The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
January 17, 2017
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Last week at Sunday Joint at Magnolia: prime rib of Brandt beef, Yorkshire pudding and beef gravy, duck fat-roasted potatoes, and roasted fennel, broccoli, parsnips, red onions, and carrots. Photo: Kaitlyn Chiu.

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Gnocchi Tuesdays at Barzotto mean dishes like potato gnocchi in chorizo ragù with rapini leaves, slow-cooked egg, and bread crumbs. Photo via Instagram.

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The cart for bollito misto at Poggio. Photo courtesy of Poggio via Facebook.

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From Eat Chinatown: Hon’s Wun Tun House. Photo: Andria Lo.

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1760 chef Carl Foronda and Acquerello chef Suzette Gresham. Photo: Grace Sager Photography.

There’s nothing like a good Sunday night roast, which ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY~ obviously understands, as they just launched a new weekly dinner, Sunday Joint. (And since it’s in the Haight, the other joint makes sense too.) Each prix-fixe Sunday Joint dinner (always under $40 per guest) will center around a cut or joint of meat, such as beef prime rib, pork loin, or leg of lamb, plus an appetizer and sides like Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes, and other vegetables. And, oh yes, there will be dessert, like a seasonal trifle or sticky toffee pudding. Starts at 4pm and available until it runs out. Weekly menu details will be revealed via Facebook and Instagram as each dinner approaches.

Also in the Haight, the new ~SLICE HOUSE~ by Tony Gemignani is honoring Janis Joplin’s birthday on Thursday January 19th with a special pie (Cry Baby), a spicy number topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella, red and white onions, garlic, serrano chile, Calabrese chile, shallots, and ‘nduja. Buy a slice and receive a free psychedelic lemonade or fountain drink of your choice, all day. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 1535 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-552-2520.

~BARZOTTO~ has added gnocchi night to Tuesday dinner (5:30pm-10pm). Each week, there will be an off-menu gnocchi special, like potato gnocchi with herbed brown butter, walnuts, and balsamic, or sweet potato gnocchi. (And don’t forget, their Italian ramen is on Sundays and Mondays.)

Fans of ~POGGIO~ in Sausalito know this is the time of year they host their annual bollito misto. Come by January 25th-29th, and chef Benjamin Balesteri will be carving tableside a variety of meats simmered in a rich broth and served with sauces like salsa verde, horseradish crème fraîche, bone marrow butter, and kumquat mostarda. On the cart, you can expect to find cotechino sausage, beef tongue, brisket, veal breast, and oxtail. This traditional Milanese winter meal is $25 per person.

On Friday January 20th, you can ignore the inauguration footage and head to the opening party for the Eat Chinatown exhibit instead. This photo exhibit by Andria Lo and Valerie Luu (the duo behind Chinatown Pretty/@chinatownpretty) is at 41 Ross, and it commemorates classic Chinatown restaurants, diners, and bakeries that have been open for more than 40 years—and their patrons. The opening reception is 5pm-9pm, and beer and snacks from featured restaurants will be provided (including New Lun Ting Cafe/Pork Chop House, Capital Restaurant, Hon’s Wun Tun House, and Eastern Bakery). The exhibition is up through April 9th, don’t miss it (gallery hours are Thu-Sun 11am-4pm). 41 Ross Alley at Jackson.

This weekend is also the 2017 Good Food Awards, with 193 food crafters in town on Friday January 20th for the Good Food Awards Ceremony, with small bites, cocktails, and the winning food and drink at the reception. On Sunday January 22nd is the Good Food Awards Marketplace at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion (8am-2pm). For $5, you can buy a ticket for access to the marketplace, with 75 of the winners selling their winning food and drink, many of which are normally unavailable in the Bay Area. (Retailers and media are also invited to join 140 of the winners at the Good Food Merchants Guild at the industry-only Good Food Mercantile for $35 on Saturday January 21st.)

Whatcha doing on Sunday January 22nd? Book a seat for this collaborative dinner with Acquerello chef Suzette Gresham and Carl Foronda of ~1760~. Both chefs are having fun with this cross-cultural dinner and coloring outside their usual lines. Courses include mini lumpia with shrimp and longanisa and lobster cannoli, and “Spam” embutido musubi and truffled arancini. Tickets are $65 per person (wine option available as an add-on) with multiple seating times from 5:30pm-9:30pm.  

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The well-known (and loved) signage of Lefty O’Doul’s. Yelp photo by Alan B.

An unfortunate landlord dispute is bringing down a classic and beloved San Francisco institution: ~LEFTY O’DOUL’S~ in Union Square is closing Friday February 3rd. The dispute is between landlord Jon Handlery and Lefty O’Doul’s owner Nick Bovis. If those names ring a bell, it’s because it’s the same duo who locked horns over the Gold Dust Lounge, which was just around the corner before Bovis was evicted and saved the bar by moving it to its current location in Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s pretty despicable to see this happening all over again.

Hoodline reports Bovis has already stripped the Lefty’s walls of their memorabilia in an effort to save them from Handlery’s claims that he owns the name and contents of the restaurant. Bovis is reportedly hoping to secure a nearby location in Union Square where they can reopen Lefty’s later this year. And Handlery says he’s going to reopen Lefty’s in the current location. This is gonna get ugly. (You can read more about the history of the baseball-lovin’ restaurant and bar here.) 333 Geary St. at Powell, 415-982-8900.

I was sorry to get an email from Andrea de Francisco, the owner of ~CAFÉ ST. JORGE~ in Bernal that she is selling the business after opening her love letter to Portugal back in 2013. Silver lining: the new owners (the Saleh family) are keeping it exactly the same—same staff, same menu, same everything. Andrea will be staying on for a bit and training after the sale goes through, so be sure to swing by and give her your best wishes over the next month or so. She says she is going to miss you! 3438 Mission St. at Kingston.

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Nasty women and bad hombres at Brenda’s French Soul Food. Photo courtesy of Brenda’s.

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This weekend is going to be an intense one, with protests and Women’s Marches and even a performance art piece across the Golden Gate Bridge as the inauguration happens. Some San Francisco businesses are adding their voices to the dissent and offering support to Planned Parenthood and other crucial services and organizations.

From ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~: “On Fri Jan 20th and Sat Jan 21st in protest of the incoming presidential administration, the owners of Brenda’s French Soul Food and ~LIBBY JANE CAFE~ will be donating 10 percent of all sales to Planned Parenthood and the SFILEN (San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network). At this pivotal point in our country’s history, the owners and managers agreed that any gesture to support anti-hate groups, provide a space of inclusivity, and offer extra support to our immigrant community that the restaurant industry depends so heavily on is vitally important.

“Our goal this weekend is to provide comfort and solace to those who may find themselves on the streets of the Civic Center exercising their freedom of speech, while knowing that they will also be supporting two important cause groups.”

~TACOS CALA~, the taco shop behind ~CALA~ in Hayes Valley, is generously donating proceeds from taco sales all week (!) to organizations that help preserve our rights, including Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Watch, Centro Legal de la Raza, Horizons Foundation, and the ACLU. Open Mon-Fri 11am-2pm. Hickory Street (behind 149 Fell St.).

There is also this list on Facebook of “California businesses [that] are showing their support for Planned Parenthood and all that it does to provide critical health services and provide responsible family planning. On [Friday] January 20th, companies throughout California are donating proceeds from sales and making other contributions to Planned Parenthood Advocacy and Planned Parenthood Texas, which is on the verge of having its Medicaid funding cut.

“You can show the incoming administration that the people of this great state are with Planned Parenthood and all that it does by opening your wallet and supporting these businesses on Inauguration day. Please check back as the list of participating businesses is growing every day. If you have a business of any type and would like to participate, please email Pamela or Tala.” (Thanks Pamela Busch and Tala Drzewiecki for assembling this amazing list! If you’re in LA, there are some businesses listed as well!)

San Francisco
Bi-Rite Market - $1,000 cash donation (3639 18th Street, Mission, and 550 Divisadero, NOPA)
Castro Village Wine Company - 10% of sales on 1/20 (4121 19th Street, Castro)
Christopher’s Books - 10% sales on 1/20 (1400 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
Collage Gallery - 10% sales on 1/20 (1345 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
Delfina - (3621 18th Street, Mission)
Dig Wine - 100% of Friday night tasting fee. Six wines from Domaine Sigaut in Chambolle-Musigny, $35. (1005 Minnesota Street, Dogpatch)
Doc’s Clock - 50% of proceeds from bar on 1/20 (2575 Mission Street, Mission)
Dynamo Donut - 10% of sales on 1/20 (2760 24th Street, Mission)
El Rio - 100% of proceeds from bar on 1/20 (3158 Mission St, Mission)
Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant - 10% of sales on 1/20 (One Ferry Building, #23, San Francisco)
Fig & Thistle Wine Bar - 100% of profits from special rosé flight on 1/20 (313 Ivy Street, Hayes Valley)
Fox and Lion Bread Company - 10% of pizza sales (5273 Third Street, Bayview)
Gratta Wines - 10% of sales on 1/20 (5273 Third Street, Bayview)
Jackalope - 100% of tips from 6-9pm on 1/20 (1092 Post Street, Lower Nob Hill)
Nectar Wine Lounge - 10% of sales on 1/20 (3330 Steiner Street, Marina)
Ona.life - $1 from from every purchase / delivery on Jan 20th - Premium Cannabis Delivery Serving San Francisco + Marin County - (www.ona.life)
One Ocean Seafood - 40% of sales from oysters at Ruby Wine Fundraiser (1419 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
Provender Coffee and Food - 100% of sales from special pink scone (1415 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
Radio Africa - 10% of sales on 1/20 (4800 Third Street, Bayview)
Revel Wine - 10% of sales on 1/19 (wine distributor)
Ruby Wine - Proceeds from Friday night wine flight (1419 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
Sacred Thirst - one case of wine to be raffled off at Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant on 1/20 (wine importer)
Scuola di Vino - 10% of sales on 1/20 (wine importer)
Terra Firma Wine Company - 10% of all wine delivered on 1/20 (wine distributor)
Terroir Wine Natural Wine Bar & Merchant - Proceeds from three wine flight (1116 Folsom Street, SoMa)
Trumpet Wine - 10% of sales on 1/20 (wine importer)
Umi Sushi - gift certificate to be raffled off at Ruby Wine (1328 18th Street, Potrero Hill)
William Cross Wine Merchants - $10 from each Women Winemakers tasting flight (2253 Green Street, Russian Hill)

East Bay
Joli Vin Imports - 10% of sales on 1/19 & 1/20 (wine importer)
Ordinaire - 10% of sales on 1/20 (3354 Grand Avenue, Lake Merritt)
The Punchdown - 10% of sales and personal donation matching (1737 Broadway, Downtown Oakland)
Selection Massale - 10% of sales (wine importer)
Starline Social Club - 10% of proceeds and 50% of a special pink drink (645 West Grand Street, Downtown Oakland)

Lastly, for those who are gathering at Justin Herman Plaza and marching on Saturday January 21st, ~WHITECHAPEL~ will opening early at 2pm to provide a safe and comfortable place to gather before the march, with 100% of the proceeds of their special menu offered that day going to Planned Parenthood. AMAZING. Thank you, Whitechapel. (Tip big, people.) 2pm-5pm. 600 Polk St. at Turk.

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Look what you can get for lunch from Zero Zero: housemade casareccia pasta with prosciutto, Grana Padano, arugula, Straus butter, and bread crumbs. Photo via Facebook.

It’s that time of the year, when Bay Area restaurants offer special lunch and dinner menus and deals. SF Restaurant Week returns January 18th-29th, with 120 restaurants. Some places offer two-course menus for $15 or $25 and three-course (or more) menus for $40 or $65. It’s a good way to check out a place you’ve been curious about, and newcomers to Restaurant Week include ‘Aina, Babu Ji, Bellota, Black Cat, Cassava, Chouquet’s, Matador, Old Bus Tavern, The Perennial, Tratto, Wayfare Tavern, and more.

Berkeley Restaurant Week is running January 19th-29th, also offering lunch ($20) and dinner menus ($25 or $35). Check out places like Ajanta, Comal, Easy Creole, Gaumenkitzel, La Marcha, Revival Bar + Kitchen, and more.

Oakland Restaurant Week is also January 19th-29th, with restaurants offering prix-fixe lunch and/or dinner menus at $20, $30, $40, and $50 price points (promotional prices reflect up to 25 percent off regular à la carte items). Be sure to visit the site each day to enter the “Lucky 7” sweepstakes, with three ways to win gift certificates and more.

January 10, 2017
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Uma Casa partners Nora Furst and Telmo Faria harvesting touriga nacional in Chocapalha in Portugal. Photo courtesy of Uma Casa.

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The WPT on Nora Furst’s cocktail menu at Uma Casa. Photo courtesy of Nora Furst.

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Arroz de pato, with smoked duck breast, confit-mushroom risotto, cherries, red wine reduction. Photo: Uma Casa.

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The classic Portuguese treat: pasteis de nata. Photo: Uma Casa.

Huge congrats to chef-owner Telmo Faria for opening his dream restaurant, ~UMA CASA~, an homage to his native Portugal (he was born in the Azores). It’s a pet project that he has been planning and working toward for years, so it’s great to see the restaurant swing open its doors. His business partner and right-hand woman is Nora Furst (previously Belga, Lolinda), who is also the beverage director—but more on that in a sec!

Faria has been working with Tacolicious since 2009, and he diminished his role in 2015 in order to start working on this project. His menu pays homage to classic Portuguese dishes, like rissois de camarão (shrimp turnovers), pasteis de bacalhau (salt cod fritters), and caldo verde (a hearty soup with potatoes, linguica, collard greens). Of course seafood plays a big part on the menu, but there are meaty dishes that are perfect for this rainy season, like carne de porco à Alentejana (braised pork, tomato-wine sauce, clams, fingerling potatoes, cilantro, $22) and homey dishes like frango churrasco (grilled half Mary’s chicken, piri piri glaze, fries, greens, $22). Nothing on the menu is over $28, so you can see how Uma Casa wants to be a good neighborhood hangout.

Faria wants San Francisco’s sole Portuguese restaurant to educate and expose local diners to the canon before branching out into some of his newer interpretations; look for more of his individual expression to come in time. He wants the food to be approachable and to highlight the shared maritime heritage that San Francisco and Portugal have. Lisbon in particular is very San Francisco-like, with its coastal position, hills, trolleys, and it even has its own version of the Golden Gate Bridge (check out my past jetsetter post on Lisbon).

Noe Valley’s former Incanto has been given quite the facelift and is now much lighter and airy. There are 82 seats, with 10 at the bar, and two large maple communal tables for room for 14 walk-ins or when you just want to swing by for some snacks and drinks. You’ll see some traditional Portuguese elements, like classic blue and white tiles, mixing with postmodern-style chairs to give things a taste of the present. You will also be greeted by a raw bar display of seafood on ice when you come in, a nod to something many restaurants in Lisbon do.

Nora Furst has assembled quite the beverage list. Even though Uma Casa just has a beer and wine license, she tells me she looked at it as an opportunity and not a challenge to explore categories more deeply, like fortified wines. There are five low-ABV cocktails, including the signature WPT (white port and tonic), made with a less-sweet port that is actually a bit more saline and acidic, served with Carpano bianco, Mixwell dandelion tonic, lime, and seasonal botanical garnish. There are five in all, $10 each, and they look fantastic. In the aperitifs section, there is a selection of vermouths—from Italian to French to domestic—available over a big ice cube and served with different garnishes, plus some sherries and more.

Her wine list is almost 90 percent Portuguese, with a few California producers that use Portuguese methods or varieties. They wanted to offer a large by-the-glass selection so guests can explore Portuguese wine and taste and learn. Look for the list to expand by a third in time. There are also some fun beer selections and cider as well.

Look for the 18-seat private dining room to be coming next. It’s going to pay homage to Faria’s and Furst’s family heritage, from his Portuguese roots to her father’s past as a chef. Large-format dinners will be offered, from suckling pig to seafood feasts.

Hours are Tue-Thu and Sun 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11am, closed Mon. Brunch should be coming by spring or summer. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-829-2264.

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The interior of ICHI Kakiya, which is once again ICHI Sushi. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

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Snag those Souvla pita sandwiches! Photo courtesy of Souvla.

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A sweet treat at The Riddler: dark chocolate pot de crème with chocolate pearls, served in a caviar tin. Photo courtesy of The Riddler.

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There will be all kinds of pop at The Riddler. Photo: Kassie Borreson.

Some great news from our beloved ~ICHI SUSHI~ crew: after dealing with a health scare/setback with chef-partner Tim Archuleta, and then deciding to close their larger location, they have successfully made the move back to their smaller original location, and Tim is home from the hospital and on the mend. That is a great way to start 2017, ICHI gang! (And way to take care of business, Erin Archuleta!) You guys are amazing. Now it’s up to us to come visit and put our money where our mouth is, which is where the fish goes.

The 21-seat spot has chef Max Bauer leading the charge right now, and the omakase menu is in full swing with sustainable fish, nigiri, and sashimi in season. Sake, beer, and wine are served. Dinner is served nightly Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm. Lunch will kick in next week and be served Mon-Fri. Reservations available. 3369 Mission St. at 30th St., 415-525-4750.

The Souvla team can’t stop, won’t stop. Opening this Sunday January 15th is Charles Bililies and chef-partner Tony Cervone’s third location, ~SOUVLA VALENCIA~, near Craftsman & Wolves, Dandelion Chocolate, and Tacolicious (it’s in the former Grub space). Look for the same menu of delicious rotisserie meats in pita sandwiches and salads, Greek fries, frozen Greek yogurt with toppings, and a 100 percent Greek beverage list (which includes their new private label wines). Hours are daily 11am-10pm. 758 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-400-5458. (And just a little reminder that ~SOUVLA~ Hayes Valley reopens on January 12th.)

In case you hear the sound of popping corks, here’s why: also opening this Sunday January 15th is Jen Pelka’s ~THE RIDDLER~ in Hayes Valley. I’m going to have the menu and pics to share next week, but wanted to let you know you can come by for Champagne and more in case your Sunday needs some extra fizz (doesn’t it always?). Pop pop! One sneak peek: check out this brilliant dessert of dark chocolate pot de crème with chocolate pearls, served in a caviar tin. You can read more in my previous post. Hours are Tue-Thu and Sun 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. 528 Laguna St. at Linden.

Congrats to ~LUKE’S LOCAL~ for opening their brick-and-mortar grocery store in Cole Valley (in the former Alpha Market). Look for an extensive selection of premade dishes and ingredients, something they perfected with their weekly prepared meal delivery service. Look for a bunch of local brands and products, a well-stocked deli case, and more. Open daily 9am-9pm. 960 Cole St. at Parnassus, 415-643-4510.

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Artwork at Alta CA. Hello, blue cow. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Saucy Asian short rib bowl with lemon soju (please note this is styled for a photo shoot: all dishes will be served in takeout containers). Photo courtesy of Saucy Asian.

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Korean tacos at Saucy Asian. Photo courtesy of Saucy Asian.

It’s a new year and there are a bunch of new projects to match, so let’s look at what’s coming up.

There’s an update on Daniel Patterson’s plans at the Minnesota Street Project in Dogpatch, and it looks like he’s going to be opening a second ~ALTA CA~ there. Chef Anthony Lee of the Market Street Alta will oversee the menu as well, and Scoop reports there will be a strong art component. Look for an opening in the spring. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.

Back in 2015, I reported on ~KINJO~, a sushi restaurant that was coming to Russian Hill from the chef-owner of Saru in Noe Valley and Ijji on Divis, Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya in San Carlos, Kuo Hwa Chuang. Eater now reveals that Takatoshi Toshi of Sushi Ran will be running the kitchen, serving Edomae-style omakase sushi ($120). We’ll have more details in a couple of weeks, which is when it’s expected to open. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Opening in the former H Cafe in the Castro is ~SAUCY ASIAN~, from owner Andrew Shinn. He’s going to be serving Korean-inspired “super fusion” street food, in the form of burritos, tacos, sandwiches (banh mi, cheesesteaks), BBQ bowls, and poke bowls. You’ll be able to choose from meats like bulgogi, spicy prawns, short ribs, spicy pork, braised pork belly, and fried chicken, plus tofu. And a bunch of sauces, oh you know it.

The fast-casual concept will have everything served in takeout containers, although there will be around 20 seats you can hang out in (outdoor seating is also coming). Beer and wine are on the list too. Shinn went to grad school in Seoul and was inspired by all the late-night food he saw there, so this is his spin on it. It’s a family affair—he’s opening it with his parents. Hours will be 10:30am-3pm and 5pm-10pm daily, which will expand once things ramp up. Look for an opening in February, I’ll keep you updated. 3801 17th St. at Sanchez.

More Korean news: New York’s Deuki Hong, of the awesome Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong, is coming to SF. Eater reports he’s opening a KFC (Korean fried chicken) joint called Sunday Bird in the back of the upcoming Boba Guys location on Fillmore Street (just next door to Wise Sons Bagelry). Think whole Mary’s birds, used for fried chicken (half or whole), chicken soup, fried chicken skin, and more. It’s due to launch in February, and since it’s going to be a pop-up space, Sunday Bird will be there indefinitely (the plan is to find a permanent space for the concept). 1522 Fillmore St. at Geary.

He’s also about to sign a lease for a Korean barbecue restaurant (also on Fillmore), which will have a fermentation lab and late-night vibe. Look for SF’s Korean BBQ game to get upped significantly by the end of 2017.

Some upcoming changes at the 44-year-old ~CAFÉ FLORE~, which was just purchased by Terrance Alan (chairman of San Francisco’s Cannabis State Legalization Task Force) and Aaron Silverman (a cannabis entrepreneur). The BAR reports the duo are trying to turn the space into a cannabis café. Although we aren’t going to be able to enjoy an alfresco toke à la Amersterdam cafés, perhaps cannabis can be integrated in the food instead. Read the article for more about the complex legalities as Prop 64 gets closer, but it’s certainly fun to think about. In the meantime, look for some updates to the management, décor, food, cocktails, and service—the two will be reaching out to the community for input.

SoMa’s former Paradise Lounge, which has been closed fo-evah and was completely gutted, is opening soon as a three-story Puerto Rican restaurant and club, ~CALLE 11/DEL ENCANTO~ from Leticia Luna. Chef Christopher Caraballo (of Oakland’s Puerto Rican food stand, Borinquen Soul) is running the upstairs kitchen and dining room, and the salsa will be pumpin’ on the dance floor (look for live salsa bands Fri-Sat). There’s also going to be a rooftop patio. Look for classic Puerto Rican dishes (the post on Inside Scoop has the menu and pics). To start, hours will Thu 4pm-10pm and until midnight Fri-Sat, with brunch on Sun 10am-4pm and dinner 5pm-10pm, plus happy hour and more. Mojitos, check. It all gets going this Thursday January 12th. 1501 Folsom St. at 11th St., 415-431-3000.

Noe Valley residents are happy with the news that David Samiljan of Alameda’s Barons Meats is moving into the ~DREWES MEATS~ location which closed last year. Eater reports the opening will be in February, with humanely raised meats free of hormones in the case, plus the addition of seafood! The original Alameda location will remain open. 1706 Church St. at 29th St.

And then there’s gonna be ice cream too! Coming to Fillmore Street (2201 Fillmore St. at Sacramento) and Hayes Valley this spring will be outposts of Portland’s famed ~SALT & STRAW~, from Kim and Tyler Malek (who are cousins), which will be their first shops in San Francisco. They are known for their organic, small-batch, chef-driven ice creams, like Almond Brittle with Salted Ganache, and Freckled Chocolate. Look for some seasonal influences in their flavors—and a strong sense of community.

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This is how Bar Agricole does steak and eggs for brunch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A peek at some of the sandwich bodaciousness Josey Baker is concocting at The Mill. Instagram photo via @joseybakerbread.

Some restaurant news around town for you. First up, I was surprised to run into ~FRANCES~ chef Michaela Rahorst out for dinner during the holidays (instead of seeing her hustling in the galley kitchen at Frances), and it ends up she has left her position. I checked in with Melissa Perello’s PR team, who expressed they were all very sad to see Michaela go (she has been at Frances since it opened). Connie Tsui—who has been with Frances since 2015—has been working with Michaela as her right hand since Michaela took over the chef position in September of 2015. Connie is currently transitioning into the role of chef de cuisine and working very closely with Melissa at this time—they expect that she will take over the position officially by the beginning of spring. In the meantime, I’ll keep you posted on Michaela’s whereabouts. For now, she’s doing things like running marathons and having fun cooking with her boyfriend over at Poesia restaurant.

Good news: the fine folks at ~BAR AGRICOLE~ have decided to extend brunch to Saturday as well, so now you can come by for fab dishes like grass-fed tri-tip with fried eggs, rutabaga, Piracicaba broccoli (which is like a sweet broccolini), and salsa verde both days, 10am-2pm. Sunday dinner service has also been added, 6pm-9pm.

The newly opened ~FLORES~ in Cow Hollow is launching brunch this Saturday January 14th and will serve Mexican brunch Saturdays and Sundays 11am-3pm. Dishes include pancake de elote ($13, corn pancake, maple crema, powdered sugar), huevos poblanos ($13, chicken mole, mini quesadilla, pickled onion, oregano), and carne asada ($19, 6-oz. skirt steak, rice, refried beans, two eggs any style, housemade tortillas, pico de gallo). The Vida Fuerza ($6, cold-brewed coffee, coconut milk, cinnamon) will get you back in the game. There are also large-format beverage options, like a passion fruit mimosa for six (which is basically a bottle of bubbles and a carafe of passion fruit purée—so it could be good for just two people, or even one, heh). 2030 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-796-2926.

After doing a fair amount of testing, Josey Baker is rolling out sandwiches at ~THE MILL~, served Thu-Sun 11am until they run out. This week’s beast is roast cauliflower, spring red onion, Tokyo and scarlet turnips, baby kale, JBB special sauce, roast garlic aioli, and provolone, $10. Expect something different each week! They are also serving beer and wine for their pizza nights, Mon and Wed from 6pm-9pm. Look for beers from San Diego’s Pizza Port and some French wines.

January 3, 2017
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Farro-juniper rigatoni with wild boar sugo and aged pecorino at Contrada. Photo via Facebook.

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Crispy golden quail at Khai. Photo courtesy of Khai.

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The Almanac burger, with California beef, cheddar, onion, pickle, and secret fried tomato aioli. Photo via @almanacbeer.

Opening on Wednesday January 4th in the former La Cucina in Cow Hollow is ~CONTRADA~. The restaurant is from managing partners Dena Grunt and Mick Suverkrubbe, with chef Jason Tuley (TBD, Parlour in Oakland, and most recently at Picco Restaurant and Pizzeria in Larkspur) leading a Tuscan menu with housemade pasta, wood-fired pizza, and other items such as slow-roasted meats. Sample menu dishes include farro-juniper rigatoni with wild boar sugo and aged pecorino; squid ink bucatini with Dungeness crab, chiles, and smoked bread crumbs; local clam pizza with Calabrian chile, wild nettle, cured lemon, and tomato sauce; and wood-oven grilled romanesco with capers, charred lemon, and bottarga. Look for a Cal-Italian wine list from consultant Shawndra McCrorey (previously A16). There is also a back deck that seats 40, with two communal live-edge walnut tables and a wine garden. Open Wed-Mon 5pm-10pm (until 12:30am Fri-Sat). 2136 Union St. at Fillmore, 415-926-8916.

Chef Khai Duong, known for his years at Ana Mandara (which closed in 2012), is back in San Francisco and has opened ~KHAI~ in the former Bonjour Patisserie. Scoop reports he’s offering a 10-course tasting menu for $95—sample dishes include coconut crab soup with hand-cut noodles, wild smelt ceviche, and crispy golden quail (the menu is on the site). Wine pairings are from Quinton Jay of Bacchus Wine Shop. Open Tue-Sat: two seatings (6pm and 8:30pm). 655 Townsend St. at 8th St., 415-724-2323.

Last year, I mentioned that Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan of Almanac Beer Co. were opening a taproom in the former Sous Beurre Kitchen in the Mission, and ~ALMANAC SAN FRANCISCO TAPROOM~ is now open. Scoop notes there will be taproom-exclusive offerings, and right now there are 15 beers on tap, with 11 barrel-aged selections, plus a list of vintage beers, along with wine from Paul Einbund (Morris White and Morris Red) and housemade sodas. Growlers will be available soon, but you can get bottled beers to go in the meantime—and I am sorry to hear they have discontinued their canned beers.

The chef is Chad Arnold—who was behind the charcuterie program at Dopo—so expect plenty of salumi and charcuterie (from duck salami to pork rillettes), plus sandwiches (banh mi), a salad, Spam musubi, oysters, a burger, and hop salt fries. Check out the entire menu here. There are 74 seats inside, with a beer garden in the back. Open Tue-Sun 3pm-11pm. 2704 24th. St. at Potrero, 415-932-6531.

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AQ’s open kitchen (and groovy whisk lights). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The dining room at Restaurant Lulu. Yelp photo by Tomo Toroeater T.

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Chef Rob Lam of Butterfly. Photo courtesy of Butterfly.

It’s the beginning of the year, which always brings a batch of news about unfortunate closures after the holiday parties wrap up. Both ~BAR TARTINE~ and ~RANGE~ had their last nights on New Year’s Eve, and now word is out that owner Matt Semmelhack and chef-partner Mark Liberman’s ~AQ~ will be closing down this month as well (date TBD), after five years in business. Read the revealing Thrillist article, not only for a detailed portrayal of how the restaurant’s numbers fluctuated greatly over that five-year span, but to take a wider look at the financial pressure restaurants are operating under. Scoop followed up with Liberman and reports he will be leaving the Mercer Restaurant Group once the AQ space deal is final to pursue his own project; Fenix remains open. [UPDATE: AQ is now closing on Saturday January 14th.]

A tablehopper reader let me know about another casualty in SoMa: SF old-timer ~RESTAURANT LULU~ has posted a closure notice in its window and has served its last wood-fired mussels and pizzas. I remember it being the first place where I had family-style food service outside of Italy, and I drank many a Cosmo at that long bar. Even though it lost its luster in recent years, here’s to 24 years of many fond food memories there. 816 Folsom St. at 4th St.

Another successful restaurant that is closing is ~BUTTERFLY~. Chef-owner Rob Lam is closing the Embarcadero restaurant after dinner service on Saturday January 7th—after 15 YEARS of business in San Francisco (his lease is up). In a note, Lam says: “We bore witness to our beloved city’s growth as one of the finest epicenters of this great American culinary movement. We’ve shared many bowls of garlic noodles and countless shots of Fernet together. So it is with extreme pride that we can say we were a part of this San Francisco dining scene.”

As some of you have noted, we have done a few Vietnamese pop-ups together, which have been partially serving as R and D for his new concept. Lam is currently looking for a space, hopefully in San Francisco, but he hasn’t ruled out Oakland. Stand by for updates, and a big slow clap to Rob for 15 years of feeding so many happy guests (and pouring so much Fernet for them). Pier 33, 415-864-8999.

Foreign Cinema’s John Clark and Gayle Pirie have decided to close ~SHOW DOGS~ and the flanking ~MACHINE COFFEE~ at Market and Golden Gate after seven years of business at the challenging corner. [Via Hoodline.] That chicken sandwich is going to be missed. 1020 Market St. at Taylor.

Hoodline also reports that Latin American tapas and cocktail bar ~POQUITO~ in the Dogpatch is now closed. 2368 3rd St. at 20th St.

The original ~LORI’S DINER~ on Mason Street is closing after almost 32 years in business due to an expiring lease; the other locations remain open. [Via Hoodline.] 336 Mason St. at Geary.

William Lue of Oakland’s Grocery Cafe has closed ~TENDER LOVING FOOD~ in the Tenderloin. But not all is lost: Hoodline reports he’s going to be opening his new restaurant, ~LAPHET~, serving banquet-style Burmese food and tea pairings in January at 448 Larkin St. (formerly Bento House). 393 Eddy St. at Leavenworth.

Just a short closure: ~SOUVLA~ on Hayes Street will temporarily be closed until January 11th for a refresh and will reopen on Thursday January 12th. (Delivery is still available via the Divisadero Street location, and the new Valencia location at 758 Valencia St. is opening January 16th, I’ll post more details on that next week!)

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A sneak peek of the upcoming Contraband counter. Photo courtesy of Contraband.

SoMa is going to be the home of a second ~CONTRABAND COFFEE~ location next week (the original is on Larkin in Nob Hill). Due to open on Monday January 9th (follow along on Instagram here for updates) is a second outpost for the local microroaster, this one will be in the Mosso residential complex. They source fair-trade, single-origin coffees from independent coffee farms around the world. There will also be teas, pastries, and light, savory fare like empanadas. Hours will be 6:30am-7pm (or possibly 9pm, TBD). 5th and Clementina Streets.

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The #BaconSlut at The Gastropig. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

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The Ode to Genova at The Gastropig. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

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The Squash King pizza at Lucia’s PIzzeria, with squash purée and Gorgonzola. Photo via Facebook.

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The bar at Café Rouge. Photo courtesy of Café Rouge.

Open today is a new fast-casual breakfast and lunch spot in Uptown Oakland from Ann Thai and Loren Goodwin, ~THE GASTROPIG~. As you may gather from the name, the menu of breakfast sandwiches and more is rather pig-centric, with a trademark sandwich called #Baconslut (an applewood-smoked bacon sandwich with an over-easy egg, cheddar cheese, and Aleppo chile aioli, served on a brioche roll, $9.50). The Gastropig is conveniently two blocks from the 19th Street BART station, so that breakfast sandwich can be yours (plus three others, and avocado toast with cilantro crema) the next time you’re hungover and heading to work.

There are also pastries, grab-and-go deli sandwiches (including the Ode to Genova, $8, a classic Italian deli sandwich that pays homage to Oakland’s Genova Delicatessen), and hot lunchtime options. You can also find a waffle iron hash brown with cheddar and scallions ($4), plus coffee service (including nitro-charged cold brew and Vietnamese iced coffee). There are 49 seats if you want to hang out. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sun 9am-2pm. 2123 Franklin St. at 22nd St., Oakland, 510-817-4663.

Now open near Grand Lake in the former Aztecali space is ~CHICA~, a Norcal-Mexican-American restaurant that started as a takeout window in San Francisco. Owner Maria Esquivel serves a menu that includes tacos, soup, Mexi-bowls with rice or salad as a base, Tex-Mex mac and cheese, and more, including espresso service. Eater’s original post mentions there is seating for 25. Open Tue-Sat espresso 7:30am-8pm, with food 11am-8pm; and Sun food and espresso 10am-5pm. 303A Oakland Ave. at Pearl, 510-735-9748.

The high cost of doing business precipitated a change at ~ALAMAR KITCHEN & BAR~ in Oakland, with chef-owner Nelson German moving to a quick-service format. You can still enjoy their peel ‘n’ eat shrimp, but you’ll be ordering at the counter now.

Now open in Berkeley is ~LUCIA’S PIZZERIA~ in the former Belli Osteria, from Steve Dumain and Alessandro Uccelli, serving Neapolitan-style pizza but with modern toppings from a Stefano Ferrara wood-fired oven (take a look at the extensive menu here). There are also small plates, like charcuterie and calamari fritti, salads, and Italian wines. Open Sun-Thu 5pm-9:15pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. [Via Nosh.] 2016 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-225-9467.

A sad closure in Berkeley: owner Marsha McBride closed ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ after 20 years in business. The butcher shop-restaurant was a seminal business for the butchery community, with numerous people who learned the craft there. Sadly staffing issues precipitated the closure, and executive chef Rick DeBeaord was departing to pursue other projects. [Via Scoop.] 1782 4th St. at Delaware, Berkeley.

Need a drink after that news? Head over to Richmond at the old Kaiser Shipyard and you’ll find ~EAST BROTHER BEER COMPANY~, with a taproom in a 12,000-square foot warehouse from Chris Coomber and Rob Lightner. They serve five classic styles (pale wheat, red lager, Bo pils, red IPA, and oatmeal stout) at a wood 14-seat bar and there are open picnic tables, plus a ping-pong table, corn hole, and a regulation-size bocce court. Food trucks will be on hand during the weekend. Open Wed-Thu 4pm-8pm, Fri 4pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm, and Sun 12pm-8pm. 1001 Canal Blvd. at Wharf, Richmond.

December 20, 2016
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The Archuletas, Tim and Erin, of ICHI Sushi. Photo via their GoFundMe page.

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Jiro Lin. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Here’s an update from our dear ~ICHI SUSHI~ friends: it ends up chef-owner Tim Archuleta has been going through some rough health issues the past few months (he just had a major surgery on Sunday and is thankfully on the mend), and so Tim and his wife Erin have made the hard decision to downsize their operation. They are going to sell the current ICHI location and move back to their smaller space at 3369 Mission Street, which they still own; they plan to reopen in January 2017. When Tim is ready to get back behind the sushi counter, it made more sense for him to be able to ease back into a space that is more manageable sizewise (and stresswise).

Here’s where we can all help out: Tim’s lengthy hospital visit has racked up some burdensome bills, and it would be amazing to show some support to the wonderful Archuletas and donate to the GoFundMe page their friends set up for them. There is also going to be a fundraising party on Monday January 16th, so save the date.

The last night of service in their 3282 Mission Street space will be New Year’s Eve, so maybe you can come by for what is going to be quite a party. They’ll be serving a classic omakase-style sushi menu, and you can pony up for some rare and exciting sake pairings and more. Dinner service starts at 5:30pm; reservations here.

While they will keep many of their beloved crew, they are also actively searching to secure placement for the rest of their skilled team. Their swell space at 3282 will go on the market with CGI Retail and they are excited to offer it up to a new generation of small business owners. Here’s wishing the Archuletas all the best for 2017. Heal up, Tim—day by day, you’ll feel better. We love you and can’t wait to see you laughing behind your counter and doing the sushi voodoo that you do.

More news about another one of our city’s skilled sushi chefs: Jiro Lin, who was previously at ~HAMANO~ for 11 years but then partnered for a while with Joshua Skenes at Saison on an exquisite sushi counter experience, Jiro SF. Lin is back at Hamano, but Eater reports he is now the owner. He’s going to be doing some remodeling in the new year (and adding some seats at the sushi bar), and also wants to offer a high-level omakase experience, but not at the mega inflated prices we’re seeing around town. He’s aiming for 12-15 pieces for $90-$150, plus some small plates, or an all-fish menu for $48-$55 for 8 pieces and $75-$90 for 12. While this omakase experience isn’t in place just yet, probably in March or so, you can always get in touch with Jiro and request it ahead of time (text him a week in advance at 650-291-1585 with your party size, date—you’ll need to provide some credit card information too). 1332 Castro St. at Jersey, 415-826-0825.

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The exterior of Chez Marius. Photo courtesy of Chez Marius.

tablehopper was the first to report on the opening of ~CHEZ MARIUS~ in the former Le Zinc in Noe Valley, and as of this week, the bistro is now open. Chef-owner Laurent Legendre of Glen Park’s Le P’tit Laurent is offering a menu that is Provençal-inspired, with classics like bouillabaisse, mussels, and escargots, with bistro favorites like foie gras, onion soup, and of course steak tartare—take a look here.

You’ll find some low-ABV cocktails and aperitifs, and they expanded the back patio seating (which is also dog-friendly, by the way). Chez Marius is open for lunch Wed-Fri (11am-2pm), dinner nightly (5:30pm-9:30pm, until 10pm Fri-Sat), and brunch Sat-Sun (9am-3pm). 4063 24th St. at Noe, 415-757-0947.

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The Roy G. Biv at pop-up Eye of the Avocado. Photo via Instagram.

Some updates around town, starting with the news that ~UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ is now serving lunch Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. [Via Eater]

Up in Bernal Heights, there’s a new pop-up happening at the former Sandbox/Pinkie’s called ~EYE OF THE AVOCADO~ from Jes Taber. Menu items include some pretty insane-looking breakfast/brunch/lunch sandwiches, like the Roy G. Biv brioche breakfast sandwich, with an egg, picked onions, purple carrots, arugula, herb butter, optional bacon, and you kind of have to get avocado on a sandwich like that. There’s also egg, Cabot cheddar, onion, and herb sauce on brioche, panko mac and cheese, curried egg salad, and more, including coffee and pastries. Wed-Sun 8am-2pm. 833 Cortland St. at Gates, 415-361-8383.

But this pop-up may not be long for this world, since ~BLACK JET BAKING CO.~ is reportedly hoping to be able to purchase and move into the space by February (they are currently holding a Kickstarter to raise funds). It would be a dream for owner Gillian Shaw to take over the space, so here’s wishing them lots of luck on bringing their “pop tarts” to Bernal.

More Bernal news: it ends up ~THE EPICUREAN TRADER~ is one of the first accounts to be selling Tartine bread, like their country loaf, seeded rye, whole wheat sesame, and oat porridge—it’s delivered warm in the morning Fri-Sun. (~THE MARKET~ in the Twitter building is another location—and they’re selling beans from the relatively new Coffee Manufactory too.) So wow, you don’t have to necessarily schlep to the Mission and go stand in line!

And even more good news: ~THE EPICUREAN TRADER~ is expanding to Cow Hollow and opening a second location in late January/early February on Union Street (between the Bus Stop Tavern and La Boulangerie). The store will be slightly larger than their current store, with a much greater focus on gourmet cheese and charcuterie. They will also be working to hold their title of being named the Best Spirits Store in the Bay Area by having the largest range of craft spirits in the city, with a particular focus on allocated and hard-to-find craft whiskeys, Scotch, and mezcal.

Wine lovers will be happy to know they have teamed up with two sommeliers that currently run some of the top wine shops in Berkeley to lead their wine program, which will continue to focus on high-quality, small-production wines. Other items on the shelves include small-batch coffee, hand-blended teas and spices, craft chocolates, oils and vinegars, and other artisanal pantry items. PLUS they will be able to deliver anywhere in the 7x7 area within an hour through Instacart. 1909 Union St. at Laguna.

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The downstairs revue stage. Photo: Kelly Puleio.

After numerous reports on problems with the food and menu at the ~BLACK CAT~, they have finally announced a new chef, Alicia Jenish-McCarron. She was previously at Grand Cafe, the Au Bon Repas group (which includes Gitane), and most recently at Kitchit, and she is excited to return to the restaurant world. She is adding some new menu items, like a kale and Brussels sprouts salad, Moroccan lamb meatballs, and porcini and chicken roulade, and plans to launch her full menu mid-January. [Via Eater.]

Some news in the Presidio: Traci Des Jardins, the Presidio Trust, and Bon Appétit Management Company have announced that Rogelio Garcia is now the executive chef at ~THE COMMISSARY~. His background includes Angéle (executive chef), sous chef at Calistoga Ranch, and chef de partie at The French Laundry—his journey has been an inspiring one, starting as a dishwasher in high school in Yountville and working his way up from there.

He has also launched the Open Kitchen dinner series, when guest chefs prepare a four-course prix-fixe menu ($85) focused on a single ingredient (on first Mondays). January is an exception because of the holiday, so it will be on January 9th, and the ingredient will be truffles, jus’ sayin’. Guest chefs are Val Cantu (Californios), Dave Cruz (Little Gem), and Jamie Simpson (chef liaison of the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio). Connie Green will also be in the house.

Over at ~MASON PACIFIC~, the recently hired chef, Max Mackinnon, has left after five months. We’ll just have to see what’s next for the location. [Via Eater.]

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The Bowl at Green Heart Foods. Photo via Facebook.

I know some fans of the organic and well-made smoothies, salads, and other dishes from ~GREEN HEART FOODS~ will be sad to hear CEO Lisa Chatham has decided to close their Mission café this Thursday December 22nd. They will be continuing their catering business, and Hoodline notes that you can still order their food through Uber Eats and Postmates, and the “Brite Bites breakfast parfaits and The Bowl (a quinoa, sweet potato and black bean bowl) will continue to be sold at EHS Pilates on Valencia Street and at the FiDi’s Hermanos food kiosk (650 California St.).” 3321 20th St. at Folsom, 415-800-8910.

December 13, 2016
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Canh ga chien/big Buddha chicken wings with yuzu shrimp paste. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Chef Rob Lam of Butterfly. Photo courtesy of Butterfly.

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Bun rieu/Dungeness crab noodle soup with fat rice noodles, rock shrimp, fish cake, fried tofu, Dirty Girl tomatoes. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Array of pork and shrimp skewers, with lettuce, herbs, sauces, and rice paper wrappers. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Did you ever get a chance to attend the two Vietnamese dinners I hosted with Feastly earlier this year? Did all the pictures from our event on Sunday, Jook Joint, make you hungry? Well, if you missed out on chef Rob Lam’s amazing food, or you would love to try some more of his dishes, here’s your chance, because we’re hosting another feast! And we mean feast: we’re gonna stuff ya!

This Friday December 16th, we’re hosting Family Style, a Vietnamese family-style dinner, paired with the restrained and elegant European-style wines from Ernest Vineyards, which are primarily sourced from carefully selected vineyards around Sonoma County. Wait until you taste these beautifully made and food-friendly wines! We did a preliminary tasting and were so happy to see how marvelously these wines paired with the menu. And since we’re partnering with Feastly, we’re going to be dining in a cool location in the Mission.

This Vietnamese feast will be prepared by chef Rob Lam of Butterfly, who is also a dear friend and one of my very favorite people to dine out with. I have been lucky over the years to enjoy some of his home cooking and dishes you won’t find on the menu at Butterfly, so here’s your opportunity 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 things to taste extra-special, with many housemade sauces and more.

During the evening, we have Ernest Vineyards co-founder Erin Brooks and sommelier and wine educator Eugenio Jardim, winner of Sunset Magazine’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year Award, who will be walking us through the pairings and educating us on these exquisite, site-specific wines, from the Eugenia rosé of cinsault (which is going to become your new favorite) to the fresh and floral Edaphos chardonnay, plus a pinot noir and grenache too.

The dinner will begin at 6:30pm, starting with an amuse on arrival (including bo tai chanh/hanger steak carpaccio and tartare). You can view the menu and wine pairings here. There will be three courses of authentic and flavorful dishes—from fried chicken wings with yuzu shrimp paste to bun rieu (Dungeness crab, egg, and tomato noodle soup with fried tofu and shrimp cake)—and the main event will be the bountiful family-style skewers course, served with a variety of pork and shrimp skewers (including some you have never seen before!), sauces, lettuce, herbs, and DIY rice paper wrappers. Get ready to roll up your sleeves.

With each course, you’ll enjoy an Ernest Vineyards wine pairing. There will also be dessert at the end: warm chocolate pot de crème with Vietnamese coffee sauce and matcha chantilly. Mmmmhmmm. No pairing for that one—it stands on its own! We’re planning to wrap up around 9:30pm, but probably closer to 10pm—you know how these things go. Sorry we can’t accommodate vegetarians at this meal since it’s a set menu.

Tickets are available on Feastly for just $80, all-inclusive. Yes, this is a steal, so don’t delay on getting your seat, we only have a few tickets left! We are selling tickets to the bar seats separately, you can nab those here. 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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The looooooong and loaded counter and case at Jane the Bakery. Photo: Bread & Butter.

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Lemon and poppy knot at Jane the Bakery. Photo: Bread & Butter.

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Pesto-artichoke flatbread at Jane the Bakery. Instagram photo via @janethebakery.

Newly open and adding a wonderful fresh-baked perfume to the neighborhood (and I’m not talking about the green stuff) is ~JANE THE BAKERY~ in the former KFC/Taco Bell complex, right next to Imperial Spa. This is owner Amanda Michael’s third location, and it’s more of a retail/production bakery than café—and you can watch the bakers at work!

Head baker Jorgen Carlsen (previously Osteria Stellina in Point Reyes Station and Craftsman & Wolves), executive pastry chef Alex Terazzas, and bakery manager Kellie Slingerland are cranking out an extensive selection of breads, pastries, and baked goods.

There are always some inventive touches, like mini cookies in peanut butter tahini or chocolate sourdough. There are many favorites, like their cookies and banana bread and cinnamon rolls, plus a full range of breads (walnut fig; olive, lemon, and thyme; ancient grains; baguettes) and braided challah on Fridays only, plus vegan and gluten-free options too.

Savory items include a spicy sausage, red pepper, and provolone croissant, and a pesto-artichoke flatbread (follow @JanetheBakery on Instagram for flavor updates!). You’ll also find grab-and-go salads, soups, and sandwiches.

Full coffee service is available (espresso, pour-over, cold brew), using their house blend, “Bread and Butter,” and there’s also a new line of housemade teas, house-pressed Juicy Jane Juices, hot chocolate, housemade chai, iced matcha, kombucha, and more.

There is limited seating, but you may get lucky with a space in the parking lot out front (score). Open daily 7am-6pm. 1881 Geary St. at Steiner, 415-658-7971.

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How they roll at Les Clos. Photo via Facebook.

The Big Night Restaurant Group (Marlowe, Leo’s Oyster Bar, Park Tavern, The Cavalier) can’t stop, won’t stop. Up next is ~PETIT MARLOWE~, which they are opening in Mark Bright’s Les Clos space. The concept is to open a neighborhood wine bar and “oysterette.” Good news: they will be keeping Bright on as wine adviser, so fans of his sick cellar stocked with Burgundy, well, you aren’t getting cut off. Chef Jennifer Puccio will be rolling out quite the raw bar, plus steak tartare, charcuterie, cheeses, salads, egg dishes, and more, while pastry chef Emily Luchetti will be doing her dessert magic.

The 50-seat space is getting an old-world glam revamp under Ken Fulk, with flea market finds from Paris, plus maroon banquette seating, a Carrara marble bar, brass cocktail tables, crystal chandeliers, and mirrored ceiling panels (ooh la la). Look for an opening in March. Hours will be Mon-Wed 4pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 4pm-11pm. 234 Townsend St. at 4th St.

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A classic slice from Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.

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Feta cheese- and green olive-filled sambusak at Taboon Bakery. Photo via Facebook.

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The counter at Taboon Bakery. Photo via Facebook.

This news definitely made me happy since it’s just a 15-minute walk away: Tony Gemignani’s ~SLICE HOUSE~ is now open in the Upper Haight, and expect some neighborhood influences on the shop. It ends up the space was originally Ron and Jay Thelin’s Psychedelic Shop (via Scoop), the first head shop in the West, and while you won’t be able to order a magic mushroom pizza, there will be some special pies and more on the menu that pay homage to the neighborhood, like the Purple Haze slice. Open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 1535 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-552-2520.

Newly open in SoMa right in the thick of things at 6th Street and Minna, is ~TABOON BAKERY~, the city’s first kosher bakery. I have been tracking this place since Hoodline mentioned the project quite awhile ago, which has three Israeli partners. They are focused on making traditional baked items, and partner Avi Edri tells me they have four different ovens to handle all the different kinds of dough Yanni (no last name) the baker is making (a “taboon” is a classic type of oven typically found in the Middle East).

The menu looks fantastic, from fluffy pita to sweet braided buns to rugelach, plus savory breads like onion and tomato sauce pizza, garlic bread, focaccia, and cheese burekas. And there will be sufganiyot, just in time for Hanukkah. There are also special dips they are making, and they use imported spices for maximum authenticity. They expect to ramp up with even more items soon. There are also some gluten-free items. Open Sun-Fri 8am-8pm. 132 6th St. at Minna, 628-444-3666.

Lower Pac Heights residents have a new sushi place near Japantown, ~AKIRA JAPANESE RESTAURANT~. Take a look at the lunch menu and dinner menu, which look pretty straightforward. Open lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, dinner Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. 1634 Bush St at Franklin, 415-800-8498.

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Serpentine photo via Facebook.

Restaurant owner Erin Rooney sold Slow Club to Paul Einbund last year, who recently opened The Morris, and now she has sold her other iconic restaurant, ~SERPENTINE~, to Tommy Halvorson, who is the new chef-owner (Rooney will now be a silent partner). His background includes Foxtail Catering (currently), plus Bix, Chez Panisse, and The Phoenix Supper Club. Scoop reports that Halvorson will not be making many big changes, just some tweaks to the menu and the space, and he may be integrating some of his Southern background into some dishes. The revamp is happening from now into February—the restaurant will not be closing for any of the changes. It’s also going to be turning 10, so the time is right for a new haircut.