August 17, 2010

August 17, 2010

Last week a tablehopper reader wrote in to let me know the ~WASHINGTON SQUARE BAR & GRILL~ had closed—it had been a year and a half since the Tiernans reopened “The Washbag” back in the beginning of 2009. In an uncanny and sad moment of synchronicity, Leah Garchick also reported that Ed Moose had passed away the same day. You can read more about this wonderful San Francisco personage and restaurateur here—he’ll be missed by many. 1707 Powell St. at Union.


Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is soft opening his latest pet project this Wednesday, ~TONY’S COAL-FIRED PIZZA & SLICE HOUSE~ in the former Palermo Delicatessen/La Spiaggia location (the grand opening is Friday). It’s a tiny space with mostly take-out items only, but it’s going to have quite the list o’ options: coal-fired pizzas (yup, the only ones in NorCal—an original 15” tomato pie is $15, and a white pie with clam and garlic will be available on Fridays and Saturdays for $23), there’s New York-style pizza by the slice ($3.50 for plain cheese), Sicilian by the square ($3 for cheese), and Romana pizza by the meter (1/4 meter is $8), which you can customize with three ingredients (your pick).

And I haven’t even gotten to the sandwiches: there will be Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches (like the one I got at Al’s), seven kinds in all, with beef that has been slow roasted with rosemary, garlic, and oregano in the coal-fired oven. Or you can get a calzone, or a stromboli, and there will be baked ziti in the winter (which would be now, ahem). And then there’s the New York deli list of sandwiches, ranging from capicollo grinders to a chicken parm wedge to pastrami on rye. You can also order your own combo, with meats that will be sliced on an Italian hand-cranked slicer—and the pastrami, corned beef, and rosemary turkey are all made in-house. (Hey, I’m just happy to see a place with caciocavallo cheese as an option, mamma mia.) Lastly, there are chocolate egg cream sodas (using Fox’s U Bet and Seltzer Sisters soda) and Gino’s Italian ices (lemon or cherry).

Now, I don’t know how many people it’s going to take to get these slices and sandwiches out the door quickly enough so it doesn’t turn into another Ike’s—I guess all will be revealed. But Tony does have a dedicated walk-in for pizza dough (for both restaurants), so at least he knows he’s gotta make a lot of dough! Closed Mon-Tue, open Wed-Sun 12pm-11pm.


Rendering of the storefront.

Pastry chef William Werner (polite/persuasion, Quince, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company) is launching ~TELL TALE PRESERVE COMPANY~ with the Whisk Group on Maiden Lane this November. It’s going to be a modern French pâtisserie and delicatessen, serving a variety of housemade pastries, confections, preserves, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. The 24-foot pastry case will include items like creamsicle éclairs, Werner’s “tiles” (small square tarts), tea cakes by the slice or as a loaf, madeleines, nougats, and more. The housemade “preserves” will be sold in five- to eight-ounce Weck jars, provided for a nominal one-time deposit fee; there will be jams, marmalade, and chocolate—both sweet (like roasted banana with dark chocolate and rum), and savory (like a terrine of foie gras with Palmira chocolate and port).

There will be breakfast sandwiches served everyday until 11am and housemade granola, and for lunch, soups, salads, sandwiches, like a tartine of duck confit, and savory cakes, including roasted corn with chorizo and speck with semi-dried figs. There will also be coffee, tea, beer, wine, sherry, and look at that, caramel horchata.

The 1,100-square-foot space will have 20 indoor and 20 outdoor seats. It will be designed with Jim Zack of Zack | de Vito Architecture, featuring reclaimed wood floors, marble counters, custom retro light fixtures, antique scales, and exposed brick walls. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, and Sat-Sun 9am-5pm.

Werner also has a new off-site production kitchen in Dogpatch, which will serve wholesale accounts and production for his “Tell Tale Society,” a monthly subscription service with pastries, preserves, confections, and savory breads. The cost is $35 per month and customers can either pick up their package or have it shipped. The first one includes almond financiers, plum-lychee pâtes de fruit, confiture “café” au lait (coffee-laced milk jam), caramels with volcanic sea salt, savory tomato-semolina bread, praline marshmallows, and raspberry-white chocolate sandwich cookies.

The next time you’re headed over to Fort Mason for a wine event, or for the farmers’ market, or even a walk on the Marina Green, you’ll be able to grab a Blue Bottle coffee at the new ~READERS CAFE~. You can also enjoy wine and beer, snacks from Goody Goodie Cookies, Kika’s Treats, 18 Rabbits, and KIND bars, along with a rotating menu with items from La Cocina businesses. Readers Cafe is located adjacent to the Friends’ Book Bay Fort Mason book store. And here’s the best part: it’s operated by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, so all proceeds benefit the San Francisco Public Library. Hours are daily 9am-6pm. Building C, South End, Fort Mason Center, 415-724-7512.


At Marlowe Restaurant; photo by Hardy Wilson.

San Francisco’s first ~PEACH & PLUM DINING MONTH~ is underway, running until September 15th. Recent research findings from a study performed at Texas A&M University indicate peaches and plums may help fight breast cancer. So 18 San Francisco chefs and restaurants will feature savory and sweet peach and plum dishes on their menu, donating $1 from every dish sold to The Breast Cancer Site’s Gifts That Give More program, which helps fund free mammograms. You can “like” the campaign on Facebook, and learn more about the study at

Participating restaurants (which include a strong showing from past and present Rivera PR clients) and their dishes include:
1) DOSA on FIllmore: peach + passion fruit mimosa
2) Fifth Floor: artisan foie gras (foie gras pâté, peaches, pistachio, vanilla salt)
3) Ironside: peach tart
4) District: crispy mustard-glazed pork belly with roasted peach and spiced cabbage
5) Hog & Rocks: peach cobbler parfait; bratwurst with pickled plum; peach mint julep
6) Scala’s: Italian prune plum crostada with ginger gelato; duck confit with grilled peaches, farro, balsamic onions, wild arugula, mint, and almonds
7) Beretta: peach crumble cake with vanilla gelato and Bellini coulis
8) Starbelly: grilled peach and mache salad with Humboldt Fog and Oregon hazelnuts; fresh peaches with Harvey Milk ice cream and burnt brioche
9) Delarosa: peach and basil pizza dolce with vanilla gelato
10) 5A5: seared foie gras with grilled peach, peach coulis, dwarf truffle peach
11) Gitane: peach and heirloom tomato salad with hazelnut phyllo, goat cheese, and roasted shallot dressing
12) midi: lemon-vanilla rice pudding with lemon curd, fresh pluots, and pluot sauce
13) Roam: peach milkshake
14) Elite Cafe: field lettuce with organic white and yellow peaches, sweet herbs, toasted almonds, citrus vinaigrette
15) Trademark: organic yellow peach and blackberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream
16) Uva Enoteca: oven-roasted poussin with peach gastrique and braised greens
17) Citizen’s Band: peach cobbler
18) Marlowe: white peach and Berkeley burrata


Copyright © 2006-10

Come by ~ORSON~ from Thursday August 19th-Saturday the 21st for a special menu that will be available, Unite For A Bite. The menu was inspired by an array of incredible women chefs, and is serving as a benefit for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs scholarship and mentoring programs for women in the hospitality industry. Here’s the lineup: first course: strange flavor eggplant with scallion buns, inspired by Barbara Tropp; second course: spaghetti with raw tomato sauce, inspired by Lidia Bastianich; main course: grilled skirt steak with tamarind, roasted peppers, and watercress, inspired by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken; and dessert: nectarines and plums with vanilla-goat cheese, honey, and pistachio-walnut streusel, inspired by and for Joyce Goldstein. The menu is $55, and wine pairings are $25. Their regular menus will also be available.


Drunken chicken; photo from ACF.

This Thursday August 19th, MATCHA at the Asian Art Museum is all about one of my favorite cuisines: Shanghaiese! Bring on the black vinegars! The Asian Culinary Forum and the Asian Art Museum are hosting chef Nei Chia Ji of Jai Yun Restaurant and chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook for Shanghai Drunken Dish. The duo will host a demonstration (from 7pm-7:45pm) and a limited tasting of three special dishes: the famous drunken chicken infused with Shaoxing wine, vegetarian goose with bean curd and rice wine, and pickled cucumber in Huang Chiew wine. You’ll be able to have sample bites, purchase cocktails from the cash bar, listen to music from DJ Friendly Traveler, and tour the special Shanghai exhibition (docent conversations are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm).

And then on September 2nd is The Foods of Shanghai’s Jewish Communities at 7:30pm with Inna Mink and Dianne Jacob. Inna will share her experiences as a child in an Ashkenazi family living in this “Paris of the East,” while Dianne will speak about her observant Iraqi-Jewish family’s culinary traditions, which included Indian-Jewish, British, and Chinese foods. Jewish Community Center-East Bay, Berkeley.


When I was first breaking into food writing, Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More, was an informative intro. The newest edition focuses on food blogging and photography, social media, self-publishing, and freelance writing. Sean Timberlake of Hedonia will interview Dianne on food blogging trends, including how a blog can open doors to writing books, feature articles, and paid posts for websites. They will be at Omnivore this Saturday August 21st from 3pm-4pm, swing on by! 3885a Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.


Photo from City Bees.

Here’s your chance to be an extreme locavore with this Slow Food San Francisco guided tasting of local neighborhood San Francisco honeys on Sunday August 29th. Apiarist Robert MacKimmie of City Bees will guide the group through a tasting of at least six micro-climate honeys from several neighborhoods, such as Potrero Hill, Dolores Park, the Castro, and more. You will also be able to learn about urban beekeeping and what gives honeys their distinct taste. There will also be a “cooking with honey” demonstration (including honey bread and some baked summer fruit desserts) at 1pm in the Cob Brick oven by Slow Food SF’s Naomi Friedman and Xanthie Drankus; the honey tasting is at 3pm.


Is there a barbecue in your Labor Day future? If your answer is a “hells yes!,” then you should consider ordering the brand-new ~4505 CSA COOLER~, ready to go at the 4505 Meats Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stall. The September cooler is geared towards grilling, including a “ready to grill” beef or pork prime cut (you choose from Magruder Ranch grass-fed beef or Hudson Ranch heritage pork), recipes, instructions, handmade beer sausages, bacon-studded hot dogs, bratwurst, and of course, chicharrones.

Pre-orders will be taken on the phone only starting Monday August 23rd at 415-255-3094 (all pre-ordered 4505 Coolers will cost $60). You can pick up on Saturday September 4th from 8am-2pm. If they don’t sell out and you decide to buy one on September 4th without pre-ordering, each 4505 Cooler will cost $70. Your 4505 Cooler is refillable, reusable, and insulated. More 4505 Cooler pick up locations in SF and the East Bay soon! Keep up with 4505 on their Facebook page.

Due to open on August 31st in the former Eccolo space on 4th Street in Berkeley is ~ZUT! ON FOURTH~, a project from chef Jim Wimborough (Home, Evvia Estiatorio, Kokkari, Grand Café, Boulevard, Rubicon) and general manager Steven Decker (co-founder of Café Claude).

The menu will feature regional Mediterranean dishes: appetizers ($7-$10) like fried squash blossoms, local squid stuffed with chorizo, and braised white beans with roasted peppers and goat cheese. Entrées ($18-$22) include rotisserie Watson Ranch lamb, mesquite-grilled whole fish of the day, and slow cooked tajines. There will also be flatbreads, focaccia, and pizzas. There’s a full bar, highlighting locally crafted spirits and an extensive selection of aperitifs and amaros. The space has been remodeled, and features a comfortable aesthetic, with a sidewalk patio, and a semi-exhibition kitchen with a wood-fired grill and rotisserie. After an initial two-week period of dinner-only service, the restaurant will also serve lunch daily, plus a weekend brunch. 1820 4th St. at Hearst, 510-644-0444.