Side Dish

Mingling With the Famous

So That's How You Do It
Though not an old dog yet, Harry has found he can still learn new tricks. A foray into cooking school -- courtesy of the Sur La Table Culinary Programs -- proved much less humbling than one would expect. Harry not only brushed up on his kitchen talents -- which, modesty aside, aren't bad to begin with -- but also got a little inside dish by watching some of his favorite chefs fixing their signature concoctions. Does Daniel Boulud of New York's Daniel and Cafe Boulud get his hands dirty? What techniques does Laurent Manrique of Campton Place recommend? Harry will never tell. But you can bet he'll be front and center on Saturday, Oct. 28, at noon, when restaurateur Gary Danko reveals the mysteries of his smoked salmon and buckwheat blini, roast loin of veal with pistachio crust, and chocolate mousse cake, among others. Danko will be sharing secrets at the school's Berkeley location at 1806 Fourth St. Ignorance may be bliss, but knowledge is a whole lot tastier. Sign up at the Berkeley store or call (510) 849-2252.

Dot This
Gold poodle-shaped fountains, underwear vending machines, and a bar that will digitally display pickup lines. Is this "exactly what San Francisco is lacking," as Nick Graham of Joe Boxer claims? Harry is wary but intrigued. Graham has teamed up with Michael Bufano, the food & beverage guy for hotel group Kintetsu Corp., to bring us Dot Restaurant -- not to be confused with the much-reviled dot-commies whom everyone agrees are ruining this city. Anyway, Dot Restaurant is set to open on Oct. 26 in the Miyako Hotel, 1611 Post St. in Japantown. In the kitchen is chef Noel Pavia, who was the executive chef at Yoyo Bistro, which closed last year, and who cooked with Elka Gilmore when the site was originally Elka's. Graham sees the site -- his first venture into restaurantdom -- as "a very modern, high-graphic concept," an effect that was made apparent by the invite-in-a-tin (complete with a Lichtenstein-esque portrait of Graham) Harry received for the opening night party. With the graphics theme in mind, the folks at Fun Display transformed the two-story space into a 75-seat dining room with twin bars, one of which is the Lord of Balls Lounge on the second floor. Why Lord of Balls (besides the obvious)? The authentic title was deeded to an unknown man by the King of England in 1065; Graham bought it in 1996 from the Manorial Society of Great Britain, an English historical organization. As to whether underwear vending machines will be the next big thing in S.F., Harry says balls to that.

The Stars Came Out
Call Harry a breathless star-watcher if you like, but he knows you don't get People magazine for the articles. Celebrity sighters would have done well to join last Tuesday's party at James Moffat's 42 Degrees -- ostensibly a fund-raiser for the Magic Theater, but mostly a glamfest of the beautiful and famous. Sam Shepard, sexy and cool as ever, held court and touted his new play, The Late Henry Moss, which opens in previews on Nov. 7 at Theater on the Square. Cast members Woody Harrelson, Cheech Marin, Nick Nolte, and Sean Penn chatted with supporters who had paid $250 for the privilege, while everyone mixed with celebs such as Robin Williams, Peter Coyote, Don Johnson, and Robin Wright Penn. Luckily for those who had come to party rather than stargaze, Jeannette Etheredge of Tosca was involved with the event as co-host -- always a good sign in Harry's book.

 
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