Trendsetters

Looking for the latest scene in the Tenderloin, SOMA, and North Beach

Slum Lords Feeling adventurous, Harry found himself snooping around the Tenderloin for a new scene, and found it: Olive, a plain and simple bar/snack spot at 743 Larkin that is Martina McGrath's 35-seat safe haven. She hosts, bartends, and oversees service of $5 to $10 bar snacks (think flatbread and grilled calamari) for a crowd of hipsters who are everything you would expect to find in the trendy-Loin. Across town, in SOMA, Harry slipped into Wish, which opened April 9, is located at 1539 Folsom (at 11th Street), and harks toward a New York-style lounge. Owned and operated by Sean and Isabel Manchester (who did most of the design work on a shoestring budget), Wish has a red and brown interior of concrete, metal, wood, and leather that's a prime example of cheap sexy chic. The crew from North Beach's Amante might want to take notice; Harry still hasn't figured out where exactly their remodeling money went.

Big Wheels Foodies and every chef who is any chef came out in full force for the 14th annual Meals on Wheels event last week. Guests mingled and placed auction bids inside a big tent that covered Steuart Street, then dispersed to feast at participating neighboring restaurants such as Boulevard, One Market, and Cosmopolitan Cafe. Full stomachs didn't stop the crowd from returning to the big top for post-feast dancing to live music. At $250 a pop, the event wasn't exactly all-inclusive, but it did raise $400,000 for charity.

May Day Sunday, May 19, was party time at exuberant Enrico's. The North Beach icon celebrated the 10-year anniversary of its early '90s reincarnation, its 44th anniversary since Enrico Banducci started the street cafe, and the 80th birthday of Banducci himself. Appropriately, Supervisor Aaron Peskin presented Banducci with a city proclamation acknowledging his contribution to San Francisco's dining scene. Harry got tipsy on the music, cocktails, food, and titillating conversation with novelist Herb Gold and others in the colorful crowd of 600 well-wishers.

Anniversary Party Also raising a glass in honor of ongoing success is Farallon, which toasts its fifth anniversary this month with five-course optional-wine-paired celebration lunches and dinners by chef/partner Mark Franz. Stop in to satiate yourself among the deep-sea scenics June 12 and June 13 (and don't forget to check out restaurateur/designer Pat Kuleto's 1999 cabernet from the Kuleto estate winery).

Don't Call It Lunacy Luna Park owners Joe Jack and A.J. Gilbert are again expanding their empire. They have taken over the space at 1199 Valencia at 23rd Street (formally JJ's Bistro) and plan to open an "Italian comfort food" hot spot by September. Expect 70 seats inside, another 15 to 20 for sidewalk dining, rustic wood floors, plank-hewed tables, and a much lighter and brighter feel than Luna Park's.

 
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