May 29, 2012

May 29, 2012

The spacious bar area; photo via Dixie.


The lounge area and verdant view at Dixie. Photo: ©

Last week chef-owner Joseph Humphrey opened the doors for a preview party at the Presidio’s latest restaurant, ~DIXIE~. Humphrey, known for his years cooking at Meadowood and Murray Circle at Cavallo Point, is going to be serving a Southern-influenced menu, letting his Florida roots shine through, but this is not a casual roadside affair, sweetheart.

The à la carte menu features local oysters three different ways (raw, fried, smoked); starters like chicken fried quail ($15) with roasted garlic waffle and spicy cabbage salad; pea salad ($14) with cured salmon, Mendocino seaweeds, and bonito; entrées feature chicken and dumplings ($24); collard green tortellini ($21) with smoked onion relish and aged Cheddar; and black cod ($22) with bourbon, red miso, leeks, farro, and buttermilk. Take a look at the complete dinner menu here (and get ready for your stomach to grumble—it reads really well). The tasting menu ($72) promises to be even more amazing—hello, we have a Meadowood alum here! For dessert, there’s chess pie ($7) with strawberry sorbet, meringue, and Szechuan peppercorn; and a coconut layer cake ($8) with slow-roasted pineapple and candied macadamia nuts.

The lunch menu is a two-course affair ($19), with starters like the Dixie chopped salad with buttermilk dressing or green garlic gazpacho with grilled grapes, spiced almonds, and cucumber; mains include a daily po’boy, or roast pork with yellow grits, green beans, and peanuts. You can also get a hush puppy “refill” for $5.

As previously mentioned in tablehopper, Humphrey is partnering with Khalid Lahlou, who will handle the front of house. Michael Brennan has redesigned the former Pres a Vi, which includes a spacious bar and lounge area with banquettes where you can snack on deviled eggs, hush puppies, and shaved country ham while sipping some bourbon- and rye-based cocktails, like the Derby Cooler or an old-fashioned. A prized part of the property is the spacious outdoor patio, with a beautiful view of the Presidio. There are also two private rooms and a chef’s counter in the kitchen where guests who opt for the tasting menu will be able to sit for a course. Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm.

Now open in the former La Terrasse space is ~TRANSIT CAFE~; Inside Scoop mentions it has a casual vibe, with pastries and organic coffee in the morning, and grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and late-afternoon snacks. A post on Yelp mentions pizza from a brick oven is coming soon. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm and Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Ralston, Main Post.


The back kitchen area (with concrete panels). Photo: ©


William Werner outside his new home. Photo: ©


The custom enamel-steel mug; photo courtesy of Craftsman and Wolves.

Last week I had a chance to take a peek at the upcoming ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~ from Outfit Generic and William Werner, opening at 746 Valencia. The project is less than two weeks out—they are primarily waiting for the Italian pastry cases to show up. The contemporary pâtisserie will feature a range of Werner’s custom creations, like pastries, confections, confitures, and cakes inspired by his travels to France and Japan. There will also be house-baked bread (levain, brioche), some sandwiches and savory bites, and CAW will even sell some of the produce the kitchen uses, like peaches.

Some items on the menu include his famed rebel within; passion-sesame croissant; the debut of the cube cakes (like one of raspberry, coconut, and Earl Grey); a savory financier with zucchini, olive oil, and pistachio; and I’m here to tell you his chocolate-salted caramel brownie is going to enslave you. Savory items include sandwiches on house-baked ciabatta (either king trumpet mushroom, chèvre, cucumber, and mizuna; or smoked ham, summer squash, bacon, and whole-grain mustard) and savory bites that will pair well with a glass of wine or beer (coming soon), like salmon rillettes and savory madeleines; beet salad, hazelnuts, and fennel; and country pâté, pickles, and toasted levain.

Coffee service will be from Sightglass on a La Marzocco Linea machine, and check out the custom enamel-steel mug you can buy, made at a 100-year-old factory in Poland using machinery that dates back to WWII.

The space has a tall ceiling with skylights, original brick walls, a pattern of wood slats along the walls, and will feature tones of gray, giving it a very modern look that’s not faux rustic. The 20-foot-long, waist-high pastry case dominates the interior. There are many artistic touches, from the large-format image by Heimo Schmidt to the custom shelves by Geoff Campen. The space will have a communal table with room for up to 10, and a standing bar with room for 12. There will also be a retail component, selling walk-away items like granola, exquisite chocolate-white shoyu caramels, and pâtes de fruit in flavors like strawberry yogurt. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, and Sun 8am-5pm.

In case you just can’t wait, you’ll want to swing by for a preview trunk show at nearby Pot + Pantry on Thursday May 31st, featuring a variety of items from the menu, hot chocolate, and drip coffee from Sightglass Coffee. 7am-7pm. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St.


Region interior; photo by Brian Smeets for Grub Street.

I was catching up with bartendress-about-town Victoria D’Amato-Moran (Cent’Anni Cocktails), who let me know about some of the unique offerings that will be found at ~REGION~, the new place opening in the former Mexico DF from Kiet Truong of the pan-Asian Unicorn on Pine Street. Yeah, she got my attention with the Beijing imperial duck from a farm in Petaluma, carved tableside, and served on bone china. Unfortunately I couldn’t secure a menu in time for today’s post. The chef is Steven Lam, previously at Fortune Wok, and you will find a number of D’Amato-Moran’s tasty creations on the cocktail menu.

Take a look at more images of the remodel in Grub Street’s slide show here. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2:30pm for lunch, happy hour from 4pm-7pm, and dinner 5pm-10pm; Sat 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-10pm; Sun 5pm-10pm. 139 Steuart St. at Mission, 415-896-1398.


Lasagna napoletana; photo via Yelp.


The sōw juice bar at Pause Wine Bar. Photo from Facebook.

All I can say about this new spot in Dogpatch that’s serving lasagne is WHOA—what a concept, one that I will totally drive across town for in a heartbeat (yeah, I am pazza for lasagne). Each day features a different kind of lasagne, in addition to a soup, pizzas, tramezzini, grilled panini, and an Italian cold hero sandwich. You can read more about ~MARCELLA’S LASAGNERIA & CUCINA~ in this post in the Dogpatch Howler. You can eat in the small dining area or get the goods to go. Bring on the béchamel. Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm. 1099 Tennessee St. at 22nd St., 415-920-2225.

Now open weekends at Pause Wine Bar is ~SŌW~, the juice bar I wrote about a few months ago. You can enjoy custom juices like beet, carrot, orange, apple, and ginger, or another with ruby red grapefruit, tangelo, and navel orange. You can bring your own Champagne, and enjoy fresh-baked bread and jam as well. Hours are Sat 9am-2pm and Sun 10am-3pm. 1666 Market St. at Gough.

Opening this Friday June 1st is ~CORAZON JUICEBAR~, the Mexican-style juice bar I previously mentioned. Hours will be Mon-Sat 9am-6pm (but it will stay open until 8pm for the grand opening party—come by for free samples). 3275 22nd St. at Valencia, 415-735-4111.

Eater announced Dontaye Ball of ~GOOD FOODS CATERING~ is setting up shop at the Hearty Café trailer at San Francisco General Hospital starting June 1st. Come by 6am-12am for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; the menu is focused on healthy fare. 1001 Potrero Ave. at 23rd St.

According to this post on Chowhound, ~PINKBERRY~ is coming to Union Square, specifically 170 O’Farrell St. at Powell. (I hear July is the plan.)

And over in the Ferry Building Marketplace, ~GOTT’S FROZEN YOGURT~ is now open in the main hall, featuring Straus frozen yogurt and local toppings like Miette cookie crumbs, McEvoy olive oil, and more. Open daily 11am-7pm.

And over near Bernal, ~THE FRONT PORCH~ has a new chef, Matt Marcus (previously at Liberty Café, RNM). His menu includes Dr. Pepper braised short ribs over locally milled grits topped with crisp Vidalia onions, and he’s curing some house bacon; the fried chicken will be staying as is!

Uppercasing brings word the renovated ~MARTIN MACKS~ also has a new kitchen and chef, serving dinner, including an “Italian pork sandwich, fish and chips, short rib shepherd’s pie, and wild mushroom lasagna”; brunch launching soon. 1568 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-861-2236.


The exterior of Radio Africa & Kitchen. Photo: ©

On Saturday, ~CHAMBERS EAT + DRINK~ launched weekend brunch from 10am-3pm. Yup, you can kick it poolside—and even if it’s a chilly day, you’ll be protected on the heated patio. Chef Trevor Ogden’s menu includes Eggs Royale with two sous-vide “poached” eggs, cold-smoked salmon, mandarin hollandaise, caviar, and chive; soft-scrambled eggs with artichoke heart, fava beans, fromage blanc, and piquillo peppers; and spiced French toast made with challah bread, macerated cherries, vanilla whipped cream, and bourbon syrup. You can back it all up with Bloody Mary spiked with housemade sambal.

Out in Bayview, Eskender Aseged is launching lunch service at ~RADIO AFRICA & KITCHEN~ on Saturday June 2nd—swing by from 11am-3pm for music and food. On the menu: a variety of sandwiches (like smoked trout and albacore tuna with harissa and greens, $8), salads (like green lentils with chard, carrots, and goat cheese, $8), soups, and a couple hot dishes like spicy beef kufta with tomato sauce, kale, preserved lemon, and soft polenta ($9). Moving forward, lunch will be served Tue-Sun 11am-3pm and dinner Tue-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm. 4800 3rd St. at Oakdale, 415-420-2486.


Interior of Lung Shan/Mission Chinese Food.

Just a little something for your spice alert system: the SF branch of ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ will be closed starting Wednesday May 30th for their annual summer vacation, when the owners of Lung Shan go back to China. The restaurant will reopen Thursday June 14th, when you can get your Westlake rice porridge fix again.


Great China’s incredible Peking duck. Photo from Facebook.

After ~GREAT CHINA~ suffered a terrible fire, the owners have decided to move from the original location on Kittredge Street and will be reopening one block away at the former location for Looney’s Smokehouse on Bancroft Way. I originally heard Great China was going to open a dumpling shop in the location, but since the fire, things have obviously changed. According to a post on Facebook, construction is under way and they hope to reopen in spring 2013. Yup, that’s going to be a ways out until you can get your double skin or Peking duck fix. 2190 Bancroft Way at Fulton, Berkeley.

Berkeleyside mentions ~CAFFE VENEZIA~ had a major makeover after 20 years of business, and is now sporting an updated façade, a rebuilt bar with reclaimed wood and Carrara marble, and a pizza oven. 1799 University Ave. at Grant, Berkeley, 510-849-4681.

One more bit of relocation news: ~DRAGON ROUGE~ has moved into a new Alameda location at the former Aromas at the foot of the Park Street bridge, according to this tip on Chowhound. 2337 Blanding Ave. at Park, Alameda, 510-521-1800.


Saltwater Oyster Depot and Wine Bar under construction; photo from website.

A few new projects on the way: first, ~SALTWATER OYSTER DEPOT AND WINE BAR~ is opening soon in Inverness. Luc Chamberland, formerly at Hog Island Oyster Company, is the key person behind the crowd-funded venture. The website mentions an oyster bar (they have a special relationship with Pickleweed Point Community Shellfish Farm) and seafood from local waters, in addition to regional beer and wine. Here’s a link where you can donate and help bring this project to life. 12781 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Inverness.

~TIBURON TAVERN~ is opening in early June at The Lodge at Tiburon, with a refreshed look, a new seasonal gastropub menu, and a happy hour/bites menu called Six2Six; check out both of chef Jamie Prouten’s menus here. There is a bar, patio seating, and fireside dining. Open daily 7am-10pm. 1651 Tiburon Blvd. at Beach, Tiburon, 415-435-3133.

And opening soon in Sausalito will be a location of ~PHILZ COFFEE~ on the corner of 317 Johnson St. at Bridgeway.


Wow, with so many fantastic authors gracing our fair Bay Area bookstores, it’s hard to know which book events to attend. Why dontcha use this handy list to cross-reference with your reading-and-eating calendar?

Anne Willan, founder of LaVarenne Cooking School, will be in town June 2nd-4th for her new book, The Cookbook Library: Four Centuries of the Cooks, Writers, and Recipes That Made the Modern Cookbook. Willan explores the origin of the modern cookbook since the invention of printing, including a look at religious, economic, and political influences in the kitchen across 400 years of European and early American cuisine. Willan’s own collection of antiquarian cookbooks contains more than 400 volumes, some dating back to 1491, so you can imagine how her newest work is a deeply personal labor of love. Here are your chances to meet the author: ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ on Saturday June 2nd, 3pm-4:30pm, free; Heritage Culinary Artifacts (610 1st St., Stall 14 in the Oxbow Public Market, Napa, 707-363-4052) on Sunday June 3rd, 11am-2pm, free; and at The Commonwealth Club (595 Market St., 2nd Floor, at 2nd St., 415-597-6700) on Monday June 4th, 12pm-2pm, $20, $7 students, members free.

Come down to The Commonwealth Club again on Thursday June 21st to meet Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan, author of A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family. Tan’s book is a study of Singaporean culinary anthropology, a family history complete with secret gambling dens, opium addictions, and family schisms, and a story of reconnecting with food and family. The Singapore Consulate-General is providing a lunch of nasi lemak, coconut-flavored rice served with fried chicken wing, egg, fried peanuts, and ikan with sambal chile on the side and wrapped in banana leaves. 12pm. $20, $8 members, $7 students.

Ruta Kahate, author and 20-year Bay Area resident, is visiting from Goa to talk about her new book, Quick-Fix Indian: Easy, Exotic Dishes in 30 Minutes or Less. Since 2009, Kahate has been in Goa building a culinary destination that will include an organic farm, restaurant, market, and cooking school. Catch her stateside at these locales: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday June 9th at 11:45am, ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ on Thursday June 14th at 6pm, Cavallo Point for a cooking class on Saturday July 14th at 1pm, Purcell Murray on Thursday July 19th at 11am, and The Pasta Shop (Oakland) on Friday July 20th from 4pm-6pm.

You’ll find chef Erik Cosselmon of SF’s Kokkari in the East Bay on Saturday June 9th signing his new book, Kokkari: Contemporary Greek Flavors: he’ll be at the The Pasta Shop for a talk and taste from 12pm-2pm. Renditions of his recipes will also be available for purchase throughout the weekend (including tzatziki and kotopoulo souvlas, lemon and oregano rotisserie chicken). 5655 College Ave. at Shafter, Oakland, 510-250-6005.

Those of you looking to sharpen your epicurean edge this summer will have no trouble finding classes to sign up for. We’ve got a good number to get you started right here.

Tim Nugent of ~SCALA’S BISTRO~ will show you the Secrets of Desserts on Wednesday June 13th from 6pm-7:30pm. This pastry demo and class includes sweet and savory desserts, like lemon-fennel panna cotta with blueberries, anise biscotti, and even samples to take home. $25. Call Jeffrey Greenfield to reserve: 415-395-8555.

The Williams-Sonoma Demo Kitchen in Union Square has plenty of educational and tasty demos coming up. Join the Ice Cream Social with Robyn Sue of Smitten Ice Cream and Jake and Sean of Humphry Slocombe on Saturday June 2nd, and you get to share in an afternoon of unique tastes and techniques as they demonstrate interesting ice cream riffs. For a more savory demo, try International Meatball with Hoss Zaré (Zaré at Fly Trap) and Chris Thompson (A16) on Saturday June 9th. The meatball journey has stops in Italy, Iran, and more. Marvel at Marvelous Macarons with Michelle Hernandez (Le Dix-Sept Pâtisserie) and Jessica Entzel (Morimoto Napa) on Saturday June 23th, and see classic and unusual dessert flavor combinations come to life. You’ll be Summer Road Tripping with Jason Berthold (RN74) and Omri Aflalo (Bourbon Steak) on Saturday June 30th as they share simple, satisfying recipes and wine pairings (perfect for summer picnics), with a modern twist, of course. All classes 12pm-2pm. $20, $15 with Visa Signature card. Details and tickets here.

Literally sharpen your edge with Jordan Schachter of Jordan’s Kitchen at their popular Knife Skills class on Saturday June 2nd and Sunday June 3rd, 5pm-9pm, at La Cocina. Learn about all the major cuts (dice, brunoise, julienne, and more), sharpening and honing knives, and some intro to fish and poultry butchery. Plus, you’ll cook a delicious meal with the practice cuts. The class is $150, but tablehopper readers can attend for only $125. Pre-registration is required. Email and mention tablehopper to receive a $25 discount. 415-710-0761.


Photo by Jeremy Fenske; courtesy of Outstanding in the Field.

Here are a few special dinners for your consideration. If you’re feeling flush, a few upcoming ~OUTSTANDING IN THE FIELD~ dinners in the Bay Area have tickets available. Some of them (like a dinner with AQ’s chef Mark Liberman in Watsonville on Monday June 11th) offer a good excuse to get out of town. For example, guest chef Dennis Lee of Namu Gaji will be at County Line Harvest at Red Hill Ranch in Petaluma on Saturday June 9th. Check out dates and more here.

Coming up on Tuesday June 12th through Friday June 15th is ~OLIVETO~’s Oceanic Dinners. The dinners will include reprises of historic San Francisco seafood dishes, like crab Louis, Hog Island oyster po’boys, and sand dabs stuffed with local spot shrimp.

Tied in to the event, Oliveto is also kicking off It’s Complicated: A Series of Conversations About Eating, Cooking, and the Politics of Food. The first panel is “Our Local Seas: A Comeback Story,” discussing the state of our local seas, on Saturday June 9th from 2pm-3:30pm, tickets are $10.

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