table of contents This week's tablehopper: gobbledygook.

the chatterbox
the word on the street

fresh meat
new restaurant reviews
the lush

put it on my tab
the socialite

the starlet
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NOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO What a week last week, eh? I was definitely on party patrol this past weekend. Friday was the Red Tie Gala at Neiman Marcus, truly offering some of the best people watching of the year (gotta love the Italian old ladies in their sunglasses, minks, and heels—mixed in with the Little Sisters of the Poor, imageyup, it’s a contrast), followed the next day with a trip out of town to Petaluma for one of my favorite parties of the year: the McEvoy Ranch harvest party. I couldn’t leave without buying a bottle of olio nuovo—have you ever poured some over soft-boiled eggs, and mixed ‘em up in a bowl with Maldon salt, cracked pepper, and toasted ciabatta? You should! It’s the unofficial Gagliardi family’s favorite breakfast.

And on Sunday, the tablehopper did not rest, because that night was the Zen Hospice One Night, One Heart fundraising event with Elizabeth Falkner and Ryan Scott, who prepared a special meal paired with Murray Street Vineyards wines in the back of Stable Café (such a great venue!); I was invited to give a little tablehopper talk about what’s new in SF to the guests.

This week’s docket includes a preview of the new seven-course beef dinner at Bong Su (more on that soon), checking out one of the events at SF Wine Week (you can read more here, and please note they are offering $35 single-event/day tickets now), and then heading up to Healdsburg this weekend for the sold-out Michel Schlumberger annual Wild Pig Party (plus finally going to Scopa for dinner, and hopefully Diavola for pizza the next day!). I’ll be sure to update my Healdsburg jetsetter pieces with details for you! And I will also be working out at least two hours a day to keep up with all this.

In the mood to play? Well, this week I am giving away two pairs of tickets to the St. George Spirits open house next weekend (read all about it in the socialite)! To enter to win, please forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend or drinking buddy (or more, you star!!), telling them why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, no joke!), and CC or BCC so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. Deadline to enter is midnight on Friday November 14th. I’ll notify the two winners soon thereafter and get you and your guest on the list! You even get complimentary tastes of the absinthe and Tequila!


~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay, first things first: make room on your TiVo because this week is the first episode of ~TOP CHEF—SEASON FIVE~! Tune in this Wednesday night at 10pm on Bravo and watch our sole SF contestant, Jamie Lauren of Absinthe, who is in it to win it! Go Jamie!

Another thing to keep your ears on for: Molly Watson of Sunset magazine and co-host Emily Wilson are airing their pilot show of ~I'D EAT THAT~, a new half-hour food-oriented show on KALW (91.7 FM) in San Francisco. The first show is about the ethics of being a carnivore, with guests Bonnie Powell of Clark Summit Meat CSA and and chef Paul Canales of Oliveto. It airs on Sunday November 23rd at 2:30pm, and again on Wednesday November 26th at 7pm. KALW streams its shows online at, so you don’t even have to live in SF to listen. Check it out!  

A tablehopper reader wrote in to tell me that Sumi of ~MA TANTE SUMI~ is retiring and closing her petite restaurant after 24 years of business in the Castro. I spoke with the kind Sumi Hirose, and she confirmed that it’s true. She said, “I am over 65 and need to retire from the restaurant.” Her retirement is well earned, to say the least. Her last day at SUMI is December 6th, so be sure to swing by and say thanks and farewell between now and then. As for the new tenant, the folks from Sushi Ko in Berkeley will be remodeling the space, and then reopening in late December or early January as the 30-seat Sumi Sushi, the name paying homage to Sumi’s quarter century in the neighborhood. Sumi Sushi will be open for dinner to start, then weekend lunch, and eventually lunch during the week. 4243 18th St. at Diamond, 415-626-7864.

imageI got a chance to check out the new ~GITANE~ (opening tonight!) at a preview dinner last week, and let me tell you, there is nothing in the City like it! I went nuts for the colorful, sexy, retro décor by Charles Doell of Mr. Important—I felt like I was in Barcelona, or a hip Parisian boîte. (You can check out pics of the swank décor and more here.) Highlights include chef Lisa Eyherabide’s bacon bon bons (prunes stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in smoked bacon) and sardines en escabèche (sardines on puff pastry with tomato jam), plus the Belmont Breeze cocktail by Dominic Venegas with Four Roses bourbon, amontillado sherry, and orange and pomegranate juices—a bunch of the drinks have little touches of sherry. This place is built for a chic date night out (but not cheap and chic—the little dishes and drinks will add up), and with the open-until-midnight kitchen hours, it will be the perfect spot for a late-night pizza and a drink, or glass of wine off of Sean Diggins’ list. There will also be some outdoor seating in the alley, but the interior is where it’s at. Dinner will be served Tue–Sat from 5:30pm–midnight; the bar will stay open until 1am. 6 Claude Ln. between Bush and Sutter at Kearny, 415-788-6686.

Meanwhile, over in SoMa, ~MEDICI LOUNGE~ has moved out of their soft opening mode, and are now officially up and running, serving a rotating menu of Italian dishes and hand-crafted cocktails under the direction of Sierra Zimei (Seasons Bar), like the Under The Tuscan Sun (limoncello, Grand Marnier, basil, grapefruit juice, sea salt, prosecco). Happy hour is Tue–Sat 4pm–6pm, with discounts on beer, wine, cocktails, and there’s a special appetizer menu. Lunch and brunch will be coming in the next month. Open Tue–Sun at 4pm, closed on Mondays. 299 9th St. at Folsom, 415-863-MEDI (6334).

~CRAVE~ has opened in the Upper Polk, in the former Teavana space. The quick-casual spot is from John Lamkin and Lynn Ramsey of Street, serving breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner, all made with seasonal and quality ingredients. To recap from one of my earlier reports, the menu will include breakfast faves like egg sandwiches, house-made scones, and breakfast burritos, and lunch will bring some soups, salads, and tasty sandwiches (hello Reuben) that will highlight slow-roasted meats and fish. Dinner will be heartier, and some vegetarian fare will also be available—dishes will span from New American to Latin flair. Coffee is from Ritual Roasters. They’re still in soft opening mode, so things aren’t exactly at 100% yet. Hours are 7am–7pm. 2164 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-440-3663.

Eater has been tracking the closure and potential new locations for ~CAFÉ PRAGUE~, most recently located at 584 Pacific Avenue. According to permits, Café Prague is planning to reopen in the Financial District at 424 Merchant Street AND is also listed on a permit in the old Country Station Sushi space at 2140 Mission St. Will see how this maps out, literally.

Quick update on the ~WASHBAG~: looks like they hit some building department snags, so now we’re looking at 2009 for the opening. Stand by… 1707 Powell St. at Columbus.

Meanwhile, when I was visiting my buddy John at Area on Jackson and Columbus, we noticed work is finally underway at ~PICKLES~, the old Clown Alley. Tom Duffy (of Myth) is behind the project—the 50-year-old restaurant is currently getting remodeled (the outdoor patio is getting tricked out with an outdoor fireplace and a retractable awning), and very optimistically opening in mid-December. The final menu isn’t worked out just yet, but gourmet burgers, Chicago-style hot dogs, and frozen custard are in the plans. I also remember when I originally spoke with Duffy about the project earlier in the year that late nights on the weekends were also in the works. Looks like Jackson Square is undergoing its own little renaissance: Zinnia, Taverna Aventine, and in 2009, Quince. 42 Columbus Ave. at Jackson.

Oh, and it’s time to clarify a few things about the ~MELISSA PERELLO MONDAY NIGHT DINNERS~ at Sebo. First, they are not every Monday: the specific Monday dates will be announced via the mailing list, and only after the dates are announced is when you can then ask for a reservation. You can find out about future Monday dates by signing up for the mailing list at

So, I’ve got (some) of your Monday nights covered. But what about Sunday night? Well, starting at ~LOCAL KITCHEN & WINE MERCHANT~ is Neighborhood Night, with all-you-can-eat pizza for $12.95 (kids 12 and under for only $6.95) on Sunday nights. There’s always all-you-can-eat at Goat Hill Pizza in Potrero on Mondays, in case you want even morrrrrre pizzzzzzzza, oinkety oink! 330 1st St. at Folsom, 415-777-4200.

More deals around town: ~SOUTH~ has launched a Recession Concession prix-fixe menu, running from now until December 1st. There is a $24 lunch menu, and dinner is $34, and either meal includes a glass of sparkling wine. You can read up on the menu specifics here. 330 Townsend St., Ste. 101 at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

Vegetarians, meanwhile, can head to ~MILLENNIUM~ for the Frugal Foodie menu, a three-course prix fixe menu available Sunday–Wednesday for $38 per person (excludes tax and gratuity), with your choice of dishes off the regular menu, plus there’s a $12 optional wine pairing. 580 Geary St. at Jones, 415-345-3900.

And now, it’s time for your exotic ingredients update!

First up, I got word that ~AME~ restaurant in The St. Regis San Francisco is featuring Kona Coast abalone (Japanese Ezo), a rare delicacy shipped live—Ame is the only restaurant in the U.S. to get this fresh abalone straight from the big island of Kona. Executive chef Greg Dunmore is currently offering sautéed Ezo abalone in yuzu kosho butter sauce with shimeji mushrooms and shishito peppers for $17. 689 Mission St. at 3rd St., 415-284-4040.

Then at ~FIFTH FLOOR~, chef Jennie Lorenzo has put together a special November game menu that includes cheuvreuil (loin of venison, fennel, and venison "croustillant," roasted salsify, juniper berry-citrus jus), pintade (truffle-braised hen in "fata" paper, Brussels sprouts and cranberries confit, truffle bouillon), and sanglier (wild boar "pot pie" with a mélange of mushrooms, celeriac remoulade). Dishes range from $28–$40. Hotel Palomar, 12 4th St. at Market, 415-348-1555.

~BAR BAMBINO~ is hosting a wild fowl dinner this Sunday November 16th. For $95 per person, you can feast on their house-made duck breast prosciutto, a rich game bird sugo over fresh pasta, and wild fowl involtini. The wines will be rich and earthy to match. Email or call 415-701-8466 to reserve your spot. 2931 16th St. at South Van Ness.

Over at ~INCANTO~, starting this Thursday November 13th through December 20th, every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night you can order the Battle Offal dinner, the menu chef Cosentino recently featured on Iron Chef: America. Are you ready for some lamb heart tartare, and turf & surf (tripe and clam)? You can read the entire menu here. Just be sure to note a minimum of one week's advance reservation is required. 1550 Church St. at Duncan, 415-641-4500.

I thought this sounded cool: ~MASA’S RESTAURANT~ is running a “Young Chefs” event, featuring a nine-course menu crafted by executive chef Gregory Short’s up-and-coming kitchen team. The Young Chefs menu will be available from Tuesday November 18th through Saturday November 22nd. The cost for the nine-course menu will be $150, and will feature wine pairings by Master Sommelier Alan Murray for $99. Contact the restaurant to learn all about the beast of a menu—it reads like quite the tour de force. 648 Bush St. at Stockton, 415-989-7154.

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fresh meat




The Sentinel
37 New Montgomery
Cross: Jessie St.
San Francisco, CA 94105


Mon–Fri 7:30am–2:30pm

Sandwiches $8–$8.50
Desserts $2.50

NOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I’m a big fan of working from home—not only is every day casual Friday, but there’s no line to get my morning macchiato—and if the barista happens to be copping attitude, maybe it’s because she was out late and is feeling a little cranky. And when it’s lunchtime, I get to make my sandwiches just how I like ‘em (yes, I have a panino press and I know how to use it). And I get to eat lunch in my slippers. (Only my UPS guy and I know what color they are.)

So when I find myself occasionally downtown at high noon, it’s a big whirlwind of lunch-getting activity I forgot about. Heck, it’s been eight years since my ad agency job on Spear Street. In those days I occasionally made runs to the spendy salad bar at Lightening Foods, but I preferred to make my sandwiches instead, like spicy coppa with melted provolone and artichoke hearts on rosette rolls from Il Fornaio. My boss even offered to pay me each week to make sandwiches for him, but I was trying to be known as a copywriter around the office, and not the sandwich maker.

Prior to that, I remember working on Maiden Lane, and being a broke-ass 20-something, I’d suffer the multitude of sandwich abuses at Lee’s (both ordering and consuming abuses)—but I will say my custom combo of egg salad and olive salad was pretty rockin’. Just the same, those were the dark sandwich years.

And now, the light. I have tried to make my way to Dennis Leary of Canteen’s ~THE SENTINEL~ at least four times. It has been shining its beacon for months, but either the line was way too long, or my lunch date had to cancel, and finally, finally, I was downtown last week and got to try the famed sandwiches with a pal.

Since this place is take-out only, and I don’t have an office desk around the corner where I can sit and eat, I had to hunt down a sunny little spot to scarf my sandwich. On a rainy day, maybe someone will rent me his or her desk for ten minutes?

The menu is posted online daily for those of you who want to start salivating early, or call your order in. It definitely reads like food porn: smoked trout with fennel, apple, horseradish cream cheese, or how about turkey meatloaf with cranberries and chipotle? You know you want the chocolate chip walnut cookie.

The line was about ten people deep, but moved impressively quickly. Some folks try to get there early to beat the line, and get their pick of the litter before anything runs out. Inside, the staff is hustling. Dennis Leary, the powerhouse for this outfit, is behind the counter daily, moving intently like the prizefighter of sandwiches. I just hope he doesn’t give himself a coronary before he’s 40—the guy is like a downed power line, rippling around with an intensity that makes you keep your distance. I’ve never seen him stand still.

I do say bless him: not only is he supplying the city with some of the tastiest breakfast treats and sandwiches, but he’s also taking a stand on sandwich preparation, stating on his menu that “all of our sandwiches have mayonnaise, please specify if you don’t want it,” and “no more tomatoes until next summer, sorry!” So fuhgettaboutit! Love it.

While you’re waiting outside, the smell of baking bread starts tempting you. No, it’s not from a ubiquitous Subway, with its tacky bread smell. This is more like mmmmm mmmmmm good bread smell. Real bread.

The flatbread on my corned beef sandwich ($8.25) was most definitely mmmmm mmmmm good—perfect texture and flavor, just-right oiliness, and it held up like a champ. Now, the corned beef is not like a mountainous deli sandwich from Millers East Coast West that you can hardly get your mouth around, or finish eating. This is more like a classy California sandwich, with just enough meat. Juicy meat, too. The kick of Gruyere, crisp shreds of cabbage, and bright Russian dressing made this sandwich an ace. You can taste everything, and you can taste it all come together. Oh yeah, and the pickle on the side had a good homemade tang, but wasn’t too sour.

At first, I thought the sliced pork loin ($8) with fig jam, frisee, and manchego was too sweet—I wanted something to counter it, like some mustard vinaigrette on the frisee. But that’s just because I was still immersed in my corned beef sandwich—there was no competition. Once that half was done, it was time for meat dessert, which the half of pork loin sandwich fulfilled.

Unfortunately, the yellow lentil curry soup was a disappointment—I couldn’t detect any curry, and it was thin and watery. It was like having expensive gruel ($5.50). Not a good soup day. Although the little wedge of bread was a nice touch. Wasn’t super thrilled with the pomegranate-lemonade ($3) either, it was just kind of meh—it’s like the flavor was still asleep and hadn’t woken up yet.

I did appreciate the little touch of the complimentary Andes mint in the bag (totally brought me back to my childhood—we used to have a bowl of these at the counter of our deli), and the eco-friendly packaging and silverware is right on. A friend who works in the area is all cracked out on the homemade muffins that come with fresh fruit in them—she also likes the coffee a lot.

And then there’s the look! It’s vintage cigar shop (its previous incarnation) meets sandwich shop, with an on-point 1940s East Coast vibe, an old school cash register, cigar boxes for napkins and tips, gleaming subway tile, and the biggest pepper mill I’ve ever seen. Not sure about that—maybe it’s a totem pole for a sandwich shop that kicks butt?

the lush

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~ELIXIR~ in the Mission is getting rowdy. Now every Wednesday is the Flowing Bowl Happy Hour, with a batch of punch getting ladled until it’s gone. This Saturday November 15th, the bar is hosting a 5/150 party, celebrating five years of H’s current proprietorship, and 150 years of serving San Francisco from the corner of 16th and Guerrero. There is going to be some BBQ from neighborhood chefs Scott Youkilis of Maverick and Justin Deering of Conduit, a visit by Emperor Norton and the Yerba Buena No.1 Clampers (1pm), a Blue Blazer cocktail demonstration at 2pm (watch your hair!), and contests, a charity raffle, and games (all day). You can also ask about the Elixir Economic Stimulus Plan, with crazy deals on some premium liquors. Cheers. 3200 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-1633.

More booze news: ~CASK~, the liquor store from the Bourbon & Branch chaps, has opened. Well, it’s kind of their soft opening this week, but they’ll take your money if you want to buy something, so go for it. You’ll be able to buy all kinds of spirits, many obscure, hard to find, and artisanal, plus some Cali small-production and boutique wines (90% of the wines are from Napa or Sonoma), and there will also be a few bubblies, including some high-end bottles from Krug, Dom, Veuve, and Moet. There is a selection of barware (great holiday presents for the boozehound in your life), books, bitters, glassware, and here’s what I’m really excited about: there’s an engraving service, so you can really dedicate that bottle of bourbon or bubbles or both to the one you love. Downtown delivery begins this Thursday on a 1920s tricycle, and when the website goes live Friday morning, you can have items shipped (where it’s legal to, of course). Open 11am–7pm daily. 17 3rd St. at Market, 415-424-4844.

Macy’s Cellar Union Square is hosting some ~FOOD AND WINE HOLIDAY DEMOS~: this Wednesday November 12th is Perfect Pairings Part 2−An Elegant Holiday Dinner Party, with executive chef Bruno Tison of The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa and winemaker Margo Van Staaveren of Chateau St. Jean. Next Wednesday November 19th is Perfect Pairings Part 3–A Decadent Hors D’Oeuvres Fête is with J Vineyards & Winery’s executive chef Mark Caldwell and winemaker George Bursick. Admission to either event is $10 and entitles you to a taste of the pairings. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Food Bank. 6:30pm. Tickets available online at, at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Ritmo Latino and select Macy’s, Frye and Save Mart stores. To charge tickets by phone, call 415-421-TIXS.

Now, this is what I call a clever event: this Thursday November 13th, Fifth Floor is hosting a wine, beer, and spirits pairing battle called ~THREE ON FIVE~. Executive chef Jennie Lorenzo will prepare a five-course dinner, and the competitors will pair their bevvies with each course—you, dear diners, will decide who did it best. The competitors are Master Sommelier Emily Wines (doing the wine pairings, duh, just read her name); Jacques Bezuidenhout will pair the cocktails; and Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewpub and The Alembic will “head” the beer pairings, har. Tickets are $125. Reserve your space by calling 415-348-1555. The contest will take place in the Chef's Room, so seats are limited. Hotel Palomar, 12 4th St. at Market.

This Thursday November 13th, Foreign Cinema is hosting a wine tasting called ~NG: THE NEXT GENERATION IN WINE~, comprised of young family members from Napa Valley. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Edible Schoolyard, a non-profit program founded by Alice Waters. You’ll be able to taste wines from Ahnfeldt Wines, Broman Cellars, Fisher Vineyards, Frias Family Vineyard, Hill Family Estate, Judd’s Hill, Long Meadow Ranch Winery, Madonna Estate, Marston Family Vineyard, Spelletich Cellars, Viader, and Yates Family Vineyard. There will also be bites, music from the Bay Area’s Jazz Mafia Trio, and a silent auction. 6:30pm. $100. For tickets and additional info, visit 2534 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-648-7600.

East Bay winos: this Sunday November 16th, ~EIGHT ARMS CELLARS~ is having an event to celebrate the release of their first vintage. They are asking guests to help reduce global warming by participating in their Go Green Drink Red campaign. This free event is open to the public, and will be held at Riva Cucina in Berkeley, with chef Massi Boldrini offering an assortment of foods that will pair well with Eight Arms Syrah. 1pm–4pm. 800 Heinz Ave. at 7th, Berkeley.

Saturday November 22nd is the tenth annual ~PINOTFEST 2008~ at Farallon. This extensive tasting of pinot noirs from over 50 of Oregon and California’s best producers will be held from 3pm–6pm. There will also be hors d’oeuvres and an opportunity to meet the winemakers. Participating wineries include: Adelsheim, Argyle, Au Bon Climat, Byron, Bonaccorsi, Brewer-Clifton, Calera, Cambria, Chehalem, Costa de Oro, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, El Molino, Etude, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Fort Ross, Foxen, Freestone, Gloria Ferrer, Greenwood Ridge, Handley, Hartford Family, Hendry, Hitching Post, Iron Horse, J Vineyards, Keller Estate, Kosta Browne, Littorai, Londer, Lynmar, Marimar Torres, Melville, Merry Edwards, Michaud, Morgan, Patz & Hall, Paul Hobbs, Peay, Pey-Marin, Ponzi, Radio Coteau, Rex Hill, Robert Sinskey, Saintsbury, Sea Smoke, Siduri, Skewis, Soter, Talisman, Talley, Testarossa, Thomas Fogarty, Whitcraft, and Williams Selyem. $100 per person. Call 415-956-6969 for tickets or click here to access the ticket form. 450 Post St., 4th Floor, at Powell.

the socialite


St. George Holiday Open House
Sat. Nov. 22nd, 2008

St. George Spirits/Hangar One Distillery
2601 Monarch St.
at Alameda Point
(the old Naval Air Station)
Alameda, CA



$30 in advance
$40 at the door

call 510-864-0635 to reserve your spot

NOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I think I am finally going to be able to make it to this event this year! St. George Spirits is hosting their annual ~HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE~, and the stills will be running most of the day, allowing you a rare opportunity to see the process up close with a live distillation. Entrance will include three lil’ cocktails, tastes of their spirits, and the iced vodka luges. Music and food will be supplied throughout the day to keep everyone upright.

Some specialty food companies will be there to sample and sell their wares, including Recchiuti Confections with truffles and chocolates; June Taylor Jams, with jams, preserves, and syrups; Boccalone with salumi, cured meats, and all things pork; and La Cocina, with a variety of sweet treats made with organic ingredients.

Spirits and holiday gift packs will be available for sampling and sale, including the St. George Absinthe Verte. Tasting tickets to try both the Absinthe Verte and De Profundis (20-year aged Pear Brandy) are $10. You will also be able to taste the upcoming release of Agua Azul (Spirit of Agave), a spirit made in the distillery from 100% blue agave. A tasting flight of the Cristal, Reposado, and the Añejo is $10.

St. George Spirits founder and master distiller Jörg Rupf will be hosting a discussion and tasting on eau-de-vie at the staff bar on the 2nd level of the distillery. Try some old favorites from the Aqua Perfecta line with a new understanding, along with some unusual and unavailable eaux-de-vie. There will be two sessions at 1:30pm and 3:30pm: you may only sign up for one session when purchasing open house tickets. Limited to the first 15 people for each session.

There will be free shuttle service between the West Oakland BART station and the Alameda Main street ferry building to and from the distillery. This is a 21 and over event. Please bring your picture ID!

Will-call tickets will be available in the distillery store and by phone for $30. Call 510-864-0635 to reserve your spot. They sold out last time, so don’t wait! Entry, if not sold out, will be $40 at the door.


Now through Thu. Nov. 27th, 2008

Various locations

NOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~THANKSGIVING~ is coming up quick, and there are a variety of things to mention, whether you are cookin’ at home or eating out that night.

For those of you cooking your Thanksgiving meal this year, chef de cuisine Ron Boyd of AQUA will demonstrate ~THANKSGIVING COOKING—SLOW FOOD STYLE~. Learn how to prepare some delicious dishes using local seasonal ingredients, plus some tricks on how to make the feast come together smoothly and make it an impressive event for your guests. Free. Saturday November 22nd, 2pm, The Cellar at Macy’s Union Square.

Always wanted to try a ~TURDUCKEN~, but too overwhelmed to try to make it? Ryan Farr of Ivy Elegance (most recently the chef de cuisine at Orson) is making and selling turduckens for Thanksgiving that will be stuffed with a cornbread and chicken sausage stuffing. The turkey, duck, chicken and all other products will be fresh, free range, and organic. There will be two different sizes available, a 15+ pounder for $200 that will happily feed 14, and a 20+ pounder for $250 that will feed 18. Cash and check only. There is a limited amount available, so once they are sold out, you will have to wait until next year. Every turducken will include a thermometer and an aluminum roasting pan with instructions on how to cook it fully. Pick up for the turduckens will start on Tuesday the 25th; a more specific place and time will be arranged on an individual basis. Email Ryan at with any questions or concerns. (I’d like to ask what sound does a turducken make? Cheep gobble quack?)

For those heavy in the wallet but who don’t want to cook or go out, ~FORK AND SPOON PRODUCTIONS~ will create and cater a homemade Thanksgiving feast for you, but it comes out to something like $71.43 per person. If you want to know more, contact Fork & Spoon for details. 2161 Third St., 415-552-7130.

Want to do something helpful besides baste the turkey? Chef Ryan Scott is hosting his ~SECOND ANNUAL THANKSGIVING BAG LUNCH CHARITY GIVEAWAY~. This year, Scott is doing it at Mission Beach Café, delivering 1,500 bag lunches to San Francisco shelters with a team of volunteers. Those interested in helping should email or call 209-613-3420. Help is needed from 11pm on Wednesday November 26th until 11am Thursday November 27th.

Don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving, or perhaps you want a double play of turkey? ~MELISSA CLAIRE’S KITCHEN~ at the Velo Rouge Café is hosting a turkey-themed dinner Thursday November 20th. The four-course prix-fixe menu will be a “Whole Turkey Dinner,” featuring dishes like local mixed chicories salad with turkey cracklings, pomegranate seeds and a Katz Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc vinaigrette, and turkey soup with turkey-stuffed wontons. The $45 four-course menu includes an appetizer, mid-course, entrée, and dessert. The menu is served at two seatings: 6:15pm and 8pm. Ideal for singles, couples, or groups, each seating accommodates up to 24 guests at three communal tables. To make reservations, call Melissa at 415-786-3777 or email 798 Arguello Blvd. at McAllister.

~EPIC ROASTHOUSE~ is serving a southern Thanksgiving this year! Co-owner and executive chef Jan Birnbaum will prepare a four-course, prix-fixe menu featuring chive buttermilk biscuits with house-made ham and Hook’s Wisconsin farmhouse cheddar; lobster cakes with radish-cucumber salad and lobster hollandaise; potato, leek and Champagne soup with caviar; wood oven-roasted Branigan turkey with cornbread dressing, parsnip, and potato puree, and black pepper cranberry sauce; and chanterelle mushroom risotto with butternut squash and black truffle vinaigrette. DUDE. Can we have access to that menu all week, plllllllllease? Desserts include milk chocolate pumpkin crème brûlée; pecan cranberry tartlet with Bulleit bourbon ice cream and caramel sauce; and apple tart with a hint of saffron and a Tahitian vanilla ice cream. $85 per person (12 and under: $40). Early seatings: 1:30pm, 2pm, 2:30pm. Late seatings: 4pm, 4:30pm, 5pm. 369 The Embarcadero at Folsom, 415-369-9955.

At ~AMERICANO~, chef Paul Arenstam will serve a traditional, family-style Thanksgiving feast featuring holiday dishes such as Sausalito Springs watercress salad with Fuyu persimmon, ricotta salata cheese, and pomegranate vinaigrette; a family-style Thanksgiving platter, including all-natural heritage turkey from Frank Reese Jr. Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch (Lindsborg, Kansas); Brussels sprouts with lemon confit and chestnuts; Hog Island Oyster and fennel sausage; spicy braised Swiss chard with garlic and pine nuts, and more. Americano guests will finish with a seasonally inspired dessert sampler of pumpkin pie, chocolate pecan pie, and ginger cake. There are three separate seatings on Thanksgiving at 2/2:30pm, 4/4:30pm, and 6/6:30pm. The cost is $75 per person and $25 per child (under 12). 8 Mission St., 415-278-3777.
The new ~AUREA~ at the Stanford Court will be serving a special multi-course Thanksgiving menu from 3pm–9pm. The menu includes an amuse of pumpkin soup with crème fraîche, your choice of an appetizer (Dungeness crab and avocado tower or butternut gnocchi with porcini and sage), salad, a risotto course, and either turkey with all the fixins, salmon, or beef, plus dessert. Adults $75, children 6–12 $35, children five and under eat free. 905 California St. at Powell, 415-989-3500.

~BALBOA CAFE SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting an all-American Thanksgiving dinner and dessert menu from 11:30am–11pm. The a la carte menu includes butternut squash soup, turkey with cornbread stuffing, blue lake beans, mashed potatoes, fresh cranberry sauce, and giblet gravy, or halibut or steak for you turkey haters. 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-921-3944.

~MILLENNIUM~ is hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving Supper. Yup, tofu turkey! It’s five-course prix-fixe dinner, $60/person, $30/child under 12 years old, 2:30pm–7:30pm. 580 Geary St. at Jones, 415-345-3900.

~XYZ~ is hosting a special a la carte Thanksgiving menu with a unique twist on the holiday fixings, including sugar pie pumpkin soup and sage and olive oil roasted turkey. W Hotel, 181 3rd St. at Howard, 415-777-5300.

Here’s an interesting one in the East Bay: ~MONSOON MASALA~ in Pleasant Hill is offering a Thanksgiving dinner menu for the entire week of Monday November 24 through Saturday November 29th (closed Thanksgiving Day). Chef Kumar will blend flavors and aromas of his native India in a traditional dinner of soup, roasted turkey, pumpkin side dishes, and dessert, for $19.95. Reservations recommended and families welcome. 2375 Contra Costa Blvd. at Boyd, Pleasant Hill, 925-685-9100.

For those who want to bail on the supper entirely, ~VITRINE~ at The St. Regis San Francisco will be offering an extended brunch menu with some Thanksgiving faves from 11am–2pm. Take your pick from some classic egg brunch dishes, pancakes, French toast, a burger, some sandwiches, and yes, turkey with stuffing, cauliflower, and potato au gratin. 125 3rd St. at Howard, 415-284-4000.

Oh, and just because I’m crazy: did you ever see Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse? He did these brilliant “trailers” in between the two horror flicks, and the one he did for Thanksgiving just kills me, har. The trailer is totally R (gory violence, adult content), but for the fellow sick minds out there, this sh*t is so funny. Best voiceover ever: “White meat, dark meat, all will be carved.” Enjoy! (Aw hell, while you’re at it, watch the one for Machete, equally brilliant.)

the starlet

NOVEMBER 11, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Now, this is what I call a star sighting. And it even happened twice! On Friday, Sinbad braved the long lines at Mama’s on Washington Square, and had a low-fat egg white scramble, and he also ordered the Swedish cinnamon French toast topped with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. He must have had breakfast at Mama’s on the brain, because he was spotted there again on Monday, this time ordering the (high-fat) shrimp Benedict and French Toast again. Seems he loooooved the homemade jam, because he even got some to go.

According to Mission Mission, Chuck D was spotted at Muddy’s. In fact, the writer said, “he asked me to watch his laptop (a Mac) while he got a cup of coffee.” No word if he drank his coffee with Flavor Flav or Splenda.

Al Gore dined at Spruce Sunday night with his wife and daughter (and possibly her hubby).


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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