Thursday Eight: Meatless Burgers That Bleed

Plus the avocado shortage grows dire, Anchor Brewing launches tastings at its beer garden, and why are pastry chefs so underpaid?

Brazo Guitano cake at EatGordaEat (Peter Lawrence Kane)

The Food Review in SF Weekly‘s 10/13 Issue

Nomica, the new project in the Castro from the team behind Sausalito’s Sushi Ran, takes a lot of risks and rewards adventurous diners. The karaage chicken and beer waffles perfectly embody the strategy of challenging people’s palates with unusual flavor combinations. This strategy could be a misfit with the Castro’s let’s-all-get-totally-wasted nightlife ethos, but it’s a beautiful space, and even the few flops deserve genuine credit for going there.

Impossible!: The Meatless Burger Arrives

Impossible Foods’s meat-less burger that bleeds will show up on the menus at Traci Des Jardin’s Jardiniere (where it will be $16 and available in the bar and lounge after 7:30 p.m., and come with caramelized onion, avocado, a special sauce, plus pommes frites) and at Cockscomb, where Chris Cosentino will serve it for lunch on weekdays with caramelized onions, lettuce, Gruyére, “grandma Helen’s pickles,” dijon, and mixed greens, $19). Two significant points, as Inside Scoop and Eater point out: Jardiniere will not have a meaty burger alternative, and Chris Cosentino is one of the biggest carnivores around, so if he’s sold, it likely has merit.

Anchor Brewing Launches Tastings at the Beer Garden

Ever had a friend visiting from out of town and wanted to take them to the Anchor Brewery (1705 Mariposa) for a tour only to find that they’re booked out for months? Now the beer garden at The Yard at Mission Rock will host $17 tastings on Thursdays and Fridays at 1:30 p.m., led by a cicerone who will walk you through eight samples. Additionally, the seasonally significant brews Orange Splash Lager and Summer Wheat are available by the case for only $20 at the brewery.

Bluestem Brasserie Has a Sips & Sweets Menu

Chef John Griffiths’ Bluestem Brasserie (1 Yerba Buena Lane) has put out a new fall pairing menu of $11 desserts and $6 beverages, with consulting pastry chef Lori Baker. Look for the Warm Goodness a La Mode (an apple brioche bread pudding with bourbon buttermilk caramel, vanilla ice cream, maple glazed pecans, and cranberries) with an apple cider and Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, and the Arachibutyphobia (peanut butter semifreddo, roasted banana caramel, flourless chocolate cake, dark chocolate glaze, peanut brittle, and banana chips) with an autumn berry shrub and late-harvest Zinfandel. It’s available daily as well as at the new late-night happy hour (9-11 p.m., Monday to Friday).

Salt House Turns 10 and Parties Hard

Salt House, the 10-year-old SoMa restaurant from the dudes behind Town Hall and Anchor & Hope, will celebrate its anniversary with a party on Friday, Oct. 21 from 6-9 p.m.. For $45, you get passed apps from the contemporary American menu plus two drink tickets, as well as an excuse to look sexy in a building that dates to the 1890s.

An Avocado Shortage Is Causing People to Question Their Own Existence

Remember in 2014 when Chipotle said it would probably have to phase out guacamole owing to climate change? Avocado harvests have collapsed, and California’s drought-stricken avocado trees are looking feeble. The Chronicle reports that, compared to last year, avocado imports from Mexico have fallen by more than two-thirds (from 45 million pounds to 13 million pounds) and costs have roughly doubled. The tree in my yard is doing OK, though, and it produces more fruit than we know what to do with, so come and knock on our door.

Pastry Chefs in High Demand, But Wages Are Stagnant

Using the fact that the art of pastry-making actually a science, and learning hard on an analogy with coding bootcamps, The New York Times looks into the economic realities of pastry chefs. Culinary academies can’t keep up with demand, but nobody wants to pay them fairly, it seems. “There has been a significant increase in chef-driven restaurants, the sort of establishments whose chefs would sooner cut out their tongues than outsource their dessert offerings,” yet there’s a lot of ambivalence. Although he loves the idea of someone dedicated to the craft, Alinea’s Grant Achatz “and his fellow practitioners of progressive gastronomy, who blur the lines between sweet and savory dishes, often find the idea of a separate pastry chef restrictive and even contrived.”

Marmite, Brexit Casualty?

If you’ve ever gone to the U.K. — or to Australia, where it’s sold as Vegemite — you’ve likely encountered Marmite, the salty vegetable extract spread that tastes either like umami richness or postwar austerity (depending on whom you ask). Love it or hate it, it’s a British institution, and The New York Times reports that major grocery chains are locked in a Brexit-related battle over a quirk in the pound-euro exchange rate that has caught it in the crosshairs.

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