Eat This Town: San Francisco

By Trevor Felch

Zürich and San Francisco’s Cultural Festival includes world class food
Thursday, October 25 and Friday, October 26 are the final two days of a fascinating weeklong festival, Zürich Meets San Francisco, exploring topics “from culinary inspirations and lean design to digital democracy and urban tech.” For the culinary side of the festival, a pair of SF’s top restaurants collaborate with a chef from Zürich in a series called “Chef Meets Chef.” Rich Table partners with Maison Manisse on Thursday and Nopa pairs with The Artisan Kitchen & Urban Garden for the closing dinner on the Friday. Both San Francisco restaurants will be the hosts for the dinners, and rest assured, the dinners will be a rare chance to experience two highly impressive kitchens from halfway across the world working together.
Neighborhoods: Hayes Valley MAP Neighborhood: NoPa MAP

Canela’s four-course Halloween feast
Halloween is the rare holiday that isn’t synonymous with particular cuisine staples—unless gorging yourself on candy counts. Leave it to the Castro’s Spanish destination Canela to create a four-course, $45 prix-fixe meal that could be served at the most haunted of houses. Executive chef Mat Schuster’s menu starts with a bloody gazpacho syringe, followed by a squished “flat” bread with wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, and salsa verde. The main course is a plate of Dr. Franken-style beef ribs with a garlic-wine braise, Spanish Mahón (a type of cow’s milk cheese) mash, and kale pops, then concluding with a “Halloween Spirit Dessert Séance” that surely will channel the ghosts of chocolate or other candy’s past. The menu will be served from October 25 through Halloween and optional wine pairings are $24 extra.
Neighborhood: Castro MAP

Halloween brew bash at Anchor Public Taps
If beer is your treat for Halloween, then head on over to Anchor Brewing’s taproom in Potrero Hill from 5 to 10 p.m. on Halloween night. While enjoying a pint of Anchor Steam or Fog Breaker IPA, you can enjoy a DJ’s Halloween-inspired soundtrack, Halloween and horror films on a giant screen, a TBD culinary pop-up for delicious eats, and a costume contest at the free admission event. Of course, the beers aren’t free, but they are $2 off during “witching hour” between opening and 7 p.m.
Neighborhood: Potrero Hill MAP

Bugs and Blood Ice Cream Halloween at Salt & Straw
As scary as some of the costumes you’ll encounter on Halloween are, what could be more frightening than ice cream filled with bugs and blood? The only catch is that these special October flavors, available this October at Salt & Straw’s two San Francisco scoop shops, along with their recently opened location in Burlingame, taste really, really great. The Creepy Crawly Critters flavor is a matcha ice cream with coconut toffee-brittle mealworms and dark chocolate covered crickets featuring bugs from La Cocina alum and Oakland’s own bug snack maker, Don Bugito, while the Dracula’s Blood Pudding spices ice cream with pig’s blood from a butcher in Portland. Other flavors include Essence of Ghost, Mummy’s Pumpkin Spiced Potion, and the Great. And the fun continues in November with Thanksgiving flavors, including Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey and Roasted Peach and Sage Cornbread Stuffing (the “stuffing” are cornbread brown sugar shortbread cookies). Salt & Straw’s Palo Alto location is due to open soon, bringing Turkey Day flavors to southern peninsula ice cream fans.
Neighborhood: Lower Pacific Heights MAP

Last Rites

Indiana Jones to the Halloween rescue at Last Rites
It’s basically Halloween every night at Duboce Triangle’s Last Rites—the dark tiki sibling to Horsefeather—where the atmosphere revolves around the story of a doomed plane crash in a suspenseful tropical jungle. Indiana Jones knows a thing or two about scary jungles, and is the theme for Halloween night this year. Come disguised as your favorite Indian Jones character for the photo booth costume contest – take your photo and tag with #drinklastrites #mezcalelsilencio on Instagram to enter to win. Winner receives a bottle of El Silencio Mezcal and a round cocktails for 4, runner up wins a bottle of El Silencio Mezcal (winners announced the following day). Drink specials for the night includes the Jock Lindsey ($10) (named for the pilot Jones usually hires), with mezcal, tequila, amaro, absinthe, celery, lime and coconut cream; the Kali Maa’s Doom ($10) (a goddess of time, creation, destruction, and power, who was prayed to in a dramatic scene in Temple of Doom), a frothy gin and pisco cocktail joined by watermelon, lime, grapefruit, vanilla cream, and Sauvignon Blanc syrup; and copita of El Silencio for $5.
Neighborhood: Duboce Triangle MAP

Dia de los Muertos specials and fun at Calavera
From Tuesday, October 30 to Sunday, November 6, Oakland’s celebrated creative Mexican restaurant, Calavera, will once again be holding some of the most lavish Dia de los Muertos festivities in the Bay Area. Surrounded by elaborate decorations and face painting, Calavera’s chef Dario Pantoja will be joined by guest chef Julio Aguilera, who previously ran the kitchen of one of Oaxaca’s most acclaimed restaurants. Dishes will include an aguachile negro with octopus, celery, avocado, and chayote; three moles (negro Oaxaca, mole poblano, mole Amarillo) served with wood-fired chicken, duck breast or grilled quail; and special cocktails, like the mezcal-based Panteon Viejo (named for an old cemetery in Oaxaca) tying together lime, agave, and activated charcoal, then poured over a house-made cranberry skull cube.
Neighborhood: Uptown Oakland MAP

Bluestem Brasserie

Bluestem Brasserie’s Spooky Cookie Delight
Move over candy—it’s cookie time this Halloween at Union Square’s Bluestem Brasserie, the restaurant home of acclaimed pastry chef Lori Baker. From now until the scary delicious holiday, she’s offering a $12 Spooky Delight Halloween cookie plate with peanut butter cup cookies, caramel and apple chocolate coated cookies, gumdrop cookies, and caramel apple cookies.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

Halloween pasta at Merchant Roots
Fillmore’s adorable artisanal market, bakery, and crazy-good pasta source, Merchant Roots, is welcoming its first autumn with a black and orange and scary great—$13 pasta for Halloween. Chef and co-owner Ryan Shelton created a charcoal farfalle pasta, accompanied by a curried pumpkin braise (coconut, chile, and fall spices). If you can’t dine in the charming space, the pasta ($7) and sauce ($8) are available for you to impress a crew at home with each set serving two.
Neighborhood: Fillmore MAP

Halloween in a punch bowl with the Curio Cauldron
What could be spookier than spending Halloween in a former mortuary? Curio, one of this past summer’s hottest openings, happens to reside in one, and will celebrate its first Halloween with a spectacular “Curio Cauldron.” The ominous concoction is made in an actual cauldron incorporating vodka, pisco, lemon, lime, and bitters, plus activated charcoal, dry ice, and creepy crawlers to add to the Halloween effect. Bar director Darren Crawford’s spooky creation will be served Saturday, October 27 and Halloween night only (no cover!) for $10 a glass. and DJs will be on hand for both to provide the soundtrack.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Hanson of Sonoma hosts a distillery Halloween party
Locally produced, organic small batch vodka is basically candy for adults, right? Your tastes may have changed since the days of Tootsie Rolls and Milky Ways—and Hanson understands that, so the Sonoma vodka producer is holding a pre-Halloween bash full of spirits (both the spooky and alcoholic varieties!) at its new tasting room adjacent to the distillery on Saturday, October 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. There will be creepy cocktails and a costume contest with the winner receiving a bottle of Hanson vodka. Tickets are available online for $60, but admission is free if you join Hanson’s membership society (discounts, free tastings, event invites, and more). Round-trip bus transportation to and from San Francisco can also be purchased for $30.
Neighborhood: Sonoma MAP

A Free “Free Lunch” treat at Comstock Saloon courtesy of Lo-Fi Aperitifs
Enough with the tricks! Here is a Halloween treat thanks to the Napa based amaro and vermouth producer, Lo-Fi. Each Friday, Jackson Square/North Beach’s beloved Barbary Coast–themed craft cocktail destination, Comstock Saloon, offers a free lunch to guests… who buy at least two cocktails. So it isn’t really free, per se, but the first 15 people who go to Comstock for lunch (starting at noon) on Friday, November 2 and order two Lo-Fi Spritz cocktails each—and post to social media using Comstock and Lo-Fi hashtags—will get their drinks (and lunch) comped by Lo-Fi, so it truly will be a “free (and lightly boozy) lunch.”
Neighborhood: Jackson Square MAP

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