April 13, 2010

April 13, 2010

Sharon and her new Wood Stone pizza oven. Start your engines!

I knew Sharon Ardiana of ~GIALINA~ (one of my very fave pizza places in the city) was scouting around for a second location in my neighborhood (Nopa), and I’ll be damned, she got it! This fall, she is opening ~RAGAZZA~ (Italian for “girl”) in the former Metro Kathmandu space, adjacent to the Metro Hotel on Divisadero Street (so it’s more like Lower Haight/Nopa).

We had a chance to talk while she was checking out her almost-new cherry-red Wood Stone pizza oven at Alex’s Restaurant Equipment in Long Beach. She said she chose the name “ragazza” as an homage to the fantastic women in her family, and to female cooks everywhere. Fortunately Ardiana’s fantastic thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas and delicious salads will be on the menu, plus there will be new additions, including more entrées and baked pastas. Her focus on seasonal produce and using locally sourced meat will also continue. The restaurant will seat 45 people, along with limited seating in the outdoor patio/herb garden in the back. Dinner will be served nightly, plus brunch on weekends. Can’t wait to have my first pizza Atomica (or Amatriciana!) out of that fire-engine-red oven.

If all goes according to plan, ~BISTRO AIX~ should be reopening for dinner this Saturday. Here’s a recap on the changes from my post back in July: Owner Jonathan Beard plans to totally gut the place and redo it from the ground up—upon reopening, there will be an oak fireplace grill in the kitchen where they will be preparing quality meat, poultry and fish. There will also be a glassed-in patio with a 100-year-old olive tree, reclaimed redwood, and an updated facade. They promise that many of their classics will remain on the menu.


Photo from Urban Daddy/Philipp Weitz.

A reader tipped me off about a new project coming to the Upper Haight called ~PARADA 22~, in the former Chabela space next to Cha Cha Cha (and Murio’s, for you boozehounds). Urban Daddy has more details, here are some highlights: the project is from chef Alex Jackson of The Corner and Weird Fish (and the upcoming Black Sheep Pub) and “one of the guys from Cha Cha Cha (and [is] named after a street in San Juan) … The Cha Cha Cha connection means you’ll have easy access to pitchers of their sangria from next door, in addition to some obscure beers selected with the help of the Monk’s Kettle crew (we heard rumors of Puerto Rican brews if all goes right with customs).” Items mentioned on the menu include creamy shrimp (camarones a la criolla); a caramelized onion steak (biftec encebollado) with a side of cheese-topped, fried plantains; and a fried whole fish. SFoodie also mentions a Cubano sandwich, pernil asado (roasted leg of pork), and vegan habichuelas blancas (white beans in sofrito base with potato and calabaza). They are gunning for an opening this Friday, but call before heading over.

Was very sorry to learn from a reader that ~PINKIE’S BAKERY~, ~BENTO 415~, and ~4505 MEATS~ are all losing their shared kitchen/retail space at 300 De Haro at the base of Potrero Hill (their last day in the space is April 23rd). SFoodie has word that the new tenant will be a third location of John Campbell’s Irish Bakery, due to open in June. Will keep you posted on where the three businesses end up reestablishing themselves—Cheryl Burr from Pinkie’s tells me Pinkie’s and Bento 415 are currently trying to find a larger kitchen/retail location in SoMa.


Photo from Morph.

Last night marked the opening night of ~MORPH~, an Asian fusion restaurant (stop your smirking) in the Outer Richmond from first-time restaurant owner T. Tan. The former Watami shabu/ramen location has been radically transformed into a tricked-out space, with a futuristic look of molded white plastic chairs and walls with padded panels, a modern wood wall display, and blue LED light fixtures. (You can view a slideshow of the interior on Grub Street.) The menu has dishes like soy-wrapped pork hand roll ($7) with beets, carrots, lettuce, mint, and egg with tamarind sauce; and broiled flank steak ($12) with asparagus, carrot, and garlic buckwheat soba served with cilantro sauce. Wine, sake, and beer are available. Open nightly for dinner from 5:30pm-10pm; lunch will launch later on. 5344 Geary Blvd. at 17th Ave., 415-742-5093.

Eater reports ~JOEY & EDDIE’S~ in North Beach has diminished their hours to Friday through Sunday only.

~SEBO~ in Hayes Valley is scheduled to reopen for regular service this Friday April 16th.

~NOPA~ will be closed this Tuesday the 13th and Wednesday the 14th to celebrate their fourth anniversary. They will reopen for dinner on Thursday April 15th.


Bless my sister for bringing me some bites of the delicious Indian street food fare one afternoon from food truck ~CURRY UP NOW~, which is normally parked in Redwood City and various locations on the Peninsula. According to some recent tweets, however, the truck has been making its way around San Francisco as well. Look for SF destinations this week (although they might not make it on Wednesday) on their Twitter feed.

After some stops and starts, Steve Fujii and his wife Koko (and their two sons, Eric and Charlie) of ~EBISU~ have opened their third location: an Ebisu express lunch spot. They will be serving take-out lunch Monday through Friday, plus offering catering for downtown businesses and hotels. The menu includes a variety of salads, onigiri (rice balls), donburi (like katsu don/pork cutlet with egg and chicken karage/sweet-and-spicy fried chicken over rice), vegetable and nigiri combos, bento boxes (all $9.95), and hand rolls.

Benjamin Anderson of The Anderson Studio for Architecture and Pacific Craftsmen, Inc. transformed the former Tasty Express spot on Kearny Street, using dark recycled barn wood for the interior walls, as well as bamboo for other parts of the interior (the new interior has many of the same green materials that were used during the main restaurant’s remodel at 9th Avenue and Irving). There will be several mini hot and cold cases for bento boxes and sushi. As one reader noted to me, “On the same block, about three doors up, Miyabi just opened a take-out lunch place. Looks like a sushi face off.” Hai. 336 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-398-2388.

A tablehopper tipster wrote in to tell me “Thought you might be interested to know that a ~NEW FARMERS’ MARKET~ is set to start in a few weeks at the Waller Street cul-de-sac in the Haight. The market will be on Wednesdays from 4pm to 8pm. I just found out about the market last night when it was announced at the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council meeting. (There is some controversy. The Waller Street location is also where the SF Rec & Park department is planning to build a skate park, despite some local opposition. I’m not sure how the skate park will affect the farmers’ market, or if the two can both exist at that location.)” This market from The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association starts on Wednesday April 28th at Waller Street at Stanyan.


Celebrate having your taxes all done with a tasting and wine reception with Meatpaper and Blue Bottle at SFMOMA’s Rooftop Garden café this Thursday April 15th. As part of the museum’s third-Thursday springtime event series, ~SFMOMA: NOW PLAYING~, local chefs Peter McNee of Poggio, Morgan Maki and Linh Phu of Bi-Rite, Leah Rosenberg and Caitlin Freeman of Blue Bottle, and more will create dishes and desserts inspired by Vertigo, Hitchcock’s 1958 classic set in San Francisco. The menu includes A Visit to Ernie’s (Morgan Maki): steak au poivre with pommes gaufrettes and iceberg lettuce wedge with green goddess dressing; In Memory of Madeleine (Linh Phu): three madeleines (black pepper and bacon with maple butter, Gruyère and thyme with spring onion crème fraîche, and buckwheat and sage with mushroom duxelles); 1950s Salisbury steak TV Dinner (Peter McNee): grilled beef tongue, pig trotter tots, and English pea and mint purée; Steak à l’Americaine (Chris Kronner): steak tartare; and a selection of spiral-ly sweets (Leah Rosenberg, Caitlin Freeman): pinwheel ice cream sandwiches, Thiebaud cake, and red velvet roulade with cream cheese frosting. There will also be complimentary chardonnay wine from Scribe Winery, and beer from Trumer Pils. 6pm-8pm

 (the main event goes until 9:45pm). Free with half-price museum entry (free for SFMOMA members); tasting plates are $5.

In the museum at 7pm, Douglas Gordon’s Feature Film will be playing, a study of the hands, arms, and face of the Paris Opera’s James Conlon as he conducts the orchestral score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

 There will also be a performance in the atrium at 9pm from Laetita Sonami and SUE-C. 


This month, Southern Exposure is having a couple cool food-meets-art events, including Good for What Ails You, the “debut of the San Francisco issue of an Americanitis Elixir” from Alison Pebworth and Jerome Waag on Thursday April 15th, featuring a concoction made with the cooperation of beekeeper and mead maker, Bryon Waibel, and home distiller Adam Wolf.

And then on Thursday April 29th is the How-to Homestead Hootenanny ($10; free for SoEx members) or free with homesteaded goods and items to share (including home brews, seeds, fermented vegetables, pies, and more). The evening includes free tastings of home-made beer, booze, fermented vegetables, and other homestead goodies; new homesteading movie shorts (some with live accompaniment by the How-to Homestead house band, the sk8 sisters); square dancing with Pearsons Pork Pies, and the night concludes with free-form dancing with the Goat Family, a nuevo-traditional jug band on the old-timey exuberance and infectious tip. Films include: What I Learned the Year I Made My Own Linen Underwear, Everyone Needs a Hoe, SK8 Sisters on the Farm, The Incredible Adventures of the Primitive Creature, San Francisco Spring Foraging, and at least two films culled from their current call for work. 3030 20th St. at Alabama, 415-863-2141.


I was reading on Anita Chu’s Dessert First blog that she is going to be co-hosting the very first National Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale in San Francisco, which is part of the ~GREAT AMERICAN BAKE SALE~. On Saturday April 17, bake sales will be held everywhere across the nation, with the proceeds donated to Share Our Strength (you can read the national list of food bloggers heading up bake sales here).

The San Francisco Food Bloggers’ Bake Sale will take place at Omnivore Books from 12pm-3pm (and how fortuitous, Rose Levy Beranbaum will be speaking about her book, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, at 3pm). If you want to bake, donate, sell baked goods, or more, read more here. 3885 Cesar Chavez St. at Church.

festa bkgrnd_ticket_cropped.jpg

The second annual ~FESTA DI PRIMAVERA~ returns to the Grand Hallway (upstairs in the Ferry Building), a “Spring Celebration of Food, Wine and Music.” There are over 25 merchants participating, including Acme Bakery, Blue Bottle Coffee, Boccalone Salumeria, Cane Rosso, Ciao Bella Gelateria, Cowgirl Creamery, Far West Fungi, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, The Gardener, Golden Gate Meats, I Preferiti di Boriana, Market Bar, McEvoy Ranch, Miette, Mijita, Prather Ranch, Recchiuti Confections, Roli Roti, San Francisco Fish Company, Scharffen Berger, and Stonehouse Olive Oil. Featured wines from Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant include Graziano Wines from Mendocino; Hatcher Winery, Sierra Foothills; Italia Wine Imports; Montecastelli Wines; Oliver McCrum Wines; and Zigzagando Wines. Cool, old-style Italian rhythms will be supplied by The Hot Frittatas.

Tickets can be purchased at Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant inside the Ferry Building, Shop 23 (next to Boccalone). Tickets are limited, so get yours soon!


On Thursday May 6th, Moussy’s restaurant at the Alliance Francaise will be hosting a dinner in honor of the release of Mireille Guiliano’s latest book, The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook. (I guess I have been cooking too much from the Italian-American Women Better Watch It or They’ll Get Fat Cookbook.) There is a new executive chef at Moussy’s, Nathan Ivry (formerly of Jardinière), so this is a chance to sample his cooking. There will be three courses with wine, coffee or tea, and music from The Gil Cohen Duo.

Guiliano, the former CEO of Clicquot, Inc. (Champagne Veuve Clicquot/LVMH) will be present to sign books and answer questions. Mireille’s personal philosophy on food and eating healthily isn’t about “dieting” in the conventional sense, but more about eating sensibly and pleasurably. In her new cookbook, there are more than 150 new recipes that are easy, quick, affordable, and delicious. Cost is $85 single or $145 per couple (inclusive of tax and gratuity), and includes an autographed copy of the new cookbook (value: $24.99). A no-host reception with Mireille will begin the festivities at 6pm, and will include passed appetizers from recipes featured in the cookbook. The first ten tablehopper readers who reserve a ticket to the dinner get a $20 discount per reservation (just mention tablehopper).


Photo from Flacos.

An East Bay tablehopper tipster wrote in to let me know: “~FLACOS~, which is a regular at Berkeley farmers’ markets, has a new brick and mortar outpost on Adeline, in the small place that used to be Jamaican.” Yup, Flacos’ organic-vegan-Mexican pozole, tamales, and more are now available at a sit-down restaurant for lunch and dinner. You can also get enchiladas and chile rellenos, and desserts are launching this week. There are 11 seats inside, and 10 outside. You can read more about Flacos in this East Bay Express article. Hours are Tue-Sat 12pm-9pm. (And you can still find Flacos at all three Berkeley farmers’ markets on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.) 3031 Adeline St. at Emerson, Berkeley, 510-981-8081.


Photo from Primo’s Parrilla.

A longtime reader let me know about ~PRIMO’S PARRILLA~, a food truck offering an authentic Argentinean BBQ menu of slow-grilled asado (both free-range chicken and grass-fed tri-tip) with chimichurri, hand-made empanadas (chicken and vegetable), and side dishes like sweet potato mash. You can read more about who is behind Primo’s in this Examiner article here. Follow their Twitter feed for all the location details, but past daytime lunch locations in Emeryville have included 62nd Street and Hollis (by Doyle Hollis Park), and Park Avenue between Pixar and City Hall.


Photo: Jennifer Esperanza.

Berkeley’s ~TARA’S ORGANIC ICE CREAM~ has opened up a sister shop in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood, between Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub and Burma Superstar. Owner Tara Esperanza uses only organic dairy, fruits, nuts, herbs, spices, and even vegetables in her ice cream and sugar-free sorbets. Flavors include adzuki black sesame, garam masala, camote (sweet potato and cinnamon), pandan (a Thai herb), and blueberry mint. And all utensils, cups, and pint cartons are compostable—even samples are served on washable metal spoons. While the Berkeley shop (3173 College Avenue) offers over twenty fresh flavors daily, the smaller Temescal shop will offer a rotating selection of eight flavors in cups or freshly made cones as well as sundaes and frappés, and will soon offer brownie ice cream sandwiches. You can check their Facebook page for daily flavors. Open daily 1pm-10pm. 4731 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., Oakland, 510-923-1567.

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