Chow for Champions

A local chef cooks for the U.S. snowboard Olympic team. The team wins gold, silver, and bronze. Any connection?

Going for GoldJianna chef Marc Valiani proved his Olympian cooking capabilities when an old friend, responsible for the catering at Utah's Olympic Village, asked our boy to cook for the U.S. snowboard team from Feb. 2 through 22. Apparently, his was the breakfast (and lunch and dinner) of champions, since the team took the gold, silver, and bronze medals on Feb. 11. But don't believe for a minute that that extra boost of award-winning energy came from bland, good-for-you foods; on the contrary, Valiani thinks it was his chocolate cake that put the "win" in the Winter Games.

North Beach NewbieMeanwhile, back in the 'hood, Jianna is getting a new neighbor at the end of March when the old P.J. Mulhern's at 570 Green becomes Amante ("lover/ mistress" in Italian). The partnership is composed of local bartenders Erik Boardman, Wiz Wentworth, and Michael Dibenedetti, who will remodel the joint into a sexy lounge. The plan is to serve light food and cocktails nightly until 2 a.m.

Albright's All Right It seems that civilian war-casualties aren't the only thing "worth the cost" for Madeleine Albright. While breakfasting at Rose's Cafe in the Marina on Feb. 13 -- sans security and with a young man reminiscent of Harold in Harold and Maude -- the former secretary of state tipped heavily. She also graciously received an unsolicited patron, who pitched Albright on getting involved with some kind of fund. Harry stuck to his soft polenta but did rubberneck enough to notice that she looks better in person, for what that's worth.

Where Isn't the Beef?These days Harry can barely bite into a burger before another new steakhouse swings open its doors. Last column ["Heavy Hitters," Feb. 6] Harry pondered the potential for success of upcoming Acme Chop House, which replaces Pac Bell Park's Twenty Four in March. Now come two more reasons to request it rare. Bob's Steak & Chop House opened Feb. 11 in the Omni Hotel, 500 California. This sister property to the Dallas original is owned by Bob Sambol; Zagat ranks the Texas version as one of the top 10 steakhouses in the country. The 105-seat dining room and 45-seat lounge serve three meals daily, with entrees ranging from about $22 to $50. Meat eaters will also appreciate the new Daily Grill, opening Feb. 25 at 347 Geary. This 15th site in the chain -- which sports locations in Southern California, the D.C. area, and the Midwest (it began in Beverly Hills in 1984) -- is the first in Northern California. Listed in Saveur magazine's January Top 100 as the "chain restaurant we wish we had in our town," the Daily Grill might just squeeze the juice out of Pasta Pomodoro.

 
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