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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: a day late and a dollar short.

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The beautiful Bartolotta. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Did you miss me yesterday at 3pm? You didn’t think I was going to come back from Vegas alive, did you? Well, I did—and I’ll have a quick recap of my trip for you in Friday’s issue, because I ate some mighty tasty dishes, let me tell you! I had a fabulous 48 hours, and am excited to head back there soon—there’s a lot I need to check out.

So, there is also a whole lot happening seasonally right now: we have Dungeness crab any day now (we just need the fishermen to decide on a price), we have white truffles galore (check out all these special truffle dinners around town—we have added even more to the list), and tomorrow is the celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau!

And, of course, there’s the big one: Thanksgiving is next week! In today’s issue, you will find some of our picks of places serving Thanksgiving dinner around town, along with a few purveyor tips and tricks for those of you preparing Thanksgiving at home.

I will actually be on 7Live tomorrow (Thursday) to talk Thanksgiving and other holiday options—tune in at 3pm!

See you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Nov 16, 2011

Openings: Dobbs Ferry (Hayes Valley), Tupelo (North Beach), and Castagna (Marina)

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Bar at Dobbs Ferry. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Tupelo interior. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Tupelo interior. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Now open in Hayes Valley, ~DOBBS FERRY~ has opened its doors, serving Northeast comfort food with Cali influences (the name comes from a town in New York). Executive chef Mike Yakura (partnering with restaurateurs Danny Sterling, Scott Broccoli, and Todd Trippany) has put together a bistro-style menu that includes starters like prawns seasoned with Old Bay and served with cocktail sauce ($13), mussels and clams with garlic fries ($11), classic salads like a wedge or chopped salad ($6-$12), and potato chowder ($7); pastas include baked ziti ($16); and there are four pizzas, including an eggplant parm pie ($16) that I wanna try, like, now. Mains range from cioppino ($23) to veal marsala ($22/$32), and a house-ground burger ($14). Lunch includes some hearty sandwiches, like sausage and peppers. Evans Horn (Spruce, Ozumo) is heading up the bar, and there’s a bar menu available starting at 4pm. The restaurant is spacious, with 100 seats and two dining areas. The look (designed by Abueg Morris working with SRG Architects) is classic and clean, with wainscoting, booths, and wood floors.

And a charming little factoid: one of the owners (Danny Sterling) said 65 people from the namesake Dobbs Ferry who come out every year for a Giants game were at the restaurant on Friday night. Also funny: bartender Evans Horn originally didn’t want to put Danny’s drink (rum and Coke) on the menu, which explains why #14 on the list says: “Rum and Coke—regular or diet. Lime is not an option. You win Danny.” Dinner nightly Mon-Thu 5pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, and Sun 5pm-9:30pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3:45pm, and brunch starts this weekend (Sat-Sun 11am-3:30pm).

I was cruisin’ around North Beach last week, and noticed ~TUPELO~ had opened on Grant Avenue in the former Mojito (the grand opening is this Thursday). Grub Street previously reported the owners are Ted Mattson, Teague Kernan, and Tom Peters; the chef is Mark Danziger, who worked at AQUA under Michael Mina, Chow, and Fog City Diner. The Southern menu includes cocktail-friendly “soul food tapas” like crispy pickles and ham hock croquettes, po’ boy sandwiches, and six different grit dishes you can choose from, plus some salads and a burger with candied bacon and a cheddar frico on the patty (crunch crunch). Gotta love that the sausage on the sandwich is from Little City Market, and the bread from Italian French Baking Co., both in North Beach—way to keep it local. There is a plan for live music (license pending), plus watermelon sweet tea, and on the brunch menu (which is fully kicking in this weekend), there will be pork belly hash and a crayfish omelet. Kitchen open 5pm-1am, brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. 1337 Grant Ave. at Vallejo, 415-981-9177.

UrbanDaddy mentions ~CASTAGNA~ is opening any day now in the Marina. The restaurant is from Stephane and Jerome Meloni, previously behind Restaurant Cassis in Pacific Heights. In an interesting switch, Grub Street notes Castagna is starting with breakfast (8am-11am) and lunch (11am-5pm) to start, and dinner will launch in a month or so. As for the menu, Castagna’s Facebook page states they “will feature popular French and Italian dishes along with a variety of American favorites with a French twist.” 2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-440-4290.

Dobbs Ferry - 409 Gough St. San Francisco - 415-551-7700

Saison About to Become an 18-Seat Restaurant

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In the kitchen at Saison. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

~SAISON~ is tinkering with its format, and as of November 29th, the team will adjust the dining room from 42 seats to 18, and offer only one seating per evening. The menu will be 12 courses, with pairings by sommelier Mark Bright ($198, including wine pairings). Chef Joshua Skenes wants to allow for more diner interaction and the opportunity to learn about the ingredients, concepts, and more behind each dish.

The chef’s counter (with capacity for only four diners) will continue to be available, with 16-plus courses and exceptional wine pairings (and at $498 per seat—all inclusive—it seems exceptional will have to be the name of the game). You AMEX Black card-carrying types can reserve and prepay for a chef counter seat here.

Saison - 178 Townsend St. San Francisco - 415-828-7990

Quick Bites in the TL (and Thereabouts)

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One of the dining rooms at Brenda’s. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Interior of Fourth Wave Coffee. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Exterior of the Sutter Pub. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

The fine folks at ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~ are happy to report their expansion is all done, and will begin seating in all 70 seats starting today. Congrats, gang—there’s now room for all of us to get fat on her biscuits and Hangtown fry together.

Intern Rebecca Kinney has this update on ~FOURTH WAVE COFFEE~, which as previously reported, was opening in the former Polk Street Station Diner. She reports it opened last week and has this to say: “Honestly, the brewed coffee was so good that I thought they gave me something else by mistake. The individual drip is great, too. You can choose from several different blends and they’ll add cream and sugar to your liking, if you wish. The espresso drinks all come with two shots as a standard. The sweets and pastries are pretty standard but they are really well priced. They also have free Wi-Fi. Such friendly service, too.” Sounds like a winner. Opening hours for now are Mon-Fri 5am-8pm and Sat-Sun 6:30am-8pm. 1356 Polk St. at Pine, 415-440-4360.

And Rebecca has this to share as well: “Comfortable bar stools and warm wooden benches are ready to be broken in by locals and visitors alike at the newly opened ~SUTTER PUB~. Their ABC license for beer and wine is still pending, but that hasn’t stopped the corner gastropub from opening. Breakfast is served all day and includes dishes such as bananas Foster French toast, omelets, and corned beef hash. Later in the day, entrées include a barbecue pulled pork sandwich, a Reuben, bangers and mash, as well as a grilled New York steak with vegetables and mashed potatoes for $16. There are four flat-screen TVs and plenty of seats. Owner Carmer Hejazi says they probably won’t have a full liquor license for a year. Until then, keep in mind what the whimsical (and wise) bottle opener on their door says: “Cold beer soothes spirits.” Starting hours are Mon-Thu 7:30am-11pm and Fri-Sat 7:30am-12am. 700 Sutter St. at Taylor, 415-400-5840.

Brenda's French Soul Food - 652 Polk St. San Francisco - 415-345-8100

Openings/Temporary Closures: Indo-Bali, Burger Urge, Chubby Noodle

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Indo-Bali Cooking Street exterior. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

After a tip-off on Chowhound, it looks like the awkwardly named ~INDO-BALI COOKING STREET~ has opened in the Financial District. More from the post: “Same owners as Bangkok Best, but cook is Indonesian. Curries, Rendang and stir-fries; plates including rice and roti in the $8-$10 range mostly.” We have a peek at the menu for you. There is also 20% off everything from 2pm-3pm during their weekday “happy hour.” 343 Kearny St. at Pine, 415-956-5501.

Looks like ~BURGER URGE~ in the Upper Haight is opening Friday November 18th. As previously mentioned, the 75-seat spot is fast-casual, with around 10 burgers to choose from made with Niman Ranch beef, plus a turkey burger, a vegetarian burger, and sandwiches, soups, salads, and beer and wine. Mon-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat-Sun 8am-11pm. 1599 Haight St. at Clayton, 415-522-0122.

Am sorry to report that ~THE CHUBBY NOODLE~, the pop-up in Amante and home of some of the juiciest fried chicken I’ve had in the city, is on a temporary hiatus while owner Pete Mrabe sorts out some staffing during the holiday season. Stand by for an update soon. 570 Green St. at Stockton.

Chef Hires Around Town

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L’enfant-Terrible ale from Social Kitchen & Brewery.

Chris Wong is leaving luella as a chef (but staying on as a partner) in order to take over the kitchen at ~SOCIAL KITCHEN & BREWERY~ in the Inner Sunset. (Oh, and apropos of SKB, you should check out the upcoming classes from brewmaster Rich Higgins at The Boothby Center, like a beer and food pairing class this Sunday November 20th.)

As mentioned previously on tablehopper, when Castro hub ~2223 RESTAURANT~ becomes ~JAKE’S ON MARKET~ in early 2012, Inside Scoop reports that Erik Hopfinger will be the chef. Hopfinger, who was on Top Chef, has also worked for Long Bar, The Waterfront, and Spoon. Hopfinger mentions everything will be made in-house, including ground-to-order burgers. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

Social Kitchen & Brewery - 1326 9th Ave., San Francisco - 415-681-0330

Oyster News: $1 Oysters at Hog & Rocks, and Waterbar's Giveaway

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Image from Hog & Rocks.

From now through January 1st, ~HOG & ROCKS~ will be offering oyster and drink specials after you get off work and before you go to bed. They are serving $1 oysters Sun-Thu, and offering a $6 beer and shot special Mon-Thu 5pm-6pm and 10pm-1am, and Sun 5pm-11pm. Also note their new hours. You got all that?

If there was a week to swing by ~WATERBAR~ for some oysters, this would be it. The person who orders the restaurant’s one millionth oyster will win a year of free oysters from Waterbar (a dozen each week), and everyone else at the bar will win a certificate for a dozen oysters, as well as a Champagne toast to celebrate. Yup, everyone will like you. It looks like it’s going to happen towards the end of this week—look for an announcement on Facebook and Twitter the morning they expect it to happen.

Hog & Rocks - 3431 19th St. San Francisco - 415-550-8627

Guest Chef Gigs Around Town

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Campton Place dining room. Photo courtesy of Campton Place.

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Fifth Floor lounge. Photo from Kimpton.

On Saturday November 19th, acclaimed chef Daniel Humm is returning to ~CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT~ for one evening only to present a five-course meal that showcases his new cookbook, Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook. Champagne and canapés will be served at 6:30pm in the Campton Place Bistro and Bar, followed by dinner at 7:15pm in the Campton Place Restaurant. All attendees will receive a copy of the cookbook. $290 per person (plus 20% gratuity and tax). The seating is by reservation only. For more details, call 415-781-5555 or email.

~BAR TARTINE~ executive chef Nick Balla and co-owner Chad Robertson are teaming up with a member of their kitchen for the second dinner in their Curiosities at Bar Tartine series. Dinner on Monday December 5th will feature dishes inspired by Mexico City and interpreted by line cook Oscar Molina. The à la carte dinner will also include a Tartine torta by Chad. Dishes will include items such as a quesadilla with huitlacoche, pumpkin, trumpet mushroom, and farmer’s cheese ($11). Perhaps the most curious is the plato familiare called vuelve a la vida, a “seafood hangover cocktail” including octopus, shrimp, white bass, crab, and mussels ($18). Sounds seriously bueno to me.

Five different local chefs will be hosted by the ~FIFTH FLOOR~ from Monday December 5th through Friday December 9th. Each night, a chef will prepare a holiday-themed tasting menu.

Here’s the lineup: Monday December 5thDominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn—her famed foie gras is on the menu.

Tuesday December 6thJeff Baker of Baker & Banker has matzo ball soup on his menu.

Wednesday December 7thBrandon Jew of Bar Agricole will be serving roasted persimmon, chestnuts, and black sesame ice cream.

Thursday December 8thHoss Zaré of Zaré at Fly Trap will be preparing rabbit fesenjoon two ways.

Friday December 9thMatt Accarrino of SPQR will prepare smoked beef brisket “brasato.”

Each tasting menu will cost $95 (excluding beverage, tax, and gratuities), a portion of which will go to each chef’s charity of choice (including Meals On Wheels and the SF Child Abuse Prevention Center). Finally, the week will culminate on Saturday December 10th when Fifth Floor’s resident chef David Bazirgan will share his own holiday-themed menu.

Local Flava

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Photo from New Taste Marketplace.

Just a quick heads up that ~NEW TASTE MARKETPLACE~ is turning one this Saturday November 19th, so come on by for a variety of edibles from local food artisans. The complete list of vendors can be found on newtastemarketplace.org. New this weekend: food art vendors will also be in the mix, including Allyson Thomas from the fab Drywell Art, and if you come by at 1pm or 3pm, CocoTutti will be leading a truffle making demo.

Bonus: sign up for free at Ourtisan.com and receive a special free food item from one of the New Taste Marketplace vendors. Can’t make it to the NTM? The site allows you to buy from the vendors online and have their products shipped directly to your door. New Taste Marketplace is a community market and a fundraiser for The Food Pantry and St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church. You can RSVP for free here. 12pm-5pm. St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, 500 De Haro St. at Mariposa.

After 926 entered products, the list of the 144 finalists for the ~GOOD FOOD AWARDS~ has been released; take a look here. Congrats to all the finalists. The winners will be announced on Friday January 13th, 2012, and the Good Food Awards Marketplace will be on Saturday January 14th, 2012 (mark your calendars—you don’t want to miss it).

Moonraker (Re)Opening in Pacifica

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Photo from Moonraker Facebook page.

It’s not only the first James Bond movie I ever saw (back in 1979)—reopening on the coast this winter (after 25 years) will be ~MOONRAKER~, with a view that overlooks the beach and surf in Pacifica (it’s located in the Best Western Lighthouse on Rockaway Beach Avenue). The historic space has been completely redesigned by Michael Brennan, but the fab view through floor-to-ceiling windows remains. Chef Jason Yeafoli (The Lark Creek Inn, Moose’s, Rose Pistola) will prepare seafood classics with a twist such as brown butter-basted skate wing with wilted spinach, oven-dried toybox tomatoes, and shishito peppers. Additional players are co-owners Gary and Shawn McNamara, and wine director Don Graham (look for cocktails inspired by Pacifica, including the Rockaway Baby Beach). Hours will be Sun-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. 105 Rockaway Beach Ave. at Dondee, Pacifica, 650-557-7025.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Nov 16, 2011

(Sponsored): Have You Eaten Somewhere Great This Week? Deep Dish It!

Have you checked out Deep Dishing, a new forum about what to eat and drink at Bay Area restaurants and bars? What’s different is this community is based on positivity. It’s about what to order, not what to avoid. It’s about sharing what’s good, what rocks your socks off, and why you’d want to return somewhere—not why you want to run away. It’s also about sharing secrets, like what’s off the menu, or your favorite super-duper sandwich combo.

Before heading over to a new hotspot, like Locanda or Mission Chinese Food, or maybe a place that’s been on your list, like Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, take a peek at Deep Dishing first to see what dishes the community recommends. You may even pick up a hot tip or two.

You can post (and drool over) pictures, vote and comment on dishes, share your own hot tips, and even ask questions in the Tip Please! forum—and help solve the dilemmas of your fellow diners. So check it out, create a profile, start voting and posting, and I hope you have fun dishing it up.

Attention restaurant and bar owners: is your business listed on Deep Dishing? Take a look and make sure your business information is complete, like your hours and offerings. You can even link to your Twitter feed! Feel free to upload any images, tips, and information to your page.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Nov 16, 2011

Plum Bar Now Open in Oakland

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The back lounge area. Photo by Cindy Chew.

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The front bar area. Photo by Cindy Chew.

Last week—after a delicious Haven preview dinner by chef Kim Alter—I had a chance to take a peek at ~PLUM BAR~, the new bar flanking owner Daniel Patterson’s ~PLUM~ in Oakland’s Uptown District. Scott Beattie is the man behind the cocktail magic, serving “classically inspired and progressive, culinary-driven cocktails.” You’ll also be able to graze on bar bites from chef Ron Boyd, like charcuterie and sandwiches (grilled cheese, chicken sausage), and a double burger. There is also wine on tap, local beers, and fans of single malts will be stoked with the selection.

The design is gorg—it’s another notable space by Scott Kester (COI, Plum, and the upcoming Haven), with wood floors, custom leather furniture, and—my favorite touch—walls covered with pages of poetry. The bar glows from underneath, and I dug the mirrored panels above the bar. There’s also a large table and lounge area in the back with room for 12—it felt a bit 1970s conversation pit. Another fun element: the greenhouse cabinet with live plants and herbs for use in the cocktails. Want a piece of the action? Plum Bar has created an opportunity for guests who invest to become “Seatholders”—read more on the website. Hours are daily 5pm-close. 2216 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-444-7586.

Azúcar Lounge Officially Opens Thursday in SoMa

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Seating at Azúcar Lounge. Photo from Alcademics.

~AZÚCAR LOUNGE~ has softly opened in SoMa, and Alcademics has a copy of the menu (hello margarita with chile peppers), pics, and more. This “corner cantina” is from Jon Ojinaga, formerly the beverage and food and beverage manager of the Redwood Room at the Clift. 299 9th St. at Folsom, 415-255-2982.

Don Your Fedora and Cast Your Cap

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Exterior; photo from Bottle Cap’s Facebook page.

~BOTTLE CAP~ in North Beach has a couple boozy items for your agenda. Tonight, Wednesday November 16th, is Whiskey Wednesday’s “Barrel Night,” and Bottle Cap is introducing their first barrel-aged cocktail and Widmer’s barrel-aged beer. The Vieux Carré (rye, brandy, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, bitters) was aged two months in a former bourbon barrel, while the Widmer’s Founder’s Reserve beers (2010 in bottles, 2011 on draft) spent three months in former bourbon barrels. Small plates will be paired with the beer and will be available à la carte, with special pricing all night. 5pm-10pm.

On Tuesday November 22nd, Bottle Cap is hosting an Herb Caen Martini Competition to benefit Project Open Hand. Bartenders from Bottle Cap, Park Tavern, Tony Nik’s, and Campanula will compete to make the best Herb Caen-inspired martini with Chopin Vodka—and you get to be a judge by casting your bottle cap for the best drink. Guests will get to sample the competing cocktails and light apps, and there will be happy hour specials until 7pm. Live jazz by Gaucho; guests are encouraged to dress the part (think fedoras and trench coats). 5:30pm-7pm. Tickets are $5 online; $10 at the door.

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

Film Screening and Portuguese Wine Tasting Tomorrow

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Image from Life on the Douro’s Facebook page.

Tomorrow, Thursday November 17th, join filmmaker Zev Robinson for a screening of his documentary film Life on the Douro and learn about 300 years of the history, culture, and terroir of the Douro region of Portugal, and explore and taste its fine wines. Doors to the screening room at the Delancey Street Foundation open at 6pm, film starts at 6:30pm, followed by a Q&A.

The wine tasting portion will be presented by Oscar Quevedo and Roy Hersh, who were both involved in the making of the film. Port and still wines from Graham’s, Dow’s, Niepoort, Crasto, Taylor Fladgate, Quevedo, Mourão, Sandeman, Ferreira, and Quinta do Vale Meão will be available for tasting. Tickets ($32) online. Delancey Street Foundation, 600 Embarcadero at Brannan.

The Return of Hip Tastes Events

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On Saturday November 19th, Hip Tastes returns with a special daytime event called ~MIX IT UP! BLENDING IN THREE ACTS FEATURING EARTH, WINE & SCENT~ at Sutton Cellars in Dogpatch. There will be a botanical perfume bar dishing unisex scents (Scent), an organic accessories station with cool bespoke boutonnières and hair accessories (Earth), and Carl’s wines will (obviously) fulfill the “Wine” portion of the evening. There will be a custom Hip Tastes blend just for the event (with blend components available for sampling along with the final blend), a vermouth tasting bar, and more, plus there will be a photo booth from the fantastic Burning Man photographer John Curley, and a scavenger hunt in the neighborhood with clues hidden at local businesses (like Kitchenette, Yield Wine Bar, and Rickshaw Bagworks) and prizes. Check out the ticket page for more details. Tickets: $45, 2pm-5pm. 601 22nd St. at Illinois.

Saturday Nov 19, 2011
2pm–5pm
$45
more info

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Nov 16, 2011

Where to Gobble Gobble: Thanksgiving Round-Up

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My overflowing plate at Casa Gagliardi. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Event Info

Thursday Nov 24, 2011

For those who are ready to let go of the reins and forgo the stress of cooking (and baking, and polishing, and cleaning, and dishwashing) for Thanksgiving, or maybe you live in a shoebox apartment and you use your oven for shoe storage, there are options all around. Let someone else do the work on November 24th. All you have to do is gobble gobble.

Let’s start with some classically styled Thanksgiving meals. ~ONE MARKET~’s three-course Thanksgiving dinner includes dishes like shrimp bisque and Liberty Farms duck agnolotti to start; roasted Willie Bird turkey or spit-roasted Berkshire pork loin as entrées; and sugar pie pumpkin steamed pudding or baked Sonoma apple pie for dessert. $62, $29 children 12 and under.

~AMERICANO~ at Hotel Vitale is also offering a three-course dinner with selections that include roasted butternut squash soup with toasted almonds and spiced crème fraîche; pear salad with little gem lettuce, arugula, Gorgonzola cheese, and riesling vinaigrette; a family-style Thanksgiving platter with all-natural heritage turkey; and a dessert sampler with pumpkin pie, ginger cake, chocolate pecan pie, and assorted petite cookies. Three seatings: 2:30pm, 4:30pm, 6:30pm. $90, $30 for children; wine pairings additional $25.

The holiday menu at ~EPIC ROASTHOUSE~ will have four courses, starting with an amuse-bouche of fall squash soup, and appetizers of roasted and chilled half artichoke with Dungeness crab, butternut squash ravioli, or carpaccio of Wagyu bavette. Entrées include slow-roasted prime rib with Stilton blue scallop potatoes and creamy spinach with fried shallots; wood oven-roasted organic turkey with cornbread andouille stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, crispy fried spinach, and black pepper cranberry sauce; and pan-roasted Maine sweet scallops with caramelized truffle polenta cake, chorizo broth, and sauce Romanesque. For dessert, one option is the three-layer pumpkin Bavarian pie with butterscotch sauce and toasted spiced almonds. 12:30pm-6:30pm. $85, $40 children 12 and under.

Join ~PARAGON~ for Thanksgiving, and they’ll send you home with a special treat, everything you’ll need for a turkey and cranberry sandwich the next day. What a nice touch. Dinner itself includes roasted turkey, spiral cut ham, butternut squash purée, candied yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, giblet gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie for dessert. 3pm-9pm. $49. 701 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-537-9020.

Perhaps you’re looking for turkey dinner with a side of gorgeous SF views? ~BUTTERFLY~ is open on Thanksgiving, with a special menu featuring items like an oyster shooter amuse-bouche; a curried pumpkin soup, caramelized shiitake mushrooms, ginger cream, fried pumpkin seeds, and micro cilantro first course; a salt-baked Diestel turkey breast and curried fried turkey leg confit entrée; and apple, pecan, and pumpkin pie for dessert. $50, tax and gratuity not included. Pier 33 at Bay, 415-864-8999.

Also on the waterfront, ~LAFITTE~ is offering the choice of three courses ($69), five courses ($89), or “plank seating” ($150) for Thanksgiving. Start with a chestnut potato tart, then entrée choices include roast cold-smoked, riesling-brined Diestel turkey; roast air-dried goose three ways; and pumpkin-savory farmer’s cheese cannelloni (vegetarian). Dessert is heirloom Italian pumpkin-sage cheesecake. See the additional courses online here.

Head out to Tomales Bay for a more remote Thanksgiving at ~NICK’S COVE~, where new executive chef Austin Perkins has created a special three-course Thanksgiving menu highlighting ingredients from local farms and fishermen (think oysters and more). Items include starters like Tomales Bay clam chowder with applewood-smoked bacon, or rutabaga flatbread with goat cheese and truffled honey; and an entrée of oven-roasted Field to Family turkey with mashed potatoes, candied yams, brioche stuffing, and cranberry gravy. Dessert choices: little pumpkin pie with crème fraîche and candied ginger, pecan caramel tart with rum sauce, and apple and quince crostata with vanilla ice cream. Two seatings, 3:30pm and 6:30pm. $65, exclusive of beverages, tax, and gratuity. 23240 Hwy. 1 (see map), Marshall, 415-663-1033.

Over in the 510, consider ~PICÁN~ in Oakland for Thanksgiving: the four-course meal gives guests their choice for the first, second, and dessert courses, while the family-style entrée will consist of several dishes. Just think, last year they featured a traditional Southern Thanksgiving feast with all the fixin’s. Three seatings: 1pm, 4pm, and 6pm. $65, $25 children 12 and under, free for kids 4 and under.

Chef Banks White of ~FIVE~ in Berkeley is offering a three-course Thanksgiving meal that includes a choice of appetizers (such as Dungeness crab fritters or roasted beet salad) and entrées, with the option of a Diestel turkey and Niman Ranch glazed ham platter or a vegetarian leek and wild mushroom bread pudding meal—plus all of the holiday fixings, and a dessert for each guest. $55, $25 for kids, free for children under 5.

Vegans, you are not forsaken. ~CAFÉ GRATITUDE~ locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Rafael are all hosting a free raw and vegan feast with autumn flavors like butternut squash tamale with a persimmon salad, served by people in the community. In the spirit of giving, the public can participate as volunteer bussers, dishwashers, etc. Noon-3pm.

Maybe you don’t really want Thanksgiving food for Thanksgiving. Then check out the expansive brunch buffet at ~TRADER VIC’S~: Chinese barbecue spare ribs, dim sum, smoked salmon with crème fraîche, assorted sushi, eggs Benedict, banana and macadamia nut French toast, edamame ravioli, prime rib, sundae bar…. You get the drift. (They’ll have turkey, fixings, and pumpkin pie too.) 10:30am-2:30pm. $45 not including tax and gratuity, $22 ages 6-12, free for children under 6. 9 Anchor Dr. at Powell, Emeryville, 510-653-3400.

Restaurants stretching out the Thanksgiving celebration include ~MONK’S KETTLE~, which has specials lined up for the whole Thanksgiving week, beginning Sunday November 20th. They include house-cured ham, hops-brined and roasted heritage turkey, caramelized Brussels sprouts, housemade pheasant cranberry sausage, and individual pumpkin pies served in mason jars. Pair the fare with some fall beer picks—Deschutes’ Fresh Hop Mirror Pond, The Bruery’s Autumn Maple, Midnight Sun’s T.R.E.A.T., Allagash’s 2009 Fluxus, and Jolly Pumpkin’s Noel de Calabaza.

Meanwhile, all-month long, ~ROTI~ is offering tandoori turkey legs ($16 for two legs) marinated in minced garlic and ginger, yogurt, and spices, then roasted over the mesquite charcoal in the tandoor. Pair with Roti’s mango chutney.

Gobble gobble!

Tips for Those Doing a DIY Thanksgiving

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Turducken by 4505 Meats; photo from 4505 Meats.

Event Info

Thursday Nov 24, 2011

There’s no holiday like Thanksgiving to bring out the competitive cook in ya. Sharpen your knives, freshen up your spice rack, and test your oven temp, then give yourself a leg up for the T-day cook-off with these DIY tips.

First things first, the turkey. ~OLIVIER’S BUTCHERY~, the new French butcher in the Dogpatch, has free-range turkeys from Branigan’s Farm—yup, real country turkeys. They’ve also got you covered if your gathering is a smaller one: just order the ready-to-cook turkey roti (or another type of roti if you wanna go that route). Call by Thursday November 17th for pick up November 22nd or 23rd. 1074 Illinois St. at 22nd St., 415-558-9887.

Marin Sun Farms, Mountain Ranch Organically Grown, and 4505 Meats at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market are also taking pre-orders for humanely raised turkeys and turduckens. Get turkey ordering details here at CUESA’s Thanksgiving Guide.

To make sure your bird is juicy rather than dry, brine it. Last week we mentioned the SF chefs who started ~S&S BRAND~, and they’ve got a brine mix that’ll do the job. Here’s some handy instructions and a recipe too.

Don’t wanna mangle the gorgeous bird you just spent hours roasting to prefection? Take Turkey Carving 101 at ~18 REASONS~ tomorrow, and watch and learn from John Lee in this observational class. Thursday November 17th, 7pm-8pm; $15 for members, $20 for the general public. Tickets online.

Look to the ~FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET~ for a bounty of fresh ‘n’ local produce for Turkey Day. They’re holding the usual Tuesday market, plus a special Wednesday market on November 23rd, 10am-2pm. And since you’ll be schlepping more groceries than usual, you can always use the Veggie Valet and the validated parking options.

For some help putting it all together, ~JORDAN’S KITCHEN~ is offering a Thanksgiving Training Camp this Saturday November 19th at 5pm. Get hands-on and make four Thanksgiving-worthy courses with seasonal and organic products from local farmers and artisan producers. The class includes a fuyu persimmon, endive, walnut, and goat cheese mousse appetizer; celery root purée; cranberry compote with ginger, cloves, lime juice, and honey; assorted wild mushroom and brioche bread stuffing; and brined Bill Niman roast turkey with pan gravy. And there’s no dishes to wash. 415-710-0761.

Don’t forget the finale, you top chef—make it a show-stopper. Sign up for the Thanksgiving Bake & Take class at the ~COOKING SCHOOL AT CAVALLO POINT~, and pastry chef Ethan Howard will walk you through making and baking a dessert (choose from pumpkin chocolate pie, chai cheesecake, candied quince and butternut squash galette, and profiteroles with roasted pear mousse and hazelnut cream). Then take it home with you, and voilà. $55 plus tax. Tuesday November 22nd, 2pm-4:30pm, 601 Murray Cir. in Fort Baker, Sausalito, 888-651-2003.

Have you had a pie from ~THREE BABES BAKESHOP~ yet? No? Well, you might want to get on that. They bake all-organic sweet and savory pies and sell them from a converted shipping container outside of Saison on the weekends. Today (Friday) is the last day to pre-order one of their pies, from classic pumpkin (wait until you try the crust!) to a seasonal toffee apple—and if you have a gluten-free family member, their bittersweet chocolate pecan with a housemade graham cracker crust is delicious.

Click here for all the details and more. Best of all: they are donating 10% of profits from all pre-orders to one of their three non-profit partners. Even if you didn’t pre-order, 5% of all profits from walk-in purchases on Tue, Wed, and Thu of next week will be donated.

Another local pie maker with an order deadline of today is ~MARGE BAKERY~. You can take your pick of pumpkin, brown-butter sweet potato, dark chocolate pecan, double-crust apple, or spiced pear walnut crumble. Click here for info on ordering and pick-up locations.

~CITIZEN CAKE~ also has a variety of desserts for your Thanksgiving table, from pumpkin sage cheesecake to apple pie with cheddar streusel. For the order form, click here.

The bakery for Spruce, ~MAYFIELD BAKERY & CAFE~ in Palo Alto, is offering a selection of pies, from pumpkin to bourbon pecan to apple. Simply place your order before Monday November 21st by calling 650-853-9201, and you can pick up your pie at Spruce on Wednesday November 23rd between 11:30am-6pm.

You can also boost your dessert offerings with the help of ~STARTER BAKERY~: they’re offering Thanksgiving cookie and tartlet platters, and pumpkin, apple, and pecan pies. Way to finish off the meal right. Here’s the order form—deadline is noon on November 19th. 1552 Beach St. at Halleck, Suite R, Oakland, 510-547-6400.

And though we haven’t personally tried it here at ‘hopper HQ, we do wanna mention the raw, vegan, and gluten-, dairy-, and refined sugar-free option from local microbakery ~SIDESADDLE KITCHEN~. Choose from pumpkin pie, maple pecan pie, or chile chocolate torte ($38 each, $100 all three). Order online by November 21st. ‘Cause there’s always someone with a dietary restriction at every Thanksgiving table.

Of course, there’s the easy way out. We won’t tell if you don’t. You can order a complete Thanksgiving meal from ~A.G. FERRARI FOODS~. $99.99 nets you an Italian-themed feast featuring 3 pounds of local turkey breast, creamed mushroom soup with white truffle oil, A.G. Ferrari cranberry sauce with zinfandel, roasted autumn root vegetables, Brussels sprouts with pancetta in a sherry-shallot vinaigrette, Nonna Ferrari’s traditional Swiss chard stuffing, Gianluca’s homemade turkey gravy, chestnut and butternut squash risotto with Parmigiano-Reggiano, 12 focaccia dinner rolls, and a sweet almond torte with red pears and amaretti. Or, get all nine sides only (no turkey) for $69.99. Both packages serve 8; more desserts on the à la carte menu, like pumpkin-ricotta cheese torta. Order online.

Ready. Set. Cook!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Nov 16, 2011

Even God Gets Denied as a Walk-In

According to a tweet, it seems Sir ~Thomas Keller~ tried to walk in for dinner at Frances as a party of three; and much to the chagrin of the restaurant, had to be declined a table. Yup, busy busy.

TK and his party ended up dining at Bar Tartine instead, thanks to a glowing reco (and phone call) from Paul Einbund at Frances.

On the Hunt for Breakfast

Thanks to a tip from @thedapperdiner, I learned ~Helen Hunt~ came in to Café de la Presse two days in a row for a croissant and soy latte (here’s tweet number one, and number two).

Joe, Can You Pass Me the Bostini Cream Pie and a Flatbread?

~Joe Montana~ came in to Scala’s Bistro with his wife for lunch, and according to this tweet, he also walked in to nopa with his wife and friends (Joe Montana fans, you can and should read all the details about the night here).

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