June 30, 2015

June 30, 2015

The fantastic lasagna at The Italian Homemade Company, one of the many crazy-delicious pasta dishes they make. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The classic piadina (at The Italian Homemade Company). Photo: © tablehopper.com.


You know the Negroni recipe, right? Photo courtesy of Campari America.

You ready for another tablehopper evening, where you’ll be well fed and served delicious aperitivi with fun people? I thought so. It’s Aperitivo Time in Rimini! For this event, I’m happy to announce that I’m partnering with EatWith, which is a global platform for unique dining experiences—it’s a great way to discover home restaurants and pop-ups, locally and around the world.

First, I have to ask: have you ever had a piadina? If you have visited the Italian beaches in Rimini, you will fondly recall these warm, flatbread-like sandwiches, classically filled with tangy stracchino cheese, thinly sliced prosciutto di Parma, and peppery arugula. And there is now (finally!) a place in San Francisco where you can find them: The Italian Homemade Company in North Beach, run by some bona fide Romagnoli (which would be people from the region of Emilia-Romagna), Mattia Cosmi and the aptly named Alice Romagnoli.

So here’s your chance to try a piadina, or revisit one, as we explore the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna over some classic aperitivi made by Rye on the Road, like an Aperol spritz, Negroni Sbagliato, and more. Mille grazie to Campari America, who is helping us host this special night in North Beach.

On Thursday July 16th, Italian Homemade will be open after-hours so we can host this casual affair: imagine your dream cocktail party, with passed piadine, cassoni (a hot, stuffed sandwich that is like a calzone made with piadina dough—they’ll be serving a traditional cassone with spinach, potato, and mozzarella), and tortellini pasticciato (the sauce is made with Bolognese and béchamel!). Plus some tiramisu! The chefs will be telling us about each dish too.

It’s a casual space (it’s like a deli), so come as you are. It’s really about having a chance to hang out after work, meet fellow tablehopper readers and EatWith fans, and learn about the food of Emilia-Romagna (and aperitivi)! We’ll be pouring some red wine as well.

And be forewarned: you’ll probably see some Italian products on the shelves you’ll want to bring home, or maybe a little something fresh from the pasta case!

The event is on Thursday July 16th, beginning at 6:30pm, and will run until 8:30pm or so. Tickets on EatWith are just $39, and tablehopper readers can use an extra-special first-time user discount code: use code EatWithMarcia for 15 percent off. You’ll enjoy passed aperitivi and cocktails, appetizers, pasta, and dessert. We look forward to seeing you—and eating with you! 716 Columbus Ave. at Filbert.


Chubby Noodle North Beach. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy of UrbanDaddy.


The famed Chubby Noodle pork tacos. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last month we mentioned Pete Mrabe (Don Pisto’s, Chubby Noodle, and more) and Nick Floulis were 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), with chef Alex Ong consulting on the opening menu.

Well, Nick Roberto and Colby Thompson of VerSacrum Design (formerly with Bon Vivants Design+Build) cranked on the design, and the space is now open. Every square inch is mapped out, with plenty of booths for you and your posse and a bar in the back. There is also some sound baffling so things aren’t louder than they need to be.

The menu will continue to feature some Chubby Noodle flavor-packed favorites—like the fried chicken, ramen, tuna poke, spicy garlic noodles, and Korean pork tacos—but will be taking more of a creative izakaya approach to the menu. Mrabe is rotating dishes like mustard wings and a bunch of skewers on the grill, ranging from meatball skewers to chicken with avocado to swordfish with lemon togarashi.

The party will be fueled by their sake cocktails on tap (similar to Chubby Noodle Marina), plus sake, beer, and wine on tap too. There are 24 taps in all, and one is extra special since it features Bushido (“Way of the Warrior”), a premium junmai genshu from Japan. The Chubby Noodle team has been trying to get a Japanese sake on tap for the past couple of years, and Chubby Noodle Marina starting pouring it first, making it the first restaurant in the U.S. to have Japanese sake on tap.

Soft opening hours are Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm, which will expand to nightly after a month or so. Look for lunch and brunch to come in time as well. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo, 415-296-9600.


The interior of Dirty Water. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

The Twitter building has another ground-floor project open as of yesterday, Monday June 29th. It’s ~DIRTY WATER~, from former Press Club general manager Kristian Cosentino. (Commence confusion with Dirty Habit in 3, 2, 1…)

As reported on tablehopper last year, the larger space has a full bar, extensive wine list (with many wines available by the glass due to their Coravin system), beer brewed on-site, and food from chef Jarad Gallagher. Gallagher, who previously received a Michelin star during his tenure at Chez TJ, has crated a menu focused on “primal” dining, meaning large cuts of meats cooked over open flame and intended for sharing, served family-style, along with individual-sized portions; check out the menu here. Bone broth, check.

The cocktails are from Zachary Taylor, previously of Ziryab, and they’re trying to make sure there’s something for everyone. Cocktails include the 140 Characters (get it?) with Zu vodka, Ancho Reyes, lime, and egg white, or the King of the Carrot Flowers, with Hendrick’s gin, carrot, ginger, verjus, dry vermouth, kummel, and absinthe. There are more than 52 beers on tap, including Chimay red, white, and blue, and three beers brewed on-site. As for the wine, there are more than 100 options available by the glass. Because they’re using the Coravin system, they’re able to pour that many selections without worrying about bottles deteriorating.

The industrial space was designed by Arcsine, and it’s decidedly masculine, with 1970s-style amber glass, leather couches and banquettes, and lots of wood. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 10am-10pm. 1355 Market St. at 9th St., 415-792-5108.


The interior of The Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland © tablehopper.com.

By Dana Eastland. As reported on tablehopper earlier this month, the former Local’s Corner space in the Mission is now home to ~THE SPICE JAR~. Owner Ryuichi Hamada has made some updates to the corner space, including adding a hood to the small kitchen so that they can use a stove and oven. It’s still comfortable and close, with the same open kitchen, counter, and furniture. They’ve added some cute crafty touches, like a light fixture made with a manzanita branch, pipe shelving, and live plants on the tables.

Hamada calls the food home-style pan-Asian comfort food, and it definitely reads as a trip across Asia via California. The menu starts with a selection of small bites, including edamame hummus served with crackers and vegetables, six-hour braised spareribs served with steamed bao and pickles, and albacore carpaccio. There is a seafood cast-iron “fondue” on the menu, made by cooking shrimp, calamari, and funky Thai shrimp paste in olive oil, and then serving it with toasted bread cubes for dipping. A small selection of salads includes a spicy calamari salad with red curry vinaigrette and vermicelli. Multiple Asian countries are represented in the noodle and rice section, like a tonkotsu-shoyu ramen with pork broth and short rib in place of chashu. There is also laksa and fried rice with roasted garlic, spinach, and egg. Though it all sounds a little fusion-y, Hamada isn’t trying too hard—it’s more like he’s being eclectic and creative without feeling especially bound by traditional preparations.

There are four beers on tap, including Lagunitas IPA, Kirin Ichiban, and Magnolia pale ale. Bottle selections range from a one-liter can of Asahi Super Dry to Hitachino Nest white ale to local Anchor Steam. There are three white wines and three reds, all available by the glass, carafe, or bottle, and nine sakes. They’ve even got a jalapeño-infused plum wine they are serving over ice with a splash of soda, kind of like a Japanese aperitivo.

The Spice Jar opens today, Tuesday June 30th. Hours are Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, 5pm-10pm. For the first few weeks, they may adjust the hours a bit, so it’s not a bad idea to call ahead and make sure they are there. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.


Isabel Caudillo of El Buen Comer. Photo by Kassie Borreson/Haus Fotografie.


Plates of Caudillo’s food at a recent test dinner. Photo by Kassie Borreson/Haus Fotografie.

It’s always thrilling to hear when one of La Cocina’s alums is opening their own place, and the latest is Isabel Caudillo, who will be opening her own brick-and-mortar restaurant. It’s called ~EL BUEN COMER~, just like her catering business and Noe Valley farmers’ market stall. It will be located on Mission Street in Bernal.

Caudillo has been a permanent fixture at the Noe Valley farmers’ market for years, serving cuisine inspired by her upbringing in Mexico City. She’s been offering guisados del día, or daily specials, alongside her street food-style snacks and breakfast items. Her tostadas de tinga are a particular favorite, and her chilaquiles are very popular. She is also currently producing all the breadsticks for the Delfina Restaurant Group and runs a catering business with her husband, Juan Carlos Caudillo.

The backstory is very much “all in the family”: Isabel discovered La Cocina through Verónica Salazar, chef-owner of El Huarache Loco in Larkspur. It ends up Isabel babysat Verónica’s kids while she was running an informal restaurant out of her Mission living room—when she saw Verónica appear on Univision to talk about her business, she was inspired to join La Cocina as well.

As for the new restaurant, it will be open for lunch and dinner and should be up and running in October. The space was previously an office, so it will take some work to convert it to a functional cooking space. Debra Resnik, who previously worked on developing the 331 Cortland marketplace, is helping with the buildout. Caudillo has been trying out new dishes at the farmers’ market to feature on the menu, including a mole verde de pato over beans and rice, and enchiladas verdes, hand-rolled using her housemade tortillas. Her tamales, braised meats in housemade sauces, and tostadas with seasonal toppings are also a highlight.

If you just can’t wait until October (we understand) to get your fill of Isabel Caudillo’s wonderful food, consider booking one of her EatWith dinners. There are a few spots left for one tonight, and the next one is on Tuesday July 7th, with more planned in the coming months. She’ll also be running some crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo and Credibles, which we’ll be sure to update you on. Congratulations, Isabel, and we can’t wait to see your new place! 3435 Mission St. at Kingston (near 30th St.).


The future home of Gardenias. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Curious what’s in store at the upcoming ~GARDENIAS~? This new Lower Pac Heights restaurant from Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino (previously Woodward’s Garden) in the former Roostertail space is due to open in mid-July, and here’s a little more about their plans. Dinner will be served six nights a week, and weekend brunch (and possibly even lunch!) will follow later on. For those of you who enjoyed some of their past special events, with talent like Rebecca Solnit and Cheryl Strayed, those kinds of special evenings will continue!

While the ladies adore and pay homage to seasonal California produce, they are also going to be putting that mega rotisserie to work, with birds, pork, fish, and even whole herb-stuffed goat and lamb—all served with meze-style side dishes. They are going to be offering small plates as well as traditional entrées, so you can come by for a casual bite or a full sit-down experience. Now that they have more space, they’ll be doing wines on tap and plan to work with wineries to make their own Gardenias blends. Just imagine yourself on the back patio, enjoying a glass of rosé and some seasonal dishes….yup, it’s where you’ll want to be. We’ll let you know as soon as we hear a firm opening date. 1963 Sutter St. at Fillmore.


Master cicerone Nicole Erny. Photo by Jon Weber.

Here’s a quick update on ~SESSIONS~ in the Presidio, the beer-focused restaurant we told you about in February. Michael Bilger and Evin Gelleri of the former Georges restaurant are the owners, and they’ve brought on master cicerone Nicole Erny to select the beer. Erny is one of only nine master cicerones in the world (she was the fourth person to receive the certification) and the first woman. She has previously worked at The Trappist in Oakland and as a consultant to various bars and restaurants.

Erny will have 24 taps to play with, offering a rotating selection of beers, along with some ciders. In addition, there will be a signification bottle list with an emphasis on larger-format bottles designed for sharing among groups. As for the opening, construction has hit some snags, and they are currently targeting August. 1 Letterman Dr. at Lombard.

Coming to SoMa is ~METHOD BREWING~, also targeting an August opening. Hoodline shares a bunch of details about this new project, a restaurant and brewery from Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant, which has partnered with “two neuroscientists and two software engineers who say they’re creating ‘beer made with science.’ ” Look for a range of ever-changing and really experimental brews, about six to eight at a time (like a 51 percent oat stout with Vietnamese coffee, yes!). The two-level space has been vacant for some time and is going to feature room for 50 on each floor, plus a sunny roof deck and beer garden with room for 30. A full kitchen will be serving food daily, with brunch on the weekend. We’ll keep you posted. 326 1st St. at Folsom.

According to some ABC license activity, there is a taker for the vacant Abbot’s Cellar space on Valencia: ~BRASSERIE SAINT JAMES~, which is potentially an expansion of the brewery and brasserie based out of Reno, Nevada. We have reached out a couple of times but have heard no reply (yet), so file this news tidbit under “developing.” 742 Valencia St. at 18th St.


The future home of Fine & Rare. Photo courtesy of Fine & Rare.

Scott Peterson and Ted Wilson of ~FINE & RARE~ are opening their very own brick-and-mortar location in July. Scoop caught the news and notes that the space they are moving into is actually the home of the former Stars (and Maestro). As you may recall, Empire Room took over the building’s bar space, and now Fine & Rare is moving into the adjoining café/kitchen location.

The café seats 35 and will serve sandwiches, salads, and soups in a casual setting. You’ll order at the counter, and can then take your food to go or sit in the dining room. As has been the case at their stall in The Hall and their Off the Grid appearances, all ingredients are seasonal and locally sourced. On the menu, look for the wild king salmon pastrami Reuben, as well as a “San Francisco cheesesteak” with grass-fed bavette steak, Fiscalini cheddar, and chimichurri sauce. The plan is to open on Wednesday July 15th, and hours will be lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and dinner Mon-Fri 5pm-9pm. After 9pm, patrons at The Empire Room will be able to order a selection of small bites too. Their Off the Grid appearances will continue. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

As reported on tablehopper earlier this month, Michael Mina took over the Café Claude Marina space with plans to turn it into a sort of incubator concept. Well, details have emerged: it’s called ~MINA TEST KITCHEN~ and will serve as a place for Mina Group chefs to experiment with new techniques and explore cooking styles from around the world. The first pop-up dinners have been announced, from Mina himself and chef Adam Sobel.

The series is called Middle’terrenea and is all about the food Mina (who was born in Egypt) and Sobel grew up eating. The multicourse dinners will be served family-style Wednesday through Saturday, beginning Thursday July 23rd. Tickets are $45 per person, and optional beverage pairings will be available. For updates on when tickets become available and more, follow along on Twitter or join the mailing list here. 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.


The façade of Galette 88. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

One of the Financial District’s tastier deals, ~GALETTE 88~, is sadly going to be making its last lumberjack galette when it closes in September. I connected with partner Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine), who confirmed the sale and said, “It was a really hard decision. We have awesome regulars and a great crew, but we (my business partner and I) are spread too thin!” Owners Rooney and Céline Guillou are waiting for the liquor license to transfer in September, so it’s business as usual for now. The space is still available for private events in the evenings, by the way.

They are selling to David Kurtz, who will be opening a project named ~HOMAGE~. Kurtz was the opening chef at Maven and has an extensive background in both the front and back of house. While he can’t comment on anything at the moment, we’ll let you know when he can! 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny.


The awesome meat case at 4505 Meats Butcher Shop. Photo from Facebook.


A famous Giordano’s all-in-one sandwich (photo via their website).

Here’s some bummer news: ~4505 MEATS~ butcher shop in the Mission is closing. According to Scoop, owner-butcher Ryan Farr says they ran into some issues with their commissary kitchen, which the shop needs in order to function. Fortunately, the shop will remain open until July 26th, so you’ll still be able to get your Independence Day cookout meats there, and then some.

The silver lining is that another quality butcher shop is moving in, from Belcampo Meat Co. Belcampo, which has three other locations throughout the Bay Area, will keep this one to just retail sales (no restaurant) and plans to make minimal changes to the space. They’ll reopen the doors August 1st. And of course, you’ll still be able to get your fill of 4505 goodness at their Divisadero restaurant, and the retail hot dogs and chicharrones will continue to be available throughout the Bay Area. 1909 Mission St. at 15th St., 415-525-4239.

According to Scoop, the North Beach location of Pittsburgh-style deli ~GIORDANO BROS.~ is serving their last all-in-one sandwich and closing today, June 30th. Reportedly, they lost their lease and decided to focus on their larger location in the Mission. The hope is to reopen a second location elsewhere eventually. 303 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-397-2767.


You’ll just have to wait to get your hands on the Italians salumi platter at La Nebbia. Photo: desogos.com.

Financial District workers, there’s a new salad bar in the Rincon Center called ~THE SALAD SPOT~. The grand opening was last week, and they are now offering a buffet with not just an extensive salad bar but also housemade soups, hot entrées, and prepared salads for those in a rush. Everything is $7.50 per pound. 121 Spear St. in the Rincon Center at Howard, 415-926-5678.

While you are enjoying summer, the fine folks at ~LA CICCIA~ and ~LA NEBBIA~ will be enjoying theirs too. From now until Wednesday July 22nd, both locations will be closed for summer vacation. They’ll reopen Thursday July 23rd for business as usual.


The fried chicken with coleslaw and biscuits from BDK. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

~BDK~ in Union Square is now open for weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 2pm. The menu is classic American, with French toast, pancakes, eggs Benedict, omelets, and fried chicken with coleslaw and biscuits. There are also some fun twists on the basics, like ham and Brie “pop tarts.” Check out the full menu here. The bar opens at 10am, and there is a selection of brunch cocktails too. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

From now until August 31st you can check out a new Ling Ling menu at the bar at ~HAKKASAN~. What’s that, you ask? Well, it’s basically a happy hour menu celebrating the restaurant group’s newest property on Mykonos, called Ling Ling. You can only get it at the bar from 5pm to 6pm daily, but it’s a pretty sweet deal: for $45 per person you choose between two menus, meat and seafood, or fish and seafood.

The meat and seafood menu includes the hopper-approved crispy duck salad with pomegranate, smoked short rib, stir-fry scallop with XO sauce, and spicy prawn with lily bulb and almond. On the fish and seafood menu, you’ll find crispy pumpkin salad with mountain yam, grilled sea bass with Chinese honey, steamed Chinese chive dumpling, and stir-fry asparagus with lotus root. Both menus include a selection of macarons and a sample of the Ling Ling Collins, a new signature cocktail that will be served in the Mykonos location.


Chef and author Joyce Goldstein. Photo via Perbacco.

Author, chef, and fantastic human being Joyce Goldstein is turning 80, and her many colleagues from Square One and beyond are getting together to throw her a truly memorable party. On Sunday July 26th, ~PERBACCO~ will be hosting the evening, with chefs Anthony Strong (Delfina, Locanda), Staffan Terje (Perbacco, barbacco), Wendy Brucker (Rivoli), Mourad Lahlou (Mourad, Aziza), Gary Woo, Gerald Gass (McEvoy Ranch), Barbara Haimes, Derek Burns (Surf Spot), Eskender Aseged (Radio Africa Kitchen), Jennifer Millar (Sweet Adeline Bakery), and Amaryll Schwertner (Boulettes Larder, Boulibar). That’s a pretty amazing list of people that have been touched by this truly remarkable woman.

They’ll be preparing five courses inspired by her long career, including aushak, a Middle Eastern ravioli with ricotta and leeks, served in two different sauces, as well as a Moroccan fish dish in chermoula with couscous. Wine pairings will be selected by master sommeliers Evan Goldstein and Peter Granoff too. The dinner begins at 6pm and tickets are $250 each, all-inclusive.

Proceeds benefit Support for Families of Children with Disabilities, an organization that has been of great assistance to Joyce’s grandson, Antonio. Only four tickets were left at publication time, so don’t miss your opportunity to celebrate this wonderful woman.


Oysters on the half shell and seafood at Gaspar Brasserie. Photo courtesy of Gaspar Brasserie.

It’s time to storm ~GASPAR BRASSERIE~ for Bastille Day on Tuesday July 14th. Chef Hubert Keller will be in attendance, preparing a très French five-course dinner (with California influence, of course) with chef Chris Jones. The evening begins at 6pm with a reception where you’ll be served Veuve Clicquot Champagne and oysters on the half shell, followed by a sit-down meal. Dishes include Niçoise olive-crusted king salmon and braised Wagyu beef cheeks with lemongrass and ginger. You can check out the menu here.

After dinner is over, you’re invited to the after-party at Hawthorn, where Keller will DJ an evening of dancing and celebration. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Ecole Notre Dame des Victoires, as well. Tickets are $225 per person and include all food, French wine pairings, gratuity, and the after-party.


Photo from Sushi Ran.


Village Sake exterior; photo via Instagram (@villagesake).

A big change over at ~SUSHI RAN~: executive chef Scott Whitman has departed after 15 years and is opening his own izakaya in Fairfax. The team at Sushi Ran says, “We greatly appreciate all Scott’s contributions over his long tenure at Sushi Ran. He will be missed, but we enthusiastically support Scott in pursuing his dreams and wish him tremendous success.” No word yet about a replacement for him.

We tried to reach Whitman to find out more details on the project, but didn’t hear back. We did, however, find this Kickstarter about the project, Village Sake, which mentions he is partnering with local firefighter Scott Porter; additional team members are Darrin Sander of Eat Drink Works for operations and sous chef Rogelio Newcomb (Sushi Ran and Morimoto Napa). Jim Maxwell of Architects II will be creating a “relaxed but refined atmosphere” for the historic location. They hope to open in August; you can follow their progress on Facebook. 19 Bolinas Rd., Fairfax.

Meanwhile, Sushi Ran’s executive sushi chef Takatoshi Toshi won the Global Sushi Challenge championship in Chicago last month and will represent the U.S. at the world sushi competition in Tokyo in November. The national champions from Japan and 13 other countries will vie for the Global Sushi Challenge world championship. With Sushi Ran approaching its 30th anniversary in 2016, this could be an extra-special win. 107 Caledonia St., Sausalito, 415-332-3620.


A chicken plate and appetizer at Mistura. Photo from Facebook.

Remember back in 2012, after the SF Underground Market was shut down, Iso Rabins launched all those fundraising campaigns for his next venture? Well, there’s finally an update from East Bay Express on where the project will be reemerging. It’s headed to a warehouse in Uptown Oakland, and will be called ~FORAGE KITCHEN~. It will be similar to other incubator/commissary kitchen hybrids, but Rabins has also borrowed some ideas from “co-working spaces.” The word maker is being used a lot, for starters, but it goes beyond that. Would-be chefs can join for a monthly fee, and Rabins also hopes to bring people in for workshops, like an “Ask a Lawyer” night where people can ask for legal advice and share the cost. He is partnering with his cousin, Matt Johansen (one of the founders of Biergarten), and the plan is to open in September—we will of course let you know when things are close. 478 25th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.

East Bay Express reports that a new Peruvian restaurant has opened in Oakland, called ~MISTURA~. Owner Daniel Luna is an Oakland native of Peruvian heritage and is serving a small, tight menu with a couple of potato appetizers and salads, plus lomo saltado and rotisserie chicken. Hours are lunch Sun-Fri 11am-2:30pm, dinner daily 5pm-9pm. 3858 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-652-1439.

As part of their summer series highlighting the regional cuisine of Mexico, ~DOÑA TOMÁS~ is serving a special dinner inspired by Mexico City on Wednesday July 1st. The dinner consists of three small courses, followed by a main dish and dessert. The menu includes ancho chile stuffed with seared foie gras, and mole madre in the style of Pujol. Dinner is $55 per person including food; an optional drink pairing will also be available. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-450-0522.

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