October 13, 2015

October 13, 2015
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The scene at Nojo’s (first) opening party. Photo courtesy of Nojo.

Good news for all the ~NOJO~ fans: the restaurant has reopened after its closure in August, now under new ownership! Previous chef-owner Greg Dunmore—who is now the corporate chef for the new owners, AP Company—says the menu will still feature all the Nojo standards, like yakitori of all kinds, beef tendon salad, umeboshi somen with uni, miso-glazed trout, tempura, Nojo fries, avocado salad, and of course the Nojo sundae (yes, the peanut Thunder Crackers return!). Dunmore says that a new ramen concept for the space is slated for the new year, so stand by for more on that.

The hours have also changed: new hours of operation are Wed-Sat 5:30pm to close and Sun 5pm until close.

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No, it’s not posole–it’s actually Don Pisto’s amazing chicken tortilla soup. Yelp photo by Jonathan T.

Posole fans, this one is for you. Taking over the former and vacant Minako space on Mission will be ~POSOLE~ from Pete Mrabe of Don Pisto’s and Chubby Noodle Marina and North Beach (and the former Amante, which he is morphing into Pete’s). He’s going to be serving his rather fantastic posole with classic garnishes (like cilantro and onion) and says he may add in a few other soups, too, like chicken soup and other specials. It’s a tough space because of the limited kitchen, which is why he’s keeping it simple. As he said, “There are all kinds of places that only sell pho, so why not just posole?” Why not, indeed. We’ll keep you posted on the opening after he gets sign-offs. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore.

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Exterior of St. Vincent. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The former Herbivore location on Divisadero. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Some changes (again) over at ~ST. VINCENT~: owner David Lynch is going to be changing the format to more of a wine bar—with a focus on retail sales in the wine shop—and less of a restaurant. Although they will still serve food, it will enoteca-style fare, with tramezzini and more. Scoop reports it’s closed for now during the transition; we’ll have more details when it reopens around November 1st.

The Divisadero location of ~HERBIVORE~ has closed, Hoodline reports. The Mission and Berkeley locations remain open, though. 531 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

~PIZZA ORGASMICA~ has closed their Clement Street location, according to a tablehopper tipster—The Richmond Blog has more details. According to a sign on the door, they lost their lease but other locations remain open. No word on what’s moving into the large space now that it’s being vacated. 823 Clement St. at 9th Ave.

Speaking of Pizza Orgasmica, their downtown location in the Embarcadero Center is rebranding, according to Hoodline. It will now be called ~GOCHEES PIZZA~ after owner Gina Gochez, who was one of the original partners in the pizza mini-chain and is now the sole owner of this location. There will be other changes, too, including some reworking of the menu items and new training for staff. Embarcadero Center 2, Clay at Front, 415-834-9600.

The crew behind Burger, the social media-savvy Monday pop-up at ~CEASE & DESIST~ from the Causwells fellows, is getting ready to open their very own brick-and-mortar location in February. As previously reported, the new location is going to be at 6th and Market, but the exact address is still undisclosed.

To prepare for the new location, they are closing up shop at Cease & Desist after Monday October 19th, meaning you only have one more chance to catch them. Then they’ll focus on R & D and will ramp up some new menu items in preparation for the February opening. In the meantime, you can still get your burger fix at ~CAUSWELLS~ or just give your waistband a break for the holidays. Stay tuned for more information on Burger, including their new name and a scavenger hunt giveaway.

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The coconut “yogurt” parfait at Elixiria. Yelp photo by Elaine N.

By Dana Eastland: After our mention last week of the drama going on with Castro landlord Les Natali and the potential closure of ~ZAPATA~, it appears the long-standing Mexican restaurant may be allowed to stay where they are—for another year, at least. Hoodline reports that Natali and Zapata’s owner Jorge Perez have reached a verbal agreement to extend the lease for a year, which would allow them to save some money and find a new location before leaving their current spot. 4150 18th St. at Church, 415-861-4470.

Yelpers are reporting that there’s a new café for smoothies, shakes, and other raw and vegan items in the Financial District. It’s called ~ELIXIRIA~, and the menu offers smoothies, açai bowls, a parfait made with coconut “yogurt,” nut milk blends, and fresh cold-pressed juices. Don’t worry, they have coffee too. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, 628-444-3149.

Noe Valley has a new corner spot called ~NEIGHBOR’S CORNER~, according to Yelpers. They are serving coffee from Andytown Coffee Roasters, as well as daily changing pastries like a roasted persimmon crème fraîche coffee cake and pear custard cake. They also offer flowers from FloralCultural Society and frozen custard. Right now, they are softly open and hours are Wed-Fri 8am-7pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 499 Douglass St. at 21st St., no phone.

After an unfortunate closure in September, it looks like ~BODEGA BISTRO~ has reopened according to a post on Facebook. Hopefully whatever issue they had with the Health Department has been sorted out—permanently.

Hopper (hangover) breakfast sandwich fave ~LOU’S CAFE~ has opened a third location, and this time it’s not even in the Avenues—it’s right downtown in the Financial District. Yelpers report the same sandwiches, including the outrageous breakfast sandwich, and easy call-ahead ordering. 100 Pine St. at Front (entrance on Front), 415-283-4777.

The former Chai-Yo on Polk is now ~BEN THAI CAFE~. They are serving home-style Thai food, with influences from both China and Indonesia. The owners are a brother and sister raised in San Francisco by two first-generation Thai parents, one of Chinese heritage and the other Indonesian, and the menu reflects their mom’s melting pot-style of cooking. They are also rocking a solid beer list, with two rotating craft beers on tap and bottle selections like Almanac Saison Dolores and Ninkasi Tricerahops double IPA. 1331 Polk St. at Austin, 415-771-2562.

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Some of the ingredients for the EatWith Glena’s dinner. Photo: Stephanie Page Gaines.

We recently reported on the departure of chef Michael Gaines from Kin Khao, and now we get a peek at what’s coming next from him: ~GLENA’S~, which will be a casual tacos and margaritas spot that’s due to open early next year. He’s from Southern California and grew up on the beach, so you can see where he got his inspiration.

But we don’t have to wait until 2016 to try his food, since he’s hosting a preview dinner at the EatWith headquarters in SoMa on Thursday October 15th! The menu includes deep-fried plantains with sea salt and crema, tacos al pastor, and more for $74. And tablehopper readers get 50 percent off with code HOPPER50, thanks to EatWith’s sponsorship this past month. Buen provecho!

Also from EatWith is this Build Your Own Brunch pop-up this Saturday October 17th at 11am (and at 10:30am on the 24th) from EatWith’s consulting chef, Dimitri Tishlias. Twenty-four guests will get to make their own toasts with toppings like bacon marmalade and sous vide eggs with chile oil, seasonal quiche, and Café du Monde-style beignets and iced NOLA coffee. $35 (cocktails like Ramos gin fizzes available à la carte). Again, tablehopper readers can take 50 percent off with code HOPPER50.

Anyone who craves the flavors and dishes of Portugal (a cuisine that is hard to find here in SF) will want to check out this Portuguese dinner at ~THE COMMISSARY~ on Saturday October 17th with guest chef Telmo Faria of Uma Casa. He’ll be serving a seven-course prix-fixe menu (check out the menu here), and Eugenio Jardim (U.S. Ambassador for Wines of Portugal and former Jardinière wine director of 11 years) has paired exceptional Portuguese wines ($72, $32 for wine pairings). There’s also a nine-course option with the chef and winemakers seated at the open kitchen counter and private dining room ($98, $42 for wine pairings). Seatings available at 6pm and 8pm. To make reservations, call 415-561-3600. 101 Montgomery St. in the Presidio on the Main Post.

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The scene at the last STEM Garden Party. Photo courtesy of STEM.

By Dana Eastland: The garden patio at ~STEM~ is a special place. Not only is it a beautiful example of modern garden design with breathtaking bay views, but it also provides a great deal of the produce for the restaurant. On Thursday October 15th, get a special look at the Garden Party, an evening featuring pop-ups from local restaurants and bars like Poquito, Public House, and Sea Star, as well as fellow urban farmers West Oakland Woods Farm and other CSA farms like Eatwell Farm and Blue Egg Farm. Plus, Farmscape Gardens, STEM’s garden partner, will be in attendance, leading tours of the garden and even sharing some tips for urban gardeners on growing, harvesting, and cooking with fresh produce.

In addition to an informational day, it’s also a party! There will be plenty of food from STEM and their local restaurant guests, cocktails, bocce ball, and live jazz to keep the party vibe festive. It’s free to attend, and food, drink, and produce will be available for purchase. Catch the party from 4pm-8pm. And the weather is looking good! 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

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Celebrate Food Day on Saturday October 24th with the EatDrinkFilms Festival, which is taking place all day at the Exploratorium and Roxie Film Center. The day begins at the Exploratorium at 11am with “Celluloid Appetizers,” a series of short films, and then continues with a screening of Babette’s Feast at the Roxie and three more food films. All of the films are accompanied by special programming; you can peek at the whole schedule right here. Tickets to the individual films are $14, or you can buy an all-day pass to all four films for $40; get them right here. The Exploratorium, Pier 15, The Embarcadero; The Roxie, 3117 16th St. at Valencia.

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Oliveto’s sign. Photo via Oliveto.

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Interior seating at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo courtesy of Perdition Smokehouse.

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The drowned chicken torta at Salsipuedes. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some news bites from the 510, starting with ~OLIVETO~, which has converted their downstairs cafe into an Italian rosticceria in the evenings. You’ll find fire-roasted or slowly braised meats (like chicken, roast beef, and lamb) and simple vegetable dishes at affordable prices (a serving of meat plus two sides will cost a little less than $20). There will also be a fish stew, vegetarian or meat-based lasagna, and more (the pizza and polenta are staying put). The menu is designed for quick service, but diners can still sit down and linger in case a drink from the new cocktail list is calling you.

Unfortunately, East Bay Express reports that ~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ in Berkeley has suddenly and unexpectedly closed. It could be partly related to the departure of chef Mike O’Brien (Eater reported earlier that O’Brien also left owner Chuck Stilphen’s Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco and is now at Monk’s Kettle). Dang, no more brisket and beers on that great patio. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck.

Have you checked out the new ~SALSIPUEDES~ from Jay Porter of Fruitvale’s The Half Orange? Well, to encourage folks to come by, if you bring an October 2015 receipt (of at least $20) from The Half Orange when you come to Salsipuedes, they’ll give you 20 percent off your night. Also worth noting: on Tuesday nights, you can get chef Marcus Krauss’s crazy delicious drowned/ahogada chicken torta (with kimchi on it!), plus tempura sea beans and a glass of draft beer for just $20. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., Oakland, 510-350-7489.

There’s a new chef at ~GATHER~ in Berkeley: Tu David Phu, an Oakland native. He was previously a sous at Acquerello, chef de cuisine at Flora in Oakland, and executive chef of the Park Café Group, with numerous locations in San Francisco.