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Of Course J Balvin Fine Dined at Californios Before Outside Lands

The first Latinx artist to headline at Outside Lands also ate at the acclaimed Mexican restaurant 

J Balvin at Californios Californios

Apparently, J Balvin had dinner at Californios the night before he performed at Outside Lands music festival on Halloween, the restaurant has confirmed. The Colombian singer and rapper, better known as “the Prince of Reggaeton,” flew in on Saturday night, and he and his crew caught a late reservation at Californios. “It was awesome,” chef-owner Val M. Cantu told Eater. Of all the restaurants he could have eaten at in San Francisco, our readers will especially appreciate that the first Latinx artist to headline at Outside Lands went out of his way to eat at the acclaimed Mexican fine-dining restaurant. He may have a diamond-encrusted Big Mac necklace, but he also has excellent taste.

J Balvin came in with a party of six at around 9 p.m. and was seated in the main dining room, where the group did the full tasting menu, which often includes black masa with torched uni, grilled duck and pineapple tacos, roasted banana topped with caviar, and other modern dishes. The crew didn’t go all out with wine pairings, and in fact they weren’t drinking too much. Cantu says they had just gotten off the plane, and the dining room was emptying out at the end of the night, so it was more a chill unwind. But J Balvin made sure to swing through the kitchen to thank the staff, who were incredibly excited. “Because it was a late reservation, I asked the team, ‘Do you guys want to do it? It’s really late.’ And all of them were like, ‘Yeah, definitely,” Cantu says. “But the icing on the cake was that he was such a polite and nice person.”

A couple of those cooks did get Sunday off and were able to see J Balvin perform as the headliner on the last night of Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. Cantu says it’s rare for celebrities to come through the dining room in San Francisco, maybe because they’re not into tasting menus, or maybe because the restaurant is still under the radar, after a move from the Mission to a new space in SoMa this past year. But he says a visit from this star, in particular, meant a lot to the team. “It was really flattering and special,” Cantu says. “Latin American culture is receiving more respect and praise than in the past. For him to choose to dine with us — that was tremendous.”

Trick Dog is finally reopening in the Mission

In hot cocktails news, SFGate caught the scoop that Trick Dog quietly reopened on October 31, following 19 long months of temporary closure. The popular cocktail bar pivoted to open Quik Dog during the pandemic, serving hot dogs and to-go cocktails out on the sidewalk, but there’s nothing quite like pulling up a stool and perusing that wildly inventive cocktail list, which rotates through different fantastical themes like astrology and international airports. No word yet on the theme for the reopening menu, but stay tuned. [SFGate]

Crab season is delayed again this year, likely past Thanksgiving

In what has come to be expected as an annual occurrence, Dungeness crab season is delayed once again this year, and might not open until after Thanksgiving. Per the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the recreational season is scheduled to open on November 6, and the commercial season was scheduled to open on November 15. But due to humpback whales and sea turtles traveling through the region, with the potential to become entangled in gear, Zones 3 and 4, from Bodega Bay to Monterey, are pushing back the commercial season until at least November 22, when the risk will be reevaluated again. In short: If you want local crab for Thanksgiving, you might need to catch it yourself.

Children will have to show vaccine cards to get into restaurants soon

Now that children ages 5 to 11 years old are eligible to be vaccinated in the city and county of San Francisco, your kindergartener may soon be expected to flash his vaccine card before being seated in a restaurant. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that in a town hall meeting this week, health officer Dr. Susan Philip of the San Francisco Department of Public Health said the current vaccine mandate will likely be extended to include kids, but not until enough time has passed for them to get vaccinated in a couple of months. [SF Chronicle]

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