November 23, 2010

November 23, 2010

Big news: talented chef Sean O’Toole has put in his notice at Bardessono in Yountville, and is going to be acting as chef and culinary director of kitchen operations of ~QUINCE~ and ~COTOGNA~, as reported in the Inside Scoop. O’Toole will be working closely with executive chef/owner Michael Tusk—seems they actually worked together back in 2004 at Quince on Octavia.


Photo by Kasey L. Ross.

It’s been all over the local press, but I wanted to extend a very big congrats to local talent (and cutie) Yigit Pura, the executive pastry chef at Taste Catering and Event Planning who was the winner of BRAVO’s Top Chef Just Desserts. Pura takes home an impressive prize package, including a feature in Food & Wine magazine, a showcase at the annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, a 2011 Buick Regal, and $100,000 furnished by Godiva Chocolatier. Yeah baby, a Buick.

Over at ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ and Arlequin Café, pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez resigned on November 10th. The team currently has a couple really great candidates, and should make a decision very soon.


Mission-ites in search of ramen can now swing by ~THE CORNER~ on Thursday nights for a bowl o’ hot, noodle-y goodness from Ken Ken Ramen, SFoodie reports. After the location at Panchita’s #3 didn’t work out (landlord issues), partners Robert Patterson and Stephan Roesch have started it back up (third partner Kenji Miyazake is not involved with this new location—reportedly Taka Hori, the sushi chef at Rocketfish, “will stand in as Ken Ken’s ramen master”). They’ll be taking Thanksgiving off, but it all starts back up on Thursday December 2nd at 5:30pm. You can follow Ken Ken Ramen on Twitter here. 2199 Mission at 18th St.


A few months ago, I broke the story that ~BAR TARTINE~ was expanding into the Hideo Wakamatsu luggage store next door. Many new details about the project have been revealed to The Feast, check it all out here. April is the current hoped-for launch date. (And be sure to read the excellent story about Chad Robertson’s bread-making obsession in this month’s San Francisco magazine.)

Also, on Monday November 29th, Peko Peko will be popping up at Bar Tartine, serving udon (kneaded underfoot, rolled and cut by hand) with “hot spring” egg, crispy scallions, and broth made with freshly-shaved bonito. There will be (weather permitting) shoyu-cured steelhead roe with wild cress, simmered yellowtail with daikon, fluffy fried pork and Japanese scallion, and matcha ice milk with milk cookies from Mie. They’ll also be serving craft sake and beer. Five courses will be $60. Cash or check only! Reservations recommended.


Bill Freeman and Patxi Azpiroz.

While ~PATXI’S PIZZA NOE VALLEY~ (say pah’-cheese) is scheduled to have its grand opening on December 1st, Noe Valley blog reports it’s softly open now. The menu selection includes two styles of pizza dough, four styles of mozzarella, and over 30 different meat and vegetable toppings (there are options like a whole-wheat crust, vegan cheese, and vegetarian/vegan pizzas for diet-restricted customers). You can also order salads, appetizers, and draft beer and wines. There is seating for 90, with a pick-up window for take-out orders. This is the fourth Patxi’s location in the Bay Area.

Patxi’s is also launching a 52 Weeks of Giving Campaign at the grand opening on December 1st, with a goal to raise $130,000 during the year (non-profit organizations can enroll here). The party is from 5pm-7pm and will include complimentary tastes of Patxi’s pizzas, a raffle, and Tory Belleci of MythBusters will be there (he’s an investor). Open 11am-11pm daily. 4042 24th St. at Noe, 415-285-2000.


Yelp photo by Cassie J.

As I was updating the restaurant listings for the Fodor’s San Francisco 2012 guidebook (it certainly has me busy this month!), I was sad to learn that the Vietnamese ~DRAGONFLY RESTAURANT~ in the Sunset has closed. One less place for me to visit, I guess. (Eater confirmed it.) 420 Judah St. at 10th Ave.

Also, riding my bike in the Mission, I was sad to see one of my favorite pitstops for birria, ~LOS ROSALES~, has closed. 301 S. Van Ness Ave. at 14th St.

Over in Berkeley, Sunday night was the last night for Robert Lauriston’s short-lived ~LOCANDA DA EVA~. Even though the restaurant just had a quick remodel, it seems they decided to cut their losses and close sooner rather than later. Here’s hoping the talented chef, Huw Thornton, lands somewhere local, soon. 2826 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley.

Another sudden closure was up in San Anselmo, with the shuttering of ~ L’APPART~ after less than six months. According to the Inside Scoop, “As co-owner Bruno Denis explains it, closing for the winter (and maybe beyond) was a decision made with long-term business prospects in mind. Even though the restaurant was doing OK now, Denis says that the diners—especially neighborhood folks—were treating it as a ‘treat.’ That pigeon-hole as a special occasion restaurant was something Denis wanted to avoid; a neighborhood French restaurant was what they were going for, you see. Furthermore, 40 of the 70 seats are outdoors, so with the rainy season looming, they decided to cut their losses.” The owners are currently trying to sell it, and barring that, they might reconcept for the springtime. 636 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo.


Want to taste the wares of talented local vendors while doing good for the community? You’ll have two chances at ~NEW TASTE MARKETPLACE~, a community market and fundraiser for The Food Pantry and St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church to be held Saturday November 27th, noon-5pm, and Saturday December 18th, 4pm-9pm, at St. Gregory’s. Over 30 vendors—street food carts, confectioners, bakers, and more—will be offering everything from pickles and preserves to pig, duck confit, sausages, and cupcakes.

The vendor lineup for this Saturday is quite an exciting list with lots of prospects for holiday shopping and eating. Here are some examples: handmade chocolate truffles from Christine Doerr of Neo Cocoa, assorted cheeses made with Straus Family Creamery milk from Jordan Grosser of Flosa Creamery, ramen to-go boxes from Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen, and organic vegan ice cream from Sarah Smart of Rocket Ship Ice Cream.

The sliding scale entrance fee of $0-10 benefits The Food Pantry and St. Gregory’s. The Food Pantry gives away tons of fresh food to more than 600 families every Friday.

Here’s the full lineup, but expect even more vendors by event-time (visit their Facebook for updates):

  • Nosh This, Kai: bacon crack, bacon rocky road
  • Peter’s Sausage, Peter Gardner: chicken and pork sausage
  • Beer and Nosh, Jesse Friedman: ginger ale and crème fraîche
  • Goat Hill Granola, Juliet Gardner: spiced granola
  • Neo Cocoa, Christine Doerr: handmade chocolate truffles made at La Cocina
  • Flosa Creamery, Jordan Grosser: assorted cheese made with Straus Family Creamery milk
  • Tutmak Coffee, Matt and T. L. Lipner: small batch, whole bean, organic coffee
  • Aunt Kitty’s Kreations, Kitty Myers: assorted jams & jellies, including lavender jelly and kiwi jam
  • Kitchen Side Car, Katie Kwan: banh mi burgers, and fried imperial rolls
  • Hapa Ramen, Richie Nakano: ramen to-go boxes
  • Dulceria, Marisa Williams: cookies, cakes, and ice cream
  • Urban Chef, Kevin Kroger: wild mushroom penne, and chipotle chocolate bacon bar
  • Nute’s Cupcakes, Nute Chulasuwan: mini cupcakes with a touch of Asian flair
  • Boss Hogg’s BBQ, Molly Raney: pulled pork sandwiches and 4 piggy chili
  • SFQ, Michele Manfredi: the original San Francisco BBQ sauce
  • Rocket Ship Ice Cream, Sarah Smart: vegan, organic ice cream
  • Cooky, Dario Barbone: bacon, pancetta, miso, and more
  • Churn, Andrea Barton, Elson: handmade butter, flavored butter, and buttermilk
  • Red Circle Tea, Sina Carroll: artisanal, traditionally processed tea
  • CocoTutti, Elyce Zahn: chocolates, and handmade caramels
  • Emily’s Tofu, Emily Dore: firm and silken tofu, and marinated tofu
  • Oaktown Jerk, Randall Hughes: beef jerky
  • Mo Foods, Caterina Rindi: preserved Meyer and Eureka lemons, umeboshi (pickled plums), Gravenstein apple butter, pickled green tomatoes, and kombucha

On Thursday December 2nd, the Meatpaper, Blue Bottle, and SFMOMA crew are at it again, with another ~NOW PLAYING/FOOD & THOUGHT~ party on the roof. The theme for this one is sure to be a crowd pleaser: sandwiches. There will be tasty offerings by chefs Chris Kronner from Bar Tartine, Jerome Waag from Chez Panisse, Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food
, and Leah Rosenberg and Caitlin Freeman of Blue Bottle ($5 per tasting plate). There will also be complimentary wine by Swanson Vineyards, and beer by Trumer Pils. 
The rooftop event is free with half-price museum entry. (Free for SFMOMA members.) It starts at 6pm.

At 6:30pm, there will be a curator talk, and then a screening of Bussotti’s Rara (film), with live piano accompaniment by the director at 7pm. Later, downstairs there will be a cash bar and free bites from Knead Patisserie, The Terrace Room, Paragon, Ozumo, Tres Agaves, and Luce to keep guests fortified for the live music performance at 9pm, featuring Bussotti and sfSoundGroup. You can read more about Bussotti and his restored film here. And the opening party for Stephanie Syjuco’s Shadowshop will be right next door, a project in the SFMOMA exhibition The More Things Change—this mom-and-pop style store stocks hundreds of pieces of artists’ works for sale, from tchotchkes to zines, with 100% of pre-tax sales from Shadowshop going directly to the artists.


These are definitely two words I like to see in succession: crab feed. On Saturday December 4th, Slow Food San Francisco will be hosting their fourth annual ~SLOW CRAB FESTIVAL~. The meal will be cooked by California Culinary Academy student chefs, and will include products from local artisan food producers as well as lots of delicious, locally caught crab. Local beer from Magnolia, 21st Amendment, ThirstyBear, and Social Kitchen & Brewery will be served with dinner, thanks to the Brewers Guild. And Chris Andrews (director of Steinhart Aquarium) and Paul Johnson of Monterey Fish will be speaking at the event. Proceeds benefit the Slow Food San Francisco Urban School Garden Project. 21 and over, please.


Photo by Karen Preuss.

The California Artisan Cheese Guild is going to be hosting one of their gatherings, Great Cheese & Good Cheer, in the East Bay for the first time! On Sunday December 5th, this holiday fundraiser and gathering will feature 15 California Guild cheesemakers (view the complete list on the website). You’ll be able to sample dozens of cheeses, sip East Bay wines and brews, and nibble special treats from Market Hall Foods. There will also be cheese fondue and panini, too. The $40 ticket price covers all sampling; get tickets here. 2pm-5pm. The event will be held in the Grace Catering showroom in Temescal (a former streetcar depot, and the location of the Pop-Up General Store). 4629 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Oakland.


Photo from Scream Sorbet.

A friend (and big fan) of ~SCREAM SORBET~ let me know they are now selling pints and sorbet sandwiches out of their retail storefront next to Bakesale Betty in Oakland. The space has been under painstaking renovation for a while, so Temescal neighbors are happy to finally see the business ramping up. Scream is currently selling their hyper-seasonal line of 12-oz. pre-packs and year-round favorites for $8-$10 (with some awesome flavors for Thanksgiving!). Chef Stephanie Lau has come out with an expanding line of sorbet sandwiches, like coffee almond sorbet with a ginger molasses cookie, macadamia vanilla with a chocolate wafer, macadamia vanilla with a shortbread cookie, Meyer lemon sorbet and rose-flecked shortbread cookie, and one I really want to try: pistachio sorbet with chocolate cardamom cookie. The sorbet sandwiches are $4.75. The owners hope to be scooping a week or so after Thanksgiving, but for now, hours are 11am-9pm. You can follow up-to-the-minute reports on their Twitter feed. 5030 Telegraph Ave. at 51st, Oakland.