table of contents This week's tablehopper: raise the bar.

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 hardhat
watch your step
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker

let's get it on

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NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO I don’t even know where to begin with this weather—like, when did I move back to LA? And whoa, my convertible actually makes sense in San imageFrancisco right now. It was truly magnificent to be up in wine country this weekend during such a bizarre heat wave. Spring fever in mid November, woot! Healdsburg is one of my favorite places in the 707, especially with all the fall color. Get up there now if you can—and if you need to know where to go, look here at my past Healdsburg jetsetter pieces for some guidance and ideas.

This week, we have the next installment of the hardhat, from guest writer Erin Archuleta, and now, a bookish giveaway! This week’s giveaway is courtesy of Chronicle Books: Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker (I know, her last name has just one superfluous consonant). The odds for this drawing are good because there will be three lucky winners (you also get a Chronicle tote bag). To enter to win, please forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to a 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, and I am so not kidding), 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 Sunday November 23rd. I’ll notify the three winners soon thereafter!

Oh, and I have to do a shout to reader Jillian C., who wrote in a question, but my email to her keeps bouncing. Jillian, can you send me your phone number instead? Or another email? Didn’t want you to think I was ignoring your question. That would be rude.

Chow ciao,

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO So, let’s get to some news around town. I heard that Jessica Gorin is no longer the executive chef at ~BAMBUDDHA LOUNGE~, and is now at Thirsty Bear in SoMa. She will be launching a new menu there shortly, stand by. In the meantime, I didn’t hear back from the Bambuddha folks in time, but will let you know who the new chef is, or what their plans are once I get the details. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-885-5088.

And literally just before my deadline, I got word that Ryan Scott is leaving ~MISSION BEACH CAFÉ~ on December 1st to focus on his catering business, Ryan Scott 2 Go, and is reportedly “weighing several compelling job offers.” Things are on good terms between Scott and proprietor Bill Clarke—Scott is planning to return to MBC for special events throughout the rest of the year and into 2009. Clarke has hired a new executive chef, Thomas Martinez, age 22, to head up the kitchen—Martinez actually worked previously at MBC, and left to try private cheffing, so now he’s back (and will be keeping things seasonal). He has also worked at Soluna, Greens, Aziza, Roots, and Foreign Cinema, as well as with Heirloom Organic Gardens, where he worked directly with the produce and restaurant chefs as a purveyor. 198 Guerrero St. at 14th St., 415-861-0198.

Who doesn’t love grilled cheese sandwiches? I guess you lactose intolerant types aren’t big fans, but as for the rest of you… I had a tablehopper reader tip me off to a cool project that recently started up in the Chan Chan Cafe Cubano space, tucked up off Market Street near the Castro. During the day Monday through Friday, ~FEELGOOD CAFÉ~ takes over and cooks up a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to The Hunger Project and to programs ending hunger. In case the name is familiar, the FeelGood Cafe is normally on university campuses, but this is the first non-campus location. You can get organic breakfast items, like Greek eggs or huevos rancheros or egg sandwiches, and their unique spin on grilled cheese sandos include the Cheese Louise! (cheddar, brie, apple, Dijon mustard) and the Sexy Mexy (mozzarella, beans, avocado, pico de gallo, mango, jalapeños). There are also coffee drinks available, made with organic coffee grown by a women’s cooperative in Costa Rica. At night, Chan Chan’s Cuban menu returns (Tue–Sat)—oh, and they also do weekend brunch. So do your part in helping the FeelGood Cafe with their mission to “end world hunger, one grilled cheese at a time.” And support Chan Chan, who so kindly offered to host the project! The café opens at 6:30am. 4690 18th St. at Danvers, 415-864-4199.

~TROPISUEÑO~ is opening this Saturday in Yerba Buena Lane, serving taqueria fare during the day to the lunch and daytime crowd, and will start dinner service in December. Modern renditions of tequila-based cocktails are also available, made with fresh ingredients, arriba! Starting December 1st, dinner service will begin, and the restaurant actually has a physical transformation as well: the taqueria line will disappear, and other touches will happen to make it more restaurant, less taqueria. During the switch to dinner, the menu will expand to include antojitos and Jaliscan seafood specialties—there will also be two signature moles, eventually four. The food is geared toward authenticity, but is not high end like some other SoMa Mexican places. The chef is Antelmo Faria, most recently at La Salette in Sonoma, and Montrio in Monterey. Hours are 10:30am–5:30pm daily, and dinner will be eventually 5:30pm–10:30pm. 75 Yerba Buena Ln. at Market, 415-243-0299.

Time to dial up your heat tolerance: I got a call from the ~HENRY’S HUNAN~ folks, and their Noe Valley location is opening this Saturday the 22nd in the former Pescheria spot. This will be the fifth Henry’s location, and will have a similar menu (gotta love the meat pie and Marty’s special, oh yeah)—they said delivery will eventually be available, just not right now. Hours are slated to be 11:30am–9pm. 1708 Church St. at 29th St., 415-826-9189.

I learned the former chef of Moose’s, Travis Flood, is back from his trip east helping to open Laurent Gras’s L20 in Chicago, and is now the executive chef at ~PICCOLO TEATRO~ in Sausalito, focused on Venetian cuisine. Flood also mentioned he’s making most of the charcuterie on the menu. Chris Whaley of Picco in Larkspur was the opening consulting chef, and now Flood, who started as chef de cuisine, has assumed the role as executive chef, and is rolling out his own fall menu. 739 Bridgeway Blvd., 415-332-0739.

Here’s an update on a few Mission spots: ~GEORGE'S BBQ~, the affordable rotisserie and carved meats place I mentioned last month, is due to open this week. A hofbrau-style lunch and dinner will be served daily. This place might scar vegetarians for life, so take note. 3231 24th St at Mission, 415-550-1010.

And awwww hell, the one week I was finnnnnally going to be able to hit ~MISSION STREET FOOD~, and now they are closed until December. From their site: “We apologize for the inconvenience, but Mission Street Food will not be at Lung Shan this week (or next week, which is Thanksgiving). We are working out the logistics of a new prep location and hope to re-open in December. We're still accepting proposals from guest chefs/cooks and at this point, we also want to hire a part-time prep or line cook. The bottom line is that we want to keep doing Mission Street Food, but we're outgrowing our current kitchen and staff.” Le sigh.

Meanwhile, ~PHAT PHILLY~, the authentic cheesesteak place, is delayed until early December, and ~ZAYTOON~, the Mediterranean wraps and falafel spot, will be opening soon thereafter. Phat Philly: 3388 24th St. at Valencia. Zaytoon: 1136 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-824-1787.

Thrillist has some deets on ~MIDPOINT~, the restaurant that is opening in the former O’Reilly’s Holy Grail space on Polk. The new owner turned the design around pretty quick, so I’m not expecting a massive transformation, but reportedly the Gothic church elements have gone the way of the Inquisition. The opening is slated for this Thursday. 1233 Polk St. at Bush, 415-924-2493.

This is always fun for me: some rock star tablehopper readers wrote in some insider info in relation to a few of my recent reviews. First, for those of you who were salivating over the dim sum descriptions at ~S&T HONG KONG SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~, and were wishing you had your very own Eddie to take you there and translate the menu, well, check this out! A regular who been going since it opened about 20 years ago (and said, “They are at the top of their game right now, I think, both for dim sum and dinner.”) had this to share: “If you ask at the front desk, they'll give you a supplementary checklist with the English translations of the un-translated part of the regular dim sum checklist. The Salt and Pepper Tofu that you mentioned is on that list along with one of my favorites, braised stuffed tofu skins—they are stuffed with pork and are absolutely delicious. Also on that list are shrimp-stuffed eggplant and shrimp-stuffed green peppers and some bargain items, many of which are really quite good.” Okay?! Already plotting my return. And you? 2578 Noriega St. at 33rd Ave., 415-665-8338.

And then another fab reader, Cara, had great suggestions for fellow downtown desk-less fans of ~THE SENTINEL~ who wonder where to eat their delicious sandwich. Here’s more from her entirely helpful email: “I recommend one of the two lovely public rooftop gardens accessible from Crocker Galleria across Market. The nice one on the corner of Post / Montgomery / Market (over the gorgeous old Wells Fargo bank) has a prominent entrance from the top floor of Crocker Galleria. If it's raining, you can snag a table inside Crocker Galleria. Or go to the inside public space around the corner from Sentinel at 55 Second St. There's a smaller, more hidden rooftop garden that faces Sutter and the historic Halladie building. From the top floor of Crocker Galleria, go to the unmarked staircase in the NW corner of the building and go up. It's also accessible from the Galleria Park Hotel. Excellent for good weather days when everywhere else is busy. If you want to explore for a couple of hours, a great SF City Guides tour to many of the public spaces in downtown (including more rooftop gardens) is offered twice every Friday.” Thanks ladies—brownie points to both of you!

And one more tidbit I plan to put to use: the groovy folks at REBAR have even created an interactive map of downtown privately owned public open spaces, check it out here.

Executive chef Richard Corbo of ~DUCCA~ has prepared a special five-course squash menu paired with regional Italian wines imported by Stefano Biscotto of Trilussa Wines. The dinner will be held in the private dining room this Wednesday November 19th. 7pm, $79 per person, and includes the wine. The squash menu will continue to run for the next couple months while squash is in season (but without Wednesday’s nice wine deal). 50 Third St. at Mission, 415-977-0271.  

Slow Food Nation wanted to host a few more events before the Victory Garden closes up December 6th. This Saturday November 22nd there will be a ~COMMUNITY EAT-IN~ from noon–3pm. Here’s more: “An Eat-In is a group of people gathering in a public space in order to share a meal. Come to the Victory Garden in front of City Hall to represent your community and break bread with others who want to make sure everyone has access to good, healthy, real food. The meal is a potluck and free of charge. Please bring your own plate, cup, and silverware, and some home-cooked food to share with your neighbors. It is free of cost and open to the first 200 who register. Organizers will provide tables and chairs.” I heard there are still some seats remaining, get on it! And no, don’t show up with a bucket of KFC.

I swore I was not doing any more Thanksgiving coverage, but I had to let you know about one more thing, because it really sounds that good. Well, really bad for you good. Yats, the New Orleans-style po’ boy shop in Potrero Hill will not only be selling ~LOUISIANA FRIED TURKEYS~ for Thanksgiving, but they will be doing an open fry on Wednesday November 26th from 7am–10pm and Thanksgiving morning from 7am–12pm! Which means you bring your own turkey, choose your marinade, and they fry it for you, so you don’t have to deal with a vat of scary hot oil. Read the details on the site, and if you’re interested, be sure to call and reserve your spot! $32, cash only. At Jack’s Club, 2545 24th St. at Utah, 415-282-8906.

More bird news: ~THE LARK CREEK INN~ is doing Southern Fried Chicken Sundays for $19.95, which includes three pieces of sesame-crusted fried chicken, mashed potatoes, braised organic greens, and a buttermilk biscuit served with sides of honey butter, house-made red chili jam, and chili vinegar for the greens. Leave the gun rack at home. Served for dinner from 5pm–9pm. 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, 415-924-7766.

This one is a bit out of city limits, but it’s your chance to visit the gorgeous grounds of McEvoy Ranch during harvest (the ranch is usually closed to guests)! Sunday, December 7th is the ~COMMUNITY OPEN HOUSE~, with guided ranch tours, music, refreshments, and your chance to stock up on some olio nuovo in the gift shop. The event is free, but reservations are required. 5935 Red Hill Road, Petaluma.

Down in San Mateo, ~ESPETUS CHURRASCARIA~, the Brazilian restaurant known for its parade of meat on skewers, has opened its second location. Turn your dial to green, and try 12–14 different types of meat that will be brought and carved directly on your plate. The menu is offered on a set-price basis ($49.95 for dinner, $23.95 for lunch Monday–Friday, $32.95 for lunch Saturday–Sunday) and includes access to the Brazilian-inspired salad and hot plate bar with rice, beans, and a varied choice of fish, chicken, stroganoff, lasagna, sushi (hmmmm—how’d that get in there?), and other dishes, plus many vegetarian selections. Dessert is served a la carte. My best advice is don’t bother eating the entire day before going there. There is also a full bar and lounge area. 710 South B St. at 7th St., San Mateo, 650-342-8700.

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

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the regular



Bar Tartine
561 Valencia St.
Cross: 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110


Sun, Tue–Wed 6pm–10pm
Thu–Sat 6pm–11pm
Closed Mon

Sat–Sun 11am–2:30pm

Apps $9–$16
Entrées $19–$30
Desserts $8

NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Hey player. So, date one has gone really well (nice work), but now you want to step it up to the perfecto spot for date number two or three? Okay. Or maybe you have some cool out-of-town friends coming to visit, and you want to feed them some très San Francisco cuisine while impressing them with a place sporting some hip instead of hippie atmosphere. Or perhaps you’re a solo diner, looking for a friendly counter to perch at. ~BAR TARTINE~ is a good answer to all three situations, and let’s not forget those seeking a sophisticated weekend brunch.

Bar Tartine really is the picture of gentrification (I gotta call it), located on a grubby stretch of Valencia next to Arinell Pizza and La Cumbre that is usually teeming with 20-somethings. You could blaze right by it, actually—there’s no sign proclaiming its existence. Just look for the cool antler chandelier near the front. It’s a chic space with an authentic artsy vibe, with wood floors that have letters scattered here and there in the planks, a nod to one of the space’s previous incarnations as a letterpress (as I was told). There’s also a long marble bar, and I especially enjoyed the gentle lighting, with the backlit bench seats along the wall casting a soft glow. It’s romantic, but not at all in a way that would give most straight guys the heebie-jeebies.

I’m a fan of sitting at the bar, but larger groups will like the cozy round table in the back, and there’s a slew of two-tops along the wall, full of couples on date night. It’s like date HQ, straight and gay—it’s a nicely mixed room, from gender to age. Quite a few ladies out on B.F.F. dinner dates as well. The space feels sexy, comfortable, and there were even fresh, fragrant white lilies in the bathroom—classy.

I hope all this swish ambiance has prepared you a little for what’s to come: tasty but spendy vittles. Yes, everything is made with top-notch seasonal ingredients, and chef Jason Fox crafts some refined Cal-Med dishes, but dag, you are not getting out of here for cheap, 94110 zip code or not.

Then again, the smooth and silky corn custard ($16), a brilliant take on chawan mushi, was so deliciously impressive… After one bite, we deemed it worth every penny. It was topped with sea urchin, plus the custard contained culinary surprises of beech mushrooms, scallions, and some unexpected heat from sliced jalapeno and chunks of chorizo—I actually wondered if the chorizo was one ingredient too many, and it was weirdly not salty enough. No matter, this dish was a champ.

Hey, are you filling up on bread? Watch it, because you will, even without meaning to. This is what happens when the owners of Tartine Bakery (Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson) open a restaurant: evil bread. Muaah huah huah!

The foie gras mousse ($15) piped into two petite and crisp “cannoli” was a clever execution, and the salad on top with fresh greens, figs, walnuts, and the drizzle of saba (reduced grape must) on the plate all lent harmonious flavors, but in the end, the dish didn’t have a lot of punch. It was like a nicely mannered but mousy lady—inoffensive, pleasant, but not all that memorable.

What I really wanted to return to was the house specialty of the bone marrow ($13). But, we had decided on beef as one of our main courses, so it would have been a double play of beef. Moo. But marrow fans, take note: the execution rocks here.

Oh, and the salads offer some interesting ingredient medleys, but salad is not one of my first choices. My waistline says, “Oh really? Perhaps it should be.” Pfffft.

It’s a little tough to decide on the mains—there are all kinds of intriguing touches on the menu, from pumpernickel cream here to black olive jus there… We ordered the beef cheeks ($26), but it was ultimately too nouvelle of a presentation for our taste: three bouncy cheeks were plated in a line, one two three, with salsa verde, chanterelles, a topping of fresh-grated horseradish, and a base of Jerusalem artichoke puree (tasty) and broccoli rabe (too bitter). I dunno, but when I order beef cheeks, I want them to be luscious and luxurious, a veritable hot tub of tender beef bodaciousness—these were a bit too composed.

The gnocchi ($19) here have legions of fans, and not just vegetarian ones: these plump pan-seared potato babies were all about the transition of late summer into fall, mixed with hen of the woods mushrooms that were a touch crispy at the edges, corn (pretty ballsy to add another starch, but it worked), a cloud of parmesan cheese, sage, and some black truffle oil (grrrrr, but oh well). It’s a good dish.

The restaurant certainly has a more refined service style—it’s also really attentive, and friendly. My dining partner and I agreed that based on the price point here, and the elevated service, having the parmesan cheese or horseradish grated tableside would be a nice touch. Hey, it’s the little things!

Chef Fox is number four in a rotating series of chefs since the restaurant opened, and has been leading the helm now for a couple years. He was formerly the chef de cuisine at Scott Howard, another place where I enjoyed some unique and playful twists with ingredients. So while the pricing can feel a bit dear, especially in this current economy, it’s the kind of menu I’d like to keep returning to, to see what’s next. Kind of like Conduit, just down the street.

If there’s room, the bar at Bar Tartine is also a good spot to visit for a glass of something good off their wine list, some cheese, and maybe that wicked custard. Or for dessert, natch. Both desserts that we tried were lovely, like a roasted fig napoleon ($8) with a baklava crisp that I weirdly thought had a hint of tobacco to it, plus huckleberries, and goat cheese ice cream that struck that magic balance of tartness, but not iciness. Mmmmmmaple flan ($8) was also scrumptious, topped with cubes of caramelized apple and pomegranate seeds, and came with a side of black walnut churros that were almost like streusel—tasty.

And about that brunch: all I can say is pork belly open-faced sandwich ($14) with egg salad. And fries. Hold on.

the lush

advertise on tablehopperNOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Tomorrow, Wednesday November 19th, is the eighth annual ~WINES TO GO WITH YOUR THANKSGIVING MEAL EVENT~ at William Cross Wine Merchants. The wines to be poured are: 2005 Josmeyer Les Folastries Gewurztraminer Alsace; 2007 Isarco Kerner Sudtirol-Alto Adige; 2007 Domaine Amido Les Amandines Tavel; 2007 Domaine de Colette Beaujolais-Villages; 2006 Soter Pinot Noir North Valley Oregon; and 2006 Palmina Barbera Santa Barbara. Ruggiero from Antica and Pesce will be cooking some turkey to see which wines go best with the edible guest of honor. Gobble. $15. 6pm–9pm. 2253 Polk St. at Green, 415-346-1314.

If this gorg weather holds up tonight, I’d suggest swinging by the spacious patio at ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ for their new happy hour: all “special” cocktails are $6 (normally $10), draught beer is $3, and there are some small plate specials, like baked goat cheese ($6), a lamb chop with ratatouille ($7.50), tuna tartare ($8), and fried halibut and lemon aioli ($8). Happy hour is Mon–Fri 5pm–7pm. 414 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-546-4134.

~EL RAIGON~ is offering half off all wine on Monday nights from now through December, with the purchase of one entrée per person. Yup, that malbec just got downright cheap. 510 Union St. at Grant, 415-291-0927.

I heard that Fabrizia Lanza is coming to ~BIONDIVINO~ next Monday. She comes from an amazing family, and has a cooking school in Sicily. She will be preparing a dish to bring with her from Sicily (rumor has it that it might be some focaccia) to pair with wines from her family estate of Tasca d’Almerita. $5 tasting fee, 6pm–8pm. 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.

And in case you were wondering who won the ~THREE ON FIVE~ wine, beer, and cocktail pairing competition at Fifth Floor, Camper English has the deets over at his Alcademics blog. (Hint: the winner’s name has the word win in it.) The next event is scheduled for Wednesday December 17th. Hotel Palomar, 12 4th St. at Market, 415-348-1555.
the socialite

White truffle-topped tortino from Farina.

Truffle Mania
Tue. Nov 18th–Wed. Nov. 26th, 2008

Various locations

NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO ~WHITE TRUFFLE SEASON~ is in full effecty wecty, and it’s reportedly a good year with cheaper prices, cheers to that. (I wish I could make my tablehopper column scratch ‘n’ sniff, wouldn’t that be cool?) I have rounded up a few restaurants offering special menus this week in honor of the season.

Acquerello is doing a special menu from Tuesday November 18th–26th, offering several dishes like poached duck egg on creamy leeks with shaved white truffle, rich egg tagliolini with burro fuso and shaved white truffle, and risotto Carnaroli with a hint of Parmigiano Reggiano and white truffle. There is also a special truffle tasting menu during that time for $190. 1722 Sacramento St. at Polk, 415-567-5432.

Perbacco is doing “Four Nights of Tartufi Bianchi,” from Tuesday November 18th–21st. During these four evenings, executive chef Staffan Terje will offer special à la carte dishes during dinner service. White truffles will be offered by the gram, shaved over dishes that may include local porcini trifolati with a sunny-side-up duck egg, hand-cut tajarin with veal polpettine, or risotto in bianco finished with Castelmagno cheese. 230 California St. at Battery, 415-955-0663.

Oliveto is running their special truffle menu from Tuesday November 18th–21st (please note Friday night is sold out). It’s also when Oliveto runs their mushroom dinner, too. All I can say is check out these menu items: pan de mie crostini with wild snails, wild mushrooms, and leeks; warm salad of lamb sweetbreads, artichokes, cauliflower, and black truffles; and polentina of Savoy cabbage and leeks with polpettine of McGruder Ranch milk-fed vitello tongue, jowls, and pork liver. Whoa! The truffle dinners are great to pair with special wines, so Oliveto is offering a unique list of wines by the glass for the truffle dinners, and verticals of moderately priced and aged Barolos and Barbarescos. A special corkage fee of $25 will apply during those nights. 5655 College Ave., Oakland, 510-547-5356.

NOT gamay grapes

Say Oui or Non to Beaujolais Nouveau

Thu. Nov. 20th, 2008

Various locations

NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Love it, hate it, there are all kinds of events surrounding the release of ~BEAUJOLAIS NOUVEAU~ this Thursday—here’s a round up of events around town and beyond, celebrating it, or not! 

Grand Café is throwing a Beaujolais Nouveau party from 5:30pm–7:30pm. It will be the 26th anniversary of its arrival in America—and Grand Café is offering a complimentary glass of Georges Duboeuf's Beaujolais Nouveau served straight from the barrel. Complimentary tastes from Grand Café’s fall menu will also be provided by chef Mauro Pando. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

The Sir Francis Drake is going nuts and hosting two events on the same night: Beaujolais Nouveau and Día de la Revolución, commemorating the Mexican Revolution, hence their special night of ¡Viva Gamay! There will be a cocktail competition at 4:30pm that will feature Sir Francis Drake Hotel bartenders using Centenario Añejo Tequila. The winning cocktail will be featured at Bar Drake until the end of the year. Following the contest, guests will proceed to the mezzanine at 5:30pm as gamay enthusiast and winemaker Andrew Lane pours his Gamay Nouveau. You can meet the winemaker, sip, and eat a selection of hors d’oeuvres. There is then a pre-Thanksgiving winemaker’s dinner by chef Jen Biesty at Scala’s Bistro at 7pm. Cocktail contest and Gamay Nouveau party: $30; cocktail contest, Gamay Nouveau party, and winemaker’s dinner: $75. Purchase tickets online here. 450 Powell St. at Sutter.

Down in San Mateo, things are getting crazy: chef Roland Passot (La Folie, Left Bank Brasseries) is uncorking the 2008 Beaujolais Nouveau at a big ole soiree at Left Bank at 6:30pm. The extravaganza includes chef Passot delivering an inaugural case of 2008 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau via a vintage red fire truck, accompanied by Liam Mayclem, the host/producer of Eye on the Bay, plus firefighters from San Mateo’s Station 21, can-can girls, live music, and a weekend of Moulin Rouge-style entertainment that will help benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. From Thursday November 20th through Saturday November 22nd, the Left Bank Brasserie, San Mateo, will feature a menu inspired menu by the Beaujolais region. 1100 Park Place, San Mateo, 650-345-2250.

Please note: there are additional parties at the other Left Bank locations—read all about the what and the where here

And then 18 Reasons is hosting The 18th Hour: Beaujolais Not Nouveau on Thursday, November 20th from 7pm–9pm. From their press release: “We'll celebrate the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau by not drinking any. Instead, we'll taste a selection of quality wines from the Beaujolais region that treat gamay with the respect it deserves. Featuring no less than three selections from the Morgon area, come celebrate with wines from Marcel Lapierre, Domaine Dupeuble, and more. As always, we'll have small bites of great food to go with the wines, and great company to wit.” $5–10 suggested donation to benefit 18 Reasons. 593 Guerrero St at 18th St.

the hardhat





NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Curious about what goes into opening a restaurant? Each month we’ll be checking in on the build-out process of flour + water, a new restaurant project that is underway in the Mission. The hardhat will highlight the unique coups and complications when opening a restaurant in San Francisco. This section will be written by Erin Archuleta, tablehopper intern and half of the talent behind local outfit Ichi Catering.

Peeking in through the plywood construction facade at flour + water, you wouldn’t expect that there’s much going on. But, after checking back in with owner David Steele and chef-owner David White, they’ve had their hands full with the permitting process.

The drawing and permitting process can be very nuanced. And in this case—they’ve got a completely custom-designed kitchen by David W. himself—it can be an extremely complex process. For each part of the design, whether it’s the venting for the custom wood-fired oven (which took a month’s research on its own), or the height of a door, many permitting experts have to be consulted. And, since they’re all experts in their own respective areas (Health Department, Fire Department, oven manufacturers, HVAC, mechanical engineers, and electricians), this can mean that they won’t always agree.

David W. told me that each time he’s heard the word “impossible” during the restaurant design process, it has only made him want to find the way to execute the idea. He has found “learning on the job” to be a critical asset. Now, after their final revision, the Davids have submitted the final design plan to the city for approval. Fingers crossed on all your hard work and endless consultations, gentlemen!

Other preparations are taking place before the commencement of the build: gastronomic ones! David S. is set for a research trip to New York where he will taste and sample the menus at ápizz, Covo, `inoteca Lupa, Pala, and Otto. Both Davids told me that they have been eating pizza and pasta at virtually every meal for the last couple of weeks. They are excited by the ideas they’re developing, but are starting to get just a little bit sick of eating the same thing every day. David S. and I laughed about the impending weight gain, but he didn’t sound worried at all, confessing that he’s “workout obsessed.”

David W. has been making different pastas at home, getting a feel for what things excite the palate. He’s also been up in wine country, exploring the fruit and experiencing the harvest. With his background in wine menu development, his mind is definitely on the wine.

And, in my most favorite twist of research, one that doesn’t exactly involve the charge card and discreetly undoing that top button for breathing room: David W.’s been out boar hunting! I picture some kind of Hunter S. Thompson backpacking trip, but he fills me in that boars have actually become a nuisance to farmers, and hunting and eating the pesky boars is actually welcomed. He’s excited by the prospect of getting his own boar, and then curing the meat for tasting and experimenting at home. 

We’ll be back next month with more news and an update on the restaurant’s progress! And perhaps some boar recipes!

the starlet

NOVEMBER 18, 2008 | SAN FRANCISCO Tiffani Faison of Top Chef was spotted hanging out at Elixir.

More Top Chef-related news (’tis the season): Sandra Oh came into Absinthe on Saturday, and had the frisee with duck egg, the baby romaine with white anchovies, and the wild mushroom pappardelle—she told the server she loved it all. Which is exactly why executive chef Jamie Lauren is on this season of Top Chef—good food, yo!

the matchmaker

Internship Sites Needed

A large class of trained culinary students from the C.H.E.F.S program is graduating on December 4th. We are desperate for restaurant kitchens (all kinds of kitchens, really) so the students are lined up with locations for their three-month internships.

Internships are for 12 weeks at 20 hours a week for a total of 240 hours. The CHEFS program will pay for insurance, etc., and provides the intern with a weekly stipend to cover uniforms, bus fare, etc. Please note they are required to come to class at CHEFS every Thursday for living skills, resume assistance, and job interviewing classes.

The really good students usually put in more hours then required because they realize the benefits. We have some really good students right now, and of course because of the size of the class, we don't have enough intern sites.

Please help train the chefs of the future. This program is an effective and direct way to give back to the community, with an 80% success rate.

Email Bill Taylor at or call 415-487-3747 with any questions or inquiries.



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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