From the Night Market: Juhu Beach Club’s super-fantastic vada pav. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hola amigos! Considering there were 80,000 people who attended this weekend’s amazing SF Street Food Festival, I am assuming many of you attended. What a day, right? Kudos to the incredible La Cocina team (and all the volunteers!) for putting on such a stellar weekend full of events. The mind reels with all the details they had to manage to put this all on. Bravi!
And huge thanks to everyone who swung by my table to say hi and check out the new tablehopper T-shirts on Saturday! Can I just say how much my readers rock? Yes, you. Dana, my fab editorial assistant, and I were blown away with your kindness and enthusiasm. While we had to (wo)man the table all day, we did manage to sneak out for a few bites here and there—and also got styled by some deliveries from Il Cane Rosso, Wise Sons Deli, and Almanac Beer (thanks gang!).
The Night Market on Friday night was really fun—loved the selection of beers from Whole Foods’ Potrero store, the cocktails from Rye, and the fact that Ryan Farr (as part of the Bone & Gristle Boys) was out to kill us yet again with The Boss Hogg. Check out my photo album from the weekend here.
So the madness doesn’t stop. I’m actually preparing to leave for Burning Man in less than a week. Yes, I’m one of “those people“—and have been since 1996! It’s a magical event, and this year is going to be particularly special because my sister and I are bringing our father out there for his first time. Yeah, the Gagliardis are going to be in full effect—it will be one for the books. So I am going to be in a serious crunch the next week trying to get the hell out of Dodge, wish me luck and please forgive me if I don’t return your email for a couple of weeks. (I’m also doing a daily prayer to the jury duty goddess, praying I don’t have to come in this week. Two free days down, three to go. Talk about inconvenient timing, oy.)
Two more things for your radar: first, in the spirit of radical self-expression, I have to point you to this captivating video homage by Bill Cunningham of the inimitable Anna Piaggi, may her colorful spirit rest in peace. And speaking of memorable women, are you aware of the fundraiser for Marian and Vivian Brown, otherwise known as “the twins” here in our fair city? Ends up they are going through a hard situation, and it’s time for SF to show how much we take care of our own.
Cheers my dears! Marcia Gagliardi
Last week I had a chance to tour and dine at the new FARINA PIZZA & CUCINA ITALIANA, the latest project from the Farina team at the corner of 18th Street and Valencia. There’s a coffee counter open for service in the morning, along with some baked goods, like Italian cornetti. (I put in a request for sfogliatella, the Neapolitan pastry I will request on my deathbed.)
Both lunch and dinner are served, with the menu centered around classic Neapolitan pizzas, 11 in all. The stone pizza oven with black mosaic tile is a beaut (Black Beauty!), made by Antonio Langella—there are only two others like it in the U.S. (in the Bronx), while Japan has 40(!). It’s made with sand from Vesuvius, which no doubt contributes to its fiery temp. My father and I were blown away with our pizzas, which came out in 45 seconds cooked evenly and beautifully. For those who dislike the char of Neapolitan pizzas cooked in wood-fired ovens, you’ll enjoy this one.
The pizzaiolo, Gennaro Langella, has been well taught by his father Antonio, who has been making pizzas for 55 years (Gennaro is the fifth generation of pizza makers in his family). Father and son are working closely together this initial month while the pizzeria ramps up. The dough has great flavor (it’s made with Caputo flour) and an amazing elasticity—you have to nab a seat at the counter so you can watch the crew prepare the pizzas. I had to try the D.O.C., with buffalo mozzarella, while my father had the Romano with really delicious anchovies (all pizzas are $15). The sauce is made with tomatoes from La Fiammante, a brand that is only provided to Neapolitan pizzaioli and is not exported to the U.S.; due to Antonio’s connections with the producer, Farina has access to the prized tomatoes.
You’ll also need to try the montanara ($5), a puffed-up ball of pizza dough fried in olive oil and finished in the oven, topped with cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basil, and a dollop of fior di latte mozzarella. Yeah, bring on the carbs. Chef Paolo Laboa of Farina up the street is putting his mark on the dishes outside of the pizzas, like a risotto with seafood ($15) and manfredi pasta with lobster sauce ($25). There’s also a monster-size tronchetto ($25) on the menu, filled with four kinds of cheese, prosciutto, arugula, and cherry tomatoes. Look for farinata soon as well (a Genovese specialty).
Desserts like a panna cotta and tiramisu are simple but beautifully made by co-pastry chefs Luca Cappelletti and Luca Rubicondo (both are fresh from Italy). Do try the pastiera napoletana, a whole-wheat cake made with ricotta, egg, pastry cream, and orange zest (Antonio shared the recipe he learned as a young boy with the kitchen crew). All the wines are from San Marino (partner Luca Minna is an ambassador for the republic), and there is also a selection of artisan Italian bottled beers from Sardinia, Piedmont, and beyond (they’re not cheap).
Architect-designer Brett Terpeluk has graced the city with another one of his killer spaces: the white exterior of the building has textured hex tiles and is a bit space-agey, while the interior is inviting and cheerful. I loved the Douglas fir planks painted sea foam green behind the coffee bar and under the counters, with the sleek, white, tufted swivel chairs. The kitchen area gleams with white subway tiles, and the eye-catching ceiling above the dining area is made of undulating panels featuring faces from the comic Diabolik in the 1960s (see if you can find your name up there) and mirrors (the panels feature custom LED lighting). The restaurant is full of gorgeous woodwork by Kyle Minor Design (it’s all black acacia wood). Marble everywhere, check. There are a lot of hard surfaces, so the volume is definitely lively—along with some upbeat house music on the system.
When all is said and done, it’s not a very big space: there is room for 35 inside, with only four wood communal tables (they seat six), plus the seven-seat counter overlooking the pizza oven and the side room with a smaller four-seat counter. Fortunately the pizzas cook quickly, so people will be in and out of there. Once the permit for outdoor seating goes through, there will be another 24 seats added under the heat lamps. Large windows look out from the dining room onto Valencia, which will be open on warm nights.
There’s a bottega along the side of the dining room where you can buy artisan pastas, plus Farina’s world-famous pesto. The counter will also serve as a takeout spot for pizzas as well. Yeah, just when we thought we were done with pizza in this town—and then we get this project that has everyone who walks by turning his head. No reservations, by the way.
Farina Pizza & Cucina Italiana - 700 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-565-1900
After 23 years in business, Maharani Restaurant at the corner of Post and Polk closed last October. But the space has a new future (and owners): the crew behind Blur up the street on Polk are going to open BITTERS, BOCK, AND RYE in mid-October. There will be house-brewed beer and a full bar, hence the name that plays to both. Since there’s a large kitchen, there will be a big food component, focused on serving Southern (specifically Texan) barbecue. The chef manning the smoker will be Aaron Little, previously at Brick Yard on Union. Dinner will be served late into the night (until 1am), along with an all-day weekend brunch until dinner service kicks in. Yeah, and since there’s a liquor license, it’s gonna be boozy.
It’s a big space, with three different areas. The dining room will be casual and comfortable, plus there’s a private party room (800 square feet) with chandeliers and a more loungy vibe. The taproom is going to feature small tanks behind the bar with the home brews—there will be 12 to 18 beers on tap in all, and the spirits will be focused on bourbon, tequila, and Scotch. Specialty cocktails from Blur will also be making their way over. The partners are Ron Kirkpatrick and his wife Holly, along with Shannon Henne and Jon Boswell—they previously owned Tonic, and Tongue and Groove together. Stand by for updates in the coming weeks. 1122 Post St. at Polk.
As previously reported on tablehopper, the new restaurant headed to the former Mecca space in the Castro is SHANGHAI, from restaurateur Francis Tsai. They will be opening (softly) August 22nd (that’s tomorrow!).
Tsai has brought on chef Leo Gan, formerly of Shanghai 1930, to run the kitchen. The food will be focused on modern Shanghai cuisine, with locally sourced products and a seasonally changing menu. You can look at the menu here and here. There will be dinner Tue-Sat, and dim sum brunch will be added on Saturdays and Sundays in mid-September. There will also be a late-night dining menu with small plates from 10pm-11:45pm. Finally, my dream of late-night xiao long bao (soup dumplings) is manifesting!
The large space seats 130 diners, including the bar. There are a few different seating areas that can accommodate larger groups, including a lounge area off the bar with comfy tufted seats. The dining room is partitioned into a few different sections, so the large space should still feel intimate and comfortable. In the evenings after 9:30pm, the area behind the bar will feature a grand piano playing live music, for extra meowness. There will also be parking available until 10pm in a lot at 14th Street and Guerrero, with a shuttle van that will take diners to the restaurant. For now, parking in the lot is $10. Dinner Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm, late-night dining 10pm-11:45pm. 2029 Market St. at Dolores, 415-701-8866.
Liquor license activity revealed the upcoming addresses for both the new SAISON and BRENDA’S ORIGINAL PO’BOYS projects. First, Saison will be opening at 178 Townsend, in the Arc Light Co. building. Scoop confirms the owners, chef Joshua Skenes and sommelier Mark Bright, plan to move into the 4,000-square-foot space—as for what they’re doing there, well, stand by for details soon. And, for now, Saison (and its massive Molteni stove) are staying where they are.
As for Brenda’s upcoming project, she will be moving into the combined spaces of 1406-1408 Fillmore Street at Eddy. Yup, Fillmore rising.
Good news, fans of princess cake and little Italian cookies: 98-year-old VICTORIA PASTRY CO. has completed their move to a new North Beach location, across from Washington Square Park. It just opened over the weekend. Hours for now are Sun-Thu 7am-7pm, and Fri-Sat 7am-8pm (or 9pm—time will tell). 700 Filbert St. at Powell, 415-781-2015.
On Saturday while selling my new tablehopper T-shirts at the SF Street Food Festival, a friendly couple came by my table to say hello and tell me about their new project, LE MARAIS BAKERY, which Eater just noticed was opening in the former Jamba Juice space in the Marina. Patrick Ascaso and his wife Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso will be opening the bakery in late fall.
It will be an artisanal, organic bakery inspired by the boulangeries that Patrick loved while growing up in Paris, though it will have a Northern California influence with locally sourced ingredients. Think breads, pastries, scones, quiches, sandwiches, and pissaladière. Paxton Gate (who did the design for Flour + Water) will be doing the design and build. They are currently in demolition and have discovered many of the building’s original features (like a great skylight) that were covered up. Stand by for more in the coming weeks. 2066 Chestnut St. at Steiner.
This Friday August 24th, ROAM ARTISAN BURGERS will be opening their second location, at 1923 Fillmore in Pacific Heights. The new spot will feature the same well-sourced burgers, delicious housemade sodas, and rockin’ Straus Creamery milk shakes available at the Union Street location. In the burger department, look for the addition of ostrich meat for all you exotic meat aficionados. The birds will be sourced from O.K. Corral Ostrich Farm and join a lineup of patty options that includes grass-fed beef, turkey, bison, and vegetarian. There will be beer and vino on tap, including the spicy Allagash White, a dry rosé of Grenache from Boat Dock, and a variety of red wines.
Anthony Fish and his team at Arcanum have come up with a design that makes use of lots of reclaimed wood, railroad ties, and a long community table. The aesthetic will be similar to the Union Street location, with some cool alcove seating. Hours will be seven days a week, 11:30am-10pm. The new location is at 1923 Fillmore St. at Pine. 415-800-7801.
Grub Street notes a new lunch spot called SMALL FOODS has opened in South Park, which the architect-owners are calling “sort of a gourmet 7-11, with a small café up front.” Think soup, sandwiches, sushi, salads, and more; beer and wine is coming soon. Mon-Fri 7am-9pm, Sat 8am-6pm (contingent on game days). 522 2nd St. at Taber.
Looks like there’s going to be another grilled cheese outpost in the neighborhood: a location of THE MELT will be opening in October at 710 3rd Street and Townsend, next door to Lucky Strike. (Also worth mentioning: they’re doing a free day at the grand opening of their new Berkeley store this Thursday from 7am-12am at Telegraph and Channing. The secret password to get access will be posted on their Facebook page.)
Liquor license activity reveals the owners of YUMMY YUMMY have closed Y&Y Vietnamese Deli on Clement, and instead have opened Y&Y VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT. Chowhound mentions it’s more of a sit-down vibe than the casual Yummy Yummy in the Inner Sunset. Yummy Yummy’s food rocks, so I’m excited to check it out. Yelp mentions banh mi, pho, and larger dishes and rice plates; hours are Mon, Wed-Sun 10am-9pm. 914 Clement St. at 10th Ave., 415-387-2938.
Also in the Richmond, owner Eiichi Mochizuki has opened the fifth location of SHABUWAY (but the first in SF) serving quality meats like prime Angus beef, American Kobe beef, American Kobe lean beef, Niman Ranch lamb, and Kurobuta pork. (Vegetarians will also have plenty of options.) Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5:30pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. 5120 Geary Blvd. at 15th Ave., 415-668-6080.
Scoop reports The Palace Hotel’s very traditional KYO-YA is closing on September 21st after 20 years in business. Lunch and dinner will be served for the next month; the space is currently on the market. 2 New Montgomery St. at Market (in the Palace Hotel), 415-546-5090.
A couple of special seafood suppers this week: AMERICANO at Hotel Vitale is hosting its first ever Oceanic Dinner this Thursday August 23rd. Not only will chef Kory Stewart and his team prepare the Oceanic meal, they will catch the seafood themselves beforehand! The final menu will be determined by the day’s catch, but sample menu items may include charred Half Moon Bay octopus with tomato passata, wild fennel, and oil-cured olives. Seating begins at 6:30pm. $95 per person for four courses, inclusive of hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Reservations are required: 415-278-3777.
And from Thursday August 23rd-Sunday August 26th, chef Alicia Jenish of GRAND CAFÉ is hosting another one of her Misfit Dinners: this one will feature cephalopods! Think octopus, calamari, and more showing up in special dishes like an octopus terrine or housemade sausage-stuffed local squid.
Alicia is also teaching a cooking class on Saturday August 25th, demonstrating how to roast a leg of lamb in a bed of hay, plus panzanella and grilled marinated peppers. Tickets are $25. 2:30pm-4pm. Attendees that have brunch at Grand Café before the class receive 10 percent off of their brunch bill.
Grand Café - 501 Geary St. San Francisco - 415-292-0101
Good news: BEAUTY’S BAGEL SHOP is verrrrry close to opening its shop this week, potentially Wednesday or Thursday. East Bay Express has more on these Montreal-style wood-fired beauties coming our way. Tentative hours: Tue-Fri 7am-6pm, Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 3838 Telegraph Ave. at 38th St., Oakland, 510-788-6098.
East Bay residents can take advantage of the new patio seating at DISTRICT OAKLAND available Mon-Sat from 4pm until close. There’s room for 15 guests—and it’s sure to be the coveted spot when brunch launches next month. 827 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-272-9110.
Over in Berkeley, Berkeleyside shares that FOURNÉE BAKERY will be opening in the former Bread Garden space. Pastry chef Frank Sally plans to open before the end of the year. 2912 Domingo Ave. at Russell, Berkeley.
Opening Friday August 24th is SKETCH ICE CREAM. As previously reported in tablehopper, the new space is three times as large as its original spot. Eater mentions: “There will be a food menu with bacon-Gruyère scones, Belgian waffles, empanadas, and Sightglass coffee.” 2080 4th St. at Addison, Berkeley.
Now open in San Anselmo is LINCOLN PARK WINE BAR. The new spot is intent on serving the neighborhood delicious wine and food, with a focus on local pours and seasonal ingredients. Chef Steve Simmons will change the menu every day, and it will be posted on their Facebook page before opening. The plates are built for sharing and are reasonably priced to encourage adventurous ordering. As an added bonus, they’ll be open Thu-Sat until midnight, making it one of only a handful of spots open late in Marin. Hours are Sun-Wed 4:30pm-10pm, and Thu-Sat 4:30pm-12am. 198 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Bank, San Anselmo, 415-453-9898.
We at Bluxome stand accused of enjoying the finer things in life, which is why we could hardly resist the temptation to gather some of the best culinary purveyors in the Bay Area under our eaves to create the once-a-month Meet Market at Bluxome Street Winery. Think of it as the world’s most selective farmers’ market with a little wine thrown in for good measure. A crackerjack of an idea, if we do say so ourselves.
Located at 53 Bluxome Street in San Francisco, The Meet Market runs the last Saturday of each month from noon-5pm, which means you should come by this Saturday August 25th! Enjoy a glass of wine (or several) while perusing some of the best of SF, like Paulie’s Pickles or INNA Jam.
For more information on vendors and more, go to bluxomewinery.com.
Lots of Bloody Mary news from SCALA’S BISTRO this week! On Sunday August 26th, they will host the Sunday, Bloody Sunday Battle, in which ten contestants will compete for the title of “Best Bloody Mary.” Last year’s winner, Jason “Buffalo” LoGrasso, will be on hand to judge. Contestants this year include Kate Bolton from Maven, Shaher Misif from Cantina, Claire Sprouse from Rickhouse, and Vincent Toscano from Rye. Tickets are $25, and proceeds will benefit CUESA. The Scala’s brunch menu will be available during the event. Sunday August 26th, 12pm-3pm.
Additionally, the contest launches Scala’s new Bloody Marys of the World menu, which features Bloodies with flavors from all over the globe. Options include the Mary of Mumbai, with Bombay Sapphire, paprika, yellow curry, cardamom, coriander, and spiced verjus; and the Pisco de Gallo, with Encanto Pisco, heirloom tomatoes, garlic, cilantro, lime, and red onion. This international Bloody Mary menu will be available on Saturdays and Sundays, in addition to the regular drink and food menus.
With San Francisco summer (i.e., September) approaching, bet you wish you could take tasty, seasonal beer to that party at the neighbors’. You’re in luck. As of August 31st, Almanac Beer Co. will have two new, year-round beer offerings, in addition to their limited-release seasonal brews. The Extra Pale Ale features California barley and Mandarin oranges from Blossom Bluff Orchards and is absolutely delicious (we got a taste this weekend at the SF Street Food Festival and j’adored it). The Honey Saison is brewed with the same hops, Marshall’s Farm honey, and local ginger for spice—it’s excellent on a warm summer day with spicy food (again, ask us how we know this). The new beers will be sold in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles at places like BevMo and Whole Foods.
To celebrate the new selections, and their one-year anniversary, Almanac is throwing a party at Bloodhound (music alert!) on Wednesday August 29th from 6pm-9pm. There will be beer specials and free nibbles from Deli Board and 1058 Hoagie—hubba hubba. Bloodhound, 1145 Folsom St. at 7th St.
A few deals for your liquid consumption radar: first, ONE MARKET is offering $2 martinis during lunch on weekdays. All you have to do is buy a lunch entrée. Limit two per person (no three-martini lunch for you, babe).
RISTOBAR in the Marina has launched a new brunch menu, with $4 mimosas and Bellinis (brunch is Sat-Sun 11am-3pm).
And FiDi workers should know that the ROYAL EXCHANGE is celebrating its 40th anniversary next week (August 27th-31st). Guests will be able to eat and drink at 1972 prices: $2 Bud or Bass Ale on draft, $4 martinis or Manhattans, along with $4 roast beef or turkey sandwiches, and $3 hot dogs. And on Friday August 31st, you can order $2 well drinks and beer specials (8pm-10pm). Go crazy.
And good news for THE ICE CREAM BAR in Cole Valley: they finally got their beer and wine license. Check out the menu here—the “adult” beverages will be available as of Friday, like the Peaches and Dreams (Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, peach syrup, five-spice tincture, cream, acid phosphate). FYI, since this is a preliminary menu, the fountain drinks on the “remedies” menu will be in the $9-$14 range. There will also be sherries and ports.
Sunset magazine food editor Margo True talks kitchen gardens, the Edible Schoolyard Project, and healthy green living with chef and culinary legend Alice Waters on Saturday August 25th at 4pm in Healdsburg. The event showcases the 2012 Sunset Idea house built by Blu Homes, which exemplifies Waters’s commitment to sustainability. The first 500 visitors to the Alice Waters event will receive autographed copies of her book In The Green Kitchen (while supplies last). Buy tickets to the 2012 Idea House Open House online (tickets must be purchased to attend the Alice Waters event) or at the event. $17 per person (children under 12 free) at the Blu Homes website. Pickup shuttle (approximately at the top of the hour, every hour, from 10am-4pm) at the Sonoma County Park & Ride Lot at Healdsburg and Grant Avenues.
Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is pleased to announce the 17th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival to benefit Project Open Hand. Come out to Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco on the weekend of September 8th and 9th to experience Chocolate School, chef demonstrations, ice cream eating contests, and a chocolate bake off. More than 30 different chocolate treats to enjoy! Buy your sampling tickets today. Come indulge for a cause with us!
One lucky tablehopper reader will win a pair of tickets to the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival, and a gift basket full of chocolate bars, SQUARES, and Ghirardelli Heritage Gifts, worth about $100 retail. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Sunday August 26th at 11:59pm. We’ll notify the winner on Monday!
Ghirardelli Square Saturday and Sunday, September 8th-9th 12pm-5pm both days
Chef-owner Patty Unterman of Hayes Street Grill was thrilled to have Elvis Costello and Diana Krall in the restaurant. She said, “She’s beautiful and he looked great. They admired all the artists on the walls. They belong up there with them.” Krall was performing at Davies down the street over the weekend.
Seems every San Franciscan is going to see Woody Allen before this film wraps up: a tablehopper follower on Twitter said he was spotted at Mission Chinese Food, and another let me know he came in to Wise Sons Deli. Eater reports he also dined at Nettie’s Crab Shack with Soon Yi.
Publicist Kimberly Charles writes in with a sighting of Sean Hayes at Ritual Coffee Roasters; she said he was kind and mellow and friendly. Meanwhile, I have been totally digging his recent album, Before We Turn to Dust.
Actress Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Six Feet Under) and two guests were spotted dining at The Oyster Bar at Bistro Boudin on Friday August 10th. Anna and her guests had oysters on the half shell, crab and corn bisque, and a baguette burger.