This week's tablehopper: island hopping.
Kylen McCarthy of Pioneer Square Pantry preparing some extremely scarce sockeye salmon on Lummi Island. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hello there! Can I just say whoa? I returned Monday evening from one of the most memorable food experiences and getaways—I am literally reeling. As you may remember, I left for Seattle last Thursday for a long weekend adventure with the team behind Pioneer Square Pantry. We made a few choice stops around Seattle, but they also brought me to the magical Lummi Island, home of the much-lauded Willows Inn—but funnily enough, we didn’t go there (although I will, another time, and hopefully soon).
My experience was exceedingly unique and highly personal, from going out on that oh-so-pristine water to set crab pots with locals, to having such flavor-packed and fresh-from-the-land-and-sea cuisine prepared by the talented Kylen McCarthy, on the most stunning pottery sourced with his partner, Eva Soroken. The weekend was full of exciting ingredients, and I met so many talented folks in their circle. I don’t even want to attempt to summarize the experience here right now, because it deserves many more words—thoughtful ones. Let’s just say my weekend was an aesthetic overload, so abundant in beauty and soul—I am coming back from the experience feeling very grateful and moved. The Pacific Northwest is really something special, especially right now on the brink of fall. A tremendous thanks to the Scribe Winery family for introducing me to Eva and Kylen!
As for our local community, while I was away, my dear friend Sasha Wizansky officially announced that the upcoming 20th issue of Meatpaper magazine will be the last (for now). Some of you don’t know how integral Sasha has been in tablehopper’s history: she designed my brand identity and the first website, and helped me run the column for many, many Tuesdays. We each launched tablehopper and Meatpaper seven years ago, both on parallel paths with our respective ventures born from passion and our pioneering spirits. Here’s wishing Sasha and everyone who has been involved with or contributed to Meatpaper all the best. I am sure the final issue, “The Future of Meat,” is going to be especially thought-provoking and poignant.
So, remember that tablehopper singles event I hosted a couple of months ago? Well, the next one is coming up on the evening of Thursday September 12th! This one is going to be geared for gay single men who love food and wine, aged 35-55. Stand by for details on the event, the fabulous wine and spirit partners, the menu, and how to get tickets in this Friday’s coming issue!
Lastly, did you catch my piece last week on 7x7.com about my top picks for gluten-free dining? I know it’s a challenge many of you face, so I hope you dig the post.
Okay, it’s time for me to scale this week’s mountain of work. Have a swell week—safe travels to everyone en route to Burning Man, or wherever your Labor Day weekend plans take you!
See you Friday!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Stones Throw Coming to the Former Luella
And just like that, the new takers of the soon-to-close Luella location on Russian Hill are revealed to be Jason Kirmse and Cyrick Hia of Fat Angel, who are partnering with Ryan Cole, previously a GM at Michael Mina. Scoop announces the project is to be called STONES THROW, with Jason Halverson as chef (he was an executive sous chef at Mina). The team plans to offer a neighborhood vibe and good value, but with all the Mina training, you know many details will be dialed in. And with Fat Angel’s involvement, the beer will be damn good. Stand by for more in coming weeks—the project will open this fall. 1896 Hyde St. at Green.
Kate's Kitchen Getting a Major Revamp and New Name: Chaparral
Haighteration reported on Saturday via Scoop that Thomas Martinez (formerly of Mission Beach Café) had become a new chef and co-owner at KATE’S KITCHEN in the Lower Haight. Monday they posted menu details too. Here’s the deal: during the day, the name will likely remain Kate’s, with some limited changes to the menu (in other words, the hush puppies are staying put). In the evening, though, things are getting a little crazy and the place will be called CHAPARRAL.
The Chaparral menu is divided into several sections: shared plates for two that are starters or snacks; “appetizing raw” dishes, which will include crudo, tartare, and cheese plates; “appetizing hot,” which includes grilled appetizers and soups; “non-belly-busting entrées”; and desserts. The menu will change weekly to keep everything seasonal. They are also planning to serve beer and wine, which will require them to apply for a liquor license. The restaurant will also start accepting credit cards, which is a new development. Hours at Kate’s will remain daily 9am-2:30pm, and Chaparral’s hours will be Thu 6pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 6pm-2am. Chaparral should be up and running in October. 471 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-626-3984.
Closures: Canteen, Cedar Hill
The day has come for CANTEEN to close its doors while chef-owner Dennis Leary prepares for his two upcoming projects (Caffe Terminus at 10 California Street and the Trocadero Club in the former RJ’s on Geary). The restaurant closed last Friday August 23rd (via Scoop); stand by for news on when he will potentially open the restaurant for one-off dinners since there is still a year left on the lease.
Over in the Marina, CEDAR HILL has closed its doors; owners Jon Rietz and Emily Lai will continue to operate their two Rib Whip trucks, serving up their Midwest barbecue (via Scoop). 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.
Tidbits: Stuffed Opening August 31st, Que Tal Closes, Brunch at P'tit Laurent, Post Street Creamery, More
Midwestern-style pierogi joint STUFFED has been in the works for a while now, and they will officially be opening their doors on Saturday August 31st. Details are sparse, but look for Midwestern beer, traditional and not-so-traditional pierogi fillings, including smoked salmon with cheese and potato, and outdoor seating. Hours are Tue-Thu 12pm-10pm. Fri-Sat 12pm-12am, and Sunday is 10am-2pm. 2788 Mission St. at 24th St., 415-642-1069 (phone is not hooked up yet).
A tipster wrote in to let us know that old-timer QUE TAL on Guerrero closed on Saturday August 24th because they lost their lease. A call in to the shop confirmed the situation, and they are hoping to reopen again soon, not too far away. We’ll keep you updated on any new developments. 1005 Guerrero St. at 22nd St., 415-282-8855.
Glen Park French bistro LE P’TIT LAURENT is now open for brunch, every Sunday from 10am-2pm. The new brunch menu includes classics like a croque-madame with salad ($12), frisée salad with bacon and poached egg ($10), and French toast with seasonal fruit and whipped cream ($9). They’ll also be pouring brunchy beverages from the full bar, with bottomless mimosas for $15. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 699 Chenery St. at Diamond, 415-334-3235.
This escaped our radar, but there’s a new place for ice cream in the Financial District! POST STREET CREAMERY is a mobile stand with three changing flavors every day, all handmade by owner Baljit Dhillon. Yelpers mention salty carmel, coffee toffee, and mocha flavors. 100 Post St. at Kearny.
Don Davis of BIN 38 writes in to tell us there’s a new chef in the kitchen: Christian Phernetton, previously the executive chef at L’Auberge Provencale in White Post, Virginia, and Old Town Brasserie in Chicago. His new menu will be in place the first week of September. He replaces Arnold Pulido, previously of Va de Vi. 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-567-3838.
Comebacks: Tu Lan Has Reopened
Inside Scoop reports that TU LAN has reopened after being closed for more than a year due to health code violations. They have totally remodeled the interior (gasp!), added all new equipment to the kitchen, and trained the staff in proper food handling practices. Yup, the grimy little hole in the wall has been totally sanitized. The menu, however, remains unchanged, though prices have gone up a quarter for all dishes. Awwww. 8 6th St. at Market, 415-626-0927.
Labor Day Happenings: Homestead BBQ, Soul & Bowl, Party at Rock Bar
Celebrate Labor Day with a barbecue at HOMESTEAD on Monday September 2nd. From 12pm-6pm, you’ll find a buffet of pork ribs, brisket, corn on the cob, potato salad, and peach cobbler, plus more classic American vittles. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for kids under 10, and there will be beverages available at the bar for an additional cost (Trappist Provisions will be bringing beers on tap and unique bottles of microbrews). Be sure to bring your cash money—it’s cash only. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland, 510-420-6962.
Eater reported yesterday that Daniel Hyatt (and his cocktail menu) have left Roka Akor, but you can still try some of his boozy inventions elsewhere. He’ll be popping up at MISSION BOWLING CLUB for Soul & Bowl nights every first and third Monday of each month, which include free shoe rentals and lots of classic soul records. His first appearance will be Labor Day, September 2nd. Look for a few punches, plus a fresh grapefruit cocktail with rum and Cherry Heering, among other bevvies.
The Front Porch turns seven on Labor Day, and to celebrate, well, they’ll be closed. But across the street at sister establishment THE ROCK BAR they’ll be celebrating with a grill and lots of drinks. The party starts at 4pm, and grilling continues until the food runs out. Drinks, of course, continue until 2am. 80 29th St. at Tiffany, 415-550-6664.
Mission Bowling Club - 3176 17th St. San Francisco - 415-863-BOWL
Oakland Openings: Bourbon & Beef, and Ordinaire Wine Shop and Wine Bar
A while back, Diablo Dish mentioned a project called BOURBON & BEEF was opening in the former Water Lounge in Rockridge. According to Facebook, it’s now open. The menu is focused on Latin-inspired plates by Central American chef Munther Massarweh (he was born in El Salvador to Jordanian parents and raised in San Francisco).
True to its name, the menu features some beefy starters like sopa de jamón ($11), a beef tenderloin and serrano ham stew with ancho and Anaheim peppers, Peruvian purple potatoes, okra, and marrow beans in a bourbon beef stock; and a chile relleno ($15), a beef-stuffed chile with mole sauce and jalapeño cream. There are also meaty large plates to share, plus some seafood throughout the menu as well (including a seafood paella). The menu features sustainably sourced meats, and organic items are noted too. Cocktails are not limited to bourbon only, and the wine list features only European selections (hmmm). Hours are Sun-Wed 11am-10pm, Thu-Sat 11am-12am, and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 5634 College Ave. at Keith, 510-788-4821.
A few months ago, we mentioned the wine bar and shop coming to Oakland, THE RED WHALE, but it has now changed its name to ORDINAIRE, and guess what? It’s open. And it looks damn cute. The project is from Bradford Taylor, who is focused on small-production California wines (with some on tap). Some European wines from small producers are also in the mix. As we mentioned before, you will be able to sit and enjoy a glass over some tasty cheese and meat selections, bring a bottle home, or even open a bottle from the retail selection for a small corkage fee (pretend you’re in Paris). Open Wed-Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 12pm-9pm, Sun 12pm-5pm (closed Mon-Tue). 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-629-3844.
510 Tidbits: Faux-Nut Pop-Up, Off the Grid, Jack's Chowder House
Cronuts and their various offshoots (cro-nots, cronutz, etc.) are taking the nation by storm, mostly because everyone wants to find out if they are as delicious as they sound. Here at tablehopper, we promised ourselves we weren’t going to write about the knockoffs floating around town, but now someone who I trust to make a damn good one will be doing so. So here we are. On Sunday September 8th, satisfy your curiosity at STAG’S LUNCHETTE, where you’ll find a faux-nut pop-up from 9am until they sell out. Pastry chef Amie Bailey and Lexi Filipello of Stag’s have paired up to being the tasty beasties to you, and they’ll be offering three flavors: Double G(ougin) (vanilla), Creamsicle (clementine and vanilla), and Red Hot (bourbon and chile). They’ll be taking good care of those in line, too, with bubbles and espresso. Don’t miss it!
Berkeley has another OFF THE GRID market, now that the southside Berkeley market has relaunched on Telegraph. The market is every Monday evening from 5pm-9pm, and includes vendors like Hapa SF and Frozen Kuhsterd. Telegraph Ave. at Haste, Berkeley.
Liquor license activity and a Port of Oakland newsletter reveal a new spot in Jack London Square: JACK’S CHOWDER HOUSE. The lease is freshly inked; no details have emerged yet. 66 Franklin St. at Water, Oakland.
In the sad news department, it looks like PIETISSERIE has closed their Oak Street location inside Nido. However, according to East Bay Express, owner Jaynelle St. Jean is planning to find a new location, and will likely be launching a Kickstarter soon to get it up and running. You can also still order pies via her website, so all is not bleak!
Stag's Lunchette - 362 17th St. Oakland - 510-835-7824
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Planet DOOF Brings Fun for Kids of All Ages September 8th
Join us on Sunday September 8th, from 3pm-6pm in San Francisco, for Terrestrial Gastronomy, an awesome family event featuring great food from Chez Panisse alum Alan Tangren, the launch of our unique food-based computer game called Planet DOOF, and a kid-moderated school lunch discussion among food experts Shakirah Simley (Bi-Rite), Jessica Skylar (Revolution Foods), and Esperanza Pallana (Oakland Food Policy Council).
The event will be held at the Planet DOOF Earth Embassy, 440 Brannan St., San Francisco. Tickets are available at $25 for adults (discount code ZORP), $10 for teens (discount code CARL), and free for kids under 12 at planetdoof.eventbrite.com.
Planet DOOF has been designed for kids and this event will be 100 percent kid-friendly. For more information, visit foodbackwards.com.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Ceri Smith Named Wine Director at Tosca Cafe
Very exciting news to share: the talented Ceri Smith of BIONDIVINO is going to be the wine director at TOSCA CAFE, working with Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield on the revamp of our locally beloved icon. Details are still in their nascent stage, so expect more about what the focus is going to be and other exciting components of the wine program in coming weeks. Smith affirms that Biondivino will continue to stay open and be her baby, but she will be full time on the floor at Tosca, which is due to open in October. Cin cin! 242 Columbus Ave. at Broadway.
Bartender Moves: Daniel Hyatt and Carlos Yturria
Last week as I was leaving for Seattle, I got a tip that Daniel Hyatt was leaving his bar manager post at ROKA AKOR. No need for me to follow up with him, because Eater has confirmed he has left the project—seems it wasn’t the best fit with what the crowd there wants (er, cosmos?). For now, he’s taking a break—although you can peek at our Labor Day post in the chatterbox, where you’ll find a few of his drinks (in the meantime). 801 Montgomery St. at Pacific.
Since we’re on bar manager news, Carlos Yturria has been brought on by Franck LeClerc to manage the bar programs at the upcoming Gaspar, as well as Gitane, Café Claude (both locations), and Claudine; he was most recently at E&O Kitchen (via Scoop).
Scala's Third Annual Sunday Bloody Sunday Face-Off on September 8th
Get ready for the third annual Sunday Bloody Sunday Bloody Mary contest at SCALA’S BISTRO on Sunday September 8th. The event features bartenders from 10 different bars around town shaking up their best Bloody Marys. Participants include Big and Novela, and this year the theme is “anything but vodka,” so look out for Bloodys made with tequila, rum, gin, and whiskey. Scala’s chef Larry Finn will be offering bite-size samples off the brunch menu, and Almanac beer will be available if you get tired of ‘ole Mary. The event begins at 12pm (11:30am for VIP) and goes until 2pm; tickets are $30 general admission and $40 for VIP.
Sunday Sep 8, 2013 11:30am-2pm $30 general admission, $40 VIP more info
Scala's Bistro - 432 Powell St. San Francisco - 415-395-8555
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Don't Miss the 18th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival
Indulge for a cause at the 18th Annual Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival held in Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco, on September 14th and 15th, 2013! Come enjoy gourmet chocolate tastings, two culinary stages with premium chef demonstrations, ice cream eating contests, and the NEW Cadillac Chocolate & Wine Pavilion. All proceeds from the event are donated to Project Open Hand, a San Francisco nonprofit that provides meals to those in need. For more information, please visit Ghirardelli.com/ChocolateFestival
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
What to Eat and Drink During the Final Days of Our Summer of Racing
Monday Aug 26, 2013 – Monday Sep 30, 2013
So the Louis Vuitton Cup has wrapped up, and a big congrats to Emirates Team New Zealand, who will be challenging Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup, which kicks off September 7th, and will (potentially) run until Saturday September 21st—it all depends on how the races go! You can keep track of the schedule here.
Have you had a chance to check out some of the pop-up places and activities on the waterfront in honor of the Summer of Racing? In case you’re heading to the waterfront for the races, here’s a reminder of a few things that are going on:
The Bar of Arrr, from New Zealand’s Moa brewery (one of my favorite breweries I tried during my trip to New Zealand—be sure to try their breakfast beer) is where you can try some quality Kiwi brews (which use killer Kiwi hops!) while kicking it in a pirate-themed space. Eye patch optional. Open until the end of the America’s Cup racing or September 21st (whichever is first); hours are daily 11am-6pm. Pier 29.
I have mentioned pop-up restaurant WAIHEKE ISLAND YACHT CLUB from Auckland restaurateur Tony Stewart a few times, serving lunch, dinner, and now weekend brunch. It’s a chic-yet-relaxed spot, with cocktails, and burgers, or a more refined dining experience (dishes from chef Hayden McMillen are progressive and very seasonal), whatever you’re in the mood for. And hey, don’t miss the venison tartare. Also: the wine list is going to go through some changes after the America’s Cup wraps up. For now, Waiheke is only serving Napa Valley wines, but since it’s open until the end of the year, it will start offering some New Zealand selections starting at the end of September. (You can also order Moa beers there right now.) Pier 29, 415-956-1048.
For more boozing on the water, the AMERICA’S CUP PARK at Piers 27 and 29 has three different bars: the Napa Valley Wine Lounge (open daily 11am-7pm), the Flute Bar and Lounge (pouring bubbles from Mumm Napa in a 1920s-themed environment from 10am-7pm on race days and from 12pm-5pm on non-race days), and the America’s Cup Sports Bar, with an outdoor patio and big screens to watch the race (there’s also weekend brunch); the Sports Bar opens at 11am, and will remain open through September 30th. Piers 27 and 29, 415-371-5500.
CHAYA BRASSERIE SAN FRANCISCO is offering a special from September 9th-20th: Buckets of Bubbles & BBQ. You’ll be able to enjoy barbecue oysters and buckets of Moët & Chandon (thanks Champagne!), either on the patio or indoors, Mon-Fri 11:30am-5pm. 132 The Embarcadero.
New Zealand has a strong presence in San Francisco this summer, and not just on the water: Kiwi wines are popping up on a variety of wine lists around town, at places like A16, Atelier Crenn, Brasserie S & P at the Mandarin Oriental, Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, Fifth Floor, Marlowe and Park Tavern (of course—one of the owners is a Kiwi!), Michael Mina, Waterbar, and more. If you’re curious about New Zealand wines, here’s your chance to try some selections you may not have as much access to. You can email here for a complete list of participating restaurants and retailers.
WATERBAR has taken things one step further, integrating a number of New Zealand food products on their menu (I had a chance to check it out a couple of weeks ago). You can try three of the country’s superlative oysters in an oyster flight, and if you like clams, there’s also a Tuatua clam available. The dinner menu features chef Parke Ulrich’s killer salmon pastrami (using top-notch Ora King salmon), Greenshell mussels (I looooved all the shellfish in New Zealand), and meaty options include Merino lamb and Firstlight grass-fed wagyu beef. Beverage director Steven Izzo has come up with some fab pairings as well. Available through September 21st.
Have fun out there! Oh, and here’s a handy backgrounder on the Cup in case you need it.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Hot Italians at Kokkari, Ristobar
Miuccia Prada was in Kokkari last Tuesday with Prada’s owner Patrizio Bertelli. Bertelli inspected the fish with sous chef Tony Cervone, who speaks Italian, and selected a two-pound pompano for dinner. The group of 12 included family and friends, who enjoyed five orders of saganaki.
Then, on Thursday, Mr. Bertelli was spotted at Ristobar after the Italians were defeated by New Zealand. No word if he was with the fabulous Miuccia.