November 4, 2014

November 4, 2014
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Partner John Vuong is giving you some public notice, yo. Photo courtesy of Michael Ireland.

Last week, Eater noted the ABC license activity and players for ~PIVOT~, a project that is coming to the Inner Richmond. I reached out to Michael Ireland—a well-respected sommelier who has worked at The French Laundry, Quince, Benu, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and consults for Verbena and Gather restaurants—for some details on the project. He’s partnering with John Vuong (Ame, Gary Danko) to open a wine bar and retail shop just next door to the Bitter End, hopefully in spring of 2015.

The name is inspired by the fact that these two friends have quite the fine-dining background, but want to pivot into something more casual, creating an atmosphere that is warm, comfortable, and authentic. They are both Bay Area natives—Ireland lives within walking distance of the business and is excited to bring something new to the neighborhood.

The plan is to have an extensive selection of 30 wines by the glass, ranging from a $6 glass from a keg to more expensive and rare picks. Ireland says they’ll all have a “high yum factor” and they look forward to matching people with exactly what they like, because that’s what these two do. Look for some special wines from Ireland’s and Vuong’s personal collections, with some folks consigning some bottles too.

There will be some delicious food as well; the consulting chef is their friend Daniel Brooks, who will also be doing a bit of a pivot since his background is primarily Michelin-starred restaurants (including Quince and in Spain). He will develop the menu and help staff and train the kitchen; someone else will captain the kitchen in the future. Look forward to seeing what he puts together.

The space was previously a retail shop, and while they don’t have to do any heavy demolition, they do plan to move the facade so they can create a small patio in the front. There will be two levels, with skylights, and about 47 seats. Look for some urban street art in the space as well. They will be open early (just before lunch) and will progress into the afternoon and evening with more food and a wine bar atmosphere. We’ll keep you posted as this one shapes up in coming months. 443 Clement St. at 6th Ave.

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The original interior at The Alembic. Photo by Jennifer Yin via Postcard Communications.

After closing for renovations in January, ~THE ALEMBIC~’s kitchen has reopened. There is a newly expanded menu from chef Ted Fleury, including albacore crudo with kohlrabi and Asian pear ($14), chicken wings with Calabrian chile jam and green papaya ($10), and chicken liver mousse with quince, huckleberry, and fried chicken skin ($11). The menu, which you can look at here, is mostly focused on small plates, along with some new fall cocktails from Larry Piakowsky. The dining room is still under construction, but once it opens in about two months, there will also be a selection of large dishes and meat platters for sharing. Kitchen hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-12am, Sat-Sun 12pm-12am. The bar is open until 2am nightly. Welcome back, guys!

~CAFÉ COCOMO~, the salsa club that closed earlier this year after 15 years in Dogpatch, has found a new home at PlayaSF in Fisherman’s Wharf, at the former Parlor bar. Look for more parties, dancing, and theme nights, as well as dance lessons and all different types of Latin music for shaking your moneymaker. 2801 Leavenworth St. at Beach.

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The Golden Gobble from Trick Dog. Photo courtesy Ryan Robles PR.

During the month of November, you can raise a glass to a good cause with the Give Back the Bird program, which benefits the SF-Marin Food Bank and is sponsored by Wild Turkey (Jupiter Olympus plays a big part in this charity fundraiser). Local bars will be offering their own take on the old-fashioned all month, and for each one they sell, $2 will be donated to the food bank.

Participants include Trick Dog (Golden Gobble: Wild Turkey rye, pumpkin spice syrup, caramel apple tincture), Smokestack (On the Drumhead: Wild Turkey 81 rye, Cole Porter syrup, orange bitters, black cardamom and juniper berry bitters), Rye (The Old Fashioned Thanksgiving: Wild Turkey 81 rye, pumpkin spice black tea syrup, bar keep apple bitters, Angostura bitters), Elixir (The Old Fashioned Pilgrim: cardamom-, cranberry-, cinnamon-infused Wild Turkey 101, honey syrup, orange bitters, orange zest), and 1760 (Old Fashioned 17: Wild Turkey rye, Campari, Cinzano 1757, Angostura bitters, orange bitters). A full list of participating bars and their cocktails can be found here. Locations and hours vary.

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There is still so very much to learn and love about sherry, and author Talia Baiocchi is going to be in town this month promoting her new book, Sherry: A Modern Guide to the Wine World’s Best-Kept Secret (Ten Speed Press). It’s a fabulous book, with a deep overview of how sherry is made and its various styles, plus producer profiles and recipes for sherry-based cocktails and sherry-friendly tapas.

Catch her at ~ST. VINCENT~ on Wednesday November 5th from 5pm-6:30pm for a sherry happy hour. Then, on Thursday November 6th, she’ll be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ for a sherry tasting and book signing from 6pm-8pm. For a nosh along with your sherry, catch her at ~THE SPANISH TABLE MILL VALLEY~ on Friday November 7th from 6pm-7:30pm for a sherry tasting with tapas and a book signing. Finally, on Sunday November 9th, head to ~TRICK DOG~ for another happy hour from 5pm-8pm.

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Tasting wine at Odette Estate. Photo courtesy PlumpJack Group.

For an in-depth exploration of the different appellations in the Napa Valley, check out the Tour de Terroir from PlumpJack Wines on Tuesday November 11th at MatrixFillmore. The tasting features two wines each from Odette Estate, PlumpJack Winery, and Cade Estate Winery. Each of the wineries is in a different appellation in Napa, and you’ll have the opportunity to taste a white and a red from each. There will also be bites from PlumpJack Catering. The tasting runs from 5:30pm-8:30pm and tickets are $50 per person.

If you love pinot noir, you won’t want to miss PinotFest at ~FARALLON~ from 3pm-6pm on Saturday November 22nd. The popular event includes pinot noir from 60 producers on the West Coast, including Alma Rosa, Bonaccorsi, Kosta Browne, Littorai, Williams Selyem, Pey-Marin, and Twomey. And don’t worry, Farallon will be providing appetizers to keep you going. Tickets are $125 per person. 450 Post St. at Powell, 4th Floor, 415-956-6969.