Aqua, Absinthe Boom; Bar Johnny’s Haze

Ok, our new thing with rounding up the local food coverage is that we’re going to do it once a week, on Thursdays, all in one go. And we changed the name to adhere to Grub Street’s style, so no more Over Coffee. Sad, we know, but that little graphic was getting careworn around the edges anyway. So here you are, your newly re-branded look at the local papers’ food coverage:

• Cooks doing Mexican food, such as those at Nopalito, look past the Mission-style burrito for some reason and find a whole world of south-of-the-border cooking that does not come wrapped in a tortilla and foil. [SF Chronicle]

• For all its newly Top-Chef-Fueled popularity, Absinthe stuttered on Michael Bauer’s visit, her signature scallops were a big let-down, he said. Service was confused and sounds like it was in the weeds. Pork confit was good, but couldn’t lift the overall rating above two stars. [SF Chronicle]

• Carnivores will like San Carlos’s Refuge for the meat, according to Mandy Erickson, but its shortcomings in other areas, as well as service, left it at a meager two stars as well. [SF Chronicle]

• Scoop reports an uptick in business at Aqua, Bay Area James Beard Award nominees, a mountain venture for Spruce sous chef Saundra Middleton, and Tres Agaves takes over Compadres stalls at the ballpark. [SF Chronicle]

• Paul Reidinger visits Bar Johnny and finds “a Marina-ish haze” of blondes, sports, and urinal cake smell. But also good food, including solid tapas and well-prepared tuna and steak. [SFBG]

• L.E. Leone is on part five of her three-part series on her love life neighborhood of Rockridge. This time she visits the Burrito Shop. [SFBG]

• Meredith Brody gets her head blown up and put back together with a new idea of Thai food in it during her visits to Lers Ros. [SF Weekly]

Aqua, Absinthe Boom; Bar Johnny’s Haze