table of contents This week's tablehopper: phan club.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
fresh meat
new restaurant reviews
the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
the hardhat
watch your step
the sugar mama
get some

the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

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SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO What the hell happened to me? I woke up on Monday sounding like Kathleen Turner, and while I was initially terrified that I was coming down with a mother trucker of a nasty cold, I also think someone did a little too much carrying on this weekend. I blame the warm weather, my new shoes that were begging to go out and play, knowing too many bartenders and sommeliers, and my sugar high at the Blogher Food conference break on Saturday (the Scharffen Berger chocolate boxes Elizabeth Falkner made are responsible).

This issue is stupidly big: there's a locked and loaded chatterbox, a fresh meat review of Heaven's Dog, a hardhat (on the new Quince!), the starlet, a sugar mama... what the hell, I'm not even going to continue with this intro. I don't want to kill you (or me) with 6,000 words (we are dangerously close to that number), so let's just hop to it.

Huskily yours,


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the chatterbox

Culinary Outsourcing ServicesSEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I think this week is unofficial San Francisco Restaurant Opening Week. Can't believe how many places are opening their doors. Did someone say doors? Well then, let's start with the much awaited ~OUT THE DOOR~ in Pacific Heights. This latest location from Charles Phan opens for breakfast this Wednesday with both American (soft scrambled eggs) and Vietnamese dishes (pate chaud with pork or chicken, beignets and Vietnamese coffee) and then there's this: braised beef brisket with farm-poached eggs, caramelized onions, and crispy potatoes, meow. (Chef de cuisine Grace Nguyen is going to be making a lot of that dish, I have a feeling.) OTD will be open continuously for lunch and dinner; hours are 8am–10pm Mon–Fri, and 9am–10pm on the weekends. I'm excited to come in and try the new lunch offering: Com Phån, a classic Vietnamese lunch with separate plates of vegetables, proteins, broths, and rice, and the soon-to-be-signature grilled pork chop ($14) with pickled vegetables and duck egg quiche looks wickedly good. Dinner has appetizers like grilled meatballs ($10) with vermicelli and pineapple-anchovy sauce that you wrap in red leaf lettuce (yes, please), plus some classic entrées like chicken claypot ($13) and the cellophane noodles with Dungeness crab ($16) are also on there. And pastry chef Chucky Dugo is going to be whipping up some of his sweet magic. A few more deets: there's local wine on tap, and the space designed by Olle Lundberg has a long counter, black slate floors, subway tile, and a baker's table used as a communal table. 2232 Bush St. at Fillmore, 415-923-9575.

More Fillmore action: ~SPQR~ reopens tomorrow after closing for a refresh and ramp up of the new menu from recently hired chef Matt Accarrino (formerly Craft Los Angeles, Per Se). The updated look now includes banquettes, and the floors, walls, and countertops have been redone. And get this: you can now make a reservation via OpenTable (but a portion of seats will be left for walk-ins). As for the menu, Accarrino will continue to offer rustic and Roman-inspired dishes, although I hear dishes will be more composed, showcasing a bit of a refined touch. He also added a spuntino and snacks category, with dishes like friarelli peppers, Meyer lemon, smoked salt, and chili aioli ($9); griddled pecorino with quince, dandelion, and fried chestnuts ($9); and crispy pig ear with pickled jalapeno and cherry tomatoes ($8). (Fear not, the Brussels sprouts are still on there.) Pastas include a ricotta raviolo, gnocchi, and spaghetti carbonara, while mains feature oxtail and grilled short rib, or farro and date-stuffed quail, with nothing over $20 (check it all out online). Lookin' forward to trying these new dishes. 1911 Fillmore St. at Bush, 415-771-7779.

imageThis Thursday October 1st is the opening of Michael and Lindsay Tusk's ~QUINCE~ in the former Myth space. You can read all about the style and layout in this week's hardhat, but some sample menu items include Paine Farm squab with Tropea onion, fig, and licorice; pappardelle with suckling pig, wild fennel, and black cabbage; rabbit porchetta with farro, escarole, and grape; and duck "tagliata" with quince, turnip, and Barolo Chinato sauce. (I am also looking forward to the à la minute risotto that will be offered—just in time for fall.) In addition to the option of ordering dishes à la carte, there will also be five-course ($85) and eight-course ($115) tasting menus available. Dinner is Mon–Sat 5:30pm–10pm, with bar and lounge service starting at 5pm. Speaking of the bar: Scott Baird and Josh Harris of 15 Romolo/Bon Vivants Consulting are behind the drink program, which will be featuring "elegant, light, and very articulated cocktails" that won't get you wrecked before your appetizers arrive. How timely, quince is in season, so there will be some quince bitters (the drinks will be highlighting farm-fresh ingredients), and there's also a wet house martini in the works. Am also getting ready to buckle up before cracking open the wine list from wine director David Lynch. And so, a new chapter begins for one of San Francisco's most adored restaurants. 470 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery, 415-775-8500.

This Thursday October 1st is also the opening of ~PI BAR~, from Richard Rosen of Chenery Park, in the Mission. The 49-seater will be serving a pared-down version of the menu during the opening days: look for a few salads, pizza (of course), a couple apps, and maybe a pasta dish or two and possibly a sandwich. Hours are 3pm–midnight nightly. 1432 Valencia St. at 25th St., 415-970-9670.

At last, I have uncovered the mystery of what is moving into the now-closed El Raigon space in North Beach, ~DON PISTO'S~. Pete Mrabe, currently a manager at Betelnut, is behind the project. He hopes to open by Halloween, but only the ABC can ultimately decide the timing. Once the doors open, there will be Mexican street food on the menu, from five kinds of tacos (including prawns, carne asada, fish, and confit-ed carnitas) to ceviches to burros (little Baja-style burritos), plus classic side dishes like elote (yeah, in that awesome grilled corn and mayo combo), fried yucca, and more. The salsas and guac will be made continuously throughout the day, so they're always fresh each hour. The plan is to serve dinner nightly from 5pm–midnight, and until 2am Friday and Saturday nights. Will keep you posted on when the cervezas will be flowin'—especially since a liquor store chain in Rosarito inspired the name (and is a slang term for "Captain Drunk"). Hic. 510 Union St. at Grant.

imageMark your calendar, sushi fanatics: ~SEBO~ will be closed starting tonight (September 29th) and will reopen for dinner Tuesday October 6th. They are repainting and freshening up, and one more change is there will be a new face you will see in the kitchen. Fukashi is leaving to go to Thailand with his wife (sob sob, he will be missed!), and taking his place is Masaki Sasaki, an old friend of Michael Black's (and a big inspiration). Some may recognize him from the St. Regis, Kantaro, or some places in New York. 517 Hayes St. at Octavia, 415-864-2122. (Photo by Michael Black.)

Sunday October 4th is the kickoff for season two of Food Network's ~THE NEXT IRON CHEF~, and the first episode will feature local talent chef Dominique Crenn of Luce at 9pm ET/PT. Good luck Dominique!

Rumble. Yes, that is my stomach talking. I learned that chef Ronnie New at ~MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB~ is doing Southern-inspired brunch on Sundays, with tasty dishes like shrimp and Anson Mills grits; chicken and waffles (the new dish of the year?); and pheasant eggs and toast with sautéed leeks, portobello mushroom, and parmesan cheese. There are also classic egg dishes, house-made snausages, pancakes, Blue Bottle coffee, and more. Brunch is served from 10am–2:30pm. Come hungry. 1398 Haight St. at Masonic, 415-864-7468.

More news with a Southern drawl: ~MAVERICK~ is hosting their annual Southern Fried Night this Wednesday September 30th. Slated for the menu: heirloom melon salad with fried country ham, fried green tomatoes, fried frog legs, fried alligator balls, country-fried steak, and other fried numbers like a fried chorizo pie and a fry-up with pork croquettes, beer battered shrimp, fried eggplant and zucchini, and tater tots. Yes, the operative word is fried. Bring your Lipitor. 3316 17th St. at Mission, 415-863-3061.

Changes over at ~CIRCA~: according to permits, previous owner Mick Suverkrubbe sold it to new owner Guri Walia. Chef Erik Hopfinger has been let go, and I hear there is a plan to move in a different direction with the menu. But since things are reportedly business as usual until a new chef is decided upon, it may be your last chance to get your lobster mac and cheese fix. Stand by for an update soon. 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-351-0175.

Ready for meal deals? Of course you are.

imageDoes ~NAMU'S~ Inner Richmond address feel too off the beaten path for you? Does the lame parking shituation over there deter you? Well, you should dig their new promo called Taxi Fare Tuesdays, because during the month of October, Namu will deduct the cost of your cab fare to get there from your bill. Just bring in your receipt. See, you are one step closer to their wonderful kalbi. 439 Balboa St. at 6th Ave., 415-386-8332. (Photo from

Over on the Embarcadero, ~BUTTERFLY~ has launched a late-night happy hour menu on Friday and Saturday nights from 10pm–12am. You'll find price reductions on house-ground Wagyu beef sliders and kalua pig with butter lettuce wraps, along with $5 top-shelf cocktail specials, bottled beers for $3, and featured wine by the glasses for $5. Pier 33 at Bay St., 415-864-8999.

You a big theatergoer? ~GRAND CAFE BRASSERIE AND BAR~ is offering a $39 package (plus tax and gratuity) from now through the month of November, which includes a three-course dinner and valet parking, with an optional wine pairing for $15. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

A few more additions and updates to the lunch round-up I did last week: first, I was sorry to hear the ~4505 MEATS/TACOLICIOUS/NAMU FRIDAY LUNCHTIME BBQ~ that was going to be at Folsom and 2nd Street has been put on hold due to some Fire Marshal issues. Hopefully they'll find another location to fire up the grills soon.

~BAR BAMBINO~ in the Mission has gotten in on the boxed lunch act. Theirs comes with a panino (like porchetta, or tuna with lemon aioli), a daily salad, a sweet treat, and an orange or lemon soda for $12. You can call ahead to have it ready for pick up, or an order of 10 or more can be delivered for free. Available Tue–Sat 11am–4pm. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-701-VINO.

Jason B. reports ~MINT CAFÉ~ is opening a second location (supposedly this week): this one will be under the San Francisco Public Main Library. Think wraps, sandwiches, salads, and the like. 100 Larkin St. at Grove.

Some special menus around town: Starting this Friday October 2nd, ~ONE MARKET~ is offering the Weekly Beast. Chef Mark Dommen will be featuring whole-animal menus every Friday and Saturday night, ranging from Duroc pigs to Muscovy ducks to beef. This week kicks off with goat, with goat neck ragu with potato gnocchi and parmesan cheese; roasted goat rack/loin with polenta, rabe, and olives; and spit-roasted goat leg with Moroccan spices, eggplant, and peppers. The Weekly Beast menu will be available both à la carte and as a five-course prix fixe for $49 per person, plus half-glass wine pairings for $20. For a full schedule of upcoming menus, visit the site. 1 Market St. at Steuart, 415-777-5577.

imageOn the opposite side of the eating spectrum, this weekend (October 3rd–4th) is the 10th annual ~WORLD VEG FESTIVAL~. There will be speakers, booths selling ethnic and/or vegan foods, and vegan-friendly merchandise. The event runs from 10am–6pm both days, and requests a $6 door donation (free for children, students, and seniors all day). San Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Ave. at Lincoln Way, inside Golden Gate Park.

And Sunday October 4th is the kickoff for Gourmet Vegan Week at ~SUPPERCLUB RESTAURANT~. Executive chef Guus Wickenhagen will present a four-course vegan menu for $55. Seatings at 7pm. Reservations are recommended: 415-348-0900. 657 Harrison St. at Hawthorne.

Two days left to donate to ~SLOW FOOD~, when any amount will make you a member (it's normally $60 per year). As of October 1st, this special September membership offer will be over.

imageA couple cool culinary events in the East Bay: this Thursday October 1st, ~PEKO-PEKO JAPANESE CATERING~ is hosting a one-night only "popup izakaya" at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley. It will open for drinks and dinner at 5pm and go until late. The space is tiny, so small parties are best. 1620 Shattuck Ave. at Cedar.

And this Saturday October 3rd is a fall brunch tasting at Hotel Shattuck Plaza in Berkeley with ~THENTIC TASTING~. Domaine Carneros and Square One will showcase their sparkling wines and organic vodka, with fresh produce from Frog Hollow and Purity Organic. Scott Howard from FIVE will be offering assorted hot items, plus dairy from Straus Family Creamery; meat and eggs from local farms; pastries; cheeses and salumi; and more. For a limited time only, you can get a discount price with the purchase of two tickets. The cost is $35 per person, or $65 for two by entering the promotional code "hotelshattuck" for tablehopper readers. To learn more and get tickets, click here. 11am–3pm. 2086 Allston Way at Shattuck, Berkeley.

imageMeanwhile, south of SF, ~LA COSTANERA~ [NSFW: seriously loud seagull squawking!] in Montara Beach is opening this Friday October 2nd for dinner. It's anticuchos time! This modern Peruvian fusion restaurant is from chef/owner Carlos Altamirano (Mochica, Piqueos). It's a three-story location designed by Michael Brennan and is right on the coast. Victoria D'Amato-Moran did the bar menu, featuring Pisco-based cocktails, plus domestic and imported Peruvian beers and wines. 8150 Cabrillo Hwy., Montara Beach, 650-728-1600.

And lastly, while this has absolutely nothing to do with restaurants, I know many of you like to cook, so I thought you should know about ~FOOD52~, a new cooking site from Amanda Hesser of the New York Times and her friend Merrill Stubbs. The site is filling up with user-generated recipes that you vote on, and the winning recipes will be assembled in a cookbook at the end of a year. This week's topics: mushroom soup, and recipes with paprika.

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

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the lush

Spicy chicken (photo from Heaven's Dog).

Edamame salad.

Photo from Heaven's Dog.

Photo from Heaven's Dog.

Heaven's Dog
1148 Mission St.
Cross: 8th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103


Mon–Fri 11am–1am
Sat 5:30pm–1am
Sun 4:30pm–9pm

Apps $6–$13
Entrées $14–$20








SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO You thirsty? No? Well, sit at the bar at ~HEAVEN'S DOG~ for a few minutes and you will be. This hidden-away SoMa doghouse is a bit like a Beretta South, with a strong bar program that acts like a tractor beam to cocktailing types citywide. Which is important, because this lonesome stretch of Mission Street practically has tumbleweeds blowing by after 7pm.

Now, I normally don't start restaurant reviews with an overview of a bar, but in this case, I could very easily drink my dinner from Erik Adkins's smashing list of Charles Baker-inspired cocktails (for more on who Charles Baker is, read this piece by my freelance writing cohort, Camper English). And you'll only pay $10 for a glass full of gorgeousness, with big ass Kold Draft ice cubes clinking around. New York pricing, this is not. And the line-up of talent behind the bar is some of the City's best. It's too easy to end up having one too many here. Oops.

While perched at the undulating wood bar here, it's the perfect place to play one of my favorite new bar games (no, dice are not involved): do I want a drink that is citrus-driven, or spirituous? (I've had the same question asked of me at Jardinière's bar.) Out of all the drinks I've tasted here, I have yet to have a dog in the bunch. Oh, and even if you're not on the boozy and weaving path, I can attest my pal's non-alcoholic drinks were admirable in their freshness and complexity.

So, before you tip off that barstool, or slump over in the persimmon moderne seating in the lounge (truth be told, not my favorite place to eat or drink here), you need some sustenance. This Chinese offshoot from Charles Phan's Vietnamese empire has chef de cuisine Andy Wai (Harbor Village) leading the charge. Kind of like what Phan did with Slanted Door, you'll find Chinese dishes (many of them familiar) made with quality ingredients. For example, the spicy chicken dish ($14) is like a jazzy kung pao made with toasted cashews, but what really sets it apart is the delicious-tasting chicken and fresh bamboo shoots (wish more places used them).

I've cruised through the long-ish menu a fair amount, so let's just get you going on my faves or we'll be here all day: more than anything, I get mad cravings for the edamame salad ($7), with bouncy ribbons of bean curd and the heat of chili oil, plus the tang of pickled mustard greens. Two paws up.

The silky ma po tofu ($12) with ground beef is another standout (yes, I like spicy food, as you can tell by the three dishes I've mentioned thus far). And since we're on that topic, I'd be remiss to not mention the spicy clams ($15) that made me wish I had smuggled in a French baguette so I could dunk it in the fragrant and herbal broth.

Oh yeah, and the spicy green beans ($8) should be on your list, along with the tender salt and pepper local squid ($13) with chiles and garlic. Sorry, this is reading like a review of Spices II, isn't it? Just call me Spicy Spice.

Okay, okay, in the not-spicy department, I totally went nuts for the side of kale ($8) with fermented black bean and ginger—it's how I want my weekly batch o' kale from now on (but with a touch less oil). Yeah, that price for a side of vegetables is a bit steep, but this is not Ho's on Van Ness, yo.

And people certainly order up the pork belly in clam shell buns ($9) here, but after going two days in a row to eat that fool David Chang's version with the warm sriracha at Momofuku in New York, well, I'm ruined forever and I'm just going to leave it at that.

I haven't been as thrilled with the dumplings here, even though I keep trying. Just not moving me, which is a little frustrating because I'm such a dumpling maniac. Ah well. Then again, the menu is extensive enough that there are plenty of other dishes to choose from instead, which I do.

Now, is the menu groundbreaking? Or perfect? Or wildly authentic? Not really, but it has definitely gotten rather tasty of late—I think the flavors have hit their stride, the ingredients are well chosen (that has been a constant), and there are some inventive touches (is this a new genre: "local Chinese?").

The vibe is a bit of a hodgepodge—it's close enough to the Orpheum and Golden Gate theaters that you can see a pre-theater crowd, but the Olle Lundberg décor is chic enough to draw the gay boys in, and then the cocktails and late hours (until 1am Mon–Sat) call the industry folks—plus there's complimentary dim sum at 11:30pm. Oh yeah, and I've noticed families coming in on the early side. And there's a semi-private room that's perfect for birthday groups o' girls. You get the picture—it's a come one, come all kind of spot—it just depends on when you want to eat.

The look is urban but the vibe is comfortable, good for a midweek date or a casual night out with friends. Two people can dine here, but I really think a headcount of three or four is the ideal partay size, so you can order a hodgepodge of dishes off the menu. Not really a good spot for solo dining, unless you're in for lunch in the adjoining noodle shop during the day, or are fine sitting down to a plate full of char siu barbecued pork ($9) all to yourself (which could happen here, it's that tasty). There are also enough vegetable dishes that a non-meat eater will be quite satisfied (like the "vegetarian pork belly" buns), plus you can get a side of Massa Organics brown rice. Which you certainly won't find at most Chinese joints around town. Woof.

P.S. You can get up to four hours of validated parking in the SOMA Grand garage next door for only $4, a lovely feature in this parking-deprived town.

the lush

Culinary Outsourcing ServicesSEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I'm already happy ~BAR CRUDO~ is a mere two blocks from my front door, but now I'm really going to be finding reasons to punch the clock early: they have just launched a new happy hour from Mon–Thu from 5pm–6:30pm. On offer: $1 oysters, $5 chowdah, specials like fish tacos and oyster po' boys, and $5 wine and $3 beer. And since the beer list at BC rocks the house, it's not going to be some sudsy schlock, mmmkay? Cheers. 655 Divisadero St. at Grove, 415-409-0679.

~EVE LOUNGE~ is now open for happy hour, running Mon–Fri 4pm–7pm. Get $2 off everything in the house. 575 Howard St. at 2nd St.

The ladies behind ~MAZU~ in the Inner Richmond landed their liquor license, and are now selling specialty soju cocktails, sake, beer, and wine. Happy hour is Tue–Fri from 4pm–7pm, with $5 cocktails, $3 drafts; Wed is half-off selected appetizers plus $4 selected cocktails from 5pm–11pm; plus there's a late-night menu Thurs–Sat 11pm–1am, with fried chili-garlic wings ($7), lumpia ($8), dumplings ($6), and more. 3809 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave., 415-221-9800.

~LARKCREEKSTEAK~ now has seating outside of the restaurant ("under the dome"), and they're also turning three, which of course means a celebration of some sort is in order. What you get is a happy hour going on now through October 4th, with $5 cocktails featuring Square One vodka, $5 featured wines, $3 draft beer, and half price on all bar bites. Westfield Centre, 845 Market St. 4th Floor at 5th St., 415-593-4100.

Another anniversary: ~PISCO~ is celebrating its first anniversary from Saturday October 3rd–Friday October 9th with a variety of rotating $5 drink and bite specials each night. For example, on the 3rd, you can get $5 Pisco Punches and a $5 artisan meats plate, while Wednesday the 7th means $5 Pisco caipirinhas and $5 Brazilian chicken croquettes. No food special on Friday October 9th, however: just $5 Pisco sours. Swing by during the week's celebrations and enter to win a tapas party for 12 on the pagoda ($300 value). 1817 Market St. at Octavia, 415-874-9951.

The ~RITZ-CARLTON, SAN FRANCISCO~ has launched a weekly raw bar menu in the Lobby Lounge from 5pm–7pm. You'll find a variety of oysters and shellfish like prawn cocktail, Maine lobster, and clams. You can pair it all up with wine or a selection off the new menu of Bloody Marys, ranging from versions made with pepper vodka, Clamato, Tequila, and more, plus a variety of garnishes. In case you're wondering why all the Bloody Marys, October marks the 75th anniversary of the drink. 600 Stockton St. at California, 415-296-7465.

The first annual ~TREASURE ISLAND WINEFEST/LODI WINE ON THE WATER~ will be held during Fleet Week on Sunday October 11th at the Pavilion by the Bay. Over 40 Lodi wineries will be pouring their wines along with appetizers, wine seminars, and entertainment will all be offered during the aerial shows of Fleet Week. A portion of the proceeds benefit SF Food Bank. 1pm–5pm. $55 advance, $65 at the door, $25 designated drivers.

Today is your last day to get your ~WHISKYFEST~ tickets with free shipping (until September 30th). The event is on Friday October 16th at the San Francisco Marriott, with new and rare whiskies being poured (over 200 in all), whisky experts, and a charity whisky table featuring an array of rare bottles never to be repeated or available to consumers again. (A small donation to charity will buy attendees a taste of one of these special whiskies, and 100% of the proceeds will go to Meals on Wheels San Francisco.) $95 general admission (includes access to grand tasting, all seminars, Scottish crystal tasting glass, one-year subscription to Malt Advocate magazine, and a buffet and beverages throughout the evening); $140 VIP (with one hour of early access, plus special VIP-only whisky tastes). Prices increase after September 30th to $110 and $150. 6:30pm–9:30pm. Advance ticket sales only at or by calling 800-610-MALT. 55 4th St. at Market.

the socialite


OPENfuture: Spinning Marinetti's Wheels
Sat., Oct. 17th, 2009

Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium
151 3rd St.
Cross: Howard St.
San Francisco, CA



$65 general

$50 SFMOMA and partner institution members, students, and seniors.

Tickets are available at the Museum (with no surcharge) or online.

Purchase tickets.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I am not even going to attempt to rewrite this press release for this amazing-sounding event: ~OPENFUTURE: SPINNING MARINETTI'S WHEELS~, part of Metal + Machine + Manifesto = Futurism's First 100 Years.

"Feeding on Futurism's appetite for destruction, OPENrestaurant revisits F. T. Marinetti's provocative Futurist Cookbook from 1932—which combined polemics with actual recipes designed to transform society—and realigns the movement's arguably fascist palate with a more sustainable approach to life. Look for cyclists delivering a locally sourced "wild beast" and a women-only kitchen carving edible sculptures against a backdrop of stadium seating, emergency sirens, and spinning walls. Guests attending this clamorous banquet can expect to exalt in sounds, smells, and constant motion, and delight in, among other things, beef ice-cream cones, avocado cocktails, and flying panforte."

You got all that? See you there. (And don't forget your camera.)


OysterFest 2009
Oct. 15th–17th, 2009

399 The Embarcadero
Cross: Folsom St.
San Francisco CA 94105


Dinner: $125 (four courses w/ wine pairings)

Afternoon festival: $50 (five tickets redeemable for drinks and small plates)

Purchase tickets.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Waterbar is hosting a three-day event, ~OYSTERFEST~, which includes two special oyster dinners at Waterbar (Oct. 15th and 16th) and an afternoon festival on the outdoor patio (Oct. 17th).

Guest chefs and oyster lovin' restaurants and farms include: Ryan Simas and Mark Franz (Farallon), Jan Birnbaum (EPIC Roasthouse), Adam Mali (Nick's Cove), Kenny Belov (FISH), Teresa Ebilane and Emily Luchetti (Waterbar), Parke Ulrich (Waterbar), George Morrone, Preston Point, and Tomales Bay Oysters. Dr. Frances Gulland, director of the Marine Mammal Center, will speak at the dinner on Friday October 16th.

The dinners on Thursday October 15th and Friday the 16th are a multi-course affair, and cost $125 (all-inclusive, with wine pairings). To view a PDF of the menus for each night, check them out here. Each dinner begins at 6pm.

Meanwhile, the OysterFest afternoon festival on Saturday October 17th runs from noon–3pm. The cost is $50, which includes admission and five tickets each, good for redeeming on small plates or beverages. There will be dishes like oysters on the half shell, grilled BBQ oysters, an oyster BLT, chowder, and more, and beverages from Anchor Steam, Speakeasy Ales & Lagers, Drakes Bay Oyster, J Vineyards, Ferrari-Carano, and Matanzas Creek Winery. There will also be a hot sauce competition, a shucking challenge, and live music by the Monophonics.

Proceeds to benefit the Surfrider Foundation and The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.

the health nut


A look into the bar area.

View into the wine cellar.

Elizabeth Wakeman and Michael Tusk.

David Lynch and wine storage.

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO 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 that arise when opening a business in San Francisco. This section is written by Erin Archuleta, a tablehopper intern and half of the talent behind local outfit Ichi Catering.

For those expecting a large open-floor plan dining room at Quince: you're in for quite the intimate, nook-and-cranny surprise. The new Quince, located at 470 Pacific Avenue at Montgomery in the former Myth space, is slated to open later this week. Cotogna, its casual next-door neighbor, will feature a similar (but not identical) aesthetic. Olle Lundberg and his associate Jennifer Brodi are the architects behind the layout (his firm is also known for The Slanted Door and Distillery 209).

For any of you who may have dined in the original tight space, the Tusk family and crew are putting the emphasis on elbowroom and elegance. The focus is on creating a similar flow throughout the smaller, connected spaces, which will make up the new Quince. Working along with interior designer Elizabeth Wakeman (Michael Tusk's mother-in-law) in the renovation of this 1902 Jackson Square building (it survived the quake and fire of '06), both felt it was important to incorporate the original brick and hardwood from the historic building into the new restaurant's design.

In an earlier 'hopper, Marcia revealed that the restaurant will be done in platinum and rich dark chocolate colors; this is still very much true, but the most difficult element of the design to describe or even show in these morning light images is the plethora of diffused natural light that makes its way into the space.

After living in virtually one room at their former location, this new space offers more opportunities for guest service (even though the main dining room is almost the same size as the previous restaurant). From an initial entrance with a coat closet, to the bar and lounge that open up into the dining areas with between 65–70 seats, a large wine cellar, and a private dining room, there is much for the crew to celebrate in terms of offering up more amenities.

The bar will be connected to the casual lounge, and both spaces will open up to the two dining areas which allow great seats to peer into the gorgeous 10,000-bottle wine cellar through the original arched windows. Talk about a vinophile's dream to peek into James Beard Award winner and much-admired sommelier David Lynch's wine wishes! The opening wine list is slated to have about 750 bottles available, with more to come (the former Quince location could house only about 500).

The wine cellar is reminiscent of a Roman aqueduct. This walnut-shelved space came about because the brick alcove already naturally felt like a cellar. The historic arches received double-paned glass and were temperature-ready. David mentioned that this space felt just right for the wines, offering up a slightly higher temperature than an average cellar in order to make the wines service-ready.

Much consideration was given to the 10-seat bar where walk-in guests can casually dine, facing a grand mirror reflecting art from chef (and art historian) Michael Tusk's personal collection. Michael noted on our walk-through that the windows from both the lounge area and dining room view the tree-lined street. He was thrilled that Olle was able to bring the outside in. Elizabeth worked his collection of photographs and oil paintings into the design. She noted that the interior design came about after spending time in the raw space. "If you stand in a space long enough, it suggests itself," she said smiling. The double-framed architectural elements lent interest to the colors and textures that Elizabeth and daughter Lindsay were discussing.

You won't be seeing double or think you've had too large a sip pre-amuse bouche if you get that sense of déjà vu in the space, though. There will be repurposed antique sconces along the wall, and the original chandelier will make its appearance in the new private dining room (which will house between 16–18 guests for chef's dinners, wine events, and private parties—an option not available in the former tight quarters). These connections to the prior Quince location were important to the family, a respectful nod.

The team at Quince opens the doors to the public this Thursday October 1st, and have already begun reserving spots for guests to celebrate.

the sugar mama


SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Last week I mentioned the upcoming Sunday Supper event, a benefit for CUESA this coming Sunday October 6th. Well, dear readers, I have not one but two pairs of tickets to give away to two lucky winners to the reception portion of the evening.

The gala reception begins at 5:30pm in the Ferry Building Marketplace, including 27 hors d'oeuvre stations, four artisan cocktails, and wineries. (Tickets are worth $75 each.)

tablehopper readers can enter to win by forwarding this week's tablehopper newsletter to three buddies, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friends why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (not a blog!), or point out an event or happening that you think your friend would like. Simply CC or BCC luckyme [at] so I know you sent it—I promise I won't use anyone's email address.

Deadline to enter is midnight this Thursday October 1st—I'll notify the two winners on Friday.

And if you don't want to leave it up to chance, just order your tickets now here. See you there!

the starlet

SEPTEMBER 29, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO According to Danny DeVito's Twitter feed, he had a fantastic meal at Oliveto.

A tablehopper reader wrote in to let me know Ashton Kutcher had lunch at Cascal in downtown Mountain View on Thursday September 17th.

Glen Hansard of The Frames (he co-wrote the Academy Award-winning song Falling Slowly for the Irish movie Once) was spotted in Florio—a few customers reportedly bought him a drink and asked for an autograph.

But bar none, the most exciting starlet sighting I heard about was Stevie Wonder's impromptu performance at CODA on Saturday night. He got on stage with Supertaster of The Jazz Mafia, performing All Day Sucker and I Can't Help It. Here's a YouTube video (not the best quality, but hey, it's all we've got) of the appearance, and pics, and Mission Mission found this first-hand account by Adam Theis of The Jazz Mafia. I can't imagine how amazing it was to experience this once-in-a-lifetime surprise performance, whoa. Now it's part of San Francisco's fabulous folklore. (Stevie also dined at NOPA on Sunday, and according to my source, he had the Little Gem salad and black cod.)


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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