This week's tablehopper: take five.
The best brunch in the world: white truffle shaved over soft-scrambled eggs and toast. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Did you enjoy your summery weekend? So weird seeing people buy Christmas trees in shorts. Although it was definitely good and rainy when I was up in Healdsburg last Tuesday checking out all the new places to eat up there. Crazy delicious food, from the absolutely stellar fried chicken at Pizzando, some of the best moussaka I’ve ever had at Taverna Sofia, fab tapas like shishitos and chorizo or Dungeness crab fideuà at the stylish new Bravas, killer aperitivi and thin-crust pizza at Campo Fina, and gumbo and fried okra at The Parish. I was also ready to move into my room at the H2Hotel—the Japanese deep-soaking tub outfitted in Heath tiles was just beyond. I could get used to having Flying Goat French-press coffee in the tub each morning, let me tell you.
I’m actually headed back up to Healdsburg this Friday for the last installment of the 2012 Supper Club series at Copain Wines, with Momofuku chef David Chang cooking that night (I’ve had this on my calendar for months, am thrilled it’s finally here). Looking forward to the selections from winemaker Wells Guthrie, and guest sommeliers Robert Bohr (founder of Grand Cru Wine Consulting, New York) and his wife, Jordan Salcito (wine director of Crown Restaurant, New York).
Have you been drinking your fair share of bubbly this holiday? I was blown away (yet again) with the wines at Arlequin Wine Merchant’s annual Champagne tasting last week, and was happy to discover the crazy good deal of the Saint-Chamant blanc de blancs NV (which is hand riddled!) for only $43.20 with that night’s deal, and is now $48. Can’t wait to crack it. There are some other swell steals as well (like the Philipponnat Brut Royale Reserve for $45, or the Gonet-Medeville Brut Tradition 1er Cru NV for $38)—you should swing by if you’re looking for quality bubs for host/party gifts. Or for yourself. Or me.
As I enter week three of the lamest cold in the world, I am becoming an expert on soup delivery, like Hunan wor wonton soup and hot and sour soup, and eating way too much of the turkey pozole I made. Although I did take a nice break from spicy soups to check out the new menu from chef Robin Song at Hog & Rocks—you can really see his Haven/Plum pedigree. Oh, and remember that special holiday Feast menu I mentioned they’re doing? You get wagon wheel-leek ash gougères draped in lardo with it, hello.
And, yeah, check out those soft-scrambled eggs on toast that are utterly blanketed in white truffle that I had at my friend’s house on Sunday. All I can say is I wish all belated birthday brunches were that good, holy cow. I am so spoiled.
This week, I have much holiday madness for you, I hope you’re ready. Are you eating your fill of latkes? I have missed out thus far, although this Bubala Please video (Making Latkes) made me laugh so hard I hardly mind. And if you put A Dave Brubeck Christmas on the hi-fi, be sure to pour out a little eggnog for the man.
Lastly, are you coming to the BLK Saturday holiday pop-up this Saturday in the Mission?! I curated some wonderful products by local food vendors, come on by! There will be bubbles, and musique, and tacos from Tango & Stache! And the space is marvelous, trust.
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Rulli Opening Bancarella in Union Square, and There's a New Cheese Shop in Dogpatch
The Rulli team is going to be expanding their presence at Union Square with BANCARELLA, a “little brother” to their Marina restaurant, Ristobar. Bancarella is opening (hopefully on Monday December 17th) in the Powell Street Pavilion on top of Union Square at Geary and Powell, directly across from St. Francis Hotel (the space is shared with TIX Bay Area). Ristobar’s chef, Michele Belotti, is developing the menu for Bancarella, which will feature an array of items, including a breakfast pastry selection (say buongiorno to spiced apple brioche). There’s a gleaming, white La Marzocco La Strada espresso machine, which will be dispensing shots of Gary Rulli’s special Bancarella espresso blend, plus a stainless steel machine from Italy that will be preparing the traditional Italian hot chocolate. Barolo by the glass, check. Some of the savory items that Belotti is preparing include tuna tartare with avocado, lasagna, Fontina fondue, panini, salads, cheese and salumi plates, and small plates like crescenza cheese-stuffed sweet-spicy peppers and warm Castelvetrano olives.
The space includes a Milanese-style pastry case, as well as a glass-enclosed patio where people will be able to enjoy beer or wine while watching the cable cars go by Union Square. And how handy: Bancarella will also be a holiday pickup store for their seasonal and traditional panettones. Hours to start will be daily 7am-10pm. Union Square (Geary St. at Powell), 415-924-7478.
Opening Friday December 12th in Dogpatch is LA FROMAGERIE, a cheese shop from Ruben Donze (of Bouvet, which features hardware imported from France), who is collaborating with Romain Marseille. Donze has been in the AIC building for nine years, and he has converted part of his shop’s warehouse space to host this cheese shop. (The French Alps native knows how badly the neighborhood could use some quality cheeses.) He’s going to be stocking more than 50 cheeses, which will mostly be French, plus some cheeses from Spain, Italy, and the U.S. He mentioned how he really wants to encourage sampling (love that). There will also be charcuterie, like rillettes and pâté, plus bread from Firebrand and other gourmet products, including pastas and sauces, and some frozen items, like petit fours from White Toque. Hours will be Tue-Sat 11am-7pm. 2425 3rd St. (between 20th and 22nd streets).
4505 Meats Opening a Butcher Shop This Saturday
Dear God, after lamenting for years that all Rainbow Grocery needed was for someone to open a butcher shop next door, finally someone has done it. Well, four blocks away anyway. And not just anyone, but Ryan Farr of 4505 MEATS. The butcher shop will feature a variety of raw cuts of beef, pork, lamb, chicken, sausages, bones, fat, and stock, plus prepared items like pork green chile, deli meats, and terrines en croute.
Need a bite RIGHT NOW? You can also order ready-to-eat hot 4505 sausages and dogs with housemade sauerkraut and mustard, plus the totally insane ‘Zilla Dog (a bacon-studded hot dog smothered in chicharrones and Namu kimchi), and smoked meat by the pound (4505 now has a big-ass smoker). And, of course, chicharrones. Bonus: your holiday needs will be covered: you can pick up smoked hams, stuffed pork roasts, truffled geese, and other holiday treats. Ryan and his wife Cesalee are also working on a larger concept in a different location of the Mission, which they hope to open next year—more on that soon. Nope, they just aren’t busy enough. Hours are Wed-Sun 10am-6pm. Opening Saturday December 15th. 1909 Mission St. at 15th St., 415-255-3094.
One more tidbit: 4505 Meats will continue their appearances at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Markets on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Mission Community Market on Thursday nights, and the Montclair Farmers’ Market (in Oakland) on Sundays. But did you know they are also appearing at the Divisadero Farmers Market on Sundays as well? I know, how fabulous. Just steaks and sausage for now, but they are working on hot food soon.
558 Castro Street Project Gets a Name: Fable
Some details have been released on chef-owner Jon Hearnsberger’s project opening in the former Luna space in the Castro. After some delays (you know, the usual: the ABC, construction issues with a 100-year-old building), it looks like construction is wrapping up! The new project is going to be called FABLE, and Hearnsberger is currently targeting an opening in the first few weeks of January (possibly January 7th). The interior is being designed by noted designer Craige Walters, who is calling his design for Fable “storybook modern,” combining comfort with whimsy. The neighborhood bistro will feature an open kitchen and counter, and the cabin-style dining room will be warm and cozy with bright pops of color. When the weather turns warm (you know, next September), Fable’s backyard is shaping up to become the Castro neighborhood’s favorite secret garden. Looking forward to taking a peek at the New American menu next. 558 Castro St. at 18th St.
Rickybobby Opening (Softly) Wednesday
As previously reported on tablehopper, Shane LaValley and James Moisey of Broken Record have struck out on their own and are opening a new spot in the Lower Haight. It’s called RICKYBOBBY, and they’ll be opening their doors Wednesday December 12th (yeah, that’s 12-12-12) at 5:30pm. Haighteration has lots of details, but the bottom line is you can expect well-prepared American comfort food, beer and wine, and a fancy, or “Baller,” rotating weekly special. Their beer and wine license is on its way, so for now it’s iced tea, sodas, and BYOB. They’re open Sun-Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-12am. 400 Haight St. at Webster.
Finally, Some Movement at 2298 Fillmore Street
Looks like 2298 Fillmore Street (most recently Long Bar) is going to reopen, according to some liquor license activity. Owners Albert and Klaus Rainer (of Leopold’s in Russian Hill and the former Cafe Metropol downtown) are going to be opening a tavern, according to Inside Scoop—and how handy, they can transfer their Cafe Metropol liquor license over. A few more details: red leather booths, a lively vibe, and unfussy cuisine. Look for a name and more soon. 2298 Fillmore St. at Clay.
News Bites: Changes at Roosevelt Tamale Parlor, Fire at Saffron Grill, More Late-Night Burgers
Some interesting news at the former Roosevelt Tamale Parlor (now known as THE ROOSEVELT): Grub Street followed up on some license activity and has an informative post about the new owners, Aaron Presbrey and chef Barry Moore (previously head chef at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack). The duo took over November 1st and are taking very good care to maintain the iconic history of the place, while still updating the space and menu—think a shorter menu (it used to clock in at 150-plus choices), better ingredients, and some specials. What’s wonderful is the team kept the same kitchen staff, and yes, the tamales are still a fixture. I look forward to checking it out in the new year, when the new menu should be more established. 2817 24th St. at York, 415-824-2600.
Some folks on Twitter let me know that SAFFRON GRILL in the Westen Addition suffered a fire on Friday night. According to Haighteration, they are hoping to reopen in a couple of months. 1279 Fulton St. at Divisadero, 415-567-5100.
Outer Sunset gem DEVIL’S TEETH BAKING COMPANY has a new location closer into town: they’ve recently started serving out of a takeout window at Big bar at 761 Post St. They’ve got coffee and morning pastries (including muffins and scones), and are open daily, 7am-11am. UPDATE: FALSE ALARM. THIS SECOND LOCATION IS NOW CLOSED.
Some liquor license activity reveals another taker for the Gramercy Towers restaurant space, which was famously the site of Vanessi’s many years ago. The new project is OSSO STEAKHOUSE from Jerry and Jennifer Dal Bozzo (The Stinking Rose, The Old Clam House, Boboquivari’s). Inside Scoop reports the menu will be very similar to Bobo’s, there will be 200 seats, and a 1920s style. Look for an opening by spring 2013. 1177 California St. at Jones.
More meat: there’s yet another new place to score a burger late night in the Mission (besides KronnerBurger). According to Grub Street, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers will be serving his pork belly patty burgers at the side window of BEAST AND THE HARE on Friday nights from 11pm-3am.
FARLEY’S on Potrero Hill has relaunched food service, now offering four panini (a muffaletta, turkey and cheddar, grilled cheese, and a a vegetarian option) all on Acme focaccia, using sustainable, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free meats. There’s also soup and salad available. For dessert: some Three Twins ice cream (make it an affogato!). 1315 18th St. at Texas, 415-648-1545.
More sandwich news: have you hopped over to the Kickstarter campaign for PAL’S TAKEAWAY to help with their relocation costs? Donate some money and get some sandwiches in return (come on and help ‘em out!).
A Trio of New Japanese Restaurants
There are three new Japanese restaurants opening around the city, and in a funny twist, they all have the same architect-designer: Alan Tse. First, Eater reports on a new Japanese hot pot spot coming to the Inner Sunset called NABE (as in nabemono). Sounds like there will be some quality and very authentic ingredients from chef Isamu Kanai on the menu, and the décor is also going to be very authentic, including a communal table that will run the length of the dining room. Opening mid-December. 1326 9th Ave. at Irving.
Next on Eater, the Inner Richmond is going to have SAKE SAN, which is taking the place of Volar Karaoke. The new formula will be sushi, yakitori, and karaoke (with three tatami-style karaoke rooms) and a rather chic look. Look for an opening in the first week of January. 626 Clement St. at 8th Ave.
Lastly, the Tataki crew (Raymond Ho and Kin Lui) will be opening a 40-seat izakaya (no sushi) in the ground level of the Mission’s 299 Valencia condo development. Eater mentions they hope to open in June. 299 Valencia St. at 14th St.
Hillside Supper Club to Open Full-Scale Restaurant in Bernal
The Bernal Heights pop-up HILLSIDE SUPPER CLUB is about to go full scale. Owners Tony Ferrari and Jonathan Sutton have been popping up at Caffe Cozzolino for almost a year now, and after a successful Kickstarter campaign, they wrote in to let us know they’ve signed a lease on the space and will be closing to remodel it on December 31st. Then, on January 23rd, they’ll reopen as a full-scale restaurant. They plan to keep their new American comfort food style—for a peek at what they’ve been doing, check out this sample menu. According to Eater, they’ll be doing dinner nightly except Tuesday, and adding brunch in the future. In the meantime, they’ll be doing one last pop-up supper on New Years’ Eve, which is also their one-year anniversary. 300 Precita Ave. at Folsom, 513-910-8896.
Pollo Campero Now Open in the Mission
Central American fried chicken chain POLLO CAMPERO is now open in the Mission. They opened Monday December 10th, and will be open daily from 10am-10pm serving Latin-style fried and grilled chicken, plus a bunch of sides like yuca fries, plantains, rice and beans, and empanadas. For a look at the full menu, go here. They’ve had locations in Southern California for a while, but this will be their first foray into Northern California. (More pics on Mission Local.) 2740 Mission St. at 24th.
Chinatown Update: Little Paris Reopens, Yong Kee Rice Noodle Company Closes
A tasty Chinatown tidbit: Chowhound reports the flagship store of LITTLE PARIS (well known locally for its banh mi) has reopened in its new location after being displaced by the future Central Subway Chinatown Station (it was the first Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown and was in its original location for almost 30 years). 1131 Stockton St. at Jackson, 415-982-6111.
Also noted: the former YONG KEE RICE NOODLE COMPANY (which was famed for its chicken buns) has sadly closed after 60 years. It has been replaced by WONG LEE, also serving dim sum, plus baked items, like green onion twists, and more. 732 Jackson St. at Stockton, 415-986-3759.
Special Holiday Treats Around the City (It's Bûche de Noël Time!)
There is no shortage of fabulous holiday treats right now to get you fat (or foist upon party hosts and guests). First up, the classic Bûche de Noël (Christmas log) has a few incarnations around town. For a playful version, Yigit Pura of TOUT SWEET on the third floor of Macy’s is doing two different flavors. The first (called 1.0 on the menu) has vanilla cake, Meyer lemon curd, cassis-cherry preserves, and vanilla buttercream. The second, or 2.0, is with flourless chocolate cake, dark chocolate ganache, and Vietnamese coffee buttercream. These babies are cute: adorable mushrooms, candy holly leaves, and there’s even a little stocking full of treats on there. Plus, they come boxed in one of Tout Sweet’s over-the-top fabulous pink boxes, tied with a big silver bow, so you’ll be making a pretty serious entrance if you’ve got one of these at a party. They come in individual, 6-inch, or 12-inch sizes—it’s recommended that you order in advance. For a full list of holiday options and prices, check out Tout Sweet’s holiday menu.
Belinda Leong, of the upcoming B. PATISSERIE is doing bûches de noël too—and they’re quite elegant. Hers come in three different flavors: vanilla, pistachio, and raspberry; chocolate, hazelnut, and toffee; or Dutch apple pie. Each bûche is seven inches and serves six to eight people. They’re $75, and can be ordered now for pickup on the morning of December 23rd or 24th. And good news: she is targeting the week of January 6th for her pâtisserie’s opening!
You can also find a bûche de noël from LA BOULANGE BAKERY, either a six-inch half-log or a foot-long full log ($23 and $36, respectively). The sponge cake is rolled and filled with cream and then topped with buttercream. The outside is playfully decorated with marzipan and meringue to look like a Yule log covered in sweet edible moss, mushrooms, and dirt. Place your order by December 21st.
Are you a fan of torrone? Yeah, me too—crazy for the stuff. Best stocking stuffer ever! Gary Rulli of EMPORIO RULLI is making two kinds of soft torrone: traditional vanilla with California Mission almonds and Piedmontese hazelnuts, and a chocolate version made with Domori chocolate (milk, dark, and gianduja), California Mission almonds, pistachios, candied orange, and honey. Available in stores and online at rulli.com ($19.95-$22.95).
Rulli is also a master at panettone. This year he created the Panettone Paradiso: it’s a twist on a classic panettone Milanese, filled with chocolate, candied orange peels, walnuts, and raisins, and then topped with a walnut-almond paste, chocolate bits, and walnuts. It’s simply amazing warmed up with coffee in the morning. $36.
I haven’t tried these yet, but you can find Alsatian bredele at VITRINE RESTAURANT from chef Romuald Feger. These small cakes are inspired by a recipe from his grandmother, Alice, who used to bake up to 50 pounds of bredele each holiday season as gifts for family and friends. After days of preparation, bredele is traditionally first served on Advent Sunday accompanied by a glass of a spiced mulled wine. You can enjoy three different kinds: Anisbredele, featuring green anise seeds; Cocosbredele, made with dried coconut; and Basler Leckerli, a Swiss take on the delicacy featuring honey, candied orange and lemon peel, almonds, ground cloves, and cinnamon. Bredele will be served complimentary at the end of each meal throughout the winter, or you can order some for purchase with 24 hours notice. Available in packages of 13 or 26, which retail for $16 and $32 respectively. Through December 31st. 415-284-4049.
There was also quite the roundup of holiday cookies on 7x7.com, like macarons from DeLise Dessert Cafe and more. You can also pick up holiday-themed cupcakes at KARA’S CUPCAKES (order the “chocolaty chocolate peppermint” and 20 percent of proceeds will be donated to Raphael House through December), SUSIE CAKES, and other bakeries around town. Ho ho ho!
BLK Saturday is December 15th!
This Saturday December 15th, don’t forget to head down to THE NWBLK (that’s The New Black), an arty and ever-so-cool retail environment where I’ll be co-hosting a holiday pop-up called BLK Saturday. Yours truly did the curating for all the tasty foodstuffs, including delicious treats from local folks like Starter Bakery (they are bringing their panettone!), a fab holiday selection from Socola Chocolates, Nana Joes Granola (wait until you try the new chocolate-covered Tony’s trail mix), and the fabulous brand-new confections from sideshow by Nicole Plue, which you can only get online for now unless you come on out! Her famous Saltine toffee will be there.
I am also getting a big batch of tablehopper vintage restaurant T-shirts in, so you’ll be able to look at all five designs! There will also be some fashiony items—from bags by Basil Racuk to clothes by N.I.C.E. Collective—and Cuyana scarfs, handbags, and accessories from Argentina.
Tango & Stache will be there serving Bloody Mary pulled-pork tacos on bacon fat tortillas with pickled fixins from 11am-4pm (oh yeah!), and there will be bubbles and music too! Be sure to come on by for some swell holiday gifts (and partying). I’ll be there in the afternoon if you want to say hi! 10am-6pm. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.
Pop-Ups: Bacon Bacon at the W, Off the Grid, Stag Dining Group, Sous Beurre
As you may have heard, the BACON BACON food truck was destroyed in a dramatic fire a few weeks ago. The kitchen location is still open, though, and they’ll also be popping up at TRACE at the W on Wednesday December 19th. As part of the ongiong Local Motion Series, a local food truck chef joins Paul Piscopo in the TRACE kitchen, and together they prepare a meal. A portion of the proceeds from this particular event will go toward getting the Bacon Bacon truck back in business. The event begins at 6pm, and tickets to the event are $50 and include lots of family-style porky treats. Cocktails pairings will be available at an additional cost. Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-817-7836.
Need a little more street food in your life? Head to Fort Mason on Friday December 14th for the OFF THE GRID Holiday Market from 5pm-9pm. There will be more than 25 trucks, plus suds from Magnolia and a full bar by Alembic. There will also be retail booths selling art and gifts for the holidays, and 10 percent of all proceeds from retail sales will go to the San Francisco Food Bank. Fort Mason Center.
On Saturday December 15th, the STAG DINING GROUP will be popping up at THE BOLD ITALIC for a special five-course dinner. Author, former CHOW.com editor, and host of the Cooking Channel show foodCrafters, Aida Mollenkamp will be in attendance, sharing some of her tricks for holiday entertaining and talking about her new book, Keys to the Kitchen. There will also be bubbly from Moët and Chandon, and wine pairings from Green Barrel. Oh, and you’ll get a nice goodie bag at the end too. The event kicks off at 7pm; check out the evening’s menu and details here. Tickets are $125, or $150 for everything plus a signed cookbook. 32 Page St. at Market.
As previously mentioned on tablehopper, SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN will be leaving their pop-up location at Sugarlump Café in order to open in a permanent location to call their own. On Friday December 14th, join them for their last dinner in the space. There will be three courses, including a bouillabaisse with Dungeness crab, rock cod, shrimp, clams, mussels, and housemade pork sausage, for $45 per person. Sugarlump will be offering specials on their wine carafes, and corkage will be only $10. Tickets can be purchased for 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, or 9pm. 2862 24th St. at Bryant.
TRACE - 181 3rd St. San Francisco - 415-817-7836
Try Out Hakkasan with a Sweet Lunch Deal
The newly opened HAKKASAN has made it extra easy for you to sample their high-end Chinese food. On Mon-Fri from 11:30am-2:30pm, they’re offering a special Taste of Hakkasan menu for a cool $29. The three-course lunch starts out with your choice of small eats, including steamed or fried dim sum options, then you can pick from one of several main dishes, such as spicy prawn with lily bulb and stir-fry black pepper rib-eye. For dessert, you get a colorful selection of macarons. The deal is only available during weekday lunches, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.
Hakkasan - One Kearny Place San Francisco - 415-829-8148
The Bureau Opens in Emeryville
There’s a new burger bistro that just opened in Emeryville, THE BUREAU, with a menu created by a serious talent: Edward Higgins (previously Insieme in New York, and currently chef de cuisine at Quattro Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Palo Alto). Higgins has put his BAiA project on hold, and is also currently consulting and working on his own sauce project called Vaso-Cucina.
The owner (James Sansangasakun) is behind Summer Summer Thai (which is just across the street), and brought Higgins on to consult on the international-inspired menu of burgers and sandwiches. There’s the B-B-B (fried bacon, caramelized onion butter, Point Reyes blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, garlic mayo), the chips ‘n’ salsa burger (jalapeño, tortilla chips, roasted tomato salsa, lettuce, nacho cheese), plus a tempura-fried rock shrimp patty with wasabi mayo served on a rice “bun,” a banh mi, and more. Sides include IPA onion rings with yellow curry dip and fried calamari with pickles, plus soup and salads. For dessert, tuck into an upside-down apple tart with cinnamon gelato or a New York-style cheesecake. The look is rustic warehouse chic, with 65 seats—and it’s conveniently close to Honor Bar. Open Mon-Thu 11am-2:30pm; 4:30pm-10:30pm; Fri 11am-2:30pm; 4:30pm-11pm; Sat 10am-11pm, and Sun 10am-3pm. 5800 Hollis St. at Powell, Emeryville, 510-595-1000 .
Berkeley News: Cakes and Purls, Sliver Pizzeria
You a fan of sweets? And knitting? Even if you only like one of those two things, swing by the new CAKES AND PURLS in downtown Berkeley to get your fix. Nosh mentions the owner is Marie Sitaro, who is trying to encourage everyone to slow the hell down, take a seat, and enjoy some New York-style pastries inspired by Sitaro’s childhood in Brooklyn. Hello, cheesecake. She has some chops (oh, you know, Jean-Georges), and will be using local ingredients when possible. Open Mon-Tue and Thu 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12, closed Sun and Wed. 2115 Allston Way at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-457-8446.
Not too far away, a liquor license change for Sportivo reveals new owners (and a new name): SLIVER PIZZERIA. Nosh mentions Sliver is due to open in January 2013, and Sportivo is closing December 15th. 2132 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-301-6280.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Earn Holiday Rewards from Foodspotting!
Ever wish that you could get paid for taking pictures of food? Well, you’re in luck: Foodspotting has an awesome Holiday Rewards program!
This December, earn cash or rewards by taking photos of entrées at more than 70 of our favorite SF restaurants, from Nopa to Rich Table (you’ll earn 250 rewards points per restaurant). At the end of December, you can redeem these points for cash and prizes like: Giftly gift cards ($25-50) to ANY restaurant of your choice; Foodspotting shirts and cases from our Foodspotting store; our uber-rare Alternative Apparel hoodies; and fish-eye, telephoto, wide-angle, and macro lenses for your mobile phone from Photojojo!
Find the full list of prizes and restaurants here, or check out the “Specials” tab on Foodspotting’s iPhone or Android app! Don’t say we never give you anything, ‘cause now you’ve got a way to earn rewards just for taking pictures of the food you love! You’re welcome.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
MORE BEER: Owner of The Trappist Opening a Spot in SF
Diablo Magazine reports that Chuck Stilphen of The Trappist in Oakland is bringing even more swell beer to San Francisco. He’s secured a spot at the former Crash Nightclub at 34 Mason St. downtown, and plans to fill it with 40 taps of European and American beers. There will also be casks, a sour beer tasting room in the cellar, and wine on tap. He’s also got plans for a full kitchen, serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, plus brewer dinners with food and beer pairings. Right now, the spot is at least five or six months from opening, but he’s also still waiting on a beer permit, so that could cause additional delays. 34 Mason St. at Turk.
In the meantime, though, you can check out his Trappist Provisions bottle shop, which should be opening in Rockridge in just a few weeks. 6309 College Ave. at 63rd.
Some Festive and Delicious Holiday Drinks
Warm up from the inside out with the holiday hot chocolate at JARDINIÈRE, called Hot Chocolate No. 5 (no word on a nonsensical Brad Pitt ad yet). The hot chocolate is made with lots of chocolate, cayenne, and served with churros and dulce de leche on the side. You can add Casa Noble Reposado, too, if you need some holiday calming (or amping). It’s $10 for the chocolate, or $16 for the boozy option.
Head to ELIXIR for a whole menu of delicious holiday cocktails, including the marvelous Tom & Jerry for $10. 3200 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-552-1633.
Joel Teitelbaum at HARRY DENTON’S STARLIGHT ROOM continues his house bottling with a pair of red and green cocktails. There’s the Spiked Vanilla Cream Soda with Campari, housemade vanilla cream soda, and Frangelico, or the Green Apple Cider with Flor de Caña 7 Year, green apple juice, and winter spices. They’re $12 each, or both for $22, and will be available until December 31st. Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 21st floor, 450 Powell St. at Sutter, 415-395-8595.
Over in Berkeley, FIVE is serving The Twelve Cocktails of Christmas, from the Pear Tree (pear vodka, ginger syrup, calamansi juice, lemon) to the Twelve Hot Chocolate Drums (Godiva chocolate liqueur, Gosling’s dark rum, Frangelico, housemade hot chocolate, amaretto whipped cream) and everything in between. All cocktails are $12, and you can check out the full list here. And good luck not getting that song stuck in your head!
At 15 ROMOLO, they’ll be celebrating Sherry Christmas with a full list of sherry cocktails. There will also be some Spanish-inspired nibbles to complement the cocktails. 15 Romolo Pl. at Broadway, 415-398-1359.
Take a break from Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday, and give-me-a-damn-break Thursday with some nostalgic holiday spirit. Take a trip back to the simpler days of It’s a Wonderful Life at BALBOA CAFE, with a serious retro makeover. The bar interior has been converted to resemble Martini’s Bar from the film, with plaid walls and snowy windows. They’ve also got a full list of old-fashioned drinks to go with the décor, like hot buttered rum or their very own George Bailey, made with Stoli Vanilla, Kahlúa, and Baileys on the rocks. Hic. 3199 Fillmore St. at Greenwich, 415-921-3944.
Jardinière - 300 Grove St. San Francisco - 415-861-5555
Wine Events This Week (and Next!)
A few events for your calendar in case you aren’t overwhelmed with holiday parties. First, FOREIGN CINEMA is hosting Katy Wilson, the winemaker and owner of LaRue Wines, on Thursday December 13th to showcase the newly available 2009 pinot noir. By-the-glass and by-the-bottle options will be offered at very special prices ($20 per glass, $80 per bottle).
Don’t forget: this Wednesday evening is this holiday wine-pairing class with Vinny Eng at SALUMERIA.
On Saturday December 15th, swing by HOTEL BIRON for Return to Terroir’s Holiday Pop-Up Tasting & Sale from 12pm-4pm. They are hosting a tasting of the wines from their portfolio and then you can pick out what you want to buy, whether it’s a hostess gift or for your own stash at home. Mixed case deals will be available for purchases of 6 bottles or more, and there are delivery and pickup options for orders of 12 bottles or more. $10 (to be redeemed with purchase). 45 Rose St. at Market (near Zuni Cafe).
18 REASONS is hosting their annual sparkling wine tasting, just in time for New Year’s festivities. Farm Wine Imports, Charles Neal, Oliver McCrum, and Joli Vin will be pouring. It all happens on Wednesday December 19th from 7pm-9pm. Drop-in at any time—it’s only $15 for 18 Reasons members; $20 for the general public.
18 Reasons - 3674 18th St. San Francisco
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Some Places to Enjoy Special Holiday Meals
Tuesday Dec 18, 2012 – Wednesday Dec 26, 2012
Looking for a spot to enjoy Christmas Eve, or another special holiday dinner? Here’s a quick roundup of spots to check out, and don’t forget to look on OpenTable for a more complete list of options on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, including places like BAKER & BANKER and LA FOLIE.
PLÄJ is doing special Scandinavian Christmas dinners every Sunday evening until December 23rd. Tickets are $65 and you can check out the menu here. Call the restaurant at 415-294-8925 for reservations.
1300 ON FILLMORE has lots of holiday dinners, including a special gospel brunch on December 23rd with special R&B versions of holiday songs, Christmas Eve dinner, New Year’s Eve dinner, and a special toy drive benefit. Check out their website for full details and reservations.
Feast of the Seven Fishes is an Italian Christmas Eve tradition, one that I’m lucky I don’t have to worry about missing. This year, A16 will be doing one for $75, with optional wine pairings for an additional $60. Dinner begins at 5pm; contact the restaurant for more details and reservations.
SALUMERIA will also be doing the feast, with eight courses from chef Thomas McNaughton. The high-ticket dinner begins at 7pm and tickets cost $195. 3000 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2998.
FLOUR + WATER will be doing a Christmas Eve dinner à la carte, if that’s more your style, just down the street from Salumeria.
FARINA will also be offering a Christmas Eve menu, featuring lots of seafood dishes, though with meat on it too.
Head over to INCANTO for their four-course version. It’s $55, not including beverages, tax, or tip.
You can also check out PALIO D’ASTI, where the feast will cost $75 per person. Check out the website for additional details and to make reservations.
For a special Christmas Eve lunch, make your way to BOXING ROOM for a special Cajun feast from 11:30am-4:30pm. You can also get the Louisiana Plate lunch, which includes an entrée, side, dessert, and beverage for $15. 399 Grove St. at Gough, 415-430-6590.
At MICHAEL MINA you can get a Christmas Eve tasting menu, with a choice of either seven for $135 per person or three courses for $75. Beverage pairings are available for an additional $75 per person.
For a Christmas Eve crab feast, head across the bay to BOCANOVA, where they’ll be serving a crab prix-fixe menu beginning at 5pm. The dinner costs $68 per person, and reservations are encouraged. 55 Webster St. at 1st, Oakland, 510-444-1233.
If you’re looking for a meal on Christmas Day, there’s AMERICANO in the Hotel Vitale, where you can get a prix-fixe menu. Or you can check out AME at the St. Regis, where there’s a five-course tasting menu available. BRASSERIE S&P in the Mandarin Oriental will also be offering Christmas Day dinner for $75 per person, and a buffet brunch for $65 per person. Contact individual restaurants for details and reservations.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Some EPIC Rock 'n' Roll Sightings
On Thursday, Brandon Flowers of The Killers dined at EPIC Roasthouse. He munched on rib-eye steak, beignets, and apparently enjoyed the attention of some local ladies too.
Then, on Friday, Jack White of the White Stripes also enjoyed himself at EPIC for lunch. It is the place to be for rock ‘n’ roll royalty this week!
Cap'n Cook at the Chef's Counter
Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad and Big Love fame was spotted at Wayfare Tavern. He enjoyed himself at the chef’s counter—no word yet if he picked up some “cooking” tips.
Sex, Lies, and Cassoulet
On Saturday evening, Peter Gallagher dined at Café de la Presse in Union Square.
Thomas Keller Returns to Frances
After his interview/talk at the JCC on Saturday night, Thomas Keller (successfully) dined at Frances according to this sighting from the Dapper Diner (other tweets mention he dined with the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer, who interviewed Keller that evening).