July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012
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The oven and counter. Photo via Eater by Molly DeCoudreaux.

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A sampling of smørrebrød during brunch service. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Release the loaves! At last, ~BAR TARTINE~ is opening its sandwich shop this Wednesday August 1st. You’ll be able to come by for sandwiches and more Wed-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm, either dine-in or for takeout. It’s almost like a shop within the restaurant: there’s a counter with a window and the behemoth custom Italian oven looms in the back, baking all kinds of unique and new breads. A look at the preliminary menu shows an array of Scandinavian smørrebrød on rye (which you will already be familiar with if you have come by for brunch in recent months), $6 each or three for $15. Some options include blue cheese, bacon, egg, and avocado; smoked sturgeon with potato and dill sauce; and corned beef with horseradish cream and fried onion. Yeah, I’ll have one of each, thanks.

You can also try some sandwiches on some of the new breads they’re baking, like lentil croquettes on spelt slab bread ($13). Two words: pork melt. There are some soups, salads, and snacks (yes, you can order the langos), along with sweet treats. You can also have some adult beverages to accompany your lunch, or try some of the housemade sodas. And in case you’re wondering, there won’t be any bread for sale just yet—hopefully this fall.

Also of note: Bar Tartine is no longer taking reservations for brunch on Saturday and Sundays (alas!).

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Firehouse 8. Photo from Facebook.

A couple of interesting projects in historic buildings are on the horizon. First up, there was some liquor license activity for ~FIREHOUSE 8~, a project that is going into a 1917 firehouse that has been vacant for 30 years: San Francisco Landmark #188 in Russian Hill. The site mentions: “the first floor will be mixed retail and coffee supporting local artisans, suppliers, and vendors. The second floor will be a community assembly space available for rental: seminars, meetings, gallery openings, weddings, and special occasions. We will host events with local talents, artists, chefs, musicians, photographers, speakers, and writers.” Their Facebook page mentions an early August opening, and a call for “artists, designers, and vendors to do pop ups here at space going forward.”

Inside Scoop adds owners Gavin Jefferies and Teresa Nittolo (of the shops Molte Cose and Belle Cose on Polk) have been working on the project for six years, and plan to find a restaurant operator for the first floor, which will be in addition to the café. The retail portion is due to open mid-August. 1648 Pacific Ave. at Polk.

~WINGTIP~, a combination men’s club, clothing store, barbershop, and more is coming the the almost-22,000-square-foot original Bank of Italy building in the FiDi. The SF Business Times has all the details on the multilevel space: the man behind the project is Ami Arad of On the Fly. There will be a bar and food service for members, and lots of cuff links. Read all about it here. 550 Montgomery St. at Clay.

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Navio chef de cuisine Sean Eastwood. Photo by Rick Camargo Photography.

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Navio’s updated 48-hour braised pistou beef short ribs, now served with tarragon and mascarpone grits. Photo courtesy of Navio.

Lots of chef moves to report on, starting with Sean Eastwood, the new chef de cuisine for ~NAVIO RESTAURANT~ (music alert!) at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Eastwood’s extensive background includes time in France with the renowned three-star Michelin chef Paul Bocuse and in Britain with two-star Michelin chef Raymond Blanc. Locally, he has worked at La Folie and Kokkari.

A tablehopper exclusive, you can take a look at his new menu here, which highlights the bounty of local ingredients in Half Moon Bay. (Be sure to look for Eastwood and resort executive chef Xavier Salomon at SF Chefs in the Grand Tasting Tents on Sunday August 5th.)

Scoop reports chef Armando Justo of ~CHOTTO~ in the Marina (famed for his bacon-wrapped mochi and ramen) is off to lead the Japanese restaurant at Google. Stand by for news on his replacement.

A reader alerted me to the departure of chef Preston Clark from Tyler Florence’s ~EL PASEO~ in Mill Valley. Scoop mentions Clark is heading back to New York (he has a new baby, and it sounds like the Clarks wanted to be closer to their families).

And over at ~RANGE~, Rachel Sillcocks (previously at Piccino) is now in the kitchen with chef-owner Phil West, according to Scoop. So much for that break she needed to take. Look for some updates to the menu in a month or so.

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Photo from RichTrove.com via Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a protest was assembling on Facebook over a new owner taking over the famed ~EAGLE TAVERN~ in SoMa. Grub Street has a full recap of the story, the players, and what happened to the deal; not too long ago some former Eagle employees were trying to take it over, but the property owner went with someone else.

The new owners are Bruce McDonald (an investor-partner at Foreign Cinema) and one of the owners of Vessel nightclub. The new space will reportedly serve food and drinks and show films, as well as host DJs; the new owners will “allow the popular Sunday beer busts to happen at the new venue.” (That should be interesting.) The Eagle was a beloved space for many in the LGBT community (and their friends, including me!), so this is some hard news for many, and a lot of people are trying to fight the loss of this important queer space.

Currently objections are being raised about the liquor license transfer (listen to this piece on KCBS here and here’s more about yesterday’s San Francisco Supervisors Committee meeting). Keep up with happenings on the Save the Eagle Tavern Facebook page here. 398 12th St. at Harrison.

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A muffaletta from Brenda’s. Photo via Facebook.

Owner Pete Mrabe of ~DON PISTO’S~ and ~THE CHUBBY NOODLE~ in North Beach will soon have a third place to add to his burgeoning empire: a deli. While he can’t announce the actual location just yet, he said he plans to open it in the next three months. The deli will feature housemade meats (like pastrami and beef tongue) and lots of housemade items like pickled chiles and more. He also said there will be a huge selection of cold cuts. There will be both hot and cold sandwiches, plus some prepared foods and salads. I’ll keep you updated as details emerge.

Eater picked up the news in The Accidental Wino that New Orleans native Brenda Buenviaje of ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~ and her wife and partner Libby Truesdell are going to be opening a po’boy shop in the Lower Fillmore. ~BRENDA’S ORIGINAL PO’BOYS~ will have a menu with 15 different po’boys (check the Eater post for the menu), with a counter, outdoor seating, and beer and wine. Stand by for news on the location; look for a January opening.

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Thai Idea on Mission. Yelp photo by Chritin C.

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

Some quick opening (and closing) news for you:

Uptown Almanac pays a visit to ~THAI IDEA VEGETARIAN~, a second location of the Polk Street restaurant. 3221 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-826-4639.

A couple of tipsters wrote in to tell me that a second location for ~SIDEWALK JUICE~ is set to open any day now. More smoothies for you. 3100 24th St. at Folsom.

A fourth SF location of ~SUPER DUPER~ has opened in SoMa at 783 Mission St. at 4th. St., 415-882-1750.

Uppercasing reports the city’s fourth location of ~EL FARO~ is now open in the Upper Haight in the former Taqueria El Balazo space. 1654 Haight St. at Cole.

In the pop-up department: Laurent Katgely (Chez Spencer) is no longer doing the food service at ~DEAR MOM~; the duo behind Fogcutter food truck, Guillermo Perez and Caroline Hummer, will be serving their feisty American, Asian, and Latino bar bites and dinner plates and weekend brunch, starting August 1st. 2700 16th St. at Harrison, 415-625-3362.

Grub Street reports on the opening of ~PIZANS ITALIAN SEAFOOD ROOM~ in The Doctors Lounge in the Excelsior. You can look at the seafood-centric menu here. Open Thu-Sun 5pm-10pm. 4826 Mission St. at France.

Want a taste of Sarah Kirnon’s amazing fried chicken before ~MISS OLLIE’S~ opens? Yes, you do. Swing by ~STAG’S LUNCHETTE~ for Kirnon’s first Friday pop-up, serving from 5:30pm until sold out. Along with the fried chicken, there will be her amazing saltfish and ackee, plantains and queso fresco, and more. Check it out! 362 17th St. at Franklin, Oakland.

And in the “I don’t think anyone will be surprised with this news” department, ~TU LAN~ has been temporarily closed due to health violations. Again. Stand by to see what happens after their hearing. (Hat tip to Deli Board for their tweet.) 8 6th St. at Market, 415-626-0927.

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

Hopefully my brand-new, late-night dining app has been keeping you well fed past 11pm. Here’s one more option for your radar: starting this Fri-Sat (August 3rd-4th), the ~SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK~ is going to have some trucks parked and serving late-night food from 12am-4am! Dude. Update: Word just came in on the trucks that will be serving this weekend! There will be Naked Chorizo, Golden Waffle, SFDelights, La Pastrami, Mr. Nice, Adam’s Grub Truck, Tacos El Paisano, and Gyros on Wheels to kick off the late-night trucking. And that’s not all! Beer and wine will be served until 2am. Best. News. Ever. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with who will be serving on future weekends. 428 11th St. at Bryant and Division.

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A pintxo at Txoko. Photo © Heath Orchard 2011.

By Dana Massey-Todd: Sometimes my twenty-one-year-old brother comes to visit me in the city, and we try to figure out fun things to do. It’s hard, because he has a huge appetite, no money, and loves beer. So you can be sure that come Thursday August 2nd, I’ll be dragging him over to ~SOLSTICE~ for all-you-can-eat sliders paired with a beer tasting from Anderson Valley Brewing Company. Tickets are only $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and you get three samples of Anderson Valley Brewing Company’s beer, so it’s really the perfect place for younger bros of all stripes. The deal lasts from 7pm-9pm. 2801 California St. at Divisadero, 415-359-1222.

As of today ~TXOKO~ will be offering a special chef’s tasting menu called “5 for 50,” (5 courses for $50 available every night from 6pm until closing). And starting August 7th, every Tuesday will be jazz night, meaning the Nick Rossi Trio will accompany your happy hour noshing and drinking from 5:30pm-8:30pm. And what a happy hour it is: from 5:30pm-7pm there will be $3 draft beers, $6 glasses of garnacha, $10 pitchers of sangria, and $1 pintxo specials.

And over in the Mission, ~IZAKAYA YUZUKI~ is now offering a pretty cool happy hour as well. They’re offering two otsumami, or appetizer snacks, intended to be eaten with sake, along with two sake samples, all for $9. So get snacking! Happy hour is Mon-Sat 5:30pm-7pm.

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The fish taco at Mijita. Yelp photo by Blissful G.

On Wednesday August 1st, Traci Des Jardins will be hosting a party with 7x7, A Celebration of Contemporary Mexican Restaurants, at ~MIJITA IN THE FERRY BUILDING~, featuring some of the city’s finest Mexican food and the chefs who make it. Antelmo Faria of Tacolicious, Laurence Jossel and Gonzalo Guzman of Nopalito, and Veronica Salazar of El Huarache Loco and La Cocina will be there, among others, celebrating regional Mexican cooking and the contemporary Mexican restaurants that serve it. Buen provecho!

Tickets are $85 ($75 if you have a Visa Signature card) and include Epsolón Tequila cocktails and food, plus a portion of the proceeds go to the amazing La Cocina. 6pm. Mijita, 1 Ferry Building, 415-399-0814.

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Top of the food chain, indeed! Flickr photo by Zharth.

San Francisco can be a pretty vicious town for a young chef. Rents are high, the health and building codes are long, and the market is pretty saturated with wonderful places to eat already. So how is a creative young upstart ever to get going? On Thursday August 9th, the Commonwealth Club and INFORUM will be hosting a panel called Climbing the SF Food Chain. It will be made up of young chefs who have made it big in San Francisco, and they will be talking about the challenges they’ve faced and the creative and dynamic ways they’ve overcome them. Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen will be there, riding high from a successful Kickstarter campaign (!!); as will Iso Rabins of ForageSF; Craig Stoll of Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, and Locanda; and Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food and Mission Chinese. Valerie Luu of Rice Paper Scissors will moderate the event, and as you can see from the lineup, there should be a lot to talk about, from pop-ups to food trucks to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants.

After the panel there will be a three-course “guerilla dinner” at Foodlab, sponsored by graffEats, which will put the panel’s principles into practice. The dinner includes drinks and tip, and admission to the panel. Tickets to just the panel are $20, or $12 if you are a Commonwealth Club member, and a mere $7 for students. To attend the dinner and panel, tickets are $75, or $60 for members. The panel is at 6pm at 595 Market St. at 2nd St., and dinner is at 8pm at 1106 Market St. at 7th St.

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Pouring the chai. Photo by Sachin Patel.

For those of you seeking a relaxing escape from your typically insane lives, this sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening. Paawan Kothari of The Chai Cart will be leading a workshop on the Art of Chai at the Conservatory of Flowers on Thursday August 9th from 6pm-7:30pm. The class will focus on the art and history of chai preparation, as well as the culture of Indian street food, or chaat. Kothari will lead participants in the preparation of chai, from selecting the best milk, tea, and spices, to pouring the final cup. There will be samples, of course, as well as chaat to snack on. The cost is $35 ($25 for Conservatory members), and all participants will be sent home with a loose-leaf tea blend to try out their new skills. You can reserve your spot here. Thursday August 9th, 6pm-7:30pm. Conservatory of Flowers, 100 JFK Dr. at Conservatory, Golden Gate Park.

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A warm moment with Maurice Rouas and Hubert Keller; photo via Facebook.

Many members of the restaurant industry were deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Maurice Rouas last week, the locally adored owner of Fleur de Lys (he bought the restaurant in 1970). He had such a legacy and was a tremendous influence on many of our city’s shining talents, from Shelley Lindgren to Gary Obligacion and, of course, chef-partner Hubert Keller, whom he brought on in 1986. His obituary states he passed at the age of 73 from “complications from diabetes, pneumonia and kidney failure. … Fleur de Lys will host a memorial for friends and family Aug. 6. The family requests that donations in Mr. Rouas’ memory be made to the American Diabetes Association.” Condolences to his family, to all who knew him, worked with him, and were touched by his kindness.

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Yep, there it is: spaghetti frittata. Photo from Limone.

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The patio at Limone. Photo from Limone.

Are you a member of the “I Love Spaghetti Frittata Club” yet? NO? Then run, don’t walk (okay, you can take CalTrain) to the newly opened ~LIMONE~ in San Carlos, a sister restaurant to Locanda Positano. One bite and you’ll be hooked. You can find this amazing (and, yes, odd) dish on the menu seven days a week, during breakfast and lunch service.

At dinner, there will be classic Italian dishes with a California seasonality, including scialatielli pasta with rock shrimp, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and mint, or a grilled wild king salmon with lemon risotto. Check out the full menu here.

In the afternoons, the restaurant will become a Champagne lounge, with bubbly available by the glass or bottle. Hours are 7:30am-10pm every day. 619 Laurel St. at San Carlos Ave., San Carlos, 650-486-1479.

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