June 23, 2009

June 23, 2009

What is touted to be the City's greenest café, ~THE PLANT CAFE ORGANIC~ will open this Thursday June 25th in Pier 3 on the city's waterfront, just north of the Ferry Building. It's a spacious one: 4,600 square feet, and 112 seats. CCS Architecture/Cass Calder Smith designed the space (La Mar, Perbacco, Delica rf-1, Terzo, Restaurant Lulu, and the Plant Cafe Organic's Steiner Street location are other CCS-designed spaces). There will be plenty of natural light, views of the Bay, natural wood furnishings, a private patio on the waterfront, and a live-fire pizza oven. Flora Grubb will also design and install a living green wall, made with air plants in the dining room. The south space will feature quick-service organic coffee, pastries, lunches, dinners, and grab-and-go items (like soba noodles, quinoa, etc.), while the north space will provide a full-service lunch and dinner menu (items are $20 and under). Both spaces will be lined with sidewalk seating on the Embarcadero.

For those who aren't familiar with the Marina location, The Plant Cafe Organic (formerly known as lettüs) serves an almost purely organic (95%) and primarily locally sourced menu—but to clarify, it's not just vegetarian. There will be fresh juices and smoothies, soups, salads (like one of avocado, ruby red grapefruit, arugula, and creamy black pepper and macadamia nut dressing), and sandwiches (like BBQ chicken or tempeh with chipotle BBQ sauce, roasted red onion, cheddar cheese, and garlic aioli), plus organic appetizers (how about some oysters, or spicy fava bean and cherry tomato bruschetta?), entrées (including my favorite vegetarian burger), pizza (there's one of roasted chicken, caramelized onion, Point Reyes blue cheese, fennel soubise), organic beer and wines, cocktails (like the honeycomb colada with coconut milk, organic pineapple juice, rum chilled with local honeycomb, garnished with toasted coconut flakes), and house-made desserts.

Here's more on how green the project is: the sustainably designed restaurant space utilizes non-toxic, natural, and in many cases recycled building materials plus solar panels on the roof; take-out packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable; all paper materials use recycled paper; and all biodegradable waste will be composted. The Plant also serves free, filtered water (both flat and carbonated). Café hours are 7:30am–10pm, with the sit-down menu served from 11am–10pm. Pier 3, at Jackson.

This just in: ~CANE ROSSO~, the project from Daniel Patterson and Lauren Kiino at the Ferry Building Marketplace (in the former Mistral space) has an opening date: Monday July 13th. They are just finishing construction this week, and it's reportedly looking pretty darned good. The chef is Doug Borkowski, who was most recently a sous chef at Google. Before that, he worked together with Kiino for five years at Delfina. I will share more details about the concept, hours, etc. next week. 1 Ferry Plaza.

According to some liquor license permit changes, looks like the gents from Tonic on Polk (Ben Bleiman, Duncan Ley) are taking over ~BAR JOHNNY~. I didn't hear back from either party by post-time, so I will have more details about the fate of Russian Hill's late-night burger next week. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-268-0140.

A few more details about the place I mentioned last week that is opening in the now-closed City Grille: ~BISTRO 24~ (site not live yet). (This is a project from Stefano Coppola of Lupa.) The chef is Pierre Mangé (how's that for a last name for a chef?), formerly an opening sous at Contigo, a lead line cook at SPQR, and a sous at Chow. The new contemporary American comfort menu (with some international and Mediterranean influences) will include 10–15 small plates ranging from $5.50–$11, plus main dishes. Look for a rotating menu of dishes like lamb sliders, grilled oysters, and mac and cheese, all made with quality and sustainable products. The wine list is getting revamped, with up to 50 international wines, and 15–20 by the glass. The place is also getting repainted, with new artwork, and candles on the tables. The opening should be around July 1st or so. 4123 24th St. at Castro, 415-285-2400.

Also in Noe Valley: a ~LA BOULANGE~ will be opening in the Noe Valley Pizza space, probably late this fall. No word on when Noe Valley Pizza will close since it's hard to tell when permits will go through. I spoke with Bay Bread's Thomas Lefort, who mentioned they are going to be putting some outdoor seating and benches on the sides of the corner building. 3898 24th St. at Sanchez.

After that unfortunate (but fortunately contained) fire three-and-a-half weeks ago, ~E & O TRADING COMPANY~ is back open. 314 Sutter St. at Grant, 415-693-0303.

Lunchtime in SoMa just keeps getting better: yesterday ~TOWN HALL~ kicked off their first lunchtime BBQ in the courtyard flanking the restaurant, serving fried chicken sandwiches for $9 (they do some of my favorite fried chicken in SF), a smoked and grilled andouille po' boy for $8 (look for other kinds of sausages in the future), and their St. Louis spareribs with sides, plus cookies and Town Hall's famous butterscotch pot de crème for dessert. In the future, Mitch Rosenthal said to look for some quirky specials, like BBQ baloney or a Taylor pork roll, a Jersey-style sandwich he remembers from his childhood. (Follow menu updates on their Twitter feed.) The Town Hall folks have been trying to work out a take-out concept for a while, so it seems they have found it. The first day was all hands on deck, since over 150 people showed up. You can enter the courtyard either off Fremont or Howard—it's just north of the restaurant. Hours are Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm, and there are high hopes to do a happy hour in the future (maybe… and with grilled oysters, can you imagine?). 342 Howard St. at Fremont, 415-908-3900.

Meanwhile, over at their sister restaurant, ~ANCHOR & HOPE~, it looks like the already-popular beer selection is seriously ramping up. They brought on Eric Cripe from The Jug Shop to consult on the list, and are putting in 16 taps, plus they will have a beer engine to hand pump beer from casks (how British), and eventually will have 60–80 bottles. The menu is already quite beer-friendly, so this is going to be a fun program to see take shape. The new beer list will be in place on July 8th, when Anchor & Hope kicks off a happy hour with $1 oysters, and chef Sarah Schafer is making some sausages (she's actually using the first smoker Town Hall bought since they are now on their third). 83 Minna St. at 2nd St., 415-501-9100.

John Quintos of Cento (the awesome alley café next to Little Skillet) just opened an offshoot kiosk on Monday, ~VEGA AT LANGTON~. There is Blue Bottle Coffee espresso and a drip bar (and the wonderful New Orleans iced coffee), but no French press. The Little Skillet/330 Ritch kitchen is baking some sweet baked goods for the kiosk, like bread pudding, scones, and other goodies, some with a little bit of a Southern bent. Hours are currently 8:30am–3:30pm, and they may extend until 6pm or so later on. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th St.

Speaking of Cento, looks like both Cento and Little Skillet will be open on the weekends, starting July 11th. Cento's hours will be Sat–Sun 8am–4pm, and Little Skillet will be open on Saturdays from 9am–3:30pm. Mmmmm, fried chicken and waffles and breakfast po' boys and coffee weekends are imminent! 330 and 360 Ritch St. at Townsend.

While we're on chicken and waffles, ~GUSSIE'S~ keeps getting closer: now we're looking at July 6th. More on this soon! 1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore.

Say prost over this good news for ~SCHMIDT'S DELI~: after some tedious delays, their beer and wine license is in effect! Dinner service will be kicking off on July 7th. Hours will then be Tue–Sun 11am–11pm (no more lunch service on Mondays). 2400 Folsom St. at 20th St., 415-410-0200.

Looks like ~GOOD EVENING THURSDAY~, the weekly secret steakhouse upstairs at Bruno's in the Pussycat Lounge, is wrapping up at the end of July as OPEN Restaurant prepares for an event at SFMOMA in October. So get your booty over there soon if you want to experience it! Every Thursday from 7pm–2am. 2389 Mission St. at 20th St. For reservations, contact goodeveningthursday [at] gmail [dot] com.

After 20 years in business, the owners of neighborhood fixture ~NEW SAIGON RESTAURANT~ are retiring, and a place called ~MATCHA SUSHI~ is taking its place. Look for the change to happen in July or so. 915 Kearny St. at Jackson, 415-982-3853.

Pizza news: according to permits, a pizza places called ~PI BAR~ is coming to the Mission in the former Suriya Thai space. More details coming atcha if and when the owners (Richard Rosen and Jennifer Garris) get in touch with me. Anyone? Bueller? 1432 Valencia St. at 25th St.

In three or four months, Hayes Valley's ~PATXI'S PIZZA~ is going to be opening a location for their deep-dish pizza in the Marina. The spacious location is opening in a new building, and will have a large zinc-topped bar (25 feet long), plus room for 40 seated in the dining room, with banquettes and a communal table, and a mezzanine that will be the perfect party spot, with room for 20. There will also be 16 outdoor seats with heat lamps, and it's on the sunny side of Fillmore, bonus. There will be 30 wines, and 10 beers on tap. Lunch and dinner will be served daily. 3318 Fillmore St. at Chestnut. (Photo from Patxi's Pizza.)

FYI, ~COI~ will be closed from June 28th–July 8th or so for a kitchen upgrade. 373 Broadway at Montgomery, 415-393-9000.

The tablehopper tipster Jason B. writes: "In Embarcadero 5, Saigon Deli Express (not sure who used to be here) and Rosanero Pizza (used to be Parkway Pizza) opened, and Mediterranean Fresh (kebabs, platters, the usual) has taken over Mama Lucy's" in SoMa (1 Gilbert St. at Bryant, 415-252-9464).

The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale (it's for charity) is on, running from June 20th–28th. Thanks to tablehopper reader Susan W. who tipped me off about the ~VIOLET SWEET SHOPPE~. A variety of 100% vegan baked goods made with organic, local, and fair-trade ingredients were available at Little Otsu over the weekend, and at the Hemlock on Monday night. Not sure about any future Violet Sweet Shoppe bake sale locations—check the website for details. Here's the menu, which includes items like cupcakes, peanut butter cookies, and gingerbread sandwich cookies. You can make special orders on the site. (Photo from Violet Sweet Shoppe.)

And this Saturday June 27th, the writers behind SF blogs The Urban Housewife and Vegansaurus! are putting on ~TWO MORE VEGAN BAKE SALES~ for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale. There will be cupcakes, cookies, brownies, pie, whoopie pies, and more. There will also be gluten-free options and treats for dogs. Additionally, a selection of cupcakes will be provided by local vegan bakery Sugar Beat Sweets. Sales will benefit Animal Place (a sanctuary for abused and discarded farmed animals) and East Bay Animal Animal Advocates. Saturday June 27th from 11am–4pm at 3506 16th St. at Sanchez, in front of Ike's Place, and Sunday June 28th from 11am–4pm in the 800 block of Capp St. near 24th St.

More sweets: MenuPages had the scoop on ~SWEET~ on Church, "a new confectionary … in the tiny space between Sparky's and Crepevine, the Small Potatoes [Catering] off-shoot deals in cakes, cookies, candy, and other tooth-rotting things. There was a chalkboard out front advertising cupcakes, but the last one had just been sold minutes before our arrival. We did manage to sample the house-made spiced caramel (caramel laced with cloves, cardamom and cinnamon), which was a lot like eating a caramel apple without the annoying apple part. They also had regular caramel apples on the shelf (if that's your thing), along with rocky road, and fresh marshmallows." The website also mentions root beer float or Mexican red chili chocolate cupcakes, and a peppered peanut brittle. I also wanna know about their "I F***ed Up" gift box, hilarious. (I just don't want anyone to eff up with me so I get it.) Open Sun–Thu 11am–7pm, Fri–Sat 11am–8pm. 218 Church St. at Market, 415-552-8992.

Also this Thursday June 25th, Fran Gage is coming to the ~THE TYLER FLORENCE SHOP~. Fran, who owned Fran Gage Patisserie for 10 years in San Francisco and is a noted food writer, will be signing her new book, The New American Olive Oil and conducting an olive oil tasting from 6pm–8pm. 59 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley.

I wouldn't delay on getting tickets for this event on Tuesday July 7th, the latest in the ~A MOVEABLE FEAST~ series to benefit CUESA. At Aziza restaurant, join executive chef Mourad Lahlou and James Syhabout, formerly chef de cuisine of Manresa (and opening Commis in Oakland later this year) as they highlight farmer Jesse Kuhn's produce from Marin Roots Farm. $80, or $100 including wine, inclusive of tax and gratuity (a percentage of each ticket cost will benefit CUESA). 7pm. Aziza Restaurant, 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.

A couple all-you-can-consume meal deals (consider yourself warned):

Why stop at all-you-can-drink mimosas, when there are still wines and beer to consume? ~CIRCA~ is kicking off Pink Wednesdays: for $19, you can take your pick from a couple salads, and for an entrée, you can choose from a half-pound hamburger or turkey burger and French fries, or a roasted half-chicken with mashed potatoes and vegetables, or fish and chips. Oh yeah, and you get bottomless wine (white or red) or beer (Coors Light, hmmm). Dinner seating starts at 5:30pm, and a DJ will be coming in at 8pm. Once you're good and heated, you can continue your buzz at the bar, which is where 10% of all sales from 8pm–12am will be donated to the Komen San Francisco Race for the Cure, which is on September 27th. Pink Wednesdays will be happening every Wednesday until the race. 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-351-0175.

This isn't really helping our seafood population in our oceans, but here goes: ~OZUMO RESTAURANT IN OAKLAND~ has announced the introduction of Sushi Mondays with an "all you can eat" menu priced at $30 per person, offered every Monday night from 5pm–10pm. The special is available only at the restaurant's sushi bar and includes rolls, nigiri, and select appetizers prepared by master sushi chef Ido Kiyotaka. Guests who choose to make reservations are asked to mention that they will be coming in specifically for Sushi Monday; walk-in diners are also welcome. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-286-9866.

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