April 17, 2012

April 17, 2012

Menu for the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Group shot at the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Spruce’s dish at the opening reception: vadouvan waffle and foie with pistachio. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Nancy Silverton’s burrata with beets and spicy horseradish vinaigrette (at An Italian Love Affair). Photo: © tablehopper.com.


My favorite character at the Lexus Grand Tasting on Saturday. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This year’s ~PEBBLE BEACH FOOD & WINE~ was yet another one for the books: the amount of talent that descends onto the property is staggering. As a media guest, I feel very honored to get the access that I do—a huge thanks to the Coastal Luxury Management team for so graciously taking care of so many people, and for continuing to put on such a memorable (and fun) event.

I posted my photo album from my three days at Pebble Beach here, so you can take a look at what Daniel Boulud was serving at the opening reception (one of my favorite events, was sorry I could only stay for an hour before my dinner reservation at 1833!), what was on the menu at the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner, what was being served at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, and who was in the kitchen at the Italian Love Affair dinner.

Some highlights of the event:

At the Lexus Opening Night Reception, Michael Symon was looking really fit (and showing off his guns), the charisma and joie de vivre that emanates from Daniel Boulud is enough to power a medium-sized country, and Michael Chiarello is making some tasty ‘nduja over at Bottega (I wonder when a Cooking with Blood cookbook will come out?). I also got a taste of the just-released 2003 Dom Perignon before flouncing out the door—purr purr.

The Wines of Gaja tasting was extraordinary—it was such a pleasure to hear the personal story of the wines and the family by none other than the elegant and very passionate Gaia Gaja. (Tasting the family’s 1978 Barbaresco was something I won’t forget.)

I can’t believe I got to attend the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner—the dishes and wines at the dinner were fabulous (um, yeah, like they weren’t going to be). I cracked up with some of the Texans at my table, who needed me to explain what squab was. At the end of the dinner, the tallest of the Texans said, “Marcia, I wish you could be with us all weekend. We need you when we go out to fancy places so you can tell us everything we’re eating.” Adorable.

At the dinner, the joking between Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller over Bouchon was hilarious. Daniel was giving Keller a hard time for beating him to the name (Daniel is from Lyon, famous for bouchons), while Keller retorted in his speech: “Bouchon is mine. Get over it.” Cue uproarious laughter.

I also laughed over the fact that Daniel Boulud unwittingly swiped my glass of 1988 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche. I was absolutely, wildly in love with that wine and asked our table’s sommelier if she could possibly find anymore in the back (it was popular that night). She managed to scare up enough for two more glasses for our table, but when she turned around, Daniel had nabbed one of them, so she had to split the last glass between me and another guest. Even funnier: she snapped a pic of my pilfered glass of wine and sent it to me. If there’s anyone I’m willing to lose a glass of wine to, it’s Daniel.

Although nothing can top the moment when I was sitting at the table, talking with my fellow guests, and there was suddenly a hand on my shoulder. I look up, and it’s Thomas Keller, making the rounds to each and every table, warmly thanking everyone for attending the dinner. Pure class, all the way, all the time.

You should watch this tribute video to Thomas Keller (h/t to Scoop). (Good, now I can erase the mega file I had on my camera recording it.)

I highly recommend starting the day with a cheese class from Laura Werlin. We were spoiled with cheeses, wine, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese. Healed!

An Italian Love Affair had a reception that was the stuff of my dreams (hello, famous uni and lardo crostini from Michael White of Marea that no one was really eating—except yours truly).

Thanks to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for throwing quite the Saturday happy hour on the patio at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Bubbles and caviar and oysters and friends? Really, it’s all you need.

Ladies, what is up with all the sky-high heels that you can’t walk in? Women were stumbling around the after parties and the tasting tents like the walking wounded. If you can’t walk the sky-high walk, then just don’t do it. Not fresh.

Guy Fieri’s truck.

I also heard someone threw a drink at Guy Fieri at one of the after parties, and was quickly escorted out by his bouncers and security. This is totally unconfirmed, but really, dude, don’t throw drinks at people with bouncers. Dummy.

A fellow diner at one of the dinners observed none of the tables ever had salt, bread, or butter, and no coffee service, either. (Psssst, all you have to do is ask—although I do agree about the salt, just have some on the table.)

Was happy to meet the winner of the two Magnum packages that were given away on tablehopper—was also happy to learn she brought her sister! Good girl.

You can’t find a more glorious setting than Pebble Beach: the views, the fresh air, the sunsets, the ocean. Stunning.

And now, please excuse me while I try to exercise some of this debauchery off me.


Gioia Pizzeria’s exterior signage. Photo: Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.


Gioia Pizzeria interior. Photo: Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.


Tables and chairs at Gioia Pizzeria. Photo: Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Opening today, Tuesday April 17th, is ~GIOIA PIZZERIA~, the first San Francisco location of the Berkeley favorite from husband-and-wife team Will and Karen Gioia. The 50-seat location moved into two former storefronts that were combined into one space on Polk Street. The 1,800-square-foot restaurant is larger than the Berkeley location, featuring a semi-industrial look with warm finishes, like reclaimed wood and wainscoting, along with subway tile and concrete floors.

Unlike the Berkeley location, which just has one pizza size, there will be two pizza sizes here: 14-inch and 18-inch pizzas (but the pizzas will be the same). The menu is expanded, with appetizers like salads (including a Caesar salad, and one with asparagus, farm egg, pancetta, brown butter, capers, and Parmigiano), plus two-three pastas (like radiatore with guinea hen ragu, peas) and entrées (including skirt steak with broccoli di ciccio, pickled spring onions, bagna cauda, and fried smashed potatoes).

Lunchtime means there’s a Philly roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone, a chicken parm, and an Italian “muffaletta” hero with mortadella, salami, shredded lettuce, and olive-caper-Calabrian chile relish. Desserts include cannoli, zeppole, cookies, and fruit tarts. Check out the menu here. The wine list is all-Italian, with six reds and whites each, plus four-six draft beers (which will be local, craft beers). Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-10pm, open until 11pm Fri-Sat. 2240 Polk St. at Green, 415-359-0971.


Marbella interior. Photo: Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Another opening on Polk Street: the new incarnation in the former Rex Cafe space, ~MARBELLA~ officially opens for dinner on Wednesday April 18th. As previously mentioned in tablehopper, the Spanish-inspired restaurant is serving tapas by chef Nelson German, and features a new cocktail program (think hand-crafted drinks made with fresh juices), plus a primarily Spanish wine list. The refreshed interior features wallpaper, chandeliers, and a communal table. UrbanDaddy has both the weekend brunch and dinner menus here. 2323 Polk St. at Union, 415-441-2244.


Photo of Juice To You from Refinery 29.

I noticed a tweet late last night announcing that Ethiopian restaurant ~MOYA~ is reopening as of 9am today. They moved to 121 9th Street (at Minna) after a fire forced the closure of their previous location. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner—more details on Eater.

A couple new juice bars are opening up around town. Refinery 29 mentions ~JUICE TO YOU~, a kiosk in Cow Hollow serving fresh, organic juices. Open Mon, Wed-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. 1994 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-834-5161.

Coming to the Mission is ~CORAZON JUICEBAR~, a Mexican-style juice bar by Socorro and Cesar Ramirez, a mother and son duo. There will be juices, smoothies, Mexican shaved ice (raspados) made with all-natural and organic ingredients, plus kombucha made with tamarindo, and other menu items like sandwiches and desserts. K9 Design & Build is behind the space, featuring Victorian-style copper panels, and tables made from antique doors. Corazon is looking at a mid-May opening. Hours will be Mon-Sat 9am-6pm. 3275 22nd St. at Valencia.

A third location of ~PERILLA~ is opening in the former Pho Clement 2 location, according to Eater. Look for pho, buns, rice plates, and more. Owner Tin Truong is reportedly also behind PPQ Beef Noodle House Restaurant, PPQ Dungeness Island, and Toasties. 5423 Geary Ave. at 18th Ave.


Shanghai soup dumplings; Yelp photo by Genevieve Y.

A tablehopper reader let me know the ~CARNELIAN BY THE BAY~, which is in that bizzare-o 1970s building behind the Ferry Building Marketplace (next to Sinbad’s, another time warp location), is now called ~ONE FERRY PLAZA~, serving dim sum daily.

Reports on Yelp mention authentic tea service, har gow, and more, but there also seems to be a fusion-y “tapas” menu as well, with items that look like something you’d find at a convention hotel reception (think chicken lollipops, Peking duck handrolls, and I quote, “Norwegian Smoked Salmon-Crème Franchise”). At night, it appears to be all about banquet dinners and private events. And then there’s that view. Valet parking for $10. Curious to hear more reports from the field about this one…. Open daily 11am-4pm. 1 Ferry Plz. at Embarcadero and Market, 415-878-6111.


The exterior of Local’s Corner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some restaurants have added hours to their regular schedules: right on time, ~LOCAL’S CORNER~ starts dinner service tonight, Tuesday April 17th. You can check out the menu here. Served Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm. (Good looking site, guys!)

~CLAUDINE~ in the Financial District is now serving Saturday dinner from 5:30pm-10pm (dinner is already served Mon-Fri). Lunch will continue Mon-Fri 11:30am-4:30pm.

And Eater notes ~SWEET WOODRUFF~ has started weekend brunch service from 10:30am-2:30pm. See the menu here.

Lastly, ~STATE BIRD PROVISIONS~ has decided to discontinue Sunday brunch service after trying it out for four weeks. Chef-owner Stuart Brioza said it was a good exercise, and mentioned they may revisit it at a later time, but for now, they are going to be closed on Sundays. He also said to stand by for some upcoming Sunday activities in June—I’ll keep you posted.


Photo by Yelp’s Stacy D.

I am sorry to hear about the impending closure of the very kind “Tak” Matsuba’s ~BUSHI-TEI~ at the end of the month—he has reportedly sold the restaurant to an unnamed buyer. Eater posted his note announcing the upcoming closure. Best wishes to him and the staff.

A friend let me know the location of ~OZONE THAI~ on Polk Street has closed. I am waiting to hear back from the new owner about his plans for the space, stand by. 1160 Polk St. at Sutter, 415-440-9663.

Over in the Mission, you can read on Eater about the terrible flooding that temporarily closed ~SAISON~ and ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ after those nasty storms last week. Good news: Saison reopens tonight.

Not too far away, according to Grub Street , ~CAFÉ GRATITUDE: SAN FRANCISCO~ is on the market. Stand by for details on whether it gets sold or not—for now, it remains open.


Hubba, a hoagie! Photo from 1058hoagie.

Some special sandwiches for my fellow sandwich lovers: on Friday April 20th, ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is celebrating their third anniversary, and will have some enticing creations. Carlo Espinas from Comstock Saloon will be doing his rabbit pâté banh mi, and the coffee-rubbed and smoked pulled pork with special barbecue sauce and slaw will be on the menu as well. Bread man Josey Baker will be making a special bread for Pal’s Aleppo-roasted turkey and cauliflower sandwich, featuring a Meyer lemon mostarda from Hapa Ramen. And Kat Zacher (Broken Record) will be doing her chocolate-covered caramel matzoh “crack.” More good news: starting Saturday May 5th, Pal’s will be open on Saturdays with an expanded menu.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~1058HOAGIE~ from Deli Board is launching. Starting this evening, April 17th, and tomorrow, April 18th, you can get hoagies via bike delivery or takeout from 5pm-9pm. Take a look at the website for the menu and more details.

And according to the Inside Scoop, ~SHOW DOGS~ on Market is expanding into a space next door, opening a coffee shop featuring coffee from Four Barrel and a deli (the working name is Machine Coffee). Charcutier Peter Temkin is behind the deli sandwiches, which will feature his own take on pastrami and more. Stand by for details in coming weeks.


Photo from Atelier Crenn.

Perhaps some of the city’s most showstopping desserts are at ~ATELIER CRENN~, and now you can stop by for a six-course dessert tasting menu from chef pâtissier Juan Contreras. The $55 menu also has a dessert wine pairing option ($30). You can check out a video of his new Aubergine Fumée dessert here.