May 17, 2016

May 17, 2016
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From our first event: Banh Xeo (Pork Belly and King Crab Crêpe). Photo: Erin Conger.

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We’re here to make sure you have a great time! Chef Rob Lam, the tablehopper, and Eugenio Jardim! Photo: Erin Conger.

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Some of the Vinho Verde wines we poured at our first event. Photo: Erin Conger.

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Dessert course from our first event: Lychee Shaved Ice, Almond Tofu, Kumquat, and Brandied Cherry. Photo: Erin Conger.

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Remember that amazing Vietnamese and Vinho Verde dinner I hosted in SF a month ago with Feastly that sold out in less than 24 hours? Well, if you missed out, here’s your chance to attend, because we’re doing it again!

I am so thrilled to be hosting this event again—and I will be flying from New York back to SF for it! On Saturday June 11th, this will be the third and final event in a series I am hosting that will feature Asian chefs cooking their favorite dishes and authentic home cooking, paired with the versatile Portuguese wines of Vinho Verde. And since we’re partnering with Feastly, we’re going to be dining in a cool and unique location in the Mission too!

This event, a Vietnamese feast, is with chef Rob Lam of Butterfly, who is also a dear friend and one of my very favorite people to dine out with (his palate is amazing). I have been lucky to enjoy some of his home cooking and dishes you won’t find on the menu at Butterfly, so now it’s your chance to try his seriously delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Rob was born in Vietnam, and when his family moved to Southern California after the fall of Saigon, his mother opened a restaurant called Vien Dong, just outside of Los Angeles, so restaurants are in his blood. And since Rob cares deeply about using quality ingredients, expect some soigné touches, like king crab and pork belly in your banh xeo crêpe (!).

We also have a very special guest this evening: sommelier and wine educator Eugenio Jardim, winner of Sunset Magazine’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year Award! Eugenio is known for his warm and charming ways (and fabulous Brazilian accent) and deep knowledge of wine, especially Portuguese wine. He’ll be teaching us all about the wines of Vinho Verde throughout the evening.

Vinho Verde wines are like no other in the world. Located in the northwestern part of Portugal, the lush green landscape lends itself to the production of young, refreshing wines that are extremely versatile partners for all kinds of food, which is why we wanted to show you how well they will pair with a multitude of Vietnamese dishes. Best known for white wines, Vinho Verde also produces reds, rosés, and sparklers—all of which offer one of the best wine values on the market. Get ready to discover something new!

The event will begin at 6:30pm for passed appetizers (like oc rieu/periwinkle shots with nuoc cham foam and Vietnamese cilantro) and wines from Vinho Verde. You can view the menu here—we’ll be posting the wine pairings soon.

The sit-down dinner begins around 7:15pm, and I hope you arrived hungry, because it’s going to be a feast (take a look at the menu here). There will be three courses of authentic and flavorful dishes—including the famed Cha Ca Thang Long (turmeric grilled catfish with rice noodles and herb salad) and Bun Rieu (Dungeness crab, egg, and tomato noodle soup with fried tofu and shrimp cake)—with some served family style. With each course, you’ll get to enjoy two wines from Vinho Verde; there will also be a dessert course. We’re planning to wrap up around 9:30pm, but you can expect to linger a bit longer.

Tickets are available on Feastly for just $75, all-inclusive. Yes, this is a steal, so don’t delay on getting your seat! (And first-time Feastly diners, you can use my code for $10 off!) I can’t wait to see you, especially around a table covered with delicious food prepared by one of my favorite chefs! See you!

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Look for the red building and you will find Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.

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A selection of viennoiserie you’ll find at Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.

Good things can take time, but man, David Carbonell has been waiting to open his North Beach bakery for more than a year, weaving his way through a quagmire of city permits and more. And now he’s about to open. Exhallllinnnnnggggggg. When we first reported on the project, it had a different name, and fortunately he decided to go with something a bit easier to remember: ~LE CHAT ROUGE~.

The name is inspired by le pain du chat rouge, meaning “the bread of the red cat,” from a recipe that is more than 300 years old, which will be on offer. There will be an array of viennoiserie, including a frangipane almond croissant, chocolate twist, hazelnut roulé, and breads, including baguettes and pain pochon sarrasin (buckwheat bread). There will be madeleines made with baratte butter from Normandy, and macarons too. He is very committed to it being a very French bakery, with almost all of the ingredients imported from France.

The space has a rustic look, full of woods and vintage touches, including old bikes and more. The grand opening is scheduled for this Saturday May 21st. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

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Chef Tim Luym. Photo via CAAMFest’s Facebook page.

A quick update for you on a couple of projects opening later this summer. First up, chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) is partnering with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) to open ~BUFFALO THEORY~ on Polk Street in early summer. The neighborhood restaurant will focus on quality craft beers (30 on tap), and Luym will be creating a menu of bar bites that take inspiration from “drinking food” from around the world, like Filipino pulutan (bar bites), Spanish tapas, and izakaya-inspired dishes from Japan. The staff will be highly trained on the beers. The 116-seat restaurant will have a concrete-top bar, private room, and communal tables. Hours will be Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 4pm-12am. 1735 Polk St. at Washington.

Fans of ~MATEO’S TAQUERIA~ in the Mission will have a new and second location to score owner Matt Ishak’s tacos and burritos when he opens a Mid-Market location this summer. Hoodline reports he’ll be opening in one of the four new spaces at 1455 Market Street, the building that houses Uber and Square. 1455 Market St. at 11th St.

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A look at the new Sightglass café counter at SFMOMA. Photo courtesy of Sightglass.

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The St. Clare line from Saint Frank. Photo via Instagram.

Along with the very exciting opening of SFMOMA is the new ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE~ café at the museum, their third location. You’ll find the coffee bar on the third floor in the new Photography Interpretive Gallery, near the grand atrium and John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Sightglass developed a special blend just for SFMOMA, available as espresso or drip. You will be able to watch your coffee be prepared for you at the drip bar (or your espresso pulled), and the menu features special single-origin releases, nitro and vanilla cold brew on tap, loose-leaf teas, and sweet and savory treats. Open Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun 10am-4:30pm, Thu 10am-8:30pm. 151 3rd St. at Howard.

Also in SoMa, ~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ has applied to open a café on the ground floor in the former Jeremy’s space in South Park. Hoodline reports they hope to open in the fall (right around the time that ghastly construction should all be finished) and would only serve coffee, not food. 2 South Park at 2nd St.

~SAINT FRANK~ is popping up in the FiDi in a space inside the SPUR building. Founder Kevin Bohlin is calling the socially minded project St. Clare and is partnering with Not for Sale, which fights human trafficking and slavery. St. Clare is working with Not for Sale’s Reinvent program and training young women to be baristas at the café. For this sister brand, they are also “working in places like Thailand to source coffee, with the goal of driving an economic alternative to slavery for families in extremely difficult situations” (you can read more here). As for the coffee, it’s roasted a bit darker, and a portion of sales is going to SPUR. Could this project be any cooler? Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. 654 Mission St. at New Montgomery.

The Richmond blog reported ~BLUE DANUBE~ is back open after closing due to renovations and water damage a year ago. Open daily 7am-10pm. 306 Clement St. at 4th Ave.

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The fried chicken plate at farmerbrown. Photo via Facebook.

Happy birthday to ~FARMERBROWN~, which just turned 10 (and therefore shares the same awesome anniversary this year with tablehopper and Nopa). In honor of hitting the big 10, to celebrate, they are rolling back the price of their fried chicken entrée to $14.95 for the month of May. It’s normally $22, and it includes white and dark meat, ham hock collard greens, and shells and cheese. Mmmmmm. Happy Birthday, farmerbrown! Keep on keeping it real.

Whatcha doing on Friday May 20th? ~PLATE~ in the Marina is going to be giving away one free Fit Plate per person (a $14 value), which includes a choice of one entrée and two side dishes. The healthy takeout eatery is celebrating their first anniversary, which includes 30,000 plates served. Come to the Plate store, sign up for a free Plate Rewards account, place your order, and voilà. You can then take your Plate home, warm it up, and dinner is served! It’s worth noting there are other Plate locations (they also deliver citywide), but for the promotion, you have to come to the Marina location in person. From 2pm until all the Plates are gone. 3251 Pierce St. at Chestnut.

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