Holidays in SF mean it’s time for fresh, local Dungeness crab (finally, it’s here!). Of course, you can try to squeeze in to the counter at SWAN OYSTER DEPOT (go early and midweek!), a booth at ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~, and HAYES STREET GRILL offers a half-cracked crab and salad on the menu at lunch (open for lunch this weekend and Christmas Eve!) and dinner. (Do note they are closed Jan 1-6.)
Another classic (35 years and counting!) is PIER 23 CAFE RESTAURANT & BAR, which serves a whole Dungeness crab—it’s oven roasted and smothered in garlic, lemon, California white wine, and lots of butter (chef Bryan Baker utilizes the crab roe and fat in the broth for a richer flavor). Market price is $60 right now. Enjoy a view from the heated outdoor waterside patio and some live music.
If you can’t make it down to Pillar Point Harbor and pick them up off the boats, I’m a big fan of visiting “the girls” at ALIOTO-LAZIO FISH COMPANY on the Wharf in the morning.And ~SCOMA’S~ offers a service where you can order their regular or jumbo holiday crab online and have it packed up and ready to be picked up at a certain time. (Just park by the fish receiving station and pick up at the host stand.)
Next! It’s latke season, which means ~DELFINA~ is serving up their two versions from Sunday December 22nd through the 30th, plus some other “Jew-ish” holiday treats alongside their regular menu. And at their sister restaurant LOCANDA, don’t forget the Feast of the Seven Fishes is happening on Christmas Eve, check it out.
More latkes: ~ONE MARKET~ is serving chef Mark Dommen’s famous crispy latkes with housemade apple sauce and sour cream—the restaurant will be open 12/23, 12/27, and 12/28 during the holiday. Wine director Tonya Pitts will definitely pour you some fab bubbles to go with them.
Both locations of FIORELLA on Polk and Clement are serving some Hanukkah dishes à la carte: latkes with crème fraîche and quince butter, roasted beet salad, chicken matzo ball soup, beef brisket with wild mushroom noodle kugel, and nut and date coins. (From December 22nd-30th.)
PLÄJ in Hayes Valley is serving a traditional Swedish Christmas Julbord menu this Sunday December 22nd for $85/person. Make your reservation!
Have you enjoyed any white truffles yet? I’ve been working so much I haven’t made it out for any yet! One of my favorite places to enjoy this seasonal treat is ~PERBACCO~, which offers a variety of classic Piemontese dishes, with five grams of white truffles shaved tableside. Available during dinner service through December 24th.
I thought this looked cool: on January 26th, Passalacqua Winery is partnering with Relish Culinary Adventures for a special wild mushroom foray and luncheon in Healdsburg. In the hills above Sonoma County, learn the fundamentals of edible wild mushroom foraging. Following the hillside excursion, return to Relish for a cooking demonstration and discussion on techniques for storing, handling, and cooking a variety of fresh and dry/wild and cultivated mushrooms. Guests will enjoy a three-course wild mushroom lunch, with guided wine pairings from Passalacqua Winery, led by winemaker Jessica Boone. Tickets available on Relishculinary.com (there are some other dates too!), $154 per person. Healdsburg.
Something to look forward to in the New Year: ~FRANCES~ started celebrating their tenth anniversary (!) with a series of dinners, featuring a star-studded line-up of guest chefs, sommeliers, and winemakers. Sponsored by OpenTable, Frances’ Tenth Anniversary Dinner Series will showcase women in the industry that have made an impact on chef-owner Melissa Perello and her teams at Frances, Octavia, and the newly opened M. Georgina in Los Angeles, with each dinner in the series benefitting a charity. Perello and team have a goal of raising $50,000 for all charities. Each dinner is limited to 40 guests and will feature a Champagne reception, followed by a multi-course collaborative menu with wine pairings for $250/person, including tax and service.
Wednesday January 8th is with chef and author Anita Lo with sommelier Belinda Chang, benefiting Women Chefs and Restaurateurs and Dress For Success; Tuesday January 21st is with Renee Erickson (chef, author, and co-owner of The Walrus and the Carpenter, The Whale Wins, and more) with Master Sommelier and Vice President of Wine & Beverage Experience, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants, Emily Wines, benefitting Wild Fish Conservancy; Monday January 27th is Kim Alter (chef/owner, Nightbird, Linden Room, San Francisco) with Kathryn Coker (Rustic Canyon Family Wine Director & Esters Co-Owner) benefitting Corazon Healdsburg; Tuesday January 28th is with Gabriela Cámara (restaurateur, chef, and author; Contramar, Mexico City; Cala; Onda, Santa Monica) and Jessica Koslow (chef and author, SQIRL, Los Angeles; Onda, Santa Monica)…the list of amazing women goes on! Click through to see the incredible lineup of talent and book your reservation!
Dungeness crabs at Scoma’s. Photo by Mathew Sumner.