Side Dish

Give Till It Hurts

Bring the Checkbook
I'm told that if you eat well for a good cause the calories don't count. That should come in handy this weekend when Gail Defferari -- the force behind both the Universal Cafe and the dining room at XYZ -- hosts the third annual "Strike Out Breast Cancer" event. Co-founder of the fund-raising organization Universal Care, Defferari plans to transform the Presidio Bowling Lanes into a charitable big top on Monday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m., complete with dining at the hands of some of the city's finest chefs. Gail's first two events raised over a quarter of a million dollars and were attended by over 600 guests each. Next on the foodie fund-raising circuit: "Glamour at the Galleria," a fashion show Thursday night, Oct. 12, honoring the debut of Bebe's Web store and benefiting the American Cancer Society. Laetitia Vineyards pours the wine and Le Colonial provides the food.

Is Your Bacar Half Full or Half Empty?
After a long wait, the innovative SOMA restaurant bacar (Latin for "wine goblet") is set to open on Nov. 1. Located at 448 Brannan, bacar is the creation of a trio of industry veterans: Chef Arnold Wong and Wine Director Debbie Zachareas of Eos, and General Manager David O'Malley. In the works for over 20 months, it will be, in Wong's words, "a place where people feel comfortable whether they've arrived in jeans after working 14 hours in front of a computer or in a tux on their way to the opera." The innovation comes in the form of a variety of choices -- in hours, wines, and seating. For example, lunch will be served until dinner starts, and from there the kitchen keeps going until 1 a.m. The wine list will have over 1,000 eclectic selections by the bottle and 100 alternating suggestions by the glass. A brick and timber trilevel dining room -- complete with three-story "wine wall" -- seats 250, with 100 seats held for first-come, first-served diners.

A Restaurant for Restaurateurs
Industry insiders will enjoy Monday and Tuesday nights at 7H. The newly opened joint at the corner of Seventh and Harrison streets, 7H (get it?) offers lunch and dinner Monday through Friday and dinner only on Saturday. But the first two nights of the week are a boon for food folks: Mention the name of your restaurant when you make your reservation and get 15 percent off the bill. Betelnut alumni Rob Radosta, Chef Barney Brown, and Michael Mosley have taken over the former Line-Up Mexican Restaurant to present a broad, Basque-influenced menu. An entertaining specialty drink list and a Monday-through-Thursday happy hour selection round out the choices. Harry's favorite is the Martini Monday, where you can get a martini and a mini steak sandwich for $3. See you there!

Comings and Goings
Who says that that skinny -- excuse me, slim -- lawyerette Ally McBeal (aka Calista Flockhart) doesn't enjoy a good meal? The reservation at Zax's on Taylor read "Flockhart," and there she was with her male dinner companion. No food inhibitions on display here: Once seated she ordered a bottle of '95 Silver Oak cabernet, goat cheese salad, and a salmon entree. ... Maria Hilario-Fendert has left Scala's Bistro and is now the general manager at Foreign Cinema in the Mission, replacing Joseph Strum, who moved over to Tavolino on Columbus in North Beach. ... Rick Monetta, handsome owner of Tonic, just returned from the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Bahamas, where he was an extra in an upcoming movie, Jungle Juice, being produced by Martin Landau.

 
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