DECEMBER 23, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay,
before we dive out of holiday happenings, I had to forward this ~CUTE
AND CLEVER HOLIDAY NOTE~ I received from Sent
Sovi in Saratoga:
the holiday season of 2008 and all through the house, many creatures
were stirring, but definitely not a mouse. (They cause problems
with the health department.)
The settings were placed on the tables with care with hopes that
our guests would soon be there (in this economy, hope is a good
wine was nestled snugly in the cellar, aging gracefully, hopefully
becoming better (or tempting me to transfer it to my “personal
With me in my coat and Khin in her dress, we settled in to serve
our wintertime best. (She looks a lot better in a dress than I
do in a chef coat.)
rain pounded, the pots did clank, but by five o’clock
it was all in shape. (Yes, our staff does read this - 5:05 is not
5:00, actually 4:50 is 5:00.)
Through the door came with such a quiet sound a steady stream
of people that wanted to sit down! And down they did, and down
they will, at first one couple, and then the room did fill.
The people feasted and laughed all in good cheer; I smiled in
thanks and hope to see everyone again in the New Year.
Happy holidays to our loyal customers, staff and vendors. Thank
you for all of your support.
Chef/Owner, Sent Sovi
Many of you in or who follow the food blogging community are already
aware of this, but for the rest of you, the ~FIFTH
ANNUAL MENU FOR HOPE~ has started! It’s an inspiring
worldwide fundraising effort by food bloggers for a designated
charity. This year the charity of choice is the United
Nations World Food Programme, with
the funds specifically going to an important school lunch program
in Lesotho. Menu
for Hope is hosted by Pim of Chez Pim, and is
the annual major fundraising event for food bloggers. Last year,
the event raised over $90,000 for the Lesotho program.
amount is currently at $20,000.
The event is a raffle, with each ticket costing $10. There are
of prizes this year, broken into areas of the world so
everyone can participate, from the West Coast to the East Coast
to Europe to Asia to Canada. Yup, some tickets make a great last
minute holiday gift!
of the prizes are rather amazing, and how you strategize is up
to you. One year I won tickets to the TASTE3
conference, my first
time to attend, so I was beyond stoked. And some companies match
charity donations, so be sure to look into that. Winners are
announced on January 12th. Best of luck, and please consider
buying some tickets to this fantastic raffle, and wonderful cause!
I was bopping around the Mission yesterday, running a few last-minute
holiday errands when I really needed to be home writing my column,
but at least I turned the outing into research! First stop: I managed
to visit ~PHAT PHILLY~ on their first soft opening
day! Okay, I know we’re all getting fat (NOT with a ph) on
Bûche de Noël and fried fish and latkes and panettone,
but upon my first bite of my classic Philly cheesesteak (made with
Niman Ranch beef, caramelized onions, Whiz, and topped with hot
cherry peppers), I had zero guilt. Why? Because it was so delicious
that my brain stopped paying attention to calories. Well, maybe
I felt a little guilt, because I also tried their criss-cut waffle
fries with their house-made cheddar sauce made with Newcastle Ale,
topped with sweet caramelized onions ($4). Sorry, my heart: hurts
7" Amoroso rolls are flown in from Philly (the “phat” 12" size
will be start arriving in early January) and are super soft. And
let’s hear it for a quality beef sandwich for only $5.95
(the phat size will be $9.25). Until the 12" rolls arrive,
the owner was talking about offering a “buy one get one half-off” deal
or something like that—if your appetite is being demanding
like that, ask and find out. There are some vegetarian options,
eleven kinds with meat, plus chicken wings (BBQ or Buffalo), Italian
beef sandwiches (even the giardiniera comes from Chicago), salads,
and milkshakes! East Coast treats like Tastykakes, Herr’s
Pretzel’s and Chips, and Just Born Peanut Chews are coming
soon. There are lots of homemade sauces, like the marinara, cheddar
beer sauce, and BBQ. Beer (Pilsner Urquell, Blue Moon, and Newcastle)
will be on tap any day now—just waiting on permits. Oh, and
there are free refills on sodas! Enjoy. Open daily 11am–10pm,
and late-night weekend hours are coming soon—hopefully. 3388
24th St. at Valencia, 415-550-PHAT (7428).
I also trucked over to ~HUMPHRY
SLOCOMBE~, the ice cream shop off 24th Street
that is slated to open either Friday or Saturday, but of course
that date could slip—especially considering all the hell
owner Jake Godby (formerly of Coi, Fifth Floor, Boulevard)
has gone through to get this place open. You’ll be able
to try 10–12 flavors, and during the soft opening period
they will only be serving one size—a single serving—and
no sundaes yet. But check this out: during the first few days
of opening, Jake will be offering “pay what you want/can,” a
la Radiohead. Sweet. Some of the opening flavors will be secret
breakfast (bourbon and cornflakes), coconut sherbet, and balsamic
caramel. Check out the entire line-up of creamy culinary concoctions here—I
foresee restaurants ordering the foie gras and black walnut
flavors (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my
part). The space has red Woolworth’s swivel chairs that
date back to 1947, a bright blue awning, and looks cheerful
and modern. 2790 Harrison St. at 24th St., 415-550-6971.
in the Mission, I finally had a chance to check out ~MISSION
STREET FOOD~ last week, the Thursday night event with
rotating cooks that takes over Lung Shan. It was such a cool scene,
with all kinds of ages, from little kids to Mission hipsters to
couples to industry folks to groups of friends out for a bite.
The servers were so kind, the vibe was fun, and hello, let’s
hear it for the poutine from Carlo at Piccino!
Yeah, Marin Sun Farms beef and marrow gravy, with Cowgirl Creamery
cheese curds, and Kennebec fries, holla! Some of the best $7 I’ve
spent this month. I was also communing with the house special,
the gooey cheesesteak (oh jeez, what is up with all the cheesesteaks
in my life this week?) with pasilla peppers in a homemade flatbread,
with onion and cheese ($6.50). $2 Tecates, oh yeah. Kudos to cook
Anthony Myint from Bar Tartine for keeping this going—it
feels like such a unique and authentic San Francisco thing. Be
sure to check it out in the New Year.
Some downtown news: while I was doing some holiday shopping last
week, I noticed a note in the window of ~MORROW’S
NUT HOUSE~ that is was closing at the end of year. That
place has been around for ages—sorry to see it go. It’s
always been one of those kooky little SF spots to me. To be honest,
I didn’t stop to get the whole scoop because the owner is
quite a chatty character (see the name of the business). But for
you warm nut lovers, get ‘em while they’re hot… 111
Geary St. at Grant, 415-362-7969.
Also got notice that ~SELLERS
MARKETS~ has opened its third location. Plus there’s
a new item on the menu: Niman Ranch cheddar cheeseburger sliders,
and salt and pepper fries. Open Mon–Fri 7:30am–7:30pm,
and Saturdays until 3pm. 721 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-615-0341.
back in my ‘hood, Kathmandu Cafe has morphed
GRILL~. On the menu: North Indian dishes from chef
G.S Bankoti, who has been in San Francisco since 1984, cooking
at restaurants like Gaylord and New Delhi. Most dishes are around
$11, you can check out the menu on the site.
1279 Fulton St. at Divisadero, 415-567-5100.
Also in the 94117, ~NOPA~ has a brand-spanking-new
website, and has launched both a food and a spirits blog, check
it all out here.
that dial: on New Year’s Day while you’re recovering
on the couch, tune in to Iron
Chef America on the Food Network to watch ~NATE APPLEMAN~ (A16,
SPQR, and upcoming Urbino) battle it out against Iron Chef Michael
Details are still sparse on this project, but out in Potrero Hill, ~HORATIUS~ is
opening in the old Khyber Pass location. Here’s what I managed
to get from owner Horacio Gomes of Head Quarters Advertising: “Horatius
will be a Market Gallery featuring rare and gourmet products from
local and international vendors as well as a Horatius store brand.
Inside the Gallery there will be a bistro which uses some of the
products from the Market Gallery in the dishes on the menu. The
venue will also be available for corporate and private events.
We expect to open in the first few days of March 2009.” When
I get some menu details/more info, I’ll be sure to share.
350–360 Kansas Street at 16th St.
According to a permit, ~CITY KEBAB~ is moving
into the now-closed (sniff sniff) Tajine space on Russian Hill.
1338 Polk St. at Pine.
in a Marina, a bus-ridin’ tablehopper reader writes
in: “From my rainy day travels on the 22: ~RAMEN
CLUB~ in the Marina closed (looks like it has been open
for all of two months).” 3243 Scott St. at Chestnut.
week I mentioned an upcoming event on January 6th, ~OPENRESTAURANT WITH
SLOW FOOD NATION~. There are a few tweaks to the event:
the organizers and Yerba
Buena Center for the Arts have increased ticket capacity
so they can serve more people, and $20 will now buy you a meal
and glass of wine. Attendees are invited to come and participate
in the discussion for free. Here’s the new event announcement: “Engage
members of Slow Food Nation and the urban farming community as
they join OPENrestaurant, a socially engineered informal dinner
created by a collective of restaurant professionals. Participants
will share a simple meal while chewing on the question: How can
the urban landscape be productive? Meal ticket buyers will be
able to enjoy dinner and a glass of wine while learning more
about urban farming, foraging, and gleaning from people directly
involved in these practices. Entry to discussion is open to everyone.
Meal ticket is $20 general/$15 YBCA Members; discussion is FREE.
For tickets, please call the box office at 415-978-2787 or www.ybca.org.
The event begins at 7pm. YBCA Grand Lobby and Room for Big Ideas,
701 Mission St.
~A.G. FERRARI~ is
hosting a series of free cheese-pairing parties on Sundays in their
13 stores. Next Sunday December 28th (2pm–4pm) is prosecco
and cheese; January 11th you will taste six regional pecorino cheeses
paired with Italian mostarde; and January 25th is a tasting
of fresh Italian cheeses, like burrata. All cheese tastings are
complimentary! Click here for
Tonight, Tuesday December 23rd, at 18
Reasons is ~CHANUKAH PARTY: SPIN AND FRY!~ As
the event announcement states, “Feast on gourmet latkes and
local wines, spin dreidels and enjoy festive music. BYOM (Bring
your own menorah).” 7pm–9pm, $5–15 suggested
donation to benefit 18 Reasons. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St.
this afternoon I am making a trek down to Princeton to check
out my dad’s Southern Italian buddies’ new
café, ~CAFFÈ MEZZA LUNA~. The same
owners of nearby Mezza
Luna have opened this Italian style caffè, serving coffee
(the espresso is Mokarabica Caffè President), panini, piadine,
a hybrid style of pizza/focaccia a taglio, and eleven
kinds of homemade gelato. But here’s the part I’m most
excited about: they brought Domenico Spadafora from Fuscaldo, Calabria,
to be the pastry chef, and he is making traditional Southern
Italian pastries, like
cakes, cookies, and tortas (he also makes
the gelato). I even requested they make Southern Italian pesche
(peaches), and guess what, they are doing them (here’s a
pic of a batch I learned to make at one of Rosetta
Constantino’s classes)! I am going tonight to pick up
my dad’s birthday cake (shhhhhh), so I will regale you with
delicious details soon. Open 6am–8pm daily. 240 Capistrano
Rd. at Prospect, Princeton. 650-560-0137.
in Marin, Heidi Krahling of Insalata’s is
planning to open her new Mexican and Latin restaurant, ~MARINITAS~,
on February 2nd in the former Eat space. About the name, “This
is my playful Spanish interpretation meaning ‘people of Marin,’ ” says
Krahling. Heading up the kitchen will be Frank Villas, the chef
de cuisine at Mamacita for three years, and prior to that, he was
the sous chef at Sausalito's Sushi Ran for five. More info on the
menu, hours, and background on the restaurant will be available
soon. 218 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Bank, San Anselmo.
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