Johnny Doughnuts

 

Mian noodles with short rib at E&O (photo: Kelley Puleio)

On the Blackboard: San Francisco

By Trevor Felch

With Chinese New Year about to begin and the 10 glorious days of SF Beer Week already in full swing, it’s a celebratory time to be eating and drinking in San Francisco. Hundreds of tempting Beer Week events, star-studded new openings and marquee pop-ups, and maybe a Valentine’s meal shoehorned in—how to choose? Don't worry, we’ve got your covered. From funky beer ice cream and a quirky Wagyu pho to comforting prime rib dinners and red velvet doughnuts, here are nine great sips and bites in the Bay Area to warm up the heart of winter.

E&O Kitchen and Bar celebrates Chinese New Year
From February 16 to 24, E&O Kitchen and Bar’s longtime executive chef Sharon Nahm will offer a special Lunar New Year menu with a la carte options to welcome the Year of the Dog for the few days leading up to the big parade on February 24. Beijing-inspired mian noodles with braised short rib are the headliner, along with a whole steamed fish with ginger and a host of herbs; a fresh avocado and pomelo salad with watercress, chiles, and a lime vinaigrette; and special jiaozi dumplings filled with minced chicken.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

Wagyu Pho and Hitachino brews for Beer Week
For the 10 days and hundreds of events of Beer Week insanity in the Bay Area, diners will find all kinds of food and beer pairings, from Girl Scout cookie beers to bacon and brews brunches. How about, let’s see… pho? The classic Vietnamese noodle soup gets a high-brow touch at Lower Nob Hill’s Wagyu beef-focused restaurant and bar, from the Japanese cult favorite brewery, Hitachino. Along with the must-order beer flights, diners can enjoy a Wagyu pho as Hitachino opens for a rare brunch service. Even though it’s beer week, there will also be the added temptations of sake flights and Champagne as options to accompany those comforting bowls of pho filled with some of the world’s highest quality beef.
Neighborhood: Lower Nob Hill MAP

Pasta Armellino (photo: Dai Sugano)

Pasta Armellino opens in Saratoga
Are you always on the hunt for Michelin starred food at bargain prices? You’re not alone—and we know the options are limited in the Bay Area. Luckily, Peter Armellino, the chef and co-owner of The Plumed Horse, just opened a fast-casual pasta spot across the street from his acclaimed fine dining stalwart. Nothing is over $18 on the menu and the pastas already would be amongst the best of the competitive Cal-Ital crowd in San Francisco. The concise menu is split between two soups, two salads, and a half-dozen pastas using Plumed Horse-level ingredients like pepper rigatoni with Berkshire pork and spicy Calabrian peppers, or the “Pasta Armellino” namesake dish that’s like an elevated tagliatelle cacio e pepe with crab and uni. Yes, that’s probably the first time “uni” and “fast-casual” have ever been said in the same sentence. When it’s time for dessert, make sure to visit the also newly opened Plumed Horse Chocolaterie, just steps away from the pasta shop.
Neighborhood: Saratoga MAP

The perfect ice cream for Beer Week
Beer and ice cream… together? That’s right. In honor of the craziness that is SF Beer Week, one of the city’s finest ice cream makers and one of the city’s leading breweries will come together for a decidedly unique creation: IPA ice cream. Enjoy a scoop of the collaboration between Barebottle Brewing and Smitten Ice Cream on Thursday, February 15 from 6 to 8 p.m., at Barebottle’s warehouse taproom in Bernal Heights. Smitten will have its usual mobile liquid nitrogen carts on hand to make the funky but tasty treat that actually incorporates the same base ingredients of an IPA into the ice cream’s dairy base—it’s definitely not just beer stirred into ice cream. This is the real deal, being creamy, vividly hoppy, and downright original. There will also be beer floats and plenty of regular, unadorned beer to join the IPA ice cream.
Neighborhood: Bernal Heights MAP

Pal’s Takeaway pops up at The Kebabery
Keeping tabs on Pal’s Takeaway and its ever-creative sandwich artistry continues to be a true test in social media research and patience, as chef-owner Jeff Mason tries to find a permanent home again. Well, here’s some good news for now that sandwich lovers will enjoy hearing: Pal’s Takeaway is popping up every Tuesday at lunchtime at The Kebabery in Oakland’s Longfellow neighborhood, now and for the foreseeable future. Mason’s inventions between two slices of bread rotate all the time, but hope for the Aunt Malai’s deep-fried Lao sausage with cucumber-cilantro relish in a torpedo roll, or the Reuben style “Mickey” with rare Kobe roast beef swapped in as the succulent meat.
Neighborhood: Oakland MAP

Key Lime Pie at International Smoke (photo: James Carriere)

International Smoke begins lunch service
San Francisco’s hottest restaurant—and possibly the country’s hottest, seeing that they’ve already announced expansion plans to Houston and San Diego at the old age of two months—is booked solid for dinner until May at the earliest. Luckily, the Ayesha Curry and Michael Mina collaboration just started weekday lunch service. Here’s the catch that you rarely see at high profile San Francisco restaurants: The lunch and dinner menus are the same. That means you can have a lighter lunch of Kale Tabbouleh and Green Papaya Salad, or have a weekday afternoon party lunch of Double Duck Wings and Binchōtan-Grilled Lobster Tail with Carne Asada and Oaxacan Cheese Baked Potato on the side. And, of course, Ayesha’s Key Lime Pie Parfait with Cinnamon Toast Crunch crust.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Causwells’ prime rib Mondays
Tired of meatless Mondays? Then you’ve probably already visited Causwells for their beloved burger, but now they have another Monday-only beef special that has city diners excited about ending the weekend. For $32, you can feast on a juicy 12-ounce prime rib dinner accompanied by two sides—creamy mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts are the current sides, but that’s subject to change. Prime rib quantities are limited, so the closer you arrive to the 5:30 p.m. start time, the greater your chance of a prime rib-filled evening will be.
Neighborhood: Marina MAP

Indian Street Food Brunch at Indian Paradox
Divisadero’s Indian Paradox already has a unique reputation as the city’s only Indian street food–wine bar hybrid. Now, they have another exciting dimension to add to that title: a Saturday brunch menu of morning street food favorites. That means starting the day with chili cheese toast, savory French toast, masala omelettes, and “kheema pav,” a hearty minced lamb dish served with buttery pav (Indian for Bread - similar to a Hawaiian roll). Enjoy it all with some lemongrass chai—or, this being a great wine bar after all, a glass of rosé (rosato to be exact) from the Veneto in Italy.
Neighborhood: NoPa MAP

Johnny Doughnuts’ seasonal creations debut
Like its fellow Hayes Valley sweet shop neighbors, Smitten and Salt & Straw, the city’s new doughnut star is creating cleverly flavored doughnuts to represent each month. The just-released first edition for February is, of course, a romantic red velvet cake doughnut with cream cheese glaze. Next month will find a Guinness custard bismarck with dark chocolate glaze, inspired by St. Patrick’s Day. Looking ahead, July has a “mojito” doughnut with a lime-rum glaze and candied mint garnish. Don’t worry, though, all of the usual doughnut favorites, like chocolate-salted caramel old-fashioned, are unchanged to go with your morning cup of Equator coffee at the shop.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP

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