This week's tablehopper: moon over my hammy.
Dusk at the Delano South Beach pool. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
I can’t believe a week ago I was packing my bag for a dream long weekend in South Beach, Miami. All I can say is what the hell took me so long to go back to that beautiful and totally fun place? I ate stone crabs, drank lots of Champagne, swam and sunbathed, and enjoyed plenty of cortaditos. I loved how chatty and friendly everyone was—living in warm weather (and on the beach) totally changes the way people relate. I am already scheming how to live there for a month and really get to know the area. Yeah, I had a great time.
A big bonus was that I was invited as a guest of my cousin, so I had zero press duties over the weekend—I got to just hang out and I didn’t take a single goddamn note. It actually felt like a vacation, how novel. But I did take pictures and snag some menus, so I’ll be posting a mini recap soon of some of the places we ate and drank at (when we weren’t attending SOBEWFF events).
And staying at the Delano was a fricking dream—loved the staff, the all-white rooms, borrowing their beach cruisers to pedal to lunch, and yes, that pool (although I actually preferred the beach—the water was the perfect temperature).
So, back to reality. But let’s keeping talking about hot stuff. Like how about kimchee and sriracha? Here’s the first part of a two-piece article I am writing for 7x7.com on locally made hot sauces, kimchees, and more. I hope you enjoy it!
Next up: here’s last week’s Tablehopping piece for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, with my recap on where to eat, stay, and drink in St. Helena! Maybe it’ll inspire you to take an overnight trip out of town.
Lastly, big congrats to all the James Beard Foundation semifinalists for the 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards! The finalists will be announced on Tuesday March 18th, so stand by; the James Beard Foundation Awards are Monday May 5th.
Alllllrighty, I need to finish unpacking my bag, shake the sand out of all my shoes, and catch up on this pile of email. See you Friday!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Charles Phan Opening The Coachman in the Former Heaven's Dog
Next Monday March 3rd, Charles Phan and his team are opening a new concept in the former Heaven’s Dog space, which has been closed since November 2012 (after an unfortunate pipe backup and flood). The new restaurant and bar is going to have a strong English accent and is called THE COACHMAN, in honor of the Chinatown restaurant where Charles Phan’s father was a janitor in 1978 (and Charles was a busser), soon after the family immigrated to the United States.
Phan says The Coachman was originally located at Washington and Powell, and the owner, Malcolm Stroud—a noted Bay Area restaurateur who was also known for his Scott’s Seafood Grill & Bar restaurants—moved it to the Embarcadero in the 1980s, renaming it The Carriage House. (Stroud sadly passed away in 2012.) Phan said he wanted to go back to his roots for this project, mentioning he also wanted The Coachman to be an homage to his father, who passed away seven years ago.
The menu is going to be focused on British food done well. Phan said he’s going to do what he always likes to do: take classic dishes that have a place, story, and history, research them, and make them well. He said there’s a reason some dishes stick around with us for a while: they’re tasty, and people like them—classics like prime rib, Yorkshire pudding, smoked herring with beets, and lamb sweetbreads with green beans. Phan doesn’t want to make things up and create something new here, but instead offer his own perspective of these dishes, tweak some of them to be a bit lighter or heavier, or add a few more vegetables. He also mentioned making the dishes family style. Some initial dishes include rutabaga-brown bread soup; creamed spinach; Waldorf salad; beef tartare with fried smelt; blood sausage with braised cabbage, apple, mush; skate wing with brown butter and capers; and prime rib with bone marrow jus and a snail option.
The chef de cuisine is Ross Wunderlich, who was a sous at Hard Water that they brought over to run the kitchen. Phan took the team to London for a research and inspiration trip. Of course, St. John was on the list (Phan notes the restaurant’s farm-to-table approach is so similar to our Bay Area perspective), along with Hereford Road, one of his faves.
As for the cocktails and beers, naturally bar manager Erik Adkins has a deeply historic take on it all. The cocktails (16 in all) will be focused on punches, cups, cobblers, and some farmhouse/rural drinks, spanning both Georgian and Victorian eras. Some of the drinks include Regent’s Punch (Hamilton Jamaican rum, Osocalis brandy, classic orange sherbet, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple, lemon, soda) from the book Modern Cookery for Private Families, 1849; the Robert Burns’ Hunting Flask (Redbreast 12-year whiskey, currants, ginger, lemon peel, served in a hunting flask), from Convivial Dickens, 1983; and the countryside-inspired Athol Brose (whisky, honey, cream, oats), a traditional drink of the Scottish Highlands that will be poured on a hand-cut ice cube. Expect a fun list to explore.
Adkins mentioned there will be two beers on offer, both cask-conditioned ales that will be hand-pumped. (Both will be local selections since they can’t ship cask beers from England.) Adkins jokes, “Let’s see how people like their beer at 55 degrees and only slightly carbonated.” There will also be some farmhouse ciders from England and Normandy (and local picks too).
Phan’s architect of record, Olle Lundberg, has updated the space from when it was Heaven’s Dog, starting with knocking down the wall that used to separate the kitchen and the lounge area. The dining room that was across from the bar is going to be more of a drinking area now, with high-top tables and a raised ceiling. The former private dining room with the glass window is now the dining room—it ends up there was a storage area behind the room that they opened up, adding around 40 feet. The space now has around 100 seats in all—and the bar seating that was in the kitchen will remain.
You will notice the two glowing honey walls, which were brought over from Out the Door Westfield (which was also closed due to flooding), but overall the look is much darker, with a modern, masculine feel.
The Coachman will be open nightly for dinner—hours are still a bit in flux, including how late the bar will stay open. Stand by for an update next week, including the menu. 1148 Mission St. at 7th St.
Sightglass Coffee's Mission Location Is Now Open
A report by Dana Eastland. After more than a year of work, the newest outpost of SIGHTGLASS COFFEE is now open in the Mission. They’re joining lots of other hip businesses on what is known as the “20th Street Corridor,” right next to Trick Dog, and on the same stretch as Central Market and Salumeria, Southern Exposure, Rhea’s Café, and the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen. The new spot is a bit different from their SoMa location, in that brothers Justin and Jerad Morrison are looking to create a “small, neighborhood roastery.” What that means is that all the coffee served at this location will be roasted in-house, and none of the beans roasted here will be available for purchase elsewhere (more on the coffee and food in a moment).
The space also departs from the previous location aesthetically. You won’t see any reclaimed wood or industrial finishes here; rather, the design is polished and clean, with a luxurious Art Deco element running through. The space was designed with Boor Bridges and built by SmithBuilt. It feels a bit like a fancy yet whimsical bank from the 1930s, complete with soaring ceilings, rubbed brass hardware, round light fixtures, and tobacco-colored tufted leather banquettes. The entryway is particularly well thought out, with hex tile on the threshold that spells “coffee,” and Deco fixtures. The hex tile motif continues in the interior as well, with geometric designs on the floor. The wood shelves are polished and smooth, and the pastry case has a Deco domed shape and a light green tint. Not missing a detail, the brothers had their La Marzocco Strada espresso machines custom painted and then installed teak panels on the sides themselves. They’re gorgeous.
As for the coffee, the small size and limited distribution of the beans roasted on-site means they’ll be able to offer some new coffees. First, the spot has its own espresso, called “Jerboa’s Jump” after the nocturnal jerboa, a small desert rodent whose statue graces a shelf in the space. The brothers are also excited to roast some microbatch beans that they’ve been offered and had to pass on in the past, due to their small size. Look for bags of beans from small-production farms that will only be around for a couple of weeks. Coffee will be available as pour-over, espresso, and “quick brew” for those seeking a quick cuppa to go.
As for food, the same purveyors are represented as their 7th Street location, with a few new options. Check out delicacies from Piccino, b. Patisserie, and Neighbor Bakehouse, with a particularly large selection of savory pastries. Hours are Mon-Sat 7am-8pm, Sun 8am-8pm. 3014 20th St. at Alabama, 415-641-1043.
Changes in the Mission: Hi Lo Closing, Lazy Bear Moving In
It looks like HI LO from Scott Youkilis and company is going to be closing in about three months. The space, which has made quite a few adjustments to their cocktails, menu, and format since opening about a year ago, has been profitable, according to Youkilis and a story in Scoop. However, the group received an offer from David Barzelay of the pop-up Lazy Bear that they simply couldn’t refuse. They’ve also got the fire-damaged Maverick to reopen. Hog & Rocks across the street will stay open and within the group, with chef Robin Song at the helm.
As for the timeline, Hi Lo will stay open until the liquor license transfer to Barzelay is complete, which typically takes about 90 days. Barzelay isn’t saying yet if his new spot will be called Lazy Bear, like his pop-up, or Anagram (the name he used when looking for investors awhile back), or something entirely new. Of course, as all this progresses we’ll update you.
Hi Lo - 3416 19th St. San Francisco - 415-874-9211
Coi Gets a Makeover and Revamp
After their customary 10-day break in January, COI has reopened, and unveiled a new look and some staffing changes. Chef-owner Daniel Patterson worked with designer Scott Kester to redo the interior with new lighting, banquettes, and decorative details. The intention of the new look is to create a warmer, more welcoming and comfortable environment, and to create a more cohesive design in the restaurant’s various spaces, from the entry to the private dining room to the restroom. Patterson’s love of nature is reflected throughout the space.
New custom chairs and banquettes offer more comfort, along with lots of throw pillows. They’ve installed a wooden block sculpture on the ceiling to keep the various rooms cohesive, and the lighting has been improved with pin lights to provide more specific, clear lighting. In the entry, they’ve added a woven branch sculpture to the ceiling, plus the name has been painted on the door at long last. There are also some new luxurious details, like handblown glass vases to hold flowers, custom raw linen napkins, and hand-thrown custom pottery for the tables.
Coi’s art pieces remain, including MRI photos of produce from artist Catherine Wagner, and a moss and twig sculpture from Loretta Gargan that still graces the entry. They’ve added a collection of midcentury pottery to the dining room’s center divider (it was collected by Patterson’s wife), as well. Eater got an exclusive first look at the newly redone space, along with some details on the thought behind some of the elements.
There have also been some staffing changes. Zion Curiel, who previously worked at the French Laundry, Bouchon Bistro, and The Restaurant at Meadowood, is now general manager. Mark Mendoza is now the wine director for the entire Daniel Patterson Group, and his wine list at Coi offers selections from Burgundy, Germany, Austria, the Rhône Valley, and Bordeaux, in addition to biodynamic and organic selections from California. As for back-of-house changes, Nick Muncy, who worked at Coi under Matt Tinder for almost three years, is now the executive pastry chef.
COI - 373 Broadway San Francisco - 415-393-9000
Chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls to Leave Big 4
Well, this is sad news. Despite reporting to the contrary in December, it looks like chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls will not be returning to BIG 4 upon its reopening later this year. According to Scoop, the restaurant is currently looking for a chef to replace Ciccarone-Nehls, while she is looking forward to having some time off to decide what her next move is. She began at the restaurant in the late 1970s at the age of 21 and had been at the helm of the kitchen for more than 30 years. We’ll miss you, Gloria, but can’t wait to see what you do next! It hopefully involves a well-earned and long vacation.
Big 4 - 1075 California St. San Francisco - 415-771-1140
Updates: Hopper's Place Now Causwells, Carsons Now Gashead Tavern
Back in November, we broke the news about Alvin Garcia and Tom Patella’s new restaurant project, Hopper’s Place, going into the former Bechelli’s in the Marina. It ends up the project has a new name, CAUSWELLS, and they have hired a chef, Adam Rosenblum, who is leaving his post as sous chef of Flour + Water. They also hired a new design team: The Bon Vivants Design+Build. April is the new targeting opening date. 2346 Chestnut St. at Divisadero.
Meanwhile, over in the Mission, the project we mentioned last October that was going into the former Charanga, Carsons, is now going to be GASHEAD TAVERN, and we mentioned the chef is Matthew Nudelman from Greenburger’s in the Lower Haight. The new targeted opening date is late March; stand by for more details next month. 2351 Mission St. at 19th St.
Tidbits: The Grind Reopens Today, Holy Kitchen Coming Soon, Lime Tree Expands
As we reported in January, Lower Haight mainstay THE GRIND closed for an expansion and remodel. After a heads up from Haighteration, we followed up to learn they reopen Tuesday Febraury 25th (today!), with more space. New on the menu: you’ll find a beet salad and eggs Benedict, plus there’s more space for patrons to sit. Hours are 7am-8pm daily. 783 Haight St. at Scott, 415-864-0955.
Noe Valley is getting a new Indian restaurant, in the former Swatdee Thai location. As we reported back in November, the space was taken over by the same people who own Little Delhi in the Tenderloin. It’s called HOLY KITCHEN and they are hoping to open this week. The menu is more extensive than Little Delhi, and offers regional specialties from across India; peek at the menu here. Initial hours will be Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm, closed Monday. 4166 24th St. at Diamond, 415-648-4416.
According to ABC records and some sharp eyes on Chowhound, Singapore Malaysian on Clement Street has closed and already has a new taker. It appears that LIME TREE, the Southeast Asian restaurant on Irving, is moving in with a second location. Right now, the windows are papered over, and a call to Lime Tree confirmed that there will be a second location but “nobody knows when it will open; nobody here knows anything.” Which might be the best quote about food industry construction ever. 836 Clement St. at 10th Ave.
Pearl's Deluxe Burgers on Market Is Closing
Bummer, it looks like the second location of PEARL’S DELUXE BURGERS is closing at the end of the month. SFist reports that the new location simply wasn’t getting enough business to keep the doors open. Though the location is near lots of Mid-Market redevelopment, it seems they weren’t quite close enough to the action to make it. The piece mentions a rumor going around that landlord John Gall might have raised the rent, as well, though owner Young Yi declined to comment on that. Yi also mentions safety concerns for his staff, including an incident in which an employee was punched outside the restaurant. Rough. Fortunately, their burgers, shakes, fries, and onion rings will still be available at the original Post Street location. 1001 Market St. at 6th St., 415-861-1605.
Ramen Pop-Ups: Iza Ramen at Blowfish, Fujiyoshi Ramen at Kyu Sushi
Looking for more ramen in your life? Thanks to a tip from a friend, we learned you can find some at BLOWFISH SUSHI in the Mission on Saturdays and Sundays, when chef Ritsu Tsuchida’s pop-up Iza Ramen slings noodles from 11:30am-3pm. On the menu is triple-broth ramen, made with chicken, pork, and fish, or tsukemen, plus a tonkotsu. 2170 Bryant St. at 20th St., 415-285-3848.
There is also a ramen pop-up at Kyu Sushi in the Tenderloin, called Fujiyoshi. According to Eater, it’s actually been in action since December, and offers a selection of ramen, as well as Japanese curry and takoyaki. They’re open daily 11:30am-11pm, and it’s cash only. 639 Post St. at Taylor, 415-441-1099.
510 News: Duende Adds Lunch, Monster Pho, Rasa Caffe
DUENDE is now offering lunch in the Bodega every day (except Tuesday). They started out just serving paella on Fridays, but now you’ll also find a rotating roster of seasonal options like empanadas, cocas (flatbreads), and tostas. The options are all available mix-and-match style: you just choose what you want, and how much, and it’s $1 per ounce. They’ll still offer paella on Fridays too. Wed-Sun 11:30am-5pm in the Bodega.
East Bay Express reports that North Oakland is getting yet another new restaurant, and this time around it’s a Vietnamese spot called MONSTER PHO. The owner is Tee Tran, who will be making pho using his family’s recipe. There are also other Vietnamese staples on the menu, including vermicelli, rice plates, and rolls. The grand opening is scheduled for March 1st. 3905 Broadway at 40th St., Oakland, 510-788-4459.
Berkeleyside Nosh reports that RASA CAFFE is now open in Berkeley. The new spot is from owner Rasa Sun Mott, an Oakland native who raised more than $12,000 for the project in a successful Kickstarter campaign. They’re serving Bicycle Coffee, with the option of a sweetened version with nutmeg, as well as Sun Mott’s own chai recipe. It’s right next door to the Firehouse Art Collective, and they’re planning to collaborate on events together. Hours are Mon-Sat 7:30am-2pm. 3140 Martin Luther King Jr. Way at Fairview, Berkeley, 510-499-3960.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Tender: A Wine (and Beer) Bar Coming to 854 Geary
A couple of weeks ago, I tracked down Miriam Lipton, the new owner of a wine and beer bar coming to the Tenderloin. At the time, she wanted to wait on releasing details since she was applying for her license with the ABC and was about to send out her letter of notification to the local residents and Board of Supervisors. But since the cat was let out of the bag, she gave me the go-ahead to share some information.
Lipton is opening TENDER in a small, narrow space at 854 Geary, at the base of 850 Geary. Her ex-husband, Craig Lipton, owns the building and has been actively transforming it from its previous state, which was pretty bleak. It ends up there were two commercial spaces available, both of which have been vacant for more than 40 years, and Lipton is opening Tender in one of them. She says one of the biggest contributors to the blight of the neighborhood is all the unused spaces, so she is excited to bring it to life.
Tender will feature 20 wines on tap plus a few sparkling wines (in bottle), with 4-6 beers (all stored in the back, with lines running to the bar in the front). She said she will be choosing quality wines, mostly from California, but you won’t find an ounce of pretension. Lipton is very enthused about wine on tap, citing the environmental advantages and the fact you can pour all kinds of sizes, from tastes to carafes. But she also remembers her days living above the Savoy Tivoli in North Beach and having to hear all the bottles clank into the garbage trucks at the end of the night. Wine on tap is totally, blessedly silent. There will also be local cheeses and charcuterie available.
The space will have seats for six at the bar, while the majority of the seating will be at banquettes along the wall. There is also a mezzanine level, which they hope to make into a loungy space with dark leather seating and rotating art shows. Speaking of art, she is also bringing on artist Andrew Schoultz (known for his trees) to do a mural for the space.
The opening date is totally contingent upon ABC license approval, but Lipton hopes to open in the spring. Potential hours will be 3pm or 4pm-11pm, hopefully later Thu-Sat, as well as 2pm-10pm on Sun. 854 Geary St. at Hyde.
News in Suds: 21st Amendment
After six years of partnering with Third Street Brewhouse in Minnesota for most of their bottling and production, local brewers 21ST AMENDMENT have found a facility here in the Bay Area. They’re planning to open a 95,000-square-foot facility in a former Kellogg’s Cereal plant in San Leandro, which will greatly increase their capacity for bottling. They’re hoping to open the new location later this year, followed by a tasting room and retail space in 2015. The new location will also serve as the brand’s world headquarters. (Hat tip to Scoop.) 2010 William St. at Doolittle, San Leandro.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Let the Good Times Roll: Mardi Gras Is March 4th
Tuesday Mar 4, 2014
Mardi Gras, which is fast approaching on Tuesday March 4th, is pretty much the best time to get down and really enjoy some indulgent food, drinks, and other “vices” before giving it all up for Lent. But you can party even without practicing Lent, we won’t tell. Here are some places to indulge.
TOWN HALL is hosting their annual Mardi Gras blowout starting at 6pm. The menu includes all the fried chicken, jambalaya, ribs, and barbecue shrimp you can eat, plus an endless supply of Abita beer, hurricanes, and caipirinhas. There will also be live music and samba dancers, plenty of beads and feather boas, and yes, lots of good times. Of course, you can try your luck with the king cake too. Tickets are $70 per person in advance and $80 at the door and include all food and beverages.
You can also get some great vittles at BOXING ROOM, where in addition to their usual New Orleans-inspired menu you’ll find five additional dishes, including oysters Rockefeller, seafood gumbo, and a crawfish boil with all the fixings. Plus, they’ve got their paws on Abita’s Mardi Gras Bock, which will be available on tap. Live music that night will keep you hopping, and of course there will be beads!
The party at BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD promises to rock, not least because Gaucho Gypsy Jazz will be playing live music all night. Normally, the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays, but on Mardi Gras they’ll be open until 9pm with special additions to the menu. Look for barbecue shrimp and king cake beignets with berry compote, pecans, and vanilla cream cheese, plus hurricanes and Abita beer. Music will be from 5pm-9pm. You can also find mini king cakes at Libby Jane Café the week leading up to Mardi Gras.
For N’awlins-style beignets and coffee, don’t miss the party at YVONNE’S SOUTHERN SWEETS. From 12pm-4pm they’ll be serving chicory coffee from Café du Monde, beignets, and pralines. RSVP here so they can make sure there’s enough for everyone! 5128 3rd St. at Bayview, 415-368-7900.
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
Win Tickets to Taste of the Nation on March 27th
Thursday Mar 27, 2014 6:30pm–9:30pm general admission, 5:30pm entrance for VIP $125 general admission, VIP $250 Website City View at The Metreon 135 4th St. at Mission
On Thursday March 27th, join some of San Francisco’s best chefs at Share Our Strength’s annual TASTE OF THE NATION event at the City View at The Metreon. Michael Tusk of Cotogna and Quince will be the chef chair of the event, plus you’ll find bites from AQ, Frances, Alta CA, Rich Table, and Fog City. There will also be local winemakers, cocktails from St. George Spirits, beer, and, of course, lots of fabulous company.
The event begins at 6:30pm for general admission and 5:30pm for VIP ticket holders; tickets to the event start at $125 per person, and VIP packages go up from there. All proceeds (that would be 100 percent) benefit Share Our Strength’s fight against childhood hunger. For a special 20 percent discount for tablehopper readers, use code: TOTNSF14IND.
tablehopper also has a pair of tickets to this awesome event to give away. All you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to two friends (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friends about Taste of the Nation, Share Our Strength, or why you read tablehopper, or all of the above! 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 Sunday March 2nd at 11:59pm.