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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: preparing for liftoff.

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Kika’s Treats’ Brazilian cheese bread at the SF Street Food Festival. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Um, whoa. I can’t believe I am going to be on a plane to Istanbul in less than a week. Commence freakout. I definitely have my work cut out for me the next six days, so take it easy on me, okay?

I think I am still recovering from the third La Cocina San Francisco Street Food Festival. Dude. That was some of the best eating I’ve done all year. What an amazing pile-up of people, food, drinks, and stories. I have learned my lessons from the past few years: ride your bike, go with people with hearty appetites who are cool with sharing and aren’t germ-phobes and are fun to hang out in line with, and pack a sun hat and a sweater. And for crissakes, come hungry. People, next year, please leave the dogs at home, jeesh. (Saw too many freaked out pooches.) I just posted my photo album from the event here (I’m adding captions this very second); and hey, did you know there’s a photo contest? Kudos to everyone who put so much effort into this amazing and one-of-a-kind event.

I also talked about the Street Food Fest on Sunday with Ken and Anthony on their weekly Edible Escapes show on KSFO. Thanks for having me back, guys. We chatted about a variety of topics (including sandwiches!)—have a listen here.

Okay, in the midst of all the crazy over-indulgence that swept through the city this past weekend, I was happy to see an email in my inbox from the kind folks at Troya in the Inner Richmond. Here’s what they had to say: “After watching all the news coverage and reading articles about the situation in Somalia, we felt we have to do something to help these kids. We are planning to donate 10% of our sales to Helping Hands Relief Foundation on August 29th, 30th, 31st, Sep 1st, and 2nd (Monday through Friday).” Thank you for stepping up, Troya. Hope to see many more places in the city rally to help.

Enjoy the sun, lovelies.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Aug 23, 2011

Tyler Florence Has a Project Percolating at the Hotel Rex

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The Library Bar on Bastille Day; photo from Facebook.

A tablehopper tipster let me know Tyler Florence reportedly has a project brewing at the ~HOTEL REX~, a Joie de Vivre Hospitality hotel in Union Square known for its comfy Library Bar and bohemian style. I checked in with Tyler, who said he wasn’t ready to release any details yet, but that they are in the final planning phase and it’s going to be “very cool.” The Library Bar currently has a menu of salads, sandwiches, and more, and there’s the currently closed Café Andrée space in the front of the hotel, so we will all have to just stand by and see what surprise TyFlo has up his chef’s coat sleeve for the place. 562 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-433-4434.

Beachside Opens This Thursday in the Outer Sunset

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Photo for Ocean Beach Bulletin by Kristine Mendoza.

The Ocean Beach Bulletin has an extensive writeup about ~BEACHSIDE COFFEE BAR AND KITCHEN~, a new restaurant opening Thursday August 25th in the Outer Sunset. Eater originally revealed the project is from the team behind Java Beach, Pat and Buffy Maguire. There will be espresso off a gleaming La Marzocco machine and a house-built drip station, featuring a niche coffee selection that will rotate. They’re also doing a special cold press iced coffee: coarsely ground coffee that is steeped for 24 hours in cold water and then strained, which is double the concentrate, and it never touches heat! I gotta try it.

The owners sent me a menu, letting me know all meat, produce, and products are local, sustainable, and/or organic. There’s a fried egg sandwich, bacon waffles, and more for breakfast (surfers will be stoked); and for lunch, Buffy is making his grandfather’s meatballs in a sandwich, plus there’s a fried chicken sandwich, pulled pork sliders with frizzled onions, and the vegans can tuck into a special banh mi (if you don’t want a sandwich, you can turn any of these items into a salad instead). There will also be homemade cookies, a cold press coffee snow cone with salted caramel, cotton candy, and Straus soft-serve ice cream. There will be around 25 seats, plus some outdoor seating. Hours to start will be 7am-7pm (or later). And please note, there is no Wi-Fi, so leave the laptop at home. 4300 Judah St. at 48th Ave., 415-682-4961.

Dumplings & Buns Opening Monday August 29th

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Bao from a Dumplings & Buns test lunch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Opening in the Upper Fillmore this coming Monday August 29th is ~DUMPLINGS & BUNS~ from owner May Lee Iorfido. On the menu: savory pork or chicken bao, a variety of dumplings (pork, chicken, pea shoot, or shrimp), wonton soup, and a soba noodle salad with baked tofu and cabbage (it’s a tasty one). There are also sweet custard buns and “boozer buns” with flavors like Chocolate Kahlua, Lemon Cointreau, and May’s Favorite Amaretto. Check out the entire menu (with pricing) here. You’ll be able to dine in (there’s limited seating) or take out (you can order ahead online). There’s also a grocery component, stocked with sauces, mustards, kimchee, and jams. Hours will be 11am-8pm daily. 2411 California St. at Fillmore, 415-292-6209.

Want to check it out before it opens? Dumplings & Buns will hold 50 slots at the pre-opening party/test run this coming Saturday August 27th for the first 50 tablehopper friends. That’s right—you can go and get a combo plate of three different dumplings and a BBQ pork bao for free, plus you can try sweet custard buns (very vanilla, deep chocolate, or ginger orange) for only $1 each (which is half price). All you need to do is send an email here, give your full name, and indicate what time you want to come between 11am-4pm. Just be sure to put “tablehopper sent me” in the subject line! Have fun, dumpling fanatics!

The Return of Charles Chocolates!

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Chuck Siegel; photo from Facebook.

Yup, it’s true: you’ll be able to get your favorite peanut butterflies and chocolate-covered nuts again, and hopefully soon! After following up on a tip (thanks readers!), I got in touch with ~CHARLES CHOCOLATES~ founder Chuck Siegel, who told me he was able to buy his business back! The company suddenly closed when a former investor foreclosed and forced the company into bankruptcy—but a couple months later, the investor’s attorney said, “Make us an offer,” and Siegel was able to buy the assets back. Unfortunately he lost his lease on his kitchen, so now he’s currently searching for a space big enough that is suitable for food production, and ideally in San Francisco (although he is also scouting in the 510). A lot of his original crew would like to return and work for him, so here’s hoping he finds a space before the holidays get any closer (if anyone has any leads, he’d love to know). You can follow Charles Chocolates on Twitter for updates.

La Fusion Opens in the Financial District This Wednesday

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Interior photo from La Fusion.

After some initial sightings by Eater and Grub Street, ~LA FUSION~, a Nuevo Latino establishment, is opening this Wednesday August 24th in the Financial District. It’s opening in the former Krivaar Cafe space, which is a tiny one.

Chef-owner Javier Madero is reportedly a native of Mexico City but has cooked all over the world. The menu (take a look at it here) includes a variety of small plates served family style, including a number of ceviches, like a Spanish mackerel cebiche ($11) with charred skin, citrus wedges, lime juice, and huacatay mint sauce. A highlight is the rotisserie chicken, available by the quarter, half, or whole, and served with warm bread salad, one side dish, and aioli sauce ($8-$19.95). There are also empanadas ($5.50-$8), and small hot plates like beef ribs ($16) braised in dark beer, cilantro, huacatay, served with carrots and corn purée. Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 10:30am-3pm, happy hour Wed-Fri 3pm-6pm, and dinner Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm. And for you “eat at your desk” types, take-out is available. 475 Pine St. at Kearny, 415-781-0894.

Both Chile Pies and Five Star Truffles Now Open in the Castro

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Chicken potpie with green chile sauce; Yelp photo from Keilin H.

A while ago I reported a second location of ~CHILE PIES (& ICE CREAM)~ was opening in the Castro in the former No Name sushi space, and Eater notes the space is now open for business. A pie milkshake, you know you want it. There are also sweet and savory pies, like the green chile chicken pot pie, vegetable pot pie, and the new carne asada red chile pot pie. Grab a seat at the small-ish counter and dig in. Hours are 11am-11pm. 314 Church at 15th St.

Remember ~FIVE STAR TRUFFLES~ that was on Divisadero and then sadly got the boot? Well, they recently re-opened in the Castro, so you can swing by for your espresso and truffle needs. There are over 25 handmade chocolate truffle flavors to choose from, plus vegan creations, and hot chocolate and coffee drinks. Open Mon-Sat 8:30am-8:30pm, Sun 11:30am-7:30pm. 4251-A 18th St. at Diamond, 415-552-5128.

Pastry Watch: Another Pro to Look for

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Kugelhopf photo by Kristen Baggerly for SFoodie.

For those of you who checked out pastry chef Belinda Leong’s baked goods pop-up at Flour + Water a couple weeks ago, you’ll be happy to know you can now find her goods at Four Barrel Coffee and Bar Agricole. SFoodie reports, “she will make European-style pastries three days a week while maintaining her position as pastry chef at Manresa. The two locations will initially sell her kouign amann (layered French pastry), kugelhopf (small Alsatian cake), sable chocolate (double chocolate cookie), and a seasonal coffee cake.” She will reportedly leave Manresa in October in order to ramp up into full bakery production mode, and will widen her distribution to other outlets. The piece also mentions she is looking for a San Francisco location to open b. Patisserie, her retail shop. Is 2011 the year of pastry? I think so. Yay.

New Executive Chef at the Grand Café

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Photo courtesy of Grand Café.

There’s a new executive chef at the ~GRAND CAFÉ~, Alicia Jenish, who was the opening chef at Revival Bar + Kitchen in Berkeley. She has also worked with Charles Phan as opening chef of the Academy Café, and spent time in the kitchen at his OTD Westfield, along with working at LarkCreekSteak and four years at Le Petit Robert, where she worked her way up to chef de cuisine. Alicia is actually going to be spending her first few weeks traveling, and will be introducing her debut modern French brasserie menu in early November.

Grand Café - 501 Geary St. San Francisco - 415-292-0101

It's Time for the Random New Project Roundup!

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Hot sauce photo by Luis Chong for SFoodie.

A few little tidbits around town: after some mentions in Inside Scoop and Eater, it appears ~LITE BITE~ has opened in Cow Hollow (across from Roam Artisan Burgers). The concept: healthy, grab-and-go options, from salads to sandwiches. Open 10:30am-7pm. 1796 Union St. at Octavia, 415-931-5483.

Bernalwood notes the ~PALACE STEAK HOUSE~ has reopened (with new owners), and the menu of steaks, burgers, and sandwiches seems to be mostly the same as before, and it’s all under $15. Lunch and late-night hours are reportedly in the works. 3047 Mission St. at 26th St., 415-647-2011.

SFoodie mentioned the opening of ~HOT SAUCE AND PANKO~ in the Richmond. Not only is there a retail shop with a selection of hot sauces (rawr), but there are also some hot dishes, like wings and waffles. Quirky alert! 1545 Clement St. at 17th Ave.

No idea about the timing on this one, but ~THAI BISTRO AND LOUNGE~ appears to be the name of the business moving into the former California Pizza Kitchen space on Van Ness. The project is a ways off: the space is gutted but nothing really Thai nor bistro nor lounge is apparent yet. 524 Van Ness Ave. at McAllister.

Tipster Jason B. let me know about the ~TASTE~ tea room that opened in Hayes Valley. It’s actually been open for a couple months, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. Yelp reports mention friendly owners, nice atmosphere, and Gong Fu Cha (Chinese tea ceremony). 535 Octavia St. at Grove, 415-552-5668.

Curry Up Now Is Launching a Dosa Truck!

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Curry Up Now truck; photo © Michelle Edmunds.

The ~CURRY UP NOW~ folks just can’t seem to stop coming up with ideas. Up next from the crew is a dosa truck which will offer dosas ($8-$9) with the same fillings as their kathi rolls. It will all come wrapped up like their kathi rolls (which uses paratha) with the sambar (lentils) and chutney inside, along with potato, and you will have the option to add an egg inside (because you’re crazy like that). Also on the menu: deconstructed idli (steamed rice cakes) and vada ($6-$6.50)—and tacos made with uttapam! They will be trying out the new dishes in Redwood City and Sunnyvale this week, and hope to launch the truck by the second week of September. It’ll also have a name by then as well—they’re still mulling over a few options. And I’m confident it’s sure to be creative.

And Now, Your Weekly Pop-Up Report

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The fabulous Afro Urbanites event flyer.

This Saturday August 27th, swing by ~COFFEE BAR~ for a modern, regional Ethiopian dinner by the Afro Urbanites (some of you may be familiar with these two Ethiopian/Somali women through their Selam pop-up events at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley). There will be two seatings (6:30pm and 8:15pm) for the three-course meal (with a vegetarian option), and an Ethiopian coffee roasted onsite. $35. Reserve here.

Fan’s of Preeti Mistry’s SoMa pop-up ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ will be sorry to learn Friday is her last day in the current spot. She’s looking for a permanent location where she can do both lunch and dinner, and hopefully serve beer and wine. Stand by for updates. 320 11th St. at Folsom.

I received a note from Joanna Karlinsky of Meetinghouse biscuit fame about her new Sunday brunch at ~THE CORNER~ called Sweet Jo’s Chili & Biscuits while she looks for a more permanent location. On the menu: Meetinghouse biscuits with toppings such as pork sausage gravy, Meyer lemon curd, and collard greens and ham hock stew. There will also be an array of her delicious chilis to eat on premise or to take to go. Sun 10:30am-2:30pm.

She is also going to be serving Thursday and Friday supper at ~OASIS CAFE~, starting at 6pm. 901 Divisadero St. at McAllister.

Cute Artisan Food Shop Opens in North Beach: Little Vine

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Little Vine owners Jay Esopenko and Melissa Gugni; photo by Aaron Kohr.

I love it when my readers start one of their own businesses! Couple Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko just opened their artisan food shop, ~LITTLE VINE~ in North Beach (today is their grand opening). They were inspired by their travels in Europe, and their shop will offer an extensive selection of cheeses, salumi, organic beef from Marin Sun Farms, pasture-raised poultry, Soul Food Farm eggs, and seasonal produce. The floor-to-ceiling shelves are filled with items from the couple’s favorite small producers, and lucky you, you can pick up croissants, kouign amann, tarts, cookies, muffins, and scones from Starter Bakery. There will also be SPOT bagels, Full Belly Farms produce, and Three Twins Ice Cream, plus organic, fair-trade, individual pour-over coffee from San Francisco’s Bicycle Coffee Company. I am getting fat just reading that list.

For those on the go, you can grab a pre-made sandwich—or for those with more time to kill, you can borrow one of Little Vine’s vintage picnic baskets for a picnic in nearby Washington Square Park. They are hoping to get a permit to sell wine soon, but for now, their excellent array of cheeses are sure to keep people happy. Open Tue-Fri 11am-7pm, Sat 10am-7pm, and Sun 11am-5pm. 1541 Grant Ave. at Union, 415-272-7567.

Closures: Jasmine Tea House and Cafe Corbas

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Jasmine Tea House photo by Yelp user L.Y.

I was sorry to read in Bernalwood that ~JASMINE TEA HOUSE~ has suddenly closed. Some vegetarians are gonna be bummed. 3253 Mission St. at 29th St.

And my favorite tipster Jason B. alerted me that after 22 years, ~CAFE CORBAS~ in Hayes Valley has closed. He said, “A sign on the window said goodbye.” 364 Hayes St. at Franklin St.

Two Piggy Dinners

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Little boar; photo from Flour + Water’s Facebook page.

This little piggy went to ~TRADER VIC’S~ in Emeryville for a Lahaina Luau on Friday August 26th, featuring Kalua roasted pig, passed appetizers (including pork belly and Maui pineapple kabobs), and a sit-down dinner. $39 per person (not including tax and gratuity), and $5 Mai Tais. Cocktails and appetizer reception at 6:30pm, dinner served at 7:30pm. Reservations required. 9 Anchor Dr. at Powell, Emeryville, 510-653-3400.

This little piggy went to ~FLOUR + WATER~ on Friday September 2nd, for a wild boar dinner by executive chef Thomas McNaughton in the Dough Room. The five-course menu will feature paired wines. Two seatings: 6pm and 9:15pm. $200 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Tickets here, or contact Kara Bratcher at 415-826-7000.

Flour + Water - 2401 Harrison St. San Francisco - 415-826-7000

510 Haps: Vesta's Mobile Truck, Uncle Dougie's #2, and Local Café

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Photo of Ceres from the Vesta Facebook page; photo by Mark Becker.

I received an invite to check out the new mobile truck from ~VESTA~, which the owners are describing as a “mobile hearth on wheels.” They named it Ceres, and you’re going to want to follow it on Twitter and Facebook to see where you can score one of their delicious homemade flatbread sandwiches (made with organic ingredients). There’s also a spit rotisserie. The official launch date is Thursday August 25th.

After a tip-off on Chowhound, it appears ~UNCLE DOUGIE’S~ in Oakland has opened a second location that is conveniently near UC Berkeley’s campus. Yelp reviews mention there are four kinds of heroes: chicken parm, eggplant parm, meatloaf, and sausage and peppers. Hours are Sun-Wed 11am-8pm and Thu-Sat 11am-3am (sweet). 2328 Bowditch Way at Bancroft, 510-705-1686.

Open today on Piedmont Avenue is ~LOCAL CAFÉ~, next to Adesso. The Piedmont Patch recently posted a detailed article about this project from first-time owner Megan Burke and David Crombie (the original general manager at Mulberry’s Market). The chef is Colin Etezadi (previously at Boot and Shoe Service), who will be serving breakfast and lunch (Inside Scoop just posted a PDF of the menu here). Open Tue-Sun 7am-3pm; dinner Thu-Sat will be added later. 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland, 510-922-8249.

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This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 23, 2011

(Sponsored): Fifth Annual WhiskyFest on October 7th

America’s largest whisky celebration, Malt Advocate’s WhiskyFest is back on Friday October 7th from 6:30pm-9:30pm at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Featuring more than 250 of the world’s finest, rarest, and most expensive single malt and blended Scotch, Irish, Bourbon, American, Japanese, Swedish, Canadian, and other whiskies from around the world to sample in one Grand Ballroom. Meet the distillers and blenders, attend educational seminars (11 to choose from), all while enjoying an expansive gourmet buffet.

Regular admission tickets are $135; VIP tickets are $185 (with early admission). This event sells out, so buy your tickets today.

For more information, visit whiskyfest.com.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Aug 23, 2011

Guess Who Is a Judge for the LA vs. SF: Food Town Smackdown--Cocktail Edition?

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Photo of Erik Adkins (while at Flora) courtesy of Savoy Stomp.

I’ll be heading down to San Luis Obispo for Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast the weekend of October 1st—and it’s not just to attend the oyster seminar and tasting on Sunday October 2nd (which I’m looking forward to). I was invited to be a judge for the LA vs. SF: Food Town Smackdown—Cocktail Edition on Sunday October 2nd, which will have San Francisco’s badass Erik Adkins (The Slanted Door) and Los Angeles’ Damian Windsor (The Roger Room) competing to declare which city is the cocktail capital of California. Uh, duh. Joining me in my judging duties will be Sunset food editor Margo True, LA Weekly’s Jonathan Gold, and Charlotte Voisey, company mixologist for William Grant & Sons.

Read more details about the four-day event here. Interested in coming? You can get 10% off your tickets at check out if you use code SAVORHOPPER. See you there!

A Couple Boozy/Wino Events This Week

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Tonight, the fine folks at ~15 ROMOLO~, ~COMSTOCK SALOON~, and ~TXOKO~ are hosting their first Barbary Coast Crawl, featuring Pisco Punch three different ways. Swing by after 9pm. Follow @BarbaryCstCrawl on Twitter for future updates.

And on Sunday August 28th, ~MASA’S~ is hosting a special Slow Food winemaker dinner honoring Charlie and Martha Barra and their sustainable wines from Mendocino. Four courses, $100. More details here.

Mission Booze News

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The Bee’s Knees at Prospect. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Inside Scoop reveals Brooke Arthur is leaving Prospect and will be the bar manager for Charles Phan’s upcoming ~WO HING GENERAL STORE~ on Valencia. (Yup, very close to her previous place of employment, Range.) She will reportedly be working closely with Erik Adkins (The Slanted Door, Heaven’s Dog). Brooke will be behind the stick at Prospect for the first couple weeks of September and will then depart.

As I was sitting at the counter at ~THE SUMMIT~ on Sunday for chef Eddie Lau’s Dux Series 2 dinner, I noted there was a beer tap behind the counter! Hallelujah! You can now order a variety of wines and beer while banging away on your MacBook Pro.

The Summit - 780 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-861-5330

Next Monday: An Inaugural Cocktail Event Featuring New Gins from St. George Spirits

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Cocktails from Jupiter Olympus website.

Jupiter Olympus, a cocktail consulting company, is launching Jupiter Olympus Presents, a monthly series of events featuring new and experimental cocktails. The inaugural event will be at the ~ACME BAR & CO.~ on Monday August 29th. They will be serving six specialty cocktails featuring the new, unreleased gins from St. George Spirits of Alameda, Templeton Rye, Ilegal Mezcal, and Oro Pisco. Look for custom ingredients, hand-carved ice, and creative techniques (highlights will include carrot soda, housemade Midori, and vaporized tonic). No cover. Please RSVP. 9pm-2am. 2115 San Pablo Ave. at Addison, Berkeley.

Monday Aug 29, 2011
9pm–2am
No cover
more info

Make Westing, a Bocce/Cocktail Bar Opening in Oakland's Uptown

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Flickr photo of a soft opening party by ptorno/Pam Torno.

A while ago, liquor license activity mentioned a bar called Up Dog opening in Oakland, and then Diablo Dish figured out it was related to some folks behind the Weather Up bar in Brooklyn. After some serious online stalking, I was able to get in touch with the owners, who shared more details about their new project, which is called ~MAKE WESTING~ (Updog is the LLC) and opens on Monday August 22nd on Telegraph Avenue across from the Fox Theater.

Owners (and Bay Area natives) Christopher Foott and Glenn Kaplan are opening their cocktail bar with the help of some talented people from New York (mostly with part-owner Matthew Maddy of Brooklyn restaurant No. 7 and the bar Weather Up); Caroline Pagel (who has been running Sea Salt in North Berkeley for years) is also helping with the project. There’s a patio, a couple indoor bocce courts, a house cocktail menu, and eight beers on tap (including local Linden Street Common Lager). There are also a couple of tasty-sounding sub sandwiches on the menu, like a roast beef sandwich with pickled butter greens and five-spice mayo, and a broccoli sandwich with Salvatore ricotta and lychee muchim (gold star if you can tell me what that is), plus Walkers Crisps (they’re a Brit thang), and some other snacky items. Be sure to check out the slick photoshoot from UrbanDaddy here (designed by Matt Maddy). As for the name, it comes from a Jack London story. Hours will be 4pm-1:45am to start. 1741 Telegraph Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-251-1400.

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This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 23, 2011

(Sponsored): San Francisco Cocktail Week Blasts Off September 19th

Giddy up! The fifth annual San Francisco Cocktail Week is coming on September 19th-25th, 2011, and will be filled with cocktail parties, spirit seminars, neighborhood cocktail crawls, cocktail dinners, festive galas, and more.

A few highlights include the “Shaker & Flask” party showcasing the science and molecular mixology of cocktails; the “East Bay Showdown” in Oakland with some of the East Bay’s best bartenders; a “Best of the West” Cocktail night with 10 guest bartenders from San Diego to Vancouver; a “Barbary Coast Bazaar” celebrating all things bizarre and delicious in a fantastical night of cocktails from San Francisco’s best bars with appetizers and carnival curiosities; and “The Legends Awards” celebrating the true cocktail innovators, influencers, mentors, and historians in the industry.

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Aug 23, 2011

The Eat Real Festival Returns to Oakland September 23rd-25th

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IZ IT food truck will be serving surf scampi, organic tofu katsu musubi, and fried chicken; photo from Eat Real Festival’s Facebook.

Event Info

Friday Sep 23, 2011 – Sunday Sep 25, 2011
Fri 1pm–8pm, Sat 11am–8pm, Sun 11am–7pm
Free admission
Info
Jack London Square, Oakland

Do ya get excited when you hear stuff like food crafts, DIY, street food, locally sourced, and urban homesteading? And of course our fave four-letter word: free? Then you should be excited about the return of the ~EAT REAL FESTIVAL~ to Jack London Square in Oakland the weekend of September 23rd-25th ‘cause it’s all about small-scale artisan food producers, local and sustainable eats, do-it-yourself food projects, and fun for all ages. It’s a wallet-friendly event: admission is free, and all food is priced from $1-$5.

Not only are the eats affordable, but there’s a ton of variety too. Keep clicking “next” over on the Eat Real vendors page to see who all is gonna be serving up tasty eats using at least one or two organic, local, or sustainable ingredients—the list is much longer than it looks at first sight. Expect all the usual street food suspects (Chairman Bao, Hapa SF, Pizza Politana …), a number of brick-and-mortar joints from all over the Bay (Homeroom, Osteria Stellina, Sam’s Chowder House …), plus some unexpected dishes, like a “kimchilicious” Koreatown Wagyu dog by Belcampo Meat Co., French/Afro/Latin fusion pastries by Cynful Eats, and fried smelt and mushroom perogi by ForageSF. Get a drink to wash it all down from any of the 20 breweries, 15 vineyards, or 2 Bev Shacks (non-alcoholic refreshment) that’ll be onsite.

Then there’s the eats to take home. Grab your canvas bags and shop the Craft Marketplace for locally made crafts and handmade foods, including confections, honeys, jams, pickles, pasta, and pastries. And don’t fret about schlepping around your purchases all day—just drop off your bags at the complimentary bag check.

You won’t just be eating, you’ll be making too. Get hands-on and get schooled in the ways of DIY foods at workshops on sauerkraut, homemade bitters, butter, and more, like bread baking in the onsite community oven. DIY veterans can enter the open competitions for homemade bread, salsa, sweet spread, and pickles. And backyard farmers can meet their fellow enthusiasts to talk animal husbandry, or just go to meet some cute lil’ baby goats.

There will be no lack of entertainment throughout the weekend. Friday, Litquake will hold a food-centric Lit Fest on the Master Craft Stage at 6pm. There’ll be butchery demos/contests, food skills demos, urban farming installations (bees, chickens, goats), and beer and wine gardens to look at too. Plus bands and DJs will provide music, and the stage will also be graced by storytellers.

There’s bound to be something for everyone here between the eating, drinking, demos, contests, and entertainment, especially when there’s no entrance fee, though be aware that food and other purchases will be cash only. And don’t forget a hat and sunscreen! Fri 1pm-8pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm. 466 Water St. at Washington, Oakland.

Get Your Tickets for CUESA's Sunday Supper on October 2nd

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The warm glow of the Grand Hall. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Event Info

Sunday Oct 2, 2011
6pm–9:30pm
$200
Info/tickets
Grand Hall
San Francisco Ferry Building

As is the case every year, CUESA’s ninth annual ~SUNDAY SUPPER~ is gearing up to be yet another grand gala event. On October 2nd in the Ferry Building Grand Hall, an impressive list of leading local chefs are planning marvelous four-course, whole-beast menus for all you lucky guests, plus you’ll have a chance to chat with other leaders in the food world, like Michael Pollan and Alice Waters.

The event starts at 6pm with a wine, artisan cheese, and salumi reception, where you’ll be joined by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food Rules; Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse and founder of Edible Schoolyard; and Peggy Smith and Sue Conley, co-founders of Cowgirl Creamery. Then take a seat at communal tables, where six stellar chef teams will serve unique four-course, family-style meals, each featuring a whole-beast entrée carved tableside, whether four-legged, fish, or fowl. (Vegetarians and those with dietary restrictions can also be accommodated—just make an advanced request.) A guest sommelier will pair each table’s menu with wine and beer. And, there’ll be fabulous auction prizes too.

Here’s the list of participating chefs so far: Ryan Farr, 4505 Meats; Melissa Chou, Aziza; Brandon Jew, Bar Agricole; Craig Stoll and Lane Milburn, Delfina; Thomas McNaughton, Flour + Water; Melissa Perello, Frances; Nate Keller; Lauren Kiino; Scott Youkilis, Maverick; Dennis Lee, Namu; Laurence Jossel, nopa; Chanan Kamen, Osteria Coppa; Brett Cooper, Outerlands; Staffan Terje, Perbacco and Barbacco; Jared Rogers, Picco; Peter McNee, Poggio; Ravi Kapur, Prospect; Michael Tusk, Quince; Chucky Dugo, The Slanted Door; Mark Sullivan, Spruce; and William Werner, Tell Tale Preserve Co.

If you’ve never been (or even if you have been), this is the year to come together with fellow fans of the farmers’ market, chefs, farmers, and food and drink artisans to sup and support a sustainable food system. Tickets are $200 ($150 is tax deductible) and avail online, and proceeds will go towards CUESA, which operates the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Tickets are limited, so act quickly.

the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 23, 2011

(Sponsored): First Public Screening of Wine From Here: Natural Wine in California

The documentary film Wine From Here: Natural Wine in California will be shown to the public for the first time on Thursday August 25th at the Victoria Theatre in the Mission (2961 16th St. at Capp).

Wine From Here is about the budding natural wine movement in California. Through lively and in-depth interviews with natural wine producers in their own working environment, the vineyard and the winery, the film reveals the passion and the techniques that distinguish natural wine producers from other wine producers.

Ultimately, Wine From Here captures the values of a new generation of wine drinkers who care about authenticity and the environment. The film is the story of this generation’s favorite winemakers who are today pioneering a new trend in California’s wine industry.

Immediately following the screening, there will be a Q&A with the filmmakers and most of the winemakers from the film. And around 9pm, the natural wine frenzy continues at Heart, a fascinating wine bar just a few blocks away (1270 Valencia St. at 24th St.). You will be able to meet and talk to most of the winemakers in the film and have the opportunity to taste their wine! Really, can it get better?

Actually, yes, ‘cause tablehopper readers get a $5 discount off the $15 ticket price using code TABLEHOPPER! Buy tickets here to watch and taste the natural wine movement on August 25th. Another bonus: when you join the filmmakers and winemakers at Heart, your film ticket will get you a $5 tasting of natural wine!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Aug 23, 2011

Jane Fonda Works It Out at Betelnut

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The plate Jane Fonda signed for chef Ong.

The lovely ~Jane Fonda~ was back in town, visiting Betelnut in Cow Hollow, where she tried the dragon dumplings, firecracker shrimp, green beans, tapioca pudding, and mochi, and had a Belvedere martini up with an olive (atta girl). Chef Alex Ong said in a tweet: “Such a gracious lady. Still beautiful & witty.” She even autographed plates for chef (pictured) and a server. In a note to me, chef Ong said, “Very gracious, charming & absolutely lit up the room.”

She also paid a repeat visit to Chez Panisse (revealed in one of her own tweets, in which she said, “No trip to San Francisco is complete without a visit to Chez Panisse! mmmm.”).

The Divine Miss M

Lat week, the fabulous ~Bette Midler~ was reportedly spotted dining at Quince.

A Woman Under the Influence

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Park Tavern’s Anna Weinberg with the fabulous Gena Rowlands.

One of my favorite actresses, ~Gena Rowlands~ was at a wrap party for the film Olive at the soon-to-open Park Tavern on Sunday. Guests were served cocktails like the It’s a Wrap and green olive martinis (natch). One of the investors for Park Tavern, Chris Kelly, bankrolled the film (hence the smart location for the party).

A Special Lake on Nob Hill

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Ricki Lake at Twitter (photo from her Twitter feed).

A tipster writes: “Guess who stopped by for dinner at Venticello last Wednesday night looking very summery against our SF fog?” It was none other than the recently engaged ~Ricki Lake~, who came in with a party of six. She was reportedly “bubbly and gracious,” and her Twitter feed reports she was in town visiting Twitter, UStream, and Zynga.

Chapelle at Cupola

Comedian ~Dave Chapelle~, who was reportedly “looking particularly buffed up,” was at the new Cupola Pizzeria in the Westfield San Francisco Centre. He had a casual lunch of a margherita pizza and just about every appetizer from the menu with a group of about six adults and kids. He seemed to have a great time and even held up a slice of pizza and winked at the pizzaiolo. He was in town for a show at Yoshi’s in Oakland and made a surprise appearance onstage at Outside Lands a couple weekends ago.

Special Agent Foxy Mulder Got Caffeinated in SF

According to a tweet, ~David Duchovny~ was spotted on Saturday by the Blue Bottle Ferry Building staff. He was in town to race in San Francisco’s triathlon at Alcatraz (you can check out his race results here).

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