The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
April 21, 2015
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And so it begins… Photo: taken by our charming server!

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A view of the dining room facing the kitchen. Photo: Wes Rowe.

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The “deviled egg.” Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Chilled squid ink noodles. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Toast with warm ricotta. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Paccheri with clams. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Looking toward the front of Octavia. Photo: Wes Rowe.

San Francisco is already so fortunate to have the talented Melissa Perello and her restaurant Frances in our collection of culinary crown jewels, and now there is another ruby to add: ~OCTAVIA~. The corner location dates back to the 19th century, and was home to the Meetinghouse, the first Quince, and later Baker & Banker. Now, with the awnings taken down and the heavy carpeting and dark woods removed, it’s an airy and light-filled space. The dining room is larger than Frances and has a variety of seating options, from the more intimate tables in the corners to tables with a view of the open kitchen in the back. There are tall industrial black shelves used as partial dividers, reminding me a bit of a feature I love at Alta. The flower arrangements and display on the wall (from The Petaler) add to the natural attractiveness of the room.

The feeling is immediately comfortable and welcoming, with beautifully patterned wood tables (the wood was reclaimed from attorney Melvin Belli’s home, I hear), nubby cotton pillows on the banquettes, perfect warm lighting emitting from the droplights…the room hits the right notes of American design: a bit Shaker, rustic-chic, and farmhouse residential. Kudos to Michael Baushke of Apparatus Architecture on this transformation. Oh, and private dining will return to the downstairs soon.

Perello is having fun with this menu, and while it’s still rooted in her own breed of Cali cuisine, she is expanding the flavor profiles and presentation to a style that feels very au courant here. You will find an array of small plates, like chilled squid ink noodles ($6) covered with a flurry of Cortez bottarga. And it wouldn’t be an SF menu without some toast ($5): hers is so pretty, the buttery and golden Josey Baker levain spread with charred spring onion purée and warm housemade ricotta, with sprigs of cress on top.

Egg lovers will gravitate toward the spicy “deviled egg” ($4), the creamy yolk runs into a bed of Fresno chile relish and is covered in a blend of chiles and sesame—it reminded me of Istanbul with its notes of Marash and cumin. Grilled beef tongue ($8) in a bone marrow broth, just yes. You should just cover your table with a bunch of these plates, order one of beverage director Paul Einbund’s vermouth cocktails, and call it a party. Your eyes will be enchanted, your palate abundantly compensated.

True appetizer-sized plates include a vibrant green garlic fumet ($9) made with halibut, and Melissa’s salads are always on point, like one with Bloomsdale spinach ($11), toasted walnut vinaigrette, and Piave Vecchio. Her pasta dish is currently paccheri ($13) loaded with plump clams, shaved garlic, and fennel pollen pangrattato (you want to get this, trust). Larger plates run from stuffed quail to perfectly cooked spring lamb to halibut ($24-$28) and a dry-aged rib-eye (AQ).

Desserts from pastry chef Sarah Bonar are abundant and include a playful creamsicle float with housemade Meiwa kumquat soda ($8) and a toasted fennel pollen genoise ($8) with Albion strawberries and Meyer lemon sherbet, plus three more that will give you pause. Don’t forget the list of Madeiras, either.

We only came in on night three, and were so impressed with the depth of flavors, the balance, and dialed seasoning we found in our feast. Dishes are refined but approachable and rooted—it’s like the elevated home cooking of your dreams, kind of how you’d imagine a French-trained chef would cook at their California cabin on a weekend off. How can something be casual and soigné at the same time? Perello hits it.

Everything is served on gorgeous pottery by Sarah Kersten, who custom made the pieces for the restaurant, joined by well-selected mismatched silver. Service is warm and attentive—regulars will recognize some Frances servers on the floor. The wine list is definitely larger, with plenty of inspired selections for you in all budgets (if you want to go deep and rare, you can here), and is primarily a love letter from Europe. It’s everything you want in a neighborhood restaurant. The experience is so soulful, and leaves you so very content and feeling quite lucky to live in San Francisco. Because we are.

Reservations are recommended, and there will also be seats reserved for walk-ins. Dinner nightly 5pm-10:30pm.

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The dining room. Photo: Charlie Villyard.

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Pinxtos flight. Photo: Charlie Villyard.

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Patatas bravas. You really should order these. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Your new late-night dish: Spanish fried rice. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

On Friday April 17th, ~AATXE~ (say “aah-CHAY”) opened on the ground floor of the Swedish American Hall and Cafe du Nord, a project in conjunction with the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and the Bon Vivants. This Spanish- and Basque-inspired restaurant has chef Ryan Pollnow at the helm (he was previously the chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen), and you can expect some Cali flair and ingredients to be integrated in the dishes. Pollnow has traveled and cooked in the Basque Country and is inspired to re-create the region’s convivial feeling around food.

The space is designed to be communal and energetic and is divided into two areas. First there’s the bar, with a marble top and comfortable stools in cordovan with bent cane backs, where you will find some of the Bon Vivants magic, sporting a selection of aperitivos ($10) and cocktails ($12, or $43 in a carafe for your party of four). The Rooster’s Song (Lustau gran reserva brandy, Cappelletti, Byrrh, and tomato tincture) was a deep vermilion, and about as spiritous as a Negroni—a beautiful start. There’s a Big gin and tonic on tap, and wait until you see the back of the menu with the color wheel of gins available. Drink up and make Nick and Nora proud.

There’s a communal table in the back, with tile on the walls that give it the old-world vibe of some of the cool spaces I saw in Lisbon. The second room is where you’ll see the open kitchen, surrounded with eight stools, and then there’s a 50-seat dining room with its classic and handsome look (a white oak herringbone-patterned floor, banquettes, classic bistro chairs, copper-topped tables, and chic trapezoidal light fixtures). Throughout the space you’ll find some ledges where you can stand (and wait). The design is by Claro Design/Stellah De Ville. It took me a little bit to figure out where all this ground-floor space came from: it was formerly the café, and the bar area was where some offices were. Hopefully this helps you feeling less puzzled than I was when you first walk in.

Pollnow’s menu starts with an array of pintxos like borage leaf croquettes and a classic gilda (a spear of anchovy, olive, and a green bean in this case)—you can get all four for $11. (I’d love it if the kitchen sent out platters of them to the bar area for spontaneous snacking.) I’d recommend a sherry for these dishes, and there are also some conservas (mussels escabeche, etc.) that would also play nicely with the aperitivos. There’s housemade charcuterie, like the spicy lomo and a chorizo dark with guajillo chile, and a few Spanish cheeses.

Tapas-sized plates include tender gambas (shrimp) in garlicky oil ($13) and double-fried patatas bravas ($8.50), which turned me around on a dish I have long ago stopped ordering. Pollnow’s version completely rocks. And the Spanish fried rice ($14) shows the kitchen’s playfulness in a dish that is going to become my new late-night craving: diced chorizo, rapini, and salt cod tortilla are mixed into this rice, and it had great texture, almost like a paella’s socarrat. There are some larger cazuelas (lamb albondigas and pork cheek with morcilla chickpeas), $22-$24. There will also be a dessert each night (we had a very pretty crema Catalana) or you can go for their Spanish coffee with rum and cream.

The varied wine selections include a number of smaller Spanish producers, with lots of whites, and range from the delicate to the bold. You’ll be in good hands for pairings.

Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. Reservations and walk-ins welcome. 2170 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.

Just a quick note: I hear the downstairs Cafe du Nord space is coming along, and they hope to open the bar in a month or so. There will be a different menu than Aatxe, more American in style—we’ll have details on it all soon.

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The new home of Marlowe Burger. Photo by Patricia Chang.

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The Marlowe burger, with fries of course. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

A report by Dana Eastland. ~MARLOWE BURGER~ from the Marlowe team is now open, in the original Marlowe space—just look for the spray-painted “burger” on the sign. As previously reported, Jennifer Puccio, James Nicholas, and Anna Weinberg moved Marlowe from Townsend to the former Coco 500 space, and originally had plans to open a burger window at the new location, serving burgers and fries to go. However, construction on 4th Street has been so intense and demand has been so high that they decided to open Marlowe Burger instead.

It’s styled like a fast-food restaurant, with lots of steel, bright pops of red, and burgers served in fun foil bags with graphic check boxes indicating the contents. They even have chicken nuggets ($10) with the same slightly fluffy textured meat of the Happy Meal childhood fave. You order at the counter and can get your goods to go or dine on a stool at one of the counters or the communal table.

The menu is tightly edited, with their classic burger ($10.50), a kid’s version ($8), a fried chicken sandwich ($10.50), and some non-sandwich items including fries ($4) and deviled eggs ($2 each). The beer and wine license is in full force, with wines available by the glass (one white, one red, one rosé, all $8 a glass) and beers in cans (prices range from $5 to $7), including selections from 21st Amendment and Anchor.

The doors officially opened on Monday April 20th, and hours are Mon 11am-3pm, Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 5pm-10pm, closed Sun. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

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Upstairs seating at Tony’s Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.

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A classic slice from Tony’s Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.

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The Del Popolo truck. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

We reported that Tony Gemignani was opening a ~SLICE HOUSE~ on 2nd Street, in the former Ironside, and look at that, it’s now open!

The 49-seat, bi-level loft location really didn’t change much, but the menu is definitely all new. You can come by for slices (New York, Sicilian, and grandma-style), and there is also a whole section of the menu dedicated to artisan ancient-grain pizzas (a blend of Tony’s 00 flour, spelt, semolina, sprouted grain, and whole wheat)—available in a 13-inch size—and there’s an ancient-grain pasta salad, too, made with Khorasan wheat. There are a couple of housemade pasta options (bucatini, gemelli), salads, and some apps like chicken wings and coccoli (fried dough balls with salumi and burrata, oh yeah).

It’s worth noting that during baseball games, Slice House will offer a limited menu of slices and sandwiches, all ready for takeout, returning to a full menu post-game. The restaurant will also stay open late after evening games to accommodate fans. Open for breakfast (with a stuffed breakfast sandwich on the menu, with eggs, cheddar, and mozzarella with choice of prosciutto, bacon, or sausage—or onion and sautéed mushroom), lunch, and dinner 8am-10pm daily; brunch service will begin in early May. Beer and wine are also available, plus you can order delivery through Caviar (that link will hook up first-time users with $15 off your order, FYI!). 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-872-9680.

An ABC permit filing hit the wires for ~DEL POPOLO~, and sure enough, Jon Darsky is going to be opening a brick-and-mortar companion to his shipping container pizzeria on wheels. Inside Scoop confirms Darsky plans to open the location later this year, and he’ll be adding some other dishes like antipasti and salads too. With Stookey’s Club Moderne conveniently a half block away, this will be the perfect one-two night! 855 Bush St. at Taylor.

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Jars of housemade preserves line the walls at Buttermilk Southern Kitchen. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Taps and the bar menu at Buttermilk. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report from Dana Eastland. As we noted in September, the corner of 23rd Street and Bryant is about to get a new spot: ~BUTTERMILK SOUTHERN KITCHEN~. It comes from partners Miguel de Ocampo and Jaime Chavez, who met in culinary school. I had a chance to chat with de Ocampo this week and got some updates on their plans.

The space, a former laundromat, will be softly opening today, Tuesday April 21st. De Ocampo is quick to point out that not only is he a San Francisco native, but they also want the restaurant to fit well within the neighborhood. Almost all dishes are less than $18, and many are less than $10, and they’ve made an effort to hire from within the neighborhood, including a former employee of the laundromat. This is understandable, since they’ve already been tagged with anti-gentrification graffiti and want to avoid some of the drama that befell nearby Local’s Corner.

As the name suggests, Buttermilk is all about Southern food, with starters like a chicken liver pâté served with housemade pickles and marmalade ($8); barbecued prawns with seasonal succotash ($10); and potato chips with pimento cheese dip ($6). For entrées, look for an oxtail hash ($15); chicken and waffles ($14); and a smoked and smothered pork chop ($21). They also have a selection of sides, including mac and cheese ($6); biscuits ($5); and whipped sweet potatoes with goat cheese ($5). As for brunch, some of the same dishes make an appearance, along with a breakfast sandwich ($8); several Benedict varieties ($13-$17); and shrimp and grits ($16). Most items are made in-house, including house-cured bacon and the housemade pickles and preserves that line the walls.

They’ll be open for lunch and dinner during the week, and weekend brunch is in the works. There’s ample outdoor seating, as well as a comfortable bar with eight beers on tap (including selections from Abita, Coronado, and North Coast), wine, and sweet tea. For now, hours are Mon-Fri lunch 10am-5pm, dinner 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun brunch 9am-3pm and dinner 5pm-10pm. They’re currently softly open, though, so those hours may change according to demand. It’s advised to give a call before heading over. The grand opening should come in a few weeks. 2848 23rd St. at Bryant, 415-341-1031.

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The sign at Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

It looks like there is a taker for the former Local’s Corner space, which closed late last year. It’s called ~THE SPICE JAR~ according to a note in the window of the restaurant, and comes from owner Ryuichi Hamada.

They’ll be serving pan-Asian comfort food, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Think noodles, rice, and spices like garlic, ginger, and chiles, but locally sourced. Details are a bit limited at the moment, but we hear they are planning to open at the end of May. The space is currently papered over, but it sounds like a quick turnaround. They do, however, plan to add a hood to the kitchen so they can have access to a stove, which will be new for the space. We’ll keep you updated. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.

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Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

A report by Dana Eastland. The big news this week is a major merger of two of San Francisco’s biggest players in artisanal products: Blue Bottle and Tartine Bakery. The two businesses both trace their roots to 2002, when Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt opened Tartine and James Freeman started selling his coffee beans. Now, Tartine will become part of Blue Bottle, but will maintain its identity as an independent entity, with Robertson as CEO. Prueitt will remain executive pastry chef. In addition to the upcoming project in the Heath building in the Mission and the new partnership between the two brands in Tokyo, they will also be expanding to Los Angeles and New York (did you just hear the cheers nationwide?). In the coming months, Tartine will begin serving Blue Bottle coffee exclusively, and Blue Bottle will incorporate Tartine breads and pastry into their menus.

As for what this all means, obviously some are already concerned with what this kind of growth can mean for a place as artisanal as Tartine. But it’s also exciting to think about how two such quintessentially Bay Area companies can help each other grow and take our local values global. This also has the potential to be huge for Tartine employees, who will now have different opportunities to grow with the company that wouldn’t have been available before.

The other piece of exciting news here is that ~BAR TARTINE~ is being sold to head chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns. Rather than try to keep the restaurant within the larger company, Robertson and Prueitt decided to sell to the pair, according to The New York Times. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we look forward to seeing how these businesses grow.

This being San Francisco, there is plenty more news in coffee land too. Hoodline reports that ~REPOSE COFFEE~ has opened on Divisadero. This is the second location for the café, which has another location in Sebastopol. They are serving Ritual coffee and a small food menu of salads, panini, and gluten-free quesadillas, with pastries coming soon. They also have beer and wine. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm. 262 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-874-9110.

It looks like the ~PHILZ~ empire is growing, with a location in 5 Embarcadero Center. Hoodline reports that permits for construction have been filed for a space in the building, though no one at Philz is talking about the exact location or their plans, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on this one. 5 Embarcadero Center at Market.

Did you know that local chef Dennis Leary started roasting his own coffee beans? He did! His microroasting operation is called Aleph Coffee, and Sprudge has a fun interview with him on learning to roast; he even hints at a possible café someday.

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The exterior of the former Dell’Uva. Yelp photo by Jk.

Teague Kernan of Tupelo has a new project in North Beach, called ~BELLE CORA~, opening in the former Dell’Uva space. The name refers to the novel by Phillip Margulies about a notorious madam from the 19th century, and Kernan says the restaurant “will be a comfortable, inviting place to come share drinks and food.” Chef John Kenner’s menu will focus on lighter dishes, with an emphasis on vegetable-driven preparations (he’s vegan). Don’t worry, though, they’ll play nice with meatier items, too, and everything will be designed for sharing. The wine list features about 25 bottles from consultant Paulina Krol, and it’s intended to be approachable and affordable. Craft beers will also figure prominently.

The space has been designed with assistance from Julie Brown of Re:Design and will be warm and inviting, with some nods to the neighborhood’s history and old-world ambience. They will be taking full advantage of the restaurant’s great outdoor seating, too—sidewalk tables will definitely be available. The plan is to open in early June, but they are realistic about how long construction and permits may take. 565 Green St. at Columbus.

Hoodline caught the details on ~ACQUOLINA~, the new project moving into the former Café Divine space. It comes from a trio of Italians from Livorno—Rutilio Duràn (who you may recognize from C’era Una Volta Ristorante Italiano in Alameda), Marco Marianelli, and Dario Nicotra—and will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. They’ll have eggs and a breakfast pizza in the mornings, with pizza and pasta at lunch. At dinner, you’ll also find meat and seafood plates. The wine list is mostly Italian, with selections priced for everyday consumption as well as special occasion choices. They’ve got a special stone-lined oven for pizza and an imported Stylema machine for espresso. They want to appeal to a broad range of diners, including families with kids and those looking for a date night. The bar is having some adjustments made to it so it will be easier to dine at. They’re currently planning to open the first week of May. 1600 Stockton St. at Union.

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Pupusas from Los Panchos. Yelp photo by Jose U.

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The retro fabulous counter at Orphan Andy’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Just try saying no to this pork chop at Vietnam Restaurant after a night on the town. Yelp photo by Debbie L.

Last week, one of my posts for Refinery 29 (The Best Late-Night Spots—Courtesy of Bay Area Night Owls) went live, but unfortunately the editors had to cut some content from my original piece. I am including the people and pieces that got cut here, because there were too many great contributors and fab ideas for late-night eats for me to let them stay on the cutting room floor!

As you (hopefully) know, I have a late-night dining app, with 95 places open past 11pm in SF! While I am trying to get a new app developer so I can update it with all the very latest and greatest spots, there are still a bunch of classic and tasty places on there, so check it out!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your favorite spots with me! Thanks for doing your part to support our late-night dining scene. See you on the town!

Name: Sonya Molodetskaya
Profession: Fashion advocate, writer for Haute Living magazine, eats out every night
Late-Night Spot: Gem in the Financial District—Louie’s Bar (55 Stevenson St. at 1st St.)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Hidden in the alley, which makes this place intimate, especially in a late hour. Open till 2am and food is served till 1am. Brick interior with great photographs on the walls make this place charming with a twist. Classic bar food, famous for potato skins, fries, and burgers. Great choice of beers. Superchill bartenders and friendly crowd. Did I mention it’s next door to where I live?!

Name: Jeffrey Paradise
Profession: Record Player, half of daytime disco group Poolside
Late-Night Spot: Los Panchos (3206 Mission St. at Fair)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
For me, this is hands down my favorite late-night food spot; as far as I can tell there isn’t any competition (though I wish there was). I order two cheese pupusas with rice and beans. The pupusas are good, the curtido is great, the superspicy watery salsa is somehow perfect when you’re drunk, the ladies who work there are awesome and don’t give a fuck about you unless you speak a little Spanish, the music is typically blasting, the decor is very festive, etc. It seems like a lot of service industry people who work at Latin bars and clubs and mariachi guys come here after work. I’ve been there when the whole restaurant erupts in song to the banda-type music blasting.

Name: Dottie Lux
Profession: Burlesque performer and producer
Late-Night Spot: King of Thai Noodle (multiple locations)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
After a night of telling dirty jokes and watching tassels swing I work up quite a hunger. Red Hots Burlesque has four shows a week all over SF and we are always near enough to a King of Thai Noodle. I love that the food here is always fresh and delicious—the hardest part is deciding what to order. I’m a Pisces, so decisions are hard in general, luckily this SF restaurant chain accommodates my ever-changing moods. Noodle, rice, beef, vegetarian; they’ve got it all. The portions are large and sharing dishes is easy. Large and easy; yep, this is the place for me.

Name: Melissa Perfit
Profession: Executive Chef, Bar Crudo
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I love this spot because it stays open till 3am and serves solid Vietnamese food to ease a drunken hungry stomach. A big bowl of pho and some spring rolls are my favorites. You might have to wait 30 minutes for your food, but there’s no shortage of drunken characters to keep you entertained while you wait. The owners of this hole in the wall take no shit while they dish out food into the wee hours.

Name: Mika Takeuchi
Profession: Creator of Food Fashionista + Digital Media Marketing Consultant
Late-Night Spot: Nopa (560 Divisadero at Hayes) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Nopa is an obvious late-night choice because it’s consistent, solid, and always satisfies. In the wee hours when your dining choices usually consist of greasy mystery meals, I like that Nopa offers high-quality local ingredients and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. The wood-baked giant white beans dish is a favorite, along with the smoked trout and grass-fed cheeseburger. And I’m guilty of never leaving without ordering a dessert…or two. The chocolate pot de crème with a touch of sea salt and olive oil is always a sweet way to end the evening.

Name: Marke Bieschke Profession: Publisher, 48hills.org
Late-Night Spot: Orphan Andy’s (3991 17th St. at Castro)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
Despite an insane party schedule, I hardly ever go out in the Castro. But the cheap diner is a dying breed in SF. And a 24-hour one, staffed by men in kilts, frying up a juicy double cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, served by itself on a little plate? Pretty much extinct. So I’ll make the trek. (Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night and go.)

Name: Donovan Unks (or The Dapper Diner)
Profession: Cancer Research or Semi-Professional Eater and Professional Liver Abuser
Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant)
3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order:
I like drinking in North Beach, and late night usually means 2:30am, so lucky for me, Vietnam is open until 3am. While most people go for a burger at the packed Sam’s next door, I duck into Vietnam to watch the old grandma cooking on the grill, because she has to know what she’s doing, right? It doesn’t matter, because I’m too drunk to care. I’ll go with the grilled pork over rice (com thit nuong), crispy imperial rolls (cha gio), barbecued pork banh mi, or beef ball pho, and pray I have money since it’s cash only.

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Tea leaf salad from Rangoon Ruby. Yelp photo by Andrew W.

As we reported back in February, local mini-chain ~RANGOON RUBY~ took over the former Sushi Rock space on Polk Street. According to Chowhounds, the space is now open, serving Burmese staples like tea leaf salad, noodles, and stews. You can peruse the menu right here. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento, 415-610-4333.

Hayes Valley’s ~OTORO SUSHI~ (noisy link warning) is moving to larger digs, according to Hoodline. It turns out that owner Jimmy Shen has been looking for a larger space for a while now, and when neighbors Bai Thong Thai decided it was time to retire, he nabbed the space on Gough. Sushi chef Fukuji Sugai will stay onboard through the move as well. No word yet on an exact timeline or who might be moving into the original Otoro space. 205 Oak St. at Gough, 415-553-3986.

In February, we reported on the opening of ~TAVARES~ in the Mason space in Potrero. Now, Eater has additional details of the colorful restaurant, including fun photos. This is the San Francisco outpost of the café, which also has a location in São Paolo. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-558-9461.

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Jersey, looking toward the front of the restaurant. © tablehopper.com.

~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ has made some changes to their menu’s format, Eater reports. Sister bakery Knead Patisserie, which is located in the back of the restaurant, is now running the show during weekday lunch. You’ll find hand pies, savory pastries, salads, and sandwiches at lunch. In the evenings, Local Mission has a newly revamped menu with a new focus on small dishes and snacking, with many items less than $10. They’re also now offering a tasting menu for $58 per person. It starts with a selection of snacks, followed by six courses. A vegetarian option is also available.

According to an announcement on Instagram, pizza shop ~JERSEY~ is now offering breakfast. Monday through Friday from 7am to 10am you can try their breakfast items, including a pizza with eggs and a choice of smoked salmon or prosciutto, a breakfast sandwich, and yogurt with seasonal fruit and granola. 145 2nd St. at Minna, 415-912-1502.

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A report by Dana Eastland: Do you like a good road trip? What about one that involves delicious food stops along the way? Yep, me too! Don’t miss Brigit Binns’s latest book, Sunset Eating Up the West Coast. It’s all about great routes to take for those who like to eat while they travel, and includes fun pictures, hot tips, and fun photos of Ms. Binns and her darling pooch, Stella, on their travels.

I actually had a chance to check it out during a recent road trip to Portland (accompanied by my own black and white pup, no less), and it’s a handy, handsome guide. We ended up having an excellent seafood feast based on the book’s recommendations—but more on that later. The book will be released on Tuesday April 28th. Then, on Saturday May 2nd, Ms. Binns and Stella will be at Book Passage in the Ferry Building from 12:30pm to 1:30pm to celebrate California Bookstore Day. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero, 415-835-1020.

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The Koja combo from Koja Kitchen. Yelp photo by Keerati C.

Changes are afoot at ~PUBLIC MARKET EMERYVILLE~, which is currently undergoing major renovation. Two new food tenants have signed onto the space’s newly revamped food hall, ~KOJA KITCHEN~ and ~SHIBA RAMEN~. (For more information on Shiba, check out this great article from East Bay Express on the owners.) The food hall’s renovation includes new design elements like reclaimed wood, tile, rolled steel panels, and a living wall, in addition to a new children’s play area. The renovations should be completed in late summer. 5959 Shellmound St. at 59th St., Emeryville, 510-652-9300.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that a new diner is opening in Oakland’s Laurel District, called ~SEQUOIA DINER~. It’s opening in the former Full House Café space and is from partners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson, who both have restaurant experience at places like Camino and Duende. The restaurant will highlight housemade items, like sausage, bacon, bread, pastries, and jam, and local products will be featured. They’ll be open daily for breakfast and lunch, from 8am to 2pm, and plan to open this spring. 3719 MacArthur Blvd. at Loma Vista, Oakland, 510-482-3719.

April 14, 2015
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The Quadraro pinsa at Montesacro. All photos: © tablehopper.com.

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The front dining area.

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Mixed salumi and cheese plate.

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The Centocelle pinsa.

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The pinsa-making station (and oven).

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The original oven dating back to when the space was a bakery.

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Looking toward the back of the enoteca.

Do you remember that behemoth vintage oven we showed you back in November, the focal point of ~MONTESACRO~, the Tenderloin/SoMa enoteca from Gianluca Legrottaglie? Well, that former baking beauty is all lit up, and it’s a jaw-dropping backdrop in this exceedingly charming pinseria romana/enoteca that just opened last night on Stevenson (a few doors down from Dottie’s). Legrottaglie, a partner and the wine director at the nearby 54 Mint, is a Roman who wants to pay homage to the Montesacro quarter—a hardscrabble Roman neighborhood where he worked for six years. (He says the Tenderloin reminds him a lot of that place.)

Legrottaglie also wants to introduce San Franciscans to the pinsa, an ancient style of flatbread—he uses Italian soy, rice, and wheat flour that he imports from Rome and is all GMO-free. The dough rises for 72 hours, and the dough balls are stretched by hand with rice flour and pressed to order into an oval shape, topped, and baked in the Cuppone oven for 90 seconds—it yields a crisp crust that is also light, with an enduring flavor that is unlike any dough you have tasted in SF. And since it’s not 100 percent wheat, it’s easier to digest as well (it’s also lower in fat and calories). And you won’t find burnt flour on the crust like you do from a brick oven—the Cuppone is an advanced electric oven that bakes very clean.

This ancient ancestor of pizza was sold outside Rome’s city walls, made by peasants who kneaded cereals (like millet, barley, oats, and spelt), salt, and herbs, and then pressed it (pinsa comes from the Latin for “pressed”) into an oval shape and seared it on hot coals. Let’s just say Virgil wrote about pinsa; is that old enough for you?

But this enoteca balances the past and present remarkably well. As soon as you walk in, it feels like such a discovery, with tall ceilings, a variety of seating areas, and an eclectic style that suits the old space very well. There is a communal table at the front, and tables with colorful vintage chairs from Indonesia in the 1950s that Legrottaglie found (the base of some of the larger tables are old sewing machines). The original colorful floor tiles, which are more than 100 years old, are a cool remnant from the space’s recently uncovered past history as a bakery that was once connected to a restaurant.

The pizza oven is toward the front, purposefully placed there so you can smell the pinsas baking upon entering. Toward the back is a wine bar, equipped with a classic Faema E61, more seating, and the glowing old oven (which is not in use, but lit up beautifully inside—it dates back to 1912-1914 or thereabouts). The walls feature vintage educational scenes from Rome that Legrottaglie actually found locally (one even includes a picture of the school he went to, such serendipity).

Legrottaglie has brought over two Roman pizzaioli, Claudio Gaetani and Alessandro Delle Rose, who have both been making pizzas (and pinsas) for more than five years. On the menu, you will find an array of 10 pinsas, like the capricciosa-like Centocelle ($17, mozzarella, tomato, artichokes, mushroom, olives, egg, prosciutto) and the Montesacro ($16, stracciatella, kale, peperoncini, garum). I can’t wait to return for the Pietralata ($19, mozzarella, bottarga, marjoram, extra-virgin olive oil)—the color of the bottarga they were shaving on top was marigold yellow. Fans of an amatriciana will enjoy the Quadraro ($17, tomato, red onion, pancetta, pecorino). You can cut it into pieces and share, and it’s very easy to pick up with your hands.

Also on the menu: some quality salumi and cheeses (choose 1 for $6, 3 for $15), or go for the mixed platter for $22. There are five kinds of salads, plus an array of vegetables under oil, like zucchini and eggplant, and lunchtime will feature three kinds of classic panini for $11 (including gambuccio e stracchino: prosciutto shank and soft crescenza cheese). There are also some desserts, like pinsa stuffed with Nutella and mascarpone. The menu is designed to be flexible and enjoyed throughout the day and evening, whether you want a small bite after work or dishes to share with friends over wine.

Speaking of wine, the international wine list extends beyond Italy, including other European selections, plus California and even New Zealand. I’m happy with the three sparkling choices, and there are some unique beers as well. Of course Legrottaglie will be pouring wines by the glass that aren’t even on the list, so it’s always good to talk and see what bottles he has open.

Hours for now are 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-11pm (we’ll keep you posted on when it’s open continuously all day). Meet your new hangout! 510 Stevenson St. at 6th St., 415-795-3040.

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The clean and rustic interior of Octavia. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

Consider this your public service announcement of two big openings that are happening this week; I won’t be covering in greater depth until next Tuesday’s tablehopper. First up, the much-awaited opening of Melissa Perello’s ~OCTAVIA~ is happening this Thursday April 16th. Her new Pacific Heights restaurant (which is opening in the former Baker & Banker and original Quince location) will have a little bit more of everything: more dishes (like squid ink noodles with fennel vinaigrette, green garlic, Marash chile, Cortez bottarga), more seats, and the bigger cellar means more wine selections from beverage director Paul Einbund. Reservations are available starting today, and there will also be seats reserved for walk-ins. Stand by for images and more next week. Dinner nightly 5pm-10:30pm. 1701 Octavia St. at Bush, 415-408-7507.

Opening on Friday April 17th is ~AATXE~ (say “aah-CHAY,” like you’re sneezing with a Spanish accent), the latest project from the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group. Chef and partner Ryan Pollnow partnered with The Bon Vivants to open this Spanish restaurant and bar on the street level of The Swedish American Hall. The menu will highlight Basque tapas culture, communal dining, and dishes with both local and Spanish provenance. More highlights: grower-producer wines exclusively from Spain, plus aperitifs and contemporary cocktails served individually or in a carafe (and there will be a lot of gins and G&Ts too).

You can make reservations for parties of up to four guests, and reservations for the chef’s counter will be available only by calling 415-471-2977 (calls will be accepted starting Thursday April 16th). Walk-ins will find seats at the communal table and bar. Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.

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Baked and steamed pork belly buns from The Chairman. Photo courtesy of The Chairman’s Facebook page.

Fans of the pork belly-filled buns from ~THE CHAIRMAN~ truck will be happy to know there’s a new brick-and-mortar location that just opened in the Tenderloin. Not only can you get the usual bao selections, but Scoop mentions there will be some new bao (like Japanese curry beef) and that you can opt for rice bowls instead of the buns (like a braised short rib bowl with fennel slaw, soy mushrooms, panchan carrots and cucumbers, fried egg, and tempura flakes for $12 plus $2 for an egg). You’ll also find chicken wings with yuzu kosho, a noodle salad, and some housemade fruit sodas. It’s meant to be a quick and casual bite, with just 15 counter seats. Hours are 11am-9pm. 670 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-813-8800

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The exterior of Lark. Photo courtesy of Lark.

The Castro has a new wine bar and casual restaurant, ~LARK~, which just opened in the former Brandy Ho’s. Hoodline says the owners, Coskun Abik (Dunya) and partner Sertac Yildizhan, are offering a menu of New American and Mediterranean dishes (you can look at the menu here), which includes feta calamari, mussels, roasted chickpeas, salads, a burger, lamb skewers, and more; there are also some traditional charcuterie and cheese boards. The international wine list has affordable wines by the glass, with flights of three wines of your choice for $15 (whites) or $17 (reds). Open Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Lunch and brunch will be added soon. 4068 18th St. at Hartford, 415-400-4623.

According to some posts on Yelp, there’s a new casual and petite spot in Lower Nob Hill called ~ROVE KITCHEN~. The menu of American comfort food includes a tasty-looking burger and fried chicken sandwich. Looks like it’ll be an easy spot for folks in the neighborhood to swing by for a bite. (Details are slim at the moment.) 678 Post St. at Jones.

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The classic Capp’s sign. Photo courtesy of Capp’s Corner website.

After holding down the corner of Powell and Green in North Beach for more than 50 years, ~CAPP’S CORNER~ is serving its last family meal and sadly closing its doors on Sunday April 19th. It’s not the usual situation of raised rent we keep hearing—Hoodline reports the landlord’s attorney made an unreasonable insurance request of owners Maureen and Tom Ginella, and they had to make the decision to close (read the piece for more—the attorney even blew off Governor Jerry Brown who tried to step in and set up a mediator, dude!). Fortunately the couple is planning to retire in Hawaii, but it’s a big loss for a lot of regulars who have been patronizing this old-school hangout for many years. 1600 Powell St. at Green, 415-989-2589.

Back in August of 2014, we reported that ~MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE~ in the Mission would be moving in the fall, but then we learned in November that their lease was extended six months into the spring of 2015. Fast-forward to now, and tragically they were unable to stay in their space any longer and have closed (you can read their farewell note on their Facebook page). Seems the uncle of the landlord wanted the space. Hopefully the mother-and-daughter duo can find a new location, but first, they want to take a well-deserved break for a couple of months. [H/t Eater.] 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

Another old-timer that surprisingly closed is ~CAFE ABIR~, which has been open as long as I have lived in the Western Addition (that would be 20 years, whoa). Hoodline confirms the rumors I heard about the closure and also mentions that the adjoining Corkage wine shop has closed as well. A follow-up post says the owners of the building, the Dajani Group, will be moving Tsunami Sushi into the more spacious Abir location, and adding an oyster bar. As for the Tsunami space (1306 Fulton), which remains open for now, there is talk of opening a spirits lounge, somewhat like the group’s Nihon Whiskey Lounge. We’ll keep you updated. 1300 Fulton St. at Divisadero.

Fans of ~SCHULZIES~ bread pudding in Hayes Valley will be surprised to see the space is being converted into a Project Juice shop, which will also include smoothies, in early June. From badass banana chocolate to kale and ginger. [Via Hoodline.] 364 Hayes St. at Gough.

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The patio awaits. And cheese! Photo courtesy of The Cheese School.

Look, you love cheese, and I sure as hell love cheese, so let’s just say “yay” to the return of Cheese Makes Me Happy Hour at the ~CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~. Because we are San Franciscans and no one bats an eye at a cheese happy hour. Good news: after you pay Uncle Sam his blood money on Wednesday April 15th, you can head on over to the happy hour, where a bountiful cheese table will await you, plus some beers and wines to choose from (your ticket includes one glass). Hang out on the patio. Relax. Eat cheese. On Wednesday evenings, from now through June 24th. 5:30pm-8pm. $22 (advance ticket sales close at 3pm the day of the event) or $30 at the door. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

Next Tuesday April 21st, CUESA will be hosting an interesting panel, Evolving City, Evolving Restaurants, about our current restaurant landscape, with guest panelists Erin Archuleta (partner in ICHI Sushi + NI Bar), Joe Hargrave (owner of Tacolicious, Mosto, and Chino), and Thad Vogler (owner of Bar Agricole and Trou Normand). 6pm-8pm. $10. Tickets here. Port Commission Hearing Room, second floor of the Ferry Building, The Embarcadero at Market St.

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Dinnertime at Parties That Cook. Photo courtesy of PTC.

Whatcha doing this coming Sunday? If you aren’t heading to Meals on Wheels or Wok on the Wild Side, we have a couple more options for you. First up, there’s La Gran Pachanga, a fundraiser for Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School. Families will be making homemade tamales, pupusas, and elotes, plus there will be ceviche from Basa Seafood, dessert from Sixth Course and Tartine Bakery, and more. Plus cocktails, beer, art, a silent auction, and music. Tickets are $25-$30. 6pm-9pm. Public Works, 161 Erie St. at Mission.

The new ~PARTIES THAT COOK~ space (formerly Tante Marie) is hosting a very springy multicourse pop-up dinner on Sunday evening from two Cyrus and Manresa alums, Sarena Stern and Kingsley Fuller. Tickets are $95, 6pm, details here. Don’t forget to bring some wine! 271 Francisco St. at Stockton.

Did you catch my 7x7.com piece about pop-up dinners? It included a mention of Junju, a Korean pop-up by chef Robin Song of ~HOG & ROCKS~ on the next three Sundays, check it out.

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The one and only Anthony Bourdain. Photo courtesy of CNN (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; season five’s Miami episode).

Fans of salty dog Anthony Bourdain will want to set an alarm on their calendar for this Friday April 17th at 9:59am, which is one minute before tickets go on sale on SHN for his nationwide Close to the Bone tour. His SF appearance is bringing him to Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday July 26th at 7pm. Tickets range from $67-$237. You can also call SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799.

Here’s more on the one-man show: Tony’s appearance will feature “an unyielding, brutally honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine, and his travels to lesser-known locations around the world, followed by an open Q&A session.” Look for a deeper dive than what we currently see on his CNN original series, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (season five premieres Sunday April 26th, by the way).

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The outdoor patio at The Dock and The Beer Shed. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund.

Nosh mentioned an Indian restaurant was moving into the former Captain & Corset space, ~BOMBAY B’S INDIAN BISTRO~, and according to posts on Yelp, it is now open. It seems you can take your pick from two meat curries ($9.95) or vegetable curries ($8.95), which come with rice and salad. There are also some playful dishes like Indian tacos, burgers, kale pakoras, and masala fries. 2212 Broadway at Grand, Oakland. 

If you’re looking for a new brunch spot, ~THE BEER SHED~ (from Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery and chef James Syhabout of Commis and Hawker Fare) is now serving a hangover brunch from 12pm-5pm every Sunday—and the alfresco setting means you’ll get maximum fresh air too. The menu will interestingly be prepared outside as well, with a lot of dishes coming from the grill (like grilled asparagus with a slow-poached egg). And then there’s the al pastor pork chop taco and a deviled egg sandwich. There will be hair-of-the-dog cocktails (including horchata-style rum and milk punch), micheladas, and yes, draught beers from Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery. Everything is less than $10.

One more thing to note: the next sunny evening, you’ll want to swing by for happy hour (Tue-Fri 4:30pm-6pm), with $1 off all draught beers, in addition to a $6 house michelada, a $6 seasonal rum punch, and a beer and a shot for $7. The full menu from The Dock will be available after 5pm in The Beer Shed in case you get snacky. 95 Linden St., Oakland, 510-338-3965.

Fans of mezcal won’t want to miss this tasting with Lucia Gonzales from Del Maguey on Wednesday April 22nd at ~DOÑA TOMÁS~. You will be able to taste all nine of the Del Maguey mezcals that Doña Tomás stocks, available in a “copita” ½-ounce taste and a full 1 ½-ounce shot. 5pm-6:30pm, with free snacks like chips and guacamole. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st, Oakland, 510-450-0522.

April 7, 2015
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Chef Freedom Rains. Photo courtesy Belga.

Adriano Paganini’s latest project on Union Street now has a name and a chef. The Belgian brasserie has been christened ~BELGA~, and Freedom Rains has been appointed as chef. His previous experience includes Flour + Water, Boulevard, RN74, and Incanto, and he will be bringing a California focus to the Belgian-inspired menu. The menu is all about celebrating hospitality and “conviviality” (a word that’s been turning up a lot lately), with dishes that encourage sharing, like housemade sausages cooked in the wood-fired oven, a rib-eye for two, and his takes on classics like salad Lyonnaise and moules frites.

It will all pair well with beverages, of course, with a substantial beer list of Belgian and Belgian-inspired suds selected by bar manager and cicerone Ryan Murphy (Abbot’s Cellar). There will also be cocktails from Nora Furst, also designed to pair well with food. The space and other menu details are still in development, but we’ll have a closer look soon. In the meantime, check out a rendering of the exterior and get ready for the opening in mid-May. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

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Sausage pizza from Transit. Photo from Traci Des Jardins via Twitter.

Traci Des Jardins has reopened casual café ~TRANSIT~ in the Presidio, after taking it over earlier this year.

The new spot offers an easy spot to grab a bite, coffee and espresso by Equator, pastries, and wine and beer. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, grilled burgers, pizza from the wood-burning oven in the afternoon, and breakfast items, as well as a tightly edited selection of beer and wine on tap; take a look at the menu here. There’s an outdoor patio with views, and indoor seating if it’s too breezy. Takeout is also available. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Graham, 415-561-5300.

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A view into Saison’s kitchen (but this is not the chef’s counter, FYI). Photo: Bonjwing Lee.

If anyone was going to be discriminating about sushi in this town, it would be Saison chef-partner Joshua Skenes. So when he says that someone is the best sushi chef in San Francisco right now, well, it makes you curious, doesn’t it? From now until May 30th (Tuesdays through Saturdays), you can book a seat at ~SAISON~’s eight-seat chef counter for a modern omakase experience from guest chef Jiro Lin, who worked for 11 years at Hamano Sushi in the Castro and trained extensively in Japan at Bikkuri Zuzhi and Maguro Hanamigawa. Josh invited chef Jiro to be a guest chef because of his love of sushi, and he really respects chef Jiro’s craft. Match that with Saison’s impeccable ingredient sourcing, and it’s sure to be a special meal.

The menu changes daily but a typical meal will include an appetizer (like golden caviar), a clear soup made from ichiban dashi, a tsukemono course of Japanese pickles, and then as many courses of nigiri courses as you want, from golden eye snapper to kawahagi with its liver, and then finishing with fruit and tea. Prices begin at $220 for the menu, and partner-wine director Mark Bright is offering customized beverage pairings starting at $100. Prepaid reservations can be made by calling 415-716-6008. For more info and social media links, visit the site.

You’ll also notice someone new on the floor: GM Alicia Boyes, previously at Per Se for seven years. Interestingly, she is the only female general manager of a three-star Michelin-rated restaurant in North America. (Change always starts with one.)

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Chef Yoni Levy. Photo by Tienlon Ho.

Fans of chef Yoni Levy’s cooking will be sorry to hear he has departed ~ALTA CA~—he helped open the restaurant. His next step: consulting. Scoop reports his sous chef, David Goody, will be taking over for Levy; he was at Morimoto before coming to Alta CA.

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The pastry case at Arsicault Bakery. Photo from Facebook.

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At Ichi Kakiya, facing the front. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

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Nucha empanadas. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The Inner Richmond has a new bakery, called ~ARSICAULT BAKERY~. It’s owned by baker Armando Lacayo, and the specialty is authentic, French-style croissants and other pastries. They have several kinds of croissants, including plain, almond, and ham and cheese, along with scones, palmiers, and kouign amann. They officially opened last week and apparently sold out of goodies over the weekend! They are also serving Equator coffee, and have an espresso machine coming soon. In the coming months, also look for some additional “cold” pastries, like seasonal fruit tarts. Hours are Mon, Wed-Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm, closed Tue. 397 Arguello Blvd. at Clement, 415-750-9460.

We released all the first look details about ~ICHI KAKIYA~ last week, the new oyster shop from the ICHI crew, and we wanted to let you know they are opening tonight! You can check out the menu here. Hours are the same as Ichi Sushi: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus, 415-814-3877.

After walking by this location numerous times every week (it’s in my neighborhood), the plywood has come down. The Western Addition/Nopa has a new Chinese restaurant: ~KUNG FOOD~. Owner Andy Yan tells me his family used to own Rice and Roll in Pacifica (they like puns, this family), and the chef is their uncle, who has been cooking all over the U.S. for the past 15 years. The menu is primarily Hunan and Mandarin, plus some usual suspects like walnut prawns, Mongolian beef, and let’s not forget crab Rangoon. There are also a few dim sum choices (shu mai, steamed barbecue pork buns) and some Korean-style wings too. Yan mentions the top dishes are their basil eggplant with chicken, chicken lettuce cups, and for vegetarians, their basil meatless chicken (and they will cook vegetarian dishes in separate woks or fryers on request). They have 20 seats and free delivery. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, closed Mon. 1615 McAllister St. at Divisadero, 415-673-6688.

Last month we mentioned ~SQUARE MEALS~ was opening a takeout space in the former ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Divisadero, which is currently open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm. In addition to the salads, main dishes, soups, and more, one more vendor is on the shelves: Nucha Empanadas. The Argentine-style handmade empanadas come in all kinds of flavors, from classic beef to mushroom and cheese to some breakfast versions, like bacon and egg. You can get three for $9, and you just warm ‘em up at home. Yup, it’s the original hot pocket. (Pro tip: pay attention to which flavor is which and write it on your bag—otherwise when you get home, they will all look the same.) There are also some quiches, Argentine sauces, and alfajores. 1207 Divisadero St. at Eddy, 415-674-1069.

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The papered-over window at Old Bus Tavern. Photo courtesy Old Bus Tavern.

Back in August, we reported on ~OLD BUS TAVERN~, a chili-and-beer restaurant opening in Bernal. We’ve got an update on the project, which comes from partners Ben Buchanan, Jimmy Simpson, John Zirinsky, and Tim Symes. They’ll be brewing their own beer (from Buchanan and Zirinsky), including a signature lemon basil saison, as well as offering cocktails. They are still in the process of finding a chef, but expect upscale pub food, with a focus on chili.

The 47-seat space is still under construction and was designed by Thomas Pippin of Lifebox Studios (who also did ICHI Sushi) and Sarah Greenwood Design (who happens to be Zirinsky’s mom, cute!). Peek at a rendering right here. The aim is to offer a comfortable, approachable space to the neighborhood, with exposed brewing equipment and dining and drinking areas to suit everyone. Right now, they plan to open in late June. In the meantime, they are also busy raising mad cash for a side project, a chili-and-beer VW bus! 3191 Mission St. at Fair.

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2175 Market Street, the future home of Myriad. MLS photo from Redfin.

It looks like the market trend on Market Street is continuing with another. This one is called ~THE MYRIAD~ and will be located in the Castro. Scoop notes that the partners on the project, Jordan Langer, Pete Glikshtern, and Jeff Whitmore, are working with Forest City, the building’s developer (they also operate Pier 70). The aim is to provide more than “a glorified food hall,” Langer says, which in this case means more of a small business incubator.

Hoodline nabbed some more details on what will fill out the space, and notes that there are already two businesses to anchor it. The first is a butcher shop called Gambrel & Co., which is owned by Langer and already has a location in Redwood City. They are also opening a bar called Mrs. Jones, a partner of Tenderloin bar Jones (also owned by Langer, Glikshtern, and Whitmore), which will offer cocktails made with items available at Myriad. Drink recipes will be printed on cards, if you want to purchase the ingredients to mix on your own at home.

There are 10-15 more spaces still available for other small businesses, ranging from 40-400 square feet. Rents will be $1,000-$2,400 per month, and applications are due May 1st. Tenants will be selected by June 1st. The spaces are entirely modular, which will allow businesses to expand their real estate as they grow too. 2175 Market St. at 15th St.

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The unmistakable Hello Kitty Truck. Photo from Facebook.

Ready for a serious wallop of kitsch and cuteness? You’re in luck, because the Hello Kitty Truck is coming to town to promote the ~HELLO KITTY CAFE~, opening in Orange County later this year. We’ve been following along on Facebook since Eater broke the story.

The truck will be appearing at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown on Saturday April 11th, Sunday April 12th, and again on Saturday April 18th, all from 10am-5pm. They will also be making a stop at Santana Row in San Jose on Sunday April 19th. The truck menu includes petit fours, doughnuts, and macarons, all emblazoned with Kitty’s unmistakable hair bow. Meow. Follow along on Facebook for all the details.

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“Meat” the Lou Seal hoagie from Deli Board. Photo courtesy of Deli Board.

Baseball season is here (the Giants’ home opener is Monday April 13th), and to add on to our post last week about the new culinary options around AT&T Park, here are a few more for your consideration.

If you miss 1058 Hoagie’s big-ass hoagie, you’ll be happy to hear ~DELI BOARD~ is (re)launching their Lou Seal hoagie on opening day, packed with Genoa salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone, cherry peppers, lettuce, their house Italian dressing, housemade Shum (garlic) spread, and salt and pepper onions, all on Dutch crunch. The Lou Seal is offered for $14 on game days only, so make sure to check the schedule. And yes, you can bring it into AT&T Park. 1058 Folsom St. at Russ, 415-552-SOUP (7687).

James Syhabout (Hawker Fare, Commis, The Dock) is going to be hosting a tailgate party for the home opener on Monday April 13th at the EatWith test kitchen, which is right across from the ballpark. On the menu: oysters (see, this is a classy tailgate), West Oakland Dock po’boys, jerk-spiced chicken wings, smoked beef tri-tips with Korean BBQ lettuce-wrap garnishes and potato salad, and more. $57. The event starts at 11am, game starts at 1:35pm.

One more item: ~G FOOD LOUNGE~, the food truck gathering spot under the 80 freeway (with seating), will be opening a beer and wine bar with some food trucks before Giants evening home games, from 5pm-7:30pm. Look for some promos, like $4 beers. 431 2nd St. at Bryant.

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Don’t miss a minute of this party with Eat Drink 365. Photo by Marc Fiorito with Gamma Nine Photography via Facebook.

While Eat Drink SF won’t happen until August 20th-23rd, the organizers have launched something to tide you over: Eat Drink 365, a yearlong membership that offers insider access to quarterly events and curated food experiences, as well as other perks, like a $50 credit with Reserve and a 10 percent discount to Eat Drink SF tickets.

Yours truly has been tapped to help curate some of the events, along with folks on the advisory board like Ceri Smith (wine director of Tosca Cafe and owner of Biondivino Wine Boutique), Thomas McNaughton (executive chef and partner of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group), and Mika Takeuchi (Food Fashionista and brand ambassador for Michelin).

The launch party for Eat Drink 365 is at Natoma Cabana next Tuesday April 14th, with complimentary cocktails, beer, wine, and food from Bacon Bacon. Sign up to join the partay! Membership is $125 a year.

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The third annual Food & Farm Film Fest is taking over the Roxie Theater in the Mission soon. From Friday April 17th through Sunday April 19th, catch films about food, farms, and the unique people in both worlds. The festival opens on Friday with a selection of short films, followed by an opening party at Four Barrel on Valencia. The full schedule can be found here, with highlights like East Side Sushi, about a Latina sushi chef, and The Search for General Tso. Each of the films is paired with food from a local chef, which is included in the ticket price. Most tickets are $15; the opening night program is $30. 3117 16th St. at Valencia.

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Duck meatballs and cocktails at the bar at Grange Hall. Yelp photo by Robin J.

We reported in January that ~DOPO~ in Oakland was going to be moving to an all-Sicilian menu and 100 percent Sicilian wine list, and now they have announced the new name: ~PALMENTO A DOPO~. They have also eliminated tipping. Everything will be in place starting Wednesday April 15th. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.

We have been tracking the opening of chef Matt Burger’s new project, ~GRANGE HALL~, since we first mentioned it back in June 2014. After some test dinners, the place is now open in the former Barlata in Temescal, with Burger serving as executive chef and Jonathan Moon as owner (for now—the two may officially partner in the future).

The menu changes regularly, but is all about classic American dishes with a modern interpretation, and of course there’s a killer burger. They have a full liquor license, and have brought Jason Huffman (previously of Roka Akor, and an old Chicago friend of Burger’s) to run the bar. He’s stocked more than 100 different types of whiskey, if you’re into that. (Raises hand.) The cocktails are made with lots of in-house elements, including cola, tonic, bitters, and cordials. The drinks are generally old-fashioned in style and will change seasonally.

They are open until midnight six days a week, with a special late-night menu that includes a fried chicken biscuit sandwich and a Chicago-style hot dog. They plan to add Sunday brunch in mid-May (in time for Mother’s Day). Hours are Thu-Sun 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-12am, Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, closed Tue. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland, 510-593-2376.

Great news for the ~MILLENNIUM~ crew: not only did they totally surpass their Kickstarter goal (654 backers pledged $119,003!), but chef-partner Eric Tucker and GM Alison Bagby have also secured the Box & Bells location in Oakland. They hope to open in June, stand by for updates. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot, Oakland.

In the meantime, you can attend their last Southern Comfort dinner on Wednesday April 22nd ($39.99 per person; five-course prix-fixe menu, reservations here), and Millennium’s last night in SF is on Thursday April 30th. You can make reservations now for 5:30pm-11pm; the party is $40 per person, before tax and tip, and includes passed appetizers, full bar, and live music. You will pay upon arrival.  

March 31, 2015
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The interior of Ichi Kakiya. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

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A tabletop (with the awesome mural). Photo by Darren Samuelson.

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At Ichi Kakiya, facing the front. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

If today’s final inspection goes as planned, ~ICHI KAKIYA~ should be opening its doors this Friday for a soft opening. Chef-owner Tim Archuleta and partner Erin Archuleta (who was tablehopper’s very first intern, awww!) of ~ICHI SUSHI~ are opening in their original Ichi location, one that was built to be a raw bar until their busy sushi business outgrew the space. The name means “oyster shop” in Japanese, and it’s not the only thing this 21-seat place will offer.

There will be five kinds of sustainable oysters, both local and from Japan, along with clams and scallops (both from the East Coast and beauties from Hokkaido). Other dishes on the opening menu include Japanese potato salad, a salad with yuba and green olive dressing (want!), house-cured ocean trout, a dish with housemade kimchi and asari clams, and some steamed selections, including shrimp, mussels, and a half crab. Hot picks include a seasonal soup (like kabocha) and miso-marinated cod. Dishes will be different than what you’d find at Ichi, so don’t expect to find any favorites on the menu. Time for new favorites!

The spot is no reservations (remember, it’s 21 seats, with 12 at tables and 9 at the counter—plus there’s a small waiting counter in the front), and will be a fun spot to swing by for a dozen oysters and glass of bubbles, or you can turn it into a full meal. Speaking of bubbles, they will be the primary focus of the wine menu, plus some whites and a rosé will be available. There will be local and imported beer, from Almanac to HenHouse to some Japanese selections, plus four sakes. Space is a premium at this tiny spot, so they have to keep the list tight.

Like at Ichi, they brought on Erik Marinovich to do another custom mural for them. It’s a beaut, with an abstract design of oyster shells (look for the pearl) over a cerulean blue backdrop. The overall space is more a sister than a brother to Ichi, with a slightly feminine style, a subtle tip of the cap to ama, the (typically) female free divers in Japan who dove for pearls, oysters, and shellfish.

We’ll keep you posted on the exact opening date, and you can always follow Ichi Kakiya on Facebook and Twitter.

Hours will be the same as Ichi: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus, 415-814-3877.

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The interior of Aster. Photo by Michael David Rose, courtesy UrbanDaddy.

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A dish at Aster. Photo from Brett Cooper’s Instagram feed.

Before we took our little break, we posted an update about Brett Cooper’s new restaurant in the Daniel Patterson Group, ~ASTER~. We just wanted to alert you that it’s officially open, and the menu is live on the website. Dishes include smaller bites like nori puffs with cauliflower mousse and burnt honey vinegar ($6), green garlic “vichyssoise” with a soft egg, olive oil crouton, and pecorino ($13), and larger plates, including black cod with chard leaves and pickled stems, miso levain, 
and smoked cod broth ($33).

Nope, no shortage of creativity from this chef, who I first met when he was working as a sous for Stuart Brioza at Rubicon. He then made his way to Coi, and was chef de cuisine at Saison and executive chef of Outerlands. Like we mentioned in our previous piece, his sous chef is Meghan Clark (Delfina, Aziza, Spoonbar, and Kin Khao) and his pastry chef is Sean Ehland (formerly the executive pastry chef at McCrady’s in Charleston)—this neighborhood restaurant has quite a team. Look for a tasting menu to come soon. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

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The light-filled front lounge area. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

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The dining room. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Last month we mentioned ~BDK RESTAURANT & BAR~ was opening in the former Grand Cafe in the Hotel Monaco, with chef Heather Terhune (previously Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar).

She has put together an American menu with some fun updates, like bacon croutons in an iceberg salad, and avocado and Calabrian chile in the steak tartare. The braised lamb poutine and smoked ham and Brie pop-tarts also sound like good trouble. Mains include pickle-brined fried chicken thighs with coleslaw and mini buttermilk biscuits ($22), spaghetti and meatballs ($21), and I am all over the potato and cheese pierogies ($19) with caramelized onions, sour cream, and dill.

The space got a big refresh from design firm Ken Fulk Inc. (Marlowe, The Battery), and now has an energetically patterned tile floor, leather banquettes in dark butterscotch, and stylish dining room chairs. The dining room has 72 seats (with high-top tables and pub-style booths and banquettes), and there is still a spacious bar and lounge area, with 17 seats at the California granite bar and 20 seats in the lounge. The huge dining room has been converted back to its original ballroom state (it was the grand ballroom of the Bellevue Hotel in the early 1900s).

Bar manager Kevin Diedrich is behind the cocktails (which run for $11-$12), and the wine list will emphasize Chianti (seems Bill Kimpton, the man behind the BDK initials, was a fan). You’ll find wine, beer, and Diedrich’s spin on an old-fashioned all on tap.

Hours are breakfast: Mon- Fri 7am-10am, Sat-Sun 7am-10am; dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Bar open daily at 4pm. Brunch is coming soon. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

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The beautiful jewel box of Bar Jules. Photo from Facebook.

Hayes Valley mainstay ~BAR JULES~is closing, according to Scoop. Owner Jessica Boncutter says the restaurant is doing well, and there isn’t really any issue or drama causing the closure, which has been open for eight years. “It’s nothing financial. Just a decision of mine,” she is quoted as saying, which would seem to tie in to the fact she is eight months pregnant. She mentions that she wanted to sell it to a buyer who would respect the restaurant’s space and spirit. No word yet who that might be just yet, but apparently that news is coming soon.

Bar Jules’ last day is this Sunday April 5th. A lot of diners will be crying into their burgers and baked eggs this week. Best to Jessica and her baby!

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A booth at Hapa Ramen. Photo by Erin Conger.

While I was stuck sitting on the tarmac for a couple hours in Cozumel on Saturday (fun times, thanks United), I checked in on Twitter and read the “whoa, dude!” news that chef Richie Nakano was no longer a part of ~HAPA RAMEN~, his project that he has built up over the past five years, finally consummating in a brick-and-mortar location that opened four months ago in the Mission.

Unfortunately Nakano was at odds with his business partner, tech investor Owen Van Natta (who owns Hapa Ramen and the brand—it ends up Nakano sold it in July 2014 for $20K) and director of operations Deborah Blum (who is working with Van Natta on the upcoming Citizen Fox), and the wheels obviously came off the bus.

What has followed is a #hapagate level of social media posts about the shituation, and it’s hard to tell in publicized laundry-airing like this what exactly went down: was Nakano fired, did he quit, were his food costs too high, were management demands unreasonable? Both sides have their versions.

What we do know is Hapa Ramen is now closed, and the partners have other plans for the space. (They have a full liquor license, so you know they’re going to put that to work.) It’s tough for the Hapa Ramen crew who decided to leave, but hopefully they all land somewhere soon. As for the ones who stayed, in a statement by Blum and Van Natta, they say: “Hapa staff was not fired. All but two of Hapa’s line cooks are currently employed by the business; today they’re doing prep work for a tasting related to the concept that will replace Hapa. The management also extended an offer of income to Hapa’s top servers and the kitchen staff to support them during the restaurant’s period of closure.” Again, who really knows.

You can grab your bag of popcorn and read more here and here. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St., 415-202-6333.

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The chicken amaranth waffle at Reverb. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

After naming a new chef last month, it looks like the former Verbena has also changed its name and look to go along with the new chef and menu. The restaurant is now called ~REVERB KITCHEN & BAR~ and is intended to be a more approachable, neighborhood spot.

The menu hits all the current SF marks, with dishes like caramelized heirloom carrots, grilled octopus with gigante beans and romesco sauce, a kale salad, and a burger. They are also serving brunch on weekends—check out the brunch menu here.

The beverages are also intended to be more approachable, with a wine list focused on small producers. The cocktail menu offers craft cocktails like the Clearer Conscience (gin, cucumber, housemade thyme-galangal syrup, and dry vermouth) and Tikal (mezcal, tequila blanco, pineapple, celery, quinquina, dry sherry, and lemon), along with classics like the Martinez and the Negroni. There are special brunch cocktails as well, including a Bloody Mary and Angostura fizz. Hours are daily for dinner 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm. 2323 Polk St. at Union.

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Outdoor patio at The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Courtyard’s Facebook page.

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Pepperoni, baby. A pie from Tony’s Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House. Photo via Facebook.

Can you smell that? Yeah, it’s the smell of baseball in the air, and with the season starting again, there are some new additions near the ballpark that you can check out. First up, there’s ~THE YARD AT MISSION ROCK~—which is kind of like an 18,000-square-foot version of Proxy in Hayes Valley—featuring an Anchor Brewing beer garden (16 taps!), repurposed shipping containers with various vendors (both food and retail), and events too (follow along on Facebook for updates). It’s located in Giants Parking Lot A, and is open daily and year-round, with hours extended for game days.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for The Whole Beast, which has its own container next to the Anchor Brewing beer garden area, serving chef-owner John Fink’s insane lamb gyro, plus a Wagyu beef brisket sandwich, smoked pulled-pork sandwich, and his poutine returns (!!)—fries with lamb gravy, smoked lamb, and sheep’s cheese. And there’s a vegetarian version too. You can wake up from your food coma with some rocket fuel from Peet’s Coffee (open at 7am daily), and there’s also the Courtyard from Off the Grid, featuring a couple of food trucks, a Humphry Slocombe ice cream cart, and even wine. Off a Wine Bus. Which also has a seafood menu, FYI, with dishes like Courtyard Chowder with bacon gremolata, yes please. Open 11am-8pm daily. 3rd St. at Terry Francois Blvd.

Just as we were leaving, we heard some gossip that Tony Gemignani is going to be opening another ~SLICE HOUSE~, this time in the spacious Ironside location, which is now closed. Look for an opening in a couple of weeks. Scoop added that he will additionally be serving calzone, stromboli, and pasta, with a focus on pasta made with ancient grains. 680 2nd St. at Townsend.

Quick reminder: if you’re going to the Giants exhibition games, you can order subs from ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~ and they’ll have them ready for you for a quick pickup. Game season means Merigan’s hours are extending to Mon-Fri 8:30am-7pm (you know they do breakfast, right?), Sat 10am-4pm, and open on Sundays for Giants home games.

One closure to note: Traci Des Jardins is closing her ~MIJITA~ location at the ballpark, it sounds like the Giants Dugout wanted the space. The Ferry Building location remains open, and ditto Public House. (Via Eater.)

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A mega feast at Mekong Kitchen. Photo from Facebook.

After Eater reported the story back in February, there’s an update on the former Urban Picnic space in the Castro. Urban Picnic closed last month, after less than a year in business, and now owner Trang Nguyen is reopening it as ~MEKONG KITCHEN~. Chef Tim Luym has been brought on, and the menu offers lots of Vietnamese classics, with additional items to take it up a notch, like marbled tea eggs and oxtail soup. The food photos on their Facebook page are straight-up drool-worthy, and Luym always delivers the mega-flava, can’t wait to check this one out. Hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, Sun 5:30pm-10pm, closed Mondays. 4039 18th St. at Hartford, 415-346-9700.

~IZA RAMEN~, which has been popping up in the Mission for about a year now, is headed into the Dante’s Table space in the Castro. According to liquor license activity and a tweet, Iza has nailed a permanent home for their popular noodles. No word on quite when Iza’s noodles will be ready for slurping, but hopefully soon. 544 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-285-3848.

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Pork belly at Precita Park Café. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new pair of chefs at neighborhood favorite ~PRECITA PARK CAFÉ~, Chris Seyersdahl (Nopa, Café Claude) and sous Richie Wilim (Charlie Palmer Group in New York). Owners Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim want to push the restaurant’s menu in a more adventurous direction, and Seyersdahl has been experimenting with new menu items. He’s been working on gluten-free breads, housemade pastas, and a wild-sounding Sightglass-infused barbecue quail stuffed with housemade chorizo mac and cheese. Some offerings on the current menu include savory pie with fava leaf pesto, shaved asparagus, black trumpets, chicories, and Parmesan; and apple and ginger braised pork belly, lacopi butter beans, black trumpets, spinach, black garlic soubise, and housemade kimchi. Sustainable ingredients and local purveyors are a big part of the new focus. 500 Precita Ave. at Alabama, 415-647-7702.

Bernalwood caught the news that there is a new Japanese-style curry house coming to Bernal, called ~FUMI CURRY HOUSE~. It’s moving into the former home of Eagle Donuts, on Mission Street. The space is currently under construction, with an anticipated completion date in a month or so—but the opening could take longer, depending on permits. 3303 Mission St. at 29th St.

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Noodle soup from Lanxang Kingdom. Photo from Facebook.

~RUSTY’S SOUTHERN~, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago, is now open in the Tenderloin. They’re serving barbecue plates, fried chicken, and other Southern dishes inspired by the Carolinas. 750 Ellis St. at Larkin, 415-638-6974.

Yelp reports are coming in that there’s a new burger place in the Inner Richmond, called ~BUZZ~, in the former Midori Sushi location. They offer grass-fed burgers with interesting topping combinations. There are also several varieties of fries (think sweet potato and garlic), as well as smoothies. 3420 Geary St. at Commonwealth.

It can be hard to find Laotian food in San Francisco, but Eater reports that a new pop-up at Turtle Tower’s Tenderloin location is going to change that. ~LANXANG KINGDON~ will be serving Laotian dishes every Thursday from 11am to 9pm, including weekly specials. The menu includes some unusual dishes, including a snail stew and fried silkworms, alongside a great selection of Laotian salads, noodles, and other dishes like an omelet and a housemade noodle soup. 645 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-874-5578.

Financial District soup wonder ~SOUP JUNKIE~ is moving to a new, larger location on Montgomery Street. They’ve closed their previous location, and should be opening in the new spot in the next few months, though they are still in the process of getting plans approved with the city. We’ll let you know when they reopen! 100 Montgomery St. at Sutter.

And it looks like there is already a take for the former Soup Junkie space, none other than ~SUSHIRRITO~. This will be the fourth San Francisco location for the local chain, fifth including their Palo Alto location. Though The Onion reports that perhaps a similar concept is moving to the East Bay, ha-ha. 388 Market St. Suite 107, at Davis.

The beginning of spring means the return of ~OFF THE GRID~’s evening Twilight at the Presidio, starting Thursday April 2nd. Every Thursday, catch the food trucks serving all kinds of dishes, along with lit dining cabanas, fire pits, and live music. The variety of trucks will change weekly, and they’ll be on the Main Post Lawn from 5pm to 9pm. Main Post Lawn, at Lincoln Blvd.

Star reader Jason B. wrote in to let us know that ~NATIVE JUICE CO.~ is opening in the former Cafe Metropol in the Financial District. According to their website, the juicery closed their location at 250 Montgomery in late January, but will be reopening this spring at 168 Sutter Street. In the meantime, you can also find them at the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays and at the San Rafael Farmers Market on Sundays. 168 Sutter St. at Kearny.

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The New York breakfast of champions. Photo by Nicole Plue (winner of Outstanding Pastry Chef 2010).

The list of finalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards was announced while we were away, and we were happy to return and see a pretty strong SF Bay Area showing. Shout-out to Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, who are up for Best New Restaurant again, this time for The Progress (State Bird won last time). Kudos to Manresa’s Jessica Largey, nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Outstanding Restaurateur nominations include Cindy Pawlcyn (that has to feel good after the rough year she has suffered due to a car accident) and Michael Mina, while William Werner/Craftsman & Wolves and Belinda Leong and Michel Suas (b. Patisserie) are up for Outstanding Baker, and Trick Dog and Bar Agricole are both up for Outstanding Bar Program.

It makes total sense Quince would be nominated for Outstanding Service, and fingers crossed for A16 for Shelley Lindgren’s Outstanding Wine Program (meanwhile, Rajat Parr was nominated for Outstanding Beer, Wine, or Spirits professional). Up for Best Chef: West are the unstoppable Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski for State Bird Provisions, plus Matthew Accarrino for SPQR, and Corey Lee for Benu.

You can check out all the nominees, which include Restaurant Design, and the Book, Broadcast and Journalism awards, and, of course, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who, and America’s Classics.

The James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner is on Friday April 24th at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City, while the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place for the first time at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday May 4th. (Which means winners will not be able to pose their medal with an egg on a roll the next morning for their hangover breakfast anymore.)

Speaking of the James Beard Foundation, their scholarship program is an incredible way for aspiring and established chefs to gain some extra funding to further their culinary education. Know someone (maybe you?) talented who could use some additional support to get the skills they need? Applications can be found right here beginning April 1st, and more information on the different types of scholarships can be found here (and there are some great ones, including international, work/study, and wine-oriented options). Good luck out there, you talented people, you!

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The interior of the new Equator Coffee & Teas on Market. Photo courtesy Equator.

~EQUATOR COFFEE & TEAS~ is opening their very first location in San Francisco, downtown in the Warfield building, on Wednesday April 1st. The new café is their third location, after two others in Marin County. The offerings include brewed coffee, cold brew, beer, wine, and espresso. They’ve added some interesting tea items to the menu, too, like honey orchard milk, and tea “squashes,” which are fruit tea sodas. I am particularly fired up for their renditions of the shakerato (brown sugar and cream shaken with espresso), including one that incorporates chocolate and scratch caramel.

There are also grab-and-go food options like seasonal salads and parfaits, along with arepa sandwiches with a variety fillings (these are also gluten-free). Check out the full menu here. The space was designed by Boor Bridges Architecture, and features white stone, mahogany, and a mural by artist Mona Caron. Outdoor seating should be coming soon. Hours will be daily 7am-7pm. 986 Market St. at 6th St., 415-614-9129.

Pacific Heights may be getting their very own ~BLUE BOTTLE~ location, Scoop reports. According to owner James Freeman, they are looking at the former Tully’s space at the corner of Fillmore and Jackson streets. It’s still going to be awhile, though. 2453-2455 Fillmore St. at Jackson.

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Who will win the pork statue at Cochon 555? Photo from Facebook.

Are you ready to go completely hog wild at ~COCHON 555~? (Careful, that link plays some beats.) The festival of all things pork is just around the corner, and the lineup this year is pretty fab. Sunday April 12th at the Fairmont marks the seventh year that five chefs come together to compete for the ultimate in porcine glory: being crowned the King or Queen of Porc.

Participating chefs this year are David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit), Robin Song (Hog & Rocks), Salvatore Cracco (Trou Normand), Thomas Kalb (Cafe du Nord), and Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table). Each of the chefs will prepare a whole hog menu for attendees and judges, and then voting will determine the winner. The hogs are all heritage breeds from small-scale farmers (including Marin Sun Farms, Front Porch Farm, and Belcampo Meat Co.), to bring attention to the value and importance (and deliciousness!) of responsible ranching. The winner will go on to compete in the national competition in Aspen.

In addition to the main event, you’ll find a hog butchering demonstration with Brian Merkel of Belcampo Meat Co.; a station featuring cheeses from Mission Cheese; an oyster shelf; the “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch, and Luxardo; a mezcal bar with chupitos; the tartare bar with Adam Sobel of RN74; and more. Yeah, they are not messing around.

Tickets are $125 for general admission, or $200 for VIP, which includes early admission and more drinks and experiences and other good stuff. The event runs from 5pm-9pm for general admission or 4pm-9pm for VIP. The Fairmont, 950 Mason St. at California, 678-744-5886.

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Cookies at the new B-Side Baking Co. Photo from Facebook.

~B-SIDE BAKING CO.~ from Tanya Holland has opened in the former B-Side BBQ space, according to Scoop. As we reported in February, Holland closed the barbecue spot and replaced it with a bakery from Celeste Scott, the baker at nearby Brown Sugar Kitchen. Each day they will offer a variety of different pastries, like coffee cake, scones, cinnamon rolls, and pies made with seasonal fruit. For now, they are settling in and the space is open daily from 7am to 3pm, but in the coming months the plan is to extend the hours, add additional lunch options, and take advantage of the space’s full liquor license with beverages like Bloody Marys and Irish coffees. 3303 San Pablo Ave. at 34th St., Oakland, 510-595-0227.

An offshoot of ~NICK’S PIZZA~ is coming to Temescal, East Bay Express reports. The new location is called ~NICK AND ARON’S~ and comes from Nick’s owner Nick Yapor-Cox and partner Aron Ford, who has been running the morning pastry scene at Nick’s. The new space is in the former Barkada space, which features two huge gas deck ovens in the kitchen and lots more dining space. This will allow the pair to offer a full-service dining experience, with pizza on the menu, of course, but also salads, sandwiches, and other entrées and appetizers. According to Facebook, they officially opened for lunch and dinner on March 27th, with weekend brunch coming soon. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., 510-250-9538.

We received word that Linda Bradford, Travis Dutton, and Patrick Lynch, owners of Bar 355, have opened a restaurant next door called ~PARLOUR~. Chef Jason Tuley is using a wood-fired oven for pizzas, as well as other dishes including octopus and meatballs; check out the menu here. The bar offers cocktails, wine, and beer, as well. 357 19th St. at Webster, Oakland, 510-451-1357.

The market trend continues, with a new project called ~NEWBERRY MARKET~ moving to Uptown Oakland. The market is moving into the ground floor of Uptown Station, a seven-story 400,000-square-foot retail and office building opening in the former Sears building. Newberry plans to open in summer 2016, with organic groceries and a butcher shop, grab-and-go meals, and household items along with beer and wine. Telegraph Ave. at Broadway, Oakland.

Chowhounds are reporting that Korean restaurant ~YU YU ZA ZANG~ has reopened in the former New Ho Ho space. The new space is larger than their previous location, and Yelpers note that the menu has stayed the same, with seafood soup and noodles as a particular standout. 4871 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., 510-653-2288.

March 30, 2015
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Smoked salmon with avocado and sprouts on a Food Should Taste Good Everything chip. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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Deviled egg salad on Food Should Taste Good chips. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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Dipping that fondue. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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The table is set for our brunch. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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The lively dining room. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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Shakshuka with falafel chips. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

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The perfectly cooked eggs on the shakshuka. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

A few months ago, the PR team representing Food Should Taste Good approached me about writing a fun brunch guide for San Francisco and hosting a customized brunch event highlighting Food Should Taste Good’s products. Who has two thumbs and loves to write and talk about brunch? This lady. And fortunately I was already a fan of Food Should Taste Good’s wide range of GMO-free chips that come in unique flavors (like guacamole tortilla chips, brown rice-peppercorn, and they even have kimchi chips).

When I was trying to come up with a venue for hosting the brunch, the first thing I imagined was the famed Marlowe egg salad on a Food Should Taste Good chip, and then I thought about chef Jenn Puccio’s Welsh rarebit at The Cavalier as another great potential topping. (Yes, it’s fun to brainstorm about events based on what will go well on chips.)

Fortunately chef Puccio thought coming up with a special menu for this brunch sounded like fun, and she hit it out of the park with the flavor pairings. The Cavalier has a beautiful semi-private event room, the Railcar Room, that can hold 40, the perfect number of guests.

We invited a fun group of San Francisco media, bloggers, and influencers for our sunny Saturday brunch. We started with a reception in Marianne’s, the private club room at The Cavalier, with hors d’oeuvres and brunch cocktails, like Pimm’s Cups (The Cavalier makes a great one), Bloody Marys, and mimosas.

We had passed appetizers of smoked salmon with avocado, spices, and sprouts on a Food Should Taste Good Works chip; the Marlowe deviled egg salad with melting provolone and pickled jalapeño on the FSTG peppercorn cracker; and the showstopper was the large chafing dish bubbling with a roasted garlic and cheddar fondue with chives that we got to dunk the FSTG sweet potato kettle chip in. Yeah, it was like a hot tub of cheesy goodness we all wanted to take a prolonged dip in.

It was time for the sit-down portion of the event. The dining room looked great, with the sunlight streaming through the windows and glinting off the brass fixtures and bouquets of springy flowers. I love family-style meals, and the room had a festive feeling (but I also think the Pimm’s Cups were kicking in).

We started with one of my favorite dishes at The Cavalier (which we featured in the brunch guide): the ham and cheese soldiers that you dip into hen egg hollandaise. Mmmmhmmmm. We also had seasonal fruit with acacia honey and mint to balance the decadence.

The favorite dish of the day was chef Puccio’s incredible creation: a Food Should Taste Good falafel chip shakshuka (it was almost like chilaquiles!), with spicy tomato sauce tempered by dollops of yogurt, plus peppers, onions, crispy pancetta on top, and perfectly baked eggs. Everyone was raving over it, and kudos to the kitchen for getting magnificently cooked eggs out all at once for 40 people.

The feast continued with buttermilk pancakes with amaretto and brown butter golden syrup, and the full English platter, loaded with bacon, pork and beef bangers, mushrooms, roasted tomato, and crispy potatoes. Pinkie up, dahling.

We all waddled out of there with Food Should Taste Good gift bags (which had a preview of their new seeded Real Good Bars inside, which will be released in June), and I think we are all hoping chef Puccio keeps that falafel chip shakshuka-chilaquiles dream mash-up dish on the menu. (Pllllleeeeeeeease?)

Thank you to Food Should Taste Good for partnering with tablehopper for this brunch event and the San Francisco brunch guide, I had a blast hosting it! Many thanks to chef Jenn Puccio and the entire Cavalier team for helping me throw such a swell event. And I think we will all be back for brunch at The Cavalier, the food rocked!

March 17, 2015
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The sign at Aster. Photo from Instagram.

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Smoked trout from a recent test dinner at Coi. Photo from Instagram.

As reported on tablehopper back in September, Brett Cooper has partnered with the Daniel Patterson Group to open ~ASTER~ in the former Beast and the Hare in the Mission. A final opening date has been set for Tuesday March 31st, and though we’ll have menus and photos for you when we return from vacation then, here are some details to feast on in the meantime.

Cooper has assembled his kitchen team, including sous chef Meghan Clark (Delfina, Aziza, Spoonbar, and Kin Khao) and pastry chef Sean Ehland (McCrady’s in Charleston). Unsurprisingly, the restaurant will be impeccably sourcing their seafood, meats, and produce, and the menu will change seasonally. The dishes have a familiar backbone, but often include items prepared in unexpected ways or with unexpected ingredients. Some dishes to look for include potato and nettle dumplings with maitake, peas, and charred scallion, or black cod with chard, miso levain, and smoked cod broth. For dessert, you’ll find a beet crémeux with white chocolate and hazelnuts (beets on dessert menus seems to be a growing trend). To prepare for the restaurant’s opening, Cooper and his team have been hosting pop-up test dinners at Coi, and Chef’s Feed has a cool video from one of them.

Mark Mendoza of the Daniel Patterson Group has developed the wine and beverage list, which focuses on natural and biodynamic wines from international appellations. They’re also going to be using a Coravin system, too, which allows for a large range of options by the glass, including older vintages and more unusual pours. As for the space, which seats 45, designer Scott Kester has created a living garden that is intended to be both casual and elegant. More on that on the 31st. Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.

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The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

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Rock cod frybread taco from El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

~EL CAPITAN~, the new project from Jon Whitehead we mentioned earlier this month, is now open in the former Radius space in SoMa. Mark Furr is running the kitchen, and his menu is inspired by Latin and Caribbean flavors. The restaurant is all about hospitality and fun, with food intended for sharing and pairing with drinks. There are lots of small plates, including multiple varieties of ceviche, grilled octopus with a white bean salad, chicken wings with Cholula-ancho glaze, and fry bread tacos with various fillings. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering family-style platters of large-format meats, including whole fish and an Argentine-style asado. Check out the current menu here.

As for those drinks, right now they’ve got local beer and wine on tap, as well as sangria available by the pitcher and low-proof cocktails. A full liquor license should be landing in late spring too. The newly refreshed space has new paint and new art on the walls and will soon offer a private dining space in “the captain’s room” for groups. Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, and there is a happy hour every day they are open from 5pm-6:30pm. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton, 415-525-3676.

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

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Sopes from El Pípila. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s always fantastic news when another La Cocina business gets their own brick-and-mortar space. Or in the case of Guadalupe Guerrero of El Pípila, her own kiosk in ~THE HALL~ in Mid-Market.

Her story is an inspiring one: she left her native Acámbaro, Mexico, in 1998 and had to make the hard decision to leave her two girls behind while she came to work at a taqueria in Berkeley. (Can you imagine?) After working for 12-hour days, six days a week, for two years (alone, in a country where she didn’t speak the language), she was able to send for her girls.

Flash forward to 2005, when she met Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas, a fellow immigrant who told Guadalupe about La Cocina. Guadalupe has been a part of La Cocina since 2012, building her catering business and running a successful stand at Off the Grid Fort Mason (and appearing at the Street Food Festival). Her two daughters, Brenda (25) and Alejandra (28) are helping her with the business, which specializes in Guanajuatan recipes. Her pozole verde is extraordinary—it’s her mother’s recipe, which is made with chicken, tomatillo, hominy, and the brilliant addition of bacon. Trust me, you want this in your life. She also makes sopes, in homage to the street food vendors from home, topped with braised nopales. You’ll find these delicious and authentic dishes and more at her new stand at The Hall.

Guadalupe has come a long, long way. Not only can you help support her in this new venture by visiting her new kiosk, but she is also in the final days of crowdfunding her Kiva Zip loan. She only needs about $2,000 left (it’s a no-interest loan!) to help with equipment and first month’s rent. There are just six days left to help! Even $10, $20, will go far. Even if you can’t lend money, please tell your networks about it! Let’s show this amazing woman some support.

Soft-launch hours for now are Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, and every other Saturday. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.

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Breton butter croissants at Un Fil à la Patte. Photo by David Carbonell.

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Pain au chocolat. Photo by David Carbonell.

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Mini baguettes. Photo by David Carbonell.

San Francisco is really lucky with our current bakery game right now, because it’s strong. Due to open late summer in North Beach is ~UN FIL À LA PATTE~ from David Carbonell, a French transplant who has been living in the Bay Area the past five years. His family has been in the bakery business for more than 200 years, because that’s how things roll in France, although he broke from the baking path to study art history, and then to be a journalist and war photographer.

But now the family’s baking roots have tugged Carbonell back. He is inspired by how obsessed San Franciscans are about food, and because he wants to offer baked goods with a real “French taste,” he will only use French ingredients, from the butter to flour. He knows this will be challenging, but he really wants to make it happen.

He will focus on viennoiserie, with speciality pastries, breads, and desserts (he mentions olive bread, cereal bread, and macarons too). Carbonell will also be offering some rare items, like le pain du chat rouge, which means “the bread of the red cat,” a recipe that is more than 300 years old. More than anything, he really wants his bakery to become a daily stop for the people in the neighborhood.

The location was previously a shop, Metis Makers on Grant Avenue, so it will require some permitting hurdles and remodeling. He wants the look to be like a humble “bread depot, where people feel at home, a French corner in the heart of San Francisco.”

As for the name, of course it has roots in the 17th century: it translates as “a string attached at your leg,” which was a reminder to flirtatious married men that they should think before looking at other women. Oh, the French. Look for updates from us this summer. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

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2227 Polk Street, the future home of House Rules. Photo from Google Street View.

Russian Hill residents will have two new spots opening on the same block of Polk Street, between Vallejo and Green. First up, the former Interior Visions is being transformed into a (currently unnamed) sushi restaurant from the chef-owner of Saru in Noe Valley, Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya in San Carlos, Kuo Hwa Chuang. The menu will focus on kaiseki and traditional sushi, so don’t expect yet another place with a menu of spicy tuna rolls with cream cheese in them. There will be a sushi bar and tables, about 45 seats in all. The change-of-use has been a long process, but construction is under way and they hope to open in July or August. There will be more details to release soon, like the name, so we’ll keep you posted. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Across the street in the former Pesce and Uno Dos Tacos will be ~HOUSE RULES~, a new bar from Rick Howard and Noelle Calixto (Eddie Rickenbackers, Campus bar), with Scott Youkilis consulting on the food menu, and Michael Brennan is designing the interior. The opening is looking like mid-April now, so we’ll have more to share in a couple of weeks. 2227 Polk St. at Vallejo.

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The fried chicken biscuit at Rusty’s Southern. Photo from Facebook.

An April opening is slated for the new location of ~FISH & FARM~, which is moving into the former Elephant & Castle location in the Financial District. Fish & Farm, which currently is housed in the Hotel Mark Twain, will close that location on March 31st, according to Barbary Coast News. Then, in April, they will reopen in the new space, which is currently being built out. Look for a New American menu with sustainable seafood and meat, along with a full bar, wine, and beer. 424 Clay St. at Battery, 415-474-3474.

Tokyo ramen restaurant Mensho Ramen is opening its first outpost in the United States in May. Scoop reports that chef-owner Tomoharu Shono will call it ~MENSHO TOKYO~, and the menu will resemble the one currently being served at his Tokyo locations, but with additional small plates. 676 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

Rusty Olson managed the bar at Suppenküche for seven years and is now getting ready to open his own place in the Tenderloin, called ~RUSTY’S SOUTHERN~. Hoodline reports that Olson, a native of the Carolinas, has brought on chef Francis Rubio of Biergarten to run the kitchen. The pair plans to serve Southern dishes like fried chicken, barbecue, and shrimp with okra, along with brunch options. The restaurant is actually opening in the ground floor of The City Hope Community Center, and they plan to partner with the center on community service projects and possibly even a vocational training program in the future. They hope to open in late March; in the meantime, check out their Kickstarter campaign and consider contributing.

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A plate from Square Meals. Photo from Facebook.

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Breakfast tacos from SixFoot20. Photo from Yelp.

The brick-and-mortar location of prepared foods outfit ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Divisadero is closing, Eater reports, and ~SQUARE MEALS~ is moving in. Lilah Belle’s will remain in operation, but owner Traci Freeman says her customers are more interested in her delivery service than in-store pickup, so she’ll be focusing on online ordering and delivery from now on. Square Meals, in the meantime, is opening as a takeout space today, March 17th, and this summer will add a café similar to their current Polk Street location, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. 1207 Divisadero St. at Eddy, 415-674-1069.

We mentioned a few weeks ago that ~CHEZ MAMAN~ on Potrero Hill is moving from its smaller location (at 1453 18th Street) into the larger Chez Papa Bistrot space on the corner (at 1401 18th Street). Just wanted to let you know the opening is Monday March 23rd! It will have the same menu, with a few additions (and larger tables, of course).

~SIXFOOT20~, the breakfast taco pop-up from chef Raymond Gaston, has secured a brick-and-mortar location and will be opening in late summer, according to Hoodline. He’s been popping up in the Excelsior and other locales around town, with a changing menu of breakfast tacos. Some past manu highlights have included gochujang chicken breakfast tacos, crispy mushroom breakfast tacos, and Dr. Pepper braised pork taco. Gaston will be moving into the former Rising Star Laundry location in the Duboce Triangle, and plans to serve breakfast and lunch both for dine-in and takeout. There will be tacos for breakfast in the morning, and then look for rice bowls at lunch, including a dirty-looking (in the best way) burger on rice with an egg. Gaston is also hoping to roast his own coffee beans in-house, depending on permits. 439 Duboce Ave. at Belcher.

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Xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After years of rumors, it appears that ~DIN TAI FUNG~ is officially coming to the Bay Area with a location in Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair mall. Eater has confirmed that the international chain, which has locations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Thailand as well as in greater Los Angeles and Seattle, will be opening a large location later this year. According to a Chinese newspaper Eater had translated, the restaurant should open in October and will clock in at about 8,500 square feet with seating for 200 people. And still, get ready for long lines. RELEASE THE XIAO LONG BAO!

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Meatball with tare and egg yolk at Yardbird in Hong Kong. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Coffee shochu from Yardbird. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

During my whirlwind trip to Hong Kong, one of the places I was most excited to check out was ~YARDBIRD~, since chef Matt Abergel’s chicken game is hella strong. I was lucky to have an hour to hang out with Matt, drink some beers, and get the scoop on the Hong Kong culinary scene before dining at the counter at his crazy-busy izakaya/restaurant. While the chicken yakitori list had upwards of 15 different pieces you could try (neck, thigh, heart, and even tail), and it’s what they’re known for, we also dug the corn tempura, ox tongue, and someone had a bit too much of their Stumptown-coffee infused shochu that they shake up like a shakerato, so it makes you want to, uh, have another.

Since I totally buried the lede here, I should probably mention now that Matt Abergel will be doing a Yardbird pop-up/à la carte dinner for two nights at ~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ on Monday April 27th and Tuesday April 28th. Chef-owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett met Matt last year when he came to do a private dinner at 18 Reasons, and Sylvan helped him source ingredients for the dinner. It will be fun night and rare chance to experience Matt’s yakitori and other dishes (and they are bringing the coffee shochu—be careful).

Reservations can be made only by phone (415-589-7022) or email.

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Duck gravy hash browns for brunch at Klyde. Photo courtesy Klyde Cafe & Wine Bar.

Union Square has a new spot for happy hour and brunch. ~KLYDE~ in the Hotel G is now offering happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm. Select wines are available for $5 a glass or $25 a bottle, with selections from all over the world.

They are also serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30am to 2pm. Dishes include a crab and fried green tomato Benedict ($16), almond brioche French toast with fruit and whipped cream ($9), and bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits ($16); check out the menu here. Of course, Bloody Marys and mimosas are also on offer. 386 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061.

According to a post on Instagram, ~COCKSCOMB~ is now serving happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5pm to 6pm and 10pm to 11pm (love that). Specials include $1 oysters and $5 beer, glasses of wine, and negronis. 564 4th St. at Freelon, 415-974-0700.

~1760~ is now open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm. You’d best make it a boozy brunch, since their fabulous cocktails will be in full force—check out the brunch drinks here. The brunch menu will change seasonally but currently includes cardamom beignets ($8) and pork belly with kimchi fried rice and egg ($18), along with beverages like the green cardamom fizz (cardamom cream, lime, egg white, club soda, gin, $13) or brunch punch for two (hibiscus, ginger, mint, cinnamon, lemon, club soda, gin or vodka, $25).

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The window display at Epicurean Trader. Photo from Facebook.

According to a friendly spy in Bernal Heights, a new specialty market is moving onto Cortland. Bernal Wood caught the news that ~THE EPICUREAN TRADER~ opened on Friday in the former Red Hills Bookstore, and the owners are husband-and-wife team Holly McDell and Matthew Pond.

In an email, the couple says they want to “create a marketplace for San Franciscans to browse, discover, and learn about new and innovative brands in the small-batch foods. We will be focused on high-quality artisan brands with a unique story, packaging and/or flavor combinations.” In many cases, the products they offer are available in San Francisco for the first time, including chocolate from Maverick Chocolate Company and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters from San Diego. Their inventory also includes cheese, charcuterie, and other pantry items, along with wine and beer. Alex Finberg, who has consulted for many restaurants around town, is heading up the wine selection and should be bringing some great selections to the table. Hours are daily 11am-8pm. 401 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-872-9484.

Both SocketSite and The Bold Italic caught the news of a new market coming to the Mission. It comes from Bobby and Dmitri Vardakastanis of Haight Street Market, the family-owned natural food store in the Haight, and Noriega Produce in the Outer Sunset. Their new location will be at Harrison and 17th Street, in the ground floor of the mixed-use 400 Alabama building. With the opening of the third location, the family will be renaming all three locations ~GUS’S COMMUNITY MARKET~ after their father, Gus Vardakastanis, who took the market over from his father in the 1990s. The new location will offer a deli counter, butcher, seafood, and an outdoor space for enjoying a snack. No word on a timeline at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated. 400 Alabama St. at 17th St.

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Emporio Rulli’s sfingi. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

One thing that definitely does not suck over here is my mail, especially since it sometimes contains edible things for me to try (um, jackpot—well, unless you are trying to eat light, and then it’s pure fricking torture). A week ago, someone from Gary Rulli’s awesome Emporio Rulli baking team showed up with some zeppole (a fried bignè ring, filled with vanilla sponge cake brushed with kirsch, fresh whipped cream, Italian pastry cream, and sour amarena cherries) and my favorite, sfingi (a Sicilian fried cream puff stuffed with homemade ricotta), which they are making in preparation for La Festa di San Giuseppe on Thursday March 19th (just one day only, although the zeppole will be available from Thursday March 19th-Sunday March 21st!). If you know someone named Joe or Joseph, you should buy them one, and make sure you get one for yourself. They are $6.50 each, and they recommend you preorder them by calling 415-924-7478—you can arrange a pickup at one of Rulli’s SF locations.

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Exterior of Café Claude Marina. Photo courtesy of AF&Co.

It appears that ~CAFE CLAUDE MARINA~ is closing permanently, after what was supposed to be a temporary closure and refresh in January. Scoop reports that owner Franck LeClerc says that while they intended to reopen with some new décor and an updated menu, he received some very generous offers on the space while it was closed. Turns out, one was just too good to refuse. No word just yet on what might be moving in, or LeClerc’s next project (he hints he’s up to something). 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.