Bar Agricole Spinoff Trou Normand Is Designed To Awe

Categories: Opening, SOMA

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Pete Kane
Lamb ragu

There sure are a lot of art boobs at Trou Normand, the new multi-meal restaurant-bar-café on the ground floor of 140 New Montgomery, aka the PacBell Building. Even when you exclude the giant nude (who is facing coquettishly away), almost all the art on the walls features breasts, in some level of abstraction. Turning a ground-floor space in the corner of an august edifice into the new zenith of nose-to-tail cuisine and communal dining shows the team behind Trou Normand felt a certain pressure. As with an ancient church in a secular Nordic country that's since become a pub, there is little margin for error. It's a Bar Agricole spin-off, and every aspect of it is designed to awe, naked lady or no naked lady.

See Also: Fanciful Cocktails and Pedagogy at SRO, Inside Oddjob in SoMa


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Talking Subs with Merigan's Liza Shaw

Categories: SOMA, Sandwiches

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Jenn Pries
The porky Arista sandwich at Merigan Sub Shop.
I walked into Merigan Sub Shop on a Thursday, otherwise known as "pig day." In between building subs, Liza Shaw and her team were butchering down a whole pig. All of its parts lend themselves to different sandwiches. The shoulder and loin are combined in the Arista, the back legs become the prosciutto for the Italian combo, the belly becomes the porchetta and any other bits and pieces become meatballs. The liver becomes the liver terrine and even the skin is fried to make addicting pork cracklings.

Shaw, a former chef at A16, is meticulous in providing the best sandwich she can. Over an Arista (a juicy combination of braised and roasted pork mixed with provolone, rapini, and hots) we talked subs, baseball, and her plans for the future.

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Fanciful Cocktails and Pedgogy at SRO, Inside Oddjob in SoMa

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Pete Kane
The shift towards ever-more-baroque mixology in ever-tinier surroundings hits a new high in SRO, a cash-only venue-within-a-venue that one may enter from gritty Washburn Alley in SoMa or through Oddjob. If you like dark interiors with a pendulous chandelier and a silver-tongued barkeep who plays with fire, it might be your new spot.

See Also: Topsy's Fun House is a Cocktail Carnival

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Weekly Urban Air Night Market Starts Thursday at SoMa StrEat Food Park

Categories: Events, SOMA

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Urban Air Market
If ever you've bought, say, a wooden bow tie or a 3-D printed necklace of a pink pistol at Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley, you're probably excited that the ever-growing D.I.Y. bazaar is kicking off a weekly night at SoMa StrEat Food Park. Having already provided a home for artists and makers, artisanal food was the logical extension.

See Also: SoMa StrEat Food Park Opened Yesterday

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Sriracha Truffles and Four Barrel Coffee at Socola Chocolates

Categories: Opening, SOMA

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Pete Kane
Hyper-trendy food combos are an easy way to go horribly awry, but at SoMa's Vietnamese-inspired Socola Chocolates, the Sriracha truffle works. As it melts in your mouth, right down to the last chili flake, it'll banish every dubious bacon mashup from your mind. And the space that houses it, full of busy workers and lain with pastel tiles, brightens up one of the grimmer, more depressing stretches of Folsom Street.

See Also: Sweetmue Bakery, Hiding (But Open) in the Mission

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Happy Hour: Double Trouble at the Willows

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Alexis Katsilometes
Pork belly doughnuts are a compelling happy hour lure at the Willows.
Forgive us for saying this, but there is one difficult part of happy hour: deciding what to drink. We are known to sit in our bar stools, dazedly stare at the menu and mull over the merits of a perfect Manhattan, a salt-rimmed margarita, or a well-crafted draft beer. Thankfully, the Willows forces us to make a decision. The lively SOMA gastropub is divided into two distinct parts: one room is reserved for mixed drinks, and the other, for beer and shots. They divide, and boy do they conquer.

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Space-Age Food Now Available at MUJI

Categories: SOMA, Shopping, WTF?

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Pete Kane
MUJI is that affordable Japanese housewares chain full of pens, beige-colored things, and T-shirts vacuum-sucked into tiny cubes. It's often found in airports, but there's one in SoMa and another in San Jose, each bursting with modular cleanliness from the near-future. And now this cross between Uniqlo and the Container Store is selling Japanese foods, chiefly teas and other dry goods.

See Also: Umami Mart's New "Konbini" U-Mart Stocks Obscure Japanese Kit-Kats


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Everyone's a Winner! Victory Hall, Now Open in SoMa, Serves Little Skillet on Weekends

Categories: Opening, SOMA

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Pete Kane
In the former Cento space on one-way alley Ritch Street close to the ballpark comes Victory Hall & Parlor, an upscale sports bar in the grand tradition of getting drunk in attractive, neo-vintage spaces. Although not entirely finished, it's fully built out, the kitchen's open, the bar's serving beer and cocktails, and the long communal-ish tables make arguing over sports stats more appealing than usual. And, as a masterclass in synergy, Victory Hall has partnered with a certain neighbor.

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Drink of the Week: Mary Poppins and Lockin' at Novela

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Lou Bustamante
Mary Poppins Cocktail
Everybody has a story. Consider Novela, the literary themed SoMa bar started by the powerhouse duo of Alex Smith (Gitane, Honor Bar) and Kate Bolton (Maven, Michael Mina). With Bolton no longer involved in the project and Smith focused on the punch program along with his duties as general manager, the story here appears to have entered its second act.

In a standard three-act narrative, the story begins by establishing the main characters, the setting, and the mood, but by the second, the character development begins. It is usually a turning point, and while there are changes at the bar with Christina Cabrera (Michael Mina, Bourbon Steak) and Suzanne Miller (Clock Bar, Dosa) now leading the cocktail program, perhaps things are less dramatic than they would be in a fictional piece.

See also: S.F. Drinks of 2013: The Best Things We Drank This Year
Drink of the Week: Whiskey Shot and Whiskey Burger at Bender's Bar
The People Behind the Punch at Novela

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Umami Burger Releases $65 Truffle Burger

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Umami Burger
If money ain't a thang, then this burger is calling yo' name.
Just when we thought $13 for a burger was steep, Umami Burger in the SoMa went and released its M.N.O. (Money's No Object) burger as part of its annual truffle menu.
Along with the slew of high rises breaking ground near the waterfront end of the SoMa, the $65 M.N.O. is breaking new ground on burger prices. But if money ain't a thang, then this burger is callin' yo name.


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