In Living Color
Harry was there with all the other swells who shelled out the clams for the triumphant return. I speak of the Black & White Ball and one fun, wind-swept night at the Civic Center. The grub was good, the gowns glamorous, and the drunks delightful. Harry Denton, who wears a tux like Hugh Hefner does silk pajamas, lost his date in the crowd, but soon replaced her with two young beauties. George Clinton brought down the house with the heavy bottom-end (sorry Dr. Funkenstein, but we all fill out with age), and the kids seemed to dig the retro sounds in the basement. Congrats to Winslow & Associates for a job well done.
But I just want to point out one little tidbit to those who will attend next time: The B&W is not a dinner-included event. Participating restaurants are asked to provide 3,000 bites. Most tables started serving at 9 p.m. and ran out of food well before 11 p.m. I almost had to slap a couple of complainers. With all that booze flowing, people should at least lay down a solid stomach foundation before leaving the house. Don't expect to be well fed at a huge charity event like this one.
The hottest after-party popped up at Globe. That room just lends itself to swank late-night festivities. Workers and attendees satisfied their midnight munchies and the wine flowed well into the night -- Harry was disappointed that his Scoop cohort didn't make it by. We've so much to talk about.
I was interested to review the 1999 list of top-grossing independent restaurants nationwide. New York tops the list with Tavern on the Green ($34.2 million) and Windows on the World ($31.87 million). San Francisco's first entrant comes in at No. 12 -- Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf, which has been at it since 1965, grossed $14.45 million. Other locals on the list include Farallon (No. 30), McCormick & Kuleto's (No. 36), the Cliff House (No. 59), first-timer Boulevard (No. 76), and cleanup hitter the Carnelian Room (No. 90) with a mere $7.3 million in food and beverage sales. Oddly absent was Postrio -- and sadly missed was Spenger's Grotto. Of course, these numbers don't take anything like food cost, labor, or operating budgets into account. It costs a lot of money to make a lot of money.
In other meaningless list news, the latest Wine Spectator contains the results of its readers' poll. Thirty percent named S.F. the "Best City for Restaurants in the U.S." But 38 percent preferred NYC. New Orleans was a distant third, with 9 percent. Our city also made the fifth slot on the "Best Vacation Destination in the World" list. Look out! The wine snobs are a-comin'.
Legendary underground comix artist Robert Crumb and his self-effacing partner in crime, Terry Zwigoff, dined at Florio last week. Crumb spent most of his meal doodling on the tablecloth.
And I wasn't sure at first, but the tattoos were a dead giveaway: Yes, that was Robbie Williams parading down Union Street at the fair on Sunday. The British pop star was in town for a sold-out gig at Bimbo's 365.
Matt Dillon started out at the nouveau hip Bruno's and wrapped it up at the original -- Tosca's. Matt's looking good and he's on the prowl, so watch out, ladies.
Comings and Goings
Mark Lusardi has left his Yabbies on Polk. The chef opened to great acclaim following his stint at Vertigo, and has been pivotal in creating a dining neighborhood in the area. What's next for this seafood Stravinsky? And they've wrapped the last set of silverware at Chevys' flagship Fuzio shop in North Beach. I hear a collective cheer from the bistros and cafes. Wait -- can you hear it too? Ciao!