This week's tablehopper: fall color.
True blue: watching the Blue Angels from the SkyDeck at the Mandarin Oriental. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
I don’t think my weekend had any more room for excitement, from watching the Blue Angels on the SkyDeck (on the 40th floor) at the Mandarin Oriental to tasting some wonderful bourbons and ryes at WhiskyFest to seeing Madonna on Sunday night—although to be honest, drinking Champagne, eating spare ribs, and watching Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce with my grandma on Saturday night was the highlight (of course).
Am looking forward to this weekend as well: care to join me at Litquake’s Lit Crawl on Saturday night (October 13th)? tablehopper will be hosting an hour at Craftsman and Wolves (from 6pm-7pm) called Out of the Kitchen and On the Road: Local Chefs Share Their Travel Tales. On deck: Daniel Patterson (COI), Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen), Eddie Lau (Hot Food Porn), and Samin Nosrat (Ciao Samin). Come listen to some fab international food stories from these local chefs and cooks who also write well.
A few more items for you: today on 7x7.com is my column from the October issue about what it takes for a restaurant to become the next big thing, and on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about a couple of my favorite dishes at Citizen’s Band.
Lastly, do you travel to Austin or Los Angeles? (Or perhaps you’re an Angeleno who reads tablehopper, thanks!) Don’t miss the latest episodes of Hungry In…. on YouTube from my fellow Citysearch scouts across the country—the San Francisco episode from yours truly should finally be airing this Friday; subscribe to the Hungry channel and check it out!
Have a swell week.
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
New Bakery Coming to Lower Nob Hill: Flour + Co
The number of new bakery projects just keeps on churning! Due to open in the Lower Nob Hill in spring 2013 will be FLOUR + CO, from Emily Day (she was most recently the director of operations for La Boulange from 2005-2011). It will be a modern American bakery featuring classic baked goods—from savory to sweet—but with “ingredients making the statement.” There will be coffee service, plus a simple breakfast and lunch menu. Stand by for more in the coming months. 1030 Hyde St. at California.
Open or Shut or Changed
Awhile back, I mentioned TANGERINE in the Castro was closing and relocating (still no word on where); Grub Street mentions a place called KITCHEN STORY will be taking its place, with plans to open in November. 3499 16th St. at Sanchez.
The Scoop reported on the impending closure (this Saturday October 13th) of LALOLA on Russian Hill; liquor license activity points to a business called MASONPACIFIC opening in the location. 1358 Mason St. at Pacific.
Haighteration mentions that after 10 years, CHILLI CHA CHA has closed. Reportedly another Thai restaurant will be opening in its place, and Chilli Cha Cha is looking for a new location. 494 Haight St. at Fillmore.
The Richmond Blog reported MAYFLOWER SEAFOOD in the Outer Richmond has closed, and after some renovations, taking its place will be SHAI LAI SEAFOOD. 6255 Geary Blvd. at 27th Ave.
In Hayes Valley, the former TARTINE CAFÉ has changed its name to TALBOT CAFÉ and refreshed the interior a bit. 244 Gough St. at Hickory.
Eater reports HYDE STREET BISTRO is now COCOTTE (although the owner, Mikael Audry, is the same). The new menu is more rustic, with rotisserie chicken as a highlight. 1521 Hyde St. at Jackson.
Additions: Craftsman and Wolves Serving Afternoon Tea, Meat Happy Hour at Local Mission Eatery
If your mom is kind of like the Queen of England’s cooler younger sister, you’re in luck. CRAFTSMAN AND WOLVES will start offering afternoon tea service Monday through Friday, from 1pm-5pm, as of Monday October 15th. There will be baked goods, of both savory and sweet persuasions, some innovative teatime snacks, and your choice of either oolong or herbal tea. You can check out the current menu here, but it will change seasonally. Tea plus baked teatime treats costs $22 per person, or $40 for a pair. Reservations are available by email or by calling 415-913-7713.
The folks at LOCAL: MISSION EATERY are launching a meat happy hour tonight, October 9th, from 5:30pm-6:30pm. The opening menu will include pork sausage with spicy eggplant purée and shelling beans, pork belly with melon, and country pâté with pickles—$7 each or try all three for $18. To drink, there will be $3 seasonal Anchor Steam, 750ml Almanac for $22, and a half-glass of Lioco Indica or Broadside Wild Ferment chardonnay for $4.
Local Mission Eatery - 3111 24th St. San Francisco - 415-655-3422
Upcoming Pop-Ups to Check Out
Here are a couple of upcoming pop-up events for you to check out: on Sunday October 14th, catch KIN SOUL FOOD, from chef Donna Collins. She’ll be popping up at DOPO with her Southern cooking. The dinner includes four courses of seasonal soul and Creole fare. For this particular dinner, there will be a bourbon and tea punch, as well as wine and beer. Cost is $45, not including tax, gratuity, or beverages. Seatings are at 5:30pm or 8pm, and reservations can be made by email or by calling 510-545-2546. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland.
Keven Wilson, the sous chef at Perbacco, is bringing his pop-up project REFORMATION FOODS to THOROUGH BREAD AND PASTRY on Monday November 5th with a four-course dinner. There are still tickets available for the 5:30pm seating, and cost is $65, not including beverages and gratuity. Check out the menu and other details on their Facebook page. 248 Church St. at Market.
Special Dinners Coming Soon: Sunday Sauce and Tomatoes!
Chef Bill Niles and owner David Lynch are bringing some old-school, East Coast Italian-American cooking to ST. VINCENT on Sunday October 21st, for the Sunday Sauce dinner. The three-course meal will be family-friendly, hearty, and looks like a whole lotta fun. There will be Piedmontese wines from Oddero and Gillardi and, of course, cannoli for dessert. Take a peek at the full menu and details here. The whole thing, including wine, is $45, excluding tax and tip. Dinner will be from 5pm-9pm, and reservations can be made by calling 415-285-1200.
On Wednesday October 10th (that’s tomorrow!) catch what is likely the last of tomato season with a tomato dinner at FIFTH FLOOR. The six-course dinner will feature dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes from Dirty Girl Farms, and you can take a look at the menu here. The head farmer at Dirty Girl, Joe Schirmer, will also be in attendance. It all begins at 5:30pm, and the dinner costs $95; wine pairings can be purchased for an additional charge. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 415-348-1555.
St. Vincent - 1270 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-285-1200
Some Very Cool, Tasty (and Rather Fashionable!) Book Events
The ever-chic and amazing Todd Selby is in town, promoting his new book Edible Selby. Head to CAMINO in Oakland on Wednesday October 24th for a multicourse dinner with the Selby himself, and some of the chefs and artists featured in the book. The dinner will start at 6pm with drinks and snacks and a chance to talk with the author, and then at 7pm you’ll sit down to a supper cooked by some of the featured chefs. Dinner-only tickets have sold out, but you can still get a ticket for dinner, plus the book and a cocktail voucher, for $135. Or upgrade to the souvenir package for $170. Ticket prices include wine, but not tax or tip. 3217 Grand Ave. at Santa Clara, Oakland, 510-547-5035.
For a taste of forward-thinking Scandinavian food, check out the events with Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson, who is also going to be in town this month, promoting his book Fäviken. On Thursday October 18th, he’ll be at OMNIVORE BOOKS, talking about the innovative restaurant and signing copies of the book. The event is free, though it is recommended that you RSVP.
Then, on Saturday October 20th, he’ll be at COI cooking an eight-course dinner alongside another innovative superstar, Daniel Patterson. The dinner costs $250, including a signed copy of the book. Optional wine pairings are available for an additional $105. Reservations can be made by calling COI at 415-393-9000. 373 Broadway at Montgomery.
Act quickly on this one: Sunday October 21st, BAR TARTINE will be hosting a Sunday Smörgåsbord with Magnus Nilsson from 12:30pm-2:30pm. There will be a smorgasbord buffet brunch showcasing a number of the techniques used in the book, with a selection of housemade cheeses, sausages, fermented pickles, cured fish, and a variety of new Tartine breads including a new porridge bread and sprouted rye. Tickets are $95 and include a copy of Fäviken, food, and drink.
For a more local evening, join Samin Nosrat of Ciao Samin for an after-hours author dinner at Tartine Bakery on Wednesday October 17th. Adam Roberts of The Amateur Gourmet will be the guest, promoting his new book, Secrets of the Best Chefs, which features Nosrat and other Bay Area chefs. The dinner begins at 8pm with hors d’oeuvres, and then you’ll sit down to three family-style courses with wine. Tickets are $110, and include food, wine, tax, tip, and a copy of the book. Tartine Bakery, 600 Guerrero St. at 18th St.
Bar Tartine - 561 Valencia St. - 415-487-1600
Cocktail and Food Events at Firehouse 8
The newly opened art space FIREHOUSE 8 is hosting a couple of cool cocktail and dinner events. They’ll be kicking it off this Friday October 12th with an opening reception for their latest art installation, with food from Craftsman and Wolves and drinks from Brooke Arthur of House Spirits Distillery.
On Thursday October 18th there will be a four-course dinner with food from farm:table and wine pairings by Amy Currens of Prospect, for $125.
Then, on Sunday October 28th, check out a night of cocktails from Rye on the Road and a vintage fashion show to benefit the Firehouse 8 restoration project. There is a recommended $25 donation. For details on all the events, tickets, and to RSVP, check out their Facebook page. 1648 Pacific Ave. at Polk, no phone.
Check Out Art and Wine with the Former Vivande's Carlo Middione
Carlo Middione, chef-owner of the former VIVANDE, is returning this month with a couple of special art dinners. On Thursday October 18th and Saturday October 20th, he’ll be at B’nai David, a deconsecrated synagogue, with noted art collector and connoisseur Daniel Friedlander. They’ll be serving a family-style feast with wine pairings in the 1908 building, and the evening should be an intimate and artsy good time, so get yourself ready for some positively sparkling conversation. You can check out the menu here. The dinner costs $150, and reservations can be made by emailing the number in your party, or calling 415-374-7134. 3535 19th St. at Valencia.
Thursday Oct 18, 2012 – Saturday Oct 20, 2012 6:30pm $150 more info
The Trident Now Open in Sausalito; New Chef at Piazza D'Angelo in Mill Valley
Last Tuesday evening, while driving to Larry Mindel’s garden party in Sausalito, I noticed the former Horizons was very busy with people and cars, and a sign mentioned it was now open (once again!) as THE TRIDENT. I reported awhile ago on the details: the owners also own the Buena Vista Cafe, and James Montejano is the chef. There is a new dining deck on the second floor and a retractable awning system over the main Trident deck with a great view overlooking the water. (And yes, it will offer primo seating to watch the upcoming America’s Cup races.) And you boating types should note that The Trident has its own 84-foot boat dock. 558 Bridgeway, Sausalito, 415-331-3232.
Up in Mill Valley, PIAZZA D’ANGELO has hired Andrea Giuliani as executive chef—he’s a native of the Veneto, but has been in the U.S. since 2005. Look for a strong emphasis on local, sustainable meats and ingredients as well as imported artisan products from Italy. A new dish on the menu is fazzoletti al sugo di osso buco (housemade pasta handkerchiefs, braised veal osso buco sauce, Grana Padano cheese). The kitchen will continue to serve five classic Neapolitan pizzas made in their wood-burning oven, with the addition of a new vegetarian pizza and another with roasted Niman Ranch pork belly, caramelized red onions, and watercress. 22 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, 415-388-2000.
A Few Spots to Try Sake and Food Pairings
Throughout October, QUINCE will be offering a few special crudo and sake pairings in their lounge area. They’ll be offering three crudo plates, with hamachi, king salmon, or mackerel. The individual plates range from $12-$15, or you can get a sampler of all three for $18. Sake pairings are available for $11-$18, or you can try the flight for $18. The plates are available only in the lounge area, Mon-Sat 5pm-10pm.
At OZUMO OAKLAND you can catch a special sake pairings dinner, with a seven-course seasonal tasting menu and six sakes from Yoshida Sake Brewery this Thursday October 11th. Yasuyuki Yoshida, one of the folks behind the brewery’s Tedorigawa sakes, will be the special guest for the evening. You can take a peek at the menu here. The dinner starts at 7:30pm, and tickets are $99, including tax and tip. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-846-1775.
If you’re new to sake, this is the perfect class for starting out: IZAKAYA YUZUKI will be doing an introductory class for new sake sippers on Saturday October 13th. The class begins at 4:15pm, and includes five sake tastes plus an hour of instruction in the ways of sake. The class costs $35, and you can sign-up via email.
Act quickly on this one: on this Thursday October 11th, NOMBE is holding a four-course dinner and sake tasting with Take no Tsuyu brewery. Masao Aisawa-san, the brewer and owner, will be in attendance, sharing stories and talking about his sakes. You can take a peek at the menu and pairings here. The dinner begins at 7:30pm, and is only $39.95, excluding tax and tip. Reservations can be made on the restaurant’s website, or by calling 415-681-7150.
Nombe - 2491 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-681-7150
Farmstock Party at Free Spirit Farm in Winters
If you’re looking to take a break from the city, and spend some time soaking up fall’s sunshine in a relaxing, rural spot, head up to Free Spirit Farm in Winters on Saturday October 20th through Sunday October 21st for Farmstock. There will be food from chefs of a bunch of San Francisco restaurants, like Bar Tartine, flour + water, and Abbot’s Cellar, as well as beer from Ruhstaller and Südwerks and local wines. There will be live music, dancing, and campfires too. They’ll set you up with a camping spot, so all you have to bring is the gear. Food, beverages, and a spot to pitch your tent are all included in the ticket price, though it is requested that you bring your own plate, flatware, and a cup. You’re also welcome to BYO additional beverages.
Tickets are $30, and benefit the Center for Land-Based Learning, which shares the property with Free Spirit Farm. 5189 Putah Creek Rd., Winters, 530-220-3227.
Saturday Oct 20, 2012 – Sunday Oct 21, 2012 1pm $30 more info
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Go Pig or Go Home!
Are you ready to get your pig on? Wanna make fresh pasta like a nonna? Travel to Italy’s culinary heartland for a week of hands-on classes on regional food craft. Learn how to make savor, a local conserve of winter fruits, nuts, and saba. Make hand-rolled fresh pasta under the close watch of two little old ladies (though not quite to their standards, certo), plus passatelli, a local pasta made of bread crumbs, eggs, and Parm. Work with a norcino to break down a hog into a veritable mountain of salumi—while nibbling on a special treat, ciccioli, lard cracklings. Oh yeah, and you’ll experience unique local cheese, off-the-radar wines, astonishingly fresh fish, and of course the holy trinity of Italian foods: Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto, and balsamico.
More info here.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Preservation Hall Now Open on Valencia
The newest venture from Jack Knowles, owner of À Côté in Oakland, has finally opened after months of speculation and construction. PRESERVATION HALL WEST AT THE CHAPEL, at 777 Valencia, opened over the weekend for shows to coincide with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, though construction is not yet complete and they will reopen for their next shows on Wednesday October 17th. A full list of currently booked shows and tickets can be found here. And, hey, this is cool: the shows are all ages, so you can start introducing the kiddies to good music now.
According to Grubstreet, there will eventually be a restaurant and grill, serving light Provençal-style food, though details are scarce and it doesn’t look like they’ll be opening until 2013. No word currently on the bar program, though hopefully it will feature some of the same New Orleans influences as the musical lineup. The venue, in a former mortuary, features grand 40-foot ceilings, and the stage where the former mortuary dais used to be. 777 Valencia St. at 19th St.
Park Tavern Opens an Upstairs Lounge
Word comes from Inside Scoop that Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio, partners at PARK TAVERN, have expanded upstairs with the new EDEN LOUNGE. They’ve tried to create a contrast from the downstairs dining area, which is on the rambunctious, masculine side, with a more serene and romantic vibe. The furniture is upholstered in velvet, and the walls are a royal blue with white magnolia wallpaper, so it should be a relaxing spot for lounging and sipping.
There will be cocktails, though the focus will be on Champagne and other sparkling wines. You can take a look at the drink list here. There will also be some light snacks; check out the menu here. The space will be open from 7pm-12am nightly, though they will sometimes close for special events, so be sure to check the calendar on the website before you go.
Park Tavern - 1652 Stockton St. San Francisco - 415-989-7300
Mugsy Pop-Up Wine Bar Coming to El Rio Friday October 19th
As fall gets into full swing, wine lovers should make their way to EL RIO on Friday October 19th for what might be the final Mugsy wine bar pop-up of the year. From 5:30pm-8:30pm they’ll be pouring Bayview’s own Gratta Wines, including a new 2011 “garage blend” of Sonoma cabernet, zinfandel, and petite sirah. All the wines are made in Barbara Gratta’s Bayview garage, hence the name. There will also be bubbly and wines from other local cellars, and all glasses will be $7-$8. Don’t forget El Rio offers a finite batch of free oysters at 5:30pm, and homemade piadina (Italian flatbread sandwiches) are also available. 3158 Mission St. at Precita, 415-282-3325.
Friday Oct 19, 2012 5:30pm-8:30pm more info
the sugar mama
(Sponsored): Enter to Win Hotel Nikko's "Silver Anniversary" $750 Overnight Giveaway!
Just steps from Union Square, San Francisco’s Hotel Nikko is celebrating their 25th anniversary on October 11th. In honor of their “Silver Anniversary,” Hotel Nikko is giving away a premier getaway package for two for one lucky tablehopper winner.
This platinum package includes one deluxe room for one night, Champagne and “Silver Strawberries” in-room upon arrival, and dinner for two with a specially created, five-course, “Silver Anniversary” prix-fixe menu in the hotel’s acclaimed Restaurant ANZU, complete with wine pairings. You’ll be able to work off your decadent dinner with full access to the 10,000-square-foot health club (which was recently renovated!) with steam room, sauna, and gym, access to the glass-encased, solarium swimming pool, plus free parking.
This fantastic overnight package is a $750 value, and free for one lucky tablehopper winner! (The package has to be redeemed by December 30th, 2012. Restrictions may apply.)
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 Silver Anniversary, or why you read tablehopper, or both! 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 October 14th at 11:59pm. We’ll notify the winner on Monday! Good luck!
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Bradley Cooper: Making Local Ladies Swoon
Last Thursday, hottie Bradley Cooper had lunch at Waterbar (he was in town for an appearance at the Mill Valley Film Festival). For lunch, he had the grilled calamari with cranberry beans, cherry tomatoes, and kale-walnut pesto.
Bradley also dined at El Paseo in Mill Valley that night.
One more star sighting at El Paseo: Billy Bob Thornton dined there on Sunday.
Adrian Grenier: Fan of Patios
A couple of Adrian Grenier sightings: last Tuesday evening, he was chillin’ on the back patio at Bin 38, and on Friday he was spotted checking out the Temescal Art Hop in Oakland. He and a group of people then finished their day on the patio at Pizzaiolo.
He was also at Park Tavern on Wednesday night—inside, this time—at the Eden Lounge preview at Park Tavern with Kevin Systrom.
A Funnyman Walks Into a Bar ...
Last Thursday night, funnyman John C. Reilly was at Jasper’s Corner Tap with a large group. He had the house signature ballpark hot dog and sipped on a number of German wheat-style beers.
A Lott of Star Sightings This Week
On Monday, former 49er and Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott visited 1300 on Fillmore. He posed for pictures with his big smile and was very polite and gracious.
Joe, Can You Pass Me a Martini?
Well, since everyone else in the world was out and about this weekend, we were bound to have at least one Joe Montana sighting. He and his lovely wife Jennifer received a standing ovation at Momo’s after the Giants game on Sunday.
O Brother, Thou Art at ... One Market
While she was in town for Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Emmylou Harris stopped in at One Market. Apparently she and fellow artist Linda Ronstadt chatted about the restaurant while onstage together over the weekend, because Ronstadt popped in a couple of weeks ago.
Stuart Goes to DOSA on Fillmore
Michael McDonald of MADtv hilarity was at DOSA on Fillmore, where he enjoyed the Chennai chicken, mung sprout and paneer salad, a masala dosa, and channa bhatura. He was much better behaved than his characters, of course, and was very gracious.