San Francisco Eats: Main Library Takes a Close Look at City's Dining History

Categories: Events

The exhibit exhumes 160 years of S.F. dining history.
​With multiple blogs covering new restaurant openings, trends, and gossip with the fervor of Woodward and Bernstein scooping Watergate, local foodies are more than well informed as to what's going in San Francisco's present-day dining scene. But our culinary past? Not so much.

All that changes Saturday with the launch of San Francisco Eats, an exhibit at the San Francisco Public Library's main branch covering roughly 160 years of our gastronomic history. Chief curator Lisa Vestal tells SFoodie the compilation will include upwards of 400 objects, mostly from the library's own collection, including menus, photographs, cookbooks, locally invented cooking gadgets, and a wide variety of ephemera like matchbooks and coasters.

The focus is on three themes: immigration, geography, and tourism. Bookending the collection are an 1849 menu from The Ward House (no food blogs then to analyze why it closed) and a September 2010 menu from The Slanted Door. Kicking off the exhibit is Food for Thought, a panel that includes Bay Area food personalities Joey Altman, Patricia Unterman, and Gene Burns discussing how we talk about food and what makes San Francisco such a unique food destination.

San Francisco Eats
When: Sat., Dec. 11-Sun., Mar. 20
Where: San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, 100 Larkin (at Hyde), 557-4400
Cost: Free

Food For Thought
When: Sat., Dec. 11, 2-3:30 p.m.
Where: Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library Main Branch, 100 Larkin (at Hyde)
Cost: Free

Follow Alex Hochman at @urbanstomach . Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie.

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