January 17, 2012

January 17, 2012
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Ceri Smith; photo provided by Ceri Smith.

After reading this blog post that Ceri Smith of ~BIONDIVINO~ was opening a second business in Russian Hill, I heard a rumor that Boulette’s Larder was involved, so of course I had to give her a call. It ends up she is not planning to open a wine bar as reported, but more of a true enoteca, serving espresso in the morning, along with some choice items to eat throughout the day and evening, and of course fantastic wines to enjoy as well. She is currently waiting for approval on a conditional use permit to convert a boutique (Eco Citizen) at 2255 Polk Street into her new (and presently unnamed) concept.

Ceri said it’s going to have a very Euro-centric and sophisticated style that is upscale without being uptight, and will be geared more toward the 30-and-over crowd (i.e. not a boisterous wine bar). Of course the wine list will be fab—she said imagine being able to swing by a casual but beautiful place with a deep list à la Quince or Acquerello, without having to sit for a five-course meal. She is meeting with Boulette’s Larder this week about ideas and plans for the menu, so the food component is TBD, but you know it’ll be spot-on.

The enoteca will be open in the mornings for really good Italian espresso service and a breakfast item or two, before transitioning into afternoon and evening offerings. While her focus is Italian wines, she also said there will be esoteric wines, smaller producers, some old California vintages due to a source she has, in addition to European selections like some Austrian rieslings, and even wine cocktails by Duggan McDonnell of Cantina.

Ceri said it’s going to have a very clean look, very modern and European. There will be 24-26 seats (at tables and chairs), and hopefully 4 outside. She stressed that service will be of the utmost importance, and guests will note thoughtful details like purse hooks and throws. She’s charmingly calling it “the smallest restaurant in San Francisco.”

While she has over 300 signatures from neighbors in support of the project, her hearing is on February 2nd, so even more positive letters would be appreciated! Feel free to send a letter in support to Kevin Guy via email or to the Planning Department, Attn: Kevin Guy, 1650 Mission St. Suite 400, San Francisco, CA, 94103. The case number is 2011.1233C, re: address 2255 Polk St.

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Photo from Barbacco.

Last week I reported on the departure of Mauro Cirilli from Perbacco and barbacco, but I just learned that Becky Pezzullo (Bar Bambino, Reform Club) has been hired as the general manager and wine director for ~BARBACCO~. Current general manager Maria Eugenia Armando will be working side by side with Becky for the next three weeks until she leaves on February 7th for Argentina (when Maria comes back she will work on opening her own business). Becky said she’s “very excited to be in an Italian space again, really really Italian, with a rocking wine list that matches my philosophy and ethos 100%.” Cheers to that!

~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~ is launching a new wine offer on Mondays, offering 50% off all bottles of wine that are $100 or less. This offer will be available to diners in the upstairs dining room as well as the downstairs bar and lounge from 5pm to close.

I was laughing hysterically over some posts and pictures on Facebook announcing that ~WO HING GENERAL STORE~ finally got some bar stools. Yep, it’s true, not many people want to stand around when they drink. Now if they could just get cushions for that damned metal bench. Olle Lundberg, please stop with the metal benches—they look cool but that’s also what they’re doing to our butts. I know I’m not the only one who wants a pillow every time I dine out at Out the Door on Bush, and now Wo Hing.

Looking for something fun to do on Sundays? ~COMSTOCK SALOON~ has decided to open on Sundays, and is hosting Honky-Tonk Sundays, starting at 4pm. There will be some serious vinyl getting played, like Hank Snow, Charlie Daniels, and Waylon Jennings (starting at 7pm). Sous chef Abe Sanchez will offer a weekly Blue Plate Special of southern-inspired comfort food dishes like his famous chili, fried chicken, and barbecue. Executive chef Carlo Espinas will also offer the full dinner menu of turn-of-the-century saloon fare, so you can still get your beef shank and bone marrow pot pie. And don’t forget, there’s happy hour from 4pm-7pm daily, featuring 2-for-1 snacks, $6 Derby cocktails, and $6 shot and beer combos: Boot to the Head (bourbon and Anchor Steam), Cabezazo (tequila and Tecate), and Headbutt (Bols Genever and pilsner).

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Photo of Cellar360 from Flickr.

When it comes to wine, there’s always more to learn. Pick up some more wine knowledge with these fun ‘n’ educational wine events. ~CELLAR360~ at Ghirardelli Square and Courtney Cochran—author and certified sommelier—are hosting HIP TASTES: Blind Tasting Bootcamp on Thursday January 19th from 6pm-8pm. You’ll be guided through the essentials of blind tasting with six different wines, then wrapping up the class with a taste-off between teams. $50. 900 North Point St. #F301 at Polk.

On Sunday January 29th, ~HEIRLOOM CAFÉ~ is holding not one but three back-to-back tasting events. Start at 10am with a gnocchi demonstration, then enjoy brunch with truffles at 11am (gnocchi with sunny-side eggs, chive butter, Périgord truffles), with a glass of bubbles (Montagnieu Brut), of course. $40 (limited to twelve). At 1pm, join the Wine Fundamentals Tasting Seminar: they promise two hours, six wines, and a start to a lifetime of wine appreciation. $30. Then stay for the 4pm-6pm Heirloom Groovinet: a casual tasting event with one-ounce pours for $1, $2, or $3 so you can taste lots of different wines, including a special bottle or two. They’re also supplying munchies. $10. Tickets online.

For those with a professional interest in wine, ~GRAPE EXPERIENCE~ offers Wine & Spirit Education Trust Certification classes geared to different levels. Their new Foundation/Sommelier Course is a two-day workshop Sat-Sun February 4th-5th, 10am-4:30pm, at Premium Port Wines (280 Utah St. at 16th St.). Active sommeliers teach how to apply wine knowledge and skills in a restaurant workplace—good for anyone who needs basic skills in wine service (i.e. get your feet wet), and/or wants to start a career as a sommelier. $395, includes all books/materials, wines, and exam. They also offer WSET Intermediate and Advanced Certificate Courses. More info online.