tablehopper
table of contents This week's tablehopper: captain beefheart.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the regular
it's about time we met

the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
shindigs/feasts/festivals
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

Hot restaurant space

Win a wine trip to Australia

Cheese School of San Francisco

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Zojo Media

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO So, I am back from the mountains, and if I didn't have my photoshoot for my book scheduled last week, I would have been making as many excuses as possible to stay up in Tahoe—it's beyond gorg up there in August. But about the photoshoot: whoa. Talk about tablehopping: I think we managed to hit something like 25 locations around town in two days. Yes, it was insane and grueling, but also thrilling—we got so many amazing shots (oh San Francisco, you make it look easy!). Thanks to all the restaurant, bar, café, deli, and taco truck folks who helped us pull this off!

imageThe photographer, the talented Ed Anderson, was a total champ (he did the photographs for the A16 cookbook). And luckily we got to eat, drink, and taste the majority of what we shot, so you know I chose well, heh. Like the Guinness float pictured here from St. Francis Fountain. (Looks good on a warm day like today, right? You should try that thing at 11am, let me tell you.) Anyway, it's very cool to see how nicely this book is coming together.

So here's the part of my column when you're going to want to tell me to go to hell. I almost don't want to tell you. I don't even understand the convergence of amazing sh*t happening in my life this week. (Pinch pinch.) Okay, I'm going to come clean with you.

As soon as today's column is posted, I'm scooting up to wine country to catch the second half of the Papillon VIII event at Opus One/Robert Mondavi Winery (can't wait to meet the Demon Chef, Alvin Leung), and am staying up there one more day so I can eat at, er, um, The French Laundry. I'm pretty darn excited, because guess what? This will be my first time dining there! Like many folks, I've been waiting to dine at the Laundry for a long time; I wanted to be sure I went with equally food-and-wine obsessed friends, and I'll be damned, that's exactly what's happening. So glad I held out.

Once I waddle my way back to the City, I'll be home for 48 hours, and then here's where things get really ridiculous: I am then packing my bags and catching a flight this weekend to Spain. Jerez, to be exact (can you hear me lisp it?). I'll be there for a week, touring the bodegas during harvest and learning a ton about sherry. And hunting down some jamón ibérico de bellota, oh you know it. Can't believe I haven't been to Spain since I was 20, so I'm giddy like a teenage girl over this trip.

See why I almost didn't want to tell you about my upcoming week? I know, it's gross. I feel like I just won some crazy culinary jackpot or something. Anyway, I will be Tweeting when I can, and will have a full report on my shenanigans in my column in two weeks—but next Tuesday afternoon you'll only hear the sound of crickets.

I hope you had a swell Labor Day—I was actually home writing this thing all day and night because I know I owed you a beefy column this week. I hope you're hungry.

Hasta luego, amigos.

~la Marcia

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the chatterbox

Hot restaurant spaceSEPTEMBER 8, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO ~THE CARNELIAN ROOM~, the old-school restaurant known for its mega views (and Grand Marnier soufflés) at the top of the Bank of America building will be closing after almost 40 years in business. From what I heard, the restaurant is serving its last Caesar salad on December 31st, 2009 (it's not closing on Christmas Eve, as reported elsewhere). I liked this post from Jordan Mackay about sommelier Mike Jabari and the wine list he amassed during his 30-plus years there. Best of luck to the staff working there, many of them long-term employees. 555 California St. at Montgomery, 415-433-7500.

Looks like ~ESSENCIA~, the Peruvian corner place in Hayes Valley has closed. The number is disconnected, so I wasn't able to get in touch with anyone there. 401 Gough St. at Hayes.

Some changes in the Western Addition/NOPA: neighborhood favorite ~GREEN CHILE KITCHEN~ is moving out of its tiny corner location and into the now-closed Café Neon space at McAllister and Baker, just one block away. GCK anticipates opening in the new space in October. The bigger space with a full kitchen and fryer mean an expanded menu, which will include sopapillas, green chile burgers, and chile rellenos! Owner Trevor Logan hopes to open an ice cream and dessert place in the "old" GCK space (601 Baker at Fulton) called Chile Ice Cream, but the primary focus is getting the new GCK location up and running first. 1801 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-614-9411.

Another switcheroo: wanted to update you on the timing for the new ~QUINCE~ location. Quince's last dinner at the Octavia Street restaurant will be served on Saturday September 19th, and on October 1st, they will open Quince in the new Jackson Square location. (They are currently accepting reservations for both locations at 415-775-8500.) Cotogna, the more casual café, will open in a few months next door to Quince (in the former Myth Café space). 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery.

One more switch: based on permit changes, I discovered the Argentine steakhouse in North Beach, ~EL RAIGON~, is closing. The location is going to become the casa for Don Pisto's (Don Pisto's was previously trying to take over the vacant North Beach Lobster Shack space). Now, what is Don Pisto's? I have no freaking idea. Eater does have some details on the deal: it looks like El Raigon will close in October, and they have hopes of reopening elsewhere, perhaps in wine country. 510 Union St. at Grant, 415-291-0927.

Over in the Presidio, the owners of ~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ have hired the Puccini Group as consultants to help with the day-to-day management of the restaurant, effective now. Plans include adding a lounge area, new patio design, making some adjustments to the menu (favorites will stay, while some new dishes will be added, including more easy-to-share small plates in the bar area), and late-night dining will be introduced, with specials in the bar and lounge. The changes are still being discussed and are to be determined, but it's expected that everything will be in place by mid October. Building 563, Ruger St., 415-885-1888.

Chef Erica Holland-Toll's menu is now in place at ~DUCCA~, you can check out a PDF of it here. 50 3rd St. at Mission, 415-977-0271.

image~POLENG LOUNGE~ is going to be open for lunch, starting today! The menu will highlight Asian street food, served in ready-to-go biodegradable containers. Dishes include a glass noodle salad, chicken adobo, ma po tofu, and more. You can see the menu o' deliciousness here; all items are $8. The lunch service is designed to be efficient and quick: just order from the cashier/bartender, get your number, take a seat wherever you want, and your food will be brought out to you. (Later in the month, chef Tim Luym will be unveiling a line of tea-oriented pastries.) But check this out: Poleng Lounge is giving away 50 free lunches every day for this week, through September 15th. They want people to come check out the menu, so nothing will quite do that like free food, right? Lunch is served from 11am–4pm. 1751 Fulton Ave. at Masonic, 415-441-1751.

More street food news: was sorry to hear Namu's ~HAPPY BELLY~ hot dog cart will no longer be operating in Golden Gate Park, home of their kimchee dog (read more from Eater on the what and why here), but at least they will continue rocking their lunchtime stand at the Thursday farmers' market at the Ferry Building.

Looks like while I was away, ~BITE~ opened in the TenderNob. According to Yelpers, there are hefty deli sandwiches, salads, rotisserie chicken, soup, and more. The owner, Ike Aboubzou, owns the Yogi Food Market next door at 908 Sutter, plus Dolce Gelato (916 Sutter). Hours are 4pm–2am daily—and starting next week, they will be opening at 11:30am. 912 Sutter St. at Leavenworth, 415-563-2483.

Cheese School of San FranciscoBased on permit changes, it looks like ~ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL~ may be opening a second location on Mission Street in the Café Arguello location. According to GrubStreet, negotiations are underway for the 2,000-square-foot space. How novel, you'll be able to order a beer in the same establishment where you ordered your sausage. Will keep you posted on timing and more. 2832 Mission St. at 24th St.

Fans of ~MISSION MINIS~ organic cupcakes will be happy to hear they are opening a retail space and bakery in the Mission soon, according to a post on their Twitter feed. Perhaps you've tried their red velvet cupcake at Philz, a horchata one at El Metate, or you've seen the golf cart that they use for deliveries tooling around the neighborhood? Brandon Arnovick and his posse of helpers are busy freshening the space and tiling, and once City sign-offs are complete, they will be open for business. They'll just have to see how the permits go—the plan is for October. And there are going to be some cool flavors in the works, stand by! Hours will be potentially 6am–6pm daily. 3168 22nd St. at Mission, 415-378-7827.

And now, a little news about two of my favorite and friendly front-of-house faces you'll be seeing around town: Jim Minch, formerly of Postrio, is the new general manager at Spruce, and you'll find Daniel Detorie hosting and acting as the manager at Florio on Monday and Tuesday nights.

The food community was horrified with the terrible news about a fire that broke out at ~SOUL FOOD FARM~ in Vacaville, home of my very favorite eggs (and the favorite of many chefs around town, who also love Alexis Koefoed's chickens). The family tragically lost over 1,000 baby chickens, their beloved barn from the 1880s, chicken houses, and over 30 grazing acres of the 55-acre property burned. In a word, devastating. You can read more in this post by Bonnie Powell on The Ethicurean, and there is a new Soul Food Farm blog with photos and more on the harrowing story.

There is a Soul Food Farm Fire Fund that has been set up on PayPal if you can possibly donate money (any amount helps) and assist them as they try to rebuild: they will need cash in order to build new chicken coops and order replacement birds in the hopes of keeping this precious business afloat. They are a wonderful family (perhaps you saw the Edible San Francisco article about them?) and trust me, we want to be able to buy their oh-so-special eggs and pastured chickens. Even if you don't know them, perhaps you will be inspired to help them rebuild. Here's wishing them all the best in their efforts to get back on their feet. You can keep track of things on their newly launched blog.

On a more uplifting note, this was just too cute to not mention: Jennifer McMahon, chef at Da Flora in North Beach, and Darren Lacey, the chef at the Chancellor Hotel, got married a few weeks back at the Carnelian Room. The wedding ring featured a small pearl Darren found in an oyster at the Hog Island Oyster Company at the Ferry Building. The first pearl found in a Hog Island oyster! Congrats to the new couple.

A tidbit from reader Jason B.: "The stand-alone ~BRYAN'S QUALITY MEATS~ has shuttered and reopened inside of a remodeled front section of Bryan's." 3445 California St. at Laurel, 415-752-0179.

~METRO CAFé 311~ in the Lower Haight/Divisadero Corridor has launched a wickedly affordable $25 three-course prix-fixe deal, and here's the best part: you can order anything you want on the menu, all night, any night. You could start with an app of roasted beets and goat cheese, escargot in puff pastry, or grilled squid with white beans; mains include duck confit, braised lamb shank, or grilled wild salmon, and there's also a cheeseburger. 311 Divisadero St. at Page, 415-552-0903.

Next Saturday September 19th is the second year of the ~TASTE OF SOUTH BEACH AND MISSION BAY~ fair at South Park, San Francisco's oldest public park. The focus will be on the many restaurants, bars, and businesses in the South Beach and Mission Bay Area. Some of the participating restaurants and bars are District, 21st Amendment, Bacar, Zuppa, Hotel Utah, Philz Coffee, Brickhouse Café, Hennessy's, O'Neill's Irish Pub, Tres Agaves, Paragon, and MoMo's. Local restaurants' signature dishes and drinks will be available for purchase at a moderate cost. There will also be an entertainment stage with live music performances, a children's activity area, and other vendors. 12pm–6pm.

Cheese School of San Francisco~THE CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting a special evening and fundraiser for the California Artisan Cheese Guild called Meet the Cheesemakers on Friday September 25th. The event will be in a cocktail party format, with a selection of cheeses, wines, and accompaniments. Guests will be able to mix and mingle with several of California's most celebrated cheesemakers (like the makers of Humboldt Fog and Cowgirl Creamery) during an intimate tasting where artisans will share their very best standbys as well as new creations. $35 per person. Advance registration is required. Call for more information or to make reservations at 415-346-7530. The event is from 6pm–9pm. 2155 Powell St. at Francisco.

Fans of David Lebovitz will want to head to ~FOG CITY NEWS~ on Friday September 25th to listen to him talk about and sign copies of his new book, The Sweet Life In Paris (Broadway Books; $24.95). One of America's most respected pastry chefs and cookbook authors and now one of the most widely read food bloggers, David moved to Paris from San Francisco in 2002 to start a new life following the sudden death of his partner. This is a funny, instructive book about life in Paris from the perspective of an American as he embarks on various adventures, meets new people, and tastes different things. Complete with fifty original recipes for dishes both sweet and savory. Valrhona chocolate will be sampled during David's visit. 12pm–2pm. 455 Market St. at 1st St., 415-543-7400.

Bruce Aidells will be at ~THE TYLER FLORENCE SHOP~ in Mill Valley signing books (The Complete Book Of Pork and The Complete Meat Cookbook) and talking about artisan ham and bacon on Thursday September 10th from 6pm–8pm. (He is introducing a line of artisan ham and bacon that he developed for Vande Rose Farms, an Oskaloosa, Iowa producer of all-natural, premium Duroc pork.) And Mary Karlin will be signing copies of her new book, Wood-Fired Cooking on Thursday September 17th from 6pm–8pm. 59 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley, 415-380-9200.

The Julie & Julia madness continues: ~PARTIES THAT COOK~ is hosting a special Julie & Julia Cooking Class this Friday September 11th. The class will showcase recipes and techniques from the movie, and will begin with a demo by Parties That Cook owner, Bibby Gignilliat, featuring techniques like how to make a mayonnaise, hollandaise, and the perfect pastry crust. You'll then be divided into two teams and each team will be responsible for cooking four dishes from the evening's menu. Don't be afraid of butter if you're coming to this one. $95 per person. 6:30pm–9:30pm. Dacor Kitchen, 871 Dubuque Ave., South San Francisco.

More cookin': ~ROSETTA COSTANTINO~ just posted the latest schedule of her Calabrese cooking classes on her website, which includes how to make ricotta cheese, or how to prepare a wild mushroom feast. Check it out now, because her classes fill up fast. Various dates. Paulding & Company, 1410-D 62nd St., Emeryville.

Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email.

 
the sponsor

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the regular

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La Mar Cebicheria Peruana
Pier 1 1/2
Cross: Washington St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

415-397-8880
website

Lunch
Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm
Sat–Sun 12pm–2:30pm

Dinner
Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10pm
Fri–Sat 5:30–10:30pm
Sun 5:30pm–9pm

Apps $10–$28
Entrées $17–$31
Desserts $9–$12

 

Hot restaurant space

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheese School of San Francisco

AUGUST 11, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO As we're segueing into our Indian summer, there's nothing like trying to prolong the warm weather vibe with alfresco dining on ceviches and drinking frothy pisco sours while taking in a view of the bay. Perched on the Embarcadero is ~LA MAR CEBICHERIA PERUANA~, the first stateside import from Peruvian executive chef Gastón Acurio's culinary empire. I had a chance to meet Acurio when the restaurant opened back in 2008—he was charismatic, friendly, easygoing, and delightfully pretense-free. He's like the Mario Batali of Peru, with numerous restaurants, a definitive culinary style, cookbooks, and a strong TV presence, although Acurio's empire is a bit more extensive than Batali's, spanning multiple countries. (Then again, I'm not sure if Acurio has any plans for his own line of cookware, Crocs, and brick ovens.)

I visited the restaurant for dinner when it first opened, and then the chef de cuisine left, so I returned to check it out for lunch, and then on a warm summer night I came back in for an early dinner on the back patio. And can you believe I have still barely made it through the menu? It's hefty.

And just like the menu, the restaurant itself is huge: there's a bar area in the front that fills up with Pisco punch–swilling peeps during happy hour, and once you enter the restaurant there's a spacious and loungey breezeway area that would be perfect for private parties. You follow a long and glowing cebiche bar into the dining room: it's a boisterous space, usually packed with people, with an open kitchen. It has an easy, summery vibe, with woven cerulean blue seats, lots of warm wood, and is full of light from outside. Cass Calder Smith designed the space, which is in a historic building (100 years and counting)—even the bathroom has historic status, which the little sign in there will tell you.

The back patio is definitely the coveted spot on our rare balmy days and nights, when we're like a population of patio-seeking missiles. The view of the water is a treat, and pssst, I'm about to give away a big secret about it. (Actually, on second thought, I'm not. I'm saving it for my book, ha! You'll just have to buy it in March 2010 to find out. Muah hua hua.) Anyway, it's gorgeous back there, and if you request a table under a heat lamp, you'll be sitting pretty when the evening breeze kicks in. Speaking of gorgeous, fellas and ladies who love ladies, wait until you see the hostesses, goodness—it's like a South American beauty pageant at the host stand.

While you're poring over the lengthy menu full of many dishes and ingredients you may not recognize, you're presented with one of the most colorful snacks: a basket of fried red potato, plantain, and yucca chips, with three creamy dipping sauces made with various Peruvian chiles (and different levels of heat). The chips go swimmingly with the cocktails here—the drinks are refreshing, and many use infused Piscos, like basil or rosemary (and they will get you feeling buzzed right quick).

If you're not starting with a cocktail, the wine list by Master Sommelier Emmanuel Kemiji features some South American selections (to be expected), and you can also explore Spanish vinos on the list as well. Which means there are some very reasonably priced selections by the glass (how novel, thank you), plus three flights that are designed to let you compare two wines, like a tempranillo from Spain and one from Lake County.

You cannot pass up the cebiches, which is what this place is known for. It's hard to choose, so there's actually a tasting of four for $28, a smart start if it's your first time and you're with a group (or just a hearty eater). On one visit I chose the mixto ($16), with perfectly cured mahi mahi, calamari, and octopus that play against the starch of yam and the monster white Peruvian corn (choclo), all dressed in a feisty and bright yellow aji amarillo (yellow pepper) leche de tigre (the cebiche marinade of lime juice and chile), spiked with red onion. Oh yeah, with some habanero in there for good measure. It's a fitting start to a meal here, full of electric color, with bright flavors to match.

The Technicolor parade continues with the causa tasting ($17), my favorite dish on the menu (I have ordered it every time). Causas are basically seasoned and whipped potatoes served lightly cool, dense little towers topped with a variety of seafood and piquant sauces. Think of the limeña as a Dungeness crab deviled egg (it comes with quail egg) plus a creamy sauce that has a richness like a Peruvian hollandaise, while the purple potato nikei is another crowd pleaser, crowned with ahi tuna, avocado puree, and a spicy aji amarillo and rocoto sauce. The only dud was the criolla, which came with dry mahi mahi topped with pickled onion—I'd rather double down with one of the previous two versions. There's also a mixed vegetable causa, the casera, for those who don't eat fish.

Another medley to consider is the empanada sampler ($18). They're flaky and light, stuffed with all kinds of deliciousness, from seafood to chicken to the tender lomo saltado (beef tenderloin with red onion and tomato). You also get some more faboo dipping sauces to play with.

Are you into beef? Then you should saddle up for the anticuchos de corazón ($11), skewers of grilled beef heart with a spicy rocoto sauce on the side. Now, are you freaking about the heart? Don't, because it's wonderful. The texture is a bit like that of skirt steak, a touch chewy, with a slight mineral/iron tang to it. This dish rocked the flavor house, with its aji panca marinade, plus lightly fried slices of potato, more Peruvian giant corn, and the kick-ass rocoto sauce. Rawr. But if you don't want to beef it up, there are also delicious skewers of grilled octopus ($16) or chicken livers ($9).

The kitchen really knows how to handle seafood. My sis and I attacked the arroz jugoso ($24), a dish that had the texture of a risotto that fandango-ed with a bouillabaisse or cioppino. This juicy number was loaded with baby shrimp, clams, mussels, calamari, octopus, and white fish, all cooked perfectly and tender. It can be so tricky to nail a dish with mixed seafood, like the clams can end up rubbery while the mussels need more time, you know? Not here. My sole gripe is that is was unexpectedly the rice that was a touch underdone.

Actually, since we're on gripes, I have definitely had service timing issues each time I've been here, with occasionally long lags in between courses, or sometimes my food arriving before my wine or cocktails (I think the front bar is so far away that they get snagged). I also had a wine glass that was not cleaned very well. These are the kinds of important details that can fall through the cracks in big places such as this one. But the staff is friendly and quite knowledgeable about everything (don't let the unfamiliar ingredients on the menu intimidate you—your server can walk you through all of it), so it helps smooth over any bumps.

The way the menu is constructed, it lends itself well to sharing and group dining, easygoing business dinners, and definitely double dates. There are a variety of seating options where you can get your posse together, like the 18-person table that has its own private area (although it's not enclosed). However, the bill can add up quick, so I wouldn't host a big party with my money-strapped artiste friends here. (The desserts are also oddly expensive, hovering around $11.) Nor would I bring a lot of vegetarians here, although there are enough choices that they won't go hungry.

And just in case you're fired up to head over for dinner tonight, keep in mind it can be hard to land reservations here—it's definitely popular. Speaking of popular, the happy hour has great deals on Piscos ($5) and tasty bar bites—check it out Monday through Friday, 4pm–6pm. Salud!

 
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the lush

Cheese School of San FranciscoSEPTEMBER 8, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO In case you see some, er, heated protestors on Thursday September 10th, it's because there will be a "friendly march" in San Francisco as part of a national awareness campaign to ~LEGALIZE CACHAÇA~, hosted by Leblon Cachaça. The point of the "march" is to recognize Cachaça as its own category (like Champagne or Cognac) and not as Brazilian rum. The San Francisco march begins at Calzone's (430 Columbus Ave.) from 5pm–6pm, then Rose Pistola (532 Columbus Ave.) from 6pm–7pm, at Mangarosa (1548 Stockton St.) from 7pm–8pm, and finishing at 15 Romolo (8:30pm–11pm). Yes, caipirinhas will figure prominently.

Starting next Tuesday September 15th, ~JARDINIÈRE~ is kicking off a Curtain Time "Mid"-Night Special that will run indefinitely. The mid-night special will run in the J Lounge from 8pm–10pm on Tuesday through Saturday nights and will feature the following $8 cocktails: the Martinez, Tippler's Delight, Tequila Crusta, and the Bay Area Burro. The evening will also feature appetizer specials for $8 or less. 300 Grove St. at Franklin, 415-861-5555.

Next Wednesday September 16th is the Pig + Booze III dinner at ~ORSON~. The menu includes dishes like an amuse of "pork floss" with grilled sourdough ice cream and kimchee; tete de cochon en croute, a wood fire–roasted bone-in pork chop, and more. You can read the entire menu with the pairings here. The dinner is only $35, and you can take your pick of a cocktail or wine pairing for an additional $20. 5pm–10pm. 508 4th St. at Bryant, 415-777-1508.

Don't know anything about grappa? Want to learn something? On Thursday nights, ~BAR 888~ at the InterContinental will be hosting a weekly mini-education session on grappa with wine director and sommelier Amy Currens. She will introduce a new grappa each week, talking about various producers and how it's made. The class is from 5pm–6:30pm and is $12 per person. There is also a new Flights & Bites menu featuring four wines from Skylark Wines paired with bites from chef Dominique Crenn of Luce. Available after 5pm, $28 per person. Menu highlights include 2007 Skylark Orsi Vineyards Pinot Blanc with scallops, sunchoke, and apple; and 2006 Skylark Syrah, Unti Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma with pork belly, coffee celeriac, and caramel onion. 888 Howard St. at 5th St.

Mark your calendars: it now looks like ~EVE~ in SoMa will be having its grand opening on Saturday September 19th. 575 Howard St. at 2nd St.

Sommelier Paul Einbund is going to be working with Melissa Perello on her upcoming restaurant, ~FRANCES~. He will be the opening GM, eventually hiring someone to fill the position later, in addition to starting and maintaining the beverage program. He mentioned trying to have some wine on tap, and will certainly have some other surprises. 3870 17th St. at Noe.

 
the sponsor

Cheese School of San Francisco

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the socialite

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Special September Menus

Masa's
648 Bush St.
Cross: Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

415-989-7154
website

Poggio
777 Bridgeway Blvd.
Sausalito, CA 94965

415-332-7771
website

Perbacco
230 California St.
Cross: Battery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111

415-955-0663
website

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO A variety of restaurants are hosting ~SPECIAL EVENINGS, MENUS, AND MORE IN SEPTEMBER~. For the month of September, ~MASA'S~ is hosting a Celebration of Tomatoes, honoring Verdure Farm in Healdsburg. Executive chef Gregory Short has created a special, eight-course tasting menu celebrating late-harvest heirloom tomatoes, available Tuesday through Saturday nights. The menu could include dishes such as a vine-ripened tomato salad with sourdough croutons, 50-year-old balsamic vinegar, and basil-infused extra virgin olive oil; or a "BLT" of braised bacon toast, hearts of romaine, tomatoes three ways, and truffle-parmesan foam. The eight-course menu is $105 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. An optional wine pairing is available for an additional $79.

From September 15th–19th, chef Peter McNee of ~POGGIO~ in Sausalito will be cooking up seafood in a dozen crudo (raw/marinated/cured) and cotto (cooked) dishes for the first-annual Festa del Pesce. The chef has sourced as much locally caught seafood on the menu as possible—from Monterey sardines, calamari, and anchovies to mackerel and swordfish. The antipasti dishes (each preparation is different) are $7–$9 per dish, or three for $21.

Starting on September 22nd, chef Staffan Terje of ~PERBACCO~ will begin a series of regional menus, in addition to offering Perbacco's main menu, where he will reveal the best traditional and seasonal dishes he has found in the individual provinces of Piemonte. Menus will be offered as a four-course prix fixe for $45, or individual dishes will be offered á la carte. The choice of province is determined by when a main ingredient is at its peak both locally and in Piemonte (with the exception of truffles) or when weather and seasonality dictates the cuisine.

Up first is Cuneo, from September 22nd–October 17th. This province is alive at harvest time with nuts, mushrooms, grapes, and peppers. Dishes on the special menu include snails braised with anchovy, tomato, and pine nuts; wild mushroom agnolotti and fonduta agnolotti with hazelnut brown butter; and Barbera-braised oxtail with roasted grapes and potato puree.

 
the starlet

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Sightings galore, so let's start here: Linda Ronstadt came into Angelina's Catering in the Richmond last week.

Rap star Too $hort went to dinner at the newly opened Lake Chalet in Oakland.

Kathy Griffin was in town last week for her show and was spotted dining at the Grand Cafe on Friday for dinner, devouring flammenküche and gnocchi (carbs be damned!).

Halle Berry and her model man had a very early dinner at Piazza D'Angelo in Mill Valley. They shared some bruschetta and split a pizza margherita and a mista salad. They were both reportedly very sweet (and yes, gorgeous).

Girl! Ms. Tyra Banks dined at Gialina in Glen Park on Saturday night, and seemed to be able to fly under the radar a bit since she was very low key, wearing a headscarf, flats, and wasn't totally "made up." The only giveaway was the suited driver standing outside the front door, next to a big black Escalade with tinted windows. Friends of hers brought her in, a posse of eight. They ordered just about every salad and a variety of pizzas. As one of my spies noted, "She must stay thin by skipping the carbs as she was eating everything off of the top of the pizza with a fork and leaving the crust." (Shame, it's one of my favorite pizza crusts!) And yes, she had a nice time. Maybe she'll be inspired to produce and be a judge on America's Next Top Pizza?

 
the matchmaker

Delfina is looking for an experienced pastry chef to lead their dessert program into Delfina's second decade. Candidates must have substantial prior experience in a busy restaurant, preferably Italian. This is a hands-on production job in a small, bustling kitchen. You'll get to work with excellent products from the farmers market and beyond and to work in a restaurant full of awesome people.

Our pastry chef directs the daily changing dessert list at Delfina, and produces desserts for our two pizzerias. Shifts begin at 6am.

Please contact Craig Stoll: craig [at] delfinasf [dot] com.


Pizzeria Delfina is looking for a Manager. Please contact Anne Stoll: anne [at] delfinasf [dot] com.

 

All content © 2009 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 Commons license for more detail.

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