November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

So, let’s get to some news around town. I heard that Jessica Gorin is no longer the executive chef at ~BAMBUDDHA LOUNGE~, and is now at Thirsty Bear in SoMa. She will be launching a new menu there shortly, stand by. In the meantime, I didn’t hear back from the Bambuddha folks in time, but will let you know who the new chef is, or what their plans are once I get the details. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-885-5088.

And literally just before my deadline, I got word that Ryan Scott is leaving ~MISSION BEACH CAFÉ~ on December 1st to focus on his catering business, Ryan Scott 2 Go, and is reportedly “weighing several compelling job offers.” Things are on good terms between Scott and proprietor Bill Clarke—Scott is planning to return to MBC for special events throughout the rest of the year and into 2009. Clarke has hired a new executive chef, Thomas Martinez, age 22, to head up the kitchen—Martinez actually worked previously at MBC, and left to try private cheffing, so now he’s back (and will be keeping things seasonal). He has also worked at Soluna, Greens, Aziza, Roots, and Foreign Cinema, as well as with Heirloom Organic Gardens, where he worked directly with the produce and restaurant chefs as a purveyor. 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., 415-861-0198.

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese sandwiches? I guess you lactose intolerant types aren’t big fans, but as for the rest of you… I had a tablehopper reader tip me off to a cool project that recently started up in the Chan Chan Cafe Cubano space, tucked up off Market Street near the Castro. During the day Monday through Friday, ~FEELGOOD CAFÉ~ takes over and cooks up a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Hunger Project and to programs ending hunger. In case the name is familiar, the FeelGood Cafe is normally on university campuses, but this is the first non-campus location. You can get organic breakfast items, like Greek eggs or huevos rancheros or egg sandwiches, and their unique spin on grilled cheese sandos include the Cheese Louise! (cheddar, brie, apple, Dijon mustard) and the Sexy Mexy (mozzarella, beans, avocado, pico de gallo, mango, jalapeños). There are also coffee drinks available, made with organic coffee grown by a women’s cooperative in Costa Rica. At night, Chan Chan’s Cuban menu returns (Tue–Sat)—oh, and they also do weekend brunch. So do your part in helping the FeelGood Cafe with their mission to “end world hunger, one grilled cheese at a time.” And support Chan Chan, who so kindly offered to host the project! The café opens at 6:30am. 4690 18th St. at Danvers, 415-864-4199.

~TROPISUEÑO~ is opening this Saturday in Yerba Buena Lane, serving taqueria fare during the day to the lunch and daytime crowd, and will start dinner service in December. Modern renditions of tequila-based cocktails are also available, made with fresh ingredients, arriba! Starting December 1st, dinner service will begin, and the restaurant actually has a physical transformation as well: the taqueria line will disappear, and other touches will happen to make it more restaurant, less taqueria. During the switch to dinner, the menu will expand to include antojitos and Jaliscan seafood specialties—there will also be two signature moles, eventually four. The food is geared toward authenticity, but is not high end like some other SoMa Mexican places. The chef is Antelmo Faria, most recently at La Salette in Sonoma, and Montrio in Monterey. Hours are 10:30am–5:30pm daily, and dinner will be eventually 5:30pm–10:30pm. 75 Yerba Buena Ln. at Market, 415-243-0299.

Time to dial up your heat tolerance: I got a call from the ~HENRY’S HUNAN~ folks, and their Noe Valley location is opening this Saturday the 22nd in the former Pescheria spot. This will be the fifth Henry’s location, and will have a similar menu (gotta love the meat pie and Marty’s special, oh yeah)—they said delivery will eventually be available, just not right now. Hours are slated to be 11:30am–9pm. 1708 Church St. at 29th St., 415-826-9189.

I learned the former chef of Moose’s, Travis Flood, is back from his trip east helping to open Laurent Gras’s L20 in Chicago, and is now the executive chef at ~PICCOLO TEATRO~ in Sausalito, focused on Venetian cuisine. Flood also mentioned he’s making most of the charcuterie on the menu. Chris Whaley of Picco in Larkspur was the opening consulting chef, and now Flood, who started as chef de cuisine, has assumed the role as executive chef, and is rolling out his own fall menu. 739 Bridgeway Blvd., 415-332-0739.

Here’s an update on a few Mission spots: ~GEORGE'S BBQ~, the affordable rotisserie and carved meats place I mentioned last month, is due to open this week. A hofbrau-style lunch and dinner will be served daily. This place might scar vegetarians for life, so take note. 3231 24th St at Mission, 415-550-1010.

And awwww hell, the one week I was finnnnnally going to be able to hit ~MISSION STREET FOOD~, and now they are closed until December. From their site: “We apologize for the inconvenience, but Mission Street Food will not be at Lung Shan this week (or next week, which is Thanksgiving). We are working out the logistics of a new prep location and hope to re-open in December. We're still accepting proposals from guest chefs/cooks and at this point, we also want to hire a part-time prep or line cook. The bottom line is that we want to keep doing Mission Street Food, but we're outgrowing our current kitchen and staff.” Le sigh.

Meanwhile, ~PHAT PHILLY~, the authentic cheesesteak place, is delayed until early December, and ~ZAYTOON~, the Mediterranean wraps and falafel spot, will be opening soon thereafter. Phat Philly: 3388 24th St. at Valencia. Zaytoon: 1136 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-824-1787.

Thrillist has some deets on ~MIDPOINT~, the restaurant that is opening in the former O’Reilly’s Holy Grail space on Polk. The new owner turned the design around pretty quick, so I’m not expecting a massive transformation, but reportedly the Gothic church elements have gone the way of the Inquisition. The opening is slated for this Thursday. 1233 Polk St. at Bush, 415-924-2493.

This is always fun for me: some rock star tablehopper readers wrote in some insider info in relation to a few of my recent reviews. First, for those of you who were salivating over the dim sum descriptions at ~S&T HONG KONG SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~, and were wishing you had your very own Eddie to take you there and translate the menu, well, check this out! A regular who been going since it opened about 20 years ago (and said, “They are at the top of their game right now, I think, both for dim sum and dinner.”) had this to share: “If you ask at the front desk, they'll give you a supplementary checklist with the English translations of the un-translated part of the regular dim sum checklist. The Salt and Pepper Tofu that you mentioned is on that list along with one of my favorites, braised stuffed tofu skins—they are stuffed with pork and are absolutely delicious. Also on that list are shrimp-stuffed eggplant and shrimp-stuffed green peppers and some bargain items, many of which are really quite good.” Okay?! Already plotting my return. And you? 2578 Noriega St. at 33rd Ave., 415-665-8338.

And then another fab reader, Cara, had great suggestions for fellow downtown desk-less fans of ~THE SENTINEL~ who wonder where to eat their delicious sandwich. Here’s more from her entirely helpful email: “I recommend one of the two lovely public rooftop gardens accessible from Crocker Galleria across Market. The nice one on the corner of Post / Montgomery / Market (over the gorgeous old Wells Fargo bank) has a prominent entrance from the top floor of Crocker Galleria. If it's raining, you can snag a table inside Crocker Galleria. Or go to the inside public space around the corner from Sentinel at 55 Second St. There's a smaller, more hidden rooftop garden that faces Sutter and the historic Halladie building. From the top floor of Crocker Galleria, go to the unmarked staircase in the NW corner of the building and go up. It's also accessible from the Galleria Park Hotel. Excellent for good weather days when everywhere else is busy. If you want to explore for a couple of hours, a great SF City Guides tour to many of the public spaces in downtown (including more rooftop gardens) is offered twice every Friday.” Thanks ladies—brownie points to both of you!

And one more tidbit I plan to put to use: the groovy folks at REBAR have even created an interactive map of downtown privately owned public open spaces, check it out here.

Executive chef Richard Corbo of ~DUCCA~ has prepared a special five-course squash menu paired with regional Italian wines imported by Stefano Biscotto of Trilussa Wines. The dinner will be held in the private dining room this Wednesday November 19th. 7pm, $79 per person, and includes the wine. The squash menu will continue to run for the next couple months while squash is in season (but without Wednesday’s nice wine deal). 50 Third St. at Mission, 415-977-0271. Â

Slow Food Nation wanted to host a few more events before the Victory Garden closes up December 6th. This Saturday November 22nd there will be a ~COMMUNITY EAT-IN~ from noon–3pm. Here’s more: “An Eat-In is a group of people gathering in a public space in order to share a meal. Come to the Victory Garden in front of City Hall to represent your community and break bread with others who want to make sure everyone has access to good, healthy, real food. The meal is a potluck and free of charge. Please bring your own plate, cup, and silverware, and some home-cooked food to share with your neighbors. It is free of cost and open to the first 200 who register. Organizers will provide tables and chairs.” I heard there are still some seats remaining, get on it! And no, don’t show up with a bucket of KFC.

I swore I was not doing any more Thanksgiving coverage, but I had to let you know about one more thing, because it really sounds that good. Well, really bad for you good. Yats, the New Orleans-style po’ boy shop in Potrero Hill will not only be selling ~LOUISIANA FRIED TURKEYS~ for Thanksgiving, but they will be doing an open fry on Wednesday November 26th from 7am–10pm and Thanksgiving morning from 7am–12pm! Which means you bring your own turkey, choose your marinade, and they fry it for you, so you don’t have to deal with a vat of scary hot oil. Read the details on the site, and if you’re interested, be sure to call and reserve your spot! $32, cash only. At Jack’s Club, 2545 24th St. at Utah, 415-282-8906.

More bird news: ~THE LARK CREEK INN~ is doing Southern Fried Chicken Sundays for $19.95, which includes three pieces of sesame-crusted fried chicken, mashed potatoes, braised organic greens, and a buttermilk biscuit served with sides of honey butter, house-made red chili jam, and chili vinegar for the greens. Leave the gun rack at home. Served for dinner from 5pm–9pm. 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, 415-924-7766.

This one is a bit out of city limits, but it’s your chance to visit the gorgeous grounds of McEvoy Ranch during harvest (the ranch is usually closed to guests)! Sunday, December 7th is the ~COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE~, with guided ranch tours, music, refreshments, and your chance to stock up on some olio nuovo in the gift shop. The event is free, but reservations are required. 5935 Red Hill Road, Petaluma.

Down in San Mateo, ~ESPETUS CHURRASCARIA~, the Brazilian restaurant known for its parade of meat on skewers, has opened its second location. Turn your dial to green, and try 12–14 different types of meat that will be brought and carved directly on your plate. The menu is offered on a set-price basis ($49.95 for dinner, $23.95 for lunch Monday–Friday, $32.95 for lunch Saturday–Sunday) and includes access to the Brazilian-inspired salad and hot plate bar with rice, beans, and a varied choice of fish, chicken, stroganoff, lasagna, sushi (hmmmm—how’d that get in there?), and other dishes, plus many vegetarian selections. Dessert is served a la carte. My best advice is don’t bother eating the entire day before going there. There is also a full bar and lounge area. 710 South B St. at 7th St., San Mateo, 650-342-8700.