August 18, 2009

This just in: the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, Pizza Antica) has strapped on their Superman cape, and will be working to help sort out the financial mess that is ~AQUA~. From the release: "Bacchus Management Group, in request of the court, has been appointed by the administrator for the estate of Charles Condy, to work together with Aqua restaurant's existing team to review their current financial and operational state and to assist in the rejuvenation and the management of the restaurant. Together the teams will work to revitalize one of San Francisco's most iconic restaurants. 'It is a great opportunity to become involved with Aqua, a restaurant that has inspired the restaurant and hospitality industry so greatly,' says Tim Stannard, founding partner of Bacchus Management Group." Looks like I might be able to keep AQUA in my book after all. 252 California St. at Battery, 415-956-9662.

Let's dive into some openings. The mysterious ~FANG~ is finally opening in SoMa. No, it's not about a steakhouse or vampires—it's actually an offshoot from Peter Fang's House of Nanking. I spoke with one of the Fang family members, who told me to expect a similar menu, but since the place is larger (76 seats), expect some new dishes on the menu. It will be open for lunch and dinner daily, and is due to open this Friday August 21st. 660 Howard St. at Hawthorne, 415-777-8568.

FYI, the reopening of ~LIMON~ in the Mission after that pesky fire is getting close, possibly even next week. Will keep you apprised. 524 Valencia St. at 16th St., 415-252-0918.

As I mentioned last week, the 99-seat ~PARKSIDE TAVERN~ is up and running. I got some details for you, so let's tuck in: it has a pressed tin ceiling, lots of mahogany and brass, and a warm and cozy feel that was intended to continue the space's legacy as a welcoming neighborhood joint. Larry Doyle (who was the chef at Johnny Foley's Irish House in Union Square) has put together a menu of "San Francisco pub food," as he's calling it, with items made from scratch and sustainably sourced. You can eat apps like a trio of mini Tavern hot dogs: herb chicken, spicy lamb, and British banger ($8) or smoked salmon and boxty pancake with dill cream and scallions ($8); a soup of the day and a couple salads; a variety of pies, like Niman Ranch beef with a mashed potato crust ($12) or traditional chicken pot pie, and there's even a vegetarian version with quinoa and a cheddar-mashed potato crust ($10). The seafood in the fish and chips is sustainable, and there are some steaks from hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. There's also a happy hour from 3pm–6pm, with $5 appetizers, like chili-crusted calamari, Irish cheddar mac 'n' cheese, Anchor steamed mussels, and Buffalo chicken wings, plus $3 domestic draft beers. Weekend brunch is 11am–4pm, and dinner starts at 4pm nightly. Open Mon–Thu 3pm–12am, Fri 3pm–1:30am, Sat 11am–1:30am, and Sun 11am–12am. 1940 Taraval St. at 29th Ave., 415-731-8900.

Also in the neighborhood, according to permits, Marisole's is now ~NINKI SUSHI BAR AND RESTAURANT~. 1439 Taraval St. at 24th Ave.

The Potrero Hill location of ~SUNFLOWER~ has opened in the former Baraka space. It has a similar Vietnamese menu to the Valencia Street location, and is serving lunch and dinner. 288 Connecticut St. at 18th St., 415-861-2336.

Yup, ~STARBELLY~ is open today. Reports from the test dinners were good—it's going to be nice to have chef Adam Timney back on the local cookin' circuit! Open daily Mon–Fri 11am–12am, and brunch Sat–Sun starts at 10am. 3583 16th St. at Market, 415-252-7500.



Over in North Beach, Ian Begg and Ryan Maxey's sandwich stand, ~NAKED LUNCH~, officially opened yesterday in the annex next to Enrico's. The menu will rotate (you can track updates on their website and Twitter), but yesterday's vittles included a spendy sandwich (foie gras and duck prosciutto with heirloom tomato, butter lettuce, white truffle oil; $15), a decadent one (fried Berkshire pork belly with plum mostarda and roasted scallions; $9), and thank heavens, a kinda-healthy one (wood oven–roasted eggplant and gypsy pepper sandwich with Humboldt Fog and black mission figs; $8). There will also be a soup of the day, and lychee limeonade for $2. Open Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm. 504 Broadway at Kearny, 415-577-4951.

I caught up with Joe Dabit, the owner of what is going to be the 24-seat ~ACME BURGERHAUS~. He told me about his unique concept that should be opening in a month or so across the street from nopa. Instead of doing burger patties with items like cheese just placed on top, he's actually going to be offering custom mixed patties to order (kind of like Cold Stone Creamery meets meat!). For example, you could get your Gorgonzola mixed in with your beef. Or a Mediterranean burger will be half lamb and half beef, with pine nuts, mint, feta, and sumac mixed in and then grilled. The regular burgers will be $6.75, and the custom ones will run around $8.75, with all meats sourced from Niman Ranch. There will also be a salad bar with 28 ingredients, many of them organic. Plus wine, and six beers on tap ($1.95 a pint), and free Wi-Fi at lunchtime. Hours will be Mon–Thu 11am–12am, and Fri–Sat 11am–3pm. 559 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

Eater reported that ~HIME~ has closed. Here's wishing Eichii Mochizuki all the best, he's such a nice (and delightfully animated) fella. 2353 Lombard St. at Pierce.

The latest ~SPQR~ news: the new executive chef is Matthew Accarrino—he starts this September. He was most recently chef of Craft Los Angeles and an alum of New York's Per Se and Italy's Antonello Colonna. The restaurant is due to close on September 14th for renovations (including the addition of banquettes), and when it reopens in late-September, Accarrino's new SPQR menu will debut. I'll have more on the direction of his menu in coming weeks. 1911 Fillmore St. at Bush, 415-771-7779.

Wow, for the first time in 18 years, ~SLOW CLUB~ is going to start taking reservations. 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire, 415-241-9390.

As for outdoor eats, I heard ~NETTIE'S CRAB SHACK~ is doing an outdoor barbecue during summer weekends on the patio, serving barbecued oysters, fish tacos, corn on the cob, prawn skewers, and grilled peaches with vanilla soft serve. 2032 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-409-0300.

This Thursday evening, ~ACME CHOPHOUSE~ is hosting Haute Dog, offering a slew of quality dogs (from Fatted Calf to 4505 to Marlow & Daughters in NY!) for $5, plus beers from Magnolia Brew Pub and 21st Amendment for $3, wine for $4, and $5 appetizers, including sliders, flatbread, and mac and cheese. It runs from 4pm–8pm. Click the PDF for the line-up of all the killer dawgs, and more details! 24 Willie Mays Plaza at King, 415-644-0240.



I can't believe I'm not around for the ~STREET FOOD FESTIVAL~ this Saturday August 22nd (argh). A lot of work has gone into putting that thing on, that's for damned sure. Be sure to check out the awesome silent online auction, with one-of-a-kind food and beverage experiences available for bidding, like "Chef for a Day at Chez Panisse," Delfina's chef-owner Craig Stoll cooking dinner for up to 10 in your home (oh my god, he would die laughing if he had to cook on my Holly Hobbie stove), a private dinner for 10 at 18 Reasons with Bi-Rite's Sam Mogannam, and more. The auction runs until Thursday August 27th at 8pm. All proceeds from the auction go directly back to La Cocina. To see the full list of auction items and to place bids, click here.

And just a little reminder, the ~SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL~ will be held this Saturday August 22nd from 11am–7pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Each participating vendor will sell food and drinks, with nothing costing more than $10. For a complete list of vendors and more info about the event, click here. Folsom Street between 25th and 26th Streets.

And then this coming Sunday August 23rd, ~COFFEE BAR~ is hosting another Vietnamese outdoor market-themed barbecue, featuring chef Dan Nguyen from Alameda's Dragon Rouge Vietnamese Bistro, Hanoi Premium Beer, plus local vendors offering more eats, arts and crafts, and music. The menu includes classic papaya salad, traditional prawn roll, Vietnamese pulled pork sandwiches, grilled lemongrass glazed spare ribs, and roasted catfish with spicy, sweet, and sour pineapple sauce. $25 ticket includes access pass to hors d'oeuvres and buffet table, two Hanoi Premium Beers, and raffle tickets. Buy tickets here. 3pm–8pm. 1890 Bryant St., on the corner of Florida and Mariposa.

It's time for the piggy report!



Trying to figure out how to decorate your kitchen? Got a devoted swine lover in your life? Dating a chef and don't know what to do for his or her birthday? Be sure to check out Ryan Farr of ~4505 MEATS'~ new trio of piggy posters made by the 125-year-old Hatch Show Print in Nashville. Serious letterpress glory: Frisco pig was a friend of mine. (Indeed.) $26 each, and $9.95 to get it shipped in a poster tube to your front door.

And even more pig: ~MAVERICK~ is kicking off a new monthly dinner called the Coast to Coast Roast, when they will pick some large piece of meat or several medium cuts and do a family-style dinner for a special price of $30 for three courses. This Thursday August 20th will feature an heirloom tomato salad, a bourbon-glazed Range Brothers Ham with roasted summer potatoes and okra, and old-fashioned peach pie. Jus' $30! When making a reservation, mention the "Coast to Coast Roast." Call for reservations. 3316 17th St. at Mission, 415-863-3061.

More roasts: ~SOUTH~ is doing a special Monday night roast for $25 per person, served family style for two. Yesterday's menu included tomato and coconut soup and a rocket salad, rosemary-brined slow-roasted leg of New Zealand lamb with mint sauce and apricot chutney with two sides (green beans and bacon, and minted pea mash), plus seasonal house-made ice cream. You can add a bottle of New Zealand sav blanc or an Aussie shiraz for just $25. 330 Townsend St. No. 101 at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

Would you like a free plant with your coffee? (And you thought it was going to be a mug.) From now until August 31st, you will get a free Tillandisa plant (also known as an "air plant") when you buy a 12 oz. bag of coffee at ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS BAYVIEW LOCATION~ at Flora Grubb Gardens! Like it said in their note, "The sun is shining, flowers are blooming and it is the perfect time to enjoy an espresso under the palm trees!" Totes. 1634 Jerrold Ave. at 3rd St., 415-694-6448.

An anniversary: ~PERRY'S ON UNION STREET~ is turning 40 this Thursday August 20th. Both Thursday and Friday evening will feature a line-up of celebrity bartenders mixing drinks behind the bar from 7pm–10pm, including Willie Brown, Dwight Clark, and more. Sunday August 23rd is a block party from 11am–5pm, with live music, sausages, burgers, and chicken Caesar salads from the outdoor BBQ menu, and signature Perry's Bloody Marys or cold beers from the outdoor bar. The block party will take place on Union Street between Buchanan and Laguna Streets, and is open to the public with no admission fee. Check the website (a PDF) for menu deals, like half-off on bottles of wine through the end of August. 1944 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-922-9022.

Are you up in the North Bay? This Thursday August 20th, ~JOYCE GOLDSTEIN~ will be at The Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley from 6pm–8pm signing her new book, Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain. 59 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415-380-9200.



And mark your calendar for this one: the irrepressible and mightily impressive ~POPPY TOOKER~, a New Orleans food authority, market supporter, and author of the new Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook is coming to town. Tooker will commemorate the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by bringing a taste of New Orleans to the Bay Area. The <Crescent City Farmers Market Cookbook tells the story of the New Orleans food community with profiles, anecdotes, and more than 125 seasonal recipes from New Orleans chefs and family favorites from farmers and market shoppers.

You'll find Poppy stirring the pots and signing books on Wednesday August 26th at Relish Culinary Center (14 Matheson Street, Healdsburg, 2pm–4pm book signing, and a four-course New Orleans cooking class including Poppy's Seafood Gumbo, is from 6pm–9pm, reservations required); Friday August 28th from 6pm–8pm at The Tyler Florence Shop (59 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley); Saturday August 29th at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (12pm: Market to Table Diaspora Gumbo demonstration in the CUESA Teaching Kitchen, in front of Ferry Building, under North Arcade, and signing books at Book Passage from 1pm–3pm at the Ferry Marketplace Shop #42); and Sunday August 30th at Williams-Sonoma Flagship Store (Union Square, 340 Post St., San Francisco, 2pm–4pm). Her motto is "Eat it to save it," so I say please help her in this quest and buy her book. Get a preview of the book here.