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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: short week, long column.

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The pissaladière on the new menu at Thermidor.

Did you enjoy your three-day weekend? I’m sure the answer is hell yes. I had to pack three days of fun into two since I had my gosh-darned deadline yesterday (the calendar waits for no one), and I have the sunburned shoulders and leftover honey-apricot pie from Three Babes Bakeshop to prove it.

My weekend had a kick-ass kick-off on Friday evening, with cocktails and appetizers at Thermidor (the bar has a great alfresco vibe on warm evenings), and then I pedaled over to the Kabuki to see Midnight in Paris. I don’t think I could have enjoyed that movie any more than I already did—and thanks to the adult seating at the Sundance Kabuki, I had a glass of rosé bubbly next to me, so civilized. Throw in a friend’s birthday barbecue on Saturday and a boozy picnic in Dolores Park on Sunday, and I was stoked with my weekend, to say the least.

Oh, and another highlight of the weekend was seeing my byline in the LA Times Magazine! I contributed to this article on where to eat in San Francisco now, I hope you enjoy it. I am also going to be on an episode of Eat Street on the Cooking Channel this evening at 5pm PST—this episode features the Hapa SF truck from William Pilz. I hope I don’t have food in my teeth.

This weekend is going to include another outdoor picnic and party, when I’ll be at PUBLIC’s one-year anniversary party in South Park on Saturday afternoon—see you there?

Enjoy your short week!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Jul 5, 2011

Bottle Cap Opens on Washington Square

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The cheerful exterior of Bottle Cap. Well look at that, they left the WSBG sign up.

After making it through some inspections and the usual pre-opening delays in this town, ~BOTTLE CAP~ will be holding their soft opening this week, from Thursday July 7th-Saturday July 9th. To refresh your memory, Bottle Cap is the newest opening in North Beach, in the former Washington Square Bar & Grill space. Owners Dane Boryta (Sens) and his wife Liz Ferro (the food and beverage manager at the SF Opera) are excited to be opening, offering affordable New American dishes made with quality, organic, and local ingredients. They also opened the French bistro Circa, in Northampton, Massachusetts.

An opening press release mentions mushroom and Carmody cheese pierogi in dill and pearl onion broth along with red cabbage slaw ($16); Mary’s chicken sealed in pastry with English peas and tarragon ($17); a Humboldt beef burger with San Joaquin Gold cheese and smoky onions ($12); and heirloom tomatoes with crispy-cured pork belly and buttermilk dressing ($9). Since Boryta was a vegetarian for nine years, you can bet vegetarians will have plenty to chose from (i.e. you won’t find an “uninspired risotto” on the menu, as he puts it). As I mentioned in an earlier piece, chef de cuisine Matt Sullivan (recently at Plate Shop) will also be in the kitchen. Starters will range from $7-$12; entrées $9-$24; and desserts $3-$7.

As for cocktails, Pete Gowdy (Bourbon & Branch) is running the show, which will include up to 10 hand-crafted drink specials, some barrel-aged cocktails this summer, and 8 hand-picked tap beers (like St. Bernardus Prior 8 Belgian Abbey Ale, Telegraph California Ale, and Acme IPA), plus additional selections in the bottle (and cans). Selections on the concise wine list will span from the local to French, Italian, and Spanish offerings. Fun fact: Dane, Liz, and Pete Gowdy all worked at Bruno’s in the mid-90s (that was a hell of a good time then). Oh yeah, and a New York egg cream will also be on the menu.

Regular hours start July 12th. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-10pm, Sat-Sun 10am-10pm. Bar menu available 10pm-12am. No reservations; walk-ins only.

Bottle Cap - 1707 Powell St. - 415-529-2237

Sightglass Ready to Open Its Spacious Café and Roastery

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The front counter (and roaster area).

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The back bar, where coffee service will be offered.

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The view from above.

I had a chance to swing by ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE BAR & ROASTERY~ in SoMa this weekend to see how things were going, and let me tell you, it’s going to be one hell of a space. Brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison have been hard at work, and it shows. The enormous, light-filled, multi-level warehouse has a lot to offer: there’s the Probat roaster (and a counter) in the front, and the back has a large poured-concrete oval bar, with two sides that will be able to caffeinate your sleepy self. Yup, there will be a brew bar on each side, and two espresso machines: a Slayer, and a La Marzocco Strada EP, one of only six in the U.S.

There’s a cool retail shelving section—be sure to take a look at the turn-of-the-century (?) shelves that come from the Library of Congress—where you’ll be able to buy Chemex pots, beans, home equipment, and other caffeination-delivery items. Plans down the road include focus on single-origin beans (both drip and espresso), and the brothers are also working on some iced coffee offerings.

In about a month, the upstairs will open, which will have tables and chairs so you can hang out (and original and beautiful Douglas fir floors)—for now, it’s standing room on the ground level only. You’ll also notice some brioche from Firebrand supplementing the treats offered by Tell Tale Preserve Co. and Hooker’s Sweet Treats. The opening is slated for Monday July 11th—after inspections are done this week, the gents need to dismantle the kiosk, and then it’s time to open the big café, woo hoo! Hours will be Mon-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-6pm (or thereabouts). 270 7th St. at Folsom, 415-861-1313.

Umami Burger's Location on Union Street: Revealed!

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Umami burger; Flickr photo by Yogma.

After the wondering and surmising about WHERE THE EFF ON UNION STREET WAS ~UMAMI BURGER~ going to move into, Inside Scoop confirms that Eater was correct in their guess: the former Jovino/short-lived Joe’s American space at 2184 Union Street. Sounds like September is the target date for hordes of locals to descend on the place like crazed burger zombies. 2184 Union St. at Webster.

Umami Burger - 2184 Union St. San Francisco - 415-440-8626

Melody Now Open in Bernal Heights

Currently in its soft-opening phase is ~MELODY~, a restaurant that opened in the former Coco’s Bakery Cafe. First-time owner Esam Jaber has two chefs working with him on an all-day menu of Lebanese, Middle Eastern, and French dishes; Jaber is particularly excited with the breakfast offerings, which are American dishes with a Middle Eastern twist, and they are making their own bread. Hours are 6pm-2am daily. Stand by for more details as the 45-seat place evolves. Like a phone number, for starters. 3401 Mission St. at Eugenia.

New Korean Restaurant Opens on Irving: Manna

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Banchan photo by Yelp’s Priscilla W.

After a tip-off from ABC permits and some brand-spanking-new reviews on Yelp, it looks like ~MANNA~ has opened in the former Little Bangkok space in the Inner Sunset. But instead of being another Thai or Indian place, it’s a tiny Korean spot. Early Yelpers mention dol-sot bibimbap, kimchi jaeyuk bokum, tofu soup, KFC (Korean fried chicken wings), and other dishes that clock in around $10-$12. 845 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-665-5969.

Renovations: Dosa on Valencia Reopens; SPQR Gets Spiffed Up

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The “Beet Box” at DOSA on Fillmore; photo from Facebook.

Right on schedule, ~DOSA ON VALENCIA~ reopened last Friday after its update and quick revamp. You can look at the new menus (including the very important new cocktail menu, hello, you boozer!) on the website—and check out the weekend brunch, which is going to include thali plates for Bollywood Brunch. Get ready.

And ~SPQR~ had another quick refresh over the holiday weekend, which included new artwork, barstools, outdoor furniture, and fresh paint on the walls. Freshy fresh!

DOSA on Valencia - 995 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-642-3672

New Quick-Casual Place Opens for Lunch This Week: BAMBOO asia

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Indian wrap; from BAMBOO asia’s Facebook page.

Opening on Tuesday July 12th for lunch service in the Financial District is ~BAMBOO ASIA~, a quick-service restaurant serving customized wraps, bowls, sushi, and salads from India, Vietnam, and Japan. Everything is priced at $8. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will eventually be served. The project is from first-time owners Anjou Ahlborn and Sebastiaan van de Rijt. Hours are Mon-Fri 10:30am-7:30pm. 41 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-624-6790.

Upcoming Pop-Ups in the Mission

There’s a new pop-up restaurant, ~REFORM CLUB~, starting up on Sundays at Specchio (it all begins August 7th). But the very first one is a preview on July 17th, and the crew who will be feeding you and pouring you beverages is Allyson Harvie (Citizen Cake, Ragazza), Dion Jardine (Heaven’s Dog, Slanted Door), and Becky Pezzullo (Undercover Supper, Bar Bambino). Think European technique and pace with Californian ingredients and creativity. Four-course prix-fixe meal for $40, with cocktail and wine pairings available for an additional $25. The menu is online; make your reservation via email. On Twitter. At Specchio, 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.

Oh, and dog lovers, you may want to swing by ~EAT~ this Friday July 8th at The Corner since it’s a fundraiser for Give a Dog a Bone (it’s a special organization that works mostly with custody dogs to keep the dogs socialized while in their care). A portion of sales from the evening will go to keep custody dogs from being caged all day and night before they get adopted (if they get adopted). 

Swell on Bush Street Shutters

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The counter at Swell.

A reader tipped me off that ~SWELL~—the restaurant that opened in the original Bar Crudo space next to the Tunnel Top a couple years ago—had shuttered. Inside Scoop confirms the space is closed, and the owner is “reportedly holding onto the property and is planning on reopening it—likely as a new concept—later this summer.” 603 Bush St. at Stockton.

Upcoming Restaurant Anniversary Celebrations

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The Lincoln Grill (where The Elite Cafe is now).

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The Elite Cafe now (photo courtesy of The Elite Cafe).

Send some Happy Birthday wishes to some of the restos celebrating their anniversaries this month and join in their festivities! Start with ~HOG & ROCKS~ on Sunday July 10th from 3pm-7pm. They’re partying with oysters in a variety of preparations, a whole roasted pig, platters of ham, fried bites, and more; and in the way of drinks, Tres Agaves margaritas, Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey, and some beers too. Eat and drink freely for $25.

~ACQUERELLO~ is turning 22 on Tuesday July 12th, and all guests who come in to dine that evening will be offered complimentary bubbly and a surprise from the chef. (Have you eaten there since I posted my review not too long ago? You really should.)

Make a toast to ~MAVERICK~’s six years on Wednesday July 13th with a glass of bubbly, gratis for guests who order dinner.

New Orleans-inspired resto ~THE ELITE CAFE~ celebrates 30 years on Thursday July 14th with the unveiling of a new seating section containing private wooden booths for two, and for the next 30 days (through August 13th), guests can order a special $30 prix-fixe anniversary menu featuring Meetinghouse biscuits; choice of starters like shrimp and scallion johnnycakes with a roasted red pepper relish and lime cream; choice of entrées like California seafood gumbo with shrimp, scallops, oysters, and crabmeat; and choice of desserts like beignets with triple espresso bean ice cream and fudge sauce, and bananas Foster. Wine and cocktail pairings are an additional $30. 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-346-8400.

Two Meaty Events: Pork of July and Lamb Jam

Next Tuesday July 12th, swing by ~BLOODHOUND~ (which seems to be an apt name for the place, with all the meat events they throw there) for Pork of July, when Taylor Boetticher of Fatted Calf will be there butchering a 125-pound red wattle hog from Walnut Keep. All the cuts will be grilled on a hardwood barbecue and served Vietnamese style, with an assortment of side dishes as well, like “little muffalettas” with olive relish, mortadella, and soppressata; grilled pancetta-wrapped peaches with basil and piment d’Espelette; Basque sausage and Padrón pepper pintxos; spicy pork jerky on the bar; bourbon brown sugar ice cream from Three Twins, served with Fatted Calf bacon brittle; and a complimentary (and specialty) Bloodhound infused cocktail. Tickets are $45. Doors at 6pm (until 10pm). 1145 Folsom St. at 7th St.

And on Sunday July 17th, the second annual ~LAMB JAM~ will be held at the Golden Gate Club. Participating chefs will be serving a variety of bites, paired with local wines. Participating chefs include: Antelmo Faria (Tacolicious); Banks White (FIVE, Berkeley); David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor); Dino Vazquez (Eastside West Restaurant & Bar); Eric Berg (Wente Vineyards); Jeff Mall (Zin); Jeffrey Lunak (Morimoto Napa); Jessica Gorin (ThirstyBear); Josh Silvers (Petite Syrah and Jackson’s Bar & Oven); Mattin Noblia; Michael Koenig (Grand Café); Ola Fendert (Oola Restaurant); Richard Hodge (Puccini & Pinetti); Robbie Lewis (Bon Appétit); and Yang Peng (Wood Tavern).

Guests will learn about lamb through a butchery demonstration by local shepherd Don Watson and chef Matthew Accarrino from SPQR, and the event will feature a whole lamb cooked by John Fink of The Whole Beast. Guests will also be able to create their own swag bags, and vote for their favorite lamb dishes in a “People’s Choice” competition.

Cosecha Cafe Opens This Week in Oakland

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Summer corn and cheese tamales; photo from Cosecha Café.

Due to open this Friday July 8th in the Swan’s Market in Old Oakland is ~COSECHA CAFE~ from owner Dominica Rice. Her menu will feature home-style (and affordable) Cal-Mexican dishes made with quality and local ingredients (like Becker Lane meats), along with handmade tortillas, chorizo, and pastries. Rice’s cooking background includes Chez Panisse, Eccolo, and Restaurant Soleil in Mexico City.

Cosecha means harvest, and I’m telling you, the menu is going to make your stomach grumble; check it out here. It includes dishes like pozole ($7-$7.25, with pork or vegetarian), a variety of tacos for $3.50 (including ones made with turkey with pumpkin seed mole, or grilled poblano chile and cheese), and braised oxtail in mole and papa frita ($15). Brunch includes chilaquiles with chile verde and two scrambled eggs ($7.50), menudo ($7.50), chorizo, papas, poached eggs, and handmade flour tortillas ($9), and pancakes with homemade spam ($8.50—yup, I’m curious about that one). There are plenty of sweets as well, from guava turnovers to flan, which will go well with the coffee from Roast Coffee Co. There will also be California wines and beers. Cosecha will serve breakfast, weekend brunch, lunch, and dinner, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm. 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-452-5900.

Also in the Market is the recently opened Rio de Parras Organics produce stand—with fruit and vegetables coming from farmers Eleazar and Ana Bertha Juarez, who own a six-acre organic farm near Salinas. (Cosecha will be using some of their produce.) They also sell products from nearby organic farms, including eggs, honey, and flowers. Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.

Two New Japanese Places (in Oakland and Berkeley)

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Kimchi at Kiraku; Yelp photo by Jennifer W.

A permit reveals a new “Japanese tapas” place in Berkeley, ~KIRAKU~. A couple brand-new posts on Yelp mention dishes like tempura corn, grilled hamachi, and Asahi on tap, 2655 Telegraph Ave. at Parker, Berkeley, 510-848-2758.

A tip on Chowhound announces there will be a new place from Geta: an izakaya named ~B-DAMA~ opening nearby on Piedmont Avenue. It’s reportedly due to open this month. And that’s about all I have for you because I didn’t get my act together to get more details, and the Fourth of July holiday really didn’t help matters. Fire me, go ahead, I dare you!

The Far West Fest Oyster-Off 2011 Is in Marin on July 16th

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Far West Fest-goers; photo by David Skeeter.

On Saturday July 16th, the sixth annual ~FAR WEST FEST~ in Point Reyes Station is an all-ages outdoor fest that celebrates all kinds of lovely things—community, arts and crafts, sustainability, and especially music—but let’s focus on the food, shall we? From 1pm-3pm, the Oyster-Off competition lets you try five signature oysters dishes from these chefs for $10: Heath Haberlin, oyster tour guide/author; Tony Carracci, private chef and chef at Marin Sun Farms; Aram Danesh, formerly chef at Fish. and Anchor Oyster Bar; Jeroen van den Berg, Marin County “foodie”; and San Francisco’s own Taka Tozawa, sushi chef at ICHI Sushi, with his dish, oyster motoyaki.

Lots of other food and drink offerings are also in store, including Tomales Bay Oyster Company’s Portuguese paella and sangria, Wild Onions’ fritto misto, Curry Up Now’s Indian street food, Terra’s organic ice cream, Lagunitas IPA, wines, and much more. VIP tickets include a free wine tasting. This is a “green” event with locally based purveyors of organic, sustainable offerings like oysters, fresh produce, grass-fed meats, wood-fired pizzas, and organic baked goods.

Tickets are $22 in advance; $12 for youth; $30 at the gate. For more info, visit farwestfest.com. Proceeds from ticket sales and the Oyster-Off will benefit KWMR Community Radio, and local non-profits. 10:30am-7pm. Love Field, 11191 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Point Reyes Station.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Jul 5, 2011

(Sponsored): CUESA's Summer Celebration: The Best Bites and Sips of the Season

Get ready for the inaugural launch of CUESA’s Summer Celebration on Sunday July 10th. Spend an elegant evening at the Ferry Building with other local food, wine, and cocktail devotees. Taste seasonal hors d’oeuvres from over 35 of the city’s best restaurants (such as Cotogna, Flour + Water, Greens, and Range); and drink regional wine, artisan cocktails (from Bourbon & Branch, Rye, and more), craft beer, and soda. A whimsical photo booth, live music, and a carving station from chef Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats will enliven the night.

Meet the faces behind your food while providing much-needed support for the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture’s ongoing education programs, including free cooking demonstrations, kitchen skill-building classes, the new Schoolyard to Market program, and sustainability scholarships for farmers.

Tickets are $95, but tablehopper readers get a $5 discount; use code TABLEHOPPER.

Sunday July 10th • 6pm-9pm • San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Jul 5, 2011

Experience a Groovy Pairing at Quince: Scotch and Artisanal Cheeses

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Scotch. Cheese from the ~QUINCE~ cart. What more do you need to know? Oh, yeah, how to get them together. Through July 23rd, the Quince bar and lounge will offer a flight of Scotch and a tasting of cheeses on the menu. After this one wraps up, every two-three weeks Quince will offer a new cheese pairing—and future pairings will include rum, bourbon, and beer. The price will hover around the $28-$36 range, depending on the spirit (the current price on the menu is $36 for four cheeses and four Scotches). Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm. 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery, 415-775-8500.

Quince - 470 Pacific Ave. San Francisco - 415-775-8500

This Friday, Explore Champagne in Another Way

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Come to mama.

There are the usual Champagne tastings—but I thought this tasting on Friday July 8th with the legendary Champagne house, Ruinart, sounded quite unique. The MO Bar at the ~MANDARIN ORIENTAL, SAN FRANCISCO~ will be hosting A Sensory Challenge with Ruinart’s cellar master and a perfumer from International Flavors & Fragrances (this experience is rarely ever presented to consumers). The two have identified eight main aromas in the nose of Ruinart’s Blanc de Blancs Champagne, and guests will be challenged to identify the scents in the Champagne. The winner receives Ruinart Tea for Two at MO Bar, a $146 value.

The event is $98 per person, and will include three glasses of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs (paired with hearty appetizer-sized dishes), and a farewell toast with Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 1998. Limited to 20 guests. Reserve via email, or call 415-276-9787. 6:30pm, reception on the 40th floor sky deck; 7pm, A Sensory Challenge at MO Bar. 222 Sansome St. at Bush.

Friday Jul 8, 2011
6:30pm
$98
more info

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Jul 5, 2011

(Sponsored): PUBLIC's One-Year Anniversary Is This Saturday, with Mega Giveaways

PUBLIC invites you to celebrate our one-year anniversary on Saturday July 9th at 123 South Park from 11am-3pm. PUBLIC always throws a good party (hellllo, grilled cheese from The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen!), plus the tablehopper will be there signing her book.

To celebrate our first full year of business, we’re giving away a number of prizes. Our grand prizes are free weekend stays at select, prestigious hotels that provide PUBLIC bikes for their guests. Thousands of happy customers are riding PUBLIC bikes all over.

You can buy our bikes at our South Park headquarters in SoMa. Or we can even ship a bike direct to any door, 99% assembled. These bikes will make you feel like a kid again, and this is every bit as important as anything else. Visit publicbikes.com for more information and prices.

Buy a PUBLIC bike using promo code HOPPER and get a free PUBLIC rear rack (perfect for carting around leftovers!), plus a copy of The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. This special promotion ($75 value) is valid ‘til July 11th, 2011.

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Jul 5, 2011

Say Oh La La! at These Bastille Day Celebrations

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Flickr photo from Euthman.

Event Info

Monday Jul 11, 2011 – Sunday Jul 17, 2011

Fête with the French in honor of Bastille Day, officially Thursday July 14th, with lots of Frenchie options all around town, plus a non-Frenchie event with Stag Dining.

~CHEZ PAPA BISTROT~ will offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner menu for $34.95 on July 14th in addition to the regular à la carte dinner menu. For the prix-fixe menu, choose from entrées like bouillabaisse with black cod, clams, mussels, prawns, bay scallops, fingerling potatoes, and rouille; pan-roasted red trout with braised cabbage, smoked bacon, pearl onions, and lemon-tarragon beurre blanc; lamb daube with rosemary-red wine sauce and seasonal vegetables; or duck confit leg with fennel purée, lardons, wild mushrooms, and Périgourdine sauce. Dinner 5:30pm-10pm.

~GRAND CAFÉ~ is also celebrating on the 14th, starting at 5pm with Marie Antoinette handing out cake, an accordionist playing traditional Parisian music throughout the night, and glasses of Champagne to complement the normal dining room menu. In the Petit Café, there’ll be a boeuf bourguignon and glass of red wine special ($19).

~RIGOLO CAFÉ~ is extending their Bastille Day specials all week long (July 11th-17th) with a special prix-fixe menu and summer crêpes. The $24.99 three-course prix-fixe will be offered in addition to the regular dinner menu (add a Kir Royale or wine pairing to the prix-fixe for $3): choices include Gratinée des Halles (Rigolo’s French onion soup), fresh fruit galette baked in the stone hearth oven, and many more options. You can also get a savory summer crêpe with local asparagus and corn, or a sweet one with summer peaches and seasonal berries for $6.99. Bring les enfants on Bastille Day between 4pm-7pm for complimentary face-painting. 3465 California St. at Locust, 415-876-7777.

~CAFÉ DE LA PRESSE~ will have specials on the 14th such as duck confit, cassoulet, and dry-aged rib-eye steak. 352 Grant Ave. at Bush, 415-398-2680.

Chez ~CAFÉ DES AMIS~, it’s Happy Hour all day long from 11:30am ‘til 11pm with wine by the glass, beer, a special “Storm the Bastille” cocktail, oysters, charcuterie, and cheese, plus chef Justin Deering will be making cassoulet.

Bastille Day at ~GARCON!~ will feature, in addition to the regular à la carte menu, a $33 three-course prix-fixe dinner and à la carte specials including rillettes of duck confit with sautéed duck liver and heart, frisée, shallots, and cherries ($14); and a 16-oz. bone-in, free-range veal chop with haricots verts, porcini mushrooms, and marjoram-pine nut gremolata ($42). 1101 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-401-8959.

Inside the Sugarlump café, you can have a casual Bastille Day dîner with ~SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN~: it’s a three-course menu for $26, and items include steamed mussels in white wine with sausage and crouton, and sous vide duck breast with roasted summer vegetables and apricot gastrique, plus vegetarian options. Dessert will be palmier cookies and fresh bing cherry mousse. 2862 24th St. at Bryant.

Over on the Waterfront at ~LAFITTE~, chef Russell Jackson is serving a special Bastille Day prix-fixe menu in honor of Richard Olney: artichokes with two mousses, sole with fines herbes and braised cucumbers, roast leg of lamb and buttered green beans, fromage, and peach melba. $49; $59 with beverage pairings.

~OFF THE GRID~ is partnering with French aperitif wine producer Lillet to pay tribute to liberté, égalité, fraternité. At the Friday July 15th Off the Grid, participating food trucks will offer French-inspired menu items while the Magnolia Bar will serve Lillet cocktail specials and an aperitif over ice with an orange slice (oh so français). Musical guest: Le Jazz Hot (French Gypsy jazz performed on string instruments). 5pm-10pm, Fort Mason Center.

The ~CAVALLO POINT COOKING SCHOOL~ is holding a celebratory class on Saturday July 16th from 11am-3pm with cookbook author and chef Peggy Knickerbocker. The hands-on menu includes dishes inspired by her travels and adventures in France, including pissaladière, and warm spicy mussel salad. $125 per person plus tax. 601 Murray Cir. in Fort Baker, Sausalito, 888-651-2003.

And for a tongue-in-cheek experience à la Stephen Colbert, join Stag Dining Group and The Noble Rot for an ~ANTI-BASTILLE DAY CELEBRATION~ on July 14th at 7pm. You’ll be dining on passed plates from chefs Jordan Grosser and Ted Fleury, plates with names like Yankee Goose Liver, American Carrier Pigeon, Patriot Snails, and Freedom Frog Legs. Cocktails and wines will be paired with the passed plates, including tastings of American Bordeaux. Read up on all the humorous deets here. Seats ($65) are limited to 50 with a 72-hour cancellation policy; event location TBA.

Fun "Preview to SF Chefs" Events at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

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Photo of cocktails from SF Chefs website.

Event Info

Saturday Jul 9, 2011 – Saturday Jul 23, 2011
Tickets
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
Ferry Building, San Francisco

Leading up to SF Chefs week in August, CUESA is presenting a series of ~PREVIEW TO SF CHEFS~ events this month at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets with host Liam Mayclem (Eye on the Bay on CBS5 and Foodie Chap on KCBS). The first preview event is the Family Pasta Making class on Saturday July 9th (2pm-4pm), where Nigel Walker of Eatwell Farms will demonstrate wheat grinding, and chefs Charles Phan (Slanted Door) and Anthony Strong (Locanda) will show participants how to make fresh Italian pasta and Asian noodles. This is a family-friendly class open to all ages, and participants will be using market-fresh eggs and produce. $30 adults; $15 kids 12 and under.

On Saturday July 16th, it’s time to taste peaches at their summery best at the Peachy Keen! event (2pm-4pm). Meet a peach farmer, learn what makes a peach taste the way it does, toast with some Bellinis, and watch Luis Villavelazquez (Les Elements, formerly of Orson, Citizen Cake, and Absinthe) and William Werner (Tell Tale Preserve Company) demonstrate peachy pastries. Between these two pastry chefs, I’d bet on some good-looking, tasty treats. $30.

And on Saturday July 23rd, attend the Salumi event to learn how to put together a fine platter of these Italian-style cured meats with the right type of beverage pairings. Chefs (and salumi experts) Staffan Terje (Perbacco and Barbacco) and Paul Canales (formerly of Oliveto) will guide participants through the class, which will feature house-cured salumi from each chef, as well as local beers. 2pm-4pm, $30.

Some preview events have already sold out—get tickets online here. You know what else is already starting to sell out? SF Chefs itself, so while you’re on the tickets page, you might wanna order tix for the Grand Tasting and other events that are all part of the week-long celebration of all the best of Northern California’s food, wine, and spirits. The SF Chefs festival takes place August 1st-August 7th in Union Square, with additional classes, demonstrations, seminars, and industry-only events at participating restaurants and The Westin St. Francis Hotel.

Under the Grand Tasting Tent (August 5th-August 7th), over 100 Bay Area chefs and restaurants—including Matthew Accarrino of SPQR, Gary Danko of Restaurant Gary Danko, Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake, Tyler Florence of Wayfare Tavern, Emily Luchetti of Farallon and Waterbar, Craig Stoll of Delfina, Joanne Weir, and Martin Yan—will provide the best bites of the season, accompanied by specialty cocktails mixed with fresh, local ingredients, and wine tastings from local and international wineries. And yours truly will also be leading a panel, stand by! Check out the website for more info. Ticket prices range from $25-$150.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)
Jul 5, 2011

Wine Country Chefs on the Move

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Victor Scargle and Bardessono’s executive sous Norma Whitt; photo from Bardessono’s Facebook page.

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Fish Story’s new Kiwi chef Clint Davies; photo from Fish Story website.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Lots of action these days in the kitchens of wine country … and plenty of chef changes too.

In Guerneville, executive chef Bruce Frieseke has left the ~RESTAURANT AT APPLEWOOD INN~ to join Bella Vineyards’ culinary program. He’s betting the new daytime gig will give him a better chance at spending time with his wife and son, and I’m betting he’s right.

Two of his former sous chefs are stepping up to the top toque at Applewood Inn: Mendocino native Tyja Taube, who co-runs a small farm in Santa Rosa and will be incorporating some of its organic produce into the restaurant’s menu; and Michelle “Shelley” Cermeant, an anthropology major who studied the usage of plants and history of food. (Way to work the system, Shelley!) I’m hoping she breaks out Apicius and does some historical dishes for us sometime.

Over in the Napa Valley, Victor Scargle is back in the kitchen after a professorial stint at the Culinary Institute of America, and hurrah, he’s taking over the gorgeous ~BARDESSONO~ restaurant in Yountville. Scargle was formerly at Go Fish and the now closed Julia’s Kitchen before taking his teaching gig at the CIA.

You may recall that Bardessono’s former chef Sean O’Toole left last November to work with Michael Tusk at Quince and Cotogna, but apparently O’Toole is back in Y-ville as executive chef of ~HOPPER CREEK KITCHEN~ in the Hotel Yountville. Since Hopper Creek Kitchen only serves until noon, and only to hotel guests (see our prior coverage), I’m thinking this is another quality of life switch.

Last but not least, ~FISH STORY~’s opening chef Stephen Barber is leaving to take over the kitchen at ~FARMSTEAD~ in St. Helena after Sheamus Feeley’s return to Hillstone Restaurant Group at the end of this month. Barber’s Southern background should be a great fit for the down home vibe that’s been rocking over there, but I’m still going to miss Sheamus’ awesome little grin.

New Zealand native Clint Davies is taking Barber’s place at Fish Story starting July 9th, and will be tweaking the menu for summer with his own globally influenced style. Davies was most recently the sous chef at One Market in SF, but previously worked in some outstanding restaurants in Australia, Europe, and Japan.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Jul 5, 2011

Wayfare Tavern: A Draw for Stars, Pundits, and Ball Players Alike

A tablehopper reader spotted liberal pundit ~James Carville~ at Wayfare Tavern a couple Saturdays ago, and just last night, ~Emily Blunt~ (The Devil Wears Prada) and husband ~John Krasinski~ (Jim Halpert on NBC’s The Office) came in for dinner with a large party that included ~Jason Segel~. Emily and Jason are starring in the film The Five-Year Engagement, which is currently being shot downtown. As for what they ate, a spy tells me Emily had the halibut, John had the burger (no egg), and Jason had the pork hash (on a server’s recommendation).

~Jack Cust~ from the Seattle Mariners also walked into the restaurant without a reservation, and tucked into the fried chicken and a bottle of Pahlmeyer.

Star Breakfasts at Bar Adagio

A couple celebrity sightings at Bar Adagio: Will and Grace’s ~Eric McCormack~ enjoyed a hearty breakfast last week, and ~Rob Corddry~ (a former correspondent on The Daily Show) was also spotted hanging out with some friends for breakfast, sipping on his bottle of Voss.

Joe, Can You Pass Me the Oysters?

Last Friday night, ~Joe Montana~ and his wife Jennifer (and family) dined at Waterbar, along with George Eades (Nick Stokes on CSI), who is currently on his honeymoon after marrying Monica Casey.

 

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