|table of contents
week's tablehopper: from Russia with love.
the word on the street
it's about time we met
put it on my tab
in vino veritas
no photos please
this round is on me
02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I
hope your Thanksgiving-induced indigestion has subsided, or at
least you’re ready for additional bodily harm, because you
have a lot of eating and drinking to do this month. Uh huh, yes
you do. My inbox is flooding with all kinds of events and special
menus to get your physique into a dumpling-like shape right quick!
I even wrote up a hearty Russian place for this week’s review.
Apologies in advance—see ya on the treadmill.
own dining and drinking docket this week includes dinner with
Eddie for another “Dining With Eddie” excursion, dinner
at the Café Majestic to check out what chef Louis Maldonado
is up to, the champers tasting at Arlequin on Thursday (read all
about it in the socialite), and a total pile-up of events
on Friday, including the pork
tasting I mentioned last week, Repeal Day boozing (see the
wino this week for a piece by Duggan “Shotzi” McDonnell),
and then a cool wine tasting (listed below) on Saturday! Lots of
salads and water and bike riding in between it all.
let’s party. First, I’m
doing a giveaway to
a Golden Gate Wine Cellars holiday wine tasting this
Saturday December 6th from 4pm–7pm. All the details about
this unique tasting are below in the lush—three lucky
tablehopper readers can win three pairs of tickets. To enter to
win, please forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to
two friends (or more, you rock star!!), telling them why they would
dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (don’t call
it a blog or you won’t be entered in the contest, no joke),
and CC or BCC firstname.lastname@example.org so
I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s
email address. Deadline to enter is midnight on Wednesday
December 3nd. I know—it’s a fast one! I’ll
notify the three winners on Thursday by noon. If you don’t
hear from me by Thursday afternoon, then it means you didn’t
win (sorry Charlie)—so if you were fired up to go to the
event, you should buy tickets and go!
then here’s something that won’t
cost you a dime (well, except nice tips for your trusty bartenders): next
Tuesday December 9th I am hosting the Scharffen Berger
and TuttiFoodie.com chocolate and Sagatiba cachaça
cocktail-and-food competition at Rosewood in North Beach
from 6pm–8pm. There are going to be five teams of chefs and
bartenders competing, with complimentary Sagatiba cachaça
cocktails, mole sliders, and sweet treats for guests.
come? Of course you do! And yes, darling, the entire event is
get on the guest list, please email me your first and
last name at email@example.com,
and if you have any guests coming with you (+1? +2? Fine. +7, however,
is not cool.) Be sure to say “Party
RSVP” in the subject line, thanks! Space on the list is limited,
first come, first served, so please don’t RSVP unless you
think you can make it. You can read more below in the chatterbox
for additional details about the party.
toasty, and on this Friday’s Repeal Day, toasting and
DECEMBER 02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO So
here’s a recap of the event I’m hosting next Tuesday
December 9th: it’s a fun chocolate
and cachaça cocktail-and-food competition at Rosewood
in North Beach from 6pm–8pm. Five teams, each comprised of
a local chef and bartender, will be competing.
on the guest list, please email me your first and last name at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and if you have any guests coming with you (+1? +2? Fine. +7 however,
is not cool.) Be sure to say “Party
RSVP” in the subject line, thanks! Space on the list is limited,
so first come, first served. Please don’t RSVP unless you think
you can make it, schwanks.
The event is celebrating the final month for entry submissions for Scharffen
Berger Chocolate Maker and TuttiFoodie.com's Chocolate
Adventure Contest. To inspire beverage adventures, they’ve partnered
with Sagatiba Cachaça, which is co-sponsoring this special event.
The party is free, and we’ll be serving complimentary
Sagatiba Velha cachaça cocktails (offering a sneak peek and
taste of this soon-to-be-released aged cachaça!), plus some mole
sliders from Veronica Salazar/El Huarache Loco and sweet
treats from Kika’s Treats, both of La
Cocina. We’ll also have my buddy DJ Jolu on
the decks, providing a slick soundtrack to your eating, drinking,
and carrying on.
Our fab judges include Elizabeth Falkner, chef and owner of Orson and Citizen
Cake; Lisa Schiffman, founder of TuttiFoodie.com; Brad Kintzer, Master Chocolatier
of Scharffen Berger; and Jordan Mackay, wine and spirits editor of 7x7, wine
and cocktail contributor to CHOW.com, and author of the upcoming book Passion
for Pinot: A Journey Through America's Pinot Noir Country.
Tuesday, December 9th, 2008
Rosewood: 732 Broadway at Stockton
And here are a few tips: for parking, I remember there’s
a pretty darned affordable parking lot just around the corner
on Vallejo, between Powell and Stockton. None of that $12 for 20 minutes B.S.
And if you want to stick around the neighborhood for dinner, there’s
Garden (1416 Powell St. at Broadway) and Yuet
Lee (1300 Stockton at Broadway). Or you can walk a few blocks down
to ‘E Tutto Qua (270 Columbus Ave. at Broadway) for
some affordable pasta—and drinks at 15 Romolo (at Broadway).
And now, some restaurant news: ~SAMOVAR
TEA LOUNGE~ is opening a third location in the former Laguna
Sidewalk Café corner spot in what they are calling the “Zen Valley.” (The
project is through a partnership with the Zen Center, who owns the building.)
The opening is scheduled for Monday December 15th. This location will have
a tea-tasting bar so guests can interact and learn more about tea, and the
menu will be almost the same as the other two Samovar locations. The overall
size will be similar to the Sanchez Street location, and there will also be
a similar large table in a raised-platform area, with room for 15 (perfect
for small gatherings). The materials used in the space are recycled, salvaged,
or sustainable, including some lovely wind-fallen old-growth redwood. Hours
will be 10am–10pm daily. 297 Page St. at Octavia.
Over at ~FRINGALE~,
there is a new executive chef, John Marquez. He was previously chef de cuisine
at Coi, and was trained at French Laundry, Picasso, and Per Se. He was the
sous chef at Fringale for six months before taking the position as executive
chef, replacing Tripp Mauldin, who was the executive chef for just shy of a
year. 570 Fourth St. at Brannan, 415-543-0573.
We’ve got more BBQ firing up on the local scene: opening on Saturday
December 13th (barring any permit and construction snafus) will be ~BABY
BLUES BBQ~ in the former “The Drug Store” space
on Mission, right across from El Rio. I know many of you have been awaiting
this opening since I mentioned the project a year ago! To recap, it’s
a second location of the original Baby Blues BBQ that was started in Venice
Beach by Rick McCarthy and Rick Fischer—brother Paul Fischer is the
one launching the SF location. There will be 45 seats, and a décor
style that is “country
BBQ-meets-SF hip,” including recycled materials (the table bases are
old manhole covers and factory wheels), and the eight-seat counter is made
from reused marble. The meats feature a Texas dry rub, a special house blend
that does its magic overnight, and then the meat is slow smoked; the sauce
is a North Carolina vinegar-based sauce. The
menu will be pretty similar to the Venice location, but the chicken here
will be free-range. There will also be a four-cheese mac-n-cheese, 12 vegetarian
dishes, and desserts made by a local lady. Hours will be 11:30am–10pm
daily, and until 11pm on the weekend. 3149 Mission St. at Precita.
I heard from a tablehopper reader that the Filipino restaurant in the Castro, ~PALENCIA~,
has a sign on the window that says something like “due to economic conditions,
we are taking an extended holiday closure to retool.” But according to some
posts on Yelp, it sounds like it’s a complete closure. My calls and
email went unanswered, so that’s all I have for now. If the owner is
in fact planning to reopen, I’ll let you know when I hear back. 3870
17th St. at Noe, 415-522-1888.
More interesting Yelp
findings: ~PIAZZA MARKET~ is
potentially opening this Wednesday December 3rd, according to a sign on the
window. I drove by this weekend and it looked pretty darned huge, lit up,
and close to opening. About a year ago, I reported that Piazza was moving
into the former Rossi’s Market space, and is going to be a grocery
store that will also offer food for take-out, catering, and there will also
be an area for casual, self-service dining. Diners can choose from a number
of hot and cold buffet-like stations, and there will also be a large array
of specialty foods, and a wine shop featuring Italian and Californian wines.
These details were from a year ago—we’ll see what’s changed
once it opens. Hours were originally slated to be 11am–10pm. The phone
number isn’t listed yet, so details are sketchy! 627 Vallejo St. at
I know some of you have been wondering what’s happening with ~QUINCE’S~ projects
in the former Myth and Myth Café spaces. A small timing update: they will
be opening the casual café concept first, probably late winter, and then
the fine dining part of the project that’s moving into the Myth restaurant
space will launch in early spring. As for the names, the concept, the food,
the fate of the original location, etc., well, that will take some time, so
sit tight for more. 470 and 490 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery.
More project updates: ~CENTRAL
PARC~, the bistro opening in
the former Café Organica space near Golden Gate Park, is now looking
like a May 2009 opening. The owners are from Baker Street Bistro, Jacques Manuera
and his wife Claude Belliot. 562 Central Ave. at Grove.
~SUSHI BISTRO~ is
getting closer to opening their second location on 24th Street, next to St.
Francis Fountain in the Mission. If everything goes well, it should be ready
in early 2009. Sushi Bistro will also be moving four doors down from their
current Richmond location, just next door to Namu. The new space will offer
more storage and seating—the build-out is scheduled to be complete in
late winter or early spring. 2809 24th St. at York; 445 Balboa St. at 6th Ave.,
Here are some details on Jessica Gorin’s menu at ~THIRSTY BEAR~:
a few new dishes include chorizo and lentil soup with spigarello kale and garlic
croutons; jamón Serrano flatbread with black Mission figs, Idiazabal
cheese, and micro arugula; piperade with soft-cooked egg and garlic breadcrumbs;
and empanadas stuffed with ground pork, roasted Musque de Provence pumpkin,
and queso fresco. Overall, look for quality organic ingredients, slightly more
complex flavors, and a fine-tuned tapas format. There’s also a new pastry
chef who just started, Julie Ausiello, who will be rolling out some changes
soon. 661 Howard St.
at 3rd St., 415-974-0905.
This coming Sunday is the San
Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s 13th annual ~WINTERFEST
PARTY~, with live entertainment, beer from New Belgium Brewery,
and great deals on bike goodies, plus local art, handcrafted items, and gift
certificates from local favorites. I wanted to let you know yours truly
will have a special tablehopping night on the town as one
of the auction items. We’ll hit a couple spiffy restaurants, all on
our bikes! $15 sliding scale admission for SFBC Members; $40 for people joining
at the door (includes SFBC membership and admission). 6pm–10:30pm.
SOMArts Gallery, 934 Brannan St. at 8th St. Free valet bike parking provided.
The holidays are here, which means ~BIX~ starts
serving lunch on the weekdays for December. I can’t think of a better
location for a multi-martini mid-week holiday lunch. 56 Gold St. off Montgomery
St. between Jackson and Pacific, 415-433-6300.
Heading to Civic Center for the San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker at the War
Memorial Opera House? Take note that holiday hours are on at ~JARDINIÈRE~!
The restaurant will be open for lunch (for the first time ever!) on Fridays throughout
the month of December from 11:30am–2:30pm, and will open at 4pm on Nutcracker
matinee days (December 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st,
22nd, 23rd, 26th, 27th, 28th). The new lunch menu includes a warm bread salad
with roasted artichokes and Bellwether Farms marinated-crescenza cheese ($15);
Dungeness crab sandwich with house-made pickles and spiced potato chips ($17);
and carnaroli risotto with butternut squash, Asian pears, toasted walnuts,
and aged balsamic ($18). The entire menu looks mighty appetizing. 300
Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.
Now, this is exactly my kind of holiday
AT JACK’S~ is starting an early holiday happy hour this
month: a dozen oysters and a glass of Champagne for $25. The oysters will
be brought in from Hog Island every day, and the Champagne will rotate—the
happy hour is kicking off with G.H. Mumm Brut. Fun fact: did you know
that oysters have been on the Jack’s menu for almost 150 years? The
offer is Mon–Fri 2pm–6pm. Jeanty at Jack's, 615 Sacramento
St. at Montgomery, 415-693-0941.
conveniently come up with a holiday family-style five-course menu for parties
of six or more in December, with a variety of menu selections and optional
wine pairings. Menu orders must be placed one week in advance—call for
menu details. Prices range from $50-$75 per person, exclusive of wine, tax,
and gratuity. 2355 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-771-2216.
~LA FOLIE~ will be open
on Sundays during the month of December. (La Folie will also be open on Christmas
Eve, serving a five-course dinner for $105 per person, not including beverages,
tax, and gratuity.) 2316 Polk St. at Green, 415-776-5577.
And restaurant event managers, we all know these are tough times, but don’t
forget there are some fraudulent people out there ~TRYING TO SCAM MONEY~,
often with too-good-to-be-true large party bookings. The latest I’ve
heard is there is someone “in Scotland” trying to book reservations
for a large party (like 15) for three consecutive nights that they will pre-pay
for. (I got a note from Allison Hopelain at Camino who said one time the company
was one that actually existed, so she emailed them to check up, and then discovered
it was a scam.) Be careful!
As of yesterday, ~JOEY & EDDIE'S~ is
going to run a family-oriented special on Monday nights: all children under
12 will receive a free 8" cheese pizza. (How do you card a kid?) 1652
Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.
Chocolate lovers, Michael Mischer will be visiting ~FOG
CITY NEWS~ on Friday December 5th, from noon–2pm, featuring
his New American Classics Collection (banana split, apple pie, and more).
And Ginger Elizabeth Hahn will be in on Monday December 15th, from noon–2pm
(I gotta try this bar: Salty Cocoa Nib Brittle Dark Chocolate Bar, a rich,
creamy 70% dark chocolate offset by a crunchy brittle of cocoa nibs and
a hint of salt). 455 Market St. at 1st St., 415-543-7400.
This is sure to be a madhouse: ~THOMAS KELLER~ will be at
Sur La Table—Ferry Building next Wednesday December 10th at 5pm, signing
his new book, Under Pressure:
Cooking Sous Vide. Sur La Table, Ferry Building, 415-262-9970.
Truffle mania continues! Over at ~FARINA~,
they have some spectacular truffles from Alba from their special purveyor—the
truffles should be available until the end of next week. You can indulge in
dishes like the unforgettable tortino caldo di formagetta della Valle del Bitto—I
still dream of this dish, a soufflé-like number with shaved white truffle
from Alba ($20); plus there’s whole-roasted young chicken stuffed with
white truffle, pork sausage, and potato, served with Madeira sauce ($38);
and hand-made taglierini served with egg yolk, butter, and white truffle from
Alba ($50). 3560 18th St. at Guerrero, 415-565-0360.
And we also have olio nuovo to celebrate! Man, I really love this time of year,
I gotta say. Next Wednesday December 10th, ~COCO500~ is
hosting a special dinner, Festa dell'Olio Nuovo, featuring
olio nuovo from DaVero's Dry Creek Estate (yuuuuuum). The five-course dinner
menu reads as follows: grilled Monterey squid, tangerines, olives, arugula;
farro soup, fennel pollen, Buddha's hand, Parmesan; buckwheat cavatelli, squash,
pecorino, chestnuts; slow-braised pork cheeks, chickpeas, cardoons, artichokes;
and olive oil cake, quince. Sounds like a winner to me. $65. 500 Brannan St.
at 4th St., 415-543-2222.
Tomorrow, Wednesday December 3rd, is a special DaVero olive oil dinner at ~PICCO~ in
Larkspur. Picco is offering a seven-course à la carte menu, featuring
DaVero's 2008 harvest Sonoma olive oil, and it’s only $50.
Dude! With gas as cheap as it is (oh my God, did I really see it for $1.99
a gallon for supreme today?), I say hop in your ride and head over the bridge
for this killer menu. They are also serving their regular dinner menu, so guests
may choose items from either menu. The DaVero menu is as follows: Hog island
oysters, Meyer lemon “caviar,” olio nuovo; white radicchio salad,
watermelon radish, celery root, herbs, olio nuovo; Tuscan chickpea soup, soffrito,
olio nuovo; olio nuovo-poached black cod, salad of arugula, fennel, tangerines,
olives; Devil's Gulch rabbit roasted in the wood oven, soft polenta, rosemary,
olio nuovo; Marin Sun Farms lamb loin, braised cipollini onions, new potatoes,
olio nuovo; and for dessert, naturally, Straus dairy soft serve ice cream,
olio nuovo, and sea salt. 320 Magnolia Ave. at King, Larkspur, 415-924-0300.
~ASTARIA RESTAURANT~ in
downtown San Mateo has a new chef, Tony Flier, a local who was most recently
the corporate chef for the Avenir Restaurant Group (Town, Nola’s, and
Milagros). His new menu style is described as “robust California fare,” which
will be seasonal and highlight local purveyors, as well as focus on sustainable
ingredients. Astaria is in the space that was once the coffee shop in the Benjamin
Franklin Hotel (a family friend used to work there many moons ago—I will
never forget Freda, and the Shalimar perfume machine in the ladies room she
used to douse herself with!)—it later became the Café For All
Seasons, and most recently the Lark Creek Cafe. 50 E. Third Ave. at S. El Camino
Real, San Mateo, 650-344-9444.
Another bit of chef news: back in May, I mentioned ~PICÁN
RESTAURANT~, which is coming to Oakland in March 2009. They
just hired their executive chef, Dean Dupuis, who will manage the California-influenced
Southern menu. Dupuis hails from South City Kitchen, one of the first restaurants
in Atlanta to offer “new” Southern Cuisine. (Fun fact: Usher had
Dupuis cater his 2007 wedding.) 2295 Broadway at Grand, Oakland.
Opening in downtown Oakland this Friday December 5th will be the second location
Jeremy Umland, Ozumo founder, will be joined by executive chef Jennifer Nguyen
and chef de cuisine Christian Geideman. Nguyen most recently helped open Aja
Steak in Chicago, while Geideman was the chef/owner of the Santa Fe restaurant
Kasasoba for seven years. On the menu, there will be sushi and robata grill
items, plus an izakaya (small plate) selection. The sake list has over 90 brands,
plus there is a full bar, wine, and Sapporo and Kirin beer on tap. AGE Design
of Japan did the décor with an underlying theme of water, air, and earth,
with earth-tone slate floor tiles that extend up the walls and columns; custom
oak-wood tables, chairs, and banquettes covered with traditional Japanese fabrics;
a lounge with tatami mat bench seating with overstuffed pillows; and a charcoal-fired
robata grill (seats 12) with a sunken kitchen area and hard wood counter top.
Hours are Mon–Thu 5pm–10:30pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm. 2251
Broadway Ave. at West Grand, Oakland, 510-286-9866.
And down in Palo Alto, Adam
Torres, chef-owner of the popular Sancho's Taqueria in Redwood City, plans
to open a ~SANCHO'S PALO ALTO~. (He
cooked at Boulevard and at The Village Pub for three years.) He's shooting
for a January opening, and the menu will be similar to the original location,
with the famed red snapper fish tacos, plus a few additions and changes, such
as different ceviches and more vegetarian options. It’s small: 16 seats,
with a few tables outside. 491 Lytton Ave. at Cowper, Palo Alto.
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Russian Tea Room
600 5th Ave.
Cross: Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA 94118
02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO You
know when you have a place you want to try out that has been lingering
on your to-try list foh-evah? ~KATIA’S RUSSIAN TEA
ROOM~ has been gathering dust on my list for years. Glad
I finally took out the feather duster and went to check out this
place for lunch. In a word: charmed.
would have liked to go and visit it again before mentioning it
to y’all, but there was this pecan pie we had for dessert
that was so damned delish, and since it’s only around for
the holidays, I had to write this place up quick. More on the evil
pie in a sec.
the room is not what I’d call a looker. It’s
an intimate, simple room that is a bit feminine, with some framed
paintings of flowers and scenery on the peachy walls, plates with
floral edges, and bentwood chairs that would benefit from some
cushions. Anyway, there’s
no flash or pretension here. It’s almost like being in someone’s
modest but tidy house.
that is exactly why I liked it—it’s comfortable,
like a no-makeup day (ladies, I know you hear me on that one).
And it’s personal—Katia herself came out to take our
order, talk a bit about the menu, and she even pulled up a chair
to join our table and chat with us a few times. She’s spunky,
smart, earthy, and welcoming—almost like Gena Rowlands as
Gloria, but nicer. Like, can I adopt you as my aunt?
menu had exactly the kind of food I was craving on that rainy
day, starting with the homey beet borscht ($5). Seriously, the
best borscht I’ve ever had. It was a gorg ruby red, with
ribbons of cabbage and petite pieces of potato and tomato in it,
on-point seasoning, a beef-broth base, and a dollop of sour cream
on top. (There’s also a vegetarian version.) I want a gallon
of the stuff to get me through January.
The menu has all kinds of zakuski (little
bites) to choose from: we dug into the eggplant caviar ($4.50),
a cool dip with tomato, garlic, dill, onion, and a slight kick,
spreading it on the rye bread that was served when we first sat
down. Dag, we shared the beef piroshki ($2.50), so it disappeared
in a few bites—it
had such a savory filling inside its flaky crust. Hey, where
did you go? Next time, I will try the cabbage version! And the
mushroom. And the beef again. (You can actually order these for
shared the potato vareniki ($6.50 for five)—Katia kindly
let us order a smaller portion, because it normally comes with
ten for $13. The tender potato-filled dumplings are a bit bland
by themselves, but come topped with tasty caramelized onions and
sour cream. And man, these dense little carb pockets are perfect
if you’re working in the field all day, but for this desk-bound
writer, one was plenty of this starch-on-starch item. I will admit
they warmed up nicely for a late-night snack—soaked up the
post-2am booze like an effective and edible sponge, spasiba.
hands-down winning dish was the sautéed pel’meni
($13), almost like meat-filled Russian tortellini, with lightly
browned edges, and a buttery curry sauce. Oh yeah, we scarfed ‘em
down like hungry foremen.
gotta say, everything had an authentic homemade taste—I
was quite content. On the list for next time: the blini, salade
Olivier, the shaslik (strips of lamb), and more piroshki! I also
want to try the Russian beers they have on the menu. And more pie!
the pie. It has a scrumptious buttery cookie crust, with a hint
of almond, and I loved how it crumbled just so. You can order
an entire pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, cinnamon apple, or cranberry
apple pie for $12.99. Show up with one of these at a holiday
party and poof, you’ll have a room full of slaves—what
you ask of them is up to you.
sure how the dinner entrées are, or what the restaurant
vibe is like at night, but I could see it being a relaxing spot for a leisurely
meal (things don’t move very fast here) and potentially quiet.
Let’s just say everyone in the restaurant could listen to
our conversation at lunch—so it’s definitely not the
place to break up with someone. But on Saturday nights, things
get bumping with some live music (7pm–10pm)—a friend
said the accordion player is tops.
could see Katia’s being a good choice for a group of friends
who want to catch up (but no interventions). I’d actually
love to book a tea party here—get some folks together, eat
some blini, have Katia bring over the samovar, linger over some
Russian tea… It’s that kind of place. No rush. If
you don’t have a living room big enough to host your friends,
well, this might be the best new stand-in.
02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO This Friday is the 75th anniversary
of ~REPEAL DAY~,
the day the 18th Amendment was repealed, ending thirteen years
of Prohibition. And in this cocktailing town, you KNOW there
are going to be some parties. Places hosting events include Cantina,
21st Amendment, Elixir, Alembic, Forbidden Island, Bourbon and
Branch, Swig, and NOPA. Erik Ellestad is keeping track of all
the events on his blog, Underhill
Lounge, thanks to some initial research by Jane
I mentioned in today’s intro, this Saturday December
6th is a special ~GOLDEN
GATE WINE CELLARS HOLIDAY WINE TASTING~ from 4pm–7pm.
There will be around 20 wines to taste, and the following winemakers
will be present: Ron Adams from Adams Ridge Winery; Jon Joseph
and Dave Ramey from Joseph Family; Olivier Picault from 5 Russians
(a new winery in the Russian River Valley); Peter Posert from Gain
Bay Winery; Scott Rich (formerly with Etude) of Talisman winery;
Susan Pey (Pey-Marin Wine Cellars); Heidi Barrett (pouring Amuse
Bouche and Pharaoh Moans Syrah); Brown Family zinfandels; plus
a surprise winemaker, and some other wines from Golden Gate Wine
Cellars. Hors d'oeuvres will be provided. Cost is $35 in advance,
and $50 at the door. Please RSVP at 415-337-4083. $35 will be reimbursed
with a minimum wine purchase of $250. (The $35 “credit” applies
to all Golden Gate Wine Cellars wines, but cannot be redeemed online,
and one credit per order placed.) The event is being held in a
private room at the Lakeside Café (2529 Ocean Ave. near
Junipero Serra), just half a block down from GGWC (2337 Ocean Ave.).
in case you didn’t have enough wine to taste on Saturday
(doubtful, but anyway), you can head over to ~BIN
38~, which is now offering 50% off your first bottle
of wine (up to $100) all day on Sundays. Which means that bottle
of 2005 Terra Valentine Spring Mountain cabernet sauvignon is only
going to put you back $34. Cozy up with your bottle under the newly
installed heated winter tent. 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-567-3838.
For the month of December, ~BACAR~ is
pouring special Champagnes by the glass, half-glass, and in flights,
featuring Perrier Jouet, Krug, Salon, Gaston Chiquet, and Rene
Geoffroy, ranging from $18 to $99 a glass. Executive chef Morgan
Mueller has created a special menu of small bites such as caviar
with buckwheat blini and crème fraîche, and oysters
with verjus mignonette and cocktail sauce—or you can just
hang on for the oyster happy hour on Fridays! 448 Brannan St. at
3rd St., 415-904-4100.
all consumers of wine, whether you’re a restaurant,
wine bar, or just a total wine geek: do you know about ~RECORK
AMERICA~? It’s a pilot program in California
and the Pacific Northwest designed to recycle natural cork wine
closures. The program is focused on obtaining used and surplus
corks from winery tasting rooms, bottling lines, and quality assurance
laboratories, but collection locations are also being established
with key retailers and restaurants in larger metropolitan areas.
So start saving those corks, especially during this cork-popping
holiday season, and you can drop them off at a variety of collection
locations, including the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Whole Foods
Markets, and Presidio Sports Basement. To see all the locations, click
here. Only natural cork is being accepted—no plastic
or metal closures.
More wine-related news: ~JONATHAN FARR~ is
no longer the wine director at Shanghai 1930—he is the
new assistant GM at Town Hall.
Some booze news: I mentioned a while back that Joie de Vivre Hospitality
is opening ~SWANK~ in
the space formerly occupied by G Bar in Laurel Heights. The opening
is this Wednesday December 3rd. The vibe will be swingin’ ’60s
(Harvey Wallbangers and Champagne cocktails are on the menu), and
the space is sporting sleek retro décor. There’s a
fireplace, an outside patio, and a lounge outfitted with shag rugs
and comfy couches. Open Mon–Thu 5pm–12am, and Fri–Sat
5pm–1am, closed Sun. 488 Presidio Ave. at California, 415-346-7431.
something like 15 years of ownership (female ownership, ironically),
the ~MEN’S ROOM~ in the Castro
will have a new owner (a man, this go-round), who is going to be
changing the name to Last Call. Otherwise not much is expected
to change, well, except the vintage rainbow sign—the neighborhood bar
vibe is expected to continue. The changeover should happen in January.
3988 18th St. at Noe, 415-861-1310.
Tomorrow, Wednesday December 3rd, mixologist ~SCOTT BEATTIE~,
formerly of Healdsburg’s Cyrus and his just-released first
Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus,
will be teaming up with master distiller ~LANCE WINTERS~ of
St. George Spirits (Hangar One vodkas) to discuss the use of hand-crafted
spirits in winter-citrus cocktail making. It all goes down in the
Macy’s Cellar Union Square. Scott’s “Waverly
Place Echo” will be showcased, Lance will be available to
discuss the spirits he produces, and Scott will sign copies of
his book, available for purchase for $24.95. 6:30pm. 170 O'Farrell
Arlequin Champagne Tasting
Thu. Dec. 4, 2008
Arlequin Wine Merchant
384 Hayes St.
Cross: Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
$50 in advance
$60 at the door
DECEMBER 02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Did someone say bubbles? I thought so. This Thursday, Arlequin
Wine Merchant will host a ~CHAMPAGNE EVENING~,
featuring tastes from well-known producers, including Krug, Pol
Roger, Bollinger, Gosset, and Ruinart, as well as boutique producers
including Vilmart, Pierre Peters, and Rene Geoffroy.
houses will pour more than 30 different Champagnes, accompanied
by gourmet fare from Arlequin Café. All featured Champagnes
will be available for purchase at special event pricing at Arlequin
Wine Merchant. To purchase tickets in advance, visit arlequinwinemerchant.com.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Meadowood Napa Valley
900 Meadowood Ln.
St. Helena, CA 94574
$350 per person
$1225 per couple, per night, with lodging
02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Now,
I know money is super tight for a lot of people right now.
But for some folks, it isn’t. And for those with a little
dough to spare, this event is going to tempt you something fierce. ~THE
TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS~ is a Meadowood signature event,
when twelve renowned chefs from around the country collaborate
with twelve of Napa Valley’s preeminent vintners to present
holiday feasts on twelve December evenings. The event is an amazing
fundraiser for Share Our Strength, a 24-year-old national organization
working to make sure no child in America grows up hungry. Maybe
a dinner can be a holiday gift for your honey?
The line-up of guest chefs and partner vintners includes:
Tuesday, December 9, Michael Symon, Lola,
Cleveland, OH; Vintner Partners: Pam Hunter and Carl Doumani,
Wednesday, December 10, Anita Lo, Annisa and
Bar Q, New York City; Vintner Partners: Charles and Ali Banks,
Jonata and Screaming Eagle
Friday, December 12, SOLD
OUT Nancy Silverton
and Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza and Pizzeria Mozza, La Brea Bakery,
Los Angeles; Vintner Partners: Kelly and Paul Fleming, Kelly
Saturday, December 13, Koren Grieveson, Avec, Chicago; Vintner
Partner: Bo Barrett, Chateau Montelena
Monday, December 15, Roland Passot, La Folie, San Francisco;
Vintner Partners: Ann Colgin and Joe Wender, Colgin Cellars
Tuesday, December 16, Floyd Cardoz, Tabla, New York; Vintner
Partners: Donn and Molly Chappellet, Chappellet Vineyard & Winery
Wednesday, December 17, Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park,
New York; Vintner Partners: Bart and Daphne Araujo, Araujo Estate
Thursday, December 18, April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig,
New York; Vintner Partner: Deborah and H. William Harlan, BOND Estates
Friday, December 19, Joachim Splichal, Patina Restaurant Group,
Los Angeles; Vintner Partner: Tor and Susan Kenward, TOR Kenward Family Wines
Saturday, December 20, Piero Selvaggio and Luciano Pellegrini,
Valentino, Las Vegas; Vintner Partners: Jeff and Valerie Gargiulo, Gargiulo
Tuesday, December 23, Traci Des Jardins, Jardinière,
Mijita Cocina Mexicana, and ACME Chophouse, San Francisco, with Alejandro Ayala,
Meadowood; Vintner Partners: Susan Boswell, Chateau Boswell, Joshua Peeples,
Wednesday, December 24, Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant
at Meadowood, St. Helena; Vintner Partner: John Conover, PlumpJack Winery and
story and menu preparation will be captured on video and will
12 consecutive nights in December, along with all of the recipes.
for The Twelve Days of Christmas begins at $350 per person
including tax and gratuity for dinner, or $1225 per couple,
per night, and includes one night’s lodging at Meadowood
and dinner seating for two. There will only be one seating per
evening and space for each dinner is very limited. Reservations
will be confirmed as received.
The $1225 lodging and dinner price per night excludes occupancy
tax, but includes dinner gratuity and will be charged to your
credit card upon receipt of your reservation. Should you need
to cancel your reservation, a notice of thirty days is required
for a refund.
02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Duggan
a partner in the Latin cocktail lounge Cantina,
an educator, consultant, and a culinary boozehound who says, “America:
love it or leave it!”
Repeal Day: The Fight for Your Right to Party
This Friday, December 5th, marks the 75th Anniversary of one
of the most significant dates for American liberty. In 1933,
with the House having secured enough votes from states across
the country, the 18th Amendment was overturned by the 21st Amendment
and the era of Prohibition was repealed. And this Friday there
will be rampant celebrations happening across our City as we
toast to our freedom.
It’s wise to remember that those thirteen years of Prohibition
were some of the darkest times in American history. Figuratively,
we waged a Civil War upon ourselves: jobs were lost, poverty
skyrocketed, literary and visual artists fled overseas, crime
syndicates were formed and then bullied business for decades
thereafter. The list of sins that the Anti-Saloon League, Mrs.
Carry Nation and her Temperance Union inflicted via the Volstead
Act (the 18th Amendment’s street name) upon Americans resulted
in generations of cultural, sociological, and even, physical
death. It was only the 21st Amendment that brought new life back
into this country; and it is December 5th, 1933, ‘Repeal
Day,’ that this barman insists is the day America was born
a very primal level, it is because of Repeal Day that you and
I can enjoy a bloody Mary and an Irish coffee, then a mimosa
and a glass of sauvignon blanc, then a pitcher of Trumer Pilsner
and a shot of Tequila and a dram of Scotch. However, Repeal Day
signifies much more than one’s choice of beverage, as it
relies upon the uniquely American philosophy of personal liberty.
Thomas Jefferson, over 100 years prior, wrote, “I would
rather be exposed to the inconveniences of too much liberty than
to those attending too small a degree of it.” Me too, Tom.
very much enjoy the aspects and hours of urbanity, in particular
the enjoyments of our culinary City, much of which is supported
by the sale of alcohol. And it’s this selling of alcohol
that deeply contributes to the language and community in our
San Francisco Bay Area. Running a small business, I am very aware
of this; as I imagine thousands of other entrepreneurs are, who
offer jobs to millions more, all because of Repeal Day. This
extends to the corn farmer in Nebraska who is sustained by selling
his crop to the Jack Daniel’s distillery and the Saturday
evening dishwasher at Gary Danko. I testify, it is because of
Repeal Day David Nepove is Mr. Mojito. Ed Hamilton runs
the Ministry of Rum because of Repeal Day. Camper English
pontificates Alcademics because of Repeal Day. Eugenio Jardim
is San Francisco’s sassiest sommelier because of Repeal
Winters distills Hangar One vodka because of Repeal Day. Robert ‘Bobby’ Cook opened the original C. Bobby’s
Owl Tree because of Repeal Day. Scott Beattie created Artisanal
Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus because
of Repeal Day. Charles Neal. Julio Bermejo. Kermit Lynch. Marcovaldo
Dionysus and Marco Karakasevic. Jacques B. and Dom V. and Hans
P. Wolfgang Weber and Jon Bonné. The Speakeasy Brewery
and the 209 distillery. And, of course, R Bar.
Repeal Day there would have been no Studio 54, no Last Word,
no Sex on the Beach, no Rolling Rock, or Buttery Chardonnay.
No Jungle Juice, Keg Stands, or Beer Bongs. Two Buck Chuck.
Less Filling, Tastes Great. Shaken, not stirred. Beer pong,
breathalyzers, and DUIs. Sam Malone and Cliff Claven. Bottle
Service, and Gin & Juice.
James Bond. “I get off at 4AM.” Jack Kerouac, William
Saroyan, and Charles Bukowski. Jell-O shots, and malt liquor.
Cosmopolitans and F***$n merlot! No NOPA, no Alembic,
no Bourbon & Branch. Sommeliers. Bar managers. Bartenders!
AA. 86’d. Chilled shots of Patron. “Would you like
a beer back with that?” Modern Drunkard or Mr. Boston.
Wine coolers or wine bars. The revival of the Sazerac-Manhattan-Negroni-Aviation-Pisco
Punch-Caipirinha. Hooters. Alabama Slammers. White zinfandel.
Zima. The King Of Beers.
Without Repeal Day, there would never have been a Happy Hour.
One of my favorite writers is William Saroyan, who spent much
of his life living in San Francisco. Saroyan, in 1938, wrote
the Pulitzer Prize winning play, The Time of Your Life,
set in a saloon on our very own Pacific Street. A mere six years
after Prohibition had been repealed, on Broadway, Saroyan achieved
one of the greatest honors in American letters by staging life
in an alcohol-induced setting. (Carry Nation, eat your heart
out.) In his preface to the script, Saroyan wrote, “In
the time of your life, live, so that in that good time there
shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your
life touches.” In this time of change for our country,
Saroyan’s words resound loud and clear.
a friend who peddles wines and spirits by day, remarked, “I
feel as though I’m not contributing much anymore. I don’t
create new experiences or changes in peoples lives.” I
buy a lot of hooch for my bar from this friend, and I said to
him; “Kieran, on Election Night, Cantina broadcasted the
results to a crowd of hundreds. It was a night many people will
never forget. We went through three cases of Champagne in three
hours. You sold me that Champagne. Because of you, people were
able to celebrate. You helped to give them a night they will
Friday, why not repeal a restriction or two in your life; breathe
in the nose of a lusty cabernet, the deep peat of an Islay
Scotch or the tartness of a pitcher of Margaritas with friends;
if there’s something we can be deeply proud of
and grateful for, it’s Repeal Day.
DECEMBER 02, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Rainn Wilson (Dwight from The Office)
was spotted with his son at Citizen Cake one night, and then
came in again the next morning. Yup, he’s a fan!
Anatomy star Eric Dane and his wife
Rebecca Gayheart thoroughly enjoyed the waffles at Brown Sugar
Kitchen in West Oakland a few Sundays ago.
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
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