June 30, 2009

June 30, 2009

The opening for ~TRADEMARK~ in the former Voda space in Belden Alley is looking like this Friday, or next Monday. To recap, this 85-seater is from Peter Snyderman of Elite Café and the Café Bastille/Plouf/B44 crew of Olivier Azancot and Eric Klein. The deets: it's a contemporary American grill, with full liquor and custom cocktails, a 70-bottle wine list, and yay, outdoor seating (heated, natch). The chef is the executive chef of The Elite Café, Jerry Mendoza. A peek at a preliminary menu includes potential dishes like Niman Ranch sirloin rolls stuffed with sweet peppers and Vidalia onions; six tasty-sounding salads, like grilled summer corn salad with fire roasted peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, crumbled feta, and chipotle vinaigrette; and main dishes like bacon-wrapped red trout with beluga lentils, braised escarole, fingerling potatoes, and sherry vinaigrette. Dinner Mon–Sat, lunch Mon–Fri, and open continuously during the afternoon hours. 56 Belden Place at Sutter, 415-397-8800.

Got word that ~THE PUB~ is opening this Thursday in the former O'Neill's spot at Ghirardelli Square. Look for a Southern (and value-priced) menu with BBQ ribs, brisket, hot links, and chicken in a signature Southern style (saucier), plus Cajun-style numbers like jambalaya, dirty rice, and corn bread. Scott Broccoli (my new favorite in industry names, sorry Emily Wines and Pierre Mangé, you've been bumped!), Barbi Tice, and Tom Whalen are behind the project. Barbi Tice and Scott Broccoli jointly own Aces at Sutter, and Barbi Tice is a partner in the Bell Tower on Polk Street. There will be 60 seats inside (including large booths) and 24 outside on the heated outdoor patio with waterfront views. Food served daily from 11am–10pm, with a bar menu from 10pm–1:30am. Validated parking is available at the Ghirardelli Square garage. 851 Beach St. (the North side of Ghirardelli Square), 415-351-0500.

And now, the pizza report:

Fantastico! Tony Gemignani's ~TONY'S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ opened this past weekend in the former La Felce/Lou's space on Washington Square. I gotta tell ya, I am mighty excited to try this pizza. I looked at the menu, and here's how the margherita ($18), which was the 2007 World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy breaks down: the dough is mixed by hand using San Felice flour and then proofed in Neapolitan wood boxes, topped with San Marzano tomatoes DOP, sea salt, fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil from Campania; limited to 73 per day. There are a variety of pizzas, including calzone, stromboli, Sicilian pizza a teglia, and pastas, plus there is a kid's menu. The space has about 75 seats inside, sporting a New York/Milano classic pizza place look, a bit 1950s in style. The dining room is definitely family friendly, but there is also a full bar for those who want to hang out at the bar instead. And bonus, there should be 26 seats available outside, hopefully by this weekend. Line for a table too long? You can also do takeout. To read past tablehopper details about the project, including the four pizza ovens in use, Tony's unique team-building classes, and his pizza school (which has classes for the home chef or pro—and students are then able to buy the special ingredients Tony uses directly from him), click here and scroll down. Hours are Wed–Sun 12pm–10pm, with later hours Fri–Sun (it's a little TBD at the moment since it's the opening month). 1570 Stockton St. at Union, 415-835-9888.

And here's more on the pizza place called ~PI BAR~ opening in the former Suriya Thai space: look for hand-thrown, New York style-pizza and specialty items paired with local craft beer and wine. Owners Richard Rosen (who will continue working with his partners in the Chenery Park/Eureka group) and Jennifer Garris intend to keep the space open and simple—they opted to open up the kitchen so kids can watch the pizza man do his thing. The owners are focused on using local ingredients, and organic ingredients when feasible. The place will ideally have 65 seats (permits pending), and they plan to serve until midnight. They are shooting for a mid-August or early September opening. 1432 Valencia St. at 25th St.

What's more popular than pizza right now? That's right, hot dogs. Here's the latest:

First up, the Foreign Cinema duo of Gayle Pirie and John Clark are getting close on opening their hot dog shop, ~SHOWDOGS~. The name is inspired by all the neighboring theaters, like the Golden Gate Theater, which is just across the street (not to be confused with the Crazy Horse Theater—and you can just keep those hot dog jokes to yourself, okay?). There will be something like 13 dogs, all from various makers, like Let's Be Frank, 4505 Meats, Fatted Calf, and more. They are also having Acme make a custom sesame bun for them. All the condiments will be house-made, so there will be an ancho BBQ sauce to go with the Louisiana hot link, for example, or the Fatted Calf knockwurst will come with piperade and raita. Yup, these are some gourmet dogs! They will cost around $8 or so. There will also be corndogs, plus some killer beer-battered onion rings and fries with "spicy dust" (which sounds like something you could buy in the neighborhood). Local beers on tap, too. There will be 25 seats, with white marble tables. The hours will be Mon–Sat 11am–8:30pm. 1020 Market St. at Taylor.

~BIX~ is kicking off Martinis and Weenies, a happy hour that runs Mon–Thu from 4:30pm–6:30pm. You'll be able to order a featured premium martini (the booze will change weekly) for $7.50 (regular price $10–$11), which will be served with complimentary pigs in a blanket: Schwarz frankfurters wrapped in homemade brioche dough and Dijon mustard. 56 Gold St. off Montgomery St. between Jackson and Pacific, 415-433-6300.

Starting today, ~LET'S BE FRANK~ is offering a special Twofer Tuesday deal: any two dogs at a special price of two for $8 (regularly priced at $11). Available all day every Tuesday. They are also hoping their beer and wine license will be ready any day now. Did you know the doghouse is open until 2am Fri–Sat, and they are delivering to local bars in the Marina?! Just give 'em a call from yer barstool (or if you are too incapacitated, have your bartender call for you). 3318 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-675-6755.

A sweet treat in the Marina: ~MIETTE~ on Chestnut just started making ice cream sandwiches using their house-made graham crackers and ice cream from Three Twins. There are two kinds: graham cracker with sweet cream, and chocolate wafer with mint confetti, each $4 a pop. They will also be available at the Octavia shop this weekend, but not at the Ferry Building for a while. 2109 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-0628.

An interesting tidbit: a retail shop selling honey and beekeeping supplies, ~HER MAJESTY'S SECRET BEEKEEPER~, has opened in the Mission. Owner and beekeeper Cameo Wood will be carrying up to 15 different kinds of honeys from around California, four of them local (the numbers will increase in time). There are also honey-based body products, like lip balm. This week the shop will be open every day from 12pm–7pm, but closed on Saturday July 4th, and open again on Sunday the 5th. Normal business hours will be Wed–Sun 12pm–7pm. 3540 20th St. at Valencia, 415-744-1465.

Starting this Saturday July 4th (if everything goes according to plan), ~PIAZZA PELLEGRINI~ will be serving takeaway panini from the cable car next door to the restaurant, kind of like an Italian taco truck. On the menu: porchetta panini (pulled pork with a special sauce), Italian sausage panini with a red and yellow bell pepper sauce, and an Italian meatball panino with a marina sauce. There will also be granita al caffè, which has me fired up to head on over, like, now. Everything will be priced under $10. The owner, Dario Hadjian, has surrounded the area with plants and flowers, and has set up mosaic cafe tables and chairs. Hours will be 7am–8pm. This Saturday, Dario will donate 20 percent of sales from the cable car to the Telegraph Hill Community Center. 659 Columbus Ave. at Union, 415-397-7355.

More on the project moving into the former Asqew Grill space in the Castro: it is going to be called ~STARBELLY~. Also got an update on some potential items on chef Adam Timney's menu: there will be a pizza oven and a rotisserie, so you can look for dishes like porchetta and pasture-raised chicken, plus house-made charcuterie, a Prather Ranch burger with aged cheddar and house-made pickle, and seasonal vegetable dishes like romano beans with roasted tomato sauce and raw feta, or creamed local corn with mascarpone. Opening in fall 2009. 3583 16th St. at Market.

Author Giulia Melucci (I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti) is going to be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS ON FOOD~ for a reading and book signing next Saturday July 11th at 3pm. Her book is sitting here on my bookshelf, waiting for me to crack it in August when I finally get to read instead of just write, can't wait. Author Emily Franklin of Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes will also be there to discuss food, love, kids, men, and cooking. There is also a fried chicken taste-off at the shop on July 7th! Read all about it and other events here. 3885-A Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712..

Unless you know some hunter types, it can be difficult to score a taste of wild game. So I thought you'd like to know about this event sooner rather than later: ~COOKWITHJAMES~ is hosting a wild game dinner on Saturday August 1st. The dinner will feature an assortment of wild game animals and birds, many cooked over a wood fire on a Tuscan grill inside Stolich's fireplace. Click the link for more on the menu and details! Cost is $95 per person (wine is BYOB). Space is limited.

I thought folks in San Mateo and Pleasant Hill should know their ~LEFT BANK~ brasseries have unfortunately closed. (The Pleasant Hill location had been in business since October 2000, and San Mateo since November 2003.) Alas, the recession proved too challenging to weather. The Left Bank restaurants in Larkspur, Menlo Park, and San Jose have been less impacted by the recession.

Seems owner James Syhabout (formerly of Manresa) has been trying to keep media away from the real opening date of his restaurant, ~COMMIS~ (it went into the previous Jojo space). Well, it's open. When I spoke with him a month ago, he said it has 30 seats and an open kitchen, and the seasonal menu will stylistically be fine dining that is laid back and fun (as Syhabout summarized, "serious food but relaxing, like Aziza"). Commis has a prix-fixe menu, currently $49 (no idea if this is just for the opening). Since it's been difficult to get any real information, I'll let these additional details on Yelp fill you in, and someone mailed an initial menu to Eater. Open Wed–Sun. 3859 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-653-3902.

~PICÁN RESTAURANT~ in Oakland's Uptown has started serving lunch and brunch. Lunch is Mon–Fri from 11:30am–2pm, and Sunday brunch is 10:30am–3pm. The line-up includes buttermilk biscuits and gravy, a pimiento cheeseburger, and a smoked chicken, fried green tomato, and little gem lettuce salad with buttermilk dressing. 2295 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-834-1000.

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