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May 21, 2012 19 min read

May 22, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: time to werque it out!

May 22, 2012 - This week's tablehopper: time to werque it out!
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: time to werque it out!                    

The start of a meal at Central Kitchen. Photo: ©

I am going to be such a clock-watcher today, because tonight I’m going to see the gorgeous and glamorous Dita Von Teese perform at the Fillmore. Strip Strip Hooray! (I heard last night’s show was just beyond.) Another thing that is just beyond is the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young, have you been yet? What a show. I went on Friday evening around 5pm and it wasn’t crazy-packed at all (followed by prosecco and a bite at the de Young Café, which stays open later on Friday evenings).

Last week had me hopping all over to check out all kinds of new places: Central Kitchen, Comal, Gioia Pizzeria on Polk, and one of my favorite new sandwich spots, 1058hoagie. Go SF!

Meanwhile, New York is all abuzz with the opening of Mission Chinese Food on the Lower East Side. I also had a bit of fun this weekend watching my worlds collide: Krug and Burning Man. The comments certainly had me more entertained than last week’s episode of Mad Men. Here’s some analysis of the scenario (a total sh*tshow) for those with a lot of free time on their hands.

A couple of event updates. First, are you going to join me and Peter Temkin on Friday June 15th for our salumi class at Ramekins in Sonoma? The lineup of meats we’re tasting keeps getting better and better, check it out!

And many of you know I am a big fan (and supporter) of CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services). The organization’s annual big fundraising event, SummerTini, is coming up on Friday June 8th, and I was lucky to get a discount code for tablehopper readers! Use code tablehopper when buying tickets and get 20 percent off (so that means tickets are $100 versus $125). This special offer ends on Monday May 28th at 11:59pm. Please consider buying a ticket—and you won’t believe the very special auction items, like a trip to Tuscany or dinner for two at six top SF restaurants! (Some go for a very good price, FYI.)

Okay, one last thing: today on You Gotta Eat This, I am talking about the Del Popolo pizza truck. (It could also be on an episode of You Gotta See This!)

All righty then, have a swell week!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia; bonus round: the second “g” is silent in Gagliardi)

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Details on Salumeria, Opening Thursday May 31st


Salumeria is the corner building, and Central Kitchen surrounds it to the right and left. Photo: ©

Opening on Thursday May 31st is SALUMERIA, the project opening next door to Central Kitchen from the flour + water team. I took a tour of the space a couple of weeks ago, but sadly wasn’t allowed to take pics. Anyway, here are the details: this delicatessen is taking a cue from the old world, featuring both house-cured meats by chef de cuisine Matt Sigler and imports like serrano or prosciutto from Parma, plus five sandwiches a day (like spit-roasted lamb or porchetta, sausage, a hoagie, and a vegetarian option). You can also order a variety of antipasti, cheeses (there is a dedicated cheesemonger!), and items like pâté and duck liver mousse with vin santo gelée. Since Salumeria will be open during the day, you can enjoy your lunch or late afternoon snack on the adjoining Central Kitchen courtyard over a glass of wine or beer (or a coffee, featuring Mr. Espresso).

The building was originally a sausage factory (the original concrete walls have a great patina), and it has a cool rustic-industrial look. The lamps are made from olive-picking buckets, there’s a butcher block in the center of the room, and the ceiling is made with planks from a fin de siècle gymnasium. You’ll notice a rack with finished salumi hanging, and chiles and peppers drying near the ceiling. The retail component includes wines for sale, along with housemade items like olives, pastas, sauces, chutney, and jams. For the first week, Salumeria will be open daily from 9am-5:30pm, and then 9am-8pm the second week. 3000 20th St. at Florida.

A Temporary Offering Project Launches Lunch with Sol Food (at FoodLab)


FoodLab dining room; photo from FoodLab.


Renoir Hotel; photo from Yelp by Kevin Y.


The delicious pink beans at Sol Food. Photo: ©

A couple of weeks ago, I heard word about the Bon Vivants opening a new bar in the Renoir Hotel at 7th and Market streets called Rio Grande (although I had to keep quiet about it), and I saw signs for FoodLab on the side of the hotel; now a press release reveals the details. It ends up that the Kor Group, which recently purchased the Renoir Hotel, is launching A TEMPORARY OFFERING, a pop-up collection of businesses.

The FoodLab portion of the project (Matt Cohen of Off the Grid is a partner) will have pop-up food vendors serving lunch and dinner in the space (it formerly housed Little Joe’s). The kitchen will also be used as a commissary for food trucks and other businesses (always a hot commodity), and there’s a 49-seat dining room designed by Kelly Malone.

Now here’s the really fun part: the first pop-up tenant will be San Rafael’s Sol Food by Sol Hernandez, famous for her Puerto Rican cuisine. Lunch will launch this Wed May 23rd-Thu May 24th from 10:30am-2pm, and then Sol Food will be returning next week on Tue May 29th, and for the next four weeks will serve lunch Mon-Fri. On the menu: baked chicken thighs, rotisserie pork ribs, sweet plantain and vegetable casserole, pink or black beans, plantain chips with tangy dipping sauce, rice, fresh limeade, orange-mango iced tea, coconut pudding, and vanilla flan. You can keep track on the FoodLab calendar here. To celebrate the new lunch service, a Puerto Rican musical trio will be performing this Thursday.

Another component to the project is Trailhead, the Luggage Store Gallery’s satellite retail project bringing together locally roasted coffee, a youth-initiated high-end denim boutique (which will offer a jeans repair shop!), seedling farm outlet, and local artist-made ephemera, including books, zines, and maps.

As for Rio Grande, which is opening June 1st in the former Etiquette Lounge/Fuel space, stand by for exclusive details on that part of the project in a week. As the Bon Vivants describe it, it’s going to be a pop-up rock ‘n’ roll bar with live shows. The bartenders will be slinging American whiskey, “Mexican whiskey,” and a couple canned beers. All in all, it’s an exciting development for the Mid-Market neighborhood.

Wexler's Launches a Mobile Barbecue Shack: Wexler's Back


One of my favorite lunchtime dishes at Wexler’s: the smoked chicken wings. Photo: ©

Chef-owner Charlie Kleinman and the rest of his WEXLER’S team are launching Wexler’s Back, a new barbecue shack and smoking truck on wheels that they will be parking on Commercial Street alley (behind the restaurant) for lunch Mon-Fri. Kleinman writes: “Gone is the ‘clever twist on BBQ’ from the restaurant. Instead we are doing straight-up, no-nonsense BBQ and sides. We will be making sauces, sides, and everything from scratch, as would be expected, but otherwise no frills.”

It all begins this Friday May 25th, 11am-2pm. Like barbecue and have a party coming up? You can also contact them for catering and private events on nights and weekends. Follow updates on Twitter at @wexlersback. 565 Commercial St. at Montgomery.

Wexler's            - 568 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-983-0102

New Projects: Loretta Keller at the New Exploratorium, El Faro Comes to the Haight, More


A rendering of the new Exploratorium location, courtesy of Exploratorium.

A random roundup of projects that are coming soon: first, chef Loretta Keller (COCO500) is partnering with Bon Appétit Management Company to create the menus and food for the two cafés planned for the upcoming Exploratorium location at Pier 15. The new location will open in 2013. Embarcadero at Green Street.

The Mission’s EL FARO (supposedly the original inventor of the super burrito) will be opening a taqueria in the former Taqueria El Balazo space in the Upper Haight, according to Uppercasing. This will be their fourth location. 1654 Haight St. at Cole.

Meanwhile, it looks like the rumors may be true: a Chinese restaurant appears to be coming to the Lower Haight, taking over the Clay Oven Space on the corner at Fillmore. The new name on the license is WONDERLAND, listing owner Ningzhe Wen of Wild Pepper in the Mission. Here’s more on Haighteration. 500 Haight St. at Fillmore.

Moving into the former DUMPLINGS & BUNS spot in Pacific Heights will be SIFT, a cupcake and dessert bar. This is their fourth location—the company has three locations in Napa and Sonoma counties. The opening is slated for end of summer/beginning of autumn. 2411 California St. at Fillmore.

Kitchen Changes at A16, Ame, Southpaw BBQ, Maverick, and Bluestem


Photo courtesy of A16.

Here’s an update on some kitchen staff movements around town. First, executive chef David Taylor of A16 has been replaced by Christopher Thompson, previously sous chef (and also behind A16’s butchery and salumi program), as reported by the Scoop.

Over at AME, Randy Lutz has been named new executive chef—he started with the restaurant as executive sous chef (he was previously chef de partie on Saison’s opening team in 2009).

In the Mission, SOUTHPAW BBQ has a new chef, Max Hussey, who has cooked at Emeril’s Delmonico in New Orleans, a couple of places in Asheville, North Carolina, and locally at 25 Lusk and Epic Roasthouse. He is reportedly improving the staples, in addition to rounding out the menu with classic dishes that originate from various places throughout the South (including some lesser-known dishes). On Monday May 28th, Southpaw will start offering lunchtime takeout and delivery in the Mission from 11am-2pm every day, with the exception of Tuesdays, when they are closed. Southpaw is also launching Sunday brunch on June 3rd, with dishes like a Benton’s ham Monte Cristo with country gravy and sunny-side up egg; and a crispy poached egg with andouille hollandaise and green onion buttermilk biscuit.

At MAVERICK, Emmanuel Eng is the new executive chef (he came aboard last fall as chef de cuisine). Inside Scoop mentions his new menu launches June 1st, with dishes like crispy sweetbreads with “Cool Ranch” and sweet corn mousseline, and hot shrimp cocktail with horseradish custard.

Last week I received a call from James Ormsby, the consulting pastry chef for BLUESTEM BRASSERIE; he is no longer involved with the project due to too many other commitments, like a book proposal. Owners Adam and Stacy Jed are currently seeking a full-time pastry chef.

Closures, Reopenings, and Relocations


Fior d’Italia exterior; photo from Facebook.

Edible Escapes was the first to release the news of the closure of FIOR D’ITALIA, known for being America’s oldest Italian restaurant. After a 126-year run, the restaurant closed last night. Scoop mentions partner Trudy Audieri “and her husband Gianni (also the chef) want to reopen Fior D’Italia at some point down the line. They actually tried to buy out the other owner, Bob Larive, unsuccessfully prior to the closure.” 2237 Mason St. at Chestnut.

On the comeback trail, CELIA’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT in the Outer Sunset reopened this Saturday May 19th after closing for a renovation. 4019 Judah St. at 45th Ave., 415-564-0662.

At the end of Sunday May 27th, CROWN & CRUMPET will be closing its Ghirardelli Square tearoom and should be reopening in a downtown San Francisco location in the early fall. If all goes well with the deal, owners Amy and Christopher Dean will also be unveiling a new private party room, tea bar, and their retail shop, Fancy Goods.

Oyster Happy Hour at Local's Corner


Interior of Local’s Corner. Photo: ©

Pssst, thought you’d like to know LOCAL’S CORNER is launching an oyster happy hour every Tue-Sat from 2pm-6pm. Get two-for-one oysters and $5 Dashe Cellars rosé. It all starts today, Tuesday May 22nd.

Local's Corner            - 2500 Bryant St. San Francisco - 415-800-7945

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?


A couple of restaurants are hosting special guests next month. First, owner Rick Hackett of BOCANOVA in Jack London Square is hosting his next Rick’s Supper Club on Thursday June 7th. There will be a five-course sustainable seafood menu served family style in partnership with Monterey Fish Market’s owner Paul Johnson. Wines will be provided by Oakland’s Roland Rosario Cellars, and a cocktail is included in the price as well. 7pm, $68 (excluding tax and gratuity). Upcoming dates include July 5th: Renato Sardo of Belcampo Meats and Baia Pasta with Charlie Dollbam of Carica Wines; and August 2nd: Marty Jacobson and Janet Brown of Allstar Organics with Arnold and Alma Tudal of Tudal Winery. Call for info/reservations: 510-444-1233. 55 Webster St. in Jack London Square, Oakland.

Tue June 19th and Wed June 20th, ATELIER CRENN is hosting chef de cuisine Jeremiah Langhorne of Sean Brock’s restaurant McCrady’s (Charleston, South Carolina) for their second dinner event, Dialogue: A series of collaborations, creativity, and conversations. This dialogue will consist of ten courses, five from each chef. $160; wine pairing $100. Reserve.

Top of the Mark's Classic Summer Film Series Kicks Off May 29th


InterContinental Hotel Mark Hopkins; photo via Yelp.

A guest post by Dana Massey-Todd.

If you’ve ever secretly longed for a simpler time, when women were women, men were men, we all smoked cigarettes, and everyone wore a hat, hike on up to Nob Hill’s TOP OF THE MARK for Tuesday pairings of classic films and wines. The Mark Hopkins InterContinental will be hosting screenings all summer long at their classic rooftop lounge. Nostalgic for retro pricing, too? No problem: films and tastings are complimentary but the suggested donation is a mere $3 to benefit BayKids, a Bay Area organization committed to helping children with medical challenges express themselves through filmmaking.

Wine tastings are every Tuesday 5:30pm-7:30pm, starting May 29th. Film screenings begin at 7:30pm and include Gone with the Wind, Mary Poppins, Sunset Boulevard, and Rear Window (you can view the entire schedule here). Domaine Chandon brut and rosé will be on offer in May and June, and later in the summer they’ll begin pouring Wild Horse and Spellbound reds and whites. If you’re really looking to impress your gal or guy, VIP packages are also available for front-row seats. 1 Nob Hill (at Mason and California).

Berkeley Report: Café Fanny Becoming Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar; Addie's Closes


After hearing rumors about the new tenant for the vacant CAFÉ FANNY space, Berkeleyside announces the new tenant is BARTAVELLE COFFEE & WINE BAR. The owner is Suzanne Drexhage of Kermit Lynch (and a former Chez Panisse server)—the Inside Scoop learns that she is going to be serving coffee, wine, and simple wine bar fare. A friend also tells me there will be salumi from Christopher Lee, formerly of Eccolo and now at Il Buco Alimentari in New York. For now, a  Facebook post mentions “Luigi Oldani and his trusty vintage machine will make you a delicious Sightglass cappuccino on the patio!” You can swing by for a coffee from 7:30am-3pm or so, daily, until Bartavelle opens later this summer.

In case you were wondering about Alice Waters’ involvement, and the name, Scoop says: “Alice Waters is not involved in this new venture, though she did have some influence into the winning concept, and its name. A bartavelle is a rock partridge, and it even has a loose connection to Marcel Pagnol—in his memoir, Pagnol recounts a story of shooting the birds with his father and uncle.” UPDATE: This very detailed piece in Berkeleyside has a bunch of details. 1603 San Pablo Ave. at Cedar, Berkeley.

I also learned ADDIE’S PIZZA PIE has unfortunately closed. The project was from Jennifer Millar (Sweet Adeline) and Thomas Schnetz (Doña Tomas). Some of you may know that Beauty’s Bagel Shop uses Addie’s wood-fired ovens. A quick call over to the Beauty’s crew confirms they still have access to the ovens, and hopefully that will continue until their new shop in Oakland opens—which is getting pretty close (it will be at 3838 Telegraph Ave. at 38th Street). 3290 Adeline St. at Alcatraz, Berkeley.

New Oakland Projects: Portal and Rosamunde at Swan's


The former patio at Wasabi. Photo from Yelp by Jessica I.

Opening in about six weeks on Lake Merritt in the former Wasabi space is PORTAL, a project from Jennifer Tucci (Rosamunde) and Warren Rector. They are giving the location a massive overhaul, with 40 seats inside and about 75 outside on a giant outdoor patio that has a fantastic view (and Plexiglas panels to help shield the wind). They are currently seeking a chef, but the concept will be heavily vegetarian and healthful Californian fare made from organic and sustainable ingredients, plus some international influences; there is also a pizza oven. Dinner and weekend brunch will be served. 1611 2nd Ave. at Foothill, Oakland.

Since Tucci is a partner with Josh Margolis in ROSAMUNDE, I was able to get a few details about their upcoming location in Old Oakland, which will be considered a part of Swan’s Market, but is actually a storefront on the side of the complex (in the former Suruki space). They just signed the lease and hope to open at the end of the summer. There will be sausages, beer, and outdoor tables, too; lunch and dinner will be served. 911 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland.

In the meantime, Rosamunde is hosting a pop-up biergarten of sorts on Saturday afternoons at Classic Cars West. Swing by from 2pm until dusk for sausages off the outdoor grill (there are vegan dogs as well), four to six beers, and wine on tap. There are tables in the outdoor yard where you can sit and relax and listen to music. 411 26th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): L'Aventure Languedoc: A Citywide Wine Tasting Opportunity in May

Join the Languedoc Adventure. For the entire month of May, more than 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

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Events: Spring Cocktails of the Farmers Market, a Sake Tasting, and More


Awww, so purty. I shall drink you. Photo courtesy of CUESA.

You ready to get your drink on? Good. This Wednesday May 23rd is the Spring Cocktails of the Farmers Market event, the latest installment of the Farmers Market Cocktail Happy Hour series. There will be 12 bartenders serving two full-sized cocktails from Herradura Tequila and 10 smaller sample-sized drinks, along with bites from 15 Romolo, Fifth Floor, and Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen. $40, tickets here. 5:30pm-8pm. CUESA Kitchen at the Ferry Building.

IZAKAYA YUZUKI in the Mission has hired Yoshi Sako from Corkage Sake and Wine Shop on Fulton to work for the restaurant. He’s one of the city’s best educators on sake and is hosting an introductory sake class at Izakaya Yuzuki on Saturday May 26th. You will taste five sakes in this one-hour class. 4:30pm. $35. RSVP here.

Starting tonight, if you feel like some live jazz and punch, swing by BURRITT TAVERN in Union Square for Jazz and Genever Tuesday. You can order Bols Genever basil peach punch on special at $5 per glass, and there will be additional Bols Genever cocktail specials as well (and the jazz is free!). Tonight for the kickoff, light appetizers will be served for the first hour. Tuesdays through June 12th, 5pm-8pm.

Wine Events: TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting and Pinot Days


Photo of TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting 2010 from Facebook.

Fans of Iberian wines, here’s your chance to attend the most extensive annual tasting of domestically produced Spanish and Portuguese varietal wines in North America at the TAPAS GRAND WINE TASTING, which takes place in the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Saturday June 9th, 2pm-5pm. Hosted by the Tempranillo Advocates, Producers and Amigos Society, the grand tasting showcases more than 40 participating wineries and growers, including limited-production, family-owned wineries pouring small-lot wines that are not widely available. Chat with the growers and producers, then buy some wine to take home ‘cause it will be available for sale at this event. There’s a silent auction too. Tickets are $65.

PINOT DAYS are yours and mine come Saturday June 16th, when the eighth annual pinot grand tasting event is back in SF, incidentally, also at the Festival Pavilion. More than 170 domestic pinot producers will be on hand at the largest wine festival dedicated to pinot noir so you can taste stylistically diverse pinots from all different regions, side by side. The producers hail from the Sonoma Coast to the Willamette Valley, Anderson Valley to the Santa Rita Hills, Santa Cruz Mountains to the Russian River Valley. The public event starts at 2pm; sip and sample ‘til 5pm. Tickets are $50; take note of the related events too. (Trade, click here.) Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, enter at Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St.

               Saturday Jun  9, 2012 – Saturday Jun 16, 2012 more info


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): CORRECTION Regarding the Wines of Portugal Event

Wines of Portugal invites you to their Annual Grand Tasting in San Francisco on Monday June 4th, 2012. 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. Correction: the first 100 people who purchase tickets (not the first 100 to arrive) will receive a complimentary signed copy of The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco. No need to hustle over after work, just hustle to get your tickets now! 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)

Upcoming Benefits: A Luau on Baker Beach and a Brunch in Berkeley


 Event Info

Monday May 28, 2012 – Sunday Jun  3, 2012

Nothing beats combining good food with a good cause. Here are a couple upcoming fundraisers that do just that: a luau with Namu Gaji on Memorial Day, then a brunch with Sam Mogannam of Bi-Rite Market on June 3rd.

Join the Lee brothers of NAMU GAJI for a Memorial Day Hawaiian luau at Baker Beach on Monday May 28th, kicking off at 12:30pm with a Hawaiian-style opening ceremony. The menu is full of island flair, including a whole, organic Llano Seco pig cooked underground, imu style, plus lomi-lomi salmon, poke, poi (made with fresh taro root), and haupia pudding. Don’t forget to bring your own beverages. Seating is limited, so it’s time to bust out your beach chairs and beach blankets. Noon-4pm. Tickets are $50; free for kids under 7. All ingredients will be sourced and donated by Namu Gaji. Update: Namu Gaji has decided they will not remain open for takeout lunch service on Monday. All proceeds go to SF-based nonprofit Surf for Life, which builds schools and related projects to help kids in developing coastal towns in El Salvador and Costa Rica continue on to education beyond eighth grade.

Then, on Sunday June 3rd, nonprofit Three Squares is throwing their annual THREE SQUARES BRUNCH FUNDRAISER in the Pauley Ballroom at UC Berkeley (2475 Bancroft Way). Staff, volunteers, and supporters will share a farm-fresh meal while keynote speaker Sam Mogannam, owner of Bi-Rite Market, shares his thoughts on why cooking matters. On the menu: salads galore! There will also be live jazz, a silent auction, and raffle prizes, including a day with a Napa Valley winemaker, a private cooking party for 10, a catered lunch for your office, and gift certificates to Bay Area restaurants, museums, and more. 11am. Tickets start at $20. Three Squares runs Cooking Matters, a free cooking and nutrition program for at-risk families all over the Bay Area.

Sunset Celebration Weekend Is June 2nd-3rd


Photo courtesy of Sunset.


Asian-style tacos at Celebration Weekend 2011. Photo by Daisy Chow.

Event Info

Saturday Jun  2, 2012 – Sunday Jun  3, 2012 General admission $16; seniors (60 and over) $14; children 12 and under free Info                        Sunset Headquarters 80 Willow Rd. at Middlefield, Menlo Park

For the 15th year, Sunset magazine’s CELEBRATION WEEKEND is back June 2nd-3rd at the magazine’s seven-acre Menlo Park headquarters, and this year’s theme pays tribute to all that’s “Fresh from the West,” especially when it comes to food. That means celebrity chefs, Sunset’s own food editors, food trucks, and many a food and drink sample will be at your disposal.

Nine celebrity chefs will be doing the demo thing, including Guy Fieri of Food Network (no comments about the lost-and-found Lambo, okay?), Yigit Pura from Top Chef Just Desserts, and locals Chris Cosentino of Incanto and David Bazirgan of Fifth Floor. The full presentation schedule is here. You can learn grilling recipes and techniques, see Sunset’s famed test kitchen, or tour the diverse cuisine of the West via food trucks, which will be serving up all kinds of goodness from Asian cuisine to fried chicken to paella. Seoul on Wheels, Hapa SF, Curry Up Now, and many more will be parked on-site all weekend long.

You’ll want to register early for the wine seminars; they do sell out. Wine editor Sara Schneider will take participants through the wine regions of the West, including Mendocino, Washington, Oregon, and the Temecula Valley. And “Start the Day with Bubbles” sounds like a great idea too. $15; limited seating on a first-come, first-served basis. For the DIY enthusiast, the Backyard Farm area is expanding this year; drop by to learn about canning and preserving, beekeeping, growing mushrooms, and backyard chickens.

The box office opens at 9:30am on event days. General admission is $16; $14 for seniors (60 and over, no other discounts allowed); free for children 12 and under. More event logistics and $1 discount info here. Spot stays home: no pets. A portion of the proceeds benefits the Children’s Health Council.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Her Meowness, Michelle Pfeiffer, Spotted in St. Helena

The ever-gorgeous Michelle Pfeiffer, starring in Tim Burton’s new film, Dark Shadows, was spotted having lunch with a couple of friends at Farmstead restaurant in St. Helena. Dining on the outdoor patio, Pfeiffer ordered the chopped salad with Granny Smith apple, English peas, Rancho Gordo beans, aged goat’s milk cheese, and fava beans. (And now I want to order that salad too.)

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