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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: decisions, decisions.

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Kouign amann from Starter Bakery. It will wreck you with deliciousness.

Whoa, that was quite the taste-tastic weekend. Saturday was all about a bike ride to the Ferry Building (4505 Meats burger, check; awesome whiskey class, check), and then I had a delicious meal at Ristobar (I know, I was in the Marina on a Saturday—see what my job makes me do?). Sunday was the annual Gagliardi Easter extravaganza, with frittata loaded with my dad’s soppressata for lunch, and then for dinner, my favorite dish ever: my family’s lasagne (shame we only see that thing twice a year), and some baby goat with pancetta and peas. My mom unleashed the coup de grâce: her strawberry-rhubarb pie. I may be past the age of dyeing eggs and big Italian chocolate eggs with treats inside, but you can see why Easter remains a favorite on my calendar. My family rocks.

This week I’ll be exploring my Irish roots with this baking class tonight at La Cocina, and on Friday afternoon I’m heading down to Pebble Beach Food & Wine, the annual extravaganza of chef dinners, demos, grand tastings, wine tastings, and yes, after parties. If you’re feeling capricious (and flush), there are still tickets available to some pretty impressive events (including the Saturday Grand Tasting, which totally sold out last year, so hop to it). It all kicks off this Thursday. Here are pics from my adventures last year—we’ll see who I manage to meet (and what I eat) this year.

And now, the news! There’s some good stuff this week, enjoy!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Apr 26, 2011

Delfina Team's Locanda Opens on Valencia This Saturday

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Chef Anthony Strong; photo by Eric Wolfinger.

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Housemade fusilli; photo by Eric Wolfinger.

The hotly anticipated ~LOCANDA~ opens from the Delfina team this Saturday April 30th at 5:30pm. The kitchen will be led by Anthony Strong, who has worked at Craig and Annie Stoll’s Pizzeria Delfina locations for the past six years. At Locanda, you will encounter an osteria-style menu of dishes inspired by authentic Roman cuisine and integrating local and seasonal ingredients. Strong recently spent two months staging in (primarily) the kitchen of Osteria di San Cesario—twenty minutes from Rome’s center—and gained a good understanding of the dishes and cuisine of Lazio (the region).

Look for classic Roman pasta dishes ($14-$18), like bucatini all’amatriciana, casarecce alla carbonara, and tonnarelli cacio e pepe (these classics will always be on the menu), along with rotating pastas like fusilli with sardines, fennel pollen, currants, and breadcrumbs; all 11 pastas will be rolled or extruded in house. The menu will include some items off the Universo wood-fired grill and rotisserie, like guinea hen leg and lamb scottadito ($19-$28), and there’s a Quinto Quarto section (the fifth quarter), a section of offal dishes, like tripe and oxtails alla vaccinara ($9-$24). The sole “pizza” on the menu is pizza bianca, a Roman flatbread dressed with olive oil and sea salt (read: not pizza); it will be served as guests are seated. And it’s a good thing it’s artichoke season—you’ll find two Roman preparations on the menu (alla giudea and raw/crudo).

There’s also the added bonus of having a full liquor license. The bar program—which was originally going to be run by Brian MacGregor—was ultimately put together by consultant Eric Alperin of The Varnish in Los Angeles. Look for small production spirits and cocktails that reference Rome. As for the vini, wine director Chris Wright (AQUA) has put together a list that includes California, France, and all regions of Italy, so don’t be surprised when you see the Palmina dolcetto next to a Pieropan soave on the list. There are also five glasses of bubbly by the glass, so you know what section I’ll get to know well.

Envelope A+D (Delfina, Pizzeria Delfina, Contigo) is behind the modern and comfortable osteria-by-way-of-the-Mission look, which includes an undulating coffered ceiling, a hand-laid mosaic wall, and an expansive walnut bar. There are 80 seats total, with an open kitchen, and look for the custom refrigerated case full of house-cured salumi. Hours are daily 5:30pm-1am.

Locanda - 557 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-863-6800

The Mission Burger Returns: Meet Mission Bowling Club's Restaurant

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The famed Mission Burger. (I think it took two years off my life.)

Remember that six-lane bowling alley that I mentioned was coming to the Mission? Well, here’s an update about the project with some exciting details for you. It’s going to be called the ~MISSION BOWLING CLUB~, and is opening in spring 2012 at 3176 17th Street, near South Van Ness. And here’s who is going into the restaurant portion of the project: Anthony Myint (behind Mission Street Food, Mission Burger, Mission Chinese Food, and Commonwealth). His menu will feature the Mission Burger (you remember that bad boy he cooked up with chef Danny Bowien at the Duc Loi supermarket?) and other “technique-driven comfort food.” And true to Myint’s form, a portion of sales will go to local youth-related charities.

To recap, Sommer Peterson and Molly Bradshaw (mini bar SF) are behind the project, which is opening in a converted warehouse. There will also be a spacious bar, a dining room with a mezzanine overlooking the lanes, leather couches situated lane-side, and rotating shows of local artwork. There will also be a sunny outdoor patio and covered bicycle parking. Hours will be Mon-Fri 5pm-2am, Sat-Sun 12pm-2am. (Family bowl will be from 12pm-7pm on weekends; 21+ on weekdays.) Now we just have to wait until next spring…

Mission Bowling Club - 3176 17th St. San Francisco - 415-863-BOWL

Chef Randy Lewis Behind Bagdad Café Revamp

I’ve been wondering who was behind the upcoming project in the closed ~BAGDAD CAFÉ~ location in the Castro. It ends up it’s chef Randy Lewis, who is going to be opening an “innovative, casual comfort food neighborhood restaurant.” (Remember that he used to be the chef at MECCA down Market Street.) He was too busy to call me back before my deadline, but considering he’s hiring staff right now, I’d say it’s close. Stand by for more. 2295 Market St. at 16th St.

Alas, Tell Tale Preserve Co. Will Not Be Coming to Maiden Lane

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The Rebel Within; photo by William Werner.

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The Rebel Within, the money shot; photo by William Werner.

William Werner’s ~TELL TALE PRESERVE COMPANY~, which was slated to open this year on Maiden Lane, is sadly no longer going to open in that location. The amount of work that was going to need to happen to the space (oh, like major electrical work) was going to drive the project way over budget, so it’s been, uh, canned. Werner tells me he’s looking for another place around town for his pâtisserie, and it doesn’t need to be very big, or even downtown for that matter—he just wants a place with some character where he can sell his tasty wares. (Feel free to contact him if you have a lead!)

In the meantime, you’ll be able to keep getting your Rebel Within fix at his stand at the Tuesday and Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, in addition to his distribution to Sightglass, Four Barrel Coffee, and Coffee Bar, and his “trunk show” pop-up at Big Daddy’s Antiques in Potrero Hill (1550 17th St. at Wisconsin).

Speaking of pop-ups, a very cool project coming up is The Rapha Cycle Club, temporarily opening in a corner space at 2198 Filbert Street at Fillmore. The shop, which will sell Rapha’s pretty dang spiffy cycling clothing and accessories, will also be serving Four Barrel Coffee (there’s a big square table in the shop) and Werner’s pastries. You’ll be able to read cycling magazines, and check out an art gallery of cycling photography. They will also be projecting race coverage of the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France on a wall, and organizing club rides. So cool, right? Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm and Sat-Sun 7am-6pm, and it will be open from May 5th-July 31st.

Tell Tale Preserve Company - 33 Maiden Ln. San Francisco

Quick Update on Bluestem Brasserie, Opening This Summer

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Rendering of the entrance.

Since my hardhat piece on ~BLUESTEM BRASSERIE~, there are some new details to release about the project. The restaurant is slated to open in early summer, and has named Sean Canavan as the executive chef. He was the executive chef at Left Bank in Larkspur, creating cuisine grand-mère, and prior to that, was executive chef at O’Reilly’s Holy Grail in San Francisco. His local restaurant background also includes Kokkari Estiatorio, Jeanty at Jack’s, Pacific Restaurant at the Pan Pacific Hotel, La Folie, and Chapeau! Bistro, and he was chef de partie under Gray Kunz at Lespinasse Restaurant in New York City. He will be putting together an all-day brasserie menu, with an emphasis on using the whole animal. I look forward to seeing Olle Lundberg’s design in coming months… The 190-seat space is going to be one to see.

Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane San Francisco - 415-547-1111

Chef Comings and Goings

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Out the Door Bush.

I’d be a big fat liar if I didn’t say I was bummed to learn chef Grace Nguyen is leaving ~OUT THE DOOR~ Bush Street at the end of the month. Inside Scoop reports she’s going to be the executive chef at Asian Box (oy, really?) in Palo Alto, a casual restaurant from Frank Klein and her fiancé, Chad Newton. It’s due to open in August in the Town and Country Plaza (where Mayfield Bakery & Cafe is also located). The offering: diners can create take-out boxes of Asian dishes, made to order with quality ingredients. As for her replacement at OTD, no word yet. Sigh.

Over at ~FOG CITY DINER~, Scoop reports Daniel Sudar has been named executive chef. Many know him for his time at Betelnut, and he was also at Redwood City’s Red Lantern. Look for his fully updated menu in a couple months.

ICHI Sushi to Open for Lunch

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Rock star sushi at ICHI. See, it’s shiny.

Starting in May, ~ICHI SUSHI~ in Bernal Heights will expand their hours to include lunch. Now you can have the same fab fish you’re used to at dinner for your mid-day meal. Sushi chef Taka Tozawa (Tsunami Sushi, Tokyo Go Go, Kiji, Tamasei Sushi), who’s been working on-and-off with chef-owner Tim Archuleta for years, will head up the lunch service. Some of the lunch options will reflect dishes they’re carrying over from the newly closed ICHI Lucky Cat Deli, like bento-style lunch combos and the ever-popular tonkatsu pork sliders. Follow their blog or Twitter feed for upcoming details. Lunch will be available Tue-Fri from 11:30am on; dinner will continue to be available Mon-Sat.

ICHI Sushi - 3369 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-525-4750

Public Service Announcement: Bar Tartine Closed This Week

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The Bar Tartine interior. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Just in case you had your heart set on a bite at ~BAR TARTINE~ this week, please note that it’s closed until dinner service this Saturday April 30th. Construction is underway for the sandwich shop next door, which will hopefully be up and running this August. It ends up that Chad Robertson’s hefty bread oven that is coming from Italy piece by piece required a sturdier foundation, so construction is a bit more involved than originally planned (isn’t it always?). They’re taking part of the wall between the two spaces, so they’ll be able to handle overflow seating.

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

New Beverages and Bites at Bushi-Tei

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Photo by Yelp’s Stacy D.

Now that chef Michael Hung has taken the helm over at ~BUSHI-TEI~, one of the first changes to be released is the expanded beverage program, with 27 wines by the glass, and his sous chef, Nicole Lou, is creating a sake/shochu cocktail list (look for ingredients like umeboshi and genmai, the toasted brown rice used in teas). The new drinks ($9-$11) will be unveiled this Wednesday April 27th, along with a special appetizer menu to accompany the new beverages, available to guests sitting at the communal table.

The tapa-sized portions will range from $5-$7, featuring dishes like American Wagyu carpaccio with miso aioli, crispy shallots, and sansho leaf; shrimp and smoked bacon chawan mushi with honey dashi and toasted rice; and wild things onigiri, with ramps and stinging nettle aioli. I am looking forward to seeing how Hung’s menu develops; I always thought the space was really unique.

Bushi-Tei - 1638 Post St. San Francisco - 415-440-4959

Paragon Unveils Its Remodel by Doug Washington

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Paragon interior photo by Paige Green.

~PARAGON~ has unveiled its new look by Doug Washington, one of the three partners behind Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House. The décor incorporates reclaimed wood from two barns in Oregon, hand-painted subway tiles, unique light fixtures, and there’s a communal table made of rusted metal and reclaimed koa wood. You’ll be able to hang your coat or purse on antique door knobs, and be sure to check out the large art piece (look for the antlered deer), designed by Washington’s wife, Freya Prowe. There’s also a new banquet room that can hold over 60 people. 701 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-537-9020.

Chef Curtis Stone Will Be Cooking at a Special Penfolds Dinner

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Say g’day to chef Curtis Stone.

I know, stop staring at his picture. Curtis Stone, the host of Top Chef Masters and the Aussie chef/TV personality, will be in town, and is creating an exclusive multi-course dinner on Saturday April 30th at Cellar360 at Ghirardelli Square. This ~PENFOLDS PREMIERE GRANGE DINNER~ will offer a preview tasting of Penfolds new wines before their global release on May 1st.

Sample dishes and pairings include: hamachi tartare, passion fruit gel, radish, toasted pine nuts, radish sprouts, and olive oil with 2010 Penfolds Bin 51 riesling; Dungeness crab, pickled petit beets, tangerine, arugula, and Meyer lemon vinaigrette with 2008 Penfolds Yattarna chardonnay; and Australian beef “tataki,” chanterelle red wine compote, horseradish crème fraîche foam, confit baby tomatoes, and micro chives with 2007 Penfolds St. Henri shiraz. Nine wines will be poured, including 2008 Penfolds RWT Barossa shiraz, 2008 Penfolds Bin 707 cabernet sauvignon, 2006 Penfolds Grange shiraz, and Peter Grago, Penfolds chief winemaker, will open Penfolds’ private cellars to share a rare sampling of some back vintage wines.

7pm. $350 (all inclusive). Limited to 40 guests. Info/reservations: email or call Lily Lane at 707-299-3252.

Slurpy Event: The Chinatown and North Beach Noodle Fest

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On Sunday May 1st, two neighborhoods come together in their love of noodles for the second annual ~CHINATOWN AND NORTH BEACH NOODLE FEST~! Get a passport for $20 in advance, which will entitle you to three noodle samples from Chinatown, three pasta samples from North Beach, and one beverage (there will be 30 restaurants participating). There will also be live entertainment and noodle making demonstrations; be sure to check out Art in the Alley on Kerouac Alley.

Runs from 1pm-5pm on Grant Avenue (between Pacific and Vallejo) and Vallejo Street (between Columbus and Grant). Buy your ticket here. (You must bring your confirmation printout to receive your passport at the will call tables.)

Hecho en San Francisco: A Cinco De Mayo Benefit

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Sure, you can run around on Cinco de Mayo with a big sombrero and do God knows how many shots of tequila and Tecate chugging. Or, you can attend ~HECHO EN SAN FRANCISCO~ (“Made in San Francisco”), a benefit for La Cocina and CUESA, and have some top-notch food and drinks like the savvy gourmand you are. Tacolicious is organizing this event that will feature a spread of antojitos from 10 of San Francisco’s best Mexican restaurants and food vendors (including three from La Cocina), handcrafted cocktails from four tequila makers (Herradura, El Jimador, Don Julio, and Tres Agaves), and a choice of two Mexican beers (Victoria and Corona Familiar) and two wines (Urbanite Cellars and Caliberico). You’ll be able to taste delicious comida from: La Palma Mexicatessen, La Torta Gorda, Tropisueño, Nopalito, Tacolicious, Mijita, Rancho Gordo, Alicia Tamales Los Mayas, Chaac Mool, and Sweets Collection.

Thursday May 5th, 5:30pm-8:30pm. $50. Buy tickets here. All proceeds will go to benefit CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) and La Cocina, the Mission District-based incubator kitchen. The event will be at the Ferry Building North Arcade.

Thursday May 5, 2011
5:30pm–8:30pm
$50
more info

Ferry Building - One Ferry Building San Francisco - 415-983-8000

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Apr 26, 2011

(Sponsored): Annual Three-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy (April 28th-30th)

Attention Restaurateurs!

Don’t miss the Annual Three-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures, featuring our lowest prices of the year on restaurant equipment and supplies.

Live cooking demonstrations, giveaways, free valet parking, and thousands of items on sale at ridiculously low prices. Save big on commercial refrigeration and cooking equipment, cookware, china, glassware, shelving, cutlery, sinks, worktables, ice machines, food storage, steam table pans, and more. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer your questions.

Thursday April 28th through Saturday April 30th, 8am-5:30pm daily. More information at TriMarkEconomy.com.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Apr 26, 2011

POSTPONED: Wines4JapanSF at the Commonwealth Club

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SORRY, THIS EVENT HAD BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL MAY.

Whatcha doing for happy hour this Friday April 29th? Come by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco for this casual wine tasting and charity event, ~WINES4JAPANSF~. The event is from 5:30pm-8pm, and is being completely organized by volunteers and through donations. All proceeds will go directly to the Red Cross.

An initial sample of wines that will be poured include: Cornerstone Cellars, Hirsch Vineyards, Von Holt Wines, Old World Winery, De Novo Wines, Hannah Nicole Vineyards, Vinos Unico, and Blue Danube. There will also be some great silent auction items (including a case of Cornerstone Cellars 2004 Howell Mountain cabernet sauvignon magnums). If you’d like to volunteer or donate something to the event, hit the organizers up on Facebook.

$20 in advance/$30 day of. Get your ticket now here.

Check Out the Updated Tres at This Tequila Tasting Event!

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Photo from Tres.

On Saturday April 30th, Liquor.com is throwing an exclusive ~TEQUILA GRAND TASTING~ at the newly remodeled Tres (formerly Tres Agaves), featuring more than 15 amazing tequilas and 3 signature tequila-based cocktails.

You can expect pours from: Milagro, El Tesoro, Partida, Don Julio, Herradura, El Jimador, Antiguo, Fortaleza, Corralejo, Case Noble, Corzo, and Chincano. They may also feature: Tequila Ocho, Charbay, Siete Leguas, Tres Agaves, Espolon, Cabo, Cazadores, Excellia, and Clase Azul.

There will also be some Jalisco street food and appetizers so you end up more arriba than abajo. Tickets are $45, be sure to use promo code TBLTQVIP. 4pm-7pm.

Saturday Apr 30, 2011
4pm–7pm
$45, use promo code TBLTQVIP
more info

Pink Out on May 10th at Butterfly

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Main dining room at Butterfly; photo from Butterfly.

On Tuesday May 10th, Butterfly will host the seventh annual ~ROSÉ AVENGERS & PRODUCERS’ PINK OUT! SF~ event. The walk-around tasting will feature 40-plus classic still and sparkling rosés from throughout the world, accompanied by rosé-friendly Asian appetizers from chef Rob Lam. Guests are encouraged to wear pink attire (make it sassy!), and there will be some chill DJ grooves. There will also be a raffle and fundraiser for Mutineer magazine to help raise funds for its Clean Water Crusader campaign in support of A Child’s Right.

The wineries pouring (to date) include: AIX - Provence, Amorosa Bella, Azurwines, Bugay Wines, Château Beaulieu, Château d’Esclans, Château de Brigue, Château Roubine, Clos Saron, Cornerstone Cellars, Dacalier Wine Co., Dashe Cellars, Dunstan Wines, Freixenet, Gassier, Gloria Ferrer, Gridley Family Cellars, Isabel Mondavi, Kelley & Young Wines, Kristine Ashe Vineyards, Lorenza Rosé, Midsummer Cellars, Muscardini Cellars, Paradise View, Pedroncelli Winery, Pisoni Vineyards & Winery, Provence Rosé, Côtes de Provence, Robert Oatley, Segura Viudas, Six Sigma Ranch, Tablas Creek, and Urban Legend Cellars.

Tickets do sell out! $35 online in advance; $45 at the door if available.The consumer tasting is from 6:30pm-9pm, and credentialed media can come by from 3pm-6pm.

Tuesday May 10, 2011
$35 online/in advance; $45 at door if available
more info

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the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)
Apr 26, 2011

Wanna Win an Invitation to the First-Ever Foodie Chap Chef Cook-Off?

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A fun (and intimate) event is coming up on Saturday May 14th, the first annual Foodie Chap Chef Cook-Off! Two teams will be cooking their best rendition of cottage pie (shepherd’s pie), Team Foodie Chap with the one and only Liam Mayclem and chef Roland Passot of La Folie vs. Team Rockstar Chef with chef Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn and chef Russell Jackson of Lafitte. This private luncheon will take place in the home of Mary Risley, founder of Food Runners, and proceeds will benefit the organization. The judges will be Mary Risley, Gerald Hirigoyen, and yours truly! You will be able to taste both entries, and there will be plenty of other delicious things to eat and drink.

This is a very limited and private/invite-only event, but I have 10 pairs of invitations to give away to 10 lucky winners. Since this is a fundraiser, there is a $20 suggested donation, so please keep that in mind. The event is 12:30pm-3:30pm, and at 1734 Broderick Street in Pacific Heights, San Francisco. Hosted valet parking will be provided.

Now, how to win an invite: are you a member of the Deep Dishing community yet? I hope so! I am going to randomly pick 10 winners from the recent activity feed on the Deep Dishing homepage. All you have to do is rate a restaurant, write a review or a tip, upload a picture, start a new restaurant listing, add a comment, or even post something in the Tip Please! forum from 4pm Tuesday April 26th through 11:59pm Sunday May 1st in order to get noted in the activity feed. I will randomly select the 10 winners and notify them the week of May 2nd!

Thanks, and have fun dishing it up! I look forward to feasting on some cottage pie with you.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Apr 26, 2011

Adrian Grenier Lunches at the W

~Adrian Grenier~ of HBO’s Entourage had lunch in the Living Room at W San Francisco with producer Peter Glatzer (the two of them founded SHFT together). As for what he ate, Adrian dined on ahi tuna tartare (no bread—I wish I had that discipline), and chicken vegetable soup while waiting to check in.

Hottie Sighting at Twenty Five Lusk

Actor ~Josh Lucas~ (Glory Road, A Beautiful Mind, and Poseidon) dined at Twenty Five Lusk on Friday night. Flying solo, he reportedly started his evening at the lower-level bar where his ordered up a Partida Silver and lime on the rocks, and then made his way to the dining room for chef Matthew Dolan’s asparagus risotto for dinner. He returned to the lower bar for a nightcap.

Dave Chapelle Seems to Like Comfort Food

More ~Dave Chapelle~ sightings: he was at Paragon Restaurant, and Tanya Holland of Oakland’s Brown Sugar Kitchen tweeted: “Just shook Dave Chapelle’s hand…3rd time meeting inviting him to BSK, maybe this will be the charm! Didn’t want to bug him for photo opp.”

They Might Be Giants

~Cody Ross~ and company and ~Mark DeRosa~ and company both descended on Ozumo Restaurant on Saturday night. Cody’s party enjoyed copious amounts of sashimi and rolls, along with some American Kobe rib-eye and Colorado lamb. His party reportedly loved their sakes and had a few of the Yuki no Bosha Nigori Ginjo; and for dessert, the gang enjoyed the warm dark chocolate fondue with fruit.

Goosed

A tablehopper reader was pleasantly surprised to see ~Jerry Rice~ at the Dutch Goose in Menlo Park.

Modern Man

A reader writes: “My friend spotted ~Ty Burrell~ aka ‘Phil’ from Modern Family today at the Ferry Building.”

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