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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: from point A to Z.

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Whoa, this coming week is gonna be nuts, with the Lunar New Year and Mardi Gras all hitting at once. There will be parties, there will be great food!

Which was kind of like my past week: I spent some time hitting up two newer cafés I was curious about (Front in Potrero Hill and Firehouse 8 on Russian Hill—both have been written about on tablehopper); two bake sales and brunches (20th Century Cafe with its insane knishes at State Bird and Marla Bakery’s spiced meat pie at Firehouse 8, both on Sundays); a couple test dinners (Hi Lo and Club Deluxe—read all about ‘em today in tablehopper); did a lap or two on the Italian circuit (a superb meal—as always—at SPQR, and at dopo in Piedmont); and tablehopped to two parties on Friday night (the opening of Beneath the Sheaths at 18 Reasons, and a swell cocktail party at Piper/Keller). You can witness some pics of the carnage on my Instagram feed!

Superbowl Sunday was spent watching Silver Linings Playbook in an almost-empty theater (it was good but I expected a lot more), and the night before I managed to catch this utterly hilarious show, a redux of Three’s Company episodes (followed by a full-tilt feast at State Bird Provisions—the smoked sturgeon and pancake dish is unreal). Oh yeah, and you can see that wicked Turkish brunch spread I had at Pera on Saturday, gorgeous—I felt like a pasha.

Holy crap. I made some mileage this past week. This week is no different, with a Bulleit tasting with Tom Bulleit, Tre Bicchieri, and other shenanigans on tap for this week. Speaking of, it’s also Beer Week! Hic.

Hold onto your hats.
Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Feb 5, 2013

Acquerello Team Launching a New Project on Polk Street: 1760

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Gianpaolo Paterlini. Photo: Daniel Morris.

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The exterior of the former Parrilla space. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The spacious interior has been completely gutted. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

After pestering co-owner Giancarlo Paterlini of ~ACQUERELLO~ for weeks about some gossip I heard about a second project in the works, I can finally release the details. The Acquerello team (co-owners Giancarlo Paterlini and Suzette Gresham, and wine director Gianpaolo Paterlini, Giancarlo’s son) are opening ~1760~, a more casual concept in the former Parrilla Bar and Grill space on Polk Street. In a way, it’s very similar to what Quince did opening Cotogna—1760 will be the place you can swing by for a midweek dinner, while Acquerello is designated more for special occasions.

The team has hired executive chef Adam Tortosa from Los Angeles—his background includes an apprentice position under master sushi chef Katsu-ya Uechi (Tortosa spent four years under the guidance of Katsu-ya, and was eventually the chef Katsu-ya’s signature restaurant, Kiwami). Most recently, he was working for chef Michael Voltaggio at Ink. So, yes, at 1760 you can expect some stunningly sourced seafood, but the concept is Italian-inspired California cuisine. Tortosa just returned from a research trip throughout Italy with Gianpaolo, visiting Piemonte, Liguria, coastal Tuscany, Campania, Abruzzo, Le Marche, and time in Roma, Modena, and Milano. Si, they did some quality eating, from three stars to trattorie, and now he’s recipe testing and learning in the Acquerello kitchen as construction gets under way.

Acquerello has been open for 23 years, with legions of committed regulars (and big fans, which I definitely am), so it will be exciting to see where son Gianpaolo takes this next iteration of the family business. Considering he practically grew up in the restaurant, while the tablecloths may disappear, his service standards will assuredly remain high. Gianpaolo’s wine list is going to be notable, with 250 labels (both European and domestic—not just Italian), and there will also be a full bar (stand by for details soon on who will be running the bar).

It’s a huge corner space, which they have completely gutted (they will be adding some windows on the Washington Street side). John Wheatman—who was behind the design refresh for Acquerello in 2010—will be designing the new space, which will have 60 seats plus bar seating; there will be a communal table, and the room will be decorated in earth tones. They are currently targeting a late April opening. Can’t. Wait.

1760 - 1760 Polk St. San Francisco - 415-359-1212

Fable Opening in the Castro Within the Week

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The counter and open kitchen. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The mohair banquette, plus animal portraits. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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Seating under the mirrored walls. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

Last night was the pre-opening party for ~FABLE~ in the Castro. The restaurant should be soft opening for business at the end of the week (TBD), and will be officially open next Tuesday. The design by Craige Walters is whimsical and colorful, bringing the “fable” theme to life. When you first walk in, there’s an open kitchen with counter seating, a backsplash of colorful mosaic tiles, and wood and persimmon tall chairs (with backs on them, how comfortable).

Extend past the kitchen and there’s a seating area with slipcover chairs and a mohair banquette in gray, with orange antler lights above. Above are some quirky animal portraits by Ryan Berkley (wait until you see the squirrels in the restroom). FYI, larger parties of six will be able to reserve this seating area. The walls in the back seating area feature some large-format decals of characters from Aesop’s Fables on top of the mirrored surfaces and a custom one was made for the wall (there’s also some wallpaper that looks like reclaimed wood, I chuckled). Overall, it has a nice neighborhood vibe with just enough style and clever touches. There are 32 seats in all.

The back garden area is still in development—it will eventually have a garden, a lounge area, and seating for about 25-30 people. There will be a semi-enclosed patio, a dedicated back bar, and will be open for tapas and bubbles in the afternoon, hopefully by the summer.

Here’s the first look at chef-owner Jon Hearnsberger’s New American menu, which features a variety of salads (including baby beets and goat cheese in parchment), and entrées like pot roast, shepherd’s pie, and duck breast (in a wallet-friendly move, none of the main dishes cost more than $20).

On tap are four beers (including Speakeasy Prohibition and Lagunitas), and Pamela Busch (Skrewcap) put together the small but diverse wine list that spans both domestic and international wines by the glass. There are some more esoteric selections, but each wine is well balanced and has its own personality. The goal is to bring in the best tasting wines at reasonable prices.

For now, hours will be nightly 5pm-10pm, and happy hour (3pm-5pm) and brunch (served Fri-Sun) will be coming soon. 558 Castro St. at 19th St., 415-590-2404.

The Venerable Masa's Is Closing

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The dining room at Masa’s; photo from Facebook.

I was very sorry to read in the Scoop that after 30 years in business, ~MASA’S~ will be closing on Saturday February 16th. Chef Gregory Short, who has been at the restaurant since October 2004, is taking a corporate job at Aramark in order to spend more time with his family. Reportedly the Executive Hotel Vintage Court will be reopening a more casual restaurant in the next three to four months.

I’ve had some spectacular meals there from chef Short, Ron Siegel, and Richard Reddington—and the wonderful wine pairings by Alan Murray (and his engaging demeanor) have always left a strong impression. That dining room had such a special atmosphere, which started with Masataka Kobayashi in 1983, and managed to go on in spite of his tragic (unsolved) murder soon after the restaurant opened. The untimely death of the oh-so-talented pastry chef Maggie Leung last year was also so tragic. With so many chefs so hot on the tasting menu path on our local turf, I’m sorry to see that dining room end its run as a fine-dining destination—I can’t help but think they should have found another great chef to carry the torch and create a draw for that room. Thanks for all the memories, Masa’s, and best of luck to chef Short.

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

Hi Lo Now Open in the Mission: It's 'Cue O'Clock

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The main dining room. Photo by Nader Khouri.

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Mmmmm, brisket. Photo by Nader Khouri.

Last week I had the opportunity to check out the brand-new ~HI LO~ (from Maverick/Hog & Rocks founder Scott Youkilis and partners Dave Esler and Eric Rubin) at a test dinner. After you take a look at this pic of the previous space, a Filipino-American Hall, you too will tip your cap to Abueg Morris Architects (Comal, Nopalito), who did a great job with the multi-level space, which has 80-90 seats. They exposed the roof’s wood framing, highlighting the 1900s-era building’s cathedral-like shape (the original distressed wood floor remains). The main floor features three white oak communal tables and a few smaller tables, along with eye-catching charred cedar plank siding (you can also see it on the exterior of the building); there’s a mezzanine with more two- and four-top tables above.

Place your order at the counter in the back, and your vittles (and refreshing, barbecue-friendly cocktails by Scott Beattie and Michael Lazar, like the Savory Seasonal Collins with pickling liquid) will be brought to your table. There are some well-chosen beers you’ll be able to enjoy by the glass or pitcher, eight taps in all (plus a white and red wine on tap). If you just want some bourbon, you can have that too.

Some highlights on chef Ryan Ostler’s menu include a kale and sweet potato salad with ricotta salata ($10), and wait until you taste the juicy half chicken with charmoula ($13) that comes off the custom 7,000-pound J&R Manufacturing smoker from Mesquite, Texas, that lurks downstairs (here’s our previous peek at it). There are also St. Louis-cut spare ribs, beef brisket ($22, sold by the pound), whole grilled trout, and more. Don’t miss sides of creamy barbecue baked beans with burnt ends, and collard greens with house-smoked bacon (both $6). The banana whoopie pie ($3) by Kat Zacher is a perfectly sized finale after all that ‘cue. Open daily 11:30am-10pm.

Hi Lo - 3416 19th St. San Francisco - 415-874-9211

Sneak Peek at Stock in Trade

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The dining room and bar area. Photo: © 2013 Brandon Vaccaro (via Facebook).

Opening in the former La Barca space (which had a 50-year run) in the Marina is ~STOCK IN TRADE~, which is potentially set to pass inspections this week. After a week or so of staff training and soft openings, the actual opening will happen. For now, here are some hot-off-the-presses images of the massive redesign by designer-architect Gi Paoletti (Maven, Tipsy Pig, and the upcoming Noir), which includes an indoor bocce ball court, skylights, a spacious bar (with big-screen TVs), lots of group-friendly seating, and more (although the terra-cotta tiled floor remains). Stand by for details on the tavern-style menu from chef Jake Kwan-Rosenbush, hours, and more in the coming week. 2036 Lombard St. at Fillmore.

A Hardhat Look at Noir in Hayes Valley

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The front bar and its domed ceiling. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The communal table at Noir, with cinematic lighting. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

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The back bar, with a classic film noir scene above it. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. © tablehopper.com.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Hayes Valley is getting a new spot, and it’s coming soon. ~NOIR~ (site under construction), from owner Brian Cassanego, should be opening by the end of February if all goes smoothly. The restaurant, which is in the former Frjtz space, has been redesigned by Gi Paoletti Design Lab and built by Sean Wells to resemble a Jazz Age/film noir hideaway, complete with sexy wallpaper and red leather sofas.

The L-shaped space has been designed to function as three different areas, all of which can accommodate private parties of varying sizes. In the very back is a film screening room, where they plan to screen old films and sporting events, as well as host events. The back bar area, which can be curtained off from the rest of the dining room, boasts a bar with a classic film noir scene illuminated behind it, and it can also be reserved for groups. The main dining room has a communal table that seats about 14, with a cool lighting system of shutters in the ceiling that throw long, noirish shadows across the table. In the center of the main room is a large bar of illuminated gold onyx, under a domed ceiling made from a satellite dish. There will be tall, red leather seating throughout the front dining area, with some tucked-away booths for twosomes in the front windows.

The dinner menu, which was created with assistance from Adam Hinojosa of Per Diem, is designed with sharing in mind. There are snacks like frites, which are available “casual” (with lemon aioli), “dressed up” (with béarnaise and an egg), and “black tie” (with short rib gravy and smoked cheese curds), plus several salad options, a chicken liver pâté, and popcorn. In the entrée department you’ll find chicken and waffles, pork stew, and mac and cheese. There will also be weekend brunch with French toast, egg dishes, and crêpes. Sommelier Gianna Gaudini helped with the wine list, which has 50-60 bottles, 20 by the glass, plus four wine options on tap. There will also be nine beers on tap, though the final list of options is still in progress.

For now, they’re tentatively planning to do Mon-Fri happy hour 3pm-6pm, with the kitchen open Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 5pm-12am, and Sun 5pm-9pm. Stand by for news on the opening date and brunch hours. 581 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-431-6647.

Reveal on the New Menu at Club Deluxe

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Pork and beans (and chicharrones!). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I was invited by Josh Birch—a partner in Club Deluxe and Orbit Room Cafe with owner Jay Johnson—to check out the new menu for ~CLUB DELUXE~. (Birch is responsible for all the delicious changes that happened in the kitchen at Orbit Room Cafe.) While some folks are mourning the departure of Giovanni’s Pizza (whose name, I found out, is actually Andrew), after a few bites of greens grown by new chef Thomas Martinez (previously Mission Beach Cafe, Wise Sons Deli), here’s hoping the neighborhood realizes how good things have become.

The Cali-style menu has simple snacky items, like the bar mix ($5/$8) with honey cashews, spiced almonds, chili and chocolate bacon, papadum, and dates. But if you want to fall in love with vegetables all over again, go for the marinated beets with verbena and beet crisps ($10); the crazy-fresh foraged and seasonal greens ($12) with olives, red onion, local feta, and croutons; the flavorful cauliflower ($8) with spiced almond, black garlic purée, and micro shiso; or Josh’s Caesar ($10) with blood orange and pistachio. The seasonal ingredients are all blatantly top notch and so fresh. Foraged mushrooms on some polenta? Check. Harmonious flavors and creativity? In the house.

If you’re looking for an all-in-one meal, there’s the dry-aged steak sandwich ($14) that’s a take on a French dip with au jus on a roll from Marla’s Bakery; a house sausage ($12); and the hearty pork shoulder and beans ($14) with Brussels sprouts and mustard vin. Again, everything is well sourced and local. Sure, there were a few dishes that weren’t perfect, but it was overall very impressive, especially for bar food.

The pizzas have also gone through some changes, with four currently offered: the pesto ($17) with spinach, local feta, broccoli, pine nuts; a winter pizza ($20) with squash, kale, local crescenza, and prosciutto; a margherita ($18); and the Deluxe ($21) with white sauce, pancetta, foraged mushrooms, roasted shallot, and garden herbs.

They completely gutted the kitchen and added new equipment, and there’s also going to be a private chef’s table in the kitchen that will be great for groups. Come by for some jazz, some comedy, some hyper-local Cali cuisine, and a few cocktails and you’re gonna be set. The new menu launches tomorrow (Wednesday February 6th). Kitchen open Tue-Sun 6pm-10pm for now, with expanding hours to come. 1511 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-552-6948.

Hodgepodge o' News Bites

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Potato knishes. Photo by Jake Malmberg.

Some random bits of news for you: first, you ready for the big reveal on where ~SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S~ will be opening? (It’s the fab new Jewish deli I mentioned back in November that Michael Siegel—formerly of Betelnut—is opening in the FiDi.) It’s at 126 Sutter Street, just next to the Crocker Galleria. They are going through inspections soon, and hope to open in two or three weeks. A nice feature that was revealed during construction: the 1907 building had some lovely brick walls hiding under all the mirrors (it was a dingy salad bar and deli for years). More soon on when you will be eating pastrami and knishes. 126 Sutter St. at Montgomery.

~SCALA’S BISTRO~ is launching a new late-night menu, serving a $9 menu in the bar after 9pm Mon-Fri. The menu includes cocktails (hello, Negroni), wine by the carafe, the popular fritto misto, a half dozen oysters, and a selection of signature pizzas, like the funghi with toma, king trumpet mushrooms, balsamic-roasted radicchio, and caramelized onions.

Big news in our third-wave coffee land: ~FOUR BARREL COFFEE~ owners (Jeremy Tooker, Jodi Geren, and Tal Mor) have purchased local roaster De La Paz. Eater mentions they will be building out a new café in the roastery location on Mission Street—just next to AQ’s upcoming TBD—and it sounds like this project will be focused on blends instead of single-origin coffees. While no longer an owner of De La Paz, founder Jason Benford will remain involved (he approached the Four Barrel team with the offer to sell). Stand by for more in coming months. 1081 Mission St. at 7th St.

It’s also worth mentioning that upcoming Four Barrel and Josey Baker project ~THE MILL~ on Divisadero pushed out its opening to February 12th. I’ll have a full project recap and photos next week. Toast! It’s a-comin’. 736 Divisadero St. at Fulton.

Also in the neighborhood: a few weeks ago, I was invited to check out the new heated gazebo in the back of ~RAGAZZA~. You can read all about this state-of-the-art invention on Haighteration—if you’re looking for a fun place to host your own private dinner party but can’t afford the usual crazy-expensive private dining rooms in this town, check it out! It’s cozy and a fun alternative.

Speaking of private dining rooms, ~SOCIALE~ has a new PDR, with room for up to 25 guests.

I heard that ~THE DANCING PIG BBQ~ (warning: music!) in the Castro has closed today. No one is picking up the phone, so this remains unconfirmed, but my source is pretty confident. 544 Castro St. at 19th St., 415-529-2797.

Over in the ~FERRY BUILDING~ Marketplace, the latest kiosk to join the family is Pressed Juicery. From February 7th-13th, they will be running a special: the full program of cleanse juices will be offered for just $39 a day, discounted from the original $48.50, and the recommended three-day cleanse for $117, discounted from the original $145.50. Open daily 6am-8pm.

Ferry Building - One Ferry Building San Francisco - 415-983-8000

Axis Café Now Aracely

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The patio at Aracely. Photo from Facebook.

~AXIS CAFÉ~ is no more, but it has been reopened by general manager Linda Edson and renamed ~ARACELY~. Originally, Scoop caught the rumor that Edson would be opening Aracely on Treasure Island, and taking over Axis before and after the demolition of its current space. Now, Edson says that she is still planning to open a location on Treasure Island, though that project remains far-off. In the meantime, Aracely has the lease on the former Axis space until the building is demolished. When that will be remains to be seen, but for now there will be breakfast, lunch, and a lot of space for events and parties. 1201 8th St. at Irwin, 415-437-2947.

New Service: Brunch at Cotogna, Lunch at Nojo, Izakaya Nights at Sebo

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Cotogna during the day. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Some new meals to add to your roster: starting Sunday February 10th, ~COTOGNA~ will be serving Sunday brunch from 11:30am-2:30pm. You can check out the menu here, which includes Lindy’s fried chicken and waffles ($16) and pork shoulder hash with rutabaga and baked egg ($16). An extra bonus on opening day: they will be holding their first annual sidewalk sale, featuring porcelain pieces by Bernardaud, Heath Ceramics, Raynaud, and more (uh huh). There will also be $5 Bloody Mary and prosecco coupes.

A while back, Hayeswire mentioned ~NOJO~ was starting lunch counter service Wed-Fri, and here’s a link to the menu. Hours are Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, and brunch service has been extended to Sat 11am-2:30pm.

Also in the neighborhood, ~SEBO~ is going to be doing a redux of its Sunday izakaya nights on Sunday February 10th and 24th.

Sebo - 517 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-864-2122

Copita in Sausalito Has a New Chef; Plate Shop Becoming Fast Food Francais

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Copita’s rotisserie oven. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Across the Golden Gate in Sausalito, ~COPITA~ is getting a new chef. Gonzalo Rivera Jr. is an alum of the Michael Mina empire and has worked extensively in both Mexico and the United States. He has already worked with Joanne Weir to create some new dishes for the menu, including lamb barbacoa and pork belly tacos (he will also be working with Dilsa Lugo, Copita’s sous chef and gardener). Moving forward, there will be weeklong seasonal tasting menus inspired by different regions of Mexico. Open daily at 11am. 739 Bridgeway at Anchor, Sausalito, 415-331-7400.

Last week, I had this tidbit of gossip that was in the completely unconfirmed/hearsay column (I was waiting to hear back from the Le Garage folks) so I didn’t run it. But since the Le Garage folks are pretty bad at returning calls and emails and it was then mentioned elsewhere, it appears the gossip was correct: Bruno Denis and Olivier Souvestre are preparing to open a burger/casual spot in the ~PLATE SHOP~ location. It will reportedly be called ~FAST FOOD FRANCAIS~ and is due to open mid-February, possibly on Valentine’s Day. 39 Caledonia St. at Johnson, Sausalito, 415-887-9047.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Feb 5, 2013

(Sponsored): Fall in Love with Fab Art at Lost Art Salon

On February 14th, Valentine’s evening, please join us at Lost Art Salon for the opening party of our new show from 5:30-8:30pm. We will be featuring recent works by Rob Delamater and Gaetan Caron. There will be country cocktails (curious?), Valentine sweets (of course!), and live Americana folk from the local trio, “Bay to Boulders” (somebody do-si-do!).

Lost Art Salon is a San Francisco-based gallery that specializes in the rediscovery of historically significant artists and fine art collections reflecting the major styles and movements of the Modern Era.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Feb 5, 2013

Tidbits: Fire at Bliss Bar, Tosca Update, Red Wine Social Returns

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Bliss Bar. Photo via Facebook.

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The fabulous Toph with his bike and his team wino pride. Photo from Facebook.

One of the few watering holes in Noe Valley, ~BLISS BAR~ suffered a fire yesterday. Fortunately no one was hurt but it looks like it was quite a scorcher—it actually flared up for a second time in the evening, and the fire department had to return to put it out again. 4026 24th St. at Castro.

Good news for ~NOPALITO~ in the Inner Sunset: its liquor license went through. Release the mezcal! The pouring of adult beverages begins Monday.

Curious about the upcoming fate of beloved ~TOSCA CAFE~? Here’s an interview on Food Republic with the new partner, Ken Friedman, who is taking over with chef-partner April Bloomfield. A few items: the menu will be Italian (he mentions “hearty, simple small plates”) with a late-night menu. The cocktail component sounds like it’s still being worked out. 242 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.

Great news, winos: after suffering a horrific bike incident, Toph of Red Wine Social is not only back on his bike, but he’s back throwing his party (that thing has a 13-year track record!). He’ll be at ~MADRONE ART BAR~ on Wednesdays (starting this Wed the 6th!) from 6:30pm-9:30pm, with $5 wine specials, cocktails, and sweet DJ’ed tunes.

He will also be at ~F8~ (the former Icon Ultra Lounge) on Fridays for Vintage, with “tunes and snacky bites, cocktails and drink specials, and indoor bike parking.” Ends up those bites will be coming from neighbor Citizen’s Band! Welcome back, Toph! 1192 Folsom St. at 8th St.

Dogpatch Watering Hole Update

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The Dogpatch Saloon. Yelp photo by Matt J.

I had a chance to connect with Jeff Lyon, one of the partners (along with Phil West, both of Range) behind the ~THIRD RAIL~ bar that’s opening in the former Retox. Here’s a little update on the project since we last reported on it: He says, “We plan to create a cozy, slightly upscale neighborhood bar with a creative yet approachable cocktail program. We want people to feel comfortable ordering a gin and tonic or a beer, yet know that if they want a great craft cocktail, we can deliver.” He said service is going to be a big emphasis, and there will also be some bar snacks. Paxton Gate is behind the new design, and they hope to start the buildout by March 1st and finish by June 1st. But they also know how construction goes, so we’ll just have to wait and see. As for continuing to use the basement as a live music venue, it may become an event space in time, but for now it will be used for storage until it’s brought up to code.

Oh, and about the name: it comes from a popular cocktail Lyons created at Range and was just a working title that eventually grew into being the perfect name for the location (Dogpatch used to be a huge off-loading area for freight trains, and now it has the light rail running down 3rd St.). 628 20th St. at 3rd St.

Just a couple of blocks away, it looks like the ~DOGPATCH SALOON~ has officially closed as of yesterday. According to a post on its website, the new bar (under new owners, who are from 83 Proof) should be opening in a couple of months, after a face-lift to the space. 2496 3rd St. at 22nd St.

Suds Report: Pliny the Younger Cometh, Speakeasy Tap Room Opens

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Construction on the tap room at Speakeasy. Photo from Facebook.

Mark your calendars: ~MONK’S KETTLE~ is cracking its keg of the very sought-after Triple IPA Pliny the Younger on Wednesday February 13th at noon. $10 for 10 oz. Here’s the best part: all proceeds are going to La Cocina. Nice!

Due to open this Saturday February 9th is the new tap room at ~SPEAKEASY~, with 10 beers on tap and one cask (Eater mentioned this new addition was coming a month ago). And since it’s Beer Week, the grand opening party is just the start of the festivities that Speakeasy is hosting. Check out this calendar of upcoming events over the next week. Hours will be Tue-Thu 3pm-8pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-9pm, and Sun 1pm-6pm, with $3 happy hour every day from 3pm-5pm. The brewhouse bar will be open on Friday night 4pm-9pm (as it usually is). 1195 Evans Ave. at Keith, 415-642-3371.

Monk's Kettle - 3141 16th St. San Francisco - 415-865-9523

Bourbon and Chocolate, Together at Last

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The bourbon selection at Hog & Rocks, plus Dandelion’s chocolate bars.

Catch a meeting of the delicious minds on Saturday February 9th at ~HOG & ROCKS~, when bar manager Michael Lazar teams up with Lisa Gallinger of Dandelion Chocolate for a special chocolate and bourbon pairing. The tasting includes three pairings, with chocolates from Dandelion’s single-origin batches and half-ounce bourbon pours from Hog & Rocks’ selection. The tasting runs from 3:30pm-4:45pm, and tickets are $40 per person. If you can’t catch the tasting event, that’s okay, because the pairings will remain on the Hog & Rocks bar menu.

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

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Feb 5, 2013

Chinese New Year Begins Sunday February 10th

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The Chinese New Year parade winds its way through downtown. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Sunday Feb 10, 2013 – Saturday Feb 23, 2013

Chinese New Year begins Sunday February 10th this year, and it brings us the Year of the Snake, which is all about refinement, taste, and introspection. Nice. There are lots of places to go for a celebration, like tablehopper favorites Five Happiness and Hong Kong Lounge, or other traditional Chinese banquet spots, and don’t forget there’s the Chinese New Year Parade on Saturday February 23rd. If you want to check out what some newer places are doing, too, here’s a roundup:

~E&O ASIAN KITCHEN~ will be running a special menu from Sunday February 10th through Saturday February 23rd, with items like crab dumplings in green curry broth with coconut oil ($18) and long life noodles with snake beans and hon shimeji mushrooms ($16). There will also be drink specials and a performance of the traditional Lion Dance on Saturday February 23rd.

At ~HAKKASAN~ there will be a special New Year’s menu in addition to the regular one, with lots of smaller plates intended for sharing with friends and loved ones. The special menu will be available Saturday February 9th-Saturday February 23rd, and includes items like quail with mushrooms in Guilin chile sauce, fried scallop in Chinese barbecue sauce, and braised abalone with fish maw.

Martin Yan’s ~M.Y. CHINA~ is running two special Chinese New Year tasting menus now through February 26th, one for $68 per person and another with more seafood options for $88 per person. 845 Market St. at 4th St, Westfield Centre, 4th Floor, 415-580-3001.

~BUTTERFLY~ is running their annual Lunar New Year/Dungeness crab tasting menu. For $70 (tax and tip not included), you get a menu of crab and fried uni hand rolls; crab jook with a 62-degree poached egg; orange chile crab, and more. Make your reservation for the tasting menu at 415-864-8999.

And over at ~DELISE DESSERT CAFÉ~ they have their special (and certainly lucky!) Peking duck scones on offer. 327 Bay St. at Powell, 415-399-9694.

Lovey Events and Sweet Treats for Valentine's Day

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Craftsman and Wolves love cubes. Photo via Facebook.

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Beautiful macarons. Photo courtesy La Boulange.

Event Info

Tuesday Feb 5, 2013 – Thursday Feb 14, 2013

Valentine’s Day is coming (ha, like we didn’t know), and there are a bunch of special events and tasty treats that aren’t just for couples. Everyone enjoys a passionate pastry or exceptionally deluxe chocolate, so consider buying a treat for all your loved ones, romantic or not. And, of course, don’t forget to show yourself how much you care with a little indulgence! I am all about buying myself some chocolate or macarons. Flowers too.

Celebrate food made with love at the annual Food from the Heart event at the ~FERRY BUILDING~ on Friday February 8th. Merchants will be offering seasonal bites for $2, plus you’ll find lots of great shopping and goodies for yourself, your friends, or your sweetie. The event is from 5pm-8pm, and tickets for bites are $2, pay as you go. Proceeds benefit Slow Food San Francisco.

Over in Berkeley, check out the For the Love of Chocolate tasting at ~THE PASTA SHOP~ on Fourth Street. The tasting runs on Saturday February 9th from 2pm-4pm and includes free tastes of many local chocolatiers’ confections. 1786 Fourth St. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-250-6004.

On Thursday February 14th, local sweets-maker Barbary Brix will be popping up at ~BLACKBIRD BAR~ from 6pm-10pm with quarter pounds of their caramels for $10 (like the Morning Glory, with maple and bacon). The bar will also be mixing up some special drinks for your imbibing pleasure. 2124 Market St. at Church, 415-503-0630.

Another pop-up: on Thursday February 14th, Le Dix-Sept Pâtisserie will be at Rare Device from 3pm-8pm. They’ll be selling macaron boxes in various sizes (chocolate and Espelette, you will be mine), plus you can get stationery and other lovely paper goods from their hosts. How convenient, it’s right in my neighborhood. 600 Divisadero St. at Hayes, 415-863-3969.

Chefs love excuses to make things more beautiful and delicious, so celebrate their passion (and stuff your face) with these special delights:

Here’s an indulgent one that’s as deluxe as it gets. To celebrate its launch, IfOnly.com has a special box of chocolates with truffles from nine different Michelin-starred Bay Area chefs, including Michael Mina, Dominique Crenn, Matthew Accarrino, and Gary Danko. The box is $100 including express shipping, and all the proceeds benefit Share Our Strength.

Show your love for the local food-makers of ~LA COCINA~, which is continuing its tradition of fabulous seasonal baskets with the Valentine’s Gift Basket, which is available for pickup or delivery.

From now through February 15th, ~LA BOULANGE~ will be offering special macaron boxes and pastries for sharing or gifting. Various locations, check website for hours and contact info.

Check out ~PANDORA’S POPS~ for a fun take on candy: heart-shaped, handcrafted lollipops. And apparently these have aphrodisiac qualities too. Rawr. They can be ordered via Pandora’s Etsy shop.

For your design-forward loved one, or your own tasteful self, think about stopping at ~CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES~ for some pastry love. They’ve got their usual array of fab treats, plus the “morning-after box,” with tea, treats, and a little love note, all packaged beautifully ($50). The Love Cubes ($7 each) are also great—they’re mini vanilla cream cheesecakes, with blood orange curd and lime (available in limited numbers).

And to help you out with your quality chocolate (and gift card!) shopping needs, ~FOG CITY NEWS~ encourages you to get your shopping in before February 12th, and it’s extending hours to help. Sat Feb 9th 12pm-6pm, Wed Feb 13th 8am-7pm, Thu Feb 14th 8am-7pm. 455 Market St. at 1st St., 415-543-7400.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)
Feb 5, 2013

(Sponsored): Poco Dolce: Chocolate Gifts for Valentine's Day

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Based in San Francisco, Poco Dolce (translated from Italian as “just a little sweet”) creates unique handmade chocolates and confections “on the savory side of sweet.” Producing out of a small Dogpatch kitchen since 2004, Poco Dolce’s nine-person team crafts everything in small batches, using fresh, simple ingredients. Mixing toffee, popping fresh popcorn, and brewing coffee are all done in-house, and their chocolates and confections feature only the finest all-natural ingredients—from California butter and olive oil to sea salt harvested from the coast of Brittany. Enjoy! They’re the perfect indulgence.

To enter to win a fabulous Poco Dolce Valentine’s basket (retail value about $50), all you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friend(s) about Poco Dolce, or why you read tablehopper, or both! Be sure to Cc: or Bcc: me at luckyme@tablehopper.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Friday February 8th at 11:59pm. We’ll notify the winner on Saturday and get your mailing address! Good luck!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Feb 5, 2013

Just Doing His Jobs

~Ashton Kutcher~ was in town (presumably for MacWorld), dining at Slanted Door on Thursday afternoon, according to a tablehopper reader.

Dream of the 1890s

According to a tweet, ~Fred Armisen~ and ~Carrie Brownstein~ of Portlandia were keeping Tradition weird on Wednesday night.

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