Side Dish

Red Rover, Red Rover; Wine Country Grows in the City; Wick, Wick, Whack; Every Positive Has a Negative

Red Rover, Red Rover
Dean Dillon, who's presided over the Elite Cafe for more than eight years as general manager, is packing his dusty luggage and heading to the old competition, Oritalia, which used to be a block down Fillmore before it went uptown with its downtown location atop the Stockton Tunnel. The Elite, a popular oyster bar and Louisiana-style eatery that opened in 1981 -- though it looks like it's been there for nearly a century -- has maintained a loyal clientele despite regular turnover in the kitchen. That's largely been due to the tireless labors of Dean -- he's always there -- and his sort of grumpy but highly committed staff. Harry wishes Mr. Dillon the best of luck with his new gig, and holds up a pair of crossed fingers for the Elite ....

Wine Country Grows in the City
Fred Halpert's modern cooking hits Cal, Asian, and Italian notes, and his Live Fire restaurant hits the Embarcadero tonight. Besides the wood-burning grills and ovens, the midsized dining room will feature a full raw bar. The patio seating sounds like the pre-game ticket. ... Look for a new dining spot in late May in the short-lived and overfunded Capital Grill space near the Rincon Center -- Steven Levine of Freestyle in Sonoma is putting together his Cosmopolitan Cafe as we write.

Wick, Wick, Whack
I usually read the Macy's ads to find out who the ever-welcoming Narsai David is hosting in his Macy's Cellar kitchen. The freebies at these basement cook-offs are way better than the sausage-on-a-stick Costco variety -- though we all eat them anyway. This week my eye strayed from the photograph of the beatific, bow-tied Mr. David to a piece of advertising copy that swelled my chest with pride in my word-slinging profession: "Have pancakes with the Easter bunny," invited the copywriter. "Sit down for a photo with the real master of hip-hop." Pure record-scratching, beat-juggling, rhyme-busting poetry.

Every Positive Has a Negative
Niebaum-Coppola was kind enough to invite Harry up to the ranch last Sunday for a very special occasion. Michael Bauer, the food editor and chief restaurant critic for the Chronicle, was signing copies of his Secrets of Success Cookbook, a newly published tome culled from his ever-so-popular weekly feature in the morning paper. Now, this would have been just another meet, greet, and eat event if Harry hadn't been so sly as to sneak in his point-and-shoot soul-stealer. That's right: Yours truly not only has a signed copy of the book in question, he also has a roll of 35mm chockablock with snaps of the most guarded identity in the San Francisco dining scene. Many a restaurateur will be craving these images, and they aren't gonna go cheap -- you knowyou want a picture of Michael before he tears your imported taffeta drapes to shreds. Drop me a line if you are interested. Serious inquiries only.

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

 
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