table of contents This week's tablehopper: more is more.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the lush
put it on my tab

the socialite
the hardhat
watch your step
the health nut
take a lap, tablehopper
the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Uncorked! Ghirardelli Square Wine Festival

BiRite Wine Blitz

SF Cocktail Week

hosting provided by

Zojo Media

MAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Whoa, who is that girl bringing her own grain sausage and vegetables to a birthday barbecue, and making curried tofu scramble (thank you Heidi Swanson for yet another delicious recipe) for Mother's Day while everyone else is eating bacon and French toast and drinking bubbles? Yeah, that would be me. I've become that vegan chick at the party who doesn't drink and snacks on carrot sticks while everyone eats cheese and mini meatballs and drinks beer. Truth be told, I'm finding it hard to reconcile my usual tablehoppin' life and being vegan and sober, so I've been happily hermiting at home, and writing writing writing.

imageTonight I'm planning to emerge for a bit so I can attend a reading at Booksmith for the launch of The Ramen King and I; True Sake will be pouring free sake tastings but darn, I'll have to pass on that part (in case you want to come, it starts at 7:30pm). And really, what a week for me to be on the wagon—it's SF Cocktail Week. Looking forward to leading one of the tours to the (sold-out) historical cocktail crawl this Saturday—can't believe I'm doing it sober.

And what a way to end a cleanse, because Sunday is the annual Meals on Wheels event. That's like going from 0 to 60 in three bites. I'm going to take it easy—maybe I'll go from vegan to vegetarian. I will say I'm looking forward to a glass of bubbly. And a Four Barrel macchiato, but that's for another day.

Speaking of drinks, this week we have a hardhat that's all about Eve, the new bar/lounge opening in SoMa this spring. There's also an awesome ladies-only “Gin and Gen” event this Thursday—read all about it in the lush (and it's free, so RSVP quickly!). Oh yeah, and a special two-night event with Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski guest cheffing at Coi is coming up at the end of May! Keep on reading below in the chatterbox.

Too much news, actually, so no review this week. For the record, I'm gonna start being merciless on the news and event bits, it's getting way outta hand over here. Over 7,000 words this week, WTF.

Lastly, here's a save the date for you: on the evening of Wednesday June 3rd, I'll be hosting the first-ever tablehopper tasting, a guided wine tasting event of Sicilian wines with Alex Fox! And there will be other culinary surprises, don't you know it. All the details, including the where and how to buy tickets for this limited event will be released next Tuesday! I don't know about you, but I'm really looking forward to it. I wonder why…

Cin cin!

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox

BiRite Wine BlitzMAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Well, I think it's safe to say it's finally happening: opening this Saturday is the Divisadero location of ~BAR CRUDO~. (I'd just call before heading over—things can happen between now and then.) Owners Tim and Mike Selvera have done a nice job with the space (a former pizza joint)—there's a comfortable zinc bar with 17 seats, a variety of tables with Lucite tops, plus small inset marble tables for folks standing near the bar area. There's a mezzanine in the back (I guess these guys have a thing for mezzanines) with additional seating that includes a large group table/booth. There are also some cool reclaimed light fixtures from Kevin Randolph who has his work at The Perish Trust, just across the street. And like the Bush Street location, there will be some artwork from the incomparable Kelly Tunstall in the form of a mural near the entrance.

Chef Mike is thrilled with his spacious and new raw seafood display (its former home was at Scott Howard) so that means more oysters for you—there's also a raw bar-appropriate backsplash of white subway tile. The menu will feature five new crudos (although the beloved Arctic char will remain), and due to the big kitchen, there will be many more hot dishes, eight in all. For example, there will be a seafood rice (a cross between a paella and a risotto) with shrimp, clams, mussels, and chorizo; whole fish; and head-on Louisiana white shrimp caught that morning and flown over and delivered that evening so they can end up in a diavola (spicy) tomato vinaigrette. The brothers are even considering adding dessert. Alex Fox (Myth, Gary Danko) consulted on the wine list, which features an array of intriguing bubbles, fresh whites, and seafood-friendly reds, and a few producer or style spotlights in case you feel like exploring his hot recos. Plus 17 wines by the glass, have fun. Of course there will be a number of well-chosen beers, courtesy of Tim. Jacqueline Patterson (Heaven's Dog) has concocted five wine-, vermouth-, and beer-based cocktails and aperitifs that will be available in two weeks. Hours will be 5pm–11pm nightly (they're hoping to land later hours when they're a bit further along). 665 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-409-0679.

Meanwhile, ~SWELL~ is opening tomorrow (Wednesday) in the former Bar Crudo space on Bush. The partners are Ludovic Racinet (Tunnel Top) and Stephane Gioe (Chouquet's), who have hired Paul Feng, formerly an executive sous at Postrio. Feng's menu will feature a variety of raw dishes, from fish to beef to vegetables, with some special seafood rolls with vegetables, salad, or tobiko (no rice). The menu is being described as highlighting a Japanese cut, with European style. The wine list is international, and will feature 35 wines by the glass. They will be renovating a month or so from now, which will include a new paint job and lighting. Hours are Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10:30pm, and Fri–Sat 5:30pm–11pm. 603 Bush St. at Stockton, 415-956-0396.

imageA new Italian place just opened last Friday in SoMa in the former Vino e Cucina space called ~LA BRICIOLA~. The partners in the project are Gianluca Toschi, Alessandro Sapienza, Luciano Trentoni, and Rhiannon Anderson. They were all servers at Mona Lisa in North Beach, and in this new arrangement, Gianluca is the chef (he was trained in Italy). The extensive menu has two sections: “From the Earth” includes homemade pastas like spinach-filled ravioli in a veal ragú, and gnocchi with a pecorino sauce and walnuts, plus a secondo of vitello alla valdostana (rolled veal with speck and Fontina cheese). “From the Ocean” delivers octopus with warm cannellini beans and barley in a lemon dressing; sea bass-filled ravioli in a lobster reduction; and caciucco di viareggio (fish stew with crab, calamari, mussels, clams, shrimp, salmon, and swordfish). You can read the whole menu on the site—it's rather extensive. This isn't just a neighborhood trattoria; the owners wanted to offer a nicer dining experience that was more on the level of Perbacco—a true ristorante.

About the name: briciola (bree-cho-la) is Italian for breadcrumb, which is what the Italians said about owner Rhiannon's Chihuahua, Bartolomeo, when she brought him to Italy. The 49-seat space has been redone with sunny yellow and terracotta colors, plus they redid the iron gate, and there's a new paint job for the exterior of the building. Oh, and for those wondering what happened to the tomato that was out front, it was sold to the grandson of the artist who made it—he is in Kansas and is arranging to have it shipped out there. Hours are daily 11am–3pm and 5pm–10:30pm. La Briciola is going to try to stay open on Sundays for dinner, so be sure to check it out if you live in the neighborhood. 489 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-512-0300.

More Italian: opening this Friday for dinner is ~FLOUR + WATER~ in the Mission. The imported Valoriani oven from Italy will be firing up thin-crust Neapolitan pizzas from chef Thomas McNaughton (La Folie, Gary Danko, Quince)—he'll also be making house-made pastas and house-cured meats. Everything on the menu will be $20 and under, like a shaved asparagus and arugula salad with quail egg and pancetta-caper vinaigrette; pizza carciofi with artichokes, new onion, pecorino, capers; pasta alla chittara with wild mushrooms and peppercress; and young chicken al mattone with watercress, potato, and spring onion. Items will change daily, with approximately six starters, five pizzas, five pastas, three entrées, three sides, plus dessert. Partner David White has crafted a wine list made up exclusively of Italian varietals ranging from $20–$60. Designer Sean Quigley (owner of Paxton Gate) used a variety of refurbished, repurposed, and reclaimed materials, like a chandelier of Gemsbuck horns, and a great deal of the wood for the interior comes from old-growth redwood wine fermentation tanks. There's also a mural and two permanent commissions by San Francisco painter Jessica Niello. The majority of seating is for walk-ins, but some reservations will be available starting Thursday. Open for dinner this Friday (5:30pm–midnight), and then brunch (Sat–Sun 10am–2:30pm) and afternoon service (daily 2:30pm–5.30pm) begins May 25th. (Closed Sunday May 17th and Sunday May 24th.) 2401 Harrison St. at 20th St., 415-826-7000.

imageThe restaurant formerly known as A5 just settled some legal issues with A16 last week, so their new name is now officially ~5A5~ (for the five senses, and the A5 rating of beef). To remind you, this is the steak lounge opening in the former Frisson space in Jackson Square. The grand opening is tonight (May 12th) with cocktails and appetizers, and dinner and reservations beginning tomorrow (Wednesday). The menu by chef Allen Chen (who, funnily enough, is no relation to owners Stephen and Albert Chen, who are also no relation) will change weekly—he was most recently at Alexander's Steakhouse. The rotating menu includes a variety of bar-friendly bites like shooters and lobster tempura, plus salads, and different cuts and grades of steak, available in 4 oz.–22 oz. cuts, in addition to seafood, and a number of side dishes (you can see the menu on the site). The GM is Kevin Lee, most recently at Bong Su and Tamarine. Hours are Mon–Thu 5:30pm–10pm, Fri–Sat 5:30pm–9pm (last reservation), and then shifting to more of a lounge atmosphere, with entertainment like jazz trios, live vocalists, and DJs kicking in at 11pm and running until 2am. 244 Jackson St. at Front, 415-989-2539.

I heard a rumor about a jazz supperclub from Chris Pastena (formerly a managing partner at Bruno's) and a business partner moving into ~LEVENDE LOUNGE~. Hopefully I'll be able to get the story and some details confirmed next week—seems like things aren't quite final just yet so I can't confirm it. 1710 Mission St. at Duboce.

Over in the Marina, ~NOODLE THEORY~ has opened in the former short-lived Ramen Club space. This is a second location (the first location is in Rockridge), so maybe they'll last longer than the previous joint. The menu looks really appetizing (and uses Niman Ranch products). It's similar to the Rockridge location (check out a PDF of the menu here), but some new salads and other dishes will be added soon. Since it's the soft opening, it's cash only right now, and they are smartly offering 30% off for this first week of business, through next Thursday. Until the beer and wine license kicks in, they're also offering no corkage/free BYOB. Hours are Wed–Mon 11:30am–4pm and 5pm–10:30pm, open continuously with no afternoon break on the weekends. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-359-1238.

Uncorked Wine Festival at Ghirardelli SquareThe ~ONE-NIGHT POP-UP RESTAURANT AT BRUNO'S~ last week from the Chez/OPEN Restaurant gang (and friends) had a good start. One tablehopper reader wrote in this report: “Apps like oysters Rockefeller, escarole, and mackerel, leek terrine, pork terrine for around $10–$12. Entrées around $20–$25 like filet with bone marrow and fish stew, and a $40 prime rib for two. They also had a few Kermit Lynch wines by the glass and bottle, and even a bottle of '95 Chave Hermitage for $400—not bad for a one night a week restaurant.” Seriously. This week's menu includes a chopped or a wedge salad, a spring vegetable terrine and a fried pork terrine with mostarda, a burger, fish stew, and a pasta (slated to be a vegetarian lasagne), plus chocolate tarts from a Chez Panisse pastry chef. Bar-wise, there will be rum punch with rhubarb syrup, Magnolia beer, and homemade vermouth from Carl Sutton with 209 Gin. Dinner will be served from 8pm–1:30am. If you want to make a reservation for dinner, email goodeveningthursday [at] gmail [dot] com. And don't forget there are all kinds of cheap and tasty eats downstairs in the bar, plus affordable cocktails. For more info on the event, please refer to the April 28th issue of tablehopper. 2389 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-643-5200.

More news about irreverent places to get gourmet bites: Laurent Katgely of Chez Spencer has taken over a taco truck and is calling it ~SPENCER ON THE GO~. He is due to be parking it across the street from Terroir in SoMa—he hopes to start this Thursday, and will be parking it there every Thu–Sat from 6pm–12am or so. Here's a peek at the menu, which includes escargot puffs ($2), grilled sweetbreads with sherry ($9), and he mentioned a few other dishes that aren't on the menu, like a foie gras torchon; Katgely expects to have 80 percent of the menu available this Thursday. (You'll be able to bring your bites inside Terroir.) He might be parking the truck elsewhere around town, and is already receiving catering offers, so I expect we'll be able to follow it on Twitter soon enough. Terroir, 1116 Folsom St. at 7th St., 415-558-9946.

Also in the Mission, I was bummed to learn ~MARTA'S KITCHEN~ is no longer at the Jay'n Bee Club. I heard she's going to be opening again in the Mission—more on that when I can let the cat outta the bag. It seems the Jay'n Bee is now serving more traditional pub fare. 2736 20th St. at Hampshire, 415-824-4190.

Let's see what news ABC licenses and permits have to share:

~PAGAN~ is opening a second location in the Richmond, now just a few blocks away from Burmese stalwart Burma Superstar. 731 Clement St. at 8th Ave.

~NINKI SUSHI BAR AND RESTAURANT~ is opening in the Di Grande Italian and Seafood spot in the Parkside. 1439 Taraval St. at 25th Ave.

After 15 years of business, ~OLD KRAKOW POLISH RESTAURANT & ART CAFÉ~ is closing, and Clay Oven Indian Restaurant is taking its place. I called and learned Old Krakow's last day of business is June 14th. 385 W Portal Ave. at 15th Ave., 415-564-4848.

The Tenderloin has a new café that just opened last Thursday, ~farm:table~ from two ex-Blue Bottle workers, Kate and Shannon Amitin, along with Katherine Renfield, a personal chef. The petite café was totally redone, and features Verve coffee, a micro-roaster in Santa Cruz who is incidentally into jazz (great name, I gotta say). The menu includes mini breakfast cakes, French toast, mini pancakes, soups, and tarts and cakes, highlighting seasonal and organic ingredients. The cheerful space includes a communal table, and room for 10–15 people total. Hours are Mon–Fri 7am–3pm and Sat–Sun 8am–3pm. 754 Post St. at Jones, 415-292-7089.

According to a tablehopper reader, it looks like ~THREE TWINS ORGANIC ICE CREAM~ is hoping to open at Haight and Fillmore this Friday May 15th (health inspection pending). It's their first SF shop and the only organic ice cream shop in the city. Can't wait to have the mint flavor. Hours will be noon–10pm Sun–Thu, and until 11pm Fri–Sat. 254 Fillmore St. at Haight, 415-IT'S-TWIN (working in two weeks).

tablehopper reader Jason B. writes in that “the old Oasis market (good sandos) has been shuttered and turned into ~SOUTH SIDE CAFÉ~. Popped in and saw the usual selection of coffees, bagels, and sandwiches as well as free WiFi.” 433 South Van Ness Ave. at 15th St., 415-252-0900.

I have been burning with curiosity about what was opening into ~A SLICK SPOT ON 24th STREET~—peeking through the plywood last month I thought the space looked quite cool, with lots of wood and a gleaming espresso machine inside. Couldn't get any leads on it, but Eater managed to snag a good picture of the cafe. Been trying to find more info on who is opening it, getting close, stand buy. 3082 24th St. at Folsom.

A tipster called in to let me know ~TASTE OF THE HIMALAYAS~ in the Marina has new owners from Shangri-La Café & Grill in Rohnert Park. 2420 Lombard St. at Divisadero, 415-674-9898.

~MAGNOLIA~ had such a good time with their recent crawfish boil that they're doing two more, on Tuesday May 19th and then again on Tuesday June 16th. It's $9/lb., with sides of corn, potatoes, andouille, and other accoutrements. The crawfish is flown in the same day from Louisiana. And, how magic, beer is only $3 on Tuesdays. 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

~RN74~ has already changed their menu format—gone are the small plates, and now the menu is more of a traditional appetizer and entrée style, so you may want to hit the ATM before heading over. Lunch dishes now range from $11–$15 for first courses and $18–$21 for second courses; dinner dishes range from $13–$17 for first courses and $24–$31 for second courses. The changes were made based on initial guest feedback about portion size and a desire for larger entrées. Millennium Tower, 301 Mission St. at Beale, 415-543-7474.

A new farmers market is opening in the Metreon this Friday May 15th. ~ISLAND EARTH FARMERS MARKET AND COMMUNITY EXCHANGE~ in an indoor market, slated to eventually have 160 vendors (not just produce), and will be open daily. You can see the list of current vendors here. In an effort to appeal to downtown workers and shoppers, you can pick out your produce and goods, leave with a claim check, and then call later to have your items run out to your car curbside. Hours are Mon–Sat 10am–8pm, and Sun 10am–7pm. 101 4th St. at Mission, 510-547-2358.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are raising a ninth, tenth, eleventh, or twelfth-grader, you might want to know about the ~FOOD IS POWER MLI SUMMER FILM EXPERIENCE~. During half-day sessions spanning two weeks in July, 50 Northern California students will learn firsthand about sustainable food production and consumption through visits to producers and restaurateurs, such as those at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Marketplace. Then, with the guidance of MLI staff, participants will create short-form video presentations that share their views on the theme of sustainable food with the world. Nokia and the Pearson Foundation provide all equipment, and participation is free for students accepted into the program.

The Food Is Power MLI Summer Film Experience is offered over a two-week session this summer, beginning July 2th and concluding July 31st, 2009. The deadline for applications is June 5th, 2009. For complete details, please visit here.

The ~TIPSY PIG~ begins weekend tipsy brunch this Saturday May 16th. On the menu: dishes like a grilled cheese breakfast sandwich, huevos rancheros, French toast, a scramble, salads, and of course the burger (most dishes range from $10–$12). Oh yeah, and a thyme and cheddar biscuit with spiced honey that sounds quite fantastic.There will also be some rise-and-shine cocktails, like a blueberry fizz. No reservations for the first two weeks. Brunch hours are 10:30am–2pm. Eventually a light menu will be added to be in place from the end of brunch until dinner service beings. 2231 Chestnut St. at Pierce, 415-292-2300.

This Sunday, ~JEANTY AT JACK'S~ will be celebrating its oyster house history with a special party, Consider The Oyster, featuring seven California oyster growers and 20 wines from 11 wineries, including Schramsberg, J, and Iron Horse. There will also be live music. The party is from noon–6pm, and is $60. 615 Sacramento St. at Montgomery, 415-693-0941.

This event is just too fantastic: so Daniel Patterson of Coi was invited to cook in Copenhagen at the end of May for a prestigious event that is gathering quite the international crew o' chefs (like, oh, Albert Adrià, Pascal Barbot, and René Redzepi). Patterson was concerned about missing a couple days of service at the restaurant, and came up with the brilliant idea of having ~STUART BRIOZA AND NICOLE KRASINSKI~ take over the kitchen and guest chef for two nights! (Ironically, there are three former Rubicon employees already working at Coi.) On Friday May 29th and Saturday May 30th , Stuart and Nicole are going to be preparing a five-course menu for $85, with an optional $65 wine pairing. Book it while you can! 373 Broadway at Sansome, 415-393-9000.

Here's a quick recap on some news south of San Francisco:

~CETRELLA~ in Half Moon Bay has reopened after its winter hiatus with a new executive chef, Sylvain Montassier. The Mediterranean menu will now include some New French cuisine technique—Montassier's background includes a number of restaurants in France, and locally he has worked at La Table O & Co, Boulevard, and he was the chef de cuisine at Belden Taverna. You can check out the spring menu online. 845 Main St. at Spruce, Half Moon Bay, 650-726-4090.

Down in Redwood City, ~MARTINS WEST PUB~ has opened in the century-old Alhambra building, formerly a theater and saloon (Wyatt Earp was a regular). The project is co-owned by GM Moira Beveridge (and you thought she'd be behind the bar with that last name), bar manager Derek Smith, and executive chef Michael Dotson (PlumpJack Café in Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe; Heirloom in Sonoma; and Evvia). In case their names are familiar, Beveridge and Dotson worked together at Sens restaurant in San Francisco. The menu features local, sustainable ingredients and authentic British gastropub fare, with dishes like a seasonal banger with mash and peat-grilled lamb T-bone with Rancho Gordo yellow-eye bean stew and herb-crusted haggis (!). The pastry chef is Kelly Fields, who also worked at Sens—she has a sticky toffee pudding with brandied caramel and homemade drunken raisin ice cream on the dessert menu.

Once the beer and wine license kicks in, there will be a variety of imported and locally brewed beers on tap, along with an extensive bottled beer selection to choose from, plus a global wine list, and a seasonal cocktail list (with an extensive selection of Scotch). The space features a row of turn-of-the-century columns running down the center of the dining area, a 25-foot wooden bar, and dining tables made from reclaimed wine barrels. Hours are Mon–Fri 11am–12am, Sat 5pm–12am. 831 Main St. at Broadway, Redwood City, 650-366-4366.

Just nearby, ~DONATO ENOTECA~ is opening in early June. The executive chef/owner is Donato Scotti, who hails from Bergamo, Italy. There will be homemade pastas, along with other in-house specialties such as sausages, mostarda, and lamb prosciutto. A sample dish on the menu includes risotto e coda di manzo (carnaroli rice simmered with braised oxtail, sangiovese wine, and root vegetables), $16. The space will have three dining rooms, with outdoor patio dining, an open kitchen, and floor-to-ceiling wine storage cabinets in the back wine cellar room. The wine program will primarily focus on smaller-production wines (75 percent will be Italian). 100 bottles will be on offer, with 35 poured by the glass, quartino, and mezzo. Hours will be lunch and dinner Sun–Thu 11:30am–10pm, Fri–Sat 11:30am–11pm. 1041 Middlefield Rd. at Jefferson, Redwood City.

Roland Passot's Tanglewood at Santana Row has closed, and ~LB STEAK~ (LB as in Left Bank) is going into the space in June. It's going to be a modern and moderately priced American steakhouse. Signature dishes will include braised pork belly with five-spice Coca-Cola glaze, whole grilled petrale sole, a 20 oz. porterhouse, and a lamb saddle double chop. The restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner as well as offering continuous bar and terrace service throughout the day. 334 Santana Row at Tatum, Suite 1000, San Jose.

Also south, ~SAKOON~ is opening soon at the end of the month in Mountain View. The 140-seat restaurant is from Balkar S. Tamber, owner of the multi-location Bombay Garden, and the executive chef is Sachin Chopra, formerly of Palo Alto's Mantra restaurant. This location is designed to be contemporary and offer a finer-dining experience. Most entrées will be priced under $20, and a five-course, prix-fixe farmer's market tasting menu will be offered—both a vegetarian ($35) and non-vegetarian option ($40) will be available. There will also be an $11.95 lunch buffet Mon–Fri (Sat–Sun $12.95). Sakoon won't just focus on Southern or Northern Indian cuisine—look for flavors of Kashmir, like gushtaba, soft lamb koftas in a sauce of roasted onion and yogurt. Both wine and cocktails will be available. Hours will be Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm, Sat–Sun 12pm–3pm; dinner Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm, and Fri–Sat 5pm–10:30pm. 357 Castro St. at California, Mountain View.

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

the sponsor

Uncorked! Wine Festival at Ghiradelli Square

Ghirardelli Square hosts the 4th Annual Uncorked Wine Festival on Saturday May 16th from 1pm–6pm. In partnership with non-profit La Cocina, Uncorked brings over 50 wineries to the newly revitalized Ghirardelli Square where you can experience a taste of the wine country on the waterfront. Taste over 100 wines and enjoy live music, chef demonstrations, and wine seminars.

Don't miss the “Cooking With Wine” Chef Demonstrations, including chef David Lawrence from 1300 on Fillmore making his famous Barbecue Shrimp N' Creamy Grits at 2:30pm.

This event is free to attend, however tickets must be purchased to participate in wine tasting. Tickets are now available for $50 at

the lush

BiRite Wine BlitzMAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Ladies, listen up, because this event is enough to make me wish I was drinking: this Thursday May 14th, Conduit is hosting a free tasting event, ~GIN & GEN~, which will be about tasting and learning about gin and genever. And it's for ladies only. Some very special women will be hosting the event, including Charlotte Voisey, National Brand Ambassador for Hendrick's Gin National and an award-winning mixologist who came out to SF just for this event, plus Kendra Scott, Distiller of Anchor Junipero gin, and Antoinette Cattani, importer of Damrak gin and Lucas Bols genever. They will talk for the first 25 minutes of the event, and then you'll be able to taste a variety of cocktails; there will also be some tasty bites from chef Justin Deering. On the tipple roster: Damrak gin, Right gin, Junipero gin, Martin Miller's gin, Beefeater 24 gin, Hendrick's gin, Bols genever, and Genevieve genever. Space is limited, RSVP is essential to reza [at] superultramega [dot] com. All guests must be 21 years plus for entry. Free, yo. 5pm–8pm. CONDUIT restaurant, 280 Valencia St. at 14th St.

And then there's this event on Thursday that is open to everyone: ~PISCO~ is hosting The Peruvian Connection. Meet cocktail history researcher Guillermo Toro-Lira, author of Wings of Cherubs, The Saga of the Rediscovery of Pisco Punch and a member of the Academia Peruana del Pisco, Peru's elite Pisco Historical Society. Toro-Lira will be around to discuss the history of both Pisco Punch and the Pisco Sour and their California connection. There will be a special drawing for prizes, and everyone gets a wallet-sized tapas discount card good for multiple visits through July 15th. Free admission. Pisco Punch and Pisco Sours are $7 all night. 5pm–11pm. 1817 Market St. at Guerrero, 415-874-9951.

On Saturday May 16th, ~BROC CELLARS~ in Berkeley is hosting a special Broc-topus and Grenache party to celebrate the release of the 2007 “Cassia” Grenache. Ian Begg and sommelier Ryan Maxey, formerly of Cafe Majestic, will be on hand grilling braised octopus for a one-of-a-kind wine and food pairing. Chef Ian will also be preparing numerous hors d'oeuvres to pair with many other Broc-offerings. Read more about the event, pours, and buy advance tickets here. Advance tickets: $15; day of tickets: $20. 12pm–5pm. Broc Cellars, 805 Camelia St. at 5th St., Berkeley, 415-728-5012.

~CATALYST COCKTAILS~ in SoMa has closed (you gotta love their going-away image), and according to permits, Ted's Sports Bar & Grill is taking its place. 312 Harriet St. at Bryant.

~RIESLING WEEK 2009~ is coming to San Francisco from May 18th–24th. Select restaurants and retailers will offer the chance to sample different styles of German, Austrian, and Alsatian Rieslings. You'll find a list of participating San Francisco restaurants and retailers on the website. Restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, and Miami will offer European riesling specials, including by-the-glass selections, and food-pairing menus, and wine retailers will host European riesling tastings. Some local restos include Epic Roasthouse, Fifth Floor, Jardinière, and more.

Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga is hosting their annual ~FOOD & WINE CLASSIC~, which raises money for arts education. This year they have 19 chefs and 22 wineries from the Bay Area participating in the event, including David Kinch of Manresa, Cal Stamenov of Bernardus, and Peter Armellino of the Plumed Horse. Montalvo's Food & Wine VI: The Art of Dining takes place on the Montalvo grounds on Sunday May 31st from 5:30pm–8:30pm. Tickets are $175, $125 for Montalvo members, and are tax deductible. 15400 Montalvo Road, Saratoga, 408-961-5814.

the sponsor

BiRite Wine Blitz

Despite its small size, Bi-Rite Market has one of the best wine selections in town. Wine buyer Josh Adler's selection of artisan wines leans towards great organic and biodynamic producers from California, Italy, France, and Spain.

From Thursday May 14th through Sunday May 17th, all wines at Bi-Rite Market are 20% off when you purchase any 12 or more bottles. Nothing hidden, no tricks. The sale includes every wine in the store, including more than 50 hand-picked wines under $12, a selection of great food wines at all prices, and bottles from cult producers like Quintarelli, Vieux Telegraphe, and Radio Coteau. They will even delivery for free in San Francisco. For more details, click here (it's a PDF).

Bi-Rite Market, 3639 18th St. between Dolores and Guerrero, in the Mission District. For more information, call the store at 415-241-9760 or email

the socialite


Entrepreneurial Women in the Food Biz
May 12th, 2009

Commonwealth Club
Club Office
595 Market St.
2nd Floor
Cross: Second St.
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm wine/networking
6pm program

$8 members
$15 non-members

Click here to reserve a ticket, or call the club office at 415-597-6705.

MAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Sorry this is coming atcha today (the event is tonight) but I thought a number of you would be interested in this Commonwealth Club Bay Gourmet event, ~ENTREPRENEURIAL WOMEN IN THE FOOD BIZ~, when a panel of powerful female food entrepreneurs will be dishing up the tricks of their trade.

The panelists include:
Cristina Besher, Owner, Kika's Treats
Gabrielle Feuersinger, Cake Designer and Owner, Cake Coquette
Molly Fuller, Co-owner and President, Hands On Gourmet
Nona Lim, Owner, Cook! SF
Cathy Curtis, Chair, Bay Gourmet Member-Led Forum; Financial Advisor, Curtis Financial Planning - Moderator

Here's more from the event announcement: “Creativity, passion and talent combined with business smarts define this group of women who all are running successful San Francisco-based food companies. Whether designing cakes, baking chocolate treats, delivering healthy meals, or creating cooking parties, business is business, and these four entrepreneurial women have a wealth of wisdom and experience to share. Thinking of starting a food business, or just want to know how they do it? This discussion is sure to inspire.”


Spring Menus

Various locations

MAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO ~SPRING HAS SPRUNG~ all over town—here are a few events and updates:

Ame restaurant just unveiled its new spring menu, including (back by popular demand) the chawan mushi with Maine lobster and sea urchin (I have had this dish before and it's freaking amazing), and “vol au vent” of duck liver and poached Jidori egg with morel mushroom sauce and pickled ramps.

Citizen Cake is hosting its 2nd Annual Green Dinner tonight (May 12th) from chef de cuisine William Pils and executive chef Elizabeth Falkner. The four-course menu includes fava bean hummus and house crackers; asparagus salad and slow-cooked egg; three peas, ricotta gnudi, pea shoots, and pea consommé; and green sweets, plus other tasty surprises. Special “green cocktails” will also be available, including Envy (green chartreuse, lemon bitters, sparkling wine, and lime twist) and PC (fresh English pea and mint juice, light rum, orange bitters, and baby carrot ice cubes). $45 per person (not including alcohol) or $65 per person (with wine pairing).

And then mark your calendar for A Spring Fandango with Mariquita Farm at Piccino on Sunday June 21st. Andy Griffin and Julia Wiley of Mariquita will be providing a field of bounty for the menu—expect special pizzas and salads as well as a few surprises. Everything will be served à la carte, and Piccino is taking reservations. (They are also trying to get Andy to step off his Watsonville farm for the afternoon.) Noon–9pm.

the health nut










Uncorked Wine Festival at Ghirardelli Square

Curious about what goes into opening a restaurant? Each month we'll be checking in on the build-out process of various bars and restaurants around the City, highlighting the unique coups and complications when opening a business in San Francisco. This section is written by Erin Archuleta, tablehopper intern and half of the talent behind local outfit Ichi Catering.

Opening later this spring comes Eve, a smart, girl-geared project from husband-wife team Leilani Brennan and Colin O'Malley of San Francisco lounge John Colins. Eve is located at 575 Howard Street in the historic stretch of SOMA. (Side note: they're also simultaneously preparing John Colins for the move to 138 Minna Street due to the incoming Transbay Terminal project at their current 90 Natoma Street location.)

Both craving to offer something more creative for San Franciscans, Leilani launched her long-time idea of an establishment catering to women's tastes with a jazzy lounge feel. They're planning to serve handcrafted cocktails, wines by the glass, and feature female bartenders. They called upon their architects, Y.A. Studios to support the launch of their creative vision for a feminine aesthetic.

Unanticipated changes in the design and layout process included moving the bar from the back of the architectural layout to the left side of the space in order to meet fire code compliance. And, with this move, there's a bit less wall to frame out (saving them money). Y.A.. Studios guided them through this process and also conceptualized a hallway to create more occupancy for their lounge.

At the core of the build-out is a friends-and-family team making things happen as quickly as possible. The project's general contractor is Melo Tabudlo of Dreamt Design & Build, Colin O'Malley's longtime family friend. And the labor for the project is friend and plumber Ghassan Zeidan from San Francisco based S & G Plumbing, and his brothers Patrick O'Malley and Nathan Mitchell. When I arrived, the guys were all jackhammering and trenching to wrap up Ghassan's plumbing project so that the concrete floor beneath the bar could be poured later that afternoon. And, according to Ghassan a 100-year plumbing update was in order. They laid all new copper pipe and are building out two bathrooms to accommodate the crowds. They're also preparing for the installation of the fire sprinklers.

The crew was feeling confident about their timeline with these new layout changes from Y.A. Studios. They will install the conduit and electrical wiring after the concrete they're pouring dries (48 hours) and the framing is completed (within the week). After the framing is up they'll be able to schedule their mudding, taping, and fire inspections.

During the trenching process for the plumbing, the brothers have unearthed some pre-1906 earthquake and fire artifacts. 575 Howard, they tell me, was an old print shop after the rebuild of the downtown area, and the burnt, crumbled pieces of the former building were repurposed for the foundation of the shop. In the dirt below the foundation the guys have pulled 100-year-old children's marbles, old printing press wheels, and seashells, and in a more recent find: apparently whoever handled the remodel of the walls in the flower-child era left an empty tall boy of Bud in the wall. In fact, as the guys have peeled back the walls, they've exposed the old frame and have found burnt wood everywhere, all reused remnants of the 1906 fire.

With the museum-like interest of the build-out also comes the headache of working with a historic building. Originally, Colin and his brothers envisioned altering the facade with a similar look to their next-door neighbor, Kate O'Brien's. A local society contested the proposed parapet and their idea of altering the sidewalk. This contest held up the brothers' build-out by an extra two to three months. About the permitting waiting game, Leilani saya, “paying rent without being able to move forward on the project, even for two extra months in this economy is a real hardship.” Ultimately, there will be some minor changes to try to match the neighborhood's look and the entrance will remain true to its post-quake roots.

It's looking like they're back on schedule and are due to open late this spring, pending all rough and finished permits going according to plan. Here's to clinking the glass at Eve, harkening back to the lady who laid the ultimate groundwork for temptation and libations.

the health nut

MAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO So I made it through week two of my detox/cleanse, and am continuing to feel de-groovy. I broke my caffeine-free kick and ended up having some chai tea on both tablehopper deadline nights (I don't think you're supposed to be up until 3:30am during a cleanse), but otherwise I've really stuck to the plan. Oh yeah, I had a few bites of my mother's almond-rhubarb snack cake on Sunday (I blame Flo Braker—the damned thing was really and truly irresistible). It was a delightful and momentary fall from grace.

All week I have been giving serious thanks to the Bay Area, and the bounty of beautiful (and organic) produce we have access to here. Let's just say I wouldn't be super stoked to be doing this detox in Nebraska—I'd have to get products flown in just to survive.

imageI trekked over to the new ~BEAUTIFULL!~ in Laurel Village last week to check it out. Good for them, they were packed. I have to admit, it was nice to take a break from doing all my own cooking for the night. A friend compared it to the Whole Foods hot counter, but healthier, and everything I tried was mild enough for kids to eat. The grab-and-go section was rather extensive, and I was especially pleased with the carrot-ginger soup (great with a little garnish at home—I put a dollop of spicy mint-date dressing on it, voila!). The butter bean tagine was tasty and wonderfully lo-cal, and the Indian vegetable curry had good flavor, with chickpeas, carrot, zucchini, and a side of brown rice. However, the hominy and chickpea chili needed some fine-tuning (crunchy chunks of uncooked onion), and the red quinoa and edamame salad was quite bland. Most items average around $8.99/lb., with meat and poultry items hitting $11.99/lb. or so. It wasn't necessarily food I'd crave, but on nights I wasn't cooking, I'd certainly prefer it to typically unhealthy take-out options. And it was refreshing to have so many options considering my rather limited diet at the moment. 3401 California St. at Laurel, 415-728-9080.

imageA few things I've really enjoyed this week: first, I was seriously missing my wine with dinner, so it was a treat to pop open a bottle of ~GOLDEN STAR TEA~ one night as a change-up from water or my Mighty Leaf detox tea. While a touch on the sweeter side (it's made with white jasmine tea), the fizziness was light on the palate and refreshing—it was almost sake-like. Yay, it helped me keep my Champagne flutes from getting dusty. (photo: Matthew Carden)

I was already hooked on kombucha before this cleanse, but boy, have I been loving it even more. I was usually drinking it to make up for the ills of my profession (too much wine and heavy meals) on “day afters,” or when I was rundown or coming down with a cold, but it's been a pleasure to enjoy it while I'm feeling good. Unfortunately bottles of the stuff add up fast, so my Berkeley buddy hooked me up with my very own scoby! I know, I have a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast growing in a bottle in my apartment—and will soon be making my own kombucha. Yay, a food-meets-science project. It's like making hippie non-alcoholic beer! In the meantime, while that thing grows, I will continue my addiction to ~GT'S RAW ORGANIC GINGERADE KOMBUCHA~.

I was sent this helpful link for inspiration for healthy vegetarian meals, the ~CAFE VEGNEWS BLOG~. They have a vegan staff lunch each day at VegNews, and then blog about in. Definitely some healthy meal ideas on there.

the starlet

MAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO A tablehopper reader spotted Jeremy Sisto at Vik's Chaat House last weekend. He was reportedly “lunching with some friends and/or family, looking downright hot!” Meow to that, sister.

More Drew Barrymore and Justin Long sightings from last weekend! When her 20-person posse left Bar Jules after their dinner last Saturday, they ended up rockin' out at Madrone Lounge. Someone who works at the bar had this to say: “She drank white wine in a tumbler, because she said 'I'll spill it on the dance floor if it's in a wine glass' and her group danced to THAT 80's show [it's the name of the party]. She got super excited when both Guns N' Roses played and Bon Jovi. I guess Drew's a rocker. She was wearing exactly what you said, looked fabulous and was very gracious in the room, she even got behind the turntables and pumped up the crowd.” Here are a few pics from the night, and more details on a thread on Yelp.

This is unconfirmed, but Drew and Justin were also reportedly at The Mint on Sunday. My source reports “she sang a Beastie Boys song but was kinda shy about it. Justin was there too, he looked really nice, and she wore dark rimmed glasses to be all incognito but had that sweet smile that is undeniably Drew.”

Alice Waters came by for the opening night of the once-a-week restaurant at Bruno's last Thursday—to refresh your memory on what that is, check out this week's chatterbox.

And last Friday night, Sean Penn and Matt Gonzalez were on the town again, this time dining at Nopa (Sean had the pork chop—no dummy, that guy).


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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