickup a couple of hours before the virtual event. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Diwali, the five-day Indian festival of lights, kicks off on November 14, and several Bay Area restaurants have special menus for the celebration: Lush Opera Plaza-area modern Indian spot August 1 Five has a special $100 (for two) tasting menu with all-vegan and all-vegetarian options, as well, it’s available through November 15 for outdoor dining and takeout. In Dogpatch, chef Heena Patel’s Gujarati restaurant, Besharam, will ship Diwali snack boxes nationwide, the sweet and savory bounty is $75. And Rooh, the swanky SoMa destination from India’s Good Times Restaurant Group, has a special 3-course holiday menu that runs $65 per person. It’s available for outdoor dining and takeout on 11/14-11/15. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Drink

Monsieur Benjamin has a new cocktail that looks cuter than a baby bunny. Pink and fluffy, the “cottontail” appears to be a frothy mix of bourbon, nocino, carrot, honey, lemon, and egg whites. Presumably, it snuggles right up to ouefs mayonnaise, butter lettuce salad, and potato and leek croquettes with sour cream and onion dip. Hop along, root vegetable and bourbon lovers. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

For everyone who’s been following the implosion of food media in 2020, maybe you’ve already unsubscribed from Bon Appétit and signed up for a few newsletters. But for all who are still reading and cooking in hope that print is not dead, November issues slid into mailboxes a few weeks ago, and it’s worth mentioning that two notable Bay Area food personalities are featured prominently, sharing their family holiday traditions. Hetal Vasavada, who sometimes talks chaat shop for Eater SF, has a colorful Diwali feature in Food & Wine, complete with sweets gilt in gold and petals. And Illyanna Maisonet, who occasionally covers South Sacramento tamales and doughnuts for Eater SF, contributed pavochon and cornbread-and-salami dressing recipes to Bon Appétit. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

With travel off the table for most folks concerned about the spread of COVID-19, Eater’s Guide to the World, a Hulu series from this publication that’s narrated by comedy great Maya Rudolph, might feel like a cruel taunt. But speaking as someone who refused to get a full-time job for over a decade because I love read tripping that much, I assure you, it’s not. It’s funny and loose and, in the end, reminds you that after all this [waves hands] is resolved, there’s a whole world out there waiting to feed us. All seven episodes are streaming now. — Eve Batey, editor

November 5

What to Eat

Prime rib dinner: a big slab of medium-rare prime rib with a baked potato and sauteed mushrooms on the side Luke Tsai

Before I wrote about it a few weeks ago, it had probably been two years since I’d been to Warehouse Cafe, the remote Port Costa biker bar known for the bargain-priced (and delicious) prime rib dinner that it serves on weekends — a feature it brought back recently after staying closed for much of the pandemic. Having filed my story on a Friday afternoon, I couldn’t get that dang prime rib out of my head, so out to Port Costa I headed that very night, zooming back home with my $20 (!!) takeout box in time to dig in while everything was still warm. It was as spectacular as I remembered. The meat was cooked to a pristine medium rare, with luxuriously jiggly streaks of fat; garlicky mushrooms and a baked potato made for the ideal, no-nonsense sides. Look: I love House of Prime Rib as much as anyone, but if you’re jonesing for some red meat this weekend and don’t want to break the budget (or make a reservation months in advance), Warehouse Cafe is where it’s at. Call ahead to confirm availability, and remember to bring cash. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

SoMa sports bar Trademark has made a lot of tweaks to its offerings in recent months, with a new food menu that rolled out in July and a whole new brunch situation that went live last month. Now, as part of their weekend brunch service, diners can score a couple new cocktails, including a spiked lavender lemonade and a fresh take on a Bloody Mary. It’s the End Zone that I like the most, a mix of tequila, mint, and passion fruit that really should not be allowed during daylight hours, it’s just that good. The sun, she burns! — Eve Batey, editor

What to Read

It’s been a while since I read a new novel that I loved as much as I love Bryan Washington’s Memorial, a story of complicated, emotionally fraught relationships — between fathers and sons; between strangers brought together by circumstance; and between its two protagonists, Benson and Mike, a queer couple already at a crossroads when Mike leaves their home in Houston to go to Osaka, Japan, to take care of his dying father. The novel is at once heartbreaking and filled with joy (the father-son stuff hit me right in the gut), and, at its core, a lot of it is about how people use the food they cook to communicate when they don’t have the words to do so. Memorial isn’t a Bay Area story by any stretch (though there is a flashback to a childhood trip to San Francisco), but the book’s intimate cooking scenes, and the genuine love it expresses for Houston’s vibrant, multicultural food scene, will give you a wicked craving for tacos and yakisoba and sopa de pescado. If that doesn’t get you to start planning your post-pandemic Houston trip, Washington’s curry- and kimchi-rich Grub Street Diet will. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

Look, this is not the week to decide to finally check out Westworld or dive into The Leftovers, friends: prestige TV is great and wonderful, but if you have the concentration to follow a twisty narrative, you haven’t been paying attention. No, a show like Somebody Feed Phil is the good-natured, light-lift kind of viewing we need this week, a series in which Phil Rosenthal, the co-creator of Everybody Loves Raymond, travels around and eats things. While watching a richer-than-anyone-I-know person talk to chefs like Tanya Holland, Alice Waters, and Thomas Keller might bore or annoy me, this week I find it soothing and easy to consume, like a dish of partially melted ice cream I can just tip into my mouth. The show’s fourth season dropped on Netflix last week, if you want to skip to the local flavor, go to episode number two. — Eve Batey, editor

October 29

Virtual Event

October 29 marks the 10th outing of Voices from the Kitchen, nonprofit food business incubator La Cocina’s storytelling event focused on underrepresented stories within the food community. Typically, this is a ticketed fundraiser, but this time around, it’ll be broadcast for free to anyone who RSVPs via YouTube. Participants this year include Filipino catering company Sariwa founder Aileen Suzara, writer Jennifer 8. Lee, and the New Yorker’s Jia Tolentino. You can learn more about the full event here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat and Drink

After months of few to no activity choices, this weekend offers too many options to choose from: With Halloween on Saturday and the tail end of SF Restaurant Week, there are loads of new food and drink experiences to be had. For example, there’s a socially distant pub crawl in Bernal Heights Saturday night, with stops at spots like Old Devil Moon, an occult themed-bar with distinctly Halloween-y cocktails. Or there’s Mahila’s three course Restaurant Week deal, which offers chef Azalina Eusope’s dinner menu of Malaysian dishes like tamarind makrut wings, mee mamak turmeric noodles and shrimp, and kaya pie filled with coconut jam, for $40. (You can even mash up the two events at Canela, which as part of SFRW is serving a Halloween special of “go for the jugular” gazpacho, ink-black paella, mummified beef tenderloin, and “trick or treat” bread pudding.) You can get the scoop on all the best Halloween treats here, and see our guide to the final days of Restaurant Week here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Read

Fall is peak season for cozy cookbooks, and this writer just can’t stop staring at the many layers of the new Baking at the 20th Century Cafe Cookbook. It’s the first cookbook from 20th Century Cafe, the retro-fabulous corner bakery in Hayes Valley. Pastry chef Michelle specializes in old-world European pastries, inspired by the grand cafe tradition in Vienna, Budapest, and Prague. And her first book is a serious treat for the cake ambitious, with detailed recipes for sachertorte, dobos torta, and the iconic honey cake. Check out our full review with all of the dreamy cake photos, then stop by a local bookshop to nab a copy. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

The new Charmed series isn’t too disappointing, if you’re looking for something witchy to binge this Halloween weekend, while distracting from canceled parties. Upsettingly, it is no longer set in San Francisco, like the original. But other updates are refreshing — clearly, the CW is making an effort to be more diverse. The three sisters are now Latina, two are Afro-Latina, and one is queer (although the show has taken some heat for only casting one Latina actress). They still “accidentally” make out with demons and mentors, while kickboxing in boots and vanquishing the powers of evil. But my editor would like to back up this conversation, because for fans of the original, we still have questions. How is it that three women in their twenties afforded a Victorian in San Francisco? Perhaps even less plausible, do you remember how Piper was a chef at a restaurant called Quake, before opening a club called P3? In real life, isn’t it remarkable how actress Rose McGowan was one of the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein, and costar Alyssa Milano made the #MeToo hashtag go viral? Haters can hate, but I still wish Alyssa Milano was actually a witch, and Charmed still kicks demon ass. — Becky Duffett, reporter

October 15

Virtual Event

CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) might be best known in the city for its farmers’ markets, including the big one at the Ferry Building. But it’s a hardworking nonprofit, supporting small local farmers, ranchers, and other producers, and it’s gone above and beyond during the pandemic, setting up safety protocols, launching curbside pickups, and helping smaller farms team up to fill veggie boxes. CUESA’s Sunday Supper is one of their biggest events, and it’s still happening this year, just moving online. This Sunday, October 18, they’re packaging up a four-course dinner featuring star chefs, including Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, Kim Alter of Nightbird, and Peter J. Hemsley of Palette, who are showcasing farms, including Green Thumb vegetables, Root Down chickens, and Yerena berries. Order online to get the dinner for pickup or delivery, or if you prefer to cook your own veggies, it is possible to get a ticket for just the festivities. — Becky Duffett, reporter

Virtual Event

At its peak, Undiscovered SF, the SoMa-based celebration of Filipino food and culture, was probably the closest thing San Francisco had to a recurring event that captured the spirit and energy of a real Asian night market — the big crowd; the dancers, DJs, and artists; and, of course, the food, a cross-section of the Bay’s most exciting Filipino food trucks and pop-up entrepreneurs. Of course the pandemic brought all that to a screeching halt, which makes this weekend’s return edition, “Undiscovered X” — the first virtual incarnation of the event — especially notable. There’s a whole lineup of panel discussions, including one on Filipino-owned restaurants, and food lovers will zoom in on the three Bay Area-based meal kits that you can enjoy while viewing the festivities: from Mestiza (SF), the Lumpia Company (East Bay), and Barya (South Bay). Meanwhile, tickets to access all of the performances and workshops are totally free, though there are also paid versions that come with various Undiscovered-branded merch. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

For those who are comfortable with outdoor dining, one of this weekend’s most exciting pop-ups is the “Janchi,” or gathering, that comes courtesy of three Korean sister restaurants — Chipotle-style fast-casual joints Matko and Bibim-Bar, along with the California-Korean spot Hwaro. The event will be set up outside the Twitter building at the Market’s outdoor dining area on Saturday, October 17 from 2–5 p.m., with a DJ and socially distanced seating, but the main attraction should be the food itself: a big, impressive-looking platter of galbi jjim (the classic braised short rib stew) and galbi tang (short rib soup), served with a colorful array of sides. Bring your appetite and a plus one (the platters are meant to serve two), and buy your ticket in advance to make sure you aren’t disappointed if the pop-up winds up selling out by the day of the event. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

South Bay boba enthusiasts who’ve been looking to add some variety to their weekend tapioca ball routine will be happy to know that the shiny new Cupertino outpost of Tiger Sugar, the first in the Bay Area, is now open for business. The Taichung-based chain has largely been responsible for turning brown sugar boba milk — which combines tapioca balls; sweet, caramelized brown-sugar syrup; and plain cold milk — into an Instagram sensation, thanks to its attractive, tiger stripe–like streaks. But make no mistake: The drinks are also delicious, the perfect refreshing antidote to this current heatwave. And you’ll have to trust me when I say you don’t want to visit Tiger Sugar without grabbing a couple of the shop’s brown sugar boba popsicles while you’re there. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Read

Pour yourself a cocktail and sit down to read Drinking in America, Eater’s cross-network package of reports from bars across the country. Here’s a juicy longread on Chicago’s combination bar/package goods shops, for example, and here’s how Nashville honky-tonks are adapting to the pandemic. Or here’s what it’s like to work as a bartender in Minnesota these days, and here’s the scoop on LA’s Black-owned bars. It’s no surprise to anyone reading this that drinking culture varies greatly from city to city across the U.S., but seeing how those varied cultures are responding to the coronavirus crisis is an eye-opening — and, in many cases, inspiring — insight into the hustle and resourcefulness necessary to be a publican in 2020. You can read the whole set of stories here. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Watch

Everyone who Instagrammed that the Bay Area’s smoky skies evoked Blade Runner should probably head to Pier 70 on October 17, as that’s when the 2007 cut of the 1982 classic screens as part of the Dinner and a Drive-In Series. This is a food website, so I will not bore you with my thoughts on the seven different versions of this movie, feel free to nerd out on that whole thing here. Suffice it to say that the movie is a sprawling, weird, and remarkably influential film about 2019 Los Angeles, which boasts a thriving and noodle-centric street food scene and murderous robots that are indistinguishable from people. So, that’s the “Drive-In” part of your night — and the Dinner part is from non-profit food incubator La Cocina, which offers a menu of tacos from family-owned tacos de guisado specialists Mi Morena SF. — Eve Batey, editor

October 8

Virtual Event

For the past 13 years, the Oakland-based People’s Kitchen Collective (PKC) has honored the legacy of the Black Panther Party’s pioneering free breakfast program for schoolchildren, which started in West Oakland 51 years ago, by cooking and serving a free breakfast — naturally — to anyone who came to West Oakland’s annual Life Is Living festival and wanted a hot meal. As this year’s festival has gone virtual, like so many other in-person events, so too has the free breakfast: This Saturday, PKC will carry on the tradition in the form of a Zoom-based breakfast cook-along. In keeping with the spirit of the event, a limited number of folks who sign up in advance will be able to pick up a free bag of ingredients — most everything you need to cook a veg-friendly feast of grits, greens, tofu scramble, and sweet potato biscuits. Can’t pick up the ingredient bag? No worries: You’ll be sent a shopping list and recipes so that you can still cook along. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Sobre Mesa, Nelson German’s Afro-Latin cocktail lounge in downtown Oakland, was one of the heartbreaking stories early on in the coronavirus crisis, forced to shut down a little more than a week after its debut. The bar kept its doors shut for the bulk of shelter in place, but a couple of weeks ago Sobre Mesa finally reopened for takeout and outdoor dining with a brand new food menu helmed by guest chef Mike Woods, who’s rolled out an exciting mix of Southern Creole and Afro-Caribbean dishes: jerk chicken with coconut rice, Swahilian spiced tomato, and one gorgeous-looking plate of fried fish and grits. Come get it while it’s hot: Woods’ menu should be available at least until indoor dining starts in Oakland — so you might have a few more weeks to get your fix. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Benjamin Cooper, the cool cocktail and oyster bar tucked away in Union Square, has been closed throughout shelter-in-place, and can one blame them? The downtown neighborhood has cleared out, and the bar is buried within a hotel, both presenting clear obstacles in already challenging times. But the effervescent Brian Felley and Mo Hodges (the self-described “Brian and Mo Show”) are now popping up at Madrone Art Bar on Tuesdays, which means that NoPa has some serious barmen swinging through. Menu details are scant, but the yuzu hi-balls look chill. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

John Birdsall has published a definitive biography about James Beard, that larger-than-life figure in American food history, who was hailed as a cookbook author, TV personality, and arbiter of good taste. And he was also gay, as many restaurant critics and food writers have been, although fans may have skimmed over those details up until now. Birdsall is an award-winning food writer, who was local up until the pandemic (he appears to have decamped to Arizona). One of his career-defining stories was a personal essay titled “America, Your Food Is So Gay,” which ran in Lucky Peach, long before the food magazine was accused of a toxic work culture. Even as the awards that bear Beard’s name were cancelled this year amid a flurry of allegations, Beard himself remains a fascinating tastemaker, and Birdsall is exactly the right writer to dig through his diaries, letters, and queerness of this character. The book is titled The Man Who Ate Too Much, and here’s just a taste. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

In these unsettled times, a Halloween-themed film experience can feel dicey — when the real world is this scary, do we need to buy trouble via our entertainment choices? For a spooky film with roots in San Francisco but few actual scares, look no further than Interview With The Vampire, the 1994 adaptation of former SF resident Anne Rice’s novel (which is rumored to have been written at the Castro’s Cafe Flore) that stars Brad Pitt as vampire-with-a-conscience Louis (a New Orleans plantation owner seemingly troubled little by slavery, so “conscience” is extremely relative) and Tom Cruise as the vamp that turns him. Its San Francisco framing device (the titular “interview” takes place in town) will make you feel right at home, and its mostly-Southern setting pairs remarkably well with Mike Woods Sobre Mesa menu (as recommended above). And, as the scariest thing in the movie are Pitt’s and Cruise’s accents and wigs, you’ll still sleep well after viewing. — Eve Batey, editor

October 1

Virtual Event

Museums are reopening soon, but in the meantime, CalAcademy of Sciences already had a virtual event on the books: Sharktoberfest strikes again, this time online. Learn about great white sharks from an Australian scientist! Taste three different beers with the head brewer of Fort Point! Did you know that ichthyology is the study of fish? Have you ever seen the rare tasseled wobbegong? Do you know what its favorite beer might be? Probably a wild West Coast IPA (that’s a bad shark joke, sorry). There’s also an R&B-infused jazz piano performance. What a party. Watch for free on either YouTube or Facebook. You do have to buy your own beer first, if you want to taste along. Fort Point is going to be talking through the Sfizio, Cool, and Animal, available to pick up from the taprooms, or plenty of other beer stores around town. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Look at

Palette restaurant and art gallery, which recently reopened with a wildly imaginative outdoor space, has a cool new art exhibit. They’re calling it “Flavors of Photography,” and featuring 19 talented food photographers who are local to the Bay Area, including Ed Anderson, who’s shot for Atelier Crenn, Eric Wolfinger, who works closely with Tartine, and Aubrie Pick, who immortalized Chrissy Tiegen with a plate of chicken wings balanced on her butt. The exhibit is on from October 2 to November 28, so there’s plenty of time to swing by the gallery, and/or snag a reservation to slurp oysters in the new outdoor dining space. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

For 32 years, the House of Nanking has served locals and tourists from its storefront on Kearny street where Chinatown meets North Beach. The guidebook fixture is known for its hot-and-cold (mostly cold) customer service, and its coveted peanut sauce — there’s been talk that it’ll also be in the new Matrix movie, which makes sense since we know Neo digs noodles. One thing it’s never, ever offered is takeout or delivery, a policy held so firm that when I tried to score a meal for a hospitalized friend with a mad craving for their Nanking shrimp, I was forced to wait in line, take a seat, have my order brought to me on a plate, feign eating, and request a doggy bag. The spot temporarily closed at the beginning of the pandemic, but reopens on October 1...with takeout and delivery available seven days a week from 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. via all the usual delivery apps , or you can call to 415-421-1429 to order takeout. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Drink

It looks like we’re hitting the tail end of a heat wave here in the Bay, but temperatures in the 80s mean it’s still slushie weather — then again, when is it not an appropriate time to indulge in a bit of sweet, frozen goodness? Lord knows we could all use a little fun in our lives right now. While the toothache-inducingly sweet slushies of my youth tended toward neon blues and greens, Kin Khao’s brand new Dogpatch location has been kicking things up a notch with both Friesling (that’s a Riesling slushie, for those who aren’t in the know) and, just as exciting, Thai iced tea slushies. Just remember not to imbibe too quickly: I hear that Friesling brain freeze is a real bear. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

Big news out of the Eater Cinematic Universe this week: Five years’ worth of Eater food shows are now fully syndicated and available to be viewed on your streaming platform of your choice (assuming you like to stream things on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Roku, or YouTube). For Bay Area food enthusiasts, it’s a relatively rare opportunity to see a bunch of popular and under-the-radar local spots get some shine on a larger screen. Case in point: Remember when Cooking in America (and Top Chef alum) Sheldon Simeon came out to the East Bay a couple years back, paying visits to spots as wide-ranging as Union City’s Sama Uyghur Cuisine (one of the Bay Area’s only Uyghur restaurants) and Alameda’s dearly departed Mama Papa Lithuania? Or check out the San Francisco season of the budget-oriented Dining on a Dime series, from back in 2017, when the show visited such local institutions as Zante’s Pizza, Aburaya, and La Taqueria. — Luke Tsai, food editor

September 24

Virtual Event

Folsom Street Fair, San Francisco’s celebration of leather, kink, and many other things abhorrent to Fox and Friends, has gone virtual for the COVID era, which means no wandering around SoMa this weekend with a sausage on a stick (or a leash). Instead, local legend Margaret Cho will preside over the event from 10:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. via the event website. If you’re hoping to get out of the house, there’s also a socially-distanced “drive-thru slutty car wash” at SoMa drag restaurant and nightclub Oasis on Saturday at noon, at which gay all-male revue Baloney will deliver corndogs and drinks to your car via roller skates, as a slew of (presumably non-skate-wearing) gentlemen wash down your vehicle. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Eat

In a battle between the highest quality wagyu beef and the tastiest binchotan-grilled chicken, the lucky diner is the only clear winner. This week’s splurge pick is tonight’s 18-course, $185 blowout outdoor collaboration dinner featuring Gozu (the wagyu beef specialist) and Hina Yakitori (the yakitori tasting menu spot), with the restaurants’ respective head honchos, Marc Zimmerman and Tommy Cleary, grilling out in the courtyard at Gozu. According to Cleary, the menu will be a rundown of the two restaurants’ greatest hits (with a few wrinkles like cold-smoked hamachi and spicy sausage with caviar thrown into the mix) — which in itself is notable especially for Hina regulars who’ve missed that full-blown yakitori experience (the restaurant has only been doing takeout bento boxes during the pandemic). As of publication time, there appear to be a small handful of seats left, so, if this sounds like your kind of meat party and you’re comfortable with in-person outdoor dining, snag them before they’re gone. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Occult-themed Bernal Heights beer bar Old Devil Moon was one of the city’s first spots to launch cocktails to go, the pandemic-era innovation that, seriously y’all, we need to keep even after a coronavirus vaccine is well in play. A cocktail is a cocktail is a cocktail, and I have no problem drinking one from a plastic takeout container that looks like it should be used for soup — but Old Devil Moon’s are sharply-designed and labeled bottles that (like the spot itself) evoke a little bit of Salem, a dash of Interview With The Vampire, and a hint of Halloween. Hey, we might not be able to trick-or-treat in SF this year, but one of Old Devil Moon’s bottled cocktails, which come in batches of three for $20, might be the only treat I need. — Eve Batey, editor

What to Read

Transcendent Kingdom, Yaa Gyasi’s follow-up to her brilliant debut novel, Homegoing, tells the story of Gifty, a Ghanaian-American neuroscience PhD student at Stanford grappling with the death of her brother, from a heroin overdose; her mother’s subsequent depression; and the loss of her own childhood evangelical Christian faith. If that sounds like heady subject matter, it is, though the novel is also dotted with such well-drawn images and poignant little vignettes of the immigrant experience (e.g., Gifty and her mother bursting in laughter the one time the mom tries ending a phone call with “I love you” in English) that it never feels unbearably heavy. It is also, for Eater purposes, a book in which food plays an important role — not so much the occasional scene in an unnamed Palo Alto Korean restaurant or coffee shop, but the way that home-cooked Ghanaian dishes like jollof rice and fried plantains become an important point of connection, and of hope, between mother and daughter. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

The most recent episode of SF Chronicle food podcast Extra Spicy is the only reason I know that local chef and restaurateur Brenda Buenviaje (of the Brenda’s empire of Southern spots) recently launched a YouTube channel called “Cook Like Brenda,” which I most certainly never will, though I appreciate the support. The less-than-15-minute long episodes have lulled me to sleep every night this week, setting me up to dream about making “Inclusive Mac & Cheese” or a hot-sauce laden jambalaya. There’s nothing hype-y or flashy about Buenviaje’s approach, which is straightforward and, ultimately, extremely soothing. And, hey, if I actually cooked, I’ll bet I’d also find her channel quite educational. — Eve Batey, editor

September 17

Virtual Event

One of the wine country events of the year is taking it online with Taste of Sonoma at Home. They’re in the midst of rolling out virtual tastings and events over the course of a few weeks. So you’ve already missed sold-out sessions on sparkling wine and the new generation at old family wineries. This Friday, September 18, there’s a virtual tour of the Russian River Valley that almost looks good enough to transport you out of the living room, if you drink enough pinot noir and squint a little bit. And next Wednesday, September 23, Francis Ford Coppola is doing a cooking demo, featuring their chef and a couple of others from local restaurants Valette and Bravas, with recipes and recommended wine pairings, of course. Check out the full schedule and register online. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

Lion Dance Cafe’s recent Oakland opening has been a wild success, wild enough that owners are getting nasty notes when they sell out of dishes. It’s worth remembering that the former pop-up is a literal mom-and-pop, with only owners Marie Chia and Shane Stanbridge in the kitchen and handing out takeout. So, yes, do order takeout from their menu of vegan Singaporean dishes (the shaobing sandwich is a given, the laksa’s the bomb, and the potato salad is an unexpected treat) to pick up at their 380 17th Street location, and do pick it up between 5-8 p.m. Saturday, but don’t freak out if they’re already sold out when you go to order — just place your order next week, instead. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Drink

“As soon as you say you’re not feeling well to a grandmother or elder in the Caribbean, the first thing they say is you need to have a cup of bush tea,” says Sarah Kirnon, chef-owner of Miss Ollie’s. And so, when the pandemic hit, naturally, brewing bush tea was the first thing she thought to do, as a time-tested way to give a boost to customers’ respiratory systems. Each batch is made with a slew of herbs and spices with assorted medicinal properties: soursop leaf, cerasee bush, fever grass (aka lemongrass), mauby bark, star anise, cardamom, moringa, black mint, carambola seeds, and many, many more. Served hot (unless the weather calls for it to be iced), the tea is meant to taste bitter, Kirnon says: “That’s how you know it’s working.” At first, Miss Ollie’s sold the bush tea for $2 a cup, but now Kirnon just gives it away for free — as many as 200 cups a week; a gift to the community during these stressful, troubling times. A number of AC Transit bus drivers routinely stop in for a cup during their breaks, Kirnon says. Maybe it can be a new part of your pandemic routine as well. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Listen to

I’ve been thinking a lot about this pre-pandemic piece from Eater.com that looked at census data from 2010 to 2016, an analysis that concluded that tipping is bad for America, I’ve also been thinking about this tart response from advice columnist Miss Manners when asked about tipping during the coronavirus crisis, in which she says “Miss Manners is not a fan of tipping: She prefers that employers pay staff a living wage.” The most recent episode of Tablehopper’s On The Fly podcast also wrestles with tipping, suggesting that tipping is hitting a tipping point (I refuse to apologize). On the show, host Marcia Gagliardi speaks with Jesse Ziff Cool, the woman behind Menlo Park’s 40-year-old Flea Street who’s actively seeking new ways to reach pay equity for her staff. It’s a good, and provocative, listen. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

If there was ever a show that seems tailor-made for the San Francisco of 2020, it’s the new Hulu series Woke, which stars Lamorne Morris (yes, Winston from New Girl) as Keef Knight, a lightly fictionalized version of the show’s creator, the formerly SF-based cartoonist Keith Knight. The thrust of the series is Knight’s political awakening, from being a Black cartoonist who avoids talking about race, after a white cop pulls a gun on him in a case of mistaken identity — an incident that happened to the real-life Knight 20 years ago. Though the series was mostly shot in Vancouver, interspersed with stock shots of SF Chinatown and the Transamerica building, its subject matter is very much a satirizing the strained racial politics of San Francisco today: the outwardly progressive sheen while the former Black barber shop is run by a bunch of bearded white dudes who offer customers a free shot of Hennesy and a guy cosplaying a piece of burnt toast in blackface makes an earnest “doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, blue, or green” comment. Not every joke lands, but SF viewers should recognize a piece of their city here: the part where you might casually stroll around Chinatown with delicious-looking meat skewers, and also the part where sometimes it feels like everyone bends over backwards to not talk about race. — Luke Tsai, food editor

September 10

Virtual Event

Oakland-based chef and author Samin Nosrat was initially slated to appear live at the University of Alabama this weekend, making it an event out of reach for most of us here. But the pandemic derailed that (just like everything else), so instead, the Salt, Fat, Acid Heat author’s appearance — a “virtual culinary conversation and a live Q-and-A discussion with Frank and Pardis Stitt, the co-owners of Birmingham-area, award-winning restaurants like Bottega, Chez Fon-Fon, and Highlands Bar & Grill. There’s something very 2020 about sitting in your Bay Area home, watching a local food celeb Zoom with a couple of high-profile Alabama restaurateurs, don’t you think? Tickets for the chat, which kicks off at 4 p.m. CT/2 p.m. PT on September 13, are $29...and, for once, you don’t need to worry about not being able to get a seat. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

This weekend is your last (for now, at least) to get takeout from AL’s Place, that Michelin-starred restaurant on Valencia Street which, prior to the pandemic, required a decent amount of reservation-making and advance planning to get a taste of its inventive, produce-focused menu. Those waits dissipated when the spot launched curbside takeout, suddenly enabling anyone to nab some of its award-winning dishes. A spokesperson for the restaurant says that as AL’s Place is launching outdoor, sit-down dining on September 24, it’ll be suspending its takeout service until they “get our footing with in-person service.” Preorders for their last takeout menu are open now, with pickup Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Drink

Many of SF’s best-known bars are down for the count as the pandemic continues, either unable to offer the food necessary to reopen or without the outdoor space to seat drinkers outdoors. Blessed with an adjacent parking lot, Polk Street’s Whitechapel was able to open an outdoor spinoff called the Barbican Garden, a leafy, excellently-distanced, outdoor scene. Now they’re using that breathing room to help support some other bars that aren’t as lucky, with a pop-up bar series for places like Mission bar Wildhawk (September 12), Dogpatch dive the Sea Star (September 19), and Marin’s California Gold (September 26). The pop-ups, which will offer four signature cocktails from the featured bars each week, will run from 3:00-7:30 p.m. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

If you dug fast fashion doc The True Cost or meat industry expose Fast Food Nation, you’re going to like investigative journalist Benjamin Lorr’s The Secret Life of Groceries, which gives an inside-baseball look at how things work at grocery object of obsession Trader Joe’s, helps you understand why the grocery supply chain fell apart during the pandemic, and reveals the bullshit behind many a buzzy moniker (like “fair trade,” for example). Most importantly, Lorr is funny — this isn’t just doom-and-gloom and “we’re killing the earth,” and each other (though there’s some of that, for sure). After reading this book, I felt smarter, better equipped to make ethical shopping choices, and less likely to just mindlessly consume...but I didn’t feel doomed. You can use Indiebound to find a local bookseller that carries the book here, and paper and e-book versions of it are also available at most local libraries. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

With many of the city’s bars hanging onto a thread, or shut down entirely for the foreseeable future, it should come as no surprise that Oakland Cocktail Week looks a little bit different this year. In fact, the annual celebration of Oakland’s bar scene has been repurposed into a month-long COVID fundraiser — and, naturally, the concerts and cocktail demos connected to the event are all happening in the virtual realm. To help get you in the mood — which is to say, to get you feeling hella nostalgic for the days when you could kick back at a crowded bar — the organizers are screening Town Spirit, a short documentary about Oakland’s longstanding and ever-evolving bar culture, which you can watch online starting tonight at 8 p.m. It’s a quick watch, clocking in at 26 minutes, and features the proprietors and patrons at a mix of beloved bars, old and new: Heinold’s First and Last Chance, Merchant’s Saloon, Starline Social Club, Cafe Van Kleef, and more. The film also digs into the loss of all the Black-owned blues bars that used to line 7th Street in West Oakland — a whole cultural scene that was decimated by urban development — and explores what it means for bars to function as community gathering places (“third spaces”), especially in a changing, gentrifying city like Oakland. Watch the whole thing here. — Luke Tsai, food editor

September 3

Virtual Event

Real Food Real Stories, the local nonprofit that hosts lots of food talks, has been running a summer series titled Listening to Black Leaders. This Friday, Shani Jones from Peaches Patties is sharing her story. The La Cocina star is known for her delicious Jamaican patties, filled with beef, chicken curry, spinach, and lentils. Tune in to hear about her experience as one of the few Caribbean food businesses in San Francisco. It’s tonight, September 3, kicking off with the talk at 6 p.m., and questions to follow. The event is totally free, and participants can register online to get the Zoom link and additional details. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

I know, I know, it’s not even Dungeness crab season anymore, but SF-based bakery empire Boudin’s pitch to “bring home a classic Fisherman’s Wharf meal this Labor Day weekend” had me at the part where I can get one of their classic crabby combos without having to spend too much time in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s two pounds of steamed, cleaned, and cracked crab, packed with drawn butter and their cocktail sauce; a one-pound loaf of sourdough (because I guess we’re at the point in pandemic carb loading that we’re measuring bread in pounds), and pasta marinara and Caesar salad for two, for $99. Preorder here for pickup on Saturday or Sunday at Boudin locations across Northern California. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Drink

When the pandemic kicked in, Jonathan Ojinaga was hit with a double whammy: He owns a bar, a tough gig when people can’t congregate indoors; and that bar, Azucar Lounge, is in SoMa, an area left empty when offices and tech companies emptied out in March. Ojinaga wanted to see if there were options beyond the standard bottled to-go cocktail, and, after doing some research, ordered a canning machine. These days, Azucar’s busy serving outdoor diners in their patio and is still selling household staples from its pandemic pop-up general store, but it’s canned cocktails are where it’s at. Each 330 ml can serves two, with cocktails like a Banhez mezcal paloma and the “Karen,” which is a can of “Hanger 1 Straight Vodka, Soda, and attitude.” Order here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

Any picky four-year-old (or their parent) will be able to relate to the premise of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s just-released picture book Every Night Is Pizza Night, about a kid named Pipo whose beleaguered parents are tired of eating pizza every night — because pizza, as Pipo quite logically asserts, “Is. The. Best.” Yes, the author is that Lopez-Alt, the Bay Area restaurateur and world-acclaimed evangelist of science-based home cooking, so it’s no surprise when Pipo goes on a thoroughly scientific, data-based quest through her neighbors’ kitchens to see if any other dish can steal her heart. Plenty of bibimbap (“a taste sensation!), tagine (“chicken and apricots, you do belong together”), and red beans and rice (“like a great big hug”) get eaten along the way. In the end, the book is a celebration of all the flavors that people from different cultures love, but Pipo is goofy and endearing enough as as a protagonist, and the book is so joyously illustrated (by Oakland-based artist Gianna Ruggiero), that it never feels preachy. And oh yes: There’s a (kid-friendly) pizza recipe. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

The latest edition of Netflix’s popular Chef’s Table docuseries — known, in part, for having the most slow-motion shots (of, say, a carrot being chopped or a chef walking through a field of grain) in all of food TV — zooms in on the world of barbecue. None of the featured chefs this time around (Texas’s Tootsie Tomanetz, Australia’s Lennox Hastie, Rosalia Chay Chuc from the Yucatán, and South Carolina pitmaster Rodney Scott) hail from the Bay, though if you’ve attended big events like Eat Real or the La Cocina Street Food Festival, there’s a decent chance you’ve tasted Scott’s delicious whole-hog barbecue — and might want to learn more about his personal journey. This might be the most outdoorsy season of Chef’s Table yet, with as many scenes set deep in the woods as there are in any kind of traditional restaurant kitchen. The cinematography of big slabs of meat and dancing flames is gorgeous, of course, and a recurring theme of deep barbecue traditions and knowledge being passed from one generation to the next is genuinely moving. — Luke Tsai, food editor

August 27

Virtual Event

In healthier times, this weekend would have been Outside Lands, when San Franciscans descend on the grassy knolls of Golden Gate Park. But even though the live concerts are cancelled this year, the powers that be have replaced them with Inside Lands, a virtual music festival. Silver linings: It’s totally free. You can listen in from the comforts of your couch. And you don’t even have to spend the three most painful hours of your life trying to get an Uber home. Check out the full schedule, and log into Twitch, with streaming performances from Gorillaz, J. Cole, LCD Soundsystem, and more, running this Friday through Sunday. It won’t be the same without the beer, wine, cocktails, and food truck action, all centered on the GastroMagic stage. But hey, it’s still possible to order beignets to go from Brenda’s, and bounce it out in your living room. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

Pig roasts are a time-honored summertime tradition — who among us (who is carnivorous) hasn’t felt a spark of joy upon spotting a La Caja China set up at a backyard cookout we’ve been lucky enough to be invited to, or on the sidewalk in front of your favorite meat-centric restaurant? Even in these socially distanced times, the Vault is keeping that spirit alive, at least for pork lovers who feel comfortable dining outside at a restaurant right now. If you fit into that category, you might want to consider the Korean pig roast — an “Emperor’s Feast” — that chef Robin Song is throwing down this Saturday, a ticketed, socially distanced event in the FiDi restaurant’s vast dining garden. All parts of the multiple whole pigs they’ll be roasting on a rotisserie will be used deliciously: in bone-in pork belly “galbi,” gochujang-spiced pulled pork, soy-garlic sausage, slow-cooked pork stew, house-made chicharrons, and plenty more. Reserve here for dinner or a lighter lunch, and bring a hearty appetite. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Not only can you snag an affordable batch of quality cocktails to go at Oakland cafe and bar North Light, you can grab books, records, and even art. Those auxiliary offerings, alone, make it a standout, but let’s talk booze first: multi-drinker margs, Moscow mules, and daiquiris go for $25, a bargain given the care with which they’re crafted. Those who are feeling lucky can even go for a single-serving “Dealer’s Choice,” where the drinker suggest the “spirit base, flavors, maybe a song you want it to taste like,” and they’ll concoct a drink based on that. Adventure, for only $12! Their online menu reveals a new menu of items like waffle fries two ways and a pretty solid burger, and curated lists of books, vinyl, and art you can tack on to your order. Truly a one-stop weekend shop. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

I don’t know how I missed the first issue of Ayesha Curry’s new magazine. Please don’t take back my fangirl status. But for all of us catching up, let’s review: Ayesha Curry, when she’s not serving sticky-sweet ribs at International Smoke, or feeding kids and supporting restaurants in Oakland, also now has a magazine. It’s called Sweet July. That’s because she married basketball star Stephen Curry in July, and all three of their adorable children were born in the same month. Yes, there are recipes. And also lifestyle tips, and gorgeous photos with her mama and grandma. How excited am I? Like probably the same level as Riley and Ryan dancing to Beyoncé in the back of the pickup. Let’s dig into that backyard brunch spread, shall we? Oh, the mini crab cake sandwiches. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

One of my favorite things about Japanese anime is how prominently food is featured and how lovingly it’s rendered, even in series that ostensibly have very little to do with food — in an anime about figure skating! Or one on winter camping (OK, that one is mostly about food)! This week Serious Eats ran a wonderful piece on the greatness of the cooking scenes in the films of Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki, which of course feature some of the most memorable and iconic anime food scenes. And these scenes aren’t just gorgeous, writer Keira Wright-Ruiz argues, but also advance our understanding of the characters — like when the older sister in My Neighbor Totoro skillfully throws together a bento of sakura denbu, edamame, umeboshi, and a small fried fish, showing how much she’s had to take on the responsibility of being the caregiver in her family. Read the whole piece, as it highlights so many other great scenes (the fish pie in Kiki’s Delivery Service! The bacon and eggs frying over the little fire demon in Howl’s Moving Castle!), and maybe check out this IG account, which has been known to sometimes create IRL versions of iconic anime dishes. That should get you in the mood to stream a few Miyazaki films this weekend — which, as far as I can tell, is the best reason to consider an HBO Max subscription, as that’s where you’ll find that entire catalogue. — Luke Tsai, food editor

August 20

Virtual Event

As part of Black Restaurant Week (which launches in the Bay Area tomorrow, watch this site for more info on the event), the Power of the Palate virtual cocktail competition is seeking the best bartender in the U.S., with geographic battles that will lead up to a final, national competition. Our local contender is Clay Coleman, a freelance bartender who most recently served patrons at Chase Center, and before that was thoughtfully concocting cocktails at Here’s How and Le Colonial (and began his career as a barback as the Tonga Room, which I’ll bet was quite a gig). You can track his progress on the Power of the Palate Facebook page, which will feature live events all week, and cast your vote for him here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

The component’s of IndoMex’s concha fried chicken sandwich: coconut concha, koji fried chicken. sambal aioli
Concha fried chicken sandwich
Nora Haron

Though Nora Haron has been teasing items from IndoMex, her new brunch popup with Oakland taco spot Xingones, for a while now, this Sunday marks its official debut — the first chance for fans of the Indonesian-Singaporean chef’s cooking to try her new Mexican-inspired dishes — the product, Haron says, of months of cooking experiments with her part-Mexican boyfriend. That means that this weekend, customers who pre-order online will have a chance to feast on rib eye rendang tamales, fried chicken tucked inside conchas flavored with coconut milk and makrut lime, and a take on Mexican rice porridge topped with fried anchovies and a cross between a sambal and a salsa. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

It feels like we’ve all been reverting back to a simpler time in these days of strife and conflict, gravitating to mac and cheese, breakfast cereal for dinner, and TV trays. If reliving your grade school days still feels too retrograde, Hawai‘i-flavored restaurant Liholiho Yacht Club can transport you back to college with their Yacht Shots, which are Jell-O shots made with li hing (that’s a sweet-and-savory dried plum) and tequila. These are definitely not the Jell-O shots I remember from the college-adjacent bars of my youth, but that’s OK: these are Jell-O shots that benefit the sophisticated palate of a big-city adult, one whose days of Everclear and faux cotton candy have come and gone. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

In a previous lifetime (like, we’re talking decades ago), I was a newbie high school English teacher tasked with creating a brand new elective on Asian American literature. And one of the most memorable books I read for the first time in preparation for teaching that class was Donald Duk, Frank Chin’s classic in the Asian-American literary canon, the coming-of-age tale of a self-loathing young Chinese American — yes, named Donald Duk — who, through visions of Chinese deities and 19th century railroad workers, (spoiler alert) comes to embrace his own Chinese-ness. The book is also set entirely in San Francisco Chinatown, amid the bustling fish markets and jook shops, and includes a passage about Uncle’s Cafe (a real SF Chinatown restaurant from back in the day) that is my all-time favorite description of the kind of Chinese-Western fusion you can often find at those kinds of Chinese-owned diners, where “the apple pie may be a part of a meal of wontons and chow fun with roast pork and apple sauce, and duck legs and chicken feet during deem sum lunchtime, with a strawberry milkshake.” — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

This is a true story, but I know how preposterous it sounds. I was relaxing on the couch last night with a sandwich, a beer, and the late, great, (oh my god this was on broadcast?) TV series Hannibal last night when my doorbell rang. And rang and rang, six or seven times. Pausing the show, which dropped on Netflix in June, I went to the door to discover — you can’t make this stuff up, folks — a census taker. Now, I don’t eat liver, but I might if it were prepared as lovingly as the dishes on the 2013–2015 show, all of which were styled by Janice Poon, with input from the show’s culinary consultant, World Central Kitchen’s Jose Andres. While Mads Mikkelsen’s Hannibal doesn’t make the same crack Anthony Hopkins does on census-related cannibalism, there is an allusion to the famous line in the show’s second season. That’s just one of the zillions of glorious Easter eggs on this show, which is as fresh and edgy as it did when it aired five years ago. — Eve Batey, news editor

August 13

Virtual Event

Chef Heena Patel’s Dogpatch Gujarati spot Besharam is serving scores of diners on its sidewalks, but Patel’s still making time for those of us who remain indoors. Via livestream at 3 p.m. PT Thursday, she’s teaching a class on how to make dahi wada, one of her restaurants most popular dishes. Joining her is East Coast chef K.N. Vinod, for a class on the preparation of papri chaat, then sommelier Erlinda Doherty will tell us what to pair with the foods. Tickets for the seminar are $55, and include copies of the recipes, a pairing list, and 10 percent off your next Besharam meal. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

Elda, the Cali-Latin cocktail bar, is hosting a pop-up this weekend featuring Christian Reynoso, former sous chef for Zuni Cafe and columnist for the SF Chronicle. Reynoso is rolling out some sweet summer produce, featuring salty-spicy melon, milk bread toast with early girls and bacon, crispy chicken milanesa with sungold salsa, and a boozy flan in a jar topped with blackberries. A portion of the proceeds are going to support La Cocina. It’s going down this Sunday afternoon from 12 to 4 p.m., so order online to pick up only. Wear your most stylish mask, bring your cutest chug (that would be a chihuahua slash pug, duh). — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

The press materials for Campbell-based Surreal Brewing Company’s new Milkshake IPA calls it “health forward,” which might be a bit of a stretch — it’s non-alcoholic, and made with “all-natural, non-GMO ingredients,” but so are lots of things that will still do in your health. What it is is really delicious, a citrus-flavored and just slightly sweet beer that feels beer-y and celebratory, but won’t get you blotto. But Eve, you might be saying, what’s the point of beer without the blotto factor? I hear you, and I understand. But I’ve really been putting it away during the pandemic, sometimes without even thinking about it. An interesting no-ABV drink like this creates the sensation that the work day has ended and that fun times can begin, but doesn’t leave me dragging the next day. It’s a solid way to slow down and drink more thoughtfully, if you drink at all. You can order it directly from Surreal here, shipping is only $5 for a 12-pack, and delivery is available in many South Bay and Peninsula cities — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

Be forewarned that the graphic novelist (and NorCal native) Adrian Tomine’s new book, The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist, is, essentially, 150 pages of non-stop cringe — so much so that readers who are sensitive to second-hand embarrassment might need to take occasional breaks. That caveat aside, Tomine’s recounting of the most mortifying moments of his (outwardly extremely successful!) career as a cartoonist is a funny, self-aware, and supremely relatable portrait of the creative life — and a good chunk of it takes place in various anonymous restaurants across the country, as the author recalls ill-fated lunch interviews and lonely dinners while out on book tour. There’s a Sbarro incident, and one of the books most memorable scenes — a gastrointestinal nightmare — takes place at an unnamed Oakland diner. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and, quite possibly, you’ll feel inspired to check out some of Tomine’s earlier work. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

California’s very own senator Kamala Harris joined the ticket with Biden this week, as the first Black and South Asian woman to become a vice presidential candidate. In addition to reading up on her experience and policies, for all those basking in the moment and spinning out into other entertainment, oh hey, remember that time she made a cooking video with Mindy Kaling? And shared how she keeps all her spices in Taster’s Choice jars? “Can I just tell you something? I’ve never made dosa,” Harris confessed. Of course, a nomination for Harris is already a win for comedian Maya Rudolph, who happened to find out while on live TV. “Oh, that’s spicy,” said Rudolph. Brush up on all those old SNL clips. It’s going to be good this week. — Becky Duffett, reporter

August 6

Virtual Event

Kinship Foods usually serves up Asian comfort food starring local farms, but these days it’s digging deeper into supporting Black farmers, by hosting a few digital events called Dumplings for Black Farmers. This Saturday, August 8, join a “virtual cook-along” with Chef Preeti Mistry of the late Juhu Beach Club and Navi Kitchen; Soleil Ho, the restaurant critic at the SF Chronicle; and Henry Hsu from Horamasama Dumplings and Hodo Foods. Mistry and Ho will be getting into it with a discussion of white supremacy in food, and Hsu is bringing the dumplings for a demo. In order to participate, the deal is you make a donation in support of a Black farmer, take a screenshot, and email it to christine@kinshipfoods.com. This week, she’s specifically asking for donations to Kiley Clark’s farm. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

If Cassava isn’t already in your regular weekend takeout brunch rotation, the Outer Richmond gem’s new lineup of “cultural exploration” dishes, created by members of the restaurant’s multicultural kitchen team, might cause you to mend your ways. Consider, for instance, the kimchi fried rice, courtesy of sous chef Jon — a tricked out version made with house-fermented kimchi and koshihikari rice, topped with a slice of on-the-bone kalbi. Or, courtesy of sous chef Abigail, the tamales mojados, made with chicken, pumpkin seeds, and salsa verde. Or the strawberry jam toast made with house-baked Filipino pan de leche. (All that said, Cassava brunch regulars will have to exercise real self-restraint to not just fall back on the wildly popular Japanese breakfast — now available in bento-ized form.) Check out the entire brunch menu here and order online. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Francophiles got some sad news this week, with the announcement that Baker Street Bistro is closing permanently after 30 years in Cow Hollow. But the cassoulet tradition carries on at Maison Danel, the owners’ sparkling new patisserie on Polk Street, which just reopened for takeout. Fresh to the menu is the full afternoon tea set, complete with mini sandwiches, mini croissants, mini sweets, and mini jam jars, doilies included. The loose leaf tea selections range from traditional English breakfast and Earl Grey to rose, jasmine, and chrysanthemum florals. And for the desperately parched, the only civilized solution is to throw in a bottle of bubbles. Order online for pickup or delivery. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

San Francisco native Daniel Handler might be better known nationally as Lemony Snicket, the pseudonymous scribe behind the Series of Unfortunate Events books, but locals know him as the author of books like The Basic Eight (allegedly a thinly-veiled account of some of his experiences at Lowell High School), among other more grown-up yarns. This week the SF Chronicle published a short story of his, entitled “Waiters,” about a five-minutes-from-now coronavirus future in which only restaurants like the fictional “Calendar,” a $1,500 prix fixe spot with kombucha pairings booked by a line-squatting app, survive. Like most of Handler’s work, the bitter overpowers the sweet, which in small servings is eminently palatable. You can read “Waiters” here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Listen to

The pandemic has been a golden age of sorts for podcasts — and, of course, for people who like to listen to podcasts. For history buffs, or just people who are curious about the various quirks and untold stories of Oakland and the rest of the East Bay, this would be a great time to binge-listen East Bay Yesterday, Liam O’Donoghue’s great local history podcast, which is a particular treat for anyone who has an abiding love for the region’s old, too-quickly-forgotten restaurants. There’s an episode that tells the amazing life story of Nellie Ozen, Oakland’s oldest soul food chef. There’s one on Biff’s, the now-demolished 1950s-era flying saucer–shaped diner. And another about the deep Latino history of Oakland’s Old Oakland neighborhood, which included several of the city’s oldest Mexican restaurants. Check out those, and any other episodes that catch your interest, here. — Luke Tsai, food editor

July 30

Virtual Event

Admit it, there’s been times when you’ve thought “eff this noise, I should just quit my job and start a (pie/cake pop/muffin) business.” Dessert Goals, a two-day virtual event running on July 31 and August 1, is your chance to figure out if that dream could be a reality (or nightmare), as it’s packed with demos, panels, speakers, and networking opportunities all centered around baking, sweets, and deliciousness. Tickets for the event are $25, and don’t worry about scheduling, as every piece of content will be streamable for the next week. You can find the full slate here, and learn what to expect here. Just remember, when Dessert Goals inspires you to become SF’s next big pastry sensation, that it was Eater SF that set you on your way. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

I think I miss eating lobster roll at the bar of the Four Seasons, next to a crackling late summer fire, almost as much as my friend Brock Keeling from the late Curbed SF misses sneaking into the bathroom in the lobby. But apparently, even though the hotel is dark these days, French chef Cyrille Pannier appears to have launched a new side hustle, selling fancy picnic baskets that one can tote to the park. How about a smoked salmon sandwich elegantly topped with statement-sized caper berries? Would you look at those beautifully burnished canelés and baby macarons? Oh la. Shoot him an email at cjpicnic.com or slide into those DMs. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

Few threatened restaurant closures shook me more deeply than that of the St. Francis Fountain, San Francisco’s oldest ice cream parlor and my favorite place to go any time I have to pay a visit to San Francisco General Hospital (it’s just down the street). Tablehopper reported their reopening this week, and I immediately ordered a vegan mess (potatoes, fake sausage and cheese, and a slew of veggies) even though neither I nor anyone I know (knock on wood) are currently hospitalized. This weekend I’ll be back for a milkshake, one of the city’s finest. They do a vegan shake with La Copa Loca vanilla soy gelato, or I might go full dairy and get a standard coffee shake, which for $2 extra, comes with bananas tossed in. You can mull your shake choices here, takeout and outdoor dining is available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

The new issue of Toothache just arrived in the snail mail, and what other delights are there these days? Than receiving a package from the outside world, and settling down with a mug of tea and a beautiful print magazine. Toothache is an independent publication from local pastry chef Nick Muncy, and it’s a labor of love. By chefs and for chefs, you won’t find any of the usual glossy product placements or word play, it cuts straight to the source with simple q and a’s. And beautiful design, with highly stylized covers, relaxed chef portraits, and striking food photos, flipping through matte pages. Issue 7 features chefs in SF, Portland, and New York, including our local Chris Cosentino of Cockscomb grumbling he’s more than blood and guts, and Nelson German of Alamar in Oakland speaking up on the future of the restaurant industry. I also spent a long time staring at the baby banana courtesy of Eunji Lee of Jungsik in New York, and the kitten confections from Joanna Artieda, a master instructor from Spain. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

The second season of Street Food dropped on Netflix last week, and its my goal to binge on it all weekend long. The series’ first season was set in Asia, a dazzling spin through Japan, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, and this time around, Latin America is the focus: Argentina, Columbia, Brazil, Mexico, and more across six bite-sized 30 minute episodes. Writing for Eater, Jaya Saxena says the season is “a calming reminder that people are resilient and, even if the pandemic takes away their business, they, and others, will still be out there trying and cooking,” and “has more to say than just pointing you to where you should be eating (or where you may never eat again).” You can watch the show’s first season here, and the second here. — Eve Batey, news editor

July 23

Virtual Event

Apologies for the last-minute notice, but if you’ve ever wanted Pim Techamuanvivit to teach you how to cook rice, today is your lucky day. The star chef of widely lauded SF Thai spots Nari and Kin Khao is doing a free cooking demo on Instagram Live today, at 1 p.m. PST, as part of a Thai government marketing push called “Eat Thai Rice.” For today’s demo, Techamuanvivit will be joined by food writer Aaron Hutcherson, who is hosting the virtual event on his Instagram account, and she’ll be teaching viewers how to make khao yum, “a turmeric-scented rice dish featuring seasonal vegetables with a tamarind sauce.” Tune in here. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Maybe you missed the news bulletin, but Great China, one of the Bay Area’s most highly respected northern Chinese restaurants, finally reopened for takeout and delivery about a month ago. That’s good news any way you slice it, but what’s particularly exciting, for those of us lucky enough to live in the East Bay, is that the restaurant’s Peking duck — arguably the finest, most delectably crisp-skinned version you can find in the Bay — is now a legitimate takeout option, worthy of your next big celebration meal. It’s a bit of a splurge, at $46.95 a pop, but an order will feed the whole family, especially if you get it in combination with a vegetable dish or two. Call in, or get delivery via Caviar. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Oakland’s New Parkway Theater has been a Bay Area go-to since 2012, when it opened as an independent movie house packed with comfy couches and chairs, serving beer, wine, and full meals for folks as they watched blockbusters, arthouse fare, and classics on the big screen. These days, the biggest screen most of us see are our TVs at home, and the Parkway’s kitchen has turned into a “food crate” business, preparing a weekly rotating menu of dishes folks can heat and eat at their leisure. Next week’s menu includes West African peanut soup, bread pudding, and muhammara. Prices start at $60, and delivery is available in Oakland, Alameda, Piedmont, San Leandro, Emeryville, Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito, and Kensington — everyone else must pick up their boxes at the theater. You can find more details or order here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Drink

It’s par for the course that we’ve only very occasionally been getting some hot weather here in the Bay Area this year, but on days when you break even the slightest sweat, there are few things more refreshing than the mint lemonade at Oakland’s Holy Land, an Israeli spot probably best known for its excellent falafels and matzo ball soup. There have been plenty of days, though, when I’ve made the trek specifically just for that lemonade: Blended with crushed ice, it’s almost slushie-like in texture and just sweet enough, with bright mint kick that somehow makes your body temperature instantly feel 10 degrees cooler. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Read

Did you know that in addition to being the SF Chronicle’s James Beard Award-nominated food critic, Soleil Ho also once co-authored a graphic novel? Written in collaboration with the comic artist Blue Delliquanti, the book is called Meal, and, not surprisingly, it’s about food — specifically, the cultural traditions behind cooking and eating insects. But it’s also a sweet, feel-good queer love story about a couple of young chefs making their way in the world, and it even has a few recipes at the end, for folks who feel ready to add some mealworms or chapulines to their diet. Buy the book online or at your favorite bookstore, or see if you can snag a copy at your local public library. — Luke Tsai, food editor

July 16

Virtual Event

San Francisco Cooking School, the coolest culinary school in San Francisco (okay yes, disclaimer, I went there), just launched virtual cooking classes. And while the school has many wonderful instructors, and even sometimes hosts guest appearances from local chefs, right now founder Jodi Liano is back in the kitchen teaching the first few digital courses, which is a rare treat. Last week you missed “mastering meatballs,” but don’t despair, next up is “better biscuits,” filled with hot tips for definitively flaky layers, and variations like cheddar chive and toppings like hot honey. Register online through the school’s website. Students will be sent a shopping list and equipment list to gather together before the live-streamed virtual event. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

If you’ve ever found yourself in the position of trying to sneak vegetables in a recalcitrant four-year-old’s meal, may I recommend okonomiyaki? Of course I’m talking about the teppan-grilled savory pancakes you can find at festivals and dimly lit pubs all over Japan — and also here in Oakland, thanks to the street-side pop-up Okkon, which serves what’s probably the best version of the dish I’ve found in the Bay Area. The pancake is thick and hefty without being over-heavy, and it’s chock full of shredded cabbage — it’s a vegetable dish, really, even if it does come with pork belly — and topped with Okkon’s savory-sweet housemade brown sauce and generous squiggles of Kewpie-style mayonnaise. My recommendation is to eat it while it’s hot and the pork belly and pancake edges are still nice and crisp — say, while perched on the hood of your car on a sunny summer afternoon. Okkon is currently popping up at West Oakland’s Soba Ichi most weekends, including this Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m. Walk up or pre-order via Instagram DM. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

The Vault, that tony FiDi restaurant that’s made a pandemic-era pivot to an expansive outdoor dining space, launches an “outdoor lounge” tonight called “Vault Garden After Dark.” As a person of a certain age, anything “after dark” brings to mind the Peach Pit After Dark, the Beverly Hills, 90210 lounge attached to Mel’s-ish diner/cast hangout the Peach Pit. It’s too soon to say if the Vault’s “After Dark” experience will be home to the shenanigans like those enjoyed by Brandon, Donna, Kelly, and Dylan (RIP), but it will offer a lengthy whiskey list curated for San Francisco’s frigid summer nights.You don’t even have to wait until after dark to enjoy it, as the lounge opens at noon Thursdays–Sundays, and at 4 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

As an inveterate snoop (why on earth do you think I entered this doomed profession?), I love seeing inside people’s homes, closets, and refrigerators. That last, mysterious domain is what’s covered in Chefs’ Fridges: More Than 35 World-Renowned Cooks Reveal What They Eat at Home, a book perfect for my coronavirus-snarled brain, as it is mostly pictures with occasional, digestible chunks of text. I would be a dingbat if I thought the refrigerators of local food icons Alice Waters (hoarded Blenheim apricot jam) or Dominique Crenn (my least favorite brand of kombucha) really, truly look as they do here — but who doesn’t clean up their act when the pro-level cameras come out? It’s a fun little look at how some of the U.S.’s biggest food names want to be viewed, which is revealing in and of itself. Via Indiebound, you can figure out where to buy Chefs’ Fridges locally, and most Bay Area public libraries seem to have a copy or two. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

@cian.dom

Takeout but make it fancy. Secret Garden Tea Party set by Son & Garden #sanfrancisco #bayarea #bayareacheck #afternoontea #summervlog #fyp #foodie

♬ so this is love - softgirlaest

What’s that you say? An elder millennial has no business on TikTok? Well you know what, kids? All rules are off during quarantine. So first of all, I can’t stop watching videos of this kid getting handed plates of food. He’s so polite to his mama! He loves food so much! I’ve watched the nectarine video like at least ten times, first with glee, then deep sadness — do you remember what it was like, sitting in a restaurant, and having someone hand you a plate of food? I used to be that happy. Next, I started getting videos of this lady eating raw carrots with mustard, which is … something. Listen, if Hailey says she’s healthy and happy, let’s take her word for it, just not her condiment choices. A friend recommended Tabitha Brown, vegan influencer, who apparently is now NY Times level TikTok famous, and I don’t know what looks better, the fried oyster mushrooms or that swimwear in the kitchen. But also, it has come to my attention that there is a Bay Area specific TikTok food community, with unboxing videos of Son & Garden afternoon tea, Osha banana leaves, La Mar ceviche, and more. Also, this is my friend Marissa, going through her mom’s collection of Diet Coke cans from around the world. — Becky Duffett, reporter


July 9

Virtual Event

This weekend’s virtual event pick is a good one for folks who have a competitive streak. Acta Non Verba, the Oakland-based urban youth farming project, is hosting a brunch-themed livestreamed cooking competition between four celebrity chefs — Bryant Terry, the Oakland-based vegan soul food guru; Alice Waters, the grand dame of California cuisine herself; Jennifer Booker; and Nikki Shaw. It all goes down this Saturday, July 11, from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. A $25 ticket lets you follow a single team’s efforts on Zoom, $50 allows you to watch all four teams at once, and $150 allows you to actually join one of the teams, with your efforts in egg or pancake cookery livestreamed out to a potential audience of hundreds — and the possible reward of cool prizes, like a private cooking class with Top Chef alum Tu David Phu, if your team wins. Victorious or not, the money goes to a good cause, as Acta Non Verba has been working with Oakland youth to overcome “oppressive dynamics and environments” through farming since 2011. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Several months into quarantine, I suddenly realized that I have not eaten any ramen — what an egregious oversight. Ramen may not be top of mind as a takeout food, as some of the best spots in SF politely refuse to deli up leftovers, that’s just not the deal. But now, as restaurants have pivoted to takeout and delivery, those chewy noodles and creamy tonkotsu broths may be available to go. Marufuku looks like they’re leaning into this thing, with online orders for takeout and several apps for delivery. But also, Mensho might be on the cusp, promising takeout to come. Oh, the hours spent standing on the street, debating getting corner store chips, but deciding not to, in order to eat as much ramen as humanly possible. Ramen takeout is a real game changer. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

Sobre Mesa, the swanky new Afro-Latino cocktail lounge, just opened on March 5 in downtown Oakland, which feels like a particularly tough straw to draw, given that shelter in place shut it down less than a fortnight later. Still, even though you can’t relax in the leather booths under the glow of neon lights, at least you can still keep the fruit-forward drinks coming. Cocktail pro Alex Maynard is mixing the drinks, and he’s got family roots in Barbados, and is focusing on island vibes without the tiki kitsch. In particular, the spicy guava and mango margarita looks like a very exciting situation, served up in a big-batch pouch. (Does it resemble an oversized Capri Sun? But for adults and so much better.) — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a big reader of romance novels, but for the past couple of years I’ve been hooked on the work of the Oakland-based author Jasmine Guillory, a rising star in the genre who has been praised for her portrayal of smart, ambitious, and joyful Black women protagonists — an antidote to the negative depictions of Black girls and women she grew up having to read, Guillory has said. Particularly relatable to me: Guillory’s novels, many of which are set at least partly in the Bay Area, are chock-full of snacks and takeout feasts: elaborate cheese plates, three-layer cakes, cones of French fries, and what seems like a metric ton of takeout pizza from notable local joints. The characters are always eating! Guillory’s latest, Party of Two — about the at-first-secret romance between a successful lawyer and a young junior senator from California — is no exception. Buy it online or from your local bookstore of choice. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

Look, I’m not going to tell you The Streets of San Francisco — a SF-set police procedural starring Karl Malden and Michael Douglas that ran from 1972-1977 — espouses anything close to San Francisco values. For example, there’s the episode set at beloved North Beach “female impersonator” bar Finocchio’s (which closed in 1999 after a 63-year run) in which talk/game show host John Davidson plays a character who sports the worst, most offensive traits of Norman Bates and Buffalo Bill. What it does offer, a friend who is mid-rewatch reminded me, is a remarkable look at San Francisco’s bar and restaurant scene of the day, as the show shot almost every scene in town. There are ornate steakhouses where tech companies now stand, problematically-cast Chinese restaurants that remain open to this day, and bars that look like how bars are supposed to look. It’s San Francisco history in an extremely dated cop show’s clothing. The Streets of San Francisco isn’t available on any streaming platforms, but if you have a DVD player, you can get the whole series for $90, or do what I did and borrow the DVDs from your local public library. — Eve Batey, news editor


July 2

Virtual Event

The Stern Grove Music fest isn’t just a concert. it’s a picnic/food truck/community event that just so happens to go down in front of a stage populated by remarkable musicians. Like everything else fun, the fest isn’t happening this summer, but that doesn’t mean the music has died: In a series called “Best of the Fest,” organizers roll out a classic playlists from past fests every Sunday at 4:30 (around the same time a show might have started). This week the theme is Jazz/R&B, with performances from Hugh Masekela, the O’Jays, and more. So head out to your favorite food truck, then zip back home by 4:30 to turn on KPIX and catch the show. And if the line at the truck is too long and you miss the broadcast date, head to Stern Grove’s Facebook page for a longer form of Sunday’s show. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

During this pandemic, the Bay Area is newly awash with meal kits — every smart restaurant’s solution to the problem that its food might not be all that well suited for takeout as a hot food item. Leave it to Liholiho Yacht Club — every San Franciscan’s favorite breezy, rollicking-fun, Hawaiian-inspired spot — to come up with some of the most delightful kits in the game — say, the above-pictured steam bun kit, which comes with kimchi, pickles, and the restaurant’s much-vaunted housemade Spam. Because, truthfully, these are days when there’s no such thing as eating too much Spam. Snag one of Liholiho’s island-inspired desserts — the mochi cake, perhaps, or the single-serving “Baked Hawaii” — and your weekend will be off to a near-flawless start. Order online for pickup. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

For the past couple of years, I’ve skipped out on Independence Day and opted instead to visit good friends in London. Apologies to any patriots, but I don’t terrifically care for crowds or fireworks, and I’d much rather spend a summer afternoon in my favorite city in the world, sitting outside a pub, downing gin and tonics with reckless abandon. This year, of course, I’m grounded in the States. But fortunately, Whitechapel has reopened, that gin-soaked bar that’s named after a train station. The house G&T is both refreshing and restorative, available by the pint or quart, or for those who prefer to pour their own, there are some rare bottles from the vaults. Order online for pickup or delivery. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

If you like start-up tales like Insanely Great, Super Pumped, or Hatching Twitter, but found them lacking from a food perspective, then Billion Dollar Burger is the book for you. The Bay Area’s on the forefront of food tech, with businesses like Just, Inc (fake mayo, cultured meat) racing to be the next big beef (and chicken, and pork) thing. While companies like Impossible play a role in the book, the real focus is on how companies are trying to create a lab-grown meat product, not a plant-based product that tastes like one. Some folks might recall the urban legend that KFC meat was grown in a lab, a rumor so pervasive that the company has a page on its site devoted to debunking the yarn. Billion Dollar Burger looks toward a future when KFC doesn’t feel like it has to deny claims of “mutant chicken,” but can instead use its test-tube nuggets as a selling point. The book’s available now at your local bookstore and most Bay Area public libraries. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

Given the increase in coronavirus cases in spots where indoor drinking has reopened, a trip to Sonoma or Napa for a wine tasting might be out of the question this holiday weekend. My suggestion is that you grab a bottle from a local shop and press play on Uncorked, a Netflix film about an aspiring sommelier (Mamoudou Athie, who tore it up as Grandmaster Flash on The Get Down) whose dad (the iconic Courtney B. Vance) and mom (personification of perfection Niecy Nash) expect him to toss those dreams aside to run the family barbecue joint. It’s funny, smart, delicious-looking, and has so much heart. It’s a perfect long summer weekend movie. — Eve Batey, news editor


June 25

Virtual Event

If you’re looking to take a livestream class this weekend and haven’t yet dabbled much in Nigerian cooking, Chefstreams, a new livestream cooking class platform, has just the thing: a live demo and Q&A with chef Simileoluwa “Simi” Adebajo of Eko Kitchen, San Francisco’s only Nigerian restaurant, on Saturday, June 27, starting at 4 p.m. Ambitious home cooks will have a chance to learn how to prepare a three-course meal of Eko Kitchen classics: fried plantains, naija pepper chicken with jollof rice (a super-savory, must-order dish at the restaurant), and puff-puffs for dessert. Buy tickets ($30) here, and check the ingredient list so you can shop ahead of time if you’d like to cook along. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Before the pandemic hit, Berkeley’s Fish & Bird was one of the East Bay’s hottest new restaurants, known, in particular, for its stylish, modern Japanese small plates. Like many local restaurants, it’s shifted to a focus on takeout-friendly pure comfort food during the shelter in place, and I’ve been especially enamored with its selection of prepared foods that are meant for customers to stash in the fridge and reheat at their convenience. You can buy a bag of chef Asuka Uchida’s excellent Japanese curry, for instance, or — my favorite — the Nikomi Hamburg ($11), a giant meatball with a rich onion-mushroom gravy that comes in a vacuum-sealed bag. Just heat the bag up in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, and voila: the absolute perfect thing to eat with a big bowl of white rice, preferably while vegging out in front of the television. Order online. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

While working on our map of restaurants in the Sunset and Parkside, I caught sight of the cevichelada, a fascinating hybrid of meal, drink, and spectacle from Celia’s by the Beach, a six-decade-old Mexican spot in the Outer Sunset. It’s a generous portion of marinated shrimp, tomato, avocado, mango, and peppers suspended through the magic of plastic above a michelada, yours for $15 and whatever your dignity costs, because people who see you with it will, indeed, point and laugh. And they should, it looks hilarious, like something from a carnival, boardwalk, or dare. It’s also delicious — the ceviche is fresh, bright, and filling, and the michelada is spicy and salty in equal measures (beer options are Tecate and Dos Equis, BTW). My one tip is to bring along a spoon, as the chips they provide aren’t enough to manage all the ceviche, and sitting on the beach dumping a doughnut-shaped plastic food holder into your mouth is a pretty questionable look. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

“The burrito cannons blared at noon, and into the sky above the city, a fusillade of foil tubes went sailing: carnitas, carne asada, veggie supreme.” So begins novelist (and East Bay resident) Robin Sloan’s new novella, The Strange Case of the New Golden Gate, which was recently published in serialized form in the Mercury News — a 15-chapter run that finished earlier this week, which means you can (and will probably want to) read the whole thing in one go. It’s a hard-boiled detective mystery set in a futuristic version of the Bay Area where, yes, GPS-enabled burritos, equipped with little “napkin-parachutes,” are blasted out to customers who stand waiting on the sidewalk. The mystery at the center of the story has to do with inter-dimensional travel and, perhaps, the fate of the whole universe — but for Bay Area food lovers, it’s also chock-full of delightful Easter eggs: not just our local burrito culture, but also references to East Bay institutions like INNA Jam and the collective-owned Cheese Board Pizza, about whose slices Sloan writes, “The mushroom was savory; the lemon oil was tangy; the worker equity was delicious.” — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

Gene Compton’s 24-hour Tenderloin cafeteria was well-known in the 1960s as a place to find gay and trans sex workers and drag queens when they were off the clock, scarfing down specials and drinking coffee before tottering back out to the streets. It was also well-known to San Francisco Police Officers as an easy place to make some arrests for charges like “female impersonation” and “depravity,” arrests that Compton’s were complicit in, often calling the cops to roust its patrons. In August of 1966, those patrons fought back — first against a police officer that witnesses say forcibly grabbed a drag queen, then at Compton’s itself, shattering windows and tossing condiments. The uprising is now known as the Compton’s Cafeteria riots, an event historian Susan Stryker calls “the transgender community’s debut on the stage of American political history.” Stryker’s documentary on the riots, Screaming Queens, is a great look at this important moment in trans civil rights, and you can watch it in full above. — Eve Batey, news editor


June 18

Virtual Event

The unemployed, retired, and otherwise restless masses have been turning to MasterClass, the platform for online classes that features star instructors, from Samuel L. Jackson on acting to Steph Curry schooling a jump shot. Check out the cooking classes, several of which feature Bay Area big personalities, including Thomas Keller, depending on how you feel about his Trump ties, and Alice Waters, if you just couldn’t get enough of her daughter’s adoring memoir. But this writer might start with Gabriela Cámara, chef of Cala in SF and Contramar in Mexico City. Just like her restaurants, Cámara’s cooking style is kind of beach hippie, with lots of fresh fish and seasonal produce. Roll through the clips and learn how to soak masa, press tortillas, smash fresh salsas, and make those favorite tuna tostadas. (She uses McFarland Springs trout here in the Bay, if you want to preorder a fish for the occasion.) MasterClass is an unlimited subscription for $15 a month, and videos are all online, so you can put on your clogs and apron and show up for cooking class at your convenience. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

It has come to my attention that Verjus recently pivoted to retail, selling wine and provisions, but! The sausages and pate have slid onto the menu over at Cotogna, as they’re both part of the same restaurant group. The menu switches up every day, but this Friday is cassoulet, featuring Liberty duck confit, with roasted shishito peppers, and garlic scapes, oh la. And if that wasn’t enough to give you a heart attack, Saturday is pithivier, the gorgeous golden pie stuffed with porcini, nettles, and artichokes. They come as prix fixe sets for two, complete with salade, fromage, and a couple of slices of tart. A bottle of pink natural wine from the cave would wash it down like a dream. Order online through Cotogna’s website. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

This recent stretch of warm weather has some folks craving ice cream or popsicles or whatever kind of slushie drink they can convince their local coffee house to whip up. As for me and my house, having had our mettle tested in countless, endlessly sweltering Taipei summers? Only an iced boba drink will do. Asha Tea House, probably my favorite local shop, does a standard boba milk tea as well as anyone, but for a particularly refreshing option this weekend, try one of their fruit teas, served with housemade fruit purees that you stir up from the bottom of the cup — the strawberry and the Fuji apple are my favorites. They even have kid-friendly versions, just mixed with with milk or sweetened water, so your 8-year-old doesn’t wind up with an unintended caffeine high. Asha has got no-contact pickup set up at both their Berkeley and San Francisco shops: You order online, show up at the appointed time, and they’ll set your drinks out on a table outside the entrance. Easy peasy. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Read

If all your attention span can manage this weekend is a longread, Eater.com has a great one, an essay from Bay Area icon Billy X Jennings on how the Black Panther Party (BPP) — of which he was an early member — fed its community in the East Bay and beyond. The civil rights group was founded in Oakland in 1966, with a stated goal to monitor police activity in the city. It later expanded to offer a multitude of social programs, including efforts to fight food insecurity like the Free Breakfast for School Children Program. Jennings is well-known as an archivist for the BPP, which ceased activities in the early 1980s. His account of how the BPP helped keep everyone fed feels like both an artifact and a timely reminder of how little, it appears, things have changed. You can read “When We Needed It to Be, Food Was a Weapon” here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

Have you even been frustrated as you watched Top Chef, wondering what host Padma Lakshmi might be like if she were allowed to cut loose? After all, she plays it very straight on the cooking competition show, but her Twitter presence is far more loose and bracing. It’s the Twitter Padma we get with Taste The Nation, a 10-episode Hulu series that dropped in full today, a Padma that’s deadpan and shit-talks and pushes an admitted political agenda to demonstrate that “real America” is far more varied than some truck commercials and candidates candidates might have you believe. (Such is my dedication to Weekend Digest that I interrupted my Alias rewatch — it still holds up, y’all — to watch TTN when its screeners arrived.) Of particular local interest is the episode on chop suey, an Americanized Chinese dish that’s basically the culinary equivalent of the word “Frisco” (some people freak out at its perceived lack of authenticity, others embrace it as part of their contemporary heritage, and still others say/order it without even thinking about its baggage). On the ep (the series’ fifth), SF centenarian food royalty Cecilia Chiang and Brandon Jiu (Mister Jiu’s, Moongate Lounge, Mamahuhu) grapple with the dish and its cultural implications. You can watch the entire series on Hulu here. — Eve Batey, news editor

June 11

Virtual Event

The Stud, San Francisco’s oldest LGBTQ bar, might have moved out of its SoMa digs, but its drag shows continue...they’re just online now. This Saturday night’s lineup of Drag Alive features a lineup that’s exclusively BIMOC, and will benefit the Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project, “a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex people — inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centers,” among other justice reform orgs. The show’s streamed via Twitch starting at 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays, with replays and a full schedule available here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

This week’s most exciting entry into the local meal kit game comes courtesy of Um.ma’s Los Angeles-based chef-owner Chris Oh, whose pandemic side hustle has been producing Korean barbecue meal kits, first in Los Angeles and now, as of this week, available to be delivered from Um.ma to anywhere in San Francisco (with East Bay service on the way), with prices starting at $60 for enough food to feed two people. Sure, you can buy marinated meats at any Korean grocery market, but the Korean BBQ Kit promises especially choice cuts (including an option for A5 wagyu) and comes with a full slate of banchan, dipping sauces, and even instant rice. For the best results, Oh recommends grilling over charcoal (and he’ll even sell you a little tabletop grill), but a cast iron pan would also do the trick. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

A double nitro margarita, double mojito, and single negroni from The Snug
Eve Batey

Pac Heights bar The Snug has its takeout cocktail game down to a science: Order your drinks by the single or double at the window on Fillmore Street, wait a couple minutes, then pack up your bag of booze at the window right around the corner, on Clay Street. The setup makes social distancing easy, and the menu’s easy to navigate, too, with house drinks like their mojito and nitro margarita served by the double, while custom cocktails come by the single serve. All you need to do is give them a bit of a shake and pour over ice. I can’t wait to sit down at a bar, but if we can keep fast and furious carryout cocktail systems like The Snug’s going even after the pandemic, we might get to live in the best of both booze worlds. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

I spent last week trying to read literary fiction, and instead, getting sucked into the vortex on Twitter. Through the screaming, and only speaking to the food world, there have been some extraordinary reads. For everyone who rushed to order takeout, Ruth Gebreyesus’s piece on why eating at black-owned restaurants isn’t going to save us challenged who that impulse actually satisfies. For all those following the implosion of Bon Appétit magazine, Rachel Premack from Business Insider had the most comprehensive look, speaking to 14 staffers on the toxic culture inside the glossy food magazine. In other news, Soleil Ho at the Chron spoke up about the “quarantine 15” as the latest trend in fat phobia. And if you just need a break from screens, and to maybe even eat some vegetables, it could be the moment to step into the kitchen with Bryant Terry’s Vegetable Kingdom, and find comfort in warm butter beans or mushroom gumbo. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

I’m sure I won’t be the first or last person to say that life during a pandemic, with two young kids at home, has meant the abandonment of any notion of a “screen time” restriction. At least in my family, we’ve leaned into that and are slowly working our way through the best parts of the Disney/Pixar canon, which is how I was reminded, recently, of the greatness of Big Hero 6, perhaps the most explicitly Asian American of the big-budget Disney films, with its brainy, robot-obsessed Japanese American protagonist, Hiro Hamada, and its not-quite-dystopic vision of a Japanese-inflected futuristic San Francisco — dubbed “San Fransokyo” — that was inspired by the idea of what San Francisco would be like if Japanese immigrants had been in charge of rebuilding the city after the 1906 earthquake. And yes, there’s a local food angle too. Hiro lives in a grand old Victorian upstairs from the coffee shop where his Aunt Cass works — a house that was inspired by the big yellow Victorian at Haight and Masonic and the Coffee to the People coffee shop downstairs. It’s a proper SF setting: At one point, Aunt Cass scolds her nephews, “I had to close early because of you two felons — on Beat poetry night.” — Luke Tsai, food editor

May 28

Virtual Event

The screen at the Outer Richmond’s Balboa Theater has been dark since the pandemic began, but it’s been shilling popcorn and movie treats at regular weekend pop-up events that regularly sell out, the Richmond Review reports. Now they’re taking that popular popcorn pop-up (say it three times fast, I dare you) and marrying it with another of their destination events, a nighttime screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. On Saturday, May 30, the Balboa’s afternoon popcorn pop-up will also boast beer, hot dogs, and “bawdy bags” packed with everything one needs to watch the iconic film at home. Then, starting at 8:30, there’ll be a zoomed-pre-show, and at 9 there’ll be a group viewing of RHPS. Yes, I know: Rocky Horror is supposed to be a midnight event, not a 9 p.m. one. But, admit it, you need the rest. You can find all the details here. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Eat

Now that the fog has parted and the sunshine is singing, one’s thoughts turn to ice cream. And even though Bi-Rite Creamery has temporarily shuttered, Bi-Rite Market is the work around, because per usual, they have a freezer case full of pints. But also, consider the ice cream cake. Oh yes, it’s still possible to get a whole cake, for either celebrating birthdays or chasing blues. The classic layers sour cream chocolate cake, birthday cake ice cream, whipped cream laced with cream cheese, and duh, sprinkles. But there’s also coffee and toffee, cookies and cream, and mint chocolate chip. The brave could take it to Dolores Park and sit in one of those lawn circles, but those who fear viruses or urine can head home and party in the backyard. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

Wildhawk bar is reopening this week, sliding into summer with cool and bitter cocktails. This lady-run establishment is known for both its fabulous floral wallpaper and vermouth selection, so even if you desperately miss the throes of the velvet couches, at least you can now take comfort in a good drink. The cocktails are available for preorder and pickup, Thursday through Sunday. There’s a sunny aperol spritz kit, and an amber-colored ambrato vermouth spritz kit, but this writer loves the breakfast negroni, infused with cocoa puffs and chocolate bitters. Also, the way they cut the orange zest makes it look like cheddar crackers, which is arguably childish and truly delightful. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

These days, I’m reading a lot of middle grade fiction — as the parent of an eight-year-old and just someone who’s in a headspace, right now, where moral clarity and overall hopefulness hold a ton of appeal. With that in mind, might I recommend Uma Krishnaswami’s Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh? It’s a story that’s ostensibly about the forming of a girls’ softball team in Yuba City, California, toward the end of World War II, but really it’s a poignant snapshot of Northern California’s too-often forgotten Punjabi-Mexican community — one that gave birth to its own distinctive, hybridized cuisine. It’s “adha-adha food, half Mexican, half Punjabi,” as the novel’s young narrator puts it: rotis tossed on the griddle and folded with shredded cheese “to make a pile of enchiladas with cilantro and chopped tomato inside as flavor surprises.” Can’t snag a copy of the book in time for the weekend? Read “California’s Lost (and Found) Punjabi-Mexican Cuisine,” Eater’s excellent deep dive into the history of this unique community, and see if that doesn’t give you a wicked craving for roti quesadillas. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

These days, I’m looking to intersperse my usual TV diet of mayhem and disaster (miss you already, Westworld) with kind-hearted and warm shows that still have enough of an edge to keep me from rolling my eyes. That’s why I recently started a rewatch of Bob’s Burgers, a show about a family owned restaurant with deep roots in San Francisco. Sure, its showrunners (who came up with the series when they lived in the Mission) say that the series is set in the Northeast, but even KQED knows that this is bullshit. You can see all the Bay Area influences for yourself by catching up with Bob’s Burgers via Hulu. — Eve Batey, news editor

May 21

Virtual Events

Regulars at Polk Street’s Hi-Lo Club know Meryll Cawn — she’s a veteran SF bartender and consultant who’s done time behind the bar at several local spots in her 20-years-plus in the biz. With watering holes closed, Cawn is doubling down on her work with guidebook company Atlas Obscura, teaching classes on how to make unique cocktails at home. On Saturday, May 23, she’s leading Pantry Potables, which will show you “how to make incredible cocktails with everyday items that may already be sitting on your kitchen shelves,” so I’m already psyched to see what drinks I can make with some crumbly old granola and a can of chickpeas. Looking forward to May 29, she’s also teaching Stirred Classics & Their History, which will show you how to make a drink called the Martinez and tell you what it all means. — Eve Batey, news editor

These days anyone can slap a couple of chefs on Instagram Live and call it a food festival, but here in the Bay Area, this weekend’s Chefstival — a collaboration between ChefsFeed and the nonprofit SF New Deal — might be the most star-studded example of the genre yet. Want Brandon Jew to school you on kung pao chicken? Want to make spinach pies like the ones they serve at Reem’s? Or learn how to make jollof rice from Simileoluwa Adebajo, the owner of SF’s only Nigerian restaurant? (The answer is “yes.” Yes, you do.) The May 22–25 virtual festival features livestream classes from more than ten illustrious chefs in total. Best of all, tickets — at $20 per class or $150 for the whole shebang — go toward a great cause: Half the proceeds go to support the host chefs’ restaurants and their staff while the other half benefits SF New Deal’s program, which funds local restaurants to feed people in need. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Eat

Memorial Day weekend has arrived! And while you may not be able to invite too many people over, at least you can still cook too much food. Lots of restaurants around town are offering barbecue boxes and grilling kits (more on those later, we’ll be rounding them up forthwith). But for now, the big-ass box that caught my eye was the barbecue meal kit from Wayfare Tavern, which doesn’t just have burgers or dogs or chicken, but in fact, burgers and dogs and chicken. And mac and cheese. And donuts. Sure, there are some vegetables, too. You could also throw in some strip steaks. And why not? What else is there to do on Monday? — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

Lots of local breweries are now offering beer for pickup or delivery, which isn’t just awesomely convenient, it’s also a great way to support good beer in hard times. Order minimums and delivery fees vary, but I’m into the scene at Ghost Town Brewing in West Oakland, because you can drop twenty bucks on a custom 4-pack of tall boys, and they’ll still deliver for five bucks flat. Plus, these guys were a heavy metal band before they started making beer, so all of their brews have dark and twisted names — nothing sophomoric, thank you very much. They’re now canning Scumbag, a crispy cream ale that previously was only poured in the taproom, and “pairs beautifully with gas station egg rolls.” And they just released Dio Cane, a clean and clear pilsner that they recommend for breakfast. Rock on. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

I canceled my subscription to Condé Nast Travel. I feel bad about this — I want to support my colleagues in print media, but looking at a monthly(ish) magazine packed with photos of and recommendations for places I can’t travel to for maybe years super bummed me out. But now I’m feeling the itch to bug out, an itch I’m scratching with By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail. It’s a book by Bar Agricole owner Thad Vogler, and it’s ostensibly about booze — not just “shake this and stir that” menual, but who makes them and how. It’s taken me to Cuba (where Vogler used to live), Kentucky, and Northern Ireland so far, and I’m not even done yet. The writing is snappy, smart, and accessible, even for folks (like me) whose interest in the bar world comes from the stool-laden side of the room. You can buy it at a local bookstore here, and its electronic version is available at San Francisco’s (and many other, I’m sure) public library. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Watch

Nothing Fancy: Diana Kennedy, a Kickstarted documentary about the influential British cookbook author and Mexican cooking expert, was slated for theatrical release in the spring of 2020, and you already know how this sentence ends so I won’t bother. Instead, it’s dropping via “virtual cinema” on Friday, May 22 (you can find a local theater to arrange streaming from here), and on Saturday, you can follow the film with a livestream Q&A with director Elizabeth Carroll, local legend Alice Waters, chef Gabriela Cámara (who has a doc of her own), and NYT food columnist David Tanis. You can register for the livestream here. — Eve Batey, news editor

May 14

Virtual Event

Edible Excursions is offering virtual cocktail classes featuring Hawker Fare. Drinkers can order the cocktail kit and pick it up from the restaurant (while there, it’s a prime opportunity to snag some khao mun gai and crispy rice ball salad, but certainly not required). The kit comes with your spirit of choice (gin, mezcal, or vodka) and makes enough for three different drinks with fun twists. Mixologist Dolly Valdez Bautista from Hawker Fare is running the show for the cocktail class, which all goes down on Zoom. But also, for one week only! This Saturday, there’s a guest chef appearance from Manny Torres Gimenez from Francisca’s, who’s doing a demo on how to make arepas at the end. I don’t really know how gin cocktails, arepa advice, and Thai takeout might mix, but I don’t terrifically care. These are fun people, and it sounds like drinks, dinner, and a show. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

“Takeout won’t save us,” Kim Alter, the chef-owner of Nightbird, the tiny Hayes Valley tasting menu spot, tells me. As she sees it, more and more amazing local restaurants are adding to-go menus to Tock each week during the coronavirus shutdown, all of them essentially battling for the same limited number of high-end takeout customers. Even still, this weekend Nightbird is giving takeout a go for the first time since the start of shelter in place, which is exciting news for fans of the chef’s bold, precise cooking. Now available to be reserved on Tock, it’s a very Kim Alter-ish kind of menu: an ambitious three-course meal kit (“some assembly required,” Alter says), with lots of little bonuses (a chocolate truffle! caramels!) including some granola you can eat for breakfast the next day. The centerpiece of the initial trial offering is a dish I certainly don’t recall seeing yet on a takeout menu: squab pithivier with brown butter hazelnut sauce. Pigeon pie! It won’t be anyone’s salvation — but as a weekend divergence from your usual takeout rut? It might just do the trick. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Outer Richmond cocktail bar Violet’s plywooded over its windows when the pandemic hit, as its management focused their attention on sister restaurant Fiorella (including a weekly free meal night for restaurant industry workers, BTW). That means that I was deprived of one of my favorite quick-and-dirty drinks in the city, their negroni mi amore (Junipero gin, St. George terroir gin, Lewis & Clark gin, Martalletti vermouth di Torino, Martini & Rossi rosso vermouth, and campari, all poured from a nitro tap). That deprivation ended last week, when the Clement street spot re-opened its doors for takeout, including double-batched versions of their negroni for $19. Call menus are here), delivery is available via Doordash, Caviar, Postmates, or Uber Eats. — Eve Batey, news editor

What to Read

I’ve always considered myself a wine novice, which — one would think — makes me an odd target audience for The Drops of God, a manga series that’s all about the nerdiest of wine activities: blind tasting iconic French wines. The globally popular comic tells the story of Shizuki Kansaki, the prodigal son of Japan’s most famous wine critic, who has decided that he wants to have nothing to do with wine but, upon his father’s death, engages on a wild scavenger hunt to identity — through blind tasting — the 12 great wines his father called “the drops of God.” Sounds wonky, right? And it is, but the books are also tremendously fun and over-the-top and make wine exciting and accessible in a way that nothing else I’ve read has done. There’s even an entire volume (The Drops of God: New World) that’s largely set in Napa Valley, and while I wouldn’t advise that anyone start the series there, it’s fun to see one of the main characters taking a ride on none other than the Napa Valley Wine Train (“Wow! A train where you can dine and drink wine?!”), all while tasting — and pontificating on — some of the region’s most famous cult wines. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Watch

I won’t say that I’m completely out of TV to watch quite yet, but looking at how long it might be before my favorite shows return to production, I’ve started to cut my quality content consumption with...I won’t say filler, but, maybe, less high-attention fare. That means I’ve “gotten into” (this is an extremely loose term) an awful lot of hour-long dramas solely because they seem like a light mental lift and they have a lot of episodes. Party of Five, (the original version, not the excellent 2020 reboot) fits the bill: It aired from 1994–2000, a time during which I was busy having a social life, so it’s all new to me. The central characters who populate this show apparently own and operate a restaurant in San Francisco, and yet (so far in my watch, at least) have free time and never bitch about permits, the DPH, or Recology. So, definitely fiction. It’s extremely, painfully 1990s, too, so if you weren’t alive then: Yes, people did their hair that way on purpose. Party of Five, OG edition, is available for digital purchase on Amazon, but I’ll bet you could find the DVDs on eBay for a song. — Eve Batey, news editor

May 7

Virtual Event

First of all, I sincerely hope everyone is aware that Wayfare Tavern now has fried chicken and deviled eggs and popovers on the takeout and delivery menu. Second, the restaurant has a fun event this weekend, celebrating moms with wine and flowers. They’re moving their annual “rosé and bouquet” party to Instagram live this year. Kicking off on Saturday afternoon, at 1 p.m. sommelier Martin Sheehan-Stross is leading a virtual tasting, then at 1:30 p.m., Nigella floral shop is offering an arranging class. Order supplies in advance, and tune in for the tasting on the Wayfare account, and the class on the Nigella account. And anyone who misses the live broadcast can also catch up in highlights later, as they’re promising to keep the wine and flowers flowing all weekend. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

It’s been a rough couple of months for Michelle Polzine, 20th Century Cafe’s pastry superstar, who’s not only had to deal with recovering from unexpected cancer surgery, but also all the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic on top of that. So it’s fantastic news that the chef is now on the mend — feeling well enough, in fact, that this weekend will be the first time the cafe will be open for to-go orders. It’s just a small weekend pop-up, with bagels, pierogies, and homemade jam. But also — [fire alarm emoji] — Polzine is selling her famous Russian honey cake, which will be available in its usual 16-person portion magnificence, as well as a more manageable size that’ll make four to six cake eaters very happy. Have you had the pleasure? These cakes are magical: ten layers (count ‘em) tall, ethereally light, frosted with the most delicious honey buttercream, and not an iota too sweet. The cake would make for a great Mother’s Day gift, if you’re so inclined, but you might also want to buy one for yourself just because: These days, you shouldn’t need an excuse to treat yourself to something wonderful and sweet. Order online at least two days in advance. — Luke Tsai, editor

Assembling a Russian honey cake at 20th Century Café

Posted by Eater on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What to Drink

I am truly delighted to report that my home away from home, Lovejoy’s Tea Room, has reopened. Sadly, it’s still not possible to settle into the throws of the granny-chic living room, sip from mismatched china, and sample from tiered trays. But in the very least, civilized people can now get the tea and scones to go. Mother’s Day special options include a “queen mum’s” deluxe service with sandwiches, sausage rolls, currant scones, crumpets, and petit four, complete with clotted cream, raspberry jam, and lemon curd (only animals forget the curd). In terms of tea selections, may I recommend the royal blend, a malty mix intended to be taken with milk, and for those suffering from sandwich indecision, the chicken-apple-walnut, pear and stilton, and egg and onion. The corgis would approve. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

It’s super eye roll emoji to assume that vegans only come in one variety (white, wispy, cis-female), and yet it happens. When I’m confronted with the argument that avoiding meat is only for the privileged coastal elite, I fantasize about siccing Bryant Terry, the chef-in-residence at San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) on them: Terry is an Oakland-based advocate for plant based food who, in addition to all the other stuff he does, recently released his fifth cookbook, Vegetable Kingdom. I’m not vegan (I eat eggs, dairy, and a little bit of fish), but his book has been a boon to me as I try to wean myself away from eating a full bag of potato chips for dinner because takeout seems like too much of a pain. The pandemic has also removed my patience with bullshit health claims (unless we’re talking about the drag queen, I an not interested in the word “detox”), which rules many vegan cookbooks out, and Terry’s work is blissfully free of that nonsense — and it has a recipe for the best coleslaw I’ve ever eaten, vegan or not. Indiebound can help you find Vegetable Kingdom via a local bookseller, and the electronic version is available at San Francisco’s and Oakland’s public libraries. — Eve Batey, senior editor

What to Watch

KQED’s Check, Please! Bay Area has been one of my greatest delights for its 15 (1) seasons on the air. If, somehow, you haven’t ever watched, here’s the deal: Four Bay Area residents (typically from diverse backgrounds and demographics, the show’s producers are good about mixing things up) gather around a public-television table with host Leslie Sbrocco. Each guest presents a local restaurant they dig (and why), and there’s a little bit of discussion and a lot of wine. If you’re especially lucky, folks will get a little prickly with each other, but generally its a gentle and good time. You can binge the entire run here, but last week’s episode was especially great, as it was an all-kid edition. I’m not a huge fan of children in the bulk, but I do love anything that upends the idea that kids only want to eat noodles and hot dogs. These young folks tackle Burmese food, sushi, and Italian (so, OK, noodles — but nice noodles), and discuss their meals way more intelligently than the average Yelper. You can watch the full episode above. — Eve Batey, senior editor

April 30

Virtual Event

Coronavirus has robbed us of many pleasures, not least, drinking pints in the back patio of a bar, wishing for a warmer jacket or at least a burrito, and getting into long and bitter arguments about which flavor of bean Dumbledore ate in the Philosopher’s Stone. Yes, nerds. We are discussing pub trivia. Fortunately, Elixir, the historic saloon in Mission Dolores, is kicking off a virtual version of its popular quiz night, on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. on Facebook Live. The bar is doing deliveries, for anyone who needs to order beer or bourbon in advance. May the cleverest win the largest gift card. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

Of all the creative menus that have skidded across my desk during this unprecedented time, my breath was taken away by the new set at Lazy Bear. Instead of the usual dozen or so courses for several hundred dollars, which is what’s usually served in the dining room, the two-star team has totally thrown out the menu, and apparently is running wild. The new “Camp Commissary” menu covers all day, hitting breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including snacks, including pantry staples. And it’s so fun! That duck banh mi? Can we just talk about buttermilk biscuits and wild mushroom gravy? How about those take-and-bake cinnabuns? Anyone care for artichoke dip, pimento cheese, cookie dough, or maybe a pudding cup? I don’t know where to start. Well obviously with Parker House rolls and cultured butter. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

Apart from the fact that I used to live two blocks away from it, Oakland’s Bay Grape has been my favorite wine shop for a while now, largely on the merits of the staff’s preternatural ability to suss out exactly the right bottle for any occasion based on a couple minutes’ of casual conversation. Of course, that level of personalization isn’t quite possible now that the shop is mostly closed, only offering curbside pickup on pre-ordered bottles on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Still, there are a few perks to the current setup — namely, that the shop’s entire inventory is now available online, and co-owners Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino are curating well-priced mixed cases of some of their favorite bottles — including Stacionis’ current rec, the “Part VI Comfort Mixed Pack” (that’s “part six” for the six weeks we’ve been sheltering in place, geez) — $120 for six easygoing bottles that Stacionis says have nothing “challenging” or “esoteric” about them because, as she notes, everyone mostly just wants to feel soothed and comforted right now. — Luke Tsai, editor

What to Read

North Light, a neighborhood bar and cafe in Oakland, just launched a cool new takeout program centered on cocktails, pizza kits, and, perhaps most notably, a whole lot of books. Sure, the restaurant-to-bookstore pivot isn’t one we’ve seen much of during this coronavirus crisis, but it’s a stroke of genius in its way: During this time of great anxiety, what could be cozier than settling in for the night with a pizza, a couple of old fashioneds, and a good old-fashioned page turner? Even better, the bar convinced three literary luminaries — food writer (and Berkeley resident) Samin Nosrat of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat fame; punk icon Patti Smith; and George Saunders, winner of a bajillion writing awards — to curate lists of books for the shop to carry. Taken all together, the lists are nothing if not eclectic, spanning classics both old (Tolstoy! Toni Morrison!) and new (Pachinko!), with a smattering of comforting food memoirs and cookbooks in the mix (thanks to Nosrat, naturally). Place your order through the North Light website. — Luke Tsai, editor

What to Watch

Assuming you haven’t gotten enough of Oakland restaurateur/NFL great Marshawn Lynch on this season of Westworld, you can see the owner of Oakland comfort food spot Rob Ben’s on this week’s episode of Bar Rescue. The episode was taped last fall, but didn’t air until last Sunday. In it, hospitality consultant Jon Taffer pushed Lynch to decrease the number of menu items and rename the spot “Rob Ben’s Neighborhood Soul.” (Lynch will sell you a hoodie with that name, but it doesn’t look like it stuck otherwise.) If you’re eager to watch a portly bar expert holler at a former football player nicknamed “Beast Mode,” this might be the show for you. Streaming is available on the Paramount Network app. — Eve Batey, senior editor

April 23

Virtual Event: The NFL Draft

Sitting in a packed stadium as teams battle it out seems like a wild idea right now, but the NFL Draft’s show is going on this weekend, with auxiliary virtual events like a Draft-A-Thon fundraiser (guests include former 49er Deion Sanders), a virtual draft party with the 49ers, and some sort of photo-of-your-home contest that appears to involve the alleged King of Beers. To save you from absently tearing through your workweek groceries during the days of team talk, Mina Family Kitchen is offering a $39 “Draft Pack” that feeds two with items like chicken wings from Ayesha Curry (no stranger to drafts, herself), achiote chicken tacos, and a double-patty burger with American cheese. They’ll let you add cocktails for $12 each or you can just order beer for takeout or delivery elsewhere and it’s a football hootenanny (and if you want something else to eat, the Mina folks have a whole menu of solid options). Email orders@minafamilykitchen.com or call — Eve Batey, senior editor

What to Eat

As we wind down the sixth (!) week of sheltering in place, here’s an exciting new option for those of us who’ve grown tired of our usual takeout haunts: Hina Yakitori, the buzzy Divisadero yakitori omakase spot, sat out the first part of the shelter in place, but chef Tommy Cleary is back, starting this Friday, with an awfully handsome Torima yakitori bento box, available for both takeout and delivery. If you’ve ever been to Hina, then you already know that Cleary has a magical touch when it comes to coaxing the maximum amount of juiciness and deliciousness out of each binchotan-grilled cut of chicken, and this takeout box contains a nice mix of greatest hits: thigh, the negima (thigh-and-scallion), the wing, the tsukune meatball — plus ground chicken over rice, and pickles and grilled mini tomatoes to add a little veg content into the mix. During normal times, you’d need to drop $110 at Hina for the full yakitori tasting menu experience at the restaurant. The Torima bento, available Tuesday through Saturday between noon–3 p.m. and 5–7 p.m., will run you just $25. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

I’ve always been partial to the cocktails at Prairie. Chef Anthony Strong is into gadgets, and at the bar, that includes a Toki highball machine, which makes outrageously sparkly drinks. He’s now got half a dozen cocktails on the menu for pickup or delivery, including the house black Manhattan, which is beautifully dark and bitter. But the pro move here is to get “Becky with the Good Hair,” the longtime favorite with gin, ginger, and a color pop of sea buckthorn. (He probably named it after his favorite local food writer, right?) Oh, and as long as you’re stocking up, there are lots of other great items available from the General Store. What’s up, Hawaiian rolls. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

It’s a moment to dig into food memoirs and biographies, which open up opportunities to travel and explore different cuisines. One of my favorites from the past few years is Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life. Paula Wolfert is kind of like the Julia Child of the Mediterranean. An often overlooked cookbook author, she traveled the region for decades, and published many painstakingly researched titles, helping to introduce the cuisine to American home cooks. Local author Emily Kaiser Thelin pitched her story to a dozen publishers, who all passed, before doing a Kickstarter and pulling together her own team, including photographs from the talented Eric Wolfinger. It’s an extraordinary book, and all the more bittersweet, because Wolfert, who now lives in Sonoma, has Alzheimer’s disease, and the process for writing the book and recipes became entangled with fading memories. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Watch

Netflix rom-com Always Be My Maybe is a deeply San Francisco film: it was co-written by SF native Ali Wong (she was the student body president of Pac Heights’ tony University High), who plays Sasha Tran, a woman who since childhood has found comfort in preparing and serving food. Tran returns to her hometown of SF to open a restaurant, reconnect with her childhood sweetheart, and eat all over town, though spots like Clement Street’s Good Luck Dim Sum were played by places in Vancouver (where much of the movie was shot). A meal at a fictional SF restaurant called Maximal was actually filmed at SF’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, and anyone who’s been to a swanky shindig at the Fairmont is likely to recognize the hotel room occupied by its most famous cast member. — Eve Batey, senior editor

April 16

Virtual Event: Soufflé Cooking Class with 18 Reasons

18 Reasons, the cooking school affiliated with Bi-Rite, is taking its classes online. Tonight, they’ll be starting with some lofty ambitions — soufflé. Which is kind of a lovely choice, because soufflé only calls for a handful of pantry staples, but it’s technical enough that cooks might appreciate an instructor zooming into the kitchen to talk them through whipping those whites. Saturday also looks enticing, with a Spanish food expert cracking open the pleasures of tinned fish, from sardine salad to anchovy mayo with crispy potatoes. Classes are limited to 12 people, and all hosted on Zoom. So track down some eggs and snag yourself a spot. It’s an opportunity to learn a new skill, get some much-craved social interaction, and hey, if things really go belly up, maybe even get a peek inside the disarray of other people’s kitchens. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

These days it seems like everyone’s jumping aboard the meal kit bandwagon, including some of the Bay Area’s most highly esteemed fine dining institutions. Still, it’s exciting that everyone’s favorite Filipino pop-up, Pinoy Heritage, is getting into the game. They’re doing a standard set meal with already cooked dishes like their fan favorite sisig fried rice, but what I’m especially curious about is the $50 “Lutong Bahay” sets — “a meal kit inspired by farmers market finds” — available in both omnivore and vegetarian versions. The omnivore set includes five meals, from lechon manok (smoked chicken) to lechon pancit with handmade noodles, plus a dessert. The best part, chef Francis Ang tells Eater SF, is that none of the cooking involved is more difficult than boiling the noodles or cooking the rice — all the sauces and braised meats are all vacuum-sealed and ready to go. Good news for folks trying to stay off of the delivery apps: Pinoy Heritage is doing delivery in-house (for a flat fee) all over the Peninsula and East Bay (in addition to two pickup sites in SF), as part of an effort to give its cooks some additional hours. — Luke Tsai, food editor

What to Drink

Lots of bars and restaurants are getting into the swing of offering cocktails to go. Including Elda, the Caribbean-inspired bar in the Mission, known for rum and mezcal drinks. They may have boarded up the windows, but the cocktails are as balanced and beautiful as ever. Order online for pickup or delivery, and pick from more than 20 cocktails, available as duos or quartets. The popular Presidente #44, inspired by the Cuban rum classic, “drinks like a Manhattan with a Hawaiian shirt on,” while the Pink Flamingo is a pretty mix of Oaxacan rum and tropical pineapple. There’s also natural wine, local beer, and you can throw in a tub of sikil pak, that Yucatan-style toasted pumpkin seed dip. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

I have a folder in my email inbox called “Rear Window,” where I store everything I mean to read, watch, and listen to when I find myself with extended free time — for example, if I were stuck at home with a broken leg. That folder’s come in handy in the last month, as it reminded me that The Good Fight is a thing, “Scriptnotes” is chugging along, and that there’s a whole world of great long-form writing that I am typically too attention-deficient to read. Here are three items I found in my folder with a focus on food and the Bay Area, which is maybe why I set them aside in the first place? I just hope I don’t really break my leg now, because I’ll have nothing to do. — Eve Batey, senior editor

  • Local Bounty” [New Yorker] Cranky humorist Calvin Trillin visits San Francisco to meet his grandchild and is enraged to discover that the city’s delivery options pale in comparison to New York’s. If I were SF-based DoorDash or Postmates I’d claim this item as my origin story.
  • How the Bay Area’s last slaughterhouse dodged the axe” [Grist] The Bayview and Dogpatch used to be so busy with meat biz that Islais Creek infamously ran red with blood, but as of 2015 the only slaughterhouse in the region is Marin Sun Farms in Petaluma, an operation with a colorful past.
  • A song of beer and weed” [Mashable] North Bay brewery Lagunitas Brewing Company almost lost everything in 2005, when an undercover operation by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control revealed that — brace yourself — weed had been smoked on the premises.

What to Watch

Oakland has been having its moment of Hollywood glory, playing a prominent role in several recent blockbusters and critical darlings (we see you Black Panther and Sorry to Bother You). But back in 2014, when the charming indie sleeper East Side Sushi dropped, it felt unspeakably rare to see the Town represented on the big screen. Now streaming for free on Amazon Prime Video, the film tells the story of Juana, a Mexican-American single mom who goes from being a fruit vendor in Oakland’s Fruitvale District to an aspiring sushi chef. Even watching it now, as an East Bay guy, it’s hard not to feel a thrill seeing familiar sights: the drum circle by Lake Merritt, the wholesale produce market at Jack London. The closest thing the movie has to a romantic moment? It takes place at the Tacos Sinaloa taco truck in Fruitvale, naturally. Some parts of the film haven’t aged as well: Omakase snobs might thumb their noses at the actual sushi scenes, which were filmed at Coach Sushi and the old B-Dama location on Piedmont Avenue, and tend to focus on big, sauced-up rolls. But the central conflict — a hard-working cook facing roadblocks and discrimination based on her race and gender — doesn’t feel any less relevant. You freaking root like hell for Juana. — Luke Tsai, food editor

April 9

Virtual Event: Seder in Place with the JCC

The plagues of Passover might feel even closer to home this year, and lots of families will be hosting virtual seders this Friday night. Rallying for the occasion, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCCSF) is going live with a Zoom video conference. Rabbi Batshir Torchio is leading the seder, which includes the traditional songs, stories, and questions. Make sure to register in advance to get the details. Oh, and Wise Sons and Covenant Wine are partnering, if anyone needs to order brisket, kugel, or cabernet in advance. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

Before pop-ups had to, you know, stop popping up, Hilda and Jesse was one of the most exciting ones around, named a 2019 Eater Award finalist for its duo of fine-dining chefs’ inspired, globally influenced takes on every San Franciscan’s favorite weekend pastime: brunch. For those of us sheltering in place, the good news is that the pop-up is back with some drop-off brunch-for-dinner meal options and, just in time for Easter, a three-course, $30-a-person Sunday brunch kit available for pre-order to be picked up on Saturday afternoon (at SoMa’s Decant SF, which is providing optional wine pairings) and heated up at your leisure. On the very spring-like menu? A spring chop, “green eggs and ham” (with pork shoulder and green garlic gribiche), and a coconut-strawberry “manna mousse.” — Luke Tsai, editor

What to Drink

True Laurel has got some fun options for cocktails and snacks. The takeout menu shakes up every day, so check Instagram stories for the latest. But in general, single cocktails in cute baby bottles are $14, batch cocktails in tall bottles are $50, or you can get a variety six-pack for $79. The “mai o mai” is their take on a mai tai with a coffee rum float. The corpse reviver is a rye, brandy, and vermouth concoction with a touch of vanilla and sarsaparilla. And oh yeah, you can get pimento cheese or a loaded baked potato with that. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Read

I was but a humble crime and City Hall reporter when I read Robin Sloan’s San Francisco-set novel Sourdough, a book about a female software engineer that falls so deeply in love with baking that she dumps her tech career for one in food. (Sound like a familiar fantasy, Bay Area?) Now that I’m immersed in local food culture, I finally get Sloan’s 2017-era in-jokes, like his thinly-veiled Alice Waters character, his take on what might have been the golden era of delivery apps, and his deft skewering of Soylent (a tough move, given its gloppiness). The book is a delightful and weird mix of Silicon Valley, The Year of Mud (oh, yes, there is a cob oven), and the less nasty bits of Roald Dahl. It’s available for local purchase, or via e-book at your local library. — Eve Batey, senior editor

What to Watch

One way of the best ways I’ve found to quell fears of a current-day dystopia is to spend some time consuming unrelated disasters, like the one in problematic director Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 classic The Birds. Much of the film was shot in Northern California, and when the shit goes down (spoiler: there are bad birds) it does so in Sonoma County’s Bodega Bay. Much of the action (including a scene that might disturb the sweeter-hearted) takes place at the town’s Tides Wharf Restaurant, which has been significantly remodeled since then. According to local lore, then-owner Mitch Zankich told the director he’d only allow use of his diner if “the town in the movie would be called ‘Bodega Bay;’ the male lead played by Rod Taylor would be named ‘Mitch;’ and Zankich would receive a ‘speaking part.’” When you hear a guy say “What happened, Mitch?” to Taylor, that’s Zankich. — Eve Batey, senior editor

April 2

Virtual Event: Cherry Bombe Jubilee 2.0

Cherry Bombe, the biannual magazine, is still hosting its annual conference, featuring a full lineup of high-powered women in the food and drink industry. Cherry Bombe Jubilee 2.0 is just taking the party online, which is honestly a dream, because instead of having to pay for a ticket and flight to New York, this cash-strapped writer will be calling in from the comforts of her couch, latte and croissant in hand. It’s going down this Sunday, April 5, exclusively on Instagram. The magazine is promising interviews, demos, and a happy hour, but check back for the lineup and schedule. For now, rest assured, domestic goddess herself Ina Garten just RSVPed, and the Bay Area’s own Alice Waters and Fanny Singer are totally doing a demo. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Eat

For anyone who could use an imaginary ski trip to the Swiss Alps right about now, Matterhorn just launched an “après all day” takeout box. For $22, lonely snow bunnies can snack on an alpine cheese, salami, and a fresh loaf of sourdough bread, which sounds like a fondue party waiting to happen. Throw in a bottle of crisp white wine from Switzerland, fire up that crackling fireplace on Netflix, and cozy up for a night in. It’s all low tech for now, so email or call the restaurant directly to place an order. — Becky Duffett, reporter

What to Drink

After a brief hiatus, Viridian, one of the Bay Area’s hottest new cocktail bars prior to (gestures around wildly) all this, is back in business with a to-go market that its proprietors are operating out of their Uptown Oakland storefront. On offer are bottled versions of the the bar’s many excellent craft cocktails — I’m especially fond of the smooth, savory “Tomato Beef” — available in either a two-person size ($20) or a “big baller” size ($80) that can also serve two people, if you’d like to drink six cocktails each (and why not?). As an added bonus, they’re also selling a selection of fancy but inexpensive sweets and snacks like steam-your-own cha siu bao, Earl Gray chocolate chip cookie dough, and housemade “Cheez Its.” Fancy Cheez Its and a big bottle of cocktails? Sounds like a great weekend to me. — Luke Tsai, editor

What to Read

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve only just now gotten around to finishing Taco USA, Los Angeles Times staff writer (and occasional Eater contributor) Gustavo Arellano’s landmark book about Mexican food in America — perhaps the definitive book on the topic. San Francisco makes more than a handful of appearances, from the tamale men of the post Gold Rush years to El Faro’s claim to the creation of the Mission burrito. (“Eating the burrito is like eating a living, breathing organism,” Arellano writes. “You can feel the burrito’s ingredients sigh inside with each bite, each squeeze.”) Homebound as we all are, however, it’s most fun to read the book as a kind of travelogue right now, a first-hand account of all the deliciousness — the battleship tacos of Santa Ana, the Mexican hamburgers of Denver, Colorado — we might venture out to experience ourselves once all this is past. — Luke Tsai, editor

What to Watch

In These Troubled times, my solo viewing habits are pretty dark (catharsis can be therapeutic!), but when I’m joined by my husband, we veer toward the lighter to avoid whipping each other up. That means non-yucky comedic fare like Wine Country, the 2019 Netflix comedy that was filmed in Napa in March of 2018. The movie about a 50th birthday getaway for a character played by SNL great Rachel Dratch that we will just call Rachel Dratch also stars fellow Saturday Night Live-rs Amy Poehler (who also directed), Maya Rudolph, Tina Fey, and Ana Gasteyer, aka some of America’s greatest comedy gifts. The movie was inspired by Dratch’s real life Sonoma County birthday weekend, which was arranged by Santa Rosa restaurateur Gerard Nebesky, of Gerard’s Paella Y Tapas fame. The film is funny and loose enough to feel improvised, likely easy with a stone-cold pro cast that’s been working together for decades. Nothing horrible happens, no one ever gets too upset, and unlike shows with delicious food you probably can’t make at home, scoring a wine like the ones they drink in the movie shouldn’t be too tough, should it give you the urge. — Eve Batey, senior editor

March 26

Virtual Wine Tasting

Belden Barns, like many of our local wineries, is launching a series of virtual wine tastings. The first one kicks off this Sunday, March 29 at 5 p.m., with their Estate Sauvignon Blanc. Wine aficionados can drink a juicy Sav, from the comfort of the couch, while chatting with the winemakers, learning fun facts, and enjoying a “music pairing,” which means a chill playlist. Email nate@beldenbarns.com to place orders and get the Zoom info. If you live in San Francisco and order six or more bottles, they’ll deliver for free. And if you order all 11 wines in the series, they’ll do 35 percent off retail price.

What to Eat

There are so many creative takeout and delivery options still open around town, but the coolest menu this weekend might be Gap Year at Nico. Chef Jordan just took over the kitchen in January with a Champagne pop, and he’s still serving classic French food with deeply discounted bottles of bubbles, now available for curbside pickup. The family-style dinner includes a starter, main, and dessert, like pate en croute, duck a l’orange, and gateau Basque, plus diners can add on a bottle of bubbles (the Cremant is only $18) and a roll of toilet paper. What a party.

What to Drink

One piece of good news this week: Cali restaurants and bars are now allowed to sell cocktails to go, in a move that may save many marriages. Casements, that new modern Irish cocktail bar in the Mission, is sending out batch cocktails for delivery every afternoon from 2 to 5 p.m. The Peas for Bees is a mix of mezcal and strawberry shrub ($30), while the Italia 90 is a spin on a Negroni ($45), and you can throw in a loaf of granny-style soda bread.

What to Read

Between all of the heavier news updates this week, Eater SF also examined the wild west of what happens when tech people actually have to feed themselves because the cafeterias are closed, and surprisingly, the tater tot waffles don’t look half bad. For everyone who’s been tempted to start baking bread, here’s an older but still fascinating read on sourdough bros from Eater National. And away from the internet altogether, Ruth Reichl has a new food memoir that’s lovely, but it’s worth starting with Tender at the Bone, which covers the food writer’s Berkeley years, when she was living in a co-op, cooking at Swallow, and beetling across the bridge to review restaurants.

What to Watch

For anyone who hasn’t already digested it, Season 2 of Ugly Delicious hit Netflix earlier this month. Whether or not you’re a fan of host (and famed New York City restaurateur) David Chang himself, there are a couple of fun cameos from chefs and farmers from the Bay. For an episode on spit-cooking, chef Reem Assil, who just opened the second location of her Arab bakery in the Mission, takes a seat at the table to discuss the politics of Middle Eastern food. For the steak episode, the team sent a camera crew out to film happy cows at Stemple Creek Ranch in Marin. Eater National found Chang to be a little humbler now that he’s had a baby. See if you agree. — Becky Duffett, reporter

Hina Yakitori

4828 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 593-2004

Elixir

3200 16th Street, , CA 94103 (415) 552-1633 Visit Website

Matterhorn Restaurant and Bakery

2323 Van Ness Avenue, San, California 94110

True Laurel

753 Alabama Street, , CA 94110 (415) 341-0020 Visit Website

Eko Kitchen

672 South Santa Fe Avenue, , CA 90021 (213) 527-0851

Lazy Bear

3416 19th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 874-9921

The Vault

555 California St, San Francisco, CA 94104 Visit Website

Casements Bar

2351 Mission Street, , CA 94110 (415) 658-7320 Visit Website

The Cheeseboard Pizza

1512 Shattuck Avenue, , CA 94709 (510) 549-3183 Visit Website

North Light

4915 Telegraph Avenue, , CA 94609 (510) 891-1113 Visit Website

Great China Restaurant

2190 Bancroft Way, , CA 94704 (510) 843-7996 Visit Website

20th Century Cafe

198 Gough Street, , CA 94102 (415) 621-2380 Visit Website

Gap Year at Nico

710 Montgomery Street, , CA 94111 (415) 359-1000 Visit Website

Fish & Bird Sousaku Izakaya

2451 Shattuck Avenue, , CA 94704 (510) 705-1539 Visit Website

um.ma

1220 9th Avenue, , CA 94122 (415) 566-5777 Visit Website

Gerard's Paella Y Tapas

701 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 Visit Website

Viridian

2216 Broadway, , CA 94612 (510) 393-9333 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Francisco newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world