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Sep 23, 2013 18 min read

September 24, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: l'avventura.

September 24, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: l'avventura.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: l'avventura.                    

I’m heading to the land of ‘nduja. It’s a magical place. Photo: ©

Buon giorno! Yes, I am furiously prepping for my trip to Italy and trying to integrate as much Italian as possible into my daily banter. My father is already on his way to Rome, and I’ll be leaving for SFO at the ungodly hour of 5am tomorrow morning. I mean, really, why sleep? That was sadly the theme this weekend as I had to slog through my 2012 taxes (one of the worst parts of being a small-business owner, truly) and write a slew of columns and articles that are due while I am traveling. Deadlines, deadlines. Fortunately I got all that shit signed, sealed, and delivered, so it’s time to pack!

I’ll be in Rome for 24 hours (gotta find the best amatriciana, my favorite pasta), then my father and I are heading to Calabria to be with our family (commence a terrifying amount of food consumption), and then making our way up to Chianti at the tail end of the trip to experience the gorgeous Il Paluffo. A jaunt to Lipari is also being discussed; we’ll let the weather gods decide. Per usual, I’ll be posting pics of my adventures and meals on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, take your pick!

As you can guess, tablehopper will be going dark until Friday October 11th, which is a few days after I return. So, publicists and people pitching me, plllllease hold off on emailing me about any event coverage between now and then, grazie. No guarantees about getting anything in the October 11th issue—Tuesday October 15th is more likely. Anything to keep my email from exploding while I’m away (cleanup in aisle seven!), please and thanks.

A few tidbits for you: first, thanks to the Examiner for this piece about my gay singles event, appreciate the coverage!

I also put together my first Mosey! It’s a cool new site that features walking adventures curated by locals who are passionate about all kinds of things, from history to music to fashion to food. I created one around some of my favorite San Francisco classics to eat and drink, check it out. I’ll be doing more in coming months—Moseying and tablehopping are pretty simpatico.

So one of the reasons I am returning home when I am is that I committed to emceeing a very important event on October 10th: the Actions Speak Louder Than Pink: Food for Thought event. It’s in support of Think Before You Pink, a project from Breast Cancer Action, an organization that advocates for action against breast cancer (not merely awareness) and demands more transparency and accountability in breast cancer fundraising. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, I hope you’ll consider joining me at this dinner (check out the chef lineup!) and fundraiser.

Lastly, on a somber note, I was very sad to read on Eater that William “Chili Bill” Eichinger recently passed away. He was a longtime bartender at Finnegan’s Wake, and would occasionally email me about his many restaurant finds (he was such an avid diner). So very sad. Finnegan’s is hosting a “going away party” in honor of Bill this Saturday September 28th from 2pm-6pm (no all-black attire requested). I hope he’s enjoying a big plate of dumplings right now. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Yeah, life is short. Which is why I’m taking this last-minute trip with my Dad—work can wait. Italia, we’re coming for you!

Ciao tutti! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Meet the New Project Coming to 330 Ritch: Victory Hall & Parlor


The famed Little Skillet fried chicken and waffles—soon to be consumed at tables, with drinks! Photo courtesy of Little Skillet.


Oh, hello waffles. Photo courtesy of Little Skillet.

Back in June, there was some liquor license activity that pointed to the Little Skillet folks taking over their neighboring space, 330 Ritch. I have been keeping in touch with Deanna Sison Foster (co-owner of Little Skillet and farmerbrown) over the past few months, and now it’s time to release the news: she is partnering with Mia Weening (Mission Bowling Club, Mini Bar, and a longtime SF bartender) to open VICTORY HALL & PARLOR in late fall of this year.

It will primarily be a full-service bar, and will “celebrate the legacy of the worker,” offering a comfortable place to hang out, whether you’re with a pack of coworkers or flying solo. They aim to be a focal point for the neighborhood, a place for the local community to gather in a welcoming atmosphere. There will be large communal tables, and there is also a back parlor that can be reserved for private parties and events.

The bar will feature quality crafted cocktails with a special nod to large-format drinks for groups. There will be a dedicated bar cook who will be preparing ingredients for the bar, plus juices, shrubs, and more. There will be a rotating, seasonal, approachable cocktail list and several craft brews.

If you’re a regular patron of the walk-up window at Little Skillet, you’ll be happy to know that they will now be serving food to the interior of the bar, and expanding the menu into the late night. You’ll be able to get family-style meals, like a roast chicken with sides, or a fried chicken platter with waffles—hearty Americana in the house. Stand by for news on the opening in coming months. Hours will be daily 11am-12am, with brunch by Little Skillet launching soon after it opens. Victory awaits! 330 Ritch St. at Townsend.

The Second Salumeria Now Open in the Mission


The counter and seating at Salumeria in the Hamm Building. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


Roast beef sandwich with tomato and arugula on a Firebrand pretzel roll. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the folks at Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, Salumeria) are launching a second location of SALUMERIA. It’s now open, softly, in the Hamm building in the Mission. The new location is housed in the ground floor of an office building, and is closer to SoMa than the heart of the Mission. The menu includes breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, with some of the same signature items as the original location. Look for sandwiches, including roast beef on a Firebrand pretzel roll, in addition to salads, charcuterie, and cheese plates. In the mornings, you’ll find coffee from Mr. Espresso and housemade pastries, plus offerings from local bakers like Black Jet Baking Company. They will also be offering a daily egg wrap or sandwich for those looking for something heartier. Take a look at the current offerings here.

The space is still incomplete (they’re waiting on some furniture and final decorative items), but there is space to sit and enjoy lunch. The new kitchen is quite large, and will give them the opportunity to expand their special event program. The top floor of the new building has an event space, which will become a site they can use for special dinners, and where tenants of the building can hold special events and meetings. There will also be a few larder items, though not as many as the first location, as well as beer and wine. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. 1550 Bryant St. at Alameda, 415-471-2998.

Tidbits: Cafe Barley Opens, Dandelion Chocolate Finds a Pastry Chef, More


Lisa Vega, the new pastry chef at Dandelion. Photo from Dandelion’s website.

There’s a new coffee stop in the Inner Richmond: CAFE BARLEY is now open in the former Java House location on Clement. Richmond Blog reports that they are just serving coffee and pastries for now, but in the coming months they plan to start serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Look for French toast, roasted chicken, soup, and a “Smashburger” (might want to think of a new name lest anyone get confused). Beer and wine will be coming soon, and a friend said their almond milk cappuccino rocks. For now, hours are 7am-4pm. 343 Clement St. at 5th Ave., 415-742-0629.

DANDELION CHOCOLATE has found a new (and permanent) pastry chef to run their kitchen. Their blog announces that Lisa Vega, previously of Gary Danko, has come on board and is working on a new menu. In the meantime, check out pop-ups from Sweet Pistachio and Bicyclette in the coming weeks. 740 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-349-0942.

In further baked goods news, Lori Baker and Jeff Banker have decided to move the bakery attached to BAKER & BANKER to a new location (via Scoop). The current spot is too small, and will be absorbed by the restaurant as a chef’s table space, while they shop for a new home for the bakery. The bakery’s last day open will be Sunday September 29th (which will be a bake sale fundraiser for their chef de cuisine who was recently in an accident); you will still be able to order cakes, sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, and frozen brown butter cookie dough through the restaurant. They will also start opening Baker & Banker on Monday evenings in November.

Baker & Banker            - 1701 Octavia St., San Francisco - 415-351-2500

Update: Second Act Marketplace Looking at November


Yelp photo by Robert P.

As previously reported on tablehopper, the former Red Vic space in the Haight is getting a new life as SECOND ACT MARKETPLACE. To recap, the new space will serve as a home for five new businesses, and the hope is to serve as an incubator for businesses that will step out on their own as they grow. Confirmed tenants so far are Anda Piroshki, which serves Russian home-style cooking; High Cotton Kitchen, a New Orleans-style lunch spot; the juice bar RAW; and Spice Hound, the excellent spice shop already in Bernal.

You’ll also find Community Craft, a bakeshop (with gluten-free options) selling items from bakers including Bread SRSLY from Sadie Scheffer, Ebbs Bakery from Robert Hac, Eat Me NatuRaw from Tanya Fislar, Park Bench (a San Franciscan boulangerie) from Brandywine White, Sweets Simply by Nicole, and Meetinghouse Biscuits from Joanna Karlinsky, plus Sightglass Coffee.

Right now, the hope is to open in November. The space will also host an amphitheater and community space in the back, which will seat 49 for screenings, music, and events. The Alembic will also expand into part of the former Red Vic space, doubling their seating capacity. This is all great news; we will update as we get more information on an opening date. 1727 Haight St. at Cole.

New Lunch and Dinner Hours (and Menus) at M.Y. China, Twenty Five Lusk, Mozzeria


The chicken-fried quail sandwich at Twenty Five Lusk. Photo by Anne-Claire Thieulon Dolan.

M.Y. CHINA is now offering special prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus. At lunch, you have the option of selecting three or four courses, with various choices for each course. The four-course option includes a dim sum platter, and you’ll also find the wild boar scissor-cut noodles (so good), Hong Kong crispy noodle with chicken, and a choice of the egg tart or egg puff for dessert. At dinner, you have two choices: the live crab dinner for two ($88) or the Peking roast duck dinner ($68). Both include a juicy dumpling trio, plus dessert and side dishes to go with the main dish.

TWENTY FIVE LUSK is now serving lunch on weekdays, from 11:30am-2pm. On the menu, look for a chicken-fried quail sandwich with potato chips, tri-tip steak frites, or a fried bacon salad with Little Gems, burrata, and heirloom tomatoes; take a look at all the current choices here.

For pizza at lunch, check out MOZZERIA in the Mission, where you can now order from the Express Lunch menu. You’ll find most of their pizzas, plus some starters and their kale salad; take a look at the menu here. They’re offering takeout as well as dine-in options, all of it intended to offer quick service. Lunch is available Wed-Fri 12pm-3pm, and Sat-Sun 12pm-5pm.

Mozzeria            - 3228 16th St. San Francisco - 415-489-0963

Pop-ups and Trucks: Four Seasons Duck Fat Burger, Ante Meridian for Brunch


The duck fat burger at MKT. Photo courtesy MKT.

The Four Seasons Taste Truck is making its way through the west this fall, and this week it’s hitting SF. The truck is cranking out offerings from MKT RESTAURANT — BAR, including the seriously insane duck fat burger with cheddar and truffle aioli; take a look at the whole menu here. Starting today, Tuesday September 24th, until Thursday September 26th, you’ll find the truck at Yerba Buena Lane at the Moscone Center from 11am-2pm. Then, from Friday September 27th until Sunday September 29th, follow the truck on Twitter for its location.

Anthony Yang, a former sous chef at Restaurant Michael Mina and Per Se, has a new drool-worthy brunch pop-up to check out. It’s called Ante Meridian (clever!), and will be appearing next at DEAR MOM on Saturday September 28th from 11:30am-3:30pm. Look for an everything bagel with scallion aioli and smoked sturgeon mousse, black truffle waffles, and rice porridge with poached egg, togarashi-braised pork, and homemade pickles. Uh-huh. 2700 16th St. at Harrison, 415-625-3362.

Closures: The Sandwich Shop in Dogpatch, Chick N Coop


The Chick N Coop classic turkey dinner. Yelp photo by Alyssa G.

A reader writes in that the THE SANDWICH SHOP in Dogpatch is closing its doors on September 26th. The bare-bones neighborhood joint apparently got a rent hike from their landlord, but reportedly they are looking for a new location. 635 19th St. at Tennessee.

We also got word that old-school hofbrau CHICK N COOP in the Excelsior has closed. It seems as though the business was for sale, but because of an uncertain lease situation, they closed instead. Bwok. 4500 Mission St. at Excelsior.

510 Update: Iyasare from Shotaro Kamio, Petit Cochon, Tupper & Reed, More


Chef Shotaro Kamio is ready to feed you. Photo courtesy of Sho Kamio.

Some more details have emerged about Shotaro Kamio’s upcoming restaurant in Berkeley (in the former O Chamé). As noted in the Scoop, the name will be IYASARE, Japanese for “be healed.” It’s the first clue about the direction Kamio’s cuisine will be taking. A brand-new press release explains he is going to be looking to his native Tōhoku in the northeastern Japanese countryside for inspiration, which features lighter dishes that are more focused on vegetables, grains, and seafood. Look for rustic cookery elements of fermentation (like koji and miso), sun-drying (seaweed, seafood), curing, and aging, all of which will be delivering some good umami notes.

Lunch will bring set meals, with miso soup, small salads, and daily specials including soba and onigiri (rice balls wrapped in crispy seaweed) and takeout ekiben, the bento boxes you find at train stations. Dinner will be more family style, with dishes like whole-roasted fish, nabemono, and some unique offerings like Japanese-style charcuterie made with sake, miso, and sansho pepper, and Japanese-influenced pasta dishes with toasted spicy cod roe, ikura, uni, shaved bonito, and other ingredients. There will also be items like sardines and beef tongue grilled on aburi-yaki tabletop bincho-tan (Japanese charcoal), and nigiri sushi too. A range of sakes will be available, plus artisan Japanese beer, and local beer and wine on tap. Sean Gaston Design is remodeling the space, which will feature natural materials and a modern sensibility, with 35 seats inside, 12 at the bar, and 25 outside on the heated patio. Look for an opening in mid-October. Am so looking forward to trying his food. 1830 4th St. at Hearst, Berkeley.

While playing some email and phone tag with chef-owner Todd Kniess (Bistro Liaison), Diablo Dish ended up getting the scoop on his upcoming PETIT COCHON in Berkeley. It’s going to be a fast-casual place opening next door to Bistro Liaison that should appeal to Cal students, with soups, salads, sandwiches (croque-monsieur, roast pork), and tarte flambée, plus a retail component. Look for an opening in mid-October. 1801 Shattuck Ave. at Delaware, Berkeley.

The latest issue of Nosh is chock-full of news, like the opening of HOMESPUN FARE at 5403 College Ave. in Oakland; LEMAT ETHIOPIAN RESTAURANT AND CAFÉ opening soon at 3212 Adeline St. in the Lorin District; and TUPPER & REED, a new bar coming to the former Beckett’s location at 2271 Shattuck Ave. in Downtown Berkeley—Brian Sheehy and Doug Dalton of Future Bars are behind the project due to open in spring 2014.

Mark you calendar: Rockridge’s Out & About Street Fair is Sunday October 6th from 12-6pm, and Market Hall will of course be hosting a variety of activities, from the Chefs Stage to a cookbook exchange, plus all the Market Hall Merchants will be offering all kinds of food items. Oh yes, and wine too.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): 30 Top Chefs, 6 Whole Beasts, 1 Unforgettable Night

On October 20th, thirty of San Francisco’s best chefs join winemakers, bartenders, and sustainable farmers in the historic Ferry Building for the CUESA Sunday Supper, one memorable evening supporting CUESA’s 20 years of nurturing small family farms, building a sustainable food community, and educating the next generation of eaters.

The gala evening kicks off with a reception featuring an exclusive view of the star-studded kitchen and then a sit-down, whole-beast, four-course dinner in the Grand Hall featuring market-inspired menus created by teams of chefs who collaboratively plan the meal.

This year’s live auction features amazing packages, including a rare dinner for 20 in the Giants’ Dugout, a culinary adventure in Oaxaca, and a culinary crawl through Hayes Valley. Proceeds from the night will benefit CUESA’s educational programs, including Foodwise Kids. The innovative program uses the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market as a classroom for teaching elementary students to love vegetables and fruits through comparative tastings, exploring the market, and a hands-on cooking lesson.

Tickets are $250 ($175 is tax deductible), get yours now!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Red Devil Lounge Closing, Drinks That Make a Difference, a New Happy Hour, and More


The exterior of the Red Devil Lounge. Photo via Yelp by Fallopian Swim Team D.


The fresh-hop IPAs from Almanac await you at La Movida. Photo via Facebook.

Over on Polk Street, the RED DEVIL LOUNGE will be ending its 16-plus-year run in 2014. Taking over the venue is Jamal Blake-Williams, who many Marina dwellers will recognize from The Tipsy Pig (where he has been the bar manager since it opened) and Mamacita. Once the Red Devil’s calendar wraps up on New Year’s Eve, the location will close for construction. Blake-Williams hopes to reopen it in March or April, and while the live music will be gone, his plans for the space are to make it a comfortable neighborhood bar, with quality cocktails, and some fun touches like pool, shuffleboard, and watching the game on Sunday. There’s no name yet so stand by for that, but one thing we do know is that there will be a lot more light in the space. He’s very excited about the project, and grateful for the many years of mentorship from Nate Valentine, Stryker Scales, and Sam Josi. 1695 Polk St. at Clay.

Happy WhiskyWeek, San Francisco. Last Tuesday we mentioned Elixir’s lineup of events this week, and here’s something else to look for. Parker Beam of Heaven Hill Distilleries—and a legend in the bourbon world—was sadly diagnosed with the debilitating ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). In order to raise awareness and funds for the ALS Foundation, some bars around town will be featuring cocktails made with bourbons from the Heaven Hill portfolio and making donations to the The Parker Beam Promise of Hope Fund. So if you swing by the following bars, take a look at their menus for what’s on offer: 15 Romolo (featuring Evan Williams Single Barrel, Elijah Craig 12-year, and Henry McKenna Single Barrel all week), Blackbird (serving a Manhattan with Evan Williams Single Barrel through Saturday September 28th), Wingtip, or Beretta (on Wednesday September 25th, they will be serving Henry McKenna Single Barrel all night). To your health, Parker!

A new happy hour for your radar: LA MOVIDA in the Mission is now offering their happy hour from 4:30pm-6:30pm. You’ll find specials on their tap beer and wine (like $2 off!), as well as specials featuring a flight of the limited-release, seasonal, fresh-hopped Almanac beers, kalimotxo (red wine and Mexican Coke), and micheladas. You’ll also find a happy hour menu that includes thrice-fried wings and a vegetarian version of their Monte Cristo sandwich. Wednesday is also designated the “new mom” happy hour with strollers welcomed. Yup, mother’s little helper comes in a liquid format, too. 3066 24th St. at Treat, 415-282-3066.

Ah yes: another fab Champagne dinner at SPRUCE. On Tuesday October 15th, Laurent Fresnet, cellar master of Champagne Henriot (one of the last independent and family-owned houses in Champagne) will be present at the dinner, which will feature seven different wines, including two vintages of the house’s tête de cuvée. You can look at the lineup and the menu by chefs Mark Sullivan and John Madriaga here. $195, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 6:30pm. To reserve, call 415-931-5100,

Don't Miss the Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Tasting on October 15th


Bubbly with a view at the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting in 2012. Photo from Wine & Spirits’ website.

The time has come for one of the best wine tasting events around: Wine & Spirits Magazine is hosting its tenth annual Top 100 Tasting on Tuesday October 15th from 6:30pm-8:30pm (VIP entry at 5:30pm) at City View at the Metreon. The magazine has selected 100 wineries from around the world to participate, pouring wines that have performed the highest in the tasting the magazine has conducted this year.

You’ll be able to enjoy pours from locals like Hirsch/Sonoma Coast, Iron Horse/Green Valley, Lioco/Sonoma County, and Williams Selyem/Sonoma County, and international wineries, such as Elvio Cogno/Italy Piedmont, Felton Road/New Zealand Central Otago (a fave from my recent trip!), Dr. Loosen/Germany Mosel, A.R. Valdespino/Spain Jerez, and Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe/France Rhône. My advice? If you love Champagne, hit that table first—there are some wonderful houses, including Delamotte, Dom Pérignon, Krug, Louis Roederer, and Ruinart!

You won’t go hungry, either. A collection of “new and notable” restaurants will also be in attendance, each serving a signature dish to pair with the wines, including 1601 Bar & Kitchen (a tablehopper fave), A16 Rockridge, Aquitaine, Coqueta, and Farmshop Marin. Plus, you’ll find items to nibble  from Hog Island Oysters, Kika’s Treats, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Sour Flour Bread, and Socola Chocolates.

Yours truly will also be there, at a table loaded up with tablehopper T-shirts and hoodies with vintage San Francisco restaurant and bar logos—come by and say hello! Tickets are $105 general admission and $150 for VIP; proceeds benefit San Francisco Baykeeper. See you there!

               Tuesday Oct 15, 2013 6:30pm–8:30pm (5:30pm for VIP) $105 general admission, $150 VIP more info


the socialite

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

Mission Graduates Food For Thought Coming October 16th


Some of the Mission Graduates. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Tuesday Oct 15, 2013 – Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

On Wednesday October 16th, join 22 different Mission restaurants in supporting Mission Graduates at their fifth annual FOOD FOR THOUGHT dine out event. All you have to do is eat at one of the participating restaurants, including Commonwealth, Mission Bowling Club, and Foreign Cinema, and 25 percent of the proceeds will go to supporting Mission Graduates in the efforts to help Mission youth get to college. For a full list of participating restaurants, go here. Hours vary by restaurant; call for reservations and details.

If you can’t make it out on the 16th, you can also check out the Food Truck for Thought evening the night prior, on Tuesday October 15th, at the SoMa Streat Food Park, where you’ll find a college-themed evening of food trucks. You can also purchase raffle tickets for prizes like a trip to Mexico and lots of gift certificates to local restaurants.

San Francisco FallFest Is on October 12th


FallFest 2012. Photo by Ellian Raffoul, Moanalani Jeffrey and Robert Lugtu.

Event Info

Saturday Oct 12, 2013 12pm–4pm $110 in advance, $125 at the door; use code TABLEHOPPER for 10 percent discount Justin Herman Plaza 4 Embarcadero Center at Drumm

On Saturday October 12th, catch San Francisco Magazine’s FallFest at Justin Herman Plaza, a benefit for Meals on Wheels of San Francisco. From 12pm to 4pm, join local restaurants like A16 Rockridge, Juhu Beach Club, and COCO500 for bites; take a look at the restaurants and what they’ll be serving right here. Bartenders from local watering holes will be leading a DIY cocktail station, including the likes of Jessamine McLellan (Hakkasan) and Tony Devencenzi (Bourbon & Branch), and there will also be plenty of wines poured.

Of course, the alfresco location at Justin Herman Plaza will allow for some great views, and you’ll also enjoy live music. Tickets are $110 in advance and $125 at the door, but if you purchase yours before midnight on September 28th, you get 10 percent off. Just use promo code TABLEHOPPER, and enjoy! 4 Embracadero Center at Drumm.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Nineties Heartthrob Alert

Well-known sexy person Ryan Phillippe was spotted at Lucy Restaurant and Bar in Yountville over the weekend. He was reportedly with a young blonde date. They nibbled olives and then left; sadly, no photos.

The Biggest of the Rockstars at Ame

Yeezus himself, king of the most-quotable-interview, none other than Kanye West was spotted at Ame on Sunday afternoon, according to a tweet. Alas, this marks yet another Kanye-sans-Kim sighting.

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