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Aug 13, 2013 18 min read

August 14, 2013 - This week's newsletter: a wonderful, magical animal.

August 14, 2013 - This week's newsletter: a wonderful, magical animal.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: a wonderful, magical animal.                    

Uni on squid ink brioche, topped with lardo di prosciutto (at a prosciutto di Parma dinner). Photo: ©

Am I messing up your sense of reality with this Wednesday tablehopper? Don’t worry, it really is Wednesday, not Tuesday. I decided to push this a day because some dear friends were getting married in Sonoma on Monday, and I was not going to miss that wedding. I had a nice overnight stay at the El Dorado Hotel, right on Sonoma Square, and their hefty ham and Gruyère omelet was just the thing I needed before hitting the road. (Let me tell you, a wedding of bar owners is serious, painful business.)

Although I was on a deadline from hell yesterday, I wasn’t going to miss a special prosciutto di Parma dinner at Cookhouse with chefs Suzette Gresham-Tognetti (Acquerello) and Staffan Terje (Perbacco). Oh hell no. It was such an utterly delicious meal, and they showcased the prosciutto so creatively, from the tiniest rounds of prosciutto butter melting on top of guinea hen breast to roasted peaches drizzled with prosciutto zabaglione. The kicker was prosciutto gelato sprinkled with prosciutto toffee. Yeah, that meal was beyond.

Also beyond? Seeing Paul McCartney perform at Outside Lands this past weekend. My sister and I were totally enthralled (like the thousands of other festivalgoers, all holding our breath as he played an acoustic version of “Blackbird”). And Karen O. makes me say, “Yeah Yeah YEAH!” What a performer, whoa. Kudos to the organizers and vendors for doing our city proud with all the excellent food, wine, and cocktails, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. (It certainly is a lot easier to pay for spendier well-made food instead of overpriced festival crap. Coachella, take some notes.)

Over the three days, I hit up Outside Lambs twice (for the lamb poutine and the lamb banh mi), plus one of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers (the banh baby banh), Azalina’s Malaysian nachos, plenty of cocktails (tried Cantina’s and The Alembic’s drinks, and the Bourbon Fix over at The Roundup was in heavy rotation), and paid a couple of visits to Beer Lands and Wine Lands (scored some pink bubs from Scharffenberger—would like to see more sparkling next year!). I attend a lot of music festivals, and this is the only one that serves rillettes, I gotta say.

So, you gearing up for this weekend’s mega-fab food festivities? I am so excited for the Night Market this Friday evening, and Saturday is the fifth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival. Yours truly will have a table there, with our vintage tablehopper t-shirts and hoodies, come say hi! Folsom Street will be the most happening culinary extravaganza, with more than 80 vendors serving incredible food that is all priced less than $8, holy moly. Don’t forget: come with friends so you can share bites, get a passport (you save money and hassle!), and ride your bike! You can also download the app to rate vendors and plan your itinerary. Let’s do it.

I’ll see you on Friday for a quick post before heading to the Night Market. Enjoy the clear skies and be sure to peek at our pretty crescent moon if you can.

Buen provecho! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Pesce Ready to Open in the Castro This Week


The bar at Pesce. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The dining room at Pesce. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As reported by tablehopper back in May, Russian Hill mainstay PESCE is reopening on Market Street in the Castro. They’re moving into the former 2223/Jake’s space, which means they’ve more than doubled their seating capacity. They’ve also been able to turn the bar into one of the main draws, with a long, marble bar in front and a standing bar in the back for additional drinkers. A bench with high tables adds even more options, allowing the bar area to seat 38 people. There is also a new cocktail list driven by Italian spirits and flavors. The drinks skew toward the lighter side, to pair well with the food. There’s a Negroni, of course, but also an orzata punch with brandy, orzata, lemon, soda, and vin santo.

In addition to being able to order drinks at the bar, there is a selection of cicchetti, or Venetian-style bar snacks, to nibble on. All of the choices will be displayed behind the bar, and are priced at either $2 or $3. Folks seated at the bar will also be able to order from the menu. In addition to new cocktails and cicchetti, the wine list has grown to about 50 selections, 8 of which are available by the glass. The beefed-up wine list is almost entirely Italian, and includes reds, white, and sparkling selections. For a full list of cocktails, beer, and wine, take a look here.

The main dining room features high ceilings, warm banquettes, and those classically elegant bentwood chairs. The room feels like an old-world salon, with lots of marble, pressed-tin ceilings, and natural light. In the back is an additional private dining room which will eventually be available for groups; total capacity between the two rooms is about 75. The dining room menu has largely remained the same, with one spiffy addition: pizza. The new space already had a pizza oven, so they’ll be offering a range of seasonal and classic pizzette, or mini pizzas; the Caprino, with fennel, goat cheese, and grapes, looks like a stunner. The rest of the menu includes salads, pastas, and main courses of both fish and meat; here’s a preview of the likely opening menu.

The doors should open in the next couple of days, as soon as all the paint dries, and hours will be daily; with the bar open 5pm-11pm and the dining room 5:30pm-11pm. Brunch on Saturday and Sunday will be added in the next few weeks, as well. Unfortunately, there’s no news yet on the plans for the Polk Street location, we’ll let you know when we hear! 2223 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-928-8025.

Pesce - 415-928-8025

Tidbits: La Urbana Shifts Opening Date, Alta CA, Japanese Knives, Red Sauce Meatballs, Savory Menu at Le Marais


The quiche from Le Marais. Photo by Alanna Hale.


Red sauce meatballs from, yes, Red Sauce Meatballs. Photo from Facebook.

I know I was not the only one excited to taste the mezcal at LA URBANA on Divisadero, but construction delays have caused them to push back the opening date to Wednesday September 4th. Stand by!

Details continue to trickle in about Daniel Patterson’s 65-seat Market Street project that’s due to open in fall. The latest reveal: it will be called ALTA CA, a reference to the newspaper where Mark Twain worked, Alta California, as well as the  territory of Mexico, which included California and other states before the Mexican-American war (via Scoop).

Are you a total junkie for your knives and other kitchen tools? Get yourself to BERNAL CUTLERY, where they’ve just received a shipment of Akifusa Masami Asai made-to-order knives from Japan (Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions is a fan). Because the master smith is getting older and working with a younger trainee, these knives took almost a year to arrive, and Bernal Cutlery is the only place in the world to carry these special blades outside of Japan. So look sharp and check them out. 593 Guerrero St. at 18th St., 415-902-6531.

According to Facebook, there’s a new food truck coming to town called RED SAUCE MEATBALLS. As the name would suggest, they are all about meatballs and sauce, including a vegetarian version. Amazeballs! It also sounds like it’s all a trial for an upcoming restaurant concept. An opening party is set for Thursday August 22nd at The Homestead in the Mission, and then the truck will be at SOMA StrEAT Food Park that weekend and Mission Dispatch on August 28th; follow them on Twitter for updates. 2301 Folsom St. at 19th St., 415-309-0538.

You’ll have one less place to go for your Neapolitan pizza fix, because UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA will be closed starting today, August 14th, until Wednesday September 11th. Yup, Italians (and Italian Americans) take their August vacation very seriously.

After a month of business, LE MARAIS BAKERY has started serving a menu of savory dishes from chef Christina Elliott (formerly a corporate sous at Michael Mina). The new menu includes sandwiches, a daily pizzetta on potato crust, and quiche; take a peek at all the offerings here. 2066 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-359-9801.

ARIZMENDI BAKERY has decidedly not joined the not-cronut crowd and is instead offering “Julia’s Tears”, a crème fraîche- and custard-filled brioche that reportedly made Julia Child cry. The special pastry is in honor of the French Chef’s birthday, August 15th, and will be available on Sunday the 18th as well. Note it is only being offered at the Inner Sunset location. 1331 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-566-3117.

New Hires at Wayfare Tavern


Photo by Brian Smeets for Grub Street.

I had heard rumblings that there were some new key hires at WAYFARE TAVERN, namely the talented Joey Elenterio (previously at Mountain View’s Chez TJ) as the new executive chef and Bobi “Mr. FOH” Adle (previously Manresa and Frances) as the new GM. The team was tight-lipped when I tried to fact check the story, but it looks like TyFlo decided to share the news with the Scoop, which confirms the rumors I heard. Anyway, look for things to get tightened up over there.

Wayfare Tavern            - 558 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-772-9060

Brunch Launches at Waiheke Island Yacht Club, Breakfast with Wise Sons at the 'Jewseum'


Waiheke Island Yacht Club’s new brunch dish of Mt. Cook Alpine smoked salmon and free-range eggs. Photo via Facebook.

WAIHEKE ISLAND YACHT CLUB has just started serving brunch, and the airy and open atmosphere is quite perfect for it. Come by on Saturday or Sunday for brunch dishes like poached eggs and applewood smoked bacon, lamb sausages, homemade baked beans, hash browns, mushrooms, and spinach ($18); Mt. Cook Alpine smoked salmon, escabeche, salsa verde, soft herbs, hollandaise, and eggs ($16); and trumpet mushrooms, zucchini, vine-ripened tomatoes, eggplant chutney, spinach, and poached eggs ($14). There are also two kinds of burgers: the Emirates Team NZ burger, with 100 percent New Zealand beef and lamb, beetroot, Kikorangi blue cheese, and egg; and the Team Oracle Racing burger, with Snake River Kobe, caramelized onion, smoked tomato, and Monterey Jack cheese (both are $15). There are a few salad options as well. I have already praised the Red Snapper, and there’s a Bloody Mary on special for $6; DJ Seven will be playing music (although this weekend is the Sweet Mix Kids). Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. Pier 29, 1256 The Embarcadero, 415-956-1048.

Downtown workers: did you know you can now grab breakfast at the new WISE SONS DELI at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in SoMa? The to-go window is now open on weekdays at 8am, serving bialys and some new breakfast sandwiches, like bialy and lox, and a pastrami and egg sandwich, plus De La Paz Coffee. You can call ahead to avoid the rush: 415-655-7887. 736 Mission St. at 3rd St.

The Pied Piper Returns to the Palace Hotel on August 22nd


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

As previously discussed in tablehopper, the PALACE HOTEL nearly sold the gorgeous Maxfield Parrish painting that hung over the bar. However, after some serious public outcry, they instead decided to have the beautiful piece restored and rehung. Yeah, good thinking.

On Thursday August 22nd, the historic piece will be unveiled, hung once again in its original location behind the bar, and visitors can come check it out starting at 6pm. Apparently, the restoration revealed a coat of resin that had been applied to the painting sometime since 1909, and removal of the resin means the painting is even more vibrant and stunning than ever. The hotel will be offering a few specials to commemorate the unveiling, too, like a special cocktail and dinner menu. 2 New Montgomery St. at Market, 415-512-1111.

Pop-Ups and One-Offs: Grasshopper at Naked Kitchen, a New Orleans Feast, Tomato Decadence Dinner


Just for You glows at night. Photo courtesy Just for You.

This Thursday August 15th and Friday August 16th, WILD KITCHEN will be hosting a couple of dinners with foraged ingredients (full of local seafood and summer vegetables) at Stable Cafe. Click here for the menu and details. 6:30pm-9:30pm. $90.

On Sunday August 18th, don’t miss the GRASSHOPPER POP-UP at Naked Lunch. From 5pm-10pm, chef Natalie Nesbit will be serving her Japanese- and Korean-inspired cuisine, including a squid and shrimp cioppino and Japanese meatballs. Take a look at all the menu choices here. 504 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-577-4951.

JUST FOR YOU CAFE is throwing a dinner celebration on Saturday August 24th from 6pm-8pm to raise money for a parklet out front. The dinner is an all-you-can-eat New Orleans-style feast, with gumbo, jambalaya, salad, and garlic bread, plus beverages like chicory coffee and iced tea. Tickets are $45 per person and include a glass of wine, Champagne, or beer; additional beverages will be priced at only $3.50. For tickets, call 415-350-2020 and ask for Ruben. 732 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-647-3033.

Love tomatoes? On Tuesday August 27th, local hospitality recruiting firm Foley and Fitzgerald is hosting a Tomato Decadence dinner at Naked Kitchen, featuring chef Stéphane Garnier. Garnier, a private chef, is no stranger to cooking with tomatoes—he worked with Louis Albert De Broglie, owner of a chateau with gardens that housed 650 tomato varieties. The six-course dinner includes tartine with goat cheese and fresh herbs, real tomato soup, an heirloom tomato terrine with purple basil and mustard-tarragon vinaigrette, a crispy confit of duck leg with roasted Orange Queen tomato, plus there will be a cheese course and dessert. 7pm-10pm. $50, BYOB. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here. (Address will be revealed; it’s in the Mission.)

Cool Culinary Events: Southern at the Table, F&B Pioneers Panel


Some of the wares at Southern at the Table. Photo from Facebook.

On Thursday August 15th (that’s tomorrow), celebrate Southern food, culture, and design, with Southern at the Table at the Heath Ceramics showroom. The evening marks the opening of Alabama Chanin’s show at Heath, which will continue until September 1st. The event, which goes from 5pm-8pm, is free and will include food from chefs Tanya Holland of Brown Sugar Kitchen and Fernay McPherson of Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, including bacon cheddar biscuits, chicken or seafood gumbo, and smoked molasses chicken wings. The Southern Foodways Alliance will be setting up a marketplace of goods from 20 different Southern small businesses, and you can also catch a screening of a documentary film on Tennessee pitmaster Helen Turner. Plus, 20 percent of all proceeds from sales at the marketplace will go to local small business incubator La Cocina. 2900 18th St. at Alabama, 415-361-5552 ext. 13.

Looking for some insight on what it takes to be cutting edge in the world of food and beverages? Check out the FOOD & BEVERAGE PIONEERS panel on the Bayview food and beverage scene from the Cornell Hotel Society on Tuesday August 20th. Panelists will be pulled from different aspects of the industry to give a broad look at what creates progress and change. Panelists include Earl Shaddix of All-Clad cookware, who will talk about the cottage industry; Daniel Scovill of Arcsine, who will discuss design; and Eskender Aseged, who will bring the perspective of a restaurant owner and chef. The event runs from 6pm-8:30pm and includes drinks and small bites. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door. SOMArts, 934 Brannan St. at 8th St., 415-863-1414.

Don't Forget: Noise Pop Comes to 20th Street August 24th


This might seem like a bit of déjà vu posting, but here’s a reminder and some updates on the Noise Pop festival, coming to 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 24th, with its 20TH STREET BLOCK PARTY. The event features food from local merchants, and this is 20th Street, so that means Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, Rhea’s Deli, and Trick Dog, plus beverages from the Bon Vivants, Sightglass Coffee, and Benders.

In addition to the neighborhood’s vittles, catch live music from Two Gallants, Mac DeMarco, and Quinn DeVeaux and the Blue Beat Revue. The event is free and family-friendly, and you are encouraged to bring your party shoes. There will also be a workshop tent with craft projects, and performing arts happenings from Z Space. The event takes place from 12pm-6pm. 20th St. between Harrison and Bryan, and Florida between 19th and 20th Sts.

To celebrate the day of festivities, FLOUR + WATER will be open for lunch for the first time ever. From 12pm-2pm, chef Thomas McNaughton will prepare a variety of Southern Italian dishes (a change from the restaurant’s usual Northern Italian fare), and seats will be available on a walk-in basis only. You can also catch a preservation workshop at the party from 12:30pm-1:15pm and a pasta-making workshop from 1:30pm-2:15pm (free).

On Saturday evening, from 6pm-10pm, don’t miss the Dark Is the Night After-Party at MISSION DISPATCH. Look for drinks from Derby Cocktail, food from the likes of Phat Thai and the Burr-eatery, and live music. Entrance is $5 at the door, all ages welcome. 1975 Bryant St. at 18th St.

Flour + Water            - 2401 Harrison St. San Francisco - 415-826-7000

Salumi Class at Kuleto's, Make Mole at La Cocina


A housemade charcuterie plate at Kuleto’s. Photo via Facebook.

On Saturday August 17th and again on Saturday October 19th, catch a class on salumi-making at KULETO’S with chef Bob Helstrom. You’ll get hands-on lessons on whole animal butchery and salumi-making, and you’ll get to take some salumi home at the end of the day too (I took the class a few months ago and learned a lot). The class runs from 11am-3pm and costs $150 per person. Proceeds benefit the San Francisco Food Bank; email to save your spot. 221 Powell St. at O’Farrell, 415-397-7720.

Ahhh, mole. One of those things that can be a bit intimidating for the home cook to make, what with those 26 ingredients and all. On Wednesday September 18th, you can learn with two masters how to make two traditional moles. Isabel Caudillo of El Buen Comer and Veronica Salazar from El Huarache Loco will guide you through the process, plus there will be light appetizers, full dinner, and drinks. $80; buy tickets here.

510 Bites: Feast on Filipino Comfort Cuisine at Kainbigan, El Burro Picante Opens in Berkeley


Pancit at Kainbigan. Photo via Facebook.

Big congrats to chef-owner Charleen Caabay, who is opening her brick-and-mortar restaurant after operating as a caterer, a pop-up, and holding a successful fundraising campaign. Her restaurant, KAINBIGAN is Tagalog for “Let’s eat, my friends,” and East Bay Dish notes the space is now softly open. You’ll find Filipino comfort dishes on the menu, from chicken adobo to pancit to lumpia, plus Filipino breakfast (served all day!) and daily specials. Hours are daily 11am-8pm. 2101 14th Ave. at 21st St., Oakland, 510-842-6315.

There’s a new taqueria that has opened near UC Berkeley, EL BURRO PICANTE, and Yelpers are praising the cheap prices and big portions. Open daily 11am-12am. 2021 University Ave. at Milvia, 510-292-9566.


the sponsor

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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Get Your Drink Deals: Shorty Goldstein's, Chambers, Fifth Floor, Prospect, RN74


Counter seating at Shorty Goldstein’s. Photo: ©

SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S has secured their shiny new beer-and-wine license this week, and started pouring adult beverages Monday August 12th. They’ll have two red wines, a white, and a rosé, including  Writer’s Block Syrah and Tangent Albariño from California. For beer, look for choices like Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’, Rogue Hazelnut Brown, and Ninkasi Oatmeal Stout. They’ll have six beers altogether, all in bottles and priced at $4.50; taps may be coming soon.

They’ll be doing a happy hour Mon-Fri from 4pm-6pm, with $1 off beer, $2 off glasses of wine or 10 percent off bottles, plus a limited menu with snacks like crisp chicken skin (gribenes) with onion purée on crostini, pastrami knishes, and heirloom tomato and mozzarella skewers. Their sandwiches and larger plates will also be available. 126 Sutter St. at Montgomery, 415-986-2676.

The new restaurant in the Phoenix Hotel, CHAMBERS, is now offering some great happy hour deals. Tue-Fri from 5pm-7pm, all beer, wine, and well cocktails are $5, plus there are lots of $5 bar bites, like chicken liver pâté, tater tots, and Spanish olives. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-829-2316.

Looking for a luxe experience with a slightly-less-luxe price tag? Don’t miss this opportunity to Raid the Cellar at FIFTH FLOOR. They’ve hired a new sommelier and wine director, Jose Aguirre, and he and chef David Bazirgan have gone through the apparently overcrowded wine cellar and selected some pretty deluxe bottles to sell at a steep discount (most are about half off). All of the wines have been selected to pair well with the summer menu too.

Every Sunday until September 1st, PROSPECT will be offering a half-price discount on all bottles of wine. The wine list includes a wide array of prices, up to several hundred dollars, so there is something for every palate (and wallet). Look for a half bottle of Billecart-Salmon brut rosé Mareuil-sur-Ay (normally $75, now $37.50), the 2011 Occhipinti frappato (normally $70, now $35), and the 2010 Robert Sinskey pinot noir (normally $77, now $38.50). Prospect is open Sundays from 5:30pm-9:30pm.

Heads up industry, this one’s for you: also on Sundays at RN74, flash an industry card for half off any of the market list bottles.

RN74            - 301 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-543-7474

Peay Vineyards Dinner at Quince


Photo by Sara Remington.

On Wednesday August 28th, QUINCE will be hosting Peay Vineyards for a special five-course dinner with wine pairings. Peay Vineyards is renowned for their pinot noir, but has an extensive portfolio composed of wine from grapes grown on their vineyard on the northern section of the West Sonoma Coast. Andy Peay will be present to tell you all about the wines. The dinner costs $175 per person (not including service charge and tax). Reservations are limited and recommended. To reserve, please call 415-775-8500.

Quince            - 470 Pacific Ave. San Francisco - 415-775-8500

Suds Galore: Brewer Dinner at Mission Bowling


Mission Bowling Club. Photo from Facebook.

MISSION BOWLING CLUB is hosting the folks from Anchor Brewing for a special brewer’s dinner on Wednesday August 28th. The four-course dinner includes pairings from the brewery, and seatings are at 7:30pm and 9pm. Tickets are $75 and also include free shoe rental if you want your dinner with a side of bowling.

Mission Bowling Club            - 3176 17th St. San Francisco - 415-863-BOWL


the socialite

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

Get Your Tickets Now for One Big Table, the San Francisco Food Bank Gala September 21st


Paul Ash welcomes guests at the 2012 One Big Table gala. Photo by Drew Altizer Photography.

Event Info

Saturday Sep 21, 2013 6pm Tickets are $250 per person, table sponsorships also available San Francisco Food Bank 900 Pennsylvania Ave. at 23rd St. 415-282-1907 ext. 380

On Saturday September 21st, more than 15 of San Francisco’s best known chefs will turn the warehouse at the San Francisco Food Bank into a deluxe food gala for the annual ONE BIG TABLE event, hosted by Tyler Florence. Each of the chefs, including Daniel Patterson and Bridget Batson, will prepare a three-course dinner for up to 20 guests and personally present their food tableside. The evening will open with a cocktail reception and appetizers, too, plus you’ll get a chance to check out the warehouse space and all the great work the Food Bank does. The event kicks off at 6pm, and tickets are $250 per person. Table sponsorships are also available. 900 Pennsylvania Ave. at 23rd St., 415-282-1907 ext. 380.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

The House Was Full at Ame

According to a tweet, Bob Saget, John Stamos, and Jeff Ross were all hanging out together at the bar at Ame on Friday night. That’s quite the pileup of star wattage—almost enough to play Hollywood Squares. One of Willie Nelson’s sons, Lukas Nelson was also there—he reportedly went upstairs and played the piano in the hotel. Sweeeeet.

Take Me to the Place I Love: Roka Akor

Anthony Kiedis had dinner at Roka Akor on Saturday evening before the Red Hot Chili Peppers performed at Outside Lands on Sunday.

As If, Mamacita

Elisa Donovan, who played Cher’s nemesis, Amber, in Clueless, was spotted at Mamacita on Friday night. She was there with her young daughter, who is apparently just as much a fashionista as the Clueless ladies: she was rocking a mini fur vest.

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