'San Francisco Chronicle' on Serious Eats

'Am I Obsolete?' Asks 'San Francisco Chronicle' Food Critic Michael Bauer

Image from Between Meals On his blog Between Meals, longtime San Francisco Chronicle food editor and restaurant critic Michael Bauer recounts discussion from a recent forum concerning the changing face of food journalism. Panelists were asked about the rise of Yelp, reviews on OpenTable, and the profusion of food bloggers on the Internet. At one point, Bauer said, “It used to be that newspapers were the only local voices; now we're one among many.” In reflecting on the panel, Bauer asks his readers, “Am I obsolete?” It’s a question that crops up more and more, as user-driven review sites and food-centric blogs take off. Ruth Reichl recently suggested at a Columbia Journalism School lecture that the days of the critic's... More

Trader Jose's Organic Rounds Place First in Flour-Tortilla Taste Test

©iStockphoto.com/JerryPoland The San Francisco Chronicle reports the results of a flour-tortilla taste test it did with 13 varieties: In first place, Trader Jose's Organic tortillas ($1.99/12 tortillas) had a "golden speckled surface" and "a good depth of flavor." Tasters thought these were "serviceable" tortillas, "fresh tasting" and "slightly nutty." Four would buy this brand and one might. And a recipe you might try using with these tortillas: Panuchos Yucatecos con Chorizo. (It calls for corn tortillas, but I'm assuming flour would work, too.)... More

The Most Influential Chefs in the Bay Area (and Perhaps the Country)

From left: Alice Waters, Tony Gulisano, Charles Phan, Thomas Keller, Paula LeDuc. Photographs from the San Francisco Chronicle Michael Bauer, the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic, kicks off an informative series in today's paper: Many national dining trends have their roots here, and it's where dedicated food lovers and chefs from around the country come to play and get inspired. Great cooks are everywhere - at a neighborhood bar, in a modest storefront restaurant and at haute cuisine white-tablecloth venues. But the Bay Area's visionary chefs are more than great cooks; they are people who have made Northern California an epicurean epicenter. Today and in the next two Food sections, I'll profile 20 of these innovators who have helped... More

Cinco De Mayo: The Bay Area's Best Tacos and Burritos

Photograph from Rick on Flickr Bill Addison sampled nearly 300 tacos and 100 burritos in an incredibly cool ten week-long quest for the best that the Bay Area offers. Do click through to his story because and admire with me the meticulous and thorough way he went about this Pancho Villian–sized task. I also admire his intestinal fortitude (literally). His favorite was the relatively unheralded Sancho's in Redwood City. Here's what Addison had to say about it: Burritos and tacos are everything they should be at this diminutive storefront with expansion plans. Each element zings with freshness and quality. The bonus of well-made fish tacos, a rarity in the Bay Area, makes this a must-try. Super burrito: $6.55, Regular... More

The Space Time Continuum Is at Risk

Galaxies collide and the space-time continuum is at risk: Two Wednesday food sections, two very similar articles: The New York Times with I Love You, but You Love Meat, and the San Francisco Chronice beams down Odd couples: Culinarily mismatched mates achieve harmony in the kitchen.... More

Is There a Lemon Sorbet You Love?

The San Francisco Chronicle food section tasted eight lemon sorbets on Wednesday in search of that perfect sweet-tart ratio, smoothness, acidity, and real lemon flavor. What they found is not pretty: "Too much sweetness, off textures and strange, artificial-seeming flavors ... at least in the opinions of our five tasters." The national brand that fared best was Häagen-Dazs (72 points out of 100). Häagen-Dazs finished second to Draeger's Sorbet Classico (78), an upscale Bay Area store brand. Ciao Bella (45) finished a distant third. Sharon's Sorbet, a national brand I root for because it's still independently owned and operated, totally tanked. On the Chronicle's one to 100 scale, it received an 11. Ouch! The Chronicle's tasting inspired me to do... More

SF Chronicle's No Fragrances Policy

Smell ya later: While heavy fragrances can be a problem anywhere and everywhere, they're doubly bad in a restaurant. In the Chronicle's Food and Wine section, which is in a separate building from the main newsroom, we have a no-fragrance policy. Because of the regular wine tasting and recipe testing, cologne can affect the impression of a dish or a wine, so we try to keep other scents to a minimum.... More

Food-Focused Sites 'Nearly Killed My Business'

Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at Bay Area foodbloggers and ratings sites such as Yelp, noting their effect on the restaurant business. In short, restaurateurs are not happy, and, for the most part, bloggers and Yelpers end up coming across as pixel-pushing bullies. The posts "nearly killed my business," said [Teo] Kridech, a native of France who has worked in the food industry for 25 years and spent $150,000 revamping the Senses space. "Everyone has become a food critic. They think they're real big shots. They probably can't even make scrambled eggs. The Chron points out that pro food writers follow accepted standards and practices while writing about restaurants—such as giving a place 30 days to get its... More

The SF Chronicle's Rising Star Chefs 2007

"Each year since 1993, The Chronicle Food staff has selected Rising Star Chefs, young newcomers who we feel are destined to make a significant difference in what we'll be eating in Bay Area restaurants. This year's crop of Rising Star Chefs is the youngest we've seen in 15 years, yet they're also among the most skilled and talented." The SF Chronicle's Rising Star chefs of 2007 are Nate Appleman (A16), Chris Kronner (Slow Club), Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge), Jennifer Kenny Nguyen (Salt House) and James Syhabout (PlumpJack Cafe).... More

Guacamole, the Super Bowl Fruit

"The avocado industry says it's expecting football fans to buy 53 million pounds of Hass avocados this week for Super Bowl Sunday, rivaling Cinco de Mayo for the day of the year when the most guacamole is consumed. The question is, after January's big freeze, will growers be able to meet the demand?" The SF Chronicle says California growers will do okay despite losing about 25% to 30% of their harvest due to cold fronts, but their avocados will be available for raised prices to California consumers who will also have access this month to avocados from both Chile and Mexico. Oh, and make sure to read all the way down to the end of the article for five... More

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