table of contents This week's tablehopper: "to beef or not to beef."

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the regular
it's about time we met
the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
the hardhat
watch your step
the sugar mama
get some
the starlet
no photos please
the matchmaker
let's get it on

the sponsor
this round is on me

Chocolate Adventure Contest

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Last week was a much-needed break in between rounds of book edits (am in the home stretch, woooo!), so I took advantage of my deadline-less state to drive to Napa for dinner (destination: the intimate Terra in St. Helena—still wishing I had leftovers of the spaghettini with tripe in my fridge), to play hooky and have lunch at Osteria Stellina in Pt. Reyes on that gorg fall Friday we just had last week (oysters are delicious on pizza, who knew?!), and to attend my second whole animal event in one week.

imageNot just any whole animal event: famed butcher Dario Cecchini (and his delightful wife, Kim) were in town for a variety of events, visiting from his family's famous butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini in Panzano in Chianti, Italy. For those of you who read Bill Buford's Heat, you know exactly whom I am talking about. Nopa hosted the intimate event on Saturday afternoon; it was an honor to watch this remarkable artisan so confidently and skillfully do his craft. Cecchini was full of character, quotes (see the title of this week's missive), and charisma. (Photo by Arthur Perley.)

He began the event butchering half of a pig from Devil's Gulch Ranch, and then moved on to half a cow from Marin Sun Farms (here's a photo album I took of the event). As he reverently and confidently broke down each animal, he'd drop proclamations like, "Wasting beef is the greatest sadness," and "Meat shouldn't be particularly tender—it's why we have teeth." Oh yes, and let's not leave out this gem: "I think the filet needs to be left with some fat on it, otherwise nature wouldn't have surrounded it with it." Amen.

Every chef and butcher and home cook in the room watched him so closely, with occasional moments of total breathlessness over his technique (to wit: the removal of the pork ribs, amazing, and the massive porchetta he rolled up looked astounding). I've wanted to see this man do his thing for a long time, and can't believe I only had to walk four blocks to do so (thank you nopa for hosting, thank you Marin Organics for getting him here!). It was a dream to be able to taste a succulent bite of bistecca alla fiorentina, cooked so perfectly by the nopa kitchen staff (here's a video I took of Dario cutting it up just after it was grilled, and here's a video of him butchering the thigh).

I also have a link to more pro pictures from Arthur Perley who was photographing the event—this one from the beginning with the half pig is particularly commanding, and for those of you with butchery skills (or trying to hone them), you'll want to take a closer look at all of them.

imageOkay, enough meat for a moment. How about sherry?! Be sure to take a look in today's socialite for all the details on the upcoming tablehopper sherry tasting on November 10th at Stable Cafe! It's shaping up to be a stellar one. See you there!

Have a swell Halloween; I have always particularly loved Halloween because it means my birthday is coming the next day (which I will be happily spending over a home-cooked meal with my darling family on Sunday). Last week was all about "there will be blood," but this Sunday, there will be bubbles.

Cheers from here,


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the chatterbox

Chocolate Adventure ContestOCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Things just keep getting interesting over at ~AQUA~: now the Bacchus Management Group (Spruce, Village Pub) is taking it over completely. They ended up having the winning bid for the lease, and hope to retain the Aqua name as well. As for next steps, the restaurant will remain open until the end of the year, and will then be closing for a little bit around the New Year. Bacchus will be bringing in a new chef, but maintaining the fine dining atmosphere that Aqua has always been known for since 1991. Here's hoping the name continues to live on. 252 California St. at Battery.

Things are brewing (heh) in the Inner Sunset at the ~FORMER SITE OF GOLDEN GATE BREWERY, ELDO'S GRILL AND BREWERY, AND WUNDER BREWING COMPANY~: a new group is taking it over and plan to reopen the brewery, and if all goes well with the ABC license, it will be serving beer and food in January. On the menu: you'll find American fare (although I can't reveal who the chef is), and things are also in final negotiations with the brewer, so that is under wraps as well. I spoke with one of the partners, Rex Tabora of Zebulon downtown, and he said he's especially excited about the project because he grew up just four blocks away. We'll know more in 45—60 days once the license (hopefully) goes through. 1326 9th Ave. at Irving.

Speaking of ~ZEBULON~, it looks like they will be able to remain in their space at 83 Natoma until the end of January (when the Transbay Terminal construction forces them out), and will then be reopening at 500 Howard Street at 1st St.

imageWas so excited to walk over for my afternoon shot o' espresso yesterday at the new ~MATCHING HALF~, a lovely cafe that just opened at the corner of McAllister and Baker. For those who may remember the dumpy One World Cafe, you won't believe how well the place has been transformed—it's now sunny and cheerful, with a natural modern look, including the original Douglas-fir floors, tall ceilings, white subway tile for the backsplash, and handmade tables of poplar (including a communal table), plus some outdoor seating. What really caught my eye (and immediate affection) was the gorgeous Slayer Espresso machine from Seattle with walnut paddles. My macchiato of Verve "The Sermon" espresso (from Santa Cruz) was heaven indeed. Once Sightglass Coffee (more on this in the hardhat) gets its roaster going, they'll switch to their coffee. There are also Chemex pots (perfect for two) and individual drip coffee. You can munch on breakfast treats from Bakers of Paris, plus there's a brioche bun with egg, cheese, and ham, and bagels. There will also be a couple sandwiches every day (yesterday's were ciabatta with a caprese salad, and salame with butter and cornichons on baguette). Once the beer and wine license kicks in, the hours will run later, and there will be small plates of food into the evening to nosh on while you enjoy a glass of wine or a beer. There's WiFi as well. Hours for now are 7am—6pm, opening at 8am on the weekends; once beer and wine arrive (any day now), hours will go until 9pm or later. 1799 McAllister St. at Baker, 415-674-8699.

I heard that Jane Tseng, the pastry chef of ~A16~, is moving on in mid-November—she is actually moving to NYC, and will be working with Nate Appleman at Pulino (although her move east was initially motivated by personal matters, she is very excited to be working with Nate again). Lori Rich, Jane's pastry assistant, will be promoted to pastry chef of A16 as of November 1st. Jane will stay on to help with the transition and the A16/SPQR team wishes her well in her future endeavors. At SPQR, new executive chef Matthew Accarrino will be doing his own desserts with the help of his team.

imageThings are getting close for ~REPUBLIC~, the project in the Marina in the former Jones space, brought to you by the Bin 38 crew (Shaw Amirghassemkhany, Don Davis, Peter Scully and David Sheridan). Executive chef Brian Beach (The Waterfront, Adagia) has put together a menu focused on updated bar and grill classics and comfort food made with local ingredients, like a burger made with sustainable, ground-to-order beef; grilled romaine salad and Parmesan flan; and Phillies (mini cheese steak bites). There will also be clever bar snacks, including local Dungeness crab jalapeno poppers. One thing that is sure to prick up a lot of ears around town is that the beverage program will have the largest all-American craft beer list in San Francisco (classic cocktails will also be available). Jim Maxwell of Architects II redid the interior to be more upscale, and the entrance has been moved to Scott Street. Game watchers: there will be TV/sports viewing, although the TVs can and will be covered by artwork or sliding panels based on game times (except for three TVs in the bar area, which will remain uncovered). Hours will include weekend brunch (starting at 9am, and open continuously until 2am on Sat and 12am on Sun), and snacks, drinks, and dinner Mon—Wed 4pm—12am and until 2am Thu—Fri. The opening is looking like Friday November 13th for now (mua hua huaaaaa). 2401 Lombard St. at Scott, 415-817-1337.

Just over the past weekend, ~SUSHI RAW 3~ opened in the now-closed Baghdad Nights location in the Lower Haight (if you live out in the Excelsior, you might be familiar with their original location—and there's another one is in San Bruno). The menu includes the usual sushi/sashimi suspects, along with ramen/udon. Hours are 11:30am—3pm, and 5pm—10pm daily. Oh, and there's delivery too. 682 Haight St. at Pierce, 415-863-6888.

Also in the neighborhood: if you are missing the tasty tikka masala from the former ~METRO KATHMANDU~ (now Metro Cafe), they are selling pre-packaged servings under the Metro Kathmandu label in the refrigerated food section at Falletti's. You can pick up chicken tikka masala ($8.99), lamb vindaloo ($7.99), saag paneer ($5.99), and basmati rice ($1.49). 308 Broderick St. at Fell.

More Indian cuisine news: ~URBAN CURRY~ (no relation to Urbun Burger or Urban Tavern, har) is now open in the former Little Joe's space, next door to the Vin Club on Broadway. On the menu: classic Indian and Pakistani dishes. One of the owners is also behind the House of Curries locations in Berkeley. Lunch is served from 11am—3pm, and dinner is from 5pm—11pm. 523 Broadway at Kearny, 415-677-9744.

Looking for a good deal for a business lunch? ~CHEZ PAPA RESTO~ is offering a two-course business lunch for $17.95, or three courses for $22.95. You can choose from apps like French onion soup or smoked trout with potato salad or Snake River Farms beef tartare; and entrées include a roasted eggplant and mozzarella tartine or a flatiron steak with béarnaise and frites. Want dessert? There are profiteroles, brandied cherry clafoutis, or apple tarte tatin. 4 Mint Plaza at 5th St., 415-546-4134.

Let's hear it for free, shall we?

~NAMU~ is offering free bar bites on Monday nights from 9:30pm—10:30pm. Just have a drink, and you'll be able to eat dishes like pickled quail egg salad, hot wings, fried somen noodles, and OB-battered onion rings. 439 Balboa St. at 5th Ave., 415-386-8332.

~BEAUTIFULL~ in Laurel Village is offering a free cup of Equator Estate coffee (just bring your own cup or to-go mug) with a breakfast purchase from 9am—11am daily, until November 16th. You can choose from a new menu of breakfast items, like a seasonal frittata or fresh-baked muffins. 3401 California St. at Laurel, 415-728-9080.

This Wednesday October 28th, former New York Times restaurant critic William Grimes will be at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ to talk about his new book, Appetite City: A Culinary History of New York, at 6pm. (Or come by on Sunday November 8th and bring some figs to David Chang (Momofuku) and Jeremy Fox (ubuntu), who will appear in conversation at noon. Because space is limited, anyone who calls/emails ahead to buy a copy of The Momofuku Cookbook will be guaranteed a seat.) 3885A Cesar Chavez St. at Church, 415-282-4712.

imageAnd on Thursday October 29th, you can listen in on a panel discussion about responsible meat eating and animal agriculture: ~IN SEARCH OF A RIGHTEOUS PORKCHOP~. This event is sponsored by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) and Book Passage. Here's more from the announcement: "The reality behind industrially produced meat—cramped confinement, routine use of antibiotics and growth hormones, E. coli epidemics, pollution of air and water, enormous carbon footprint, and so on—has made some eaters into staunch vegans. For others, however, all-or-nothing is a false choice. This panel will explore the middle ground: moderate consumption of meat from animals raised humanely and sustainably on family farms. Panelists will include Nicolette Hahn Niman, attorney, rancher, and author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms; David Evans, fourth generation rancher and owner of Marin Sun Farms; and Aaron French, chef at the Sunny Side Café, ecologist, and writer. Moderated by Elanor Starmer, researcher and policy analyst for the national consumer advocacy organization Food and Water Watch." The event is free and will be followed by a reception with farmers' market snacks. No RSVP needed. 6:30pm—8:30pm. For further information, contact Julie Cummins: 415-291-3276 x106. Port Commission Hearing Room, second floor of the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero at Market St.

As for some paid events, this Thursday October 29th is a ~COMMONWEALTH CLUB INFORUM EVENT~: The Street Food Movement: SF Hearts the Cart. There will be a panel with Anthony Myint, Mission Street Food; Brian Kimball, Magic Curry Kart; Steven Gdula, Gobba Gobba Hey; and Charles Phan, executive chef, Slanted Door, moderated by Tamara Palmer. After the discussion, everyone can head over to 111 Minna, where some street food carts will be offering limited samples and hawking their eats, including: Bacon Potato Chips, Bike Basket Pies, Creme Brulee Cart, Gobba Gobba Hey, Magic Curry Kart, Mission Street Food, Smitten Ice Cream, Soul Cocina, and Sweet Constructions. Tickets are $12 for members, $20 for non-members. 6:30pm, panel discussion; 7:30pm, Street Eats Party. Buy tickets here. 595 Market St. at 2nd St.

Next Tuesday November 3rd is ~PETTING ZOO~, another carve-and-eat event at Bloodhound from Ryan Farr from 4505 Meats and Taylor Boetticher from Fatted Calf. They'll be doing a carving demo of a goat and a lamb, and spit roasting a whole hog on an open fire. Rabbit crepinettes, chicken beer sausages, chicharrones, Taylor's salami, and bacon brownies will also be offered, plus a bacon-inspired cocktail from the bar. $40. Price of admission gets you the demonstration viewing, all the food you can eat, and one free cocktail of your choice at the bar. Buy tickets. 6pm—11pm (the organizers say, "food will be flowing steadily the entire event, so don't feel like you need to be the first through the door.") 1145 Folsom St. at 7th St.


That'll teach me to put a politician in the starlet: last week I mistakenly wrote Senator instead of Speaker Pelosi. I'm just going to stick with MC Hammer sightings from now on.

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

the sponsor

Chocolate Adventure Contest

Are you up for the Adventure? Scharffen Berger and invite you to enter the fabulous, third annual Chocolate Adventure Contest. So go ahead: invent, create, explore the boundaries of your own culinary imagination. This year the contest accepts entries in two categories—Sweet and Savory—for the chance to win one of two $10,000 grand prizes.

To be eligible, combine any Scharffen Berger chocolate with one or more of 16 select "adventure ingredients" (pandan leaf, banana leaf, sumac, rice flour, fresh mint, black eyed peas and others) in an original recipe. Whether appetizer, main course, dessert, cocktail—you can enter up to 10 recipes total. Get more information at

the regular


Crispy onions

Hummus and pita

3011 Steiner St.
Cross: Union St.
San Francisco, CA 94123


Sun—Thu 5:30pm—10pm
Fri—Sat 5:30pm—11pm

Small plates $8—$15
Larger plates $16—$27
Desserts $8

NOTE: This is a shorter update; my original fresh meat review can be found here.

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO One of the unexpected pleasures of my book writing process was rediscovering places I hadn't visited in a while (and of course there were some places I wish I had left well alone, ah well). But in the delicious revisit category was ~TERZO~. I have always been drawn to the chic and intimate room by Cass Calder Smith, full of warm wood and dim lighting (and cool design details), the interesting wine list (with a rather extensive range available by the glass), and the friendly service. Why the hell did it take me so long to come back? Why did I act like one of those guys who take a week to call you after a good date? For some things in this world, there just aren't acceptable explanations.

It feels like chef/co-owner Mark Gordon's menu has really hit its stride with what regulars and the neighborhood want; and one of the things they wished for was larger plates. There are a now a few bigger dishes to choose from on the menu of (mostly) small plates; one night there were eggy hand-cut noodles ($13/$20) with truffle, butter, and pecorino; I saw a table of ladies scarfing the grilled skirt steak ($26); and there was a homey braised chicken ($22), all made with quality ingredients. But the small plates here are still the domain I like to play in.

The seasonal Cal-Med menu changes daily; when I went in June, my friend and I loved the trio of baked squash blossoms ($8) stuffed with fresh ricotta, salsa verde, and a drizzle of Umbrian olive oil, a nice break from the usual fried execution you see. I also got to enjoy my first apricots of the season in a salad ($9) with pistachios, sweet Walla Walla onions, mint, and a tangy honey dressing made with white balsamic. At first I thought the flavors were a little too disparate, but as I kept coming back to it, I liked it more and more (different often takes a little time to get used to).

Skewers of lamb keftas ($15) were succulent and an effortless match with the tangy counterpoints of pomegranate molasses and a base of lebne (the execution here was more like yogurt than the spreadable cheese). Truth be told, the plate of roasted carrots and turnips ($9) was my favorite of the evening, a beautiful and simple dish made with brown butter and a sweet and spiced gastrique with clove, allspice, cinnamon, and honey. The caramelized sugars in this dish were magic. I know, how Chez Panisse/platter of figs, but whatever, it was delicious. Since we're on vegetables, vegetarians will be happy with the number of choices to be found here.

The Cow Hollow ladies who come here to eat and drink wine are definitely fans of the house-made pita ($8) that's cooked to order, with a dusting of the house za'atar, a mix of oregano, thyme, sumac, allspice, and sesame. The warm pita is so delicious, paired with a thick hummus topped with a pool of glistening olive oil (you'll find a lot of olive oil here, don't be afraid). The crispy onions ($6) are another fave, strings of red onion from a buttermilk bath, coated with a dusting of cornstarch and fried. They're ridiculous—just watch them disappear.

Desserts are simple and homey, like strawberry shortcake with lemon curd, or a silky buttermilk and vanilla panna cotta with huckleberries. (All the desserts are $8, although I don't agree with the sorbet costing the same amount as the chocolate cake.) Or you can always go for some dessert wine—again, there's an impressive number of glasses to choose from.

There are all kinds of useful features here, notable for such a small space: there's a back room that's spot-on for private events (seats 16), there's a back corner table perfect for larger groups (ideally seven), and the front sidewalk seating is actually reserve-able! (Nice little trick for the next heat wave, eh? Shhhhh.) The communal table and bar inside also make it convenient for drop-ins or single diners. But folks, if you want a perfect place for a second date (or maybe you have kids and you're finally going out for date night!), well, this is it.

the lush

Chocolate Adventure ContestOCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Next Wednesday November 4th and 5th are ~DUBONNET APERITIF HAPPY HOURS~. Dubonnet will host complimentary happy hours at Eastside West (3154 Fillmore St. at Greenwich) on Wednesday November 4th, and at Orson (508 4th St. at Bryant) on Thursday November 5th. Guests will be presented with Dubonnet Dollars, which they can use to purchase classic and contemporary aperitifs such as the Dubonnet Cocktail, Dubonnet Fizz, and Dubonnet Royale for a single dollar. In addition to the cocktail special, each event will offer patrons (21 years and older) complimentary hors d'oeuvres. At the conclusion of each event, one lucky guest will leave with a gift certificate for dinner at the hosting restaurant! 6:30pm—8:30pm. Salud.

Here's an update on the ~HEAVEN'S DOG~ happy hour (sorry for any confusion, folks, things changed): the promotion is now $5 cocktails and well drinks are available Mon—Fri from 4pm—6:30pm (until December 1st). 1148 Mission St. at 7th St., 415-863-6008.

Attention bartenders: looking for a new lid? Goorin Hat Company is hosting their first ~BARTENDER APPRECIATION DAY~ on Sunday November 1st at the Haight Street store. All industry folks get 25% off their purchase that day, and there will also be an industry-only event from 7:30pm—9:30pm, with signature Bols Genever cocktails, PBR, and some nibbles while you get fitted for a hat (there will also be some giveaways). Bartenders, barbacks, and cocktail servers: please provide your bar/restaurant name with your RSVP at 1446 Haight St. at Masonic.

On Wednesday November 4th, join ~LUIGI MANCINI~ from Fattoria Mancini (the link is a PDF, FYI!) in the Marche for an Italian wine (and American cuisine) dining experience at CONDUIT. Mancini's wines, particularly his pinot noir, are sourced from acclaimed vines originally planted by the Napoleonic French on calcareous cliffs above the Adriatic, and exude a mineral-driven elegance (no, I didn't come up with that sentence). The meal is $75 per person (excluding tax and gratuity). 6pm—10pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-552-5200.

Luigi Mancini will also be at ~SPQR~ on Tuesday November 3rd to talk about his wines, and he will be hand carrying his acclaimed red wine 'Blu' made from the rare local grape, Ancellotta. Executive chef Matthew Accarrino will offer an additional menu (along with the daily menu) of a la carte dishes to pair with each of wines offered in three-ounce tastes, by the glass, half bottle carafe, or bottle. 1911 Fillmore St. at Bush, 415-771-7779.

the socialite



tablehopper tasting: sherry
Tue. Nov. 10th, 2009

Stable Cafe
2128 Folsom St.
Cross: 17th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110

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

$59 (includes ticket processing fees)

buy tickets here

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO As you may remember, I took a weeklong trip to Jerez at the end of the summer this year, and fell madly in love with sherry. Touring the bodegas, I gained such an appreciation for the craftsmanship and years of tradition that go into making sherry; it's surprising to me how affordable sherry can be, considering all the work behind each bottle.

We're lucky to have industry folks at places like nopa and Gitane who have put together extensive sherry lists and cocktails for us to taste, but unless you've tried an oloroso before, you're not likely to take a leap of faith and just order it, right? Well, let's fix that, because personally speaking, I can't believe I wasn't drinking more sherry before I took my trip; the flexibility of sherry and food pairing was a big epiphany for me. And it's freaking delicious.

So it is with great excitement that I am announcing the ~SECOND TABLEHOPPER TASTING~ on Tuesday November 10th, with this one about sherry! And we're going to have quite the teacher: while in Jerez, I met César Saldaña, the director of the Consejo Regulador de Jerez (translation: the council that regulates sherry in Spain). He is one of the most passionate educators about sherry, and definitely one of the top experts. When I found out he was going to be in town for a few days, I simply had to put this event together.

We'll start with an opening reception in the kitchen at Stable Café (have you seen this place yet? It's so cool.), with some tastes of fino and manzanilla, along with Spanish-inspired bites from James Stolich of CookWithJames (you may know him from his CookWithJames Underground Supper Club dinners). Bartender Neyah White from nopa will also get things started with a sherry-based cocktail, the Pear Brown Sugar Shrub.

Once we sit down in the gallery for the education portion of the evening, we'll be tasting other sherry styles, like an amontillado, palo cortado, oloroso, and Pedro Ximénez and cream sherry to finish. Oh yes, and Neyah is going to have a cocktail for us to wrap up with, the Barrel to Barrel, made with single malt scotch, oloroso, Pedro Ximénez, and nocino. Please don't expect a full meal, but there will definitely be plenty of savory bites for you to enjoy throughout the evening.

César is going to give you an introduction to sherry like no one else could—even if you already know the difference between a palo cortado and an amontillado, you'll still come away with deeper sherry knowledge in this tasting. Suffice to say, this is going to be a rare and one-of-a-kind evening with the (very charming) César in the casa.

Seats are limited, so act quickly.

¡Hasta luego!

the health nut






Photos by Daisy Chow.

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO This section is written by Erin Archuleta, half of the talent behind local outfit ICHI Catering (@ICHISUSHI). Outside of the foodie world she works full-time championing kid literacy at 826 National. Keep up with her on Twitter @erinarchuleta.

Coming from Flint, Michigan, my version of coffee well into adulthood involved blue tin Maxwell House coffee cans repurposed for snow fort brick-building, and sparkly Folgers flavor crystals that would soon make up the muddied contents of my dad's Aladdin thermos for his second or third shift commute to work on the assembly line. Meeting brothers and Sightglass Coffee (270 7th Street at Howard Street) business partners Jerad and Justin Morrison, it was obvious that they grew up with a different, more crafted version of the muddy brown liquid my own working-class hometown knew as a drip brew.

The Pacific Northwest's tradition of coffee-roaster craftsmanship has fostered these brothers' quest to emulate and surpass the coffees they roasted and served over the last ten years in Seattle, Washington (Jerad) and Eugene, Oregon (Justin). Now, combining what some may consider flannel-town forces, the brothers clearly have spent their time doing their artisan homework for us all to enjoy in the form of a "light industrial retail café space." What San Francisco zoning can't explain about the concept that Jerad and Justin have drafted up, along with architect partners Boor Bridges, is that you are in a coffee roastery from the moment you pass through the front.

Most roasteries are coffee houses first, with the roasting equipment in the back. Playing on the image of a "sight glass," or meter by which you can gauge how much liquid is contained inside, the brothers have allowed us a peek inside the process of creating their version of the perfect cup of coffee. Their antique mechanical (not computer-based) roasting equipment will be in the front of the space, taking up what's usually considered prime real estate in front of the tall warehouse windows. Guests will find themselves between beans, burlap bags, and baristas in this new take on a gathering spot.

Jerad and Justin were so hands-on that they repurposed the antique roasting machines themselves. It's one thing to know your craft well, it's another to understand the machinery on such a level that you can take it apart and put it back together in a new and improved way. The 1961 Probat roaster that they found in Germany was worth the shipping costs according to the brothers, because they would have more complete control over how the beans were roasted. They explained to me (a reformed Maxwell House girl), that when you allow a computerized mechanism to come into the process, you lose some of the ability to manipulate time and the depth of the roast. They are on a mission to get back to a more Old World way of doing coffee, based on the sensory experience of the roasting.

With the logistics worked out, the gentlemen have a way to go on their build-out. But, it seems that they have a strong timeline (and a current coffee cart in their space) to support them. In an unusual business model, the brothers are open for business before their main space is completed. Customers are welcomed in to peek at the construction between 8am—5pm seven days a week while grabbing a cup of coffee or a small sweet in their little Seventh Street coffee garage space. It's funny to consider that this little cart will soon take on the 4,000-square-foot warehouse that once housed a sign company in its South of Market digs.

The bulk of their work involved sandblasting the warehouse, and then jack hammering (themselves!) and trenching about 150 feet to lay new plumbing and run electrical conduit. They have been stoked with their partnership with MHC Engineers and are looking forward to breezing through their upcoming inspections. Erasing traces of the former sign company took eight dump trucks loaded full of debris. Sandblasting the remaining frame of their space to get down to the original old-growth Douglas-fir took three weeks, but was worth the effort to reuse the gorgeous resources already available to them.

Clearing out the space, a long skylight was revealed, and with advice from their architects, another eight skylights will be added. Local reuse lighting designer Kevin Randolph will be supporting the design vision with his custom fixtures for the space. (You can read more about Kevin's other projects in a previous hardhat on Bar Crudo here.)

Their bar is an unusual concept, which will be a central focus of the design. Instead of the domino rows of tables covered in laptops with no one talking, Jerad and Justin are encouraging community by having one huge central coffee bar with stools surrounding it. They are planning for some communal tables in the back where the laptop crew can click away in silence. Mindful of the existing warm Douglas-fir and cool concrete and steel bones of the building, they sourced furniture maker friend Earl Gonzales of EVG Design (and formerly of Linden Street Design) to create the bar and tables from local lumber. Earl will be relying on the brothers and their friend Mark Rogero from Concreteworks to pour the large bar, which will be a combination of concrete and the local bay laurel slabs he is sourcing. The bar will feature a couple of Slayer espresso machines (insert obvious heavy metal joke about Raining Blood here), which support the barista's ability to control more of the coffee experience.

They have found a boon in storage, as well. There's a loft that they will use for their administrative offices and extra storage space once their distribution business is up and running. They are taking advantage of a niche market by offering direct trade coffees instead of just fair trade, cultivating relations with individual growers, and hope to support these growers' fair business practices over time.

the sugar mama


OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO On Saturday November 7th in Napa, Taste Network presents ~PRIMAL~, an outdoor gathering of local butchers and chefs preparing a bounty of heritage meats from Hudson Ranch over hardwood fires from 3pm—7pm. (The only thing keeping me away from this event is I'll be busy hosting my annual birthday dinner party blowout that night!)

Held at Chase Cellars' Hayne Vineyard, guests will be able to explore local flavors from chefs and butchers and sample great California wines. Chefs include Chris Cosentino of Incanto/Boccalone, Staffan Terje of Perbacco, Taylor Boetticher of Fatted Calf, Avedano's Butchers SF, Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, Star Meats Berkeley, and Jeremy Fox of Ubuntu.

I have one pair of VIP tickets to give away to one lucky winner! tablehopper readers can enter to win by forwarding this week's tablehopper newsletter to two 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, like this one. Simply CC or BCC so I know you sent it—I promise I won't use anyone's email address.

Deadline to enter is midnight Friday October 30th—I'll notify the winner over the weekend. Good luck!

In case you want to saddle up for tickets now, general admission tickets are $65; and VIP tickets are $100 and include reserve wines, wood-fired oysters, Benton's bacon, grilled artisan cheeses, and cocktails by Alembic's Daniel Hyatt. Visit for additional information and tickets.

the starlet

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO A tablehopper reader writes: "Tom Colicchio, wife, and child were at Bouchon Bakery in Yountville on Wednesday October 21st. He was incredibly nice and posed for a picture with me—I noticed earlier that his wife offered to take a picture for another group who was struggling with the self-timer. It totally made my wine country vacation."

the matchmaker

OCTOBER 27, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Tyler Florence is seeking talented experienced Chefs de Cuisine and General Managers for new restaurants in San Francisco and Mill Valley. Please submit resumes and cover letters to


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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