April 22, 2008

April 22, 2008

A couple weeks ago I was hearing rumblings that the Pascarella-Lacroix-Siegel deal for ~MYTH~ fell through, and it has been confirmed that chef Ron Siegel of the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room is not leaving after all. There are other rumors circulating about who is negotiating to take over the Myth space, will keep you posted. Let’s just say verrrrrry interesting if one of the rumors proves to be true. This entire thing is like reading a weird mystery novel, with big plot twists and new characters that keep showing up.

Eater broke the story that The Public in SoMa was closing, and a business called ~BASIL CANTEEN~ was moving into the historic space. I tracked down Basil Thai owner Todd Sirimongkolvit (gosh, I hope I got that right—I thought my last name was a beast!) for more details. He said he has been looking for a space to expand for the last few years (he also owns Soi Four in Berkeley), and is thrilled to find a space so close to his SoMa restaurant. Basil Canteen will be like a casual Thai izakaya of sorts, serving a fun style of food called gap klaem, which are dishes designed to pair with drinking (should come in handy with the space’s full bar). There will be about ten small plates/bar snacks and a variety of noodles (four–five sautéed noodle dishes, and five–six soup noodle dishes). I heard Public is closing this coming weekend, April 25th (the owners are focusing on their projects overseas), and Basil Canteen should be opening in July after the renovation is complete. It will be open for lunch and dinner nightly, and will be serving late, until midnight or so, on Friday and Saturday nights. 1489 Folsom St., at 11th St.

~MOOSE’S~ is officially closing on Sunday, April 27th—the sign is slated to come down, and there’s a big party planned from 3pm–5pm (be sure to RSVP at mooses [at] rivera-pr [dot] com or by calling 415-533-0041). 652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

On a new business note, this Thursday April 24th marks the long-awaited opening of ~UVA ENOTECA~ in the Lower Haight, in the former Horseshoe Coffeehouse space. The project is from wine director/GM Boris Nemchenok (of Batali's Otto in New York) and executive chef Ben Hetzel (recently of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton). I’ve mentioned the details before, but to recap: the menu will feature an extensive list of antipasti, salumi (from Salumi in Seattle, yum), over 15 cheeses, a daily pizza, bruschette, panini, tramezzini, and piadine. There will be 85 wines from small boutique Italian wine producers, with most sourced by wine consultant Jim Kennedy (Delfina, Sociale), and 20–25 served quartino-style (a small decanter that holds a quarter of a liter), and chef Hetzel's wife, Camber Lay, (Epic, Laïola, Range, Frisson) will be consulting on a list of wine-based cocktails. The look is rustic and clean, with exposed brick walls, ebony-stained floors, marble countertops, and red cedar tabletops. Hours will be Mon–Fri 5pm–12am, and Sat–Sun for brunch from 10am–12am. 568 Haight St. at Steiner, 415-829-2024.

I was asking some folks about the restaurant Eater mentioned was going to go into the now-closed ~POWELL’S PLACE~ in the Fillmore (1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore), called Tribute Restaurant, and it seems the business partners have split and the plans have disintegrated. No word about what may be going in next. In the meantime, Powell’s is working on being open and up to full speed in Velma's Jazz Club in Bayview. They are targeting June—will release more details soon. 2246 Jerrold Ave. at Upton.

Another update: ~GITANE~ is another one on track for opening in June. You may recall, this is the project from Franck Leclerc of Café Claude, with chef Lisa Eyherabide who is putting together a menu inspired by regions in Southern France and Northern Spain, with hints of North Africa. Sean Diggins, the current beverage director at Café Claude, will be overseeing the beverage and wine program, and Dominic Venegas (Range, Cantina, Bourbon & Branch) will head up the bar program—look for some Spanish sherries, and unique Spanish brandies. I’m excited to check out the funkified space from Charles Doell of Mr. Important Design, complete with hand-painted wallpaper and two vintage French 1950s chandeliers. Mmmm, glam! 6 Claude Ln. at Bush.

~BEACH CHALET BREWERY AND RESTAURANT~ and the ~PARK CHALET GARDEN RESTAURANT~ have a new executive chef, Gregory Hutchinson, formerly of Brix in Yountville. On the menu, look no further than the outdoor barbecue, plus prime rib on Monday nights at the Beach Chalet. There will also be a new Park Chalet brunch buffet on Sundays with a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary Bar, great on these warmer days. 1000 Great Highway, 415-386-8439.

Thanks to a Chowhound, I found out ~NICKIE’S~ in the Lower Haight now serves brunch Sat­–Sun 10am–3pm. Based on the posting, it sounded pretty good: lemon zest ricotta pancakes and a breakfast pizza (Fontina, prosciutto, egg, arugula, and basil), plus some brunch standards. What’s nice is new means no lines! Well, for now. 466 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-255-0300.

Quick update: ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ has new hours: lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, brunch Sat–Sun 11am–3pm, dinner Sun–Wed 5:30pm–10pm, and Thu–Sat 5:30pm–11pm. 414 Jessie St. between Mission and Market near Fifth, 415-546-4134.

Not exactly confirmed on this one, but based on an ABC application, it looks like ~K’S CAFE~ in the Outer Sunset is becoming Amisha Indian. The woman at K’s hung up on me, so perhaps their stellar customer service is what contributed to their demise? Anyway, all will be revealed. 1924 Irving St. at 20th Ave.

And whoa, what was going down with the ~BACON HOT DOG LADY~ Saturday night in North Beach? A tablehopper reader reported there was some activity with the po po. Hey, she’s busy saving drunk people from themselves, where is the crime in that?

Here are some cool events coming up: these cooking classes for ~SAN FRANCISCO COOKS FOR A CAUSE~ sound awesome. They are a series of cooking classes to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank, in partnership with the California Culinary Academy. Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9am–1pm. Each class starts with a cooking demo, then participants prepare the dishes themselves. $150 per class. California Culinary Academy–Bistro, 350 Rhode Island. To purchase tickets, contact Amy Gac, Event Coordinator at amygac [at] gmail [dot] com.

Here’s the line-up of swell chefs:

May 3: Laurence Jossel, Executive Chef, Nopa
June 14: Reylon Agustin, Chef de Cuisine, Jardinière
July 19: Bob Kantor, Executive Chef, Memphis Minnie’s B.B.Q. Joint
August 23: Glenn Wielosinski, Chef, California Culinary Academy

The American Institute of Wine & Food and Asia Society of Northern California are hosting Min Jin Lee (author of Free Food For Millionaires) at an ~ASIAN FUSION FEAST~ on Wednesday, April 30th at Ponzu. (You can read the menu here.) No corkage if you’d like to bring your own wine! 6:30pm, $95 per person/$175 per couple (AIWF & Asia Society members receive a discount rate of $90 per person/$170 per couple). Price includes tax, tip, and an autographed book. 401 Taylor St. at Geary. For tickets: call 415-927-0960, ext. 239, or order online at www.bookpassage.com.

While I was on the Book Passage site, there’s also a lunch event with ~MARIO BATALI~ on Monday, May 5th, at Il Fornaio ($125)! Molto fun.

Since we’re in Italia, mark your calendar, because coming up at ~INCANTO~, Monday, June 9th, and Wednesday, June 11th, is when the restaurant is hosting their fifth annual Head to Tail dinner. Five courses of offal. Oh yeah. (Check out the preliminary menu here.) $75 per person excluding beverages, service, and tax. And Monday, July 14th, is the night for their four-course Sicilian Mattanza Dinner. Read: lots of bluefin tuna. $65 per person, excluding beverages, service, and tax. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.

Have you ever taken a class at the Purcell Murray Culinary Lifestyle Center in Brisbane? They’re informative, usually pretty intimate, and I’ve always eaten well. Coming up on Saturday, May 3rd, executive editor of Williams-Sonoma TOOLS & TECHNIQUES (an awesome book, by the way—it’s helpful in the way a mom teaching you how to cook is helpful) Jennifer Newens will be teaching a class. This is the second in a continuing series of basic cooking techniques: ~TOOLS & TECHNIQUES, VEGETABLES 5 WAYS~, which will cover five delicious ways to prepare vegetables. Braised fennel with tomato; stir-fried spring vegetables with ginger, lemon, and mint; creamed spinach with basil; roasted baby artichokes; and grilled ratatouille. 11am–1pm, and lunch is included. $45. 185 Park Lane, Brisbane, 415-330-5557.

Further south, folks in Palo Alto are going to be stoked with this upcoming project from the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub, Pizza Antica) called ~MAYFIELD~. This bakery and café concept will be located in the Town & Country Village shopping center, mainly designed to provide all the bread for the Bacchus Group restaurants. Heck, they already have their own farm (SMIP Ranch), and guess what: they even started their own coffee roaster last week, selling both wholesale and retail! (It’s in Emeryville.) OK, back on Mayfield—it takes its name from the raucous town that was known for its saloons—it was adjacent to then-dry Palo Alto, back in the day. Things will be considerably less rowdy: imagine a hybrid between Della Fattoria and the style of food at the café upstairs at Chez Panisse, and you’ll have an idea of Mayfield’s market-driven/farm-to-table menu and bakery concept (Nancy Pitta is the baker and a partner in the project). There will be 90 seats in the café and on the patio, and there will also be a small section for bakery items for carry out. Look for a June or July opening. 855 El Camino Real at Embarcadero, Palo Alto.

Up north, the beer trend continues (a good thing, the beer trend). Dean Biersch’s new venture, ~HOPMONK TAVERN~ officially opened last week in an 105-year-old California historic landmark building in Sebastopol, just at the intersection of Highway 116 and Highway 12 in Sonoma County. I’ve already received a couple emails raving about it, always a good sign. Hopmonk offers innovative and seasonal gastropub fare from chef Lynn McCarthy, craft beers from Europe and smaller regional producers in the U.S, including 75-plus bottled beers, 16 drafts and two cask-conditioned ales, plus a 55-seat classic beer garden to enjoy it all in, and an acoustic performance stage for music. And how convenient, there’s even a regional bike trail that passes through the front of the property. Located adjacent to the tavern and beer garden is The Abbey, a 200-person, 2,000-square-foot music venue. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-7300.

From April 29th–May 3rd, ~POGGIO’S~ chef Peter McNee will be featuring some dishes Allo Spiedo (cooked on the spit). Think roasted meats—like guinea hens and pheasant, lamb, suckling pig, rabbit, and goat—that will be carved on the gorg imported carrello (heated tableside cart) McNee debuted with the bollito misto dinner earlier this year. The meats will be paired with contorni of polenta, and fagioli all’uccelletto (white beans with tomato, sage, and olive oil) that are cooked underneath the meat to catch all the drippings. Dinner only, a la carte, $19 per person includes assorted meats and side dishes. 777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415-332-7771.

~LE GARAGE~ just opened in Sausalito in the old Waterfront Café space—it’s a casual and tiny French bistro from Olivier Souvestre, the former Chez Papa chef. Breakfast and lunch for now, and there’s an outdoor patio too—since it’s in the Schoonmaker Point Marina, it’s reportedly quite the scenic spot, with a charming view of the boats. They start serving coffee at 7:30am, and lunch is served Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, with coffee extending until 4pm or so. Dinner starts May 19th and will be served Tue–Sat. 85 Liberty Ship Way, Ste. 109, Sausalito, 415-332-5625.

This isn’t very food-related, but whatever, it’s my column so I can do whatever the hell I want! In this case, it’s anything to help support and raise awareness about New Orleans. There is a documentary making its West Coast premiere at the SF International Film Festival called ~FAUBOURG TREMÉ: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS~ and it looks amazing. The first screening at the very pleasant and comfortable Sundance Kabuki Cinema is Saturday, May 3rd, at 1pm, then on Tuesday, May 6th, at 3:45pm, and Wednesday, May 7th, at 9pm. I am so there. Check it out and show your support!