Let us enjoy this brief window early in the year when it’s still theoretically possible to believe 2018 won’t leave us feeling dispirited and pessimistic about the future. Yeah, yeah, 45 already tweeted some terrifying shit about having his tiny finger on The Button — but if the year began with the sabering of a Champagne bottle then maybe there doesn’t have to be much more nuclear saber-rattling. Here are some things to look forward to.
Another Elbo Room
The perennially endangered Valencia Street venue with a calendar full of funk and cumbia (and where you go with your friends to hash out the highlights of whatever performance you just saw at The Chapel) has cloned itself. Via Facebook, the Elbo Room announced Elbo Room Jack London Square, set to open this month (or so we hope) in the similarly laid-out former Night Light space. The menu and programming should be much the same as at the original Elbo Room — which, incidentally, has a lease that runs through next year, so no condos yet.
311 Embarcadero, Oakland, elbo.com
Tacolicious Expands Its Crab Bender In Two Key Ways …
It’s time for Tacolicious‘ annual Crab Bender dinner series, and this year, all five locations will host one. It starts on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Marina before moving on to North Beach (Jan. 31), Palo Alto (Feb. 7), the Mission (Feb. 14) and San Jose (Feb. 21);. The $120-$150 ticket (depending on which night) gets you Josey Baker Bread, Mexican clam chowder, a winter chopped salad, roasted Dungeness crab, and a horchata pot de creme — but the pairings will differ at every dinner. The first two — Marina and North Beach — take advantage of a certain new state law, so they’re serving cocktails made with organic CBD-infused juices sourced from Sonoma Hills Cannabis Farm.
… And Goes Straw-Free
Like most small, single-use items, plastic straws seem innocuous until you calculate their total environmental impact. Their small size is actually the problem: Too light for mechanical recycling sorters to sense and too tiny to separate by hand, straws are quite destructive to the oceans — and Americans go through 500 million of them every day. So Tacolicious, along with tequila bar Mosto and Bar San Pancho, paired up with Surfrider Foundation to eradicate the 180,000 straws they use each year. Each location in the restaurant group has gone plastic straw-free, with paper straws form Aardvark available on request. Worried about getting salt from that margarita on your glossy lips and/or your mustache? Order your drink with half the rim salted, baby.
Media Noche Has a Banh Mi Cubano
The Mission’s sexiest Cuban restaurant, Media Noche began a Cubano series late last year by partnering with renowned chefs to create variations on Miami’s favorite sandwich, partial proceeds from which go to a charity of the creator’s choice. Uma Casa’s Telmo Faria kicked things off in November with a Portuguese-inflected Bifana, and for January, it’s Chef Tu David Phu of Top Chef fame. His “E-14 Banh Mi” gut-buster combines lemongrass pork belly, peppercorn chicken pâté, nuoc nam (i.e., fish sauce) aioli, pickled carrots and daikon, whole grain mustard, cucumber, jalapeño, and cilantro, for the entire month of January. Ten percent of sales go to Quentin Cooks, a nonprofit that helps incarcerated people learn culinary skills in anticipation of their release.
3465 19th St., medianochesf.com