Friday, November 09, 2007

"Check It Out"

I am the type of person that always has the intention of trying something new. Subsequently, I save email blasts and rip pages out of magazines thinking that someday I will actually go to even one of these fun places. Unfortunately, over time, it's hard to keep track of these places, so welcome to a new section of my blog and
thus, a new label, "check it out". This is where I will add links, blurbs, and references. Feel free to add your ideas as well.

Seeing this is the first entry, it may be rather long.

Elevation SF
Bay Area Hiking Group
Fun newsletter covering various recommendations in and around San Francisco.
THRILLIST San Francisco Thursday Nov 8, 2007

Red Lantern
808 Winslow St, at Broadway; Redwood City; 650.369.5483

Opening a restaurant is fraught with hurdles, whether it's a pesky health inspector, or California Cuisine that critics conclude "tastes like Fresno". Overcoming the obstacle of "soul-crushing space", Red Lantern.

Thrillist - Red LanternRun by a chef+manager team from Betelnut, just-opened Lantern was the former home of Redwood City's social security agency, disbanded to thwart the first wave of Boomers to have their liver-spotted hands out. To chase away that legacy of drabness, the Lantern imported over $500K in Asian art, ranging from Tang Dynasty statues to Indonesian mahogany carvings to an ancient Cambodian ox-cart wheel (attn art thieves: what the latter lacks in value, it makes up for in instant portability). The Southeast Asian fusion's highlighted by Lamb Shank in Cardamom Infused Yogurt, Seared Foie Gras on Toasted Coconut Rice, and Braised Short Ribs w/ River Stone Cracked Garlic Black Pepper -- a far cry from the saltines and government cheese smuggled in the Member's Only pockets of the desperate and old.

Red Lantern will also sell original art by Phillippino street painters -- which will add spirit and decorative flavor when your empty retiree lock box forces you to spend your Golden Years in a Central Valley tract home.

Check it out at
THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Nov 6, 2007

83 Proof
83 1st St, at Mission; SOMA; 415.572.3368

Specialists excel because of their devotion to a myopic scope of greatness -- which is why heart surgeons don't worry about your feelings, and patent attorneys don't care about the guy you hit with your car. For the bar version, hit 83 Proof.

Thrillist - 83 ProofSpaciously classy, 83's nonetheless a defiantly no-frills watering hole, housed in a space that's hosted nothing but bars since the '20s (the last being Chinese mafia hangout Attitudes, a goldmine for high risk loans/Rush Hour extras). In an admitted attempt to repel the "restaurant crowd", 83's foregoing frivolous amenities like food/DJs/concept. But their bar menu reads like a fantasy spirits squad, e.g.: Louis XIII cognac (sold at cost), micro-distilled Clase Azul tequila, and Yamazaki Single Malt, the scotch Japan's been trying to perfect since 1923 -- when not pursuing the ultimate beer-serving-vagina-robot-cat.

As an after-work-friendly bar, 83 claims it'll have "strong happy hours", though it hasn't quite worked out the details yet -- not a deal-breaker, but still akin to the cardiologist who can't insert a stent, or the lawyer who let Suntori rip off your Super Brew Meow Love 3000.

83 Proof opens today
THRILLIST San Francisco Friday Nov 2, 2007

B&B Beverage Academy

Your average bartending class is a racket, charging $700 for a worthless diploma and a superficial understanding of the Purple Hooter. Learn the craft without the graft at Bourbon and Branch Beverage Academy.

Thrillist - Situated in B&B's semi-secret library, the Academy's a series of intimate, 16-student sessions, each focusing on a single spirit: gin, tequila, scotch, and whiskey (what, Midori's not a class of spirits?). At your own stocked workstation, you'll begin by learning the history of the liquor, how it's made, and relevant laws and rules, e.g., legit tequila must be 100% agave/illegit tequila must only be consumed in popper form. Then you'll go on to perfect/sample concoctions like the Manhattan, the Margarita, the Negroni, and the nigh impossible...scotch-rocks.

You can also book the BA as a group, or have them bring the class to your home, where the Official Bartender Certificate on your mantle will impress them even less than your flat Lavender Hooters.

Classes are filling up as you read this -- sign up now

THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 30, 2007

1300 Fillmore, at Eddy; Fillmore; 415.771.7100

While history can enrich your life, it's tough to digest when it comes in the form of 9hr, drool-inducing Ken Burns docs. For a lesson that’ll make you slobber with gratitude, try 1300

Thrillist - 1300Paying homage to the 40s-era Fillmore Jazz District, 1300's decked out with wood paneling, leather club chairs and b&w photos of neighborhood legends that'll make you pine for a time you never knew existed. But 1300's not a theme joint: the kitchen's helmed by David Wallace, a Michelin three-starred chef who French-ifies classic soul food in dishes like Fried Chicken w/ truffle-oil potatoes, Maple Syrup Braised Short Ribs, and Shrimp Hush Puppies, affectionately known as "Devito Loafers". Further alienating actual history buffs, the candlelit 1300's date-friendly, and stays open nightly til 1am with jazz/blues on weekends -- when you'll further alienate your date with your spastic "air trumpeting".

Though 1300's steeped in the past, the lounge boasts free wi-fi and a mirror-fronted flat-screen playing old jazz movies -- making you salivate for the days when historic films were short, and the only long Burns were on the puffing cheeks of musicians.

Check out the menu

THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 23, 2007
Bin 38

3232 Scott St, at Lombard; The Marina; 415.567.3838

Once the exclusive province of ascotted dinosaurs, appreciating wine no longer requires being an oenephile, or even knowing how to pronounce that. For the latest place taking vino off its pedestal, hit Bin 38.

Thrillist - Bin 38Opening tomorrow, Bin 38 covers the prerequisite bases with an onyx marble bar, cork walls, a gourmet menu (Steak Tartare, Grilled Quail, etc), and 125-bottle wine list that'll satisfy the snootiest swish-spitters. Bin also boasts a curtain-offable area for larger parties and sheltered nooks pairable with cloying intimacy, but they casual things up with a heat-lamp'd, picnic table'd backyard, complete with fire pit -- almost like a Zeitgeist, but smaller and with a job at a boutique law firm. Even more untraditionally, Bin serves 18 artisanal beers ranging from Healdsburg’s Bear Republic to Trappiste Rochefort; further, they pair these selections with food, allowing even suds drinkers to revel in the joy of being supercilious penises.

Bin also retails every bottle they serve, so you can bring a prized bottle home, don your silky neckwear, and imagine yourself to be a great oh-ee-na-file.

Check out the menu


ALLIED INFO Tuesday Oct 16, 2007

Flying's enough of a chore waiting around for security to determine you're not a madman, or a bearded madwoman. What you need's an airport Fast Pass: Clear.

Thrillist - Just arriving in the Bay Area, Clear's a nationwide pre-screening program that lets you zip past luckless fellow passengers and head straight for your gate. Sounds like a fantasy inspired by the very substances security routinely confiscates, but it's real: join, and get a fingerprint-authorized card granting access to a X-ray-equipped VIP security checkpoint, staffed by an attendant who won't prejudge you as a threat, or even as a nuisance. Instead of languishing in line behind doddering retirees in "Property of Alcatraz Federal Prison" t-shirts, you'll breeze through -- so you can depart much later for the airport, or show up at the normal time and still leisurely browse the newsstand/devour a 3lb sack of Gummy Tarantulas.

To enroll, just pre-register at, then head to either the SFO or San Jose airport for an in-person once-over. Once you're approved, you can use Clear in an ever-increasing number of cities -- so all that'll stand between you and maximum pre-flight efficiency is your inability to travel without an RPG-sized tube of Face Nair.

Learn more at
THRILLIST San Francisco Thursday Oct 4, 2007

Despite her culinary prowess, San Francisco's delivery culture is sadly lacking, with few resources outside of the menus elusive deliverymen rubberband to your doorknob. Expand your hunger's horizons with Grubhub.

Thrillist - GrubHubAlready huge in Chicago, Grub's aiming to list every SF delivery option, from Araujos Taqueria to Big Nate's BBQ (founded by 6'-11" Warrior great Nate Thurmond, who deserves a huge tip for folding himself into that tiny delivery car). Search by map or punch in your zip, and up'll pop every area spot willing to facilitate your unspeakable Mind of Mencia marathon, plus hours/menus/archiving capability. Unlike MenuPages, Grub also posts coupons (free Crab Rangoon!) and online order forms customizable down to the pizza topping -- you can even leave special instructions, like "extra salty", or "Nate, please autograph my Memphis Pork?"

Of course, there're the obligatory user reviews, but these mostly eschew foodie-speak for bluntness, e.g., "Good food. Guy showed up", or "I wouldn't feed this to my worst enemy. Well, maybe I would..." -- a thinly veiled reference to that ghostly deliveryman even now scampering away away from your door.

Get your grub on at
THRILLIST San Francisco Tuesday Oct 9, 2007
Parking Carma

In a city where people use every parking trick -- stalking bag-laden pedestrians for blocks on end, road-coning their favorite spots -- any advantage is key. Avoid the dirty work with Parking Carma.

Thrillist - Parking CarmaJust launched in SF, Parking Carma's database aims to list every available off-street parking place in town -- from public garages to the underutilized lots of restaurants, offices, and Tower Records desperately clinging to some sense of purpose. To get a list of options (complete with rates and directions), simply enter your intersection, address, or business; you can also request a preferred walking distance, from 7 minutes down to 0 minutes -- not suggested, unless your ultimate destination is "parking space". As a bonus, Carma'll even show you amenities in the vicinity, allowing you to follow in your father's footsteps by planning your entire night around where you can safely leave your Merkur.

If you've got a driveway or reserved spot you haven't used since your questionable electric scooter investment, you can also use PC to rent out your own real estate -- only to find your pavement marked off with crime tape once your cunning tenant's lease runs out.

Find your place at

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