The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
June 28, 2016

Don Pisto’s Tequila Bar is opening soon. Photo courtesy of Don Pisto’s.


A preview of Don Pisto’s Tequila Bar (the walls will be decorated/the space is in progress). Photo courtesy of Don Pisto’s.

A while back, we told you Pete Mrabe was going to be opening ~DON PISTO’S TEQUILA BAR~ in the former Mas Sake space, and it looks like the grand opening will be next week (after the Fourth of July).

The menu will have smaller portions of Pisto’s classics, and everything will be less than $15 (except specials). There will be Pisto’s enchiladas, their amazing tortilla soup, and machaca beef and egg. The menu will have a street food section, with items available by the piece for $3-$7, like a fish taco, carnitas taco, braised beef tamale, street stand burger, and ceviche tostada. You can look at a preview menu here. There’s a full bar—Duggan McDonnell consulted on the list, which he also did for Pete’s (the former Amante).

There’s room for 90 people, with spacious and groovy seats with round backs and bases, some classic Mexican cinder block details, and wood tables. Hours will be 5pm-12am, and later on the weekends. 2030 Lombard St. at Webster.

A few other updates: at ~PETE’S~ in North Beach, there’s a new menu for dinner on non-game days, and brunch is starting in a couple of weeks (preview of what’s to come here). 570 Green St. at Columbus.

If you swing by ~CENTRAL STATION DELI~, you’ll note the offerings there have ramped up significantly. Daniel Sudar, who makes dessert for Pete’s, is making pastries, croissants, apple pie, and cheesecake (evidence here). You can also pick up their hefty deli sandwiches, including a New York-style pastrami, plus breakfast sandwiches, lunch salads, lasagna, and other items to take home for dinner. Open 8am-5pm daily. 728 Vallejo St. at Stockton.

Mrabe decided to pass on the ~POSOLE~ project in the Mission, so that won’t be opening after all.


Pappardelle at Tratto. Photo: Patrick Chin.


The counter and dining area at Corridor. Photo courtesy of J. Wade Public Relations.

The short-lived BDK has been rebranded and reopened by the Puccini Group as ~TRATTO~ in the Theater District, next to The Marker Hotel. Chef Kevin Scott, previously of The Big 4, is serving rustic Italian dishes, with housemade pasta, sausages, and pizza. The full bar also has a focus on Italian-inspired cocktails. 501 Geary St. at Taylor St.

Opening today (Tuesday June 28th) is ~CORRIDOR~, the sister restaurant to Corridor Café from the Hi Neighbor Restaurant Group (Trestle, Stones Throw, Fat Angel). This Mid-Market restaurant features counter service and elevated comfort cuisine by executive chef and partner Jason Halverson, including the squid ink conchiglie from Stones Throw, and soup, salad, pasta, entrees, sides, and sweets (check out the menu here). Happy hour runs 3pm-6pm daily, when it’s $5 for every beverage on the menu, including wines by the glass, draft beer, and craft cocktails. Open for lunch and dinner midweek and dinner only on the weekends. 100 Van Ness Ave. at Fell, 415-834-5684.

Nearby, there’s a new and affordable spot that took over the former Jasmin’s Cafe, ~TACOREA~. Hoodline reports they want to make killer tacos, burritos, and spicy Korean bowls too. Hours are Mon-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-12am. 809 Bush St. at Mason.

The folks behind the SoMa StrEat Food Park have opened a second location in Mission Bay: ~SPARK~. You’ll find a range of food trucks (check out the schedule here), a beer and sangria garden, fire pits, TVs, a family-friendly game corner, and a double-decker bus. 601 Mission Bay Blvd. at 4th St.

Nearby in SoMa is ~GOLDEN BURMA~ from the former Lil Burma food truck folks. The next time you’re stuck going to the Hall of Justice for jury duty, you can enjoy tea leaf salad, tofu noodle salad, or moh hinga (catfish noodle soup). Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm. 15 Boardman St. at Bryant, 415-735-8282.

There’s a new Sichuan noodle place that opened just next door to Nan King, ~CHONG QING XIAO MIAN~, and Gary Soup reports it’s from those beloved purveyors of spice, some ex-workers from the Z&Y team. Sounds like portions are pretty large as well, and there are some side dishes you can get as well. Menu pic here. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm. 915 Kearny St. at Jackson, 415-983-0888.

Fans of ~BATTER BAKERY~’s cookies should know they have opened a retail shop at One Market Plaza. Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, with a cookie happy hour daily at 3pm-4pm (2 cookies for $5). One Market Plaza, 415-770-4852.


A sneak peek of the Humphry Slocombe ice cream truck, Betty, currently getting wrapped in LA. Photo courtesy of Sean Vahey.

Hide your kids, because the ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ ice cream truck will soon be prowling the streets of SF, and probably playing some punk rock over the loudspeaker (what, you thought it would be playing nice ice cream truck jingles and melodies?). Jake Godby and Sean Vahey are flying down to LA to pick up their black and blue beast, Betty (Mrs. Slocombe’s first name on the TV series was Betty) on July 6th. They will be debuting their Snapchat (@humphryslocombe) and tweeting on the drive back up I-5 as they make secret stops and hand out swag. Yeah, for once, there will be something tasty on the I-5.

The truck will debut at Outside Lands, serving four to six flavors, bourbon Coke floats, and stand by for a special HS novelty as well. (Will it be a missile pop with Jesus Juice?)

The truck will start hitting SF streets at the end of July, and follow their Instagram for upcoming news about a contest they’ll be launching: all you need to do is snap a pic of the truck and post with some sassy hashtag they will surely come up with, and you can win a pint, presto! #lickthat


The fantastic vintage bar at No. 9 Fishermen’s Grotto. Photo: Mathew Sumner.

Nine months after giving it a go on Mint Plaza, ~ORO~ has closed. The restaurant was a collaboration between Tim Felkner (Vigilante Hospitality) and chef-partner Jason Fox (Commonwealth). [Via Scoop.] 8 Mint Plaza at 5th St.

After owning ~THE FLY TRAP~ since 1988, Hoss Zaré is selling the 118-year-old business to bar manager and business partner, the awesome Valen West. Stand by for news on what the new concept will be. Meanwhile, Hoss is going to focus on cooking more of his beloved Iranian food and exploring his heritage (and recipes!) while traveling in Iran. Sounds like he’ll be doing some pop-ups and more. Best wishes, Hoss! [Via Chronicle.]

Over on the Wharf, Hoodline followed up on some ABC license activity, which showed Chris Henry of Tommy’s Joynt on Van Ness Avenue is buying ~NO. 9 FISHERMEN’S GROTTO~. The owners, the Geraldis, want to retire, but fortunately the same staff will be kept on. It sounds like Henry will be updating the menu this fall to feature sustainable and local ingredients, and here’s a nice slow clap that they aren’t going to touch that vintage front bar, the most fantastic time capsule. 2847 Taylor St. at the Embarcadero, 415-673-7025.


Chef Alexandra Raij of Txikito. Photo: © Penny De Los Santos Photography.


Here are a variety of interesting dinners happening around town, click through for more info if something catches your eye.

On Friday July 8th, the next Farm To Fork SF dinner at ~THE VILLAGE~ will be with chef Caesare Assad, cooking with Potawatomi chef and TV personality, Loretta Barrett Oden (she opened one of the first restaurants to showcase Native American cuisine). The six-course menu will feature her own takes on chef Oden’s traditional Native American recipes. A portion of all proceeds from this event will be donated to the Oakland-based nonprofit organization, Mandela Marketplace. 7pm. Tickets are $120, with wine pairing. 969 Market St. at Mason.

Check out this unique Feastly lunch on Saturday July 9th: Peru Amazon Jungle Feast: Juanes from Sophie and Leo. Catch their upcoming Peruvian dinners here. $55. 12:30pm-2:30pm.

Sean and Renee Baker (previously Verbena) are doing a dinner Saturday July 9th at ~HIGH TREASON~ in the private dining room, serving 8 to 10 courses for $95, with an additional wine pairing for $95. Tickets here. 443 Clement St at 6th Ave.

On Tuesday July 12th, Melissa Perello will be preparing a four-course prix-fixe menu at ~OCTAVIA~, inspired by chef Alexandra Raij of Txikito in New York and her new cookbook, The Basque Book: A Love Letter in Recipes from the Kitchen of Txikito. Dinner includes a copy of the book, which you can get signed by the adored New York chefs (Alex Raij and Eder Montero). $150 per person (additional supplement for wine) and reservations (email here) are limited.

Another exciting cookbook-inspired dinner is on Friday July 22nd, when Fabrizia Lanza (of Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School) will be at ~PIZZAIOLO~ for a special Sicilian menu inspired by her book, Coming Home to Sicily. Lanza will be signing copies of her book and saying ciao throughout the evening. Reservations are available 5:30pm-10:30pm. They will also be showing Lanza’s short film, Amuri: The Sacred Flavors of Sicily, on the patio at sundown. 5008 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-652-4888.


A celebration of Oaxacan culture at Agave Uptown. Photo via Facebook.

Here are some quick news tidbits for you, with links will tell you more!

Opening this Wednesday in Uptown Oakland at the Kapor Center for Social Impact is ~AGAVE UPTOWN~, from Oaxacan chef Octavio Diaz (he is also behind Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar in Healdsburg). Look for authentic and handmade Oaxacan dishes—of course there is a mole on the menu, which his mother helps make in the kitchen every day. There are also botanas like molotes, masa pastries filled with chorizo, potato, and cabbage topped with queso fresco, and rotisserie chicken. Many dishes feature ingredients sourced from Mexico, which Diaz brings back a few times a year, like spices and chiles. Arcsine designed the space, which includes a full bar serving craft cocktails. There are many handmade touches in the pottery and more. Open Sun-Wed 11am-9pm, Thu-Sat 11am-10pm. Brunch is coming soon. 2135 Franklin St. at 22nd St., Oakland, 510-288-3668.

Over at ~FIREBRAND ARTISAN BREADS~ in Uptown Oakland, Pal’s Takeaway has discontinued their sandwich service. Firebrand has a new chef, Tommy Schnell, most recently chef de cuisine at Coi. Look for an expanded menu of sandwiches (like lobster rolls and “Mid-Century Chicken Salad” with fried chicken skin—follow on Insta for more teases), salads, breakfast badassery, weekend brunch, beer and wine, and expanded coffee service. [Via Eater.] Open 7am-7pm. 2343 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-594-9213.

~RED BAY COFFEE~ has opened a café in a shipping container in Oakland’s Hive complex. [Via Berkeleyside.] 2327 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland.

~FORAGE KITCHEN~ is taking applications for members who will get to use their brand-new equipment for their food business, and it’s due to open in August! There will also be office space, mailboxes, and a café with a bar and outdoor seating (open to the public). 478 25th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.

A Sicilian restaurant will be opening in the former Café Gratitude in the Gourmet Ghetto: ~AGRODOLCE~. The owners behind Elmwood’s Trattoria La Siciliana are behind the project. Opening late August or September. [Via Berkeleyside.] 1730 Shattuck Ave. at Francisco, Berkeley.

There’s a new Xi’an spot near Berkeley campus, ~FAMOUS BAO~, serving Chinese burgers, noodles, baos, and more. [Via Chowhound.] 2431-A Durant Ave. at Telegraph, Berkeley.

The ~WOODS BEER CO.~ is opening the Woods Island Club on Treasure Island on July 9th, complete with a tasting room, barrel aging facility, and an outdoor “beer beach” with sand, palm trees, and beach chairs for enjoying the views of the bay. You’ll be able to make this a fun destination once the new bike path from Oakland to Treasure Island is ready in the fall, with a cold MateVeza IPA ready for you at the end of your ride.

June 21, 2016

Communal table at the new Dum in the Mission. Yelp photo by Albertino M.


Enjoy a scoop at the new Little Giant location in SF Yelp photo by C.H.

Some openings around town for you, starting with the opening of ~DUM~ in the former Local Mission Eatery. Owner Rupam Bhagat is behind the popular Indian food truck, Dum, and you’ll find some of its menu repeated on the restaurant menu, with dum chicken or lamb biryani, plus kati rolls and dahi puri, and daily specials, one meat and one vegetarian. Hours are Tue-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm. 3111 24th St. at Folsom, 415-874-9045.

Newly open in the Financial District is the SF location of ~LITTLE GIANT ICE CREAM~, an import from Oakland. They are known for their unusual flavors (asparagus or Mexican rocky road, anyone?) and robots! They are flanking Claude Lane, and you can perch on colorful stools in the alley. Since their Oakland factory HQ has an in-house, state-certified milk plant, they can make their own flavors with limited-production vat pasteurization equipment. Everything is made from scratch, including their awesome waffle cones! Hours are 12-9pm daily. 214 Sutter St. at Claude Lane.

Just a heads-up that ~TACOLICIOUS~ Marina is having its last service on Sunday June 26th, and will be closing in order for the team to do-si-do over to their new place just down Chestnut Street, which is due to open on Thursday June 30th. We’ll share some pics and details next week.

In the meantime, Tacolicious is launching its 7th Annual Summer Guest Chef Series benefiting CUESA. Come by the Tacolicious stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Thursdays for lunch from 10am-2pm, June 23rd-August 11th. Proceeds from the chefs’ tacos go directly to CUESA (they have raised $20,000 so far!). Any guest who purchases one of their guest chef tacos four times or more over the course of the series is eligible to enter to win a grand prize, so get a card stamped!

Here is the lineup:

6/23 Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table)
6/30 Jason Fox (Commonwealth, Oro)
7/7 Ryan Farr (4505 Meats)
7/14 Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions, Progress)
7/21 Michael Tusk (Quince, Cotogna)
7/28 Telmo Faria (Uma Casa)
8/4 Special guest chef Donnie Masterton who’s flying up from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!
8/11 Adam Rosenblum (Popsons)


Jane’s egg white sandwich with spinach, avocado, Sriracha, and provolone on house-baked bread. Photo via Facebook by Crystal Millan.

This is definitely something in the “I didn’t see that coming” camp: adored and stylish local baker and café ~JANE~ will be opening a third location in the previous Taco Bell/KFC combo space smack-dab in the middle of the Fillmore. Hoodline reports it will be used for bakery production, in addition to being a café space for the public (coffee, smoothies, sandwiches, and more). Owner Amanda Michael likes the strip mall location, one of the last in SF, and there’s that convenient parking lot! Look for a September opening. 1881 Geary Blvd at Steiner.

There are some rumors percolating on Chowhound that ~YANK SING~ is looking to take over the huge, 16,000-square-foot Crystal Jade location, and a post insinuates Yank Sing’s lease at Rincon Center is up soon. We reached out to Yank Sing, but they can’t comment at this time, so let’s just keep an eye on things.

In the meantime, if you swing by Crystal Jade this month (June), they are offering their xiao long bao soup dumplings for 25 cents apiece from 5pm-7pm. Orders are served in Crystal Jade’s bar area and on the outdoor patio, and the deal is limited to 2 orders (total of 8 pieces) per table. Regular price: $9 per order. Four Embarcadero Center, Drumm St. at Sacramento, 415-399-1200.


Booth seating at Cadence. Photo by Tory Putnam.


The classic late-night burger at Sam’s. Photo: ©

After six months of business, ~CADENCE~ in Mid-Market is closing. Eater reports the last night of service will be Saturday July 2nd. (FYI, they are trying to clear their wine cellar and are selling bottles at 50 percent off.) You can read more in this note from owner Jay Bordeleau, who will continue to operate the adjoining jazz club and bar, Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio (and Maven in the Lower Haight). No word on where chef Joey Elenterio is off to next. 1446 Market St. at Polk, 415-851-8561.

Was sorry to read Mike Shawa, the mustachioed owner of North Beach late-night burger church, ~SAM’S~, has passed away at the age of 70. Hoodline reports Shawa’s uncle Sam opened the burger joint in 1966. He will be missed by his many patrons, who he treated as kindly as family—because his customers were family! Condolences to his family and many friends.

Fans of the pupusas at the 18th Street location of ~BALOMPIÉ~ in the Mission should know the place is temporarily closed for a minimum of six months (possibly a year) for a retrofit. Look for a reopening in 2017—owner Amadeo Gonzalez has run Balompié for 28 years. The other Balompié at 3801 Mission Street remains open.


Brunch is now served at Volta. Photo via Facebook.

The next time you’d like to do some brunch followed by downtown shopping, take note that ~VOLTA~ is now serving brunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am-2:30pm. There are poached eggs with smoked salmon, sautéed spinach, pain de mie, and dill hollandaise, or a tartine with toasted levain, wild mushroom ragout, jambon de Paris, egg yolk, and red wine reduction, plus items that lean more to the lunchy side. The full brunch menu can be viewed here. (There’s also a new happy hour and bar snacks menu, Mon-Fri 3pm-6pm.)

If you’re looking for a substantial lunch in the Mission, ~MYRIAD GASTROPUB~ is celebrating turning one by offering lunch service. The menu has dishes like BLT soup, a roasted chicken salad, and roasted lamb sandwich with Moroccan tomato jam, feta, cilantro aioli, and arugula salad. Lunch is Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. There’s also a late day/happy hour menu every day from 3pm-5pm. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-525-4335.

June 14, 2016

Umami soup by Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.


Wood sorrel and sheep milk’s yogurt by René Redzepi of Noma. Photo via @insitu_sfmoma.

As if the reopening of SFMOMA wasn’t exciting enough, and now chef Corey Lee’s (Benu, Monsieur Benjamin) ambitious concept ~IN SITU~ is opening today. To recap, each dish on the menu is from a different chef, painstakingly re-created (as much as ingredients allow) by Lee and his team. The menu is like a gallery of chef artwork from around the world.

You can see the list of participating chefs here, a staggering and impressive lineup of global legends that includes Martin Picard (Au Pied de Cochon), Juan Mari and Elena Arzak (Arzak), René Redzepi (Noma), Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Anita Lo (Annisa), and locals like Alice Waters, David Kinch, and even Alex Hozven and Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop!

Take a look at the menu here to see the first round of dishes and chefs—note that there is a lounge menu (for walk-ins) and a dining room menu. Lounge dishes include a lettuce sandwich ($12) with fermented romaine, goat cheese, and olive oil from Christian Puglisi of Relæ (Copenhagen, Denmark), while the dining room menu includes brown oyster stew ($28) with benne and Charleston ice cream from Sean Brock of Husk (Charleston, South Carolina); guinea fowl larp Chiang Mai ($24) from David Thompson of Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand); and Umami Soup ($38) with miso-marinated wagyu, asparagus, Inaniwa udon from Hisato Nakahigashi of Miyamasou (Kyoto, Japan). And, of course, there’s an homage to Cecilia Chiang of The Mandarin with guotie ($12), pork, shrimp, and cabbage potstickers. Take a look at In Situ’s Instagram for more images.

The restaurant is currently serving from 11am-4pm and will be extending to 9pm in the coming weeks. Reservations here. 151 3rd St. at Howard, 415-941-6050.


Some of the many dishes at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.


Vegetable terrine and za’atar pita at Tawla. Photo: Smeeta Mahanti.


Bring on the juicy potatoes (at Souvla)! Photo: ©


Guisados and more from El Buen Comer. Photo courtesy of El Buen Comer.

Another exciting addition to our Mediterranean scene in SF is ~TAWLA~, newly open in the Mission from first-time restaurateur Azhar Hashem, working closely with chef Joseph Magidow (formerly of Delfina). Hashem is Jordanian, and the menu meshes Eastern Med dishes (think Greece, Turkey, Iran, and the Levant—Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, and Jordan) with some seasonal and Northern Californian influences.

The duo has purposefully left kebabs, falafel, hummus, and tabbouleh off the menu, however; they are focusing on dishes that are more like upscale home cooking. Take a look at the menu here. There are also made-to-order breads, and they even collaborated with Belfiore Cheese Company on a Lebanese-style cheese. Quality wines and beers were assembled by sommelier Garret Nakamura (previously Jean-Georges and Saison), and low-ABV cocktails are from the Bon Vivants.

As for the restaurant’s name, it’s Arabic for backgammon; you can play outside on the back patio while waiting for a table (there are 66 seats total) and enjoying a cocktail. Open 5:30pm-10pm daily. 206 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-814-2704.

Fans of the Greek pita wraps and salads with rotisserie roasted meats at ~SOUVLA~ will be happy to know they have opened their second location on Divis in the former Herbivore, “bringing the opa to Nopa!” All of your favorites on the menu are there, plus the all-Greek wine and beer list, and there’s some alfresco atmosphere with a back patio! Same hours too: daily 11am-10pm. 531 Divisadero St. at Fell.

Huge congrats to Isabel Caudillo, a La Cocina entrepreneur, who just opened her first brick-and-mortar location, in Bernal Heights, of her ~EL BUEN COMER~. The menu is all about her soulful Mexican home cooking (she is a native of Mexico City), with antojitos like mini huaraches, gorditas, and fish tacos, with heartier guisados (stewed dishes) available in three sizes, like her puerco en mole verde, beef albondigas, and chiles rellenos. She is serving lunch (comidas corridas) for now, and July will bring expanded dinner hours (we’ll send you a reminder!). Hours for now are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3435 Mission St. at Livingston, 415-817-1542.

And really quick, for the next time you’re picking up your bulk spices at Rainbow Grocery: ~CHICKS AND LOVE PIZZA~ is now open on the patio. Hoodline reports hours are 9am-3pm weekdays (serving breakfast and lunch).


One of the many awesome charcuterie boards at Union Larder. Photo: ©


One of the special ramen bowls at Ippudo New York. Photo: ©

A few months ago, Union Larder owner Jay Esopenko tipped me off that he had a new project coming down the pike, and now that the ABC paperwork has hit the wires, I can tell you more. Esopenko and his wife Melissa Gugni’s first project, Little Vine in North Beach, is about to have a neighbor: ~THE SALZBURG~, which is moving into the former Cinecittà space.

Esopenko says it’s going to be an Austrian wine tavern (heuriger) featuring food, wine, and beer influenced by Germany, Austria, and Northern Italy. Here’s more: “The drink focus will be on the wine regions surrounding the Alps and their American counterparts like Tatomer, Massican, Matthiasson, Forlorn Hope, and Teutonic. Our house wine is being made by Sandlands and we’ll also have an stellar beer selection with over 10 on tap.”

As for executive chef Ramon Siewert’s menu, look for housemade sausages and salumi, and since this location has a grill and fryer, there will be schnitzel, a burger, and other dishes, too, many inspired by Alpine wine regions. Union Larder’s cheese director Kristi Bachman will be in charge of the Alpine-focused cheese program.

The same firm (8inc) that helped design Union Larder will be the architects for this project. They will be doing a complete demolition of the interior and facade (the front windows will open completely), and they will be adding a 500-square-foot heated patio with a fireplace out back. There will also be a small dining area downstairs available for private events (with room for up to 20 guests). I’ll keep you posted on this as things take shape. 663 Union St. at Columbus.

Back in January, the SF Bay Area was getting excited about the prospect of New York’s wildly popular ramen shop, ~IPPUDO~, coming to downtown Berkeley, and now according to ABC license activity, SF is getting a location too! Eater heard back from an Ippudo rep, who confirmed it will be opening a location in the former Lark Creek Steak in the Westfield San Francisco Centre in March 2017. The location will be a big one, featuring “70 seats in the main dining room, 36 in the private dining room, 10 at the chef’s counter, and 20 in the bar.”


Tai Chi Jianbing! Photo via @taichijiangbing.


The iconic Roosevelt Tamale Parlor sign; Yelp photo by Marina N.

Here are some cool events and more for your consideration. First, the zany Gelinaz crew is back with another version of their chef shell game. On Monday July 11th is Walk with Us San Francisco, with 16 top chefs (including local chefs Gabriela Cámara, Joshua Skenes, and Dominique Crenn, as well as visiting chefs such as Sean Brock and Blaine Wetzel) creating a 16-course tasting menu. The event will be held at Corey Lee’s restaurants, Benu and In Situ (as if he isn’t busy enough right now). Tickets are $600, so there’s that.

Have you always wanted to try jianbing, the tender-but-crispy Chinese crêpe from Shandong that comes stuffed with an egg, scallions, cilantro, and add-ons like steak or ham? Here’s where you can: Tai Chi Jianbing is popping up inside Osaka Imai in the Outer Sunset. Tai Chi Jianbing’s Cheng Hu is using quality and organic ingredients that are definitely a step up and can cost up to $15 depending on what you get yours filled with (like chicken, beef, or ham). Open daily 10am-2pm except Tuesdays through July 2nd—and according to their Instagram feed, come early and prepare for long lines! There’s also talk of a food truck later on. (Via Hoodline.) 2445 Noriega St. at 32nd Ave.

There’s a new pop-up in the (sadly closed) Roosevelt Tamale Parlor from some of the folks opening Che Fico later this year on Divisadero (chef David Nayfeld and pastry chef Angela Pinkerton). The pop-up is called Mission D&A (as in David and Angela), and they are launching with a Russian menu called Mama Galina’s—Nayfield’s background is Russian, and the menu is in honor of his mother Galina’s cooking. Eater mentions it will start with aperitifs, then move to a five-course family-style dinner with pairings; $75, tickets and more here. It all starts on Tuesday June 21st, look for more concepts in the future.


The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

I have some closures and other changes around town to report on. First, it looks like Outer Sunset’s ~TERRA COTTA WARRIOR~, one of the city’s few places offering Shaanxi cuisine, has new management and is closed until August 1st. Ugh. That place was perfect for our foggy weather and always easy on the wallet. Here’s hoping the new owners keep things intact. (Via Eater.) 2555 Judah St. at 30th Ave., 415-681-3288.

A tablehopper reader let us know that the wine bar ~CARAFE~ on Folsom was closed, and now Hoodline confirms both Carafe and ~EL CAPITAN~ (the former Radius, and Julie’s Supper Club for you fellow old-timers) have also closed. They are open for a couple of NBA and NHL games; details on their Facebook page. 1123 Folsom St. at 7th St.

Another old-timer has closed: the Noe Valley ~HAHN’S HIBACHI~ has shuttered after being in business since 1978! Noe Valley blog posts their farewell note, which says, “You have made this a great business, but, the rising cost of everything, in the city, has made a great business, obsolete. You all have been wonderful customers. See you, enjoy our food, over the years, has given us so much happiness. Again, we say, Thank You for your patronage. We will miss you greatly.” It sounds like Bistro SF Grill, the burger place in Lower Pacific Heights, will be moving in since they lost their lease. The Hahn’s locations on Irving and Polk streets remain open, so you can still get your bibimbap fix. 1305 Castro St. at 24th St.

And in chef news, chef David Bazirgan of ~DIRTY HABIT~ is moving back to his hometown of Boston after 13 years in SF. We will miss your wings, Baz! His last day is June 24th. (Via Scoop.)

May 31, 2016

An array of salads and hummus at Sababa. Photo via Facebook.


Some of the vintage seating and styling at Evil Eye. Photo courtesy of Evil Eye.


Fried chicken sandwich at K+O Kitchen. Photo via Facebook.

Now open in the Financial District is ~SABABA~, which we mentioned was opening in the former Paladar location. The fast-casual/takeout Israeli street food spot is from Guy Eshel, previously AQ.

He’s serving freshly made pita (it’s made on location, check out the Wood Stone oven!), which you can get stuffed with falafel, kofta (ground beef kebab), char-grilled chicken, or sabik (eggplant and egg). You can also order pita, hummus, and salad (like Israeli salad or quinoa tabbouleh or roasted beets), or a bowl with hummus and three salads. Quality ingredients and housemade items will be in heavy play here. Check out the menu. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. 329 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-800-6853.

Opening Thursday June 2nd in the former Coco Frio (also previously Savanna Jazz) in the Mission is ~EVIL EYE~. Husband-and-wife owners Matt and Piper Norris are opening a laid-back neighborhood bar in the space, with inventive cocktails served in vintage glassware. They will also be offering punch bowls, seasonal cocktails, and wine and beer too. Matt Norris was an owner and beverage director at Soluna. There will be small plates and bar bites from consulting chef Francis Hogan (currently chef-owner of Sabio on Main in the East Bay, and previously executive chef at Bluestem Brasserie and Soluna). There will be cheese and charcuterie selected by Mission Cheese, and Humphry Slocombe ice cream.

Piper Morris designed the space to have a “funky bohemian rock ‘n’ roll vibe” with vintage furnishings that are evocative of SF bars in the 1970s. There’s also a pool table and two classic pinball machines. Hours are Tue-Thu 3:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 3pm-12am. 2937 Mission St. at 25th St., 415-814-3779.

Right by the ballpark, Woodbury and Alchemist Bar are now serving food via ~K+O KITCHEN~ from executive chef and owner Ola Fendert and head chef Kelvin Ott. On the menu: sandwiches, salads, and hearty American classics (peep the menu here). Lunch includes a CBLT with organic Rocky chicken, oven-roasted tomatoes, bacon, aioli and arugula; and roasted beets with watermelon, watercress, Humboldt Fog cheese, pistachios, and a fresh thyme-Champagne vinaigrette.

Dinner includes fully loaded tots with pulled pork, pancetta arbol chili, mozzarella, and cheddar, and of course Ola’s 48-hour braised ribs with ginger-soy glaze and red cabbage and apple slaw, plus rotisserie chicken.

Open for lunch and dinner Mon-Fri 11:30am-11pm and Sat 11:30am-12am. During baseball season and when the Giants are in town, they serve dinner only. 685 3rd St. at Townsend, 415-802-8398.


The inimitable and Venetian-inspired dining room at Da Flora. Photo: ©

If you come to North Beach icon ~DA FLORA~, you won’t be seeing owner Flora Gaspar on the floor anymore—after opening it in 1994, she has sold the restaurant to her chef, Jen McMahon, and McMahon’s husband, Darren Lacy. Scoop reports she just turned 60 and it sounds like she wants to ease up and focus on her new shop just next door, Rialto Mercato, which we told you about at Christmastime. Don’t expect much to change (except maybe some more reservation-less folks will be let in—Flora was notorious for her watchdog stance at the door), and she will still be doing the wine list for Da Flora. 701 Columbus Ave. at Filbert, 415-981-4664.

Lunch deal alert: ~MICHAEL MINA~, ~RN74~, and ~PABU~ are offering a three-course lunch deal for $35 all summer long called Out to Lunch. Check out the menus here: Michael Mina, RN74, and Pabu.

One more note from Mina land: the latest pop-up concept at ~MINA TEST KITCHEN~ is International Smoke, which Mina is collaborating on with cookbook author Ayesha Curry (The Seasoned Life: Food, Family, Faith, and the Joy of Eating Well, and yes, she’s Steph Curry’s wife), featuring “the lighter side of barbecue, grilled, and smoked meats—with flavors from all around the world and fresh seasonal produce.” Here’s the menu. All dishes will be served family style; tickets are $45 for the four-course menu, and additional courses (like binchotan barbecue lobster) will be available for a supplemental price. Reservations are now available for tables starting Saturday June 4th. Open Wed-Sat. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore St., 415-310-8371. 

Also on the lunch circuit: ~THE TREASURY~ in the FiDi has started serving lunch, and not just cocktails and bites in the evening. You can get a chopped salad with blue cheese and Madrange ham, or a grain salad dressed with coconut curry vinaigrette, plus a pork banh mi with sambal aioli or a tuna melt with albacore confit and Roncevaux cheese. Served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, and the full bar opens at 3pm in case you want to make your Friday lunch a late one. 200 Bush St. at Sansome.

Are you over pancakes and everything with an egg on top for brunch? Then check out The Brunch Pre-Game, a new event series brought to you by Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters. This weekend (Saturday June 4th and Sunday June 5th), you’ll get to enjoy two kinds of Wrecking Ball’s coffee in their SoMa microroastery space, along with a duo of toasts and a “breakfast salad” made by two local pastry chefs (Krista Allvey and Kari Shaughnessy).

Should be a fun and communal dining experience. 9am-11:30am. Tickets ($18) and more info here—and they’re even making a donation to Seven Tepees Youth Program.


The breakfast sandwich at LocoL Oakland. Photo: Audrey Ma.


“Crunchies”/chicken nugs at LocoL Oakland. Photo: Audrey Ma.

Big congrats to Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi for getting their second location of ~LOCOL~ open (the first was in Watts). It has just opened in Daniel Patterson’s former Plum location in Oakland, and it’s an exciting continuation of their quest to offer food that is healthy and affordable in neighborhoods and communities that need an alternative to fast food. Their burgers and spin on chicken nuggets and other eats are made with quality ingredients and in a healthier manner that won’t fast-track consumers to diabetes and obesity. For example, the burger has some tofu and grains in the patty—it’s not straight-up feedlot beef soaking in grease and loaded with sodium and random “flavors.” So though the menu isn’t quite centered on vegan rice bowls, you actually can find a vegetable and crushed tofu stew for those who want to go in that direction.

Take a look at the menu: cheeseburgers are $5 (there’s also a barbecue turkey burger, vegetarian burger, and fried chicken), while bowls are $7 (from a noodle bowl to a chili bowl, and the hilariously named “Bulgar Language”). “Foldies” are like a quesadilla for just $3, and “crunchies” are the nugget replacement, available either as chicken or vegetarian, for $4. No sodas, so don’t ask. Enjoy an agua fresca instead.

There’s also a breakfast menu, with four versions of their breakfast sandwich ($5), French toast holes ($3), yogurt and granola ($4), and green juice ($3). Check them out, spread the word, and let’s support this venture, which is trying to make a positive change in the community. You can also check out their merch—any purchases help them keep this moving forward. Open daily 8am-8pm. 2214 Broadway near Grand, Oakland.    

May 24, 2016

Sneak peek at Bellota’s booths. Photo via Facebook.


A preview look at the wraparound bar, complete with sherry barrels and lamps by Wastberg Designer Lamps. Photo via Facebook.


One of the four paellas. Photo via Facebook.

The latest (and sixth) project from The Absinthe Group has been a long time coming, but ~BELLOTA~ is finally opening its doors this Wednesday May 25th. The Spanish-themed SoMa restaurant is opening in 888 Brannan (aka the Airbnb building), and here’s a little factoid for you: it’s the first public restaurant in a building on the National Register of Historic Places. And it’s a spacious one, currently clocking in at 170 seats, with capacity for 210.

Chef Ryan McIlwraith was previously chef de cuisine at Coqueta, and he has put together a menu of imported charcuterie and cheeses from Spain. There’s also a fun spin on a seafood tower, which comes with some land-based bites, like grass-fed beef with oyster escabeche, harissa, and benne. Tapas get a creative upgrade, like a creamy clam and sea urchin fritter with pickled ramp and seaweed powder, or a raw sugar snap pea and tendril dish, with queso fresco dressing and cashew dukkah. There are four paellas, and there’s a wood-fired plancha, grill, and oven, too, with dishes like slow-roasted, Moorish-spiced lamb, flatbread, ember-roasted eggplant, hearth-baked bean, and cherry vinagreta. Take a look at the opening menu. Desserts are from Stephanie Kimura.

Of course, with Jonny Raglin—the director of bars for The Absinthe Group and co­-creator of Comstock Saloon—at the helm, you know the cocktails are going to rock. Bar manager Collin Nicholas is overseeing the team and cocktails; expect plenty of sherries, dry cider, sangria, and Spanish ­style “gintonic.” Absinthe Group’s wine director, Ian Becker, has assembled an exclusively Spanish wine list (200 selections!), from small producers to classics.

Sagan Piechota Architecture (Boxing Room) is behind the design, working with design and furnishing adviser Kendall Wilkinson Design. The 5,300-foot-space includes Costa Brava blue leather chairs and booths, California bay laurel tabletops and counters, a jaw-dropping jamón display (want. all. the. hams.), Moorish light pendants and brass table ­lamps, and seating around the open kitchen. There’s a private dining room with space for 40 as well. Diners will enjoy the custom tableware, which comes from Jered’s Pottery and Mary Mar Keenan Tableware.

Some unexpected entertainment includes live lounge performances, and there’s even a baby grand piano! The restaurant is also tricked out with a Constellation sound system from Berkeley­-based Meyer Sound.

The restauranat is open for dinner Mon-Sat to start; lunch is coming later. 888 Brannan St. at 8th St., 415-430­-6580.


A pic from the team’s crawfish boil pop-up in the former Hapa Ramen space. Photo via Facebook.

There’s news about a taker of the former Hapa Ramen space in the Mission, and it’s the Causwells and Popsons team of Alvin Garcia and Adam Rosenblum. Eater reports they plan to open a Cajun restaurant in the space this fall (you may remember the Cajun pop-ups they held in the space last year). It ends up Rosenblum was a sous chef under New Orleans’ chef Donald Link (Herbsaint, Cochon); he will be offering dishes from shrimp and grits to housemade andouille sausage and dirty rice. With this restaurant clocking in as their fourth, Rosenblum is also now culinary director; he will be overseeing the chefs at all of the locations.

There’s a full bar, so Sazeracs will be in effect, and a frozen drink machine too. Late-night dining, brunch, lunch, springtime/summertime crawfish boils, and bar bites are also being discussed. Arcsine is in charge of the new look. Stand by for more in coming months. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St.


Stir-fried teo chew rice noodles at Tēo. Yelp photo by Kirk E.


A look at one of Horest’s pop-up meals. Photo via Instagram.

According to a new listing on Yelp, there’s a Chiu Chow-/teo chew-style Chinese restaurant in SoMa called ~TĒO RESTAURANT & BAR~. Take a look at the menu here, which denotes many dishes from China’s Guangdong province, like fried shrimp balls, corn pancake, goose, and two kinds of soup using Hungmao chicken. The restaurant is currently having its soft opening; a limited menu and special pricing will be offered for the remainder of May. Cocktails will be available too. Soft opening hours: Mon-Sun 5pm-9:30pm. 1111 Mission St at 7th St., 415-626-8366.

If you’re interested in trying a Northern Persian dinner this Saturday May 28th, check out this pop-up called ~HOREST~, founded by Ghazal Tabrizi. The meal will be prepared by Elham Rostamy, from Gilan province, who will be highlighting traditional techniques.

StarChefs just announced their 2016 San Francisco Rising Stars Awards and will be hosting the StarChefs Rising Stars Gala on Tuesday June 21st at The Julia Morgan Ballroom. The night will begin with an awards ceremony at 6:30pm, followed by a tasting gala from 7:15pm to 9:30pm. Twenty-two restaurants will be in the house, with beverage pairings and cocktails by the winning sommeliers and bartenders. Tickets are $100; VIP $175. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to La Cocina.

Matt Straus of ~HEIRLOOM CAFÉ~ just launched a quarterly magazine, Kitchen Work, “about what and how we eat and drink.” They are hoping to have the first issue in the mail by the end of the summer.  


The exterior of Sous Beurre Kitchen. Photo via SBK.


A kamayan feast at Pampalasa. Photo via Pampalasa.

Thos of you who follow @tablehopper on Twitter already caught word of ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~ closing after a year of business in the Mission. Chef-owner Michael Mauschbaugh closed the restaurant after service on Saturday May 14th. 2704 24th St. at Potrero.

Fans of ~AZIZA~ in the Outer Richmond should know chef-owner Mourad Lahlou has closed the restaurant for a design refresh, which should take a couple of months. Stand by.

Have you had a chance to check out Jennifer Villamin’s kamayan dinners (or Sunday brunch) at her SoMa restaurant, ~ PAMPALASA~? Well, you better hop to it, because Scoop reports she is going to close the restaurant at the end of the summer. It sounds like her rent is too much, so she’s looking for another location. Here’s hoping. 1261 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-590-3251.


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


Sababa’s falafel sandwich will be back! Photo: Cameron Neilson.

It’s time to start planning your lineup of artists and eats at Outside Lands, coming up August 5th-7th in Golden Gate Park! Let’s talk about what’s new this year, starting with Outside Clams. Just when you thought Outside Lambs was the punniest, but no. Woodhouse Fish Co. will be shucking raw oysters, and there will be barbecued oysters, lobster rolls, and clam chowder too. Pick up a refreshing wine at neighbor Wine Lands and you’ll be set.

Newcomers to the restaurant lineup include fast burgers and grass-fed hot dogs from Belcampo, Trestle, Neapolitan pizzas from Mozzeria, the awesome momos from Bini’s Kitchen, crab rolls from Fine & Rare, spicy tater tots from The Japanese Pantry, and a taste of gyoza and ramen from the newly opened Itani Ramen from Oakland. You’ll also be able to get cold brew from Four Barrel Coffee, and drip coffee and regular and vanilla cold brews from Artis. Check out the full lineup of all 79 vendors (!) here.

You’ll also get to taste brews from Harmonic Brewing in Beer Lands, thanks to curator Dave McLean, and the lineup in Wine Lands includes 12 new winemakers, such as Alysian Wines, Ca’ Momi, and Fount. Choco Lands, Cheese Lands, and Gastro Magic will all be in effect as well, and this year’s farmer’s market will be led by The Farmer’s Wife, which will offer fresh produce and apple and wildflower honey melts. Yup, Ranger Dave is ready to rock!