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Mar 25, 2013 21 min read

March 26, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: *mic drop*.

March 26, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: *mic drop*.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: *mic drop*.                    

The Pied Piper mural, soon to be returned to The Pied Piper Bar & Grill. Photo: ©

Well, I sure am glad this column isn’t filled with a rant about the sudden removal of the beloved Maxfield Parrish Pied Piper of Hamelin mural in the Palace Hotel, which was slated to be sold at auction at Christie’s in a couple of months. Nope, the outcry by the public was so great over the removal of the iconic mural that it’s going to be restored and then returned to the hotel (hopefully back up above the bar where it belongs and has been since 1909). Cheers to everyone who signed the petition and got hopping mad. I was truly in a snit over the whole thing. Now, I’m just relieved that greed did not prevail. Score a point for the sentimentalists who care about our fair city and her many jewels.

For those of you celebrating Passover, Happy Pesach to you—and you officially have me craving matzo ball soup. If you celebrate Easter, here are some options for you, plus some Easter treats you should hunt down. Remember some places close for the holiday, so double-check before heading somewhere.

I can’t believe I’m missing Easter with my family, but it’s for a damn good reason: I leave for New Zealand on Thursday! Yeah, I’m beyond busy trying to get ready for my departure—and there’s nothing like having to clean your apartment before a trip for your house sitter, can you feel me? The tablehopper column will be taking a break until Friday April 12th, so please don’t pitch me about any events happening before then, thanks!

If you want to keep up with trip highlights, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, where I will assuredly be posting a bunch of pics the next two weeks.

Big thanks to everyone who came to hear my presentation at the Chocolate Salon on Sunday about San Francisco’s best chocolate desserts. It was kind of torturous to be talking about all these amazing desserts while showing pictures of them, without having any of them in front of us. I created a list of all the chocolate desserts I talked about; chocoholics, step right this way!

Don’t forget, this weekend is the Food and Farm Film Fest: there are still some tickets available for some of the movies, like The Last Shepherd and don’t miss the classic Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers, which will be introduced by Alice Waters (one of the stars of the film!).

Okay friends, I am off to start packing and get my act together. See you on April 12th!

Saludos! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Chef Gordon Drysdale on the Move, Plus New Chef Hires: Bix, Liberty Cafe, Amber Dhara


Gordon Drysdale. Photo by Ed Anderson.


Chef Edward Higgins.


Amber Dhara. Photo from Facebook.

A tipster alerted me to some changes with chef Gordon Drysdale’s level of involvement with the SWEETWATER MUSIC HALL in Mill Valley: he is transitioning to more of a consulting, as-needed relationship. Basically, they knew there would ultimately be a time when it wasn’t going to be financially feasible to keep Drysdale there full time. He says, “I looked at it as more of a long-term consulting gig.” While he’s still a partner, he’s going to be passing the bulk of the responsibility to his right-hand man, Francisco Contreras, who has been working with Drysdale the past 16 years (Drysdale raved about him: “what a palate!”). He will help with menus for parties and any other as-needed situations. Drysdale says, “I had a blast!” and is now considering some other projects and opportunities that will hopefully continue to fuse his love of food, art, and music—stand by to see what shakes out.

After we reported on the upcoming departure of Erik Lowe and the chef hunt at BIX, chef-partner Bruce Hill gave me a call to inform me of their chef hire: Edward Higgins. You may remember his name in tablehopper: he was originally going to be opening his own restaurant called BAiA, but that fell through. He also recently consulted on The Bureau in Emeryville. Higgins has worked at Four Seasons Palo Alto, and with Marco Canora at Insieme and Hearth in New York, and with Canora and Tom Colicchio at Craft. Yeah, he has some serious chops. Look for his menu to be in place by the end of April or so.

Bernalwood mentions THE LIBERTY CAFE has a new chef: Chad Kaneshiro, previously at “Barracuda sushi in Mountain View, Kingfish in San Mateo, and Oryza Bistro Asiana in Santa Clara.” He has reportedly “spiced up the menu with healthier Asian-inspired appetizers and entrées while keeping the California-French cafe style Liberty has always been known for.” On the menu: uni flan, pickled beets and burrata, spring vegetable risotto, and yes, the chicken potpie. Here’s hoping he brings some quality control and steadiness to the restaurant—it’s been rocky over there. 410 Cortland Ave. at Wool, 415-695-8777.

There is also a new chef at AMBER DHARA on Valencia: Manish Tayagi (previously chef de cuisine at Rasika in Washington, D.C.). Inside Scoop mentions the menu and cocktails will be completely revamped, and prices will be lower. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-400-5699.

Bix            - 56 Gold St. San Francisco - 415-433-6300

Now (Softly) Open: Bitters Bock and Rye


The exterior of the former Maharani. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Back in August, we announced the upcoming opening of BITTERS BOCK AND RYE in the former Maharani, which was originally slated for last October. Yeah, this is how things go in this town. Well, thanks to a friend in the neighborhood, I have learned the place is currently in soft-opening mode. There’s a full bar, with plans to brew beer on-site, and 12 to 18 beers on tap. To recap, the partners are Ron Kirkpatrick (Blur) and his wife Holly, along with Shannon Henne and Jon Boswell—they previously owned Tonic, and Tongue and Groove together.

The kitchen is just ramping up, but as we previously mentioned, chef Aaron Little’s menu will be highlighting Southern (specifically Texan) barbecue. The plan is to serve dinner late into the night (until 1am), along with an all-day weekend brunch until dinner service kicks in. This pic of the menu on Tenderlife currently reveals deviled eggs; sandwiches with barbecue brisket, chicken, and pulled pork; and sides. I didn’t hear back from owner Ron Kirkpatrick in time for confirmation on the business hours and a few other details; will update this post when we do. 1122 Post St. at Polk, 415-440-4490.

20 Spot Opening in the Mission on Friday March 29th


The bar at 20 Spot. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

As previously reported in tablehopper, 20 SPOT is bringing wine and small plates to the Mission. They’re all set to open this Friday March 29th, with a menu of small plates and snacks, plus more than 100 bottles of wine to choose from. Owners Bodhi Freedom (who owns Bacchus Wine Bar in Nob Hill) and Peter Goggin are offering an eclectic selection of wines from all over the world, with a focus on unusual flavor profiles. They’ll be open Sun-Mon and Wed 5:30pm-12am and Thu-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 3565 20th St. at Lexington, 415-624-3140.

Castro News: Pica Pica Maize Kitchen Now Open, Dante's Table Coming Soon


The grilled chicken arepa at Pica Pica. Photo from Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN opened another arepa outlet here in the city, this time in the Castro. The new spot debuted on Saturday March 23rd, with their signature maize-wiches, arepas, and some new dishes as well. This time around, look for appetizers to share, like nachos Pica Pica and shrimp ceviche, and some larger dinner plates, like a pulled pork pernil platter (yeah, say that five times fast). Check out all the new (and classic) menu choices here. They’ll also be offering table service this time around, and beer and wine will be flowing just as soon as the liquor license is approved. In keeping with their mostly gluten-free menu, they’ll be serving gluten-free beer, plus wine, sangria, and some regular microbrews too. They’re open daily from 11:30am-11pm. 3970 17th St. at Market, 415-525-3359.

Things are shaping up for Francesco D’Ippolito’s casual Italian project we mentioned was opening in the former Dancing Pigs space: it’s going to be called DANTE’S TABLE and is currently looking at a mid-April opening. He has brought on artist John Baden to do some murals inside, including two profiles of Dante looking at each other. Another fun element (for those of you familiar with the Divine Comedy): they are dividing the three areas into Paradiso, Purgatorio, and Inferno. The back patio and garden will be Paradiso—but, like in life, it looks like we’ll have to wait for it to open a bit later. 544 Castro St. at 19th St.

Trattoria Da Vittorio Opening in West Portal in April


The exterior of the upcoming Trattoria da Vittorio. Photo from Facebook.

According to the Scoop and a subsequent press release, sleepy West Portal has a new place for Italian food: TRATTORIA DA VITTORIO. The new restaurant, which is taking the place of the former Café for All Seasons, comes from Vittorio D’Urzo, whose résumé includes Piazza D’Angelo in Mill Valley and Locanda Positano and Limone in San Carlos. The new restaurant’s menu will take inspiration from Calabria, where D’Urzo hails from, with housemade pastas, short ribs Genovese, and gnocchi, plus Neapolitan pizzas. Chef Filippo Cannone (Acquapazza) and pizzaiolo Antonio Luongo will run the kitchen, and most main dishes will run less than $25. They’re aiming for a late April opening and will be open daily for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. 150 West Portal Ave. at Vicente, 650-504-7976.

Percolating News: Trouble Coffee Opening in Bayview, Coffee Cultures Coming to FiDi


The latte at Trouble Coffee. Yelp photo by Rick B.


Coffee Cultures exterior. Photo from Facebook.

Giulietta Carrelli, the founder of the infinitely quirky TROUBLE COFFEE near Ocean Beach (which is celebrating its six-year anniversary) is opening a second location in Bayview on Monday April 1st. She didn’t have time to really talk, but mentioned a couple of new blends she’ll be serving: Dutz (coffee) and Honor (espresso). Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. 1730 Yosemite Ave. at 3rd St.

There’s a new coffee kid in town, this time from Jason Paul (formerly of Coffee Bar in the Mission). His new location, called COFFEE CULTURES, is set to open in the Financial District in early to mid-May. It will be the first spot in San Francisco with Counter Culture Coffee, a North Carolina roasting company. In addition to espresso and drip coffee, you’ll also find Straus yogurt with seasonal fruit and granola, banh mi sandwiches, salads, and oatmeal. They’re also installing a soft-serve frozen yogurt machine with two flavors (plus swirl, of course). Paul wants the space to have a well-defined aesthetic and has enlisted Chen Design Associates (the graphic design team behind Craftsman and Wolves) to make sure that the details of the space are well designed and beautifully executed. Good coffee plus good design? Fantastic. It will be open Mon-Fri 6am-6pm. 225 Bush St. at Montgomery, 415-788-7011.

Tidbits: Frances Closes for a Quick Refresh, La Folie Turns 25, Cassava Expanding, Fire at Castagna


Cassava. Photo: ©


The interior at Frances. Photo: ©

While at Taste of the Nation last week, I had a chance to catch up with chef-owner Melissa Perello, who informed me FRANCES will be temporarily closed from March 31st-April 8th. It will reopening with a new kitchen (they will be gutting the current one), plus there will be some changes to the décor, light fixtures, and colors (there will be a new ceramics installation).

Big congrats to LA FOLIE, which turned 25 over the weekend. I raise my glass of Champagne to the Passots! 2316 Polk St. at Green, 415-776-5577.

So here’s a little more from chef Danny Bowien about the potential and rumored expansion of Mission Chinese Food to Paris. He was just interviewed while he was in Paris for the Omnivore food festival. Sounds like the plans are not in his immediate future (he isn’t locked on a place), but who knows, sometimes things happen out of the blue.

While dining at the ever-charming CASSAVA BAKERY + CAFE a couple of weeks ago, I learned they are expanding into the office space next door. Exciting! Demo has just started, so I’ll update you on timing later.

CASTAGNA in the Marina suffered a fire on Saturday afternoon. Stand by for news about its reopening—some repairs will need to happen (firefighters reportedly had to open the restaurant ceiling). Thankfully no one was hurt. 2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-440-4290.

Also nearby, THE GROVE on Chestnut will be closing in June. Inside Scoop mentions lease renewal issues; owner Kenneth Zankel is going to consider opening another location (he’s currently scouting Dogpatch, Mission Bay, and around the Embarcadero). 2250 Chestnut St. at Avila, 415-474-4843.

Cassava Bakery + Café            - 3519 Balboa St. San Francisco - 415-640-8990

New Service Hours: Florio Starts Lunch, Serpentine and Galette 88 Add Hours


The bar at Florio. Photo from Facebook.

Attention Pac Heights residents and shoppers: FLORIO has started weekend brunch service, 11am-3pm. The menu includes pain perdu, a croque-monsieur or croque-madame, Niçoise salad, duck confit hash, and a grass-fed burger. Check out a pic of the menu here. 1915 Fillmore St. at Pine, 415-775-4300.

SERPENTINE is staying open until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Sweet.

And it looks like GALETTE 88 is going to continue with its series of being open for dinner on first Thursdays, handy for nearby museumgoers. Next one: Thursday April 4th.

Galette 88            - 88 Hardie Pl. San Francisco - 415-989-2222

On the Menu: Izakaya Special at Nombe, Blue Plate Specials at Luella, More


The interior at Dopo. Yelp photo by Miguel E.

Some local spots are offering menu specials and more for your culinary consideration. First, NOMBE is inviting you to get a posse of your friends together (six or more) and to come by on Thursday nights for Rediscover the Izakaya. For $25 (inclusive), you’ll be able to graze on a variety of Nombe’s yakitori, grilled pork belly, wings, and more, served family style. Check out the menu and purchase tickets online here; drinks can be purchased separately.

Tax time got you down? Yeah, I feel ya. Starting Monday April 1st (no joke here), PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB will be launching Cocktails for Tax Relief, a deal on two house cocktails for $15. You can also get your beef on with the $15 steak frites. Through April 15th, available at the bar and on the back deck.

Chef Ben DeVries of LUELLA has put weekly Blue Plate Specials on the menu, like carnitas tacos on Monday ($18), pork bacon meat loaf on Tuesday ($20), chicken and ribs on Wednesday ($24), lobster and truffle fettuccine on Thursday ($28), bone-in rib-eye for two on Friday ($48), paella Valenciana on Saturday ($24), and Sundays are all about pork belly posole ($20). 1896 Hyde St. at Green, 415-674-4343.

Next time you swing by CITY BEER STORE, you may notice some salumi plates on the menu, courtesy of 1058 HOAGIE. Look for a rotation of artisan salami and sausages, like finocchiona, Calabrese salami, and hard beef salami from Chicago. 1168 Folsom St. #101 at 8th St., 415-503-1033.

The folks at DOPO are doing Roman Tuesdays: for $30 per person (excluding tax and tip), you will feast on an artichoke alla giudia, the classic Roman pasta dish of tonnarelli cacio pepe, and a glass of cesanese. Benissimo. Through June 25th. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at Echo, 510-652-3676.

Pop-Ups: Chrissy's Waffles and Tango & Stache at Rye, Cookies at Waterbar


One of Chrissy’s Waffles. Photo courtesy Chrissy’s Waffles.


Rye-braised pork tacos from Tango & Stache. Photo from Facebook.

This Friday March 29th, catch some special bar eats at RYE, where Chrissy’s Waffles will be popping up from 5:30pm-8:30pm. The waffle pop-up has become a standing Friday night event, called Waffles and Whiskey, and features a different waffle and whiskey cocktail each week. This week, look for a bacon doughnut waffle and the Crimp’s Buck, which is rye, ginger syrup, soda, and bitters. The waffle always costs $5, and the cocktail varies from $7-10. 688 Geary St. at Leavenworth, 415-474-4448.

If you plan it right, you can actually check out a bar pop-up just about every night of the week. Taco maven Tango & Stache pops up at BIG on Monday nights at 6pm, and at RYE on Wednesday nights at 5:30pm. Check Facebook and Twitter for each night’s menu; previous options include milk punch pork tostadas with cacao nib and fenugreek gremolata and a fried duck egg, and rye-braised pork shoulder with bacon fat and caraway tortillas and cabbage fennel slaw. Not too shabby at all. Nope. Big, 761 Post St. at Leavenworth, no phone.

Looking for some rockin’ cookies? Emily Luchetti, the pastry chef at WATERBAR and FARALLON has created a full lineup of Giants-inspired cookies that will be offered at a bake sale in front of Waterbar on Friday April 5th from 11am-3pm (or whenever they sell out). Cookie flavors include the classic Buster’s Chocolate Chunk, Matt’s Bourbon Old-Fashioned Pitcherdoodles, and a Cracker Jack-inspired snack, Bochy’s Peanut Popcorn Clusters. So get your baseball puns ready, and head on down. All cookie bags are $5, and proceeds go to Cookies for Kids Cancer.

Farallon (Oyster Bar)            - 450 Post St. San Francisco - 415-956-6969

Special Benefit Dinners: Culinary Trust at M.Y. China, a Taste of Tel-Hi


The exhibition kitchen at M.Y. China. Photo courtesy M.Y. China.

The International Association of Culinary Professionals is holding its annual conference this year from April 6th-9th, and M.Y. CHINA will be hosting a party to celebrate, on Monday April 8th. The special dinner will benefit The Culinary Trust, the philanthropic foundation of the IACP founded by Julia Child. The evening will include lots of food served from demonstration stations, a live auction with items including a Chinatown tour with Martin Yan, and plenty to drink. Tickets are $125 and include all food and beverages. The event will run from 7pm-10pm.

On Saturday May 11th, catch the Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center’s annual Taste of Tel-Hi event. This year, the benefit dinner will include dishes from chefs Jennifer Puccio (Park Tavern), Rob Lam (Butterfly), and Martin Parra (Venticello Ristorante), plus plenty of wine, and a silent and live auction. The event runs from 5:30pm-9:30pm and tickets are $175 per person. Joe DiMaggio Playground, 651 Lombard St. at Mason.

M.Y. China            - Westfield San Francisco Centre, 845 Market St., 4th Fl., San Francisco - 415-580-3001

650 News: Astaria in San Mateo Becoming A3, John Paul Carmona Rumors


Astaria. Yelp photo by Todd N.

Sunday March 31st will be ASTARIA’s last day in San Mateo. Owners Alicia Petrakis and Eleni Lolas will be closing the restaurant (which is in the Benjamin Franklin Hotel) for a major remodel, with plans to reopen in June as a new place entirely: A3. The new restaurant aims for a hipper, more urban vibe, with dishes intended for sharing and a full bar with a rooftop patio garden. Stand by for more details on a reopening date. I’ll always have a soft spot for the Benjamin Franklin Hotel—our family friend Freda used to work there (they don’t build them like her anymore), and I remember they had a machine that dispensed Shalimar in the ladies room (Freda was a BIG fan). 50 E. 3rd Ave. at S. San Mateo, 650-344-9444.

John Paul Carmona, the former chef de cuisine at Manresa, has thrown some fuel on the rumor fire with comments he made about opening a new place on the Peninsula. According to Grub Street, he talked about opening a new place in an undisclosed town in the 650 while cooking at the Pigs & Pinot event this weekend. No word on the location or much of the concept, only that it will be “a casual concept with high standards” and a cocktail bar will be attached.


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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Saying Farewell to Two Legendary Ts: Lady T and Tosca


House cappuccinos at the ready. Photo: ©


Bartender at Tosca. Photo: ©

A bunch of Lower Haight folks were mourning the passing last week of the legendary Lady T, a well-known character in the neighborhood, whether she was freaking you on the dancefloor at Underground SF (I recall having a few turns on the dancefloor with her back when it was The Top) or busting some moves in your shop, just ‘cause. Haighteration and SFist posted homages with some fun anecdotes about this fiery and fun-loving lady. Let’s all bust an extra move in her honor.

Friday evening, I popped by TOSCA CAFE for a few adult beverages and potentially a final goodbye since it may close while I’m away in New Zealand. There’s no way I was going to leave town without having some quality time at that beloved bar (and have one more chuckle over my favorite bathroom graffiti, ever). Where else could you go for a civilized cocktail on a Friday night in North Beach, easily slipping in for a quiet drink at the long bar, shaken or stirred by a white-jacketed bartender?

My friend and I started with a round of Negronis, had dinner at the nearby Capo’s, and then returned for a couple of nightcaps: the famed house cappuccino and a White Nun, which was Carol Doda’s preferred cocktail. We chatted a bit with Peter Ridet (owner Jeannette Etheredge’s nephew and business partner), who said the bar will close once the liquor license transfer happens, which could be the end of this month.

New owners Ken Friedman and chef April Bloomfield will be doing some remodeling during the closure, and according to this interview with Grub Street, they are going to try to do as little as possible to the place (yay). For now, it’s about improvements, like replacing the back booths with real leather, fixing the floors, repairing one of the paintings on the wall with a slash in it, and since they will be adding an Italian-esque menu, updating the ancient kitchen is a priority. I’ll keep you posted as I hear more. And thanks for the years of wonderful memories, Tosca. I’ve had drinks with many of my favorite people at that special bar, something I hope to continue.

Beer Rising: Some Big Upcoming Suds Projects


The Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico. Photo courtesy Sierra Nevada.

There are a few big beer projects coming up soon, starting with the new taproom in SoMa from Connor Casey (Press Club, Marin Brewing) and Tim Sciascia (Marin Brewing and Samuel Adams in Boston) called CELLARMAKER BREWING COMPANY. Grub Street reports that the pair is looking to make some unusual beers, including saisons and sour beers with fruit aged in wine barrels. Pours will be available in smaller tastes, pints, and growlers to go. There’s no plan for food right now, but they are hoping to get a rotating roster of food trucks parked out front for all your noshing needs. The opening is currently slated for summer 2013. 1150 Howard St. at Sumner.

Over in Berkeley, Chico-based beer heavy SIERRA NEVADA is opening a tasting room on 4th Street. Grub Street first caught wind of the story, and Berkeleyside Nosh got some details, including that there will be about 16 different beers available, including lots of small-batch and unusual choices not usually available outside the company’s Chico tasting room. There will be food, though the location will be less focused on lingering and eating as it will be on educating the public about the brewing process. The goal is to open in August, though of course that is subject to change. 2031 4th St. at University, Berkeley.

On the smaller end of the scale (literally) is a new “nano-brewery” (that’s a step smaller than micro) project in Berkeley. Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the new spot just got approval from Berkeley’s zoning commission, and owner Viet Vu hopes to open in seven months. 1763 Alcatraz Ave. at Ellis, Berkeley.

And back on the San Francisco side of the bay, remember that ANCHOR BREWING is planning a new location just south of AT&T Park, at the upcoming Mission Rock development. Scoop reported in February that second location will include a restaurant and museum, plus it will nearly quadruple the brewery’s output. It’s not opening until 2016, assuming all goes smoothly, but it’s an exciting development nonetheless.


the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)

Meals on Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala April 21st


Jennifer Biesty at the 2012 Gala. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Sunday Apr 21, 2013 – Sunday Apr 21, 2013 5pm Tickets begin at $495 per person Info                        Fort Mason Festival Pavilion

Looking for a fabulous night out for a good cause? Look no further than the 26th Annual STAR CHEFS & VINTNERS GALA on Sunday April 21st at Fort Mason. The event is a benefit for Meals on Wheels of San Francisco, which provides meals to homebound seniors. Nancy Oakes of Boulevard and Prospect will lead a crew of more than 100 chefs from the Bay Area to create appetizers for the opening reception (it’s incredible), as well as a three-course dinner, and a dessert reception. It’s one of our best food events of the year, truly.

Participating chefs include Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Mark Dommen (One Market), Tanya Holland (Brown Sugar Kitchen), Mourad Lahlou (Aziza), and Christopher Thompson (A16). There will also be wines from more than 60 California wineries, and cocktails from local cocktail slingers Daniel Bishop (Prospect), Jon Gasparini (Rye and 15 Romolo), and Scott Beattie (Scott Beattie Cocktails). Of course, this all has a sweet ending too. The dessert reception that caps the whole night off will include goodies from the likes of William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves) and Yigit Pura (Tout Sweet).

There will also be a silent auction and raffle with some pretty spectacular prizes, including a 2013 Mini Cooper and dinners with local chefs. Beep beep. Tickets begin at $495 per person, with additional VIP and sponsorship levels available. It’s a full-tilt food extravaganza, and it all goes to an amazing cause, so give until it hurts! Marina Blvd. at Laguna, 415-920-1111.

Oink Oink: Cochon 555 Is Coming in April


Chef Anthony Strong at Cochon 555 2012. Photo from Cochon 555.

Event Info

Sunday Apr 14, 2013 5pm $125 for general admission, VIP options available                        Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco 757 Market St. at 3rd St.

Are you ready to pig out? COCHON 555 is back and porkier than ever. Sunday April 14th marks the fifth year that the five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers will once again come together to compete for the ultimate in porcine glory: being crowned the Prince of Porc. Participating chefs this year are Mark Richardson (Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco), Omri Aflalo (Bourbon Steak), Adam Sobel (RN74), Scott Youkilis (Hi Lo BBQ and Hog & Rocks), and Christopher Thompson (A16). Each of the chefs will prepare a whole hog menu for attendees and judges, and then voting will determine the winner.

The event also includes lots of non-porky tastings, like the cheese bar from Mission Cheese and five kinds of bourbon to properly toast the event’s fifth anniversary.

Oh, you need another reason to attend? Yours truly, the tablehopper, will be one of the event’s judges, and there will also be tablehopper T-shirts and books for sale. So come get piggy with me! Plus, all the proceeds from the event go to support charities that assist farmers raising heritage breeds and educate the public on heritage farming.

Cochon 555 takes place at the Four Seasons at 5pm on Sunday April 14th. Tickets are $125 for general admission, with multiple VIP options available. 757 Market St. at 3rd St., 415-633-3000.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Jessica Alba Feasts with Tyler Florence

On Tuesday March 19th Jessica Alba spoke about her new book at the Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley. She followed up the speaking engagement with a veritable feast at El Paseo. According to her Instagram feed, the kitchen crushed her with the popovers, bone marrow, deviled eggs, duck wings, tuna with carrot confit, Brussels sprouts with pear and bacon, steak, and deconstructed pecan pie for dessert. Damn, the girl can eat.

Hooping It Up at Campanula

Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash was spotted at Campanula on Sunday March 24th.

A Copita of Jazz

Smooth jazz saxophonist and bandleader for The Emeril Lagasse Show, Dave Koz celebrated his birthday at Copita on Sunday night.

Joe, Can You Pass Me a Botana?

Joe Montana was spotted at Padrecito with another athlete, Peter Stern, a water polo player. They were all smiles and even posed for a picture.

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