June 19, 2012

June 19, 2012
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The chic interior and pastry case at Craftsman and Wolves. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Hello, my pretties. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Loaves of levain. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week, a bunch of us lucky media folks got to attend a pre-opening party for ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~, which was scheduled to open last Saturday, but some final air-conditioning inspections are holding things up—it’s all set to open on Wednesday June 20th. A lot of details about this Outfit Generic project were shared in my earlier piece in tablehopper, but it was great to see everything in place, from the elegant shelves and storage to the artwork and light streaming in from the overhead skylights. And, of course, to taste pastry chef William Werner and his team’s latest creations.

Hurry over during the next two weeks to try the Devil Inside, his spin on his wildly popular Rebel Inside, but instead of a runny egg, you’ll find a piece of foie gras tucked into the chocolate-toffee ganache in the chocolate-almond cake. Yeah, baby. And then there’s the selection of pretty cube cakes, like one with peach, buttermilk, and lemon verbena—they also have their own custom boxes, the ultimate hostess gift. The flavorful croissants were excellent, including a passion-sesame version, and I liked the smaller size (which means you can try two things with your Sightglass coffee or oolong tea from Naivetea). On the savory side, they are making some wonderful levain bread (I can’t wait for them to make sandwiches with it) and small plates to share like salmon rillettes and savory madeleines, and a beet salad with hazelnuts and fennel.

There’s a table in the front where you’ll be able to hang out, but I am guessing seating will be scarce after people get hooked on the chocolate-salted caramel brownie and éclairs. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, Sat 8am-8pm, and Sun 8am-5pm.

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A view of the bar area. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Bar director Priscilla Young pours a Garden Envy. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Gin on parade. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

After a soft opening period, ~BRASSERIE S&P~ has opened in the Mandarin Oriental. As previously mentioned in tablehopper, chef Adam Mali’s menu is San Francisco-brasserie style, utilizing local sources. There is a raw bar featuring local oysters and lots of plates built to share, like ahi tuna poke with macadamia nut, green onion, Fresno chile, and sesame; duck confit with apricot, crème fraîche, and chive on latkes; and kimchi-pork steamed buns.

You can view the dinner menu here and lunch here. Since it’s in FiDi, it’s going to be a great place for a power lunch (or breakfast)!

The bar and dining area are comfortably appointed, with leather stools and seats, and expansive tables to accommodate the many little (or big) dishes you order. The space avoids predictable hotel-chic with natural touches, like beautiful wood burl paneling along the bar and unfussy, fresh flowers distributed abundantly. The silhouettes of the furniture and mirrored bar offer a touch of Art Deco aesthetic, which further grounds the design. It is a comfortable spot for a quick meal on the go, or a more intimate, leisurely experience.

The bar is a focal point of the room, stocked with 34 glimmering bottles of gin by bar director Priscilla Young (she tasted through 86 different gins to decide which ones to include). She has a sommelier background and approached the selection of gin with that mind-set. She sought to identify the aromatics and botanicals in each gin, and then made the decision either to enhance or contrast them when crafting cocktails, much in the same way one decides to pair wines and food.

On the bar, you’ll see clear glass pots with simple syrup, heirloom tomato water, currant hibiscus syrup, and rose water. Don’t miss the Garden Envy, Priscilla’s spin on the Vesper, made with a cold infusion of Hendrick’s gin, Granny Smith apple, celery, dill, and black pepper, and Square One cucumber vodka, Galliano, and lime juice. The bar will also be elevating the Gin & Tonic, with some using housemade tonics and handmade ice.

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Michelle Polzine at Meals on Wheels. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Nectar’s sign, by Romanowski. Photo via Facebook.

An ABC license posted last week for ~20TH CENTURY CAFE~, an exciting new café project in Hayes Valley from Range’s pastry chef, Michelle Polzine. Inside Scoop shares these details: the Danube region (Budapest, Vienna, and Prague) is the inspiration, and she is working with charcutier Peter Temkin (Show Dogs, Foreign Cinema) on some savory items for the menu.

The café is opening in an old laundromat space that is in a historical building, and is very close to the forthcoming Rich Table. Oh, and about the name: it was inspired by her favorite film, Twentieth Century, starring Carole Lombard and John Barrymore. Look for an opening in early 2013—it’s an extensive build-out—which means she will continue at Range. (Thank heavens, I will be able to score her stone fruit desserts in the meantime.) 198 Gough St. at Oak.

Not too far away in the Lower Haight, SFoodie reports ~KATZ BAGELS~ is turning into ~NECTAR~, serving “rustic, organic foods at an affordable price point.” There is also a back patio and garden, with artwork by Romanowski. Nectar opens on Saturday June 23rd at a public reception from 6pm-10pm. 663 Haight St. at Steiner, 415-621-5183.

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The Pig & Pie interior. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The array of spices in use at Pig & Pie. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report from Dana Massey-Todd: The Mission is getting a new spot for enjoying a few of my favorite things; namely, pie and sausages. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~PIG & PIE~ is getting very close to opening on 24th Street in the old Discolandia building.

They will be serving a short but comprehensive menu of housemade sausages, and in the future will offer daily specials, which may include treats like buffalo sausage and sandwiches. In the pie department, look for pecan, shaker lemon, and a changing seasonal fruit pie. Currently, they hope to soft open on Sunday June 24th. The official opening should be Monday June 25th, but it would be best to check their website for updates. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11am-1am. 2962 24th St. at Harrison, 415-826-9066.

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A hoagie from 1058 Hoagie. Photo by Rose Garrett via Facebook.

Have you had a hoagie from ~1058 HOAGIE~ yet? Well, get ready to get sucked into an obsession. Owner Adam Mesnick (Deli Board) found a brick-and-mortar location in SoMa on 7th Street, currently @Maximo’s. There will be prepared salads, antipasti-type salads, soup, and, of course, hoagies. Mesnick will also be introducing various new pepper spreads and some killer salumi and meats, including his favorite: a dried all-beef from Chicago. He hopes to open in mid-August to early September. Since it’s right by the Federal Building, he’ll be focusing on lunch service to start—he’s not certain about operating hours and days just yet. For now, you can still follow 1058 Hoagie on Facebook for updates on hoagie pop-up nights. 180 7th St. at Howard.

Based on some pics on Facebook, it looks like ~HOT PRESS CAFE~ should be opening any day now in the Mission. You can look at the menu (which was posted on their Facebook page a week ago), which includes hot panini, a dedicated vegetarian section, side dishes, and desserts featuring Three Twins Ice Cream. Although I do hope someone tells them it’s “panini,” not paninis. Hours will be daily 10am-10pm. 2966 Mission St. at 26th St., 415-814-3814.

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The center of the dining room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Just after my column posted last week, I heard word from the ~PICCINO~ team that chef Rachel Sillcocks is leaving by the middle of July—after opening the restaurant, she is exhausted and needs a break. The team expressed how much they will miss her; stand by for news on a new hire. Best to Rachel, and compliments on creating such a special culinary experience that so many people have enjoyed.

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Men Oh’s Tokushima ramen. Photo via Facebook.

Eater shares the news that the former ~OOZORA SAKE HOUSE~ on Geary is going to be ~MEN OH~, part of a Japanese ramen chain known for housemade noodles and extra-rich Tokushima-style, tonkotsu-shoyu broth. 5120 Geary Blvd. at 15th Ave., 415-386-8802.

Over near Potrero Hill, Ryan Scott has opened his second location of ~MARKET & RYE~, serving breakfast and lunch Mon-Fri 7am-4pm. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-252-7455.

I heard owner Kiet Truong (Region, Unicorn) was opening a project on Polk Street in the former Tajine, but my phone number must be Kryptonite to him, because I never get a call back from the guy. The Scoop confirms the project is called ~CONAM~ and will be “a rustic Vietnamese neighborhood restaurant” featuring some authentic dishes you may not see so much around town. Look for a late July opening. 1653 Polk St. at Clay.

RichmondSF blog shares the former Yet Wah on Clement is now home to ~QUAN JU FU~, a second location for this Chinatown restaurant (in business since 1919). All-day dim sum, Peking duck, and Szechuan spicy whole crab are mentioned in the piece. Open daily 10am-10pm. 2140 Clement St. at 23rd Ave., 415-221-8018.

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DragonEats Green Rolls; Photo from Facebook.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd: After following up on a tweet tip from @thebolditalic, it looks like ~DRAGONEATS~ plans to open in Hayes Valley in the coming week. The owner, Vu Lam, has been working on the space and menu. He will offer Vietnamese snacks such as fresh rolls and banh mi, as well as Vietnamese coffee. They will be open for breakfast and lunch, though the exact hours have not yet been determined. Stay tuned for more details as they emerge! 520 Gough St. at Grove, 415-795-1469.

Down on the border between Potrero Hill and SoMa, ~PAPA NOVEMBER~ has set up shop on the corner of 15th Street and Kansas in the original Blue Bottle coffee cart. They are one of the few places to serve Stumptown coffee in San Francisco, and they will be offering both espresso drinks and a rotating single-origin drip coffee. Their signature drink is the cortado, the Spanish espresso drink with the slightest bit more milk than a macchiato. (It’s the perfect ratio, trust me.) There will be baked goods from Goody Goodie, as well as their very own breakfast cookie (oatmeal, apricot, and chocolate) and a seasonal scone. Open Mon-Fri 8am-3pm at 15th St. and Kansas.

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Stonefly popcorn and drink pairing. Photo: Stonefly.

On Monday June 25th and Tuesday June 26th, a new pop-up dinner by ~STONEFLY~ and chef Tyson Greenwood (whose background includes culinary director of the Tyler Florence Group, Manresa, Masa’s, Boulevard) will be at the San Francisco Flower Mart, with seatings at 7pm and 9:30pm. The menu will feature four courses of locally farmed and foraged ingredients; one course includes hen en crepinette, sauteed ramp top, pickled bulbs, and marjoram.

There will be optional pairings of wine, craft beer, or quality cocktails. Stonefly provides a unique dining opportunity in which guests are able to sample each course with a small portion of all three beverages. Wine pairings will be provided by sommelier Carl Grubbs (Orson, Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant). Cocktail and beer pairings will be handled by Douglas Williams (Rye, Liquid Alchemy) and Ben Miller, who has been brewing beer for 10 years, as well as crafting tinctures, infusions, and bitters for quite some time.

Stonefly hopes to have a brick-and-mortar location this fall, but in the meantime, we can expect more pop-ups like this one. Cost for the dinner is $50, $75 with pairings. Email for reservations or via SeatMe. 21 and over. 597 6th St. at Brannan, 415-504-3794.

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Ame’s foie gras ramen; photo from Ame’s Facebook page.

Folks, we only have two weeks left, and when this announcement that foie gras ramen is now being served at ~AME~ and ~BAR TERRA~ in St. Helena, well, I know what’s on my farewell list. This special bowl of ramen ($24.80) includes seared foie gras and duck foie gras wontons and is available during dinner service through the end of the month; the ramen is also available at Ame’s bar/lounge during lunch and dinner hours.

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A vegan dish at Cassava. Photo from Cassava.

After noticing some demand for their special dinners, ~CASSAVA BAKERY + CAFÉ~ in the Outer Richmond has added Friday night dinner service, and will also be doing a monthly vegan feast—the first is on Saturday July 7th. Dinners are priced at $45 per person and start with an amuse-bouche followed by soup, salad, main dish, and dessert. During June, the menu includes a foie gras torchon and mousse served with Meyer lemon-kumquat marmalade and sous vide Cornish game hen; the vegan menu on July 7th will feature spiced-herbal cauliflower cassoulet and a “vegetable garden,” including slow-cooked heirloom rainbow carrots, baby beets, and amaranth pesto. Reservations (seatings between 6pm-8pm) are accepted via phone and text to 415-640-8990 and email. 3519 Balboa St. at 36th Ave.

Starting Sunday June 24th, ~A16~ is launching a Sunday Farm Supper Series on the last Sunday of each month, starting with Dirty Girl Farms. The featured farmer will be in attendance at each Sunday Farm Supper, and chef Chris Thompson will create a special menu showcasing the featured farmer’s produce.

Looking for a showstopper for dessert? Swing by ~COI~ to experience executive pastry chef Matt Tinder’s five-course dessert menu that is offered Tuesday-Thursday evenings. It’s $45 as a special dessert-only tasting and on Fridays and Saturdays as a supplement to the regular tasting menu for $10 ($175 total). A chef friend tells me the white chocolate-foie gras ganache and walnut number (developed at Meadowood) is SICK. Oh, and there is also a new vegetarian tasting menu (12 to 14 courses) offered nightly for $145.

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A portion of the patio, lit by torches. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The open kitchen at Surf Spot. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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One of the cozy fire pits. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Moscow Mule in a copper mug. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Massey-Todd: Just a quick trip down Highway One to Pacifica, the ~SURF SPOT~ opens today in the parking lot adjacent to Sea Bowl. Derek Burns, a Pacifica resident, surfer, and former chef at Bay Area restaurants like Vertigo, Stars (Palo Alto), and Elka, has partnered with David Szeto and Tait Cowan, also of Pacifica, to fill a long-vacant niche in the area: a casual and vibrant spot to get a great meal and a serious cocktail.

The location has been in the works a long time, and the wait has paid off. The restaurant interior seats 80 and features a stunning bar of reclaimed redwood and other warm wood details. The atmosphere is definitely casual and beachy, but the sleek, minimal aesthetic is design-forward and modern. Lovely as the inside is, though, the real treasure is outside. In the back, stretching up into the coastal hills, is an expansive back patio with rolling lawns, a beach volleyball court, and Adirondack chairs clustered around fire pits. There are multiple smaller structures as well, which in the future will house more spots to get a drink. One currently stores a pizza oven that I can only hope will be fired up soon, though at the time of my visit it was still wrapped up tightly in plastic.

There is also a stage for live music, and each of the huts has a roof deck with views of the mountains to one side and the Pacific to the other. On the evening of my visit, the fog was rolling in and the wind had picked up, but the restaurant building itself provides an excellent windshield, and well-placed fire pits mean that even a cold-blooded creature like myself was comfortable in only a sweater for warmth. If you do grow cold, or forget your layers at home, there is a basket of blankets provided for bundling as the marine layer approaches. The patio is festively lit with overhead lights and gas torches, which will set the right mood for either a raucous party or romantic encounter.

The menu’s signature is a list of seasonally changing small plates that are each inspired by the street food of an international surfing destination. Current selections include Vietnamese chicken wings from Nha Trang, bacon-wrapped dates with chorizo from Spain’s Mundaka, Pays Basque, and mixed seafood poke inspired by Hawaii’s Pipeline. The rest of the menu is a familiar take on California-Mediterranean cooking to suit a broad range of appetites, including pizzas from the wood-fired oven (the ham and dill pickle one is calling my name), cioppino, porchetta, and New York steak.

There is a full bar, with classics like the French 75, Hurricane, Pegu, and sidecar, and more innovative twists like the Rubicon (green Chartreuse, rosemary, gin, maraschino, and lemon juice) and the Porcini (bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, orange bitters, and Cointreau). Wine drinkers will find a California-heavy wine list, plus six beers on tap and more by the bottle.

Reservations will be available for both inside and outside areas, and parking is ample. Surf Spot is opening today, Tuesday June 19th, and their hours will be Mon-Sat 11am-10pm and Sunday brunch 9am-3pm. 4627 Coast Hwy. 1, Pacifica, 877-625-2929.

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Spoon Korean Bistro. Yelp photo by IM M.

Some Berkeley Buzz: first, Berkeleyside reports ~SKETCH ICE CREAM~ will be reopening in a new space that’s three times as large as its original spot at 2080 4th St. (which also means an expanded offering, like baked goods and candy). The targeted opening is mid-July. 2080 4th St. at Addison, Berkeley.

Chowhound reports ~MAOZ VEGETARIAN BERKELEY~ has closed. 2395 Telegraph Ave., Berkeley.

Also on Chowhound: the owners of Bowl’d on Solano have also opened ~SPOON KOREAN BISTRO~ near Berkeley Bowl West, serving Korean dishes like juk, kim bop, and soondubu. Open 8am-4pm, and there’s a patio. 933 Ashby St. at 9th, Berkeley, 510-704-9555.

Did you know Dorothée Mitrani-Bell reopened ~CAFÉ CLEM~ near the Berkeley Public Library’s main branch? Here’s more in the East Bay Express. Mon-Fri 7 am-5pm, Sat-Sun, 8am-4pm. 2020 Kittredge St., Berkeley, 510-280-3881.

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