March 8, 2016

March 8, 2016
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The former Chino dining room. Photo courtesy of Chino.

After the unfortunate closure of Chino (there was a lot I liked there), the Tacolicious team is back at it again with the latest concept for the Mission space: ~BAR SAN PANCHO~. Partner Joe Hargrave tells me it’s going to be a Cal-Mexican cantina, with “simple food, game always on, great service, always early to late, a dozen or so beers on tap and 8-10 really simple house cocktails focused on fresh and seasonal juices, a really nice mix of preparadas and wines. A supereasy place that I’ve been thinking about for a long time that I finally pulled the trigger on.” It’s due to open in early April.

A look at a preliminary menu (subject to change!) includes a range of botanas, like cóctel de camarón, MF hot wings (and MF hotter wings, for those of you who want to go there), plus a few tacos, like chile relleno tacos and tacos al charro, with crunchy achiote-rubbed chicken, habanero salsa, chopped lettuce, and cumin crema.

Tortas will be glorious gut bombs—some potential picks include a “HamburQueso,” a chile con queso-stuffed burger, plus a torta with pierna enchilada (always so good), and milanesa de San Pancho (crispy chicken, avocado, poblanos, pepper jack, pickled onions), or you can go vegetarian with fried eggplant, salsa enchilada, goat cheese, and sweet onions. And they will all come with ancho fries.

What are these preparadas Hargrave speaks of? How about cervezas preparadas! You’ll be able to get a Tacolicious brew—a Mexican pilsner made with SF Brewing Co.—as a chelada (lime, chile salt), or michelada picante (arbol chile vinegar, lime, Maggi), and a couple of other options too. Look for seven or so cocktails (simple, fresh juices), a couple of slushie cocktails, and some really cool beers on draft, like one from Cerveceria Insurgente in Tijuana, Mexico (again, possible but not final). Look for a friendly and familiar face behind the bar, Manny Ramirez from Tacolicious.

The space is being renovated and will feature a long bar with 20 seats, and there will be communal, chunky blond wood tables. Some counter-height stools will create a convivial atmosphere too. While this isn’t a sports bar per se, the team wants to have some flat-screen TVs to play the game, and bonus, you’ll be able to have some tasty food and drinks without all that cliché sports bar atmosphere.

They’re also going to paint the brick wall white, and look for a graphic mural of San Pancho. Speaking of, the name San Pancho is a fun play on San Francisco, in case you didn’t catch it: Pancho is a nickname for Francisco (aka Francis). Which gives you an idea of the fun they want to have here.

Early April is the targeted opening, and the team is busy with their other projects as well, including Taco Lab San Miguel de Allende, due in late April; the move of Tacolicious Chestnut a couple of blocks away, which will also become a 2.0 version in late May/early June; and then Tacolicious Santana Row opening in June/July. 3198 16th St. at Guererro.

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The bar and colorful interior at Indian Paradox. Photo courtesy of Indian Paradox.

We wrote an in-depth piece in September about ~INDIAN PARADOX~ from first-time restaurant owner Kavitha Raghavan, and you’ve got to hand it to her, she got the place open pretty quickly! Hoodline reports the tiny wine bar and casual restaurant is open as of last Friday, and her chef is Brenden Darby, a private chef who had a spot on the TV show Chopped, plus four months at Noma.

Now’s your chance to try Raghavan’s unique menu that is structured around Indian street food from many different regions (even though she grew up in Chennai) paired with wines. How about churmur (crispy semolina puffs blended in with tamarind sauce, garbanzo beans, and mint chutney with a dash of chaat masala, sprinkled with cilantro) paired with Aphros Ten Vinho Verde 2014. Or dabeli (potato patty topped with crunchy peanuts, pomegranate seeds, and fried chickpea flour) paired with Sanglier Touché Grenache 2012? It all sounds delicious.

It’s a tiny and colorful spot (the former King Foot Subs space), and you’ll find a bar, plus some counter seats, a couple of tables, and high tables. Hours to start are Tue-Sat 5pm-midnight and Sun 4pm-10pm. Closed Mon. 258 Divisadero St. at Haight.

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Only half (!) of a guided tasting of Champagne Billecart-Salmon at Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2015. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The Pardon My French: Lexus Chef’s Table Lunch with Daniel Boulud at Pebble Beach Food & Wine 2015. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Food and wine festival season is here, and here are a couple you may have seen already on tablehopper as sponsors, plus there’s the famed Pebble Beach Food & Wine, which I am sorry to miss this year, though I’d say New York is a pretty good substitute. Let’s review, and be sure to check out the website for each event.

First, this weekend is the second annual 2016 Lexus Culinary Classic, hosted by Cavallo Point Lodge (March 11th-13th). It’s conveniently just across the Golden Gate Bridge at the stunning Cavallo Point grounds in Sausalito. There’s an Opening Night Reception and Dinner, a sommelier-guided international sparkling wine and Champagne tasting, a Lexus Grand Tasting event, and more. Prices vary.

Up next: Flavor! Napa Valley returns for its fifth year, from March 16th-20th. This year, the five-day festival will feature 40 events, including a Downtown StrEAT Market, Brunch Party, wine classes, and Young Guns Pop-Up Dinner featuring several of the Bay Area’s rising stars. Industry panels and cooking demos with chefs such as Richard Blais and Meadowood’s Christopher Kostow will also be happening. And you know there will be plenty of wine! (Click here for how to snag a tablehopper discount on the Legendary Napa Valley, The Grand Tasting).

Last but certainly not least is the epic Pebble Beach Food & Wine, running for its ninth year, from March 31st-April 3rd. First of all, the location is downright gorgeous, and the lineup of international talent is notable (you know, like Daniel Boulud, Dominique Crenn, Thomas Keller, Eric Ripert, Nancy Silverton, and Grant Achatz). There will be 100 chefs, 300 wines (THERE WILL BE CHAMPAGNE), seminars, and cooking demonstrations, plus plenty of parties, grand tastings, after-parties, and more. Prices range from $100 to $4,750 for a VIP all-inclusive four-day pass.

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The first round of Humphry Slocombe flavors you’ll find at Whole Foods Markets. Photo courtesy of Humphry Slocombe.

I was already so excited to have some pints of ~HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~ ice cream sent to my New York apartment via Goldbely a couple weeks ago (the wonders of nationwide shipping and dry ice!), but now things just got dangerous for NorCal residents.

Over the next couple of weeks, you’re going to be finding pints of HS ice cream on the shelves of 38 of the 43 Whole Foods Markets in Northern California (oh, and Reno!). Some stores have already started stocking their shelves with the ice cream, but things should be more officially launched by the end of the month.

Now for the most important news: the flavors! You can get Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Honey Graham, Tahitian V*n!ll@, and Peanut Butter Fudge Ripple…and that’s to start!

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