Side Dish

Pants on Fire
This column is about a business that runs on speculation, luck, excess, and vicious rumor -- and it is my sincere hope that your weekly Side Dish content reflects these lofty characteristics in moral and in tone. So it is with regal dignity that Harry sticks out his tongue in the traditional manner and says, "I told you so."

Back in February I reported that Elizabeth Falkner and her band of merry bakers at Citizen Cake were plotting a move Civic Center way. Not so, swore Falkner, angrily, and demanded a retraction. (She didn't get one.) Well, my friend Bill Citara, on the beat at the Ex, has just received more formal notification of Falkner's foray uptown. So let me enumerate today's lessons: 1) Harry's not a liar -- just a little fast on the trigger for some people's liking; 2) it's always best to stick by your sources, at least when they're right; and, 3) by the way, if something's a secret, you shouldn't tell anyone about it.

P.S. Let's hope Princess Cake's new location has parking for all those Range Rovers.

Eating Pagnol
Marcel Pagnol's "Marseilles Trilogy," a hit on stage and screen in the early '30s, gets a rare showing at the Pacific Film Archive on June 27. You know how Harry hates the bridge, but this one is worth the gusty crossing: The films feature the great Raimu as cafe owner Cesar, as well as Fernand as Panisse and Orane Demazis as Fanny. Do we see a pattern here? Yes, Alice Waters has seen these movies -- and you should too, if not for their honest sentimentality, then for the three-course Provençal meal that Grace Cafe chef Maggie Back will create for patrons to enjoy during intermission. A mere $45 pays for the whole trip (not including toll).

How Many Candles?
The venerable Greens celebrates its 20th year of operation in its usual quiet and consistent manner. Annie Sommerville and the boys will, as usual, serve up the freshest, healthiest food in the country with the most enviable views in the city. Greens sprung from the head of the Zen Center, along with her sister, Tassajara Bakery (R.I.P.), and still keeps a giant, petrified tree trunk in the dining room as a testament to her earthy roots.

In other birthday news, it's rare that a trendy Marina restaurant burns bright for over a year or two -- food fashion is fleeting. So it is a tribute to Ken Zankel and Andrea Rappaport that Zinzino has reached the five-year marker. Of course, good food, good wine, and a cool space might have something to do with it.

Coming and Goings
The Beach Chalet welcomes Mike Higgins as its new chef. Higgins has been cooking in the Bay Area for 15 years, so it's only fitting that he land at our modern landmark by the shore.

Nicole Plue was the city's most spoiled pastry chef -- and she deserved every ounce of coddling. Her desserts at Hawthorne Lane raised the bar for the oft-forgotten last course and placed her in the small pool with the biggest fish. Well, Plue's left her workbench at the Lane. No doubt we'll be hearing from her really soon. Meanwhile, Moose's has a new master of the rolling pin: Christopher Herrera comes to Ed's Washington Square dining room from the Ritz.

By Harry Coverte

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

 
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