September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012

The bar and taps at Jamber. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The dining room. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The interior, looking out toward the patio. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

There’s a new spot to get a drink and your munch on in SoMa. As previously reported on tablehopper, siblings and co-owners Jess and Matt Voss are getting ready to open ~JAMBER~ on Folsom. Jess Voss generously let us take a look today, and she says they hope to open softly by this weekend, maybe Thursday or Friday. The grand opening is slated for Friday September 28th, but she hopes they are up and running sooner.

The restaurant has a long wood bar, seating for 49 people, and a front patio protected from the street (and our city’s lame wind!) by tall walls. There is a lofted mezzanine in the back, and the dining room features ceilings that soar (around 20 feet). The space feels spacious, but also cozy and comfortable. There are warm wood touches everywhere, and the long bar is a thick slab of black walnut purchased from a wood salvager in the North Bay. The building used to be an elevator factory, and this industrial history has been maintained in the design. Colm Dougherty, the builder, salvaged some beautiful long steel beams from another project, which are now integrated into Jamber’s bar, and many of the industrial adornments in the space were leftovers from the building’s previous tenants that the Vosses decided to repurpose.

At the bar you’ll find 10 beers on tap (plus 4 more coming soon), 20 wines, and 3 sodas from Sodacraft. They have decided to forgo wine bottles in favor of taps, because it is both more sustainable and more casual than the usual bottles. The only places you’ll see wine bottles are integrated into the décor, with cork in the tabletops and wine bottles converted into glasses at your table. The wines will mostly hail from California, but there will be other options as well. As for beers, look out for options from Pacific Brewing Laboratory, MateVeza, and Almanac. And for those abstaining from drink, sodas will come in three flavors: peach basil, strawberry mint lemonade, and a ginger brew.

The menu is fun American-classic comfort food, with rosemary “potater” tots and a housemade boiled soft pretzel among the appetizers. Entrées include a burger, meat loaf wrapped in bacon, and potpies with steak, chicken, or ratatouille. Head on over to Eater to take a look at the full menu. There will also be daily specials and a soup of the day. They’ll be open for lunch and dinner, seven days a week. Hours will be Sun-Mon 11am-10pm, Tue-Thu 11am-12am, and Fri-Sat 11am-2am. 858 Folsom St. at 5th St., 415-273-9192.


At Locavore’s friends and family party. Photo: ©

After two years of business, owner Mario Duarte of ~LOCAVORE~ in Bernal sent a note to say he has made the difficult decision to close the restaurant. He says in an email, “After two years of holding two full-time positions (GM at locavore and director of IT security for various firms), a 26-month-old daughter, a wife, and a new baby on the way (February 2013), I have decided with great difficulty to close locavore on October 1st—I am also going to sell the building along with the restaurant space.” He adds: “My partners (Michael Avdeev and chef Jonathan Merritt) and I have had such an amazing experience at locavore … Michael and I are going back to strictly focusing on our security careers, but we expect great things from chef Jonathan Merritt.  Please keep an eye for him and his future projects.” Best wishes to the team.


Chef Adam Carpenter leads an asparagus demo. Photo from Facebook.

After scanning Craigslist help wanted ads, I noticed ~JASPER’S CORNER TAP~ is looking for a new executive chef: chef Adam Carpenter has left to become the exec chef of the restaurant at the Lafayette Park Hotel. (Carpenter lives in the East Bay with his family, which includes two kids, and he wanted an opportunity that kept him closer to his family and home.) Stand by for an update on the new hire soon.


The Broadway sign communal table at Vinyl.


COI dining room; photo from COI.

A bunch of pop-ups and guest chefs in the coming weeks! Eater mentioned the upcoming ~EASTERN ADDITION~, a Wednesday night pop-up coming to Vinyl on Divis in October from Desi Danganan and Tim Luym (previously The Summit and Poleng Lounge) and Jacobo (or as I know him, Hakobo!) Juarez (Som). This regional Asian-themed pop-up has Luym working with former Bushi-tei owner Tak Matsuba for the first month, followed by Dennis Lin of Burmese Kitchen, and then the food of the Philippines (Luym will probably lead that one). There’s a Kickstarter to help fund the project and a kickoff party on Saturday October 6th at The Bold Italic (hello oysters and music from Hot Pocket—pledge $45 for a ticket!); the first pop-up is October 17th, can’t wait.

Another Kickstarter project: down in Half Moon Bay, some folks are trying to open a mobile crab shack, ~POPPY’S CRAB SHACK~; more about the trailer here.

This Thursday September 20th, chef Susan Feniger will be at ~INSALATA’S~ in Marin for a dinner celebrating her new book, STREET Food: Irresistibly Crispy, Creamy, Crunchy, Spicy, Sticky, Sweet Recipes. The menu includes 14 dishes, like Korean rice salad and crispy shiso shrimp. 6:30pm. $110 (includes the meal, wine, tax, tip, and a signed copy of the book). Tickets here.

On Monday September 24th, Danish chef Bo Bech of Restaurant Geist will be at ~BAR TARTINE~ for a special dinner ($110 per person), 5:30pm-10pm.

~COI~ is hosting two international chefs: Josean Alija (executive chef of Nerua at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain) and Magnus Nilsson (head chef of Fäviken Magasinet restaurant in Sweden). Look for an eight-course collaborative menu from Alija with chef-owner Daniel Patterson on Friday September 28th ($165 per person, not including tax and gratuity), with wine pairings available for an additional $105. Patterson and Nilsson come together on Saturday October 20th: there will be an eight-course tasting menu for $250 (not including tax and gratuity), which includes a signed copy of FAVIKEN; wine pairings are available for an additional $105. For reservations, call 415-393-9000.


The sushi at Hama-Ko. Yelp photo by Jerome, Jerome T.

After mentioning the rumored closing of ~HAMA-KO~, more details are emerging on Chowhound. According to a poster, “They are actually closing due to some sort of dispute with their landlord … In any case, they are definitely not (yet) retiring: she said that they are looking for a new space, preferably something a little smaller.” 108 Carl St. at Cole, 415-753-6808.

Also on Chowhound: seems ~LAI HONG LOUNGE~, the dim sum spot that took over the Lichee Garden (RIP) space in Chinatown, is a branch of the fab Hong Kong Lounge on Geary. Yup, gotta check it out! 1416 Powell St. at Broadway, 415-397-2290.

After reporting on the closure of ~SUSHI GROOVE~ in Russian Hill awhile back, now open in its place is ~ELEPHANT SUSHI~. 1916 Hyde St. at Green, 415-440-1905.

Eater mentions ~CONAM~, the latest project from Kiet Truong (Region, Unicorn), is now open on Polk Street in the former Tajine. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, look for rustic Vietnamese dishes from chef Andy Ngyuen; Eater mentions “everything from ‘wraps and rolls,’ to skewers, clay pots, rice plates, and sautés along with some atypical finds” and nothing is more than $16. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2pm and 5pm-10pm. 1653 Polk St. at Clay, 415-292-6161.


View of Wo Hing from the mezzanine. Photo: ©

~PASIÓN~ in the Inner Sunset is now serving lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm; dishes include albondigas (lamb meatballs in a cream, sherry, and garlic sauce), empanadas of duck ropa vieja (Cuban style), a variety of ceviches, a Latin steak salad, and an avocado-Dungeness “crabwich.” There is also a weekday happy hour from 5pm-7pm with drink specials, half off the Bar Bites menu, plus $1 oysters and half-price sangria pitchers on Mondays; and half-price wine night on Tuesdays.

~WO HING GENERAL STORE~ is now offering happy hour from 5:30pm-7pm; check out the menu of $6 cocktails and small bites ($8 and less) here.



Does whole-animal cooking appeal to you in principle, but overwhelm you in practice? Yeah, I understand how that goes. Fortunately, Curiosity Atlas has the perfect solution: Tip to Tail, a class on cooking whole fish, from selecting to cleaning to filleting. They’ll even cover how to deal with all the extra bits and pieces. The class will be taught by the fine folks of i love blue sea at the Good Eggs space in the Mission. Tickets are $90 and include a fillet knife, fish to sample during class, and a whole rainbow trout to clean and then take home. Sunday September 23rd, 2pm-4pm, 530 Hampshire St. #301 at 17th St.

Naomi Duguid, who has written several beautiful cookbooks based on her travels in Asia, is in town promoting her newest release, Burma: Rivers of Flavor. On Wednesday September 26th she’ll be at the Purcell Murray Culinary Showroom and Amphitheatre in Brisbane for a luncheon. She will be signing books, talking about her travels in Burma and the food and people she encountered there, and demonstrating some of the techniques in the book. The event costs $45, and reservations can be made by calling 415-330-5552 or by emailing 185 Park Ave. at Valley, Brisbane.

On Saturday September 29th, Scharffen Berger Chocolate will be hosting some exciting (and free!) baking classes at Macy’s in Union Square to kick off The Chocolate Adventure Contest 2012 Sandwich Cookie Edition. The first one will be from 2pm-3pm with Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet Pâtisserie. He’ll be showing attendees how to make pasilla chile-spiced cookie sandwiches, with chocolate ganache and cacao nib mudslides. Then, from 4pm-5pm, cookbook author and all-around chocolate expert Alice Medrich will demonstrate how to make mocha banana ice cream sandwiches. The classes are free, but you can only take one class, and you have to RSVP to Macy’s Union Square, lower level, 170 O’Farrell St. at Powell.

The holiday season is coming sooner than you think (ay yi yi), and now is a great time to brush up on your cooking skills in preparation. The Studio of Good Living will be offering classes every week to bring you up to speed. First, there’s the Vegan and Gluten-Free Cooking series, which takes place Tuesday evenings from 7pm-9pm, until October 30th. Then on Saturdays in November from 11am-2pm, catch Holiday Sides and Desserts, which will include lessons on classic but challenging dishes like pumpkin pie and fluffy biscuits. Each class costs $90, and tickets can be purchased here.


Celebrate the beauty, class, and style of all things food with a party for the amazing Todd Selby on Tuesday October 23rd. He’ll be at ~BAR JULES~, toasting his new book, Edible Selby. This most fabulous of parties will feature The Selby himself, as well as yakitori, kushiage, and sashimi from Peko Peko, and beer, sake, and ume-fizz to sip. The event will be from 6pm-10pm, and tickets are $45, not including drinks, and can be purchased by calling Bar Jules at 415-621-5482. Act quickly, space is limited!


Off the Grid: Fort Mason (the early years). Photo from Facebook.

Every Sunday in October, catch ~OFF THE GRID~ in the Presidio from 11am-4pm. This gathering of vendors will be called Picnic at the Presidio, and aims to bring back the old-school tradition of outdoor lawn eating, so bring a blanket and a basket! They’ll be debuting on Sunday October 7th, just in time for Fleet Week and the America’s Cup. Rather than focusing on brand-new food purveyors as they have in the past, this series will feature restaurants with established brick-and-mortar locations, like Bar Crudo, Nopalito, and Wexler’s.

Along with food, there will also be “blanket service,” meaning you can order drinks like mimosas and Bloody Marys along with your picnic goods. And keep your eyes peeled for retail condiment-style offerings available for purchase, like hot sauces, pickles, and fresh fruit, to round out your picnic experience. If you want a little post-picnic game, you can also rent bocce ball kits, horseshoes, or croquet equipment, or buy a kite from one of the wandering vendors.

They are still looking for some additional vendors, too, so go here to apply if you are a food truck operator. The Picnic in the Presidio will be every Sunday in October starting October 7th, from 11am-4pm, on the lawn at the Main Post in the Presidio.


Wing Wings. Yelp photo by Genevieve Y.

Whoa, it’s about to get all wingy-dingy: ~WING WINGS~ is hosting its first-ever Chicken Wing Eating Contest, a fundraiser benefitting Western Addition Beacon Center, which is part of the Buchanan YMCA and administers after-school, summer school, and art programs at John Muir Elementary School.

The event will be at the Lucky 13 Bar (2140 Market Street at Church) on Tuesday October 9th at 6pm. There will be a suggested donation at the door, a raffle, guest emcees and DJs, and, of course, prizes for the winners! Pabst Blue Ribbon is cosponsoring the event and will be offering drink specials.

But for now, they need contestants! There will be two events: a timed event (who can eat the most Angry Korean Wings in 10 minutes; water will be available) and a Hella Hella Hot competition (who can eat 10 Hella Hella Hot Wings the fastest; contestants need to sit at the table for 5 additional minutes after finishing with no food or drink). Contestants must be at least 21 years of age, need to sign a waiver, and also come up with at least $250 in pledged donations. To enter, contestants should email the following information: name, height and weight, eating competition nickname (be creative!), timed or Hella Hella Hot event (choose one), previous eating competition experience, and why do you think you can win(g)? Contestants will be chosen September 24th. Bwok!


The Top Shelf margherita pizza from Pizza Hacker. Yelp photo by Jeff K.

Open today (Tuesday September 18th) is ~BORGO ITALIA~ in the former B Restaurant space in Old Oakland; chef Franco Camboli and general manager Fabio Dalle Vacche (yes, they are Italian) are opening the restaurant with support from investor and entrepreneur Paul Ferrari (A.G. Ferrari). The press release mentions authentic regional Italian cuisine (especially from Emilia-Romagna, Liguria, and Tuscany), with dishes like gnocchi alla Ligure (potato gnocchi with basil pesto), zuppa di pesce (clams, mussels, squid, shrimp, tomato, onion, garlic, and peperoncino), and spezzatino (veal stew with white wine and tomato). All fresh pasta is made in-house, and there are also Neapolitan pizzas from the wood-fired oven. Mornings bring Italian coffee and pastries, and lunch will also be served. The wine list is all-Italian, plus there’s a full bar serving cocktails, along with aperitivi and digestivi. The restaurant is in a historic structure (erected in 1876), so look for an old-world vibe inside. Open daily 7am-11pm. 499 9th St. at Washington, Oakland, 510-251-1008.

Over in Uptown Oakland, ~BAKESALE BETTY~ has closed its second location at 2228 Broadway. For more on the why, read this piece in Diablo Dish.

Happy ninth anniversary to ~DOPO~, who will be celebrating Sunday September 30th from 2pm-6pm; they will be serving spit-roasted porchetta, ham, and grilled sausages, along with seasonal side salads. $30 per person (beverages not included). Purchase your tickets at adesso or dopo; they are also selling will-call tickets at dopo (call 510-652-3676). 4293 Piedmont Ave. at Rose, Oakland.

We just got word that the freshly formed restaurant group Les Bon Temps will be opening their first venture this winter at Jack London Square. The spot will be called ~FORGE~ and will feature pizzas with housemade toppings utilizing local ingredients. Jeffrey Amber (of XYZ and Chow) will serve as executive chef and Jeff Krupman (of Pizza Hacker fame) will be in charge of “pizza R and D.” They will be located at 66 Franklin St. at 1st St., Oakland.


The new interior at Belli. Photo from Facebook.

Back in February, we reported that the former Green Papaya space at 2016 Shattuck in Berkeley would be turning into Thanu’s Kitchen, but word now is that it will become the Italian restaurant ~BELLI~ instead. Belli, from co-owners Paul Oprescu and Damien Morrison, will feature housemade fresh pastas, with a focus on ravioli and seasonal ingredients. Oprescu, who will also be the head chef, says there will be secondi dishes of braised and grilled meats, many with polenta, in addition to the pastas.

There will be an all-Italian wine list, focused on drinkable, reasonably priced pours that quaffers won’t have to overthink. To start, they’ll be open six days a week for dinner (closed Mondays) and will open for lunch after a few weeks. Lunch will feature sandwiches and other lighter fare. They are still looking for someone to head the pastry program, so there’s no word yet on a dessert menu, but those details should be forthcoming. Right now, they are hoping to open in mid-October, but are still working on finishing up the kitchen and hiring all their staff. The website and landline are works in progress, but for now you can check out their Facebook page. 2016 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley.

Inside Scoop mentions owners Haig and Cindy Krikorian have sold ~T-REX BARBEQUE~ to SF’s Matt Sturm (Fly Bar, Solstice). Sounds like there will be a little refresh, but the plan is to keep things as is. 1300 10th St. at Gilman, Berkeley, 510-527-0099.

From Berkeleyside: now officially open on University is ~ASHA TEA HOUSE~ from owners David Lau and Diana Lui. Look for a selection of international loose-leaf teas, some bites to eat, all in a modern-meets-rustic space. Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm. 2086 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-549-9137.

And after a minivan plowed into ~SUSHI 29~, the restaurant has finished its repairs and has reopened. 1647 Solano Ave. at Ventura, Albany, 510-559-8229.