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Oct 18, 2010 22 min read

October 19, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: it's tops.

October 19, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: it's tops.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: it's tops.                    

Late-night bite at It’s Tops.

You see that waffle? Yeah baby, old school—especially with those little pats of butter. What you can’t see is inside that waffle there are strips of bacon. Oh hell yes. Bacon. Waffle. That is exactly the kind of meal you want at 1am after running around the Treasure Island Music Festival all day in the chilly wind, getting rained on while waiting in line for a bus back to SF, walking for blocks in the SoMa wind, and fighting to get a cab with a bunch of other festival-goers after getting dropped off at AT&T Park… It’s enough to make someone freaking hangry—hence the additional sausage on the side. Meat-tastic! Thanks to It’s Tops for being my little bacon beacon (open since 1935, yo!).

Tonight I’m going to a friends and family dinner at the soon-to-open Locavore, so I’ll share more about it in the Friday issue (which is when you’ll also be able to read about Grub on Valencia, which is finally opening this weekend). And for this week’s giveaway, I have a special kind of sugar mama: tickets to the legendary Yusef Lateef’s Friday night show at Grace Cathedral! Maybe I’ll see you there?

Today’s hot SF topics: the Giants (!!), and who made it in the Michelin Bib Gourmand list (restaurants serving two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less, tax and gratuity not included—although hmmm, some of these selections strike me as a bit challenging, unless you only order a salad). Discuss.

Ciao and meow,

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Let's Drink Bubbles Together on November 11th


Photo from Domaine Carneros.

I’m going to be heading back up to wine country for another book signing event, and this one will also feature one of my greatest loves: bubbles. On Thursday November 11th, I will be at the lovely DOMAINE CARNEROS from 5:30pm-7:30pm, for an event around my book (The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion).

There will be a reception, and then a book discussion and Q&A in the Le Rêve Room, followed by a book signing in the Salon. Bites will be provided by Janine Falvo of Carneros Bistro & Wine Bar. And, of course, we’ll be tasting some of Domaine Carneros’s delish sparkling wines (for $25 per person, you will get two tastes and hors d’oeuvres); my book will be available for $17.50. Hope to see you there—let’s cin cin!

               Thursday Nov 11, 2010 5:30pm–7:30pm $25 per person more info

So, What's On the Menu at Twenty Five Lusk?


Opening party photo by Drew Altizer.

I had a chance to check out the new TWENTY FIVE LUSK at a pre-opening party last week. For a second there it felt like 1996, with all the football types and fillies prancing about (indubitably there because Joe and Jennifer Montana were co-hosts). The sprawling SoMa/South Beach restaurant dates back to 1917 (it was a smokehouse and meat processing facility), and features multiple levels, including a spacious downstairs basement/lounge area with suspended fireplaces and smaller rooms (perfect for birthday gatherings), and upstairs is a 120-seat dining room full of booths, along with semi-private dining rooms. Designer/architect Cass Calder Smith included lots of natural timber and exposed brick that play against the gleaming surfaces and glassed-in kitchen. (You can read many more details in the hardhat column about the space here.)

The contemporary American menu of “approachable fine dining” from chef Matthew Dolan (formerly of Garibaldi’s and Emeril’s in New Orleans) includes appetizers like seared ivory salmon, soft-poached quail egg, smoked potato, and Niçoise olive vinaigrette; cauliflower crème brûlée, sunchoke escabeche, and truffled wild arugula; and grilled quail, ginger carrot purée, caramelized onion, and black pepper-quail demi-glace. Mains include seared diver scallops, cauliflower purée, roasted matsutake mushrooms, and lobster cream; verbena-steamed Pacific halibut, sea beans, tomato, eggplant, and lemon-lobster vinaigrette; and braised short ribs, roasted sweet potatoes, wilted escarole, and syrah demi-glace. Starters range from $10-$15, and mains $20-$27. His partner in the venture is general manager/managing partner Chad Bourdon. Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; bar and lounge: Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm, and Fri-Sat 5pm-12am (weekend brunch is coming soon).

Twenty Five Lusk            - 25 Lusk St. San Francisco - 415-495-5875

On the Menu at MICHAEL MINA (Opening Tonight)


Interior photo by Drew Alitzer.

Opening tonight in the former AQUA space, here’s a look at the menus at MICHAEL MINA. For lunch at the bar, there is an extensive menu of apps like smoked sea trout blini, crème fraîche, American caviar ($14); crispy Dungeness crab “BLT” with charred tomato, jamon serrano ($12); steak tartare of hand-chopped tenderloin, and quail egg ($11); and grilled blue prawns paella arancini, with piquillo aïoli ($9). Mains include a Japanese hamburger on a housemade sticky bun, with kabocha squash fries ($18) and slow-roasted leg of lamb fattoush salad with Niçoise olives ($17). There is also a chef’s daily small plate tasting menu ($39).

For dinner, high rollers can start with some caviar or chilled shellfish, or there’s a variety of hors d’oeuvres for $18 per person (foie gras PB&J, cured ocean trout, quail egg sandwich, prawn paella, and bay scallop ceviche). Starters include geoduck and pork belly with watercress, pumpkin purée, and vadouvan curry ($18); a tasting of provincial shellfish and uni toast ($18); and Wolfe Ranch quail with harissa glaze, pita panzanella, and Iranian pistachios ($19). (Yes, the tuna tartare is on there, for $19). The kabocha squash soufflé with black truffle cream ($14 per person) also caught my eye. Mains include a duo of Pacific fish, lobster vinaigrette, hearts of palm, and Thai basil ($39); a truffle-stuffed Jidori chicken with cockscomb fricassée and Castelmagno mac and cheese ($32); Brandt Farms beef cap, porcini marmalade, red orach, and pommes dauphine ($46); and the option to go for a five-course tasting menu ($95).

Cocktails range from $10-$12, and include the Bar Bancourt, with Barbancourt 8-year-old rum, fig, lemon, and balsamic. For more details on the restaurant, read last week’s post. You can view a slideshow of the interior on Grub Street here.

MICHAEL MINA            - 252 California St. San Francisco - 415-397-9222

What's Moving Into Mecca?


Flickr photo by Rick Audet.

A tablehopper reader let me know something was going on at MECCA on Market Street, and Scoop revealed the details just as I was heading over. The restaurant moving in will be called Pudong, serving traditional Shanghaiese dishes, along with French elements. The chef is Jason Xu, most recently the executive chef of Shanghai 1930 (he was there for 10 years). The crazy-clubby vibe will be no more (I used to call the place Armageddon, after getting taken down too many nights at that horseshoe bar in the ’90s). New décor highlights will include white marble and stone floors instead of the current concrete, and a less-moody color scheme. The current targeted opening date is December 1st. 2029 Market St. at Dolores.

Arizmendi Bakery Now Open on Valencia Street


Photo from Arizmendi website.

After handing out complimentary treats to passers-by on Valencia Street for the past couple weeks, ARIZMENDI BAKERY has opened a fifth bakery cooperative, just next door to Heart. You’ll be able to pick up a variety of their tried-and-true breads, pastries (like a pecan roll), and of course their seasonal California pizza, available by the slice ($2.50), half pie ($10), or entire pie ($20). And in a nod to the neighborhood, there will be bolillos, a sweet Mexican bread, on Fridays. You can also get Equator coffee, espresso, tea, and their special housemade chai. Hours are Mon, Wed, and Thu 7am-7pm, Fri 7am-9pm, Sat-Sun 8am-7pm. 1268 Valencia St. at 24th St., 415-826-9218.

Vroom: New Café Action on 14th Street


Photo from Goody Goodie.

According to a post on SFoodie, a new café called STARSTREAM from John Quintos (Cento, Special Xtra, and Vega) and Remi Hayashi (owner of Goody Goodie) is soft opening this Thursday October 21st . You’ll be able to pick up breakfast, lunch, and Blue Bottle coffee, and eventually some additional treats beyond the lineup you’ll find at Hayashi’s Folsom Street window. According to the post, “She plans to bake breakfast pastries, breads, and sandwich rolls, as well as more elaborate cakes and tarts. The space came with a pizza oven, so Hayashi will also be doing individual Roman-style pizzas at lunch, which she first began baking at Splendido … The partners are working on [a] beer and wine license, and eventually hope to do dessert pairings not just with wine but with tea and coffee as well.” There will be 4-6 kinds of pizza and Italian-inspired sandwiches on housemade bread. You’ll find 30 seats, including a farm table that seats 18. For now, coffee and pastries will be served Mon-Fri 8am-4pm, and look for weekend brunch to launch later on. 1830 Harrison St. at 14th St., 415-864-6390.

A New Chef for Chez Papa Resto

Since chef David Bazirgan of CHEZ PAPA RESTO is off to Fifth Floor, his replacement has just been named, Steven Rojas. Chef Rojas grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and his background includes TRU in Chicago, Patina in Los Angeles, executive chef at Saddle Peak Lodge in Calabasas (where he received a Michelin star), and most recently, he was chef de cuisine at El Bizcocho at the Rancho Bernardo Inn. His menu will continue to offer the restaurant’s French Provençal-inspired cuisine; he starts later this month. 4 Mint Plaza between Mission and Market near 5th St., 415-546-4134.

Changes at a Couple Thai Standbys in Lower Pac Heights


Photo from Khoon Chang.

After 22 years in business, Lower Pac Heights residents are no longer getting their pad Thai at NEECHA THAI—the owners have retired. The location has morphed into the newly opened Sweet Lime Thai Cuisine. 2100 Sutter St. at Steiner, 415-674-7515.

And not too far away, after being in business since 1989, the bright purple KHOON CHANG THAI CUISINE is going to have new owners and will be featuring a new name in a couple months, according to an employee there. 1901 Divisadero St. at California, 415-567-9443.

Closures: Massawa and Medici Lounge

Looks like I never reported on this: the Upper Haight’s MASSAWA is closed. I spoke with the owner, who is currently looking for a new location, stand by.1538 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-621-4129.

And tablehopper reader Jason B. also alerted me that SoMa’s MEDICI LOUNGE has closed. 299 9th St. at Folsom.

Zero Zero Launches Brunch This Weekend


Photo by Blair Sneddon Photography.

ZERO ZERO is starting weekend brunch service this Saturday October 23rd, with dishes like Star Route Farm nettle pizza with house-cured pancetta, roasted garlic, and a poached egg; fried chicken thighs with waffles and chestnut honey; creamy polenta with braised Llano Seco pork, chanterelles, and a semolina-crusted egg; and wild mushroom and Parmesan frittata with crispy pancetta and herb salad. There will also be ricotta doughnuts with quince marmalade for those of you with a sweet tooth.

Since there’s a full bar, you’ll be able to partake in brunch cocktails like the Heavenly Bubble (Hangar One Citron, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, Meyer lemon, and Prosecco) and the Orchard Buzz (Laird’s Applejack, apple shrub, honey, and egg white). Brunch will be served Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm.

Zero Zero            - 826 Folsom St. San Francisco - 415-348-8800

Holly's, a Comedy Club, Is Coming to Van Ness Avenue


Photo of Holly Horn by Dan Dion.

Comedienne Holly Horn and car and racing legend Kjell Qvale are opening HOLLY’S on November 4th in the historic Don Lee building at 1000 Van Ness Avenue (it was the original home and showroom for Cadillac, built in 1921). Holly’s is going to be a comedy club, bar, and restaurant open six nights a week. The casual menu will include a trio of turkey, beef, and tuna sliders; omelets (available late night); and during happy hour (Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm), there will be a fresh air-popped popcorn bar with a variety of fixin’s.

The 200-seat space will have leopard print carpet (rawr), hand-carved wood lounge tables surrounding a half-moon-shaped stage, and a wood-paneled wall framing the lounge, which will also feature sectional couches. The first comedian to headline at Holly’s will be David Crowe. Open Mon-Fri 4pm-2am, and Sat 6:30pm-2am. All tickets are general admission and exclude food, beverage, or gratuity; two-item minimum. Mezzanine level of 1000 Van Ness Ave. at O’Farrell, 415-346-5597.

Upcoming Meatpaper Parties


Unicorn illustration by Kathryn Macnaughton.

Meatpaper is busy with a couple cool upcoming events. First, this Thursday October 21st, they will be partnered up with Blue Bottle on the SFMOMA rooftop for another Food & Thought evening—this one will feature dishes that evoke secrets and disguises. Look for dishes and desserts by Ryan Ostler and Katharine Zacher of Gypsy Kitchen and Catering, Chris Kronner of Bar Tartine, Richie Nakano of Hapa Ramen, and Leah Rosenberg and Caitlin Freeman of Blue Bottle. There will be complimentary beverages from 6pm-7pm, with wine by Scaggs Vineyard and beer by Trumer Pils. The rooftop event is free with half-price museum entry. (Free for SFMOMA members.) Tasting plates $5. 6pm-8pm. Rooftop Garden & Cafe at SFMOMA.

And then on Monday November 1st, there will be a Meat & Greet at Café Rouge. The chefs and butchers featured in Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers (by Meatpaper editor Marissa Guggiana) will serve tastings, both meaty and non, along with locally produced wine, beer, and spirits! It will also be a launch party for Meatpaper Issue 13 and SANDWICH #1, and photographic portraits by Julio Duffoo will be exhibited. $35; advance tickets are required. Purchase tickets here. 6pm-9pm. Café Rouge, 1782 4th St., Berkeley.

Get Your Tickets Soon for the Ultimate Potluck Cocktail Brunch


SF Food Wars has teamed up with food columnist Amanda Hesser of The New York Times to present this special event, THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK-ULTIMATE POTLUCK COCKTAIL BRUNCH on Sunday November 7th. This official West Coast launch of the cookbook will include a signing session with Hesser, and there will also be cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and desserts adapted from recipes in the book by 15 local chefs and bartenders. The lineup of talent includes Mourad Lahlou, Louis Maldonado, and Melissa Chou (Aziza); Jacques Bezuidenhout and Morgan Young (Fifth Floor); Jake Godby and Sean Vahey (Humphry Slocombe); Elizabeth Prueitt (Tartine Bakery); Chris Kronner (Bar Tartine); Jennifer Puccio (Marlowe); Christa Manalo (Beretta); Bridget Batson (Gitane); Adam Timney (Starbelly); Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen); and Jennifer Musty (Batter Bakery). I know, that’s quite the showing. Beverages sponsored in part by Craft Distillers and St. George Spirits.

Omnivore Books will host a pop-up book-shop selling The Essential New York Times Cookbook, where attendees can buy their very own copy to be signed by author Amanda Hesser. There are only 120 tickets, so act quickly! $35. Proceeds to benefit CUESA’s Farmer Scholarship Fund. 21+ only!

               Sunday Nov  7, 2010 1pm–3pm $35 more info


the sponsor

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

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*Because this is already such an amazing deal, there’s no case discount on Three Wishes wines.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Abita Brewing at Monk's Kettle for Gulf Coast Benefit (and More!)


Photo from Monk’s Kettle website.

Tomorrow night, on October 20th, the MONK’S KETTLE will host Abita Brewing Co. for a benefit for the Gulf Coast, featuring S.O.S. (Save Our Shores) Pilsner, a beer created to fund a charity for those affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Louisiana-inspired menu for the night will feature four beers (Jockamo IPA and Andygator on tap, the S.O.S. in the bottle, and glasses of Abbey Ale served from the bottle), all paired with stuffed peppers, New Orleans-inspired gumbo, cassoulet, and crawfish and andouille pot pie (yeah, you better come hungry!). Abita Brewing Co. is donating 75 cents of every bottle sold to a charitable foundation to aid people affected by the disaster, as well as wildlife and environmental restoration. The Monk’s Kettle will additionally be donating half the day’s Abita sales to charity.

Upcoming beer-pairing dinners include Mark Ruedrich of North Coast Brewing Company on November 3rd, and on December 1st, Brian Hunt of Moonlight Brewing.

Monk's Kettle            - 3141 16th St. San Francisco - 415-865-9523

"Tuscan Nights" Wine Tasting in Princeton-by-the-Sea


Photo courtesy of Mezzaluna.

For those of you who live along the coast, head over to MEZZA LUNA RESTAURANT in Princeton by the Sea this Wednesday October 20th for the inaugural Tuscan Nights wine tasting and silent auction. The restaurant will provide light appetizers while guests taste a variety of wines from Pure Argentina Wines, Husch Vineyards, Michael Martella Wines, Alexia Moore Wine Marketing, Thomas Fogarty Winery, and more. There will also be a small silent auction, which will benefit the Friends of Farallone Parent Teacher Organization. Tickets are $40. 6pm-9pm. (Childcare is available through UpGrade Children’s Center, 103 Harvard Ave. #3, a few blocks from Mezza Luna. For more information, please contact the center: 650-728-7662 or 650-867-0058.) Mezza Luna, 459 Prospect Way, Princeton-by-the-Sea, 650-728-8108.

Laszlo Bar Is Celebrating 10 Years on Thursday October 21st


Photo from Laszlo Bar.

This Thursday October 21st, Foreign Cinema’s LASZLO BAR will celebrate its 10-year anniversary with a party that will feature a variety of DJs (DJ FOX, RondoBrothers, DJ Zita, and DJ Ts) and a special surprise DJ at midnight (no, it’s not Paul Oakenfold). You’ll also get to try an entirely new cocktail menu, but be sure to get there from 8pm-9pm, because that’s when the bar will be serving three of the new drinks for free (yes, fo’ free) for the first hour of the party. There will be $2 Trumer Pils all night, and Foreign Cinema will provide appetizers throughout the evening as well. 8pm-1:30am. 2526 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-401-0810.

Monday: It's Time to Get Pickled Again


Cocktailing at Absinthe. Copyright © 2010

Just a little reminder that on Monday October 25th, ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR is hosting its next installment of Pickled, a happy hour on the last Monday of every month, from 5:30pm-10pm. No idea what this month’s theme will be, but you can check out last month’s drink and bites menu here. It happens in the Absinthe Private Dining, next door to Absinthe Brasserie & Bar.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar            - 398 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-551-1590

Farmers Market Cocktail Happy Hour: Preserved & Pickled


Photo of Shaher Misif from CUESA.

No, I’m not talking about your liver. The next FARMERS MARKET COCKTAIL HAPPY HOUR, Preserved & Pickled, is on Wednesday October 27th, and will feature a variety of infused, preserved, and pickled ingredients found in the farmers market. CUESA and the Northern California Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) will be providing guests with two full-sized signature cocktails made with Hangar One vodka, and eight sample-sized drinks made with Death’s Door Gin, FAIR Vodka, Leblon Cachaça, Neisson Rhum Agricole Blanc, Royal Combier, St-Germain, VeeV Açaí Spirit, and Zaya Rum. The line-up of bartenders includes:
 Joel Teitelbaum, Zero Zero; 
Jared Anderson, 15 Romolo; 
Tina Brandelli, DOSA on Fillmore
; Trip Hosley, Sauce; 
Michael Callaghan, Harry’s Bar
; Andrea Parea, Elixir; 
Kelli Rivers and Summer-Jane Bell, Hotsy Totsy Club; 
David Ruiz, Mr. Smith’s; 
Christina Cabrera; and Peter Vestinos, USBG Chicago. There will also be bites from some local restaurants. Cheers!

               Wednesday Oct 27, 2010 5:30pm–7:30pm $33 more info

Get Your Happy Hour on at This Organic Beer and Wine Tasting


Photo from COOF website.

Friday October 29th is the CCOF’s (California Certified Organic Farmers) fifth annual ORGANIC BEER AND WINE TASTING EVENT at the San Francisco Ferry Building. Guests will be able to talk with over 20 organic beer and wine producers (and taste their fabulous wares). The wines will come from organic farms all over California; this year’s tasting will feature two new wineries (Domaine Carneros and Kelseyville Wine Company), and one new brewery (Napa Smith Brewery).

Tickets are $30 for unlimited beer and wine tasting and a commemorative wine glass. Special food pairings from the Ferry Building Marketplace artisans will also be available for purchase. Proceeds from the event will help fund CCOF’s education and outreach programs. For a complete list of vendors and to buy tickets in advance, click here.

               Friday Oct 29, 2010 4pm–8pm $30 more info


the socialite

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

Heart of SoMa 2010 Gala on Tuesday October 26th


 Event Info

Tuesday Oct 26, 2010 7pm–10pm $75 online prior to event; $100 at door Info/tickets                        Terra Art and Event Gallery 511 Harrison St. at 1st St., San Francisco

The SoMa community is throwing a variety gala at Terra Gallery from 7pm-10pm on Tuesday October 26th, all to benefit the Hamilton Family Center: HEART OF SOMA 2010 will be an evening of music, dance, art, and food from popular neighborhood restaurants Boulevard, Prospect, EPIC Roasthouse, Waterbar, Fifth Floor, Town Hall, Thermidor, and Chez Papa Resto, plus drinks by Vezér Family Vineyards and Bar Agricole.

Mary Murphy of Fox network’s So You Think You Can Dance will emcee the festivities, musicians and champion dancers will entertain throughout the evening, and Rev. Jesse Jackson will issue a keynote address.

Here’s a partial preview of the menu: during the cocktail hour, Town Hall will provide small bites, such as tuna tartare with Tabasco vinaigrette on a crispy wonton, and warm Brie and wild mushroom crostini. Then expect to try warm truffled cheese sandwiches from Waterbar chef Parke Ulrich. Chef Jan Birnbaum of EPIC Roasthouse plans on offering a trio of croustades: cured salmon with cucumber, radishes, and horseradish on brioche; duck rillette with huckleberry jam on Mayflower bib bread Melba toast; and trotter terrine with quince and grain mustard chutney on Mayflower baguette crouton. Boulevard, Prospect, and Fifth Floor will also be making culinary contributions. Bar Agricole will be mixing cocktails, and Vezér Family Vineyards will be pouring Suisun Valley wines. Chez Papa Resto and Thermidor will serve up food and libations at the VIP pre-party at One Rincon Hill from 5:30pm-7:30pm.

The recently formed San Francisco Residential Concierge Association is spearheading the Heart of SoMa event to raise funds for the Hamilton Family Center, which has been working for 25 years to end homelessness in the San Francisco Bay Area, and is the largest provider of shelter, eviction prevention assistance, rapid re-housing, youth programming, and support services for homeless families in San Francisco.

Tickets are $75 at, or $100 at the door.

Butchery Demo and Fundraising Dinner at Soul Food Farm


Photo by Bart Nagel.

Event Info

Saturday Oct 30, 2010 2pm-6pm $99 Tickets                        Soul Food Farm 6046 Pleasants Valley Road, Vacaville

On Saturday October 30th from 2pm-6pm, Soul Food Farm, Slow Food Solano, and Avedano’s Butcher Shop & Market are co-hosting A DAY OF ARTISAN BUTCHERY, a fundraiser event featuring an alfresco pastured meat dinner with four Bay Area chefs and an artisan butchery demo with Dave the Butcher. The event will be held at Soul Food Farm in Vacaville, and will benefit three local farms, as well as the U.S. Butchers Guild, the Farmer-Veteran Coalition, and Slow Food Solano.

The event will begin at Soul Food’s 55-acre pastured chicken and egg farm with a live butchery demonstration using half a steer donated by Agricola Grassfed Beef. Then chefs Paul Canales of Oliveto, David Tanis of Chez Panisse, J.W. Foster at the Fairmont, and Tia Harrison of Social (also co-owner of Avedano’s) will use the other half to prepare a dinner for 200 to be served in the fields and gardens. Ingredients for the meal will be sourced by Soul Food Farm owner/farmer Alexis Koefoed, and will feature organic olive oil donated by local purveyor Katz and Company.

Featured wines and beers for the festivities will be poured by LaTrappe, Pacific Brewing Lab, and Winter Hawk Winery. The afternoon’s entertainment will be provided by Brazilian band Aza Azu.

The three local farm beneficiaries are striving to improve access to healthier, wholesome food choices in Northern California: Alemany Farm (a 4.5-acre working organic farm in southeastern San Francisco collaboratively managed by volunteers, San Francisco city officials, and residents), City Slicker Farms in Oakland (which helps West Oakland community members grow healthy, organic food for their families through high-yield urban farms and backyard gardens), and Shooting Star Farm (a 10-acre, CCOF-certified organic farm located in the Suisun Valley). The U.S. Butchers Guild will use proceeds from the event to sponsor talented, passionate butchers and chefs from across the country and assist them in joining the Guild. The Farmer-Veteran Coalition helps create healthy and viable futures for America’s veterans by enlisting their help to rebuild rural communities. Slow Food USA in Solano supports school gardens in Solano County, and offers children hands-on opportunities to explore where their food comes from.

Tickets are $99.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)

Enter to Win Tickets to Hear Jazz Master Yusef Lateef Play


The 28th San Francisco Jazz Festival is underway, and one performance you won’t want to miss is Yusef Lateef this Friday October 22nd at 8pm at Grace Cathedral. To say that Yusef Lateef has had a remarkable career would be a major understatement. Lateef, who celebrates his 90th birthday this year, was recently honored as a 2010 NEA Jazz Master. On the tenor, flute, and oboe, he has an inimitable voice, and along with Miles Davis and John Coltrane, he was a trailblazer of modal jazz. Rather than use the word “jazz,” Lateef prefers to call his music “autophysiopsychic,” meaning, “that which comes from one’s spiritual, physical and emotional self.” And what better place than Grace Cathedral to continue this journey?

tablehopper is giving away three pairs of general admission tickets to the show (two tickets per winner). All you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friend(s) 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 Wednesday October 20th by 11:59pm. I will notify the winners on Thursday the 21st. Good luck!

In case you don’t want to risk not winning the giveaway and want to get tickets now, click here. Non-members: $30 GA (general admission)/$50 Premium GA; members: $22 GA/$37 Premium GA.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Cocktails With Carmen

I heard that Carmen Electra was spotted enjoying some cocktails with her girlfriends in the W Café at W San Francisco, where she was presumably staying.


Another visitor to the W Café at W San Francisco was Zac Efron. He was spotted sipping cocktails (and yes, he’s of age—he just celebrated his 23rd birthday).

Frankies and Zooey

Zooey Deschanel was spotted last night at Dosa on Fillmore (she was part of the lineup on Sunday at Treasure Island Music Festival as half of the duo She & Him). She reportedly had a meal with her husband (which would be Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie) and another couple—they really seemed to enjoy it. They ordered chicken kebabs, paper dosa, fish moilee, and pepper chicken. She made certain to thank owner Anjan Mitra on her way out, who told me, “She seemed very sweet and her server loved her.”

Bizarre Sightings: Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods was traipsing through the city last week in search of the weird, the obscure, and the funky. A tablehopper reader writes: “I’ve seen Andrew Zimmern on 16th Street (two nights in a row) with a camera crew in tow. People were yelling, ‘Dude, you eat some weird sh!t.’”

According to this post on Eater, he had “dinner at forageSF, hamachi at the Slanted Door, freshly-caught Bodega Bay abalone and foie at pal Chris Cosentino’s Incanto and more foie via quadruple scoops at Humphry Slocombe—which he’s affectionately nicknamed ‘HumpSlo.’ He also ate 14 courses at Benu, and grew a ‘food woody’ at Lers Ros.”

He did a cameo at the Saturday Off the Grid at the McCoppin Hub, cooking alongside Chris Cosentino, and turning Le Truc into Le Gut Truc for one afternoon. On the menu? A veal tongue slider and chitlin’ taco, while Cosentino offered a hoof and mouth brain-aise cone. (Sounds like good fare for Halloween.) Proceeds went to Arriba Juntos in the Mission.

Achatz Got a Mouthful (and Earful) at Benu

A tablehopper reader probably wanted to eat his words, so to speak, when learning from a sommelier at Benu that unbeknownst to him, Grant Achatz had been dining right by his group’s table. The amusing thing is the reader said, “He [Achatz] obviously heard all we were talking about at one point in the meal about Alinea (not all great…).” D’oh!

Politicos on the Town

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein was seen enjoying an early dinner at Spruce last Wednesday night.

And Ohio Governor Ted Strickland was spotted dining at the chef’s table at Credo. His host reportedly liked aged Napa wines, and they talked politics (of course).

Giant Decisions

SF Giants’ relief pitcher, Brian Wilson, was spotted at SusieCakes Bakery on Chestnut Street purchasing a seven-layer bar last week. He was reportedly eyeing the Giants cupcakes and cookies, but went with the bar instead.

Bonding Over Steak

Barry Bonds was in for dinner Monday night at EPIC Roasthouse, enjoying some steak the night before his old team, the San Francisco Giants, take on the Philadelphia Phillies down the road at AT&T Park. Barry dined with three unidentified women and the table feasted on two filets, one oven-roasted whole fish, and charcuterie. (And for dessert, here’s last week’s TMZ video of Bonds throwing down some fightin’ words about the Phillies.)

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