Delicious Fund-Raiser, New Zagat, Michelin Guide News, & More

Enjoy grilled halibut at Yankee Pier Lafayette on Thursday to help a good cause. (Photo courtesy of Yankee Pier)

Enjoy a seafood lunch or dinner at Yankee Pier in Lafayette on Sept. 24, and benefit a good cause at the same time.

Twenty percent of sales from that entire day will be donated to the Taylor Family Foundation.

The non-profit partnered with the East Bay Regional Park District in 1998 to build Camp Arroyo in Livermore. The camp serves Northern California children suffering from life-threatening and chronic illnesses, as well as kids with developmental disabilities, and at-risk youth.

Yankee Pier's fish & chips. (Photo courtesy of the restaurant)

Whether you sit down to some grilled halibut, clam chowder, or oysters on the half shell, you’ll be helping to make a difference.

The new Zagat 2010 San Francisco Bay Area Restaurants Guide was released today. Results were based on the opinions of more than 9,700 diners.

San Francisco’s Gary Danko reclaimed the No. 1 spot for food, edging out Cyrus in Healdsburg (which came in second), and the French Laundry in Yountville (which took the title last year, but dropped to third this year).

Gary Danko also came in first for “Most Popular” restaurant, edging out San Francisco’s Boulevard (second place), the French Laundry (third place), San Francisco’s Slanted Door (fourth), and Cryus (fifth).

Given the beyond-dismal state economy, it’s probably no surprise that 52 percent of responders say they’re dining out less. Indeed, 36 percent said they find it easier to score a previously impossible-to-get reservation, and 40 percent feel their patronage is now more appreciated by restaurants.

Even with diners watching their pocketbook, 73 percent still feel that it’s important to eat local, organic, and sustainably-raised foods.

(Image courtesy of Michelin)

You’ll have to wait until Oct. 20 for the new 2010 Michelin Guide San Francisco.

But you can get an early taste of what’s to come by following the local San Francisco Michelin inspectors on Twitter (@MichelinGuideSF). Yes, the usually secretive inspectors actually will be tweeting about their experiences in the weeks leading up to the launch of the guide book.

Diners can get in on the fun two weeks before the release by playing along in a restaurant IQ game. Clues will hint at some of the inspectors’ “Picks for Value’.” Daily winners who guess the restaurnts correctly can win a set of the new guides. Plus, one grand prize winner will garner a Michelin dining experience for two. Just check the site each day, beginning Oct. 5, to find out more details.

A new component has been added to the 18th annual San Jose Mariachi and Mexican Heritage Festival, now going on through Sept. 27. Two cooking classes, Sept. 25-26, will be held to educate the community about healthful, local, and sustainable foods.

The “Food for the Heart & Soul” classes, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of those two days at the Mayfair Community Center in San Jose, will teach participants how to cook more healthful Mexican food. Registration fee is $75.  To reserve a spot, register here.

Whole Foods has added a new line of kosher chicken and turkey products to its poultry offerings nationwide.

The Kosher Valley certified kosher products will be available frozen, year-round in Whole Foods stores. Prices range from $3.49 a pound for a whole chicken or turkey to $6.99 a pound for a chicken cutlet.

Those of you who work in the Union Square area of San Francisco have a new option for lunch. Fish & Farm restaurant has started American Box, takeaway lunches packed to tote back to your desk or to eat in the restaurant’s dining room.

The lunches in a box feature salads and sandwiches, and are priced from $5 to $9.

Chez Papa in San Francisco has introduced “Monday and Tuesday Wine Nights with the Wine Director.”

Every Monday and Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., Wine Director George Aknin will offer a selection of premier wines for 55 percent off the current list price. Plus, there will be no corkage those nights, either.

Meet Joy Sterling of Iron Horse Vineyards at a special Sept. 30 winemaker dinner at Asia de Cuba in San Francisco.

A five-course dinner will be paired with selected varietals from the Sonoma County winery. Dishes include tuna tartare Picadillo-style, and macadamia-nut crusted halibut. Price is $85 per person.

“Picnic in the Street,’‘  11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 27, in Oakland’s Rockridge Market Hall.

Merchants there will be serving up not-to-be-missed morsels, including spit-roasted porchetta sandwiches from Oliveto, shrimp skewers from Hapuku Fish Shop, and Market Hall Produce’s grilled corn on the cob.

The street fair also will feature wine tastings, author signings, and a cookbook exchange (bring a used one and exchange it or donate $5 to the Rockridge Public Library to select one).

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