table of contents This week's tablehopper: short cuts.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the lush
put it on my tab
the wino
in vino veritas

the socialite

the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

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Zojo Media

JUNE 30, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I don't really need to explain why this week's issue is royally abridged—things are heatin' up in manuscript land. Or at least are gettin' heavy. The first part of my manuscript is due Monday… eep. May stress-related temporary blindness or carpal tunnel syndrome be things I've only heard about.

Anyway, I was fired up to learn from a couple readers that tablehopper won "Best Bay Area Scoop" in the San Francisco Magazine The Best of the Bay Area 2009: Readers' Poll! Had I been able to attend last week's Best of the Bay party, I might have learned this myself. Glad someone is out there partying and reading on my behalf. Thanks for the votes, yo! Charmed.

One small break I had from burning up my keyboard (no joke, the comma and "A" buttons currently need to be replaced) was filming my first Eye On The Bay segment with Liam Mayclem on Friday. We did a full-tilt, no-tables-but-much-hopping tour around town, scouting out street food. It was like a five-hour lunch.

imageOur first stop was Kitchenette in Dogpatch (uh, if you ever see the Lexington-style pork BBQ sandwich on the daily menu, drop everything and head over there, stat); we snarfed some chicken and waffles (and biscuits and sausage gravy and red velvet cupcakes and shrimp po'boys and bacon-wrapped waffle dogs) at Little Skillet; then headed off for a sneak preview of Carte 415 (the croque monsieur is one of those sandwiches you have to suspend fat gram belief over if you're going to enjoy it—which I did); and finished with some fully-loaded Chicago dogs at Da Beef.

The entire afternoon was like an episode of When Animals Attack. I'd love to have Liam as my wingman in a professional tag-team dining competition; in the ring, his trademark move would be unleashing some "Mayclem Mayhem." Meanwhile, I'd be responsible for the "tablehopper Hoover Maneuver." Sunday Sunday Sunday! Anyway, I'll let you know when it's about to air, (naturally) we had a blast.

Otherwise my nose has either been to the grindstone, or in a menu. Last week was yet another tour de force(meat): a sunset dinner at Sutro's at the Cliff House, drinks and dinner at the bar at Michael Mina (did you know you can order a la carte off the tasting menu at the bar?), a slam-dunk meal at Contigo (can't wait to have the sardines and avocado on toast again), an intimate dinner at Olea (perfect for a quiet date or tête a tête), some killer chilaquiles at Los Pastores, and eggs Benedict while Sunday brunching on the oh-so-civilized garden patio at Magic Flute. Oh yeah, and revisits to Firefly and Street for my fried chicken tour, plus Globe, and Brazenhead. I'm gonna have to go to a fat farm when this manuscript is turned in, mamma mia.

And now, this week's issue of tablehopper lite: easy on your eyes, and the clock.

Have a Happy Fourth of July this weekend—may your briquettes burn evenly, your burgers be juicy, and your fleece remain in the closet.


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the chatterbox

Ferry Plaza Farmers MarketJUNE 30, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO The opening for ~TRADEMARK~ in the former Voda space in Belden Alley is looking like this Friday, or next Monday. To recap, this 85-seater is from Peter Snyderman of Elite Café and the Café Bastille/Plouf/B44 crew of Olivier Azancot and Eric Klein. The deets: it's a contemporary American grill, with full liquor and custom cocktails, a 70-bottle wine list, and yay, outdoor seating (heated, natch). The chef is the executive chef of The Elite Café, Jerry Mendoza. A peek at a preliminary menu includes potential dishes like Niman Ranch sirloin rolls stuffed with sweet peppers and Vidalia onions; six tasty-sounding salads, like grilled summer corn salad with fire roasted peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, crumbled feta, and chipotle vinaigrette; and main dishes like bacon-wrapped red trout with beluga lentils, braised escarole, fingerling potatoes, and sherry vinaigrette. Dinner Mon–Sat, lunch Mon–Fri, and open continuously during the afternoon hours. 56 Belden Place at Sutter, 415-397-8800.

Got word that ~THE PUB~ is opening this Thursday in the former O'Neill's spot at Ghirardelli Square. Look for a Southern (and value-priced) menu with BBQ ribs, brisket, hot links, and chicken in a signature Southern style (saucier), plus Cajun-style numbers like jambalaya, dirty rice, and corn bread. Scott Broccoli (my new favorite in industry names, sorry Emily Wines and Pierre Mangé, you've been bumped!), Barbi Tice, and Tom Whalen are behind the project. Barbi Tice and Scott Broccoli jointly own Aces at Sutter, and Barbi Tice is a partner in the Bell Tower on Polk Street. There will be 60 seats inside (including large booths) and 24 outside on the heated outdoor patio with waterfront views. Food served daily from 11am–10pm, with a bar menu from 10pm–1:30am. Validated parking is available at the Ghirardelli Square garage. 851 Beach St. (the North side of Ghirardelli Square), 415-351-0500.

And now, the pizza report:

Fantastico! Tony Gemignani's ~TONY'S PIZZA NAPOLETANA~ opened this past weekend in the former La Felce/Lou's space on Washington Square. I gotta tell ya, I am mighty excited to try this pizza. I looked at the menu, and here's how the margherita ($18), which was the 2007 World Pizza Cup winner in Naples, Italy breaks down: the dough is mixed by hand using San Felice flour and then proofed in Neapolitan wood boxes, topped with San Marzano tomatoes DOP, sea salt, fior di latte mozzarella, fresh basil, and extra virgin olive oil from Campania; limited to 73 per day. There are a variety of pizzas, including calzone, stromboli, Sicilian pizza a teglia, and pastas, plus there is a kid's menu. The space has about 75 seats inside, sporting a New York/Milano classic pizza place look, a bit 1950s in style. The dining room is definitely family friendly, but there is also a full bar for those who want to hang out at the bar instead. And bonus, there should be 26 seats available outside, hopefully by this weekend. Line for a table too long? You can also do takeout. To read past tablehopper details about the project, including the four pizza ovens in use, Tony's unique team-building classes, and his pizza school (which has classes for the home chef or pro—and students are then able to buy the special ingredients Tony uses directly from him), click here and scroll down. Hours are Wed–Sun 12pm–10pm, with later hours Fri–Sun (it's a little TBD at the moment since it's the opening month). 1570 Stockton St. at Union, 415-835-9888.

And here's more on the pizza place called ~PI BAR~ opening in the former Suriya Thai space: look for hand-thrown, New York style-pizza and specialty items paired with local craft beer and wine. Owners Richard Rosen (who will continue working with his partners in the Chenery Park/Eureka group) and Jennifer Garris intend to keep the space open and simple—they opted to open up the kitchen so kids can watch the pizza man do his thing. The owners are focused on using local ingredients, and organic ingredients when feasible. The place will ideally have 65 seats (permits pending), and they plan to serve until midnight. They are shooting for a mid-August or early September opening. 1432 Valencia St. at 25th St.

What's more popular than pizza right now? That's right, hot dogs. Here's the latest:

imageFirst up, the Foreign Cinema duo of Gayle Pirie and John Clark are getting close on opening their hot dog shop, ~SHOWDOGS~. The name is inspired by all the neighboring theaters, like the Golden Gate Theater, which is just across the street (not to be confused with the Crazy Horse Theater—and you can just keep those hot dog jokes to yourself, okay?). There will be something like 13 dogs, all from various makers, like Let's Be Frank, 4505 Meats, Fatted Calf, and more. They are also having Acme make a custom sesame bun for them. All the condiments will be house-made, so there will be an ancho BBQ sauce to go with the Louisiana hot link, for example, or the Fatted Calf knockwurst will come with piperade and raita. Yup, these are some gourmet dogs! They will cost around $8 or so. There will also be corndogs, plus some killer beer-battered onion rings and fries with "spicy dust" (which sounds like something you could buy in the neighborhood). Local beers on tap, too. There will be 25 seats, with white marble tables. The hours will be Mon–Sat 11am–8:30pm. 1020 Market St. at Taylor.

~BIX~ is kicking off Martinis and Weenies, a happy hour that runs Mon–Thu from 4:30pm–6:30pm. You'll be able to order a featured premium martini (the booze will change weekly) for $7.50 (regular price $10–$11), which will be served with complimentary pigs in a blanket: Schwarz frankfurters wrapped in homemade brioche dough and Dijon mustard. 56 Gold St. off Montgomery St. between Jackson and Pacific, 415-433-6300.

Starting today, ~LET'S BE FRANK~ is offering a special Twofer Tuesday deal: any two dogs at a special price of two for $8 (regularly priced at $11). Available all day every Tuesday. They are also hoping their beer and wine license will be ready any day now. Did you know the doghouse is open until 2am Fri–Sat, and they are delivering to local bars in the Marina?! Just give 'em a call from yer barstool (or if you are too incapacitated, have your bartender call for you). 3318 Steiner St. at Chestnut, 415-675-6755.

A sweet treat in the Marina: ~MIETTE~ on Chestnut just started making ice cream sandwiches using their house-made graham crackers and ice cream from Three Twins. There are two kinds: graham cracker with sweet cream, and chocolate wafer with mint confetti, each $4 a pop. They will also be available at the Octavia shop this weekend, but not at the Ferry Building for a while. 2109 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-0628.

An interesting tidbit: a retail shop selling honey and beekeeping supplies, ~HER MAJESTY'S SECRET BEEKEEPER~, has opened in the Mission. Owner and beekeeper Cameo Wood will be carrying up to 15 different kinds of honeys from around California, four of them local (the numbers will increase in time). There are also honey-based body products, like lip balm. This week the shop will be open every day from 12pm–7pm, but closed on Saturday July 4th, and open again on Sunday the 5th. Normal business hours will be Wed–Sun 12pm–7pm. 3540 20th St. at Valencia, 415-744-1465.

imageStarting this Saturday July 4th (if everything goes according to plan), ~PIAZZA PELLEGRINI~ will be serving takeaway panini from the cable car next door to the restaurant, kind of like an Italian taco truck. On the menu: porchetta panini (pulled pork with a special sauce), Italian sausage panini with a red and yellow bell pepper sauce, and an Italian meatball panino with a marina sauce. There will also be granita al caffè, which has me fired up to head on over, like, now. Everything will be priced under $10. The owner, Dario Hadjian, has surrounded the area with plants and flowers, and has set up mosaic cafe tables and chairs. Hours will be 7am–8pm. This Saturday, Dario will donate 20 percent of sales from the cable car to the Telegraph Hill Community Center. 659 Columbus Ave. at Union, 415-397-7355.

More on the project moving into the former Asqew Grill space in the Castro: it is going to be called ~STARBELLY~. Also got an update on some potential items on chef Adam Timney's menu: there will be a pizza oven and a rotisserie, so you can look for dishes like porchetta and pasture-raised chicken, plus house-made charcuterie, a Prather Ranch burger with aged cheddar and house-made pickle, and seasonal vegetable dishes like romano beans with roasted tomato sauce and raw feta, or creamed local corn with mascarpone. Opening in fall 2009. 3583 16th St. at Market.

imageAuthor Giulia Melucci (I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti) is going to be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS ON FOOD~ for a reading and book signing next Saturday July 11th at 3pm. Her book is sitting here on my bookshelf, waiting for me to crack it in August when I finally get to read instead of just write, can't wait. Author Emily Franklin of Too Many Cooks: Kitchen Adventures with 1 Mom, 4 Kids, and 102 Recipes will also be there to discuss food, love, kids, men, and cooking. There is also a fried chicken taste-off at the shop on July 7th! Read all about it and other events here. 3885-A Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712..

Unless you know some hunter types, it can be difficult to score a taste of wild game. So I thought you'd like to know about this event sooner rather than later: ~COOKWITHJAMES~ is hosting a wild game dinner on Saturday August 1st. The dinner will feature an assortment of wild game animals and birds, many cooked over a wood fire on a Tuscan grill inside Stolich's fireplace. Click the link for more on the menu and details! Cost is $95 per person (wine is BYOB). Space is limited.

I thought folks in San Mateo and Pleasant Hill should know their ~LEFT BANK~ brasseries have unfortunately closed. (The Pleasant Hill location had been in business since October 2000, and San Mateo since November 2003.) Alas, the recession proved too challenging to weather. The Left Bank restaurants in Larkspur, Menlo Park, and San Jose have been less impacted by the recession.

Seems owner James Syhabout (formerly of Manresa) has been trying to keep media away from the real opening date of his restaurant, ~COMMIS~ (it went into the previous Jojo space). Well, it's open. When I spoke with him a month ago, he said it has 30 seats and an open kitchen, and the seasonal menu will stylistically be fine dining that is laid back and fun (as Syhabout summarized, "serious food but relaxing, like Aziza"). Commis has a prix-fixe menu, currently $49 (no idea if this is just for the opening). Since it's been difficult to get any real information, I'll let these additional details on Yelp fill you in, and someone mailed an initial menu to Eater. Open Wed–Sun. 3859 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-653-3902.

~PICÁN RESTAURANT~ in Oakland's Uptown has started serving lunch and brunch. Lunch is Mon–Fri from 11:30am–2pm, and Sunday brunch is 10:30am–3pm. The line-up includes buttermilk biscuits and gravy, a pimiento cheeseburger, and a smoked chicken, fried green tomato, and little gem lettuce salad with buttermilk dressing. 2295 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-834-1000.

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

the sponsor

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

The wait for sustainable street food is over. Starting this week, CUESA is launching its Thursday farmers' market from 10am–2pm, with new street vendors and an exciting selection of peak-season farm stands.

Head to the historic Ferry Building this Thursday for lunch options you can't get anywhere else in the city. Sample Pizza Politana's wood-fired pizzas, Ryan Farr's 4505 dogs (beginning July 9), and Namu's new Korean BBQ-style tacos.

While you're there, pick up produce you won't find at the Tuesday market. They'll have everything from Dirty Girl's dry farmed Early Girls to Tory Farms' drip-down-your-cheeks peaches and Swanton's legendary organic strawberries.

Farms: Dirty Girl Produce * Lagier Ranches * Lucero Organic Farm * Swanton Berry Farm * Tory Farms

Lunch options: 4505 Meats * Cap'n Mike's Holy Smoke * Laiola's Tacolicious * Namu * Pizza Politana * RoliRoti * Scream * Blue Bottle Coffee Co.

The farmers' market will be open every Thursday from 10am–2pm. Year round, rain (or this week, abundant) shine, in front of the Ferry Building.

the lush
imageJUNE 30, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO If all goes well, Bourbon & Branch's ~RICKHOUSE~ will be soft opening this Wednesday. (It's the bar that is opening in the former Ginger's Trois space in the Financial District.) It's quite the looker—you can take a peek at some preliminary pics on Alcademics. According to the B&B website, "The focus is going to be modern-takes on vintage and obscure classics with an emphasis on a diverse option of choices." If you want to read more back-story on it, here's a tablehopper mention. 246 Kearny St. at Sutter, 415-398-2827. (Photo: Camper English/Alcademics.)

And in North Beach, Dario Zucconi of Tommaso's has opened his ~THE VIN CLUB WINE BAR~. The wine bar is currently in the middle of its soft opening, with the grand opening scheduled for Wednesday July 1st. (In case you're wondering where it is, it was previously Broadway Joe's.) There will be an extensive selection of wines by the taste, glass, and bottle available, plus specialty cheeses, salumi, charcuterie plates, panini, and homemade desserts. The looks is a classic, contemporary wine lounge with mahogany floors, 12-foot ceilings, hand-blown pendant lights, and a custom-built bar crafted from wooden wine box tops. Open Wed–Thu 4pm–11pm, Fri 4pm–12:30am, Sat 12pm–12:30am, Sun 12pm–10pm. 515 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-277-7228.

I'm lucky to have a somm friend I can call when I need to figure out what will pair best with some vittles I'm cooking up at home (with the occasional call or text while I am at a restaurant). But, sometimes I am outta luck, which is when the ~DRINKS MATCHER FROM NAT DECANTS~ is my friend—you just enter in the food you're trying to pair with, or if you have a special wine and you're trying to figure out what would pair best with it, you just enter the wine. And how handy, there is now a Drinks Matcher mobile application for iPhone, iPod Touch, and BlackBerry, with 380,000 wine and food pairings in all. I haven't had a chance to check out the mobile app, but The Nat Decants Drinks Matcher is $2.99 and you can download it from the online stores for iPhone or BlackBerry—here's the link to the homepage for the Mobile Matcher.

Winos, it's about that time: every wine list at each of ~LARK CREEK RESTAURANT GROUP'S~ Bay Area restaurants (One Market Restaurant, LarkCreekSteak, The Tavern at Lark Creek, Lark Creek Walnut Creek, Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Lafayette, and Santana Row, and Parcel 104) will be offered at half price for brunch, lunch, and dinner throughout the entire month of July.

the starlet

JUNE 30, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO (Anyone want to play six degrees of Kevin Bacon with this lineup? It's quite the hodgepodge.)

A tablehopper reader spotted Jeffery Self from Logo Network's Jeffery & Cole Casserole having drinks in the lounge at Jardinière last Thursday.

Matthew McConaughey had dinner with five friends at Spruce.

Cloris Leachman dined at Fish & Farm.

Mackenzie Astin, known as Andy of The Facts of Life, brother of Sean Astin, and son of Patty Duke and John Astin (Gomez from The Addams Family) was spotted at Zeitgeist last Tuesday evening sharing a pitcher with a female friend out on the back patio. He was in town to see his mother in Wicked.

Sean Penn was in the back garden at Tipsy Pig last night with three buddies enjoying some beers.

the matchmaker

A16 is looking for a strong, experienced line cook with a passion for rustic Southern Italian cuisine to join our team. Please either come by the restaurant (2355 Chestnut) with resume in hand or email Liza Shaw at liza [at] a16sf [dot] com.


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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