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Nov 25, 2013 20 min read

November 26, 2013 - This week's newsletter: a toast to kindness.

November 26, 2013 - This week's newsletter: a toast to kindness.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: a toast to kindness.                    

A bountiful brunch table at my dear friend Roberta’s house. Photo: ©

Some days, this intro letter of mine is really fun to write. Today, not so much. I have been a bit heartbroken the past couple of days: My dear Great-Aunt Mary left this beautiful earth Sunday morning, and I will say the planet just lost one of its sweetest ladies. She was truly kind, always putting family and others before herself—you don’t find such a guileless and giving heart so much these days. We could all take a page from her book. She graced this world for an amazing 94 years, and 63 of them have been with my Great-Uncle Tony, who just celebrated his 90th birthday. Nope, you don’t hear those kinds of numbers a lot. My heart goes out to him most of all, and their two lovely daughters; my entire family is just broken up over losing one of our precious matriarchs. And try as we might, no one makes a frittata as good as she did. But we’ll keep trying.

I know many of you have left town to travel to loved ones and hometowns for Thanksgiving (safe travels!), but for those of you who are still here in the city, thanks to my fab editorial assistant Dana, we actually have a bit of a column for you today. And in case you want to take advantage of a less busy city, here are five new places you can check out this holiday weekend.

I am so honored to be invited to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at E+O Asian Kitchen this Wednesday evening. Chef Sharon Nahm is cooking for 40 C.H.E.F.S. students, their guests, and the faculty of ECS for a Thanksgiving Eve dinner!  This is the second year E+O has generously hosted the dinner, and I can’t wait to dine with the students (some have never dined in a restaurant), and it will be great for everyone to experience some new Asian flavors and ingredients. It will be a special evening for sure.

Best wishes to all of you this Thanksgiving holiday. Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Meet Presidio Pizza Company, Opening in the Former Frankie's Bohemian Cafe


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

We now have official word and details on what is opening in the former Frankie’s Bohemian Café space on Divis: It will be PRESIDIO PIZZA COMPANY, opening in early December. I caught up with chef-partner Frank Bumbalo, who is opening the place with the neighboring Fishbowl owners, Kevin Kynoch and John Miles.

Bumbalo, a Brooklyn native, says there will be three kinds of pizza: thin-crust New York (Neapolitan round) style, Sicilian style, and grandma pizza, which is like a hybrid of a thin-crust pizza but square like a Sicilian (and not as thick), with origins in Long Island. Funny, my Italian cousin Anna made some pizza at home that was very similar to what the article describes a few months ago. Anyway, I’m excited to try it. Working with Bumbalo is Chris Norton, who was previously a line cook at A16—the owners are also talking to some other folks for the kitchen crew.

The new look is actually about returning the restaurant space to its origin decades ago: After taking off some Sheetrock, they exposed a couple of layers of wood, one of which was composed of beautiful redwood planks. Designer Dante Diego (who also did Blue Barn Gourmet) is adding in some dark colors, and concrete too, creating a modern and clean look. There will be two entrances: the one off Divis is if you want to sit at a table and enjoy some table service, while an entrance on Pine will be for the slice side, where you can sit on some bar stools or stand at a ledge while you hork your slice. (Or slices. I’m not here to judge.)

I will update you with a look at the space (and the pies!) in coming weeks. Hours will be Sun-Wed 11am-11pm, Thu 11am-12am, and Fri-Sat 11am-2:30am. Yes! 1862 Divisadero St. at Pine.

Iyasare Softly Opening Tonight in Berkeley


Seating in the dining room at Iyasare. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The divider between rooms at Iyasare. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, chef Shotaro Kamio is getting ready to open his new project, IYASARE, on Fourth Street in Berkeley. We have word that the new spot is softly opening tonight, November 26th.

The space, which was designed by Sean Gaston, is spare and modern, with a gorgeous skylight in the front room, gently rounded walls, and dark wood booth seating along the walls. There is seating in the dining room for 35, at the bar for 12, and on the heated patio for 25. The bar is sleek polished wood, with pendant lights and a mirrored back bar. There are two seating areas along the wall opposite the bar, which are separated by a wall with a large circle cut into it. On the walls are framed pieces of cut paper artwork, hammered metal light fixtures, and “sculptures” of fabric that are beautiful, simple, and will probably help with noise control too.

As for the food, Kamio is looking to his native Tōhoku, in northeastern Japan, for inspiration. He describes the food as rustic and simple, with a focus on seasonal produce, seafood, and grains. Along with this style come distinct preservation techniques, like fermented foods in the form of miso and koji, sun-dried items like seaweed and seafood, and cured items. At dinner, Japanese charcuterie will be on offer, as well as dishes like whole-roasted fish like a branzino topped with ikura, nabemono, and Japanese-influenced pasta dishes with toasted spicy cod roe, ikura, uni, shaved bonito, and other ingredients. When lunch begins, look for set meals with miso soup, salads, and daily specials like soba and onigiri rice balls. Take a look at the current dinner menu right here.

At the bar, a variety of sakes are being poured, along with some artisanal Japanese beers. There’s also a selection of local beers, plus wine on tap. It’s all about sake-based cocktails at the moment, but a full liquor license is in the works. Right now, the space is softly open, with an official opening date of Sunday December 1st. It’s only open for dinner for now, with lunch coming two weeks after that, in mid-December. Congrats, Sho! 1830 4th St. at Hearst, Berkeley, 510-845-8100.

Closures and Changes: Sons & Daughters Team Into Bottle Cap, Joe's of Westlake Closing, Changes at Du Nord, Fredy's


Bartender extraordinaire at Joe’s of Westlake. Photo by Mathew Sumner.


Cafe du Nord. Photo from Facebook.

Over in North Beach, Scoop reports that BOTTLE CAP is closing on December 22nd. The former home of the Washington Square Bar & Grill will become the new home to Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty, of Sons & Daughters and Sweet Woodruff. The new crew gets the keys around the New Year, and then they plan to do a quick remodel and reopen the space in March 2014. In the meantime, Bottle Cap will be open and taking reservations until December 22nd. 1707 Powell St. at Union, 415-529-2237.

In Daly City, fabulous 57-year-old institution JOE’S OF WESTLAKE is in the process of being sold to new owners, according to Scoop. It sounds like the new takers are none other than John Duggan and his family, of Original Joe’s. Turns out, the two Joes have a history: Joe’s of Westlake founder Bruno Scatena opened Joe’s no. 2 in the Marina in 1939 with Tony Rodin, Duggan’s grandfather. Anyway, Joe’s of Westlake will be closing at the end of January 2014, and the new owners plan to remodel it and reopen in early 2015. Hopefully, even with all that remodeling, the new team keeps the spirit of the original intact. 11 Glenwood Ave. at Lake Merced, Daly City, 650-755-7400.

File this in the “coming soon” department: Based on some ABC license transfer activity, it looks like there will be some ownership changes at CAFE DU NORD. One person named on the license is Dylan MacNiven (of Woodhouse Fish Co. and West of Pecos). I reached out to him and he said he’s not at liberty to share details just yet, but did say this: “I can tell you that the story is not ‘Woodhouse Fish guy takes over Du Nord’; there are other people involved.” So it looks like we need to stand by on what the upcoming changes are, but something is brewing. 2170 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-861-5016.

This one is at least a little more sweet than bittersweet: Beloved Outer Richmond deli FREDY’S OCEAN BEACH DELI is changing ownership. Ocean Beach Bulletin reports that owner Fredy is retiring for health reasons, but the good news is that he has sold the place to longtime employee David Nottage. Nottage plans to change the name to Kawika’s Ocean Beach Deli (Nottage grew up in Hawaii and Kawika is his Hawaiian name) and add some new menu items, but he is committed to keeping the place’s spirit alive by continuing to make fresh bread in-house, and many favorite specials will remain. Look for some new wine selections, some Greek items on the menu, and a parklet out front in the future. 734 La Playa St. at Cabrillo, 415-221-2031.

Tidbits: M.Y. China Turns One, Bernal News, Richmond Openings


The bell at M.Y. China rings in one year next week. Photo courtesy Creative Mint.

Martin Yan’s M.Y. CHINA is celebrating its one-year anniversary on Wednesday December 4th, and you’re invited to raise a glass to many more. During dinner, all guests will receive a free glass of bubbly, the Chinese Cuvée from Iron Horse Winery, along with a mooncake for dessert (it’s not a birthday without cake!). The offer is active from 5pm-close on Wednesday December 4th.

Bernalwood brings news of a very sad development in the neighborhood: It appears that beloved sandwich shop DELI PUB has closed. It sounds as though owner Imad Yaish has retired, following a violent robbery in October. Details are still scarce, but for some wonderful memories and comments from loyal neighborhood customers, read Tim Redmond’s piece on Bernalwood. 301 Cortland Ave. at Bocana.

According to Hayeswire, there’s a pizza shake-up in the works in Hayes Valley. It sounds like GO GETTERS PIZZA is moving from their current location into DON AGAPITO’S (which used to be Go Getters Deli). It’s not clear at the moment how the two restaurants will share the space or the menu, but a sign on the Go Getters’ door says they closed Thursday November 21st and reopened Monday November 25th in their new digs. 100 Gough St. at Page, 415-863-4149.

Tipster Jason B. wrote in to let us know that a new izakaya took over Sushi Tani on Geary in the Richmond. The new place is called JOO MAK. Early Yelps are mostly positive, and report both Japanese and Korean menu items in a good-looking space. 4828 Geary Blvd. at Funston, 415-379-6250.

Jason B. also reports that a new sushi place called YOI has moved into the former Drunken Sushi location on Clement in the Outer Richmond. They’re serving sushi and ramen out of the remodeled space, according to initial Yelp reports. 2311 Clement St. at 24th Ave., 415-876-2311.

Cawfee Tawk (and Tea News)


Réveille Coffee’s North Beach location. Photo from Facebook.

The Castro has a new coffee spot coming in 2014: brothers Tommy and Christopher Newbury are opening the second brick-and-mortar location of their RÉVEILLE COFFEE CO. on 18th Street. Much like the current North Beach location, the space will include an open kitchen, a long coffee bar, and lots of blond wood. During the day, look for a similar menu to North Beach, with their braised kale and egg sandwich, and biscuits. But come evening, they’ll be adding dinner service, with seasonal flatbreads and other more substantial fare. Currently, the plan is to open in January 2014—we’ll keep you updated! 4080 18th St. at Hartford.

In Bernal Heights, there are about to be two new places to get a hot beverage and a caffeine boost. Bernalwood reports that a loose-leaf tea shop is coming to Cortland in the next few weeks. 317 Cortland Ave. at Bocana.

There is also a new coffee shop in the works, called PINHOLE COFFEE. The space is still under construction, and the plan is to open in early 2014, according to their Facebook page. 231 Cortland Ave. at Bonview.

In the Outer Richmond, look for new coffee place FOG BABY CAFE. The new spot is in the former Crumbville space and is owned by neighborhood residents Fernando and Shireen Fonseca, according to The Richmond Blog. They’re open for breakfast with bagels, Catahoula Coffee, and pastries from Applebaum Bakery, then at lunch you’ll find sandwiches with neighborhood-themed names, like the Sutro (mozzarella, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes on focaccia). Hours are daily 7am-7pm. 3516 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-221-2466.

Don't Miss the Meet Market at Bluxome Street Winery (We'll Be There!)


Wine and shopping at the Meet Market. Photo courtesy Bluxome Street Winery.

On Saturday November 30th, be sure to check out the special holiday edition of the Meet Market at BLUXOME STREET WINERY from 12pm-5pm. More than 30 local purveyors will be in attendance with their wares, including fine culinary folks like McVicker Pickles, Haley’s Sausage Co., and Crescent Farms, plus tablehopper will have a table where we’ll be selling our vintage restaurant t-shirts, books, and of course, saying hello to our fabulous readers! Stop in, say hello, and pick up a shirt for the fashionable food lover in your life. Or yourself, of course. 53 Bluxome St. at 5th St., 415-543-5353.

               Saturday Nov 30, 2013 12pm-5pm more info

Holiday Specials to Help You Get Heated (Heh)


A bowl of noodles from Namu Gaji. Photo courtesy Namu Gaji.

If you find you need a warm-up or a pick-me-up during the Black Friday madness downtown (or maybe you’re just sick of cooking and turkey—we feel you), make your way to BRASSERIE S&P for Black Friday Happy Hour. On Friday November 29th from 11am-11pm they’ll be offering glasses of bubbly and bar snacks for $5 each, along with their usual selection of gin and housemade tonics. Then, starting Sunday December 1st, check out their various afternoon tea options. They’re available every day until December 30th, and include options like a Festive Tea with bubbly, or a Children’s Tea if you’re looking for something to do with little ones.

BLUESTEM BRASSERIE is also offering a break from the Black Friday madness with their own specials. They’ll be serving Aunt Chrystal’s Hot Austrian Punsch (Stroh rum, red wine, orange juice, and spices) for $7 a glass, and a special West Coast Schmitter Sandwich with roast beef, grilled salami and onions, cheddar and provolone cheeses, fresh tomatoes, and brandy-peppercorn sauce on a kaiser roll for $13.50. Whoa, that sandwich sounds like the business. Or go ahead and get both for $15. The specials are available all day from 11am-11pm.

Keep yourself toasty all winter long with Noodle Night at NAMU GAJI. The first and last Mondays of each month (that’s December 2nd and 30th, and January 6th and 27th) they’ll be opening up for a night of noodle soups. Look for options like a Devil’s Gulch pork miso ramen, Liberty Duck shoyu ramen, and Indonesian mie ayam chicken consommé with egg noodles. Reservations are available and can be made here. Dinners are from 5pm-10pm.

Namu Gaji            - 499 Dolores St. San Francisco - 415-431-6268

510 News: Bleecker Bistro Now Open, Eddie Blyden's Burger Spot, Plus alaMar and Centouno Coming Soon to Oakland


Chef Eddie Blyden. Photo from Facebook.

THE BLEECKER BISTRO is now open in Berkeley, in the former Ann’s Kitchen space. The new spot is from chef Jason Kwan of Joshu-ya Brasserie, and this time around he’s offering American comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Look for large portions and low prices, with menu items like eggs, omelets, and breakfast burritos in the morning, and burgers, sandwiches, and salads at lunch and dinner. For a full look at the menus, head here. All the sandwiches will be served on bread made daily in-house, and there are also plans in the works for wine and beer and live music in the evenings. Hours are 8am-8pm daily. 2498 Telegraph Ave. at Dwight, 510-548-8885.

Congrats to chef Eddie Blyden (Henry’s, Miss Pearl’s, The Alembic), who has a set of keys to his own place and will be opening a burger spot in the Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland. The location was formerly a Mediterranean place, Plaza Cafe, and prior to that it was a burger joint. He is going to be doing his own twist on a burger (look for a secret smoky seasoning and a pretty special bun), plus he plans to salute his past years in New York with a Coney Island frankfurter with gravy. Also being discussed: a chicken sandwich, catfish on Fridays, and fries with spicy ketchup and mango ketchup. As he proudly hooted to me on the phone, “We’re going to be doing some throwbacks, Miss Tablehopper!” Looking forward to it, chef Blyden! There will be some outdoor seating on the plaza, bonus. Look for a January opening—and a name soon as well. 300 Frank Ogawa Plaza, Oakland.

Coming to Uptown Oakland in early 2014 is the new ALAMAR from chef Nelson German (previously of Supperclub). Diablo Dish first caught the story, and a recent press release shared more details. The restaurant is focused on seafood (the name means “to the sea” in Spanish), particularly on shellfish boils, including Dungeness crab and crawfish at dinner. At lunch, look for sandwiches, and a weekend brunch includes the the rather dangerous-sounding grilled cheese Benedict. Construction has just begun on the space, which seats 55 indoors with room for an additional 16 on the heated patio. 100 Grand Ave. at Valdez.

In mid-December, chef Fabio Dalle Vacche will be opening a new Italian restaurant in Jack London Square called CENTOUNO, according to East Bay Express and a press release. You’ll find Italian comfort food, served family style, including fresh pastas, a torta fritta, and a bistecca alla Fiorentina. Dalle Vacche’s mother is helping out with the menu, too, which is pretty freaking cute. The restaurant seats more than 100, and there is also a private dining room for up to 22 people. Look out for happy hour Mon-Fri from 4pm-6pm and Sat-Sun 5pm-7pm, with Italian-style sangria. The restaurant will be open daily 11am-11pm. 101 Broadway at Embarcadero West, 510-433-5030.


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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

A First Look at Third Rail (Including Some Drinks!)


The spiritous Ol’ 55. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The Third Rail itself. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. As previously mentioned on tablehopper, Jeff Lyon and Phil West (both of Range) are opening a new bar in the former Retox space in Dogpatch called THIRD RAIL. The name comes from a cocktail Lyon created at Range and was a working name for the place, until they realized they liked it and it fit well with the neighborhood’s history (and present) as a hub of transportation and shipping generally, and train travel specifically.

We got a sneak peek of the bar’s design—courtesy of the folks at Paxton Gate Design/Build, who also did Flour + Water, Central Kitchen, and Le Marais Bakery—at a preview party, and it carries the transportation motif as well. The space is long and a bit narrow (ahem, like a railcar), and banquettes are being installed to mimic the feel of train compartments. A large clock and Art Deco arches (inspired by the Golden Gate Bridge) over the bar also echo the transit vibe. The location won’t be opening until December, so the space is still pretty raw: seating still needs to be installed, and most of the furniture is yet to arrive.

That said, the cocktail menu was ready for sampling. The goal is to offer quality cocktails, but in a setting where a beer or a vodka tonic is also available. To that end, four beers will be available on tap, along with three red wines and a white. As for the cocktail list, it’s divided into four sections: seasonal, citrus, aperitif, and spiritous. The categories are intended to be approachable, so someone without much knowledge of craft cocktail culture would still find it easy to order something they like.

In the spiritous department, look for Don Draper-approved offerings, including the Ol’ 55 (Laird’s applejack, oloroso sherry, Amaro Nonino, orange bitters), which is satisfyingly boozy and warming. The namesake Third Rail falls in the citrus category, and is made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Lillet, honey, lemon, orange bitters, and it’s rather light for a bourbon-based beverage. For a look at all the drinks, check out the cocktail list here. The bar doesn’t have a kitchen, but in lieu of traditional bar snacks like nuts, olives, and cheese, they’ll be offering jerky by the ounce. You’ll find multiple flavors of beef jerky on offer, plus a vegetarian version made with trumpet mushrooms—the details are still being worked out. The opening is planned for December, but an exact date hasn’t been announced yet. Once open, hours will be 3pm-2am daily. 628 20th St. at 3rd St., 415-252-7966.

The Torpedo Room From Sierra Nevada Is Now Open in Berkeley


The Torpedo Room, complete with keg lights. Photo courtesy Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

As previously reported on tablehopper, Sierra Nevada is joining the Bay Area microbrewing scene with its own taproom in West Berkeley. The new place, called the TORPEDO ROOM, is now open, with 16 taps offering some of the brewing company’s harder-to-find offerings. Look for the Barrel-Aged Torpedo Extra IPA, which is aged in whiskey barrels with Citra hops, the Narwhal imperial stout, or one of the other ever-changing selections. The options are listed here, and they’ve got a spiffy machine filling growlers, so you can plot what you want to try out and take home. While there isn’t a full menu, you will find some snacks to go along with flights of beer. Hours are Tue-Thu 11am-7pm and Fri-Sat 11am-8pm. 2031 4th St. at Addison, 510-647-3439.


the socialite

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

A Hanukkah Feast at AQ on December 2nd


The dining room at AQ. Photo from Facebook.

Event Info

Monday Dec  2, 2013 Reception at 6:30pm, dinner at 7:15pm $155 per person AQ 415-341-9000

If you’re looking for a place for a fabulous Hanukkah dinner (and for charity, to boot), look no further than the eight-course tasting menu at AQ on Monday December 2nd. The dinner brings together guests from Commonwealth, The Village Pub, Baker & Banker, and Deliboard, all preparing different courses. Take a look at the full collaborative dinner here. Each course also includes beverage pairings from AQ’s Kristen Capella.

Partial proceeds from the event go to the San Francisco Food Bank. Reservations are $155 per person, including pairings but not tax and gratuity. The evening begins with a reception at 6:30pm, followed by dinner at 7:15pm. Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-341-9000.

Where to Get Your Turkey On: Eating Out (and Takeout) for Thanksgiving


My overflowing plate at Casa Gagliardi. Photo: ©

Event Info

Thursday Nov 28, 2013

Thanksgiving is this Thursday November 28th, and perhaps you’d rather do just about anything than roast a turkey in your own oven. Or maybe your oven is broken (everyone has that horror story, right?) or your great-aunt Susie doesn’t like anything not served on a tablecloth. Whatever the reason for eating out, we feel you, and here are some places to check out for Thanksgiving on the town. Don’t forget to check OpenTable for even more places to try. And for a nice chuckle and some education on heritage turkeys, take a gander at this video from the Food Snob over at Vanity Fair.

Before we get started, we’d like to take a moment to mention those less fortunate than ourselves. The holiday season is full of excess and pleasure, but let’s all remember those who are struggling to make ends meet. This year, the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks are sadly short of enough turkeys for the many Thanksgiving meals they provide to underserved people in our community. You can donate turkeys all the way up to Thanksgiving Day. Donations of birds are accepted at their warehouses, please check the link for details and thanks for helping.

If a British take on Thanksgiving feels frankly un-American, just wait until you check out the menu that chef Jennifer Puccio is running at THE CAVALIER. Sides like minted Brussels sprouts, horseradish mashed potatoes, and bacon-onion stuffing are served family style, plus everyone gets to choose a first course, entrée, and dessert. It costs $75 per person, plus wine pairings for an additional $50. Reservations are available from 11:30am-7:30pm. 360 Jessie St. at 5th St., 415-321-6000.

For chef Rob Lam’s Asian spin on Thanksgiving, head to BUTTERFLY for a menu that includes classic salt-baked turkey breast and turkey leg confit alongside lap cheong fried brown sticky rice and truffled mushroom sauce. The cost is $55 per person and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant.

For all you industry folks who will be working on Thanksgiving, here’s a very cool late-night option for either large groups or smaller parties. The folks at WILD HARE are hosting a dinner from 3pm-1:30am called Turkey Legs for the People. The main course is cider-brined turkey legs and gravy, along with a full lineup of sides and pumpkin pie for dessert; check out the menu here. Dinner is $40 per person, and reservations can be made by email or in person. 2801 California St. at Divisadero, 415-539-3200.

Looking for a Thanksgiving feast that also participates in the new “sharing economy”? And no, we’re not talking about that bizarre leftovers app, gross. Check out Meal Sharing, a website that connects people who like to cook with people who like to eat. Sign up, reach out, and maybe you’ll end up sharing your dinner with your future best friend (or just bringing some happiness to someone who is far from home).

If you’re looking to cook, or attending a dinner and need to bring something killer, we’ve got you covered too. Check out our list of tips from last week and last year for some great Thanksgiving helpers, plus these options below.

BOXING ROOM will take care of your whole dinner for 10-12 people, all you have to do is pre-order and pick up on Thanksgiving between 10am-12pm. Fried turkey, uh-huh. It’s $325, and they’ll even have beer and wine available for purchase at pickup, natch. Give ‘em a call.

The fab BISCUIT BENDER has a full range of biscuits for your Thanksgiving feast, including both sweet and savory options (and butters too!). They’re available either fully baked or frozen and ready for your oven; orders can be placed by email and picked up until Wednesday November 27th. Ferry Building Marketplace, 415-678-9253.

For those of you in the East Bay, check out the options from THE PASTA SHOP (both locations). Their choices range from sides to the whole Thanksgiving feast for 8-10 people ($195) to chopped liver and latkes for some Hanukkah-Thanksgiving flair. 1786 4th St., Market Plaza, Berkeley, and 5655 College Ave. at Keith, Oakland. 510-250-6005.

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