January 15, 2016

January 15, 2016
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The long bar at The Perennial. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

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The dining room at The Perennial. Photo courtesy of The Perennial.

About a year ago, we wrote about ~THE PERENNIAL~, the city’s most eco-minded project from Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz (Mission Chinese Food, Mission Street Food, Commonwealth, Lt. Waffle). Well, it’s opening Wednesday January 20th, and isn’t it a beaut?

To recap, their goal was to design a restaurant (and bar!) that would “lead the restaurant industry toward greater sustainability and deeper engagement with the most pressing issue of our time: climate change.” The level of thought that went into this project is staggering, from sourcing meat and dairy from ranches engaged in carbon farming (where managed grazing promotes carbon storage by perennial grasses) to using Kernza, a new perennial grain that counteracts climate change. And then there’s their aquaponic greenhouse to reduce food waste. (I wish I had more time to dive into this story deeper and share more with you, but this week is at Defcon 5 for me! You really should check out the Sustainability Fact Sheet attached here to read all the sustainable features they added—it’s fascinating stuff!)

Head chef Chris Kiyuna’s menu is up—he’s working with sous chef Richard Lee and pastry chef Nicola Carey. Kiyuna was previously chef de cuisine at Mission Chinese Food and has also cooked at Noma (Copenhagen), Coi, and even the Front Porch. The food will be accessible yet refined, and of course every ingredient will support their climate-conscious mantra. Snacks at the bar will run $8-$16, while à la carte dinner entrées will be $22-$28.

Bar director Jennifer Colliau (Small Hand Foods and founder of The Interval in Fort Mason) was tasked with making the bar program a sustainable one, which inspired a great deal of creative thinking and changes. Ice is a huge issue because of the water waste (with only 50 percent of the water you use goes into that Kold-Draft ice), so she created a different approach to cocktails. She will be using a cobbled ice/Scotsman machine instead—pebbled ice uses 95 percent of the water it takes to make it. They will be serving premixed and prediluted cocktails on draft (and chill the drinks in bottles in the freezer), as well as freezing ice in the glass. Blender drinks are also okay because you’re consuming the ice in the drink, and not shaking and straining it away.

She will also be creating flavorful citrus hydrosols by zesting citrus beforehand and distilling it in water in five-gallon copper pot stills, which they can spritz, and leftover juices will be used in sherbets (there’s a pisco punch dessert that will use it). As for my number one bar pet peeve: you won’t be seeing any tasting through disposable cocktail straws here. Bartenders will use a metal straw to extract a taste and put it onto their own personal spoon to taste. (Can everyone please do this?)

Colliau expects more changes will happen as the bar program evolves and as they learn about more companies, brands, and partners with a sustainable approach. (She also mentioned that companies who are good to their staff and community also plays a part in what they deem sustainable—it’s not just about carbon footprint.) To be clear, Colliau will still be at The Interval, and wine director Jay Latham is handling the beer and wine selections at The Perennial.

Not only will The Perennial be serving coffee from local roaster Paramo Coffee, but there will also be a café open 8am-5pm off 9th St.; at night, the café will be available for private dining. Five cents from every drink goes to supporting Straus Creamery’s conversion of grazing land to a carbon farming system.

The dining room (designed by master woodworker Paul Discoe, who did Ippuku—read more about the design details here) has room for 65, and there’s space for 40 in the bar area and 12 in the private dining room. The Perennial is open for dinner Mon-Sat, with potential to expand hours later. 59 9th St. at Market.

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The original Hot House location. Photo via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. For a deep dive into San Francisco culinary history (one of our favorites over here), be sure to check out The Original Hot House from Playland pop-up at Al-Masri in the Outer Richmond on Saturday January 30th. From 12pm-3pm, you can try replicas of the famed Mexican restaurant’s cup-shaped tamales and their well-known red sauce. The original Hot House was in operation from 1934-1996, first at Playland at the Beach and then later on Balboa in the Outer Richmond, according to Streetwise.

Now, the son of the final owner, Eric Faranda, is hosting monthly pop-ups that include the famous tamales, enchiladas, and chile con carne. Be sure to follow along on Facebook for more details and to catch all of his pop-ups inspired by the San Francisco tradition. (Hat tip to Chowhound.) Al-Masri, 4031 Balboa St. at 41st Ave., 415-876-2300.

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A group of performers at Red Hots Burlesque. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

By Dana Eastland. The fine and foxy folks of Red Hots Burlesque will be performing during Sunday brunch at ~PIANOFIGHT~ downtown, beginning January 31st. The special brunch includes performances from the ever-changing Red Hots lineup, which includes drag, comedy, striptease, and circus-influenced acts, and performers of every gender, size, race, and country.

Tickets are $45 per person and include the show as well as your choice of brunch item, from a menu that includes eggs Benedict, apple French toast, and even options to keep vegans happy. Drinks are available for purchase as well. The doors open every Sunday at 11am, music begins at 11:30am, and you must be seated by 12pm. 144 Taylor St. at Eddy, 415-672-4735.

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Oyster po’boy at The Bywater; Yelp photo by Kim N.

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Red snapper court bouillon at The Bywater. Yelp photo by Adrienne L.

Let’s pop down to Los Gatos for a moment, because we always have to keep up with David Kinch! Open as of January 12th is his new casual project with partner Andrew Burnham, ~THE BYWATER~. As Kinch says, “The Bywater is the kind of place where I want to go after work or hang out on my day off. It’s casual, eclectic, and brings a bit of the food, drink, and atmosphere of New Orleans to this part of Northern California—music and all.” Kinch grew up in New Orleans and it’s where he started cooking, so you know this will be quite the love letter to the city and its evocative cuisine; he will, of course, also be highlighting many quality local ingredients.

There’s a raw bar with oysters like Pemaquid, Grassy Bar, Rappahannock, and Malpeque rotating on the list, fried green tomatoes, po’boys (dressed with fried oysters, homemade hot links, or shrimp), chicken liver mousse and tomatillo jam, gumbo z’herbes, fried chicken and butter beans, and red snapper court bouillon with andouille and shrimp. Look for nightly specials like Creole shrimp and grits on Tuesdays and cochon de lait on Thursdays. It will be hard to save room for dessert, but you really should try, because there will be an affogato with beignets and butterscotch pot de crème. Check out the lunch and dinner menus.

Working with Kinch is chef de cuisine David Morgan, formerly of August in New Orleans and Cyrus in Healdsburg. As for the cocktails, Chad Arnholt and Claire Sprouse of Tin Roof Drinking Community have put together a program of Crescent City Classics (featuring takes on classic New Orleans cocktails like the Sazerac and gin fizz), Exotic Delights (including tropical cocktails that reference the Caribbean influence on the city), and Creole Goods (showcasing culinary-inspired cocktails). American whiskey, bourbon, and rye will also be heavily featured, with some French brandies too.

There’s a 30-seat dining room, 10-seat bar, and a covered patio in the back with room for 20. The design is meant to be simple and casual, with the bright colors of the Bywater and some New Orleans details like grates and shutters and vintage signs—and Kinch helped curate the New Orleans artwork and photography. Get ready for some funky brass!

Open daily: Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Brunch is coming in early February. 532 N. Santa Cruz Ave, Los Gatos, 408-560-9639.

File this one under coming soon: a tablehopper reader sent in a pic of plans in a window for a second location of ~MANRESA BREAD~ at 271 State Street in Los Altos. We reached out to the PR team for details but they didn’t have anything to share at the moment, but according to a pic on Instagram, it’s happening! Follow @manresabread for updates on timing.

Another project to note in Saratoga: Sent Sovi (which long ago was Kinch’s first restaurant, with Aimee Hébert) closed last September, but chef-owner Josiah Slone is reopening it as ~RELISH GASTROLOUNGE~, with chef Timothy Uttaro leading the new direction (and he actually once worked at Sent Sovi). The space is getting a remodel as well, including a poured concrete bar.

The menu is designed to share, with dishes like peppered ostrich carpaccio (with preserved lemon, candied onion aioli, caper berries, wild arugula, cracked Szechuan pepper), porchetta sliders, and oysters on the half shell, plus a couple of salads, and larger plates like a classic steak frites with aged beef rib eye, housemade fries, and béarnaise, crispy Sonoma Duck confit, and a vegetarian terrine.

The new sommelier is Lynne Bryant, and look for a craft beer program featuring selections like Allagash Curieux, Mother Earth Wet Hop Dreams, and Knee Deep Simtra. It should be opening later this month—Thursday January 21st is the current target. 14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga, 408-867-3110.