Maccheroni larghi alla pecorara (wide noodles with ricotta and tomato sauce) from the Cooking with Rosetta class. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
In more upbeat news, congrats to all the chefs, but especially the California chefs, whose restaurants were named in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards yesterday: Manresa and The French Laundry, plus COI and Chez Panisse in the top 100. Some other local chefs were not included who probably should have been, ahem, but no one ever fully agrees with lists (well, except the person making them). Anyway, congrats to all.
I had such a banner weekend, starting with a fab Cooking with Rosetta class on Friday night about Calabrian pastas (pics here). I always love having Rosetta Costantino’s mother around in these classes—reminds me of the ladies on my dad’s side of the family, quick to tap your hand if you’re making something incorrectly. I highly recommend Rosetta’s classes—there’s a pizza-making class on May 4th that has a couple spots open!
Saturday afternoon (what a gorgeous day) was the tablehopper tasting of Languedoc wines—we had a full house in the private dining room of Café des Amis, and Josiah Baldivino taught a great class. Thanks to everyone—based on the smiles, it seems we all had a swell time. Check out the pics here. FYI for those who attended (or those who couldn’t!), you can taste more Languedoc wines tomorrow evening at William Cross Wine Merchants, and at special nights at MICHAEL MINA on May 7th and RN74 on May 14th.
A few pieces of media for you: today on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I highlight the exquisite handmade pastas at SPQR (yes, pasta is on my mind). And the fine folks at The Daily Meal interviewed me about where visitors to SF should go—some spots got cut in the heavily edited piece, but here it is.
Catch you later!
(Pssst, Marcia rhymes with Garcia)
As mentioned in tablehopper a while back, COMAL is opening in Berkeley on Friday May 4th, just in time for Cinco de Mayo. Owner John Paluska, formerly manager for the band Phish, and chef Matt Gandin, previously chef de cuisine at Delfina, are focusing on handcrafted regional Mexican cuisine in their new downtown digs. The Bon Vivants are charged with the bar program.
The menu will present modern interpretations of traditional dishes from regions like Oaxaca and its coastal neighbors—often as small and medium plates to share and explore—with many items cooked on a wood-fired hearth or custom comal (a comal is a flat, cast iron or earthenware griddle) in the open kitchen. Expect “exceptional masa” and local, seasonal ingredients. I would also expect chef Gandin’s lifelong interest in Latin American culture and cooking and time spent in Michoacán to shine through. Eater mentions: “masa-based items that will be cooked on the comal, along with more familiar quesadillas, enchiladas and tacos,” “small plates ($7-15) including seafood crudos, albondigas, and … grilled artichoke with ancho and epazote buerre blanc,” and “sharable meats … such as a whole roasted chicken and whole grilled fish.” The kitchen and bar were designed by Alec Bauer.
The bar program springs from The Bon Vivants, Scott Baird and Josh Harris. The focused cocktail list will feature a curated collection of tequilas and mezcals. Seasonal sangritas will also be available: at the last SF Chefs, I had two shots of tequila at their table, just so I could follow up with their sangrita! Operating Partner and GM Andrew Hoffman (previously at Chow, Eccolo) will oversee the wine and beer offerings, which will include an Arnot Roberts 2011 Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc and an exclusive grenache from Wind Gap, both on tap.
Abueg Morris (Nopalito, Roam, Prather Ranch) is responsible for the project’s architecture and earthy, modern design. The one-story 1920s building still has its original Douglas fir beams and flooring, but has a new façade from Trachtenberg Architects featuring COR-TEN steel, and custom steel doors and windows by Ferrous Studios. The 3,000-square-foot interior and 2,500-square-foot patio will make room for 140 guests and two bars, one in, one out. Though it won’t be open right away, the patio-bar-combo (landscape design by Garden Architecture) will be partially covered to make outdoor dining possible all year. Berkeleyside has more details and photos here.
Dinner nightly starting at 5:30pm, with weekend brunch in a few months. 2020 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley.
Comal - 2020 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley - 510-926-6300
Last week I was invited to a media preview dinner at COPITA, the new Mexican restaurant in Sausalito from culinary personality Joanne Weir, who partnered with restaurateur Larry Mindel (Il Fornaio, Poggio) on the project. The chef de cuisine is Edgar Sierra, a native of Mexico, who will be working closely with maestra de cocina Joanne, as well as sous chef and organic gardener Dilsa Lugo, a La Cocina alum. The California-influenced menu highlights spit-roasted chicken cooked in a wood-burning rotisserie, all-organic masa made with non-GMO corn, carnitas, and an array of ceviches, tacos, and more (my dining partner and I enjoyed the chopped salad with pepitas and the spicy albondigas). There’s also a list of tequila cocktails, sangrias, wines on tap, beers, and aguas frescas. (Weir is a huge lover of tequila, and author of Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites.)
Copita opened in the former Piccolo Teatro space on Bridgeway, with an airy indoor-outdoor vibe (there’s an outdoor patio, and large floor-to-ceiling doors that open into the 47-seat dining room). Anthony Fish of Arcanum Architecture is behind the cheerful design—I enjoyed the tiling, bright colors, woven fabric on the banquettes (my friend and I called it the Bottega Veneta weave), and eye-catching rotisserie that is the heart of the restaurant. There are also 10 seats at the mahogany bar, and quite the wall o’ tequilas. Open daily at 11am. 739 Bridgeway at Anchor, Sausalito, 415-331-7400.
According to a Facebook post, it looks like PIG AND PIE is planning to open this month, serving handmade sausages and homemade pies. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, it’s the spot opening in the Discolandia space in the Mission. A menu on the restaurant’s blog lists a breakfast sausage (pork spiced with rosemary, fried egg, and sriracha), hot Italian (pork with spices, braised greens, spicy tomato sauce, and pickled red onions), and a boudin blanc (chicken and herbs, shallot confit, arugula, mayo, and preserved lemon). I know, tasty! Pies listed include spiced pecan and shaker lemon. Beers on the list include Burning Oak Black Lager (Linden Street Brewery), and Scrimshaw Pilsner and Le Merle Saison (North Coast Brewing). Look for more details about the opening in coming weeks. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.
I can’t wait to cross the bridge to check out the upcoming FUSEBOX, opening this Thursday May 3rd. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, this West Oakland Korean-American restaurant is from chef Sunhui Chang, a “kkochi-gui pub/sojubang” (kkochi-gui is Korean for grilled skewers), serving affordable dishes in an izakaya format.
This piece in the East Bay Express mentions a preview dinner of “pork-butt udon soup, the bacon-wrapped mochi with pickled mustard seeds, the cubes of house-made tofu crusted in rice flour, the spicy-sweet fried chicken, and the array of pickled things (shitake mushrooms, sparkler radish, bok choy, etc.).” (If you’re way into pickles, be sure to read more about the pickled items in this story on Bay Area Bites.) The story also mentions plans for an upcoming outdoor patio, a soft-serve machine, and grill. For the next two weeks, FuseBox will be open for lunch at 11:30am on Thursdays and Fridays, and then expanding hours later on, plus adding dinner hours. 2311A Magnolia St. at 24th St., Oakland, 510-444-3100.
East Bay Express also mentions the comeback of KITCHEN 388, reopening this week after chef-owner Joseph Dunbar struggled with a month-long hospital visit. It will reopen for dinner service Wed-Sun, starting this Wednesday May 2nd. Look for a concise menu, and beer and wine are available, plus table service. Sounds like summer is the target for launching breakfast and lunch. 388 Grand Ave. at Staten, Oakland, 510-893-3005.
I have been trying for months (unsuccessfully) to get details from a contact at PA’INA, the new Hawaiian restaurant and lounge opening in the former Sundance Kitchen space in Japantown. Well, now it’s open, according to this post on Eater, which mentions a “lengthy menu of Asian fusion and Hawaiian cuisine concocted with the help of chef Glenn Kimura.” Pics on Yelp reveal Spam musubi, spicy tuna poke, and Kalua pig cheese fries. Sounds like the place was totally reformatted to make room for a stage since there will be live music as well. 1865 Post St. at Fillmore, 415-829-2642.
The Upper Haight has a new (and spacious) café called FLYWHEEL ROASTERY next to Whole Foods. SFoodie mentions Flywheel will be roasting their own beans on site soon, and there are also housemade baked goods. Uppercasing mentions: “The back of the building, under the loft, will have seating, and they’ll also have a patio out back. In the meantime, there are plenty of benches and tables, as well as some chairs on the sidewalk out front, for optimal Golden Gate Park people-watching.” 670 Stanyan St. at Haight.
After breaking the news about Jeremy Tooker and Josey Baker’s upcoming café and bakery on Divisadero, Baker just revealed the name on his blog: THE MILL. Construction is underway—look for a July opening. 736 Divisadero St. at Fulton.
After 12 years of business in Hayes Valley, PAUL K has closed, according to Grub Street. As you may remember, taking its place is RICH TABLE, a new restaurant from Evan and Sarah Rich. Congrats to the two of them for having their Kickstarter funded—the page shares more about the concept: “to offer the same fine-dining cuisine but in a casual, convivial atmosphere,” “plates will range from raw items such as oysters and crudos, to pastas and meat dishes, and they will be drawn from a wide variety of cuisines. The menu will change daily, and inspiration will come from a number of cuisines all based on the combined experience of the chefs, including but not limited to Japanese, Italian, French. The result is a refined, fresh, and uniquely San Francisco cuisine.” Expect more updates soon—they hope to open within the next six months. 99 Gough St. at Oak.
After lease negotiations failed to work out, GORDON BIERSCH BREWERY RESTAURANT’s lease expired on April 28th—the brewery closed over the weekend after 20 years in the Hills Brothers Coffee Building. No word about their new location yet. Inside Scoop mentions: “Meanwhile, there’s no word on what will become of the now-dark 10,000 square foot, two-story space. A conversion into office space has been rumored.” 2 Harrison St. at The Embarcadero.
A real estate announcement I received yesterday announced CHOUCHOU in Laguna Honda is up for sale. 400 Dewey Blvd. at Laguna Honda, 415-242-0960.
A couple quick notes: SFoodie mentions PRATHER RANCH AMERICAN EATERY in the Ferry Building Marketplace is no longer serving breakfast in order to focus more on lunch service. Weekend brunch will continue. New hours are Mon-Fri 10am-6pm and Sat-Sun 8am-4pm. 32 Ferry Building, 415-391-0420.
Up in Mill Valley, HAWK’S TAVERN is launching brunch service this weekend (May 5th), under new chef Joe Waggoner, previously chef de cuisine at Wayfare Tavern. On the menu: yeast-risen waffles, housemade yogurt and granola, smoked salmon hash, and more. Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. 507 Miller Ave. at Reed, Mill Valley, 415-388-3474.
Between the gorgeous weather and the beautiful produce coming in at the farmers’ markets, you’re bound to be inspired to capture some of that goodness—these classes will help.
This Friday May 4th, get JAMMIN’ WITH HAPPY GIRL, and learn how to make strawberry Meyer lemon jam and mixed berry jubilee in the CUESA Kitchen. Happy Girl Kitchen founder Jordan Champagne will teach the fundamentals of making jam to students, who will get hands-on and get to take home two jars of their newly jammed goods. $64 (sliding scale pricing, based on need, available).
Wednesday May 30th is a chance to learn how to make your own Greek-style yogurt and kefir with FIZZ, TANG, AND FAT, also in the CUESA Kitchen. Louella Hill, aka The Milk Maid, will lead the class, then send participants home with a starter kit including culture, recipes, butter muslin, and more. $54.10 (sliding scale pricing, based on need, available). 1 Ferry Building at Embarcadero and Market.
On Monday May 7th, FIFTH FLOOR is hosting Opposites Attract, a sweet and savory dessert demonstration with pastry chef Francis Ang (Food & Wine’s West Coast “People’s Best Pastry Chef 2012”). You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the restaurant, and learn how to integrate both sweet and savory into dishes at home, as in black olive madeleines with saffron ice cream. There will be samples, of course. 6pm-7:30pm. $25.
Join author Andrea Nguyen for a Handmade Tofu Workshop at 18 REASONS on Tuesday May 29th. Learn how to choose soybeans, make fresh soy milk, and cook with your silken or firm creation. Dishes include homemade tofu pudding, Sichuan-style savory tofu pudding with assorted garnishes, and pressed tofu and peanuts in spicy bean sauce. 7pm-9pm. $25 members, $35 general admission.
A few more Cinco de Mayo items for your radar: the fine folks at DELISE are cooking up some special treats for the holiday: chorizo scones; chipotle cheddar gougères, devil’s chocolate cupcake with dulce de leche frosting, Mexican hot chocolate sorbet (cinnamon and cayenne), avocado lime frozen yogurt, and margarita sorbet (with Cabo Wabo tequila). Swing by and say, “arriba!” 327 Bay St. at Powell, 415-399-9694.
Meanwhile, the CANTINA crew will be opening their doors an hour early this Saturday at 4pm, and, as they put it, “will be shaking up and pouring out mucho mezcal this weekend. We figure that mezcal, the rustic forebear to the ever popular tequila, deserves some attention. We also think that mezcal is the sexier of the two agave distillates and we aim to share that with our audience as well. So, all of our drinks—including margaritas—will be shaken with mezcal on Cinco de Mayo.” Drinks will be $6, and there will also be $3 tacos. DJs kick in at 6pm. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.
Since it’s the 150th Cinco de Mayo this year, TRES is going big this year, celebrating Friday through Sunday: there will be luchadores, LIVE 105, and a launch party on Friday; freshly butchered Marin Sun Farms lamb, pig, and goat roasted on a spit, as well as tequila and cocktail offerings on Saturday; followed by a “recovery brunch” on Sunday. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Details here.
Over in the East Bay, BOCANOVA will be serving up three crispy fish tacos and a house margarita for only $12 on Saturday during dinner. But here’s the catch: fans will have to watch Bocanova’s Twitter feed to get a password to order this off-the-menu deal.
Join the Languedoc Adventure. For the entire month of May, over 40 Bay Area restaurants and retailers will be hosting tastings, special dinners, and events, and pouring the unique wines of AOC Languedoc in the South of France. The Languedoc is France’s most dynamic wine region, where adventurous producers are redefining ancient traditions and producing some of the country’s most exciting wines. The region is blessed with some of the best conditions in France for winemaking. An auspicious blend of soil, wind, sun, and the Mediterranean Sea produces naturally healthy vineyards and results in a huge range of wines that are accessible and affordable discoveries for the U.S. wine lover. Join the Adventure for this unique opportunity to taste wines from France’s wine frontier.
For a list of participating restaurants and retailers, visit LanguedocAdventure.com.
I think you’ll like the sound of this: for the month of May, GRAND CAFÉ is going to offer half off all bottles of wine. Yup, even sparkling. The only limitation is a cap of two bottles of wine per table. Have fun! And don’t miss chef Alicia Jenish’s asparagus salad with goat cheese vinaigrette—it’s deeeelicious.
Starting this evening, RISTOBAR is offering a special wine list on Tuesdays that they’re calling 15/30, which means the restaurant is offering 15 select wines at $30 per bottle. Tonight’s list includes selections like 2009 Castello di Luzzano, “Carlino” Oltrepó Pavese Bonarda; 2010 Cantine di Dolianova, Vermentino di Sardegna; 2006 Malvira, Langhe Nebbiolo; and 2008 Poliziano, Rosso di Montepulciano.
The next time you head to MICHAEL MINA for dinner (or a drink at the bar), take a look at sommelier Josiah Baldivino’s new monthly wine feature, Hometown Heroes, which will spotlight notable wineries that have done something exceptional to define the wine industry in California. You’ll be able to access highly sought-after old and rare vintages from the cellars of wineries like Copain Wines in May, Corison Winery in June, and Peay Vineyards in July. There will be a white and red wine-by-the-glass offering from each winery, along with a vertical series of coveted library wines.
After Kimo’s, the two-level dive bar and live music spot on Polk Street, closed on New Year’s Eve, it looks like the new incarnation will be PLAYLAND BAR. The owners haven’t returned our calls, so that’s all we’ve got right now: a sign. And a veiled reference to San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach. In the meantime, you can read some of Kimo’s back story in this piece by the SF Weekly from last year. 1351 Polk St. at Pine.
And the next time you swing by SPRUCE, be sure to congratulate their new lead sommelier Chris Gaither on his recent accomplishment: he passed the Court of Master Sommelier’s Level III: Advanced Examination. Considering fewer than 400 people in the world have passed the exam, it’s very cheers-worthy.
Jupiter Olympus and friends are bringing THE TOURING POP-UP SIDESHOW SALOON to San Francisco on Sunday May 6th. Enjoy the saloon-inspired party and sideshow attractions (à la the 1850s) for free with RSVP. You’ll still wanna hit the ATM for the cash bar ‘cause the Jupiter Olympus mixologists will create a cocktail menu with spirits provided by Anchor Distilling Company, including vintage cocktails made with a hand-cranked Imperial cocktail shaker.
The Sideshow Saloon party is bringing a P.T. Barnum theme: look for trapeze artists performing overhead, oddities, curious mechanisms, maybe even a mermaid, plus photographic projections and live piano music. The event also celebrates the launch of The Peerless Prodigies of P.T. Barnum, a graphic novel by media historian Jillian Lerner, who will be signing. Proceeds will be donated to Reading With Pictures, a not-for-profit organization that gets comics into schools and schools into comics.
8pm-12am. 21+ only. Victorian costumes encouraged. RSVP online. General Beverage Co., 2413 Harrison St. at 20th St.
Sunday May 6, 2012 8pm–12am Free with RSVP more info
Saturday May 12, 2012 – Sunday May 13, 2012
Okay folks, there’s still time to consider your options and make reservations for Mother’s Day, so here are some ideas to get you going. (Don’t forget the fab 707 options posted last week.) But don’t wait too long—you know how fast reservations go in this city!
Consider taking Mom out a day early and enjoy all that the farmers’ market has to offer at CUESA’s annual SPRING BREAKFAST. This bountiful brunch on Saturday May 12th includes a mimosa bar. Seatings at 9am and 11am. Tickets online: $45/adult, $15/child.
Of course, there are also plenty of options if you’re looking to celebrate the day of. A16 will be open for Mother’s Day dinner from 4pm-10pm with some additional specials (baccalà alla napoletana, roasted scallops with pickled ramps, and more). How lovely, Mamma will go home with a basket of housemade cookies and biscotti.
FOREIGN CINEMA’s special prix-fixe menu is also a three-courser: look for duck mousse crostini and FC’s sesame fried chicken.
GARY DANKO will extend their hours, opening from 3pm-10pm. Choose from the regular prix-fixe options: three courses for $71, four for $89, or five for $104. Female guests receive a complimentary long-stemmed rose, and every table receives a chocolate memento and take-away breakfast cake.
At LA MAR CEBICHERIA PERUANA, mothers will be graced with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Dine anytime between 11:30am-9:30pm, and order from the regular à la carte menu.
The Mother’s Day brunch menu at PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB features homey dishes, challah French toast and chilaquiles with crispy pork belly, for example.
Choose from brunch or dinner at WATERBAR. From 11am-2:45pm, the three-course prix-fixe includes Alaskan halibut gravlax and seared ahi tuna, and from 5:30pm-9pm, dinner choices include grilled rack of venison. $45/person.
Maybe you’re looking at locales outside the city. At THE VILLAGE PUB, opt for either a four-course brunch ($55/person) or a three-course dinner ($75/person). The menus include lemon ricotta soufflé pancakes and Alaskan halibut with sorrel sauce, respectively. 2967 Woodside Rd. at Whiskey Hill Rd., Woodside, 650-851-9888.
FIVE in Berkeley is serving quite the buffet brunch spread from 10am-2pm, with bottomless mimosas too, and every mom goes home with a mini-pound cake. A live jazz trio will perform throughout brunch. $65/person, $25/child 6-12, children under 5 free. A service gratuity of 18% will be added.
Ladies can wear their best Sunday hats to PICÁN in Oakland for the Magnolias and Moms event. Three seatings: 10:30am-1pm, 2pm-5pm, and 6pm-closing. Brunch (fried chicken Benedict, yes please) is $45/adult and $20/child; dinner is $55/adult, $25/child.
Whether or not a fancy restaurant meal is the thing for your family, you can still get a nice gift for the moms you know. The Mother’s Day gift box from La Cocina will please with sweet and savory goodies like cake pops and spiced tea; order one online. Recchiuti’s Mother’s Day gift box is quite elegant with candied orange peel, tea, and locally made tea cups. Get ideas for gifts and for a special home-cooked meal from The Pasta Shop; custom gift baskets can still ship in time for Mother’s Day.
Finally, the purveyors of pastry at DELISE will be making special French macaron flavors, plus anyone bringing their mom for a treat on Mother’s Day will be offered the gift of an ice cream scoop or a macaron.
A cooking class for six? Who wouldn’t want to explore the rich world of Indian cuisine or learn how to make Italian small plates such as risotto and arancini, polpettes (meatballs), and caponata? Chef and lifestyle architect Phoebe Schilla—owner of Studio of Good Living, a culinary wellness center which features cooking classes, nutrition consultation, yoga, and mindfulness techniques—helps people learn how to cook nutritious food with confidence. Choose from classes including Indian Cuisine & Vegetarian Indian Cuisine, Italian Small Plates, Get Your Grill On, and Spanish Tapas. Doesn’t everyone want to learn the secret to living a healthy life through good nutrition, innovative recipes, and a willingness to experiment? Come see what all the hype is about, and learn Chef Phoebe’s recipe for healthy, balanced living.
tablehopper is giving away one cooking class for six. All you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friend(s) about the event. Be sure to Cc: or Bcc: me at email@example.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Sunday May 6th at 11:59pm. We’ll notify the winner on Monday. Good luck!
On Friday night, Ashton Kutcher came in to Rye with three friends, sharing a bottle of Côtes du Rhône and some “quiet conversation,” according to my informant. He also reportedly “took some photos with some fans and shook hands with one young lady to her EXTREME delight!”
A few fun sightings at Jake’s on Market: one reader writes in to say they sat next to Armistead Maupin of Tales of the City fame, while another diner spotted actress Judy Davis, who was in town to accept the Peter J. Owens Award at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Also in town for festival honors, Kenneth Branagh was spotted at Jake’s last Thursday. The reader who got to meet the Shakespearean actor tells us, “Wow, what a nice guy.”
Ben Flajnik of The Bachelor dined at Bluestem Brasserie on Thursday afternoon and had that day’s special sandwich of house-cured corned beef and sauerkraut on rye. He dined at the bar with a Yelp exec, checking out the restaurant’s wines on tap (rumor has it he’s considering creating his own draft wine program).
A source tells me ballet legend Mikhail Baryshnikov has been to Gather restaurant in Berkeley three times since arriving last week to star in Berkeley Rep’s In Paris. Staff who have served him say he is extremely gracious—and still incredibly handsome. Rawr.