On Kronnerburger and The Mural

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I don’t know if you’ve been reading about this, but I have. It kind of struck me hard because I know firsthand what it’s like to build out a restaurant in an old building, and how devastating some of the surprises can be.

I’m a big admirer of Kronnerbuger chef/owner Chris Kronner and his work. Also, like many people, I think the mural was great. I’m an aficionado of the history of the Key System. It’s a bummer the mural will be gone (and even more of a bummer that the Key System is gone).

That said, I’d like to suggest that it’s pretty harsh to paint Chris as the villain in its removal.

I managed a mural wall at the Linkery for several years, and we always tried to be clear beforehand with the artist and other stakeholders how long they could expect the mural to stay up before it was eligible for removal. It sounds like that wasn’t done here, nearly a decade ago when the building owner, the community group and the artist agreed to put the mural up. Perhaps that’s the ultimate source of everyone’s frustration.

The discovery that the mural wall was in grave disrepair must have put Chris in a real bind. Problems like that are years in the making, but then it’s the new tenant who’s left holding the bag. I hope that folks in Chris’ neighborhood will be understanding what a difficult position that is for a small operator on a limited budget to be put in. Most folks in the neighborhood probably prefer having small, independent operators to corporate or chain stores, and Chris is a thoughtful person who cooks really delicious food, the kind of business operator I think the community will really cotton to. I’d encourage everyone to consider giving him the benefit of the doubt in a difficult situation.

Cider Celebration at The Half Orange, Thursday

When we weren’t working on the Salsipuedes pop-up these last couple weeks, we’ve been busy installing the infrastructure at The Half Orange to offer a bunch of ciders on draft. And this week, my cider plan is at long last coming together [/rubs hands and cackles villainously].

We’re now offering 5 ciders (OK, 4 right now but 5 by the end of the day) by the glass plus a sixth, cellar-worthy local cider by the bottle. And this Thursday, December 18, we’re going to celebrate and show off our ciders by offering them all for half price. How do you like them apples?

Here’s the list:

BITE HARD CIDER off-dry 6.9% 8oz $3.95
BOONVILLE CIDER HOUSE Anderson Valley, California

WICKSON 2013 single varietal crabapple 7.7.% 8oz $5.50
WANDERING AENGUS Hood River and Culver, Oregon

BLACKCURRANT CIDER semi-sweet cider 6.5% 8oz $6.75
FINN RIVER Washington

SIDRE NOUVELLE VAGUE off-dry 5.0% 8oz $8.75
ERIC BORDELET Pays d’Auge, Normady, France

GRAVIVA! 2013 semi-dry Gravenstein 8.0% 8oz $9.95
TILTED SHED CIDERWORKS Sonoma County, California

BARRED ROCK 2013 Bourbon barrel aged 9.4% 750ml bottle $36
TILTED SHED CIDERWORKS Sonoma County, California

And remember, on Thursday, all these prices will be 50% off. So we’ll see you Thursday for a delicious cider-fest!

Salsipuedes Pop-Up, Sunday 14 Dec

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I know it’s been pretty quiet on the Salsipuedes front for a while, but we’ve actually been putting things together behind the scenes. And next Sunday, we’re excited to share with you a taste of what Salsipuedes is all about.

We’ll be popping up at The Half Orange location — but with a totally different ambience than you’ll usually find there. And we’re making a 7-course tasting menu to showcase the kind of cooking we intend to do at Salsipuedes, and offering local beer/cider pairings for each dish.

Salsipuedes is at its core a collaborative idea, and we couldn’t be doing this without the support and practical contributions from a bunch of our friends. A lot of talented people are chipping in help — this is not just the Jay and Katie show. Though we will be there, of course, to host this party.

Here’s the food menu for the night:

* Kumamoto oyster, lemon-lime granita, chorizo oil, little spinach

* Koji-marinated Pacific octopus, dashi, jalapeño-mint sauce, Ensenada olive oil

* wild Baja shrimp saltado

* grass-fed beef tongue, uni aioli, pickled pearl onions, guajillo jam

* duck breast and harvest pancake

* Bosc pear, ricotta, honey, black pepper

* dessert by Luis Abundis of Nieves Cinco de Mayo: Chile morita ice cream, sweet potato chips, Mexican chocolate

We’re still working out the beer and cider pairings a little. I’ll post them when I settle the last couple details.

This seven-course meal is $45, and beverage pairings are available for $25. There are two seatings — 5pm and 7:30pm; each seating is limited to about 15 people. To buy tickets, please go to The Half Orange online ordering portal and select “Salsipuedes Pop-up” under “Events”.

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Plancha Buns

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New on the menu at The Half Orange — plancha buns. Little bao, steamed on the plancha, filled with sausage or shiitakes and topped with a banh mi slaw and tangy sauce. I love them. Come try an order and let me know what you think.