table of contents This week's tablehopper: the last one.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews

the lush
put it on my tab
the socialite
the bookworm
another place for your nose
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

SF Weekly

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Hello dear readers. This is a hard thing to write, especially after two years of dedication to this venture, but sadly this will be the last tablehopper issue to show up in your inbox. Not sure if I'll be able to start it up again at a later date. I hope to, but I'm currently just too busy with other writing gigs to keep this thing going. I want to thank you all for your support, and also wish you a very happy April Fools' Day.

Sorry, I'm a cretin. But what the hell, I had to do something. It was either that, or some made-up gossip, like Marisa Churchill taking over Julius' Castle, or a fake starlet entry, like Fabio being spotted at the Ambassador. Anyway, let's proceed.

Ahhhh, springtime—loving everything in bloom, HATING my allergies right now. Ack. I know I am not alone. But I have to strongly recommend a mini road trip for anyone who can swing it right now, even to get out of town for the day. It's a dreamy season to do it. I hit the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event on Saturday, and immensely enjoyed my drive down the coast along Highway One. I longed to pull over in Pescadero for a taco, pick up some artichokes at numerous fruit stands, and chill out over a glass of wine at Bonny Doon, but I had to keep on truckin'. The event itself was quite the splashy affair, with a imagetent bigger than Cirque du Soleil's (and carpeted), and lots of "star chefs" roaming about. I spotted the Top Chef triad of Ts (Tom Colicchio, Tre Wilcox [damn, he has some guns], and Ted Allen), but my absolute favorite moment was seeing Jacques Pépin! (He had women literally swooning around him—he was so gracious and charming. He's the man.)

I was especially happy to see tables commandeered by non-TV chefs/personalities at the Lexus Grand Tasting, like Susan Spicer (Bayona, New Orleans), Joel Huff (Silks), Michael Ginor (Hudson Valley Foie Gras), Mark Estee (Moody's Bistro, Truckee), and Kendra Baker of Manresa did a lovely rhubarb and coconut parfait. I also attended a seminar, a vertical tasting (1998–2006) of Pisoni wines, which was also fantastic, due in no small part to the antics of Gary Pisoni, the Wolfman Jack of Wine as far as I'm concerned. Ahwoooooo.

Speaking of liquid persuasions, I decided to break out the booze news and new bar/club mentions from the chatterbox—you'll find it all in the "lush" section now. Hic.


~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox
SF WeeklyAPRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Some big news out on Church Street—I've been hearing rumblings that Joseph Manzare's and Eddie Maiello's ~PESCHERIA~ was closing, and it looks like it's actually happening this weekend, on Saturday, April 5th (the building was sold). Instead, the restaurant concept will be moving into a much more central location: the big building that is being constructed over the old Bahia Cabana lot, at 1600 Market Street, near Zuni. One of the partners in the project is Brian Spiers, who is behind the Conduit project on Valencia. Another crossover with Conduit: the architect is Stanley Saitowitz. Should be a ways out, I've heard a couple years. Will reveal more when I get some additional details about the building, and the restaurant.

In the meantime, the Pescheria staff is being transferred over to ~MOOSE'S~, which by the way is still open and serving dinner and drinks until the new Joey & Eddie's project launches, so you can swing by and say farewell to Moose's before it closes. Jerry McGinnis is now the executive chef of Moose’s/Joey & Eddie's, and his sous at Pescheria will be leading the Pescheria kitchen when the new spot opens. 652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

Folks in the Polk area have been wondering what the story is on ~BOOTH~, the project moving into the former Polk Street Station Diner. Isaac Mogannam is behind the project, and in case the name looks familiar, yes, his cousins own Bi-Rite, and his father started the Burgermeister empire. Booth will be a contemporary California twist on a vintage diner concept, with breakfast classics (pancakes, French toast, omelettes) and lunchtime staples (salads, corned beef sandwiches, cheesesteaks) served all day—and perhaps late into the night (they are considering late-night hours for the weekends). Ingredients will follow the local/organic/sustainable credo when possible, but especially with any proteins and vegetables. There will also be beer and wine, so you can get a mimosa with your eggs, or a microbrew with your burger. The atmosphere will be casual, with around 60 seats, and some fun design elements, like lighting made with vintage coffee pots, a modern take on a diner island, and the kitchen will be slightly obscured by a semi-translucent wall. And yes, there will be one large and assuredly coveted booth, with room for six–eight folks. The firm Naylor and Chu is doing the design and build-out—you can look at some renderings that are posted in the windows if you're curious and happen to be in the neighborhood. The optimistic opening will be happening in June or so. 1356 Polk St. at Pine.

Some changes at ~SOUTH~ in SoMa—opening chef de cuisine Nicole Ferguson is returning to Luke Mangan's Glass Brasserie in Sydney, or perhaps heading to his restaurant Salt in Tokyo. Assuming her position will be Joshua Woodall, the opening sous chef of South, and formerly a sous at the Four Seasons. Glass Brasserie executive chef Joe Pavlovich came out to supervise the transition (Mangan likes to keep a close watch on the execution of his vision). More news: South has launched its new e-commerce site, where you can join one (or both) of two wine clubs, steal ($39.95 a month) or splurge ($69.95 a month)—both will focus on wines that are hard to find in the U.S. Check this out: any tablehopper readers who sign up for one of the clubs will get a free bottle of South olive oil. Cheers, mate. (You can read more on South in this week's fresh meat.)

A couple closures around town: first, ~SPICES ON FILLMORE~ at 1325 Fillmore Street closed (don't worry, all the other locations are intact), and ~ANDALE~ at 2150 Chestnut Street in the Marina also closed a few weeks back (I heard their lease was up); their new downtown location at San Francisco Centre remains open.

According to a post on Chowhound, Civic Center workers will note that Sultan Kebab changed into ~SOL DE MEXICO~, with tortas, burritos and, on weekends, birria and menudo. 637 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-931-8444.

And true to schedule (at last), ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ opened last night in Mint Plaza. You can check out the menu of French Provencal bistro-inspired fare from executive chef David Bazirgan (most recently at Baraka, Chez Papa Bistrot, and La Suite); there are also 23 wines by the glass/150 selections on the list. John Michaud of Find did the interior, featuring lots of black, orange (Halloween or Giants colors?—you decide), faux candle Murano glass chandeliers, rosewood burl tabletops, a spacious bar, and a chef's table made of antique glass. There is also outdoor seating for 88—should be at least climatically pleasant when they get the heat lamps in, or in the warmer temperatures during the day when they start serving lunch in a week or so. Dinner nightly 5:30pm–11pm (10pm on Sunday). 414 Jessie St. between Mission and Market near Fifth, 415-546-4134.

Just because I like to be a tease, things are getting verrrry close on a new project moving into ~54 MINT~, the old El Balazo space. Looks like Bulow/Maktub is not longer involved with the project; instead, an Italian restaurant will be moving in from a New Yorker who already has a restaurant back east. Look for an actual name and details from me next week, but for now, it's looking like July, and full liquor is still intact. I'm also hearing about a steakhouse moving into the ~418 JESSIE~ space, just next door to Chez Papa Resto. Stand by!
Was bummed to miss the opening party last night of ~BERETTA~ (someone had to finish her column) but it opens to the public tonight. Get your pizza on. Late. Open daily 5:30pm–12am. 1199 Valencia St. at 22nd, 415-695-1199.

~MYTH~ has had a stay of execution, pushing its closing date to April 12. 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery, 415-677-8986.

Opening in a new development in SoMa (98 for-rental units) right next to Whole Foods, will be ~EPICENTER CAFÉ~. According to the site, there will be "hot coffee and yummy pastries whenever you need a fix." (No mention of where to go for a crack fix. But it's not too far, I imagine.) 766 Harrison St. at 4th.

imageFriday night I had the pleasure of attending an experimental temporary restaurant called ~OPEN SOIL (A RESTAURANT AS SOCIAL SCULPTURE)~ at New Langton Arts in SoMa. It was a thoughtful and intimate event, a "social sculpture," with a delicious three-course meal for only $35 (they roasted a whole pig earlier that day on the street!), along with farmers, folks from the industry, and happy diners all serving and seated at handmade tables around a mini garden that was installed in the middle of the gallery space. There was a cool Plexiglas compost bin full of vegetable remnants, a video installation, a soil comparison (which you'd sniff and swirl in wine glasses—a perfect time to comment on terroir), and a huge handwritten piece from Laura Parker listing the thousands of microorganisms found in soil. It got our table talkin' dirt, and was a great primer before my road trip through the fields and farms on my way to Pebble Beach the next day. OPEN is a project of Jerome Waag and Sam White, who both work at Chez Panisse in Berkeley while pursuing individual artistic practices. I heard Alice Waters was even spotted at the first seating. Produce was highlighted from Tairwa'-Knoll Farms and Cannard Farms. Sign up for the New Langton Arts mailing list to keep up on any future OPEN events—it was a special evening. 1246 Folsom St. at 8th, 415-626-5416.

If all this got you thinking about ~CHEZ PANISSE~, there are still a few spots left for the Chez Panisse dinner in honor of Cecilia Chiang and her new memoir, The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey from Beijing to San Francisco, this Thursday, April 3rd. Cecilia has been one of Alice Waters' great mentors and is credited for bringing real Chinese food to America. It will be an extraordinary dinner, with Dungeness crab spring rolls, red-cooked pork belly, Cecilia's minced squab in lettuce cups, steamed black sea bass with ginger and green onions, and Sichuan crispy duck. $95 per person. For reservations, call 510-548-5525.

Or, if you want to stay in SF, you can think green next Wednesday, April 9th: ~CITIZEN CAKE~ is hosting a springtime green-themed dinner, with bottled emerald, nettles, fiddlehead ferns (one of my favorites), asparagus, and green tea on chef William Pilz's menu. And no, it's not just vegetarian: there will also be Maine lobster and local lamb as part of this seven-course menu. $65. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.

Let's get cheesy this month. First, the ~CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~ (here's more in an article I wrote about it for San Francisco magazine) is holding Drop-In Night: Meet the Cheesemaker, this Friday, April 4th, in Support of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. There will be lots of wonderful cheeses and cheesemakers showcasing their goods, plus wines and accompaniments. Drop-In Nights are an open-house alternative to the more structured setting of scheduled classes, with no formal presentation, but with several of California's most celebrated cheesemakers on hand to chat and answer questions. Advance registration is not required, and participants can come late or leave early. It's casual, yo. 6pm–9pm, $30 per person. 2155 Powell St. at Francisco, 415-346-7530.

Then on Sunday, April 20th, ~BAR BAMBINO~ will be hosting its first in a monthly series of cheese and wine events. Bar Bambino's head cheesemonger, Colin Shaff, will feature fresh goat's and sheep's milk cheeses that capture the unique flavors of spring, loaded with herbaceous notes and rich textures. Owner and Italian wine specialist Christopher Losa will select wines that complement the cheeses and provide insight. 3pm–5pm, $45 per person. Space is limited, so please contact Ryan at 415-701-VINO (8466) for further details and to reserve your place (please RSVP between the hours of 2pm–5pm Tue–Sun). 2931 16th St. at South Van Ness.

Crazy for tamales? You're not alone. ~TAMALES BY THE BAY~ is returning for its second year, on Sunday, April 13th. You'll sample a number of tamale styles, including Mexican, Yucatecan, Salvadoran, and Chilean, plus other food and wine items, like beans and salsas, plus there's a margarita competition, too. $35 for adults. Noon–4pm. Fort Mason Center.

Hey, are you planning to go out for coffee, lunch, or dinner this Wednesday, April 3rd? Please take a peek at this site and consider choosing a restaurant that is part of the fundraiser, ~DINE FOR A CHANGE~, for San Francisco Women Against Rape. More than 40 participating restaurants will be donating at least 15% of their proceeds to SFWAR—the list is a good one, including Morty's Deli, Namu, Weird Fish, Farina, Burger Joint, Atlas Café, and others.

Boozehounds, you have another bottomless mimosa option in town for weekend brunch: ~BAR JOHNNY~ is offering them for $9. And the fab Victoria Damato-Moran will be there mixing up her trademark cocktails. In case you would like to eat something beyond the complimentary New York crumb cake, you can choose from build-your-own brunch selections: two eggs, one protein and a side, all for $9.50. There is also house-made granola, French toast, or pancakes à la carte, or sandwiches. Sat–Sun 11am–3pm. 2209 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-268-0140.

To celebrate the return of the baseball season, ~JACK FALSTAFF~ is launching its baseball-friendly bar menu on Monday, April 7th, from 11am onwards. There will be several beers on tap, game day cocktail specials, a fresh local oyster and raw bar on the patio, and a bar menu (only offered on game days) that will include prime beef mini burgers, Monterey Bay calamari, Falstaff fries, hickory-smoked beef short ribs, and Kona kampachi tartare. In case you can't get up after all that eating and drinking, Giant's home and away games will play on the screen at the bar. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.
And now, some news for points east and south of SF. First, I heard from a tablehopper reader that the eats at ~BELLANICO~, a new 40-seat restaurant that just opened last week in Glenview, Oakland, are downright delish. The owners are chef Chris Shepherd and Elizabeth Frumusa, who many will know from Aperto on Potrero Hill; they named Bellanico after their two girls, Gabriella and Nicoletta. The chef de cuisine, Jonathan Luce (Pearl) has put together a creative Italian menu that is as tasty as it's affordable (apps under $10, primi and secondi courses from $12–$18). Reportedly a nice wine selection as well. Open for dinner Mon–Sat 5pm–10pm; reservations available for parties of six or more. 4238 Park Blvd. between Edgewood and Glenfield, Oakland, 510-336-1180.

Churrasco is coming soon in the Peninsula: ~PAMPAS~, an upscale Brazilian steakhouse, is opening in Palo Alto in the former Q Café space in April. There will be 18 different meats on skewers to choose from, like lamb, duck, and of course some beef, all brought to the table by pasadores (servers). And it's all you can eat (all you can meat!). You can also throw back some artisanal cocktails in the sleek lounge (not all you can drink). There are also some à la carte selections, seasonal vegetables, salads, cheeses, and charcuterie that will be available. The executive chef is John Karbowski, formerly a sous chef at Mill Valley's buzz-worthy El Paseo. You'll also find GM Saeed Amini, most recently at Sens. Mark Bright is consulting on the wine list, Dominic Venegas is consulting on the bar, and Marisa Churchill is consulting on the desserts. (Hey, where's my consulting gig?) The 8,300-square-foot three-tiered space should look pretty slick, with exposed brick walls, natural timber ceiling beams, mohair sofas in the lounge, and pendant lights made from strips of rolled, coiled steel. 529 Alma St. at Hamilton, Palo Alto.

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

fresh meat


South Food + Wine Bar
330 Townsend St., Ste. 101
Cross: 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107


Mon–Fri 11:30am–3pm

Mon–Sat 5:30pm–11pm

Sat–Sun 10am–3pm
Closed Sun night

Apps $9–$14
Entrées $18–$25
Desserts $8–$11

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO In a city full of Cali-influenced cuisine, it's nice to know that fresh, bright-tasting food can actually be from somewhere else too. And no, I'm not talking Vietnamese, or Thai, or Japanese. I'm talking antipodean, mate. After traveling in Australia in early 2007, I was definitely excited for the opening of ~SOUTH FOOD + WINE BAR~ in San Francisco. I was smitten as a kitten with the cuisine I experienced when I was Down Under, full of fish (kitties like fish), great produce, Asian influences and ingredients, and exotic spices that made fusion actually interesting, instead of a sitting duck for derision.

South is Australian chef Luke Mangan's first stateside venture—he partnered up with Anna Weinberg (a Kiwi) and Liz O' Connell (an Aussie), two ladies with some serious restaurant and wine experience behind them. The odds are quite good you'll encounter some accents here. Good on ya.

It's a funky little spot in SoMa, and definitely off the beaten path (you can pretend you're on a walkabout); but it's actually just across from the Caltrain station. The building itself is rather office-nondescript blah, but once you're inside the restaurant, all kinds of funky details and visual personality will catch your eye, like the lively Maori-inspired pattern under the bar, the unique bent plywood woven overhead lamps, the modern white chairs and barstools, and a 16-foot communal table of jarrah wood. It's casual, comfortable, and very likely busy busy—even on what I thought would be a sleepy Tuesday night, au contraire, it was hoppin'. And no, there isn't another room behind the fabric along the wall—what you see is what you get.

I ate a lunch and dinner at South soon after it opened, but just recently had another dinner there and was able to try some of the brand-spankin'-new dishes that have been placed on the "ModOz" menu. While I'll miss the succulent quail, the new menu should give folks a reason to return and see what's new.

When you sit down, you'll be presented with bread, olive oil, and dukkah, a nut and spice blend you'll find on tables and bars all over Australia and New Zealand. To start, there's the bushman's plate ($13 for two/$25 for four), a rotating platter of bites, or fresh oysters (MP). Instead, I was drawn to a frothy and light spring pea soup ($9), enough to convert the pea soup-hater I was dining with—the variation that came with the pork trotter and tarragon tortellini ($12) was tasty, but the tortellini was so large it proved cumbersome to eat.

I've enjoyed the sashimi on offer, but especially fell for the new dish of Australian kingfish sashimi ($14), with ginger, shallots, arugula, and a Persian feta I have never tasted the likes of. I know, fish and cheese, my Italian relatives are clutching their chests. Whatever. This dish was bright, interesting, and on point. The salmon with curry oil ($13) is another winner, partly because Mangan sources some awesome curry and other spices on the menu that are actually custom blends. Again, fresh and fab flavors here.

Meow, even more seafood: the BBQ prawns ($13) were butterflied and perfectly seared, and came with a refreshing but sodden salad of carrot, radish, raisin, mint, and tahini. The starters definitely fall in the more spendy side of things (averaging $12–$13), but there's also a ton of seafood, which is never cheap. Vegetarians will find a few options, but the menu only has about eight selections per section, so don't expect an Ubuntu-esque bounty of choices.

I don't know how I can ever pass up the barramundi ($24), a fish I'm seeing pop up on more menus around town. The latest variation on the menu comes with perfect crispy skin, plump and tender mussels, refreshing dill and cucumber, and Rozelle spices, a kicky and fragrant blend ranging from cumin to cayenne. Fish and chips ($19) are a classic dish, and executed well here, and of course there's some lamb ($23), in this case some loin with sumac, celeriac puree, and asparagus. The sirloin steak I tried ($25) was a bit tough (it's grass fed) so I think the kitchen will still be working that one out. You'll also see plenty of beets, and pumpkin, rocket (arugula) making appearances, all Aussie ingredient standards.

South serves lunch, with items like a venison burger ($16) with spicy beet chutney (unusual flavors, but good), and other numbers, like a lamb salad ($15)—everything is around that price point, so don't come here expecting an $8 sandwich. Haven't been able to say g'day to the weekend brunch (mmmm, the crab omelette with enoki mushrooms and miso mustard broth sounds like a winner—$11), but I'd wager it's a fun scene; any Aussie in town knows about South, it's like a tractor beam. And in case you didn't get the memo, Aussies and Kiwis are rather rowdy and fun-lovin' folks, even before a few pots or schooners of Foster's (which I didn't see anyone drinking when I traveled there).

Never mind the beer, let's talk about the wines. It's a good list to explore, featuring many small producers, ranging from sparkly to crisp to fruity (the '06 Huia pinot gris was luscious with the barramundi) to creamy whites, and then flip it over for reds that are lively (everyone needs to try the sparkling shiraz at least once), silky, spicy, and gutsy. You can read up on a number of the winemakers in the loo (you'll see), but if Aussie and Kiwi wines are an unfamiliar zone for you, your (most likely) capable server will be able to steer you to a good choice. Yup, try those unoaked chardonnays, go nuts.

For dessert, you can do up some Aussie classics like Pavlova (a meringue with fruit and whipped cream, $8), Mangan's much-discussed licorice parfait ($10), or my personal favorite, some Roaring '40s blue cheese from Tasmania with truffled honeycomb ($11).

The attitude is laid-back but professional, and while the prices veer into a spendier business-dining zone, there are no white tablecloths here, mate. I have always seen quite the young professional crowd (fresh off the Caltrain?) snuggled up at the bar or tucked in at the close tables. It can sometimes veer on the louder/cramped side, but at least (almost) everyone is quite friendly and chatty. It draws a good clientele, so it's a fab spot to hit with the girls, for a lively second date, a fun client lunch, or if you're up for some food with a twist that isn't like anything else in town.

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the lush

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~PALIO D' ASTI~ already has a killer happy hour that has been running for eleven years and counting (free pizza Mon­–Fri from 4pm–7pm), and for the lousy tax-ridden month of April, they will be serving $1 martinis (Stoli or Beefeater) for those who are ordering lunch, which is a good thing, because lord knows you'll need something to soak up the booze. Read all about it on the site, and you'll also see an artichoke cooking class and dinner, and the Italian Seder on the last night of Passover. 640 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-395-9800.

The XYZ Bar/W Cafe at the W Hotel is kicking off ~ECOLICIOUS~, a happy hour. The party goes from 5:30pm–7:30pm Mon–Fri, with organic wines, beer, and $10 cocktails (a vodka-elderflower number with a prosecco float, and a tequila-watermelon-chili cocktail, both concocted by H. Joseph Ehrmann). There will be organic bar bites as well, like Asiago cheese pizza with organic spring onion and asparagus. A portion of the proceeds goes to Save the Bay during the month of April. 181 Third St. at Howard, 415-777-5300.

~BONG SU~ has five new chef-driven cocktails on their innovative drink menu, like the Mekong Martini (with black tea-infused tapioca balls topped up with mango puree, Vietnamese Kai Lychee Vodka, and pandan leaf); the Cherimoya Sidecar, and the Saigon Sun made with coconut water. 311 Third St. at Folsom, 415-536-5800.

Next Monday, April 7th, is the ~RYE MONDAY MIXING CONTEST~, featuring Veloce, a northern Italian winter wheat grain spirit. Rye is looking for ten bar people to mix creative and balanced drinks with Veloce. Prizes will be awarded to the top drinks, and Rye will pay Bartenders Guild dues for the first place winner. Tell your friends to come cheer you on, and enjoy complimentary drinks on a Monday. Interested participants, please RSVP at 415 786-7803 or email 7:30pm. 688 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

If Jeff Hollinger's wino piece on absinthe piqued your interest a few weeks ago, you should check out this Thursday's ~FLIGHT NIGHT AT ABSINTHE~ (April 3rd). For the first time ever, they will be offering flights of absinthe: the Lucid Absinthe Verte, Kübler Absinthe Superieure, and St. George Spirits Absinthe Verte. They will also be featuring their absinthe-based cocktails, the Lawhill and the Sacred Heart (I've tried that one—yum). Absinthe, 398 Hayes St. at Gough, 415-551-1590.

~330 RITCH~ is opening this Friday, April 4th, after a two-month renovation. The partners behind the changes are City Visions Entertainment, a group of five San Francisco event producers who were voted Promoters of the Year by 7x7 magazine. From the press release: "Our goal is to create a relaxed environment where people can meet new friends, share ideas and listen to great music—an alternative to a dark, uninviting, club atmosphere… We took the natural features of this historic space, the beams, brick and old wood bars, and added a modern, industrial flare [sic] to create an atmosphere that reflects the diverse styles and attitudes of the city," explains project director, Ezra Berman. Popscene!, an 11-year-old weekly party that caters to the 18 and up crowd, will continue on Thursday nights (just wanted all you chicken hawks to know). There will also be a new weekly Friday night party, and the venue will have a full menu of tapas, comfort food, and a menu of late-night snacks after 2am. 330 Ritch St. at Brannan, 415-541-9574.

the socialite


Yoshi's/Masumi Sake Event
Wed., April 23, 2008

Yoshi's San Francisco
1330 Fillmore St.
Cross: Eddy St.
San Francisco, CA 94115


6pm reception
7:30pm dinner

$25 sake reception
$125 reception and dinner

RSVP to Jenny Schwarz
or 415-655-5609

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO On April 23rd, Yoshi's San Francisco will host a ~SAKE RECEPTION AND DINNER WITH MASUMI SAKE~, collaboratively brought to you by the Masumi brewer himself, Naotaka Miyasaki from Japan.

From 6pm–7:30pm, a sake reception featuring Masumi sakes and Yoshi's appetizers will take place in the upstairs mezzanine of Yoshi's. For $25, guests can attend the "meet and greet" with Mr. Miyasaki and learn about the selection of sakes available.

Following the reception at 7:30pm, guests are invited to a seven-course sake paired dinner created by executive chef Shotaro "Sho" Kamio. If guests attend the dinner, there is no charge for the earlier reception, and the price is all-inclusive.

Both the reception and dinner promise education, as well as the opportunity to experience some true Japanese culture. Yoshi's is looking forward to hosting up to 40 people at this experience.


Taste of Asia
Fri. April 25–Sat. April 26, 2008

Asian Art Museum
200 Larkin St.
Cross: McAllister St.
San Francisco, CA


Grand Tasting Gala
Fri., April 25
$115* tablehoppers

Culinary Seminars
Sat., April 26
$35 members
$45 non-members
$40* tablehoppers

Chef's Table Dinner
Sat., April 26

*for tablehopper readers—just mention when ordering by phone

tickets: 415-581-3788

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO For the second year, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco will host ~TASTE OF ASIA~, a weekend event celebrating Asian art, entertainment, and cuisine. The first event is the Grand Tasting Gala on Friday night, where guests will mingle throughout the museum sampling dishes from Anzu, Asia de Cuba, Betelnut, Bong Su, Butterfly, Dosa, E&O Trading Company, Marisa Churchill, Poleng Lounge, Red Lantern, Roy's, Straits Restaurant, The Tonga Room, Yank Sing, and Yoshi's. There will also be refreshments from Amore Pacific, Five Rivers Vineyard, Jenkel Vineyards, Phuket Beer, Sake2Me, Tea's Tea, Yamazaki, and Zen Green Tea Liqueur. Throughout the gala, guests will have full access to the museum's collection and exhibitions, plus live music and dancing.

On Saturday, there are Culinary Seminars, where both beginners and experts can explore tastings, samples, and demonstrations from some wonderful chefs and culinary personalities:

11am: Saveur magazine editor and author, James Oseland, and authors Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford share with us their culinary adventures through Asia.  Hear their stories of culinary travels throughout the world, and join them for a book signing following the seminar.

1pm: TALKING FOOD–2008. Learn how new and emerging media on the web are changing the world of restaurants: from reviews to popularity and ultimately success. Join us for a delicious conversation with Marcia Gagliardi from (yes, yours truly), Nish Nadaraja from Yelp, Kevin Blum from The City Dish, and Pim Techamuanvivit from Chez Pim, as they reveal the secrets behind the changing media landscape and tell us what all diners should know.

2:30pm: Culinary greats Cecilia Chiang, Patricia Unterman, and Chuck Williams will gather with Sara Deseran, food editor of 7x7, to tell their amazing stories during San Francisco: The Culinary Pioneers. Learn about their challenges and achievements to make the San Francisco Bay Area the culinary capital of the world.

the bookworm


APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

Don't forget: these books below are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code "tablehopper" at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

In looking over the fresh cookbooks for something tasty with which to tempt you tablehopper readers, I was a little underwhelmed: not many good recipe books have come out since December's bounty. But I'm now glad for that, as it made me stumble upon a fun, narrative, food-related book: The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8 Lee. 

To say that this is a book about Chinese food would be like saying tablehopper is a food writer—it's accurate, but doesn't quite capture the lively character of either. [Ed. note—Aw for Pete's sake. Wait, I meant to say aw shucks, Pete!] The Fortune Cookie Chronicles is a funny, wide-ranging exploration of Chinese food and culture in America, with much more.

She opens with the mystery of how a lottery drawing that statistically expected 3.7 second-place winners suddenly had 110 (hint: fortune cookie lucky numbers). And each chapter thereafter focuses on another aspect of Chinese food, like the "Kosher Duck Scandal of 1989" (or "Why Chow Mein is the Chosen Food of the Chosen People"), or the chapter on Asian vs. American soy sauce (which contains no soy at all).

Ms. Lee is a reporter for the New York Times, and her polished journalistic style makes this easy to read, but her lively sense of humor makes this fun to read, too. 

Thanks for reading.

the starlet

APRIL 1, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Brian Boitano dined at Waterbar with his manager/coach and a guest.

And now for another BB: it's been a while since I've had a Barry Bonds sighting—he was spotted having dinner at Mamacita.

Pierce Brosnan, AKA Mister Bond, has been on the town; he was in town after a British Vogue shoot up in Bodega Bay. He had what appeared to be a biz coffee meeting at Poggio, "quite a sight in a gorgeous suit and black and grey hair, blue eyes." (Can you hear the tablehopper tipster swooning?) He also dined with a large group (17 guests) at One Market Restaurant, where he got a group of Spanish tourists all atwitter (some ladies in the group even stalked him outside when he stepped out to smoke a cigarette).

The one and only Al Franken was at Presidio Social Club last week, dining with three other ladies (no idea who they were). He had the oxtail biscuits and the chopped salad, then coffee. No wine, and no cocktails, but there was reportedly a good amount of laughter coming from his table.

the matchmakerl

Dang, I still haven't been able to sell my Coachella tickets—it's already bad enough 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/daily tickets I am selling for a little under face value—please let me know if you'd like to buy them. You'd totally be my angel. $550 total for the two sets (would be six tickets total, two tickets for each day), or $275 for a single pass/set (three tickets total—one ticket for each day).

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! (Or please forward to any friends you know who are looking for tickets.) I have them in hand (hard tickets, not Ticketmaster printouts), so we could arrange in-person ticket delivery. Cash please. Or PayPal. (Let's talk.) I live in the Western Addition/NOPA but have wheels. 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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