September 24, 2019

September 24, 2019
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Wildseed’s supergrain paella for two with Beyond sausage, market vegetables, roasted cauliflower, saffron, grilled lemon, herbs, sofrito. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

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The open kitchen and counter at Hina. Photo via Hina on Facebook.

In the last issue of tablehopper, I reported on the changeover of Belga to ~WILDSEED~ on Union, and it’s now open! Zip zip, that was fast. Check out chef Blair Warsham’s savory, eclectic menu of seasonal, healthy, flavorful, satisfying dishes with some global influences, like a Vietnamese rice noodle salad, Japanese donburi, and Indian-inspired “neatballs.” Many of the dishes are designed to share, like Mexican corn cakes, king trumpet mushroom ceviche, and a mezze plate. Other dishes include a couple kinds of vegetarian hamburgers, rigatoni bolognese with Impossible ground, and a paella for two. Snacks are priced between $5-$7, salads and bowls ($13-$15), dishes to share ($7-$11), and larger entrée-style plates ($15-$26).

The cocktails were also freshened up, with fresh juices, herbs, housemade extracts, shrubs, and tinctures in the cocktails. In a commitment to keeping a minimal carbon footprint, all wines will be local, vegan, organic, and biodynamic. 


It’s a great location, full of light and with a fun sidewalk scene, and is fortunately going to offer all-day service. Hannah Collins of ROY Hospitality Design Studio is behind the update. Lunch and dinner will be served Tue-Sun 5:30pm-10pm, with weekend brunch coming. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

The new ~HINA YAKITORI~ has opened from the nearby Ju-Ni crew, serving a 15-course tasting menu ($110) of modern, Tokyo-style yakitori at an open kitchen counter in a chef’s menu format. Chef Tommy Cleary (previously at Hina Oakland, Ippuku, and “the first foreign-born chef to apprentice at Tokyo’s Tori+Salon under acclaimed yakitori master Kazuo Nakayama”) will grill your dinner over white oak Wakayama Kishu Binchotan, one of the finest charcoals.

While special cuts of chicken are a main feature of the menu (Cleary uses every part of the chicken), there are also courses with vegetables, seafood, and wagyu tartare. Check out some early pics here—I’m so ready for the Sot L’y Laisse (thigh oyster, chicharrón, and caviar!). Beverage and service director Justin Chin (Restaurant Gary Danko) has put together the list of wine, sake, and beer. Reservations Tue-Sat on Resy. 808 Divisadero St. at Fulton.

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Chef Bruce Hill (and his awesome invention, The Chef’s Press). Photo courtesy of Bruce Hill.

Some changes are happening in Bill Higgins and Bill Upson’s Real Restaurants group, which is behind Bar Bocce, Bix, Bungalow 44, Buckeye Roadhouse, Fog City, Panorama, Picco, and Pizzeria Picco. That list used to include Zero Zero in SoMa, but now chef Bruce Hill has bought them out and is the sole proprietor.

Another change is the Real Bills bought out Picco (and the pizzeria) in Larkspur, so Hill is no longer there (he opened Picco and Pizzeria Picco in 2005). Stand by for news on the new chef. It’s an amicable split—they’re calling it “coordinated uncoupling” (LOL) and Hill remains a partner at Bix. Speaking of Bix, chef Emmanuel Eng is departing—he has been the chef there since 2015, but is leaving the city with his girlfriend. Thanks for all the great meals, Eman!

As for Zero Zero, which opened in 2010, Hill says chef David Zboray just returned from a trip to Italy with the Casa de Case importers, and is fired up with plenty of new inspiration for the menu. Looking forward!

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The Seoul Food fried chicken sandwich at Flybird. Photo courtesy of Flybird.

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One of the wildly affordable pizzas from Apizza. Photo courtesy of Apizza.

Are you a fan of Sababa’s Mediterranean sandwiches? Yeah, me too. A lot. Which is why I’m excited to try chef Guy Eshel’s latest venture with the Sababa team, ~FLYBIRD~. It’s another quick-service spot downtown, serving a variety of internationally inspired fried chicken sandwiches and salads. Peep the menu (ha-ha) and you’ll see a Nashville hot chicken-meets-Buffalo version, with other sandwiches influenced by Tel Aviv, Seoul, Provence, and Mexico City (all $12). Salads ($11 or $13) also do some globetrotting. Work downtown? You can also place your order ahead of time for pick-up. Mon-Fri 11am-3pm. 35 Kearny St. at Maiden Ln.

A Fillmore friend let me know that the ~APIZZA~ project was opening this week in the former Boulange space—I know, some were hoping it was going to be a New Haven-style shop, but Eater reveals La Boulangerie partners Pascal Rigo and Nicolas Bernadi have created a fast-casual pizza concept that they plan to roll out elsewhere (Belmont is next). They’ve been working for the last three years on how to offer a quick, inexpensive pizza—try $2.75 for a nine-inch margherita with organic dough and tomato sauce!

Other toppings include roasted seasonal vegetables ($5.79), muffulatta ($6.49), and a cheeseburger pizza, La Royale with Cheese (ground beef, cheese, tomato, lettuce, red onion, cornichons, Thousand Island dressing, and sesame seeds, $5.99, with an option to sub Impossible meat). They appear to have a very thin crust. The pizzas don’t come in a box—they fold them in on themselves (cut in half) and put them in a compostable container, so don’t scream (maybe eat the La Royale while you’re there). Instead of wasting money on a pizza box, you get quality ingredients, from Mary’s chicken to two kinds of organic crusts. There’s also dessert from Loving Cup. It opens today, Tuesday September 24th, open daily 11:30am-7pm. 2043 Fillmore St. at California.

tablehopper reader Karen Z. let me know ~LOS YAQUIS~ just opened a second location in Bernal (the original is on South Van Ness). Come by for Mexican breakfast, all kinds of seafood dishes (ceviche, camarones a la diabla), and homestyle specialties, like enchiladas and caldos. They’re offering 20 percent off during their soft opening (through September 25th). 8am-10pm. 3214 Folsom St. at Stoneman.

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The industrial style of Plouf. Photo courtesy of Plouf.

After 26 years of service and their popular happy hour, ~PALOMINO~ will be closing after service on Wednesday (they will be hosting their last private event on Thursday). I spoke with a representative for the restaurant, who said it’s due to a lease renewal situation. I used to work on Spear St. twenty years ago and consumed many of their pizzas on that patio. 26 years! That was quite a run. 345 Spear St. at Folsom.

A couple months ago, a tablehopper reader let me know changes were happening at ~PLOUF~, but when I reached out to them, they said it was just a rumor. Well, the rumor has proven to sadly come true, because I heard from Plouf last week that they are in fact closing after 23 years. They just can’t make the numbers work: “despite a great rent we were not able to make a profit anymore.” They will close on Saturday September 28th. Thank you for all the fun Belden Place memories and all the mussels and frites over many dates there! 40 Belden Pl. at Pine.

Over near the ballpark, both ~PEDRO’S CANTINA~ and ~PETE’S TAVERN~ have closed after 12 years in business, according to Hoodline. Neighboring ~AMICI’S EAST COAST PIZZERIA~ (216 King St.) has also closed their doors, after opening back in 2004. Seems all three locations suffered from diminished crowds at Giants games. 128 King St. at 2nd St.

And over in the Castro, Rick Hamer has closed his second business, ~PAPI RICO~, after a recent remodel and just shy of two years in business. That place is a great location with the patio and liquor license—you can rent it for private parties and events for now. 544 Castro St. at 19th St. [Via Hoodline.]

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Feasting at CUESA’s Sunday Supper in the Ferry Building’s Grand Hall. Photo © Drew Altizer Photography.

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Mixiote’s incredible morita salsa and lamb tacos at last year’s SF Street Food Fest. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Loosen that waistband, you have some amazing food events to attend! Continuing this week at ~CHINA LIVE~ is Culinary Flavors of Taiwan, with daily tastings, demonstrations, limited edition menu items, and specialty cocktails. Try unique ingredients like dragonfruit noodles, black peanut butter, and lemon aiyu jelly! Take a look at the lineup, running through September 29th.

On Saturday October 5th, is BBQ Without Borders, an event in Oakland from No Immigrants. No Spice and New American Economy that will feature immigrant chefs from across the Bay Area (including Indonesian, Northern Iranian, and Mexican barbecue) and celebrate immigrant contributions to American food, music, dance, art, and more. There will also be a panel on the intersection of food, immigration, and community. Tickets. All proceeds will be donated to the National Immigrant Justice Center and Pangaea Legal Services. 5pm-9pm. Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland.

Sunday October 6th is CUESA’s Sunday Supper: A Farm to City Feast. Gather with 45 of the Bay Area’s best chefs (including Gabriela Cámara of Cala, Pim Techamuanvivit and Meghan Clark of Nari, and Annie Calla of Zuni Café) at the Ferry Building for the most magical, delicious, and sustainable feast of the year! Enjoy a behind-the-scenes view of the kitchen, followed by hors d’oeuvres and hand-crafted drinks in the Ferry Building Marketplace, and then the feast commences upstairs in the Grand Hall, where dinner is served family-style on long communal tables. The supper features six distinct menus created by teams of chefs who collaboratively plan the extravagant four-course meal. Each menu is paired with premier California wines by a distinguished sommelier. Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem will emcee the evening and host an energetic live auction. Help raise funds for CUESA’s vital education programs, which benefit youth and local farmers. 5pm-10pm. Premier Access (5pm): $375 ($250 tax deductible); General Admission (5:45pm): $325 ($200 tax deductible). The Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building, San Francisco.

And then on Saturday October 12th, we have the tenth San Francisco Street Food Festival from La Cocina! Check out the incredible lineup of over 50 chefs, and past themes like Night Market, Fried Chicken Bucket Bar, a Whole Hog BBQ Pitmasters station, and a Tostada Mercado are all making a comeback!

Get your ticket now: $5 pre-sale entry; $10 at the door on Oct. 12th after 11:30am; free for kids age 5 and under. Pay $36 and get entry and La Cocina’s cookbook (We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of The American Dream), or a $50 VIP ticket for early entry (no lines!) and bubbly and La Cocina’s cookbook. All proceeds from ticket sales are donated to La Cocina. 11:30am-8pm. Power Station in Dogpatch, 420 23rd St. at Illinois.

Sunday October 13th is the first-ever SF Bake Sale for Planned Parenthood, from Zuni Cafe, Guittard Chocolate, Alison Seibert of The James Collective, and Marley Wertheimer. Inspired by the incredibly successful NYC version, the SF bakesale will include 36 of the top restaurants/bakeries in the city. The event will be free and open to the public, baked goods, and drinks will be available for purchase, and all proceeds raised through the bake sale, auction, and donations prior and during the event will be donated directly to Planned Parenthood NorCal and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates. Right on. 11am-3pm. Rose Alley between Gough and Market (behind Zuni Cafe).