table of contents This week's tablehopper: talkin' turkey.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the lush

put it on my tab

the socialite
the sugar mama
get some

the starlet
no photos please

the sponsor
this round is on me

Bi-Rite Wine Blitz

Lost Art Salon

NOVEMBER 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO "This is Ricky Machado, and I am reporting to you live from the scene. Ah, yes, Susan, that is correct, we have a three car pile-up on the tablehopper freeway. It appears there was a sherry party bus and a weekly restaurant delivery van both on their planned Tuesday route, and then an Alfa Romeo loaded with book manuscripts attempted to pull an Evel Knievel and jump over them as it was coming off an overpass, but the driver didn't clear it. It was quite a convergence.

"No one is hurt but the driver of the sports car is visibly fatigued. Looks like she was driving hard all weekend, trying to make her delivery on time. So now we have a mess of paper all over the freeway. The sherry party bus is still on target, claro, and the restaurant delivery van lost a little bit of produce in the spill, but is still gonna make its Tuesday scheduled delivery at 3pm.

"As for the driver of the Alfa, I'll have an interview with her shortly asking what the hell was she thinking driving that fast in lane one hauling that kind of a load, let alone trying to jump the van and the bus. Total kamikaze move. The CHP has never seen anything like it. Film at 11."



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the chatterbox

Bi-Rite Wine BlitzNOVEMBER 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Some details have finally been released about the ~CREDO~ project due to open in the Financial District at the end of December/beginning of the New Year. Owner Clint Reilly is opening what they're calling an urban trattoria in an old Chinese bank. The name comes from the Italian and Latin phrase "I believe," which will be transformed into a design element in the space: large panels on the walls will feature quotes from famous people ranging (including John F. Kennedy and Howard Stern), who have all said sentences that begin with "I believe." There will be 79 seats, with a spacious private dining room below with room for 50, and an upstairs bar with eight seats. The design is modern, with treated cement floors, and special tables handmade from scrap wood by Dutch designer Piet Hein Eek. Richardson Architects of Mill Valley is behind the design.

Chef Mario Maggi, who hails from Florence but trained in Milan, has worked in 31 restaurants around the world, and this will be his first opening in San Francisco. His menu of rustic Italian fare will include a grilled Caesar salad and baked pastas, including a dish called sedanini al credo, a type of pasta that he bakes covered with a lid of pizza dough, almost like an Italian pot pie. And reportedly the Emperor of Japan is crazy for Maggi's tiramisu. Lunch and dinner will be served Mon–Fri, and dinner on Saturdays. 360 Pine St. at Montgomery.

Things are also in motion for the ~25 LUSK~ project (it's near Ritch Street in SoMa) that has been in a holding pattern for some time. Details are slim, but Chad Bourdon (formerly of Farallon) and executive chef Matthew Dolan (New York's Café des Artistes, Emeril's in New Orleans, and Garibaldi's in SF) are the managing partners on the project. The vague details I have about the dining style are these: it will be "sophisticated, contemporary, approachable fine dining." The opening timeframe is approximately early summer 2010, and construction is expected to begin soon. 25 Lusk St. at Townsend.

Opening today, ~URBAN PICNIC~ is the new concept launching in the former Chill dessert cafe in the Financial District. Owner Trang Nguyen hired Poleng Lounge's Tim Luym to develop a new menu of healthy and ethnically inspired salads, sandwiches, and soups, ranging from turkey with honey guacamole on a baguette, to a house salad with additions like lemongrass chicken, to a chicken coconut lime soup. Grab-and-go selections will be coming soon. The location's original dessert concept means there will be desserts and beverages as well, including all natural–frozen yogurt, frozen custard, gelato, and coffee. Open Mon–Fri 10:30am–4:30pm. 125 Kearny St. at Post, 415-413-1233.

Let's look at some meals on deals...

Want a delicious and homey three-course dinner for $25? ~IL CANE ROSSO~ has decided to extend their Sunday Supper $25 dinner to every night, serving it from 5:30pm–9pm. Check out their site for menu details, but last night's included kale and apple salad with pecorino ginepro, toasted hazelnuts, and thyme vinaigrette; Marin Sun Farms brisket with horseradish aioli; soft polenta with Pt. Reyes blue cheese; and snickerdoodle cookies with Straus Dairy vanilla soft serve. Yeah, awesome. One Ferry Building, # 41, 415-391-7599.

~ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP~ is now offering a half-pound beef burger with pickled sumac onions and one drink (anything from their well, draft beer, or wine) for only $15. This promotion is available Monday through Saturday after 8:30pm at the bar. 606 Folsom St. at 2nd St., 415-243-0580.

Looking for something to do?

Boy, do I have a lineup of events for you. First, a friendly reminder that this Wednesday November 11th is ~FOOD FOR THOUGHT~, a fundraising night for the Mission Graduates nonprofit organization. Dine out at select Mission District restaurants like Bar Bambino, Farina, Range, Regalito, Slow Club, and Front Porch, and they will generously donate a portion of their sales that evening to help pave the way to college for K–12 students in the Mission District. Click here for a list of participating restaurants and make your reservation.

Saturday the 14th is the next ~YBCA BIG IDEA NIGHT~, which is fantastically free to the public. This one's theme is "State of the Queer Nation/Bridging the Gap," focusing on cultural distance and how to close gaps of misunderstandings between people. There will be a "Soapbox Social" from 7pm–9pm with queer luminaries each delivering a five-minute State of the Union address (including the inimitable Anna Conda), followed by cocktails and conversation. Seats are limited, so please RSVP at At 9pm, the party kicks off with performance art, DJs, and the Diamond Daggers, a fabulous queer burlesque troupe. Orson/Citizen Cake's Elizabeth Falkner and partner/co-owner, Sabrina Riddle have graciously donated "Edible Indulgences" (made of Scharffen Berger chocolate with chili pepper and pop rocks) to be given out by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at the party for a suggested donation of $3 or more (proceeds go to YBCA and Tenderloin Tessie's Holiday Dinner). There will also be warm pork buns with kimchee ($5), cold noodle salad with mushrooms, herbs, and peanut vinaigrette ($5), and cupcakes and whoopie pies ($3). RSVP at for guaranteed admittance. 7pm–2am. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Grand Lobby and Galleries, 701 Mission St., 415-978-2787.

Lost Art SalonWell, lame Daylight Savings Time is in full effect, and the weather is cooler, so we might as well celebrate what's great about autumn. On Sunday November 15th, ~PICCINO~ is hosting an Autumn Festival, serving a variety of special Far West Fungi mushroom dishes, roasting chestnuts, and grilling butterflied quails on their outdoor grilling box, plus pizzas, salads, and desserts will also be available. Ian Garrone of Far West Fungi will be setting up a mini outdoor mushroom booth, where you'll have the opportunity to purchase and take home a variety of fresh, wild, and cultivated mushrooms (chanterelle, porcini, cauliflower, black trumpet, shiitake, king trumpet, and, yes, truffle) as well as dried mushrooms and truffle salt, all at 10–15% off. 12pm–5pm. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

Feeling saucy? Sunday the 15th is also ~THE BOSS OF THE SAUCE~ competition, with 20 local restaurants competing over who makes the best tomato sauce. There will be food vendors, like Caffé Bao Necci Pizzeria, Caesar's Italian Restaurant, Palio d'Asti, Sicilianaire, and Guerra Quality Meats, plus wines from Dalla Terra, Jacuzzi Winery, Imagery Estate Winery, and Elizabeth Spencer Wines. Cent'Anni Cocktails will be premiering a special "Fall Apple Crisp" cocktail for the event, and Moretti will be pouring their Italian brew. For an opportunity to judge, tasters must be one of the first 100 people to volunteer upon arrival. Tickets for $20 are available here and at the door. Doors at noon; event from 1pm–5pm. Sts. Peter and Paul Church Event Center, 666 Filbert St. at Stockton.

Next Friday November 20th, ~THE WILD KITCHEN~, with special guest Boris Portnoy, is throwing a Spanish-inspired (but locally sourced) foraged food feast at SoCha Cafe in the Mission. The seven-course menu includes Mendocino porcini toasts with local sea salt, hen of the woods mushroom soup with Cowgirl crème fraîche, acorn bread with honey-infused raw milk, saffron-scented paella of wild foraged mussels and Boccalone sausage, feta cake of Mendocino ocean water with Berkeley foraged persimmons, black olive and foraged black walnut financier, and wild Mendocino huckleberry tapioca and wild rosemary chocolate mousse. Tickets are $50. There will be a $10 corkage fee for wine, as well as beer and wine available for purchase, which will go to SoCha. Space is very limited. If you have something you'd like to trade for dinner, they are up to hear it (like the use of a truck for Sat–Mon, or if you have restaurant experience and can help out). 7pm–9pm. SoCha Cafe, 3235 Mission St. at Valencia.

Lost Art SalonAnd now for some East Bay news: when Terrain, a hotly anticipated restaurant in Berkeley, learned that a little café in a garden center on the other side of the country trademarked the name, they decided to change their name to ~GATHER~. Expected to open for dinner on December 15th (with lunch to follow in January and full breakfast in February), there is a patio, rustic bar, and a casual café/to-go section in the East Bay's greenest of green buildings: the David Brower Center (it's right across from the University). The team includes Ari Derfel and Eric Fenster (Back to Earth Organic Catering), and brand-new GM Alex Desquiron (recently of Corso). Chef Sean Baker (formerly the sous at Millennium and the executive chef at Gabriela's in Santa Cruz) plans to offer fairly priced, "seasonal farm food" dishes, with humanely raised animals and sustainably caught seafood. Dishes include cinnamon braised–Sonoma lamb with chicory, apples and yogurt, and house-made salumi on a sausage pizza with torpedo onion and oregano. Half of the dishes will be vegetarian (like vegan chickpea-dusted cardoons with romesco and grilled scallion salsa). Christie Dufault of Gary Danko and Quince fame is crafting an all-California, entirely sustainable wine list, and the spirits will also be organic. The utilitarian chic design from Nicole Sillapere (SillaPere Design Lab) will emphasize reclaimed woods, artfully crafted metals, and local ceramic tile. 2200 Oxford St. at Allston, Berkeley, 510-859-9180.

Also in Berkeley, the 28-seat ~eVe RESTAURANT~ (site under construction) will open in mid to late November from the husband-and-wife chef team of executive chef Christopher Laramie (Blue Door in the Delano Hotel in Miami Beach, Everest in Chicago) and pastry chef Veronica Laramie (Charlie Trotter's)—they have moved to the Bay Area from Colorado. The seasonal menu will feature New American cuisine in a prix-fixe only format for $33, with choices of starters, main courses, and desserts. (Additional courses are available: five for $55, and seven for $77.) Examples of main dishes include quail with pancetta, chestnuts and star anise; seared black cod with miso, carrots and almonds; and cappelletti with pumpkin seeds, spaghetti squash, and blood orange. The wine list, compiled with help from Alex Bachman (Charlie Trotter's, Carmel Valley Ranch) will consist mostly of California vintages. 1960 University Ave. at Milvia.

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

the sponsor

Bi-Rite Wine Blitz

Despite its small size, Bi-Rite Market has one of the best wine selections in town. Wine buyer Trac Le's selection of artisan wines includes great organic and biodynamic producers from California, Italy, France, Spain, and beyond, with more than 50 hand-picked wines under $15, a selection of great food wines at all prices, and bottles from cult producers like Quintarelli, Pegau, Huet, and Radio Coteau.

During Bi-Rite's two Holiday Wine Blitzes (November 12th–15th and December 10th–13th), all wines are 20% off when you purchase any 12 or more bottles. The sale includes every wine in the store, and delivery is free in San Francisco! For more details, click here.

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

the lush

Bi-Rite Wine BlitzNOVEMBER 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Beer drinkers may want to check out the Autumn Beer and Food Feast at the ~TORONADO~ on Sunday November 15th. Chefs Melissa Axelrod and Christian Spybrook will feature a six-course locally focused seasonal menu paired with 15 craft beers (you can see the list of beers on the event invite). There is one seating at 11:30am, and the event ends by 4pm with the bar opening to the public. The six-course menu will be paired with 15 beers and includes salad, a fish course, soup, entrée, cheese course, and dessert, with a few surprises thrown in. Vegetarian options are available upon request. Tickets are $95 (including all taxes and $10 gratuity) and can be purchased at the Toronado or online. 547 Haight St. at Steiner.

Also in the Haight, Giovanni Pagano will be conducting an Intro to Italian Wines class at ~UVA ENOTECA~ on Sunday November 15th from 2pm–3:30pm. Guests will learn basic tasting techniques as they become familiar with five unique Italian wines. $35. Call 415-829-2024 or email to sign up. 568 Haight St. at Steiner.

Monday November 16th is a cool winemaker dinner at ~COI~, featuring Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon, who will be reading from his new book, Been Doon So Long, in between courses. Guests will get a signed first edition of his book, and there will be a vertical tasting of Le Cigare Volant. You can peek at the special menu here. 6pm. $175 (inclusive of tax and gratuity). 373 Broadway at Montgomery, 415-393-9000.

Lost Art SalonNext Tuesday November 17th, you'll be able to learn all about the recent harvest season from ~PRESS CLUB'S~ collection of winemakers: Chateau Montelena, Fritz Winery, Hanna Winery and Vineyards, Miner Family Vineyards, Mount Eden Vineyards, and Saintsbury. The winemakers will be pouring behind their individual tables, chatting with guests about their various offerings, and will bring raw juice to taste. 6pm–9pm. Event link. 20 Yerba Buena Ln. at Mission, 415-744-5000.

~ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT~ is feeling feisty, and is hosting a "No More Nouveau" party next Thursday November 19th. From the event announcement: "Arlequin Wine Merchant will host an evening of more than ten wine tastings celebrating the "real" Beaujolais from award-winning Cru Beaujolais producers including Marcel Lapierre, Guy Breton, Pierre Chermette, Jean Paul Brun, Alain Coudert, John-Paul Thévenet and more. Cru Beaujolais wines from these featured producers are made the "old" way—fermented on natural yeasts and bottled unfiltered. These wines are richer, broader and denser reds than the Beaujolais Nouveau most wine drinkers are familiar with, which is light and sweet with raspberry notes." 6pm–8pm. $15; pay at the door. 384 Hayes St. at Gough.

the sponsor

Lost Art Salon

Hope Brooks Meryman (1931–1975): Woodcuts from the 1960s

Woodcuts on paper by Hope Brooks Meryman made during her art career in New York City in the 1960s will be on display and for sale at Lost Art Salon beginning November 12th. Meryman was a master at capturing the feeling of a moment, the atmosphere of a particular place, or the character of an individual. Her life in New York City, her vacations to New England, and her travels to the Mediterranean informed much of the imagery in her work.

The opening party for the Hope Meryman show is this Thursday November 12th from 5:30pm–8:30pm. There will also be gobs from Gobba Gobba Hey and white jasmine sparkling tea from Golden Star Tea Company. The event is open to the public.

the socialite

photo by William Dalton

Thurs. Nov. 26th, 2009

various locations




Lost Art Salon

NOVEMBER 3, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO For those of you who have apartments that are too dang small to cook ~THANKSGIVING~ dinner, or just can't cook, here's a roundup of a few options around town. I also find the OpenTable list to be pretty extensive of what's open on turkey day.

Turkey and a View

EPIC Roasthouse is offering a multi-course dinner with Dungeness crab cocktail with avocado, pomelo, and cucumber salad and Meyer lemon aioli and radishes; caramelized butternut squash cannelloni with prosciutto, huckleberry relish, and blood orange vinaigrette; pan-roasted Maine scallops with ragout of sunchokes and cipollini onion, foie gras sauce, and fennel-pear salad; wood oven–roasted Branigan turkey with andouille stuffing, ginger sweet potato puree, black pepper cranberry sauce; and pumpkin gnocchi with chanterelle mushrooms, spinach, and chestnut sage–brown butter; desserts include warm apple tart with Tahitian vanilla whipped mascarpone; persimmon pudding and spiced pecans with Van Winkle bourbon ice cream and caramel sauce.

$85 per person (12 and under are $40), plus tax and gratuity. Supplemental wine pairing is $35. From 1:30pm–6:30pm. 415-369-9955.

Slow Food Thanksgiving

Americano is offering a three-course dinner with selections that include roasted butternut squash soup with toasted almonds, crème fraîche, and Dungeness crab; pear salad with little gem lettuce, arugula, gorgonzola cheese, and riesling vinaigrette; and Sausalito Springs watercress salad with Fuyu persimmon, ricotta salata cheese, and pomegranate vinaigrette. The main course includes a family-style Thanksgiving platter filled with all-natural heritage turkey, Brussels sprouts with lemon confit and chestnuts, Hog Island oyster and fennel sausage stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, and cranberry-orange relish. The sweet finish is a sampler of seasonal desserts.

Seatings at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm. $85 per adult and $35 per child (under 12). Wine pairings are an additional $25. 415-278-3777.

Mr. Miyagi's Thanksgiving

Ame will offer its regular menu in addition to a Thanksgiving Day tasting menu, featuring tuna tartare, roasted squash soup, seared Hokkaido scallops, turkey "porchetta," and pumpkin glacé with cranberry orange compote.

$85. 4pm–8pm. 415-284-4040.

I Don't Wanna Eat Turkey

Hate turkey? Want a steak instead? LarkCreekSteak is offering a prix-fixe three-course menu with multiple options. For starters, guests can choose from a little gem wedge, Sonoma Liberty duck terrine, or roasted pumpkin and hazelnut soup. Entrées include roast turkey with fennel sausage cornbread stuffing, certified Angus prime rib, or wood-grilled fresh fish. For dessert, there's old fashioned pumpkin pie, bread pudding, or apple-cranberry crisp.

$49 per person, $24 for children 10 and under, and there is no charge for children 3 and under. Seatings from 2:30pm–6:30pm. 415-593-4100.

Boozy Turkey

Palio d'Asti will be serving their third annual Italian-American Thanksgiving Feast, featuring chef Scherotter's famous bourbon and gin–braised turkey, grilled wild boar chops with sundried tomato tapenade, and a dessert buffet.

$59 per person, and children under 10 only pay their age. 415-395-9800.

510 Thanksgiving

Henry's at the Hotel Durant in Berkeley will be offering a Thanksgiving Day version of its popular "TV Dinners," with slow-roasted turkey with gravy, savory cornbread stuffing, garlic mashed potatoes, green beans, house-made cranberry sauce, and sweet potato pie with cinnamon whipped cream, and a holiday mulled wine.

Only $19.95. 12pm–9pm. 510-809-4132.

(NOTE: Both Pican in Oakland and FIVE in Berkeley are doing Thanksgiving events, call to inquire about details.)


You know you wanna try one. Chef/butcher Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats is offering specially prepared turduckens: a duck stuffed inside a chicken inside a turkey, all never frozen and free range. The birds will be stuffed with a chicken and duck sausage cornbread stuffing. The turduckens will be approximately 18–20 pounds and will feed 18–22 people, with some leftovers. Each bird is $250 and they require a 50% deposit via PayPal to process your order.

Each turducken comes with a electric thermometer and alarm probe in the center of the duck breast (the very center of the turducken); directions on how to cook it will also be provided. The turducken comes on a bed of root vegetables with assorted herbs in a roasting pan ready to cook.

The deadline for all orders is Sunday the 15th (act fast since they are only making a limited amount and they go quick). The birds are available for pick up only at their kitchen in Potrero Hill on Friday the 20th after 2pm, Tuesday the 24th after 2pm, or Wednesday the 25th after 2pm.

If you would like to order a turducken, email to confirm and include the date that you would like to pick up. Once you have replied with the date, they will invoice you via PayPal for the deposit.

I Don't Want to Cook the Damned Bird

Here are a few Thanksgiving "please cook it for me" options I found:

Joanna Karlinsky's Sweet Jo's at the JCC will take pre-orders of holiday dishes to-go (the cafe will be open until 4pm on Thanksgiving). Sweet Jo's will allow you to pick and choose exactly what you want and how much of it you need.

Fine Foods at Home has a menu of side dishes available (available for pick up or delivery).

Debbie Does Dinner offers everything from potato chestnut soup to turkey and gravy; all available a la carte (the menu should be posted soon on her site).


Wondering what to pair with your turkey dinner?

Past tablehopper winos include Ian Becker and Carl Grubbs on what they like to pair with their Thanksgiving meals.

On Wednesday November 18th, Steve Sherman is hosting his 9th Annual "Wines for Turkey Day" at William Cross Wine Merchants (and there will be bird!). 6pm–9pm, $15 plus tax. 2253 Polk St. at Green, 415-346-1314.

Beau Timken has this piece about sake pairings.

the sugar mama


NOVEMBER 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Looking for a unique read? Author Romney Steele creates a beautiful storybook with 85 recipes in My Nepenthe: Bohemian Tales of Food, Family, and Big Sur. This true tale of a famous restaurant, perched on the majestic cliffs of California's Big Sur, celebrates the magic and history of place through food and the Fassett family, who started Nepenthe. As Nepenthe celebrates its 60th anniversary, Romney—who grew up at Nepenthe as the granddaughter of the founders—delves into her own memories, those of family members, and the restaurant's archives to recreate Nepenthe's years of bringing writers, artists, dancers, travelers, actors, and cooks together around the table.

I will be giving away three copies of My Nepenthe. tablehopper readers can enter to win by forwarding this week's tablehopper newsletter to one friend, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) 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, or this book. 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 Sunday November 15th—I'll notify the winner next week!

Here are local events in November with Nani Steele:

November 12th
7pm, Omnivore Books on Food, 3885a Cesar Chavez St., SF, 415-282-4712

November 13th
7:30pm, Mrs. Dalloway's, 2904 College Ave. Berkeley, 510-704-8222

November 17th
6pm Book Passage, Ferry Building, SF, 415-835-1020

November 19th
7:30pm The Booksmith, 1644 Haight St., SF, 415-863-8688

November 21st
West Coast Live interview, Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 2020 Addison St., Berkeley Tickets: 415-664-9500

the starlet

NOVEMBER 10, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO L.A. Times food writer Betty Hallock Tweeted on Saturday night: "Don Johnson is in attendance at friends & family tonight at Bouchon."

tablehopper reader Frances walked past Tartine and saw Kristen Schaal (Mel from Flight of the Conchords) sitting outside with a couple friends.

Steve Martin was in Napa for his performance with his band, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, on Thursday night at the Napa Valley Opera House. He checked in to the Napa River Inn in downtown Napa on Wednesday with his wife and dog Wally. (The hotel placed a VIP pet amenity in his room and arranged for a dog walker and sitter for him each day of his stay.) During their stay they had lunch at Angèle.


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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