Dish

R.I.P.
Restauranting is something like shipbuilding: New ventures are launched with considerable fanfare and then sent out to meet their fate, which, if unkind, can result in sudden disappearance. There's been plenty of that lately in the Mission: For all the new places opening, plenty are quietly closing, too. Recent casualties include MopTops, Valencia Crepes, Real Good Karma (the vegetarian restaurant at 18th St. and Dolores that first opened in 1967) and, sadly, Le Trou, Robert Reynolds' vibrant French place at 22nd St. and Guerrero. I peeked in the windows last week and saw, like something out of Dickens, the tables still set, the James Beard promo still posted near the door. Reynolds now teaches at a cooking school in Colorado, while former chef de cuisine Chris Moore has moved to the new Cafe Rouge in the East Bay.

A World of Wine
Wine bars are pretty big in Paris, but less so here, despite our proximity to one of the world's great wine-producing regions. A notable exception is Hayes and Vine, the gorgeous place near Davies Symphony Hall operated by Pamela Busch and Deborah Chalsty. The co-owners have assembled a knock-out wine list that ranges from such familiar thoroughbreds as Chablis (the real thing, white wine from Burgundy), Chianti, and Rioja to such rare birds as Roussanne and Viognier (two obscure whites bottled in California by Alban Vineyards), a Gewurtztraminer from New York State, and a red from Portugal's Alentejo region.

Also from New York: a German-style sekt sparkling wine, and a non-vintage brut from New Mexico. A handful of bottles come with higher-than-everyday prices; the highest, $165, belongs to a Spanish red, vintage 1983 Vega Sicilia unico. But many of the choices are in the $20 to $30 range, and quite a few are even less than that.

As for food: You'll have to settle for breads, cheese, pate, and dessert -- the sorts of things that don't get in the way of the wine. Salud!

Upscaling the Dud
Apparently the makers of Milk Duds aren't satisfied that their candy is a favorite of children; they have developed pretensions, and have hired publicists to get out the lofty word. Milk Duds aren't just good out of the box at the movies, say the spinsters; they're also healthfully lower in fat than their chocolatey rivals, and can be used to whip up such classy desserts as "cappucino [sic] mousse." (The other key ingredient here: instant coffee granules.) You'll still brush your teeth afterward, if you know what's good for you.

By Paul Reidinger
sfwdish@aol.com

 
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