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May 13, 2013 29 min read

May 14, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: lurve is in the air.

May 14, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: lurve is in the air.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: lurve is in the air.                    

This is what heaven looks like: a party platter o’ nigiri at ICHI Sushi. Photo: ©

Helllllo there. I think I have managed to shake last week’s Jazz Fest remnants from my head—sleep is a miraculous thing. Although I am hardly detoxing: last week I attended a Winebow Italian wine tasting, had a night of Austrian wines from Willi Klinger at et. al., tasted whiskies Saturday night at Hard Water, and spent Sunday night tasting wines at the bar at 20 Spot—I guess this is all keeping me from experiencing any DTs, ha-ha.

This week’s New Zealand wine tasting for the trade is going to rock (am looking forward to tasting more wine from that awesome place), and I’m also going to hit ArtPadSF this weekend. In case you are interested in checking it out, use discount code ARTPADSFFRIENDS for 50 percent off. Who loves you?

Speaking of love, today I am thrilled to announce the launch of my first tablehopper singles event on May 30th, which will be highlighting the wines of Languedoc, with delicious food at E&O Asian Kitchen. Bonus: Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina will be leading the wine tasting part of the evening, lucky us. It’ll be a night of fun, food, and wine, and no painful awkwardness. Check it all out here.

Since we’re on the topic of dating, I was inspired to write a guide on Citysearch for the best first date restaurants in San Francisco. Yes, I am on the path to get us all out on some dates, and quality ones at that. Let me know if I forgot any of your favorites.

Enjoy the week, see you Friday.

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Wine Lovers, Get Your Ticket for the First tablehopper Singles Event on May 30th!


Lapsang souchong tea-deviled eggs. Photo courtesy E&O Asian Kitchen.


Gorgeous Minervois; photo courtesy of CIVL.

Hello, my fellow singles who love food and wine. It’s time for y’all to meet, right? Right! I’m tired of seeing too many fabulous people without proper wingmen/wingwomen, in life and at the table. So I’m excited to announce this month brings the first tablehopper singles event! This will be the first of a series of singles events. I plan to host a variety of them in the coming months, for different age groups and sexual orientations (there’s even talk of a special industry singles night), so if you don’t fit the parameters of this first one, please sit tight!

It’s going to be on Thursday May 30th at 7pm at the recently remodeled E&O ASIAN KITCHEN, in their spacious private dining room downstairs. The age range for this first event is 35-49, with room for 20 men and 20 women (who identify as hetero, just to be clear). You will have an opportunity to meet everyone at this sit-down event, which is a bit like a mash-up of speed dating and a wine tasting and a partay. Yeah, it’s gonna be fun. This is NOT going to be a Date-A-Palooza à la The 40-Year-Old Virgin (oh hell no, although that scene is so funny).

Thanks to the CIVL (the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc, the joint trade council of the AOC wines of Languedoc), we are going to be tasting a variety of delicious wines, eight in all. We are also happy to welcome back the very dynamic Josiah Baldivino (he taught the tablehopper Languedoc wine tasting last year); he is currently the head sommelier at Michael Mina, and will be telling you about each wine, and a bit about the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the largest wine-growing region in the world.

Chef Sharon Nahm is going to be preparing a variety of delicious bites, so you will have plenty to taste throughout the evening. Hello, lapsang souchong tea-deviled eggs, oxtail dumplings, and other tasty dishes! (We can also accommodate vegetarians.) Don’t worry, you won’t be hungry—otherwise it wouldn’t be a tablehopper event. Hello.

You can get your tickets here (tickets are $65), and details about the wines and dishes will be released in the coming week. PLEASE NOTE: There are no ticket refunds if you can’t make it to the event (unless we can fill your place, but there are no guarantees about being able to do that). This event is 21 and over only, please.

This is a kickoff to L’Aventure Languedoc, from June 1st-30th, a monthlong and citywide promotion of Languedoc wines at a variety of restaurants and wine shops in San Francisco.

               Thursday May 30, 2013 7pm–9:30pm $65, plus service fee more info

Openings: Elmira Rosticceria, Pisto's Tacos Now Pisto's, Rhea's Café, Paprika, DRIP'D


The rotisserie at Elmira. Photo from Facebook.


The counter at Rhea’s Café. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.


The new counter at DRIP’D. Photo courtesy of DRIP’D.

Open as of today in Civic Center is ELMIRA ROSTICCERIA from chef Marc Passetti, formerly of the Fairmont. The name comes from the street in San Francisco where Passetti’s parents and grandparents grew up, which is so sweet. The menu is all about Italian-influenced sandwiches, salads, and breakfast. In the sandwich department, look for the lampredotto (a traditional Florentine tripe sandwich), roasted pork with fennel pollen and salsa verde, and roasted eggplant with peppers and smoked mozzarella. They’ve also got farro salad, a crispy pork salad, and a chopped salad. The menu will change seasonally, with lots of items sourced from the neighboring UN Plaza Farmers’ Market, and should expand to include a few more sandwich offerings in the next few weeks. At breakfast, find housemade pastries, steel-cut oatmeal, a three-cheese omelet with herbs, and a breakfast egg sandwich with the option of either bacon or speck.

They’re serving coffee from Bicycle Coffee Co. and beer from a few local spots like 21st Amendment, Anchor, and Speakeasy, for now. There’s also a wine list coming soon, but it hasn’t been finalized yet. Once the beer and wine program has expanded and been finalized, they’ll add happy hour too. Hours are daily 7:30am-7pm, breakfast until 10:30am, then lunch until closing. 154 McAllister at Hyde, 415-551-7332.

After running PISTO’S TACOS for a couple of nights last week, owner Pete Mrabe closed the space and decided to change the concept since the space wasn’t suited for what he wanted to do there. So instead of taking tacos off the menu at nearby Don Pisto’s, he’s going to launch his raw bar menu items at this new 35-seat space instead (it’s going to be called PISTO’S). As mentioned earlier in tablehopper, look for ceviche, oysters, and some cured and smoked fish. He is also going to offer a half-pound burger (to go only) for $6 and have just a couple of tacos on the menu (like suadero). The reopening is slated for this Thursday May 16th. Walk-ins only, open Thu-Sun 6pm-10pm. 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

Now open in the Mission is the second location of RHEA’S CAFÉ. Like we said earlier, it was going to open in the former Deli-Up Cafe space at 20th and Bryant, and there’s a counter with seating (the original location in the market on Valencia is takeout only). Yelpers and the readers on Mission Mission are squawking over the higher prices on the menu ($10-$12 for those monster sandwiches). But yay, 30 seats. And as promised, the famed katsu sandwich is back, and there’s Korean fried chicken on the menu too. Way to work that fryer out. Open daily 11am-8pm. 2200 Bryant St. at 20th St.

Urban Daddy mentions the opening of PAPRIKA on 24th Street in the Mission, in the former El Trebol space. It joins other nearby beer-and-sausage places with European beers and traditional-style sausages. Yelpers report good sausage platters and happy hour beer prices. And apparently, they’re serving beer in the boot-style mug. Awesome. 3324 24th St. at Mission, 415-283-7941.

Due to potentially open this Saturday May 18th in the Inner Sunset is DRIP’D. An earlier post on tablehopper said the project is from Chris Morell and Tae Kim, serving Sightglass Coffee (although they plan to roast their own coffee in the back later on). Initial hours are Fri-Sat 8am-2pm, Sun 9am-3pm. They’ll be expanding to six days a week very shortly after, as soon as in a couple weeks (closed on Mondays). They are also going to be hosting their first espresso workshop on June 1st, check out their events page for more. 1352A 9th Ave. at Irving.

New Owners, New Projects: Farm: Table, The Palace, Suite Foods Waffle Shop


The ever-so-tiny interior at Farm: Table. Yelp photo by Anthon J.

I know some neighborhood folks will not be happy to hear FARM: TABLE has been sold to new owners. Eater reports the new owners are Tom Benson and Wendy Rouse of Duluth, Minnesota. 745 Post St. at Jones.

The latest taker for The Palace Family Steak House space is Manny Torres Gimenez (currently at Roxy’s Cafe), who is going to be opening a steakhouse in the space called THE PALACE with his wife Katerina. The chef de cuisine is Shawn Naputi (Incanto). Scoop mentions he’ll be doing whole-animal butchery, and offering both an à la carte menu and a $50 five-course tasting menu. Look for an opening around June 1st. 3047 Mission St. at Cesar Chavez.

The tenant taking over Bernal Cutlery’s spot in the 331 CORTLAND MARKETPLACE will be Suite Foods. Bernalwood shares the Belgian-style waffle maker will be serving both sweet and savory waffles, plus some drinks like fresh juice, European-style hot chocolate, and more. Look for the opening of the SUITE FOODS WAFFLE SHOP on Saturday June 1st. Hours 8am-5pm daily, closed Thu.

331 Cortland Marketplace            - 331 Cortland Ave. San Francisco

Expansions: The Sycamore Folks Opening The Willows, Humphry Slocombe to the Ferry Building


The Vietnamese coffee ice cream at Humphry Slocombe. Photo ©

According to some ABC license activity, the folks behind THE SYCAMORE in the Mission are taking over the former Mercury Lounge in SoMa and opening THE WILLOWS. Bonus: they will have full liquor. Stand by for more details once I hear back from the owners. 1582 Folsom St. at 12th St.

The gents of HUMPHRY SLOCOMBE are opening their second location in the Ciao Bella space inside the FERRY BUILDING. Scoop mentions they won’t be able to get access to the space until October, so stand by for timing updates later this year.

Ferry Building            - One Ferry Building San Francisco - 415-983-8000

Temporary Closures (Fires! Changes! Remodels!) and Permanent Closures (Maki)


The Cassava crew saying farewell (for a couple of weeks). Photo via Facebook.

A crazy number of fires have happened in recent days: first, FORBES ISLAND near Pier 39 experienced a fire in the Sea Lion Room (one of the private rooms on the main level of the island). Scoop says they hope to get back up and running soon, but will need to cut off the portion of the barge that is damaged. Stand by for updates. Sea Lion Harbor, H Deck, at Pier 41, 415-951-4900.

LITTLE BAOBAB, the restaurant/club in the Mission, suffered a fire, and owner Marco Senghor says it could be five or six months until it reopens (TBD). Scoop says the business will move into nearby Bissap Baobab while repairs are made. 3372 19th St. at Mission, 415-643-3558.

And over in Oakland, 61-year-old MERRITT RESTAURANT & BAKERY has tragically suffered a bad fire. Here’s a thoughtful post on SFGate about why the potential loss of this Oakland institution would be such a shame. 203 E. 18th St. at 2nd Ave, Oakland, 510-444-8680.

No more fires, okay?

Some good news: the BACON BACON TRUCK is back on the road after their truck had a nasty fire (follow the truck on Twitter). But Uppercasing has some bad news: their brick-and-mortar location at 205A Frederick St. in the Haight is going to be shut down on May 17th due to a couple of neighbors who aren’t fans of the business (the café just had a conditional use permit). If you’d like to help them stick around, you can join more than 1,500 other supporters and sign the petition here. 205 Frederick St. at Ashbury, 415-571-8516.

The fab folks at CASSAVA have closed the café for the next couple of weeks while they undergo an exciting expansion into a neighboring space. I’ll update you when they are set to reopen.

Also seems KITCHENETTE in Dogpatch has something exciting up their sleeves. Grubstreet noted they are closed for the month of May—stand by for details on what’s going on (catering is still available, FYI). 958 Illinois St. at 20th St.

And in the permanent closure file, MAKI in the Kinokuniya building in Japantown has closed. Yes, the place with the expensive but delicious wappa meshi dishes and frosty service. A business called Tenroku Sushi appears to be moving in. 1825 Post St. at Fillmore.

Presenting Lolinda's Roof Deck: El Techo de Lolinda


El Techo on a sunny day. Photo by Wes Rowe.


The nighttime view. And check out those powerful heat lamps. Photo by Charlie Villyard.

LOLINDA, the Argentine steakhouse that moved into the former Medjool space on Mission, has finally opened up one of the arguably best elements of their space: the roof deck. It officially opened last night, Monday May 13th, as El Techo de Lolinda. They’ve got a separate menu and bar program from the main restaurant, with a more casual, pan-Latin concept than the main space.

First off, getting there can be a little tricky. You go up to the fifth floor in an elevator that hasn’t been glamorous for years, but that’s okay. Once you arrive, you’re greeted by a great view of the city. To the north you can see the Bay Bridge on-ramp, the skyline of the Financial District, and the fog rolling in on the rest of the city. And if it does roll in, they’ve got some serious heated umbrellas to keep you toasty. With the Mission sunshine and distance from the loud street below, you really feel like you’re in an urban oasis. They could definitely enhance this feeling with some foliage around the perimeter, and more comfortable, loungy seating—as it is now, the space feels a little industrial and bare, more like a roof, less like a deck. It is, however, very well protected from the wind by both the kitchen structure on the western side of the roof and the major glass wall, which can withstand winds of up to 150 miles per hour. Hold on to your hats!

The special menu is casual, and focused on street food from all over South America. They’ve got grilled skewers of chicken, beef, chorizo, shrimp, or vegetables; sandwiches including their rendition of a choripán, empanadas, and patacones; or plantain chips with black beans and salsa. The food is definitely designed for sharing, and the cocktails are on the sweeter side and summery. There are Mexican beers on tap and by the bottle, and a selection of wines as well. El Techo is open for dinner Sun-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-11pm, and for brunch on Sat-Sun from 11am-3pm.

Lolinda            - 2518 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-550-6970

Local Spots with Expanded Hours and Service


The burger at RickyBobby. Yelp photo by Kathleen N.


The bar at Wine Kitchen. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

Some places want to feed you more around town, so take note. First up, Haighteration mentions RICKYBOBBY launched Burger Sundays, running from 11:30am-2:30pm. You can order their famed burger and a couple of specials, plus chicken drumsticks, fries, and a few other items (including beer, holla). 400 Haight St. at Webster.

Also added: WINE KITCHEN on Divis is now open on Sunday evenings from 4:30pm-10pm. But don’t run over there on Sunday May 19th, because they’ll be closed for Bay to Breakers (smart move). There’s also a new happy hour from 4:30pm-6pm daily, with draft beer for $3.50, wine for $7, and some vittles too. 507 Divisadero St. at Fell, 415-525-3485.

A small tweak: SLOW CLUB is now starting dinner service at 6pm Mon-Sat (instead of 6:30pm).

Over in Potrero, MARKET & RYE is now serving an early dinner Mon-Fri until 7pm, plus there is now beer and wine, and the dining room has expanded into a neighboring space, adding 40 seats. Check the website for nightly specials, like Sergio’s Dr. Pepper-grilled pork ribs on Thursdays. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-252-7455.

Pop-Ups: David Cruz, Bites Off Broadway, Bayview Underground


The picnic scene at Bites Off Broadway. Photo from Facebook.


The exterior of Radio Africa & Kitchen. Photo: ©

Chef David Cruz, who used to run the kitchen at Ad Hoc, Thomas Keller’s Yountville restaurant, will be popping up a few times this summer while he looks for a permanent location for a new restaurant. First up, he’ll be working with S+S Gastro Grub at an undisclosed location in Oakland on Sunday May 19th at 5:30pm (the Sunday night was added after two Saturday seatings sold out). The dinner features five courses, including a spider steak (with eight legs? no, it’s just an unusual French cut of beef) with calçot onion and potatoes, and pork belly with gigante beans and clams. Take a look at the full menu and get your tickets here. The dinner is $85 per person, including tax but not tip, and drinks are BYO.

Then on Saturday June 8th, he’ll be at THE TRAPPIST in Oakland roasting a whole spring lamb on the courtyard. There will be lots of lamb, obviously, plus side dishes like potato salad and corn on the cob. You can get your lamb on starting at 4pm, and the cost is $25 per person for food (beer can be purchased separately). All seating is first come, first serve.

He’ll be at the Trappist again on Sunday June 9th, with a four-course family-style dinner with beer pairings from the Trappist’s many sudsy offerings. There’s a barley and beet salad with grilled Little Gems, beef short rib with succotash and marble potatoes, and a stone-fruit tart for dessert. The dinner, with food and beer pairings, is $67 per person, including tax but not tip. Reservations can be made here. 460 8th St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-238-8900.

For some food truck pop-up action, check out East Bay Express’ suggestion BITES OFF BROADWAY in Oakland. The food truck gathering is every Friday, from 5:30pm-8:30pm and includes lots of East Bay food trucks, like the Blue Saigon Truck, Streatery, and Doc’s of the Bay. In front of the Studio One Arts Center, 365 45th St. at Manila, Oakland, 510-654-6346.

Here on the city side of the bay, check out the first in a new pop-up series at RADIO AFRICA & KITCHEN, called Bayview Underground Food Scene. Each dinner will be held at Radio Africa, featuring a different guest chef, and all proceeds will benefit a Bayview nonprofit organization. Up this month is Jiwon Park, the sous chef at Boulevard. On Sunday May 19th, he’ll be serving a three-course menu, with a choice of entrée, for $50 per person. Wine pairings are available for an additional $20. The menu, which is Asian-inspired, includes grilled asparagus with tatsoi and quail egg, and a bavette steak with snap peas and kimchi fried rice. Check out the full menu and get your tickets here. Proceeds for this month’s event will go to BMAGIC. 4800 3rd St. at Oakdale, 415-420-2486.

And Tuesday May 14th (that’s tonight!), from 6pm-10pm, catch HAPA RAMEN as they pop up at WING WINGS. Look for black pepper-black sesame tonkotsu ramen (made from trotters); vegetarian white miso and gigante bean ramen; a lacinato kale salad with miso, mustard, and avocado; and a grilled teriyaki chicken bento box. Oh, bonus: you can BYO.

On Tuesday May 28th, don’t miss this multicourse pop-up dinner at BAR TARTINE from Sonoko Sakai of Common Grains in Los Angeles and Myoho Asari of Saiki Kojiya in Oita, Japan. The dinner will focus on koji, the fermented Japanese product that shows up in soy sauce, sake, and miso. There will be housemade soba noodles, koji-inspired goods from Bar Tartine, and lots of information about the koji-making process. The dinner costs $85 per person and includes abundant family-style courses. Beer, wine, and sake will be available for purchase. Seatings are available from 6pm-10pm and reservations can be made by calling 415-487-1600.

Bar Tartine            - 561 Valencia St. - 415-487-1600

Home Cook Extravaganza: Some Great Classes and a Cookbook Event


Looking to expand your kitchen’s horizons? Check out these upcoming events and learn some new skills, yo! Catch Filipino chef and food blogger Marvin Gapultos at OMNIVORE BOOKS on Friday May 17th as he talks about his experience as the owner of Manila Machine, Los Angeles’ first gourmet food truck, and running his blog, Burnt Lumpia. He now has a book out, called The Adobo Road, which includes stories and recipes. The event is free, runs from 6pm-7pm, and includes Filipino snacks from Seafood City and local chef Tim Luym.

Looking to preserve some spring and summer bounty? Check out this pair of classes at 18 REASONS. Viola Toniolo will start on Wednesday May 29th with Pickling 101: Zero Waste Ferments, where she’ll guide you through the basics of pickling. The class runs from 7pm-9pm and costs $35 for the general public and $25 for 18 Reasons members. Then, on Wednesday June 5th, she’ll follow up with Fermentation for Summer Vibrancy. This class will be all about seasonal fermented foods, and their tradition, science, and history. The class runs from 6:30pm-9pm and costs $60 for the general public and $50 for 18 Reasons members.

18 Reasons            - 3674 18th St. San Francisco

Know Your Food Sources: Some Ways to Connect with Your Food's Roots


Fiddler’s Green Farm at the San Rafael Farmers’ Market. Photo by Greg Yost via Agricultural Institute of Marin.

Here are some ways to get to know where your food comes from, and how it makes its way onto your plate. First up is an INFORUM event at the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday May 21st from 6:30pm-8pm called Eating Nose-to-Tail: The Whole Animal Movement. The event features a panel of some of San Francisco’s most well-known butchers and nose-to-tail advocates, including Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats, Tia Harrison of Avedano’s, John Fink of The Whole Beast, and Chris Cosentino of Incanto. Premium ticket holders also get to attend an after-party, complete with a butchery demonstration and samples. Tickets are $20 general admission ($12 for Commonwealth Club members), $55 premium ($40 for members), and $7 for students. Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St. at 2nd St.

There’s news in the local food movement too. 18 REASONS, the nonprofit and education arm of Bi-Rite Market, is merging with local food education nonprofit Three Squares. 18 Reasons will continue to offer classes, workshops, and all sorts of interesting events out of their 18th Street space, and will partner with Three Squares to offer cooking and nutrition education in low-income neighborhoods. They’ll be holding a special 18th Hour Happy Hour on Thursday May 16th to discuss the changes.

There’s a new farmers’ market in town, too, this time in the Inner Richmond. The new market is being put on by the Agricultural Institute of Marin, which runs the Stonestown market and the San Rafael Civic Center Markets. The market kicks off Sunday June 9th and will continue year-round every Sunday from 9am-2pm, and will be on Clement St. between 2nd Ave and 4th Ave.

18 Reasons            - 3674 18th St. San Francisco

East Bay Openings and News


The bar at East Bay Spice Company. Photo from Facebook.


Baked goods and the gorgeous espresso machine at Barkada Bakery. Photo from Facebook.


The fried chicken at Southern Café. Yelp photo by Nic A.

As previously announced in tablehopper, a new project called NEXT DOOR RESTAURANT was opening in the former Addie’s Pizza Pie space in the Lorin neighborhood in Berkeley. The project (from San Francisco Housing Authority Director Henry August Alvarez III and his wife, Dionne Roberts, working with chef Sharon Lorraine Anderson) is now open. Check out the menu here. Open Tue-Thu and Sun 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. 3290 Adeline St. at Alcatraz, 510-982-1609.

Over on San Pablo, Berkeleyside Nosh announces the opening of TOMO’S JAPANESE CUISINE from Tomo Owada, previously at Yoshi’s San Francisco the past five years, and 20 years under his belt as a sushi chef. Lunch offers rice bowls and bento boxes, while dinner brings small plates and sushi; here’s the menu. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-10pm. 2026 San Pablo Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-981-8225

Also in Nosh: there’s a new Indian street food spot (serving Northern Indian dishes) called EAST BAY SPICE COMPANY that serves some tasty-sounding cocktails (put together by Adam Stemmler of Blind Tiger Cocktail Co. and Eric Quilty of Jupiter Olympus). Open Mon-Sat 5pm-2am. 2134 Oxford St. at Center, Berkeley, 510-774-1657.

As previously announced in tablehopper: BARKADA BAKERY is now open in Temescal. The owners Christina Bondoc and Rick Yarussi are making traditional bakery items (croissants, tarts, cakes, breads, etc.), but are very dedicated to using heirloom/heritage wheat (they also have a gluten-free flour blend for a few gluten-free items). There is also a café menu with pressed sandwiches, salads, quiches, and more; it all sounds delicious. Coffee is from West Oakland’s Scarlet City. About the name: Barkada means “group of friends” in the Filipino language. They opened Saturday May 11th. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St, 510-239-7314, Oakland.

License activity and Yelp posts show that SOUTHERN CAFÉ has reopened in its new location, and is serving its popular fried chicken once again. 2000 MacArthur Blvd. at Canon, Oakland, 510-336-2013.

Best wishes to chef Banks White, who is leaving FIVE RESTAURANT in Berkeley to relocate to Mintons, opening in Harlem this summer.


the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

(Sponsored): Golden Glass Is Back This Summer: Sip with a View June 29th

Slow Food San Francisco’s 9th annual Golden Glass brings together wine and food artisans in celebration of Slow Food’s work to advocate for sustainability, biodiversity, and preservation of food traditions.

On Saturday June 29th, sip wine from sustainable wine producers, enjoy tasty bites from the Bay Area’s best restaurants and artisan food producers, and bid on epicurean auction items, all while supporting Slow Food San Francisco’s School Gardens Initiative and Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste.

Get your tickets now! The event is at City View at the Metreon, and runs 1pm-5pm (trade 11am-1pm).

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Novela Coming to SoMa; Jason Rager at AQ; Brass Tacks into Marlena's


The bar at AQ. Photo from Facebook.

A few cocktail-related pieces of news for you. First, we can all happily bid farewell to the nastily named Fluid Ultra Lounge in SoMa since it is going to be converted into NOVELA, a new bar from Alex Smith (Gitane, Honor Bar) and Kate Bolton (Maven). Eater mentions the honking space (3,500 square feet, seating for 120) “will focus on classic cocktails and an ambitious punch program, featuring punches made with traditional olio sacrum (freshly zested citrus oil) and served by the glass or bowl. Though Smith and Bolton developed the drink program together, Smith will run the bar.” The look will be spiffy, with gilded ceilings, vintage books throughout the space, and Deco-inspired tiling. Look for an opening in three weeks or so. 662 Mission St. at Annie.

Over at AQ, with the departure of Ethan Terry from behind the stick (stand by for news on where he’s headed and up to next), bar manager Timothy Zohn has brought on Jason Rager, previously head bartender from Holeman & Finch in Atlanta, which was on the short list for best bar program this year for The James Beard Foundation Awards. He just started on Sunday, swing on by and welcome him (and his adult beverage skills) to SF.

Lastly, the new bar project that is opening in the former Marlena’s from Matt Conway, Anthony Healy-London, and Josh McAdam has a name: BRASS TACKS. Stand by for updates on timing soon—for now, they just started reconsturction, and there’s a lot of dust going on. 488 Hayes St. at Octavia, 415-864-6672.

Closures: Big, and Esta Noche Is in Danger of the Same; SF Cocktail Week Canceled


The (very small) interior at Big. Photo from Facebook.

Fans of BIG in the Tenderloin better swing by and say their goodbyes before June 15th: owner Jordan Langer is closing up shop as the hotel is becoming a Marriott, and he declined to stay on. Scoop says Big will reopen elsewhere but with a new name and team—Langer is going to work with bartender Brian Felley and partners Jeff Whitmore and Pete Glikshtern on a new space that is reportedly in mid-Market. 761 Post St. at Jones.

Am sorry to hear ESTA NOCHE (oh, the stories in that place) is in trouble of closing if they don’t pay off the $9K they owe the city in license fees. Eater mentions there is an Indiegogo fundraiser, and if you donate $20, you can skip the line to attend their upcoming fundraiser party on Saturday May 18th (9pm to close, $10-$20 sliding scale). Any additional monies raised will be given to El/La (a trans-Latina nonprofit in the Mission). Help save this 16th Street queer institution!

And 2013 marks the year our city won’t be hosting an installment of SF Cocktail Week. Eater’s interview with H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir, the Boothby Center) reveals a variety of reasons (like difficulties scheduling around the America’s Cup), but I heard some other rumblings about ABC and sponsorship issues. Anyway, it sounds like SF Cocktail Week is planning to come back in 2014, bigger and better.

Beer Me: Some Upcoming Beer Events and Classes


Flickr photo from Almanac Beer.


The interior at the Old Mint. Photo by Orange Photography via Facebook.

The Stags are back again with their shoot-out dinner at the Pacific Rod and Gun Club, this time partnering with Almanac Beer Co. to bring you a dinner with beer pairings, plus skeet shooting to get your appetite going. The dinner is on Sunday May 19th, and starts at 3pm with a mini-round of skeet shooting accompanied by prosciutto, fruit, and cheese. The shooting reception is followed by a sportsman-inspired dinner that includes dishes like a five-spice grilled quail. You can check out the full menu here. Tickets are $120 per person and include dinner, beer, and a mini-round of skeet. Shooting is optional, and course rules will be sent before the dinner. Pacific Rod and Gun Club, 520 John Muir Dr. at Lake Merced.

Interested in learning how to brew your own beer? Check out this class from 18 REASONS with Eric Denman, tonight from 7pm-9pm. The class will walk you through the steps of brewing, plus you’ll have the chance to bottle a prebrewed batch to see (and taste!) the beginning and end of the process. There wil also be snacks. The class costs $60 for the general public and $50 for 18 Reasons members. You’ll find tickets and more information here.

You can also get your homebrew on at Urban Kitchen and CUESA’s Intro to Homebrewing class on Thursday May 30th from 5:30pm-7:30pm. The class is taught by Chris Cohen, the founder of San Francisco Homebrewers Guild, and will cover lots of the basic information you need to get started at home. Plus, you’ll leave the class with a $40 gift certificate and 10 percent off coupon to San Francisco Brewcraft. Tickets are $68, and include lots of knowledge, the gift certificate, and the coupon. Dacor Outdoor Teaching Kitchen, Ferry Building.

Speaking of malty guilds, join the San Francisco Brewers Guild crew on Thursday May 23rd at the Old Mint for Hops and History, a special event with FlipSide, the hip young arm of the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society. The event features beer from local breweries including Anchor Brewing, 21st Amendment, Magnolia, and Pine Street, alongside lots of information about the history of brewing in San Francisco. Check out old beer memorabilia, docent-led tours, and presentations on brewing history. There will also be some food trucks in attendance with food for purchase if you get peckish. Tickets are $30 general admission or $5 for FlipSide members. 88 5th St. at Mission.

Over in the Sunset, INNERFOG has reopened after a flood with a new tap system at their bar. They can now pour six beers on tap, one white wine, and three red wines. Local cicerone Rich Higgins designed the beer list, which includes Uinta Baba Black Lager, Rodenbach Grand Cru, Deschutes Chainbreaker, and Meantime IPA. They’ve also expanded the kitchen to offer new dishes that will pair nicely with the beers, sweet! 545 Irving St. at 7th Ave., 415-682-4116.

Deals on Wine This Month at Big 4 and Grand Café; Happy Hour Deals at Fifth Floor


The bar at Fifth Floor. Photo by Justin Lewis via Facebook.


Belly up for a $2 martini at LarkCreekSteak. Photo from Facebook.

Start summer off thrifty and fabulous with some great wine deals around town. Check out BIG 4, where every Sun-Tue in May you get 50 percent off bottles of wine on the wine list.

You can also get half-off wine at GRAND CAFÉ, where the entire wine list is half price for the month of May. Check out the wine list here, and look at all those bubbly choices. Pop!

The bar at FIFTH FLOOR has a new happy hour going, with cocktail and drink specials from 5pm-7pm and food specials from 5:30pm-7pm, Mon-Fri. The drink list includes cocktails for $8 (check out that Pink Elephant with gin, pineapple gum, vermouth, orange bitters, and smoked absinthe), wine for $8, and beer for $5. There are also $1 oysters and other drink-friendly snaxx.

Feeling a little 1965? Bring back the liquid lunch, and its prices, with a trip to LARKCREEKSTEAK. Mon-Fri from 11:30am-2pm you can get their martini for a mere $2, made with either Stolichnaya vodka or Hendrick’s gin. The only part that isn’t very Mad Men? There’s a limit of two per person. Work it out.

LarkCreekSteak            - 845 Market St. 4th floor San Francisco - 415-593-4100

Meet the Makers: Wine and Sake Dinners for Your Radar


The interior at Piccino. Photo: ©

Check out these spiffy wine and sake dinners coming up soon. First, at PICCINO you can meet winemakers from the Alps at two different wine dinners. The first is on Wednesday May 22nd and features wines and makers from Cima Presanella in Italy. Then, on Wednesday June 19th, check out the wines of Dents du Midi from Switzerland. Each dinner includes four courses plus wine pairings, and costs $115 per person. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant at 415-824-4224.

Learn about sake and the process of making it at IZAKAYA YUZUKI on Monday May 20th. Niichiro Marumoto of Marumoto Brewery (makers of the Chikurin brand of sake) will be in attendance, talking about his process of sake brewing, and his rather unusual decision to grow his own rice for sake. The dinner includes five courses, paired with four different sakes, and costs $100 per person, not including tax and tip. There are two seatings, one at 6:30pm and the other at 7:30pm, and reservations can be made by calling 415-556-9898.

Izakaya Yuzuki            - 598 Guerrero St. San Francisco - 415-556-9898


the socialite

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

Save the Date: Summertini CHEFS Benefit June 7th


SummerTini 2012, at the Galleria the SF Design Center. Photo: ©

Event Info

Friday Jun  7, 2013 6pm–9:30pm $130 general admission, $200 Honorary Committee Bently Reserve 301 Battery St. at Sacramento 415-487-3300 ext. 1244

Get ready to enjoy some fabulous food for a fabulous cause at the ninth annual SUMMERTINI bash, which is shaping up to be the best one yet. The party is happening Friday June 7th at the Bently Reserve. This year, the restaurant lineup is just amazing! It includes A16, Nopa, Absinthe, Perbacco, and Il Cane Rosso, plus cocktails from Comstock Saloon, Elixir, Hakkasan, and Rye.

The whole evening is a benefit for CHEFS, the wonderful local program that fights poverty and homelessness through job training and placement in the food industry. The evening will be lots of fun, not least because yours truly, the tablehopper, will be the evening’s MC, and you know I’ll keep you laughing and carrying on. Plus, there will be plenty of wine, lots of tasty food, and silent and live auction items with some great prizes, like a Santa Cruz travel adventure with dinner at Manresa, or an overnight stay at Meadowood with dinner. Yeah, fancy.

The evening runs from 6pm-9:30pm, and tickets are $130 for general admission, $200 for Honorary Committee. See you there! Bently Reserve, 301 Battery St. at Sacramento, 415-487-3300 ext. 1244.

Check Out the Mega Food, Wine, and Beer Lineup at Outside Lands


Lamb poutine from Outside Lambs. Photo: ©

Event Info

Friday Aug  9, 2013 – Sunday Aug 11, 2013 Tickets/info

Leave it to San Francisco to be as excited for the lineup of food (and wine and beer) vendors as for the music lineup at OUTSIDE LANDS this year (August 9th-11th). (Some are perhaps even more fired up for the vittles.) The majority of the audience will assuredly have the munchies, so it works out quite well having all that food.

You can check out the lineup here (I’ll be happy to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, and the Foals again, and since I missed Jessie Ware at Coachella, this will be a good do-over), and here’s the mega list of food vendors. Yeah, you’ll have more than 200 food and drink options, with new additions like Rich Table, Il Cane Rosso, 1300 on Fillmore, Wise Sons Deli, Freshroll Vietnamese Rolls and Bowls, Nopalito, and Escape from New York Pizza. Returning vendors (and dishes) to look for include Azalina’s Malaysian nachos, Del Popolo’s pizza, and Nojo will be serving spicy Nojo fries with katsu sauce and Sapporo-chile mayo (all hopper-approved). Another bonus: Blue Bottle Coffee Co. and Trouble Coffee Company will be there to perk you up naturally.

I’m also looking forward to the return of John Fink’s Outside Lambs, and not just so I can jokingly say “Outside Laaaaaaambs” every day—that lamb poutine was delish. Mark Dommen of One Market will be his wingman. Beer Lands is also awesome; with Dave McLean (Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery and Alembic Bar) curating the lineup, you know you’re in good hands. There will be 16 breweries pouring 32 beers (welcome Social Kitchen & Brewery, Almanac Brewing Co., and Concord’s Ale Industries to the fold). I am all over Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.’s Outside Lands Saison again, that was tasty business. And then there’s Wine Lands, led by Peter Eastlake (a Food & Wine magazine “Sommelier of the Year: 2013”) overseeing 36 winemakers pouring 120 wines, including newbies Scharffenberger Cellars, Forlorn Hope, Broc Cellars, and more. A limited number of regular and VIP three-day tickets remain! Hop to it.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Sympathy for the Budino

Hot on the heels of their live show, a couple of Stones rolled around town last week. First up is front man Mick Jagger, who dined at Acquerello on May 7th. He and his two British friends were conservatively dressed, enjoyed the Parmesan budino, sea bream, lamb shank agnolotti, and the flourless chocolate cake. And, in true rock star form, they were the last ones at the place. Rock on, Mick.

Forty Licks to Clean Your Plate

Also in town was Rolling Stone Charlie Watts, who dined at Spruce on May 7th. Apparently, fans lined up outside for autographs from the legendary rock star. No word on what he ate, but we hope it brought him satisfaction.

You Can Always Get What You Want

…at EPIC Roasthouse, where Keith Richards dined on Friday. His visit rounded out a full week of the Stones rolling around town, upping San Francisco’s cool factor by a few points at least.

I Just Can't Quit This Burrata

The very dreamy Jake Gyllenhaal dined at Locanda last night. He enjoyed the Jewish-style artichokes, the bucatini all’amatriciana, the burrata cuscini with crawfish, and the bavette steak. My spy said he also toasted with a glass of Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi.

Chicken of the Sea


Jessica Simpson was spotted at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana on May 2nd. She posed for photos with some fans, and hopefully kept her chicken and seafood straight.

Haute Living at Waterbar

Hip-hop star (and Mr. Alicia Keys) Swizz Beatz was spotted at Waterbar on Friday night. No word on what he ate, or if he quickly moved on to the next one.

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