This week's tablehopper: the Barolohopper.
Buon giorno! The stunning view from my room at Il Boscareto. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Um, wow. I could use upwards of 20 different pictures for today’s intro image. This last week in Piemonte was simply extraordinary. It was my first time visiting the region, and I was blown away with the beauty of the Langhe—Italy in the fall is something else. Same goes for the extraordinary wines (what a life, quaffing Barolo and Barbaresco and arneis daily), the elegant cuisine, and the absolute flurry of white truffle from Alba with each meal was over the top. And after a week of sleeping on the fantastic bed (and linens) at Il Boscareto, let’s just say my bed at home feels like a bunk bed at camp. I can’t wait to write this trip up soon. And it was so much fun to be speaking Italian again—my brain was whirring. But … it’s also good to be home. And it’s high time to work off a month of absolute and utter decadence, mamma mia. Halp.
In the meantime, it was a good thing my flight from Italy got me in on Sunday evening, because I was able to escape my computer yesterday and listen to Ferran Adrià speak to a sold-out audience at the Castro Theatre (here’s a pic for ya—yeah, I was lucky to be just three rows back, thanks to a friend who saved me a seat!). I was a little concerned about having enough energy in my jet-lagged state to stay awake, but the barrage of inspiring images and his high level of verve kept me wide awake, and the audience rapt (I think almost every chef in town was there). It was less of an interview, and more of a TED-like presentation on cooking, vision, cuisine, excellence, and creativity (a word he’s not a fan of). I especially enjoyed his thoughts on the many stages and iterations and concepts an original idea can take, and his belief in sharing information and ideas. We also got a sneak peek of the upcoming ElBulli Foundation (kind of like a thinktank/ideation center and recipe archive), and the majority of guests walked out of there with a copy of his latest book, The Family Meal. For details on where he dined while in San Francisco, check out today’s starlet entry.
This Wednesday I’ll be heading over to the Wine & Spirits Top 100 tasting, always one of my favorite wine events of the year. And just like last year, it looks like we’re slated for some beautiful weather this week. Friday, my friends and I will be at the Le Dîner à San Francisco, which should be a fun one, and Saturday I’ll be participating in a Litquake event, do come by!
Enjoy the sun! Ci vediamo!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Dennis Lee to Be the Chef at Magnolia's Brewpub Project in Dogpatch
I had a chance to catch up with Dave McLean of Magnolia/Alembic to hear the latest on his MAGNOLIA BREWERY project in Dogpatch. He expects building permits to finally be signed by next week (woo hoo, it has been a process), so things will be able to start ramping up for a targeted opening in May/early summer of 2012.
He was able to release more details about the restaurant concept, which is going to have 70-80 seats, and focused around American barbecue—it will form the third “B” in the holy trinity of beer and bourbon (more on that in a sec). And in an interesting twist, he’s going to be bringing on chef Dennis Lee of Namu and the upcoming Gaji as his chef. McLean said they eat at each other’s restaurants often, and like what they do, so a collaboration was inspired and sealed. While the core of the menu will be based around American barbecue and a farm-to-table philosophy, some of Lee’s Asian culinary influences are sure to enter the picture as well (they will also be researching a variety of different woods and fuel sources). As for the timing, Gaji should be up and running early in 2012, so Lee is going to be one busy guy, but the transition from opening one new project and then this one should work out.
McLean mentioned Daniel Hyatt of The Alembic is working on the bar program, and American whiskey is going to be the focal point. There will be 20 taps of Magnolia beer (up from the Haight Street location’s 12 taps), plus 5-6 local wines on tap. Click here to read my previous piece with more details about the brewery. Looking forward to seeing this take shape even more in the new year! 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St.
Ronnie New Returns as Chef at Magnolia
Another piece of Magnolia news: after a couple years working at Luna Park, Living Room Events/Kitchenette, and Contigo, chef Ronnie New has returned to MAGNOLIA GASTROPUB & BREWERY. He liked working at Magnolia, and owner Dave McLean was happy to welcome him back to Haight Street. Everything old is new again? (Sorry, had to do that.)
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery - 1398 Haight St. San Francisco - 415-864-7468
Hapa Coming to the Fillmore District
Richie Nakano of HAPA RAMEN has been searching for a permanent location for some time, and when he found it a few months ago, I had to keep that info under lock and key. Now that the lease is signed, it’s time to let that cat out of the bag! He’s going to be opening HAPA (not Hapa Ramen, just Hapa) next door to the upcoming State Bird Provisions from Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski on Fillmore Street.
The space will have an open kitchen and 28 seats (almost all counter seating, with just a few small tables); the menu will feature his trademark ramen, plus sandwiches during the day, and in the evening a variety of appetizers (about six or so) will be in the mix, similar to what he’s been doing at his Monday night pop-up dinners at Bar Tartine. He had his last pop-up dinner at Bar Tartine last night, so he might do his dinners in another venue until the Hapa opening gets closer. The Hapa Ramen stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Tuesdays and Fridays will remain, business as usual! Hapa’s target date is May 2012. Hours to start will be daily 11am-11pm. And there will also be takeout, score. 1527 Fillmore St. at Geary.
Hapa - 1527 Fillmore St., San Francisco
Wise Sons Deli Opening a Brick-and-Mortar Space in the Mission
Catching up on my email, I was happy to see the newsletter from the gents of WISE SONS DELI (Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman), sharing the news that they finally secured a brick-and-mortar space in the Mission, due to open in 2012. Inside Scoop shares further details: they’re moving into the El Tonayense space that recently closed, and will have 25 seats. Yup, 2012 is looking bright, especially with their lox on bagels from Beauty’s Bagel Shop in Oakland. 3150 24th St. at Shotwell.
Wise Sons Deli - 3150 24th St. San Francisco - 415-787-3354
New Vendors at the Tuesday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
More good news in newsletters: the CUESA weekly newsletter (you’re a subscriber, aren’t you?) reports some new vendors will be serving at the Tuesday daytime market, namely Wise Sons Deli (sandwiches and more), Humphry Slocombe (ice cream and sorbets), and SodaCraft SF (handmade seasonal sodas) will be moving into their very own booth. Ice cream floats, oh you know it. Humphry Slocombe is debuting on Tuesday October 18th, but all the rest started today!
Ferry Building - One Ferry Building San Francisco - 415-983-8000
Two Sisters Bar and Books Opening Friday October 14th
Things have been proceeding for TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS—a Hayes Valley project from sisters Mikha Diaz and Mary Elliott—and it should be holding its soft opening this week. There will be a variety of books, beverages (made with sherry, vermouths, and wines), and bites like wild boar sausage, a Brussels sprout leaf salad, chicken meatballs, and a roasted garlic, fennel, and tomato bread pudding. Here’s a copy of the brunch menu and the evening menu. The cozy space features wallpaper, wainscoting, and pedestal tables. Hours will be Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am, and Sun 12pm-8pm, with Sun brunch 12pm-4pm. Happy hour is Tue-Fri 4pm-6pm, and Sat 1pm-4pm. Please note it’s cash only. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655. UPDATE: The confirmed opening date is now Friday October 14th at 4pm, with happy hour all night long!
A Tale of Two Kens
There’s been a lot of chatter following the liquor license activity for KEN KEN RAMEN, which will be moving into a brick-and-mortar space in the Mission (just around the corner from The Corner, where it was holding its pop-up nights). Ironically, the space was a former noodle shop, and the build-out is reportedly almost complete—look for a potential December opening. You can read all the details about the owners and the new space on Grub Street and Eater. 3378 18th St. at Mission.
Meanwhile, Tenderblog reports on KARE-KEN, a Japanese curry spot due to open in the former Eden’s space. It should be opening very soon, you can track their updates on Twitter. Hours will be Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 552 Jones St. at Geary, 415-292-5273.
Now Open: Hisago and Krua Thai
A while back, I mentioned HISAGO was opening in the former Sanmi space from new owner Greg Hamaguchi, and it’s now open. Here’s a copy of the menu for you to peek at, which features homestyle dishes, ramen, and donburi. tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney has this initial report, “I had the Wafu burger, which is a charbroiled patty of pork, beef, tofu, and hijiki topped with grated daikon, ponzu, and scallions, with a side of enoki mushrooms and asparagus. Asparagus was perfectly cooked. The patty was thick and juicy and a good deal at $7.50. It made me wish I had a Japanese grandmother.” Don’t we all. 3226 Geary Blvd. at Spruce, 415-379-9569.
Over in the Mission, KRUA THAI has opened in the former Bangkok 16 location, serving lunch and dinner Tue-Sun, with free delivery after 5:30pm ($20 min.). Pictures on their website point to a rather contemporary and sleek look. 3214 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-913-7886.
Coming Soon: Azucar and Copita
Another taker for the cursed corner space at 9th Street and Folsom! Inside Scoop reports AZUCAR will be taking over where Medici Lounge left off. Owner Jon Ojinaga (Redwood Room, Rasselas) and his crew will be serving cocktails and Mexican street food and small plates. The hoped-for opening is this month. 299 9th St. at Folsom, 415-255-2982.
Meanwhile, up in Sausalito, Larry Mindel (Poggio, Il Fornaio) is teaming up with Joanne Weir to open COPITA. Inside Scoop reports they will be taking over the Piccolo Teatro space, opening a 50-seat Mexican restaurant and tequila bar in its place. Look for a springtime opening. 739 Bridgeway, Sausalito.
Lunch Service: New and No More
A couple spots have opened for lunch in Oakland: according to Chow, MARZANO is serving lunch on the weekends from 12pm-5pm. Yup, pizza and cocktails for lunch! 4214 Park Blvd. at Glenfield, Oakland , 510-531-4500.
During the week, you can now swing by MUA for lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. The menu includes salads, mac and cheese, a variety of sandwiches, and some larger plates. 2442a Webster St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-238-1100.
Back in San Francisco’s area code, a SoMa worker pal was sad to inform me that ZARÉ AT FLY TRAP has discontinued their lunch service as Zaré’s Grill and Grain. Seems the effort-cost-profit ratio wasn’t quite working out. Bummer, because I know a number of regulars enjoyed the menu. At least there’s still dinner (a mighty tasty one at that).
Zaré at Fly Trap - 606 Folsom St. San Francisco - 415-243-0580
A Couple Closures: The Corner and Two Locations of John Campbell's Irish Bakery
Last night a tweet announced the unexpected closure of THE CORNER in the Mission. A source tells me The Corner was not up to health code inspection (they didn’t have a proper hood for ventilation). Since it would have been very costly to bring the place up to code, the rumor is they will put it on the market or turn it back into a café. Meanwhile, some of the pop-up dinners (like EAT restaurant) have already relocated to WINEMAKERS’ SPEAKEASY on Valencia. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St., 415-875-9258.
One more closure: Inside Scoop reports JOHN CAMPBELL’S IRISH BAKERY has closed its Cow Hollow location (3101 Fillmore St. at Filbert), and the Potrero location (300 De Haro St. at 16th St.) is currently on the market; the location at 5625 Geary Blvd. at 20th Ave. remains open.
Bluestem Brasserie Launches Brunch
Before you head out for a day of Union Square shopping, you can now swing by BLUESTEM BRASSERIE for weekend brunch. The menu includes their delicious grilled bavette steak, but with eggs, roasted heirloom potatoes, and chimichurri, along with eggs Benedict, and some more savory options for you folks who prefer the “-unch” part of brunch. Bloody Marys will be available, natch. Sat-Sun 11am-3pm.
Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane San Francisco - 415-547-1111
Slow Coffee in the Fast Lane: Coffee Bar Opens on Montgomery Street
A report by Rebecca Kinney, tablehopper intern: Are you late for work and you just need a good cup of coffee? Or do you have a few extra minutes for a handcrafted pour? In either situation, the new COFFEE BAR on Montgomery Street has you covered. The newly opened second location has drip coffee ready to go as well as a coffee “slow bar.” Those with an extra three to five minutes can choose from about three different blends, which are then brewed in a Kalita Wave coffee dripper. The dripper looks like a standard cone but it has a flat bottom, which helps to extract the grounds evenly.
Mocha lovers can choose from Guittard chocolate or a blend by Michael Recchiuti. Recchiuti also worked with one of Coffee Bar’s owners, Luigi Di Ruocco, to achieve the perfect ratio of espresso, milk, and chocolate (Luigi is the son of Carlo Di Ruocco, the original Mr. Espresso). Coffee Bar will prepare tea from Five Mountains, and chai from Radio Africa & Kitchen. Here’s a pic of the menu as it stands. Coffee Bar uses their own syrups, including a house-infused vanilla bean syrup. Coffee Bar will serve Anthony’s Cookies, croissants and kouign-amann from Starter Bakery, scones and muffins from Sandbox Bakery, and afternoon treats such as carrot-spice cupcakes and brownies from 3Spoons. Il Cane Rosso will provide Coffee Bar’s sandwiches and salads. Starting hours are Mon-Fri 6am-5pm. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-397-2233.
Support Meals On Wheels at This Party for the "Chefs of the Bay Area" Calendar
Get ‘em right when they’re hot off the press: the 2012 “CHEFS OF THE BAY AREA” CALENDAR debuts Wednesday October 19th with an official kick-off party at 6pm at the Cellar in Macy’s Union Square, where you can meet some of the participating chefs and receive special sweets from them. Even hotter than the hot chefs in this calendar: the fact that all proceeds from calendar and ticket sales go to Meals On Wheels of San Francisco.
Expect treats at the kick-off party from Jake Godby (Humphry Slocombe), Kara Lind (Kara’s Cupcakes), and Yigit Pura (Taste Catering, Tout Sweet). The other participating chefs you’ll find in the calendar are David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor), Jen Biesty (Scala’s Bistro), Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn), Mark Dommen (One Market), Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), Pam Mazzola (Boulevard, Prospect), Peter McNee (Poggio Trattoria), Annie Somerville (Greens), and Kory Stewart (Americano). Each chef shares a special recipe in the calendar, including Godby’s salt and pepper ice cream, Somerville’s corn and cherry tomato salad with arugula, and Stewart’s black walnut sbrisolona.
Tickets to the kick-off party are $25 and include a copy of the calendar. You can also order a copy ($20) online, or pick it up at Macy’s Cellar, at the participating chefs’ restaurants, or starting October 26th at Williams-Sonoma, Union Square. Meals On Wheels of San Francisco’s mission is to provide isolated homebound seniors in San Francisco with nutritious meals, daily human contact, and supportive services to prevent their premature institutionalization. They serve 960,000 meals every year. Macy’s Cellar, 170 O’Farrell St. at Stockton, Lower Level, San Francisco.
Wednesday Oct 19, 2011 6pm $25 more info
Old Skool Cafe Is Hosting a Bayview Blues and BBQ Event on October 22nd
The OLD SKOOL CAFE, a youth-run supperclub dedicated to teaching at-risk youth in the Bayview area restaurant training for future employment, is hosting their Bayview Blues and BBQ event on Saturday October 22nd. There will be barbecue and more from Old Skool Cafe youth, grilling with BBQ master Chief William Sifferman, plus a garden cooking demo from Radio Africa & Kitchen, Christina Marie Pastries, Jablow’s Meats, and live music by Charles Unger Experience, James H. Thornton III Blues Band, and more! It’s a great way to support a very special program. 12pm-5pm. Mendell Plaza, 1429 Mendell St. (3rd St. and Oakdale/Palou).
Modern Coffee in Oakland Is Turning Two and Throwing a Par-tay!
This Friday October 14th, MODERN COFFEE is celebrating their two-year anniversary with a party, and you’re invited. Swing by from 5pm-9pm for special coffee tastings throughout the evening (which will feature coffee from many of their favorite roasters), plus food and drink from local purveyors, like Drake’s Beer, Doc’s of the Bay, Muccigrosso wine, and “Naughty Doughnuts” from Cibo Per Strada. Historic Tribune Tower, 411 13th St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-835-8000.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
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Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
The Hidden Vine Wine Bar Reopens in FiDi
Ever since vacating its eight-year-old location in the Lower Nob Hill, THE HIDDEN VINE is opening its new Financial District location on Tuesday October 18th. Owner Danielle Kuzinich and Becky Pezzullo (previously at Bar Bambino) have spent the summer the tasting wines and perfecting dishes for the new location. There will be over 140 wines on the list, with 40 available by the glass.
There will be a menu of seasonal small plates made with local ingredients to keep you off your liquid diet, and you can take out your post-work aggressions on the outdoor bocce ball court. Actually, that’s not the place to do it. Be chill. Like in the comfy chairs and leather couches. Yeah, over there by the fireplace. Hours will be Tue-Thu 4pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-1am, Sun-Mon closed for private parties. 408 Merchant St. at Battery, 415-674-3567
Seasons Launches a Bottomless Bloody Mary Bar on Weekends
As if you needed a reason to have another bloody Mary at brunch, but here’s one anyway. SEASONS at the Four Seasons Hotel has launched a Bottomless Bloody Mary Bar for weekend brunch every Saturday and Sunday, featuring unlimited top-shelf vodka.
Your bottomless vodka choices include Absolut, Hangar One, Ketel One, and Grey Goose. Then add to that all the juices, seasonings, and garnishes that your bartender’s heart desires. Choose from fresh tomato juice or Clamato. Spice your drink up with seasonings from mild to extra spicy, from bacon, lime, or celery salt to black pepper, fresh horseradish, pico de gallo, and more. Top off with a selection of fresh and pickled garnishes, like wasabi pickled green beans, smoked okra, cherry peppers, limes, cucumbers, and olives. So many choices, so little time.
Or you can keep it simple and just order Mary’s Doppelganger, the bloody Mary rendition from bar manager Oliver Lee. This transparent drink is based on tomato-infused water, and was named one of the Best Bloody Marys in San Francisco by Square One Vodka, FYI.
The Bottomless Bloody Mary Bar is included with the purchase of a two- or three-course brunch ($45 and $50, respectively) Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am-2:30pm. Resos recommended. 757 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-633-3838.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Litquake Serves Up Four Food Events for 2011 Festival
Thursday Oct 13, 2011 – Saturday Oct 15, 2011 Info
LITQUAKE, San Francisco’s annual literary festival, is serving up four events for food and wine buffs this year, including How Cookbooks Inspire Change at 18 Reasons on Saturday October 15th with several local food writers, including … yup, moi, the tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi. This Lit Crawl event will be followed by Curd it Through the Grapevine at Mission Cheese. And don’t miss out on two more events this Thursday October 13th: A Feast of Food Writing at Chronicle Books and A Flight of Poets at Hotel Rex.
Yours truly is gonna be in very good company this Saturday from 6pm-7pm at 18 Reasons for How Cookbooks Inspire Change: emcee Karen Solomon (author of Can It, Bottle It, Smoke It and Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It) will lead the discussion with Sam Mogannam (of Bi-Rite and co-author of Bi-Rite Market’s Eat Good Food, available October 18th), Daniel Duane (regular contributor to Bon Appétit and Food & Wine, and author of Caught Inside), Dabney Gough (co-author of Eat Good Food), Connie Green (forager and author of The Wild Table), and of course, moi. Admission is free. 3674 18th St. at Dolores.
Continue the Saturday night Lit Crawl over at Mission Cheese from 7:15pm-8:15pm for Curd it Through the Grapevine: Local Writers on Food (and Foodies on Writing). Joining the discussion with Karen Solomon are Megan Gordon (weekly contributor to Apartment Therapy’s The Kitchn, Bay Area Bites, and blogging at A Sweet Spoonful), Nicole Spiridakis (the blogger behind cucinanicolina.com), and Anne Zimmerman (author of An Extravagant Hunger: The Passionate Years of M.F.K. Fisher). Admission is free. 736 Valencia St. at 18th St.
Coming up this Thursday October 13th is A Feast of Food Writing at 6pm at Chronicle Books with bites prepared by the featured guests and a glass of Drops of Jupiter Petite Sirah from the winery owned by the band Train. Tom Hudgens (author of The Commonsense Kitchen) will be dishing up gin chicken liver pâté on baguette slices topped with sweet-tart pickled fruit, and food geek Jeff Potter (author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food) will show you three nuetralizing options to save an over-spiced dish. Additional featured guests are Anne Zimmerman, Vanessa Barrington (author of DIY Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch), and Leslie Jonath (author of Soup’s On and other books). $15. 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 4th Fl.
Starting at 7pm on Thursday is A Flight of Poets at Hotel Rex, where sommelier Christopher Sawyer will lead you through six flights of wine each paired with one of six different poets. Sounds like a pretty novel event—no pun intended. (Wait, pun totally intended.) The poets are Gabrielle Calvocoressi (author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart and Apocalyptic Swing), Jane Hirshfield (award-winning author of seven collections of poetry, most recently Come, Thief), Robert Polito (author of Hollywood & God, The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber, and the award-winning. His Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson), Rachel Richardson (author of Copperhead, and former Wallace Stegner Fellow), C. J. Sage (author of The San Simeon Zebras, and editor of The National Poetry Review and Press), and Matthew Zapruder (author of three collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts). Tickets are $15 online; if sold out online, limited tickets available at the door. 562 Sutter St. at Mason.
The Litquake festival is a literary spectacle for book lovers, complete with cutting-edge panels, unique cross-media events, and hundreds of readings. It runs through October 15th. See a complete schedule of events here.
Halloween Options (Costumed or Not)
Saturday Oct 15, 2011 – Monday Oct 31, 2011
October’s up to its jack-o-lantern eyeballs in themed food events all over the Bay Area; check any of these out for some fun, mysterious, or scary—depending on how you like your Halloween—times.
Let’s start with the family-friendly HALF MOON BAY ART & PUMPKIN FESTIVAL going on for its 41st year this Saturday and Sunday, October 15th-16th. Over 30 nonprofits are dishing up homemade chow to raise money for worthy causes, offering lots of pumpkin-based items from the usual pies, breads, and rolls to the not-so-usual ice cream, smoothies, churros, and even macaroni and cheese flavored with pumpkin pie spices and topped with pumpkin seeds. Look for pumpkin-filled dishes at local restaurants too, like homemade pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin goat cheese, and pumpkin soup. If pumpkin’s not your thing, there’s plenty more choices you can read about here. Main St. between Miramontes and Spruce, Half Moon Bay.
For a more haunted experience, sign up for The Bold Italic and Stag Dining Group’s HAUNTED HOUSE MICROHOOD DINNER IN ALAMO SQUARE on Wednesday October 26th at 7pm. It’s a costume/Halloween party in a historic and spooky Victorian mansion, which they’re doing up haunted house-style. The five-course, passed-plate dinner will include crab puffs with togarashi and lemon; roasted beets and carrots with goat cheese mousse, preserved lemon-honey vinaigrette, and rye crumble; squid ink chowda with lobster, kabocha squash, and clams; baby back ribs with smoked maple glaze, apple-celery root slaw; and a ‘drumstick’ with dark and stormy brownie, rum ice cream, and waffle cone. Cocktails by Cocktail Lab, plus art and music to boot. Tickets and info here. Location revealed day of event.
Have a mysterious Halloween without getting all gussied up in costume at MAVERICK’s Seventh Annual Mystery Night. On Monday October 31st, chef Scott Youkilis and team, with wine director Mike Pierce, will test your taste buds with a mystery meal where guests try to ID at least four ingredients from each of the three courses to win points. ID the grape varietal in the mystery wine pairings to earn extra points. Score the most points at your table and win a prize! $40 for mystery three-course menu; $15 for optional mystery wine pairings. All food allergies and preferences accommodated. 5:30pm-10:30pm (multiple seatings).
Are you feeling especially adventurous? A meal buggy enough for the Halloween theme is the EDIBLE INSECTS AND OTHER RARE DELICACIES event on Thursday October 27th in the Mess Hall at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Bay Area artist and Don Bugito creator Monica Martinez, with assistance from bioartist Philip Ross, is designing a multi-course meal that will feature edible insects from California and Mexico as key ingredients for each dish, accompanied by hand-crafted Factoria de Santos Mescal. Rosanna Yau will also lead a user-friendly cocktail reception tasting for members at 5:30pm. Dinner at 6:30pm. $50. 944 Simmonds Rd. near Bodsworth, Sausalito.
And for two non-Halloween events on Halloween night, RANGE is having an Arnot-Roberts wine dinner with four courses and wine pairing for $80, excluding tip and tax. And the JCCSF is hosting Adam Gopnik with Barbara Lane to talk about family, France, and food. Gopnik’s newest book, The Table Comes First, is included in the ticket price. More info here. $30-$40. 7pm. 3200 California St. at Presidio, San Francisco.
Updates: more Halloween-themed adventures. Is there anything cuter than a budding gourmand? Parents, bring the kids for this one, and help develop your child’s palate at the Gourmet Walks’ first kid-focused food tour on Sunday October 30th. The two-hour GOURMET HALLOWEEN SWEETS TOUR will lead costumed kids through nine stops in the Ferry Building for gourmet treats such as pumpkin whoopie pies and Halloween-motif truffles. In between tastings, guides will help expand your child’s food vocabulary. Guides will also share the stories behind the vendors at the Ferry Building. Tours are limited to ten children, and tickets must be purchased in advance. BYO (trick-or-treat) Bag. 11am-1pm, and 2pm-4pm. $38 per child; $5 per accompanying adult. Purchase tickets online here, or by phone 24/7 by calling 800-595-4849.
Jupiter Olympus is putting on another pop-up cocktail event on Sunday October 30th at ACME BAR & CO. in Berkeley: Cocktails from the Crypt. Highlighted drinks include a housemade candy corn liquor, and an apple and rye punch cooled by dry ice with a Smith and Cross caramel apple; $10 per cocktail. Free punch will be served in a pumpkin. Bonus: no cover charge. 8pm-2am. 2115 San Pablo Ave. at Addison, Berkeley.
JARDINIÈRE will have a special Halloween prix-fixe dinner on Monday October 31st. For $45, guests get three courses with wine pairings. You can see the menu here, but what you won’t see until Halloween night are the ‘tricks and treats’ dreamed up by executive chef Morgan Mueller and team in the kitchen. Please note they are only taking reservations from 5pm until 8pm that night.
PISCO LATIN LOUNGE is holding their third annual Halloween/Day of the Dead costume party on Saturday October 29th. Dress up if you wanna shot to win a $200 Pagoda party, $75 Destino certificate, or bottle of Pisco Portón. 1817 Market St. at Octavia, 415-874-9951.
Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)
Three Hot New Mexican Spots in Wine Country
By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.
The Great Regional Mexican Restaurant Boom of 2011 swept north into Healdsburg last month with the opening of MATEO’S COCINA LATINA downtown. This is chef-owner Mateo Granados’ first brick-and-mortar restaurant, though he has been delighting Sonoma County with his Yucatecan-Californian cuisine with a farmers’ market stand and roving restaurant (Tendejo de Calle) for the last few years. Before that, Granados was executive chef at Dry Creek Kitchen in the Hotel Healdsburg. Now he’s got his own place just down the street, cooking up twists on Yucatecan classics with superb local ingredients.
The restaurant’s décor is rustic and reclaimed, full of materials like salvaged metal light boxes and mesquite chairs. A shady back patio offers communal seating surrounded by vegetable beds, and the long bar inside the restaurant lets patrons dine at the center of the action. The tequila-centric cocktail list was created by superbarman Scott Beattie, and has a tasty selection of seasonal offerings like the “Caliente” Margarita de Verano, spiked with radish, cilantro, and serrano chiles. Methinks that’ll go down easy with the squash blossom raw-milk feta empanadas, and/or the Panucho tortilla pocket stuffed with black bean purée, annato-marinated chicken, and cinnamon-cured red onions. If you’re not into tequila, fear not—thanks to chef Granados’ stint at Williams-Selyem and his light hand in the kitchen with the spicy stuff, wine is also a rockin’ beverage option.
Mateo’s is open every day for dinner, serving lunch Monday-Friday and brunch Saturday and Sunday, but they DO NOT TAKE RESERVATIONS. You can, however, call ahead to put your name on the wait list. 214 Healdsburg Ave. between Mill and Matheson, Healdsburg, 707-433-1520.
Three days after Mateo’s opened, the crew behind Austin’s award-winning LA CONDESA finally opened their Napa Valley outpost—and the buildout looks awesome. The folks at Eater have been tracking these guys for months, describing their California twist on the Austin original with admirable detail.
So far, the St. Helena spot is open for dinner only, seven nights a week. But their 5pm opening affords plenty of time to work your way through the 200+ tequilas at the bar. Check out their menus online to plot and slobber over before you get there. 1320 Main St. between Adams and Hunt, St. Helena, 707-967-8111.
Last, but actually the first of these three to open, is downtown Napa’s CIELITO LINDO and its Jalisco-inspired menu, which took over (and transformed) Annaliên’s former space next to Ubuntu on Main Street. Seafood is the specialty here in the form of cured to order ceviches, creamy shrimp empanadas, and a slew of other delicias del mar, but there’s also plenty of interesting carne for non-fish fans: prensadas de chicharrón (masa cakes topped with tiny nuggets of chicharrones), chicken mole enchiladas, pork chop with mashed malanga, and steak with bone marrow. The new lunchtime menu (available daily 11am-3pm) includes more casual items like Jalisco-style tacos of fish, shrimp, sautéed octopus, and braised pork belly. And, their creative agave liquor margaritas are $6 all day, so why not order up a tamarind version to kick things off? 1142 Main St. near Pearl, Napa.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Ferran Adrià Eats His Way Through the Mission
The man, the myth, the legend, Ferran Adrià has been in town to promote his just-released book, The Family Meal, and he spoke to a sold-out audience at the Castro Theatre last night. Earlier in the day, Adrià visited La Taqueria and Humphry Slocombe, and swung by Range for a quick cocktail and dinner at the bar before his lecture at the Castro. He then joined chef David Kinch and others for an after party at Mission Chinese Food—and who knows where the night ended.
As for Adrià’s weekend, Grub Street picked up on some tweets, mentioning Adrià dined at Manresa on Saturday and Coi on Sunday.
Hot (HOT) Scotsman Sighting
Actor Gerard Butler (300, The Phantom of the Opera) was spotted dining at Mezzaluna in Half Moon Bay with another man, while (apparently) reading scripts. He is reportedly in the area shooting a movie between Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay. My spotter said, “His hair was longer than normal and he is really tall.” And hot. (My words.)
Total D-List Diner Spotted at Grand Café
Kathy Griffin was spotted dining at the Grand Café the other night with her assistant (she came over from The Clift). They shared the squash blossoms, a croque-madame, macaroni and cheese, and washed it all down with an Anchor Steam and Diet Coke. She was reportedly very friendly with the entire staff. And obviously isn’t afraid of cheese.
Mr. Las Vegas Leaves His Heart in San Francisco
Just last night, Wayne Newton dined at One Market Restaurant. He charmed the staff and guests alike (he even said his server was a doll), and allowed for photos to be taken with fans.
Double Play of Sporty Sightings
On Friday night, Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame second baseman, came in to EPIC Roasthouse for dinner with his family.
Meanwhile, over at Waterbar, John Elway, Hall of Fame quarterback from the Denver Broncos, enjoyed drinks at the bar and some dinner.