July 5, 2011

July 5, 2011
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The cheerful exterior of Bottle Cap. Well look at that, they left the WSBG sign up.

After making it through some inspections and the usual pre-opening delays in this town, ~BOTTLE CAP~ will be holding their soft opening this week, from Thursday July 7th-Saturday July 9th. To refresh your memory, Bottle Cap is the newest opening in North Beach, in the former Washington Square Bar & Grill space. Owners Dane Boryta (Sens) and his wife Liz Ferro (the food and beverage manager at the SF Opera) are excited to be opening, offering affordable New American dishes made with quality, organic, and local ingredients. They also opened the French bistro Circa, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

An opening press release mentions mushroom and Carmody cheese pierogi in dill and pearl onion broth along with red cabbage slaw ($16); Mary’s chicken sealed in pastry with English peas and tarragon ($17); a Humboldt beef burger with San Joaquin Gold cheese and smoky onions ($12); and heirloom tomatoes with crispy-cured pork belly and buttermilk dressing ($9). Since Boryta was a vegetarian for nine years, you can bet vegetarians will have plenty to chose from (i.e. you won’t find an “uninspired risotto” on the menu, as he puts it). As I mentioned in an earlier piece, chef de cuisine Matt Sullivan (recently at Plate Shop) will also be in the kitchen. Starters will range from $7-$12; entrées $9-$24; and desserts $3-$7.

As for cocktails, Pete Gowdy (Bourbon & Branch) is running the show, which will include up to 10 hand-crafted drink specials, some barrel-aged cocktails this summer, and 8 hand-picked tap beers (like St. Bernardus Prior 8 Belgian Abbey Ale, Telegraph California Ale, and Acme IPA), plus additional selections in the bottle (and cans). Selections on the concise wine list will span from the local to French, Italian, and Spanish offerings. Fun fact: Dane, Liz, and Pete Gowdy all worked at Bruno’s in the mid-90s (that was a hell of a good time then). Oh yeah, and a New York egg cream will also be on the menu.

Regular hours start July 12th. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Bar menu available 10pm-12am. No reservations; walk-ins only.

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The front counter (and roaster area).

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The back bar, where coffee service will be offered.

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The view from above.

I had a chance to swing by ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE BAR & ROASTERY~ in SoMa this weekend to see how things were going, and let me tell you, it’s going to be one hell of a space. Brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison have been hard at work, and it shows. The enormous, light-filled, multi-level warehouse has a lot to offer: there’s the Probat roaster (and a counter) in the front, and the back has a large poured-concrete oval bar, with two sides that will be able to caffeinate your sleepy self. Yup, there will be a brew bar on each side, and two espresso machines: a Slayer, and a La Marzocco Strada EP, one of only six in the U.S.

There’s a cool retail shelving section—be sure to take a look at the turn-of-the-century (?) shelves that come from the Library of Congress—where you’ll be able to buy Chemex pots, beans, home equipment, and other caffeination-delivery items. Plans down the road include focus on single-origin beans (both drip and espresso), and the brothers are also working on some iced coffee offerings.

In about a month, the upstairs will open, which will have tables and chairs so you can hang out (and original and beautiful Douglas fir floors)—for now, it’s standing room on the ground level only. You’ll also notice some brioche from Firebrand supplementing the treats offered by Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Hooker’s Sweet Treats. The opening is slated for Monday July 11th—after inspections are done this week, the gents need to dismantle the kiosk, and then it’s time to open the big café, woo hoo! Hours will be Mon-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm (or thereabouts). 270 7th St. at Folsom, 415-861-1313.

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Umami burger; Flickr photo by Yogma.

After the wondering and surmising about WHERE THE EFF ON UNION STREET WAS ~UMAMI BURGER~ going to move into, Inside Scoop confirms that Eater was correct in their guess: the former Jovino/short-lived Joe’s American space at 2184 Union Street. Sounds like September is the target date for hordes of locals to descend on the place like crazed burger zombies. 2184 Union St. at Webster.

Currently in its soft-opening phase is ~MELODY~, a restaurant that opened in the former Coco’s Bakery Cafe. First-time owner Esam Jaber has two chefs working with him on an all-day menu of Lebanese, Middle Eastern, and French dishes; Jaber is particularly excited with the breakfast offerings, which are American dishes with a Middle Eastern twist, and they are making their own bread. Hours are 6pm-2am daily. Stand by for more details as the 45-seat place evolves. Like a phone number, for starters. 3401 Mission St. at Eugenia.

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Banchan photo by Yelp’s Priscilla W.

After a tip-off from ABC permits and some brand-spanking-new reviews on Yelp, it looks like ~MANNA~ has opened in the former Little Bangkok space in the Inner Sunset. But instead of being another Thai or Indian place, it’s a tiny Korean spot. Early Yelpers mention dol-sot bibimbap, kimchi jaeyuk bokum, tofu soup, KFC (Korean fried chicken wings), and other dishes that clock in around $10-$12. 845 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-665-5969.

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The “Beet Box” at DOSA on Fillmore; photo from Facebook.

Right on schedule, ~DOSA ON VALENCIA~ reopened last Friday after its update and quick revamp. You can look at the new menus (including the very important new cocktail menu, hello, you boozer!) on the website—and check out the weekend brunch, which is going to include thali plates for Bollywood Brunch. Get ready.

And ~SPQR~ had another quick refresh over the holiday weekend, which included new artwork, barstools, outdoor furniture, and fresh paint on the walls. Freshy fresh!

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Indian wrap; from BAMBOO asia’s Facebook page.

Opening on Tuesday July 12th for lunch service in the Financial District is ~BAMBOO ASIA~, a quick-service restaurant serving customized wraps, bowls, sushi, and salads from India, Vietnam, and Japan. Everything is priced at $8. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will eventually be served. The project is from first-time owners Anjou Ahlborn and Sebastiaan van de Rijt. Hours are Mon-Fri 10:30am-7:30pm. 41 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-624-6790.

There’s a new pop-up restaurant, ~REFORM CLUB~, starting up on Sundays at Specchio (it all begins August 7th). But the very first one is a preview on July 17th, and the crew who will be feeding you and pouring you beverages is Allyson Harvie (Citizen Cake, Ragazza), Dion Jardine (Heaven’s Dog, Slanted Door), and Becky Pezzullo (Undercover Supper, Bar Bambino). Think European technique and pace with Californian ingredients and creativity. Four-course prix-fixe meal for $40, with cocktail and wine pairings available for an additional $25. The menu is online; make your reservation via email. On Twitter. At Specchio, 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.

Oh, and dog lovers, you may want to swing by ~EAT~ this Friday July 8th at The Corner since it’s a fundraiser for Give a Dog a Bone (it’s a special organization that works mostly with custody dogs to keep the dogs socialized while in their care). A portion of sales from the evening will go to keep custody dogs from being caged all day and night before they get adopted (if they get adopted). 

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The counter at Swell.

A reader tipped me off that ~SWELL~—the restaurant that opened in the original Bar Crudo space next to the Tunnel Top a couple years ago—had shuttered. Inside Scoop confirms the space is closed, and the owner is “reportedly holding onto the property and is planning on reopening it—likely as a new concept—later this summer.” 603 Bush St. at Stockton.

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The Lincoln Grill (where The Elite Cafe is now).

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The Elite Cafe now (photo courtesy of The Elite Cafe).

Send some Happy Birthday wishes to some of the restos celebrating their anniversaries this month and join in their festivities! Start with ~HOG & ROCKS~ on Sunday July 10th from 3pm-7pm. They’re partying with oysters in a variety of preparations, a whole roasted pig, platters of ham, fried bites, and more; and in the way of drinks, Tres Agaves margaritas, Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey, and some beers too. Eat and drink freely for $25.

~ACQUERELLO~ is turning 22 on Tuesday July 12th, and all guests who come in to dine that evening will be offered complimentary bubbly and a surprise from the chef. (Have you eaten there since I posted my review not too long ago? You really should.)

Make a toast to ~MAVERICK~’s six years on Wednesday July 13th with a glass of bubbly, gratis for guests who order dinner.

New Orleans-inspired resto ~THE ELITE CAFE~ celebrates 30 years on Thursday July 14th with the unveiling of a new seating section containing private wooden booths for two, and for the next 30 days (through August 13th), guests can order a special $30 prix-fixe anniversary menu featuring Meetinghouse biscuits; choice of starters like shrimp and scallion johnnycakes with a roasted red pepper relish and lime cream; choice of entrées like California seafood gumbo with shrimp, scallops, oysters, and crabmeat; and choice of desserts like beignets with triple espresso bean ice cream and fudge sauce, and bananas Foster. Wine and cocktail pairings are an additional $30. 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-346-8400.

Next Tuesday July 12th, swing by ~BLOODHOUND~ (which seems to be an apt name for the place, with all the meat events they throw there) for Pork of July, when Taylor Boetticher of Fatted Calf will be there butchering a 125-pound red wattle hog from Walnut Keep. All the cuts will be grilled on a hardwood barbecue and served Vietnamese style, with an assortment of side dishes as well, like “little muffalettas” with olive relish, mortadella, and soppressata; grilled pancetta-wrapped peaches with basil and piment d’Espelette; Basque sausage and Padrón pepper pintxos; spicy pork jerky on the bar; bourbon brown sugar ice cream from Three Twins, served with Fatted Calf bacon brittle; and a complimentary (and specialty) Bloodhound infused cocktail. Tickets are $45. Doors at 6pm (until 10pm). 1145 Folsom St. at 7th St.

And on Sunday July 17th, the second annual ~LAMB JAM~ will be held at the Golden Gate Club. Participating chefs will be serving a variety of bites, paired with local wines. Participating chefs include: Antelmo Faria (Tacolicious); Banks White (FIVE, Berkeley); David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor); Dino Vazquez (Eastside West Restaurant & Bar); Eric Berg (Wente Vineyards); Jeff Mall (Zin); Jeffrey Lunak (Morimoto Napa); Jessica Gorin (ThirstyBear); Josh Silvers (Petite Syrah and Jackson’s Bar & Oven); Mattin Noblia; Michael Koenig (Grand Café); Ola Fendert (Oola Restaurant); Richard Hodge (Puccini & Pinetti); Robbie Lewis (Bon Appétit); and Yang Peng (Wood Tavern).

Guests will learn about lamb through a butchery demonstration by local shepherd Don Watson and chef Matthew Accarrino from SPQR, and the event will feature a whole lamb cooked by John Fink of The Whole Beast. Guests will also be able to create their own swag bags, and vote for their favorite lamb dishes in a “People’s Choice” competition.

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Summer corn and cheese tamales; photo from Cosecha Café.

Due to open this Friday July 8th in the Swan’s Market in Old Oakland is ~COSECHA CAFE~ from owner Dominica Rice. Her menu will feature home-style (and affordable) Cal-Mexican dishes made with quality and local ingredients (like Becker Lane meats), along with handmade tortillas, chorizo, and pastries. Rice’s cooking background includes Chez Panisse, Eccolo, and Restaurant Soleil in Mexico City.

Cosecha means harvest, and I’m telling you, the menu is going to make your stomach grumble; check it out here. It includes dishes like pozole ($7-$7.25, with pork or vegetarian), a variety of tacos for $3.50 (including ones made with turkey with pumpkin seed mole, or grilled poblano chile and cheese), and braised oxtail in mole and papa frita ($15). Brunch includes chilaquiles with chile verde and two scrambled eggs ($7.50), menudo ($7.50), chorizo, papas, poached eggs, and handmade flour tortillas ($9), and pancakes with homemade spam ($8.50—yup, I’m curious about that one). There are plenty of sweets as well, from guava turnovers to flan, which will go well with the coffee from Roast Coffee Co. There will also be California wines and beers. Cosecha will serve breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm. 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-452-5900.

Also in the Market is the recently opened Rio de Parras Organics produce stand—with fruit and vegetables coming from farmers Eleazar and Ana Bertha Juarez, who own a six-acre organic farm near Salinas. (Cosecha will be using some of their produce.) They also sell products from nearby organic farms, including eggs, honey, and flowers. Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.

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Kimchi at Kiraku; Yelp photo by Jennifer W.

A permit reveals a new “Japanese tapas” place in Berkeley, ~KIRAKU~. A couple brand-new posts on Yelp mention dishes like tempura corn, grilled hamachi, and Asahi on tap, 2655 Telegraph Ave. at Parker, Berkeley, 510-848-2758.

A tip on Chowhound announces there will be a new place from Geta: an izakaya named ~B-DAMA~ opening nearby on Piedmont Avenue. It’s reportedly due to open this month. And that’s about all I have for you because I didn’t get my act together to get more details, and the Fourth of July holiday really didn’t help matters. Fire me, go ahead, I dare you!

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Far West Fest-goers; photo by David Skeeter.

On Saturday July 16th, the sixth annual ~FAR WEST FEST~ in Point Reyes Station is an all-ages outdoor fest that celebrates all kinds of lovely things—community, arts and crafts, sustainability, and especially music—but let’s focus on the food, shall we? From 1pm-3pm, the Oyster-Off competition lets you try five signature oysters dishes from these chefs for $10: Heath Haberlin, oyster tour guide/author; Tony Carracci, private chef and chef at Marin Sun Farms; Aram Danesh, formerly chef at Fish. and Anchor Oyster Bar; Jeroen van den Berg, Marin County “foodie”; and San Francisco’s own Taka Tozawa, sushi chef at ICHI Sushi, with his dish, oyster motoyaki.

Lots of other food and drink offerings are also in store, including Tomales Bay Oyster Company’s Portuguese paella and sangria, Wild Onions’ fritto misto, Curry Up Now’s Indian street food, Terra’s organic ice cream, Lagunitas IPA, wines, and much more. VIP tickets include a free wine tasting. This is a “green” event with locally based purveyors of organic, sustainable offerings like oysters, fresh produce, grass-fed meats, wood-fired pizzas, and organic baked goods.

Tickets are $22 in advance; $12 for youth; $30 at the gate. For more info, visit farwestfest.com. Proceeds from ticket sales and the Oyster-Off will benefit KWMR Community Radio, and local non-profits. 10:30am-7pm. Love Field, 11191 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Point Reyes Station.

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