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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: churning (like buttah!).

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The shrimp po’ boy at Radish. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How was your weekend of fun in the sun? I’m glad I played some hooky on Saturday, starting with this fab lunch you see here at Radish (including an ice cold beer, natch), shopping in the Mission, an alfresco dinner with my folks and sis in the alley at Gitane, catching a fire performer show at Union Square, celebrating chef Hoss Zaré’s 50th birthday, and finishing the night with drinks and bites at nopa. And I did it all on my cute powder blue Public bike, such a trusty steed.

For the first time in I can’t even remember how long, I didn’t have to set my alarm on Sunday—what a delicious thing. The other delicious thing was the annual Meals On Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala that evening. I am always so blown away with the abundance of dishes and crazy talent in the room. I have to admit, going backstage this year proved to be the most impressive yet: the dishes were full of beautifully plated vegetables (so very Northern California). All the chefs were helping each other out, wielding a sea of tweezers (and, as one chef pointed out to me, there was an entire row of immersion circulators along the periphery—quite a few more than just a couple years ago). The event ended up raising a record $1.9 million, which equates to approximately 475,000 meals to homebound seniors. (I can’t wait for the day when I’m loaded and I can Fund-A-Route for $10,000.) Kudos to everyone there who contributed their time, money, and talent for this oh-so-deserving cause. You can take a look at my photo album of the over-the-top evening here.

While at Meals On Wheels, I had a number of people ask me if tablehopper was going away since I’m the new contributing food editor for 7x7. Again, the answer is no: I am not taking a full-time staff position, so tablehopper will still be in your inbox on Tuesdays. Business as usual, yo. In case some of you missed my announcement on Friday, you can read it here. Although Ms. Busy Lady (yes, me) is looking for some help at tablehopper HQ: check out the ad here.

What a crazy shuffle going on in media right now: Jesse Hirsch is taking over for Patricia Unterman at The Examiner (keep up with Patty on her new website—she is posting a bunch of reviews there), Jonathan Kauffman has left the SF Weekly for Tasting Table, 7x7’s Sara Deseran is now deputy editor at San Francisco magazine, and we just have to wait and see where Jan Newberry is off to next. You got all that?

As for me, in light of this month of monster truck deadlines, I am taking a much-needed 24 hours away from the computer, and will be driving up to Healdsburg tomorrow to stay the night on my friend’s ranch. Already counting the minutes until I put my car into first gear.

This Saturday is the sold-out tablehopper wine tasting/Languedoc event, I look forward to seeing you all there! Be sure to check out today’s socialite for another upcoming tablehopper event at Ramekins in Sonoma: I’ll be talking (and tasting) salumi with charcutier Peter Temkin!

Ciao/meow.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Apr 24, 2012

Nopalito on 9th Is Now Open in the Inner Sunset

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The new Nopalito on 9th; photo by Eva Frye for Eater.

Congrats to the ~NOPALITO~ team (including co-chefs Gonzalo Guzman and Jose Ramos) for opening their second location yesterday in the Inner Sunset. The look is very similar to the original Nopalito on Broderick (they used the same designers, Abeug-Morris)—look for warm wood floors, white-painted exposed brick, lots of the restaurant’s trademark green, and concrete bar tops. You can swing by for lunch and dinner, and you’ll note a few new additions to the menu like albondigas en mole, and tortas for lunch. Eater also mentions: “Sidewalk tables and a large 25-seat back patio will become options once permitting comes through in a few months time.” Cocktails will kick in soon—for now it’s beer and wine. No reservations, but like the Broderick location, you can call ahead to get your name on the list. Open Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm and Sat-Sun 10:30am-10pm. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966.

Nopalito - 306 Broderick St. San Francisco - 415-437-0303

Temporary Closures: nopa (and Maybe Sam Wo?); E&O's Renovation Pushed Out

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The slip of a space that was Sam Wo. Photo from Sam Wo’s website.

Attention late night diners: ~NOPA~ will be closed Tuesday and Wednesday for maintenance, and according to a tweet, will be returning on Thursday with shiny floors!

The big news last week was about the closure of the over-100-year-old Chinatown icon ~SAM WO~, known as the home of the infamous waiter Edsel Ford Fung. Although the news was grim (owner David Ho said it was so old that it would be too challenging to bring the restaurant up to code), according to this post on SFist, the owner’s daughter, Julie Ho, is rallying to save the place. As reported on SFist: “According to a spokesperson for the Health Department, ‘everything from venting to plumbing to electrical all need to be upgraded’ to pass muster.”

Growing up in San Mateo, Sam Wo’s had a popular rep among my fellow high school buddies for looking the other way when you felt like doing some good ole underage beer drinkin’ (God bless ‘em)—there was a nearby liquor store that would sell to you, and you could BYOB. Yeah, good times. (Scoop has a great slideshow, and the commenters’ memories are a fun read, for a change.) As for the fate of the place, at the Health Department hearing this morning, a number of changes were outlined that need to be made—we’ll see if the restaurant makes them and reopens again. 813 Washington St. at Grant, 415-982-0596.

On Sunday, I ran into Arnold Eric Wong of ~E&O TRADING COMPANY~, who told me the restaurant’s planned renovations have been delayed until just after Memorial Day, when it will close for a month or so. (It ends up a historic façade is making the permitting process go a little slower.) Which means you have another month of corn fritters!

E&O Trading Company - 314 Sutter St. San Francisco - 415-693-0303

Closures: Lafitte, Prime Rib Shabu

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Interior of Lafitte. Photo from Lafitte.

A couple closures this past week: Eater broke the news that Russell Jackson’s ~LAFITTE~ at Pier 5 has closed. Here’s more: “Jackson says he has a buyer for the space, and that he’ll now be heading to New York to launch SubCulture Dining there for a while. (Jackson was an early pioneer of the underground dining scene in S.F., launching in 2006.) Then he promises to be back to do another foie gras dinner or two, before [foie gras’] time is up in July.” Someone who wants to ring up some America’s Cup business, well, here’s your spot.

Over in the Inner Richmond, Scoop reports Luke Sung’s ~PRIME RIB SHABU~ has closed. Reportedly a new restaurant called Cajun House Louisiana Crawfish will be opening in the space. 308 5th Ave. at Clement.

Prime Rib Shabu - 308 5th Ave. San Francisco - 415-379-4678

Expansions: Troya Fillmore Opens, Live Sushi to Excelsior

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Troya on Fillmore’s new sign. Photo from Troya.

Potentially opening tonight for dinner is ~TROYA FILLMORE~, opening in the former Citizen Cake space. This is the second location for the Turkish-Mediterranean restaurant (the original location opened six years ago). Chef Philip Busacco (previously chef de cuisine at Terzo for the last six years) will be taking a modern approach to Turkish-inspired Mediterranean dishes, and will mostly feature local and organic ingredients. Expect mezes (small plates), kebabs, entrées, and original desserts. Owner and wine director Brigitte Cullen consulted with Mark Bright (Saison) and Mark Thompson (sommelier) to customize a wine list for the Fillmore location, highlighting top Mediterranean wines, as well as local favorites. Troya Fillmore will be open for lunch and dinner daily (Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm), with brunch and dinner on the weekends (10am-10pm). They plan to be open for dinner only the first week, and then launch lunch and brunch. 2125 Fillmore St. at California, 415-563-1000.

Over in the Excelsior, a tipster lets me know ~LIVE SUSHI~ is opening a third location in the former DaKine’s Hawaiian BBQ. 4808 Mission St. at Onondaga, 415-585-5055.

New Chef at Prospect: Chris L'Hommedieu

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Prospect’s main dining room: booths and banquette seating. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Big news over at ~PROSPECT~: Inside Scoop reports Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola have brought on Chris L’Hommedieu from the Michael Mina Group as chef. Mazzola has been leading the helm since the departure of Ravi Kapur last year when Ravi’s son was born. Look for some updates to the menu in coming weeks.

Prospect - 300 Spear St. San Francisco - 415-247-7770

Quick Update: Brown Sugar Kitchen in SF Is Delayed

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BSK’s impeccable waffles. Yelp photo by Pei K.

I know, I know, many of us in the 415 have been waiting for news of Tanya Holland opening her second location of Oakland favorite ~BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN~ at 5800 Third Street. After a number of project delays, the latest word I received from her was this: “Not happening in SF anytime soon.” Ack, what a bummer—no waffles from Ms. Holland in the 415 for now.

Old Skool Café Now Serving Dinner (and a Show) Every Thu-Sat

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The Old Skool Cafe during a Behind the Cart event. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I was happy to read in Grub Street that ~OLD SKOOL CAFÉ~ in Bayview has made the transition from being an event space to now serving dinner every Thu-Sat. For those not familiar with the project, it’s a “1940s-themed supperclub and non-profit restaurant [that] is the brainchild of Teresa Goines, and it’s the result of several years of fundraising and program-building with a group of at-risk and previously incarcerated young people ages 16 to 22. The kids serve as chefs, waitstaff, and entertainers, and they’re all paid for their work and meanwhile get apprenticeships in restaurant management, performing, and cooking.” It’s an amazing program, and there are many ways you can get involved, from donating time and money, to now swinging by for dinner and a show. Check out the menu here. Thu-Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm. 1429 Mendell St. (3rd St. and Oakdale/Palou), 415-822-8531.

Changes: Caffè Pascucci Is Now Bravado

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Caffè Pascucci photo by Henrik Kam.

Looks like ~CAFFÈ PASCUCCI~ in SoMa/Mission Bay has changed its name to ~BRAVADO COFFEE BAR AND LOUNGE~ for the SF market. It will continue to feature a variety of Caffè Pascucci proprietary coffee blends and signature coffee drinks, plus sandwiches and more. (Thanks to Jason B. for the tip!) Open Mon-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm. 170 King St. at 3rd St., 415-957-1100.

Pop-Ups: Hapa Ramen, Guido Returns, Truck Stop, More

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HAPA’s Thai beef salad and potato chips; photo from Hapa Ramen.

Some quick hits for your pop-up radar: tonight is ~HAPA RAMEN~ at Wing Wings in the Lower Haight. Instead of ramen, expect preview menu items for Richie Nakano’s upcoming brick-and-mortar restaurant, HAPA, on Fillmore Street (take a peek at an in-progress menu here). 6pm-10pm, BYOB, cash only.

On Wednesday April 25th, Jake Godby is back at Truck for ~TRUCK STOP CAFE~. The menu includes duck fat Chex mix (made to order, $6); meatball sandwich, broccoli rabe, mozzarella ($10); grilled cheese, brisket, tomato jam ($10); and some other dishes, but if I keep writing them down, I’m going to get really fricking hangry. 6pm-10pm. 1900 Folsom St. at 15th St.

This Wednesday, ~GUIDO~ returns for dinners Wed-Thu 5:30pm- 9:30pm at Just For You Cafe. 732 22nd St. at 3rd St., 415-647-3033.

Vegans: you’ll want to swing by ~THE WINDOW~ May 4th-5th for Wildflower by chef Ayinde Howell, with seitan shwarma, and some Cinco de Mayo treats like beer-battered tempeh tacos. 1599 Howard St. at 12th St.

Oakland Openings: District, a New Bittersweet Location, More

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The bar at District Oakland. Photo from UrbanDaddy by Michael David Rose Photography.

As previously reported in tablehopper, ~DISTRICT OAKLAND~ is opening in the former Levende East space in Old Oakland, and according to East Bay Express, it will be opening this coming Friday April 27th. To recap: there will be plenty of wine, whiskeys (over 40!), and some food to keep you from hurting yourself too badly—have at it. Hours will be Mon-Fri 4pm-close, Sat 5pm onward. 827 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-272-9110.

Fans of ~BITTERSWEET~ should know the chocolate-coffee combo have opened a café in Oakland, according to Berkleyside. 1438 Broadway at Telegraph, Oakland.

More café news: East Bay Dish reports ~ROOM 389~ is now opening in the morning, serving coffee from Bicycle and Roast Coffee, Five Mountains Tea, and pastries from Starter Bakery. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm. 389 Grand Ave. at Staten, Oakland, 
510-936-6389.

Masa's Celebrates 30 Years By Offering 25% Off on Thursdays

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This is the amazing beef dish you want at Masa’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whoa, this is quite the celebratory deal: ~MASA’S~ is celebrating 30 years, and to show their appreciation, they’re offering 25% off the entire menu and wine list every Thursday in 2012. This is a good chance to indulge in executive chef Gregory Short’s four- and seven-course prix-fixe menus, with wine pairing by Master Sommelier Alan Murray, prepared in the tradition of restaurant founder Masataki Kobayashi. Look for local, seasonal ingredients in their modern-classic menu and in their cocktails, and don’t forget the “candy cart.” Release the mignardises! Seatings from 5:30pm-9:30pm. Call 415-989-7154 or email for reservations.

Masa's - 648 Bush St. San Francisco - 415-989-7154

Cinco de Mayo Events: Hecho en San Francisco, More

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Make your Cinco de Mayo celebration count by joining Tacolicious at their second annual ~HECHO EN SAN FRANCISCO~ party. From 6pm-9pm in the CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Building, gulp and guzzle top-shelf tequila, Tacolicious tacos, antojitos from 10 SF Mexican restaurants and purveyors, and more, with all proceeds going to CUESA and La Cocina.

Your tasty Mexican food choices will include La Palma Mexicatessen’s made-to-order tortillas filled with braised meats or market vegetables from Tacolicious, La Torta Gorda’s Puebla-style cooking, artisan jello-shots (hic) from Sweets Collection, Don Bugito’s edible insects, Nopalito’s fresh ceviche, plus offerings from FOOD, Chaac Mool, Hella Vegan Eats, El Buen Comer, Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, and Rancho Gordo.

Drink choices include handcrafted cocktails using Don Julio, Cuervo Tradicional, and Mi Casa tequila, including Mi Casa’s Tequila Daisy with homemade grenadine; two beers, Victoria and Corona Familiar; and seasonal agua fresca from El Buen Comer. Tickets are $55, available online. CUESA Kitchen, 1 Ferry Plz. at Embarcadero and Market.

And not very Cinco de Mayo-related, but it is Saturday May 5th: take the Fermented Favorites tour with the good folks of ~DISCOVERY STREET TOURS~ from 1:30pm-4pm, and you’ll spend the afternoon exploring wine and cheese. Perfect if you’re more of a wino than a tequil-ino. Although, given the timing of these events, you can be both.

Saturday May 5, 2012
more info

the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Apr 24, 2012

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Apr 24, 2012

Upcoming Wine Dinners: Penfolds, Radio-Coteau, and Robert Sinskey

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Photo from Penfolds website.

Fellow winos, take note: there are a few opportunities coming up to experience special wine dinners that don’t come around too often. Sign up soon if you wanna get a seat (maybe in a Ferrari).

Tonight, April 24th, ~MICHAEL MINA~ is hosting an exclusive SF pre-release dinner for those who want to get the first taste of the 2007 vintage of Australia’s celebrated Penfolds Grange Shiraz (Charlie Trotter did likewise in Chi-Town). Lucky guests also get exclusive tastes of the Penfolds 2009 Yattarna Chardonnay, 2009 RWT Barossa Shiraz, 2009 Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2008 St. Henri Shiraz. Penfolds winemaking ambassador Matthew Lane will be in attendance, as will chief winemaker Peter Gago to share his personal back vintage favorites. By the way, Ferrari/Maserati of San Francisco will be parking a couple of their latest models out front. Advance tickets ($300) are required. Email or call Lily Lane at 707-299-3252.

On Thursday May 10th, ~PROSPECT~, alongside Radio-Coteau and Pickleweed Point Oyster Co., is presenting a Viticulture + Aquaculture dinner in celebration of California’s coastal farming communities. Pickleweed’s master shucker Luc Chamberland will start the evening with artisan-raised oysters. Prospect’s Pam Mazzola will follow with a three-course dinner, and all will be paired with Radio-Coteau wines (six total, including chardonnay, rosé, pinot noir, and syrah). 6:30pm-10pm. $185 all-inclusive. Email or call to reserve, 415-247-7767.

Monday May 21st at ~CAFÉ DES AMIS~, chef Mark Sullivan is planning a special winemaker dinner paired with the organic and biodynamic wines of Robert Sinskey. The menu includes salade verte, légumes du marché, chèvre crouton with Alsatian Blend, Robert Sinskey, Abraxas Vin de Terroir, Los Carneros 2010; smoked duck breast, spring onion, roasted cherries, sauce aux cerises with Pinot Noir, Robert Sinskey, Los Carneros 2008, and Pinot Noir, Robert Sinskey, ‘Three Amigos,’ Los Carneros 2008; grilled bavette steak, tomato confit, crispy okra, spring squash, basil with Merlot Blend, Robert Sinskey, ‘Marcien,’ Los Carneros 2006, and Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, Robert Sinskey, ‘POV,’ Los Carneros 2008; Farmstead cheese, honey, jam, nuts, walnut cranberry bread with Late Harvest Pinot Gris, Robert Sinskey, Los Carneros 2007; and strawberries, clafoutis, and canelés. 6pm. $95, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Call 415-563-7700 for resos.

Bullitt/Mayhem Crew Taking Over 4 Corners on Union

After noticing some ABC license activity for the southwestern 4 Corners on Union Street, Grub Street and Eater confirm the team of Duncan Ley and Ben Bleiman (Bullitt, Tonic, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, Rebel) are taking over the space. (Side note: the team always has the funniest ownership names on their licenses; to wit: Steamed Sloth, Disgruntled Goat, and Furious Ferret.) They will be opening ~LIGHTNING~, a “hybrid of Mayhem and Bullitt,” and Michael Brennan is doing the renovation, with plans to open in early June. 1875 Union St. at Laguna.

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Apr 24, 2012

There Will Be Meat: Let's Talk and Taste Salumi

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Gorgeous culatello (at Il Boscareto Resort). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Event Info

Friday Jun 15, 2012
6:30pm–9:30pm
$75
Tickets
Ramekins
450 W. Spain St. at 4th St. W., Sonoma
707-933-0450

Wanted to give you first crack at this upcoming event with yours truly: on Friday June 15th, join Peter Temkin and me, your tablehopper, for a conversation and tasting all about salumi, uh huh. Yeah, ~THERE WILL BE MEAT~.

Peter (who is charcutier for Showdogs and Foreign Cinema) and I will be walking you through the ancient craft of charcuterie, discussing the history and different styles of cured meats in Italy, Spain, and France, and giving tips on how to buy, serve, and store it at home. Sample local artisanal salumi from Oenotri, Bovolo, Diavola, and from Peter’s own stash. We’ll also be featuring Mano Formate coppa, the award-winning house-cured salumi from chef John Toulze of the girl & the fig. Then compare them to some more large-production releases. Lambrusco (a classic accompaniment) and other wines will also be served.

Get ready for a whole lotta meaty goodness. 6:30pm-9:30pm. $75, reserve online. Ramekins, 450 W. Spain St. at 4th St. W., Sonoma, 707-933-0450.

Three Fundraising Events That Benefit Local Schools and Organizations

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Photo of Taste of Potrero 2011 courtesy of Sköna.

Event Info

Saturday Apr 28, 2012 – Thursday May 31, 2012

Author Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love fame) is gracing the Bay Area with two appearances to present At Home on the Range, her great-grandmonther Margaret Yardley Potter’s narrative cookbook, coming out in a new edition from McSweeney’s. Your first (and free) chance to meet Ms. Gilbert is on April 28th at 1pm at Book Passage in the Ferry Building. Then on April 29th, you can join her at ~LEFT BANK~ up in Larkspur (507 Magnolia Ave at Ward St.) for a “Cooks with Books” dinner featuring dishes from At Home on the Range. 6:30pm. $115, includes meal, wine, coffee, tax, tip, and a signed copy of the book. Dinner proceeds and all the author’s book proceeds benefit nonprofits 826 National and ScholarMatch.

Coming up on Thursday May 10th, the second annual ~TASTE OF POTRERO~ food and fundraising event for Daniel Webster Elementary in Potrero Hill is sure to be another sell-out night, so get tix now. Gathering together at the SOMArts Cultural Center will be SF mixologists—Homestead and Comstock Saloon will be giving lessons in mixology while giving out cocktail samples—and at least 15 restaurants. Ame, Tacolicious, Hapa Ramen, Poquito, Skool, Piccino, Magnolia, Dynamo Donuts, Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous, Nojo, Local Mission Eatery, and many more are signed up, including gourmet Vietnamese food truck Mama Cass. Check out the silent auction and Wine Wall while you’re there. 6pm-10pm. $75 and up. 100% of proceeds benefit Daniel Webster Elementary. 934 Brannan St. at 8th St.

You can also eat and do good for SF’s Ida B. Wells High School by joining their ~LONG TABLE DINNER~ on Thursday May 3rd, presented by Heat of the Kitchen’s work-based learning class. Students will make and serve a multi-course meal featuring ultra-local produce from their farm-at-school collaboration with nopa. Dinner will include with a soup, braised chicken tagine-style (chickens kindly donated by Laurence Jossel), sautéed spring greens, salad, and almond cake with mascarpone cream and fruit, plus elegant but non-alcoholic beverages. Dinner at 6:30pm (art show at 3:30pm). $35, advance tickets only. 1099 Hayes St. at Pierce.

Not a fundraising event, but did want to share this with the teachers out there: Lark Creek Restaurant Group is once again offering to pick up tab on the first $10 spent by each Bay Area teacher or school employee at participating locations during the month of May for Teacher Appreciation Month. No restrictions on how many teachers (with valid ID) may dine together, how often they may dine, or how much money they need to spend to receive the gift (excludes tax, alcohol, and gratuity). Participating restaurants include One Market, LarkCreekSteak, and Cupola Pizzeria in San Francisco; The Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur; Lark Creek Walnut Creek; Fish Story in Napa; Parcel 104 in Santa Clara; and the three Yankee Pier restaurants in Larkspur, at Santana Row in San Jose, and Lafayette.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)
Apr 24, 2012

Goose & Gander Takes Flight

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A Coastal Pimm’s Cup with bay leaves and borage flowers, and Spring Shrub behind; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

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Duck confit in its nest of springtime veggies; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Last weekend I got to peek inside the newly renovated Martini House building in downtown St. Helena for a media preview of ~GOOSE & GANDER~. Though the garden patios were still a work in progress, the upstairs dining room and basement bar looked ready to rock. And rock they did, with a mind-blowing cocktail menu from bar manager Scott Beattie and his team of crack mixologists, and a parade of outrageously soulful eats by chef Kelly McCown.

While the basement bar was hardly touched by renovations, the menus have taken off in entirely original and delicious directions. Some highlights of the cocktail hour portion of the evening: first, a Spring Shrub, made with St. George Botanivore gin, lemon, ginger, seltzer, and rosemary-pear shrub (a “shrub” is a pre-cocktail era drink made primarily with a reduction of fresh fruit-infused vinegar. Did you know? I didn’t); the colorful Cucumber Collins, made with Square One Cucumber vodka, fresh huckleberries, yuzu, and sliced fresh and huckleberry-pickled cucumbers; and the insane fried Castelvetrano olive and escargot skewers, showered with fennel pollen, and paired with melted anchovy butter for dunking. Oh yes they did.

Upstairs, the weird balconied hole in the middle of the Martini House dining room has been filled in to give better table spacing and a centralized energy. Rich red walls and dark leather booths modernize the look of the exposed wooden beams without losing the soothing historic vibe. Chef McCown said he wants Goose & Gander to feel like a true “public house,” where people hang out, eat really delicious unfussy dishes—he calls his menu “rustic American pub food”—and just relax and feel comfortable. Although he admitted the kitchen does use some modern techniques (the pork T-bone is cooked sous-vide before it’s fired, for example), you won’t find any foams, tweezers, or antigriddles in the kitchen. He’s after layered, complex flavors and textures that taste amazing without a whiff of pretension.

The menu wasn’t yet finalized when I was there, but I am praying fervently that I can revisit the crispy-skinned confit duck leg (a glorious by-product from Sonoma-Artisan Foie Gras’ operations—which are, sadly, moving to Nevada soon); the seared scallops with fried green tomatoes, coil of pancetta, and jalapeño beurre blanc; and/or the luscious Loch Duart salmon topped with crisped prosciutto curls. The chicken breast was a shocking sleeper hit too, with its punchy potatoes and gremolata—but then there was that tender pork T-bone, smothered in a saffron and curry infused piperade with whole candied garlic cloves. Too much goodness for a single night.

And, there’s more: chef McCown has also scored an exciting exclusive on restaurant service of the new charcuterie line by David Katz (of Panevino fame). Katz’s delicate lavender-scented salumi, lamb chorizo, tender duck prosciutto, and more will eventually be available through limited retail channels, but Goose & Gander is the only restaurant that will be slicing it up for you.

The soft opening for the public is today, Tuesday April 24th. 1245 Spring St. at Oak St., St. Helena, 707-967-8779.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Apr 24, 2012

Pals and Val

On Friday night, ~Val Kilmer~ came in to Dosa on Fillmore with two other guys, ordering the Chennai chicken, vada pav (nice choice!), dahi vada, and the Tamil lamb curry. He reportedly said he loved it all.

Total Madness

~Madness~ (the band) was at Jasper’s Corner Tap last week (ostensibly after their show at The Warfield). They were kicking it at the bar—people saw them drinking bartender Allison Webber’s cocktails and a few Fernet shots—because that’s how we do it here in San Francisco.

A Smooth Sax Sighting

On Saturday afternoon, the curly-haired man of smooth sax, ~Kenny G~, was spotted having lunch at Puccini & Pinetti. Lunch must have been delicious, because he was back Thursday night for dinner. (He was in town playing at Yoshi’s for four nights.)

Sporty Sightings

A couple readers wrote in with these sightings: “A colleague spotted ~Kobe Bryant~ today eating lunch at Yank Sing on Stevenson Street.”

And on Saturday night, another reader writes: “I saw ~Michael Johnson~, the Gold Medal Olympic sprinter, tonight at Betelnut. He was having dinner with a female companion. He was dressed in a blazer and jeans. He didn’t eat as fast as he can run!”

A First: A Starlet Sighting at the Uptown

That ~John Waters~, he really loves the slum it. According to this pic and post on Uptown Almanac, he of the pencil mustache “climb[ed] out of a mid-90s LeBaron limo” and hung out in the Uptown bar whilst in a smoking jacket. I guess now is as good a time as ever to wish a happy belated birthday to “The Pope of Trash!”

Coquilles Saint Jacques

Last Tuesday, ~Jacques Pépin~ had lunch at Waterbar. He has been very busy touring for his new book, Essential Pépin.

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