tablehopper
table of contents This week's tablehopper: slo-mo.

the chatterbox
the word on the street

the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
shindigs/feasts/festivals
the wino
in vino veritas
the bookworm
another place for your nose
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

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SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Dear readers, due to an ugly tech snafu today (I love the web, NOT), we weren’t able to send out tablehopper at its usual time—the issue should be fixed now, I hope. Sorry for the delay!

Did you have a swell Labor Day? True to its name, I spent some of mine writing this thing. Although instead of penning a restaurant review this week, I opted to get a little BBQ time in at grandma’s house with the fam in San Mateo—the smell of my neighbor’s barbecue was making me hangry, so I had to get my steak on.

And since I am boss of me, the nice boss side says I get to take time off when it’s convenient for ME. Which happens to be this Thursday, when I head back up to Tahoe for a few more days of sun, swimming, biking, and yes, quinoa.

In fact, it’s time for tablehopper Indian summer hours! I’ve decided to take next Tuesday off, so there will be no tablehopper next Tuesday September 9th. The ’hopper will be back in your inbox on Tuesday the 16th. Instead of spending ten-plus days doing and recovering from Burning Man this year, I am creating my own variation: Lake Woman.

I threw in a bunch of event listings so you know what’s going on until the 16th; there are also some additional pieces in the wino and the bookworm for you to dig into.

Of course I was running around all weekend at Slow Food Nation—I put a recap below in the chatterbox. I actually got snagged by the charming Carla Borelli and Beth LaDove at the cocktail pavilion (surprise, surprise) for a quick interview for the SFN website. Here’s the link to my interview on YouTube. Actually, here’s a link to the entire Slow Food Nation channel so you can see other footage and interviews, including one with Nico Monday, who was behind the pizza oven I mentioned last week, and another in praise of the Berkel slicer!

Here’s wishing a big welcome back to everyone staggering in from the playa, and I’ll catch y’all on the flip side.

Poof!

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

Ghirardelli SquareSEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO You tired of hearing about ~SLOW FOOD NATION~ yet? I know, I know. It’s definitely been the hot topic burning up all the blogs and papers this week. All in all, I’d say it was a pretty successful event for its first year. Ambitious, that’s for sure. Friday I visited the full-tilt bountiful Victory Garden, which was charmingly a kid magnet, and is actually going to be with us until November! Awesome—thanks for letting it stay, Gavster. Now we just need it to become permanent. What’s next? Alice is allllll fired up on getting a garden planted on the White House lawn. She cannot be denied.

What was not to love about lunch in the Civic Center at Slow On the Go? It looked very Burning Man-esque, with the food kiosks set up on lo-fi scaffolding and planks, and folks cooking and prepping outside in the baking sun. Busy people working hard. I even saw some vendors barter for sandwiches! The only thing missing was some sandstorms.

imageHighlights: the ridiculously scrumptious Scott Peacock biscuit with Benton County Ham and raspberry jam, and I also liked the bastard muffaletta, which was more a good sandwich than a resemblance of anything I ate in New Orleans, but tasty nonetheless. Speaking of NOLA, bless Blue Bottle for the massive supply of iced New Orleans coffee they made in advance, it was appreciated on that hot day. It was also a kick to see all kinds of people sitting on hay bales, eating their lunch, and talking to strangers.

I also enjoyed buying and trying some produce and products from all the vendors in the special Farmers’ Market—my only question, where were the eggs? But there were some killer peaches from Healdsburg, plus dry-farmed Early Girls that were pure sugar, and wickedly affordable strawberries, yay! I bruised some of my produce on my bike ride home, not so yay. (Oh, and thanks SFBC for the bike valet so I didn’t have to worry about my seat getting jacked while I was in the Civic Center.) Also had a good time that night hitting up non-official events, like the drop-in party at the Cheese School, followed with a Magnanimus wine house party. Wanna see some pics of all the action? Here’s my flickr set from the day.

Saturday I went to a Food for Thought panel discussion, with the oh-so-eloquent-and-self-effacing Wendell Berry (current winner of my favorite drawl contest), the ever-animated Carlo Petrini, the compelling and no-nonsense Vandana Shiva, smarty pants writer dudes Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, and naturally, Alice Waters. While a few lamented this session of “preaching to the choir,” my kvetch is that I just wish it was held in a larger venue so more people could have attended, especially those who made the trek to the Bay Area from afar. The demand was there. Or at least project it on screens outside so people could watch the entire thing if they had the three hours to spare.

imageSunday, Sunday, Sunday. Be there, be there, be there. The much-anticipated Taste Pavilions. (Thank you SFBC for the bike valet action again! Woot.) I prepared myself for the long lines friends who had attended the day prior warned me about (advice: hit charcuterie and pizza first!). First, I have to commend everyone who donated their time and expertise in pulling these pavilions off—it looked like a LOT of work. To wit: the army of folks making pizzas; the mind boggling amount of hours that went into the pavilion designs, like the ceiling of the pickle pavilion; all the food preparation; and whoa, the charcuterie pavilion was so cool (kudos to tablehopper and Meatpaper designer Sasha Wizansky who did a brill job on the meat scans/panels, and custom butcher paper!). Another lovely thing in the charcuterie pavilion (besides the crazy delicious prosciutto from Col. Bill Newsom’s Hams in Kentucky) were the “meatrines”—the large wood display boxes holding hanging salumi.

I was ready to set up camp in the pickle pavilion—what a treat to taste pickles from all over the U.S., and don’t get me started on the country ham on cornbread topped with Appalachian-style sour corn made by farmer’s daughter in Carrboro, North Carolina.

The seafood pavilion display was remarkable, ugly monkfish and all. There was also some good opportunity for education while hanging out and eating in this pavilion. And a big UP to Foreign Cinema’s dish of cured local sardines with heirloom summer panzanella—more of that, please.
           
Had an engrossing walk-through of all the historical artifacts on display in the cocktail pavilion thanks to John Burton while sipping some delish Bloody Marys and Marias, a veritable tomato-vaganza. And a Ramos Gin Fizz with a little hint of honey, purr. Here’s a video of me all fired up in the cocktail pavilion, filmed by roving reporters Carla Borelli and Beth LaDove, who snagged me for an interview for the SFN website.

I can’t believe the time the people staffing the coffee pavilion dedicated to teaching about single origin coffees—it was practically decadent. And a lovely discovery in the honey and preserves pavilion was the coffee honey, sign me up. I got all sticky from the fruity jams, too.

I had a good laugh over someone walking by who said, “Oh yeah, I am all about cheese today.” I could only concur, standing in the ice cream line while finishing off my cheese plate—talk about a total dairy overload. Really, not a pretty picture. Can you say good, clean, and fat? And definitely not the place to be lactose intolerant.

Who better to tour the chocolate pavilion with than Elizabeth Falkner? Serendipitous indeed. Finished the day with some soon-to-be released Anderson Valley Brewing Co. Winter Solstice seasonal ale in the beer pavilion (and what a gleaming tap wall—I want one in my apartment). I wish I had come both days—I hardly had enough time in the beer, tea, and wine pavilions.

I snapped some pic of my debauched day at the Taste Pavilion; some are not my best work, but oh well. Check out my flickr set of the bounty here.

I know the Taste Pavilion was not meant to be a commercial event, but I really wanted to have more info about how to reach some of the purveyors and producers, and even the opportunity to buy some of the items we were all tasting. Besides, it’s a great way to support these folks and insure they stick around and keep doing the voodoo that they do. That sour corn would have sold out in one day, mark my words. Anyway.

The lines were a bit tedious, but it was a nice way to hang out and talk with cohorts, watch for friends, and digest. Literally. I appreciated the no-plastic stance, instead of selling water bottles, the organizers had municipal tap water available for free at stations throughout the event. And thank heavens for my long bike ride home, with plenty o’ hills to assist in burning off at least a few bites of the day’s bounty, yet another reason why I was so glad this event was held in San Francisco. And next time I’m going jump on tickets early for the various events before they sell out, including the farm tours! There was no lack of demand, that’s for damned sure.

Oh, and there is a fantastic exhibit in Fort Mason’s Museo ItaloAmericano called ~SLOW: LIFE IN A TUSCAN TOWN~ by award-winning Italian American photographer and cinematographer Douglas Gayeton. Just take one look at the arresting image in the linked flyer, and expect to see another 35 or more like it. Great stories in each image. The show is wrapping up on the 10th, this is one not to miss.

Okay, to the news. Over the weekend, ~O'REILLY'S HOLY GRAIL~ served its last chalice o’ beer. I couldn’t get a comment from owner Myles O’Reilly, who is in Ireland. Stand by for more on the new tenant. 1233 Polk St. at Bush.

Speaking of closures, here’s one in the “not yet” category: I was incorrect about the closure of ~KOOKEZ CAFE~ in Noe Valley—they were just on vacation, and expect to return and reopen on September 3rd, staying open until the new mystery owner takes over. 4123 24th St. at Castro, 415-641-7773.

~PAUL K RESTAURANT~, an intimate Mediterranean venue in Hayes Valley, has a new chef in place, Shawn Bayless, who has also revamped the menu. He’s a local boy from Martinez, and was a sous chef at Incanto for the past two years. He was also at Troya and Alan Wong’s Restaurant in Hawaii. He was also the executive chef at Fly Trap for a year, and has worked at One Market, Farallon, and more, Some tasty-sounding items on the menu include a meze of lamb riblets and kebabs, and starters like seared albacore crudo with pickled Fresno chilies, radish, and orange oil; pan-fried summer peppers with lime salt; and Little Gems with fried chickpeas, avocado, and Niçoise olives. Mains include a seafood tagine; eggplant and spinach moussaka; and Syrian spiced-duck breast with spelt, roasted figs, hazelnuts, and watercress. You can check out the entire menu here. Just in time for the symphony season! 199 Gough St. at Oak, 415-552-7132.

Was sorry to learn ~MISTRAL ROTISSERIE~ in the Ferry Building Marketplace will be closing at the end of October. I spoke with co-owner Betty Marcon, and she said it’s due to a combination of things, but primarily because of a complicated situation with a business partner, and the way to get out of the partnership was to leave the Ferry Building. Betty and husband Fabrice are currently looking for a commissary-like space, where they can get a catering kitchen going, providing food for farmers’ markets, wholesaling, and potentially a café (they are also looking for a new business partner/investor). Marcon stated it was time for them to move on, and said things at the Ferry Building Marketplace definitely aren’t like how they were in the beginning. She cited, “It’s a difficult environment to work in, it’s competitive,” and the numbers of tourists can be challenging. Will let you know how things map out for them.

Also in Ferry-land, ~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ is opening a second coffee bar in the former Oak Hill Farm space this fall; the Tuesday and Saturday farmers' markets stands outside will remain, but look for shorter lines for sure. I’ve heard some musing that the lines at Peet’s will probably be a little shorter, too.

imageOkay, ex-Chicago residents and hot dog fans: last week I did a little recon on a new Chicago hot dog outpost in the city, and my report is YUM. ~DA BEEF~ is a new cart open in SoMa, serving Chicago-style hot dogs, polish sausages, and in a few weeks, Italian beef! I had a fully loaded Vienna Beef dog, topped with feisty sport peppers, celery salt, atomic green relish, mustard, onion, and some honking pickle wedges. Word. The stand is open Tue–Sat 10:30am–6pm, and the ladies running the cart are thinking about opening on Mondays if enough folks start coming by. Make it happen. 300 7th St. at Folsom.

I got an email flyer this week about what Nick Fasanella, formerly but no longer the Nick behind Nick’s Crispy Tacos on Polk Street, has decided to open in the Underdogs space in the Sunset. One guess. No, not hot dogs. Tacos, baby! Duh. Hence the new name: ~THE TACO SHOP AT UNDERDOGS~. Tacos will be in effect starting this Thursday September 4th in honor of the Giants NFL game, and will be served 5pm­–10pm daily. Since it’s a bar, you can get margaritas or your beers or whatever until 2am. There will also be breakfast burritos (with house-made chorizo) starting at 9am on the weekends. My original benchmark for Baja fish tacos returns! 1824 Irving St. at 19th Ave., 415-566-8700.

Yay, another classy place to add to your list of Sunday dinner spots: starting Sunday September 7th, ~CHEZ SPENCER~ will be open for dinner from 6pm–10:30pm. Just in time for Indian summer on their glorious patio. 82 14th St. at Folsom, 415-864-2191.

Found out the San Francisco outpost of ~IL BUCO~ in the 54 Mint space won’t be happening. Bummer. Stand by for more on who the new tenant will be.

~AVENTINE~, the new FiDi place from Nate Valentine, Demetrius Chapin-Rienzo, Todd Palmerton, and Gian-Paolo Veronese, you know, the joint with the booze lockers, is opening in a few weeks or so. And they found their chef, David Faro, who was formerly in charge of the lunch menu at Campton Place. 582 Washington St. at Hotaling (between Montgomery and Sansome).

A birdie told a birdie who told me that the ~MOSS ROOM AT THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES~ will be taking reservations on OpenTable starting September 20th for the September 27th opening. This is totally unsubstantiated, so I guess we’ll have to wait until the 20th to see if the game of telephone was true.

It’s not quite our version of Top Chef Harold Dieterle’s Perilla (which is in New York), but Thrillist noted a new Vietnamese joint called ~PERILLA~ opened in the SoMa/Financial District area. The menu includes classic rolls, some salads, and affordable vermicelli or rice plates (or pho or garlic noodles for a little extra) with your choice of meats (charbroiled beef, prawns, five-spice chicken, or pork). Check out the menu here. 510 Mission St. at 1st St., 415-777-1893.

Got a note that after seven years, starting this month, both locations of ~DELESSIO MARKET~ are moving to sustainable, local, and organic products. We’re talking about over 350 products in all, including bakery and prepared foods. Here’s more from their newsletter: “Recently we began to notice that […] products were coming from further and further away, often from foreign countries. We no longer recognized the farmers or producers; nor were we confident how these products were grown or produced. Even products labeled ‘organic’ did not offer real assurance because we knew little about the certification process. Frustrated by this increasing disconnection from our food supply, the need for a radical change to our purchasing methods became apparent.” 1695 Market St. at Valencia, and 302 Broderick St. at Oak.

Calling all cookin’ beginners. Nothing to do tomorrow night? Phillip Gums, “just a regular guy who loves food and has some secrets to share about how easy home cooking can be” will be at the ~MACY’S CELLAR~ in Union Square. You’ll be able to watch the demo, munch a sample, and swig some Stella Artois beer. For free! Wednesday September 3rd, 6:30pm at The Cellar Demonstration Kitchen. 170 O'Farrell St. at Stockton.

Here’s another freebie event: a kickoff event on Monday September 15th for ~CURRY CELEBRASIAN~, featuring a Southeast Asian bazaar at The Blues Jean Bar in Cow Hollow. Starting at 6pm, there will be free Tiger Beer and curry pairings, Thai massage, and CurrySimple.com’s Mike Moran offering advice (on curry, I suppose—not sure if he’ll be offering relationship, decorating, or fashion advice). Curry CelebrASIAN will be continuing through October 15th, with several participating restaurants offering special curry dishes. 1827 Union St. at Octavia.

Just got more details about the ~OPEN CITY 2008 RESTAURANT EVENT~ on Saturday September 13th that I mentioned last week in the socialite: this time around, as a way to include as many people as possible, the dinner will be held in two parts. The first part is by reservation only, a three-course dinner for 50 people at $65, with reservation times at 7pm and 7:30pm. For reservations, subscribe to the New Langton Arts email list. New Langton will start taking reservations for the first seating on Wednesday September 3rd.

The second part is an open seating, no reservations are required, after the first seating starting around 8pm. Tapas-style smaller plates will be served, at $5 each, available to anyone throughout the restaurant. They encourage everyone to come by, dining or not, starting at 6:30pm. The bar will be open, serving beer, wine, and non-alcoholic drinks, plus plenty of extra seating in the bleachers all evening. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th St.

For those who missed out the Slow Food Nation festivities and tours, coming up on Friday September 12th is an ~URBAN FARMING TOUR~, sponsored by The Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). Farmer David Winsberg of Happy Quail Farms in East Palo Alto will take guests on a tour of his greenhouse and shade houses that are home to 30 of varieties of peppers, through his vegetable patch, and introduce visitors to his flock of chickens, ending the tour with a tasting of Happy Quail peppers. Next is Alemany Farm, the largest farm in San Francisco, for lunch and a tour by farm manager, Jason Mark, plus you will help plant whatever vegetable needs to get into the ground that day. The tour costs $25 and includes lunch made from farmers' market foods. Tickets are nonrefundable. Visitors will leave and return to the Ferry Building in a comfortable bus. There is no minimum age, but the tour is geared toward adults and not recommended for children under 12. Meeting place is in front of the Ferry Building (San Francisco), south of the clock tower. Please arrive between 9:45am and 10am. The bus leaves promptly at 10:15am, and the intended return time is 3:30pm, traffic permitting. Bring a water bottle, sun protection, sturdy walking shoes, and clothes that can get dirty. Buy tickets.

In case you are interested in attending ~A FOOD AFFAIRE~ on Monday September 22nd, tablehopper readers now get a special ticket price of $88 (the same as the industry ticket price). The code is Tablehopper; click here for tickets.

Chocoholics, the annual ~CHOCOLATE FESTIVAL AT LARK CREEK RESTAURANT GROUP~ is running throughout the month of September, with all of the restaurants in the Group offering a special dessert menu, including at least three extra chocolate dessert items. Local restaurants include: The Lark Creek Inn, One Market Restaurant, LarkCreekSteak, Lark Creek Walnut Creek, Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Yankee Pier in Lafayette, Yankee Pier at Santana Row in San Jose, and Parcel 104 in Santa Clara. One Market and The Lark Creek Inn are also doing chocolate tasting menus.
 
With the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival coming up, ~BAR MARCHÉ~ chef Brian Crawford has put together a six-course prix-fixe menu with wine pairings leading up to and throughout the festival (September 1st–7th), including chocolate in each of the dishes. $125 per person (includes wine pairings with each course), and a complimentary ticket to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival running September 6th and 7th. 900 North Point at Larkin, 415-359-0365.

And then for you mozzarella lovers, ~POGGIO~ is hosting their first-ever mozzarella festival from Tuesday September 9th–Saturday September 13th. Chef Peter McNee will be making fresh cheese up to three times a day, so it’s always soft and oh-so addictive. Release the tomatoes! Dishes will be priced from $9–$12. 777 Bridgeway at Bay, Sausalito, 415-332-7771.

So, we’ve got even more street fairs on the horizon. Coming up on Saturday September 20th in historic South Park is the very first ever ~A TASTE OF SOUTH BEACH AND MISSION BAY STREET FAIR~. The fair will feature favorite local restaurants and bars, including: 21st Amendment, Anchor Brewing Co., District, Hennessy’s Wines, Local Kitchen and Wine Merchant, MoMo’s, O’Neill’s Irish Pub, Paragon, Pete’s Tavern, Tres Agaves, and The Butler and The Chef Bistro—more are expected to be added in the coming weeks. There will be two stages of entertainment, bands, and DJs from Green Gorilla Lounge, Sunset, Supperclub, Get YER Freak on! and more. (Utz utz utz.) The event will benefit two local non-profit organizations, The South Beach/Mission Bay Merchant Association and The South Park Improvement Association. 11am–6pm.

Over at Terra in Rincon Hill on September 17th will be an evening of African, Latin, and modern ballroom dance performances, plus wine, and treats from Fifth Floor, Jack Falstaff, One Market, and XYZ. The event is called the ~NGOMA/DANCE SHOW~, and is a fundraiser for Mama Ngina Orphanage. Dmitri Chaplin from the show So You Think You Can Dance? will also be performing. Tickets are $50 advance purchase/$75 at the door (cash or check only), available online at www.mamangina.org or at the One Rincon Hill Sales Center at 511 Harrison St. The admission fee will be donated to the charity. 7pm–9pm. Terra, 511 Harrison St. at 1st St.

Sunday September 7th is a ~BOOK SIGNING WITH DAVID TANIS~ and then a week of special menus (Tuesday–Saturday) in the downstairs restaurant at Chez Panisse in honor of his new cookbook, A Platter of Figs & Other Recipes. Space is limited. Call 510-548-5525 for dinner reservations. Signing is 2:30pm–5pm. 1517 Shattuck Ave. at Cedar, Berkeley.


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the sponsor

advertise on tablehopper

The 13th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival is September 6th and 7th! Sample treats like Chocolate-Covered Caramel, Chocolate Pizza, Chocolate Almond Toffee–and of course, world-famous Ghirardelli Ice Cream Sundaes. Sip at the Cost Plus World Market Wine Bar and enjoy chef demonstrations, live music, and family entertainment. Don’t miss the famous hands-free Earthquake Ice Cream Sundae Eating Contest.

All proceeds benefit the San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Project Open Hand. The event is free, but tickets must be purchased to participate in chocolate tasting. Visit www.GhirardelliSQ.com for tickets and more information.

 
 
the lush

Ghirardelli SquareSEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Camber Lay wanted to give me a heads up about some new cocktails on the brunch menu at ~EPIC ROASTHOUSE~. One is titled Bacon & Eggs, made with pisco, lemon, egg whites, maple powder, and speck. As she put it, “It smells like breakfast and tastes like a yummy cocktail that will help any hangover.” Where do I sign? 369 Embarcadero at Folsom, 415-369-9955.

Since we’re on pisco (well, not ON it, but you get what I mean), I got a sneak peek at the soon-to-open and 90-percent-completed ~PISCO LATIN LOUNGE~ this Sunday, just before the Slow Dinner fundraising event at neighboring Destino. In the crowd was Vandana Shiva, plus other international food activists, such as Debra Koons Garcia (director/producer of The Future of Food). Oh yeah, the bar. It’s long, and the space is looking sleek and spiffy. There’s a pressed tin ceiling, a cool light fixture in the front, and Carrara marble floors. I also got to check out the historical flipbook about pisco, painstakingly researched and created by pisco fanatic (and author) Guillermo Toro-Lira. The opening will be a few weeks out, I will keep you posted. 1817 Market St. at Octavia.

On Sunday September 14th, the Jug Shop and their mates at South Food + Wine Bar are hosting the traveling ~COUNTRY VINTNER WINEMAKER TASTING~ at South on the first stop of their U.S. tour. Guests will be treated to a tasting of very diverse wines from five wineries, with nibbles from South. Visiting winemakers include Rob Gibson, Loose End, Barossa Valley, SA; Nick Stacy, West Cape Howe, Denmark, WA; Barbara Lawson, Lawson's Dry Hills, Marlborough, NZ; Peter Saturno, Longview Vineyard, Adelaide Hills, SA; and Liz Mencel and George Winkler, Picardy, Pemberton, WA. Click here for more on their bios. Tickets are $35 per person, and space is limited. RSVP to South at 415-974-5599. 4pm–6pm. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St.

Over in the East Bay is a ~MULTI-WINERY FALL OPEN HOUSE~ on Saturday September 13th. This green event is an eco-friendly wine tasting where attendees can taste newly released wines from four wineries in two locations for one admission fee. A Donkey and Goat will be pouring its releases at its winery (2323B Fourth St. in Berkeley) alongside dept. C Wines. Just a few blocks away at Eno Wines (805 Camelia St. at 5th), attendees can taste releases from Eno Wines and Broc Cellars. As part of its BYOG (Bring Your Own Glass) promotion, attendees who arrive at either location with their own glass will receive a 40% discount on admission. Regular priced entry to the open house is $25 and includes a souvenir glass. BYOG and receive entry for $15. There will also be some eats. Details on addresses and more here.
 
On Tuesday September 16th, ~MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY~, 1800 Tequila and Tres Agaves are having a big party, with discounted margaritas, shots, and tacos from 4pm–8pm. There will also be a tasting/pairing dinner with Gran Centenario Tequila at Tres Agaves on September 18th (tickets are $75). 130 Townsend St. at 2nd St., 415-227-0500.

 
the socialite

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San Francisco Restaurants Unite to End Hunger
Thu., Sep. 18, 2008

One Ferry Plaza
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm–7:30pm

Tickets $40
(available at the door at One Ferry Plaza, directly behind the Ferry Building)

SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO This gourmet food and wine event, ~SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANTS UNITE TO END HUNGER~, is quite the deal, and it’s one you can feel extra-good about since it benefits the San Francisco Food Bank. The SF Food Bank is really having a tough year and they are hoping to get a great turnout for this event. The $40 ticket price includes live entertainment, drinks, and food from 30 San Francisco restaurants. Guests may also enter a raffle to win $100 gift certificates to the participating restaurants, listed here:

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar; Acme Chophouse; Bistro Boudin; Chaya Brasserie; The City Club; Cosmopolitan; E&O Trading Company; Epic Roasthouse; Fifth Floor; Fior D' Italia; Foreign Cinema; Grand Café; Harris’; Il Fornaio; Jillian’s at the Metreon; Joe DiMaggio’s Italian Chophouse; Kuleto’s; Le Colonial; McCormick and Kuleto’s; One Market; Orson; Palio d'Asti; Paragon; Perbacco; Plumpjack; Postrio; Shanghai 1930; Spruce; Thirsty Bear Brewing Company; Tres Agaves; and Yoshi’s.

This event is sponsored by San Francisco Private Dining Venues and their member restaurants, Estate Groups/Sonoma Cutrer, and San Francisco Event Music.

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La Cocina's Annual Open House–A Taste of La Cocina
Fri., Sep. 12, 2008

La Cocina
2948 Folsom St.
Cross: 25th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

website

event flyer

6pm–8pm

$5 donation at the door

SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO What do I love more than La Cocina? Their annual open house, of course! The 22 businesses of La Cocina are hosting their ~THIRD ANNUAL OPEN HOUSE~, two hours to taste all the marvy bites from their incubator businesses (and buy presents for your friends). There will also be drinks from Hangar One and local vineyards. $5 gets you unlimited tastes. That’s less than most super burritos around town!

 
the wino
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SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Simon Anixter on Ligurian Wines

Simon Anixter, wine director at Rose Pistola, began his food and beverage career like many people did, working summers in restaurants while he attended Claremont McKenna College in Southern California. Realizing his true passion, he decided to pursue a career in wine after graduating with a degree in science and management. He worked as a sommelier in several restaurants throughout the Bay Area including Masque Ristorante in El Dorado Hills, where he served as wine director and sommelier until 2006. In 2007, Anixter joined Rose’s Café as wine buyer and floor manager, where he remained for one year before being promoted to wine director of both Rose’s Café and Rose Pistola. He focuses on hard-to-find Italian and regional Californian wines that compliment the Ligurian cuisine at Rose Pistola.

Ligurian Adventure: Epicurean Bliss

It’s hard not to love the red wines from Italy. From the regal Barolos and Barbarescos of Piemonte, to the many expressions of sangiovese from Tuscany, there is so much to choose from, and so many dishes to enjoy them with. Due to the quality and reputation of Italian reds, their whites often get overshadowed. A recent trip to Liguria quickly reminded me that Italy is producing truly amazing white wines that are worthy of attention.

I was in Italy for the annual VinItaly Wine Fair in Verona, but managed to extend my trip to explore much of Italy (albeit very quickly). I was particularly interested in spending time in Liguria to understand more about Rose Pistola’s original inspiration and concept. With many of North Beach’s original Italian immigrants coming from Genoa and the surrounding areas, our cuisine and wine list have always been driven by this rich, coastal region.

Ligurian wines are not exactly on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but my trip there confirmed that their place is firmly seated in the wine community. Located on the northwest coast of Italy just south of Piedmont, or what is considered the Italian Riviera, much of Ligurian cuisine comes from the sea. Together with great fresh pastas, often times pesto based, and stracchino-stuffed focaccias, white wines find themselves center stage on every dining room table.

Two of the most popular white wines found here are vermentino and pigato, with a nice range of varietal expression. You can find a casual, crisp, clean wine from producers like Bardellini, all the way to more complex, big, full-bodied styles, from the likes of Laura Aschero, Lambruschi, or Giacomelli. These are great examples of local varietals and local cuisine meshing seamlessly.

One of the most memorable meals I had during my whirlwind trip was in Rapallo. Rapallo is right on the coast, just east of Portofino, and a bit further east from Genoa (the home of pesto). My friend and I chose a restaurant, Trattoria Genovese, on a recommendation from our hotel. We had heard about their fresh pastas from the concierge, but what we didn’t know was how complete and fulfilling the meal would be. The restaurant not only offered to set up a tasting menu so we could enjoy a variety of regional dishes, but they served us two completely different tasting menus, one from the land and one from the sea. What a personal touch!

The server, Andrea, recommended a nice bottle of pigato, “Le Russeghine,” from Bruna. He then brought six different pastas–three small portions for each of us–including gnocchi with pesto, green beans and potatoes, cheese ravioli, spaghetti with fresh local herbs, a seafood pasta with grilled octopus, calamari, and prawns, and, lastly, a ravioli stuffed with white fish in a light cheese sauce (don’t let anyone tell you cheese and seafood do not mix). We were both surprised that a mid-range bottle of local pigato could handle all these flavors. Clean and unassuming, the wine enhanced each of the dishes.

After practically licking our plates clean and finishing off the Le Russeghine, I was served rabbit and my friend a whole white fish. For this course, we tried a vermentino by Giacomelli. Rabbit and vermentino may not be a classic pairing, however they cooked the rabbit in a lighter style, with a freshness that complemented the wine. It felt bigger than the pigato, with more complexity and flinty nuances. This particular vermentino was a bit more expensive than the pigato, but the added complexity paired perfectly with the entrées.

Not only was the food extraordinary, but the wine complemented our meal perfectly and the hospitality was amazing–what a trifecta! The experience epitomized everything great about Italian dining: great food, wine, and people–there’s nothing like it. It wasn’t until after homemade tiramisu, over a glass of Gaja Grappa, when I realized this was the first time in a very long time that I’d had a meal without a bottle of red on the table. It was instant verification that these Ligurian whites were not only of quality, but absolutely delicious with a wide range of foods.

Coming back to San Francisco with a new appreciation of Italian whites, I’m happy to offer several vermentinos and pigatos, including those from Aschero, Lambruschi, and Giacomelli on our list; additionally, we offer a wonderful Ligurian blend by the glass called “Cinqueterre” (vermentino/bosco/albarola). If you can’t make it to Liguria, try North Beach in the meantime, and I’ll be glad to share my recommendations with you.

 
the bookworm
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SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Recommends

Don't forget: this book 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.

An easy month for the Bookworm—the A16 Food + Wine cookbook has arrived. Need I say more, or are you ready to plunk down already?

I have regrettably not yet eaten at A16, but even the most cursory glance at the pictures made me literally pick up the phone and call for a reservation (alas, it’ll be a few days yet). Oh, heavens! The food looks just like I like it: fresh and simple and divine.

Raw Zucchini Salad with Green Olives, Mint, and Pecorino: no exotic ingredients and only about 15 minutes of work? Sold.

Bruschetta with Dungeness Crab, Rapini, and Anchovy: same story—good, fresh ingredients carefully prepared to speak for themselves. Nothing complicated here.

Beyond apps, things can get more complicated. Thanks to my two-year-old twins, I won’t be oven-drying my own tomatoes for Bucatini with Oven-Dried Tomatoes, Garlic, Chiles, and Bottarga. But with a simple cheat, here’s a southern Italian summer classic in no time.

Other recipes certainly involve longer cook times (like the many braises) or more complicated techniques, especially when you get to the pork section.

For the advanced cook, there are definitely challenges herein: mixing sausage fillings and stuffing casings; cooking your own headcheese; or making Zampone, a boned pig’s foot stuffed with sausage filling—some tricky butchering work indeed, based on the 16 illustrations accompanying the instructions.

Word on the street is that the wine program at A16 is at least half the fun (and my visits to their sister restaurant SPQR confirms this—I had a fantastic bottle of a varietal that I had never heard of for something like $30). Accordingly, there’s a basic guide to southern Italian wine at the front of the book and suggested pairings throughout.

And the book’s packaging and price reflect value, too. It’s a beautiful book full of sharp photographs, and retails for only $35 (or $28 for you)—not bad at all for such a useful and lovely book.

I think this is the best cookbook we’ve received this year. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading.

 
the starlet

SEPTEMBER 2, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Lars Ulrich (Metallica, yo!) was spotted eating and drinking red wine with his fam and nanny in tow at Taylor’s Automatic Refresher at the Ferry Building on Saturday night.

 
the matchmaker

GM & Chef de Cuisine for High-Profile SF Restaurant
We are expanding and in need of a seasoned, professional GM for our San Francisco restaurant. Please have at least 5 years of managerial experience and 3 years of GM experience. The ideal candidate needs to have an understanding of high-volume, high-profile operations and the ability to manage a staff for a 5m restaurant + 1.5m in private dining.

Chef applicants should send resume to receive more details. Email henry_matthews21@yahoo.com.

 

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Hi Everyone and greetings from The California Academy of Sciences,

The Moss Room (fine dining) and The Academy Cafe (quick-service) will be interviewing for all BOH & FOH positions on 9/4, 9/5 & 9/6, 10:00am-1:00pm & 3:00pm-6:00pm.

We are located at 55 Music Concourse Drive, SF CA 94118. Applicants should use the back(staff) entrance and ask security where "moss and stone" interviews are located.

The Academy Cafe will be open every day from 8:30am-5:00pm. Looking for line/prep cooks, cashiers & bussers.

The Moss Room will be serve lunch & dinner everyday. Looking for line/prep cooks, pastry cooks, hosts, bussers, servers & bartenders.

We plan on staff orientation 9/15 with training to follow. First day of business is 9/27.

Resumes can be sent to: mossandstonesf@yahoo.com

 
 

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