This week's tablehopper: the stars at night.
Rock star sushi at ICHI. See, it’s shiny.
How the hell is it March 1st? Ridiculous. The weekend was pretty stellar, including taking my friend to brunch at nopa on Saturday (have you had their bagel and house-smoked trout?—damn!). In fact, you can see some pics of our brunch damage on Deep Dishing. Saturday night I scooted out to Bernal for a sushi feast at ICHI (can’t wait to write it up—Tim Archuleta is doing some awesome things there). Also managed to get some dancing in, and then of course Sunday was the Academy Awards, which gave me a wonderful excuse to drink lots of good Champagne (had to make it through this year’s rather boring telecast somehow).
I have some fun stuff on the docket this week, but really, I am most excited to be going to SXSW next week! Am leaving next Thursday, and will be in Austin for a week. Can you believe I’ve never been? Am pretty damned fired up. I will be on this panel, Bite Me—Are Ethics Gone in Food Criticism?, led by Jane Goldman, editor in chief of CHOW.com.
Speaking of Texas, I wanted to do a shout out for one of my favorite Texan talents, Frankie Frankeny, who has launched her new site, full of gorg food images, chefs, and more! Yup, even yours truly is included.
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Three New Projects in North Beach
After the historic ENRICO’S unceremoniously closed a few weeks back, I was wondering who was in play to take it over. Well, whaddya know, it’s the neighbors: Ian Begg and Ryan Maxey of the takeout sandwich shop, Naked Lunch, will be taking over the space. In a move similar to what the new tenants at Washington Square Bar & Grill are doing, they aren’t continuing the Enrico’s legacy, and instead are naming the space TXOKO, according to the Inside Scoop. A txoko is a dining club of sorts, when Basque men (rarely women) get together to cook and eat and talk and generally get drunk without their wives being around. They hope to open in April, and will be serving pintxos and other small plates, along with larger dishes, including roasted suckling pig (the kitchen has a wood-fired oven). Full bar, and it will be open late. Naked Lunch will reportedly continue to be open. 504 Broadway at Columbus.
Just across the street, THE VIN CLUB is going to be starting EAT ME AT THE VIN CLUB, a walk-up sandwich window. (I am not EVEN going to make a comment about the name, and on Broadway? No sir.) Owner Dario Zucconi (of Tommaso’s) is partnering with Ben de Vries of Luella on the venture, which will serve sandwiches Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm. Their targeted opening date is Wednesday March 9th, stand by. There will be a daily salad, soup, and three sandwiches, all of them pressed, plus iced tea and lemonade. One is with slow-roasted pork belly, housemade pickles, aged cheddar, and bacon; another with marinated artichokes and arugula and housemade ricotta; and then there’s going to be a third one with braised beef cheek and pecorino béchamel. All three will range from $9-$10. You will be able to call your order in ahead of time at 415-314-5337; their website should be up in a week or so. 515 Broadway at Kearny.
Meanwhile, just blocks away, the Frascati team has opened CAMPANULA KITCHEN & BAR in the former Basque spot, Iluna Basque. It’s a small 40-seat spot, serving a variety of affordable (and mostly American) dishes (check out chef Mike Pawlik’s menu here, courtesy of Eater). Open nightly for dinner (until 12am Fri-Sat), full bar, no reservations. 701 Union St. at Powell, 415-829-7766.
Kasa in the Marina Has Closed
According to a tweet over the weekend, KASA INDIAN EATERY closed its Cow Hollow/Marina location (the Castro location remains open and busy as ever). You can read more in their blog post about the reason for the closure here (and it’s a good cautionary tale for anyone opening another location of their business). They couldn’t release the news about which business is taking over the lease for that location, but things are moving ahead for their food truck, which should be launching in two months. The truck will be called The Kati Roller. They expect to be in the Financial District (location TBD), and participating in Off the Grid events and at corporate campuses around the Bay Area.
They will also be preparing a pop-up vegan Punjabi feast at THE CORNER this Thursday March 3rd, 6pm-10pm. $20 prix-fixe menu. To make a reservation, email before Thursday. The menu looks delicious, read more here. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St.
Lunch Geek Moves, New Owners at Shanghai Dumpling King, and More
Jason B. tipped me off to LUNCH GEEK moving a few blocks from their original location to the Cafico space. SFoodie has a few more details about the transition into the new space. 1475 Market St. at 11th St., 415-626-8888.
Take note, XLB (xiao long bao) fans. A reader writes in: “Just had dinner at the SHANGHAI DUMPLING KING. Everything was good but slightly less flavorful so we checked the kitchen and there is a new chef. Also all the other staff is new. We asked our waitress and she said that there had been a change in ownership as the ‘king’ wanted a bigger place and to be closer to his parents.” Looks like there is some discussion on Chowhound about it as well. 3319 Balboa St. at 34th Ave., 415-387-2088.
RINCONCITO NICARAGUENSES has recently taken over the Chavita’s spot in the Mission. Another thanks to Jason B. for the tip-off about the opening. 3161 24th St. at S. Van Ness, 415-206-9411.
Dogpatch continues to rock it. Exhibit A: SERPENTINE is now open on Monday nights for dinner service. Yup, there’s that kickass burger, and a nice full bar.
And this is what happens when people tell me things when I’m out on the town at a wine tasting and it’s late: I forget I leave myself voice memos about things like, oh, Michael Recchiuti moving into the PICCINO space later this year. Of course I remember when I see the piece later, like this writeup in SFoodie. D’oh! So, it’s a bit early to determine what the concept will be, but it’ll be more than a chocolate shop/café. The piece mentions charcuterie and cheese plates, and knowing Recchiuti’s creative mind, there will assuredly be much more. Stand by for details as things develop—it’s currently TBD when Piccino will be making their move into their bigger digs down the street. 801 22nd St. at Minnesota.
Changes in Glen Park
Over in Glen Park, the wine bar RED AND WHITE has closed, but the Scoop reports the owners (Peter Bell and Juliana Flores) are teaming up with Laurent Legendre of Le P’tit Laurent. They’ll be reopening under a new name, offering a selection of daily oysters, a few small bistro items (like French onion soup and salads), and of course, wine (the retail component will also remain). They are remodeling at the moment, and reportedly aiming for the latter part of March. 678 Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-333-2200
In Conversation with Kim Severson at City Arts & Lectures Tomorrow
The witty and engaging Kim Severson (the current Times Atlanta Bureau Chief) will be leading a conversation, On Artisan Food, with Chad Robertson (Tartine Bakery, Bar Tartine) and Sue Conley (Cowgirl Creamery) for City Arts & Lectures this Wednesday March 2nd. The onstage conversation will be followed by a book signing in the lobby (Severson and her recent book, Spoon Fed, and Roberston with his Tartine Bread). 8pm. Tickets here. Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave. at Grove.
Severson will also be doing a reading and signing of Spoon Fed at OMNIVORE BOOKS on Thursday March 3rd, 6pm-7pm.
The Folks Behind Ideas in Food Coming to Madrona Manor
This is definitely worth the drive up to the lovely MADRONA MANOR in Healdsburg: on Wednesday March 16th, they are hosting a dinner with Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot (the duo behind Ideas in Food, the popular blog and book). Chef Jesse Mallgren will be collaborating with them on the dinner, which will be five courses for $90 (additional $47 for wine pairings).
There will also be a few classes on Monday March 14th and Tuesday the 15th ($100 per class). You can read up on the classes here, which range from liquid nitrogen to one on eggs (and you know I totally want to take the egg class, man). The classes are first come, first served, so reservations are required. Reservations for dinner and the classes can be made through Madrona Manor: 707-433-4231. Anyone attending a class will receive 50% off a night at the Madrona Manor (which is totally charming, and you should absolutely do it). 1001 Westside Rd., Healdsburg.
Oliveto's Whole Hog Dinners March 9th-12th
The twelfth annual Whole Hog dinners return to OLIVETO March 9th-12th. This year’s dinners with new chef Jonah Rhodehamel will include some classic/beloved items, such as choucroute garni, smoked and brined cuts, chops, meatballs, offal, braises, long-aged prosciuttos, and, of course, all kinds of salumi.
I got a sneak peek of the menu, and was happy to see they will be serving a tasting of different prosciutto, which includes the awesome OLLI Ossabaw culatello I got to taste at the Fancy Food Show (Oliveto is the only restaurant with this product until it goes into production and is distributed on the West Coast). There will also be smaller items like a crisp terrine of pork trotters with spiced fruit, and corned pork tongue. Pastas include lasagnette with pork shoulder, cardoons, and ricotta salata, and gnocchi with lardo and hazelnuts. Main dishes include a plate of mixed cuts from the whole, spit-roasted pig, zampone (cotecchino-stuffed trotter), and boudin noir with gratinata of baby artichokes and pecorino cheese. On the side, how about some pancetta-fried potatoes? The Whole Hog menu will be served à la carte; make a reservation asap, people.
Among Jonah’s new items on the 2011 menu will be a whole, spit-roasted, pasture-raised pig each night. The hogs for these dinners come from local farmers: Riverdog Farm on Wednesday (farmers Tim Mueller and Trini Campbell will be on hand for the evening), Devil’s Gulch on Thursday (farmers Mark Pasternak and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak DVM will be there), Friday’s pig is from Heritage Farms in the Midwest, and Saturday’s is from Mac Magruder, who will also be present in the dining room.
Wednesday Mar 9, 2011 – Saturday Mar 12, 2011 more info
Oliveto - 5655 College Ave. Oakland - 510-547-5356
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
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Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Booze and Wine Events at Jardinière
The guest bartender series at JARDINIÈRE continues this Wednesday with CBS’s Eye On The Bay host Liam Mayclem (or as I like to call him, Liam Mayhem Mayclem). Liam will be serving the Pegu Club Cocktail from 7:30pm-9:30pm for $9. You can also get duck meatballs for the same price.
And on Monday March 7th, there will be a riesling dinner, featuring Sofia Thanisch of Dr. H. Thanisch Erben Thanisch, with three courses and three wines for $45 (exclusive of tax and gratuity). 5pm-10pm. Read more about the dishes and pairings here.
Jardinière - 300 Grove St. San Francisco - 415-861-5555
Series of Cocktail Classes with Scott Beattie and Guests
CUESA is partnering up with Scott Beattie, author of Artisanal Cocktails and the bartender at Healdsburg’s Spoonbar, for a series of six cocktail classes. All classes include a short “Cocktails 101” demo that will reveal how to properly shake and stir (and the reasons why you would do either), how to precisely measure, which ice to choose, glassware selection, and several other helpful tips that will insure better home bartending. The classes will be held in the CUESA Kitchen under the North Arcade of the Ferry Building from 2pm-4pm.
The first class is The Amazing Local Spirits of St. George, with Lance Winters of St. George Spirits of Alameda on Saturday March 5th. Lance will be on hand to discuss all things spirit related, and Scott will guide the class through making Hemingway Daiquiris, an awesome whiskey/apple/ginger concoction with Thai coconut foam called John Chapman, and perfect margaritas. There will be many other St. George spirits on hand to taste and experiment with. So hit the market on Saturday, and then have a fun happy hour! $50, tickets here.
Saturday Mar 5, 2011 2pm–4pm $50 more info
Spring Release Party with Donkey & Goat (and Sean Baker of Gather)
This Saturday March 5th is Donkey & Goat’s spring release party, and Gather Restaurant’s chef, Sean Baker, will be providing quite the lineup of tasty vittles. Here are the five wines and pairings: 2010 Grenache Rosé, Isabel’s Cuvée, Mendocino with fava leaf salad, grilled squid, charred onion vinaigrette, spring onion ash, and marinated fava beans; 2009 Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay, Chalone with Mendocino nori-smoked kampachi crudo, avocado purée, corno di toro vinaigrette, mint, and green garlic; 2009 Four Thirteen, Red Wine Blend, El Dorado with Magruder Ranch wild boar trotter, belly, shaved head, smoked tomato beluga lentils, soft egg, and chicory; 2009 The Prospector Mourvèdre, El Dorado with seared chickpea panelle, spring onion butter, D&G Mourvèdre-braised wild mushrooms, San Joaquin Gold, and pine nut herb salsa; and 2008 Fenaughty Vineyard Syrah, El Dorado with D&G syrah-braised lamb shoulder, dried fava bean purée.
$18 in advance (purchase here), or $25 at the door (cash only). Ticket includes a souvenir Riedel glass or save carbon, BYOG (glass) and save money with a $10 off voucher for any wine purchase of $35 or more. 12:30pm-4:30pm. 2323 B 4th St. at Bancroft, Berkeley, 510-868-9174.
Luella's Annual Deal on Wine ($4 Glasses)
LUELLA on Russian Hill is celebrating their sixth birthday, and are celebrating by offering $4 wines by the glass Sunday through Thursday evenings for the entire month of March. Some examples of wines being offered are: Biohof Pratsch ‘Rotenpullen’ Gruner Veltliner, Austria, 2009; Dry Creek Chenin Blanc, Sonoma, California, 2009; Monte Lomas Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina, 2004; Borsao ‘Tres Picos’ Garnacha, Spain, 2008; and six other selections. 1896 Hyde St. at Green, 415-674-4343.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Where to Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler for Mardi Gras
Here’s a selection of happening MARDI GRAS spots, so take your pick, or picks (party animal), and let the good times roll!
You can kick off the celebration early on Monday March 7th, when BOXING ROOM is hosting a Mardi Gras celebration and final preview dinner (before they open in April) in ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR’s main dining room. Executive Chef Justin Simoneaux is offering a three-course prix-fixe menu featuring some of his personal favorite dishes of New Orleans and coastal Louisiana, with optional starter oysters on the half shell ($2.50). First course: deep-fried alligator with Creole rémoulade and lemon, or New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp with French bread, herbs and garlic; second course: pan-fried catfish with crawfish étouffée and grits, or red beans and rice with house-smoked sausage and cornbread; third course: Mardi Gras king’s cake, or praline ice cream sundae. Beer and wines from the extensive selection that will be available at Boxing Room available à la carte. A portion of the proceeds will benefit For the Bayou. $35 per person, excludes beverages, tax, and gratuity. Reservations (415-551-1590) available from 5:30pm-10pm. 398 Hayes St. at Gough.
TOWN HALL’s Fat Tuesday celebration starts at 6pm on March 8th with N’awlins fare (fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, etouffée, BBQ shrimp, oyster selection); live music from the D’Amphibians and live samba dancers; special drinks (Louisiana-style hurricanes, Abita beer, Sagatiba caipirinhas); and the requisite beads, feather boas, masks, and live face painters. Get tickets early online at $60 per person (plus tax), or $75 per person at the door (tax inclusive).
BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD may open up for dinner in time for Mardi Gras. Don’t let the party stop, call ahead: 415-345-8100. 652 Polk St. at Eddy.
THE FRONT PORCH is cooking up a shrimp boil on Fat Tuesday, flying the shrimp in from Terrebone Parish. The party starts at 5pm and goes ‘til the shrimp runs out, plus expect Abita beers, bead throwing, and a live jazz band. Full dinner service will be available all night with some New Orleans special additions to the menu.
The Fillmore District will turn into Mardi Gras West for the second annual, neighborhood-wide Fat Tuesday celebration next Tuesday March 8th. Festivities begin at 5pm, and plaza entertainment is free. The Fillmore Center Plaza will have live jazz music (Bobbie Webb) and dancing, stilt walkers, jugglers, and face painters ‘til 7pm; and a procession parade and band (from Geary to Eddy) ‘til 8pm. Seven Fillmore Street restaurants and clubs join the celebration with live music and free Mardi Gras beads and masks. In keeping with the festivities, each of the venues will feature live music, and signature Fat Tuesday libations and nibbles. Here’s the deets on each venue:
1300 ON FILLMORE: live band featuring the New Squatoolas. Chef David Lawrence’s special New Orleans menu: sautéed wild mushrooms with spring herbs mascarpone yellow hominy grits; potato and smoked ham hock beignet with black trumpet mushrooms; fresh water shrimp hushpuppies with ancho chile aioli; barbecue shrimp ‘n’ creamy grits; black skillet-fried chicken po’ boy sliders with jalapeno slaw, spicy rémoulade sauce; maple syrup slow-braised beef short rib sliders with onion marmalade, crumbled blue cheese, brioche buns; organic head lettuce, endive, shaved fennel, sierra beauty apples, pecans, honey-champagne vinaigrette; black skillet-roasted catfish with andouille sausage, shrimp jambalaya, cornbread panzanella; chicken and okra gumbo. Drink specials, including hurricanes, The Sazerac, SoCo ($6), New Orleans Abita beer ($3); and free beads and giveaways. 7:30pm-10:30pm. 1300 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-771-7100.
YOSHI’S SAN FRANCISCO: Fat Tuesday Carnival party, featuring Loco Bloco, Bayonics, and special guests in the Lounge, Hot Pink Feathers and Blue Bone Express. $10.
SHEBA PIANO LOUNGE: live band: Latin Breeze; free masks and beads; fresh fruit Leblon ($6); beer ($4); tacos ($5); lentil, meat, or crab sambussas ($7); chicken drumettes ($8); and meatballs with blue cheese ($8).
FAT ANGEL FOOD AND LIBATION: 23oz. pints of Abita’s SOS (Save Our Shore) Weizen Pils for $6.
RASSELAS JAZZ CLUB: live music by Bohemian Knuckle Boogie.
GUSSIE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES: shrimp New Orleans, jambalaya, and seafood gumbo all weekend through Fat Tuesday; live band; drink specials ($4-$5).
BOOM BOOM ROOM: live music with The Brothers Goldman, Jolly and Steinkoler Duo; $5 cover.
In Oakland, PICÁN is bringing a slice of the Big Easy to the East Bay with Bourbon, Beads, and a Band on Tuesday March 8th from 8pm-11pm. It’s a funky Mardi Gras party done with traditional Southern flair. They’ll be serving New Orleans fare like crawfish jambalaya fritters; chicken, andouille, and shrimp gumbo; Cajun chicken wings; Abita root beer callas, and complimentary Mardi Gras cocktails. Wear your masks and festive beads, and enjoy a live Zydeco band. Tickets are $49 in advance online; $59 at the door; a portion of the proceeds benefits St. Augustine’s High School in New Orleans’s 7th Ward. 2295 Broadway at 23rd, Oakland.
Also in the East Bay, MISS PEARL’S JAM HOUSE is rocking Jack London Square all weekend long. The Mardi Gras menu will feature fried Louisiana catfish with Cajun tartare sauce, fennel-onion salad ($9); New Orleans-style BBQ shrimp with garlic and herb butter sauce, grilled baguette, herb oil ($12); Creole gumbo with pulled chicken, andouille sausage, tasso ham, gulf prawns, okra, steamed rice ($18), and seafood jambalaya with spicy Cajun rice, manila clams, gulf prawns, baby scallops, and tasso ham ($21).
They’re starting their second annual Mardi Gras Festival on Friday March 4th with local favorite Dave Landon and his Blues Band opening the festivities at 8pm in the Jam House. Then Saturday March 5th 1pm-4pm, Miss Pearl’s new executive chef, Mike Davis, has challenged local chefs to a gumbo throwdown known as Gumbostravaganza 2. Mike Davis, Serafin Cruz, and Victor Sosa (all from Miss Pearl’s) will compete against each other and against Dean Dupuis (Picán), Eddie Blyden (Henry’s), and Brandon Dubea (Angeline’s) for bragging rights on the Square. Entry to the event is free, gumbo samples are complimentary, and attendees are the judges! Here’s the icing: all ballots will be entered for a drawing for a free New Orleans eating extravaganza at Miss Pearl’s.
The party continues Sunday March 6th and Monday March 7th with an all-day Mardi Gras Happy Hour. And finally, on Tuesday March 8th from 7pm-12am, Miss Pearl’s Fat Tuesday Fête Noir will feature Cajun-inspired revelry with Midnight Zydeco and blues from the Craig Caffal Band (8pm); hurricanes ($5), frozen daiquiris ($5), and plenty of drink specials ($9-$11); king’s cake (find the hidden baby for a prize), and beignets for dessert; and a San Francisco trip giveaway. One Broadway St., Oakland, 510-444-7171.
So many parties, so little time.
A Very Special Festa Della Donna at A16
Tuesday Mar 8, 2011 A16 2355 Chestnut St. at Scott, San Francisco Penelope 415-771-2216
On Tuesday March 8th, A16 is honoring an amazing group of women for its Festa Della Donna, a celebration of International Women’s Day (quite the ‘girl’s night out’ in Italy) and also an annual fundraiser they started six years ago for La Cocina. Wine director Shelley Lindgren, executive chef David Taylor, and quite the exceptional group of women—guest chefs, cheesemakers, sommeliers, authors, and winemakers, both local and international—are joining together for this special event.
Have a seat in the dining room amongst the yellow mimosas, the flower traditionally handed to Italian women on this day, and order from A16’s regular menu or choose à la carte dishes and paired wines from the evening’s special guests.
Barbara Lynch (James Beard Foundation award-winning chef of Boston’s Menton, No. 9 Park, B & G Oysters, The Butcher Shop, and author of Stir) will create special dishes such as torn pasta fagioli with shrimp polpettini, chicken meatball lasagnettes, and creamy vanilla bread pudding. Soyoung Scanlan, owner and cheesemaker at Andante Dairy, will create a special cheese for the occasion.
Then raise a toast with the women winemakers who will be gracing the restaurant on this evening: Cecilia Naldoni Piccin, Italian winemaker at Grifalco winery in Basilicata, Italy; Martine Saunier, founder and owner of Martine’s Wines and the first woman to establish a wine importing company in the US; Morgan Clendenen, winemaker and owner of Cold Heaven Cellars; Pam Starr, winemaker at Adastra Wines and Crocker & Starr; Laely Heron, owner and winemaker of Heron Wines; and Sara Floyd, Master Sommelier, owner of Bacchant Wines, and co-owner of Swirl Wine Brokers.
Books from the special guests will be available for sale and signing, like the newly published La Seduzione Dell’altrove from Dacia Maraini, renowned Italian author/playwright.
Three ways to make your resos for this inspiring evening: call A16 at 415-771-2216, or email, or go online. Walk-in seating will also be available.
La Cocina is a local non-profit organization that benefits women in the food industry, and all profits from the evening will be donated. International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political, and social achievements of women past, present, and future, observed since the early 1900s. On March 8th, thousands of events will be held throughout the world to inspire women and celebrate their achievements, encouraging participants to make a difference in women’s lives by thinking globally and acting locally.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Cotogna Is the New Star HQ
Cotogna isn’t just packed with locals: Yo La Tengo came in to eat before their concert, and Russell Simmons was spotted by a reader who said, “Saw him with a bunch of folks—table of six. Big Ford Explorer outside—with driver and engine on.” The group reportedly kept to themselves and were very polite. Oh, and the same reader found out what Reese Witherspoon ate last week: the pork entrée. Atta girl, Reese.
A couple fun sightings at Quince: James Spader came in for his birthday, and Ray Romano was in for dinner as well.
On a Lark
Comedian James Belushi dined at The Tavern at Lark Creek on Sunday night and sat in the bar area with his wife, Jennifer Sloan. He reportedly had a great experience and asked for the general manager’s card and thanked them for the service and the fact that they treated him like a normal guy (nobody bothered him for an autograph, and he was having a good time drinking and kidding around with the staff).