Side Dish

Operators Are Standing By
Now gourmands worldwide can join our special club. Thanks to Chuck and the gang at Williams-Sonoma, all it takes is one push of the speed dial button to access some of the best food products the Bay Area has to offer. Printed on glossy anti-drool stock, the first edition of Williams-Sonoma's all-food catalog features the likes of Scharffen Berger chocolates, Alain Rondelli cooking sauces, Michael and Mary Gaffen's Noe Valley Bakery breads, and lots of local cheeses. The prices are a bit inflated, as you'd imagine, but I assure you that most cats out there will lap it up.

Dream With the Fishes
Charles Condy and his son Chris have two things on their minds, and the first one is fish. After getting their feet wet with the splashy Aqua opening at the Belagio in Vegas, the duo behind both Aqua and Charles here in the city are setting their sights on even broader horizons. Aimed at a younger school of fish, the Condy's new Pisces chain will open restaurants in Burlingame and Seattle, for starters. Don't expect stuffed marlins and old netting -- this is a concept. I can't wait to go wading.

Frankly My Dear...
The admen at Beefeater are reading Side Dish and heeding Harry's good advice: The latest in their series of bartender ads features none other than Frank Clare of the Elite Cafe. Though he is better known for his sazeracs than his martinis, this master of mixology certainly meets with Harry's approval. Frank is friendly, but not overly, and is all business when it comes to making a tasty cocktail. Good to see your name in lights, buddy.

The Jury Is In
Foodies are beating a path to their neighborhood newsstands for the latest issue of Esquire. The annual Esquire Best New Restaurants Awards have just been announced, and we have some winners. Of course, Pat and Traci's Jardiniere was kind of a no-brainer if you bet anything in the kitchen pool. Dark horse mc2, however, came from behind and placed with its pared-down design. Thoroughly drubbed by local critics, Adi Dassler's showplace seemed destined for the glue factory, but I guess it's time to take a second look at the theory of relativity.

Say It Ain't So
When a For Lease sign suddenly appeared in Fringale's window one lunchtime last week, the whole neighborhood was abuzz. Sure, it's a tough business, but could Gerald Hirigoyen's beloved bistro be gone, just like that? Then several trailers double-parked on Fourth Street, a really stupid-looking red convertible pulled up in front of the restaurant, and all became clear: Miami Vice -- er, I mean Nash Bridges -- was shooting ....

Tom Foolery
I'm sure that a lot of readers, like me, spend far too much time agonizing over which hot new spot to check out and what overpriced appetizer to order. That's why I hope you all had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. It's a nice change to kick off your shoes at the dinner table and get away from the rat race they call the San Francisco food industry. OK, I'll admit that I've grown out of the marshmallow topping, and I love to sip a Beaujolais Nouveau along with my cranberry sauce, but I am very thankful.

Confidential to Christian
I'll take that Hennessy martini right about now, thanks. Tomorrow night at Bix. Cheers! BTW: Those letters didn't cost me one red cent. I get things for free -- that's why I write this damn column.

By Harry Coverte

 
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