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May 14, 2012 21 min read

May 15, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: bursting at the seams.

May 15, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: bursting at the seams.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: bursting at the seams.                    

Banh cuon at Out the Door—it’s what you want for brunch. Photo: ©

Yo yo. How’s your Tuesday treating you so far? My week has already become a pressure cooker, so let’s dive in. All kinds of new projects are happening this week: I was lucky to get some preview pics and tastes at Del Popolo and West of Pecos, and I also had fun last week finally trying the infamous $3 Schmendricks bagel at a launch party. I know, I know, a $3 bagel. But sometimes something is so good you’ll pay more than you want for it—that malty, hand-rolled, and boiled bagel is one of those things. (Follow @Schmendricks on Twitter to find out where you can pick bagels up and kvetch over the price at the same time.)

This week on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about one of my favorite bar bites: the vada pav at Dosa; listen in here.

Considering I am at my absolute heaviest right now (blergh), I found it a bit ironic to be featured in a Bay Area Bites article on How Professional Eaters Stay Balanced. Well, I’m trying to stay balanced—just not always succeeding. Anyway, thanks Stephanie Hua for including me!

In the immortal words of Porky Pig (ha ha), “That’s all folks!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

The Del Popolo Pizza Truck Hits the Streets


The cashier counter is on a lower level (and take a look at that Stefano Ferrara oven). Photo: ©


My test-run margherita. Photo: ©


A closer look at the truck. Photo: ©


The Del Popolo truck. Photo: ©

On Saturday afternoon, I was fortunate to see the DEL POPOLO pizza truck in action, and taste one of Jon Darsky’s superlative Neapolitan-style pies (which none of us have had since he left flour + water). As previously profiled in tablehopper, this custom truck is really something to behold. It was fun to watch people walk by and stare at this impressive pizzeria on wheels—which includes a 5,000-pound, wood-fired Stefano Ferrara oven—all housed in a shipping container with windows and clear doors, so you can observe the entire operation.

There were two kinds of pizzas on offer on Saturday, a margherita and a white pie with wild radish rapini and garlic, only $7 (these were test-run prices). Moving forward, the cost should be around $10-$12. The cashier will cut your pizza for you as soon as it’s out of the oven and put it in a box, which will become your mobile table for the next 10 minutes or so (of course I still managed to get sauce on my shirt).

Darsky’s margherita is such a pleasure to eat—once it cools down a little, see if you can eat the slices without folding them so you can taste all the disparate elements of the pizza instead of mashing it all together. You’ll notice the pop of the olive oil he finishes the pies with, the creamy cheese, the bright tomato sauce, and, of course, the way the char from the oven layers even more flavor onto his fantastic (and elastic) dough.

The Del Popolo truck’s opening is tonight at 5:30pm at Bar Agricole (at 355 11th St. at Folsom), and it will be parked in the lot next door—guests can eat their pizza on the patio. Uh-huh, sounds like you should get a drink with that pie. I also saw a tweet mentioning lunch at Mint Plaza this Thursday. Follow @pizzadelpopolo to keep up with the truck’s future locations around the city. Yeah, this will be the ultimate truck to hire for private parties.

Del Popolo

West of Pecos Opens Tonight in the Mission


Main dining room. Photo: ©


Booths in the side room. Photo: ©


Green chile cheeseburger. Photo: ©

Last Thursday evening, I had a chance to swing by and check out WEST OF PECOS, the Southwestern restaurant opening tonight in the former Bombay Bazar and Bombay Ice Creamery. I met up with owner Dylan MacNiven (Woodhouse Fish Co.) and his brother Tyler for a sneak peek; the space features two rustic dining rooms (the side room will open later) with big booths upholstered in Southwestern fabrics, hefty wood tables, and a bar area. The wood floor and skylights are original to the 1907 building. There’s also a front patio with fireplaces (but no seating)—they hope to roast chiles out front when they come into season. Be sure to notice the ax door handles when you walk in.

Chef Leo Varos is a native of Santa Fe (La Fonda, Geronimo, Bistro 315, O’Keeffe Café) and has put together a menu of Southwestern-inspired dishes, including starters like duck confit flautas, green chile mac and cheese, Pecos chili with braised beef, and hominy stew with red chile and braised pork. There are a few salads, and large plates like lamb albóndigas (made in a northern New Mexico style with chorizo and rice in a spicy tomato and green chile broth), whole fish fajitas, and some vegetarian options. There’s also a green chile burger with three cheeses—the hefty burger comes wrapped up in a thick and housemade flour tortilla (made from Varos’s mother’s recipe) and is served with potatoes on the side topped with queso fresco, plus some spicy chipotle ketchup you can dunk the potatoes into. There are housemade corn tortillas available as well—all are made on the hearth. You can check out a test menu here.

There’s also a full bar, with plenty of whiskey, tequila, and mezcal to quench your thirst (you look parched, cowboy). Dinner is Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am. Brunch should launch in a few months.

West of Pecos            - 550 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-252-7000

Popping Up: Machine Deli at Laszlo on June 1st


A stacked turkey club sandwich (currently at Show Dogs).

Last month, I mentioned the upcoming MACHINE COFFEE opening up next door to Show Dogs on Market. While that coffee shop and deli project gets under way, you’ll be able to check out the deli sandwiches at MACHINE DELI AT LASZLO, a brand-new pop-up from the Machine team that will start on Friday June 1st. Going forward, lunch will be served Mon-Fri from 11:30am-2:30pm.

Charcutier Peter Temkin (Show Dogs, Foreign Cinema) has been making pastrami, smoked turkey breast, and more; featured sandwiches will include a pastrami Reuben with housemade sauerkraut, a smoked turkey club, house-smoked roast beef with broccoli rabe, an Asian-inspired chicken salad sandwich (possibly Thai), and a vegetarian option (potentially a version of caponata). Sandwiches will range from $8-$13 (prices are TBD at the moment). I’m especially excited to try some quality turkey and roast beef. For now, you’ll be able to eat your sandwich in front of Laszlo, and if there’s enough traffic, they might eventually open up the Foreign Cinema patio. Let’s make it happen, people. 2526 Mission St. at 21st St.

American Grilled Cheese Kitchen Taking Over Café Gratitude Space


The Piglet sandwich at The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. Photo: ©

According to the Inside Scoop, AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN is opening a second location in the Mission location of CAFÉ GRATITUDE: SAN FRANCISCO. Gratitude is closing on Friday May 25th, and AGCK should be opening in late summer or early fall. Owners Heidi Gibson and Nate Pollak will be expanding the lunch menu, adding a dinner menu, a burger (sorry, Café Gratitude people), sausages by Chris Beerman of Citizen’s Band, and more. And in case you are wondering, the Café Gratitude locations in Santa Cruz and Berkeley are reportedly remaining open, in addition to Gracias Madre in the Mission. 2400 Harrison St. at 20th St., 415-830-3014.

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

Coming in 2013: City Grange


Farm eggs (from Roshambo Farms). Photo: ©

Last week I mentioned the Fat Angel folks have a new Lower Fillmore project up their sleeve, CITY GRANGE. The owners got back to me with some details: it’s going to be an innovative project, with a large rentable production kitchen (four stations), an eatery, market, and private event space. I know, sweet!

Breakfast and lunch will be served daily, featuring items all made from scratch, and there will be a market with high-quality staples such as Acme bread, Straus milk, farm eggs, and Prather Ranch meats, along with housemade products and takeout dinner items such as soups, roast chickens, stocks, salads, and fresh juices. It will be designed to work as an event space for private parties, neighborhood suppers, and pop-up restaurants. Stand by for more in the coming months; City Grange is opening in early 2013, just across the street from Yoshi’s. 1325 Fillmore St. at Eddy.

All Good Pizza in Bayview Offers Pizza and More


The patio and trailer at All Good Pizza. Yelp photo by Thomas R.

I was pleased to read in SFoodie about ALL GOOD PIZZA, a new daytime trailer and garden patio where you can eat made-from-scratch pizza from a brick oven, panini, salads, and links off a smoker (courtesy of Evergood Fine Foods, a Bayview resident for more than 80 years). Owners Kristin Houk and Matt Trahan, longtime Bayview residents, are also growing herbs on the lot and creating a community gardening area, and using a lot of local produce in their food.

All Good Pizza is now serving Straus soft-serve ice cream (students of the 94124 ZIP code can bring in their report cards and with a B average or better, receive a free ice cream!), and every Sunday is All Good Neighborhood Day, when they prepare a prix-fixe meal and invite a local chef to take control of the smoker. All meals include a smoked meat of the chef’s choice, their signature kale salad, Louisiana baked beans, garlic bread, and lemonade or iced tea for $10. If you’re a chef and want a crack at their smoker, email to be added to the schedule. 1605 Jerrold Ave. at 3rd St.

Openings and Closures in SoMa


The bar at Rockstar Sushi. Photo from Yelp.

A few SoMa notes: I received word from partner Mick Suverkrubbe that THE COSMOPOLITAN is closing this Friday (they couldn’t agree on a new lease with the landlord). One tablehopper reader emailed me to lament over missing the tempura green beans. The team is working on a new project in Petaluma, The Social Club—you can read all about it in the 707 Scout. 121 Spear St. at Mission, 415-543-4001.

Meanwhile, ROCKSTAR SUSHI LOUNGE has opened in SoMa. The menu looks pretty straightforward (well, except for the selection of shooters with names like “embryo” and “ring of fire”); the soundtrack is unique, supplied by Bay Area bands. The look is pretty zany, with chandeliers; guitars on the wall; a vermilion, white, and black color scheme; and animal patterns (and it looks like there’s a pair of those odd velvet shoe chairs I haven’t seen since the early 1990s). The executive chef is Take Fujita. 680 8th St. at Townsend, 415-864-2771.

More sushi in SoMa: a while back I mentioned KAMA SUSHI was opening in the former Daddy O’s space, and Grub Street confirms it’s now open. 294 9th St. at Folsom.

510 Update: The Trappist's Rockridge Project, Pop-Ups, and More


Exterior of Local Café; photo courtesy of Local Café.

Last week I mentioned the folks behind The Trappist appeared to have a new project under way in Rockridge: according to this bit from Diablo Dish, it’s going to be a bottle shop called TRAPPIST PROVISIONS, along with 5-10 taps. Stand by for more. 6309 College Ave. at 63rd St., Oakland.

Diablo Dish also mentions the owners (and brothers) behind AUTHENTIC BAGEL COMPANY (a wholesale business) are taking over Cafe Zoe on College Avenue, with plans to open a “New York-style bagel shop and deli.” Look for an opening in mid-June. 6000 College Ave. at Harwood, Oakland, 510-658-4963.

On Saturday May 19th, POP UP FOODS is hosting an event at Pizzaiolo. You can pre-order food items from small-batch makers (like Baia Pasta, Studebaker Pickles, and Soul Food Farm eggs and chickens) by Wednesday May 16th and then pick them up from 10am-12pm on the patio at Pizzaiolo. Additional items will be available for sale the day of. Five percent of proceeds from this first event will go to Pizzaiolo’s new initiative called “Meat for the People,” a project that will bring greater food access to people in Oakland. 5008 Telegraph Ave. at 50th St., Oakland.

Also on Saturday May 19th, LOCAL CAFÉ is starting dinner service on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Starters, available with wine and beer specials during happy hour from 2:30pm-5:30pm, include garlic herb crostini ($12) with prosciutto, smashed chickpeas, and frisée; local slider trio ($11) of beef brisket, pork meatballs, and grilled seasonal vegetables; and dry-rub ribs ($12) with citrus-plum barbecue and Local Café slaw. Entrées include a flatiron steak ($16) with grilled asparagus, celery root mash, and balsamic drizzle; a crispy half-roasted chicken ($15) with seasonal vegetables; along with some kid-friendly and side dishes. 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland, 510-922-8249.

New Lunch Options: Burritt Tavern and Ippuku in Berkeley


Burritt Tavern dining room. Photo from Burritt Tavern.

A few new lunch service options to add to your radar: first, BURRITT TAVERN just started serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. Check out chef Charlie Palmer and executive chef Ashley Weaver’s new lunch menu here, which includes salads, sandwiches, and heartier main courses. The décor should lend itself well to business lunches, and you should snag a private booth if you need to keep your business dealings on the hush-hush.

IPPUKU in Berkeley has started weekday lunch service, according to the Inside Scoop. Look for handmade soba noodles (available in ten different cold variations, and about six hot executions), along with side dishes. Lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm.

Ippuku            - 2130 Center St. Berkeley - 510-665-1969

Eighth Annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration Is May 19th


Here’s a good event for fans of Asian food: the eighth annual ASIAN HERITAGE STREET CELEBRATION is coming up on Saturday May 19th in the Civic Center/Little Saigon neighborhoods (Larkin and McAllister streets). The event will feature an abundant lineup of food vendors and food truck favorites, plus cooking demos by Martin Yan, Charles Phan, and more. It’s also free and open to the general public, and free is always good.

A look at the list of food vendors and food trucks reveals lots of good eats, including Nombe, JapaCurry, Seoul on Wheels, Chairman Bao Truck, and many more. The event’s only one day, and you only have one stomach, so bring friends. Look for food vendors on Golden Gate Street (with a seating area), while food trucks will be on Turk Street. While you’re there, visit the Arts & Crafts World Market for special and unique handmade products and artworks. 11am-6pm.

               Saturday May 19, 2012 11am-6pm Free to attend more info

Sunday Parties


On Sunday May 20th is Sunday Tea with Juanita & Fe (GM Felix Torricer) at WO HING GENERAL STORE. Personality Juanita More will be spinning music while guests enjoy rum punch and other cocktails by Brooke Arthur, plus a special dim sum selection by chef de cuisine Michelle Mah and desserts by executive pastry chef Chucky Dugo. 6pm-10pm.

Mark your calendar: on Sunday June 3rd, PICCINO and the Yellow Building tenants will be throwing a one-year anniversary bash and block party. There will be special dishes from Piccino’s opening menu, a jazz band, a fashion show by MAC, bubbly, and perhaps a few other surprises from DIG.

Piccino            - 1001 Minnesota St. San Francisco - 415-824-4224

Meat-Ups at the Grand Café, Blue Bottle Coffee, and SFMOMA


Photo courtesy of Grand Café.

Hey meat-eaters, these events are tailor-made for ya, why dontcha check ‘em out? For a meaty dinner that’s off the beaten path, try the May Misfit dinner at GRAND CAFÉ featuring McCormack Ranch lamb. Available Thursday May 17th-Sunday May 20th, the Misfit lamb menu focuses on the more unusual parts: brain, cheek, tongue, and sweetbreads. Choose from crispy lamb’s brain, braised lamb cheek, celery heart salsa verde ($14); lamb sweetbreads, lamb bacon, wild blackberries, fennel soubise, verjus, field greens ($18); lamb tongue pot-au-feu, summer vegetables, consommé ($14); hay-roasted leg of lamb, English pea ragout, mint chutney, rösti potatoes ($24); mixed grill with yogurt-marinated loin, merguez sausage, za’atar-rubbed chop, spiced date emulsion, pickled turnip, bulgur ($36); and lamb porchetta with pine nut, dill, and honey sauce, grilled chicories, crispy chickpea polenta ($34). The Misfit menu is available à la carte alongside the regular dining room menu.

You’ll also have two opportunities this month to join Belcampo Meat Co.’s MEAT-UP events. On Thursday May 24th, 12pm-2pm, Belcampo will fire up the grill outside of Blue Bottle Coffee in Jack London Square (300 Webster St. at 3rd St., Oakland). Get barbecue sirloin kebabs with minty yogurt, spicy carrot salad, and flatbread for just $9. Then on Thursday May 31st, “Meat-Up” at the SFMOMA (151 3rd St. at Mission, San Francisco) from 6pm-8pm as part of “Open Late” Thursdays. Belcampo will be at the Blue Bottle Coffee Bar on the third floor of the museum with chicken and beef empanadas ($5) Mexican-style, in honor of the current Mexican music exhibit. Order a specialty cocktail from St. George Spirits too. Museum admission is half-price after 6pm on Thursday evenings only.


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

(Sponsored): Food of the Gods ~ Fruit of the Vine

Food of the Gods ~ Fruit of the Vine is a unique Greek dining and California wine tasting experience over Memorial Day weekend.

The food: Unparalleled! Delectable, Old World family recipes skillfully prepared by our Yiayias (beloved grandmothers) especially for this event. The most authentic food outside of Greece!

The wineries: Ravenswood, Keller Estate, Suacci Carciere, Small Vines, Roessler Cellars, Fotinos, and Mahoney Vineyards will be pouring their acclaimed wines.

The time: Friday May 25th, 5pm-10pm (wine tasting: 5:30pm-8:30pm).

The price: $15 wine tasting ticket. Food is à la carte, with suggested pairings. Enjoy wines by the glass or order by the bottle from the wineries at a one-night-only 20 percent discount.

The place: College of Marin Indian Valley Campus (1800 Ignacio Blvd., Novato); free shuttle service from the parking lot.

The extras: Live music, dancing, and folk dance performances, all celebrated in the Old World ambience of our Greek village on the hill.

This one-of-a-kind event is truly a rare opportunity to savor amazing Greek cuisine with beautiful wines! More details online and on Facebook.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

The Hancock Room Opens in Chinatown


Photo courtesy of The Hancock Room.

Opening this Thursday May 17th is THE HANCOCK ROOM, a reservations-only sidebar adjacent to Sip Bar & Lounge in Chinatown. The private room has been converted into a bar with four seating areas outfitted with antique sofas, armchairs, and coffee tables, along with satirical artwork on the walls (owner John Eric Sanchez is a big history buff). You can reserve a table Sun-Thu 5pm-2am by calling or emailing, and Fri-Sat the space is reserved for private parties with 40 or more guests (and there’s no room fee!).

The cocktail list (which will also give you a history lesson) is focused on classic and reinvented cocktails featuring brandy, bourbon, gin, rum, rye, and Scotch, like the Betsy Ross, the Colonial Cocktail, and the Hudson, as well as local beers. 1350 Powell St. at Broadway, 415-699-6545.

Playland Now Open on Polk


The new sign at the former Kimo’s. Photo by Rebecca Kinney. ©

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned PLAYLAND was opening in the former Kimo’s on Polk. According to a detailed post on Yelp, the two-level cocktail bar is now open.

Urban Daddy mentions the décor has an amusement park theme, with “a smoke-breathing bull’s head from Guadalajara mounted on the wall. And colorful marquee lights overhead. And tchotchkes like a dancing, tambourine-playing monkey sprinkled around.” And that’s before you started drinking. On tap: Fernet, tequila, and whiskey, along with some beers, and there’s a cocktail menu that will play with the carnival theme even further (think cotton candy cosmo—I’ll just stick with my whiskey, thanks).

Live acts (including a burlesque accordion band) are mentioned on Yelp, keeping the venue’s history as a live performance venue going. Hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-2am, Sat-Sun 2pm-2am. 1351 Polk St. at Pine, 415-440-7529.

Mugsy (a Wine Bar) Pops Up at El Rio on Friday May 18th


El Rio patio on Salsa Sundays. Photo from Facebook.

Wine lovers may want to swing by the back patio at EL RIO on Friday May 18th, since a pop-up wine bar called Mugsy’ will be happening from 5pm-8pm.

Wines will be poured from four urban wineries in Oakland, San Francisco, Berkeley, and Alameda, with a focus on women winemakers: blanc de blancs sparkling produced by Rock Wall Wines, sauvignon blanc from Urban Legend Cellars, pinot noir from Stomping Girl Wines, and a Sonoma cabernet from Gratta Wines. Wines will be about $7 a glass.

Don’t forget El Rio offers a finite batch of free oysters at 5:30pm, and homemade piadina (Italian flatbread sandwiches) are available. Mugsy’s will be happening twice a month, on alternating Fridays.


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

(Sponsored): Challenge Your Senses with the Wines of Portugal

Wines of Portugal invites you to their Annual Grand Tasting in San Francisco on Monday June 4th. You don’t want to miss this chance to go around Portugal in 80 sips because you can truly discover a world of difference with more than 150 wines and fabulous Iberian appetizers. Net proceeds support Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, so come enjoy and do your part!

Tickets are $40, or just $32 when you mention code TABLEHOPPER for a 20 percent discount. Plus the first 100 guests to arrive receive a complimentary signed copy of The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. More details online. 5:30pm. $15 valet parking. Terra Gallery, 511 Harrison St. at 1st St., San Francisco.

the socialite

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

Jamie Oliver Foundation Launches Inaugural Food Revolution Day This Saturday May 19th


 Event Info

Saturday May 19, 2012 9am–2pm Info                        CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Ferry Building, San Francisco

A guest post by Daniel Horton.

On Saturday May 19th, the Jamie Oliver Foundation is launching its first-ever FOOD REVOLUTION DAY, a global day dedicated to inspiring, educating, and empowering people everywhere to stand up for real food. Thousands of people from 45 countries have already signed up to take part in events designed to raise awareness on preventing diet-related diseases and to educate people on how to make more healthful food choices. Visit the site to find and create local food events where you can share skills and knowledge about food with your community through cooking classes, gardening tutorials, sessions about starting a food blog, tours of farmers’ markets, and more.

Taking place at the Ferry Building, Food Revolution Day San Francisco is a free, family-friendly day hosted by Epicuring, CUESA, and Sprouts. Tour the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market with a knowledgeable Food Revolution Guide, attend cooking demos, and support garden-based learning and edible education by shopping at the Schoolyard to Market booth. All activities take place at the CUESA Kitchen (the big white tent at the front of the building, north side).

Did you know that the majority of the world’s population is more likely to die from obesity than from hunger? In America, more people die from diet-related diseases every year than drugs, alcohol, and war combined. One hundred percent of Food Revolution Day net funds raised will go to support food education projects for both children and adults through the Jamie Oliver Foundation in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.

Montalvo Arts Center Presents Food & Wine Classic IX on June 3rd


The Historic Villa at the Montalvo Arts Center; photo from their Facebook.

Event Info

Sunday Jun  3, 2012 5:30pm–8:30pm $175 general, $150 members Info/tickets                        The Historic Villa at the Montalvo Arts Center 15400 Montalvo Rd. at Piedmont Rd., Saratoga 408-961-5858

Head south on Sunday June 3rd for the ninth annual FOOD & WINE CLASSIC, and you’ll be enjoying food from 21 notable California chefs and restaurants and sipping wines from 22 fine California wineries, all on the gorgeous grounds of the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, which is also celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Hopping on board for the first time is Chez Panisse, who will be joining the returning Manresa, as well as Acquerello, The Ahwahnee Dining Room, Arka, Bistro Moulin, Chez TJ, Cin-Cin, Dolce Bella Chocolates and Cafe, Farallon, Flea Street, Kokkari Estiatorio, Le Papillon, Madera (Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel), Navio (The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay), Plumed Horse, Sent Sovi, Taste Catering, Viognier, Whole Foods Market (Los Gatos), and Montalvo Culinary Fellow Niki Ford.

Pouring wine this year are Bernardus Winery, Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards, Domain Eden, Faust, Grgich Hills Estate, House Family Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Joyce Vineyards, Kathryn Kennedy Winery, Oakville Ranch, Paloma Vineyard, PasoPort Wine Co., Pride Mountain Vineyards, Ridge Vineyards, Rombauer Vineyards, Silver Oak Cellars, Sojourn Cellars, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Talbott Vineyards, Testarossa Winery, Thomas Fogarty Winery, and Twomey Cellars.

The live and silent auctions will include rare and limited-edition wines, and special dining and travel packages—good luck! 5:30pm-8:30pm. Tickets are $175 general ($125 tax-deductible), $150 members ($100 tax-deductible), and are limited to 425 tickets. Buy online or by phone: 408-961-5858. Net proceeds benefit more than 20,000 students, teachers, artists, and musicians supported by the Montalvo Arts Center nonprofit organization.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

The Social Club, a Luxe Bacon Dinner, Oakville Grocery Returns


A rendering of The Social Club (courtesy of Mick Suverkrubbe).


St. Francis Winery & Vineyards (photo by Heather Irwin).


Oakville Grocery in Napa; photo courtesy of Oakville Grocery.


A rendering of French Blue in St. Helena, courtesy of French Blue.

By 707 correspondent, Heather Irwin.

More SF players moving north: The team behind SF’s Circa, The Cosmopolitan, and Parlor Bar plan to open THE SOCIAL CLUB in Petaluma this July. Executive chef Steven Levine will create a rustic American menu around a wood-fired oven and grill expected to include smoked short ribs, grilled Angus hangar steak, Prather Ranch burgers, and Sonoma fried chicken. Prices will range from $5-$24. Levine garnered critical acclaim for The Cosmopolitan and was the former chef of Freestyle in Sonoma. Owners are currently looking for a chef de cuisine.

Big names attached include restaurateur Mick Suverkrubbe, designer Lauren Geremia (Blackbird, Churchill, Citizen’s Band), a beverage program developed by Alex Fox (Bar Tartine, Gary Danko, Myth), and GM Damion Wallace (Wexler’s, Bistro Aix, Gary Danko, and Myth). The bar menu will include 50 bottled craft beers, single-malt scotches, and bourbons, along with an affordable wine list. Outdoor fire pits and a large patio are key outdoor features planned for the restaurant.

Bacon beckons at ST. FRANCIS WINERY & VINEYARDS on Saturday May 19th, when the Sonoma Valley winery hosts a Luxury Bacon Dinner. It’s a porktastic voyage that includes a bacon-stuffed roulade of beef, chicken-fried bacon and gravy, smoked bacon tamari, and banana bread with bacon lardons for dessert. 100 Pythian Rd. at Hwy 12, Santa Rosa, 707-833-0242.

After closing in January for much-needed repairs, Napa Valley’s OAKVILLE GROCERY reopens Tuesday May 22nd. The 130-year-old general store best known for its gourmet picnic fare has an upgraded interior and menu. There’s a new walk-up espresso window and ice cream counter (serving locally made Three Twins ice cream, natch) along with a farm stand featuring fresh produce from nearby Rudd Farms. Newly appointed toque Jason Rose (formerly of the Delfina Group and La Cocina) has rejiggered the menu to include updated sandwiches, salads, baked goods, and seasonal produce from the farm. The 130-year-old general store was rescued from an uncertain future by winery and restaurant owner Leslie Rudd (Dean and Deluca, Press, Oakville Estate) in 2007. 7856 Saint Helena Hwy. at Oakville Rd., Napa, 707-944-8802.

It’s a busy month for Rudd, who will also open the forthcoming FRENCH BLUE in St. Helena on Tuesday May 29th. The restaurant, named for the signature blue doors that have stood at the entrance of the redesigned building for 50 years, will serve a variety of farm-to-table-inspired dishes using a wood-fired oven. Executive chef Philip Wang (Carneros Inn, Daniel, Jardinière) heads the kitchen, while designers Howard and Lori Backen dish up sleek Wine Country design. Managing partner Stanley Morris (Teatro ZinZanni) adds to the restaurant’s star-power credentials. French Blue will serve dinner only (5pm-11pm) until Monday June 4th, when it opens for lunch, adding breakfast service Wednesday June 13th. 1429 Main St. at Adams St., St. Helena, 707-968-9200.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Molto Cool?

Over the weekend, drummer Tré Cool of Green Day came in to dine at Ristobar.

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