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Feb 17, 2014 16 min read

February 18, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: Miami vices.

February 18, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: Miami vices.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: Miami vices.                    

A 10th anniversary pizzetta at A16 with black truffle, ricotta, and arugula. Photo: ©

¡Hola! I hope you enjoyed the three-day weekend. Mine is actually starting on Wednesday, since I am leaving to go on a last-minute trip to Miami! Ends up my dear cousin needed a +1 for some South Beach Wine and Food Festival shenanigans, and, well, who am I to say no? Exactly. I haven’t been to Miami in more than 10 years, so it’s going to be blast to head back to the land of sherbet-colored Deco buildings, café cortados, balmy nights, and I’m sure I’m going to get a medianoche in there somewhere (along with some beach time, and plenty of cocktails, oh you know it).

We have limited time to eat out in between the SOBEWFF events we’re attending, but I’m fired up to hit Pubbelly, Joe’s Stone Crab (sadly no time for that line, so we’ll hit the Take Away!), Yardbird, and we have a big dinner planned at Catch Miami. Our cocktailing lineup is also looking good (maybe even this Dead Rabbit pop-up event at Patpong Road?). Yeah, I’m excited.

I’m also so thrilled to be celebrating tablehopper’s eighth anniversary this week! I’ll be sure to have an extra-special cocktail on Friday the 21st to honor the occasion (am sure Miami can make one with gold leaf or something for me, ha!). Thank you all for all your tremendous support these past years! You keep me inspired.

On Saturday morning, I was at KRON4 for my tablehopper hot list segment on three great date restaurants in the city. Big thanks to The Balm for dispatching their talented makeup artist, Keira Rowland, to do my makeup that early in the morning (normally I have to do it myself, so it was a godsend). The night before was A16’s fantastic 10th anniversary dinner party, so someone definitely needed the touch of a professional after all that Southern Italian wine, heh. (And ladies, you can also experience The Balm’s fab makeovers at their new flagship at 788 Valencia St.)

Oh, and here are some fun links for you. First up, here’s a piece on with the latest coffee spots and cafés to open in SF, and here’s a totally swell New York Times piece on bar lingo in New York bars (I cackled numerous times).

I’m also so happy that a friend’s brand-new quarterly magazine, Dinosaur, is going to be arriving in my mailbox any day now! (Yours truly has a new column in it called “Sex and the Single Diner,” meow!) You can subscribe here—it’s going to be a great assemblage of fashion, music, writers, travel pieces, and more, all geared for my hawt and smart over-40 creative classmates.

Okay, it’s time for me to dig into my closet for sundresses (oh hi, I remember you!) and gold heels. I’ll see you next week!

Cheers! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Coming to Russian Hill: Union Larder (from the Little Vine Duo)


The exterior of 1945 Hyde. Photo courtesy of Jay Esopenko.


The interior of Union Larder. Photo courtesy of Jay Esopenko.

Russian Hill residents are going to be very happy to hear about this new and impending addition to their neighborhood! Melissa Gugni and Jay Esopenko of the popular Little Vine speciality grocery (and sandwich shop) in North Beach are going to be opening a new concept, UNION LARDER, in Russian Hill. It’s going to be a cheese, wine, and charcuterie bar with a full-service cheese counter, plus many of the same grocery items they feature at Little Vine. They’ll have around 15 taps with wine, beer, kombucha, and cold-brew coffee.

There will also be oysters all day (yes!), some Alpine-style dishes like raclette, fondue, and bratwurst, plus their killer sandwiches and a couple of salads. John-Paul Henaff (Ame, RN74, Central Kitchen) will be consulting on the food—he is known around town as a wine guy, but it ends up he has an extensive background/knowledge of gastronomy as well.

Jay is extremely passionate about wine, and the space is inspired by a cava bar he adored when he lived in Barcelona—he wanted to create a place that is all about eating delicious food while drinking good wines. There will also be pour-over coffee from Bicycle Coffee; espresso is TBD since space is limited.

There will be around 30 seats, with a bar and some tables. The look of the space will be larder-inspired, and there will be floor-to-ceiling shelving in the back with rolling ladders. The owners are thrilled to have 8 Inc doing Union Larder’s design—8 Inc worked with Steve Jobs to design the Apple Store, and one of the designers happens to be a dedicated customer of Little Vine.

The space was originally a parking garage that was later renovated into condos—they are taking over the 800-square-foot commercial space on the ground floor, which has big windows. What’s funny is that Melissa and Jay used to live on that exact block six years ago! Kismet. They are also going to be welcoming their first baby next week, so they’re actually going to have two babies this year. Busy busy.

Look for an opening around early June. Hours will be Tue-Sun 11am-11pm, and they’ll open on Mondays a little bit after the opening. You can follow along on Little Vine’s Facebook and Twitter for updates until they get Union Larder’s social media up. 1945 Hyde St. at Union.

Opening Tonight: ICHI Sushi + Ni Bar


Mural by Erik Marinovich. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Woohoo, ICHI SUSHI + NI BAR is opening in its new digs on Tuesday February 18th (yup, tonight!). They have double the space to work in, and chef Tim Archuleta and team have been working on their new izakaya dishes. To recap, there is a 30-seat sushi counter in the front, plus table seating, and there’s also an omakase counter (later on, it will be by reservation only). In the back, you’ll find the Ni Bar, with izakaya-style dishes and snacks (and hella sake, shochu, wine, and beer options). You can read more about the new space and details in our previous post. Stand by for news about when Ichi opens their oyster bar in the original space. Hours: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; you can also post up for happy hour Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm. 3282 Mission St. at 29th St., 415-525-4750.

Opening Friday: Pim Techamuanvivit's Kin Khao


Khao soi. Photo courtesy of Pim Techamuanvivit.

A couple of weeks ago, we had an update and sneak peek for you on the design details of the upcoming KIN KHAO in the Parc 55. Well, it’s looking like the space will be opening to the public for lunch this Friday February 21st.

Owner Pim Techamuanvivit and chef de cuisine Michael Gaines have been hard at work, and soon everyone can say, “kin khao!” (“Kin” means eat and “khao” means rice, so it’s what you say in Thai to mean “let’s eat” or “to eat.”) The website has the menu and other details; the wine list and cocktail menu by the Bon Vivants are forthcoming. Dinner nightly 5:30pm-11pm, and lunch will be served 11am-3:30pm. The bar will open at 5pm for cocktails; a few weeks after the opening, you’ll be able to enjoy some bar bites with your cocktail until 2am.

Kin Khao            - 55 Cyril Magnin St. - 415-362-7456

Chris Cosentino Taking Over Zuppa Space in SoMa


Exterior of the former Zuppa. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Eater was the first to catch the liquor license activity for the recently closed ZUPPA space in SoMa, and the taker is none other than Chris Cosentino (Incanto, Boccalone). Details are spare for now, so stand by on what his plans are for the space (I have always thought it’s an amazing location and building). 564 4th St. at Brannan.

A Look at Mélange Market in the Mission


Seating and a chalkboard wall at Mélange Market. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The pastry case and counter at Mélange Market. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. The newest project from the team at AQ is MÉLANGE MARKET, a hybrid café and pop-up incubator in the ODC building in the Mission. We’ve mentioned it briefly, but we’ve got some details on the project now that their doors have been open for a couple of weeks. The space is intended to serve as a coffee shop and café for the neighborhood, as well as a spot for theatergoers to get a drink or snack. In addition, the space will host a variety of pop-ups.

The project comes from Matt Semmelhack of AQ and former AQ pastry chef Maya Erickson. You’ll find coffee from De La Paz, including espresso pulled on a La Marzocco. Erickson is making a selection of pastries, along with breakfast and lunch fare. In the mornings, there’s a housemade English muffin available toasted with butter and jam, or with egg, cheese, and arugula. At lunch, the plan is to offer three sandwiches and three salads every day (at least one of each will be vegetarian), plus one vegetarian soup. For now, they’re still figuring a lot of the menu out, so be aware there might not be quite as many choices for a few weeks; follow along on their Facebook page for updates.

As for the pop-up side of the business, right now they’re still figuring the schedule and who will be participating. Tango & Stache had an inaugural pop-up on Valentine’s Day and will be reappearing on Fridays moving forward. They haven’t decided yet how frequent the pop-ups will be, so stay tuned. As the name suggests, you’ll definitely see a mix, intended to serve both the neighborhood and the theater crowd. The hours are currently Mon-Fri 8:30am-6pm and Sat 9am-6pm, and they also remain open during ODC performances. 3153 17th St. at Shotwell, no phone.

Sweet News: Bespoke Doughtnuts, Chocolate Salon Coming in March


The selection at Bespoke Doughnuts. Photo from Facebook.

Doughnuts are not only stupidly delicious, but who knew they could be so damn gorgeous too?! We heard some buzz about new pop-up BESPOKE DOUGHNUTS from Brian Christie and Reilly Meehan, who are crafting some truly spectacular doughnut creations, including options like piña colada, or one with duck confit, apple, and Roquefort. You can find them at Beaux in the Castro every Sunday from 1pm-6pm (along with adult beverages), and soon they’ll be at the Mélange Market too (check out our piece for more). 2344 Market St. at Noe, 415-863-4027.

Are you ready for some serious chocolaty times? Good, because the eighth annual SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL CHOCOLATE SALON is coming to town on Saturday March 15th. From 10am-6pm, chocolate of all varieties will take over the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. You’ll find confections, of course, from the likes of Kika’s Treats, Socola Chocolates, and Coco Délice, to name just a very few. You’ll also find chocolate and wine pairings, samplings of Almanac Beer Co.’s Biere de Chocolat, and some savory snacks to keep you going. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 for early entry at 9:30am, and $30 at the door. 1 Fort Mason at Laguna.

               Saturday Mar 15, 2014 10am-6pm $20 in advance, $25 for early entry at 9:30am, and $30 at the door. more info

Sad, Sad News: Josh Epple of Drewes Meats Passes, Memorial for Bob Kantor


Josh Epple at Drewes Meats. Yelp photo by Carlita G.

This is the kind of news that is so hard for us to report. Over the weekend, Josh Epple, who co-owned Drewes Meats in Noe Valley with his brother, Isaac Epple, tragically died in a motorcycle accident. Noe Valley Blog has some details, and the comments are a small testament to how beloved Josh was in the neighborhood (and beyond). Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

If you’d like to celebrate the life of Bob Kantor, owner of Memphis Minnie’s, who sadly passed away in December, a memorial service will be held on Sunday February 23rd. For more information, email Tom for details.

Tidbits: Los Shucos Latin Hot Dogs, De Afghanan Open, Irving Cafe and Deli Now Que Huong, More


The “Llorana” dog from Los Shucos. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Oh boy, this is delicious and dangerous news: LOS SHUCOS LATIN HOT DOGS is now open in the Mission. The owner, Sofia Keck, originally hails from Guatemala and has brought Guatemalan-style street food hot dogs to San Francisco. The hot dogs come with two sausage types: bacon-wrapped sausage or handmade chorizo. All the dogs come on a grilled bun with serious quantities of avocado and a variety of other toppings like refried black beans, salsa chapina (a green sauce from Guatemala), and scrambled eggs. Take a look at the menu here. Right now, they’re softly open (and have been selling out in the evenings), but eventually they plan to be open Sun-Thu 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-2am. There is also a vegetarian dog in the works. 3224 1/2 22nd St. at Bartlett, 415-366-3868.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the former San Francisco Best Burritos (guess you shouldn’t call yourself the best unless you really, truly are) has morphed into DE AFGHANAN KABOB HOUSE, an Afghan restaurant with a locations in the East Bay (and formerly in the current Aicha location on Polk). Chowhound and Yelpers both report that it is now open, and early reviews are definitely positive. The menu is heavy on kabob plates, with plenty of appetizers and breads, plus plenty of vegetarian-friendly options. 1035 Geary St. at Polk, 415-929-1124.

Hopper banh mi fave IRVING CAFE AND DELI has apparently moved two doors down and changed their name to QUE HUONG VIETNAMESE DELI. According to both Chowhound and Yelp, everything remains the same as before, though there is a little more space and a couple of new menu items. 2138 Irving St. at 23rd Ave, 415-682-3828.

The Glen Park Association caught word that the former Hong Sing Restaurant space is now home to CHINA HOUSE RESTAURANT. They’re reportedly serving primarily Northern Chinese food and also have beer and wine (and the space was renovated). 2794 Diamond St. at Chenery, 415-333-1331.

Party with Nopalize and The Mill, Celebrate the Craft of Food with 18 Reasons and Heath


The interior at The Mill. Photo by Gundolf Pfotenhauer.


The Heath Ceramics Shop. Photo by Alana Hale.

On Saturday February 22nd, head to THE MILL, where Josey Baker and Nopalize will be hosting a party to celebrate their launch with a new video from The Werehaus. David Golovin will be grilling his sausages, St. George Spirits will be in the house, along with beer from Cellarmaker, and, of course, they’ll be screening the video. It’s free to attend, and you can catch the action from 6pm-9pm. Donations for food and bevvies will go toward the Ida B. Wells Garden. 736 Divisadero St. at Fulton, 415-345-1953.

The Butcher, Baker, and Candlestick Maker dinner is a serious celebration of all things Bay Area food scene, from 18 REASONS at Heath Ceramics in the Mission. The dinner is on Saturday March 29th and is focused on the finest local products from local artisans and cooks, from Tartine bread and Vella butter to Mindful Meats’ beef cheeks. It’s not limited to the food either: menus will be from a local letterpress artist, flowers will be local and gorgeous, and Heath will provide the tableware (made from Northern California clay, no less). So embrace your San Francisco-ness, and enjoy. Tickets are $125 per person, and include food, wine, and beer. 2900 18th St. at Alabama, 415-568-2710.

Now Open in the 510: Cholita Linda


The sign is up at Cholita Linda. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that eclectic Mexican street food purveyor CHOLITA LINDA is now open in Temescal, as reported in tablehopper last year. They’ve been serving at farmers’ markets around the Bay Area and have made quite a name for their fish tacos. Now, you can get those and more all the time. The menu has expanded to include a selection of sandwiches, including the pan con lomito (steak with marinated tomatoes, onions, and watercress) and the butifarra (roasted pork loin with salsa criolla); take a look at a limited menu here. They’re only open softly for now, so hours haven’t been firmed up yet. 4923 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Hopwater Distribution Now Open


The many taps at Hopwater. Photo from Facebook.

We told you about it back in September, and now it’s open. Ladies and gentlemen, HOPWATER DISTRIBUTION, the new beer bar from partners Sky Wegman, Chris Barry (both of Dogpatch Saloon, 83 Proof), and Jon Guinea (of Wood Tavern in Oakland), opened its doors Friday February 12th. The new spot, in the former Key Klub bar (oh yeahhh), offers 31 beers on tap, all of them from California. While the beers will change regularly, to start, all the offerings are from the Bay Area, including selections from Anchor, Magnolia, Pine Street, and Almanac. Take a look at all the current brews right here.

The food is from chef Bruce Paton, who previously worked at the Clift Hotel and has so much experience pairing food with beer, he’s known as the “Beer Chef.” The menu includes a burger, naturally, with optional additions like egg, pork cheeks, and bacon, along with a duck charcuterie platter, salads, and a fried chicken sandwich. Hours are Sun-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thu-Sat 5pm-1am. 850 Bush St. at Taylor.

New Bar Alert: Topsy's Fun House Opening in the Financial District


The bar at Topsy’s. Photo courtesy of Steve Schefsky.


The harlequin-patterned walls. Photo courtesy of Steve Schefsky.

Opening tonight in the former OZ on Kearny (next to Rickhouse) is TOPSY’S FUN HOUSE, a new bar from the owners of Playland on Polk (Angela Bisesi and Steve Schefsky). Anyone who knows SF history will note the place is an homage to Topsy’s Roost, an absolutely bonkers restaurant and dance club that used to be at Playland at-the-Beach: the multilevel space had people eating in chicken “roosts and coops” and riding slides to the dance floor in the center of the room. Yes, it was fricking amazing.

This bar is on the smaller side, with room for 25 at a bar, some high-top tables in the front, and some lounge seating as well. There’s also a downstairs, which will eventually be a place for dancing. Designer Michael Brennan says the look is circus-inspired, with harlequin-patterned walls, carnival lights behind the bar, a tin ceiling, and if you look up in the rafters, you’ll see a clown’s apartment, with a dressing room and storage area (don’t go up there).

The space also has a kitchen, which will be opening soon (and will be open late). They will serve classic SF dishes, like crab Louie and It’s-Its (which originated at Playland at-the-Beach), and in the spirit of Topsy’s Roost, there will be chicken and waffles. Since one of the partners is Russian, there will also be blini with smoked salmon, caviar, and more.

Another interesting component: they have a brewery license, and they have plans to brew a boutique beer line called Fog Hog Brewhouse. I caught up with brewer Jessica Lehr, who has been a home brewer the past three years and has done some commercial work around the city. She said there will be two draft lines: a dark lager, which she says is full and rich in flavor but has a light drinkability, and a California poppy saison—her take on a French farmouse pale ale—using barley and fresh California hops. Here’s the cool thing: part of the water she uses for brewing is fog harvested! She explains that she has some nets up on a farm north of SF that resemble volleyball nets that collect fog condensation in buckets, which she uses in the brewing water! (Karl the Fog would definitely approve.) The draft lines should be open in April! Hours for now are 4pm-2am (weekend hours may change a bit). 260 Kearny St. at Bush.

Drink More Wine for Less Ducats


The stocked shelves at Ordinaire. Photo via their Facebook page.

A few groovy wine deals for you. First, have you noticed the fantastic list of sparkling wine at 1760? Well, you may want to pay closer attention, especially on Mondays, which are Grower Champagne Mondays, which means you get 20 percent off all bottles of grower Champagne. It’s time to party with Gaston (Chiquet)! Pop!

And just in time for Hump Day: over at BLUEPRINT TAP ROOM, you can enjoy a glass of rosé all day for only $5 (normally $9). They’re pouring the 2012 Ampelos rosé of syrah from Santa Ynez. Because we can drink rosé all winter long in California.

If you’re in the 510 this coming Thursday February 20th (or maybe you’ll want to head over after reading this): ORDINAIRE WINE SHOP is hosting a big Central Coast wine tasting for only $20. Think Roark Wine Company, Sandhi, and more, plus some vittles from Chris Kronner will also be available (he has been popping up there on Thursdays and Fridays). 5:30pm-8pm. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-629-3844.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Lord of the Dance at Park Tavern

Fans of Breaking Bad will be tickled to hear that Matt L. Jones, who played Badger Mayhew, was spotted having brunch last Sunday at Park Tavern, according to a tweet. We’re really hoping he was there pitching Star Trek script ideas.

Heath=Good Taste Too

We’ve previously commented on Frances McDormand’s good taste and apparent love of Blue Bottle coffee. Last week, she affirmed them both yet again with a trip to Blue Bottle at the Heath Factory (with Joel in tow). Hopefully she ended up with some beautiful pottery and a nice cuppa.

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