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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: pitch a tent.

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Rye on the Road’s Kentucky Sno-ball at the SF Street Food Festival’s media dinner.

Well, the massive SF Chefs tent is up in Union Square, which offers a whole other level of glamping. Do you have tickets to some of the events? The grand tastings feature an impressive lineup of local talent—and let’s just say I hope you didn’t drive, because the cocktails and wines available at each event mean business.

On Saturday, after the first tasting of the day wraps up, I’ll be at E&O Trading Co. leading a panel, The Real Restaurant Wives of San Francisco from 4pm-6pm. It’s going to be a behind-the-scenes discussion about famed SF restaurateurs from a totally unique perspective: their wives and partners! You’ll meet Leslie Gibin (Perbacco), Amy Wong (E&O Trading Co.), Chantal Keller (Fleur de Lys), and Emily Mitra (Dosa), and there will be signature cocktails from each of their restaurants. Should be a very good time. (Get your tickets here.) The best deal is for VISA Signature cardholders, who receive 20% off tickets, but if you don’t have that variety of plastic, use Tablehopper11 for 10% off all SF Chefs tickets!

But here’s a bonus: I have two pairs of tickets to give away to The Real Restaurant Wives of San Francisco panel to two lucky readers. All you need to do is post a comment on my SF Chefs event posting on the tablehopper Facebook page by Wednesday August 3rd at 12 noon, and I’ll randomly pick two winners tomorrow afternoon. Look forward to seeing you there!

Meanwhile, I am putting the finishing touches on questions for the panel I’m moderating this Wednesday at the Commonwealth Club on what makes a restaurant great. Yup, it’s panel week. And I have questions. Lots of ‘em!

Oh, and before signing off, here’s a little link-age to an article I was interviewed for, Scruffy Chic: The New Rules for Dining (for Grub Street New York). Hope you enjoy it.

This week is gonna be a doozy. Time to flip on the after-burners.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Aug 2, 2011

The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Closing for a Big Transformation

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Chef Ron Siegel. Photo provided by Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.

Exciting news at ~THE DINING ROOM AT THE RITZ-CARLTON~: after 20 years of a fine dining format, the esteemed location will be closing to undergo a makeover and a total re-concepting. The new space will be more approachable, contemporary, and less formal—the publicist for the property emphasizes the feeling will be warm and comfortable. Chef Ron Siegel—who has been leading The Dining Room since July 2004—will be creating a new dining experience that will offer more flexibility, modernity, and simplicity (more details on the menu format soon).

One big change will be the addition of a bar and lounge area in the dining room—featuring handcrafted cocktails and small plates—designed to appeal as much to locals as to guests just passing through. The plan is to create a lively and prominent bar, with a fun environment that will spill over a bit into the actual dining room. There will also be a chef’s table and a glassed-in private dining room. (When all is said and done, there will be 146 seats total.)

There will also be two entrances to the restaurant, either a direct (and more prominent) entrance from the porte-cochère, or through the lobby. Speaking of the lobby (and lobby lounge), those two spaces are slated for some upcoming renovations down the road as well.

The redesign will begin after September 15th, and should be reopening before the end of the year. In honor of Siegel’s groundbreaking salt and pepper tasting menu, it will be available once again from August 9th-September 15th. You’ll be able to congratulate Ron during this weekend’s SF Chefs—he’ll have a table at the Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting (from 12pm-4pm).

The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton - 600 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-773-6168

Pachino Opens in the Pizzeria Quattro Stagioni Space in the FiDi

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The Fiori di Zucca pizza; photo from Pachino’s Facebook page.

~QUATTRO STAGIONI~, the recently opened pizzeria from Pino Spinoso of Tiramisu, is now ~PACHINO~ and under new ownership: Spinoso is now partnering with Gabriele Originario, previously the opening manager and wine director at Farina, and most recently the GM at Hubert Keller’s Burger Bar. Pachino is a 35-seat pizzeria, and the pizzaiolo, Salvatore Di Stefano, is from Sicily (he was previously at Tony’s Pizza Napoletana in North Beach, and has several years of experience making pizza in Italy as well). It just opened last Tuesday July 26th.

Pachino’s pizzas are Napoletana in style, with pies like the Gricia (pancetta, escarole, pecorino, mozzarella), the Fiori di Zucca (squash blossom, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, mozzarella and asiago cheese), and a Diavola (spicy Calabrese salame, arugula, tomato, chile pepper, mozzarella); the pizzas range from $11-$16. There are also a couple Sicilian pizza selections (both $19): the Schiacciata Siciliana con Salsiccia (filled with sausage, broccolini, and Toma cheese) and the Schiacciata Siciliana con Prosciutto (filled with prosciutto, endive, tomato, and mozzarella). Each pizza serves two, and takes 10 minutes to bake. There are also appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, and a couple meat courses; you can check out the entire menu here. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 318 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-956-4056.

Iconic Louis' Restaurant Reopens Wednesday

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Photo from Louis’ Facebook page.

74-year-old ~LOUIS’ RESTAURANT~, the kitschy restaurant out by the Sutro Baths, has finished its renovation, approvals, and permits, and is reopening this Wednesday August 3rd. The family-owned restaurant almost lost their lease with the National Park Service, but fortunately the community rallied to help the Hontalas family keep it. Part of the terms of their new 10-year lease was that the family had to make some green changes and updates to the space, and that all their produce needed to be certified organic and local (you can read a bunch of details in this post on The Richmond Blog). (Here’s hoping some of the shag-tastic elements remain, like the groovy pendant lamps and funky tiles.) Hours are 6:30am-9pm. 902 Point Lobos Ave., 415-387-6330.

Deli Board Opening an Actual Sandwich Shop in SoMa

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A honkin’ pastrami sandwich from Deli Board. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SoMa workers have been lining up for sandwiches from ~DELI BOARD~ on Howard Street for months (it’s like they’re giving away sandwiches or something). But what’s funny is the line is at the door of their catering kitchen, and not an actual sandwich shop. Well, not for long. Come late August/early September, Deli Board will be opening a sandwich shop (and their catering kitchen) in the space next door to Fondue Cowboy (the space was supposed to house Dolce Italia, an Italian cookie company). There will be around 25-30 seats, and they’ll be serving breakfast sandwiches and burritos in the morning, plus their trademark delicious sandwiches, homemade soups, and salads as well. There will also be some special bagels coming in from New York, and meat lovers will be able to order meats by the pound. Yeah, hot deli action! What’s funny is owner Adam Mesnick is from Cleveland, and the deli overlooks Cleveland alley. Fate, it is. 1058 Folsom St. at Cleveland.

The Citywide Banh Mi Takeover Continues

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Fish banh mi; Yelp photo by Edmund W.

Nope, it’s not just pizza and burger places dominating our local culinary scene: banh mi is quickly proving to be the “it” sandwich of 2011. Not too long ago, Eater announced the closure of 33-year-old Indonesian Java Restaurant in the Inner Richmond (the owner reportedly retired). Now open in its place is ~CAFE BUNN MI~, not to be confused with the recently opened Bun Mee on Fillmore. Yelp comments sound rather positive (for a change), mentioning a duck banh mi, pho, rice plates, and super-nice owners. 417 Clement St. at 6th Ave., 415-668-8908.

Inspiring Bakery Project Opening in Hayes Valley

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The Inside Scoop broke the story about the upcoming ~HAYES VALLEY BAKEWORKS~ project coming to the corner of Gough and Fulton (I’ve been wondering what was going in there since it’s on one of my bike routes). Alice Cravens (previously at Modern Tea) is working with the local nonprofit Toolworks to open a bakery and café that will employ the disabled, homeless, and at-risk clients through a culinary training program. Cravens is developing the initial menu on a consulting basis, but won’t be in the café/bakery on a daily basis due to her day job developing and teaching culinary vocational curriculum for high school youth.

But about that menu: it will include rustic American baked goods (sweet and savory, and made from scratch), plus healthy soups, salads, and flatbreads, along with cookies, bars, brownies, and Craven’s wonderful pudding cake and cheesecake in jars will be staging a return! Full Plate Restaurant Consulting—which drafted the business plan and recruited the team—did an in-depth market survey of area workers and residents about what they would like to see in the neighborhood, with the biggest Venus/Mars finding being that men love muffins while women want scones. Who knew?

There will also be catering options, and drinks will include Four Barrel Coffee. Jim Maxwell of Architects II is behind the design, which will include warm colors, wood, and clean lines. Expect a January 2012 opening; hours will be Mon-Sat from early morning to early evening. 365 Fulton St. at Gough.

Delicious Baked Goods for You to Hunt Down and Eat

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The delicious insides of a Starter Bakery croissant.

Lots of groovy baked goods are coming onto the scene lately. Just found out Oakland’s ~STARTER BAKERY~ will now have some of their fantastic pastries available at super-cute farm:table in the TenderNob. Sadly, no kouign amann, but they will carry some of Starter Bakery’s mini croissants, mini seasonal fruit danishes, baked tarts, and cookies. UPDATE: They are now going to carry the famed kouign amann Fri-Sun! 754 Post St. at Jones.

Meanwhile, What the Fork mentions you can find the amazing Montreal-style, wood-oven baked bagels from ~BEAUTY’S BAGEL SHOP~ (which currently doesn’t have a shop—the bakers are searching for a spot!) at Wise Sons Deli and Saul’s (in the 510) on Saturdays.

And since we’re talking bagels, brand-new wholesaler ~SPOT BAGEL~ is beginning to turn up at shops and markets and cafés all over the Bay Area; check out locations here.

Pig Patrol: Pig and Pie, and The Dancing Pigs

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The future home of Pig and Pie; photo courtesy of Mission Mission.

Pig continues to be the new black. First up, both Grub Street and Mission Mission have been tracking what is going into the former Discolandia space in the Mission: ~PIG AND PIE~.

One of the owners handily wrote in some comments on the MM post, so here are the details, straight from the horse’s mouth: “Pig and Pie is going to serve handmade sausages with unique dressings and homemade pies for dessert. We’ll have a standard selection, including a vegan option, as well as rotating specials and a variety of interesting side dishes. The pies will be made from local seasonal fruits and be accompanied by ice cream from one of the local ice cream houses. We’re looking to create a place where you can get upscale food at a downscale price in a casual setting.” 

He goes on: “We’re very excited about opening a restaurant on 24th St. I’ve lived in the ‘hood for well over a decade and have wanted to open a restaurant of some kind for about the last 5 years but all the pieces didn’t come together until now. The biggest piece of that was finding my business partner Nate. Nate is a butcher and a chef, he makes a mean sausage and I’m happy to have him running the kitchen. The other piece was locating a space. I’d actually been looking for a space on 24th St. for a few months (considered the old Papa Potrero space but decided to pass on it) so when I saw that Discolandia was shutting down we jumped on it. It’s really our ideal location. We’re still waiting for the conditional use permit hearing with the Planning Dept which should happen sometime in September.  With any luck we’ll be able to open by November. Can’t wait! (And can’t wait to see the menu.)” And yes, they are trying to save the super-groovy signage—read the comments for details on why that’s tricky. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.

And over in the Castro, Grub Street notes there’s license activity for the Nirvana space, replacing it with ~THE DANCING PIGS~ (no word if that’s the actual name of the business) from owners Linda Holl, James Kleysteuber, and Lawrence Metzger. Nirvana is currently open; stand by for more details soon. 544 Castro St. at Market.

Sel et Vin (Temporarily?) Closed; Dusit Thai and SR24 Permanently Shut

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The window of Sel et Vin.

A tablehopper reader sent me this picture of the window sign in Glen Park’s wine bar spinoff of P’tit Laurent, ~SEL ET VIN~. No official word from the owners yet about what’s going on, so stand by. 678 Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-333-2200.

Yelper about town Jason B. alerts me that ~SIAM SAIGON~ just opened in the Dusit Thai space in Bernal Heights. It’s reportedly serving both Thai and Vietnamese dishes. 3221 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-826-4698.

And according to a tip on Chowhound, ~SR24~ in Oakland was closing after a year and a half in business; and according to the restaurant’s Facebook page, the closure happened this past Saturday. Best of luck to the team. 5179 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland.

This Month's Round Up o' Pop-Ups

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Stag Dining dinner photo by Sari Goodfriend; from Stag Dining website.

August is chock-full of pop-up meals and shindigs (like it’s different from any other month). Here’s a sampling of the lineup that has blipped across my radar—and I am quite sure there will be more to announce in coming weeks:

Chef Jeremy Fox will be at ~ORSON~ on Friday August 12th. Details to come, check the website or call for updates/reservations. 415-777-1508.

~THE BOLD ITALIC~ and ~STAG DINING GROUP~ are partnering up for a cool microhood dinner in Dogpatch on Saturday August 13th, featuring a delicious multi-course meal with cocktails, music, stories, and more. $80 per person; 7pm.

(There will also be a fun and free party in the Dogpatch on Thursday August 11th called 3rd Base from 6pm-8pm, don’t miss it!)

Chef Lauren Kiino of ~IL CANE ROSSO~ is popping up again at ~SLOW CLUB~ on Sunday August 14th. $45 for a “Summer in Spain” three-course meal, with optional $25 cocktail pairing. Seatings: 6pm and 8:15pm. RSVP, and please include number of guests, desired seating time, and contact info.

Your Fried Food Update: Pop Some Lipitor Before Reading

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“The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams” at Firefly.

Ready to get your hands greasy? Grab those napkins, because this Thursday August 4th is ~MAVERICK~’s Southern Fried Night, serving chicken wings and waffles, watermelon salad, fried green tomatoes, chicken fried steak, shrimp and grits, and more.

And fans of ~FIREFLY~’s “The Fried Chicken of Your Dreams” will be happy to know the restaurant has designated Tuesday night as Fried Chicken Tuesdays, so you’ll never have to call ahead and ask: “Are you serving the fried chicken of my dreams tonight?” And yay, biscuit, yay, mashed potatoes and gravy. Available until it runs out. Speaking of running, see you on the treadmill!

Maverick - 3316 17th St. San Francisco - 415-863-3061

Kyo-ya Restaurant Turns 20, Which Means Specials for You!

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20 for $20 promo photo courtesy of Kyo-Ya (via SFoodie).

20 years: not quite of legal drinking age yet, but that’s a commendable amount of time to be in business (and equally impressive: executive chef Kunihiko Oshikawa and master sushi chef Akifusa Tonai have both been with ~KYO-YA RESTAURANT~ since the restaurant’s opening in 1991). For the month of August, Kyo-ya in the Palace Hotel will be celebrating its anniversary with a variety of specials, like offering 20 pieces of sushi to go for just $20 (although SFoodie is currently wondering how the amount pictured adds up to 20—maybe you need to drink some sake for the math to work?). (Available August 1st-31st during lunch, from 11:30am-2pm.) Pre-ordering is required. To reserve your 20 for $20 lunch to go, call 415-546-5089.

There’s also a three-course dinner with sake pairings for $35 this month. The menu features a Kyo-ya salad, salmon belly with asparagus tempura, and a dessert trio of black sesame choux, yuzu tart, and green tea gelée. Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St. at Market.

Some Cool Cookin' Classes

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Photo of homemade kimchee from Urban Kitchen’s website.

With all the great produce that abounds in the summer, it’s a great time to develop (or hone) your cooking skills with some cool culinary classes. The ~CELLAR KITCHEN IN MACY’S UNION SQUARE~ is holding two exciting classes in August. On Saturday August 6th, 2pm-4pm, Azalina’s and La Cocina will present a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn to cook one of Azalina’s signature Malaysian dishes. Tickets/info. $20; proceeds benefit La Cocina.

Then on Sunday August 14th at 2pm, join an olive oil tasting and cooking class with chef Rachelle Boucher, blogger and culinary “Flavor Agent,” also in the Cellar. Learn about local olive oils and the artisans behind them, then you’ll taste and cook with the oils. Dishes will include seasonal flatbreads, herbed tagliatelle with heirloom squash “noodles,” lemon oil and ricotta salata, and vanilla ice cream cones with balsamic and olive oil drizzle. $15 at the door; RSVP here. 170 O’Farrell St. at Stockton, San Francisco.

~PARTIES THAT COOK~ is launching a Cooking Farm to Table series of classes, and the first class is Saturday August 13th, 3:30pm-7:30pm. Participants will tour Canvas Ranch in Petaluma, a small family-run farm in Two Rock Valley, to learn about fresh, locally grown produce and seasonal cooking. You’ll get hands-on to prepare a four-course gourmet meal with ingredients from the fields, then you get to sit down and eat what everyone made. Sample menu items include orecchiette with mascarpone, basil, and heirloom tomatoes; balsamic marinated skirt steak with herbed breadcrumbs; and seasonal fruit potpies with buttermilk whipped cream. Bring some wine (and flat shoes!) too. You’ll get emailed copies of the recipes and photos as well. 21 and over only. $135 per person; sign up here. 755 Tomales Rd. between Pennsylvania and Chileno Valley, Petaluma.

~URBAN KITCHEN SF~ is hosting Richie Nakano and Susanna Ok of Hapa Ramen for a pickles and kimchee workshop on Thursday August 25th from 5:30pm-7:30pm. They’re going to show participants how to make pickles and kimchee using seasonal and traditional vegetables and fruits from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. You’ll get to make two pickles and one kimchee to take home with you, along with more ingredients and a recipe book to continue the pickling and fermenting at home. Tickets are selling fast! $58, CUESA Dacor Teaching Kitchen, Ferry Building, San Francisco.

Chef Changes at Café des Amis and Balboa Cafe Mill Valley

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Exterior photo from Café des Amis’ Facebook page.

More changes in the kitchen at ~CAFÉ DES AMIS~ in Cow Hollow: Bacchus Management Group has brought in chef Mark Sullivan (chef-partner of Spruce and The Village Pub) to overhaul the menu, while partner Gordon Drysdale is now overseeing the company’s Pizza Antica restaurants. Sullivan expects the menu to really reflect substantial changes in October. There’s also a new GM, Joseph Hechmi (Claremont Hotel Club & Spa and SRO, Inc. restaurant group).

Up in MIL(F) Valley, the PlumpJack Group has appointed Rick Edge as executive chef of ~BALBOA CAFE MILL VALLEY~ (with a name like that, God forbid he ever has a dull knife). His background includes Pacific’s Edge restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Club XIX at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, PlumpJack Cafe San Francisco, and PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn—Edge is rejoining the group following a brief hiatus. 38 Miller Ave. at Sunnyside, Mill Valley, 415-381-7321.

Café des Amis - 2000 Union St. San Francisco - 415-563-7700

Happy One-Year Anniversary to 123 Bolinas

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Photo from 123 Bolinas’ Facebook.

~123 BOLINAS~ is coming up on a year of serving locally sourced, sustainably produced wine, beer, and food in Fairfax, and co-founders Dominic Phillips, James Gregory, Jacquelyn Mahaney, and Jeff Mahaney are ready to celebrate with a series of events now through Sunday August 7th.

Tonight, August 2nd, 123 Bolinas will host a reception for photographer Wendy Yalom’s “year in a life of 123,” in which she shares a look behind the scenes with the 123 team. All wines will be served at an affordable $6 (look for small production and sustainable vintners like Broc Cellars, Tallulah, and Pey-Marin on the extensive wine list). On Wednesday August 3rd, the menu will feature Hog Island oysters and farmers’ market treats (chef Jeremy Goldfarb is a regular at the market). On August 4th, toast the good life with cake and bubbly: Champagne, crémant, cava, prosecco, and local sparking wine will be on hand. On the scene on August 5th and 6th will be music and the highly anticipated Farm to Barrel blackberry ale from SF’s Almanac Beer Company, in addition to beer from local, small-batch producers like Magnolia, Bear Republic, and Eel River. Then on Sunday August 7th, 123 Bolinas is hosting a fundraiser for Edible Schoolyard.

Cheers to their first year, and to many more to come for this eco-friendly and community-minded spot. Open Tue-Thurs 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am, Sun 4pm-9pm. 123 Bolinas Rd. at Sherman, Fairfax, 415-488-5123.

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Aug 2, 2011

More Details on Rock Bar, Coming to Bernal Heights

I heard back from Front Porch co-owner Kevin Cline about their plans for the International Club in Bernal Heights, which I mentioned in a past column (via Grub Street) will be renamed ~ROCK BAR~.

Kevin Cline and Josey White will begin to run the International Club starting October 1st, when they will close for a couple of weeks to redecorate and plan to be open by October 15th (if not a little sooner). While you’re waiting for your table at The Front Porch, you’ll be able to play some pool, and in case you’re totally hangry, there will be a small bar menu available with treats from the Porch’s chef, Mark Goodger. Think boiled peanuts, Cajun hot wings, spicy popcorn, and corn dogs; the full menu will be available via delivery from the Porch, too.

As for the name, it’s because there are thousands of rocks pasted to the outside wall by someone 60 years ago. So the rocks will stay! The plot thickens: both Cline’s and White’s families come from mining backgrounds, so they plan to pay some respects to their shared history in the décor. Cline mentions in an email to me: “Drinks will be old timey/classic San Francisco, paying homage to the era when the area was known as the Bernal Cut, to shots and beers celebrating its current identity as ‘la lengua.’ My ploy to make the neighborhood’s moniker ‘southern Mission’ still has yet to pan out.” 80 29th St. at Tiffany.

And since we’re in the neighborhood, here are a few details about ~THE FRONT PORCH~: sadly Friday brunch is no more, but it will still be open both Saturday and Sunday mornings for brunch. And in the exciting department: the Porch is in the process of acquiring a liquor license as well! Good for them—the space is all about adult beverages.

The Front Porch - 65A 29th St. San Francisco - 415-695-7800

John Walker & Co. Officially Closed

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Exterior of John Walker & Co.

Back in June, Grub Street and Eater filed some reports on the temporary closure of downtown’s ~JOHN WALKER & CO.~ due to a liquor license suspension. Everyone seemed to hope for a reopening, but a tablehopper reader tip points to permanent closure. From John Walker’s website: “1933-2011. We are grateful to all of our customers, employees, vendors and friends who have supported us over the years.” Bummer. That place had some deep history. 175 Sutter St. at Kearny.

Your Cocktail Bookends for the Week

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Jim Kearns; photo by Atisha Paulson.

Get your liver warmed up for SF Chefs at these two guest bartending gigs: New York bartender Jim Kearns from Brooklyn’s Prime Meats will guest-tend at ~BERETTA~ tonight (August 2nd) and ~DELAROSA~ on Wednesday August 3rd. He’ll be making three cocktails: Pavo Salvaje (Spanish for wild turkey) with rye, jalapeño-infused tequila, mole bitters, sugar; Strawberry Huckster with gin, lime, Campari, elderflower, strawberries, cilantro; and American Highball with amaro, bourbon, soda, orange. 5:30pm-close.

And on Sunday August 7th, Victoria D’Amato (Cent’Anni Cocktails) will be hosting an SF Chefs after-party at ~BELDEN TAVERNA~ with Combier Triple Sec Liqueur. Three of Victoria’s Combier concoctions will be available: Beet Me to the Punch, Alley Cat Cobbler, and Mon Cheries Manhattan. The outdoor patio will be open, with karaoke upstairs. Uh huh. 8pm-1am. 52 Belden Pl. at Bush.

Beretta - 1199 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-695-1199

Café Rouge Hosts 10th Annual Think Pink, All-Rosé Dinner

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Make pink your drink with ~CAFÉ ROUGE~ on Thursday August 11th for the restaurant’s 10th Annual Think Pink all-rosé dinner. Starting at 5:30pm, the once-yearly event will feature a selection of 10 rosés from Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, each available by the glass for pairing with an à la carte menu of special summer dishes.

Expect quite a few meat-focused specials, items suitable for pescatarians, and a smattering of vegetarian starters as well. The menu includes oysters on the half shell; roasted beef marrow ($7); grilled Monterey Bay sardines stuffed with gypsy peppers, garlic, and onions ($10); confit tuna and heirloom tomatoes with bagna cauda ($12); and socca—chickpea pancakes with Niçoise olive tapenade ($9). Specials include classic bouillabaisse ($25); Tres Sabores sautéed and braised guinea hen with wheat berries, French plums, and escarole ($23), grilled McCormack Ranch goat with zucchini, eggplant, and onion tarte Tatin ($24); Llano Seco pork leg and sage sausage with fresh shell beans and zante grapes ($22); and dry-aged Piedmontese rib-eye steak with marrow butter and French fries ($34).

If you’re thinking pink after reading this, you might wanna make a reso: 510-525-1440. 1782 Fourth St. at Delaware, Berkeley.

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Aug 2, 2011

Fire Up Your Sweet Tooth for the 11th Annual Dessert First Event

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Dessert photos from Project Open Hand’s Facebook.

Event Info

Sunday Aug 14, 2011
5pm–8pm, VIP 4pm–5pm
$75; VIP $100 before August 5th, $125 after
Tickets/info
InterContinental San Francisco
888 Howard St. at 5th St., San Francisco

Replaced your toothbrush lately? You’ll wanna do that (hey, you should anyway, says the ADA) to prep your sweet tooth for the cupcakes, donuts, ice cream, and other sweet morsels you’ll be enjoying at the ~11TH ANNUAL DESSERT FIRST~ fundraiser event benefitting Project Open Hand on Sunday August 14th at the InterContinental San Francisco.

These talented Bay Area pastry chefs will be serving amazing desserts all evening: Patti Dellamonica-Bauler, One Market; Devin Alper, American Cupcake; Elizabeth Falkner, Citizen Cake and Orson; Sara Spearin, Dynamo Donut and Coffee; Terri Wu, Farallon; Francis Ang, Fifth Floor; Robert Hac, FIVE Restaurant and Bar; Jessica Miller, Grand Café; Jake Godby, Humphry Slocombe; Daniel Corey, InterContinental San Francisco; Pascal Rigo, La Boulange; Janine Fong, Meritage at the Claremont; Ethan Howard, Murray Circle; Suzanne LaFleur, Perbacco; Michelle Polzine, Range; and Tim Nugent, Scala’s Bistro. And so that it’s not all sweet, hors d’oeuvres, wine, port, and signature cocktails will also be served.

The event runs from 5pm-8pm, and will include silent and live auctions, plus a VIP reception from 4pm-5pm. Tickets are $75 online. VIP Tickets are $125 (or $100 online before August 5th). 100% of proceeds go to Project Open Hand, which provides “meals with love” to people living with serious illnesses and to seniors in San Francisco and Alameda County. Very sweet, indeed. 888 Howard St. at 5th St., San Francisco.

Oh, and did you get a chance to see this sassy teaser video for the event? Funny sh*t.

Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast 2011 Returns in October

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Ladies lining up for an autograph from Ty-Flo at SAVOR 2010. Photo by Dennis Eamon from Facebook.

Event Info

Thursday Sep 29, 2011 – Sunday Oct 2, 2011
Info

Whoa, the slew of events going on during ~SUNSET SAVOR THE CENTRAL COAST 2011~ is making for quite the destination-worthy, four-day extravaganza from September 29th-October 2nd. While the main event will be at the Santa Margarita Ranch October 1st-2nd, a host of other activities are also taking place at Central Coast locales like Hearst Castle, Pismo Beach Pier, and San Luis Obispo. And we wanna bring your attention to one very special event, the “LA vs. SF: Food Town Smackdown,” where yours truly, the tablehopper, will be one of the judges in a cocktail showdown between L.A. and SF.

On Sunday October 2nd from 4pm-4:45pm at the SAVOR main event at Santa Margarita Ranch, top bartenders from L.A. and SF are meeting in the middle of the state for a Food Town Smackdown, cocktail edition. It’s NorCal vs. SoCal, and the panel of judges will include Sunset food editor, Margo True; LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold, and your own tablehopper. Get tickets if you want to find out who’s gonna take home the championship title, and all the bragging rights.

So, about those other events. Kicking off SAVOR will be the VIP reception and opening night soirée on Thursday September 29th at the historic Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Journey up the “enchanted hill” for the ocean views, award-winning local wines, and tapas beside the Roman-style Neptune Pool while celebrating the ongoing restoration of the Morning Room’s 16th-century Spanish Mudéjar coffered ceiling—one of castle’s most beautiful artifacts. On Friday September 30th, travel down the coast to the Pismo Beach Pier for the Sunset Western Wine Awards Gala, where you’ll join wine writers, sommeliers, and award-winning winemakers for a festive, locally sourced dinner that will be served alongside the award-winning wines. Also on Friday are Adventure Tours, which are already selling out—might wanna check those out on the schedule of events.

It’ll be hard to choose between two special events the evening of Saturday October 1st. In San Luis Obispo, SAVOR is presenting the Mission Plaza Winemaker Dinner, an alfresco farm-to-table dinner from SLO’s finest chefs, accompanied by live music and by wines carefully selected by SLO vintners. SAVOR is also presenting the Paso Glow culinary experience in Paso Robles’ City Park Saturday night with special guest celebrity chef Cat Cora, and local chef Jeffrey Scott (formerly Playboy Mansion chef de cuisine—yup, he’s probably got stories for days of serving breakfasts in bed … or the hot tub). The five-course dinner will showcase the bounty of local farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, and winemakers. There’s a chance to win a very generous prize package to this dinner, click here for more details on how to enter.

And now, on to the main event from October 1st-2nd at the the Santa Margarita Ranch, which will be packed with activities for two days straight. The Winemaker Central Seminar Stage will be dedicated to, what else, wine seminars about Paso Robles blends, cool-climate Syrahs, Central Coast pinot noirs, and more. The Chef Central Seminar Stage will have food-centric seminars like Sustainable Seafood with Cindy Pawlcyn, Cat Cora’s Classics with a Twist, beer and food pairing with Margo True, and the above-mentioned LA vs. SF: Food Town Smackdown with Marcia-rhymes-with-Garcia. Events on those two stages will cost a bit extra to attend, but included with a main event ticket are all the fab demos on the From Farmers Market to Meal Demonstration Stage and the Sunset Kitchen Garden Demonstration Stage. See the full schedule here.

There aren’t enough pixels here to do justice to all the SAVOR events, so click over to their website for more info and to get tickets. Tickets are also available at Farm Supply locations, or call 800-768-6653. Let’s eat, drink, and be merry on the Central Coast!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Aug 2, 2011

What's a Hotter Dish Than Zuni's Roasted Chicken?

Yeah, that would be ~Jake Gyllenhaal~, who was spotted dining at Zuni Café on Friday night with an unidentified female. Thanks to editor Brock Keeling of SFist, who sent me the sighting (the tip was sent to him by two friends dining at Zuni, and confirmed by the waitstaff. Sadly, neither friend would ask the waitstaff what Jake was eating.).

Slow Food (and Steak) for a Speed Skater

Short track speed skater ~Apolo Ohno~, the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time, has been spotted around town the past couple nights. On Sunday night, a tablehopper reader saw him go into Foreign Cinema “after exiting a big black Hummer!” He walked in with friends, and they dined on the sea bass and fried chicken.

And according to a tweet, he was spotted at 5A5 Steak Lounge last night as well.

Cast of Downton Abbey Has a Late-Night Feast at Marlowe

Last night, Denise Hale escorted cast members of hit British television series Downton Abbey to Marlowe for a late-night meal. The good-looking guests included Dan Stevens (plays Matthew Crawley), Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crawley), and Elizabeth McGovern (Countess Cora). (They are reportedly touring the United States for special screenings—the second part of the series won’t air in the U.S. until January 8th, 2012.) The party of 12 dined on deviled eggs, polenta, the famed burger (of course), and plenty of white Burgundy and Champagne was flowing until late into the night (try 3am!).

Gatecrasher

According to a tweet, ~Bill Gates~ had dinner at Bourbon Steak (for a second time).

A Comedian Walks Into a Restaurant....

A tablehopper reader reports comedian ~Dave Foley~ (of The Kids in the Hall and NewsRadio) was at Scala’s Bistro last week. He had the sea bass, and shared two dozen oysters with his dining companions.

From the Bada Bing! to Boulevard

A couple sightings at Boulevard: ~Steve Schirripa~, who played Tony’s brother-in-law (Bobby ‘Bacala’ Baccalieri) on The Sopranos came in, and comedian ~Richard Lewis~ of Curb Your Enthusiasm walked in for lunch yesterday (without a reservation, good for him).

Not a Tool

On Sunday night at Flour + Water, a tablehopper reader spotted ~Maynard James Keenan~ of Tool and A Perfect Circle (which performed at the Greek on Saturday July 30th).

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