table of contents This week's tablehopper: caving in.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the regular
it's about time we met

the socialite
the health nut
take a lap, tablehopper
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

Angelina's Catering

MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Well, buon giorno. Last night I actually left my laptop for a few hours so I could be a judge with GraceAnn Walden and Jessica Battilana of 7x7 at the Battle of the Chefs at Macy's Cellar. It's a fun event, but as a judge, you're in a tough spot, especially when the competition is between rockin' chefs like Mark Denham of Laiola and Mark Sullivan of Spruce. It was "Battle Chorizo," and Sullivan ended up winning by two points. Kudos to both of them on their fab dishes they put together in 45 minutes—the flavors made me want to return to both restaurants, like, now. The tickets for the next Battle go on sale March 24.

This Saturday I headed up to Petaluma with my dad for the Artisan Cheese Festival—we caught a couple demos and a presentation from the ladies of Cowgirl Creamery. Speaking of ladies… Guys, if you're single and looking for chicks, whether you're a young buck or a silver fox, go to a cheese festival. Seriously. The place was crawling with chicas.

Since we're talking about men, women, and hooking up, be sure to take a look in the chatterbox for a special (and rather racy) giveaway this week. It's also time sensitive, so don't delay!

Oh, and just a friendly little reminder to you folks who have tapped me for a tip please request in the past: if you've already dined out, can you please respond and let me know how it went? There are a bunch of folks who have never responded (you know who you are, ahem), so that means you can't use the service again. Even if you didn't end up using my recommendation, that's totally cool—just let me know!

Cheers my dears,

~Marcia (rhymes with Garcia) subscribe
the chatterbox
Angelina's CateringMARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I followed up with ~DENNIS LEARY OF CANTEEN~ on my little teaser from a couple months back about the new project he has brewing. Brewing is about right: let's just say mornings and baked goods and take-out are involved. And it will be another tiny location, this time in the Financial District. He just signed the lease, so stand by for more details soon.

Thierry Clement, formerly the executive chef of Fringale, opened his own project ~L'ARDOISE~ last Thursday. It's a 38-seat bistro in the old Los Flamingos space, and designer-about-town Michael Brennan helped design it. The petite menu will have dishes rotating on and off the blackboard (that's what the name means), but for now, some dishes in the mix are seafood raviole, a few salads, charcuterie, barramundi, hanger steak and frites, and osso buco. Duck confit is coming, oui. Open Tue-Sun for dinner, 5:30pm–10pm. 151 Noe St. at Henry, 415-437-2600.

Just so you know, the other Frenchie restaurant, ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ will not be opening next Monday, the 17th, as originally hoped. Who knows when it will be ready to open—it's like making wine over there. 414 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-546-4134.

There's been some chef turnover at ~SUPPERCLUB~—the new chef is Guus Wickenhagen, who was most recently the executive chef at Supperclub Amsterdam (since 2001). He arrived in San Francisco about a month ago and has taken over the chef reins in the past week or so. He's reportedly got quite the creative flair. 657 Harrison St. at 2nd St., 415-348-0900.

Then over at ~MECCA~, they have a new executive chef, Moises Sikaffy, plus a new general manager and wine director, Ginny E. Brown. Most recently, Sikaffy served as executive chef for Beach Chalet and Park Chalet Restaurants, but the Mediterranean chef's background also includes Arcadia, San Jose; One Market Restaurant; Moose's; Restaurant LULU; and Cantina Barbagianni in Florence. A variety of oysters will continue to be on offer, plus some light starters and salads, and most mains are around $25 (here's a link to his new menu here). 2029 Market St. at Church, 415-621-7000.

There is also a new chef at ~COTE SUD~, Pierre Smets, who has been working the past 10 years at Christophe restaurant in Marin. He has added a super-affordable early-bird menu, available every day from 5:30pm–7pm for $21, which features a choice from three different appetizers, main courses, and desserts; the selection will change every two weeks. Smets will also head the new catering department of Cote Sud. 4238 18th St. at Collingwood, 415-255-6565.

Ok, so let's do this. To the scandal! Last year I received a tip please request for a rather blush-inducing kind of "holiday" that's a little below-the-radar (actually, below the belt is more like it); the reader was wondering where to go for ~STEAK AND BJ DAY~. It makes me laugh to no end. Still. (I know, snicker snicker, this is all rather inappropriate, sorry if you are offended, but I never said this column was about being squeaky clean.) So the idea is that women get Valentine's Day, therefore the guys want to make March 14 all about them. Google away, you can read all about it.

I figured what the hell, let's do a giveaway! And no, I am not giving away an hour with someone named Krystal—you're on your own for that part. I am giving away a variety of prizes, however. First, for the ladies (or the lady in your life), I have three copies of the book The Meat Club Cookbook: For Gals Who Love Their Meat, which is chock-full of beefy/lambie/piggy recipes, plus tips on buying meat from the butcher, and other useful meaty info.

The grand-prize winner gets an $80 gift certificate to Bobo's on Lombard, where you can eat one of the finer examples of steak in the city: 100% USDA Prime dry-aged steak for four–six weeks, to be exact. (The certificate excludes alcoholic beverages and gratuity, but there is complimentary valet parking, woo hoo!) Bobo's is famous for their bone-in filet mignon—people even call to reserve this cut in advance. I have never been a big fan of the red-and-black circus-like décor, and if it's still there, don't let the namesake clown hanging above the door freak you out. But the steak (or as they call it, "The Steak") is truly transcendent here, and the house-made burrata is a tasty treat too. 1450 Lombard St. at Franklin, 415-441-8880.

So, how do you enter to win? Just forward this newsletter to one person (or more, thanks!) and cc when you send it to your peeps—it's best if you explain why you're emailing it to them, and what tablehopper is. I promise I won't be collecting your friends' emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track that you forwarded it to some folks. The deadline to enter is by 10am, this Wednesday, March 12. I will be randomly drawing the winners and will email you ASAP to let you know you've won. Good luck! And if you don't win a book, you have two weeks to get The Meat Club for 20% off from our buddies at Green Apple Books.

Just in case you want additional suggestions for where to score some steak around town, here are a few idears:

1-LarkCreekSteak—Fab beef, and don't let the mall location turn you off—the steak here is really, really good.

2-Harris' Restaurant is a classic. Think large booth, martini with a little extra chilling in a mini barrel, and a behemoth 21-day dry-aged steak. Yes, it's Midwestern, and corn-fed. And it's not cheap. Oh, and don't let the noir-sounding voice on the website video scare you like it did me when the page loads. (You can't turn it off. Like, annoying!)

3-Yum, the steak and frites at South Park Café totally rock me. Oh, and of course Delfina does a famed hangar steak and fries too.

4-The wandering gauchos at Espetus with their skewers of meat makes this Brazilian churrascaria an all-you-can-eat meat heaven for those with hefty, meat-lovin' appetites. You'll get a total meat medley, though, not just steak—from salty sirloin to pork to sausages.

5-Oh, and those craving some quality grass-fed options, there's the delicious Acme Chophouse, or you can go the South American route and hit up El Raigon for some Uruguayan beef and lusty Malbec. (Don't pass up the grilled sweetbreads either.)

Since we're on beef, I got a note from the folks at the new ~BURGER JOINT~ location on King Street that they had to close due to a problem with their exhaust system. They are resolving the issue and hope to reopen shortly. 242 King St. at 3rd St., 415-371-1600.

Last week I mentioned ~TATAKI SUSHI & SAKE BAR~, the new Japanese sushi place that opened on California at Divisadero. What I didn't know is the menu features 100% sustainable seafood. Cool. Will this be a trend in Japanese restaurants? It's the first time I've heard it. Stand by. Want to read more about how to order sustainable sushi? Here's a little something I found on Sprig, thanks Google. I also like to carry my handy Seafood Watch Pocket Guide in my purse—have you ever seen/used this guide? I recommend taking a peek and printing one off. 2815 California St. at Divisadero, 415-931-1182.

~BRICK~ has kicked off a happy hour, and how handy, it's every day! Chef Alex Marsh has put together a special happy hour bar menu, including country-fried maitake mushrooms, lamb sliders, and herbed fries. Hours are 5pm–6:30pm every day, and then there's a similar late–night menu on Thursdays from 10pm–midnight, and Fri–Sat 11pm-1am. Ryan Fitzgerald (Bourbon & Branch, Tres Agaves) has also designed a new bar menu so you have something to help you put the slaphappy in happy hour. You might notice the interior has been remodeled a bit—the bar got a facelift, and there's an exhibition chef's table. 1085 Sutter St. at Larkin, 415-441-4232.

After announcing the closure of the second location of the ~FRONT ROOM~, Eater picked up some investigative slack for me (thanks guys!) and found out "the reason behind the closure is actually an unlawful detainer for non-payment of rent." You can read more here. Will it reopen? Hmmmm.

One place that is opening is ~CANDYBAR~ from owners Derek Chan and Tan Truong, perhaps by this Saturday, March 15. Some inspections and subsequent construction held up the checkered flag last week; here's hoping we have clearance this weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing the paper come off the large windows. You ready for a lot of details? Ok, let's rock. This dessert and wine bar/lounge will have a four-course tasting menu of gourmet desserts for $14 from pastry chef Jake Godby (Fifth Floor Restaurant, Tartare, Boulevard, Coi). He'll be on staff for six months or so; I hear he's opening an ice cream shop in the Mission—more details on that in the next 'hopper! There will be two lists of innovative and seasonal treats, like blood orange baked Alaska with candied fennel and honeycomb; chocolate brioche with balsamic caramel ice cream and spiced yogurt; or a Mission fig confit with fourme d'Ambert panna cotta and cinnamon toast. Yeah, yum. The à la carte lounge menu will feature simpler desserts, such as a bourbon Coke float or tin roof sundae (vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, frosted peanuts, and Maldon sea salt). All ice creams and sorbets will be made in house, and with organic ingredients.

There are also savory offerings for those who aren't sporting a sweet tooth, thanks to savory chef Jason Edwards (Coi, French Laundry, Hawthorne Lane, Enrico's), like fennel marmalade and sweet onion relish with toast; jumbo asparagus with curry remoulade; roasted Yukon gold potatoes with hazelnut romesco; plus some larger plates like pork and pistachio terrine, and braised lamb shanks with seasonal vegetables.

There are also wine pairings available for each dessert selection courtesy of Paul Einbund of Coi who consulted on the list, with a focus on dessert wines from around the world. There will also be some non-desserty vinos, micro-brewed beers, loose-leaf teas, and Blue Bottle Coffee. There are also specialty drinks, like the Apple Push (Pomeau du Normandie, Fee Bros. Peach Bitters, and dry vermouth) and the Dreamy Night (Toro Albala Pedro Ximenez sherry, Carnegie Porter, and vanilla ice cream). How's THAT for some non-spirits beverages?! Impressive. You'll be able to hang out in the 20-seat lounge area in the front (vintage board games are available) or take a seat in the 16-seat dining room toward the back. Look for wine and chocolate seminars and special wine salons on weekend afternoons. Hours are Tue–Thu 4pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 4pm–midnight, Sun 4pm–10pm. 1335 Fulton St. Ste 101 at Divisadero, 415-673-7078.

Some additional news from pastry land: the kiosk at ~ORSON~ in SoMa should be opening around the weekend or so, serving to-go bakery items starting at 7am in the morning. Breakfast of champions. I also hear the restaurant's pizza oven is up and running.

~EASTER~ is early this year (Sunday, March 23), and while our family will be busy preparing baby kid and probably some lasagne for dinner, I know a lot of folks are into going out for the Easter brunch thing. Here are a few ideas around town:

~FARMERBROWN~ is starting a gospel brunch on Sundays, kicking things off this Easter. They are working with a non-profit called Old Skool Café, teaching at-risk youth how to work in the restaurant industry as servers and cooks. 25 Mason St. at Turk/Market, 415-409-FARM.

~PALIO D'ASTI~ is hosting their first-ever Easter brunch from 12pm–3pm. You can check out their menu here. They are also doing their annual St. Joseph's Day Dinner the week before on March 15, a family-style feast; $50 per person, children under 10 pay their age. 640 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-395-9800.

~VITRINE~ on the 4th floor at the St. Regis in SoMa is hosting an Easter brunch until 4pm. 125 Third St. at Mission, Level Four, 415-284-4049.

Don't forget ~ENRICO'S~ in North Beach recently launched their Sunday brunch, and ~BIN 38~ in the Marina just started brunch each Sunday from 10:30am–3pm; both places have heated patios! You can read Bin 38's PDF menu by clicking here.

Of course the ~RITZ-CARLTON SAN FRANCISCO~ does quite the spread. There's an Easter Bunny Tea in The Lobby Lounge with Binky the Bunny (not kidding) from 10am–11:30am, $75 per guest, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Then there's the Easter Buffet Brunch in The Terrace, with a jazz trio, 10:30am–4pm, $98 for adults, $49 for children five to 12, exclusive of tax and gratuity. From 5pm–9pm, Ron Siegel is featuring an à la carte menu or a five-course Easter tasting menu with dessert in the Dining Room. 600 Stockton St. at California, 415-296-7465.

For you folks down in the Peninsula, ~SOFITEL SAN FRANCISCO BAY~ has a buffet, and a special appearance by the Easter Bunny. Seatings are available at 10am or 12:30pm; $50 for adults, $25 for children five to 12 years old, and children under five are free. 223 Twin Dolphin Dr., Redwood City, 650-508-7126.

Now, from bunnies to booze. A belated congrats to bartender ~VICTORIA D'AMATO-MORAN~, who attended the "Battle of the Mixologists Competition" in Las Vegas last week. Bartenders of note were invited from all over the country; Victoria was the only female finalist and came in fifth place. (No one else from SF won.) Her drink was called "Sophia" and incorporated Don Julio and Aperol. Victoria works Sunday Brunch at Bar Johnny's on Polk Street and day shifts at Monaghan's in the Marina during the week.

Cocktailian-about-town Camper English had the scoop on his blog,, that Todd Smith is no longer going to be the manager at ~BOURBON & BRANCH~ (although he will continue to take charge of the Beverage Academy). Both Joel Baker and Yanni Kehagiaras, who have been at B&B the past year, will replace Smith. More news: B&B is also nearing completion on the new extension. It will be called Russell's Room, and is a luxurious private room, reminiscent of the old JJ Russell's "cigar shop" which stood in place of Bourbon & Branch during Prohibition. The room will have a plush loungey feel, with a full one-man bar and comfortable seating with some design twists. The room is quite intimate, and will hold no more than 40. And check this out: while removing a wall in Russell's Room, they found some amazing old treasures from the late 1920s, which they will be displaying in a glass case. It should be open in April...

Okay, some big changes here in 'hopper-land, which should make some of you "across the bridge" folks happy: I'm going to start mentioning new restaurant openings in the East and North Bay, along with new openings in the Peninsula, too. Gasp! I know! But I won't be reviewing places (sorry—this is what happens when it's just me, an army of one!), or chasing down news like I do here in SF, but if new restaurant news crosses my desk, I'll be happily mentioning it for y'all. Meow? Meow.

To kick things off, I had a nice time chatting with chef Russell Moore, who has been at Chez Panisse for 21 years, and the chef of the Café for 12 of 'em. I know, wow. He is opening his pet project in Oakland, ~CAMINO~, in a former furniture store, a brick building that will have room for about 80, with a bar area with space for around 25 or so. The name is not an homage to the tuff El Camino muscle car—it's actually an Italian word for fireplace, and this one will be the Mack of all fireplaces, a waist-high and mighty spacious number made of limestone. Moore loves the freedom of cooking in a fireplace—you can grill, do cazuelas, bean pots, spit roast… the options are endless. There will also be a wood oven for gratins, flatbreads, whole fish, sausages. Hungry yet? The seasonal menu will be well edited, with something like four–five starters, three–four mains, and just as many desserts; and you know all the purveyors and products will be stellar. Simple, honest, straightforward are the words Moore used to describe the food, and he said vegetarians will eat well here too. He is doing the project with his partner Allison Hopelain, who will be the GM—she formerly had an organic gardening company, and has recently been working at Zuni and Bar Tartine. Thad Vogler will be customizing some kitchen-driven cocktails—there will only be a few offered each day, but they'll be just right. Plus some house-made spirits will turn up, like nocino, and brandy infused with quince. Dinner only to start (Wed–Mon, closed Tuesday), with perhaps some brunch and lunch later on. The construction is almost done—they are targeting April for now. 3917 Grand Ave. at Boulevard Way (more commonly referred to being between Safeway and Ace Hardware), Oakland, 510-547-5035.

A tablehopper reader tipped me off to a new restaurant in San Carlos that just opened called ~THE REFUGE~. It seems gastro-pub madness has also hit the 650, but this joint has a wicked twist: the menu features five–six options of home-cured hot pastrami sandwiches, plus an extensive selection of charcuterie, house-ground American Kobe burgers, fresh sliced rib-eye cheesesteaks (everything is around $13 or so), plus some salads. There are reportedly 12–15 Belgian beers, many on tap, plus 20 or so mostly French wines on their menu (with a focus on biodynamic wines). Sounds killer. Chef-owner Matt Levin's background includes acting as chef de cuisine at Viognier and extensive cooking in France; his chef de cuisine, Michael Greuel, is also from Viognier. Tue–Sat 11:30am–2:30pm and 5:30pm–9pm, until 10pm or later Fri–Sat. 963 Laurel St. at Morse Blvd, San Carlos, 650-598-9813.

Oh, and I was interviewed by The Wave a couple weeks back about ~WHERE I LIKE TO EAT IN THE 650~ (remember, I grew up in San Mateo) and the 408, so here are some of my faves in the area that I mentioned.

I know a lot of folks are heading north to Healdsburg this weekend for Charlie Palmer's third annual ~CELEBRATION OF PIGS AND PINOT~ event at the Hotel Healdsburg, running Friday and Saturday (I'm actually going up there this Wednesday—look for a Healdsburg jetsetter piece soon!). Some local SF chefs will be joining chef Palmer and Michael Ellis of Dry Creek Kitchen, including the Boulevard crew (Nancy Oakes, Ravi Kapur), and Luke Mangan of South is in town, plus some talent from elsewhere, like David Burke, and Philippe Rispoli of France. And then there's the wine. Ahhh, yes. For tablehopper readers, they would like to offer a special rate of $100 for the Saturday seminars, lunch at Barndiva, and a signed cookbook from Chef Palmer of his latest book, Practical Guide to the New American Kitchen. The ticket is actually worth $150, and then there's the book too! Enjoy! Oink!

Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

the sponsor

Angelina's Catering

The days are longer, spring is here! And hey, so is asparagus! Just the kind of thing we like to celebrate at Angelina's Catering.

In fact, we've been celebrating spring fever on our fabulous menus since 1983. Nothing makes us happier than using fresh seasonal produce, artisanal cheeses, and pairing local and organic foods with perfect wines or cocktail selections. Truffled Mushroom Puffs, Potato Crispies with Beluga Caviar, Spicy Tiger Prawns with an amazing chili lime dipping sauce—mmmm, absolute heaven!

Have an event coming up? Whether it's a cocktail party for 20 or a sit-down dinner for your dream wedding, let our 25 years of experience and passion impress you and your guests. We're good people, who work with good flavor!

Contact Elizabeth at 415-387-2222 or

the regular


CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen
1666 Market St.
Cross: Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102


Mon–Thu 5:30pm–11pm
Fri–Sat 5:30pm–12am

Apps $7–$15
Entrées $17–$25

MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Back in September 2005, ~CAV~ opened right before the onslaught of wine bar madness, a wave that continues to forge ahead full-tilt in SF like Ebola. People twittered about how it would all work out, with the beloved Hotel Biron wine bar literally just around the corner on Rose. One big difference was CAV Wine Bar had a kitchen, one that people started knowing more and more for tasty eats, so they later added "& Kitchen" to the name. It's been an interesting evolution: now there's a big graffiti piece at the entrance, a red sign so you can find the place, all kinds of cool events, and a nice flow of regulars. And then there's their executive chef, Michael Lamina, who took over for Christine Mullen when she departed at the end of 2007 and is seriously rocking the vittles.

This is not simply a wine and cheese joint, although they happen to do one of my favorite cheese plates in the City (three/$20, five/$30). And I've heard the house-made platter of charcuterie is a champ here ($22). I just couldn't help being summoned like a zombie to the truffled leek terrine ($12) with crispy pig's ear and a wood mushroom salad. Yup, crispy little meaty fatty bits of pig ear (sorry, vegetarians, that must really turn your stomach), with a tender layered terrine of leeks cooked in a stock made from pig's feet. The leeks had awesome depth of flavor. The salad was a perfect (and needed) acidic counterpoint, with a bright dressing of Dijon mustard and lemon. You know when you taste a salad and you really notice it? Like, whoa, good dressing here? This was one of those moments.

In the decadent department, we have the duck confit potato cake ($14), and yes, you read that right—it was almost like a latke, crowned with a huge poached duck yolk. (No wonder I have to ride my bike everywhere.) Again, yay on the accompany salad, this one of braised chicories, with saba, walnut oil, and red wine vinegar. And again, a salad and dressing I really noticed. Downright flirty.

This is the kind of food that cries for spot-on wine pairings, and that's where you should really engage the staff here—and if you're lucky, you can snag owner and wine director Pamela Busch for some wine chat. The list has over 50 wines by the glass, so you can really play with a bunch of the elements in the flavor-forward food here. Busch has a wicked passion for cheese, and she's nutty about wines from the Loire, so those are especially two great things to talk about with her.

If you want to learn more from the wino brain trust here, sign up for the mailing list on the website for announcements on weekly wine flights, plus tasting events, and other seasonal events.

In case you were wondering what to pair with the aforementioned dishes, Busch paired an oh-so-drinkable Pyramid Valley Vineyards pinot blanc, 2006 (Marlborough, New Zealand; $14 glass/$48 bottle) with the truffled leek terrine, and chose the Joseph Swan zinfandel, Mancini Ranch, 2001 (Russian River Valley; $11 glass/$40 bottle) for the duck confit potato cake. Fun pairings—the pinot blanc did interesting things with the vegetal/piggy notes of the terrine, and the chicory salad made the zin go POW!

There are some larger plates, five in all, like a strong but smooth and sexy olive oil-poached black cod (I know, you thought I was describing an Italian guy there for a second) with caper berries, buttery leeks, and the inspired addition of pumpkin seeds ($21).

Lamina is also having fun with a nightly tasting menu ($50), if you're up for an evening of lingering over a full meal. Not everything was successful on the tasting menu one night (some kumquat rind was too dominating in a delicate tai snapper sashimi roll-up of sorts; a crepinette was tough); I felt a few dishes were still a bit in the experimental zone. But his notable flavor pairings were definitely there, which makes me want to try even more of his food—it's appetizing, and interesting, and elegant. He's an inventive chef, but also has a good foundation and technique (he was a sous chef at Grand Café, and a line cook at Farallon before being hired at CAV as a sous in 2006). One to watch, I say. And man, those salads.

The atmosphere is urban chic, with an eclectic soundtrack, a sleek look with metal tables, dim candlelight, hip servers, and a relaxed vibe. The look could be a little too minimalist/modern for the chintz-loving set who may be searching for a bite to eat before the ballet. I'd totally come to this place for a date (perfect for date one OR two) because there's usually enough buzz going on. There are tall tables more toward the front, and a counter that's great for solo flyers, but I prefer the more intimate vibe in the back, sitting under the cool cork installation.

It's also an easy place to swing by for a quick post-work/pre-dinner nibble, like some sweet potato frites with tomato jam, and a glass of something something. Or heck, a bottle with your pals.

CAV always has a little quirk; it can be someone in the staff, or the music, an unexpected wine, or something in a dish. I like quirky—it shows personality. And like an interesting person, it also continues to evolve; it makes for a good friendship.

the socialite


Jai Yun Chinese Banquet
Mon., Mar. 24, 2008   

Jai Yun Restaurant
680 Clay St.
Cross: Kearny St.
San Francisco, CA

AIWF website


$99 individual/$180 couple for AIWF members
(includes dinner and signed copy of the book)  

$110 individual/$200 couple for non-members

or call Book Passage at 415-927-0960, ext. 239 (ask for the AIWF discount)

Bring your own wine and pay no corkage.

MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO This sounds lovely: ~JAI YUN AND THE AIWF~ (American Institute of Wine and Food) will be hosting a Chinese banquet, featuring Jennifer 8 Lee, the author of The Fortune Cookie Chronicles. Although the menu at Jai Yun never seems to rotate very much, I sure as hell enjoy the food there (the abalone is one of my favorite dishes, ever). If you've always been curious about this place, this event would be a fun way to try it, and you can check simultaneously out their new (and more spacious) digs. Here's more from the event announcement:

"There are more Chinese restaurants in America than McDonald's, Burger Kings, and Wendy's combined. Egg rolls are as American as apple pie, and for New York Times reporter Jennifer 8 Lee, the story of the Chinese-American experience can best be told through the lens of the food.   
"The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is for anyone who has ever wondered who General Tso is and why are we eating his chicken; why all Chinese restaurants use the same trapezoidal delivery cartons; why Jews eat Chinese food on Christmas; and who really invented the fortune cookie. Lee solves enduring mysteries of Chinese cuisine through a lively mix of in-depth research and entertaining personal anecdotes.   
"Jai Yun restaurant, already a legend since opening in 2000, serves only prix-fixe menus based on the best ingredients to be found in Chinatown each day."


Hip Tastes
Salty & Sweet Tasting

Fri., Mar. 28, 2008

Sugar Cafe
679 Sutter St.
Cross: Taylor St.
San Francisco, CA 94102




MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Courtney Cochran of Hip Tastes is starting a new series of her popular evening event tastings. First up is ~THE SALTY & SWEET TASTING~, featuring salty-sweet creations from Elizabeth Faulkner, decadent rocky road-inspired nuggets from San Francisco's own Droga (love love love), single-origin chocolates from hot new European chocolatier Hotel Chocolat, and salty snacks from Estrellita's Snacks and Botanas Felicitas.

There will be a variety of still, sweet, and sparkling wines hand-picked for their affinities with sweet and salty snacks, including Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine, Meyer Family Port, Inniskillin Cabernet Franc Ice Wine, La Badia "Badis" Moscato d'Asti, La Tordera "Cuvee di Gabry" Spumante Rosato, Tenuta di Arceno "PrimaVoce" and more.

Plus there will music, and three prizes from Hotel Chocolat.

Please note Cochran has also added Thursday night classes at Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant in SoMa. The next one is March 20, 2008: Night School: Blind Tasting Bootcamp, 7pm–9pm, $60.

There are also Saturday School classes, offering a more focused environment than the Friday night parties to hone your tasting skills. Coming up on March 15, 2008, is Saturday School: Blind Tasting Bootcamp, 3pm–5pm, $60.

Here's more: "Allow us to enlighten you: it's not brain surgery. Come join a small group of Hip Tasters for our first class of 2008 as we walk you through the fundamentals of blind tasting at the brand spanking new San Francisco Wine Center in SoMa. You'll learn how to sniff and swirl your way to identifying six delicious wines the way professional sommeliers do in a gorgeous new exhibition kitchen setting. We'll wrap with a taste-off between teams to stir up a little friendly interaction in this class you definitely don't want to skip. No apples here: all students leave with a very cool free gift."

Attend any three Hip Tastes classes (Saturday School or Night School) and your fourth is free! All wines will be available for purchase at a discount after class.

the health nut


MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Eat too much over the weekend? Clothes feelin' a little tight, or tushy a little too too? Let's work it OUT. Just a little reminder that starting Sunday, Titan Fitness is offering a chance for interested folks to drop in on one of their outdoor classes for free, so come check it out! The free week is Sunday, March 16–Saturday, March 22.

The schedule is as follows:
Monday, 7am, Dolores Park
Tuesday, 6pm, Kezar Stadium
Wednesday, 7am, Dolores Park
Thursday, 6pm, Kezar Stadium

Just go to for more details and rates, or call Patrick Barresi at 415-235-9589.

See ya on the stairs!

the starlet

MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO This is a good one: Josh Brolin was spotted dining at A16. Good actor, with good taste, what more do you need?

Tracy Chapman was hanging out on the patio at Bar Bambino patio on Thursday night, reportedly rocking a cute little velvet blazer.

the matchmaker

MARCH 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Ha, I am placing my own ad! In the "bummer for Marcia" department, it ends up I won't be able to make it to Coachella this year (April 25–27, 2008). Pffffft. I looooooove this festival.

So I have a pair of three-day passes I am selling for face value—please let me know if you'd like to buy them. I'd love to be able to sell them to someone I know! You'd totally be my angel. $570 total for the pair, or $285 for a three-day pass. I know the site says three-day passes are $269, but once you add all those glorious convenience and facility charges, like $72 total for the pair (like, what, for real?), it comes up to $285 per pass.

Just reply to this email, thanks! I have them in hand, so we could arrange in-person ticket delivery. Woot!


All content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi. 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.

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