May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011
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The view of Piccino’s dining room upon entering. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The center of the dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Spoon images by Michael Harvey (with wood spoons by Nic Webb).

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The pisello pizza, with English peas, lovage pesto, and buffalo mozzarella.

And so dream projects really do come true. Opening this Wednesday May 11th is the Yellow Building, a stylish and unique collaboration in Dogpatch between Margherita Stewart-Sagan and Sheryl Rogat of ~PICCINO~, the ever-curated clothing store MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing) in Hayes Valley, and a new wine shop, DIG. I had a chance to check out the three spaces (plus Piccino’s new café) on Sunday night at a friends and family dinner, and was thrilled with it all (kudos to architectural firm Sagan Piechota).

Pass through the main entrance on the side of the 150-year-old building on Minnesota Street, and you’ll see the interior of Piccino is as sunny as the butter yellow exterior, blending natural modern, arty chic, and warm rusticity. There’s a black oak bar with room for 12 overlooking the open kitchen (the lights overhead are by Tom Dixon), and the main dining room—which will eventually seat a max capacity of 98—features beautiful cypress communal tables down the center of the room, with reclaimed black oak floors inspired by the Tate Modern (the room smells sweetly of wood). The fixtures are so choice, from the Eames stools at the bar to the dowel and metal chairs in chocolate, plus the softly glowing globes overhead from FLOS. The artwork by Suzie Buchholz and the back panel of cornflower blue also add punches of color, and I also loved the texture in the room, from the pebbled feel of the banquettes, to the smooth wood tables, to the pattern of white wood rafters overhead. I also fell in love with the spoon images by Michael Harvey (with wood spoons by Nic Webb). There is additional seating for 12 outdoors, which will be especially prized by lunchtime diners.

The menu from chef Rachel Silcocks (previously at nopa), while obviously expanded (and say hello to a new fryer!), is still very much Piccino, with an array of salads and vegetables—wait until you try the leek and sorrel fritters, and asparagus salad with a bright mint vinaigrette, both $9. There’s also a selection of homey pastas, and an expanded pizza menu, with eight in all (we tried the pisello, with English peas, lovage pesto, and buffalo mozzarella, $18). There are also a couple larger plates, like pan-seared halibut ($21) and braised lamb with favas and polenta ($19).

Desserts from Alicia Harper included a brûléed semolina budino with Burlat cherries ($7), and, of course, there’s an affogato from the coffee bar next door. Speaking of the new coffee bar, you’ll be able to order antipasti and desserts off the restaurant menu, in addition to a variety of treats baked just for the café. You can view an entire slideshow of the space (and the preview meal we had) on my Flickr page.

As for the neighbors, DIG is the wine shop from Wayne Garcia, which will highlight food-friendly wines from France and Italy that you’ll be able to try at the tasting bar. And considering the Rega turntable I saw in there, you’ll be listening to some choice vinyl as well (Wayne is quite the audiophile). And Ben and Chris Ospital of MAC will not only be tempting you with their incredible designer looks, but they are also going to be reviving Chez MAC, with home furnishings and more. DIG will be open Tue-Sun 12pm-7pm, and MAC will be open Tue-Sun 11am-7pm.

The Piccino café is now open, and hours are 7am-10pm daily; and the restaurant will be open Tue-Sun 11am-10pm, closed Monday. Piccino, 1001 Minnesota St. at 22nd St., 415-824-4224.

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Interior photo by John Glenn.

As reported last week, chef Randy Lewis is opening ~CRIOLLA KITCHEN~ in the former Bagdad Cafe space this week (although it’s Criolla, not Criollo as I originally reported). Additional partners are Stephen PV Weber, Stephen H. White, and Michael Patterson. The menu—which traces soul food’s journey across the globe—features dishes from Africa, Puerto Rico, Louisiana (where Lewis is from), Portugal, and Cuba.

Dishes include starters like shrimp-stuffed hushpuppies with bread and butter pickle rémoulade ($5.90) and yam-yam tater tots with cilantro-lime crema ($4.90), while larger dishes include a selection of eight different rice and bean dishes (choose from either cast-iron, pot-simmered vegetarian black beans, or creamy ham-hock red beans, served with Louisiana long grain rice. Will it be calypso-spiced flank steak with rice and beans ($15.90), or plancha-seared Louisiana catfish with rice and beans ($14.90)? There’s also southern fried chicken, with your choice of waffle (original crispy, yam-yam sweet potato, johnny-cake corn, or savory herb)—and there’s even a choice with gizzards (I know my grandma would be thrilled with that one). There’s also a barbecue section, with ribs and brisket that are smoked daily in a barbecue pit in the East Bay. I am happy to see a Cubano on the menu ($10.90), with slow-roasted leg of pork, thin-sliced tasso ham, pickled okra, Swiss cheese, and Zatarain’s Creole mustard crema. Check out the entire hunger-inducing menu here. I’m ready to sit down and start shaking some housemade hot pepper sauce on the whole menu. Beer and wine will be coming soon, as will lunch, brunch, and 24-hour service. Dinner nightly at 6pm. 2295 Market St. at 16th St., 415-552-5811.

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Amante photo from Yelp’s Kevin Y.

I got an update from Pete Mrabe of Don Pisto’s about his upcoming noodle/raw bar (which still doesn’t have a name, but it will soon enough). It ends up he’s going to be running the pop-up restaurant out of Amante (yes, the bar)—they will operate as separate businesses.

The menu will have three sections: noodles, raw, and Chinatown five-spice fried chicken. Noodles will include Thai spaghetti, pork belly ramen, prawn butter-corn ramen, and duck chow fun. The raw section will be ever-changing, with selections of ceviche, crudo, sashimi, and seafood cocktails. As for the chicken, you’ll be able to order at 10-piece bucket (it’s Mary’s organic chicken) with three Asian sides for $24 (it should be enough to feed three), or 20 pieces with five sides for $40. Sides will include kimchi coleslaw, white rice, and other dishes. Hours will be Tue-Sat 6pm-10:30pm for now—Mrabe might offer the chicken later into the night, depending on how things go. Look for an opening the third week of July, stand by. 570 Green St. at Stockton.

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Photo from Chez Panisse on Facebook.

The interwebs were all abuzz that co-chef David Tanis, who has been working on and off at Chez Panisse since the 1980s, is leaving the restaurant in the fall after the restaurant’s 40th anniversary parties in September wrap up. Scoop also reports he will be writing more cookbooks, and a regular food column for the New York Times.

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Photo of Timothy Holt/Weird Fish by Sheila Menezes.

More changes at ~WEIRD FISH~: according to this post on Mission Local, the restaurant has been closed since April 1st, and partners Timothy Holt and Peter Hood are splitting ways. It remains to be seen how the whole thing will shake out, so the restaurant remains cerrado for now.

Was very sorry to read about the fire on Folsom Street last week, which claimed ~MOYA ETHIOPIAN~ in the blaze. No word about whether they’ll be able to reopen in the space—it sounds pretty dismal.

And something seems to be brewing at ~SOCHA CAFE~ at 3235 Mission in Bernal Heights. According to a tablehopper tipster, it appears the new owners now have the windows papered over. No word on what is going on. Anyone? Bueller?

And in the industry FYI department, ~NOPA~ is closed tonight, Tuesday, for a fifth anniversary party. Happy birfday, neighbor!

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Yelp photo by Heather W.

After a bunch of rumors and misinformation and no information, Grub Street reports the official closing for ~TI COUZ~ is this Sunday May 15th. My intern was poking around and discovered a sign for Giordano Bros., home of the famous all-in-one sandwich in North Beach. An email in to Giordano’s owner Jeff Jordan got me this response: “It’s still premature. Lots of moving parts that need to be tied down in the next few weeks.” I’ll let you know once I hear from him if the deal is final. I can imagine his shop doing very well in the neighborhood, but Ti Couz will be missed by many. 3108 16th St. at Valencia, 415-252-7373.

Via Uptown Almanac and Eater, just around the corner, it appears ~MAHARAJA INDIAN~ has shuttered: the phone line is dead, and UA refers to a Craigslist ad advertising a space on Valencia. 525 Valencia St. at 16th St.

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Yelp photo by Phillip W.

Thanks to buddy and girl-about-town Rebecca Chapa, I learned ~OYAJI~ in the Outer Richmond is now open for lunch Wed-Sun, and is serving a different menu than dinnertime. Now, what is on the menu currently remains mysterious since I couldn’t confirm anything before my deadline (Oyaji is closed Mon-Tue), and God forbid someone actually have a new menu posted on their website. Anyway, stand by for deets.

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A Casey’s Pizza pie I had in the park.

Coming up this Friday May 13th (awooooooo!) is the first San Francisco Nomadic Pizza Throw-Down! Four traveling pizza ovens (Pizza Politana, Fist of Flour, Copper Top Ovens, and Casey’s Pizza) will converge on ~COFFEE BAR~, donating proceeds to a Japanese tsunami relief fund. $12 will get you four pizza slice tasting tokens, one drink token (beer or wine), and one voting token. (There is also a $12 whole pizza token.) Pie-tastic! 6pm-9:30pm. Corner of Florida St. and Mariposa St.

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Image from Infinite City.

Were you bummed to miss the M.F.K. Fisher dinner I wrote up at ~WOODWARD’S GARDEN~? Here’s your chance to attend another cool one on Wednesday May 18th, with author Rebecca Solnit of the book Infinite City. She will be accompanied by fellow Infinite essayists and mapmakers at the Garden. The three-course menu of classic San Francisco dishes is $45 per person (does not include wine, tax, or tip). Call to reserve at 415-621-7122.

And then on Tuesday May 24th, forager Connie Green of Wine Forest Wild Foods, and the recently released cookbook The Wild Table, will be at ~SALT HOUSE~ for A Wild Table Dinner with Connie Green. Chef Robert Leva has created a five-course menu showcasing the very best wild foods, and Salt House bartenders will be foraging with Connie Green in the woodlands of Sonoma to create three seasonal cocktails. Beverage director Nicole Burke is pairing local, sustainable wines as well ($35). $70 per person for the dinner, not inclusive of tax or gratuity. Cocktail reception starts at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm. Advance reservations are recommended.

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Photo from Cooking with Italian Grandmothers.

I know I’m not the only one who is a fan of Italian food, so these upcoming Italian meals should please many of you. On Thursday May 12th, Marin Organic and ~FRANTOIO RISTORANTE~ in Mill Valley are putting on a meal to celebrate Cooking with Italian Grandmothers, by chef and author Jessica Theroux. Chef Duilio Valenti will prepare recipes featured in Theroux’s book, utilizing organic ingredients grown by Peter Martinelli of Fresh Run Farm and other organic producers in Marin. There will be a conversation between the author, the farmer, and the chef. $60, plus 9% tax and 15% tip. More info and tickets here.

~OLIVETO~ in Rockridge has an ongoing event celebrating the cuisine of Puglia, from three separate areas of the region. Take a look here for all the details on the menus and more. There will be a $65 prix-fixe menu alongside the regular (but shorter) à la carte menu, spending four evenings on each place. Several of the Puglian menu dishes will also appear on their daily à la carte menu. Through May 16th.

Grub Street tipped me off that ~DOPO~ in Piedmont is offering a four-course menu featuring foods from Campania on Sunday May 15th (chef Jon Smulewitz reportedly visited winemaker Bruno De Conciliis). Four courses, $75 per person (including wine pairing). Two seatings available at 5pm and 8pm. Call 510-652-3676 for reservations.

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Chef Lewis Rossman at the lobster bake; image courtesy of Sam’s Chowder House.

On Sunday May 15th, ~SAM’S CHOWDER HOUSE~ is putting on their annual Sam’s Lobster Fest, with Sam’s delicious lobster rolls, seafood, picnic-style dishes, beer and wine, and Treatbot ice cream for dessert. There will also be live music, dancing, a silent auction, an oyster shucking and eating contest (those totally gross me out, to be honest), as well as arts and crafts booths, with face painting and train and slide rides for the kiddies. Attendance is free, but tickets for food, drinks, rides, and kids’ activities can be purchased at a discounted rate in advance and collected at will call. For $30, partake in Sam’s Lobster Bake (hello Maine lobsters and corn-on-the-cob); pre-order, served at 1:30pm. More details and tickets here. 12pm-5pm. American Legion Fairgrounds, 70 Capistrano Rd., Half Moon Bay, Princeton Harbor.

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