This week's tablehopper: pebbles and bamm-bamm.
The glowing bar at Restaurant 1833. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Why hello there. It’s a minor miracle that the tablehopper newsletter is even in your inbox today. Between being away at Pebble Beach Food & Wine for four days, taxes, a mountain of writing deadlines, and just as many emails to answer, I am churning pretty hard right now. So is my poor MacBook Pro—I don’t think it can keep up with me. Time for mama to go shopping.
Had such a blast in Pebble Beach, you can read all about it here (and here’s a link to my photo album—really, you don’t want to look if you’re hungry). Thursday night I took a jaunt away from the festivities and unwound in a big tufted booth upstairs on the balcony at Restaurant 1833 in Monterey. The vintage ambiance of this grand adobe is unique and pretty dang enchanting, along with the barrel-aged Negronis (great cocktails at this place), savory biscuits, tender octopus, and a juicy grilled pork chop. (I’ll need to return for the tableside absinthe service.) And I owe a big thanks to my family’s friend Charlene, who always puts me up in her spare bedroom in Carmel, which is literally a 10-minute drive to The Inn at Spanish Bay.
Hey, have you bought your ticket for the upcoming tablehopper Languedoc wine event with Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina? Tickets are just $35—and there are only eight tickets left! Let’s drink delicious wine and eat French dogs at Café des Amis. Hop to it.
Oh, and today on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about the Irish breakfast sandwich at the Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen—it’s a doozy of a sandwich.
Okay, I gotta bounce. Ciao!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Feasting, Drinking, and Shenanigans at Pebble Beach Food & Wine
This year’s PEBBLE BEACH FOOD & WINE was yet another one for the books: the amount of talent that descends onto the property is staggering. As a media guest, I feel very honored to get the access that I do—a huge thanks to the Coastal Luxury Management team for so graciously taking care of so many people, and for continuing to put on such a memorable (and fun) event.
I posted my photo album from my three days at Pebble Beach here, so you can take a look at what Daniel Boulud was serving at the opening reception (one of my favorite events, was sorry I could only stay for an hour before my dinner reservation at 1833!), what was on the menu at the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner, what was being served at the Grand Tasting on Saturday, and who was in the kitchen at the Italian Love Affair dinner.
Some highlights of the event:
At the Lexus Opening Night Reception, Michael Symon was looking really fit (and showing off his guns), the charisma and joie de vivre that emanates from Daniel Boulud is enough to power a medium-sized country, and Michael Chiarello is making some tasty ‘nduja over at Bottega (I wonder when a Cooking with Blood cookbook will come out?). I also got a taste of the just-released 2003 Dom Perignon before flouncing out the door—purr purr.
The Wines of Gaja tasting was extraordinary—it was such a pleasure to hear the personal story of the wines and the family by none other than the elegant and very passionate Gaia Gaja. (Tasting the family’s 1978 Barbaresco was something I won’t forget.)
I can’t believe I got to attend the Tribute to a Legend: Thomas Keller dinner—the dishes and wines at the dinner were fabulous (um, yeah, like they weren’t going to be). I cracked up with some of the Texans at my table, who needed me to explain what squab was. At the end of the dinner, the tallest of the Texans said, “Marcia, I wish you could be with us all weekend. We need you when we go out to fancy places so you can tell us everything we’re eating.” Adorable.
At the dinner, the joking between Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller over Bouchon was hilarious. Daniel was giving Keller a hard time for beating him to the name (Daniel is from Lyon, famous for bouchons), while Keller retorted in his speech: “Bouchon is mine. Get over it.” Cue uproarious laughter.
I also laughed over the fact that Daniel Boulud unwittingly swiped my glass of 1988 Domaine Dujac Clos de la Roche. I was absolutely, wildly in love with that wine and asked our table’s sommelier if she could possibly find anymore in the back (it was popular that night). She managed to scare up enough for two more glasses for our table, but when she turned around, Daniel had nabbed one of them, so she had to split the last glass between me and another guest. Even funnier: she snapped a pic of my pilfered glass of wine and sent it to me. If there’s anyone I’m willing to lose a glass of wine to, it’s Daniel.
Although nothing can top the moment when I was sitting at the table, talking with my fellow guests, and there was suddenly a hand on my shoulder. I look up, and it’s Thomas Keller, making the rounds to each and every table, warmly thanking everyone for attending the dinner. Pure class, all the way, all the time.
You should watch this tribute video to Thomas Keller (h/t to Scoop). (Good, now I can erase the mega file I had on my camera recording it.)
I highly recommend starting the day with a cheese class from Laura Werlin. We were spoiled with cheeses, wine, grilled cheese, and mac and cheese. Healed!
An Italian Love Affair had a reception that was the stuff of my dreams (hello, famous uni and lardo crostini from Michael White of Marea that no one was really eating—except yours truly).
Thanks to The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for throwing quite the Saturday happy hour on the patio at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Bubbles and caviar and oysters and friends? Really, it’s all you need.
Ladies, what is up with all the sky-high heels that you can’t walk in? Women were stumbling around the after parties and the tasting tents like the walking wounded. If you can’t walk the sky-high walk, then just don’t do it. Not fresh.
I also heard someone threw a drink at Guy Fieri at one of the after parties, and was quickly escorted out by his bouncers and security. This is totally unconfirmed, but really, dude, don’t throw drinks at people with bouncers. Dummy.
A fellow diner at one of the dinners observed none of the tables ever had salt, bread, or butter, and no coffee service, either. (Psssst, all you have to do is ask—although I do agree about the salt, just have some on the table.)
Was happy to meet the winner of the two Magnum packages that were given away on tablehopper—was also happy to learn she brought her sister! Good girl.
You can’t find a more glorious setting than Pebble Beach: the views, the fresh air, the sunsets, the ocean. Stunning.
And now, please excuse me while I try to exercise some of this debauchery off me.
Gioia Pizzeria Opens Today on Polk Street
Opening today, Tuesday April 17th, is GIOIA PIZZERIA, the first San Francisco location of the Berkeley favorite from husband-and-wife team Will and Karen Gioia. The 50-seat location moved into two former storefronts that were combined into one space on Polk Street. The 1,800-square-foot restaurant is larger than the Berkeley location, featuring a semi-industrial look with warm finishes, like reclaimed wood and wainscoting, along with subway tile and concrete floors.
Unlike the Berkeley location, which just has one pizza size, there will be two pizza sizes here: 14-inch and 18-inch pizzas (but the pizzas will be the same). The menu is expanded, with appetizers like salads (including a Caesar salad, and one with asparagus, farm egg, pancetta, brown butter, capers, and Parmigiano), plus two-three pastas (like radiatore with guinea hen ragu, peas) and entrées (including skirt steak with broccoli di ciccio, pickled spring onions, bagna cauda, and fried smashed potatoes).
Lunchtime means there’s a Philly roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone, a chicken parm, and an Italian “muffaletta” hero with mortadella, salami, shredded lettuce, and olive-caper-Calabrian chile relish. Desserts include cannoli, zeppole, cookies, and fruit tarts. Check out the menu here. The wine list is all-Italian, with six reds and whites each, plus four-six draft beers (which will be local, craft beers). Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-10pm, open until 11pm Fri-Sat. 2240 Polk St. at Green, 415-359-0971.
Gioia Pizzeria - 2240 Polk St. San Francisco - 415-359-0971
Marbella Opens Wednesday for Dinner
Another opening on Polk Street: the new incarnation in the former Rex Cafe space, MARBELLA officially opens for dinner on Wednesday April 18th. As previously mentioned in tablehopper, the Spanish-inspired restaurant is serving tapas by chef Nelson German, and features a new cocktail program (think hand-crafted drinks made with fresh juices), plus a primarily Spanish wine list. The refreshed interior features wallpaper, chandeliers, and a communal table. UrbanDaddy has both the weekend brunch and dinner menus here. 2323 Polk St. at Union, 415-441-2244.
Quick Updates on Openings Around Town
I noticed a tweet late last night announcing that Ethiopian restaurant MOYA is reopening as of 9am today. They moved to 121 9th Street (at Minna) after a fire forced the closure of their previous location. You can get breakfast, lunch, or dinner—more details on Eater.
A couple new juice bars are opening up around town. Refinery 29 mentions JUICE TO YOU, a kiosk in Cow Hollow serving fresh, organic juices. Open Mon, Wed-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. 1994 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-834-5161.
Coming to the Mission is CORAZON JUICEBAR, a Mexican-style juice bar by Socorro and Cesar Ramirez, a mother and son duo. There will be juices, smoothies, Mexican shaved ice (raspados) made with all-natural and organic ingredients, plus kombucha made with tamarindo, and other menu items like sandwiches and desserts. K9 Design & Build is behind the space, featuring Victorian-style copper panels, and tables made from antique doors. Corazon is looking at a mid-May opening. Hours will be Mon-Sat 9am-6pm. 3275 22nd St. at Valencia.
A third location of PERILLA is opening in the former Pho Clement 2 location, according to Eater. Look for pho, buns, rice plates, and more. Owner Tin Truong is reportedly also behind PPQ Beef Noodle House Restaurant, PPQ Dungeness Island, and Toasties. 5423 Geary Ave. at 18th Ave.
Carnelian By the Bay Replaced By One Ferry Plaza
A tablehopper reader let me know the CARNELIAN BY THE BAY, which is in that bizzare-o 1970s building behind the Ferry Building Marketplace (next to Sinbad’s, another time warp location), is now called ONE FERRY PLAZA, serving dim sum daily.
Reports on Yelp mention authentic tea service, har gow, and more, but there also seems to be a fusion-y “tapas” menu as well, with items that look like something you’d find at a convention hotel reception (think chicken lollipops, Peking duck handrolls, and I quote, “Norwegian Smoked Salmon-Crème Franchise”). At night, it appears to be all about banquet dinners and private events. And then there’s that view. Valet parking for $10. Curious to hear more reports from the field about this one…. Open daily 11am-4pm. 1 Ferry Plz. at Embarcadero and Market, 415-878-6111.
New Service at Local's Corner, Claudine, Sweet Woodruff; No More Brunch at State Bird Provisions
Some restaurants have added hours to their regular schedules: right on time, LOCAL’S CORNER starts dinner service tonight, Tuesday April 17th. You can check out the menu here. Served Tue-Sat 6pm-10pm. (Good looking site, guys!)
CLAUDINE in the Financial District is now serving Saturday dinner from 5:30pm-10pm (dinner is already served Mon-Fri). Lunch will continue Mon-Fri 11:30am-4:30pm.
And Eater notes SWEET WOODRUFF has started weekend brunch service from 10:30am-2:30pm. See the menu here.
Lastly, STATE BIRD PROVISIONS has decided to discontinue Sunday brunch service after trying it out for four weeks. Chef-owner Stuart Brioza said it was a good exercise, and mentioned they may revisit it at a later time, but for now, they are going to be closed on Sundays. He also said to stand by for some upcoming Sunday activities in June—I’ll keep you posted.
State Bird Provisions - 1529 Fillmore St. San Francisco - 415-795-1272
Closures (Bushi-Tei, Ozone), Floods (Saison), and Potential Sales (Café Gratitude)
I am sorry to hear about the impending closure of the very kind “Tak” Matsuba’s BUSHI-TEI at the end of the month—he has reportedly sold the restaurant to an unnamed buyer. Eater posted his note announcing the upcoming closure. Best wishes to him and the staff.
A friend let me know the location of OZONE THAI on Polk Street has closed. I am waiting to hear back from the new owner about his plans for the space, stand by. 1160 Polk St. at Sutter, 415-440-9663.
Over in the Mission, you can read on Eater about the terrible flooding that temporarily closed SAISON and HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE after those nasty storms last week. Good news: Saison reopens tonight.
Not too far away, according to Grub Street , CAFÉ GRATITUDE: SAN FRANCISCO is on the market. Stand by for details on whether it gets sold or not—for now, it remains open.
Some special sandwiches for my fellow sandwich lovers: on Friday April 20th, PAL’S TAKEAWAY is celebrating their third anniversary, and will have some enticing creations. Carlo Espinas from Comstock Saloon will be doing his rabbit pâté banh mi, and the coffee-rubbed and smoked pulled pork with special barbecue sauce and slaw will be on the menu as well. Bread man Josey Baker will be making a special bread for Pal’s Aleppo-roasted turkey and cauliflower sandwich, featuring a Meyer lemon mostarda from Hapa Ramen. And Kat Zacher (Broken Record) will be doing her chocolate-covered caramel matzoh “crack.” More good news: starting Saturday May 5th, Pal’s will be open on Saturdays with an expanded menu.
As previously mentioned on tablehopper, 1058HOAGIE from Deli Board is launching. Starting this evening, April 17th, and tomorrow, April 18th, you can get hoagies via bike delivery or takeout from 5pm-9pm. Take a look at the website for the menu and more details.
And according to the Inside Scoop, SHOW DOGS on Market is expanding into a space next door, opening a coffee shop featuring coffee from Four Barrel and a deli (the working name is Machine Coffee). Charcutier Peter Temkin is behind the deli sandwiches, which will feature his own take on pastrami and more. Stand by for details in coming weeks.
Show Dogs - 1020 Market St. San Francisco - 415-558-9560
Make a Dinner Out of Dessert
Perhaps some of the city’s most showstopping desserts are at ATELIER CRENN, and now you can stop by for a six-course dessert tasting menu from chef pâtissier Juan Contreras. The $55 menu also has a dessert wine pairing option ($30). You can check out a video of his new Aubergine Fumée dessert here.
Atelier Crenn - 3127 Fillmore St. San Francisco - 415-440-0460
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Annual Three-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy (April 19th-21st)
Don’t miss the Annual Three-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures, featuring our lowest prices of the year on restaurant equipment and supplies.
Live cooking demonstrations, giveaways, free valet parking, and thousands of items on sale at ridiculously low prices. Save big on commercial refrigeration and cooking equipment, cookware, china, glassware, shelving, cutlery, sinks, worktables, ice machines, food storage, steam table pans, and more. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer your questions.
Thursday April 19th through Saturday April 21st, 8am-5:30pm daily. More information at TriMarkEconomy.com.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Booze News: Big Opens and Two Benefit Nights
A very charming-looking bar called BIG is now open, according to Grub Street and SFoodie. Ironically, the bar is very small, holding up to 25 guests. But it also means barman Brian Felley is going to take very customized care of you, based on your beverage likes and proclivities. Cocktails are reportedly going to run $15, but will feature very primo ingredients. Take a peek at Grub Street’s slideshow, it looks very cool. Open Thu-Sat 6pm-2am. 761 Post St. at Leavenworth.
This Thursday April 19th, Sarah Sung of UrbanDaddy is guest bartending at JARDINIÈRE. She will be serving the rye-based Monte Carlo, and tequila-based Monte Carlos for $9 each (you can also get pork belly sliders for $9). All proceeds from the Monte Carlo/Carlos will go to support California Coastkeeper Alliance. 6pm-8pm.
And lastly, swing by TONIC this Thursday April 19th, and folks from the Central YMCA will be making cocktails for happy hour. All tips will go to help the YMCA provide programming and services for youth and seniors in and around the TL. 6pm-9pm. 2360 Polk St. at Union.
Did You Know...?
I’ve got some specials and info for ya, which should come in handy considering tax time has taken away a lot of surplus funds for folks this week. Let’s start with CREDO in the Financial District, which is offering happy hour specials throughout the week (2:30pm-6:30pm), through Friday April 20th. You can also get a pizza for $0.99 (or it might be $1—depends on whether you’re a 99-percenter or not) if you purchase any glass of wine or cocktail at regular price.
RN74 is celebrating its third birthday from April 22nd-28th. Swing by for specials like $3 takeaway treats (peanut butter mousse, vanilla bean panna cotta, French cookies), and $3 selected drinks from the happy hour menu all night.
Did you know BLACKBIRD in the Castro has been expanding their wine-by-the-glass program, offering 10 wines by the glass? There’s now a special wine flight called Blackbird Takes Flight, with three 2-oz. pours of artisanal wine and a full wine-based cocktail for $15.
Lastly, ANDALU is launching Mac and Cheese Mondays, with $2 crispy mac and cheese, $3 Trumers, and $4 Fernet all night long (5:30pm-10pm).
Andalu - 3198 16th St. San Francisco - 415-621-2211
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
April 21st Is All About Getting Back to Nature
Saturday Apr 21, 2012
Given that it’s the day before Earth Day, Saturday April 21st is a perfect day for some family-friendly back-to-nature events, and there’s quite a few to choose from. Check ‘em out.
Meet some adorable baby goats at the fourth annual GOAT FESTIVAL on Saturday April 21st, 10am-1pm, at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Good news: this event is free and open to the public. More good news: there’ll be chef demos starting at 11am with Trace Leighton and Daniel Clayton of Origen in Berkeley, then at noon with Adam Dulye of The Monk’s Kettle, or you can chat with NorCal goat entrepreneurs at the 10am “Goat Gab.”
Some more good news: free samples for all! There’ll be gourmet goat products like yogurts, kefirs, caramels, fudge, chocolates, and ice creams from local producers like Redwood Hill Farm, Cypress Grove Chevre, Laloo’s Goat Milk Ice Cream, Happy Goat Caramel, and Kidding Around with Chocolate, and even goat’s milk face creams, lotions, and soaps. Plus go home with a goat cheese guide and samples from farmers’ market regulars Achadinha Cheese Company, Andante Dairy, and Bodega and Yerba Santa Goat Cheese. The baby goats will be coming in from Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol—keep up with the goats on their blog here. One Ferry Building at Embarcadero and Market.
Across the Bay Bridge, ROCKRIDGE MARKET HALL is hosting Closer to Home from 11am-4pm in recognition of backyard farms and local food artisans. Pick up some home cooking tips at demos on making fresh mozzarella with Fiscalini Farms, preparing lemon curd and preserving lemons with Market Hall Bakery Chef and Director Neucimar Dias da Silva, and chicken and rabbit butchery with Marin Sun Farms Butcher Shop. Look for the honey harvesting demo from 1pm-2pm with urban farmers Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal, followed by a panel discussion and signing their new book The Essential Urban Farmer. Plus enjoy food tastings from local purveyors including Emmi’s Pickles, Pollen Ranch, McEvoy Ranch EVOO, and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese. And more goats! There will a goat petting zoo from Havenscourt Homestead. Free to attend; pay for purchases. 5655 College Ave. at Shafter, Oakland, 510-250-6011.
Or head out beyond the Bay Area on April 21st and join the CAPAY VALLEY OLIVE OIL EXPERIENCE with the Capay Valley Farm Shop collaborative. The tour starts at 10am at Grumpy Goats Farm, where you’ll explore olive groves with Pamela Marvel, then learn how to press extra virgin olive oil with Joe Muller at the Séka Hills Olive Mill, and have an optional picnic lunch at 1pm in the gardens of Capay Oaks Farm. Finish with a tasting comparing varietals grown in the Capay Valley. Be sure to take some olive oil home with you. Directions and details will be emailed the week of the event; itinerary subject to change. More info online.
Dining Out for Life Is Thursday April 26th
Thursday Apr 26, 2012 Info
If you know you’re gonna eat out anyway, or you just need a little extra excuse to eat out, consider patronizing any one of the 100+ restaurants participating in this year’s DINING OUT FOR LIFE fundraising event on Thursday April 26th, when each restaurant donates 25% of gross sales to support the San Francisco AIDS Foundation’s HIV prevention and care services.
With so many participants, we can’t list them all, but here’s a few that should kindle your interest: barbacco, Destino, Dosa (on Fillmore and Valencia), Farina, Firefly, Foreign Cinema, Grand Café, Hog & Rocks, Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen, Luce, Maverick, Mission Beach Cafe, Radius, Sauce, South Park Café, Starbelly, Tres, and the list goes on…. Up north, head to Sol Food; to the East, Picán; and dining with vegans, Millennium.
There’s really something for everyone, so get out there and eat. You have my permission and full support.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Meow Alert: Jared Leto Spotted at the Fifth Floor
Cutie pie Jared Leto had breakfast at the Fifth Floor last week. My spotter says, “Nearby diners said he was very polite, and looked casual (but good!) in his jeans, shirt, and jacket. He had a beanie on, but took it off when he sat down. Looked like he was with a few folks (perhaps a business meeting over breakfast?) And for those that are curious….he had chamomile tea, scrambled eggs, and granola.”
Becks and Posh Hit the 707 Again, with Gordon Ramsay in Tow
Sometimes as soon as tablehopper hits on Tuesdays, you fine folks are reminded of seeing stars out and about and hit me up with your sightings, like this one: “On Easter Sunday, Victoria Beckham and David Beckham, their four kids, along with Gordon Ramsay and his wife and kids enjoyed brunch at Solbar at Solage in Calistoga. Quite a sight!”
The trio were also spotted at Oenotri in Napa, according to the Napa Valley Register (hat tip to Eater).
Vince Vaughn, Also Spotted in the 707
Thanks to a couple tablehopper readers, who sent in Vince Vaughn sightings from over the weekend to me. One said he was “having lunch with three others a few tables over from me at Redd today. Seemed like a pretty laid back lunch….until after they finished. They had to quickly duck into their Suburban limo when a group of desperate housewives (who looked very LA—or at least very Blackhawk—themselves) seated at the table next to them tried to rather gawkishly snap cell phone pics. One even got up from the table and ran outside after Mr. Vaughn, who then had to make a quick getaway. So much for bucolic Napa Valley, I guess!” Hilarious.
Another said, “Saw Vince Vaughn today (looking good! Has been working out…) at Opus One with a cute blonde.”