I’d much rather be drinking the utterly delicious Trouble in Paradise at Tosca. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hola, amigos. Things are a little rough over here at hopper HQ, with both yours truly and Dana, my editorial assistant extraordinaire, both felled by one nasty-ass, mofo illness. I’m on day four and this thing is officially gross and really needs to go. At least I was healthy through the holidays, so I’m not going to complain too much, just a little.
On Saturday morning (juuuuust as I was beginning to feel like hell) I swung by the KRON4 studio for my tablehopper hot list segment—this one highlights some places I visited on my recent trip to Napa, check it out. January is a great time to visit Wine Country, and downtown Napa totally has some appealing options for you to eat, play, and stay.
We have a lot of catch-up news for you today since the tablehopper column went dark for a few weeks—so food news hounds, excuse any redundancy, but hopefully you’ll find some new stuff in here too.
In case you missed it on Friday, here’s a link to my annual rant, the bore, plus I also wrote a “year in review” piece for my Tablehopping column in the Bay Guardian, and here’s my monthly cheat sheet for 7x7.com, with five new restaurants to check out this month. Oh, and here’s a list that came my way: 100 of the best vegan dishes in San Francisco.
Okay, it’s time for me to lie down again and commune with my Robitussin.
See you Friday. Marcia Gagliardi
We first broke the news about VICTORY HALL & PARLOR opening in the former 330 Ritch back in September. The project just swung its doors open on New Year’s Day, and is from Deanna Sison Foster (co-owner of Little Skillet and farmerbrown) and Mia Weening (Mission Bowling Club, Mini Bar, and a longtime SF bartender).
It’s primarily a full-service bar, with a variety of craft cocktails that range from legends (like a daiquiri and a mule for $10), to luminaries (bright cocktails, $11), pioneers (complex and layered, $12), rebels and renegades (spiritous cocktails, like the Buffalo Soldier, with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Chartreuse, rhubarb, and ginger, for $11), and a couple of larger-format drinks you can share with friends. Peruse the entire cocktail menu here, it offers a lot of opportunities for exploring (reporting for duty, Admiral Yi, with kimchi, Boodles gin, and lemongrass syrup!). On tap, you’ll currently find Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Drake’s Amber Ale, and Anchor Liberty, plus some selections in bottles.
Another great component is alley mate Little Skillet will be providing the vittles. For now, you can order bar fare to go with your cocktails (like deviled eggs with crispy chicken skin, Cajun fried oysters, mini burgers, and a crab and collard dip)—check out the menu here. Weekend brunch means that crab cake Benedict, smoked brisket hash, a big biscuit sandwich, and fried chicken and waffles are all within reach (menu here).
Look for dinner to launch in a week or so—you’ll be able to order family-style meals, like a roast chicken with sides, or a fried chicken platter with waffles. Just to be clear, lunch will still be available from Little Skillet in the alley Mon-Fri 10:30am-2:30pm, and then inside Victory Hall & Parlor after 4pm. All-day brunch on Sat-Sun starts at 10am.
The hall offers plenty of space to hang out (including some communal tables), and it’s meant to have a casual vibe. You’ll note some style elements that bring the parlor to life, like the pressed tin ceiling and the bright yellow chairs at the studded bar, plus some industrial elements as well. There is also a back parlor that can be reserved for private parties and events.
Victory Hall’s hours are 12pm-12am, starting this Friday January 10th (happy hour runs 4pm-7pm), and Sat-Sun 10am-12am. 330 Ritch St. at Townsend, 415-543-4255.
2014 Openings: Monsieur Benjamin and Papito West in Hayes Valley, the Tamale Lady Lands a Location, Bartlett Hall to Downtown
Here are some updates on upcoming projects in 2014, starting with some news about Corey Lee’s plans for his Hayes Valley location, MONSIEUR BENJAMIN. Scoop reports he is targeting spring for the opening of his modern (yet casual) bistro, with chef Jason Berthold (previously RN74) leading the kitchen—they both worked together at The French Laundry and Per Se. Monsieur Benjamin will be offering something that we don’t have a lot of in this town: traditional French bistro dishes with seasonal ingredients, and updated with some modern techniques. There will be late hours (yay), and Aidlin Darling Design is designing the 95-seat space, plus there will be 16 seats outside. I’ll keep you posted as we learn more.
More news in Hayes Valley: with the sad closure of Moishe’s Pippic (after 26 years!), that prime real estate was not going to sit for long. Hayeswire was first to report the rumor that Jocelyn Bulow (Chez Maman) and co-owner David Alexander were taking over the space, and after reaching out to Bulow ourselves, we have an update. They are going to be opening a second location of Potrero Hill’s Papito this spring, calling it PAPITO WEST. While the Potrero location is a casual one, the Hayes Valley version will feature a raw bar (with oysters, ceviches, and plateaux de fruits de mer—look for a little jalapeño in the mignonette!) and a menu that is more restaurant-oriented than a taqueria. There will be 40 seats plus some outside seating, and beer and wine. Bulow is hoping to open by March 15th. 425A Hayes St. at Gough.
Let’s make a jump to tamales, shall we? Our late-night angel of tamales, Virginia Ramos (aka The Tamale Lady), recently held an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for a brick-and-mortar tamale shop after being booted from selling her tamales at Zeitgeist (since she made her tamales in an unlicensed kitchen, any bars where she sold her tamales were liable). With the help of supervisor David Campos and some other local helpers and organizations, she now has a location (go team!) and is currently finalizing paperwork on a former Central American restaurant at 16th Street and Mission. Mission Local reports she is going to call it TAMALE LADY (naturally), and she’ll be keeping it simple. Stand by for more on timing and other details…
I have been trying to get a lead on what was opening in the Santorini’s space in Union Square (there was some ABC license activity), and it has been revealed that it’s going to be another beer hall joining our local scene: BARTLETT HALL. Scoop reports the project will have 140 seats, with chef Emmanuel Eng (most recently at Maverick) leading the kitchen (there will be a bar menu and a dining room menu). It will also be a microbrewery, with a seven-barrel system by Golden Gate Brewing Company, and cocktails will be served as well. Michael Brennan is designing the 3,000-square-foot space (which dates back to 1914)—there will be fireplaces in the bar area, and two private dining rooms. As for the name, it comes from Washington Montgomery Bartlett, who was the 20th mayor of San Francisco and later a governor of California. Look for a springtime opening. 242 O’Farrell St. at Powell.
And lastly, details on this one are sparse, but the team behind TWENTY FIVE LUSK has plans to open a second (and more casual) restaurant in the Westfield San Francisco Centre, next to M.Y. China and Straits (via Scoop). This one may not make it until 2015, so stand by.
I know I’m not the only one getting excited for the opening of the upcoming KIN KHAO from Pim Techamuanvivit (working with chef Michael Gaines). I thought you’d like to know the menu is up on their newly launched website, and the new targeted opening is early February. Follow their Twitter page and Facebook page for updates. 55 Cyril Magnin St. at Ellis and Mason.
Curious about what’s going to be on the menu at the upcoming CHINO, coming to the former Andalu space this spring from Joe Hargrave (Tacolicious) and Brandon Jew? Ends up you can try some test dishes (like shrimp wonton soup and nine-spice chicken wings) and dumplings on Saturdays at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market—the Chino crew has taken over the empty space that used to belong to Rose Pistola, and will be serving at the Saturday market until April. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook. 3198 16th St. at Guerrero, 415-621-2211.
Closures (Permanent and Temporary): Zadin in the Castro, Pergamino Cafe, Big 4, Outerlands, and More
Castro Biscuit reports that Vietnamese restaurant ZADIN has closed, according to a note on their website. But apparently there is already a new taker for the space: another location of Urban Picnic, currently a Financial District lunch spot with Vietnamese-inspired healthful lunches like quinoa bowls, whole-wheat wraps, and banh mi sandwiches. 4039 18th St. at Hartford.
Tipster Jason B. let us know that PERGAMINO CAFE—known for their waffles—has closed. Yelp confirms the closure; no word on what might be moving in. 1323 Columbus Ave. at Leavenworth.
And then in the temporary and planned closures department, BIG 4 has closed for remodeling, right on schedule. It should reopen in spring of 2014. For more information on the changes to the space, check out this earlier piece.
ATELIER CRENN is taking a little winter break, from January 1st-23rd. The kitchen is getting a massive remodel, and they’ll be back on January 24th. Reservations can be made on OpenTable during the break.
The Lower Haight’s THE GRIND has also closed for expansion, according to Haighteration. They are taking over the space next door and will be reopening in late January with more seating, a space for grab-and-go offerings, and some cosmetic updates. 783 Haight St. at Scott.
As previously reported on tablehopper, ANDALU has closed on schedule, right at the end of 2013. In its place, look for CHINO from Joe Hargrave and Brandon Jew, a dumpling and noodle restaurant with small plates. 3198 16th St. at Guerrero.
As mentioned in November, BOTTLE CAP closed in December. The space has been taken over by Matt McNamara and Teague Moriarty, of Sons & Daughters and Sweet Woodruff, who hope to open their concept after a quick remodel in March 2014. 1707 Powell St. at Union.
Just before I signed off for the holidays, I noticed a Craigslist ad that mentioned the PIZZAHACKER, aka Jeff Krupman, was looking for an employee for his pizza restaurant around La Lengua/Bernal. Well, my query went unanswered (I guess he only wanted an employee and no press) but his place is now softly/sporadically open in the former Inkas (a recent tweet sounds like he’ll hopefully be open again for another test run this Thursday evening/January 9th). The plan is to be open more regularly by mid-January.
Eater landed some additional details: there’s seating at picnic tables or a bar, and the initial menu is intentionally kept pretty simple—there’s a margherita; or a higher-end marg; one with pepperoni, olives, and hot peppers; another with sausage; and arugula with lemon, chile paste, and garlic. Yeah, his pizzas rock. The 12-inch pizzas hover around $15; slices may be coming later. And unlike the spartan Una Pizza, Krupman is serving a salad with a poppy seed dressing inspired by Berkeley’s former Cafe Intermezzo, which burnt down in a fire in 2011. Beer and wine, check. Check in on Twitter before heading over. 3299 Mission St. at 29th St.
After spending too much money on old SF restaurant menus and postcards at the Vintage Paper Fair in Golden Gate Park this past weekend, a friend and I were strolling up Ninth Avenue in the Inner Sunset, and lo and behold, there was some staff training under way at the about-to-open LA BOULANGE DE SUNSET. This is the 13th Boulange location in SF, and it’s opening in a mixed-use development. The place is huge, with plenty of indoor seating (around 75 seats in all), plus there’s an enclosed patio with bright orange chairs.
The menu follows the usual Boulange format, spanning everything from egg and cheese sandwiches for brunch to smoked trout salads and croque-monsieur for lunch, and a Boulange burger. The opening is Thursday January 9th. Like all locations, hours are daily 7am-9pm. 1266 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-242-0500.
After a fire in September of 2011 put their San Francisco scoop shop out of business temporarily, THREE TWINS ICE CREAM has reopened their doors. They opened softly today, January 7th, and will be having an official grand opening in the coming months. They’ve been able to make some improvements to the space, including a new case with room for 12 ice cream flavors, up from the previous 8. You’ll also find ice cream sandwiches on the menu now, rejoice! Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-10pm and Sat-Sun 11am-11pm. 254 Fillmore St. at Haight, 415-487-8946.
According to a tweet, the newest SUPER DUPER location is now open in the Financial District. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-8pm and Sat-Sun 11am-6pm. Eater caught news of the new location back in June. 98 Mission St. at Spear, 415-974-1200.
There’s a new (and quite large) restaurant in North Beach: LITTLE SZECHUAN on the corner of Broadway and Kearny. The menu is rather extensive, with offerings ranging from Szechuan specialities to egg foo young. Early Yelp reports are mixed, with reports of some good dishes along with service kinks. Catch a report on the dan dan noodles right here. 501 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-986-8832.
As previously reported on tablehopper, Kaka Udon was opening a second location. Yes, #2. Well, it looks like the new spot is opened and they’ve gone with a different name: OOLONG NOODLES (thank goodness). The new place seems to have a similar menu to Kaka, with lots of housemade noodle soups, along with some Japanese sushi and grill items. 646 Washington St. at Kearny, 415-986-2737.
And here’s yet another ramen spot on the scene: Los Angeles-based RAMEN YAMADAYA has come to San Francisco. They’ve moved into the former Iroha space in Japantown and opened their doors in December. They are famous for their tonkotsu ramen and we’ve heard good reports about the kotteri ramen; initial Yelp reports are generally positive. Nota bene: they’re closed Tuesdays. 1728 Buchanan St. at Sutter, 415-359-9983.
Tidbits: New Lunch Counter at Comstock, Brunch at Chile Pies, Frances Opening on Mondays, Le Marais Expanding, More
COMSTOCK SALOON just rolled out a lunch counter in their new second bar area, with a variety of sandwiches (including a fried chicken sandwich, rabbit currywurst, and the Comstock burger), some salads (beets or Brussels sprouts), and more (like potato leek soup) from chef Ronnie New. Check out the current lunch counter menu here; but don’t fall in love with just one thing because it’s subject to change. You can sit and hang out (and order a drink, heh!) or grab and go, but either way, the counter is open Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm. (The Friday lunch offer, i.e., the free lunch if you order two drinks, still stands!)
Starting Saturday January 18th, CHILE PIES & ICE CREAM will be serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. From 11am-2pm, you can get some serious brunch goodies, like breakfast egg pie with eggs and either vegetables or bacon, and green chile biscuits and gravy, and seasonal fruit pizza with whipped cream cheese, according to their Facebook page. There are also brunch cocktails, including mimosas. Mmmmhmmmm. 601 Baker St. at Fulton, 415-614-9411.
Here’s a new dining option for your Monday night radar. FRANCES is now open on Monday nights for dinner from 5pm-10pm, starting January 20th. Do note, though, that they will be closed February 2nd-10th for a winter holiday.
Then very tiny, very charming LE MARAIS BAKERY is expanding into the other half of their building. Scoop reports that the new space will allow them to add some additional seating (about 11 seats in all), plus it will give them the opportunity to add some savory options to their menu. Eventually, they also hope to hire a chef and start offering bistro-style fare at dinnertime. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.
There’s a new a new private party space above Central Kitchen/Trick Dog called The Upstairs. Whether you want the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group team or the Trick Dog team to host your party, you can do everything from a standing cocktail soirée to a butchery demo to a seated dinner. For more details on the space and the private dining options available, head here.
Atelier Crenn - 3127 Fillmore St. San Francisco - 415-440-0460
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been hearing some rumblings about potential changes to JASPER’S CORNER TAP, specifically relating to the fate of the talented bar team there. It ends up there was a recent ownership change with the Hotel Serrano, although Kimpton has a long history managing that restaurant location—they have been the management company since 2000 (remember Ponzu?). I spoke with Kimpton’s regional director of PR, Jamie Law, and she said there is nothing definite or decided that they can report at this time, but for now, it’s business as usual, with Kevin Diedrich still in place as the bar manager. Kimpton is currently talking with the new ownership company about the restaurant, and once there’s something to report, I’ll let you know. There is some uncertainty, yes, but for now, it’s all conjecture until we hear something definite.
Jasper's Corner Tap - 401 Taylor St. San Francisco - 415-775-7979
Pop-Ups and Special Dinners: Le Dix-Sept at Biondivino, Japanese New Year at Nombe, Chao Mien at Naked Lunch
Okay folks, you do not want to miss this. On Sunday January 12th, LE DIX-SEPT PÂTISSERIE will be popping up at BIONDIVINO for brunch from 11am-2pm. A variety of sweet and savory pastries will be available for pickup, including a brand-new apple tarte tatin and a seasonal mushroom tart. Check out all the options here, and note that you can also preorder items to take home. 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.
On Saturday and Sunday January 18th and 19th, celebrate Japanese New Year with NOMBE. They’ll be hosting a special six-course dinner with chef Hiroo Nagahara (formerly of the Charlie Trotter Group), including Japanese New Year’s soup with prawns, crispy mochi, and yuzu. Take a look at the full menu here. The cost is $85 per person, including tax, tip, and beverage pairings (or $65 without).
Here’s a new Sunday dinner option for you: a reader let us know NAKED LUNCH is hosting a pop-up from chef Sam Saechao called Chao Mien. The food is inspired by the cuisine of the Mien tribe from Southeast Asia, with a local, seasonal bent. The menu changes regularly and can be found on their Facebook page (linked above); look for dishes like red coconut curry, pork belly pad Thai, and chicken cilantro dumplings. Catch the action every Sunday from 5pm-9pm. Check out Zagat’s post for more.
Naked Lunch - 504 Broadway San Francisco
East Bay Express reports that food truck falafel maven LIBA FALAFEL will be opening a brick-and-mortar location this summer. The new location, in Uptown Oakland, will offer a similar setup as the food truck, with the delicious falafel and a spread of toppings and fillings at the “falafel bar,” but with a strong emphasis on seasonal produce. 380 17th St. at Webster, Oakland.
As previously reported on tablehopper, Oakland’s Jack London Square is getting a new Italian restaurant from owner Fabio Dalle Vacche (previously of Borgo Italia), CENTOUNO. The menu is focused on small plates for sharing and family-style dishes, including fresh pastas and roasted meats, like a bistecca alla Fiorentina for two. The restaurant seats more than 100, and there is space for large groups. Hours are daily 11am-11pm. 101 Broadway at Embarcadero, Oakland, 510-433-5030.
Local cooking teacher and author Rosetta Costantino will be at DESCO in Oakland on Tuesday January 14th. Chef Donato Scotti will be serving a selection of dishes from her cookbooks, My Calabria and Southern Italian Desserts. Take a look at the menu here. All dishes will be served à la carte, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. Both cookbooks will be available for purchase, as well. 499 9th St. at Washington, 510-663-9000.
Here’s another one for your book events radar: on Wednesday January 29th, Tartine’s Chad Robertson will be at CAMINO in Oakland doing a special event to promote his new book, Tartine Book No. 3. The special dinner begins with a reception at 6pm, followed by a multiple courses inspired by the book. Tickets are $85 per person including beverages but not tax and tip. 3917 Grand Ave. at Sunnyslope, 510-547-5035.
Local chef Carlo Espinas, most recently the executive chef at Comstock Saloon, has been signed onto a new restaurant project in downtown Santa Cruz. The new spot is called ASSEMBLY, and it will be opening this winter. Owners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis (of The Glass Jar restaurant group) are the same folks behind the Penny Ice Creamery and the Picnic Basket. Assembly is their first full-service restaurant, and will offer seasonal, rustic California fare. Espinas is fired up to make big, hearty salads, slow-cooked roasts and braises, lots of vegetables, all with a family-style dining approach. Pastry chef Anna St. John will be joining Espinas. 1108 Pacific Ave. at Cathcart, Santa Cruz.
- Discover the craft, care, and joy behind 80,000 specialty foods and beverages.
- Meet 1,300 exhibitors from all over the world.
- See what’s new to the marketplace and meet the industry’s newest producers in the New Brands on the Shelf Pavilion.
- Keynote Address & Leadership Awards Ceremony featuring Neil Grimmer, co-founder of Plum Organics.
Be there January 19th-21st at the Winter Fancy Food Show.
Bar News: Tosca Team Has Plans for the Lusty Lady, Kevin Dowell at Foreign Cinema, Bigfoot Now Cabin
It looks like the LUSTY LADY will be getting a second life at the hands of Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield. The pair, who reopened Tosca Cafe in October, have taken over the space of the former worker-owned strip club in North Beach, which sadly closed in September. Scoop reports that Seth Boor, whose previous projects include Sightglass, The Mill, and Southern Pacific Brewing Co., is the architect behind the remodel. They are hoping to maintain a lot of the spirit of the beloved Lusty Lady, including its seediness, with private booths available by reservation, and maybe even peep show windows that open onto a bartender. (I foresee lots of inappropriate cocktail shaking technique.) Ceri Smith and Randall Grahm will also be in charge of the wine list, and Isaac Shumway will helm the drink list. They’re still working on a name, and hope to open in the second half of 2014 (first they need to get a lock on a full liquor license). 1033 Kearny St. at Broadway.
FOREIGN CINEMA is launching a new bar menu to coincide with the remodel of their back bar, and they’ve brought on a brand-new bar manager too. Kevin Dowell will now helm the bar, starting with a new cocktail menu that debuted January 2nd. Look for his new creations at adjacent Laszlo too. New cocktail offerings include the Stranglehold with Venezuelan rum, orgeat, lemon, rye whiskey, and Angostura, or the Little Dreamer with vodka, manzanilla sherry, lemon, Pamplemousse liqueur, and cucumber. The cocktail list will change seasonally, so keep your eyes peeled for new offerings.
As previously reported on tablehopper, Polk Street bar Bigfoot Lodge has closed and is now open under new ownership. The new name is CABIN, and the owner is David Zimmerman (Blackthorn Tavern in the Inner Sunset, F8 in SoMa). Early Yelp reports say the decor is largely the same, with the addition of lots of televisions tuned to sports. 1750 Polk St. at Washington, 415-440-2355.
There is a brand-new brewery in Berkeley, focused exclusively on sour beers, called THE RARE BARREL. Berkeleyside first caught the story last year, and now SF Weekly notes that they are open for business. Eater reports that the owners are Jay Goodwin (formerly of Orange County’s The Bruery), his dad Brad Goodwin, and friend Alex Wallash. They’ve got eight house sour beers on tap, like the SKUs Me, a golden sour aged in oak barrels, or the Ensorcelled, a dark sour beer aged in oak with raspberries. The taps also offer two rotating guest beers and two wines. A few salads and panini are also available. In the coming months, they’ll start distributing their bottles, so you should be able to find them elsewhere too. Right now, the tasting room is only open Fridays from 4pm-10pm and Saturdays 2pm-10pm. 940 Parker St. at 9th St., Berkeley, 510-984-6585.
Saturday Jan 18, 2014 – Monday Jan 20, 2014
The annual Good Food Awards are here, acknowledging the producers who make excellent and delicious products for our enjoyment while also supporting a sustainable food system. This year, there are multiple ways to get in on the action. You can catch the GOOD FOOD AWARDS GALA AND CEREMONY announcing the winners on Thursday January 16th from 6pm-10pm at the Palace of Fine Arts.
Alice Waters will be in attendance, presenting the awards, and Nell Newman of Newman’s Own will deliver the keynote address. After the ceremony, a gala reception will include tastes of the winners’ products. Chefs from local restaurants including A16, Wise Sons, and Hi Lo BBQ will be creating dishes using the winning products, along with beer on tap and cocktails from Rye on the Road. Take a look at the nominees here. Tickets are $125. 3301 Lyon St. at Bay.
On Saturday January 18th, head to the FERRY BUILDING for a chance to sample the award winners at the Good Food Awards Marketplace. Early entrance tickets are $15 and let you in at 8am, while regular admission is $5 available at the door from 9am-2pm.
Chicago star chef Grant Achatz was in town for the holidays, and made quite a few stops. A tipster let us know he had a late-night dinner at Range followed by drinks at Third Rail, and according to his Twitter feed, he had the Feast of the Seven Fishes at A16 on Christmas Eve, Christmas at Yank Sing, and a meal at State Bird Provisions he deemed “worth the hype.”
…Because the Naked Chef himself paid San Francisco a visit this week. According to some Facebook posts, Jamie Oliver was spotted at The Cavalier (with Tyler Florence), and some stalking of his Instagram feed reveals he paid a visit to Tosca Cafe for a Negroni, as well. He was in town working with Alice Waters’ Edible Schoolyard, and Berkeleyside Nosh has lots of details on their collaboration, along with Bay Area Bites. Jamie and Alice also posed for an adorable picture together that we found on his Facebook page.