May 19, 2015

May 19, 2015
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The coffee counter and seating at Vive La Tarte, with the bakery in the background. Photo courtesy Vive La Tarte.

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One of their seasonal tarts. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Vive La Tarte’s incredibly delicious “California” cheesecake. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The bleacher-style seating to the left, and a low island counter to the right. Photo courtesy Vive La Tarte.

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The snazzy 1971 Rancilio Z8 elematic lever espresso machine. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SF’s baked goods scene continues to rock. Opening tomorrow in SoMa is the brick-and-mortar location of ~VIVE LA TARTE~, a bakery and cafe from Belgian couple Arnaud Goethals and Julie Vandermeersch, who moved to SF in October 2011 and started baking here in early 2012. The space was originally a printing house in the 1920s, and the duo wanted to maintain the open-air look of the space (you’ll even see some old ink stains on the concrete floors); you can read the earlier announcement from Eater.

Their focus is on small-batch baked goods, which will come out fresh throughout the day. In the morning, you will find croissants, their twist on a cinnamon roll, and koek, the Flemish name for a rectangular pastry made with laminated dough and vanilla raisins (it’s similar to the couque suisse and is also known as “Belgian buns”). To round out their line of viennoiserie, you’ll also find Danishes made with seasonal fruit (expect rhubarb and nectarines right now). They are excited to show the Belgian side of baked goods, using Belgian technique, while giving their own California spin to some items, which you will note in their sweet tarts made with fresh fruits and more.

At their preview party last week, I got to try one of their Berliners, a lighter kind of filled doughnut, with fennel-caramel custard inside, and they also had slices of their bonkers good cheesecake, which had such a fluffy-creamy texture (with a hint of lemon), with a crisp ginger cinnamon crust made from speculoos, a spiced biscuit like the famous Biscoff or Dutch windmill cookies. Don’t miss this.

There will also be some savory items, like pizza al taglio (which is what you see in Roma—pizza cut and sold by weight). The crust is bready and soft, like focaccia, and made with whole wheat. It’s a bit Italian and a bit Californian, with toppings like braised kale, lemon, ricotta, and Grana Padano, and another with guanciale, burnt green garlic, and pecorino. There will also be a vegan option. One item that will be more on the classic side is their quiche, with flavors like spinach and chèvre, but of course they make it with their own modern method.

You don’t want to miss a look at their 1971 bright orange Rancilio Z8 elematic lever machine, designed by Marco Zanuso, which is where you can get shots of Sightglass espresso, and drip will be available too (Eater mentions “they’ll be the first to serve the roastery’s new espresso blend Crown Point”).

The space has a couple of seating areas, including a wood bleacher-like seating arrangement with multiple levels (for ringside seats) and an island with stools and a low counter. The catering side of their business will continue. Hours to start are Wed-Sun from 8am-4pm. 1164 Howard St. at 7th St., 415-891-9743.

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The interior of Fish & Farm. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy Urban Daddy.

Back in March, we shared that ~FISH & FARM~ was moving from its location on Taylor Street into the former Elephant & Castle in the Financial District. The new location is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, and they will continue to source most of their fish, meat, and produce from within a 100-mile radius, with a focus on sustainable and organic ingredients. George Morrone is the chef, which is why you’ll see his trademark tuna tartare on the menu (here’s lunch and dinner). The New American menu includes a chilled Hass avocado soup, BLT skewer, albacore sandwich, and half-pound burger for lunch, while dinner includes salt-baked Mt. Lassen trout and stuffed prawns.

The two-level space has tufted booths, a masculine look, and a full bar, sure to be popular with the FiDi crowd (plus happy hour and live entertainment). 424 Clay St. at Battery, 415-474-3474.

About a month ago, we mentioned the upcoming opening of ~ACQUOLINA~ in the former Café Divine space in North Beach, right on Washington Square. According to some fresh shill posts on Yelp (I always love the “I just joined Yelp to review this restaurant because my experience here was so good!” comments), it’s now open. To recap: a trio of Italians are making Roman-style pizzas, pastas, and meaty dishes for dinner, like peposo al chianti (beef stew) and rack of lamb. Open for lunch and dinner daily, with breakfast also in the works. 1600 Stockton St. at Union, 415-781-0331.

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The famed Chubby Noodle fried chicken. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Earlier this year, we shared the news that Pete Mrabe (of Don Pisto’s, Chubby Noodle, and more) was going to be moving the ~CHUBBY NOODLE NORTH BEACH~ pop-up out of Amante and into the former Pisto’s Tacos space (at 1310 Grant). That project is moving along, and Bon Vivants Design+Build is currently updating the space (they also designed Chubby Noodle Marina). Timing is currently set for an opening in mid-June.

Mrabe has brought on Alex Ong as a consultant for the project (they used to work together at Betelnut) to help develop the menu and hire the team; Ong will move on to other consulting projects in a few months once the project is steady. The menu will continue to feature some Chubby Noodle favorites—like the fried chicken, ramen, spicy garlic noodles, and Korean pork tacos—but will be taking more of an izakaya approach to the menu. Ong says it’s a style of food that’s missing in the neighborhood and something they crave—so they’ll basically be making the kind of food they like to eat. Don’t expect traditional Japanese izakaya dishes, however—the menu will be more playful and creative, with an emphasis on skewers from the grill (ranging from seafood to meats), plus some raw bar selections, salads, and noodles.

We’ll keep you posted on the opening next month. As for Amante, it’s going to have a limited menu for now and Mrabe is going to be launching a new food concept in the space, stand by for more on that. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

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The hip grandma pie from Tony’s Slice House. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The Japanese breakfast plate from ICHI Sushi. Photo from ICHI.

The new location of ~TONY’S SLICE HOUSE~ that opened last month is now serving bottomless weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm. The spread is a little out of control, with three different breakfast pizza selections, plus dishes like soft scrambled eggs, housemade Italian sausage, blueberry coffee cake, housemade biscuits and gravy, spaghetti, salads, and much, much more.

The whole thing is $20 per person, and you can add bottomless mimosas for $10 or sangria for $9. Check out the whole menu here, and come hungry. Note that hours are subject to change on Giants game days. 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-872-9680.

~ICHI SUSHI~ is now open for brunch on Sundays from 10am to 3pm, with Japanese-style dishes that will change seasonally. The current menu includes ramen, the Japanese breakfast (grilled mackerel, poached egg, rice, pickles, and miso soup), and tamago French toast with miso strawberries. They are also mixing up some brunch cocktails like the Dashi Bloody Mary with shochu, and a strawberry mimosa—plus of course there is coffee. And you know the beats will be on lock.

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Bluefin tuna at Jiro SF. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After a wonderful experience at Jiro SF, the temporary guest chef/collaboration between chef Jiro Lin and Joshua Skenes at ~SAISON~’s chef counter, it’s great to hear that the pair’s collaboration has been extended. Initially, the plan was that the sushi experience would end May 30th, but now Lin and Skenes have decided to keep their partnership going.

Five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, the pair will be serving together at the eight-seat chef’s counter, with each chef contributing various courses (for example, Skenes could include Saison reserve caviar and grilled seaweed bread, while Jiro would serve nigiri like golden eye snapper and live spot prawns).

The omakase-style tasting menu is rather free-form: it starts at $225 per person, and diners are welcome to eat as much, or as little, as they like. Wine pairings from Mark Bright are available starting at $100 per person. Reservations can be made by calling 415-716-6008.

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The exterior of Manresa (the restaurant awaits a very special guest chef on July 9th). Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos.

On Thursday July 9th, 37 of the world’s most famous chefs will be participating in The Grand Gelinaz! Shuffle. What is that, you ask? Well, it’s a global dinner party taking place at restaurants throughout the world. Each of the 37 participating chefs will be assigned a secret location and will prepare dinner at another chef’s restaurant, but no one will know until the night of the dinner who is where. In fact, the mystery will be slowly revealed, as the eight-course dinner unfolds.

Local participating restaurants are ~COI~, ~ATELIER CRENN~, and ~MANRESA~. Daniel Patterson, Dominique Crenn, and David Kinch will be somewhere else, and one of the other chefs will take over their restaurants for the evening. So who might end up locally? Well, participating chefs include Sean Brock, René Redzepi, Massimo Bottura, and Inaki Aizpitarte, so it’s a pretty safe gamble that you’ll have an amazing meal. Tickets are selling fast, but there are still a few available. Prices vary (and are listed in euros), but range from approximately $278 to $317.

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Merigan is one of the new food vendors who will be at Outside Lands this year (with their eggplant Parm!). Photo by Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Stevie Wonder onstage at last year’s Outside Lands. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Outside Lands has released the list of beer, wine, and food vendors for the festival from August 7th through 9th, and once again the list is as exciting (if not more so) than the musical lineup. (Oh, San Francisco. Never change.) Then again, Sir Elton John, Tame Impala, and Odesza will all be great, along with Caribou, The Black Keys, Hot Chip, Classixx, and almost everyone is gonna be fired up for D’Angelo. The festival itself is sold out (but keep your eyes on the night shows around town), and if you are going, you’ll want to plan your gastronomic experience ahead of time.

First, the food lineup is insane. Festival newcomers Merigan Sub Shop and Delfina join restaurant favorites like 4505 Meats, Azalina’s, Rich Table (gotta get those dried porcini doughnuts!), Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers, and AQ (serving Sweet, Spicy and Shroomy Waffles—we promise, they won’t make things trippy), plus trucks like Del Popolo and Bacon Bacon. Sightglass will be on hand with coffee to keep you going all weekend long, and there are plenty of sweets in the Choco Lands area, where you’ll find cookies, cupcakes, and all sorts of confections for legal sugar highs.

There are more than 30 breweries participating in Beer Lands this year, including the likes of Local Brewing Co., Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., and Magnolia. Check out all the options here. There is also plenty of wine, of course, with more than 35 wineries pouring in the Wine Lands tent. Look for pours from Idlewild/Ryme/Jolie-Laide, Tin Barn, Turley, Wind Gap, Jamieson Ranch Winery, Robert Sinskey, and Hobo Wine Co. Oh, and of course be sure to check out Cheese Lands, where you’ll fine cheese and charcuterie from Long Meadow Ranch in Napa. Have fun out there!

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Breakfast sandwiches at Super Duper. Photo by Aubrie Pick via Super Duper.

Burger mini-empire ~SUPER DUPER BURGERS~ is opening a new location in the Financial District on Wednesday May 27th, offering their usual (and tasty) burgers, sandwiches, fries, and milk shakes, plus breakfast. They’ll be serving a breakfast sandwich ($4) with scrambled eggs, cheddar, and a choice of sausage or bacon, as well as housemade doughnuts (one for $0.75, three for $2, a dozen for $8). The mini breakfast combo ($5) includes a sandwich, one mini doughnut, and a small Four Barrel coffee, while the super combo ($7) is three doughnuts and a large coffee. Hours are Mon-Fri 6am-10pm, Sat 11am-8pm. Breakfast is served Mon-Fri 6am-10:30am. 346 Kearny St. at Pine, 415-974-1200.

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The sign at Annabelle’s. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

A superstar tablehopper reader sent in a tip that ~ANNABELLE’S~ is closing, and a post on Facebook confirms that the restaurant and bar closed on Saturday May 16th after 30 years in SoMa. Unfortunately, we were unable to get any solid news on what is happening there moving forward, but a note from assistant general manager Guia Nocon says that they are “planning on a July reopen with a totally new design and concept.” 68 4th St. at Mission.

The newly opened ~AL’S PLACE~ is taking some days off for some quick upgrades in the coming weeks (so book your reservation now if you have been wanting to come by). From May 29th through June 7th, they’ll be working on seismic upgrades, some plumbing and electrical work that didn’t happen before they opened, and turning their basement space into a prep kitchen. They’ll be open again as usual on June 10th. 1499 Valencia St. at 25th St., 415-416-6136.

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Selections from the new E&Go lunch menu. Photo: Lib Curlee, for E&O Kitchen and Bar.

There are two wonderful words people love to hear in succession: free food. (Ditto “tax return” and “open bar.”) In honor of ~E&O KITCHEN AND BAR~’s new to-go lunches (called E&Go), they’re giving away 100 chicken banh mi (for free!) this Wednesday, starting at 11:30am. And here’s the bonus round: if you tag your pic #EandGo, one lucky person is going to win a free E&Go lunch every week for the rest of the year. Sweet!

As for the new to-go program, chef Sharon Nahm’s menu includes five different mains, all $12, like the aforementioned chicken banh mi, as well as yam noodles with grilled market vegetables, and Chinese chicken salad. You can add prawns for $6, or their amazing deviled eggs or two cookies for $3. Available Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm. Food is ready within five minutes, because we know you’re so busy. 314 Sutter St. at Grant, 415-693-0303.

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Dishes and drinks from 2014’s Eat (RED). Photo courtesy RED.

Local drag queen Juanita More! is famous not only for her fabulous parties and performances, but also for her cooking skills (and philanthropy!). On Thursday May 28th, she’s hosting a dinner to launch Pride Month with Kitchit to raise money for YES, the Youth Empowerment Summit, an annual conference for LGBTQ and ally youth activists who are dedicated to racial, economic, and educational justice for trans and queer youth. The four-course dinner runs from 7pm to 10pm and includes slow-roasted pork with salsa verde and ricotta toast, as well as a cream of squash blossom soup. Juanita promises lots of surprises and “wild wining” too, so don’t miss a chance to attend. Tickets are $100 per person. And psssst, use code juanitamore for a whopping $45 off your ticket! 3359 Cesar Chavez St. at Mission.

From June 1st through 30th, dine out to raise money for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS with Eat (RED) Drink (RED). Many local restaurants will be participating by creating special dishes, cocktails, and even tasting menus to raise money for the (RED) cause. The program is nationwide, so if you have any travel planned be sure to check it out. Locally, participants include Pabu and Ramen Bar, RN74, and Clock Bar, as well as Lucy Restaurant & Bar in Yountville. See the full list of participants here, and follow along on Instagram and Twitter.

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The spice pot on the vegetarian menu at Campton Place’s Nepal dinner. Photo courtesy Campton Place.

After the horrific earthquake that hit Nepal last month, there are many ways you can still help. ~CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT~ is hosting a benefit dinner on Monday May 25th and will be donating at least 70 percent of the evening’s proceeds to The Seva Foundation and their Nepal relief fund. Chef Srijith Gopinathan has planned a special “spice route” four-course menu. Seatings for the dinner begin at 6pm, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. The dinner costs $75 per person, and additional donations can be made here if you can’t make it to the dinner. Every dollar helps!

On Saturday June 6th, the Spring India Fest from WomenNow TV will take over Union Square from 11am until 7pm. There will be a ceremonial drummer, henna artists, Bollywood dancing, and fashion, in addition to lots of food. New Delhi is among the food vendors, with dishes like samosas, kebabs, and chaat street food. The event is free to attend, not including food or drink.

The event is a fundraiser for Compassionate Chefs Cafe, which helps children in San Francisco’s Tenderloin and the town of Ahmedabad, India. They are also helping raise money for the ongoing relief efforts in Nepal, via this GoFundMe page, and anything you can give helps. Union Square, Geary at Powell.

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Who doesn’t love a good film on food, especially when it’s thought-provoking and part of a festival screening? Here are some great opportunities to catch some good films locally this month.

From May 28th through June 3rd, catch films on the environment and food at the San Francisco Green Film Festival. Films include Good Things Await, about the Danish biodynamic farm that supplies Noma, and That Sugar Film, about sugar in our diets. The full lineup of films is here, with locations and times.

The San Francisco Documentary Festival, or Doc Fest, is happening June 4th through June 18th and is screening For Grace. The film is about Chicago chef Curtis Duffy and the process of opening his restaurant, Grace, as well as his difficult background. There are multiple screenings in multiple locations; check them out here.

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