August 5, 2014

August 5, 2014
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Pink Zebra powah. Photo via Pink Zebra’s Instagram.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend pointed me to an upcoming pop-up by Jesse Koide (of Mission Chinese Food SF) in Copenhagen called ~PINK ZEBRA SF~ (the name is taken from the ever-present pink zebra headband that he wears). But a recent press release points to a much bigger story: while he’ll be doing the (now sold-out) pop-up at Bento Izakaya in Copenhagen in conjunction with Mikkeller Beer and Chinorocks X Joachim7inch from August 18th-23rd, it’s actually a trial run for his own new concept here in SF, which will open in October. Scoop adds Koide will be opening in Tao Yin, and taking a page from the MCF-Lung Shan playbook, it will be a shared restaurant and kitchen space.

Before cooking for MCF, Koide has also worked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and The Alembic; he will be working with Rio Sakai at Pink Zebra. The Japanese-Mediterranean menu will reportedly be available five nights a week, with an omakase menu served at a sushi counter too. 3515 20th St. at San Carlos.

Over at MCF, Chris Kiyuna of Mission Bowling Club will be taking over, working with Danny Bowien on the menu.

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The namesake agnolotti al plin…with chicken skin! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A tasting plate of the grilled Spanish octopus. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a preview dinner of the newly opened ~PLIN~, with editorial assistant extraordinaire Dana Eastland in tow. She covered quite a few details about the space in the last tablehopper issue, but I’d like to add that the space now feels much more comfortable and stylish than it has ever been. It has a soothing palette and a clean and contemporary look, courtesy of Alexander’s mother, Joanne Alioto. The addition of the booths creates a nice break in the space, and the tyranny of the conduit is gone. Also, all the flatware, dishes, and stemware were well chosen and chic.

You can look at chef-owner Alexander Alioto’s menu here (although they are playing the House of Prime Rib game and not listing prices on their website). In addition to his well-known raviolo uovo are the namesake agnolotti al plin, with an earthy chicken filling and rich demi-glace, among other housemade pastas. Some lighter dishes include black bass carpaccio, while heartier dishes include well-prepared grilled Spanish octopus, and baby Manila clams and white shrimp over polenta. Some vegetables include roasted beets with ricotta cheese and an enjoyably lighter version (read: not loaded with breading) of eggplant Parmesan. All the dishes will be served as small plates (the ones pictured here were tasting plates for the preview dinner.)

As we mentioned before, there’s a full bar, with some Italian-influenced cocktails (you can check out the list here), and look for a well-selected wine list (with very food-friendly by-the-glass selections) from Master Sommeliers Nunzio Alioto Jr. (Alexander’s father) and Chuck Furuya. The night of the test dinner, we also got a preview of their special reserve list: they were pouring from a Methuselah of 1979 BV George de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley cabernet, in honor of Alex’s birth year (a very gracious offering to guests that evening).

Once again, hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.

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The interior at Urchin. Photo from Twitter.

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Sweet polenta with blueberries at Talbot Café. Photo from Facebook.

After a car smashed into their storefront earlier this year, it looks like Mission Italian bakery ~JOEY AND PAT’S~ has reopened! Congratulations to everyone; let’s eat some Italian cookies and celebrate. 2499 Folsom St. at 21st St., 415-655-3918.

Eater reports that ~URCHIN BISTROT~ from the Ame and Terra team is now open in the former Wo Hing General Store space in the Mission. The menu by chef Michael Morrison is all about updated French bistro classics, and the cocktail list from Rafael Jimenez Rivera also takes inspiration from France. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, with possible plans for brunch and lunch coming soon. 584 Valencia St. at Valencia, 415-861-1844.

After our repeated calls and emails went unreturned, it looks like Uptown Almanac got confirmation that the team behind the Royal Cuckoo is opening a store on 19th Street in the Mission called ~ROYAL CUCKOO MARKET~. It will offer liquor choices, as well as some eclectic grocery items, including breakfast goods, ice cream, and other “random items,” according to co-owner Paul Miller. Eventually, they want to offer sandwiches and espresso too. They hope to open next week. 3368 19th St. at Mission, 415-550-6903.

Hoodline reports that ~TALBOT CAFÉ~ in Hayes Valley has reopened after closing for a face-lift. In addition to some new paint and cosmetic upgrades, they are also now serving Sightglass coffee and some new menu items. They’ve even got a Saturday brunch, with savory polenta and waffles. Hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm and Sat 8am-3:30pm. 244 Gough St. at Hickory, 415-553-4595.

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The exterior of Minako’s current Mission Street location. Yelp photo by Jaydee B.

A tipster wrote in to let us know that ~MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE~ is moving this fall. Their lease is up this year, and it appears they won’t be able to stay in the current location. But there’s a silver lining! They are already looking at a location at South Van Ness and 14th Street and will likely be moving sometime before November 1st. We’ll update when we have more information. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

After about a year doing the lunchtime service at La Movida, sandwich spot ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is returning to its original home in Tony’s Market, Scoop reports. The market’s proximity to San Francisco General Hospital makes it a better location for the takeout operation, and upgrades have been made at Tony’s to keep it legal with the Health Department. They’ll be back at Tony’s as of Monday August 11th. 2751 24th St. at Hampshire, 415-203-4911.

In the meantime, we had a chance to catch up with Michael Meadows, the owner of ~LA MOVIDA~. He says that with Pal’s moving back down the street, they’ll try out other guest chefs and do more lunch pop-ups. They are also planning to offer their own lunch menu, with dinner menu items reworked for the lunch crowd, along with items like sandwiches, salads, and soup, available for dine-in or takeout. He plans to relaunch lunch the week of August 18th. 3066 24th St. at Folsom, 415-282-3066.

According to Castro Biscuit, the ~PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN~ location in the Castro is officially closed. A sign went up a few months ago that said the space was closed for repairs, but it now appears that the newest location has closed and is up for lease. Fortunately, you can still get their tasty arepas at the Valencia and 15th Street location. 3970 17th St. at Market.

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An Australian black truffle. Photo by The Truffle & Wine Co. via SPQR.

It might not be truffle season here in the Northern Hemisphere, but in Australia, where it is currently winter, the delicious morsels are in full force. ~SPQR~ is offering a five-course Australian black truffle tasting menu every Tuesday through Friday night, until the end of August. Look for a truffle-stuffed game hen, with chanterelle, savoy cabbage, and puffed rice, and for dessert there’s a torta di zucchini with nectarine, vanilla mascarpone, and truffle gelato. Yes, truffle gelato. Here’s the whole menu. The dinner is $108 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $62, not including tax and tip. Reservations required.

Every Sunday, ~COTOGNA~ hosts a Sunday Supper, with a prix-fixe menu for $55 and wine pairings for $35. You can check out the upcoming summery lineup here, and while they all look tempting, the one I’d definitely be making a reservation for is on Sunday August 24th, with corn chowder, smoked ham cappelletti, and fried chicken, waffles, and ribs, plus Neapolitan ice cream for dessert! Supper is served from 5pm-9:30pm.

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The scene at last year’s 20th Street Block Party. Photo from website gallery.

Outside Lands is coming up on August 8th-10th, and in addition to lots of musical acts, the opportunities to stuff your face just keep coming. In addition to all the choices we mentioned in June, you can also now check out GastroMagic (you have to use a special voice when you say it), a special stage with demonstrations, performances, and events with chefs (both local and far-flung) from Chefs Feed. My favorite? The Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia and Brenda’s French Soul Food (twerking audience members will be awarded with beignets, holla!).

Here’s the lineup, and be sure to note there’s BaconLand within the GastroMagic area, where you can sample bacon from purveyors like Fatted Calf and Tennessee’s Benton’s Bacon. And of course drinks will be available, including choices from Local Edition, Hotsy Totsy, and Alembic. Cheers!

Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are taking over 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 23rd for their annual 20th Street Block Party. From 12pm-6pm, the free festival will stretch from Bryant to Harrison, with food, music, and drinks. You can check out the lineup of musicians here, and plot some of the tasty things you want to eat and drink at participating neighborhood spots like Flour + Water, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and Trick Dog—here’s the full list. The festival is free to attend, with food and drink available for purchase. This year, there are also VIP tickets available for $95 per person, which includes access to a special lounge above, bites from Salumeria, beer, wine, a T-shirt, and more. Oh, and don’t forget the after-party at Public Works.

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Oysters on the half shell at Oyster Bash 2013. Photo from Facebook.

Don’t miss unlimited oysters on Saturday August 23rd at ~B RESTAURANT & BAR~. From 1pm-4pm, you can enjoy oysters galore (we’re talking 12,000 oysters!) raw on the half shell, grilled, steamed, and fried into po’boy sliders. At 2:30pm, there’s even an oyster shucking contest, and the winner gets unlimited oysters at B Restaurant & Bar for a year (contest open to the first 20 people to register on-site). Tickets are $45 in advance or $65 at the door and include oysters only. Beverages will be available for purchase. 720 Howard St. at 4th St., 415-495-9800.

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A jerk chicken plate from Auntie April’s. Photo from Facebook.

The wonderful Bayview Underground Food Scene Pop-Up Community Market is not only a great place to shop, but you can also get dinner while you’re there. Comfort Foods National, CDXX, and Auntie April’s will all be in attendance (plus breads from Earl’s Bread and Fox & Lion), serving delicious food along with live music, wine, beer, and even mead made right here in San Francisco. The market is every first and third Thursday of the month, from 5:30pm-8pm at Pier 70. Don’t miss it! Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.

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The meat plate from Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

An announcement on Facebook and a story in the East Bay Express share the very good news that ~DOUGHNUT DOLLY~ is opening their second location on Wednesday August 6th. The new Berkeley outpost will be similar the one in Temescal Alley, with four filling flavors for the fresh doughnuts, coffee, and (this is new) espresso. There are also some new food items in the works. 1313 9th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

According to an announcement on Facebook, ~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ is now open at 12pm on Saturday and Sunday, giving you some extra time to enjoy their very fantastic back patio and beer garden. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12am. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-900-5858.

Observant Chowhounders caught the news that pizza from Oakland’s ~BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE~ is now available at ~ORDINAIRE~. From 5:30pm-10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can enjoy a pizza with a glass of wine from their lovely collection, just down the street from where it comes out of the oven. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-629-3944.

SF Weekly reports that Japanese curry shop ~MURACCI’S~ is opening their third location in Berkeley, near the UC campus. They aren’t disclosing the exact location at the moment, but they are going to have more space and will add a few more menu items. They hope to open in mid-August.

Just around the block (but very very different) from the new Doughnut Dolly, ~SANCTUARY BISTRO~ opened in Berkeley last Friday, according to Eater. It’s a vegan and gluten-free café, with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Menu choices include gluten-free waffles, mushroom- and walnut-stuffed poblano peppers with rice, slaw, and mole, and mix-and-match soups and salads at lunch. Take a look at the menus here. 1019 Camelia St. at 10th St., Berkeley, 510-558-3381

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You like booths? Fattoria e Mare has booths for you. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick updates that crossed our desk for you 650 dwellers: now open in the former Kuleto’s Trattoria in Burlingame is ~FATTORIA E MARE~, offering Venetian cuisine with California influences. The chef-owner is Pablo Estrada, most recently at Rose Pistola (since 1998!), so expect lots of seafood (fritto misto, seafood stew, grilled local salmon), plus housemade charcuterie and salumi, pasta, and pizza from the wood-burning oven. Cocktails are available, plus many wines by the glass, and there’s a happy hour from 4pm-6:30pm. Live jazz performances are Wed-Sat 7pm-10pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm. 1095 Rollins Rd. at Cadillac Way, Burlingame, 650-342-4923.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a spot to party, ~VINYL ROOM~ has undergone a serious transformation courtesy of Craige Walters from C. Walters Design. Expect a retro look, with vintage barstools, new booths in the lounge, and an art wall with 50 panels of imprinted artwork of iconic album covers. Sound, lighting, flooring, mirrors, paint, and artwork all got updated as well. In August, Vinyl Room will open daily from 5pm-2am. 221 Park Rd. at Howard, Burlingame, 650-347-7656.