Hotel California

The new Clift Hotel swings open July 31

Clift Hanger Hip hotelier Ian Schrager's publicity has been hush-hush about his Clift Hotel renovations, but Harry's long assumed that the new owner would replace the old hotel's fancy French Room with oh-so-fashionable Asia de Cuba, the New York-based chain that also dishes out Asian-Latin cuisine at Schrager's L.A. property, the Mondrian.

Now the suspicion has been confirmed: The whole joint will swing open its doors on July 31, unveiling the Phillippe Stark- designed eatery as well as the renovated Redwood Room. Harry is looking forward to raising a fork at the restaurant's infamous communal table (it seats 36) and will keep his fingers crossed that we can still recognize the historic redwood bar, which many locals fear will have been stripped of its classic San Francisco charm.

Hot PlateAny foodie worth his gourmet sea salt knows that the annual Meals on Wheels benefit, rolling its way to Steuart Street on Sunday, May 6, is a must-attend. Hosted this year by Master of Ceremonies chef/TV show host Joey Altman, the swank evening will include an auction, live music by the Back Burner Blues Band (comprised of Altman, Gordon Drysdale of Gordon's, Scott Warner of Black Cat, Keith Luce of PlumpJack, and Andre Chapital of LuLu), pourings from 30 wineries, and food from seven Financial District dining rooms and 19 celebrity chefs. The roster includes Ron Siegel of Masa's, Fifth Floor's George Morrone, and Boulevard's Nancy Oakes. Tickets are $250 -- Harry has already broken the piggy bank -- and you can call 920-1234 for more info. Time to dust off the black tie.

Curve Ball Move over MoMo's and Paragon: New restaurant/bar Curve will have more than just bats swinging around the ballpark. Previously Bay Cities Bar & Grill on Third Street, the new hot spot -- owned by the flirtatious and charismatic restaurant veteran Johnny "Love" Metheny and his childhood pal Michael "Mickey V" Voisenat -- should lure fans of both baseball and sport-dating when it opens on May 7 (the Montreal Expos). After bumping into Metheny and pocketing his business card, Harry couldn't help but wonder when the lads will lose the boyish nicknames (which appear in quotes on the card). He also wonders whether the locally famous Love can hit a home run even though he's entering the game during the second inning of the "SLOMA" slump. Nearby Azie, which just turned off the lunchtime open sign, is further proof that those high-tech expense accounts have gone the way of Giants games at Candlestick.

Low TechSpeaking of hungry dot-commers, Postrio manager Toby Peach couldn't believe it when on Sunday, April 22, two well-heeled young women feasted their way through the menu, then asked for the manager and requested a discount (since they had recently been laid off). Though they paid full price, the miserly maidens shouldn't be hard-up for cash for long: Harry figures that anyone with that kind of nerve will have no problem landing on two feet.

 
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