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May 17, 2010 25 min read

May 18, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: from foie to raw.

May 18, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: from foie to raw.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: from foie to raw.

Hallo darlings. Excuse me if I’m a little cranky, but I’m currently on day two of espresso-cheese-salumi-champagne-bread withdrawal, and I’m a little peckish, and tired. Yup, my three-week cleanse has begun, but not without one hell of a sendoff on Sunday night. My sis and I attended my third Meals on Wheels event at Fort Mason, and the SF culinary community blew it out of the water, yet again. I put together a Flickr photo album of some of the bites and bevvies we enjoyed—it was quite the tour de force.

Last week I was in Chicago, meating it up for sure—first at Al’s #1 Italian Beef, and then the next night at The Publican, followed by deeeevine cocktails at The Violet Hour. I’ll post a mini-recap soon.

But in the meantime, I’m changing things up a touch here at tablehopper HQ this week. My Tuesday column has just gotten too huge—I can barely find enough time to write it, and edit it, and I can only imagine how much time it takes to read the dang thing. So this week I’m going to post my jetsetter recap about all the places I recently went to in New York on Thursday, instead of in this Tuesday’s column. I’m beginning to think going forward, I’ll post my reviews on Thursdays, and a few other tidbits or events that come up. I know it’s nice to have everything in one, er, compact package each Tuesday, but I’d like to try out this twice-a-week format. See what not having access to caffeine does to me? Productivity compromised!

This week, I hope you come visit me at the Appel and Frank shopping event this Thursday evening (tablehopper readers can get in for $5 instead of $10!)—I’ll have a table full of treats from Pinkie’s Bakery that I can’t eat, so come by, why dontcha? Read more event details here.

I’m also going to be doing more posts in the health nut about any product discoveries and destinations during my next three weeks of eating like a monk—hopefully it’ll help any of you fellow friends trying to lighten up this spring.

Yours, in bubbles and in health,

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Piccino Is About to Get a Whole Lot Bigger


Exterior of 845 22nd St.


Interior of the space.


DIG’s soon-to-be cellar.

One of my favorite gems of the city, PICCINO, is going to be moving down the block and into an amazing, spacious, historical building. The immense size of the 150-year-old yellow building is rather breathtaking—and it’s actually going to house three businesses: Piccino, DIG (more on this fab wine shop in a sec), and a second location for Hayes Valley (and tablehopper) favorite, MAC (Modern Appealing Clothing) from Ben and Chris Ospital.

Piccino owners Margherita Stewart-Sagan and Sheryl Rogat will now have room for 70 diners indoors (instead of its current 24), with another 35 outdoor seats on a quiet, 12-foot, west-facing (read: sunny) sidewalk. The building is currently undergoing a significant foundation and seismic upgrade, and will eventually house the new Piccino dining room, as well as Piccino’s coffee bar, which currently sits in the middle of the block. The coffee bar will seat an additional 12 to 14 people, and will feature an expanded breakfast menu. The restaurant’s daily menu will continue to feature thin-crust pizzas and many long-standing favorites, plus new special entrées, like meaty roasts or roast quails or risotto, plus a new fry station means dishes like fritto misto.

Garcia will be busy with his boutique wine store, DIG, which will focus on food-friendly wines from the regions of France and Italy. DIG will eventually ramp up to a selection of roughly 150 bottles (but will be starting with approximately half that number). There will also be weekly tasting menus and theme-based tasting events. And there’s going to be an actual cellar—750 square feet, in fact (just check out the pic). The ground-level storefront will house a retail space with special olive oils, salts, and Recchiuti confections, and there will be a comfy tasting lounge with music playing on vinyl records, and a communal farm table in the cellar for special tasting events and dinners. MAC will be nestled in the space between Piccino and DIG.

The architectural firm Sagan-Piechota (partner Loring Sagan is married to Margherita) is designing the restaurant and retail spaces, which will share a garden-like atrium entrance on Minnesota Street. The new Piccino/MAC/DIG location plans to open at the corner of 22nd Street and Minnesota in late 2010.

Piccino            - 1001 Minnesota St. San Francisco - 415-824-4224

Where to Get Ice Cream in the Dogpatch This Friday


Photo from Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous.

Just in time for this supposed spring we’re having, MR. AND MRS. MISCELLANEOUS are opening their ice cream and sweets shop this Friday. Owners Annabelle Topacio and Ian Flores are opening with eight organic ice cream flavors (plus a vegan flavor and a sorbet), which you can have in a banana split or a sundae, and there will also be fudgesicles, and root beer or black cherry floats. On the sweets side, there will be house-made brittle, toffee, marshmallows, chouquettes, and baked goods like muffins, scones, goat cheese brownies, chocolate chip cookies with sel gris and pecans, and Bakewell tarts made with raspberry jam and toasted almonds. Hours will be 11:30am-8pm (but be sure to call first before heading over).

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous            - 699 22nd St. San Francisco - 415-970-0750

Update on Mission Street Food, Mission Burger, and Commonwealth


Flickr photo by jessefriedman.

After a tablehopper reader (with an awesome burger blog, by the way) tipped me off to the potential upcoming closure of MISSION BURGER in the Duc Loi supermarket, I put a call in to partner Anthony Myint. He said the business wasn’t an ideal lunch location, and it will be closing up at the end of May (either the 30th or 31st) when burger badass Danny Bowien heads off to Korea for his wedding. Myint is open to the possibility that if someone had a location to open the concept elsewhere, then the granulated burger might return.

He also mentioned that MISSION STREET FOOD is going to be winding down, serving its last meal on Saturday June 5th, before Myint leaves for Korea for Bowien’s wedding. When the chefs return, the future of MSF remains to be seen: they might start it up at Commonwealth on the night it’s closed (Monday), but otherwise doesn’t want to compete with their new restaurant since the locations are just next to each other.

Lastly, here are a few updates on the team for COMMONWEALTH, the restaurant opening in the El Herradero space at 2224 Mission St.: executive chef Jason Fox is going to be joined by chef de cuisine Ian Muntzert (Coi, Zuni Cafe, Nopa, Pizzeria Delfina, Yoshi’s, and Bar Tartine), and manager Xelina Leyba (Bar Tartine). Myint will be closely involved with the project, especially during the opening month—which is about a couple months out or so, it’s hard to tell.

New Mobile Food Truck (and Biz) Launching This Week


The new wave of food trucks is here: it’s time to salute CHAIRMAN BAO, hitting the streets of San Francisco this week. You can take your pick of steamed or baked buns filled with six different items, like pork belly and pickled daikon, lion’s head meatball with fresh kimchee, or crispy garlic tofu with miso greens (you can view the entire menu here). Baked buns are $5.75, and steamed are $2.95. The chef is Eric Rudd, who hails from Minneapolis. There are also going to be four fresh fruit-shaved ice drinks, like pineapple salted caramel, and mango matcha green tea ($3.50).

It’s going to be parked at Trimark Economy Restaurant Fixtures this Wed-Fri (1200 7th St. at Irwin), and making its first nighttime appearance at a show at the Rockit Room on Saturday May 29th. There are also plans to hit the Peninsula, Emeryville, and Redwood City. Follow the truck’s Twitter feed for exact coordinates.

This food truck is the first in a smart new mobile food truck enterprise, Mobi Munch, which is a turnkey mobile food truck business infrastructure for chefs who want to hit the streets, but not be mired in the business details of how to run a truck. The next truck will be with L.A. chef, Ludo Lefebvre, featuring his famous Ludo Fried Chicken throughout greater Los Angeles in June. The website will also eventually act as a portal and forum for and about mobile food trucks.

Update on The Summit

Got a quick update on Desi Danganan’s THE SUMMIT, the art bar and café opening near the New College building at 777 Valencia (I think it’s actually going in the additional New College space flanking the garage, just across the street). The chef is going to be none other than Eddie Lau (Orson, Poleng Lounge), and according to their mission statement, “The cuisine at The Summit is a modern and emboldened tribute to the simplicity and philosophy of the brasserie—a style often rooted in traditional French and extended to contemporary interpretations around the world.” They are going to be doing lunch and dinner, but it will be casual counter service in the café. The local/seasonal menu will have pricing that floats around $6-$10 for lunch, and $12-$16 for dinner. They don’t officially have an opening date yet, but it looks to be sometime in July. I’ll keep you posted.

More tablehopper Book Signings This Month


This week is a double-play for tablehopper book signings. This Thursday May 20th, I will have a table at the Appel and Frank Chic Summer Soirée Event, which most women who love to shop know ALL about. There will be all kinds of vendors, from clothing to bags to jewelry, plus cocktails, wine, and more. I will be there signing and selling books (and giving out free recommendations!). I will also be offering delicious sweet treats from Pinkie’s Bakery, so consider it your free preview taste before checking out the bakery’s new digs in SoMa.

Use the discount code “TABLEHOPPER” for 50% off the $10 fee (so you only pay $5). RSVP in advance here. Otherwise all tickets are $10 at the door. 5pm-9pm. Regency Center, Sutter Room, 1270 Sutter St. at Van Ness.

And then this Saturday May 22nd, I will be up in Sonoma at Readers’ Books for a signing and reading at 4pm. And don’t be surprised if I have some sort of beverage for you to enjoy (the event is free). 130 E. Napa St. at 1st St. E., Sonoma.

And then next Thursday May 27th, I will be doing a reading and signing at Books. Inc. Market St. (Castro), and we’ll have some red wine, and delicious bittersweet cocoa truffles from Neo Cocoa. 7:30pm, free. 2275 Market St. at 16th St., San Francisco.

Hope to see you soon! For more upcoming tablehopper signings and events, click here.

From Asia de Cuba to The Velvet Room at the Clift

Asia de Cuba.JPG

The Clift Hotel has completed the transition from Jeffrey Chodowrow/China Grill Management’s Asia de Cuba to a new concept, VELVET ROOM, now under the management of the Morgans Hotel Group. The Philippe Starck interior has remained untouched, but the menu has gone from fusion to farm-to-table. The chef is Ewart Wardhaugh, who was previously at Sandy Lane, a luxury resort in St. James, Barbados. His new lunch menu is still being tweaked, but the dinner menu of approachable and seasonal California fare includes sweet pea soup ($8); grilled flatbread with shaved prosciutto, dried fig, cipollini onion, sheep’s milk ricotta ($15); day boat scallops with a ragout of Rancho Gordo beans, dried chorizo, upland cress, lemon oil ($27); and Pozzi Ranch loin of lamb with spring pea polenta, morel mushrooms, red wine jus ($28). Lunch is 11:30am-1:30pm daily; dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, and until 11pm Fri-Sat. 495 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-929-2300.

Pinkie's Bakery Now Open in SoMa


Photo from Pinkie’s Bakery.

Cheryl Burr of PINKIE’S BAKERY has now opened her SoMa location! You can swing by for De La Paz drip coffee and tasty treats like crumb cake and scones. In addition to her delicious line of baked goods, they are also offering sandwiches, like an egg salad or curry chicken salad on a kaiser roll, plus baguette sandwiches, and a vegetarian brioche roll with Gruyère and caramelized onion. Hours are Mon-Fri from 8am-4pm (for now—hours may get tweaked). The new address is 1196 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-355-1269.

Grand Coffee May Be Pulling Shots By This Weekend

Back in December I mentioned this upcoming coffee bar, GRAND COFFEE, that is opening in the historic Grand Theater building in the Mission. If they pass their inspections this Thursday, they hope to have a soft opening over the upcoming weekend. To recap, the café is from Nabeel Silmi, a bartender who is going to be integrating a bartending approach to the barista craft, like shaking the iced coffees in a cocktail shaker (like a caffè shakerato in Italy). The coffee will be from Four Barrel, the machine is a La Marzocco paddle group, the tea is from Red Blossom Tea, and there will also be an egg cream on the menu, using seltzer from the Seltzer Sisters. You can keep track of the café’s progress on their Twitter feed. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-7pm.

Grand Coffee            - 2663 Mission St. San Francisco

Union Street Openings Continue...

THE BRICK YARD BAR & RESTAURANT is due to open in the former Bayside Bar & Grill space on Saturday June 5th at the 33rd annual Union Street Festival. To celebrate, the restaurant will be open at 10am, offering $5-$10 menu items all weekend long, and signature cocktails like their Pura Vida (a watermelon-based rum drink). The menu of California cuisine will be focused on healthy and comfort food dishes (citrus salad with grilled chicken, thin crust pizzas, pulled pork sliders, chopped chicken lettuce cups, and seared ahi tuna). The spacious 3,600-square-foot venue has undergone floor-to-ceiling renovations, which include new tile and hardwood floors, custom-made wine displays, skylights, tufted leather booths, a 30-foot bar with flatscreen HD TVs, a private lounge that can be reserved for special events (stocked with its own audio system, personal bar, and pool table), and there’s an elevated outdoor patio facing Union Street. 1787 Union St. at Octavia.

Great Deal at Little Star Pizza on Divis

The Divisadero location of LITTLE STAR PIZZA is now running a deal called Summer Neighborhood Nights. What does this mean for you? On Tuesday and Wednesday nights from 5pm-6pm, be seated before 6pm, order an appetizer, and get a pizza at half off. Sweet.

Help the Gulf Oil Spill Clean-Up Team When Dining at Scoma's  

SCOMA’S is raising funds for the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation to support their efforts to clean up and prevent beach, wetlands, and wildlife damage caused by the ongoing oil spill off the Louisiana coast. On Friday May 21st and 28th, 100% of the proceeds from the restaurant’s $23.95 prix-fixe lunch menu and $39.95 Triple Play Dinner Menu will be donated to the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. Lunch is served 11:30am-3:30pm; dinner is served 5pm-10:30pm. Complimentary valet parking is always available.

Scoma's            - Pier 47, Al Scoma Way, San Francisco - 415-771-4383

Amuse Brunch Recap

amuse brunch 022.jpg

Slumdosa Millionaires/Dosa Rox My Lox. Photo by Daisy Chow.

Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant extraordinaire, has this field report from the latest SF Food Wars event:

With a theme like “Amuse Brunch” (think: brunch in a bite), last Sunday’s SF FOOD WARS competition was sure to be a pork and eggs-travaganza. So I arrived at the Thirsty Bear Brewery prepared, meaning, I brought along a meat-eating friend. All 20 teams (see their pics here) showed a lot of creativity and love of all things brunch, but I’ll only highlight a few faves.

My personal pick was a simple little bite by INNA pickle INNA jam: they put together a buttermilk biscuit, cream cheese smear, tortilla Española, and jalapeño jelly, a nicely balanced combination. Another notable savory entry was Team Valhalla’s creamy, herbed sawmill gravy with fresh peas, porky bits, and hard-boiled eggs on a wee biscuit. Call it a meaty, meal-in-one version of biscuits and gravy. Of the sweet entries, my friend liked Purveyors of Awesome’s bread pudding for its subtle tea flavor and soft texture, which worked well with the whipped cream and strawberry garnish.

I also liked seeing adventurous folks marry the brunch theme with molecular gastronomy techniques. Gastronaut’s “Hare of the Benny”—a riff on eggs benedict—had a sous vide quail egg in a sweet browned butter hollandaise sauce served in a shot glass rimmed with biscuit-y crumbles and garnished with preserved lemon and rabbit bacon, plus a molecular “mimosa” of Champagne gelée and orange “caviar” on the side. Team TimeCube was another molecular gastronomy-style entrant: their “One Shot Waffle” captured the essence of waffles, strawberry, syrup, and cream. Sipped out of a tiny test tube, the flavor was great but didn’t last long.

A shout out to two teams whose labor-intensive presentations caught my eye: Chicas con Huevos made huevos rancheros in a cute lil’ boat-shaped tamal (dubbed “El Ranchero”), and Slumdosa Millionaires had mini, smoked salmon and hash brown-filled dosas wrapped with little chive bows (aka “Dosa Rox My Lox”). If you’ve ever made hundreds of tamales or tried to tie a chive into a decent knot, you’ll understand how much work these folks must’ve put in.

By popular vote, the People’s Choice award went to Porkuporkia’s “Pork in the Hole” (slow-braised pork belly in a maple-glazed donut hole), and the Judges’ First Place award went to Good Foods Catering’s “The Bite of Smokey Porky Love” (a micro-mini BLT served on crisp pita with a smoky tomato jam, sliced cherry tomato, pork crackling aioli, house-made bacon, and micro greens). For the complete list of winners, check out the SF Food Wars website. As for their next event, did I hear…Pie or Die?

Revival Bar + Kitchen About to Open in Berkeley


Photo provided by Revival Bar + Kitchen.

Amy Murray, the chef-owner of Venus in Berkeley, is opening her latest venture, REVIVAL BAR + KITCHEN, in the former Downtown Restaurant location on Shattuck. Michael Brennan designed the spacious 130-seat space, which features lots of reclaimed wood, recycled arches rescued from the Julia Morgan building next door to Venus, cherry red barstools for the 20-seat bar, and many vintage and turn-of-the-century touches, including cool plastering effects. There’s also a sexy saloon-meets-bordello vibe, with atmospheric lighting.

Murray has been “cheffing with a farmers’ market perspective” since 1994, and she opened the organic and farm-to-table Venus in 2000. She will be the executive chef, and Alicia Jenish, formerly of the The Academy Café at the California Academy of Sciences, will be the chef de cuisine. The menu will be “snout to tail, root to shoot,” mixed with a “‘lil kitchen on the prairie” vibe, making it all from scratch. They also hope to make their own tonic, sodas, plant a garden, and use every part of the animal. Murray says the name was inspired by the history of the building (which dates back to 1901), the local revival of back-to-the-land values, and is also excited by the revival of restaurants in the area (Gather, and the new Locanda in the old Zax space).

The dinner menu includes fried baby artichokes; local bay shrimp with avocado, hearts of palm, shaved fennel with a tarragon vinaigrette; asparagus and beef marrow flatbread; halibut cheeks with asparagus, potatoes, and morels; goat braised with za’atar; and a Long and Bailey Farms pork chop. Revival will stay open all day, starting with a morning program of third wave coffee off a La Marzocco machine, bombolini, unique muffins and scones, homemade Irish brown bread, and fresh-churned butter. There will also be lunch, happy hour, and an afternoon modern tea with charcuterie, sandwiches, and cocktails—and dinner until late. The bar will feature a modern, California cocktail program, with drinks made from seasonal local fruit. The restaurant is slated to open for dinner on Tuesday May 25th after a couple friends and family events. Breakfast and lunch will start three weeks later. And in case you’d like a sneak peek before the opening, come to the book launch party on Thursday May 20th for the new book, Farmer Jane. 2102 Shattuck Ave. at Addison, Berkeley, 510-549-9952.

Daniel Patterson's Plum Project in Oakland

Since things are taking a while to get Bracina open in Jack London Square, Daniel Patterson of Coi is opening a new project called PLUM in Uptown. Jay Barmann at GrubStreet recently (and conveniently) conducted a long interview with Patterson, which seemed to answer any questions I had or would have asked, so why don’t you just hop on over? The short recap: 45 seats, the concept is “Coi as neighborhood restaurant,” dishes will top out at $19, Lauren Kiino will be the opening chef until Bracina gets going, there will be sandwiches during the day, and he hopes to have it open this summer. There’s also an adjacent space where Patterson plans to have a bar open later this year, with Scott Beattie (Cyrus) overseeing it. 2214 Broadway at 22nd St., Oakland.

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Wine buyer Trac Le’s selection of artisan wines includes organic and biodynamic producers from California, Italy, France, Spain, and beyond, with more than 50 hand-picked wines under $15. We stock bottles from cult producers like Quintarelli, François Cotat and Huet, plus new releases from white Burgundy masters Raveneau and Lafon.

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Comstock Saloon Opens Thursday May 20th


The bar at Comstock Saloon. Photo: © 2010 Liza Gershman.

The wait is over: Jeff Hollinger and Jonny Raglin of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar open their pet project, COMSTOCK SALOON, this Thursday at the corner of Columbus and Pacific Avenues. The historic space dates back to 1907, and the menus of refined, turn-of-the-century saloon fare and classic cocktails (think Negronis, Manhattans) will match the spiff Barbary Coast interior. Details include the 20-foot-long original mahogany bar (constructed in 1907), five hardwood booths that each fit six people, gilded silver ball-and-claw barstools, charred hardwood floors, and a vintage ceramic absinthe fountain. And yes, above the bar, that is in fact a bronze statue of Emperor Norton, originally cast by the late local artist Peter Macchiarini in 1936—and the vintage 1916 Pukka Walla fan, made of brass and palm fronds, will continue to slowly fan the room. I’m looking forward to hearing some live music from the small mezzanine level.

The main dining room has banquettes and tables, with the original blue-and-white ceramic-tile flooring, and a restored original tin ceiling. Chef Carlo Espinas (Camino, Piccino) has put together a menu with dishes such as potted pork ($12); grilled game hen with oyster stuffing and greens ($17); and wild mushrooms with peas and griddled rice cakes ($15). A variety of pickled bar bites, along with fried beans, and an oyster cocktail will also be available. Oh yes, and salted caramel pudding for dessert (a bit more 2010 than 1910, but no matter). Open Tue-Sun 2pm-2am (dinner until 1am). Cheers!

Comstock Saloon            - 155 Columbus Ave. San Francisco - 415-617-0071

The Burritt Room Coming to Union Square


The Burritt Room. Photo from

Camper at brings word of a new bar opening in Union Square, the BURRITT ROOM. According to his piece, it’s opening on the second floor of the new Crescent Hotel, just by the Stockton Tunnel at 417 Stockton St. (Burritt is the alley where pranksters are always adding an “o” to the street sign). You can take a look at pics of the space’s progress here.

Here’s more from Alcademics on what you’ll be drinking: “The cocktail program is in the care of beverage director (and bartender) Kevin Diedrich who worked at Bourbon & Branch and Clock Bar but in the last 16 months has been working in bars in DC and New York including PDT and the Clover Club. Diedrich says his goal is to keep the bar program in line with the hotel’s pricing and clientele; an accessible program at reasonable prices and with cocktails between $8-$10. The menu will have 18 cocktails that will be a combination of classic, contemporary, and seasonal drinks. He’ll try to hit at least one with each base spirit—pisco, rum, gin, etc.—plus one made with each of beer, wine, and Champagne. Speaking of beer, just three will be on tap, probably all local, and one seasonal. The Burritt Room will also have a canned beer program.” It’s scheduled to open on Thursday May 27th. (No number yet, but the hotel is 415-400-0500.)

More Potential Opportunities for Boozin' in the T-loin

A little Tenderloin bar activity for you: the Bang San Thai location at 505 Jones Street has closed (FYI, their other location at 791 O’Farrell Street remains open), and I learned that their neighbor, BOURBON & BRANCH, may be expanding into the space. Please note this is all very TBD—they have just started talks with their landlord about the expansion.

Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton, operating as Destination Bars LLC, are also in escrow right now for the divey CLUB 441. The space is just half a block down the street from Bourbon & Branch, at 441 Jones. Again, this is a very TBD project. Since the liquor license transfer is a very slooooow process, especially these days, there are no immediate plans for the space—but I will (of course) keep you posted on future developments.

For Three Nights Only: An Iranian Gastropub

Chef/owner Hoss Zaré of ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP is having some fun with Syre Piotrkowski (a cicerone) and Ryan Corbett from The Monk’s Kettle: they’re pairing up for an evening exploring beer and wine pairings, featuring classic bar snacks reinvented with Persian flavors. Chef Zaré is re-envisioning Persian cuisine as would befit a hypothetical Iranian gastropub. Working with typical Persian ingredients and flavors, the menu will include dishes like Caspian seafood stew with mussels, cod, sturgeon and black garlic aioli, and chicken wings “fessenjoon” with pomegranate walnut sauce. There will be both beer and wine pairings for each course.

               Thursday Jun  3, 2010 – Saturday Jun  5, 2010 8:30pm $75 (includes wine and beer pairings, excludes tax and tip). more info

Zaré at Fly Trap            - 606 Folsom St. San Francisco - 415-243-0580

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

SummerTini, an Important Fundraiser for CHEFS, Is June 4th


 Event Info

Friday Jun  4, 2010 6pm–9pm $100 General Admission; $150 Honorary Committee; $75 under 35 Info/tickets                        The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center 101 Henry Adams St., San Francisco                        415-487-3736

On Friday June 4th, local restaurants and farmers’ market chefs will serve specialty hors d’oeuvres and signature martinis at ECS’s annual fundraiser, SUMMERTINI 2010, to be held this year at the Galleria. You can support a great cause while enjoying delicious fare from participants like 4505 Meats, A16, Butterfly, E&O Trading Company, LarkCreekSteak, Millennium, Hayes Street Grill Bar & Grill, Kuleto’s, and many other distinguished, local restaurants and purveyors of fine food and drink.

The evening will also feature live jazz, and live and silent auctions. You can bid on unique live auction items, including a Critic’s Review Dinner with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Michael Bauer, a romantic getaway for two at the Meadowood Napa Valley, and a couples’ stay at the Cedar House Sports Hotel in North Lake Tahoe with white water rafting tour. The silent auction items include dinner at Perbacco, a stay at the Ritz Carlton, sailing adventures, cooking classes at Tante Marie’s, wine tours, and more! You can also bid on a signed tablehopper book, accompanied by a $200 gift certificate to dine at Sebo!

Proceeds from this 6th annual SummerTini event support Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco employment and education programs. CHEFS provides vocational training to prepare homeless and formerly homeless adults for employment in food service. Classroom instruction and hands-on kitchen training in restaurants and institutional settings as well as job counseling and placement are key elements of this 12-month program. (Visit the CHEFS page on Facebook). The ECS Skills Center offers educational services, including GED preparation, basic literacy, and math skills, for homeless, formerly homeless and low-income individuals.

You can purchase tickets at

Sunset's Celebration Weekend 2010 is June 5th-6th


Photo provided by Sunset.

Event Info

Saturday Jun  5, 2010 – Sunday Jun  6, 2010 10am–5pm $16 General Admission; $12 Seniors (60+); Free under 12; $1 discount on tickets purchased at the door for biking in or for parking at Oracle Tickets                        Sunset Headquarters 80 Willow Rd., Menlo Park                        800-786-7375

If you’ve ever wondered what’s behind the pages of Sunset magazine, this is your chance to find out. On Saturday June 5th and Sunday June 6th, Sunset will open its seven-acre Menlo Park campus to the public for its 13th annual CELEBRATION WEEKEND 2010: THE WEST ON-THE-GO. The event promises to celebrate the spirit of the West with a weekend full of special exhibits, celebrity chefs, tastings, demonstrations, and experts on food, wine, garden, home, and design.

Sounds like there’ll be something for everyone at this celebration. One special feature will be the Glam-Camping exhibit, where you’ll get to explore three “tricked-out trailers” designed to update the old-fashioned road-trip with style, comfort, and luxury. Food-lovers can expect multiple cooking stages dedicated to recipe and technique demos with celebrity chefs and Sunset experts; a gathering of popular Bay Area food trucks (Sam’s Chowder House, Liba Falafel Truck, Seoul on Wheels, Gelateria CiCi, Kara’s Cupkakes, and Fruit n’ Exotica); and an Artisan Food Pavilion. Oenophiles will be treated to an expanded Wine Seminar Courtyard, but be aware that the wine seminars do sell out. Sign up is first-come, first-served, and seminars cost $10/person. You can even shop at Secondhand Sunset, a Sunset rummage sale benefiting a local charity.

Here’s one thing to look out for: Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats will be at the Tillamook booth on Saturday with his Crispy Crunch FrankaRoni (think deep fried squares of mac n’ cheese w/ franks!), and serving cheddar brats (pork/bacon/cheddar sausage) on Sunday. More details, a complete schedule of presenters and events, event information, and online tickets at

the health nut

Gettin' Fit (take a lap, tablehopper)

Learn to Make Yogurt and Kefir

On Thursday May 20th, you can learn how to make homemade cow and goat’s milk yogurt and kefir, a fermented milk drink. Jordan Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen Co. will be leading this probiotic-rich workshop where participants take home a pint each of yogurt and kefir, including enough kefir grains to start your own batch at home. The event takes place from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Ferry Building, in the CUESA Dacor teaching kitchen located in the North Arcade. $48. Click here to learn more.

Healthy Snacks


One of the hardest things about a cleanse is you can get HANGRY very quickly—funny what removing things like bread and cheese from your diet can do to you. Actually, not funny. Not funny at all. Anyway, I remember last year when I did this cleanse how hungry I would get the first few days before I could prepare my next meal or dish (chopping all those vegetables takes time). So for this go-round, I stocked up with a couple of items.

First, I am totally going to stash the “granola bars” from Two Moms in the Raw ($7.69 on sale) in my car for when I’m on the run. I bought the gojiberry-granola flavor on sale at Rainbow, and it’s rather delicious. The bar is packed with seeds (like flax, pepitas, sesame), nuts (almond, pecans), and just the right amount of sweetness from apple and agave, plus the goji berries. Yes, some could joke about these being birdseed bars, and they definitely take some chewing, but they’re satisfying, while also being gluten-free, with no refined sugars or added oils. Thumbs up.

The other little snacker I got was a bag of the “Spicy” Flax Snax ($4.39), thin and raw wafers of flax, sunflower, and sesame seeds, plus a hint of jalapeño, lime, salt, and cilantro. Not exactly fulfilling, but good for that afternoon time when you want a nibble of something that isn’t a carrot stick.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)

(Sponsored): Enter to Win a Pair of Tickets to the Golden Glass


The 7th Annual Golden Glass wine tasting and Slow Food Plaza benefiting Slow Food San Francisco is on Saturday June 12th, from 1pm-5pm at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion.

Golden Glass celebrates the efforts of international wine producers who strive to protect, nurture, and revive the indigenous and classic varieties of their regions. Taste wines by regional areas throughout the pavilion to learn about terroir nuances. The Golden Glass is also a lively gastronomic event, featuring culinary delights from the Bay Area’s top restaurants and artisan producers in a Slow Food Plaza.

Proceeds of the event benefit Slow Food SF’s School Programs, including school gardens, and the Time For Lunch Campaign. This also supports the Ark of Taste program.

Tickets are $60 each, and can be purchased here.

tablehopper is giving away one pair of tickets (two tickets total). All you need to do is forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to two friends (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friends about the event, then Cc: or Bcc: me at so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Sunday May 23rd by 11:59pm. I will notify the winner on Monday the 24th. Good luck!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Chances Are (We Wish We Were Dining with Him)

Robert Downey Jr. dined at Spruce last Tuesday with four people, one of them was Attorney General Brown. He was reportedly in town for a big to-do/benefit at the Gettys for the Oakland School for the Arts.

Give the Man a Steak

Hall of Famer and the “Iron Man” Cal Ripken, Jr. was at Bobo’s aka Boboquivari’s on Lombard on Saturday evening. The tablehopper reader writes, “One prepared Little League coach got an autographed baseball out of the appearance.”

The Sixth Course

I wonder if M. Night Shyamalan had read my recent review of Greens and was inspired to head over? Maybe he’s already a fan. Either way, a tablehopper reader spotted him dining at a nearby table, and “he seemed to be eating dinner with his family.”

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