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Oct 21, 2013 15 min read

October 22, 2013 - This week's newsletter: hopper hot list.

October 22, 2013 - This week's newsletter: hopper hot list.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: hopper hot list.                    

So good: tender beans and fall vegetables at this weekend’s Wild Soul event (with chef Charlie Hallowell). Photo: ©

Today is a big day for many of the top restaurants in SF, as they breathlessly await their phone calls from the Michelin Guide to hear how many stars they received for 2014. So far, congrats to The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood for keeping their three macarons; extra congrats to Quince on earning two stars (previously one!); to Coi, Atelier Crenn, and Manresa on keeping their two; and SPQR, Aziza, Ame, Spruce, Sons & Daughters, Luce, The Village Pub, Bouchon in Yountville, Madrona Manor, and Commis all have one. Cheers to all! That’s everything I’ve got for now—unfortunately my deadline and the release of info from Michelin didn’t coincide very well. Ah well.

How was your weekend? Fall is soooo here, right? Friday night I hit the dance floor at Public Works to see my favorite DJ evah, DJ Harvey. Always righteous. Saturday was my great-uncle Tony’s 90th birthday party, how cute is that? And my great-aunt Mary is 94. What a duo, so wonderful. Our family had a huge pizza party, with some mighty tasty pies from Soleil Wood-Fired Pizza (if you’re looking for someone to cater your party, they did an awesome job—trust, it’s not easy to make a group of Italians happy).

Sunday I had a swell adventure out of the city, thanks to Wild Soul and SolYoga (they create unique experiences and retreats blending travel, food, and yoga): my friend and I left town early to drive north to True Grass Farms, just outside of Valley Ford. We started the day with an inspiring alfresco yoga class with David Moreno on the sunny deck (accompanied by incredible music from Laura Inserra), and then took a walk with True Grass Farms owner Guido Frosini, who raises grass-fed wagyu (I am gonna look for his beef at some local farmers’ markets!), along with hogs and chickens (I have been enjoying his farm’s oh-so-fresh eggs immensely). After our jaunt to see the Estero Americano, we returned to the main house, where chef Charlie Hallowell (Pizzaiolo, and the upcoming Penrose) prepared a beautiful autumn lunch for us. It was a fantastic meal, with great company (so many interesting people around that table) and in a special place. I look forward to attending another Wild Soul event soon, it was lovely. Check ‘em out!

Oh, and guess what? I am going to be appearing on KRON4 this Saturday morning with my first tablehopper hot list segment! I should be on the show every other Saturday, we’ll see how it all shakes out. I am scheduled to be on around 9:15am (I know, someone is gonna have to go to bed early on Friday night—last call and morning appearances do not mix!). Tune in!

Catch you on the flip side. Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Who Has Stars in the 2014 Michelin Guide?


Hot off the press, here are the winners of Michelin stars for 2014! Congrats to Quince, who moved up to two stars this year (now joining Atelier Crenn, Baumé, Benu, Coi, Manresa, and Saison), and to State Bird Provisions, which earned their first star. Alexander’s Steakhouse, Frances, La Costanera, and Redd lost their single stars, but I don’t think it will alter the demand to get into Frances one bit.

Three Stars The French Laundry The Restaurant at Meadowood

Two Stars Atelier Crenn Baumé Benu Coi Manresa Quince (new!) Saison

One Star Acquerello All Spice Ame Auberge du Soleil Aziza Bouchon Boulevard Campton Place Chez TJ Commis Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant Gary Danko Keiko à Nob Hill La Folie La Toque Luce Madera Madrona Manor Michael Mina Plumed Horse Solbar Sons & Daughters SPQR Spruce State Bird Provisions (new!) Terra Terrapin Creek The Village Pub Wakuriya

You can preorder the Michelin Guide San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country 2014 now (the book officially goes on sale October 23rd—and even better, you can walk into Green Apple Books and pick one up!).

Former Charanga Will Be Carsons (from Owners of Murio's)


The exterior of the former Charanga. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

I have been keeping in touch with Edward Sargent and Rodger Howell, the new owners of the former Charanga in the Mission, and they are finally ready to release some details about their plans for the space. The new project is going to be called CARSONS (Rodger’s dog is named Carson), and they are going to be serving British pub-style food with California flair. Matthew Nudelman from Greenburger’s in the Lower Haight is going to be designing the menu. Since they have a full liquor license, they will be also serving cocktails with fresh juices and fruit, plus some dessert cocktails as well.

The gents collaborated on the revamped Murio’s Trophy Room in the Upper Haight and have brought on the same design team, Haleh Cunningham and Bernadette Holmes of Thornbird Styling, to do the interior. Cunningham tells me that since it’s a Spanish Colonial building and the owners are two English guys, the look will reflect nods to both. The front foyer is going to be outfitted into a cozy nook, and once you pass through the old Victorian doorway, the restaurant will have a huge bar, with lots of seats, plus some bench seating and smaller tables for diners (there will be room for 50-60 guests total). The look will be eclectic, with custom and modern lighting, and since Sargent has quite the collection of midcentury chairs, the seating will be groovy, with clean lines. The brick wall and original wood floors will remain. Initial hours will probably be 2pm-2am. I’ll keep you posted on more details as the opening gets closer. 2351 Mission St. at 19th St.

Bel, a Belgian Restaurant from the Pi Bar Team, Coming to Bernal


The exterior of the future Bel. Photo from Facebook.

Liquor license activity reveals a new taker for the former Locavore space on Mission in Bernal: Richard Rosen, one of the partners are Pi Bar in the Mission. We had a chance to catch up with Rosen on the phone, and he confirms that he is working on the new spot. It will be called BEL and is all about Belgian food and beer. He says it will be a full-service café, inspired by the sidewalk cafés of cities like Brussels and Bruges. The beverage selection will focus on beers (obvs), many of them Belgian, but you’ll also find Belgian-style beers from other parts of the world, and some local options with different flavor profiles.

In the food department, look for traditional Belgian dishes like moules frites and a California take on the Belgian shrimp croquette, but made with local crab. Rosen will serve as the chef and is looking toward early spring 2014 to open. The building is quite old and needs some retrofitting, but once all that gets sorted they’ll be moving forward. We’ll keep you updated! 3215 Mission St. at Fair.

Saint Frank Now Open on Polk


The counter at Saint Frank. Photo: Dana Massey-Todd. ©

A report by Dana Massey-Todd. On the heels of a pop-up at Public Bikes in South Park comes a new coffee spot on Polk Street, SAINT FRANK. The owner is Kevin Bohlin, a former Ritual barista, whose aim is to make clear the origins of his coffee. Each day they’ll be pulling shots of two different espressos, giving real coffee aficionados a chance to try different farms’ beans side by side. Right now they’ve got “Little Brother” espresso from Honduras, and “Las Manos,” another Honduran option. Pour-over selections will change regularly. The beans are roasted by Ritual, in collaboration with Saint Frank and under their label, and are also available by the pound to take home. They’ve also got pastries from Marla Bakery, Le Marais, and Mr. Holmes, and a yogurt and granola parfait for munching.

The space is airy and modern, with machines custom-designed by John Ermacoff to sit lower in the counter, keeping the espresso bar more open at eye level. The goal of this design is to minimize the barrier between the barista and customer, and it gives the space a very modern feel. The soaring ceilings and multiple skylights don’t hurt, either. Behind the white hex-tiled counter is blond wood paneling; the tables are also made of blond wood. In front, a counter along the window makes for excellent Polk Street people watching. Hours are 7am-3pm this week, but will expand to 7am-7pm daily starting Monday October 28th. 2430 Polk St. at Union, no phone (yet).

Brunch Ends at Prospect, Starts at Spruce


Beignets and coffee at Spruce. Photo by Ed Anderson via Spruce.

PROSPECT served their last brunch service on Sunday October 20th, in order to focus more on lunch service and dinner.

But never fear! You can still get your brunch on at SPRUCE, which is starting brunch service on Sunday October 27th. Every Sunday from 10am-2pm you’ll find a menu that includes dishes to share, like beignets and coffee cake, plus blintzes, farro porridge, pain perdu, a French-style omelet, and of course the Spruce burger. Take a look at a sample menu here. Of course brunch beverages will also be served, including a Ramos fizz and Bloody Mary, along with coffee and espresso drinks.

Spruce            - 3640 Sacramento St. San Francisco - 415-931-5100

Tidbits: Umami Burger in SoMa, Saffron Grill Reopens, Bitters Bock & Rye, More


The counter at Umami Burger. Yelp photo by SF G.

UMAMI BURGER has opened a new location in SoMa near the ballpark, according to UrbanDaddy. It officially opened Wednesday October 16th, with their lineup of burgers and fries; check out the menu here. The beer list has five options on tap, including Stone IPA, Goose Island Matilda, and one rotating handle. There’s a bottle list of about 12 choices too. Wine includes four reds and four whites, plus one sparkler and a couple of sakes. Hours are Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 242 King St. at 3rd St., 415-904-8626.

While walking around my neighborhood, I noticed SAFFRON GRILL is back open! It closed last December due to a fire, and after months of construction, it’s back, as colorful as ever. 1279 Fulton St. at Divisadero, 415-567-5100.

BITTERS BOCK & RYE, which opened back in March as a bar with snacks, has now started full dinner service according to Eater. The menu from chef Mark Goodger (previously of Front Porch) is focused on Southern classics and barbecue, including a Texas-style barbecue platter, sandwiches, and fried catfish; check out the full menu here. Right now, it’s just dinner (with late night hours on weekends until 1am, rock on), but lunch and brunch menus should be following soon. Kitchen hours are Mon-Wed 5pm-10pm, Thu-Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 10:30am-1am, Sun 10:30am-10pm. 1122 Post St. at Polk, 415-440-4490.

Scoop reports that Cow Hollow seafood spot NETTIE’S CRAB SHACK will be closing in December. Owner Annette Yang sold it to Anderson Pugash and Bruce McDonald of Bergerac, reportedly for personal and financial reasons. You’ve still got until December to enjoy their clam chowder, though. Best of luck to everyone involved! 2032 Union St. at Buchanan, 415-409-0300.

Chef News, Books, and Appearances


Daniel Patterson (left) and David Kinch.


Chef Daniel Boulud has a new cookbook, Daniel: My French Cuisine, and will be at the JCCSF talking about it on Sunday October 27th at 7pm. He’ll be joined by Chris Ying, the editor-in-chief of Lucky Peach. Tickets are $25 general admission, or $35 for premium seating. JCCSF members get 10 percent off the ticket price.

The JCCSF will also be hosting chefs David Kinch and Daniel Patterson in Conversation on Wednesday October 30th at 7pm. Both authors have recently released books, Kinch’s Manresa: An Edible Reflection and Patterson’s Coi: Stories and Recipes, and this should be a pretty cool opportunity to hear these two share their distinctly Bay Area food ethos. Tickets are $25 general admission, or $35 for premium seating. JCCSF members get 10 percent off the ticket price. 3200 California St. at Presidio, 415-292-1200.

Daniel Patterson will also be appearing all around town solo, starting on Monday November 18th with a dinner at COI in conjunction with Book Passage’s Cook with Books Series. He’ll be preparing recipes from the book, and discussing his approach to cooking, starting at 4:30pm. Tickets are $115 per person or $200 for a pair, including a copy of the book.

On Thursday December 5th, catch him at the Williams-Sonoma Union Square at 6pm, where he’ll be doing a book signing. The event is completely free and copies of the book will be available for purchase. 340 Post St. at Stockton, 415-362-9450.

Noma chef René Redzepi will be in town promoting his new three-part book, A Work in Progress: Journals, Recipes, and Snapshots. Don’t miss his talk at the Castro Theatre in conjunction with OMNIVORE BOOKS on Tuesday November 19th. Introducing him will be Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, who also wrote the introduction to the book. Rock! After the talk, Redzepi will be doing a book signing, as well. Tickets are $30 general admission or $65 including the book (it retails for $60). 429 Castro St. at Market, 415-282-4712.

Omnivore Books            - 3885a Cesar Chavez St. San Francisco - 415-282-4712

510 News Bites: Kyu 2 Sushi, Sura Closes, Last Call Bar, More


The sushi counter at Kyu 2. Yelp photo by Brenda T.


Lithuanian honey cake. Photo from Mama Papa website.

There’s a new sushi spot in Emeryville: KYU 2 SUSHI, according to Bites & Bourbon (via Berkeleyside Nosh). It’s now open, and Yelpers report lots of Japanese restaurant standards with reasonable prices. 6485 Hollis St. at 65th St., Emeryville, 510-735-9439.

East Bay Express reports that Korean mainstay SURA has closed. The good news is, it’s been sold to Micha Oh, the owner of Ohgane, and she plans to reopen it any day now. The new name will be COPAN, and she has reportedly brought on chef Eddie Joo (a Momofuku Noodle Bar alum) to run the kitchen. 4869 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., Oakland.

New York pizza chain ARTICHOKE BASILLE’S is coming to Berkeley. Berkeleyside Nosh reports that they’ll be opening before the end of the month, with New York-style slices and whole pies for dine in or takeout. 2590 Durant Ave. at Bowditch.

Berkeley Rep has opened a new bar that will be open after select performances at the theatre, the LAST CALL BAR. According to Berkleyside Nosh, they are offering ticket holders free samples of food, spirits, beer, and wine from local purveyors. Check out current offerings from Trumer and TRU Vodka. Bravo, indeed! 2025 Addison St. at Shattuck, 510-647-2949.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that TAKE FIVE CAFÉ is now open in South Berkeley. They’ve got Bicycle Coffee, locally made pastries, salads, and sandwiches. 3132 Sacramento St. at 67th St., Berkeley.

Hooray for another Eastern European restaurant in the Bay Area! MAMA PAPA LITHUANIA RESTAURANT AND TEA HOUSE is now open in Alameda, according to the Contra Costa Times. The owner, Vaidas Sukys, says that this is the only restaurant of its kind in Alameda, and his mother, Danute Sukiene, is the chef. Look for potato dumplings, crêpes both sweet and savory, and Lithuania’s honey cake, medutis. There is also a nice selection of teas; take a peek here. Open daily 11am-9pm. 1241 Park St. at San Antonio, Alameda, 510-522-4100.

North Bay News: Equator into LaCoppa, Beer Dinner at HopMonk


The dining room at Hopmonk Novato. Photo from Facebook.

Mill Valley coffee institution LACOPPA closed on September 30th, and longtime owner Arnold Spinelli has handed it over to Helen Russell and Brooke McDonnell at Equator. The new owners plan to keep the spot a hub and gathering place in the neighborhood, while serving the same responsibly sourced coffee found at their coffee bar. The new café is getting a remodel from architects Boor Bridges, and should reopen in January or February 2014 with more space, some new equipment, and additional bike parking. Starting in November, Russell and McDonnell hope to offer a limited menu from a cart out front, too, to keep the neighborhood buzzing. 2 Miller Ave. at Throckmorton.

HOPMONK TAVERN in Novato is celebrating their one-year anniversary with a special beer dinner on Sunday November 3rd. Ninkasi Brewing Company from Eugene, Oregon, will be joining them for a five-course dinner with beer pairings. The menu for the evening includes a bacon- and brown sugar-crusted pork belly over potato risotto and stuffed squash, paired with Ninkasi’s Believer Double Red Ale. Tickets are $58 per person, including tax and tip (that price is not bad at all, no sir), and the dinner begins at 6pm. 224 Vintage Way at Highways 101 and 37, Novato, 415-892-6200.


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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Fun Wine Tasting Events and a Hungarian Wine Dinner


Pours at La Paulée. Photo by Ed Anderson.

San Francisco Travel, Visit Napa Valley, and Great Wine Capitals have partnered to bring an INTERNATIONAL WINE TASTING to the City View at Metreon on Monday November 4th from 6pm-8pm. The tasting includes wines from nine different international regions (Bordeaux, Rioja, Mendoza, and Chianti, to name a few), plus a selection from the Napa Valley. The full list of regions and producers can be found here, along with some specific wines to keep an eye out for. Look for some bites too. Tickets are $75 for one person or $100 for two (that’s $50 in savings, so grab a friend!). 135 4th St. at Mission.

Burgundy lovers, grab your tickets now for this La Paulée kickoff event (and it’s one you can probably afford): La Paulée Off-Grid: A Tasting of Burgundy’s Hidden Gems. On Wednesday November 6th, local SF sommeliers (Josiah Baldivino of Michael Mina, Ian Burrows of Atelier Crenn, Casey Doolin of Park Tavern, Christopher Gaither of Gary Danko, Josh Thomas of Prospect, and John Vuong of Ame) and La Paulée are partnering up to pour great finds from all over Burgundy, including Beaujolais, Mâcon, the Côte Chalonnaise, the Côte-d’Or, and Chablis. There will also be food from The Slanted Door and Piperade, a selection of cheese from Andante Dairy, and charcuterie from Del Monte Meat. The walk-around tasting event is from 4pm-7pm at BLUXOME WINERY; $75. 53 Bluxome St. at 4th St.

On Sunday October 27th, BAYWOLF is hosting a dinner featuring Hungarian wines and dishes (look for wines from Blue Danube Wines and Paul Marcus). The dinner features five courses and six pours (here’s the menu); $68, plus tax and gratuity. 6:30pm. 3853 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland, 510-655-6004.


the socialite

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

Daniel Boulud and Lidia Bastianich at This Year's Kidney Foundation Luncheon


 Event Info

Saturday Oct 26, 2013 10am–3pm $135 per person, $1,300 for a table, and table sponsorships begin at $2,500 Hilton Union Square 333 O'Farrell St. at Taylor

The National Kidney Foundation is hosting its 25TH ANNUAL AUTHORS LUNCHEON on Saturday October 26th at the Hilton Union Square. This year, Daniel Boulud and Lidia Bastianich will both be in attendance, discussing their new cookbooks, Daniel: My French Cuisine from Boulud and Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking from Bastianich. Some non-food writing luminaries will also be at the event, including Amy Tan and Anne Lamott, and it is all emceed by KQED’s own Michael Krasny.

The event runs from 10am-3pm, and tickets are $135 per person, $1,300 for a table, and table sponsorships begin at $2,500. Proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation. 333 O’Farrell St. at Taylor, 415-543-3303 for tickets and information.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)


Soundgarden lead vocalist Chris Cornell dined at Twenty Five Lusk on Thursday. He was with his wife Vicky, and they enjoyed a grilled burrata and artichoke salad and Llano Seco pork shoulder, along with a Boylan’s diet soda.

Iron Fish

Iron Man and Sherlock Holmes star Robert Downey Jr. dined at Sushi Ran in Sausalito on Thursday night with a group of eight. They were reportedly a nice group, and dined rather quickly.

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