Side Dish

Open and Shut, The Theater of Life, Pop Tops and Pull Tabs, Zinful

Open and Shut
If you've driven up Franklin recently, you probably have noticed the eye-catching new restaurant at Oak Street. The classy little room is the home of Paul Kavouksorian's Paul K. Mr. K and his chef, Rick Eldan of Alta Plaza, are offer- ing a California menu for brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Meanwhile, after opening just three short months ago in its SOMA location, the Max bar on Bryant (at Gilbert) is rumored for sale. In a more recent wrinkle, there was a notice posted on the window stating that work had been done at the site without the proper permits in place. It's a nice bar -- and that area, with Mars and the Gin Joint nearby, is doing well -- so what's gone wrong?

The Theater of Life
Love, chaos, and dinner (sounds like a normal evening out with Harry) have come to San Francisco in the form of Teatro ZinZanni. I dined, oohed, and aahed under the antique tent (dubbed Le Palais Nostalgique) as contortionists, aerialists, and traditional European clowns performed while I feasted upon a meal prepared by Taste Catering and Stars. Eating out in this town is such an event anyway -- juggling reservations, twisting lemons, twirling wine, balancing dinner courses, and going over the top with dessert -- we may as well take it to the circus.

Pop Tops and Pull Tabs
At the end of the month, beer distributor California Beverage will be delivering its last case of brew to stores and restaurants in the Bay Area: The owners have decided to call it a day after years in the biz. The ensuing feeding frenzy among other distributors hoping to pick up CB's product line is pretty rabid. Cal Bev's main customer was Coors, while Matagrano's big boy is Bud and Golden Brands has the Miller line. Starting next month, Golden will rep both Miller and Coors. Fine -- they're both swill (Harry's a Bud man), but they represent big money. Ah well, I won't let that silver bullet slow me down.

A trip to Larkspur is always worthwhile, especially if it includes a stop at the Lark Creek Inn. This weekend is a good time to head up thattaway and take part in Zin Fest 2000. Zinfandel, considered the only native California grape varietal (no, fumé blanc is not a grape), is one of the most engaging and fun dinner wines. Storybook, Ravenswood, and Biale (I just tasted the latter's latest release and it is scrumptious) will be among the zins paired with a veal sweetbread salad, spinach parsnip soup, smoked venison sausage, and a melting chocolate cake with zinfandel ice cream.

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

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