July 8, 2008

Downtown just keeps getting interesting, I tell ya. To that end, here's on update on ~GITANE~ in Claude Lane, slated to open at the end of July. Looks like we'll have yet another spiffy place to score our citywide bad habit: yes, pizza. Executive chef Lisa Eyherabide has joined the ranks of local folks getting certified by the VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana) in the authentic Neapolitan style of pizza making (like some folks at A16 did); it's a weeklong training and certificate program. Gitane will have a wood-burning pizza oven and Eyherabide will be creating about five–six unique pizzas each day.

Some appetizers on the preliminary menu may include items like the delicious-sounding baccalau acras: house-salted Atlantic cod, Yukon gold mashed potato, and diced sweet peppers mixed together and rolled into bread crumbed fritters, deep fried and served with lime aioli (awwww yeah), and mackerel escabèche: an Atlantic king mackerel simmer prepared with a marinade of onions, carrots, bay leaves, Champagne vinegar, and white wine, served with saffron potato salad; mains may include souris d'agneau: locally raised braised lamb hind shank in Rioja red wine, fresh orange juice, orange zest, coriander, accompanied by fire-roasted butternut squash. Here's a sneak peek at a recipe from bar manager Dominic Venegas, in case you're wondering what you're going to be starting your meal with: the Solera is made with Santa Teresa 1796, Lustau Palo Cortado, Velvet Falernum, and a dash of Regan's bitters. Is it the end of July yet? Bring it! 6 Claude Lane at Bush.

Congrats to South Food + Wine Bar who signed the lease on their new place opening in West Hollywood: ~SOUTH ON SUNSET~! They have primo real estate, just opposite the Chateau Marmont, with 140 seats, a full bar, and the L.A.-de rigueur outdoor patio. The executive sous from Glass (Sydney) will be the head chef. The concept will be similar to the San Francisco location, but there will be a bar menu and a bigger wine list. Permits pending, they are hoping for a December opening. Cheers, mates! 8226 Sunset Blvd. at N. Harper.

Some more glammy news: last week I mentioned some potential local chefs competing on ~IRON CHEF AMERICA~, and this week I got word that Eric Gower, the author of The Breakaway Cook and The Breakaway Japanese Kitchen is a judge for the upcoming season. Right on, Eric!

Since we're speaking Japanese (I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so), Eater had the word that 30-year-old ~TORAYA~ has shuttered. I heard about some local chefs checking the space out a few months ago, but haven't heard anything definitive about who the new tenant is. Yet. 1914 Fillmore St. at Bush.

Yesterday marked the opening of another La Boulange, this one is ~LA BOULANGE DE MARKET~, near Third Street. I spoke with Thomas Lefort of Bay Bread, who said the menu is similar to other Boulanges around town, but will have a limited bread offering. There will be more grab-and-go options for local busy bee workers, a full array of coffee offerings to fuel up with, and there will be catering available for the neighborhood, a first for Bay Bread. There is only outdoor seating available: eight two-tops in all. Initial hours are Mon–Sat 6:30am–5pm. 685 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-512-7610.

This weekend is the grand opening of ~18 REASONS~, a new event space and gallery from the Bi-Rite folks celebrating local food and art. Yes, you savvy San Franciscans, the name is a play on the 17 Reasons sign (check out the logo on the site if you need a hint). In fact, you'll want to check out the site anyway, because that's where you'll find the lineup of all the cool events this space is hosting, from talks to tastings to a wickedly affordable winemaker dinner on July 29th with Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon. Word. This opening weekend's events include: Friday July 11th at 7pm: 18th Hour with Greg Brown (T-Vine Cellars) and Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite; Saturday July 12th: gallery open 12pm–4pm; Saturday July 12th 2pm–5pm: free cookbook signing with Joyce Goldstein; Sunday July 13th: gallery open 12pm–4pm. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St., 415-252-9816.

Over in Potrero Hill, another art-oriented project will be opening, this one on Rhode Island Street in a former antique showroom, by early August. It will be called ~PROJECT ONE~, and is shaping up to be an eclectic art gallery/wine bar. The venture will be a collaboration of Joseph Latimore's Galley Sensei in NYC and curator Brooke Waterhouse of the Bay Area. If his name seems familiar, Latimore was also one of the founding partners of the cocktail lounge Otis on Maiden Lane. 251 Rhode Island #3 at 16th St.

Here's some info about a cute new place in Potrero Hill (and a treat for tablehopper readers): opening in the former Petite Patisserie space is ~BAKED. CAKES, SWEETS & TREATS~ from Tina Fisher and her partner, Andrea Ortega. They plan to officially open on Monday July 14th. And how sweet is this? tablehopper subscribers get a free cookie if they come in that Monday and mention tablehopper. (Call and make sure they are open before you head over for your cookie though—I don't want to hear about it if they don't open as planned! Things happen, you know. But if the opening gods are with us, enjoy!) For the first couple of weeks, baked. will be open from 7am–2pm, opening back up at 5pm until 9:30pm on Fridays and Saturdays for you post-dinner folks in the area with a sweet tooth. Or those who just finished hitting their neighborhood dispensary, or maybe just watched a Cheech and Chong movie. Perhaps both. 1415 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-826-9455.

There are some schedule changes for the ~MARCHÉ ON THE SQUARE~ project in Ghirardelli Square: the market opened according to schedule, but it ends up Bar Marche will not open until next Tuesday July 15th, instead of this Wednesday. 900 North Point at Larkin, 415-359-0365.

I was catching up on my neighborhood haps in this month's North Panhandle News, and learned a ~NEW DIVISADERO FARMERS' MARKET~ begins a three-month trial period on Sunday July 13th! Rad. It's through the Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association, who also do the weekly Fillmore market. The NoPa market will be hosted in the parking lot at Divisadero and Grove—yes, the lot by the old Brother-in-Law's BBQ pit, and the medical Mary Jane trailer. (Now you can get a different kind of herb.) Everyone in the neighborhood, and nearby, please come out and support this market! Sundays 10am–2pm. Divisadero St. at Grove.

~1300 ON FILLMORE~ has added Saturday brunch service, with all kinds of dishes to get you fat, like Marty's Hang Town fry; ham-hock hash with eggs any style; cinnamon brioche French toast with maple syrup, roasted apple, and French vanilla bean cream; and barbecue shrimp n' creamy grits. Oh, let's not forget the croque madame, with ham-hock, Gruyere, and a fried egg (call your trainer before going to this brunch, yo). You can waddle in and out on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30am–2:30pm. 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-771-7100.

It's ~BASTILLE DAY~ on Monday July 14th. Yup, the frogs will be going nuts. One place I know of that is offering a special menu is Cassis, with a four-course prix-fixe menu for $49.95 (beverages, tax, and gratuity are additional). Their Bastille Day menu can be viewed on the Cassis website. 2101 Sutter St. at Steiner, 415-440-4500.

A super-sleuthy Chowhound has discovered the former chef of Thai House Express on Geary and Larkin has gone to the brand-new ~CHAI THAI NOODLES~ in Oakland, and is offering pretty much the exact same menu as Thai House Express. Even the font is the same. Well. The space sounds small (ten tables). You can read all about it here. According to the Chowhound poster, the hours are 10am–8pm or 9pm—I'd call in advance before heading over since it just opened. 545 B International Blvd. at 6th Ave., Oakland, 510-832-2500.

Also in Oakland, here's an update on what is replacing Jack's Bistro at the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square: ~MISS PEARL'S JAM HOUSE~ is back, a project from Joie de Vivre and Joey Altman. You remember that place when it was at the Phoenix Hotel (which was JDV's/Chip Conley's first hotel)? I do. It was opened by Altman back in 1989, but this East Bay redux is being designed by Michael Brennan to be "Miss Pearl's mansion" on a tropical island, with an eclectic style replete with trinkets and antiques that are supposed to conjure up a feeling of sunken treasure. There will also be abalone shell walls with LED backlighting, recycled glass, shell chairs covered in pearl essence, and ceiling fans.

Altman will bring back some dishes from the original Miss Pearl's New World-inspired menu, like crispy catfish fingers, black eyed pea fritters, and jumbo sea scallops in a potato crust, plus new additions will hail from the raw seafood bar, the wood oven for roasting fish and meats, as well as a rotisserie. Altman is consulting on the project for a year, working closely with executive chef Robert Barker, whose background includes Bambara in Salt Lake City, and Emeril's in New Orleans.

There will be two outdoor patios and an entire section of the restaurant devoted to the bar and lounge area. Beverage director Geoffrey Perry, an Oahu native, will be putting together some Hawaiian island cocktail drinks that will feature some lighter Caribbean influences, and in the ultimate throwback move, will be offering the infamous JELL-O shots that Miss Pearl's was known for. As Altman says, "The JELL-O shots started at Miss Pearl's, then went to the college dorm rooms, and now we're taking them back." (Don't say I didn't warn you.) There will also be sangrias, infused rums, rum punches, mojitos, and aged sipping rums on the menu. Miss Pearl's Jam House should be opening in mid-August. Breakfast, weekend brunch, weekday lunch, and dinner nightly. Waterfront Hotel, One Broadway, Oakland, 510-444-7171.

A family friend wanted to let me know the sole restaurant in La Honda has opened (I'd have no job in La Honda, would I?). It's called ~SULLIVAN'S RESTAURANT~, and has moved into the long-closed La Honda House Café space. The restaurant is from husband and wife team Tim and Jane Sullivan (Jane reportedly sports a serious Yorkshire accent). You can read all about it in a piece the San Mateo County Times, but the basics are that they have Yorkshire pudding, shepherd's pie, fish and chips (English style), plus some breakfast on the weekend. And yes, an outdoor patio, with live music amongst the redwoods. Open Fri 5:30pm–10pm, and Sat–Sun 8am–10pm. 8865 La Honda Rd. (Highway 84), La Honda, 650-747-9664.