The famed iron skillet cornbread at Rutherford Grill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Well, I certainly wasn’t getting much writing done last night—I was far too riveted to Twitter, the news, and reports from friends on Facebook about what was happening in New York. Poor, poor New York. So many unbelievable images, like this one of Jane’s carousel, which I can’t stop looking at. Best wishes, thoughts, and prayers to all affected by the horrific (and unfortunately named) Hurricane Sandy. What a nightmare. You can help out via a donation to the Red Cross here.
Meanwhile, it feels so odd to be having this gorgeous fall weather, with an enormous parade tomorrow to celebrate the SF Giants. Such is the current contrast of our coasts. I thoroughly enjoyed a much-needed getaway weekend up in Napa Valley with my sis, my cousin, and her man—we couldn’t have asked for a better fall weekend. Some highlights: dinner at étoile at Domaine Chandon, taking my sister for her first trip to the Orin Swift tasting room in St. Helena, brunch on the outside patio at French Blue, taking in the incredible view at Sterling, the smell of harvest in the air at night, and a very meaty dinner at Rutherford Grill (that damn skillet cornbread is so good) after watching the Giants cinch another World Series game on Saturday evening.
Sunday included a kuh-razy brunch feast at Koi Palace (that place is so freaking delicious),and watching the final game of the World Series with my sis, eating takeout Little Star Pizza (hello, Brass Monkey!), and drinking Micheladas, while the city erupted outside. I’m glad I stayed in—didn’t need to witness all that B.S. vandalism and people acting like jackasses, such a buzzkill. Trying to figure out what to do on Halloween (besides attend the parade)? Check out some options here.
This week I’m taking Friday off to head down to LA to celebrate my birthday with friends over a long weekend—thanks to everyone for the tips on recent places to check out. Can’t wait. See you next Tuesday. And take good care, folks.
Well, this is exciting. SAISON has finally released some details on their new SOMA location. As previously reported on tablehopper, they’ll be at 178 Townsend in SoMa, in the California Electric Light Company Building. Some new details have come out, including that there will be a cocktail program, so get excited. They should be opening in their new location in mid-December; the final day of service on Folsom Street will be November 30th.
The industrial building dates from the 1880s, and you’ll see a lot of the historic details: exposed beams and brick, and 35-foot ceilings. The new spot will seat 18 in the dining room with an additional 12 at the bar. Partners Joshua Skenes (chef) and Mark Bright (sommelier) have sought to keep the place intimate, but also open and unrestricted. They’ll still be cooking over an open fire with modern techniques and offering their outstanding 5,000-bottle wine cellar, but the new space will offer them new opportunities for growth.
The restaurant was designed by a team that included Skenes and Bright, plus Michael Gibson, Jiun Ho, Bassel Samaha, and Tim Harrison. The kitchen will be totally open—as in, no walls at all. Everything going on in the kitchen will be visible to diners. They’ll be holding on to their Molteni stove, plus adding a wood-fired MIWE bread-baking deck oven from Germany. They’ve paid lots of attention to details, too, like hand-blown cocktail glasses from Japan and Zalto stemware. All the tables will be crafted from eight-foot slabs of walnut and “partitions” of walnut, with plants, candles, and books that will keep each table private. Once they reopen, they’ll be serving Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm, with seatings hourly between 5:30pm-8:30pm. 178 Townsend St. at Clarence.
Saison - 178 Townsend St. San Francisco - 415-828-7990
A few new spots for your radar: first, fans of the handmade noodles at Shan Dong Restaurant on Geary now have a second spot to check out: SHANDONG DELUXE is now open in Parkside, in the former Ramen Doraku space. Noodles, dumplings, what’s not to love? (Hat tip to Chowhound.) 1042 Taraval St. at 21st Ave., 415-592-8801.
Down in SoMa, what was going to be called Baan 2 is now called ROOT. Look for more contemporary Thai cuisine, but still rooted (har) in a traditional cooking style. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner now, with brunch to come; there will also be a whiskey program, possibly launching by Thanksgiving. (Note: upstairs will be the aforementioned Alchemist, hopefully opening soon.) 685 3rd St. at Townsend, 415-904-9896.
The same restaurant group has also launched OODLES in the Excelsior, serving ramen and Pan-Pacific cuisine, plus there’s a soju lounge. Open for dinner and late night now, with plans to open for lunch in a few more weeks. 4995 Mission St. at Italy, 415-334-7241.
Awhile back I mentioned Pete Mrabe of DON PISTO’S and THE CHUBBY NOODLE in North Beach was going to be opening a deli as well. The location is going to be 728 Vallejo, and it’s currently being repainted. The deli will feature housemade meats and five hot and five cold sandwiches, plus some prepared foods and salads—you will also be able to stock up on cold cuts and cheeses. A new addition: fresh pastas you can take home, like rigatoni, pappardelle, gnocchi, and ravioli. There will be 10 seats and a bunch of specialty items on the shelves. Stand by for an opening date. 728 Vallejo St. at Stockton.
Another item of note: Curtis Kimball, aka the man behind THE CRÈME BRÛLÉE CART, is going to be expanding with two new cart locations (this is in addition to his SoMa brick-and-mortar location on Folsom). He will be launching a new cart in the Westfield Centre, starting Thursday November 8th or Friday the 9th. Usually, you’ll be able to find him on the fourth floor (by the “Under the Dome” restaurants), but on Sundays, he’ll be stationed by the movie theater. Follow him on Twitter @cremebruleecart for his exact location. Kimball will also be launching another cart right outside the food court at Stonestown Mall, with a target date right before Thanksgiving.
Some rumors on Chowhound suggested that INKAS in Bernal had changed ownership, and it turns out they’re right! The new owner is Sergio Robles, who was not involved with the restaurant in the past. We called for details, and they say they’ll be keeping the menu similar if not identical to the previous one, and the focus will still be on traditional Peruvian food. Hope they don’t mess too much with that much-loved chicken! They’re open Sun-Thu 11:30am-9pm, Fri-Sun 11:30am-10pm. 3299 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-648-0111.
Last week, I broke the news that chef Sante Salvoni was out at MAU and the restaurant was temporarily closed; and now according to Grub Street, it sounds like the restaurant is reopening on Wednesday for lunch and dinner.
MAU - 665 Valencia St. San Francisco - 415-934-8889
Just wanted to keep you posted on a couple of upcoming Hayes Valley projects that we’ll be seeing in 2013. First, pastry superstar Michelle Polzine (who has been at Range for almost seven years) is having her last shift at Range today (her assistants will be taking over for her, and keeping her dessert menu intact for now). Polzine will be busy in the coming months getting her project 20TH CENTURY CAFE up and running—you can read the previous project report on tablehopper. She is currently targeting early 2013 for an opening. In the meantime, you might see her doing some savory staging at Frances. 198 Gough St. at Oak.
Another project update: FIG + THISTLE, the beer and wine bar from Angel Davis and Nguey Lay (see the earlier tablehopper post here) are now looking at February for their opening (they are making their way through permiting as they convert a former doctor’s office into the bar). 313 Ivy St. at Gough.
As previously reported in tablehopper, the Red Vic Movie House will be reopening as a multiuse space (hopefully by March 2013), which will include a marketplace of food businesses (called SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE AND EVENTS) and an expansion of THE ALEMBIC (almost doubling its seating).
For now, here is the latest confirmed list of marketplace tenants: Spice Hound (the awesome spice shop that’s already in Bernal); Picnic Bakery, a bakery focused on accommodating dietary restrictions without sacrificing flavor; RAW, a juice bar serving drinks made from local, organic produce; High Cotton Kitchen, which will serve high-quality hot lunches and dinners to go; and Lali’s, a Georgian (the country, not the state) restaurant with a seasonal focus.
As you may have noticed, tablehopper doesn’t usually get too political and mostly sticks with hard-hard-hitting restaurant news, like where to score katsu buns on a Sunday. But this November, California’s Proposition 37 has been big news within the food community. For those of you who haven’t been following it, Proposition 37, if passed, would require food companies to label genetically modified products. It doesn’t ban or penalize them, just requires a label.
Lots of chefs and food luminaries have gotten behind the proposition, including Alice Waters, Mario Batali, Deborah Madison, Dan Barber, Rick Bayless, and Charles Phan. A recent petition, headed by Waters herself, includes signatures from more than 1,000 chefs. To take a look at the petition, and for more information about the issue, check out the California Right to Know website. Michael Pollan weighed in with an article for The New York Times (paywall alert!), and you can also check out this MSNBC video. (Keep a lookout for Danny DeVito’s bit part there too.) So while we’re not telling you how to vote, do check out some of the information on this issue, because if you like to eat—and care about what you eat—this is an important time to pay attention.
On Tuesday October 30th (that’s tonight—act fast!), Alison McQuade, of McQuade’s Celtic Chutneys, will be teaching Create Your Own Chutney! at the FERRY BUILDING. The class is put on by Urban Kitchen SF, and you’ll leave class with your own jar of chutney, a spice blend for making your own chutney at home, and a recipe. The class is from 5:30pm-7:30pm, and tickets are $47.
Then, on Thursday November 8th, Urban Kitchen will be bringing us another class, More Fermenting Fun with Happy Girl Kitchen: Kimchi & Kraut, with Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen. This one is also at the FERRY BUILDING, and you’ll learn the basics of pH and fermentation safety, and head home with recipes, the kraut and kimchi made in class, and supplies to keep you going at home. The class will be from 5:30pm-7:30pm, and tickets are $56.
On Saturday November 10th, Alice Medrich will be in Brisbane at the PURCELL MURRAY culinary showroom for an afternoon of demonstrations and tastings. She’ll be showing you how to make perfect piecrusts, holiday cakes, cookies, and sweets using recipes from her latest book, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. The class is from 2pm-4pm, and costs $45. 185 Park Lane at Valley, Brisbane, 415-330-5557.
Looking for a luxurious class experience? On Monday November 19th or Monday December 17th, you can catch a seasonal risotto class at SALUMERIA with Flour + Water and Central Kitchen chef Thomas McNaughton. You’ll learn how to make your own risotto using seasonal ingredients, and then sit down to a three-course, risotto-focused dinner with wine pairings. Plus, you’ll get a risotto kit and recipes to take home and try out yourself. Both classes will be from 6:30pm-8:30pm, and cost $175, including dinner, tip, wine, and the class, though tax is additional. You can purchase November tickets here and December tickets here.
Also at Salumeria, check out the Turkey Basics class with chef Thomas McNaughton. You’ll learn how to select a bird, how to brine it, and how to cook it properly so it’s juuuust right. You’l go home with all the ingredients you need to brine your own turkey, too. They’ll be serving prosecco, wine, and salumi during the class, so don’t worry about going hungry. Tickets to the class costs $100 and will be at 6:30pm on either Sunday November 11th or 18th; you pick which date is best for you. 3000 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2998.
With all of the new restaurants opening these days, their design has become a topic of much discussion and debate. For a lively conversation on the topic, head to Public Works on Wednesday November 7th for a panel discussion hosted by Culintro. Erin Feher of California Home + Design magazine will be moderating the panel, which will include David Darling of Aidlin Darling, Douglas Burnham of envelope Architecture + Design, and Robert Polacek of the Puccini Group. They’ll be talking about the evolving needs of restaurants and how designers keep up (or don’t) with changing needs in the industry. The event will go from 6pm-10pm, and tickets are $20 for Culintro members and $30 for the general public. The event includes cocktails, light nibbles, and an after-party with an open bar. 161 Erie St. at Mission, 415-932-0955.
If you’re a chocolate lover, or have one on your gift list, make sure you head to the Fall Luxury Chocolate Salon on Sunday November 11th, from 10am-5pm. The event features more than 30 chocolatiers, confectioners, and wineries for your perusing pleasure. You’ll be able to sample and purchase gourmet chocolates and confections, as well as check out chef talks and demonstrations. Tickets are $20 in advance, which is recommended as there are limited tickets at the door. Building A, Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason.
Back in June, I mentioned owners Silvia McCollow (who is also the chef) and husband Cory McCollow and were opening NIDO, a brick-and-mortar Mexican spot based on their Nido meal delivery service, in Jack London Square. Good news, it’s open! The tacos sound so good, ditto the cemita; check out the lunch menu here. There is also a window where you can pick up some very special artisan pies (like Okinawan sweet potato, or chocolate cream and pretzel) from Jaynelle St. Jean of the acclaimed PIETISSERIE. Nido: Tue-Fri 11am-3pm, Sat-Sun 9am-2pm. Dinner service starts tonight: happy hour menu from 3pm-5pm and dinner from 5pm-10pm. 444 Oak St., Jack London, Oakland, 510-444-NIDO.
There’s a new executive chef at Daniel Patterson’s PLUM (and Plum Bar), according to the Inside Scoop: Manfred “Manny” Wrembel, who is coming over from Incanto where he was chef de cuisine. The menu will be changing from small plates to more of a traditional format, with appetizers, entrées, and desserts. New dishes include trout with sunchokes, kumquat, and sorrel; chicken with beet, dill, smoked lentils, and horseradish; and squash ravioli with Brussels sprouts and chestnut. A couple of other tweaks: the restaurant will now open half an hour earlier at 5pm for guests looking to enjoy the weekday happy hour; and Plum Bar will begin offering lunch service on December 1st.
East Bay residents: have you had a chance to read about all the winners in Diablo magazine’s 2012 Food Awards?
Berkeleyside mentions Elmwood’s HOLY LAND RESTAURANT closed after 15 years in business; the original restaurant in Oakland (at 677 Rand Ave.) remains open. Taking its place is PADI RESTAURANT, an Indonesian restaurant. Open daily 11am-10pm. 2965 College Ave. at Ashby, Berkeley, 510-841-1608.
San Francisco’s Stuart Bai, the owner of Sally’s in Potrero who was also affiliated with Liberty Café in Bernal for a spell, seems to be involved with the former WATER LOUNGE & RAW BAR in Rockridge (according to ABC permit activity). Diablo Dish mentions it’s a French bistro concept that should be opening in the new year after a significant renovation. 5634 College Ave. at Keith, Oakland.
A tablehopper reader let me know the former Las Palmas taqueria was gutted and it looked like something new was going on; Diablo Dish has the reveal: it’s going to be a pizzeria, JULE’S THIN CRUST, “a great little pizzeria with a focus on seasonal ingredients and gluten-free crust options.” 5804 College Ave. at Oak Grove, Oakland.
Lastly, starting this Friday November 2nd, there will be a new late-night pop-up at HOPSCOTCH called Yonsei Ramen Shop. Swing by every Friday night from 11pm-2am, for either a meat or vegetarian ramen dish by Hopscotch chef Kyle Itani for $9. Bonuses: the full bar, and takeout is available. (Should be handy after Art Murmur on first Fridays.) 1915 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-788-6217.
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 mate, 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.
After dealing with some ever-frustrating delays, Ceri Smith’s ET AL. should be softly opening this Friday, but will only be pouring wine. Once Amaryll Schwertner and Lori Regis (of Boulette’s Larder, who are handing the food for et al.) return from New York, the food program will kick in, probably next week. You can read all the details about this fab space in a previous report on tablehopper. Initial soft opening hours will be 5pm-12am, eventually ramping up to 7am-12am. 2255 Polk St. at Green, 415-655-3155.
CANTINA will be celebrating the Giants amazing World Series win in their own way: with drink specials all week long! During happy hour, starting at 5pm, they’ll be serving original San Francisco cocktails to celebrate our fair city and its wonderful baseball team. Look for old-school classics like the mai tai and more recent creations like the Laughing Buddha. In a nod to the Giants’ four-game sweep over the Tigers, all the drinks will be four bucks. 580 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-398-0195.
There’s little in this world that rocks as much as oysters and bubbly, especially outside on a nice day. The PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB will be offering a nice deal on a bubbly flight, paired with oysters. For $20 you get three oysters paired with three different sparkly pairings: two sparking wine pours and one bubbly cocktail. The flight is available anytime, too, so you can have it as a nice apertif before dinner or with your brunch.
Presidio Social Club - 563 Ruger St. Building 563 San Francisco - 415-885-1888
Starting Friday November 2nd, you can visit urban winery ROCK WALL WINE COMPANY in Alameda, and now you can chow down on some food by gourmet food truck/”bustaurant” le truc, which is taking over the on-site chef’s kitchen. We’re not just talking a cheese plate—there’s a full menu available to guests in the tasting room and on the deck, which has great views, five days a week. Sample items include a turkey meatball sandwich (robust enough to pair nicely with Rock Wall’s 2010 Monte Rosso zinfandel), along with pulled pork butt tacos with Thai curry. Dishes will range from $4-$15, with Rock Wall wines by the glass ranging from $8-$12. Restaurant hours are Wed-Thu 12pm-5:30pm, Fri 12pm-6:30pm, and Sat-Sun 12pm-5:30pm. 2301 Monarch St., Alameda, 510-522-5700.
Quick note for you: HONOR BAR in Emeryville is now HONOR KITCHEN & COCKTAILS (seems there is a business in SoCal already called The Honor Bar). That is all. 1411 Powell St. at Hollis, Emeryville, 510-653-8667.
Up in Petaluma, there’s a new brewery pumping out IPA. 101 NORTH has opened their doors, and they are serving their first beer, Heroine IPA. The project comes from cofounder and brewmaster Joel Johnson, who earned his stripes at Bear Republic Brewing up in Healdsburg. Their new location in Petaluma is just around the corner from Lagunitas, too, so they definitely get points for gutsiness. This venture currently only offers the one beer, and it should start appearing on shelves during the holidays. In the meantime, you can also find Heroine IPA on draft at Tee Off Bar and Grill here in the city, or at Sprenger’s Tap Room in Santa Rosa. The brewery is open to the public on Fridays only, from 1pm-5pm. 1304 Scott St. Suite D, at Holm, Petaluma, 707-778-8384.
Monday Nov 12, 2012 5:30pm-9pm $150 for the cocktail reception only, dinner begins at $500
On Monday November 12th, JARDINIÈRE will be hosting a very special dinner. The event will feature alumni from the restaurant’s 15 years in business, cooking multiple courses and hosting a cocktail party to benefit Share Our Strength, an organization committed to ending childhood hunger. That’s a lot of serious kitchen talent, including Paul Lemieux (Auberge du Soleil), Deepak Kaul (Serpentine), Michael Hung (La Folie), Richard Reddington (Redd), and Phil Wang (French Blue). Some of the alums, like Robbie Lewis and Craig Patzer, are the in-house chefs for Oracle and Google, so unless you attend a lot of tech parties, this is a pretty unique opportunity to try out their food.
For the full lineup of chefs and ticket details, go here. The dinner opens with a sous chef cocktail reception at 5:30pm, and then the meal begins at 7pm. Tickets to the reception are $150 per person, and dinner tickets begin at $500, though many VIP options are available. Tickets and more details can be found here.
Thursday Nov 15, 2012 7pm VIP cocktail reception, 7:30pm regular admission $75 in advance or $85 at the door for regular admission; $125 in advance or $135 at the door for VIP Sir Francis Drake Hotel 450 Powell St. at Sutter 415-626-5470 ext. 110
The fifth annual SUGAR RUSH is coming on Thursday November 15th. The event is primarily a dessert and wine tasting, although there will be some savory treats offered this year as well. Look out for offerings from Humphry Slocombe, Recchiuti Confections, Tout Sweet Pâtisserie, and Delfina, to name just a few. There will also be open beer and wine bars, so it should be a pretty darn good time.
There will be live and silent auctions, and a wine raffle. The whole event will be held at the Sir Francis Drake, and all proceeds will benefit Spark, a national nonprofit that connects professionals with middle school students from disadvantaged communities in workplace apprenticeships to “spark” their potential. It all begins at 7:30pm, or at 7pm for a VIP cocktail reception. Tickets are $75 in advance, or $85 at the door, and VIP tickets are $125 in advance or $135 at the door. 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-626-5470 ext. 110.
There were a bunch of sightings of our boys in black and orange last week. A reader wrote in: “Last night after Game 1, San Francisco Giants Marco Scutaro, Gregor Blanco, Hector Sanchez, and Jose Mijares had a late dinner at La Mar. Plus ex-Giant and fellow Venezuelan Omar Vizquel joined them!” After a little follow-up with the restaurant, I learned the following: “They had cebiches, causas, empanadas, lomo saltado, a few different arroces. They have all come in before and really enjoy our food. Pablo Sandoval was in the prior weekend.” Since it was close to 10pm, only a few guests recognized them, but those that did were excited.
Meanwhile, Pablo “The Panda” Sandoval convinced Limon on Valencia to open up for a late dinner after hitting three homers last Wednesday night. Mission Mission has the deets. Chef-owner Martin Castillo reportedly said: “You have to open up after he homers three times. He’s a great customer. We always go the extra mile for him.”
A tipster writes in to share that after Game 1 of the World Series, a few members of the Fox MLB broadcast team popped into Marengo. They took up two long tables and stuck mostly to beer and cocktails, though Erin Andrews enjoyed a few sliders (atta girl!). Local boy Matt Vasgersian was there, as were a few of the former players who weigh in on broadcasts: Al Leiter, Kevin Millar, Eric Karros, and current White Sox player A. J. Pierzynski. They were apparently very nice and even posed for pictures.