table of contents This week's tablehopper: piggin' out.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews

the lush
put it on my tab
the socialite
the bookworm
another place for your nose

the sponsor
this round is on me


APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO So glad I made it home from Chicago in time to enjoy the gorg weather over the weekend. imageMy trip to Chicago was super-short, with no time to play, really, but I did manage to wiggle a dinner in at Blackbird (freaking delicious), and Frontera Grill (lucky for me it was cochinita pibil night!). I even got a pic of Mister Bayless, who was in the restaurant that night. Gotta head back to Chi-town soon and take a week to run around—it was torture to be there and not be able to experience that super-cool (and whoa, so clean!) city. Thanks anyway to all of you who sent recos!

Before heading out there last Tuesday, on Monday night I had a chance to peek at Anchor & Hope (bite highlights include some stunning Beausoleil oysters, the fried Ipswich clams, and stuffed clams with basil), and then scooted on over to Uva Enoteca, a nice little slice of NYC here in the city. Can’t wait to go back to both and hang out.

Had a good time on the radio on Sunday on A Matter of Taste with David Michael and Rachel Cane—will let you know the next time I’m on (in May). We chatted about Sebo, Spork, the new chef and dishes at Tsar Nicoulai, and I was asked if there is an off-limits time of day for egg consumption (uh, never!).

Oh, and thanks to all of you who entered to win the $100 gift certificate to Troya! Bummer I was only giving away one prize! Congrats to tablehopper reader Alicia A. who won–enjoy your din din.

Have a swell week,

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox
CHOWAPRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I was hearing rumblings last week, and it seems that ~NUA~ in North Beach has closed. Things weren’t looking good with the diminished dinner hours (Wed–Sat only). Some rumors have owner David White involved in a potential project elsewhere in town—will report back if I hear anything definitive. 550 Green St. at Jasper, 415-433-4000.

Another project that just went kaput: the ~FRISSON/SPREZZATURA GROUP/SEAN O’BRIEN COLLABORATION~. Raising money proved to be difficult (what, in this challenging business climate?), and it ends up that the Sprezzatura Group (Andrew McCormack and Joe Hargrave) are also splitting up. There’s no drama or hard feelings: Hargrave will continue focusing on the operations of Laïola, and McCormack is returning to hedge funds (but he still owns his equity). The frisson space is now on the market, and in case some of you out there were originally hoping to court O’Brien to your project when he left Myth, here’s your chance. Well, maybe. (He alluded to something else potentially in the works, but it’s way too soon to tell.) Just reply to me if you’d like to get in touch with him. You know, there are a lot of vacant spaces in Jackson Square: MacArthur Park, Scott Howard, Myth, and now frisson… Hmmmm. It’s getting rough out there.

Some good news about ~LAÏOLA~ (which I totally heart): the restaurant is kicking off lunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am–2:30pm this weekend. There will also be outdoor seating, with room for 12, plus heaters, which will be all set up by this weekend, or next. 2031 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-346-5641.

Whoa, ~BORIS PORTNOY~, only one of my favorite pastry chefs ever, is no longer at Campton Place. He is traveling right now in Indonesia, but will be heading back home to SF soon. Nothing quite final about what his next gig will be when he returns… Will keep you posted, naturally. I have a vested interest in knowing where he is—it’s all about the pursuit of deliciousness.

Heard word that the executive chef of ~CORTEZ~, Seth Bowden, is leaving on June 2nd (he might stay a little longer if necessary). Bowden and Cortez’s new owner, Ron Silberstein, are on good terms—the departure is more about the fact that Bowden is moving to South Africa this summer with his wife, and is fired up to be doing some stages in Europe during his “sabbatical.” So the chef hunt is on—Silberstein is considering a concept that might be a little less high-end. Any interested candidates out there? 550 Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-6360.

And just a few blocks away, co-executive chef Charlie Kleinman of ~FISH & FARM~ is leaving at the end of May—he’s going to focus on getting his own project off the ground. Co-executive chef Jake Des Voignes will continue to hold it down. 339 Taylor St. at O'Farrell, 415-474-3474.

~FRJTZ~ in Hayes Valley is officially open. It’s much larger than its former Hayes Valley address next door, when it used to be in the awesome Mad Magda’s Russian Tea Room space with the back patio (anyone know what is going in there? I loved that spot), and now has moved into the former Montauk furniture store, for those of you who keep track of these things. Stylistically, things have changed too: the look is more minimalist and modern than bohemian. No mussels at this location, however—just at Valencia Street. Here you’ll find fries, crepes, salads, and sandos. 581 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-864-7654.

Some news in the Western Addition/NoPa area: ~ON THE CORNER~ had its soft opening last week, and is hosting its grand opening this Saturday, May 3rd. Look for coffee, tea, soups, sandwiches, bagels, and some pastries, with breakfast sandwiches, pizza, and panini starting up next week, on May 5th. There will be daytime and nighttime bands and jazz, and the beer and wine should kick in five weeks from now, so let’s say June. Open 8am–10pm, and will start opening at 6am on May 5th (rise and shine, yo). Hours will eventually extend to midnight—they are playing it by ear (ha ha, yes, a pun!) until the beer and wine license is in effect. Oh, and there’s free Wi-Fi for you laptop warriors. 359 Divisadero St. at Oak, 415-522-1101.

Since some of you are asking me, “Wassup with ~BAR CRUDO ON DIVISADERO~?,” I wanted to give you an update: permits are still in the works, and will hopefully wrap in June. August is the new hoped-for opening date. No name for the biz just yet either. Stand by! 655 Divisadero St. at Grove.

Been waiting, and wondering, what was going to be moving into the ~PIER 5~ restaurant/café spaces, located a bit north of the Ferry Building. Well, thanks to a tablehopper reader who sent in this tip just before I published this week’s column, now we know! “Russell Jackson (aka Dissident Chef) wrote in his last blast email that he signed a lease last Friday for a space on Pier 5 on the Embarcadero of San Francisco's waterfront.” I hope to have more details by next week!

imageOn these warmer days, sometimes what you need is a secret little space to grab a table and hang out. Well, last week I was at ~SPORK~ checking out their lunch (they are now serving lunch Tue–Fri 11:30am–2pm) and lo and behold, their deck/patio in the back was almost complete! It should be up and running by now. You’d never know it’s back there—well, unless you read tablehopper, of course. They built it over the old KFC parking lot, and umbrellas and heat lamps are included. There are also some old water troughs that have been converted into mini-garden plots. It’s cute. Oh, and if you go for lunch, don’t miss the deeeelish carnitas on some over-easy eggs and a tortilla, plus avocado and queso fresco. I was calling it a perfect candidate for a hipster breakfast: you can wake up late, it’s cool, bro! The pasta with beef Bolognese sauce smelled really good too. Check out the rest of the lunch menu here. 1058 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-643-5000.

And just a block away… A while ago I mentioned a business called ~ZAYTOON~ was moving into the old Bistro Annex space in the Mission. As I was reading this week’s spring “Feast” insert in the San Francisco Bay Guardian, I spotted an ad for Zaytoon, serving Mediterranean wraps! Ok, so now we know. The ad says, “Mention this ad for a buy one, get one free” deal during the opening month of May. Ah ha! More details. So, it opens in May! No one is picking up at the number just yet… Can someone let me know when it’s open? And a tablehopper reader kindly informed me the last time I mentioned this mystery biz that zaytoon means “olive” in Farsi. Now you know. 1136 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-824-1787.

Here’s a little teaser from you: next week I’ll be releasing some exciting news about a new project related to ~DESTINO~—I’ve been sitting on this for months (can’t wait to let the cat outta the bag) but based on some online sleuthing, here’s a little hint about what is going into the space next door at 1817 Market Street. Salud!

imageSince we’re on “secret spaces,” have you had a chance to check out ~FOUR BARREL COFFEE~ yet? (Or as I am now going to call it, alley coffee.) After my lunch at Los Rosales this week (see fresh meat for more on that), I finally had some time to cruise by and check it out. You literally have to go down a slightly sketchy alley—just look for some folks hanging out at the end. No, you won’t get shanked. (Although it does prove what ends San Franciscans will go to for good coffee.) There’s a cool Deco-lookin’ fabricated bar/kiosk thingy where you’ll order up, and then you can stand around and kick it with some neighborhood architect types while savoring your stellar espresso. Don’t say I didn’t warn you—it’ll put you in the zooooooone. I almost ordered a second shot on the spot. For now, they are using coffee from Stumptown Coffee Roasters in Portland until the Four Barrel Coffee roastery part of the biz is up and running, which could be in a month or so (ditto on the café). So enjoy the novelty of alley coffee while you can! Just enter the alley (Caledonia) off 15th Street—it's parallel to and a little bit east of Valencia (i.e. going toward Mission, for the directionally challenged).

Looks like there’s another place to power lunch in SoMa: ~JACK FALSTAFF~ has just added a “Power Lunch” menu to the regular lunch menu. The new offerings include a lunch-size starter paired and served with an entrée (which means a nicely-sized lunch that’s not too filling and won't take too long). Some combos include potato and leek soup paired with a chicken Caesar salad; apple, walnut, and baby green salad paired with a “PBLT” sandwich of slow-roasted pork belly and beefsteak tomato on grilled sourdough; and seasonal soup paired with Liberty Farms duck breast Cobb salad (with poached egg!). “The Power Lunch” pairings range from $16–$19. For those avoiding the three-martini lunch scene, there are “Zero-Proof Concoctions” as well, like a grapefruit spritzer, or grape lime Rickey, with Navarro gewürztraminer juice with a splash of lime and soda, each $6. Lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am–2pm. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.

I don’t need any convincing about the sublime factor of the pesto at ~FARINA~. The mandilli al pesto dish is truly one of the city’s best pasta dishes, meow. Seems the rest of the world thinks so too, because their sous chef, James D. “Danny” Bowien won the 2008 Golden Pestle for Best Pesto Sauce in the World at Genoa’s Palazzo Ducale. A Korean-American beat the Italians! Love it, and it ties in well with the recent New York Times article about non-Italian chefs cooking Italian food. ‘Nuff said! I am sure Farina’s executive chef, Genoese Paolo Laboa, is thrilled since he’s the one who taught him the way of the pesto (it’s like samurai knowledge). 100 finalists (both professional and amateur cooks) from all over the world competed to make pesto with a mortar, pestle, and solely authentic Genoese pesto ingredients (Genoese basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, Fiore Sardo cheese, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil, Vessalico garlic, sea salt, and Italian pine nuts). Read more on the event here. Tanti auguri, Danny!

Wanted to mention I’ll be a panelist at the upcoming ~RESTAURANT BOOTCAMP~, an all-day conference on Tuesday, May 13th, at Fort Mason. I’ll be on the afternoon’s “Create the Buzz” new media panel, with Nish Nadaraja from Yelp, Liz Johannesen of OpenTable, and the featured restaurateur is Eric Rubin from Tres Agaves. On Wednesday, April 30th, 1pm, a special pre-conference tele-seminar will feature Danny Meyer, author of Setting the Table. Participants may join a live telephone call with Meyer. To register for the call, and get more info, visit or call 888-471-4447.

Next Thursday, May 8th, is ~EAST WEST EATS: AN EVENING WITH THE BAY AREA'S BEST CHEFS~, a culinary fundraiser for student journalism scholarships at the Ferry Building Marketplace. Chefs from the following restaurants will be featured: Straits Restaurant, Betelnut, Three Seasons, Junnoon, Butterfly, Poleng Lounge, Red Lantern, Maharani, Namu, Ponzu, and Hilton San Francisco. The event also will feature wine and entertainment. 7pm, $100 for AAJA (Asian American Journalists Association) members, and $115 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased online at

Interested in entering the first-ever contest to determine the most environmentally friendly restaurant in the Bay Area? Anyone can nominate a restaurant that they believe is "green" in some way, including the restaurants themselves. Nominations can be done online at The nomination period for the ~WHO'S THE GREENEST OF THEM ALL~ contest is from April 22–May 31, with winners to be announced on June 24th. Winners will be selected in a variety of categories. In case you were wondering, Thimmakka is a grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to environmental outreach—in the last six years, it has helped over 120 restaurant owners 'green' their establishment by implementing at least 60 measures in the areas of water and energy conservation, pollution prevention, and waste reduction.

Time for some East Bay love—and when I say love, that means free food! There’s a new restaurant set to launch called ~QIN’S ASIAN BISTRO & BAR~ (pronounced chin) in Antioch, and the team at Full Plate Restaurant Consulting (with clients like Bin 38, Dosa, Maritime East, Namu) is looking for Contra Costa dining guinea pigs. On Friday, May 9th, and Saturday, May 10th, they will be hosting a pre opening “dry run” to see if their latest client is ready for prime time. Fast-acting tablehopper readers are invited to bring guests for an “on the house” menu tasting (limited to first 100 total diners). The catch? You must each fill out a detailed survey that will take ten minutes. Be honest, but kind—this will be the first time that the kitchen is working together, and they want constructive criticism that will help them fix glitches before they open to the general public.

When you arrive, there will be regular menu with several selections in each category. Food is free for you and your guests. You need only pay for drinks and gratuity; credit cards will be accepted. You’ll need to make a reservation via Reservations deadline is by Monday, May 5th. Put “tablehopper tasting” in the subject line and give your name, preferred day (Fri or Sat), seating time (any time between 6pm–8:30pm), number in party (maximum four), and contact phone number. You’ll get an email confirmation within 48 hours (if not, call Joan Simon at 707-795-4885). Have fun, and enjoy! Some dishes I saw on the press release include creamy Thai chicken chowder; whisky lobster bisque; sriracha chili-soaked chicken wings; twice-cooked crab for two served over garlic noodles; and traditional Peking duck. Hungry? Do something about that, why doncha?


Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

fresh meat


Los Rosales
301 S. Van Ness Ave.
Cross: 14th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103


Open daily 8am–8pm



APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO It was an errand-loaded Saturday afternoon, and while waiting for Mauricio the wonder shoe repairman on Guerrero to fix my canary yellow high heels, it was time to snag some lunch. It was too late in the day for me to get my lunch on at Mission Beach Café across the street, which in hindsight I’m thankful for. Not only because I stopped myself from eating pie for lunch (bad girl!), but it also forced me to venture further down Fourteenth Street to the place on the corner at South Van Ness I’ve wondered about, ~LOS ROSALES~, formerly New Central Café.

Isaac Mejia of Don Pico’s in San Bruno tipped me off to this place a while ago, back when it was New Central. He told me about a killer Mexican BLT, and a pickled pig tostada (you’d think he knows me or something). Well, the new owners must be keeping the flame alive, because the recent incarnation as Los Rosales is muy delicioso.

Lucky me, my timing was impeccable, because it was Saturday, which means fab weekend soup specials, baby! I’m a huge fan of birria de chiva (goat stew)—and with the grinning goat painted on the sign outside, it boded well. I was totally stoked to see birria tacos ($4) on the menu, and while four clams for a taco is a bit of a step up from the usual taco truck pricing I like, man, was this good birria, hella good, topped with onion and cilantro. I could have eaten three of ’em. The fish taco I tried was fine, but really no match for the birria.

Random side story: this talk of being no match is making me think of luchadores. A few Halloweens ago, I was at a bar (shocking, I know) and there was a group of guys in luchador masks. Except for one, who had his mask sitting on the bar. I asked him why he didn’t have his mask on, and he glumly stated he didn’t like his luchador name. He pointed to one guy and said, “See, he gets a cool name like La Fresa, and me? I’m stuck with Horchata.” I almost hurt myself laughing. I gave him a pep talk, assuring him he had the baddest name of the bunch. Horchata! Hells yes. Seriously, don’t mess with Horchata. He got fired up and put the mask back on.

Okay, so back to the comida. Two other things that really stood out were the super-fresh chips and the crack-like addictive salsa. I know, chips and salsa, whatever. But no, señor. This salsa was so good that I had to forcibly stop my hand, which was in cahoots with my mouth, from eating the whole basket. Seriously, like, stop it.

I dug into my high school Spanish archives and tried getting the breakdown from the friendly Michoacan chef on the salsa ingredients—looks like the chiles used include guajillo and ancho. Dude, they should bottle the stuff, it’s the perfect smooth salsa, with balanced heat, tang, and flavor. Ay, dios mio. I even had my remaining salsa packed up to go. (Never done that before.)

I also tried the tostada of cueritos ($4), which are basically ribbons of pickled pigskin—like pre-chicharrones strips (without the fryer action). Very tangy, tender, and not for everyone, but I kind of dug ‘em, especially with the accompanying mountain of beans, lettuce, cabbage, crema, and queso fresco.

Washed it all down with a thirst-quenching agua fresca of guava (they have a station dedicated to aguas frescas by the door). The two ladies working here were so nice—I think they were getting a kick out of the gringa eating cueritos and birria. I am so going back on another weekend for their pozole and sopes, and am tempted to take over the side room for a party with my amigos. The menu was full of authentic dishes, must try mas!

NOTE: They couldn’t give me a menu; so sorry for no overall pricing details, but it’s all super cheap!

the sponsor


Craving pizza? You will be after watching CHOW’s Obsessives video featuring Anthony Mangieri of Una Pizza Napoletana. Too bad you've got to be in New York to get one of his pies. For a little deliciousness closer to home, CHOW is also featuring wedding cakes designed by Shinmin Lee of I Dream of Cakes in North Beach. Or, if slices and sweets aren’t your thing, how about possum eatin’ with offal evangelist Chris Cosentino of SF's Incanto? Yum.

The Obsessives series is only part of the action. From morning-after podcast interviews with Top Chef outcasts to video tips such as how to pick the best corner-store wine, CHOW serves up a ton of multimedia content, in addition to stories, blogs, and recipes. Give it try. You just might find yourself coming back for seconds.


the lush

APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Guess what? ~JAZZ AT PEARL’S~ is NOT closing! A couple tablehopper readers told me Kim Nalley, the (now-separated) wife of the owner, got on stage a few days ago and announced she ended up getting the club in the divorce settlement, and some new backing money came through, so the club won’t be closing. Nalley then reportedly sang Tony Bennett's “The Best Is Yet To Come.” Well. The May bookings have been rebooked, including Barbara Morrison, Houston Person, and on Sunday May 18th, my personal favorite chanteuse, Veronica Klaus. 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-291-8255.

After a ridiculous amount of phone tag and months of messages, I was finally able to get in touch with the new owners of the much loved ~C. BOBBY’S OWL TREE~ for the word on what’s going on. As I mentioned back in October, the new owners are Rick Howard and George Karas of Harry’s Bar on Fillmore and Bruno’s. Michael Brennan is behind the renovation (he also did Bruno’s), and while they will be keeping the name and some elements of the owl motif, this will not be a museum in honor of former owner Bobby and his kitschy owl-lovin’ ways (RIP, Bobby!). Sadly, when the new owners took over, the place was stripped and pretty wrecked—only a few owls remained (here’s a link again to the SF Weekly article from the fab Katy St. Clair about what went down with one of Bobby’s sons who took over the place and went kind of cuckoo).

The new Owl Tree will be more of an upscale lounge, and is bidding farewell to its dive bar status (the cocktails won’t quite be on a hot-to-trot mixologist level, nor feature scary vodkas with eagles on them either). The bar will have a portrait of Bobby, and perhaps you have noted the tiled owl mosaics on the exterior of the building. Inside will be a cozy and casual vibe, with a few snacks like cheese and salami on offer (no more snack mix and handi-wipes), the upstairs area will be open and spacious, and one throwback to Bobby will be the music: it will continue to be a loungey style, with standards by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and the like. The Owl Tree will be open nightly 4pm–close. The owners are hoping for an early to mid-May opening. I know Bobby is gone, and understand things have to change. I just wish I had taken some photos of the amazing interior before it all went away, like the incredible wallpaper. And yes, all the owls. It was an authentically magic place, full of so much character, roller chairs and all. 601 Post St. at Taylor.

For those of you celebrating ~CINCO DE MAYO~ around town, I heard Mamacita’s kitchen and bar will be open on the early side Saturday–Monday, from 2pm–close. 2317 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-346-8494.

And ~DESTINO~ will be celebrating their eight-year anniversary on Cinco de Mayo, with two-for-one cocktails, some free passed apps, and an assuredly fun party. Happy birfday! (And you can peek at what is going on next-door, heh.) 1815 Market St. at Octavia, 415-552-4451.

Next Monday, May 5th, yes, Cinco de Mayo, those kooky boozehounds over at ~CANTINA~ are hosting Industry Jocks, an event highlighting the bonus trait of folks in the industry who DJ. This ongoing event will be on first Mondays—the timing with Cinco de Mayo is just nuts. Tequila drink specials, yes. Cover, no. DJ mayhem, guaranteed. Plus snacks from La Cocina to keep your boat steady. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.

On another music-related note, the Temple Music Group is releasing their first album, Prana Vol.1. The party will be at ~PRANA RESTAURANT AND TEMPLE NIGHTCLUB~ this Thursday, from 9pm–1am, where there will be drink specials, artists from the album, some free downloads, appetizers, and other goodies. There is no cover, and everybody is invited. 540 Howard St. at 2nd St.

Some wino events: this Thursday, May 1st, is a five-course Zenato wine dinner at ~ACQUERELLO~, in conjunction with Jug Shop Italian wine specialist Floribeth Schumacher, and Nadia Zenato. Acquerello will be pairing the Lugana 2006, Lugana “Sergio Zenato” Riserva 2005, Valpolicella 2005, Ripassa 2005 and the award-winning Amarone 2004. 7pm, $125 per person, inclusive of tax & gratuity. RSVP directly at 415-567-5432.

~SOUTH~ is celebrating their first ever ABC (anything but chardonnay) blanc party on Sunday, May 4th, (no home game) from 3pm–6pm, $35, and they will be providing nibbles. Monday, May 5th, is a winemaker dinner with acclaimed Forrest Estate winemaker, Dr. John Forrest (the winery is not well known here, but has a cult following in New Zealand). 5:30pm, four courses for $95 per person. RSVP at, put ABC in the subject line, or Forrest Estate, or both (you wino, you), and include a contact number. They’ll call you to get a credit card to hold your spot. 330 Townsend St., Ste. 101 at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

And then Tuesday, May 6th, ~SILKS~ is hosting an Argyle wine dinner with Argyle’s Chris Cullina. Bubbles, chard, pinot noir. And Joel Huff’s fantastic cuisine. 7pm, $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity. For further information, contact Nicole Kosta, wine director. Mandarin Oriental, 222 Sansome St. at Pine, 415-276-9787.

Women throughout the country with a passion or professional interest in wine will be descending on the Napa Valley May 2nd–4th to attend the ~WOMEN FOR WINESENSE’S 2008 GRAND EVENT, CELEBRATING WOMEN IN WINE~. There’s a wine reception at Paraduxx Winery on Friday evening, Saturday’s all-day program takes place at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, and Sunday there will be rare, behind-the-scenes winery tours and tastings. More information and tickets are available online at

the socialite


Bourbon & Bacon Dinner
San Francisco Cocktail Week
Thu., May 15, 2008

508 4th St.
Cross: Bryant St.
San Francisco, CA 94107


7pm (one seating)

$65 food and drink included
(excludes tip and tax)

Reserve at 415-777-1508 or

APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO If there ever was a custom-made meal for me, I think this would be it. Bourbon. Bacon. Like, where do I sign? This special ~BOURBON & BACON DINNER~ is during San Francisco Cocktail Week, and will feature spirits from the Beam Family portfolio, and piggy vittles from the sick minds of Elizabeth Falkner and chef de cuisine Ryan Farr. This event is sure to sell out, so get on it and reserve in advance! Oink! Hic.

(There are other special cocktail/spirited dinners that evening at places around town to celebrate San Francisco Cocktail Week, like bacar, Conduit, The Alembic, and Bong Su, plus Flora in the East Bay, so be sure to check out the SF Cocktail Week site, or get in touch with those restaurants for more details on those dinners!)

Here’s the Bourbon and Bacon dinner menu:

In the Beginning
house charcuterie on a stick, chicharrones and bbq sauce, and mini bologna sliders
Anchor Steam Liberty Ale

Pigs in a Blanket
country terrine en croute, apricots, watercress
Belmont Stakes
Basil Hayden’s, apricot liqueur, Cynar, lemon

Lardo and Crawfish
fried green tomatoes, spring greens
Kaffir Lime Leaf Ginger Julep—Jim Beam Rye

Green Eggs and Ham
english peas, maple pork belly, fried smoked egg
Touch of Evil
Baker’s, Rhubarb Syrup, Lemon, La Fee Absinthe

Whole Roasted Suckling Pig
potato ramp hash, bing cherry red eye gravy
Booker’s Break
Booker’s, Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur, Port Wine

Knob Creek

In the End
milk and honey, pineapple and pig
Makers Mark


9th Annual OysterFest
May 17–18, 2008

Great Meadow at Fort Mason
(Laguna and Bay)


one-day tickets:
$20 general admission
$45 special reserve (premium seating area)

two-day tickets:
$35 general admission
$80 special reserve (premium seating area)


APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO The largest oyster festival on the West Coast is coming up, ~SAN FRANCISCO OYSTERFEST 2008~, which drew over 15,000 people to the park last year. This ninth annual event centers on the unique combination of oysters and stout, plus a bunch of live music. A wide variety of other beverages will also be available, ranging from beers and wines to premium spirits. Though oysters are the main theme of the festival, many alternative choices of cuisine will also be offered.

Some sideshows include the Shuck and Suck Competition (ahem), an oyster history exhibition, and oyster cooking demonstrations. A play area will be set aside for children, and anyone under age 14 will have free entry, except for the special reserved seating area. Minors will not be permitted to enter the event if unaccompanied by an adult. No backpacks or coolers allowed, and no outside food or beverages permitted. Bike parking is available.

Here’s the music line-up:
Saturday, May 17th (noon–7pm)
The Dropkick Murphys
Juliette Lewis and the Licks
Yard Dogs Road Show
Eoin Harrington

Sunday May 18th (noon–7pm)
She and Him (feat. Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward)
Mother Hips
Chuck Prophet & the Mission Express
Whispertown 2000
Seattle Jim Page

the bookworm


APRIL 29, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

Don't forget: this book below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

Cookbooks tend to lag a bit behind restaurant trends for obvious reasons, thus it’s no surprise we just received the first book we’ve seen on izakaya, which, in case you haven’t been reading tablehopper, is most often described as “Japanese pub food” (not to be confused with British pub food—the aesthetics, the booze of choice, the calorie counts, and the mouthfeel of the two cuisines could not be more opposite).

The book Izakaya: the Japanese Pub Cookbook comes from Kodansha, the leading U.S. publisher on all things Japanese, and the author, Mark Robinson, is a Tokyo native and resident, so its authenticity is beyond question.

I’m not likely to crack this book on a weeknight for quick dinner inspiration—many of the ingredients aren’t in my cupboard and may necessitate a visit to Japantown or Clement Street, but many dishes are quite simple and most are pretty appealing. And I could see trying out one of these recipes once a week or such to experiment, learn new techniques, and liven up the dinner table.

Beyond the recipes, the author also profiles some pubs, ingredients and spices; touches on izakaya history; provides a basic guide to sake (an integral part of any izakaya experience, of course); and more. It’s also a handsome book: sharp pictures abound, the recipes are well laid out (never spilling from one page to another in case your hands are covered in wasabi), with interesting sidebars sprinkled throughout.

If you’re into the topic, it’s literally the only book on the subject. If you need some new ideas in the kitchen, this is worth a look.

Thanks for reading.


All content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.

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