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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: ow.

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Here’s one way to make it through SF Chefs. (Oh, Shotzi.)

Last week was ridiculous—what a whirlwind. I know so many chefs, bartenders, heck, the majority of the industry is worn the hell out. The theme should be SF Chefs: Take No Prisoners. Kudos to everyone for putting on such a strong showing, especially with multiple events each day and night. (Staying out until 3am both Friday and Saturday night did me in for sure.)

My Friday night Happy Ending party at E&O Trading Co. was a blast—a huge thanks to everyone who came and participated: Adobo Hobo, Nombe, Turtle Tower, Soul Cocina, Betelnut, Basil Canteen, Azalina, DeLise Dessert Café, Seoul on Wheels, the Bon Vivants, our fab downstairs bar staff (Brian MacGregor, Victoria d’Amato-Moran, Kim Morini, Nancy Do), and DJ Jeffrey Paradise. A very special thanks to the welcoming and oh-so pro E&O staff, and everyone at Andrew Freeman & Co. for helping me organize that thing. I was too busy hosting to really document the event well, d’oh, but here are some of my pics. Fortunately there are additional (and much more professional!) pictures in this Betelnut Facebook photo album—with plenty of food shots.

I also swung by the Hog in the Fog party on Friday night to check things out for an hour or so before my par-tay, pics here. And after my talk at the Book Passage Travel, Food, & Photography Conference on Saturday (and a disco nap), I rallied for the Fork It Over Foodraiser (pics here), and the after party at Wayfare Tavern. On Sunday, let’s just say I had to pull it on over (I pried myself out of bed for my trainer session in the park that morning and thought I was going to die).

This weekend, it’s another huge party: La Cocina’s Street Food Festival in the Mission; read all about it in the socialite. It’s also looking like a week full of LOTS of exercise or I’m gonna turn into Jabba the Hut, kee-rist. And I can’t believe I’m leaving for Burning Man in less than two weeks—ay yi yi.

Pop the clutch.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Aug 17, 2010

On the Same Day: Ed Moose Leaves Us, The Washbag Closes (Again)

Last week a tablehopper reader wrote in to let me know the ~WASHINGTON SQUARE BAR & GRILL~ had closed—it had been a year and a half since the Tiernans reopened “The Washbag” back in the beginning of 2009. In an uncanny and sad moment of synchronicity, Leah Garchick also reported that Ed Moose had passed away the same day. You can read more about this wonderful San Francisco personage and restaurateur here—he’ll be missed by many. 1707 Powell St. at Union.

Tony's Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House (Soft) Opens This Wednesday

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Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana is soft opening his latest pet project this Wednesday, ~TONY’S COAL-FIRED PIZZA & SLICE HOUSE~ in the former Palermo Delicatessen/La Spiaggia location (the grand opening is Friday). It’s a tiny space with mostly take-out items only, but it’s going to have quite the list o’ options: coal-fired pizzas (yup, the only ones in NorCal—an original 15” tomato pie is $15, and a white pie with clam and garlic will be available on Fridays and Saturdays for $23), there’s New York-style pizza by the slice ($3.50 for plain cheese), Sicilian by the square ($3 for cheese), and Romana pizza by the meter (1/4 meter is $8), which you can customize with three ingredients (your pick).

And I haven’t even gotten to the sandwiches: there will be Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches (like the one I got at Al’s), seven kinds in all, with beef that has been slow roasted with rosemary, garlic, and oregano in the coal-fired oven. Or you can get a calzone, or a stromboli, and there will be baked ziti in the winter (which would be now, ahem). And then there’s the New York deli list of sandwiches, ranging from capicollo grinders to a chicken parm wedge to pastrami on rye. You can also order your own combo, with meats that will be sliced on an Italian hand-cranked slicer—and the pastrami, corned beef, and rosemary turkey are all made in-house. (Hey, I’m just happy to see a place with caciocavallo cheese as an option, mamma mia.) Lastly, there are chocolate egg cream sodas (using Fox’s U Bet and Seltzer Sisters soda) and Gino’s Italian ices (lemon or cherry).

Now, I don’t know how many people it’s going to take to get these slices and sandwiches out the door quickly enough so it doesn’t turn into another Ike’s—I guess all will be revealed. But Tony does have a dedicated walk-in for pizza dough (for both restaurants), so at least he knows he’s gotta make a lot of dough! Closed Mon-Tue, open Wed-Sun 12pm-11pm.

Tony's Coal Fired Pizza & Slice House - 1556 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-835-9888

William Werner as (Frenchie) Willy Wonka

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Rendering of the storefront.

Pastry chef William Werner (polite/persuasion, Quince, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company) is launching ~TELL TALE PRESERVE COMPANY~ with the Whisk Group on Maiden Lane this November. It’s going to be a modern French pâtisserie and delicatessen, serving a variety of housemade pastries, confections, preserves, sandwiches, salads, and desserts. The 24-foot pastry case will include items like creamsicle éclairs, Werner’s “tiles” (small square tarts), tea cakes by the slice or as a loaf, madeleines, nougats, and more. The housemade “preserves” will be sold in five- to eight-ounce Weck jars, provided for a nominal one-time deposit fee; there will be jams, marmalade, and chocolate—both sweet (like roasted banana with dark chocolate and rum), and savory (like a terrine of foie gras with Palmira chocolate and port).

There will be breakfast sandwiches served everyday until 11am and housemade granola, and for lunch, soups, salads, sandwiches, like a tartine of duck confit, and savory cakes, including roasted corn with chorizo and speck with semi-dried figs. There will also be coffee, tea, beer, wine, sherry, and look at that, caramel horchata.

The 1,100-square-foot space will have 20 indoor and 20 outdoor seats. It will be designed with Jim Zack of Zack | de Vito Architecture, featuring reclaimed wood floors, marble counters, custom retro light fixtures, antique scales, and exposed brick walls. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, and Sat-Sun 9am-5pm.

Werner also has a new off-site production kitchen in Dogpatch, which will serve wholesale accounts and production for his “Tell Tale Society,” a monthly subscription service with pastries, preserves, confections, and savory breads. The cost is $35 per month and customers can either pick up their package or have it shipped. The first one includes almond financiers, plum-lychee pâtes de fruit, confiture “café” au lait (coffee-laced milk jam), caramels with volcanic sea salt, savory tomato-semolina bread, praline marshmallows, and raspberry-white chocolate sandwich cookies.

Tell Tale Preserve Company - 33 Maiden Ln. San Francisco

Where to Perk Up Before (or After) Fort Mason Events

The next time you’re headed over to Fort Mason for a wine event, or for the farmers’ market, or even a walk on the Marina Green, you’ll be able to grab a Blue Bottle coffee at the new ~READERS CAFE~. You can also enjoy wine and beer, snacks from Goody Goodie Cookies, Kika’s Treats, 18 Rabbits, and KIND bars, along with a rotating menu with items from La Cocina businesses. Readers Cafe is located adjacent to the Friends’ Book Bay Fort Mason book store. And here’s the best part: it’s operated by Friends of the San Francisco Public Library, so all proceeds benefit the San Francisco Public Library. Hours are daily 9am-6pm. Building C, South End, Fort Mason Center, 415-724-7512.

Peach & Plum Dining Month Is Underway

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At Marlowe Restaurant; photo by Hardy Wilson.

San Francisco’s first ~PEACH & PLUM DINING MONTH~ is underway, running until September 15th. Recent research findings from a study performed at Texas A&M University indicate peaches and plums may help fight breast cancer. So 18 San Francisco chefs and restaurants will feature savory and sweet peach and plum dishes on their menu, donating $1 from every dish sold to The Breast Cancer Site’s Gifts That Give More program, which helps fund free mammograms. You can “like” the campaign on Facebook, and learn more about the study at MyFruitMyBody.com.

Participating restaurants (which include a strong showing from past and present Rivera PR clients) and their dishes include:
1) DOSA on FIllmore: peach + passion fruit mimosa
2) Fifth Floor: artisan foie gras (foie gras pâté, peaches, pistachio, vanilla salt)
3) Ironside: peach tart
4) District: crispy mustard-glazed pork belly with roasted peach and spiced cabbage
5) Hog & Rocks: peach cobbler parfait; bratwurst with pickled plum; peach mint julep
6) Scala’s: Italian prune plum crostada with ginger gelato; duck confit with grilled peaches, farro, balsamic onions, wild arugula, mint, and almonds
7) Beretta: peach crumble cake with vanilla gelato and Bellini coulis
8) Starbelly: grilled peach and mache salad with Humboldt Fog and Oregon hazelnuts; fresh peaches with Harvey Milk ice cream and burnt brioche
9) Delarosa: peach and basil pizza dolce with vanilla gelato
10) 5A5: seared foie gras with grilled peach, peach coulis, dwarf truffle peach
11) Gitane: peach and heirloom tomato salad with hazelnut phyllo, goat cheese, and roasted shallot dressing
12) midi: lemon-vanilla rice pudding with lemon curd, fresh pluots, and pluot sauce
13) Roam: peach milkshake
14) Elite Cafe: field lettuce with organic white and yellow peaches, sweet herbs, toasted almonds, citrus vinaigrette
15) Trademark: organic yellow peach and blackberry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream
16) Uva Enoteca: oven-roasted poussin with peach gastrique and braised greens
17) Citizen’s Band: peach cobbler
18) Marlowe: white peach and Berkeley burrata

Special Menu at Orson: Benefit for Women Chefs and Restaurateurs

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Copyright © 2006-10 FrankenyImages.com.

Come by ~ORSON~ from Thursday August 19th-Saturday the 21st for a special menu that will be available, Unite For A Bite. The menu was inspired by an array of incredible women chefs, and is serving as a benefit for the Women Chefs and Restaurateurs scholarship and mentoring programs for women in the hospitality industry. Here’s the lineup: first course: strange flavor eggplant with scallion buns, inspired by Barbara Tropp; second course: spaghetti with raw tomato sauce, inspired by Lidia Bastianich; main course: grilled skirt steak with tamarind, roasted peppers, and watercress, inspired by Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken; and dessert: nectarines and plums with vanilla-goat cheese, honey, and pistachio-walnut streusel, inspired by and for Joyce Goldstein. The menu is $55, and wine pairings are $25. Their regular menus will also be available.

Orson - 508 4th St. San Francisco - 415-777-1508

Get Shanghaied

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Drunken chicken; photo from ACF.

This Thursday August 19th, MATCHA at the Asian Art Museum is all about one of my favorite cuisines: Shanghaiese! Bring on the black vinegars! The Asian Culinary Forum and the Asian Art Museum are hosting chef Nei Chia Ji of Jai Yun Restaurant and chef Martin Yan of Yan Can Cook for Shanghai Drunken Dish. The duo will host a demonstration (from 7pm-7:45pm) and a limited tasting of three special dishes: the famous drunken chicken infused with Shaoxing wine, vegetarian goose with bean curd and rice wine, and pickled cucumber in Huang Chiew wine. You’ll be able to have sample bites, purchase cocktails from the cash bar, listen to music from DJ Friendly Traveler, and tour the special Shanghai exhibition (docent conversations are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm).

And then on September 2nd is The Foods of Shanghai’s Jewish Communities at 7:30pm with Inna Mink and Dianne Jacob. Inna will share her experiences as a child in an Ashkenazi family living in this “Paris of the East,” while Dianne will speak about her observant Iraqi-Jewish family’s culinary traditions, which included Indian-Jewish, British, and Chinese foods. Jewish Community Center-East Bay, Berkeley.

Thursday Aug 19, 2010
5pm–9pm
$10 at the door
more info

So, You Wanna Write About Food...

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When I was first breaking into food writing, Dianne Jacob’s book, Will Write for Food: The Complete Guide to Writing Cookbooks, Blogs, Reviews, Memoir, and More, was an informative intro. The newest edition focuses on food blogging and photography, social media, self-publishing, and freelance writing. Sean Timberlake of Hedonia will interview Dianne on food blogging trends, including how a blog can open doors to writing books, feature articles, and paid posts for websites. They will be at Omnivore this Saturday August 21st from 3pm-4pm, swing on by! 3885a Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.

Hey Honey

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Photo from City Bees.

Here’s your chance to be an extreme locavore with this Slow Food San Francisco guided tasting of local neighborhood San Francisco honeys on Sunday August 29th. Apiarist Robert MacKimmie of City Bees will guide the group through a tasting of at least six micro-climate honeys from several neighborhoods, such as Potrero Hill, Dolores Park, the Castro, and more. You will also be able to learn about urban beekeeping and what gives honeys their distinct taste. There will also be a “cooking with honey” demonstration (including honey bread and some baked summer fruit desserts) at 1pm in the Cob Brick oven by Slow Food SF’s Naomi Friedman and Xanthie Drankus; the honey tasting is at 3pm.

Sunday Aug 29, 2010
11am–5pm
$20
more info

Make Your Labor Day a Meaty One with 4505 Meats

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Is there a barbecue in your Labor Day future? If your answer is a “hells yes!,” then you should consider ordering the brand-new ~4505 CSA COOLER~, ready to go at the 4505 Meats Ferry Plaza Farmers Market stall. The September cooler is geared towards grilling, including a “ready to grill” beef or pork prime cut (you choose from Magruder Ranch grass-fed beef or Hudson Ranch heritage pork), recipes, instructions, handmade beer sausages, bacon-studded hot dogs, bratwurst, and of course, chicharrones.

Pre-orders will be taken on the phone only starting Monday August 23rd at 415-255-3094 (all pre-ordered 4505 Coolers will cost $60). You can pick up on Saturday September 4th from 8am-2pm. If they don’t sell out and you decide to buy one on September 4th without pre-ordering, each 4505 Cooler will cost $70. Your 4505 Cooler is refillable, reusable, and insulated. More 4505 Cooler pick up locations in SF and the East Bay soon! Keep up with 4505 on their Facebook page.

Zut! Moves Into the Eccolo Space

Due to open on August 31st in the former Eccolo space on 4th Street in Berkeley is ~ZUT! ON FOURTH~, a project from chef Jim Wimborough (Home, Evvia Estiatorio, Kokkari, Grand Café, Boulevard, Rubicon) and general manager Steven Decker (co-founder of Café Claude).

The menu will feature regional Mediterranean dishes: appetizers ($7-$10) like fried squash blossoms, local squid stuffed with chorizo, and braised white beans with roasted peppers and goat cheese. Entrées ($18-$22) include rotisserie Watson Ranch lamb, mesquite-grilled whole fish of the day, and slow cooked tajines. There will also be flatbreads, focaccia, and pizzas. There’s a full bar, highlighting locally crafted spirits and an extensive selection of aperitifs and amaros. The space has been remodeled, and features a comfortable aesthetic, with a sidewalk patio, and a semi-exhibition kitchen with a wood-fired grill and rotisserie. After an initial two-week period of dinner-only service, the restaurant will also serve lunch daily, plus a weekend brunch. 1820 4th St. at Hearst, 510-644-0444.

Zut! on Fourth - 1820 4th St. Berkeley - 510-644-0444

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 17, 2010
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(Sponsored): Planning a Restaurant? Call R3 Builders.

R3 Builders: we can make your restaurant vision a reality.

R3 Builders is a ten-year-old San Francisco-based construction company that has worked with DOSA, Patxi’s, Bin 38, and The Parlor to manage the building process from site consulting to final inspection. Our quality-driven team of industry veterans and our state-of-the-art cabinetry shop will work with you on creative solutions that meet your unique needs, on time, and within budget.

At SF Chefs 2010, we partnered with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and supported this event celebrating San Francisco’s restaurants and chefs by designing and building the kitchen stages and hosting the industry party.

R3 Builders. Restaurants. Bars. Lounges. Clubs.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Aug 17, 2010

Public House is Hosting Beer Dinners on Third Tuesdays

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Starting tonight, Tuesday August 17th, ~PUBLIC HOUSE~ is launching their new Third Tuesday Beer Dinner, featuring Stone Brewing Co. from Escondido. Each month, they will feature a special beer-focused three- or four-course dinner and pairing from a microbrewery. No reservations are necessary, but it’s first come, first served (6pm-9pm). $40 per person (plus tax and gratuity). Tonight’s menu is as follows:

First Course
Beet Tartare, Fresh Horseradish, Garlic-Rubbed Toast or Smoked Cod, Potato Rösti, Housemade Pancetta
Stone Saison Du BUFF

Second Course
Stuffed Cabbage, Barley, Quinoa, Wheat Berry, Curry Sauce or Grilled 8 oz. Pork Chop, Creamed Cabbage, Dijon, Spaetzle
Stone XIV Emperial IPA

Third Course
PH Affogato Humphry Slocombe Vanilla Ice Cream
Stone Imperial Russian Stout

Public House has also just added a whole slew of beers to their beer menu, bringing the total to 81 beers offered daily.

Public House - 24 Willie Mays Plaza San Francisco - 415-644-0240

"Grounded" Dinner at Lafitte with Clear Creek Distillery

Starting Sunday August 22nd, ~LAFITTE~ is launching the Grounded Series of dinners, which will include themed dinners, guest spirits, wineries, farmers, and guest chefs. The first one will feature a tomato- and corn-themed menu with guest distiller/owner Steve McCarthy of Clear Creek Distillery in Oregon. Each course will be paired with cocktails featuring Clear Creek Distillery spirits, which include fruit eaux de vie, grappas, and wine brandy. Sunday’s five-course menu is $125 (with cocktail pairings, but exclusive of gratuity). Seating is at 7:30pm. You can call for reservations (415-839-2134), or reserve online.

Upcoming dates include: local farmers with the CFUUGH dinner, Clandestine Farmers Urban Underground Garden Harvest, on September 19th; guest chef alum Liam Mayclem, host of CBS’s Eye on the Bay, for his “Burning Brit” night on October 17th; November 14th will feature live Dungeness crab; and December 19th will feature white and black truffles.

Lafitte - Pier 5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco - 415-839-2134

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 17, 2010

(Sponsored): Get Carried Away (with the tablehopper)

Carried Away is a new and different way to experience San Francisco and the Bay Area. We offer completely private outings for up to four people, and whisk you around town in a new, luxury ride. Each trip is personally designed just for you.

And now Carried Away and the tablehopper have joined to bring you the ultimate dining experience: Get Carried Away with The Tablehopper. The tablehopper will select four hotspots and accompany you to each location for a progressive dinner, featuring an appetizer, main dish, dessert, and post-prandial cocktail. Carried Away will provide a Champagne start to the evening, as well as luxury transportation. This is an exclusive opportunity to hang out with the tablehopper for an entire evening over delicious food and drink!

Go to La Cocina’s SF Street Food Festival silent online auction, and place the winning bid for this fantastic evening! Good luck!

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Aug 17, 2010

The SF Street Food Festival Is Finally This Weekend!

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Event Info

Saturday Aug 21, 2010 – Monday Aug 23, 2010

As if we didn’t get pummeled enough with the SF Chefs event, now it’s time to prepare for another weekend of majorly delicious eating at the ~SF STREET FOOD FESTIVAL~ from La Cocina. This event is La Cocina’s single biggest fundraiser, allowing the organization to continue to provide affordable commercial kitchen space and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs as they launch their food businesses.

There are a variety of events, starting with this Wednesday August 18th at 7pm, there is a three-course Around the World Bistro Dinner, which is only $35 with wine included!

This year, the Street Food Festival will encompass five blocks and a park in the Mission, with over 40 vendors, three bars, live music, and more—and the organizers are taking measures to help keep it from being as crazy-crowded as last year’s event. You can check out the menu items of all the participants here, from Kitchenette to Hapa Ramen to Aziza to 15 Romolo to all of La Cocina’s incubator businesses. And there will be boozy drinks (Alembic, Beretta, and Rye on the Road will all be participating). The Festival runs from 11am-7pm, and will take place on Folsom Street from 24th to 26th Streets, 25th Street from Treat Street to Shotwell, and Treat Street along Garfield Park.

When the event wraps up Saturday night, there’s an After Party at Cafe Cocomo, with music, dancing, and more food vendors, from 6pm-2am ($10 presale, $15 at the door). And there is a Sunday brunch, an all-you-can-drink Bloody Mary/Champagne affair at Americano on the waterfront.

One thing to consider is buying a Passport, which ranges from a $25 value (and includes one free “secret” snack from a street food vendor), all the way to the $150 pass—passports can be shared among friends and family. You can use cash at the event, but La Cocina receives a percentage of passport sales, so everyone wins.

Sunday and Monday are all about the Street Food Conference at the Hotel Vitale, with a variety of panels, including John T. Edge as a moderator, a variety of food writers, chefs, cart owners, and more. Scholarships are available from Union Bank; email for more details.

And hello, have you looked at the Silent Auction? Yours truly has partnered with Carried Away to offer a night on the town with me: two winners will join me to visit four places around town for an appetizer, main course, dessert, and post-prandial cocktails. Carried Away will provide a Champagne start to the evening, as well as luxury transportation. Let’s hit the town (you can bid here)! There are also cooking classes, front-of-the-line passes for RoliRoti’s porchetta, butchery classes, make your own ice cream with Three Twins, even “chef for a day” at Chez Panisse. Dude. I know, there are something like 50 experiential items to choose from, which make excellent and unique gifts for any picky gourmands in your life.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Aug 17, 2010

The Strokes: Eating Like Locals

A source of a source told me that based on Austin Scaggs’s recommendations, ~The Strokes~ ate at Tommaso’s on Friday night, and then La Taqueria on Saturday before their performance at Outside Lands, and then on Sunday at Yank Sing for dim sum. Scaggs (son of Boz, and a music critic and senior editor for Rolling Stone magazine) was texting the musicians from New York, telling them what to order at each location, and making sure that they did not have to wait like the rest of us while at Tommaso’s. What a guy—I need his mobile number.

Sons & Daughters & Waters

Saw a couple tweets about ~John Waters~, who was spotted dining at Sons & Daughters. One tweet mentioned, “Not sure if our table [was] more rowdy, or his!”

Oh Brother

Last Thursday, ~Eric Anthony Roberts~, brother of Julia Roberts, was spotted at E&O Trading Co. San Francisco. He was lunching with two others.

Chefs and Culinary Heavy Hitters in the City

The city was jam-packed with chefs visiting town, including ~Daniel Humm~ of Eleven Madison Park in New York, who was spotted at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and having lunch at Chez Panisse Café. More highlights: ~Lidia Bastianich~ and her daughter were filming at A16, and I saw both ~David Burke~ and ~Drew Nieporent~ at the Wayfare Tavern SF Chefs after party on Saturday night.

Girls Just Wanna Eat Sliders

According to this posting on Eater, ~Cyndi Lauper~ was spotted at Cin-Cin Wine Bar in Los Gatos, eating “steak frites, sliders, seared ahi, soba noodle wraps, and mushroom empanadas” with five friends. They also reportedly ordered bottles of Gary Farrell chardonnay and Pelerin pinot noir.

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