JUNE 3, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO And
now yet another reason why my Western Addition/Nopa neighborhood
rocks: one of my favorite pastry chefs ever, Boris Portnoy, formerly
doing his magic at Campton Place, is now taking over the kitchen
Portnoy will be launching his new (and tighter) menu tomorrow,
on Wednesday. There will be a seasonal dessert tasting menu, a
few more savory dishes, and the new menu will organized into two
sections, fruit and chocolate, for both savory and sweet. Some
examples of savory/fruit include razor clams with grapes and purslane,
or pork belly and stone fruit—how about some foie custard with almond nougat
and nectarine compote for dessert? In the chocolate zone, a savory
dish will be beef cheeks with caramelized onion broth and a red
pepper bonbon, or a sweet will be chocolate savarin with raspberry
Turkish delight. I seriously can’t wait to see what Boris
is putting together—this could get dangerous, his delectable
and inspired desserts are a mere block away. Hours are also changing:
Candybar will be closed on Tuesday instead of Monday, so more industry
folks can come by and hang out. 1335 Fulton St. Ste 101 at Divisadero,
in Union Square, the chef changeover at ~CORTEZ~ is
approaching. Executive chef Seth Bowden’s last day will be June 15th, but today, June
3rd, Jenn Puccio, formerly the chef of Ramblas, officially starts
as the executive chef of Cortez. Bowden will be training her for
two weeks, while her husband, Ed Puccio, formerly the GM of Ubuntu,
has already started as the new GM. Cortez’s sommelier, A.J.
Ferrari, has taken the assistant GM position. We’ll see where
Bowden lands once he returns to San Francisco from his travels
in September… 550
Geary St. at Jones, 415-292-6360.
downtown news: from a tablehopper tipster, rumor has it that
THE STEAKHOUSE~ is
taking over the closing Disney Store space, and will move upstairs
for its a la carte dining, and will keep the current downstairs
room for banquets. This is all unconfirmed—I’ll follow
up with confirmed details as soon as I have ’em. 400 Post
St. at Powell, 415-986-5830.
in the Mission, the fire that happened last week in the hotel
above ~LIMON~ initially
looked like a small issue for the restaurant, but it has turned
into a bigger one. Due to some water and structural damage, Limon
is closed until further notice. One report from someone close
to the restaurant says it could be over a month, another source
says possibly even two. I’m also hearing about a liquor
license in the works. Will let you know when a reopening date
looks close. 524 Valencia St. at 16th St., 415-252-0918.
place that is opening in the Mission will be location number three of ~BALOMPIE~!
Balompie Café No. 3 is (finally) opening in the former Libis
Ng space on June 14th. The offerings will be pretty much the same
as the other locations, but since it won’t be open for breakfast,
don’t look for any desayuno treats. Pupusas, of course, will
continue to be in full effect. Beer and wine too. It will be open
Wed–Thu and Sun 4pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 11am–11pm,
closed Mon–Tue. 3801 Mission St. at Richland.
Here’s an update on Yerba Buena Lane: the first San Francisco
location for ~AMBER INDIA~ (currently with locations in Mountain View and Santana Row) is
looking like it will be open the second week of June, hopefully
by the 11th, according to the owner. Amber is a multi-level and
5,000-square-foot space, and will be open for lunch (Mon–Fri
11:30am–2:30pm) and dinner daily (Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm,
Fri–Sat 5pm–10:30pm), brunch on the weekend (Sat–Sun
12pm–3pm), and the lounge will be open and serving appetizers
and bar bites daily, continuously from 11am–11pm. 13 Yerba
Buena Lane, 415-777-0500.
around the corner, opening on June 8th is ~CAFE ON THE
the café associated with The
Contemporary Jewish Museum. McCall Associates & Events
Management put together the seasonal menu, which strikes me as
a bit more Cal-Mediterranean than necessarily Jewish (think mushroom
and cheese panino instead of hot pastrami), but there will be
specials consisting mainly of Jewish recipes interpreted with a
contemporary twist.” Ingredients are local and organic, seafood
is line-caught, and the menu will have a number of vegetarian and
kosher selections. There is indoor seating on the Museum’s
lobby level, plus some outdoor seating on the new Jessie Square
facing Yerba Buena Gardens. Open daily (except Wednesday) 11:30am–4:30pm,
and on Thursdays from 11:30am–7:30pm. 736 Mission St. at
The neighboring ~PRESS
CLUB~ is further delayed: the new opening date
is looking like late June. 20 Yerba Buena Lane.
update on a delayed project: ~CIVIC RESTAURANT AND BAR~, the
restaurant opening in the Soluna space. The partners are still
working out the lease details with the City for the adjoining
corner lot they are hoping to turn into the restaurant’s
patio. Once things are final and a go, the target date is a soft
opening by the end of July. 272 McAllister St. at Larkin, 415-621-2200.
on Russian Hill, after Pasha suffered damage from neighboring
restaurant Star of India’s fire, the new owners decided
to start from scratch, and are reopening after six months of
closure as ~COSSU~.
The restaurant is slated to open from mid to late June, and will
feature an eclectic menu that includes Moroccan, Asian, French,
and Californian influences from chef Hicham Senhaji, a native
of Morocco. Sample dishes on the menu are Moroccan pan-seared
scallops with pine nut couscous, or cumin and anise seed-crusted
rack of lamb, plus brochettes, and bastillas. The interior will
be outfitted with rich fabrics, including an overhead canopy
of satin anchored with a hand-carved ceiling centerpiece. Guests
can come in for dinner in the main dining room, or for drinks
and appetizers in the lounge. 1516 Broadway at Polk, 415-885-4477.
damage-related news: Eater
broke the story this morning that poor ~OUT THE DOOR~ at the
Westfield Shopping Centre is temporarily closed due to some water
leaking through the ceiling above, causing significant damage.
No word on the why, or when it will reopen, stay tuned...
have no idea if these Buffalo wings are any good, but according
to an ad I saw, the somewhat new spot ~DOUBLE
in Hayes Valley has an all-you-can-eat wings night on Wednesdays
from 4pm–8pm, for $11.95. Their
beef for their burgers is Niman Ranch, and they make their own
fries, but no word on the site what the provenance of the chicken
is. Bwok. 465 Grove St. at Gough, 415-552-8042.
now, vegans, a little something for you! I got a report from a tablehopper reader that they are
diggin’ the new eats at ~THE USUAL SUSPECTS CAFÉ~ in
North Beach. The two-level space has a 90-percent vegan menu,
serving a few dishes with real cheese, hence the ten percent that’s
non-vegan. The menu is mostly Mediterranean comfort food, with
some Latin flair. Dishes include pressed taquitos with cashew cheese,
seared red pepper, onion, and asparagus with a cashew-based cilantro “sour
cream”; shwarma with house-made seitan; some pasta dishes;
and quite possibly the only vegan pizza in San Francisco, with
an organic cornmeal crust and a variety of toppings. The chefs
are Mark Benedetto and Ted Rosenblatt, and the owner is Bob Bosco.
Vegan and dairy-free desserts are being baked in-house a few times
a week by Sugar
a change from the typical citywide selection from Black China Bakery.
Each level has 50 seats, and the space has a 1950s diner look—you’ll
also hear some surf tunes on the sound system. Beer and wine, and
some open-mic comedy begins this week Thu–Sat—look
for even more comedy, plus acoustic music down the road. Hours
are Tue–Fri 11am–10pm, and Sat 5pm–10pm or later,
closed Sun–Mon. 450 Broadway St. at Montgomery, 415-434-4444.
Also in North Beach, consider this a little teaser (a mere bite
of a sandwich) about some changes coming to ~PALERMO DELICATESSEN~.
I can release more details next week on the who and what, but for
now, the news is that it changed hands, and will be called La Spiaggia
Deli (which means beach in Italian). Stand by! 1556 Stockton St.
deli news: Thrillist mentioned Pacifica’s ~UPPER
CRUST DELI~ is opening a second branch in the Fillmore—based on
the address, it’s moving into the former Cocina Poblana space
(too bad they closed, I liked some of their dishes, like the mole).
The menu includes burgers, cheesesteaks, and other hot sandwiches,
like grilled pastrami. 1109 Fillmore St. at Golden Gate, 415-674-1301.
Fillmore news: Top Chef contestant and pastry chef ~MARISA
CHURCHILL~ is no longer up the street at Yoshi’s—she
will be consulting elsewhere, and Suzanne Lafleur, who was working
under her, will assume the reins. No drama, and it was an amicable
parting, but it looks like it was a bit of a belt-tightening move.
1330 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-655-5600.
the next season of Top Chef hopefuls is being determined, a summons
to über-chefs was called last week, for the biannual
Cuisine Contest (visit the site for some Iron Chef-like drama and
musique). Chefs Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller are recruiting
and training a USA team to do us proud—applications are due
June 30th. For local flavor, chefs Traci Des Jardins, chef and "DJ
Oobert" Hubert Keller, and Michael Mina are all on the all-star
board for the event. Let’s rawk, USA!
are on Sunday, best of luck to all our local restaurant talent,
including Nate Appleman (nominated for Rising Star Chef); Boulevard
and the Slanted Door (for Outstanding Restaurant); Elisabeth Prueitt
and Chad Robertson (Tartine Bakery) and Nicole Plue
Outstanding Pastry Chef; Terra (St. Helena) for Outstanding Service;
Douglas Keane, Cyrus (Healdsburg); David Kinch, Manresa (Los Gatos);
Craig Stoll, Delfina (San Francisco); and Michael Tusk, Quince
(San Francisco) for Best Chef: Pacific region. There are also a
number of wonderful cookbook authors and journalists up for awards
too, kudos to all.
week’s is Incanto’s fifth
annual ~HEAD TO TAIL DINNER~ on Monday June
9th and Wednesday June 11th, fives courses of meatses partses
for $75 per person. Check out the full menu here.
1550 Church St. at Duncan. For reservations, call 415-641-4500.
PLUS~ is hosting its third
anniversary with a summer solstice food festival on Saturday June
21st from 11am–6pm. More than 20 local bay area artisan food
vendors will hand out samples of their handmade foods throughout
the day for free. This year’s line up includes: sausages
and salami from Fra’Mani; LaLoo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream;
Bellwether Farms farmstead sheep cheese; Allison McQuade’s
authentic and tasty chutneys; Redwood Hill Sonoma goat cheese;
Perfect Edge knife sharpening service (fee for sharpening); and
live music. 2001 Polk St. at Pacific, 415-921-2001.
my drive down to Palm Springs last week, I was kicking myself
for not picking up a TWO-go box lunch from ~TWO~ before
hitting the road. That was totally my I-5 savior the last time
I drove down to the 760. And how timely, TWO just launched a
new spring TWO-go menu with new sandwich and side options—you’ll
now find sandwiches on the main lunch menu as well. TWO also posted
and menus for the annual and upcoming cooking
lobster boil was a total blast, enter the lottery to see if you
can snag a spot for it in July! 22 Hawthorne St. at Howard, 415-777-9779.
over in the East Bay, there’s a cool hands-on
class for chocoholics at ~CHARLES
Chuck Siegel. He has opened the doors to his Emeryville kitchen
for a series of public chocolate-making workshops. The classes
will take place on Saturday afternoons, and last approximately
five hours. Participants will be able to take home all of the confections
they make, plus a deluxe kit containing
molds, an offset spatula, sheet pans, and several recipes developed
by Siegel—everything necessary to use what was learned
during the class at home. The cost is $300 per person, and the
first class will take place on Saturday June 14th from 1pm–6pm.
For more information or to reserve one of the limited spaces in
the class, call 510-652-4412 x311 or go online.
June 7th, The
Pasta Shop is
~HOG HEAVEN–A CELEBRATION
OF ARTISAN PORK~. There will be cooking demonstrations,
food tastings, and in-store product giveaways, all for free (except
for any product purchases). The event includes products from Boccalone,
La Quercia prosciutto, Iberico-cured hams (finally available in
the United States), David’s
Old World Meats “Hamlettes” (local artisan-made
single-muscle hams), and The Pasta Shop’s original house-made
pork products and prepared dishes. 1pm–3pm. The Pasta Shop,
1786 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-250-6070.
week are ~OLIVETO’S
OCEANIC DINNERS~, from Wednesday June 11th–Saturday June
14th. I adored my meal there last year, so many delicious and
delightful dishes, like the chilled octopus soppressata (pictured).
This year’s menu includes new numbers, like green sea urchin
flan, a Hangtown fry omelet crèpe, and potato gnocchi with
tiny Tomales Bay mussels. For reservations, call 510-547-5356.
5655 College Ave. at Shafter, Oakland.
East Bay Buzz! Chowhounds are discussing a
newly proposed Southern Italian trattoria called ~FALANGHINA~ from Haig and Cindy Krikorian of Sea Salt, Lalime’s, T-Rex,
Fonda, and Jimmy Bean’s.
Can you say wood oven-fired Neapolitan-style pizza? There will
also be antipasti, homemade pastas, and a full bar, with an extensive
wine list and a variety of Italian classic digestifs. The restaurant
will be located in an 80-year-old building that is next door to
Sea Salt, complete with brick walls and wood beams. Falanghina
will actually be taking over two spaces, combining the storefronts
San Pablo. There will also be a small retail sales line of specialty
food products, wine, and liquor, like grappa and Fernet. Hours
are slated for 11am–11pm daily. You can check out the plans
2514 San Pablo Ave. at Dwight, Berkeley.
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