table of contents This week's tablehopper: freewheelin'.

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

the sponsor
this round is on me

Georgopoulos & Economidis

Lost Art Salon

hosting provided by

Zojo Media

MARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Thanks for the generous feedback from y’all on last week’s roundup on the Best Cloth Napkin Burger in San Francisco. When I am back eating burgers, say, this fall, I’ll be sure to check out some of your recommendations (to wit: Bar Johnny, the chorizo burger at Zinnia, and the burger at the Campton Place Bar & Bistro, among a few others).

Now, I am not going to start a fried chicken roundup just yet, but when I munched two delicious executions back-to-back last week it certainly seemed like I had. First was on Tuesday night at the counter at SPQR—after the kitchen noticed me watching how they eat the fried chicken, they kindly offered to supe up our last couple of pieces “animal style.” Now, I’m not at liberty to share what that means, but let’s just say it was feisty. Kind of like the kitchen. And then the next night I was at The Front Porch while out on a two-wheelin’ dinner tour with the fine couple that won “a dinner with the tablehopper” at the San Francisco Bike Coalition Winterfest auction—read all about that bucket o’ chicken in the regular.

Here’s another biking destination I’d recommend: a couple weekends ago I had a dreamy ride through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach—gotta love our clean and crisp air. While my original destination was going to be the new Outerlands for some lunch, alas, I had forgotten that weekend lunch service hadn’t kicked in yet. Damn. And it looked so cute. Quick save: some scrumptious cinnamon toast and a Gibraltar at Trouble Coffee a few doors down—I’m already plotting my next interlude to get toasted. And whaddya know, I had delightful company: I unexpectedly ran into a tablehopper reader and her husband, who kindly treated me to my afternoon snack. So meow.

Sunday night I emceed the second Edible Pursuit event at Acme Chophouse—it was quite the turnout of food and wine lovin’ folks—you gotta come to the next one. A highlight for me? Chef Thom Fox kindly styled us with his twist on a Cubano sandwich, featuring Marin Sun Farms beef tongue, roasted pork, melted Gruyere and provolone cheese, and of course some mustard and pickle. Can you say wow yes many thanks more please? Look for it on Acme Chophouse’s lunch and bar menu this week.

And where would we be without some good wine to go with that puppy? This coming Sunday is the Rhone Rangers tasting, check it out in the socialite.


~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

Georgopoulos & EconomidisMARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I know, it’s quite the week of celebrating ~ST. PATRICK’S DAY~ (I think some people are still recovering from the weekend’s festivities)—but tonight is the night. I’m going to be cruising home to the 650 to celebrate the Irish side of my heritage with my mom’s corned beef and cabbage. While any bar with an “O’” or  “Mc” in its name will be celebrating today (see, even McDonald's has Shamrock Shakes), here are a few ideas about where to eat around town:

Per their newsletter, ~MAGNOLIA~ is celebrating “12 consecutive years of no green beer,” and will be releasing two beers, plus offering Marin Sun Farms corned beef hash at lunch, and a bangers and mash special is lined up for dinner. 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

~PERRY'S ON THE EMBARCADERO~ will be celebrating their first St. Patrick's Day all day long, offering patrons pitchers of green beer, corned beef and cabbage, and Irish stew specials, with complimentary Irish soda bread. 155 Steuart St. at Howard, 415-495-6500.

~HAYES STREET GRILL~ is hosting an Irish dinner option, but they are pretty booked up—maybe you can score a cancellation. 320 Hayes St. at Gough, 415-863-5545.

Lastly, if you’d like to partake in a different kind of green (no, I am not talking about what you can get from a pot club, although I could make just as much selling eighths of Farina’s pesto on the streets of Pac Heights), ~FARINA~ has extended the Festa del Pesto yet another week, running the special pricing until Sunday March 22nd. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero, 415-565-0360.

Um, speaking of green, who the hell stole ~MR. PICKLE~? Come on, someone better give him back to Mr. Pickle’s Sandwich Shop in the Mission. That little rootin’ tootin’ sandwich totin’ pickle makes me smile every time I see it. Aw heck.

~CORNER~, the new wine bar / café / hangout in the Mission opened last night for dinner. This little sister to Weird Fish will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, plus plenty of wine throughout the day (a food group for some of you). Breakfast begins at 7am, with Four Barrel coffee, house-made muffins, plus a compact and rotating menu of items like quiches (perhaps one with fresh garden herb and ricotta), waffles, crepes (like house-smoked salmon and crème fraîche), and frittata (sign me up for the one with smoked bacon, crescenza, and spinach)—please note that the menu is starting small, though. There will also be a few fresh juices and smoothies. Lunch means soup (like cream of cardamom and celery root soup), salads, panini (like grilled flank steak and red pepper coulis, all $10), and for dinner, plates to share like goat cheese-stuffed chicken with five-onion marmalade, or sides of soft gorgonzola polenta, and Brussels sprouts with guanciale. The wines span from New to Old World, and are all biodynamic, sustainable, and/or organic (ditto on the ingredients on the menu); there will also be three local beers on tap. The look is industrial-euro, with vintage fixtures, tall windows, handmade tables from salvaged wood, groovy bird-themed wallpapers, and just wait until the outside patio opens.

A few things to note: there won’t be any to-go coffee, unless you bring your own container or buy a Mason jar at Corner to put your coffee in. Also useful to know: there’s free WiFi until 4pm, and then the place closes from 4pm–5pm. The Corner reopens at 5pm, with a happy hour until 6pm, offering a complimentary small bite of something from the kitchen. Dinner will run from 6pm–1am. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-932-6939.

Coming soon to SoMa will be ~FARMERBROWN’S LITTLE SKILLET~, an offshoot kitchen running out of 330 Ritch. Starting April 1st, you’ll be able to get biscuit sandwiches in the morning at 330 Ritch’s walk-up window (where the panini window was, for you SoMa workers in-the-know), stuffed with bacon, egg, and cheese or house-made sausage ($5–$6). There will also be chicken and waffles available for breakfast or lunch ($5–$8) made with chicken from Petaluma Poultry. When you swing by to get your coffee in the morning from neighboring Cento, you will also be able to pick up a box lunch from Little Skillet for later. Hours in April will be Mon–Fri 8am–3pm, and then Tue–Sat 8pm–2am for 330 Ritch patrons. Look for additional early evening hours in May when baseball returns. 330 Ritch at Brannan.

~MIDI~ is getting close, the new Joie de Vivre Hospitality restaurant project in the former Perry’s Downtown space (it adjoins the Galleria Park Hotel). Michelle Mah, formerly of Ponzu, is the executive chef of this California brasserie-style restaurant, and Michael Guthrie (Myth, BIX, Tra Vigne) designed the 2,500-square-foot space. There’s a full bar, open kitchen, and a casual dining area on the street level highlighted with hot pink accent lighting; the upstairs dining room overlooks Sutter Street, and is laid out in a mix of tables and banquettes upholstered in gray fabric with subtle, thin lines of color. Menu items include a starter of veal sweetbreads with celery root puree, chanterelles, celery leaf salad; a sample main dish is Liberty Farms duck breast with Carmargue red rice cake, pea tendrils, fava leaves, and ginger-rhubarb gastrique. Midi is waiting for a final sign off with inspections, and could potentially have a soft opening this Friday if all systems are go. I’ll have more for you next week. 185 Sutter St. at Kearny, 415-835-6400.

Due to open this Thursday is ~PIZZANOSTRA~ in Potrero, next to Sally’s, FYI. More deets were in last week’s tablehopper. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-558-9493.

Also looks like ~MERCURY~ opened, the café in Hayes Valley I mentioned a few weeks back. 201 Octavia St. at Page, 415-252-7855.

I know I am not the only one stoked with the piece of news: ~NOPALITO~ started take-out yesterday! Guess what the housebound hopper said last night? That’s right, “para llevar,” baby. I am a sucker for the carnitas, which make an especially scrumptious treat the next day shredded with some eggs and cheese, uh huh. The free parking lot is handy for those of you who, unlike me, can’t walk on over. 306 Broderick St. at Oak, 415-437-0303.

The upcoming second location of ~WOODHOUSE FISH COMPANY~ on Fillmore now has a chef, Jon Hearnsberger, who was previously at the Anchor Oyster Bar for six years. The current plan is to open the first week of April. 1914 Fillmore St. at Bush.

Thanks to tablehopper reader Jason B., with this detailed update after riding the L to the Parkside area:

~CAFÉ BENALLY~, my intended destination of this adventure, had newspaper all over the window. Sadly, I will never get to try their crepes. Phone has been disconnected.” 1131 Taraval St. at 21st Ave.

“Another good spot, ~GREEN EARTH CAFÉ~, is morphing into Mocha 101 according to the sign on the door and the guy who came out when he saw me looking inside. A few weeks and the transition should be complete.” 1722 Taraval St. at 27th Ave.

“Likely old news, but ~RICK'S ALOHA CAFÉ~ shut down in November and from the sign on the window, the ~PARKSIDE TAVERN~ will be taking its place.” [Ed. note: Hmmm, according to the ABC permit, Parkside Tavern looks like it has withdrawn. Anyone know wassup?] 1940 Taraval St. at 29th Ave.

~100% HEALTHY DESSERT~ has changed their name to 37°.” 1155 Taraval St. at 21st Ave., 415-566-3887.

“Lastly, from my neck of the woods, the very intriguing ~FAMILIA LOPEZ MEXICAN~ plan has a new name up (Doña Mago) and neon open sign. I am so going.” 2913 16th St. at S. Van Ness.

Now, that’s what I call a star reader. Thanks Jason!

Lost Art SalonHere’s an update on a few coming soon projects:

Some of you have been asking me the status on the upcoming ~RESTAURANT PROJECT IN THE DOGPATCH FROM THE A16/SPQR FOLKS~. From what I’ve heard, the project is still on, but is now looking like the end of this year, or perhaps the first quarter of 2010. Stand by.

~GUSSIE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES~ (the spot moving into the former Powell’s) has delayed the opening until May. The interior redesign was more significant than originally planned. I’ll keep you posted. 1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore.

~QUATTRO STAGIONI~, the casual pizza and to-go place that was slated to go in the former Pasta Paradiso spot in the Financial District has been put on hold. 318 Kearny St. at Bush.

Over in Japantown, I learned ~HONU'S ISLAND GRINDS AND BAR~ has closed. 1737 Buchanan St. at Post.

I know some downtown workers will be bummed to learn that the food truck ~SEOUL ON WHEELS~ has pulled it on over, so to speak.

Staff change over at ~CITIZEN CAKE~: Randy Tweedle is the new GM (his background includes Gary Danko, Gordon Ramsay and Restaurant Saul in NYC, Zuni, and Boa Steakhouse at Caesar's in Las Vegas). There is also a new dinner menu, check it out here. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-861-2228.

Ya like playing dominos? Every Tuesday, you’ll want to hit Bones and Blues at ~THE FRONT PORCH~, starting Tuesday March 31st. You can come with a playing partner and your own set of bones, or not—The Front Porch can set you up with both. Discounted drinks and appetizers will be available for purchase. 5pm–7pm. 65-A 29th St. at San Jose, 415-282-9043.

Here’s another sweet happy hour (literally): ~CMBSWEETS~, the jam-making business at La Cocina, is hosting a milk & cookie happy hour on Tuesday March 24th at the new(ish) Wine Bar & Shop in Embarcadero Two. Seems that while the jam-maker was waiting for the jam to get ready, she started perfecting her cookie recipes. So, about that happy hour: just-baked cookies (chocolate chip, PB&J, etc.) will be paired with school-sized cartons of milk that the bar will use to create some wine cocktails (think drinks that taste like milk and Kahlua). 5pm. 2 Embarcadero Center (Front St. between Sacramento and Clay).

And it wouldn’t be a recession without a weekly meal deal update:

The sleek ~LUCE~ restaurant at the InterContinental has launched the “Power Lunch,” a gourmet three-course lunch for $20.09 (tax and gratuity not included). If you have to be out of there in an hour, let them know, because they can make it happen. Offered Monday through Friday, the “Power Lunch” menu may include: Capay Farms assorted greens with breakfast radishes and cranberries or lentil soup and Truffle Tremor goat cheese; braised pork belly "Vietnamese sandwich" with cilantro, mint, and jalapeño, or grilled chicken "BLT" with basil aioli, or butternut squash risotto and chanterelles, or short rib pappardelle and wild mushrooms; and to finish, Nutella pot de crème or yogurt mousse with tangerine gelée and sable Breton. 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6633.
~CASSIS RESTAURANT~ is closed from March 16th–31st for a short spring break, but when they reopen on April 1st, they will be launching a daily happy hour from 5:30pm–6:30pm, with two-for-one beers, wines by the glass, and cocktails (served at the bar only, closed Mondays). If you stick around for dinner, you should know in April Cassis will launch “bring a friend Tuesdays”—you get 15% off your total food and beverage bill for all tables of four or larger. On Wednesdays there’s free corkage (two bottle limit) or receive 25% off the purchase of all bottles of wine with dinner. And on Thursdays, you get two-for-one desserts with the purchase of two main courses. (Not valid with the $25 Early Dinner Special and may not be combined with any other offers.) 2101 Sutter St. at Steiner, 415-440-4500.

~RESTAURANT MICHAEL MINA~ has launched a pre-theater dining menu (available before 6pm Tue–Sat) and a new lounge menu that is offered all evening Tue–Sat. The pre-theater menu provides the choice of three savory courses for $55 (which includes the classic Ahi tuna tartare and lobster pot pie—the rabbit confit tortellini with black trumpet mushrooms caught my eye) and the option of three paired wine tastes for $20. 335 Powell St. at Geary, 415-397-9222.

I hoped to do an ~EASTER~ roundup this week, but the press releases are still coming in. In the meantime, here’s an event where I’d make a reservation the night before (Saturday April 10th): the second annual ~JEWISH PASSOVER DINNER AT PERBACCO WITH JOYCE GOLDSTEIN~. The dinner will highlight Goldstein's renditions of well-known and lesser-known Italian-Jewish favorites, including Rome's famed fried artichokes, which originated in its ancient Jewish ghetto. The menu also includes chopped duck liver, Italian style; Passover soup with chicken dumplings and eggs; lamb shoulder braised with olives; and veal breast stuffed with peppers and an omelet. Dinner includes antipasti, desserts, and side dishes served family style (like braised fennel, or a spring stew of fava beans, artichokes, and lettuce), and individual choices for first and second courses. Four courses for $49. 230 California St. at Battery, 415-955-0663.

Fan of paella? ~SAM’S CHOWDER HOUSE~ has started hosting a three-course authentic paella dinner with guest chef Jose Luis Relinque of Iberia Restaurant in Menlo Park (he was born in Seville, and raised in Barcelona) and Sam’s executive chef Lewis Rossman. They set up three huge paella pans on burners in the oceanfront terrace room. Guests can participate as much as they’d like, while sampling passed Spanish appetizers with cava and sangria. Then everyone sits down for some tapas and three kinds of paella dishes paired with Spanish wines, plus dessert. The next one is Thursday March 26th. $58 (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations required, space is limited. 6:30pm, appetizers; 7pm, tapas and dinner. 4210 N. Cabrillo Hwy, Half Moon Bay, 650-712-0245, ext. 4.

Michael LeBlanc’s ~PICÁN~ restaurant in Oakland is slated to open Monday March 23rd for dinner (lunch will be coming later). It’s opening on the ground floor of a new residential high-rise called the Broadway Grand (which is also the intersection it’s located next to). To recap, Picán’s specialty will be modern, California-influenced southern cuisine from executive chef Dean Dupuis, with Southern, Cajun, Creole, and Caribbean influences. Some menu items include “Southern foie gras” (pan-fried chicken livers with Benton’s smokehouse bacon, crispy shallots, charred scallions, and sweet onion-Marsala gravy); Charleston she-crab soup; bourbon and molasses-lacquered duck; and a side of hoppin’ John.

Tonya Bellusci of Bellusci Design (District, Cozmo’s Corner Grill) designed the space, which seats 158 guests inside and will accommodate another 24 outside in a sidewalk seating area (coming soon). The look is “down home traditional meets cosmopolitan sophistication.” Some elements include front doors of opaque amber glass, a copper mesh “drape” cascading from the 19-foot ceiling, reclaimed solid wood pieces, faux alligator wall coverings, and high-gloss concrete floors. And I know you didn’t forget about their bourbon collection (I sure didn’t), which is intended to be the Bay Area’s largest selection of bourbons. The 30-foot bar was crafted of crushed pecan shells and limestone and hand-molded on site, plus there’s the private dining room, the Bourbon Room, with room for 18. Dinner Mon–Thu 5pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–11pm, and Sun 5pm–9:30pm. Until Picán’s OpenTable profile gets posted, you can call to make a reservation. 2295 Broadway at West Grand, Oakland, 510-834-1000.

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

the sponsor

Georgopoulos & Economidis

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We are a trusted law firm that specializes in the hospitality industry—we can help you make your company grow towards success. We don’t just speak legalese, we understand what works and doesn’t in this competitive industry.

Look for our sponsored ad this Thursday about how we can help with investor agreements. Or just call us now and learn about our full suite of services. (Click here to see our web site.) Our clients are located from San Francisco to Las Vegas to Los Angeles to New York. You can reach us at 415-986-4000.

the socialite

842 Valencia St.
Cross: 20th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110


Mon–Thu 6pm–close
Fri–Sun 5:30pm–close

Apps $8–$14
Entrées $19–$25
Desserts $8.50

The Front Porch 65A 29th St.
Cross: San Jose Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94110


5:30pm–10:30pm nightly
bar until 12am

Apps $7–$11.50
Entrées $15–$31

MARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO When I was approached by the San Francisco Bike Coalition to come up with an auction item for their annual Winterfest fundraiser event, I was like, right on, let’s do a progressive tablehopper dinner! I wanted to start somewhere for a cocktail and a bite, and then figure out a second place for the main course, and room willing, dessert. Obviously both spots needed to be bike accessible. And, of course, fun and delicious. I decided to start at ~RANGE~, and then follow up with ~THE FRONT PORCH~, an easy cruise down the bike path on Valencia Street in the Mission.

After being foiled by the weather and our busy schedules a couple times, I was finally able to join the winners, the charming Frances and Greg. We started at one of the high bar tables at Range, and ordered the Walnut Grove (walnut-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, Averna, old fashion bitters), the Third Rail (Bulleit Bourbon, Lillet Blanc, lemon, orange bitters, honey), and the Zyzzyva (Miller’s Gin, yellow chartreuse, lime, apricot brandy), cleverly named after the last word in the dictionary, and a spin on the Last Word cocktail ($9.50 each). The winner of the three was the refreshing Third Rail, a name that was fitting for the evening’s theme.

We shared the pink ocean trout crudo ($13) with kumquats, daikon, and peppercress, a fresh and bright contrast to the decadent dish of creamed leeks topped with a perfectly poached egg ($14) and black truffle butter. The little gem salad with bacon, avocado, and aged cheddar cheese ($8.75) wasn’t transcendent, but what can we say, the leeks were a tough act to follow.

The bar is a primo destination to meet up with a friend over a well-made drink, or definitely for one of those “getting to know you” dates. The lighting is on point, the space is well designed, the staff is attentive, and the whole vibe is chic yet comfortable. Props to Range for having handy hooks under the tables for our bike bags (the one downside to cycling—the constant gear schlep).

Time for our next destination... (It was hard to ride away without having at least one of Michelle Polzine’s outstanding desserts—I gotta come back.) We gloved, helmeted, scarfed, and blinky-lighted up and pedaled over to The Front Porch. Our route included a fun little cut-through: the Tiffany Street bike boulevard off Valencia, which conveniently dead-ends right into 29th Street. We luckily scored a precious table as soon as we walked in. See, if we’d driven a car, we would still be circling in this notoriously parking-challenged neighborhood, and would have missed the open table. You see my point.

Anyway, the place was bumping, per usual, with a slew of customers sippin’ sangria at the bar, and munchin’ on fried chicken with friends at the tables while trying to have a conversation over the rotating turns of mariachis who pass through (yo, be sure you have a couple dollar bills on you or you will get some stink eye when the hat gets passed).

Now, it’s not fair to review this spot since the new chef, Michael Law, just got started. But we will pass along some props on his (heads on) BBQ shrimp and grits, which had a ridiculously tasty spicy butter sauce ($11.50), although the grits need some fine-tuning. Found out the Gulf shrimp are too legit to quit: they’re flown in daily. How’s that for freshy fresh?

The real show stealer, however, is the freaking fried chicken. Oh lordy. It’s brilliant. We ordered the three-person portion ($31), which equates to nine pieces charmingly served in a popcorn bucket, plus bowls of garlic mashed potatoes and savory collard greens on the side. Let’s just call it: this chicken is some of the best I have tasted in the City (although Town Hall’s butter-and-hot sauce injected bird is hard to beat).

The Front Porch’s chicken was super juicy (it’s Rocky Jr.), served piping hot, seasoned perfectly, and man, what a wonderful coating. It wasn’t a super-crispy one—it’s more of a crumbly kind, made with flour and cornmeal, and there’s a little lemon zest. I also liked how the kitchen cut the breasts in half, so they are a manageable size that fried well. We were going nuts over this chicken. Clucking. The true test: it was even just as good the next day cold. The only thing I was missing was a few shakes from their house pique sauce, made with a sweet and mild vinegar and pineapple skin.

The staff is friendly and strikes that delicate balance between easygoing and efficient—but our over-vigilant busboy was a little, uh, over-vigilant. The Front Porch has all kinds of good quirk, like the car backseats as chairs (seatbelts included) and King Cobra on the beer list (but there’s also Duvel). Yup, this down-home place puts the fun in funky.

(Speaking of funny, in case you’re wondering about the wacky pricing, like the $15 7/8 for the single serving of chicken, it’s a holdover joke from the opening period, when one of the owners got a little lost in construction-related numbers and figures.)

This place is thoughtful too, offering complimentary cornbread shaped like little ears of corn, awwww. I dig the black-and-red checkered floor, dim lighting, eclectic music, and the corner booth tables are primo. There are also some clever wine bevvies that you can enjoy at the bar until midnight (although the kitchen closes at 10:30pm).

A big thanks to Frances and Greg for making the winning bid on the dinner (it was such a treat, because they were basically taking me out to dinner!). And without the generous gift certificate donations from Range and The Front Porch, this wouldn’t have been possible!

Frances and Greg also take pictures of their food (see, I was in good company), so you can check out their photoset of the evening here. (Greg also told a wild story of eating cobra in Vietnam, like, whoa. You can check out the photoset here.) And in conclusion, it was a good thing I had a nice ride home to the Western Addition, so the Wiggle could help combat my jiggle.

the sponsor

Lost Art Salon

Gary Lee Shaffer (1936-2001)
Abstract Expressionist Stone Lithographs by A New York/San Francisco Printmaker - 1959 to 1967

Lost Art Salon Show Opens Thursday, March 26th

WHEN: Show runs March 26th–June 30th, 2009

OPENING RECEPTION: Thursday, March 26th from 5:30–8:30pm (free and open to the public)

WHO: Gary Lee Shaffer (1936–2001) was a printmaker and painter who studied under Hans Hoffman in New York and moved to San Francisco in the early 1980s. Originally from Lansing Michigan, he set out to New York in 1957, joining many other artists who converged on a new and exciting urban art scene. He was searching for an identity, a medium, and an aesthetic means to convey subjective states through Abstract Expressionism. Gary started drawing directly on lithographic limestone in 1958 in the spirit of New York abstract expressionists and continued doing so through 1967. His early prints show influences of Jasper Johns, Robert Motherwell, Jean Miro, Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, and Richard Diebenkorn.

the lush

Georgopoulos & EconomidisMARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO This Thursday March 19th is a tasting with Sans Liege Wines at ~SWIRL ON CASTRO~. Curt Schalchlin produces Rhone varietals (grenache, syrah, mourvedre, viognier, and marsanne)—these are the first releases from this dynamic young winemaker under his own brand. $15 with your RSVP to info [at], $20 at the door. 5:30pm–7:30pm. 572 Castro St. at 19th St., 415-864-2262.

On Sunday March 22nd, ~BAR BAMBINO~ is hosting its first Cheese + Wine tasting event of the year. Unique (and certified) cheese selections will include Spressa delle Giudicarie, a young Alpine cheese, and Cerasuolo di Vittoria, the first Sicilian DOCG. 3pm–5pm, $45 per person. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-701-8466.  

Next Thursday March 25th, the ~SAKÉCLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO~ is hosting a fundraiser to support the San Francisco Food Bank. The event will feature sake brewers and retailers, mini-seminars, and prizes throughout the night. It’s at Yoshi's Fillmore from 6:30pm–9:30pm. A $40 donation is requested to attend; RSVP at Just think about it: $40 equals 190 meals. Saké4Food still has room for sponsors to donate $300–$500 for a table and exposure. Kanpai. 1330 Fillmore St. at Eddy.

At the end of March, winemaker Ben and Yolanda Papapietro will be at ~NECTAR WINE LOUNGE'S~ two Bay Area locations, pouring a selection of their pinot noirs and zin. March 30th from 6pm–9pm in Burlingame, and March 31st from 6pm–9pm in San Francisco. 

~LA FOLIE~ is close to completing their lounge that’s opening in the space adjoining the restaurant (where La Boulange used to be). The lounge will serve cocktails, beer, and wine, with dishes like gougères, oysters, a lobster croque monsieur (yes, you read that correctly), cheeses (that have their very own display case), pates, and small desserts. There are around 25 seats, with couches, small tables, dark hardwood floors, tile walls, and a comfortable loungey vibe.

The lounge is opening the first week of April, but you can take a sneak peek during La Folie’s 21st anniversary party on Tuesday March 31st. The party will start with an amuse bouche in the lounge, followed by a four-course dinner with a choice of cocktails paired by Grey Goose brand attaché Christophe Namer, or wine pairings by Georges Passot. On a more serious note, a portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Tocci family. Here is more from the event invite: “Carla and Sidino Tocci met while working at La Folie. They fell in love and eloped in Mexico. Soon after they became parents to a beautiful baby girl named Elizabeth. Unfortunately life took a turn for the worse and Carla was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Carla’s sudden illness has been a financial strain on the Tocci family. They are in need of financial donations because their medical expenses are out of sight. If you are unable to attend the dinner and would still like to make a donation please visit their blog at The date also has a significant meaning for Carla and Sidino because it’s their wedding anniversary.” Reception 6pm, dinner 7pm. $125 (not including tax and gratuity). 2316 Polk St. at Green, 415-776-5577.

On April 1st, ~INNER MISSION BEER PARLOR~, the historic Mission bar on the corner of Shotwell and 20th Street (it opened in 1891 as a grocery saloon) will undergo a name change to Shotwell’s. In honor of the occasion, there will be beer specials all night long. The bar is open at 4:30pm Mon–Sat, and at 4pm on Sundays. Happy hour runs every day, with $1 off all beers on tap. 3349 20th St. at Shotwell, 415-648-4104.

the socialite

12th Annual Rhone Rangers
Sun. Mar. 22nd, 2009

Fort Mason
Festival Pavilion
San Francisco, CA


Grand Tasting:



Sunday seminar and Grand Tasting (combined ticket)

Winemaker dinner

MARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO The ~RHONE RANGERS~ ride into San Francisco on March 21st and 22nd for the largest American Rhone wine event in the country, the Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion. Celebrate the twelfth consecutive year of this popular event with tastings of more than 500 of the best American Rhone wines from over 125 Rhone Rangers wineries from California, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Attendees can also sample gourmet foods from more than 35 specialty food purveyors, including cheese, bread, olive oil, charcuterie, fruits, and chocolates. A silent auction will feature Rhone Rangers wines and wine-related items, with proceeds from the auction benefitting Meals on Wheels of San Francisco.

The program includes three tasting seminars:

  • ‘Great American Syrah from Cool Climate Pinot Country’ (Saturday, 3/21, moderated by Jon Bonné Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • ‘Rhone Blending Session: The Mavericks and the Traditionalists’, (Saturday, 3/21, moderated by Jon Bonne, Wine Editor, San Francisco Chronicle)
  • ‘American Rhones in 2009—Eight Varieties, Eight Flavor Profiles,’ (Sunday, 3/22, moderated by Karen MacNeil, Culinary Institute of America)

On Saturday evening, fifteen wineries will participate in a winemaker dinner at the Log Cabin in the San Francisco Presidio. The dinner will be catered by the girl & the fig restaurant in Sonoma, known for their “Rhone Alone” wine list. The event offers an opportunity to taste library wines and enjoy a three-course meal with fifteen leading Rhone Rangers winemakers. Tickets are $125. Following the meal, a brief live auction will feature fifteen lots of wine, unique wine country experiences, and travel, donated by the host winemakers.

The Rhone Rangers are a group of nearly 200 winemakers dedicated to wines made from the 22 grape varieties that hail from France’s Rhone Valley. These varieties range from the better-known syrah and viognier to the up-and-coming mourvèdre, grenache, and roussanne, and the obscure (but delicious) counoise and picpoul. In order for a winery to join the Rhone Rangers, they must produce at least one wine that contains 75% of any single approved varietal (or combination of these varietals).

10th Annual Whiskies of the World Expo and Artisanal Spirits Fest
Sat. Mar. 28th, 2009

San Francisco Belle
Pier 3
San Francisco, CA


VIP: $120
(enter at 5:30pm)

General: $115
6pm admission

buy tickets


MARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO ~WHISKIES OF THE WORLD~ returns for its tenth year, along with the Artisanal Spirits Fest. Whiskey-lovin’ boozehounds will be taking over the docked San Francisco Belle, visiting three floors of sampling booths staffed by spirits experts ranging from distillers to brand ambassadors, blenders, distillery owners, managers, and spirit creators. For the list of exhibitors (in no particular order), scroll down the page here.

There will be a pipe and drum concert from the award-winning Bushmill’s Pipers Pipe band on the top deck. You can also sample fine cigars or bring your own to enjoy on the deck, and there is going to be a buffet dinner.

Another component to the event is the Independent Spirits Fest, featuring limited edition and small-production spirits. It includes some local folks like St. George Spirits, Charbay Distillery, Anchor, Square One, and Osocalis Distillery.

the bookworm

FEBRUARY 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Recommends

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

(Note: if you don’t have kids, skip this section today and I’ll have something for you next month.)

It probably goes against the best interests of the tablehopper to even allow me to suggest that you stay home and cook more. And, indeed, if you can still afford it, by all means get out to your favorite restaurants as often as possible so they’ll be there forever. As a fellow small business owner, I know times are tough and restaurants need your support now more than ever, especially those bold (or unlucky) enough to be just opening now.

But if you’re trying to stay home more and you have kids, I’m here to help you kill several birds with one stone. (Bad metaphor, huh?) Get your kids fully involved in their meals, from the shopping to the cooking to even the growing of their ingredients, and the rewards will be bountiful. You’ll enjoy your time with them and they’ll learn a love of good food and healthy eating habits.That’s why you read this weekly NOT-A-BLOG, right?

First up and new from Williams-Sonoma is Family Meals: Creating Traditions in the Kitchen by Maria Helm Sinskey. Now, I have to admit that as an occasionally snooty bookseller, I usually steer away from “packaged” or “branded” books like this one, where the Williams-Sonoma brand is what’s supposed to sell you on the book. But this one’s an exception: the content is good, even if the layout is more magazine-y than is my style.

Organized by ingredient, this thick book is full of relatively simple and wholesome recipes, many of which you already know how to make (roasted cauliflower, tabbouleh, etc.). While there are more advanced projects, like making your own sourdough starter, or curing your own salmon, think of Family Meals more as a resource and motivation to get you and your kids into the kitchen. What a great reason to start a tradition of cooking together every Sunday night.

In a similar but simpler vein is Rozanne Gold’s Kids Cook 1-2-3: Recipes for Young Chefs Using Only 3 Ingredients. This truly is simple stuff, like pita pizzas (pita, sauce, and cheese) or carrot “fries” with mint (carrots, olive oil, mint). Unlike Family Meals, this one is written for kids, though they’ll need supervision when using those knives and that broiler. Colorful, simple, and affordable, this is great basic recipe book to get kids started.

Finally, to take it all a step further, if you want to make carrot and orange muffins this summer, you’ll need to get planting soon. Grow It Cook It: Simple Gardening Projects and Delicious Recipes is a very colorful guide to growing and cooking ingredients. While some of the veggies they discuss may not work for landless apartment dwellers, there are many things that can be grown in a window box. This science-heavy and well-illustrated guide will connect kids to their food source even better than a trip to the farmers’ market.

Even if you can afford to go out as much as ever, getting your kids involved in the kitchen will pay dividends for years to come. Imagine waking up on your birthday someday to those carrot and orange muffins!

Thanks for reading.

the starlet

MARCH 17, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Sean Penn was spotted at Bouchon Sunday night, still sporting his Milk mustache.

Jason Priestly (of 90210 fame) dined at Masa’s along with his co-host of Canada’s Hollywood and Vines TV show, Terry David Mulligan. Terry’s longtime friend, Liam Mayclem, host of Eye on the Bay, joined them. Priestly and Mulligan were in Napa this past weekend shooting an episode of their show.

Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks came into the Redwood Room around 1:15am last week to meet a group of eight of his friends—he managed to get one cocktail in before last call.

Plenty of food-obsessed folks are keeping their eyes peeled for Anthony Bourdain, who is shooting in San Francisco this week for his Travel Channel show, No Reservations.


All content © 2009 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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