table of contents   This week's tablehopper: mangia mangia!

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews
the lush
put it on my tab
the wino
in vino veritas
the socialite

the starlet
no photos please


NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO I don't know what happened last week—it was like a blur of parties. Oh wait, the blur was due to all the booze I was consuming—oops, I did it again. Tuesday was dinner at Supperclub; Wednesday I hit Perbacco (see fresh meat for the write-up) and the industry after-hours, Chill; Thursday was the Gourmet Wine Cellar event at the Ferry Building, an after-party at Americano, and then dranks at Wish; Friday was the re-launch party for the Northside paper; and Saturday was a hootenanny at Velvet Cantina. My liver is furiously waving a white flag. But why stop now?

Are you ready for your gut-busting feast this week? It's like I'm in training all year for this meal, so I'm not even fazed by it. But one particularly timely thing to take note of in this week's (rather hefty) issue is Carl Francis's piece for the wino—he whipped up a special feature on what to drink this Thanksgiving. Cheers to that.

And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and I hope you enjoy the time with your loved ones (and the time off!). Bring on the turkey and cranberry sandwiches!

Hugs and gobbles,

the chatterbox

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Over at the Westfield Centre, the Straits Group will be opening ~STRAITS UNDER THE DOME~ under the former Emporium dome. This open-air bar and lounge/restaurant will be a new hotspot for folks to meet up, maybe after a movie, where they can get a bite to eat or enjoy a drink at the intended 16-foot circular bar in the middle. The bar/lounge/restaurant should have about 75 seats, along with imported European furnishings; the space will be enclosed by planters to help delineate the space. Like the Straits Restaurant (just a crab's leg toss away), it will serve the same menu and will be open late (until 2am Thu-Sat). The plan is to open at some point in the first quarter of 2007.

Just downstairs, the slick Olle Lundberg-designed location of Charles Phan's ~OUT THE DOOR~ was slated to open today on the concourse level in the Westfield Centre, but it looks like it won’t happen until the beginning of December. Sit tight.

I was wondering why ~LA PARRILLA GRILL~ has had its windows all papered over for the past few weeks, and it seems they had to close to address some major plumbing issues. There are also some financial issues at hand, because things are currently at an impasse with the property owner about who should pay for the repairs. La Parrilla Grill hopes to have everything worked out and to reopen by December 1. When the restaurant reopens, the menu will include some new additions, mostly traditional Mexican dishes, like tamales and enchiladas, plus some chicken dishes (like what you'd find at their other more casual locations, on Columbus Ave. and 24th St.). 1760 Polk St., 415-359-1212.

Something is seriously in the mineral water over at A16: ~SHELLEY LINDGREN~ and her husband ~GREG~ (of Rye, Rosewood, and 15 Romolo) are expecting! Shelley is three months along, and she has a brand-new lady lump to show for it. And we also have Executive Chef ~NATE APPLEMAN~ and his wife Clarisse expecting a baby boy! (Clarisse is 18 weeks along.) They are going to be naming him Enzo—perhaps the A16/driving theme inspired them, because there is one Enzo out there who is certainly smiling from the big speedway in the sky. Congrats to you all, or as we say in the old country, tanti auguri!

Caught up with Gil Milan of ~FOGÓN~ in North Beach—he is ending dinner service at the restaurant in a couple days, and will be focusing more on his catering business, Sedona Grill Catering (and a potential restaurant in Panama City). Milan said a lunch concept may pop up in the space soon—his son is considering launching a taqueria-style daytime offering. (More on this later as details firm up—FYI, Milan was behind Mi Burrito in the Fillmore area—some of you may remember it fondly.) But in the meantime, are you trying to find an intimate spot for your company's holiday party? You can now rent the cozy space for private functions, with room for up to 30 seated guests. Milan is also considering getting rid of the famous Sicilian rotisserie (it was originally Gira Polli's), so if you've got a need for an amazing rotisserie, you know whom to call. (No, not me.) 659 Union St., 415-288-8658.

Ran into ~SEAN CROWLEY~, the former wine director at Aqua, at the fourth annual friends and family harvest dinner at Destino Sunday night (thanks for hosting, James, Steve, and Lisa!), and Crowley is happy to announce he is the key accounts specialist at the fabulous J Wine up in Healdsburg. I heart that place.

Meanwhile, the new (and fresh-faced) sommelier at Aqua is ~CHRIS WRIGHT~, who was formerly at the Village Pub in Woodside, Kingfish, and the recently updated El Paseo in Mill Valley. Aqua management is very impressed with his passion and dedication—you'll see him on the floor, starting next Monday.

In case you were wondering where ~MAURO CIRILLO~ is, the former lead sommelier at Aqua is now next door at Perbacco.

And in other news, ~CHRISTIE DUFAULT~, formerly a wine director at Gary Danko, became the sommelier at Quince at the beginning of the month.

One of the best bar maestros in town (and the inaugural contributor for "the wino" for tablehopper), ~DUGGAN MCDONNELL~, is now beefing up the beverage program over at O'Reilly's Holy Grail on Polk St. Things are just ramping up, so expect more of an evolving focus on cocktails in the coming months. McDonnell ultimately sees the bar at O'Reilly's as a perfect gathering place to enjoy a microbrew, some good whiskey, a quality glass of wine, and a gin cocktail or two (it already has a rockin' happy hour). While he's not going to transform the bar into full-on cocktail Mecca (see his previous work at frisson), he is integrating some fun period-specific dranks on the menu, "Saints and Sinners of the Barbary Coast," like the Barbary Coast Cocktail (Plymouth dry gin, orange bitters, Lustau Oloroso Sherry, Chartreuse Pastis) and the Damn Yankee (bacon-infused bourbon [yes, you read that correctly], sloe gin, Laird's Applejack Brandy). It's all a work in progress, so expect more tweaks and changes in the coming months. For more big news on Duggan, check out his other project, Cantina, in this week's lush.

Come December 1, the clogged phone lines at ~NOPA~ at 1:55pm will be no more: NOPA will begin accepting reservations a month in advance instead of the current call-the-day-of system. (They will be able to accommodate parties of up to eight guests.) But don't fret—tables will still be available for walk-in diners. 560 Divisadero St., 415-864-8643.

Fellow Western Addition/NOPA neighbors may have been wondering what the heck is moving into the space at the corner of ~1064 DIVISADERO~ at Turk (I sure was). Well, the owner doesn't want to talk about it just yet, but it looks like it will be some variation of a café concept (I know, yet another café for the neighborhood, but I guess there really isn't that much happening on that stretch of Divis). There will also be beer and wine served. And that's all for now, folks! It's not even close to being done, so expect an update sometime in 2007…

You downtown workers might want to check out the recently opened ~UNION SQUARE MARKET~ (it opened in a former art gallery space, just across from Kuleto's). It has a worldwide selection of quality wines (they reportedly have quite the cellar in the basement), plus there are some higher-end liquors (including single malt scotches) and beer, plus some cheeses, chocolate, and other sundries. It's the first liquor license granted to a business in the neighborhood in 15 years. The owner is Sam Sirhed, and the manager is Jack Mogannam; if that last name looks familiar, it's because his first cousin is Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite, and Jack's other first cousin is Paul of Burgermeister. Open 10am-midnight Mon-Thu, 10am-1am Fri-Sat, and Sun 11am-11pm. 222 Powell St. at Geary St., 415-434-7222.

~MAGNOLIA PUB~ in the Haight is now serving a full menu all the way 'til midnight (11pm on Sundays). Between Magnolia, and its sister restaurant, ~THE ALEMBIC~, you can actually eat well (hello, local ingredients) at a late hour in the Haight. FYI, The Alembic is now open at noon on the weekend, offering lunch and an array of daytime dranks, like Bloody Marys and sparkling cocktails for those who need some hair of the dog. Ramos Gin Fizz, in the hizzy. Magnolia Pub, 1398 Haight St., 415-864-7468; Alembic Bar, 1725 Haight St., 415-666-0822.

I called ~BAR TARTINE~ not too long ago about a rumor I heard about lunch service starting up, but they said no, I was misinformed. Looks like things have changed: according to a Craigslist posting, lunch and weekend brunch start December 7. Duly noted. 561 Valencia St., 415-487-1600.

There was a big cooking event with KTSF this past weekend, the "2006 Cooking With Passion, Powered By Chefs Cooking Competition"—twelve amateur chefs were paired up with twelve pros (including Arnold Wong of EOS and Bacar, Bridget Batson of Hawthorne Lane, Scott Howard, Bruce Hill of Bix, So Ting Chu of Hong Kong Flower Lounge, and others). What's interesting is the amateurs trained with the chefs in advance of the event (up to a month)! Ends up ~BRIDGET BATSON~ and her amateur chef Jamie won the competition, congrats you two! And what's super-sweet is the winner donated all his prizes to Share Our Strength. Meow.

So I'm starting my own crusade for one of my fave chefs to get nominated for a 2007 James Beard Rising Star Chef award: ~RAVI KAPUR~ of Boulevard. (Especially since he's turning 30 next month, so this would be his last chance for that particular award.) For the first time, the James Beard Foundation is letting people suggest nominees online—feel free to nominate Ravi, and a bunch of other talented folks and fab places for various categories. Sign up and vote here.

Whew, are you full yet? I am, jeesh. I ate too much. Okay, well, sorry, get ready for your next course…

the regular


230 California St.
Cross: Battery St.
San Francisco, CA 94111


Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm
Dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm

Crudos $12
Salumi $6-$30
Apps $7-$14
Pastas $11-$20
Entrées $18-$29
Desserts $5-$8

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay, check it out: a new Italian restaurant has opened and whaddya know, it's not some 49-seat number that's tucked into [insert your neighborhood here] with wood chairs, a traditional menu of minestrone, a radicchio salad with gorgonzola cheese, and a few classic pasta (don't forget the risotto) and meat dishes. No hawkers out front. No Chianti fiascos hanging around.

Really? ~PERBACCO~!

Yes, literally. (The ristorante's name directly translates as "For Bacchus!," an exclamation not unlike "Hot damn!" or "Rad!" which are both pretty close to the response I had after eating there.) This refreshing addition to the San Francisco Italian dining landscape is following tenets similar to the very successful A16 concept (focus on a specific region in Italy, make some excellent and legit food from that region, have a killer wine list, and design a cool restaurant to contain it all), but Perbacco is focusing on the Northern Piemontese region, with daytrips to the Ligurian coast, and some added contemporary flair.

And the space, hoo whee. It's chic, sleek, and feels very urban and polished. And it's big, try 6,000-square-feet, with something like 120 seats, and two private rooms upstairs (The Barolo Room and The Barbaresco Room, natch).

The historic building has an olive green exterior and gleaming silver letters that spell out PERBACCO all in caps (slick font choice, by the way). Upon entering the space, the first thing you notice is the long brick wall that runs the length of the building, which hints to its provenance as the Hind Building, dating back to 1912.

Some of you may remember the space as the home of the pub-like Gold Coast, but all traces of its ye olde vibe are quite gone. Instead, you'll find a gleaming Carrera marble bar with a gorg red restored Berkel meat slicer parked right by it. (I got to touch it.) There are padded and modern bar seats that run the length of the bar, plus some booths along the wall for bar-area diners.

Follow the marble tile runway down the shotgun space and once you're seated in one of the two dining areas, you'll begin to note details like the luxe cognac baby ostrich banquettes, a design motif of wood slats that lend an almost Scandinavian vibe, an exhibition kitchen in the far back with an eight-seat chef's table, large floral displays, and the plaid carpeting that offers partial relief from the oh-too-common wood floor ricochet effect in most restaurants these days.

The room is definitely lit (there are some large and modern rectangular light boxes), but it's flattering and glowing light, not dark and moody. Cass Calder Smith was the designer/architect for the refined space, and you may recognize a few small elements or look-and-feel from some of the other places his studio has recently designed, like Terzo or Lettus: Café Organic. To me, the space feels very Milanese, although the owner, Umberto Gibin, would prefer more of a northerly Torinese association. Let's just say there's nothing quite like it in San Francisco, that's for sure.

The menu is extensive, and pretty darned affordable considering how spiffy the space is—you'd almost expect to cough up more. Yay, you don't have to. There wasn't a single entrée that hit the $30 mark on my visit, and you still get elegant flatware and stemware, attractive china, and some quality vittles.

Don't try to resist a few selections from the list of salumi (resistance is futile!), because Chef Staffan Terje knows his meats (before his eight years at Scala's, he was also a butcher). He's so into it that he spends his Sundays at the restaurant making salumi. I even got to see his curing room downstairs—it's like the mother lode of meat down there.

Hands-down, the house-cured salame al Barbera is some of the most tender and mouth-melting salame you'll ever taste around town. And how the hell did Terje know I am a total sucker for hot coppa and finocchiona (a fennel salame)? Literally, my two favorites when I'm buying some meat at a deli counter, and there they were on the menu. Hello, babies!

There are also some quality imports on the menu, a mortadella and a riserva prosciutto di San Daniele that's been aged 21 months—it's a rarity, and a must-try. While you're grazing on the salumi, go for a flute of the Lambrusco, the Grasparossa di Castelvetro, Barbolini, Emilia-Romagna ($8), a winning combo with meatses partses.

I know, salumi, salumi, salumi. It's blowing up around town like sushi or fro-yo many years back. Italians have been scarfing down cured meats for years, but I will say I'm glad Americans have finally caught on.

For those who want to veer away from the fatty cured meats (but why? why!?), there are four crudos to choose from, like a sashimi-style thick-cut blue fin tuna ($12) (from the Baja) with a nicely acidic green tomato vinaigrette on top plus ribbons of Serrano chile, or exquisitely fresh and succulent Nantucket Bay scallops that are served as a "ceviche," but have barely a whisper of citrus, with thin shards of celery and radish that add extra punch.

Speaking of extra punch, I found both of these dishes desperately needed a hit of salt. Not sure if this was a factor of initial growing pains (the restaurant is brand spanking new), or a purposefully light hand in the kitchen, but either way, both dishes benefited after I gave them a sprinkling (not a spanking). Especially with all the cool salts out there, I think there is an opportunity to showcase some good salts on the crudo selections.

Appetizers deliver on their name—it was tough to choose. We dove into the savory sweetbreads ($14), sporting a crispy exterior of semolina and fennel pollen, with braised fennel, onion, and a luxurious sauce with truffle. Perfect seasonal dish—hearty flavor and satisfying richness.

Some folks might arch an eyebrow at the prospect of raw veal (vitellone) served like a tartare ($12), with black truffle and crostini on the side. I found this execution to be a delightful alternative to the classic steak tartare—the meat was hand-cut, and had a creamy, smooth texture, with hints of pink. (Vitellone means "big veal," and the animal is in between the period of being milk-fed and more mature.) While the accompanying crostini were salted, I thought the meat still needed some—without enough salt, it tasted too flat.

The house-made pastas will tempt (and corrupt). The star for me, the Anna Magnani if you will, was the classic Piemontese dish of agnolotti dal plin ($12/$17): plump pillows stuffed with roasted veal breast and Savoy cabbage. This execution featured a trio of cheeses with some melted on top, too. There was ricotta, Parmesan, and Castelmagno cheese, a fluffy yet pungent and tangy cheese I've never had before (we're becoming fast friends). The pasta also had a drizzling of some roasting juices, with that viscous taste and texture you get from slow-roasting with bones—just heaven. Bravo.

This pasta called for a gorgeous glass of red, and boy, did I start flirting heavily with the 2003 Langhe Nebbiolo, Perbacco, Vietti, Piemonte—you could get a glass for $12, but this is an excellent time to take advantage of Perbacco's quartino feature, a quarter liter for $16.50 (it's more like a glass and a half, bring it on).

Also on the menu were thick-cut ribbons of house-made pappardelle topped with braised short rib ragu ($14/$19) with roasted black and gold chanterelles—the savory sauce had fantastic flavor, and a deep meatiness.

A note on the pasta: it ends up Terje has been working with the same pasta maker for the past eight years, and the guy is a master: complimenti, Donaldo Valenzuela. Seriously. This guy has serious chops. There are other traditional Northern stuffed pastas, like mezzelune and pansotti on the menu—I'm willing to bet that second pasta looks unfamiliar to you, and some things certainly will be strangers (it’s okay, you can talk to them). Just ask, the servers expect you to have questions.

For those who want to dabble in the mains, there's a Berkshire pork shoulder braised in milk ($21) accompanied by polenta and roasted fennel. This dish was homey, and the pork had a lovely texture, but I found it just didn't feature the oomph of some of the other dishes flavor-wise—it's a gentler, milder dish. Even the colors were all somewhat muted on the plate. Personally, I wouldn't want to commit to an entire serving of it on my own, but from what I've heard, people really dig this dish.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the quartered Wolfe Ranch quail ($21) was downright colorful, with spicy chunks of persimmon, apple, and a savory jus studded with pomegranate—totally the picture of late fall/early winter. This dish fell more on the contemporary side of things, and I liked the leaves of fresh Italian parsley mixed in with the meat on the plate—it added a nice bite of freshness with the luscious jus.

I was also quaffing a 2004 Barbera d'Asti, Montebruna, Braida Giacomo Bologna, Piemonte ($14/glass). I learned that Giacomo Bologna is considered the father of Barbera (you will discover that sommelier Mauro Cirilli is happy to educate)—I was reading that Bologna was the first to really maximize the effects of aging Barbera in small oak barrels. Oh, and in case Cirilli looks familiar, he was the lead sommelier at Aqua for almost four years. Be sure to engage him if you can.

So, dessert: pastry chef Tim Nugent (no relationship to Ted) busted out a fantastic chocolate tart ($8). I don't really opt for "the chocolate" when dining out, but in this case, I'm glad I did. It came with a perfect flaky crust and a decadent swatch of dulce de leche, which the restaurant is charmingly calling "dolci di latte," plus some whipped cream and candied hazelnuts on the side. A refreshing option is the Meyer lemon semifreddo ($8), a fluffy and chilled cylindrical tower, with candied lemon zest on top. Or, you could always go for some cheese! Mmmm, cheese.

The meal concluded with some complimentary squares of house-made gianduia and some torrone—these two flavors totally remind me of Christmas (my grandma always flies us candies and chocolate from Southern Italy for Natale).

I'm sure this place is going to do well, and is destined to become a cool lunchtime spot; my only gripe with the evening hours is that I wish it was open later—it's a sexy space with a bar I'd like to hang out at late, especially with one of their tasty cocktails, like the Dieci, a lovely aperitif with Campari, Tanqueray Ten, and grapefruit ($9). Oh well.

It's the kind of restaurant that you'll be able to return to again and again, with numerous unique dishes and an extensive and interesting wine list to explore. Couple all that with the gracious staff and the spiffy space, and I'd say people are gonna dig it. Mangia!

the starlet

Cantina image

1237 Polk St.
Cross: Bush St.
San Francisco, CA 94109


NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay, not only is Duggan McDonnell one of the most badass chef mixologists in town, but he's also opening his bar concept, ~CANTINA~, into one of my favorite spaces in town, the former Johnny Wok's on Polk Street, right next to O'Reilly's Holy Grail. Johnny Wok's has one of the best neon signs in the city (right up there with Werner's and the 500 Club), and used to have this crazy waiter who looked like a Chinese Elvis. Brill.

So, Cantina. By early spring, McDonnell will be mixing up culinary cocktails with Latin flair for a creative clientele that doesn't shy away from being funky and fun. (Where do I sign?) The vibe will be kickback, and they're keeping the old booths, so it'll be a sweet spot for hanging out and hocializing. The tunes will be globally Latin and offer an eclectic homage to Latin culture—think Mexican punk rock, Moroccan hip-hop, and old time honky-tonk, with some Spanish, Caribbean, Texan, and Brazilian touches. Arriba.

McDonnell is putting together some totally fab and fresh wine-based drinks, like the Alsatian Daiquiri (La Favorite cane rum, Trimbach Gewürztraminer, lime, peach bitters, turbinado nectar), the Five-Spice Margarita (Don Eduardo Reposado Tequila, Qi white tea liqueur, lemon, lime, five-spice-infused agave nectar) and the Duende (Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, Benedictine, Badia di Morrona Vin Santo, served up in a classic cocktail presentation). Here's the best part: these dranks will be available in pitchers. Yeah, hello. There will also be a bunch of wines available by the glass, and well-priced numbers by the bottle too.

And can you believe that bodacious logo? McDonnell commissioned the illustrious Jeremy Fish (of bunnies and skulls and skateboard fame) to illustrate it. (I can't wait for a Cantina t-shirt.)

the starlet

Carl Francis

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Carl Francis on What to Drink for Thanksgiving

Carl Francis grew up in the shade of grapevines in Livermore, working for the Wente family. Over the years and many long harvest days, he has worked in the vineyard, the cellar, the lab and on the bottling line; he's also been a sales force and a delivery driver. For a period at the end of the last century, he was even the chef at his own place, sadly gone now. Most recently, he has been the wine buyer for some of our favorite restaurants around town. Today you can find him managing the beverage program at Scott Howard Restaurant.

What to Drink with Thanksgiving Dinner

I was out the other day walking past The Bubble Lounge when it hit me: there was a chill in the air… the holidays are here! Flip-flops and sunscreen are put away, scarves and wool socks are pulled out of the closet. Surf lessons and dreaming of catching a monster wave (and surviving) give way to boarding down a mountain, tears of joy forming into icicles as your friends applaud your freestyle skills. And all the while, every weekend there is yet another reason to eat and drink the end of the year away.

The opening shot is the big stomach stretcher, Thanksgiving. Think of it as training for the holiday parties to come. As the meal centers itself around all things fall, with flavors that tend toward sweet and spicy, the natural wine to drink with dinner is rosé. Rosés come in all styles, colors, and weights, and I think we can all agree that the best are made dry. No Sutter Home on my dinner table.

Champagne rosés tend to be on the expensive side, but one that I find delicious and reasonable is by Veuve Clicquot. Of course there are a handful of domestic sparklers that will do in a pinch: Schramsberg comes to mind.

On the lighter side of still wines, a perennial favorite is the Vin Gris of Pinot Noir from Robert Sinskey. The wine's lightness and fruitiness mesh beautifully with butternut squash and cranberry. The perfect rosé, all bright and fresh, is the Tavel from Château d'Aqueria. Seriously, get a bottle. For dark meat eaters, the one to drink is the Couly-Dutheil, Chinon rosé. An amazingly deep and powerful wine made from Cabernet Franc grown in the Loire Valley.

Other wines that work really well with Thanksgiving are Sauvignon Blancs from Bordeaux and California. The idea here is that Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or Sancerre can be too lean, too harsh with the acidity, leaving the finish all bitter. Wines from California tend to be a touch riper, fuller, and rounder, while maintaining their crispness, which translates to yummy. Merry Edwards is magical if you can get it (it sells out quickly), otherwise drink Araujo. Better value can be found in Bordeaux. Look for wines from Graves. Many of these wines are blended with Semillon, which gives the wine a melon character and a richer mouth feel.

And let's not forget about Riesling from Alsace and Germany. Rieslings from Alsace are traditionally made drier than those of Germany, although lately with the effects of global warming, the wines are becoming sweeter and sweeter. One of the houses that has maintained a certain sense of this tradition is Trimbach, whose Cuvée Frédéric Emile captures the elegance of Riesling in all its potential. From the German perspective, go out and find double gold-winning Clean Slate, from the Mosel. This wine absolutely nails what Riesling is supposed to taste like, and is inexpensive to boot.

So, what about red wine? The spices used in a "traditional" Thanksgiving dinner (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg) will render any wine big on tannins and alcohol hot and unpleasantly harsh. I'm thinking of California Cabernet, Zinfandels and Australian Shiraz—avoid these wines. Instead, search out Pinot Noir (I'm sure we're all familiar with a few favorites by now), or Syrah from the Rhone in France. The Syrahs from Crozes Hermitage or St. Joseph have all the expected meatiness and dried-herb qualities, but still drink light enough to not knock you sideways. Alain Graillot or Jean-Louis Chave are the producers to look for.

All this being said, the most important thing to remember is if the wine and the turkey don't complement each other, I say screw it and pour me another glass. Enjoy yourselves, be good to one another, and Happy Thanksgiving!

NOTE: You could find many of these wines at Arlequin Wine Merchant, The Jug Shop, or Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant.

the starlet


Absinthe Brasserie & Bar Champagne and Oyster Holiday Kick-Off

Mon., December 4, 2006
398 Hayes St.
Cross: Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102



$85 per person

RSVP to Vanessa Harris at 415-551-1453, or email her at vharris [at] absinthe [dot] com

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Two of my faves, oysters and bubbly will be in full effect at ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE AND BAR'S FIRST ANNUAL CHAMPAGNE AND OYSTER HOLIDAY KICK-OFF~! A selection of hors d'oeuvres will be passed and Hog Island Oyster Company will be on hand to shuck.

Over forty wines will be featured from the best producers in Champagne, including: A. Margaine ~ Besserat de Bellefon ~ Bollinger ~ Bruno Paillard ~ Charles Heidsieck ~ Chartogne-Taillet ~ Deutz ~ Dom Perignon ~ Gaston Chiquet ~ Gosset ~ Henriot ~ Krug ~ Laurent Perrier ~ Louis Roederer ~ Moet Chandon ~ Nicolas Feuillatte ~ Palmes d'Or ~ Perrier Jouet ~ Pierre Peters ~ Piper Heidsieck ~ Pol Roger ~ Ruinart ~ Veuve Clicquot ~ Vilmart Cie. All wines will be available at a special preseason price, so you can start your holiday shopping in true bubbly style.

10% of proceeds will be donated to San Francisco's Save the Bay.

the starlet

NOVEMBER 21, 2006 | SAN FRANCISCO Marisa Churchill (just booted from last week's episode of Top Chef) was spotted at CIRCA having drinks at the bar. Drowning her sorrows? Perhaps some sales of her 2007 calendar will perk her up (yes, the former executive pastry chef at Ame has her own calendar, with pics of her blowtorching a crème brûlée whilst in a bikini). Let's hope she manages to sell more of the bigger-ticket autographed ones.

Anthony Bourdain in the 415: naturally he was at Incanto on Sunday night, and Monday evening our very own Jalapeño Girl, Mary Ladd, was dining with Bourdain at Medjool, and then drinking at Doc's Clock in the Mission.

Alexis Arquette was spotted being a very bad girl Saturday night, but I'm gonna be quiet and won't say exactly what. Hey, what happens after-hours stays after-hours.