Duran's Station on Menaul—You don't have to drive through a mess of construction and holiday tourists to get a chile fix at Duran Central Pharmacy in Old Town. The pharmacy's sister restaurant opened last Wednesday at 4201 Menual NE, in what used to be the fire station just west of Washington. In fact, Duran's Station takes its name from the old firehouse, and traces of it remain in the form of a beautiful red brick wall and a fire bell near the entrance. Finished concrete floors, salmon-pink seating, tasteful lighting and three tall glass brick windows update the space into a comfortable and modern dining room. When we went in for lunch, one of the managers stopped by to ask us how our meal was, confessing: "We had to get everything exactly the same before we could open. If the guacamole, anything, doesn't taste just like the first Duran's, we'll shut the item down for the day." We didn't think the food or service was quite up to the level of the original place, but c'mon, it was their first day. We'll be back for a few beers over dinner—two exclusive additions the new restaurant proudly offers. Try it for yourself Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Call your order in at 830-0007.
Unconfirmed Rumors Abound!—Think back for a moment: Of all the restaurants in Nob Hill, what popular ethnic cuisine has been the most underrepresented? For my money, it's got to be Indian food. (You're saying, "But Laura, you forget there's an ayurvedic restaurant on Harvard." Yeah, yeah. Same region and all, but room-temp water and wheat-free dosas don't satisfy that same itch, ya know?) I hear that after negotiations fell through between an in-the-works Nob Hill brasserieand the owners of 3001 Central NE, a third party swooped in and sealed the deal on a new Indian restaurant. What's at 3001 Central? The old Stella Blue bar, which is already equipped with a small kitchen. Meanwhile, there's some whispering that Tom White (proprietor of Scalo and Il Vicino) is looking to add an existing eatery just down the street to his portfolio. Scalo staffers declined to comment on what they deemed a "top secret" situation. (And if that's not a recipe for idle speculation, I don't know what is. ...)
Here We Come A-Wassail-ing—Looking for a hot beverage to lift your holiday spirits? Try wassail—a traditional Christmas brew made from apple cider, spices and ale. According to my pal Pete, "Christmas carolers of yesteryear sang in exchange for steamy mugs of wassail (meaning ’to be healthy')." He also recommends you "increase the heat" with a little Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum. Make mine a double, Petey.