The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
June 30, 2015

The classic piadina (at The Italian Homemade Company). Photo: ©


The fantastic lasagna at The Italian Homemade Company, one of the many crazy delicious pasta dishes they make. Photo: ©


You know the Negroni recipe, right? Photo courtesy of Campari America.

You ready for another tablehopper evening, where you’ll be well fed and served delicious aperitivi with fun people? I thought so. It’s Aperitivo Time in Rimini! For this event, I’m happy to announce that I’m partnering with EatWith, which is a global platform for unique dining experiences—it’s a great way to discover home restaurants and pop-ups, locally and around the world.

First, I have to ask: have you ever had a piadina? If you have visited the Italian beaches in Rimini, you will fondly recall these warm, flatbread-like sandwiches, classically filled with tangy stracchino cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, and peppery arugula. And there is now (finally!) a place in San Francisco where you can find them: The Italian Homemade Company in North Beach, run by some bona fide Romagnoli (which would be people from the region of Emilia-Romagna), Mattia Cosmi and the aptly named Alice Romagnoli.

So here’s your chance to try a piadina, or revisit one, as we explore the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna over some classic aperitivi made by Rye on the Road, like an Aperol spritz, Negroni Sbagliato, and more. Mille grazie to Campari America, who is helping us host this special night in North Beach.

On Thursday July 16th, Italian Homemade will be open after-hours so we can host this casual affair: imagine your dream cocktail party, with passed piadine, cassoni (a hot, stuffed sandwich that is like a calzone made with piadina dough—they’ll be serving a traditional cassone with spinach, potato, and mozzarella), and tortellini pasticciato (the sauce is made with Bolognese and béchamel!). Plus some tiramisu! The chefs will be telling us about each dish too.

It’s a casual space (it’s like a deli), so come as you are. It’s really about having a chance to hang out after work, meet fellow tablehopper readers and EatWith fans, and learn about the food of Emilia-Romagna (and aperitivi)! We’ll be pouring some red wine as well.

And be forewarned: you’ll probably see some Italian products on the shelves you’ll want to bring home, or maybe a little something fresh from the pasta case!

The event is on Thursday July 16th, beginning at 6:30pm, and will run until 8:30pm or so. Tickets on EatWith are just $39, and tablehopper readers can use an extra-special first-time user discount code: use code EatWithMarcia for 15 percent off. You’ll enjoy passed aperitivi and cocktails, appetizers, pasta, and dessert. We look forward to seeing you—and eating with you! 716 Columbus Ave. at Filbert.


Chubby Noodle North Beach. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy of UrbanDaddy.


The famed Chubby Noodle pork tacos. Photo: ©

Last month we mentioned Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s, Chubby Noodle, and more) and Nick Floulis were going to be moving the ~CHUBBY NOODLE NORTH BEACH~ pop-up out of Amante and into the former Pisto’s Tacos space (at 1310 Grant), with chef Alex Ong consulting on the opening menu.

Well, Nick Roberto and Colby Thompson of VerSacrum Design (formerly with Bon Vivants Design+Build) cranked on the design, and the space is now open. Every square inch is mapped out, with plenty of booths for you and your posse and a bar in the back. There is also some sound baffling so things aren’t louder than they need to be.

The menu will continue to feature some Chubby Noodle flavor-packed favorites—like the fried chicken, ramen, tuna poke, spicy garlic noodles, and Korean pork tacos—but will be taking more of a creative izakaya approach to the menu. Mrabe is rotating dishes like mustard wings and a bunch of skewers on the grill, ranging from meatball skewers to chicken with avocado to swordfish with lemon togarashi.

The party will be fueled by their sake cocktails on tap (similar to Chubby Noodle Marina), plus sake, beer, and wine on tap too. There are 24 taps in all, and one is extra special since it features Bushido (“Way of the Warrior”), a premium junmai genshu from Japan. The Chubby Noodle team has been trying to get a Japanese sake on tap for the past couple of years, and Chubby Noodle Marina starting pouring it first, making it the first restaurant in the U.S. to have Japanese sake on tap.

Soft opening hours are Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm, which will expand to nightly after a month or so. Look for lunch and brunch to come in time as well. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo, 415-296-9600.


The interior of Dirty Water. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

The Twitter building has another ground-floor project open as of yesterday, Monday June 29th. It’s ~DIRTY WATER~, from former Press Club general manager Kristian Cosentino. (Commence confusion with Dirty Habit in 3, 2, 1…)

As reported on tablehopper last year, the larger space has a full bar, extensive wine list (with many wines available by the glass due to their Coravin system), beer brewed on-site, and food from chef Jarad Gallagher. Gallagher, who previously received a Michelin star during his tenure at Chez TJ, has crated a menu focused on “primal” dining, meaning large cuts of meats cooked over open flame and intended for sharing, served family-style, along with individual-sized portions; check out the menu here. Bone broth, check.

The cocktails are from Zachary Taylor, previously of Ziryab, and they’re trying to make sure there’s something for everyone. Cocktails include the 140 Characters (get it?) with Zu vodka, Ancho Reyes, lime, and egg white, or the King of the Carrot Flowers, with Hendrick’s gin, carrot, ginger, verjus, dry vermouth, kummel, and absinthe. There are more than 52 beers on tap, including Chimay red, white, and blue, and three beers brewed on-site. As for the wine, there are more than 100 options available by the glass. Because they’re using the Coravin system, they’re able to pour that many selections without worrying about bottles deteriorating.

The industrial space was designed by Arcsine, and it’s decidedly masculine, with 1970s-style amber glass, leather couches and banquettes, and lots of wood. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 10am-10pm. 1355 Market St. at 9th St., 415-792-5108.


The interior of The Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland ©

By Dana Eastland. As reported on tablehopper earlier this month, the former Local’s Corner space in the Mission is now home to ~THE SPICE JAR~. Owner Ryuichi Hamada has made some updates to the corner space, including adding a hood to the small kitchen so that they can use a stove and oven. It’s still comfortable and close, with the same open kitchen, counter, and furniture. They’ve added some cute crafty touches, like a light fixture made with a manzanita branch, pipe shelving, and live plants on the tables.

Hamada calls the food home-style pan-Asian comfort food, and it definitely reads as a trip across Asia via California. The menu starts with a selection of small bites, including edamame hummus served with crackers and vegetables, six-hour braised spareribs served with steamed bao and pickles, and albacore carpaccio. There is a seafood cast-iron “fondue” on the menu, made by cooking shrimp, calamari, and funky Thai shrimp paste in olive oil, and then serving it with toasted bread cubes for dipping. A small selection of salads includes a spicy calamari salad with red curry vinaigrette and vermicelli. Multiple Asian countries are represented in the noodle and rice section, like a tonkotsu-shoyu ramen with pork broth and short rib in place of chashu. There is also laksa and fried rice with roasted garlic, spinach, and egg. Though it all sounds a little fusion-y, Hamada isn’t trying too hard—it’s more like he’s being eclectic and creative without feeling especially bound by traditional preparations.

There are four beers on tap, including Lagunitas IPA, Kirin Ichiban, and Magnolia pale ale. Bottle selections range from a one-liter can of Asahi Super Dry to Hitachino Nest white ale to local Anchor Steam. There are three white wines and three reds, all available by the glass, carafe, or bottle, and nine sakes. They’ve even got a jalapeño-infused plum wine they are serving over ice with a splash of soda, kind of like a Japanese aperitivo.

The Spice Jar opens today, Tuesday June 30th. Hours are Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm. For the first few weeks, they may adjust the hours a bit, so it’s not a bad idea to call ahead and make sure they are there. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.


Isabel Caudillo of El Buen Comer. Photo by Kassie Borreson/Haus Fotografie.


Plates of Caudillo’s food at a recent test dinner. Photo by Kassie Borreson/Haus Fotografie.

It’s always thrilling to hear when one of La Cocina’s alums is opening their own place, and the latest is Isabel Caudillo, who will be opening her own brick-and-mortar restaurant. It’s called ~EL BUEN COMER~, just like her catering business and Noe Valley farmers’ market stall. It will be located on Mission Street in Bernal.

Caudillo has been a permanent fixture at the Noe Valley farmers’ market for years, serving cuisine inspired by her upbringing in Mexico City. She’s been offering guisados del día, or daily specials, alongside her street food-style snacks and breakfast items. Her tostadas de tinga are a particular favorite, and her chilaquiles are very popular. She is also currently producing all the breadsticks for the Delfina Restaurant Group and runs a catering business with her husband, Juan Carlos Caudillo.

The backstory is very much “all in the family”: Isabel discovered La Cocina through Verónica Salazar, chef-owner of El Huarache Loco in Larkspur. It ends up Isabel babysat Verónica’s kids while she was running an informal restaurant out of her Mission living room—when she saw Verónica appear on Univision to talk about her business, she was inspired to join La Cocina as well.

As for the new restaurant, it will be open for lunch and dinner and should be up and running in October. The space was previously an office, so it will take some work to convert it to a functional cooking space. Debra Resnik, who previously worked on developing the 331 Cortland marketplace, is helping with the buildout. Caudillo has been trying out new dishes at the farmers’ market to feature on the menu, including a mole verde de pato over beans and rice, and enchiladas verdes, hand-rolled using her housemade tortillas. Her tamales, braised meats in housemade sauces, and tostadas with seasonal toppings are also a highlight.

If you just can’t wait until October (we understand) to get your fill of Isabel Caudillo’s wonderful food, consider booking one of her EatWith dinners. There are a few spots left for one tonight, and the next one is on Tuesday July 7th, with more planned in the coming months. She’ll also be running some crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo and Credibles, which we’ll be sure to update you on. Congratulations, Isabel, and we can’t wait to see your new place! 3435 Mission St. at Kingston (near 30th St.).


The future home of Gardenias. Photo: ©

Curious what’s in store at the upcoming ~GARDENIAS~? This new Lower Pac Heights restaurant from Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino (previously Woodward’s Garden) in the former Roostertail space is due to open in mid-July, and here’s a little more about their plans. Dinner will be served six nights a week, and weekend brunch (and possibly even lunch!) will follow later on. For those of you who enjoyed some of their past special events, with talent like Rebecca Solnit and Cheryl Strayed, those kinds of special evenings will continue!

While the ladies adore and pay homage to seasonal California produce, they are also going to be putting that mega rotisserie to work, with birds, pork, fish, and even whole herb-stuffed goat and lamb—all served with meze-style side dishes. They are going to be offering small plates as well as traditional entrées, so you can come by for a casual bite or a full sit-down experience. Now that they have more space, they’ll be doing wines on tap and plan to work with wineries to make their own Gardenias blends. Just imagine yourself on the back patio, enjoying a glass of rosé and some seasonal dishes….yup, it’s where you’ll want to be. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear a firm opening date. 1963 Sutter St. at Fillmore.


Master cicerone Nicole Erny. Photo by Jon Weber.

Here’s a quick update on ~SESSIONS~ in the Presidio, the beer-focused restaurant we told you about in February. Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant are the owners, and they’ve brought on master cicerone Nicole Erny to select the beer. Erny is one of only nine master cicerones in the world (she was the fourth person to receive the certification) and the first woman. She has previously worked at The Trappist in Oakland and as a consultant to various bars and restaurants.

Erny will have 24 taps to play with, offering a rotating selection of beers, along with some ciders. In addition, there will be a signification bottle list with an emphasis on larger-format bottles designed for sharing among groups. As for the opening, construction has hit some snags, and they are currently targeting August. 1 Letterman Dr. at Lombard.

Coming to SoMa is ~METHOD BREWING~, also targeting an August opening. Hoodline shares a bunch of details about this new project, a restaurant and brewery from Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant, which has partnered with “two neuroscientists and two software engineers who say they’re creating ‘beer made with science.’ ” Look for a range of ever-changing and really experimental brews, about six to eight at a time (like a 51 percent oat stout with Vietnamese coffee, yes!). The two-level space has been vacant for some time and is going to feature room for 50 on each floor, plus a sunny roof deck and beer garden with room for 30. A full kitchen will be serving food daily, with brunch on the weekend. We’ll keep you posted. 326 1st St. at Folsom.

According to some ABC license activity, there is a taker for the vacant Abbot’s Cellar space on Valencia: ~BRASSERIE SAINT JAMES~, which is potentially an expansion of the brewery and brasserie based out of Reno, Nevada. We have reached out a couple of times but have heard no reply (yet), so file this news tidbit under “developing.” 742 Valencia St. at 18th St.


The future home of Fine & Rare. Photo courtesy of Fine & Rare.

Scott Peterson and Ted Wilson of ~FINE & RARE~ are opening their very own brick-and-mortar location in July. Scoop caught the news and notes that the space they are moving into is actually the home of the former Stars (and Maestro). As you may recall, Empire Room took over the building’s bar space, and now Fine & Rare is moving into the adjoining café/kitchen location.

The café seats 35 and will serve sandwiches, salads, and soups in a casual setting. You’ll order at the counter, and can then take your food to go or sit in the dining room. As has been the case at their stall in The Hall and their Off the Grid appearances, all ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. On the menu, look for the wild king salmon pastrami Reuben, as well as a “San Francisco cheesesteak” with grass-fed bavette steak, Fiscalini cheddar, and chimichurri sauce. The plan is to open on Wednesday July 15th, and hours will be lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and dinner Mon-Fri 5pm-9pm. After 9pm, patrons at The Empire Room will be able to order a selection of small bites too. Their Off the Grid appearances will continue. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

As reported on tablehopper earlier this month, Michael Mina took over the Café Claude Marina space with plans to turn it into a sort of incubator concept. Well, details have emerged: it’s called ~MINA TEST KITCHEN~ and will serve as a place for Mina Group chefs to experiment with new techniques and explore cooking styles from around the world. The first pop-up dinners have been announced, from Mina himself and chef Adam Sobel.

The series is called Middle’terrenea and is all about the food Mina (who was born in Egypt) and Sobel (who is half Israeli) grew up eating. The multicourse dinners will be served family-style Wednesday through Saturday, beginning Thursday July 23rd. Tickets are $45 per person, and optional beverage pairings will be available. For updates on when tickets become available and more, follow along on Twitter or join the mailing list here. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.


The façade of Galette 88. Photo: ©

One of the Financial District’s tastier deals, ~GALETTE 88~, is sadly going to be making its last lumberjack galette when it closes in September. I connected with partner Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine), who confirmed the sale and said, “It was a really hard decision. We have awesome regulars and a great crew, but we (my business partner and I) are spread too thin!” Owners Rooney and Céline Guillou are waiting for the liquor license to transfer in September, so it’s business as usual for now. The space is still available for private events in the evenings, by the way.

They are selling to David Kurtz, who will be opening a project named ~HOMAGE~. Kurtz was the opening chef at Maven and has an extensive background in both the front and back of house. While he can’t comment on anything at the moment, we’ll let you know when he can! 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny.


The awesome meat case at 4505 Meats Butcher Shop. Photo from Facebook.


A famous Giordano’s all-in-one sandwich (photo via their website).

Here’s some bummer news: ~4505 MEATS~ butcher shop in the Mission is closing. According to Scoop, owner-butcher Ryan Farr says they ran into some issues with their commissary kitchen, which the shop needs in order to function. Fortunately, the shop will remain open until July 26th, so you’ll still be able to get your Independence Day cookout meats there, and then some.

The silver lining is that another quality butcher shop is moving in, from Belcampo Meat Co. Belcampo, which has three other locations throughout the Bay Area, will keep this one to just retail sales (no restaurant) and plans to make minimal changes to the space. They’ll reopen the doors August 1st. And of course, you’ll still be able to get your fill of 4505 goodness at their Divisadero restaurant, and the retail hot dogs and chicharrones will continue to be available throughout the Bay Area. 1909 Mission St. at 15th St., 415-525-4239.

According to Scoop, the North Beach location of Pittsburgh-style deli ~GIORDANO BROS.~ is serving their last all-in-one sandwich and closing today, June 30th. Reportedly, they lost their lease and decided to focus on their larger location in the Mission. The hope is to reopen a second location elsewhere eventually. 303 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-397-2767.


You’ll just have to wait to get your hands on the Italians salumi platter at La Nebbia. Photo:

Financial District workers, there’s a new salad bar in the Rincon Center called ~THE SALAD SPOT~. The grand opening was last week, and they are now offering a buffet with not just an extensive salad bar but also housemade soups, hot entrées, and prepared salads for those in a rush. Everything is $7.50 per pound. 121 Spear St. in the Rincon Center at Howard, 415-926-5678.

While you are enjoying summer, the fine folks at ~LA CICCIA~ and ~LA NEBBIA~ will be enjoying theirs too. From now until Wednesday July 22nd, both locations will be closed for summer vacation. They’ll reopen Thursday July 23rd for business as usual.


The fried chicken with coleslaw and biscuits from BDK. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

~BDK~ in Union Square is now open for weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 2pm. The menu is classic American, with French toast, pancakes, eggs Benedict, omelets, and fried chicken with coleslaw and biscuits. There are also some fun twists on the basics, like ham and Brie “pop tarts.” Check out the full menu here. The bar opens at 10am, and there is a selection of brunch cocktails too. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

From now until August 31st you can check out a new Ling Ling menu at the bar at ~HAKKASAN~. What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s basically a happy hour menu celebrating the restaurant group’s newest property on Mykonos, called Ling Ling. You can only get it at the bar from 5pm to 6pm daily, but it’s a pretty sweet deal: for $45 per person you choose between two menus, meat and seafood, or fish and seafood.

The meat and seafood menu includes the hopper-approved crispy duck salad with pomegranate, smoked short rib, stir-fry scallop with XO sauce, and spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond. On the fish and seafood menu, you’ll find crispy pumpkin salad with mountain yam, grilled sea bass with Chinese honey, steamed Chinese chive dumpling, and stir-fry asparagus with lotus root. Both menus include a selection of macarons and a sample of the Ling Ling Collins, a new signature cocktail that will be served in the Mykonos location.


Chef and author Joyce Goldstein. Photo via Perbacco.

Author, chef, and fantastic human being Joyce Goldstein is turning 80, and her many colleagues from Square One and beyond are getting together to throw her a truly memorable party. On Sunday July 26th, ~PERBACCO~ will be hosting the evening, with chefs Anthony Strong (Delfina, Locanda), Staffan Terje (Perbacco, barbacco), Wendy Brucker (Rivoli), Mourad Lahlou (Mourad, Aziza), Gary Woo, Gerald Gass (McEvoy Ranch), Barbara Haimes, Derek Burns (Surf Spot), Eskender Aseged (Radio Africa Kitchen), Jennifer Millar (Sweet Adeline Bakery), and Amaryll Schwertner (Boulettes Larder, Boulibar). That’s a pretty amazing list of people that have been touched by this truly remarkable woman.

They’ll be preparing five courses inspired by her long career, including aushak, a Middle Eastern ravioli with ricotta and leeks, served in two different sauces, as well as a Moroccan fish dish in chermoula with couscous. Wine pairings will be selected by master sommeliers Evan Goldstein and Peter Granoff too. The dinner begins at 6pm and tickets are $250 each, all-inclusive.

Proceeds benefit Support for Families of Children with Disabilities, an organization that has been of great assistance to Joyce’s grandson, Antonio. Only four tickets were left at publication time, so don’t miss your opportunity to celebrate this wonderful woman.


Oysters on the half shell and seafood at Gaspar Brasserie. Photo courtesy of Gaspar Brasserie.

It’s time to storm ~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ for Bastille Day on Tuesday July 14th. Chef Hubert Keller will be in attendance, preparing a très French five-course dinner (with California influence, of course) with chef Chris Jones. The evening begins at 6pm with a reception where you’ll be served Veuve Clicquot Champagne and oysters on the half shell, followed by a sit-down meal. Dishes include Niçoise olive-crusted king salmon and braised Wagyu beef cheeks with lemongrass and ginger. You can check out the menu here.

After dinner is over, you’re invited to the after-party at Hawthorn, where Keller will DJ an evening of dancing and celebration. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires, as well. Tickets are $225 per person and include all food, French wine pairings, gratuity, and the after-party.


Photo from Sushi Ran.


Village Sake exterior; photo via Instagram (@villagesake).

A big change over at ~SUSHI RAN~: executive chef Scott Whitman has departed after 15 years and is opening his own izakaya in Fairfax. The team at Sushi Ran says, “We greatly appreciate all Scott’s contributions over his long tenure at Sushi Ran. He will be missed, but we enthusiastically support Scott in pursuing his dreams and wish him tremendous success.” No word yet about a replacement for him.

We tried to reach Whitman to find out more details on the project, but didn’t hear back. We did, however, find this Kickstarter about the project, Village Sake, which mentions he is partnering with local firefighter Scott Porter; additional team members are Darrin Sander of Eat Drink Works for operations and sous chef Rogelio Newcomb (Sushi Ran and Morimoto Napa). Jim Maxwell of Architects II will be creating a “relaxed but refined atmosphere” for the historic location. They hope to open in August; you can follow their progress on Facebook. 19 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax.

Meanwhile, Sushi Ran’s executive sushi chef Takatoshi Toshi won the Global Sushi Challenge championship in Chicago last month and will represent the U.S. at the world sushi competition in Tokyo in November. The national champions from Japan and 13 other countries will vie for the Global Sushi Challenge world championship. With Sushi Ran approaching its 30th anniversary in 2016, this could be an extra-special win. 107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, 415-332-3620.


A chicken plate and appetizer at Mistura. Photo from Facebook.

Remember back in 2012, after the SF Underground Market was shut down, Iso Rabins launched all those fundraising campaigns for his next venture? Well, there’s finally an update from East Bay Express on where the project will be reemerging. It’s headed to a warehouse in Uptown Oakland, and will be called ~FORAGE KITCHEN~. It will be similar to other incubator/commissary kitchen hybrids, but Rabins has also borrowed some ideas from “co-working spaces.” The word maker is being used a lot, for starters, but it goes beyond that. Would-be chefs can join for a monthly fee, and Rabins also hopes to bring people in for workshops, like an “Ask a Lawyer” night where people can ask for legal advice and share the cost. He is partnering with his cousin, Matt Johansen (one of the founders of Biergarten), and the plan is to open in September—we will of course let you know when things are close. 478 25th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.

East Bay Express reports that a new Peruvian restaurant has opened in Oakland, called ~MISTURA~. Owner Daniel Luna is an Oakland native of Peruvian heritage and is serving a small, tight menu with a couple of potato appetizers and salads, plus lomo saltado and rotisserie chicken. Hours are lunch Sun-Fri 11am-2:30pm, dinner daily 5pm-9pm. 3858 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-652-1439.

As part of their summer series highlighting the regional cuisine of Mexico, ~DOÑA TOMÁS~ is serving a special dinner inspired by Mexico City on Wednesday July 1st. The dinner consists of three small courses, followed by a main dish and dessert. The menu includes ancho chile stuffed with seared foie gras, and mole madre in the style of Pujol. Dinner is $55 per person including food; an optional drink pairing will also be available. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-450-0522.

June 23, 2015

The bar at Cafe du Nord. All photos courtesy of Cafe du Nord.


The bar.


The stairs to the bar.


Seating and the smaller bar in the Viking Room.


A live band plays at Cafe du Nord’s opening party.

We finally got some images, so let’s take a look at the newly reopened ~CAFE DU NORD~, whose building dates back to 1907. To recap, The Bon Vivants and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (flour + water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and Aatxe) are behind the project, and while it isn’t the live music venue it used to be, there will still be some live performances (more on that in a minute). The team also really wanted to honor the long legacy of the iconic space, which was designated a San Francisco Historic Landmark in 2015.

The design of the subterranean space is now more Deco than Victorian bordello—Ne Timeas partner David White drew design inspiration from the Cafe du Nord of the 1930s and ’40s (you’ll note wood wainscoting, vintage wallpaper, Deco light fixtures, and more).

There are two rooms: first, the bar, with 20 stools and an area with café tables (also room for 20). Farther back into the 4,500-square-foot space is the Viking Room, with a 5-seat bar, 30 seats for guests seeking a full-service dining experience (you can make reservations), and a stage for musical acts, which will highlight local artists nightly. Look for jazz, blues, and cocktail piano—so, no more punk, sorry. As a reminder, Noise Pop Concerts is behind all the music performances in the Swedish American Hall, which is just upstairs.

Chef and partner Thomas McNaughton’s menu (view it in its entirety here) is a salute to classic American dishes, so you’ll find raw oysters (which are just $1 after midnight, to go with the Champagne, you see), broiled oysters Kilpatrick (with bacon and Parmesan), shrimp cocktail, beef tartare, cioppino, chicken al mattone, and a rib-eye steak. And, naturally, a burger. There are also some bar snacks, although you can order off the entire menu throughout the bar area.

The Bon Vivants definitely gave the cocktail list an upgrade, highlighting spins on drinks from the past century, but with new ingredients. The list (all drinks are $12) includes the Södermalm (Rittenhouse rye, Punt e Mes vermouth, Cherry Heering, and Cafe du Nord Fika bitters), the Martini du Nord (Ford’s gin and oyster shell-infused Noilly Prat vermouth), the Golden Era (George Dickel rye, maple sugar, and fig leaf bitters), and the Diggers (Tequila Ocho plata, Chablis, peach, zaatar, and lime). See, it helps to know your SF history to understand the names of a few of them. Look for a long list of Scotch and American whiskey too.

Ne Timeas Restaurant Group wine directors Geno Tomko and Samuel Bogue are behind the wine list, with a special focus on Champagne and the wines found throughout that region, ranging from Grande Marques houses to small grower-producers. Best of all: all bottles of Champagne will be half-price after midnight, seven days a week. I KNOW. So let’s say cheers to what sounds and looks like a thoughtful renovation and upgrade to a beautiful and beloved venue.

Open nightly 5pm-2am. Food served until 1:30am. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2969.


The Ghirardelli Square Apartment House, where Le Marais Bistro & Bakery will be opening its new location. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.

Some exciting new tenants are coming to Ghirardelli Square (now owned by Jamestown, a real estate investment trust), including a project from chef Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto in NYC) and a second location of Le Marais Bistro & Bakery. Waxman’s project is a homecoming of sorts—he was born in Berkeley and, like a good Berkeley-born chef, has culinary roots at Chez Panisse. He will be opening a sit-down brasserie and a fast-casual café (currently unnamed) in the Square’s Mustard Building in the Upper Plaza, dating back to 1899, serving his seasonal and Italian-inflected cuisine (let’s not forget where Domingo Ghirardelli came from). The Chronicle mentions the opening is slated for the fall.

Meanwhile, Ghirardelli Square’s Apartment House will be the home of Le Marais Bistro & Bakery, which will have 116 seats in this two-level location. Husband and wife Patrick and Joanna Ascaso will be serving their artisan-made breads and exquisite array of viennoiserie (croissants, pains au chocolat, carrés, and Danishes), as well as pâtisserie selections (tarts, macarons, choux, and entremets). There will also be a bistro component, with dishes inspired by the French coastal regions, and cocktails. The historic location, which dates back to 1916, has a fantastic view of the water and Alcatraz, and fortunately there is an outdoor terrace where you can can really take it in. The look will include leather banquettes, classic bistro mirrors, cream-painted cabinetry, and penny tile floors. Look for early 2016 on this one, we’ll keep you updated. 900 North Point St. at Polk.


Fab neon at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo courtesy of Aaron Caddel.


La Boulange West Portal. Photo by David Vegne, courtesy La Boulange.

Last week, our local bakery scene was hit with some pretty crazy news. First up, there was a sad split over at ~MR. HOMES BAKEHOUSE~: pastry savant and co-owner Ry Stephen, the Willy Wonka of all that tasty madness, has departed (via SF Mag). And no one is talking about what happened, but you can bet it’s complicated. Stephen’s (now former) business partner, Aaron Caddel, appears to still be running the ship (Instagram remains full of cruffin pics), and there are plans to expand to Highland Park in Los Angeles in March 2016 (check out the Craigslist ad here).

Stephen is currently in France, baking at Chez Papou, a boulangerie and pâtisserie in Le Lavandou in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France (nope, one of the hardest working bakers I know didn’t even take a break) and will be back in SF in July. I’ll keep you posted on what he’s up to next. You can’t contain his level of creativity and expertise for long.

Badass designer and (also former) co-owner Aron Tzimas—the man behind their insanely cool branding and more—has reportedly left the creative brain trust over there as well, but he’s already cranking on a new and cool project, SF x SF. And the lines outside Mr. Holmes continue to stretch around the corner. 1042 Larkin St. at Sutter.

From the artisanal to the massive: the other wave of news that crashed through the city while we were all busy watching the Warriors win on Tuesday night is that Starbucks is closing all 23 of its ~LA BOULANGE~ bakery cafés by September of this year (and the Evolution Fresh location) after the company “determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth.” Pascal Rigo, creator of La Boulange, sold the company to Starbucks in 2012 for $100 million (in cash!) and was partnering with Starbucks on elevating its food offerings in all its U.S. and Canada locations, offering items under the La Boulange brand.

Rigo has now left the company as well; a press release from Starbucks additionally states, “Now that the rollout of La Boulange products within Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada is complete, Pascal will move on from Starbucks to continue his passion for food in San Francisco while dedicating more time and resources toward his nonprofit ventures in an effort to supply quality food to schools with underprivileged children and bring innovative after-school clinics to help children with learning disabilities.” Go Pascal.

Meanwhile, Starbucks is going to try to place as many employees as possible and help with their transition. And then you have a quote in the Business Times noting that all these prime locations are going to inspire a “feeding frenzy”—although in a piece on SFGate, Rigo alludes to having plans for a few of the locations. We’ll have to see how this all shakes out. (This article in the Business Times says Starbucks made the decision to close the locations after Rigo left.) AdWeek has an article that wonders if Starbucks just did it for the recipes—it’s interesting to think about. (Especially when they experienced a 16 percent jump in food sales in the most recent quarter—imagine how that translates when we’re talking about 12,000 locations.)

Say what you want about the brightly colored spots that were practically in every neighborhood in SF—they did provide a comfortable space to grab a sandwich, enjoy a café au lait, have a meeting, and hang out. There’s even a petition to save them. When the very first Boulange opened on Pine Street, it provided a taste of France that many of us were looking for (which sadly got watered down with each location that opened). I know we all look forward to see what Rigo does next and are wondering what is going to happen to all those locations. Stand by.


A rendering of the upcoming CAW Pacific, courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves.

I know, many folks who live north of Market Street are wondering when the second SF location of ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~ is opening in Russian Hill, and we wanted to provide you with a little update. Permits have been secured and construction is starting, so the latest target is now August 2015.

When it opens, it will be a café and pâtisserie, with a small number of seats available. The space will have a “moodier” design, with a washed granite counter, waxed white-oak wood tables, and a motorcycle parts art installation (vroom!). As far as edibles, the ever-changing menu will include breakfast pastries, confections, confitures, cube cakes, and other desserts, as well as lunch and grab-and-go items. And yes, you’ll be able to get the Rebel Within. We’ll keep you posted. 1643 Pacific Ave. at Polk.


The Cat Zone at KitTea. Photo from Facebook.


A very happy visitor to the Cat Zone at KitTea. Photo from Facebook.

A report by Dana Eastland. Well this is just the most purrrrrfect news (sorry): cat café ~KITTEA~ is opening in Hayes Valley tomorrow, Wednesday June 24th. After successfully crowdfunding the project last year, they’ve finally opened after lots of construction and permitting. The café has partnered with local cat rescue organizations like Give Me Shelter and Wonder Cat to provide the cats that live in the café’s “Cat Zone,” where visitors can visit with cats while enjoying their tea. All the cats are available for adoption through the organizations, and proceeds from the café will go to providing homes for even more cats.

The café has a pretty specific structure: it’s divided into two spaces, the main tearoom, where food and beverages are prepared, and the separate “Cat Zone,” where you can actually hang out with cats. A reservation in the Cat Zone is $25 for an hour and includes a bottomless pot of tea. Reservations for the Cat Zone can be made here. Anyone can come into the main room of the café at any time, but there won’t be any cats roaming there, just to be clear.

As for the tea, it’s all sourced from the same tea farm in Japan, and varieties include a matcha green tea as well as a genmaicha with toasted rice. There is also a food menu with snacks like cheesecakes in flavors including matcha, strawberry, and banana cream pie; macarons; doughnuts; and pastries from Native Baking Company, including the special calico bar. For more answers to questions about the cats, their comfort, and health, check out the FAQ page on KitTea’s website. Hours are daily 11am-8pm, and reservations can be made for the Cat Zone on their website, though please note that due to their insurance policy, no children under 12 can enter the Cat Zone. 98 Gough St. at Page, no phone.


The mega spread at Fogo de Chão in San Jose. Yelp photo by Tammy L.

Brazilian steakhouse ~FOGO DE CHÃO~ is opening a location in San Francisco, Scoop reports (based on some ABC license activity). The international chain appears to be moving into the former Chevys location at Third Street and Howard, making this the first San Francisco location for the group. In the tradition of Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses, diners pay a flat rate for their dinner and then receive all the meat, salad, and side dishes they can manage. The nearest location, in San Jose, offers dinner for $55 per person and lunch for $35. 201 Third St. at Howard.

We previously mentioned that Jason Fox (of Commonwealth) and Timothy Felkner (of Vigilante Hospitality and formerly the general manager at Zero Zero) are planning to open a new restaurant in Mint Plaza later this summer. The name has been revealed: it will be called ~ORO~, named after the gold coins that used to be minted in the building during the Gold Rush.

The casual California-style restaurant will have a menu built around sharing and whole animal butchery, including housemade charcuterie. Some items will be available by the single piece, in the style of oysters, like salt cod croquettes or grilled spot prawns. Smaller shared plates include charcuterie like coppa di testa, and larger dishes are designed for two people, like a grilled rib-eye with smashed potatoes and sprouting broccoli. There will also be the option to order a family-style tasting menu. Fox will be working closely with chef de cuisine Travis Day, formerly of Central Kitchen and Yoshi’s. Randy Mariani, whose previous experience includes Foreign Cinema and Tupper & Reed, will serve as bar manager, while Kelly Evans, who previously worked as head sommelier at Saison, is the wine director. The whole thing is set to open in late summer; we’ll keep you updated. 8 Mint Plaza at 5th St.


Donuts from Pinkie’s Bakery. Photo from Facebook.


Noodle making on an Edible Excursions tour in Japantown. Photo from Facebook.

A couple Bernal-residing (and hawk-eyed) tablehopper readers have written in asking about why “Pinkie’s Bakery” is now showing up on their receipts from Mutsumi Takehara’s ~SANDBOX BAKERY~. We reached out to Cheryl Burr, co-owner of Pinkie’s (with Chris Beerman), who confirmed the news but couldn’t share details at the time.

A post just hit the wires on Bernalwood with the details: Pinkie’s is, in fact, now serving its American/comfort classics in Bernal Heights. In an email, Burr says, “I’d like to bring many of my signature Pinkie’s pastries over to Cortland, and I’m keeping a lot of Mutsumi’s products as well, but many of the Japanese items are gone because I feel like those were really specific to her and her vision of the bakery. We are also bringing in artisan breads, cakes, and a lot of afternoon treats. We do a lot of wholesale bread and are using the kitchen overnight for our production as well. I’m excited to serve the neighborhood and meet all of our neighbors. I have a four-month-old, so I really like the family vibe of Bernal; kid-friendliness and family was a big part of Mutsumi’s bakery and I definitely won’t be changing that as it becomes Pinkie’s Bakery.” 833 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

Culinary tour company Edible Excursions is celebrating 11 years in business, and you can get in on the party with a special discount on all tours this summer. Between now and the end of August 2015, all tours are 30 percent off with discount code CELEBRATE (not including private tours and packages). Current tours include Craft Cocktails, Mission 18th Street, and Japantown Eats and Spa Treats, which includes a massage! There are also East Bay tours available; check them all out here.

Cow Hollow has a new spot for Indian food, called ~LASAN~. It’s from the same team that ran Indian Oven in the Lower Haight, and this time around they are offering an extensive menu of staples. The menu includes a large selection of flatbreads from their tandoor oven and also calls out some of their ingredients, like Mary’s free-range chicken. 3145 Fillmore St. at Pixley, 415-346-4900.

After Guddu de Karahi closed recently, a new restaurant has already moved in. It’s called ~A DESI CAFE~ and is serving Northern Indian food. 1501 Noriega St. at 22nd Ave., 415-759-9088.

Financial District workers now have a new place for lunch. It’s a panini shop called ~PRESSED~, with a menu of sandwiches, salads, and lasagna, plus coffee and breakfast items. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-6pm and Sat 10am-3pm. 3 Embarcadero Center at Sacramento, 2nd floor, 415-781-0302.

~GRUB~ on Valencia has reopened, this time under the same management as Toast. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a menu of American diner-style classics. The breakfast and lunch menu includes omelets, egg combos, Benedicts, and waffles, as well as salads, sandwiches, and burgers. At dinner, look for entrées like fish and chips, Cincinnati-style spaghetti, and meatloaf. Hours are breakfast and lunch daily 7am-4pm, dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 758 Valencia St. at 19th St., 415-431-4782.

And just a small housekeeping note for you: in case I got you fired up to eat at ~CALIFORNIOS~, they will be temporarily closed from June 28th to July 7th. During the break, they are remodeling the bar to allow for a more comfortable dining experience, plus installing carpet to “add another layer of luxury for our guests.” When they reopen, the menu will also be slightly longer and set at a higher price ($97 for the menu and $65 for pairings), but guests will be able to have their tables for the entire night. So get ready to sit back and have a leisurely meal in July.


The “brekkie” sandwich at The Richfield. Photo from Instagram.

According to a small mention in The Chronicle, local coffee roaster ~BLUE BOTTLE~ is going to discontinue their wholesale operations entirely over the coming months. That means no more Blue Bottle beans anywhere other than their own cafés, or from Blue Bottle at Home, their subscription service. The move, apparently, is about being able to control each drink to their very specific standards.

Speaking of Blue Bottle, as reported on tablehopper in March, it appears they might be moving into the former Tully’s space on Fillmore, and a neighborhood tipster says they are going into the neighboring space as well, formerly the home of Juicy News (before it moved). Blue Bottle wouldn’t confirm the news, but James Freeman would say that “Blue Bottle Coffee is pursuing a new café on Jackson and Fillmore streets in San Francisco. There are still many steps that need to take place in order to make it a reality, but we’re very excited about the prospect of joining the community.” So we’ll file that one under “developing.” 2453-2455 Fillmore St. at Jackson.

There is a new café in the Inner Richmond, according to Yelpers. It’s called ~THE RICHFIELD~ and is reportedly a sister café to Snowbird Coffee in the Sunset. In addition to coffee and espresso, they are also serving a limited menu, including Korean fried chicken wings, avocado toast, and a breakfast sandwich with egg, cheddar, bacon, and sauce on King’s Hawaiian toast, called the “brekkie.” 195 5th Ave. at California, no phone.

Darling Castro coffee stop ~CAFE SOPHIE~ has closed temporarily, according to Hoodline. Their building is undergoing a two-month seismic retrofit, but they hope to reopen in two months (sounds a bit TBD). They recently got their beer and wine license, so hopefully they will reopen soon, with more hours and offerings. 3463 16th St. at Sharon, 415-529-2972.


The Dunmore Cobbler cocktail at ABV’s brunch. Photo by Melissa Chow.


Breakfast sandwich at ABV. Photo by Melissa Chow.


Avocado toast at ABV. Photo by Melissa Chow.

Mission bar ~ABV~ is now offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 3pm. They’ve been trying the new menu out, and now it’s ready for some action. Their wild breakfast sandwich deserves some attention, which involves a gougère, breakfast sausage, egg, and cheddar Mornay sauce, mon Dieu. There’s also chicken karaage with cheddar chive biscuits and chicken butter, and their pimento cheeseburger makes an appearance too. Of course there are brunch cocktails, as well as cold-brew coffee and fresh fruit juice. Take a gander at the whole menu here. Note that brunch is served 11am-3pm, so the regular/daytime menu has been pushed back an hour to 3pm—but there’s plenty on the brunch menu to keep you happy.

Chicana-style pop-up ~CHICA~ is popping up at ~CEASE & DESIST~ on Sundays from 10:30am to 4pm. This bottomless brunch is “Chicana style,” which means a blend of Mexican and Californian culinary styles. Think dishes like cochinita pibil hash with fried eggs, or baked eggs over polenta in a smoky tomato sauce with cotija cheese. The menu changes every week, and you can get bottomless mimosas, cocktails, and more to go with your brunch. Register here for drink specials, discounts, and the menu. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St., 415-906-5571.


Pig on the spit at the San Francisco Cheese School. Photo from Facebook.

~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ has been offering their Cheese Makes Me Happy Hour on Wednesdays for a while, and now they are making it all the more happy on the first Wednesday of the month with a special menu. Starting Wednesday July 1st, chef Jocelyn VanLandingham will be roasting a whole pig in their wood-fired hearth oven, along with mac and cheese, salads, biscuits, and other side dishes. Tickets are $45 per person and include your first glass of wine plus the piggy buffet. In August, look for a paella night, and then there will be a wood-fired pizza evening in September. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

Everyone likes burrata, right? Right. But how cool would it be to learn how to make it? Check out this casual burrata-making class and dinner at ~PRECITA PARK CAFE~. It’s on Saturday July 11th and includes a sit-down class on making fresh burrata, interspersed with a three-course dinner with wine pairings. You’ll also get to take your handiwork home with you, score. The class is $75 per person; tickets and menu here. 500 Precita Ave. at Alabama, 415-647-7702.

June 19, 2015

Now that’s a party. A dream box of kouign amann from B. Patisserie to celebrate National Kouign Amann Day. Photo: ©


The killer porchetta at B. on the Go. Photo: ©


The two Not for Sale beers from Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. Photo via Facebook.


The social scene at the Masak | Masak pop-up at Biondivino. Photo: ©


Nasi ulam at the Masak | Masak pop-up at Biondivino. Photo: ©


Paula Wolfert shopping in Marrakech, 1973. Archival image by William Bayer.


Paula Wolfert and Emily Kaiser Thelin. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

Did you know that Saturday June 20th is the very first National Kouign Amann Day? You can thank local pastry wunderkind Belinda Leong and ~B. PATISSERIE~ for making that happen. So how to celebrate the glorious butter cake from Brittany? Well, Belinda and crew are unleashing a massive array of flavors that you can try on Saturday: black sesame, vanilla bean, pistachio strawberry, chocolate hazelnut, speculoos cookie, coffee, maple bacon, peanut butter and jelly, cinnamon sugar, and a really decadent one with lemon lime custard in the middle. There is also the classic one, a spiral one, and kouignettes. Oh yeah, and kouign amann ice cream.

You can get the entire box of 12 flavors for $56 (make sure you have some friends to share with, okay?) or you can buy them piecemeal. I was really damn lucky to preview the flavors (I know, I know), and my favorites were the black sesame, coffee, and the maple bacon for breakfast was downright amazing. Go nuts, because 10 percent of all proceeds will be donated to Family House San Francisco. It’s a TKO with the KA! And don’t forget to tag #NationalKouignAmannDay.

Also in Belinda news: the plan is to open ~B. ON THE GO~ tomorrow as well (Saturday June 20th). You can read the earlier tablehopper piece here. So here’s your plan of attack: pick up a porchetta sandwich at B. on the Go, and then get your KA kitty-corner at B. Patisserie! Hours at B. on the Go will be Tue-Sun 11am-4pm. 2794 California St. at Divisadero.

Here are two beers you’ll want to track down for your next picnic or party: the Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. has partnered with San Francisco-based nonprofit Not For Sale on two beers, with proceeds going toward curbing human trafficking worldwide.

They just released the Not For Sale Saison (trust, you want this farmhouse ale in your life), which the press release tells us “is made using a Peruvian herb called cat’s claw, which is ethically sourced from a region in Peru where Not For Sale manages social programs to combat human trafficking, as well as honey, ginger, a Belgian saison yeast, and hibiscus flowers, which give the beer its peach color.” It’s a beaut.

And then for dessert, the Calf-eine Coffee Milk Stout, brewed with 15 gallons of Guatemalan medium-roast cold-brew coffee supplied by Dignitá, a coffee bar in the Dogpatch. The Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. is donating $25,000 per year until Saison and Calf-eine sales exceed $1 million, then 2.5 percent of its gross sales after that. You can find them at the brewery, select bars around the Bay Area, and in 22-oz. bottles at many retail locations—keep your eyes peeled.

And one more thing to note: Not For Sale has launched a new “Throwdown” campaign, which fights human trafficking with the help of local CEOs and professional athletes who donate a day’s pay to the nonprofit “so that others may become free for a lifetime.” San Francisco Giants relief pitcher, Jeremy Affeldt, is one. But really, anyone can donate a day’s pay. Check it out.

If you love wine and culinary adventuring (and I think you do, because you read tablehopper), you should mark off an upcoming Wednesday night on your calendar and attend the Masak | Masak pop-up at ~BIONDIVINO~. A few weeks ago, I was so utterly charmed by the eclectic vibe and communal experience. As soon as you walk in, you are greeted with a warm and friendly atmosphere, with people sitting at the little café tables inside and crowding around the communal table, talking and eating and laughing over glasses of wine. I immediately felt like I had walked into such a great discovery—it had the feeling of some of my favorite European cafés and wine bars.

The details: every Wednesday evening, Kuala Lumpur-born Emily Lai (she used to work in New York at Fatty Crab and Tailor) serves a short and rotating menu of her heartfelt and homey Malaysian dishes. On the night I was there with friends, we shared curry yong tau foo (tofu puffs, shrimp, long bean, chile, scallion, coconut, mantou), chawan mushi, my favorite dish of the night, the fragrant and vibrant nasi ulam (rice, kaffir, shallot, myoga, betel leaf, Vietnamese coriander, mint, okra, shrimp, sambal belacan), plus bebek bengil (duck leg, ginger, galangal, turmeric, rice, sambal matah) and ice cream pudding with pandan for dessert. It’s remarkable how much work she does ahead of time to make these dishes, and what she does with the tiny counter space at Biondivino.

Ceri will brilliantly pair wines with your meal, and if you don’t have time to hang out, you can bring to-go containers and bring the goodies home with you. (But really, you should hang out.) Subscribe to the Biondivino mailing list to keep up on upcoming menus (and Emily’s occasional nights off). 5pm-10pm. 1415 Green St. at Polk.

And last, but certainly not least: anyone who loves to cook Mediterranean dishes (and is drawn to the flavors of Morocco) probably has a book from cookbook author Paula Wolfert on their shelves. Three years ago, this fiery and trailblazing woman was sadly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and she is now known for being as much of an Alzheimer’s activist as an author. And now, some well-respected folks in our food community want to publish a biographical cookbook on Paula Wolfert through crowdfunding: Unforgettable: Bold Flavors from Paula Wolfert’s Renegade Life

Please, take a couple of minutes to read this page about Paula, the book, the mission, the players, and the plan, which is aiming to double the print run of this small-batch publishing book. It’s incredible to see how food writer Emily Kaiser Thelin, cookbook author Andrea Nguyen, photographer Eric Wolfinger, and Toni Tajima (former designer at Ten Speed) banded together to honor Paula’s legacy with this project. 

All kinds of folks have backed it, from followers, friends, and colleagues to Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee, and Dorie Greenspan. There are also chef and restaurant pledge premiums from people like Daniel Patterson, David Kinch, Mario Batali, April Bloomfield, and Pim Techamuanvivit. Buy one for yourself (just $35) and buy one for your favorite cook in your life (just $65 for two), but be sure to look at all the amazing benefits and gifts. Thank you for showing this campaign your support!

June 16, 2015

The bar at Myriad Gastro Pub. Photo: Dana Eastland ©


Banquettes in the dining room. Photo: Dana Eastland ©


Mirrors and seating in the dining room. Photo: Dana Eastland ©


Seating in the dining room. Photo: Dana Eastland ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, Trish Tracey of Ramblas and Thirsty Bear has taken over the former Nombe location on Mission Street with her very own project, ~MYRIAD GASTRO PUB~. It’s opening on Wednesday June 17th, serving internationally-inspired pub food. Tracey is all about warm hospitality and wants the menu to be interesting but approachable, so that everyone feels welcome and like they’ll find something to enjoy.

The space, which you may remember from the Nombe days, is made up of two long, narrow rooms, with a bar area on one side and a dining room on the other. The marble bar seats eight, and the bar area also offers tall bistro seating. In the front, burnt orange banquettes line the wall, and a booth for larger groups is tucked into an alcove of windows in front. Tracey worked with designer Jim Maxwell of Architects II (One Market, Gather, Lungomare, Tribune Tavern) on the space, and again the goal was to make it feel inviting, with a bit of an industrial eclectic style. The bar has some warm wood accents, and the kitchen is framed in a rich, moss green tile. The dining room space, on the other side, also has banquettes and a wall lined in a rich brown and floral wallpaper. There is an alcove booth on that side as well.

Tracey is serving as the executive chef, and the menu is full of fun global influences as well as classic American comfort food. The menu is divided into snacks, small plates, and large plates, for bar grazing or full meals. Snacks include deviled eggs with salsa verde, breakfast radish, and crispy shallot ($2 each), or housemade spiced potato chips ($5). Small plates include a BLT tomato soup served with bacon, croutons, herb aioli, and baby arugula ($8), a classic wedge salad ($9), or bone marrow with sherry demiglace, gremolata, and crostini ($11). As for larger dishes, any self-respecting gastropub needs a burger, and they’ve got one of grass-fed beef with Vella jack cheese on a brioche bun and fries ($15). There is also a roasted lamb sandwich ($14) and cochinita pibil pork stew with sour orange, red onion, and green chile tortillas ($19). You can take a peek at the full menu here.

As for the bar offerings, there is a selection of low-proof cocktails using sherry, beer, soju, and other spirits. Again, there’s a little something for everyone, like the light Cubano of Ron Copa Rica, lime, soda, and berries ($11) or the funkier Wayfarer with Cardamaro, amontillado sherry, Commandaria, and bitters ($12). The wine list is international, and includes five bubbly options by the bottle and three available by the glass, as well as a rosé and 15 each of reds and whites by the bottle and seven by the glass. There are six beers on tap, including Sculpin IPA, Drake’s Blonde Ale, and Anchor Flying Cloud Stout, and eight by the bottle. Check out the full drink list right here.

Myriad’s hours are Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Weekend brunch will be added in July. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-525-4335.


Demolition is definitely under way for the upcoming location for Starboard SF. Photo via Facebook.

One of our city’s top cocktail slingers, Daniel Hyatt, is finally going to be running his own show at ~STARBOARD SF~. The space was previously a taqueria, Doña Mago, and is just next door to the bar and club Slate, where Hyatt has been working during the past year (he was especially known for his years behind the stick at The Alembic).

Hyatt is partnering with Patty West (owner of Slate Bar) and Suzanne Ray (who used to bartend at The Alembic) on the project, which will be a 49-seat hofbrau, serving a variety of meats, like open-faced turkey sandwiches, French dips, and meaty plates with a variety of sides. It will be similar in format to Tommy’s, but with a bit of a NorCal spin on the ingredients and sourcing. As Hyatt puts it, “It’ll be upscaley but punk rock too.” (Don’t expect things to be too spendy or precious—he wants people to be fed and feel taken care of.)

There will also be special dishes available each night of the week, and “big and friendly” dishes like cassoulet will make appearances at Sunday suppers. Takeout and a late-night menu (like until 3am Thu-Sat) will be available too.

While Starboard will just have a beer and wine license, Hyatt is excited to have a very rosé-centric list, with lots of sparklers (sounds right up my alley) and quality beer too. They are planning to have a window between Slate and Starboard, so they can serve food in the bar in case you really want to get your drink on. Hyatt has been making his mark on the cocktails at Slate (quality drinks that can be executed quickly), and they are tweaking the format as well: it will be less clubby, and moving to in-house DJs and some soul in time (and private events). It’ll be a more comfortable space to hang out in, but still a bit edgy.

Back to Starboard: Hyatt is lining up a consulting chef of note (he can’t reveal who it is just yet) and is considering formatting the staff into an all-kitchen crew who will rotate as servers, kind of like Nojo and Schwa in Chicago (he wants everyone to get paid, and it will help to build a familial vibe).

Timing is looking like late July or early August. We’ll keep you posted on more details as things take shape. 2919 16th St. at S. Van Ness.


The sushi counter at Omakase. Photo from Facebook.


One of the dishes at Omakase. Photo courtesy of Omakase.


Another dish from Omakase. Photo courtesy of Omakase.

A new sushi restaurant has opened in SoMa, called ~OMAKASE~. Unsurprisingly, given the name, they are serving omakase-style (chef’s choice) menus exclusively. There is no menu per se, but guests can select the $100, $150, or $200 option, and will be served a corresponding amount of food.

The owner is restaurateur Kash Feng of Live Sushi Bar, Live Sushi Bistro, and Origami Market Restaurant, and he’s brought on sushi chef Jackson Yu to run the kitchen. Yu’s previous experience includes Ukai in Japan, as well as Ebisu and Live Sushi here in San Francisco. Ingi Son of Masa and Morimoto Napa has also been brought on board, and Hoodline reported that Masaki Sasaki (previously of Maruya) is the consulting chef.

The experience is intended to feel luxurious and elegant, with many thoughtful details. Diners are offered glasses of Krug Champagne when they arrive (sounds like someone must have visited Jiro SF), and many of the plates and serving dishes are either Japanese antiques or handmade by potters in Japan. Both sake and wine are available.

As for the food, the menu will change constantly, but many of the ingredients are being flown in from Japan, including fish from Tsukiji Fish Market. The minimalist space seats only 14. The sushi counter is made of yellow cedar, and there are also Douglas fir cabinets and bamboo details throughout.

Omakase is open for dinner Mon-Sat 5pm-9pm; reservations are strongly recommended. 665 Townsend St. at 8th St., 415-865-0633.


Chef Yoni Levy. Photo by Tienlon Ho.


The dining room at Aveline. Photo: Wes Rowe.

We have quite a number of chef shuffles to report on this week, starting with the news that Yoni Levy, most recently at Alta CA, is now leading the kitchen at ~OUTERLANDS~. Eater reports he will be adding some dishes over the coming weeks; Brooke Mosley will continue to rock breakfast, bread, and pastry there.

Yet another executive chef has been named at ~AVELINE~: the original pastry chef, Kaley Laird, is now taking the helm. The menu will be flexible so that dishes can be “allergen-free,” as the press release is phrasing it (many items can easily be prepared so that they’re gluten-free and dairy-free). You can look at her menu here. Sunday brunch will be served as well. Also on board is new GM and beverage director Sarah Knoefler, previously from the Au Bon Repas Restaurant Group (Café Claude, Claudine, Gaspar, and Gitane) and Dosa on Fillmore. 490 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-345-2303.

~HECHO~ has a new chef, Cory Armenta, previously of Fork & Spoon Productions event catering. His new menu has some classics, like pozole and four kinds of quesadillas, and will still reflect local, seasonal ingredients. And then there are nachos a la plancha, tossed in queso, topped with four cheeses, pinto beans, pickled jalapeños, coriander-lime crema, and cilantro (with optional carnitas or carne asada), oh yeah. Weekend brunch has been amped up with double the dishes, and the new 5-6-7 Happy Hour means you can some by Mon-Fri from 5pm-7pm for $5 big Corona beers, $6 quesadillas de queso, and $7 Hecho classico margaritas. 2200 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-926-5630.


Jesse Koide of Pink Zebra is galloping on. Photo via @pinkzebrasf on Instagram.

Some closures to report on, starting with the end of ~PINK ZEBRA~ at Tao Yin. Scoop reports they are only open Thu-Sat from now until their last night, Saturday June 27th. They’re going to look for another location, and in the meantime will be popping up at Namu Gaji on Monday July 13th and 20th. Follow them on their social media channels for updates.

This is going to be a spoonful of unhappiness for some people: we noticed an unexpected ABC license transfer happening at ~KOO~ in the Inner Sunset, and it appears owner and sushi chef Kiyoshi Hayakawa is selling the business after being there for 10-plus years. We’ll let you know when we hear back about what exactly is going on. 408 Irving St. at 6th Ave., 415-731-7077.

After six years of making some wicked Scotch eggs (and wings!) in the Financial District, ~WEXLER’S~ is closing after their last service on Friday June 26th. Scoop reports owner Matt Wexler is putting the space on the market soon and is looking forward to having more time to spend with his two boys. No word on what’s next for the talented chef Charlie Kleinman.

A tablehopper tipster alerted me that the windows of ~GUDDU DE KARAHI~ in the Sunset were papered over, and Yelpers also noticed the closure. Considering what a disaster service continued to be in the location, I’m not surprised to hear it closed (although Guddu made some mightily tasty dishes, including his trademark tandoori fish). It’s a shame he couldn’t get it together. A new liquor license just hit the wires for a business with the DBA of A Desi Cafe. 1501 Noriega St. at 22nd Ave., 415-759-9088.

SoMa pregame outpost ~NOVA~ is now closed as of this past weekend, and Scoop noted Ezra Berman and Miles Palliser (Corner Store, San Francisco Athletic Club) have plans for the space; the duo told Hoodline they hope to open by the end of July, serving their formula of higher-end cocktails and food. 555 2nd St. at Bryant.

Lastly, Tenderloin curry outpost ~KARE-KEN~ closed this past weekend. Eater points out the goodbye letter from owner Ryan Lee about the closure, who also wants to spend more time with his family, even though business always seemed to be pretty strong. 552 Jones St. at Geary, 415-292-5273.

One piece of relieving news: ~TOMMY’S JOYNT~ (since 1947!) is getting a new owner (SF native Chris Henry, who owns Barrel House in Sausalito), but he won’t be changing a damn thing. Exhale… 1101 Geary Blvd. at Van Ness, 415-775-4216.


The dining room at Split Bread. Photo courtesy of Good Food Guys Group.


The patio at 4505. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography via UrbanDaddy.


A sample farm box from SMIP Ranch. Photo courtesy of Bacchus Management Group.

The team behind Mixt Greens has opened their second location of sandwich stop ~SPLIT BREAD~. With this location, chef and partner Andrew Swallow is introducing a breakfast menu, in addition to the lunch menu of salads and sandwiches. There are breakfast sandwiches, of course, including the Jersey breakfast sandwich with fried egg, Jersey ham, American cheese, and ketchup. There is also a yogurt parfait, avocado toast, and pastries. Coffee is from Four Barrel, and hours are Mon-Fri 6am-8pm. 560 Mission St. at 2nd St., 415-296-8009.

Just in time for summer, ~SMITTEN ICE CREAM~ is opening their second San Francisco location in Pacific Heights on Wednesday June 17th. SFoodie got a tour of the space and lots of details on the opening, including some new design features. This new space has six of their special Brrr Machines for freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen and will also feature an outdoor garden with string lights, benches made of Radio Flyer wagons, and a living wall. When they open, the seasonal flavor will be strawberry white balsamic, with nectarine and cream coming up soon. 2404 California St. at Fillmore, 415-872-9414.

Since opening their Outer Richmond location, Marla Bakery closed their Mission outpost, the Marla Kitchen Communal. While this was definitely a bummer for the neighborhood, there’s a new project moving in from the team behind Bom Dia Market in Noe Valley. This one will be called ~BOM DIA KITCHEN~, and they will be using the space in a similar way to Marla. You’ll order at the front window, for takeout only. They’ll be serving breakfast and lunch, with a small menu of housemade items. For breakfast, there will be sandwiches with house-cured bacon, house-baked bagels available with cream cheese and house-cured salmon, and a variety of pastries. You’ll also find coffee from Four Barrel. At lunch, looks for a small selection of seasonal sandwiches and salads that will change every week or so, plus a grain bowl with seasonal toppings. After opening, they may also add a grocery pickup service in conjunction with the market. They currently plan to open by the end of summer. 613 York St. at 18th St.

A fab tipster sent in the news that a new café is coming to Nob Hill, called ~THE SOAP BOX CAFE~. It’s opening in the former Jonas sandwich shop, and the owner, Loan Ly, is opening a banh mi shop in the space. 1800 Hyde St. at Vallejo.

Sweet Aroma, the Vietnamese restaurant in the Marina, has closed, but a new Vietnamese joint has moved in. The new one is called ~LY’S VIETNAMESE CUISINE~, and they are offering standard menu items like bun, pho, and rice plates, along with crab platters. Initial Yelp reports are generally positive, citing good pho broth, fresh spring rolls, and unusual desserts like coffee flan and pandan waffles. Hours are daily 11am-9pm. 1779 Lombard St. at Laguna, 415-563-1927.

The next time you come by ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~ for some killer ribs, you’ll be enjoying a much more comfortable seating arrangement. The shipping container is now finished and open, offering sheltered seats from our typically windy afternoons, with overhead skylights and lots of plants to keep things feeling organic. There are also heat lamps that have been installed under the overhang that juts off the container, with plenty of communal seating. You’ll notice there’s a beer station in the container, so you don’t have to go back in the main line to get more suds, how handy. And last Monday while I was there for a party, they were smoking a whole pig in the new outdoor smoker, which is going to be a regular thing this summer. Sooooweeeee! 705 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-231-6993.

The summer bounty is here, and one great way to bask in it is with a CSA farm box from SMIP Ranch. The farm, which is in Woodside, provides beautiful produce for Bacchus Management Group restaurants. Every Friday, an email is sent to CSA customers that includes a list of ingredients for the upcoming Friday box, as well as ordering instructions and sometimes, specialty add-ons. Boxes can be picked up on Fridays from 1pm-6pm at Spruce in San Francisco, The Village Pub in Woodside, and Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto. Email for more details on how to join up and get cookin’!


The new Sansome Street location of Blue Bottle. Photo courtesy of Blue Bottle.


The new café space at Mason Pacific. Photo by Jena Dodd.

The latest ~BLUE BOTTLE~ location is opening on Wednesday June 17th on Sansome in the Financial District. The location, which we mentioned last month, is going to be rather large, on par with the Mint Plaza spot. There is a menu of food options, including sandwiches, salads, waffles, oatmeal, and pastries. Of course, Blue Bottle’s espresso and pour-over coffee will also be on offer. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 115 Sansome St. at Bush, 510-653-3394.

Soon you’ll be able to get coffee at the bar at ~MASON PACIFIC~ during the day. Monday through Friday from 7am to 2pm they will be serving drip coffee, pour-over, espresso, and cold brew from Mr. Espresso, along with sandwiches and salads from partner business AG Ferrari and pastries from Batter Bakery. Oh, and some of the cutest latte art around. They officially start the new service on Monday June 22nd. No Wi-Fi, however.

On Haight Street, Hoodline reports that a new coffee shop has opened. It’s called ~CAFE MEC~ and is serving Four Barrel coffee, espresso, and pastries. Hours are daily 7am-7pm. 1301 Haight St. at Central.

~PROVENDER~, the Potrero Hill coffee shop we told you about earlier this month, is now open. They are using Sightglass beans and serving sandwiches and pastries. Hours are Tue-Sun 8am-7pm. 1415 18th St. at Missouri.


Pappardelle and ragù from Mattarello. Photo: ©

A couple of pop-ups you should add to your to-do list: did you notice the CSF giveaway with tablehopper sponsor Real Good Fish last week? The giveaway is over, but if you’re curious about trying their seafood, you should come to their pop-up with Say Hey Farms this Wednesday June 17th at Matching Half Cafe, when they will be serving smoked black cod spring rolls ($9) and a trio of local, seasonal ceviches ($12). Don’t forget, you’ll be able to order from a selection of beer and wine from Matching Half. 4pm-6pm. 1799 McAllister St. at Baker.

Have you ever had the fantastic handmade pasta from Mattarello? They are popping up this Saturday June 20th at ~BIONDIVINO~, and Dan Petroski and Jessica Mennella of Massican wine will be pouring wine during the pop-up (1pm-4pm). Place your preorder for pasta by Thursday, like the raviolo San Domenico, their take on a classic dish from Imola’s Ristorante San Domenico—the filling is a mixture of ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, nutmeg, and spinach, with a raw egg yolk nestled in the center ($7 each). I personally love their meat-filled tortellini in brodo ($12), and there are ricotta cavatelli ($4.50), two kinds of lasagna, and much more! 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.


Crawfish musubi. Photo courtesy of Brenda Buenviaje.

Recently opened Filipino restaurant ~PAMPALASA~ is hosting a weeklong series of dinners called Kamayan to celebrate Filipino Independence Day.

Starting Wednesday June 17th, different chefs from around the Bay Area will take a turn in the kitchen, each inspired by a different national hero from the Philippines. On Saturday June 20th, chef Brenda Buenviaje of Brenda’s will be at the stoves, making her crawfish musubi, and other participating chefs include Tim Luym of The Attic and Thomas Weibull of The Clift. Check out the full lineup here, and get your tickets right here. The dinners are $50 per person. 1261 Folsom St. at 9th St., 415-590-3251.

June 9, 2015

Chardonnay and pinot noir heaven. Photo courtesy of Patz & Hall.

This event is sold out, thanks everyone, we look forward to hosting you!

Whatcha doing this Friday evening? It’s time to get your ticket to this one-of-a-kind tasting, designed to explore California terroir through the beautifully crafted chardonnays and pinot noirs from Patz & Hall. (I tasted these elegant wines at their new Sonoma tasting room and thoroughly enjoyed them.)

This event, co-hosted by tablehopper, will be held this Friday June 12th at Naked Kitchen, a restored Victorian home in the Mission District, where guests will be welcomed with a glass of Patz & Hall’s small-production 2012 North Coast Brut Sparkling Wine, only available at the winery. And gougères! How’s that for a kickoff to your weekend?

You will then be seated for a dynamic wine tasting led by Patz & Hall co-founders James Hall and Heather Patz, who will explore the intricacies of terroir and the diversity of chardonnay and pinot noir through a side-by-side comparison of five single-vineyard wines. There will also be charcuterie—custom-made with Patz & Hall wines by noted local charcutier Peter Temkin (Show Dogs, Foreign Cinema)—like bresaola, merguez, and a soppressata, plus local Sonoma cheeses. Enjoy mingling with James and Heather (and moi!) before and after the tasting.

The event is Friday June 12th, starting at 6:30pm. $65, all inclusive. You can purchase your ticket on Sosh! Only four tickets remain for this special evening!


The future home of Gardenias. Photo: ©

Some very exciting news hit the ABC wires this week: chefs and co-owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino of the (sadly closed) Woodward’s Garden have found a new nest to land in. If all goes as planned with escrow and the ABC license transfer, they are taking over the Roostertail space in Lower Pacific Heights (or as my friend Vas at Zinc Details likes to call it, LoPa) and will be opening ~GARDENIAS~ in its place. (So, the garden theme will continue…)

The ladies are beyond thrilled with how it worked out—it’s a sweet space that was renovated just about four years ago, with a spacious kitchen and back patio. The size is just right. (A personal shout-out to Steven “Stu” Gerry of Zephyr for helping them secure it.) And if the timing goddesses are with them, Gardenias should be opening in early July. Looking forward to some updates very soon. 1963 Sutter St. at Fillmore.


The communal table and sunny interior of b. on the go. Photo: ©


The Grec sandwich with rotisserie chicken. Photo: ©


The corner location of b. on the go. Photo: ©


The killer porchetta at B. on the Go. Photo: ©

Belinda Leong and Michel Suas of ~B. PATISSERIE~ continue to spoil us with the opening of their next project, ~B. ON THE GO~ (we previously wrote about it here). The wonder pastry duo took over the former Blue Fog Market space, which has had a series of failed businesses in its location, and they have created such a special corner space! It’s going to operate like a sister to b. patisserie, taking on the production of the croissants and doughs, and allowing the original location more room for their pastry craft.

They have also added a mustard-yellow rotisserie (it matches the color at b. patisserie) and will be making sandwiches with a variety of meats, from an outstanding porchetta (they chop up the meat and glorious crispy skin, saturate it with salsa verde, and nestle it all into their ciabatta) to the Grec sandwich with rotisserie Mary’s chicken and herbaceous yogurt, an homage to a shawarma-like sandwich (it comes on a soft roll) that Leong remembers from her days living in Paris. There will also be a Cubano, and their grilled cheese is very unusual: it’s made on a thinly sliced round of custom-made bread, about the size of a tortilla, that they fold over and fill with a variety of cheeses (smoked Gouda, Gruyère, and Swiss) and mushroom duxelles like a quesadilla. Decadent and delicious. Sandwiches range from $11-$13. There are also plans to sell the porchetta and chicken by the pound, and a vegetarian option will be added to the rotisserie too.

Additional items will include some salads and three kinds of classic desserts, like a pudding, panna cotta, and crème brûlée, plus a seasonal bread pudding and a galette, all designed for takeaway. Cookies range from lemon sable to ginger molasses to chocolate peanut butter. To be clear, nothing will be a duplicate from what you currently find at b. patisserie—each place has a different offering. Lastly, you’ll find some vinegar drinks, like mango mint and raspberry vinegar.

There is a counter where you will place your order, and there’s a large walnut communal table where you can eat your goodies (which Suas made—in addition to the other reclaimed walnut features in the space, including the counter!), although it’s mostly designed to be a takeaway spot. There are colorful Spanish tile floors and the beautiful glass tiles the color of wine in the kitchen, with lots of light. Have fun looking for the cute hand-painted pigs in the space.

If all goes according to plan, b. on the go will open on Thursday June 18th. Hours will be Tue-Sun 11am-4pm. We’ll keep you posted. UPDATE: B. ON THE GO IS NOW OPEN (AS OF JUNE 23RD). 2794 California St. at Divisadero.


The first batch of Fox and Lion bread from the new oven. Photo via Facebook.


A wine bottle and a cute wine bottle sconce at Butchertown.

Last fall, we told you about the new project from Xan deVoss of Fox and Lion Bread and Barbara Gratta of Gratta Wines, ~BUTCHERTOWN GOURMET~, and I’m thrilled to report they have set their grand opening date to Saturday June 20th (visit their Facebook page for details on the party). The ladies have been doing some pizza nights on Fridays as soft-opening test runs in the meantime and will start them back up starting June 19th (luckily for us).

When things are fully up and running, you’ll be able to come by during the day for deVoss’s fresh-baked bread (she will be offering her rustic country-style levain, batard, and two loaves: raisin and rye deli loaf), and there will be a breakfast sandwich in the morning, on housemade English muffins, plus cinnamon rolls and granola. You’ll also see premade sandwiches on focaccia (both a meaty one and a vegetarian one) that you can grab and go. There is drip coffee and espresso service—they’re using Equator Coffee—and look for some fun Cubano-style style drinks, too, plus they plan to get Joyride cold brew on draft (in addition to some beers!). Check out the menu right here. Initial hours are looking like Tue-Fri 9am-2pm and potentially 9am-4pm on Sat.

As for Gratta’s portion of the business, the plan is to pour her wines a couple of evenings during the week, so Thu-Fri 4pm-9pm and Sat 1pm-7pm. There will also be some meats and cheeses available. She has a tasting bar in the back, while the bakery and some shared seating is in the front. Here is the list of wines available. And even though there’s a wine bar, it will be a family-friendly environment.

As for the name, just a little reminder that Bayview used to be called Butchertown (so don’t show up expecting a meat case). Congrats ladies on getting Butchertown Gourmet open! Follow along on Facebook for updates on the opening, hours, and more as it takes shape. 5273 3rd St. at Williams.


Some of the famed fluffy pancakes at Mama’s. Photo via Facebook.

It has been a long, slow, arduous process for the Sanchez family of the famed ~MAMA’S RESTAURANT~ (1701 Stockton St.) in North Beach to try to open their offshoot Lil’ Mama’s in the nearby (and very spacious) Piazza Market space (formerly Rossi Market) on Vallejo. Their plans are to serve breakfast, lunch, and brunch from 7am-3pm, lightening some of the load off the mother ship, or mama ship, as it were. There would also be a coffee and juice bar, grocery store, self-service hot food bar, baked goods, and more, available 7am-8pm.

Fortunately they made it through a zoning change approval at least week’s hearing, but they still need approval from the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, the full Board of Supervisors, as well as the mayor’s signature. You can help support this project by joining their Facebook group. Read more about this complicated process (and their plans) on Hoodline here and here. Come on, let’s have that long-vacant building get some life in it already. 627 Vallejo St. at Columbus.


The exterior of ‘Wichcraft. Yelp photo by Luis C.

It looks like a landlord issue has caused another closure. According to Hoodline, ~CHILANGO~ in the Castro has closed as of Sunday May 31st. A letter in the window says that the restaurant’s new landlord will not renew their lease. The terms of a new lease were not favorable, so they decided to close. The space was previously home to Azteca Taqueria, from the same owner, who had been in the space for 26 years. (The same owner also operates Casa Mexicana at 180 Church Street, which will remain open.) 235 Church St. at Market.

One of our fabulous tipsters sent word that ~‘WICHCRAFT~ in SoMa had closed, and a call to their New York headquarters confirmed that it is indeed permanently closed as of Friday June 5th. Perbacco reportedly has a new project (a European brasserie) moving into the space, we’ll let you know when more information emerges on that timeline. 868 Mission St. at Jessie.


The coffee and ice cream bar Sundays, at San Franpsycho. Photo courtesy of San Franpsycho.

Local apparel company San Franpsycho has opened a new coffee and ice cream bar at its Inner Sunset location. It’s called ~SUNDAYS~ but is actually open daily, serving ice cream from Three Twins, coffee from De La Paz, cold brew from Four Barrel, and pastries from Devil’s Teeth Baking Company.

It’s open now, but the grand opening party is scheduled for Saturday June 13th from 12pm to 6pm. At the party, there will, of course, be ice cream and coffee, as well as beer and live music. Sundays hours are Mon-Wed 8am-8pm, Thu-Sat 8am-9pm, and Sun 8am-7pm. 1248 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-213-5442.

File this one in the coming soon folder: according to some license activity, a second location of ~COFFEE CULTURES~ is going to be coming to a new development in SoMa. The first Coffee Cultures in SF is at 225 Bush St., which uses Counter Culture Coffee from North Carolina (who recently opened a training center in Emeryville). According to the developer’s project page, there is going to be a café, wine bar, and market, and a roof garden. A representative from Counter Culture Coffee tells us to look for an opening in five months or so—we’ll let you know when we get more details. 1321 Mission St. at 9th St.


Off the Grid. Photo from Facebook.

Starting Tuesday June 16th, Mission Bay residents and workers will have a new lunch spot, on Tuesdays and Fridays, at least. Off the Grid is launching a new pod from 11am to 2pm with three food trucks each day. The participating trucks will change each week, and will include the likes of Liba Falafel, Lobsta Truck, An the Go, and Fins on the Hoof. 1451 4th St. at Mission Bay Blvd. South.

Speaking of Off the Grid, they are also participating in the Eat (RED) Drink (RED) fundraiser we mentioned last month. On Friday June 12th at the Oakland Museum of California food pod from 5pm to 9pm and then again at Picnic at the Presidio on Sunday June 14th from 11am to 4pm, they’ll be donating a portion of their proceeds to (RED) and have even partnered with Bank of America so that every swipe of a Bank of America card means a $0.40 donation to (RED). 1000 Oak St. at 10th St., Oakland; Main Post Lawn at Lincoln, the Presidio.


The savory waffle with bacon and eggs from Soul Delicious. Photo courtesy of Soul Delicious.

Starting Saturday June 13th, catch new brunch pop-up Soul Delicious at The Lookout from 11am to 4pm. The pop-up is a partnership between Wes Rowe of Wes Burger, Dominique Garcia of Mama, and the Motown on Monday DJs. The two chefs will alternate cooking soul food each week, with Rowe kicking it off on the 13th. The first menu includes Rowe’s famed Uncle Brother’s fried chicken with cheese grits cakes and jalapeño cream gravy, sweet or savory waffles, and Austin-style breakfast tacos. Take a look at the whole menu right here, and let the hunger pangs begin. 3600 16th St. at Market, 415-431-0306.


Last year’s High on the Hog festivities. Photo courtesy of EPIC Steak.

~BAR AGRICOLE~ is teaming up with Deovlet Wines for a special wine and pig roast dinner on Thursday June 11th. The family-style supper will be served on their patio, with multiple courses and four different wines from winemaker Ryan Deovlet. The menu for the dinner can be found here and includes a roasted whole little pig with salsa verde, new potatoes, grilled onions, and Little Gems. The dinner begins at 7pm, and tickets are $125 per person, including food, wine, and gratuity.

On Saturday June 20th, head to ~EPIC STEAK~ for the annual High on the Hog feast from 1pm to 4pm. The party is about pork in all its meaty glory, with barbecue and other preparations from EPIC, as well as Homestead, 1300 on Fillmore, Wood Tavern, and Waterbar. The party is also a celebration of pinot noir, with selections from wineries like Domaine de la Côte, Goldeneye, Joseph Phelps, and Beauregard. The Henry Coopers will be providing live music, and the whole event is a fundraiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind, which will also be in attendance with puppies to meet and play with. Tickets are $65 per person. 369 The Embarcadero at Folsom, 415-369-9955.

You really won’t want to miss this night of pigging out from La Cocina’s San Francisco Street Food Festival, 4505 Meats, and Jim N’ Nick’s on Saturday August 15th at Pier 70. The party is a celebration of the retirement of Jim N’ Nick’s spit, a 30-foot spit rig from Alabama, and whole pigs will be roasted on it by some pretty amazing chefs. Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats will be joined by Nick Pihakis of Jim N’ Nick’s and Rodney Scott of Scott’s Bar-B-Que in South Carolina, along with locals like Traci Des Jardins, Josey Baker, and David Bazirgan. The party includes passed appetizers, a sit-down, five-course dinner, drinks, and music by Noise Pop; the whole thing is a benefit for La Cocina. The evening runs from 6pm to 10pm, and tickets are $150 per person, or opt for the $250 “We Came to Eat” Passport, which includes a ticket to the dinner and $200 to spend at the San Francisco Street Food Festival. Pier 70 at Illinois.


Fried cauliflower with gigante bean gratin, herbed bread crumbs, and lovage-cashew rémoulade at Millennium. Photo from Facebook.

Sho Kamio, the chef and owner of Iyasare on Fourth Street in Berkeley, has purchased neighboring Zut!, Scoop reports. The space, which has previously housed Eccolo, Ginger Island, and Fourth Street Grill, will be closed later this month and should reopen in July. East Bay Express reports that the restaurant will barely change names; Kamio plans to call it Zut Tavern and will be cooking Mediterranean cuisine with a California, seasonal influence. The menu will be smaller than the current one and will change more often, plus he plans to add an oyster bar to the space. He’s brought on chef Nate Gabriel (Michael Mina, Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House) as chef de cuisine, as well. 1820 Fourth St. at Delaware, Berkeley.

Vegan restaurant ~MILLENNIUM~ has made the move east to Oakland and is officially open in their new location. As reported in April, they’ve taken over the former Box & Bells space in Rockridge. The new space offers a swell patio, as well as their vegan dishes and a full bar. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30-9:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot, Oakland, 510-735-9459.

~CHOWHAUS~, a new restaurant in Montclair serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, has opened. Scoop reports that the restaurant comes from Tracey Belock and her husband Joe Schnell, who have a background in such San Francisco restaurants as Farallon and Quince. The food is comfortable, but rooted in seasonal California style, with many items made in-house, including charcuterie, bread, and pastries. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, and dinner just launched this week after a soft opening phase. 6118 Medau Pl. at Moraga, Oakland, 415-339-3395.

Iconic publication Sunset Magazine is leaving its campus in Menlo Park, where it has been located since 1951. That’s not news, but there’s been lots of speculation about where they might end up, and now we have the answer: Jack London Square in Oakland, along with a satellite presence at CornerStone in Sonoma. The new offices, which will include a test kitchen and wine cellar, will be on the second floor of the Market Building at 55 Harrison Street, where a Ferry Building-style market hall is planned as well. The Sonoma location will be home to their magazine’s test garden, as well as an outdoor kitchen. San Francisco architecture firm RMW is designing the new space, but there is no word at the moment about when the move will be complete. 55 Harrison St. at Water, Oakland.

June 2, 2015

The dining room at Lord Stanley. Photo by Robin Stein.


Carrie and Rupert Blaise. Photo by Mike Norquist.


Salmon with sorrel, beurre blanc. Photo by Mike Norquist.


Leek dish. Photo by Mike Norquist.


The communal table on the mezzanine at Lord Stanley. Photo by Robin Stein.


The standing bar (in the background). Photo by Robin Stein.

Due to open in a week or so is ~LORD STANLEY~, a brand-new restaurant from first-time owners Rupert and Carrie Blease, who are also husband and wife. It will be a welcome addition to the Nob Hill/Russian Hill border, just on the corner of Broadway and Polk, in a neighborhood that doesn’t have many places that strike this kind of chic (yet casual) tone. The corner location is full of light and has an airy look, one that will definitely catch your eye. But more on that in a moment.

The Bleases first met while working together under Raymond Blanc at the two-Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, England. (Carrie, a Southern California girl, had her externship there after graduating from the CCA in SF and was then a commis for a year, while Rupert, an Englishman who did his culinary studies in Toulouse, started at Manoir as a line cook and left a sous.) The duo moved to New York together in 2005, with Carrie working as a line cook at Blue Hill New York and Rupert as a line cook at Per Se. A couple of years later, the couple moved to London to help their former Manoir colleague Agnar Sverrisson open the one-Michelin-starred, Scandinavian-inspired restaurant, Texture.

They then moved to San Francisco with the goal of opening their own restaurant, something they have talked about for the 10 years they have been married. It has been in the works for a couple of years, with Carrie working as a sous chef at Commonwealth and Rupert as a sous at Central Kitchen. At Lord Stanley, they’ll work in tandem, collaborating on the savory and sweet.

As for their vision for Lord Stanley, the couple stresses they want the dining experience to be casual and approachable. The dishes won’t be too complicated—they will exhibit a purity of flavor, so don’t look for a lot of components on the plate. But, of course, the ingredient sourcing will be tops, exhibiting beautiful preparations and skilled technique. Dishes will be lighter and cleaner—a bit Californian, Scandinavian, and European too (with a bit of a British accent). They will even be making their own bread and butter.

The compact menu (that’s a preview for you!) includes starters like salmon that is marinated with lemon and dill, lightly cold-smoked and confited (ditto the potatoes) and served with beurre blanc. Starters range from $12-$17, while mains like slow-cooked and grilled lamb shoulder with warm allium salad, and black cod with fava beans, avocado, and curry are $24-$29 (and please note the gratuity is included in these prices—Lord Stanley is following a service-included model). Desserts include one of Carrie’s favorites from living abroad: Eton mess ($12), with raspberries, strawberries, and elderflower, and a chocolate pouch ($13) made of crêpe batter with poached cherries and chocolate mousse. There is also going to be a seven-course tasting menu.

The restaurant has about 40 seats, with a mezzanine that has a communal table. Boor Bridges Architecture did a stellar job transforming the space, which was previously T2J Thai, though the building dates back to 1925. There is an open bar area, where guests will find a standing counter—you’ll see local beers on draft (Almanac Beer Company’s Golden Gate Gose and Magnolia Pub & Brewery’s Kalifornia Kolsch) and some bottled selections to go with a selection of bar snacks.

The clean lines of the space are enhanced by the poured and polished concrete floor, the light palette of white and gray, and custom-made poplar tables by Brandon Muñoz of Los Angeles (he also did the communal table that seats 14 upstairs, which can be used for private groups). Another eye-catching element upstairs is the “felting” art piece of sheep’s wool on the wall made from San Juan Islands sheep by Ashley Helvey; there’s also a cork floor. You’ll note some industrial elements throughout, like the seismic beams and stripped wood posts.

Wine director Louisa Smith, who is also a winemaker, will be overseeing the diverse and global list, which will feature many small producers (organic and biodynamic practices will be highlighted); good value is also a focus. She will be pouring sparkling wine by the glass from Les Capriades and Ruppert-Leroy, as well as bottles and glasses of Frantz Saumon Romorantin 2012, Tripoz Macon-Loche 2013, Domaine Guion Bourgueil, and Vinoterra Saperavi Kakheti, Georgia.

Open Tue-Thu and Sun 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Weekend lunch coming soon. We’ll let you know when there’s a firm opening date. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-872-5512.


The dining room at Farmhouse Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Kitchen.


The counter at Farmhouse Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Farmhouse Kitchen.

A new Thai restaurant has opened in a quiet corner of the Mission (in the former Florida Street Café), called ~FARMHOUSE KITCHEN~. As Eater mentioned earlier, the restaurant comes from partners Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang and his wife, Iing Chatterjee, of Kitchen Story and Blackwood. They are offering Thai restaurant staples, including a variety of curries and noodles, but the menu from chef Saengsawang has some interesting regional Thai dishes too.

Check out the kai yang with som tum ($18), a half chicken marinated in turmeric and coconut milk served with papaya salad, black sweet sticky rice, and plum sauce, or the 24-hour beef noodle soup ($15), a slow-cooked beef stew with egg noodles, broccoli, basil, bean sprouts, cilantro, green onion, and garlic chips. There are also some unusual smaller dishes, including crispy frog legs ($12) and the “Bullet Train,” lightly fried silkworms with garlic chile sauce ($10). There is also a selection of small-production wines by the glass and the bottle, with five whites and four reds.

Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm, and dinner Sun-Thu from 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. 710 Florida St. at 19th St., 415-814-2920.


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

The former home of Café Claude Marina, which closed back in March, has a new owner. Michael Mina has bought the space, according to Scoop. The exact concept for the location hasn’t been decided yet, though it sounds like it may be more neighborhood-minded and modest than some of Mina’s flashier projects around town. However, what he plans to do with the space in the meantime is almost more interesting: it’s going to function as a pop-up/incubator for some of the Mina Group’s most promising young chefs. The first pop-up will come later this summer from RN74 chef Adam Sobel and Mina himself, who will be collaborating on a Middle Eastern-inspired dinner (Mina was born in Egypt, and Sobel is half Israeli). 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.

The story continues with ~LUNA PARK~, which was maybe for sale and in talks with PlumpJack, but then that fell through. Scoop noticed that Bill Clarke, owner of Mission Beach Cafe, is buying the restaurant. Liquor license activity reveals the name “Thin Place,” but no other details are available. We were in touch with Clarke a few months ago about another Mission location we heard he was considering, so he definitely seems to be in expansion mode. For now, we’re on standby for more info. 694 Valencia St. at 18th St.


Menus above the counter at Provender. Photo courtesy of Provender.


The interior of Provender at night. Photo courtesy of Provender.

A report by Dana Eastland. Tony Ferrari and his brother Austin Ferrari have partnered up to open a coffee shop in the former Baked spot on Potrero Hill. They’ve also brought on Aran Healy (Ruby Wine Company) and Dave Tullis as partners in the project, which is called ~PROVENDER~. The brothers grew up in a large Italian family, where drinking espresso was an important ritual, and they want to bring that same spirit to the neighborhood. They’ll be using Sightglass beans and focusing on making the best coffee and espresso they possibly can. Tony Ferrari is also an owner at Hillside Supper Club.

The 300-square-foot space was built out by partner Dave Tullis, and the original Victorian style has been rendered in clean lines with a white and blue palette, hex tile flooring, and wooden countertops. As for the name, provender is an old term for dry feed for animals and so they figured: “Hell, let’s offer provender to the people of Potrero, YES?”

There is also a selection of housemade pastries, like black sesame banana bread; a savory biscuit with goat cheese, scallion, and bacon; and a chocolate chip cookie with sea salt. The small, tight menu offers food to go, like a lamb sandwich with charmoula aioli, a vegetarian beet sandwich, split pea soup with garlic, a quinoa salad, and an arugula salad.

They are still waiting on a health department inspection, but hope to open next Tuesday June 9th. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for up-to-date information on the opening. Hours will be Tue-Sun 8am-7pm, closed Mondays. They may stay open until 9pm in the future, depending on business. 1415 18th St. at Missouri.


The Cubano. Photo: Matthew Runeare, for Belcampo Meat Co.


Bacon & bacon. Photo: Matthew Runeare, for Belcampo Meat Co.


The ham and egg. Photo: Matthew Runeare, for Belcampo Meat Co.


Hello, sloppy mutton (aka the slutton!). Photo: Matthew Runeare, for Belcampo Meat Co.

At this point you may have figured out that we’re pretty sandwich obsessed. So it’s with great pleasure to announce that there’s a brand-new spot for you to get quality sandwiches during the week: ~BELCAMPO MEAT CO.~ on Polk is now serving lunch Monday through Friday! You’ll find an array of sandwiches, all featuring Belcampo’s quality and organic meats from animals raised humanely on their farm in Shasta.

Their newish chef, Dirk Tolsma, who came on earlier this year, has put together quite a sandwich menu (in conjunction with the Belcampo team) that includes a tartare tartine ($12), in which their fantastic steak tartare—mixed with creamy and bright yellow-orange egg yolk and pickled ramps—is piled on toasted whole wheat from Della Fattoria. You’ll also see their fantastic cheeseburger ($12), which is a rather perfect burger, with caramelized onions and butter lettuce; I so dig this burger.

Pork lovers will want to veer toward the roast pork Cubano ($11), a rare thing to find done well in this town. It has thin and juicy slices of mustard-roasted pork loin, ham, melty Swiss cheese, and their house pickles, all tucked into crispy ciabatta. It’s a beaut. But then there’s the wicked bacon & bacon ($14), with pulled bacon (yeah, think about that for a second) and slices of crisp bacon inside a sesame bun, and Tabasco aioli and tangy cabbage slaw. Don’t tell your cardiologist.

High on the creativity scale is the mean eggs & ham ($12), a deep-fried egg (again, get ready for the bright orange and creamy yolk!) inside a sesame bun with their deviled ham (it gets mixed with sriracha aioli and scallion), slices of avocado, basil, and cilantro—it’s kind of like a banh mi that ate a Scotch egg and went to California.

If you’re a sloppy joe fan, prepare thyself for the next level: the sloppy mutton ($12)—or, as I discovered, the “slutton,” as the team calls it (I am still laughing to myself over it). And the moniker is well deserved: a deeply flavorful filling of braised mutton shoulder and belly is tucked inside a soft sesame bun that soaks it up just so. And here’s the kicker: there’s a layer of roasted garlic mascarpone in there, genius! That sandwich is not one you want to miss. And here’s a little tablehopper insider deal: if you order the slutton (you have to call it that!), you’ll get a free side of their beef tallow fries ($3 value). And trust, you want those fries. It’s slutton time!

One last tip for you: if you are hungover, or fighting a cold, or just need a little comfort, a cup of their bone broth egg drop soup ($6) is what you want.

You can enjoy lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm. (And be sure to pick up a dozen of their amazing free-range eggs and a little something from the meat counter on your way out the door—they have a bunch of new products, like sausages stuffed with jalapeño cheese, oh yeah.) 1998 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-660-5573.


The exterior of Globe. Yelp photo by Michael G.

We received word that Joseph Manzare’s ~GLOBE~, which he opened with wife and partner Mary Klingbeil in 1997 and was such a late-night hangout and industry spot for years, has sadly closed its doors. He reportedly lost his lease and the restaurant had its last night on Saturday May 30th. We have reached out to Joseph for details and will let you know when we hear more from him directly. 290 Pacific Ave. at Front.

The Marina location of ~UDUPI PALACE~ has closed, according to a hawk-eyed tablehopper reader. A sign in the window says a new restaurant called Kobani Mediterranean Grill is opening soon in the space. No word on exactly what happened, but we have to guess the labor violation fines the restaurant was hit with earlier this year had something to do with it. The mini-chain’s Mission and Berkeley locations remain open. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.


The spicy pork rito from Kama O Deli. Yelp photo by Sooshi K.

There is a new deli in South Beach called ~KAMA O DELI~, serving Asian-inspired wraps and sandwiches, like a beef sukiyaki “rito” or pork belly sandwich. Yelp reports are generally positive, citing it as a good place for lunch, with good value and friendly service. 590 3rd St. at Brannan, 415-872-9622.

Another San Francisco restaurant is changing their pricing and payment structure for workers: Cole Valley’s brunch staple ~ZAZIE~ has officially done away with tipping. In addition, owner Jennifer Piallat tells us everyone on the restaurant’s staff will now receive a living wage, profit sharing, fully funded dental and health insurance, paid sick leave, and a 401(k) with employer match. They’ve raised prices slightly, and done away with the San Francisco ordinances surcharge (previously $1.25 per diner). The changes are effective as of today, Tuesday June 2nd. Good job, Zazie, and all the best to your staff! 941 Cole St. at Parnassus, 415-564-5332.

Mission pub ~THE LIBERTIES~ is celebrating 15 years in business this month with a special Mission burger combo. For $15 you get the half-pound burger with cheese, bacon, and a side of fries, along with a half pint of any beer on tap. They’ve also recently refreshed the interior and added a heated outdoor space. 998 Guerrero St. at 22nd St., 415-282-6789.

As reported on tablehopper in April, the former Local’s Corner space in the Mission has a new taker. It’s called ~THE SPICE JAR~ and comes from owner Ryuichi Hamada. The restaurant will be serving “Asian comfort food,” Hamada says, with dishes inspired by many different Asian countries. Right now, he is hoping to open in late June but is still waiting on an ABC license transfer. The space is getting a quick refresh (and a hood), as well. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.


Food writer, author, and New York Times columnist Mark Bittman. Photo from Facebook.

A report by Dana Eastland. New York Times columnist and author Mark Bittman is in California and has produced a video series in partnership with UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Food Institute, called California Matters. The 10-part series is all about the food scene in California, with each episode tackling a different issue.

I had a chance to talk to Mr. Bittman about the series and hear about what he is most excited to share with viewers. California, he says, is “really the most interesting place to look at these things. You get the most diversity…everything you want to think about with food and agriculture is here.” To that end, the series will be looking at everything from agriculture to labor justice for food service workers to urban foraging. The series kicks off on Monday June 8th right here, and you can catch the trailer in the meantime.

Speaking of Mark Bittman, he’ll be in Lafayette on Wednesday June 3rd at The Commonwealth Club discussing his new book, A Bone to Pick. The evening goes from 6:30pm to 7:45pm and includes discussion of Bittman’s latest research and the effect of the American food system on our bodies and our planet. Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for Commonwealth Club members, and there are also premium tickets available that include a copy of the book. Acalanes High School Performing Arts Theatre, 1200 Pleasant Hill Rd at Stanley, Lafayette.


Author Mina Holland will be in town on Wednesday June 17th, at Book Passage at 6pm. Holland, who is the editor of Guardian Cook, will be promoting her new book The World on a Plate. The book contains 100 recipes from all over the world, along with cultural and historical facts and stories about each recipe. Signed copies of the book will be available. Ferry Building at Embarcadero, 415-835-1020.

May 27, 2015

You know the Negroni recipe, right? Photo courtesy of Campari America.


The Doughgroni at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo: Wes Rowe.


Humphry Slocombe’s Negroni ice cream and Negroni pops. Photo: Wes Rowe.

Hey, whatcha doing next Thursday evening (June 4th)? Hopefully your calendar is wide open, because I’m hosting another tablehopper cocktail crawl in North Beach, and this time it’s in celebration of Negroni Week, which runs from June 1st-7th. I’ll be taking you to three North Beach establishments that have a deeper history than you may realize, and we’ll be drinking variations of the Negroni at each location (did you know the original cocktail dates back to 1919?).

First stop is the flagship ~GOORIN BROS. NORTH BEACH~ shop, where you’ll be served a Negroni Sbagliato (Campari, sweet vermouth, sparkling wine) crafted by Rye on the Road while you pick out a spiffy lid for 15 percent off (there will also be a donation to the SF-Marin Food Bank for each hat sold!). Bonus: did you know this Goorin shop is located above a former speakeasy? You’ll have a chance to check it out on this tour.

Second stop is ~THE SQUARE~, home of the former Washington Square Bar & Grill, famously the watering hole of Herb Caen and his writer cronies. We’ll raise our glasses of classic Negronis (Campari, gin, sweet vermouth), and it will also be time for some ballast, with family-style tater tots (hand-rolled!) and other bar snacks, plus your choice of a larger dish, like their cheeseburger, banh mi pork belly sliders, a flatbread, and more (all come with fries or salad).

The third and final stop is at 9pm at the new ~DEVIL’S ACRE~, which was once a pharmacy (and a hotel!), and will be doling out some special cocktail medicine for you: the Old Pal (Campari, rye, dry vermouth).

So, you ready for this? The entire night is only $25! Each stop includes one cocktail (additional cocktails are your responsibility) and the set menu at The Square is also covered (plus the tax and tip). Obviously these tickets are gonna fly, so hop to it! The first stop at Goorin Bros. North Beach (1612 Stockton St. at Union) is 6:30pm-7:30pm, and then we’ll be off to The Square, so don’t be too late. And please, don’t drive. See you!


There are many fantastic events and specials going on next week for Negroni Week—here are more things to look for, my fellow Negroni fans! The first thing to know is that every bar participating in Negroni Week (2,600 around the world and counting!) will each be making a donation to a charity of their choice (most places are donating $1 per Negroni sold, some more!). Campari has also committed to donating $10,000 to the charity chosen by the bar/restaurant that raises the most money during Negroni Week.

Can you believe the evil geniuses at ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ have created something in honor of the week? Oh yeah! Meet the DOUGHGRONI, a light brioche doughnut, dusted with sugar and filled with a dual core of Campari jelly alongside a Negroni and blood orange custard, and for a final flourish, it’s served with a pipette of Negroni syrup. A donation will be made to Raphael House.

More treats: the other evil geniuses, at ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~, are hosting a Negroni Week Ice Cream Social on Thursday June 4th, from 12pm-2pm (new time!). You can come by for their new Negroni Ice Cream, and they’ll be bringing back their boozy summer popsicle treat, the Negroni Pop. Here’s the amazing part: from 1pm-3pm, they will be giving away both offerings, and for each Negroni Ice Cream cone and Negroni Pop handed out during the charitable celebration, they will be donating $4 to Project Open Hand. Wow. Go boys! Can’t make it to the social? Both treats will also be available at their Ferry Building location (for $4 each) throughout Negroni Week. 

While you’re at ~ABV~, not only can you enjoy a Negroni Rosa (Campari, Brooklyn Gin, Imbue Petal & Thorn Vermouth, Dolin Blanc Vermouth), benefitting the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, but there’s also Negroni pie, a mini custard pie made with Campari, Cinzano 1757, and a juniper syrup, and topped with sweet vermouth whipped cream and orange zest.

There are Negroni marshmallows at ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~, a fantastic White Negroni cocktail (Campari caviar, London dry gin, gentian aperitif, blanc vermouth, lemon bitters) at ~BENJAMIN COOPER~, and you know ~POGGIO~’s Tony Diiori (aka Tony Negroni!) will be serving his Tony Negroni (Campari, Bombay Sapphire gin, and Vya red vermouth), plus a Negrosky with vodka, the Dirty Negroni with dry vermouth, or the Negroni Sbagliato with sparkling wine ($1 from every Negroni sale will go to Willow Creek Academy).

As you can see, there are many, many options. Take a look at the list of participating bars here! Follow Negroni Week happenings on Imbibe’s Instagram and Twitter (@imbibe) feeds, and by following and using the #NegroniWeek hashtag!


The dining room and bar at Bel. Photo courtesy Bel.


The bar. Photo courtesy Bel.


Counter seating and artwork. Photo courtesy Bel.


The taps and beer display, and, yes, Manneken Pis. Photo courtesy Bel.

A report by associate editor Dana Eastland. A tipster wrote in to let us know that ~BEL~, the Belgian-inspired restaurant we reported on back in 2013, opened on Sunday May 24th. The project comes from partners Jen Garris and Richard Rosen from nearby Pi Bar. Rosen explains that the restaurant takes its inspiration from the sidewalk cafés in Brussels and Bruges.

There’s lots of Belgian beer, of course, and the food is all about modern, local takes on Belgian café staples. There are dishes like shrimp croquettes with leek and potato or foie gras terrine to start, along with heartier choices like a brisket braised in dark Flemish ale or salt cod gratin. And don’t worry, moules frites and steak frites are available. Check out the whole menu here.

As for beer, the list is extensive and focused on Belgian and Belgian-style beers. The menu is broken into several different categories, including fruit-based beers; double, strong, and quad styles; and sour beer. The team is knowledgeable about the different styles and happy to help diners pair their beer with the food. There is also a small wine list for those who prefer wine.

The space is rather quaint and heavily inspired by the European street cafés that inform the rest of the restaurant. One of the reasons for the long delay in Bel’s opening was a major overhaul of the space by the building’s landlord, including the addition of I-beams, many of which remain exposed. The ceiling is pressed tin, and old-world-style street lamps have been brought inside to serve as light fixtures and add the the feeling of dining outside. Paintings from Alexa Wayne of Paintings by Axella of various scenes from Belgian cities adorn the walls, and the warm wooden bar has a pressed-tin tap system behind it. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we failed to mention they’ve got their very own Manneken Pis statue. Hours are Mon-Thu 4pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. 3215 Mission St. at Fair, 415-206-1000.


The dining room at All Season. Yelp photo by James F.

A tablehopper tipster alerted us to the news that the much-loved Harbor Village restaurant—the popular and well-appointed dim sum restaurant in Embarcadero Four that sadly closed 10 years ago (in 2005)—is rising from the deep freeze and reopening in the All Season Restaurant space in the Diamond Heights Shopping Center (previously Yet Wah).

We reached out to owner Lawrence Lui for confirmation, and in the meantime, a Chowhound mentions seeing a change of ownership sign, so this little rumor is looking good. We’ll let you know when we hear back. The All Season second story has a bit of a view, so it will be a nice continuation from the Harbor Village Embarcadero location, although actually, nothing can beat their original bay view. 5238 Diamond Heights Blvd. at Gold Mine.


Chef Emmanuel Eng. Photo: Christian Grau.

Some exciting news over at ~BIX~: Emmanuel Eng is the new chef de cuisine (he was previously at Bartlett Hall). Eng actually started at Bix midway through February and has reportedly won over the crew with his work ethic and skills. Executive chef-partner Bruce Hill adds that he “also brings a great ‘born and raised in SF’ vision to the kitchen and management team.”

Some new dishes you’ll find on the menu include a foie gras torchon with strawberry-rhubarb preserves and a spiced balsamic, a fun bar snack of General Tso’s chicken (admittedly one of Bruce Hill’s guilty pleasures, and I know he is not alone in this), and Alaskan halibut with a fava ravioli and artichokes barigoule. Further seasonal items on the horizon include a salad featuring the Rose Diamond nectarines from Tory Farms in a salad with burrata cheese, and Eng is turning some beautiful Yerena Farms blackberries into a sorbet, scented with chamomile tea.

Another thing to note: starting this Sunday May 31st, and every Sunday moving forward, Bix is going to reintroduce the Bix Fixe, a $35 three-course prix-fixe menu. It will feature a choice of sweet corn soup or Caesar salad, and for your second course, sand dabs with fregola or steak paillard, and for dessert, you can take your pick of any dessert on the dessert menu. Now that’s one heck of a Sunday supper.


Dottie’s back dining room. Photo courtesy Dottie’s.

We had heard rumors that ~DOTTIE’S TRUE BLUE CAFE~ might be for sale, and now Scoop has confirmed it. Owner Kurt Abney says that after 22 years in business, he is, quite simply, tired. According to the ad, the restaurant does approximately 350 covers a day, and Abney is the sole owner. The restaurant moved in 2012 to a new location on 6th Street, from a smaller space in the Tenderloin, and the lease is listed at $12,360 with 16 years left on it. Right now, the restaurant is listed as an asset sale, but Abney says he is open to selling the name and menu to an interested buyer for the right price. Once the sale goes through, Abney says he may reappear in a smaller capacity elsewhere, or perhaps he’ll enjoy some (well-deserved) time off. 28 6th St. at Stevenson, 415-885-2767.


Liang pi noodles at Xian Gourmet/San Dong Best. Yelp photo by Susy C.

There are changes afoot at EPIC Roasthouse—as of today, Wednesday May 27th, the restaurant will be known as ~EPIC STEAK~, and chef Parke Ulrich will create a new menu built around an open-fire grill. New dishes include a A5 Miyazaki Wagyu steak, or the “EPIC meal for two,” which is pretty much guaranteed to give you meat sweats: it includes a 32-ounce tomahawk rib steak and a two-pound lobster. In addition to the menu changes, sommelier Petra Polakovicova, who originally developed the restaurant’s wine list, has returned to create an all-new list to pair with the new menu. Later this summer, look for a new outdoor patio for enjoying bay views. 369 The Embarcadero at Folsom, 415-369-9955.

Local mini chain ~TOAST~ is now open in West Portal in the former Village Grill, according to Yelp reports. In addition to a dining room serving breakfast and lunch, there is also a coffee and pastry counter in front for a quick bite. 160 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, no phone yet.

A couple of weeks ago I swung by ~XIAN GOURMET~ on Geary for dinner, and there was a sign on the door that they were closed for a break. Wah wah. And now it’s revealed, thanks to to ever-observant Chowhounds, that it has a new name, ~SAN DONG BEST~. The shift appears to be a bit of a refocus or rebranding, since the spot was known as San Dong House before it became Xian Gourmet. Anyway, it appears they are still offering hand-pulled noodles, housemade dumplings, and there is no indication that ownership has changed. UPDATE: According to Full Noodle Frontity, the blog run by one of the most observant Chowhounds out there, ownership has in fact changed. San Dong Best is actually the sister restaurant of Shandong Deluxe on Taraval. Apparently, the handmade lamb noodles are quite good. 3741 Geary Blvd. at Arguello, 415-668-5888.

Ruben Donze is opening a second location of his popular Dogpatch shop, ~LA FROMAGERIE~, in the Financial District, Hoodline reports. The new location will offer a tight selection of salads and cheesy sandwiches on Firebrand bread, including an aged Gruyère with ham and cornichons. Meats and cheeses will also be available for retail purchase, and a beer and wine license is in the works as well. The plan is to open in July. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter.


Blue Bottle Market Square. Photo by Clay McLachlan.


Opening day at Blue Bottle Market Square! Photo by Clay McLachlan via Instagram.


Lines already at Blue Bottle Market Square. Photo by Clay McLachlan.


The interior seating area at Chai Bar. Photo courtesy Chai Bar.

The wave of coffee just will not quit in this town: a whole slew of new places to get a cup of brew are opening soon. So get ready for the jitters, friends!

According to a tweet, the new ~BLUE BOTTLE~ location in Market Square in the Twitter building is open today, Wednesday May 27th. The new kiosk will offer single origin coffee, pour-over, cold brew on tap, and plenty of espresso. In addition to their usual pastry offerings, there will also be seasonal fruit buckles, and some new savory options. Open daily 7am-7pm. 1355 Market St. at 10th St., 510-653-3394.

Speaking of Blue Bottle, the large new downtown location in the 115 Sansome building is getting ready to open on Wednesday June 17th. To recap, this location will offer some light food options in addition to coffee and pastries, like waffles, sandwiches, and oatmeal. We’ll keep you posted. 115 Sansome St. at Bush, 510-653-3394.

Nothing takes the edge off a long day of downtown shopping like coffee with a little kick, and now you can get it at ~IRON HORSE COFFEE BAR~, located inside Romper Room. Sprudge mentioned the Maiden Lane caffeination station back in March, noting that they are serving Ritual Coffee and offer some brightly colored outdoor seating. Now, according to UrbanDaddy, they are also serving spiked coffee, including choices like the Cowboy (bourbon plus coffee) and the Horseshoe (espresso, Baileys, half-and-half, whiskey). Giddy up. 25 Maiden Ln. at Kearny, 415-623-9629.

According to reports on Yelp, there’s a new coffee spot in the Sunset called ~BLANC CAFE~. It’s moved into the former Mellow Mellow space, and initial reports cite friendly service, updated decor, and an extensive tea selection in addition to coffee and espresso beverages. 549 Irving St. at 7th Ave., 415-592-8174.

David Rio, a chai company started in Bernal Heights back in 1996, has now opened a flagship retail store and café in Mid-Market, called ~CHAI BAR~. This is the first storefront for the company, which until now has only been available at local spots like The Grove or Delessio Market. The space is designed as a retail shop, where you can buy their chai blends to take home, and as a chai bar specializing in different chai lattes. Many blends will be available, including their signature Tiger Spice blend, as well as a Maple Moose blend sweetened with maple syrup and a less sweet, spicy version called Cub Chai. The animal names aren’t just about being cute: they make significant donations to animal protection groups both local and international.

There is also an espresso bar serving beans from Emeryville roaster McLaughlin Coffee, and of course lots of options to mix coffee and various chai blends. Fans of nut milks will be happy to hear that many different choices are available, including almond and hazelnut, alongside cow’s milk from Straus Family Creamery. Right now, they are still ramping up operations at the chai bar; look for a chai lab for testing and sampling new flavors in the coming months. They also plan to add boba chai, hot chocolate add-ons, and many other customizable options soon. Current hours are Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, with weekend hours coming by July. 1019 Market St. at 6th St., 415-865-0677.


The breakfast spread at Sequoia Diner. Photo from Facebook.


The iconic Oscar’s building. Yelp photo by Rick H.

Laurel District café ~SEQUOIA DINER~ hosted a soft opening this weekend and will be softly open again this Thursday and Friday; it officially opens for business on Saturday May 30th. The project, which we reported on in April, comes from partners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson, who have worked in East Bay restaurants like Duende and Camino. The café is darling, with cute vintage details and a clean, white, green, and gray palate. The café is open for breakfast and lunch Wednesday through Sunday, and most of the menu items are made in-house, including the breads, jams, sausages, and bacon. Follow along on their Facebook page for further updates. Hours are 8am-2pm Wed-Sun. 3719 MacArthur Blvd. at Loma Vista, Oakland, 510-482-3719.

~SALSIPUEDES~, the upcoming project from Jay Porter (of Oakland’s Half Orange), Luis Abundis (of Nieves Cinco de Mayo), and Bradford Taylor (of Ordinaire Wine Shop) that we mentioned a year ago, is getting ready to open in North Oakland in June. The team has announced their new executive chef, Marcus Krauss, who previously worked at the Restaurant at Meadowood. Salsipuedes will be serving “rustic California” food in the communal, festive environment of a dinner party or barbecue. Everything will be designed to be enjoyed family style, and the food will be inspired by the flavors of Baja California and Asia, as well as California’s own ingredients. The wine and beer list, from Porter, will consist entirely of West Coast producers. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., Oakland.

We’ve been tracking this one for a while, and now an announcement on Facebook confirms that the Temescal location of ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ is now open. The menu offers the same selection of beer and sausage as the previous locations, and they are celebrating the opening with a party on Thursday June 11th from 6pm to 10pm. They’ll be grilling sausages, offering beer specials, and generally having a grand old time. The restaurant’s hours are Sun-Tue 11am-10pm and Wed-Sat 11am-11pm. 4659 Telegraph Ave. at 47th St., 510-338-3536.

Washington D.C.-based chain ~SWEETGREEN~ is opening a location in Berkeley, according to Eater. They’ve already opened in Los Angeles, serving salads, healthy bowls, and more, using seasonal and local ingredients; here’s the LA menu. The Berkeley location will be housed in the iconic Oscar’s Burgers building, and they plan to preserve the architectural charm of the space, if not the style of food. Construction begins in the next month, and they are planning a fall opening. 1890 Shattuck Ave. at Hearst.