October 26, 2010

October 26, 2010

I am sure there were some restless chefs last night, breathlessly waiting for their “Good morning, you have a star!” phone call this morning from Michelin director Jean-Luc Naret (who is stepping down at the end of this year).

Big congrats to Christopher Kostow and The Restaurant at Meadowood team for earning three stars (now bosom buddies with The French Laundry on that coveted tier). The two-star team continues to hold tight, with no new players: Coi, Cyrus, and Manresa. New to the one-star club are: Alexander’s Steakhouse, Applewood (in Guerneville), Baumé (Bruno Chemel is a happy, vindicated man), Campton Place (its first ever!), Dio Deka (I love the food there), Frances, Madera, Mirepoix, Saison, Spruce (congrats, Tim Stannard, you guys got your star), and Wakuriya (go on, San Mateo—this place is in a shopping mall). And congrats to everyone keeping their stars—no easy feat, that.

Here’s the list:

The French Laundry
The Restaurant at Meadowood (new)


Alexander’s Steakhouse (new)
Applewood (new)
Auberge du Soleil
Baumé (new)
Campton Place (new)
Chez TJ
The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton
Dio Deka (new)
Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant
Fleur de Lys
Frances (new)
Gary Danko
La Folie
La Toque
Madera (new)
Madrona Manor
Mirepoix (new)
Murray Circle
One Market
Plumed Horse
Saison (new)
Spruce (new)
The Village Pub
Wakuriya (new)

At the now-really-truly-finally-and-softly-open ~GRUB~ on Valencia, you can have it your way, and have sit-down table service, too. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the menu will have a create-your-own burger option, with choices like Prather Ranch beef ($11), Colorado buffalo ($12), and ahi tuna ($12), plus a build-your-own mac ‘n’ cheese bar ($9, with $1 per ingredient, like broccoli, pancetta, or steak). The seasonally-changing menu will top out at $18 for a grilled lamb porterhouse, and the 35-bottle wine list will stay under $50, with $7-$12 glasses. Oh, there’s bottomless Pepsi fountain drinks or Roast’s custom drip coffee for $2.50. (You can look at a PDF of the menu here, and wine and beer list here.)

Nightowls take note, the hours are 6pm-1am daily with the kitchen open ‘til 12:30am. For the day birds, weekend brunch will run 10am-2:30pm Sat-Sun with bottomless mimosas for $10—look for brunch to launch in a month or so. Owner Erik Reese is also working on getting a permit for outdoor seating, which would add 10-12 outdoor seats to the already 49 seats inside. Speaking of, inside you’ll find a counter overlooking the kitchen, modern chairs, and plenty of color in the tabletops and the padded red walls (which are just a design element—and not an invitation to go crazy or act like the place is a gymnasium). 758 Valencia St. at 19th St., 415-431-4782.


Freshly painted exterior of Citizen Cake.

Pac Heights residents aren’t the only ones who will be happy with the news that ~CITIZEN CAKE~ is aiming to (softly) open its doors around November 7th (they are currently hiring and training staff, so the date is still a bit TBD!). And working alongside chef Elizabeth Falkner will be chef de cuisine Amy Glaze, most recently at Circa (she will still be involved with Circa as consulting chef, helping to define their style and progress their California bistro menu throughout the seasons—chef Angel Veneges, a seven-year Circa veteran, will continue to carry out their new concepts).

As for Citizen Cake, Falkner tells me she is looking forward to working with Glaze; and her recent trips to Barcelona and Rome really inspired her, so look for a chocolate hazelnut sculpture cake inspired by one of her museum trips! Once you pass though the bright poppy exterior, you will be greeted with the pâtisserie counter, an artful and minimalist display on a marble slab. Falkner mentioned that since the liquor license is delayed, they will be focusing on their sodas with handmade syrups and coffee drinks to start (she wants to encourage people to come in and linger over a coffee and a treat, instead of running out the door with a to-go cup). Soon, there will also be ice cream made with liquid nitrogen—which Falkner revealed was actually something higher-end Victorian ladies would make (ends up the technique isn’t as cutting edge as we thought!). She said it makes for a really clean ice cream because it doesn’t crystallize.

The menu is going to start small, with lunch daily from 11am-3pm, snacks and salads in the afternoon, and then dinner from 5pm-10pm. There will always be sandwiches (available on premise, or to go), plus arepas, and some classic dishes, from pastas to mussels and chorizo. More dishes will be revealed as Falkner and Glaze collaborate on the menu. I’ll keep you posted on dishes, and the opening date.


A tablehopper reader let me know that the former Patisserie Delanghe on Fillmore Street has been replaced by ~FILLMORE BAKESHOP~, with the father-daughter team of Douglas and Elena Basegio running the show. Both of them were trained in Switzerland, and some may know Doug from the Woodside Bakery and Cafe (he was there for 20 years). Their style is contemporary European-American, with cakes, tarts, pastries, cookies, pies, seasonal items, and wedding cakes, all made from scratch. Some specialties on the menu include their danishes, like a popular blueberry-cream cheese version that sells out each morning, and an almond-pear croissant. For those wondering, yes, you can still get princess cakes and profiteroles here. The interior has also been updated; there are six seats, with more coming soon. Hours are Tue-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat 8am-6pm, and Sun 8am-4pm. 1890 Fillmore St. at Bush, 415-923-0711.


Now open in the former Restaurant Cassis space is ~SWEET MAPLE~ from owner Steven Choi (he also is behind the Taylor Street Coffee Shop, and Fred’s Place Coffee Shop in Marin). The restaurant is open daily for breakfast (served all day) and lunch, offering a deep fried French toast they like to call “Big Hip” (yeah, that’s what will happen to you if you eat too many of them each week). There are also a variety of panini, burgers made with Niman Ranch beef, soups, and salads. You’ll be able to wake up with coffee and espresso from Equator, or something “stronger,” since they also have a beer and wine license. Look for a completely redone interior, with new tables, chairs, and lighting. Open daily 7am-3pm. 2101 Sutter St. at Steiner, 415-655-9169.


At Locavore’s friends and family party. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I swung by ~LOCAVORE~ in Bernal Heights for a sneak peek—they are currently doing their soft opening this week and next (through November 4th), and are going to have a grand opening from November 5th-6th. Chef Jason Moniz has created a menu with dishes like braised pork with kale and polenta ($16), and rockfish with cucumber, yellow beans, dill, and potato ($17). The comfortable space features a curved ceiling, a large communal table of white oak, banquettes made from wine barrel staves, and the lights are made of reclaimed materials, like wire mesh and chicken wire, by local artist Kevin Randolph (Bar Crudo). There’s a lounge area in the front with eclectic furnishings, and there’s also a small, handmade wood bar in the back. Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm.

And when I say cheesy, I mean the good kind: the edible kind. And sometimes, the stinky kind! Mission Mission broke the news that Sarah Dvorak will be opening ~MISSION CHEESE~. She is hoping to open this combination cheese café and bar by March 2011, offering a wide variety of quality American artisan cheeses (with very few imports) that you’ll be able to enjoy with beer and wine. Dvoarak, a Wisconsin native, has worked the garde manger station at Jardinière, where she really fell in love with their cheese program. She left corporate retail last year and has been traveling around the U.S. since, exploring and meeting cheesemakers all over the country while getting ready to open her own space. It’s a new building, 30 seats total, including some outdoor seating. 736 Valencia St. at 18th St.

Tonight, Tuesday October 26th, Sarah Dvorak of Mission Cheese and ~LOCAL MISSION EATERY~ are partnering up to host Meet the Cheesemakers from 7pm-9pm. You’ll be able to meet four fairly new NorCal cheesemakers (Barinaga Ranch, Bohemian Creamery, Bleating Heart, and Nicasio Valley Cheese) and taste their cheeses, paired with local beer and wine. Tickets are limited, and cost $65.

And then on Friday October 29th, ~18 REASONS~ is hosting Raw Milk Blue Cheeses with Neal’s Yard Dairy. The educational class will focus on the tasting, making, selling, and differences between cheeses made with raw and pasteurized milk. (There will also be traditional English ale poured throughout the event). 6pm-8pm. $35 for 18 Reasons members; $45 for the general public.


Off the Grid McCoppin—on a sunny day.

A few weeks ago, Off the Grid organizer Matt Cohen told me he was trying to work out a deal with Jackie’s Vinoteca and Café space, which is just across the street from the fleet of food trucks that take over the McCoppin Hub on Saturdays. According to this post on SFoodie, the deal is on—you’ll now be able to take any food from the McCoppin street food vendors on Saturdays and bring it over to Jackie’s. So you can sit down, grab a beer (or other drinks—there will be weekly specials), and with the rainy season kicking in, I’d say it’s a mighty fine idea. Noon-10pm. 105 Valencia St. at McCoppin, 415-864-5225.


Photo from Sociale.

Over in Laurel Village, ~SOCIALE~ is turning nine, and is celebrating this week (until October 30th)—guests will be treated to a complimentary glass of Prosecco. And from here on out, executive chef Tia Harrison will be bringing in a whole animal from a local purveyor each week, and serving nose-to-tail dishes for their new “Bumper to Bumper” whole butchery program. The restaurant also had a light refresh, with new chairs, new lighting, new carpet, and a new banquette.

Over in SoMa, it looks like ~THE GRILL~ has taken over the Luna Taqueria space. According to posts on Yelp, they’re now serving burgers, dogs, fries, and sandwiches. 799 Bryant St. at 6th St., 415-974-5862.

Also in SoMa, it looks like ~SHOW DOGS~ is going to get some company in the neighborhood in the form of a burger place. A fourth location of ~PEARL’S DELUXE BURGERS~, to be exact—and it will be right across the street, on the corner of Market and 6th Street. According to the Chronicle, March 15th is the target date (the project came about with the help of the city’s Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund and the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency).

Over in Cow Hollow, the name of Hugo Gamboa, Adam Snyder, and Andy Wasserman’s project in the former Left at Albuquerque space is going to be ~THE BRIXTON~, according to the Inside Scoop. Look for an all-day menu of “affordable American bistro fare.” They are targeting a mid-December opening. 2140 Union St. at Webster.


Flickr photo by yipe.

~PRATHER RANCH MEAT COMPANY~ is going to be expanding at the Ferry Building Marketplace, more than doubling their space in Spring 2011. They will continue to sell their array of beef, pork, grass-fed lamb, and local poultry, but have also hired chef Erica Holland-Toll (Ducca) to oversee a variety of ready-to-eat dishes for breakfast, lunch, and take-home. Look for barbecued beef, Carolina-style pulled pork, spiced pastrami on rye, and meatball subs (all on Acme bread), along with seasonal salads, soups, and sides with farmers market-fresh ingredients. Of course Prather’s delicious beef burgers will be available, along with bison burgers, hot dogs, and sausages, plus hand-cut chuck and bean chili, French fries, and onion rings (all fried items will be fried in organic beef tallow or pork lard). You can fill up on breakfast items like eggs and scrapple, “lardy” biscuits and gravy (just what I need, more lard in my life), and a crispy pork chop sandwich with seasonal jam. Yeah, it’s meaty!


Cavallo Point cooking school photo by Kodiak Greenwood.

On Friday October 29th, the Cooking School at Cavallo Point will feature Christoph Wiesner, president of the Austrian Mangalitsa Breeders’ Association, and his wife Isabell, for their sole West Coast stop on their four-city U.S. tour. They are teaching a two-part class featuring the Mangalitsa pig from Austria-Hungary. Christoph will lead a seam butchery demonstration and hands-on charcuterie class (10am-2pm), followed by a hands-on cooking class and dinner (6pm-10pm) featuring recipes using the Mangalitsa led by Isabell. The butchery and charcuterie class costs $95 per person (students can take home the charcuterie items they prepare), and the cooking class and dinner costs $145 per person. More details here or call 888-651-2003. 601 Murray Cir., Sausalito.

And on Monday November 15th, the Commonwealth Club is hosting The Conscientious Carnivore: A Guide to Humane and Sustainable Meat Eating with Mac Magruder, grass-fed beef farmer, Magruder Ranch; Deborah Krasner, author, Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat; Marissa Guggiana, President, Sonoma Direct Sustainable Meats and author, Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers; Chris Cosentino, executive chef of Incanto, Food Network star, and offal cuisine specialist; moderated by Traca Savadago, blogger, Seattle Tall Poppy and co-founder, International Food Blogger Conference. The panel will discuss the real meanings of grass fed, free range, and organic; what local cattle farmers are doing to create sustainable methods of raising cattle; and how to choose and cook meat that promotes personal and environmental health. 5:30pm networking reception, 6pm program, 7pm book signing. Free for members, $20 non-members, $7 students (with valid ID). Buy tickets here or call 415-597-5705. SF Club Office, 595 Market St.


White truffles. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

Feeling flush? I hope so, because we’re about to talk white truffles. ~ACQUERELLO~ has been shaving white truffles over dishes like “uovo affogato” (egg over braised creamy leeks and soft pancetta), their trademark Parmesan budino, handmade “tajarin” Piemontese (tagliolini tossed in burro fuso), and aged Carnaroli risotto al Parmigiano—the additional truffle supplement is $60 per dish.

~DELFINA~ is hosting their White Truffle Dinners November 2nd-3rd and November 17th-19th. They’ll be offering a daily changing, à la carte menu with several dishes—and you can have truffles shaved on for $35 (that price may change once they get closer to the date). Look for an extended list of Barolos and Barbarescos, and flights of nebbiolo by the glass as well.

~POGGIO~ is hosting their seventh annual Festa del Tartufo from Tuesday November 9th through Saturday the 13th. You’ll be able to have their specially imported Italian white truffles from Alba shaved tableside (market price) over a variety of Piemontese antipasti (like a sformatino/custard of Castelmagno and porcini crema) and pasta dishes (including a raviolo filled with ricotta and hen’s egg yolk, plus brown butter and sage).


Rabbit pot pie photo by Chris Andre.

‘Tis the season: the annual Pot Pie Tuesdays return to ~MISSION BEACH CAFE~ on Tuesday November 2nd. Executive chef Trevor Ogden is offering a variety of pot pies: rabbit with root vegetables, $17; Prather Ranch short rib with wild mushroom ragout, $17; vegetable pot pie, $16; and a seafood pot version with lobster, shrimp, crab, shellfish fumet, sea beans, and cherry tomatoes, $26. The delicious crusts are, of course, by baker Alan Carter.


Whew, you ready for this lineup at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~? Starting tonight, Tuesday the 26th, Tyler Florence will be there from 6pm-7pm to discuss his new book, Tyler Florence Family Meal (I was looking over it this weekend and am so ready to try some recipes in it). Wednesday the 27th (6pm-7pm) is the legendary Madhur Jaffrey, discussing her new book, At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka (am fired up that I’ll be able to use many of the spices I brought home from India with this one). Seat reservations accepted for those who call to pre-order a book.

Then on Thursday October 28th (6pm-7pm), it’s time for local boys Rajat Parr and Jordan Mackay to speak about Secrets of the Sommeliers: How to Think and Drink Like the World’s Top Wine Professionals. And Saturday October 30th (4pm-5pm) is James Beard Award winner Sarabeth Levine, discussing Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours. (Mark your calendar for Harold McGee on November 2nd, Chad Robertson on November 6th, and Amanda Hesser on November 7th). You can read about more authors and dates here.


Since we have Amanda Hesser in town promoting her new book, The Essential New York Times Cookbook, 826 Valencia was lucky to be able to snag her to help out with a benefit event on November 7th, ~THE ART OF FOOD WRITING~. Joining her is Daniel Patterson (Coi, Il Cane Rosso, Plum), who is preparing a tasting plate of three dishes from the cookbook (included in the ticket price)—he will also be joining in the conversation, to be moderated by Celia Sack (Omnivore Books). Amanda’s book will be available for purchase at the event.

Tickets are $100, with proceeds going to benefit 826’s free student programming.