November 3, 2009

Was interesting to learn that ~VERNON MORALES~, formerly of Winterland, is back in town (thanks Steven O. for the Twitter tip), and he's now the chef over at Town Hall. I know, not the first place you'd think this innovative and boundary-pushing chef would land, but he's excited to shift his refined molecular style toward the hearty and lively Town Hall style, and not the other way around (so no, you won't be finding any foams on the fried chicken). 342 Howard St. at Fremont, 415-908-3900.

Looks like yet another tenant is giving it a go in the ~MAYES OYSTER HOUSE~ location (recently the short-lived Midpoint, and prior to that, O'Reilly's Holy Grail). The menu is going to focus on San Francisco classics and seafood; since the restaurant's history dates back to 1867, lets hope returning to the original concept is what it takes to stick around. Late-night dining, happy hour, full bar. Open this Wednesday. 1233 Polk St. at Bush, 415-885-1233.

Now, this is definitely a soft opening, but I thought you should know that Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher of Broken Record fame are (quietly) ready to begin feeding folks at ~BRUNO'S~, starting this evening. They're going to be making adjustments to the menu, staffing, and more in the coming weeks, so remember, this is a soft opening—there are just two of them in the kitchen! Looking forward to their delicious and affordable Southern-American fare being back on our culinary scene. Bar opens at 5:30pm, and the kitchen will be open Tue–Sat from 6pm–10:30pm (perhaps later, to be determined). 2389 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-643-5200.

Thanks to my super sleuth-y intern, Erin, she noticed a sign about an upcoming ~INDOOR MARKETPLACE~ coming to Bernal Heights (name TBD). A group of six tenants will be taking over a former dry cleaner location, and hope to open before the holiday season wraps up, sometime in December. So far, confirmed tenants include Paulie's Pickling, which will be serving sandwiches, and salads incorporating their pickled vegetables; Bernal Cutlery, where you can get your knives sharpened by hand (check out the site for a peek at knives for sale—am loving this Laguiole wine key and the vintage pocket knives); organic produce from Della Terra Produce; plus a few other vendors. Amuse Bouche has a lease to be a tenant, but due to unfortunate recent immigration issues, that might not be happening (fingers crossed—you can follow updates here). Will keep you posted as this project evolves. I think this is such a clever solution to helping small businesses get a storefront—open in a space together! 331 Cortland Ave. at Bennington.



My other star intern Daisy investigated what was happening at the former J's Pots of Soul, now just ~SOUL~: one of the new chefs is Nigerian-born Chris Nwagwu. The menu features a combination of breakfast fare (omelets, egg dishes, blueberry pancakes—sorry, no more pumpkin), plus southern/soul food (like fried chicken wings, catfish) and African and Jamaican dishes (like melon soup and chicken pepper soup). Hours are 9am–8pm daily. They definitely win for the most inexpensive new signage solution (just paint over the "J's Pots of"). 203 Octavia St. at Page, 415-626-1844.

As previously mentioned, ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~, will be opening in its new digs just up the street from its original location this Wednesday. The access to a fryer means you'll be seeing sopapillas and chile rellenos, along with other additions to the menu, like green chile burgers. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-614-9411.



And just across the street, ~MATCHING HALF~ now has a beer and wine license, so hours have been extended to 9pm in the evenings. 1799 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-674-8699.

Moving west: lots of things are percolating in the Inner Sunset. Thanks to reader Karena for the tip, ~BEAUTIFULL~ is opening in the former Pasta Pomodoro space; I hear they are currently shooting for late November/early December. 816 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

According to Eater, ~TOASTIES~ (a sandwich shop) has moved up the block into the now-closed Cafe Gratitude space. 1336 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-682-9980.

For those who are wondering what's going on with the project from the ~FRESCA~ team that is opening in the PJ's Oyster Bed space, FYI, it's still going to be a few months out, so I'll have to keep you posted on the concept, menu, timing, and all that good stuff. 737 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

And lastly, according to permits (and reader Paul G.), there's a wine bar called ~INNER FOG~ opening in the old Crossroads Trading Co. corner space from owner John Nettesheim. Alas, I don't have any details on this one (yet!). 555 Irving St. at 7th Ave.

For those of you who couldn't get into 7x7's ~DAVID CHANG~ chef talk happening this Wednesday, here are some other places where you can find him signing books (thanks to Food Gal for the list): Thursday November 5th at Williams-Sonoma Union Square from 5pm–7pm; Saturday November 7th at 11am at Sur La Table in the San Francisco Ferry Building; also November 7th at 4pm at Kepler's in Menlo Park with David Kinch of Manresa; and noon on Sunday November 8th at Omnivore Books with Jeremy Fox of Napa's Ubuntu.

For a much less formal gathering (read: probably booze-soaked and packed with F-bombs), swing by ~SWEETIE'S~, a divey joint in North Point this Thursday starting at 7:30pm. Both David Chang and author Peter Meehan will be signing books while balancing drinks in hand. Should be a fun one. 475 Francisco St. at Mason.

Whoa, is ~LETICIA'S~ coming back from the dead to do further damage to every Castro District resident's liver? If permits are to be believed, it will be opening in the Thai Corner Express location. Stand by, fishbowl-sized margaritas may be imminent. 2200 Market St. at Sanchez.

Sally's Restaurant at the base of Potrero Hill, the place where World Gym folks go for egg white omelets after their workout, is now hosting dinner service, called ~SALLY'S AFTER DARK~. Created by Francisco Sanchez, the new dinner menu has some hearty dishes like sliders and braised short ribs, skillet chicken, and all-inclusive dinners for $24. Dinner service is Wed–Sat 5:30pm–11pm for now. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-626-6006.

As a warm-up to Martin Cate's upcoming move to Hayes Valley (Smuggler's Cove is getting close!), ~JARDINIÈRE~ is going "Tiki Bar" next Monday November 9th with a tiki bar theme. The prix-fixe dinner includes three courses (pu pu platter in effect!) and three wine pairings for $45, plus Cate will be behind the bar mixing up three vintage tropical cocktails for $10 each. Check out the menu here. Reservations are recommended. 300 Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.

White truffles are definitely on tour around town: ~AMERICANO~ (8 Mission St., 415-278-3777) is offering special dishes until November 6th (including breakfast eggs, available all day!—but they're $45 breakfast eggs, due to the five grams shaved on top); ~DELFINA~ (3621 18th St., 415-552-4055) has truffle dishes today Tuesday November 3rd and tomorrow the 4th (read more on their Facebook page); and ~POGGIO~ (777 Bridgeway Blvd., Sausalito, 415-332-7771) is running their series of truffle dishes during their third annual Festa di Tartufi from November 10th–15th.

More Italian feasting: ~LUCE~ is hosting a special Tuscan dinner on Wednesday November 11th to benefit CUESA, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture. Michelin-starred Dominique Crenn of Luce and Donatella Zampoli from the wine estates of Marchesi de' Frescobaldi will come together to create a six-course dinner inspired by Tuscany, paired with award-winning wines from the Frescobaldi family, who have been making wines in Tuscany for more than 700 years. Chef Zampoli oversees the culinary programs and special events at the Frescobaldi estates, and also owns Donatella's Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Budapest. $75 per person, and wine pairings will be offered for an additional $30 per person. $10 per person will be donated to CUESA. 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6566.

Want a taste of the wild, like foraged acorn bread and wild boar? Check out the menu of this ~WILD GAME AND FORAGED FEAST~ at a private residence in Mill Valley—it's a fundraiser for the upcoming Swamp Cabbage film. It will be hosted on Sunday afternoon on November 15th from 3:30pm–6:30pm. Ticket info and more here.

~ARI WEINZWEIG~, co-founder of the famed Zingerman's Delicatessen, is visiting The Pasta Shop on Thursday November 12th for a book signing, conversation, and of course, a bacon tasting. The book is ZINGERMAN'S GUIDE TO BETTER BACON, Stories of Pork Bellies, Hush Puppies, Rock 'n' Roll and Bacon Fat Mayonnaise. 4:30pm–6:30pm. No cost except for purchases. The Pasta Shop Rockridge Market Hall, 5655 College Ave., Oakland, 510-250-6005.