The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
August 15, 2017

Kuma Sushi’s Cory Jackson and Ryo Sakai. Photo via Facebook.

Color me impressed. Back in March, I wrote about the upcoming ~KUMA SUSHI + SAKE~, from best friends Ryo Sakai (Pink Zebra, Domo) and Cory Jackson, and they reached out to let me know they are now softly open on Polk. Nice work, guys. The official opening is this Thursday August 17th.

They are opening a neighborhood-friendly sushi spot, designed to work for all kinds of budgets, while not skimping on quality seafood, with much of it local (from TwoXSea). The menu features small plates and salads to start, like sakekawa ($8), fresh arugula leaves and crispy salmon skin dressed with ponzu; chawanmushi ($9), a savory egg custard with shiitake mushroom, smoked gouda, and crab; and there are some tasting spoons for those who love those one-bite wonders.

You’ll also find nigiri, sashimi, and maki rolls, from a California roll (with real crab) to some kookier ones, like the Hey Girl ($14), a tempura shrimp roll topped with layers of tuna and avocado, spicy mayo, and unagi sauce. You can sit at the sushi bar for omakase, which is definitely fun with Ryo driving the bus. Vegetarians will also find some selections.

Local and Japanese beers, an ever-changing list of sakes, and wines are available. There’s a custom sushi case at the counter, and look for the shou sugi ban wood at the entrance (it’s a Japanese technique of charring and preserving wood).There are 18 seats, with 12 at the bar, and no reservations. Hours are lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm, and dinner Sun and Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Closed Mon. 1040 Polk St. at Post.


The Wagyumafia cutlet sandwich. Photo via @wagyumafia on Instagram.


The sushi counter at Omakase. Photo: ©

I know, you actually are reading that correctly. A $180 sandwich is coming to San Francisco from Japan’s Wagyumafia (careful, the video on their site is on blast), known as “Japan’s preeminent Kobe and Wagyu beef ambassadors and purveyors.” They basically buy the spendiest beef imaginable and feature it at their pop-ups around the world (they also opened a members-only club in Tokyo).

Co-founders Hisato Hamada and Takafumi Horie will be opening the first certified Wagyu butcher and sandwich shop in the United States in early 2018, their fifth location and first outside of Asia, which will sell Japanese Kobe and Wagyu beef in a retail setting. Sandwiches will be available at lunchtime, from $8 to $180, depending on the quality and cut of Wagyu or Kobe beef and if you stopped by your money tree that morning and picked a bushel of Benjamins (or not). There are also plans to host pop-up dinners with guest chefs from Japan.

They are partnering with ORG (Omakase Restaurant Group) owners Kash Feng and chef Jackson Yu (Omakase, Okane, Dumpling Time, Live Sushi, and Breakfast at Tiffany’s) on the shop. It will be part of ORG and Equity Residential’s One Henry Adams project in the design district (which also has a yakiniku steakhouse, whisky bar, and an udon noodle shop in the works).

To celebrate the partnership, ~OMAKASE~ is hosting an exclusive five-course dinner on Wednesday August 30th with Louis Roederer Champagne (yes, the Cristal will be flowing, and the Kobe beef “Shabusando” Chateaubriand cutlet sandwich is part of the menu). Seatings at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. $595 per person, excluding tax and gratuity (oof). For reservations, call Omakase at 415-865-0633.


Exterior of the Hotel Bijou. Photo via Facebook.

While waiting for chef Robin Song to get his Korean-influenced project Junju off the ground after departing from Hog & Rocks, it ends up he has pivoted and is now the chef behind ~GIBSON~, a restaurant opening in the soon-to-be-renovated boutique Hotel Bijou in the Tenderloin.

His contemporary American menu will be focused on live-fire cooking, seasonality (due to his close relationships with many small and nearby farms), sustainability, and also affordability, while still delivering quality and good service (well, that’s nice). The menu will be designed to share, starting with charcoal-grilled sourdough bread service with seasonal accompaniments that will literally have guests break bread together. There will also be classic cocktails featuring juices, shrubs, and ingredients from the kitchen.

Oakland-based Mister Important (Chambers Eat + Drink, Gitane) is behind the design, which will take some inspiration from Art Deco. Look for an opening in late summer. 111 Mason St. at Eddy.


The exterior, with LED artwork from Mexico-based artists Héctor Falcón and Fernando Llanos. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The former Renoir Hotel flatiron building is now the San Francisco Proper Hotel. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Proper Hotel.

Adriano Paganini’s Back of the House restaurant group has confirmed they are taking over the former La Urbana space on Divisadero and will be opening their 22nd restaurant in the location. Their PR team hints it will also be their 12th concept, we’ll just have to wait and see what that will be. The plan is to open later this November. Stand by for updates. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.

Meanwhile, details have emerged about the three food and beverage concepts that will be in the San Francisco Proper Hotel, opening in Mid-Market this summer. First will be Villon, offering an all-day dining experience by chef Jason Franey (Campton Place, Eleven Madison Park, Canlis, Restaurant 1833). Look for a menu of contemporary American cuisine featuring updated classics, or as Franey is calling it, “comfort geek cooking.” There will be a main dining room and lobby salon, with cocktails from Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BVHospitality (their “7x7” cocktail menu—a tribute to SF’s seven-by-seven-mile radius—will feature seven thematic categories with seven cocktails in each), plus wine and beer. There’s also a private dining room that will seat 14.

Next will be Charmaine’s, the rooftop bar and lounge, with cocktails, large-format drinks, highball service for groups, and bar bites, and La Bande, serving housemade pastries, tartines, sandwiches, and salads, plus coffee, tea, beer, and wine. There will also be a specialty market, with products and housemade provisions to go. 1110 Market St. at 7th St.

There’s something new opening in late August on Belden Place in the former Belden Taverna: ~TOY SOLDIER~. The menu will focus on contemporary American cuisine paired with house-brewed beer. Executive chef and co-owner Fred Turner is working with general manager and co-owner Franz Meis and co-owners Nick Pigott and Johnny “Love” Metheny. The hearty menu includes rabbit arancini, Brussels sprouts Caesar salad, and hefty dishes like Toy Soldier IPA-braised beef short ribs. Cocktails, 14 beer taps, and an on-site microbrewery, plus a California-focused wine list will be on offer, with live musical entertainment Thu-Sat and occasional weekend DJs. Michael Brennan is behind the renovation, which includes a communal table, booths, and banquette seating, plus an upstairs lounge. Lunch, happy hour, and dinner will be served, plus there are plans for late night (until 4am, whoa) and brunch. Hours will be daily 10:30am-3pm and dinner 4pm-11pm. 52 Belden Pl. at Pine, 415-906-9048.


Absinthe. Image: ©

Just in case you’re planning on grabbing a Ginger Rogers cocktail or raw oysters or their soft garlic pretzels with Vermont cheddar Mornay sauce (the best!) at ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~, the restaurant is currently closed for a refresh until Thursday September 7th. I’ll remind you when the renovations are complete. And don’t worry, you can still book a table for opera season!


Enough Tea & Coffee is opening soon. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick notes for you fellow caffeine lovers. Just about to open in the Financial District is ~ENOUGH TEA & COFFEE~, a small shop serving hot and cold coffee, espresso drinks, brewed tea, milk tea, fruit tea, and their Enough Milk Mousse Tea: black, green, or oolong with sea salt. There are also some yogurt drinks if you need a break from a caffeine buzz. Follow along on Instagram at @enoughteasf for their official opening date in a week. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-6pm and Sat 8am-5pm. 49 Kearny St. at Maiden Ln.

Meanwhile, Hoodline caught the closure of ~TROUBLE COFFEE COMPANY~’s location in Bayview, which opened in 2013. Bummer news, but let’s congratulate founder Giulietta Carrelli on Trouble’s 10-year-anniversary—and for being the progenitor of our toast scene. The original Judah Street and the West Oakland locations remain open. 1730 Yosemite Ave. at 3rd St.


Bubba’s breakfast sandwich. Photo: New Revolution Media.


Eleven wine bar and bistro in Bolinas. Photo courtesy of Kate Sterlin.

New Orleans-inspired ~ALBA RAY’S~ in the Mission just started lunch and brunch service. You’ll find po’boys on Leidenheimer’s French bread, a muffuletta (chef Adam makes the bun in house), salads, and check this out: on Fridays, lunch patrons can purchase $1 MARTINIS. Whut.

Brunch includes red beans loco moceaux (white rice, red bean gravy, andouille sausage, two sunny-side up eggs), boudin Benedict with scallion purée and Cajun hollandaise, crawfish omelette with chèvre and Creole gravy, and Bubba’s breakfast sandwich (fried eggs, ham, andouille, fried eggs, roasted tomato, caramelized onion, pimento cheese, rémoulade). Lunch is Wed-Fri 11am-3:30pm, brunch is Sat-Sun 11am-3:30pm. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St., 415-872-9409.

Meanwhile, if you’re near Bolinas over a weekend, ~ELEVEN~—a newer wine bar and bistro that opened in early summer from sisters Kate and Rebecca Sterlin—is now serving Sunday brunch. They updated a long-shuttered building that dates back to the 1890s with a farmhouse chic look, a crisp color scheme, and furnishings made by their brother. Sunday brunch is 10am-3pm, but you can stay until 6pm for oysters, natural wines, and pizza as the day goes on. 11 Wharf Rd., Bolinas, 415-868-1133.


Exterior of the new Paradise Park Cafe. Photo courtesy of PPC.

Back in April, I reported that ~PARADISE PARK CAFE~ was coming to the former Actual Café in the NOBE (North Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville) neighborhood, historically known as Paradise Park. The grand opening is this Thursday August 17th, and 20 percent of the day’s proceeds will benefit the East Bay College Fund and Oakland Promise.

It’s the fourth cafe from Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim of SF’s Park Cafe Group (Dolores Park Cafe, Precita Park Cafe, Duboce Park Cafe). The casual, seasonal, and affordable menu includes sandwiches (BLT, fried chicken), burgers (meaty and not), housemade pastas, salads, and organic juices and smoothies, plus vegan and gluten-free dishes. Like a true neighborhood café, they want to have something for everyone, even the kiddies. Weekend brunch will also be offered (Sat-Sun 8am-3pm). Equator Coffee, local craft beers, California wines, and wine cocktails are also available. Open daily 7am-8pm. 6334 San Pablo Ave. at Alcatraz, Oakland, 510-756-4141.

Meanwhile, the Temescal location of SF’s ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ has closed (thanks to a tablehopper Twitter follower for the tip). We reached out to Rosamunde’s Josh Margolis, who said, “We would like to thank the neighborhood and all of our friends and fans who made Rosamunde a great place to hang out with friends, enjoy delicious grilled sausage and fantastic beer. Although we are unable to continue serving in Temescal, we invite you to get your sausage fix downtown Oakland at Swan’s Marketplace (911 Washington St.) or in San Francisco at 2832 Mission Street or 545 Haight Street.” 4659 Telegraph Ave. at 46th St., Oakland.

Was also sorry to receive the news that Jay Porter and Katie Mayfield decided to close ~THE HALF ORANGE~ in Fruitvale. Their note said: “Thank you very much to all of you who’ve eaten here and supported us in many ways! It’s been a very fun experience for us, and we are grateful to everyone for welcoming us so warmly to the community.” They are looking for someone to purchase the restaurant space from them, so be sure to reach out to them if you’re interested. 3340 E. 12th St., Ste. 11, at 33rd Ave., Oakland.

August 8, 2017

It’s aperitivo o’clock. Photo: Takashi Fukuda.


A look inside the chic and midcentury-inspired look of Ardiana. Photo: Takashi Fukuda.


Time for dinner! Photo: Takashi Fukuda.


Some classic Ardiana family pics. Photo: Takashi Fukuda.


A look toward the bar/counter. Photo: Takashi Fukuda.

It’s such a satisfying feeling when the replacement for a sweet neighborhood spot that sadly closed (La Nebbia) is just as lovable, with equally kind and thoughtful owners. Yeah, Noe Valley, you should be really happy about the opening of ~ARDIANA~ tonight from Sharon Ardiana, of Gialina and Ragazza fame, with business partner (and Ragazza GM) Greg Hinds.

While Ardiana is known for her crisp-crust pizzas with fantastic toppings and combinations, at Ardiana, things will expand to be a bit more Mediterranean. The menu is designed to be flexible, depending on your appetite, group size, and whether you have little ones in tow or not. For example, the menu has a “For the Table” section, with six creative mezes to choose from, all paired with housemade pita bread. Think roasted eggplant dip with pomegranate molasses, Greek yogurt, and mint; carrot hummus with black tahini, sumac, and watermelon radish; and pickled baby beets with orange blossom yogurt, pistachios, and mint. She’s having fun with all these ingredients, like the golden and black sesame pastes in the carrot hummus are from Greg Dunmore’s Japanese Pantry, and the eggplant purée features lemon verbena syrup made from her roof-deck plants. The mezes are $7 each, three for $19, five for $31, The Whole Shebang for $36.

Fortunately some of Ardiana’s trademark badass salads will be in the mix, with two lettuce salads and more seasonal items. Right now the height-of-season salads include an heirloom tomato (Mariquita Farm tomatoes) salad with brown butter, lemon verbena, and shiso; summer stone fruit (from Balakian Farms) with pistachio butter, Di Stefano burrata, and Star Route Farms purslane, with a drizzle of Mugolio syrup (a pinecone bud extract from the Dolomites); and then there’s 24-month prosciutto di Parma with Full Belly Farms goddess melons (which Ardiana says are insanely sweet right now).

As for the pizzas, she doesn’t want to cannibalize Gialina and will be making only six or seven pies. Instead of a Margherita, she’s doing New York, New York, with tomato sauce, oregano, mozzarella, and when it comes hot out of the oven, it gets a dusting of Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano. She really hopes it “takes East Coasters back to a great slice that they had in NYC.” The funghi pizza is made with trumpet mushrooms and is finished with some Sardinian Moliterno truffle cheese (which I am sure former La Nebbia owners Massimiliano and Lorella approve of—they were both Sardinian).

Since this location has more oven space, Ardiana is excited to add some larger plates, like roasted Mary’s chicken breast with a stone fruit panzanella made with Tartine bread and Balakian Farms peaches and plums. There’s king salmon with nasturtium butter from her garden along with marinated farro and sweet white corn. How about a lamb chop with whipped feta, potato hash, and chermoula, or a meaty long-braised beef short rib rubbed with star anise, coffee, and brown sugar?

Dessert includes tiramisu, a light olive oil cake, coconut-lime semifreddo, and ice cream sandwiches with Bi-Rite Creamery mint chip inside. You can see how Ardiana and business partner Hinds are keen on making this a neighborhood- and family-friendly spot, that “go-to” kind of place where you can easily grab dinner, dine solo at the counter, or have a date night.

The look was updated to be a bit midcentury, with wood chairs and a vibrant blue wall, and of course some Ardiana family photos taken in Pennsylvania by her Dutch great-uncle Emile, who was an amateur photographer (he had a darkroom in his basement).

The wine list was curated by their good friend Deena Smith, formerly of The Henry Wine Group. Of course you’ll find some Italian wines, but also France, Spain, and even a bit of California will be represented. You can enjoy an aperitivo with some low-ABV cocktails she created ($10 each), including the Phony Negroni (Contratto Bitter, Berto Rosso vermouth, juniper-infused Minato sake), the Ardiana Spritz (Contratto aperitif, prosecco, soda, orange), and the San Lucar (Bordiga Bianco vermouth, La Guita sherry, and a lemon twist).

The GM is Andrea “Andi” Suhr, formerly a Lazy Bear captain and Hog Island alumnus, and Jesse Scott Moore—most recently sous chef at Heirloom Café—will be chef de cuisine.

Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm, closed Sun-Mon. Reservations accepted through Resy. 1781 Church St. at 30th St., San Francisco, 415-926-5982.


A look inside The Grove Design District. Yelp photo by Madhu C.


Kunafeh at Khamsa. Yelp photo by Adil E.

Just want to tear through some quick opening news for you: as mentioned previously in tablehopper, ~THE GROVE~ has now opened a location in the Design District, aka Showplace Square. You’ll find their usual approachable all-day menu and a patio. Hours are Mon-Thu 7am-10pm, Fri 7am-10:30pm, Sat 8am-10:30pm, Sun 8am-10pm. 1 Henry Adams St. at Division, 415-834-5105.

Back in March, I mentioned ~NORCINA~ was opening in Waterfront Plaza. This Italian café and delicatessen from Kaitlynn Bauman (of Parlor 1255 in Levi’s Plaza) is all about breakfast and lunch service, with a frittata with broccoli rabe and potato, sandwiches, a range of salads, coffee from Cibo in Sausalito, gelato, and more.

The menu includes tigelle (flatbread-style sandwiches with mortadella and artichoke, or prosciutto cotto e crema di pecorino), and an egg and cheese tigella for breakfast. Salads include a Tuscan kale version with cannellini beans, artichoke hearts, fennel, and pecorino. There’s also housemade gelato for when your sweet tooth strikes, and some outdoor seating where you can enjoy it. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. 50 Francisco St. at Montgomery.

There’s a new Cal-Moroccan spot that opened in the Mission, ~KHAMSA~, serving lunch and dinner (menus here), with brunch coming soon, which you’ll be able to enjoy on their patio. Hours are daily 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm. 1503 15th St. at S. Van Ness, 628-233-1503.


The back of Nico’s dining room, looking into the semi-open kitchen. Photo courtesy of Urban Daddy, by Michael David Rose Photography.


The unique shelving (and a look into the open kitchen) at Alta Mid-Market. Photo: ©

After announcing the closure of longtimer ~BOCADILLOS~ last week, now the taker for the space has been revealed: Laurel Heights’ ~NICO~. Owners Andrea and Nicolas Delaroque reportedly have been working on the deal for some time and hope to reopen in January in their new location. Scoop notes the space will be half the size of their current (and rather beautiful) location, but the hope is that the ability to add lunch service in this busy part of the city will make their numbers really work. Nico is closing August 26th. Fun fact: this location was originally the home of the Black Cat, a famous gay bar in the city. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington.

Meanwhile, some updates in Daniel Patterson’s culinary world: according to a piece in Eater, the flagship ~ALTA~ in Mid-Market will be closing once the upcoming Alta location in the nearby Yotel (an affordable British hotel group coming to 1095 Market St.) is open this fall (which will also feature a rooftop bar). And in Oakland, Alta will open in the former ~HAVEN~ (44 Webster St., Jack London Square) as Alta Oakland in spring 2018. And don’t forget there’s the Alta that recently opened in the Minnesota Street Project in Dogpatch. (You got all that?)


A rendering of the proposed Bi-Rite café in Civic Center (along Grove Street). Rendering courtesy of Sarah Holt (BRFOB Marketing Team).

Last week, I got a call from Sam Mogannam, the vibrant owner of our beloved ~BI-RITE MARKETS~, who was excited to share details about his plans to (hopefully) open a daytime café and kiosk in Civic Center flanking one of the upgraded playgrounds coming to the area (thanks to the $10 million donation from the Helen Diller Family Foundation). The foundation is generously kicking in another million to open this café, all in an attempt to revitalize a downright bleak section of the city, which will hopefully start transforming into a beautiful plaza. Mogannam thinks the playgrounds will help give the underutilized plaza an identity and bring safety to the area. As he says, “Kids remind us.”

Some city approvals will need to happen first, but in a best-case scenario, the café would hopefully open in spring 2018. It would have glass walls and be transparent on all sides, and there would be outdoor seating. It would be open from the morning until early evening, serving pastries and breakfast sandwiches and coffee, plus salads, sandwiches, popsicles, and soft-serve ice cream. Will keep you posted. Civic Center, Grove at Larkin.

A tablehopper scout named Lisa B. noticed Marin’s ~WOODLANDS MARKET~ is opening a location in the Lumina, a luxury condominium at 201 Folsom St. (at Main). It will have 9,500 square feet, and in addition to its extensive organic and sustainable selection of products, the market will also serve prepared foods, coffee, in-house juices, and fresh bread daily, plus there’s a pet shop and fresh flowers.

The Belgian Bernal spot from the Pi Bar folks, ~BEL~, is sadly closing at the end of this month, and a new spot called ~OUTER ORBIT~ from Christian Gainsley and Elisabeth Kohnke will be taking its place. The pinball hall-restaurant hybrid will be styled like an old-school pinball salon, suitable for all ages and skill levels. In between pinball games, you’ll be able to nosh on Hawaiian-inspired bites, plus there will be beer and wine (and beverages for the kiddos). Look for an opening in early 2018. 3215 Mission St. at Valencia.

~THE PLANT CAFÉ ORGANIC~ at Pier 3 on the Embarcadero is now closed after 10 years in the location, and it looks like a place called ~SEASIDE~ is taking its place. We reached out to a contact involved with the new project, stand by.

Tipster Lisa B. also noticed a sign going up for a ~BUCKHORN GRILL~ in the former Boudin Bakery at 619 Market St. at New Montgomery.


The cozy dining room at MINA Test Kitchen. Photo via Facebook.


The bacon and egg pizza at Stem. Photo courtesy of Stem.


The exterior of The Den in Bayview. Photo: William Werner.

While I’m sad to say farewell to ~POSTCARDS FROM LA COSTIERA~ (it just ended this past weekend), the latest concept at ~THE MINA TEST KITCHEN~ will be Mi Almita, lauching August 23rd. Michael Mina is partnering with Houston’s James Beard Award-winning chef Hugo Ortega (Xochi, Hugo’s, Caracol, Backstreet Cafe) on this seventh pop-up. The collaborative menu will take a journey throughout Mexico with dishes like huitlasquites corn soup, with fragrant chicken broth, huitlacoche, and housemade queso fresco; a ceviche trio sourced from the tidal pools of Fort Bragg; pozole verde with littleneck clams, hominy, and pumpkin seeds; pulpo al carbón, or grilled octopus with sweet peppers and caramelized onions, served with chipotle tomatillo salsa and housemade tortillas; and for dessert, a tasting of housemade Mexican chocolate.

The beverage program will complement the menu with several varieties of agave spirits (mezcal, tequila, bacanora, and raicilla), with some flights, cocktails, and more. Wines will be from Mexico or from California made by Mexican winemakers or vineyard managers.

Dinner is $39 for the five-course menu, with supplemental courses available. Dinner is served Wed-Sat, starting Wednesday August 23rd. Reservations. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.

Looking for a fun spot to enjoy your Saturday afternoon? ~STEM KITCHEN & GARDEN~ has launched a new Saturday lunch service (11:30am-3pm), so you can take advantage of their outdoor bar, patio with bay views, and bocce ball court! You can take a look at the menu, which includes oysters, short rib hash, pizzas, and shakshuka with baked eggs, stewed tomatoes, and peppers, black kale, and garden herbs served with baguette. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

Not too far away in Dogpatch, ~GLENA’S~ has made another adjustment by adding table service, and they are now open for Tuesday lunch too. Closed Mondays. Now go get some of their awesome al pastor tacos. 632 20th St. at 3rd St., 415-800-7415.

Over in Bayview, ~THE DEN~ from Craftsman and Wolves is launching a new Sunday menu on Sunday August 13th to coincide with the Bayview Farmers Market pilot, which is right in front of their shop on Yosemite (the test market will run for the next five weeks from 10am-2pm). Come by for Sunday-only menu items like short and tall stacks of classic, strawberry, and Valrhona chocolate chip hot cakes, along with side options including “CAWnadian” bacon (black coffee-brined smoked pork loin), a hash brown waffle with brown butter mayo, soft-boiled egg, and fruit from the market. You can also get the Rebel Within, an insanely good frittata breakfast sandwich, and more. Bonus: free drip coffee for motorcyclists, and market-goers who purchase produce will receive a Friend of the Farmers 10 percent discount on all purchases at The Den, which will be open from 8am-2pm. 1598 Yosemite Ave. at Keith, 415-423-3337.

Happy 10th birthday to ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~, which is celebrating the entire month of August by giving back to the Tenderloin community. Come by for a special edition strawberry shortcake beignet, with 100 percent of the proceeds to be donated to Saint Anthony’s and Glide Church. Nice work, Brenda’s!


Whoa, was there something in my beer? Nope, Outside Lands always delivers on the trippy lights! Photo: Tom Tomkinson.


Rich Table’s porcini doughnuts with raclette cheese. Photo courtesy of Outside Lands.


Last year’s meatball sandwich from Stones Throw. Photo: ©

This weekend is the 10th Outside Lands, and as of now, single-day tickets are still available (they’re anticipating a sellout later this week, so snag tickets while you can).

There are an impressive 81 restaurants, 41 wineries, 30 breweries, and 6 cocktail bars in all this year! Here are some new restaurant partners on my to-visit list: Tartine Manufactory with morning buns and toasted mortadella hoagies (!!), Dabba (so tasty, check out their “ethnic confusion” burritos), spicy fried chicken sandwiches from Sorrel, Shanghai lumpia from FOB Kitchen, slices of deep-dish pizza from Little Star, Marlowe’s bacon burgers (thanks to this year’s food curator Anna Weinberg), and Black Cat’s lamb burgers. You can warm up with jambalaya (or gumbo!) from Alba Ray’s when Karl the Fog is hanging around too much, and I’m sure Fearless Coffee’s olive oil-fried egg sandwiches will come in handy one hungover morning. Ditto doughnuts from Johnny Doughnuts (coming to Hayes Valley over Labor Day!) and coffee from the Lady Falcon Coffee Club (mmmm, mochas with Mexican vanilla whipped cream). And Humphry Slocombe is serving Secret Breakfast Sundaes and Bourbon Coke Floats.

Of course there are some OSL classics like fried chicken and waffles from Little Skillet, chicken curry nachos and lamb sloppy joes (so good) from Azalina’s, porcini doughnuts from Rich Table (bring on the raclette!), momos from Bini’s Kitchen, and then Stones Throw is making monkey-bread chicken Parm melts and Italian-style tater tots that sound wicked (last year’s meatball sandwich was a winner, so I am all over that Parm). Ramen from Itani Ramen will warm you up (and I plan to check out their fried chicken gyoza at Wine Lands), while crab rolls from Fine & Rare and pastrami cheese fries from Wise Sons Deli will fill you up and give you energy to walk and dance all over the park. Don’t forget Outside Clams! I love the OSL puns. LOL.

Check out the GastroMagic lineup here, known for Big Freedia and her troupe bouncin’ and twerkin’ for beignets, plus Action Bronson, Jarobi White of A Tribe Called Quest, and Roy Choi all taking the stage with local chefs and restaurants and musicians.

There are a couple of “outside” Outside Lands events going on as well. On Friday August 11th, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center is doing an Inside-Out Lands event, with their house band playing some of the festival’s greatest hits, starting at 8pm.

There’s also a Mimosa Lands preparty on Saturday August 12th at ~THE DORIAN~ from 12pm-6pm, with brunch, $20 endless mimosas (12:30pm-3pm), music by Foreign Language, and $10 bus rides via Chariot to the festival grounds (must prepurchase ticket; the last remaining pickups at The Dorian are at 4:30pm). 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-814-2671.

August 1, 2017

The truly sublime lemon-ricotta “corzetti” pancakes at Locanda. All photos: ©


Eggs in purgatory at Locanda.


Salumi for brunch at Bar Agricole, yeah, you want that.


The famed malasadas with guava custard at Aina.


Portuguese sausage hash (with Brussels sprouts underneath) at Aina.


The can’t-miss squid and prawn poha at Rooh.


Breakfast burrito love at Horsefeather.


Uma Casa’s cheerful seaside-like interior.


The gut-busting and hangover-curing Francesinha at Uma Casa.


Smoky pork ragù with fried eggs, sweet peppers, and pickled chiles at Bluestem Brasserie.


The Vida Fuerza at Flores.


Contrada’s breakfast pizza with soft-scrambled egg, smoked trout roe, crème fraîche, and fresh herbs.


The glossy exterior of the cardamom lattice bun at Jane the Bakery.


And here’s what’s inside the cardamom lattice bun at Jane the Bakery (hold me).

Brunch in SF is one of our treasured pastimes (excuse me, contact sports). There are always places starting up brunch service, and then some sadly discontinuing it (I am currently pouring some out for Aster’s and Cala’s brunches, they were sooooo good). I think brunch is a smart way to check a place out that you’ve been curious about, with its somewhat friendlier price point. (Well, except if you’re a lush with a penchant for $24 glasses of Lanson Champagne, and I love you for it.) Anyway.

Here are a few highlights from 10 San Francisco places serving brunch around town, from the new to the established, from restaurants to bars. Hopefully you feel inspired to get some new spots and dishes in the mix—don’t let all these calories I consumed for you be in vain, okay? Thanks.

I’m not one to order pancakes, I usually go for anything savory with eggs, but dear lord, the lemon ricotta “corzetti” pancakes here are things of pure, shining, fluffy, delicate pancake freaking perfection. Clouds of sexy happiness. If you want to go savory, the eggs in purgatory have a nice punch of pecorino. (They were also doing some evil eggs Benedict carbonara, but maybe it’s a good thing it’s currently not on chef Melissa Reitz’s menu.)

The space is so chic in the daytime, with the pop of color from sunny yellow espresso cups, and then there’s the amaro-centric brunch cocktails that are designed to help you, like the Ciociaro spritz (Ciociaro, amaro blend #3, lemon, Prosecco), which is the move. Making a reservation in advance, also smart.
Sat-Sun 10:30am-2pm
557 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-863-6800

Another place that is absolutely gorgeous during the day is Bar Agricole’s Sunday brunch, with its soft light from the skylights above. Score one of the booths in the back with your friends and it’s an instant celebration (although then there’s that patio…).

It’s a seasonally changing menu, but do know chef Seth Stowaway’s team does a nice job with creamy scrambled eggs, and salumi lovers won’t want to miss the quality selection here (I love starting my day with coppa). There are oysters, too, and the cocktails can be as gentle or eye-opening as you need, just let them know where you’re at. (I never quite thought I’d have Armagnac in a brunch cocktail but that’s how they roll here and it was spot on.)
Sun 10am-2pm
355 11th St. at Harrison, 415-355-9400

Have you visited this sweet Dogpatch spot yet? Talk about mahalo vibes. The friendly staff, the sunny corner, all the cute succulents and plants…and then you bite into the malasadas filled with guava custard and say, “Whoooooa, dude!” You will. Go ahead, bite the malasada and try not to freak out. Chef Jordan Keao goes the extra mile on everything, from the housemade Spam musubi (made from a whole hog they get in from Stone Valley Farms) to the gorg garnishes. There are perfectly fried sunny-side-up eggs on the kalbi loco moco and the Portuguese sausage hash with Brussels sprouts, plus there’s housemade lap cheong sausage, and they even fly in Punalu’u Bakery taro bread for the French toast. Dedicated!

And we haven’t even gotten into their clever low-ABV drink menu, which won’t have you missing the hard stuff (Bloody Mary with charred tomato and pink peppercorn, boom). All the feels, this place. It’s a popular one, but here’s a pro tip: if you can go on Friday, do it. And then there’s dinner…
Fri 10am-2:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-2:30pm
900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815

This Indian newcomer to SoMa has a punchy, colorful look, and the Saturday brunch is a fun way to check out chef Sujan Sarkar’s progressive Indian culinary style—and the Goan chorizo Scotch egg they serve at the bar at night. You’ll also get to try their puffy and warm housemade kulcha (the paneer tikka, chile, and Parmesan kulcha is a fave). Don’t let the idea of squid put you off, because the tender squid and prawn poha was a top dish, a flavorful rice number with cilantro and fresh coconut. Egg dishes include a masala omelet with buttery pao, or baked eggs, or with keema (lamb) Hyderabadi. There is quite the list (and playful presentation) of cocktails, but it was the Chennai Colada—so tropical fruity and refreshing with fresh curry leaves—that is the pick if you aren’t up for any booze.
Sat 11am-2:30pm
333 Brannan St. #150 at 2nd St., 415-525-4174

One of the better additions to the Divisadero Corridor of late (we needed a cute bar!), but did you know they serve brunch on the weekend? Snag a spot on the sunny enclosed patio/atrium and get yourself the Sergeant Major, with rye, cold brew, vanilla almond milk, and maple syrup (reporting for duty, sir!). Their dream Cali breakfast burrito is something special, with housemade chorizo, home fries, scrambled eggs, cheese, and a ladle of arbol salsa, but I do hope the chilaquiles come back, they were bonkers good. (Although the replacement mushroom toast, soft-shell crab Benedict, and smoked trout scramble, I’m not mad at any you either.) The late brunch hours are also very industry-friendly.
Sat-Sun 11am-4pm
528 Divisadero St. at Fell, 415-817-1939

Wish you were in a seaside town in Portugal for brunch eating shellfish? Yeah, me too. But the cheerful interior of Uma Casa, with its blue and white tiles, airy style, and raw seafood bar can help transport you there. Co-owner Nora Furst’s brunch cocktails are the bomb, like the Olhos Abertos (Alessio Chinato, coffee, Angostura bitters, orgeat, and a big spoonful of cream on top). You should start with the warm rissois de cåmarão (creamy shrimp turnovers with béchamel) and the yellowfin tuna salad with quail egg and a dusting of dehydrated olive (chef-owner Telmo Faria likes to add modern touches) served with their rather brilliant potato chips.

But let’s talk about why you’re really here, and I hope you brought some friends to help. Meet the Francesinha, one of the classics in the pantheon of hangover cures (or “I’m drunk and it’s 3am” scenario), an import from Porto. It’s a demented sandwich filled with linguiça (love the one they use here), thin, rosy slices of roast beef, and ham, with Havarti melted over the top and topped with a tomato-beer sauce and an over-easy egg (well, it’s supposed to be—ours arrived over-medium). Our entire table groaned with one look at this beast and then proceeded to attack it until the last bite, dipping Uma Casa’s tasty fries (they have a way with potatoes here) in the tomato-beer sauce. There are a few other egg dishes, and you could do a lot of damage at the raw bar, but really, the Little Frenchie is something else. Make sure you have a long walk home. And some Lipitor waiting for you.
Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-829-2264

You have some friends visiting and want to do some weekend downtown shopping? You need to lay down some brunch bedrock first. Start with a cinnamon roll the size of your head (I’m not kidding, it’s a monster) or fellow smoky fish lovers will veer toward the smoked trout tartine with some crunchy seasonal vegetables. I’m sorry to say the fried eggs on smoky pork ragù with pickled chiles appear to have taken a turn off chef John Griffiths’ menu, but am sure the croque madame would console me, and the duck confit salad with a mustardy herb dressing and fried duck egg is a standard here for a reason.

An extensive list of fun brunch cocktails—like the Bacon Bloody Mary (with bacon-infused vodka, celery salt rim, and housemade pickles) and the unique What’s Up Doc (carrot juice, ginger beer, and vodka)—will prep you nicely for some tipsy shopping.
Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
1 Yerba Buena Ln. at Market, 415-547-1111

In the thick of the Cow Hollow scene is this Mexican newcomer in the former Betelnut space, with a tropical and tiled look that transports you to Cozumel in a flash, and is serving one of my favorite spins on a cold coffee drink, the Vida Fuerza, with cold brew, coconut milk, and cinnamon. Heaven. Dive into the coctel de camaron for some of the tastiest, fresh, and plump shrimp and creamy avocado in a spicy burnt tomato sauce that you can scoop up with crisp and thin housemade chips. Of note: they make their tortillas by hand from their own masa daily. Chilaquiles with braised beef and perfectly sunny eggs and guac for $14? Gracias, chef Alejandro Morgan.
Sat-Sun 11am-3pm
2030 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-796-2926

Are you thinking you’d like some fresh air, a sunny back deck, and a breakfast pizza with soft-scrambled egg, smoky trout roe, crème fraîche, and fresh herbs? Yeah? I know just the place. The pizza crust at this Cow Hollow spot is a beautiful thing, both elastic and crisp, with developed flavor—so yeah, get a pizza. The backyard is a little hideaway off Union Street, and chef Jason Tuley’s Cal-Italian menu has some notable salads (it’s amazing how many places don’t do salads well), rustic dishes like polenta and eggs, and a farmers’ market Benedict; the menu definitely leans more to the savory side. Low-ABV brunch cocktails are well thought-out, from spritzes to sangria, and there are some excellent wine selections for you to discover—just ask the friendly staff.
Sat-Sun 10:30am-3pm
2136 Union St. at Webster, 415-926-8916

I know, it can be hard to get up and go out on the weekend. So here’s an idea: pop on over to the newish Jane the Bakery outpost on Geary, which handily has a little (and extremely rare in SF) parking lot, and you just may be a lucky duck and score a spot. (Trust, I am hoping for you.) Stumble in the bakery, point to the cardamom lattice bun (the sensation of biting through the buttery laminated and flaky dough into the incroyable cardamom pastry cream inside, mamma mia, it’s errrrrything), and you could also bring home their sausage and egg cheddar-chive biscuit sandwich (or decadent croissant egg sandwich with avocado) or you can lose your mind over their fresh-from-the-oven flatbread with three cheeses (it rotates daily).

Grab some of their fresh juices and espresso drinks (made with their own roast) and head back to your nest. Don’t forget a loaf of whatever catches your eye that day, from green olive polenta thyme bread to their creative daily specials (just ask!)—get crumbs all over your bed, go for it. Kudos to Amanda Michael and her amazing team for just cranking out the carb happiness over here (and they have a bunch of gluten-free options, too). Best of all? You can enjoy this goodness every day of the week. Holla.
Open daily 7am-6pm
1881 Geary Blvd. at Steiner, 415-658-7971


The elegant and restored exterior of the new Sightglass on Divisadero is a looker. Photo: Arlo Crawford.


The inside counter. Photo: Arlo Crawford.


The interior of the new Sightglass on Divisadero. Photo: Arlo Crawford.

Divisadero has yet another gorgeous café to add to the corridor, with ~SIGHTGLASS~ now open on the edge of the Lower Haight on a sunny corner at Page. It’s so nice after a few years of plywood to see this beautiful café emerge, full of custom work. Boor Bridges is behind the architecture of the 2,000-square-foot space, which required an entirely new foundation and seismic retrofit of the 1906 building.

This is brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison’s fifth café, and they continued to work with many of the same craftspeople as their previous cafés. As you walk past the charming mosaic tile inlay in the doorway with the bronze sun happily holding a coffee mug, you’ll note the steel and glass entry doors, the original clerestory windows that were uncovered and restored, and the extensive woodwork throughout, most of it milled from a single Monterey Cypress tree. There is a lot of custom fabricated metalwork—check out the counterweight and pulley window system by the walk-up window.

Walk-up window, you say? Yes, for you folks on the go, you can just walk up to the side window, which features a quick-service menu, like their Fetco Batch brewed coffee and some selections off the two-group La Marzocco Linea. Handy for those of you catching one of the many buses in the area. At the main counter, there are two Kees van der Westen Spirit espresso machines that look like spaceships that just landed, and there’s an individually prepared pour-over bar.

Some other fun additions—just in time for summer—include their signature cold beverages on tap (and kegged in-house), including single-origin nitro cold brew, cascara shrub soda, and iced vanilla cold brew. On the menu, you’ll find pastries and snacks from Neighbor Bakehouse, b. patisserie, and Piccino.

Hang out at the community table, or grab a seat in the open banquette booths that were designed to encourage interaction (as in lifting your eyes up from your phone). Enjoy listening to records playing on the vintage McIntosh stereo system. There’s even a neon sign outside, and benches along Page Street.

Welcome to the neighborhood, brothers! It has been a long time coming. Hours are 7am-7pm, but they plan to start opening the to-go window at 6:30am in the next week or two. 301 Divisadero St. at Page, 415-522-0112.


The bar scene at the former Urchin Bistrot. Photo via Facebook.

Just a fun little tidbit I caught in the ABC wires—it looks like the BVHospitality gents (Trick Dog’s Josh Harris and Morgan Schick) potentially have a new project brewing in the former Urchin Bistrot space, previously Wo Hing and the original Slanted Door on Valencia. I reached out to the duo and they don’t have anything to say at the moment, so we’ll just have to sit tight for now. And besides, they are plenty busy with their project at the upcoming SF Proper Hotel. 584 Valencia St. at 17th St.


Ippudo’s Akamaru ramen (a bolder style). Photo courtesy of Ippudo.


The interior of Ippudo Berkeley. Photo courtesy of Ippudo.

Now open in Berkeley as of last Friday July 28th is the first West Coast location of ~IPPUDO~, the famed international ramen shop. Ippudo has a couple locations in New York, with 160 restaurants worldwide, and partnered with Panda Restaurant Group Partners to open this location (SF is next!).

Ippudo is known for its trademark (and secret recipe) Hakata tonkotsu ramen, with handmade noodles (you can order four different levels, from soft to firm). The tonkotsu broth has 18-plus hours behind it, and forms the base of a few of their different bowls, from the Shiromaru to the bolder Akamaru ramen, and the Karaka (spicy) ramen—you can read the menu descriptions of each bowl here. And you can also get creative with toppings, from menma (seasoned bamboo shoots) to extra chashu (pork belly).

Side dishes include their steamed buns (filled with pork, chicken, or vegetables), and Goma Q, their seasoned cucumbers with sesame dressing (created at Ippudo’s first New York location). There are also wings, shishito peppers, chicken kara-age, a couple salads, rice dishes, and more.Expect a beverage list featuring superior sakes (classified into four different taste groups), Japanese beer, and wine.

If you are curious about Ippudo’s origins in Japan, check out this video with the founder, Shigemi Kawahara, who opened the first Ippudo in Fukuoka in 1985.

One thing to note (per their website): “None of our menu items are available for take out or take away, including leftovers.” So finish your bowl, yo. (Which shouldn’t be a problem.) As expected, it’s crazy town with the lines over there, so plan accordingly. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am (midnight), Sun 11am-10pm. The last order for food is an hour before closing, and for ramen is 30 minutes before closing. 2011 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-666-8807. 

July 25, 2017

Roma Antica, opening in the Marina, has an airy and contemporary look. All photos: ©


The marble back bar with seating for eight.


Looking into the main dining room from the front windows.


Roma Antica features unique lighting fixtures from Venice, Italy.


Roma Antica’s business partners, Dogukan Solmaz and Roberto Sbaraglia.

Coming to the Marina is ~ROMA ANTICA~, an authentic and casual Italian restaurant that will be focused on serving Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, making it the second location in the city to serve this ancient Roman style of pizza. (Montesacro was the first to bring it to the U.S. There is also a new pinseria in Brooklyn that just opened, PinsaLab.)

The partners are Dogukan Solmaz (most recently the GM at Trattoria da Vittorio) and Roberto Sbaraglia, a Roman whose father has owned a restaurant in Rome, Antica, for the past 30 years (although Roberto’s passion is for cocktails, and he worked as a bartender at a beach bar in Fiumicino). The two met at hospitality school in Rome in 2005 and have been looking for a place in San Francisco for the past three years.

Their chef is Davide Cogliati, who has worked in SF for eight years (at Acquerello, Amarena, and doing some catering), and he visited with Roberto’s father, Marco Sbaraglia, in Rome to learn Antica’s recipes, but Davide is originally from Milan, so there will also be risotto on the menu, oh you know it. Papa will also be making trips out to SF to check on things, as well as a cook from Antica who will come visit when it’s time for the menu to refresh.

They are taking over the former Kobani Mediterranean Grill (previously Cedar Hill) and are going to be open all day. They will even be serving weekend brunch, when they’ll include some American brunch items, like pancakes and waffles, to go along with breakfast pinsa and frittata (and bottomless mimosas, because you kind of have to in the Marina).

The main menu will include a variety of bruschette, soup of the day, salads like panzanella and octopus salad (plus a kale Caesar salad, sure to please the neighborhood), along with calamari (on skewers, sautéed, or fried), stuffed olives (ascolane), burrata, and classics like supplì and porchetta. It also wouldn’t be a Roman menu without stuffed artichokes (when in season)—since they’ll be working with local markets, the menu will reflect what’s in season.

There will be a dough room in the far back, where they will be making handmade pasta. Expect classic Roman preparations of carbonara, cacio e pepe, bucatini all’amatriciana, pappardelle alla coda alla vaccinara, gnocchi, lasagna, and some lesser-known shapes like fiocchetti (little bundles), plus rigatoni boscaiola (“woodsman style,” which usually involves mushrooms and truffles), and seafood pasta. Once the menu is established, look for specials from other regions to appear,

The Mugnaini pizza oven they have is a wood-fired hybrid (with gas) and will be primarily used for cooking dishes like porchetta and specials like eggplant parmigiana. There will be four kinds of pinsa to start (burrata, pork, sausage, and vegetarian), and the dough will be made from soy, rice, and wheat, which is why it’s a lighter style of dough and easier to digest. The crust will be thick and crisp and around an 8-inch size—the price will be $14.

The wine list is being assembled by Berkeley sommelier Zoti Toprak, who will be assembling selections from Italy (of course), France, and some California wines as well. There will be 10 whites, with 5 sparkling and rosés, and 15 reds—wines by the glass will range from $9-$14. Sbaraglia will also be offering some low-ABV cocktails, like spritzes and vermouths.

The space looks great, with windows that open onto the street with some outdoor seating (heat lamps will be coming soon). The space features tiled floors from Italy, a Mediterranean blue banquette, and modern light fixtures from Venice. The custom tables are live edge redwood, and there’s a wall of reclaimed wood. The eight-seat bar in the back is made from Calacatta marble, and the back wall features Italian bricks that are more than 100 years old—they are going to show old Italian movies on it. The entire look is contemporary, welcoming, and has a nice feeling with all the natural materials and color tones. It would work for a casual date or dinner with the family, it’s that kind of place.

They are going to be open all day this Saturday July 29th for a neighborhood welcoming party, serving spuntini and bubbles, and then will be soft opening on August 1st with an abridged menu focused on the Roman classics. Look for an expanded menu on the grand opening on Tuesday August 15th. I’ll keep you posted on the official opening. Hours will be Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am, and Sun 10am-9pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.


One of the new dishes at Barcino, tomaquet. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


The new trellis with live greenery at Barcino. Photo: Kelly Puleio.

The Absinthe Group’s Boxing Room has completed its transformation into ~BARCINO~, officially opening in Hayes Valley tonight. Absinthe Group executive chef Ryan McIlwraith (Bellota) and chef de cuisine Athman El-Kindiy are behind the Barcelona-inspired concept, which is focused on Catalonian tapas with some creative and local/seasonal flair. (The name Barcino comes from the ancient name for the city of Barcelona.)

The menu includes tapas (like albondigas, Spanish flatbread with foie gras, membrillo, pickled peach, and candied pine nut), plus a raw bar and daily paella (which McIlwraith totally rocks at Bellota). The menu can be viewed here, plus there’s a dessert menu from The Absinthe Group’s new executive pastry chef Michael Aguilar (formerly of the Beverly Hills Hotel and WP24 by Wolfgang Puck). Did someone say churro ice cream sandwich?

Bar manager Collin Nicholas has put together a list of original cocktails, such as the La Caña, with rhum, pineapple, lime, and coconut, and the Barca with secco vermouth, blanco vermouth, and sherry. Bring on the Spanish-style gin tonics and sherries and vermouths (served on the rocks with a slice of orange and an olive), plus Spanish beers, cava served in large-format bottles, more than 50 different bottlings of gin, and sangria blanco on tap.

The 100-seat space was updated by project director Jonny Raglin and Sagan Piechota Architecture (which also designed Bellota) with live greenery and trellises, a brighter look with a white palette, along with custom art pieces, black vinegar barrels, and a hunger-inducing display of jamón legs.

Open for dinner Sun, Tue-Wed 5pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-11pm. 399 Grove St. at Gough.


The quite perfect matzo ball soup at Wise Sons. Photo: ©


One of Top Round’s beefy sandwiches. Photo via Facebook.

Coming to Hayes Valley in the former Artís Coffee (which just closed over the weekend) will be another location of ~WISE SONS DELI~. Hoodline reports Wise Sons will be retaining most of the staff. No word on timing (yet) or what will be on the menu. Although we can only hope for the matzo ball soup, bagel sandwiches seem like a sure thing. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.

Thanks to a tablehopper tipster in the Mission, we learned the former Pig & Pie will become a roast beef sandwich place, an import from LA, ~TOP ROUND ROAST BEEF~, known for its menu of slow-roasted beef sandwiches, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, hot dogs, fried sides (like hand-cut curly fries fried in beef fat), and frozen custard. The San Francisco franchise location is slated to open sometime in late August, I’ll keep you posted. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.


Will The Patio sign light back up? It has been off since 1999. Yelp photo by Dan B.

No, this isn’t a joke, a prank, nor is it April 1st. Clear the cobwebs and mop away the dust, because the long-closed (we’re talking 15 YEARS, people) Patio space in the Castro will finally reopen, and ~HAMBURGER MARY’S~ has been approved to open in that location and hold live entertainment, an integral part of each franchise location. Hey, Mary! The plan is to open after Labor Day, and the live entertainment will include drag performances, DJs, and Mary-Oke Karaoke.

You can read more about the permit hurdles (Hamburger Mary’s had to get an exemption since it’s considered formula retail) and ways they will address any noise concerns (live entertainment can only go until 1:30am) in this post on Hoodline—both of these issues were part of the recent delays, but when Les Natali is the landlord, it’s always something. 531 Castro St. at 18th St.


Farewell, Bocadillos. Yelp photo by Kelvin F.

A couple of unfortunate closures to report, starting with longtimer ~BOCADILLOS~. After 13 years of business, Gerald and Cameron Hirigoyen closed down the North Beach business over the weekend. [Via Scoop.] 710 Montgomery St. at Jackson.

Another closure will be ~MASON PACIFIC~ at the end of the month. There was a bit of chef turnover and a fire at the location, and it didn’t seem to quite get its mojo back, although it was a charming space with a great wine list. Look for some wine deals during this last week of business. [Via Eater.]


While I was sad with the news that ~CALA~ is no longer serving brunch (damn, it was so good), Tacos Cala is now open in the back every day from 11am-2pm, and on Sundays, four La Cocina entrepreneurs will pop up serving tacos. Mixiote is up first, from Alma Rodriguez. Mixiotes are made with beef, chicken, pork, or vegetables that are marinated in a rich guajillo chile sauce and wrapped in avocado and banana leaves, cooked slowly in their own juices and nestled inside the wrapped leaves until fork tender. Well then. You’ll find chicken, pork, beef, and soy “meat” mixiote tacos for $3.50 and rice bowls for $8.75 from now through August 6th. Next is Mi Comedor from August 13th-September 3rd, Mi Morena from September 10th-October 8th, and Origen from October 15th-November 12th. 50 Hickory Alley at Van Ness.

In the Mission, SoMa’s ~COLETTA GELATO~ is popping up with their bicycle cruiser, serving gelato from inside Harrington Galleries on Valencia Street. Look for upcoming and unusual flavors (including dairy-free and low-sugar options), a rotating selection of housemade cones, and toppings. Open Thu-Sat 12pm-6pm and Sun 12pm-5pm to start, but with plans to stay open until 10pm soon. 599 Valencia St. at 17th St.


The new Saint Frank café and roastery in SoMa. Instagram photo by @saintfrankcoffee.


The new Equator café at Fort Mason. Photo courtesy of Equator.


The new Sightglass on Divisadero is gonna be lit. Photo: ©

There are so many more places to caffeinate, you ready? I noticed ~SAINT FRANK COFFEE~ was posting about their new café and roastery in SoMa, which is now open. Come by the former De La Paz location on Mission and you’ll find an airy and clean look, complete with a white counter and walls contrasting the wood floors and beams, and a skylight. Hoodline shares a few more details: you’ll find typical espresso drink offerings (off a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine), plus hot filter coffee, iced coffee, and flights. Outdoor seating will be coming. Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm and Sat TBD. 1081 Mission St. at 7th St.

Now open on Fort Mason’s Center for Arts & Culture campus in the Gatehouse is the latest café (its sixth) from ~EQUATOR COFFEES AND TEAS~. Boor Bridges Architects designed the space. There’s even a portion of the adjacent parking lot that was transformed into a pedestrian plaza, so you can sip that latte outside after you finish your run on the Bay Trail. Take a look at this post on Hoodline about their innovative Ground Control brewer that employs a vacuum method to brew the coffee. Open Mon-Thu 6am-6pm, Fri 6am-8pm, Sat 7am-7pm, and Sun 7am-6pm. 2 Marina Blvd., Gatehouse, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.

I had a sneak peek of the soon-to-open ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE~ on Divisadero yesterday, and it’s looking like they may open by the end of this week if inspections go as planned. There will be a takeout window, signature cold beverages on tap (single-origin nitro, cascara shrub, iced vanilla cold brew), pastries and snacks from Neighbor Bakehouse, b. patisserie, and Piccino, and a whole lot more. Expect a full writeup with pics in next week’s tablehopper. Follow @sightglasscoffee for an alert on the actual opening date in the meantime. 301 Divisadero St. at Page.

Coming to the former ~BAR TARTINE~ location will be a matcha-centric project, ~STONEMILL MATCHA~, from Japanese founder and CEO Eijiro Tsukada. It will be a café and retail space, with matcha whisked to order, and you can even grind your own tea. Eater reports Tartine will be providing pastries that use matcha, and other Japanese café items will be available as well. Boor Bridges is behind the design and seismic retrofit. They are aiming for the end of year for the opening.

It’s summer, which in Italy means it’s shakerato time (it’s when your espresso is shaken with ice and served all frothy and cold). We can pretend it’s hot out and swing by all ~COFFEE BAR~ locations for their cold brew shakerato, featuring Mr. Espresso’s Dark Guatemala CODECH 24-hour cold brew, shaken and served neat (and frothy) with sweet cream and fresh mint.


The spacious dining room and counter at Shinmai. Photo: Jeremy Chiu.


A selection of dishes at Shinmai. Photo: Jeremy Chiu.

Newly open in Uptown Oakland is the izakaya-inspired ~SHINMAI~, with a variety of small plates, raw bar selections, and ramen. Owner Yingji Huang (of Montclair’s Kakui) brought on executive chef Jerrod Doss (previously Aziza, Chez TJ, The French Laundry) and co-owner Andy Liu, a former sushi chef at Kakui who is Shinmai’s lead ramen chef (he recently returned from two years in Japan learning about ramen).

The menu includes dishes like broccolini with egg, miso-honey mustard, ikura, sesame; 12-hour sous vide miso BBQ ribs; fried chicken with ginger Worcestershire, miso tartar, gochujang, lemon herbs; and two kinds of ramen (tonkotsu or vegetarian). There are also cocktails (all $10) created by Adam Stemmler of beverage consultancy Farm League Restaurant Group and executed by Shinmai bar manager Brian McMillan (most recently of Sidebar in Oakland), like the Where’s Valdez? with Xicaru mezcal, Angostura amaro, toasted brown rice syrup, lemon, firewater bitters, and nutmeg.

Dinner is served Sun-Mon and Wed-Thu 5pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, closed Tue. 1825-3 San Pablo Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-271-1888.

The opening date is finally set: ~IPPUDO~ is opening its first West Coast ramen shop in downtown Berkeley on Friday July 28th. Stand by for more about the menu and hours after the opening. Can’t imagine what the lines will be like for this one. SF will be next! 2011 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley. [Via Eater.]

July 18, 2017

Original Namu Stonepot rice. All photos: ©


A look into the space, featuring an open kitchen and custom woodwork throughout (including the dividing walnut counter).


The back counter (for takeout pick-up and ordering additional items).


The magic stonepot rice (after you let it crisp and then mix it up).


The new Namu Stonepot chicken ramen.


Sizzling sisig!


The Lee brothers: Dan, chef Dennis, and David.


Some of the custom two-top tables.

Nopa/Western Addition residents have been (im)patiently waiting for updates on when the Namu Gaji crew was going to open their latest project on Divisadero, ~NAMU STONEPOT~, and that time is sooooo close: Thursday July 27th! Last night, the Lee brothers gave me a sneak peek of the space, menu, new dishes, and adult beverages, and let’s just say I’ve found what’s going to become my new neighborhood fixation.

They did quite the transformation of the former Jay’s Cheesesteak space, thanks to designer Brian Ford of Metropolis Design (who designed Namu Gaji, his first restaurant project) and woodworker Sebastian Lane, who cleverly outfitted the narrow space with walnut counters and 22 seats across from an open kitchen. Local artist/muralist Victor Reyes is behind the Cuban-style distressed plaster with pops of color throughout, and the Lees are continuing their tree-themed artwork commissions with Mike Giant, who is going to be doing a custom piece on the front left wall.

The menu is going to be such a hit—it’s generous (fast-casual service helps), unique to the neighborhood, and perfect for a quick bite, takeout (there’s even a dedicated pick-up counter), and should travel well for delivery as well (they are launching on Caviar and Postmates). Take a first look at a preview menu here—which is still being tweaked, btw.

The stonepot concept is inspired by their signature Namu stonepot rice at Namu Gaji—here you can get a piping hot dish in two sizes (regular is $10, large is $18) with Koshihikari rice, seven vegetables (ranging from shimeji and enoki mushrooms to tamari-marinated eggplant from their farm), egg, silken tofu, kimchee, sesame, Other Brother Co. local EVOO, and nori, which you can add grass-fed bulgogi beef ($5) or organic soy-marinated chicken thigh ($3) to—it all sizzles in front of you as you let the rice on the bottom brown to your desired crispness before you mix it all up. In a rush? You can order it all mixed up bibimbap-style (without the stone) for $8.95.

The stonepot is also making appearances with their kimchee okonomiyaki ($12), another Namu favorite, and they are bringing back a Namu original from when they opened on Balboa Street: their sisig ($18)! It comes in a stonepot full of crispy and crackling pork (both ground pork and pork head and jowl, rendered twice!), its richness cut by green cabbage and pickled onions, jalapeños, and celery.

There’s also a creative spin on ramen ($15): a stonepot comes with Tokyo-style ramen noodles, which get a little golden in the sizzling pot with a hit of oil before they are covered with a rich chicken bone broth, and then it all starts bubbling and cooks the noodles more. The ramen also comes topped with slices of sous vide organic chicken breast, a slow-cooked egg, bean sprouts, toasted sesame seeds, and a hit of fried garlic. While it’s a less-brothy version of ramen, it’s rich and full-bodied and really hits the spot.

Another stonepot play is instead of the traditional kimchee stew (kimchee jjigae) presentation bubbling in a bowl, it comes bubbling in the flatter stonepot here, with pork and kimchee broth, rice cakes, silken tofu, and pork belly ($14)—and you can add ramen noodles for $3, hell yes.

A new addition will be a daily poke ($12), with fresh and well-sourced fish (right now it’s yellowtail from the Channel Islands), plus tamari, chile flakes, sesame, garlic, ginger, chive, and lettuce.

Namu favorites like their gamja fries and Korean tacos are on the menu, plus a couple salads too. They have engineered a gluten-free fried chicken, their Mochiko chicken ($10), with crisp brined thigh bites and your choice of having it dry-spiced “tatsuta style” or KFC “Korean Fried Chicken” style. Crunch crunch. Shout-out to the addition of the budget bap: rice, slow-cooked egg, Other Brother Co. local EVOO, and kimchee, just $5.95. They also offer gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan versions of dishes when and where they can, just ask.

Desserts include a matcha milkshake (made with Lush gelato) and a dairy-free version too, and then there’s butter mochi: warm-baked mochi with burnt sweet miso, dark chocolate ganache, and whipped cream, which will be perfect after getting out of a show at The Independent across the street and you have the munchies.

The Lees worked with another great Lee (well, minus an “e”) on their wine and beer list: Trac Le of Bi-Rite Market. There are three local beers on tap (Fort Point’s KSA , Fieldwork’s Painted Gold Pale, and Old Kan’s Dark), and the wines include a couple Tendu wines by Steve Matthiasson, Poe Wines pinot rosé 2016, and a few more selections, which you can also order by the carafe—same goes for some of the sakes on the list. Well, except for the sparkling sake, Dewazakura “Tobiroku/Festival of Stars,” which you’ll want your own bottle of anyway.

If space is tight, or maybe you’re craving a cocktail with your Korean tacos, the fine folks at Waziema (the neighborhood bar just next door) are cool with you bringing your food over. Cheers to that.

On a personal note, I remember these guys when they were slanging hot dogs in Golden Gate Park, and then opened their restaurant on Balboa—it was 11 years ago, and it’s so satisfying to watch how they have evolved their business over time, from their Namu Farm and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stand to Smaak Edibles. They even just launched a new branding look—you’ll definitely note the three branches (“gaji”) that represent the three brothers. Keep it up, guys!

Follow @namustonepot for news about their soft opening nights over the next two weeks (and you might even get an invite to one, follow @tablehopper for details on a giveaway!).

Hours will be Tue-Sun 11:30am-1am (yeah, late-night baby!), and look for an abbreviated breakfast to come soon too (including a rice porridge with panchan and an egg, sign me up). 553 Divisadero St. at Hayes, 415-926-8065.


Garlic mac and cheese topped with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos at Mac’d. Yelp photo by Sandy B..

Some quick updates on new openings for you: if you want to say Pilates class be damned, or you had a little too much chardonnay, you can head on over to ~MAC’D~ in the Marina for build-your-own mac and cheese, with bases like cheddar or French onion soup mix, your choice of pasta, and mix-ins and toppings like bacon, chorizo, kimchi, tri-tip, cauliflower, and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (opening menu pic here). They just had their grand opening weekend, so they are still ramping things up. Open Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-2am. 3347 Fillmore St. at Chestnut, 415-795-1026.

Also in the Marina is a location of the (perennially unfortunately named) ~ASIAN BOX~, offering salad, rice, and noodle boxes made with organic ingredients, plus there’s a full bar (they moved into the former Tacolicious). Open daily 11am-10pm. 2031 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-228-3688.

If you’re catching some international (or Alaska Air) flights, you’ll find a location of ~GOTT’S ROADSIDE~ in SFO’s International Terminal A. You can enjoy your last American cheeseburger before flying to Croatia or wherever it is you’re going. (Just don’t bring it on the plane with French fries, that is truly mean.)


Photo courtesy of Farina.

And…now ~FARINA~’s liquor license was seized by the state. Mission Local noted it was selling at auction for a minimum of $225K, which will be going toward the $275K Farina owes in back taxes and penalties. No word yet on who purchased the license, and for how much. (It’s like the restaurant is a car up on blocks and getting stripped.)

Over in Dogpatch, ~SERPENTINE~’s new chef-owner Tommy Halvorson is closing the restaurant for the month of August, and plans to reopen Wednesday September 6th. The 10-year-old restaurant (this fall) is getting a renovation—look for a new palette, windows will be added to the exterior, plus an expanded bar, kitchen, and dining room after moving both bathrooms to the back of the space. Halvorson’s menu now has more Southern influences (he’s Kentucky-born), with fried green tomatoes with brown butter and Nashville hot chicken. Small-batch craft beers will also be appearing on tap. Stand by for an update on the reopening in September.


A look inside Maker’s Common. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


Beet salad at Maker’s Common. Photo via Facebook.


A peek at the latest saison release at Roses’ Taproom. Photo via Facebook.

SF’s Mission Cheese has opened their second project, but this one’s in Berkeley and it’s called ~MAKER’S COMMON~ on University in Berkeley. Sarah Dvorak, Oliver Dameron, and Eric Miller have opened both a market and an eatery fully stocked with the best in American craft goods: cheese, charcuterie, beer, wine, and more. Cheese is cut to order, there’s an ever-growing selection of charcuterie (thhey are ramping up their offering, and even have a certified meat processing facility for in-house charcuterie production), and everything you’d need for your pantry or a picnic.

The menu (check the site) includes some favorites from Mission Cheese, plus sandwiches, snacks, salads, sides, and a family-style dinner option, like chicken in whey or cheddar brats. Eight tap beers and a well-assembled wine list (with 12 by the glass) will keep you feeling good, plus there’s weekend brunch. Cheers to the team on meeting their unique fundraising goals: over two years, they raised $532,000 from 170 Californians, becoming the first investment-crowdfunded restaurant in the state, a business truly built by the community.

There’s a large outdoor patio, plus communal tables, 2- and 4-top tables, a bar, and a market counter, making it a pleasant gathering space for groups of all sizes. The market is open Tue-Sun 9am-8pm; the eatery is open Tue-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 9am-11pm, and Sun 9am-10pm; brunch is served Sat-Sun 9am-2pm. 1954 University Ave. at Milvia, Berkeley.

New in Oakland is ~ROSES’ TAPROOM~, a welcoming brewpub (with a cute design) from husband and wife Luke Janson and Hillary Rose Huffard. You’ll find three house-brewed beers on tap right now, with quite the extensive menu of snacks too. Open Mon-Thu 1pm-10pm, Fri 1pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-10pm. 4930 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

Over in Jack London Square is a new spot called ~DIAMOND DOGS~, specializing in “hot dogs for grown-ups,” which means dogs like one white cheddar béchamel, garlic confit, crispy fried leeks, and watercress, all on a Starter Bakery bun. I love being a grown-up. Peep the menu here, which also has wings, sides, and more. You’ll also find draft beer, wine, and patio cocktails. Open Wed-Fri 5pm-9pm and Sat-Sun 2pm-9pm. 468 3rd St. at Washington, Oakland.

Pssst, ~PENROSE~ is hosting another 
Secret Garden Pop-Up this weekend, serving burgers, chicken sandwiches,
 beer, wine, and cocktails every
 Friday through Sunday from 4pm-10pm.

 And this Friday July 21st at sundown, 
they are screening Breaking Away (the best—Cutters forever!) on their garden wall—they will provide some blankets 
but feel free to bring your own. 3311 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-444-1649.


The counter at Wise Sons Bagelry in Larkspur. Photo via Facebook.


Mac and cheese at Fisher’s Cheese + Wine. Instagram photo via @fisherscheeseandwine by @mianakanooakland.

Marin County residents not only get sun for the summer, they also get a couple new businesses from SF folks, starting with a location of ~WISE SONS BAGELRY~, which just opened in Marin Country Mart in Larkspur. On the menu: fresh-baked bagels, schmears, bagel sandwiches, and new salads (like The Country Club Cobb Salad with pastrami bacon, turkey, hippie greens, pickled carrot, cherry tomato, onion, avocado, radish, and blue cheese), plus items to go, like their babka and corned beef. Pro tip: try the L.E.O. breakfast sandwich (pastrami salmon, scallion shmear, and egg) before you hop on the Larkspur ferry to work (there is even a commuter deal!). Enjoy a Stumptown Coffee drink, or fun ones like an egg cream shakerato, coconut cold brew, and nitro chai on tap. Open daily 7am-3pm. 2227 Larkspur Landing Circle, Marin Country Mart, Larkspur.

Also newly open in the Marin Country Mart is ~FISHER’S CHEESE + WINE~ from Kiri Fisher of The Cheese School of San Francisco. This all-day café (with sidewalk seats!) has dishes beyond their gorgeous cheese boards, including Fisher’s trademark artisan grilled cheese sandwich (duh), creamy mac and cheese (yup), bites like housemade focaccia with Achadinha Cheese butter or carrots with pimento cheese dip, healthy grain salads, chicken cassoulet, meatballs in a creamed chard sauce, and more. It’s also a cheese and wine retail shop, with all cheese and charcuterie cut to order. Plus, they cater, so the next time you need a showstopping platter, you know who to call. Open Sun-Mon 11am-7pm, Tue-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 2201 Larkspur Landing Circle, Marin Country Mart, Larkspur, 415-779-2201.

July 11, 2017

An initial rendering of Il Casaro Castro. Courtesy of JMalnick Studio.


An initial rendering of Il Casaro Castro. Courtesy of JMalnick Studio.

Fans of the Neapolitan pizzas at ~IL CASARO~ in North Beach will have a second location to visit by the end of 2017. Opening in the former Chilango on Church Street, co-owner Francesco Covucci (with Peter Fazio) tells me they are targeting December for their new Castro location.

Il Casaro’s delicious and affordable menu will mostly be the same, but the full kitchen in this location means a few more antipasti, and pastas will be added to the menu as well. The pizza oven will also be a bit bigger, but they’ll still be using the same imported Caputo 00 flour and D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes on their pizzas like they do on Columbus. There will be a little more seating too.

It ends up there was a patio in the back of the restaurant, which they are developing, and they also filed to serve full liquor, so I’m looking forward to when that goes through. I already have visions of a Negroni sbagliato during brunch on the back patio. 235 Church St. at Market.


The castle on the hill. Photo via

I never thought I’d see the day that I could write that the long-closed ~JULIUS’ CASTLE~ (since 2007) is going to reopen on Telegraph Hill. (My grandpa Ernie is smiling from the other side, he loved that place.) After all kinds of NIMBY complaints and opposition, the Planning Commission still voted positively to let the old-school establishment (a historical landmark!) reopen. In fact, it was a clean sweep of 7-0. All right!

The restaurant first opened in 1922 (although I have also seen 1923 and 1924 listed). Julius Roz, the Italian owner, even outfitted the Gothic revival building with “interior wood paneling from the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition” (via SFGate). And then there’s that view. And that deep history—numerous stars dined there over the years, from Cary Grant to Ginger Rogers (read more about its fascinating history here). Current owner Paul Scott—who purchased the restaurant in 2012 and lives on Telegraph Hill—is looking for an operator and will be busy restoring the restaurant. I will keep you posted on how his plans progress. 302 Greenwich St. at Montgomery.


The former Renoir Hotel flatiron building is now the San Francisco Proper Hotel. Photo courtesy of San Francisco Proper Hotel.


The Drunk Cookie Monster at FK Reserve. Instagram photo via @fkreserve.

There are a few upcoming projects for you to keep an eye on, starting with a big collaboration at the former Renoir Hotel, which will open as ~SAN FRANCISCO PROPER HOTEL~ this summer (August 2017) from Proper Hospitality and The Kor Group, with design by Kelly Wearstler. This 131-room flagship hotel will have four restaurant concepts—an all-day lobby restaurant, an upscale destination eatery, a café, and a rooftop terrace (!!) with an indoor/outdoor bar and lounge—helmed by chef Jason Franey (previously Campton Place, Eleven Madison Park, Canlis, Restaurant 1833), working with Josh Harris and Morgan Schick of BVHospitality on the bar programs (remember their pop-up bar Rio Grande before the hotel restoration started?). Look for the building’s many historical elements and details to be brought back to life, with vintage furnishings, European modernism, and work from local artists as all part of its style. Can’t wait to see this beauty, which it better be at $400 a night for the rooms. More on all this soon. 1110 Market St. at 7th St.

Hoodline caught the news that ~FROZEN KUHSTERD~ appears to be opening a brick-and-mortar shop for their playful frozen custard in the former P-Kok space in the Lower Haight. Stand by for more. 791 Haight St. at Scott.

In the meantime, you can enjoy boozy milk shakes and sodas made with FK’s booze-infused creations at their FK Reserve section inside Trademark sports bar on Folsom, like the Drunk Cookie Monster with Biscoff cookies, Oreos, bourbon burnt caramel, and a shot of Bulleit Bourbon. Just wait until you see their black and gold waffle cone. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.


A selection of what’s on offer at Sylvia’s Bakeshop. Yelp photo by Cynthia L.


Empanadas from El Sur. Photo via Facebook.


Dirty! Cheesesteak on Clay is now open. Yelp photo by Meo T.

After reading a post in Hoodline that Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s, Pete’s, Chubby Noodle) has opened ~SYLVIA’S BAKESHOP~ in the former North Beach Baking Co. space in North Beach, I followed up with him for a few more details. It ends up the bakeshop isn’t using the famed ovens to create the baked goods: chef Daniel Sudar is making them at their nearby Central Station Deli. You’ll find cookies, biscotti, coconut macaroons, cakes (red velvet), scones, pies (apple), cupcakes, tarts, and more. They will also be carrying about five kinds of bread from other purveyors, like Acme, Boudin, and focaccia from Liguria Bakery.

The original bakery ovens require a major rebuild (they date back to 1917). Mrabe says they are basically crumbling brick, so their repair will be down the road. In the meantime, you can swing by the retail bakery—named after Mrabe’s mother—for an affordable sweet treat or two and a cup of coffee (the roaster is still being determined; they’re still taste testing). Open daily 7am-6pm, and they may be opening around 6am soon. 1501 Grant Ave. at Union.

More baked goods: ~EL SUR~, known for their Argentine empanadas served off their 1970s Citroen van, are soft opening their first brick-and-mortar production kitchen and café in Potrero HIll this week, with the official opening slated for Monday July 17th. Founder Marianne Despres will be serving her trademark and exquisite empanadas (Parisien, pollo saltado, champiñones, verde, and traditional), which are made with beef fat (except the vegetarian ones, of course), plus short rib and chicken skewers with housemade condiments like chimichurri and salsa criolla, salads, and desserts (menu here). Open Mon-Fri 10am-2pm; look for longer hours in the fall when their beer-and-wine license kicks in. 300 DeHaro St. at 16th St.

Cheesesteak fans, there’s a new spot called ~CHEESESTEAK ON CLAY~ that opened in the Financial District. It’s a pretty straightforward menu: three kinds of cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls, a bunch of different kinds of fries (waffle, garlic, and then there’s dirty waffle), wings, a couple of salads (but really, who are you kidding), and six beers on tap (happy hour is Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm, you’re welcome). I blame them for bringing on my cheesesteak craving last night—after looking at pics online, I had to order one from Phat Philly. Damn it! Open Mon-Fri 10am-9pm. 653 Clay St. at Kearny, 415-433-2222.

After all those cookies and empanadas and cheesesteaks, maybe you’d like a vegan salad and some green juice? There’s a new ~URBAN REMEDY~ by herbalist and nutritionist Neka Pasquale that opened in Noe Valley, serving her line of snacks, salads, wraps, cold-pressed juices, and more. (I’m a fan of their salads—they really have a lot of flavor!) Open Mon-Fri 8am-7pm and Sat-Sun 9am-6pm. 3870 24th St. at Sanchez. [Via Hoodline.]


Young Fava’s burrata-spring onion dip. Photo: ©

Just in case you were getting addicted to ~YOUNG FAVA~’s spring onion burrata dip for delivery, founder Anthony Strong has decided to put everything on hold. The Turtle Tower kitchen proved to be too small to handle the demand (it’s SO HARD to be popular), so now he’s looking for a new location and would like to add a dine-in area as well—Strong realized he missed seeing people. Yup, doing delivery only from a commissary kitchen setup can be lonely. He’s on the hunt for a permanent space and is excited to tweak the menu and concept and move to version 2.0.


Caviar and blini, a classic. Photo via The Caviar Company’s Facebook page.

I’m not a big fan of National Whatever Days, but for caviar, I’ll make an exception. Heh. On Tuesday July 18th, ~THE CAVIAR COMPANY~ is hosting a party in honor of National Caviar Day, and they’re pulling out all the stops with unlimited caviar, chilled Champagne, and premium vodka and whiskey. It’s all going down at The Club at Wingtip. Tickets are $150. 6pm-8pm. The Club at Wingtip, 550 Montgomery St. at Clay.


A look at the Love Veggie pizza at Navi Kitchen (with cherry tomatoes, roast eggplant, and a combo of mozzarella and paneer). Photo via Facebook.


Some of the street food dishes at the new Curry Up Now Alameda location. Photo courtesy of CUN.

Can you smell that Indian pizza? Mmmmmm. Congrats to ~NAVI KITCHEN~, which is launching pizza and dinner service this Saturday July 15th! Will it be chef Preeti Mistry’s Kheema Kale (lamb and beef tomato sauce, lacinato kale, red onion)? Or the Leelu Potato (fenugreek pesto, roasted potato, pepper, which is vegetarian and can be made vegan)? And then there’s the Love Veggie. And Preeti’s Peppah. Check out the updated menu here. Add in some low-ABV cocktails, wine, and beers from Temescal Brewing on the patio, and you have a perfect summer dinner. (Although that Dr. Pai’s Green Chili Turmeric Lassi is totally catching my eye too.) New hours will be Wed-Sun 8am-8pm. 5000 Adeline St. at 53rd St., Emeryville, 510-285-6923.

Meanwhile, over in Alameda, ~CURRY UP NOW~ is continuing their expansion—the company has acquired Tava Kitchen and has taken over their Alameda location, reopening and rebranding it as a Curry Up Now. Did you know their curries, chutneys, and sauces are gluten-free and never frozen? This location features an open kitchen and patio dining. Open Sun-Thu 11:30am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11:30am-10pm. 2640 5th St. at Mosley, Alameda.

~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has opened a café and training facility in Old Oakland, on the ground floor of Blue Bottle’s headquarters (Henry House), where founder James Freeman sold the first Blue Bottle beans at the Old Oakland Farmers’ Market 15 years ago. Outdoor tables, score. Open daily 7am-7pm. 480 9th St. at Broadway, Oakland.

N.B. Due to open this Thursday July 13th is ~MAKER’S COMMON~. I’ll be filling you in next week once I receive some pictures and more! Check out their Credibles campaign if you plan on heading over. 1958 University Ave. at Bonita, Berkeley.

July 4, 2017

Cheers to rooftop parties. Photo courtesy of The Douglas Room.


The Douglas Room’s grilled cheese on brioche with duck confit and Comté. Instagram photo by @eatyourveggis.



On Friday July 21st, join tablehopper for a rooftop whisky party with Bruichladdich and Westland Distillery at the top of the recently opened ~TILDEN HOTEL~. We’ll be taking over the penthouse, woo woo, where you’ll be enjoying two whisky cocktails (featuring Bruichladdich Classic Laddie and Westland American Oak) to get things started and shake the week off.

And we’re not talking about any ole cocktails: these will be crafted by cocktail wizards Mo Hodges and Brian Felley (Benjamin Cooper) and their rad team, who are behind ~THE DOUGLAS ROOM~, their new bar and kitchen just downstairs in The Tilden Hotel.

Guests will also enjoy some appetizers from co-chefs Glen Schwartz and Timmy Molloy—like grilled cheese on brioche with duck confit, Comté cheese, fig jam, and watercress; roasted beet hummus with herb goat cheese, bull’s blood microgreens, and chive blossoms; and lamb tartare pies in puff pastry with fava beans, Espelette pepper, coriander, and mint—before we move inside for a special whisky tasting focused on an exploration of peat.

You’ll taste a range in three special whiskies: Westland Peated, and from Bruichladdich: Port Charlotte and Octomore, the most heavily peated whisky in the world.

We’ll finish the evening with two more whisky cocktails, a double nightcap if you will (featuring Port Charlotte and Westland Peated), and some more bites too. Yes, this is going to be one heck of a party. And space is limited.

Thanks to our retail partner Maison Corbeaux, you’ll be able to purchase any whiskies you like for a 10% discount, with free in-store pick up or courier service in the city ($18 for 1-100 bottles, flat rate).

This special event is only $60, and tickets will move quickly, so hop to it. 21 and over.

The Tilden Hotel
345 Taylor St. at O’Farrell