September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009

Some big news at ~JARDINIÈRE~: after 10 years at the restaurant, executive chef Craig Patzer is leaving (he reportedly wants to spend more time with his daughter). His last day will be Saturday. Taking his place is Morgan Mueller of bacar, who has been working at the restaurant since last week. In a funny twist, Mueller was actually hired as a line cook at Jardinière back in 2002, and left as an executive sous chef in 2007—kind of like a chef boomerang, right? 300 Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.

Another chef shift: after four years at ~AME~, executive chef Greg Dunmore is leaving to do his own thing—he said it was time to try something new. He has to be a little vague at the moment, telling me his project is in the Bay Area, but until things are signed, he's keeping it all on the D.L. Dunmore's last day is October 21st. Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Ame and Terra tell me his replacement is lined up and will start soon. All they could reveal is that the chef is a Terra alum, but want to leave it at that for now. I'll keep you posted on Dunmore's whereabouts, and who the new hire is at Ame. 689 Mission St. at 3rd St., 415-284-4040

I know I am not the only one super stoked with this tidbit o' news: Katharine Zacher and Ryan Ostler, formerly at Broken Record in the Excelsior, are going to be showcasing their kitchen skillz in ~BRUNO'S~ in the beginning of October. They will be serving their much-loved Southern-American fare, like brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and yes, rotating dishes like gumbo and their famed Frito pie, plus delicious desserts, and some new seasonally driven dishes, like salads. I also hear a special sous vide fried chicken (a la Thomas Keller style) and waffle is in the works. And not just any waffle: howzabout a parsnip waffle! (That Katharine, I swear.) And yes, the menu will continue its super-affordable price point. Dinner will be served downstairs Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5:30pm-10pm, making room for the nightclub to take over in the later evening. This is also TBD, but Alex Fox (Bar Crudo) may be consulting on their beer and wine list. I'll let you know when the opening is in sight, and you can follow their Twitter feed here. 2389 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-643-5200.

Nicolaus Balla of O Izakaya and Lounge is going to be leaving the restaurant at the end of October, and will be working with the partners of Sozai Restaurant (chef-owner Mari Takahashi and sake consultant/GM Gil Payne) to open ~NOMBE RESTAURANT~ in the Mission. (Let's hope he brings his delicious pork belly and kimchee dish with him.) I alluded to this project a few weeks ago: the izakaya will be opening in the former Tacos Santana Bar & Grill space. There will be 80 seats, and over 70 brands of sake, plus shochu cocktails, beer, and wine. Look for a November opening, and a possible window for Japanese street food offerings on the weekends. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St.

Am fired up to check this one out: opening this Friday in the Inner Richmond will be ~PRIME RIB SHABU~ from Luke Sung of Isa and Domo. It's opening in the former Wang Daegam tofu/BBQ house, a few doors over from Troya. Sung will have quality American rib-eye on the menu for the shabu, with the fatty part cut by hand into thick, luxurious pieces, while the remaining leaner part will be machine sliced thinly, all for dunking in a special chicken stock. The vegetables will be top quality and organic, including special cress from Star Route Farms. There will also be udon, naturally dried Korean rice noodles (not bleached), and sweet potato vermicelli noodles. Michael Brennan designed the 46-seat space, and you know the all-you-can-eat shabu special for $24 Tue-Thu nights is going to be a hit. Dinner Tue-Sun, starting at 5:30pm. 308 5th Ave. at Clement, 415-379-4678.

Chef ~JAKE DES VOIGNES~ (formerly Fifth Floor, Fish & Farm) and a mystewious business partner have the keys to a new space on 24th Street, but details about the restaurant-to-be are on lockdown at the moment, including the cross street. Des Voignes is off to get married (at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, how cool is that?) and honeymooning in New Zealand, but once he returns, I should be able to learn more details. Since a kitchen is being built out in this mystery space, it won't be opening until early 2010.

Big news on Market Street: according to the San Francisco Business Times, the ~FOREIGN CINEMA~ folks aren't just busy with their hot dog place, Show Dogs, or their upcoming project in Sebastopol at the former West County Grill. The article announces the team's plans for a new 255-seat restaurant flanking the Warfield Theater. The article mentions, "it would include a basement level speakeasy-style bar, which will be connected to the Warfield Theater, as well as outdoor seating atop a steel-plated canopy 18 feet above the street." Stay tuned. 988 Market St. at Taylor.

Oh, and small sidebar: fans of the fantastico egg dishes at Foreign Cinema will want to swing by ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ in Noe Valley on Sunday September 27th from 3pm-4pm, when chef-partner Gayle Pirie will be talking about Country Egg, City Egg and signing copies (it's a great little book). 3885A Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.

Workers and residents in the South Beach area can now add ~IRONSIDE~ to their lineup of breakfast, lunch, and (soon—in October) happy hour, dinner, and brunch locations. This offshoot from the neighboring District has the same executive chef, Bob Cina, at the helm. Located in the Chronicle Books building, the all-day eatery is serving breakfast bites, including yogurt with granola and fruit, breakfast buns with flavors like maple and smoky bacon, or breakfast empanadas, plus Four Barrel Coffee. Lunch includes a "cukes and quinoa salad" and a porchetta sandwich, plus a veggie Cubano. You can read all the menus on the site if you're curious (there's also online ordering). For now, hours are 8am-2pm. There will also be beer and wine on tap. In case you were wondering about the name, it was inspired by the building's legacy as the machine shop for the Moore Shipbuilding Company, which built and repaired thousands of ships. The design by Je Anne Ettrick features walnut tables and benches, a barn wood and zinc counter, and a chandelier made from a seven-foot wooden gear. There is also a second level reached by an industrial steel and timber staircase made by Oakland-based metal artist Grant Irish. 680A 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-896-1127.

Another opening: ~SAGE LOUNGE~ in SoMa seems to be making the neighborhood happy with good coffee, breakfast bites, and sandwich and salad offerings. Open Mon-Sat 6am-10pm. 1601 Howard St. at 12th St., 415-552-7243.

In the happy re-openings category, if all goes well, ~CHOW~ on Church Street will be back open this Friday after getting knocked shut by a nasty fire. Just be sure to call first before heading over for your wontons. 215 Church St. at Market, 415-552-2469.

Froyo phreeks, it's official: ~FRAICHE YOGURT~ has opened on Fillmore next door to Woodhouse Fish Co. Hours are 11am-11pm (until 12am Fri-Sat), and starting on the September 28th, it will open at 7am (open at 8am Sat-Sun). 1910 Fillmore St. at Pine, 415-674-6876.

And now, some closures. Was sorry to learn from one of my readers that ~ELIZA'S~ on Potrero Hill is closing on September 27th. (The 2877 California Street location will stay open.) My reader reports: "Apparently, the owner is just tired of running two locations and wants to spend more time with her teenage daughter, but (unsubstantiated) rumor has it that a rent increase may have forced the decision." 1457 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-648-9999.

Also, around the corner from Eliza's on Connecticut, a new taqueria called ~MONO LOCO~ is taking over the space once occupied by Delirious Shoes. Is this crazy monkey any relation to Lingba's monkey theme? Couldn't get an answer from the Lingba folks. Anyone? 317 Connecticut St. at 18th St.

Noe Valley Blog noted that ~MI LINDO YUCATAN~ on 24th Street is closing at the end of the month; you can see the sign in the window here. 4042 24th St. at Noe, 415-826-3942.

In the Haight, tablehopper reader Jason B. reports ~BAGHDAD NIGHTS~ is closing, and according to permits, Sushi Raw (there is one in the Excelsior) seems to be taking over the space. 682 Haight St. at Steiner.

Jason also noted this: chocoholics will be bummed to learn the ~CHOCOLATE BAR AND CAFÉ;~ (504 Castro St. at 18th St.) is closed, to be replaced by Puff N Stuff, yup, a smoke shop. But despair not, because ~SARATOGA CHOCOLATES~ has opened in the relatively nearby (former) Joseph Schmidt space. You can read more on Daily Candy. 3489 16th St. at Sanchez, 415-861-8682.

~SAISON~, the weekly pop-up restaurant in Stable in the Mission, has now extended its hours to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with seatings at 5pm and 8pm. The multi-course meal from Joshua Skenes is $70, with wine parings from Mark Bright for $40. Call for reservations. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-828-7990.

Lunch is hot, all over town. And it comes in many permutations. Let's do it. (Lunch, that is.)

The Power Lunch:

Is this a good sign for the economy? I would think so. ~AQUA RESTAURANT~ has reopened for lunch Tuesday through Friday, starting today. Chef Jason Pringle has added some new dishes, and there's a $27 two-course business lunch now available (the initial menu features a veal terrine with pickled cherries, mustard fruit, and fresh arugula as a starter, and grilled branzino with root vegetables as the entrée). Lunch is served 11:30am-2:30pm. 252 California St. at Battery, 415-956-9662.

The Going Back to Cali Lunch:

~TWO~ resumes lunch service this Wednesday the 23rd, with a new menu of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas, all designed for fast service. Lunch is available Tue-Fri from 12pm-1:30pm. 22 Hawthorne St. at Howard, 415-777-9779.

The Box Lunch:

Fish & Farm has launched a takeaway box lunch program called ~AMERICAN BOX~, serving sandwiches, salads, and specialty items Mon-Fri from 10:30am-1:30pm. Sample boxes include a chop salad ($9), the much-buzzed-about juicy Lucy cheeseburger ($8), a line-caught tuna salad sandwich ($9), and more. Chef Chad Newton is very committed to using local ingredients, and makes many of the sauces himself. Follow up with some of Gracie's daily sweets ($3) and you're set. You can order from an array of boxes each day in the adjoining space called the Fishbowl, and take 'em away or eat in the dining room next door. Cash only, and prices include tax. 339 Taylor St. at O' Farrell, 415-474-3474.

Lunch from a Truck:

falafel truck has come to town, parking at DeHaro and Alameda from 11am-2pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Follow the truck's Twitter feed here.

Street Food Lunch:

Some of the Thursday Market at the Ferry Building's street food vendors are launching a Friday lunch in SoMa: Tacolicious, Namu, and Ryan Farr's 4505 Meats. It all kicks off this Friday September 25th, and they'll be serving lunch every Friday from 10am-2pm. Look for the courtyard (or just follow the smell of the grill) at 631 Folsom St. at 2nd St.

Sexy Time Lunch:

I couldn't believe this item on GrubStreet, but it's true: Alain Rondelli is coming out of hibernation to start ~RONDELLI DELI~, a "takeout food operation … which he hopes to license to existing businesses who would theoretically sell his sex-themed box lunches all over town." Goodness. We'll have to see how this one, uh, firms up.

More on the 18-and-older side: a "kink café" and boutique called ~WICKED GROUNDS~ has opened in SoMa (and you thought I was going to say Noe Valley). There's Ritual Coffee and treats to eat, along with special nights when you can tell your bad, bad coffee date to drink their latte out of a dog bowl, get your boots blacked, and more. And whaddya know, it opened just in time for leather week and the Folsom Street Fair. Hours are Tue-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-2am, and Sun 11am-8pm. 289 8th St. at Folsom, 415-503-0405.

Just in time for the tail end of our Indian Summer, ~THE PIZZA PLACE ON NORIEGA~ is due to open their back patio this Wednesday. It's a bit bare bones for now: there are just three picnic tables while the others are being built. No waiter service to start—simply order inside at the counter and your food will be brought out to you. Oh yeah, and no smoking or pets. Just you, your pizza, a pitcher, and your pals, dig? 3901 Noriega St. at 46th Ave., 415-759-5752.

More outdoor fun: Mint Plaza is hosting its first street fest this Saturday September 26th called ~SUMMERLAND~. There will be bands, DJs, 70 Bay Area fashion designers, art, live painting, drink specials, and food. Chez Papa Resto will host their usual patio brunch as well as a tartine cart, and 54 Mint will offer a panino with porchetta and a glass of wine; there will also be Let's Be Frank dogs, and a Mexican popsicle stand (Artisanal Paletas Paraiso) will be selling paletas in traditional Mexican flavors. Free, all ages welcome. 11am-5pm. On Jessie and Mint Streets, off of 5th between Mission and Market Streets.

Also on Saturday the 26th, Jason Fox, the former chef of Bar Tartine is doing a dinner at ~MISSION STREET FOOD~ featuring Israeli street food. He will be offering dishes like house-made pita with a trio of traditional dips, making his own gefilte fish, shaksuka (a stew of tomatoes, potato, and corn with a slow-cooked egg), tuna brik, and shoouit, an old Jerusalem stew of lamb, tomato, and green beans with medieval spices. 2234 Mission St. at 18th St.

There are a couple Yom Kippur meals around town on Monday September 28th. ~JARDINIÈRE~ is doing a special "Breaking the Fast" dinner as part of their Monday night prix-fixe meals, featuring matzo ball soup; braised brisket, glazed carrots, and Le Puy lentil salad; and apple, grape and oatmeal tart , with three wine pairings for the (usual) price of $45. 300 Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.

~CAV WINE BAR & KITCHEN~ is also hosting their fourth annual Yom Kippur Break Fast on Monday September 28th. They will start serving H&H bagels, gravlax, sturgeon, and more, starting at sundown (no need to be fasting or even Jewish—all are welcome). 1666 Market St. at Gough, 415-437-1770.

September is ~HUNGER ACTION MONTH~, which brings a variety of events to be aware of, including this week's The San Francisco Food Bank Hunger Challenge, asking participants to survive on a food stamp budget of just $4 per day, then share their experiences via blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other media. (Consider trying it for a day?) And next Tuesday September 29th, help fight hunger in San Francisco by dropping off non-perishable food items at the SF Food Bank warehouse on "Take it to the Bank" Day. As a special treat for anyone who makes a donation, food cart vendors will be selling their wares outside the Food Bank at 900 Pennsylvania Ave. at 23rd St. 3pm-7:30pm.

This week is also Share Our Strength's ~GREAT AMERICAN DINE OUT~ (running until September 26th), with thousands of restaurants joining together to raise funds to help end childhood hunger in America. Some will donate a portion of sales for the week; others will promote a special menu item or a prix-fixe menu. Since it's a nationwide effort, look up participating restaurants in your city at

More Soul Food Farm benefits: on Sunday October 11th, ~IL CANE ROSSO~ at the Ferry Building is hosting a three-course menu served family style for $50 per person, including wine (exclusive of tax and gratuity). All proceeds benefit Soul Food Farm. There are two seatings: first is 5:30pm-6pm; next is 7:30pm-8pm. For reservations, call 415-391-7599.

Over in Berkeley, there will also be a benefit dinner for Soul Food Farm at ~CAFE ROUGE~ on Monday October 5th from 6pm-9:30pm. The tickets are $50 for a prix-fixe family-style meal with wine. The event menu is being designed by Marsha McBride of Cafe Rouge, Christopher Lee of Eccolo, and other guest chefs. Food is being provided by some of the top farms in the area, e.g. Full Belly Farms is providing produce. More details and tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets and the Soul Food Farm blog. 1782 4th St. at Hearst, Berkeley, 510-525-1440.

This Sunday September 27th is the Rockridge Out & About Street Festival, when Market Hall merchants take to the street at College and Shafter for the annual ~PICNIC IN THE STREET~. You'll find Oliveto spit-roasting whole pigs for porchetta sandwiches, The Pasta Shop will offer adobo pulled pork sandwiches with cabbage slaw with salsa (yay, more pig!), Paul Marcus Wines will offer wines by the glass, and authors Clark Wolf, Janet Fletcher, Fran Gage, and Nicolette Hahn Niman will be present and signing books. It runs from 11am-6pm, free to attend except for purchases. Oakland's Rockridge Market Hall, along College Avenue between Shafter and Ocean View, adjacent to the Rockridge BART Station, 510-250-6010.

And now, the return of the Errata section:

Looks like I was a little too excited about a Curtain Time "Mid"-Night Special cocktail at Jardinière, mistakenly calling it the Tickler's Delight instead of its proper name, the Tippler's Delight. Here's hoping that naughty drink turns up on a cocktail list somewhere soon—I think it could be quite the hot item for Folsom Street weekend, non?

I went to Spain and all I got was this lousy diphthong.

This little treasure in my inbox was too good to keep to myself. It was in response to my sentence "Jerez, to be exact (can you hear me lisp it?)" in my September 8th column:

"Marcia, while I generally enjoy your column, let's get something clear, the Spanish 'z' and 'c' before an 'e' or 'i' is not a lisp. When you say 'thought' in English do you call that 'th' a lisp? No, it's a diphthong. It's part of the language and for someone who claims to be cultured, this shows rash insensitivity to another people. And before you ask, no I'm not Spanish, I'm Croatian.

Learn some proper castellano before you go and pleasant travels."

Have I ever shared how much I love passive-aggressive emails from uppity Croatians who need to brush up on what a diphthong is? And everyone please excuse my rash insensitivity—I should suit up in an orange jumpsuit and go pick up trash on the freeway in recompense for my thoughtless ways. Let's start with some lingual management classes: for those of you who would like to further your education along with me on phonemes in Andalucía (and that includes you, Señor M. from Croatia), check out this Wiki on the ceceo and seseo.

And… fin.