Miner’s lettuce spotted on the ForageSF walk I took on Sunday.
I’m getting really tired of bitching about the rain, but this is so ridiculous. Never thought I’d have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in May, but there you have it. It’s enough to drive someone to drink.
Which is why I have a fun little giveaway this week: as you may already know, Bluestem Brasserie is getting very close to opening, and they want to recruit tablehopper readers to come up with clever names for their cocktails. So I’m going to be giving away five spots for five tablehopper readers to join me for a happy hour preview of Bluestem’s cocktails, and there will be some bites as well. Each winner will get to bring one guest (and you get to check out the cool space!). We’ll be gathering at Bluestem Brasserie next Tuesday June 7th from 5:30pm-7pm.
So, how do you enter to win? Easy: all you need to do is go to Deep Dishing and post your favorite cocktail (bonus points for a picture, if you have it!), or simply vote on a cocktail if it’s already listed. Are you a fan of the Bitter Giuseppe at Prospect, or perhaps the Rattlesnake at Beretta, or the Gilded Lily at The Alembic? The more entries and votes you add will increase your odds of winning. You have until 11:59pm on Thursday June 2nd to post; I will notify the winners shortly thereafter!
This week’s ‘hopper features another ticket giveaway to Taste of Mendocino as well, and a discount code for the upcoming San Francisco magazine 2011 Best of the Bay Area party.
Who loves ya, baby? I do.
Some exciting news: chef Jeremy Fox will be cooking at SAISON from June 14th-18th while Saison’s chef Joshua Skenes is off to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen (he was voted one of the 10 Best New Chefs 2011). Fox is calling the series SMITH@Saison—and he has a posse: collaborating with him on the menu is chef Kim Alter, recently departed from Plate Shop. Fox writes, “I am fortunate to be joined in the kitchen by chef Kim Alter for the SMITH@Saison dinners. Having cooked together over the last several years, Kim is a natural fit for collaborating on daily tasting menus. I feel even more confident that, along with Saison’s own rock star staff, we will achieve the best experience possible for our guests.”
And there’s going to be someone else in the kitchen you may recognize: Eli Kirshtein from Top Chef. Ends up Fox and Kirshtein, both Atlanta boys, had a good time together at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in May, so Fox thought it would be fun to cook together out here. A nightly tasting menu will be offered ($128, and $88 for wine pairings), and I’d recommend reserving the kitchen counter seats for a ringside view. Fox said the menu will reflect an evolution from the cooking he was doing at Ubuntu, and will include changes throughout the week. Reservations: 415-828-7990.
Saison - 178 Townsend St. San Francisco - 415-828-7990
I was happy to learn about the second tenant in the upcoming 740 Valencia Street location, which will hold The Abbot’s Cellar and a third tenant. Hopefully open by this fall will be DANDELION CHOCOLATE, a small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate factory from partners Todd Masonis and Cameron Ring (with the help of Alice Nystrom). There will also be a café for people to taste and experience their chocolate. Mmmm, chocolate.
If you’ve been to the New Taste Marketplace recently, you may be familiar with Dandelion’s bars, which they are currently making out of a garage lab in East Palo Alto. They have visited cacao farmers and done incredible amounts of research over the past couple years, including building their own machines. They currently roast, crack, sort, winnow, grind, conche, and temper small batches of beans, and then mold and package each bar by hand, adapting their process with each new bag of beans to bring out the best, individual flavors.
The landlord and his team have been hard at work for the last few months getting everything ready, and are still waiting on some permits to complete their part of the build-out, but once those permits come through, Dandelion should be able to start construction. You can follow Dandelion’s progress (and upcoming appearances) on Twitter. 740 Valencia St. at 18th St.
Right on schedule, the Basque-inspired TXOKO is opening tonight for dinner at 5pm (open until 2am). You can check out a copy of the menu on their site here, and read up on all the deets in my piece from last week. I look forward to getting a closer look at artist Jeremy Fish’s mural. And getting a taste of the Roncal croqueta with chorizo—damn that thing looks good. Now if only this weather would get better so we can all enjoy the patio, criminy.
Txoko - 504 Broadway San Francisco - 415-500-2744
A few new beer and wine licenses that have been issued around town are sure to make diners happy: over at BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD, it means you’ll be able to have mimosas with your Hangtown fry, and at BISTRO SF GRILL, you can have a glass of sangiovese with one of their tasty burgers.
But over at STRAW, they bumped things even more, approaching Mark Bright (Saison) to do their wine list. Bright paired up a roussane or Plungerhead zinfandel with the infamous Ringmaster (yes, the cheeseburger in a doughnut), a riesling or syrah with the fried chicken-n-waffle Monte Cristo, and a rosé or malbec with the Bearded Lady, a pulled pork sandwich with blackberry coulis, chipotle BBQ, and citrus slaw. Co-owner Ari Feingold mentioned he really wanted to be able to offer some choice wines with Straw’s reasonably priced food, giving diners the opportunity to have a nice bistro-like dinner for less than $25.
As if Tony Gemignani’s menu of pizzas at TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA wasn’t enough, he’s added some intriguing new items as well. Perhaps the most notable addition is his new gluten-free pizza that he has been perfecting for nine months. It is cooked in its own dedicated gas oven, with its own counter and chef in order to avoid contamination. Yeah, that’s dedicated. He has also started offering a Detroit-style pizza, which is a “red top” pizza cooked in blue steel Detroit pans with brick mozzarella, white cheddar, tomato sauce racing stripes, and garlic butter-toasted edges. Vroom. Then there’s the Fear & Loathing pizza, topped with slow-cooked pulled pork in tamarind, serrano and habañero peppers, citrus, tomato, mozzarella, fresh cactus and agave salsa, and queso fresco.
And for meat lovers who have low cholesterol (or are perhaps fearless, with high cholesterol), there’s the new fire-roasted bone marrow and coppa fondue, with Gruyère cheese and white wine, served with toasted buttered bread, sliced coppa, wood-fired bone marrow, and a side of Gorgonzola. (You can also get some marrow in the new speck and marrow calzone for two.) Mamma mia.
Tony's Pizza Napoletana - 1570 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-835-9888
Over in Bernal Heights, LOCAVORE has promoted chef de cuisine Jonathan Merritt to executive chef; chef Jason Moniz will remain as one of the partners/owners of Locavore, but he will be working on special projects such as expanding their sausage business. There shouldn’t be a dramatic change in their food since Merritt has been running the back of house since March, but since he worked at Pok Pok in Portland, don’t be surprised if you see some Thai flavors pop up.
Locavore - 3215 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-821-1918
If all goes well, a new juice bar/café will be joining the growing roster of food venues coming to Third Street in the Bayview, this one with a community-minded goal: youth development agency Hunters Point Family (HPF) plans to open GET FRESH JUICE BAR AND CAFÉ at 5600 Third Street this fall. Local youth from HPF’s Girls 2000 program will run the café, selling juices, salads, sandwiches, and fresh produce they’re growing on their nearby organic community garden, which was recently made over with the help of chef Michael Mina.
Get Fresh will occupy two adjoining, street-level retail spaces in the newly constructed Armstrong Townhomes, a mixed-use development that includes senior apartments and urban townhomes. According to HPF Executive Director Takai Tyler, they’re waiting for approval for funding from SF Redevelopment for the buildout. Meanwhile, an advisory board of local restaurant and business owners are working with the teenage girls on skills such as recipe development. They also have plans to run a test kitchen over the summer.
On Saturday May 21st, the project’s organic garden got a big helping hand from Michael Mina and 75 restaurant staffers, who volunteered to spend the day pulling weeds, pruning trees, turning dirt, and planting seedlings at the half-acre plot in the Alice Griffith community. (Chefs from Mina’s restaurants prepared lunch for all.) Mina’s restaurants will purchase some of the produce after the harvest, providing an income source for HPF. The garden also provides organic produce to the local community through HPF’s food pantry and at neighborhood farmers’ markets.
Cheers to Mina and staff, as well as collaborators Urban Strategies and HOPE SF, for supporting such a great community project. (You know from the socialite section that our local chefs and restaurants are constantly making us proud with their generosity.) Plus it sounds like the juice bar/café will be a more healthful alternative to the building’s other incoming retail tenant, Wingstop, a franchise whose Oakland and Emeryville locations boast soda machines with 106 flavors.
By Daniel Azarkman
After over a year of deliberation and not-so-promising town hearings, my former employers at POLLO CAMPERO confirm that they will finally be opening a San Francisco location. The fast-casual chicken chain started 40 years ago in Guatemala and is absolutely everywhere in Central America, but has yet to make a formal appearance in Northern California. For a while now, nostalgic immigrants here have been getting their fix by placing an order at Rico Pan in the Mission, which has an employee haul a car-ful of fried chicken up from L.A. every so often.
Soon they won’t have to drive nearly as far, says a unanimous vote from the San Francisco Planning Commission last Thursday. The decision comes after a few changes to the concept in response to neighbors’ concerns. The space at 2740 Mission, formerly a Payless ShoeSource, will importantly feature a covered patio to keep sounds and smells out of anyone else’s yard. Aiming for a late 2011 opening, this Pollo Campero will stand alone among U.S. locations in being a full-service restaurant, though this is the norm in Central America. 2740 Mission St. at 23rd St.
The mobile food movement is not showing any signs of stopping; quite the opposite. Up in Larkspur, new gathering FOOD TRUCK CRUSH is happening every Friday (through September) from 4pm-8pm at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Ferry travelers or just plain hungry people will have tasty choices like the Indian street food of Curry Up Now, the wood-fired pies of Pizza Politana, the Midwest-style BBQ of The Rib Whip, the sweet offerings of Three Twins Ice Cream and Sift Cupcake & Dessert Bar, and the Cajun stylings of Suzie Q’s Lunch Box. Golden Gate Larkspur Ferry Terminal, 101 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, 415-259-7263.
News about OFF THE GRID coming to North Berkeley on Wednesday evenings has the East Bay buzzing. According to details on KQED blog Bay Area Bites, this debut East Bay OtG is to be located at the site of the Thursday farmers’ market on Shattuck at Rose, in the famed Gourmet Ghetto. With the blessing of the North Shattuck Association, a local merchant group, food truck vendors will gather from 5pm-9pm with a core group consisting of Liba (falafel), Hapa SF, The Taco Guys, and Cupkates returning weekly, plus three more trucks rotating in, like Skylight Snowballs, 510 Burger, and Fins on the Hoof. They also report that Off the Grid organizer Matt Cohen will provide a space for “chefs from the immediate area” to join in, beginning with Peter Levitt of Saul’s Deli. Original reports had the weekly Wednesday gathering still awaiting permit approvals, with June 8th being tossed around as the earliest start date, but Berkeleyside just posted that Off the Grid North Berkeley is having their soft launch tomorrow June 1st, adding that Brass Knuckle will also be there, but no local chef in an OtG truck this first time. Corner of Shattuck and Rose, Berkeley.
If you read tablehopper, you’re sure to have noticed the growing movement toward urban agriculture in our fair city (beehives on restaurant roofs, herb gardens in bars) and across the country. On Thursday June 2nd, you can attend a screening of the pilot episode of the new public television series FOOD FORWARD to learn more about urban food pioneers and other “food rebels”—educators, scientists, fishermen, farmers, and chefs—who are spearheading the movement to change our currently unsustainable food system. The reception includes food and wine and a meet-and-greet with the team behind the documentary. It all starts at 6pm in the Goldman Theatre in Berkeley’s LEED-certified David Brower Center. Tickets $10 advance, $15 at the door.
Thursday Jun 2, 2011 6pm–9pm $10 advance, $15 at the door more info
The number of olive oils out there can be a bit mind boggling, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Just hop on over to The Pasta Shop on Saturday June 4th from 12pm-3pm, and join their third annual FESTIVAL OF CALIFORNIA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL for an informative afternoon of olive oil tastings, pairings, cooking demos, and discussion.
The event will highlight California’s most recent harvest, that of 2010, with at least 12 producers from around the state demonstrating the styles, varieties, and flavor profiles now available, from the fruity and mild Arbequina, to the robust, pungent, and peppery Tuscan blends. Participating olive oil producers include Bari Olive Oil, Bozzano Olive Ranch, Calivirgin, Corto, Colline di Santa Cruz, Katz & Co., Lucero, McEvoy Ranch, Olivina, Pacific Sun Farms, Robbins Family Farm, and Talcott. Sample their oils alone and in recipes that show how the flavor profiles directly change the taste of the finished recipes.
Be sure to check out The Ice Cream and Olive Oil Bar on the patio, offering a variety of combinations, such as vanilla gelato with a robust olive oil and topped with sea salt. And, you’ll get to sample The Pasta Shop’s own signature olive oil brownies, olive oil cake, and challah.
From 1pm-1:30pm, satisfy your intellectual palate: Albert Katz of Katz & Co will speak on the history of olive oil in America, and the recent UC Davis Olive Center research on adulterated olive oil in the marketplace will be discussed, followed by Q&A.
Stick around for a demo on cooking with extra virgin olive oil from 2pm-2:30pm with Pasta Shop executive chef Scott Miller. Yup, not only can you fry with it, you can poach, confit, and sauté with extra virgin olive oil. Coinciding with this event, next-door neighbor Café Rouge will offer special menu items featuring California extra virgin olive oils.
The latest issue of your quarterly journal of meat culture is available now.
As usual, Meatpaper 15 presents a wide-ranging feast of topics. You are cordially invited to join us as we learn about meat glue, animals that eat people, Cree hunting traditions, beef in India, the challenges of lamb ranching in the rain, how to butcher roadkill, and more.
See why San Francisco magazine declared Meatpaper the “Best Way to Feed Your Mind.”
Subscribe now and get your dose of the fleischgeist delivered directly to your door.
According to posts in UrbanDaddy and the Inside Scoop, PLACE PIGALLE in Hayes Valley has reopened with new owners (but don’t worry, the pool table and couches remain). The new owners are Michael O’Connor and Jason Perkins, who recently opened Brick & Mortar Music Hall in the former Coda space. New changes at Place Pigalle: it will be open at noon, and in addition to the large selection of boutique beers (with 15 taps), there are also wines on tap. There’s additionally the possibility that Charlie Hallowell of Pizzaiolo may be doing bites for Place Pigalle and/or Brick & Mortar down the road—or not at all. 520 Hayes St. at Octavia, 415-552-2671.
And over in the Castro, CHURCHILL opens this Wednesday in the former Bar on Church/Transfer space from the partners behind Bloodhound and Double Dutch. For a previous recap in tablehopper, click here. Haighteration has a nice photo recap with lots of design details (and hello, beer taps), check it out. Open Mon-Fri 4pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am. 198 Church St. at 14th St.
A tablehopper reader wrote in to tell me THE HIDDEN VINE, the tucked-away wine bar in the Fitzgerald Hotel across from Le Colonial, is going to have new owners: Sarah Trubnick (an ex-manager there) and Nikki Goddard (the current manager). They are going to be renaming the business THE BARREL ROOM and reopening at some point in August, they hope. Their plans include redecorating and refurnishing the place, while still maintaining a comfortable living room vibe. And look for big changes on the wine list: Trubnick is a certified sommelier, and Goddard is about to be, so they look forward to putting together “a killer wine list with small producers,” and they also plan to expand the menu beyond cheese and charcuterie. Meanwhile, it sounds like The Hidden Vine has plans to move to a location in the Financial District. Stand by for further updates. 620 Post St. at Taylor; entrance on Cosmo Pl.
A tablehopper reader connected me with the new owners of ST. MARY’S PUB in Bernal Heights, Boston transplants Maria Davis and Jimmy Driscoll. They gave the dive quite the remodel and officially reopened last month with cherry red-tufted booths, and there’s also a pool table, pinball, a jukebox, and two TVs for watching local sports. The bar offers $4 drafts, $2.50 cans, and cheap well drinks, as well as a simple but well‐chosen top-shelf selection. Look for a bloody Mary menu launching in June. 3845 Mission St. at Crescent, 415‐529‐1325.
This month, The Barbary Coast Conservancy of the American Cocktail is hosting three upcoming classes well worth considering (for those 21 and up, ahem). All classes take place at the Conservancy’s home, THE BOOTHBY CENTER FOR THE BEVERAGE ARTS located at 1161 Mission Street between 7th and 8th Streets. Check ‘em out.
On Wednesday June 8th, 7pm-9pm, learn How to Throw a Toe Tappin’ Tequila and Tapas Party with local chef Joanne Weir (James Beard Award-winning cookbook author, cooking teacher, and host of PBS television series Joanne Weir’s Cooking Class) and bartenders Ronaldo Colli (Bar Americano) and H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir). Joanne will be teaching recipes from her latest book, TEQUILA, like chorizo handpies, guacamole soup, smoked trout and tequila quesadillas with summer tomato salsa, and bay scallop ceviche. And don’t forget the tasty tequila cocktails! The class ($75) includes a signed copy of the book.
Then on Wednesday June 22nd, 6pm-8pm, it’s Introduction to Spirits, Part One: Understanding the Basis of All Cocktails, where you’ll “learn how to enjoy the culinary pleasures of spirits and understand what is actually going on in the glass and the bottle. You’ll walk out a more well-informed consumer and one step closer to a true connoisseur.” Spirits covered include vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and liqueurs. The class ($45; $40 with early bird discount) includes a tasting of spirits in different categories, with no food (so you might wanna dine beforehand).
Follow up on Thursday June 23rd, 7pm-9pm, with Mixology 101: Introduction to Mixology, Part One. The class will build a solid foundation for home bartending, teaching the necessary tools and techniques of cocktail construction for four basic yet oft misunderstood drinks: martinis, Manhattans, mojitos, and margaritas. All materials are included in the class ($65; $60 with early bird discount), and you get to consume everything you make.
Oh yeah, while we’re on the topic of drinks, it’s never too early to remind yourself that SF Cocktail Week will be September 19th-25th, 2011.
The Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts - 1161 Mission St., Suite 120 San Francisco
Thursday Jun 30, 2011 Main event 7pm–11pm; VIP 6pm–11pm Main event $90 with promo code TABLEHOPPER, otherwise $100 advance, $125 door; VIP $160 with promo code TABLEHOPPERVIP, otherwise $175 advance, $200 door Info/tickets City View at Metreon, Fourth Floor 101 4th St. at Mission, San Francisco
With over 45 restaurants and 12 open bars, SAN FRANCISCO MAGAZINE’S 2011 BEST OF THE BAY AREA PARTY promises to be the city’s biggest bash of the year and their best party yet. Expect fabulous food, drink, and entertainment as you celebrate the best of the Bay with San Francisco magazine on Thursday June 30th at City View on the fourth floor of the Metreon. And best of all, you’ll be supporting Family House, a non-profit which provides a home away from home for families of children undergoing treatment at UCSF Children’s Hospital.
Doling out the deliciousness this year will be A16, ANZU, Bar Agricole, Café des Amis, Chaya Brasserie, Cheese Plus, Chotto, Cliff House, Comstock Saloon, Contigo, Credo, E&O Trading Company, Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, Espetus Churrascaria, Fifth Floor, First Crush, Fish & Farm, Foreign Cinema, Gastronaut, Gather, the girl and the fig, Grand Café, Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, Hog & Rocks, Lafitte, Limon, Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, McCormick & Kuleto’s, Meritage at the Claremont, Murray Circle Restaurant, Navio at The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, Oliveto, Paragon, Pizza Antica, Plate Shop, Presidio Social Club, Radius, Roots, Salt House, Spruce, Starbelly, Twenty Five Lusk, The Village Pub, and Waterbar, plus treats from American Cupcake, Heartbaker, and Kara’s Cupcakes.
Swerve over to the 12 open bars for signature cocktails and Trumer Pils beer, or chill in the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers lounge with Audelssa Estate Winery, Clarbec, Cline Cellars, Deerfield Ranch Winery, Eric K. James Vineyards, Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Gundlach Bundschu, Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, Schug Carneros Estate Winery, Scribe Winery, St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, Tin Barn Vineyards, Valley of the Moon Winery, and Westwood Winery, all the while listening (or better yet, busting moves) to beats from DJ La Fleur, Party Ben, People at Parties, DJL!, and more. It’s going to be another swell event produced by Dominic Phillips Event Marketing.
Tickets sell out quickly, so nab yours online by Friday June 10th for special pricing for tablehopper readers (based on availability): tickets to the main event are $90 with promo code TABLEHOPPER (regularly $100 advance; $125 at the door). VIP tickets are $160 with promo code TABLEHOPPERVIP (regularly $175 advance; $200 at the door), and will buy you access to the party one hour early and all-night access to the VIP lounge, plus a cigarillo bar, and a digital swag bag. You can further support Family House by buying raffle tickets ($10, three for $20) to win one of three fabulous prizes, or by making a donation online.
Don’t miss out on a chance to sip, sample, taste, and, yes, buy the best food, wine, spirits, beer, and artisan goods produced in Mendocino County. For one night only, on Monday June 13th, 2011 (from 5pm-8pm), the Mendo vibe will be kicking at this marketplace-meets-showcase, Taste of Mendocino, at SF’s Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason. Check out 60+ wineries, one craft distiller, organic beers, artisanal olive oil, cheese, and grass-fed beef, lamb, and veal producers, plus the Flynn Flying Circus. The county is coming down to share all that makes for an amazing destination getaway.
Didn’t win tickets in the sugar mama giveaway a couple weeks ago on tablehopper? Here’s another easy way to enter to win a pair of tickets: all you need to do is comment on the tablehopper sugar mama post on the Taste of Mendocino Facebook wall (hint: you have to “like” Taste of Mendocino before you can leave a comment on the posting). Deadline to comment is Saturday June 4th at 11:59pm. The organizers will notify the winner by Monday June 6th. Good luck!
Those who aren’t so lucky can buy tickets here. Tickets are just $35 in advance, $45 at the door. You can find Taste of Mendocino on the web at www.tasteofmendo.com, and on Twitter (#TOM11) and Facebook.
This sighting is gonna be hard to beat (cough): Larry Flynt was spotted at Quince with his wife—and let’s just say the gold-plated wheelchair (with red velvet pillows) was hard to miss. He was in with his wife to meet Phil Bronstein, and was reportedly seen complimenting co-owner Lindsay Tusk on the décor.
On Thursday night, Danielle Steel came in to Wayfare Tavern, looking “amazing, classy, and regal.” (To be expected, after her comments in this Wall Street Journal profile.) She had pea soup, and my spy says she finished her Wayfare “Le Grand” burger. Atta girl.
Local treasure Armistead Maupin was spotted dining at the Grand Café with a group of gentlemen (his musical, Tales of the City, is currently running at the nearby ACT). He had the escargots and duck entrée with a glass of the Mumm “red label,” and observers said it looked like he was having a great time.
Tim Lincecum came in to Tacolicious last week, and according to a tweet, “Apparently the man tips as well as he pitches (which is pretty f**king great).” Lincecum also seems to be one of those people who tips so his receipt is a round number. Freaky.
On Sunday night, 11 Yankees players came in for dinner at Ame, all dressed up and dapper in suits. Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and CC Sabathia dined at a separate table from the group and drank some old Bordeaux. The rest of the team was reportedly very upbeat while enjoying their dinner with tequila shots, and there were plenty of gawkers in the full dining room. (The team is staying at the St. Regis.)
And on Monday evening, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Curtis Granderson, and Robinson Cano were all spotted having a drink at the Downstairs Bar at W San Francisco after their game against the Oakland A’s.
Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez (A-Rod from the NY Yankees) was in for dinner at Twenty Five Lusk with five guests last night (Monday May 30th). Alex ate the NY strip steak (seems appropriate) with steamed vegetables, and they all shared salmon pastrami, tuna sashimi, and beef tartare. As for beverages, they drank iced teas and Diet Cokes. (How very restrained.)