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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: whoa is me.

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Chris Lee stirring his cioppino (yes, in a boat!) at OPENwater.

Greetings from the land of tech woes, glitches, and annoyances (which is why you didn’t receive a newsletter on Friday—I was too mired in tech support). Pfffft. Fortunately things are all systems go again.

Let’s focus on the fun stuff. Fortunately last week was heavy on the delicious scale (let’s ignore that other scale for a moment): a charming dinner (that included a Turkish coffee ground reading) at Pera in Potrero Hill; an epic tasting menu at Acquerello, complete with a white truffle course (yes, updating the Fodor’s SF guidebook definitely has its perks—it has me going to places all over town right now); and discovering how much I love the Martinez cocktail at Comstock Saloon (and their pickled eggs on rye, Hangtown style). Meow.

This weekend I also got some “culcha” in, with a night at the opera (The Makropulos Case is brilliant—make time to go see it if you can), and some late-night dancing in, too. Sunday night was the thought-provoking and impressive OPENwater event at Hangar One in Alameda. It was like a science fair-meets-maritime-themed restaurant, with a cocktail sideshow (which included the opportunity to taste a martini spritzed with a custom ambergris tincture Lance Winters made), and clever installations. Every component of the event had a purpose, thought, or message—all the way to the Sunday night Chinook salmon-themed dinner that purposefully had no salmon. (It did, however, feature a wonderful cioppino by Chris Lee of Eccolo.) I’ll post pics soon!

This week will be awash in wine, from checking out the new How Wine Became Modern exhibit at SFMOMA to PinotFest (oh, and this Thursday there’s a repeat of the very cool Riedel wineglass tasting I did for anyone who’s interested!).

Cheers from here.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Nov 16, 2010

Beast and the Hare Opens This Wednesday in the Mission

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Photo from Beast and the Hare’s Facebook page.

Well, the wiley wittle wabbit has been caught: opening this Wednesday November 17th is ~BEAST AND THE HARE~ from Ian Marks (Hog Island, Fatted Calf) and Dylan Denicke. The Mission’s former La Provence has been transformed into a modern tavern, with wood tables and banquettes, and a cypress bar in the back.

On the menu: a selection of house charcuterie, which currently includes lardo with persimmons and salsa verde, smoked duck breast, and chicken liver toast ($14 for three, $10 each); and a few smaller plates, like shaved beets, fennel, burrata, bagna cauda ($8), slow-cooked pork leg, frisée, roasted almonds, mustardy shallot vin ($9), salt-roasted prawns ($10), and baked egg, house bacon, cheesy toast ($8). A couple larger plates are fresh ricotta and farm egg ravioli in brodo, shaved pecorino ($14), and lamb t-bones and sweetbreads, braising greens, and spelt salad ($18). You can also order some $5 sides of fried cauliflower or white corn polenta with roasted tomato. For dessert, there’s Basque cake with market fruit compote, or Rogue hazelnut porter ice cream with a gingerbread biscuit (both $6). 
Hours are Wed-Mon 5pm-10pm (closed Tuesday). Once they get settled, look for them to try late-night hours and weekend brunch.

Beast and the Hare - 1001 Guerrero St. San Francisco - 415-821-1001

Izakaya Ju-Ku Now Open in the Outer Richmond

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Mmmmm, curry. Yelp photo by Miso S.

Sure, pizza is hot, but I’d say izakayas are quickly on pizza’s heels. Grub Street first noted ~IZAKAYA JU-KU~ was moving into the former Ristorante Tiziano space in the Outer Richmond. And now, look at that, it’s open. Initial reports on Yelp mention donburi for lunch and izakaya dishes for dinner; “excellent” kushi katsu, made-to-order tamago omelette, Japanese beers on tap, a fresh-squeezed grapefruit-shochu drink, and it seems the seats to score are the private booths for two. According to Yelp, it’s open for lunch Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm, dinner Tue-Thu and Sun 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. 1801 Clement St. at 19th Ave.

New Spot for Dinner and a View

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Photo from Hana Zen.

A tablehopper tipster called me last week to let me know the new (and second) location of ~HANA ZEN SUSHI & YAKITORI GRILL~ at PIER 39 is quite the looker, with an amazing view of the water, and yakitori items grilled on imported bincho-tan charcoal (it’s also the first sushi restaurant on the pier). The kitchen is committed to using quality ingredients, like free-range chicken and daily delivered seafood. The space is 4,555 square feet, and features a lounge, sake tasting room, and a full sushi bar. And score, there’s validated parking. This is the second restaurant for owner Angie Louie. Open Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-10:30pm. Pier 39, 415-421-8822.

Seven Hills Slated to Open This Week

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Photo from Urban Daddy.

Over on Russian Hill, Urban Daddy has word that ~SEVEN HILLS~, the restaurant that moved into 1550 Hyde’s location, is due to open for dinner this Friday. (I knew about the seven hills of Rome, but never realized San Francisco clocked in at seven as well.) Chef-owner Alexander Alioto’s seasonal menu includes starters like a halibut crudo, bone marrow, and a pumpkin sformato; housemade pastas like mushroom tortelli and Dungeness crab cannelloni; and a few main dishes, like chicken under a brick and prawn spiedini. The international wine list was created by Master Sommeliers Chuck Furuya and Nunzio Alioto. The front of house will be managed by partner Alexis Solomou. Open for dinner Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sun 5pm-10:30pm. 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

Feeling Crabby

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Photo by Mathew Sumner.

Is it here? Is it today? This weekend? Yeah? Maybe? The local crab season was supposed to kick off today—but some folks are saying it’s delayed until the 20th. Supposedly the crabs aren’t full and the shells are too soft, but price is another issue is well. (Here are some additional details about the delay on SFoodie). But as soon as the season gets the go-ahead, you’ll want to taste those hefty and fresh bad boys as soon as possible over the next couple weeks. You can stand in line at Swan Oyster Depot, and I know the owner of Woodhouse Fish Co. is picking them up fresh in the city as well.

If you want to head to the Wharf, personally I am a fan of the old school vibe at Scoma’s—and they have their own boat. You can also swing by the crab stand at Fishermen’s Grotto #9, where they are cooked to order (and cracked and cleaned if you request it)—you also get one free hour of validated parking. And Bistro Boudin SF will be offering a “Breaking Bread & Cracking Crab with the Locals” special through November for $32.95 per person—you get freshly steamed and cracked Dungeness crab, served with their famous sourdough bread, linguine with slow-roasted tomato arrabiata sauce, and Caesar salad. (In addition, diners will receive a glass of Buena Vista Carneros wine, and a sourdough baguette to go.) I like to swing by The Alioto-Lazio Fish Company at 440 Jefferson Street to pick them up to go (here’s an article I wrote about this wonderful female-run business).

BBQ News (Openings, Closings)

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The board at Everett & Jones.

SFoodie mentions (and paid a visit to) the new ~T-DUB’S ON FRIDAYS~ in SoMa, in the former Yellow Pa Taut location. “Baby back ribs are his specialty, but the menu includes other cuts of pork, beef, and chicken wings, too. None of the meats are smoked—they’re braised until tender, then finished on the grill, brushed with the sauce as they cook. The menu also includes most of the standard Southern sides—mac and cheese, candied yams, corn on the cob, creamy cole slaw—each named after a member of his family.” Open Mon-Fri 11am-9pm. 15 Boardman Pl. at Bryant, 415-624-3360.

And The Tenderblog mentions ~HYDEAWAY BLUES BBQ~, a Memphis-style barbecue place “with a California twist” coming to the TL, possibly in December. Sounds like some gumbo, jambalaya, and biscuits are also going to be on the menu. You can follow updates on the family’s Twitter feed. 457 Hyde St. at O’Farrell.

A tablehopper reader let me know local fave ~PITTMAN’S BAR B QUE 2~ in Bayview closed in October. 5130 3rd St. at Bayview.

No More Rose Ice Cream for You

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Rose petal ice cream; Yelp photo by Jennifer W.

After ~BOMBAY BAZAR AND ICE CREAM~ were closed by city health inspectors for potential food contamination, Mission Local is reporting the grocer (548 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-621-1717) and ice cream shop (552 Valencia St., 415-861-3995) have closed permanently.

The Monk's Kettle Looking for a New Chef

As you’ll see in today’s matchmaker listing, The ~MONK’S KETTLE~ is looking for a new chef since chef Kevin Kroger has left (amicably) after three years in the kitchen of the popular pub. The Monk’s Kettle is currently searching for a replacement, and until then, the kitchen management and staff will cover the chef’s duties. 

Monk's Kettle - 3141 16th St. San Francisco - 415-865-9523

Special Devil's Gulch Benefit Dinner for Haiti

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Photo: FrankenyImages.com © 2010.

Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch and his wife are tireless with their efforts to help Haiti—they are currently trying to help raise rabbits there. Please help support their efforts this Wednesday November 17th as Mark hosts a special four-course dinner at ~JARDINIÈRE~. The dinner comes with wine and will cost $75. 7:30pm-10pm.

Here’s the menu: salad of smoked pork loin, Fuyu persimmon and young escarole, hazelnut, paired with Karthauserhof, riesling, Feinherb, Ruwer Germany 2009; rabbit loin, confit and sausage, saba-glazed carrots and French lentils, paired with Pichot, vouvray sec, Loire Valley, France 2009; slow-roasted pork shoulder and crispy belly, chestnut spaetzle, Brussels sprouts, and Gala apples, paired with Frederic Esmonin, Gevrey-Chambertin “Les Jouises” Burgundy 2007; and larded caramel tart, bacon crumble, and toasted walnuts, paired with Warre’s Otima Ten-Year Tawny Port.

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

Postrio Is Now Hosting Quite the Sunday Brunch

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Photo from Postrio.

Wagyu top round roast beef carving station. All-you-can-drink California sparkling wine (from Trentadue). Live jazz. And that’s only part of the new Sunday buffet brunch that ~POSTRIO~ has put together. The sample selection of items also includes Loch Duart salmon (offered three ways: roasted, poached, or smoked) with traditional accompaniments; brioche French toast with walnut butter and warm maple syrup; eggs Benedict; huevos rancheros with epazote black beans; scrambled eggs with Cabot cheddar; and seasonal desserts. Yeah, come hungry.

Every Sunday from 9am-2pm, Postrio will be serving their buffet brunch menu at $50 per person, and children at half price—but for the next two Sundays (November 21st and 28th), tablehopper readers can get the brunch menu for $40 instead of the usual $50 price—just mention you read about it in tablehopper and you will receive the deal. As for the live music, James Whiton (performing November 21st) and Rudy Simone (performing November 28th, December 5th) will offer melodic jazz standards from 10am-2pm. 545 Post St. at Taylor, 415-776-7825.

One Hell of a Way to Enjoy One Hell of a White Truffle

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Oliveto’s 604-gram truffle.

Mamma mia. ~OLIVETO~ scored an amazing 604-gram white truffle (you can read more about that beast that took over an hour to dig out here, and watch a video about Giorgio the truffle hunter here). Owner Bob Klein has been traveling to Italy for 14 years to bring back truffles for the Oliveto truffle dinners, and he says in those years he has never seen such a gorgeous and bountiful crop as this one.

And here’s the bonus: not only is Oliveto hosting their truffle dinners this week, but starting this Wednesday November 17th at 5:30pm, come into Oliveto Cafe, where you’ll be able to order a pizza with truffle on it! (Klein was inspired by a Fontina, mozzarella, black truffle, and egg pizza at Il Camino pizzeria in Neive, Italy). Both black ($20) and white truffle ($30) pizzas will be offered for dinner through Saturday November 20th, and then after that date you’ll only be able to get black truffle pizzas, through December 5th. 5655 College Ave. at Shafter, Oakland, 510-547-5356.

A Holiday Shopping Soirée That Will Taste As Good As It Looks

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Neo Cocoa’s new flavor.

For those who want to get a jump on their holiday shopping, you can swing by this Holiday Shopping Soirée this Wednesday November 17th, where a variety of local chocolatiers (Clarine’s Florentines, Jade Chocolates, and Neo Cocoa) will be joined by other local vendors and artisans at Leland Tea Company. $1 of the low entry fee will go to support Larkin Street Youth Services. Enjoy free sparkling wine and light appetizers, and prizes will be raffled throughout the evening. You can view the other vendors on the event page. 5pm-9pm. First 20 people to RSVP get in for free;
 $5 entry fee, $6 at the door.

The Kings of Pastry: A Film Called "The Culinary Hurt Locker"

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Not sure if the press is riding a sugar high, but there’s definitely some buzz about this upcoming film, The Kings of Pastry—it’s about the 16 chefs competing for the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (MOF), France’s Nobel Prize for pastry. Yup, expect drama and disaster. The film is by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker, behind documentaries Don’t Look Back, Town Bloody Hall, Monterey Pop, and The War Room.

It opens this Wednesday November 17th at the Balboa Theater in San Francisco, and Rialto Cinemas Elmwood Theatre in Berkeley. The Balboa is hosting a fun event this Sunday the 21st: following the 3pm showing and before the 5:05pm screening, Bakers Dozen will be offering audience members a dessert tasting (check out the list of participants here), and a wine tasting will accompany the sweets, compliments of Layer Cake Wines.

Burritoeater.com's 2010 Slab Scrum is ON!

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Gordo, a local fave. Photo from Burritoeater.com.

Wanna know how to get any San Franciscan rabid and foaming at the mouth? Say who makes the best burrito. So god bless Burritoeater.com for its bi-annual taqueria tournament, the Slab Scrum. You can follow along this November and December and see how the dozen competing taquerias are doing (past Scrums have subsisted on eight entrants). Aw heck, now I’m craving a burrito.

Why Some Landlords Suck: Exhibit C (Le Cheval and Cyrus)

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Photo from Cyrus website.

Every month I hear nightmare landlord stories. Huh, this month is no different. Oakland residents were upset to learn Vietnamese standby ~LE CHEVAL~ on Clay Street has closed its downtown location (it’s been there since 1985) due to failed landlord lease negotiations (here’s more from Eater). The semi-good news: the update also mentions the family “will open a wine bar and restaurant called LCX down the street in the next week. Some of the cooks at Le Cheval will be able to stay on and work there.” The Berkeley and Walnut Creek locations remain untouched.

Meanwhile, up in Healdsburg, can you believe the new landlords/owners of the Les Mars Hotel (Bill Foley and David Fink) are messing with ~CYRUS~? Really? Hopefully this rent-eviction kerfuffle gets sorted out quickly. Update: Scoop reports Foley and Fink claim they were not trying to evict Cyrus, and the rent thing is all sorted. (My eyebrow is cocked on that one.)

All Spice Now Open in San Mateo

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Photo from All Spice website.

Next time I’m down visiting the fam in San Mateo, I hope to check this one out: ~ALL SPICE~, a new restaurant from chef Sachin Chopra (previously at San Jose’s Amber India, Palo Alto’s Mantra, and Mountain View’s Sakoon). He’s opened up the seasonal Cal-Indian 30-seat restaurant with his wife, Shoshana Wolff, in a three-room 1906 Victorian. Look for more modern dishes than traditional ones, like star anise and fennel confit chicken wings ($9), shortribs vindaloo ($18), and pumpkin dosa ($17) filled with nigella seed-flavored pumpkin, roasted tomatoes, and goat cheese. Open Wed-Sun 5:30pm-9:30pm. 1602 S. El Camino Real at Borel, 650-627-4303.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Nov 16, 2010

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Nov 16, 2010

SFMOMA's "How Wine Became Modern" Opens November 17th

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Smell wall. Photo courtesy of SFMOMA.

I’m looking forward to checking out the new exhibit launching at SFMOMA this Wednesday November 17th, ~HOW WINE BECAME MODERN: DESIGN + WINE 1976 TO NOW~. It all begins with 1976’s Judgment of Paris, and includes everything from over 200 wine labels to a wall work by Peter Wegner that charts more than 200 house paint colors related to wine; the exhibition was developed in collaboration with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Here’s more from the press release: “The first exhibition of its kind, How Wine Became Modern looks at the contemporary culture of wine and the role architecture, design, and media have played in its transformation over the last three decades. Historical artifacts, architectural models, multimedia installations, newly commissioned artworks, and a ‘smell wall’ provide a richly textured experience in the galleries, inviting you to discover wine as you’ve never seen it before.” The exhibition runs until April 17th, 2011.

Oh, and I also learned about a couple exhibit-related promos on Wino Tripping—you can bring your used corks to SFMOMA and be entered to win a week-long Northern California luxury wine adventure, or bring your ticket stub to Press Club in Yerba Buena Lane for two complimentary tastings (there are also some deals in wine country!). Read more here. Cheers!

"No More Nouveau" Party at Arlequin Wine Merchant

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This Thursday November 18th, ~ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT~ is hosting No More Nouveau, an evening highlighting more than 15 wine tastings from the 2009 vintage Cru Beaujolais producers, including Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton, Jean-Paul Brun, Alain Coudert, Jean-Paul Thévenet, and more. Cru Beaujolais wines from these featured producers are made the “old” way: fermented on natural yeasts and bottled unfiltered. These wines are richer, broader, and denser than the Beaujolais Nouveau many wine drinkers are familiar with, which is light and sweet with raspberry notes. 6pm-8pm. $20; pay at the door.

Arlequin Wine Merchant - 384 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-863-1104

There Will Be Croque-Monsieurs (My Kind of Wine Tasting Party)

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This Thursday November 18th, ~BLANC ET ROUGE~ is hosting Page Wine Cellars for a winemaker party, with cheese, charcuterie, and passed croque-monsieur sandwiches. Winemaker Bryan Page will be there to pour Page Wine Cellars sauvignon blanc 2009, Napa Valley; Three Doves cabernet sauvignon 2008, Napa Valley; Revolver Wine “The Fury” cabernet franc 2007, Napa Valley; and Revolver Wine “Perdition” petite sirah 2007, Napa Valley. 5pm-8pm; $20. Embarcadero Two, Front and Sacramento, 415-391-0758.

Upcoming Events at 123 Bolinas

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Photo from 123 Bolinas.

The recently opened ~123 BOLINAS~ in Fairfax has launched a new “Market Days” weekly program—they just hosted Carl Sutton, and on Sunday November 21st, they’ll be doing an event with Jonathan and Susan Pey of Pey-Marin Wines and Hog Island Oysters from 4pm-7pm. The wines will be served flight style, but also available by the glass and for retail sale by the bottle. Guests are urged to RSVP early to reserve their oysters here—but please note it’s just for oysters, not seats! The full tasting menu will also be available. 123 Bolinas Ave., Fairfax, 415-488-5123.

Get Discounted Tickets for the Science of Cocktails

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Photo by Amy Snyder. © Exploratorium.

This upcoming event at the Exploratorium, the ~SCIENCE OF COCKTAILS~, isn’t until Wednesday January 26th, but you’ll want to get your tickets now since they’re $95 November 18th through December 1st; the regular price will be $120. The event will be a second in-depth look at the chemistry, physics, and biology of cocktails. Mixologists and master distillers join chemists and physicists to explore what makes our favorite drinks so very drinkable. Tickets include open bar, ample hors d’oeuvres, full access to the Exploratorium exhibits, and special activities and presentations. Space is limited. The event is 7:30pm-11pm.

Wednesday Jan 26, 2011
more info

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Nov 16, 2010

(Sponsored): Are You Up for the Chocolate Adventure?

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Nov 16, 2010

Get Ready: the Red Tie Gala Is Friday November 19th

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Event Info

Friday Nov 19, 2010
7pm–11pm
$250 per person, which includes valet parking
Tickets
Neiman Marcus
150 Stockton St. at Geary, San Francisco
415-682-4608

Time to get your red shoes, red dress, red cummerbund, and red bow tie pressed and ready for the ~RED TIE GALA~ at Neiman Marcus this Friday November 19th. This one-of-a-kind event benefits Little Sisters of the Poor—St. Anne’s Home in San Francisco, with a whopping 100 percent of ticket sales going directly to The Home on Lake Street.

At the Gala, five floors of Neiman Marcus are magically transformed to reflect the style and culture of six continents from around the world (where the Little Sisters have homes—202 around the world), with the drinks, bites, and entertainment also following suit. Yeah, it’s a little quirky to be slurping oysters next to Chanel, and the crowd is a mix of nuns and society types, but that’s why it’s fun.

Participating restaurants include: 1300 on Fillmore; Aidell’s Sausage Co.; Alioto’s Restaurant; Another Monkey Thai Restaurant & Bar; Barbacco; Bryan’s Meats; Capurro’s/PattyCakes; CJ’s Toffee Talk; Del Monte Meat Co.; Emporio Rulli; Farallon; Farina Focaccia & Cucina Italiana; Italfoods, Inc.; Laurel Court of The Fairmont San Francisco; Maverick and Hog & Rocks; MoMo’s; Neiman Marcus executive chef Barney Brown; Pacific Catch; Pèppoli Restaurant; The Inn at Spanish Bay—Pebble Beach; Pedro’s Cantina; Pete’s Tavern; Ristobar; Scoma’s Restaurant; Silvermoon Desserts; Taste Catering; and The Candy Store. View the site for more about the participating beverage sponsors and entertainment.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Nov 16, 2010

Gettin' Sideways at DOSA

Yet another star sighting at DOSA on Fillmore: ~Virginia Madsen~ came in with Karen Palmer of Daily Candy before and after a private screening of Sideways.

Giants Here, Giants There, Giants Everywhere

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Cody Ross and wine director Petra Polakovicova at EPIC Roasthouse.

Giants’ left fielder and NLCS MVP ~Cody Ross~ came into EPIC Roasthouse’s Quiver Bar on Saturday the 13th—he enjoyed a dirty martini and split a burger with his buddy. Wine director Petra Polakovicova styled him out with a glass of EPIC cabernet sauvignon, and he signed the bottle, took a few photos with guests, and thanked everyone on the way out.

Man after my own heart: ~Brian Wilson~ was spotted heading into Lucca Delicatessen on Chestnut St.

Guess Who Is a Fan of Delfina?

A reader let me know ~Tracy Chapman~ was spotted heading into Delfina for dinner, where she reportedly goes in every once in a while.

Bottega's Latest Star Diner: Seth Rogen

A reader spotted ~Seth Rogen~, his fiancée, and family at Bottega in Yountville for lunch on Sunday.

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