September 25, 2012

September 25, 2012
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The interior and seating. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Et Al interior. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The fab chandelier. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The interior, looking toward the street. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

Fans of Ceri Smith and her popular Russian Hill wine shop, biondivino, have been anxiously awaiting the opening of her new enoteca/wine salon, ~ET AL.~. As mentioned earlier this year on tablehopper, it’s just around the corner from Biondivino and is sooooo close to being finished—she’s just waiting on some shelving. Very important, that shelving. (It should be about two weeks.)

Today we are going to make you even more anxious for the opening, because we have the first look at the swell interior. The classically European space (with a cheeky twist) is decked out in navy blue and white, with white leather chairs and bench seats made from material from sailboats, a jaunty striped awning, and vintage Paul Iribe prints from the 1930s on the navy and white paneled walls. Smith also had a huge custom chandelier made of wineglasses that look like they are falling to the ground from the high ceiling that pick up the sparkle of the plastic Kartell stools, plus there are small industrial globe lights. The wide-plank wood floor was set in an eye-catching chevron pattern, and there’s a burl wood table in the front window niche with room for six to eight (the other tables are Carrara marble-topped). The grown-up space feels casual yet elegant, and the only flaw I can find is that it’s going to be so dang popular that it’ll always be full. It’s gawjus.

As for the offerings, since the space will be open all day (7am-midnight), you can start by ordering some espresso off the Faema E61 (the coffee is from the famed roaster Gianni Frasi of Giamaica Caffè) at the illuminated onyx bar. (Smith is also half-joking about not serving cappuccinos after 1pm—in Italy, they start shaking their head at you at 11am!) There will also be hot drinks, like the Torinese bicerin (a layered drink of espresso, chocolate, and whole milk), and some decadent canelé de Bordeaux! There are additionally wonderful teas from Bellocq in New York.

Smith is, of course, known for her extensive wine knowledge and excellent palate, and here she is going to be doing a list that extends far beyond Biondivino’s Italian focus (et al means “and others,” so now the name should make sense to you). The list (you can take a peek at the list-in-progress right here!) will include sherries (you can have an advance look at the sherry list here), Madeiras, rosés, a large selection of riesling, Champagne (take a sneak peek at the list here!), Georgian wine (served in the classic piala ceramic bowl), and Italian wines as well. There will be tasting-size glasses to go with particular dishes too.

You’ll be able to choose from a variety of hand-sliced meats (like prosciutto and pata negra) and cheeses both from and selected by Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy. Amaryll Schwertner and Lori Regis of Boulette’s Larder will also be putting together some savory bites to complement the wines. Dishes being discussed include crespelle with wild mushrooms and burrata, a custard sformato with meats or vegetables, brandade with crostini, and you can order both frico and a chickpea socca (with herbs and sea salt) off the unconventional crêpe griddle. Also, of course, boulettes (meatballs) of lamb or pork in warm jus. As soon as it opens (it’s so close!), I’ll be announcing it on Twitter and in tablehopper, stand by! 2255 Polk St. at Green, 415-655-3155.

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The spacious bar area at Dixie; photo courtesy of Dixie.

This is something special and boozy, indeed. On Monday October 15th, master distiller Lincoln Henderson will be at ~DIXIE~ along with chef Joseph Humphrey for a bourbon-focused dinner celebrating Henderson’s port barrel-finished bourbon, Angels Envy. The evening will start with two cocktails and will be followed by three courses of Humphrey’s Southern-influenced, bourbon-flecked dinner. Each course will be served with cocktail pairings, so come prepared to do some serious eating and drinking. Each diner will take home a bottle of Angels Envy to savor later too. The event begins with cocktails at 6pm, and dinner at 7pm. Tickets are $120 per person, all inclusive. For tickets and more information, email.

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Central Kitchen courtyard photo by Christopher Michel (photo via Facebook).

Raise a glass to local winemakers at ~CENTRAL KITCHEN~ with a series of wine dinners featuring different local producers and experts. Each dinner is limited to 12 seats, so these should be intimate opportunities to chat with wine folks about their best stuff. Each evening will have two seatings, one at 6pm and the other at 9pm. Reservations are $200 per person, including gratuity but not tip, and can be purchased by calling 415-826-7005 or via email.

On Wednesday October 3rd, Kevin Wardell of Bergamot Alley wine shop in Healdsburg will be the guest, talking about various wines and how to select them.

Catch John Lancaster and Rob Perkins of Skylark Wine Company on Wednesday November 24th for a conversation about their wines and varietals.

Mick Unti of Unti Vineyards will be on hand Wednesday November 28th, talking about his small, family-run winery and their vineyard-driven wines.

Last but not least, Chrystal and Steve Clifton of Palmina will be the guests on Wednesday December 19th.

Then check out the obscure and way cool orange wines of Friuli, a part of Italy right next to Slovenia. ~PERBACCO~ and the North American Sommelier Association will be hosting a seminar and tasting on these orange, er, black sheep of the wine world on Saturday October 27th, taught by Mauro Cirilli. It begins at 10:45am, so be sure to get breakfast first. Tickets are $55 for the general public, and $45 for NASA members.

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Some Lodi whites and rosés, on ice and ready to try. Photo from Facebook.

On Saturday October 6th, head out to the middle of the bay for some wines from Lodi’s wine country. LoCa Uncorked will feature more than 200 wines from 35 wineries in the Lodi wine-producing region. There will also be artisanal cheeses and wine-friendly snacks from Pasta Pomodoro, plus producers of other Lodi-area specialties like olives, nuts, and chocolate. This is Fleet Week weekend, so when the Blue Angels aren’t shaking you down to your boots, The John Brothers Piano Company will provide the jazzy ragtime soundtrack. The event will go from 1pm-5pm, and tickets are $55 in advance and $65 at the door. Since you’ll probably need a designated driver to get out to the island, they’re also offering tickets for designated drivers at $25. 291 Avenue of the Palms at 3rd St., Treasure Island.