Order up! Check out this week's Tablehopper newsletter.
Trouble viewing this newsletter? View web-based version on tablehopper.com
Tablehopper View online | Subscribe

The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion.

This week's tablehopper: aperitivo weather.

fortress-fig.jpg

My favorite dish at the Summer Fig Dinner by Fortress: Solitude & SF (smoked and braised Duroc pork with corn milk dumplings and fig). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How are y’all enjoying this odd, muggy weather? All I know is I’m definitely looking forward to an Aperol spritz tomorrow on the terrace at 54 Mint for the tablehopper and Campari America Una Serata a Roma event. There’s a piece of Devil’s Gulch Ranch porchetta with my name on it, and hopefully yours too. My apologies to all of you on the waiting list for the event, sorry we are so sold out! Unfortunately there are no more tickets to release, argh. But here’s hoping we get to do this event again. And soon!

I will say this: if you love Italian wine, you’ll want to mark your calendar for Sunday August 24th—I should be telling you very soon about a really unique and special event I have in the works, stand by. It’s gonna be gooood.

You know what else is really good is some of the barbecue I’ve been enjoying in SF and Berkeley the past month. I was on KRON 4 on Saturday with my tablehopper hot list, covering three places where you can score some quality ‘cue, check it out.

Okay amici, I’ll see you Friday (unless I am seeing you this Wednesday!). Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Jul 22, 2014

Opening This Fall: Charin, a 15-Table Restaurant Open One Weekend a Month

charin-Hamachi.jpg

Cured hamachi with lemongrass, avocado, pumpernickel. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Huang Photography.

File this one under intimate and intriguing: this fall, Charles-C Onyeama is going to be opening a 15-table restaurant in the Noe Valley/Bernal Heights area, ~CHARIN~, that will only operate approximately one weekend per month. Diners will make reservations online, and a seven- to eight-course tasting menu of haute cuisine will be served. (Each weekend will be designed as a unique experience; the menu will be posted ahead of time on the website.) Wine pairings will also be available.

Onyeama, a self-taught chef, worked as a private chef for three years and then staged at top places like SPQR, Benu, and Manresa (for up to six months at each). He’s a California native, but has spent more than 10 years living in Japan, exploring the culture and cuisine. His team also has experience in top local restaurants, like Saison, Coi, Baume (Palo Alto), and Atelier Crenn.

The space will feature “custom conceptual design pieces” designed by Franc Zamudio (Mod Timber). You can sign up on the waiting list for a spot, which will be confirmed once the opening date is set (reportedly around the end of August or early September). Since there are just 15 tables, reservations will primarily be for parties of two; four-person tables will be available on a limited basis. Stand by for more in the coming weeks.

Ferry Plaza Seafood Opening in North Beach July 28th

Ferry_Plaza_Seafood_Yelp.jpg

Oysters, crab and shrimp cocktail, and mussels at Ferry Plaza Seafood’s previous location. Yelp photo by Tracy T.

As previously reported on tablehopper, after ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~ left the Ferry Building last year, they found a new location on Union Street in North Beach. We got word that the new space is officially opening its doors on Monday July 28th.

The restaurant has a new team after the move, with an expanded menu and new oyster selections. In addition to fresh seafood, there’s a new beer and wine list designed to pair well with the food. Local beer selections include Fort Point Manzanita and Fort Point Park, as well as Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo and Anchor Steam. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering happy hour specials, with a menu of small bites like a prawn cocktail, mini crab cakes with heirloom tomato sauce, and crab salad with avocado and micro-mustard green salad. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Closed Sunday. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.

A Preview of the New Dinner Menu at Le Marais Bistro and Bakery

01_lemaraisbistro.jpg

A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

02_Le_Marais_Fruits_de_Mer.jpg

Fruits de mer. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

03_Le_Marais_burrata_cucumber.jpg

Whipped burrata with Armenian cucumber, fried olive, and fennel pollen. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

04_Le_Marais_Seafood_pasta.jpg

Saffron sciallatielli with clams, mussels, scallops, and tomatoes. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

05_Le_Marais_pannacotta.JPG

Panna cotta with plum cardamom sorbet. Photo courtesy Le Marais.

A report by Dana Eastland: Last week I had a chance to check out the new menu coming to ~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ in August. As previously reported on tablehopper, the bakery in the Marina has expanded to include a kitchen and additional seating, and will be serving a bistro-style dinner menu starting within the next few weeks. They’ve brought on a new team in the kitchen, with Nicolette Manescalchi as executive chef, Emily Riddell on pastry, and Ty Mecozzi as head baker.

Mecozzi and Riddell have already been working with the bread and pastry at the café, while the kitchen ramps up for dinner service, which should begin in August. The menu is small and elegant, and Manescalchi is taking inspiration from the many different food traditions along the Mediterranean. She previously worked at A16, where she was immersed in the food of Southern Italy, and told me she has really enjoyed learning more about food traditions from a broader geographic region. There are touches of North African spice, as well as influence from Southern France, and, of course, it all has California’s seasonality and flair.

They’ve got an oak wood grill in the kitchen, which is allowing them to cook over open flame. You can look at the current menu here, but it will be changing regularly. Of course, the produce will change seasonally, but the meat and seafood selections will also shift constantly. Because they are butchering most of their meat in-house from whole animals (and the place is quite small), it’s likely that one protein will be featured prominently on the menu until it’s gone, and then a new animal will show up. In fact, almost everything on the menu will be made in-house, including the pastas, cured fish, and, of course, the bread.

I started my meal with the fresh fruits de mer, with house-cured anchovies and dukka (an Egyptian spice blend with nuts), smoked and fresh oysters, and a Lake Tahoe crawfish crudo. The oysters are smoked by sous chef Leslie Miller-Dancy (she’s the kitchen’s unofficial “smokemaster,” according to Manescalchi) in their liquor and at a very low temperature to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. Other starter-size dishes include the whipped burrata with fried olive, fennel pollen, and cucumber. I was skeptical about whipping burrata, since the texture is so specific and such a part of the burrata experience, but it totally worked.

There is a small selection of pasta on the menu, including the saffron scialatielli with clams, mussels, and scallops. This dish is based on the “celebration” pastas from the Amalfi coast, which are prepared for special occasions. They’ve added saffron to up the ante, too. Manescalchi has a light touch with seafood, and you’ll see it popping up all over the menu, from the fruits de mer to the anchovy croutons on the salad to the salmon en papillote.

Riddell has already been working on pastries at the bakery, as well as some ice creams and sorbets to serve with plated desserts. A plum sorbet with cardamom totally rocked, and there are delightful edible flowers sprinkled all over her creations, so pretty. Again, the focus seems to be on using bold flavors and seasonings, but with a light, delicate touch for balanced results.

Le Marais Bakery and Bistro will open for dinner sometime in August (of course we’ll let you know the exact date), and hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. The bakery, which is currently open daily 7am-7pm, will begin closing earlier once dinner service begins. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.

Cawfee Tawk: Wrecking Ball Coming to Cow Hollow, Coffee Con This Weekend

Wrecking_Ball_Beans.jpg

Wrecking Ball coffee. Photo from Facebook.

Local duo Nicholas Cho and Trish Rothgeb of ~WRECKING BALL COFFEE~ now have their own space in Cow Hollow, Eater reports. The pair, who have been working out of Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal, are opening their very own stand-alone shop in the former That Takes the Cake space on Union Street. Mission residents will still be able to get their coffee at the Kitchen Communal, though—they’re not moving out of that space. Rothgeb will serve as the roaster, while Cho will run the barista and brew side of things. Marla Bakery will provide the pastries, and there will be a bar where customers can sit and watch their coffee being made while talking with baristas about the process. They will also have a retail space to sell their beans, as well as Kalita brewing supplies from Japan. Right now, they plan to open Friday August 1st (so soon!), pending inspections. 2271 Union St. at Steiner.

Just can’t get enough coffee? Don’t miss CoffeeCon on Saturday July 26th, a special one-day festival of all things caffeine and coffee. It offers a chance to taste coffee from all over the world, explore different roasting techniques, and learn about different brewing techniques. It’s happening at Terra Gallery from 9am-4pm, and tickets are $20 per person. 511 Harrison St. at 1st St.

Tidbits: Roli Roti's New Commissary Means Good News for Us, Big 4 Now Serving Sunday Brunch

roliroti-porchetta.jpg

Roli Roti’s famed porchetta. Photo via Facebook.

Some great news for Thomas Odermatt, the CEO of Roli Roti (aka the Maestro of Rotisserie, LOL): after an extensive search, he has found a new (and much larger) commissary in Oakland. What does this mean for us? Odermatt is going to be able expand Roli Roti’s catering service and product lines later this fall, and you’ll be able to get some products at your local grocery store. He’s planning to create small versions of porchetta, offer unique and different cuts of chicken (he’s working on a version of a small chicken porchetta right now, bring it on), and marinated chicken cuts. He will also be serving more salads and sides at the farmers’ markets too. Odermatt has come a long way since his company launched in 2002—Roli Roti now has six food trucks that hit 38 farmers’ markets in the Bay Area. Congrats on your well-earned success, Thomas, and we look forward to more of your delicious and carefully sourced and crafted food.

Looking for a classy brunch spot? The recently reopened ~BIG 4~ is now offering Sunday brunch from 10:30am-2:30pm. The menu has some seriously hearty egg dishes, like eggs in the hole with short ribs, polenta, and jus, or fried with milk-braised pork, cranberry beans, and salsa verde. And who can say no to smoked trout with cucumbers, watercress, pistachio, and crème fraîche? Of course, brunch cocktails will also be available. Take a look at the menu and drink list here.

Big 4 - 1075 California St. San Francisco - 415-771-1140

Closures: Villa Romana, Cuco's in Danger of Eviction (Again)

villa_romana_ext.jpg

Villa Romana. Photo from Facebook.

After almost 60 years in the Inner Sunset, Italian restaurant ~VILLA ROMANA~ has closed, according to Inside Scoop. The family-run business is owned by Antonio and Giulia Accardo, who are both in their 70s and ready to retire, so this is a bittersweet end to the restaurant (the vintage interior is pretty amazing—I wish someone would just come in and keep the space exactly as it is). Their last day was Sunday July 20th, and the Accardos are looking to spend some time with their family. 731 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

~CUCO’S~, the homey Mexican-Salvadorean restaurant in Lower Haight, may have to close. According to Hoodline, Domingo and Carmen Campos have been served with eviction papers and will have to vacate the space within 30 days. The couple’s daughter, Judy, says that they are going to do all they can to either stay where they are or find a new location. In the meantime, stop by and get one of their famed plantain burritos while you can. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-863-4906.

Bwok! Fried Chicken Deliciousness Coming Your Way

Uncle_Brother_Chix_WRowe.jpg

Uncle Brother’s fried chicken. Photo by Wes Rowe.

Oh boy. There’s now another place where you can stuff your face with delicious crispy-fried chicken. Wes Rowe of WesBurger and his brother Walker Rowe are going to be serving fried chicken at their new pop-up, Uncle Brother’s Chicken, every Tuesday evening from 6pm-10pm at The Residence. The first one is actually tonight, July 22nd, and will continue regularly from now on. The menu will change weekly, featuring different fried chicken styles from around the world (not unlike the WesBurger concept). This week’s menu features Southern-style fried chicken, with pimento mac and cheese and fried okra. 718 14th St. at Church, 415-797-8866.

On Friday August 15th, ~LA COCINA~ will be gearing up for the San Francisco Street Food Festival on Saturday August 16th (you’ve got it on your calendar, right?) with a Friday Night Fried Chicken Family Meal. It’s all happening from 6pm-10pm at the SoMa STreat Food Park, and promises to be a cluckin’ good time. Here’s how it works: when you arrive, you receive a basket and a full, refillable flask. You walk around, visiting various vendors, and fill your basket with lots of fried chicken goodness. Oh, and maybe nip on that flask a little too. Fried chicken purveyors include the likes of Hopscotch in Oakland, the long lost Korean fried chicken from To Hyang, and Feirinha Gastronomica (hailing from Brazil!). There will also be a ton of delectable sides to check out, like a mac and cheese bar from Baia Pasta and cheese biscuits. Drinks will be from Rye on the Road and Campari. Tickets are on a sliding scale, starting at $50 (includes one drink ticket and unlimited chicken). There are also $75 (two drink tickets) and $125 (open bar) options—get ‘em while you still can! 428 11th St. at 13th St.

Where to Party Down with Some Oysters

oysterFest_2012.jpg

On the half shell at OysterFest 2012. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday August 24th, ~WATERBAR~ is hosting their sixth annual OysterFest on their bayside patio. As you may know, Waterbar has the largest and most eclectic selection of oysters in San Francisco—the event will only feature sustainable oysters. Look for plenty of bites from Waterbar, EPIC Roasthouse, Farmer Brown, Farallon, Fish, and Blue Island Oyster Farm, plus Napa Valley wines and beers (including Anchor Steam, Trumer Pils, and Speakeasy). Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The San Francisco Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans and beaches. 12pm-3pm. $70. Nonrefundable tickets go on sale on Thursday July 24th here.

Waterbar - 399 The Embarcadero San Francisco - 415-284-9922

Two Fab Filipino Food Events: There Will Be Sisig

lumpia-filipinofestival.jpg

It’s lumpia o’clock. Photo provided by Savor Filipino.

Calling all lumpia lovers, we have a couple of cool events for you to consider. First up, did you know that the chef de cuisine of Spruce, John Madriaga, is Filipino? So who better to learn how to make some delicious dishes from (besides your auntie, of course)? On Saturday August 9th, Madriaga is leading a Flavors of the Philippines Cooking Class. The class will be demonstration style, and will feature Madriaga’s favorite Filipino-inspired pork preparations, with a whole pig from Stone Valley Farm. After class, you’ll sit down for lunch with wine pairings. The menu includes sizzling sisig, lumpia, longanisa de Eugenio (with fried Jidori egg), pork adobo, and crispy pata (deep-fried trotters with pickled green papaya). Tickets are $135. Class begins at 11am.

Mark your calendar for Saturday August 30th, which will be the inaugural Savor Filipino event at Justin Herman Plaza. Did you know Filipinos comprise the second-largest Asian immigrant group in the U.S., second only to the Chinese? One more fact you may or may not know: the Bay Area is home to the highest concentration of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, so you can bet this event will be well attended. The event is free, and will feature chef and author demos, a beer garden (with local beer, wine, and Filipino-style cocktails), music, and of course plenty of ways to get your Pinoy vittles on.

There will be different pavilions serving many specialties, like the Garden Pavilion, with vegan and vegetarian options (like ginataang sitaw, local long beans sautéed with organic coconut milk); a Street Food Pavilion (there will be balut!); a Fiesta Pavilion, featuring party food like lechon baboy (roasted pig) and lumpia; and the Carinderia (“restaurant”) Pavilion will have chicken adobo and kare-kare. There will be plenty of desserts too. A really cool component to the event: all food served will feature humanely raised proteins, sustainable seafood, and organic, local produce. You can read the upcoming list of food items that will be served here. 10am-6pm. Justin Herman Plaza.

Calling All Crafty Types: Let's Talk Pickles and Chocolate!

asianpickles-cover.jpg

Love eating kimchi and Japanese tsukemono and pickled mustard greens? Then maybe you should learn how to make some of your own. Local author Karen Solomon has a new cookbook out, Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves, and you can join her at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ for her release party on Wednesday July 30th, from 6:30pm-7:30pm. She will make a short presentation, and of course there will be plenty of pickles to taste. Click here for more local events planned around her book launch.

Have you ever thought about how to produce small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate? Coming up in August is a one-month Chocolate Intensive Course (from August 2nd-August 30th) at the ~FOOD CRAFT INSTITUTE~, designed specifically for entrepreneurs and budding artisan chocolate makers. You’ll learn from a variety of local instructors, $475; payment plans and financial aid available.
 65 Webster St. at Embarcadero West, Oakland.

510 Tidbits: The Half Orange Expands Hours, Townie Opens, Mondays at Ozumo

Fried_cheese_curd_sando_HalfOrange.jpg

Fried cheese curds sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo from Yelp.

~THE HALF ORANGE~ in Fruitvale opened a couple of weeks ago, but just for lunch. Now that they’ve got their bearings, hours have expanded to 11:30am-8pm, Mon-Fri. You can check out the menu here. They’re still waiting on a liquor license though. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that ~TOWNIE~ is now open in the former Caffe Venezia. Initially, this one had a liquor license for Monarch Trading Co., but it looks like there is an entirely new team now. Owner Nima Shokat runs the Missouri Lounge and is aiming to offer “a neighborhood bar where people can just come by for a drink and hang out, but also get some exciting food.” To that end, chef Dana Ryan (RN74, Gather, State Bird Provisions) has been brought on to run the kitchen. They’re currently in soft open mode, which means a limited menu is being served, along with cocktails from 5pm until midnight or they run out. 1799 University Ave. at Grant, Berkeley, 510-356-4903.

For those of you looking to put some sushi away at a reasonable price, check out Sushi Monday at ~OZUMO~ in Oakland. From 5pm-9pm every Monday, you can order all-you-can-eat sushi while at the sushi counter for $40 per person. The menu includes some non-sushi options, too, like fried chicken and pork ribs. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-286-9866.

DPaul_Sky1-red_7.2014.jpg
dpaul_Sky2-green_7.2014.jpg

the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Jul 22, 2014

(Sponsored): From the Farmers Market to the Real Estate Market, I Know SF

A message from DPaul Brown:

Everyone knows the most important thing in real estate is location, location, location. But the right location is about more than just neighborhoods, schools, and transportation. It’s about the details in your daily life. Do you dine out a lot, or prefer to cook in? Do you want to walk to your favorite coffee shop or happy hour spot?

I know San Francisco from soup to nuts, and want to help you find your ideal home, whether it’s close to your favorite pizza joint or one of our amazing farmers markets. I love applying my knowledge of both the city’s culture and current real estate market conditions to find the perfect home for my clients. Contact me today, and I’ll help you find yours.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Jul 22, 2014

A New Brewery, Citizen Fox, Opening in the Mission

Citizen_Fox_GMaps_Screenshot.png

The future home of Citizen Fox. Image from Google Maps street view.

Eater brings news that the large space at the corner of 18th Street and Mission is (officially) spoken for. There’s been speculation about this space for a long time, and now we’ve got some details. The owner is Deborah Blum, one of the partners behind Lolinda, Beretta, and Starbelly. This one is called ~CITIZEN FOX~ and is going to be a brewery and beer incubator with Rich Higgins serving as brewmaster and educator. There will also be a full range of beer education opportunities, including classes and workshops on beermaking and tasting, and even a brewing internship program.

As for food, Blum hasn’t offered many details on what will be coming out of the kitchen (or who the chef is), but word is that it will be California style and casual. There is also a full bar, and we received word that Ramen Shop bar manager Chris Lane, who worked with Blum at Lolinda, will be consulting on the cocktails here. His menu at Citizen Fox will focus on freshness, with infusions, shrubs, and brightly flavored garnishes.

Reportedly, the team is hoping to open the 2,400-square-foot space in early November, though given the scope of the project that seems awfully ambitious. Oh, and if this all sounds familiar, you might be thinking of Brew U, which we reported on in May and is also plotting a Mission location. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.

Biondivino Now Hosting a Wine Bar Pop-Up and Aperitivo, and More

troeggi-biondivino.jpg

Photo courtesy of Biondivino.

troeggi-bruschetta.JPG

Classic Genovese bruschette at Biondivino. Photo courtesy of Biondivino.

Fans of the cheerful ~BIONDIVINO~ on Russian Hill, its walls packed with incredible Italian wines, have another reason to come visit the shop: owner Ceri Smith is launching an aperitivo and wine bar pop-up on Thursday July 24th, Troëggi a Biondivino, offering a variety of bruschette in the evening (this is what happens when Emanuele Fromento of Ai Troëggi—the natural wine and bruschetta bar in Genova—visits SF for a month). There will be some classic Genovese bruschette (on Josey Baker bread), ranging from freshly made pesto to one with Taleggio, zucchini, and prosciutto cotto. Oh yes, and there’s bruschetta with Gorgonzola and mostarda di Cremona, and the “spussona” version, with Gorgonzola, onion, and spicy arugula. There will be about 15 in all, plus some cheese and salumi plates, and tiramisù for dessert.

There will be a variety of natural wines poured, just $10 a glass, including two sparklers, three to five whites, and three to five reds, plus a rosé. If you come by from 5pm-7pm and order a glass of wine, in true aperitivo fashion, you’ll be gifted a mini bruschetta (with pesto, tomato, garlic, and olive oil). It’s an informal gathering, but you’ll still have a spot to perch at tables. Wine bar hours will be 5pm-11pm (most nights, they might take a break one night a week) from now through August 31st.

While you’re in the shop, be sure to check out the growing shelf of artisan food items from Italy and Spain that Ceri is stocking these days for the eli-men-ta-ri part of her business, including hard-to-find pastas, honey, spices, tins of canned fish, and more. She is planning to source more items like colatura and bottarga, and have “pre-offers” for people to purchase them before they’re stocked (subscribe to her newsletter to keep up on that). Look for this to evolve in coming weeks.

Another thing to look forward to: she is going to be offering classes on wine, food, ingredients, beer, and more. We’ll keep you posted (and may even be teaching a class ourselves!). 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.

Wine Events: Broctacular 2014, Urban Wine Xperience, Vin de France with Vinguard

Broc_wines.jpg

Broc wines. Photo from Facebook.

Attention winos, we have a trio of events for you to consider. This Saturday July 26th is the annual Broctacular event at ~BROC CELLARS~, an open house at their winery facility in Berkeley. It’s a low-key event, with pours of recent wine releases, some vittles provided by Naked Lunch, and there will be some local tunes. $25, includes all wine and food ($12.50 for wine club members). Tickets here. 1pm-5pm. 1310 5th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

Also in the 510: Saturday August 2nd will be the ninth annual Urban Wine Xperience in Jack London Square (on the Ferry Lawn), courtesy of the East Bay Vintners Alliance. More than 20 East Bay urban wineries will pour a wide array of their white, rosé, red, and dessert wines. There will also be food and live music. Tickets are $35 for wine club members, $45 for advance tickets, and $60 at the door. Designated drivers receive discounted tickets at $15. Tickets can be purchased online. 1pm-5pm.

Back in the city, on Sunday August 3rd, Pamela Busch of The Vinguard is hosting a Vin de France Seminar and Tasting at ~TERROIR NATURAL WINE BAR AND MERCHANT~. From the event press release: “Some of the most captivating wines being made today are vin de France, formerly known as vin de table. From the Loire Valley to Provence, VDF producers are shaking up the AOC system (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and at the same time preserving a lot of winemaking traditions and old grape varieties.” Pamela will be moderating a one-hour seminar at 2pm about vin de France; a walk-around tasting with 20 wines will be held from 3pm-5pm. The seminar and tasting is $45; tasting only for $25. Tickets and more here. 2pm-5pm. 1116 Folsom St. at 7th St.

Casey Flat Ranch, a New Winery to Explore Above the Capay Valley

02_Casey_Flat_Open_range.jpg

Open Range on, uh, the open range. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

03_Casey_Flat_Lunch_setting.jpg

The setting for lunch, with pairings. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

04_Casey_flat_FB.jpg

Plantings at Casey Flat Ranch. Photo from Facebook.

A field report by Dana Eastland: Capay Valley in Yolo County is well known for its produce and organic farms, but it’s also home to a wine region, the Capay Valley AVA. It was established in 2002, and remains a bit of a secret, especially compared with Napa, just to the west. The valley floor is quite hot, but high above it in the Vaca Mountains is Casey Flat Ranch, a former cattle ranch and retreat owned by the Morey family. At about 2,000 feet, this new winery is able to make wines with the balance that comes from elevation and rocky mountain soils. It was only planted in 2004, and winemaker Laura Barrett has been working with the Morey family and viticulturalist Tom Prentice since to make wines using both Bordeaux and Rhône varieties.

I had a chance to visit the ranch in May to taste some of the wines. It’s definitely a trek up the mountain, and feels way more remote than just an hour and a half from downtown San Francisco. The ranch itself is home to several vineyards, and Barrett is making some lovely estate wines. I particularly enjoyed the whites, including the 2012 viognier, which is herbaceous and fresh, with apricot and a touch of nuttiness, and the 2013 sauvignon blanc, with a hint of tropical fruit and balanced acidity. They’re also making a rosé, which has a nice fullness and fruit to it, without veering into overly sweet territory.

They also have their “Open Range” series, which is made with fruit from various regions in California, depending on the year. The 2011 Open Range Red Wine we tried was pretty much ideal for barbecue. At $18, it’s a perfect bottle to bring to a party. Bottles are available for retail purchase at Andronico’s in San Francisco and select Whole Foods markets in the Bay Area, or you can purchase them directly through their website.

Because Casey Flat is still, in many ways, an experiment for everyone involved in the project, they are still trying out new ways of planting and harvesting their grapes, and Barrett is still finding ways to create balanced wines in their specific climate. If you’re into wine and learning how winemakers work with their property to make the best possible bottles, this is an excellent opportunity to watch a winery in an unusual location develop. Plus, it’s still a bit of a hidden gem, and who doesn’t love that?

They’ve recently started offering ranch tours and tastings, if you want to visit the property (you do, believe me). “Level One” tastings are available seven days a week by appointment, March-November, and are $85 per person (two person minimum), including wine tastings and bites. “Level Two” tastings are available two Thursdays a month, and include a full ranch tour, along with lunch and wine pairings, for $135 per person (four person minimum). More details and contact information can be found here. Casey Flat Ranch, Capay Valley, 415-435-2225.

DPaul_Sky1-red_7.2014.jpg
dpaul_Sky2-green_7.2014.jpg

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Jul 22, 2014

Eat Drink SF Is Coming to Town So Soon

SF_Chefs_2013_G9.jpg

The crowd at last year’s Eat Drink SF (then known as SF Chefs). Photo by Gamma Nine Photography via Facebook.

Event Info

Friday Aug 1, 2014 – Sunday Aug 3, 2014
Fort Mason

The artist formerly known as SF Chefs is back, and this time it’s bigger and better than ever, and even has a new name: ~EAT DRINK SF~. They’ve also got a new location. Instead of taking over Union Square downtown, the bulk of the event has moved to Fort Mason, which allows for even more space for eating, drinking, and carousing with your favorite local chefs. The whole thing is taking over the fort from August 1st-3rd.

Of course, the main event is the Grand Tasting Pavilion. On Friday August 1st, it’s from 6:30pm-10pm, and the theme is “My Big Obsession.” On Saturday August 2nd, you can catch the fun in the afternoon from 12:30pm-4pm (theme: “Meet Your Mentor”), or in the evening from 7pm-10:30pm, with the theme “A Night of Classics.” Then, on Sunday August 3rd, the action runs from 12:30pm-4pm, and it’s all about “Made in SF.”

There are also lots of smaller events that you won’t want to miss, including some dinners, workshops, and demonstrations. On Saturday August 2nd at 10:30am, the tablehopper herself, Marcia Gagliardi, will be moderating the demo Up Close and Personal with Chef Fabio Viviani, where he’ll be sharing his stories and techniques, as well as showing the audience how to prepare an orecchiette pasta with pesto. You can also learn about noodles from the other side of the world on Sunday August 3rd at the Ramen Noodle (Work) Shop at 10:30am with Paul Piscopo and Thy Tran.

There are plenty of opportunities the focus on the “drink” part of the festival too. On Sunday August 3rd, catch “The Bloody Mary,” a workshop with Hangar 1 Vodka. You’ll learn all about the perfect Bloody Mary from local bartenders, and of course have the chance to taste a few versions of the brunchy beverage.

Oh, and there is also a special Industry Day on Friday August 1st from 9am-6pm. The day is specifically designed to encourage conversations between folks in the industry, with panels, workshops, and conversations (plus some networking opportunities too). Lunch will be provided.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, of course. For a full lineup of events, head here. Tickets start at $30 for single events, but lots of packages for more events and the pavilion tastings are also available. Times and locations vary per event, check out the website for all the details.

And here’s a special offer for tablehopper readers: receive 15 percent off all Lexus Grand Tasting events with the code TABLEHOPPER. Have fun! See you there.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Jul 22, 2014

The Professor Strikes Again

The dreamy ~Clive Owen~ was spotted again last week, on Tuesday evening at Kokkari. Our spotter said he was there with a large group of 14 or so.

Wait, Another Clarice?

Fresh on the heels of last week’s Jodie Foster sighting, a spy let us know that ~Julianne Moore~, who played Clarice in Hannibal, was at Slanted Door on Friday. She was with her husband and children. They all appeared to have a lovely time and ordered the cotton candy for dessert.

the matchmaker

Classifieds (let's get it on)
Jul 22, 2014

(Matchmaker): Brasserie S&P Mandarin Oriental Hotel Seeks Assistant Restaurant Manager

Poached_135x100.jpg

Brasserie S&P is seeking an assistant restaurant manager to assist the restaurant manager with the operational and financial responsibility for the restaurant. Must provide exemplary service and the ultimate guest experience to all clientele.

Apply here.

(Matchmaker): 21st Amendment Brewery Seeks Executive Chef

Poached_135x100.jpg

21st Amendment Brewery is looking for an executive chef to be a passionate, committed, and energetic leader for a very high-volume kitchen, servicing a dynamic range of guests including neighborhood residents, craft beer tourists, and San Francisco Giants game day crowds.

Apply now.

view web version of this newsletter
subscribe to the tablehopper | unsubscribe

All content © 2014 tablehopper, LLC. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.