Celtuce course at COI. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Ugh, I am totally on pins and needles right now—my beloved MacBook has crashed twice in the past 24 hours, and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to get the newsletter out in time. Or at all. Whew. Of course my computer chose a terrible time to misbehave. Let alone the fact I had to bring my over-worked espresso machine into the shop yesterday as well. I can’t have the coffee and the computer fail me at the same time—then again, one is inextricably linked to the other, a total Möbius strip of how I get my work done. Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t have a complete meltdown here at hopper HQ, wish me luck!
The other folks on pins and needles today: Michelin star-hopeful chefs all over the San Francisco Bay Area and wine country. The announcements have been trickling in over Twitter this afternoon as the chefs receive their individual phone calls. Big congrats to all the winners.
This town certainly has some wicked talent. Saturday I must have been out to hurt (and humor) myself, starting with a dim sum feast at Koi Palace in Daly City, and then Saturday evening I had my finest meal yet at COI—each course was as gorgeous to look at as to taste. Still thinking about it.
Okay, I have a scary pileup of errands and calls and email to handle, so here’s bidding you a fabulous week! Ta!
Last week, Charles Phan gave media and friends a sneak peek of WO HING GENERAL STORE, his project opening in the original Slanted Door space on Valencia Street. The name pays homage to Charles’ uncle (Wo) and father (Hing) who emigrated from China to Vietnam in 1951, where together, they opened a general store. The opening is this Friday October 28th.
Phan and chef de cuisine Michelle Mah will be presenting a menu of Chinese street food and bar food, from dumplings and noodles to jook and rice plates, all featuring seasonal ingredients from local purveyors. Some highlights: slivered yuba and mixed mushroom salad, pork and shrimp wontons in chile bean sauce, Westlake beef jook, braised oxtail with dry yuba, ginger chicken, steamed catfish with black bean sauce, and Chinese long beans and Alba mushrooms with chile bean sauce and shallots.
Like other Charles Phan restaurants, Chucky Dugo will be behind the desserts. Bar manager Brooke Arthur (Prospect, Range) is in charge of the craft cocktail program, with refreshing picks like a piña colada, an Iceberg Daiquiri, and Dry Sherry Punch. Look for some quirky glassware—some of the pieces are vintage. Another item of note: there will be a variety of imported Chinese teas, and plenty of non-alcoholic beverage options.
It was fun to return to a spot where I had very fond memories of dining at back in the day, but Olle Lundberg has definitely created an updated look for the 95-seat restaurant. It’s all about using repurposed materials (like the space: what is old is new again). There’s cool art, clever overhead lights made from woks, the downstairs bar is from a bowling alley, and the upstairs mezzanine remains, enclosed with panels from a MUNI bus shelter. The later hours should be a hit, serving food until 12 midnight (last seating at 11:45pm; limited menu later in the evening) and cocktails until 1am. Lunch will be coming soon, but for now, the restaurant will open at 5pm.
Wo Hing General Store - 584 Valencia St. San Francisco
Here’s the latest on what is replacing The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco: the restaurant will be PARALLEL 37, as in the latitude that crosses near the Bay Area and wine country. Chef Ron Siegel’s menu of contemporary American cuisine will be all about the local ingredient scene, and even the wine program will be focused on regional California wines.
EDG Interior Architecture + Design is behind the new sleek and modern look, and as mentioned previously, a big addition will be a bar and lounge with room for 46. The bar/lounge will include communal table seating, and in the main dining room, there will be a chef’s table that will open off the kitchen, and a semi-private room for small parties.
Want to see how it’s all going to look? tablehopper has an exclusive first look at the floor plan of the restaurant. Elements include glass wall treatments, a dramatic glass entranceway from the lobby, natural materials, and a glowing glass graphic panel of California oaks. The tablecloths will be gone, replaced by free-edge wood tables and plaid-embossed leather seating. Yup, it’s going to be a totally different and chintz-free scene. The opening is currently planned for December. Stand by for a menu and more in coming weeks.
Parallel 37 - 600 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-773-6168
Earlier this year, when it was announced the Red Vic Movie House was (sadly) closing, the San Francisco Bay Guardian revealed THE ALEMBIC was potentially going to be expanding into the space. I got a chance to catch up with Betsy Rix, one of the original four founders of the Red Vic, who owns the building with her husband, Jack Rix. She said part of the plan is for The Alembic—which is just to the left of the movie house—to expand their bar into the lobby, but she also mentioned wanting to do something similar to 331 Cortland Marketplace: rent space to four-six food-related, start-up entrepreneurs and retail businesses that aren’t ready to have their own brick-and-mortar location yet. For now, the project’s working title is 1727 HAIGHT. She said they want to have a nice mix of businesses, ones that align with the Rixs’ social mission, which is to change the current food system. This all won’t be happening until well into 2012, but interested parties should watch the Red Vic website in a few weeks for details on how to apply for a space.
Betsy mentioned she wants to have the location be a CSA drop-off spot, and they will also have a small 49-seat event space in the back for rentals to musicians, filmmakers, and other artists. They are currently cleaning the space (there are 31 years of memorabilia and furnishings to sort through), and they look forward to the project taking shape in coming months. 1727 Haight St. at Cole.
As of last week, the next member of the Proxy shipping container project in Hayes Valley has opened: BIERGARTEN from the Suppenküche crew. Like the name sounds like, it’s a beer garden, with numerous communal and very authentically German tables on a patio—all in all, there’s room for 100 beer-drinking folks.
The menu includes six draught beers, some bottled selections, wine, non-alcoholic selections like Bionade, and a variety of beer-friendly vittles, from bratwurst to pretzels to chive and lardo on brown bread, plus some sandwiches and a trio of salads (potato, beet, and kraut). And you can finish the night with a bottle shot of Underberg. Enjoy the Indian summer evenings while you can. Tue-Sun 3pm-9pm. 424 Octavia St. at Linden.
Opening Tuesday November 1st is CLAUDINE, the latest project from Franck LeClerc (Gitane, Café Claude, and 5 Claude Lane gallery). It’s a combination eatery, wine bar, and gourmet market, with 31 seats for those of you who want to sit down for lunch or dinner (or just an afternoon snack), or grab a seat at the circular wine bar pouring local beers and wines on tap, selected with the help of Saison/Vinyl’s Mark Bright. LeClerc is known for his cool-looking projects; the sleek space was designed by Elmer Lin of Consortium (Bocadillos, 5 Claude Lane gallery).
Chef Bridget Batson (Gitane) has created a seasonal, frequently rotating menu of a dozen or so items that includes daily crudo (tablehopper got word about a diver scallop crudo with fennel confit and lemon), oysters, along with soups, salads, and small plates like meatball, kale, and fregola soup with Parmesan and olive oil; crispy pork salad with golden delicious apples, radicchio, and banyuls vinegar; and chicken liver mousse with fig compote, port gelée, and brioche. There are a few mains like New York strip loin with heirloom tomatoes, garlic confit, and tomato butter, and olive oil poached albacore with orecchiette, Gypsy peppers, capers, and lemon (the price range will run $7-$18).
Consulting pastry chef Hili Revzan (formerly with Range) is behind the playful desserts, which include s’mores in a jar and housemade Oreo cookies. You can also grab packed-up meals to go (perfect for you eat-at-your-desk types), and the market includes local olive oils, culinary gadgets, and be sure to take a peek at the book selection (you’ll recognize a bright blue one on the shelf). Lunch and dinner service to start; weekend brunch service to follow. 8 Claude Ln. at Sutter, 415-362-1988.
The main points: chef and co-owner David Baeli (he’s from Florida) will be serving a Southern-inspired, American menu using local ingredients, plus there will be a raw bar, barbecued and smoked meats, an extensive American microbrew program from partner Adam Edwards, and hello Southern fried chicken. The architect and designer is Said Eghbal (Monk’s Kettle), who will be installing a wall of glazed tiles, a tin-panel ceiling, brick walls, and a hot-rolled steel bar. The current targeted opening is January. 1 Tillman Place at Grant.
After watching the front of the former Stars/Trader Vic’s become a homeless hangout, I’m happy to hear a new restaurant is going to open in the space: MAESTRO. The Inside Scoop announced the operators are behind La Bohème (WARNING: website with tango music) in Burlingame. They are planning to open in December after a quick remodel, and will serve lunch and dinner, with a pâtisserie and café featuring French pastries and more. 555 Golden Gate Ave. at Van Ness.
Just last night, PATXI’S PIZZA (say pah’-cheese) opened their Irving Street location (in the former Darla’s). This is the fourth Patxi’s location in San Francisco from founders Patxi Azpiroz and Bill Freeman, featuring their trademark Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. There are four styles of pizza (stuffed, pan, thin, extra-thin), including vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options, plus craft brews on tap and a reasonably priced wine list.
The grand opening of the new Patxi’s Irving will be Thursday November 3rd at 5pm, which means you can swing by for complimentary tastes. The 36-seat restaurant (by R3 Builders) will also offer delivery to the Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods. Open Sun-Wed 11am-10pm, and Thu-Sat 11am-10:30pm. 822 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-759-9000.
Due to (softly) open this Wednesday is San Francisco’s second location of PEARL’S DELUXE BURGERS, smack dab on the corner of Market and 6th Street, keeping Show Dogs company just across the street. The grand opening is Tuesday November 1st. The project received financing from the Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund, an $11.5 million fund to encourage retail and arts businesses to locate on Market Street, and from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s “Six on Sixth” revitalization program. The 40-seat space is rocking a colorful look described by co-owner Sylvia Yi as “comfortable diner meets Star Trek.”
Have you ever had one of their burgers? They’re tasty, and made with grass-fed beef patties, or you can order turkey, veggie, or buffalo burgers. Am also a fan of their hand-cut onion rings. Beer and wine will be served. Open daily 11am-9pm to start—hours will expand after the soft opening period. 1001 Market St. at 6th St., 415-861-1605.
If you live in North Beach, this may be a blessing or a curse: TONY’S PIZZA NAPOLETANA and TONY’S COAL-FIRED PIZZA & SLICE HOUSE is launching delivery this Wednesday October 26th. TONY’S A GO GO is available Wed-Sun from 12pm-10pm, with a $20 minimum for all delivery orders and a limited delivery area (it’s going to be about a mile, but it sounds like it’s on a case-by-case basis).
You can order a selection of Tony’s favorites, from classic American pies to pizza Romana to Sicilian style to coal-fired to Detroit style (my personal favorite is the Jersey tomato pie). You can also sink your teeth into New York delicatessen-style subs and Chicago’s original Italian beef sandwiches, including a Reuben, meatball sub, and chicken parm. In honor of the electric delivery bikes, guests who want to go green can order a pizza from the electric oven and receive $1 off. Delivery orders can be made by visiting tonyagogo.com, or by calling 415-835-9888 or 415-835-9889.
Due to a truck backing into a fire hydrant on Saturday morning, MISS PEARL’S JAM HOUSE in Jack London Square was flooded and is temporarily closed. The spewing water flooded the second floor balcony and then came into the building—chef Eddie Blyden tells me the restaurant was like a tropical rain forest. At least it happened the day after Bourdain’s visit (see the starlet for more on that!). And fortunately chef thought quickly and was able to donate most of the contents of the walk-in to St. Vincent de Paul. Hmmm, I’d say the name of the cross street didn’t bode particularly well … 1 Broadway at Water St., Oakland, 510-444-7171.
Yeah, the word dumpling caught your eye, didn’t it? Starting Monday November 7th, DUMPLINGS & BUNS is hosting dim sum cooking classes every Monday. You’ll learn ingredient-buying techniques, knife skills, and how to prepare authentic dim sum dumplings and buns to bring home. $55 per person. Share a glass of wine (or tea), and receive a 25% discount on specialty Asian sauces and condiments. The two-hour classes are offered at 9am, 12pm, and 3pm; maximum five people per class. Reservations required. 2411 California St. at Fillmore, 415-292-6209.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday November 8th, OZUMO OAKLAND is hosting a sushi rolling class. It includes instruction by a chef, a light dinner, a kanpai sake shot, and a sushi rolling tools gift bag. $60 per person. 6:30pm. Seating is very limited, and reservations are required. Email or call 510-286-9866. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland.
Celebrate the style and culture of SF neighborhoods through food and art on Saturday November 5th at the sixth annual ARTASTING PARTY featuring “Bottle Art” and the Evolution of a Local Brand. For $25, guests over 21 will receive four tickets to taste award-winning wines from local vendors, and each guest will take home a 2012 art calendar featuring local wine label designs. Complimentary snacks will be served upon arrival, and Chile Lindo empanadas will be available for purchase.
tablehopper readers get 20% off tickets by using discount code “Tablehopper” here. 6pm-10pm, The Women’s Building, 3543 18th St. at Lapidge, 415-828-1618.
Saturday Nov 5, 2011 6pm–10pm $25; use discount code "Tablehopper" for 20% off more info
On Tuesday November 1st, some very talented chefs will discuss the prominence of Italian cuisine and its influence on the Bay Area. Panelist chefs will include Suzette Gresham (Acquerello), Donato Scotti (Donato Enoteca), Jen Biesty (Scala’s Bistro), Ruggero Gadaldi (Beretta, Delarosa, and Pesce), and Chanan Kamen (Osteria Coppa). The roundtable discussion will also celebrate the launch of the 2011 edition of The Silver Spoon. Emilia Terragni, The Silver Spoon editor, will host the panelists. Cocktail hour and Silver Spoon bites will follow the discussion. 6pm, The International Culinary Center of California, 700 W. Hamilton Ave. at San Tomas, Campbell, 866-318-2433.
Tuesday Nov 1, 2011 6pm more info
There are plenty of nights in a year you can dine out (365, to be exact), but if there was one night to really dine out, it would be on Wednesday November 9th. Why the 9th? Because it’s Food for Thought, a fundraising night for Mission Graduates. Dine out at select Mission District restaurants like Commonwealth, Heirloom Café, Mission Beach Cafe, and Slow Club, and they will generously donate a portion of their sales to get Mission youth to college.
A delish proposition, right? Click here for a list of participating restaurants, and make your reservation today!
For more information, visit Food for Thought.
Back in March, Eater broke the story that Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren (Rye, 15 Romolo, Rosewood) had plans to open a European-style café and bar in a SoMa location (on Jessie Street). It ends up the gents have been waiting for years to do a concept like this: an all-day space where you can swing by for coffee, an aperitivo, wine, and a bite. The list of spirits will be very focused, with a limited but very curated selection of spritzes, drinks, and snacks (with obscure amaros, oh you know it). They are also excited to be working on housemade sodas.
The focal point of the 800-square-foot location will be the very long wood bar that extends the length of the space (about 35 feet). There will also be some two-tops and four-tops, with potentially some outdoor seating as well. The look will be refined yet rustic, with some historic texture and vintage elements, and plenty of natural light. (They are working with Brett Terpeluk [Farina] on the design.) There’s a basement, which is where they will be storing their Clinebell ice machine—the first in San Francisco—which creates large blocks of crystal clear ice. They will be doing crushed ice, ice spears, large cubes, and there might even be a vintage ice box behind the bar. They just started demolition a couple weeks ago (it used to be Copy Edge), and are targeting February or March 2012 for the opening. Hours will be mid-morning to 2am. I’ll keep you posted on timing and when they pick a name for the project. 163 Jessie St. near 3rd St.
Good news for THE FRONT PORCH and the boozehounds who love the restaurant: they now have a liquor license! Look for Sazeracs, mint juleps, your pick of great bourbons and rye whiskies, or shots and beers for those who want to keep it simple. But effective. Brunch also just got verrrrry interesting.
As for their upcoming ROCK BAR project, it’s hit some snags and delays. They hope to take possession of the International Club space in 2012, so stand by for revised timing on that one. 80 29th St. at Tiffany.
The Front Porch - 65A 29th St. San Francisco - 415-695-7800
Ready to go to beer school? This fall and winter, master cicerone (one of three in the world!) and brewmaster Rich Higgins (Social Kitchen & Brewery) will be teaching courses on world beer traditions, and beer and food pairing at THE BOOTHBY CENTER FOR THE BEVERAGE ARTS. The classes will be held on Sundays from 5pm-7pm; the first class is on November 6th, and will focus on United Kingdom Beer Traditions (each class in the World Beer Traditions Series will cover a different beer tradition—United Kingdom, German, Belgian, and American—and will include lecture, discussion, and lots of sampling of great beers). And here’s the link for tickets to the beer and food pairing class. Discounted four-class ticket packages are available for a limited time, for your sudsy pleasure.
Also in SoMa, Tasting Table shares an update about the remodel at CITY BEER STORE: the small bar is now a large one, and there is more space for special bottle-aged beers—now you can really geek the hell out. There will also be classes later in the year. 1198 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-503-1033.
The Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts - 1161 Mission St., Suite 120 San Francisco
Gracing our fair city this week is bartender Ivy Mix from New York’s Clover Club and Lani Kai. She’s also the co-founder of Speed Rack, an all-female speed bartending competition that raises cash for breast cancer. She will be at BERETTA tonight (October 25th) and DELAROSA on Wednesday October 26th from 5:30pm-close, serving three different guest cocktails.
And on Wednesday October 26th, LOCAL MISSION EATERY is hosting Jim Milone from Terra Sávia. He’s a fourth-generation winemaker, and has been making organic, natural wines for 30 years. He will be pouring four wines with three courses from chef Jake Des Voignes: his blanc de blancs (2007), just-released Brut Rogue (sparkling merlot), reserve chardonnay (2009), and meritage red blend (2007). The winemaker dinner is available all night, at every table. Wine $18; food $36.
Local Mission Eatery - 3111 24th St. San Francisco - 415-655-3422
Free pizza. Nope, that does not suck. Swing by CUPOLA PIZZERIA in the Westfield Centre Mon-Fri from 3pm-6pm and you can get $3 tap beers and tap wines, and while you’re sitting at the bar with your bevvies, complimentary pizzas will make their way to the bar. Yes, like magic! From now through Thanksgiving, you’ll be able to snack on slices of the margherita or the seasonal confit diced pumpkin with Fontina cheese, prosciutto cotto, and thyme. Don’t forget to share—you’re not a vulture.
Meanwhile, HARRY DENTON’S STARLIGHT ROOM has a new “sunset menu” Mon-Fri 6pm-7pm, with cocktails for $7 (including a sunset punch, pisco crusta, and Negroni), and $7 bites, like fried mac and cheese and artichoke dip. It’s like an hour of power! Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 21st floor, 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-395-8595.
Cupola Pizzeria - 845 Market St., 4th floor, San Francisco - 415-896-5600
The latest issue of your quarterly journal of meat culture is available now.
In Meatpaper Issue 16 we delve deeply into BONES to bring you stories about Jell-O, wishbones, conceptual art, bone talismans, biodynamic farming, bone broth, and the historic art of scrimshaw. Find out how a heron wing fragment could help you, and why animals evolved to have bones at all.
Subscribe now and get your dose of the fleischgeist delivered directly to your door.
Wednesday Nov 16, 2011 – Thursday Nov 17, 2011 Info The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center 101 Henry Adams St. at Alameda, San Francisco 415-490-5865
The artful dinner table makes a difference for HIV/AIDS care when you dine and drink at either of DIFFA’S DINING BY DESIGN events next month at the Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center. On Wednesday November 16th, preview the one-of-a-kind tabletop creations of visionary designers at the Table Hop & Taste cocktail party, then on the next night, you can take a seat at one of the fabulously stylish tables for the Gala Dinner.
For their 11th annual Dining by Design, DIFFA has gathered established talents, budding artists, and celebrated individuals to create three-dimensional dining installations that awe, inspire, and delight. At the preview party on November 16th, 6pm-11pm, you’ll get to ogle their tabletop beauties alongside designers from furniture, interior design, fine art, and architecture. Sip fine wines and savor culinary bites from the likes of Twenty Five Lusk, Barbara Llewellyn Catering, Bisou, chef Tyler Stone, Limon, and Mission Minis. EFFEN Vodka will also present special event cocktails. Tickets for the Table Hop & Taste cocktail party are $100.
For the Gala Dinner on Thursday November 17th, 6:30pm-11pm, you’ll start the evening with a reception mingling with the designers, including Project Runway’s Mondo Guerra. Then take your seat at one of the extraordinary dinner table installations for 10, and enjoy a three-course gourmet dinner by Taste Catering. Individual gala tickets are $500, and new this year is a community table with individual seats at $350. Table host levels start at $5,000; email Randall Shields for more info.
Both evenings will feature a silent auction with luxury items like fine furnishings and art, travel packages, beauty and spa treatments, extraordinary wines, and dining experiences. Since 1984, DIFFA (Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS) has raised more than $40 million for HIV/AIDS care nationwide. This year’s event benefits the UCSF Positive Health Program, aka “Ward 86,” located at San Francisco General Hospital. The Galleria at the San Francisco Design Center, 101 Henry Adams St. at Alameda, 415-490-5865.
Maybe last week’s earthquake was a jolting reminder of Haiti? Yeah, Haiti fell off the radar for a lot of us. Put it back on your screen by joining chef Thomas McNaughton and author Ethan Casey on Friday November 11th at DEVIL’S GULCH RANCH in Nicasio for a fundraiser dinner and conversation with Casey about his upcoming new book, Bearing the Bruise: A Lifetime in Haiti.
Starting at 5pm, the dinner promises to feature culinary delights from guest chef Thomas McNaughton (Flour + Water), as well as stimulating conversation with Haiti Coffee (working collaboratively to rebuild the Haitian coffee industry), Mark Pasternak and Myriam Kaplan-Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch (working with Haitian agribusiness Makouti Agro Enterprise and USAID’s Partners of the Americas Farmer to Farmer program), and author Casey (veteran journalist, editor, and author).
Tickets are $200 each, all inclusive. Funds raised will directly support Casey’s book sponsorship program, and Devil’s Gulch Educational Services’ agricultural development work in Haiti. Email or call for more info, 415-826-1500.
Well, would you look at that: Johnny Depp came in to Prospect for dinner with Tom Waits on Monday night, according to Berkeleyside. After dinner, Depp was off to UC Berkeley for a Q&A session about his new film, The Rum Diary, which seemed to get a little heated. And based on this tweet from Mary Ladd, the hot man from Kentucky was staying at the Claremont.
Anthony Bourdain was in town for a performance/presentation at the Paramount Theatre over the weekend, and chef Eddie Blyden of Miss Pearl’s Jam House knew exactly what to send him for a pre-show dinner: bone marrow! He said Bourdain came into the kitchen and they talked for a while: “We stood face to face in the kitchen discussing various topics at length, particularly his African trips—I realized that he truly does his homework.”
Monica Potter of Parenthood fame dined at Venticello on Saturday night with her hubby. My spotter notes she starred in Patch Adams as Robin Williams’ love interest—perhaps she was in town for his big Meadowood wedding to Susan Schneider on Sunday? If so, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, and Billy Crystal would have been keeping her company.