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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: put on the feedbag.

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The bar at Café Rouge (Berkeley).

Boy, someone was the queen of naps this past weekend. I wasn’t sure if I was in a food coma, or just tired, or fighting something. Perhaps all three, because this kind of a lineup can wear you out: Friday night was all about a friends and family test dinner at Café des Amis, which opens Wednesday for dinner. The menu is the picture of appetizing, and high marks for their luxurious French onion soup and juicy chicken ballotine—great wine pairings, too. Saturday I went simple and had sushi at the counter at Ino (totally dug the smelt temaki with shiso—what an unexpected flavor party). Sunday was all about the takedown: the Lamb Jam event at Fort Mason. Whoa, there were a lot of talented chefs making a whole lotta lamb—it even had my friend waving the white flag toward the end (and his nickname is “The Pit,” so you know this event was serious). I totally passed out afterward for an hour at home like I had just finished a three-hour pranzo at my relatives’ in Italy or something. Mamma mia.

So, let’s talk about how much you rock, shall we? Thanks to all of you who filled out the tablehopper questionnaire! If you haven’t had a chance, if you could please fill it out over the next week or so—we’re surveying until Friday July 30th. Thanks muchissimo for your time (the questionnaire takes about 15 minutes)—your answers will help me (and tablehopper) immensely. Meow.

How is it July 20th already? Damn. Summer better get here quick—I’d like to get started on my tan. And make refreshing drinks. Speaking of drinks, I’ll be able to make you a cocktail when I’m guest bartending at Jardinière next week: check it out in the lush. Oh, and you might not get a visit from me this Friday—this week is all kinds of nuts. Crazy town. Wish me luck.

See ya on the track,

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Jul 20, 2010

Bar Tartine Expanding

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A good thing is about to get even better: Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, owners of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine, have taken over the lease of the space directly adjacent to ~BAR TARTINE~ (the Hideo Wakamatsu store). And check out what’s going into the space: a custom-built brick oven. Inspired by London’s St. John Bread and Wine, Robertson will use the oven around the clock. (Although they wouldn’t tell me who the special oven builder is.) This means there will be an expanded baking program for the restaurant, which will include housemade breads and pies. Lunch is going to be added, serving sandwiches with meats that have been slow-roasted overnight. The expanded space also means there will be additional seating. Timing remains a big question mark, so stand by for more, but it will either be the end of the year or early next year.

Bar Tartine - 561 Valencia St. - 415-487-1600

Locavore Opening in Bernal This Fall

Another restaurant with a 100-mile focus is joining the restaurant scene: ~LOCAVORE~. The 49-seat restaurant at 3215 Mission Street (near Valencia) is a project with chef Jason Moniz (Flora, Tres Agaves, Nectar), Mario Duarte (he owns the building, and his parents formerly had El Bramadero restaurant in there), and Cesar Ascarrunz (of the former Cesar’s Latin Palace, now Roccapulco’s). In case you’re wondering what was in there last, it was Bella Venezia.

The weekly changing menu will focus on farm-fresh, organic, local, and seasonal ingredients (did I forget anything?). Moniz will be doing whole-animal cooking, and he’s especially fond of making sausages, so look for that on the menu. What’s nice is most dinner entrées will be under $20 (and lunch below $10), so look for more pork and goat instead of steak. The interior will be clean, open, and minimalist, but still homey. The beer and wine list will probably stretch beyond California to include some Oregon and Washington choices, and Moniz mentioned he wants the bar staff to be very educational about what’s being poured. There are plans to serve beer and wine after the kitchen closes on Fridays and Saturdays, with some late-night snacks and music. They’re targeting a September opening. And one more cool detail: Moniz is currently cooking for St. Anthony’s until the restaurant opens. He said, “I’m really enjoying it. It’s good to give back. And it’s reminding me of the importance of cooking—to feed people.” Nice.

Locavore - 3215 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-821-1918

Some Top-Shelf Booze and Baked Goods Coming to the Mission

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Inside Scoop broke the news about a couple of cool projects that will be keeping Flour + Water’s Central Kitchen and Salumeria company in the upcoming 20th Street building. First, Jake Godby and Sean Vahey of Humphry Slocombe will be opening ~THE PARLOUR BY HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE~, a combination bakery and café that Godby describes as an intersection of Tartine Bakery with Momofuku Milk Bar. It will be open all day from 7am-11pm, offering treats like coffee cake (Godby’s mom’s recipe), peanut butter banana bread, and scones in the morning, and lunch will include pretzel dogs using hot dogs from 4505 Meats. The menu will also include the so-bad-for-you-but-oh-so-good duck fat pecan pies, and other items, like a Manchego cheesecake in a jar with apple butter and rosemary streusel. There will be coffee from multiple roasters (including Blue Bottle and Four Barrel), plus beer and wine by the glass (with nothing over $10). And yes, ice cream—about four or five set flavors. The space will be a bit industrial with exposed beams, plus there will be outdoor seating, and a Chinese ceiling paddle fan (similar to the ones at Betelnut and Comstock Saloon). Spring will be the best-case scenario for the opening, which is when you can meet your new Flour + Water waiting room.

The other addition is ~TRICK DOG~, a bar project from the Bon Vivants consulting duo, Scott Baird (15 Romolo) and Josh Harris (currently consulting and doing Mondays in the back room at Dalva), along with their friend Jason Henton, a consultant whose background includes Scala’s and Oola. The gents are aiming to create a unique and memorable space where folks can hang out that will stylistically feel fresh and new. And there will also be a kitchen, so expect a late-night menu as well. As for the name, it ends up Harris is a big collector of vintage gear, so his little mechanical piggy bank dating back to the 1850s is providing some inspiration for the colors and perhaps theatrics of the space. (You can watch a trick dog bank in action here. And again, it’ll be 2011 until this one opens, so sit, boy, sit. Good dog. 3000 20th St. at Florida.

On a side note, I was happy to learn that eight San Francisco bartenders who are in New Orleans for the Tales of the Cocktail event are joining up with a few more bartenders from New York and Florida to help volunteer with Hands on New Orleans, in addition to throwing a fundraiser while they’re there. Go team go.

The Sycamore Now Open in the Mission

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Now open in the former Cafe Prague space in the Mission is ~THE SYCAMORE~, a casual restaurant-bar-hangout from brother and sister Tim and Liz Ryan. Mission Local shares this tidbit about the menu: “[The Sycamore] will offer mix-and-match sliders and a popular sandwich from a region north of Boston called the North Shore…North Shore roast beef sandwiches are very popular in the Ryans’ native Boston, but have not yet made their way to San Francisco. Camper over at Alcademics snapped pics of the beer (seven on tap) and wine list, along with the menu, so hop on over for more info. There is also a patio in the back, FYI. Hours are 11am-12am. 2140 Mission St. at Sycamore (at 18th St.), 415-252-7704.

Is Original Joe's Reopening in North Beach?

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Flickr photo from Thomas Hawk.

The Inside Scoop caught wind of a rumor that ~ORIGINAL JOE’S~ might be reopening in the Joey & Eddie’s space (previously Moose’s) on Washington Square. I got a “no comment” from John Duggan, whose family opened the restaurant in 1937 (it’s remained tragically closed since a nasty fire in 2007). But sources close to the North Beach scene confirm the rumor is a likely possibility, so we’ll just have to sit tight and see what kind of paperwork is signed, hopefully soon. 1652 Stockton St. at Union.

RNM Officially Closed

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Flickr photo from Rick Audet.

After initial reports speculating that ~RNM~ in the Lower Haight was closed for good, chef-owner Justine Miner has confirmed the restaurant will remain closed. She is going to take some time off to travel (she’s thinking about Spain and China), and said she may pop up again in the next year or two. She did mention there are some interested parties who want to take over the space; stand by for official news.

A Few Updates on Restaurant Hours

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Crab and grits at Hibiscus.

Just wanted to give you a quick heads up that ~BISTRO AIX~ will be closed Monday nights starting August 1st. But starting the weekend of August 7th, the restaurant will be opening up for lunch Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm-3pm. 3340 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-202-0100.

Over in Dogpatch, ~JUST FOR YOU CAFE~ is no longer serving dinner, but their breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch hours will continue. Hours are Mon-Fri 7:30am-3pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 732 22nd St. at 3rd St., 415-647-3033.

And over in Oakland, ~HIBISCUS~ is now serving lunch Wed-Fri 11am-2:30pm. You can check out the menu here. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at 18th, Oakland, 510-444-2626.

Next SF Underground Market This Saturday July 24th

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The Underground Market. Flickr photo from kewzoo.

Coming up this Saturday July 24th is the next ~SF UNDERGROUND MARKET~. The market will be split into two shifts: the first (11am-4pm) will be focused on “take-homeables,” like jams, produce, soaps, desserts, etc. If you want to avoid the much-discussed crowds, this is a good time to go. Buy $2 advance tickets here.

The second shift (6pm-midnight) will be mainly hot food that’s ready to eat. There will also be music, drinks for sale (Trumer $3, Speakeasy $3, and wine $4), and workshops, like a homebrew workshop by Local Brewing Co. Buy $5 tickets here. You’ll also be able to buy tickets at the door. And if you bring your own cup, plate, and silverware, you get a buck off admission.

Some vendors include Kitchen Sidecar (homemade Vietnamese bahn mi sandwiches), Biscuit Boy, Homeroom with their mac and cheese, CDMacaron, Emmy’s farm-made pickles and jams, and more.

Please note the market will be closed from 4pm-6pm for an intermission and vendor changeover. You will also need to sign up for a free membership here in order to enter the market (if you’ve signed up in the past, no need to re-apply).

Saturday Jul 24, 2010
11am–4pm, 6pm–12am
$2–$5
more info

Two More Farmers' Markets Comin' to Town

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Flickr photo from John ‘K’.

Wow, is our new mantra a chicken in every pot, a farmers’ market in every ‘hood? Starting this Wednesday July 21st, the ~MINT PLAZA FARMERS’ MARKET~ will launch, running every Wednesday from 10am-2pm (until October 27th). There is a nice variety of vendors so far, and most are organic, including Blue Moon Organics (strawberries and more), Tomatero Farm (organic broccoli, chard, kale, lettuce, beets, carrots, and eggs), J&M Ibarra (organic mixed greens), Rodin Farms (pesticide-free stone fruit), and more. Some potential vendors may include Marshall’s Honey, Bakers of Paris, Scream Sorbet, and others. Near 5th St. between Market and Mission.

And then this Thursday July 22nd marks the debut of the ~MISSION COMMUNITY MARKET~, running every Thursday from 4pm-8pm. SFoodie has the list of some farmers and food vendors at this week’s market. Bartlett St. at 22nd St.

Grocery Store News in the 94117

I’ve been watching my neighborhood market, ~FALLETTI FOODS~, gain a deli case, and today (July 20th) is the soft opening of that section in the store. They’re offering made-to-order classic sandwiches, with a variety of meats from Boar’s Head, Molinari, and Diestel. Special sandwiches will include an Italian sub, a chicken Caesar, smoked salmon, an Italian or Greek vegetarian sandwich, a vegan sandwich on Alvarado Street Bakery bread, a Brie special, and a prosciutto deli sandwich. Look for hot sandwiches coming soon, with beef and pork coming off the rotisserie. You can also get sliced meats, cheeses, and some salads. Hours are 7am-9pm daily. 308 Broderick St. at Fell, 415-626-4400.

The big news rippling through the neighborhood is that Sam Mogannam is opening a second ~BI-RITE MARKET~ on Divisadero, in the former Emblem Grocery. We had a chance to catch up, and he told me it’s going to be almost the same size as the Bi-Rite on 18th Street, about 2,500 square feet. Mogannam said they’re going to start working on the space later in the year, so the targeted opening is in 2011. In the meantime, they’re busy focusing on the new space and full kitchen for 18 Reasons, in the former Jivano’s Cutlery shop. 736 Divisadero St. at Grove.

Feelin' Lucky (Punk?)

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There are just eight days left for you to enter to win a variety of prizes in the 20th Anniversary Contest on now at ~PALIO D’ASTI~. There are 24 prizes, including a private mixology class for 10, a case of Italian wine, and a cocktail party for you and 20 of your BFFs. How to enter? Just submit a business card every time you dine (lunch or dinner—and everyone at your table can enter), plus chef Dan says that in honor of my Italian heritage, if you write “tablehopper” on your biz card/entry, you’ll also get invited to a private anniversary bash to be held later this summer. And don’t forget, at dinner, when you order three-plus courses (for $37), you get your first martini or Manhattan for only $1 more. And to that I can only say cin cin! You have from now until July 28th to enter the contest.

Palio D'Asti - 640 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-395-9800

Ready to Go to Hog Heaven?

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Flickr photo from Look.

Get ready to put your piggy nose on, because ~THE PASTA SHOP’S~ annual Hog Heaven III is coming up on Saturday July 31st. Artisanal and sustainable pork will be featured in educational demos, tastings, book signings, and patio grilling. Producers, chefs, and authors will answer questions with shoppers as they taste a variety of salumi, the Pasta Shop’s housemade sausages, goat cheese and bacon ravioli, and chocolate bacon truffles. The tastings start at 1pm, and here’s the lineup of educational demos:

1:30pm: Scott Brennan, Café Rouge lead butcher, will demo bratwurst sausage-making and discuss ingredient sourcing and cooking techniques. On the patio, Café Rouge will be offering fresh-off-the-grill housemade hot dogs.

2:15pm: Ari Weinzweig will discuss his new book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon, and why he believes bacon is to the United States as olive oil is to Italy.

2:30pm: Pasta Shop executive chef Scott Miller will demo stuffed pork loin and discuss quality ingredients, handling, and cooking, while pulled pork sandwiches will be available for purchase on the patio.

You’ll also be able to hang out with authors Ari Weinzweig, along with Victoria Wise, author of Sausage: Recipes for Making and Cooking with Homemade Sausage, from 1pm-3pm. And the best part: the entire event is free, except for purchases.

The porky event continues throughout the evening next door at ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ with Ari Weinzweig and recipes from Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon; the evening menu will be featuring a Llano Seco whole hog that will be roasted Cuban-style.

Saturday Jul 31, 2010
1pm–4pm
more info

Mark Your Calendar and Start Saving Your (Soba) Dough

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Coming up in November (from the 4th through the 6th) is The Culinary Institute of America’s 13th annual ~WORLDS OF FLAVOR CONFERENCE & FESTIVAL~. And what’s especially exciting about this one is the entire 2010 event will be devoted to Japanese cuisine: it’s titled JAPAN: FLAVORS OF CULTURE—From Sushi and Soba to Kaiseki, A Global Celebration of Tradition, Art & Exchange. There will be more than 50 Japanese chefs (from Michelin-three-starred restaurants to noodle bars) leading conference sessions devoted to mastering Japanese food ingredients, beverages, techniques for flavor development, and more, along with seminars and workshops.

The event is hosted at the CIA’s historic and scenic Napa Valley campus at Greystone, drawing over 700 attending chefs, food professionals, and journalists. Other starring guests include Masaharu Morimoto, David Chang, Thomas Keller, José Andrés, Harold McGee, Ruth Reichl, Elizabeth Andoh (a writer and lecturer specializing in Japanese food and culture), and Harris Salat (a farmer turned journalist). There are still tickets available for foodservice professionals and culinary educators: $1,095 for Advanced Purchase Registration (through August 31st) or $1,295 for General Registration (September 1st-November 1st). Like I said, start saving…

Thursday Nov 4, 2010 – Saturday Nov 6, 2010
more info

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Jul 20, 2010

(Sponsored): Prepare to Feast at the 01SJ Biennial

Immerse yourself in a singular experience at the 2010 01SJ Biennial—a contemporary art biennial at the nexus of art, technology, and digital culture—as you join filmmaker and new media artist Grahame Weinbren and renowned chef Kitty Greenwald for Still Life with Banquet, a visual and epicurean feast.

Participants become both spectators and components of a living still-life, feasting on a banquet that nods to Dutch cookery while surrounded by stunning visuals of the meal’s ingredients slowly returning to their original state. The evening ends with a flourish as you enjoy a private preview of Plug-in-Play, the dramatic, interactive projection created for the Biennial by legendary architecture and design firm Rockwell Group. To find out more or buy tickets, visit the website.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Jul 20, 2010

The Hopper Is Guest Bartending at Jardinière on Wednesday July 28th

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Thirsty. Very thirsty.

This could prove to be dangerous, but at a baseline, really fun: I’ll be guest bartending at the J-Lounge at ~JARDINIÈRE~ next Wednesday July 28th from 5:30pm-8pm. No, I won’t be making complicated and multi-layered drinks, but I will be schooled enough to serve up The Enchantress (a bourbon-based drink, natch), priced at a wallet-friendly $9. Which means you can save money for my book (which I’ll be selling for $17.50 and can sign for you—and perhaps shake some bitters on it, no additional charge). This will be the first session in a guest bartender series in the J-Lounge—I guess they’ll have to see how much damage I do. Fortunately I’ll have barman Brian MacGregor there to keep me in line. So come on by for a bourbon bevvie, my book, and I’ll try my best bartender jokes on you.

Jardinière - 300 Grove St. San Francisco - 415-861-5555

Where to Drink Bubbles This Week

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It’s a two-fer of bubbly options for you: this Wednesday July 21st, ~OTTIMISTA ENOTECA-CAFÉ~ in Cow Hollow is hosting a night of Bisol Prosecco from 6pm-9pm. Special guest Roberto Cremonese will be pouring and discussing his estate’s wines tableside—you can choose the bubbles by the glass or enjoy a tasting flight of all the wines. 

To accompany the wines, the à la carte menu for the evening will feature dishes inspired by the Veneto region.

And then starting this Thursday July 22nd, Veuve Clicquot is starting Full Moon Thursdays. Every month, Downtown’s ~BELDEN PLACE~ will be hosting a Full Moon Clicquot party in the alley’s restaurants, featuring Veuve Clicquot discounts, food pairings, and free entertainment. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label will be featured by the glass for $18 (approximately $24 per glass is the usual price) all day and night. To kick off the series, the Fou Fou Ha dance troupe will be performing from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Upcoming dates include August 26th, September 23rd, October 21st, November 21st, and December 23rd.

New Suds for SF

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2010 continues to prove itself to be the year of beer, because here’s another addition to the local sudsy scene: ~OLD OAK BEER CO.~ The partners in the project are Jesse Friedman, home brewer and publisher behind the Beer and Nosh blog, and Damian Fagan, a designer and fellow home brewer. Now, I wasn’t able to get many details out of Friedman, who is getting ready for his wedding this weekend (congrats!), but the gents are going to be offering a farm-to-bottle approach to brewing, one that is sustainably minded, with limited seasonal quantities. They are going to be gearing their product for the San Francisco restaurant and food scene (more on what that means soon), and will feature a unique look (it helps to partner with a designer). I wasn’t able to get any details (yet) on where they’re brewing their beer, or what ales they’re brewing, but they already have a batch in production which should be released in late fall. Expect more on this project in a month or so. Hic.

New Brewmaster's Dinner Series at Social Kitchen & Brewery

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Beer lover’s salad. Photo by Austin Hastings.

Starting this Wednesday July 21st, ~SOCIAL KITCHEN & BREWERY~ begins its monthly Brewmaster’s Dinner Series. This month’s menu will be omnivore- and vegetarian-friendly and will include an appetizer reception, salad course, main course, and dessert. Each course will be paired with a Social Kitchen & Brewery beer, and the reception will include three appetizers paired with two beers and a beer cocktail.

Brewmaster Rich Higgins and chef Dante Simoncini came up with the theme of comfort food for this inaugural dinner; selections from the menu will include: Bavarian cheese Obaster paired with Social Kölsch; chicken wings paired with a Rapscallion Belgian ale-cilantro-jalapeño cocktail; braised beef stroganoff or ratatouille served family style with egg noodles, horseradish sour cream sauce, trio of peas, and seared oyster mushrooms paired with Old Time Alt; and a mystery mocha paired with L’Enfant Terrible. Upcoming dinners will include a pasta dinner, vegan dinner, spicy-picante dinner, garlic dinner, and pickled dinner. And here’s the best part: it’s only $30, and includes the beer pairings.

Wednesday Jul 21, 2010
6:30pm
$30
more info

Social Kitchen & Brewery - 1326 9th Ave., San Francisco - 415-681-0330

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Jul 20, 2010

Two Comedians Walked Into a Restaurant...

Both ~Conan O’Brien~ and ~Patton Oswalt~ dined at Andalu in the Mission before their Herbst Theatre appearance last week. They ordered the tuna tacos (no word if they made inappropriate jokes about them) and the crispy mac and cheese.

Frances McDormand Is a Coffee Junkie

One of my buddies tweeted, “Just tried to buy ~Frances McDormand~ a coffee at the Ferry Building Blue Bottle. She just picked up some Chemex filters.” Stars… They buy Chemex filters, just like us!

A Wayfaring Journey

According to a TyFlo tweet, ~Jonathan Cain~, the keyboardist from Journey, dined at Wayfare Tavern last Saturday.

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