Follow @tablehopper on Threads!
Learn more
Jun 10, 2013 18 min read

June 11, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: chock-full

June 11, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: chock-full
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: chock-full.                    

Yours truly sharing a laugh with one of the teams at the CHEFS Cook-off at SummerTini. Photo: Marcie Franich Photography.

Howdy. That was quite the heat wave last weekend, right? Riiiiiiiight. Fortunately I ventured south, and who knew The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay had its very own pocket of sunny weather along the coast? I know, of course it does. I’ll be doing a recap soon, but I will say it’s hard to beat the gorg view at the restaurant Navio (I love a good sunset while enjoying the raw seafood platter) and especially during the over-the-top Sunday brunch. Going for a walk along the Coastal Trail after all that feasting was almost gratuitous—I couldn’t believe the view and the pristine sand on the beach. Oh, California, I am always so in love with you.

I also know I was savoring all that luxury and my oh-so-charmed life extra deeply, because Friday evening was SummerTini, the annual fundraiser for ECS and the CHEFS program. I was the emcee for the CHEFS Cook-off, and let me tell you, it’s an amazing thing to see the current class of students cooking, plating, and serving their special bites for the evening, especially knowing they were all homeless just three months prior. It’s very moving. I’d like to thank every single restaurant and bar who showed up to make the event so special—the caliber of the food and drink this year was really notable (and it was great for many of the students to experience those dishes!). Thanks to everyone who donated product, gift certificates, your time, attendance, and more to the event and auction items. So much generosity. Every dollar earned makes such a difference. Kudos to all who planned the event, it was lovely.

So I am beginning my countdown to my Brazil departure (on June 21st!), unbelievable. But I’m glad I won’t be missing Father’s Day this coming Sunday. Gotta salute the man who gave me such a mouthful of a last name, mamma mia.

I’ll see you on Friday. In the meantime, here’s a bunch of exciting news for you this week. Like, a bunch—you’ll need to loosen that belt buckle a notch. Oh, and if you are a regular reader of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, look for a new column from me (“Tablehopping”) in the paper tomorrow!

Cheers! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

The Ultimate in Pop-Up Restaurants: Waiheke Island Yacht Club Coming to Pier 29


One of the savory courses (hapuka, smoked agria, serrano, pea, and hen’s yolk) at Clooney (check out the yolk on that egg!). Photo courtesy of Clooney.


One of the desserts at Clooney (Valhrona, cherry, and sorrel). Photo courtesy of Clooney.

During my trip to New Zealand, I had the pleasure of making my way through all the appetizers at Clooney in Auckland, a very chic and contemporary restaurant from restaurateur Tony Stewart (he is also behind The Hamptons in Auckland). At the time, he told me he had a pop-up, New Zealand-inspired restaurant and bar project that was going to open in San Francisco for the America’s Cup. After waiting on some finalized details, I can finally spill the beans on WAIHEKE ISLAND YACHT CLUB, opening Thursday July 4th on Pier 29.

First, I need to explain Waiheke Island a bit. It’s an island off that is a short ferry ride away from Auckland. And let me tell you, it’s the picture of dreamy. It has wineries, gorgeous beaches, winding roads, delicious food, and a wonderful easy-breezy vibe. I was so sorry I was only there for the day—I was ready to just show up with my toothbrush and move there. (You can peek at some images—and stories—from my friend Nathan Branch in his blog post here and his fantastic photos here.)

Tony Stewart is going to be re-creating the relaxed, unpretentious, and comfortable feeling of Waiheke in San Francisco, along with bringing the progressive New Zealand cuisine style (and some ingredients—including Silvers Fern Farm’s SILERE merino lamb) that his projects are known for. There will be a four-course menu (with choices) each evening, plus two-, three-, and four-course menus at lunch; many of these dishes are also available on the bar menu, so you can just swing by for a drink and a bite as well. Look for brunch to launch in August.

His culinary team includes head chef Hayden McMillen (TriBeCa, Vinnie’s, Huka Lodge, Meredith’s, The French Café), who is known for an innovative style that is built around seasonality and purity of flavor. His sous chef is local boy Nicholas Patchen (Boulevard, Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, Spruce, Campton Place, and All Spice in San Mateo). The specialized menu will have a modern/contemporary sensibility, intersecting with local ingredients.

The stylish yet laid-back space is going to feature many design elements from New Zealand, including slabs of macrocarpa cypress polished by hand, American white oak furniture that was handcrafted in New Zealand by Douglas and Bec, and even the pottery was brought over. Stewart has been working with architecture/design firms Sutro Architects (local) and Fearon Hay Architects (New Zealand) on the project. (For those of you into floorplans, you can check it out here.) The restaurant seats 85, plus 12 at the chef’s counter and 20 at the bar.

The bar is going to be a highlight of the experience, made in New Zealand. There will be craft beer from brewer Moa, and sommelier Geeling Ng will be handling the wines and pairings (although don’t expect New Zealand wines—due to some contractual obligations with America’s Cup, the wines will be from Napa Valley). There will also be a cocktail list conceived by Clooney’s bar manager, Needham Woodward.

The stadium (in America’s Cup Village) is just next door and will feature more than 30 live music concerts (Sting performed there last week), so it’s a convenient place to grab a bite before a show as well. Even though the America’s Cup 2013 finals will wrap in late September, Waiheke Island Yacht Club will stay open through December 31st. Am very much looking forward to experiencing this unique Kiwi import!

A First Look at Heartbaker, Opening Verrrrrry Soon


Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As mentioned back in February, pastry chef Sybil Johnson of Aqua and Kokkari is opening her own place in the former Chapeau! location in the Richmond. Her new spot, called HEARTBAKER, is cozy and comfortable, but not too twee; it’s got a darker rock ‘n’ roll attitude going on too. The remodel to the space was a family affair, with her dad, Michael Johnson, engineering most of the changes to the space. There is copper industrial lighting, deep gray walls, and large-format photographs by artist Merkley of people wearing masks covered in Johnson’s creations. There is a beautiful marble bar that seats 4; plus there is seating for about 20 in the dining area.

On the menu, look for Johnson’s pastries available for dine-in or takeout, along with a daytime lunch and dinner menu, with baguette sandwiches, salads, and other light bites designed to share. In the morning, you’ll find morning pastries of sweet and savory persuasions, alongside coffee from Hearth Coffee Roasters. There is also beer and wine, though the details of the beverage program are still being worked out. Johnson hopes to offer beer and wine on tap, but for now there will just be bottles. The list will be primarily focused on pairing with the food, with a mix of something for everyone.

Johnson will also be continuing with her wholesale and special-occasion cake business, and hopes to add plated desserts to her repertoire in the coming months. Johnson is hoping to open softly this Friday June 14th, but that could change. We’ll keep you updated; follow on Facebook for up-to-the-minute updates. Hours will be Tue-Wed 7am-10pm, Thu-Sat 7am-11pm, Sun 8am-10pm. Closed Monday. 1408 Clement St. at 15th Ave., 415-592-6008.

Revealed: The Crème Brûlée Cart's Brick-and-Mortar Location in the Mission


The window at the Crème Brûlée Cart shop (photo via Facebook).

A few weeks ago, Eater and Uptown Almanac were discussing the upcoming brick-and-mortar Mission location for the CRÈME BRÛLÉE CART, but didn’t have a lock on the exact address. Crème Brûlée honcho Curtis Kimball has landed a space at 3338 24th Street (between Mission and Valencia), previously Yojoa Express, a check-cashing place. Nope, it’s not that far from where he originally rolled out his cart a few years ago. And yes, after scoring some weed by the BART stop, you can swing by and indulge your munchies. There’s also pinball! And housemade drinks and take-home dessert sauces. The grand opening is Saturday June 15th, and hours will be Wed-Thu and Sun 2pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 12pm-12am. Closed Mon-Tue. 3338 24th St. at Bartlett.

Moving into the Former Bar Bambino: A Project from Sushi Chef Masaki Sasaki


Bar Bambino interior (photo from website).

Just last week, I was parked in front of the former Bar Bambino in the Mission, wondering who the next taker was going to be for that chic space. And then boom, a new ABC license hit the wires, announcing MARUYA from Masaki Sasaki and Raymond Feliciano. Sushi hounds will recognize Sasaki’s name, who has done stints at the former Kantaro, Sebo, 2G Japanese Brasserie, and Hecho. I’m waiting to hear back from Sasaki regarding their plans for the space; stand by. 2931 16th St. at S. Van Ness.

Tidbits: Loqui, Mr. Crave, Great Indian Food, Bacon Bacon, Jazz at Brenda's


Fried green tomato BLT at Bacon Bacon. Photo from Facebook.

Eater reports that there’s a new pint-size Mexican spot on 18th Street, right between Pizzeria Delfina and Tartine. The new place is called LOQUI, and comes from Tartine baker Cameron Wallace and Mexico City native Ari Ampudia. They’re serving a changing menu of Mexican antojitos on Friday and Saturday night from 7:30pm until they sell out. For updates on the menu (and news of a sellout), follow them on Twitter. 3609 18th St. at Guerrero.

There’s a new place for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Tenderloin. After some ABC license activity awhile ago, the quirkily named MR. CRAVE opened June 3rd in the short-lived Jimmie’s space next to the Cova Hotel. They’re serving American comfort food with local ingredients, including a burger, French toast, and sandwiches. They’ve got wines from California and beyond, and a beer list with craft selections and Belgian-style suds to pair with the food. Bonus: after 5pm, you get two hours free parking in the Cova parking lot. They’re open Tue-Sun 7am-9pm, and Mon 7am-2pm. 655 Ellis St. at Hyde, 415-321-8899.

Uppercasing reports that the new Indian restaurant in the former Kan Zaman space, GREAT INDIAN, has posted its menu, and Yelp indicates it’s open. They’re serving roti rolls and thali plates, and have an active beer and wine license. Now we’ll just have to see if they can live up to their name. 1793 Haight St. at Shrader.

After catching national attention for the NIMBY-est of problems, the BACON BACON café will not be returning to Cole Valley, but has found a home at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in the Mission, Scoop reports. They’ll be serving lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, starting June 20th (not the 12th as originally planned), and doing all the food for music events at the space starting July 1st. In the meantime, the truck is still up and running. 1710 Mission St. at Duboce, 415-800-8782.

For some hot jazz on Sunday nights, head to BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD. Gaucho Jazz will be there every Sunday starting at 5pm, providing a perfect soundtrack for Brenda’s biscuits and gumbo.

Brenda's French Soul Food            - 652 Polk St. San Francisco - 415-345-8100

Shut (Bistro Unique, Daimaru) and Opening (Tamashisoul, Chinese Cuisine)


Taking over Bistro Unique: Tamashisoul Sushi Bar.

A couple of closures and subsequent openings around town. First up to bat: BISTRO UNIQUE has closed in Cow Hollow, and my neighborhood tipster sent along this photo announcing it will become TAMASHISOUL SUSHI BAR. Word on the street is the chef was at Sudachi, but let’s just say my hilarious (actually, not hilarious, more rude to be honest) ESL call with a rep at Sudachi didn’t exactly yield confirmation on that piece of info. Anyway, the plan is to open in July. We’ll see if any more info pops up that doesn’t involve having to call Sudachi ever again. 1849 Union St. at Octavia.

I did a double take driving by DAIMARU SUSHI on 16th Street, which is now called CHINESE CUISINE, serving, you guessed it, Chinese food. I called and was able to ascertain that it’s the same owner. You can check out the menu here. 290 Sanchez St. at 16th St., 415-863-9128.

And now, in the “random, why not?” news department: Tipster Jason B. let me know the HONEYBAKED HAM STORE on Geary has closed. I have always wondered who goes there. I mean, really, how many hams do you buy in a year? Now we’ll just wonder what’s going in next at that busy corner; stand by. 2190 Geary Blvd. at Divisadero.

Oh, and since we’re at it, URBAN CURRY in North Beach appears to be under new ownership. 523 Broadway at Kearny, 415-677-9743.

Crystal Jade Coming to Four Embarcadero Center Spring 2014


One of Crystal Jade’s Singapore locations. Photo from website.

A press release from the mayor’s office on Friday afternoon reveals some activity in Four Embarcadero Center: international Chinese restaurant chain CRYSTAL JADE has signed a lease on a long-vacant space in the center. Crystal Jade… Nope, it’s not an ad for a spa at the back of a weekly, nor is it an ultra-lounge, tranny, nor the latest starlet at the AVN Awards. It’s a restaurant, and the new location is huge, with 16,000 square feet of interior and 4,000 square feet of outdoor space, and the plan is to “create more than 100 jobs during their first phase of operations,” according to the release. This is the first foray into the United States for the Singapore-based Crystal Jade Culinary Concepts Holding, and local restaurateur Gus Murad, formerly of Medjool, has also signed on to the project, though the extent of his involvement is not clear. The restaurant is slated to open in spring 2014.

New Brunch Service at Soul Groove, Rhea's Café


The Conundrum sandwich. Photo courtesy Soul Groove.

Get your Southern-fried brunch on at SOUL GROOVE, which is now serving their waffles and chicken on Saturdays and Sundays. They’ve got their fried chicken on waffle sandwiches—including the Conundrum, their classic Chicken Fried Soul sandwich with the addition of an egg—plus more traditional egg platters and “Benedict-type scenarios.” Take a look at the full menu of artery-clogging deliciousness here, and note the abundance of vegetarian options.

Brunch includes DJs spinning records from the Motown on Monday crew, and local nonprofit Today’s Future Sound. They’ve also launched late-night takeout-only hours, until 3am on Thu-Sat. Hours are Sun-Wed 10am-3pm and 5pm-10pm, Thu-Sat 10am-3pm and 5pm-11pm, takeout only 11pm-3am. 422 Larkin St. at Golden Gate, 415-734-7598.

RHEA’S CAFÉ, the new sandwich outpost in the Mission, will start serving weekend brunch this Saturday. They’ll have three to four dishes to start, with options like chicken and waffles, or egg and bacon plates. You’ll be able to get coffee and mimosas too. Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. 2200 Bryant St. at 20th St., 415-875-9481.

Pop-Ups: Native Baking at Dandelion, S&S at Mission Rock, Beat Down at Streat Food


The peanut butter brownie from Native Baking Company. Photo courtesy Dandelion Chocolate.


Sarah Burchard and Spencer O’Meara of S&S in the kitchen. Photo by Iann Ivy via Facebook.

DANDELION CHOCOLATE is continuing their pop-up chef series (did you catch the fab Three Babes Bakeshop there in May?) with another local chef. This week is all about the bar cookies from Jennifer Kenny Nguyen of Native Baking Company. She’ll be dishing out her peanut butter brownies (damn those look good), strawberry cheesecake bars on housemade graham cracker crust, profiteroles, and raspberry blondies. Yeah, sign me UP. Bonus: some of the treats are gluten-free. Catch the goods from Wednesday June 12th until Sunday June 16th. 740 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-349-0942.

Here’s another opportunity to check out the S&S Pop-Up at MISSION ROCK RESORT from chefs Sarah Burchard (previously Barbacco) and Spencer O’Meara (previously Paragon). The dinner will be on Tuesday June 25th from 6pm-9pm, and tickets are $42 (not including drinks and gratuity)—get ‘em quick, they sell out. The menu will feature Latin American cuisine, with a focus on barbecue. The evening starts at 6pm with happy hour small bites, and then at 7pm dinner starts. You’ll find barbacoa, ceviche, fried plantains, and Mexican hot chocolate for dessert. 817 Terry A. Francois Blvd. at Illinois, 415-701-7625.

Join a fun summer roundup of food trucks, vendors, and DJs at the Beat Down festival at SOMA STREAT FOOD PARK on Sunday June 30th. From 11am-5pm, catch food trucks like Señor Sisig, Frozen Kuhsterd, Nora Paella, and Wing Wings, plus retail pop-ups and DJs like Shortkut and J-Boogie. The event is family-friendly, and there will be drinks available for those over 21, including mimosas, sangria, and micheladas. 428 11th St. at Division.

Let's Get Historical: SF's Legacy Establishments


Mitchell’s Ice Cream, back in the day. Photo courtesy Mitchell’s via Facebook.

SAN FRANCISCO ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE has announced the addition of five new San Francisco establishments to their San Francisco Legacy Bars and Restaurants Guide. Earlier this year, they announced 25 establishments had been featured in the guide, and then accepted submissions via social media to name the second round of additions. The newest establishments to earn the distinction are Gino & Carlo (1942), Mitchell’s Ice Cream (1953), Philosophers Club (1960), Pier 23 Café (1937), and Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant (1965). On Saturday June 15th they’ll be throwing their inaugural Community Summit: Sustaining San Francisco’s Living History at the Bayanihan Community Center. The event, which runs from 10am-3:30pm, is free, with a suggested $15 donation to cover the cost of lunch, and will include demonstrations, food, music, and discussions on the future of San Francisco’s cultural heritage and living history; register here. 1010 Mission St. at 6th St., 415-441-3000 ext. 22.

The tablehopper is a lover of San Francisco’s culinary heritage, and I’ve been collecting antique and vintage restaurant and bar ephemera for years. Showcase your love of San Francisco’s culinary past with a tablehopper t-shirt featuring a logo from one of San Francisco’s many bars and restaurants that have come and gone. Perhaps the Players Club is your style, or maybe your a little more of a Blue Fox (also available as a hoodie). All of them are printed on super-soft, super-flattering cotton t-shirts. Check ‘em out, and show some vintage pride for old-school San Francisco hot spots.

Oakland Openings: Brotzeit Lokal, Ramen Tomo, Lucky 37 Filipino


The bar and seating at Brotzeit Lokal. Photo by Jon Knox/MDRP courtesy Urban Daddy.

Due to open this Thursday June 13th is BROTZEIT LOKAL, a cool-sounding spot on the Oakland waterfront (in the former Oyster Reef Seafood space). Think housemade sausages and Bavarian snacks from chef Lev Delany (plus a burger made with Marin Sun Farms beef—check out the menu here), 18 beers on tap, and 50-plus bottled selections (chosen by “resident beer geek” Tony Granieri—and they even have a special Bavarian lager brewed by Linden Street Brewery). Since it’s right on the water (at the foot of 10th Avenue along the Bay Trail), guests can berth while dining. No birthing, however. There’s an outdoor biergarten (complete with circa 1950s Bavarian biergarten tables and benches), and the boat “haus” has wood floors and indoor seating. You can read a bunch more details in East Bay Express, which also includes some handy navigation tips. Open Sun-Thu 11am-12am, Fri-Sat 11am-1am. 1000 Embarcadero, Oakland, 510-645-1905.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports there’s a new ramen spot in Temescal. RAMEN TOMO is now open; early Yelp reviews are not exactly raves. 4390 Telegraph Ave. at 44th St., Oakland.

There’s a new Filipino joint in Fruitvale called LUCKY 37 FILIPINO. Our Oakland Blog and East Bay Express caught wind of the opening; early Yelp reviews report that it’s a soft opening. 2868 Fruitvale Ave. at Brookdale, Oakland, 510-789-6343.

510 Happenings: Nick's Pizza, Old Oakland Dishcrawl, Hopscotch Deal


The croissant from Nick’s. Photo courtesy Nick’s Pizza.

The sourdough pizza place from chef Nick Yapor-Cox, NICK’S PIZZA, is adding breakfast pastry and coffee service to their repertoire. Starting Thursday June 20th, look out for scones both sweet and savory,  croissants, and loaves of bread, all from Yapor-Cox and his high school friend Aron Ford. The pair’s combined experience includes Acme and Arizmendi, and all the baked goods will utilize the same sourdough starter used in Nick’s pizza crust. They’ll be pouring coffee from Emeryville’s McLaughlin and serving yogurt parfaits made with housemade yogurt. Breakfast service will be available Tue-Sun at 8am. 6211 Shattuck Ave. at 62nd St., Oakland, 510-658-3903.

On Wednesday June 19th, catch the newest addition to the Dishcrawl tours with a walking food tour of Old Oakland. The crawl takes you to four different restaurants, with insider details on each location and the neighborhood. The crawl begins at 7pm, and tickets are $45. The meeting location will be emailed 48 hours before the event, and the restaurants on the tour are a surprise! You can follow Dishcrawl on Twitter for hints.

Oakland’s HOPSCOTCH is celebrating a year in business with a pretty sweet deal. They’ve put together a three-course “greatest hits” menu of their favorite dishes for $30 per person. It’s available now through Friday June 14th all day, and on Saturday June 15th from 3pm-12am. 1915 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-788-6217.

North Bay News: Vin Antico, Equator Coffees at Proof Lab


Vin Antico. Photo from Facebook.

VIN ANTICO has reopened on Fourth Street in San Rafael, this time with new owners, a new chef, and new management. The new owner, Mark Heffernan, has brought on Megan Smith (formerly of Sausalito’s Fish) as the executive chef, and Naomi Finerman is the general manager. They’ve bumped up the wine bar program to include lots of local pours, including Sean Thackrey, Anthill Farms, and Pey-Marin wines. The menu will be focused on local produce with Italian flair, served in a comfortable environment. For now, they’re open Sun-Mon 5:30pm-9pm, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; lunch service will be added Tuesday June 25th. 881 4th St. at Cijos, San Rafael, 415-721-0600.

Local coffee roaster Equator Coffee is opening their very first café location in the Proof Lab surf and skate shop in Mill Valley, called, appropriately, EQUATOR COFFEES AT PROOF LAB. The café will serve a variety of Equator’s coffees and teas, with both pour-over and espresso choices. They’ll be serving sweet and savory baked goods from Beth’s Community Kitchen, and highlighting different single-origin coffee beans. The new spot opens its doors Friday June 21st, and hours will be Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm, Sat 7am-6pm, Sun 8am-5pm. 244 Shoreline Hwy at Almonte, Mill Valley, 415-209-3733.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): Golden Glass Is Back This Summer: Sip and Nosh 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 advocating sustainability, biodiversity, and preservation of food traditions.

On Saturday June 29th, sip wine from sustainable wine producers and enjoy tasty bites from the Bay Area’s best restaurants and artisan food producers, including A16, Izakaya Yuzuki, Locanda, Slow Club, COCO500, Bi-Rite Creamery, and Gelateria Naia. Learn by joining one of our hourly guided pantry tastings 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. Kids welcome—we will have supervised educational activities to get kids involved.

Get your tickets now! Tickets are $80 for food and wine or $30 for just food. The event is at City View at the Metreon, and runs 1pm-5pm (trade 11am-12:30pm).

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

True Blood Orange

Swedish attractive person Alexander Skarsgard was spotted at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street (kind of amazing he fit in there) on Saturday. Apparently, he and the cast of The East were in town promoting the film, though no word on if he was in the company of reported lady friend (and co-star) Ellen Page or not.

Top Chef-ery at Cultivate

Top Chef Season 4 contestant Richard Blais was in town over the weekend, and according to a tweet, he hit up the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and paid a visit to the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck at the Cultivate Festival. We also wonder if he had any meetings about his rumored upcoming Bay Area restaurant project?

Tony! Toni! Toné!

Raphael Saadiq, one third of the Oakland R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné!, was spotted at District on Friday night. Just me and you, baby.

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to tablehopper.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.