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May 26, 2014 16 min read

May 27, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: pics or it didn't happen.

May 27, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: pics or it didn't happen.
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This week's tablehopper: pics or it didn't happen.                    

The Little River Inn, all gussied up for Memorial Day. Photo: ©

Welcome back from your three-day weekend—I took mine a day early and headed up to Mendocino with a friend on Friday (this column won’t write itself on Mondays, sadly). The weekend was a fun one, but also a bit conflicting. While it’s absolutely gorgeous up there (seriously, there’s a stunning view everywhere you turn) and we got so lucky with the weather, I also feel like I just emerged from a time warp—one that returned me to 1987 for a few days—in a town that actually wishes it didn’t have to deal with visitors (how very Bolinas). I have been having way too much fun coming up with taglines for the quirky town, like: “Mendocino. It’s not you, it’s us.”

Although I will say hospitality is alive and well at Little River Inn—where we were hosted for two nights and witnessed quite a familial vibe. Seventy-five years in business (and a made-to-order clam chowder that rocks) will do that.

Some high points of the weekend were actually in the journey itself, like stopping at Diavola in Geyserville on the way up and back (that place is always so impossibly good), and I’m digging the cheese (and eggs!) I brought back from Pennyroyal Farm. Also nabbed some good Anderson Valley wines (we visited Roederer Estate and Navarro on the way home—the valley is such a beautiful location). I’ll be sharing more about the weekend soon, it was as comedic as it was scenic.

Enjoy the short week, and I’ll see you Friday. Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

A First Look at Red Dog, Now Open


The main dining room at Red Dog. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The bar at Red Dog. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Red Dog’s private dining room. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland. Remember when we told you about Lauren Kiino’s newest project, RED DOG last week? Well, as promised, here are some photos for your viewing pleasure, as well as some additional details.

Red Dog opened on Friday May 23rd, as a casual spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks and drinks at the bar. It’s a large space, with close proximity to both the Financial District and the ballpark, making it a perfect spot for groups after work or before a game. There is seating for 120 people in the dining room, including a private dining area that accommodates about 16 diners. The bar area seats an additional 20, and 25 will fit on the patio, eventually.

The space is spare and minimal, with large walls of windows, lots of exposed concrete, and a neutral color palette. Pops of red appear throughout, and fun gray tiles define the dining room. A wall separating the private dining area from the rest of the room incorporates glass and vases into the design, bringing some nice natural elements into the hard space. The bar is made of a light hickory, and suspended panels in the ceiling also have wood paneling and incorporate lighting. There is a television above the bar, which normally might feel strange, but with the casual feeling and proximity to the ballpark, it makes a little more sense.

We talked more about the food last week, but here’s a recap: they’re serving brunch, lunch, and dinner, and bar snacks are a strong emphasis. They’ll also be offering a daily happy hour from 3pm-6pm, with both food and drink specials. A full liquor license is coming this week, and here’s the cocktail list they’ll be serving once that happens. In the meantime, the beer and wine list is up and running (er, pouring).

Right now, hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, dinner daily 5pm-10pm, brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3pm, and happy hour daily 3pm-6pm. Breakfast will be added in a couple of weeks, Mon-Fri 8am-10:30am. They’re also still waiting on their patio furniture, but hopefully the patio will be set up and ready to go soon. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-692-0211.

Chino Opening in the Mission (and Slinging Noodles) Wednesday May 28th


Front booth action, and yes, that’s Simon on the shelf. Photo courtesy of Chino.


The former Chino dining room. Photo courtesy of Chino.


Next-level stuffed bao. Photo courtesy of Chino.

Opening this Wednesday for drinks and dinner is CHINO, the playful new Chinese-inspired noodle and dumpling spot from the Tacolicious crew (Joe Hargrave, Sara Deseran, executive chef Antelmo Faria, and director of beverage Mike Barrow). As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the team also includes bar manager Danny Louie (formerly at The Alembic), along with chef de cuisine Dale Arcalas, pastry chef Leo Gan (the man behind the XLB and noodles, who started out in the kitchen of Cecilia Chiang’s Mandarin restaurant), and general manager Eric Stahl.

You will barely recognize the former Andalu space—the team gutted it and have filled it with a bunch of fun details, from the glowing ceiling full of 600 string lightbulbs (look for the hanging pair of hot pink kicks), punchy Chinatown-inspired art on the brick walls by photographer Drew Kelly, some booth seating, and a brilliant design touch: a sunken container for chopsticks and silverware on the tables. There are 66 seats, and the upstairs private dining room will be available very soon and can accommodate 32 seated and 50 standing. Score: it has its own private bar and flat-screen TV too.

The menu is as engaging as the décor, with dishes ranging from “cucumbers, all busted up” (with garlic, daikon, chile de arbol, $4); housemade silken tofu (with chile, mint & x.o.x.o. [hugs & kisses] sauce, $8); and “Nick Balla’s dope ass Japan-o-Mission wings” (fishy-limey hot-and-sour sauce, $9). Take a look at the preliminary opening menu here.

It’s perfect weather for cold sesame noodles with cucumber and summer squash ($6), and yuba salad with cilantro-ginger “salsa verde” and pickled shiitake mushrooms ($9). There will be a variety of soups, from hot and sour to shrimp wonton-noodle soup, plus three kinds of fried rice, a bunch of dumplings (steamed and fried), and bao. The prices are also really affordable (snacks from $4; dumplings and bao from $7; noodles from $6), and they’re using hormone-free meats that have been humanely raised, sustainable fish, and organic vegetables when possible.

Danny Louie’s cocktail menu is really fun (here’s the initial menu), with all cocktails for $11, like the Ho Coc (coriander-infused Flor de Caña rum, black tea, pineapple, lime) and Chinatown Iced Tea (baijiu, almond milk, passion fruit, Lipton tea, lemon). You’ll also find a couple boba cocktails (cool!), like the Boba Colada ($11) with Denizen rum, Chino 5-spice cola, jugo de piña, coconut milk, lime, and green tea. If you want a lighter cocktail (but why?!) or nonalcoholic options, there are some good choices, plus tea, beer, and some food-friendly wines available in three sizes (250ml, 500ml, and 750ml).

Initial hours will have the bar opening at 4pm, with dinner 5:30pm-10pm. Starting on Monday June 2nd, hours will extend to include full lunch and dinner service from 11:30am-1am.

Chino            - 3198 16th St. San Francisco - 415-552-5771

More Presidio News: Another Traci Des Jardins Project, Arguello


A rendering of the future Presidio Officers’ Club. Provided by the Presidio Trust.

The Presidio Trust announced on Wednesday May 21st that in addition to Traci Des Jardins’ new restaurant, The Commissary, there is also a big project moving into The Presidio Officers’ Club. The new project will include another restaurant from Des Jardins, called ARGUELLO, in addition to two floors of education centers, event spaces, a theater, and exhibits.

First, about Arguello (they haven’t decided yet if it will be pronounced with the local but incorrect pronunciation or not. #SFproblems): it will be an authentic Mexican restaurant, with seating for 118 people inside and on the heated patio. During the day, the model will be similar to Des Jardins’ Mijita restaurants, with casual service intended to accommodate various visitors’ needs. In the evenings, it will become a more traditional full-service restaurant. They’ll have a full bar, which will definitely make that heated patio a fun place to be, and will also aim to be family-friendly and comfortable for visitors and locals.

As for the rest of the project, it’s aim will be to educate the public through interactive exhibits and events, including dances, performances, and live music. The Officers’ Club was originally built in 1815, when the Presidio was occupied by the Spanish Army. Then, after several different incarnations and a remodel in 1934, it became famous for its glittering social scene. Officers would mingle with Hollywood stars, including Bob Hope, Veronica Lake, and Joan Crawford. Different areas, including two different event spaces, will offer the public lots of opportunities to learn about the Presidio’s unique history and role in the cultural history of San Francisco. The Presidio Heritage Gallery space will display artifacts and exhibits, and various classrooms and public spaces will provide room for lectures, films, and performances. You can peek at the floor plan here.

The project is slated to open in September of this year, and we’ll let you know when more details emerge. 50 Moraga Ave. at Graham.

New (and Small) Restaurant Coming to the Tenderloin


846 Geary St. Photo from LoopNet.

The Tenderloin is about to get a new restaurant, this time from Kris Esqueda, an alum of Saison and Sons & Daughters. There isn’t a name yet, but the location is at 846 Geary Street, in the same building as the upcoming Tender wine bar. The space is currently being renovated, and the Bon Vivants’ design team will be doing the interior. The 700-square-foot space will seat approximately 25 people, with banquettes and a small bar.

Chef Brett Cooper (of Outerlands and Saison) will be consulting on the opening menu and working closely with Sara Hauman (Bar Agricole, Spain’s Asador Etxebarri), who will also be collaborating on the menu. Food will be served family-style, with a focus on rustic and simple—yet modern—dishes. The wine list will highlight Burgundy and Austria, as well as some small domestic bottles, and a small selection of craft beer by the bottle will also be on offer.

Right now, the hope is to open this summer, though there is still construction to get through, not to mention finalizing a name. (Hat tip/initially noted in Inside Scoop.) 846 Geary St. at Hyde.

All-Female Team at Le Marais, Upcoming Le Marais Bistro Getting Close


Chef Nicolette Manescalchi. Photo courtesy Le Marais.

LE MARAIS is getting closer to opening its expanded restaurant space next door, which will lead to about 45 seats in all, plus 10 outdoor seats. They hope to open the bistro in mid-June for daytime menus, and will start offering bistro-style fare at dinnertime in July.

The team has expanded to include an executive chef, Nicolette Manescalchi, whose background includes working her way up from line cook to executive sous chef at A16 in San Francisco, and she also helped open A16 Rockridge. Her cooking style integrates pristine California ingredients with old-world/Mediterranean cooking traditions and cuisine.

Head pastry chef Emily Riddell has been at Le Marais since March, developing their menu of entremets, tarts, macarons, panna cotta, cakes, and muffins, all filled with farm-fresh fruits from the market. Her background includes schooling at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, as well as Brasserie Perrier in Philadelphia, Le Bec-Fin, The Mildred, and she ran the pastry department at Stephen Starr Events.

Head baker Kate Mooring was head baker at Della Fattoria Bakery in Petaluma, established Parkside Bakery in Stinson Beach, and prior to that was a pastry assistant at Boulevard, Ubuntu in Napa, and A16 in San Francisco. She bakes organic, artisan loaves from scratch each day with natural starters and long fermentations.

2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.

Cawfee Tawk: Paramo Now Open, Equator Coming to SF


The new Paramo café. Photo via Paramo’s Facebook page.


Rendering of Equator’s new SF café exterior. Courtesy of Equator.

As we mentioned a few weeks ago, PARAMO COFFEE (from Robert Myers, of Highwire and Modern Coffee, and Gabe Boscana, formerly of Intelligentsia and Sightglass) was getting close to opening in Four Embarcadero Center. You can read more about their no-nonsense and friendly approach in our previous post. Open Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 8am-2pm, and Sun 10am-3pm. You’ll find Paramo next door to Onigilly and across from Osha Thai. Embarcadero Four, just off Drumm Street and the Sacramento alley that leads to Justin Herman Plaza.

Coming to Mid-Market in the Warfield Building will be a café from Marin’s EQUATOR COFFEES, a women-owned green business. They have enlisted Boor Bridges Architecture to design the café, which will include outdoor seating (those will be some serious ringside seats for all kinds of “engaging” street activity). This will be Equator’s third retail location. (H/t Scoop.) 986 Market St. at 6th St.

Dandelion Chocolate Moving Into a Much Larger Production Space


The new Dandelion Chocolate production building. Photo via Dandelion/Google.

We received news that DANDELION CHOCOLATE will eventually be moving their production into a spacious new building at 298 Alabama Street (at 16th Street), a building that used to be the Howard Quinn printing company. It ends up that there are more than 300 retailers on a waiting list for their bars, so obviously they needed to be able to ramp up production, and soon (although it could take a couple of years, time will tell). The Valencia Street location will remain as is in the meantime.

One more note: you’ll be able to purchase Dandelion Chocolate at their new kiosk in the Ferry Building Marketplace, along with some other goodies, starting June 3rd. They’ll conveniently be across from Blue Bottle Coffee and next to Humphry Slocombe. Congrats to Dandelion on their awesome growth!

Food News Bites and Events: Off the Grid Weekday Lunch, Dine About Town, Eat Drink SF


Off the Grid on McCoppin Street. Photo from Facebook.

OFF THE GRID has a new market in SoMa on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Beginning Wednesday May 28th, you’ll find them on 5th St. at Bluxome, from 11am-2pm. There will be four different trucks each day, including Lobsta Truck, Sanguchon, and Kasa Indian. 5th St. at Bluxome.

From Sunday June 1st until Sunday June 15th, great dining deals return with DINE ABOUT TOWN. You can get either a prix-fixe lunch of two or three courses for $18.95, or a three-course dinner for $36.95. There are more than 100 restaurants participating, including lots of spots that are sure to be hits with out-of-town guests. Check out the views and menus at places like Butterfly, Cliff House, and EPIC Roasthouse, to name just a few. Each restaurant has different hours, and some are serving only lunch or only dinner, so be sure to check out the details here, and don’t forget to contact the restaurants directly for reservations.

Snap up your early bird tickets now for EAT DRINK SF (that’s the festival formerly known as SF Chefs), which is coming to town Friday August 1st through Sunday August 3rd at Fort Mason Center. The full schedule of events will be announced in June, but the Grand Tasting Tent tickets are on sale. They’ll sell out, so now’s the time! Tickets start at $60 for general admission and top off at $175 for VIP tickets, which include early admission and a special lounge with extra nibbles and drinks. Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.

Guest Chef Dinners: Acquerello Celebrates 25 Years with Alumni, Josey Baker at Penrose


ACQUERELLO is turning 25 this July (!), and is hosting six guest chefs in the coming months, all alumni of its kitchen (you can read the full lineup of guest chefs here). The first dinner is on Tuesday June 3rd, with Liza Shaw of Merigan Sub Shop, pastry chef Tim Nugent of the soon-to-open Shakewell Bar & Kitchen in Oakland, and Michael Shwe of Proof Baking. The nine-course prix-fixe dinner is $125 and an additional $75 with paired wines, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Ten percent of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the local nonprofit New Door Ventures.

Local baker Josey Baker has a new book out, Josey Baker Bread, and he’s got a special event coming up to celebrate. On Friday June 6th, join him and Charlie Hallowell at PENROSE, where they’ll be cooking a special menu using Josey’s recipes and stone-ground whole grains. The event will go from 5:30pm-10:30pm, and books will also be available for purchase. No reservations necessary. 3311 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-444-1649.

510 Updates: Encuentro on the Move, Sushi Banzai Replaced By Sanctuary Bistro


The bar at the new Encuentro. Photo courtesy of Linda Braz.


The former Sushi Banzai and future Sanctuary Bistro. Photo from Sushi Banzai website.

Co-owner Linda Braz wrote in to let us know that Oakland wine bar and café ENCUENTRO has moved into a larger space, only six blocks away, and become a full-service restaurant. They are reopening on Tuesday May 27th (that’s today!), with an organic vegetarian and vegan menu, including wine-friendly cheese boards, salads, and new entrées. The wine list focuses on small, organic, and sustainable producers all over the world, along with a small selection of beer. 550 2nd St. at Clay, Oakland, 510-832-9463.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that SUSHI BANZAI in Berkeley has closed. Chef and owner Hide Nagano has decided to retire (they’ve been open since 1989!), and closed his doors with a party for regulars, according to Chowhound. ABC license activity reveals that the new taker for the space is something called SANCTUARY BISTRO, a vegan, organic restaurant from Barry Horton and his wife Jennifer. 1019 Camelia St. at 10th St., Berkeley.


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Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Openings: Harper & Rye Opening Thursday, Hoi Polloi Brewpub Open in Berkeley


The bar at Harper & Rye. Photo courtesy of Nate Valentine.

Opening this Thursday in the former Red Devil Lounge is HARPER & RYE from Jamal Blake-Williams (The Tipsy Pig, Mamacita). Our previous post outlines the new design and layout, and now we have a copy of the cocktail menu from David Ruiz (Padrecito), which is a mix of highballs ($9), cocktails ($10), and punch jars ($38, serving four). There are also 12 beers on tap. Hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-2am and Sat-Sun 2pm-2am. 1695 Polk St. at Clay.

Now softly open in the Lorin District in South Berkeley is HOI POLLOI BREWPUB from owner Viet Vu. They are brewing their own beer, in addition to pouring guest craft beers (and wines)—according to their Facebook page, there’s currently a “session-able IPA and amber on tap.” Music will also be a focus at this neighborhood joint (the full name after all is “Hoi Polloi Brewpub and Beat Lounge”). Hours are Tue 4pm-12am, Wed-Thu 12pm-12am, Fri-Sat 12pm-2am, and Sun 12pm-10pm. 1763 Alcatraz Ave. at Adeline, 510-473-7634.

Otis on Maiden Lane Appears to Be Closed and Under New Ownership


The bar at Otis. Photo via Otis’ Facebook page.

According to some liquor license activity, it looks like OTIS on Maiden Lane has a new owner, and the current Otis website and phone number are both deactivated. We’ll have to see what new owner Joseph Garvey Scott has in store for the space.

[Update: Eater reports Joseph Garvey Scott, “the founder of scavenger-hunt outfit CLASH,” will be opening ROMPER ROOM in late summer, “which will host CLASH’s boozy scavenger events for office groups by day, then transform into a bar with an 85-person capacity in the evening.”] 25 Maiden Ln. at Kearny.

Negroni Week Is Coming Up (June 2nd-June 8th)


From Monday June 2nd through Sunday June 8th, you’ll be seeing a lot of Negronis (and twists on Negronis) being stirred during Negroni Week. Participating bars and restaurants (all over the country!) will be donating a portion of every Negroni sale to a charity of their choice. There’s a passport so you find participating bars on the list, swing by for a Negroni special, and get your passport stamped.

Around town, keep your eyes peeled for The Northern California Negroni Council, the (nc)2, which is comprised of some of our top local bartenders. (I am loving their manifesto.) They’ll be cruising around town in their red Members Only/(nc)2 jackets and supporting participants in the program (i.e., they’ll be drinking), so be sure to tell ‘em they look snazzy.

There will also be Negroni edibles, like a Negroni Pop (popsicle) available at Humphry Slocombe, and Tango & Stache will be serving Negroni pork belly tacos at Holy Water on Wednesday June 4th and at Rye on Thursday June 5th. We’ll have even more details next week on who’s pouring and serving what. See you!

Taste of Mendocino Rolls Into Town on Tuesday June 10th


The Taste of Mendocino event in 2012. Photo © Marc Fiorito, Gamma Nine Photography via Facebook.

If you don’t have time to make it up to Mendocino to taste wine, beer, and more from the county, you can attend Taste of Mendocino on Tuesday June 10th here in the city. A variety of wineries will be present (including Coro Mendocino, Husch Vineyards, and Navarro Vineyards), plus some artisan product purveyors, destination outfitters, brewmasters, chefs, and innkeepers (read the list here). The event is at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Club in the Presidio, 2pm-7pm. Tickets are $50. Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop.


the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

We'll Be Watching Him

Former member of The Police and solo act Sting was spotted at Poggio in Sausalito last Saturday having drinks.

America's Next Top Breakfast

Highly quotable model and television personality Tyra Banks was spotted at Poggio on Saturday May 17th, having breakfast. She was looking gorgeous, says our spotter.

Leaving La Mar

Nicolas Cage was spotted yesterday at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, where he was enjoying a beautiful day on the sunny patio with his wife and child.

Our spies report that they had a variety of dishes and two bottles of Vegas Sicilia Tempranillo from Spain.

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