March 17, 2009

March 17, 2009

I know, it’s quite the week of celebrating ~ST. PATRICK’S DAY~ (I think some people are still recovering from the weekend’s festivities)—but tonight is the night. I’m going to be cruising home to the 650 to celebrate the Irish side of my heritage with my mom’s corned beef and cabbage. While any bar with an “O’” or “Mc” in its name will be celebrating today (see, even McDonald's has Shamrock Shakes), here are a few ideas about where to eat around town:

Per their newsletter, ~MAGNOLIA~ is celebrating “12 consecutive years of no green beer,” and will be releasing two beers, plus offering Marin Sun Farms corned beef hash at lunch, and a bangers and mash special is lined up for dinner. 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

~PERRY'S ON THE EMBARCADERO~ will be celebrating their first St. Patrick's Day all day long, offering patrons pitchers of green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish stew specials, with complimentary Irish soda bread. 155 Steuart St. at Howard, 415-495-6500.

~HAYES STREET GRILL~ is hosting an Irish dinner option, but they are pretty booked up—maybe you can score a cancellation. 320 Hayes St. at Gough, 415-863-5545.

Lastly, if you’d like to partake in a different kind of green (no, I am not talking about what you can get from a pot club, although I could make just as much selling eighths of Farina’s pesto on the streets of Pac Heights), ~FARINA~ has extended the Festa del Pesto yet another week, running the special pricing until Sunday March 22nd. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero, 415-565-0360.

Um, speaking of green, who the hell stole ~MR. PICKLE~? Come on, someone better give him back to Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop in the Mission. That little rootin’ tootin’ sandwich totin’ pickle makes me smile every time I see it. Aw heck.

~CORNER~, the new wine bar / café / hangout in the Mission opened last night for dinner. This little sister to Weird Fish will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus plenty of wine throughout the day (a food group for some of you). Breakfast begins at 7am, with Four Barrel coffee, house-made muffins, plus a compact and rotating menu of items like quiches (perhaps one with fresh garden herb and ricotta), waffles, crepes (like house-smoked salmon and crème fraîche), and frittata (sign me up for the one with smoked bacon, crescenza, and spinach)—please note that the menu is starting small, though. There will also be a few fresh juices and smoothies. Lunch means soup (like cream of cardamom and celery root soup), salads, panini (like grilled flank steak and red pepper coulis, all $10), and for dinner, plates to share like goat cheese-stuffed chicken with five-onion marmalade, or sides of soft gorgonzola polenta, and Brussels sprouts with guanciale. The wines span from New to Old World, and are all biodynamic, sustainable, and/or organic (ditto on the ingredients on the menu); there will also be three local beers on tap. The look is industrial-euro, with vintage fixtures, tall windows, handmade tables from salvaged wood, groovy bird-themed wallpapers, and just wait until the outside patio opens.

A few things to note: there won’t be any to-go coffee, unless you bring your own container or buy a Mason jar at Corner to put your coffee in. Also useful to know: there’s free WiFi until 4pm, and then the place closes from 4pm–5pm. The Corner reopens at 5pm, with a happy hour until 6pm, offering a complimentary small bite of something from the kitchen. Dinner will run from 6pm–1am. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-932-6939.

Coming soon to SoMa will be ~FARMERBROWN’S LITTLE SKILLET~, an offshoot kitchen running out of 330 Ritch. Starting April 1st, you’ll be able to get biscuit sandwiches in the morning at 330 Ritch’s walk-up window (where the panini window was, for you SoMa workers in-the-know), stuffed with bacon, egg, and cheese or house-made sausage ($5–$6). There will also be chicken and waffles available for breakfast or lunch ($5–$8) made with chicken from Petaluma Poultry. When you swing by to get your coffee in the morning from neighboring Cento, you will also be able to pick up a box lunch from Little Skillet for later. Hours in April will be Mon–Fri 8am–3pm, and then Tue–Sat 8pm–2am for 330 Ritch patrons. Look for additional early evening hours in May when baseball returns. 330 Ritch at Brannan.

~MIDI~ is getting close, the new Joie de Vivre Hospitality restaurant project in the former Perry’s Downtown space (it adjoins the Galleria Park Hotel). Michelle Mah, formerly of Ponzu, is the executive chef of this California brasserie-style restaurant, and Michael Guthrie (Myth, BIX, Tra Vigne) designed the 2,500-square-foot space. There’s a full bar, open kitchen, and a casual dining area on the street level highlighted with hot pink accent lighting; the upstairs dining room overlooks Sutter Street, and is laid out in a mix of tables and banquettes upholstered in gray fabric with subtle, thin lines of color. Menu items include a starter of veal sweetbreads with celery root puree, chanterelles, celery leaf salad; a sample main dish is Liberty Farms duck breast with Carmargue red rice cake, pea tendrils, fava leaves, and ginger-rhubarb gastrique. Midi is waiting for a final sign off with inspections, and could potentially have a soft opening this Friday if all systems are go. I’ll have more for you next week. 185 Sutter St. at Kearny, 415-835-6400.

Due to open this Thursday is ~PIZZANOSTRA~ in Potrero, next to Sally’s, FYI. More deets were in last week’s tablehopper. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-558-9493.

Also looks like ~MERCURY~ opened, the café in Hayes Valley I mentioned a few weeks back. 201 Octavia St. at Page, 415-252-7855.

I know I am not the only one stoked with the piece of news: ~NOPALITO~ started take-out yesterday! Guess what the housebound hopper said last night? That’s right, “para llevar,” baby. I am a sucker for the carnitas, which make an especially scrumptious treat the next day shredded with some eggs and cheese, uh huh. The free parking lot is handy for those of you who, unlike me, can’t walk on over. 306 Broderick St. at Oak, 415-437-0303.

The upcoming second location of ~WOODHOUSE FISH COMPANY~ on Fillmore now has a chef, Jon Hearnsberger, who was previously at the Anchor Oyster Bar for six years. The current plan is to open the first week of April. 1914 Fillmore St. at Bush.

Thanks to tablehopper reader Jason B., with this detailed update after riding the L to the Parkside area:

~CAFÉ BENALLY~, my intended destination of this adventure, had newspaper all over the window. Sadly, I will never get to try their crepes. Phone has been disconnected.” 1131 Taraval St. at 21st Ave.

“Another good spot, ~GREEN EARTH CAFÉ~, is morphing into Mocha 101 according to the sign on the door and the guy who came out when he saw me looking inside. A few weeks and the transition should be complete.” 1722 Taraval St. at 27th Ave.

“Likely old news, but ~RICK'S ALOHA CAFÉ~ shut down in November and from the sign on the window, the ~PARKSIDE TAVERN~ will be taking its place.” [Ed. note: Hmmm, according to the ABC permit, Parkside Tavern looks like it has withdrawn. Anyone know wassup?] 1940 Taraval St. at 29th Ave.

has changed their name to 37°.” 1155 Taraval St. at 21st Ave., 415-566-3887.

“Lastly, from my neck of the woods, the very intriguing ~FAMILIA LOPEZ MEXICAN~ plan has a new name up (Doña Mago) and neon open sign. I am so going.” 2913 16th St. at S. Van Ness.

Now, that’s what I call a star reader. Thanks Jason!

Here’s an update on a few coming soon projects:

Some of you have been asking me the status on the upcoming ~RESTAURANT PROJECT IN THE DOGPATCH FROM THE A16/SPQR FOLKS~. From what I’ve heard, the project is still on, but is now looking like the end of this year, or perhaps the first quarter of 2010. Stand by.

(the spot moving into the former Powell’s) has delayed the opening until May. The interior redesign was more significant than originally planned. I’ll keep you posted. 1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore.

, the casual pizza and to-go place that was slated to go in the former Pasta Paradiso spot in the Financial District has been put on hold. 318 Kearny St. at Bush.

Over in Japantown, I learned ~HONU'S ISLAND GRINDS AND BAR~ has closed. 1737 Buchanan St. at Post.

I know some downtown workers will be bummed to learn that the food truck ~SEOUL ON WHEELS~ has pulled it on over, so to speak.

Staff change over at ~CITIZEN CAKE~: Randy Tweedle is the new GM (his background includes Gary Danko, Gordon Ramsay and Restaurant Saul in NYC, Zuni, and Boa Steakhouse at Caesar's in Las Vegas). There is also a new dinner menu, check it out here. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.

Ya like playing dominos? Every Tuesday, you’ll want to hit Bones and Blues at ~THE FRONT PORCH~, starting Tuesday March 31st. You can come with a playing partner and your own set of bones, or not—The Front Porch can set you up with both. Discounted drinks and appetizers will be available for purchase. 5pm–7pm. 65-A 29th St. at San Jose, 415-282-9043.

Here’s another sweet happy hour (literally): ~CMBSWEETS~, the jam-making business at La Cocina, is hosting a milk & cookie happy hour on Tuesday March 24th at the new(ish) Wine Bar & Shop in Embarcadero Two. Seems that while the jam-maker was waiting for the jam to get ready, she started perfecting her cookie recipes. So, about that happy hour: just-baked cookies (chocolate chip, PB&J, etc.) will be paired with school-sized cartons of milk that the bar will use to create some wine cocktails (think drinks that taste like milk and Kahlua). 5pm. 2 Embarcadero Center (Front St. between Sacramento and Clay).

And it wouldn’t be a recession without a weekly meal deal update:

The sleek ~LUCE~ restaurant at the InterContinental has launched the “Power Lunch,” a gourmet three-course lunch for $20.09 (tax and gratuity not included). If you have to be out of there in an hour, let them know, because they can make it happen. Offered Monday through Friday, the “Power Lunch” menu may include: Capay Farms assorted greens with breakfast radishes and cranberries or lentil soup and Truffle Tremor goat cheese; braised pork belly "Vietnamese sandwich" with cilantro, mint, and jalapeño, or grilled chicken "BLT" with basil aioli, or butternut squash risotto and chanterelles, or short rib pappardelle and wild mushrooms; and to finish, Nutella pot de crème or yogurt mousse with tangerine gelée and sable Breton. 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6633.
~CASSIS RESTAURANT~ is closed from March 16th–31st for a short spring break, but when they reopen on April 1st, they will be launching a daily happy hour from 5:30pm–6:30pm, with two-for-one beers, wines by the glass, and cocktails (served at the bar only, closed Mondays). If you stick around for dinner, you should know in April Cassis will launch “bring a friend Tuesdays”—you get 15% off your total food and beverage bill for all tables of four or larger. On Wednesdays there’s free corkage (two bottle limit) or receive 25% off the purchase of all bottles of wine with dinner. And on Thursdays, you get two-for-one desserts with the purchase of two main courses. (Not valid with the $25 Early Dinner Special and may not be combined with any other offers.) 2101 Sutter St. at Steiner, 415-440-4500.

has launched a pre-theater dining menu (available before 6pm Tue–Sat) and a new lounge menu that is offered all evening Tue–Sat. The pre-theater menu provides the choice of three savory courses for $55 (which includes the classic Ahi tuna tartare and lobster pot pie—the rabbit confit tortellini with black trumpet mushrooms caught my eye) and the option of three paired wine tastes for $20. 335 Powell St. at Geary, 415-397-9222.

I hoped to do an ~EASTER~ roundup this week, but the press releases are still coming in. In the meantime, here’s an event where I’d make a reservation a few nights prior (Friday April 10th): the second annual ~JEWISH PASSOVER DINNER AT PERBACCO WITH JOYCE GOLDSTEIN~. The dinner will highlight Goldstein's renditions of well-known and lesser-known Italian-Jewish favorites, including Rome's famed fried artichokes, which originated in its ancient Jewish ghetto. The menu also includes chopped duck liver, Italian style; Passover soup with chicken dumplings and eggs; lamb shoulder braised with olives; and veal breast stuffed with peppers and an omelet. Dinner includes antipasti, desserts, and side dishes served family style (like braised fennel, or a spring stew of fava beans, artichokes, and lettuce), and individual choices for first and second courses. Four courses for $49. 230 California St. at Battery, 415-955-0663.

Fan of paella? ~SAM’S CHOWDER HOUSE~ has started hosting a three-course authentic paella dinner with guest chef Jose Luis Relinque of Iberia Restaurant in Menlo Park (he was born in Seville, and raised in Barcelona) and Sam’s executive chef Lewis Rossman. They set up three huge paella pans on burners in the oceanfront terrace room. Guests can participate as much as they’d like, while sampling passed Spanish appetizers with cava and sangria. Then everyone sits down for some tapas and three kinds of paella dishes paired with Spanish wines, plus dessert. The next one is Thursday March 26th. $58 (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations required, space is limited. 6:30pm, appetizers; 7pm, tapas and dinner. 4210 N. Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, 650-712-0245, ext. 4.

Michael LeBlanc’s ~PICÁN~ restaurant in Oakland is slated to open Monday March 23rd for dinner (lunch will be coming later). It’s opening on the ground floor of a new residential high-rise called the Broadway Grand (which is also the intersection it’s located next to). To recap, Picán’s specialty will be modern, California-influenced southern cuisine from executive chef Dean Dupuis, with Southern, Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean influences. Some menu items include “Southern foie gras” (pan-fried chicken livers with Benton’s smokehouse bacon, crispy shallots, charred scallions, and sweet onion-Marsala gravy); Charleston she-crab soup; bourbon and molasses-lacquered duck; and a side of hoppin’ John.

Tonya Bellusci of Bellusci Design (District, Cozmo’s Corner Grill) designed the space, which seats 158 guests inside and will accommodate another 24 outside in a sidewalk seating area (coming soon). The look is “down home traditional meets cosmopolitan sophistication.” Some elements include front doors of opaque amber glass, a copper mesh “drape” cascading from the 19-foot ceiling, reclaimed solid wood pieces, faux alligator wall coverings, and high-gloss concrete floors. And I know you didn’t forget about their bourbon collection (I sure didn’t), which is intended to be the Bay Area’s largest selection of bourbons. The 30-foot bar was crafted of crushed pecan shells and limestone and hand-molded on site, plus there’s the private dining room, the Bourbon Room, with room for 18. Dinner Mon–Thu 5pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm, and Sun 5pm–9:30pm. Until Picán’s OpenTable profile gets posted, you can call to make a reservation. 2295 Broadway at West Grand, Oakland, 510-834-1000.