Apart from the big debut of The Hall, and the ongoing, completely baffling bracket thing they're doing at the Business Times a baldfaced bid for traffic following on the success of The Five Thirty Eight's national burrito bracket which is ultimately going to pitting beer against burgers, and ice cream against coffee (!?), here's what's in the news, food-wise.
Les Clos, the aforementioned Townsend Street wine bar from Saison's Mark Bright and a couple of other former Saison staffers, got its beer and wine license after a brief delay and became fully operational this week. Eater has the menus.
Also this week, a Kickstarter campaign began for Media Naranja, an ambitious pop-up farmer's market stand and taco cart concept from Elizabeth Tinajero and Jose Ramos. Ramos was an opening chef at Nopalito, and has gained recent accolades for his work at Nido in Oakland, and the new project will feature fresh tortillas made from organic, house-made masa, and small-batch chorizos, hot sauces, and moles all made fresh daily from local ingredients, and some of which will be available for takeaway. They're seeking money to help purchase the cart, a trailer, and a tented market stand. [Kickstarter]
In sadder news, lunch service has ended at Bar Tartine for the time being as the team gears up for opening the new bakery/cafe location at the Heath Ceramics building at 18th and Alabama. [Eater]
On the downtown delivery scene you'll now see The Golden West making deliveries via traffic-enforcement interceptors a.k.a. those three-wheeled meter maid go-cart things. These, however, are painted dark red. [Eater]
Over in West Oakland we have the debut of Zella's Soulful Kitchen (1430 7th Street, Oakland), the first brick-and-mortar from La Cocina alum Dionne Knox. Those who have gotten familiar with Zella's at the SF Street Food Fest will recognize dishes like her jambalaya and fried chicken. But there's now a full breakfast menu, and both hot and cold sandwiches at lunch. [Inside Scoop]
The Week In Reviews: Michael Bauer reviewed Urchin Bistrot, the new French-bistro-via-California concept from Ame owners Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani which opened over the summer in the former Wo Hing General Store space on Valencia. Bauer sounds fairly baffled by the place, noting some solid service and a few excellent dishes (steak tartare, radicchio salad, duck liver paté), but saying "the room looked disjointed" and says the chef, Michael Morrison, "isn’t quite ready for prime time." All told: two stars. [Chron]
And over at the Weekly, Anna Roth takes a trip to Oakland to review a pair of restaurants opened by chef James Syhabout: Box & Bells in Rockridge, and the more recent The Dock at Linden Street. She's a fan of both, noting some high prices at Box & Bells and some excellent nibbles and cocktails, but says she was nonplussed by some boneless fried chicken that came with raw oyster aioli that "tasted intensely of the sea, and not in a way that I wanted to pair with my fried chicken." At The Dock the loves the grilled squid and the lingcod po'boy, but says "there were more missteps here" and says the industrial location in deepest Oakland "is romantic for the same reasons it's inconvenient." [SF Weekly]