June 15, 2010

June 15, 2010
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Just a little reminder about the ~TABLEHOPPER INDIAN STREET FOOD LUNCH AT DOSA ON FILLMORE~ this Saturday afternoon! To recap, we’ll be sitting down for a family-style nine-course lunch of amazing dishes like what I experienced in Mumbai, including pani puri, pav bhaji, vada pav (one of the tastiest things I’ve ever eaten in my life), bhel puri, dahi papadi chaat, lamb frankies (or with paneer for the vegetarians), an array of kebabs, and one of my personal favorites, lamb baida roti. It’s gonna be so good. And very vegetarian friendly. We’ll also have some chai and sweets at the end.

We’re going to be featuring a selection of wonderful wines from Robert Oatley Vineyards in Mudgee, New South Wales. You will have the opportunity to try half-glass/tasting pours of the following wines: 2009 Pinot Grigio, 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 Sangiovese Rosé, 2008 Chardonnay, 2007 Shiraz, and the 2007 Cab-Merlot.

$45 per person (includes nine tasting courses, chai, tasting pours of the wines, gratuity, and tax). You’ll also have a chance to pick up a copy of my book (and get it signed!) for $17.50. See you there—it’s going to be a party.

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Flickr photo by Todd Barricklow.

Ok, this is beyond badass: the love child between a taco stand and a Schwinn will be hitting the streets of San Francisco, starting this Friday June 18th. Commissioned by Timothy Holt of Weird Fish, ~THE TACO BIKE~ will be cruising 18th Street and Dolores Park. The bike will get rolling around noon, heading up to the Castro and back to the Mission, then back again. The rotating menu will have a fish taco, shrimp taco, and a vegetarian/vegan taco, featuring produce from Roshambo Farms, Holt’s farm in Healdsburg with his girlfriend. You can follow Weird Fish on Twitter for updates. The Bite Club has great pictures and details about the bike, which was built by Todd Barricklow—you gotta check it out.

Also, Holt’s other baby, ~WEIRD FISH~ will be opening up for brunch again, starting this Saturday June 19th. They will have roasted garlic-stewed tomatoes with baked eggs and porridge, vegan pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, vegan chorizo with beans, smoked salmon hash, veggie hash, and the usual suspects when it comes to lunch (like fish ‘n’ chips, tacos, and a few interesting sandwiches, like the seitan Reuben, and the classic fried fish sammich). Saturday and Sunday from 10am-4pm. Plus cheap mimosas, and Four Barrel Coffee to wake you up.

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Back bar photo by Urban Daddy.

The new tenants in the former U Street Lounge, ~MARENGO~, are opening their doors (and retractable roof) this Thursday. Owners Kevin Toomajian and Jim Gruettner, with Kevin’s wife, chef Rayna Toomajian, are offering a menu of sliders (up to ten kinds), plus dishes like whiskey wings and six main-dish salads, like a jerk chicken version and a chopped salad. A sneak peek at the menu reveals quality purveyors, like Long and Bailey Farms for the pulled pork slider, and Pozzi Farms ground lamb for the lamb slider. Another draw will be the long list of whiskeys from around the world, over 50 in all, and 20 wines by the glass, with 75 wines total (the wine list will primarily range from $30 to $45, with quite a few reserve selections as well). Open daily 4pm to close (until 10pm midweek, 12am on Thursdays, and 2am on the weekend); lunch and brunch coming later. With brunch sliders, oh you know it. 1980 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-441-2575.

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More burger-y news in Cow Hollow: ~ROAM ARTISAN BURGERS~ is due to open next Monday June 21st. The menu will include sustainable burgers made from grass-fed beef and all-natural bison (plus a free-range turkey and an organic vegetable version), along with organic Straus Family Creamery ice cream or yogurt shakes (with flavors like Dagoba chocolate, Blue Bottle coffee, pomegranate blueberry, and salted caramel), artisan sodas (like prickly pear and caramelized pineapple), local beers, plus kombucha and wine on tap. The 49-seat space has a rustic and farmhouse vibe, with a 12-foot communal table, a walnut bar, stainless steel chairs and red accent stools, banquette seating, and a chandelier made of Straus Creamery milk bottles. (The project was built with eco-friendly practices.) Open daily 11am-10pm, and until 12am Fri-Sat.

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Photo by Kelly Ishikawa.

The new TenderNob café with the sassy name, ~HOOKER’S SWEET TREATS~, is now open. Not only will you be able to get one (or more) of David Williams’s kickass sea salt-orange cream-dark chocolate caramels, but you can also get espresso drinks and French-press coffee from Sightglass Coffee, featuring their very first batches of house-roasted coffee. There will additionally be a daily batch of bread pudding with a caramel sauce, caramel corn (in the late morning), and more stuff down the road. Hours for now are Mon-Fri 7:30am-5pm, and Sat 9am-2pm. 442 Hyde St. at Ellis.

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Flickr photo from Rick Audet.

Haighteration broke the story about a three-month closure of ~RNM~ in the Lower Haight. The sign posted on the window reads: “Effective today, RNM will be closed for 3 months to undergo extensive renovations. We have loved serving the Lower Haight for almost eight years now and look forward to re-opening in this neighborhood better than ever. Thank you for supporting us, and we look forward to seeing you in the Fall.” Rumors are growing that it might be longer than that—I’ll let you know the latest once I hear back from chef-owner Justine Miner. 598 Haight St. at Steiner.

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Photo: © 2010 Liza Gershman.

The ~COMSTOCK SALOON~ in North Beach/Chinatown is now serving lunch—the all-day menu is available 12pm-2am Tue-Fri and 2pm-2am Sat-Sun (closed Mondays). Chef Carlo Espina’s menu includes corn and jalapeño fritters or pig in a biscuit (both $8) to start with; a fisherman’s salad with preserved fish, green beans, cherry tomatoes, and pickled cauliflower ($9); chicken-fried rabbit with pepper vinegar ($13); and entrées include clams, spicy sausage, boiled potatoes, and corn ($16.50) or a Hamburg steak with caramelized onions and gravy ($17).

Bummer, a car crashed into the ~SAMOVAR TEA LOUNGE~ in the Castro on Sunday, and some folks got hurt, including a woman who got pinned to the wall. Fortunately, no one was killed, but it was a serious crash. You can watch this report on ABC, and view more pictures of the damage on Uptown Almanac. I’ll keep you posted on a reopening date. 498 Sanchez St. at 18th St., 415-626-4700.

Nothing is final on this one quite yet, but once escrow is complete, it looks like ~MEHFIL INDIAN CUISINE~ may be moving into the ~CREPEVINE~ space on Fillmore Street. Mehfil is currently located at 600 Folsom Street; this would be their second location. Stand by. 2301 Fillmore St. at Clay.

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The latest addition to the pop-up scene, ~EAT RESTAURANT~ is starting its first night in The Ambassador this Wednesday June 16th (EAT is also at 111 Minna on various nights—the next event there will be Wednesday June 30th). The menu of “Californian street food tapas made with local and sustainable produce” ranges from $8-$15, and can be viewed here. The project is from executive chef Tommy Halvorson (behind The Phoenix Supper Club, and previously a sous at Bix and Adagia) and Crystal Yang. 6pm-10pm. Table reservations for this Wednesday can be made by calling 415-375-2321; walk-ins are also welcome. 673 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

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Flickr photo from Harris Graber.

Well, it’s actually ~CUESA’S 3RD ANNUAL GRILL FEST~, back with a sausage theme this year. Starting on Thursday June 24th is a Sustainable Sausage and Beer Party (5:30pm-7:30pm), with sausages from seven local chefs and beers paired by members of the San Francisco Brewers Guild. Participating chefs include Taylor Boetticher, Fatted Calf; Chris Cosentino, Boccalone; Antelmo Faria, Tacolicious; Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats; Matt Kerley, Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery; Dennis Lee, Namu; and Pierre Mange, The Plant Café Organic. Breweries include: Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery, Social Kitchen & Brewery, Thirsty Bear Brewing Co., Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Gordon Biersch, 21st Amendment Brewery, and Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant.

CUESA will host an “Ask the Butcher” booth with Dave “the Butcher” Budworth of Avedano’s and Marina Meats, who’ll be on hand all evening to answer questions about sausage making. Doug Stonebreaker of Prather Ranch Meat Company will be in an “Ask the Rancher” booth to share behind-the-scenes stories form the ranch. Your $30 ticket buys one mini sausage from each chef and a taste of beer from each participating brewery. Buy tickets here.

The event takes place in the CUESA kitchen under the North arcade of the Ferry Building. Proceeds from this event will go to the CUESA Farmer Scholarship Fund, which is designed to help Ferry Plaza Farmers Market sellers learn how to make their operations more sustainable.

Then on Saturday June 26th is the Sausage Grill-Off from 12pm-1:30pm. For the third year in a row, local chefs will set up in the market and vie for the title of Grill Master. Last year’s burger champion, Mark Sullivan of Spruce, will return to defend his title against Dave Bazirgan of Chez Papa Resto, Peter McNee of Poggio, Thomas Odermatt of Roli Roti, and Scott Youkilis of Hog & Rocks/Maverick. Whose homemade sausages will reign supreme? This CUESA-sponsored event will be free and open to the public. Mini sausages from all the chefs will be available after the competition for a $2 donation (proceeds benefit CUESA). Event takes place in the South Driveway during the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Lastly, on Saturday June 26th before the Grill Off is a Seasonal Sausage Cooking Demo with Victoria Wise, author of the classic American Charcuterie and 2010’s Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage. She will put on a free-to-the-public cooking demonstration in the CUESA kitchen. Attendees will take away free recipes and samples. 11am-11:45am.

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At a Hapa Ramen test dinner (pre-broth).

Since Richie Nakano just wrapped up his last night cooking at NOPA, he’s ramping up his ~HAPA RAMEN~ appearances with business partner Kitty Gallisa. This Thursday June 17th is their debut at a booth at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (10am-2pm), and then on Saturday June 19th, they’ll be doing a pop-up at Louie’s Bar and Grill in SoMa from 6pm-10pm (possibly later) at 55 Stevenson St. And since Louie’s is a bar, you can enjoy a few cocktails until your order is up. (You can also mark your calendar for June 29th, when Hapa is appearing at Heart wine bar from 5pm-11pm.)

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The James Beard Foundation and amfAR are hosting the ~SAN FRANCISCO PRIDE SOIRÉE~ to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of San Francisco Pride at the new SoMa gallery, 12 Gallagher Lane. James Beard Foundation Award-winning chefs Gary Danko, Traci Des Jardins, Emily Luchetti, and Craig Stoll, along with JBF America’s Classic winner Yank Sing Restaurant and Taste Catering executive pastry chef Yigit Pura will all be there. VIP hosts for the evening include political and LGBT activist Anne Kronenberg, model Maggie Rizer, and James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro. After the VIP reception, there is the tasting soirée and live auction from 7pm until midnight.

Proceeds from the event will benefit amfAR and the James Beard Foundation. Cocktail attire. Valet parking provided. 10 percent of all proceeds of art sales made this evening will be donated to the benefiting organizations.

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Celebrated cookbook author Niloufer Ichaporia-King, author of My Bombay Kitchen, returns to ~FOREIGN CINEMA~ for an exotic brunch on June 26th and 27th. The menu will be filled with flavors inspired by Niloufer’s tropical travels to the state of Veracruz, Mexico, India, and beyond; the recipes will be showcased in Niloufer’s forthcoming cookbook this year. Highlights include date “pop tarts”, prawns and yogurt rice, kheema turnovers, and “son in law” eggs. Some traditional brunch favorites on the menu will also be served. All dishes are priced à la carte. Saturday June 26th 11am-2:30pm, and Sunday June 27th 11am-3pm. Call for reservations: 415-648-7600.

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Eater has details on ~CONTRABAND COFFEE BAR~, opening in the former John Barleycorn space (sniff sniff) from Josh Magnani (formerly a barista at Mission Beach Cafe) and Ron Starr (a photographer). Details include: 30 seats, a mid-July opening, a Hydra espresso machine, coffee blends from a small roaster in Oakland, plus edibles like empanadas and treats from Mission Beach Cafe. 1415 Larkin St. at California.

A couple weeks back, Haighteration had word about ~CORTADO~, which has replaced The Café at Café du Nord. The coffee and tea will be from Equator, with some Chemex pots in the house. The post also mentions, “expect upscale café fare, with breakfast items, salads, soups, quiches, sandwiches, pizzas, and a couple of Lebanese-influenced items, reflecting the owner’s family’s roots.” Beer and wine are also in the works, plus free Wi-Fi. 2168 Market St. at Church, 415-867-5309.

Lastly, ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ has a new roasting space in SoMa, and they plan to have a café in there at a later date. Check out all the “inner sanctum” details here, on the Boor Bridges Architecture page about the project. 1050 Howard St. at Russ.

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Photo from Remedy.

There are a couple new-ish coffee projects in the East Bay. First is ~REMEDY~, which is in Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood. They serve Ritual coffee and Teance teas, along with treats (scones, galettes, granola, focaccia) from their in-house pastry chef. The eclectic décor includes an old Pacific Bell phone booth and a vinyl record player. Coming soon will be beer and wine (with food pairings), an outdoor patio, and longer hours into the evening, plus music. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8:30am-6pm. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St.

Coming soon is ~BICA COFFEEHOUSE~ in Rockridge—either late June or early July. Bica (Portuguese for espresso) will feature only locally roasted coffee (roasters will be: De La Paz, Verve, Ritual, Flying Goat, and Barefoot), prepared by hand, cup by cup. There will also be pastries; toast with local bread, honey, and jam; and tea. The owner, Jake Bodden, lived in Portugal for a couple of years and fell in love with the people, the country, and their coffee. Tentative hours are 6:30am-6pm. 5701 College Ave. at Miles, adjacent to Rockridge BART.

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Even downtown Berkeley isn’t immune to the bottomless mimosa phenomenon: ~FIVE~ is the latest to offer that handy boozy feature, and there’s a new Sunday brunch menu from chef Banks White to boot. You can choose from classics like eggs Benedict or French toast, along with newer dishes, like FIVE’s mac ‘n’ cheese with smoked Gouda and tomato jam, or smoked beef brisket aux jus. The menu is $32 for adults (includes bottomless mimosas), $16 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under.

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