Recent Comments


    Culinary Creativity During a Crisis

    By David Landis–

    The Gay Gourmet–

    There’s nothing quite like a pandemic to spur culinary creativity.

    San Francisco’s restaurant industry—known far and wide for its gastronomic innovation—has been hard-hit by the current coronavirus. But the silver lining in it all are chefs and restaurateurs who have responded with imaginative and new ways to keep their businesses going, to continue to employ as many staffers as possible, and to continue delivering for their customers.

    The list is endless: meal kits with to-go items for customers to prepare at home, cocktails-to-go, web-enabled happy hours, how-to videos showcasing make-at-home creations, online cooking classes, restaurants-turned-grocers, and recipes that are easily prepared while quarantined. Many upscale restaurants also are doing take-out—and affordably.

    The Gay Gourmet has assembled just a few of my favorites. Please note: because we’re sheltering in place, I haven’t tried all of these myself firsthand, but they come highly recommended. Do please check before you order as details may have changed by press time.

    Enjoy! And please, do #StayAtHome—and six feet apart.

    Cotogna: This great Italian restaurant, sister to Michelin-starred Quince, offers a home-cooked dinner, bottle of wine, and craft cocktails delivered to your doorstep (north of Market) or for pickup. Changes daily.

    Gott’s Ferry Building, San Francisco: Famous for their burgers, Gott’s is now open for pickup or delivery. They are also helping to feed frontline healthcare workers.

    Canela: The Spanish mainstay in the Castro is offering paella kits, butcher box kits, and happy hour kits to go.

    Che Fico: The hard-to-get-into Italian restaurant on Divisadero is now doing virtual pizza demonstrations every Friday.

    Nico: Gap Year at Nico features new chef in residence Jordan Guevara preparing French comfort meal kits.

    Lord Jiu’s: Two upscale restaurants (Lord Stanley’s on Polk St. and Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown) unite for innovative 5-course takeaway dinners that change weekly. Available for pickup at Lord Stanley’s on Polk St.

    Online cooking classes are available livestream through ChefsFeed ( ) and 18 Reasons (a Bi-Rite affiliated nonprofit).

    Online virtual wine tastings are available through Napa Valley’s Bouchaine Vineyards.

    Palette At Home and Palette Pantry: Prepared meals to go and grocery essentials from chef/owner Peter J. Hemsley are on offer at his Folsom street venue:

    A portion of the proceeds benefits the Bay Area Arts Worker Relief Funds:

    One Market: The iconic classic at the foot of Market Street has a “Raid the Cellar” program. Wines are 50% off Tuesday–Friday from 1–4 pm (pickup only).

    Palm House: The Palm House is offering punch bowls, mai tai kits, cocktails, frosé, and food for pickup or delivery. They also are doing Instagram Happy Hours every Friday (at least through the end of May):

    Wine pairing recipes from Silverado Vineyards are being shared by cheese expert Laura Werlin and cookbook author Sarah Scott.

    Pop up Pinoy Heritage is offering Filipino meal kits, available at Pacific Cocktail Haven and High Treason.

    The new Tosca Café: Get a preview of what the re-born Tosca Cafe (a marriage between Nancy Oakes, Ken Fulk, and Anna Weinberg) will be like by ordering through Tock.

    You CAN be part of the 1% with virtual Caviar Tastings (with real caviar) from The Caviar Company on Union Street. This tucked away caviar retail operation sends you the caviar and then walks you through a tasting virtually.

    Michelin star awardee Sorrel on Sacramento Street is offering Italian-inspired take-out that changes monthly and requires assembly or cooking at home.

    RT Rotisserie’s famous roasted chicken is available for pickup or delivery from their Nopa location—and you can order online.

    Italian mainstay Perbacco in the Financial District is offering family meals for take-out (and delivery) weekdays. A new offering is the restaurant’s grocery store and wine shop (Alimentari + Enoteca), full of kitchen essentials, Italian staples, and wine.

    Neighborhood gem Park Café Group offers online orders of heart-healthy foods (available curbside).

    And, for a splurge, three-Michelin-star Atelier Crenn in the Marina changes its creative menu weekly and is available through Tock.

    Whatever your taste or budget, please continue to support San Francisco’s local restaurants. They need us now more than ever. And let’s hope we can return in-person to our favorites in June.David Landis, aka “The Gay Gourmet,” is a foodie, a freelance writer, and a PR executive. Follow him on Instagram @GayGourmetSF, on Twitter @david_landis, email him at: or visit him online at:

    Published on May 20, 2020