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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: kind of blue.

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Grilled asparagus with lemon and shichimi at Ozumo.

I hope you all had a swell Memorial Day. Fortunately I took advantage of the gorgeous weather on Sunday with my friend and hit an amazing (secret) Marin beach—complete with the softest black volcanic sand—followed by a wonderful family reunion dinner at Ozumo with my grandmother, her sister, and other fabulous family members. (And Ozumo was the perfect pick while being on my cleanse—they had plenty of grilled vegetable dishes I could eat, and brown rice—but boy, were the platter of sashimi for the table and the smells of the miso cod and Wagyu beef tongue ridiculously tempting).

Unfortunately my Monday was not so stellar—I got some pretty hard news about a long-lost friend, and I really didn’t have much inspiration to finish writing my column after hearing the news. (He was a big Miles Davis fan, hence today’s title.) So please excuse the brevity of today’s column, but my heart (and mind) just weren’t in it. I may try to rally something for you for Thursday or Friday—but that might not come together, we’ll see. Thanks for understanding.

To end this missive on an upbeat note, I will be on West Coast Live this Saturday, so please tune in to hear me ‘n’ Sedge chew the fat—the show runs from 10am until noon. I’ll also be at a couple signings this weekend; check it out in the chatterbox. And please remember SummerTini is this Friday—it’s an important (and fun) event to support, for a charity that really does amazing work: the CHEFS program. Please consider attending, and the lineup of auction items is awesome, including a signed book from yours truly, paired with a $200 gift certificate generously donated by sebo!

Oh, and guess who is finally joining the par-tay on Facebook? Yup, tablehopper now has a Facebook page, so please head on over and give it a thumbs up! I know, way overdue—better late than never, as they say.

Thanks for all your support,

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Jun 1, 2010

25 Lusk: A New SoMa/South Beach Restaurant

I’ve been tracking this project for months, and finally got some official news on it: ~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~ is going to be opening in an historic 1917 building this coming September. According to the release, “25 Lusk will offer sophisticated, contemporary, approachable fine dining specializing in neoclassical-influenced cuisine.” The executive chef and managing partner is Matthew Dolan, working with general manager and managing partner Chad Bourdon. Dolan’s background includes Café des Artistes in New York, Emeril’s in New Orleans, Topper’s at the Wauwinet, and Garibaldi’s in San Francisco. Bourdon has managed the four-diamond, five-star Cranwell Resort, Spa, and Golf Club in Lennox, Massachusetts, and Farallon in San Francisco. (The two friends met while they were students at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.)

Architect Cass Calder Smith is creating a style that will bridge modernity and industrial elements with a warm and inviting sensibility. The building was originally the Ogden Packing and Provision smokehouse and meat processing facility, and all of the original exposed brick and massive timbers remain in place. Some highlights of the 9,800-square-foot space include massive windows, suspended fireplaces, semi-private dining tables in the former smoke rooms, a glassed-in kitchen, and a semi-private chef’s table. Nope, it’s not small at all: there will be 120 seats in the main dining area, a lower bar and lounge level, 30 to 35 seats in the private dining room, and a communal table. And in case you’re trying to think where Lusk is, it’s off Townsend Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets.

Twenty Five Lusk - 25 Lusk St. San Francisco - 415-495-5875

Changes at Sebo in Hayes Valley

After four years of working together at ~SEBO~, sushi chef and partner Danny Dunham has moved on to pursue other projects. Chef and partner Michael Black has brought on Nao Hashimoto to work alongside him at the sushi counter. Nao comes from Sushi Ota in San Diego, and has 12-plus years of experience with high-end and traditional sushi. One more addition to look for: Black has started working with some new seafood distributors, and has not only found a source for fresh Hokkaido uni, but is now offering a wider range of fish. Follow Sebo’s Twitter feed for updates.

Sebo - 517 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-864-2122

ICHI Sushi Will Now Have Permanent Digs

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After years of serving sushi at happy hours around town (currently at Benders), ~ICHI~ is going to be moving into and taking over Yo’s Sushi Club in the Outer Mission. Husband and wife Tim and Erin Archuleta have been looking for the right space for years, and now chef Tim’s long-term dream has been fulfilled. The space will be refreshed, and once they reopen, there will be a combination of both sushi and hot plates on the menu. They plan to be up and running in the 20-seat space in the late summer or fall (those beer and wine license transfers sure take a long time these days). In the meantime, don’t forget you can also visit Tim at the ICHI Lucky Cat Deli in the 331 Cortland Marketplace for fresh fish and special Japanese dishes. Kanpai! 3369 Mission St. at 30th St.

The Home Stretch of My Book Tour

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Wow, this is the last week of my scheduled readings—although (of course) I have a few cool upcoming book events and parties that are slated to happen.

Anyway, I’d really love to see some of you 707 folks this Saturday June 5th at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma! I’ll be there at 2pm for a reading and book signing. 140 Kentucky St. at Western Ave., Petaluma

And then on Sunday June 6th, you’ll find me and my book in the VIP reception at Cochon 555, which starts at 3:30pm. You can read all about the event, and tablehopper readers can get a discount on your tickets here. Wheeeee!

More Potrero News

The founder of Ruby Wine, Joel Bleskacek, and his wife, Maxine Siu, are opening a breakfast and lunch spot on the corner of 18th Street and Texas called ~PLOW~. They will be serving breakfast all day and lunch (beginning at 11:30am) Monday through Friday, with brunch on the weekends. The classic American menu will have dishes like French toast with caramelized bananas and mascarpone, there will be a brined pork chop with organic eggs, and baked goods, like muffins and buttermilk biscuits. Siu is getting back behind the ovens after a ten-year hiatus (she opened Stem flower shop on 18th Street in the Mission). She previously worked with Paul Bertolli and Michael Tusk at Oliveto, and then with Jim Moffat and Mark Gordon at 42 Degrees. Before opening Ruby Wine eight years ago, Bleskacek worked front of the house at Campton Place, Oliveto, and 42 Degrees, and is currently doing the wine list at Slow Club and Serpentine. (He will also have some wine available at plow.)

The 800-square-foot space has 13-foot ceilings, and 7-foot windows along 18th Street. The bright and clean space will have room for 8 at the counter, and around 30 at the tables (complete with French Tolix metal chairs). There will also be a touch of country in the space, with salvaged timber floors. They are hoping to open in mid-August.

Plow - 1299 18th St. San Francisco - 415-821-7569

Farina Turns Three

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Photo from Farina.

On Sunday June 6th, ~FARINA~ in the Mission is celebrating its third anniversary with an evening of delectable Genovese flavors, smooth sounds, and pleasing libations. Chef Paolo Laboa will present an exquisite all-Ligurian menu, including many new Genovese specialties, while you listen to live jazz trio Second Opinion from 6pm-9:30pm. As for drink, Farina’s handcrafted cocktails will be on hand, plus the anniversary dinner will feature—for the first time in the Bay Area—an extensive selection of distinctive Ligurian wines from Enoteca Bisson (specifically, Prosecco Frizzante, “Vignaerta” Vermentino, Pigato, and “Il Garnaccio”). Here’s another reason to go (besides their delicious pesto): they’re giving away a tasting menu for two.

Sunday Jun 6, 2010
more info

Farina - 3560 18th St. San Francisco - 415-565-0360

Celebrate COCO500's 5th Anniversary All Month Long

Has it really been five years since Loretta Keller’s Bisou morphed into ~COCO500~? Wow. For the month of June, come on by for the 5-5-5 anniversary happy hour, which is Mon-Fri from 4pm-6pm. There will be $5 cocktails, like the rye press or pisco sour; $5 dishes, like the squash blossom flatbread, beer-battered fried green beans, and COCOMOLE tacos; along with a special selection of $5 glasses of sustainably farmed wines, including an SB from Aubin Cellars, a cab from Poppy in Paso Robles, a rosé from Fort Ross Vineyard, and a manzanilla from Bodegas Hidalgo, “La Gitana,” and Trumer Pilsner beer (22 oz. draught). In July, the happy hour will continue, but the menu of drinks and dishes will change.

COCO500 - 500 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-543-2222

Another "Rogue" Farmers' Market

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Photo of a sample box from County Line Harvest.

In the tradition of Mariquita’s “pop-up market nights” at Piccino, ~COUNTY LINE HARVEST~ is going to be delivering produce via their “rogue market” to Spruce the first Thursday of every month, beginning in June. You’ll be able to drop by Spruce to pick up your 
very own box of assorted, seasonal, hand-picked produce; each month, the boxes will be filled with a delicious selection of what their farmers
 think is the freshest and best available on that day. You can swing by from 3:30pm-5:30pm on Thursday June 3rd, Thursday 
July 1st, and Thursday August 5th.

Additional locations around the Bay Area include Bar Tartine, Greens, Piccino, Café Rouge, and Gather; check out the other upcoming dates and locations here.

The price of each box is $25. You are encouraged to pre-order by emailing Zoe. In addition, a limited number of boxes will be available for those who did not have a chance to pre-order for pickup on the scheduled Farmers’ Market days.

Spruce - 3640 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-931-5100

Marin Sun Farms Is Serving Lunch in Pt. Reyes Station

Excuse me for just quoting a newsletter verbatim, but here goes: “Five years ago when a flood heavily damaged ~MARIN SUN FARMS’~ eatery and butcher shop, David Evans vowed to rebuild. Starting on Saturday May 29th, the lunch-time food service will return from 12pm-4pm, Wednesday through Sunday … Chef Benjamin Roberts of Marin Sun Farms has built a small focused menu that features innovative local burgers accompanied by salads and ‘pork or cattle’ fries—fried in pork lard or beef tallow. Ingredients are sourced from local, sustainable, and organic producers. The restaurant will also offer a selection of beer and wine that highlights local, artisan, and family producers … The dining area features informal seating for 34 among the rolling greenery of West Marin.” Congrats, David and the Marin Sun Farms team, on getting it reopened.

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Jun 1, 2010

The Golden Glass Wine Event Returns to San Francisco

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Photo by Jenn Farrington.

A wine event I look forward to every year, ~THE GOLDEN GLASS WINE EVENT~ is celebrating its seventh anniversary. You’ll be able to taste over 100 sustainable and “slow” wines from around the globe, including wines from our own backyard (Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino), paired with culinary specialties from Bay Area chefs and artisanal food producers. Participating restaurants include: A16, Acquerello, Betelnut, Delfina, E Tutto Qua, Frantoio, Il Cane Rosso, LarkCreekSteak, One Market, Perbacco, Plum Restaurant, Ristobar, Shokolaat, the girl and the fig, Thirsty Bear, and many others. There will be sample-sized plates of their signature dishes, charcuterie, cheeses, olive oils, seasonal fruit, breads, pastries, and gelato presented in a market-style atmosphere for attendees to savor throughout the afternoon.

Chaired by local sommelier and educator Rebecca Chapa—and judged by a panel of acclaimed national wine experts—the 2010 Golden Glass Competition will award golden glasses (as well as silver and bronze distinctions) to the best “slow” wines the world has to offer. Participating wines reflect the Slow Food principles of “good, clean and fair” production practices—whether organic, sustainable, or biodynamic. Restaurant participants will pair up with winemakers to offer prix-fixe menus during the week of The Golden Glass, like Acquerello, Ristobar, and Ottimista Enoteca-Café. More information can be found here.

All entry fees include unlimited wine and five food tasting tickets. Additional food tickets can be purchased at $20 for five tickets (including for guests under 21). The proceeds of the Golden Glass event benefit Slow Food San Francisco’s “Slow Food in School” programs, including school gardens, and the Time for Lunch Campaign, as well Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste program.

Saturday Jun 12, 2010
11am–1pm trade and media; 1pm–5pm general admission/Slow Food members
Advance purchase $60 (Slow Food members, $55); $70 at the door
more info

Sudsy Times at Paragon

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Photo from Paragon website.

~PARAGON RESTAURANT & BAR~ is all about beer: not only have they just implemented 12 new craft beers on tap, with 6 more on the way, but they’re also hosting a beer dinner featuring Greg Koch, CEO of Stone Brewing Co., Brewers Kushal Hall and Matt Walsh from Speakeasy, and Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment Brewery. Chef Spencer O’Meara will be preparing four courses to go along with the beers. There will be at least 6 different beer styles featured, adding up to about 12 beers in all: IPA, blonde, red, Belgian, imperial stout, and coffee porter.

P.S. Paragon is also doing BBQ Wednesdays in the evening, offering dinner plates of hickory-smoked baby back ribs (St. Louis-style; $19); applewood-smoked, four pepper-crusted brisket ($18); mesquite-smoked pulled pork shoulder sandwiches (Carolina-style; $14); and spice-rubbed barbecue half chicken ($15), which all come with collard greens, baked beans, and a corn muffin.

Saturday Jun 19, 2010
6:30pm–9:30pm
$65
more info

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Jun 1, 2010

Dine About Town Returns: June 1st-15th

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Event Info

Tuesday Jun 1, 2010 – Tuesday Jun 15, 2010
Info
Various locations throughout San Francisco

~DINE ABOUT TOWN SAN FRANCISCO~ returns June 1st through June 15th. This is a great, affordable opportunity to try out new summer menus from the over 100 participating chefs and restaurants. Consider it a “culinary stimulus package”—a two-course lunch menu for $17.95 or a three-course dinner menu for $34.95.

New restaurants this year include Credo, E&O Trading Co., Pera, and more. Plus some local faves, like Aziza, Dosa (both locations), Foreign Cinema, Spruce, and Town Hall. Don’t forget those restaurants that have participated in Dine About Town since its inception in 2002, including Absinthe Brasserie and Bar, Le Colonial, and Scoma’s Restaurant. For the complete restaurant list, visit San Francisco’s official visitor website.

Dine Out June 10th-12th and Help the Gulf Coast

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Photo from Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund website.

Event Info

Thursday Jun 10, 2010 – Saturday Jun 12, 2010
Info

From June 10th through June 12th, visit participating local restaurants for ~DINE OUT FOR THE GULF COAST~, a benefit for the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund. Participating restaurants will set aside a portion of their profits to help those directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and to support the long-term restoration of the treasured coast, which has just been declared a national fisheries disaster.

Local restaurants include (but are not limited to): Delfina, Hog Island Oyster Bar, Maverick, Incanto, Front Porch, RN74, The Slanted Door, Heaven’s Dog, Bi-Rite Market, Ozumo, Nombe, Boulette’s Larder, Wexler’s, Contigo, and Bix, all located in San Francisco; Chez Panisse, Berkeley; Tra Vigne, St. Helena; Bottega, Yountville; and The Pasta Shop, Oakland. Some restaurants will contribute a percentage of total sales for the day, and others will donate the sales from specific menu items, while others will offer specialty cocktails with a dollar-value from sales donated to the fund. Contact the restaurants for specific details on their Gulf Coast benefit program.

This a great way for diners to support an urgent cause while dining out. Chefs and restaurateurs also interested in becoming involved or holding future events to support the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund can contact Dine Out for the Gulf Coast organizer Jimmy Galle, owner of Sausalito-based Gulfish, at 209-969-3893 or via email.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)
Jun 1, 2010

(Sponsored): Mighty Pilates Free Class Giveaway!

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Be 1 of 10 people to win a free group Pilates machine class, valued at $32.

Mighty Pilates is the latest addition to Laurel Heights, located right next to Spruce restaurant. The studio focus is on energetic, group classes on top-of-the-line Balanced Body reformers and towers. Classes provide an intense 55-minute workout with class size limited to 8 people. Try a Beginner class, Pre-Natal Pilates, or Mighty Sport, which incorporates a blast of cardio with classic Pilates moves. Or, in true tablehopper style, try their new Mighty Mixer, which takes class up-tempo with inspiring music and a toast after class. What a great alternative to classic happy hour!

Classes are normally $32 each, or new clients can take advantage of the 5-classes-for-$99 special ($61 savings). 1-on-1 training offers you a chance to experience the individual attention of a Mighty trainer. New clients receive 3 private sessions for $195 ($60 savings).

10 lucky winners (must be new to Mighty Pilates) will get a free class just by entering! All you need to do is forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to two friends (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friends about which class you’d want to try (or why they should sign up for tablehopper), then Cc: or Bcc: me at luckyme@tablehopper.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Sunday June 6th by 11:59pm. I will notify the winner later that week. Good luck!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Jun 1, 2010

"If You Were Going to Shoot a Mime, Would You Use a Silencer?"

Yup, the one and only ~Steven Wright~ came in to the bar at Orson for a couple of hours, eating pizza and hangin’ out with friends after seeing a show over at the Utah. The comedian reportedly had on his standard Boston Red Sox hat and chatted up fans with grace and, yes, humor. My spy says he was, “Super sweet and gracious. Class act.”

What Kind of Water Would He Order?

A reader writes, “I was having a few drinks and some appetizers in the bar/lounge at Quince the other night and I saw ~John Waters~ having dinner in the private dining room! It was awesome.” I’d have the same reaction.

More Michael Keaton...

~Michael Keaton~ has good taste: not only was he spotted at A16 last week, but a reader writes in: “Mr. Keaton was dining at the bar next to us at Bix late Saturday night. He was with a lovely woman and was even nice to the lonely drunk guy who tried to chat him up. They both ordered pasta and wine.”

Where Southpaw Pitchers Like to Eat

And according to this Tweet, ~Barry Zito~ was “in the house last night at EPIC! Too bad he didn’t get the WIN in the game but at least he got the WIN at dinner!” He was in a party of two, and they ordered a dozen oysters, pork porterhouse, and a cheeseburger. (The kitchen sent him beignets and chocolate banana cake.) A couple of girls reportedly asked the staff to tell Zito that they would buy him drinks in the bar after dinner, but he did not take them up on it.

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