August 26, 2008

I was so thrilled to get a sneak peek this past weekend of ~STABLE CAFÉ~ and ~MISSION CREEK KITCHEN~, a new project opening next week in the Mission. Perhaps you’ve noticed the building before—I’ve always admired it, and come to find out, it was a carriage house for the mayor in the late 19th century; there is even a hay bale hook in the front. The project is from Thomas Brian Lackey and his partner, architect Malcolm Davis. (You can read more about the building and design in Zahid Sardar’s article here.)

The Stable Café in the front has an industrial farmhouse look, with huge doors and wood plank floors. There is seating on the ground floor along a tall wood bar made from a tree, and then additional seating on the mezzanine upstairs. Coffee from neighborhood De la Paz Coffee Company will be on offer, plus yogurt and granola, salads, sandwiches, and quiches, most made with local and artisanal ingredients. Don’t miss the baked goods and sweet treats from Batter Bakery, one of the tenants in the commercial kitchen in the back of the building. (I can’t wait to try Jen Musty of Batter Bakery’s lavender sea salt shortbread, and strawberry and walnut quick bread—you may recognize her baked products from Blue Fog Market.) Oh, and when you grab your coffee or lunch, you can enjoy it in the outdoor garden in the very back, complete with bougainvillea and a lime tree. Stable Café will be open Mon–Fri 8am–3pm, and it opens next week, on Wednesday September 3rd. 2128 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-552-1199.

Oh, and about the commercial kitchen (the Mission Creek Kitchen part of the project): it’s one of the coolest kitchen spaces I’ve seen, with tall ceilings, original beams, great light, and it looks onto the gallery. If you’re interested, the kitchen has various stations available, either hourly or long-term.

I got word from a wino pal that the folks at Ottimista Enoteca-Café are at it again, this time with ~SPUNTINO~, a cute new little sister that will be opening just down the street. Spuntino, which means snack in Italian, will offer cheeses, gourmet groceries, prepared foods, and take-out that comes from Ottimista’s kitchen. They’re still looking for a cheesemonger, so no details on how many cheeses just yet, but look for a rotating menu of take-out panini (press in effect!) and prepared salads, plus some Ottimista faves, like pizzas and the famed olives to warm up at home. There will also be some tastings and classes held at night at the large communal table (which is to be used for events only). The space was formerly a jewelry shop, so if everything goes well with permits, the opening date should be around September 20th. Hours will be Tue–Fri 11am–7pm, and 10am–7pm on the weekend. 1957 Union St. at Buchanan.

~YOSHI’S SAN FRANCISCO~ has launched an izakaya Japanese pub menu, available at the bar, in the lounge, and the club. The menu includes 20 new items priced at $3–$8, including yasai korokke (vegetable and potato croquettes), grilled whole sardines, bacon-wrapped asparagus, Kurobuta pork sausages, and soy-marinated whole grilled squid. And starting this Friday August 29th, a DJ will spin classic and current jazz-influenced music beginning at 9pm Thursday–Saturday. (Check out this week’s lush section for a sake dinner event at Yoshi’s.) 1330 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-655-5600.

This upcoming YBCA and Campari event looks really interesting: ~SUSTAINABLE SYSTEMS: 3 LOCAL SOLUTIONS~, a panel discussion this Wednesday August 27th, with guests who will talk about their initiatives for sustainable urban living. The panelists include: John Bela, member of the artist collective Rebar and the designer of the City Hall Victory Gardens; Shruti Narayan of Arup, the project manager on the sustainable design strategies for the new building of the California Academy of Sciences; and Jerome Waag, a performance artist and chef at Chez Panisse restaurant who explores the urban environment as a site for the production of food in his latest project OPEN City at New Langton Arts. The panel is moderated by Berin Golonu, YBCA’s Associate Visual Arts Curator and co-curator of YBCA’s upcoming exhibition The Gatherers: Greening our Urban Spheres. It’s a free event, but seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP at 415-373-0185. 6pm–8:30pm; conversation 7pm–8pm. 701 Mission St. at 3rd St.

Is this what happens when you live in San Francisco for too long? French ~CURBSIDE, TOO~ owner Antoine Alliaume (La Terrasse-Presidio, Curbside Café) is transforming his café at the Presidio Lyon Street Gate into a taqueria: Curbside Taqueria. On the menu: yes, tacos, plus burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, nachos, and a Mexican brunch will be served on the weekend. The chef (and now partner in the business) is Vincente Cortes, who was been cooking for Antoine for nine years. Alliaume is hoping to capture the Presidio lunch crowd who don’t have time or moolah for a sit-down lunch—and now they don’t have to schlep to Chestnut Street. Hours are Mon–Thu 10am–9pm, Fri 10am–11pm, Sat 9am–11pm, and Sun 9am–9pm. 2769 Lombard St. at Lyon, 415-921-4442.

According to a poster on Yelp, ~KOOKEZ CAFE~ in Noe Valley is closed. After being for sale for a while, its last day of service was reportedly Sunday August 24th. (Best wishes to owner Lynn Marie Presley, who is a very kind lady.) The liquor license application says the Tangerine Restaurant Group is moving into its place, but I have no idea who is behind the project, or what it will be. Anyone? Bueller? Eater clarified that it’s no relation to Tangerine in the Castro. 4123 24th St. at Castro.

Alas, in case you North Beachers were hoping the recently closed ~EGUNA BASQUE~ was going to come back as a food biz, it’s actually going to be a video game store, Stargames. You can make that waah into a Wii. 1657 Powell St. at Union.

It’s the season of block parties! Next Saturday September 6th is ~PARTY ON BLOCK 18~, a full-tilt hootenanny featuring the 18th Street businesses between Dolores and Guerrero, which is where the street will be closed off. A family-style meal will be available, and the purchase of a ticket entitles everyone to a meal with your choice of three savory meals from Bi-Rite, Delfina, Dolores Park Café, and Craig’s Place, and Tartine and Bi-Rite Creamery will be handling the sweets. Since 18th Street is ALL about food, here are the menu items: spit-roasted Niman Ranch pork shoulder with summer bean salad and salsa verde, Fulton Valley chicken grilled under a brick with a Tuscan bread salad, and vegetarian paella and corn on the cob with Calabrian chili butter. The kids can enjoy Let’s Be Frank organic hotdogs, fresh sandwiches, and Bi-Rite Creamery hot fudge sundaes, fresh fruit smoothies, lemonade, and a watermelon agua fresca by Dolores Park Café. For the adults, in the Wine & Beer Garden there will be premium barrel of wine by Unti (a fave of mine) and keg beer by Russian River Brewing Company, Magnolia Brewery, and Anchor Steam. Entertainment includes gypsy band Gaucho, and teen rockers She’s and The Psychotherapists for the kids. The party runs from noon to 4pm. All proceeds from the party will be donated to the Women’s Building. Meals are $15, sides and sandwiches $2.50–$5, beverages $2.50–$5. For information and to purchase advance meal tickets, call Christie Ward at 415-971-7291 or email partyblock18 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Then on Sunday, September 14th is the third biannual ~SOUTH BEACH, MISSION BAY, RINCON HILL BLOCK PARTY~. This is a free non-commercial event, and food supplied by Delancey Street will be available for purchase. This is an event for all and will include special games for the kids, too. 12pm–4pm. South Beach Park, South Beach Harbor, and Pier 40.

Knife master Chiharu Sugai, founder of Korin Japanese Trading, will be holding a ~KNIFE-SHARPENING WORKSHOP~ at Incanto Restaurant on Tuesday September 9th; should be interesting for both pro and home chefs. Here’s more from the release: “Don't miss this incredible opportunity to learn the ins and outs of sharpening both Western-style Japanese knives as well as traditional Japanese knives. In addition to basic techniques, Mr. Sugai will address common errors in sharpening, as well as advanced techniques on how to get the best performance and edge life out of your Japanese knife. Mr. Sugai has studied for over ten years with the top knife masters in Japan and has conducted workshops in restaurants and culinary schools across the country. There will be a Q&A after the demo as well as the opportunity to purchase water stones and Japanese knives from Korin.” No need to RSVP, but space is limited, so it’s good idea to arrive early. 2:30pm–4pm. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.

A tablehopper reader wanted to make sure I knew about a recently opened Vietnamese restaurant in Alameda called ~MINT LEAF VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT~. The curry chicken clay pot is reportedly a winner. Hours are Mon–Sat 11am–9pm, Sun 11am–8pm. 831 Marina Village Pkwy., Alameda.

Opening this Wednesday in the East Bay is ~MISS PEARL'S JAM HOUSE~. Release the jerk chicken and Jell-O shots. 1 Broadway St. at Embarcadero West, Oakland, 510-444-7171.

A posting on Chowhound announced that Oakland’s ~BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN~ is on vacation until September 3rd, and Sunday brunch is launching on Sunday September 21st. Oh, and there’s a Friday night happy hour with DJs, coming soon. 2534 Mandela Pkwy., Oakland, 510-839-SOUL (7685).

Also got word about the latest gastropub to join the Bay Area-wide lineup: ~MARTINS WEST~. The crew is Michael Dotson (most recently at Sens, and the former executive chef at Evvia from '01–'06), Moira Beveridge (recently the private events manager at Sens), and Derek Smith (bar manager for close to a decade at Rudy's Pub). The plan is to open in early 2009 in downtown Redwood City in a brick building. It was originally constructed in 1896 as the Alhambra Theater (the space has been vacant since 2001, when a fire gutted it). It was also a bar at one point, and Wyatt Earp actually hung out there, wow.

There will be a dining area and a bar area, each with about 60 seats. As the press release notes, “The menu will showcase high-quality local ingredients in dishes strongly influenced by the culinary traditions of Great Britain.” A sneak peek at the menu reveals house-made black pudding, Monterey sardines, charcuterie (country duck pate, rabbit terrine, duck liver mousse), poached pheasant, a peat-grilled lamb T-bone, and most definitely some fish and chips. They plan to offer a smaller, limited menu in the bar. About the name: Martins West is named after Martin Irons, a family friend and restaurateur from Beveridge's childhood in Scotland who ran a hidden restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh with his wife. There you have it. 831 Main St. at Broadway, Redwood City. image