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The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion.

This week's tablehopper: hopping from city to city.

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Frrrrozen hot chocolate at Serendipity.

Oh, New York. I really don’t think I could have had more fun, had better weather, or eaten more. I could have used more sleep, however. And of course more time. I was all over town, so you can expect a full NYC recap (hopefully) in next week’s column. I have a ton of pics to upload, too. For now, here are three fave things that come to mind quickly: a bowl of boozy rum punch at the spiffy and brand-new Cienfuegos, the perfect meatball pizza at Jim Lahey’s Co., and my decadent bowl of tonkotsu ramen at Ippudo. Really, just the tip of the apple—the big apple.

But I had one heck of a fun event to return home for: the tablehopper Sandwich Social at Purcell Murray this past Saturday. We had quite the spread of deeelicious sandwiches from Kitchenette, Morty’s Deli, and Pal’s Takeaway, with each one demo-ing how to make their sandwiches (I totally learned some new Reuben technique). We also managed to plow through a case of Bagrationi sparkling wine (from Georgia—as in the former USSR), which paired especially well with the Dogpatch Millionaire (the fried chicken sandwich from Kitchenette). Thanks to everyone who came, and especially to the sandwich makers, who all worked an extra day for the event. Oh, and I had the audience shout out their favorite local sandwiches, check it out in the chatterbox.

I actually had to hop back on a plane on Monday and am now in Chicago through Wednesday for a quick work gig (alas, not much time to eat and play), and with Mother’s Day in the mix, let’s just say I barely had any time to write this column again. But I’ll be back in town for my book signing and reading at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley this Saturday, and the always-incredible Meals on Wheels event on Sunday. Yeah, it’s the night before I start my three-week cleanse, and I am going out with a (to-be-expected) bang. And as a cleanse warm-up exercise, I figured it was good timing to highlight a healthy restaurant in San Francisco, instead of my usual debauched style of dining—you can read my review of Greens in this week’s the regular.

Have a swell week,

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
May 11, 2010

Upcoming tablehopper Book Signings and Events

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After a two-week break from my book tour, I will be at Mrs. Dalloway’s in Berkeley this Saturday May 15th at 4pm. There will be snacks provided by their charming neighbor, the Elmwood Café, so come on by for an afternoon hang-out! 2904 College Ave. at Russell, Berkeley.

And then next Thursday May 20th, I will be taking part in the Appel and Frank Chic Summer Soirée Event, which most women who love to shop know ALL about. There will be all kinds of vendors, from clothing to bags to jewelry, plus cocktails, wine, and more. And I will be there as well, signing and selling books (and giving out free recommendations!). Use the discount code “TABLEHOPPER” for 50% off the $10 fee. *RSVP in advance here. Otherwise all tickets are $10 at the door. 5pm-9pm. Regency Center, Sutter Room, 1270 Sutter St. at Van Ness.

Next Saturday May 22nd, I will be up in Sonoma at Readers’ Books for a signing and reading at 4pm. And don’t be surprised if I have some sort of beverage for you to enjoy (the event is free). 130 E. Napa St. at 1st St. E., Sonoma.

See you soon. For more upcoming tablehopper signings and events, click here.

Some Favorite Sandwiches of tablehopper Readers

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“Daddy, gimme the sandwich!”

At the tablehopper Sandwich Social on Saturday, we had an audience participation moment, when everyone shouted out their ~FAVORITE SANDWICHES IN THE BAY AREA~. I promised to compile a list for everyone, so here’s the rundown: the BBQ pork bánh mì at Y & Y Vietnamese Deli on Clement; the Norman at Miller’s East Coast West; the lamb shoulder sandwich at Local Mission Eatery; the pastrami sandwich and the croque-monsieur at Tartine Bakery; the meatball sandwich at Saigon Sandwich; the oyster po’ boy at Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland; the PB&J at Mission Street Food; the veggie muffuletta at Estela’s in the Haight; the egg salad sandwich at Il Cane Rosso; the Saigon salmon sandwich at Fish. in Sausalito; and the breakfast sandwich at Jimmy Beans in Berkeley. Now I’ve added a few to my to-try list, how about you?

Heirloom Café Now Open in the Mission

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The lovely bar at Heirloom Café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I had a chance to swing by and get a peek of the brand-new ~HEIRLOOM CAFÉ~ over the weekend, and what a lovely addition it is to this quiet part of Folsom Street. The charming corner location dates back to 1900, with fifteen-foot ceilings and original Douglas fir wood floors. The location sat vacant for 35 years, so it was quite the transformation. The simple room has a classic European style, with a William and Morris bird and vine wallpaper print in cream and gold, banquettes flanking the walls, wood tables, and an elegant floral display upon entering the room. There are 48 seats, with two communal tables that will be reserved for walk-ins—one seats eight, and the other up to twelve. There’s also a marble bar overlooking the (very) open kitchen, with four to five seats.

The owner is Boston-born Matt Straus, a recent transplant from Los Angeles, who has a serious passion for wine. His background includes working at Campanile as a server for two years, and as a wine director at Grace and at Wilshire restaurant in Santa Monica for three years. He moved to San Francisco in 2008, and has worked as a sommelier and server at Jardinière, and a server at RN74. He went to cooking school for nine months, and is acting as the executive chef—he’ll be overseeing the menu, and working closely with his kitchen staff of four. The affordable and pared-down menu is simple and straightforward, meant to counterpoint the significant and deep wine program. Bistro-ish items include PEI mussels, roasted tomatoes, shallots, and sherry ($10); orechiette with sausage, rapini, yellow eye beans, and Parmesan ($14); and New York steak, long-cooked broccoli, and pine nuts ($18). There is also a three-course prix-fixe menu available for $50, and Urban Daddy reveals an off-the-menu (and limited quantity) burger topped with Epoisses.

Straus has been collecting wine for the past eight years, obsessively building a cellar that will now be (partially) shared with the rest of us. Heirloom will have 150-200 labels, with 21 available by the glass. But if you are game to explore deeper, what you’ll want to do is request his list of older wines. Hello, verticals of Qupe, Havens, and Hanzell, plus six vintages of Vieux Telegraphe. There are also lots of Burgundy and Bordeaux selections—but he’s holding some bottles from the 2005 vintage for at least another five years, so don’t ask.

Hours are Mon-Sat 6pm-10pm, and lunch will start the following week, on Fridays from 11:30am-2pm, and Sat 9am-2pm. Heirloom is scheduled to open tonight (Tuesday).

Heirloom Café - 2500 Folsom St. San Francisco - 415-821-2500

The Bambuddha Lounge Closes...

After eight years of pool parties (I even threw some with my disco associate there, five long years ago) and bachelorette blowouts and all kinds of mayhem, the ~BAMBUDDHA LOUNGE~ at the Phoenix Hotel has closed. I spoke with Bambuddha’s Gina Milano, who said it was just time to end its run. She mentioned Chip Conley and Joie de Vivre are looking into new tenant options for the restaurant and hotel, so stand by…

Pica Pica Maize Kitchen Opening This Week in the Mission

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Photo from Pica Pica.

It’s time to get your arepas on: ~PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN~ is opening their first San Francisco location this week, in the former Mi Lindo Yucatan in the Mission. Have you ever tasted the delicious arepas from their location in the Oxbow Market in Napa? Well, it’s time. Owner Adriana López Vermut, who is working alongside her father, will be plying you with a menu of authentic Venezuelan street foods, like arepas, cachapas (imagine a corn pancake quesadilla), and maize’wiches (grilled corn breads stuffed or layered with meat, cheese, and vegetable fillings). There will also be empanadas, yucca fries, and sweet plantains, plus soups and salads. The sunny corner location has 30 seats, and will offer beer, wine, and sangria, plus coconut lemonade, and Guarapita, a Venezuelan daiquiri-style drink. The walls are covered in orange tiles and zebrawood veneer, with wood benches of dark-stained walnut, and pendant lights overhead. Hours to start are 11am-10pm daily (and ‘til 12am Fri-Sat). The opening is slated for this coming weekend; call first before heading over.

Pica Pica Maize Kitchen - 401 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-400-5453

More Details Emerge on Una Pizza Napoletana

Thanks to the wonders of liquor licenses, now we know the location of Anthony Mangieri’s upcoming ~UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ in SoMa: 200 11th Street at Howard. As for timing, GrubStreet mentions July. Now I just need to get the man’s phone number.

New Frenchie Gourmet Deli Opens in the FiDi

Bonbon Patisserie is now ~FLEUR DE SEL~, a gourmet delicatessen from Stephane Gregoire, the former chef of Chapeau! and Pisces (from the AQUA restaurant group). The day will start with natural, organic, breakfast items like freshly baked croissants, muffins, and Greek yogurt parfaits with seasonal fruit. Lunch and early evening options will always includes a soup, a salad, an appetizer, a pasta dish, a risotto, a meat dish, and a dessert (and at least one of the dishes within this selection will be a vegetarian option). The prepared meals can be eaten there or available as take-out in compostable containers.

The opening menu includes asparagus soup with Parmesan croutons; organic mixed greens with artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, and caramelized red onions; quinoa salad with fennel, shiitake mushrooms, artichokes, and green asparagus; fresh tagliatelle with braised Colorado lamb, swiss chard, pine nuts, and capers; and vegetarian risotto with fava beans, green peas, baby carrots, and spring onions. The menu will be seasonal and local, and Stephane makes his own fresh pasta with organic semolina flour and slow braises his meats sous-vide. There will also be organic, certified fair-trade coffees, hot chocolates, Numi teas, and chocolates Stephane has created himself. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. 308 Kearny St. at Bush.

More on American Cupcake

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Photo from American Cupcake.

~AMERICAN CUPCAKE~, the new place that opened in the former Joji’s House of Teriyaki, is now a chic, modern soda fountain, complete with go-go-boot white patent-leather tufted banquettes and bar seating, and 150 LED “gumball lights,” which cast an ever-changing day-glo aura on the restaurant’s all-white interior.

The name may say Cupcake, but there’s actually an all-day menu from chef Carina Lampkin (previously of Bar Crudo and Absinthe), featuring retro-Americana cuisine, like pulled-pork sliders with Jack ‘n’ Coke BBQ sauce, Riverdog Farm organic asparagus soup, an albacore tuna melt, tangy mac ‘n’ cheese with Indonesian long pepper, and a backyard BBQ “skinny dip” salad. More snacky items include truffle-Parmesan popcorn, tater tots with curried ketchup and wasabi aioli, and caramel and candy apples. For your sweet tooth, there are Whoopie pies, banana Nilla pudding, house-made cotton candy, and giant “cupcake splits” (featuring house-made caramel, chocolate, and strawberry sauces). There’s also beer, wine, champagne, and other concoctions. Hours are Tue-Wed 10:30am-8pm, Thu-Sat 10:30am-12am, Sun 10:30am-5pm. 1919 Union St. at Laguna, 415-896-4217.

A Sign of Improving Times

I’ve been happy to receive news of restaurants extending their hours: ~KOKKARI~ is now open Sunday evenings from 5pm-10pm. I know, cool! And ~THE CORNER~ in the Mission is now serving lunch from noon-3:30pm every day. And then ~SUSHIRAN~ has started serving Saturday lunch from 11:45am-2:30pm for the warmer summer season, for the first time in 24 years (although Monday lunch has been discontinued). And lastly, ~CYRUS~ in Healdsburg is starting lunch service this Saturday, with reservations from 11:30am until 1:30pm—the menu will be the same as in the evening, with guests selecting either a five- or eight-course Chef’s Tasting Menu or Vegetarian Tasting Menu.

Ducca Switches Gears

~DUCCA~ restaurant at The Westin San Francisco is moving away from its market-fresh, chef-driven, seasonal Italian offerings, and will be moving to more of an approachable, inexpensive, standard hotel restaurant format. Chef Erica Holland-Toll is still in command (for the moment).

New Eats for Civic Center Workers

The Art Institute of California-San Francisco has opened ~BISTRO 10UN~, a seasonal and affordable student-run restaurant in conjunction with their International Culinary School. Students from the school’s two culinary-specific degree programs will be managed under the direction of culinary instructor Kimball Jones. For $15, you can choose three courses, from a variety of salads to rabbit terrine to start; main dishes like a Berkshire pork chop with Rancho Gordo lima beans or a Fulton Valley Ranch chicken breast with mac ‘n’ cheese; plus dessert. You can view the seasonal menu here. Hours are Thu-Fri 12pm-2pm. 10 United Nations Building at 1130 Market St. at 7th St., 415-276-4048.

Coming Up at Omnivore

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Just in time for slimming down this spring, Andrew Swallow’s book, Mixt Salads, is out. He’ll be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ on Sunday May 16th from 3pm-4pm. Here’s more: “In his new book, the co-founder and executive chef of San Francisco’s beloved boutique salad joints [Mixt Greens] shares his inventive, flavor-forward creations. This bold collection of more than 60 recipes for voracious omnivores and vivacious salad lovers features unusual and dynamic ingredient pairings that take salads to a whole new level.”

And then on Monday May 17th, Kim Severson will be at Omnivore from 6pm-7pm to discuss her brand-new book, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life. Here’s more on this book I can’t wait to read: “In this frank confessional memoir, Severson, food writer for The New York Times since 2004, attributes her culinary confidence to the tutelage of eight maternal figures, from the legendary to the not-so-famous.”

Don't Forget Your Beano

In the “only in San Francisco” category, here’s an upcoming dinner called ~BEAN-OUT~ on Sunday May 16th. Organizer Mark Gravel is a major advocate for beans as a cheap, delicious protein source, so he’s putting on a Bean-Out at the lovely Mission shop, Gravel & Gold (no relation). For $20, you get a five-course dinner: homemade cheese on toast, Little City salad, chilled bean soup, grits and greens, and cake and cream. There are two seatings at 6pm and 8pm, and it’s BYOB. You can RSVP and buy a ticket for your spot here.

Sunday May 16, 2010
6pm and 8pm seatings
$20
more info

Some Meaty Events

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Many meat-loving locals are excited about the visit of Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver of London’s acclaimed St. John Restaurant. They will be at ~INCANTO~ tonight, May 11th, offering a four-course $65 dinner. While reservations are no longer available for this dinner, they have set aside a portion of their seating to accommodate walk-in diners. Doors open at 6pm. They will also be at ~CHEZ PANISSE~ this Wednesday May 12th, preparing a $100 menu. Call 510-548-5525 for any availability.

And then on May 22nd and 23rd at a secret location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch, Dave the Butcher and chef Stephanie will join forces to present two evenings of butchery and dining. Chef Stephanie will prepare a five-course meal of dishes celebrating the goat, a demonstration of the lost art of butchery by Dave the Butcher, and locally brewed beer pairings by Pacific Brewing Laboratory (wine also available). $100 per person, including beverages. Order tickets here.

Date Night

As a local, I confess I never tire of the view from the ~TOP OF THE MARK~ at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins (surprisingly, many locals have never been). And with this new Dinner & Cocktails With A View offer, it’s kind of hard to resist. For $80 per person (exclusive of tax and gratuity), you can have a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and a three-course dinner at ~LUCE~, two classic martinis at the Top of the Mark (along with complimentary access to Top of the Mark, which can often run about $20), and a voucher for transportation via taxi from Luce to Top of the Mark or vice versa.

The experience is available Wednesday through Saturday nights. You can start your night with drinks and then move to dinner, or vice versa (personally I’d look to see what night some jazz or swing would be playing at the Top of the Mark and time it accordingly). Seating at Luce is available until 9pm nightly, and reservations at Top of the Mark are available until 12:30am on Friday and Saturday evenings, and 11:30pm Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Reservations are required. Call Luce at 415-616-6566, or Top of the Mark at 415-616-6916.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
May 11, 2010

(Sponsored): Bi-Rite's Spring Wine Blitz is May 20th-May 23rd!

The wine team at Bi-Rite Market wants to help you stock up for a summer of delicious, food-friendly wines. So during Bi-Rite’s Spring Wine Blitz (Four Days Only: Thursday May 20th-Sunday May 23rd), all wines are 20% off when you purchase any 12 or more bottles. Sale includes every wine in the store, and free delivery in San Francisco! For more details, click here.

Wine buyer Trac Le’s selection of artisan wines includes organic and biodynamic producers from California, Italy, France, Spain, and beyond, with more than 50 hand-picked wines under $15. We stock bottles from cult producers like Quintarelli, Francois Cotat and Huet, plus new releases from white Burgundy masters Raveneau and Lafon.

Bi-Rite Market, 3639 18th St. between Dolores and Guerrero. For more information, call the store at 415-241-9760 or email Trac.

the regular

Established Restaurant Reviews (it's about time we met...)
May 11, 2010

Greens

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The fabulous view.

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Grilled Delta asparagus.

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Wilted spinach salad.

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Artichoke and sunchoke gratin.

30 years is no slouch in restaurant years, a notable number ~GREENS~ attained in 2009. Fortunately this significant birthday inspired a light updating of the décor at this famed vegetarian restaurant—it felt a little tired the previous time I visited, so I was happy to see new carpeting, a fresh paint job, and new handmade chairs are reportedly on their way. I wouldn’t say it’s a brand-new pair of red Birkenstocks, however—it’s more like they just got resoled.

The view remains ever-stunning—you can see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance, and boats bobbing in the marina. To be expected, it’s especially breathtaking at sunset. A friend even saw a pretty starfish kicking it on a rock below, awww. And I liked my little vase of fresh flowers on the table. It’s like you just smoked a nice spliff, it’s all so pleasant. But this is what happens when The San Francisco Zen Center opens a restaurant.

You’ll see a lot of people hanging around in the waiting area amidst large gnarled pieces of wood and a curving bar, almost like they’re hiding in the forest, but it’s just because guests aren’t seated unless their party is complete. The spacious dining room is busy (sometimes too busy for servers to keep up with, it seems) and offers quite the hodgepodge of excellent people watching, from the expected middle-aged women in frumpy dresses and no make-up (with their errant professor-type husbands), to families with well-behaved tykes, to European tourists, to young couples on a nice date. So no, it’s not like dining at one big Be-In, but it’s not like you’re going to hear some Euro-house boutique music on the soundsystem, either.

Chef Annie Somerville presides over this dining room with a thoughtful, nurturing touch. And I have a feeling all those years of eating organic vegetables from The Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm contribute to her cheerful and shiny disposition. Since the menu is obviously hyper-seasonal, let me just say it: now is the time to dine there. Sure, winter has marvelous root vegetables, but to taste some of the best springtime produce in its prime, this is it. And summertime? Equally memorable.

The presentation of the grilled Delta asparagus ($11) was all about showcasing the spears simply, resting on a scattering of mache and Niçoise olives, with a shaving of Andante Dairy Etude cheese on top (what’s not to love?), and a bright Meyer lemon vinaigrette.

The salad that really knocked my hemp socks off (and just in case you think that’s all you’ll be eating for your meal here, there are actually only two salads on the menu) was the wilted spinach salad ($9.50 or $11). It was perfectly dressed with sherry vinegar and hot oil, but the bright spinach still maintained its perky texture—backed up with the crunchy croutons. The additional salty notes from the feta and Gaeta olives, along with the punch of mint and red onions made this a dream salad in my book (I am so going to get the recipe).

Unfortunately the little gems salad ($9.50 or $11) with avocado, watermelon radish, jicama, pumpkin seeds, and chili-lime vinaigrette sounded like it was going to rock the casa, but it was too subtle and modulated—it needed a bit more salt and dressing to come together (right now, over me).

Main courses include the satisfying rosemary crêpe ($24), triangles stuffed with savoy spinach, rainbow chard, leeks, and goat cheese. The edges were a touch crisp instead of supple, but with one bite of the accompanying Meyer lemon cream, all was good. The colorful side of roasted fingerlings and carrots tasted garden-fresh, and the minty grilled artichoke hearts made this a substantial plate (just in case you were wondering about the $24 price tag).

It’s funny how a dish can sound rather boring, and end up being so delicious. (If only dating ads followed this paradigm.) The mesquite-grilled brochettes ($17 single, $21 two) hardly registered a blip on my “I gotta try that” meter, but fortunately my dining companion steered me to try them. Cubes of tender Hodo Soy tofu, plump mushrooms, yellow finn potatoes, red onion, bell pepper, yam, and fennel are all given a flavorful push with a drizzle of saucy charmoula (a savory marinade of herbs and spices), which also went well with the side of quinoa with cherry almonds. While the mesquite grilling reminded me of barbecue parties in the summer, I honestly didn’t miss the steak. Well, a little. Don’t tell Annie.

The artichoke and sunchoke gratin ($23.50) with tomatoes, peppers, spring onions, and Asiago sounded richer than it was—and it smelled so good that it made me grab my fork with gusto. The layered round was topped with a golden fromage blanc custard, and a roasted pepper sauce on the plate brought a nice acidity. We also got to tuck into more asparagus, this time it was presented with lemon oil. This was definitely my favorite of the three mains we tried, and one that any “it ain’t dinner without meat” diner would find to be a satisfying and delicious main course.

While some vegetarian places fall into the trap of “there’s no meat, so let’s add five more ingredients that don’t need to be in the dish,” Greens keeps things simple and harmonious, letting the organic ingredients shine. It also doesn’t get tossed into the pan-Asian/fusion wok (“let’s have sesame oil and soba noodles and ginger all over the menu!”). While there are some spring rolls, enchiladas, and an Indian sampler on the eclectic menu, the flavors for each dish are authentic and stand on their own instead of being fused with other cuisines.

Dessert featured the transitioning season, from the rhubarb galette with almond streusel and a rustic crust, to the fluffy Meyer lemon cheesecake with Minneola caramel sauce (genius) and tangy citrus supremes (both $8.75). Go ahead and finish with some tea—it fits the vibe, right? (Some neighboring diners were oohing over their chai with chocolate.) The wine list was also chock full of excellent small producers, complete with mostly organic selections, natch. But they don’t take the local thing too seriously, because you’ll find plenty of European wines on the list as well.

If you have some out-of-town guests coming to the city, Greens is a choice place to give them a view and a farmers’ market-fresh experience in one fell swoop. Parking in the Fort Mason lot is also a snap (and inexpensive). A tip: there is a semi-private table for six in an alcove in the back, so request it if your group fits that size. There’s also a spacious private dining room that provides quite the setting for big parties. And if you’re going for a walk along Crissy Field during the day, you can swing by the updated Greens To Go counter inside for some healthy breakfast or lunch treats (no need to say, “hold the turkey”).

Greens - Fort Mason, Building A San Francisco - 415-771-6222

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
May 11, 2010

Now Mommy Can Have an Adult Beverage at Nopalito

Just in case you’ve ever craved a bracing margarita with your carnitas when dining at ~NOPALITO~, now you can have one. Along with four other delicious cocktails, thanks to Nopa’s Neyah White, who has put together this sick list of tequilas, mezcal, and cocktails. The tequilas come in a 1 oz. size to encourage tasting, with a sangrita on the side. As the menu says, “Sip it, don’t shoot it.” Palabra.

Nopalito - 306 Broderick St. San Francisco - 415-437-0303

Spring in Full Swing Cocktail Tasting

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Cocktails at Flora.

On Wednesday May 19th, CUESA and the San Francisco Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) will host an evening of spring farmers’ market cocktails at the Ferry Building, ~SPRING IN FULL SWING~. For $30, guests will enjoy two full-sized signature cocktails made with Oxley Gin, a classic English dry gin that is made with an innovative cold distillation process. All drinks will be crafted with an array of local spring produce—everything from strawberries and cherries to radishes, cucumbers and sea beans! The evening’s guests will also be invited to taste eight sample-sized drinks featuring Combier Rouge, Leblon Cachaça, Cruzan Rum, Fair Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila, Green Fairy Absinthe, and VeeV Açaí Spirit.

Participating bartenders include: Scott Baird from 15 Romolo, Darren Crawford from Bourbon & Branch, Trip Hosley from Sauce, Aurora Siegel from Rose Pistola, Anson Stahl from Cantina, Michael Callahan from Gitane, Kate Bolton from Wexler’s, Jessica Maria from Hotsy Totsy Club, Brent Butler from Blackbird, and Sevan Araneda from Triple Crown.

Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by local restaurants 15 Romolo, Il Cane Rosso, Wexler’s, Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, and The Plant Café Organic. All proceeds benefit CUESA & the USBG equally.

Wednesday May 19, 2010
5:30pm–7:30pm
$30
more info

Whiskey & Cheese Pairing Course

This sounds like a winner: Amanda and Amy of Cask, and Alex, formerly of The Cheese Works, will be leading a class pairing six special whiskeys and cheeses. There will also be a lesson on both whiskey and cheese production, history, and taste profiles. The whiskey selection will include Scotch, Japanese, and American styles. The cheese selection will include artisanal, locally produced specialties. It’s a small one—limited to 16 folks.

Tuesday May 18, 2010
8pm
$95
more info

A Tasting With TAPAS

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On June 5th, the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers, and Amigos Society (TAPAS) is hosting the most extensive annual tasting of domestically produced Spanish and Portuguese varietal wines in North America, for its third year, in San Francisco. It’s no secret grapes native to the Iberian Peninsula produce some of the hottest-selling wines on the market right now, but there are also excellent and unique domestic versions being grown, too.

Trade and general consumers will have the unique opportunity to sample wines from over 30 participating wineries and learn about varieties like tempranillo, albariño, garnacha, graciano, mourvedre, touriga, verdelho, bastardo, and more. Many TAPAS members are limited-production, family-owned wineries, and will be pouring small lot wines that are not widely available. 

The event starts at noon with a walk-around tasting, complimentary to members of the wine trade and media (register here). From 2pm-5pm, consumers will have an opportunity to taste wines produced by TAPAS members from grape varieties indigenous to Spain and Portugal that are now cultivated in America, in Arizona, California, and Oregon. Chef Marco Rauch will also be cooking up “The World’s Most Delicious Paella” to accompany the wines. Local restaurants and food purveyors from around the Bay Area will be on hand with samples designed to pair with the Iberian varieties.   

Saturday Jun 5, 2010
$35 in advance; $50 at the door
more info

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
May 11, 2010

(Sponsored): Appel & Frank's Chic Summer Soirée on May 20th

Don’t miss San Francisco’s hottest shopping destination, Appel & Frank’s Chic Summer Soirée! Shop from 70 talented designers offering fabulous jewelry, handbags, apparel, and more…at discounted prices! Indulge in a complimentary drink, beauty services, a raffle, and coveted gift bags filled with incredible products and offers.

Appel & Frank’s Chic Summer Soirée will be held on Thursday May 20th from 5pm-9pm, at The Regency Center, located at 1270 Sutter St. at Van Ness.

RSVP in advance at appelandfrank.com with the special discount code TABLEHOPPER for 50% off the $10 admission! All tickets will be $10 at the door.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
May 11, 2010

Castle in the City

Actor ~Nathan Fillion~, known for his current lead role as Richard Castle on the ABC TV series Castle, stayed at W San Francisco. He spent some time in the W’s Living Room, and made use of the hotel’s Acura car service to be whisked away for dinner at Perbacco.

Nice Way to Say G'day

Actress ~Lindsay Price~ (of 90210 and Lipstick Jungle fame) and ~Curtis Stone~ (the hottie Aussie chef) were spotted at the Peet’s Coffee in Grace Cathedral.

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