June 5, 2012

June 5, 2012
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Lemongrass shrimp bun; photo courtesy of Sante Salvoni.

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Grilled beef salad with mint and toasted rice; photo courtesy of Sante Salvoni.

Exciting news and a blast from the past: chef Sante Salvoni (previously the chef of Slow Club for seven years) is coming back to the stoves after a seven-year private-cheffing stint. He is the chef-partner in ~MAU~, a Southeast Asian spot opening in mid-July at 665 Valencia in the former New Yorker Buffalo Wings space. His partners in the venture are Hung Dang (Tin Vietnamese in SoMa) and husband-wife team Annie Abbott and Luke Wendler. An architect by trade, Wendler is also behind the transformation of the space. (The partners all live within blocks of the restaurant.)

MAU’s menu is going to be casual, based on rice bowls and noodle dishes that clock in under $15, with a whole fish or Dungeness crab for two for $20. The format will be more individual than family style, except for the whole fish dishes, and the menu will change daily (there will also be sandwiches for lunch).

Salvoni told me about a few dishes he’s been working on for the opening menu, like lemongrass shrimp bun, a braised barnyard chicken with rice and broth, neua nam tok (grilled beef salad with toasted rice, chile, and mint). He’s a huge fan of curry, so he’s talking about serving a beef massaman curry. He said this is how he’s enjoyed eating the past few years, trading in super burritos for pho, and he has been staging at Tin. Oh, and he’ll also be making housemade sauces and condiments. Salvoni said he has missed cooking for the public and is so excited to be back.

Construction is under way, with about 80 seats in all. There will be a bar and communal table in one room, along with banquettes, hardwood floors, wood chairs, and other reclaimed wood throughout; the walls will be shades of off-white to bring some light into the space. One more point: the partners also wanted it to be a family-friendly place since some of them have kids. Open for lunch and dinner daily. Stand by for more as the opening gets closer. And welcome back, Sante. 665 Valencia St. at 17th St.

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The pavilion at SoMa StrEat Food Park; photo from Facebook.

After hosting a few lunchtime trial runs, ~SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK~ is holding its grand opening this Wednesday June 6th. The food truck pod, just across the street from Costco, will feature a rotating selection of food trucks, up to 10 at a time. The pod looks a bit like a Western scene, with a barn-meets-pavilion that has covered seating for 200, plus sun-soaked picnic tables and free Wi-Fi. Once permits go through, you’ll also be able to enjoy an ice-cold beer with your meal—after a couple brewskis, you’ll be thankful for the on-site bathrooms. Also cool: a projection screen for movie nights and sporting events.

The opening day lineup includes Curry Up Now, Sunrise Deli, Slider Shack, Eire Trea, La Pastrami, Mr. Nice, Mayo and Mustard, Garden Creamery, Golden Waffle, and Topshelf Boutique (a fashion truck—so maybe you want to try clothes on before you tuck into that cheeseburger). Hours are 11am-9pm daily. 428 11th St. at Bryant and Division.

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Kirnon’s famed fried chicken while at Hibiscus. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Just after my deadline last week, I received a call from Sarah Kirnon (previously at Hibiscus) with the good news that she finally found a home for ~MISS OLLIE’S~: in Swan’s Market in Old Oakland. She’ll be in good company, with Cosecha Cafe and the upcoming Rosamunde.

Naming the project after her grandmother, Kirnon explained the concept will be a lot like the “one-stop shops” of her native Barbados. Menu items will include a spin on “shark and bake,” a popular street food dish: swordfish tucked into a savory doughnut, filled with pickled pineapple, mango chutney, and tamarind sauce. She also mentioned salt cod salad (bol jol) with pickled peppers, scorched cherry tomatoes, parsley, garlic, and green banana chips; and roti with goat and potato filling, a kind of Caribbean burrito. Other dishes like her famed fried chicken, plus oxtail, black-eyed peas, and more will be making appearances. She said lunchtime will have counter service, plus a takeout window for those who need to grab and go. Dinner will be a simplified menu, with a few key dishes and sides and an array of beverages, plus special nights with whole-animal dinners, guest chefs, and more.

The space was previously Jesso’s Seafood, and after some cosmetic changes, Kirnon thinks Miss Ollie’s should be able to open mid-September. It will be closed Sunday evenings and all day Monday. 901 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland.

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Somehow this café opening slipped past my radar, but last month ~144 KING ART CAFÉ~ opened in SoMa, right across from the ballpark. True to its name, it has a very artistic look (the space is a lot like an art gallery). The in-house chef is Michelle Mathews, previously the executive chef of Café Claude. You can get breakfast, lunch, and Saturday brunch, and everything is organic and locally sourced. The menu rotates often, but breakfast includes a whole-wheat ham and cheese waffle with a fried egg, while lunch brings a beef brisket or house-smoked turkey sandwich (or a Cubano), soup of the day, and salads. Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, Sat 10am-3pm. 144 King St. at 3rd St.

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Photo from La Boulange.

Burning up the Twitter yesterday was the news that Starbucks bought ~LA BOULANGE CAFÉ & BAKERY~ for $100 million from New World Group (a privately held global investment firm and majority investor of La Boulange). Founder Pascal Rigo is going to be working with Starbucks to develop their menu offerings. “Would you like a palmier with your venti?”

Haighteration chimes in with this piece about the fate of Lower Haight’s Café du Soleil—fortunately the owner, Mustapha Hakkou, just bought out Bay Bread’s stake in the café, and he is now the sole owner. The piece mentions he will continue to carry Bay Bread/La Boulange baked items, however. 200 Fillmore St. at Waller, 415-934-8637.

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The Una Pizza Napoletana posted making the rounds. Photo by Jonathan Kauffman via Twitter.

For those of you eager to try pizza from the ~DEL POPOLO~ truck, you can swing by Bar Agricole on Mondays in June for a pie, and you can order a drink from Bar Agricole. Win-win. Starts at 5:30pm.

Jonathan Kauffman tweeted a pic of this movie-like poster that ~UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ has started pasting up around town, from the Haight to the Mission. Competition is heating up in this town.

Eater reports ~GOAT HILL PIZZA~ is opening a third location at the former West Portal Bakery, hopefully in August. There will be takeout, delivery, and a few spots to sit for those who want to dine in. 170 W Portal Ave. at Vicente.

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Beef cheek ramen at Nombe. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A few things to note: first, ~SOCIAL KITCHEN & BREWERY~ in the Inner Sunset is now serving Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm.

Downtown workers: ~THE MELT~ launched breakfast (open at 7am), so you can order an Egg-in-a-Hole Melt, Banana-Maple Waffle Melt, or oatmeal on your smartphone while on the F Market—just scan your special QR code when you arrive and your hot meal will be ready in three minutes. Yup, it’s a whole new kind of techy breakfast. Breakfast is served until 10:30am at its three San Francisco locations.

~NOMBE~ is now only serving lunch on Fridays. If you want to try chef Nori’s ramen in the evening, you can also order it from 6pm-7:30pm (which is when you can order the $20 deal of ramen, gyoza, and a beer) and from 10pm-close. Oh, and you can now valet your car in the evening at Foreign Cinema if you’re having a tough time finding parking.

Hayes Valley is getting another European market, according to Hayeswire. Moving into the former Blo Salon will be ~NOSA RIA~, a Spanish food and wine market from Krista Avery and Manuel Bargiela. Coming to the shop: acorn-fed jamón ibérico, vino, and more. Sounds like permits may take a few months. 500 Laguna St. at Fell.

A reader let me know that a new speciality shop called ~OLIVE THIS, OLIVE THAT~ is opening in Noe Valley, selling premium extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and pastas. Stand by. 304 Vicksburg St. at 24th St.

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The bar at Lime. Yelp photo by Gina C.

One of the city’s biggest get-you-trashed brunch locations is no more: ~LIME~ in the Castro has closed shop. Grub Street reports San Francisco’s first gay sports bar will be moving in (the business will be under new ownership). 2247 Market St. at Sanchez.

Six months ago, tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney noticed a petition in support of converting the former Haz Liquors on Polk and Pine into a Lefty O’Doul’s Express. I was never able to get any answers from the Lefty O’Doul’s folks, but now The Tenderlife blog has this update from the Lower Polk Neighbors meeting: “DBA ~LEFTY’S FRESH SPIN~ will be operating a Hof Brau style [sic] quick serve eatery. Food will consist of soup, salad, sandwiches and operate with a type 41 beer and wine license which requires food sales during all hours of operation. Per Lower Polk Neighbors request, Lefty’s has agreed with operating restrictions and will close at 12 am.” Looks like the neighborhood is in favor of it, so stand by for more. 1401 Polk St. at Pine.

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Here’s a foie knuckle sandwich for ya. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

With the statewide ban of foie gras rapidly approaching on July 1st, the GGRA (Golden Gate Restaurant Association), chefs, and culinary professionals are rallying together in an attempt to organize and overturn the ban with the newly formed CHEFS (Coalition for Humane and Ethical Farming Standards) organization. The coalition was designed to regulate the industry by supporting farmers who use sustainable and humane farming practices, and is an attempt to prevent the likely black market that will spring up after the ban goes into effect. Let’s hope their efforts are fruitful and a humane middle ground can be reached. Tablehopper will be bringing you more articles on the ban, and the industry reaction, as the deadline nears.

In the meantime, plenty of restaurants around town have put together meals that are farewell love letters to foie gras, and they certainly look delicious. Be sure to snag reservations and tickets now, before it’s too late to get your foie fix! I also have an article in this month’s issue of 7x7 with five of my favorite foie dishes in the city—check it out (I’ll post a link to it once the story is online).

Beginning today, ~FIFTH FLOOR~ is serving a five-course foie gras menu, on offer every night in June. The menu includes foie gras ice cream with fried rhubarb pie, oh hello! The tasting menu is $120, and wine pairings are available for an additional $75. And it doesn’t stop there: they are also mixing a foie gras cocktail called the Wild Goose Chase, which features Armagnac, lemon, honey, and sparkling wine. The garnish is, that’s right, foie gras powder on the rim and a foie-stuffed prune. Reservations on their website.

~NOMBE~ will be toasting to the last days of foie two ways: with foie gras ramen served every day from now until June 15th and with a full five-course Japanese-style foie gras dinner on June 21st. The full tasting menu is a steal at $49.95 (an optional wine and sake pairing is $25). There is still some seating available at 7pm and 9pm.

~MARTINS WEST GASTROPUB~ in Redwood City sold out its first two foie gras dinners, so hurry to snag reservations to the third and final one. This “whole duck dinner” will not only feature foie gras with every course, but also includes duck egg, smoked duck tongue, and slow-cooked duck leg. The full dinner is $125, and reservations are only to be had by calling the restaurant directly at 650-366-4366. What’s more, $50 of each ticket will be donated to the above-mentioned CHEFS.

Underground dinner mavens ~STAG DINING GROUP~ are doing a five-course menu event called Foie-ther’s Day, on, you guessed it, Father’s Day. That’s Sunday June 17th, if you hadn’t marked your calendar yet. The menu will be paired with cocktails from Cocktail Lab and Kanon Vodka. Added bonus: if your dad’s a spy, he’ll love the super-secret location (emailed the morning of event, how mysterious!). Cost for the event is $110 and includes cocktails and five courses. Tickets can be purchased on their website.

If a full five foie courses is more than you can take, head to ~CHAYA BRASSERIE~, where seven dishes will be offered à la carte from the Au Revoir to Foie Gras menu from June 18th through 30th.

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On Wednesday June 13th, Off the Grid is partnering with the SF Giants for ~OFF THE COVE~, a special night at AT&T Park. A ticket to this event includes access to the pregame food truck festival on Terry Francois Blvd. (starting at 4:30pm), an Off the Cove-themed T-shirt, and a ticket to watch the Houston Astros take on the Giants at 7:15pm! Line up of vendors includes: An the Go, The Crème Brulée Truck, Curry Up Now, El Norteño, Onigilly, Pacific Puffs, Phat Thai, Sam’s Chowdermobile, Señor Sisig, The Chairman, and the Ribwhip. The final bonus: partial proceeds from this event will go to La Cocina.

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Food Bank photo via Mission Street Food blog.

Hey folks, have a sec to help out some of our local trailblazers? As you may have heard, Iso Rabins of The Underground Market and The Wild Kitchen is trying to raise money for ~FORAGE KITCHEN~, a coworking space for food designed to support people like the vendors from The Underground Market, but also give non-professionals access to professional equipment. There will be classes, workshops, beer brewing, a rooftop garden, a meat-curing room, a café, and a big kitchen. It will function as an incubator for new food businesses, from a shared-use kitchen and office space to equipment rental and business advice. Please check out his Kickstarter here to see how you can help. ForageSF is also seeking investors to raise the remainder of funds. Follow Forage on Facebook for future fundraising event updates.

And Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food, Mission Chinese Food, and Commonwealth wrote this blog post about his idea of opening a restaurant inside the San Francisco Food Bank as a way to raise more money for the nonprofit. Myint is applying for a small business grant from Mission: Small Business to try to make this dream a reality and is asking for your vote. Please log in and then search “Mission Chinese Food.”

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The chocolate bomb at Donut Savant. Photo via Facebook.

According to a post on Chowhound, ~DONUT SAVANT~ is now open in Oakland in an old Lee’s Donuts shop. East Bay Express posted an in-depth account of the fried little numbers, which are more like donut holes. Seems the “chocolate bomb” (with dark chocolate cake, Irish whiskey ganache, and Guinness and Baileys glaze) is the way to go. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat 8am-2pm. 1934 Broadway at 19th St., Oakland.

Berkeleyside mentions ~THE BREAD GARDEN~ (open since 1973) is closing up, and the owner, David Morris, is moving the business to Paso Robles. Here’s more: “Morris said he plans to close the Claremont neighborhood bakery, home to the 19th-century baguette, cheese rolls, cinnamon swirl bread, and pizza bread, among other things, by July 1.” 2912 Domingo Ave. at Russell, Berkeley, 510-548-3122.

The Scoop announced ~B RESTAURANT~ has closed, and it looks like Paul Ferrari of AG Ferrari may be taking over the space, stand by. 499 9th St. at Washington, Oakland, 510-251-8770.

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