This week's tablehopper: the (big) apple of my eye.
It’s Caesar salad time with Pete at Marin Joe’s.
And so my own personal countdown begins: this Friday I hop on a plane to New York, where I will be carrying on for one glorious week. I am super excited to be attending the James Beard Awards for my first time—I was invited by Savory Cities to be a correspondent/live blogger for the event. Yeah, I’m stoked. And boy, is my restaurant hit list long—but I think I’m hungriest for a bowl of ramen at Ippudo, I can almost taste it. Follow my Twitter feed if you want to rubberneck.
Literally the day after I return, I am hosting a tablehopper sandwich social at Purcell Murray on the afternoon of Saturday May 8th. Check it out in the socialite: for $15, you will feast on sandwiches from three of San Francisco’s best sandwich makers, all in one spot. Plus we’ll be enjoying some bubbly. See you there?
In the meantime, the crowd for this Thursday’s two-martini lunch with the tablehopper at Bix is looking like a good one. Happy to see so many people want to hang out and hit the sauce with me in the middle of the day—allrighty then! I’ll be primed and ready for a quick spin at the Taste of the Nation event that evening, and then I have to pack for my Friday morning flight. Oh, and turn in two articles before I leave, hmmm.
Last week I was on wino patrol, tasting natural Italian wines and meeting winemakers like the admirable Arianna Occhipinti at Barbacco (and look at that, I have a review of Barbacco this week!) and taking part in an albariño crawl around the city on Wednesday. On Saturday, I was a panelist for the Greystone Flavor Summit—met a lot of interesting people, and got to invite Paul Bartolotta to grab a turbo dinner that night at the counter at SPQR before he had to catch his flight back to Vegas. I’m always so proud to show visitors our little neighborhood gems. And I didn’t even tell you about the five places I went to on Sunday night for my upcoming Marin Magazine article. Yes, five. Livin’ the vida loca, I tell you.
See you on the track.
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Bacar Closing May 7th
I was surprised to discover a new permit for Alexander’s Steakhouse in the BACAR address, and sure enough, the upscale and award-winning Cupertino restaurant is opening a San Francisco location—it ends up they have been targeting the city for a couple of years. Chef Jeffrey Stout will head up the kitchen, and wine director Eric Entrikin, a Master Sommelier, will ramp up the location’s wine collection, which was previously one of the best in town. They hope to open by the summer after a quick remodel/refresh. And after ten years of being a part of the city’s culinary landscape, Bacar’s last day of business is Friday May 7th.
Bacar - 448 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-904-4100
Changes in Claude Lane
Franck LeClerc’s businesses on Claude Lane have some changes to report: first, Bridget Batson (TWO, Hawthorne Lane) is the new executive chef of GITANE; she will be working alongside opening chef Lisa Eyherabide and will assume the reins completely by June 1st, when Eyherabide will head back to France. Since Batson was most recently working at Pizzeria Delfina with Anthony Strong, it should come as no surprise she is considering adding flatbreads to the Mediterranean menu.
More Claude Lane plans include a dedicated art gallery (called 5 Claude Lane) and Claudine, a shop in the former Golden Gate Perk space that will sell gourmet food products and food packaged to go. LeClerc got in touch with chef Alain Rondelli (my parents still bring up the family birthday meal I held there, back in the ’90s), who is collaborating with Batson on the “takeout” menu of prepared meals that reflect a restaurant-grade quality level (I wonder if that includes all the butter?). Rondelli will also offer a custom collection of meals created especially for Claudine: Rondelli Deli for Claudine.
Gitane - 6 Claude Ln. San Francisco - 415-788-6686
Fresca Folks Opening Pasión in the Sunset
As you may already know, the Calvo-Perez family, known for the local Fresca restaurants, took over the former PJ’s Oysterbed location in the Sunset. But instead of opening a fourth Fresca location, they’re opening a new restaurant called PASIÓN. As son and chef Jose Calvo-Perez told me, the style will be “modern Nuevo Latino small plates and tapas, with Peruvian soul, but also Caribbean, Central and South American influences. And there will be a ceviche bar.” They are currently targeting July, and the 55-seat restaurant will have a full bar, plus there will eventually be an upstairs deck/patio that will seat 30 (it will also do double duty as a tented private dining room). Consultant Tony Kzaz will be overseeing Fresca locations while Jose will oversee the launch of Pasión, and eventually a chef de cuisine will be hired as well. I’ll reveal menu items as they make their way to me.
Pasión - 737 Irving St. San Francisco - 415-724-5727
Meet the New Chef at Ottimista
There’s a new chef at OTTIMISTA ENOTECA-CAFÉ, Daniele Volpi of Vivande Porte Via on Fillmore Street, as Glen Tinsley heads back to Italy to run the kitchen at the La Parrina wine estate after his stage there last summer. Volpi was raised in Denmark, but spent two months every year in his father’s hometown of Cremona, Italy, and he spent a year cooking at Palazzo Ravizza in Siena, and two years in Sicily at Ristorante Bye Bye Blues. You won’t find Ottimista’s menu drastically changed, but look for an expanded selection of small bites and seasonal contorni, with dishes like cauliflower fritti, swordfish involtini, flash-roasted mussels, and house-made focaccia. Also launching soon is an expanded lunch menu, with more panini, pizza, and salads.
Ottimista Enoteca-Café - 1838 Union St. San Francisco - 415-674-8400
Quick Update on Various Projects
Since a number of projects have been delayed with a few snags here and there, I thought a quick update was in order: first, SOCIAL KITCHEN & BREWERY is still waiting on the ABC to give them their license, so here’s hoping it’s any day now (you can follow them on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news). The opening of CITIZEN CAKE on Fillmore has been pushed to May 17th. Another May opening is PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN in the Mission, on May 8th. And the COMSTOCK SALOON is looking like May 20th, stand by.
Terra Bakery and Café Is Open in Hayes Valley
According to some reviews on Yelp, TERRA BAKERY AND CAFÉ is now open in Hayes Valley in the former Essencia space. Two of the partners are Philip Roland and Jennifer Westmoreland, formerly of Roland’s Bakery, which unceremoniously closed in the Lower Haight after a landlord dispute. You’ll still be able to find Roland’s delish bagels, plus sandwiches and more. The corner location also has some outdoor seating. 401 Gough St. at Hayes, 415-863-2233.
18 Reasons Moving Into Bigger Digs
Members of 18 REASONS, and those who attend their cool events, will be happy to learn they are moving into a larger space, the former Jivano’s Cutlery space, just a couple of doors down from Bi-Rite Creamery. The new venue will not only be twice as big, but will also be a more flexible facility, with access to a full kitchen and allowing for a more diverse range of events and programming (they hope to be able to seat 30+ for dinners)! Since they have just broken ground, they hope to be in the new space by the end of the year. Things will continue business as usual in the current 593 Guerrero Street location. 3674 18th St. at Guerrero.
18 Reasons - 3674 18th St. San Francisco
Artisan Marketplace at 331 Cortland Is Now Open
I was pleased to learn 331 CORTLAND MARKETPLACE in Bernal Heights is currently in its soft opening phase. Contained within the solar-powered building are six vendors (some Bernal neighbors), including: El Porteño Empanadas (organic Argentine empanadas); ICHI Lucky Cat Deli (a neighborhood Japanese deli specializing in market-fresh fish, sushi to-go, Asian sandwiches, Japanese salads, and sweet treats); Paulie’s Pickling (hand-crafted pickled vegetables featured in an array of sauces and relishes, sandwiches, and salads); and Wholesome Bakery (vegan baked goods), including freshly made DEZYS DRINKS and Sour Flour, (naturally fermented and hand-made bread); as well as organic fruit and vegetables by Della Terra Organics; and professional knife sharpening services by Bernal Cutlery. Neighbors, rejoice. The culinary marketplace will be open daily from 10am-7pm, with bakery hours starting each morning at 8am.
331 Cortland Marketplace - 331 Cortland Ave. San Francisco
Unwind on Union
A tablehopper reader tipped me off that the Pasta Pomodoro space on Union Street was getting a new tenant: UNWIND. Fortunately the owners, Kai Vance and Todd Slosek, respond to their email on their website (how novel). They will be offering Cal-Med and American dishes in a casual atmosphere, ranging from $8-$14, plus a good program of affordable wine by the glass. Lunch, dinner, and brunch will be served. They are targeting a mid-June opening. Eater had some additional details about a new Food Network show, The Opener, that will be filming an episode at the restaurant. 1875 Union St. at Laguna.
Say Hello to Hapa Ramen
Richie Nakano, a sous chef at nopa and well-known blogger, is now adding ramen-making badass to his list o’ talents. On Saturday May 8th is the public launch of HAPA RAMEN, a pop-up evening event at Coffee Bar. Nakano’s partner in the venture is Kitty Gallisa, a bartender at nopa. I’ve been lucky to attend one of his ramen test dinners, and let me tell you, there’s nothing like it in the city. He uses Becker Lane pork necks for the stock that he cooks slowly for four days at a low temp, which yields a unique broth since the flavor is right where dashi and pork meet in the middle: it’s meaty and smoky, yet delicate and balanced. As Nakano explains, it’s not meant to be overly rich, but still has a satisfying mouthfeel. The noodles are handmade (with the dough rested in vacuum bags), with sous-vide chashu pork shoulder from Llano Secco, an organic product from Chico. And then there’s the slow-cooked egg: no hard and blue yolk in this batch, oh no. Everything is organic, oh you know it. Be sure to read more about how he makes his ramen (and more) in this on-point article from The Bold Italic.
At the event, there will be a regular porky version and a vegetarian version offered for around $12 a bowl, and seats are first come, first served (no reservations). The buzz on this upcoming event has been steady, so come prepared for a busy one. Kitty will be doing beer and wine pairings, and DJ Denizen will be on the decks. Follow Hapa on Twitter for more details, including upcoming events.
It ends up Hapa Ramen is going to be part of the Thursday farmers market lunch clan (starting in mid-June!), and, big news, Nakano is leaving nopa in late June, after doing an amazing job there the past two years as a sous chef. While looking for a space to launch Hapa in the city (let’s wish them luck and I hope that it’s in my neighborhood, ahem), they will be doing more pop-ups in the future at other kitchens. And I love this statement from Hapa: “In the interest of contributing to our craft, Hapa Ramen will be an entirely ‘open source’ endeavor: every recipe will be shared freely.” Nice.
Oh, and as for the “hapa” name, here’s more on Wikipedia, but in a nutshell, it’s a Hawaiian term for someone of mixed Asian or Pacific Islander background—Richie is half-Japanese (his father is Hawaiian), so the name is an homage to his family ties. He said island culture and cuisine were a big part of his upbringing, in addition to his time working with Kelly Degala (another Hawaiian) at Pres a Vi. See you there, let’s slurp!
Saturday May 8, 2010 6pm–9pm more info
New Lunch Options Around Town
A couple places have launched lunch service. First is FARMERBROWN, with dishes like broccoli and cheddar soup, a Cobb salad ($10.95), and a variety of sandwiches, like pressed herb-roasted turkey and pimento cheese with smoked paprika mayonnaise on multi-grain toast ($9), a fried catfish or fried chicken po’ boy ($10), and a burger ($10), plus healthier options like The Garden sandwich ($9), with avocado, cucumber, sprouts, shaved red onion, asparagus, and green goddess dressing on toasted baguette (all sandwiches come with choice of potato salad or steak fries). Or you can go for a bigger plate, like meatloaf ($13.95), chicken pot pie ($12.95), and a fried chicken plate ($13.95). Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11am-2pm.
Meanwhile, over in Jackson Square, 5A5 just opened for lunch service, Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm. The menu includes a Kobe burger ($17) with a variety of additional toppings, steaks, salads, plus there’s a “Philet” sandwich ($15) with diced filet mignon, bell pepper, and onion, or a lobster sandwich ($19)—either come with a choice of fries or onion rings. You can read the entire menu here.
Jam It Salon 3 with Karen Solomon This Thursday
The DIY/urban homesteading events just keep coming: this Thursday April 29th, Karen Solomon of Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It is hosting a third gathering, Jam It Salon 3 at 18 Reasons. Bring a taste of your favorite kitchen projects and meet other food crafting enthusiasts on the block. If you’ve ever made your own condiments, crafted your own candies, brewed your own beverages, boiled your own bagels, or fermented your own anything, come show off the splendor you’ve created at this neighborhood DIY show and taste. Meet other like-minded home crafters, share tips, resources, and techniques, and help inspire the community looking to think outside the mass-produced confines of aisle six. Sliced baguettes, vegetables for dipping, and basic cutlery will be provided.
Thursday Apr 29, 2010 7pm–9pm, drop-in $5, with edible contribution; $10, without edible contribution more info
18 Reasons - 3674 18th St. San Francisco
Whole Beast Dinner (Lambie!) at One Market on 5/1
Coming up on Saturday May 1st is this special AIWF (American Institute of Wine and Food) WHOLE BEAST WINEMAKER DINNER: THE LAMB at One Market. Executive chef Mark Dommen will be creating a five-course dinner, plus wine pairings and a discussion with winemakers and husband and wife Whitney Fisher and Nile Zacherle, who will be pouring wines from Fisher Vineyards and Zacherle Wines.
The menu includes: Lamb Tongue & Cheek Terrine (lamb sweetbread “ravigote”) with 2007 Zacherle Rosé; Lamb Neck Cannelloni (Parmesan purée, carrot emulsion) with 2007 Fisher Mountain Estate Vineyard Chardonnay; Roasted Lamb Loin (braised shoulder, mushroom, ramps) with 2005 Fisher Coach Insignia and 2006 Zacherle Mt. Veeder Cab Wall Vineyard; Spit-Roasted Leg of Lamb (coffee rub, chickpea purée, sesame-cocoa reduction) with 2007 Zacherle Syrah Chalk Hill; and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta Tart (strawberries, sheep’s milk yogurt ice cream) with Zacherle Sparkling Rosé.
Saturday May 1, 2010 6:30pm, seating 7pm $90 all-inclusive, members and tablehopper subscribers; $140 all-inclusive, non-members more info
One Market - 1 Market Plaza San Francisco - 415-777-5577
May Is Teacher Appreciation Month
To honor San Francisco Bay Area teachers, Lark Creek Restaurant Group will celebrate its third annual TEACHER APPRECIATION MONTH throughout the month of May in nine Bay Area restaurants. Participating Bay Area restaurants include One Market Restaurant and LarkCreekSteak in San Francisco; The Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur; Lark Creek Walnut Creek; and Yankee Pier in Larkspur, Santana Row in San Jose, Lafayette, and at San Francisco Airport.
Every teacher or school employee who presents their teacher or school employment identification at a participating restaurant will receive $10 off their bill, excluding alcohol and gratuity. There is no limit to the number of times a teacher can visit a Lark Creek Restaurant Group restaurant and receive the discount; there is no minimum purchase necessary.
Saturday May 1, 2010 – Monday May 31, 2010 more info
Spring Canning Fling (and It's Free)
And for you East Bay folks, here’s another DIY event with HAPPY GIRL KITCHEN: a Spring Canning Fling to kick off the Food Preservationists*. Bring your favorite preservation recipes to swap (and jars of what you preserved last season to taste) while connecting to the Bay Area canning community. Sip cocktails featuring Happy Girl products, nibble on tea snacks (including the famed bottomless pickle platter), and get revved up with a barn hoe-down featuring bluegrass bands. If you missed the Harvest Party last fall, now’s your chance to check out the coolest Victorian in Oakland. And it’s free! No canning experience is necessary.
*The Food Preservationists is a program that provides home canners with access to quality produce at a reasonable cost. Throughout the summer and fall, Happy Girl sends out weekly offerings from its network of local organic farms. Past offerings have included 30 pounds of pickling cucumbers, a flat of strawberries, and 20 pounds of heirloom tomatoes. There is no commitment—just order as much or as little as you want each week, and then pick up at a location near you. This season there will be eight locations from San Francisco and Oakland down to San Jose.
Saturday May 1, 2010 1pm–6pm more info
Sol Food Is Expanding
I caught up with Sol Hernandez of the ever-popular Sol Food in San Rafael, who filled me in on some expansion details. They are currently building out another place next to their existing “big space” on Lincoln that is going to be called SOL FOOD LA BODEGA. The bigger kitchen means they’re adding a rotisserie oven for chicken. You’ll be able to walk in and order food to go at a counter (there’s no seating), plus there will be a small retail space, the La Bodega part, where they will sell their hot sauce, salad dressing, and a few other items. The timeline is TBD, probably three months out.
Once this larger kitchen is established, it will act as a commissary of sorts, because they are currently thinking about expanding to another nearby city, like South Marin, Sausalito, Mill Valley, or even San Francisco and opening a small Sol Food for take-out and delivery (I am holding my breath, and crossing my fingers and toes). I’ll keep you posted on all developments… 903 Lincoln Blvd. at 3rd St., San Rafael.
Scott Howard's New Project in Corte Madera
Scott Howard is back to running his own show—after opening FIVE in Berkeley, he has left to move into the now-closed Izzy’s Steak & Chops space in Corte Madera. (Banks White is the new executive chef for FIVE, and Howard will continue to work as the creative consulting chef.) Howard has named his new place BRICK & BOTTLE; he has two partners, Blake Andros and Marc Sebastian, and the plan is to open on May 28th.
On the menu: classic comfort food with a fresh and modern touch, local ingredients, and affordable prices. There is indoor and outdoor seating, plus a bar for the adults; lunch and dinner will be served, plus weekend brunch. There will also be Sunday Suppers with family-style dishes that can be purchased as take-out, and child-friendly options, including a pizza counter for children. And since Howard was known for his time cooking at Fork in San Anselmo, some locals are sure to be happy to have him back on the scene. 55 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, 415-924-3366.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Green Zebra. Good for the Earth and the Wallet.
Missed celebrating Earth Day? No worries. You can still explore the best of sustainable living with the 2010 San Francisco Green Zebra guide. There’s something for everyone. Over 275 exclusive offers from eco-friendly restaurants and businesses, such as La Boulange (free breakfast), Mission Pie (free pie), Maggie Mudd, Boxed Foods, Regalito Rosticeria, Beautifull!, Chilayo (2-for-1), Cole Hardware (save $10), and lots more! Many passes allow you to recoup your investment in a single visit. Such as a 10-class pass for only $108 ($32 savings) at Yoga Tree, anyone?
Sales benefit Urban Sprouts, a SF Garden for the Environment project teaching disadvantaged young teens food growing and gardening work skills.
To purchase your Green Zebra at the special tablehopper discounted price of $15 (40% off retail), click here and enter this code: tablehopper. Or how about the one-two punch? Buy the tablehopper and Green Zebra guides together for only $30. Don’t even try to resist!
New Restaurant Reviews (I'm looking for somewhere new to eat)
Did Brian Eno open a restaurant in San Francisco? Nope, the “eno trattoria” next to the BARBACCO name (in a zippy, Vespa-esque font) on the building’s exterior is short for enoteca, a term originally used to signify a local wine tasting library. But now, an enoteca is more loosely used to describe a wine shop, wine bar, or even a place to taste wine and eat. And at this new offshoot of Perbacco (they are just next door to each other), you will most certainly eat. And drink wine.
Owners Umberto Gibin and chef Staffan Terje have crafted a casual but very chic place where you can come in for a panino at lunch, a glass of wine and some bruschetta at happy hour—and once the wine keeps pouring and the bites keep coming, you can easily find yourself staying for a dinner of pasta and veal Milanese. Barbacco is busy and energetic, packed with couples, Financial District workers who walked in for a bite after punching the clock, and packs of wine-drinking women.
The long space has a slick and masculine style (from CCS Architecture) that reminds me of Milan, with a section of communal tables in the front, a winding marble counter for singles or couples who like to dine at the bar, and smaller tables for those who don’t want to dine with strangers. (I just found the modern stools to be a little awkward—their height in relation to the tables along the back wall felt odd, and sitting in them too long gets uncomfortable.) And then there’s the ceiling that cascades down like a wave, with a graphic tiled floor and original brick wall that add visual texture, plus hits of bright yellow and slightly blurred images (like you’re driving by them) of Anita Ekberg and a Ducati on the wall on your way to the restroom.
I hope you’re hungry, because the menu is positively hefty: two long columns that immediately invoke “I want”—and how pleasant, nothing is over $15. Well, unless you go for the $18 chef’s selection of salumi. And the salumi you must have, whether it’s my current obsession, the ‘nduja, a spicy spreadable pork salame (the liver and kidneys within make it extra smooth) with origins in Calabria; try the ‘nduja nera, made with blood—don’t be afraid, its dusky flavor is amazing. Other faves include the finocchiona, bright with fennel; the dense duck mortadella embedded with green Castelvetrano olives; and the fatty and spicy coppa (total amore).
You can also ramp up with the salty testa arrotolata (pig’s head), whose texture is an intersection between fat and gelatin—no, it’s not for everyone. Served with pickled onion, it’s delicious wrapped around grissini. Most salumi are around $5 or $6, and they’re all made in house—and as I noted in my book, chef Staffan Terje makes my favorite salumi in the city.
The snacking continues with the irresistible ascolane ($5/$8; fried and fat Cerignola olives stuffed with pork and covered with a dusting of Parmesan), and the crowd-pleasing arancini ($3 each), risotto croquettes studded with peas, braised pork, oozy mozzarella, and sporting a satisfying breadcrumb-y exterior.
A great dish to share is the rustic pan-fried ribollita ($6), which a stranger/neighbor at the counter kindly offered me a bite of one night. (I’m glad she insisted.) What’s brilliant is this classic Tuscan minestrone (day one) typically has stale bread added to it on day two, and then is transformed into a fry-up (usually on day four)—like an eggless fritatta—and sublime with a drizzle of peppery, green olive oil on top. This version comes loaded with cannellini beans, cavalo nero (kale), sofrito, and a bit of tomato and rosemary. Love at first bite.
There are about eight different bruschette to choose from ($3 each, 3 for $8)—the caponata topped with a spicy ricotta was a fave; while the truffled lardo was a touch too salty and thickly sliced for my taste, although I was told that is how it is authentically served.
While I am a huge fan of Perbacco, the Calabrese in me was fired up with the spicier dishes on Barbacco’s peripatetic menu, starting with the plump “angry” mussels ($11) with ‘nduja, chili, and plenty of garlic—get ready. The dish was certainly gutsy—my friend deemed these “dirty mussels” because all we wanted to do was sop up every last drop of the sauce like total hedonists (I asked for bread and was served some impeccable focaccia, but what I really wanted was a crusty Italian bread). The other feisty champ is the quick-braised local squid ($8), so tender and brilliantly executed. The fennel, chunky tomato, green olives, and topping of breadcrumbs made this dish a home run—and like most Italian men, it wasn’t shy at all.
If you want some heartier dishes, look to the hefty paccheri ($10), doused with a meaty and rustic pork ragu, or the decadent rotolo ($11), a tender rolled pasta, currently following the season and filled with asparagus, ricotta, and lemon, adorned with a mint-brown butter. The braised chicken thighs ($11) with almonds, Castelvetrano olives, and escarole were homey and flavorful, but not the first thing I’d recommend. And then there are the exquisite pork meatballs ($14), served Sicilian style with raisins, pine nuts, braised chard, and a bright-red tomato sugo—their juiciness is partly due to the ricotta added to the meaty mixture. You will totally clear your plate. (I want them to serve these in a sandwich at lunch.)
Even the side dishes pack big flavor, like the fried quarters of Brussels sprouts ($4)—if you’re missing the ones that used to be at SPQR, this variation comes with capers, anchovy, and a punch of shallot and red wine vinaigrette. Each bite was a balance of tangy, bitter, and sweet. Kudos to chef de cuisine Sarah Burchard, who is doing a bang-up job here.
Pastry chef Sarah Ballard’s desserts are delightfully affordable, like the tangy citrus curd tart ($5), whose crust crumbled perfectly—no sawing with the edge of your fork or skidding across the plate. I always enjoy the cookies at Perbacco, and the biscotti ($.50 each) here tasted a lot like my Aunt Terry’s (and she always made the best biscotti in my family). The chocolate nemesis cake ($5), however, was too sweet and thick for my taste, too much like a mousse posing as a cake—but I can see chocoholics loving it.
As you’re cruising your way through the menu, wine director Mauro Cirilli’s wine list of natural wines is not just Italian: you’ll find wines from all over the globe. And since you can order everything from a 3 oz. taste to a bottle, you can do plenty of exploring (the staff is always ready with descriptions). Cirilli must be in heaven with all the different cases storing the wines at various temperatures—as soon as you sit at the counter, you can see how dedicated the restaurant is to wine, the walls glimmering with bottles, wine shimmering in the elegant glassware. It may just be a wine library after all…
Barbacco - 230 California St. San Francisco - 415-955-1919
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Tonight, It's a Pisco Party
Tonight, April 27th, PISCO is hosting an event for Pisco 100, and the master distiller, Guillermo Ferreyros, will be there from Peru. Hosted Pisco 100 cocktails (from 6pm-7pm) include Pisco Sours and the Peruvian Patada, made with Canton and fresh mint. The entire event runs from 6:30pm-8:30pm. 1817 Market St. at Guerrero.
The Spring Cup
At my book signing event last week at the Tyler Florence shop in Mill Valley, faboo bartender Jackie Patterson made a most-refreshing cocktail for us. As promised to guests that evening, here’s the recipe—you’ll want to make a pitcher of it, it’s that good.
Spring Cup 1.5 oz. Hangar One Vodka 0.5 oz. Hangar One Mandarin Blossom Vodka 1 oz. Fresh Meyer Lemon Juice 1 oz. California Orange Blossom Honey Syrup 4 Chunks of English Cucumber 5 Spearmint Leaves
In the bottom of a tempered pint glass or metal mixing tin, muddle the cucumber chunks until their juice is extracted. Add the mint leaves and muddle gently. Add the rest of your ingredients, and ice. Shake until chilled, fine strain into a Collins glass onto fresh ice. Garnish with fresh marigold petals, a sprig of mint, and a few small chunks of cucumber. A votre santé! ~Jackie
Introducing the San Francisco Winemaker's Market
Starting Sunday May 2nd, boutique wineries from across California will be bringing their handcrafted wines to the new SF WINEMAKER’S MARKET in Del Monte Square, next to THE CANNERY at Fisherman’s Wharf. You will be able to sample wines, and there will also be food pairings from local San Francisco venues, and non-alcoholic tastings for kids. Admission to the market is free and, with the one-time purchase of an eco-friendly reusable 6-pack wine carrier for $20, shoppers will be able to sample wines at the market. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the wine carrier will be donated to local charities and non-profit organizations supporting sustainable farming. In addition to the wineries in Del Monte Square, several neighborhood tasting-rooms along San Francisco’s Wine Walk on the Wharf will be participating in the market, including Buena Vista Carneros, Cellar 360, Wattle Creek, Wines of California, and Winery Collective. The SF Winemaker’s Market will be open every Sunday from 1pm-4pm.
Oh Gosh! Beer Dinner with Allagash Brewing Company on 5/5
Don’t want tequila on Cinco de Mayo? How about some quality suds? MONK’S KETTLE is featuring the Belgian-style and barrel-aged beers of Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company on May 5th as part of its monthly beer-pairing dinner program. Begun in 1995 by Rob Tod as a one-man operation, Allagash has developed a national reputation for its high-quality Belgian-style and barrel-aged beers. It will be a five-course dinner, and the featured beers on draft are: White, Vintage ‘09 Fluxus, Confluence, Vintage ‘08 Curieux, and Odyssey. You can view the entire menu here. (And mark your calendar: Lagunitas Brewing Company will be featured on June 2nd.)
Wednesday May 5, 2010 5:30pm reception; 6:30pm dinner $85 more info
Monk's Kettle - 3141 16th St. San Francisco - 415-865-9523
Fritz Maytag Sells Anchor Brewing Company
Locals were chattering over the news that The Griffin Group, an investment and consulting company focused on beverage alcohol brands, acquired the iconic ANCHOR BREWING COMPANY and its portfolio of craft beers and artisan spirits, including Anchor Steam Beer. Here’s more from the press release: “The Griffin Group is led by beverage alcohol veterans, Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio, two longtime San Francisco residents who have been working with Anchor Brewing Company’s owner, Fritz Maytag, to maintain the iconic brewery and distillery in San Francisco.” Anchor Brewing Company will be integrated into their family of craft beers and artisanal spirits, the newly formed Anchor Brewers & Distillers, LLC. Additional affiliated companies under Anchor Brewers & Distillers include Preiss Imports and BrewDog USA, LLC, the U.S. division of the leading U.K. craft beer. Fortunately Fritz Maytag will be named “Chairman Emeritus” of Anchor Brewers & Distillers. You can read the entire press release here.
A Winemaker Dinner with Kermit Lynch
ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR and Arlequin Wine Merchant are hosting a special winemaker dinner with Kermit Lynch in the private dining room on Friday May 6th. The acclaimed winemaker will pair select vintages with a four-course menu prepared by chef Jamie Lauren. For this special dinner, he will pour selected vintages from two of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant’s benchmark producers: Domaine de Cherisey and Domaine Les Pallières. The dinner kicks off with a Champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception. For the full menu and more information, click here.
Thursday May 6, 2010 Starts at 6:30pm $150, excluding tax and gratuity more info
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - 398 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-551-1590
A Night of Cocktails, CUESA, and Il Cane Rosso
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) is hosting the next event in a series of seasonal cocktail making classes with mixologist and author Scott Beattie on Friday May 7th. During this hands-on class, participants will familiarize themselves with the structure of a cocktail and take their repertoire to the next level using seasonal produce from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. There will be a brief presentation, and class participants will be given the opportunity to work in small groups and make their own market-fresh strawberry margaritas, classic mai tais, and gimlets from St. George’s rum, agave spirit, and Qi orange liqueur. Master distiller Lance Winters, the force behind event sponsor St. George Spirits/Hangar One, will be on hand to talk about fine spirits. As an extra treat, Il Cane Rosso will be providing delicious cocktail-friendly appetizers. The event includes three cocktails, hands-on instruction, snacks, and a take-away recipe booklet.
Friday May 7, 2010 5:30pm–7:30pm $45 more info
Ferry Building - One Ferry Building San Francisco - 415-983-8000
Drink Pink at PINK OUT! on May 11th
The Rosé Avengers & Producers are at it again with PINK OUT! SF on Tuesday May 11th at Butterfly. The walk-around tasting includes 40 still and sparkling rosés from around the world, accompanied by appetizers created by chef Robert Lam of Butterfly.
The wineries to date (more signing daily) include Amorosa Bella, Annadel Estate Winery, Azur Wines, Benziger Family Winery, Blackbird Vineyard, Château D’Esclans, C Dacalier Wine Co., Demuth Kemos, Dunstan Wines, Freixenet, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Hendry, Imagery Estate Winery, I’M Wines, Lorenza Rosé, Lynmar Estate, Montes Winery, Muscardini Cellars, Lasseter Family Winery, Loire Valley Wines: Barton & Guestier, Château de Fesles, Marquis de Goulaine, Remy Pannier, and Sauvion; Pedroncelli Winery, PEJU Winery, Pisoni Vineyards & Winery/Lucia Vineyards & Winery, Quivira Vineyards & Winery, Robert Oatley Vineyards, Rock Wall Wine Company, Segura Viudas, Six Sigma Ranch, Tapena, and Ty Caton Vineyards. Wineries subject to change without notice.
Tuesday May 11, 2010 6:30pm–8:30pm $35 in advance more info
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Get Healthy, Organic Indian Food Delivered To Your Door
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.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Sunday May 9, 2010
Have you made a reservation for MOTHER’S DAY yet? No? Come on, you know she raised you better than that. Anyway, here is a lineup of some options where you can raise a glass to the first (and most important) woman in your life.
SPRUCE is perfect for posh mom, with a three-course prix-fixe menu from 10:30am-2:30pm. $59 per person. 415-931-5100.
Mother’s Day is also when GARY DANKO opens early at 3pm, offering the regular prix-fixe menu format. Guests will receive a chocolate memento and take-away breakfast cake. 415-749-2060.
Is Mom a little adventurous? Head to LA MAR CEBICHERIA PERUANA for a special à la carte Peruvian brunch (including dishes like scrambled eggs with fried yucca and chorizo, plus grilled potato bread), and great views. 11am-3pm. 415-397-8880.
The refined SILKS Restaurant also has a varied offering, including bottomless mimosas; traditional breakfast items; Asian-inspired entrées; tarka dahl, curried yellow lentils served hot with flatbread; a dim sum station; and endless desserts. 9am-3pm; $55 per adult and $30 per child age 12 and under. 415-986-2020.
Mother’s Day at THE RITZ-CARLTON, SAN FRANCISCO is about as good as it gets (and about as spendy, too): there will be a special brunch presentation in The Terrace Room, including a selection of seafood, salads, hand-carved meats, a build-your-own omelet station, cheeses, seasonal fruits, a selection of European-inspired desserts, and more, plus live jazz. 10am-4pm. $98 for adults; $49 for children five to 12, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reserve here.
Is Mom a little boozy? Then head to CHAYA BRASSERIE, where you get a special three-course, prix-fixe brunch menu, complete with a lovely view, and hello, bottomless mimosas. 11am-2pm; $38 per person. 415-777-8688.
Want to go up to Wine Country? It’s hard to top the setting at ÉTOILE RESTAURANT at Domaine Chandon for Mother’s Day Brunch. The three-course Mother’s Day brunch menu is $75 (child options available). 707-944-2892.
Other Wine Country Mom-appropriate picks include BARDESSONO in Yountville, SOL BAR at Solage in Calistoga, and BRIX.
And here’s a little something different: Mother’s Day weekend (May 8th and 9th) is the debut of the first annual SWEET SHOPPE FESTIVAL in Oakland’s Jack London Square. This indoor confectionery festival will feature a tasty mix of the Bay’s new handmade specialties and old time favorites, ranging from cookie purveyors, chocolatiers, and ice cream professionals. Samples will abound of candies, cakes, chocolate, and creams. Sweet Shoppe vendors will have mini packaged treat bags for purchase, plus gift items from a select few local jewelers, designers, and specialty purveyors. There is also the La Petite Sweet workshop and arts area for kids, and live music in the evening. Saturday May 8th 11am-10pm, and Sunday May 9th 11am-6pm. Tickets are $12-$30.
the health nut
Gettin' Fit (take a lap, tablehopper)
Time for a Spring Cleaning: Core Vitality Detox Launches in May
Boy, am I ready for this: returning this May is Lawrence Kampf’s CORE VITALITY DETOX, a 21-day integral whole-food cleanse program. I did the program last year, and felt quite fantastic—it’s a great reset button. The group detox is running from May 9th through the 29th (although I will be starting it a week late this year). Good, just enough time for me to get my home batch of kombucha going again.
You can take a look at some of my entries from last year (my entries start on this date, and go into May 2009): basically, I gave up meat, dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and tried to eat as many whole, organic, and raw foods as possible. I also tried to just do juices one day, but that lasted until about 5pm. Anyway, it’s a great way to check in with yourself, slow down from your busy life, and take really good care of yourself.
The Core Vitality Detox Program includes: • (4) 2 hour workshops w/ Q&A • (3) 1.5 hour practice sessions to move out what comes up • Dietary guidelines, cleanse journal, and educational materials included • Detox support group • Online Community • Discounts for area businesses supporting the healthy lifestyle Price does not include required supplements (expect $50-$70).
Early bird pricing ($360) is only through tomorrow, April 28th! Bring a buddy and get half off the core program, a savings of $197.50! Bring two and all three get half off (a savings of $592.50)! Email to register. (The price will then go to $395.)
There is a free evaluation and Q&A Session on Monday May 3rd from 7:30pm-9pm at the Yoga Loft (321 Divisadero at Page). It will also include a short guided meditation.
Yoga for People Who Work on Their Feet
I thought some of you hard-working industry types would like to know about this special yoga class on Mondays at The Yoga Loft with instructor Karen Lo. Here’s more: “Although our bodies have made some amazing adaptations to allow us to stand on two feet, standing up for 8-10 hours a day at work still take their toll. And let’s be honest, how many of us are really going home and doing what we need to alleviate the effects of this type of workday? Yoga offers a variety of benefits to those looking for relief from common problems related to working on your feet such as lower back pain, tight shoulders, tight neck and upper back, aching feet, and tight hips and hamstrings. This class is geared specifically for those who work in restaurants, retail, or anyone else who spend a majority of their work week on their feet, bending down, bearing weight, and involved in repetitive motion. This class will address these varied issues in a way that will allow practitioners of varying levels to reap the benefits of yoga. The restorative component of this class will energize and calm the nerves so that you’ll have the strength to stand another day.”
Class is Mondays at 11:15am; $10 drop-in fee (you can rent a mat at the studio). 321 Divisadero St. at Page.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): East Meets West.
On Saturday May 1st from noon to 5pm, Basil Racuk brings his Spring/Summer 2010 styles from his eponymous leather bag and small leather good collection to Leffot in New York.
In this world of commodified everything, Racuk offers the opportunity for true luxury: a chance to work with the craftsman himself, creating not only a custom bag, but one that comes with a story—and the experience of being part of something from beginning to end. Basil is not just a craftsman, he’s an artist with a clear vision of design. Here’s what The New York Times had to say: “His designs are distinguished by their trend-proof but not boring classicism.”
If you are in New York this weekend, head over to Leffot and meet Basil in person, a Bay Area local who is making us all proud.
And if you can’t make it to New York this Saturday, you can view his work online at basilracuk.com.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Prince!
The one and only purple-lovin’ Prince came in to farmerbrown on Sunday to check out their brunch band, Hot Pocket (LOVE the name). According to my spotter, he was wearing a white suit with a black collared shirt and “hella beautiful silver chains—he was glowing!” He also ordered room service the previous night (the vegan jambalaya and some wine).
I'll Have the T-Bone, Thanks
A tablehopper reader spotted T Bone Burnett having dinner at Florio on Saturday night.
The Beckhams Hit St. Helena
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham were spotted wining and dining at Long Meadow Ranch Winery and Farmstead in St. Helena. Posh’s Napa Valley footwear? Louboutins, natch.
Synced Up at Epic Roasthouse
Pop singer Lance Bass (the former ‘NSYNC singer) and Kyan Douglas of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy were spotted getting smoochy at Epic Roasthouse over dinner.
Ruth Reichl on the Town
Ruth Reichl, who was in town for a reading at the JCC, was spotted at the bar at COCO500, and according to her tweet, she had a Negroni (actually, plural: Negronis), and oysters at Zuni.