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Aug 4, 2014 19 min read

August 5, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: mumble mumble.

August  5, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: mumble mumble.
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This week's tablehopper: mumble mumble.                    

Zero Zero’s bite at Eat Drink SF: compressed melon and caciocavallo cheese skewer with nepitella, extra-virgin olive oil, and sea salt. Photo: Rebecca Hopkins.

A big congrats to everyone who pulled off this past weekend’s Eat Drink SF event. While the new location at Fort Mason was a bit of a schlep, there was so much more room to mill around and not feel such a crush of humanity. Nicely done! I managed to get in a few hours at the Friday night grand tasting tent, but unfortunately I cut my weekend extravaganza short with a really stupid self-inflicted wound. An excruciating one, actually. Let me just say it involved a multitasking woman who was rushing around her apartment, and managed to collide with the edge of a door frame while her Sonicare was going in the back of her mouth. Ahhhhhh! Yeah, I am way out of commission right now. I’d take last week’s injury of burned pizza mouth 10 times over this.

Since I can barely open my mouth (this, see, is a problem!), I’m basically subsisting on orzo in broth, fruit smoothies, chia pudding, soft scrambled eggs, and I just have to say I am LIVING for Instacart’s new delivery service from Bi-Rite Market: spoonfuls of their smoked whitefish salad and matcha ice cream for the win. I’m hoping to upgrade to a bite of burrata in a day or so, and I’m going to try the pie shake at Chile Pies & Ice Cream this afternoon. (I have a feeling this will be a highlight of my day.)

This could actually be a useful article I should write: The Gourmand’s Guide to Eating Well (When You Can’t Really Eat). So if anyone has any tips on good eats after they had oral surgery or an accident, I’m all ears. A friend told me he blended a burrito out of desperation for real food, you gotta love it. (And I’m taking arnica and Bromelain to help with swelling, I have a pal to thank for that tip.)

This past week I have been hearing plenty of self-inflicted wound stories when people were rushing, ranging from running into a stop sign while calling a cab and breaking their nose, to a friend answering a phone call while he had a Q-tip in his ear (ow ow ow). I feel (slightly) less idiotic with the shared stories, but let this be a cautionary tale: never leave the bathroom sink while brushing your teeth. Ever. Just don’t.

Since I wasn’t able to really document Eat Drink SF this weekend, I’m happy to be running a dear friend’s image for today’s intro instead—thanks for the documentation by proxy, Rebecca Hopkins! (The subject matter also seems to jive with my current condition, ha.) And an extra-special shout-out to Dana Eastland, my right-hand woman, for always massively helping me get this column up and out, but especially today.

Not sure if I’ll be in your inboxes on Friday or not, time will tell if I can deal. If not, have a fantastic time at Outside Lands, everybody!

Ciao and meow. Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Pink Zebra SF from Jesse Koide, Coming This October


Pink Zebra powah. Photo via Pink Zebra’s Instagram.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend pointed me to an upcoming pop-up by Jesse Koide (of Mission Chinese Food SF) in Copenhagen called PINK ZEBRA SF (the name is taken from the ever-present pink zebra headband that he wears). But a recent press release points to a much bigger story: while he’ll be doing the (now sold-out) pop-up at Bento Izakaya in Copenhagen in conjunction with Mikkeller Beer and Chinorocks X Joachim7inch from August 18th-23rd, it’s actually a trial run for his own new concept here in SF, which will open in October. Scoop adds Koide will be opening in Tao Yin, and taking a page from the MCF-Lung Shan playbook, it will be a shared restaurant and kitchen space.

Before cooking for MCF, Koide has also worked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and The Alembic; he will be working with Rio Sakai at Pink Zebra. The Japanese-Mediterranean menu will reportedly be available five nights a week, with an omakase menu served at a sushi counter too. 3515 20th St. at San Carlos.

Over at MCF, Chris Kiyuna of Mission Bowling Club will be taking over, working with Danny Bowien on the menu.

Opening Report: Plin


The namesake agnolotti al plin…with chicken skin! Photo: ©


A tasting plate of the grilled Spanish octopus. Photo: ©

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a preview dinner of the newly opened PLIN, with editorial assistant extraordinaire Dana Eastland in tow. She covered quite a few details about the space in the last tablehopper issue, but I’d like to add that the space now feels much more comfortable and stylish than it has ever been. It has a soothing palette and a clean and contemporary look, courtesy of Alexander’s mother, Joanne Alioto. The addition of the booths creates a nice break in the space, and the tyranny of the conduit is gone. Also, all the flatware, dishes, and stemware were well chosen and chic.

You can look at chef-owner Alexander Alioto’s menu here (although they are playing the House of Prime Rib game and not listing prices on their website). In addition to his well-known raviolo uovo are the namesake agnolotti al plin, with an earthy chicken filling and rich demi-glace, among other housemade pastas. Some lighter dishes include black bass carpaccio, while heartier dishes include well-prepared grilled Spanish octopus, and baby Manila clams and white shrimp over polenta. Some vegetables include roasted beets with ricotta cheese and an enjoyably lighter version (read: not loaded with breading) of eggplant Parmesan. All the dishes will be served as small plates (the ones pictured here were tasting plates for the preview dinner.)

As we mentioned before, there’s a full bar, with some Italian-influenced cocktails (you can check out the list here), and look for a well-selected wine list (with very food-friendly by-the-glass selections) from Master Sommeliers Nunzio Alioto Jr. (Alexander’s father) and Chuck Furuya. The night of the test dinner, we also got a preview of their special reserve list: they were pouring from a Methuselah of 1979 BV George de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley cabernet, in honor of Alex’s birth year (a very gracious offering to guests that evening).

Once again, hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.

Openings and Reopenings: Joey and Pat's Is Back, Urchin Now Open, Royal Cuckoo Market, More


The interior at Urchin. Photo from Twitter.


Sweet polenta with blueberries at Talbot Café. Photo from Facebook.

After a car smashed into their storefront earlier this year, it looks like Mission Italian bakery JOEY AND PAT’S has reopened! Congratulations to everyone; let’s eat some Italian cookies and celebrate. 2499 Folsom St. at 21st St., 415-655-3918.

Eater reports that URCHIN BISTROT from the Ame and Terra team is now open in the former Wo Hing General Store space in the Mission. The menu by chef Michael Morrison is all about updated French bistro classics, and the cocktail list from Rafael Jimenez Rivera also takes inspiration from France. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, with possible plans for brunch and lunch coming soon. 584 Valencia St. at Valencia, 415-861-1844.

After our repeated calls and emails went unreturned, it looks like Uptown Almanac got confirmation that the team behind the Royal Cuckoo is opening a store on 19th Street in the Mission called ROYAL CUCKOO MARKET. It will offer liquor choices, as well as some eclectic grocery items, including breakfast goods, ice cream, and other “random items,” according to co-owner Paul Miller. Eventually, they want to offer sandwiches and espresso too. They hope to open next week. 3368 19th St. at Mission, 415-550-6903.

Hoodline reports that TALBOT CAFÉ in Hayes Valley has reopened after closing for a face-lift. In addition to some new paint and cosmetic upgrades, they are also now serving Sightglass coffee and some new menu items. They’ve even got a Saturday brunch, with savory polenta and waffles. Hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm and Sat 8am-3:30pm. 244 Gough St. at Hickory, 415-553-4595.

Changes and Closures: Minako and Pal's Are Moving, La Movida Update, Pica Pica Castro Is Closed


The exterior of Minako’s current Mission Street location. Yelp photo by Jaydee B.

A tipster wrote in to let us know that MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE is moving this fall. Their lease is up this year, and it appears they won’t be able to stay in the current location. But there’s a silver lining! They are already looking at a location at South Van Ness and 14th Street and will likely be moving sometime before November 1st. We’ll update when we have more information. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

After about a year doing the lunchtime service at La Movida, sandwich spot PAL’S TAKEAWAY is returning to its original home in Tony’s Market, Scoop reports. The market’s proximity to San Francisco General Hospital makes it a better location for the takeout operation, and upgrades have been made at Tony’s to keep it legal with the Health Department. They’ll be back at Tony’s as of Monday August 11th. 2751 24th St. at Hampshire, 415-203-4911.

In the meantime, we had a chance to catch up with Michael Meadows, the owner of LA MOVIDA. He says that with Pal’s moving back down the street, they’ll try out other guest chefs and do more lunch pop-ups. They are also planning to offer their own lunch menu, with dinner menu items reworked for the lunch crowd, along with items like sandwiches, salads, and soup, available for dine-in or takeout. He plans to relaunch lunch the week of August 18th. 3066 24th St. at Folsom, 415-282-3066.

According to Castro Biscuit, the PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN location in the Castro is officially closed. A sign went up a few months ago that said the space was closed for repairs, but it now appears that the newest location has closed and is up for lease. Fortunately, you can still get their tasty arepas at the Valencia and 15th Street location. 3970 17th St. at Market.

SPQR Has Special Australian Winter Truffles, Summery Sunday Supper at Cotogna


An Australian black truffle. Photo by The Truffle & Wine Co. via SPQR.

It might not be truffle season here in the Northern Hemisphere, but in Australia, where it is currently winter, the delicious morsels are in full force. SPQR is offering a five-course Australian black truffle tasting menu every Tuesday through Friday night, until the end of August. Look for a truffle-stuffed game hen, with chanterelle, savoy cabbage, and puffed rice, and for dessert there’s a torta di zucchini with nectarine, vanilla mascarpone, and truffle gelato. Yes, truffle gelato. Here’s the whole menu. The dinner is $108 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $62, not including tax and tip. Reservations required.

Every Sunday, COTOGNA hosts a Sunday Supper, with a prix-fixe menu for $55 and wine pairings for $35. You can check out the upcoming summery lineup here, and while they all look tempting, the one I’d definitely be making a reservation for is on Sunday August 24th, with corn chowder, smoked ham cappelletti, and fried chicken, waffles, and ribs, plus Neapolitan ice cream for dessert! Supper is served from 5pm-9:30pm.

Cotogna            - 490 Pacific Ave. San Francisco - 415-775-8508

Summer Festival Update: More on Outside Lands, Noise Pop's 20th Street Party


The scene at last year’s 20th Street Block Party. Photo from website gallery.

Outside Lands is coming up on August 8th-10th, and in addition to lots of musical acts, the opportunities to stuff your face just keep coming. In addition to all the choices we mentioned in June, you can also now check out GastroMagic (you have to use a special voice when you say it), a special stage with demonstrations, performances, and events with chefs (both local and far-flung) from Chefs Feed. My favorite? The Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia and Brenda’s French Soul Food (twerking audience members will be awarded with beignets, holla!).

Here’s the lineup, and be sure to note there’s BaconLand within the GastroMagic area, where you can sample bacon from purveyors like Fatted Calf and Tennessee’s Benton’s Bacon. And of course drinks will be available, including choices from Local Edition, Hotsy Totsy, and Alembic. Cheers!

Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are taking over 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 23rd for their annual 20th Street Block Party. From 12pm-6pm, the free festival will stretch from Bryant to Harrison, with food, music, and drinks. You can check out the lineup of musicians here, and plot some of the tasty things you want to eat and drink at participating neighborhood spots like Flour + Water, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and Trick Dog—here’s the full list. The festival is free to attend, with food and drink available for purchase. This year, there are also VIP tickets available for $95 per person, which includes access to a special lounge above, bites from Salumeria, beer, wine, a T-shirt, and more. Oh, and don’t forget the after-party at Public Works.

Third Annual Oyster Bash at B Restaurant Coming Up Saturday August 23rd


Oysters on the half shell at Oyster Bash 2013. Photo from Facebook.

Don’t miss unlimited oysters on Saturday August 23rd at B RESTAURANT & BAR. From 1pm-4pm, you can enjoy oysters galore (we’re talking 12,000 oysters!) raw on the half shell, grilled, steamed, and fried into po’boy sliders. At 2:30pm, there’s even an oyster shucking contest, and the winner gets unlimited oysters at B Restaurant & Bar for a year (contest open to the first 20 people to register on-site). Tickets are $45 in advance or $65 at the door and include oysters only. Beverages will be available for purchase. 720 Howard St. at 4th St., 415-495-9800.

               Saturday Aug 23, 2014 1pm-4pm $45 in advance, $65 at the door more info

Check Out Bayview's Pop-Up Community Market


A jerk chicken plate from Auntie April’s. Photo from Facebook.

The wonderful Bayview Underground Food Scene Pop-Up Community Market is not only a great place to shop, but you can also get dinner while you’re there. Comfort Foods National, CDXX, and Auntie April’s will all be in attendance (plus breads from Earl’s Bread and Fox & Lion), serving delicious food along with live music, wine, beer, and even mead made right here in San Francisco. The market is every first and third Thursday of the month, from 5:30pm-8pm at Pier 70. Don’t miss it! Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.

510 Tasty News Bites: Another Doughnut Dolly, Perdition Smokehouse Weekend Lunch, Boot and Shoe at Ordinaire, More


The meat plate from Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: ©

An announcement on Facebook and a story in the East Bay Express share the very good news that DOUGHNUT DOLLY is opening their second location on Wednesday August 6th. The new Berkeley outpost will be similar the one in Temescal Alley, with four filling flavors for the fresh doughnuts, coffee, and (this is new) espresso. There are also some new food items in the works. 1313 9th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

According to an announcement on Facebook, PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE is now open at 12pm on Saturday and Sunday, giving you some extra time to enjoy their very fantastic back patio and beer garden. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12am. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-900-5858.

Observant Chowhounders caught the news that pizza from Oakland’s BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE is now available at ORDINAIRE. From 5:30pm-10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can enjoy a pizza with a glass of wine from their lovely collection, just down the street from where it comes out of the oven. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-629-3944.

SF Weekly reports that Japanese curry shop MURACCI’S is opening their third location in Berkeley, near the UC campus. They aren’t disclosing the exact location at the moment, but they are going to have more space and will add a few more menu items. They hope to open in mid-August.

Just around the block (but very very different) from the new Doughnut Dolly, SANCTUARY BISTRO opened in Berkeley last Friday, according to Eater. It’s a vegan and gluten-free café, with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Menu choices include gluten-free waffles, mushroom- and walnut-stuffed poblano peppers with rice, slaw, and mole, and mix-and-match soups and salads at lunch. Take a look at the menus here. 1019 Camelia St. at 10th St., Berkeley, 510-558-3381

Burlingame News: Fattoria e Mare Opens, Vinyl Room Gets a New Look


You like booths? Fattoria e Mare has booths for you. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick updates that crossed our desk for you 650 dwellers: now open in the former Kuleto’s Trattoria in Burlingame is FATTORIA E MARE, offering Venetian cuisine with California influences. The chef-owner is Pablo Estrada, most recently at Rose Pistola (since 1998!), so expect lots of seafood (fritto misto, seafood stew, grilled local salmon), plus housemade charcuterie and salumi, pasta, and pizza from the wood-burning oven. Cocktails are available, plus many wines by the glass, and there’s a happy hour from 4pm-6:30pm. Live jazz performances are Wed-Sat 7pm-10pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm. 1095 Rollins Rd. at Cadillac Way, Burlingame, 650-342-4923.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a spot to party, VINYL ROOM has undergone a serious transformation courtesy of Craige Walters from C. Walters Design. Expect a retro look, with vintage barstools, new booths in the lounge, and an art wall with 50 panels of imprinted artwork of iconic album covers. Sound, lighting, flooring, mirrors, paint, and artwork all got updated as well. In August, Vinyl Room will open daily from 5pm-2am. 221 Park Rd. at Howard, Burlingame, 650-347-7656.


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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

A Sneak Peek at Longitude, Opening Soon in Oakland


The bar at Longitude. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.


The interior. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.


The East African-style hut at Longitude. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.


Drinks at Longitude. Far right is the Navy Grog, in custom glassware. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.


The Longitude mai tai. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.


The pupu platter for two at Longitude. Photo by Gabriel Hurley.

A report by Dana Eastland. We broke the news back in March that downtown Oakland is getting a new spot for tropical-inspired cocktails and spiritous adventure. It’s called LONGITUDE and comes from Suzanne Long, a tropical drink expert and rum educator who was previously the bar manager at Forbidden Island in Alameda. She’s created a very special interior with the help of Bamboo Ben, one of the best-known experts on tropical and tiki-style design. The theme of the bar is adventure, with a focus on equatorial and tropical parts of the world, and is reflected in the decor, menu, and cocktails.

First, the space. It’s a stunner, with layers of thoughtful elements that transport you to an exotic location. The bar is made of two slabs from one monkeypod tree from the big island of Hawaii, with lush green leather stools. The back bar has some beautiful stained glass, along with a woven panel, bamboo, and a backlit bottle display. Low-slung, green leather seating can be found throughout the space, along with raw wood textures, bamboo, and live plants. In one corner, a specially built East African-style hut is on a dais with animal print flooring and a unique woven canopy (this space will be available for groups to reserve). On the walls, there are art pieces from around the world, including masks from the Masai people of Kenya, and original works from Papua New Guinea, Brazil, and Indonesia.

In addition to the lush visual environment, they’ve also installed a custom sound system with 22 individually controlled speakers throughout the space. Each speaker is controlled by a unique microcomputer, and they all play actual field recordings from around the world. Because of the high-tech system, the speakers will all work together to create a layered sound. Fancy, right?

The spirits selection is expansive, with a focus on rum and whiskey from around the world. There are about 150 different bottles of each, with rums hailing from the Caribbean, of course, as well as unexpected locations like India, Paraguay, and Thailand. With the whiskey list, Long hopes to expand her audience’s view of the spirit, with choices extending far beyond Scotland and the United States (though of course they are well represented). There is a broad selection of Japanese whisky, as well as whiskeys from India, France, Belgium, and Australia. Those of you wanting to geek out can check out the full spirits list here. There will be flights available, or if you really want to go to the next level, you can sign up to try all of them in the Adventurer’s Club. Your name will be stored in a library card file, and they’ll keep track of each one you try. Anyone who tries all of them will receive a prize and VIP benefits, and of course major bragging rights.

In addition to the spirits selection is a drink list with an eye toward the classic tiki drinks of the mid-20th century, with classics like the mai tai (an Oakland native, of course) and a twist on the daiquiri, served in an ice shell. There are also some grogs, including the Navy Grog, with three different kinds of rum, lime, grapefruit, and spices served in a special glass that you can purchase to take home. Here’s the cocktail menu for your perusing pleasure.

The food comes from chef Laine Steelman, whose menu offers a few large plates inspired by classic British pub fare, like the ploughman’s lunch with cheeses, pickles, chutney, apples, and bread; or the bangers and mash (a vegetarian option is available, which is nice). Small plates dominate the menu, though, and have the same international, adventurous spirit as the rest of the endeavor. You’ll find riffs on midcentury “exotic” foods, like a housemade crab Rangoon, fried plantains, and a pupu platter with coconut shrimp, samosas, teriyaki beef skewers, and more (no rumaki, though, ha-ha). Here’s the full menu. While you’re checking out all those menus, be sure to note the illustrations of animals too. Those were drawn by Suzanne’s mom, Mary Long, who gifted them to Longitude. The originals are framed and hang in the space.

Right now, they are still ironing out some last-minute details, but Longitude should be open for business very, very soon. We’ll let you know just as soon as they do, or you can follow along on Facebook for updates! Hours will be Tue-Thu and Sun 4pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4pm-1:30am, closed Mon. 347 14th St. at Webster, 510-465-2008.

Bubbles and Bites (with Boxing Room and Arlequin), Mikkeller Bar Anniversary


It’s Champagne o’clock. Photo: ©

Fans of quality bubbles will want to pony up for this Monday-night event, Bubbles & Bites, on August 18th at BOXING ROOM with Arlequin Wine Merchant. There will be more than 40 sparkling wines and Champagnes (Pol Roger, Agrapart, Pierre Moncuit, and more in the maison!), and executive chef Justin Simoneaux will be creating Southern-style bites, like fried green tomatoes, rabbit rillettes, and serving oysters (and you’ll be able to hit a buffet for larger plates of Cajun-Creole dishes, like gumbo, jambalaya, and smoked pork po’boys). 6pm-9pm. Advance tickets are $68, $75 at the door. All tickets include wine tasting, food, tax, and gratuity. Order tickets by calling Boxing Room: 415-430-6590.

This Saturday August 9th is MIKKELLER BAR SF’s Spontanniversary Celebration. They are turning one, and you know they’ll be tapping some special beers (they say “expect lots of spontaneous/wild ales and more from some of the best breweries in the world”—they are listing a few on the event link now). That night also marks the debut of a new dish from their kitchen. It’s not a ticketed event, so just come on by!

Boxing Room            - 399 Grove St. San Francisco - 415-430-6590

A Good Old-Fashioned Pop-Up with SlingBAR


The old-fashioned from Hog & Rocks. Photo from Facebook.

Did you know that Michael Lazar and Hog & Rocks have a mobile bar that serves old-fashioneds and other fabulous cocktails? Well, they do, and it’s called SlingBAR. If that’s not enough booze news for you, here’s some more: they’re popping up at Stable Café on Saturday August 16th. From 6pm-9pm you can stop by for a cocktail, as well as bites from Hog & Rocks chef Robin Song. Think flatbreads, summer salads, and oysters. Tickets are $30, and include six chips, redeemable for food and drink. Additional chips can be purchased for $5 each. 2128 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-552-1199.


the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Srijith Gopinathan and the Hundred-Foot Journey

Chef Srijith Gopinathan of Campton Place has been consulting with actor Manish Dayal on his new film, The Hundred-Foot Journey. Apparently, the actor worked hard to portray a chef in a convincing way, and he and Gopinathan had many conversations about Indian food and kitchens. For more information on the film and Dayal’s work preparing for the role, check out this interview in Vanity Fair.

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