The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
November 14, 2017

The welcoming and timeless space at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo: ©


The charming entrance to Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.


Chef Michael Siegel’s famous brisket and creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Photo courtesy of Michael Siegel.


A previous family-style fundraiser dinner at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.

It has been a month since the horrific fires ripped through Wine Country, taking 42 precious lives and leaving over 100,000 people displaced and 9,000 homes destroyed. So much loss, so much devastation. It’s hard to fathom, but fortunately the outpouring of support has been a bright light in all the darkness. Everyone has been so generous, with time, supplies, money, food, fundraisers, helping hands, spare bedrooms, and hugs. But we have to keep doing more, giving more, and showing up for these precious people and our beloved Northern California. We have a long road ahead of us to assist in rebuilding, and every dollar is needed.

On Thursday November 30th, I am cohosting a fundraiser dinner with ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ in the Castro, which is generously donating their charming space and event support. We’re calling the event Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief, and we have chef Michael Siegel, previously of the dearly departed Shorty Goldstein’s in the Financial District (RIP) cooking us a heartfelt, homey dinner. Yup, he’s going to be making his famous family brisket! Michael is a Sonoma County resident and wants to do everything he can to support his neighbors, so we put our heads and hands together to host this event!

It’s going to be a family-style dinner, cozy and friendly, a midweek meal that won’t have you out too late, but you’ll come home with a full belly and warm heart. The Le Marais Bakery Castro location is so inviting, have you been yet? It’s a happy place.

Our dinner is the week after Thanksgiving, so let’s continue with that feeling of gratitude as we sit at communal tables with 60 of our neighbors and friends and break bread (like Le Marais’ wonderful levain)! Maybe you didn’t get to see your friends over the holiday, so why not invite them to get together at our fundraiser? (We’re swapping the turkey with some brisket!)

Michael’s three-course, fall-inspired menu is as follows:

-Arugula salad with Fuyu persimmon, toasted almonds, chèvre, and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette

-Pot-roasted brisket (kindly donated by Newport Meat Company), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, watermelon radish and baby carrots, veal demiglace

-Mini fall tarts and cheesecake from Le Marais

If there are any purveyors who can donate product to our dinner (menu above), please get in touch, thank you so much!

We will also be pouring some lovely donated (and local!) wines with the dinner, including Pomebandit 2016 albariño (sustainably farmed in the Sierra foothills—you may recognize the name from Duna’s wine list!) and Artesa’s 2014 Los Carneros pinot noir!

We will be hosting a silent auction as well. If anyone would like to donate a gift certificate, wine, gift basket, book, product, anything, please get in touch! Thank you! Everything helps!

We also need some extra hands for service! If you can donate your time as a server, we’d really appreciate it!

All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers, and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the fires. Their approach has three phases: relief (3 months), recovery (3-9 months), and rebuild (4-12 months). You can read more here, and if you can’t attend, please consider donating!

Dinner is at 6:30pm, and tickets start at $50, all-inclusive of food, wine, service, and tax. We want everyone to be able to attend, but if you could possibly afford to buy a higher-tier ticket, please do! We want to raise as much as we can! Tickets are also listed at $65, $75, $95, and $150. We have sold half the tickets so far!

If there is another amount you’d like to pay, please let me know! To repeat, it’s a 100 percent donation to Tipping Point’s Emergency Relief Fund. If you need to make your donation tax-deductible, do NOT buy a ticket on Eventbrite—we will need to make special arrangements ahead of time. (Just get in touch.)

Thanks everyone. We know there are a million fundraisers and holiday events to consider, but we’d so love to see you at our table!


A Thanksgiving spread from Luke’s Local. Photo courtesy of Luke’s Local.


An array of the beautiful pies from Three Babes Bakeshop. Photo courtesy of Three Babes Bakeshop.

Whether you’re attempting to host a Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving) meal at your tiny apartment, or perhaps you’re a guest and need to bring something but you can’t cook to save your life (I am not judging, just here to help!), here are some ideas of how to round out your holiday table. Pro tip: you can even order some of these items so you can enjoy leftovers and turkey and stuffing sandwiches all week. Or pie for breakfast (the best). Ask me how I know.

Our friends at ~LUKE’S LOCAL~ do a really nice job with their Thanksgiving options, from their house-smoked BN Ranch Turkeys to sage sausage and spinach stuffing (you want this), and they deliver all over the Bay Area! They sent me a preview kit and I’ve been eating turkey and stuffing sandwiches all week with their spiced cranberry sauce on Starter Bakery Parker House rolls, and let me tell you, my lunch has rocked.

You can also get all kinds of vegetable sides, a Black Jet pumpkin pie (mmmhmmm!), and they even have a lovely bouquet from Flowers by Carra to grace your table (or someone else’s). There’s even a complete Thanksgiving kit for $199. Or come to their Cole Valley market (960 Cole St.) in person to do your shopping.

The fine folks at ~BI-RITE~ (who are also kindly sponsoring the tablehopper newsletter this week, thanks for the support!) have all kinds of options for you, from a small “Friendsgiving in a Box” for 4-6 guests to full meals for bigger groups, as well as plenty of their kitchen’s awesome side dishes—all made with quality ingredients. And don’t forget the pie…or pumpkin cheesecake ice cream! And you know they will hook you up with the best wines to pair with your meal. 3639 18th St. and 550 Divisadero St.

CUESA will be hosting a special pre-Thanksgiving Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Wednesday November 22nd, where you can pick up heritage turkeys from Mountain Ranch Organically Grown and seasonal desserts from Three Babes Bakeshop, Crumble & Whisk, and Marla Bakery.

If you’re in the East Bay, of course ~MARKET HALL FOODS~ has your back, from meal kits to awesome sides—and pie! And truffles, if that’s how you roll. All orders must be placed by 3pm on Saturday November 18th.

Want to take a break from the turkey? You can order a smoked duck from ~THE MORRIS~, half ($40) or full ($80), and it comes with roasted root vegetables and potatoes in a honey-espresso duck jus—you roast it at home. For Thanksgiving pickup on November 22nd, please place your order by today, November 14th. For Christmas Eve pickup, please place your order by December 15th. Pickup before Christmas Eve is available upon request with adequate notice. (Please note that The Morris is closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.) 

Pie pie pie! Not the easiest thing to make. Here are some of the best pies in town:

The pies from the Three Babes are legendary, which is why they’ll be making more than 4,000 pies Thanksgiving week out of their little kitchen in the Bayview! Incredible. Their classic pumpkin is best in class, such a great crust, and the filling is so custardy, but if you happen to be gluten-intolerant, there’s a sour cream pumpkin. And then there’s bourbon pecan, salty honey walnut, bittersweet chocolate pecan, and even blackberry crumble, also available in vegan and g-f versions! And there’s delivery, whew.

Of course ~TARTINE BAKERY~ has all kinds of treats, from pumpkin pie to country bread, you’ll want on your table (just don’t fill up!).

~MISSION PIE~ is here for you, with all kinds of pies available for preorder and pickup.

Need a vegan pie? ~CHILE PIES~ has you covered. Plus they have pumpkin, pear, and others.

Want to learn how to make your own pie? Join pastry chef Lori Baker of ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~, who is hosting a pie-making class as part of an Airbnb Experience this Friday November 17th and on Friday December 8th, 3pm-5pm. You’ll learn how to make a perfectly flaky dough with a rustic yet impressive crust, plus you will enjoy some bites and a cocktail, and bring home a personal 6-inch pie.

You a fan of the ~FRANCES~ lumberjack cake? Uh-huh. You can order it for Thanksgiving! $40.

Want to try something a little kooky? Leave it to the creative minds at ~SALT & STRAW~ to go into overdrive with five new Thanksgiving ice cream flavors: sweet potato casserole with maple pecans, persimmon walnut stuffing, salted caramel Thanksgiving turkey, spiced goat cheese and pumpkin pie, and the kicker: buttered mashed potatoes and gravy. Whoa. Bonus: Salt & Straw will donate a pint of one of the Thanksgiving flavors to Food Runners for every Thanksgiving pint purchased. Available through Wednesday November 22nd at both their SF locations.

And if you’re looking for a place to dine out with the family, here are five spots I’d consider:

~NOMICA~ will be open on Thanksgiving, and they are offering a special dinner all week (November 20th-25th). Chef Hiroo’s Thanksgiving dinner includes 9-10 family-style dishes broken up into four courses, like koji brined and slow-poached turkey breast and crispy confit leg with shiso chimichurri-turkey essence, dashi no. 1 mashed potatoes, and more (details on their website). $75 per person.

~THE CAVALIER~ has an $85, three-course, prix-fixe menu, 11:30am-8pm.

~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ is offering a family-style Thanksgiving dinner for $65 per person. They also have pies you can preorder and bring home, like chocolate bourbon pecan.

The spread at ~MKT RESTAURANT-BAR~ includes an appetizer buffet table and a choice of entrée, such as Willie Bird organic turkey with all the fixings or rib-eye with Yukon gold potato purée. And of course, there’s a dessert buffet table. $115 for adults, $55 for children ages 5-12. 12pm-7pm.

It’s tough to beat the cozy interior of ~POGGIO~ in Sausalito, which is hosting a three-course Thanksgiving prix-fixe dinner; $60 for adults and $25 for kids (not including tax and tip). 5pm-9pm.

Need more dining out ideas? Check and see what’s available on OpenTable. And check the reservation apps, like Resy.

I hope you all have a lovely Thanksgiving meal, no matter where you are (and even if the turkey is dry!).


Focaccia awaits at Giovanni Italian Specialties. Photo via Facebook.


Torraku’s curry chashu ramen. Photo via Torraku.

Now open in North Beach is ~GIOVANNI ITALIAN SPECIALTIES~ from Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. This Italian shop and grocery store is stocked with housemade pasta, focaccia (with toppings), Italian meats, piadine (a type of sandwich made with flatbread—it’s like Italian pita), pantry items, and some cookware. Open daily 12pm-7pm. 629 Union St. at Stockton.

Fans of ~MAU~ in the Mission will be pleased to know it has reopened after sorting through that raised rent snag. Mission Local reports that most of the employees came back, as well as the chef, Khai Dang, who just returned from Vietnam with some new ideas and dishes. 665 Valencia St. at 18th St.

There are some new ramen spots that have opened, starting with ~TORRAKU RAMEN~ at the base of Potrero Hill. It was originally a food truck, and now they have a brick-and-mortar location (in the former Tavares). There are five kinds of ramen (including tonkotsu and seafood), plus vegetarian and vegan options. You can also go for some rice bowls (donburi), side dishes, and small plates. Open Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 300 Deh Haro St. at 16th St., 415-937-4357.

The short-lived Katea tea shop has pivoted into ~USHIO RAMEN~, serving small plates like drunken clams and gyoza, and the main event, a variety of ramen bowls, from tori paitan (rich chicken) to spicy miso. The owners care about using fresh and housemade ingredients, so no MSG here, and they created their own soup base, according to an older piece from Hoodline. Beer and wine and a few sakes are also available. The later hours on the weekend will come in handy. Open Mon and Wed-Thu 5pm-10:30pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-12am, Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-10:30pm. Closed Tue. 3128 16th St. at Albion.


Una Pizza’s classic margherita. Photo: ©


The infamous Hux Deluxe at Huxley. Photo via Facebook.


The crazy delicious lamb taco at Dabba. Photo: ©

I’m not too stoked to be writing this post, to be honest. After almost eight years of slinging one of our city’s finer Neapolitan pizzas, Anthony Mangieri is closing ~UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ in late November/early December and going back to New York. Eater reports he’s partnering with Jeremiah Stone and Fabian Von Hauske Valtierra of Contra and Wildair and is going to open a location in the Lower East Side (at 175 Orchard Street). It will reportedly be named Una Pizza Napoletana, and in a switch from the austere menu in SF, this location will feature small plates, cured meats, and cheeses from Stone and Von Hauske Valtierra. (Which is good. I always wanted a salad on the menu.) The new spot will have 70 seats and a bar and is targeting a spring 2018 opening. Grazie for all the badass pizzas, Tony.

Another bummer: ~HUXLEY~ in the Tenderloin is closing after brunch service this weekend (on Sunday November 19th). I checked in with owner Kris Esqueda, who is moving to Nashville after 12 years in SF. We’re gonna miss you! No word yet on what is happening to the space, but Esqueda says, “We do have someone who has purchased it and most likely will become fast-casual.” Such is the SF dining trope right now. Go get your last Hux Deluxe while you can, and we’ll see where chef Manfred Wrembel ends up next.

Over in the Marina, the vegan and gluten-free ~SEED + SALT~ is closing on November 28th. Owner Mo Clancy is going to reformulate the business (the space is just too small and limiting their growth).

Moving in will be a second location of the extremely delicious ~DABBA~ from chef Walter Abrams and CEO Andy Mercy, known for their Indian- and global-inspired bowls, burritos, wraps, and more. And Dabba is inheriting the Seed + Salt staff, so that’s a nice transition. Stand by for an opening date. 2240 Chestnut St.

One last closure to report: a longtime tablehopper reader let me know the divey ~TEE OFF BAR & GRILL~ in the Outer Richmond was closing this past weekend. I know a bunch of folks are going to miss that place. 3129 Clement St. at 33rd Ave.


The spectacular poke at Aina, part of their new tasting menu. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.


Hawaiian onaga (snapper) course. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.


Aina’s cured, smoked, and aged wagyu on a beef tendon chicharron. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.


Smoked brisket tots available late night at WesBurger ‘N’ More. Photo: Wes Rose.

I have already written about how utterly fantastic brunch at ~AINA~ in Dogpatch is, as many folks know, and chef Jordan Keao does one hell of a dinner menu too. And now, the team has just launched their new Mo’olelo tasting menu experience at the chef counter, available Wed-Sun, with two seatings (6pm and 8pm) for six lucky guests each. It’s a six-course tour de force of stunning dishes, featuring Hawaiian ingredients and modern preparations with some California lightness, finesse, creativity, and complexity.

Keao is really pushing with this menu (along with his chef de cuisine Chris Yang; they have been thinking about it for a year!), and it’s a frigging steal for $66.90 (plus gratuity and SF surcharge). Book in advance on their site. There are a couple of supplemental courses you can add on as well, like a hamachi course. If you see hand-pounded taro root poi, go for it. It’s a game-changing rendition of poi.

I also tasted a poke that made me like the stuff again—it was just barely dressed with smoked sesame and white shoyu and featured real Hawaiian ahi tuna and roasted kukui nuts. Ingredients like a chicharrón made from pounded taro root, sea grapes, fermented koji mushroom steamed barley, Massa Farms heritage pork belly kalua, and candied macadamia nuts like you have never tasted are just a few of the fun things you’ll encounter. You’ll have plenty of chef interaction and will learn so much about the complexity behind the beautiful dishes, each with its own story. Book this, and enjoy the wine pairings by Rai Calma ($20-plus) and the warm hospitality of this absolute gem of a restaurant (say hello to Keao’s wife and co-owner Cheryl Liew). 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815.

Late-night eats—we never have quite enough options in this town. Luckily, Wes Rowe of ~WESBURGER ‘N’ MORE~ is looking out for us, and bringing a brisket sausage corn dog into our lives on Fri-Sat nights from 10:30pm-3am. Yeah, you read that right—3am! You’ll be able to order special late-night dishes only available during that time, including a double smash burger, Nashville chicken and tot skewers with bite-size Nashville hot chicken pieces, dill pickles, and tots on a stick, and the kicker: smoked brisket tots with BBQ brisket, queso, pico de gallo, jalapeños, and goat cheese. Damn son!

You can order and eat in The Den next door, complete with its jungle theme and lava lamps. You’ll also find Lo-Fi Aperitifs-based drinks, Lone Star beer, and cans of Funaguchi, an aged sake (that’s neither pasteurized nor blended). Cheers and chow down. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St.

Another change happening out there: after 10 years in business, ~MONK’S KETTLE~ has decided to celebrate with lowering their prices, and they’re launching a new food and drink menu that reflects this. Yeah, that’s refreshing. Even though wages are 53 percent higher now than when they opened, and there are many other costs they have been forced to grapple with, the creeping prices of everything is not where they wanted to be as a gathering place for the neighborhood. Draft pint prices will drop, the menu is simplified, and sandwiches are offered à la carte (fries/mixed greens are optional). Cheers, gang!


Saturday, it’s a sausage fest at The Den with Meat by Pete. Photo via Craftsman and Wolves.


Martinis with a little something-something from The Caviar Co. at Belga? Yes! Photo courtesy of Belga.

Local charcutier Peter Temkin (Show Dogs, Spruce, Nopa) is ramping up his own line of sausages and other meaty products, Meat by Pete, and you can taste some of his handiwork at a pop-up this Saturday November 18th at ~THE DEN~ during their brunch in Bayview. He’ll be out front grilling his superlative sausages, like boudin blanc (my fave), merguez, and some Nuremberg brats, all with special toppings and in custom buns made by Craftsman and Wolves. They’re $9-11 and will be available with some other brunchy dishes and sides. This Saturday-only pop-up will run through Saturday December 9th. 10am-2pm. 1598 Yosemite Ave. at Keith.

You ready for happy hour? You will be, when you hear what ~BELGA~ is doing this Thursday November 16th when they kick off their new $5 happy hour menu (normally available Mon-Fri 3:30pm-6:30pm). In honor of the occasion, they are throwing a party, with complimentary bites—like cucumber and caviar, and waffles with smoked salmon mousse and trout caviar—featuring caviar from neighbors The Caviar Co. There will also be a vodka martini with a special caviar burst—sign me up. Click here to get on the list (it’s free). 4pm-7pm. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

And just in case you feel like some double trouble, just next door, ~FLORES~ also has happy hour, with $3 tacos (carnitas, colorado chile-braised beef, pollo pibil, and fried avocado), totopos, and a $7 margarita or a Tres Amigos for $10 (1-ounce shot of blanco tequila, sangrita, and a draft beer). Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm (bar only).


Bluestone Lane is coming to SF! Photo via Facebook.


Sip Tea Room. Yelp photo by Naomi Y.

San Francisco is staying perky with all these coffee shops and businesses that keep on opening. Coming to San Francisco are a couple of locations of the Australian-inspired ~BLUESTONE LANE COFFEE~, which are located in New York. I really enjoyed their espresso drinks while I was in New York (and they make a mean flat white); they also roast their own coffee.

Their first West Coast location is now open in the Embarcadero Center (227 Front St. at Halleck) in the Financial District. They are serving their menu of coffee drinks and healthy, Aussie-style café fare (i.e., their famous avocado toast, open-faced sandwiches, and bowls), with plenty of items to grab and go. There are also wellness lattes, made with matcha, beet, or the turmeric-based golden latte. You can snag a seat inside at the round marble tables (there will be plenty of natural light through the large windows) or on the benches outside.

The second location will be opening in December in The Monadnock Building at 685 Market St. (aka Uber HQ). I’ll keep you updated on timing!

Meanwhile, in the Lower Haight, Christopher and Tommy Newbury of ~RÉVEILLE COFFEE CO.~ plan to open their fourth location in the former Bean There mid-December. I’ll keep you posted on timing and their offerings, which will include beer and wine and a full menu of things to eat, similar to their Mission Bay location. 201 Steiner St. at Waller.

And just in case you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a cuppa tea now that the rainy season is here, ~SIP TEA ROOM~ is open in the Inner Sunset in the former Secret Garden location, according to Hoodline. Owners Paula Dinnell and Shannon De Leon make everything in-house (like soups, sausage rolls, scones, and preserves) and serve premium, loose-leaf teas for their tea service—there’s even a children’s tea available. Open Tue-Sat 11am-5pm and Sun 11am-4pm. 721 Lincoln Way at 9th Ave., 415-683-5592.


The bar at Les Arceaux. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


A sampling of dishes at Les Arceaux. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


The welcoming and warm interior of Les Arceaux. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


Cauliflower fritters and millet with okra and sweet potato at Juanita & Maude. Yelp photo by Ariane O.


Oakland will be getting its Roam burger on by the end of the year. Photo: Kassie Borreson.

Your new all-day café and wine bar is here: ~LES ARCEAUX~ is now open in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto, a stylish and well-appointed space from owner Mikha Diaz and chef Alana O’Neal (previously of San Francisco’s Two Sisters Bars & Books). A lot of the inspiration is from O’Neal’s year in Montpellier in the South of France—the name means “the arches,” a reference to the location of a favorite farmers’ market under an old stone aqueduct.

The menu includes breakfast dishes (served until 3pm), including housemade English muffins and eggs and porridge. Lunch is seasonal and is where you can see the French influence more prominently, with dishes like pistou with fresh shelling beans and olive bread croutons, and a quiche of bacon, chard, and Comté in whole-wheat pâte brisée, plus a fun spin on a salade niçoise—it’s chopped.

Happy hour is from 3pm-5pm, with bites like fried socca batons with harissa aioli, plus draft beers for $4.25 and some wine selections for $7.50 by the glass.

The evening wine bar service features many small plates, plus some heartier ones like mussels poached in white wine with fennel and baby turnips, socca flatbread, chicken drumsticks in mustard and white wine sauce with purple potato paillasson, and a Marin Sun Farms bavette, which is the costliest item at $22.50. Seasonal desserts are also in the mix.

There’s coffee and tea service (featuring Intelligentsia Coffee and Kilogram Tea), a selection of more than 25 wines by the glass, three beers on tap, and house spritz cocktails

The 49-seat space was designed in collaboration with Mikha Diaz and Rocket Restaurant Supply and Turn Key Builders. There are soft wool banquettes in a punchy teal, a cherrywood bar and front counter with a white, hammered-tin bar face, Carrara marble countertops, and brass light fixtures. It’s the kind of look that works for everything from a breakfast meeting to a dinner date. Open Tue-Sat 7:30am-10pm (breakfast 7:30am-3pm, lunch 11am-3pm, happy hour 3pm-5pm, dinner 5pm-10pm). 1849 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst, Berkeley.

I mentioned not too long ago that ~THE KON-TIKI~ was opening in the former Longitude in Oakland, and cheers, it’s now open. To recap, it’s from Christ Aivaliotis (of SF’s Holy Mountain) and Matthew Reagan, with food from Manuel Bonilla, previously at Hawker Fare Oakland. Tropical drinks and bites and kitsch galore, check it out. Open Tue-Wed 5:30pm-12am, Thu-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 347 14th St. at Webster, Oakland.

East Bay folks, you want to get in on some burgers and BBQ from SF’s ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~ before they open in the Laurel District this spring? Yeah, because that’s a way off. Thanks to Caviar, you can enjoy a 4505 delivery pop-up until the Oakland location opens, with dinner delivered Thu-Sat (5pm-9pm) to Oakland residents. You can order their special/secret menu Big Mac (double cheeseburger with a Frankaroni), or Roger Style (add a quarter pound of sausage to any meat sandwich, oy), or you can stick with their brisket, chicken, pork (plate or sandwich or large format), sausages, classic sides and sauces, and Frankaroni. First-time Caviar user? Use my code for $20 off your first order!

A reader tells me Albany residents are happy with the dinner service at the new ~JUANITA & MAUDE~ from Scott Eastman (previously Corso). His seasonal menu has Mediterranean and European influences, and he practices whole animal butchery as well. Plus, craft cocktails! Open Tue-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri 5:30pm-10pm, Sat 5pm-10pm. 825 San Pablo Ave. at Solano, Albany, 510-526-2233.

Looking for a new brunch spot? ~HONOR KITCHEN & COCKTAILS~ in Emeryville is now serving brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2:30pm. Chef Christian Adlawan’s menu includes ricotta beignets, fried chicken and bacon-stuffed waffles, smoked pastrami hash, mushroom frittata, Honor eggs Benedict, a Maine lobster roll, and the Honor burger. And warm bacon biscuits with honey butter—don’t miss those. The bar will have plenty of eye-openers for you, and wines too. 1411 Powell St. at Hollis, Emeryville, 510-653-8667.

And a few things to look forward to:

~ROAM ARTISAN BURGERS~ is expanding to Uptown Oakland this December at 1951 Telegraph Avenue, offering their burgers, sides, shakes, and sodas.

Opening next door to ~CLOVE & HOOF BUTCHERY AND RESTAURANT~ in Oakland will be ~THE FOUNTAIN AT CLOVE & HOOF~, an old-fashioned ice cream and soda fountain! Think milkshakes, sundaes, cones, phosphates, and soda. Clove & Hoof’s building was once a pharmacy and soda fountain, so it was kind of meant to be. They’re hoping to open by the end of the year. 4001 Broadway at 40th St., Oakland.

~C CASA~ taqueria at Oxbow Public Market in Napa will be opening a location in Public Market Emeryville. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and cocktails will all be available (from huevos rancheros to rotisserie duck tacos)—look for an opening in January 2018.

November 7, 2017

The welcoming and timeless space at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo: ©


The charming entrance to Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.


Chef Michael Siegel’s famous brisket and creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Photo courtesy of Michael Siegel.


A previous family-style fundraiser dinner at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.

It has been a month since the horrific fires ripped through Wine Country, taking 42 precious lives and leaving over 100,000 people displaced and 9,000 homes destroyed. So much loss, so much devastation. It’s hard to fathom, but fortunately the outpouring of support has been a bright light in all the darkness. Everyone has been so generous, with time, supplies, money, food, fundraisers, helping hands, spare bedrooms, and hugs. But we have to keep doing more, giving more, and showing up for these precious people and our beloved Northern California. We have a long road ahead of us to assist in rebuilding, and every dollar is needed.

On Thursday November 30th, I am cohosting a fundraiser dinner with ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ in the Castro, which is generously donating their charming space and event support. We’re calling the event Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief, and we have chef Michael Siegel, previously of the dearly departed Shorty Goldstein’s in the Financial District (RIP) cooking us a heartfelt, homey dinner. Yup, he’s going to be making his famous family brisket! Michael is a Sonoma County resident and wants to do everything he can to support his neighbors, so we put our heads and hands together to host this event!

It’s going to be a family-style dinner, cozy and friendly, a midweek meal that won’t have you out too late, but you’ll come home with a full belly and warm heart. The Le Marais Bakery Castro location is so inviting, have you been yet? It’s a happy place.

Our dinner is the week after Thanksgiving, so let’s continue with that feeling of gratitude as we sit at communal tables with 60 of our neighbors and friends and break bread (like Le Marais’ wonderful levain)! Maybe you didn’t get to see your friends over the holiday, so why not invite them to get together at our fundraiser? (We’re swapping the turkey with some brisket!)

Michael’s three-course, fall-inspired menu is as follows:

-Arugula salad with Fuyu persimmon, toasted almonds, chèvre, and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette

-Pot-roasted brisket (kindly donated by Newport Meat Company), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, watermelon radish and baby carrots, veal demiglace

-Mini fall tarts and cheesecake from Le Marais

If there are any purveyors who can donate product to our dinner (menu above), please get in touch, thank you so much!

We will also be pouring some lovely donated (and local!) wines with the dinner, including Pomebandit 2016 albariño (sustainably farmed in the Sierra foothills—you may recognize the name from Duna’s wine list!) and Artesa’s 2014 Los Carneros pinot noir!

We will be hosting a silent auction as well. If anyone would like to donate a gift certificate, wine, gift basket, product, anything, please get in touch! Thank you! Everything helps!

We also need some extra hands for service! If you can donate your time as a server, we’d really appreciate it!

All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers, and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the fires. Their approach has three phases: relief (3 months), recovery (3-9 months), and rebuild (4-12 months). You can read more here, and if you can’t attend, please consider donating!

Dinner is at 6:30pm, and tickets start at $50, all-inclusive of food, wine, service, and tax. We want everyone to be able to attend, but if you could possibly afford to buy a higher-tier ticket, please do! We want to raise as much as we can! Tickets are also listed at $65, $75, $95, and $150.

If there is another amount you’d like to pay, please let me know! To repeat, it’s a 100 percent donation to Tipping Point’s Emergency Relief Fund. If you need to make your donation tax-deductible, do NOT buy a ticket on Eventbrite—we will need to make special arrangements ahead of time. (Just get in touch.)

Thanks everyone. We know there are a million fundraisers and holiday events to consider, but we’d so love to see you at our table!


Nothing succeeds like excess! Bloody Mary add-ons for the win at The Saratoga. Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.


Some mighty fine lookin’ steak and eggs. Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.


Baca’s Billionaire’s Bacon, baby! Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.

Well, this is going to be a hot brunch spot. Starting Sunday December 3rd, ~THE SARATOGA~ is starting Sunday brunch service (11:30am-4:30pm), which means if you hang out long enough, you can slide right into dinner at 5pm. (I’m also thinking that instead of getting together with friends for holiday lunches and dinners and cocktails, why not do a holiday brunch? And they take reservations!)

The menu from chef de cuisine Francisco Baca is divided into “Snack,” “Sweet,” and “Hearty” sections (you’ll find me there), with dishes like his mom’s mole flautas (made with braised chicken, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema); eggs Florentine; steak and eggs; and The TL Omelet, with Taleggio cheese and melted leeks. Hmmm, will it be a breakfast sandwich or the Saratoga burger?

There’s also Baca’s Billionaire’s Bacon, which is thick-cut, house-cured, smoked, and lacquered with a sweet-savory glaze of molasses, rum, and maple syrup. Ka-ching. Over in the “Sweet” section, Texas French toast is made with thick-cut buttery brioche, bourbon syrup, and bacon powder, and the Killer Coffee Cake can be topped with vanilla gelato or St. George NOLA coffee liqueur (good morning).

Of course, barman-owner Brandon Clements has all kinds of options in a new brunch cocktail menu, divvied up into “Bloody,” “Frothy,” “Fizzy,” “Hot and Boozy,” and “Boothby Bowl.” There are three Bloody Mary recipes (classic, root, and verde), and you can get rilly crazy by adding a fried pickle, housemade jalapeño poppers, brisket beef jerky, fried chicken, and more. (And you haven’t even started drinking!) There’s the Cereal Milk Punch, made with toasted corn flake-washed milk, bourbon, brown sugar, and cocoa Krispies! Or gather your friends around a large-format Corpse Reviver No. 2.

One more item of note: Monday November 20th is The Saratoga’s first birthday, with a party in the downstairs bar from 5pm-10pm. It includes free passed appetizers, birthday cake, and half-price specialty cocktails, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Project Open Hand. 1000 Larkin St. at Post, 415-932-6464.


The second Native Co. is now open in SoMa. Instagram photo via @nativecosf.

We’re about to kick into holiday gear soon, so it’s a good thing we have a couple of new and healthy spots opening that can help counterbalance the excess. This week, the popular ~NATIVE CO.~ has opened their second location (in SoMa!). Owners Caitlin Meade and Nicole Fish are known for their well-made, healthy, market-fresh meals in the Financial District at 168 Sutter Street (and both the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers’ Market and San Rafael Civic Center Farmers’ Market, where they got their start).

They opened their second location in the former Tava space and are serving mostly plant-based and high-energy dishes, which includes breakfast, lunch, and beverages, like made-to-order smoothies, juices, salads, toasts, and soups. (I love the Beet Down, with beet, carrot, orange, lime, ginger, and cilantro.)

They are dedicated to healthy fats, truly sustainable and organic ingredients, and everything is made in-house daily. They are also very eco-conscious in their practices—and committed to deliciousness! There are both indoor and outdoor seating options. Open Mon-Fri 7am-4:30pm. 163 2nd St. at Natoma.

I was driving through the Mission last week and noticed signage up at the former McDonald’s on 16th Street for ~KITAVA~. Eater fills in the details on this new health-focused spot, featuring dishes that are gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and also free of dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, refined sugar, and oils. Ingredients are also pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught. You can take a peek at the menu here.

They were formerly a delivery service (Mealmade), and you can still get their food delivered, although the minimalist space is pretty cute and worth a visit. A far cry from what was there before, that’s for damn sure. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9:30pm. 2011 Mission St. at 16th St.


Guest chef Telmo Faria’s “Bifana” Cubano at Media Noche, available this month. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

Fellow Cubano fanatics, you’ll want to check out the new Chefs Cubano series at ~MEDIA NOCHE~, with guest chefs creating a new Cubano on the menu each month, and available daily. The first one is from Telmo Faria of Uma Casa, launching today (Tuesday November 7th) and running for the month of November—his “Bifana” Cubano is a riff on a traditional Portuguese sandwich, with marinated pork loin, sweet pepper and onion sofrito, and arugula ($12.50).

Ryan Pollnow (Ne Timeas Restaurant Group) will be on deck in December, and Liza Shaw (formerly of Merigan’s Sub Shop) and Evan Rich (Rich Table, RT Rotisserie) are coming in early 2018. Ten percent of the proceeds of each sale of the featured chef’s Cubano will be donated to a charity of the chef’s choice; proceeds from sales of Telmo’s Cubano will go to No Kid Hungry. 

Here’s a fun one: Caviar, the food delivery service, is bringing Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken to the East Bay this week, from Thursday November 9th to Sunday November 12th. On the menu: a variety of sandwiches, including the acclaimed Original Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken strips, candied jalapeño mayo, and crunchy slaw; sides like pimento mac and cheese; and fried chicken strips with honey butter or housemade dipping sauces. You can order for delivery anywhere in the East Bay region and/or pick up from the Caviar Commissary in downtown Oakland (478 25th St.), 5pm-10pm. First-time Caviar user? Use my code for $20 off your first order!

On Monday November 13th, prepare for a fun party at ~MISTER JIU’S~ to celebrate the release of MUNCHIES’ very first cookbook, MUNCHIES: Late-Night Meals from the World’s Best Chefs. Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu’s), Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Daniel Patterson (Daniel Patterson Group), Gabriela Cámara (Cala), and Maya Erickson (previously Lazy Bear) will be cooking, and drinks will be flowin’.

Tickets are $60 and include a copy of the cookbook as well as food and open bar. Sweet! Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Farming Hope. 7pm-10pm. 28 Waverly Place.

October 31, 2017

The former La Urbana exterior. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Chef Patricio “Pato” Duffoo. Photo: Declan Mckerr.

Si, many have been wondering what Adriano Paganini/Back of the House were going to open in the former La Urbana space on Divisadero, and the rumors have proven to be true: it’s going to be a Spanish concept, ~BARVALE~. There will be a tapas bar, with more of a sit-down experience in the dining room, and a Pintxo Room in the former garage. It ends up Paganini has wanted to open a Spanish concept for 10 years, and his plan is finally coming to fruition. They plan to open for dinner on December 7th.

The executive chef is Patricio “Pato” Duffoo, who will be overseeing the menus. The style and pricing will be truly neighborhood-friendly, and California product sourcing will come into play. In true tapas style, plates will be small and meant to share. Look for the grill to be featured prominently. Cold tapas include classics like pan con tomate, tortilla de patata, and piquillos relleno (blood sausage-stuffed Basque peppers), while hot tapas include patatas bravas, gambas (garlic oil-poached, head-on shrimp with preserved lemon), and paella.

The tapas bar is being designed to capture the truly Spanish style of grazing at the bar, whether you’re stopping in for a quick bite before a show at The Independent or meeting a friend for a cocktail. They’re going to be keeping it inexpensive and simple, more San Sebastian than San Francisco.

Jessica Everett is overseeing the bar menu, which will be focused on cava, sherry, gin, Spanish wines, and food-friendly cocktails, including sherry cocktails and Spanish vermouth- and wine-based cocktails, plus four gin and tonics, Kalimotxo (red wine and a cola-based soft drink), and housemade sangria.

Hannah Collins Designs is designing the space, which will pull inspiration from Barcelona—the bar will be a centerpoint, with lots of color, plus warm wood and funky handmade lighting, with a hand-painted illustration of a flamenco dancer by design studio Wall and Wall. The tapas bar will be standing room only and there is a communal table (room for 32 total), and the 65-seat dining room will be outfitted in bright colors and banquettes. Meanwhile, the Pintxo Room (in the former garage) will feature a central bar surrounded by multiple communal tables, perfect for large groups and private parties (room for 50), all tricked out in red (red terra-cotta walls, a red bar, and art too).

Open nightly for dinner, brunch will launch later on. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.


Ribs, baby. Instagram photo by @garyfxlamorte.

A date has been finalized for the opening of Ayesha Curry’s barbecue concept with Michael Mina, ~INTERNATIONAL SMOKE~, opening in the former RN74. Monday November 13th is the official opening date, but if you want the first taste, there’s a fundraiser on November 9th, benefiting No Kid Hungry and The Bread Project. (Guests will be able to mingle with Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry over a cocktail reception with food stations featuring dishes from the upcoming restaurant.)

Look for bold, global dishes that will highlight fire, grilling, and smoke, including Double Duck Wings with jerk spice, sticky mango, and green seasoning; Lemongrass Pork Chop pounded out with the bone in, charred on the grill, and served with stir-fried clams, glass noodles, soy, and lime; Indian Fish Fry with spice-crusted snapper, turmeric pickles, and raita; and Three Little Pigs, featuring three porky preparations, like St. Louis spareribs, Cuban “mojo” ribs, and Japanese miso ribs. It seems different chefs from Mina’s restaurant teams have contributed techniques, dishes, and more.

The bar will feature seasonal cocktails, plus large-format cocktails, and both local and international beers will be available. Los Angeles-based firm Bishop Pass is behind the design, which includes booths in the 80-seat dining room, and the bar will be in the center of the room, with 20 green leather bar stools. There will also be tableside service, a large candle display, and greenery and potted plants around the bar.

Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. Lunch will come soon. Follow @internationalsmoke on Instagram for some pop-up surprises ahead of the opening. 301 Mission St. at Fremont.


The airy interior. Yelp photo by Xteethx B.


Lamb shank at the newly opened Son’s Addition. Photo courtesy of Son’s Addition.

Now open for dinner is ~SON’S ADDITION~ from husband and wife Nick Cobarruvias and Anna Sager Cobarruvias. He was previously chef de cuisine at Marlowe, and Anna will be the GM (she has been working in restaurants since she was 15).

This 24th Street restaurant features an eclectic and seasonal menu, with dishes like bacon-kimchi deviled eggs with green onion and black sesame seed; uni tostada with charred avocado; and poached chicken and crispy skin with coconut rice and fermented soybean salsa. Larger plates include five-spice braised lamb shank with goat cheese polenta, dino kale, and fried bread-shiso gremolata (just in time for fall). They are also parents and want to offer some family-friendly options, so they have added a kids’ menu that extends beyond chicken tenders.

The wine list was assembled by beverage director Ryan Hess, owner of Vinoteque on Melrose in Los Angeles, with plenty of international selections by the glass and bottle (featuring very vivid descriptions), plus six local beers on tap.

The space was designed with Dan Vickery, with 52 seats (and 24 outside at the five sidewalk tables). The space features an airy look, with white, pale gray, and blue-green tones, plus a reclaimed walnut bar and Mexican tiles.

Hours are Sun-Wed 5pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-11pm. Brunch service will be coming soon. 2990 24th St. at Harrison.


Meraki Market. All photos: ©


Meraki Market’s interior.


Lovingly displayed seasonal produce.

Last week, I paid a lunchtime visit to Stanlee Gatti and business partner Bill Grzywacz’s spiffy new market in the TenderNob, ~MERAKI MARKET~, which I mentioned was coming awhile ago, and now I’m drinking 6 percent milk with my cappuccinos at home and it’s all their fault. (The milk is pure evil and totally divine, from Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms, the same folks who do the tasty pastured eggs you may have seen around.)

There are all kinds of quality goodies in this high-end market, from gorg produce artfully arranged just so (endive, anyone?), well-sourced and unique pantry items, and both the refrigerated and freezer sections have plenty of things that will catch your eye (including all kinds of stocks, fresh salsas, and housemade butter in a cazuela you can keep). Breads are from Acme, plus croissants and a couple of breads from Jane. Cheese island, check.

There is a counter with freshly made items, from salads and couscous to pâté to sandwiches (a Waldorf-inspired chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna, all $10-$12). Chef Mouhssine Benhamacht (previously Meritage Napa and Spice Market Atlanta in the W) does some seriously good fried chicken available by the piece (it’s brined for 48 hours, air-dried, soaked in buttermilk, floured, and then fried), and you can get a whole roasted chicken for $23, which will feature toasted sesame, herbs, anise, and more tucked under the skin. There’s a beautiful Italian Universal Tuscan grill and rotisserie, just like Cotogna’s—you’ll smell the live fire when you walk in.

Rotating dishes will include chile relleno, pozole, boeuf bourguignon, two kinds of soup (including roasted corn, and another with kale, chickpea, and ham), and more. The menu will change by 75 percent each day, encouraging folks in the neighborhood to come by, whether it’s for lunch, snacks, dinner, or a party. There is also seafood and some marinated meats you can cook yourself. And caviar, naturally.

It’s like a European Bi-Rite Market, and I loved all the terrazzo counters, flooring, and cases. Breakfast and coffee service is in the works. Hours are daily 8am-9pm. 927 Post St. at Hyde, 415-351-1970.


Wise Sons Bagel & Coffee in Hayes Valley. Photo via Facebook.


Fried oyster po’boy from Queen’s. Yelp photo by Gary B.

Folks who live near Hayes Valley should be pretty stoked with the arrival of ~WISE SONS BAGEL & COFFEE~, now open in the former Artís coffee space from co-founders and brothers Evan and Ari Bloom, and Leo Beckerman. You’ll be able to come by for bagels, bialys, housemade shmears, bagel sandwiches (including the hot pastrami #19 toasted bagel sandwich with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese, an homage to Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles), breakfast bagel sandwiches, a bagel dog, salads, and you can even get their superlative matzo ball soup. Nearly everything is housemade, including their pastrami and corned beef, which are hormone-free. There’s also Stumptown coffee, espresso, and cold brew, as well as teas and juice.

It’s a fast-casual spot (their fifth location), with a look that pays homage to vintage Jewish delis in Los Angeles in the 1960s. The 700-square-foot spot will feature a mural by Amos Goldbaum; there are 20 stools inside and room for 6 at the outdoor tables. Hours are daily 8am-3pm. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.

Another expansion is ~QUEEN’S LOUISIANA PO-BOY CAFE~, which just opened a location on the Embarcadero at the recently renovated Pier 33 1/2 (the original is in Portola), according to Hoodline. Expect Queen’s Louisiana-inspired menu, with all kinds of po’boys (made on French bread sent from Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans), gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and beignets. 33 The Embarcadero, at Pier 33 1/2. 

And Hoodline also reports there’s a new location of ~KOJA KITCHEN~ in the food court at Westfield Mall, serving their Korean-Japanese dishes like burgers on fried garlic rice buns, bowls, tacos, salads, kamikaze or umami fries, and Korean buffalo wings or their spicy DMZ wings. 865 Market St. at 4th St.


The interior of Kinjo, on Russian Hill. Photo via Facebook.

A tablehopper reader let me know the unfortunate news that just after winning their first Michelin star and just shy of a year of being open, the fantastic ~KINJO~ on Polk suffered severe water damage from a flood (from an apartment neighbor above). It’s so bad that the restaurant is saying they will be closed until January 15th for repairs, and I’m hearing it will possibly be even later. I’ll keep you posted on repair timing. In the meantime, their sister restaurants Ijji SF, Saru Sushi Bar, and Seiya Restaurant in San Carlos remain open. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-921-2222.


The Full English Breakfast at Lord Stanley. Photo: ©

This Thursday November 2nd, San Francisco is getting some special guests, ~THE MEAT HOOK~ from Brooklyn, who will be doing a backyard cookout at ~NOPALITO~’s 9th Avenue location. And it’s an awesome fire relief fundraiser! Free entry. Sausages and drinks will be cash and carry with all proceeds going to UndocuFund. It’s going to be just like a backyard party. Hanging out, eating and drinking, and hopefully not freezing our butts off! Starts at 5pm. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966.

Last month, I got to slay my hangover at ~LORD STANLEY~ with their Full English Breakfast, and this Sunday November 5th, they’re doing it again! Come by for a hearty plate with fried eggs, toast, baked beans, black pudding, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon and sausage (by Thistle Meats), and brown sauce (I wanted a to-go container, it was so good). The Full English is $25. Draft beers, wine, coffee, tea, and fresh juice are available. Served from 11am-2pm. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-872-5512.

Another option is to either grab an awesome breakfast bag lunch (or you can stay!) for the upcoming Breakfast Club events at Cala on Tuesday November 7th (10am-12pm) or Lord Stanley on Wednesday November 8th (8am-10:30am). Click for tickets ($30) and more details.

For a non-meaty option, ~TRANSIT CAFE~ in the Presidio is now serving the Impossible Burger—chef Traci Des Jardins is serving it with roasted tomato, lettuce, and aioli on a Firebrand burger bun. 215 Lincol​n Blvd., Main Post, 415-561-4435​​​​​​.

October 24, 2017

The new Salt & Straw in Hayes Valley. Photo: Steve Kepple.


What’s your flavor? Photo: Steve Kepple.


The classic BEC. Here’s one of the in-progress egg on a roll sandwiches they’re developing at Newkirk’s. Photo courtesy of Newkirk’s.

A few quick openings to report, including a second ~SALT & STRAW~ in SF. The Portland-based ice cream maker now has a Hayes Valley shop, where you can experience 17 of their unique flavors, including some local collaborations (like Sightglass Coffee and single-origin Dandelion Chocolate, and Teranga baobab juice and coconut in partnership with La Cocina alum Nafy Flatley).

And they are really going all out for Halloween, including The Great Candycopia (salted butterscotch ice cream and an abundance of homemade Snickers, Whoppers, Heath bars, and peanut butter cups); and for you thrill seekers, there’s Dracula’s Blood Pudding (spices and cream cooked into real blood pudding) and Creepy-Crawly Critters (chocolate-covered crickets and coconut toffee brittle-covered mealworms blended into a matcha ice cream). Eek! I laughed over Essence of Ghost, and there’s Freckle & Hyde Potion with coconut ash-coated Pop Rocks. (Also, they get kudos for all their community involvement and programs they work with.) Open 11am-11pm daily. 586 Hayes St. at Laguna.

A second location of ~TADU ETHIOPIAN KITCHEN~ has opened in Mission Bay (the original is in the Tenderloin). You can order their trademark kitfo and tibs, and there are a bunch of vegetarian options too. Open daily 11:30am-9pm. 1130 4th St. at Channel, 415-409-6649.

Remember when I told you a bunch of details about ~NEWKIRK’S~ coming to Potrero with East Coast-style BECs (bacon, egg, and cheese, aka egg on a roll, fried egg sandwiches), plus classic subs and some salads too. Well, owner Ryan Blumenthal is doing some soft opening hours, so if you’re in the neighborhood, swing by for a limited menu of BECs or subs as he ramps up. You can follow along for updates on Instagram—seems like he’s closing at 3pm, and cash only for now. [UPDATE: soft opening hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2pm for now.] Can’t wait to come by and check out the kaiser roll he had custom made for the shop! 1002 Potrero Ave. at 22nd St.


The bar at the former Dante’s Table. Photo by Juan Romero Corral via Facebook.


Photo from The Cheese School.

Finn Town’s Rick Hamer and William Vastardis will be opening another restaurant in the Castro in November, ~PAPI RICO~, in the former Dante’s Table. Inspired by Puerto Vallarta, the BAR reports it will be a beachy cantina, featuring Mexican playa and street food, like fish tacos, ceviche, al pastor, salads, and housemade churros. Finn Town’s new executive chef, Steve Dustin, will oversee the menu.

The location has a full liquor license, so expect both traditional and frozen cocktails, with a focus on tequila and mezcal, as well as Jell-O shots and boozy popsicles, because it’s the Castro. There’s also a nice outdoor patio and seating on the front sidewalk, with room for 90. 544 Castro St. at 18th St.

~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is going to be moving from its Mission location (in the former Saison, at Stable Café) to Ghirardelli Square in late spring 2018. Owner Kiri Fisher tells me she hopes that it will be a pretty seamless transition and that they’ll only go dark for a couple of weeks, tops. The new location will be the two-story Apartment House (the space just behind the fountain on the main plaza). The expanded space means they will be launching a new culinary program, a counter service café serving cheese-centric dishes from around the world (and wines by the glass or bottle), and a retail space, with cut-to-order cheese and charcuterie counters. Classes will be held on the second floor, which will be outfitted with a catering kitchen and pizza oven, with space for 28 participants per class.

Details are a little sparse, but a kosher restaurant is coming to 6th Street, focused on “falafel, shwarma and other grilled kosher meats,” according to the J Weekly. The owners are Arik Sharabi and Roni Rotholz, and it will open in six months or so. Will keep you posted. 6th St. and Howard.


L’Osteria del Forno, we hope you come back. Photo via Facebook.


1300 on Fillmore. Photo from Facebook.

Man, there are some unfortunate closures to report, starting with a North Beach classic, ~L’OSTERIA DEL FORNO~, which has cyrptically closed after 27 years in business. Scoop reports there was a sign in the window that stated it was closed for renovations, but it also reportedly said that “they weren’t sure where the restaurant was headed once the work was done, so they wanted to take a moment to thank everyone that made this 27-year journey possible.’” But their phone is disconnected and their OpenTable reservations page is down, so yeah, that’s all pretty strange. Fingers crossed they return, it’s a special and nostalgic place for so many. 519 Columbus Ave. at Stockton.

Unfortunately ~1300 ON FILLMORE~ is closing its doors after 10 years, but Hoodline has a coda to the stories reported elsewhere. It looks like owners Monetta White and her husband chef David Lawrence are going to reconcept and hope to relaunch something new in the location. In the meantime, they will be renting out the restaurant as an event space (perfectly swanky for holiday parties!). And Black Bark BBQ down the street remains open. There will be a closing party on Wednesday October 25th.

Over the weekend, ~CRAFSTMAN & WOLVES~ closed their Russian Hill location after two years in the space. 1643 Pacific Ave. at Polk. [Via Scoop.]

We received word that the famous sushi boat restaurant in Japantown, ~ISOBUNE~, has closed. (“All the boats are out of the moat and it’s dark at noon on a Tuesday.”) But it also seems there’s a new boat place that has opened nearby (hmmm). Kintetsu Mall, 1737 Post St. at Webster.

A tablehopper reader let me know ~PARAGON~ in SoMa has closed (on October 13th), which was confirmed with a note on their website. 701 2nd St. at King.


The iconic facade at Boogaloos. Photo via Facebook.


The lobster roll at Pacific Catch. Photo via Facebook.

With all the lousy news these days, let’s highlight a few nice and fun things, starting with this feel-good story in Mission Local about the return of ~ BOOGALOOS~ after the landlord realized the rent hike that almost squeezed them out of their iconic Valencia location was not a cool move (a fire put the nail in the coffin). (“In 2015, the restaurant was rocked by a proposed increase of its rent from $4,200 to a parodic $17,500.”) The rent has returned to a much more manageable $7,500 a month (delivered with an apology!), and Boogaloos hopes to reopen in January 2018 after completing the renovation. Sweet!

You have one week to take advantage of ~LORD STANLEY~’s $45 three-course prix-fixe dinner, served on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the month of October. That’s one way to check out this Michelin winner—and then there’s their new monthly English breakfast, which I’ll be reminding you of soon!

Lobster lovers, ~PACIFIC CATCH~ is featuring lobster for the first time (flown in daily from Maine). Hi lobster, welcome to Cali! Executive chef David Gingrass has put a Thai-inspired red curry lobster bisque ($10) on the new East Coast Classics, West Coast Style menu, plus a West Coast lobster roll ($22) on a butter-toasted King’s Hawaiian roll (and $1 from every lobster roll goes to All Hands Volunteers disaster relief). Available through November 28th at all locations (San Francisco, Campbell, San Mateo, Mountain View, Corte Madera, and Dublin).

Remember the kind chef Guddu (and his famous tandoori fish) at ~LAHORE KARAHI~, and then his attempted comeback at Guddu de Karahi in the Outer Sunset? Well, it looks like he’s now in Rocklin at Kabab Hut. So if you’re passing through to ski in Tahoe, you know where to find him! (Just remember he can take awhile…but it’s worth it!)


“Smoke and Fire.” Photograph by Gaetan Caron, Mendocino County, Northern California. Used with permission.


Hi gang, the world continues to really needs our help. The majority of Puerto Rico remains without power, one month after Hurricane Maria struck (just think how much you lose your mind when the power is out for just a couple of hours). And our dear neighbors up north, man, do they need our continued generosity and help. Here are a bunch of fundraising events that could use your support, so grab some friends and go have a good time while helping. I have organized them by date below.

This Wednesday October 25th, Bacchus Management Group restaurants will host Fire Relief dinners, with 100 percent of dinner proceeds donated to the North Bay Fire Relief Fund. Visit any of their restaurants to help support our local community: Spruce, San Francisco; The Saratoga, San Francisco; The Village Pub, Woodside; The Village Bakery, Woodside; Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, Palo Alto; Pizza Antica, Danville; Pizza Antica, Lafayette; Pizza Antica, Mill Valley; and Pizza Antica, Santana Row. For those interested in supporting the North Bay Fire Relief Fund, but are unable to dine on Wednesday, Bacchus started a GoFundMe page, with all monies raised distributed directly to the Redwood Credit Union. Any amount counts, please click here to show your support.

Also on Wednesday, ~ANINA~ and ~BRASS TACKS~ in Hayes Valley are hosting a NorCal Fire Relief Event, raising money via proceeds from drink specials thanks to donated product, raffle ticket sales, food sales, and some amazing silent auction items. Come by anytime from 2pm-1:30am. Silent auction on the patio from 4pm-8pm. 488A Hayes St. at Octavia.

Maybe you’d prefer some wine instead? On Wednesday October 25th, come by the ~FERRY PLAZA WINE MERCHANT~ anytime from 4:30pm-7:30pm for a special tasting event to generate funds for the victims of the North Bay fires. Debbie Zachareas and Pamela Busch reached out to some wine importers who were willing to do whatever they could to help. You will be able to visit and taste with Gretchen Penn from Vintage 59, which imports wines from France; Nadia Dmytriw from Floraison Selections, which supports natural wines from France, Italy, Spain, and California; and Cristian Valbruzzoli from Lyra Fine Wine Imports, with his Italian portfolio. Along with Debbie and Pamela, they will be stationed in front of the store pouring their amazing wines.

The purchase of a $20 tasting will include six tickets that can be redeemed for either a taste or glass of any wine on the table: 1 ticket = one 2-ounce taste, 2 tickets = one 5-ounce glass. They are asking that everything be paid for in cash, so they can donate 100 percent of all funds directly to the UndocuFund charity. One Ferry Building, Shop 23.

Other wine-related fundraisers happening this week (Wednesday-Thursday) in conjunction with the newly formed Winemakers & Sommeliers for California Wildfire Relief will be at ~BERGAMOT ALLEY~ in Healdsburg and ~BLUXOME STREET WINERY~ in San Francisco. Click here for more information. Each event will feature rare wines donated by collectors, sommeliers, and/or distributors, with 100 percent of the profits donated.

On Sunday October 29th is Stand With Puerto Rico, a cocktail event organized by the United States Bartenders’ Guild San Francisco chapter. Expect quite a lineup of food and drinks (and bartenders, including Nora Furst, Christian Suzuki-Orellana, Mo Hodges, David Nepove, Ryan Fitzgerald, and many others). One hundred percent of the proceeds raised through this event will go to Unidos Por Puerto Rico, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that is directly helping the victims. There’s also a silent auction, and they are accepting donated clothing and supplies. Tickets are $25 and will be sold online until 1pm on the day of the event. Available at the door for $30. 5pm-9pm. Local Edition, 691 Market St. at 3rd St.

Coming up on Monday October 30th at Copia on The Wizards of Elixirs Cocktail Competition with Charbay Vodka and Perfect Purée. The event and competition will be walk-around style, with sample cocktails from Wine Country’s top bartenders as they vie for People’s Choice Award (6pm-8pm). There will then be an after-party and dancing from 8pm-11pm. Tickets: $35 presale online, $40 at the door. Ticket includes tasting of competition cocktails, light snacks, and one raffle ticket. Additional raffle tickets will be available to purchase. One hundred percent of proceeds will go to families directly affected by the North Bay Fires. 6pm-11pm. CIA at Copia, 500 1st St., Napa.

The San Francisco Vintners Market is Saturday and Sunday November 4th-5th, and they are donating 50 percent of all ongoing Sunday tickets to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity. They have been supporting family-owned wineries since 2010, and the most important way to support winemakers is to buy their wine—100 percent of all wine sales accrue directly to the selling winery. 

On Saturday November 4th, ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ is hosting a benefit reception and dinner supporting North Bay fire relief. Sam’s Grill will open its doors outside its regular Monday-Friday business hours with a $150-per-person, prix-fixe dinner, in honor of its 150th anniversary. The event starts at 4pm with an open bar cocktail reception on the patio followed by either a 5pm or 6:30pm dining room seating. The four-course menu will feature Sam’s famous chowder, mixed greens with shellfish, a main course (New York steak, cioppino, petrale sole, or fish and chips), and Sam’s tiramisu or chipwich for dessert. Call to make reservations at 415-421-0594.

Sam’s will be donating all profits to three charities that are doing great work in Napa, including the Napa Valley Community Foundation, Eqiu-Ed (a nonprofit that enhances the lives of children with special needs), and the Redwood Complex Fire Relief Fund in Mendocino County. Peter Quartaroli, managing partner of Sam’s Grill, had this to say: “Looking back on the history of Sam’s Grill, we feel very fortunate to have survived the 1906 earthquake and fire. What history has taught us is that the spirit and heart of the community is what carries on. We at Sam’s send our love and support to all those affected by the fires.”

A couple more ongoing notes:

~FOREIGN CINEMA~ will be donating 10 percent of all sales of Sonoma-, Mendocino-, and Napa-grown wines by the bottle to The Napa & Sonoma County Fire Relief Fund. The team will also donate $15 of a Napa wine flight to The Napa Valley Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and $3 from the Oh, I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain cocktail to the Sonoma County Resilience Fund.

—If you are planning a trip north (you should!), ~INDIAN SPRINGS CALISTOGA~ and ~NAPA VALLEY LODGE~ will be donating $10/night per reservation for all reservations made by November 9th for stay dates from now through November 30th. And ~BODEGA BAY LODGE~ will be donating $10/night per reservation to for all reservations made by November 9 for stay dates from now through November 30.


The spacious bar at Copper Spoon. Photo courtesy of Copper Spoon.


Taps taps taps at Paulista. Photo via Facebook.


A happy Scott Brennan behind the counter at The Fifth Quarter Charcuterie. Photo courtesy of The Fifth Quarter.

There are a bunch of new East Bay openings, starting with ~COPPER SPOON~, which is now open in the former Art’s Crab Shak in Oakland. Chef Andre Hall (previously Acme Chophouse, Bar Tartine, Fifth Floor, and Alexander’s Steakhouse)—who has teamed up with co-owners Vita Simone and Carmen Anderson (Sassafras Seagrass food truck)—has put together an opening menu that includes Sassy’s Original Hand Rolls with salmon, wasabi aioli, and daikon sprouts; Breads and Spreads with purple sweet potato, eggplant harissa, and tomato bacon; poached black bass with koji-cured vegetables, fried potatoes, and oyster broth; and a lamb merguez burger with spice rub, kraut, and tzatziki on a brioche bun.

Look for some quality cocktails at the spacious bar (Simone has been a bartender of note for more than 12 years), with some mezcal-based numbers. Happy hour is Mon-Fri 5:30pm-6:30pm; look for live music and occasional weekend DJs. Open daily 5:30pm-2am. 4031 Broadway, at 40th St., Oakland, 510-897-7061.

East Oakland has a new Vietnamese spot called ~THE TEMPLE CLUB~, and East Bay Express reports chef-owner Geoffrey Deetz has cooked in Ho Chi Minh City the past 15 years. Look for some lesser-seen Vietnamese dishes, including goat curry served with warm bread, butter, pâté and a small salad. Lunch for now, dinner coming soon. 2307 International Blvd. at 23rd St.

James Syhabout’s chic new cocktail lounge is open, ~CDP~. It’s a brandy- and sparkling wine-themed cocktail bar and lounge with a small and refined food menu that is connected to Commis next door. Eater reports the 24-seat space will have crowd control, so don’t worry about having to nudge your way to the bar, although you may need to put your name on the waiting list instead. 3859 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland.

Fans of Brazilian food will want to check out ~PAULISTA BRAZILIAN KITCHEN AND TAPROOM~ in Oakland’s Glenview neighborhood, serving classics like empanadas, coxinhas (chicken croquettes), and pao de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread), plus açai bowls and smoothies in the morning (7am), and feijoada and moqueca (fish stew) for dinner (5pm). Nosh mentions there’s also a taproom that opens at 12pm (click for the extensive tap list). 4239 Park Ave. at Wellington, Oakland.

Folks near Montclair Village have a new meat and charcuterie shop, ~THE FIFTH QUARTER CHARCUTERIE~. I mentioned this project back in 2016 from Scott Brennan, formerly from Cafe Rouge, who has been making charcuterie on his own for the past six years and selling at the farmers’ market in Berkeley on the weekends. His new retail storefront features a meat counter with his wide selection of sausages, pâtés, cuts of meat, and prepared foods made from animals sourced from local farms. He will also be offering sandwiches (such as pulled pork and meatball). Open Tue-Sat 11am-6pm, Sun 10am-4pm. 6464 Moraga Ave. at La Salle, Oakland.

Charles Phan and Michelle Mah have soft opened their new canteen on U.C. Berkeley’s campus inside Wurster Hall, ~RICE AND BONES~. For now, you can come by Mon-Fri 12pm-5pm. Nosh has a detailed report, check it out for more.

October 17, 2017

Cambria Gallery was the dream fiesta space. Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.


Hecho en Mexico! Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.


Texas pulled pork tacos (with queso!) from Villa Montez and Cafe Bravo on housemade tortillas! Photo: Albert Flores.


Chefs Javier Cancino of Cafe Bravo (Oakdale) and Carlos Villapudua of Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen (Tyler, Texas). Photo: Cynthia Vega.


Tasty tostaditas de tinga from El Huarache Loco! Photo: ©


Keeke was keeping the Espolòn Tequila flowing! Photo: ©


The margaritas were tops, thanks to Milagro Tequila and Alberto Soto of El Techo! (The spicy Techo Margarita with Montelobos Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, and habanero was fantastico!) Photo: ©


Gracias Chambers & Chambers for stocking our wine island with French rosé! Photo: Haven Mastenbrook.


Cambria’s Heather Mickley and James Stolich of Cook With James at our wine island. Photo: ©

Well, you guys, we did it! Friday night was our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser for Mexico earthquake relief, and it was all hands on deck! Not only did we sell out of tickets (thank you thank you!), but we also surpassed the $10K goal I had flitting around in my mind. We raised $10,727.56!!!! Ayyyyyyyyiiiiiiiiii!

I am so thrilled we can make such a significant contribution to Omaze and Ambulante’s fundraiser, started by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal to help Mexico rebuild. One hundred percent of the event’s fundraising is going to this initiative—and if you couldn’t attend our event, you can still donate directly to it! Mexico still needs help! People are sleeping outside in the rain, there aren’t enough supplies and water and medicine, especially in the rural areas. It’s heartbreaking. Any amount helps. Gracias.

There can be some potential cognitive dissonance being at a party when there is so much suffering going on in the world (especially in our backyard), but it was good to get everyone together and do something to help. The feeling in the room was incredible, such a warm and loving group (and seriously good looking, I might add). It was the first time for many guests to visit the contemporary chic Cambria Gallery in SoMa, such wonderful hosts—we could not have asked for a lovelier setting for our event. Thank you to my cohost, Itzel Percival of Cambria, for all her help in pulling this off, and Heather Mickley for the warm welcome.

You guys, the food was over the top. It was a dream SF event. Everyone who participated was so generous with their time and talent. What a fantastic array of handmade dishes from our La Cocina ladies (who were already so busy preparing food for Sunday’s Street Food Fest): Sal de Vida Gourmet (brilliant cochinita pibil mini tostadas with pickled onions), Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas (hand-stuffed vegetable and meat tamales with her incredible salsas), and El Huarache Loco, (mini tostaditas de tinga and mini huarachitos con nopales).

My heart almost leapt out of my chest when I found out chef Carlos Villapudua (Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen) was flying out from Tyler, Texas, to cook at our event. It wouldn’t have been possible without all the help of his wingman, chef Javier Cancino of Cafe Bravo, who not only cooked with Carlos, but hosted and helped with all the food prep at his restaurant in Oakdale.

Their tacos were such tasty works of art: chile colorado tenderloin tacos with housemade and organic cilantro-corn tortillas and garlic-laced mushrooms; Texas pulled pork tacos with pink organic beet and corn tortillas with Texas queso and smoked pulled pork, roasted green chile salsa, and black bean puree (my favorite); and tacos del jardin with roasted avocado-black bean puree, grilled vegetables, and roasted tomatillo sauce. Tremendous gracias to Cynthia Vega for bringing us all together. Carlos, come back soon! Love you guys!

Everyone was beyond thrilled to see the crowd-pleasing taco tropical from Loló, the elegant flounder ceviche from chef Daniel Tellez of Copita (who was on-site on a busy Friday night with his team!), the spicy albondigas and rich pork tamales from Don Pistos, and the grains & greens salad from Green Chile Kitchen. I know, what a spread.

It would not be a party without bowls everywhere of the perfect tortilla chips from La Palma, matched with SF’s favorite salsa from Papalote. And after alllllll the margaritas (heh heh), the late-night crew got to enjoy nachos doused with queso from WesBurger ‘N’ More. We also sold to-go boxes of chips and salsa for chilaquiles in the morning and a few leftover tamales for the freezer. (The late-night chip and tamale sale was hilarious.)

Our bar was en fuego! We were so fortunate to have three of SF’s best barmen running the show: Alberto Soto (El Techo), Enrique Sanchez (Arguello), and Reza Esmaili (Ananas Consulting). We had five fantastic cocktails (click those links to see the menus!) on offer, thanks to the batching artistry of Rye on the Road (thanks for setting up the bar, Jon Gasparini!) and El Techo!, featuring top spirits from Campari America/Espolòn Tequila, Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes.

And at the end of the night, the guys handed me a box of cash with all their tips they collected and donated it all to our fundraiser. I mean, come ON. Love you!

We had two huge tubs of ice-cold Mexican cervezas generously provided by Cadillac Bar & Grill—so good to have after everything was all cleaned up—and some of you got to try the brand-new cold-fermented aguas frescas from Hard Frescos (you can find them here).

I saw a lot of you at rosé island, enjoying French rosé donated by Chambers & Chambers. If you want to pick up some bottles of the Petit Bourgeois rosé de pinot noir from the Loire (2016) or the Triennes Vin de Pays du Var rosé (2016), you can find them at Bi-Rite Market, D&M Wine & Liquor, Gus’s Community Market, Plumpjack Wine Shop, Flatiron Wines, Canyon Market, and Haight Street Market. Salud!

The silent auction was a hit! With the generous contributions from so many local businesses, artists, and individuals, we raised $3,309! There were many gift certificates (thanks to Nopa, Nopalito, Flores, Uno Dos Tacos y Tequila, 54 Mint, Montesacro, and Hakkasan); a VIP experience for the San Francisco Street Food Festival from La Cocina; special dinners with wine pairings from Devil’s Gulch Ranch and Locanda; gift boxes and bottles from Campari America, Milagro Tequila, Domaine Chandon, The Terraces Winery, ZD Wines, and Manicaretti; gift certificates from Ginger Rubio Salon; and an ice cream maker AND Le Creuset pan from Joanne Weir.

Plus, we had local art from Rob Delamater and Adam McCauley, and a signed copy of The Art of the Bar Cart! You were all so generous, thank you!

There is no way we could have pulled this all off without the fleet of incredible volunteers who offered their help! They were a blur of activity, from serving food, greeting, keeping the place spotless, to assisting the chefs. (Special shout-out to Willow Blish, who became our ad hoc kitchen manager and ran such a tight ship.) From the bottom of my heart, thank you all for donating your time and skills and hands and running the event like it was your own!

Special thanks to Dominic Philips Event Marketing for the generous donation of serveware and utensils for the event.

And last but certainly not least, this event would have been nothing without everyone who attended, bought tickets, invited friends, bid on the silent auction, tipped heavy at the bar, and bought queso at the end of the night. :) We had such a beautiful, generous crowd! Love you all.

Thanks to all my fellow media folks who helped promote the event, including 48 Hills, Blackboard Eats, and SF Weekly! Mwah!

I will be posting pictures as soon as I have them on Facebook. Unfortunately my camera is on the fritz (it’s stuck on just one focus mode, ugh), and I was only able to capture a few images that were usable. Fortunately a couple of friends showed up with their cameras, thanks!

We are living in a crazy, heartbreaking state of the world right now, with so much loss and disasters and suffering at every turn, but we also have a world full of people who love to help, to give, and come together. We can make a difference. Let’s keep it up. A lot of people need our help right now. Besos y amor!


Meredith Miller delivering sandwiches: “With my favorite firefighter today, Dave. Taking sandwiches to the helicopters going up with the huge water drops.” Photo via Facebook.


Napa Private Tours and Taco Addiction have teamed up and are doing a great job feeding first responders and more.

It’s hell on earth in the North Bay, and there is a tremendous, awe-inspiring amount of effort happening in the Bay Area from so many people trying to help, from feeding people to providing shelter and supplies and medical attention, let alone emotional support, to helping animals and livestock. It’s a huge triage situation that’s changing hourly. Some systems are coming into focus, with organizations like Facebook preparing and delivering 5,000 meals at a time. Incredible.

We’re in this for the long haul, folks. Here are places and organizations where you can donate time, money, meals, and more. Even if you can’t help RIGHT NOW, how about next week?

A group of top SF restaurateurs and businesses have banded together to bring food to the North Bay and help care for the community. Whether you’re a chef who wants to cook/prepare food or a volunteer who can help with phone calls and admin and deliveries, please take a look at SF Fights Fire and sign up. (You can also donate to help their efforts.) Since last Thursday, they have delivered more than 15,000 meals, working closely with the Salvation Army, Ceres Community Project in Sebastopol, and small evacuation centers.

Huge kudos to Off the Grid for rallying their vendors and trucks to help feed people. Please support them in their efforts here.

Here’s a page with food needs set up by a nonprofit group in Santa Rosa, Worth Our Weight (see contact info at the top), where you can offer to provide food.

Meredith Miller in Petaluma and her group of #sandwichangels have been feeding sandwiches to first responders and evacuees—she started with 200 sandwiches in her home kitchen and is now up to 2,000 at a commercial kitchen. Here’s how to help financially, and there’s info on how you can volunteer here.

Our friend at Pizzalina brought UndocuFund to my attention, which is bringing fire relief to undocumented workers in Sonoma County (who aren’t eligible for fire relief from FEMA, and have diminished access to other disaster relief services). Please take a look. To add some perspective, an estimated 28,000 undocumented immigrants live and work in Sonoma County.

Our friends at Napa Private Tours have been feeding first responders, evacuees, and volunteers (you can follow their efforts on their Instagram too), here’s how to help them: “We are in for the long run and we need you to partner with us. If you are among those who has asked for a way to give us a tax-deductible donation, we are fortunate and blessed to have an option for you. Our wonderful friends at Feast It Forward have set up a direct account to point money our way and help us keep going as we try to meet the immediate needs of first responders and fire evacuees.”

Can you drive? Copia is looking for delivery volunteers!

Our friends at Heath have this to say: “We’re heartbroken by the devastating impact of the North Bay’s wildfires and all of our neighbors who have been impacted. We’ve been thinking about how Heath can help immediate, critical needs, and believe that the way that we can potentially have the most impact is to support the Redwood Empire Food Bank (REFB). REFB is providing critical food to shelters for neighbors displaced by fires and working to ensure that those who needed food assistance before the fires are still able to access their help.

“REFB is in dire need of ready-to-eat, nonperishable foods that they can provide to the evacuation centers immediately and for weeks to come. These foods should be easy to open and easy to eat; many shelters do not have kitchens for heating and preparing food. Please do not bring glass containers.

“Feel free to drop off food donations to the Heath SF or Heath Sausalito showrooms. We’ll use our Heath van to deliver donations to REFB on Friday, October 20. And we’ll continue to evaluate our contributions as needs and news evolves.”

“And our friends at Bay Grape have been doing a lot to help (follow on Facebook and sign up for their newsletter); here’s what they recommend:

“1) GIVE MONEY for the long road of rebuilding ahead. The Napa Valley Community Foundation and Sonoma County Resilience Fund are two good options among many.

“2) BUY PRODUCTS FROM AFFECTED AREAS. We cannot overstate this enough. It can feel shallow to just ‘drink a bottle of wine’ and think you’re helping, but you truly are. Your purchase is REAL money going to REAL businesses, families, livelihoods that have been totally decimated by these fires.

“3) VISIT THE AFFECTED AREAS, eat at the restaurants, shop at the stores, drink at the tasting rooms, tip well. Again: REAL money going to REAL businesses, families, and livelihoods. We’ll be majorly amping up our stock of Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa wines at the shop in the coming months as a way to support this effort.”

And from Reeve Wines: “Sonoma-based Reeve Wines, from husband-and-wife team Noah and Kelly Dorrance, has put together an all-star effort for fire relief. Based in Healdsburg in the Dry Creek Valley, Noah and Kelly have called upon friends and family to create an epic raffle event with 100 percent of all money raised going to help fire victims, with a focus on giving to the most vulnerable and those who were uninsured.”

Donors and friends will match dollar for dollar all the money raised (that means this doubles the impact of the gift). All funds raised through the purchase of entry tickets will be divided to three different organizations—the Redwood Credit Union Fund, Redwood Empire Food Bank, and to a local to Healdsburg organization called Corazon. Tickets are 1 for $25, 5 for $100, 15 for $200, 50 for $500. Drawing will be held on Facebook Live at 11am PST, November 1st.

The Absinthe Group is hosting a fundraising event this Sunday October 22nd at ~BELLOTA~ from 3pm-7pm, with 100 percent of ticket sales ($100 per person) going directly to fire relief efforts. The walk-around event will feature food and drink from Bellota, plus dishes from contributing chefs, including Antelmo Faria (Uma Casa), Kim Alter (Nightbird), Jason Berthold (Monsieur Benjamin), Anjan Mitra (Dosa), and more. Tickets and more info can be found here.

And lastly, we could all use a drink. Come by ~THE FRONT PORCH~ tomorrow, Wednesday October 18th, for the Lo-Fi x Front Porch fundraiser—all Lo-Fi drink proceeds will be donated to North Bay fire relief. 5:30pm-8:30pm.

October 10, 2017

Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas. Photo: John Ater.


Happy hour will be special with Espolòn Tequila cocktails by Rye on the Road. Photo courtesy of MADE PR.


El Huarache Loco is going to be serving mini huarachitos con nopales. Photo: John Ater.


One of the five cocktails we’ll be serving are El Techo’s classic margaritas. Photo: Aubrie PIck.


Chef Daniel Tellez of Copita will be at our event serving ceviche. Photo: Copita.


The Hechos in Mexico portfolio with Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes will be en la casa!


Loló is going to be serving a version of their incredible taco tropical! (The best.) Photo: ©


Cochinita pibil from La Cocina’s Sal de Vida Gourmet—we’ll be having tostaditos! Photo: Sal de Vida Gourmet.

I know the recent quakes and horrific damage in Mexico seem far away considering all the terrible disasters our planet has suffered the past few weeks, but there are still many people and places in desperate need who will benefit from our assistance. There are so many people now homeless and living in shelters or sleeping outside, people who need food, volunteers who need help. Villagers left with nothing. Sadly, a lot like what is happening here in ravaged Northern California, but with less resources to get back on their feet.

I hope you can support the happy hour-style fundraiser I am hosting with the wonderful folks at Cambria Gallery in SoMa. We’re calling the event SF ❤️ MX and will be serving a bunch of delicious dishes and craft cocktails this Friday October 13th for Mexico earthquake relief (100% of the proceeds will be donated!).

Even if you can’t attend, can you please help spread the word? See below! Thank you so much.

I have some exciting updates to the lineup, including the news that we have three La Cocina businesses joining us (gracias, damas!), and chef Carlos Villapudua and his brother Mundo of Villa Montez and their new 1836 Texas Kitchen in Tyler, Texas, are flying to SF to cook at our event. Amazing!

There will be abundant bites from Loló (taco tropical), Sal de Vida Gourmet (cochinita pibil mini tostadas with pickled onions), Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas (vegetable and meat tamales), El Huarache Loco (mini tostaditas de tinga and mini huarachitos con nopales), Copita (ceviche), Don Pistos (tamales and albondigas), WesBurger ‘N’ More (queso), and others, including Green Chile Kitchen, who will be serving their grains & greens salad with chipotle vinaigrette (vegetarian). There are some other vegetarian options too (please look above).

If you want to contribute anything sweet, please get in touch! Thank you to everyone who is so generously providing food for the event.

The bar will be shakin’ with fantastic cocktails courtesy of Rye on the Road and El Techo, featuring top spirits from Campari America/Espolòn Tequila, Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes. We have some awesome bartenders donating their time and expertise.

Mexican cervezas will be generously provided by Cadillac Bar & Grill and Hard Frescos (they are a new brand, making cold-fermented aguas frescas!). Many thanks to Chambers & Chambers for donating cases of French rosé wine for you to enjoy! It will be #roséoclock.

We also have a fantastic silent auction, with gift certificates and more (thanks to Nopa, Nopalito, Flores, Uno Dos Tacos y Tequila, 54 Mint, Montesacro); gift boxes from Campari America, Milagro Tequila, and Manicaretti; gift certificates from Ginger Rubio Salon; and an ice cream maker AND Le Creuset pan from Joanne Weir. Plus, we’ll have local art from Rob Delamater and Adam McCauley.

La Cocina is offering a VIP experience for the 2017 San Francisco Street Food Festival, which includes an open bar, vouchers for five booths, and a personalized walking tour of the new event venue by executive director Caleb Zigas for up to four guests. This isn’t something even usually offered, so it’s really special.

And Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch is donating a tour of the ranch and dinner (or lunch) for four people, featuring meats and wines from the ranch, plus Marin County vegetables and cheeses.

We need a few more volunteers to help serve food and keep the event tidy! And my camera is on the fritz (ugh!)—it would be amazing to have a photographer there, gracias. Please get in touch if you can help in any way!

Special thanks to Dominic Philips Event Marketing for the generous donation of serveware and utensils for the event.

This event will be a 100 percent donation to Omaze and Ambulante’s fundraiser, started by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal to help Mexico rebuild. Click the link to read more about this thoughtful and legit fundraiser.

Tickets are on a sliding scale ($35-$150+, ALL INCLUSIVE)—all we ask is that you please pay what you can afford to donate, gracias. Most importantly, we just want you there!

Even if you can’t attend, if you can please help spread the word, we’d so appreciate it. Here is the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks for liking and sharing!

And here is the event flyer you can link to, download, and share! (And here is a version in Spanish!)

Another way you can help: we are processing our tickets with Square, which kindly gifted our Mexico fundraiser with no processing fees for $750 of transactions, but that’s going to disappear quickly. If you can please sign up for a Square account (it’s free!), we will get $1,000 of free ticket processing! And so will you. :) Which means every cent that is spent on tickets will go to Mexico. Gracias! (And thanks to the person who signed up last week, we really appreciate it!)

See you this Friday October 13th! 6:30pm-9pm. 21 and over. Cambria showroom, 1045 Bryant St. between 8th and 9th streets.


“Smoke and Fire.” Photograph by Gaetan Caron, Mendocino County, Northern California. Used with permission.

I know everyone’s Facebook pages are swirling with info on angel friends driving supplies to shelters, drop-off points for donations, food deliveries, and many more ways to help all these poor people who have lost everything in Northern California from the fires. You are all amazing, way to rally. Look for the helpers!

I wanted to share a few initial ways to help that have crossed my desk, thanks for any support you can show! And please read the note at the bottom of this post for tips about donating clothes and more, thank you!

Our friends at Charles Communications have started this GoFundMe fundraiser that “for now will provide DIRECT relief to evacuees of the communities of west county in Sonoma. Found an organization networked to 10 other shelters who are taking in evacuees. We are identifying a similar charity in Napa, where the devastation has cut communications. The goal is to raise money so we can go and buy supplies for the 10 shelters (sleeping bags, cots, diapers, kids pajamas, nonperishable food, hygienic items). Our team will be driving a load up this Thursday. Please contribute what you can.”

You want to help? Donate? Need realtime info? This detailed page for Sonoma donations, volunteering, evac site needs, and more is AMAZING. There’s a timestamp so you can see when it was last updated.

There are also some drop-off points for clothes, supplies, and more:

-From noon-close now through Friday night (at least), ~THE ALEMBIC~ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will be a donation drop point for food, blankets, clothing, medical supplies, pet food (domestic and livestock). Chef Rachel Aronow will take donated items up beginning on Saturday morning. Aronow grew up in the North Bay and sadly the farm where she was raised, in the Fountain Grove area in Santa Rosa, was wiped out by the fires along with about 70 horses. (So so sorry to read this, chef Rachel. The mind reels. Love to you.)

-~RESOLUTE~ wine bar is going to be donating all beverage sales all night this Wednesday October 11th. They will also be accepting canned food (dog/cat food in particular) and toiletries to be delivered up north that following Thursday morning.

-~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ is accepting donations through Friday at 11am. “We have direct contacts on the ground ready to accept these donations and we will personally deliver them. NEEDED unused, non perishables such as: toiletries, pet food, diapers, blankets, underwear, clothes etc. Chef and crew will also be preparing food and delivering it to those in need, in shelters and wherever requested. PLEASE DROP OFF DONATIONS ANYTIME AFTER 10am—if prior to business hours, ring yellow buzzer—WE ARE HERE! Now is the time for us all to show up!”

-~THE STUD~ in SoMa will be receiving supplies for North Bay today after 5pm and every day until further notice! They are also accepting monetary donations, which will be dispersed to several local funds. (And they are also receiving large luggage for Puerto Rico.) Keep up with their help and needs on Facebook. Here’s what is currently needed: baby food, canned food, diapers (baby and adult), inhalers, toiletries (toothbrush, paste, toilet paper), dog and cat food and litter, other pet supplies (water and food bowls), water and juice, clothes (all ages and sizes), new underwear in package, new pillows in package, and clean blankets.

~MAUNA LOA~, at 3009 Fillmore at Union, will have bins out as of tomorrow 10/11/17 for food and clothing.

-~FORT POINT BEER~ is now a drop-off point: If you are looking to donate supplies to those affected by the North Bay fires, our brewery (644 Old Mason Street) is now acting as a drop-off location. Donations can be made this week through Monday 10/16 from 6am-8pm—our trucks will be making deliveries to the shelters. Our hearts go out to our family, friends and community in the North Bay. Read more on what is needed here.

-In wake of the devastating fires in Northern California, we wanted to share that The Morris will become a drop-off site for supplies this Thursday, 10/12 through Saturday, 10/14 between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m at 2501 Mariposa St (Mariposa & Hampshire).

-~THE MORRIS~ team will collect supplies from Thursday 10/12 through Saturday 10/14 (from 1pm-4pm) at 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire. They will then bring supplies to Fort Point Brewery, who will deliver everything to shelters on Monday October 16th. The items in highest demand include:
— Tents
— Air Mattresses and cots
— Pillows
— Phone Chargers
— Dry and Canned Pet Food (dog, cat, kitten)
— Animal crates and carriers small and large
— Dog Bowls (any bowls for food and water)
— Other pet supplies (litter, bedding, leashes, collars)
— Diapers
— Baby Strollers
— Baby Carries
— Personal Protection Equipment (masks, latex gloves, etc.)
— Boxes
— Duct Tape

In the East Bay, ~BAY GRAPE~ in Oakland is accepting donations. Please look at their Facebook page for the latest updates/needs/tips and more.

Just got this from my friend at Spent the past 2 days working at Marin’s main emergency shelter, incredible. A small city sprang up in no time, housed 500 people Monday night. More shelters are springing up and is getting food to them.

Key messages to people wanting to help: - People fleeing the fires are welcome at the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium shelter, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Small pets are welcome.
- Marin Humane Society, 415-883-4621, is providing emergency boarding for animals.
- Don’t bring food or other donations to the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium.
- Sign up to volunteer at - If you work in a Marin business that has food to donate, contact
- People wanting to post they are safe can do so at
- Watch for updates at

I read this post by Abby Leutholdt on Facebook and found it to be full of excellent and helpful information, please look this over before you donate clothes and other items.

“After the devastating Valley and Rocky fires, I spent weeks working in the evacuation centers. Mainly, I assisted in sorting and separating the mountain of donated clothes and supplies. I was overwhelmed by the people I met and their stories but also in the amazing generosity of strangers.

But…in the coming days and weeks, as you consider helping and begin to sort through things you’d like to donate, stop and truly look at what you are giving. If it is new or ‘lightly used,’ please give it to those who need it.

If it is torn, missing buttons, stained, tattered or smells like cat pee (yes, I sorted through several bags), please do not add to the misery of this disaster by offloading your less than desirable belongings to those in need.

In a matter of minutes, many people lost everything today. Everything.

Clothes, shoes, warm coats, sports equipment (yes, cleats matter to kids who just want normal), school supplies, tools, gift cards, hotel vouchers are all needed. If you donate shoes, tie the laces or rubber band them together. If you give a belt or accessories, put them in a ziplock. Label the bags with a Sharpie. Separate your donations into smaller bags or boxes, label the boxes. (Toddler clothes and shoes, sizes 2T-4T, Women’s Work Clothes, sizes 8/10/12, Men’s Casual Clothes, sizes XL and Pants sizes 36-38, etc.). This will help more than you know.

In the coming weeks and months, people will need your help. These fires have stolen homes, cars, belongings, places of employment (which means that people have lost jobs too), hopes, dreams, memories. Now is the time to open up our hearts, homes, and wallets.

And, as someone who lost everything once in a fire, sometimes it’s the little things that really matter. A phone call, a shared meal, unexpected bags of groceries or even a memory album. Go through pictures, put together photo albums for your friends. You don’t have to give it to them yet, but when you do, it can bring so much peace.

Once donation pages are announced, consider keeping the funds local. Look to the local churches, charities, and credit unions that will be setting up and managing funds.

Volunteer. Serve meals, help sort donations, read to kids. If you are qualified, help people with legal and financial advice. Go to fundraisers, bid on auction items, support our communities by being an active member. It’s so easy to be wrapped up in our own worries, fears, and lives. Now is the time to help others. Please help in any way you can.”

Thank you, Abby, and thank you everyone for all your support, concern, time, and helping hands and open hearts. Keep it coming. You are all incredible.


The red booths and collage artwork at Foxsister. All photos courtesy of Foxsister.


Get your Korean snack on.


The fun, divey style of Foxsister.

Newly open (as of last night) on 24th Street in the Mission is ~FOXSISTER~ from chef-owner Brandon Kirksey and his partner Kristina Farino. Kirksey’s background includes working at Flour + Water, The Slanted Door and Jardinière and opening Girin Ssam Bar in Seattle, where Kirksey was deeply inspired to explore Korean cuisine further (plus travel in Korea).

His creative Korean project is meant to have dive bar DNA, with a low-key yet high-energy vibe. The menu is inspired by “anju” (Korean drinking snacks that are spicy and crunchy) and family-style dishes (like bo ssam) for your posse to enjoy. The menu includes handmade noodles and rice cakes, spicy fried chicken (three kinds), ribs, bulgogi, savory pancakes, and hot pots.

There are fun dishes, like squid jerky, kimchi nacho cheese dip (sign me up), and other stoner-friendly bites, like dumplings. Ingredients are made in-house and by hand, like his signature spicy miso paste (ssamjang) and fermented vegetables, including various kimchis and more. There are also some vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.

Drinking options include soju cocktails, plenty of beer (local and Asian), wines, and more. The space has a fun design, including punchy tomato-red booths, a glitter bar top, and local artwork inside and out, including a full-wall wheatpaste collage by Seattle street artist Cheyenne Randall. Music will also figure prominently, with guest DJs spinning old-school hip-hop to punk.

Open Sun-Wed 6pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 6pm-11pm. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell, 415-829-7814.


Smørrebrød from Kantine at the Saturday CUESA Farmers Market. Photo via CUESA.


New lunch options at Fiorella. Photo: Blair Heagerty.

Some snacky news for you: Kantine Smørrebrød has returned to the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for the fall season—look for Nichole Accettola’s Scandinavian-inspired open-faced sandwiches and grain porridges (only served from 8am-10:30am) and sprouted rye bread to bring home. They will rotate each week. 8am-2pm, south driveway. In the meantime, things are moving ahead for Kantine to open at 1906 Market Street next year.

If you could also use some caffeine, Red Bay Coffee has joined the Ferry Plaza on Thursdays! You can enjoy their single-origin, fair-trade coffees and beans, all roasted in small batches in Oakland.

Looking for a new lunch spot? Outer Richmond’s ~FIORELLA~ is kicking off lunch on Fridays from 11am-2pm. There are pizzas and pasta, new salads, and sandwiches (including an eggplant Parm, Italian hoagie, and meatball sub), plus you can snag the new Tuesday burger on Fridays for lunch. There’s also a new list of low-ABV cocktails by Patrick Poelvoorde (Benjamin Cooper and Burritt Room + Tavern), perfect for the back patio. 2339 Clement St. at 23rd Ave., 415-340-3049.  


The pozole verde from El Pípila. Photo by John Ater.

Last week, ~THE HALL~ closed in order to start making way for development of the space into mixed use (residential and retail). The temporary space (it was open for three years) housed a variety of small businesses, from Back East Sandwich Shop to El Pípila (who I heard going to be opening in a new location next year!). In the meantime, El Pípila will be doing lunch deliveries—gotta keep Guadalupe’s pozole verde in our lives! Also heard tenant Farming Hope will continue to expand with dinners and more presence at the Civic Center Farmers’ Market. 1028 Market St. at Golden Gate.

A reader let me know there has been another casualty at Ghirardelli Square: the café location for ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ has also closed.

Over at the ~FERRY BUILDING~, Boccalone will be closing at the end of the month (on October 29th). And not just the shop, but the entire charcuterie company. Owner Mark Pastore told Inside Scoop that shop sales have been in decline, and the artisan charcuterie business has become a more crowded space. Stock up on their ibericollo while you can.

And another nail in ~FARINA~’s coffin: Mission Local reports the business was officially evicted (the notice was dated September 20th).

And just because we haven’t seen enough destruction from fires (dear lord, make it stop, please), ~CAFFE PUCCINI~ in North Beach sadly suffered a fire last night. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to track down the story and details before post time on how extensive the damage is—I will update this post when I can. [UPDATE: Hoodline’s report and pics are so sad, the place is totally and tragically gutted.] 411 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo.


Donato and Gianluca plating bites of the ricotta tortelli with spicy amatriciana sauce. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


The dining room at the new Donato & Co. Photo: ©


The busy bar at last Friday’s Donato & Co. pre-opening party. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


Housemade pitina salume at Donato & Co. Photo: Nadia Andreini.

As many of you know, last Friday I helped host the preopening party for ~DONATO & CO.~, the contemporary Italian restaurant opening in Elmwood from Donato Scotti (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City and Desco in Oakland) and his chef-partner in this and future projects, Gianluca Guglielmi, who came from Italy to open Donato & Co.

Grazie to everyone who bought tickets to the party and came out to welcome Donato and Gianluca to the neighborhood! The event was also a fundraiser for The Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP)—the duo generously donated $2,000 to BORP! It’s an impressive nonprofit organization that works to improve the health, independence, and social integration of people with physical disabilities through adaptive sports, fitness, and recreation programs, and it is based in Berkeley.

It was one heck of a party—Donato and Gianluca put out quite the apericena spread, from housemade salumi (check this out) to quail lollipops to roasted pig! It was a great way to check out some of the dishes they’ll be serving—the housemade ricotta tortelli with spicy amatriciana sauce were fantastico. And hello risotto with oxtail.

Check out the menu here. Dishes are going to be rotating often, but you can see the different sections. I’d pay particular attention to items coming off the grill, a highlight feature of the open kitchen, which includes rotisserie chicken. The pricing is also very neighborhood-friendly—they want to see you often.

The bar was busy pouring prosecco and making spritzes all night, and I can vouch for the fab Negroni I had late at night at the end of the event. Ahhhhh. That bar is not only spacious, but also well stocked. Enjoy it.

The space looks great (Anna Klint of Iron Skirt designed it)—it includes a 20-foot bar and seating for 120 guests in the main dining room. There are booths and comfortable chairs and lots of wood and huge images of Donato’s hometown, Bergamo. And then there’s that state-of-the-art Constellation and Libra acoustic system from Berkeley’s renowned Meyer Sound, which makes for the best dining room acoustics. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm, and Sun 5pm-9pm. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.

A few other quick tidbits of East Bay news for you:

Open today (October 10th) on Piedmont Avenue is ~BELOTTI BOTTEGA~ from Michele Belotti of Belotti Ristorante e Bottega in Rockridge. It’s more of a takeout/quick-serve concept. “Fresh pasta, sauces, and appetizers will be available for purchase during the soft opening. Full capacity menu and online ordering will be available shortly!” 4001 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland.

—This is the opposite of good news: a taker for one of the spaces that was formerly occupied by beloved and old-school Genova Delicatessen will be a ~NOAH’S BAGELS~. No word who is taking over the second space yet. [Via Eater.]

I’ll have more news for you next week on new projects!