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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: good times, they are rolling.

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Cold-brewed and iced Sightglass coffee at the CRO Café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, partiers. Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday to you! (Are you already wasted? I blame Beer Week.) In case you’re looking for some places to get your po’boy and Hurricane on this evening, here you go.

And then two days later, it’s the oh-so-loved and hated and berated Valentine’s Day. I’ll be hosting our annual “Lonely Hearts Dinner” (whose title is completely meant to be funny, by the way) with my single pals—the players around the table may change, but the meal is always a Chinese banquet with lots of beer, wine, and sassy stories (and the only expectations we have are about the food).

I recently wrote a post for 7x7.com on where to score some delicious locally made treats, whether they’re for your sweetie or your own damn self.

Speaking of treats, Sunday was an explosion of ‘em as I took a media preview of Edible Excursions’ latest tour, Taste of Temescal. From fish tacos at Cholita Linda to coffee-almond sorbet at Scream Sorbet, it was a seriously delicious and decadent way to spend the afternoon, check it out. Fortunately you have to walk everywhere.

One more item: if you aren’t following tablehopper on Facebook or Twitter (ahem), then you may not have seen this awesome New York Times piece on coffee shop/barista lingo. It’s muy rico.

Enjoy the sun.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Feb 12, 2013

Daniel Patterson Opening His Next Restaurant in Mid-Market

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Chef Daniel Patterson. Photo via Facebook.

I never quite expected to hear that Daniel Patterson would be opening his next restaurant in a Chinese restaurant (Iron Wok) next door to the Hot Spot bar (previously 2Lips) on Market Street, but considering he opened his first restaurant ~COI~ on Broadway, I guess he’s not afraid of charting new territory in edgy locations. (Then again, the new Twitter HQ is also right there.) Scoop reports “it will be a 70-seat, full-service restaurant with a full bar and cocktails” and Patterson is calling it “fun, casual.” Does this mean we get the Plum burger here in the city? Stand by for more on this summertime newcomer. 1420 Market St. at 10th St.

The Mill Opens on Divisadero

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The interior at The Mill. Photo by Gundolf Pfotenhauer.

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A barista at The Mill. Photo by Gundolf Pfotenhauer.

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Mmmm, bread (by Josey Baker). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I had a chance to swing by the brand-new ~THE MILL~ yesterday, the new collaborative bakery-café project by Four Barrel’s Jeremy Tooker and Josey Baker, he of crazy-good bread fame. It has a buzz of activity with the team furiously getting ready for the soft opening tomorrow, Wednesday February 13th. (I’ll share some pics on Friday—it was still a bit too much under construction.)

Walking into the space, you can see elements that tie it to the original Four Barrel on Valencia (the exposed timber beams, high ceilings), but it definitely has more of a clean, kitchen-influenced sensibility. There is a variety of seating options (about 40 spots in all): there are benches in the window, a long communal table of white oak, classic marble café tables, and a row of a few built-in tables for two (or three) along the back left wall. The space has an airiness to it, with four skylights, and white tiles in a herringbone pattern that are matched by the wood herringbone shelves on the opposing wall. The shelves will not only contain coffee-related items, but baking items as well, like bread knives, books, and bread tins. Yeah, it’s a looker—so many handcrafted touches.

There are two espresso stations with the very latest La Marzocco machines, and there will be a toast station, featuring three kinds of kick-ass bread made daily by Josey Baker (with spreads, like housemade almond butter). The pastry case will also display cookies (like oatmeal-apricot), granola, coffee cake, corn bread, and some vegan and gluten-free options as well. Baker tells me he will also be able to start selling his own house-milled, whole-grain flour in a couple of months (the Austrian wooden mill is gorgeous).

There is currently a petition to have a parklet out front (be a dear and please consider signing it?), and there is also a backyard they hope to be able to open up at some point down the road as well. Like Four Barrel, The Mill is Wi-Fi-free (as opposed to free Wi-Fi, ha-ha). Initial hours will be 7am-9pm daily. 736 Divisadero St. at Fulton, 415-345-1953.

Openings: b. Patisserie, Izakaya House, Sakesan, and More

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A closer look at the gorgeous pastries at b. Patisserie. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Suzuki at Sakesan; Yelp photo by Kane C

Here are some updates on openings around town. After holding some soft-opening hours this past weekend, ~B. PATISSERIE~ is now officially open on California Street. Release the croissants, lemon tarts, and tartines!

Now open in the former Sushi Groove South is ~IZAKAYA HOUSE~, with a menu of items ranging from avocado tempura and bacon-wrapped scallops to caterpillar rolls and cocktails. Hmmm. 1516 Folsom St. at 11th St., 415-864-6873.

Newly open in the Inner Richmond is ~SAKESAN~, previously mentioned in tablehopper. There’s a slick design by Alan Tse (including a white, illuminated sushi bar and karaoke rooms), and on the menu there is an array of sushi, rolls, and yakitori, plus sake and soju. Open nightly. 626 Clement St. at 7th Ave., 415-876-6313.

As mentioned last week, ~STOCK IN TRADE~ is now open in the Marina. Here’s a look at the tavern-style menu from chef Jake Kwan-Rosenbush (with consulting chef Max DiMare of Wood Tavern). 2036 Lombard St. at Fillmore, 415-829-3000.

SoMa workers, you have a new neighborhood café and sandwich spot: ~CAFÉ CLEMENTINE~. Yelp mentions Illy coffee, salads, sandwiches, and some breakfast items. 257 3rd St. at Clementina, 415-357-9920.

Did you know ~CAÑA SF~, the Cuban import from Oakland in the Circolo space, is now serving dinner? Here’s the menu, featuring classics like ropa vieja and lechon asado. 500 Florida St. at Mariposa, 415-580-7888.

Opening next week: the latest ~CURRY UP NOW~ location on Valencia, according to its Facebook post. Stand by for more details in next week’s column. 659 Valencia St. at 18th St.

File this one in the “developing” folder: thanks to a tip from a reader, I learned one of the partners of ~CUP OF BLUES~ in Dogpatch, Joshua Shertz, is going to be converting the café into a full-service restaurant. He just got approval from the city—next is figuring out the finances, hiring a chef, and construction. I’ll have more on this in coming months as it takes shape. 900 22nd St. at Minnesota, 415-826-7045.

b. Patisserie - 2821 California St. San Francisco - 415-440-1700

Fog City Diner to Close; Chef Bruce Hill Reopening It as FOGCITY

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The Fog City Diner. Photo from Facebook.

I have been sitting on this news for a good long while, but now the story is out: Real Restaurants is closing ~FOG CITY DINER~ on March 15th and will be reopening it as ~FOGCITY~ later this year with Bruce Hill (who has partnered with “the Bills” on Zero Zero, Bix, and Picco). The next iteration will be modern American—in a way, Hill will be taking the original concept to the next level (back in its day, Fog City Diner was a cutting-edge, eclectic small plates concept). The space is going under a major redesign by Michael Guthrie, and hopefully it will be all complete by late summer, just in time for the America’s Cup. Stand by for more details soon. 1300 Battery St. at Embarcadero, 415-982-2000.

Chef Departures, Staff Changes, and Nixed Projects

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The burger at Maven. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

At ~MAVEN~in the Lower Haight, the Scoop reports that chef-partner David Kurtz has resigned; they have promoted chef de cuisine Isaac Miller to executive chef. Sounds like the portion sizes are going to be given a bit of a boost. I have enjoyed the burger, but am looking forward to seeing the new direction the menu takes.

Chef-owner Melissa Perello of ~FRANCES~ writes in to inform me that her new GM is Robert Wright, previously director of operations at the girl + the fig and a GM at COI. Opening GM Patrick Tsui (he will be missed!) has moved on after three years at the restaurant—he is a new father, and Grub Street adds he is now director of operations and development at Spice Kit.

San Francisco Magazine notes that the replacement for previous ~BOUCHE~ chef Nico Borzee, Michel Réthoré, did not work out. Owner Guillaume Issaverdens is on the hunt for a new chef; stand by. 603 Bush St. at Stockton, 415-956-0396.

A few projects around town have been axed: first, ~CITY GRANGE~, the combination production kitchen, restaurant, market, and event space concept I mentioned back in May by the owners of nearby Fat Angel, is no longer happening. 1740 O’Farrell St. at Eddy.

Last week one of my tablehopper sources let me know that the intended ~COFFEE BAR~ location on Howard Street in SoMa was dunzo. Eater caught up with VP of Operations Nathan Downs, who goes into some detail about why they decided to pull out (basically, they found a commissary kitchen closer to the café’s main location). 1599 Howard St. at 12th St.

Coffee Bar - 1890 Bryant St. San Francisco - 415-551-8100

Pop-Ups: The Amazing Azalina's, Little Green Cyclo at TRACE, Sneaky's BBQ, More

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The “Malaysian chilaquiles” from Azalina’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Here are some pop-ups to hop to this month. You won’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy Azalina’s exceptional Malaysian dishes with a twist at ~WISE SONS DELI~ from 6pm-9pm on the following Sundays: February 17th and 24th, and March 3rd and 10th. She created the menu as a tribute to Matt Skov, filling it with his favorite dishes, like funky lemongrass soup with hand-pulled noodles and Malaysian roasted chicken. Peek at the menu here; future updates will be posted to Azalina’s website.

The latest installment in the Local Motion series at ~TRACE~ this month is a collaboration with Little Green Cyclo. Catch their Vietnamese-influenced food, with optional cocktail pairings from 6pm-8pm. The family-style dinner costs $40 per person, and cocktail pairings are an additional $25. Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-817-7836.

On Wednesday February 13th and 20th, head to ~VINYL COFFEE & WINE BAR~ for some rockin’ Sneaky’s BBQ. They’ll be serving brisket, their delicious pulled pork, and even a vegan option from 6pm-9pm. 359 Divisadero St. at Oak, 415-621-4132.

One more meaty item: there is a new barbecue pop-up happening in the Outer Sunset, called Ocean Beach BBQ. The pitmaster hails from Alabama, and serves slow-smoked pulled pork and slabs. Seems that the sporadic evening appearances and locations (like the Riptide) are announced via Twitter (thanks to @linecook for the tip). Yeah, this is something I want to try.

This Saturday February 16th, Boris Portnoy of Satellite Republic is holiding a family-style dinner at ~THE PUNCHDOWN~ in Oakland. Nine courses will be served family style for $40, and you can try a flight of four natural Georgian wines that have been aged in amphorae (quveri) for $20. Make a reservation, and solo fliers will find nine seats at the bar open for walk-ins. 2212 Broadway at 22nd St., Oakland.

For the next two Mondays (February 18th and 25th), Liholiho Yacht Club will be popping up at ~CONTIGO~. $55 prix-fixe menu, not including gratuity or beverages. Reserve a seat here (via Grub Street).

Contigo - 1320 Castro St. San Francisco - 415-285-0250

Ride the Whole Hog at Oliveto

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One of last year’s dishes: grilled pork porterhouse with Parmesan sformatino and roasted cauliflower. Photo courtesy Oliveto.

From Tuesday February 19th through Saturday February 23rd (an extra day was just added!), make your way across the bay for some very special whole hog dinners at ~OLIVETO~ (a tradition now in its 14th year). Every night beginning at 5:30pm, chef Jonah Rhodehamel will serve menu items featuring whole-animal preparations inspired by rustic Italian family cooking. You’ll find house-cured prosciutto, boudin noir, spit-roasted leg, and lots of other porky options (the whole pigs they are using include a Mangalitsa from Dinner Bell Farm in Grass Valley, a 500-pounder from Devil’s Gulch, a Mac Magruder Euro boar-Berkshire cross, and a hog from Riverdog Farm). Check out the whole menu here. All of the dishes will be priced à la carte, and reservations can be made by calling 510-547-5356.

Oliveto - 5655 College Ave. Oakland - 510-547-5356

Artisan Cheese Festival Hits Petaluma March 22nd-24th

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Some of the cheeses at a previous grand tasting. Photo by Derrick Story.

Say cheese with the seventh annual ~ARTISAN CHEESE FESTIVAL~, which lands in Petaluma March 22nd-24th. The festival this year includes some fabulous seminars, including a wine and cheese pairing with Laura Werlin, a seminar on new cheesemakers with Janet Fletcher, a tasting panel on mixed-milk cheeses with John Ash, and cheesemaking workshops with Mary Karlin. There are also tours of local farms, workshops on pairing cheese with beer, and grand tasting events. Tickets to the event are available for single seminars ($65-$95) or you can purchase a package deal (starts at $100). All events will be held at the Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma, where you can also stay and sleep off your cheese coma. Some Saturday events fill up quickly, FYI. 745 Baywood Drive at Lakeville, Petaluma, 707-283-2888.

510 Updates: Sneak Peek of Juhu Beach Club, Dinner Launches at Miss Ollie's, More

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Some of the bright colors at Juhu Beach Club. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This weekend I was given a sneak peek of the soon-to-open ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ from Preeti Mistry in Oakland. As I mentioned at the end of last year, she is opening her brick-and-mortar location in the former SR24 in Temescal. The space is really cheerful (and full of bright colors, which I love)—there is an open kitchen, with tables flanking walls covered with some groovy monkey wallpaper and Bollywood movie album covers. There’s a bike on display laden with tiffins (wait until you see the colorful tiffins she has just for the kids’ menu—you’re going to want to buy one, I know I do!). She is currently targeting Friday March 1st for the opening, starting with lunch Tue-Sat, and adding dinner hours once the beer-and-wine license kicks in.

You can look at the menu here, which includes Mistry’s trademark twist on pav bhaji (the Sloppy Lil’ P) and vada pav, both made on special pav buns by Starter Bakery. Her samosas highlight her Gujarati background—they have an incredibly thin and crispy exterior. There will also be some additional appetizers, soups, salads, and curries. She grinds all her own spice blends and makes her own pickles and chutneys. Another reason why the food tastes so good: she only uses sustainably sourced meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy, with produce that is mostly all local and organic. Also worth noting: her mango lassi is a nice departure from the too-sweet versions I always encounter—hers features a bit of salt and cumin in it. Dessert includes soft-serve ice cream with Indian-inspired toppings, like the anise and fennel candy sprinkles you always see when leaving an Indian restaurant. Can’t wait for this to open! Hours will be Tue-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm.

Diablo Dish and Berkeleyside mention the arrival of ~MARROW~ from Jon Kosorek, previously of the food truck Jon’s Street Eats. He’s opening his meat-centric restaurant in the former Looney’s BBQ near Downtown/Lake Merritt. He will reportedly be cooking with one whole animal at a time, using up all of its cuts. Marrow will focus on the lunchtime crowd (his popular Reuben is going to make an appearance) and possibly offer breakfast. Look for a springtime opening. 325 19th St. at Webster, Oakland.

Another piece of John news (although it’s John with an “h”): Diablo Dish reports chef John Ledbetter of ~BOCANOVA~ has departed to a restaurant in Newport Beach; stand by for news of his replacement.

Some new dinner service for your radar: ~MISS OLLIE’S~ announced dinner service has launched, serving Tue-Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. Yay. 901 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-285-6188.

Starting Wednesday February 13th, ~GRAND LAKE KITCHEN~ will also be starting dinner service. 576 Grand Ave. at El Embarcadero, Oakland, 510-922-9582.

And you can swing by ~STAG’S LUNCHETTE~ on Saturdays from 8am-3pm for some wicked brunchy items, starting this Saturday February 16th.

Stag's Lunchette - 362 17th St. Oakland - 510-835-7824

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Feb 12, 2013

(Sponsored): The Perfect Pairing with Cuyana and Michael Mina

Cuyana has teamed up with Michael Mina to help sweeten your Valentine’s Day. Enter to win the perfect pairing: Three lucky fans will win a $50 gift certificate to Michael Mina Restaurants and a $50 credit for Cuyana.com. Plus, by signing up for the Cook Taste Eat and the Cuyana email lists you’ll receive 10 percent off your first purchase with Cuyana and a PDF of Michael Mina’s recipes. Click here to enter!

SF-based Cuyana designs one-of-a-kind accessories, one country at a time. Cuyana means “to love” in Quechua, a language of the Andean tribes. What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than by celebrating beautifully crafted products, effortlessly chic style, and charitable giving? Cuyana supports micro-industries and donates 5 percent of its profits to charity water projects.

Hop on over to its 14 Days of Love feature to see which Cuyana product is a tablehopper favorite!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Feb 12, 2013

More Suds Events: Butchers and Beers, Delicious Pairings, Cheesy Happy Hour

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The Piglet sandwich at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey, remember that Butchers & Beers event reported in tablehopper a couple of weeks ago? Well, there are still tickets available, so you can still check it out. To recap, tickets to the event are $60 and include unlimited beer tastings from seven local breweries such as Almanac Beer Co., Pacific Brewing Laboratory, and Anchor Brewing. There will be market stalls featuring barbecue, burgers, and other meaty delights from 4505 Meats, and Ryan Farr will be demonstrating how to break down and butcher a whole pig, then auctioning off the cuts to benefit The Food Pantry. The event runs from 6pm-9pm on Friday February 15th at St. Gregory’s in Potrero. 500 De Haro St. at Mariposa.

On Tuesday February 12th (that would be today), head to ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY~ for the fourth annual Oyster & Beer Extravaganza. They’ll be pouring their Oysterhead Stout, made with bushels of Hog Island oysters, plus a special menu of raw and cooked oysters. It’s happening all day, 11am-5pm, and admission is free but food and drinks are pay as you go.

Want to avoid a stuffy formal Valentine’s Day with wilted rose petals and awkward couples? Yeah, good call. Instead, head to the SoMa location of ~THE AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN~ for a Pitchers, Pizza, and Grilled Cheese Happy Hour pop-up. From 5pm-9pm Pacific Brewing Labs and the ~DEL POPOLO~ pizza truck will be serving their goods alongside the American’s grilled cheese sandwiches. Seating will be available in the restaurant and on the patio.

The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen - One South Park, San Francisco - 415-243-0107

Update: Chris Deegan Departs from Nopa

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Nopa sign; photo via Facebook.

You only have two more nights to ask ~NOPA~ wine director Chris Deegan to pour you some of his favorite wines, beers, and sherries; Scoop reports he is leaving the restaurant after being there for six years. He is handing over the reins to Lulu McAllister, who has been working with him since last June. Chris will still do a bit of consulting for the restaurant during the transition and will then take some time off to travel. Kudos to him for creating one of the most interesting wine programs in the city—his passion and perspective will be missed by many.

Nopa - 560 Divisadero St. San Francisco - 415-864-8643

Southern Italian Winemakers Bruno De Conciliis and Alberto Graci Take SF by Storm

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Ahhh, the wine is always oh-so-fine at A16. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Two wonderful southern Italian winemakers are making the rounds this coming week: Bruno De Conciliis (from Paestum in Campania) and Alberto Graci (whose estate is on the northern slope of Mount Etna in Sicily). They will be all over the Bay Area, starting with an appearance at ~DOPO~ for a special dinner on Sunday February 17th; at ~SPRUCE~ for a winemaker dinner on Monday February 18th; and at ~A16~ on Tuesday February 19th (their wines will be available by the half-glass, glass, carafe, and bottle throughout the evening). For the finale, the duo will be at ~INCANTO~ on Wednesday February 20th for a wine dinner. Contact the individual restaurants for more info about the various dinners.

Incanto - 1550 Church St. San Francisco - 415-641-4500

Raise a Glass to Ladies Behind the Bar at Speed Rack February 24th

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Ladies mix it up at San Francisco Speed Rack 2012. Photo from Facebook.

For those looking for an alternative to watching the Oscars on Sunday February 24th, catch the San Francisco installment of the national ~SPEED RACK~ competition, a celebration of female bartenders and a charity event for breast cancer. To date, Speed Rack has raised more than $85,000.

The competition pits local female bartenders against one another as they make rounds of cocktails for a panel of judges. Contestants will be judged based on the accuracy and speed of their mixing skills, and the winner will head to the national finals in New York. This year’s contestants include Jen Ackrill (Rye), Jennifer Colliau (Slanted Door), and Kim Rosselle (Flora, Fauna), among many others. The event takes place at ~THE CHAPEL~ and tickets are $20, including drinks and snacks from the event’s sponsors. 3pm-7pm. 777 Valencia St. at 19th St., 415-551-5157.

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the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Feb 12, 2013

EPIC Saves

~Sergio Romo~ fueled up for what will surely be a great season at EPIC Roasthouse on Sunday.

Punxsutawney Andie

Well, this one’s not quite in time for Groundhog Day, but ~Andie MacDowell~ was spotted at The Grove in Hayes Valley on Saturday. She was enjoying tea with her daughter.

Actually...

The Office’s ~Oscar Núñez~ was spotted at Salumeria on Sunday, according to a tablehopper reader.

Tanlines in the Winter

The fab Brooklyn duo ~Tanlines~ (who I can’t wait to see at Coachella!) were playing at The Rickshaw Stop on Friday, and stopped in for a bite at Nojo.

Bust This

~Kari Byron~ of local show MythBusters was spotted by a tablehopper reader in the window at Delfina with a large group of folks wearing MythBusters shirts.

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