table of contents This week's tablehopper: turkish delight.

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

the lush
put it on my tab
the socialite

the sponsor
this round is on me


APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO So when you’re reading this, I’ll actually be on a plane headed to a consulting gig in Chicago this week. I won’t have much free time, but Blackbird and the Violet Hour for cocktails are top o’ my list. And hopefully Portillo's for a dog and garbage salad (I’m 100% class, really).

Wanted to share some fun news: starting this Sunday, April 27th, I’m going to be a monthly guest on A Matter of Taste, a food and drink-oriented radio show with David and Rachel Cane. I’m scheduled to go on at 5pm, but the show airs from 4pm–6pm. Tune in to Green 960AM and I’ll be recapping some highlights of where I’ve been gallivanting and what I’ve been lovin’ around town lately.

Wanted to give a shout-out to the nice CCSF culinary students I met while I was at the Wok on the Wild Side event Friday night—keep up the great work!

Oh, and for those of you who adore abalone, or just want to learn more about it, here’s a link to an article I recently wrote for Edible San Francisco called “The Abalone Rangers”—look for it in this month’s April/May Fish issue, which I think is on newsstands now!

Lastly, I’m doing a giveaway of a $100 gift certificate to Troya Restaurant, featured in this week’s the regular. (The certificate is not redeemable for cash, and excludes the gratuity.) Just forward this newsletter to two pals (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, or at least include something about 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 two or more folks. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Sunday, April 27th. I will be randomly drawing the winner and will email you to let you know you've won next week. Good luck!

Happy Earth Day.

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox
CHOWAPRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO A couple weeks ago I was hearing rumblings that the Pascarella-Lacroix-Siegel deal for ~MYTH~ fell through, and it has been confirmed that chef Ron Siegel of the Ritz-Carlton Dining Room is not leaving after all. There are other rumors circulating about who is negotiating to take over the Myth space, will keep you posted. Let’s just say verrrrrry interesting if one of the rumors proves to be true. This entire thing is like reading a weird mystery novel, with big plot twists and new characters that keep showing up.

Eater broke the story that The Public in SoMa was closing, and a business called ~BASIL CANTEEN~ was moving into the historic space. I tracked down Basil Thai owner Todd Sirimongkolvit (gosh, I hope I got that right—I thought my last name was a beast!) for more details. He said he has been looking for a space to expand for the last few years (he also owns Soi Four in Berkeley), and is thrilled to find a space so close to his SoMa restaurant. Basil Canteen will be like a casual Thai izakaya of sorts, serving a fun style of food called gap klaem, which are dishes designed to pair with drinking (should come in handy with the space’s full bar). There will be about ten small plates/bar snacks and a variety of noodles (four–five sautéed noodle dishes, and five–six soup noodle dishes). I heard Public is closing this coming weekend, April 25th (the owners are focusing on their projects overseas), and Basil Canteen should be opening in July after the renovation is complete. It will be open for lunch and dinner nightly, and will be serving late, until midnight or so, on Friday and Saturday nights. 1489 Folsom St., at 11th St.

~MOOSE’S~ is officially closing on Sunday, April 27th—the sign is slated to come down, and there’s a big party planned from 3pm–5pm (be sure to RSVP at or by calling 415-533-0041). 652 Stockton St. at Union, 415-989-7800.

On a new business note, this Thursday April 24th marks the long-awaited opening of ~UVA ENOTECA~ in the Lower Haight, in the former Horseshoe Coffeehouse space. The project is from wine director/GM Boris Nemchenok (of Batali's Otto in New York) and executive chef Ben Hetzel (recently of the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton). I’ve mentioned the details before, but to recap: the menu will feature an extensive list of antipasti, salumi (from Salumi in Seattle, yum), over 15 cheeses, a daily pizza, bruschette, panini, tramezzini, and piadine. There will be 85 wines from small boutique Italian wine producers, with most sourced by wine consultant Jim Kennedy (Delfina, Sociale), and 20–25 served quartino-style (a small decanter that holds a quarter of a liter), and chef Hetzel's wife, Camber Lay, (Epic, Laïola, Range, Frisson) will be consulting on a list of wine-based cocktails. The look is rustic and clean, with exposed brick walls, ebony-stained floors, marble countertops, and red cedar tabletops. Hours will be Mon–Fri 5pm–12am, and Sat–Sun for brunch from 10am–12am. 568 Haight St. at Steiner, 415-829-2024.

I was asking some folks about the restaurant Eater mentioned was going to go into the now-closed ~POWELL’S PLACE~ in the Fillmore (1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore), called Tribute Restaurant, and it seems the business partners have split and the plans have disintegrated. No word about what may be going in next. In the meantime, Powell’s is working on being open and up to full speed in Velma's Jazz Club in Bayview. They are targeting June—will release more details soon. 2246 Jerrold Ave. at Upton.

Another update: ~GITANE~ is another one on track for opening in June. You may recall, this is the project from Franck Leclerc of Café Claude, with chef Lisa Eyherabide who is putting together a menu inspired by regions in Southern France and Northern Spain, with hints of North Africa. Sean Diggins, the current beverage director at Café Claude, will be overseeing the beverage and wine program, and Dominic Venegas (Range, Cantina, Bourbon & Branch) will head up the bar program—look for some Spanish sherries, and unique Spanish brandies. I’m excited to check out the funkified space from Charles Doell of Mr. Important Design, complete with hand-painted wallpaper and two vintage French 1950s chandeliers. Mmmm, glam! 6 Claude Ln. at Bush.

~BEACH CHALET BREWERY AND RESTAURANT~ and the ~PARK CHALET GARDEN RESTAURANT~ have a new executive chef, Gregory Hutchinson, formerly of Brix in Yountville. On the menu, look no further than the outdoor barbecue, plus prime rib on Monday nights at the Beach Chalet. There will also be a new Park Chalet brunch buffet on Sundays with a do-it-yourself Bloody Mary Bar, great on these warmer days. 1000 Great Highway, 415-386-8439.

Thanks to a Chowhound, I found out ~NICKIE’S~ in the Lower Haight now serves brunch Sat­–Sun 10am–3pm. Based on the posting, it sounded pretty good: lemon zest ricotta pancakes and a breakfast pizza (Fontina, prosciutto, egg, arugula, and basil), plus some brunch standards. What’s nice is new means no lines! Well, for now. 466 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-255-0300.

Quick update: ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ has new hours: lunch Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, brunch Sat–Sun 11am–3pm, dinner Sun–Wed 5:30pm–10pm, and Thu–Sat 5:30pm–11pm. 414 Jessie St. between Mission and Market near Fifth, 415-546-4134.

Not exactly confirmed on this one, but based on an ABC application, it looks like ~K’S CAFE~ in the Outer Sunset is becoming Amisha Indian. The woman at K’s hung up on me, so perhaps their stellar customer service is what contributed to their demise? Anyway, all will be revealed. 1924 Irving St. at 20th Ave.

And whoa, what was going down with the ~BACON HOT DOG LADY~ Saturday night in North Beach? A tablehopper reader reported there was some activity with the po po. Hey, she’s busy saving drunk people from themselves, where is the crime in that?

Here are some cool events coming up: these cooking classes for ~SAN FRANCISCO COOKS FOR A CAUSE~ sound awesome. They are a series of cooking classes to benefit the San Francisco Food Bank, in partnership with the California Culinary Academy. Classes will be held on Saturdays from 9am–1pm. Each class starts with a cooking demo, then participants prepare the dishes themselves. $150 per class. California Culinary Academy–Bistro, 350 Rhode Island. To purchase tickets, contact Amy Gac, Event Coordinator.

Here’s the line-up of swell chefs:

May 3: Laurence Jossel, Executive Chef, Nopa
June 14: Reylon Agustin, Chef de Cuisine, Jardinière
July 19: Bob Kantor, Executive Chef, Memphis Minnie’s B.B.Q. Joint
August 23: Glenn Wielosinski, Chef, California Culinary Academy

The American Institute of Wine & Food and Asia Society of Northern California are hosting Min Jin Lee (author of Free Food For Millionaires) at an ~ASIAN FUSION FEAST~ on Wednesday, April 30th at Ponzu. (You can read the menu here.) No corkage if you’d like to bring your own wine! 6:30pm, $95 per person/$175 per couple (AIWF & Asia Society members receive a discount rate of $90 per person/$170 per couple). Price includes tax, tip, and an autographed book. 401 Taylor St. at Geary. For tickets: call 415-927-0960, ext. 239, or order online at

While I was on the Book Passage site, there’s also a lunch event with ~MARIO BATALI~ on Monday, May 5th, at Il Fornaio ($125)! Molto fun.

Since we’re in Italia, mark your calendar, because coming up at ~INCANTO~, Monday, June 9th, and Wednesday, June 11th, is when the restaurant is hosting their fifth annual Head to Tail dinner. Five courses of offal. Oh yeah. (Check out the preliminary menu here.) $75 per person excluding beverages, service, and tax. And Monday, July 14th, is the night for their four-course Sicilian Mattanza Dinner. Read: lots of bluefin tuna. $65 per person, excluding beverages, service, and tax. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.

Have you ever taken a class at the Purcell Murray Culinary Lifestyle Center in Brisbane? They’re informative, usually pretty intimate, and I’ve always eaten well. Coming up on Saturday, May 3rd, executive editor of Williams-Sonoma TOOLS & TECHNIQUES (an awesome book, by the way—it’s helpful in the way a mom teaching you how to cook is helpful) Jennifer Newens will be teaching a class. This is the second in a continuing series of basic cooking techniques: ~TOOLS & TECHNIQUES, VEGETABLES 5 WAYS~, which will cover five delicious ways to prepare vegetables. Braised fennel with tomato; stir-fried spring vegetables with ginger, lemon, and mint; creamed spinach with basil; roasted baby artichokes; and grilled ratatouille. 11am–1pm, and lunch is included. $45. 185 Park Lane, Brisbane, 415-330-5557.

Further south, folks in Palo Alto are going to be stoked with this upcoming project from the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub, Pizza Antica) called ~MAYFIELD~. This bakery and café concept will be located in the Town & Country Village shopping center, mainly designed to provide all the bread for the Bacchus Group restaurants. Heck, they already have their own farm (SMIP Ranch), and guess what: they even started their own coffee roaster last week, selling both wholesale and retail! (It’s in Emeryville.) OK, back on Mayfield—it takes its name from the raucous town that was known for its saloons—it was adjacent to then-dry Palo Alto, back in the day. Things will be considerably less rowdy: imagine a hybrid between Della Fattoria and the style of food at the café upstairs at Chez Panisse, and you’ll have an idea of Mayfield’s market-driven/farm-to-table menu and bakery concept (Nancy Pitta is the baker and a partner in the project). There will be 90 seats in the café and on the patio, and there will also be a small section for bakery items for carry out. Look for a June or July opening. 855 El Camino Real at Embarcadero, Palo Alto.

Up north, the beer trend continues (a good thing, the beer trend). Dean Biersch’s new venture, ~HOPMONK TAVERN~ officially opened last week in an 105-year-old California historic landmark building in Sebastopol, just at the intersection of Highway 116 and Highway 12 in Sonoma County. I’ve already received a couple emails raving about it, always a good sign. Hopmonk offers innovative and seasonal gastropub fare from chef Lynn McCarthy, craft beers from Europe and smaller regional producers in the U.S, including 75-plus bottled beers, 16 drafts and two cask-conditioned ales, plus a 55-seat classic beer garden to enjoy it all in, and an acoustic performance stage for music. And how convenient, there’s even a regional bike trail that passes through the front of the property. Located adjacent to the tavern and beer garden is The Abbey, a 200-person, 2,000-square-foot music venue. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol, 707-829-7300.

From April 29th–May 3rd, ~POGGIO’S~ chef Peter McNee will be featuring some dishes Allo Spiedo (cooked on the spit). Think roasted meats—like guinea hens and pheasant, lamb, suckling pig, rabbit, and goat—that will be carved on the gorg imported carrello (heated tableside cart) McNee debuted with the bollito misto dinner earlier this year. The meats will be paired with contorni of polenta, and fagioli all’uccelletto (white beans with tomato, sage, and olive oil) that are cooked underneath the meat to catch all the drippings. Dinner only, a la carte, $19 per person includes assorted meats and side dishes. 777 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415-332-7771.

~LE GARAGE~ just opened in Sausalito in the old Waterfront Café space—it’s a casual and tiny French bistro from Olivier Souvestre, the former Chez Papa chef. Breakfast and lunch for now, and there’s an outdoor patio too—since it’s in the Schoonmaker Point Marina, it’s reportedly quite the scenic spot, with a charming view of the boats. They start serving coffee at 7:30am, and lunch is served Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, with coffee extending until 4pm or so. Dinner starts May 19th and will be served Tue–Sat. 85 Liberty Ship Way, Ste. 109, Sausalito, 415-332-5625.

This isn’t very food-related, but whatever, it’s my column so I can do whatever the hell I want! In this case, it’s anything to help support and raise awareness about New Orleans. There is a documentary making its West Coast premiere at the SF International Film Festival called ~FAUBOURG TREMÉ: THE UNTOLD STORY OF BLACK NEW ORLEANS~ and it looks amazing. The first screening at the very pleasant and comfortable Sundance Kabuki Cinema is Saturday, May 3rd, at 1pm, then on Tuesday, May 6th, at 3:45pm, and Wednesday, May 7th, at 9pm. I am so there. Check it out and show your support!


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

the regular


Troya Restaurant
349 Clement St.
Cross: 5th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118


Mon–Thu 5pm–9:30pm
Fri–Sat 5pm–10pm
Sun 5pm–9pm

Fri–Sun noon–close

Apps $5–$7
Entrées $13.50–$16
Desserts $5.50–$6



APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I really wish we had more Turkish food in San Francisco. I also lament the dearth of Greek food as well. Is it so hard to get a good souvlaki here? Maybe it’s just too freaking cold so all those hot-blooded Mediterraneans are tempted to stay away. Anyway, ~TROYA RESTAURANT~, a Turkish and Mediterranean place, has been holding down a breezy corner in the Inner Richmond for a few years, and can now boast a new chef, Randy Gannaway—he was most recently at Aziza (he was previously a sous chef at The Girl and the Fig, and worked at Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar at The Lodge in Sonoma).

Troya is the picture of a neighborhood restaurant—nice and friendly staff, affordable pricing, a comfortable casual atmosphere, and while it’s not a place I would insist someone trek cross-town for, it does have its own little charms. It’s definitely on a higher level than the other Turkish joints around town, more sit-down than hole-in-the-wall.

Troya would actually be an ideal date spot—easygoing vibe, not packed or too noisy or expensive, there are a number of prime tables flanking the window, and it has soft lighting (flattering lighting, always key). There’s even a fireplace, but I don’t know how I feel about it being so close to the cool-looking sunburst wine rack.

My dining partners and I started with the zucchini cakes ($6), two tender falafel-sized patties that were a touch salty, but evened out against the coriander mint aioli. We preferred the seared lamb loin ($7) marinated with çemen (a feisty fenugreek paste). They warn you the lamb is served rare, which is important because most folks would freak with meat this rare, but man, with a swipe of the cumin yogurt and a piece of the watercress, it made for a heavenly little bite. I have to hand it to the chef, he learned well at Aziza: he gets whole lambs here, and uses all the parts for various dishes.

Another tasty app was the trio of skewers of calamari ($7) stuffed with spinach, eggplant, and goat cheese. The creamy center played nice with the smokiness of the tender calamari—there was also a slight kick too. But the cannellini beans underneath were a bit grainy, and the fennel and radicchio salad needed more salt.

There was a bunch of other mezes to choose from, like a lentil salad, or grilled halloumi, and of course some dolmas and spreads. (Vegetarians will have a good selection of choices here.) All the mezes are about $7, and the mains hover around $15, so this place could be ideal for a large group trying to get their swerve on, but still watch their budget. And not like I am one to encourage corkage (here’s a good wino piece from Alex Fox on the matter) but it’s only $15—if you’re going to go that route, I say for every bottle you bring for your group, order one off the list.

Okay, back to the eats. From the mains, we tried the chicken güvec ($14.50), two crisp legs of Fulton Valley Ranch chicken (darn, a touch overdone) with a scrumptious almond coriander sauce. Very casserole-like, a total “mom is cookin’” hearty kind of dish. The base of parsnip, eggplant, and olives made it tangy, and tasty. Extra-delish with a side of basmati rice pilaf ($4) that comes gussied up with some sumac.

The beyti ($15), a sliced-up wrap of adana lamb in flatbread with tomato and yogurt sauce, while a nice presentation, felt strange as an entrée. If it’s what I would have ordered as my main dish, I would have been bummed—it felt too lunch-y, and would be better as a shared app. As it was, the tomato sauce had a weird wang to it, like it was from a can. We were told it was sumac in it, but whatever it was, the sauce was lacking in certain charms. It also felt spendy compared to the satisfaction-factor of the chicken dish.

The mushroom manti ($13.50) are a traditional Turkish treat, almost like a rolled ravioli. They are delicate and especially tender here—ends up a Turkish lady comes in to make them. We heart her. Wonderful with the yogurt sauce and the drizzle of paprika oil.

Dessert included a pot de crème ($6) that was too cold and thick, and I didn’t taste the rose in the dollop of cream on top. A better choice is the traditional route, like the künefe ($6), shaped like a little brick made of shredded kadayif (phyllo that’s crispy, almost the texture of shredded wheat) that is baked to order, and comes with sweet fromage blanc in the middle, and topped with pistachios. I wish it wasn’t so late when I dined there, because dessert would have been perfect with some Turkish coffee ($3).

The food isn’t faaaaabulous, with some dishes scoring higher than others. But I suspect as Gannaway settles in more, the menu will continue to improve and get honed in—he’s really passionate about the food, and I appreciate his commitment to using quality ingredients, organic where possible, and still keeping the prices where they are (no easy feat).

The wine list is more thoughtful than your “usual ethnic place,” with most by-the-bottle selections hovering at $40, split between Californian and European choices, plus a fair number of by-the-glass selections for a restaurant of this size. Oh, and one handy thing to note: Troya is open continuously for lunch from Friday through Sunday, a spiffy thing for your back pocket the next time you’re hungry for lunch at 4pm, and everything is closed. A crafty Trojan horse you can spring on someone, perhaps.

the sponsor


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Good times await you at CHOW. Come on over.


the lush

APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I heard ~PEARL’S JAZZ CLUB~ is closing on Sunday, April 27th, with Barry Lloyd as the final performance. I couldn’t get a straight answer why it’s closing—it appears there’s something personal going on with owner Kim Nalley. Here’s a letter from Nalley posted on the SF Weekly blog—you have to scroll way down, FYI. 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-291-8255.

Also in North Beach, there is a project brewing in the Zebra Lounge space and the neighboring Club Latitude called ~ATMOSPHERE 3~. Someone told me the owners might be from Burlingame. I heard the project is a month out or so, slated to offer entertainment, a lounge, and a pool table. That’s about all I’ve got. 447–459 Broadway St. at Columbus.

the socialite

Pic from

Vinfolio Wine Tasting Event
Thu., May 1, 2008

Coffee Bar
1890 Bryant St.
b/w 17th St. and Mariposa
San Francisco, CA 94110


$40 in advance*
*tablehopper readers get a 10% discount
$50 at the door

tickets [PDF]

APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Vinfolio is launching their inaugural ~WINE TASTING EVENT: GLOBAL WINE DISCOVERIES~, featuring wines from around the globe selected by Cyrille Hanson, Vinfolio Wine Buyer. Cyrille will be on hand to explain the merits of the many hidden gems she has selected for the tasting, as well as her tried and true philosophy that one should "taste the description, not the score" of a wine. Click here to see the spiffy Old and New World selections that will be poured. Your ticket price includes assorted cheese and charcuterie selections.

Tablehopper readers get a 10% discount off the pre-registering price ($40). When purchasing the tickets through the site, put (tablehopper) after your name, so they can process the charge with the discount. Have you been to Coffee Bar yet? What a cool space, you’ll dig it!

You will have the option of automatically emailing your reservation form or printing and faxing it to 415-946-1359. Tasting notes will be provided at the event. You will be able to order all wines the day of the event and arrange for pickup or shipment at a later date. Questions may be directed to David Ruvalcaba at or 415-946-1300.


Meals On Wheels 21st Annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala
Sun., May 18, 2008

Fort Mason
Festival Pavilion
San Francisco, CA

ext. 221


5pm reception

$400 per person*
($350 is tax deductible)

APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO If you were going to blow some dough on an event, I’d say the ~ANNUAL STAR CHEFS & VINTNERS GALA~ is one to consider—and it goes to a great cause. Last year’s event seriously rocked—it felt like every chef in town was there. And it’s all to benefit Meals On Wheels of San Francisco and their efforts to serve one of the city’s most vulnerable populations: homebound seniors. Over the past year, Meals On Wheels of San Francisco has served more than 800,000 meals to 2,200 seniors—it really depends on this fundraiser each year. Last year’s event raised a record $1 million. Let’s do it again. (For the record, tickets are selling fast!)

The evening begins at 5 pm with a hors d’oeuvres and wine reception provided by more than 30 chefs and wineries, followed by a three-course, sit-down meal, with each course prepared by one of 24 different chefs. The grand finale is a dessert reception and dancing.

Among the chefs participating in this year’s gala are: Jan Birnbaum (Epic Roasthouse), David Kinch (Manresa), Douglas Keane (Cyrus), Elizabeth Falkner (Orson / Citizen Cake), Richard Reddington (REDD), Nate Appleman (A16 / SPQR), Chris Cosentino (Incanto / Boccalone), Staffan Terje (Perbacco), Laurence Jossel (NOPA), Shotaro “Sho” Kamio (Yoshi’s San Francisco), and Cal Stamenov (Marinus). For the complete jaw-dropping list o’ chefs taking part, take a look here.

Many of California’s leading wine producers will also take part in the Gala, providing wine pairings for each of the specially prepared dishes. Participating vintners include Cakebread Cellars, Chalk Hill Estate Vineyard & Winery, Duckhorn Vineyards, Grgich Hills Estate and Silver Oak Cellars. You can read the entire line-up of participating wineries here.

During both live and silent auctions, guests will have the opportunity to bid on a number of once-in-a-lifetime items, including a trip to France, a wine connoisseur package featuring a dozen bottles of “unobtainable” wines, a behind-the-scenes tour of a San Francisco Giants broadcast, a party on a private yacht featuring the culinary creations of Nancy Oakes, and private dinners and cooking classes with celebrity chefs.

the starlet

APRIL 22, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Tommy Lee and crew dined at Scala's last Thursday night. They were pretty mellow for a party of ten, and left just after midnight. Tommy signed a couple of autographs, but for the most part, they were a quiet, rather chill group. (Hmmm, maybe they were tired from partying the night before.)

Okay, this sighting is way out of my usual 415 territory, but who can resist a George Clooney sighting? Yeah, I know. He was spotted dining at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa. Seems he rolls with a crew of hearty eaters—they ordered eight dishes for their party of six. And, of course, he was charming to everyone there. Le sigh.


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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