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Jan 9, 2012 24 min read

January 10, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: breaking the waves.

January 10, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: breaking the waves.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: breaking the waves.                    

The playful (and totally delicious) shabu shabu presentation at Michael Mina. Photo: ©

My life is seriously whack right now, veering from spending hours at my computer in fuzzy slippers (yes, it’s true) to throwing on a dress, my Dior lipstick, and emerging from my apartment once a day to go check out a restaurant for these guidebooks I’m scrambling to finish. This past weekend also had me feeling very 1%, with dinner at Zaré at Fly Trap on Friday, the new Parallel 37 on Saturday, and Michael Mina on Sunday—there was even a Denise Hale sighting in there. (I have to be careful I don’t get gout this month.) And I’ve been doing some incredible repurposing with my leftovers, let me tell you. Masami Ranch rib-eye tacos, oh yeah!

I took a break from the pile o’ 200-word reviews I’ve been writing to bring you this week’s column, complete with some very exciting pizza-related news, another 707 scout update, and a sweet sugar mama offer that will have you traveling around town in style.

I am taking this Friday off so I can stay focused on these deadlines—again, thank you for understanding.

See you next Tuesday!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Jon Darsky Resurfaces with Del Popolo, the Pizza Truck of Your Dreams


One of Darsky’s dream pies while at flour + water. Photo: ©


The container before modification. Photo courtesy of Del Popolo.


A rendering of the setup, complete with action figures! Photo courtesy of Del Popolo.


The Stefano Ferrara oven and pedestal. Photo courtesy of Del Popolo.

Pizza fanatics around the city are going to be really thrilled with this piece of news: Jon Darsky—the original pizzaiolo known for his fantastic pizzas when he was part of the flour + water opening team—is now releasing details about his upcoming project, DEL POPOLO. Nope, it’s not a brick-and-mortar spot in the Mission—-it’s going to be a one-of-a-kind mobile pizzeria, the likes of which you have yet to see anywhere. Darsky has been working with fabricators and designers to transform a deconstructed transatlantic shipping container that’s 20’ long and 8’ wide into a mobile unit that will house a 5,000-pound, Stefano Ferrara wood-burning oven that’s welded to the floor with a steel pedestal. Not only that, but the exhibition kitchen is enclosed by three glass doors, so you’ll be able to watch your pizza being made. Yeah, this is gonna be fun.

The name means “of the people,” and the pricing is definitely going to be that: all pizzas are 12” with the vegetarian options going for an accessible $10, and meat pizzas will be $12. Darsky will be doing his trademark thin-crust, Neapolitan-style pizzas made with organic ingredients sourced from small producers, both domestic and Italian. On offer will be three kinds a day, and the oven is capable of producing 72 pizzas an hour. There will even be an on-board dough mixer! The truck will be in operation for both lunch and dinner. Oh, and another innovation: the pizza boxes will be a lot slimmer than you are used to seeing—hey, it’s a thin crust, so why use such a big box?

He’s been hard at work for the past 18 months getting this all figured out—there’s nothing like being an original case study, especially when Mies Van Der Rohe is one of your inspirations. Since Del Popolo is a mobile operation, some special considerations had to be made for how to transport the brick pizza oven safely, like the industrial airbags that inflate around the support arms of the container to minimize vibration to the oven during transit (they had to call in some specialists to figure that one out). There will also be a step-down feature of the truck, so instead of customers craning their necks up to place an order like at a food truck, they will be eye level with employees. Darsky worked with a local designer on fine tuning some of the project details, and McLellan Industries in Hanford, California, handled fabrication and production.

There will be some test runs coming up, so be sure to follow @pizzadelpopolo on Twitter. The truck will take up less than two parking spaces, but there’s no word where exactly it will be parking around town just yet. The launch is scheduled for February 2012, possibly on the later side of the month.

Del Popolo

Chef Nori Sugie No Longer in Los Angeles, Now at Nombe


Chef Nori at the James Beard Awards. Photo: ©

I first learned about chef Noriyuki “Nori” Sugie from chef Joel Huff, a former (amazing) chef at Silks, who said Sugie was a huge influence on his cooking (Sugie was at Asiate at the Mandarin Oriental in New York). Sugie has some serious chops, cooking in France’s Michelin-starred L’Aubergade, Sydney’s Restaurant VII, and Chicago’s Charlie Trotter’s. (He also roasts some delicious coffee.) Back in 2008, I posted a story about Sugie’s project at the Spencer House in the Haight, but that didn’t pan out. And now he is officially up from Los Angeles to be the executive chef of Mari Takahashi and Gil Payne’s NOMBE in the Mission.

A simultaneous announcement in the Scoop and a press release mention he will start with lunch service, adding his specialty ramen to the menu starting today, Tuesday January 10th. While running his pop-up ramen night at BREADBAR in LA, he became known for his beef ramen, which will is now appearing at Nombe, with additions like cheek, short rib, oxtail, and beef tongue. Each base is $10, with several additions plus rice dishes also available. He will also be adding a few dishes to the dinner menu, until his entirely new menu launches in February. Nombe is open for lunch Tue-Fri 11am-2pm, dinner Tue-Sun beginning at 6pm, brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2pm.

Nombe            - 2491 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-681-7150

Café Gratitude Locations Will Now (Maybe?) Stay Open


I Am No Longer Going to be Available. (Maybe.) Photo: ©

According to this piece in The Bay Citizen, Café Gratitude has resolved the lawsuits that threatened to close their locations, and now some of the group’s restaurants will stay open (it’s not clear which locations will stay open). You’d think they would mention the good news on their Facebook page; instead, there is just an ad for a line cook at the Berkeley restaurant—guess that bodes well for that location. I reached out to a representative for the organization, we’ll see what they say. The whole thing is as clear as a bowl of live almond hummus. I Am Intrigued.

Café Gratitude: San Francisco            - 2400 Harrison St. San Francisco - 415-830-3014

Openings: From Burgers to O3 to, Uh, iThai


Photo of Sweet Woodruff by Molly Decoudreaux via Eater.


O3 Bistro & Lounge interior. Photo from Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the partners behind SONS & DAUGHTERS have now opened SWEET WOODRUFF, their new carry-out spot. Items include onion brioche soup, suckling pig sandwich, and a roasted mushroom sandwich; check out the full menu here. Opening hours are Tue-Sat 11am-3pm to start. 798 Sutter St. at Jones, 415-292-9090.

Opening this Friday January 13th is O3 BISTRO & LOUNGE in the former CPK on Van Ness. There are about 45 seats in the contemporary dining room, with a spacious bar and lounge with room for 35 (you can check out photos in their Facebook album). Chef Joseph Villanueva’s (previously at Le Colonial) pan-Asian dinner menu includes braised oxtail tacos with a jicama cabbage slaw in a wonton shell ($9) to larger plates like seared scallops, lobster garlic noodles, baby bok choy, uni XO sauce ($27). Lunch has fried chicken, a burger, and glass noodle salad ($7-$13). Cocktails range from $11-$12, and are made with fresh juices. Hours will be Mon-Wed 11am-11pm and Thu-Sat 11am-2am (kitchen closes at 11pm). A late-night bar menu may launch later. There will also be pre-show service for those attending the symphony and opera house nearby—and it should also be a handy spot for lunch when you’re in the neighborhood for jury duty. Ugh, jury duty. Hope I didn’t just jinx myself. 524 Van Ness Ave. at McAllister, 415-934-9800.

Tipster-about-town Jason B. let me know there was some activity at the old Beautifull! space at Gold’s in the Castro, and it looked like the folks from Bistro SF Grill on California were opening something. A call to SF Grill confirmed they are going to be opening a hot sandwich and panino place, BISTRO SF GRILL CASTRO, using some of the meat they use for their burgers (like their merguez burger), in addition to offering classic panini, like prosciutto and mozzarella, and more. Hours will be 11am-10pm, possibly later on the weekends. Look for an opening at the end of January. 2301 Market St. at Noe.

Jason also let me know “Caffe Bella Venezia is officially gone on Post and has recently been replaced by … ITHAI. iReally?” Yup, iReally. 720 Post St. at Jones, 415-345-9999.

A reader at Eater mentioned displaced ESTELA’S FRESH SANDWICHES is reportedly now open in the former Cafe Prima Fila space in the Lower Nob Hill. Estela’s will be making their sandwiches here until they can move back into their Fillmore Street location that was burnt in the September fire, which could be quite a while. No number available yet. 891 Bush St. at Taylor.

Closures: Mexico DF and Russia House, Update Re: Moss Room


The Russia House; Flickr photo by eviloars via Eater.

More New Year casualties: Eater notes MEXICO DF in SoMa has closed, although “owners Victor Hugo Juarez and company are hanging on to their other Mexican restaurant, Chilango in the Castro.” Inside Scoop chimes in that the owner of Unicorn Pan Asian Cuisine in the FiDi, Kiet Trong, will be opening a restaurant called Region, serving “comfort Asian food with California style and techniques” this spring. 139 Steuart St. at Howard.

For those who travel on the 101, you may be familiar with the looming RUSSIA HOUSE, which Grub Street reports is closing in four months. Back in December, a reader alerted me to a lawsuit filed by Alex Gershteyn versus Russia House, which stated: “Complaint for negligence and premises liability. Defendant Russia House did not provide enough security to prevent systematic acts of violence. The plaintiff was a bystander to a fight in which he was pushed in the back, fell to the floor and broke his wrist.” I guess there’s an ugly side to the vodka-fueled fiestas over there. 2011 Bayshore Blvd. at Hester.

Oh, and a quick update on the whereabouts of chef Michael Morrison, previously at the now-closed THE MOSS ROOM. He got back to me after last week’s column had already posted, informing me he will now be shifting his focus full time to COCO500. Ends up he was spending time at both kitchens, but now he’s going to be able to dedicate more time to a whole-animal program and other projects at the restaurant.

COCO500            - 500 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-543-2222

New Breakfast Options


A (terrifying!) breakfast torta from Fogcutter; photo from Facebook.

Bartenders and late risers: you should know DEAR MOM, in the Mission now has their bartenders’ brunch up and running. What this means is you can shake the Fernet out of your hair and come by for brunch on Sundays from 11:30am-5pm. This coming Sunday January 15th will be round two for guest chefs Josh DeClercq and Ken Cazenas, two local cooks who are cooking together as B.G.’s Brunch. On the menu: warm mushroom salad, poached egg ($12); smoked salmon, bagel, cream cheese, pickled red onion, caper, dill ($11); roasted Brussels with lardo, fried egg, lemon-horseradish crème fraîche ($10); and more.

The last two Sundays of January will be brought to you by the folks who run the Fogcutter truck. For their menu, options may be toad in the hole, pork belly hash, and pancake soufflés (all $6-$12). 2700 16th St. at Harrison, 415-625-3362.

Adding to the already plentiful breakfast options at the Ferry Building Marketplace, GOTT’S ROADSIDE will now be serving some breakfast, like a Southern sandwich of buttermilk fried chicken tenders, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and charred jalapeño mayo ($5.99). Yeah, a food coma is imminent with that bad boy. There will also be some egg and soft corn taco options, plus French toast, and non-fat yogurt with granola and fresh fruit for you Lululemon-wearing types. Served daily 7am-11am. Breakfast will be served strictly to-go from Gott’s takeout window in the main market hall. 415-318-3423.

Quince Launches Its Renovated Bar and Lounge

After a quickie post-holiday closure, QUINCE has made some adjustments to the bar and 16-seat lounge area, offering new seating and dining-height tables. The new bar menu features an array of fish crudos, ordered individually or as a tasting ($24), such as a halibut with pink grapefruit, fried nettle and lime ($14), or hiramasa with puntarelle, blood orange, and olive ($16). My favorite development: you can now order caviar by the spoon, instead of just the ounce (but it’s still not cheap: for $25, you get a 5-gram spoon of Royal Osetra Caviar—yeah, it’s almost as expensive as other bad habits that get weighed by the gram). There will also be a prosciutto tasting ($18), a Sonoma foie gras torchon with caramelized persimmon salad ($24; well, for the next six months), some cheeses from the infamous cart ($6 each), and desserts.

Quince            - 470 Pacific Ave. San Francisco - 415-775-8500

A Trio of Pop-Ups/Special Dinners


Dan the man of Slow Hand BBQ. Photo: ©

Some pop-up action for you this month. First, since NAMU in the Inner Richmond is closed, and the upcoming NAMU GAJI is a month or so away, the brothers are going to be doing a series of late evening pop-up dinners at FOUR BARREL COFFEE the next few Fridays. You’ll be able to swing by for okonomiyaki, ramen, and their famed Korean fried chicken. Click here for info and tickets.

Have you had a chance to sample the very fine barbecue from SLOW HAND? Well now you’ll be able to at THE DOCTOR’S LOUNGE (previously mentioned in tablehopper here), starting this Friday January 13th. Look for brisket (delicious!), ribs, pulled pork, and more. Dinner service starts at 6pm. Future dates TBD. 4826 Mission St. at Ocean, 415-586-9730.

Over in the East Bay, LOCAL CAFÉ on Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue is hosting the first in a series of wine-pairing dinners with certified sommelier Ian Burrows. He and chef Colin Etezadi (formerly of Boot and Shoe, Camino, Pizzaiolo) will be hosting a special four-course dinner on Wednesday January 25th at 6:30pm, paired with wines for $72. For reservations, email or call 510-338-3319. 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland.

Work Out Your Palate at These Groovy Tastings and Classes


Yeah, yeah, we all resolved to work out more this year, so how ‘bout working out the ol’ palate with any of these groovy events? The next New Taste Marketplace is the place for local food grooves, and it’s coming up this Saturday January 14th, noon-5pm. Try the vegetarian Chinese puff pastries, sweet and savory, handmade by Blissful Pastries, or the creative hard candies from Confounding Confections in flavors like orange marmalade, chai spice, and tea with lemon. Enjoy live music too throughout the afternoon, including Lauren Strum and Bill Hansel. Don’t forget, this community-minded market is a fundraiser for The Food Pantry. St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, 500 De Haro St. at Mariposa.

Did the mention of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil in the ‘hopper’s holiday guide pique your interest? Find out more when PURCELL MURRAY hosts author Tom Mueller for a tasting, discussion, and book signing—plus Middle Eastern luncheon of mezze with Anissa Helou—on Wednesday January 18th, 11am-1pm. Jane Goldman will moderate the discussion, and Mueller will lead a tasting of extra virgin olive oils from Palestine, Italy, Spain, California, and Australia. $50. Reservations: 415-330-5557. 185 Park Ln. at Valley Dr., Brisbane.

Beer and chocolate pairing—this is gonna be an interesting palate workout. Put aside Tuesday January 31st, 7pm-9pm, for Taste and Savor Chocolate: Palate Development Class from Dandelion Chocolate (you can read about their upcoming Valencia Street project here) and 18 REASONS. Pete Slosberg will talk about the process of making chocolate from bean to bar, then take you through taste comparisons between major brands and local chocolatiers, tasting white, milk, and dark chocolates. Finally, taste Dandelion’s chocolate and end the night with a beer and chocolate pairing. $25 members, $35 general public, purchase tickets online.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Double Duty: Both Two Sisters Bar and Books and Loló Are Getting Liquor Licenses


The bar at Lolo. Photo: ©

Good news for TWO SISTERS BAR AND BOOKS (and their customers!): starting this Friday January 13th, the Hayes Valley boîte is launching a full cocktail program designed by bartender Michael Cecconi. The list will include four takes on the classic Manhattan, sign me up! Please note they are cash only. Open Tue-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am, Sun 11am-10pm. The kitchen is open Tue-Sat 4pm-10pm, and brunch is served Sun 11am-4pm. 579 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-863-3655.

Over in the Mission, the ever-cheerful LOLÓ is in the process of transferring the liquor license from Charanga. The partners have been trying to secure a liquor license for a long time, and are excited to launch their updated gastro-cantina concept this spring or summer. Partner Jorge Martinez tells me the cocktail list is going to be agave-centric, with tequilas, mezcals, and raicilla figuring prominently. In fact, Jorge told me the mezcal they will use is from a distillery that was going to close in Durango, and he offered to buy the production of it to save it. Even more interesting: it’s made from a wild pink agave; sadly the distillery can only provide it in small batches in order to evade confiscation by cartels on delivery runs. Intense. There is also a house raicilla Loló will carry, made on the coast of Jalisco. Both of these spirits are in their two restaurants in Mexico (i latina and Anita li).

One last bit of news: there is a new partner, Juan Carlos Ruelas (opening partner Merdol Erkal sold his share, is now focused on another exciting venture to help fix our country’s school lunch programs). Look for a new menu to be launched in a couple weeks, with even more of a focus on Mexican dishes. It all looks like the start of a very feliz año nuevo for this sweet neighborhood business!

Loló            - 974 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-643-5656

Gold Dust Lounge in Danger of Eviction


The sign for the ladies’ room at the Gold Dust Lounge. Yup, it says “Bustles.” Photo: ©

I was very sorry to hear the GOLD DUST LOUNGE in Union Square is facing eviction. Scoop reports the owner, Tasios Bovis, has been told his lease is cancelled and he is supposed to vacate in the next three months so a Chicago-based clothing company can move in.

Um, hello, this bar has been open since 1906! Wait, someone else says 1905. Anyway, that’s a long-ass time it’s been open. Bovis is appealing to City Hall—stand by for more about what can be done to protest the eviction. I personally love this kooky and historic bar, and all the bleary-eyed times I’ve had there. I really hope we can save it. You can follow @GoldDustLounge on Twitter and Facebook for updates on how to help. 247 Powell St. at Geary, 415-397-1695.

Dive Bar Changes: Murio's Now Open


The new Murio’s. Photo by Brian Smeets for Grub Street.

I received word that MURIO’S TROPHY ROOM reopened with its brand-new look and partnership (owner Roger Howell has brought on a new business partner, Edward Sargent). As mentioned in an earlier piece, the new look from Haleh Cunningham and Bernadette Holmes of Thornbird Styling features tufted caramel-colored banquettes, sexy 70s wallpaper, vintage and mid-century chairs, and newly recovered barstools. It’s very far from its original dive bar look—even the entrance (now with windows!) looks very different. You can peek at a slideshow on Grub Street here. Hours are 11am-2am. 1811 Haight St. at Shrader.

Another Bar for Your Radar in Oakland: The New Easy


Photo by Jeff Steinmetz/

Oakland is bizzzeee with the bar openings (and in this case, refreshers)! I just got word about another one to add to the list, THE NEW EASY, which used to be Easy Lounge in the Grand Lake district. The owners decided to change things up after five years, and have launched a new cocktail program featuring fresh and local ingredients, handmade soda syrups, bitters, infusions, seasonal fresh juices, and herbs, along with a new food offering (sausages with housemade sauerkrauts and chutneys, grilled cheese, a fondue made with local spirits, and a root beer float using chocolate stout). On the cocktail menu, there’s the Apple Hill Bubbly, with bonded apple brandy, rosemary-infused honey, and lemon topped with hard apple cider, and the Gator Tooth, with moonshine, absinthe, pear nectar, and tarragon. New hires include Summer-Jane Bell (who has been brought in as a partner). 3255 Lakeshore Ave. at Lake Park, Oakland, 510-338-4911.

Sommelier News: New Hire at COI; Mauro Cirilli Leaves Perbacco/Barbacco


Hooray for bubbles! Photo: ©

COI has hired a new sommelier to replace Andrew Mosblech, who left last year. His name is Roland Micu, and he is currently the wine director for La Toque in Napa. He is going to start on January 31st, after COI’s January break the week of January 23rd, when Daniel Patterson is going to Paris for Paris Des Chefs (his duo presentation is with Blixa Bargeld!) and he is then presenting at Madrid Fusion. Globetrotter. COI also has a new GM, Michael Cima, who was AGM at The Village Pub in Woodside.

I heard through the grapevine (har!) that PERBACCO and BARBACCO wine director Mauro Cirilli was leaving his position. Inside Scoop shares that “He’s opted to move in a new direction, leading seminars and events for the North American Sommelier Association. He also plans to do more restaurant wine consulting and is working on a new website ‘dedicated to job sourcing specifically for the San Francisco Bay Area food and beverage industry.’”

COI            - 373 Broadway San Francisco - 415-393-9000

Get ZAPped: the 21st Annual ZAP Festival is January 26th-28th


ZAP photo by Wayde Carroll.

The ZINFANDEL ADVOCATES & PRODUCERS FESTIVAL, aka ZAP, is back for the 21st time with a new venue for two events, The Concourse at 8th and Brannan Streets. Thursday January 26th is Epicuria at The Concourse (food and zinfandel pairing), Friday January 27th is the Winemakers’ Dinner at The Westin St. Francis, and Saturday January 28th is the Grand Tasting, also at The Concourse.

On January 26th from 6pm-9pm at The Concourse, 50 zinfandel vintners and 50 Bay Area chefs and restaurateurs will collaborate on food-wine pairings at Epicuria: Food & Zinfandel Pairings. Teams include Klinker Brick Winery with Fifth Floor, Peachy Canyon Winery with Swan Oyster Depot, Mazzocco Winery with Radio Africa Kitchen, and Carol Shelton Wines with Picán, and many more. Plus there’s the ZinKitchen, where chefs demo their dishes and explain why they pair well with zin. Expect to see chef Mark Dommen and sommelier Tonya Pitts from One Market, chef David Taylor and sommelier Shelley Lindgren from A16, and chef Michael Thiemann and sommelier Ken Wagstaff from Wayfare Tavern. $95 ZAP members, $125 non-members. 635 8th St. at Brannan.

Friday January 27th, experience a Vegas-style Winemakers’ Dinner hosted by the winemakers from 5pm-10pm at The Westin St. Francis. Dress to impress, and for good luck at the live and silent auctions, featuring rare and one-of-a-kind lifestyle lots, with proceeds benefiting ZAP programming, education, and Heritage Projects. Participating wineries include Alderbrook Winery, Ancient Peaks Winery, Artezin Wines, Robert Biale Vineyards, Charter Oak Winery, D-Cubed Cellars, Dogwood Cellars, Four Vines Winery, Grey Wolf Vineyards & Cellars, Hendry Wines, JR Wines, Lange Twins Winery & Vineyards, Mauritson Family Winery, McCay Cellars, Peachy Canyon Winery, Ravenswood, Ridge Vineyards, Rock Wall Wine Company, Rosenblum Cellars, Saddleback Cellars, Scott Harvey Wines, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Carol Shelton Wines, St. Francis Winery & Vineyard, Starry Night Winery, Terra d’Oro, Three Wine Company, Trentadue Winery and Wilson Winery & Vineyards. Get your tickets soon, it’s almost sold out; $225, including an annual advocate membership for two. 335 Powell St. at Geary.

Finally, put it all together on Saturday January 28th for the Grand Tasting: From A To Zin, 2pm-5pm at The Concourse. Taste hundreds of barrel samples and new releases, and meet winemakers from different zinfandel regions—it’s the most comprehensive showing of zinfandel wineries in the world. Members enter at 1pm, and enjoy a complimentary members-only lounge with seminars throughout the day. $49 ZAP members, $59 non-members, $69 at the door.

               Thursday Jan 26, 2012 – Saturday Jan 28, 2012 more info

the socialite

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

Good Food Awards and Marketplace: This Weekend!


Michael Pollan and Alice Waters at the Good Food Awards blind tasting; photo from Flickr.

Event Info

Friday Jan 13, 2012 – Saturday Jan 14, 2012 Info/tickets                        San Francisco Ferry Building

Once again, the Good Food Awards are celebrating all that is good in food, recognizing not just the well-crafted and delicious, but also the sustainable and responsibly produced. You can join the GOOD FOOD AWARDS GALA RECEPTION at 8pm this Friday January 13th, or if you don’t have the hundred bucks to spare, join the crowd at the GOOD FOOD AWARDS MARKETPLACE on Saturday January 14th, 8am-2pm, for a chance to taste the award-winning products from all over the country. You definitely don’t wanna miss the Beer & Spirits Garden at the Marketplace, 11am-2pm.

At the Gala Reception Friday night in the Ferry Building, hob-nob alongside all the chefs, media, 99 award winners, and 130 judges—including Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl—and taste the winning foods, both in regional tasting plates and in bites crafted by the local chefs of Boxing Room, Foreign Cinema, Absinthe, Bar Agricole, Wise Sons, and more. Plus there’ll be an open bar with the 15 winning brews and the creations of the Bon Vivants, using the winning spirits of course. Tickets are $100; black tie optional, so keep it klassy, my peeps.

You can go more caz with your bedhead at the Good Food Awards Marketplace Saturday morning under the front arcades of the Ferry Building. Consider getting the $15 early-access tickets to get in at 8am and get first dibs on all the tasting; otherwise, $5 at the door at 9am. Taste and take home products by award-winners from other parts of the country, products you don’t normally see here, like Colorado cheese and Ohio pickles.

At 11am, head upstairs in the Ferry Building for the Beer & Spirits Garden to sample 15 of the winning beer and spirits poured by the brewers and distillers themselves—again, a chance to taste locally-made products from other parts. Taste spirits served alone and in mixed in signature cocktails. For a clue as to who’ll be featured, take a look at the GFA finalists here. Tickets are $12 and include five tastes and entry to the GFA Marketplace.

Don’t plan on rolling out of bed early enough Saturday morning? Look for the Good Foods Awards online market at Gilt Taste starting January 13th.

Attend the Wine and Wishes Event to Support the Make-A-Wish Foundation


 Event Info

Saturday Feb  4, 2012 5pm Gourmet Tasting, 7:30pm Winemaker Dinner $150 Gourmet Tasting; $350+ Winemaker Dinner Info/tickets                        City View, Metreon 101 4th St. at Mission, 4th Fl., San Francisco 415-982-9474

Nothing like a good cause to justify a night of eating and drinking. The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation is hosting their 11th annual WINE AND WISHES event on Saturday February 4th at City View at Metreon, and tablehopper readers get a 10% discount off the Gourmet Food & Wine Tasting portion (5pm), which will be followed by the four-course Winemaker Dinner (7:30pm) prepared by nine celebrated Bay Area chefs.

Over 60 restaurants and wineries are participating in the Gourmet Tasting this year. Lots of restaurants you’re sure to recognize: Barbacco, EPIC Roasthouse, Farallon (oyster bar!), Luce, Millennium, Oola, Ozumo, the girl & the fig, The Slanted Door, TRACE, Twenty Five Lusk, Wayfare Tavern, and more. Plus even more purveyors of wine and drink: Merry Edwards Winery, Testarossa Winery, Williams Selyem, Speakeasy, and a specialty cocktail from HAAMONII Shochu, just to name a few. Don’t forget to check out the silent auction during the Gourmet Tasting.

For the Winemaker Dinner, Roland Passot of La Folie will head up a team Bay Area chefs, including Mark Dommen, One Market; Gerald Hirigoyen, Piperade; Matt Masera, Wayfare Tavern; Peter McNee, Poggio; Xavier Salomon, Navio at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay; Arnold Eric Wong, E&O Trading Co.; and Hoss Zaré, Zaré at Fly Trap. Each of the four courses will be paired with select wines from local sommeliers, like Eugenio Jardim, Jardinière, and Shelley Lindgren, A16 and SPQR. Live auction action here too: look for wine, culinary, and travel lots.

tablehopper readers get a 10% discount off the Gourmet Tasting tickets (regularly $150) using the code “wish4” online. Winemaker Dinner tickets start at $350 and include the Gourmet Tasting. The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation grants over 300 wishes per year to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

Livin' Large in Low Season


Bistro Jeanty’s all-weather, ultra-Fronsh terrace and rainbow of crudités; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.


Brix’s dreamy cauliflower gratin with garlic breadcrumbs and Parmesan cream; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Don’t be disheartened by rampant seasonal closures, because January is actually the best time to eat your way through the wine country’s best, at a fraction of the usual cost. This month kicks off Yountville’s third annual MOVEABLE FEAST, a delectable discounted romp through the (Michelin) star-studded town that continues through Wednesday February 29th. This year’s special offerings include such tasty and romantic options as couples’ lunch and dinner prix fixes at Bistro Jeanty ($55 for lunch, $70 for dinner—for both of you), complimentary wine and international chocolate tastings at Cosentino Winery, and complimentary cheese and charcuterie plates at Girard and Somerston wineries (with 48 hours’ advance notice to the wineries, please).

This year’s Feast also rounded up some seriously rockin’ hotel deals in Y-ville’s swankiest spots, so you won’t have to drive home after dinner. Check out Hotel Yountville’s deluxe king room, gastronomic breakfast for two in the guests-only Hopper Creek Kitchen (now led by Sean O’Toole, formerly of the Quince/Cotogna world as well as Bardessono), access to the hotel’s enormous new spa and its 25+ winery partners, plus a bottle of sparkling wine for only $229 (Sunday through Thursdays only). For even more eco-luxe action, Bardessono is offering up a fantasy king spa suite plus a three-course dinner for two (at its newly rechristened Lucy restaurant and bar) plus a free tasting at Hill Family Estate for $429. These two are just the tip of the hotel deal iceberg, so check out all the details on the event website, remembering that these deals are always subject to availability, and certain blackout periods and restrictions may apply.

January 2012 is also NAPA VALLEY RESTAURANT MONTH—a county-wide coordination of dining perks and deals from Napa to Calistoga and everywhere in between. Free bubbly at Angèle Restaurant (just mention Restaurant Month), $20.12 prix-fixe menus at Auberge du Soleil, and hot dining/hotel packages at the stunning AVIA Hotel are just the beginning of the alphabetical listings. There are also several spots (Fish Story, and FARM on Wednesday nights) discounting their entire wine lists by 50%, offering a seriously worthwhile opportunity to expand your palate and try those bottles you’ve always wondered about. All the participating businesses and the fine print of their various discounts are posted at the event website.

Also: on top of all the other event-specific discounts, BRIX is touting an extra special wintertime lunch deal—two courses and a glass of vino for $19, available weekdays through the end of February. Chef Chris Jones took over the stoves at Brix last summer after a stint as the executive chef for ESTATE and the girl & the fig in Sonoma, and he’s brought a new wine country sensibility to the menus. Scope out the daily changing lunch prix fixes here to coordinate your visit with just the right wintry meal.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)

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the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Jake Gyllenhaal: Ramen Eater

A bunch of tweets flowed in on Saturday, spotting a bearded and sunglassed Jake Gyllenhaal at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. @foodiehunter shares that he ended up stopping at Hapa Ramen; further digging reveals he ordered a miso market bowl with an egg. (I’m trying to work a fertilization joke in there somewhere, but I’m just going to let it be.)

John Waters Spotted at Rebel

Last Thursday night, @sneakysbbq tweeted that John Waters was at the bar at Rebel on Market Street, but not eating barbecue. Alas.

Would You Care for a Chalice, Sir?

A tablehopper spotter saw Peter Dinklage, who plays a primary role in HBO’s Game of Thrones (as Tyrion Lannister) having a glass of wine with an unidentified female at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant yesterday.

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