table of contents This week's tablehopper: amber glow.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews
the lush
put it on my tab
the socialite
the health nut
take a lap, tablehopper
the sugar mama
get some
the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Golden Glass

Green Zebra

hosting provided by

Zojo Media

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Yup, I finished the three-week cleanse. And not a moment too soon, since I was able to heartily enjoy my first glass of wine at the always-fantastico Meals on Wheels event on Sunday night. It was hard to still be eating as a vegetarian while surrounded with beef tongue pastrami from Stuart Brioza (who took this nice picture of Daniel Patterson of Coi's dish of new harvest potatoes, cucumber, sea beans, agretti, and ice plant flowers) and Nicole Krasinski; sushi from Ken of Hana and Go Fish; and my favorite dish from Mark Dommen of One Market, the smoked Tasmanian ocean trout "mi cuit" with potato rösti and quail egg. This town has mad talent, what can I say. But I was not going to jump back into meat and booze all turbo-like, in fact, I didn't want to. So thanks for all your encouragement this past month—I have received such supportive emails and suggestions from a bunch of you (meow), and certainly fielded plenty of cleanse questions at the event on Sunday.

Now, conducting the historic cocktail crawl in North Beach on Saturday was another matter entirely—fortunately I had Cantina's Duggan McDonnell (aka Shotzi), H. (Elixir), and Jeff Hollinger (Absinthe) there to drink for me and share their extensive cocktail history knowledge. (Big thanks to Camper of Alcademics for writing up all the bar backgrounder history—you can read more cool SF cocktail history here.)

Since I haven't thrown a tablehopper event in a while, it's high time for a get together. Enter: the first tablehopper wine tasting! Take a look in the socialite for more on a special Sicilian wine, food, and educational event I am hosting on Wednesday June 3rd at The Cheese School of San Francisco with Alex Fox—it's gonna be maggiore. We'll even be pouring a wine that's made in amphora! I'm also emceeing the third Edible Pursuit event on June 7th—always a blast.

Ready Freddy? Let's hop to it.

~Marcia (rhymes with Garcia) subscribe
the chatterbox

Golden GlassMAY 12, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO There have been countless rumors and rumblings over what is happening at ~AQUA~. Here's what we do know: chef de cuisine Ron Boyd is off to lead R&D for Beautifull!, the company focused on healthy meals for delivery or pick-up. Boyd's replacement is Jason Pringle, currently the executive sous at Epic. Pringle (30) was at Aqua for six years, and then went on to stage at Le Bernadin and Daniel in New York, helped open Zuppa and Maverick, and then Epic. He starts June 15th. Two new sous chefs have also been hired. There are some legal and ownership issues between the late founder Charles Condy's sons and their stepmother, Mary Condy, which I am sure has been fueling the cash flow rumors I've been hearing. Anyway, we'll see how it all shakes out in the coming months. 252 California St. at Battery, 415-956-9662.

I'm excited to check out ~54 MINT~, which just opened last night for dinner. To recap, this is the project from Alberto Avalle (an original founder of Il Buco in New York) and partners. The chef de cuisine is Giancarlo Bortolotti (most recently the chef-owner of Mangiafuoco), and Ehsan Ganji is the bakery/pastry chef. Bring on the homemade pastas and porchetta. There will be culinary products on offer (like their wonderful olive oil), cheeses, and more, plus wine for retail sale. I have a bunch more details in this past issue of tablehopper. Hours this week are Mon–Sat 5:30pm–10:30pm, and lunch will begin next week Mon–Fri 11:30pm–3:30pm, closed Sunday. Brunch will be added later. 16 Mint Plaza at Jessie, 415-543-5100.

Over in Larkspur, there's been a big change-up: chef Erica Holland-Toll has left the upcoming ~TAVERN AT LARK CREEK~ project, and chef Randy Lewis is taking the reins. Lewis was the chef at Mecca, then worked on the local Best-O-Burger with Steve Weber (Lewis remains a partner in the operation). He has most recently been back in his home state of Louisiana cooking with John Besh at La Provence near New Orleans. Lewis was also one of Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs" in 2001. He is currently working on developing the menu with nothing over $15. The restaurant is due to open in early June. 234 Magnolia Ave., Larkspur, 415-924-7766.

~BAR CRUDO~ still isn't open—sometime this week is the plan. I'd just call before heading over. Hours will be 5pm–11pm nightly. 665 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-409-0679.

As promised, here's more on what's going on at Levende Lounge: after five years of business, Levende will be closing and Chris Pastena and Bruce Hanson will be taking over the space and transforming it into ~CODA RESTAURANT & JAZZ CLUB~. (In case you didn't play piano when you were a kid, coda is a musical term meaning the place you return to.) According to the release, it will be "an evening destination showcasing jazz in all its forms, from The Jazz Mafia on Tuesdays to gospel brunch on Sundays." As for the food, look for a "fine dining menu of classic California fare in a mix and match, à la carte style" (kind of like Craft). There will be dishes like whole chicken and whole-roasted fish—easy items to share with friends. Co-owner Pastena mentioned he wants to bring back an intimate feeling, with good food and performances, all at a nice price. (Diners won't pay a cover for the entertainment, which should kick in around 9pm, and 10pm on the weekends.) A new sound system geared for live music will be going in, and there will be some tweaks to the dining room. CODA will be open six nights a week for dinner, cocktails, and music. The opening date is slated for August 1st. Levende Lounge will continue to operate until mid July. 1710 Mission St. at Duboce.

Meanwhile, Levende's operators, Ben Doren, Kiri Eschelle, and Dirk Kahl will continue to focus on Levende East in Oakland and are moving forward with the development of new projects in the East Bay, including breaking ground on their newest project I mentioned a few months ago: ~LIEGE~, a high-end spirits lounge in downtown Oakland. 481 Ninth St. at Washington, Oakland.

The Mission will have a 100% organic crêpe house opening later this summer called, appropriately enough, ~ORGANICA CRÊPE HOUSE~. The former liquor store will end up looking sharp, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Behind the project are Norman Zawaideh, who operates Cup-O-Java in the Outer Mission, and his cousin Nabeel Yousef consulted on the project—he's the owner of Goood Frikin Chicken and is the original founder of Truly Mediterranean. Once the planning and permit details wrap up, it'll be about three months out. 3465 19th St. at Lexington.

So, about that coffee house I was wondering about on 24th and Folsom: UrbanDaddy broke the news that it's called ~HAUS~. It's now open, serving Ritual Roasters espresso, plus drip coffee from De La Paz, and bites from Noe Valley Bakery. UD also reports there's a fireplace and a back patio that will be ready soon, plus some local art on the walls, too. Open Mon–Fri 6am–9pm and Sat–Sun 9am–9pm. 3082 24th St. at Folsom.

More UrbanDaddy-supplied news: after months of wondering which burger place was opening in the former Yum Yum House on Valencia, here's your answer: ~URBAN BURGER~. Here's a pic of the place. Reminds me a little of the other burger place on Valencia. The burgers will be made with Meyer Natural Angus, and there will also be some vegetarian options, plus salads and milkshakes made with Mitchell's ice cream. Soft opening tonight, and open officially tomorrow (Wednesday). Hours will be Mon–Wed 11am–11pm, Thu–Sat 11am–12am, and Sun 11am–9pm (hours subject to change, and perhaps run later!). 581 Valencia St. at 17th St., 415-551-2483.

Looks like Franck LeClerc's Claude Lane project that was supposed to be all about salumi and vino (~CINQUE~) will become an art gallery space instead. Leila Seppa, who currently runs operations for Gitane and Cafe Claude, will be moving over as director of the gallery in the next few months. LeClerc is still in the final planning stages, but plans to focus on interaction with the art community and the SF public, plus local non-bayside patioprofit art organizations. Sounds like it will be the perfect addition to the bohemian alley. 5 Claude Lane at Bush.

I love it when you get a press release with a very specific date about the launch of something, but no follow-up when it's actually not happening in time. For example: the launch of ~CARTE415~—it ends up the cart is JUST finished being fabricated in Canada (thanks for the update, SF Weekly). Enter the wonderful world of Twitter, ever useful for all kinds of updates. You can follow Carte415's future wheelies here.

Twitter is also how you can keep up with the ~SPENCER ON THE GO~ truck, which is supposed to park in front of Terroir this Thursday at 6pm. Check for Twitter confirmation on that, and future locations.

farmerbrown's ~LITTLE SKILLET~ is up and running—check their Twitter feed for menu updates. Mmmm, chicken and waffles. 360 Ritch at Brannan, 415-777-2777.

You can keep up with good restaurant deals and specials on Twitter, like ~FARALLON'S~ tweets of menu updates each week, and ~LUNA PARK~ has special passwords for treats like a free dessert and appetizer for home delivery.

Why isn't tablehopper on Twitter? Well, the person who has my tablehopper identity still hasn't released the darn thing to me. And I've already requested Twitter's help in contacting the person twice, to no avail. Soon, someday. Whatever, I'm busy as hell writing my book, yo.

Please note that ~A16~ closed for renovations yesterday (May 18th) and will remain closed through Monday May 25th. A16 will reopen Tuesday the 26th at 5pm.

I heard ~SUNFLOWER ON POTRERO HILL~ is targeting June 1st for their opening. A tablehopper reader reports this: "Inside still looks pretty much the same, but there is new signage, which is—strangely—the very same design as the old signage, but bearing the new name." Hours will be 11:30am–10:30pm. 288 Connecticut St. at 18th St.

Green ZebraThe pig mania continues: EPIC Roasthouse is hosting ~HIGH ON THE HOG~ on Saturday June 27th on EPIC's bayside patio. There will be a slow-roasted whole fennel pig, plus three kinds of house-made pork sausages, pulled pork sandwiches, and more; a variety wineries on hand pouring their pinot noirs (Peay Vineyards, Red Car, Iron Horse Vineyards, Roessler Cellars, Hirsch Winery, Freeman Winery, Macphail Family Wines, DeLoach Vineyards, and Ceritas Wines); and music from Nell Robinson & Red Level. Jordan MacKay will be on hand signing copies of his book, Passion for Pinot: A Journey Through America's Pinot Noir Country. Here's a link to the flyer with more info. 1pm–4pm. $50 per person (food tasting only: $20; wine tasting only: $30). Note: a ten percent discount will be given to Slow Food members. 369 The Embarcadero, between Folsom and Harrison, 415-369-9955.

Feelin' cheesy? Saturday May 30th is ~TOUR DE FROMAGE~, a bicycle tour of local fromage specialists. The event will finish up with a cheese-sharing picnic at a nearby park. Don't forget to bring cash for cheesy purchases from our local vendors. Want more info? Email jgallin [at] 11am–3pm. Meet at the Panhandle statue, Fell and Baker.

Please note the oyster event I mentioned last week was postponed until Sunday June 14th due to Bay to Breakers and Fort Mason Oyster Fest citywide mayhem. Here it is again: Sunday June 14th, ~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.

Last week was full of Peninsula and South Bay news, so here's some East Bay juice for you:

Just this past Friday, ~THE GRAND TAVERN~ opened on Grand Avenue in Oakland, just a little over a block away from Camino. This cozy tavern opened in a turn-of-the century home, so there are two lounge rooms, a dining room, a fireplace, and a bar in another area, plus there's an outdoor patio. It's a mother and son business: mom is the chef, Kay Eskind, and her son is Temoor Noor, a former urban planner (this is his third restaurant opening). The affordable menu features comfort food with some international touches, like Cornish hen with ginger and onions ($16), and pan-grilled rib-eye steak ($18). There are a number of vegetarian starters, including a vegetarian chili ($6–$8). Cocktailians will be pleased to know this place means business (they have a Kold Draft machine, which means big ice), and are serving craft cocktails made with organic citrus and quality ingredients—some feature Small Hand Foods orgeat and syrups. Here are a few examples of the classic drinks on the list: an old fashioned, a Hemingway daiquiri, and the Trader Vic's mai tai (all $9). The beer list is also impressive, and includes Affligem Blonde and Unibroue Chambly Noire on draft. Hours are Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm or so, and Thu–Sat 5pm–12am. Weekend brunch will start in June, running from 9am–2pm. 3601 Grand Ave. at Mandana, Oakland, 510-444-4644.

According to this Craigslist ad, Charlie Hallowell of ~PIZZAIOLO~ is opening a new spot "just down the street from the Grand Lake Theatre." After some sleuthing, I heard it's going to be the Café DiBartolo Café space, but since I didn't get in touch with Hallowell by post-time, this remains unconfirmed. 3310 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland.

I also heard Tanya Holland of ~BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN~ is looking at spaces on Grand Avenue, but nothing is final yet. She told me she'd let me know when the ink is dry.

Chris Pastena of CODA, the jazz supperclub opening in the Levende Lounge space, plus Lev Delany and Jesse Branstetter have an East Bay project in the works: ~CHOP BAR~ (slang for a local hangout). It will be opening in the former Mono space, a small 1,500-square-foot restaurant. It will be a tapas-style bar, and while the focus will not be on Spanish food, there will be small plates for people to share. It will be open all day serving light breakfast fare, and lunch will include tapas, sandwiches, salads, and soups. There will be a wine on tap system (a la TWO, Salt House, and Laiola), which means a less-expensive but still high-quality glass of wine for you. This and other features will be all sustainably and green-focused. Look for an opening at the end of summer. 247 4th St. at Jackson, Oakland.

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

the sponsor

Golden Glass

Come "Meet Your Maker" (of sustainably-produced, terroir-driven wines, that is) at the 6th annual Golden Glass Wine Event on June 21st at Fort Mason. Featuring over 100 international and local wine producers, the 2009 Golden Glass is a celebration of the best "good, clean, fair" wines from around the globe. Also on hand will be winners from the first Golden Glass Wine Competition, selected by a group of top world wine experts.

Fueling your international flight will be culinary delights from A16, Absinthe, Acquerello, Blue Bottle Coffee, Digs Bistro, Heaven's Dog, La Mar, RN74, Poggio Trattoria, SF Baking Institute, Slow Club, Stella Cadente, and Trattoria Corso, among many others!

Get your palate on and join us from 2pm–6pm at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. Order advance tickets here ($60, or Slow Food members: $55) or purchase at the door ($70); under 21 years of age, $20.

For more information, visit: Event proceeds benefit Slow Food San Francisco's initiatives.

fresh meat


tandoori-stuffed aloo

Photo from

Amber India
25 Yerba Buena Ln.
Cross: Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103


Mon–Fri 11:30am–2:30pm
Sat–Sun 12pm–3pm

Sun–Thu 5pm–10pm
Fri–Sat 5pm–10:30pm

Apps $6.50–$16.95
Entrées $14.95–$36.95
Desserts $7–$8

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I don't understand why Indian places always have to be cheap and dingy and have buffets and leave you smelling like a tandoori oven when you depart (kudos to Roti and DOSA for changing that paradigm). Another member in that better-heeled bunch is ~AMBER INDIA~ on Yerba Buena Lane—it's a sister restaurant to the well-known Mountain View location, and the other one on Santana Row.

This location is definitely slick and polished, so if you want your chicken tikka to be $9.95 or less, you might want to stop before heading down the marble staircase. Actually, you just need to turn around and head into the bar: there's a killer happy hour, which is Monday through Friday from 4pm–7pm, with $3 beers, $5 wines, and three kinds of $5 cocktails. $5 bar snacks include Indian street food and chaat, like pani puri, bhel puri, and batata vada. It explains why the lounge was totally packed when I showed up one evening at a little before 7pm. I could only find one lone seat at the bar. Every cocktail table was covered in small plates and glasses of wine and cocktails, and the bartender's iPod was supplying the upbeat tracks.

The cocktails were a bit too "exotica" for my taste (to wit: açai liqueur, pear vodka, and the like making appearances), but the Bulleit Manhattan would be my anchor. $5, no holler. That price will make anyone happy, right quick.

The lounge feels like a light-up disco dancefloor come to life, with a changing LED color panel behind the bar of lime green, fuchsia, cyan—it also reminded me of that massively expensive light treatment therapy you can find at nicer spas, the Max 7. Just consider this cocktail therapy. There are also low-slung yellow cube chairs, a light-up bar, and purple barstools. I guess you could describe the look as Indian pimp.

Once you descend the stairs into the dining room, hole in the wall this most certainly is not. It's very spacious, with a variety of different seating areas. The vibe is a bit business-y, but there are no tablecloths, and the room is livened up with hits of bright color from the chairs of garnet, ochre, and purple, and the rust-colored booths. Weirdly there was no music, so the dining room felt a little flat in that regard. But the smell, oh yes—it's amazing when you walk in. The décor may be slick, but the heavenly and homey smell of Indian food simmering and spices is there as soon as you walk in the door.

I was imagining the food was going to be a little honk-ified, but with my first bite of the fresh fish cafreal ($9.95; grilled catfish marinated in cilantro and garam masala), I was like, oh, hello! A total palate-pinger. The fish was so savory—chef Anish Potdar is thankfully not shy with heat and spice. Although I could have done without the limp undressed garnish of salad on the side, and the sliced cherry tomato (the official cop out of the garnish world).

The palak chaat salad ($8.75) was another unexpected hit: the crispy spinach leaves were lightly battered and fried, but magically not greasy, topped with drizzles of tamarind chutney and yogurt—a total sensory treat of different textures and temperatures. It's a quality I really adore about Indian food.

It's crazy what a marinade of yogurt can do to some duck breast: the pan-fried duck tinka kebabs ($9.95) were such tender morsels, and with a definite kick. The dipping sauce with dill and caper just added to the mouthwatering flavors, but I didn't care for the assertive almost-raw red onion on the skewer.

More yogurt magic happens with the free-range rack of lamb chops "frontier" ($27.95), also ridiculously tender, and dramatically served at the table with a sizzling platter of onions (you know, fajita style). Chomp the chops.

But I can't believe I didn't swoon over their signature dish, the famed butter chicken ($19.95). The deep tomato, butter, and cream sauce was fine, but the white meat was overcooked and stringy. I thought the sea bass moilee ($22.95), a South Indian preparation with onion and coconut sauce was much more savory and seductive.

We went cuckoo for the tandoori-stuffed aloo ($14.95), crisp halves of potato that are scooped out and filled with spiced cottage cheese, cashews, mint, marinated in spiced yogurt, and then grilled. A wonderful vegetarian dish, and a clever execution.

Another vegetarian winner was the dal amber ($12.95), straight up scrumptious. Do not miss this dish. So creamy, with herbs, tomato, and ribbons of ginger. I find myself craving it days later. Did you hear that? That was my stomach grumbling.

The wine list has some decent by-the-glass offerings (greco di tufo with my Indian food? yes please), and the staff was knowledgeable about what to pair with certain dishes.

Alas, dessert was not a strong finale. The coffee kulfi ($7) was icy and rock hard when it was served, and then immediately turned to mush, and I think the kesari rasmalai cheese dumplings ($7) in saffron milk syrup (with a texture like crème anglaise) will be too challenging as a dessert for most Americans. When in doubt, go for some chai ($3.25).

This place is perfect for large groups or a business dinner—the spendier pricing makes it ideal for an expense account. Definitely a good call for convention-goers. The restaurant doesn't have a real vibe, however—it's pretty much about the food, and not lively and urban like the way Dosa is. (Dosa is also really committed to organic and sustainable ingredients across the board.) I did enjoy our enthusiastic and attentive servers—they were quite pleasant.

I'm not a big fan of buffets (I like my food cooked to order, thanks), but deal seekers might want to check out the popular lunch buffet for $16.95. Lastly, there's a three-course pre-theater/early bird dinner for only $24 per person (Sun–Thu from 5pm–7pm, and Fri–Sat 5pm–6:30pm).

If you'd like to read more tablehopper restaurant reviews of places around town, click here.

the lush

Golden GlassMAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO The Metro Bar on Market has been closed for renovations, and will be reopening as ~BLACKBIRD BAR~. The project from Shawn Vergara and Doug Murphy of Moby's and 440 will be something new for the Castro: a warm and cozy rustic-modern bar, more in the stylistic vein of Four Barrel and Rye. In another departure, Craige Walters (known for doing most Greg Bronstein locations around town) is designing the space to be more woodsy than glam. There will be smoky colors, banquettes, suspended Edison bulbs, a variety of tables and seating areas, plus a pool table and a photo booth. The front will have a painted wood façade, and windows that slide open. There will be straightforward cocktails (no mixology here), plus 12 beers on tap (craft and local beers), and 10–12 wines by the glass (quality wines that are a good value, around $10 a glass and under). The music won't be the usual Castro pop soundtrack, and will instead be an eclectic mix of electro, old school rock, and more. Vergara has been in the business for 20 years, and wants the place to be approachable. He said it may be gay-owned, but they want to be inclusive to everyone. The opening is slated for June 25th, with the grand opening in July. Look for canned beer night Wednesdays, awwww yeah. 2124 Market St. at Church, 415-503-0630.

So, it's the end of an era: Ginger's Trois has closed, and the Bourbon & Branch crew is working on their new project for the space: ~RICK HOUSE~. (A rick house is where barrels are stored for the long bourbon-aging process.) Speaking of bourbon barrels, Brian Sheehy tells me they saved 400 of them to use for décor: the barrels were broken down, and the staves were used for the railing, ceiling, and more (reportedly the place smells like a distillery, i.e. heaven). There will also be chandeliers created from the metal bands. Erick Castro (who guest bartends at Vessel in Seattle and Edison in Los Angeles) and Andrew Mitchell, both of Bourbon & Branch, will be leading the show—in fact, no one can work there who hasn't been at B&B for at least six months. No passwords, but there will be table service. The bar will highlight a strong program of innovative cocktails, handmade syrups and tonics, varieties of ice, and super-fresh ingredients. There will also be a number of wines that are hard to find by the glass, including many boutique California wines from Cask, and the type of license they have means they can sell wine to go. Susan Lewis of Cask will also be leading a weekly event at the back bar with guest winemakers. There will be some local California beers on tap, and French champers. The timing is a little iffy—they're waiting on the landlord to finish some retrofitting and sidewalk repairs, so it looks like it will be a couple months out. 246 Kearny St. at Sutter.

the socialite



tablehopper wine tasting
Wed. June 3rd, 2009

The Cheese School of San Francisco
2155 Powell St.
Cross: Francisco St.
San Francisco, CA 94133

6:30pm reception
7pm–9pm wine and food tasting

$79 (includes ticket processing fees)

buy tickets here

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I have been enjoying drinking wine with (and learning from) my friend Alex Fox for too long to keep him to myself; he's the former wine director of Myth and most recently a somm at Gary Danko. So voila, the ~FIRST TABLEHOPPER WINE TASTING~! Well, it's more of a wine class, actually. We'll be learning the ins and outs of wine, focusing on how to taste, and basic wine and food pairing tips. We won't be tasting just any wines, but Sicilian wines, which are not only delicious, but a great deal right now. You'll also learn about the mysterious region and its ancient grapes.

We will be exploring food and wine pairing with some Sicilian-inspired bites from James Stolich of CookWithJames. James is a former marketing and advertising professional who has been delighting diners through his CookWithJames Underground Supper Club dinners (they're a blast). He focuses on regional Italian fare based on local ingredients from local farmers, and has been doing it since 2002. He's now doing cooking full-time through CookWithJames and offers an array of private chef and catering services including private dinners, cooking classes, and catering events.

Please don't expect a full meal, but there will definitely be some savory bites for you to enjoy throughout the evening.

We're hosting the event at one of my favorite venues, The Cheese School of San Francisco in North Beach. Owner Sara Vivenzio will be providing us with some scrumptious Southern Italian cheeses to taste.

Now, the wines: thanks to Domaine Select Wine Estates, we have some beauties we'll be pouring. DSWE's Jeffrey Meisel will be there to help pour wines and share a story or two.

During the reception we'll start with two kinds of bubbles (hello, this is a tablehopper tasting!) from Murgo on the volcanic soils of Mount Etna: the Brut 2005 100% Nerello Mascalese (metodo classico) and Brut Rose 2005 100% Nerello Mascalese (metodo classico).

Good thing you'll be sitting when we taste these wines from COS in Vittoria, because they're quite exquisite—bring on the terroir. We'll be tasting their Ramí 2007; Cerasuolo di Vittoria DOCG 2006; Cerasuolo di Vittoria "Pithos" DOCG 2006 (which is made in amphora!); and the "Scyri" Nero d'Avola 2001. Just so you can taste another style of Nero d'Avola, we'll also be pouring a 2006 from Mirabile of Menfi.

Next, it wouldn't be a Sicilian tasting without a passito—in this case, it's a Passito di Pantelleria–Kammeo from Guicciardini Strozzi. To close the evening, we'll be tasting one of my favorite after-dinner amaros, Averna of Caltanissetta, and Limoni di Sicilia, a liquore di limoni.

Can you handle it? It'll be a special evening for sure. Seats are limited, so act quickly. And please take a cab, because we'll be tasting ten (count 'em, ten) liquid lovelies.

A presto!


Edible Pursuit #3
Sun., Jun. 7th, 2009

Acme Chophouse
24 Willie Mays Plaza
Cross: King St.
San Francisco, CA


Doors 6pm
Event 7pm


buy tickets

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Edible San Francisco is excited to announce the third ~EDIBLE PURSUIT~ is back, a food-themed trivia game night at Acme Chophouse. Once again, yours truly is the emcee. A ticketed event, Edible Pursuit will feature challenging questions about San Francisco's local food scene, kitchen know-how, food politics, and more. Players form teams consisting of two to five people and compete for delicious prizes, including artisanal treats, restaurant gift certificates, cookbooks, and more! The top three finishing teams win prize packages, and there are prizes for "Best Team Name," "Best Team Uniform," and more!

Acme Chophouse will be serving a delicious menu of locally sourced foods and a full bar throughout the evening (not complimentary, however).

It's a lot of fun, hope to see you there.

the sponsor

Green Zebra

Explore the best of sustainable living with the 2009 San Francisco Green Zebra guide. There's something for everyone including exclusive offers from eco-friendly local businesses (free breakfast at La Boulange and Sellers Market, free pie at Mission Pie, free veggies at LarkCreekSteak, One Market, and Slanted Door, 2-for-1 at Maggie Mudd, The Plant Café Organic, Ritual Coffee Roasters, and Regalito Rosticeria, and more). Many passes allow you to recoup your investment in the guide in a single visit ($20 off a $100 Rainbow Grocery purchase, anyone?).

Green Zebra's efforts to make it easy and fun for people to live greener also nurture the community. Sales benefit Graze the Roof (Glide Foundation's edible rooftop garden), and passes encourage you to support local businesses—our neighborhoods' lifeblood. A separate edition covers the Peninsula/Silicon Valley.

To purchase your Green Zebra at the special tablehopper discounted price of $15 (40% off retail), click here. Don't even try to resist!

the health nut

Green ZebraMAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO A couple little bits for you. First, I had to share this wonderful recipe tablehopper reader Leslie wrote in: it's for a ~HEALTHY BREAKFAST OF QUINOA~. (I know, and you thought it was just for dinner.) One thing that was challenging on the cleanse was what to eat for breakfast besides curried tofu and smoothies and oatmeal. This was such a treat, and I was amazed at how long this held me over into my day. And I am now in love with Artisana coconut butter.

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

Make a pot of quinoa and it will last for about three mornings.

Reheat one portion of quinoa with lots of cinnamon and about 1/3 cup almond milk.

Simmer on low for about 5 minutes.

Right before you take it off the heat, add a couple of tablespoons of Artisana coconut butter (yummy stuff—it makes the quinoa creamy). The folks at Artisana are over in Berkeley and they have a whole fabulous range of great jarred items.

In a brekkie bowl, add:

1/2 organic mango, cubed


1/2 apple, cut in pieces

passion fruit or whatever fruit you like

handful of chopped almonds

Toss and serve.

imageI took a field trip to check out ~ALIVE!~ on Lombard, an all-organic raw food restaurant (you may know them from their stand at the farmers' market). I liked the intimate atmosphere, with its rustic wood tables, Japanese-influenced graphic art on the wall, and dim lighting. Very soothing, and very small. Also one of the quietest places I've been in for ages. It was a pleasure to be in a restaurant where I could have almost everything on the menu (well, except the organic wine). In my booze-free existence, I opted for the coconut. I swear, I went wild for my fresh coconut juice, such a tasty treat. The carrot-orange-ginger combo was another vibrant winner.

The appetizers were good, like the flaxseed flatbread with cashew cream, tomatoes, and avocado ($12)—although I've had better olives, and I hate out-of-season tomatoes. The maki roll with a sunflower seed miso pate, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms was excellent—it almost had the texture of imitation crab inside. Sadly the entrées followed the path of why I dislike many vegetarian places: why have a pile-up of ingredients, all in one dish? They get muddled, and in this case, sodden. Sodden salads of julienned vegetables, basically. It would be so much better to just let the ingredients stand on their own, or at least simply. In the end, our three dishes ended up feeling very similar to each other. Oh well. The carrot cake dessert topped with cashew cream was a good finish—there were seven desserts to choose from in all. Supposedly there's a patio in the back, but the night we were there it was a wind tunnel, so no alfresco for us. 1972 Lombard St. at Webster, 415-923-1052.

the sugar mama

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO It's a new month, which means another book giveaway from the award-winning Ten Speed Press. This month I am giving away three copies of local writer Karen Solomon's fab book, JAM IT, PICKLE IT, CURE IT and Other Cooking Projects to three lucky tablehopper readers. All you need to do is forward this week's tablehopper newsletter to one buddy, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, 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 Sunday May 24th—I'll notify the winners with sauerkraut projects in their future next week.

the starlet

MAY 19, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO The lovely Julianne Moore dined with two women at Lark Creek Walnut Creek. She had the steelhead trout and the three shared a dessert.

Molly Ringwald and her daughter, Mathilda, were at MacArthur Park in Palo Alto last night—her daughter lost her first tooth there.

Last Tuesday night, Pink and Carey Hart dined at Dry Creek Kitchen. The rumor is that the reconciled couple is looking for property in Sonoma wine country (big enough of course for a racetrack for Hart!).

Also in wine country, Michael Jordan came into Bottega last week for dinner. He was reportedly with his girlfriend and three friends.


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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