February 25, 2020

February 25, 2020
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The future home of Hong Kong Lounge Bistro at 99 Rausch in SoMa. Instagram photo via @99rauschsf.

Thanks to an eagle-eyed tablehopper reader (thanks Alex!), I learned that a business named ~HONG KONG LOUNGE BISTRO~ is coming to the 99 Rausch condominium development in SoMa. Yes, big cheer, it’s from the same owner (Annie Ho) of the beloved Hong Kong Lounge II formerly at 5322 Geary, which was tragically burned out when a gas line was breached and exploded into flames one year ago. Amazingly, no one was hurt in the fire, but hordes of dim sum lovers all over the city (and beyond) have been wondering if and when the eight-year-old Hong Kong Lounge II would return.

I spoke with a representative at 99 Rausch, and unfortunately, no one from Hong Kong Lounge Bistro wants to comment on the project at this time—they just want to get ready for their opening, which should be happening soon. As soon as I’m able to share details on their opening and more, you’ll see it here first! For now, we can be happy that this beloved business is rising once again from the flames. 99 Rausch St. at Folsom.

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The sleek pastry counter and shimmering chandelier at Maison Danel. Photo: Emily Martin Events.

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The tea salon at Maison Danel. Photo: Emily Martin Events.

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Tea service at Maison Danel. Photo: Emily Martin Events.

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The main dining room at Son & Garden. Instagram photo via @sonandgarden.

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The secret tea room at Son & Garden. Instagram photo via @sonandgarden.

Hey, Polk Street, you’ve got a couple cute new spots on your drag! Who knew a former sex shop and smoke shop would transform into the très charmant ~MAISON DANEL~, a French-style salon de thé (tea salon) and patisserie? There are exposed brick walls, tiled floors, a cobalt blue tufted banquette, upholstered Louis-style chairs that encourage you to sit and linger, a huge sparkling chandelier, and lots of natural light. The classic style is well-appointed and welcoming, without being too fussy.

It’s from husbands Danel and David de Betelu (the owners of Baker Street Bistro), who have wanted to open a pâtisserie/tea salon for years, and have brought on pastry chef Adrien Chabot, fresh from Paris. The extensive pastry case is full of viennoiserie—from all kinds of croissants to chausson aux pommes (apple turnover)—while the pâtisserie options include delicate macarons that actually made me like them again, tartes, and a version of pot de crème made with milk (pot de lait) that was lighter and lovely. I look forward to trying Chabot’s Saint Honoré. You can also have items packed up in cute boxes—perfect host gifts.

They have also made their own creation: the crioche, a dough that is a combination of croissant dough and brioche, which makes for a bready, buttery, layered (laminated) roll, which they are filling with savory combos, like smoked salmon and herbed cream cheese, and ham and cheese.

You can book a table for tea service (from 2:30pm-6pm), with towers of finger sandwiches, pastries, and mini viennoiserie, with the option to add Champagne, caviar service, and more.

Weekend brunch features eggs Benedict, Florentine, and oeuf cocotte (eggs baked with cream and cheese “en cocotte”), plus tartines, croques, soups, and salads; don’t miss the quiche Lorraine, what a decadent, eggy treat. Some lunchtime mains will include vol-au-vent du jour (puff pastry filled with chef’s choice of the day), steak tartare, and a burger Maison Danel with wagyu beef patty and truffle mayo.

There’s Champagne, wine, and beer, all kinds of tea, full espresso and coffee service, floats, kombucha on tap, and fresh juices. Hours are 7am-7pm: breakfast from 8am-11am, lunch 11am-2:30pm, and Champagne and tea from 2:30pm-6pm. Weekend brunch is 8am-2:30pm. Closed Mondays. And: you can make reservations. 1030 Polk St. at Post.

A bit further down Polk is another spot that will be a hit with the brunch crowd, ~SON & GARDEN~ full of floral displays, wallpaper, flowery plates, and tea cups. It’s from Kasem “Pop” Saengsawang and his Farmhouse Thai group (and Daughter Thai), and is softly open right now (they’ve been working on this project for two years!).

While the brunch offering includes creations like matcha mochi or ricotta pancakes and deep-fried French toast, there’s also bibimbap, a crabby omelet, and a beastmode, bone-in short rib Benedict and a lobster Benedict (these last two items will put you back $32, while the other items are more around $16). High tea will also be offered, with a house blueberry scone, bacon-goat cheese biscuit, smoked salmon sandwich, and club sandwich paired with your selection of tea and a drink.

And it’s not just a brunch or tea or lunch spot: there’s also dinner service that starts at 5pm, with an eclectic menu that includes fried calamari, pasta carbonara, a flaming bird (really), whole branzino, and a fried chicken doughnut with potato wedges and mushroom sauce. I feel like I just took some LSD while reading this menu.

The space is totally over the top—it’s full-on Instagram bait, but it looks like a lot of fun, and there’s a secret tea lounge designed for high tea that is already booked up through mid-March, with pink velvet scalloped chairs, gilded mirrors, and more delightfully vibrant floral wallpaper, plus a private bar.

It’s pretty wild when you consider the space was formerly Ken’s Kitchen Chinese Cuisine, what a transformation. Anyway, the grand opening is March 12th, but you can come by during their soft opening 9am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm, and up to 10pm on Sat (closed Tue). Wine and shochu cocktails are available for now. 700 Polk St. at Eddy.

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The new pizza at Devil’s Teeth Baking Company Outer Richmond. Instagram photo via @devilsteeth.

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The new reception café in Dogpatch. Yelp photo via business owner.

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The classic-looking window at Portofino. Yelp photo by Vasu R..

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Khao man gai from Rooster & Rice. Yelp photo by JP N.

Well, that was quick: the new second location of ~DEVIL’S TEETH BAKING COMPANY~ is now open in the former Marla Bakery in the Outer Richmond. Bring on the egg biscuit sandwiches, along with cookies, muffins, cinnamon rolls, some lunchy options—from quiche to sandwiches—and now pizza (cheese and pepperoni)! Way to put that gorgeous wood-fired oven to work. Eater notes pizza is only available Tue-Sat 11am-3pm. Open daily 7am-4pm. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave.

More baked goodness: now open in the former Hearth Coffee space in the Castro is ~CAFE DE CASA~, a Brazilian café from Lucimar Canedo and her daughters, Thais and Amanda. They’re serving pao de queijo (those amazing little cheesy bread puffs made with tapioca flour), savory salgados (stuffed bready snacks, from empadas to coxinha to rissoles), açaí bowls, salads, fresh juices, and artisan coffee. If the name is familiar, they also have locations at Fisherman’s Wharf and in South San Francisco. Open daily 9am-7pm, expanding to 6am-10pm in time. 3985 17th St. at Castro. [Via Hoodline.]

Another new café to open is ~RECEPTION~ in Dogpatch, at the entrance of The Landing. The all-day café offers pastries from Mr. Holmes, a few healthy breakfast bowls, salads, pot pies from Pye, and pretty much every beverage you can dream up, from a full coffee bar featuring Four Barrel Coffee to raw juices to tea to wines from Scribe and beer from Harmonic. Open Mon-Thu 7am-10pm and Fri-Sat 7am-11pm. 1395 22nd St. at Texas.

Just in time for Mardi Gras, ~CREOLA~ is now open in Cole Valley, a sister to the location in San Carlos. The menu includes classics like boudin balls, hush puppies (made with Dungeness crab), shrimp and grits, jambalaya, gumbo, as well as wine and a variety of Abita beers. Open Tue-Wed 5:30pm-9:30pm and Thu-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 900 Stanyan St. at Frederick.

~DUMPLING PARK~ is now open in the Inner Sunset in the former Howard’s Cafe, and even though everyone loves dumplings, they seem to be getting a bit of an initial thrashing on Yelp—looks like this one may need some time to ramp up. Beef noodle soup is made with hand-cut noodles, chow mein, and fried rice round out the menu. Open daily 11am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm. 1309 9th Ave. at Irving.

Over in North Beach, there’s a new yet old school SF-style seafood spot called ~PORTOFINO~, serving oysters on the half shell, cracked crab, cioppino, and Louie salad, plus some East Coast-style dishes like clam chowder, crab cakes, lobster rolls, and steamers. Hoodline reported it’s a redux of the former Portofino Café, which opened on Columbus in North Beach in 1937 (it closed in the late 90s). Frankie Balistreri just reopened it in the former DIP Bistro and Adolfo’s on Grant—his father, Gaetano, previously owned Portofino for 26 years. Based on the classic gold leaf window lettering, it looks like it has been there all along. Hours for now are Tue-Sun 11am-10pm; no beer or wine at the moment, FYI. 1318 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

Fans of the awesome khao mun gai (chicken fat rice) from ~ROOSTER & RICE~ have yet another location to procure this oh-so-simple but oh-so-delicious dish near USF in the Inner Richmond. The new location is at 1 Stanyan St. at Geary. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9pm and Sun 11am-7pm.

There’s a new brunchy café that has opened on Divis, ~THAT’S MY JAM~, serving an eclectic menu that includes a breakfast sandwich (egg on baguette) with a side of homemade whipped cream and berries (hmmm); eggs Benedict; pastries; and a couple daily sandwiches and salads. Rectangular plates, check. There’s also espresso service, wine by the glass, and beer. Open Mon and Thu-Fri 6:30am-3:30pm, Sat-Sun 7am-4pm. 324 Divisadero St. at Oak.

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The cheerful patio at La Guerrera’s Kitchen in Fruitvale. Instagram photo via @laguerreraskitchen.

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Opening night just getting underway at Off the Grid: Fort Mason. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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From Monday March 2nd through International Women’s Day (on Sunday March 8th), La Cocina is hosting the Week of Women in Food: seven nights of dinners featuring chefs of the upcoming La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Unfortunately, most of the dinners are sold out, but you can still get tickets to the Sunday finale event with chef Guadalupe Moreno of Mi Morena at La Guerrera’s Kitchen (a La Cocina graduate business) and Mayra Velazquez of Xingones. It’s going to be an outdoor event on La Guerrera’s Kitchen patio, starting at 5pm in Fruitvale.

All ticket sales support the La Cocina incubator program and La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Guests also have the opportunity to purchase La Cocina’s newly published cookbook, We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of The American Dream (featuring five of the seven vendors) and make a direct donation to the Municipal Marketplace capital campaign goal (currently at $4.8MM of its $5.4MM goal). It will be the nation’s first women-led food hall, opening in the Tenderloin neighborhood this year. So excited.

It’s that time of the year again… Off the Grid is returning for its tenth season on Friday March 6th at Fort Mason Center! The Night Market will run until October 30th, from 5pm-10pm every Friday evening rain or shine, with more than 30 food creators. Get excited: new food partners include El Garage (the makers of a quesabirria taco which was pretty much the best thing I ate last year), OG Tacos! (also makers of quesabirria tacos), Taco Thai SF (love their flava!), The Golden Marrow, the return of Capelo’s Barbecue, along with Bini’s Kitchen, Bombzies BBQ, Curry Up Now, Jeepney Guy, Kolobok Russian Soul Food, Mestiza Taqueria, Senor Sisig, The Sarap Shop, and more. Rye on the Road will have your cocktail ready, and a dedicated Anarchist Wine Bar will feature a selection of premium wines.

Chocolate lovers, there’s a new event coming: the inaugural Craft Chocolate Experience, highlighting chocolate luminaries from around the world from March 6th-8th. Bean-to-bar makers, chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and cacao bean growers from over 25 countries will be at the Palace of Fine Arts, plus a marketplace with more than 85 artisans.

On stage will be some of the leading voices in craft chocolate, with some of the most renowned pastry chefs in the world, including Jordi Roca from El Celler de Can Roca, Spain; Chloe Doutre Roussel, expert in chocolate flavor and taste from Paris; Benjamin Figarede, the chocolate sourcer for Valrhona; and Greg D’Alesandre, “sourcerer” of Dandelion Chocolate. There will be panel discussions, pairing classes, and even some family activities.

The weekend kicks off on Friday night, with a celebration featuring chocolate desserts, specialty cocktails and beverages, and savory bites from La Cocina. ($95; 21+) Visit here for additional ticket info on the weekend marketplace, weekend pass, programming, and more. 3601 Lyon St.