June 18, 2013

June 18, 2013
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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

A report from Dana Massey-Todd. As previously noted on tablehopper, there’s a new project on 24th Street that is getting ready to open for business. ~LA MOVIDA~, from Michael Meadows, has taken over the former El Delfín space after the owners retired. The new spot is a wine-focused bar, with a small plate-focused menu.

There are 12 wines on tap and 3 beers, plus about 20 wines available by the bottle and a few bottled beers as well. The wines are almost exclusively from California, with one exception: Owen Roe, from Oregon and Washington state. There will be eight red wines on tap, with a focus on small producers, like East Bay-based Broc Cellars and Dashe Cellars. Meadows is excited to have so many taps to work with, because it means he’ll be able to offer a wide range of California wines, from full cabernet sauvignons to leaner, funkier varietals. There are also four taps for chilled wines, and Meadows plans to offer at least one rosé, likely from Donkey & Goat, alongside the whites. Beers will be from the Cerveceria de MateVeza, and will all be from California. The exact offerings are still being worked out, but look for local craft beers to dominate the list.

In the food department, there’s a pretty interesting program going. In the evenings, you’ll find small plates like charcuterie, local cheeses, a few different flatbreads, and chorizo corndogs. As many ingredients as possible are being sourced from the neighborhood, which means dishes like bread pudding made with Dynamo Donuts (oh my) and sliders on buns from Wise Sons Deli. Meadows is also looking to get La Palma on there, too, perhaps in the form of tamales. The menu hasn’t been finalized yet, but you can take a peek at a sample here.

During the day, La Movida will function as the new home of ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~, which means owner Jeff Mason will be able to use the additional space to expand his menu, plus use the seating for customers. He’ll be offering his rotating menu of unusual (and delish) sandwiches (Oregon Bay shrimp on Josey Baker bread, yes please), plus a changing side, according to the season and his whims. Take a look at a preview menu here and start plotting your lunches now. Meadows also wants to close every Tuesday evening for a rotating roster of pop-ups, starting in July. He’s still working out who will be first, but is in conversation with a few local chefs to get that rolling.

The space, which was designed by Carolyn Rebuffel, has been painted a bright, cheerful orange, to keep in the vibrant spirit of the location’s former tenants. Meadows wanted to keep El Delfín’s wonderful murals on the walls, but the structural integrity had been compromised enough that it was impossible. Instead, the murals have been transferred to the tops of tables, where they can still be enjoyed. There is a blown glass chandelier on the way, plus banquette seating in the back and stools in the front windows.

They need to pass inspections this week, and then hope to be up and running sometime the week of June 24th. Once open, hours for Pal’s will be Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, and for La Movida Sun-Thu 4:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 4:30pm-12am, closed Tuesday for pop-ups. 3066 24th St. at Treat, 415-425-2392.

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The talented Amy Brown and Joe Wolf. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

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Oh, hi, brown butter and Meyer lemon tart with semolina crust. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.

After months of plying us with their fantastic baked goods at pop-ups around town, Amy Brown and Joe Wolf of ~MARLA BAKERY~ have signed the lease on their new space! We received word yesterday that it’s in the former Crown Lock in the Outer Richmond, just across the street from the Balboa Theatre. They will be open for breakfast and lunch daily, plus Sunday suppers, and eventually dinner too (the space will initially be used for pop-up dinners and cooking classes in the evenings). You can also come by to just pick up bread and pastries.

There will be 30-35 seats, and there’s also a deck outside with room for 10-15, and a 600-square-foot garden. There’s also an application for a parklet in the works. Alas, the opening isn’t going to happen until spring 2014, but in the meantime, they are having a double-deck, wood-fired oven custom made for them by Jeremiah Church in Burlington, Vermont. I’ll keep you posted on developments, but for now, huge congrats to Amy and Joe on securing their space. 3619-21 Balboa St. at 37th Ave.

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The bar at The Willows. Photo courtesy The Willows.

Now open in SoMa in the former Mercury Lounge space is a new project from Liz and Tim Ryan of ~THE SYCAMORE~ called ~THE WILLOWS~. They’re opening softly on Wednesday June 19th, with a full bar serving housemade, handcrafted cocktails, plus a “beer den” with 12 taps of rare beers. Right now, look for brews like the Belgian Cuvée des Jacobins sour and the Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale from Japan. They’re hoping to keep the den stocked with rare and hard-to-find beers from all over the world and locally. There is also a limited selection of wines available by the glass.

On the menu, you’ll find American classics, much like at The Sycamore, with some new additions, including fried chicken and meatloaf. They’ll also be serving their sliders, salads, and burgers. The location used to house Hamburger Mary’s (before Saturn Lounge), and they’re keeping the tradition alive with the Mary’s burger. Look for sandwiches, salads, and burgers at lunch too. They’ve revamped the space to be, quite literally, more playful, with pinball machines, a Big Buck Hunter video game, and a pool table, plus an old-fashioned jukebox. The opening is Wednesday June 19th, and hours will be Sun-Thu 11:30am-12am and Fri-Sat 11:30am-2am. 1582 Folsom St. at 12th St., 415-529-2039.

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The space next door to State Bird Provisions. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Back in October 2012, I heard things weren’t going as planned for Richie Nakano’s ~HAPA~ location, which was supposed to open next to ~STATE BIRD PROVISIONS~ at 1527 Fillmore. I’ve been checking in for months for status reports, and kept my word to not mention the location was no longer a go. I guess Nakano forgot his promise to “absolutely let [me] know,” since the Scoop mentioned Hapa is due to open in a larger space on Mission Street (although the actual location has yet to be revealed since it still needs to go through a change of use).

It’s all good news for State Bird’s Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, who will be taking over Hapa’s 900-square-foot space and adding 12 seats (look for two large tables that will seat six to eight), plus a waiting area, a heater, a second bathroom, and plans to now be open nightly. State Bird will close after service on August 10th for construction, which is expected to last for a few weeks or so. As for progress on The Progress, their next project at 1525 Fillmore, stand by.

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The wonderful Tamale Lady (Virginia Ramos). Photo from Twitter.

The city erupted with the news on SFist last week that The Tamale Lady (Virginia Ramos) was no longer allowed to wheel her cart o’ tamales over to sell them at Zeitgeist anymore, due to a crackdown from the ABC and Health Department. Zeitgeist (somewhat helplessly) made the announcement on Facebook, and while it can certainly be scary to have your liquor license threatened, the bar was pretty quick to step away from the shituation. But fortunately other parties in the city (including District 9 Supervisor David Campos) are trying to figure out what they can do to help sort out Virginia’s needs, like getting her access to a commercial kitchen and securing a catering permit for her.

Virginia is adored by too many people to count, with her uncanny ability to show up and save your drunk ass when you need her most, with a “hey man, how you doing?” as she hands you a hot tamale and unrolls a paper towel for you. Seriously, this woman lives and loves to feed you. (Have you ever seen the documentary about her?) She is more of a San Francisco icon than almost anything you can think of. Well, except the fog. Whatever, the fog comes and goes, but Virginia is steadfast in her mission to feed you.

It’s not too late for Zeitgeist to rise to the occasion and offer to host a fundraiser for the return of the one person people are happy to see there (cough), but in the meantime, Virginia will be celebrating her 60th birthday this Friday June 21st at The Eagle Tavern, starting at 7pm. You can also keep track of her (and her hilarious tweets) on Twitter—heck, why don’t you call her and order some tamales for your next event, lunch, or party since a big portion of her revenue just disappeared? The Tamale Lady hotline is 415-218-1443. And I look forward to coming home to some good news about her situation, because I know this city is gonna rally. It’s something we do well here.

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Mario Tolentino and Alex Ong (Betelnut); photo by Albert Cheng via Facebook.

Now for some chef changes. First, over at ~HI LO~, things continue to be in flux: Scott Youkilis has let go of chef Ryan Ostler, and now Robin Song of Hog & Rocks (just across the street) will be overseeing both kitchens. Scoop reports there will be some menu changes and full table service, starting Monday June 24th. As for the talented Mr. Ostler, he said he wishes Hi Lo the best and will be embarking on some culinary travels to Oregon, and potentially Austin.

Another restaurant that has undergone changes this year is ~BETELNUT~, which has hired a new chef de cuisine, Mario Tolentino, who will be working with Alex Ong on modernizing some of the dishes on the menu. Examiner reports Tolentino was working in SF five years ago (Aqua) and was recently a Food Network Chopped champion.

A press release announces Paul Piscopo has left the W San Francisco and is now executive chef at the ~ST. REGIS SAN FRANCISCO~ (which includes Vitrine). I was happy to read he is going to also be maintaining beehives on the property.

Lastly, the new chef at ~BOCADILLOS~ is James LaLonde (Salt House, Pizzeria Delfina, Slow Club), replacing interim chef Scott Peterson (Scoop).

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Cute as a button bundt pan light fixtures at Le Marais. Photo from Facebook.

As reported in tablehopper last year, French-inspired ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ is opening in the former Jamba Juice location on Chestnut. The new venture comes from Paris native Patrick Ascaso and is a tribute to the boulangeries he grew up with in France. They’re serving French-style levain breads fed daily with natural starter from boulanger Justin Brown (who previously worked at Bien Cuit and Roberta’s in Brooklyn). He’ll also be making croissants and other traditional baked goods. They’ve got a separate pastry program, helmed by Phil Ogiela (formerly of Aziza and Presidio Social Club), with desserts like gâteau Basque with cream and apricots, fresh fruit tarts, and madeleines.

The space was designed by the fine folks at Paxton Gate, with warm reclaimed woods, vintage baking trays functioning as cabinets, and light fixtures made from Bundt pans. The floor is made from tile from the North of France, in a traditional French garden patter, and the space is designed to make use of natural light. We’ve been waiting on pictures for a while (and we should be getting some soon), but here’s the update for now. Opening is slated for July. 2066 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-9801.

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Cassava. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A Shabu House location. Photo courtesy Shabu House.

Fans of ~RAMEN UNDERGROUND~ on Kearny now have a second location to score their noodles: Japantown! The recently opened location is in the former Sanuki Udon at 22 Peace Plaza, Suite 530. Please note it’s cash only for now.

Potentially opening this weekend is the new location of ~KASA INDIAN EATERY~ on Polk Street. As reported on tablehopper, the new location is in the former Fourth Wave Coffee and will have a menu similar to the other locations. 1356 Polk St. at Pine.

Also due to reopen (on Wednesday June 26th) is ~CASSAVA BAKERY + CAFE~ after some construction to expand into the space next door. There will now be more seating, dinner hours (in July), and an expanded menu—plus the ability to order their Japanese breakfast daily. In coming months, look for a wine and beer list, plus wine- and vermouth-based cocktails. Chef Kristoffer Toliao and Yuka Ioroi are also launching a Kickstarter campaign to add a Parisian café-inspired sidewalk patio, with heaters and a windshield (the Outer Richmond can be tough like that), plus an edible garden. Check out this cute video here about their patio dreams, and follow their Facebook page for more about the Kickstarter launch.

As reported back in April, ~SHANGHAI DUMPLING KING~ closed for renovations. Good news: they’ve re-opened, according to some very happy Yelpers. 3319 Balboa St. at 34th Ave., 415-387-2088.

There’s now a Clement location of ~SHABU HOUSE~. Yelpers report that the new location is still a little slow, for those not wanting to wait. 354 Clement St. at 4th Ave., 415-742-4689.

The rumor I heard about Top Chef’s Richard Blais opening a location in San Francisco appears to be untrue. Eater reports that though Blais loves San Francisco, he is actually planning to relocate to San Diego, and will be opening a restaurant there. Now that he’s here on the West Coast, though, maybe he’ll do a little northward expansion eventually? We’ll see….

The Tenderloin Blog reports that the former Turtle Tower space on Larkin has a new taker: ~GOLDEN LOTUS~. There is a vegetarian restaurant with the same name in Oakland, but it’s not clear that this new spot comes from the same people, or if it will also be vegetarian. 631 Larkin St. at Willow.

According to Haighteration, Divisadero burger joint ~ACME BURGERHAUS~ has reopened after closing last month. Apparently, there were some staffing issues that needed resolving, but they’ve been resolved so they reopened. Just to be clear, the place is still available for lease. 559 Divisadero St. at Hayes, 415-346-3212.

Also from Haighteration comes the news that ~ZIRYAB~ on Divisadero is still closed for renovations. After lots of delays, they are hoping to reopen in 10-15 days, with a space that is more bar-oriented. The food menu will reportedly stay mostly the same. And just in case you love trivia, check out the history of Ziryab, an eighth-century courtier—seems we have him to thank for toothpaste—and bangs! 528 Divisadero St. at Fell, 415-522-0800.

A newsletter from ~URBAN PUTT~ reports that the miniature golf spot with hopes to open in the Mission got approval from the Planning Commission. Fore! Mission Mission has some photos of the space, and owner Steve Fox is hoping to get approval for a full liquor license and late-night hours. 1096 South Van Ness at 22nd St.

A tweet from ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ lets us know that today is their last day open until Friday July 5th. Enjoy your vacation, guys!

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Coffee Cultures exterior. Photo from Facebook.

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The espresso counter and patio at Cheese Plus. Photo from Facebook.

~COFFEE BAR~ has a third location in the works. The new spot is in the Financial District, on the ground floor of the St. Mary’s Garage. They’ll be keeping most of the same elements as their previous locations, including Mr. Espresso coffee, pastries from Starter Bakery and Sandbox Bakery, and cookies from Anthony’s. There will also be sandwiches, salads, and fresh juice, plus some new specialty drinks made with Recchiuti chocolate syrups. They’re planning to open in July and will be open Mon-Fri 5am-5pm. Weekend hours may be added later. 433 Kearny St. at Pine.

As previously mentioned in tablehopper, there’s another coffee spot coming to the Financial District. This one is ~COFFEE CULTURES~, from Jason Paul, who incidentally was a former partner at Coffee Bar. They’ll be serving North Carolina-based Counter Culture coffee, along with a soft-serve machine dispensing frozen yogurt, Also on the menu are sandwiches and salads, and oatmeal and granola in the mornings. They’re planning to open Monday June 24th and hours will be Mon-Fri 6am-6pm. 225 Bush St. at Montgomery, 415-788-7011.

~CHEESE PLUS~ is getting ready to open their new outdoor espresso counter in July, pending inspections. They’ll be pouring Equator Coffee Mon-Sat 8am-7:30pm and Sun 8am-7pm. Hours may change; follow along on Facebook for updates. 2001 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-921-2001.

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An okonomiyaki sandwich from a previous Grasshopper pop-up. Photo courtesy Grasshopper.

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The carnitas taco from Diablo Grill. Photo from Facebook.

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The one and only Jonny Becklund. Photo courtesy Mr. Pollo.

~NAKED LUNCH~ will be hosting chef Natalie Nesbit (she worked at Zinnia, Oliveto, and Café Majestic previously) and her pop-up Grasshopper on Sunday June 23rd, from 5pm-10pm. Her Asian-influenced menu includes chicken tsukune and mushroom “zombies” (stuffed buns named after an East Bay lunchroom staple). Check out the full lineup here. Dishes will be served à la carte, like a bar menu, with no reservations. 504 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-577-4951.

Also on Sunday June 23rd, catch a pop-up at ~PARALLEL 37~ from chef Hiroo Nagahara of the Chairman Truck. Nagahara and Parallel 37 chef Michael Rotondo worked together at Charlie Trotter’s and have teamed up to bring a six-course dinner with Asian and modernist influences. The dinner costs $100 per person, with optional drink pairing for $70 (gratuity not included). Dinner begins at 6:30pm, and reservations can be made by calling 415-773-6168.

It looks like there are two new pop-ups happening at ~FIREHOUSE 8~ in Russian Hill, and both are of a Mexican persuasion. First up, there’s Diablo Grill on Fridays from 6pm-10pm. They’re slinging goods like lamb adobada or braised pork tacos; check out a recent menu here. On Saturdays, you can score burritos from The Burr-Eatery from 10am-2:30pm. 1648 Pacific Ave. at Polk, 415-890-4800.

Go ahead and chalk this one up as hilarious and awesome. And, shall we say, sack-tastic. Chef Jonny Becklund at ~MR. POLLO~ is celebrating Pride on Thursday June 27th with a very special Balls Deep dinner. He’ll be doing a four-course testicle dinner (ballsy!) for $35 per person, and there are two seatings: one at 6pm and another at 8pm. So, that pretty much speaks for itself. Reservations can be made by calling 860-912-9168. 2823 Mission St. at 24th St.

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Learn all about oysters from author Rowan Jacobsen on Thursday June 27th at ~WATERBAR~ during happy hour. From 2pm-5:30pm, the author of A Geography of Oysters will be on the patio, shucking oysters, answering questions about his book and, of course, about oysters. The book talks all about oyster production, different oyster regions, and the sustainability of oysters (kind of a hot topic around here, as the Drakes Bay Oyster Co. debate continues).

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The façade of The Star; photo via Facebook.

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Fred and Elizabeth Sassen of Homestead; photo via Facebook.

Potentially opening in early July in Oakland is a new wine bar and shop called ~THE RED WHALE~ (thanks to a tip on Chowhound). Owner Bradford Taylor is going to primarily focus on small-production California wines (with some on tap), plus some European wines will be in the mix. You will be able to sit and enjoy a glass over some tasty cheese selections, bring a bottle home, or even open a bottle from the retail selection for a small corkage fee. There will also be coffee, too, in case that red wine is getting you sleepy. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland.

Getting very close to opening is ~THE STAR~ from John Guhl (as mentioned previously on tablehopper, it’s opening in the former Milano Ristorante on Grand Avenue). Guhl was an original partner in Little Star Pizza with Brian Sadigursky and they have since split—this is a solo venture from Guhl. On the menu: both thin-crust and deep-dish pizza, salads, meatballs, wings, and sandwiches. The Star will be open for both lunch and dinner. Keep up with the opening on Facebook. 3425 Grand Ave. at Mandana, Oakland, 510-843-7827.

Also aiming for a July opening is ~HOMESTEAD~, which is opening in the former Zatis on Piedmont Ave. in Oakland. Executive chef and co-owner Fred Sassen (Camino, Farallon) is opening the 48-seat restaurant with his wife, co-owner Elizabeth Sassen (previously a sous chef at Farallon and Waterbar). The menu will be on the farm-to-table tip, with starters like baked ricotta with lovage, roasted stone fruit, and Marcona almonds; and duck confit tortellini (dishes will range $9-$14). Mains ($18-$24) could include spit-roasted leg of lamb with spiced baby fava beans, green garlic, and Straus yogurt. Other components include housemade bread, charcuterie, and pasta, plus select cheeses, ice cream, and more that will live up to the homestead name. Stephen Laborde of The Trappist Provisions in Oakland is consulting on the beer and wine list. The location is in a 1920s Julia Morgan building, with contemporary design work by Carrie Shores of Larson Shores Architecture and Daniel Austin of Rocket Restaurant Supply. Look for floor-to-ceiling windows, original brick inlay, subway tile, a custom-built hearth, and an outdoor patio with room for 18. Dinner will be served Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland, 510-420-6962.

According to some ABC license activity, Donato Scotti of Donato Enoteca in Redwood City looks to be involved (and perhaps taking over) ~BORGO ITALIA~ in Oakland. At the moment he is unable to comment on the project, but I should have an update from him soon. 499 9th St. at Washington, Oakland, 510-251-1008.

A couple of weeks back, I reported that SF’s ~SMITTEN~ was hoping to open in Rockridge. I was asked to keep things under wraps, but Diablo Dish did a little sleuthing and found out the owners are trying to open in the former Great Harvest Bread Co. at 5800 College Avenue. They are currently trying to secure a conditional use permit for the location, so stand by.

Since we’re talking ice cream, one of my East Bay sources tells me the owners of ~SKETCH~ ice cream are scoping a couple of possible locations in Temescal. This is all unconfirmed, but Diablo Dish has also been hearing rumors: co-owner Eric Shelton confirms he and his wife Ruthie Planas-Shelton are scouting a potential second location in the 510, but it’s all TBD on the where for now.

Coming to downtown Berkeley is a third location of ~BITTERSWEET~, in the former New Amsterdam coffee shop, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. There will be both sweet and savory options, plus coffee, and their housemade bread, yogurt, and more. 1952 University Ave. at Milvia.

Guess who is verrrrrry close to reopening after an unfortunate fire, for real? ~CHINA VILLAGE~ in Albany! The intrepid Melanie Wong of Chowhound fame swung by the adored Sichuan restaurant’s location, and said they are just waiting for their health inspection. Look for a soft opening the last week of June, and the official opening on July 1st. 1335 Solano Ave. at Ramona, Albany, 510-525-2285.

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The bar at Hutch. Photo courtesy Hutch.

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The communal table at Hutch. Photo courtesy Hutch.

According to Our Oakland blog, ~HUTCH BAR & KITCHEN~ has softly opened and the kitchen is just ramping up this week. This Uptown Oakland project is in the former 2022 lounge. Diablo Dish originally shared details about the project: chef-owner David King (Southpaw BBQ, Delfina, Twenty Five Lusk) is a Memphis native who is going to be offering an array of Southern specialties, including “a Gulf Coast-influenced raw bar stocked with fresh and sustainably fished California seafood,” according to their website. A peek at the raw bar menu reveals oysters, crawfish rémoulade, stone crab claws, and pickled shrimp; small plates include hush puppies and Benton’s ham. Plus there are larger plates like rabbit Brunswick stew and pork and beans (everything is sourced with local/sustainable/organic in mind). There are both classic and new cocktails, like the Heebie Jeebies with mezcal, Cardamaro, lemon, egg white, orange flower water, and fresh nutmeg.

They’re also starting a Sunday Supper program, with a different prix-fixe, family-style dinner every Sunday evening, instead of the regular menu. Last week was fried chicken, and this coming Sunday June 23rd is spaghetti night. Most suppers will be priced around $20, and kids eat for half price. They’ll also be doing monthly dinners with brewers, winemakers, and distillers. The first one will be on Wednesday June 26th at 5pm with North Coast Brewing, and costs $60 per person for five courses of food with beer pairings. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. Regular hours are Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm, Sun brunch 10:30am-2:30pm and supper 5pm-10pm, closed Mondays. 2022 Telegraph Ave. at 21st St., 510-419-0622, Oakland.

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Nan Yang’s garlic noodles. Yelp photo by Ellen s.

A reader writes in to tell me the venerable ~NAN YANG~ (open since 1981, and the East Bay’s first Burmese restaurant) is closing on June 26th (although they may stay open through the end of the month). Chef Philip Chu—famed for his Burmese cuisine—is retiring. Regulars are sure to miss his signature ginger salad and garlic noodles. 6048 College Ave. at Claremont, Oakland, 510-655-3298.

Fans of the Friday night ~YONSEI RAMEN SHOP~ at Hopscotch in Oakland will want to note the pop-up is taking a break for the summer (according to a post on Chowhound) and won’t be back until the fall. Hopscotch will continue to keep extended hours (until 12am) on Fri-Sat. 1915 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-788-6217.

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The tempting counter at M.H. Bread and Butter. Photo via Facebook.

Back in 2012, we mentioned ~M.H. BREAD AND BUTTER~ was opening in San Anselmo. Well, this café from co-owners Nathan Yanko (a baker formerly of Tartine) and Devon Crosby-Helms (a personal chef) is now open. In addition to the artisan baked breads is a menu (from chef Arielle Segal) with a variety of salads (like Bloomsdale spinach with roasted trout, new potatoes, pickled red onion, and mustard vinaigrette), summer squash soup, sandwiches (like marinated carrot and fennel with charred olive, harissa aioli, and poached egg), breakfast items, and pastries (hello aprium-frangipane brioche). There’s also an evening menu that kicks in at 4:30pm, with flatbreads, a nightly braise, and more. Look for some gluten-free and vegan baked goods too. Hours are Mon 7am-3pm, Sun and Wed-Thu 7am-7pm, Fri-Sat 7am-9pm, closed Tue. 556 San Anselmo Ave. at Magnolia, San Anselmo, 415-755-4575.

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