February 19, 2008

February 19, 2008

Did you enjoy your day off? I think I would have enjoyed my day writing a wee bit more if I wasn't fighting this lame cold for the last three days. Which is exactly why I ordered some soup for delivery: beef noodle soup from ~THAI PLACE II~, to be exact. It's a random Thai place on Divisadero that has two of my fave delivery dishes ever. For $6.25 you get this enormous bowl (good for two, really) of thin noodles (packed up separately—you add them to the broth once it's delivered) with rare beef, springy beef balls, and bean sprouts, in a delish garlicky broth. I get some sriracha going and man, that thing will clear you right up—whoooosh. My friend and I are also obsessed with their Thai-style barbecue chicken, another winner, for $8.95, with an addictive spicy fish sauce on the side. They deliver pretty quickly too—check out their menu on Menu Pages the next time you are sick, hungry, or both!

Speaking of hot beef (no, I am not talking about the latest Hollywood hottie), I can barely wait to tuck into some bollito misto at the tablehopper supper in March, which is why I'll be going to Poggio this week for a warm-up with their bollito misto dinner (running until February 23)! But I am especially excited for Sunday, March 2, when I'll be hosting our special ~TABLEHOPPER SUPPER~ at Piccino, featuring their delish pizzas, bruschetta, bollito misto with Marin Sun Farms beef, dessert (natch), and Donnafugata wines. Did you reserve your spot yet? Let's eat!

Had a chance to catch up with Laurence Jossel of Nopa, who just returned from a week in Mexico with one of his cooks, Jose Ramos. They spent a week eating their way through Mexico City, Toluca, and Morelia and Patxcuaro in the Michoacan, calling it "Taco Tour 2008" (we're talking about 15 a day, people). They also ate stews and soups at markets, plus chorizo, carnitas, panuchos, moles, pepitas, the works. Why all the Mexican food? Because they will be opening ~NOPALITO~ in about six months, a quick-service Mexican joint with room for 40, just next door to Falletti Foods, Peet's Coffee, and Delessio at Broderick Place! Yes, mere blocks from my front door, heh heh. There will also be take-out, and since there's that spacious parking lot, well, it just became even more destination worthy for folks! Nopa cooks Jose Ramos and Gonzalo Guzman will be running the show, using organic ingredients and cooking up dishes like big cazuelas of complex stews, soups, and beans, plus tamales (possibly made with masa from Rancho Gordo hominy—stand by), enchiladas, and hello, carnitas by the pound. There won't be any Coca-Cola, even the Mexican kind; instead, they will be making their own drinks, from aguas frescas to some carbonated versions. Looking forward to the proposed August opening. ¡Arriba! Proposed hours are daily 11am–9pm. 306 Broderick St. at Oak.

Due to open a month later will be ~SNACK BAR~, the Nopa folks' upcoming project in the Mission I alluded to back in November. No, it's not small plates, nor is it straight-up Spanish tapas. Imagine snacky bites like croquettes with brandade, or marinated mushrooms, or a delicious local cheese with a tasty compote. There won't be a menu, just a big board with that day's dishes written out. Amy Brown, the talented pastry chef at Nopa, will be running the kitchen. You'll order at the counter and have a seat, savoring a sherry or vino chosen by Nopa's wine director, Chris Deegan, who will be running the floor at Snack Bar. (You can read more from Deegan on sherry in a wino piece he wrote for tablehopper.) There will be a standing-only bar and about 30 seats, with potentially some outdoor seating down the road. Snack Bar will be open all day, from 11am–10pm, perhaps until 11pm on the weekends. 2495 Harrison St. at 21st.

Chowhounders have been reporting on sushi chef ~SACHIO KOJIMA'S~ guest nights at Isa in the Marina. Kabuto A&S fans will remember him from years back, before he sadly sold his restaurant on Geary and moved to Mt. Shasta due to his wife's failing health. The good news is his wife is doing better, and Sachio San is serving a special sushi menu at Isa every Monday–Thursday, until March 27. I took a peek at the menu, and there is a variety of nigiri and sashimi, including amaebi and sunazuri (yellowtail belly), plus some rolls, like outside/inside rolls, including one with avocado out and tempura shrimp in, and there is Sachio's spicy tuna too, as an appetizer, or a roll. Come by and say kanpai! 3324 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-567-9588.

In other Isa-related news, their second outpost, ~DOMO~, is now slated to open on March 18 in Hayes Valley. Gettin' close! 511 Laguna St. at Hayes.

Scheduled to open next Monday, February 25, in the former Karamanduka space in the Richmond will be a 50-seat Italian restaurant, ~TIZIANO~. The menu will feature Italian dishes from a variety of regions, although Tuscany will figure prominently. It will be open for lunch and dinner daily, 11am–2:30pm, and 5pm–10pm. 1801 Clement St. at 19th, 415-422-0502.

I heard word that the Bacchus Management Group's big project that is moving in the former Prego space in Cow Hollow will no longer be called ~VACHE~ (French for cow, Cow Hollow, get it?). After chatting with partner Tim Stannard about how naming a restaurant is one of the hardest things to do, he decided to open up the naming to you, o' clever tablehopper readers! If they end up choosing one of the names you submitted, the winner will get a round-trip coach ticket to Paris. Yeah, how's that for an incentive? If two or more people end up submitting the same (winning) name, whoever sent it first would be the winner. So here's more to help you with your ideation: the project is a sprawling 7,000-square-foot brasserie, a luxe one at that. The name is ideally French or French sounding, but must pronounceable to someone who has never spoken French—so something like the famed Les Deux Magots would be out. Send your suggestions to name@bacchusmanagement.com—the deadline is March 1. Bonne chance!

Was sad to read on Eater that ~CAFÉ LAMBRETTA~ on Polk Street has closed. An Eater reader/poster says, "It's a Grind had a no competition clause in their lease, so now the landlord has to relocate Lambretta." Bummer. Can someone put a "No coffeehouse names with puns" clause in there too? I have a call in to owner John Quintos to confirm and see what's up, and if he'll be scooting to another location in the city. 1806 Polk St. at Washington.

Folks awaiting the arrival of the Lower Haight's ~ESTELA'S FRESH SANDWICHES~ to the Soma Grand will be sorry to hear it fell through—the build-out was going to be too expensive for them since it's such a raw space. We'll see if they find a second spot elsewhere. In the meantime, I'll keep you posted on Charles Phan of the Slanted Door's plans for his project going in—nothing to report quite yet.

Next week, look for a big New Orleans recap from my trip there last July (I know, I know, I am lagging SO hard). But in the meantime, I wanted to mention that the inspiring and oh-so-spirited sixth annual ~TALES OF THE COCKTAIL~ event is coming up, from July 16–20, and there's a contest too! Bartenders are invited to submit a punch recipe—the winning recipe will be the official cocktail at this year's event. All cocktails must include both Old New Orleans Amber Rum and Martell VSOP. Some groovy trivia for you: punch was derived from the Hindu word for five and is traditionally made with five ingredients: liquor, sugar or sweetening agent, citrus juice, tea (or other spice), and water. Recipes must be submitted by Monday, March 17, at 5pm. The official cocktail will be announced in early April, and will be featured and served throughout the event. Winners will receive cash prizes. Visit for guidelines and entry forms. Cheers!

Oh, and for a local competition, next Monday Rye is hosting their monthly ~MONDAY MIXING CONTEST~, with Charbay Green Tea Vodka. Email greg at rosewoodbar dot com if you are a bartender and want to compete—of course there are some prizes. Things get shakin' at 7pm; everyone (over 21, mind you) is invited to attend. Rye, 688 Geary St. at Leavenworth.