November 4, 2008

Freelancers, mid-week flakes, and folks with weird work hours will be pleased to know ~MISSION BEACH CAFE~ is now offering its weekend brunch menu on weekdays. The menu includes pastry chef Alan Carter’s quiche, and executive chef Ryan Scott’s soufflé pancakes with orange cranberry compote; the MBC egg sandwich with a house-made English muffin, fried egg, oven-roasted tomato, caramelized onion, white cheddar, and potatoes; or the Prather Ranch beef brisket hash and eggs. Breakfast is now available Mon–Fri from 8am–2pm, and of course weekend brunch continues as is. Mission Beach Café is also launching a new community outreach program, hosting quarterly dinners benefiting a Mission district nonprofit organization. This month’s dinner, on Wednesday November 19th, honors Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center that gives artists with developmental disabilities a place to create, exhibit, and sell art. Original works of art will be on display at the restaurant at the event on the 19th, and 25% of food sales will go to the charity (the dinner is $75 per person, exclusive of alcohol, tax, and gratuity). For those that can’t make it that evening, the Café is donating 15% of food sales every Wednesday from 5:30pm–7pm to Creativity Explored. 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., 415-861-0198.

Another restaurant that is expanding its hours: ~BARAKA~ in Potrero Hill has started serving lunch Tue–Sat from 11:30am–2pm, offering a casual and approachable lunch menu. Executive chef Chad Newton will be cooking lunch, so take advantage of the easy parking over there, and enjoy! The menu includes: a daily soup, a variety of salads, either grilled cheese or ahi tuna salad sandwiches (they come with your choice of soup, mixed baby lettuces or Spanish fries, all for only $9–$10), or there are flatbreads, too, like four cheese or chicken, with the same deal regarding the side of soup, salad, or fries ($8–$9). A few mains include roast chicken, skate wing, or bavette steak. 288 Connecticut St. at 18th St., 415-255-0370.

I was so bummed I couldn’t make it to the ~AMUSE COCHON/COCHON 555~ event this weekend (birthday dinner with my cute family trumps everything), but here are some highlights from the Bunrabs for those who wondered how it went down.

More pig patrol: the Thursday night ~MISSION STREET FOOD~ truck is finito, and the renegade solution was to move indoors into Lung Shan, a Chinese restaurant that has agreed to share their kitchen. The PB&J (Kurobuta Berkshire pork belly and jicama flatbread, $5.50) will remain, but look for some rock-the-wok action, including this week’s dish of Burmese coconut-curry soup (a recipe from chef Anthony Myint’s grandmother, $6) and either vegetable or MSF rice (Meated-Smoked-Fried rice, $6–$7). Hours will be Thursdays, 6pm–midnight, and they will now offer beer and wine. Cooks: they are still looking for guest cooks, whatcha waiting for, apply here. 2234 Mission St. at 18th St.

Things continue to percolate over at ~ORSON~, including the launch of Monday Night Pizza starting at 5pm (usual dinner hours start at 6pm), with about six kinds to choose from, like braised broccoli rabe, chili, egg, and guanciale. Man, last night they had a Philly cheesesteak pizza with flank steak, provolone, peppers, onions, steak sauce, and love. Uh huh, I want some of that! The monthly cocktail pairing dinner (Gin & Game) is coming up on Thursday November 13th (check out the menu here, which includes cassoulet with pheasant, boar, and pork belly, plus cippolini, turnips, and Wild Turkey sauce). 508 4th St. at Bryant St., 415-777-1508.

Chef Arnold Eric Wong, known for his past chef-owner history with Eos Restaurant & Wine Bar and Bacar, is the new executive chef of ~E&O TRADING COMPANY RESTAURANTS~. His new modern Asian menu will be implemented in March.

Chef ~RUSSELL RUMMER~ has left Roots, and has joined the team at Sellers Markets

~THE CARNELIAN ROOM~ has a new executive chef, sous chef, and pastry chef. The new executive chef is Rick Huking, who is going to integrate a more seasonal and organic menu (his history includes Le Mouton Noir in Saratoga), the executive sous chef is Charles Hechinger, and Cassandra Struss is the pastry chef. The Carnelian Room is also launching a special prix-fixe Sunday menu, Sunday Supper Club 52, for $39 plus tax and tip, running from 6pm–9:30pm, in case you’ve always wanted to check out that view without paying too much for it. There will also be live smooooooth jazz with the Black Pearl Project. 555 California St., 52nd Floor, at Montgomery, 415-433-7500.

Sorry hot dog lovers, I lagged announcing this one: ~WHAT'S UP DOG!~ has opened a SoMa location, in the former Tamal space. What's Up Dog! “The Diner” is serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has 40 seats. And beer! Open daily 7am–9pm. 1599 Howard at 12th St., 415-861-5366.

~CHILL~ dessert café opened up in the Financial District, so now you can get soft-serve vanilla custard or black sesame frozen yogurt, drizzle it with exotic syrup flavors like açai or dulce de leche, and toppings like crystallized ginger. Also on the menu are shaved ice concoctions, blended drinks, cupcakes, Vietnamese-style coffee, rooibos red tea drinks, floats, and “frozen hot chocolate.” This week, from Wednesday November 5th–Friday November 7th, there will be “1-2-3 CHILL OUT” grand opening specials, with $1 organic Americano coffee, $2 frozen yogurt and soft serve custard with gourmet toppings, and $3 crispy filled sugar or coconut crepe cones. Hours are Mon–Fri 11am–7pm, and Sat noon–5pm. 125 Kearny St. at Post, 415-433-1233.

More café news: things are picking up for Café du Nord’s café project, which they are simply calling ~THE CAFÉ~, which is slated to open on November 17th. The 49-seat café will offer Ritual coffee, plus sandwiches, salads, and pizzas, and free WiFi. There will also be rotating musically themed art shows (the first show will feature paintings by famous musicians). Hours will be 7am–8pm. 2168 Market St. at Church, 415-861-5016.

It is most definitely chili/chilly weather, and so almost on cue, ~BALBOA CAFE SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting its fifth annual Chili Challenge. Jack Falstaff executive chef Jonnatan Leiva, PlumpJack Cafe executive chef Rick Edge, Balboa Cafe executive chef Jose Lemus, and the San Francisco firemen from Marina station #16 will serve their secret chili recipes during lunch at Balboa Cafe San Francisco this week of November 3rd. Throughout the week, lunch-goers who order the chili from 11:30am–5pm will be presented with small portions of the four competing chilis, and will be given ballots to manually vote on their favorite contender. The votes will be tallied on the final day of the competition, November 7th, and the winning recipe will be offered on the menu from November 10th–November 14th. All guests who voted can enjoy a complimentary bowl of the winning recipe during the week of November 10th, from 11:30am–5pm. Guests who wish to donate a toy to the San Francisco Firefighter Toy Program can bring in an unwrapped new toy or unused book to Balboa Cafe San Francisco. 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-921-3944.

Let’s hope the weather plays nice, because Sunday November 9th is the second ~IN SEARCH OF GOOD FOOD~ bike ride. The ride, led by ISoGF director and food justice activist Antonio Roman-Alcalá and co-sponsored by CAFF, will cover mostly flat ground around the Mission and southeast portions of the city. There will be guest speakers along the route, including: Mission Pie, local purveyors of sustainable pie and farm education for youth from Mission High School; The Free Farm Stand, a project that gives away food grown in San Francisco; Veritable Vegetable, one of the West Coast's oldest organic food distributors; the site of the People's Food System warehouse, where parts of the sustainable food system were born in the 70s; and SF General Hospital, where you'll hear from Aliza Wasserman from Community Alliance with Family Farmers about the challenges and emerging opportunities for bringing local and sustainable food to an institutional scale. The ride will be approximately four hours long, with snacks and bathroom breaks planned in. This event is a benefit for the In Search of Good Food movie project, so please reserve your space (limited to 40) by buying a ticket here. 11am–3pm.

Due to last weekend’s soggy weather, Piccino postponed the ~HOG ISLAND OYSTER DAY~ extravaganza until this coming Sunday November 9th. To recap: “The Hog Island crew will be set-up on our sidewalk, busily shucking their gorgeous oysters for consumption either raw or grilled. For the barbecued orders, they’ll be serving a trio of sauces: classic red, butter, beer and garlic, and one made from Point Reyes Farmstead blue cheese. We’ll be pouring crisp whites, rosés, and microbrews, while firing up our thin-crust pizzas and tossing a few seasonal salads. No reservations are required for this all afternoon event.” 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

It’s totally movie weather, so here is a little something something for you: on Tuesday November 11th is a ~SLOW FOOD MOVIE SCREENING~ at 6:30pm of Strawberry Fields and Queen Of The Sun trailer, and 8:30pm is McLibel and In Good Heart (a short film). Here’s more from the press release: "Strawberry Fields is a documentary by an Israeli filmmaker about a day in the life of Palestinian farmers in Gaza. It's a moving documentary portrait about the courage of ordinary people caught in a war zone. Ayelet Heller, a sensitive Israeli filmmaker, was curious about life in Gaza and set out to tell the story of Palestinian farmers. McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history. Filmed over ten years by Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.” Tickets: $10 each screening—you can buy tickets here. Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th St. at Valencia.Â

Did you miss Sugar Rush last week? Next Saturday November 15th, you can celebrate the publication of Anita Chu’s first cookbook, the mouthwatering (and charmingly petite) ~A FIELD GUIDE TO COOKIES~ at a special event at Chu’s alma mater, Tante Marie's Cooking School. (Some of you might know Chu from her blog, Dessert First.) Tante Marie’s current professional pastry class will be making some cookies from her book, and there will be limited copies of the book available for purchase. If you want to attend, there is space for up to 30 tablehopper readers: just email Anita at pastrygirl.dessertfirst [at] gmail [dot] com and she will add you to the guest list. Parking is quite limited around the school, especially on the weekends. Please see the Tante Marie website for directions on how to get to the school and suggested parking garages around the area. The event begins at 2pm. 271 Francisco St. at Stockton.

~DELFINA~ is turning 10, and from Monday November 17th through Wednesday November 19th, they will be celebrating with a “killer, truffle-centric menu, entertainment, and special surprises each night! We will also feature a special selection of 1998 (our opening year) vintage wines.” Buon compleanno! 3621 18th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-4055.

This looks like a fun one: on Tuesday November 18th there will be a ~BEER & BISON GROWER’S DINNER~ at Jack Falstaff, with executive chef Jonnatan Leiva cooking with guest chefs Laurence Jossel (Nopa) and Ravi Kapur (Boulevard). Here’s the menu: bison carpaccio and fried oysters (chef de cuisine Ravi Kapur, Boulevard); butternut squash ravioli and beer-braised bison (executive chef Laurence Jossel, Nopa); and slow-roasted bison short ribs, smoked fingerlings and kale (executive chef Jonnatan Leiva, Jack Falstaff). Moonlight Brewing Company, based in Santa Rosa, is going to provide the beer pairings—founder Brian Hunt will be on hand at the event to explain the pairings. 6pm reception on the patio, and the communal dinner seating begins at 7pm. $85 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.

826 Valencia, the non-profit writing and tutoring center in the Mission, is holding a ~FOOD WRITING SEMINAR AND EVENT~ on Thursday November 20th as a benefit for their free student program. The event will feature Mollie Katzen (author of The Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest); Scott Youkilis (co-owner of Maverick restaurant and editor of Out Of The Kitchen Magazine); Lessley Anderson (senior editor at CHOW.com); and Joe Jarrell (contributor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and WHERE San Francisco); moderated by Erin Archuleta (tablehopper.com intern and writer of the hardhat section). Guests will be sampling and talking about the food on offer during the evening, plus discussing topics like restaurant reviewing, recipe-composing, contacting agents, working with publishing houses and newspaper editors, and running a successful blog. Tickets: $100, limited to 50 people. 6pm–9pm. Buy tickets and learn more here. 826 Valencia St. at 19th St.