August 2, 2011

August 2, 2011
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Chef Ron Siegel. Photo provided by Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.

Exciting news at ~THE DINING ROOM AT THE RITZ-CARLTON~: after 20 years of a fine dining format, the esteemed location will be closing to undergo a makeover and a total re-concepting. The new space will be more approachable, contemporary, and less formal—the publicist for the property emphasizes the feeling will be warm and comfortable. Chef Ron Siegel—who has been leading The Dining Room since July 2004—will be creating a new dining experience that will offer more flexibility, modernity, and simplicity (more details on the menu format soon).

One big change will be the addition of a bar and lounge area in the dining room—featuring handcrafted cocktails and small plates—designed to appeal as much to locals as to guests just passing through. The plan is to create a lively and prominent bar, with a fun environment that will spill over a bit into the actual dining room. There will also be a chef’s table and a glassed-in private dining room. (When all is said and done, there will be 146 seats total.)

There will also be two entrances to the restaurant, either a direct (and more prominent) entrance from the porte-cochère, or through the lobby. Speaking of the lobby (and lobby lounge), those two spaces are slated for some upcoming renovations down the road as well.

The redesign will begin after September 15th, and should be reopening before the end of the year. In honor of Siegel’s groundbreaking salt and pepper tasting menu, it will be available once again from August 9th-September 15th. You’ll be able to congratulate Ron during this weekend’s SF Chefs—he’ll have a table at the Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting (from 12pm-4pm).

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The Fiori di Zucca pizza; photo from Pachino’s Facebook page.

~QUATTRO STAGIONI~, the recently opened pizzeria from Pino Spinoso of Tiramisu, is now ~PACHINO~ and under new ownership: Spinoso is now partnering with Gabriele Originario, previously the opening manager and wine director at Farina, and most recently the GM at Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar. Pachino is a 35-seat pizzeria, and the pizzaiolo, Salvatore Di Stefano, is from Sicily (he was previously at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in North Beach, and has several years of experience making pizza in Italy as well). It just opened last Tuesday July 26th.

Pachino’s pizzas are Napoletana in style, with pies like the Gricia (pancetta, escarole, pecorino, mozzarella), the Fiori di Zucca (squash blossom, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, mozzarella and asiago cheese), and a Diavola (spicy Calabrese salame, arugula, tomato, chile pepper, mozzarella); the pizzas range from $11-$16. There are also a couple Sicilian pizza selections (both $19): the Schiacciata Siciliana con Salsiccia (filled with sausage, broccolini, and Toma cheese) and the Schiacciata Siciliana con Prosciutto (filled with prosciutto, endive, tomato, and mozzarella). Each pizza serves two, and takes 10 minutes to bake. There are also appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, and a couple meat courses; you can check out the entire menu here. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 318 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-956-4056.

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Photo from Louis’ Facebook page.

74-year-old ~LOUIS’ RESTAURANT~, the kitschy restaurant out by the Sutro Baths, has finished its renovation, approvals, and permits, and is reopening this Wednesday August 3rd. The family-owned restaurant almost lost their lease with the National Park Service, but fortunately the community rallied to help the Hontalas family keep it. Part of the terms of their new 10-year lease was that the family had to make some green changes and updates to the space, and that all their produce needed to be certified organic and local (you can read a bunch of details in this post on The Richmond Blog). (Here’s hoping some of the shag-tastic elements remain, like the groovy pendant lamps and funky tiles.) Hours are 6:30am-9pm. 902 Point Lobos Ave., 415-387-6330.

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A honkin’ pastrami sandwich from Deli Board. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SoMa workers have been lining up for sandwiches from ~DELI BOARD~ on Howard Street for months (it’s like they’re giving away sandwiches or something). But what’s funny is the line is at the door of their catering kitchen, and not an actual sandwich shop. Well, not for long. Come late August/early September, Deli Board will be opening a sandwich shop (and their catering kitchen) in the space next door to Fondue Cowboy (the space was supposed to house Dolce Italia, an Italian cookie company). There will be around 25-30 seats, and they’ll be serving breakfast sandwiches and burritos in the morning, plus their trademark delicious sandwiches, homemade soups, and salads as well. There will also be some special bagels coming in from New York, and meat lovers will be able to order meats by the pound. Yeah, hot deli action! What’s funny is owner Adam Mesnick is from Cleveland, and the deli overlooks Cleveland alley. Fate, it is. 1058 Folsom St. at Cleveland.

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Fish banh mi; Yelp photo by Edmund W.

Nope, it’s not just pizza and burger places dominating our local culinary scene: banh mi is quickly proving to be the “it” sandwich of 2011. Not too long ago, Eater announced the closure of 33-year-old Indonesian Java Restaurant in the Inner Richmond (the owner reportedly retired). Now open in its place is ~CAFE BUNN MI~, not to be confused with the recently opened Bun Mee on Fillmore. Yelp comments sound rather positive (for a change), mentioning a duck banh mi, pho, rice plates, and super-nice owners. 417 Clement St. at 6th Ave., 415-668-8908.

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The Inside Scoop broke the story about the upcoming ~HAYES VALLEY BAKEWORKS~ project coming to the corner of Gough and Fulton (I’ve been wondering what was going in there since it’s on one of my bike routes). Alice Cravens (previously at Modern Tea) is working with the local nonprofit Toolworks to open a bakery and café that will employ the disabled, homeless, and at-risk clients through a culinary training program. Cravens is developing the initial menu on a consulting basis, but won’t be in the café/bakery on a daily basis due to her day job developing and teaching culinary vocational curriculum for high school youth.

But about that menu: it will include rustic American baked goods (sweet and savory, and made from scratch), plus healthy soups, salads, and flatbreads, along with cookies, bars, brownies, and Craven’s wonderful pudding cake and cheesecake in jars will be staging a return! Full Plate Restaurant Consulting—which drafted the business plan and recruited the team—did an in-depth market survey of area workers and residents about what they would like to see in the neighborhood, with the biggest Venus/Mars finding being that men love muffins while women want scones. Who knew?

There will also be catering options, and drinks will include Four Barrel Coffee. Jim Maxwell of Architects II is behind the design, which will include warm colors, wood, and clean lines. Expect a January 2012 opening; hours will be Mon-Sat from early morning to early evening. 365 Fulton St. at Gough.

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The delicious insides of a Starter Bakery croissant.

Lots of groovy baked goods are coming onto the scene lately. Just found out Oakland’s ~STARTER BAKERY~ will now have some of their fantastic pastries available at super-cute farm:table in the TenderNob. Sadly, no kouign amann, but they will carry some of Starter Bakery’s mini croissants, mini seasonal fruit danishes, baked tarts, and cookies. UPDATE: They are now going to carry the famed kouign amann Fri-Sun! 754 Post St. at Jones.

Meanwhile, What the Fork mentions you can find the amazing Montreal-style, wood-oven baked bagels from ~BEAUTY’S BAGEL SHOP~ (which currently doesn’t have a shop—the bakers are searching for a spot!) at Wise Sons Deli and Saul’s (in the 510) on Saturdays.

And since we’re talking bagels, brand-new wholesaler ~SPOT BAGEL~ is beginning to turn up at shops and markets and cafés all over the Bay Area; check out locations here.

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The future home of Pig and Pie; photo courtesy of Mission Mission.

Pig continues to be the new black. First up, both Grub Street and Mission Mission have been tracking what is going into the former Discolandia space in the Mission: ~PIG AND PIE~.

One of the owners handily wrote in some comments on the MM post, so here are the details, straight from the horse’s mouth: “Pig and Pie is going to serve handmade sausages with unique dressings and homemade pies for dessert. We’ll have a standard selection, including a vegan option, as well as rotating specials and a variety of interesting side dishes. The pies will be made from local seasonal fruits and be accompanied by ice cream from one of the local ice cream houses. We’re looking to create a place where you can get upscale food at a downscale price in a casual setting.” 

He goes on: “We’re very excited about opening a restaurant on 24th St. I’ve lived in the ‘hood for well over a decade and have wanted to open a restaurant of some kind for about the last 5 years but all the pieces didn’t come together until now. The biggest piece of that was finding my business partner Nate. Nate is a butcher and a chef, he makes a mean sausage and I’m happy to have him running the kitchen. The other piece was locating a space. I’d actually been looking for a space on 24th St. for a few months (considered the old Papa Potrero space but decided to pass on it) so when I saw that Discolandia was shutting down we jumped on it. It’s really our ideal location. We’re still waiting for the conditional use permit hearing with the Planning Dept which should happen sometime in September.  With any luck we’ll be able to open by November. Can’t wait! (And can’t wait to see the menu.)” And yes, they are trying to save the super-groovy signage—read the comments for details on why that’s tricky. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.

And over in the Castro, Grub Street notes there’s license activity for the Nirvana space, replacing it with ~THE DANCING PIGS~ (no word if that’s the actual name of the business) from owners Linda Holl, James Kleysteuber, and Lawrence Metzger. Nirvana is currently open; stand by for more details soon. 544 Castro St. at Market.

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The window of Sel et Vin.

A tablehopper reader sent me this picture of the window sign in Glen Park’s wine bar spinoff of P’tit Laurent, ~SEL ET VIN~. No official word from the owners yet about what’s going on, so stand by. 678 Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-333-2200.

Yelper about town Jason B. alerts me that ~SIAM SAIGON~ just opened in the Dusit Thai space in Bernal Heights. It’s reportedly serving both Thai and Vietnamese dishes. 3221 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-826-4698.

And according to a tip on Chowhound, ~SR24~ in Oakland was closing after a year and a half in business; and according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the closure happened this past Saturday. Best of luck to the team. 5179 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland.

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Stag Dining dinner photo by Sari Goodfriend; from Stag Dining website.

August is chock-full of pop-up meals and shindigs (like it’s different from any other month). Here’s a sampling of the lineup that has blipped across my radar—and I am quite sure there will be more to announce in coming weeks:

Chef Jeremy Fox will be at ~ORSON~ on Friday August 12th. Details to come, check the website or call for updates/reservations. 415-777-1508.

~THE BOLD ITALIC~ and ~STAG DINING GROUP~ are partnering up for a cool microhood dinner in Dogpatch on Saturday August 13th, featuring a delicious multi-course meal with cocktails, music, stories, and more. $80 per person; 7pm.

(There will also be a fun and free party in the Dogpatch on Thursday August 11th called 3rd Base from 6pm-8pm, don’t miss it!)

Chef Lauren Kiino of ~IL CANE ROSSO~ is popping up again at ~SLOW CLUB~ on Sunday August 14th. $45 for a “Summer in Spain” three-course meal, with optional $25 cocktail pairing. Seatings: 6pm and 8:15pm. RSVP, and please include number of guests, desired seating time, and contact info.

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“The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams” at Firefly.

Ready to get your hands greasy? Grab those napkins, because this Thursday August 4th is ~MAVERICK~’s Southern Fried Night, serving chicken wings and waffles, watermelon salad, fried green tomatoes, chicken fried steak, shrimp and grits, and more.

And fans of ~FIREFLY~’s “The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams” will be happy to know the restaurant has designated Tuesday night as Fried Chicken Tuesdays, so you’ll never have to call ahead and ask: “Are you serving the fried chicken of my dreams tonight?” And yay, biscuit, yay, mashed potatoes and gravy. Available until it runs out. Speaking of running, see you on the treadmill!

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20 for $20 promo photo courtesy of Kyo-Ya (via SFoodie).

20 years: not quite of legal drinking age yet, but that’s a commendable amount of time to be in business (and equally impressive: executive chef Kunihiko Oshikawa and master sushi chef Akifusa Tonai have both been with ~KYO-YA RESTAURANT~ since the restaurant’s opening in 1991). For the month of August, Kyo-ya in the Palace Hotel will be celebrating its anniversary with a variety of specials, like offering 20 pieces of sushi to go for just $20 (although SFoodie is currently wondering how the amount pictured adds up to 20—maybe you need to drink some sake for the math to work?). (Available August 1st-31st during lunch, from 11:30am-2pm.) Pre-ordering is required. To reserve your 20 for $20 lunch to go, call 415-546-5089.

There’s also a three-course dinner with sake pairings for $35 this month. The menu features a Kyo-ya salad, salmon belly with asparagus tempura, and a dessert trio of black sesame choux, yuzu tart, and green tea gelée. Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St. at Market.

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Photo of homemade kimchee from Urban Kitchen’s website.

With all the great produce that abounds in the summer, it’s a great time to develop (or hone) your cooking skills with some cool culinary classes. The ~CELLAR KITCHEN IN MACY’S UNION SQUARE~ is holding two exciting classes in August. On Saturday August 6th, 2pm-4pm, Azalina’s and La Cocina will present a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn to cook one of Azalina’s signature Malaysian dishes. Tickets/info. $20; proceeds benefit La Cocina.

Then on Sunday August 14th at 2pm, join an olive oil tasting and cooking class with chef Rachelle Boucher, blogger and culinary “Flavor Agent,” also in the Cellar. Learn about local olive oils and the artisans behind them, then you’ll taste and cook with the oils. Dishes will include seasonal flatbreads, herbed tagliatelle with heirloom squash “noodles,” lemon oil and ricotta salata, and vanilla ice cream cones with balsamic and olive oil drizzle. $15 at the door; RSVP here. 170 O’Farrell St. at Stockton, San Francisco.

~PARTIES THAT COOK~ is launching a Cooking Farm to Table series of classes, and the first class is Saturday August 13th, 3:30pm-7:30pm. Participants will tour Canvas Ranch in Petaluma, a small family-run farm in Two Rock Valley, to learn about fresh, locally grown produce and seasonal cooking. You’ll get hands-on to prepare a four-course gourmet meal with ingredients from the fields, then you get to sit down and eat what everyone made. Sample menu items include orecchiette with mascarpone, basil, and heirloom tomatoes; balsamic marinated skirt steak with herbed breadcrumbs; and seasonal fruit potpies with buttermilk whipped cream. Bring some wine (and flat shoes!) too. You’ll get emailed copies of the recipes and photos as well. 21 and over only. $135 per person; sign up here. 755 Tomales Rd. between Pennsylvania and Chileno Valley, Petaluma.

~URBAN KITCHEN SF~ is hosting Richie Nakano and Susanna Ok of Hapa Ramen for a pickles and kimchee workshop on Thursday August 25th from 5:30pm-7:30pm. They’re going to show participants how to make pickles and kimchee using seasonal and traditional vegetables and fruits from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. You’ll get to make two pickles and one kimchee to take home with you, along with more ingredients and a recipe book to continue the pickling and fermenting at home. Tickets are selling fast! $58, CUESA Dacor Teaching Kitchen, Ferry Building, San Francisco.

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Exterior photo from Café des Amis’ Facebook page.

More changes in the kitchen at ~CAFÉ DES AMIS~ in Cow Hollow: Bacchus Management Group has brought in chef Mark Sullivan (chef-partner of Spruce and The Village Pub) to overhaul the menu, while partner Gordon Drysdale is now overseeing the company’s Pizza Antica restaurants. Sullivan expects the menu to really reflect substantial changes in October. There’s also a new GM, Joseph Hechmi (Claremont Hotel Club & Spa and SRO, Inc. restaurant group).

Up in MIL(F) Valley, the PlumpJack Group has appointed Rick Edge as executive chef of ~BALBOA CAFE MILL VALLEY~ (with a name like that, God forbid he ever has a dull knife). His background includes Pacific’s Edge restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Club XIX at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, PlumpJack Cafe San Francisco, and PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn—Edge is rejoining the group following a brief hiatus. 38 Miller Ave. at Sunnyside, Mill Valley, 415-381-7321.

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Photo from 123 Bolinas’ Facebook.

~123 BOLINAS~ is coming up on a year of serving locally sourced, sustainably produced wine, beer, and food in Fairfax, and co-founders Dominic Phillips, James Gregory, Jacquelyn Mahaney, and Jeff Mahaney are ready to celebrate with a series of events now through Sunday August 7th.

Tonight, August 2nd, 123 Bolinas will host a reception for photographer Wendy Yalom’s “year in a life of 123,” in which she shares a look behind the scenes with the 123 team. All wines will be served at an affordable $6 (look for small production and sustainable vintners like Broc Cellars, Tallulah, and Pey-Marin on the extensive wine list). On Wednesday August 3rd, the menu will feature Hog Island oysters and farmers’ market treats (chef Jeremy Goldfarb is a regular at the market). On August 4th, toast the good life with cake and bubbly: Champagne, crémant, cava, prosecco, and local sparking wine will be on hand. On the scene on August 5th and 6th will be music and the highly anticipated Farm to Barrel blackberry ale from SF’s Almanac Beer Company, in addition to beer from local, small-batch producers like Magnolia, Bear Republic, and Eel River. Then on Sunday August 7th, 123 Bolinas is hosting a fundraiser for Edible Schoolyard.

Cheers to their first year, and to many more to come for this eco-friendly and community-minded spot. Open Tue-Thurs 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun 4pm-9pm. 123 Bolinas Rd. at Sherman, Fairfax, 415-488-5123.

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