This week's tablehopper: bewitched.
The fried egg sandwich at 20th Century Café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Good afternoon, dear readers. Could you believe that wind on Sunday? I was driving down Geary on Sunday night and it was pretty dramatic, full of dry leaves blowing around like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz—I half expected to see a witch fly by (or perhaps one of those barely dressed 95-pound girls dressed like a naughty nurse who hadn’t made it home yet from their pre-Halloween partying). I am now definitely in a fall frame of mind, and ready for Halloween this Thursday. I am extremely fired up to see the Flaming Lips that night, my first time to see one of their shows. Woohoo!
Just an FYI, this is all you’ll be seeing from me this week. I am going to be taking this Friday off, because when I signed a contract with boss of me back in 2000, I got it in writing that I was not to work on my birthday. Nope, I am going to be enjoying a fun Friday lunch with my family (including grandma!) and I need to see if I can rope my sister into seeing the otter exhibit at the Aquarium of the Bay. Come one, who can resist three river otters named Shasta, Tubbs, and Wildcat? I can’t.
Thanks to everyone who tuned in to KRON4 on Saturday to watch my first tablehopper hot list segment—I covered San Francisco classics that are being updated (FOG CITY, Tosca Cafe, and Comstock Saloon), you can watch it here! I will be back Saturday November 9th with another segment. Thanks for having me on, KRON!
Oh, and here’s my Tablehopping column that ran last week in the Bay Guardian. (Have you checked out Green Heart Foods yet? So good!) Soooo, I think the universe knew my beloved editorial assistant is away on her honeymoon right now and is punishing me with a ton of news this week. Let’s dive in here, shall we?
Cheers! Marcia Gagliardi (and just to gently remind you, it’s Marcia rhymes with Garcia)
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Nico Now (Softly) Open in Laurel Heights
Details are a bit slim on this one, but NICO is now softly open in Laurel Heights. We originally broke the story in July 2012, so it’s been a long time coming. To recap: the operators are Nicolas and Andrea Delaroque; French-born Nicolas has worked at Manresa, Atelier Crenn, and Coi, in addition to some time at the more casual Le Garage in Sausalito and L’Appart in San Anselmo.
When we originally spoke, the cuisine was going to be contemporary Cal-French, featuring local, seasonal, and foraged ingredients and modern cooking techniques. According to their Facebook page, they also have planters on site to grow vegetables. Looking at the pics by Urban Daddy, the intimate space is full of wood, stylish but casual (no tablecloths), with a small pewter bar at the front and a mohair banquette along the wall. Sounds like the wine program is of note as well. Soft open for dinner Tue-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. We’ll post a menu here once/if they get back to us. 3228 Sacramento St. at Lyon, 415-359-1000.
Another Opening on Nob Hill: Ala Romana
My Nob Hill pal let me know that ALA ROMANA (trust me, I know it should be “alla”) is now softly open (as of last night). As we mentioned earlier, the enoteca and pizzeria is opening in the former Rue Saint Jacques location by Lorenzo Logoreci of nearby Allegro Romano. Scoop reported the chef is David Taylor (previously A16). A look at his Roman-inspired menu (now live, and in desperate need of proofreading) includes a variety of antipasti (salads, tripe, $6-$16), pizza (four kinds, $14-$16), pasta (like squid ink tonnarelli with fennel, tomato, Calabrian chile, and sea urchin, $19), and main dishes, like braised rabbit ($26) and chicken al mattone ($22). Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; brunch and lunch coming soon. 1098 Jackson St. at Taylor, 415-292-3699.
Mission News: Fire at Maverick, Kronnerburger Pop-Up Ending November 22nd
Last Friday October 25th, MAVERICK tragically suffered a major fire, and it looks like it’s going to be awhile until they can get back on their feet. SF Appeal reports there are an estimated $400,000 in damages. Best wishes to the team (and the renters upstairs)—fortunately no one was hurt.
Also in the Mission: I received word from Chris Kronner last week that he’s wrapping up his KRONNERBURGER pop-up at Bruno’s (gosh darn it!), serving his last burger there on November 22nd. The reason? He’s about 95 percent locked on a permanent Oakland location (which he tells me is off Piedmont Avenue), so it’s time to close up shop. What this means is you better get your Kronnerburger on while you can, although he does seem to hold pop-ups around town here and there, so don’t fret. Open Sun-Fri for dinner, 6pm-late. 2379 Mission St. at 20th St., 415-656-9871.
Maverick - 3316 17th St. San Francisco - 415-863-3061
Reveals: Upcoming Shakewell (from Jen Biesty and Tim Nugent) Lakeshore Location Revealed
After a successful Kickstarter and fundraising, chef Jen Biesty and pastry chef Tim Nugent are ready to announce the location of their upcoming SHAKEWELL BAR & KITCHEN project: it will be opening in the Mezzé space on Lakeshore in Oakland. The casual restaurant will be a spacious one, with 80 seats (there will be 16 at the curved bar, plus more bar-like seating in the window, and 58 seats in the dining areas). Bon Vivants Design (Trick Dog) is designing the space, which will feature Douglas fir flooring, polished concrete, and they are looking at stone-topped tables of travertine (these are a maybe). When you walk into the space, there will be a raised level that’s one step up with two communal tables, which will have a lively vibe. There will be a more intimate dining area, plus a chef’s table and banquette in the back. Overall, it will feel airy and open (there are already high ceilings and skylights), and they are revamping the wood-burning oven—it will have more of a Moroccan look.
The menu (here’s a sample of what Biesty has been cooking lately at private events) will be Mediterranean in spirit, spanning the Iberian Peninsula, with seasonal and local ingredients (think albondigas, Monterey sardine toast, and calamari with spiced ceci beans, tomato, and preserved lemon)—they’re calling it “Americlectic.” There will also be a paella that serves two that will be coming out of the wood oven, plus a flatbread that will change often (Biesty’s working on a chickpea flour dough at the moment). Dishes will be affordable, and the dining experience is meant to be shared and fun—they want it to be the kind of place you can swing by often. There will also be a full bar and wine on tap. The plan is to start construction on December 1st, and they’re targeting a March 2014 opening. 3407 Lakeshore Ave. at Trestle Glen.
Four Barrel Opens a Café in Portola
Last week I trucked over to Portola to check out the new FOUR BARREL COFFEE location that just opened over the weekend (in case you’re wondering where that is, it’s near the Silver Avenue exit off the 101). It’s a cool location that’s a cul-de-sac of sorts (the street, Burrows, abuts the freeway). Owner Jeremy Tooker was approached by the Portola (say “PORT-oh-lah”—Tooker was quickly schooled on the preferred pronunciation) neighborhood association to open the café, and he has a lot of plans for the space, including putting solar panels on the roof, installing a compost toilet, and eventually hopes to get off the grid completely. (He also wants to do a big cleanup of the area flanking the building, but needs Caltrans on board first.)
The garage-like space is pretty industrial, except for the eye-catching ceiling (by Roman Hunt) made from curved pieces of wood reclaimed from an old pipeline that transported water from Hetch Hetchy to turbines—the tree trunk-like circular pattern is quite beautiful. Lawrence LaBianca did some cool metalwork, like the sliding screen inside and the greenhouse-like awning. Since the area was a greenhouse district, look for some design references in the future.
For now, the café has temporary carts for the espresso machine inside, and there’s a pour-over bar and coffee brewer. There are some standing bars with a few seats inside; outdoor seating will be coming soon (there’s a little outdoor park in development, and there will be sidewalk seating). There will be pastries from Neighbor to start as well. Hours are 7am-4pm daily. 1 Burrows St. at San Bruno.
Tidbits: Menu Changes at Waiheke Island Yacht Club, Henry's Hunan in North Beach, Pesce Launches Brunch, More
Over at WAIHEKE ISLAND YACHT CLUB, the team has moved into a post-America’s Cup phase, with new seasonal menus from chef Hayden McMillan and a new wine list that includes selections from New Zealand (they were previously limited to only serving wines from Napa Valley). Check out the new à la carte menu and tasting menus (five and seven courses). Pier 29, 1256 The Embarcadero, 415-956-1048.
Strolling through North Beach Sunday night, I took a look at the new location of HENRY’S HUNAN (the first one opened in SF in 1974!), which means Marty’s special can be yours. Open daily 11am-9:30pm. 1398 Grant Ave. at Green, 415-765-0998.
A tipster writes in: “Stefano at 59 30th has a new name on its awnings: BERNAL HEIGHTS PIZZERIA. It will compete with the thoroughly mediocre Pizza Express on Cortland, the unmentionable Pizza Hut on Mission, and the mixed-bag Giovanni’s further up Mission at Crescent.” Love tips with sassy editorial. Open Sun-Thu 10:30am-11pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am. 59 30th St. at San Jose, 415-400-5644.
The Castro Biscuit mentioned EUREKA! café has opened, serving Blue Bottle Coffee and pastries (and ice cream). 451 Castro St. at 17th St., 415-355-9110.
Also noted in the Biscuit: PESCE has started weekend brunch, Sat-Sun 10am-3pm. That full bar will come in handy. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-928-8025.
Meanwhile, the former Pesce location on Polk has morphed into UNO DOS TACOS, a pop-up taco shop from Adriano Paganini (Uno Dos will be opening permanently in the former Sellers Market downtown). Look for tacos during the day for now, and a full-on Mexican restaurant will soon be launching at night (the chef is from Guadalajara) with a full bar (via Urban Daddy). 2227 Polk St. at Green, 415-525-4116.
Chef Changes and Promotions: Parke Ulrich, Bridget Batson, and Alicia Jenish
A couple of quick notes about some chef changes around town: the PR team for EPIC ROASTHOUSE announced Parke Ulrich is the new executive chef (he also oversees Waterbar), working with chef de cuisine Eric Hollis. A new menu is scheduled to launch on Friday November 1st, featuring more cuts of meat from local Bay Area producers; all steaks will be prime. Look for some international influence as well, like Kobe-style steak sourced from Japan.
Meanwhile, over at GITANE, chef Bridget Batson is leaving the stoves (her husband and co-chef, Patrick Kelly, will now run the kitchen solo) and Batson is joining the team at Munchery, a start-up meal delivery service. Scoop also reports Alicia Jenish from Grand Cafe will be in the new corporate chef role for Franck LeClerc’s restaurant group (the upcoming Gaspar, Gitane, both Café Claude locations, and Claudine).
Gitane - 6 Claude Ln. San Francisco - 415-788-6686
Pop-Ups: S&S Shack Returns, Dinners in the Dark, Californios, Chaparral, Mixto, and More
Chefs Spencer O’Meara and Sarah Buchard are back with their pop-up S&S Shack at MISSION ROCK RESORT on Tuesday November 12th at 6pm. This time, they are focusing on the food they grew up eating, so think fried chicken, green bean casserole, and deviled eggs; peek at the hunger-inducing menu here. Tickets are $45, not including tip or beverages. 817 Terry Francois Blvd. at Illinois, 415-701-7625.
This is pretty cool: THE BLIND CAFÉ is popping up Thu-Sat November 7th-9th at The Center. Here’s the deal: the dinner starts at 6:30pm each evening, and the waitstaff is made up entirely of blind people. The dinner (which is a vegetarian menu) takes place in the dark (you may want to wear dark clothes in case you have some dining mishaps, haha), with the blind leading guests in a sensory experience totally outside of sight—including live music. Tickets are a sliding scale of $65-$150, and all proceeds benefit The California Association of Blind Students. 548 Fillmore St. at Fell, 720-495-7797.
Popping up again on Saturday November 9th at NAKED KITCHEN in the Mission will be chef Val M. Cantu, creator of Californios (he cooked at Uchi in Austin and was a sous at Sons & Daughters). The modern Mexican menu will be nine courses and limited to 10 diners seated around the chef’s table. Tickets for the 6pm and 9pm seatings are $97, not including gratuity. BYOB.
A couple of ongoing pop-ups: Haighteration announced Chaparral is now serving dinner Thu-Sat at KATE’S KITCHEN in the Lower Haight. The pop-up is from Thomas Martinez (Mission Beach Cafe), and a sample menu includes msemmen (a Moroccan crêpe), sunchokes and squid, wild salmon, and more. Bonus: there’s a late-night menu Fri-Sat. BYOB for now. Open Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-2am. 471 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-793-9016.
There’s also the new Kinfolk (no relationship to the magazine) from chef Greg Lutes, popping up at Bernal’s 903 CORTLAND Thu-Sat nights since owner Mutsumi Takehara has discontinued dinner for now (via Scoop). 903 Cortland Ave. at Gates.
Here’s a new Oakland pop-up for your radar, from Carlos Nieto. It’s called MIXTO, and it’s happening at Nido three different Sundays: November 10th, December 8th, and January 12th. Each evening, a different chef will take the helm, focusing on the cuisine of a particular region and highlighting a ceviche. Each dinner is four courses and includes wine pairings. First up is chef Tim Luym (of The Attic), who will be exploring the connection between Latin and Filipino cuisine; take a look at his menu and pairings here. The events runs from 7pm-10pm and tickets are $85, including pairings, tax, tip, and you even get a soundtrack to take home. 444 Oak St at 4th St., Oakland.
Anniversary Dinners: Firefly Turns 20, Town Hall and Poggio Turn 10
Congrats to FIREFLY on their 20th anniversary, which they will be celebrating this week by offering special menus through Tuesday November 5th (the actual anniversary is Sunday November 3rd, when the menu will go down to its original prices, and they will have live music). Call for reservations and info at 415-821-7652. 4288 24th St. at Douglass.
TOWN HALL is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year (congratulations!) and throwing a big feast and party on Tuesday November 12th. From 6pm-10pm, join them for a serious spread of Southern food not only from chef Max Hosey, but also including selections from guest chefs from other Southern-influenced restaurants, including Charles Phan and Melissa Perfit (Hard Water), Scott Youkilis and Robin Song (Hi Lo), David Lawrence (1300 on Fillmore), Tanya Holland and Phil Surkis (Brown Sugar Kitchen), and Sophina Uong and Michael LeBlanc (Pican). Take a peek at what they’re serving right here. There will also be drink specials and live music, so get ready to party down like it’s 2003. Tickets are $75 and proceeds benefit CUESA.
POGGIO has been celebrating its 10-year anniversary with a variety of dinners and special nights. Coming up on October 30th, Cindy Pawlcyn will bring her barbecue to Poggio, and there will be a couple of more dinners, leading up to a special truffle dinner on Thursday November 14th, when the restaurant will segue into its annual Festa di Tartufo, offering a special truffle menu. Read about all the events here.
Tuesday Nov 12, 2013 6pm-10pm $75 more info
Poggio - 777 Bridgeway Sausalito - 415-332-7771
510 Openings and News: Box & Bells, Fusebox Ends Lunch, Great China Update
After weeks of people wondering when BOX & BELLS was going to open, this past weekend, James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare) announced the opening is this Wednesday October 30th. To recap, the Rockridge restaurant is opening in the former Somerset on College Avenue, and Syhabout’s partner is Alan Carlson of Italian Colors in Montclair, with Benjamin Coe (Commis) leading the kitchen. The restaurant bills itself as an “eating house,” and Syhabout has been posting some menu teases via his Instagram page, like some seriously zhooshed deviled eggs, country pork pâté, boudin blanc with sauerkraut and brandied apples, and prime beef with age. Some pics of pastry chef Joshua Meisman’s creations include a chocolate tart and a fennel and pear crisp. It’s going to be open late, with cocktails to boot. Yup, this one is poised to be an industry hit. Dinner Wed-Sun. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot, Oakland.
Diablo Dish reports FUSEBOX in West Oakland is not serving lunch for the moment; dinner is served Wed-Sat 6:30pm-9pm, and there’s happy hour from 3:30pm-5:30pm.
A quick bite: EUREKA! opened in Berkeley, a casual spot serving burgers and American craft beers. There’s a full bar, and according to the pic on Berkeleyside Nosh, it looks like there are plenty of TVs to watch sports too. 2068 Center St. at Shattuck, 510-809-8282.
And since everyone is wondering when the fabulous GREAT CHINA is reopening, the latest I am hearing is Monday November 11th (Veteran’s Day). Stand by! Double skin, we’re coming for ya. 2190 Bancroft Way at Fulton, Berkeley.
Limone in San Carlos Reopening as Gusto, with George Morrone as Chef
Last week, owner Enzo Rosano of LOCANDA POSITANO and LIMONE in San Carlos sent out a teaser email about his plans to bring on chef George Morrone for a project. It ends up Rosano has turned Limone into GUSTO, and starting Tuesday November 5th, will be serving “sophisticated small plates” like Morrone’s famed tuna tartare, lobster corn dogs, and other dishes ranging from $4-$8 for snacks and $8-$18 for small plates. (Morrone will continue to consult at the Corinthian Yacht Club in Tiburon.) The space is getting quite an update, with chandeliers and a black-and-white theme that includes black velvet-backed wooden chairs and a tufted white upholstered banquette (ooh, molto chic). 619 Laurel St. San Carlos, 650-486-1479.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Don't Miss Giada de Laurentiis at Dominican University on Saturday November 16th
The top question Giada hears from fans? “How do you stay so trim?” The star of the Food Network’s sensational Giada at Home seeks to answer that question with her new book, Giada’s Feel Good Food. She shares 120 recipes ranging from breakfast to dessert—each with a nutritional breakdown.
Laurentiis is a three-time winner of the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lifestyle Host and was inducted into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012.
Hosted jointly by Dominican University of California and Book Passage, Laurentiis will speak about her healthy recipes and cooking secrets. $40 includes the price of admission and a signed copy of her book. To purchase tickets or find more information, please visit bookpassage.com/dominican or call 415-927-0960 ext. 1.
Event Details: Giada de Laurentiis—Giada’s Feel Good Food: My Healthy Recipes and Secrets Saturday November 16th at 7pm Dominican University of California, Angelico Hall 50 Acacia Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901
For more information on the lecture, please visit www.dominican.edu/lectures.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Trocadero Club Now Open in Former RJ's
Now softly open—and officially opening Wednesday evening—is the new TROCADERO CLUB in the former RJ’s in the TL. The project is from Dennis Leary and Eric Passetti, who seem to want to kill themselves with openings this month (they just opened Café Terminus in the FiDi a couple of weeks ago). The bar takes its name from a multitude of sources: anyone who went disco dancing after-hours in this town more than 20 years ago will remember the Trocadero Transfer in SoMa, but it was also a roadhouse in the city in the late 1800s, and there’s also the Place du Trocadéro in Paris. Leary says he’d like the vibe of the place to take the most influence from the disco days—he wants a mixed crowd of folks to come by, have fun, and socialize, whether you’re on a date, or just want to enjoy some cocktails with a club-like party vibe. Cocktails are going to be well executed and unfussy.
The gents worked with Charles de Lisle on the stylish interior (he did House of Shields and Canteen), which is inspired a bit by Bauhaus, 1920s Austria, and Donald Judd. The look is a far cry from all the moody, reclaimed wood, and Edison bulb look-alikes in our city—they ended up installing stucco throughout the bar and whitewashing it for a clean, understated effect. They also uncovered the original windows, and installed 14,000 pounds of handmade hex tile for the flooring. There are small café tables in beige high gloss and rush chairs with a Shaker-style ladder back; there are about 20 seats at the glossy black bar. As Leary says, it’s a pretty spot. I can’t wait to check it out. Open nightly at 5:30pm. 701 Geary St. at Leavenworth.
Upcoming Events: Bubbles and Caviar, Allen Katz at Fifth Floor
Coming up on Tuesday November 5th is Bubbles and Caviar, a PlumpJack Wine & Spirits pop-up at MATRIXFILLMORE, which is closed on Tuesdays (which is why I feel okay recommending this event). You’ll be able to taste a selection of bubbly (consider this research for your holiday selections!), and Plaza de Caviar will be there serving up a variety of caviar. The wine prices will range from $7-$40 for a 4-ounce pour of six to eight different sparklers from around the world. There will be five different caviars to choose from in 1-ounce portions ($15-$100 for a 1-ounce jar); prices will include all of the caviar condiments. 5:30pm-8:30pm. 3138 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.
Also on Tuesday November 5th, Allen Katz and the New York Distilling Company will be at FIFTH FLOOR for a special dinner. Chef David Bazirgan is creating a four-course tasting menu, paired with a cocktail by bar manager Brian Means, each featuring a spirit from New York Distilling Company. $95 (plus tax and gratuity). Reservations are recommended.
Fifth Floor - 12 4th St. San Francisco - 415-348-1555
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Taste and Tribute Gala Coming November 22nd
Friday Nov 22, 2013 Cocktail reception and silent auction at 5:30pm, dinner at 7pm Tickets start at $350 per person, sponsorships are also available Four Seasons 757 Market St. at 3rd St. 800-338-4238
On Friday November 22nd, catch the 13TH ANNUAL TASTE AND TRIBUTE GALA, a benefit for the Tibetan Aid Project, an organization committed to preserving and strengthening the spiritual heritage of Tibet. A grand total of 22 Bay Area chefs participate in the event, where they are put in pairs and work together to prepare dishes next to each table. This year’s chefs include Nick Balla, Cortney Burns, Joanne Weir, and Dmitry Elperin—check out the full lineup here. I attended the event last year, and it’s very heartfelt and moving.
Wine will flow freely (peek at participating wineries here), of course, and it all happens at the fabulous Four Seasons. The evening begins at 5:30pm with a silent auction and Champagne reception, and dinner is at 7pm, along with a live auction. Tickets start at $350 per person, and sponsorships are also available. 757 Market St. at 3rd St., 800-338-4238.
the sugar mama
(Sponsored): In Time for the Holidays-Gift A Feast! Enter to Win a Feast of Appetizers.
Gift A Feast relieves some holiday stress for tablehopper readers this year. Based in Noe Valley, we curate the Bay Area’s tastiest artisan treats into delicious gift sets, wrap each product by hand with your choice of luxurious papers and festive ribbons, include a handwritten note card with your personal message, and ship nationwide. In just a few clicks, you can share all you love about Bay Area food with friends, family, and clients.
One lucky tablehopper reader will win A Feast of Appetizers to share at their Thanksgiving celebration. This Feast includes Fra’Mani salami, Central Coast Creamery’s “Seascape” cheese, Good Faith Farm raw Lucques olives, baked goods from Rustic Bakery, and sweet nibbles: Toffee Talk toffee and June Taylor’s candied Meyer lemon peel. Delightful!
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 to your friends about Gift A Feast. 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 9th at 11:59pm! We’ll notify the winners soon thereafter and get your Gift A Feast package in the mail to you! Happy feasting!
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Kimye Hits Up Mason Pacific
A tablehopper reader wrote in this detailed sighting of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian on Wednesday October 23rd at Mason Pacific—they were in town defiling our baseball field for his marriage proposal. The reader says, “I was dining last night at Mason Pacific at 6:00 when who should pop in but Kim, Kanye, and a few friends. I don’t think anyone else noticed them (I know, only in Ess Eff). They were quiet and dined rather quickly. There was only one bodyguard (who dined at the bar). I think they only needed one bodyguard because they are so small (ha)!”
Oui Chef! Where Daniel Dined in SF
Chef Daniel Boulud was in town to promote his new book and make an appearance at a Kidney Foundation luncheon. But he also made a lot of restaurant kitchens’ nights by dining at State Bird Provisions one night, La Folie, and Saison on the other (here’s a pic).
Ice and Coco Love Chinese
O.G. Ice-T and his wife Nicole “Coco” Austin dined at FANG on Saturday night in the private room, “The Glass Room.” (No word if they confused it with The Champagne Room.) The couple (and guests) enjoyed a healthy Chef’s Choice Menu, with shrimp dumplings, five-spice whitefish, garlic pea shoots, salt and pepper mushrooms, and sautéed chicken.