October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011
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Photo of Dave McLean by Jennifer Yin.

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Chef Dennis Lee; photo by Mo Gorjestani.

I had a chance to catch up with Dave McLean of Magnolia/Alembic to hear the latest on his ~MAGNOLIA BREWERY~ project in Dogpatch. He expects building permits to finally be signed by next week (woo hoo, it has been a process), so things will be able to start ramping up for a targeted opening in May/early summer of 2012.

He was able to release more details about the restaurant concept, which is going to have 70-80 seats, and focused around American barbecue—it will form the third “B” in the holy trinity of beer and bourbon (more on that in a sec). And in an interesting twist, he’s going to be bringing on chef Dennis Lee of Namu and the upcoming Gaji as his chef. McLean said they eat at each other’s restaurants often, and like what they do, so a collaboration was inspired and sealed. While the core of the menu will be based around American barbecue and a farm-to-table philosophy, some of Lee’s Asian culinary influences are sure to enter the picture as well (they will also be researching a variety of different woods and fuel sources). As for the timing, Gaji should be up and running early in 2012, so Lee is going to be one busy guy, but the transition from opening one new project and then this one should work out.

McLean mentioned Daniel Hyatt of The Alembic is working on the bar program, and American whiskey is going to be the focal point. There will be 20 taps of Magnolia beer (up from the Haight Street location’s 12 taps), plus 5-6 local wines on tap. Click here to read my previous piece with more details about the brewery. Looking forward to seeing this take shape even more in the new year! 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St.

Another piece of Magnolia news: after a couple years working at Luna Park, Living Room Events/Kitchenette, and Contigo, chef Ronnie New has returned to ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY~. He liked working at Magnolia, and owner Dave McLean was happy to welcome him back to Haight Street. Everything old is new again? (Sorry, had to do that.)

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Flickr photo of Hapa Ramen from Umamimart.

Richie Nakano of ~HAPA RAMEN~ has been searching for a permanent location for some time, and when he found it a few months ago, I had to keep that info under lock and key. Now that the lease is signed, it’s time to let that cat out of the bag! He’s going to be opening ~HAPA~ (not Hapa Ramen, just Hapa) next door to the upcoming State Bird Provisions from Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski on Fillmore Street.

The space will have an open kitchen and 28 seats (almost all counter seating, with just a few small tables); the menu will feature his trademark ramen, plus sandwiches during the day, and in the evening a variety of appetizers (about six or so) will be in the mix, similar to what he’s been doing at his Monday night pop-up dinners at Bar Tartine. He had his last pop-up dinner at Bar Tartine last night, so he might do his dinners in another venue until the Hapa opening gets closer. The Hapa Ramen stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Fridays will remain, business as usual! Hapa’s target date is May 2012. Hours to start will be daily 11am-11pm. And there will also be takeout, score. 1527 Fillmore St. at Geary.

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You see this guy? Yeah, he’s got some chocolate babka for ya. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Catching up on my email, I was happy to see the newsletter from the gents of ~WISE SONS DELI~ (Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman), sharing the news that they finally secured a brick-and-mortar space in the Mission, due to open in 2012. Inside Scoop shares further details: they’re moving into the El Tonayense space that recently closed, and will have 25 seats. Yup, 2012 is looking bright, especially with their lox on bagels from Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland. 3150 24th St. at Shotwell.

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Photo from SodaCraft’s website.

More good news in newsletters: the ~CUESA~ weekly newsletter (you’re a subscriber, aren’t you?) reports some new vendors will be serving at the Tuesday daytime market, namely Wise Sons Deli (sandwiches and more), Humphry Slocombe (ice cream and sorbets), and SodaCraft SF (handmade seasonal sodas) will be moving into their very own booth. Ice cream floats, oh you know it. Humphry Slocombe is debuting on Tuesday October 18th, but all the rest started today!

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Two Sisters Bar and Books (photo from Facebook).

Things have been proceeding for ~TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS~—a Hayes Valley project from sisters Mikha Diaz and Mary Elliott—and it should be holding its soft opening this week. There will be a variety of books, beverages (made with sherry, vermouths, and wines), and bites like wild boar sausage, a Brussels sprout leaf salad, chicken meatballs, and a roasted garlic, fennel, and tomato bread pudding. Here’s a copy of the brunch menu and the evening menu. The cozy space features wallpaper, wainscoting, and pedestal tables. Hours will be Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am, and Sun 12pm-8pm, with Sun brunch 12pm-4pm. Happy hour is Tue-Fri 4pm-6pm, and Sat 1pm-4pm. Please note it’s cash only. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655. UPDATE: The confirmed opening date is now Friday October 14th at 4pm, with happy hour all night long!

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There’s been a lot of chatter following the liquor license activity for ~KEN KEN RAMEN~, which will be moving into a brick-and-mortar space in the Mission (just around the corner from The Corner, where it was holding its pop-up nights). Ironically, the space was a former noodle shop, and the build-out is reportedly almost complete—look for a potential December opening. You can read all the details about the owners and the new space on Grub Street and Eater. 3378 18th St. at Mission.

Meanwhile, Tenderblog reports on ~KARE-KEN~, a Japanese curry spot due to open in the former Eden’s space. It should be opening very soon, you can track their updates on Twitter. Hours will be Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 552 Jones St. at Geary, 415-292-5273.

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Interior photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

A while back, I mentioned ~HISAGO~ was opening in the former Sanmi space from new owner Greg Hamaguchi, and it’s now open. Here’s a copy of the menu for you to peek at, which features homestyle dishes, ramen, and donburi. tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney has this initial report, “I had the Wafu burger, which is a charbroiled patty of pork, beef, tofu, and hijiki topped with grated daikon, ponzu, and scallions, with a side of enoki mushrooms and asparagus. Asparagus was perfectly cooked. The patty was thick and juicy and a good deal at $7.50. It made me wish I had a Japanese grandmother.” Don’t we all. 3226 Geary Blvd. at Spruce, 415-379-9569.

Over in the Mission, ~KRUA THAI~ has opened in the former Bangkok 16 location, serving lunch and dinner Tue-Sun, with free delivery after 5:30pm ($20 min.). Pictures on their website point to a rather contemporary and sleek look. 3214 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-913-7886.

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Medici Lounge interior; photo from LoopNet.

Another taker for the cursed corner space at 9th Street and Folsom! Inside Scoop reports ~AZUCAR~ will be taking over where Medici Lounge left off. Owner Jon Ojinaga (Redwood Room, Rasselas) and his crew will be serving cocktails and Mexican street food and small plates. The hoped-for opening is this month. 299 9th St. at Folsom, 415-255-2982.

Meanwhile, up in Sausalito, Larry Mindel (Poggio, Il Fornaio) is teaming up with Joanne Weir to open ~COPITA~. Inside Scoop reports they will be taking over the Piccolo Teatro space, opening a 50-seat Mexican restaurant and tequila bar in its place. Look for a springtime opening. 739 Bridgeway, Sausalito.

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The sure-to-be-missed sardine wrap at Zaré’s Grill and Grain. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A couple spots have opened for lunch in Oakland: according to Chow, ~MARZANO~ is serving lunch on the weekends from 12pm-5pm. Yup, pizza and cocktails for lunch!
 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland
, 510-531-4500.

During the week, you can now swing by ~MUA~ for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. The menu includes salads, mac and cheese, a variety of sandwiches, and some larger plates. 2442a Webster St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-238-1100.

Back in San Francisco’s area code, a SoMa worker pal was sad to inform me that ~ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP~ has discontinued their lunch service as Zaré’s Grill and Grain. Seems the effort-cost-profit ratio wasn’t quite working out. Bummer, because I know a number of regulars enjoyed the menu. At least there’s still dinner (a mighty tasty one at that).

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Photo from The Corner.

Last night a tweet announced the unexpected closure of ~THE CORNER~ in the Mission. A source tells me The Corner was not up to health code inspection (they didn’t have a proper hood for ventilation). Since it would have been very costly to bring the place up to code, the rumor is they will put it on the market or turn it back into a café. Meanwhile, some of the pop-up dinners (like EAT restaurant) have already relocated to ~WINEMAKERS’ SPEAKEASY~ on Valencia. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-875-9258.

One more closure: Inside Scoop reports ~JOHN CAMPBELL’S IRISH BAKERY~ has closed its Cow Hollow location (3101 Fillmore St. at Filbert), and the Potrero location (300 De Haro St. at 16th St.) is currently on the market; the location at 5625 Geary Blvd. at 20th Ave. remains open.

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Bluestem dining room; photo by Angie Silvy.

Before you head out for a day of Union Square shopping, you can now swing by ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~ for weekend brunch. The menu includes their delicious grilled bavette steak, but with eggs, roasted heirloom potatoes, and chimichurri, along with eggs Benedict, and some more savory options for you folks who prefer the “-unch” part of brunch. Bloody Marys will be available, natch. Sat-Sun 11am-3pm.

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The Kalita Wave coffee dripper. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Exterior photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Rebecca Kinney, tablehopper intern: Are you late for work and you just need a good cup of coffee? Or do you have a few extra minutes for a handcrafted pour? In either situation, the new ~COFFEE BAR~ on Montgomery Street has you covered. The newly opened second location has drip coffee ready to go as well as a coffee “slow bar.” Those with an extra three to five minutes can choose from about three different blends, which are then brewed in a Kalita Wave coffee dripper. The dripper looks like a standard cone but it has a flat bottom, which helps to extract the grounds evenly.

Mocha lovers can choose from Guittard chocolate or a blend by Michael Recchiuti. Recchiuti also worked with one of Coffee Bar’s owners, Luigi Di Ruocco, to achieve the perfect ratio of espresso, milk, and chocolate (Luigi is the son of Carlo Di Ruocco, the original Mr. Espresso). Coffee Bar will prepare tea from Five Mountains, and chai from Radio Africa & Kitchen. Here’s a pic of the menu as it stands. Coffee Bar uses their own syrups, including a house-infused vanilla bean syrup. Coffee Bar will serve Anthony’s Cookies, croissants and kouign-amann from Starter Bakery, scones and muffins from Sandbox Bakery, and afternoon treats such as carrot-spice cupcakes and brownies from 3Spoons. Il Cane Rosso will provide Coffee Bar’s sandwiches and salads. Starting hours are Mon-Fri 6am-5pm. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-397-2233.

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Image courtesy of Meals On Wheels of SF.

Get ‘em right when they’re hot off the press: the ~2012 “CHEFS OF THE BAY AREA” CALENDAR~ debuts Wednesday October 19th with an official kick-off party at 6pm at the Cellar in Macy’s Union Square, where you can meet some of the participating chefs and receive special sweets from them. Even hotter than the hot chefs in this calendar: the fact that all proceeds from calendar and ticket sales go to Meals On Wheels of San Francisco.

Expect treats at the kick-off party from Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe), Kara Lind (Kara’s Cupcakes), and Yigit Pura (Taste Catering, Tout Sweet). The other participating chefs you’ll find in the calendar are David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor), Jen Biesty (Scala’s Bistro), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Mark Dommen (One Market), Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), Pam Mazzola (Boulevard, Prospect), Peter McNee (Poggio Trattoria), Annie Somerville (Greens), and Kory Stewart (Americano). Each chef shares a special recipe in the calendar, including Godby’s salt and pepper ice cream, Somerville’s corn and cherry tomato salad with arugula, and Stewart’s black walnut sbrisolona.

Tickets to the kick-off party are $25 and include a copy of the calendar. You can also order a copy ($20) online, or pick it up at Macy’s Cellar, at the participating chefs’ restaurants, or starting October 26th at Williams-Sonoma, Union Square. Meals On Wheels of San Francisco’s mission is to provide isolated homebound seniors in San Francisco with nutritious meals, daily human contact, and supportive services to prevent their premature institutionalization. They serve 960,000 meals every year. Macy’s Cellar, 170 O’Farrell St. at Stockton, Lower Level, San Francisco.

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The ~OLD SKOOL CAFE~, a youth-run supperclub dedicated to teaching at-risk youth in the Bayview area restaurant training for future employment, is hosting their Bayview Blues and BBQ event on Saturday October 22nd. There will be barbecue and more from Old Skool Cafe youth, grilling with BBQ master Chief William Sifferman, plus a garden cooking demo from Radio Africa & Kitchen, Christina Marie Pastries, Jablow’s Meats, and live music by Charles Unger Experience, James H. Thornton III Blues Band, and more! It’s a great way to support a very special program. 12pm-5pm. Mendell Plaza, 1429 Mendell St. (3rd St. and Oakdale/Palou).

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This Friday October 14th, ~MODERN COFFEE~ is celebrating their two-year anniversary with a party, and you’re invited. Swing by from 5pm-9pm for special coffee tastings throughout the evening (which will feature coffee from many of their favorite roasters), plus food and drink from local purveyors, like Drake’s Beer, Doc’s of the Bay, Muccigrosso wine, and “Naughty Doughnuts” from Cibo Per Strada. Historic Tribune Tower, 411 13th St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-835-8000.