October 18, 2011

October 18, 2011
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Copyright © 2006-10 FrankenyImages.com.

I received a call from chef-owner Elizabeth Falkner about some format changes for ~ORSON~—starting in November, she has decided to convert the restaurant into primarily an event space. She explained that the next few months were already getting booked up for company holiday parties and that it makes it really hard to run a restaurant, so she decided to rethink things. And really, it is one of the best event spaces in town (where else was I going to throw my book launch party?).

She plans to play host to some pop-ups in the space, and will be launching a weekly dinner pop-up series of her own to tie in with her upcoming appearances on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs (the show’s premiere is on October 30th). Each week, she will be doing a dinner based on the episode. How many? Well, we’ll just have to watch and see. Follow Orson on Facebook and Twitter for updates on upcoming events and more—it sounds like the first one will be Wednesday November 2nd.

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Photo by Rebecca Kinney © tablehopper.com.

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Photo by Rebecca Kinney © tablehopper.com.

Back in July, tablehopper reported that ~CEDAR HILL~ would be opening in the Marina. Pending final city inspections, they should be having their soft opening this week. The menu will be barbecue-centric with pork shoulder, brisket, housemade sausages, and housemade bacon smoked in a handcrafted smoker built in Mesquite, Texas. They will also offer fried chicken, po’ boys, and fried housemade pickles. Buttermilk pie from a family recipe will be served year-round. Like any classic barbecue place, they will serve white bread.

In addition to sweet tea and lemonade, the bar at Cedar Hill will be pouring beer on draft, and also wine on tap from a nitrogen tank. Hours will be daily 11am-11pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-834-5403.

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Photo by Rebecca Kinney © tablehopper.com.

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Photo by Rebecca Kinney © tablehopper.com.

A report by Rebecca Kinney, tablehopper intern: ~FINA ESTAMPA~ is reopening on Bush Street near Polk. Owner Veronica Shinzato is the daughter of the previous owners who have (almost) retired. Her father, Julio, will still be the chef, says Shinzato, which reflects her focus for the restaurant: families. Shinzato wants to continue the family tradition, adding that people who ate at her family’s previous restaurant as kids eventually brought in their own kids to dine. Shinzato’s own children have inspired part of the restaurant décor—a kids’ booth is framed by a colorful clubhouse façade, which her kids loved so much that she kept it. Diners will enter through a custom-made door carved with traditional Peruvian art, and they will sit in reclaimed booths surrounded by exposed brick walls. Shinzato emphasizes that there will be no “fancy food,” just “typical Peruvian food”. Here is an early draft of the menu. Fina Estampa will have a large selection of Peruvian wine and Peruvian beer. Shinzato expects to be open this week pending inspections. Hours will be Wed-Mon, 11:30am-2:30pm for lunch and 5pm-10pm for dinner. Closed Tue. 1407 Bush St. at Polk.

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The logo for Lot 7.

After some serious site stalking (thank you, faithful interns!), I heard back from owner Hani Desouky about his project going into 974 Valencia Street (previously Valencia Interiors). He tells me it’s going to be ~LOT 7~, a raw bar serving oysters and sustainable seafood, plus some smoked choices, along with other dishes using organic proteins (plus vegan options). The Scoop reported James Montejano of Michael Mina was going to be the chef, but that is no longer the case. Desouky says there are other great chef candidates in the mix.

And now, sit back for a little history about the space and name. Back in the early 1980s, 974 Valencia was a music venue and art gallery. The name comes from being situated on lot seven on that block of Valencia, also tying in to the seven seas, seven continents, and San Francisco’s seven square miles. We’ll have to see if 7x7 throws a party there. The 40-seat space is slated to open in mid-November; there will also be a happy hour, with $5 beers, $6 wine, and other specials. Methinks this will be a great addition to the neighborhood. 974 Valencia St. at 21st St.

More on the crudo tip: the space that was the original Bar Crudo, and then Swell, will now be ~BOUCHE~ (a play on Bush). Inside Scoop reports Guillaume Issaverdens (Le Garage) will be opening the Cal-French small plates concept, timing TBD. Late-night hours (until 1am) will be part of the concept. Stand by! 603 Bush St. at Stockton.

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A pitcher of Charanga’s infamous sangria. Photo from Facebook.

After 13 years of business, ~CHARANGA~ will sadly be closing at some point in November. Chef-owner Gabriela Salas tells me the landlord chose not to renew her lease, so she will be closing the Mission mainstay next month. I remember many birthday parties and nights on the town there in my 20s and 30s—very sangria-fueled ones at that. Be sure to swing by and say gracias and farewell (Gaby mentioned she might throw a closing party). 2351 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-282-1813.

Lots of closures around town this past week: first up, Scoop reports ~MAYA RESTAURANT~ in SoMa. The piece mentions “managing partner Felipe Sandoval is staying mum on the reasons, but word on the street is that it involves a landlord dispute.” 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-543-2928.

Over in North Beach, ~PULCINELLA~ has closed. The Gianni TV blog mentions “the pizzeria’s owner in Naples is ill and decided to close this San Francisco outpost.” 641 Vallejo St. at Columbus.

Eater announces that ~GINGERFRUIT~, the Asian-fusion tapas restaurant that tried to open in the former Mecca space, is closed. 2029 Market St. at 14th St., 415-252-0700.

Down in Palo Alto, a reader lets me know that after five years of business, ~JUNNOON~ has been acquired by Amber India Restaurant. The last day of business will be October 21st, 2011.

And based out of Burlingame, I was sorry to learn that ~SPOT BAGEL~ has ended production. In an email to me, owner Jay Glass said, “SPOT Bagel is sad to announce that we have closed our doors. We sincerely thank everyone who has supported us and enjoyed our bagels.” Dang.

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At Prime Rib Shabu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I was thrilled to read on SFist that “the girls” at the ~ALIOTO-LAZIO FISH COMPANY~ are reopening on the Wharf—just in time for Dungeness crab season (which starts November 15th, FYI, crabby folks!). 440 Jefferson St. at Hyde, 888-673-5868.

SFoodie brings word that ~PRIME RIB SHABU~ has reopened after a forced renovation—one of many brought on by Craig Yates, master of ADA-related lawsuits. I look forward to heading back for a steamy night of hot shabu-shabu action.

More good news: Bernalwood says ~LOTUS GARDEN~ should be reopening today after a nasty fire six months ago. Be sure to pay them a visit to welcome them back—and check out the new paint job and décor! 3216 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-9088.

And this little blurb on Chowhound brings news about ~JANG SOO BBQ~ in the Richmond—new owners (from Ashley’s Cafe) have taken over. The interior is reportedly “a massive improvement from the old Jang Soo and has almost a West Elm feeling to it.” Recent reports on Yelp (for what that’s worth) are very positive about the food and décor alike. I’m putting this one on my to-try list. 6314 Geary Blvd. at 27th Ave., 415-221-8282.

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The dining room at Bix. Photo courtesy of Bix.

It’s that time of year again: the Friday lunch club at ~BIX~ returns! Check out the menu here. Guess who is suddenly craving their steak tartare?

Starting this Wednesday October 19th, you can swing by ~POSTRIO~ for a new series of Wednesday night pizza parties filled with a selection of pizzas and appetizers (think chicken wings, calamari) all under $10; beer and wine also available. 4:30pm-close. 545 Post St. at Taylor, 415-776-7825

~PALIO D’ASTI~ has launched a gluten-free menu, available at lunch or dinner, with choices like gluten-free pastas and polenta.

A tip on Chowhound announces a new five o’clock menu at ~PAISAN~ in Berkeley, with a selection of $5 cocktails and a $5 margherita pizza (limit one pizza per person). 2514 San Pablo Ave. at Blake, Berkeley, 510-649-1031.

And on Monday nights, Oakland’s ~CHOP BAR~ is doing a Monday night special: a three-course prix-fixe meal for $30 (arugula salad or soup, meatloaf or vegetarian pasta, and bread pudding or pecan pie), which includes a glass of wine. 247 4th St. #111 at Alice, Oakland, 510-834-2467.

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Photo from Super Duper.

Due to open tomorrow, Wednesday October 19th, is the Marina location of ~SUPER DUPER~ in the former Johnny Rockets on Chestnut Street. This will be the third location. Attention late-night boozehounds: the location will stay open from 11am-2am Fri-Sat, possibly even until 3am. Sun-Thu 11am-11pm. 2001 Chestnut St. at Pierce, 415-931-6258.

After some delays, a reader informs me ~SOUP FREAKS~ has opened their Castro location. On the menu: organic soups and salads, plus a variety of choices for breakfast. This will be the third location as well. 10am-11pm daily, with hours to be extended soon. 499 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-626-SOUP (7687).

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Exterior photo by Craig Lee.

~BAKER & BANKER~ are both hosting and being hosted this fall and winter. They had so much success with their series of guest chefs that they are doing it again. First up is Ron Siegel from the Ritz-Carlton on November 9th. In January, they will work with Anthony Strong of Locanda. February brings Mourad Lahlou of Aziza to their kitchen. Five courses created by Baker & Banker alongside these local chefs is a steal at $75 per person. Make your reservation here.

Before they play host to these talented chefs, Lori Baker and Jeff Banker will be Studio Gourmet guests at Circolo on Tuesday October 25th at 5:30pm. See their live cooking demo and interview by snagging your tickets here; $25.

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It’s fall, which means no shortage of new book releases! Here are a variety of book launch events for your consideration.

On Thursday October 20th, Omnivore Books will hold a book party for Sam Mogannam and Dabney Gough’s book Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food: A Grocer’s Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food. The book has 90 recipes from Bi-Rite’s kitchen along with Sam’s favorites. 6pm-7pm, 3885a Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.

Sam Mogannam will also be at Rockridge Market Hall (where he worked in the ’90s) on Saturday October 22nd for storytelling and tastings. 2pm-4pm, 5655 College Ave. at Shafter, Oakland, 510-250-6000.

Patrician Curtan, the artist behind Alice Waters’ menus and cookbook designs, will sign copies of her book Menus for Chez Panisse this Saturday October 22nd, at MARCH. The book is a four-decade collection of menus. You can see some of her beautiful work here. 2pm-4pm, 3075 Sacramento St. at Baker, 415-931-7433.

Tamar Adler, a Chez Panisse alumnus, will be signing copies of her book An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace, which is modeled after M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf and provides a practical and economical approach to cooking. Adler will be signing her book at three places in the Bay Area this month.

Adler’s first book signing will be next week on Wednesday October 26th at Camino Restaurant, where dinner guests who buy a copy will take home an element of their meal as their gift. 5:30pm-8pm, 3917 Grand Ave. at Boulevard, Oakland, 510-547-5035.

On Thursday October 27th, Adler will be at Chez Panisse Café, where there will be snacks with the book signing. A special dinner inspired by the book will follow the signing (call for reservations). 4:30pm-5:30pm, 1517 Shattuck Ave. at Vine, Berkeley, 510-548-5049.

Adler’s only reading of her book will be at Book Passage on Friday October 28th, 6pm, 1 Ferry Building #42 at The Embarcadero, 415-835-1020.

Next month on Sunday November 6th, chef Sanjeev Kapoor will collaborate with chef-owner Ranjan Dey of New Delhi Restaurant to support Compassionate Chefs Cafe and to celebrate the launch of his cookbook How To Cook Indian. The 600-page book covers favorites like butter chicken and samosas along with lesser known dishes such as shorbas. The book also includes a chapter on Indo-Chinese fusion as well as a handy guide to spices. Kapoor’s book will be available for purchase at the event. Make reservations for a Casual Champagne Brunch ($50 per person) or 10-Course Family Style Wine Dinner ($150 per person). 100% of funds raised go to Compassionate Chefs Cafe. 12pm-2pm (brunch) or 6pm-9pm (dinner), New Delhi Restaurant, 160 Ellis St. at Cyril Magnin, 415-397-8470.

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Photo by Scott Kester.

Here’s your weekly news update from the Daniel Patterson Group: according to the Inside Scoop, chef Charlie Parker has left his position at ~PLUM~—taking his place is corporate chef Ron Boyd. Grub Street posts a potential rumor that Parker may be teaming up with Jeremy Fox on something, but that remains an unconfirmed rumor at this time.

Meanwhile, you can reserve a spot at Plum on Tuesday evenings to experience a four-course menu by chef Kim Alter of the upcoming Haven (opening in Jack London Square later this year), which includes dessert from pastry chef Matt Tinder—and you really should try a cocktail or two from Scott Beattie. $60 per person, not including wine/cocktails, tax, or gratuity. October 25th through November 15th.