The impact of the wildfires making their way across Northern California can be felt across multiple industries, not the least of which being food. As we mentioned earlier this week, the Michelin Guide has decided to hold off on announcing the recipients of new Michelin stars and also has delayed the release of their new Bay Area guidebook. The wildfires also laid waste to many different vineyards (and cannabis farms), and has already impacted harvests for the year, which were occurring before the fires began. On the restaurant side of things, there was a new class action complaint filed in San Francisco federal court regarding no-tipping policies at several restaurants in SF and New York. Some of the restaurants named in the complaint are: Bar Agricole, Trou Normand, Comal, Camino, as well as David Chang and the Momofuku restaurant group in NY. Finally, we shared a pretty worrying story about how many of the plastic sprinkles from the Museum of Ice Cream have started to make their way into the city streets. Here's what else has been going on:
Eater reports that Santa Rosa native Guy Fieri had a bit of a homecoming as he returned to the city to help feed a reported "1,200 evacuees, volunteers, first responders, and military" at a shelter. Truth be told, it's a pretty heartwarming gesture, as Fieri made it very clear that it wasn't a publicity move for him. He told KQED's Gabe Meline, "You don’t see my banners up. I’m not promoting anything. I’m just here cooking. This is feeding people. People need help, and I’m here to help. That’s it." He also was fully aware of the potentially... odd optics of bringing a barbecue smoker to feed wildfire survivors. He said, "I don’t have anything to say about that. [...] I mean, come on. What do you want me to do?"
Kevin Durant is getting into a new game: pizza. He just bought a stake in the pizza chain Pieology, which, according to the SF Business Times' report on Durant's purchase, has 13 Bay Area locations and 140 across the country. He commented on Pieology to ESPN, saying, "I went to a one of them and saw how quickly they did it and was really impressed with the quality. I just felt like, given how fast our lives our these days, we don't want to wait for our pizza anymore."
Top Chef is returning for a 15th season, and it features a solid selection of Bay Area chefs. According to Eater, joining for this season are Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen, Rogelito Garcia of The Commissary, Melisa Perfit of Bar Crudo, and Tu David Phu of Gather.
Foxsister opened its doors earlier this week on 24th Street, offering Korean-style fried chicken alongside other Korean barbecue faves. If you want to check it out, it's over at 3161 24th Street (at South Van Ness), where Montella Pizzeria used to be. On top of food, the bar looks like it's also aiming to be a nightlife location, as chef/owner Brandon Kirksey told Eater, "I really want Foxsister to be a rambunctious neighborhood bar and restaurant offering great food, drinks and music." That roughly translates to rotating DJs (spinning old school hip-hop to punk, writes Tablehopper) and a pretty funky-stylish interior (plus a very solid-looking menu).
Mr. Fu Kitchen opened up this week on Noe Street in the Castro, reports Hoodline. They currently occupy the space that was formerly known as House of Chen, a Noe staple for 28 years whose owners retired a few months back. According to its menu, which you can view online, Mr. Fu Kitchen focuses on some of the classic Chinese restaurant standbys and the restaurant looks exactly the same as House of Chen, following a light remodel.
Sad news as Caffe Puccini in North Beach suffered a one-alarm fire, gutting the entire cafe. Hoodline reports that there were no injuries, and that the residents living above the cafe were unharmed. The destruction, however, is evident, in its now-blackened ceilings and the scorched kitchen equipment being hauled out into the street. Fire officials are still investigating, but believe that the cause for the fire may have been accidental.
The New York Times ran a feature focusing on the rise of Thai food in America. In it, they profiled the staff at Kin Khao near Union Square. Thomas Fuller, who wrote the piece, also shared an experience at Daughter Thai Kitchen up in Oakland, where he was asked what his heat tolerance was for spiciness on a scale of one to 10. Fuller replied nine, and he "nearly cried my way through a three-alarm southern curry." Also mentioned are Zen Yai, Lers Ros Thai, Hawker Fare, and Commis.
Boccalone, the meat shop from chef Chris Cosentino which has operated a storefront in the Ferry Building since 2008, will be closing at the end of the month. Inside Scoop has the story, and reports that co-owner Mark Pastore cited economics as the reason for Boccalone's imminent closure. It outlasted its counterpart, Cosentino's Incanto, which the Scoop points out closed in 2014, but Pastore told them that the small scale charcuterie business "is a space that is a lot more crowded now that [sic] it was 10 years ago."
This Week in Reviews
The Chron's Michael Bauer took another look at Contigo, over in Noe Valley this week. Worried that the owners' move down to Santa Cruz to open another restaurant, Barceloneta, might take a toll on the service and the food, Bauer returned to see if anything's changed. Thankfully, he reports that the service is still excellent, and so is the food. (But there's no star update for this one.)
SF Weekly's Pete Kane took a look at another Noe Valley establishment, Ardiana, which he's nicknamed "Pizza Church." It's probably also worth pointing out that the restaurant is located on Church Street, and it's from the same owner, Sharon Ardiana, as Gialina and Ragazza, so there you go. According to Kane, they certainly deserve the title, as he opens with a strong argument about San Francisco/California pizza in general, saying that Ardiana might be the place that hardcore East Coasters can't argue with — at least, not too vehemently. That said, he writes that "the trouble with Ardiana is that it’s a little too casual for its own good."