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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: pa rum pa pum pum!

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Tom and Jerry’s amazing Christmas tree on 21st Street. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ha, now I’m not the only one with Little Drummer Boy in her head. (I know, evil.) Based on the lineup of holiday activities in this week’s tablehopper, I hope you’re ready to dive in. I’m especially fired up over all the international options listed in this week’s socialite. Who knew that my family’s Feast of the Seven Fishes would be so in demand this season? Baccalà chic.

This week is full of great wine tastings, starting with the annual Arlequin Champagne tasting on Thursday evening, and this Saturday, I hope to see you at the Skrewcap holiday tasting—it conveniently starts at 1pm, so you can hit the market at the Ferry Building and then come on by! I will also be there signing copies of my book, and happy to answer any restaurant questions you may have.

There’s also Drag Queens on Ice this Thursday (I can’t wait to see that one), and don’t forget the La Cocina Gift Bazaar this Friday. On Sunday, I have been invited back to Edible Escapes, joining host Anthony Licciardi from 11am-1pm on KSFO 560AM. Please tune in—we’ll be discussing holiday meals and other kinds of tasty topics.

While I have your eyes: in the midst of all your holiday shopping, please consider making the holiday brighter for someone less fortunate. The fine folks at ECS will match you with a resident at their supportive housing sites, and you can fulfill a modest gift request for items like sweatshirts, sweatpants, bed sheets, blankets, robes, and other essential items for $25 and under. After the residents pay for rent and food each month, there is very little money left over for basic essentials. The holidays can be especially difficult for them in our consumer-oriented economy. 

Want to buy a present for a resident? Great! Please email Mallory Hasick or call 415-487-3348 by this Friday December 9th. Mallory will provide the resident’s first name, housing site, and gift request. All wrapped gifts can be dropped off at 1350 Folsom St. on December 13th or 14th from 3pm-7pm, or at 165 8th St. during regular business hours (9am-5pm) any time before December 15th. Thanks for adding a stranger to your holiday shopping list.

Warm wishes!

Marcia Gagliardi

Oh, since I’ve been called “Marsha” a couple times this past week, I thought I’d do a handy little pronunciation guide for you: it’s Marcia, rhymes with Garcia. Or, as a friend likes to joke, pizzeria.

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Dec 6, 2011

Mozzeria Opens for Dinner Service Friday December 9th

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Interior of Mozzeria; photo courtesy of Mozzeria.

Due to open this Friday December 9th is ~MOZZERIA~ in the former Il Cantuccio space in the Mission from the husband-and-wife team of Russell and Melody Stein. The modern Italian menu will feature both traditional and non-traditional pizzas (including one with roast duck, hoisin sauce, and green onion), and an array of small dishes, salads, and pastas highlighting local ingredients sourced from farmers’ markets (you can view the opening menu here). Proprietor Melody Stein recently returned from an extensive study tour in Italy, where she took cooking classes in Rome, Sorrento, and Positano; she will be working closely with her lead cook, Justin Belluomini.

A very informative (and interesting) piece on Bay Area Bites revealed the owners are deaf, and shared some details on the owners’ backgrounds and the project, including their commitment to hiring deaf workers and artisans when possible. The 49-seat restaurant features an imported wood-burning oven from Italy (a 5,000-pound Stefano Ferrara oven), and it ends up the 100-year-old hardwood floors were revealed during construction. There will also be a wine bar, featuring Californian and Italian wines, along with local beers on tap, and vintage sodas. Open for dinner Sun and Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; weekend brunch begins Sunday January 1st.

Mozzeria - 3228 16th St. San Francisco - 415-489-0963

Openings: Square Meals/Batter Bakery, Pronto Kiosk, and More!

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Pronto kiosk; photo from Bar Bambino.

Eater confirms ~BATTER BAKERY~ and ~SQUARE MEALS~, a meal delivery service, are now open in the former Bombay Masala space on Polk Street. Eater has a link to the opening menu here, plus there is wine on tap, and bottled beers. 2127 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-674-1069.

Due to softly open this week is ~HOPS & HOMINY~, serving Southern-inspired, American dishes. You can read details in the previous mention on tablehopper here. 1 Tillman Place at Grant.

Over in the Mission, ~BAR BAMBINO~ has launched the Pronto kiosk at the ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective). On offer: panini, pastries, and salads (check out the menu here), plus Sightglass coffee drinks, tea, and more. Open daily 9am-6pm (until 8:30pm when there is a performance). The kiosk will be out front during nice weather, and in the lobby when it’s nasty out. The café is launching next. 17th St. and Shotwell.

More cart action: SFoodie mentions the ~BLUE BOTTLE TRAILER~ is now parked in the Castro at Market and 17th Street. You can grab an espresso Tue-Sat 8am-2pm.

Good news in Bayview: ~LIMON ROTISSERIE~ is now open in the 5800 Third Street project. Lunch daily 12pm-5pm, dinner 5pm-10pm. 5800 3rd St. at Carroll, Suite 1004, 415-926-5665.

Scoop mentions ~BOUCHE~ is due to open this Wednesday December 7th in the former Bar Crudo/Swell location. Chef Nicolas Borzee (COI) is the chef. Hours are Mon-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 603 Bush St. at Stockton, 415-956-0396.

I was walking out of my dentist’s office at 450 Suffer (that’s what some cabbies call it) and noticed the new (and busy) ~AFTER OSHA~. It’s geared to be a quick stop for lunch (you can customize your own rice bowls and noodle dishes). Scoop mentions it’s open daily 11am-11pm. 432 Sutter St. at Stockton, 415-397-6742.

And up in Mill Valley, Peter Schumacher and Tyler Florence’s project ~HAWK’S TAVERN~ is open for dinner tonight (Tuesday December 6th). It will be open through Friday and then closed over the weekend for holiday events; the restaurant will be fully open for business on Tuesday December 13th, serving both lunch and dinner. 507 Miller Ave. at Reed, Mill Valley, 415-388-3474.

Galette 88 Opens This Wednesday in the Financial District

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Galette 88 exterior; photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

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Galette 88 interior; photo by Rebecca Kinney. © tablehopper.com.

Due to open in the Financial District this Wednesday December 7th is ~GALETTE 88~. As previously mentioned in tablehopper, this gourmet galette and crêpe place is from Erin Rooney (Slow Club, Serpentine), Céline Guillou (formerly of Yield Wine Bar), and Jean-Marie Gillet.

Their 40-seat spot will serve 10 savory buckwheat crêpes and 5 or 6 dessert crêpes ranging from $7-$10 (you can peek at a preliminary and condensed menu from an opening party here). Crêpes ordered for eating in will include a small green salad (they will also have three salades complètes). They will serve cider in bottles, aguas frescas, and will pour Four Barrel drip coffee for now (they will add coffee drinks later). Starting hours are Mon-Fri 10:30am-3:30pm; the team is hoping to add later hours on Wed-Fri. 88 Hardie Pl., off Kearny, between Bush and Sutter, 415-989-2222.

Tataki Canyon Opens in Glen Park

Due to open the week of December 13th is ~TATAKI CANYON~ in Glen Park, taking its name from the nearby Glen Canyon Park. (To recap, Tataki is opening in the former Sel et Vin wine bar space.) The Tataki team (Raymond Ho, Kin Lui, Casson Trenor, and Kenny Zhu) have brought on executive chef Luka Ozeki, formerly of Sushi Groove South and Kyo-ya. The menu will feature sushi, nigiri, and Japanese dishes featuring sustainable seafood and ingredients, and will include a seasonal menu of appetizers and entrées with some California influences. Open nightly 5pm-10pm. 678 Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-859-9383.

Upcoming Sweet Spots: The Sixth Course and Schulzie's; Three Babes Not Coming to Cole Valley

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Future location of The Sixth Course; photo from Facebook.

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Schulzie’s Bread Pudding; photo courtesy of Schulzie’s.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off to this piece of news: local truffle maker ~THE SIXTH COURSE~ has found a brick-and-mortar location in the Mission. Owners Bridget Labus and Gianina Serrano—who have been in business together for the past year and a half—will be opening their kitchen and storefront space in summer (hopefully) of 2012. If you have had the truffles at Acquerello, then you know their handiwork. They have three lines: a caramel line, a wine and spirits line (including one that uses St. George single malt), and a chef’s choice line (including their favorites, like one called the malt crunch). They just finished demo and are now building. Fun fact: the building was one of the first locations built after the 1906 quake—it used to be a wheel shop and stable. Stand by for updates! 1544 15th St. at Capp.

Looks like I found out about ~SCHULZIE’S BREAD PUDDING~ coming to Hayes Valley at the same time as 7x7. This Los Angeles-originated business (founded by Sarah Schulz, a San Francisco native) will be opening their flagship San Francisco location in the former Café Corbas space. Think of an old-time ice cream parlor serving 108 different flavors of bread pudding instead, from peach cobbler to Earl Grey to cinnamon raisin (it’s served chilled and scooped), plus sauces like raspberry peppercorn. There are also savory versions served warm, like bacon-maple, and onion-scallion-potato. There will also be signature beverages for pairing from Equator Coffee, and 50 hand-crafted sodas at the soda jerk bar (you can even customize your own concoction based on flavors you like). There will be 10 seats plus outdoor seating. 364 Hayes St. at Gough.

The grand opening will be on February 14th, 2012, but you can check Schulzie’s out Saturday December 17th at a benefit at Isotope Comics for strive for __, a nonprofit providing mentorship for foster youth. A scoop will be $3.50, but since it’s a charity drive, they are asking you to pay what you can. 12pm-6pm. 326 Fell St. at Gough.

One small piece of bummer news: it ends up ~THREE BABES BAKESHOP~ will not be serving their delicious pies out of the old Ashbury Market space with Bacon Bacon—it seems they weren’t able to reach an agreement. But you can still visit the Babes at Stable Cafe in the Mission on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-4pm (and they are still delivering on Fridays).

And over in Hayes Valley, ~SMITTEN ICE CREAM~ has constructed a tented seating area (with blankets!) so you can enjoy your ice cream without totally freezing your heinie off. There’s also hot spiced cider, and live music is coming soon. 432 Octavia St. at Linden.

Namu in the Inner Richmond Is Closing

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The Lee brothers photo by Mohammad Gorjestani.

I was sorry to learn in the Inside Scoop that ~NAMU~ will be closing after service wraps up on Christmas Eve. It ends up the Lee brothers couldn’t reach a lease renewal agreement with their landlord, so they decided to close their five-year-old Inner Richmond restaurant. Looks like we’ll just need to wait for their upcoming izakaya (Namu Gaji) to open in the Mission in early 2012, and as previously reported in the ‘hopper, chef Dennis Lee will be busy with his upcoming collaboration as the chef for the Magnolia Brewpub in the Dogpatch.

Namu - 439 Balboa St. San Francisco - 415-386-8332

Even MORE Ramen: Kirimachi in North Beach, and During Lunch at Ozumo

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Ramen photo from Kirimachi.

Yup, it’s the year of ramen. Ramen, ramen, ramen. A new pop-up ramen shop opened yesterday in the Usual Suspects Cafe on Broadway called ~KIRIMACHI~ (which means “fog city”). Chef Leonardi Gondoputro has worked in Japanese restaurants for the past four years (including Sanraku, but they don’t serve ramen there). It ends up it’s one of his obsessions—he likes ramen so much he wanted to make his own. He will be serving two kinds: tonkotsu and chicken miso, using proteins from Marin Sun Farms, and he has someone custom-making the noodles for him. A bowl is $10, tax included. Hours are Mon-Fri 12pm-2:30pm and 6pm-9pm, Sat 12pm-9pm. He is sharing the space with another vendor, so he isn’t in the location full-time. 450 Broadway at Montgomery.

You downtown workers might want to know that ~OZUMO RESTAURANT~ San Francisco is now serving “winter ramen” for lunch. Choices include Ozumo (braised pork jowl, poached egg, and snow crab in a shoyu stock), spicy miso (shredded chicken, poached egg, and cabbage in a rich, spicy miso stock), kaisen (snow crab and prawns in a spicy lobster stock), kimchi (braised pork shoulder and housemade kimchi in tonkotsu stock), vegetarian (vegetable kakiage, pickled ginger in a light shoyu stock), and cha-soba (marinated tuna, kizami nori with a wasabi vinaigrette over green tea soba noodles). The seasonal stock is made in-house with all-natural ingredients, and ramen bowls are served with green onion, bean sprouts, fish cake, bamboo shoots, and a side of edamame. $12-$14. Served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm in the restaurant’s sake lounge.

Ozumo Restaurant - 161 Steuart St. San Francisco - 415-882-1333

Upcoming: Sweet Woodruff, Cervecería de MateVeza

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The former Candy Darling location; Yelp photo by Scott F.

I received a note from Teague Moriarty, one of the chef-partners at ~SONS & DAUGHTERS~, that they are taking over the shuttered Candy Darling space on Sutter Street, and will be opening ~SWEET WOODRUFF~. It’s going to be “an innovative carry out spot…same style and quality standards as we have at Sons & Daughters, but primarily a lunch option to begin, with room to grow.” Isaac Miller (Manresa, and executive chef of 231 Ellsworth in San Mateo) will be working with Moriarty and Matt McNamara (the other chef-partner at Sons & Daughters), eventually becoming the executive chef of the project. The plan is to open the first week of January, stand by for more details soon. 798 Sutter St. at Jones.

After reporting on the changes at ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Dolores Park, it looks like that prime real estate may not be vacant for long. Via a tip from Mission Mission, this press release announces the hopeful opening of ~CERVECERÍA DE MATEVEZA~, a restaurant and (small) brewery from the founder of MateVeza, a local, organic beer brewed with yerba mate. The plan is to offer empanadas from El Porteño, and use the space as a test kitchen, brewing on a small 20-gallon copper system. Matt Coelho would be the “beer-tender,” with growlers and bottles available for purchase to go. But first, the ABC needs to approve all this, so stand by (and cross your fingers and toes). 3801 18th St. at Church.

Brunch Launches at Two Sisters Bar and Books and BIN 38, Lunch at Wo Hing, and More

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Two Sisters Bar and Books (photo from Facebook).

Some new hours for your dining pleasure: ~TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS~ in Hayes Valley is now serving Sunday brunch. It’s a prix-fixe brunch menu for $20 (including tax), featuring a house cocktail, Taylor Maid Farms coffee and tea, and one of five entrée options, which include tomato ragu with poached eggs, a bacon and egg sandwich with roasted tomatoes and cheese, or French toast bread pudding with maple syrup. Sun 12pm-4pm. Cash only! 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655.

Over in the Marina, starting this Sunday December 11th, ~BIN 38~ is serving Sunday brunch from 10am-2pm. Dishes include eggs Benedict with a 62º egg, speck (ham), Swiss chard, citrus hollandaise, fries O’Brien; challah French toast; and short rib rancheros with a fried egg, Iacopi butter beans, gremolata, and corn tortilla.

~WO HING GENERAL STORE~ is now serving lunch daily from 11:30am-5:30pm. The lunch menu is a condensed version of the dinner menu.

Also over in the Marina, the casual-French spot ~CASTAGNA~ is now serving dinner nightly. Items include French onion soup, crispy seared duck leg confit with a Tuscan white bean ragout, and steak frites with a green peppercorn sauce. 2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-440-4290.

Over in Jackson Square: for the month of December, ~QUINCE~ will be open for dinner on Sundays from 5:30pm-10pm. And ~COTOGNA~ is now open continuously Mon-Thu 11:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-12am, Sun 5pm-9pm.

International Holiday Treats Around Town

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Hallaca photo from Pica Pica’s blog.

When these holiday treats are available only once a year, you just can’t get enough of them. Here’s a smattering of international holiday treats available around town—perfect to bring to a holiday party, or to enjoy at home with your nearest and dearest.

‘Til the end of December, Pica Pica Maize Kitchen is offering hallacas, a traditional Venezuelan holiday food that’s “a close cousin to the tamal” and is made from “a corn-based dough, filled with a three meat stew, wrapped in a plantain leaf and steamed.” Get your holiday hallacas in-store at their SF and Napa locations, or order online and have them delivered (they’ll be frozen and shipped in a styrofoam cooler).

The Arizmendi family of bakeries are making lots of the festive holiday treats. Over at the Sunset location, special items on the holiday menu (available through Christmas Eve) include fruitcake, marzipan stollen, apple pie, Bûche de Noël, festive cookies, and even a pumpkin tea bread made of gluten-free ingredients. Pre-order in-store (1331 9th Ave. at Irving) or by phone (415-566-3117). On Valencia Street, holiday specials include brioche bread pudding, gâteau Basque, apple honey cake, ginger tea cake, pecan pie, and more. Pre-orders: 1268 Valencia St. at 24th St., 415-826-9218.

Great for delicious food gifts are panettone and pandoro. Emporio Rulli has three types of panettone on offer—Genovese, Milanese, and Paradiso—as well as pandoro, and the mylar gold wrap from Italy makes them all gift-ready ($18.50-$34.95). For a twist on the typical panettone, check out the fig and chocolate panettone from Rustichella d’Abruzzo ($34) that’s available from Rockridge’s Market Hall Foods: rich, moist, and filled with sweet figs and shards of chocolate, all wrapped and ready to go.

Going to a party? Why bring a bottle of wine when you can bring a pint or two of ice cream instead? Dessert café DeLise has organic eggnog ice cream ($7.50/pint); see more of their flavors here, plus all their other sweet treats (327 Bay St. at Powell, 415-399-9694). Mitchell’s seasonal ice creams are another great choice, with flavors like cinnamon snap, eggnog, peppermint candy, and pumpkin. 688 San Jose Ave. at 29th St., 415-648-2300.

Meaty

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The amazing brisket from Slow Hand BBQ. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Okay, you crazy meat lovers! This Wednesday December 7th is Brisketfest #2 at ~SHOTWELL’S BAR~, featuring a lineup of eats from Jablow’s Meats (New York pastrami on rye), Slow Hand BBQ (Texas barbecue brisket sandwich), and Nute’s Cupcakes (Thai Panang brisket curry over rice). There will also be some extras like bacon cupcakes and salads, plus beer cocktails and special Sodacraft offerings, like smoked apple cider. Starts at 6pm. 3349 20th St. at Shotwell.

This Friday December 9th, chef Stephanie Izard (Girl & the Goat, Chicago) is coming to San Francisco on her nationwide Goat Tour—she will be cooking with fellow Top Chef alum, chef Jennifer Biesty, at Scala’s Bistro in the Sir Frances Drake Hotel. The four-course dinner will feature recipes from Izard’s newly launched cookbook, Girl in the Kitchen. The event is also a fundraiser for Share Our Strength. 6:30pm. $200. Email to purchase tickets. (She will also be at Omnivore Books on Saturday December 10th signing books from 3pm-4pm.)

Scala's Bistro - 432 Powell St. San Francisco - 415-395-8555

East Bay Bites

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eVe interior; Yelp photo by Ligaya T.

Diablo Dish has the scoop that ~EVE~ in Berkeley is closing after service on December 31st, and chef-owners Chris and Veronica Laramie will be opening Brasa, a Peruvian rotisserie in its place in February. Diablo Dish says: “Look for a rotisserie-heavy menu (using all organic Mary’s chickens), as well as select sandwiches, salads, sides (including yucca fries), and soft serve ice cream.” Delivery will also be available. The piece also mentions “Their main reason for closing Eve in favor of the less labor-intensive Brasa is so they can focus their energy on a new full-service contemporary restaurant that they hope to open on the Peninsula or in the North Bay sometime later in 2012.” Look for more on that in 2012. 1960 University Ave. at Bonita, Berkeley, 510-868-0735.

Berkeleyside also shares some tidbits: ~SHEN HUA~ in Elmwood is now serving dim sum, and ~TIVOLI CAFFÈ~ has opened at 2554 Bancroft Way.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Dec 6, 2011

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

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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.

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Be sure to follow Deep Dishing on Twitter for updates on delicious dishes, like who is serving poutine this week on their menu! Hello!

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Dec 6, 2011

Departures: Alex Fox Leaves Bar Tartine; Aurora Siegel Leaves Rose Pistola

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This is what happens when Alex Fox is around. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After one-and-a-half years as the GM and wine director at ~BAR TARTINE~, Alex Fox has departed to pursue and explore other options. The split was very amicable; he’s currently looking into opportunities to open his own restaurant. I know I am not the only one who will be missing his exciting pairings and passion for wine. You can keep up with him (and his cheeky observations on things) on Twitter at @wineomite.

After seven years behind the stick at ~ROSE PISTOLA~, bar manager Aurora Siegel has departed to pursue other options as well. We had a chance to catch up at Steven Oliver’s annual holiday party, and it sounds like she has a few ideas brewing. I look forward to seeing what’s next for this lovely and talented lady.

Opening This Week in Bernal: Iron & Gold

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The previous incarnation as the Argus; Yelp photo by Miika M.

The former Argus Lounge (you know, the place with the mysterious peacock feather sign) has been transformed into ~IRON & GOLD~ (site isn’t active yet, but the bar’s Facebook page is), which is softly opening this week (the official opening is Friday at 7pm). The 60-year-old bar was in need of a facelift and some cleaning, but is still going to be the same concept as it has been: a classy neighborhood dive.

New owner Andrew Marks has been bartending for 11 years, including places like Laszlo/Foreign Cinema and Madrone. (You can read more about his background, and why he took over the bar in this Mission Mission piece from October.) Iron & Gold will feature local DJs (playing music as ambiance, not dancing), no cover, good cocktails (but you’ll still be able to get Budweiser), and happy hour will remain in place until 9pm where you can enjoy $6 house cocktails and $3 drafts every day. The interior is now sporting a green hue instead of its previous red. As for the name, it comes from the motto on the San Francisco flag in 1900, which said: “Gold in peace, iron in war.” 3187 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-824-1447.

Temporary Closures

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222 Hyde; Yelp photo by Jenny D.

Looks like the fine folks at ~222 HYDE~ will be closing the bar for the rest of December for some renovations. They hope to reopen before the end of the year. 222 Hyde St. at Turk, 415-345-8222.

According to this post on Uptown Almanac, ~THE RITE SPOT CAFE~ has been (unfortunately) closed by the city for “serious or repeated violations” pertaining to a “vermin infestation.” Oy. I guess they took that dive status a little too seriously. Here’s hoping they reopen soon; calls to the bar were unanswered. 2099 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-522-6066.

Cocktail Program Launches at AQ, Happy Hour at Plate Shop

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An aperitif at AQ. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How appropriate, ~AQ~ kicked off their new cocktail program yesterday on Repeal Day. Bartenders Tim Zohn, Brandon Josie, and Ethan Terry will be focusing on classic cocktails with the added element of AQ’s seasonal interpretations. Look for 9-12 cocktails using proprietary infusions, flavored liqueurs and bitters, with a heavy slant on domestic spirits, particularly bourbon and gin. $10-$12, well drinks $8. Check out a sneak peek of the preliminary cocktail menu here.

Up in Sausalito, ~PLATE SHOP~ is now offering a happy hour Sun-Thu 5:30pm-7pm. Get $2 off all specialty drinks at the bar, plus some appetizer specials. (FYI, they also have a late-night menu for Sat-Sun from 10pm-12am.)

Plate Shop - 39 Caledonia St. Sausalito - 415-887-9047

Explore the Science of Cocktails at the Exploratorium

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Photo by Amy Snyder. © Exploratorium.

You may finally find a cure for your hangovers at the Exploratorium’s annual ~SCIENCE OF COCKTAILS~ event. On Thursday January 26th, watch San Francisco bartenders make cocktails while you take part in scientific experiments about alcohol, inebriation (hic!), and cocktail creation. Learn the chemical difference between stirred and shaken, and find out what happens to taste at cooler temperatures—all for a good cause. Proceeds benefit museum programs.

Tickets are $120 for general admission, or $185 for VIP. Tickets include open bar, ample hors d’oeuvres, and special activities. VIP ticket holders also receive access to the Top-Shelf VIP Lounge with top-shelf spirits, special molecular mixology demonstrations, and a few surprises. 7:30pm-11pm. 3601 Lyon St. at Yacht, 415-561-0399.

Thursday Jan 26, 2012
more info

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Dec 6, 2011

Traditional (and International!) Holiday Meals

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The aftermath from my family’s Feast of Seven Fishes. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

So many choices for special, once-a-year feasts that pay homage to holiday traditions from around the world; don’t miss out on these international holiday meals.

The Old World Food Truck is presenting a special Hanukkah-themed five-course feast at La Victoria on December 20th and 21st (the first two nights of Hanukkah), complete with dreidel, menorah, and lots of latkes (via Eater). The menu includes matzah ball soup, corned beef and fixins’, and sufganiyot-Hanukkah doughnuts. Mmm, doughnuts and latkes…. 5:30pm and 8:15pm seatings; BYOB. Tickets and more info online; $40/adult, $20/child 13 and under (5:30 seating only). 2937 24th St. at Alabama.

This year ~BAKER & BANKER~ is introducing a four-course Hanukkah menu—inspired by holiday dishes from Jeff Banker’s mother—including chicken soup, trout latke, brisket, and apple cake. December 20th-28th. $65.

There’s lots of options to partake in the southern Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes. You could join ~A16~ on Christmas Eve, where they’ll be serving a four-course seafood feast with classics like baccalà alla napoletana, and original dishes like scallops with roasted fennel and Neapolitan chiles. $75, plus $55 for optional wine pairings. Email for resos.

~DELFINA~ will be open on Christmas Eve, 5pm-9pm, with their take on the Feast of the Seven Fishes. The kitchen will be adding lots of à la carte seafood dishes to their menu. And throughout the week of Hanukkah, they’re adding some traditional and not-so-traditional Hanukkah dishes, like duck fat-fried latkes with quince marmalata and crème fraîche, beef brisket dolce fuerte, cured salmon with sesame and caraway carta di musica, and Hanukkah donuts. More latkes and donuts, yay!

~INCANTO~ is also celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Xmas Eve. Their three-course menu starts with insalata di mare, then choice of cod and potatoes or eel spaghettini entrée, and finish with dessert, such as chocolate cake with olive oil ice cream. $49, excluding beverages, gratuity, tax.

Another choice is ~PALIO D’ASTI~, where you can order from the regular à la carte menu, or try their version of the Seven Fishes, which includes items like crab-stuffed deviled eggs; pan-roasted day boat scallops, lemon, escarole, sea urchin, toasted sesame seeds; steamed Manila clams with garlic, parsley, white wine, and Calabrese chiles; a wedge of baked swordfish with a trinity of sauces; a traditional Christmas brioche bread pudding; and more. December 22nd-24th, 6pm-9pm; $75.

~FLOUR + WATER~ is serving a Sicilian-style Seven Fishes at 7pm on the 24th in the Dough Room. Eight courses for $265, inclusive of wine pairings and gratuity. There are only 12 seats at the chef’s table; get ‘em quick. Tickets online.

Now through December 27th, get a taste of a German Christmas at ~SCHMIDT’S~, where they’re offering a prix-fixe Christmas dinner ($30) with karotten zuppe (carrot soup); braised baby kale, leek, and sauerkraut strudel; wild boar goulash, chestnuts, and wild mushrooms; glühwein; and a seasonal cookie plate. Add wine pairings for $18. Additional specials include drink and appetizer combos (“Herrengedeck” and “Damengedeck”), and winter beers. 2400 Folsom St. at 20th St., 415-401-0200.

Across the Bay Bridge, ~PICÁN~ is reviving the New Orleans tradition of Le Réveillon de Noël through December 23rd with a prix-fixe menu featuring items like braised beef brisket daube glacé with fresh horseradish, crème fraîche, pickles, and garlic toast; absinthe oyster stew with cornmeal-fried oyster, smoked bacon, and Parmesan; and sugarcane-smoked and molasses-glazed duck leg with mirliton, sage, and mascarpone manicotti, Cajun-spiced candied pecans, and Crystal hot sauce gastrique. $58, or $75 with wine pairing, does not include taxes or gratuity.

Also in the East Bay, ~SAUL’S RESTAURANT AND DELI~ is serving latkes latkes latkes from a “latke truck” 11am-6pm, December 23rd-26th. The truck menu: latke with applesauce and sour cream ($2.75), sweet potato latke with cinnamon sugar or chive dipping sauce ($3), kogel mogel ($5), and sufganiyot ($2.25). Plus, there’ll be a special Hanukkah dinner menu inside. 1475 Shattuck Ave. at Vine, Berkeley, 510-848-3354.

South of the city, ~INTRAMUROS RESTAURANT~ and Filipino dining social group kapaMEALya are presenting Noche Buena on Friday December 16th, serving traditional Filipino holiday dishes like pininyahang hamon (housemade ham cooked in pineapple juice), quezo de bola y chorizo (Edam cheese and chorizo de Bilbao with pan de sal), rellenong bangus (stuffed milkfish with pimientos, carrots, and green peas), and paella Manilena (seasoned sweet rice, chorizo, chicken, prawns, mussels, pimientos, peas, and boiled eggs). 7pm. $45, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Tickets online. 101 Brentwood Dr. at El Camino, South San Francisco, 650-877-7736.

And to the north, ~MADRONA MANOR~ in Healdsburg continues their 25-year tradition of Dickens Dinners, a five-course dinner from Michelin-starred chef Jesse Mallgren, with entertainment and carols from the Twelfth Night Singers. Menu items include lobster “shepherd’s pie,” Dungeness crab salad, lemon “scented” sole, and Christmas pudding, plus vegetarian options. Nightly December 11th-December 25th, with a second earlier seating on Christmas Day. $85-$125, exclusive of tax, gratuity, and beverages. Note the special discount: 50% off the regular room rate for Dickens Dinners guests. 1001 Westside Rd. at W. Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg, 800-258-4003.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dining

christmastree.JPG

My Aunt Mary’s Christmas tree. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Event Info

Saturday Dec 24, 2011 – Sunday Dec 25, 2011

Do you have a lot of folks coming into town, and dining in means dining in your tiny SF apartment with more guests than your even-tinier kitchen can handle? If you’re considering dining out for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the options abound. Check ‘em out!

Christmas Eve

For the 24th, your prix-fixe options include ~BAKER & BANKER~’s five-course menu, ~BUSHI-TEI~’s three-course Christmas goose omakase ($35) or their regular menu, and ~JARDINIÈRE~’s four-course menu with choices for each course ($95). ~SPRUCE~ is open 5pm-10pm for a four-course menu ($95, exclusive of tax and gratuity), and ~QUINCE~ will be open as well.

~MASA’S~ is serving a Christmas Eve menu that includes potato leek soup, chilled Dungeness crab salad, sous vide Columbia River sturgeon, “cassoulet” of Whetstone Valley goose, and their take on the Bûche de Noël. $125, add wine pairing for $69.

At ~LA FOLIE~, the six-course prix-fixe menu gives you main course choices of pan-seared wild striped bass with leek fondue, bone marrow custard, and short rib jus, or roasted Millbrook Farms venison with farro risotto, braised red cabbage, and huckleberry sauce. 5pm-9:30pm. $130.

~MICHAEL MINA~ will be offering two Christmas Eve dining options: the three-course tasting service ($75) with seasonal options (like chestnut soup, Liberty Farms duck breast, and winter spice cake), or the Feast of the Seven Fishes tasting menu ($125), which will include eight courses (like salt cod brandade fritter, squid ink conchiglie, roasted half Maine lobster, and crispy-skin black sea bass with short rib stuffed calamari).

At ~PIPERADE~, the three-course prix-fixe menu comes with a glass of cava. Choose from entrées like roasted chicken with parsnips, sunchoke, chestnuts, and mushrooms; steamed Pacific rockfish with spinach and fried garlic vinaigrette; seared duck filet with braised romaine, and huckleberry sauce; or roasted lamb chop and sausage with braised fennel and cumin-date relish. $65. 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1015 Battery St. at Green, 415-391-2555.

Christmas
Please note: some of these places are also open Christmas Eve.

~AME~ is open Christmas Day from 4pm-8pm, offering their regular menu and a holiday five-course chef’s tasting menu with a modern Asian twist. Items include ocean trout “mi cuit” with dill cucumber salad, wakame seaweed and ocean trout roe; cream of celeriac soup with foie gras “croutons” and shaved chestnuts; lobster “pot pie” with forest mushrooms and melted onions; grilled duck breast with crunchy “smashed” yukon potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and huckleberry sauce; and dessert. $95, plus $68 for wine pairings.

~AMERICANO~’s Christmas dinner will have five courses (vegetarian options avail) like candy cap and pumpkin sformato with chanterelle mushroom brodetto and spiced pecans; diver scallops with sunchokes and gremolata; white bean and mascarpone ravioli with charred escarole; farroto with black trumpet mushrooms, slow egg, and black truffle Parmesan fonduta; and persimmon pudding cake with caramel and brown butter ice cream. $75, wine pairings additional.

~SEASONS~ has special plans for lunch and dinner. Christmas Day lunch is a three-course plated lunch served 11am-2:30pm. On the menu are items like butter-basted organic turkey with whipped potatoes, corn flan, Brussels sprouts, candied sweet potato, chestnut-onion-pork stuffing, and giblet gravy; housemade tagliatelle with braised black trumpet mushrooms, arugula, and black truffle butter; and traditional Christmas pudding. $85 adults with optional $35 wine pairings, $25 children. Christmas Day dinner is a four-course plated menu, 5pm-9pm, with items like cocoa nib-crusted venison loin with butternut and spaghetti squash, pearl onions, confit chestnuts, pomegranate and cocoa jus; sweet potato bisque with smoked maple flan, crisp potatoes, and bacon jam; and vanilla-infused ganache with chocolate pecan sablé, and housemade sweet potato ice cream. $99 adults with optional wine pairings for $35 or optional Champagne pairings for $95, $30 children.

~POESIA~, a cozy little spot in the Castro, will be open with their regular menu. ~SUTRO’S AT THE CLIFF HOUSE~ is also open, as are more options listed here on OpenTable.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Dec 6, 2011

A Very Thirsty Jake

According to this tweet from Bi-Rite Market, ~Jake Gyllenhaal~ dashed into the market this morning: “Hold the phone, @jakegyllenhal just came in to the Market! Unfortunately, he only bought waters :-( Wonder what he’s in town for??”

A follow-up tweet about the sighting that was sent to Eater’s twitter account mentions seeing Jakey at nopa on Sunday night. After confirming with the nopa crew, I learned he sat at the communal table! I know, this is one of those moments when you’d really loooove communal seating. He was reportedly very kind to the server, who said he was really cool and down to earth. (And don’t forget hot!) He had the fried Brussels spouts, avocado salad, and chicories salad (yeah, that’s a lot of salad), plus a glass of wine. He departed when the restaurant got really busy.

Shaking Hands, Hugging Ladies at Ame

~Cuba Gooding Jr.~ dined at Ame with ~Terrence Howard~ and Star Wars producer Rick McCallum. My spy says Cuba “was very friendly to the staff and shook everyone’s hands and gave hugs to ladies in the bar and restaurant. They were a fun group and kept raving about the food.”

Giving Thanks While He Can

A tablehopper reader let me know ~Michael Franti~ was spotted eating lunch at Gracias Madre “with a lady friend” last Monday afternoon. Whether it’s going to be his last meal there remains to be seen with the impending closures of most Café Gratitude locations, and Gracias Madre (sniff).

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