15, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Thank
you all for the nice notes after last week's CHEFS dinner
recap. I wanted to post this letter below from Russell Rummer,
the executive chef of Roots and Daffodil, who hires a lot of graduates
from the ~CHEFS
in his kitchens. I'm hoping some of you chefs and managers
out there will consider hiring some CHEFS graduates for positions
like dish/pot washer jobs, prep cooks, jr. stewarding, salad prep,
and some can do beginning pastry and desserts/plating. There are
also some older grads who have gained more experience, so there
is a wide range of possibilities for kitchens seeking employees.
If you are interested in staffing options, please contact Bill
Taylor, Program Manager, CHEFS Program at 415-487-3747.
From chef Russell Rummer:
Roots and Daffodil Restaurants, we are grateful to have teamed
up with the CHEFS program. We currently have four graduates working
full time as line cooks, and in the past two years, we have hired
over fifteen graduates. Each semester, we also place three CHEFS
program interns in either of our restaurants.
CHEFS program teaches their students the basic skills required
to work in a professional kitchen. They underscore the importance
of good sanitation practices and safe food handling techniques
as well as preparation of stocks and sauces and the basics of
good nutrition. These skills enable graduates to get back into
the work force and have a trade they can carry with them for
life. The graduates that I have hired are very thankful for their
jobs and eager to learn.
"We believe that the CHEFS program is a wonderfully talented
labor pool for San Francisco restaurants, I feel that a major part
of sustainability is giving back to your community and this is
a terrific way to do so. The CHEFS program provides eager employees
and allows employers to help change lives for better and forever.
"My personal motto is: 'I don't give money to
the homeless—I give them jobs!' I truly encourage all
chefs to support the CHEFS program. I think a great teacher can
take these willing graduates and turn them into great chefs."
Thanks Russell! And that contact info again in case any of you
are interested in staffing options for your kitchen: please contact
Bill Taylor, Program Manager, CHEFS Program at 415-487-3747. Industry
folks, thank you for considering it!
now to some news…
locals have been wondering what is going to be moving into the
two vacant ~RESTAURANT SPOTS IN THE JCC~, where
(415) Restaurant & Lounge
and California Street Delicatessen & Café were located.
Well, the JCC is getting rid of the restaurants completely, and
going in their spaces instead will be a series of little individual "restaurants" from
Joanna Karlinsky and her business partner Victoria Smiser. The
lineup will include: hot/cold prepared gourmet foods (eat in/carry
out), a gourmet pizzeria, a pressed sandwich spot, homemade ice
cream, a coffee counter (with wine and beer), a homemade dessert
place, and of course you'll be able to get Joanna's
famous Meetinghouse biscuits (aka butter transmission devices),
as well as on/off-site catering via The Meetinghouse. The JCC is
doing some remodeling, and the businesses should be opening up
in late September/early October. And good news—this part
of the JCC is open to the public, whether you're a member
or not. California at Presidio.
over the hill, I wanted to update you on ~NETTIE'S
CRAB SHACK~, the project moving into the former Palmetto
space in Cow Hollow. The new owners just took possession, so work
is now underway. Co-owner Annette Yang is the Nettie behind the
name, who many of you may know from Spruce (she was the opening
manager), plus Jack Falstaff, and Gordon's House of Fine Eats,
where she met Nettie's chef and co-owner Brian Leitner, who was
working at Gordon's as an executive sous chef. More about
chef Leitner: he was at Chez Panisse for five years, and was a
co-owner in Living Room Events, a local catering company. He's
putting together a menu of regional seafood that will not only
highlight New England specialties, but places like New Orleans
as well. And Leitner's Chez background will mean highlighting
seasonal and honest ingredients prepared and presented in a way
that they really shine, simply. Think pails of piping hot steamers
and pots of bubbling chowder and fish stews made with the freshest
Zack of Zack/deVito (Gordon's House of Fine Eats, Globe, Bacar,
Tres Agaves, and Orson) is the architect who is transforming
the front glassed-in area into an actual outdoor patio (hello
sun!), and the bar and flooring are also being changed. The dining
room will be filled with chunky, rustic wood tables covered in
butcher paper, comfortable seating, and simple but genuine décor.
There will be daily changing chalkboard specials, plus the full
bar means pitchers of house cocktails, and buckets of icy cold
beer. The opening is looking like fall, perhaps late September.
Lunch Mon–Fri, dinner nightly, and weekend brunch. 2032 Union
St. at Buchanan.
BIG congrats to ~LAURENCE
JOSSEL AND ALLYSON WOODMAN~ of
NOPA, who just had their first baby:
Riley! He is seven pounds, 12 ounces of precious baby boy! He's
one kid that will certainly grow up to eat his broccoli since dad's
grilled broccoli is one of the best presentations of broccoli that
I've ever tasted.
in the good news department: a tablehopper reader passed on the
word that the folks at ~PALACE STEAKHOUSE~ have
decided not to retire! (Which is extra great news for chef Jonnatan
Leiva, who adores
Instead, the owners are going to take a much-needed vacation from
August 1st–15th. And so, the kitsch continues. 3047 Mission
St. at 26th St., 415-647-2011.
vacationing: ~LA CICCIA~ is closed from now through July 31st. You know, like good Italians,
they have to take a summer month off. 291 30th St. at Church, 415-550-8114.
to also share this update on the ~MEDICI LOUNGE~ project in SoMa,
which is looking like late-August or early September for the
opening. It will be a restaurant, full bar, and nightclub serving
conceptual Italian cuisine, with a wide selection of both imported
and domestic wines, and an innovative cocktail menu. The entire
exterior of the building facade has been restructured and renovated
in keeping with its original early-1900's form (it was previously
the sketchy Shadow Lounge). After nine months of construction,
the roughly 2,000-square-foot interior will have a new bar, walls,
bathrooms, ceiling, the whole kit and caboodle. To recap, the partners
are Gregory Noto (he started both Abbondanza Catering and Place
Pigalle), executive chef/kitchen manager Matthew Du Trumble (a
chef instructor at the California Culinary Academy), and bar consultant/bar
manager Sierra Zimei (the head mixologist at the Four Seasons Hotel
in San Francisco for over two years)—one of the interesting
things Zimei will be doing is using mid-shelf liquor brands as
the well drinks. 299 9th St. at Folsom.
for some seriously cheap eats? This offer will be tough to beat:
~3 ½ COURSES
FOR $3.50 AT CARÊME
350~ (at the California Culinary Academy). Yup,
that's three and a half courses for $3.50, for lunch or dinner.
Upcoming dates for this meal deal are: July 24th, and the second
and fourth Thursdays in August and September. And/or here's another
offer for you: on July 15th, 16th, 29th, and 30th, you can take
25% off your total bill at Carême
350 if you bring one guest, 50% off if you bring two guests, and
75% off if you bring three or more guests (for lunch only). Open
Tue–Fri for lunch: 11:30am–1pm, and dinner 6pm–8pm.
350 Rhode Island St. at 16th St., 415-216-4329.
feeling creative? Nick Fasanella of the newly opened La Spiaggia
deli in North Beach is taking over the ~UNDERDOGS SPORTS
BAR AND GRILL~ in the Sunset,
and is looking to you for a unique concept and name! The winner
will get a $500 bar tab when the new place opens. This Thursday
night, from 8pm–12am,
there will be some live music from Brent Jordan, a singer and
songwriter from North Carolina, plus $1 pulled pork sliders,
and $1 Buds/Bud Lights and $2 bourbon and ginger (or bourbon
and Coke) so Brent feels at home. Swing on by, approach Nick
with your names and/or venue concepts, and good luck! 1824 Irving
St. at 19th Ave., 415-566-8700.
has been avidly tracking the opening of ~CILANTRO~ (be
prepared for a website that reminded me of something from Geocities),
a casual Mexican joint that is just across the street from KoKo
Cocktails in the lower Polk area. You can check out a PDF of
the menu here.
The early and late hours should make both neighbors and drinkers
who are just passing through pretty happy. Mornings bring huevos
rancheros and omelets, while the main menu has standards like tacos,
burritos, and quesadillas, plus salads (one with nopales!), tostadas
de tinga, Oaxacan chicken, and some other house specialties. Open
Mon–Wed 8am–10pm, and Thu–Sat 8am–3am.
1035 Geary at Van Ness, 415-931-6065.
in North Beach, problems have arisen at the newly opened vegan
and cabaret place, ~THE USUAL SUSPECTS CAFÉ~.
has documented the whole saga about the blowup between the owner
and the kitchen in case you're really bored or curious or
both. Let's just say "Vegan Russian Homestyle Cooking" is
the new concept. Borscht, anyone? 450 Broadway St. at Montgomery,
the non-vegan category, I wanted to do one more shout-out for
the Meatpaper/Gastronomica party happening
this coming Sunday July 20th at Perbacco called ~SUMMER
FEAST~. Tickets are $25,
and there will be a sea (and island) of meat and drink, thanks
to local chefs and purveyors (chef Staffan Terje/Perbacco, chef
Leif Hedendal, chef Chris Kronner/Serpentine, chef Scott Youkilis/Maverick,
The Fatted Calf, Prather Ranch Meat Co.), as well as wine and
cocktails (Verge Syrah, Meyer Family Cellars, Quixote, La Fee
Absinthe, Rhum Clement, Bluecoat Gin, Trumer Pils, and more),
an art exhibition, and live music from Gaucho. Sunday July 20th,
Tickets are $25 per person, and may be purchased online via
credit card or PayPal. A limited number of tickets will be sold
at the door. Perbacco Restaurant, 230 California St. at Battery.
then next Wednesday July 23rd is a unique tequila and corn cocktail
dinner at ~ORSON~,
featuring Tequila 7 Leguas.
The three-course tasting menu is $65, excluding tax and gratuity.
Here's the lineup (and please note it includes their killer
aged rib eye, like, yum):
chilled smoked corn soup
blue shrimp and tomato terrine
: blanco, lime, agave, fleur de sel
seared skate wing
ham hock and corn hash, Sun Gold cherry tomato nage, chanterelle
tropic of cancer:
blanco, curried corn nectar, grapefruit,
grilled aged rib eye
summer ratatouille, corn ricotta gnocchi, olive and sage brown
reposado, tomato, lime, vermouth agave,
corn, tomato, truffle
ancho and black salt
tomato, balsamic, agave ice cream
anejo, fino, sherry, cream, huitlacoche foam
your spot by calling 415-777-1508 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also reserve online on OpenTable and just put "Tequila & Corn" in your
note to them. 508 4th St. at Bryant, 415-777-1508.
seasonal food updates: first, the tomato cart has returned to
Or as they like to call it, the "Return of the Killer Tomatoes
Cart." You can enjoy some heirloom tomatoes sliced tableside
and served with hand-pulled mozzarella, extra virgin olive oil,
and basil ($13.95) during dinner nightly, or for lunch on Fridays.
56 Gold St., off Montgomery St. between Jackson and Pacific, 415-433-6300.
over at ~AQUA~,
they have introduced their first-ever tomato menu, the first
in a series of four menus that are all designed to celebrate
the seasons. The seven-course summer tomato menu also comes with
the option of wine pairings featuring specially chosen wines
from Domaine Josmeyer, and includes: tomato and parmesan ice
cream sandwiches with Pinot Blanc Mis de Printemps 2005; tomato
and watermelon tartare with Riesling "Le Kottabe" 2005;
chilled yellow taxi gazpacho with Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Hengst
2005; seared foie gras with Pinot Auxerrois 'H' 2005;
tomato-crusted Atlantic cod with Riesling "Le Dragon" 2005;
crotin grilled cheese with Riesling "Les Pierrets" 2005;
sweet candied tomato stuffed with dried fruits crème fraîche
and vanilla sorbet with Pinot Gris Selection Grains Nobles 1995.
The tomato menu is $95; sommelier-chosen wine pairing, $85. 252
California St. at Battery, 415-956-9662.
I was just there, I thought I might as well do a shout out for
the annual Tomato Dinner on August 13th at ~MARTINI
with paired wines from local
winemaker Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards, alongside chef Todd Humphries' tomato
tasting menu. There will also be two special guests, John DeBello,
director of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes and Kevin Morrisey, his
director of photography. Dinner and a movie will be in the garden
courtyard—on screen, they will be showing the 1981 Killer
Tomatoes Eat France. Arrival time is 6:30pm. Group seating with
tables of 10 guests. Dinner event includes an exclusive sparkling
wine reception followed by a four-course menu paired with wines
and a movie: $165 (inclusive). Showtime is at sundown. The same
menu will also be available inside and on the patio without a movie.
Four-course menu $60, with wines paired $110 (non-inclusive). Reservation
times from 5:30pm–10pm. For reservations, call 707-963-2233,
ext. 1. 1245 Spring St. at Oak, St. Helena.
now in the musique category, every Thursday night, ~O
IZAKAYA LOUNGE~ will feature a KJ (karaoke jockey), a late-night karaoke dining
menu until midnight (featuring chef Balla's pork belly yakimono,
shashimi, burger with shichimi spiced French fries, crispy nori),
and an all-night happy hour ($3 cocktails). The spiced chicken
wings will be complimentary on kick-off night on July 24th. Thursdays,
9pm–midnight. 1625 Post St. at Laguna, 415- 614-5431.
down the street, the Bar Bistro on the ~SUNDANCE
KABUKI CINEMA'S~ mezzanine
level is hosting live music from 6pm–10pm on Saturday evenings,
and next door, the Sundance kitchen is running happy hour drink
specials Wed–Fri from 4:30pm–6:30pm. 1881 Post St.
the beat goes on: over in old Oakland, the ~COCK-A-DOODLE
CAFÉ~ is now open
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, with a mojito bar (serving
blackberry, hibiscus, tamarind, or traditional mojitos) and an
evening menu, plus upbeat Latin music from 5pm–10pm. The
menu includes Belizean rice and beans with chicken adobo, Cuban
pork sandwiches, ropa vieja (shredded flank steak with gallo pinto
and sweet plantains), fried yucca, shrimp empanadas, Guatemalan
tostadas, pupusas, ceviche, plus homemade flan, panna cotta, and
sweet plantains with coconut ice cream for dessert. 719 Washington
St. at 7th St., Oakland, 510-465-5400.
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to