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Disco Balls Out, Army Tents In: Opening Report from Churchill

2 Jun

Churchill in action.


Last night was the official opening of Churchill, the new bar from the Double Dutch and Bloodhound guys, in the old home of the Transfer and the Bar on Church. In an effort to get straighter than its previous (awesome) inhabitants, the new bar is not a “gay bar.” If Blackbird is middle ground, then Churchill is super butched up. The space, previously occupied with poles and disco balls, is now home to training ropes on the ceiling, a pool table in back, and couches made from old Army tents. This is a WWII-inspired bar and its name comes not from the street it’s on, but from from Winston Churchill. See, butch.

The Brooklyn.

We were there for the soft opening. and the place was a good mix, including the crowd, jukebox, and cocktails. Speaking of cocktails, the most interesting drink we tried was the Churchill 75, the bar’s take on the French 75. Although tasty, our favorite was The Brooklyn, which is like a Manhattan but with Bulleit rye, Dolin dry vermouth, Averna, maraschino, bitters, and orange peel. Screw Manhattan: We’re strictly Brooklyn now, at least cocktail speaking.

Overall verdict? A peaceful, stylish place that serves up delicious cocktails for all.

Churchill: 198 Church. Hours: 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily.

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

The Eight Sexiest Women on TV Cooking Shows

15 Apr

Last week SFoodie brought you the hot and hunky men of food television. Today, the companion post so hot it’ll melt your listicle, their sultry female counterparts, the women you’ve watched tying up your meat, sizzling your pot, and making you run your Tivo in slo-mo. We give you the eight sexiest women on TV cooking shows:
8. Aida Mollenkamp

S.F.’s own Aida has that girl-next-door charm and a smile that only Jennifer Garner could compete with. On her Cooking Channel show, FoodCrafters, Aida shares San Francisco treats with the rest of America. No, we’re not talking Rice-A-Roni, but things like Kika’s Treats. Her former show was Ask Aida, but if you ask SFoodie, Aida is worthy of an opera. Or at least an Elton John song.

7. Nadia G

We had the pleasure of meeting Nadia right after Bitchin Kitchen premiered on the Cooking Channel, and we must say we were smitten. The comments on the resulting SFoodie post are among the most mixed we’ve read: You either love Nadia or you hate her ― a lot. We love her punk goddess charms, her hearty food and sense of style, and her voice, which puts her in the ranks of memorable food ladies, along with Julia Child and Rachael Ray.

6. Nigella Lawson

 

Nigella is a whoa-man ― we find ourselves making the grip-two-gigantic- grapefruits gesture whenever we talk about her. Nigella is voluptuous, womanly in every way, and a real smart class act. Let’s put it this way: Kate Winslet (with hair dyed black) was born to play Nigella on the big screen. We could watch her squeeze lemons and butter toast from here to eternity.

5. Marcela Valladolid

 

Marcela is the fun young host of Food Channel’s Mexican Made Easy. After hosting cooking shows in her native Spanish, Marcela crossed over via the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice, and since then her audience has only grown ― not to mention fallen in love with her avocado flan.

4. Claire Robinson

Perhaps you’ve never heard of Claire Robinson. She’s only been hosting Food Network’s 5 Ingredient Fix for a year. She’s like a pot of gumbo: bubbly and smokin’ hot. To put it in the form of an SAT analogy:
Claire Robinson : Nigella Lawson :: Megan Fox : Angelina Jolie
In other words, Claire is the younger, hotter, thinner version, though not as deep, womanly, or seasoned.

3. Bal Arneson

No, she’s not one of Charlie’s goddesses or a Spice Girl, though Bal is Cooking Channel’s Spice Goddess. Growing up in a small village in Punjab, Bal has a knowledge of spices that’s unparalleled. We’re glad to see her and Aarti demystifying Indian food on our screen and looking so good while doing it.

2. Cat Cora

All good superheroes have alliterations in their names ― Cat Cora joins the ranks of Peter Parker and Wonder Woman. It’s no surprise. Cat was the first and only female Iron Chef, and she had kids in a cooler way than just about anybody. For their first child, Cat’s wife carried her embryo, and later they got pregnant at the same time. Quick, somebody make a comic book about this superstar chef!

1. Giada

Giada is Italian-born, low-cut T-shirt-wearing, and a bit lollipoplike, but we wouldn’t mind finding out how many licks it takes to get to the center of her Tootsie Pop. Her tiny frame supports a head with perfect skin and a smile so bright it seems to have the power to conjure birds and butterflies to help her cook a meal. Perfect doll Giada is a Disney princess come to life.

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

Eight Dishes to Get Your Valentine Thinking About Sex

11 Feb

If you’re an avid SFoodie reader you know these last few weeks have been ultra scandalous, from a faux condom dessert to vegan vulva cake, we’ve no doubt gotten some of you in the mood. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, we want you to stay that way, but with a bit more subtlety — like with these eight dishes designed to get your valentine salivating.


Carina’s cheesy heart dip.
8. Cheesy hearts.
Stuff with hearts are mandatory for this holiday. We recommend making a simple artichoke heart and hearts of palm dip. Top it with cheese and roasted cherry tomatoes. Dipping and scooping will put you in the mood, and your date will know how perfectly cheesy and romantic you are.

7. Tossed salad.
A tossed salad can be boring, but never underestimate the double entendre. On love’s special day we recommend tossing in aphrodisiacs: rocket, phallic carrots, avocado, and pine nuts all have a rep as romantic stimulants, so toss ‘em in! During this course, feel free to mention in passing, “Howard Stern was talking about salad-tossing this morning. You’d never want to try thatwould you?”

6. Alcohol, the social lubricant.
On a holiday like this, remember: Rosé is okay, but bubbles are better. What’s better than better? Hard liquor! Couldn’t afford a romantic seaside escape? Make a Sex on the Beach. Also approved is any cocktail with the word “kiss” in its name, though the word “cocktail” sort of throbs as it is.

5. Get some balls.
The circular form just screams good time. We happen to think meatballs are best. They also often accompany spaghetti, which is a few steps away from some Lady and the Tramp action. Other ball variations we like: albondigas, falafel, odango.

4. Shuckin’ and suckin’.
Since the days before Caligula, oysters have been the world’s best-documented aphrodisiac. Hard to deny they share a likeness to ladyparts, from the way they’re opened (shucked) to the manner in which they’re consumed (slurped). Plus they’re packed full of protein, so they nourish for hours. Other seafood hotness: mussels and clams, which open up ever so lightly when steamed. And uni is simply the sexiest seafood there is.

3. Red hots.
Red’s the color of passion, whether from a nice slab of juicy meat, chiles, Syrah, strawberries, cherries, or tomatoes — so it needs to be on the table. The only things we caution against are beets. Though delicious, they’re not so great for romance. Hit the bathroom after dinner and you might think you have to hit up the emergency room.

2. Chemical romance.
It’s cliche to say that women prefer chocolate to sex, but often it’s true: Chocolate (mainly dark) hits brain’s neurotransmitters, leaving one feeling happy and energized. If only every man could offer such a payoff. After a piece of dark chocolate, your female date’s brain will be oozing positive vibes … followed, maybe, by other organs.

1. Bananas + cream.
Dessert time. Hot apple pie is for teenagers, banana cream pie is for lovers. Do we have to spell it out for you?

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

For Valentine’s Day, Consider These Bad News Bears

31 Jan

Sling ready: Citizen Cake's Be Mine Bears.

​Think your valentine wants a cuddly stuffed bear this year? Think again. (What, are you in fourth grade?) Anyone past the age of acquiring secondary sex characteristics wants something naughtier than kiddie toys for V-Day. One option: the unbelievably awesome Be Mine Bears at Citizen Cake. The female bear is in lingerie and sports another animal part … the camel toe. As for males, one comes in undies with a heart-on, the other mimics real live bears in SOMA, complete with leather harness. One word: Hot! Plus this is Citizen Cake, so you know they’re delicious.

The adorable drunk gummy.

​If you’ve got a DIY bent, how about making drunk gummy bears? These babies will show your valentine beyond the shadow of a doubt that you care, and that you know how to class up Jell-O shots. For complete instructions, see this eHow article. Basically, you put gummy bears in a bowl with vodka (we recommend Pinky, since it’s the color of the season), cover, and refrigerate overnight. The bears soak up the vodka, and you soak up some very special attention from a tipsy valentine.

A recap: To get stuffed this V-Day, stay away from stuffed teddys, and explore instead the darker side of bears.

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

Rollin Dolmas at Mezes

26 Jan

“May this be my year of love affairs, entertainment and restaurant writing, rolling dolmas and stuffing cabbage, and learning to make a perfect whiskey sour” That is a direct quote from my Facebook status on the first day of 2011. My new year wishes were not asking so much (meant to be read in the voice of a Jewish mother) and yet they were of the utmost importance. Only a week or so later I received an email from a Greek restaurant in the Marina, called Mezes, telling me about the menu. I didn’t let a second go by before I asked if their chef/owner, Nikos, could teach me and my friends (food bloggers and twEATers) how to roll dolmas. We got the okay and arrived for our cooking lesson. Nestled in the superior part of the Marina, the ‘Nut (Chesnut Street) is an adorable restaurant that feels immediately homey upon entering. We were sat at a table for Dolmas 101 class. We saw the leaves that many people forget to wash and learned to tear off the stems.

We got up close and personal with the dolma insides, which include rice, onions, parsley, dill, mint, pine nuts, and golden raisins. My personality television twin is Grace from Will & Grace and when she admits that she likes raisins in everything and that she even saw Raisin in the Sun because she thought that raisins would be in it, she was speaking my language. I always prefer vegetarian dolmas and these fun additives made these babies the best dolmas I’ve ever had.

Greek food is very much about using your hands so there is only way to mix up stuff and that is with your fingers. I was shocked that the mixture is made with uncooked rice. It’s not that unusual when you think of  banana leaf wrapped rice that is stuffed and then steamed in its aromatic and natural envelope.

You then lay out your leaf, vein side up, and put a scoop of the stuffing down. I was whining that I didn’t have enough stuffing and then people reminded me of basic cooking chemistry, rice expands when cooked.

I rolled it up nice and cozy and was so proud of my baby but the rest of my creations needed  a hand from Chef Nikos. Sorry, I was never a roller (there is like two drug references there, but I will ignore both) and I am not good at wrapping presents, burritos, or doing origami.

The cooking of the dolmas revealed another surprise. The pot was lined with grape leaves and then the dolmas went around the perimeter like a beautiful wreath. A plate (Greeks love plates) was then put on top upside-down and water filled the top, it was a genius makeshift steamer/pressure cooker. For full recipes and other notes see  Club Dine In’s post and another recap from Tastie Tidbits.

I had a lot of fun but I think I will leave the assembling, rolling, and cooking to the experts. Chef Nikos and his crew at Mezes have more than ten years experience and have the process perfected. At  only $8 a plate, I’d rather save myself the hassle and make a trip to the Marina. I got one item checked off my year long wish list and I truly couldn’t have had better teachers and classmates!

Mezes

2373 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA 94123

(415) 409-7111

 

Club Dine In

http://clubdinein.com/

@clubdinein

Tastie Tidbits

http://tastietidbits.blogspot.com/

@merrijane

 

Pledge for 2011: No More Food Excuses

11 Jan

Oh, the burn!

Sure, we’ve all pretended to spill wine on an article of clothing, just to have an excuse to remove it at that crucial date moment. I used to call it my signature move: a little wine on the skirt and it simply must be removed before it stains, leaving me helpless in lace chonies. Like Jamie Foxx, I’d blam the wine, though that would be like Eve blaming the apple.

Food and beverage excuses are so common it’s no surprise that a food and beverage capital like San Francisco would be home to the most absurdly despicable of all: the Twinkie defense. It turns out that Twinkies were never mentioned in Dan White’s trial, nor were they actually blamed for the murders of George Moscone and Harvey Milk, but the term has become a catchword for the most ridiculous excuses.

Today, excuses like the Twinkie Defense are far from outlandish. We’ve seen people blame fasting for groping and too much caffeine for murder. Food seems to be the go-to for trouble these days. Recently, a Florida man was allegedly masturbating on a plane from Salt Lake City to Lewiston, Idaho, causing his neighbor, a 17-year-old-girl, to switch seats and notify the flight attendants. When police questioned him after the plane landed, he said he’d spilled Tabasco sauce on his crotch and was trying to get it off. The man was arrested after being caught, but not red handed, since no Tabasco sauce was found.

Our colleagues at Seattle Weekly offer this food for thought:

Even if his Tabasco yarn was true, it would seem that a heavy dousing of water or ice would be the way to tackle a burning-hot-sauce penis, and not yanking it out and rubbing it furiously.

Let’s hope 2011 offers fewer food and beverage excuses. For now, though, keep your snakes from getting loose on the plane and stick to the superior hot cock sauce: Sriracha.

Original published on sfweekly.com – Original Post

Thanksgiving: The Only November Stuffing I Got!

30 Nov

There is so much tradition involved in holidays and yet families change and thus traditions must. I have a small, but mighty, family. Through death and divorce our table this year was the smallest it has ever been. It was just me, my mama, my 9 year old brother, and my 91 year old grandpa. I didn’t mind, it was all of my favorite people present. My grandpa is used to cafeteria food and my brother was most excited for store-bought cupcakes in the shape of a turkey that he persuaded our mom to buy. Needless to say, the expectations on the food weren’t that high. This is really the best formula for kitchen creativity. I got to create whatever I wanted and it truly was my dream thanksgiving. Last year, we started a tradition of cornish game hens: they are moister, everyone can have their own bird and it is a nice turkey alternative. Unfortunately, my brother is now at the age where he proceeded to call them “Horny Gay Hens.”

This entire meal came together on thanksgiving day eve and thanksgiving day. My mom and I ended up at a gas station to buy gum on T-day and were sold yams by a guy out of his trunk. My mom and I both showed off our spanish skills, she pretended to be from Oaxaca, and within hours I made a yam mash for the table. This was probably one of the more boring dishes on the table but it was a staple that we needed.

As mentioned, this was my holiday now and I needed to include my new favorite veggie: brussel sprouts. My mom told me that when she was married to my step dad she never ate them because he called them devil cabbages. I felt it was my job to re-introduce my vegetable loving mama to these delicious babies cooked up just the way I like them: olive oil, salt and pepper, baked for 35 minutes at 400 degrees with some fried onions on top.

For me, the three most important parts of the food on thanksgiving table are: cranberry sauce, stuffing, and dessert. I have been making my own cranberry sauce for probably six years now. It is so darn easy and I find it unbelievably gratifying to see cranberries pop in the pot. Of course, I made some but when it came to stuffing I knew I had to step it up. I am a fruity girl, hence mission FRUITion, so I always like fruit-centric stuffings. My cooked grape stuffing last year was okay, but this thanksgiving I wanted amazing. I turned to the experts at Williams-Sonoma and made the Corn Bread-Apricot Dressing with Rosemary. I followed the recipe exactly and made the cornbread a day in advance and left it out to dry up uncovered.

Here are the onions, apricots, and herbs sautéing and below is the final cornbread dressing. This was my favorite (food) stuffing I ever had.

For dessert, I was inspired by Bobby Flay’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding but that recipe was far too complicated. Instead I used this much simpler recipe from About.com. The recipe called for French bread but when I saw that my mom had also bought brioche for dinner rolls. I made a quick swap and made pumpkin brioche pudding instead and we served the French bread for dinner. I almost always crave dessert but I rarely know what I want. I am not a chocolate lover, I love fruit but not pie, and this dessert was perfect. Not too sweet because it had a little tartness from cranberries. Plus, bread pudding is the perfect texture compromise, not too creamy and not too carby. This dessert is perfection and will become a new tradition but I’ll always substitute brioche for French bread.

I have done a lot of talking this Thanksgiving about wanting to get some November stuffing. However, even if my dating life is currently not that satisfying I am learning that I can take care of myself. I have a family that I love and adore to no end. I also have a hungry and discerning palate that I could satisfy, and holy shit I can make 90% of a thanksgiving meal with ease. I kind of kicked thanksgiving’s ass this year and I wouldn’t have it any other way! I’ll admit it, I am thankful!

Hungry Girl and a Thirsty Guy: Christmas in Vegas

27 Dec

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Christmas is normally a time for family but this year was a little different. I hate tradition and really am not big on holidays so I decided to take a mini vacation to Vegas. In the past, after big vacations I tend to do something drastic; I have moved and bought cars immediately after returning from international trips. After being back in the states for not even a week I made a plan with the boyfriend to go to Vegas for Christmas.

We have both been several times but I knew that neither one of us knew each others Vegas. You see, I am a Hungry Girl and he is a Thirsty Guy. No, I am not THE Hungry Girl, but I do love her site and am always interested in lower calorie foods so I can eat more in terms of quantity. Anyway, what I am saying is I know Vegas’ 4-5 star hotels, the best buffets, and shopping. He knows downtown, cheap drinks, and told me about bacon martinis.

For those interested the bacon martini is at Double Down Saloon, I only got down a sip before passing it off and actually asked for ass juice instead (another speciality drink-don’t be vulgar).

I have to tell you I get why foodies love bacon, and I am sure many of my fellow Uncouth Gourmands do too, but I just don’t. It’s not because I am Jew because I do love me some sausage. I am just not crazy about bacon. But I do have good Uncouth Gourmand news for bacon lovers that goes beyond the bacon martini…I found bacon chocolate in Vegas. Yup, there is a company called Vosges Haut-Chocolat in the Caesar’s Palace Forum Shops that produces it. When I went in to pick up a catalogue and a business card up for this blog a women walked in and told the sales lady (note: this is Christmas Day) : “Talk about a Christmas miracle, there is a God and he combined my two favorite things.” I smiled because I know the feeling. I feel that way about so many foods. For example, Magners Cider which combine my favorite things: apples, acidity, and alcohol. I am reminded of that because I got it at Molly Malone’s on tap just outside Vegas on my way home today. In Dublin, I discovered it and I fell in love with it. Although, there it is called Bulmers. I remember making Josie try it at The Globe in Dub and she said, “Ewww, it tastes like vinegar” and I replied, “I know that is why I love it, it has been my dream in life to have a vinegar collection.” That is true. I think it is the perfect thing to collect. You can collect it on your travels, it ages well- like wine, it comes in cool bottles, and many different flavors.

Oh yes, I wrote this entry to discuss relationship differences between foodies and their significant others that are not so food enthusiastic. I know Josie understands because I have heard her boyfriend question how we can eat two dinners on a daily basis. My boyfriend gets mad when I call him and am chewing on the phone and he has to tell me every time we dine “chew, chew, swallow, talk.” I have been using the “Baby, I am the co-founder of the Uncouth Gourmands” line but I think it is wearing thin. Once Josie hosted a dinner party and we double dated. When the food was ready, one of our boys said, “Ladies first”. Josie, without skipping a beat, looked at me and then looked at them and said, “Are you sure? If we go first there probably will be no food left.” I laughed because it was true.

Anyway, I was concerned about this dilemma on our trip. (Okay to bring it back to Jews and pigs here is joke: What do you call a Jewish dilemma? A free ham). It is not a major problem he is just thirsty and I am just hungry. I remember swooning when we were first getting to know each other and he said he loved to have champagne dinners. It turns out he just drinks the bottle for dinner. That is fair, but this girl needs more than liquid to fill her belly and food takes up 85% of my thoughts each day.

So how did we do? We did great! It was better than the Great Compromise. I drank way more than usual and he ate way more than usual. I suppose that is just vacation or just Vegas but still it was wonderful. I had 4+ plates at the buffet (many more if you include bowls- soup and pudding) and he had one maybe two. I would like to think that I beat that ratio when it came to drinking but I doubt it. My first gift when I woke up Christmas morning was nausea but it was worth it. When I told him that I drank too much and had 10 drinks the night before, he said if I am able to count I didn’t do good enough. Funny, because while I can count the number of drinks I can’t count how many plates/bowls I had at the buffet. Anyway, in a non crude way and referring to Vegas, he showed me his and I showed him mine.

Anyway, great trip and I hope everyone’s holidays were equally wonderful!

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