Seasonal and Holiday Treats, from Dungeness Crab to Truffles to Mushroom Foraging

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Dungeness crabs at Scoma’s. Photo by Mathew Sumner.

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White truffle. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

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The interior at Frances. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Holidays in SF mean it’s time for fresh, local Dungeness crab (finally, it’s here!). Of course, you can try to squeeze in to the counter at ~SWAN OYSTER DEPOT~ (go early and midweek!), a booth at ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~, and ~HAYES STREET GRILL~ offers a half-cracked crab and salad on the menu at lunch (open for lunch this weekend and Christmas Eve!) and dinner. (Do note they are closed Jan 1-6.)

Another classic (35 years and counting!) is ~PIER 23 CAFE RESTAURANT & BAR~, which serves a whole Dungeness crab—it’s oven roasted and smothered in garlic, lemon, California white wine, and lots of butter (chef Bryan Baker utilizes the crab roe and fat in the broth for a richer flavor). Market price is $60 right now. Enjoy a view from the heated outdoor waterside patio and some live music.

If you can’t make it down to Pillar Point Harbor and pick them up off the boats, I’m a big fan of visiting “the girls” at ~ALIOTO-LAZIO FISH COMPANY~ on the Wharf in the morning.And ~SCOMA’S~ offers a service where you can order their regular or jumbo holiday crab online and have it packed up and ready to be picked up at a certain time. (Just park by the fish receiving station and pick up at the host stand.)

Next! It’s latke season, which means ~DELFINA~ is serving up their two versions from Sunday December 22nd through the 30th, plus some other “Jew-ish” holiday treats alongside their regular menu. And at their sister restaurant ~LOCANDA~, don’t forget the Feast of the Seven Fishes is happening on Christmas Eve, check it out.

More latkes: ~ONE MARKET~ is serving chef Mark Dommen’s famous crispy latkes with housemade apple sauce and sour cream—the restaurant will be open 12/23, 12/27, and 12/28 during the holiday. Wine director Tonya Pitts will definitely pour you some fab bubbles to go with them.

Both locations of ~FIORELLA~ on Polk and Clement are serving some Hanukkah dishes à la carte: latkes with crème fraîche and quince butter, roasted beet salad, chicken matzo ball soup, beef brisket with wild mushroom noodle kugel, and nut and date coins. (From December 22nd-30th.)

~PLÄJ~ in Hayes Valley is serving a traditional Swedish Christmas Julbord menu this Sunday December 22nd for $85/person. Make your reservation!

Have you enjoyed any white truffles yet? I’ve been working so much I haven’t made it out for any yet! One of my favorite places to enjoy this seasonal treat is ~PERBACCO~, which offers a variety of classic Piemontese dishes, with five grams of white truffles shaved tableside. Available during dinner service through December 24th.

I thought this looked cool: on January 26th, Passalacqua Winery is partnering with Relish Culinary Adventures for a special wild mushroom foray and luncheon in Healdsburg. In the hills above Sonoma County, learn the fundamentals of edible wild mushroom foraging. Following the hillside excursion, return to Relish for a cooking demonstration and discussion on techniques for storing, handling, and cooking a variety of fresh and dry/wild and cultivated mushrooms. Guests will enjoy a three-course wild mushroom lunch, with guided wine pairings from Passalacqua Winery, led by winemaker Jessica Boone. Tickets available on Relishculinary.com (there are some other dates too!), $154 per person. Healdsburg.

Something to look forward to in the New Year: ~FRANCES~ started celebrating their tenth anniversary (!) with a series of dinners, featuring a star-studded line-up of guest chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers. Sponsored by OpenTable, Frances’ Tenth Anniversary Dinner Series will showcase women in the industry that have made an impact on chef-owner Melissa Perello and her teams at Frances, Octavia, and the newly opened M. Georgina in Los Angeles, with each dinner in the series benefitting a charity. Perello and team have a goal of raising $50,000 for all charities. Each dinner is limited to 40 guests and will feature a Champagne reception, followed by a multi-course collaborative menu with wine pairings for $250/person, including tax and service.

Wednesday January 8th is with chef and author Anita Lo with sommelier Belinda Chang, benefiting Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and Dress For Success; Tuesday January 21st is with Renee Erickson (chef, author, and co-owner of The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, and more) with Master Sommelier and Vice President of Wine & Beverage Experience, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Emily Wines, benefitting Wild Fish Conservancy; Monday January 27th is Kim Alter (chef/owner, Nightbird, Linden Room, San Francisco) with Kathryn Coker (Rustic Canyon Family Wine Director & Esters Co-Owner) benefitting Corazon Healdsburg; Tuesday January 28th is with Gabriela Cámara (restaurateur, chef, and author; Contramar, Mexico City; Cala; Onda, Santa Monica) and Jessica Koslow (chef and author, SQIRL, Los Angeles; Onda, Santa Monica)…the list of amazing women goes on! Click through to see the incredible lineup of talent and book your reservation!