The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
April 17, 2018

Aperitivo time means Aperol Spritzes and Negroni Sbagliatos. Photo: Ryan Robles PR.


Get ready to grab a slice of wood-fired pizza fresh from the oven. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


Donato Scotti knows a thing or two about stuffed pasta, especially casonsei from his native Bergamo! Photo: Nadia Andreini.


Party time at Cento Osteria brings roasted suckling pig! Photo: Nadia Andreini.


You ready to hang out over some aperitivi, salumi, roast pig, and pasta? I think I know the answer! A couple weeks ago, I shared the latest details about Donato Scotti’s (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City and Donato & Co. in Berkeley) first SF restaurant coming to the Embarcadero, ~CENTO OSTERIA~, and we get to be the first ones in! We’re hosting a pre-opening apericena party on Thursday May 3rd, and it’s going to be a blast.

If you attended the ~DONATO & CO.~ opening party I co-hosted last September, then you know Donato puts out quite a spread! (Italians can’t help themselves—they want everyone to eat!)

You’ll be the first to taste some dishes off the upcoming Cento Osteria menu, which is all about highlighting dishes from the different regions and provinces of Italy. You’ll get to taste housemade pasta (like his famed casonsei, a pasta from his native Bergamo stuffed with sausage, pancetta, amaretto crumbs, grana padano, and garlic) to a variety of pizzas from the wood-fired pizza oven, and roasted suckling pig! There will also be salumi, assorted antipasti, and vegetable dishes aplenty.

You’ll get to experience apericena, a trending style of eating in Italy: a dinner (cena) comprised of antipasti and ample bites and small plates (which is what you find during aperitivo time). It’s one of my favorite ways to eat, and it’s something Donato will be encouraging and bringing to life at Cento Osteria, especially since they have that full bar. Consider this your first apericena! You may have an Italian accent by the end of the evening (if you don’t already)!

To accompany all those tasty bites at the party, we’ll also be offering a few cocktails (courtesy of our generous sponsor Campari America), including Aperol Spritzes, Negronis, and Sbagliatos, as well as pouring some wines (prosecco, white, rosé, and red). Your ticket includes three drink tickets!

We’ll be making a donation to our charity partner for the evening, Family House, which serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by providing physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.

Tickets are only $50 (plus a ticket service fee), which will get you three drink tickets and access to all the delicious food! (Additional cocktails/wine will be available at a very affordable price.) And a donation will be made to charity partner Family House.

The party will run from 6pm-9pm. 21+ only. Get your tickets now, the last party sold out quickly.

See you on Thursday May 3rd! Festeggiamo!

100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero


The airy and natural-chic dining room at Sorrel. All photos: ©


The artsy and well-appointed private dining room.


A lovely place setting—a pleasant meal awaits.


Madai crudo with finger lime, almond milk vinaigrette, poppy seed.


Springtime cappellacci in whey.

Last week, I emerged from my writing bunker to attend a preview dinner of ~SORREL~, which just opened last Friday, and what a beaut it is. Anyone who was mourning the loss/move of Nico from Sacramento Street to North Beach will be so happy to see such a stylish and considered (and utterly San Franciscan) restaurant taking its place. Co-founder and chef Alex Hong and co-founder and director of operations Colby Heiman have done a bang-up job of designing the restaurant themselves, and it’s a purr-fect fit for the charming Laurel Heights neighborhood.

Sorrel started as a pop-up (accumulating a tally of 135 dinners!) and now chef Hong gets to really craft an entire dining experience in a dedicated space. His background includes Jean Georges and Quince, and you’ll note some Italian influences in his elegant Northern Californian/New American dishes, which all reflect the height of seasonality and quality local ingredients (plus a few items from their burgeoning roof garden).

A great place to start on the à la carte menu is with the oysters ($4.50 each), with sorrel, oro blanco grapefruit, and Asian pear, and it will be tough to not fill up on the warm sourdough focaccia ($6), which comes the option of a green garlic bagna cauda dipping sauce (uh-huh) or cultured butter (each $3). Vegetables and light fish dishes round out the starters, plus a spring lamb tartare ($16). Everything comes on ceramics from Mary Mar Keenan, and the focaccia’s claypot dish was custom made.

Pasta lovers will be thrilled with the entire column of housemade pastas on the menu, from tortellini in brodo (stuffed with smoked duck) to the downright springy cappellacci in whey, with English peas, mint, green garlic, and sheep’s milk ricotta (both $17). Mains include striped bass ($34) with wild ramps, roasted artichokes, cauliflower, and the perfume of saffron, while meat lovers will find a dry-aged duck for two ($85), brightened with accents of fennel pollen and kumquat. Desserts continue to hit the seasonal notes, like a bright strawberry number with elderflower, black pepper, and white chocolate.

You’re in great hands with wine pairings from beverage director Samuel Bogue (wine director for the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group), from crowd-pleasers to some more esoteric selections (this is a great place to play and explore). You’ll also find some low-ABV/aperitif-style cocktails—perfect to enjoy at the bar along with some bites.

The space is welcoming and chic, from the eight-seat marble bar at the front with ribbons of green in it, to the blue-gray palette, and natural light coming in from the skylights. Down the center of the room are two walnut slab tables (by Ben O’Hearn at Modern Millwork), with large suspended planter boxes overhead and teardrop globe lights hand-blown by Guido Gerlitz at Effetto Glassworks. If you’re on date night, you’ll want one of the small tables that run along the blue-gray banquette (there are 50 seats in all). I loved the chairs, which are as stylin’ as they are comfortable, and the table setting is elegant and well-chosen, from the stemware to the flatware.

You can take a peek into the exposed kitchen in the back, and the private dining room has room for 16, with bold artwork, more globe lights, and a record player, so make yourself at home. You’ll notice the music in the restaurant is a bit upbeat, and the service style is professional but relaxed—you’re supposed to enjoy yourself. And you will.

Open for dinner Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 3228 Sacramento St. at Lyon.


The iconic facade at Boogaloos. Photo via Facebook.

A faithful tablehopper reader (thanks, Mike! sent me the news that ~BOOGALOOS~ is finally reopening this Wednesday April 18th, after an extended closure (they’ve been remodeling) and then there was a fire and some lease drama last year that fortunately took a turn for the good. Boogaloos has been with us since 1994, welcome back! The Temple of Spuds triumphantly returns!

You can read their happy note in the window here, which also mentions their pop-up at Parada 22 in the Haight during the week is no more, but they will be continuing to offer it on the weekends (9am-3pm). 3296 22nd St. at Valencia.


The mezze sampler at Dyafa, with fresh-baked pita. Photo courtesy of Dyafa.


One of the tortas available at Comal Next Door. Photo: Charlie Villyard.

Great news: Reem Assil (of Reem’s California) has opened ~DYAFA~ for lunch service in the former Haven at Jack London Square in Oakland (dinner will be coming later). To recap, the La Cocina graduate is working with Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group on this, her second restaurant.

The name, which means “hospitality” in Arabic, is an homage to how she grew up eating in her Palestinian-Syrian home. At lunch, you’ll find shareable snacks, dips, grain bowls, and salads, plus flatbread wraps that use the signature bread from Reem’s California, which is baked on the saj (a traditional convex griddle used to bake bread). You can survey the menu, which also includes cocktails (featuring Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors), refreshing drinks for daytime, wine, and beer selected by beverage director Aaron Paul.

The 105-seat space features lots of tile, greenery, and colorful ceramic plates. The restaurant also participates in ROC Restaurant Opportunities Center United’s racial equity program. Lunch is served Tue-Fri 11am-2pm. This Saturday April 21st, there’s a fundraiser evening event for The Cooking Project—enjoy appetizers, cocktail tastes, and more. 44 Webster St. at Water, Oakland, 510-250-9491.

Now open next door to ~COMAL~ in Berkely is, wait for it, ~COMAL NEXT DOOR~, a casual taqueria serving burritos​, ​bowls​, ​tacos​, and ​three kinds of tortas​. There’s Berkshire pork carnitas or al pastor (may I have both?), plus beef barbacoa, achiote-grilled chicken, chile relleno, and more. There are 20 seats, or you can take your food to go. Bonus: two daily rotating ​aguas frescas will be available, in addition to ​frozen margaritas and ​beer. It’s conveniently open all day Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 2024 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-42-COMAL.


This Thursday April 19th (1:30pm-3:30pm), Jacques Pépin will be at Market Hall Foods at Rockridge Market Hall for a book signing, conversation, and tasting for his books, Poulets & Légumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipes and A Grandfather’s Lessons.

This Saturday April 21st is Kermit Lynch Oyster Bliss, retuning after seven years.

April 10, 2018

Besharam is opening in the Alta space at the Minnesota Street Project. Photo courtesy of Alta.


Heena Patel. Photo courtesy of Besharam.

The partnership between La Cocina’s Incubator Program graduates and Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group continues with the excellent news that the talented Heena Patel (of Rasoi) is going to be taking over the Alta location at Minnesota Street Project in Dogpatch. She will be opening a restaurant called ~BESHARAM~, which translates to “shameless”! The name is inspired by the fact that at 50, she’s following her own dreams and doing something she has always been too scared to do: open her own restaurant. (“Besharam,” her Indian aunties would whisper.) And on Friday May 11th, that’s when Patel will shamelessly open her first restaurant.

Patel spent her childhood in Gujarat and her teenage years in Mumbai, followed by a life in London when she married, and then, with her own children, in the United States. She has been in La Cocina’s Incubator Program the last five years and has gained a reputation for her incredibly flavorful and innovative food. “When Heena cooks,” chef Traci Des Jardins said after hosting a pop-up at Jardinière featuring her food, “I look up. She takes ingredients that I know well and reintroduces them to me. It’s an excitement that’s rare in our industry.”

At Besharam, look for local grains and seasonal produce in her khichadi, and updated pav bhaji for lunch. Dinner will be family style, bringing Gujarati hospitality and flavors to the forefront, with a focus on vegetables in dishes like malai kofta with cashew pakoras and paneer dust, or her signature gunpowder over uttampam with spring greens. Also on offer: cocktails and wine pairings from Patel’s husband, Paresh, and the Alta bar team.

The Alta Group will provide infrastructure and ROC United systems for staff and management. Another collaboration is the upcoming Dyafa from Reem Assil of Reem’s California, opening in the former Haven in Oakland. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.


A bowl from a past pop-up with the Yo También ladies. Photo via Instagram.

Thanks to a star tablehopper reader, Paul G., I learned about the new business opening in the former Wooly Pig Cafe space in the Inner Sunset. It’s going to be ~YO TAMBIÉN CANTINA~ from couple Isabella Bertorelli and Kenzie Benesh.

They will be bringing their tropical-local vibes (they have hosted pop-up dinners and been a part of collaborations in the past), offering Venezuelan-Californian tropical food, from sandwiches (think pulled pork, spicy plantains, güasacaca sauce, and salsa picante inside an arepa) to bowls, plus baked goods and breakfast items. They are dedicated to seasonal, organic, and local produce (they are tight with Full Belly Farm) and are extremely excited to open. They are currently targeting late May/early June. Looking forward to meeting these badass mujeres and trying their food. Follow along on Instagram for now. 205 Hugo St. at 3rd Ave.


The new Frozen Kuhsterd storefront opening in the Lower Haight. Photo via Facebook.


Get steamy at the new DNM Hot Pot. Yelp photo by Sharon N.

After almost a year of delays (and two years in the making!), the ~FROZEN KUHSTERD~ team got in touch to let me know they are hosting their soft opening for their new Lower Haight shop (opening in the former P-Kok space) this Saturday April 14th. They will be open over the weekend from 12pm-9pm (Sat-Sun), and then the next few weekends as well. They will have eight flavors of their West Coast-style frozen custard, plus two nondairy options daily, and they have a few new items up their sleeve too. Maybe you’ll need to go by and see just what that is! 791 Haight St. at Scott.

It’s definitely still hot pot weather in our city (isn’t it always?), and this new Mongolian hot pot restaurant that just opened in the Inner Richmond looks really tasty: ~DNM HOT POT~ (with a spiffy interior as well). There are a variety of soup bases (like spicy, mushroom, tomato), meats (lamb, beef, meatballs), vegetables and tofu, sauces, and sides. You can also start with some BBQ lamb ribs. Fire it up! There are also some noodle combination lunch specials. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1115 Clement St. at 12th Ave., 415-668-8666.


The new breakfast service at City Counter includes multigrain porridge with Umbrian farro, black barley, and Arborio rice with local asparagus, lavender-fennel goat cheese, and a soft-boiled egg. Photo courtesy of City Counter.


It’s time to meet My Jewish Husband at City Counter, a stuffed, everything-spiced gougère. Photo courtesy of City Counter.


Weekend brunch is now happening at barvale. Photo courtesy of barvale.


Smokebread (by Duna): it’s like your dream flatbread sandwich. Photo courtesy of Nick Balla.

Downtown workers (or at-home workers who order delivery): you have a new option for breakfast and it’s all going down at ~CITY COUNTER~! Chef Sean Thomas has been putting together some menu winners, including a spin on East Coast BEC, The Breakfast Toasty. It comes with egg, potato, and sharp white cheddar on Acme bread. You can also get carnivorous and add ‘nduja, housemade brown sugar merguez sausage (whut), or bacon.

And then there’s My Jewish Husband, an everything-spiced gougère loaded with gravlax, bay leaf cream cheese, and a caper and charred onion relish. Or try a multigrain porridge with Umbrian farro, black barley, and Arborio rice with local asparagus, lavender-fennel goat cheese, and a soft-boiled egg (and you can add on crispy smoked bacon, because why not?).

A lighter option includes The Day Maker (seasonal fruit with orange blossom yogurt and gluten-free black quinoa-cashew granola), or you can succumb to Marla Bakery pastries (croissants, coffee cake). There’s Linea drip coffee or organic teas. Breakfast is available Mon-Fri 7am-10am.

And you can come back for dinner, served until 7pm Mon-Tue and until 9pm Wed-Fri (or you can bring the spiced chicken meatballs with harissa tomato sauce and toasted Acme bread home with you). Also coming soon: outdoor seating! 115 Sansome St. at Bush.

~BAR VALE~ in Nopa just launched brunch, offering dishes like morcilla pudín with sunny eggs, frisée, and manchego ($14) and chorizo hash, two fried eggs, and chorizo vinaigrette ($14). French toast gets a Spanish accent with sherry custard, date syrup, almonds, banana, and cream ($11). Check out the entire menu here. You can also order hot and cold tapas.

And you know bar manager Jessica Everett has some new low-ABV cocktails and eye-openers for you, like the Pasatiempo with cold-brew coffee, Licor 43, Ancho Reyes, and stout. Served Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.

Some updates at ~DUNA~: chef Nick Balla is morphing the concept into Smokebread (by Duna), starting this Wednesday April 11th. The menu will feature their amazing house-smoked potato flatbread (made with sourdough starter and organic wheat flour and cooked on a cast-iron pan, (inspired by Hungarian langos) topped with their mezze and combinations like cumin sausage with yogurt and sprouted mung beans, or their brilliant lentil croquettes with saag and pumpkin seed tahini. (It’s like a flatbread pizza that you roll up into an awesome sandwich.)

There will be four sandwiches, and they will continue to offer two of their popular and juicy spoon salads, and of course, plenty of mezze sides, pickles, and preserved items. Open Wed-Sun at 5:30pm. 983 Valencia St. at 21st St.

Have you always wanted to try a sandwich from Portland’s famed ~LARDO~? (I have.) Well, they are going to be popping up for the first time in SF at ~THE PEARL~ on Friday April 27th from 5pm-9pm. Your $15 ticket gets you a sandwich (they will be serving a half dozen of their signature sandwiches—it’s enough to make me want to collect all six) and hand-cut fries, and Oregon’s Fort George Brewery will be serving beer. A portion of the proceeds will benefit No Kid Hungry/Chefs Cycle, helping to end childhood hunger in America. 601 19th St. at 3rd St.


The exterior of the Mission’s Hog & Rocks. Photo courtesy of Hog & Rocks.

Well folks, the time has arrived for ~HOG & ROCKS~ to announce their official closing date, which will be this Saturday April 14th, after they serve their last brunch and dinner. Scott Youkilis says their burger and chicken sandwich have experienced record sales the last couple of weeks, as it seems everyone is trying to get one last one. Best wishes to everyone, here’s their farewell note (scroll down). Coming up next in the space will be Anthony Strong’s new project.

Just a block away, a friend let me know ~KEN KEN RAMEN~ has closed—here’s their farewell sign. Eater caught the liquor license transfer, mentioning Ramenwell will be moving in (it’s owned by Harold Jurado, formerly a Chicago chef—at Chizakaya—who is now living in SF and working at Bon Appétit Management Company). Stand by. 3378 18th St. at Mission.

April 3, 2018

Kikuhime Kurogin Shizuku Genshu sake and a broth of toasted grain with burnt onion butter. Photo courtesy of Avery.

Opening on Tuesday April 10th is ~AVERY~, marking the transition from Rodney Wages’s ~R.T.B.~, which has been running in the former Mosu space on Fillmore for the past year. This new incarnation has Wages continuing to partner with Matthew Mako (GM)—they were both previously at Atelier Crenn and Saison and are no strangers to luxury ingredients and Zalto glassware. New team members include chef de cuisine Kristina Compton (Plum, Atelier Crenn) and sommelier Daniel Bromberg (True Sake, Dassai Sake, Les Clos).

The nightly tasting menu options include the Cello Player ($89), which will include 7-9 courses with optional supplements; Shades of Spring ($189), a seasonally changing 10- to 15-course menu (the name will also change with the seasons); and Avery’s Room ($289), which takes place in Avery’s private dining room (with room for six to eight guests) and showcases a special menu from the kitchen. The modern American cuisine will feature top seasonal ingredients, with East Asian influences.

In case you’re wondering about the artistic names, it’s in reference to artist and modern American painter Milton Avery’s oeuvre—and as you are now figuring out, the restaurant was named after him as well.

Mixed beverage pairings, with a special focus on Champagnes, beers, and sakes, will be available. Sake lovers will be especially happy with the sake-only menu pairings available, featuring a range of artisanal sakes. The list will have an emphasis on junmai, nama (unpasteurized), and aged options.

The space was designed in collaboration with Noz Nozawa of Noz Design. It will now feature some deeper colors inspired by the earth and sea (like charcoal, hunter green, and deep teal), plus materials like dense felts, mohair accents, and brushed brass, along with Italian-designed white Calligaris chairs. There are also custom Venetian plaster wall treatments from local artist Victor Reyes. Some elements will change in the room based on the season; for example, winter will bring tablecloths, while the summer may feature exposed wooden tabletops.

Reservations are now live on Tock. Dinner is served Wed-Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm. 1552 Fillmore St. at Geary, 415-817-1187.


Cento Osteria will feature plenty of refreshing cocktails. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


Housemade pasta will be offered at Cento Osteria. Photo: Nadia Andreini.

Some additional details have emerged from Donato Scotti (Donato Restaurant Group), who is opening ~CENTO OSTERIA~ this May in the former Caputo in South Beach (at Brannan and the Embarcadero). This will be his first SF restaurant—he is also behind Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City and Donato & Co. in Berkeley, which he opened in 2017 with Gianluca Guglielmi, who is now executive chef for the Donato Restaurant Group.

The menu is going to be osteria style, which will include wood-fired pizza, housemade pasta, and grilled meats and seafood (grilled over live fire!), with about six items per section. And here’s where you’ll get to do a little taste travel through Italian regions: each item will be associated with a particular Italian city or province. There will also be small plates to pair with wine and cocktails, and housemade salumi and ricotta will be in the mix, plus housemade desserts (one of Guglielmi’s specialties).

Wine lovers will be able to choose from 15-20 wines by the glass, with many Italian wines from small-production wineries on the bottle list. There will also be 8-10 cocktails and plenty of grappa and amari to choose from. There’s will be a wraparound patio opening this summer, so start envisioning yourself out there with a spritz for apericena (Italian-style predinner appetizers) beginning at 3pm. The spacious restaurant, outfitted with dark wood accents, will have room for up to 110 diners, including 30 in the bar area. Lunch will come this spring after the early May opening.

And here’s another thing to note: I’m going to be hosting a tablehopper preopening event on Thursday May 3rd—details in tablehopper next week! Get ready to apericena!

100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.


A selection of dishes available at Sunday at the Museum. Photo courtesy of Asian Art Museum.


A lineup of boba drinks from Boba Guys. Photo courtesy of Boba Guys.


Pandan pancakes at 1608. Yelp photo by Cynthia C.

Opening today (April 3rd) is ~SUNDAY AT THE MUSEUM~, a new café at the Asian Art Museum, with fried chicken master Deuki Hong (Sunday Bird, previously Baekjeong in New York) once again partnering with Andrew Chau and Bin Chen of Boba Guys (they host his Sunday Bird window in the back of their shop on Fillmore). The menu has his classic Korean fried chicken sandwich (it’s sooooo good) and a grilled pork “bunh” mi variation, plus soy-chile-garlic “Sunday” chicken wings, but he’s also stretching his wings (har) to include miso avocado toast on Japanese milk bread, and garlic prawn noodles, plus some vegan and gluten-free options. There will additionally be ice cream by Garden Creamery and pastries by Craftsman and Wolves.

Chau and Chen will develop a full bar of handcrafted hot and cold brews, like cold-brewed and espresso-based coffees, as well as classic, Hong Kong, and jasmine milk teas, a green matcha latte, boba teas, and a selection of teas by the pot. They will be expanding the tea service with a sommelier later.

Good news: you don’t have to purchase a museum admission ticket to dine at the café. There will also be a rooftop terrace (designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast) opening in 2019. Open Tue-Sun 10am-4pm. Look for a happy hour with beer and wine and a prix-fixe dinner menu coming soon for upcoming late Thursday evenings, when the museum is open until 9pm. 200 Larkin St. at McAllister.

More ~BOBA GUYS~ news: they have soft-opened a location on Divisadero, in the ground floor space under Che Fico. Eater reports they will be open this week from Wed-Fri (12pm-6pm), serving their quality boba tea (and other tea drinks). Furniture is coming soon too. 838 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

Matcha lovers, now open in Japantown is ~MATCHA CAFÉ MAIKO~ from Honolulu, serving matcha green tea soft-serve, matcha shaved ice, parfaits, and more (via Hoodline). The popular matcha dessert spot is open (for now) Sun and Tue-Thu 12:30pm-8:30pm and Fri-Sat 12:30pm-9:30pm, closed Mon. Updates here. 1581 Webster St. Ste. 175, at Post, 415-757-0919.

The new taker for the former Red Door Cafe in Pac Heights has soft-opened, ~1608 BISTRO~, from the owner of the Filipino AJ’s BBQ & Cafe (Kevin Guevarra), with chef Jenem Martin. They are serving brunch on the weekends for now, with dishes like pandan pancakes and braised beef arroz caldo, plus ube French toast apple fritters, with a side of ’90s R&B. Nice. Hours for now are Sat-Sun 10am-2pm. 1608 Bush St. at Franklin, 415-346-1608.


It’s time for a coffee klatch: Klatch Roasting is coming to SF. Photo via Facebook.

You fellow fans of all things caffeinated will have some new options to get your buzz on, starting with the opening of a location of SoCal’s ~KLATCH COFFEE~ in SF’s Mission. Owner Mike Perry sources coffee from around the world, and their accolades include an award-winning espresso at the Golden Bean Awards (three years in a row!), and their cold brew won first place at America’s Best Cold Brew Competition. The space (designed by Retail Element Consulting) will feature white subway tile, white marble countertops, and rustic reclaimed wooden tables and chairs, with room for 28. Café fare and local baked goods will also be available. The 25-year-old roastery (well, this fall!) will be opening a second SF location as well. 2567 Mission St. at 22nd St.

Local roaster and café honcho John Quintos (the recently opened Café Lambretta, Cento, Vega) is going to be opening ~CENTO COFFEE, INC.~, in the former Fora Think Space in North Beach. Hoodline reports he’s partnering with Alex Roberts (a partner in Oakland’s Roast Co.), and will be opening a café in addition to offering a retail component for nearby businesses. (Quintos is quoted: “Our focus will be to provide direct service and maintenance to small office kitchenettes and managers.”) Look for an opening in May. 150 Broadway at Battery.


The Green Queen, a matcha mint lemonade with hemp-derived CBD honey at Steap. Photo: John Korkidis.

A few fun things to go with our sunny, springlike weather. First, ~STEAP TEA BAR~ is collaborating with HoneyPot Hemp CBD on a new beverage, The Green Queen, a matcha mint lemonade sweetened with 10mg of hemp-derived CBD. (You won’t feel any psychotropic effects—although it may help you feel more relaxed if your boss is stressing you out, you’re hungover, or you just finished a tough workout.) You can also add HoneyPot Hemp CBD as a “wellness shot” in any of the drinks on their menu. The drink is $8 and the shot is $2. 827 Sacramento St. at Grant.

Great news, the Mission Community Market returns on Thursday April 5th (4pm-8pm)! This spring, CUESA has taken over the market operations, and there will be some new sellers joining the market’s longtime vendors. Bring on the tacos de guisado and Yerena Farms strawberries. 22nd Street (between Mission and Valencia) and Bartlett Street.

On Sunday April 8th, don’t miss this hands-on Feaster Sunday dinner at ~THE PERENNIAL~ with Yana Gilbuena, of the Salo Series, who will be hosting a Filipino Kamayan-inspired feast in collaboration with Anthony Myint, who will be integrating his Burmese family recipes and Mission Chinese spice blends into the meal. Dinner will be served on banana leaves, at communal tables (no utensils required). Reservations available 6pm-8:30pm (reserve here). They will also be serving the menu on a walk-in basis in the bar. $55 per person (excludes tax, drinks, and gratuity).


Coming to Henry’s: dry-aged dairy beef cheeseburger on a Tartine sweet potato bun. Photo: Henry’s at Graduate Berkeley.


Grilled asparagus and snap peas, fennel, Danish rye, cress, and sheep’s cheese dressing (at Henry’s). Photo: Henry’s at Graduate Berkeley.

The iconic UC Berkeley hangout, ~HENRY’S~, located in the former Hotel Durant (recently renovated into the Graduate Berkeley) is getting quite the new culinary team and concept. Chris Kronner (of KronnerBurger fame) is getting some support from Tartine Bakery (Kronner used to be a chef at Bar Tartine) and is also bringing on Jeffrey Hayden (most recently the chef of Del Popolo), Justin Huffman (chef of KronnerBurger), general manager Howie Correa (who is back in California from Gloucester’s Short & Main!), Julian Cox (currently Tartine’s director of bar operations), and Nicole Rossi, former general manager of KronnerBurger. Considering KronnerBurger remains closed from a recent fire, the team has certainly had time to focus on this new project.

It’s going to be an approachable, contemporary, California tavern—whether you want to meet up for oysters and bar snacks, or of course, one of Kronner’s epic cheeseburgers. The menu will feature top NorCal seasonal ingredients, quality and sustainable purveyors, many vegetarian and vegan preparations, and yes, baked goods from Tartine. There will be plenty of wines (including many that are naturally made), local beers, and cocktails will be rooted in classics while made with new cocktail techniques. Bartender’s Choice will be in effect as well.

The space is getting another update by Ashley Hildreth and Luke Foss and will be sporting a clean and warm look with shades of green and charcoal, touches of brass, candlelight, and a redwood bar. The 1920s building has some great details already, which will meld with some modern touches—the airy and light-filled blue Durant dining room will be inviting for dinner and brunch. There’s also a lobby where guests can enjoy a coffee or cocktail. Look for an opening in mid-April (currently set for Thursday April 12th). 2600 Durant Ave. at Bowditch, Berkeley, 510-845-8981.

Some quick bites:

~MICHEL BISTRO~ is closing on April 14th and will transition into ~BARDO LOUNGE & SUPPER CLUB~ from owners Seth and Jenni Bregman, who are teaming up with chefs Anthony Salguero and Brian Starkey (Plumed Horse, Sons and Daughters, Commonwealth SF, and Michel). They will be creating a space that is evocative of a 1960s-era dinner party, with a living room-inspired cocktail lounge and upstairs dining room. Lounge menu items like shrimp cocktail, meatloaf sliders, and deviled eggs will be refined, and vintage cocktails served in vintage glassware with old-school hospitality will also be on the menu. Stand by for updates.

A location of SF’s ~THE BIRD~ will be coming to the former The Melt on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. Folks should be excited they will get access to The Bird’s brilliant fried chicken sandwich and breakfast sandwiches. Look for an opening this spring. 2400 Telegraph Ave. at Channing, Berkeley. [Via Nosh.]

Another note from Nosh: vegan deli ~THE BUTCHER’S SON~ is moving across the street into the larger Maker’s Common space, which was vacated last month. Look for more seating and an expanded market/retail offering, with grab-and-go items and more. Look for the switch to happen this month. 1954 University Ave. at Milvia, Berkeley.

It’s not very often we get access to Dominican food here in the Bay Area, but on Sunday April 8th, ~ALAMAR OAKLAND~ is hosting a special pop-up dinner with guest chef Luigi Pujols. $80 (five courses and includes a cocktail). 100 Grand Ave. at Webster, Oakland.

March 27, 2018

The Family Meal’s two cocktails for the night, courtesy of Hotaling & Co. All photos by Blair Heagerty Photography.


Getting the party started in the bar at Mister Jiu’s.


Chef, host, and hot pot mastermind Brandon Jew.


When Laurent-Perrier Champagne is in the house, this host gets very thirsty.


The first round of hot pot platters, with vegetables, tofu, quail eggs, and more.


Chef Pam Mazzola taking control of the hot pot at her table.


A king crab handoff.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Monday night, I was thrilled to host another special chefs-only dinner in The Family Meal series I started back in 2014. The very first dinner was an after-hours spaghettata at Locanda in conjunction with Sosh, and then we did a follow-up Oceanic Treasure Chest feast at The Progress, also with Sosh. There was also The Family Screening of Jeremiah Tower’s The Last Magnificent, but we haven’t been able to actually sit down together and break bread for three years (where does the time gooooo?) until now.

Yelp Reservations reached out to me and asked if I could help create an event that would bring SF chefs together and provide an opportunity for a meet-and-greet, and I was like, yeah, I know just the thing! I reached out to chef Brandon Jew of ~MISTER JIU’S~ and asked what kind of a night we could put together, and he mentioned he had been wanting to do a luxury hot pot meal for some time. Done!

Instead of hosting the dinner after-hours like we did in the past, this time we held it on a Monday evening and did a buyout of the restaurant. Is there a more beautiful restaurant in San Francisco at dusk than Mister Jiu’s? I can’t think of one. (Check out all the pics from the evening here.)

We started with a cocktail hour in the bar area, and thanks to bar manager Danny Louie and our liquor sponsor for the evening, Hotaling & Co., we started with a killer Kavalan old-fashioned (Kavalan Classic, nine-spice syrup, bitters—bring on the big cube!) and the Junípero Happiness (Junípero Gin, sour apple, gentian, jasmine tea). Passed apps included prawn toast with trout roe and fried oyster you tiao, while a glass of Laurent-Perrier La Cuvée greeted every guest (poured en mag, of course)—40 chefs in all. The party got officially started, pop!

When it was time to sit down for dinner, each table had a burner and a pot filled with fragrant medicinal broth (chicken, pork, anchovy, jujube, goji, bay leaf, black cardamom) and then the platters of ingredients started coming out. The first round was loaded with vegetables, Annabelle’s hijiki, Hodo Soy tofu, King of Mushroom mix, bamboo fungus, seaweed tong yuan, Riverdog Farm savoy cabbage and mei qing choy, plus purple daikon, choy sum, chrysanthemum, scallions, green garlic, spring onions, and quail eggs.

There was another wave of Tsar Nicoulai caviar, crispy Passmore Ranch catfish balls, steamed Alaskan king crab with garlic butter, and Hope Ranch mussels, followed by Cream Co. siu yuk and beef navel, and thin slices of Asia International wagyu chuck. Into the pot you go! Side condiments included hot mustard, ginger scallion sauce, chile oil, black garlic sauce, and the killer sea urchin-fermented tofu. Bring on the funk. Extravaganza!

It was quite the communal experience and pretty hilarious to watch—you had to keep the broth at the right temp (not too hot, not too cool), keep a handle on your ingredients without losing them to the bottom of the pot, and not drop anything into your old-fashioned (whoops).

Throughout the meal, Laurent-Perrier kept our glasses full of Brut Cuvée Rosé (what a gorgeous pairing for this meal), and we also had wines from Augur Wine Co. (Carignan Blanc de Noir Rosé, Redwood Valley 2016) and Lioco (Carignan, Sativa, Mendocino, 2013), plus ice-cold KSA (Kolsch-style ale) from Fort Point Beer and cider from Far West Cider Co. (proper, dry cider).

Dessert from Melissa Chou was a showstopper, with brandied cherry ning gao (in honor of Chinese New Year), plus almond cookies and peanut-sesame cookies. Special pours of Kavalan came out (Kavalan Solist Manzanilla Sherry Single Cask Strength), and the Laurent-Perrier Harmony demi-sec was perfection.

Tremendous thanks to all the wine, spirit, and purveyor sponsors who helped make this event really over the top. So generous. What a showing of quality. (Take a peek at the cocktail menu and dinner menu to see the full lineup and everyone who donated!)

It was wonderful to get a bunch of SF’s best chefs in one room (space was limited, but we invited as many as we could), and it was a great opportunity for many to catch up and for different generations to meet as well. I saw a lot of cards get swapped, and people showing each other their dishes on Instagram. The restaurant industry is an extremely tough business to be in, especially in SF right now, and anything to help make the bonds stronger is better.

It was also an opportunity for Brandon Jew to share his terrifying experience on New Year’s Eve when his sous chef Eric Ehler collapsed from cardiac arrest at the end of service. Fortunately, thankfully, magically, Ehler has pulled through, recovered, and is back in the kitchen.

But Jew doesn’t want any chef or cook to ever go through the terror and panic his team went through in that heart-stopping moment. Through the generous assistance of Yelp Reservations, Mister Jiu’s is going to be holding a CPR class in June, so restaurant industry folks can get trained and have the skills to take care of each other in case disaster strikes; it will hopefully become an ongoing series of CPR training sessions. The chefs in this city work so hard, with all their hearts, so it only makes sense that we help them take care of theirs.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make this such a special and truly heartfelt night. Thanks to all the chefs, who feed us all so well—it was great to feed you for a change. Thank you to Yelp Reservations for giving me the opportunity to continue this special dinner series. And best wishes to Eric in his recovery—salute!

You can check out all the pics from the evening here.


Housemade tagliatelle al ragù. Photo courtesy of Che Fico.


Yup, that’s a pineapple pizza, with red onion and fermented chile. Photo courtesy of Che Fico.


Wood-fired citrus crostata for dessert. Instagram photo by @chefico.

“Che fico!” It’s a phrase I remember saying quite a bit when I lived in Italy, which basically translates into “how cool!” or “badass!” And it’s pretty much the reaction I’m having to this pretty cool project opening just a block away from my place called, suitably, ~CHE FICO~. A former auto garage on Divisadero is now a two-level restaurant project from chef David Nayfeld, James Beard Award-winning pastry chef and fellow Eleven Madison Park alum Angela Pinkerton, and former Hogsalt Hospitality operator Matt Brewer.

Downstairs is where Pinkerton’s Theorita will be opening later, a pie shop and dinette. But head up the stairs (featuring custom fig tree wallpaper on the walls—considering the designer is Jon de la Cruz of DLC ID, who did Leo’s Oyster Bar, it all begins to make sense), and that’s where you’ll find the Italian marble chef’s counter overlooking the Neapolitan pizza oven (from Acunto Napoli) and wood-fired grill, plus vaulted ceilings and skylights. The dining room features raw wood tables and red leather booths, plus a 15-seat, zinc-topped bar, a glass salumi room you can peer into, and a private dining room that seats 16.

The menu is focused on rustic, seasonal, Cal-Italian dishes, with a strong focus on pasta (made by hand, extruded, or dry/secco—all denoted on the menu) and pizza that has a naturally fermented dough (that’s how we do in Cali). Take a look at the sample menu (ignore the typos for now), and you’ll also see housemade salumi is coming, plus there are antipasti and large secondi like a wood-fired chicken. There’s also a section on the menu that celebrates some Jewish-Italian (cucina ebraica) dishes, including a Roman classic: fried carciofi alla giudia. Some of the seasonal ingredients will be coming from Brewer’s family ranch in Sonoma.

Pinkerton will be offering some stunning desserts, including a wood-fired citrus crostata for two with seasonal fruit, polenta, fior di latte gelato, and honey. She is also making housemade gelato, with flavors appearing next to a bittersweet chocolate budino or olive oil cake.

I’m particularly excited to have bar director Christopher Longoria (previously 1760 Restaurant) in the neighborhood. I have been loving his culinary-driven cocktails since his days at Aziza, and his cocktail menu for Che Fico includes a couple of aperitivi and nine cocktails I will be working my way through, plus a well-stocked bar with choice amari, whiskeys, gins, and vermouths.

Wine director Francesca Maniace (Commonwealth) has assembled an Italian-driven wine list, with some domestic selections from California, plus sparkling Italian wines and Champagne.

Che Fico is open for dinner Tue-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 838 Divisadero St. at McAllister, 415-416-6959.


A shawarma platter at Truly Mediterranean Mission Bay. Photo via Facebook.


The duck kapitan with makrut lime curry at Indo. Photo via Facebook.

~TRULY MEDITERRANEAN~ has been holding it down at 16th Street and Valencia since 1992, and now they have opened a second location in Mission Bay, also on 16th Street. You can order their trademark halal lamb or chicken shawarma (wraps, plates), kebabs, falafel, combo plates, and more. Plus you’ll find a lot more seating—at actual tables. Hours are daily 9am-8pm. 900 16th St. at 7th St., 415-829-3119.

More shawarma love: after endless delays, ~ZAYTOON~ has finally opened another location on Divisadero, next door to Bean Bag Cafe. The menu is just like the Valencia location, with wraps and platters of their quality lamb shawarma, chicken shawarma (did you know you can get a combo of the two if you can’t decide?), plus kebabs, falafel, burgers, dolmas, and salads. They will be adding some specials too. There are about 30 seats, and owner Chris Totah tells me they have a parklet coming soon. Welcome to the neighborhood. Hours are daily 11am-10pm to start. 605 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

Now open in the Castro in the former Mekong Kitchen is ~INDO RESTAURANT~, an Indonesian restaurant based in Palo Alto, from owner Bryan Lew, with executive chef Thomas “Tommy” Charoen and chef de cuisine Diana Anwar leading the kitchen. The dinner menu features starters like martabak (stuffed roti, $11), Bali ribs ($15), and black pepper mussels ($14), plus larger dishes like lamb korma and balado short ribs (both $28) and a seafood green curry for $29. These prices are not fast-casual, but at least the servings look hearty. You could, of course, stick with some noodle dishes for $16 and call it a night. Beer and wine are also served. Open Mon-Sat 5pm-9pm. 4039 18th St. at Hartford.

A tablehopper reader let me know that “the unfortunately named Adventure in Food and Wine (previously Rustic Pizza) is closed.” Yes, unfortunate. Now open in its place is the just as awkwardly named ~BEER NERDS~, but what are you gonna do? Scoop reports the first-time owners will be pouring craft beer from 20 taps (in an approachable style, no snobbery here) and making pizza. There’s also a garden in progress in the back. Open Mon-Wed 2pm-12am and Thu-Sun 12pm-2am. 3331 24th St. at Bartlett.


Rice Paper Dumplings! Photo: Andria Lo Photography.


The new weekend brunch at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu features wagyu pho! Photo courtesy of Hitachino Beer & Wagyu.


It’s time for a crawfish boil at Alba Ray’s! Photo: Hardy Wilson.

UPDATE: THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT! Calling all dumpling lovers! (That would be most of us.) The ladies behind Rice Paper Scissors are hosting a pop-up this Thursday March 29th, called Rice Paper Dumpling House. They are offering a big range of handmade dumplings, from boiled pork tapioca dumplings (bánh bột lọc, which means they are gluten-free!) with pork and shrimp, shallot, scallion oil, cilantro, and nuoc cham to one with shrimp with scrambled eggs and chives to five-spice beef with carrots (wow!); 3 pieces for $6. There will also be fried dumplings, vegetables, large plates, pho, and more. Reservations here; walk-ins and takeout also available. Beer and wine for sale. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

There’s pho, and there’s brunch, and then there’s Wagyu Phở Brunch! Launching this Saturday March 31st, ~HITACHINO BEER & WAGYU~ is bringing back their wagyu pho brunch that they served at a special event during Beer Week. On the menu: A5 Hitachiwagyu phở ($25), A5 Hitachiwagyu donburi ($25) with a poached egg, and soju Bloody Perrys (shochu, tomato juice, wasabi, ginger; $11), as well as their full beverage menu. Make a reservation (at or on Resy) or you can try to just come by on Saturdays 11am-3pm, but quantities are limited. Guests will receive a number and be served in order. 639 Post St. at Taylor.

Hey, it’s crawfish season! And ~ALBA RAY’S~ is totally getting into it! You can get some friends together and book a crawfish feast, which includes a family-style menu of charbroiled oysters, boudin balls, salad, and beignets in addition to the crawfish boil (which includes Cajun crawfish, potatoes, corn, and housemade andouille sausage). The crawfish feast menu is $49 per person (two person minimum) and must be reserved 72 hours in advance. Get that bib on, it’s time for mudbugs! 2293 Mission St. at 19th St.


The upcoming August Hall. Rendering via Facebook.


The upcoming Douglas Corner Market and Café. Photo via Facebook.

I’ve got some upcoming projects for ya, starting with ~FIFTH ARROW~, opening this May below the upcoming August Hall in Union Square. Fifth Arrow is going to be a cocktail, dining, and gaming parlor with three bowling lanes—it was originally a 1930s Prohibition speakeasy. (It takes its name from the target point used by bowling aficionados for optimal scoring.)

The chef is Joey Booterbaugh, who is coming from Bar Angeles and Café Birdie in Los Angeles. He will be doing a Cal-Ital menu with a big focus on pizza (featuring naturally leavened dough, cooked in a brick-lined Marsal pizza deck oven), plus housemade pasta, seasonal dishes, a whole fish, and an off-menu burger. Cocktails, a strong beer and wine list, and a focus on hospitality will be a priority. Late-night dining will be in effect from 11pm-1am. 420 Mason St. at Geary.

Noe Valley residents are about to get an awesome corner market and all-day café in their neighborhood, ~DOUGLAS~ (it takes its name from the Douglas fir beams in the space). It’s opening in the former Bom Dia and is a project from Maggie Spicer (Baana), Michael Molesky, and his father, Jim, who reportedly has quite the palate and cooking skills. He will be overseeing the café and cooking dishes that he’s adapted from European, North African, and Mexican traditions while using the best of our local produce—think depth of flavor without fussiness.

You can come by for breakfast and lunch, enjoy coffee (from Portland’s Heart Coffee Roasters) and tea, and hang out over natural wines (from California and beyond) and snacks in the afternoons and evenings. There will also be high-quality groceries, pantry items, wines, and more. Look for an opening this spring. 1598 Sanchez St. at 29th St.

A couple of months ago, another star reader tipped me off that a location of ~MIXT~ (the organic salad chain) was coming to the former La Rondalla in the Mission. I never heard back from Mixt and didn’t want to run an unconfirmed story, especially one like that, but it ends up it really is happening. And my liver from 1995 (man, those margaritas were rough, but La Rondalla was soooo fun) is going to be in total disbelief over this: it’s not just a salad bar, but a “salad lounge.” The nation’s first! Still not quite sure what that means, but kale mimosas are mentioned in the press release (for a limited time). SF, WHAT IS HAPPENING. Look for salads, healthy market plates for dinner, grain bowls, and plant-based sides, plus beer, wine, and kombucha on tap, coming in May. Hours will be daily 11am-9pm. 901 Valencia St. at 20th St.

March 20, 2018

Saturday’s devastating four-alarm blaze in North Beach. Photo courtesy of Justin Deering.

Saturday evening, I was home in bed and watching in horror on Twitter as a four-alarm fire in North Beach tore through the 650 block of Union Street, primarily the building at 659 Union (between Powell and Columbus). Amazingly no one was injured, and it ends up the majority of the building was vacant upstairs due to a previous fire in 2013 (remember when Coit Liquor and Rogue Ales suffered from that fire?). Well, unfortunately, the list of damaged businesses is much graver this time: it doesn’t look like Rogue Ales will reopen according to their Facebook page, and Tuk Tuk Thai, The Salzburg, and Ferry Plaza Seafood all have serious damage. Eater reports that nearby Michelangelo Caffe has also sustained fire-related damage.

We’ll have to see what happens in coming days, but here’s one glimmer of help: Hoodline reports that Interim Mayor Mark Farrell has activated the Small Business Disaster Relief fund, which means “each business impacted will be allowed to access up to $10,000 in financial assistance for inventory replacement, equipment purchases, employee salaries, and even security deposits for new leases elsewhere.” With more than 50 employees affected, this fund is truly helpful. The Salzburg—which was such a beautiful bar handcrafted by owner Jay Esopenko and had just opened back in September— has also launched a GoFundMe, you can read more here. Best wishes to all as they try to recover, I will keep you posted on updates.

Since we’re in the neighborhood: just around the corner, it ends up ~CAFFE ROMA~ has closed after 29 years. According to a note in the window, they decided “not to renew our lease and concentrate on our families and other Caffe Roma locations,” so their SoMa location (885 Bryant St. at 7th) and Millbrae location remain open. You can read more in the post in Hoodline. 526 Columbus Ave. at Union.


The former Patio Cafe is now Hamburger Mary’s. Photo via Facebook.


The Hot Mess; Yelp photo by Genevieve Y.

It’s like Tales from the Crypt over in the Castro, but really, truly, The Patio space has reopened after being closed since, uh, 1999. (No word if they found some drag queens hiding under the deck.) The Les Natali-owned space has finally been transformed into a location of ~HAMBURGER MARY’S~, which started as a beloved SoMa burger joint in 1972 and has since morphed into a national chain, so don’t expect any groundbreaking culinary magic here. But you can get some nachos, and burgers made with a custom blend from Weber Quality Meats (brisket, short rib, and chuck), and there will be some sassy drag performers to keep things fun. Plus Ru-Paul’s Drag Race screenings, you know it. Check Facebook for updates on what’s going on and who’s servin’ (lewks, shade). Let’s just all be happy that huge space is open once again. That was ridiculous. Hours will expand and brunch is coming, but for now, food is served Sun-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm; bar until 2am. 531 Castro St. at 18th St.

Over in Mid-Market, ~LITTLE GRIDDLE~ has reopened after two years of renovations (which were supposed to take two months). Hoodline shares that the space is back in action and a little lighter and brighter, serving breakfast, brunch, sandwiches, and burgers, and the next-door wine bar, Mavelous Coffee and Wine Bar, is serving Stumptown Coffee and pastries. The two businesses are now one: ~MAVELOUS COFFEE BAR AND LITTLE GRIDDLE~ and are also now connected with one entrance. Soft opening hours are 7:30am-3pm. (Mavelous is expected to stay open later into the evening, TBD.) 1400 Market St. at Fell.

And here’s an update on a place I am missing: after Michelin-rated sushi bar ~KINJO~ suffered flooding back in October 2017, it looks like they are aiming to reopen by the end of April. The exact date depends on construction, and since it’s raining again, that makes things tough. I’ll keep you updated. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-921-2222.


Spam musubi at Aina. Photo: ©


Crispy oysters and horseradish on Commonwealth’s new extended tasting menu. Photo courtesy of Commonwealth.


Shrimp mousse and sweetbreads course at Commonwealth. Photo courtesy of Commonwealth.

You have a new lunch option to add to your roster, and it’s a great one: ~AINA~ in Dogpatch is launching lunch Wed-Fri 10am-2:30pm, with their housemade Spam musubi and some new lunch-only dishes, including a pork tonkatsu sandwich (kalua pig terrine, fermented cabbage, namasu, kimchi aioli; $14), North Shore garlic shrimp (ginger, garlic, XO, scallion, smoked sesame; $11), and a bento box (egg custard omelet, pickle, roasted cauliflower, mac salad; $15). The brunch menu will continue on the weekends. And if you haven’t headed in there for the mo’olelo tasting menu, you really should. Trust me on this. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-814-3815.

Over in Hayes Valley, ~BARCINO~ has launched weekend brunch, with dishes like the ou (slow-poached eggs, housemade chorizo hash, piperade, green harissa, toast), the tortilla (Catalan egg and potato omelet, Dungeness crab, Meyer lemon migas, holandesa), and the torrijas (cinnamon French toast, caramel apples, whipped crème fraîche, candied almond). Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm. 399 Grove St. at Gough.

At ~COMMONWEALTH~, chef Jason Fox has launched a new extended tasting menu: $125 for 12 courses, including a few snacks and mignardises, plus $70 for beverage pairing. He was already creating these extra courses for advance guest requests and decided he may as well roll it out as a menu. This way you can taste his favorite dishes, including some rare seasonal items. Take a look here. Really, take a look. Wow. There are courses like shrimp mousse wrapped in lettuce, sweetbreads cooked in beeswax, popcorn puree, yuzu kosho milk. Boom. The regular tasting menu is $85 for 7 courses, plus $55 for beverage pairing, and will remain a menu option.


The long table at an Outstanding in the Field event. Photo courtesy OITF.

Here’s a quick-fire round of some fantastic food events for your consideration!

This Thursday March 22nd, No Kid Hungry presents the 11th annual Taste of the Nation event at Pier 35, with top chefs and restaurants like Octavia and Frances, Lord Stanley, China Live, Rooh, and State Bird Provisions. Details and more here.

Presidio Picnic has returned on Sundays (11am-4pm) for its sixth season (through October 21st). There are more than 25 international mobile food creators courtesy of Off the Grid (like El Pipila, Señor Sisig, Del Popolo), music, lawn games, yoga, bike safety classes, and nature-based arts and crafts for kids. Plus, there’s a full bar presented by Rye on the Road, featuring wine, beer, spirits, and craft cocktails. There’s a free water refilling station, so please bring your own bottle. One new addition: there’s now a free cultural dance performance on the fourth Sunday of each month (on April 29th, SF Awakko-Ren Dance Group performs Awa Odori, one of the most well-known Japanese traditional dances with 400 years of history).

Do you have your tickets for Pebble Beach Food & Wine? The premier epicurean event returns April 5th-8th, when 120 renowned chefs and 250 distinguished winemakers from across the globe descend on Pebble Beach, with interactive cooking demonstrations, rare wine tastings, epic culinary collaborations, dinners, outdoor grilling and taco events, and the Lexus Grand Tasting tent in the country. Look for some live musical offerings this year too.

Tickets are on sale today for Outstanding in the Field’s 2018 tour! In May and June, OITF has farm-to-table dining events planned in the San Francisco Bay Area, returning to California for fall events in October and November. May 6th has guest chef Ravi Kapur (Liholiho Yacht Club) at Jacobs Farm at Martial Cottle Park, San Jose, while May 20th has guest chef Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito at Stemple Creek Ranch in Tomales, and Nicolette Manescalchi of A16 will be somewhere on June 16th. Check it all out and get your tickets!

March 14, 2018

The vintage Parisian salon atmosphere at Bar Crenn. All photos: ©


The decadent deviled eggs with crab.


The fresco in one of the sitting areas at Bar Crenn.


The showstopping pâté en croûte.

Those of you who follow me on social media already have seen a preview peek of Dominque Crenn’s latest jewel box, ~BAR CRENN~, which just opened in the former Cellar Door in Cow Hollow. Step inside (if you were lucky to score a reservation already, or perhaps you’re taking your chances and hoping to squeeze in some night) and it’s like a Parisian salon, or as a friend and I liked to think of it, a French consul’s New York apartment from another time.

The light from the vintage chandeliers and wall fixtures is dim and creates an intimate atmosphere, while the chairs are loungy and take up a fair amount of room—it’s a luxury to sit back and have that much space around your table. The marble bar is flanked by stools covered in fuzzy wool, and there are bookshelves full of books, an array of antiques, and assorted objets that all contribute to a residential and cozy, lived-in feeling, along with a fresco on the wall. An array of global rugs throughout the space and heavy green-gray velvet curtains close off the outside world and help dampen the sound. Karan Brady is the designer behind this refined hideaway.

The à la carte menu is an homage to classic French dishes and chefs, with their recipes dutifully followed by chef Jonathan Black, executive chef of Crenn Dining Group (Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn, Bar Crenn). He says his team has really been having fun learning and working on the dishes.

The menu includes the names of the chefs next to their dishes, from Guy Savoy’s ice-poached oysters tucked within two layers of gelée (oyster cream, Meyer lemon, New Zealand spinach), to Éric Fréchon’s oeufs mimosa au thon et au crabe, basically some of the fanciest and most flavorful deviled eggs you have ever tasted (especially the version with confit of tuna belly topped with cured tuna heart). The house pâté en croûte is a pièce de résistance, with pork shoulder and back fat and bacon lardons and Cognac and shallots and pistachios too. (The pastry is really a thing of beauty.) There are a couple of larger plates as well, including quenelles lyonnaise and pied de cochon. Just wait for the exquisite canelés de Bordeaux for dessert from Juan Contreras. Everything comes out on vintage china and you’ll see some silver too, adding to the elegant, old-world feeling.

It’s food built for wine, and wine director Matt Montrose has you covered with quite the list, with a focus on organic, biodynamic, and environmentally responsible vignerons and domaines, primarily French and Californian. Take a look here. Yup, keep scrolling. You’ll also find some old-school French-style and low-proof aperitifs featuring vermouths and sherries, including the Partage (crème de cassis, amontillado sherry, sparkling wine, and bitters).

Mark your calendar for March 20th, when the reservations for April open up, and on April 15th, for May (you can plan when to drink your tax woes away). Reservations are for parties of two to four, at varying price points and experiences, and there is a deposit. Parties of one, five, or six can call for availability. You can also try to sneak in, maybe late one night—they’ll accommodate however they can and are keeping half the room open for walk-ins. Hours for now are Tue-Sat 4:30pm-12am (last call for the kitchen at 11pm). 3131 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-440-0460.


The dining room and open kitchen at Dispensa Italian Charcoal Kitchen. All photos: ©


Spicy calamari stew.


Grilled pork chop with potatoes and apple butter.


The innovative X-Oven.

Last week, I was invited to check out a friends-and-family dinner at the newly opened ~DISPENSA ITALIAN CHARCOAL KITCHEN~. If you would have told me I’d be having a dinner with table service and Italian wines at a restaurant on Taylor and Turk 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. Chef Michele Bevilacqua (a Venetian chef) partnered with Stu Gerry (previously an owner of Cafe Flore and currently a realtor at Zephyr Real Estate, he helped secure the location after quite the search); Tiziana Costamagna (Vinity Wine Company) is doing some consulting for them. It’s conveniently near the theaters, and they’re happy to offer something different for the neighborhood.

It has a minimalist style, warmed up with wood tables (which Michele made by hand), modern chairs with wood dowel legs, and brick walls. The space is more than 100 years old, and Michele did a tremendous amount of work to reveal its amazing bone structure (including some beautiful wood beams)—it was previously a wedding cake bakery. The black-and-white photographs on the walls are by Tiziana.

The main feature of this unique restaurant is in the open kitchen. There’s no oven, and no range, or grill, or fryer. But there is an X-Oven, which is an eco-friendly oven from Italy, the first of its kind in the U.S. It burns green charcoal made from vegetable waste—there are three drawers on the side where cooks can slide in skillets to roast and cook everything. The majority of the smoke goes through the ventilation system (although you will note some smoke when you come into the space). It’s completely self-contained, with no gas or electricity. It’s a pretty amazing little unit, and the kitchen crew is ramping up their expertise in using it—it has a lot of potential uses and clever applications.

While the restaurant’s name is Italian for “pantry,” the menu is more Californian than Italian, and very simplistic in its flavors and presentations—well, except for the spicy calamari stew ($15), one of those classic ugly-but-so-good Italian dishes (it was one of our favorites).

There’s also tender grilled octopus ($16) with a simple salad of frisée, Gaeta olives, and cherry tomatoes, and there are a variety of vegetable dishes, from rainbow carrots with goat cheese and sesame seeds ($14) to potatoes with lemonaise ($10)—all have a smoky kiss from the charcoal. There are also a couple of salads ($15) and three mains from the charcoal oven: pork belly ($20), roasted Mary’s chicken ($22), and a thick grilled pork chop ($25). The dishes also come with vegetable sides, so make sure they don’t duplicate what you may have ordered as an appetizer. Chef cares about his ingredient sourcing, but is also keeping things priced affordably for the neighborhood.

The wine list is all-Italian, with 12 by the glass, ranging from $11-$19. There are also a couple of local beers and a Ninkasi Pacific Rain pale ale from Oregon. Open Tue-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. Lunch will be coming soon. 39 Taylor St. at Turk.


Benvenuto to AltoVino! Photo courtesy of Sasha Bernstein.


The front bar at AltoVino. Photo courtesy of Sasha Bernstein.


The dining room at AltoVino. Photo courtesy of Sasha Bernstein.

Last fall, I broke the news that Claudio Villani of Cole Valley’s InoVino was taking over the former Mason Pacific in Russian Hill and opening ~ALTOVINO~, and now it’s opening this Thursday March 15th.

Villani, a Tuscan-born sommelier, previously worked at Incanto, Perbacco, and Quince, and is featuring lesser-known Italian alpine and volcanic wines (hence the “alto”), along with Tuscan and Piedmontese classics. Look for a big focus on nebbiolo, and there are also sparkling wines, some excellent pinot nero from Alto Adige, and plenty of sangiovese, from Chianti Classico to Brunello. You’ll discover many well-priced selections on the menu, along with some magnums and other large-format bottles too. There will be 30 wines by the glass, starting at $8. You’ll definitely want to find time to sit at the bar and have Villani talk to you about his wine selections—he’s very passionate and loves to educate.

There will also be aperitivi, including two seasonal spritzes (right now there’s one with a housemade ginger shrub, white vermouth, prosecco, and tonic water) and a selection of three vermouths you can enjoy over ice.

And now, the food! Villani met chef Nick Kelly while they were both working at Perbacco, and Kelly has been the chef at InoVino since January 2017. At AltoVino, he has assembled a menu of seasonal Italian dishes from regions that will rotate (think heartier Northern dishes for the winter, Tuscan dishes in spring, and Southern in the summer). Kelly has really been able to stretch his wings with the large pasta room they built out, and he is committed to a no-waste kitchen.

You can come by for an aperitivo and stuzzichini (bar snacks), like grissini with speck, Gorgonzola Dolce, and pickled radicchio ($9), or assorted crostini ($8), or ascolane (fried olives filled with braised oxtail and Parmesan, $8). Larger antipasti include squid with braised winter greens, tomato, Calabrian chile, red wine, preserved Meyer lemon, fennel, and grilled bread ($14) or burrata with roasted red kuri squash, chicories, balsamico, and bread crumbs ($14).

The menu (please note this is a draft!) of housemade pastas is extensive (just the spaghettoni and risotto aren’t housemade), from cavatelli with slow-roasted lamb ragù, preserved Meyer lemon, braised cavalo nero, olives, pecorino romano, and rosemary ($21) to cappelletti filled with roasted winter squash, amaretti, and fresh ricotta with candied hazelnuts, fried sage, and Parmigiano crema ($18).

Mains (secondi) include lemon and ricotta polpette (pan-roasted pork meatballs, $18), sea bass roasted under a salt crust ($29), and a showstopping La Fiorentina, a 1-kilo dry-aged porterhouse steak with grilled Treviso, corona beans balsamico, gremolata, and roasted bone marrow ($79).

The space got a nice refresh—the dining room has walls that are an inky indigo with panels of Italian fabric, and there’s a light tobacco-colored banquette that runs the length of the room. Outdoor tables with heatlamps will also offer quite the SF atmosphere as the cable car trundles by.

Dinner is served Tue-Sun beginning at 5:30pm; the restaurant and wine bar open at 5pm for aperitivi and snacks, both in the bar and at sidewalk tables. 1358 Mason St. at Pacific.


The famed “five guys” xiao long bao at Dragon Beaux. Photo: Russell Abraham Photography.

This is pretty awesome news for folks who live near Ghirardelli Square, and the tourists don’t even know how lucky they are to have Daly City’s famed Koi Palace opening a new project in the former (and huge) Waxman’s space called ~PALETTE~. Scoop reports the project will actually be taking inspiration from Koi Palace’s sister restaurant in the city, Dragon Beaux, known for its colorful dim sum that is built for eating for the Insta (but actually tastes good, so eat it, okay?). In the evenings, the focus will turn to seafood and barbecue. Bring on the live fish in tanks. There will also be an outdoor service counter, potentially offering dim sum to go.

The 6,500-square-foot restaurant has room for 200 seats, something the Koi Palace folks are not afraid of. But they are going to be doing some construction, including moving the bar area, so timing is TBD for now. 900 North Point St. at Larkin.


A panoramic pic of the new Café Lambretta. Photos courtesy of John Quintos.


A stylin’ customer at Café Lambretta.


Plenty of ephemera for the mods to love.

Café owner and Lambretta fanatic John Quintos has opened his latest and most ambitious location: ~CAFÉ LAMBRETTA~. I last wrote about it in 2016, so he has been working on it for some time. The SoMa café is a spacious 1,500 square feet in a circa 1913 building, with plenty of seating (both at tables and counters) and vintage Lambretta scooters and scooting ephemera throughout. Quintos even made an art piece: he took apart a Lambretta and made the parts look like one of those old-school plastic model kits.

Quintos is also behind Cento café and the Cento Coffee roasting label, Special Xtra and Special Xtra 2 cafés, and more. You’ll have all kinds of espresso and coffee drinks to choose from. Bonus: there are also beers. And wine!

There’s also a menu of salads and sandwiches, thanks to consulting chef Christian Ciscle (Wing Wings), from a chopped Greek or arugula salad (with pear, Marcona almonds, manchego, and sherry vinaigrette) to hot sandwiches (tuna melt or pastrami with Swiss and coleslaw) and cold ones too (chicken salad, or Black Forest ham with Fontina and arugula). If you just want a snack, there are also a variety of empanadas from El Porteño and house-baked goods like jalapeño cornbread and coconut-pineapple mochi.

Also worth noting: no Wi-Fi. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 8am-4pm Starting April 2nd, hours will be 8am-8pm. 101 Townsend St. at 2nd St.


The Big Easy at Powder, with Vietnamese coffee snow, toasted almonds, chocolate sauce, and sweet milk glaze. Photo: ©

I received word from a tablehopper subscriber that the Inner Sunset’s ~WOOLY PIG CAFE~ was closing, and Eater shared the news that it’s actually relocating, but to Dogpatch. Sorry, Sunset residents. Dogpatch folks will soon learn to love the Wooly Pig sandwich (with Shanghai-style braised caramel pork belly with fried shallots), banh mi, and other sandwiches, plus beer and wine. Look for an opening in May in the former Dogpatch Cafe space. 2295 3rd St. at 20th St.

Congrats to Mimi Hanley and David Chung, the founders of ~POWDER~, the charming and California-inspired shaved snow shop on Divisadero. They are opening a second location in early April at Mission Bay’s Spark Social SF. You will be able to get their flavors such as black sesame, horchata, Mexican chocolate, matcha green tea, strawberry, and my favorite: Vietnamese coffee. And toppings! It will be open Mon-Fri 5pm-9pm, Sat 11am-9pm, and Sun 11am-5pm. 601 Mission Bay Blvd. North at 4th St.


Don’t miss the California premiere of Ramen Heads at SF IndieFest! Photo courtesy of SF IndieFest.

Some of you may remember me blathering on about how amazing the Ramen Heads film is, and great news, it’s going to be screening in the Bay Area next week (March 23rd). But that’s not all. Nope. One of the ramen masters featured in the film, Osamu Tomita (he is known as Japan’s Ramen King and has won Best Ramen of the Year from Japan’s most prestigious ramen guidebook for the fourth year in a row) of Chuka Soba Tomita in Matsudo, Chiba, is coming to the Bay Area! He’s obsessed (really, you have to see the film) and serves a rich tsukemen (dipping style) and ramen (soup noodle style) at his shop, known for its deep and complex flavor. He will be collaborating with ~RAMEN SHOP~ in Rockridge, serving his tsukemen (with California ingredients) one day and ramen the next. I know, amazing.

On Friday March 23rd, he’s serving a tsukemen special lunch course (rich tonkotsu Gyokai tsukemen, dipping style). Tickets/seatings here: $45 early bird (sales end March 16th), $50 general admission.

And then on Saturday March 24th, he’s serving a Tomita special ramen bowl (rich tonkotsu Gyokai ramen, soup noodle style). Tickets/seatings here: $30.

This incredible collaboration is the launch event from the Air Restaurant Project Team by ANA (All Nippon Airways), a global culinary project designed to bring talented Japanese chefs to the U.S. Look for more cool events coming up this year!


The St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes and macarons at Kahnfections. Photo: ©

Sure, you can track down some Shamrock Shakes (or even better, an Irish coffee at the Buena Vista) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, but here are some other fun options for you too.

The fine folks at ~KAHNFECTIONS~ in the Mission are definitely getting into the spirit, adding Irish whiskey cupcakes to their pastry case (a riff on the whiskey-beer-and-Baileys cocktail known as the Irish Slammer), made with Guinness beer, filled with Irish whiskey ganache, and topped with Baileys buttercream ($1.75). They’ll make you like cupcakes again. There are also macarons flavored with Irish whiskey or Baileys buttercream ($2 each), a wonderful classic Irish soda bread with raisins ($6/boule and $3/individual), and Irish whiskey bread pudding ($3.50). You can get all these treats this week until everything is sold out on Saturday, and you can also swing by soon for Easter treats, like hot cross buns (starting April 1st). Open Mon-Fri 6am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 3321 20th St. at Shotwell.

Over at ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~, you’ll find their Get Lucky Sundae with Anchor Steam Cream ice cream topped with Baileys marshmallow fluff and Lucky Charms. (Shamrocks not included.)

Of course the folks at ~SALT & STRAW~ have concocted a fun ice cream flavor: their Pots of Gold & Rainbows, with whole-grain cereal bites soaked overnight in cream to capture that bottom-of-the-bowl sweet milk taste, with rainbow marshmallow “charms” stirred in to finish. You have two locations to choose from to get a scoop.

The new ~CIVIC KITCHEN~ cooking school in the Mission is hosting a St. Patrick’s Day dinner with beer pairings on Saturday March 17th. Learn how to make colcannon soup and chocolate Guinness cake, and enjoy eating the fruits of your labor at the end. 5pm-8:30pm.

St. Patrick’s Day is when ~HAYES STREET GRILL~ celebrates their birthday! This year, celebrate their 39th birthday over their annual meal of Niman corned beef and cabbage with winter vegetables and fresh horseradish cream, plus Hog Island oysters on the half shell, local asparagus, and Yerena strawberries. Also: they’re offering a shot of Irish whiskey (on them)! 320 Hayes St. at Franklin.

And both the ~BEACH CHALET~ in San Francisco and the ~LAKE CHALET~ in Oakland will be open all day, serving corned beef sliders on a brioche bun with house-cured corned beef, pickled red cabbage, and spicy mustard ($3.50 each), and green beer. Hic. During brunch hours, a corned beef eggs Benedict on grilled light rye with sliced house-cured corned beef, poached eggs, cabbage, pepper hollandaise, and hash brown cakes ($17) will be available.


A fried chicken plate from Minnie Bell’s. Instagram photo via @minnie_bells.


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.

Something is smelling really good at the Public Market Emeryville…and that would be the fried chicken from SF’s ~MINNIE BELL’S SOUL MOVEMENT~, which is opening Thursday March 15th in the La Cocina incubator kiosk formerly occupied by Nyum Bai (who went on to open a brick and mortar in Fruitvale). Fernay McPherson has been busy with pop-ups and catering, and now she gets her turn at running a (semi-)permanent spot for a year. After that, hopefully she will find her dream location in her native Fillmore in SF.

East Bay Express reports she will be serving her trademark fried chicken. (“She brines her chicken in hot sauce, buttermilk, and fresh rosemary for 24 hours before dredging it in flour. But she dredges whole stalks of rosemary, too, and drops those in the fryer alongside the chicken to help infuse the meat with even more flavor.”) The fried chicken is available by the piece or in a meal, like two pieces with cornbread and a side for $9.75. Rotating sides include mac and cheese, and collard greens. Look for some seasonal specials, weekend waffles, and dessert too. 5959 Shellmound St., Emeryville.

A quick service update: ~NAVI KITCHEN~ has decided to nix dinner service and will be focused on breakfast, brunch, and lunch. Fortunately you can still get chef Preeti Mistry’s Indian pizzas (including a new breakfast pizza), and her breakfast sandwiches and toasts will be available all day. There are also half pies for $10 and parbaked pizzas you can bring home and finish off. 5000 Adeline St., Emeryville. [Via EBX.]

Now open is a second location of ~STAY GOLD DELI~, in the former Sacred Wheel Cheese in Temescal. Look for their menu of barbecue sandwiches (including a smoked pork Cubano, which I want right now), deli sandwiches (like a classic Italian hoagie and a Reuben), and charcuterie and cheese boards. Beer and wine are available, and there are also some pinball machines and outdoor tables too. Open Sun-Thu 10:30am-11pm and Fri-Sat 10:30am-12am; happy hour is Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm. 4935 Shattuck Ave. at 49th St.

March 6, 2018

A rendering of the new Nico location in Jackson Square. Courtesy of Studio BBA.

After a six-month hiatus and move, ~NICO~ is finally set to reopen in Jackson Square (in the former Black Cat!) in early April. When they reopen, husband-and-wife team chef Nicolas and Andrea Delaroque will begin with weekday lunch service (Tue-Fri) and Saturday dinners, continuing with a modern French style highlighting market-fresh ingredients. There will be prix-fixe menus (either three courses for $38 or two for $32), while dinner will bring a four-course menu for $62, as well as a six-course $75 “carte blanche” menu, if you want a chef’s choice menu.

A new addition will be full liquor, so expect a tight cocktail list from consultant Danielle Peters (Wild Craft Wandering Bar Service). There will be some bar snacks, too, like wild mushroom waffle and Atika cheese. Look for some of the original team to return, from front of house to kitchen team members. They look forward to greeting their former customers. I’ll keep you posted on the opening. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington.

The former Thai Stick (a name that has made me laugh for years) in Pacific Heights/Upper Fillmore has new owners, and The New Fillmore confirms one of the three partners is John Litz, a partner in Lazy Bear. The new project will be fine casual—no tasting menus here—but you can still expect excellent hospitality. They will serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late-night menu, with cocktails. His two chef-partners have reportedly cooked in “Michelin-starred restaurants locally and abroad” but that’s all we know on the food for now. There will also be a redesign, but the long bar will stay—and outdoor seating will be added. Stand by for more details. 2001 Fillmore at Pine.


Boiled fish, spicy chicken Sichuan style, and sliced pork with garlic at The Little Fresh. Photo courtesy of The Little Fresh.


Dumplings at Yuanbao Jiaozi. Yelp photo by Olivia W.

There’s a new delivery-only Chinese restaurant in the Inner Sunset called ~THE LITTLE FRESH~, and it looks pretty damn good—more than a little. The chef is from Tianjin, China, and the menu includes Sichuan and Northern Chinese dishes, like smashed cucumbers, spicy chicken Sichuan style, cold noodles with sliced chicken, and mapo tofu. Great news: they deliver late! You’ll find them on UberEats (use my code eats-ubertablehopper for $5 off) or use code MARCIAG on Postmates. Hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 420 Judah St. at 9th Ave.

In the Outer Sunset, there’s a new dumpling spot open called ~YUANBAO JIAOZI~, and they make their dumplings fresh and on-site. Flavors include celery and fish, pork and three delicacies (leek, egg, and shrimp), shrimp and zucchini, and more. You can get some of them in soup or panfried instead of steamed. There are also some side dishes to round out your meal. Open daily 11am-10pm. 2110 Irving St. at 22nd Ave.

Fans of the banh mi sandwiches (which include housemade mayo) from ~BUNN MIKE~ will find a new second location in Potrero Hill. You’ll also be able to pick up Dynamo Donut and coffee from Oakland’s AKA Coffee. Open daily 10:30am-5pm. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St. [Via Hoodline.]


On Sundays, BagelMacher is ready for you. Photo courtesy of PizzaHacker.


A margherita pizza from Casey’s Pizza. Photo courtesy of Casey’s Pizza.

Bagel lovers, you’re going to want to head to Bernal’s ~PIZZAHACKER~ on Sunday mornings for the new BagelMacher pop-up. You’ll find everything bagels, plus smoked salt, sesame, sesame za’atar, poppy, and a raisin ras el hanout (spicy)—yeah, that chef Robert Feely has no shortage of creativity. The bagels are naturally leavened (in keeping with the pizza magic they do over there) and boiled in lye water. Bagels are $2 each, and you can get shmears and more, like Sierra Nevada organic cream cheese, grass-fed butter, avocado, or fruit preserves for just $2.

There’s also the Big Macher ($10, on your choice of bagel) with lox, cucumber, red onion, capers, cream cheese, preserves (the menu says: “Yes, jelly and lox, just trust me”), served open-faced (again, the menu speaks: “What are we? Animals?”). If the jelly is just asking too much, you can also order the Lil Pisher, which is the same as Big Macher, but without jelly.

Available 10:30am-1pm, and they hope to expand to Saturdays soon. And just in case you’re planning to buy a bunch for your friends or the freezer, they’re only doing 150 a day, so no dozens to go just yet. There’s also coffee available from The Coffee Shop, so sit back and enjoy your brunch. 3299 Mission St. at 29th St.

More fun in pizza land: ~CASEY’S PIZZA~ in Mission Bay is now serving lunch on Fri (11:30am-3pm) and Sat (hours are 11:30am-9pm). Which means the brunch pie is back. And that’s a great thing. 1170 4th St. at Long Bridge.

Another tidbit for you: over near Precita Park, ~HILLSIDE SUPPER CLUB~ just turned five and has three new special offers, starting with a Sunday Supper, when guests can make their own $40 prix-fixe menu by choosing a dish from each menu category (starters, mains, and desserts—and there’s a chicken potpie currently on the menu, jus’ sayin’). They are also offering Free Corkage Mondays and “10 at 10” Weekends, when all small plate starters (there are nine to choose from) and wines by the glass are $10 from 10pm to close. Knowing their great wine list, you’ll want to check that out. 300 Precita Ave. at Folsom.


Doña Tomás is going to be serving a special Mexico City-inspired menu for one week. Photo via Facebook.


A two-meat dinner from 4505 can be on your table tonight. Photo: ©

~DOÑA TOMÁS~ owner Dona Savitsky recently returned from a trip to Mexico City and is launching a regional lunch menu for next week (Tuesday March 13th-Friday March 16th, 11am-2:30pm). The menu sounds delicioso: al pastor and grilled pineapple taco with fried onions and avocado salsa ($4.25), rajas en crema quesadilla with pico de gallo ($4.25), fried rock shrimp taco with chipotle aioli and purple cabbage ($4.25), tuna ceviche tostada with avocado, cucumber, and aioli ($6), and churros with Mexican chocolate ($5), plus a cucumber-pineapple agua fresca ($4). Pray for patio weather. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland.

East Bay eaters have yet another way to score ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~ at their door before 4505 opens this summer in Oakland: UberEats is now delivering every Wed-Sun from 5pm-9pm, which means you can get the best damn cheeseburger, or a two-meat plate, or their awesome Cobb salad. Hopper faves: the bone-in smoked chicken (OMG, order a half pound!), the brisket, the smoky posole (although they need to tweak the cost-size ratio), and the meaty baked beans. The pork spare ribs are epic. Look for some specials coming soon that will be unique to UberEats. Get $5 off your first order on UberEats with my code: eats-ubertablehopper.

Wine lovers will want to catch this screening of the documentary Our Blood Is Wine, about the 8,000-year-old winemaking tradition in the Republic of Georgia, on Sunday March 11th at The New Parkway at 3pm. There will be a Q&A and wine tasting following the screening with filmmaker Emily Railsback, sommelier Jeremy Quinn, and the Georgian winemakers featured in the film. 474 24th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.