October 10, 2017

October 10, 2017

Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas. Photo: John Ater.


Happy hour will be special with Espolòn Tequila cocktails by Rye on the Road. Photo courtesy of MADE PR.


El Huarache Loco is going to be serving mini huarachitos con nopales. Photo: John Ater.


One of the five cocktails we’ll be serving are El Techo’s classic margaritas. Photo: Aubrie PIck.


Chef Daniel Tellez of Copita will be at our event serving ceviche. Photo: Copita.


The Hechos in Mexico portfolio with Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes will be en la casa!


Loló is going to be serving a version of their incredible taco tropical! (The best.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.


Cochinita pibil from La Cocina’s Sal de Vida Gourmet—we’ll be having tostaditos! Photo: Sal de Vida Gourmet.

I know the recent quakes and horrific damage in Mexico seem far away considering all the terrible disasters our planet has suffered the past few weeks, but there are still many people and places in desperate need who will benefit from our assistance. There are so many people now homeless and living in shelters or sleeping outside, people who need food, volunteers who need help. Villagers left with nothing. Sadly, a lot like what is happening here in ravaged Northern California, but with less resources to get back on their feet.

I hope you can support the happy hour-style fundraiser I am hosting with the wonderful folks at Cambria Gallery in SoMa. We’re calling the event SF ❤️ MX and will be serving a bunch of delicious dishes and craft cocktails this Friday October 13th for Mexico earthquake relief (100% of the proceeds will be donated!).

Even if you can’t attend, can you please help spread the word? See below! Thank you so much.

I have some exciting updates to the lineup, including the news that we have three La Cocina businesses joining us (gracias, damas!), and chef Carlos Villapudua and his brother Mundo of Villa Montez and their new 1836 Texas Kitchen in Tyler, Texas, are flying to SF to cook at our event. Amazing!

There will be abundant bites from Loló (taco tropical), Sal de Vida Gourmet (cochinita pibil mini tostadas with pickled onions), Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas (vegetable and meat tamales), El Huarache Loco (mini tostaditas de tinga and mini huarachitos con nopales), Copita (ceviche), Don Pistos (tamales and albondigas), WesBurger ‘N’ More (queso), and others, including Green Chile Kitchen, who will be serving their grains & greens salad with chipotle vinaigrette (vegetarian). There are some other vegetarian options too (please look above).

If you want to contribute anything sweet, please get in touch! Thank you to everyone who is so generously providing food for the event.

The bar will be shakin’ with fantastic cocktails courtesy of Rye on the Road and El Techo, featuring top spirits from Campari America/Espolòn Tequila, Milagro Tequila, Montelobos Mezcal, and Ancho Reyes. We have some awesome bartenders donating their time and expertise.

Mexican cervezas will be generously provided by Cadillac Bar & Grill and Hard Frescos (they are a new brand, making cold-fermented aguas frescas!). Many thanks to Chambers & Chambers for donating cases of French rosé wine for you to enjoy! It will be #roséoclock.

We also have a fantastic silent auction, with gift certificates and more (thanks to Nopa, Nopalito, Flores, Uno Dos Tacos y Tequila, 54 Mint, Montesacro); gift boxes from Campari America, Milagro Tequila, and Manicaretti; gift certificates from Ginger Rubio Salon; and an ice cream maker AND Le Creuset pan from Joanne Weir. Plus, we’ll have local art from Rob Delamater and Adam McCauley.

La Cocina is offering a VIP experience for the 2017 San Francisco Street Food Festival, which includes an open bar, vouchers for five booths, and a personalized walking tour of the new event venue by executive director Caleb Zigas for up to four guests. This isn’t something even usually offered, so it’s really special.

And Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch is donating a tour of the ranch and dinner (or lunch) for four people, featuring meats and wines from the ranch, plus Marin County vegetables and cheeses.

We need a few more volunteers to help serve food and keep the event tidy! And my camera is on the fritz (ugh!)—it would be amazing to have a photographer there, gracias. Please get in touch if you can help in any way!

Special thanks to Dominic Philips Event Marketing for the generous donation of serveware and utensils for the event.

This event will be a 100 percent donation to Omaze and Ambulante’s fundraiser, started by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal to help Mexico rebuild. Click the link to read more about this thoughtful and legit fundraiser.

Tickets are on a sliding scale ($35-$150+, ALL INCLUSIVE)—all we ask is that you please pay what you can afford to donate, gracias. Most importantly, we just want you there!

Even if you can’t attend, if you can please help spread the word, we’d so appreciate it. Here is the event on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks for liking and sharing!

And here is the event flyer you can link to, download, and share! (And here is a version in Spanish!)

Another way you can help: we are processing our tickets with Square, which kindly gifted our Mexico fundraiser with no processing fees for $750 of transactions, but that’s going to disappear quickly. If you can please sign up for a Square account (it’s free!), we will get $1,000 of free ticket processing! And so will you. :) Which means every cent that is spent on tickets will go to Mexico. Gracias! (And thanks to the person who signed up last week, we really appreciate it!)

See you this Friday October 13th! 6:30pm-9pm. 21 and over. Cambria showroom, 1045 Bryant St. between 8th and 9th streets.


“Smoke and Fire.” Photograph by Gaetan Caron, Mendocino County, Northern California. Used with permission.

I know everyone’s Facebook pages are swirling with info on angel friends driving supplies to shelters, drop-off points for donations, food deliveries, and many more ways to help all these poor people who have lost everything in Northern California from the fires. You are all amazing, way to rally. Look for the helpers!

I wanted to share a few initial ways to help that have crossed my desk, thanks for any support you can show! And please read the note at the bottom of this post for tips about donating clothes and more, thank you!

Our friends at Charles Communications have started this GoFundMe fundraiser that “for now will provide DIRECT relief to evacuees of the communities of west county in Sonoma. Found an organization networked to 10 other shelters who are taking in evacuees. We are identifying a similar charity in Napa, where the devastation has cut communications. The goal is to raise money so we can go and buy supplies for the 10 shelters (sleeping bags, cots, diapers, kids pajamas, nonperishable food, hygienic items). Our team will be driving a load up this Thursday. Please contribute what you can.”

You want to help? Donate? Need realtime info? This detailed page for Sonoma donations, volunteering, evac site needs, and more is AMAZING. There’s a timestamp so you can see when it was last updated.

There are also some drop-off points for clothes, supplies, and more:

-From noon-close now through Friday night (at least), ~THE ALEMBIC~ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood will be a donation drop point for food, blankets, clothing, medical supplies, pet food (domestic and livestock). Chef Rachel Aronow will take donated items up beginning on Saturday morning. Aronow grew up in the North Bay and sadly the farm where she was raised, in the Fountain Grove area in Santa Rosa, was wiped out by the fires along with about 70 horses. (So so sorry to read this, chef Rachel. The mind reels. Love to you.)

-~RESOLUTE~ wine bar is going to be donating all beverage sales all night this Wednesday October 11th. They will also be accepting canned food (dog/cat food in particular) and toiletries to be delivered up north that following Thursday morning.

-~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ is accepting donations through Friday at 11am. “We have direct contacts on the ground ready to accept these donations and we will personally deliver them. NEEDED unused, non perishables such as: toiletries, pet food, diapers, blankets, underwear, clothes etc. Chef and crew will also be preparing food and delivering it to those in need, in shelters and wherever requested. PLEASE DROP OFF DONATIONS ANYTIME AFTER 10am—if prior to business hours, ring yellow buzzer—WE ARE HERE! Now is the time for us all to show up!”

-~THE STUD~ in SoMa will be receiving supplies for North Bay today after 5pm and every day until further notice! They are also accepting monetary donations, which will be dispersed to several local funds. (And they are also receiving large luggage for Puerto Rico.) Keep up with their help and needs on Facebook. Here’s what is currently needed: baby food, canned food, diapers (baby and adult), inhalers, toiletries (toothbrush, paste, toilet paper), dog and cat food and litter, other pet supplies (water and food bowls), water and juice, clothes (all ages and sizes), new underwear in package, new pillows in package, and clean blankets.

~MAUNA LOA~, at 3009 Fillmore at Union, will have bins out as of tomorrow 10/11/17 for food and clothing.

-~FORT POINT BEER~ is now a drop-off point: If you are looking to donate supplies to those affected by the North Bay fires, our brewery (644 Old Mason Street) is now acting as a drop-off location. Donations can be made this week through Monday 10/16 from 6am-8pm—our trucks will be making deliveries to the shelters. Our hearts go out to our family, friends and community in the North Bay. Read more on what is needed here.

-In wake of the devastating fires in Northern California, we wanted to share that The Morris will become a drop-off site for supplies this Thursday, 10/12 through Saturday, 10/14 between 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m at 2501 Mariposa St (Mariposa & Hampshire).

-~THE MORRIS~ team will collect supplies from Thursday 10/12 through Saturday 10/14 (from 1pm-4pm) at 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire. They will then bring supplies to Fort Point Brewery, who will deliver everything to shelters on Monday October 16th. The items in highest demand include:
— Tents
— Air Mattresses and cots
— Pillows
— Phone Chargers
— Dry and Canned Pet Food (dog, cat, kitten)
— Animal crates and carriers small and large
— Dog Bowls (any bowls for food and water)
— Other pet supplies (litter, bedding, leashes, collars)
— Diapers
— Baby Strollers
— Baby Carries
— Personal Protection Equipment (masks, latex gloves, etc.)
— Boxes
— Duct Tape

In the East Bay, ~BAY GRAPE~ in Oakland is accepting donations. Please look at their Facebook page for the latest updates/needs/tips and more.

Just got this from my friend at Extrafood.org: Spent the past 2 days working at Marin’s main emergency shelter, incredible. A small city sprang up in no time, housed 500 people Monday night. More shelters are springing up and ExtraFood.org is getting food to them.

Key messages to people wanting to help: - People fleeing the fires are welcome at the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium shelter, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Small pets are welcome.
- Marin Humane Society, 415-883-4621, is providing emergency boarding for animals.
- Don’t bring food or other donations to the Marin Veterans’ Auditorium.
- Sign up to volunteer at volunteer.cvnl.org - If you work in a Marin business that has food to donate, contact ExtraFood.org
- People wanting to post they are safe can do so at safeandwell.org
- Watch for updates at marincounty.org

I read this post by Abby Leutholdt on Facebook and found it to be full of excellent and helpful information, please look this over before you donate clothes and other items.

“After the devastating Valley and Rocky fires, I spent weeks working in the evacuation centers. Mainly, I assisted in sorting and separating the mountain of donated clothes and supplies. I was overwhelmed by the people I met and their stories but also in the amazing generosity of strangers.

But…in the coming days and weeks, as you consider helping and begin to sort through things you’d like to donate, stop and truly look at what you are giving. If it is new or ‘lightly used,’ please give it to those who need it.

If it is torn, missing buttons, stained, tattered or smells like cat pee (yes, I sorted through several bags), please do not add to the misery of this disaster by offloading your less than desirable belongings to those in need.

In a matter of minutes, many people lost everything today. Everything.

Clothes, shoes, warm coats, sports equipment (yes, cleats matter to kids who just want normal), school supplies, tools, gift cards, hotel vouchers are all needed. If you donate shoes, tie the laces or rubber band them together. If you give a belt or accessories, put them in a ziplock. Label the bags with a Sharpie. Separate your donations into smaller bags or boxes, label the boxes. (Toddler clothes and shoes, sizes 2T-4T, Women’s Work Clothes, sizes 8/10/12, Men’s Casual Clothes, sizes XL and Pants sizes 36-38, etc.). This will help more than you know.

In the coming weeks and months, people will need your help. These fires have stolen homes, cars, belongings, places of employment (which means that people have lost jobs too), hopes, dreams, memories. Now is the time to open up our hearts, homes, and wallets.

And, as someone who lost everything once in a fire, sometimes it’s the little things that really matter. A phone call, a shared meal, unexpected bags of groceries or even a memory album. Go through pictures, put together photo albums for your friends. You don’t have to give it to them yet, but when you do, it can bring so much peace.

Once donation pages are announced, consider keeping the funds local. Look to the local churches, charities, and credit unions that will be setting up and managing funds.

Volunteer. Serve meals, help sort donations, read to kids. If you are qualified, help people with legal and financial advice. Go to fundraisers, bid on auction items, support our communities by being an active member. It’s so easy to be wrapped up in our own worries, fears, and lives. Now is the time to help others. Please help in any way you can.”

Thank you, Abby, and thank you everyone for all your support, concern, time, and helping hands and open hearts. Keep it coming. You are all incredible.


The red booths and collage artwork at Foxsister. Photo courtesy of Foxsister.


Get your Korean snack on.


The fun, divey style of Foxsister.

Newly open (as of last night) on 24th Street in the Mission is ~FOXSISTER~ from chef-owner Brandon Kirksey and his partner Kristina Farino. Kirksey’s background includes working at Flour + Water, The Slanted Door and Jardinière and opening Girin Ssam Bar in Seattle, where Kirksey was deeply inspired to explore Korean cuisine further (plus travel in Korea).

His creative Korean project is meant to have dive bar DNA, with a low-key yet high-energy vibe. The menu is inspired by “anju” (Korean drinking snacks that are spicy and crunchy) and family-style dishes (like bo ssam) for your posse to enjoy. The menu includes handmade noodles and rice cakes, spicy fried chicken (three kinds), ribs, bulgogi, savory pancakes, and hot pots.

There are fun dishes, like squid jerky, kimchi nacho cheese dip (sign me up), and other stoner-friendly bites, like dumplings. Ingredients are made in-house and by hand, like his signature spicy miso paste (ssamjang) and fermented vegetables, including various kimchis and more. There are also some vegetarian and gluten-free options as well.

Drinking options include soju cocktails, plenty of beer (local and Asian), wines, and more. The space has a fun design, including punchy tomato-red booths, a glitter bar top, and local artwork inside and out, including a full-wall wheatpaste collage by Seattle street artist Cheyenne Randall. Music will also figure prominently, with guest DJs spinning old-school hip-hop to punk.

Open Sun-Wed 6pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 6pm-11pm. 3161 24th St. at Shotwell, 415-829-7814.


Smørrebrød from Kantine at the Saturday CUESA Farmers Market. Photo via CUESA.


New lunch options at Fiorella. Photo: Blair Heagerty.

Some snacky news for you: Kantine Smørrebrød has returned to the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market for the fall season—look for Nichole Accettola’s Scandinavian-inspired open-faced sandwiches and grain porridges (only served from 8am-10:30am) and sprouted rye bread to bring home. They will rotate each week. 8am-2pm, south driveway. In the meantime, things are moving ahead for Kantine to open at 1906 Market Street next year.

If you could also use some caffeine, Red Bay Coffee has joined the Ferry Plaza on Thursdays! You can enjoy their single-origin, fair-trade coffees and beans, all roasted in small batches in Oakland.

Looking for a new lunch spot? Outer Richmond’s ~FIORELLA~ is kicking off lunch on Fridays from 11am-2pm. There are pizzas and pasta, new salads, and sandwiches (including an eggplant Parm, Italian hoagie, and meatball sub), plus you can snag the new Tuesday burger on Fridays for lunch. There’s also a new list of low-ABV cocktails by Patrick Poelvoorde (Benjamin Cooper and Burritt Room + Tavern), perfect for the back patio. 2339 Clement St. at 23rd Ave., 415-340-3049.  


The pozole verde from El Pípila. Photo by John Ater.

Last week, ~THE HALL~ closed in order to start making way for development of the space into mixed use (residential and retail). The temporary space (it was open for three years) housed a variety of small businesses, from Back East Sandwich Shop to El Pípila (who I heard going to be opening in a new location next year!). In the meantime, El Pípila will be doing lunch deliveries—gotta keep Guadalupe’s pozole verde in our lives! Also heard tenant Farming Hope will continue to expand with dinners and more presence at the Civic Center Farmers’ Market. 1028 Market St. at Golden Gate.

A reader let me know there has been another casualty at Ghirardelli Square: the café location for ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ has also closed.

Over at the ~FERRY BUILDING~, Boccalone will be closing at the end of the month (on October 29th). And not just the shop, but the entire charcuterie company. Owner Mark Pastore told Inside Scoop that shop sales have been in decline, and the artisan charcuterie business has become a more crowded space. Stock up on their ibericollo while you can.

And another nail in ~FARINA~’s coffin: Mission Local reports the business was officially evicted (the notice was dated September 20th).

And just because we haven’t seen enough destruction from fires (dear lord, make it stop, please), ~CAFFE PUCCINI~ in North Beach sadly suffered a fire last night. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to track down the story and details before post time on how extensive the damage is—I will update this post when I can. [UPDATE: Hoodline’s report and pics are so sad, the place is totally and tragically gutted.] 411 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo.


Donato and Gianluca plating bites of the ricotta tortelli with spicy amatriciana sauce. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


The dining room at the new Donato & Co. Photo: © tablehopper.com.


The busy bar at last Friday’s Donato & Co. pre-opening party. Photo: Nadia Andreini.


Housemade pitina salume at Donato & Co. Photo: Nadia Andreini.

As many of you know, last Friday I helped host the preopening party for ~DONATO & CO.~, the contemporary Italian restaurant opening in Elmwood from Donato Scotti (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City and Desco in Oakland) and his chef-partner in this and future projects, Gianluca Guglielmi, who came from Italy to open Donato & Co.

Grazie to everyone who bought tickets to the party and came out to welcome Donato and Gianluca to the neighborhood! The event was also a fundraiser for The Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP)—the duo generously donated $2,000 to BORP! It’s an impressive nonprofit organization that works to improve the health, independence, and social integration of people with physical disabilities through adaptive sports, fitness, and recreation programs, and it is based in Berkeley.

It was one heck of a party—Donato and Gianluca put out quite the apericena spread, from housemade salumi (check this out) to quail lollipops to roasted pig! It was a great way to check out some of the dishes they’ll be serving—the housemade ricotta tortelli with spicy amatriciana sauce were fantastico. And hello risotto with oxtail.

Check out the menu here. Dishes are going to be rotating often, but you can see the different sections. I’d pay particular attention to items coming off the grill, a highlight feature of the open kitchen, which includes rotisserie chicken. The pricing is also very neighborhood-friendly—they want to see you often.

The bar was busy pouring prosecco and making spritzes all night, and I can vouch for the fab Negroni I had late at night at the end of the event. Ahhhhh. That bar is not only spacious, but also well stocked. Enjoy it.

The space looks great (Anna Klint of Iron Skirt designed it)—it includes a 20-foot bar and seating for 120 guests in the main dining room. There are booths and comfortable chairs and lots of wood and huge images of Donato’s hometown, Bergamo. And then there’s that state-of-the-art Constellation and Libra acoustic system from Berkeley’s renowned Meyer Sound, which makes for the best dining room acoustics. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm, and Sun 5pm-9pm. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.

A few other quick tidbits of East Bay news for you:

Open today (October 10th) on Piedmont Avenue is ~BELOTTI BOTTEGA~ from Michele Belotti of Belotti Ristorante e Bottega in Rockridge. It’s more of a takeout/quick-serve concept. “Fresh pasta, sauces, and appetizers will be available for purchase during the soft opening. Full capacity menu and online ordering will be available shortly!” 4001 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland.

—This is the opposite of good news: a taker for one of the spaces that was formerly occupied by beloved and old-school Genova Delicatessen will be a ~NOAH’S BAGELS~. No word who is taking over the second space yet. [Via Eater.]

I’ll have more news for you next week on new projects!