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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: extra extra.

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The amazing English muffin and fried egg sandwich (with Mornay sauce!) at Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, happy Friday to you. We’re starting the weekend breaking some big, exciting news that’s spreading throughout the city right now—my inbox keeps getting emails from people who have heard that Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine are opening a new project in the Heath Ceramics building in the Mission. Check out this breaking story in the chatterbox.

We also have a guest wino today from Charlotte Chipperfield, a bookworm from Pete Mulvihill, and a 707 scout from Heather Irwin. Yup, there’s plenty of weekend reading for you.

I’m also fired up to share my cover story for the San Francisco Bay Guardian this week on where to eat right now in SF; take a look for a recap on all the latest places to open.

If you’re trying to figure out where to have brunch on this upcoming sunny weekend, I have five new brunch places for you to check out as well.

Okay, that enough for you? It’s plenty for me. Enjoy the weekend! Maybe I’ll see you at the Food and Farm Fest? Ciao!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Apr 4, 2014

Tartine Bakery Team Opening a Dream Project in the Heath Ceramics Building in the Mission

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Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

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The 18th and Alabama corner of the Heath Ceramics building. Photo by Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Some very exciting news here: Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt of ~TARTINE BAKERY AND CAFE~ and ~BAR TARTINE~ have just signed a lease to a 5,000-square-foot space in the Heath Ceramics factory and showroom building at 18th Street and Alabama in the Mission. How’s that for a symbiotic fit?

I caught up with Chad Robertson, who isn’t able to share specific details about their plans for the space just yet because, quite frankly, they have so many ideas that they want to work through first (as Robertson puts it, “It’s a Willy Wonka situation!”). It’s a big space with a lot of promise, and there are also going to be many collaborative components to it.

It’s definitely a long-lead story here (the opening is looking like 2015), but what Robertson could share is this: there is going to be a restaurant venture as well as a bakery project in the new space—it will be in cooperation with the current Tartine Bakery, acting like another arm. Robertson says, “The bakery staff has been hammered the past 12 years in that space. We are going to be able to do things we have wanted to do for years. We’re going to create the most efficient and comfortable workspace for them.” In addition to having a commissary production space, he mentioned there is going to be a preservation kitchen as well—he said they used to do things like make jams at Tartine Bakery, and now they’ll be able to bring that back, and do some production for themselves.

As for the restaurant component, Robertson shared there is going to be a “daytime eating situation” (I am digging all these situations). When Heath Ceramics was looking for a tenant for the space, it was very important to them that the tenant would be able to provide food for the factory and showroom staff and many artisans in the building. In addition to the 50 factory staff members, there are also jewelry makers, a letterpress printer, an apron/uniform maker, and other craft/artisan subtenants (it’s a pretty amazing artisan factory and campus over there, with a very collaborative and supportive environment).

I spoke with Heath Ceramics managing director Robin Petravic, and he said they had even considered opening their own restaurant at one point. He said, “Our aesthetic is simple, we’re not trying too hard or are fancy. But we’re quality. And good. We were looking for food like that too.”

The space has been vacant all along, but Heath really hadn’t started looking for someone specific until the past year or so. (For a sense of timing, they opened the showroom in June 2012, the Blue Bottle kiosk opened in August 2012, and the factory got running in August 2013.) They really wanted to make sure the tenant would align with the Heath aesthetic, philosophy, and values, in addition to fitting into the atmosphere of a creative community centered around design, craftsmanship, and small-scale manufacturing. Of course, they are thrilled with how well the Tartine group fits with all of this. As Petravic said, “It’s a no-brainer!”

Petravic also said they want people to visit the factory and find ways to connect with the dinnerware, enjoy the space, and want to stay. He says the courtyard they created for guests to look at the factory while enjoying a coffee (in a Heath Ceramics coffee cup, of course) has been an example of that, and the restaurant will be another experience. He clarified further that Heath and Tartine have their own identities, but both will work together toward the common goal of creating a destination.

A destination, yes, it will definitely be that. Anyone who subscribes to the Bar Tartine newsletter knows how much guest chefs and culinary collaborations are a big part of what they do. Robertson is happy that they will be able to more easily host visiting chefs in the new space, and plan to have multiple kitchen setups. They want to create more space for Bar Tartine’s chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns to work on their own projects too. Robertson added that people are so inspired by what those two are doing, so there will be a teaching setup in mind as well.

Robertson and Prueitt actually moved into the neighborhood not too long ago, and serendipitously are living just two blocks away. And of course it’s a wonderful thing for them to be able to start this next chapter to their business while staying on 18th Street.

The plan is to open in early 2015. They are on a tight schedule, and will open in phases, probably making bread first (hopefully in time for the holidays to take some pressure off Tartine Bakery). Expect more updates in coming months on this sure-to-be-inspiring project, a total Tartine dream. It’s going to be smelling very good over there. Corner of 18th St. and Alabama.

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Apr 4, 2014

(Sponsored): 31 Napa Wineries Come to the Ferry Building

Join Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Napa Valley Vintners on Wednesday April 16th, from 5:30-7:30pm, for the 5th annual Napa Valley Vintners Tasting in the beautiful Grand Hall of the majestic Ferry Building.

This special event is a comprehensive walk-around tasting of more than 75 wines presented by 31 wineries. Meet the wine producers and enjoy some of the most sought-after wines in the world, all for just $45, or $35 if you are a Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Wine Club member. The proceeds of ticket sales benefit CUESA.

There are three ways to purchase a ticket: 1) visit Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, 2) online, or 3) call 415-391-9400. See you there!

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)
Apr 4, 2014

Archetype, Aventine, Oso, Chalkboard Library All Announced

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Chef Adolfo Veronese of Aventine, which will open in Glen Ellen later this spring. Veronese and his brother Gian-Paolo are part of SF’s Alioto clan. Photo courtesy of Aventine.

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Oso Sonoma will open in May, a project of David Bush, the former chef of award-winning St. Francis Winery. Photo courtesy of Oso.

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The pool of the Les Mars Hotel in Healdsburg has been filled in to make way for a new patio at Chalkboard Restaurant. There will also be a new fine dining option beginning later this month. Photo courtesy of Chalkboard.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

French Blue Becomes ~ARCHETYPE~: Late last year, Calistoga’s ~SOLAGE~ took over the St. Helena restaurant to upgrade its menu and service. This week, the new name and new executive chef, Ryder Zetts, were announced. Prior to Archetype, chef Zetts spent the last six years as chef de cuisine at Michelin-rated Solbar at Solage Calistoga. Earlier Zetts was chef de partie at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in Washington, Virginia, and served as chef de partie at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. The restaurant’s award-winning interior—named one of the “10 Most Beautifully Designed New Restaurants” by Architectural Digest—will undergo thematic enhancements to match the transition, with an aim to retain the comfort and beauty of the dining room. 429 Main St., St. Helena.

Aventine to Open: the funky Jack London Village in Glen Ellen has long been rife with dining possibilities, if not always success stories. Although the charming Olive and Vine and the Himalayan eatery Yeti are flourishing in the village, the large Grist Mill building has seen restaurant after restaurant struggle and fail, despite its spectacular outdoor seating and quiet location.

That may soon change with the arrival of ~AVENTINE~. The sceney bar and restaurant concept headed up by Adolfo and Gian-Paolo Veronese has locations in San Francisco and Hollywood, with a third slated to open in late spring in Glen Ellen.

Chef Adolfo (Wolfgang Puck, Drago, Evvia) plans an Italian osteria menu with arancini, Sicilian lemon-marinated octopus, burrata, wood-fired pizzas (we’re especially excited about the tartufo with black truffle honey, béchamel, and arugula), roasted pumpkin ravioli, short rib pappardelle, branzino, grilled lamb chops, and desserts like pumpkin pot de creme, coffee panna cotta, fried dough with Nutella and jam, and caramel budino. There’s also a full bar (one of only three in Glen Ellen) and inside and outside dining—it’s perfect for summer.

Oso Coming to Sonoma: Chef David Bush, who propelled St. Francis Winery to be voted “Best Restaurant in America” on OpenTable, has left to open his own restaurant, ~OSO~, on the Sonoma Square. Bush says the restaurant will have two parts: a front lounge with small plates ($6-$18) and wine by the glass, and a dining area that will be reserved for a prix-fixe five-course tasting menu (around $65 per person) with an optional $35 wine pairing.

“The goal is to execute a tasting menu in the main dining room with a strong emphasis on pairing my food with local wines,” Bush said, making the fit a natural for the winery chef. With local sommelier Brian Kulich on board, the list is certain to have some stellar off-the-radar boutique gems on the list. The menu is still in development, but Bush calls it “New California—local, seasonal, and eclectic, but not esoteric.” Because really, who needs esoteric on their plate?

“Opening a restaurant has been my goal since I started cooking at age 14,” said Bush. “Stuffy doesn’t work in Sonoma, (but) what does is excellent food and hospitality. We want to…give people an experience that has been absent for too long on Sonoma’s plaza.” Opening is slated for dinner service in late May. Lunch and brunch will be coming soon. 9 East Napa St.

Chalkboard Expanding and Expanding: The popular ~CHALKBOARD~, which took over the Cyrus space at the Les Mars Hotel last year, is upping its game. Starting in late April, they’ll be offering an eight-course-plus prix-fixe tasting menu in the hotel’s revamped “library room” on Friday and Saturday nights. The intimate space seats just 16, and according to chef Shane McAnelly, it’s “the next step up” for the Bill Foley-owned restaurant. It’s hard not to start making comparisons to Cyrus, with its haute tasting menus and Michelin-star status, but McAnelly says the vibe will be all Chalkboard. “For us, it’s just a chance to have some fun. I am really excited and passionate about this next evolution of our restaurant,” he said.

The menu is still in development, but an exclusive sneak preview includes dishes like kampachi crudo, bacon consommé with pork belly and 63-degree quail egg, pancetta-wrapped duck breast with duck liver mousse, grilled rib-eye steak with bone marrow, and a dessert called the “Drunk Elvis” with banana, peanut butter, rum, bacon, and chocolate ganache. The dinner will run about $100 per person, and additional wine pairings will be offered.

But wait, there’s more. The hotel’s pool has been filled in (who even knew there was a pool?) to make way for an expanded patio area, expected to open later this spring. 29 North St., Healdsburg, 707-473-8030.

BOB Sandwich Winners: It’s taken nearly a week just to digest all the amazing sandwich creations from the 12 Sonoma County restaurants that competed in last week’s ~BATTLE OF THE BREWS ‘WICH HUNT~. In its third year, the contest pits chef against chef to come up with the best sandwich of the year. This year’s winner was once again ~JOHN ASH & CO.~ with a mini pork schnitzel sandwich that wowed the judges. Other winners included newcomer Fig & Vine for its pork belly pâté banh mi; La Rosa’s beer-braised pork belly; Cloverdale’s Savvy on First with the Angry Bird (fried chicken sandwich with candied jalapeños); Belly’s braised pork shoulder with braised pork belly; and the soon-to-open Earth’s Bounty with a pulled-duck biscuit.

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the bookworm

Book Reviews (another place for your nose)
Apr 4, 2014

Happy Spring, and a Behemoth from El Bulli

elBulli 2005-2011

elBulli 2005-2011

Ferran Adrià, Albert Adrià, Juli Soler

Here’s one for the hard-core food folks, molecular gastronomy at the highest level. May I hereby introduce El Bulli 2005-2011, a seven-volume set from Phaidon Press.

What can I, a mere fan of good food, possible say about this magnum opus? How do I review a recipe like Mentholated Pond (pictured, video recipe here)? How can I choose among the endorsements of top chefs like April Bloomfield, Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud, Grant Achatz, David Chang, David Kinch, and convince you that this is the most inspirational and comprehensive and groundbreaking and lush book out there right now?

Yes, there’s the section you’ve been pining for on spherification, and the one on hot preparations with gelling agents. Yes, it’s every recipe from 2005 to 2011. Yes, it’s 40 pounds. Yes, there is more therein than you can ever consume.

And yes, it’s $625. It’s available from a certain online retailer for 15 percent off, and we want to make it easy for your to shop local, so we’re willing to part with several copies for that price. (Once we get closer to selling out, we may have to rescind the offer.) And if you’d rather see and smell and feel before you purchase, we’re here for you. Come fondle the sample volume!

So if you have $533.12 and a burning desire to consume (or be consumed) by the wisdom and creativity of El Bulli, we’re open daily until at least 10:30pm.

Thanks for reading.
~Pete Mulvihill, Green Apple Books

the wino

Guest Wine & Spirits Writers (in vino veritas)
Apr 4, 2014

Charlotte Chipperfield on 10 Tips for Planning a Wine Tasting Trip

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Charlotte Chipperfield.

Charlotte Chipperfield is an experienced sommelier with more than 10 years of experience in the wine industry and is the founder of The Wine Key, a San Francisco-based business focused on consumer wine education and brand consulting. Charlotte is also busy working full time in wine marketing, as well as pouring part time for Chateau Montelena winery. Charlotte volunteers as the marketing and social media director for the Bay Area Wine Enthusiasts, and serves as the membership director for Women for Wine Sense in San Francisco. Basically, if the wine is flowing, Charlotte is no more than a straw’s length away. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

The romance and allure of the wine industry is often what draws wine drinkers to plan weekend trips to Wine Country and sip the days away in tasting rooms. I’ve spent a significant amount of my working professional life in winery tasting rooms, which has allowed me to geek out on soil types, rootstocks, average rainfall, and clones, and has also led to many laughs (nothing compares with experiencing Pat Sajak’s cheesy jokes firsthand). I also love watching a guest experience his first aha moment, when he connects the dots between the vineyard and what’s in the glass by tasting specific characteristics of a grape for the first time.

These moments are all among the highs, but unfortunately it isn’t always as elegant and dreamy as you might imagine. These exhilarating experiences are often interspersed with desolate moments that have made me unsure about the human race.

Having experienced a guest spit gum into my hand so they can better taste the wine is, unfortunately, not the most repulsive experience I’ve had. Tracking down guests who have disappeared to the tank room to “ferment” their love, if you will, was rather distasteful but so was serving as a backsplash for a guest insistent on knowing if the spit buckets were from Ikea by flipping the mélange of wine and saliva upside down. True stories. And then there is always that guy who likes to tell me the history of the wine industry because he saw the movie Sideways.

The allure of the wine industry may seem to stretch a little further than my liking but then that’s just it—the real story being told is how wine brings people together from all walks of life. So as much as these stories may have you questioning why anyone would ever work at a winery, the passion lies with connecting people with a product that has the ability to be the center of celebrations and many stories to come. That is a powerful romance you don’t fight, but embrace.

So unless you want to become a gum-chewing, cracker-spewing, flipping-the-dump-bucket drunk, I’d like to share my 10 tips for making your day of wine tasting the best it can be for all involved.

  1. No gum, perfume, or cologne. Wine goes great with food but doesn’t make a great pairing for gum, perfume, and/or cologne, which can easily dominate the flavors and aromas in wine and affect the tasters around you.

  2. Use dump buckets. It really doesn’t matter if they are from Ikea or not, I recommend making use of these. Life is too short to drink bad wine—spit out the wine if you don’t like it or if you’re feel a little tipsy. Using dump buckets can slow the pace down while you still get all the flavor.

  3. Learn: ask questions of your tasting room associate. If you don’t understand something, ask for further explanations. If the associate is anything like me, she will be more than happy to impart all her wine knowledge.

  4. Come prepared with water and snacks. The majority of wineries do not provide food or allow for picnics on their property, so bring food to fend off the munchies.

  5. Plan for a lunch stop along your wine route. See no. 4.

  6. Make appointments ahead of time. This is a great way to get a private tasting and personalized attention from trained wine professionals.

  7. Pick one geographic location and stay there. Don’t try to cover multiple regions or appellations in one day. Select a few wineries that are close to one another.

  8. Hire a car or plan for a driver. Drinking and driving will get you sent straight to the slammer, a hefty fine, and the loss of your driver’s license. Just don’t do it. Be smart, plan ahead.

  9. Know and accept that you can’t do it all. Plan to visit three or four wineries in a day. You can expect to taste, on average, about five wines at each winery. If you’re not making use of the dump buckets, the amount of wine you will drink can add up fast.

  10. Have beer on hand at home. Nothing is more refreshing at the end of a long day of wine tasting than an ice-cold beer.

With these tips in mind, wine tasting is more than just an excuse to day drink. It’s a lot like trying on shoes: you get to try on something new, and decide if you love or hate it. I just ask that you don’t leave basic etiquette at the door. But please, by all means, feel free to snap a selfie in the vineyards on the way out.

Santé! Want to connect with Charlotte? Email her or visit The Wine Key.

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