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Oct 14, 2013 26 min read

October 15, 2013 - This week's newsletter: whatever you are, be a good one.

October 15, 2013 - This week's newsletter: whatever you are, be a good one.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: whatever you are, be a good one.                    

Stunning San Francisco sunset and a view of Coit Tower. And nope, I didn’t do a thing to this image. Photo: ©

Ah yes, I am definitely back from my travels, and am unpacking quite the beast of a column on you today. There is some catch-up in here, with a few stories that will be old news to restaurant gossip obsessives, but there’s breaking news in here too. Dig in.

I am trying to get my act together quickly so I can head over to tonight’s Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 event at the Metreon. Tickets are sold out (I told you to jump on it!), but for those of you who are coming, please do come by the tablehopper table and say hello! I’ll be selling my vintage t-shirts, hoodies, and will have a few copies of my book with me too. Anyone who brings me Champagne gets major bonus points. #happyhopper #top100event

I spent most of my weekend catching up on work, but Sunday evening I was definitely out on the track. My night started at a gorg party in Telegraph Hill to meet Chile’s Concha y Toro winemaker, Marcelo Papa, and taste his delicious wines. All the guests were treated to a stunning magic hour (see today’s pic) while enjoying paired bites by chef Ruth Van Waerebeek. Yes, my life is hard.

I then scooted on over to Butterfly, where Ritz-Carlton executive chef Xavier Salomon’s 50th birthday party was going off (of course chef Hubert Keller got on the decks later in the evening). You can take a look at some pics on my Instagram page of the evening—yes, there was cheese. And truffles. And I may have eaten a bao stuffed with foie gras and figs the next day (the best parting gift ever). Happy 50th, chef! I finished my jaunt with a nightcap at Tosca (as you may have guessed from today’s title), with all the details in today’s chatterbox!

I hope to see you tonight, and if not, I’ll be back in your inbox on Friday. Ciao! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Tosca Café Returns to the Stage for Her Encore Performance


Hello, Casino Bar Negroni 1919. Photo: ©


The back dining room and new backlit wine wall. Yes, it’s still dark in there. Photo: ©


Tosca’s open kitchen, flanking the dining room. Photo: ©

Late on Sunday evening, I figured it would be the best time to swing by and check out the new digs of my beloved TOSCA CAFÉ. I was correct, and happily found a spot to perch on one of the new barstools, ready to soak in the fresh details. Owners Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield were exceedingly careful about not changing much, and kept the update on the enhancement side of things. The patina on the walls, paintings, and the checkered floor remains, although the paintings have a bit more light on them for you to admire them. The jukebox remains as is, but now there’s a better sound system for you to hear Johnny Cash and Un Bel Dì.

I ordered my Tosca usual (a Negroni), and the white-jacketed bartenders (Isaac Shumway is leading the show) will make you a very delicious one (with Antica) for $12, in a pretty, oh-so-thin glass, and with extremely clear and dense ice. The cocktail list (11 drinks in all) makes me thirsty, and they also did a nice update to the house “cappuccino,” which will still get steamed from one of the remaining espresso machines on the bar. The capp now has better spirits in it, and ganache from local Dandelion Chocolate.

Everyone is going to be collecting the new coasters, which feature quirky Italian artwork taken from illustrations that used to hang where the kitchen is now. There’s also one with an image of former owner Jeannette Etheredge on the back—reportedly Sean Penn secretly handed that image over for Ken Friedman to use. And reportedly people are asking Jeannette to sign it for them (when she’s in)—and reportedly, she’ll do so (for $10, and it better be cash). Heh. Although don’t look for her at her usual spot at the end of the bar, because now you’ll find a gleaming, red Italian meat slicer and a cook preparing antipasti.

So, the changes. The back room is no longer a place where you can traipse in and huddle with your friends at a table for drinks—it’s now a dining room, with the booths newly outfitted in red leather, and tables full of hungry diners. You’ll note a brand-new, open kitchen to the left, with plans to serve food until 1am nightly (Bloomfield is working with chef de cuisine Josh Even). The menu includes antipasti, from roasted Treviso to the rugged bites that we look for from Bloomfield, like oxtail terrine and crispy pig tails; first courses of chicken liver spiedini and a couple of salads; pasta like gemelli (but instead of saying cacio e pepe, it says black pepper and young pecorino) and bucatini (with tomato, guanciale, and chile—yup, that’s all’amatriciana, but you can see the team isn’t making this a facsimile of an Italian ristorante). Hefty meat courses include grilled short rib and roasted chicken for two, or trout. Cannoli for dessert, natch. There’s also a bar sandwich, which I was told comes with mozzarella, truffle cheese, and prosciutto, surely a bite of heaven at 12:30am.

I enjoyed looking over Ceri Smith and Randall Grahm’s wine list (and the glowing wine wall in the dining room), and saw that Ceri is even securing Monteraponi in classic straw-covered fiaschi for the restaurant. There’s also a Tosca ale on the menu from Fort Point, with four taps in all.

Alas, my favorite bathroom graffiti ever was painted over (but they did keep the bathroom pink), and Robert Mitchum is no longer—but I welcome the nice new hand soap instead of the toxic Boraxo.

I am happy to see the 92-year-old space get a new turn out on the track. Thank God it didn’t close. Yes, I will miss the quieter, moody, sleepy nights in there, but am so pleased the venerable location is in the right hands. The crowd is definitely going to change—with people going there who may not have ever stepped foot in the bar before—but that’s the fault of the hype machine (I know, I am a part of it).

I also paid for my drink for the first time at Tosca with plastic, but I also paid my first employer mandate charge there too.

Open Tue-Sun 5pm-2am (closed Mon through October). 242 Columbus Ave. at Broadway, 415-986-9651.

Sebo in Hayes Valley Closing at the End of October


One of many things I will be missing about Sebo. Photo: ©

I was sorry to learn that chef-owner Michael Black of SEBO in Hayes Valley has decided to close the restaurant. Unfortunately after a few years of dispute, he was unable to negotiate favorable lease renewal conditions with the property management company. Sebo is planning to have its last dinner service on Saturday October 26th.

Black opened the restaurant in 2006 (after two years of construction), and was a pioneer in the evolving neighborhood—it’s a shame that he can no longer stay in the neighborhood he worked so hard to help put on the map as a culinary destination (to wit: Sebo was featured on No Reservations). He has also done a lot to elevate the local conversation about sushi, specifically seafood sourcing and seasonality (yes, that was a lot of alliteration right there). Black notes how times have changed, with fish prices skyrocketing: “When we opened Sebo, we could get giant clam for $5 or $6 a pound, and now it’s up to $30 a pound.” One thing that has been marvelously consistent about the restaurant is the quality of the seafood they served. I have enjoyed many meals at Sebo (oh, the ankimo, and uni!), especially at that intimate counter.

But it’s ultimately a good time for him to take a break—his third child was just born in August (congrats!). Black definitely has a few potential irons and ideas in the fire, so stand by for news about his next moves. In the meantime, be sure to head in there for a proper farewell cheers with his Orion beer, and follow Black on Twitter at @sebosf to keep current with him. Best wishes, Michael, and thanks for the many wonderful meals and experiences at Sebo.

Sebo            - 517 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-864-2122

Café Terminus, Now Open in the Financial District


The bar at Café Terminus. Photo courtesy of Urban Daddy, by Michael David Rose Photography.

Last week, one of my neighbors-about-town let me know Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti’s CAFÉ TERMINUS was on the brink of opening, and whaddya know, it softly opened just before the weekend. It’s right where the California Street cable car line ends, hence the inspiration for the name. The place has a sleek look, complete with tiles, a chalk-white concrete bar, and slick lighting, including pendant lamps.

The tables haven’t arrived yet (they should be there within the next couple weeks), so for now, pretend you’re at a European stand-up bar in the morning when you get your coffee (and egg in brioche!), or you are at a Parisian Métro station when you order your sandwich on the go for lunch (there are two items daily, like a Cubano, served until 2:30pm—look for this to evolve), or hang out at the bar for an aperitif after work (and if you happen to work in the stock market, then here’s a new place to add to your list since it’s meant to have a bar vibe as soon as lunch wraps up).

The cocktail menu (put together by Will Herrera) was inspired by the drinking culture you’ll find around train terminals and cafés in Paris and Rome. Eric Passetti wanted to make sure a fair amount of pastis and absinthe was well represented, so you’ll note their presence on the unique menu. There’s the Citizen’s Committee, with gin, pastis, orgeat, mint, and lemon, and the Métro, with rye whiskey, pastis, and grenadine. Look for the number of vermouths and amari to increase as well. Their hope is to become a regular hangout, and part of many FiDi workers’ routines.

Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-2am for now (yes, you read that right—stand by for those hours to get tweaked in time). 16 California St. at Drumm.

New Projects: Ravi Kapur Partnering with Nopa Team, Brandon Jew Opening a Place in Chinatown


Ravi Kapur cooking for Liholiho Yacht Club during its stint at State Bird Provisions. Photo via Facebook.

Before I left for Italy, I heard chef Ravi Kapur (Liholiho Yacht Club, Prospect, Boulevard) had finally locked on a location on Sutter Street for his next restaurant. While he wouldn’t reveal anything at the time, I returned home to the news in the Scoop that the location is at 871 Sutter, and he’s partnering with Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak of Nopa/Nopalito. Details are slim for now, but it will be on the casual side of things.

It sounds like a great space (brick walls, two stories, skylights), and Brett Terpeluk (the architect behind the gorg look at Farina) will be designing it. Look for more info later on—the opening isn’t scheduled until later in 2014. 871 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.

Meanwhile, I have been tracking Brandon Jew (previously Bar Agricole) for some time as he was looking for a location in Chinatown for his upcoming restaurant, and the 8San Francisco Business Times* reveals it will be going into the former Four Seas Restaurant. His seasonal focus will really shape the menu, with many handmade items, from soy sauce to bean paste—Jew wants everything to be local, with nothing imported. Targeted opening: early 2015. 731 Grant Ave. at Commercial.

Great News: Lauren Kiino's The Red Dog and Fearless Are Under Way


A rendering of Red Dog; image by Martinkovic Milford Architects.

Congrats to Lauren Kiino, who finally got her building permit for THE RED DOG and FEARLESS, her upcoming SoMa projects. To recap, The Red Dog is her rustic-casual 75-seat restaurant with a full bar, while Fearless is a café with sandwiches (you can read all the details in a previous post on tablehopper here). Construction will start in the next couple of weeks, and Fearless should open early December and The Red Dog could open as early as January 2014.

Kiino just launched a Kickstarter campaign for the projects, please watch the video and help a sister out. 303 2nd St. at Harrison.

Now Open: State Bird (This Weekend), Taps Social House and Kitchen, and Maruya


The bar at Taps. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The sushi bar at Maruya. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The entry and seating at Maruya. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

After closing for a remodel and expansion, the team at STATE BIRD PROVISIONS is getting ready to reopen on Friday October 18th for a two-day soft opening (we outlined the changes in a previous entry here)—this weekend is no reservations/walk-in only, so take your chances on getting a table! Then they close on Sunday and will be up and running full-time on Monday October 21st.

Not only will they be serving Sunday dinner from now on, but the new space has some additional design touches, plus two tables for large groups (dubbed the alcove tables). They each accommodate six to eight people, or can be reserved together for a group of sixteen. Reservations are available at 5:30-6pm or 8-8:30pm, and groups can choose to order a tasting menu of small plates, or everything on the menu. The reservations situation is a little confusing, so bear with us here: they will not be taking reservations for their first two days open, Friday October 18th and Saturday the 19th. However, on Wednesday October 16th at 1pm, they will open a block of 60 days of reservations, with dates starting October 21st. So snag them soon! Hours this Friday and Saturday are 5:30pm-11pm; moving forward, they’ll be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Welcome back to your nest, State Bird team!

TAPS SOCIAL HOUSE AND KITCHEN opened on Thursday October 10th in Russian Hill. As previously reported in tablehopper, the large space seats 170, with 28 beers on draft and a full menu (and plenty of TVs to watch any games that are on). Chef Michael Lamina’s brasserie-meets-gastropub menu, which you can peek at here, includes plenty of meaty roasts, some for large groups, like the leg of lamb or the suckling pig. You’ll also find an impressive terrine board, poutine, a burger, and macaroni and cheese. In addition, the back of the restaurant is devoted to a raw bar, with oysters and clams on the half shell.

In the beverage department, cocktails come from Jesse Ostroski (formerly of Bigfoot Lodge), and will include three or four seasonal offerings. There are four white and four red wines on tap, plus all those aforementioned beers. Look for draft offerings from Pine Street, Bear Republic, and Lagunitas. For now, hours are Sun-Thu 4pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 4pm-12am; lunch and weekend brunch and later hours are forthcoming. 1516 Broadway at Polk, 415-673-1459.

We’ve been following the story of the former Bar Bambino closely (i.e., stalking), and finally got some info on the opening of MARUYA. The sushi spot from chef Masaki Sasaki and partner Raymond Feliciano is set to open tonight, Tuesday October 15th. The space is full of warm wood, including a thick charred-wood bar and raw-edged slabs along the front window. The space is still pretty sleek, though, with smooth paneled walls behind the sushi bar, and clean simple lines throughout. The dinner menu is sushi-focused, with some broiled appetizers and salads to start. The sushi list will change daily, depending on what is available, and includes both sashimi and sushi. The beverage list includes both sake and wine, and some seriously spendy bubbles. Hours are Tue-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm. 2931 16th St. at Capp, 415-378-6667.

State Bird Provisions            - 1529 Fillmore St. San Francisco - 415-795-1272

Butterfly Launches a New Sandwich Shop (Pan Grill)


Pan pan! Pan Grill’s pork katsu sandwich. Photo via Facebook.

Chef-owner Rob Lam of BUTTERFLY has created a new lunchtime pop-up concept called Pan Grill Sandwich Shop (pan is the Japanese word for “bread”). Swing by the takeout window on the south side of the restaurant from Wed-Sun (11am-3pm) for a menu of affordable and flavor-packed bites with Japanese influences (check out the menu here). His sandwiches are made on a milk bun (think of your favorite bao bun and then multiply it by 10—he was been working with a baker to perfect the bun, and they are crazy good). Sandwiches include pork katsu with yuzu slaw and pickled white onion, kimchi pulled pork with mizuna, tsukune chicken meatball, and hanger steak with a scallion-chimichurri sauce (all $7). Of course Lam is already plotting more combos.

There are also three salads (ahi tuna, shichimi chicken, or miso garlic Caesar), with ingredients like furikake rice strips. Looking for something extra-hearty? There are also three donburi options, like ahi tuna poke, curry pork katsu, and that hanger steak ($8-$9). Lam is also crazy for ikura, so he has some ikura yaki onigiri on the menu too. You can also follow @PanGrill on Twitter for updates. Pier 33, The Embarcadero at Bay, 415-864-8999.

New SoMa/Mid-Market Projects: Absinthe Group into 888 Brannan, and Cadillac Bar and Grill (Potentially) Returning


The Twitter building at 1355 Market Street. Photo courtesy San Francisco Business Times.

We noticed some ABC license activity, and Inside Scoop confirms that Bill Russell-Shapiro and his partners at the Absinthe Group are opening a spot in 888 Brannan, down in SoMa. The space is 5,400 square feet, and will have a full liquor license and a substantial bar. To serve the tech offices in the building, they’ll offer coffee and breakfast in the lobby (lunch and dinner will be in the main dining room), plus you’ll find outdoor seating and a private dining room. Opening is slated for summer 2014. 888 Brannan St. at 8th St.

San Francisco Business Times reports that the newest tenant to sign onto the Twitter building on Market is none other than the long-lost CADILLAC BAR AND GRILL. The Cadillac was a notoriously “raucous” hangout for journalists until it was demolished in the 1980s to make room for the Moscone Center; apparently, partner Mike Rodriguez plans to reopen the old haunt in a new location. Details are scarce at the moment; we’ll update when we hear more (and when the deal is final).1355 Market St. at 9th St.

Tidbits: Proposition Chicken, Green Heart Foods, Breakfast and Lunch at The Cavalier, Chef Guddu Returns, More


Counter seating at Proposition Chicken. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©


The pint-sized interior at Green Heart Foods. Photo from Facebook.


The Blue Bar at The Cavalier. Photo by Lauri Levenfeld, courtesy The Cavalier.

From the folks who brought you Straw is a new place to get your chicken: PROPOSITION CHICKEN. It’s on Market Street near “the Hub,” and offers chicken three different ways: fried, flipped (rotisserie), or fake (that would be tofu). You then select how you’d like it served: on a sandwich, on top of a kale salad, or on a plate with a biscuit. There are sides, too, like matzo ball soup (owner Ari Feingold’s mother’s recipe) and wings. They’ve got gluten-free fried chicken, which will make some people very happy, plus will be offering late-night hours on weekends soon.

The interior is spare, with bright red chairs, poured cement floors, wood-topped tables, and a giant neon chicken outline on the back wall. The chicken theme runs pretty strong, actually, with chicken wire shelving, large-scale portraits of chickens, and rubber chickens on the counter. Bwok. The only dessert option is Feingold’s chocolate egg on a stick (which answers that age-old question, unless you eat dessert first). You order at the counter, then take a seat. The place specializes in takeout and will also offer catering. Starting Friday October 25th, they will be open until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Right now, hours are every day 11am-9pm (Sun-Thu hours will not change). 1750 Market St. at Octavia, 415-864-2454.

Eater reports that the Mission has a new health-conscious café, GREEN HEART FOODS from owner Lisa Chatham. Chatham has been running the company as a catering business, using her background as a nutritionist and CIA-trained chef to cook delicious and healthful food. Look for breakfast and lunch, including smoothies, a daily vegan muffin, salads, and soups, plus a daily blue plate special. There’s coffee and forthcoming cold-pressed juice too. It’s geared toward takeout, though there is some sidewalk seating. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-3pm; they may expand over the next couple of weeks. 3321 20th St. at Folsom, 415-800-8910.

Jennifer Puccio, Anna Weinberg, and James Nicholas’ newest project, THE CAVALIER, is now offering breakfast and lunch every day. Starting at 7am, seven days a week, you’ll find lots of British-style breakfast offerings, available all day. Look for crumpets and toast ($6); the English, two eggs with bacon, bangers, beans, mushrooms, roasted tomatoes, and toast  ($18); and a selection of “soldiers,” or delicate breakfast sandwiches with a variety of fillings, including smoked salmon with horseradish hollandaise ($13) and Welsh rarebit gravy with potato soldiers ($11). Poured alongside all this is Stumptown coffee, or a selection of teas.

At lunch, look for sandwiches including a burger ($16) and roasted leg of lamb ($16), along with fish and chips ($22) and a variety of salads and starters. Lunch is available from 11:30am-3pm. Take a look at both menus here. 360 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-321-6000.

As previously reported on tablehopper, 650 import ASIAN BOX is opening in Macy’s Union Square. The location is now open, serving rice boxes with a variety of toppings like six-spice chicken, lemongrass pork, and coconut curry tofu (take a look at the menu here). Hours are daily 11am-9pm. 170 O’Farrell St. at Powell, in the Macy’s Marketplace. 415-800-7043.

Intrepid Chowhounders have caught wind of a new restaurant in the former Chef Jia’s space in Chinatown: HOUSE OF XIAN DUMPLING. Early reports on Chow and Yelp report that the opening is definitely soft, with only half the menu currently available and some service kinks. But the items that are on offer get solid reviews, and prices are low. 925 Kearny St. at Columbus, 415-398-1626.

As reported on tablehopper back in July, LITTLE BEE BAKING is moving into Bernal Heights. After a few days of being softly open, they will open their doors for real on Wednesday October 16th. Look for Four Barrel coffee, cookies, ice cream, and seasonal fruit tarts. 521 Cortland Ave. at Moultrie.

This is some great news: after reporting on the plans for his new place last month, chef Zulfiqar “Guddu” Haider tweeted that he will be opening GUDDU DE KARAHI on Tuesday October 15th. (That’s today! We gotta go, see you there!) His many dedicated fans on Yelp and Chowhound are already rhapsodizing about the tandoori fish, naan, and paneer dishes; check out the menu here. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-3pm and 5pm-10pm. 1501 Noriega St. at 22nd Ave., 415-759-9088.

In news on the food news, it sounds like mustachioed review site BURRITOEATER.COM will be calling it quits soon. After 10 years and 990 slab reviews, they’ll keep chugging on to 1,000, and then retire from the burrito-rating business. But hopefully not the burrito-eating business, which lives forever. Best wishes, Mister Hodgkins!

And now, in the schadenfreude department: It looks like the APPLEBEE’S in Fisherman’s Wharf has gotten themselves in a bit of trouble with the City for topping nine trees in front of the restaurant. The total fine levied comes to $15,786, according to Lost San Francisco. Welcome to the big city, yo. They’ll just have to sell a lot of mozzarella sticks. 2770 Taylor St. at Jefferson, 415-749-9025.

Frankie's Bohemian Café Now Closed


Frankie’s, in brighter days. Yelp photo by Kent W.

After some shuffling of ownership and changes that upset some neighborhood regulars, Eater reports that FRANKIE’S BOHEMIAN CAFÉ has closed for good. The Czech restaurant, which had a good burger, a decent beer selection, and a fun bar, was most known for its brambory, a potato-zucchini-cheese cake with different toppings. License activity reveals a new spot called Locale Pizzeria with the same owners as the neighboring Fishbowl—I have been reaching out to them since August for details, with no luck. Maybe they can find a way to keep the spirit of the brambory alive, in pizza form? 1862 Divisadero St. at Pine.

Chef Moves: Michael Morrison to Ame, Jason Rea Hired at W San Francisco


Jason Rea. Photo courtesy TRACE.

Michael Morrison, the opening chef at Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani’s AME, has returned to his roots after five years at COCO500. Scoop reports that he’ll be reworking some of the menu items with his personal touch in the coming weeks. Over at COCO500, owner Loretta Keller has taken over in the kitchen and will be in charge of the fall menu.

The W Hotel announced that chef Jason Rea has signed on as the new executive chef of the hotel and its restaurant, TRACE. Rea previously worked at RN74 and Michael Mina in San Francisco, as well as Los Angeles’ Water Grill and Portland’s Bluehour. Look for his dishes on the fall menu at Trace, including items like Hawaiian kampachi crudo with citrus, fermented pepper, and rooftop flowers; and a roasted New York strip, with spinach, maitake mushroom, roasted grapes, and bone marrow vinaigrette.

TRACE            - 181 3rd St. San Francisco - 415-817-7836

Pop-Ups: Wesburger at Mr. Pollo on Sundays, Uno Dos Tacos in Old Pesce, Savage Flour at 1246 Folsom


The Hot Wes burger. Photo courtesy of Wes Burger.


Sticky buns from Savage Flour. Photo from Facebook.

Eater reports that burger master Wes Rowe is bringing his WESBURGER pop-up to Mr. Pollo in the Mission on Sunday nights, in addition to his current Wednesday stint at Mojo Bicycle Café (which we featured on recently). Look for a different burger every week (his famed Hot Wes burger will definitely be making an appearance), along with a side and something else fried. Hours are 6pm-10pm. 2823 Mission St. at 24th St.

It looks like the old Pesce space on Polk has a new incarnation: UNO DOS TACOS will be popping up there until its permanent space is ready, according to Scoop. To recap, Uno Dos comes from Pesce partner Adriano Paganini, who is planning to open Uno Dos permanently in the Sellers Markets space in the Financial District. Paganini reportedly bought out partner Ruggero Gadaldi at Pesce’s old location (they are still partners in Pesce’s new location), and is opening Uno Dos on a temporary basis until the FiDi space is completed. They should be slinging tacos in a few weeks after a quick refresh; look for taqueria-style to-go food during lunch, and a sit-down restaurant in the evenings. 2227 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-928-8025.

Bakery SAVAGE FLOUR from catering duo Curtis McDonald and Nathan Blanco is now popping up in the same space as the Crème Brûlée Cart in SoMa, right next to Vega at Langton. They’ve got a lineup of cookies, sticky buns, biscuits, and scones of both the sweet and savory variety. Hours change daily; follow them on Twitter or Facebook for updates. 1246 Folsom St. at 10th St., 415-260-1262.

This Week in Off the Grid News: Twilight at the Presidio


Twilight at the Presidio. Photo from Facebook.

As of October 2nd, OFF THE GRID expanded their Presidio offerings to include TWILIGHT AT THE PRESIDIO Wednesday evenings from 5pm-9pm. The new outdoor dining pod is built on the same model as Sunday’s Picnic in the Presidio, but is more evening-friendly, with fire pits, lanterns, and “dining cabanas.” Bar service, including cocktails, beer, and wine, will continue. Food comes from vendors like Edgewater, Little Green Cyclo, and Red Sauce Meatballs, and is served small plates style, to facilitate sharing. Main Post Lawn, Presidio.

510 Openings: Mockingbird, Venga Paella, Yonsei Ramen Shop Returns, More


Yonsei Ramen. Photo from Facebook.


The interior at Venga Paella. Photo from Facebook.

Lots of new projects in the East Bay, starting with MOCKINGBIRD in the former Hibiscus in Uptown Oakland. Diablo Dish notes the owners are William Johnson and Melissa Axelrod, who both have quite the local culinary pedigree (their backgrounds include Zuni, Delfina, Spruce, and the like). The menu is very NorCal (check it here); dinner Tue-Sat. 1745 San Pablo Ave. at 18th, 510-290-0331.

Paella fans: you can indulge in your love of this Spanish dish at the newly opened VENGA PAELLA in Oakland. Chef-owner and Catalonia-born Eduardo Balaguer has been running a catering business but this is his first brick-and-mortar; his family is behind Casa Balaguer, a traditional paella restaurant in Valencia, Spain. There are a few paellas, plus some tapas and dessert, and beer and wine. Open for lunch Mon-Thu 10:30am-2:30pm; Fri 10:30am-9pm (happy hour 4pm-6pm). 229 Brush St. at 3rd St., Oakland, 510-628-0018.

Fans of the late-night ramen at Oakland’s Hopscotch will be happy to know their Yonsei Ramen Shop has returned to Friday nights. Not only does it now start at 10pm, but it also moved into a new annex a couple of doors down from Hopscotch. Seasonally inspired ramen is offered until it runs out (or until 1am). 1915 San Pablo Ave. at William, Oakland, 510-788-6217.

Oakland now has a counterpart to SF’s Sushirrito (think sushi burritos): TORPEDO SUSHI. Eater notes owner Luis Sanchez is committed to using sustainable seafood: he sources 80 percent of his seafood from Water 2 Table (impressive). Open for lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm for now. 25 Grand Ave. at Broadway, Oakland,

According to a Chowhound post, the former East End Pizza in the Alameda Marketplace has moved into a bigger space, and taking its place is BARON’S EATS, offering sausages, burgers, and sandwiches by David Samiljan of Baron’s Meat & Poultry. Follow Baron’s on Facebook for updates. 1650 Park St. at Buena Vista, Alameda, 510-864-1915.


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Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Openings: Holy Water Now Open in Bernal, Beaux in the Castro


The bar at Holy Water–let the healing begin. Photo courtesy of Holy Water.

We have mentioned HOLY WATER before, and this new neighborhood bar from Mike Goebel, Darren Brunson (Churchill, Bloodhound, Double Dutch), and new partner John Ottman is now open in Bernal. While it’s meant to be a laid-back place, there are some cool design touches from Sayre Victoria Ziskin (based in LA), including the lights above the bar made from crystal decanters, and a wall mural depicting a river baptism that they created from a vintage photograph Goebel found. You can check out the cocktail list here—everything is $9, with some classics on there (Boulevardier, Singapore Sling). There are eight quality beers on tap, and some bottled picks too. And true to the bar’s previous incarnation as Stray Bar, dogs are still very much welcome. Open daily 2pm-2am. 309 Cortland Ave. at Bocana.

After some pre-opening shindigs, BEAUX has opened in the Castro. As we previously noted, Geremia Design gave the space quite the overhaul (bye, Trigger), and Scotty Kennedy (previously of Tacolicious) is doing the cocktails. Beats, boys, and beverages, have at it. Updates can be found on Facebook. 2344 Market St. at Noe, 415-863-4027.

Beer News: Sierra Nevada Update, Cellarmaker Brewing Now Open, Oktoberfest


The freshly hung sign and new garage door gate at Cellarmaker Brewing. Photo from Facebook.


The exterior of the Torpedo Room. Photo courtesy Sierra Nevada.

CELLARMAKER BREWING COMPANY is now open in SoMa. We gave you a first look back in September, with lots of details about the space and the plans of partners Connor Casey (of Marin Brewing and City Beer Store, plus Fritz Winery and Press Club) and brewer Tim Sciascia (previously Marin Brewing, and Samuel Adams before that). Well, on Saturday October 12th they had their grand opening, and now they’re open. They’re still working out their food truck visitors, but they’ve already had Casey’s Pizza Truck, and they’re getting deliveries from 1058 Hoagie; check their Facebook page for additional details. Hours are Tue-Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. 1150 Howard St. at 7th St., 415-863-3940.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, Sierra Nevada is opening a tasting room on 4th Street in Berkeley, and their publicist furnished us with an update. The tasting room will be called the Torpedo Room (the name comes from the Hop Torpedo dry-hopping device used in brewing), and will include 16 taps, many of them small-batch offerings not readily available. Suds fans can check out flights of beer, or fill a growler to go. Six-packs, cases, and specialty bottles will also be available. While small snacks will accompany tastes, the spot will not offer a full menu; they figure that the neighborhood has plenty of places to fill up within a short walking distance. The new space comes from Trachtenberg Architects, and should be opening in early November. 2031 4th St. at University, Berkeley.

Celebrate Oktoberfest on Tuesday October 22nd, when THE AMERICAN GRILLED CHEESE KITCHEN in the Mission will be playing host to four local breweries: Speakeasy, Firestone Walker, Almanac, and Lost Coast. From 6pm-9pm the breweries will all be pouring autumn or Oktoberfest-inspired beers, and you’ll find German-inspired grilled cheese sandwiches and sides to go along with them. Oh, and you won’t want to miss the live polka band, either. 2400 Harrison St. at 20th St., 415-926-5076.


the socialite

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

Jeremiah Tower Brings Stars Back to Foreign Cinema November 7th


Culinary and screen stars await at Foreign Cinema. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Thursday Nov  7, 2013 6pm–10pm Foreign Cinema

On Thursday November 7th, FOREIGN CINEMA is throwing a big throwback party with Jeremiah Tower of Stars. Tower and Foreign Cinema owners Gayle Pirie and John Clark will be re-creating a Stars menu from 1989, all available à la carte. Look for dishes like Tuscan-style beef tartare, double-loin pork chop, and poached sea scallops. Classic Stars cocktails will also be available, in addition to wines selected to pair well with the dishes. And there will be Champagne, natch.

Special guest chefs and friends will also be on hand, to celebrate the San Francisco icon. Look for folks like Dominique Crenn, Loretta Keller, and Bruce Hill, to name just a few. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the James Beard Foundation. Reservations are available between 6pm and 10pm; call 415-648-7600.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

The Scream Queen and the Mockumentarian

Actor Jamie Lee Curtis and her hilarious husband, director Christopher Guest, dined at Prospect last Monday, along with six friends. She enjoyed the radicchio and kale salad (that’s how “The Body” keeps the bod).

Not in a Rush

Actor Geoffrey Rush of Quills, Shine, and, of course, Pirates of the Caribbean fame was spotted at Presidio Social Club last Friday. He was attending a film screening at Lucas Studios, but waited for friends at the bar before heading over. Our spy says he was enjoying the Stolpman Syrah and was very polite.

The Boy Who Wined

Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the Harry Potter movies, was spotted at Bin 38 on Thursday night, where he “charmed” all the guests and staff.

Cavalier's Got That Special Sauce

Musician G. Love of G. Love & Special Sauce was spotted at Cavalier last Friday night.

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