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Nov 1, 2010 24 min read

November 2, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: the best of times, the worst of times.

November  2, 2010 - This week's tablehopper: the best of times, the worst of times.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: the best of times, the worst of times.                    

My birthday cheesecake from Zanze’s.

Wow, I can’t even think of the last time the city has exploded like it did last night. The Giants did our city proud, but whoa, some of our citizens did not. The vandalism, assaults, and hello, burning mattresses, were downright embarrassing. A fired-up street party, cool—but aggressive mob mentality? Nope. Here’s hoping we can redeem some bad behavior by all going out to VOTE today.

The past few days have been full of some ups and downs… Let’s start with the fun stuff, like my favorite thing to read on Twitter over the weekend: #Foodbooksinmypants. This weather totally and completely rocks. I had a wonderful birthday dinner with my family last night (my dad made his supremely delicate homemade fettuccine, pure magic with my mom’s amazing tomato sauce—and we all enjoyed the soufflé-like Zanze’s cheesecake I picked up). And I was also really happy with the news that the ever-jovial and friendly chef Hoss Zaré is home recuperating and doing well after suffering a heart attack last week. As your Facebook page attests, the city loves ya, Hoss! Take good care, rest, and heal up.

We are all so very precious.

Marcia Gagliardi

This issue is dedicated to the memory of the lovely, kind, generous, and cultured Kate Horan. She was so thoughtful, full of joie de vivre, a fellow lover of all things Italian, and a delight to know and work with. My heart goes out to her family and friends struggling with this horrific and shocking loss. The world is a darker place with her absence in it.

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Cotogna Now Open


The open kitchen and counter.


Work in progress: a view toward the bar.

COTOGNA, Michael and Lindsay Tusk’s casual offshoot to Quince, is in the home stretch and due to open this Monday November 8th. The former Myth Café space has been totally transformed into a spacious 62-seat modern trattoria, with a copper-topped counter overlooking the open kitchen (with room for six), and a separate copper-topped bar (seats eight) with a gleaming Synesso espresso machine on the back bar (they will be using ROAST coffee). The room’s smart design features tobacco leather bench seats, elm-topped tables, original brick walls, Jerusalem stone floors, a wood slat ceiling, and full-length windows onto the street.

Chef Michael Tusk (with chef de cuisine Ryan Childs from Chez Panisse) will be offering a seasonal menu of rustic Italian dishes, with the most expensive item clocking in at $25. The Italian rotisserie and grill—in a beautiful British racing green—will be busy spit-roasting hogs and game birds, and there will also be pizzas from the wood-burning oven, along with housemade pastas (like tagliatelle with chanterelles, bacon, and pane mollica), local fish and seafood (like petrale sole rotolo with Taggiasche olives and sorrel), salads, charcuterie, and cheeses. Tusk also mentioned in passing his desire to offer a bistecca night.

Wine director David Lynch has been working on a “prezzo fisso” list of about 50 Italian wines, all priced at $40. The idea is to take price out of the equation, and serve wines that over-deliver for the price. (But if you want to order a big boy from the Quince list, all of those wines will be available as well.) There will also be eight whites and reds by the glass, along with some Asti Spumante offered by the glass. Jason “Buffalo” LoGrasso is the bar manager, who will be mixing up both updated classics and Italian-inspired cocktails (I saw a puntarelle infusion in the fridge).

Cotogna is starting with dinner service Mon-Sat, and will launch lunch (Mon-Fri) on December 1st. And about the name: cotogna means “quince” in Italian. And speaking of Quince, the new chef de cuisine next door is Tim Caspare (from New York’s Eleven Madison Park).

Cotogna            - 490 Pacific Ave. San Francisco - 415-775-8508

Some Quick Restaurant News Tidbits


The pizza oven at Una Pizza Napoletana.

The UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA vacation ends tomorrow, Wednesday November 3rd, so you can head in and get your fix.

The Inside Scoop reported that JOE DIMAGGIO’S ITALIAN CHOPHOUSE in North Beach is now closed. 601 Union St. at Stockton.

Haighteration uncovered quite a bit of news about some closures (and openings) on the 400 block of Divisadero: FIVE STAR TRUFFLES (411 Divisadero) is closing at the end of the year, and the owner has reportedly found a new space “in the Castro near the post office—a smaller space that used to house a flower shop.” And after 26 years of business, COUNTRY CHEESE CO. (425 Divisadero) is also closing by the end of the year. The reason? “Owner Mario Mariscal tells Haighteration that he has just received a 90-day notice confirming that his month-to-month lease on the space is coming to an end. While his future plans are unclear, Mario hopes to relocate the business to somewhere nearby, citing his devoted local customer base.”

The good news? “A new street food vendor, THE KING OF CÜRRYWURST, will be setting up shop in the lot adjacent to 425 Divisadero… Adolphs signed a year-long lease on the Divisadero space. As soon as the permitting process is complete (probably by December or January), Adolphs will be operating his cart daily for lunchtime and afternoon crowds.”

Also heard that LOCANDA DA EVA in Berkeley is closing this Sunday for a quick remodel, reopening Wednesday November 10th with new décor by Shawn E. Hall.

Cookhouse, a New Place for Your Next Dinner Party


Exterior photo by Sierra Fish Photography.

Any San Franciscan who loves to cook but is limited to only hosting four-person dinner parties due to living in a small apartment will appreciate this little bit of news. Due to open in January 2011 from Jennifer Wu will be COOKHOUSE, a cool space above Vesuvio in North Beach/Chinatown that is being designed to host dinner parties, cooking classes, and other events, from business meetings to birthdays.

There will be a fully outfitted and high-performance Thermador kitchen (courtesy of Purcell Murray), dishes, glassware, tableware, a stocked pantry, and room for 25 guests. (That’s right, no linen or glassware rentals!) You can cook the food yourself, or hire a chef or a cooking instructor. Lauren Geremia is designing the airy loft to be a comfortable space, which will have wood counters, marble, and custom furniture. The place is yours exclusively for the night—and here’s the best part: you don’t have to do the dishes! 253 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.

New Chef at Ozumo San Francisco


At Ozumo San Francisco.

OZUMO RESTAURANT in San Francisco has a new executive chef, Alex Morgan. His background includes stages at Arzak (San Sebastian, Spain), Hachi Bei (Tokyo, Japan) and Yoshia (Tokyo, Japan), and working at varied places like Café Andrée to Restaurante Akelarre (San Sebastian, Spain). 161 Steuart St. at Howard, 415-882-1333.

Toasties in the Inner Sunset Has Closed

A tablehopper tipster let me know TOASTIES on Irving is closing, and is going to resurface as Crawfish Station. Since the number is disconnected, I’d say that’s that. The Toasties West Portal on Ulloa remains open, so you can still score their crab melt. 1336 9th Ave. at Irving.

New Late-Night Eats (Until 1am!) at the W Café


Burger photo from W San Francisco.

Here’s one more place you can add to your list of late-night dining options: the W CAFÉ has a new late night “sin” menu until 1am. There’s an XYZ Pizza with prosciutto, Gorgonzola, caramelized onions, and figs, along with crab arancini, calamari, Sonoma foie gras, a grilled chicken salad sandwich, and, of course, a cheeseburger.

W Café            - 181 3rd St. San Francisco - 415-777-5300

Ragazza: Now Offering Take Out (and a Kid-Friendly Special)


Amatriciana photo by Nick Vasilopoulos.

In case you missed my tweet about it, RAGAZZA is now serving a pretty extensive menu to go, which includes pizzas, some of chef Ardiana’s delicious salads, and the diavola roast chicken. And parents with kids will be happy to know that kids dining with an adult eat free (they get their own kids’ pizza), Mon-Wed 5pm-6pm. There is also “valet stroller parking” and snap-on high chairs.

Ragazza            - 311 Divisadero St. San Francisco - 415-255-1133

More White Truffle Madness


White truffle. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

Last week I posted about restaurants serving white truffles, and now here are a couple more spots where you can get your truffle on:

Chef Staffan Terje at PERBACCO has put together a special (and extensive) menu, with dishes like panna cotta di cavolfiore (chilled cauliflower custard topped with crab and sea urchin) and raviolo di polenta con uovo (pasta filled with Moretti polenta and farm-fresh hen egg, corn, and parmigiano crema). Every dish is served with three grams of white truffle. The menu is planned to launch on November 9th, and will be available for as long as the truffle supply lasts.

PALIO D’ASTI is hosting “Noble Country Dinners,” showcasing black, white, and chocolate truffles on Friday November 12th and Saturday November 13th. The five-course, prix-fixe menus will be served at 6:30pm for $75 (exclusive of tax and gratuity), with wine pairings available for an additional $45. Reservations are required. White truffles will also be served at the restaurant in daily specials and can be added to any dish upon request.

Get Cookin' With These Thanksgiving Cooking Classes


Turducken from 4505 Meats.

Yup, Thanksgiving is just three weeks away, and here are a bunch of options to help you have the best-looking table!

On Saturday November 6th and 13th, chef Mark Sullivan is inviting a 
limited number of guests to join him for his annual Thanksgiving-inspired cooking class in the kitchen at Spruce. This hands-on class will include techniques 
on how to roast and brine a turkey, prepare the perfect gravy, 
how to cook wild rice stuffing, and more. 
After class, you will sit down and enjoy a family-style 
meal that includes the dishes which you helped create, paired 
with a selection of special wines.
$150 (inclusive of tax and gratuity). 
Be sure to reserve your spot right now by calling 415-931-5100 (there are only a few spots left).

For those in the South Bay, chef Guillaume Bienaimé of Marché restaurant is teaching a Thanksgiving Sides cooking class on Saturday November 13th. The cooking class will begin with a breakfast of housemade pastries and coffee, and then the class will separate into seven groups of two. With instruction and tips from Chef Guillaume, each group will create one dish from a menu of seasonal, contemporary French selections featuring favorite Thanksgiving sides. Once the dishes are complete, the class will move into the dining room, where they will feast on their creations paired with wine. 10am-1:30pm. $105 per person, including a takeaway packet of recipes, lunch, and wine. Reservations can be made at 650-324-9092. 898 Santa Cruz Ave., Menlo Park

Want to add some new flavors to your feast? On Wednes­day Novem­ber 17th, La Cocina is hosting Thanksgiving Around the World, a class with chefs who will teach you how to make turkey with mole and var­i­ous West African and Asian inter­pre­ta­tions of tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing favorites. 6:30pm-9:30pm. $65/person; click here for tickets. Ticket sales benefit La Cocina.

At Cavallo Point in Sausalito, there are a few hands-on Thanksgiving classes, starting with Sides, Sides, Sides: What to Serve with that Bird? on Wednesday November 17th, which features one hell of a menu (like root vegetable hash with chorizo and vanilla, and butternut squash and mushroom spoon bread). 5:30pm-8:30pm, $85 per person, plus tax.

And then on Friday November 19th is Thanksgiving Feast: Shop Local, Cook Global with Niloufer Ichaporia King. On the menu: organic turkeys, butterflied then grilled or roasted; wild mushroom and garam masala stuffing, cardamom-crusted pecan pie, and more. Plus, Niloufer promises a few market improvisations along the way, and an exciting way to use leftover turkey. 5pm-9pm. $135 per person, plus tax.

Lastly, there’s Thanksgiving Baking with pastry chef Ethan Howard on Tuesday November 23rd, which is a hands-on bake-and-take class. Each guest will select one pie or dessert to bake and take home to serve at their Thanksgiving dinner. A light snack will be served, and the selection of pies and desserts include: sweet potato maple pie, pumpkin bread, spice chocolate pecan pie, and pear and cardamom caramel tart. 3pm-5pm. $65 per person, plus tax.

Don’t want to cook a turkey? Always wanted to try a turducken, but too afraid to make it? Let a pro do it instead! Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats is doing their annual holiday turducken, a chicken stuffed in a duck, stuffed in a turkey! Their version comes with a tasty cornbread sausage stuffing, which clocks in at 25 pounds of juicy Thanksgiving bounty (and should feed 25+ mouths). It comes with an aluminum roasting pan, a digital read thermometer, and easy-to-follow roasting instructions. The turducken will be resting upon a bed of Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and other seasonal root vegetables, complete with a bag of herbs that will be used to blanket the bird during the roast, and you also get one quart of turducken gravy. All of this is $275. Ordering just started yesterday! Call 415-255-3094 and leave your name, number, and specify that you are interested in ordering a turducken—they will return your call asap to confirm the order and record your information. Pickup dates are Tuesday November 23rd (Hayes Valley) and Wednesday November 24th (Mission).

Oh, and just for kicks, here’s a link to a piece in the Nob Hill Gazette where I was interviewed about my ultimate fantasy Thanksgiving dinner, along with chef Matthew Accarrino, Liam Mayclem, and others.

The Annual Big Game Dinner Returns to the Big 4


Piranha dish; photo by Christian Rillera.

The weather may be warm today, but come next week, you’ll probably be happy to cozy up in the BIG 4 at the Huntington Hotel for their annual wild game dinner, running November 9th-13th. On the menu: appetizers like Brazilian piranha “chops” ($18), coffee-cacao and spice-cured Sika deer medallions ($19), and a petite cassoulet made with wild boar, goose confit, and venison-garlic sausage ($18); entrées include roasted rack of Nilgai antelope and saddle of black buck antelope ($46), pancetta-crusted tenderloin of Himalayan yak “Rossini” topped with foie gras and porcini mushroooms ($46), and wild paella with giant crispy frog legs, housemade rabbit-rattlesnake sausage, whelks, wild Nigerian salt prawns, green lip mussels, and spicy saffron rice ($40). Make your reservation at 415-771-1140.

Big 4            - 1075 California St. San Francisco - 415-771-1140

Mamacita's Entire Menu Is $5 When It Turns Five on November 10th


Ceviche photo by Audrey Amelie Rudolf.

MAMACITA in the Marina is turning five on Wednesday November 10th, and the restaurant is celebrating by offering everything on the menu for $5. Yup, the $18 duck leg “carnitas” tacos will be $5, the regular $17 carnitas, you guessed it, will be $5. Margaritas: $5. The only thing exempt is the top-shelf tequila! It all starts at 5:30pm. 2317 Chestnut St. at Scott, 415-346-8494.

Events Celebrating the Release of the Book "My Calabria"


Of course I have to do a shout-out for fellow Calabrese Rosetta Costantino, whose new book, My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South, just came out. Here are some highlights of events and classes; read the complete list here.

This Thursday November 4th is an all-Calabrian dinner menu at Oliveto Restaurant (6pm). Reserve at 510-547-5356. 5655 College Ave., Oakland.

Saturday November 6th is a ricotta-making demo at The Pasta Shop Rockridge Market Hall (1pm-2pm is the demo, and 2pm-3pm for recipe tastings, book signing, discussion). 5655 College Ave., Oakland, 510-250-6001.

On Saturday November 13th is a cooking class at Cavallo Point, 4pm-8pm. Cavallo Point; 601 Murray Cir., Fort Baker, Sausalito, 888-651-2003.

On Sunday November 14th is a Cooks with Books Luncheon at A16 (12pm). For reservations, contact Book Passage; 415-927-0960.

There are many more events, be sure to read all about them here.

Smooth Move


Flickr photo from Westcoast Weezie.

This has good idea written all over it: on Sunday November 7th, 18 REASONS is hosting The Smoothie Revolution, a brunch workshop with Vera Churilov and Aaron Drury. Here’s more: “Whether you want to detox, build muscle, or improve your skin glow, green smoothies may be the right choice for you. They pack lots of nutrition, can be eaten on-the-go or enjoyed slowly over the morning paper, and are delicious to boot! Come learn how to make the most of seasonal vegetables and fruits in healthy, green smoothies that integrate protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals in one drink. By walking you through the steps for creating your own creative and satisfying recipes, this hands-on class will get you re-thinking your bagel and cream cheese or fortified cereal breakfast.”

“Vera Churilov is a holistic health counselor and educator who runs Nourish the Spirit, a healthy living website. She helps people transition to a more sustainable, plant-based diet. Her background includes working for the Meatless Monday Campaign, sustainable brands like TCHO, and five-star vegetarian restaurants like Roxanne’s. Vera will be joined by smoothie aficionado Aaron Drury who has a knack for creative blending of plant-based ingredients into surprising and delicious shakes. Aaron is a massage therapist and freelance editor who works on the Bay Area’s KQED Check Please show.” 11am-1pm, $15 for 18 Reasons members; $20 for the general public (includes a smoothie brunch). Tickets here.

18 Reasons            - 3674 18th St. San Francisco

Eat, Love, Survive! (a Benefit Dinner at Bocanova)


Can our restaurant dining choices actually strengthen our ability to resist disease—and especially cancer? On Tuesday November 16th, from 6pm-9:30pm at BOCANOVA in Oakland’s Jack London Square, Rebecca Katz, nationally recognized author of the groundbreaking cookbooks One Bite at a Time and The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, will join Bocanova executive chef Rick Hackett to answer that question with a special collaborative menu merging Bocanova’s pan-American cuisine with the nutritional wisdom of Katz’s cookbook. The cost for the Eat, Love, Survive! dinner is $90, all-inclusive (hors d’oeuvres, wine, non-alcoholic beverages, dinner, dessert, tax, and gratuity). 55 Webster St., Oakland, 510-444-1233.

Rebecca Katz will speak at the dinner, and be available to sign her latest cookbook, The Cancer Fighting Kitchen. Jan Adrian, founder of Healing Journeys, will also speak about the range of programs her organization offers to foster the transition from “surviving to thriving” for everyone whose life has been impacted by cancer. Live music will be provided by Jessie Turner and Emily Bezar, performing international classics and jazz standards. Some special surprise performers are also expected.

Proceeds from Eat, Love, Survive! will benefit the organization Healing Journeys, which provides free and low-cost services to all those whose lives have been touched by cancer. Healing Journeys produces the annual and free Cancer as a Turning Point conference, now in its 16th year, providing education, inspiration, and connection to over a thousand attendees annually. Dinner will be paired with the wines of Cleavage Creek, who donate 10% of all gross sales to breast cancer research.

Local Cheeses Show Their Terroir


An Event Recap by Daisy Chow

Last Tuesday, Local Mission Eatery and Sarah Dvorak of the upcoming Mission Cheese co-hosted a MEET THE CHEESEMAKERS lab—it’s what you get when a roomful of cheese lovers spend the evening communing with four new(ish) local cheesemakers, and noshing on some seriously delicious artisanal cheeses. Let’s just say there was a lot of applause. Not only were the cheeses fabulous, but I loved how the story of each cheesemaker’s journey was so heartfelt that it seemed like their passion, pluck, and hard work had become part of their cheese’s distinctive terroir.

We started with three milder cheeses, Bohemian Creamery’s creamy BoDacious (fresh goat milk), and Nicasio Valley Cheese’s semi-soft Formagella (bloomy rind cow milk) and buttery Alta Loma (aged, soft-ripened cow milk). Next, we tried a couple of hard cheeses: Barinaga Ranch’s Txiki (aged farmstead sheep milk), followed by Bleating Heart’s briny Heart’s Reserve (aged jersey cow milk) and 15-month-aged Mega Heart (extra-aged sheep milk). Finally, we circled back to Bohemian Creamery with their BoPoisse (washed-rind jersey cow milk)—definitely one for the stinky cheese fans. And of course we were served local wines and beers to taste with the cheeses. Our wines were Broadside chardonnay (Paso Robles), Lioco Indica (Mendocino), and Broc Cellars syrah (Bennet Valley), and the beers were Trumer Pilsner and Odonata Saison.

Keep your eyes peeled for future events on Local Mission Eatery’s website, like tonight’s two-part puff pastry class with Shauna of Knead Patisserie—just in time for holiday desserts!

Local Mission Eatery            - 3111 24th St. San Francisco - 415-655-3422


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): Bi-Rite's Holiday Wine Blitzes Are Coming Up!

Trac, Matt, and Sarah, Bi-Rite Market’s trusty wine team, have one of the best wine selections in town. Surrounded by amazing cheeses, salumi, fresh produce, and a world-class deli, the team is inspired to choose wines that aren’t just “food friendly” but rather living partners with food that elevate the dishes they’re served alongside. That selection includes a wide array of wines under $15, including the latest in natural, organic, and biodynamic wines, plus hard-to-find cult wines from Comtes Lafon, François Raveneau, Clos Rougeard, Sean Thackrey, Movia, Quintarelli, and more.

During Bi-Rite’s two Holiday Wine Blitzes (November 11-14 and December 9-12), all wines are 20% off when you purchase any 12 or more bottles. The sale includes every wine in the store, and delivery is free in San Francisco! And don’t miss their preview tastings at 18 Reasons on November 5th and December 3rd for your opportunity to sample the offerings before you make your Blitz choices!

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

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Raise Your Glass at the "Meet the Winemaker" Series at the Four Seasons


Photo by Mary Nichols.

Starting tonight, November 2nd, FOUR SEASONS HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO is launching the winter “Meet the Winemaker” series. On select Tuesdays from November 2nd through December 14th, swing by Seasons Bar and Lounge from 5:30pm-7:30pm for a flight of wine by special winemakers (the flights can include hard-to-find vintages), along with the option of paired appetizers. Price per person is $24; four-course tasting of canapés, an additional $15 per person.

Here’s the schedule: November 2nd, Schramsberg; November 16th, Rosenblum Cellars; December 7th, Pahlmeyer; and December 14th, Domaine Carneros. A week prior to each event, select vintages from each respective label will also be available in Seasons Bar and Seasons Restaurant.

A Post-Election Day "Bottle Battle" at Fifth Floor


Photo by Justin Lewis.

FIFTH FLOOR is hosting a Post-Election Day “Bottle Battle” between Sonoma and Napa on Wednesday November 3rd. Master Sommelier Emily Wines will join Fifth Floor sommelier Amy Goldberger for this three-course dinner (with a sweet ending). Wines will select Napa Valley wines to showcase, and Goldberger will select the best of Sonoma Valley. Guests will enjoy three dually paired courses before “electing” their favorite region. It’s also a chance to meet new executive chef David Bazirgan. $78 per person, includes wine pairings. Reservations are limited: 415-348-1555.

Fifth Floor            - 12 4th St. San Francisco - 415-348-1555

A Unique Riedel Wine Glass Tasting, Actually, Two!


Vinum tasting set.

For those who have always wondered about the different effect glassware has on your wine, join Riedel for an educational wine tasting on Thursday November 4th or 18th. A Riedel representative will demonstrate the relationship between the shape of a glass and our perception and enjoyment of wines. Cocktail reception starts at 7pm, and the tasting begins at 7:30pm. Best of all, the $55 ticket price includes a four-piece Vinum tasting set (retail value of $116). To sign up, click here. Miele Gallery at Sierra Select Distributors, Sobel Design Building, 680 8th St. Suite 169-C, San Francisco.

Robert Sinskey Dinner at Spruce on November 8th


Photo from RSV.

This is definitely a meal that makes me sorry about my Monday night deadline: Robert Sinskey will be at SPRUCE on Monday November 8th for a special winemaker dinner. This dinner will showcase the elegant, organic, and biodynamic wines of Robert Sinskey Vineyards paired with lambs harvested from the Sinskey property.

The menu and wine pairings include: gougères with the pinot blanc, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Los Carneros 2009; rabbit and fall vegetable garbure with the (delicious) Abraxas, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Los Carneros 2009; lamb shoulder crépinette/citrus-braised lamb belly/Umbrian lentils with pinot noir, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Three Amigos, Los Carneros 2007 and pinot noir, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Vandal Vineyard, Los Carneros 2007; savory and garlic roasted leg of lamb/boulangère potatoes/foraged mushrooms with POV, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Los Carneros 2006; and farmstead cheese with pinot gris, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Late Harvest, Los Carneros 2006. $140, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Reserve at 415-931-5100.

Spruce            - 3640 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-931-5100

Get Your Happy Hour on at Prospect


The bar at Prospect. Photo: ©

PROSPECT is now offering happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm in the restaurant’s bar and lounge area. The menu includes $4-$5 dishes like fried oysters with tasso aioli; crispy pig trotter “tots” with lobster aioli; chickpea fritters with dill yogurt dip; and Kennebec chips with French onion dip.

Bar manager Brooke Arthur will serve three cocktails: a house vodka martini made your way ($7); a coca-tea infused pisco sour (that ought to perk you up, $5); and the fleur d’orange, a concoction of vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, sparkling wine, and soda ($5). Wine director Amy Currens will be pouring two tap wines daily for $5 each, as well as a Sommelier’s Pick bottle pour; two rotating beers will also be available for $5 each.

Prospect            - 300 Spear St. San Francisco - 415-247-7770


the sponsor

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

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the socialite

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

The Ahwahnee Kicks Off the 29th Annual Vintners' Holidays Series


Photo courtesy of The Ahwahnee.

Event Info

Sunday Oct 31, 2010 – Thursday Dec  2, 2010 various times prices vary by package, $744–$1,245 Info                        The Ahwahnee Yosemite National Park 801-559-4903

Now through December 2nd, The Ahwahnee hotel in Yosemite National Park is welcoming 32 of California’s best winemakers for its 29th annual VINTNERS’ HOLIDAYS event series. Participants in each of the eight sessions have personal access to meet the winemakers, learn about the latest trends in viticulture, taste the wines, and enjoy a five-course finale dinner by executive chef Percy Whatley.

Returning for 2010 are some of California’s top producers, from the boutique to the well-known, such as Tres Sabores, Mumm Napa, and Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley. New wineries joining the festivities this year are Ancient Peaks Winery, Carol Shelton Wines, Franciscan, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Hidden Ridge Vineyard, Hovey Wine, and Selene Wines.

Each session is hosted and moderated by a leading expert in wine, and includes a “Meet the Winemakers” reception, educational tasting seminars (including the latest vintages and oftentimes exclusive rare and limited-release samples), and concludes with a gourmet dinner in The Ahwahnee’s grand Dining Room. Executive chef Percy Whatley, who recently won “best meat dish” at the Bocuse d’Or USA, works with each vintner to craft five courses that complement the presenting wines, using organic California ingredients.

The 2010 schedule is as follows:

Session I: October 31st-November 2nd (Sun-Tue) Moderator: Gilles de Chambure, M.S.; director of wine education, Meadowood Chris Benziger, Benziger Family Winery Ken & Akiko Freeman, Freeman Vineyard & Winery* John Conover, Plumpjack Winery/Cade Winery Timothy Milos, Hidden Ridge Vineyard*

Session II: November 3rd-4th (Wed-Thu) Moderator: Gilles de Chambure, M.S.; director of wine education, Meadowood Hugh Davies, Schramsberg Vineyards Kent Rosenblum, Rosenblum Cellars Jon Ruel, Trefethen Family Vineyards Christopher Howell, Cain Vineyard & Winery

Session III: November 7th-9th (Sun-Tue) Moderator: Peter Marks, M.W. and vice president of education, Icon Estates Janet Myers, Franciscan* Julie Johnson, Tres Sabores Clay Brock, Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards Steve Pride, Pride Mountain Vineyards

Session IV: November 10th-11th (Wed-Thu) Moderator: Peter Marks, M.W. and vice president of education, Icon Estates Steven MacRostie, MacRostie Winery & Vineyards Lawrence “Buck” Cobb, Karly Winery Chuck Hovey, Hovey Wine* Genevieve Janssens and Margrit Mondavi, Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley

Session V: November 14th-16th (Sun-Tue) Moderator: Dan Berger, syndicated wine journalist and judge Dan Goldfield, Dutton-Goldfield Winery Daniel Baron, Silver Oak Cellars Michael Sinor, Ancient Peaks Winery Ben Cane, Twomey Cellars

Session VI: November 17th-18th (Wed-Thu) Moderator: Dan Berger, syndicated wine journalist and judge Jason Haas, Tablas Creek Vineyard John Williams, Frog’s Leap Winery K.R. Rombauer III, Rombauer Vineyards Carol Shelton, Carol Shelton Wines*

Session VII: November 28th-30th (Sun-Tue) Moderator: Evan Goldstein, M.S., and president, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Inc. Rob McNeill, Mumm Napa Tom Rinaldi, Provenance Vineyards and Andy Beckstoffer, Beckstoffer Vineyards George Bursick, J Vineyards & Winery Ed Sbragia, Sbragia Family Vineyards

Session VIII: December 1st-2nd (Wed-Thu) Moderator: Michael Stepanovich, wine journalist and judge Susie Selby, Selby Winery Brett de Leuze, ZD Wines Mia Klein, Selene Wines* Joel Peterson, Ravenswood Winery

*Indicates new winery this year.

Taste & Tribute: A Benefit for the Tibetan Aid Project


 Event Info

Friday Nov 19, 2010 5:30pm $350 per person Info/tickets                        Four Seasons Hotel 757 Market St., San Francisco; enter on Stevenson

Here’s a chance to enjoy great food and improve your karma too: TASTE & TRIBUTE, the 10th annual benefit gala held by the Tibetan Aid Project, will grace the ballroom of the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday November 19th with the generous help of 24 stellar Bay Area chefs, who will work in pairs to create a gourmet, four-course dining experience for each table.

Chef Laurent Manrique has acted as coordinating chef since he first inspired the event in 2001. He is joined this year by the following chef pairs, plus the new addition of James Syhabout of Commis, who will present a unique vegetarian option:

  1. Bruce Hill of Bix/Picco, Liza Shaw of A16
  2. David Bazirgan of Fifth Floor, Robert Petzold of Bocadillos
  3. Jean-Pierre Moullé of Chez Panisse, Gerald Hirigoyen of Piperade/Bocadillos
  4. Khai Duong of Ana Mandara, Sean Baker of Gather
  5. David Kinch of Manresa, Joseph Humphrey of Murray Circle
  6. Bruno Chemel of Baumé, Martin Brock of Gary Danko
  7. Mark Dommen of One Market, Preston Dishman of Viognier
  8. Mark Richardson of Four Seasons Hotel, Peter Armellino of Plumed Horse
  9. Laurent Manrique, consultant chef; Patrick Albert of Café de la Presse; Xavier Salomon of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
  10. Ben Cohn of Spruce, Dimitry Elperin of The Village Pub
  11. Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake/Orson, Morgan Mueller of Jardinière Vegetarian chef: James Syhabout of Commis

See the full menu here. The event also includes fine wines, and a live and silent auction with vacation packages, handmade Tibetan art, and wine tastings. Seating is limited to 220 guests, and tickets are $350 per person.

Proceeds support Tibetan Aid Project’s efforts to preserve and rebuild Tibet’s endangered cultural heritage through the production and shipment of traditional texts, art prints, and prayer wheels to Tibetan refugees in the Himalayan region, helping to keep their language and culture alive.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)

(Sponsored): Enter for a Chance to Win a Copy of Daring Pairings!


In Daring Pairings, the adventurous companion to the acclaimed Perfect Pairings, Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein shows how anyone can bring less-conventional grape varieties like albariño, grenache, grüner veltliner, malbec, and tempranillo to the table for spot-on pairings. He ventures into wine’s new frontiers, exploring the flavors and pairing potential of 36 distinctive grapes from around the world, including Argentina, Spain, Italy, Greece, and France. Goldstein offers advice on crafting unforgettable wine and food pairings, suggests wines for everyday and special occasions, and recommends producers and importers—while 36 chefs present recipes specially tailored to Goldstein’s wine selections (like Paul Bartolotta, Michelle Bernstein, and Charlie Trotter).

I have three copies of Daring Pairings to give away! tablehopper readers can enter the drawing to win by forwarding this week’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (not a blog!), or point out this book, or an event or happening that you think your friend would like. Simply CC or BCC so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. Deadline to enter is 11:59pm Sunday November 7th—I’ll notify the winners next week. Cheers!

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Let's Go for Five...

The Wayans Brothers (Shawn and Marlon) have been spotted at McCormick & Kuleto’s Seafood Restaurant for the last five days in a row! That is one powerful tractor beam.

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