OCTOBER 28, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Folks
have been wondering what chef ~MELISSA PERELLO~ (formerly
of Fifth Floor) has been up to these days. While she’s finalizing
plans and honing in on the space for her upcoming restaurant, Frances,
she is going to be hosting a fun and yet-to-be-named dinner series
on Monday nights at Sebo restaurant in Hayes Valley, the night
the restaurant is normally closed. Nope, you can’t keep a
chef from cooking! The first dinner kicks off on Monday November
10th. As Perello states in her announcement, “The idea is
to bring friends and family together for a fun evening of food
and wine. A chance to catch up with old friends and an opportunity
to meet new ones. I'll be serving a four-course dinner of autumn's
best ingredients, featuring dishes like hearty soups, slow braised
meats. One could call it beta-testing for Frances’ future
menu. The evening’s four-course menu will be priced at $45
per person. A nightly wine pairing will be available to enjoy
with your menu or you can also choose from our list of wines. However,
please feel free to bring a special bottle of your own; corkage
will be just $10. The plan is to continue serving up these dinners
on most Monday nights throughout the winter at Sebo. I will notify
you of scheduled dinners up to two weeks in advance, via email.”
You can find out about future Monday dates by signing up for the
mailing list at email@example.com.
You'll need to reserve your spot in advance at that email—please
do not call Sebo directly; reservations will be accepted via email
only. There will be two seatings for the evening; the first at
6pm and the second at 8:15pm. Please specify your choice of first
or second seating. (Your prompt arrival will be much appreciated.)
Seats will be limited, so be certain to respond early if you would
like to attend. The menus will be crafted from the Saturday and
Sunday markets' best, so she doesn’t intend to post
menus in advance, but please advise her of any dietary restrictions
you or guests may have in advance when reserving your table.
The preferred method of payment is greenback, but Visa and MasterCard
will be accepted. Street parking can be tricky, but there is a
handful of public lots in the neighborhood. Sebo, 517 Hayes St.
More Monday action: Americano at Hotel Vitale is featuring ~AMERICANO
MONDAYS~, starting on Monday November 3rd. For three
consecutive Mondays, chef Paul Arenstam is offering an Italian-inspired
appetizer and entrée, paired with a half carafe of wine,
for $20. So Monday the 3rd is escarole and pear salad with candied
pecans and Gorgonzola, and orecchiette with braised Meyer Ranch
beef cheek, and don’t forget the vino! The 10th is Sausalito
Springs watercress salad with Fuyu persimmon, and ricotta gnocchi
with roasted butternut squash, brown butter, and sage. The 17th
is Americano minestrone soup with fresh spaghetti and Prather
Ranch meatballs. 8 Mission St., 415-278-3777.
A few weeks back I mentioned Bushi-tei was
opening a second restaurant in Japantown this winter. Here’s
more from the press release: “The casual dining spot, to
be named ~BUSHI-TEI BISTRO~, will include a wine
bar and seating for 80 on the ground floor of the Kinokuniya Building,
just a block and a half west of the original location and near
the intersection of Post and Webster streets. The restaurants will
complement each other with the bistro offering a more casual menu
with affordable prices. The average check will be between $30 and
$35 per person," says owner Takumi "Tak" Matsuba,
partnering with Eiji Miwa. The bistro's menu will reflect
the same French California Fusion theme…” 1581 Webster
Street Ste. 100 at Post.
do chefs do on their last night working at a restaurant? Well,
if you’re ~RYAN FARR~,
you cook your staff a turducken! Saturday was his last night
at Orson, and in light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday,
be inspired to follow his how-to instructions on
his personal website. Farr is currently in New York cooking
up a private dinner feast, and when he returns, you can hire him
for your holiday parties or private events through his catering
outfit, Ivy Elegance.
Heck, hire him to make you your very own turducken! It can be the
new “it” item this year on every bona fide-gourmand’s
holiday wish list.
with Gino Assaf of North Beach’s Ristorante Gondola,
and his new 100-seat Mission restaurant, ~SPECCHIO~,
is close to opening. He had a private party for some NBA stars
last week, and plans to open for a soft opening next week—look
for the grand opening by the weekend of the 8th. To recap, the
restaurant is opening in the former Blue Room Gallery space, next
to Cha Cha Cha. The menu will feature modern Italian dishes with
some Venetian influences, with five–six antipasti and
salads, five pastas, five–six entrées, and three pizzas.
Dinner to start, Tue–Sun 5:30pm–11pm, and lunch and
brunch will follow later. 2331 Mission St. at 20th.
Looks like the lines at the Thursday night ~MISSION
STREET FOOD~ truck won’t be getting any
longer. According to a few online posts, a crank-pot at Vanguard
Properties (where the truck is parked in front of) raised
some ruckus, and then there’s that impending rainy
season. So now here’s the new dealio, according to the
Mission Street Food site: “We’re announcing a new
format for Mission Street Food: each week, we’ll feature
a local guest chef/cook, who will offer his or her own dishes
in addition to our regular menu. To make this change possible,
we’ll be moving from the truck into an actual restaurant.
We’ve been talking with some local restaurants about
sharing space, and we’ll announce the details in a few
days. We’ll be closed this week for planning and will
re-open somewhere in the Mission on November 6… Ideally,
this will be part of an indie cooking movement that will let
talented cooks reach the public without the risks of opening
a conventional restaurant—and let the public enjoy great
food without the costs of dining at a conventional restaurant.” If
you’re a local chef or line cook and want to be a guest
out the site for more details.
If inspections go well this week, ~CHILAYO~ will
be opening in the old Andale spot on Chestnut this coming weekend.
You can read more in this past
issue of the tablehopper. Lunch and dinner will be served daily
10am–10pm, with breakfast on the weekends. 2150 Chestnut
St. at Steiner, 415-674-1814.
I am digging this new wave of Taqueria 2.0: coming in early 2009
will be ~GRACIAS MADRE~, the first 100% organic
and vegan taqueria in the Mission. The 75-seat project is from
the Café Gratitude crew,
and will feature a stone grinder and tortilleria (tortilla press/cooker)
from Mexico, plus organic heirloom varieties of corn, also from
Mexico. They will also get some corn and other produce from the
BeLove Farm in Fairfield, also owned by Café Gratitude.
Look for dishes like two kinds of guacamole, seasonal tamales,
a pupusa, torta, enchilada, mole, and of course, tacos, like shiitake
with purslane, or butternut squash and caramelized onion. There
will also be lots of vegetable side dishes, rice, beans, and a
chocolate plate, plus organic beer on tap from Eel River, and look
for a Sunday brunch with Latin DJs. The look will be a rustic ranch
style, with murals from local muralists. Hours will be 11am–11pm
daily. The owners look forward to working with Mission High, and
offering organic and vegan options for those who love taqueria
eats, but don’t want to compromise for non-organic choices.
It’s a complete build-out (the former space was a children’s
bookstore and press), so look for a February opening. 2211 Mission
St. at 18th St.
talking Mexicano, did you know ~BURRITOEATER.COM'S
2008 SLAB SCRUM~ is coming up? Here’s what
Señor Burrito Eater has to say, “It’s an
eight-taqueria tournament field: both 2006 champ Gordo Taqueria
and 2004 gold medalist Papalote are back, and they're in it
to win it. Same goes for local stalwarts Taqueria San Francisco,
Taqueria El Castillito, and El Burrito Express. The other three
entrants—Taqueria Can-cún, Taqueria Reina's, and
El Norteño—are first-time Scrummers, so we'll
see if they suffer from any main-stage jitters. Look for the
single-elimination tourney to get going on (or just after)
November 1. It'll run five-six weeks.” I’ll report
back on the SCRUMptious results in December!
tablehopper reader wrote in to say, “~CABLE CAR
PIZZA~ in the Mission looks closed, replaced seemingly
overnight by a burger place called ~THRILL OF THE GRILL~.” But
then he went back to double check, and reports, “I stopped
by tonight and there are TWO signs: Cable Car Pizza and Thrill
Of The Grill. I asked inside and the guy said they were both.
What?” What, indeed. 535 Valencia St. at 16th St., 415-431-8880.
rock star tablehopper reader also passed along this tip: “~ROCKIN'
JAVA~ in the Haight has been transformed into Park Mini Mart Café,
which looks to have a similar menu that now includes some Dreyer's froyo. But
the café feeling is gone—the back seating area now houses fridges
and shelves with food. There are still a few chairs near the front to linger.” 1821
Haight St. at Shrader.
Francisco is wicked cool for many reasons. Here’s yet
another reason—check out this email I received from David
Stockhausen, and the related project he needs help with: “I
founded a garden, with help from Peter Hood, Phillip Bellber, and
Carolyn Blair (Boogaloos, Spaghetti Western, Weird Fish, CHA CHA
CHA) called ~AMYITIS
GARDENS~. I started it with the intent to grow as
much food as possible for these places. While the garden space
we have is beautiful and functional, in reality we need more. I
am looking for ways to spread the word about what we are doing
as to hopefully get others with passion for food to help us out.
We are looking for people to donate space we can garden in exchange
for some benefits at participating restaurants, discounts, gift
“It is becoming more and more clear to me and Jessie that
we simply need more space. After all, more space = more food. While
being eternally grateful for the space we were given, it is simply
not enough to really make the kind of dent we're hoping to make
in the restaurant alloy. With that now said, I do know that there
is a way to make this happen without becoming a full-scale farm.
With our garden project we intend not to sustain a restaurant entirely,
but merely HELP to sustain a restaurant. I have yet to be convinced
that we need to move to the sticks. All around me, in this city,
there are spaces. There are unused spaces that need food, and lots
of food. What if we all changed the way we thought about usable
space? What about tearing up that inedible sod for a little arugula?
I am sure that there are many San Franciscans with un- or underused
spaces. All we really need is a little more than we've got to really
make things cook! So now we're putting out our feelers and looking
for space. We ideally would like to find people that have unused
space that they would be comfortable donating. I mean hey...free
landscaping anyone? Not to mention front row seats to the ever-expanding
food sustainability movement. In exchange for the space, the donors
would have a weekly share of veggies and potentially some deals
at the restaurants we serve. Now that is community! A direct link
between producers, farmers, and restaurants. So help us out.
We need all the community we can get. IF you have space you'd donate,
or know of space that is up for grabs, email
love me some tableside cart action. And now ~AQUA~ is
doing a unique late-night spin that involves cheese, wine, and
spirits. Every evening, from 9:30pm, they will be serving artisanal
cheeses from their cart, alongside traditional and unique pairings.
Bar manager Marko has developed cocktails specifically for pairing,
and the sommeliers have found unique wines and liqueurs. Here are
a few examples: Hudson Valley Camembert with a Calvados and apple
cider cocktail, or Sierra Mountain Tomme with Nocino Della Christina
walnut liqueur. Check out the entire menu here.
You can choose from a three, five, or seven cheese-and-pairing
flight. Three cheeses, $15; five cheeses, $22; seven cheeses $30.
For the sommelier-selected wine and spirit flights: flight of three,
$14; flight of five, $21; flight of seven, $29. 252 California
St. at Battery, 415-956-9662.
Noe Valley has a few new happenings: as I previously mentioned, ~BELGANO~ was
going to reopen as ~TUTTIMELON~, but as a tablehopper
reader notes, “The menus are different, the coffee is gone,
but gelato is now being offered as well as parfaits (which I love,
so I always notice them on the menu).” So I guess that means
you can do gelato, or yogurt, or both. 3901 24th St. at Noe.
bookworm cooks: due to open in Noe Valley on November 8th will
be ~OMNIVORE BOOKS
ON FOOD~. You’ll find cookbooks, rare books,
signed books, all kinds, covering food, wine, agriculture, and
cocktails. The owner is Celia Sack, who some Noe Valley residents
may recognize from Noe Valley Pet Co. Looking forward to checking
it out, and seeing what kinds of guest events and signings they
have in the future! Like Clark Wolf and Soyoung Scanlan on December
13th! Sign up for Omnivore’s mailing list on their website
to keep up with all their events. 3885-A Cesar Chavez St. at Church,
More in book-land: ~TYLER
FLORENCE~ will be at the Cost Plus World Market
store for a book signing on Sunday November 2nd from 11am–1pm.
Reservations not required; a limited number of books will be
sold at the San Francisco store. 2552 Taylor St. at Bay.
then we have books with food: The Jewish Community Center of
San Francisco is hosting a ~LUNCHEON WITH ELIZABETH
the release of her first cookbook, Demolition Desserts. The event will
be held at Citizen Cake on Tuesday
November 11th at noon. JCCSF members $45, general $55. Tickets must be purchased
in advance; they will not be available at the door. Order online at www.jccsf.org/arts.
Citizen Cake, 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.
Sunday November 2nd is the ~BOSS
OF THE SAUCE~ event, basically a big tomato sauce
showdown. Restaurants will present their sauce to the attending
general public in elimination rounds, and then a panel of celebrities
for final judging. Last year's people's choice winner and judges’ winner
was Joseph Manzare of Zuppa. Will Joseph continue to rule? Noon–5pm.
Tickets are $20 and up, and proceeds from the event benefit Saints
Peter and Paul Church, and FIERI, in preservation of the Italian
Culture and language. Saints Peter and Paul Event Center, 666
Filbert St. at Stockton.
few weeks ago I listed the annual ~ONE
NIGHT, ONE HEART~ fundraising event for Zen Hospice,
and I just had to do one more mention of it because the location
where I’ll be co-hosting the dinner is just so darned cool:
the new Stable Café on Folsom in the
Mission! Elizabeth Falkner and Ryan
Scott are cooking the dinner that night, we’ll
be drinking wine from Murray Street Vineyards, and we’ll
be seated in the urban chic gallery space in the back of the
café. I’ve totally fallen in love with the space—I
hope you can come. The dinner is on Sunday November 9th, one
of nine intimate dinner parties being held that night in the
Bay Area. Details about each of these nine unique dinners can
be found at www.zenhospice.org.
I hope to see you there!
Over in Oakland, opening the second week
of December will be ~SIDEBAR~,
a gastropub project from the husband-and-wife team of Barbara Mulas
and Mark Drazek (Zax), with a new partner, Anne-Marie Adrain, acting
as the GM. The space was formerly Trio Bistro, and overlooks Lake
Merritt (outdoor seating is in the works). Jim Maxwell of Architects
II is the interior designer, and mentioned there is a horseshoe
copper-topped central bar—Jonny Raglin (Absinthe)
is creating a concise cocktail menu that will highlight local spirits.
The menu will be seasonal and local when possible, featuring food
that is designed to work with the cocktails, but they aren’t
small plates. Look for neighborhood pricing, a relaxed and casual
atmosphere, and no reservations. Lunch and dinner will be served
Monday–Friday, and dinner only on Saturdays. 542 Grand Ave.
Restaurant crew wanted
to announce a ~FUNDRAISER HAPPY HOUR EVENT~ this
Thursday October 30th that they are doing with Novella
is "harvesting" her
goat Bilbo to be made into tacos and more. The party is down at
the Trumer Pils Brewery in Berkley. Some folks from Chez Panisse,
urban homesteaders, biodiesel burners, all kinds of folks will
be there. Plus there will be all-you-can-drink beer, beer tours,
a bike-powered ice cream machine, and bites. How 510 can you get?
5pm onward. $10–$10,000 sliding scale. Trumer Pils Brewery,
1404 Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-665-5509.
Craving truffles? Chef Peter McNee of Poggio is
offering them a la carte in ten different dishes for one week:
November 11th–15th at the ~ANNUAL FESTA DEL TARTUFO~.
You can enjoy at least one course with truffles shaved tableside
by the chef for a supplemental charge of approximately $35 to the
a la carte menu. 777 Bridgeway at Bay, Sausalito, 415-332-7771.
And then ~OLIVETO’S~ annual
Italian white truffle dinners are set for November 18th–21st.
Diners at Oliveto pay by the gram according to the amount consumed.
Truffles, the new cocaine. 5655
College Ave., Oakland, 510-547-5356.
I normally don’t cover wine country events in tablehopper
(I gotta draw the line somewhere, or I’ll be covering Portland
before I know it), but I had to do a shout-out to these two awesome
big pig events. First, most pork lovers I know, and I know a lot,
are all ready to hit ~AMUSE
COCHON NAPA~! The event started in Atlanta, and is
coming west! On Sunday November 2nd, a group of top chefs
(Chris Cosentino, Incanto; Allan Benton, Benton Smoky Mountain
Country Hams; Peter Pahk, Silverado Resort; Taylor Boetticher,
Fatted Calf Charcuterie; Ryan Farr, Orson) will each prepare a
heritage breed hog from head to toe for this competition. Guests
and professional judges (including locals like chef Rob Lam of
Butterfly SF, Dave McLean of Magnolia Brew Pub, Sam Mogannam of
Bi-Rite Market, and about 20 more) will determine a winner based
on creativity, classic preparation, and overall best flavor. The
winner will be crowned the “Prince of Pork.” (Because
I am already the Princess, ha ha!) In addition,
five selected family-owned winemakers will showcase their wines:
Palmaz Vineyards, Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyard, Hill Family
Estate, Saddleback Cellars, and Thomas Michael Cellars. The event
starts at 4pm, and is $100 per person. For tickets and info, visit www.amusecochon.com.
Advance ticket purchase required. $20 discount for members of Slow
Food and the restaurant industry—if you are one of these
and need the promo code, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Silverado Resort, 1600 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa.
If you couldn’t make it to Amuse Cochon, two weeks later
is ~MICHEL-SCHLUMBERGER WINE ESTATE’S 2ND ANNUAL
WILD PIG PARTY~, on Saturday November 15th. Winery owner
Jacques Schlumberger, winemaker Mike Brunson, and the rest of the
winery team will be celebrating with wild blue grass music, wild
pig, and wild zin! There will be an unveiling of their 2006 Estate
Zinfandel "Cochons Sauvages" (Wild Pigs), plus
roasted pig prepared by Geyserville’s Santi Restaurant, which
guests can feast on while sipping the first and second releases
of the "Cochons Sauvages." Due to extremely
limited allocations, the wine will be sold on a first-come, first-served
basis. Michel-Schlumberger is also offering guests the opportunity
to taste barrel samples and purchase futures on the 2007 "Cochons
Sauvages” Zinfandel. $40 per person. For reservations
and for more information, call the winery at 707-433-7427 or visit www.michelschlumberger.com.
(This event sold out very quickly last year.) Michel-Schlumberger
Wine Estate, 4155 Wine Creek Rd., Healdsburg, Dry Creek.
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