Many of you know how obsessed I am with vintage San Francisco restaurant ephemera. I have a rather extensive collection of vintage menus, postcards, restaurant guides, and books, which I have started sharing on Instagram with the #tablehoppervintageseries hashtag. And my collection of tablehopper T-shirts highlight vintage SF restaurant and bar designs.
Since I was a little girl, I have been so fascinated with the Blue Fox. I remember my grandfather telling me about it and am so sorry I never had the chance to dine there before it closed after a 60-year run in 1993. I have collected a Blue Fox menu, matchbook, ashtray, drink tokens, and postcards, and have studied this pantheon of fine and Continental dining for years.
Did you know that the location where Alfred’s is now, on Merchant and Kearny, was formerly the home of the Blue Fox?! Alfred’s was originally on Vallejo Street (when it opened in 1928!), and then Broadway, and moved into the current location in 1997. Alfred’s has also held a special place in San Francisco diner hearts, from the recent Petri Family years to now, with the respectfully updated version under the Daniel Patterson Group.
This Friday May 12th, I am hosting a dinner I have wanted to host for a long time. It will be an homage to both the Blue Fox and Alfred’s, to times gone by, and to San Francisco and Northern California history. We are partnering with Anchor Distilling Co. and Robert Mondavi Winery this evening, so there will also be a dash of Italian-American heritage in this meal as well.
It ends up we will not be in the downstairs private dining room—because we are taking over the upstairs restaurant! As many of you may know, Alfred’s suffered an unfortunate basement fire a few weeks ago, and they are still recovering from it. Fortunately, there was no serious damage to the main restaurant, but some things under the hood need fixing and aren’t working, like their POS system. They tell me they are going to need to remain closed longer than expected to fix things. Tragic!
But this ends up becoming quite the silver lining for us: Alfred’s is going to open for us, just for our event, and will be serving us upstairs in the elegant red dining room! We will have the restaurant to ourselves, and the cocktail reception in the upstairs bar will be just us! I hear the chandeliers upstairs have been restored and cleaned during the closure, so expect things to be extra sparkly!
Eric Shifrin, our piano player, will no longer be playing on the white baby grand piano since it’s downstairs, and that breaks my heart a little, but he will be playing on his keyboard upstairs, so we’ll still be enjoying his swanky tunes, from Hoagy Carmichael to classic songs Frank Sinatra would have sung. You may recognize Eric from playing at the Fairmont!
It is a great honor to be partnering with Anchor Distilling Co. on this event, our local and beloved distillery! For our reception (beginning at 6pm), guests can enjoy a martini or Martinez—we will be featuring Junípero gin, Old Tom gin, and the very special pot-distilled Old Potrero 18th Century whiskey this evening.
Our wine partner for the evening is one of the greats: Robert Mondavi Winery. I was determined to partner with a storied Napa Valley producer for this event, someone you would have seen on the Blue Fox’s and Alfred’s wine lists, and am beyond thrilled we will be pairing wines from this legendary winery and pioneer. One of their senior wine educators, Dana Andrus, will be at the dinner. He has been with the winery for many years and has some great stories to share about the deep Robert Mondavi Winery history and will speak to the wines.
Now, the menu! This is a very special creation, which integrates original Blue Fox and Alfred’s dishes and recipes I tracked down! We’re integrating some new touches as well, thanks to chef Bryan Baker.
First Course antipasto roasted red pepper, pickled celery, crispy artichokes, garbanzo beans, olives, avocado, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, fresh herbs Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 To Kalon Vineyard Fumé Blanc Reserve, Oakville, Napa Valley
Second Course scampi alla Livornese Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Chardonnay Reserve, Carneros, Napa Valley
Third Course spinach gnocchi, spring onion, peas, beef sugo Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery 2014 Pinot Noir Reserve, Carneros, Napa Valley
Fourth Course roasted filet mignon, asparagus, red wine demiglace Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery 2013 To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Oakville, Napa Valley
Fifth Course baked Alaska Paired with Robert Mondavi Winery 2015 Moscato D’ Oro, Napa Valley
As you can see, this is not an evening you’ll want to miss. It’s going to be a very only-in-San Francisco kind of night. Cocktail attire…start planning your swank vintage outfit now! (No jeans!) I have hired a fab photographer for the evening, Blair Heagerty, so she’ll be documenting everyone in their finery.
The event is $175, inclusive of tax and gratuity—get your ticket here. Your ticket price also includes a tablehopper Blue Fox T-shirt (there is the option to upgrade to an ultra-plush Blue Fox hoodie/sweatshirt instead, ticket price is $190). Thanks to our partners and host, we are able to offer this very unique experience at this special cost (grazie Alfred’s, Anchor Distilling Co., and Robert Mondavi Winery!).
When booking your reservation, please specify any guests you want to be seated with. We are going to have a range of tables and seating options. Reception at 6pm, dinner at 6:45pm.
We are also going to be giving away a couple of really great prizes for guests! Robert Mondavi Winery is giving away two tickets to the Patti LaBelle concert in their 2017 concert series (on July 8th), and we are also holding a social media contest for a tasting for two in Anchor Distilling’s penthouse tasting room!
21 and over, of course. See you May 12th! Cin cin! Alfred’s, 659 Merchant St. at Kearny, San Francisco
The history of the space where Alfred’s is (and the Blue Fox was!) runs deep. Photo by Alanna Hale.