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Apr 5, 2010 27 min read

April 6, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: all over, under, and on the town.

April  6, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: all over, under, and on the town.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: all over, under, and on the town.                    

The Quince Martini.

Guess who was out on a rare Monday night? Yours truly was busy signing books at the Wines of Portugal event (was great to meet a lot of you, thanks for coming over to say hi!), and then I hopped over to Quince to play my part as a special guest for a food-loving lovely lady’s birthday party in the private dining room (I was scheduled to arrive with the dessert course—but alas, there was no jumping out of a cake). My dinner, however, consisted of the house martini and potato chips at the Quince bar, and scarfing a slice of pizza on my drive home at 11pm (I definitely needed some carbo-loaded fuel since I burned the midnight oil to meet my deadline—someone had to write this damned thing).

Much more fulfilling was Easter dinner with my family: my dad not only made the most delicate fettuccine (coated in my mother’s amazing tomato sauce), but then we had such juicy braised capretto (baby goat) with pancetta and peas. Plus my mom made an apple cake with walnuts for dessert (it paired perfectly with some of my dad’s grappa, built for a chilly night). Gotta love the Gagliardi Family Ristorante—my dad was asking why he wasn’t in my book. Let’s just say my Monday leftovers for lunch were primo classe. And I am royally spoiled since all I did this year was show up and chop some crudites for the appetizers (can you sense my guilt?).

Last week’s highlights included a smashing meal at Quince that went late into the night (two words for you: cheese course); a faboo Cooks With Books luncheon at Perbacco (chef Staffan made sure no one left hungry); my reading at Kepler’s in Menlo Park where my high school history teacher surprised me in the audience (followed by a late-night dinner with my mom and sis at Kabul, so delicious); and my Q&A and tasting at Bloomingdale’s with Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe (have you had his sublime duck fat pecan pies yet? Holy cow. And with his brown butter ice cream? Hold me.).

This week is going to continue the “rock the casa” theme: Wednesday is all about bubbles at the Tour de Champagne at the Bubble Lounge; Thursday I will be at 18 Reasons for a tablehopper meet-and-greet (from 7pm-9pm) with bubbles and treats from Onigilly (come on by!), Friday I’ll be staying over at Cavallo Point in order to wake up early on Saturday for the Peter Greenberg Worldwide radio show, and then I’m signing books and sampling treats with you East Bay folks at The Pasta Shop at Rockridge Market Hall at noon (it’s free!), and then I’m hoppin’ in my car to drive down for dinner at Pebble Beach Food & Wine and an overnighter, plus a Champagne tasting and the Grand Tasting on Sunday. There will be lots of coffee consumed this week—call it a hunch.

Since I missed Pebble Beach Food & Wine last year, I am especially fired up to attend this year, it’s quite the event. I was lucky to be invited as a guest of the organizers, but you should know there are some great à la carte tickets available starting at $100 (including a Friday demo with Thomas Keller). And then there are the two Lexus Grand Tasting events that take place in a 60,000-square-foot tent, with bites from 25 top-notch chefs and pours from 200 premium wineries—it’s $175 for a day pass, and the event runs from 12pm-3pm. It’s class-ay.

A little more lowbrow (but just as delicious) is my Hop Dog Happy Hour next Wednesday April 14th. You coming? Tickets are selling quickly. Heck, you get to try four dogs and four cocktails, all for $15! The other one to book a ticket for is my Commonwealth Club two-martini lunch at Bix on April 29th. The menu is rockin’. Check it out in the socialite!

Shall we dive in? Let’s.

Cheers! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Public House and Mijita: Now Open at AT&T Park



Congrats to Traci Des Jardins and her team for getting PUBLIC HOUSE and MIJITA open in time for baseball season (and the San Francisco Giants home opener this Thursday the 9th). Public House is being billed as a modern sports pub, with 26 giant televisions; and a hearty menu with organic ingredients, including Thom’s cheesesteak sandwich, Public House burger, artisanal hot dogs and sausages, sliders, jalapeño poppers, hot and spicy chicken wings, mac-n-cheese, fish and chips, a falafel plate, and treats from local purveyors Anthony’s Cookies and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Fortunately the Acme wedge salad is still on the menu—and I can’t wait for summer, when their BLT with black pig bacon will be available.

But the part that has a lot of folks thirsty is the crazy draft beer and cask ale offerings, one of the largest in San Francisco (Eric Cripe of the Jug Shop helped put together the list). There are 24 beers on tap (eighty percent are local), plus 24 kinds of bottled beer, and three cask ales, plus a full bar.

Speaking of beer, this Wednesday April 7th, they are holding a special event at Public House to tap the house brand cask ale offering and meet the brewer, Dave McLean of Magnolia. The event will run from 5pm-8pm, and along with the tapping of the brew, they will feature special food pairings (pigs in a blanket, lamb sliders, 4505 Meats andouille and German potato salad) that go well with this cask ale. There will also be discounts on tasters of the house brew and special brew pricing (16 oz. $8; 10 oz. $5). This will be a great chance to come on down and check out Public House and Mijita before the Giants baseball season starts.

You’ll also find a bigger patio (facing the Willie Mays statue), plus it now has glass windscreens and outdoor heaters, and an additional patio and outdoor dining space has been added along Third Street at the Mijita entrance. Hours will be 12pm-12am daily, with the kitchen open from 4pm-11pm (the kitchen will be open for lunch during Giants game days).

The other half of the project is Mijita, the second location of the local taqueria. Similar to the menu at the Mijita outpost in the Ferry Building, the AT&T Park location offers a variety of tacos, an al pastor vertical rotisserie, house-made tortillas and some “keep folks happy” dishes like nachos, super tacos, and jalapeño poppers. The restaurant has a stand-alone tequila bar with more than 60 different tequilas. Mijita is open daily from 10am-9pm.

And here’s a tip: patrons of both restaurants can take advantage of the special secret entrance from Public House into AT&T Park without waiting in line. Giants fans can take to-go food from Public House or Mijita and head straight into the ballpark from the restaurants (or back to your office).

Public House            - 24 Willie Mays Plaza San Francisco - 415-644-0240

Lafitte, C'est Chic

lafitte interior.jpg

Interior of Lafitte. Photo from Lafitte.

I had the pleasure of checking out the gorg new LAFITTE at Pier 5 at a test dinner over the weekend, and, wow, what a cool addition to the dining scene. Chef-owner Russell Jackson, who some know through his SubCulture Dining private dinners, finally has his own pier to dock his pirate ship. (And yes, the name refers to the Louisiana pirate, Jean Baptiste Lafitte from the early 1800s.) The restaurant opens for dinner tonight.

The spacious Beaux-Arts building dates back to 1918, and has soaring ceilings and tall windows, punctuated with a visual counterpoint of heavy wood pillars and supports, and quite the view of the water. The room feels like artsy-industrial, with a stunning wood communal table, sealed concrete floors, and a row of stylish barstools that look upon the open kitchen. Michael Guthrie, Riley Johndonnell, and Russell Jackson all collaborated on the minimalist but rustic design, which all feels very considered, from the stemware to the menu design to the flag on the back of the servers’ sweaters. There’s also a secondary indoor-outdoor seating area that is surrounded with windows and topped with a tented ceiling—perfect for a private party.

There’s no menu that I can really describe in great detail: it’s going to be whatever is fresh that day, and Jackson’s culinary influences span from French to Italian to regional Mexican to Japanese. He is committed to using the best ingredients he can find, and prices will range from $7-$26 at lunch, and $8-$32 at dinner. (His sous chef is Patricia Barclay: The Public, Town Hall.) The test dinner included crostini with emergo bean purée and crisp guanciale; a fried artichoke with “boquerones bagna cauda;” and a cod and pork sausage stew (a slight misnomer, I thought—it was quite light) with carrot viché and green garlic broth. I was told tonight’s launch menu may include: asparagus and foie gras; sweet onion and anchovy tart; and pork sausage and pork belly with flageolets.

The wine list by Shannon Tucker (Bar Tartine, Eccolo) will change often, and will consist primarily of uncommon, esoteric wines, largely of limited production, along with several wines exclusive to Lafitte. There’s also a full bar geared toward inventive, ingredient-driven cocktails (I had a couple tastes on Saturday, both were fresh and delicious), and there will be an extensive non-alcoholic beverage menu as well. Hours are Sun-Wed 5:30pm ‘til late, Thu-Sat 5:30pm ‘til later (how’s that for “time will tell?”); lunch will be Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, and brunch will also launch later on.

Lafitte            - Pier 5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco - 415-839-2134

Hungry? Thirsty? You Won't Be At These tablehopper Book Events


Another week, another opportunity to hang out over some bevvies and bites, along with some cool tablehopper readers (there is never a shortage of food-and-drink-related conversation, let me tell you). This Thursday April 8th, I will be hosting a drop-in 18 Reasons Event (with bubbly and bites from La Cocina producer Onigilly). I’ll be reading from my book, and I also prepared a special handout, “18 Picks from the tablehopper on 18 People and Places and Things That Bring 18 Reasons’ Values to Life.” It’s also opening night of the Dolores Park Movie Night, so maybe swing by on your way to the park? (You can also check out the new Ebb and Flow for dinner—it’s just across the street.) Event details. 7pm-9pm. $5 members, $10 general. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St., San Francisco.

East Bay folks, I will be hosting a meet and greet at The Pasta Shop inside Rockridge Market Hall this Saturday April 10th at 12pm. We’ll be grazing on a variety of my favorite pantry items, from honey and olive oil to cheese and olives (we’re calling it a pop-up party)! Free (except for my book, which will be for sale at the event). 5655 College Ave., Oakland.

More details have rolled in from the chefs and bartender teams cooking and mixing at the Hop Dog Happy Hour next Wednesday April 14th from 6pm-8pm at the Ferry Building: Jamie Lauren will be doing Absinthe’s house-made hot dog with Guinness mustard, chili ketchup, and sauerkraut; paired with Carlos Yturria’s Sea Bean Gimlet with Hendrick’s Gin.

John Clark and Gayle Pirie of Showdogs are grilling house-made lamb merguez with house mustard and slaw, while Scott Baird of 15 Romolo is doing something with Spanish brandy.

Yvonne Long and Natalie McMahon of Da Beef will of course be offering their Chicago dog, while Brooke Arthur of Range is doing a cocktail with Wild Turkey.

Stand by for what the team of Ryan Farr (4505 Meats) and Daniel Hyatt (The Alembic) are concocting—it’s sure to be demented.

It’s only $15, buy tickets here. All proceeds benefit CUESA.

And then next Friday April 16th, let me salve your tax-paying woes with delicious chocolate at my book signing and chocolate tasting at Fog City News, featuring samples from the amazing Xocolatl de Davíd. We’ll be tasting the following chocolates: Almond Pimentón, Salted Caramel (probably the darkest and saltiest caramel bar they sell, 72% dark chocolate base), and my favorite, the Bacon Raleigh bar (nougat, pecans, fleur de sel, 72% dark chocolate, and bacon-infused caramel). 455 Market St. at 1st St., San Francisco. 12pm-2pm, free.

On Saturday April 17th, I will be heading to the East Bay for a book reading and signing at Read Booksellers in Danville. I’m excited because a lot of my family will be there, including my great aunt Mary and uncle Tony, awwww. Blackhawk Plaza, Danville. 2pm, free.

You can take a look at upcoming signings and events here, from The Tyler Florence Shop to Mrs. Dalloway’s.

tacobar Opens Monday April 12th


As I mentioned a while back, the upcoming Pac Heights taco place, TACOBAR, is opening soon (it’s now due to open on Monday April 12th). But as always with new places, call before heading over, because you don’t want to be disappointed if the opening gets pushed a day or two. ¡Ay caramba!

tacobar            - 2401 California St. San Francisco - 415-674-7745

New Deli Opening: Calabria Bros.


Of course I was excited to learn about a new deli called CALABRIA BROS., opening this weekend, on Saturday April 10th. Two Italian-American (and Calabrese) friends who were born and raised in San Francisco, Steve Maraccini and Mike Tufo, will be offering a variety of Italian deli sandwiches, a daily fresh-made pasta, and an additional hot entrée, like polenta and sausage, or roasted chicken. They will also be selling imported Italian dry goods, Italian desserts, frozen pastas, house-made focaccia, and pastries in the morning, plus Caffe Roma coffee and espresso.

There are three special house sandwiches: the Calabria Bros. (prosciutto, roasted peppers, fresh mozzarella, garlic spread, on sour French); the Hot Calabrese (Calabrese salame, hot coppa, pepper jack, and hot garlic spread on a ciabatta roll); and the Forza Verde (roasted peppers and tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garlic spread, on sweet French). They will be getting their bread from Boudin. Opening hours for now are Mon-Fri 8am-5pm and Sat 9am-3pm. 2249 17th St. at Utah, 415-863-1213.

No "All In One" Sandwiches for Union Street

Well, the sandwich gods giveth, and they taketh away, because North Beach “All In One” sandwich purveyor, GIORDANO BROS., has withdrawn their 1784 Union Street restaurant proposal. The decision was based on permit opposition from several Cow Hollow residents and conditions placed on the rear patio space by the Planning Commission. Giordano Bros. will continue its search for a second location and the partners would like to have a lease in place by the end of the summer, stand by.

Social Kitchen & Brewery Opening This Month


The Sunset’s biggest project of late is about to open, SOCIAL KITCHEN & BREWERY. Yup, they got their brewer’s permit. At the end of last year, I mentioned this new project moving into the former location for the Golden Gate Brewery, Eldo’s Grill and Brewery, and Wunder Brewing Company. The team knows what they’re doing: Rex Tabora (Zebulon) is one of the partners, Rob Lam of Butterfly is consulting on the menu and setting up the kitchen team, and there’s talented brew master-partner Rich Higgins, a consultant and cicerone-about-town, who was formerly at Thirsty Bear (six years), plus Gordon Biersch, and the San Francisco Brewing Company.

Higgins mentioned there will be five flagship beers to start, featuring rare beers for our local scene, like a strong golden Belgian, a table-strength Belgian dark (about four-and-a-half percent), a Kölsch (Cologne-style beer), an Alt beer, and an IPA that isn’t super bitter, using American whole hops. (Higgins also mentioned the beers are made with organic ingredients—he’s primed and ready for when they want to undergo the official organic certification.) The beers will come in both small or large sizes, maxing out at $5. There will be open brew days for people to come in and check it out, special beer dinners, and seminars.

Just in case you’re expecting another pub-grub, meat-heavy menu, you’re in for a surprise: the menu will be 1/3 omnivore, 1/3 vegetarian, and 1/3 vegan. Apps will be under $10, and mains under $16. And a number of the dishes contain beer ingredients, for maximum suds saturation! Dishes on the preliminary opening menu may include apps like the Kolsch Mussels (with grilled bread, pimentón aioli, toasted malt), Beer Battered Sweet Potato Tempura (sweet and spicy malt vinegar), and Celery Root and Fennel Chowder (with toasted malt, chive blossom, hop oil); a variety of salads, including the Beer Lover’s Salad (apples and jicama, Cowgirl Creamery goat cheese, beer nuts, toasted malt, hop essence); sandwiches like the Vietnamese Fried Rock Cod Sandwich (cilantro mayo, pickled onion-carrot slaw, French roll), a Beet Steak Sandwich (arugula, smoked mozzarella, tomato-golden Belgian ale jam, multi-grain bread), and for the naughty ones, a Loco Moco Burger (Spam, pineapple and tomato relish, mushrooms, two fried eggs, onion ring). There are also larger plates, like Liberty Farms duck breast, Prather Ranch short ribs, and a Mushroom and Rye Bread Pudding (tarragon cream, grilled asparagus, little gem salad). Ingredients will be local as possible, including breads from Arizmendi Bakery, produce from the Sunday Inner Sunset Farmers Market, wild-caught Pacific fish, and sustainably-raised meats.

The 120-seat space has a casual and contemporary look, with a wavy bar with room for 24, Edison lamps made from bottles left by the previous owner, communal seating (hey, it’s a beer hall), and a wood ceiling. They will focus on dinner over the first three months, and then lunch and weekend brunch will come later. They’re also trying to get their hours extended past 10pm Thursday through Saturday nights. The soft opening is slated for April 20th for the San Francisco Brewers Guild gathering. Prost!

Social Kitchen & Brewery            - 1326 9th Ave., San Francisco - 415-681-0330

Mela Tandoori Kitchen Reopening in Civic Center

After a year-and-a-half hiatus, the brothers behind MELA TANDOORI KITCHEN will be reopening in a new location near Civic Center, in the former Kites space across the street from the old Stars/Trader Vic’s. (Yeah, after driving past that place forever, I’m so glad there’s finally something going in it.) The brothers’ father started the original Mela 20 years ago, but when the lease was up in October 2008, they started their search for a new location.

Right now they’re in the midst of remodeling the space, and when they’re through, it will feature a mezzanine level and around 70 seats total. The brothers— Sohel, Zoaib, and chef Moiz Subedar—plan to continue offering their menu of Northern Indian and Pakistani dishes. They will be open for lunch and dinner, and want to have a late-night service with DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. Look for an opening within a couple months. 536 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.

Super Duper Burgers Opening in the Castro


If all goes according to plan, SUPER DUPER will be slinging burgers in the former Pasta Pomodoro space in the Castro on Monday April 12th. The menu will feature five kinds of burgers, fries (regular or garlic), shakes, and soft-serve ice cream. The burgers will be cooked on a chrome flat-top grill, available plain (burger with Super Duper secret sauce); with cheddar cheese; Super Duper style (lettuce, tomato, cheese, thin red onions, and house-made pickles), with bacon (supplied by neighbor restaurant Starbelly), or make it a double. A plain burger will be under $4—no word yet what the beef is, however. There will also be a veggie burger and chicken burger. For dessert, the Straus Family Creamery soft-serve ice cream can be whipped into shakes, or served by the cone or cup; or get it with toppings like strawberries and cream.

This fast-casual restaurant will have a retro look and is the latest project from Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa) and business partners Edmondo Sarti (Starbelly) and Deborah Blum (Beretta, Starbelly, Delarosa). Open 11am-11pm. 2304 Market St. at 16th St., 415-558-8123.

Changes at Charanga

Eater had some interesting news about a chef changeover at Mission mainstay CHARANGA: “David Leland, formerly of Sutro’s, will be taking over for Chef Gabriela Salas who was in the kitchen for 13 years; and Valerie Hemstreet, formerly of Oregon Thai restaurant, Pok Pok, will be taking over as Pastry Chef. Charanga is also expecting the arrival of its liquor license in June. If the ABC pulls through, Ty Sanders, veteran bartender at the Big Four in the Huntington Hotel, will be overseeing a new cocktail menu.” Yeah, Ty, one of my favorite old-school-and-cool bartenders. Woot. 2351 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-282-1813.

Help Keep Louis' Diner "All In the Family"


Flickr photo from danmachold.

I was reading on the RichmondSF blog that Louis’ Diner, that little vintage number up the road from the Cliff House, is running into some issues. Here’s more from the post: “The diner, which has been owned and run by the Hontalas family for 73 years, is currently on a year-to-year lease with the National Park Service (the diner technically sits on federal land). The restaurant needs maintenance work and upgrades to be in compliance with accessibility laws, but the family understandably doesn’t want to invest in the repairs with only a year-to-year lease on the property.

“Federal law also requires that the restaurant space be put up for bid, and apparently a couple of prospects already toured the place on March 24. Inside the Outside Lands says that ‘most of the park service personnel out here who know Louis’ want it to stay with the Hontalas family,’ but point out that those making the decision will be members of a federal committee that won’t know much about Louis’ history and standing in the community.

“So that’s where you can help. Show your support for the Hontalas family to continue operating Louis’ Diner by signing the online petition, or emailing a story, memory (or even a sentence!). If you prefer, mail in your words of support to: Louis’ Restaurant, 902 Point Lobos Road, San Francisco, CA 94121.

“And mark you calendars - Louis’ will host a community event on April 17th from 10am-2pm. Come out with your family and friends to show your support - there will be free hot dogs!”

The Mysterious Mr. Fox

For those of you wondering about the whereabouts of chef Jeremy Fox, formerly of ubuntu in Napa, GrubStreet posted this informative interview with him. The net-net: he’s had offers but isn’t wedded to working anywhere just yet; instead, he’s doing a week of guest cheffing nights at Animal in L.A. in May (yup, from borage to bacon), and will be cooking a couple nights somewhere in NYC during the Beards (to be announced). And his cookbook deal is still on. You can follow Jeremy on Twitter here.

Cool Spin on Jardinière's Monday Night Dinners

Thumbnail image for jardiniere.jpeg

I thought this was clever: JARDINIÈRE is inviting back their kitchen alumni to cook the $45 Monday night dinners (which include wine parings, by the way) for the month of April. On Monday April 12th, 

Peter Armellino, chef and owner of The Plumed Horse in Saratoga, will be cooking; 

April 19th features chef Deepak Kaul of Serpentine; and 

April 26th 

is chef Nick Cobarruvias of Luna Park San Francisco and Luna Park Los Angeles

. You can follow this page for menu updates.

Jardinière            - 300 Grove St. San Francisco - 415-861-5555

Town Hall Is Ready To Fire Up the Grill

Springtime is here, and the smoky scent of barbecue will soon be filling the air. Yup, the TOWN HALL lunchtime outdoor barbecue should be launching on Monday the 12th, with new grills! There are also rumors of new menu additions like pastrami and a house-made sausage sandwich each week, plus pulled pork, and country bacon gravy on a house-made biscuit. There will also be some cold sandwiches made with charcuterie from their new hire, Luis Perez, who is reportedly doing a bang-up job on their cured meats program. Follow their Twitter feed for updates. Hours will be Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm.

Town Hall            - 342 Howard St. San Francisco - 415-908-3900

Celebrating Ten Years with $10 Dishes


ANA MANDARA is celebrating their ten-year anniversary with ten $10 favorite dishes, available throughout April in the Cham Bar and the dining room. The current lineup includes The Hands of the Child (Vietnamese crispy rolls with crabmeat, shrimp, and shiitake mushrooms), Whispering Waves (crispy lobster ravioli with mango and coconut sauce [pictured]), and Blissful Wraps (lemongrass beef, cucumber, carrot, daikon, mint, wrapped in a crêpe roll). 891 Beach St. at Polk, 415-771-6800.

Prix-Fixe Deals Around Town

Bargain-hunting diners should know APERTO has started offering a three-course prix-fixe dinner Monday through Thursday nights for $21, with an optional wine pairing. (The menu will change weekly—you can track it here.) 1434 18th St. at Connecticut, 415-252-1625.

And for the month of April, the MAGIC FLUTE is celebrating their 29th anniversary by featuring a three-course dinner for only $19.81 (it’s in honor of the year they opened). 3673 Sacramento St. at Spruce, 415-922-1225.

Outside In 4 To Feature 16 Street Food Vendors


I’m already a little claustrophobic imagining the crowd at this one: on Sunday April 25th, HEART is hosting Outside In 4, featuring sixteen street food vendors, and Heart will be pairing wines with each dish. Folks already in the mix: the Crème Brûlée Cart, the Magic Curry Kart, Soul Cocina, Pizza Hacker, and more. You can read the full lineup (including the DJs) on the event’s Facebook page here.

               Sunday Apr 25, 2010 6pm–10pm more info

Heart            - 1270 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-285-1200

Ruth Reichl Speaking on April 20th at the JCC


For you self-employed or unemployed types: RUTH REICHL is going to be speaking at the San Francisco JCC on April 20th during the day (at 11am—darn, wish I could go!). She will be discussing her latest book, For You Mom, Finally, which “examines her mother’s life, giving voice to the painful truth that many women of our mothers’ generation had to sacrifice their dreams.” (It was previously published as Not Becoming My Mother, and has a new afterward.)

               Tuesday Apr 20, 2010 11am $10–$18 more info

Citron in Oakland Has Closed

An East Bay insider informed me that Rockridge’s CITRON closed after service on Sunday. 5484 College Ave. at Forest, Oakland.


By the way, that $1 martini offer at PALIO D’ASTI I mentioned last week is with purchase of two courses at lunch in April, or three courses at dinner all year long—it’s all part of their upcoming July anniversary celebration, when they hit the big 2-0.

Palio D'Asti            - 640 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-395-9800


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

Attention Restaurateurs! Don’t miss the Annual Three Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures, featuring our lowest prices of the year on restaurant equipment and supplies.

Live food demonstrations, giveaways, free valet parking, and thousands of items on sale at ridiculously low prices. Save big on commercial refrigeration and cooking equipment, cookware, china, glassware, shelving, cutlery, sinks, worktables, sinks, ice machines, food storage, steam table pans, and more. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer your questions.

Thursday-Friday April 22nd-24th, 8am-5:30pm daily. More information at

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Bar Bambino Hosting a Festa di Lambrusco


Photo from Bar Bambino.

If you love salumi, you’ve hopefully discovered the pleasure of pairing lambrusco with it. If you’d like further exploration, BAR BAMBINO is going full tilt and hosting a Festa di Lambrusco on April 12th. The four-course meal will be hosted on their back patio, and is limited to 24 people. Here’s the lineup:

Insalata: Giro di A1: Parmigiano-Reggiano, 12-year-old Balsamico Vecchio, Mortadella, and Arugula. Wine: ZiniVini Lambrusco Salamino

Pasta: Garganelli con Prosciutto, Piselli, e Crema. Wine: Fiorini Lambrusco Grasparossa

Secondo: Rabbit Braised in Lambrusco (I had to include this little tidbit about this course: “As an homage to Lambrusco’s infamy in decades past, we will be braising a rabbit in Riunite. Riunite has been the single most imported Italian wine to the US for the last 30 years. Served with creamy polenta and asparagi alla parmigiana, a classic dish of blanched asparagus with burro caldo (melted butter) and Parmigiano-Reggiano.”). Wine: Medici Ermete Concerto

Dessert: Torta della Nonna. Wine: Medici Ermete Bocciolo Lambrusco Grasparossa

               Monday Apr 12, 2010 7pm–10pm $65 (exclusive of tax and gratuity) more info

Bar Bambino            - 2931 16th St. San Francisco - 415-701-8466

Austria Uncorked on May 3rd


Love Grüner Veltliner? The Austrian Wine Marketing Board is hosting AUSTRIA UNCORKED, a wine tasting featuring wines from 80 Austrian wineries, Austrian cheeses, and light fare at 1 Fort Mason on Monday May 3rd.

(Note: There is also a press/trade version of the event from 12pm-4pm.)

               Monday May  3, 2010 6pm–9pm $45 in advance; $60 at the door more info


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

Green Coriander is San Francisco’s first and only delivery service for healthy and organic Indian food. We deliver nutritious, heart healthy, home-style Indian meals Monday to Thursday to homes and offices in the city.

Our menu changes weekly. Customers are requested to place orders online in advance; at the latest before 10:30am for lunch, and noon for dinner the same day.

We are committed to using organic and high quality ingredients and cook in small amounts of heart-healthy premium oils. With Green Coriander, you get to eat wholesome meals with all the delicious flavors of Indian cooking, and without the extra layer of oil.

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)

Two-Martini Lunch with the tablehopper at Bix


Photo from Bix.

Event Info

Thursday Apr 29, 2010 12pm Member price: $67; Non-member price: $77 Tickets                        Bix 56 Gold St. at Montgomery, San Francisco

Does watching Mad Men make you feel lame for eating a turkey wrap at your desk? Can’t remember the last time your ordered something stronger than an iced tea at lunch? Let’s bring some glamour (and sauce) back into lunchtime, shall we? It’s time to shake it up at this COMMONWEALTH CLUB TWO-MARTINI LUNCHEON AT BIX with yours truly, where my book and booze will figure prominently.

Doors will open at noon for martini number one and passed apps (caviar pillows, Middle Eastern tuna tartare on lavash, and truffle cheese croques). We will then sit down for lunch at 12:30pm, and guests will start with a little gem salad served family style at the table. For the main course, there is a choice of spring halibut, duck meatballs, or the house burger; a vegetarian option will also be available.

The Q&A session will be moderated by Jordan Mackay, a San Francisco-based wine and spirits writer and author of Passion for Pinot, and his upcoming book with Rajat Parr, Secrets of the Sommeliers. The program will conclude with dessert: a choice of Bix’s famed bananas Foster or seasonal sorbet.

There will be a choice of two martinis (gin or vodka) served in proper glassware (read: not 10 oz. fishbowls), or red and white wine (chardonnay and zinfandel) will be available for non-martini drinkers. Books will be available at the event for $17.50.

Get Your Ticket for Meals on Wheels


 Event Info

Sunday May 16, 2010 5pm–11pm $400 and up Details/tickets                        Fort Mason's Festival Pavilion, San Francisco Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St. 415-343-1280

Mark your calendar, because Sunday May 16th is the 23rd Annual STAR CHEFS & VINTNERS GALA, a benefit for Meals On Wheels of San Francisco. Nancy Oakes of Boulevard is back for her seventh year as the gala chef chairwoman, the leader of culinary talent for the always-stellar event.

The gala is MOWSF’s largest fundraiser, and its main source of charitable contributions for the year to provide food to home-bound seniors. There will be more than 70 notable chefs participating, including Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), Sean O’Toole (Bardessono), Maggie Pond (César), Jan Birnbaum (Epic Roasthouse), Chad Newton (Fish & Farm), Chris Cosentino (Incanto), Todd Humphries (Martini House), Mark Dommen (One Market), Staffan Terje (Perbacco), Chris L’Hommedieu (MICHAEL MINA), Laurence Jossel (Nopa/Nopalito), Peter McNee (Poggio), Richard Reddington (REDD), Robert Leva (Salt House), Mark Sullivan (Spruce), and Parke Ulrich (Waterbar).

75 of California’s leading vintners will also participate in the gala, many of them providing wine pairings for each of the dishes.  Participating vintners include J. Vineyards and Winery, Frog’s Leap Winery, Duckhorn Wine Company, Hanzell Vineyards, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Landmark Vineyards, Poem Cellars, and Three Sticks Winery. At a specialty cocktail bar, bartenders Scott Beattie (Hangar One), Jon Gasparini (Rye), Scott Baird and Aaron Smith (15 Romolo), and Daniel Hyatt (The Alembic) will serve up fantastic cocktails.

The evening begins at 5pm with an hors d’oeuvre and wine reception from more than 30 chefs and wineries, followed by a three-course, sit-down meal, with each course prepared by one of 27 different chefs. The evening culminates with a lavish dessert reception featuring sweets from Yigit Pura (Taste Catering), Sara Spearin (Dynamo Donuts), Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe), and Bill Corbett (Coi & Il Cane Rosso).

During both live and silent auctions, guests will have the opportunity to bid on a number of once-in-a-lifetime items, including a party at a luxury penthouse in Sun Valley, Idaho featuring the culinary creations of Nancy Oakes, a ten-day Mediterranean Silversea Cruise, a wine connoisseur package featuring several “unobtainable” wines, and private dinners and cooking classes with celebrity chefs. The evening’s exciting climax is “Fund-A-Route,” in which guests pledge cash donations towards funding an entire meal delivery route for the next year. Guests at the 2009 Gala shattered previous records by raising their paddles to the tune of $311,000 for “Fund-A-Route,” while the event raised a grand total of $1.1 million.

Individual tickets are priced at $400, with patron levels ranging from $1,500 to $20,000 (see below for details). To reserve tickets or for more information, call or visit


the bookworm

Book Reviews (another place for your nose)

Good to the Grain: by Pete Mulvihill

Don’t forget: the book mentioned below is available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount (if ordering online, just write “tablehopper” in the order comment field—when they process the order, you’ll get your discount).

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours

Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours                        Kim Boyce

With spring in full swing, I suppose I shouldn’t be cranking up the oven. But lately, the eating habits of one of my four-year-old twins has devolved towards the “white food only” diet so many parents fear. So since I’m trying to keep some nutrients in his diet, without going all yeast-powder-on-popcorn on his (little) ass, we’ve recently started baking together from Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce.

And really, kids or not, if you’re going to indulge in pastries, muffins, pancakes, etc., you might as well get some protein, fiber, and vitamins, eh?

Then again, in baked goods, healthiness is NEVER supposed to be the point. Luckily, Boyce has made a point of developing these 75 original recipes with flavor, texture, and presentation as primary goals. In fact, the book tacitly argues that we’ve been depriving ourselves by using mostly refined white flour.

Boyce has cred: she is the former pastry chef at Spago and Campanile, and she’s a mom. Not that this is a book only for parents; anyone interested in baking should explore Good to the Grain. But just so you know, this is a wholly original book from a well-respected pastry chef.

Why deprive yourself and your friends of Strawberry Barley Scones? Coconut Cookies?  Apricot Boysenberry Tarts? Come to think of it, maybe spring is the time for this book, what with the good produce coming our way over the next few months.

The book is divided by flour type, and these flours are nowadays pretty easily found. Oh, and there’s a bonus chapter of jams and compotes which figure in many recipes. So go get some spelt or teff or amaranth, fire up your oven, roll up your sleeves, and get baking (healthier).

Thanks for reading.

the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

Spring into a love affair with food this April with FEAST, The San Francisco Bay Guardian’s semiannual guide to culinary and cocktail culture that helps you navigate through the diverse foods and flavors of the Bay Area. Pick up your copy on Wednesday April 21st.

To learn about advertising opportunities, and how to receive 20% off your Feast ad, contact an account executive at 415-487-2558 or email Faben Alula and mention “tablehopper.”

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

A Star Sighting to Be Grateful For: Jake Gyllenhaal

This report from a tablehopper reader was so cleverly written that I’m just gonna post it verbatim: “Just had lunch at Cafe Gratitude en la Mission and Jake Gyllenhaal was there with a small group of people who looked very non-crunchy SF. Everyone was cool in the restaurant till he got up to leave, and then there was a flutter of folks trying to talk to him. Best was the chick in the “Ask me about Slow Sex” shirt who went up to introduce herself and talk about….? Ah, I love San Francisco. He’s so yummy, I know it sounds cashew-cheesy but I hope he ordered the ‘I am beautiful.’” Amen, sister.

Adrien Grenier Spotted on the Town

A couple Adrian Grenier sightings: he was spotted at Tartine Bakery last Thursday, and was also at the Vintage 415 event at the Clift hotel featuring rockjazz pianist ELEW over the weekend.

What Not to Wear (But What to Drink)

Clinton Kelly, of TLC’s What Not to Wear, was spotted getting a Blue Bottle coffee outside at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. The tablehopper spotter writes, “Didn’t see what he ordered. I was more interested in what HE was wearing. Dressed like a tourist: a baby blue windbreaker, khaki cargo shorts in 50 degrees weather… and a nice smile.”

Eat Your Peas of The Black Eyed Peas dined at SPRUCE last Thursday April 1st.

Cliff at the Café

Kiwi actor Cliff Curtis (Whale Rider, Trauma) had lunch on the patio of Café de la Presse.

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