February 16, 2010

February 16, 2010
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Photo: Lauri Levenfeld/ZOOM Photography.

The former South Food + Wine Bar has finished its transformation into ~MARLOWE~ under owner Anna Weinberg and executive chef Jennifer Puccio, previously at Cortez. Tonight is just a whisper-soft opening, and reservations will be accepted on OpenTable starting Wednesday. The market-driven menu features classic bistro favorites, like roasted bone marrow ($10) with salsa verde and fines herbs, roasted parsnip soup ($7) with hazelnut and salsa verde, and classic steak tartare ($11). Mains include poulet vert ($19) with warm potato, olive, and chicory salad; steak frites ($29) featuring a 12 oz. Creekstone New York steak; lamb mixed grill ($24) with butter beans, chard, and sheep’s milk ricotta gratin (fortunately you can also order that gratin as a side dish, $6); or there’s also a smoky cauliflower gratin ($7). For dessert, there’s chocolate pot de crème and Meyer lemon curd cake ($6). I know, a dessert that isn’t $9? Nice.

There is also a bar menu, with bites like baked oysters ($3 each) and brussels sprout chips with Meyer lemon and sea salt ($5). Lunch will include an open-faced deviled egg sandwich ($9) with pickled chili, bacon, and aged provolone; a Marlowe burger ($12) with caramelized onions, bacon, horseradish aioli, and fries; and 4505 dogs with house-made kraut and spicy mustard—either a classic dog ($8) or a fennel and pecorino sausage ($10).

The wine list has lost its Aussie accent, and now features lesser-known grapes and international regions chosen by sommelier Gerard O’Bryan. There are 10 reds and 10 whites by the glass, and 40 by the bottle (prices are value-driven, and range from $7-12, while bottles are primarily under $50). The dining room has a completely new look, with subway tile, a crisp navy blue and white palette, rustic wood tables, and black chairs with woven straw seats. Dinner Mon-Tue 5:30pm-10pm, Wed-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; snacks and sips are available at the bar all day long. Lunch will start next week and will be served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm.

After six-and-a-half years in the Ferry Building Marketplace, ~DELICA~ has made some significant changes as of last Friday, starting with new extended hours from 4pm until 9pm. There is now a sushi bar, featuring only sustainable seafood (so don’t ask for any unagi), prepared by a sushi chef from Tokyo’s Ginza district (he even makes his own soy sauce). Owner Yasu Iwata recommends making a reservation at one of the five seats at the new sushi counter.

Plus there are inventive new small plates, like a halibut sashimi carpaccio with pickled radish, spicy curry croquettes with potato and American kobe beef, fried organic tofu with mizuna in a spicy sauce, and albacore with Oregon white truffle soy sauce. Everything is made with organic, sustainable, and seasonal ingredients. There is additionally a newly added wine and sake list, with two white wines, two reds, a sparkling wine, and three to four sakes. Swing by for happy hour Mon-Thu from 4pm-6pm, with beer for $2.50, and wine for only $5.

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I was a fan of Jake des Voignes’s cooking back when he would kill me with food at Fifth Floor (along with his kitchen wingman, Charlie Kleinman, who is now at Wexler’s). After a stint as the exec chef at Fish & Farm, des Voignes is now partnering with Yaron Milgrom-Elcott in an exciting project in the Mission called ~LOCAL: MISSION EATERY~. The pair took over the former Alhambra Halal Meat Co. on 24th Street, and are going to serve lunch, a set-menu dinner a couple nights a week, and will also host cooking classes.

Lunch is launching first, with five or so sandwiches, plus a soup, salad, house-made pickles, and a house soda. Some examples of sandwiches may include a roasted goat with smoked and braised beet tops with pickled carrot; smoked sablefish with beets and candied horseradish; or a roast potato with green garlic, fromage blanc, chicories, and pickled shallot (des Voignes mentioned he wants to compose them the way he’d plate a dish, carefully balancing flavors and textures). A few will come on homemade flatbread, focaccia, or brioche, or on bread from neighbor Panorama.

Now, who is going to be making the bread? Shauna des Voignes, Jake’s wife and previously the pastry chef at RN74, will be running Knead Patisserie, a second business in the back of the space. Her background includes a year and a half at ubuntu in Napa, plus time at Quince, and Fifth Floor, which is where she met Jake. She will be offering a new take on a French pâtisserie, making pastries, cookies, cakes, brownies, candied fruit, and more.

Both the pâtisserie counter and sandwich counter will be open Tue-Sun 11am-6pm. You’ll be able to come in and sit down over some coffee and fresh-baked treats, get some sweets to go, or order a sandwich from the Local counter. Or heck, do all three. Shauna might be offering dessert on Friday evenings a little further out.

The plan is to open for lunch and baked goods the first week of March, and once the beer and wine license kicks in, dinner will be served one night a week on Thursdays at one seating. The four-course market-driven menu will be around $48, including tax and tip. In a twist, the kitchen will plate and then serve guests each course (instead of servers)—so if you want to know what was in the sauce you just tasted, you’ll be able to get answers right then and there. The expanded plan is to eventually have two seatings, and to also offer dinner on Saturdays. There will be 30 seats at dinner, including 12 at a counter for those who want to watch the open kitchen (during the day there will be more seats, around 40 in all).

In a unique partnership, Local is partnering with both Terroir and City Beer Store in SoMa to put together custom wine and beer lists each week. And then there are the cooking classes: you’ll be able to take classes on Wednesdays (and maybe on Sundays) from Jake, Shauna, and guest chefs like Charlie Kleinman, and local bread guy Danny Gabriner of Sour Flour.

Does this place sound fun or what? I’ll keep you posted on the opening date over the next two weeks. You can also follow their progress on Twitter.

Cartman would be thrilled: starting this Wednesday the 17th, ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~ is going to start serving hot, fried sopapillas nightly, from 5pm until closing. For $3, you’ll get a basket of four, which you can douse with honey (a bottle will be on each table), or you can get them as a savory side dish with the green chile stew or pozole. (Look for stuffed ones coming later.) Launching a week later will be a green chile tortilla cheeseburger, and then the week after that, chile rellenos will be on the menu. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-614-9411.

As for the old GCK location at Baker and Fulton, it’s going to be Chile Pies & Ice Cream at the end of March. There will be pies like buttermilk pecan, apple, coconut cream, and even yuzu marmalade, plus ice cream from Straus (soft serve too!). Bonus: Ici is going to be making a chile chocolate flavor. There is also going to be a sole savory item on the menu: Frito chili pie! Hours will be Tue-Sun noon-9:30pm. 601 Baker St. at Fulton.

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Photo from DJ Mr. E.

Tune into the Food Network’s Throwdown! with Bobby Flay this Wednesday night (10pm ET/PT) to watch Victor and Miguel Escobedo of local fave ~PAPALOTE~ take on the Flay in a Burrito Throwdown. And in true Mr. E style (Miguel is a DJ), there will be a viewing party at MILK in the Haight starting at 9pm, with a whole lineup of DJs to celebrate the premiere. Word.

And for those who aren’t following my Tweets, you should know Papalote’s special occasion Mexi-Pino Burrito, a cross-cultural mash-up of chicken adobo and garlic fried rice, is now available every day on the menu. Let’s hear it for popular demand. There’s also a vegan version with tofu, plus folks are ordering the chicken adobo in chilaquiles, quesadillas, and nachos. Palabra!

~NOMBE~ in the Mission is now serving brunch, whether it’s a Japanese breakfast of broiled black cod, lightly poached egg, miso soup with winter vegetables, seasoned rice with wild nori, a green salad, mixed pickled vegetables, and Balla’s house pickled plums (umeboshi) for $21; a fusion-y tuna melt: poached ahi tuna, grilled sourdough, cheddar cheese, mixed chicory salad, and a fried egg ($12); or warm beignets filled with yuzu jam and nested in creme fraiche ($7). There are also some brunch-y drinks like a blood orange mimosa ($8).

~LE COLONIAL~ has also launched weekend brunch service (Sat-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm). Rotating items may include beef pho soup with oxtail; banh mi cha cua (Vietnamese sandwiches with crab cakes); grilled pork chop with broken rice, fried egg, and pickled bok choy; and a shrimp and crab rice crêpe.

As of today, February 16th, you can now have lunch at ~THE RICHMOND RESTAURANT~ in… the Richmond (and you thought I was going to say North Beach). On the menu: American classics, like potato leek soup, a seasonal green salad, fried oysters with coleslaw, a seasonal fish dish, meatloaf, and a half-pound cheeseburger with fries. Starters will cost between $6 and $9, while mains will range from $9.95-$14.95. Lunch is served Tue-Fri from 11:30am-2pm. 615 Balboa St. at 7th Ave., 415-379-8988.

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A new music and food party called Dirty Dishes is launching at the ~LOOKOUT~ in the Castro next Thursday February 25th. The Tasty crew have come up with a cool concept, spinning “the dirtiest indieelectrofunkatechbootybasshop party jams,” with vittles provided by the local food cart scene. The first event will feature the Gumbo Cart, Adobo Hobo, and Mission Minis.

Dirty Dishes will be on the fourth Thursday of every month at 9pm. You can follow them on Twitter and their Facebook group.  

On March 8th, Christine Law is returning to the kitchen as executive pastry chef for Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal (they all worked together at Postrio). She will be overseeing the pastry department at all three of their restaurants: ~TOWN HALL~, ~ANCHOR & HOPE~, and ~SALT HOUSE~.

In case you want to get a copy of The Butcher and The Vegetarian, the book highlighted in this week’s bookworm, author Tara Austen Weaver will be reading at a variety of events around town:

Thursday February 18th, 7pm-9pm
18th Hour: The Butcher and The Vegetarian Reading and Book Signing
18 Reasons, 593 Guerrero at 18th St.
$5 donation at the door (drop in)
Come and hear Tara read a bit of her book and meet the special guests from the 6pm panel discussion.

Monday February 22nd, 7:30pm
Book signing and reading

Booksmith
1644 Haight St., 415-863-8688

Saturday March 13th, 3pm
Book signing and reading

Omnivore Books
3885a Cesar Chavez St., 415-282-4712

A variety of cool chef-taught cooking classes are coming up:

First, this Sunday February 21st, Thomas Odermatt of RoliRoti is going to demonstrate how to cook porchetta and other cuts of pork at Tante Marie. There will be a demonstration on cutting, roasting, and curing unusual cuts of pork with a tasting of spiced pork belly confit, crispy pig’s feet, and smoked bacon tortilla. Info/tickets. 10am-1pm, $75.

On Thursday February 25th, Urban Kitchen is hosting a workshop on making Mozzarella and Ricotta with Travis Flood. Participants will take home a sample of the cheese they make, as well as some curd to practice their new cheese-making skills at home. Tickets are $51. 5:30pm-7:30pm, Ferry Building, in the CUESA Dacor Teaching kitchen located in the North Arcade.

And on Saturday February 27th, chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce is teaching a hands-on class focusing on the roasting of meats. You will learn about the many different cuts of meats, how to properly butcher, carving techniques, and knife skills. Chef Mark will teach you about tempering, roasting, and resting, plus braises, and a selection of marinades will be prepared. And you’ll learn about meat-friendly wines. All this, plus a sit-down 
lunch with chef Mark is $100, exclusive of tax. To reserve, call 415-931-5100. 11am-3pm.

In the East Bay, ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ is launching its next series of monthly butchery classes on Monday February 22nd. Participants meet the ranchers, the butchers, and the chef, learn about and discuss butchery, cooking, and taste generous samplings of the recipes. The butchery classes are the last Monday of every month: Feb. 22nd: pig; March 29th: goat; April 26th: poultry; and May 24th: sausage making. 6:30pm, $65 per student. Café Rouge Dining Room, 1782 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-525-1440.

~SR24~, a restaurant from Josh Woodall (formerly the chef at South Food + Wine Bar) and Howard Schindler, is due to open on Monday February 22nd. SR24, which stands for State Route 24, is going to be “a classic American eatery with a consciousness for sustainability and the community.” The menu is designed to be affordable, with nothing over $20. Expect dishes like classic salads (wedge, green goddess, Caesar, chop), a variety of sandwiches, comfort staples like roast chicken and pot pie, a few pasta dishes like spaghetti and meatballs and lasagne, and a bunch of sides (baked beans, Yorkshire pudding). There will also be an affordable international wine list from Guillermo Guerra, with local beer on tap.

Hours will be Mon-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu-Sat 11am-11pm. Happy hour will be from 3pm-6:30pm, and you know there’s some PBR on the specials. 5179 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-655-9300. Note: their official address is Telegraph Ave., but they are actually located on 51st St.