Grease Trap: Mention the Top 100 Enough and It Just Might Become Essential

Is it just us, or is the San Francisco Chronicle injecting buzz for the paper’s upcoming Top 100 Restaurants guide? Since 2004, the Chron’s reckoning of the Bay Area’s best eateries has appeared in early April. But judging by today’s main Food feature, the paper is hoping to whet readers’ appetites a few months early. “Kitchen (Not So) Confidential” is staff writer Carol Ness’s look at the City’s restaurant inspections.

Okay, so by posting sanitation scores, the public health department is spurring restaurant owners to be diligent about mopping up sewage puddles in their prep kitchens. A fine piece, but Ness’s frequent mention (five, by our count) of the paper’s Top 100 list stands out as starkly as rats ravaging a sack of flour. This one’s typical: “Of the Chronicle‘s Top 100 restaurants, 57 are in the current San Francisco database.” Ness isn’t alone. In today’s Between Meals, executive food and wine editor Michael Bauer’s blog, the Chron‘s veteran dining critic discusses restaurant celebrity-spotting. Bauer mentions the guide as casually as if he were describing a Caesar salad: “I was checking out Quince for my Top 100 Restaurants guide and I noticed that Bette Midler and her husband, Martin Von Haselberg, were dining a table away . . .” We get it: Drum it into readers’ heads, and a Top 100 designation just might pick up the currency of Michelin stars or a Zagat rating.

Get Ready to Binge on Dips and Meat

Happy Super Bowl Wednesday! Today’s the day newspaper food sections dust off recipe pieces about guacamole, seven-layer dip, and chili in sourdough bread bowls. You know — the manly foods we’re all supposed to be bringing to snacky potlucks this Sunday. The Chron‘s Stacy Finz gives the same old guac story a timely twist with a look at the killer freeze’s effect on avocado harvests. (And we [heart] her for quoting a guac recipe from the Oakland restaurant Tamarindo.) But this year’s winner for the most quotable Super Bowl Wednesday copy comes from Contra Costa Times correspondent Susan Larik, who’s just cuh-razy for meatballs: “Meatballs are like M&M’s in my family,” she writes. “They’re so easy to pop into your mouth with reckless abandon that you never really know how many you’ve eaten.”

Do You Serve It in Unicorn Glassware?

Try this out on your Super Bowl buddies: beer the color of candied violets. Oakland Trib staffer William Brand’s beer of the week is Lindemans Framboise, a Belgian lambic stained with whole raspberries. “What do you say about a purple beer with pink-lavender foam?” We say bring it on.


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