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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: dust bowl.

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Krondill poached lobster Skagen at Pläj. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy! By the time you read this, I will hopefully be relatively close to passing through the Burning Man gate in Nevada. Isn’t technology amazing? Heh. What’s even more amazing is I will be completely away from technology for a week: no phone, no email, no Twitter, no Facebook! There is nothing like being completely wired and then going completely off the grid.

So please, if you can hang on to that burning question or pitch and refrain from emailing me so I don’t come home to 1,000 messages next Tuesday September 4th, I’ll be a happy camper. Thanks muchissimo.

There will be a very short tablehopper issue next Tuesday the 4th, but that thing is already written, so please, no pitches! (As you can tell, I get way too much email.) Things should be back to “normal” and I should be all caught up by Tuesday September 11th. Bon? Bon.

I hope you all enjoy the empty city, and have a fab Labor Day weekend. I’ll be sure to kick up a little dust for ya. Hell, a lot.

Giddy up!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Aug 28, 2012

Recchiuti Confections to Open Chocolate Lab and Little Nib in Dogpatch

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Michael Recchiuti at a Dogpatch block party. Photo courtesy Tom Seawell Photography.

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A view of the kitchen at Chocolate Lab. Photo courtesy Rebecca Hinden Photography.

Michael and Jacky Recchiuti, the chocolate masterminds behind the Recchiuti chocolate line (and shop in the Ferry Building) are getting ready to open their newest venture, the ~CHOCOLATE LAB~ café. The café (in the former Piccino space in Dogpatch) will serve savory and sweet treats, including light sandwiches, chocolate desserts, and the chocolate confections that have made Recchiuti famous. Take a peek at the menu here, and can I just say: sign me up for that ice cream sundae.

The space for Chocolate Lab has been designed to create an apothecary or laboratory mood, which seems fitting, as chocolate is definitely a sort of medicine for lots of us. The design utilizes pieces from lots of local talent too. Heath Ceramics is responsible for much of tile throughout the café and kitchen, and local artist Nate Watson created the hand-blown glass details in the dining area. The tabletops and walls were created from a fallen elm tree by Paul Discoe. Overlooking the dining area is a darling garden from the green thumb geniuses at Flora Grubb. The space should be a beautiful spot to enjoy a light lunch or a rich, inventive dessert or both—let’s be honest.

The café is slated to open in early October, but in the meantime you can head over to the ~LITTLE NIB~, which just opened down the street. Little Nib will be selling Recchiuti’s chocolate confections, including favorites from the Ferry Building as well as a new “Dogpatch” line. There will also be packaged baked goods to take home, like brownies and cookies.

Chocolate Lab will be open Tue-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm, and Sun 11:30am-5pm. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-489-2881. Little Nib will be open Tue-Sat 12pm-7pm and Sun 12pm-5pm. 807 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-489-2882.

Random Hodgepodge of Tasty News!

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At Original Joe’s; Deco mermaid. Photo by Joey DeRuy.

Since I don’t have time to follow up and get details on these pieces of news, I’m just gonna give you a grab bag of tidbits: first, a tipster writes in the the now-closed Circolo will become ~CAÑA CUBAN RESTAURANT~ (they have another location in Oakland). Construction has reportedly started. Let’s hope they bring over another in-house sugarcane press! 500 Florida St. at Mariposa.

The biscuit-making Van Dao is thrilled to announce he will be opening a ~BISCUIT BENDER~ kiosk in the Ferry Building Marketplace, across from Blue Bottle; it’s slated to open September 1st.

And a couple places around town have launched weekend brunch service: ~DIXIE~ and ~ORIGINAL JOE’S~.

Pretty Please Bakeshop Now Open in Inner Richmond

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Housemade Twinkies and Ding Dongs in the pastry case. Photo from Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the Inner Richmond is getting a new bakery! ~PRETTY PLEASE BAKESHOP~ is now open on 3rd Ave. The bakery will serve as a brick-and-mortar location for pastry chef Alison Okabayashi’s cakes, pastries, and other sweet goodies. Look for retro-style treats, like housemade Oreos, snowballs, and Rice Krispies treats. There will also be cakes that are ready to carry out the door, for smaller events like a birthday or graduation, or you can work with the baker herself to create larger cakes for your delicious occasion. Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-7pm and Sat 10am-6pm. 291 3rd Ave. at Clement, 415-347-3733.

Stag Dining Packs Heat at Buckshot and Blanc Dinner on September 2nd

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Well, shoot, this sounds like a blast! Head to the Pacific Rod & Gun Club on Sunday September 2nd for a pop-up dinner with the ~STAG DINING GROUP~. The dinner features an opening charcuterie and cheese reception paired with five rounds of skeet for you to shoot. Once the guns are safely away and you’ve cooled your gun-slingin’ hands with a drink, you can tuck into a huntsman-style meal with five wine pairings. The menu will include game and foraged favorites, like grilled quail and chanterelles with summer squash. The reception begins at 3pm. Tickets are $120 per person and include everything except tax. The exact location will be emailed the day of the event, but be aware that the shooting reception will be outdoors and the meal will be indoors, so dress accordingly.

Fourth Annual Oysterfest at Waterbar September 15th

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Photo from Waterbar.

Celebrate bivalves with ~WATERBAR~ at the Fourth Annual Oysterfest, on Saturday September 15th from 12pm-3pm. The outdoor event (with great views of the Bay Bridge, natch) includes unlimited sustainable oysters and passed hors d’oeuvres. The kitchen will be helmed by Parke Ulrich, and collaborators include EPIC Roasthouse, Farallon, and Local Mission Eatery. There will also be sweet not-nothings from Waterbar’s Emily Luchetti. For sipping, there will be microbrewed suds from the Bay Area and Napa Valley wines.

Local band Fleeting Trance will provide the shucking soundtrack with live music throughout the afternoon. There will also be a hot sauce competition, as well as an oyster shucking and eating contest. Tickets are $50 and proceeds will go to the San Francisco Surfrider Foundation.

Saturday Sep 15, 2012 – Saturday Sep 15, 2012
12pm-3pm
$50
more info

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Aug 28, 2012

(Sponsored): The 17th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival Is Next Weekend!

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is pleased to announce the 17th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival to benefit Project Open Hand. Come out to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco on Saturday September 8th and Sunday the 9th to experience Chocolate School, chef demonstrations, ice cream eating contests, and a chocolate bake-off. More than 30 different chocolate treats to enjoy! Buy your sampling tickets today.

Come indulge for a cause with us!

Ghirardelli Square
Saturday September 8th and Sunday September 9th
12pm-5pm both days

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Aug 28, 2012

Pio Cesare Wine Dinner at Alexander's Steakhouse September 13th

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Alexander’s Steakhouse. Photo from Facebook.

On Thursday September 13th, ~ALEXANDER’S STEAKHOUSE~ is hosting a wine dinner featuring Pio Cesare wines. The four-course menu from chef Marc ZImmerman will be paired with Pio Cesare wines selected by sommelier Johnny Slamon. Winemaker Pio Boffa will be on hand to answer any questions as well. The cost is $135, including wine and dinner (but not tax and gratuity). Space is limited. 6pm. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 415-495-1111.

Alexander's Steakhouse - 448 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-495-1111

Family Winemakers Tasting Event September 9th

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The 2011 Family Winemakers Tasting. Photo from Facebook by Andy Soto.

Grab your wino friends and start getting ready now for the Family Winemakers of California Tasting coming our way on Sunday September 9th. This is the event’s 22nd year, and it should be a doozy. It will be held at Fort Mason from 3pm-6pm (1pm-6pm for the trade) and will include a ton of cool wines for all you oenophiles out there. The tasting will feature more than 225 wineries, including 22 that have never poured at the event before. More than 150 of the represented wineries will be smaller folks, who produce 5,000 cases or fewer. So check it out! You could totally discover a hidden gem before it gets hot. There will be cheese, crackers, and other nibbles on hand to cushion the vino, as well as crêpes from ~CRÊPERIE SAINT-GERMAIN~.

A cool thing they’re doing this year: tickets can be purchased separately for the iSip lounge, which is not, in fact, a boozy Apple product. It’s a lounge within the event where you will be guided through eight wines selected by sommelier Courtney Cochran. The wines will focus on lesser-known varietals, like petit verdot. There will also be snacks to demonstrate food pairings with the iSip wines. Tickets to the Family Winemakers event are $65 until September 8th and $75 at the door. If you have a group of 10 or more, you’ll get $9.75 off per person. iSip lounge tickets are an additional $75. The event will be open to the public Sunday 3pm-6pm, and trade folks can attend Sunday 1pm-6pm or Monday 2pm-6pm.

Sunday Sep 9, 2012 – Monday Sep 10, 2012
$65 until September 8th, $75 at the door
more info

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Aug 28, 2012

Sixth Annual SF Cocktail Week September 17th-23rd

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The cocktail bounty at SF Cocktail Week 2011. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Monday Sep 17, 2012 – Sunday Sep 23, 2012
$25–$95, depending on the event
Various Locations in San Francisco and the East Bay

San Francisco Cocktail Week is coming up, so raise your glass and stock up on coconut water as you get ready to celebrate the best booze San Francisco has to offer. There are tons of events this year all over town (and across the bay), including classes, tastings, and straight-up parties. The whole bash is thrown by the very cool Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail, an organization committed to preserving San Francisco’s rich bar-going history. Full details about all the events, as well as tickets, can be found at the Cocktail Week website. Here are some highlights from the main events they’ve announced so far.

It all kicks off in good style, with a big par-tay. The Artisan Tasting will happen on Monday September 17th from 6pm-9pm at Anchor Brewing Company. There will be local distillers pouring delicious cocktails and food pairings to match. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door. 1705 Mariposa St. at De Haro.

What could be more San Francisco than artisanal cocktails paired with street food from food trucks? Celebrate our dear city’s particular obsessions at Spirited Food Trucks: A Pairing of Deliciousness, at the SoMa StrEat Food Park. Local bartenders will be mixing drinks, and food can be purchased at participating trucks. Tuesday September 18th, 6pm-9pm. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door and include cocktails, but not food. 428 11th St. at Harrison.

Join bartenders from all along the West Coast for the Best of the West cocktail competition at Local Edition on Wednesday September 19th from 6pm-9pm. Each bartender will utilize “challenge ingredients” à la Iron Chef to craft a cocktail that represents the town they hail from. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door
. 691 Market St. at Kearny.

Get your glam on for The Legends Awards on Friday September 21st from 7pm-10pm at the Swedish American Hall. Cocktails and punches will be served with a 1960s-era Vegas-style dinner and show. Bring on your sequins, tailcoats, and serious sipping skills. Tickets are $85 in advance or $95 at the door
. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.

Then on Saturday September 22nd, head over to the Cocktail Melee at the NWBLK art gallery in the Mission. This “free-for-all liquid experience” promises boozed-up attendees the opportunity to try a bunch of different spirits and cocktails at various tasting booths. The event will be held from 2pm-5pm, outdoors. Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.

Stick around the Mission on Saturday, because in the evening the NWBLK gallery will be hosting the California Altered State Fair by Jupiter Olympus. The fair will be a celebration of California’s wackiness and local bounty, featuring food, games, and carnival-style competitions from 7pm-10pm. Costumes are encouraged, of course. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.

For the closing party this year, head over to St. George Spirits in Alameda for a prison-themed bash called St. George Spirits: 30 Years to Life. On Sunday September 23rd from 1pm-5pm, bartenders will be on hand crafting cocktails so good they can only be called criminal. There will also be food truck bites, prison-themed games, and a temporary prison-tattoo station. Tickets are $45 in advance or $55 at the door. 2601 Monarch St. at W. Midway, Alameda.

There will also be a series of seminars and dinners for those boozehounds seeking a more in-depth cocktail experience. Details on the seminars and suppers have not been released yet, but we’ll keep you updated at tablehopper as more information emerges.

Feasting in the Fields at Green Gulch Farm September 8th

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The fields at Green Gulch Farm. Photo from website.

Event Info

Saturday Sep 8, 2012
12pm–3pm
$175 per person, $50 per child, or $300 for a couple
Green Gulch Farm
1601 Shoreline Hwy, Muir Beach.

The San Francsico Zen Center will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, which is pretty awesome. To celebrate, they are throwing a special Feasting in the Fields event. Annie Sommerville of ~GREENS~ will be crafting a special lunch menu to be served at the center’s Green Gulch Farm in Marin. The lunch will take place on Saturday September 8th from 12pm-3pm and will feature produce from the farm. Mark Ellenbogen of Aziza, Slanted Door, and Bar Agricole will be mixing herbaceous cocktails to pair with the food, and head baker Mick Sopko will lead attendees on a tour of the on-site bakery.

Tickets are $175 per person, $50 per child, or $300 for a couple, and include food, drinks, and raffle tickets. The raffle’s not too shabby either: prizes include a weekend at Tassajara for as many as six people and dinner for four at Greens. 1601 Shoreline Hwy, Muir Beach.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Aug 28, 2012

Spotted: The Divine Miss M!

A reader sent me this fabulous sighting: ~Bette Midler~ was spotted dining at Quince!

More Edward Norton!

Ends up the smokin’ ~Edward Norton~ came in with some folks to dine at Local’s Corner. Impressive, Ed. Way to go on scouting the small neighborhood restaurant scene!

Another Week, and More Woody Sightings

Yes, the ~Woody Allen~ sightings continue to roll in. According to a tweet, he came in to La Victoria Panaderia and had a cupcake. (“Standard. No frosting.”)

He also came in to the brand-new Farina Pizza & Cucina Italiana for lunch last Monday with six guests, all of which were reportedly in showbiz: one was from Rome and two others spoke Italian.

Joe, Can You Pass Me a Chip?

A reader let me ~Joe Montana~ and his wife Jennifer came into Comal last Tuesday August 21st.

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