On Wednesday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 9 p.m. at W San Francisco, XYZ's award-winning pastry chef Salina Rubino will host the inaugural "Dessert First," a showcase of confectionery works of art to benefit Project Open Hand. Rubino will be joined by 11 of the finest pastry chefs in the Bay Area, among them Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, Claire Legus of Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, Eric Shelton of Montage, and Ann Walker of 42 Degrees. For those who like a little ballast with their bonbons, the open-to-the-public event will also feature hors d'oeuvres, champagne, wine, and port. Harry loves decadence and indulgence, but this affair could send any normal dessert champion over the edge. We hope paramedics will be standing by to revive victims of chocolate overload.
As the weather turns and what passes for fall in San Francisco slips into rain-soaked winter, Harry starts to think of the crackling of a fire, the warmth of a favorite sweater, and the joy of raising vintage red wines from the cellar. Luckily, Laurent Manrique of Campton Place is offering a game menu (called the "Scottish Game Celebration") through the holidays, captivating our taste buds. If dishes such as carpaccio of venison "pot-au-feu," wild mallard duck a l'orange, or wild hare do not say winter has arrived, nothing does. These and other comfort foods will supplement the restaurant's nightly a la carte and tasting menus. Traditionally, Manrique's seasonal bounty spreads have been worth seeking out. If your schedule has kept you from sampling the previous ones, treat yourself to this one as an early holiday gift.
Movers and Shakers
If while sitting in the corner window seat at Delfina you begin to feel a little culinary inspiration, don't be surprised: That very table hosted world-renowned chef, author, and TV personality Jacques Pépin and the French Laundry's celebrated Thomas Keller last Saturday evening. Pépin charmed guests and acted as if he were in his own hometown of Bourg-en-Bresse, France. ... Many of you have come to believe, as Harry does, that a good bartender is like a ruler who must be worshipped. Now the king of classic cocktails in Hayes Valley, Marco Dionysos of Absinthe, has moved his scepter and silver shaker to a new fiefdom. Dionysos, who has been pleasing bar patrons since Absinthe's opening two years ago, recently signed on at Harry Denton's Rouge. When you stop in to pay obeisance to Dionysos in his new home, please ask him to keep a Bolshoi chilled for Harry.