Eat the Week: Mixology Backlash, Novella Carpenter Farm Stand, Gay Napa Valley Wine Train, Cupcake Challenge and More

Eat the Week: Mixology Backlash, Novella Carpenter Farm Stand, Gay Napa Valley Wine Train, Cupcake Challenge and More

1. David Bazirgan, aka “The Baz”, shared his hotness with the nation last week, as the Fifth Floor chef was crowned “Hottest Chef” by Eater. Guess people dig the salt-and-pepper coif. Or perhaps it’s the lifeguard smile?

2. Randall Grahm, the theatrical, savvy creator of Bonny Doon Wines, waxed poetic about terroir in an interview published last week on Boom California. While he exalted over the idea of making wines that perfectly expressed the land, he poo-pooed most Californian wines, calling them  “Stepford wives.” Even his own vintages, like Big House Red, did not escape criticism, labeling them “confectionary.”

3. Michael Mina’s RN74’s menu has gone rustic, in the most sigh-worthy way. In the hands of chef Jason Berthold, the simpler menu has become distinctly Burgundian. Consomme with foie gras, oxtail, and burgundy onions? Sea scallops with salted almonds, kumquats, and saffron croquette?  Read the rest of the mouthwatering menu here.

4. Marcia Gagliardi, the in-the-know food lover who crafts the Tablehopper, is celebrating five years of her restaurant gossip column by launching a new website, Deep Dishing. A happy talk-only site, members can chat about where to eat, what to order, and whether or not the bartender is gay. Should be fun.

5. Speaking of brand new,  the first ever Gay Napa Valley Wine Train — aka “the pink express” — is set to depart on March 12. Half the train is already sold. The five-course dinner and wine pairing will be featuring gay winemakers, lobster cakes, and filet mignon with seared foie-gras.

6. Support urban farming, eat pot pie. Novella Carpenter, West Oakland urban farmer/author of Farm City, will have her first farm stand of the year this coming Sunday from 11-2pm. Rabbit pies are from Becky Stevens (aka Becky Fresh). Other items: winter greens, local honey to keep your allergies at bay, and goat milk chai made with milk from Carpenter’s dairy goat, Bebe.

7. Oakland is about to get a little more Brooklyn-ified with the team behind Brooklyn bar, the Weatherup, opening a spot in the Uptown this summer. The intent? To bring some of the “style and elegance of Brooklyn and New York on top of the honesty of Oakland,” said the Oakland-born owners. Hope this means a place with dewy, golden light and a beautiful ceiling. Also opening in the Uptown: an as-yet-unnamed bar from the folks behind Flora; and Bar Dagwood, from former House of Shields owner Alexeis Filipello.

8. Chris Cosentino, Incanto’s pro- meat organ chef has made a detour into shoe design – for Mozo, makers of slip-resistant slip-ons. One of his designs features offal, of course. Tripe, specifically.  It looks a little more psychedelic than appetizing. His life seems pretty golden right now. Besides the new kicks, his restaurant was named one of the top 100 in the nation by the Daily Meal.

9. Starbucks spawned customers ordering venti half-caf skim milk macchiatos and soy milk decaf lattes with two pumps of orgeat. Has the cocktail craze created similar? Camper English’s muses on the new cocktail snob.

10. Competitive cupcake baking is a trend upon a trend. Food Network’s has the Cupcake Wars, and now, SF has its own Cupcake Challenge. On March 6th, attendees and a panel of celebrity judges will get to sample mini cupcakes from Pinkie’s, Let ‘em Eat Cake, and Mission Minis, among others. The frosting will run like blood.

Photo: morgen van vorst