March 30, 2010

March 30, 2010

I know, I know, I know, MORE PIZZA. But considering I could eat pizza weekly (and I know I am not alone in this), I say, bring it on. Especially since it’s chef Bruce Hill and his partners at Picco behind this new addition to the pie scene: ~ZERO ZERO~. It’s going to open in the Azie space in SoMa—designer Michael Brennan is currently designing the interior, which will feature hand-made flame-inspired lighting, custom tables, two different 
bar environments (upstairs and downstairs), and murals painted by Michael himself. It should be around 120 seats or so.

Hill, who is part of the ever-growing posse of pizza-makers certified by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN), is going to be offering his delicious wood-fired pizzas, along with artisan pastas, grilled meats and seafood, house-made salumi, antipasti, and seasonal organic salads. And yes, his famed concoction of Straus Dairy soft serve ice cream (in vanilla bean and Askinosie chocolate flavors), with toppings ranging from Da Vero olive oil and sea salt to seasonal fruits to house-made caramel and chocolate sauces. Both lunch and dinner will be served. And the two full bars will have hand-crafted cocktails and wine on tap.

In case you were wondering about the name, “Zero Zero” (Tipo 00) is the type of flour dictated for pizza dough by the VPN. Hill also mentioned the 00 is a reference to 1900, since they will be looking back to the last century for recipes (both cocktail and culinary) for inspiration. They are working toward an opening later this summer.


Thanks to everyone who turned up for my reading at Omnivore Books last week (and sorry if they were out of books by the time you got there!). No fear, there are more fun book launch events coming up. Here’s what is going on over the next two weeks:

There is one more seat left for tomorrow’s (Wednesday March 31st) Cooks With Books Lunch at Perbacco lunch (12pm, $100 includes book, tax, tip).

If you live in the 650, I will be at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park this Thursday April 1st at 7:30pm for a reading and signing. 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park.

And get ready, because this Saturday April 3rd, I will be doing a chat and tasting with Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe. He will be bringing mini duck fat pecan pies and of course ICE CREAM! We’ll chat about flavor, and I’ll be selling and signing books for $17.50. 2pm, free. Bloomingdale’s, 845 Market St. at 7th St., San Francisco.

I’m going to be making a very rare Monday night appearance on Monday April 5th at Wines of Portugal—A World of Difference Tour 2010 (I am looking forward to being away from my desk, let me tell you). The first 150 ticket buyers get a free copy of my book (there are less than 50 left)! I will also be signing and selling additional books ($17.50) at this fabulous tasting event in case you don’t score one of the free copies. 5pm-7pm. $35 ($50 door). Tickets/event details. Westin St Francis, 335 Powell St., 32nd Floor, San Francisco.

Next Thursday April 8th, I will be hosting a drop-in 18 Reasons Event (with bubbly and bites from La Cocina producer Onigilly). I’ll be reading from my book, and I also prepared a special handout, “18 Picks from the tablehopper on 18 People and Places and Things That Bring 18 Reasons’ Values to Life.” Event details. It’s also opening night of the Dolores Park Movie Night, so maybe swing by on your way to the park? 7pm-9pm. $5 members, $10 general. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St., San Francisco.

East Bay folks, I will be hosting a meet and greet at The Pasta Shop inside Rockridge Market Hall on Saturday April 10th at 12pm. We’ll be grazing on a variety of my favorite pantry items, from honey and olive oil to cheese and olives (we’re calling it a pop-up party)! Free (except for my book, which will be for sale at the event). 5655 College Ave., Oakland.


Flickr photo by jessefriedman.

Cool news in the Mission: Jason Fox (the former executive chef of Bar Tartine) and Anthony Myint (Mission Street Food, Mission Burger) and partners announced their new upcoming restaurant, ~COMMONWEALTH~. The full-time charitable restaurant will open in the former El Herradero space on Mission, and will be a “progressive American restaurant, building on California’s tradition of showcasing local, seasonal foods while incorporating diverse culinary approaches from around the world. Additionally, a set portion of proceeds from Fox’s inventive tasting menus will be donated to local non-profits.”

They are hoping to open early this summer, and only have a couple thousand dollars to go before reaching their minimum Kickstarter goal of $10,000, which will be used for kitchen equipment. Commonwealth will be open for dinner Tue-Sun, with most dishes between $6-$16, and a tasting menu. 2224 Mission St. at 18th St.

And a heads up on ~MISSION STREET FOOD~: this Saturday April 3rd, chef Chad Newton of ~FISH & FARM~ will be a guest chef, cooking with Grace Nguyen of ~OUT THE DOOR~. The menu includes: composition of cooked/raw/marinated/pickled vegetables, wheat berries, Meyer lemon aioli, dark rye crumbs; torchon of foie gras, rice “krispies”, o.j. gel, powdered yogurt, strawberries, toast; olive oil-poached cod, choke purée, espresso-steamed wild mushrooms, green garlic emulsion; and roasted lamb loin, slow braised cheeks, tasting of celery and chocolate.

Another thing: have you noticed the amazing menus on Thursdays at ~MISSION STREET FOOD~? Chefs Danny Bowien and Anthony Myint have been doing “homage dinners” to international chefs they admire, from Michel Bras to Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris—this Thursday April 1st is Pascal Barbot (check out the menu). The series will total about eight dinners in all.

There’s a new chef at ~LE CLUB~ on Nob Hill, and she is quite the talent (the space has a history of great chefs, including Melissa Perello back when it was Charles Nob Hill). Lovers/followers of the blog Ms. Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour will recognize the name Amy Glaze, who recently moved to San Francisco from New York, where she was cooking at Le Bernardin for two years—she left as the senior line cook (prior to that, she was in Paris for three-plus years at Guy Savoy). It ends up when she previously lived in San Francisco, she cooked at Ristorante Ecco on South Park back in the day, and owner Gina Milano and Glaze have been friends for 16 years.

Since she just started three weeks ago, she is ramping things up first with a bar menu that is geared for affordable luxury. The late-night crowd is currently ordering mini smoked salmon croque monsieurs with caviar ($15); hiramasa kingfish seared rare with Asian pear, micro shiso, jalapeño-kabosu sauce ($22); and braised beef short ribs with baby heirloom carrots, cipollini onions, lardon, and tiny marble potatoes ($20). I spoke with Glaze, and she expects to start expanding the menu in a few weeks—she mentioned they want to offer a nightly seasonal prix-fixe menu, and they also plan to have table service once again in the dining room, so I’ll keep you posted. 1250 Jones St. at Clay, 415-922-2582.


Photo by Katina Papson.

Anyone who follows ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ chef Jamie Lauren’s Twitter feed knows she has been in Los Angeles quite a bit these days, and it looks like she is going to be spending a lot more time down there in a couple months when she moves there full time. Wah. SF loses another talented female chef.

She doesn’t have a gig lined up yet, but it does change the ballgame for the chef that ultimately gets picked up as her replacement, and for the Absinthe group’s new restaurant in the former Citizen Cake Hayes Valley location. In the meantime, come hang out with her at my Hop Dog Happy Hour on April 14th at the Ferry Building. Oh, and get fired up to make her killer deviled eggs after watching this cool how-to video on CHOW.

According to liquor license updates, there are new owners at ~ISA~ in the Marina: Elias and Sameera Memon. I spoke with owner Luke Sung, who said, “It’s going to remain the same—same menu, staff…just Kitty [my wife] and I will gone.” The Sungs are very busy with their three kids (aged 11, 9, and 5), so they wanted to simplify things and just focus on their other restaurants, Domo in Hayes Valley and Prime Rib Shabu. The transition should happen in the next month or so. 3324 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-567-9588.


According to a tweet, those wonderful purveyors of all things meaty, ~FATTED CALF~, is going to be “opening a new store in Hayes Valley mid-summer.” I had a quick chat with co-owner Toponia Miller, who said she’ll be able to reveal more about the where and what next week, so stand by!


Yelp photo from Devin G..

Cow Hollow will have not one but two new places to indulge in carb and sugar highs. First, ~JOHN CAMPBELL’S IRISH BAKERY’S~ second location is up and running (they opened around St. Patrick’s Day), so now neighbors are going to be able to discover their crazy delicious scones, breads, sandwiches, and tarts. Open daily (Mon-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7am-8pm). 3130 Fillmore St. at Filbert, 415-563-1519.

There’s also been a project coming along called ~AMERICAN CUPCAKE~ on Union Street (some locals already know the business, which turns out flavors like bubblegum and cotton candy). Details have been locked down, but I do hear they plan to open a storefront in time for the Union Street Easter Parade this Sunday April 4th, and then are planning to officially open next week. Stand by. 1919 Union St. at Laguna.


Flickr photo from Gott’s Roadside.

Just in case you’re wondering what happened to the name ~TAYLOR’S REFRESHER~, all three locations (St. Helena, San Francisco, and Napa Oxbow) are now Gott’s Roadside Tray Gourmet. Joel and Duncan Gott, who own Taylor’s Refresher, are, for legal reasons, changing the name (you can read more about it here). The brothers have also rehired the original chef, Rick Robinson, who was the chef when the Gotts took over in 1999. He is going to be integrating more local ingredients, and adding some new specials, like an upscale tuna melt.

Sushi fanatics and connoisseurs, take note: ~SEBO~ is unexpectedly closing from now through April 15th, and will re-open for regular service on Friday the 16th. No fish for you!

Sometimes craigslist is like a crystal ball for upcoming projects, revealing a few details about restaurants I’ve been tracking. This week, an ad for ~CAFE DES AMIS~ mentions a June opening (we’ll have to see how that maps out since this project keeps getting delayed). One more update about that project: the chef will be Ed Carew, most recently at his now-closed restaurant, The Cottage Eatery, in Tiburon. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

It also looks like the Clift Hotel has chosen a name for the restaurant concept taking the place of Asia de Cuba: ~THE VELVET ROOM~. I asked their publicist for an update, and got nuttin’. It seems the name shouldn’t have been listed on the ad, because now the ad just has a generic title. Huh. Time will tell. 495 Geary St. at Taylor.

There’s nothing like learning about how to make a restaurant dish you love directly from the chef, right? This Wednesday March 31st, you can finally learn the secret to Foreign Cinema’s Madras curry fried chicken, when chefs Gayle Pirie and John Clark teach a cooking class at Cavallo Point in Sausalito. You’ll also learn to make an asparagus and farro salad with pecorino and arugula, and their rhubarb pop tarts. 6pm-8:30pm, $70 per person plus tax.

And then on April 10th, Kenny Belov from Sausalito’s Fish. restaurant is teaching a “fish fabricating and cooking” class. As the event announcement states, “You’re getting dirty. Kenny sources only fish he personally deems sustainable. This means no FARMED SALMON, and no fish processed in China. Most importantly, he places an emphasis on education, sustainability, and preserving our oceans.” You’ll be making rod and reel-caught California yellowtail ceviche à la minute; grilled local sardines, spring green tomato Greek salad; chilled asparagus soup with Zuckerman Farms asparagus; and Alaskan halibut reubens with house-made sauerkraut on rye. 3pm-7pm, $125 per person plus tax.


This Thursday April 1st, chef Jennifer Biesty (Scala’s Bistro), Sara Delman (an event planner at Samantha Smith Productions), and Julie Colleran (a GM at COCO500) are hosting a FUNdraising event at Harry Denton’s Starlight Room for their AIDS/LifeCycle ride. Jen, Sara, and Julie (AKA Team Mise en Place) will be will be riding June 6th-12th from San Francisco to Los Angeles, along with thousands of other cyclists riding to end HIV and AIDS.

There will be Ketel One cocktails, Trumer Pils beer, and wine, plus hors d’oeuvres from chefs Jen and Alicia Jenish of The Slanted Door and the California Academy of Sciences Cafe. Plus lots of raffles, including: dinner for two at COCO500, dinner for two at Slanted Door, VIP table for two at the Starlight Room plus a bottle of bubbly, dinner for four at Scala’s Bistro with a wine pairing, and more! It’s just a $25 donation to enter (waived if you’ve already donated to one of the ladies) and you can eat and drink all that you can handle.

If you can’t make it, you can always donate to the cause using these links: Jen’s page, Julie’s page, and Sara’s page.


Once a month (the first Thursday of the month), Soul Cocina prepares a special vegan menu at ~LA VICTORIA BAKERY~. This Thursday April 1st, the menu includes asparagus and Meyer lemon flatbread ($10) with mixed greens and local strawberries in coriander vinaigrette; wild foraged mushroom flatbread ($11) with radish and fava green salad; and sopes ($7 for one/$12 for two), handmade cactus tortillas filled with squash in radish leaf-pumpkin seed mole and garlic-cumin purple potatoes over salsa de venas and jalapeño cabbage slaw. Check out the entire menu here. 6pm-9pm. 2937 24th St. at Alabama, 415-642-7120.


Flickr photo from firstcoasttigers.

Next Saturday April 10th, ~YATS~ is going to be hosting a full-tilt crawfish boil during the day on the back courtyard of Annie’s Bistro. Yon Davis is flying in 600 pounds of crawfish from Tony’s Seafood in Baton Rouge, along with spicy potatoes and corn. There will also be crawfish po’boys and crawfish pasta on hand, plenty of Abita beer, and lemonade. The all-you-can-eat crawfish feast is $25. Space is limited and almost sold out, so they are doing pre-sale tickets for this event—log on and order your ticket/space asap here (look for the small *Order button). 2829 California St. at Divisadero.

Coming up on Tuesday April 13th is the fourth annual Southern Fried Night at ~MAVERICK~. On the menu, you’ll find frog legs, alligator “balls,” chorizo pies, green tomatoes, country fried steak, shrimp and grits, and more. Ironically it’s the only night they don’t fry chicken since you can get that every other night, FYI. They’re planning to sell the night out, so make your reservation now.


Photo by Andy Katz.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and Iron Horse Vineyards in Sebastopol is going to be celebrating with a special food and wine tasting on Sunday April 18th: Green Valley Goes Blue. The focus of this fourth annual fundraising event is ocean conservation. Event highlights include California Osetra caviar (sustainably farmed, of course) at the VIP sparkling reception; and at the main event, there will be Hog Island oysters, shucked by founder and avid surfer John Finger; grilled fish prepared by surfer-chef Kory Stewart from Americano at Hotel Vitale; a fish taco truck manned by Iron Horse alum Christopher Greenwald of Bay Laurel Culinary; delicious breads from surfer-baker Jed Wallach of Wildflour Bread in Freestone; and local, seasonal vegetables and salads prepared by Iron Horse Winery fisher-chef Ruben Gomez. There will be live music from a Sonoma pick-up band called Octopus Garden & the Rock Cods, along with a speaker (a National Geographic underwater explorer and marine biologist), an eco-exhibit, and many participating wineries for a walk-around tasting: DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton-Goldfield Winery, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Hartford Family Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Marimar Estate, Orogeny, and Sequana Vineyards.

The beneficiaries are the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, which raises consumer awareness and encourages restaurants, distributors, and seafood purveyors to purchase from sustainable sources, and the National Geographic Ocean Now initiative, which will study, chart, and preserve the last healthy, undisturbed underwater sites on the planet.

To order tickets, please click here (and starting Wednesday March 31st, you will be able to order tickets online).


Photo from Arizmendi website.

~ARIZMENDI BAKERY~ is not only opening another location in San Francisco this summer (next to Heart, at 1270 Valencia), but the Association of Arizmendi Cooperatives is also opening a San Rafael location on April 6th, right on the downtown plaza. The worker-owned bakery will be offering an array of their wholesome breads, sweet and savory scones, brioche knots, beloved cheese rolls, and much more, along with their famous sourdough pizza (from 11:30am onward), all made with ingredients sourced from local and organic producers. The products are made throughout the day, so they’re always hot and fresh. Tue-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat 8am-7pm, Sun 8am-4pm. 1002 4th St. at A St., San Rafael, 415-456-4093.

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