December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012

On the exterior patio area. Photo from Bancarella.


An in-progress shot of Bancarella (photo via Facebook).

The Rulli team is going to be expanding their presence at Union Square with ~BANCARELLA~, a “little brother” to their Marina restaurant, Ristobar. Bancarella is opening (hopefully on Monday December 17th) in the Powell Street Pavilion on top of Union Square at Geary and Powell, directly across from St. Francis Hotel (the space is shared with TIX Bay Area). Ristobar’s chef, Michele Belotti, is developing the menu for Bancarella, which will feature an array of items, including a breakfast pastry selection (say buongiorno to spiced apple brioche). There’s a gleaming, white La Marzocco La Strada espresso machine, which will be dispensing shots of Gary Rulli’s special Bancarella espresso blend, plus a stainless steel machine from Italy that will be preparing the traditional Italian hot chocolate. Barolo by the glass, check. Some of the savory items that Belotti is preparing include tuna tartare with avocado, lasagna, Fontina fondue, panini, salads, cheese and salumi plates, and small plates like crescenza cheese-stuffed sweet-spicy peppers and warm Castelvetrano olives.

The space includes a Milanese-style pastry case, as well as a glass-enclosed patio where people will be able to enjoy beer or wine while watching the cable cars go by Union Square. And how handy: Bancarella will also be a holiday pickup store for their seasonal and traditional panettones. Hours to start will be daily 7am-10pm. Union Square (Geary St. at Powell), 415-924-7478.

Opening Friday December 12th in Dogpatch is ~LA FROMAGERIE~, a cheese shop from Ruben Donze (of Bouvet, which features hardware imported from France), who is collaborating with Romain Marseille. Donze has been in the AIC building for nine years, and he has converted part of his shop’s warehouse space to host this cheese shop. (The French Alps native knows how badly the neighborhood could use some quality cheeses.) He’s going to be stocking more than 50 cheeses, which will mostly be French, plus some cheeses from Spain, Italy, and the U.S. He mentioned how he really wants to encourage sampling (love that). There will also be charcuterie, like rillettes and pâté, plus bread from Firebrand and other gourmet products, including pastas and sauces, and some frozen items, like petit fours from White Toque. Hours will be Tue-Sat 11am-7pm. 2425 3rd St. (between 20th and 22nd streets).


Meats! From 4505 Meats’ Facebook page.

Dear God, after lamenting for years that all Rainbow Grocery needed was for someone to open a butcher shop next door, finally someone has done it. Well, four blocks away anyway. And not just anyone, but Ryan Farr of ~4505 MEATS~. The butcher shop will feature a variety of raw cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sausages, bones, fat, and stock, plus prepared items like pork green chile, deli meats, and terrines en croute.

Need a bite RIGHT NOW? You can also order ready-to-eat hot 4505 sausages and dogs with housemade sauerkraut and mustard, plus the totally insane ‘Zilla Dog (a bacon-studded hot dog smothered in chicharrones and Namu kimchi), and smoked meat by the pound (4505 now has a big-ass smoker). And, of course, chicharrones. Bonus: your holiday needs will be covered: you can pick up smoked hams, stuffed pork roasts, truffled geese, and other holiday treats. Ryan and his wife Cesalee are also working on a larger concept in a different location of the Mission, which they hope to open next year—more on that soon. Nope, they just aren’t busy enough. Hours are Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Opening Saturday December 15th. 1909 Mission St. at 15th St., 415-255-3094.

One more tidbit: 4505 Meats will continue their appearances at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Mission Community Market on Thursday nights, and the Montclair Farmers’ Market (in Oakland) on Sundays. But did you know they are also appearing at the Divisadero Farmers Market on Sundays as well? I know, how fabulous. Just steaks and sausage for now, but they are working on hot food soon.


Some details have been released on chef-owner Jon Hearnsberger’s project opening in the former Luna space in the Castro. After some delays (you know, the usual: the ABC, construction issues with a 100-year-old building), it looks like construction is wrapping up! The new project is going to be called ~FABLE~, and Hearnsberger is currently targeting an opening in the first few weeks of January (possibly January 7th). The interior is being designed by noted designer Craige Walters, who is calling his design for Fable “storybook modern,” combining comfort with whimsy. The neighborhood bistro will feature an open kitchen and counter, and the cabin-style dining room will be warm and cozy with bright pops of color. When the weather turns warm (you know, next September), Fable’s backyard is shaping up to become the Castro neighborhood’s favorite secret garden. Looking forward to taking a peek at the New American menu next. 558 Castro St. at 18th St.


The interior at RickyBobby, with a makeshift sign. The new one arrives January 5th. Photo courtesy RickyBobby.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Shane LaValley and James Moisey of Broken Record have struck out on their own and are opening a new spot in the Lower Haight. It’s called ~RICKYBOBBY~, and they’ll be opening their doors Wednesday December 12th (yeah, that’s 12-12-12) at 5:30pm. Haighteration has lots of details, but the bottom line is you can expect well-prepared American comfort food, beer and wine, and a fancy, or “Baller,” rotating weekly special. Their beer and wine license is on its way, so for now it’s iced tea, sodas, and BYOB. They’re open Sun-Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12am. 400 Haight St. at Webster.


The original Long Bar; photo courtesy of restaurant.

Looks like 2298 Fillmore Street (most recently Long Bar) is going to reopen, according to some liquor license activity. Owners Albert and Klaus Rainer (of Leopold’s in Russian Hill and the former Cafe Metropol downtown) are going to be opening a tavern, according to Inside Scoop—and how handy, they can transfer their Cafe Metropol liquor license over. A few more details: red leather booths, a lively vibe, and unfussy cuisine. Look for a name and more soon. 2298 Fillmore St. at Clay.


A beignet from Devil’s Teeth. Photo from Facebook.


Big Chef Tom’s Bombay burger; Yelp photo by Luis C.


The iconic Roosevelt Tamale Parlor sign; Yelp photo by Marina N.

Some interesting news at the former Roosevelt Tamale Parlor (now known as ~THE ROOSEVELT~): Grub Street followed up on some license activity and has an informative post about the new owners, Aaron Presbrey and chef Barry Moore (previously head chef at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack). The duo took over November 1st and are taking very good care to maintain the iconic history of the place, while still updating the space and menu—think a shorter menu (it used to clock in at 150-plus choices), better ingredients, and some specials. What’s wonderful is the team kept the same kitchen staff, and yes, the tamales are still a fixture. I look forward to checking it out in the new year, when the new menu should be more established. 2817 24th St. at York, 415-824-2600.

Some folks on Twitter let me know that ~SAFFRON GRILL~ in the Westen Addition suffered a fire on Friday night. According to Haighteration, they are hoping to reopen in a couple of months. 1279 Fulton St. at Divisadero, 415-567-5100.

Outer Sunset gem ~DEVIL’S TEETH BAKING COMPANY~ has a new location closer into town: they’ve recently started serving out of a takeout window at Big bar at 761 Post St. They’ve got coffee and morning pastries (including muffins and scones), and are open daily, 7am-11am. UPDATE: FALSE ALARM. THIS SECOND LOCATION IS NOW CLOSED.

Some liquor license activity reveals another taker for the Gramercy Towers restaurant space, which was famously the site of Vanessi’s many years ago. The new project is ~OSSO STEAKHOUSE~ from Jerry and Jennifer Dal Bozzo (The Stinking Rose, The Old Clam House, Boboquivari’s). Inside Scoop reports the menu will be very similar to Bobo’s, there will be 200 seats, and a 1920s style. Look for an opening by spring 2013. 1177 California St. at Jones.

More meat: there’s yet another new place to score a burger late night in the Mission (besides KronnerBurger). According to Grub Street, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers will be serving his pork belly patty burgers at the side window of ~BEAST AND THE HARE~ on Friday nights from 11pm-3am.

~FARLEY’S~ on Potrero Hill has relaunched food service, now offering four panini (a muffaletta, turkey and cheddar, grilled cheese, and a a vegetarian option) all on Acme focaccia, using sustainable, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meats. There’s also soup and salad available. For dessert: some Three Twins ice cream (make it an affogato!). 1315 18th St. at Texas, 415-648-1545.

More sandwich news: have you hopped over to the Kickstarter campaign for ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ to help with their relocation costs? Donate some money and get some sandwiches in return (come on and help ‘em out!).


Rendering of the bar at Sake San by Alan Tse, via Eater.

There are three new Japanese restaurants opening around the city, and in a funny twist, they all have the same architect-designer: Alan Tse. First, Eater reports on a new Japanese hot pot spot coming to the Inner Sunset called ~NABE~ (as in nabemono). Sounds like there will be some quality and very authentic ingredients from chef Isamu Kanai on the menu, and the décor is also going to be very authentic, including a communal table that will run the length of the dining room. Opening mid-December. 1326 9th Ave. at Irving.

Next on Eater, the Inner Richmond is going to have ~SAKE SAN~, which is taking the place of Volar Karaoke. The new formula will be sushi, yakitori, and karaoke (with three tatami-style karaoke rooms) and a rather chic look. Look for an opening in the first week of January. 626 Clement St. at 8th Ave.

Lastly, the Tataki crew (Raymond Ho and Kin Lui) will be opening a 40-seat izakaya (no sushi) in the ground level of the Mission’s 299 Valencia condo development. Eater mentions they hope to open in June. 299 Valencia St. at 14th St.


A Hillside Supper Club dinner at Caffe Cozzolino. Photo from Facebook.

The Bernal Heights pop-up ~HILLSIDE SUPPER CLUB~ is about to go full scale. Owners Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton have been popping up at Caffe Cozzolino for almost a year now, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, they wrote in to let us know they’ve signed a lease on the space and will be closing to remodel it on December 31st. Then, on January 23rd, they’ll reopen as a full-scale restaurant. They plan to keep their new American comfort food style—for a peek at what they’ve been doing, check out this sample menu. According to Eater, they’ll be doing dinner nightly except Tuesday, and adding brunch in the future. In the meantime, they’ll be doing one last pop-up supper on New Years’ Eve, which is also their one-year anniversary. 300 Precita Ave. at Folsom, 513-910-8896.


The Pollo Campero storefront. Photo courtesy Mission Local by Claudia Escobar.

Central American fried chicken chain ~POLLO CAMPERO~ is now open in the Mission. They opened Monday December 10th, and will be open daily from 10am-10pm serving Latin-style fried and grilled chicken, plus a bunch of sides like yuca fries, plantains, rice and beans, and empanadas. For a look at the full menu, go here. They’ve had locations in Southern California for a while, but this will be their first foray into Northern California. (More pics on Mission Local.) 2740 Mission St. at 24th.


Little Paris banh mi; Yelp photo by William B.

A tasty Chinatown tidbit: Chowhound reports the flagship store of ~LITTLE PARIS~ (well known locally for its banh mi) has reopened in its new location after being displaced by the future Central Subway Chinatown Station (it was the first Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown and was in its original location for almost 30 years). 1131 Stockton St. at Jackson, 415-982-6111.

Also noted: the former ~YONG KEE RICE NOODLE COMPANY~ (which was famed for its chicken buns) has sadly closed after 60 years. It has been replaced by ~WONG LEE~, also serving dim sum, plus baked items, like green onion twists, and more. 732 Jackson St. at Stockton, 415-986-3759.


The Tout Sweet Bûche de Noël, with sweet edible mushrooms and holly leaves. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The gorgeous Bûche de Noël by b. patisserie (photo courtesy of b. patisserie).


Bredele at Vitrine. Photo courtesy of Vitrine.

There is no shortage of fabulous holiday treats right now to get you fat (or foist upon party hosts and guests). First up, the classic Bûche de Noël (Christmas log) has a few incarnations around town. For a playful version, Yigit Pura of ~TOUT SWEET~ on the third floor of Macy’s is doing two different flavors. The first (called 1.0 on the menu) has vanilla cake, Meyer lemon curd, cassis-cherry preserves, and vanilla buttercream. The second, or 2.0, is with flourless chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache, and Vietnamese coffee buttercream. These babies are cute: adorable mushrooms, candy holly leaves, and there’s even a little stocking full of treats on there. Plus, they come boxed in one of Tout Sweet’s over-the-top fabulous pink boxes, tied with a big silver bow, so you’ll be making a pretty serious entrance if you’ve got one of these at a party. They come in individual, 6-inch, or 12-inch sizes—it’s recommended that you order in advance. For a full list of holiday options and prices, check out Tout Sweet’s holiday menu.

Belinda Leong, of the upcoming ~B. PATISSERIE~ is doing bûches de noël too—and they’re quite elegant. Hers come in three different flavors: vanilla, pistachio, and raspberry; chocolate, hazelnut, and toffee; or Dutch apple pie. Each bûche is seven inches and serves six to eight people. They’re $75, and can be ordered now for pickup on the morning of December 23rd or 24th. And good news: she is targeting the week of January 6th for her pâtisserie’s opening!

You can also find a bûche de noël from ~LA BOULANGE BAKERY~, either a six-inch half-log or a foot-long full log ($23 and $36, respectively). The sponge cake is rolled and filled with cream and then topped with buttercream. The outside is playfully decorated with marzipan and meringue to look like a Yule log covered in sweet edible moss, mushrooms, and dirt. Place your order by December 21st.

Are you a fan of torrone? Yeah, me too—crazy for the stuff. Best stocking stuffer ever! Gary Rulli of ~EMPORIO RULLI~ is making two kinds of soft torrone: traditional vanilla with California Mission almonds and Piedmontese hazelnuts, and a chocolate version made with Domori chocolate (milk, dark, and gianduja), California Mission almonds, pistachios, candied orange, and honey. Available in stores and online at ($19.95-$22.95).

Rulli is also a master at panettone. This year he created the Panettone Paradiso: it’s a twist on a classic panettone Milanese, filled with chocolate, candied orange peels, walnuts, and raisins, and then topped with a walnut-almond paste, chocolate bits, and walnuts. It’s simply amazing warmed up with coffee in the morning. $36.

I haven’t tried these yet, but you can find Alsatian bredele at ~VITRINE RESTAURANT~ from chef Romuald Feger. These small cakes are inspired by a recipe from his grandmother, Alice, who used to bake up to 50 pounds of bredele each holiday season as gifts for family and friends. After days of preparation, bredele is traditionally first served on Advent Sunday accompanied by a glass of a spiced mulled wine. You can enjoy three different kinds: Anisbredele, featuring green anise seeds; Cocosbredele, made with dried coconut; and Basler Leckerli, a Swiss take on the delicacy featuring honey, candied orange and lemon peel, almonds, ground cloves, and cinnamon. Bredele will be served complimentary at the end of each meal throughout the winter, or you can order some for purchase with 24 hours notice. Available in packages of 13 or 26, which retail for $16 and $32 respectively. Through December 31st. 415-284-4049.

There was also quite the roundup of holiday cookies on, like macarons from DeLise Dessert Cafe and more. You can also pick up holiday-themed cupcakes at ~KARA’S CUPCAKES~ (order the “chocolaty chocolate peppermint” and 20 percent of proceeds will be donated to Raphael House through December), ~SUSIE CAKES~, and other bakeries around town. Ho ho ho!


Confections from sideshow. Photo courtesy of sideshow.

This Saturday December 15th, don’t forget to head down to ~THE NWBLK~ (that’s The New Black), an arty and ever-so-cool retail environment where I’ll be co-hosting a holiday pop-up called BLK Saturday. Yours truly did the curating for all the tasty foodstuffs, including delicious treats from local folks like Starter Bakery (they are bringing their panettone!), a fab holiday selection from Socola Chocolates, Nana Joes Granola (wait until you try the new chocolate-covered Tony’s trail mix), and the fabulous brand-new confections from sideshow by Nicole Plue, which you can only get online for now unless you come on out! Her famous Saltine toffee will be there.

I am also getting a big batch of tablehopper vintage restaurant T-shirts in, so you’ll be able to look at all five designs! There will also be some fashiony items—from bags by Basil Racuk to clothes by N.I.C.E. Collective—and Cuyana scarfs, handbags, and accessories from Argentina.

Tango & Stache will be there serving Bloody Mary pulled-pork tacos on bacon fat tortillas with pickled fixins from 11am-4pm (oh yeah!), and there will be bubbles and music too! Be sure to come on by for some swell holiday gifts (and partying). I’ll be there in the afternoon if you want to say hi! 10am-6pm. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.


Off the Grid at Fort Mason. Photo from Facebook.

As you may have heard, the ~BACON BACON~ food truck was destroyed in a dramatic fire a few weeks ago. The kitchen location is still open, though, and they’ll also be popping up at ~TRACE~ at the W on Wednesday December 19th. As part of the ongiong Local Motion Series, a local food truck chef joins Paul Piscopo in the TRACE kitchen, and together they prepare a meal. A portion of the proceeds from this particular event will go toward getting the Bacon Bacon truck back in business. The event begins at 6pm, and tickets to the event are $50 and include lots of family-style porky treats. Cocktails pairings will be available at an additional cost. Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-817-7836.

Need a little more street food in your life? Head to Fort Mason on Friday December 14th for the ~OFF THE GRID~ Holiday Market from 5pm-9pm. There will be more than 25 trucks, plus suds from Magnolia and a full bar by Alembic. There will also be retail booths selling art and gifts for the holidays, and 10 percent of all proceeds from retail sales will go to the San Francisco Food Bank. Fort Mason Center.

On Saturday December 15th, the ~STAG DINING GROUP~ will be popping up at ~THE BOLD ITALIC~ for a special five-course dinner. Author, former editor, and host of the Cooking Channel show foodCrafters, Aida Mollenkamp will be in attendance, sharing some of her tricks for holiday entertaining and talking about her new book, Keys to the Kitchen. There will also be bubbly from Moët and Chandon, and wine pairings from Green Barrel. Oh, and you’ll get a nice goodie bag at the end too. The event kicks off at 7pm; check out the evening’s menu and details here. Tickets are $125, or $150 for everything plus a signed cookbook. 32 Page St. at Market.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~ will be leaving their pop-up location at Sugarlump Café in order to open in a permanent location to call their own. On Friday December 14th, join them for their last dinner in the space. There will be three courses, including a bouillabaisse with Dungeness crab, rock cod, shrimp, clams, mussels, and housemade pork sausage, for $45 per person. Sugarlump will be offering specials on their wine carafes, and corkage will be only $10. Tickets can be purchased for 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, or 9pm. 2862 24th St. at Bryant.


The steamed dim sum sampler. Photo courtesy Mark Whitfield.

The newly opened ~HAKKASAN~ has made it extra easy for you to sample their high-end Chinese food. On Mon-Fri from 11:30am-2:30pm, they’re offering a special Taste of Hakkasan menu for a cool $29. The three-course lunch starts out with your choice of small eats, including steamed or fried dim sum options, then you can pick from one of several main dishes, such as spicy prawn with lily bulb and stir-fry black pepper rib-eye. For dessert, you get a colorful selection of macarons. The deal is only available during weekday lunches, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.


The rock shrimp patty with rice “bun”; Yelp photo by Mit C.

There’s a new burger bistro that just opened in Emeryville, ~THE BUREAU~, with a menu created by a serious talent: Edward Higgins (previously Insieme in New York, and currently chef de cuisine at Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto). Higgins has put his BAiA project on hold, and is also currently consulting and working on his own sauce project called Vaso-Cucina.

The owner (James Sansangasakun) is behind Summer Summer Thai (which is just across the street), and brought Higgins on to consult on the international-inspired menu of burgers and sandwiches. There’s the B-B-B (fried bacon, caramelized onion butter, Point Reyes blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, garlic mayo), the chips ‘n’ salsa burger (jalapeño, tortilla chips, roasted tomato salsa, lettuce, nacho cheese), plus a tempura-fried rock shrimp patty with wasabi mayo served on a rice “bun,” a banh mi, and more. Sides include IPA onion rings with yellow curry dip and fried calamari with pickles, plus soup and salads. For dessert, tuck into an upside-down apple tart with cinnamon gelato or a New York-style cheesecake. The look is rustic warehouse chic, with 65 seats—and it’s conveniently close to Honor Bar. Open Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm; 4:30pm-10:30pm; Fri 11am-2:30pm; 4:30pm-11pm; Sat 10am-11pm, and Sun 10am-3pm. 5800 Hollis St. at Powell, Emeryville, 510-595-1000


Seven-layer and pignoli cookies; from Cakes and Purls’ Facebook page.

You a fan of sweets? And knitting? Even if you only like one of those two things, swing by the new ~CAKES AND PURLS~ in downtown Berkeley to get your fix. Nosh mentions the owner is Marie Sitaro, who is trying to encourage everyone to slow the hell down, take a seat, and enjoy some New York-style pastries inspired by Sitaro’s childhood in Brooklyn. Hello, cheesecake. She has some chops (oh, you know, Jean-Georges), and will be using local ingredients when possible. Open Mon-Tue and Thu 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12, closed Sun and Wed. 2115 Allston Way at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-457-8446.

Not too far away, a liquor license change for Sportivo reveals new owners (and a new name): ~SLIVER PIZZERIA~. Nosh mentions Sliver is due to open in January 2013, and Sportivo is closing December 15th. 2132 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-301-6280.