The insane BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwich at The Thomas. (And hello, I only ate half.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Anyone who knows me well knows how much I adore the heat, especially warm nights with heavy full moons up in the sky. I must admit I will be missing my Alfa Romeo tonight as I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (don’t tell the Fiat, she’ll get pissed). The weekend is going to be a nutty one: we’ve got the Blue Angels roaring through town (check out the socialite for a couple of fun food-and-viewing events), and there’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass all weekend. I personally can’t wait to hang out with my grandmother and watch old movies with her (and drink Champagne) on Saturday night, and see Madonna do her thing on Sunday.
My weekend kicked off in fine chocolaty style, as I hopped on a Scharffen Berger-hosted trolley tour on Friday evening to try some treats around the city (we hit up Miette, Goody Goodie, The Ice Cream Bar, and Tout Sweet Pâtisserie). (You gotta check out the ice cream sandwiches The Ice Cream Bar made for us, what a tower of power.) And the trolley was a great way to see the city with fresh eyes, I gotta say. Too much fun. Until we got stuck in Critical Mass, ha.
Saturday I cruised up to see my dear friends in Yountville: I had a late-afternoon salad at Redd Wood, dinner and drinks at Goose & Gander (that Scott Beattie makes some mean cocktails), a nightcap at French Blue, and Sunday brunch (alfresco, how novel!) at the very charming The Thomas in Napa, plus an hour of much-needed pool time Sunday afternoon. It’s amazing what 24 hours away in beautiful Wine Country with wonderful friends and food can do to drop your shoulders.
However, today I do have a heavy head. I want to dedicate this issue to my dear Uncle Frank (who is also my godfather), who is currently undergoing a hateful battle with the big C, and this past weekend was especially rough. My heart breaks. Today is his birthday, and I am thinking of him and raising a glass. I love you Francuzz’, and buon compleanno! As my aunt has been saying, go hug someone today.
Enjoy this evening’s gorgeous warmth—I can’t wait to get out of my apartment. Is it rosé o’clock yet?
Affectionately, Marcia Gagliardi
Congrats to chef Traci Des Jardins, who was just celebrating the 15th anniversary of JARDINIÈRE, as she announces that she is the sole managing owner of the restaurant after buying out her business partner of 16 years, Pat Kuleto. (Reading the press release, I had a total flashback of when it was Kimball’s West.) As for Kuleto, he’s enjoying the newlywed life with his wife, Jennifer, and son Daniel, and continues to be “on the prowl” for new projects.
More chef news: according to a tweet from chef-owner Scott Youkilis, there is a new chef at HOG & ROCKS: Robin Song (he was previously at Haven, Plum, and Ame). He’ll be launching a full new menu soon.
And over at BLUESTEM BRASSERIE, the previous chef duo of Francis Hogan and Josh Lucas is no more. Lucas is no longer at Bluestem, and Hogan has taken over as the sole chef. The new fall menu reflects the change, with some different items and a meatier focus.
Bluestem Brasserie - 1 Yerba Buena Lane San Francisco - 415-547-1111
We just got news that North Beach is getting a new café, and it looks like an especially cute one! BEACON COFFEE & PANTRY is ready to open at 805 Columbus Avenue this fall. The project comes from Alexis Liu and Christian Chan, a pair of cousins with a colorful background in design. Liu, who is from San Francisco but only recently moved back from New York to get Beacon up and running, worked for Ralph Lauren Home and Comme de Garçons, while Chan was in real estate and architecture.
The space is about 1,000 square feet, with 12-foot ceilings. It is designed in one open space, but features two distinct components: the café and the pantry. The café will have coffee from Sightglass and baked goods of both the savory and sweet variety. The pantry component will feature specialty, grocery-type items, like pastas, grains, candy, chocolates, preserves, and snacks, most of them from local producers. They are aiming for a mid- to late-October opening, hopefully close to the 15th. In the meantime, they are still working on the space, including planting an indoor succulent wall with more than 1,300 plants. They want the space to inspire creativity and will feature a “Beacon Spotlight” in the storefront, with rotating local artists. You can check for updates on their opening, as well as follow the progress on their construction, on their Facebook page. They’ll be open Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, and Sat-Sun 8am-7pm. 805 Columbus Ave. at Mason, 415-814-2551.
Falafel fans should be very happy with the news that SUNRISE DELI is opening in the Upper Haight. Uppercasing mentions the space was Zip Zap Hair. The timing is “soon,” so stand by. 1671 Haight St. at Cole.
I had heard a Greek place was coming to West Portal but the owner never returned my query. Scoop confirms it’s called OREXI and it opened in the former Round Table Pizza location. The menu includes a few pizzas—hey, when you have a pizza oven…. Open Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm, Sun 5pm-9:30pm. 243 West Portal Ave. at 14th Ave., 415-664-6739.
Due to open this Thursday October 4th is SLIDERBAR in the former Criolla Kitchen/Baghdad Café space. For those familiar with the Palo Alto location, there are a variety of meats available (all-natural grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, pork) as well as vegetarian and vegan options, and you can order 1 or 12. Sauces are housemade, and there are also salads, Belgian fries, sweet potato fries, and chicken wings; desserts include Straus milkshakes and cookies. Local cicerone Eric Cripe (Jug Shop, Public House) consulted on the list of 16 craft beers, and there are wines on tap as well; in case you’re sleepy, there are also Blue Bottle espresso drinks. Happy hour is daily from 3pm-6pm, when you get complimentary Belgian fries with all drinks. Hours are Sun-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu-Sat 11am-12am. 2295 Market St. at 16th St., 415-431-7700.
Over in the Marina, Eater reports MARINA BISTRO & WINE BAR has opened in the former Marina & Kebab space (same owner). The menu is more on the American, Italian, and French side of things, from calamari to steak tartare. 2257 Chestnut St. at Pierce, 415-441-9010 .
Reader Jason B. let me know it looks like the owners of EL FAROLITO have applied for the former BRISAS DE ACAPULCO space in Bernal. 3137 Mission St. at Precita.
In the Mission, FARINA PIZZA & CUCINA ITALIANA has opened their takeout counter (it has its own designated entrance, so you don’t have to walk through the restaurant to order a pizza to go). You can call in advance to place your order at 415-565-1900. Check out the full menu here. And just in time for this blast of heat, their outdoor seating has also just opened, with 5 tables and 15 seats (there are heat lamps for when the weather returns to our usual chilly state).
Fans of bento boxes will be happy to know KEN KEN RAMEN has opened a lunch spot called SUIKA. The Yum blog reports that bentos are $8-$9, along with some snacks and dessert (including frozen custard from Frozen Kuhsterd). Open Wed-Sat 11:30am-2pm. 3376 18th St. at Mission, 415-967-2636.
After reporting that OLD SHANGHAI RESTAURANT was sadly closed back in July, a few Yelp reviews make it seem that it’s back (the ABC license lists new owners) (via Eater), and it has a new number. 5145 Geary Blvd. at 16th Ave., 415-386-0388.
Looks like the MacNiven brothers (of WOODHOUSE FISH CO. and WEST OF PECOS) are going to be opening a casual and quick-service crab and clam shack on the Marina Green—well, if they get the necessary approvals from the city. As mentioned in the Scoop and The Examiner, the space is the historic Marina Degaussing Station—which demagnetized ships in order to avoid triggering mines—and has a smashing view of the Golden Gate Bridge (and hello, the upcoming America’s Cup races). Some chowder on the outdoor patio sounds mighty fine. Stand by to see if they clear all the hurdles to get this going. (The Scoop also mentioned the new Woodhouse chef is August Schuchman, previously at Cibo, Nick’s Cove, Waterbar, and Yankee Pier.)
Since we’re talking about that area, it’s time to update you on the DYNAMO DONUT AND COFFEE kiosk that I mentioned was also coming to the Marina Green. Ends up the permits were finally approved in August, so now they are working hard to be open before the new year. The location is just off Baker Street at Marina Boulevard on the Marina Green.
This coming week, Charlotte Druckman will be in town promoting her new book, Skirt Steak: Women Chefs on Standing the Heat and Staying in the Kitchen, with a couple of cool events (to match its extremely cool cover, which I am loving). First, she’ll be at JARDINIÈRE on Thursday October 4th, with Traci Des Jardins and Liza Shaw (female chefs in the maison!). The dinner kicks off at 6pm and will feature three courses plus wine pairings. The main course will be skirt steak, clearly, with fingerling potatoes and Tuscan kale, with a first course of coppa, lonza, and apple tart for dessert. Attendees will also get a signed copy of the book, and it all costs $125, including tax and tip. All proceeds will benefit La Cocina, and you can buy tickets here.
Then, on Friday October 5th, Druckman will be at OMNIVORE BOOKS, signing books and giving a talk with a couple of other rockin’ women in the biz: Elisabeth Prueitt (Tartine) and Emily Luchetti (Waterbar and Farallon). The event will be from 6pm-7pm and is free.
Also on Thursday October 4th, the COMMONWEALTH CLUB will be hosting an evening with chef Charles Phan. He’ll be talking about his new book, Vietnamese Home Cooking, and he’ll also be sharing some appetizers with attendees at the event. There will be a 5:30pm reception, followed by the event at 6pm. Tickets are $12 for club members and $20 for the public. 595 Market St. at 2nd St.
Here are some upcoming cheese events for those of you seeking a gooey good time.
For a taste of all that is cheesy and French, head over to the 111 Minna Gallery on Saturday October 6th for a free sampling of French cheeses from Cheeses of France, a trade consortium. There will be five different French cheesemakers with samples of their goods, for a total of more than 20 cheese varieties to taste. (You can buy your favorites to take home.) You can also check out samples of French wine to pair with the cheeses, and chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth will be demonstrating cheese-based dishes that you can also sample. And this is pretty awesome, too: food sculptor KRAÏ will be crafting some “cheese art,” which sounds way more fun than ice sculpture. The event is totally free and goes from 10am-5pm. More information can be found at the Cheeses of France. 111 Minna St. at 2nd St.
At the Cheese School of San Francisco, October is American cheese month, in honor less of the individually wrapped rubbery wonders, but rather to celebrate domestic producers of fine cheeses. Author and cheese expert extraordinaire Laura Werlin will be teaching a domestically focused American Cheese & Wine class on Tuesday October 9th. The class will feature four of her favorite American-made cheeses, paired with four of her favorite domestic wines. The class will be from 6:30pm-8:30pm, and tickets are $75.
Then, on Monday December 10th, Laura Werlin will be back and cheesier than ever with Mac & Cheese + Grilled Cheese Please! Rather than choose between the classic grilled cheese sandwich and equally classic mac and cheese, she’ll just be offering samples of each. There will be four tastes of these gooey treats, plus wine pairings with each. The class will be from 6:30pm-8:30pm, and tickets are $75.
Both classes will take place at the Cheese School of San Francisco, at 2155 Powell St. at Francisco, 415-346-7530.
Up in San Anselmo, there’s a whole bunch of ovens firing up over the next few months, from pizza to gluten-free goodies. Here’s the scoop on where to get your carbs on north of the Golden Gate.
As reported in tablehopper in April, the new pizza spot PIZZALINA from Louise Franz has moved into a former Round Table Pizza spot in San Anselmo. After what sounds like a little bit of chef drama, they officially opened up on September 26th, with a new chef at the helm. His name is Robbie Starr, and he previously worked at Boca Pizzeria in Corte Madera and Novato. The pizzas are baked in a Mugnaini wood-fired oven, and there are rotating daily specials in addition to the regular menu options. You can take a look at the current menu here. The wine selection, which was curated by Franz’s brother Sean Crowley, is focused on California, Marin, and Italian wines, and many of the wines are on tap. There are also local beers on tap as well as some bottle options. Check out the full list here. They’re open Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 914 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Shaw, San Anselmo, 415-256-9780.
In mid-October, San Anselmo will be getting a new bakery of the gluten-free variety. FLOUR CRAFT BAKERY is Marin’s first entirely gluten-free bakery, according to baker and owner Heather Hardcastle. She has been eating gluten-free for more than ten years, which is quite an accomplishment for a CIA-trained pastry chef, and wants to demonstrate that gluten-free baking can be delicious to the unconverted among us. There will be a variety of housemade pastries, fresh bread, cakes, and desserts, as well as coffee from Sightglass and teas from Sky-Tea. There will be seating both indoors and out, so you can eat there or take your goodies to go. There’s a Kickstarter campaign until October 27th, if you’d like to support the project. The bakery’s hours haven’t been determined yet, but you can follow their progress on Facebook. 702 San Anselmo Ave. at Tamalpais, San Anselmo, 415-289-2110.
Also in San Anselmo, check out the upcoming M.H. BREAD & BUTTER from co-owners Nathan Yanko, a baker formerly of Tartine, and Devon Crosby-Helms, a personal chef who ran her own business. They met their Kickstarter goal in September and plan to open in early 2013. They will be selling their breads as well as an array of salads, sandwiches, breakfast items, pastries, and, three days a week, wood-fired pizzas. Crosby-Helms has a background in gluten-free and vegan baking, and many of their options will accommodate special diets. They haven’t settled on hours yet, but keep checking their website and Facebook page for emerging details. 556 San Anselmo Ave. at Magnolia, San Anselmo. No phone yet.
More Marin news: if all goes well, the MARIN BLUE BARN should be opening this coming week from partners Sam Josi, Nate Valentine, and Stryker Scales. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, it’s opening in the former Bryan’s Market space in Town Center Corte Madera. Living up to its name, the space features interior and exterior elements taken from a former barn in Sonoma. There will be around 40 seats inside, with room for another 20 outside. Since there’s quite a bit of seating, it’s meant to be a place to linger over a glass of wine or a coffee. The team is really excited about the project because it was a complete buildout, so they were able to design the space to their needs and vision. The menu will be the same as Blue Barn in Cow Hollow and will be served all day (hours are 11am-8:30pm daily); brunch will launch in a couple of months. 335 Town Center, Corte Madera, 415-927-1104.
For those wondering about the upcoming Polk Street Blue Barn location, construction is starting in three weeks, and the opening is slated for January or February. As for Bocazote (previously Papazote) in Cole Valley, construction is under way, and a December opening is the current target.
Tanya Holland is happy to announce B-SIDE BBQ is going to have cocktails that feature her handmade drink syrups. Drinks include the West Side Julep (rye, minted brown sugar syrup, lemon) and the Bonze Buckaroo Buck (bourbon, velvet falernum, Angostura bitters, lime, ginger beer). It all starts this Friday October 5th. Hours are also going to be extended to 11am-10pm. Also of note: swing by from 4pm-6pm Tue-Fri during October for happy hour, and $10 will get you a draft beer or house wine, and your pick of spicy baked chicken wings, pulled pork sliders, or barbecued rib ends. Hubba. 3301 San Pablo Ave. at 34th St., Oakland, 510-595-0227. (And here’s a tip: EZ Smog, their neighbor, will allow you park in their lot after 6pm. You’re welcome.)
ADESSO is now offering Roman-style pizza thanks to dopo chef Joey Rachel (three kinds, served “a taglio” [by the cut]), and you can sample it for free at a pizza party on Sunday October 14th from 3-6pm. They will be also offering $5 glasses of wine and beer. 4395 Piedmont Ave. at Pleasant Valley, Oakland, 510-601-0305.
On Friday October 5th, head to the East Bay for a noodle-making demonstration at UMAMI MART. The demonstration will be put on by the team behind the upcoming Ramen Shop, also known as Jerry Jaksich, Sam White (of OPENharvest), and Rayneil De Guzman. They’ve imported a huge (500-pounds huge) machine from Japan to make the noodles at their restaurant, and they’ll be firing it up at Umami Mart for your viewing pleasure.
They’re calling it Noodle Test #6, because this is the sixth time they’ve tried the machine out. You’ll be able to check out the machine and how it’s working, and uncooked noodles will be available for purchase. The event is free, as are drinks, and street food-style snacks will be available for purchase from Yataiya. You can RSVP by email, and they’ll be there from 6pm-10pm, at 815 Broadway at 8th St., Oakland.
Are you up for the Adventure? Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker and TuttiFoodie.com invite you to enter the fabulous sixth annual Chocolate Adventure Contest. So go ahead: invent, create, explore the boundaries of your own culinary imagination.
This year the contest is accepting entries in one category—Sandwich Cookies—for the chance to win a $25,000 grand prize. To be eligible, combine any Scharffen Berger chocolate with one or more of 12 select “adventure ingredients” (yerba maté, coconut cream, tapioca flour, cornmeal, pine nuts, sweet potato, and other ingredients native to cacao-belt countries) in an original recipe. Whether whoopie pie, macaron, s’mores, ice cream sandwich, alfajores, or any other sandwich cookie—you can enter up to 10 recipes total.
More information at www.chocolateadventurecontest.com.
One of my favorite annual wine events is coming up this month: Wine & Spirits Magazine will host its ninth annual Top 100 Tasting Event on Wednesday October 17th, from 6:30pm-8:30pm, at City View at Metreon in San Francisco. The 100 wineries from around the world selected for the Top 100 event have delivered the best overall performances in the magazine’s tastings conducted during the past year.
As an exclusive peek for tablehopper readers, editor Josh Greene has handpicked some of his favorites for you to target when you’re at the tasting: “Here are just a few of the wines I will personally be checking out at the Top 100. There are some amazing selections the wineries will be pouring.”
Benanti 2007 Etna Bianco Superiore Pietramarina Diamond Creek 2008 Diamond Mountain District Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Eden 2008 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon Domaine Leflaive 2009 Puligny-Montrachet Les Pucelles 1er Cru Drew 2010 Mendocino Ridge Perli Vineyard Syrah Hirsch 2009 Sonoma Coast West Ridge Pinot Noir Louis Roederer 2004 Champagne Brut Cristal Podere Rocche dei Manzoni 2005 Barolo Vigna Cappella di S. Stefano Marques de Murrieta 2004 Rioja Castillo Ygay Gran Reserva Especial Moric 2009 Burgenland Alte Reben Lutzmannsburg Blaufränkisch Kante 1991 Carso Terranum Selezione Niepoort 2009 Douro Charme Storybook Mountain 2009 Napa Valley Estate Reserve Zinfandel
Yeah, that’s quite a list. And you won’t go hungry either! Also featured at the event will be the magazine’s new and notable restaurants and bars in the Bay Area, which include: Burritt Tavern, Dixie, Local, Maven, Mosto, Namu Gaji, Redd Wood, and St. Vincent. Each restaurant will serve bites of a signature dish paired with wines featured at the tasting. Additionally, guests will enjoy specialties from local artisanal purveyors, including Hog Island Oysters, Boccalone, Sour Flour Bread, Point Reyes Cheese, and Barefoot Coffee Roasters.
Wednesday Oct 17, 2012 6:30pm–8:30pm $105 more info
Catch a special five-course dinner with cocktail pairings on Saturday October 6th at RN74. The event is called Behind the Bottle, and a different Hudson Whiskey will be featured in a cocktail pairing with each course, like the Mais Blanc with corn whiskey, vermouth, chamomile grappa, lemon zest, and chamomile flower, or the East Meets West with single malt, dry Curacao, Benedictine, and sage. The master distiller for Hudson will also be in attendance, if you have any questions about the distilling process. You can check out the full menu and pairings here.
The dinner begins at 7pm, and the cost is $125 including tax and tip. For reservations, send an email.
RN74 - 301 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-543-7474
After seeing a liquor license transfer for DECO, a friend confirmed there is a new owner, and the word on the street is the club will close before the end of the year to remodel and then be reopened by the new owners (this is all unconfirmed at the moment). What, the carpeted dance floor will be no more? I have emails in to both the new owner and Deco, stand by for more details. 510 Larkin St. at Ellis.
In the Mission, Grubstreet reports that the bar formerly known as SOM is being relaunched as SLATE. This isn’t the first time this spot has gotten a new moniker (remember Liquid and Pink?), but according to bar manager Patty West, there is now a pool table and DJ music will continue. 2925 16th St. at South Van Ness, 415-558-8521.
Over at Charlie Palmer’s BURRITT ROOM, there’s an expansion afoot. According to Eater, the new spot is called BERLINETTA and will be off the lobby in the Mystic Hotel. The beverage list will stick to fine spirits served simply (neat), as well as some special wine pours and flights. The spot is named after the Ferrari coupe (though berlinetta also means “little saloon” in Italian), and the name is reflected in the Italian race car memorabilia that decorates the space. Vroom. They’re hoping to open this week, but only on Fridays and Saturdays for now. During the day, hotel guests will also be able to stop in. 417 Stockton St. at Sutter, 415-400-0561.
Uppercasing reports that MARTIN MACKS on Haight has a brand-new name: Joplin. The name is apparently a nod to the neighborhood’s past and is the latest chapter in what seems to be a bit of drama. Bring out the SoCo (Janis’s favorite). 1568 Haight St. at Ashbury, 415-861-2236.
Friday Oct 5, 2012 – Sunday Oct 7, 2012
The Blue Angels are coming this weekend! And the sailors! Fleet Week is kind of the best. Find yourself a good viewing post, because it’s going to be awesome, especially if this heat keeps up. Here are a couple of places where you can get a bite, a drink, and a view of the action.
OFF THE GRID will be doing a special Off the Pier event this whole weekend. They’ve extended the hours of their usual Friday Fort Mason food truck assembly to 12pm-10pm. Then, on Saturday October 6th, they’ll be at the Fort Mason Center from 11am-4pm, with 14 different food trucks and outdoor bars where you can grab a glass of wine, a beer, or even a cocktail while you watch the Angel action. Then, on Sunday October 7th, catch the inaugural Off the Grid Picnic in the Presidio from 11am-4pm, with more food trucks, drinks, and outdoor fun.
If you’d rather watch the show from above rather than below, BRASSERIE S&P in the Mandarin Oriental is hosting a Sky-High Party from the hotel’s 40th floor SkyDeck. How glam is that? Bar director Priscilla Young has crafted special cocktails using Blue Angel Vodka, and chef Adam Mali has created some small bites for the event. The event is 2pm-4pm, $40, and reservations can be made by email or calling 415-276-9724.
Grubstreet reports that the Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten honored Zuni Café with a visit. She was with a nice fellow, and they did indeed order the chicken. Then she was spotted at the Ferry Building, filming a spot for The Food Network. She’ll be back in November, promoting her new book, so maybe we’ll spot her again!