November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017
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The welcoming and timeless space at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The charming entrance to Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.

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Chef Michael Siegel’s famous brisket and creamy garlic mashed potatoes. Photo courtesy of Michael Siegel.

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A previous family-style fundraiser dinner at Le Marais Bakery Castro. Photo courtesy of Le Marais.

It has been a month since the horrific fires ripped through Wine Country, taking 42 precious lives and leaving over 100,000 people displaced and 9,000 homes destroyed. So much loss, so much devastation. It’s hard to fathom, but fortunately the outpouring of support has been a bright light in all the darkness. Everyone has been so generous, with time, supplies, money, food, fundraisers, helping hands, spare bedrooms, and hugs. But we have to keep doing more, giving more, and showing up for these precious people and our beloved Northern California. We have a long road ahead of us to assist in rebuilding, and every dollar is needed.

On Thursday November 30th, I am cohosting a fundraiser dinner with ~LE MARAIS BAKERY~ in the Castro, which is generously donating their charming space and event support. We’re calling the event Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief, and we have chef Michael Siegel, previously of the dearly departed Shorty Goldstein’s in the Financial District (RIP) cooking us a heartfelt, homey dinner. Yup, he’s going to be making his famous family brisket! Michael is a Sonoma County resident and wants to do everything he can to support his neighbors, so we put our heads and hands together to host this event!

It’s going to be a family-style dinner, cozy and friendly, a midweek meal that won’t have you out too late, but you’ll come home with a full belly and warm heart. The Le Marais Bakery Castro location is so inviting, have you been yet? It’s a happy place.

Our dinner is the week after Thanksgiving, so let’s continue with that feeling of gratitude as we sit at communal tables with 60 of our neighbors and friends and break bread (like Le Marais’ wonderful levain)! Maybe you didn’t get to see your friends over the holiday, so why not invite them to get together at our fundraiser? (We’re swapping the turkey with some brisket!)

Michael’s three-course, fall-inspired menu is as follows:

-Arugula salad with Fuyu persimmon, toasted almonds, chèvre, and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette

-Pot-roasted brisket (kindly donated by Newport Meat Company), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, watermelon radish and baby carrots, veal demiglace

-Mini fall tarts and cheesecake from Le Marais

If there are any purveyors who can donate product to our dinner (menu above), please get in touch, thank you so much!

We will also be pouring some lovely donated (and local!) wines with the dinner, including Pomebandit 2016 albariño (sustainably farmed in the Sierra foothills—you may recognize the name from Duna’s wine list!) and Artesa’s 2014 Los Carneros pinot noir!

We will be hosting a silent auction as well. If anyone would like to donate a gift certificate, wine, gift basket, product, anything, please get in touch! Thank you! Everything helps!

We also need some extra hands for service! If you can donate your time as a server, we’d really appreciate it!

All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers, and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the fires. Their approach has three phases: relief (3 months), recovery (3-9 months), and rebuild (4-12 months). You can read more here, and if you can’t attend, please consider donating!

Dinner is at 6:30pm, and tickets start at $50, all-inclusive of food, wine, service, and tax. We want everyone to be able to attend, but if you could possibly afford to buy a higher-tier ticket, please do! We want to raise as much as we can! Tickets are also listed at $65, $75, $95, and $150.

If there is another amount you’d like to pay, please let me know! To repeat, it’s a 100 percent donation to Tipping Point’s Emergency Relief Fund. If you need to make your donation tax-deductible, do NOT buy a ticket on Eventbrite—we will need to make special arrangements ahead of time. (Just get in touch.)

Thanks everyone. We know there are a million fundraisers and holiday events to consider, but we’d so love to see you at our table!

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Nothing succeeds like excess! Bloody Mary add-ons for the win at The Saratoga. Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.

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Some mighty fine lookin’ steak and eggs. Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.

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Baca’s Billionaire’s Bacon, baby! Photo courtesy of The Saratoga.

Well, this is going to be a hot brunch spot. Starting Sunday December 3rd, ~THE SARATOGA~ is starting Sunday brunch service (11:30am-4:30pm), which means if you hang out long enough, you can slide right into dinner at 5pm. (I’m also thinking that instead of getting together with friends for holiday lunches and dinners and cocktails, why not do a holiday brunch? And they take reservations!)

The menu from chef de cuisine Francisco Baca is divided into “Snack,” “Sweet,” and “Hearty” sections (you’ll find me there), with dishes like his mom’s mole flautas (made with braised chicken, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema); eggs Florentine; steak and eggs; and The TL Omelet, with Taleggio cheese and melted leeks. Hmmm, will it be a breakfast sandwich or the Saratoga burger?

There’s also Baca’s Billionaire’s Bacon, which is thick-cut, house-cured, smoked, and lacquered with a sweet-savory glaze of molasses, rum, and maple syrup. Ka-ching. Over in the “Sweet” section, Texas French toast is made with thick-cut buttery brioche, bourbon syrup, and bacon powder, and the Killer Coffee Cake can be topped with vanilla gelato or St. George NOLA coffee liqueur (good morning).

Of course, barman-owner Brandon Clements has all kinds of options in a new brunch cocktail menu, divvied up into “Bloody,” “Frothy,” “Fizzy,” “Hot and Boozy,” and “Boothby Bowl.” There are three Bloody Mary recipes (classic, root, and verde), and you can get rilly crazy by adding a fried pickle, housemade jalapeño poppers, brisket beef jerky, fried chicken, and more. (And you haven’t even started drinking!) There’s the Cereal Milk Punch, made with toasted corn flake-washed milk, bourbon, brown sugar, and cocoa Krispies! Or gather your friends around a large-format Corpse Reviver No. 2.

One more item of note: Monday November 20th is The Saratoga’s first birthday, with a party in the downstairs bar from 5pm-10pm. It includes free passed appetizers, birthday cake, and half-price specialty cocktails, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Project Open Hand. 1000 Larkin St. at Post, 415-932-6464.

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The second Native Co. is now open in SoMa. Instagram photo via @nativecosf.

We’re about to kick into holiday gear soon, so it’s a good thing we have a couple of new and healthy spots opening that can help counterbalance the excess. This week, the popular ~NATIVE CO.~ has opened their second location (in SoMa!). Owners Caitlin Meade and Nicole Fish are known for their well-made, healthy, market-fresh meals in the Financial District at 168 Sutter Street (and both the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers’ Market and San Rafael Civic Center Farmers’ Market, where they got their start).

They opened their second location in the former Tava space and are serving mostly plant-based and high-energy dishes, which includes breakfast, lunch, and beverages, like made-to-order smoothies, juices, salads, toasts, and soups. (I love the Beet Down, with beet, carrot, orange, lime, ginger, and cilantro.)

They are dedicated to healthy fats, truly sustainable and organic ingredients, and everything is made in-house daily. They are also very eco-conscious in their practices—and committed to deliciousness! There are both indoor and outdoor seating options. Open Mon-Fri 7am-4:30pm. 163 2nd St. at Natoma.

I was driving through the Mission last week and noticed signage up at the former McDonald’s on 16th Street for ~KITAVA~. Eater fills in the details on this new health-focused spot, featuring dishes that are gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and also free of dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, refined sugar, and oils. Ingredients are also pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught. You can take a peek at the menu here.

They were formerly a delivery service (Mealmade), and you can still get their food delivered, although the minimalist space is pretty cute and worth a visit. A far cry from what was there before, that’s for damn sure. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9:30pm. 2011 Mission St. at 16th St.

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Guest chef Telmo Faria’s “Bifana” Cubano at Media Noche, available this month. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

Fellow Cubano fanatics, you’ll want to check out the new Chefs Cubano series at ~MEDIA NOCHE~, with guest chefs creating a new Cubano on the menu each month, and available daily. The first one is from Telmo Faria of Uma Casa, launching today (Tuesday November 7th) and running for the month of November—his “Bifana” Cubano is a riff on a traditional Portuguese sandwich, with marinated pork loin, sweet pepper and onion sofrito, and arugula ($12.50).

Ryan Pollnow (Ne Timeas Restaurant Group) will be on deck in December, and Liza Shaw (formerly of Merigan’s Sub Shop) and Evan Rich (Rich Table, RT Rotisserie) are coming in early 2018. Ten percent of the proceeds of each sale of the featured chef’s Cubano will be donated to a charity of the chef’s choice; proceeds from sales of Telmo’s Cubano will go to No Kid Hungry. 

Here’s a fun one: Caviar, the food delivery service, is bringing Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken to the East Bay this week, from Thursday November 9th to Sunday November 12th. On the menu: a variety of sandwiches, including the acclaimed Original Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken strips, candied jalapeño mayo, and crunchy slaw; sides like pimento mac and cheese; and fried chicken strips with honey butter or housemade dipping sauces. You can order for delivery anywhere in the East Bay region and/or pick up from the Caviar Commissary in downtown Oakland (478 25th St.), 5pm-10pm. First-time Caviar user? Use my code for $20 off your first order!

On Monday November 13th, prepare for a fun party at ~MISTER JIU’S~ to celebrate the release of MUNCHIES’ very first cookbook, MUNCHIES: Late-Night Meals from the World’s Best Chefs. Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu’s), Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Daniel Patterson (Daniel Patterson Group), Gabriela Cámara (Cala), and Maya Erickson (previously Lazy Bear) will be cooking, and drinks will be flowin’.

Tickets are $60 and include a copy of the cookbook as well as food and open bar. Sweet! Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Farming Hope. 7pm-10pm. 28 Waverly Place.