This week's tablehopper: taxing.
That’s the stuff: spicy tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Yamadaya. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Today sure is taxing. Financially taxing, ugh. Mentally taxing. Here’s a link to a discussion I chimed in on about soda taxing. And for me, today is definitely physically taxing. I have been super sick for the past nine days and am so over it. Cranky hopper, that is for damn sure. Body ache and unbelievable, headache-inducing sinus pressure? Check. At least I can (kind of) taste and smell again—after five days of being in a total sensation bubble, I was losing my mind. Fortunately I have an appointment with a doc this afternoon, because I’d like to be able to swallow without pain for a change. Whatever this cold from hell is, it’s disgusting. The grossest. Don’t get it. Go wash your hands. Even if you just washed them. Go. Do it again. Don’t touch anything!
Since I have basically been home sleeping and watching movies and changing all my passwords (thanks Heartbleed!) for the past week, I don’t really have a lot to share from the field. Except delivery from Amphawa is pretty good if you’re craving spicy Thai soup, and don’t order from Little Delhi if you want your chicken vindaloo delivered in less than two hours. There, that’s about all I’ve got.
Oh, and no matter how much I like to make fun of all the juice shops opening all over town, the kind folks at the Juice Shop truck in Hayes Valley are so dang nice, and give you good recos on what to order if you’re trying to stay/get/be healthy. Thanks, juice people!
Happy Passover to many of you, and Easter is coming up. Here are some tips for you on Passover and Easter spots, and if you want more ideas, be sure to pick up a copy of the Bay Guardian tomorrow—I’ll have more options for you in my Tablehopping column.
Thanks for letting me whine. Now, let’s get on with why you’re really subscribed to this thing: the news.
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Openings: Woodbury, La Boulange West Portal, and Bebebar
From the team behind The Alchemist comes a project right next door, called WOODBURY, which opens today, Tuesday April 15th. (And I know many of us could all use a drink.) The new place has a rustic hunting lodge vibe, with a taxidermy moose, rustic wood, antler chandeliers, and barstools made to look like tractor seats. At the bar, look for craft beers and classic cocktails, plus a separate bar only for shot-and-a-beer combinations. The menu is heavy on hearty comfort food, like a burger of caul fat-wrapped brisket with pork belly, fried shallots, and brown butter (oof, bring on the Lipitor), or poutine with mushroom gravy and ricotta. Hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-1:30am, Sat 5pm-1:30am, closed Sundays. 685 3rd St. at Townsend, 415-904-9896.
LA BOULANGE DE WEST PORTAL is now open, serving croissants, coffee, and breakfast and lunch items. The menu includes pommes frites, a Maine lobster sandwich, egg sandwiches, and granola, plus an expanded selection for kids; take a look at the menu here. Hours are 7am-9pm. 16 West Portal Ave. at Ulloa, 415-753-0300.
Eater reports that a new Brazilian juice shop called BEBEBAR has opened up, just next to Dolores Park. It’s from mother-daughter team Celinha and Lya Moreira, and serves made-to-order juices and smoothies, along with açai bowls with granola, guaraná, and banana (yes!), Nucha empanadas, and coffee. In the future, look for grab-and-go options with a healthy bent, as well as expanded hours. For now, they’re open daily 10am-6pm. 3809 18th St. at Church, 415-203-8406.
Expansions: The Chairman's Brick-and-Mortar, Lime Tree, Boba Guys Second Location, Smokin' Warehouse
Big red food truck THE CHAIRMAN is opening a brick-and-mortar location, Eater reports. Way back in 2011, tablehopper reported that their new kitchen on Larkin Street would include a to-go counter, and now it looks like the plan has expanded. The space will offer about 15 counter seats, and the menu will include the signature bao buns, along with noodle dishes, rice bowls, and salads. Owner Curtis Lam is also hoping to add some outdoor seating and improve the currently run-down trees out front. The space will require a full build-out, with an opening targeted for this summer. In the meantime, you can still find the Chairman truck all over the place; follow on Twitter for updates. 670 Larkin St. at Ellis.
As reported on tablehopper in February, Southeast Asian restaurant LIME TREE has expanded from their original location on Irving to a second spot on Clement, in the former Singapore Malaysian space. The new location is now open, according to Eater. Look out for their Malaysian dishes, like laksa and beef rendang, in a brighter, more open space. Hours are Tue-Fri 11am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, Sat 12pm-9:30pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. 836 Clement St. at 9th Ave., 415-831-8811.
The Mission’s BOBA GUYS are opening a new location in Union Square in June. The new location will offer their small-batch boba drinks made with loose-leaf tea and Straus milk, as well as an open exhibition lab in the back. The “Boba Lab” will offer demonstrations, seminars, and other events to share the process of making boba tea from scratch with the public. To raise funds they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign; take a look. 429 Stockton St. at Bush.
A tipster wrote in to let us know that it looks like the Bayview brick-and-mortar and food truck SMOKIN’ WAREHOUSE BARBECUE is opening up a second brick-and-mortar location in Pacific Heights. An email confirms that they are indeed opening in the former Eunice’s Café space on Sacramento Street. The menu will be similar to the two other incarnations’ offerings, with both beef and pork ribs, brisket, sandwiches, and burgers. You can check out the truck’s menu here. Hours will be daily 9am-9pm, no word yet on an opening date. 3336 Sacramento St. at Presidio.
A Smattering of New Projects Coming Soon Around the City
Some updates for you on a few projects around town. First, Ryan Scott is taking over the little Potrero Hill lot at De Haro Street, where one of his MARKET & RYE locations is—ends up he’s opening a project in the former Kitchen Mojo/Pizza Nostra next door as well. The unnamed project will offer affordable dinner service, and he’ll be taking advantage of the pizza oven as well. Luis Villavelazquez (Les Elements) will contribute to the bread and pastry side of things. Beer and wine will also be available; look for an opening this summer. (H/t Scoop.) 338 De Haro St. at 16th St.
Some things just make me laugh. Like this: fab reader Sean Timberlake sent me this image (at right) of what’s going into the former QUE TAL on Guerrero. Yup, healthy tacos and a wine bar! ‘Cause that’s the kind of balance I like in my life. Sounds like landowner Luisa Hanson may have a hand in this “concept.” 1005 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.
Details have emerged on what the Twenty Five Lusk duo (Chad Bourdon and Matthew Dolan) are going to be opening in the Westfield Centre near M.Y. China and other “Under the Dome” tenants. It’s going to be called TAP(415) (because it’s like the internet, and every clever restaurant name has been taken, really?), a 140-seat “modern beer garden” designed by Cass Calder Smith. Plan on seeing a menu of burgers, sandwiches, freshly baked breads, ice cream made on-site, freshly pressed juices, adult milk shakes, and beer, wine, and cocktails on tap. And since we’re now San Frantechcisco, you’ll be able to order and pay from your iPhone. Look for an opening in November. (H/t Scoop.)
A couple of readers excitedly asked me if Tartine Bakery was opening an offshoot in the former E’Angelo in the Marina, but it was just a Designer Impostor (“If you like Giorgio, you’ll love Primo!”) with the name “La Tartine.” I have been tracking down a very elusive representative from the La Tartine Group since February, but she went dark on me. She popped back up to speak with Eater, and it looks like they got smart and changed their company name to LA PANOTIQ. The Guterman family are opening a location in Campbell and will be coming to the Marina next (targeting June). The plan: have an on-site bakery, making breads and viennoiserie and a variety of pâtisserie items; offer lunchtime quiches, panini, salads, and soups; and have some dinnertime options as well (you’ll also be able to get wine and beer with your dinner at the Marina location). The plan is to aggressively expand to multiple locations around the Bay Area, à la La Boulange, it sounds. 2234 Chestnut St. at Avila.
Closures: Susie's Cafe, Tortilla Heights, and King of Falafel's Future Is Limited
Lovers of quirky little diners will be sorry to hear that SUSIE’S CAFE in SoMa is closing (after 84 years!) on April 30th to make way for, you guessed it, condos. My pal Luke Lightning (how’s THAT for a name?) said the landlord decided to sell the funky little shack—it’s right by the Concourse, which is also slated to be converted into condos. Also being sold: everything in the joint, so if you want to pick up a little vintage memorabilia, you should swing by. 603 7th St. at Brannan, 415-431-2177.
Last week, The New Fillmore posted quite an in-depth article about all the changes coming to Upper Divisadero, including the news that the 44-year-old KING OF FALAFEL will be closing in January 2015 when its lease runs out. Sadness. The building’s new owner, Rick Howard (of Harry’s Bar on Fillmore Street), will be renovating the building and giving it a seismic upgrade, and then deciding what to do next (lease the space to a new tenant, or open his own project). There’s a lot more to read in the piece, sure to be of interest to anyone who lives nearby. 1801 Divisadero St. at Bush.
One more item in the article was that the owner of TORTILLA HEIGHTS, Paul Owens, was on the brink of selling it, and one of the interested buyers was Ezra Berman of The Corner Store on Masonic. Ends up Berman (and Miles Palliser) did in fact get the space—Scoop notes that Tortilla Heights has suddenly closed and said farewell on their Facebook page. Alas, the queso creek and margarita river have stopped after a nine-year run. Stand by for what’s next in the space. 1750 Divisadero St. at Bush.
One more piece of tortilla-related news: in case you’re headed into the Macy’s Cellar Marketplace at Union Square and all ready to get your Rick Bayless Frontera Fresco eats on, you’ll discover that it has been replaced with TORTILLA KITCHEN.
Weekend Brunch at Rice Paper Scissors, and Absinthe Opening on Mondays
RICE PAPER SCISSORS is settling in at their new home in Brick & Mortar Music Hall, and as of Saturday April 19th you’ll find weekend brunch at the new location. From 11am-2pm on Saturdays and Sundays, you’ll find a menu with a stronger Chinese influence than their usual choices. Look for some dim sum choices like daikon rice cakes with Chinese sausage and dry-fried chicken wings, as well as egg dishes like a fried egg banh mi and a mapo scramble, plus banh xeo (one of my faves), and sriracha Bloody Marys and Vietnamese coffee; here’s the menu. Cash only! 1710 Mission St. at Duboce, 415-878-6657.
The next time a craving for cassoulet or a Ginger Rogers hits you on a Monday, you’ll be able to indulge in both at ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR, which will be open seven days a week as of Monday April 21st. Kitchen hours will be Mon-Sat 11:30am-12am and Sun 11am-10pm. Look for a menu of classic plats du jour for weekday lunch as well. The lineup is Monday: cassoulet l’Absinthe ($22); Tuesday: salade Lyonnaise ($16); Wednesday: moules frites ($17); Thursday: confit de canard ($19); and Friday: soupe de poisson à la rouille ($23). Served 11:30am-2pm.
Absinthe Brasserie & Bar - 398 Hayes St. San Francisco - 415-551-1590
Blue Plate Is Turning 15 (Whoa!) and Hosting Some Special Wine Dinners to Celebrate
Bernal restaurant BLUE PLATE is celebrating a whopping 15 years in business this May, which is pretty phenomenal. They’ve lined up a series of winemaker dinners to toast the occasion, with wine flights of five tastes for $15. First, on Thursday May 1st, Steve and Chrystal Clifton of Palmina Wines will be in attendance from 5:30pm-10pm, followed by Sean Thackrey Wines on Friday May 2nd from 5:30pm-10:30pm, and Skylark on Saturday May 3rd from 5:30pm-10:30pm. The winemakers will all be on hand, mingling with guests and talking about their wines.
The menu from the talented chef Sean Thomas will be served à la carte, and here’s a sample menu of what to expect. Reservations are available. Let’s toast to this wonderful neighborhood restaurant! Big cheers to co-owners Cory Obenour and Jeff Trenam on 15 years of keeping us wined and dined. 3218 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-282-6777.
Get Ready to Pig Out at Cochon 555 on April 27th
Get ready for a piggy time because COCHON 555 (careful, that is a loud link!) is back and the lineup is porky and delicious. Sunday April 27th at the Ritz-Carlton marks the sixth year that five chefs, five pigs, and five winemakers will come together to compete for the ultimate in porcine glory: being crowned the King or Queen of Porc. Participating chefs this year are Kim Alter (Plum), Mark Liberman (TBD), Michael Rotondo (Parallel 37), Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen), and David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit). Each of the chefs will prepare a whole hog menu for attendees and judges, and then voting will determine the winner. The hogs are all heritage breeds from small-scale farmers, to bring attention to the value and importance (and deliciousness!) of responsible ranching. The winner will go on to compete in the national competition in Aspen.
In addition to the main event, you’ll find a live hog butchering demonstration; a station featuring Goose Island Beer and Hudson Valley Foie Gras (yes, foie!); a bourbon bar featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch, Templeton Rye, and Luxardo; a cheese bar from Mission Cheese; an ice cream social; and more. Yeah, it’s pretty serious. And pretty seriously decadent.
Tickets are $125 for general admission, or $200 for VIP, which includes early admission and more drinks and experiences and other good stuff. It goes from 5pm-8pm (4pm entry for VIP) at the Ritz-Carlton, 600 Stockton St. at Pine.
Sunday Apr 27, 2014 5pm–8pm (4pm entry for VIP) $125 general admission, $200 VIP more info
Updates on the 510: CRO Cafe Expands, Lost & Found Opens April 20th
The coffee experts at teeny-weeny CRO CAFÉ will now have a little more room, East Bay Express reports. The tenants at Temescal Alley, where the café is located, has been playing musical chairs in recent months, and CRO has ended up with a larger home. The new space is still petite (only 240 square feet), but that’s still an expansion. You still won’t find any interior seating, but the coffee cart has been replaced by a counter. The new space will also allow for an expanded menu, including iced coffee on tap (apparently it develops a “head,” like beer) and housemade sodas. They’ve also added a rotating single-origin pour-over coffee from Linea Caffé, in addition to their current Sightglass offerings. There is also more space for food options, including bagels from Authentic Bagel Company, and some grab-and-go items may be coming soon. Temescal Alley, 49th St. at Telegraph, Oakland.
We’ve been tracking this one for a while and now East Bay Dish reports that the day has finally come: LOST & FOUND, a beer garden and restaurant from the team behind The Layover, is opening on Sunday April 20th. Co-owner Christi Vaughn tells us that the large space in downtown Oakland is about 10,000 square feet, including a 7,000-square-foot beer garden, which is the focus of the spot. It will be family-friendly and casual, with counter service and more than 20 beers on tap. The beer garden features picnic tables, complete with outdoor games like cornhole and Ping-Pong, plus a fenced-in area for kids to play. They’re going for a very open, inclusive atmosphere, where laptops and office meetings will be as welcome as couples and families.
On the menu, look for eclectic choices, like elote-style corn on the cob, spicy Korean chicken wings, and sandwiches. They’ll be softly open in April, while they finalize the menu and hours. Their first day, Sunday April 20th, they’ll be open from 2pm-8pm. April hours will be Wed-Sun 10am-10pm, and as of May 1st, hours will be Tue-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am. 2040 Telegraph Ave. at 21st St., 510-763-2040.
Dispatch from the 650: Johnston's Saltbox and Pizzeria Delfina Open
We don’t usually cover much of the action on the Peninsula (we gotta draw the line somewhere), but hey, we figured it was time to toss you 650 folks a marrow bone. First, in San Carlos, JOHNSTON’S SALTBOX is now open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. They’ve got a sunny spot with a large back patio and outdoor seating in front, too. The menu is California seasonal, with salads and sandwiches for lunch, like a kale panzanella and a BLT with avocado. At dinner, there’s roasted halibut, pot roast, and a daily soup. There’s beer and wine, and the patio is dog-friendly, too! Hours are Tue-Fri 11:30am-2pm and 5:30pm-9pm, Sat 10am- 2:30pm and 5:30pm-9pm, Sun 10am-2:30pm. 1696 Laurel St. at St. Francis, San Carlos, 650-592-7258.
Craig and Annie Stoll’s newest outpost is now open, Scoop reports. PIZZERIA DELFINA PALO ALTO is only softly open for lunch right now, but they’ll be adding dinner on Wednesday April 23rd. The menu is similar to their other locations, with hand-stretched mozzarella, seasonal starters, that salad tricolore, and of course their pizzas in all their glory. This location does have a full liquor license, though, so keep your eyes peeled for cocktails from Locanda’s Alex Phillips. Right now, hours are daily 11:30am-4pm. 651 Emerson St. at Forest, Palo Alto, 650-353-2208.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Annual 3-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy
Attention restaurateurs! Don’t miss the Annual 3-Day Super Sale at TriMark Economy Restaurant Fixtures, featuring our lowest prices of the year on restaurant equipment and supplies.
Live restaurant equipment demonstrations, free valet parking, and thousands of items on sale at ridiculously low prices. Save big on commercial refrigeration and cooking equipment, cookware, china, glassware, shelving, cutlery, sinks, worktables, ice machines, food storage, and more. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer your questions.
Thursday-Saturday, April 24th-26th, 8am-5:30pm daily. More information at TriMarkEconomy.com.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Harper & Rye Opening in Former Red Devil Lounge Space
Last September, we were the first to report on who was taking over the RED DEVIL LOUNGE on Polk: Jamal Blake-Williams, previously a bar manager at The Tipsy Pig and Mamacita. Based on a few clues on Twitter, we figured out it’s going to be called HARPER & RYE (named after his business partner’s children).
As you can see, they have uncovered the windows, and will be adding more windows on the Polk Street side that will slide open. There will be a pool table where the stage was (along with some seating), and there’s a mezzanine area as well. The look will feature a lot of wood, and wall textures will add visual interest and contrast. There is a significant amount of seating that has been added, and they want to be able to easily accommodate larger groups. To that end, there will also be more large-format drinking options like punches and batched cocktails. The list itself will be “fairly refined,” offering five or six cocktails that will cover all the main spirits (bourbon, vodka, etc.). The plan is to open in late May. Follow along on Twitter here. 1695 Polk St. at Clay.
Where's Kevin Diedrich Now? He's Consulting at Gaspar!
Good news, my fellow fans of Kevin Diedrich’s bartending ways—he’s currently consulting for the upcoming GASPAR BRASSERIE that will be opening downtown. He shared a few details on what he has in store: “really heavy on Cognac, Calvados, Armagnac, and absinthe cocktails. The menu will also consist of other spirits to balance out the heavy brandy cocktails. Definitely incorporating French aperitifs into many of them. The menu will be really approachable and balanced. I’m trying to keep to the theme of a French brasserie, but with contemporary cocktail twists.”
So yes, we’ll be drinking pastis before you know it. You’ll find Diedrich behind the stick when Gaspar opens sometime in May. One cool addition to the space: as you can see in the rendering, there will be a bar upstairs (in addition to the bar downstairs). Stand by for more on Gaspar in a couple of weeks! 185 Sutter St. at Kearny.
Mercer (from the Mighty Owners) Is Officially Open
Earlier in the year, we wrote about MERCER, the club and event space moving into the former Project One. Owners Sean and Isabel Manchester (Mighty, Chambers Eat + Drink) just officially reopened the space last weekend, with the goal of offering “great music in a casual space with gracious service and no attitude.”
James Downs (Chambers, Sugar House in Detroit) is running the bar, offering “honest drinks made with care…No hand-carved ice, no unicorn tears, and no 20-minute wait while your drink is muddled, strained, and doused with tinctures. Okay, maybe just a few tinctures.”
Since it’s in the design district, it’s also meant to be a place to hang out after work (and not just late into the night). Look for a happy hour every Tue-Fri 5pm-9pm with beer and drink specials (there’s a lounge area), and the beats will starting kicking in on the 222 Hyde TurboSound rig after 9pm, with an eclectic lineup (including J Boogie and Vikter Duplaix and their monthly “Daylight” every fourth Friday). 255 Rhode Island St. at 15th St.
Phantom Coast on Taylor Is Kaput
Last June, we mentioned a big gastropub and brewery coming to one of the city’s sketchier corners (Turk and Taylor): PHANTOM COAST BREWERY. It ends up the project has fallen through—Eater reports the new owners of the building have different plans for the space. Yeah, bummer. So Keith Wilson and Casey Gray (of Tope in North Beach) are on the hunt for a new location. We’ll see if this phantom project finds a new harbor. 65 Taylor St. at Turk.
Get Your Mezcal on at Tres on April 24th
Perhaps you have noticed that mezcal is all the rage these days, and perhaps you’d like to learn more about it. Or perhaps you’re already well versed in mezcal, and relish an opportunity to geek out. Either way, you’ll be stoked at the Vino de Mezcal: An Evening with Erick “Almamezcalera” Rodriguez at TRES on Thursday April 24th from 7pm-10pm.
Erick Rodriguez of Wahaka Mezcal will be pouring small-batch “vino de mezcal” from all over Mexico, so-called because they aren’t from the “mezcal” appellation but are produced in the same way. Rodriguez travels all over Mexico to find these special spirits, and this is a unique opportunity to taste them and talk to him about mezcal and the process of distilling it. The event is raising funds for Fundación Agaves Silvestres, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the reforestation of wild agaves in Mexico. Tickets to the event are $125 and include lots of mezcal as well as bites to pair with the tastes. 130 Townsend St. at Stanford, 415-227-0500.
Thursday Apr 24, 2014 7pm-10pm $125 per person more info
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): 31 Napa Wineries Are Coming to the Ferry Building on April 16th
Join Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant and Napa Valley Vintners on Wednesday April 16th, from 5:30-7:30pm, for the 5th annual Napa Valley Vintners Tasting in the beautiful Grand Hall of the majestic Ferry Building.
This special event is a comprehensive walk-around tasting of more than 75 wines presented by 31 wineries. Meet the wine producers and enjoy some of the most sought-after wines in the world, all for just $45, or $35 if you are a Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Wine Club member. The proceeds of ticket sales benefit CUESA.
There are three ways to purchase a ticket: 1) visit Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant, 2) online, or 3) call 415-391-9400. See you there!
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Get Your Tickets Now for Taste of Potrero on May 8th
Thursday May 8, 2014 7pm-11pm, VIP at 6pm $100 general admission, $200 VIP The NWBLK 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.
Want to check out a bunch of great San Francisco restaurants and bars in one place, and help out a local public school? Look no further than the TASTE OF POTRERO event on Thursday May 8th, which features tons of food from great local restaurants and is a benefit for Daniel Webster Elementary, a public school in Potrero Hill.
First up, six local bars will be mixing signature cocktails using Anchor Distilling spirits, including folks like Comstock Saloon, Trick Dog (in the VIP room only), Beretta, and Third Rail. Plus, more than 30 restaurants will participate (including food trucks), ranging from Hog & Rocks to El Sur food truck to Piccino; here’s the full lineup.
The event is a fundraiser for Daniel Webster Elementary, and it ensures that the students have access to computers, books for their classrooms, and instruction materials. It’s a great cause, and it happens from 7pm-11pm at The NWBLK. Tickets will sell out, so get yours soon. General admission tickets are $100 per person. VIP tickets, which include early admission at 6pm, access to a special tasting room, and a special whiskey tasting from Anchor, are $200. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St.