Flying books and soaring notes in North Beach. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy people. Am so sorry for those of you who have to deal with the BART shituation today, what a mess. Perhaps you need some entertainment? I’d say hop on over here—thanks to Gizoogle, Tuesday’s tablehopper has a whole new sound. Whoever programmed Gizoogle is a stone-cold genius. I am tempted to reprogram my homepage to a Gizoogle version instead. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats.
Something else to entertain you: this week is my monthly roundup for 7x7.com on five new restaurants for you to check out. Lots going on right now. Here’s the Gizoogle version in case you want to dial it to 11. Oh, and this Sunday, be sure to check out and support Bayview Mercantile: from 11am-4pm, you can score bites from Earl’s Bread, Batter Bakery, Yvonne’s Southern Treats, and more, plus some vino from Gratta Wines, and other treats! Hello, there will be a smoker fired up with $10 BBQ plates. Check it.
Big thanks to everyone who voted tablehopper.com the best food/drinks website for the Bay Guardian Best of the Bay readers poll! Y’all so sweet.
Okay, so today I am changing things up and giving you a couple of pieces of breaking news, plus Heather Irwin has some 707 news for you too. I am still doing a serious catch-up hustle here, so I gotta go!
Have a fab, sunny weekend! Marcia Gagliardi
Last month we mentioned the upcoming changes to COMSTOCK SALOON’s dining room, and now a second change has just occurred: opening chef Carlo Espinas and Comstock have parted ways. Starting next week at the restaurant is chef Ronnie New, most recently at Magnolia. He will begin retooling the menu, and the plan is to launch the new menu the Friday after Thanksgiving, which will also be the launch of the new bar in the dining room (and all the tables are going to be converted to high-top tables, making the room feel more bar-like).
The Comstock menu will be leaning into more of a gastropub feel. Oysters on the half shell and a burger will be making appearances, plus housemade sausage and charcuterie, and a version of Ronnie’s fried chicken (available nightly) are likely additions. Comstock’s potpie may get some tweaks, and the pickling program will stay in effect. The changes will be gradual over the coming weeks, but one plan is to have the same menu available from 4pm until 12am (it currently switches from a bar menu to full menu and then back to bar menu late at night). Stand by for news on where the talented Espinas lands next, and who will be replacing New at Magnolia.
Comstock Saloon - 155 Columbus Ave. San Francisco - 415-617-0071
Yesterday I cruised over to check out ODD JOB, the new bar in SoMa that’s opening in the former Shine. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the partners in the project are Peter Glikshtern (Jones), Jordan Langer (the former Big), and Jeff Whitmore (Public Works). The place feels like an amalgam/love child of Big and Public Works—the front bar is more on the Public Works workshop tip, with a conveyor belt as the foundation for the main bar (and 15 drafting board-style stools) and some groovy custom lighting fixtures (including a washing machine drum that will contain a disco ball). A tool pegboard will be going up on the wall above the booths. There’s also an incredibly cool steampunk-meets-Rube Goldberg cocktail-making machine by East Bay artist Ben Cowden (I got to see it at work, and it’s gonna have its own fan club).
Odd Job is going to be a cocktail-oriented bar (not a club), although Whitmore mentioned there would probably be some special one-off DJ appearances/small sets a few times a month. For now, it’s all about being the kind of bar you can pile into with a group of friends after work or late at night (there are going to be a number of booths upholstered in a herringbone pattern you’ll be able to take over), or you can find a smaller table to sit at with a date. Look for six to eight cocktails that will feature twists on classics (bar manager Nate Cardozo’s favorite to tweak is the French 75).
Now, in the back is where you are going to find more of the Big bespoke cocktail experience. It’s going to have a swank and intimate vibe, with a vintage chandelier, a ceiling swagged in gold velvet, and diamond-shaped wall panels with burgundy bison leather in the middle. The back bar is finished in Mini Cooper white and powder-coated gold, and there’s going to be room for about eight to huddle in at the bar for customized cocktails, and 25 seats in all. A fun feature: Look for the former pawn shop rotating case that will be repurposed to showcase booze instead. The back room is still very much under construction, so it’s going to be a few weeks out before you can visit. Like the title says, this is just a sneak peek.
As for the rest of the bar, components are still being installed, but they are doing some soft opening/friends and family nights over the next couple of weeks. So if you see the lights on and people inside, feel free to head on in, take a peek, and order a drink. I’ll announce the official opening soon. 1337 Mission St. at Washburn (near 9th St).
ROBERT MONDAVI WINERY: The Mandarin edition? The iconic Napa winery is now offering its signature tour in Mandarin Chinese each Friday and Saturday at 10:30am. Visitors see the famed To Kalon Vineyard, tour the winemaking cellars, and enjoy a seated tasting of three wines with a Mandarin-speaking wine educator. Curious about tours in other languages? Private tours are also available by appointment in Cantonese, Japanese, and French. Admission is $30 per guest and reservations can be made online or by calling 800-228-1395.
Chef Erik Johnson is the new top toque at the J VINEYARDS property in Healdsburg, which includes the popular J Bubble Room. The former executive sous chef at Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Kitchen, he replaces Jason LaBue. A frequent teacher at Relish Culinary Adventures (and a Bohemian Club chef alum), he’s gearing up for his first J Vineyards class, “Get Ready for Thanksgiving,” from 6:30 to 9:30p.m. on Saturday November 2nd. It’s a great chance to brush up on your holiday cooking skills and get a tasty three-course meal in the process. Details on this and other classes, as well as J Bubble Room appointments, can be found online. The cost of the Thanksgiving class is $110 per person.
Supper clubs are the new underground dinners. Similar in concept, they’re one-off food and wine events in intimate settings with just a handful of invitees. The difference: No supersecret handshakes to get in. One of the most intriguing is the BLACK PLUM SUPPER CLUB in Occidental. It pops up each Thursday night at Howard Station Cafe, billing itself as “refined West County cuisine.” And refined it is. Chefs Emma Uribe and Jeremy Whitcomb, both alums of Peter Lowell’s in Sebastopol, serve up $35 prix-fixe seasonal menus that include dishes like leeks with salmon roe, pears with hazelnuts and chicory, octopus with ceci beans, and quince with crème anglaise. You can secure your spot with a call to 707-889-6729 or go to blackplumsupperclub.com.
Can’t get enough of pop-up supper clubs? SUITE D, a private room run by the folks at Sonoma’s ragingly popular the girl & the fig, are featuring a series of dinners at the event space, including a Harvest Dinner on November 8th and 9th, an all-lobster dinner on December 19th, and a Southern Supper on November 14th and 15th. Details and tickets can be found online.
Restaurants wait with bated breath each year for the royal conferring of Michelin stars by the French guidebook company. It can literally change a restaurant’s status overnight—for better or for worse. The precursor, however, is Michelin’s Bib Gourmand designation, which is the pathway to stars. The Bib Gourmand is a recognition of good value, excellent food, and top-notch service. This year’s Bib winners for Wine Country include BiteClub faves Backyard (Forestville), Bistro Jeanty (Yountville), Bistro 29 (Santa Rosa), Boon Eat + Drink (Guerneville), C Casa (Napa), Chalkboard (Healdsburg), Cook (St. Helena), Cucina Paradiso (Petaluma), Glen Ellen Star (Glen Ellen), Hot Box Grill (Sonoma), LaSalette (Sonoma), Monti’s Rotisserie (Santa Rosa), Oenotri (Napa), Redd Wood (Yountville), Risibisi (Petaluma), Sazon (Santa Rosa), Scopa (Healdsburg), the girl & the fig (Sonoma), and Willi’s Wine Bar (Santa Rosa). There are a number of restaurants we assume were too new to include (or maybe they’re about to get starred); Spinster Sisters (Santa Rosa) is clearly missing from the list. Hmm…
Halloween is a perfect time for masked balls, and there are two for which we’re preparing our gowns: The Diavola Supper Club Hunter’s Ball and Costume Party, on Saturday October 26th, and Coppola Winery’s Masquerade Ball, also on the 26th (oh, our glass slippers will have to run fast!).
The Hunter’s Ball, held at the Odd Fellow’s Hall in Geyserville, features a family-style seasonal menu (we smell game) by chef Dino Bugica and music by former Dire Straits guitarist Jack Sonni. Tickets are $85 per person, with tickets available online.
Coppola’s event bills itself as “Sleepy Hollow meets Great Gatsby” and will include a live DJ, fortune teller, costume contest, and themed lounge. Tickets are $125 and are available online. The following day, a family-friendly event at the winery is always a major draw: the Harvest and Halloween Carnival from 11am to 2pm. It’s just $10 per child and includes pumpkin decorating and costumed fun.
Top local chefs have been taking seaweed to new heights with a crispy texture that has us craving more.
Enter Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips, a brand-new, totally delicious, crunchy seaweed chip crafted by three Burlingame dads. Ocean’s Halo bakes sustainably harvested seaweed to the perfect crunch, dusts it with sea salt and other all-natural flavors, and puts it in a compostable bag so we can take all that umami and nutrient-packed goodness with us.
To celebrate the launch of Ocean’s Halo Seaweed chips, we’ve put together a prize package: 10 lucky tablehopper readers will receive a gift bag of Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chips. Plus, we’re going to give away one grand prize: one case of Ocean’s Halo Seaweed Chip, two tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (so you can learn more about the amazing powers of seaweed!), and an Ocean’s Halo Hoodie Buddie (super-soft hoodie with built-in headphones).
To enter to win, all you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous) or a link to this piece, and add a note (or haiku!) to your friends about Ocean’s Halo and/or seaweed’s amazing super powers. Be sure to Cc: or Bcc: me at email@example.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Saturday November 2nd at 11:59pm! We’ll notify the winners soon thereafter and get your Ocean’s Halo package in the mail to you! Good luck!