table of contents This week's tablehopper: where to get sum.

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 bookworm

another place for your nose
the starlet
no photos please

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NOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Hey there, thanks everyone for the nice birthday wishes—as hoped, I had quite the swell weekend. Actually, my entire week was pretty mind-blowing, starting with the Milk premiere party on Tuesday, tablehoppin’ with a friend to a cocktail event and then dinner at Bar Tartine on Wednesday, and let’s not gloss over Thursday, a really memorable night with a couple friends, touring kitschy bars and locations in San Francisco for a vintage photo shoot concept we came up with—we uncovered some total gems, I’ll share some pics later...

imageOne thing I gotta report back on: our first stop Thursday night was at the Elk’s Lodge No. 3, an impressive building dating back to 1924 that you can usually only access by being a guest of an Elk. This event I am mentioning is absolutely not food related, but here goes: this Wednesday November 5th, the Lodge is hosting SF Elks Fight Night, an amateur and charity boxing night, and anyone can attend! So depending on how this election goes, maybe you can release some pent-up stress or aggression in a second-hand fashion by watching seven bouts. At a minimum, you can check out the amazing space. ($50, doors at 6pm, 450 Post St., 3rd floor, call 415-421-5231 for more.)

OK, back to my wild and wooly week: Halloween was fun, of course, and for my rainy day birthday on Saturday, I went to the Moss Room for lunch with a friend, caught the opening of the YSL exhibit at the de Young, hosted a Chinese banquet dinner for 12 dear friends at Five Happiness that night (more on our amazing meal soon!), and then out dancing all night, woot! (Gotta love that extra bonus hour on the dancefloor.) Am I tired? Uh, yeah. Quite. I am draggin’. And this election is wracking my nerves—check out where you can watch results around town with your fellow stressed pals in the socialite. Funny, most of the events involve booze. Huh. I wonder why.

So, let’s get hoppin’.

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Freelancers, mid-week flakes, and folks with weird work hours will be pleased to know ~MISSION BEACH CAFE~ is now offering its weekend brunch menu on weekdays. The menu includes pastry chef Alan Carter’s quiche, and executive chef Ryan Scott’s soufflé pancakes with orange cranberry compote; the MBC egg sandwich with a house-made English muffin, fried egg, oven-roasted tomato, caramelized onion, white cheddar, and potatoes; or the Prather Ranch beef brisket hash and eggs. Breakfast is now available Mon–Fri from 8am–2pm, and of course weekend brunch continues as is. Mission Beach Café is also launching a new community outreach program, hosting quarterly dinners benefiting a Mission district nonprofit organization. This month’s dinner, on Wednesday November 19th, honors Creativity Explored, a nonprofit visual arts center that gives artists with developmental disabilities a place to create, exhibit, and sell art. Original works of art will be on display at the restaurant at the event on the 19th, and 25% of food sales will go to the charity (the dinner is $75 per person, exclusive of alcohol, tax, and gratuity). For those that can’t make it that evening, the Café is donating 15% of food sales every Wednesday from 5:30pm–7pm to Creativity Explored. 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., 415-861-0198.

Another restaurant that is expanding its hours: ~BARAKA~ in Potrero Hill has started serving lunch Tue–Sat from 11:30am–2pm, offering a casual and approachable lunch menu. Executive chef Chad Newton will be cooking lunch, so take advantage of the easy parking over there, and enjoy! The menu includes: a daily soup, a variety of salads, either grilled cheese or ahi tuna salad sandwiches (they come with your choice of soup, mixed baby lettuces or Spanish fries, all for only $9–$10), or there are flatbreads, too, like four cheese or chicken, with the same deal regarding the side of soup, salad, or fries ($8–$9). A few mains include roast chicken, skate wing, or bavette steak. 288 Connecticut St. at 18th St., 415-255-0370.

I was so bummed I couldn’t make it to the ~AMUSE COCHON/COCHON 555~ event this weekend (birthday dinner with my cute family trumps everything), but here are some highlights from the Bunrabs for those who wondered how it went down.

More pig patrol: the Thursday night ~MISSION STREET FOOD~ truck is finito, and the renegade solution was to move indoors into Lung Shan, a Chinese restaurant that has agreed to share their kitchen. The PB&J (Kurobuta Berkshire pork belly and jicama flatbread, $5.50) will remain, but look for some rock-the-wok action, including this week’s dish of Burmese coconut-curry soup (a recipe from chef Anthony Myint’s grandmother, $6) and either vegetable or MSF rice (Meated-Smoked-Fried rice, $6–$7). Hours will be Thursdays, 6pm–midnight, and they will now offer beer and wine. Cooks: they are still looking for guest cooks, whatcha waiting for, apply here. 2234 Mission St. at 18th St.

Things continue to percolate over at ~ORSON~, including the launch of Monday Night Pizza starting at 5pm (usual dinner hours start at 6pm), with about six kinds to choose from, like braised broccoli rabe, chili, egg, and guanciale. Man, last night they had a Philly cheesesteak pizza with flank steak, provolone, peppers, onions, steak sauce, and love. Uh huh, I want some of that! The monthly cocktail pairing dinner (Gin & Game) is coming up on Thursday November 13th (check out the menu here, which includes cassoulet with pheasant, boar, and pork belly, plus cippolini, turnips, and Wild Turkey sauce). 508 4th St. at Bryant St., 415-777-1508.

Chef Arnold Eric Wong, known for his past chef-owner history with Eos Restaurant & Wine Bar and Bacar, is the new executive chef of ~E&O TRADING COMPANY RESTAURANTS~. His new modern Asian menu will be implemented in March.

Chef ~RUSSELL RUMMER~ has left Roots, and has joined the team at Sellers Markets

~THE CARNELIAN ROOM~ has a new executive chef, sous chef, and pastry chef. The new executive chef is Rick Huking, who is going to integrate a more seasonal and organic menu (his history includes Le Mouton Noir in Saratoga), the executive sous chef is Charles Hechinger, and Cassandra Struss is the pastry chef. The Carnelian Room is also launching a special prix-fixe Sunday menu, Sunday Supper Club 52, for $39 plus tax and tip, running from 6pm–9:30pm, in case you’ve always wanted to check out that view without paying too much for it. There will also be live smooooooth jazz with the Black Pearl Project. 555 California St., 52nd Floor, at Montgomery, 415-433-7500.

Sorry hot dog lovers, I lagged announcing this one: ~WHAT'S UP DOG!~ has opened a SoMa location, in the former Tamal space. What's Up Dog! “The Diner” is serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and has 40 seats. And beer! Open daily 7am–9pm. 1599 Howard at 12th St., 415-861-5366.

~CHILL~ dessert café opened up in the Financial District, so now you can get soft-serve vanilla custard or black sesame frozen yogurt, drizzle it with exotic syrup flavors like açai or dulce de leche, and toppings like crystallized ginger. Also on the menu are shaved ice concoctions, blended drinks, cupcakes, Vietnamese-style coffee, rooibos red tea drinks, floats, and “frozen hot chocolate.” This week, from Wednesday November 5th–Friday November 7th, there will be “1-2-3 CHILL OUT” grand opening specials, with $1 organic Americano coffee, $2 frozen yogurt and soft serve custard with gourmet toppings, and $3 crispy filled sugar or coconut crepe cones. Hours are Mon–Fri 11am–7pm, and Sat noon–5pm. 125 Kearny St. at Post, 415-433-1233.

More café news: things are picking up for Café du Nord’s café project, which they are simply calling ~THE CAFÉ~, which is slated to open on November 17th. The 49-seat café will offer Ritual coffee, plus sandwiches, salads, and pizzas, and free WiFi. There will also be rotating musically themed art shows (the first show will feature paintings by famous musicians). Hours will be 7am–8pm. 2168 Market St. at Church, 415-861-5016.

It is most definitely chili/chilly weather, and so almost on cue, ~BALBOA CAFE SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting its fifth annual Chili Challenge. Jack Falstaff executive chef Jonnatan Leiva, PlumpJack Cafe executive chef Rick Edge, Balboa Cafe executive chef Jose Lemus, and the San Francisco firemen from Marina station #16 will serve their secret chili recipes during lunch at Balboa Cafe San Francisco this week of November 3rd. Throughout the week, lunch-goers who order the chili from 11:30am–5pm will be presented with small portions of the four competing chilis, and will be given ballots to manually vote on their favorite contender. The votes will be tallied on the final day of the competition, November 7th, and the winning recipe will be offered on the menu from November 10th–November 14th. All guests who voted can enjoy a complimentary bowl of the winning recipe during the week of November 10th, from 11:30am–5pm. Guests who wish to donate a toy to the San Francisco Firefighter Toy Program can bring in an unwrapped new toy or unused book to Balboa Cafe San Francisco. 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-921-3944.

Let’s hope the weather plays nice, because Sunday November 9th is the second ~IN SEARCH OF GOOD FOOD~ bike ride. The ride, led by ISoGF director and food justice activist Antonio Roman-Alcalá and co-sponsored by CAFF, will cover mostly flat ground around the Mission and southeast portions of the city. There will be guest speakers along the route, including: Mission Pie, local purveyors of sustainable pie and farm education for youth from Mission High School; The Free Farm Stand, a project that gives away food grown in San Francisco; Veritable Vegetable, one of the West Coast's oldest organic food distributors; the site of the People's Food System warehouse, where parts of the sustainable food system were born in the 70s; and SF General Hospital, where you'll hear from Aliza Wasserman from Community Alliance with Family Farmers about the challenges and emerging opportunities for bringing local and sustainable food to an institutional scale. The ride will be approximately four hours long, with snacks and bathroom breaks planned in. This event is a benefit for the In Search of Good Food movie project, so please reserve your space (limited to 40) by buying a ticket here. 11am–3pm.

Due to last weekend’s soggy weather, Piccino postponed the ~HOG ISLAND OYSTER DAY~ extravaganza until this coming Sunday November 9th. To recap: “The Hog Island crew will be set-up on our sidewalk, busily shucking their gorgeous oysters for consumption either raw or grilled. For the barbecued orders, they’ll be serving a trio of sauces: classic red, butter, beer and garlic, and one made from Point Reyes Farmstead blue cheese. We’ll be pouring crisp whites, rosés, and microbrews, while firing up our thin-crust pizzas and tossing a few seasonal salads. No reservations are required for this all afternoon event.” 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

It’s totally movie weather, so here is a little something something for you: on Tuesday November 11th is a ~SLOW FOOD MOVIE SCREENING~ at 6:30pm of Strawberry Fields and Queen Of The Sun trailer, and 8:30pm is McLibel and In Good Heart (a short film). Here’s more from the press release: "Strawberry Fields is a documentary by an Israeli filmmaker about a day in the life of Palestinian farmers in Gaza. It's a moving documentary portrait about the courage of ordinary people caught in a war zone. Ayelet Heller, a sensitive Israeli filmmaker, was curious about life in Gaza and set out to tell the story of Palestinian farmers. McLibel is the story of two ordinary people who humiliated McDonald's in the biggest corporate PR disaster in history. Filmed over ten years by Director Franny Armstrong, McLibel is the David and Goliath story of two people who refused to say sorry. And in doing so, changed the world.” Tickets: $10 each screening—you can buy tickets here. Roxie Theatre, 3117 16th St. at Valencia. 

Did you miss Sugar Rush last week? Next Saturday November 15th, you can celebrate the publication of Anita Chu’s first cookbook, the mouthwatering (and charmingly petite) ~A FIELD GUIDE TO COOKIES~ at a special event at Chu’s alma mater, Tante Marie's Cooking School. (Some of you might know Chu from her blog, Dessert First.) Tante Marie’s current professional pastry class will be making some cookies from her book, and there will be limited copies of the book available for purchase. If you want to attend, there is space for up to 30 tablehopper readers: just email Anita at and she will add you to the guest list. Parking is quite limited around the school, especially on the weekends. Please see the Tante Marie website for directions on how to get to the school and suggested parking garages around the area. The event begins at 2pm. 271 Francisco St. at Stockton.

~DELFINA~ is turning 10, and from Monday November 17th through Wednesday November 19th, they will be celebrating with a “killer, truffle-centric menu, entertainment, and special surprises each night! We will also feature a special selection of 1998 (our opening year) vintage wines.” Buon compleanno! 3621 18th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-4055.

This looks like a fun one: on Tuesday November 18th there will be a ~BEER & BISON GROWER’S DINNER~ at Jack Falstaff, with executive chef Jonnatan Leiva cooking with guest chefs Laurence Jossel (Nopa) and Ravi Kapur (Boulevard). Here’s the menu: bison carpaccio and fried oysters (chef de cuisine Ravi Kapur, Boulevard); butternut squash ravioli and beer-braised bison (executive chef Laurence Jossel, Nopa); and slow-roasted bison short ribs, smoked fingerlings and kale (executive chef Jonnatan Leiva, Jack Falstaff). Moonlight Brewing Company, based in Santa Rosa, is going to provide the beer pairings—founder Brian Hunt will be on hand at the event to explain the pairings. 6pm reception on the patio, and the communal dinner seating begins at 7pm. $85 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. 598 Second St. at Brannan, 415-836-9239.

826 Valencia, the non-profit writing and tutoring center in the Mission, is holding a ~FOOD WRITING SEMINAR AND EVENT~ on Thursday November 20th as a benefit for their free student program. The event will feature Mollie Katzen (author of The Moosewood Cookbook and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest); Scott Youkilis (co-owner of Maverick restaurant and editor of Out Of The Kitchen Magazine); Lessley Anderson (senior editor at; and Joe Jarrell (contributor for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and WHERE San Francisco); moderated by Erin Archuleta ( intern and writer of the hardhat section). Guests will be sampling and talking about the food on offer during the evening, plus discussing topics like restaurant reviewing, recipe-composing, contacting agents, working with publishing houses and newspaper editors, and running a successful blog. Tickets: $100, limited to 50 people. 6pm–9pm. Buy tickets and learn more here. 826 Valencia St. at 19th St.

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the regular




S&T Hong Kong Seafood Restaurant
2578 Noriega St.
Cross: 33rd Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94122


Dim sum
Mon–Fri 10am–2:30pm
Sat–Sun 9am–3pm

Dim sum $1.90–$5

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I am super fired up to introduce this new series of occasional reviews that I am going to be calling “Eating Out With Eddie,” who is kindly sharing some of his Asian restaurant discoveries from around town with me (Eddie is Eddie Lau, a former cook at Orson, who is currently taking a break from kitchen life).

My sis and I are both slaves to dim sum, like, total har gow hookers, so Eddie took us to his favorite Cantonese dim sum place in the Outer Sunset, ~S&T HONG KONG SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~. Eddie has done extensive dim sum tasting and “research” around town (that’s what I call my job), and after one visit, S&T is now my reigning champ of dim sum in San Francisco as well. I say it’s even better than Ton Kiang and Yank Sing—gasp! And a hell of a lot cheaper, let me tell you. Oh, except I didn’t get to try S&T’s xiao long bao/Shanghai soup dumplings—and Yank Sing’s are quite irresistible (well, until I get the chance to go to Shanghai).

And check this out: the three of us, each blessed with a constitution built for indulging and sporting mighty hearty appetites (think linebacker), completely scarfed for $20 a head. Unheard of. Crap economy be damned—at S&T, you will feast!

The place was pretty bumping on a Sunday, but since there were only three of us, we managed to get seated within ten minutes. Nope, no Hong Kong Flower Lounge wait here that makes you want to stick one chopstick in your eye and the other in the hostess’s. Oh, and our magic number of three people worked out really well for sharing almost all of the dishes.

As for the décor, there were some tanks of live fish, two packed rooms of feasting families, and overall it was a tidy place where you could bring a dim sum virgin or your picky aunt without them getting fussy or freaky.

There are no carts, just an order sheet. It was quickly apparent Eddie was totally the keymaster to cracking the code of some items on the dim sum menu—there were at least 20 without a translation. What can I say, you’ll either need to bring a Cantonese speaker/Chinese character reader with you. Or maybe you can hire Eddie to be your dim sum escort. Or maybe you can pray your server will understand what the hell you’re asking for. Maybe try crying? Bring an Etch-a-Sketch? Scribble down images on a scratchpad like Holly Hunter in The Piano? Make it happen.

First off, anything with shrimp was just delicious. And if you don’t like shrimp, this place is going to be challenging—or at least you’re going to be missing out on some shrimpy bliss. The har gow ($2.90) were so sweet and plump, with a delicate wrapper, and the pan-fried shrimp and chive dumplings ($3.90) were savory and had good texture. Hey, nice buns.

But the hands-down champ was the shrimp noodle roll ($3.90), a delicate rice-based noodle that was almost like a crepe, snipped at the table, and enclosing the sweetest shrimp inside. Seriously swoon-able, and lucky you, it’s translated on the menu. I am salivating just thinking of this dish—the smooth texture of the noodle was downright sexy. Meow. Next time, I’m trying the BBQ pork noodle roll, the bitter melon chicken noodle roll, and three more shrimp noodle rolls. What can I say, I’m a girl who knows what she wants.

A few standards that surpassed executions I’ve had elsewhere were the shiitake siu mai ($2.30), not greasy at all, and ditto on the stuffed crab claw ($5.00) that tasted freshly made, and wasn’t too mushy in the middle, or too fried on its exterior. Oh wow, the sticky rice and chicken wrapped in a lotus leaf ($3.90) was also an exquisite dish—hearty and fulfilling.

I’d never tried the execution of a deep-fried taro dumpling ($2.90) like the one here—it came with a savory filling of dried shrimp, green onion (as Eddie likes to call them, grunions), and a lovely lacy exterior. There was also a unique dish of deep-fried tofu skin (yuba) with shrimp inside (yay!) ($3.90) that rocked. Loved the play of the crispy texture against the tender shrimp tucked within.

Some off-the-menu items were the delicate fried tofu (very mild), a meatball thing that I adored, and a couple other dumplings that I only have pictures of. Sorry, I am fired. I was so excited to be eating delicious dim sum that wasn’t going to bankrupt me that I wasn’t very diligent in my notes. Oink oink!

There were some traditional dishes I’d like to come back for—the table next to us was digging into some pig’s blood, not sure I’m quite ready for that one, but I will take on the chicken feet! In fact, I’m curious how dinner is here as well. Anyway, be sure to finish with a creamy egg custard tart ($3.90), noted “Portugal Style.” Lovely pastry, filled with decadent eggy custardy goodness.

If you want to get some dim sum to go, there is a small walk-up spot next door where you can order to your heart’s content and schlep home bags of dim sum bounty. All I can say is if my significant other turned up with a pile o’ dim sum from S&T, I’d totally be inspired to play keymaster and gatekeeper all day. Zool! Actually, just cool.

the lush

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Some bar ownership changes around town: ~CASSIDY'S BAR~ in SoMa is currently in escrow, and once that wraps up in about or month or so, Darin Brunson and Mike Goebel of Double Dutch will be leading the helm. There will be a complete remodel, with a different name and vibe once the bar reopens. While things are currently TBD, the new owners did say they are keen to keep it a neighborhood bar and lounge, but less grungy—stand by for more in a month or so. 1145 Folsom St. at 7th, 415- 241-9990.

Over in Potrero Hill, the closed Sadie’s Flying Elephant has changed over to ~MISSION HILL SALOON~ this last weekend. This project is from Mike Shelton, a former part owner of Whiskey Thieves (that smoky whiskey bar on Geary Street). There’s a new paint job, new seating, new tunes on the jukebox, and the popcorn machine is MIA. 491 Potrero Ave. at 17th St., 415-551-7988.

Last Monday at the ~MARIE BRIZARD COCKTAIL CHALLENGE~ west coast regional final held at Conduit, Jackie Patterson (Zinnia) won the title of USA Champion. Joel Baker (Bourbon & Branch) came in second place, and Sierra Zimei (Four Seasons) won this year’s special Hospitality Award by receiving the most public votes on the Marie Brizard website. As one of the two USA champions, Jackie Patterson will travel to Bordeaux, France, in December to compete in the international final. David Nepove, national vice president of United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG), conducted the technical judging, while Steven Oliver, general manager of Le Colonial; Scott Hocker, senior editor of San Francisco magazine; and Patrick Heig, editor of CitySearch San Francisco, were on the blind tasting panel.

Last week I swung by a private event where local bartenders were competing with their recipes for a featured drink, the ~CONSERVATINI~, for the upcoming Conservatory of Flowers’ gala, The Golden Gate Express. Since they were down a judge, I ended up becoming an impromptu judge alongside Leslie Sbrocco of KQED's Check, Please, and Tiffany Martini, the Examiner's Meet Your Mixologist columnist. Hey, as a former girl scout, I help when I can! The winner was Kevin Diedrich (of Clock Bar, Bourbon & Branch, and the upcoming Cask store) with his killer drink, made with Hangar One Mandarin Blossom, fresh lime juice, Velvet Falernum, homemade orgeat, Whiskey Age Barrel Bitters, chipotle tincture, and an orange twist. In case you’re interested, the gala event on November 19th will feature the winning cocktail (you gotta try it!), plus wines, and bites, a new garden railway exhibition, and the chance to experience the Conservatory at night. All proceeds benefit the Conservatory of Flowers’ youth environmental education programs. $200 ($125 for those 35 and younger). 6:30pm. Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, 415-831-2090.

imageI had quite the time attending the very moving ~MILK~ premiere last week at the Castro Theatre (do not miss this very important film—it opens on November 26th!). It was exciting to spot Josh Brolin, Diane Lane, and Emile Hirsch on the red carpet, plus the excellent Alison Pill, and Diego Luna and James Franco at the after-party at City Hall (although the last two weren’t the most gracious nor friendly actors I’ve met, ahem). Found out SKYY Spirits is running a Milk cocktail charity program in bars throughout the city featuring the Milk signature cocktail, the “Talk of the Castro,” made with SKYY vodka, raspberry liqueur, lime juice, orange juice, and mint. For every cocktail sold, Skyy Spirits will be donating one dollar to LGBT organizations. The cocktail charity program will run at select spots around town from November 15th–December 15th. Participating bars and restaurants (to date): Lime: 2247 Market St.; Midnight Sun: 4067 18th St.; Mix: 4086 18th St.; The Bar: 456 Castro St.; The Cafe: 2369 Market St.; and The Lookout: 3600 16th St. Time to get drinkin’!

Last week I mentioned ~SAN FRANCISCO WINE WEEK~ (please check the updated socialite listing because there have been a few changes), but I also just received this email: “If you have any friends or wine industry friends who have interest in attending as a volunteer for any of the SF Wine Week night of tastings, please forward to me.” You can email or call him at 415-377-6223.

This Saturday November 8th, ~UVA ENOTECA~ is hosting a class, Introduction to Italian Wines, covering the fundamentals of winemaking, history, and tasting. $40 per person, 3:45pm. Call 415-829-2024 or email to sign up. 568 Haight St. at Steiner.

Yo winos! At Book Passage on Monday November 10th is a special event called ~A WINE EXTRAVAGANZA~. Here’s more on the event: “Please join Clark Wolf, internationally known food and restaurant consultant as he hosts an evening with David Kamp and David Lynch. Witness the vibrant intersection of the country’s top sommelier, David Lynch, wine director of Babbo in NYC, with David Kamp, renowned editor, food writer, and humorist as they explore the power and range of cult and other brilliant wines in a vastly changed and charged wine world. Welcome a couple of New Yorkers to the city of ultimate connoisseurship and become convinced that it’s not just money that makes a snob! Charles Krug wines will be poured!” 6pm. Tickets are $20, and the price includes a copy of The Wine Snob’s Dictionary and a donation to CUESA. To sign up, call 415-927-0960, ext. 1, or order online by clicking here. Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, #42.

On Sunday November 16th, there will be a sparkling wine dinner at ~SLOW CLUB~. The menu will be served buffet style from several stations in the room. Guests will be able to help themselves to all of the offerings and find a seat wherever they like or just mill about. The wines showcased at the dinner and additional bottles of bubbly will be available at Slow Club and Serpentine throughout the month of November for 40% off the normal list price. Chefs Chris Kronner and Matt Paul will prepare the following menu: crispy fried oysters with sauce gribiche / sunchoke soup / avocado and grapefruit pintxos with nepitella; little gems, cherry tomatoes, bacon, roasted shallots and tarragon vinaigrette / beet and herbed fromage blanc napoleons / leeks vinaigrette; braised pork with roasted red carrots / grilled quail with balsamic radicchio; pumpkin cake with whipped crème fraîche / rose geranium pot de crème. Tom Hunter of Revel Wine will be present and pouring Caves Sanstravé Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava Catalonia, Spain, 2003; Parigot & Richard Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé, Savigny les Beaune Burgundy, France, NV; Barbolini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro Emilia Romagna, Italy, NV; and a sweet, sparkling surprise. The cost of the dinner is $65, which includes a glass of each of the four wines. Tax and tip are additional. To reserve a spot at the wine dinner, email 6:30pm. 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire, 415-241-9390.

the socialite


Election Night Coverage
Tue., Nov. 4th, 2008

Various locations
San Francisco, CA

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO It’s not the time to be home alone watching TV on your couch—so head out with your fellow voters and watch the nail-biting ~2008 ELECTION NIGHT COVERAGE~ at these places around town tonight!

1300 on Fillmore is hosting an election night viewing party, with a special prix-fixe menu, and the Obamatini or McCainerator cocktails for only $6. 1300 Fillmore at Eddy, 415-771-7100.

Balboa Café is offering a free glass of white sangria to guests who voted and are able to present proof in the form of a sticker or voting stub. One drink will be offered per customer. The election will be playing on Balboa’s TVs. 4pm–7pm. 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-921-3944.

CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen will be broadcasting the election results and as the CAV newsletter says, “If we defeat Proposition 8, the first glass is on us.” 1666 Market St. at Gough, 415-437-1770.

District will have CNN on the big screen (but no sound). 216 Townsend St. at 3rd St., 415-896-2120.

farmerbrown is projecting live election results, and if Obama wins, there will be free fried chicken from 9pm–10pm. 25 Mason St. at Turk, 415-409-3276.

Mojo Bicycle Café is going to project CNN on their big screen all night until the call is made. 639-A Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-440-2338.

Orson will be streaming election results live on their digital wall, and will have some election cocktail specials, including the Obama Rocks, Joe the Cocktail, and more. Show your voter stub for a special treat! Bar opens at 5pm. 508 4th St. at Bryant, 415-777-1508.

XYZ is holding a viewing party with 92.7’s E-Team, where they’ll announce the Election Cocktail winner (the contestants are the Obama Pama, Once Biden Twice Shy, McCain's Maverick Mojito, and Palin's One-Two Punch)! Show your "I VOTED" sticker and receive half off their Election Cocktails. 5:30pm–2am. W Café, 1st Floor, and XYZ Bar, 2nd Floor, W Hotel, 181 3rd St. at Howard, 415-777-5300.

And for you East Bay folks, Miss Pearl’s Jam House will be serving $1 red and blue Jell-O shots, with live music from 7pm–11pm. 1 Broadway, Oakland, 510-444-7171.


Devil’s Gulch Ranch Fundraiser
Sat., Nov. 8th, 2008

Devil’s Gulch Ranch & Druids Hall (in the historic Nicasio Square)


Ranch tour 2pm
Wine tasting 4pm
Dinner 6pm

wine tasting (varies per taste)
$75: dinner & dancing
$75: kids program & dinner

Reservations: 415-662-1099

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I got word from Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch about this awesome ~FUNDRAISER FOR DG EDUCATIONAL SERVICES~. (DG Educational Services is a newly formed nonprofit whose mission is to provide agricultural education to children and adults through its year-round camp programs, workshops, and international outreach endeavors.)

The event will feature a ranch tour, wine tasting of local wineries and wines, and a dinner dance.

Ranch Tour, 2pm–4pm (no charge)
Here’s your opportunity to visit Devil’s Gulch Ranch. Experience a working ranch, see the vineyards, pigs, sheep, horses, and rabbits, and stroll through the lovely gardens and areas where campers spend time learning and connecting with nature.  

Kids Activities at the Ranch, 4pm–10pm ($75)
Children age five and up can sample a few of the camp craft activities, while the parents enjoy wine tasting, dinner, and dancing in town. At the ranch the kids can make their own pizza using local ingredients, and enjoy a movie and popcorn. Transportation provided back to Nicasio Square at 10pm. $75 per child, includes dinner, crafts, and a movie.

Wine Tasting at Druids Hall, 4pm–6pm (no admission charge)
Open to the public. Virtually all of the Marin county wines and wineries will be there, including many difficult-to-find wines—wineries will be charging for tastes by the glass, and by the bottle (at less than retail!). Tasting prices vary. This very well may be the first time all of the Marin wineries will be pouring at the same time. Plus there will be Devil’s Gulch Ranch sausages.

Wineries/winemakers participating: Brookside Cellars; Dutton-Goldfield Winery; Kalin Cellars, Kendric Vineyards; Miller Wine Works; Moonhill Vineyards; Orogeny Wines; Pacheco Ranch Winery; Pey-Marin Vineyards; Point Reyes Vineyards; Ross Valley Winery; Schramsberg; Sean Thackrey; Starry Night Winery; Stubbs Vineyard; Terremoto Cellars; Thomas Fogarty Winery; Vergari Wines; Vision Cellars; Willowbrook Cellars.

The silent auction includes many hard-to-find local wines and at least three magnums of otherwise unavailable Marin County pinot noir; two nights and dinner for two at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, San Francisco; Chef-For-A-Day and dinner with chef Bob Helstrom at Kuleto’s Restaurant; gift certificates from: Zuni Café, Perbacco Restaurant, Bi-Rite Market, and many other fabulous Bay Area restaurants.

Dinner and Dancing, 6pm–10pm ($75/person) (wine purchased separately)
A wonderful gourmet dinner with Devil’s Gulch Ranch meats and local produce prepared by chefs Stuart Brioza (formerly of Rubicon) and Ryan Farr (Fifth Floor, Orson) and others. Dancing with live music by David Kessner and friends.

the bookworm



SEPTEMBER 30, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Recommends

Don't forget: this book is 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.

I’ll just start by admitting that I’m in way over my head today. Nonetheless, I’m going to try to tell you about two books on or near the cutting edge of cuisine.

The first is A Day at El Bulli: an insight into the ideas, methods, and creativity of Ferran Adrià. El Bulli is a restaurant on a nature preserve in northern Spain; it’s only open for six months a year, for one seating a day, and it receives over 2,000,000 requests for 8,000 places each year.

The previous books on El Bulli (which we carry, if you’re up for a splurge) are $350.00 each. So for those desperate for at least a visual and textual taste of this phenomenon, at last there’s a $49.95 entrée into the world of El Bulli. And at 500+ pages, with over 1100 photographs, it’s a pretty good deal.

What’s in here besides 1100 pictures? Way too much detail and complexity for a home chef and recreational diner like me, but probably some pretty cool insights and recipes for professionals and the hardcore “foodies.” Like how to make freeze-dried cold white miso foam, peanut oil marshmallow, or venus rice stock jelly. I wish I could say more, but I got lost at the frozen green pinecone powder.

Today’s second book is the simply titled and sleek Alinea, Grant Achatz’s Chicago restaurant. Achatz’s pedigree is solid: he was sous chef at French Laundry and executive chef at Trio (also in Chicago). And the accolades for Alinea (the restaurant) are many.

As for Alinea (the book), it’s a gorgeous oblong hardcover with plentiful color photographs. The food is more easily recognizable as, well, food, though the style of cuisine is hard to classify beyond that, other than to call it avant-garde. And there are special tools and/or ingredients in most recipes that even the most dedicated home chef may lack, like an “anti-griddle”—a unique item that cools its surface to -45 degrees Fahrenheit for freezing ingredients.  

All that said, there are some do-able recipes and plenty of professional information about menu planning, sourcing ingredients, etc. And it is a beautiful book if you’re looking for straight-up food p*rn (rhymes with horn).

Home chefs and fellow simple folk: there are plenty of new accessible cookbooks on hand and coming for the holiday season—I’ll review a few next month. But for the serious cook, A Day at El Bulli and Alinea both provide windows into minds, kitchens, and restaurants that most of will never otherwise see.  

Thanks for reading.

the starlet

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Director Gus Van Sant and Peter Coyote were at Orson last Monday night.

Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay had a private event last week, which was attended by Bono and The Edge from U2. Steve Forbes (yes, of Forbes Magazine) was also there. They gave an inspirational talk to attendees who were guests of Elevation Partners, an investment firm, and even played a few cuts of their latest album.


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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