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Oct 6, 2014 27 min read

October 7, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: this is how we do it.

October  7, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: this is how we do it.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: this is how we do it.                    

Mini lobstah rolls at the Hamel Family Wines Badger Grab party. Photo: ©

I hope you have been taking full advantage of this gorgeous weather, and even if you haven’t, I have been doing it for both of us, because I love you hard like that. Thursday night included margaritas and the awesome empanadas they make (and chicharrones de carne!) on the roof at El Techo de Lolinda—what a perfect night for a party.

After I posted my column on Friday (did you read my review about the tasty vittles at The Farmer and the Fox in St. Helena?), I scooted up to Sonoma (actually, I sat in traffic for two hours, semantics) for the party to celebrate the new Williams-Sonoma landmark location. What a gorg and balmy evening on their back terrace, with SPQR’s Matthew Accarrino and Flour + Water’s Thomas McNaughton cooking up a feast, and that Duskie Estes makes a killer bourbon ice cream. Thanks for the bubbles, Gloria Ferrer!

Saturday started with brunch with Sheana Davis at her welcoming shop right off the plaza, The Epicurean Connection. Her housemade burrata for brunch, yes! We headed to the new tasting facility and house for Patz & Hall, tasting through their single-vineyard designate chardonnays and pinot noirs, delightful. Next: the Hamel Family Wines party, which was over the top. Lobster rolls from Barbara Lynch and other East Coast-inspired vittles, and hello, rosé all day. Way to go, Sonoma, on the killer tasting rooms.

The weekend finished with dim sum with grandma, sis, and my cousin at Koi Palace (we wrecked so many dumplings) and Sunday evening was picture-perfect weather for the sold-out CUESA Sunday Supper. Such a beautiful evening, what a fabulous gathering! And now, this week needs to be all about the gym.

I have some exciting news about a tablehopper event this month, check it out! Today’s column is so huge, I can’t even handle it. Dana and I cranked this mofo out, we hope you enjoy it.

Toodles! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Get Your Ticket for a Truly Tablehopping Night (to Mason Pacific, Stones Throw, and Verbena) with Cover, a New Payment App


The exterior of the former Mason Pacific. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.


The buttermilk fried chicken at Mason Pacific. Photo: Nick Vasilopoulos.


The bar at Stones Throw. Yelp photo by Michael U.


The grilled octopus okonomiyaki at Stones Throw. Photo: ©


The interior at Verbena. Photo by Carmen Troesser.



I am very excited to announce a fun tablehopping night on the town in conjunction with Cover, the clever app that allows you to pay and split your bill at participating restaurants without waiting for your server to bring it to you. (More on that in a moment.)

But first, the event’s details! On Wednesday October 29th, we’re going to explore three hot SF restaurants that all use Cover in one night, a total tablehopping feast! We are going to start the night at 6pm at MASON PACIFIC in their charming bar area, where we’ll begin the evening with some appetizers (trust me, chef Sean McTiernan’s fabulous buttermilk fried chicken will be on the table) and a glass of wine (either a sparkling rosé, or you can choose from the Copain chardonnay or mourvedre/syrah). We’ll leave at 6:45pm and walk about six blocks to our second destination (ladies, be sure to leave the monster heels at home!).

Next stop: 7pm at STONES THROW, where we’ll get chef Jason Halverson’s fantastic grilled octopus okonomiyaki (have you had this dish yet?!) and a couple of other bites and beverages. Delicious. Look at that, it’s 7:45pm! Time to boogie.

Last stop: a short jaunt to VERBENA, where we’ll go upstairs at 8pm to their private mezzanine for chef Sean Baker’s fabulous dessert course (currently being discussed: the Heretic porter cake with candy cap ice cream, pumpkin juice caramel, and Cascade hops), and a paired nightcap from the bar. Cheers!

It’s going to be a very intimate evening, with room for only 16 diners in all. And here’s the best part: since Cover has you covered, the entire night is only $65, all-inclusive (they’re picking up the rest of the bill). I know, sweet!

So, how do you get to go? First, you need to send an email to me, and please say “Cover Dinner” in the subject line. You can only reserve for two people total—please include one or both names you’d like to put down. We’ll need you to download the app, and once we confirm that we have room for you, we’ll email you and let you know you’re in! Your credit card on file with Cover will be charged $65. The event fee is nonrefundable, so don’t flake! (There is the possibility we can find someone else to go in your stead and buy your ticket if you can’t make it after all, but no guarantees. We can discuss.)

If you think you’d like more than one beverage per place, you’ll have the option to purchase additional glasses of wine or cocktails throughout the evening and pay with Cover. Cheers, you partier.

If you’re vegan, have food allergies, or don’t drink, this may not be the best event for you since we will be dining family style—please consider checking out another tablehopper event in the future that will be able to accommodate you better. Thanks!

Here’s one more bonus: have you been curious about Cover but haven’t tried it yet? Well, Cover is offering tablehopper readers a special code for $25 off their first meal with Cover! (Except for this event, which is a separate thing, you sly fox!) Just download the app and use code “tablehopper” for $25 credit at Cover—participating restaurants like the three at our event, and many others (here’s the Bay Area list of restaurants and here’s the New York list). Dine with a friend and you can experience how easy it is to split the bill and tip your server.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to dining with you on the 29th! Cheers!

Check Out the Stylish New Location for Marlowe, Now Open on Brannan


The dining room at Marlowe, the perfect setting for brunch. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.


Pea pancakes at Marlowe. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.


Marlowe’s new bar. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

Just last week, Anna Weinberg, James Nicholas, and chef-partner Jennifer Puccio got to welcome MARLOWE into its new home in Loretta Keller’s former Coco500 space (it just moved up 4th Street from Townsend). The space has doubled in size to 80 seats, gained a cute enclosed patio, and now has a full bar.

Another big addition is pastry chef Emily Luchetti, who is now chief pastry officer for the Big Night restaurant group, which includes Marlowe, Park Tavern, and the Cavalier. The COCOcup may be gone, but just wait until you try Luchetti’s chocolate-dipped peanut butter nuggets, rolled in Guittard sprinkles. (Paying homage to Coco500, Marlowe will keep the almond coffee vacherin on the menu.)

You can take a look at chef Jennifer Puccio’s savory lunch and dinner menus, which includes more bar bites than the original location (perfect to go with that cocktail you’re sippin’), like English pea pancakes with smoked salmon and chive crème fraîche, or grilled calamari and chorizo. Classics like the warm deviled egg (with aged provolone, pickled jalapeño, and bacon) fortunately remain. Mains range from pan-seared scallops with bacon-wrapped asparagus, English peas, and wild mushrooms in a white wine cream sauce to that fab burger of theirs (of course).

Designer Ken Fulk has continued with the restaurant’s original “butcher shop” inspiration (the restaurant was named after Weinberg’s great-grandfather’s butcher shop in Boston). There are a variety of seating areas, from the tables with bistro chairs and a tobacco leather banquette to marble tables with brushed industrial-looking chairs (and vintage cookware hanging from an overhead rack). It’s full of tiled surfaces, with a bright and crisp look during the day. At night, the marble bar shimmers, and the clean look reminded me a bit of Schiller’s in New York. The patio is damn cute; try to snag a spot during this warm weather we’re having.

Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, dinner Sun-Wed 5:30pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. The bar is open with a limited menu Mon-Fri 2:30pm-5:30pm. Coming soon: weekend brunch, and a late-night burger window!

Marlowe            - 500 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-777-1413

About to Open: Arguello from Traci Des Jardins in the Presidio Officers' Club


Arguello’s dining room. Photo: ©Henrik Kam 2014.


The bar at Arguello. Photo: ©Henrik Kam 2014.


The patio at Arguello. Photo: © Henrik Kam 2014.

Local talent Traci Des Jardins has been busy with the opening of her new restaurant—with the Presidio Trust and with support from Bon Appétit Management Company—in the Presidio, The Commissary, and now there’s her second project opening Wednesday October 8th: ARGUELLO. While Commissary is more Cal-Spanish, Arguello is all about home-style and authentic Mexican cooking, featuring many recipes from Des Jardins’ abuelita (it will be different than Mijita’s menu). You can take a look at the menu here. They’ll even be making tortillas on an outdoor comal.

Like at Commissary, she is joined by Culinary Director Robbie Lewis. There’s also a full bar with craft cocktails from Enrique Sanchez (La Mar, Tres Agaves), with 50 tequilas.

It’s opening in the landmark Presidio Officers’ Club, with 118 seats, plus a heated patio with a fire pit and sheltering wall, so don’t let a windy day intimidate you. You can come by for a sunny lunch (the menu is casual and easy) and things ramp up a bit more for dinner.

Interior designer Laura Cook designed a space that feels modern, but still has many original fixtures, and Studio Terpeluk milled the 125-year-old Douglas fir used for the bar—it was salvaged from a historic Presidio building. And in case you want to brush up on your SF history, the restaurant is named after Luis Antonio Arguello, who served as commander in the Presidio from 1806 until 1822, when he became the first Mexican governor of Alta California. 50 Moraga Ave. at Arguello, 415-561-3650.

Jesse Koide's Pink Zebra Opens in the Mission's Tao Yin on Friday October 10th


The exterior of Tao Yin. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Fans of chef Jesse Koide (well known at Mission Chinese Food for his ever-present pink zebra headband) will be happy to know they can find him at his new venture, PINK ZEBRA, a restaurant within Tao Yin in the Mission (sound like a familiar setup?). The opening is officially on Friday October 10th, serving dinner from 5:30pm-11pm (Pink Zebra’s hours will be Thu-Mon 5:30pm-10:30pm, and they’ll stay open until 11pm on Fri and Sat nights—look for potential later hours in time). Tao Yin will have five of their own tables and still offer delivery; Pink Zebra diners will have about 40 seats, and there’s a sushi counter inside too (currently with room for five, but it will get new seats with room for eight soon).

They started with a mini service last week, serving yakitori cooked on binchotan, pickles, Mt. Lassen ocean trout oshizushi (pressed sushi), and menchi katsu donburi. While it sounds pretty Japanese, look for some of Koide’s Italian-Mediterranean cooking skills, techniques, and flavors to appear on his menus too (he has also cooked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and the Alembic). He doesn’t want to be constrained to one cuisine—look for some creative and flavorful additions.

The omakase experience at the counter will range from $65-$85, and will be casual but still featuring quality ingredients. There will be nigiri sushi courses balanced with mid-courses, tsunemono, and the like.

The dining room menu will start with eight or so dishes. A couple larger entrées Koide mentioned include a riff on the dish he served at the Pink Zebra pop-up in Copenhagen: thin layers of pork katsu, with Gruyère in between (yes!), and then it’s fried in panko, and served with his spin on a smoky tonkotsu sauce (which has ramps he cured in brown miso and cold smoked). Another entrée is white sea bass with a Sicilian bread salsa, and look for some vegetables on the side, and maybe some ikura on top (again, yes!). Dishes will be less than $20—more in the $14-$16 range, and they are designed for sharing.

These first few weeks are definitely a soft opening—it’s not like a normal restaurant when you have your own kitchen, crew, and storage. They’ll make adjustments as things progress. Koide just wants to cook good food and make people happy, and is excited for this new venture! 3515 20th St. at Mission.

A Few Upcoming Projects on Mission Street


The exterior of Specchio (then Piattini, now Buffalo Club). Yelp photo by Thomas R.

We got a call just in time for today’s column from Scott McDonald, one of the partners of the upcoming MISSION BRASSERIE, which is moving into a former corner store on Mission. The partners on the project are McDonald and Alex Kamprasert (the two own Noeteca together), along with Yulianto Liu. Turns out, they’ve actually had the space for almost a year, but this is a slow process and they’ve only recently been able to apply for their liquor license.

Craige Walters is behind the design (he also did Romper Room, Fable, and Golden Gate Tap Room), and the 2,800-square-foot space will include both bar and table seating. McDonald also mentions plans for small-production on-site brewing, so the bar will definitely have a beer focus. As for the food, they want to keep the feeling like a very authentic, classic brasserie, with most inspiration coming from France and the Alsace region. They hope to open in 2015, though an exact timeline is hard to gauge at this point. We’ll let you know when there are updates! 2146 Mission St. at Sycamore.

Was happy to hear that Irfan Yalcin of PERA in Potrero Hill is going to be opening his own wine bar and eatery in the Mission, L’EMIGRANTE (it takes its name from the Italian film). Yalcin has had the idea of opening the city’s most affordable wine bar for some time, so now he gets to do it. He plans to offer 85 percent of the wines on the list at just less than $35, with bottle prices starting at $20 and ranging up to $50. He also mentioned all of their wines will be well rated. There will be 36 in all, including bubbles, whites, rosés, and reds. There will additionally be eight beers on tap. Some food will be served as well, including an array of appetizers, bruschette, salads, sandwiches, and four main dishes.

Renovations are under way (the space was formerly the Corner), and Yalcin hopes to open by the last week of October. The bar will have a rustic look, and there is also a mezzanine and outdoor seating (heated) for 24 guests. Live music will be five or six nights a week, but nothing too loud—think flamenco, violin, and musicians from the Mission. Hours will be Sun-Thu 12pm-12am and Fri-Sat 12pm-1am. 2199 Mission St. at 18th St.

Liquor license activity reveals that the former Specchio/Piattini space on Mission has been taken over by the team behind Tonic and Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. Reportedly it will be called BUFFALO CLUB, and will offer something different than Dr. Teeth. 2331 Mission St. at 19th St.

Tidbits: Second Smitten, Slurp Noodle Bar, Chez Julien, More


Sui jao at Slurp. Photo from Facebook.

The New Fillmore reports that Hayes Valley ice cream shop SMITTEN is opening a second location on California at Fillmore, next to Pizzeria Delfina. Smitten is known for its nitrogen-frozen ice cream, with seasonal flavors and toppings. 2404 California St. at Fillmore.

SLURP NOODLE BAR is now softly open in the Castro, according to Castro Bubble. The new spot, in the former Fork Cafe space, is serving noodles and dumplings from all over Asia, including laksa, sui jao, pho, and ramen, along with some bites like steamed buns and spring rolls. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 469 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-553-6633.

It looks like French Baguette in the Financial District has morphed into CHEZ JULIEN, a healthy French café, according to Yelpers. The menu includes grab-and-go essentials for breakfast and lunch, including salads, soup, and sandwiches. 100 Bush St. at Battery, 415-399-1816.

As reported last week, there are changes afoot at Second Act Marketplace with the departure of High Cotton Kitchen and Spice Hound. We mentioned that Crêpe La Vie is moving in, and now word comes that the second vacancy will be filled by BURMA BEAR, a Burmese barbecue restaurant from Hubert Lim. Both new spots are aiming to open this month. Congrats, all! 1727 Haight St. at Cole, 415-668-3994.

After Ngoc Mai in the Tenderloin closed, many on Chowhound were saddened by the end of their delicious bun bo hue and banh xeo. But no more tears! Now Yelpers are reporting that it has reopened under the name TUYET MAI, with the same staff, cooks, and owners. Yay. 547 Hyde St. at Geary, 415-931-4899.

Speaking of Vietnamese food, URBAN PICNIC is getting ready to open their third location this Friday October 10th in SoMa. The new location will have the same menu as previous locations, with fresh, health-concious fare including banh mi, noodle and rice bowls, and big salads. Catering will also be available, and hours are Mon-Fri 7:30am-4pm. 303 2nd St. at Harrison, 415-433-1233.

East Bay gelato company LUSH GELATO has opened a location on Polk, as we reported back in June. Owner Federico Murtagh makes his gelato completely from scratch, in house (meaning he doesn’t use a Straus base, like many other producers). This gives him more flexibility in creating his flavors and gives customers a chance to watch the process from start to finish. The spot is now open, and you can scope some of the possible flavor choices here. 1817 Polk St. at Washington, 415-444-9750.

New and Different Service Hours: Brunch at Marla, Happy Hour at 20th Century, More


The bagel platter at Marla. Photo courtesy Marla Bakery.

Beginning Sunday October 12th, MARLA BAKERY will be serving brunch on Sundays from 10:30am-2:30pm. Not only can you enjoy their spiced doughnuts and challah French toast on the beautiful patio (could the weather be any more perfect?), but you can also make reservations right here. Take a look at the menu and start planning your trip to the Richmond now. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.

Michelle Polzine’s 20TH CENTURY CAFE is now open for happy hour Wed-Fri from 6pm-9pm. In addition to a few items from their lunch menu, they’ll be serving snacks like deviled eggs and pickles, along with wines from Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Istria, and Slovenia (starting at the very reasonable $22 a bottle). Yep, we’ll see you there.

Adam Mesnick’s newest foray into the deli scene, RYE PROJECT, is now going to be open on Saturdays, starting this Saturday October 11th. They’re open 11am-3pm, slinging meats on rye and bagel platters to make your weekend fabulous. 180 7th St. at Natoma, 415-552-8984.

Speaking of sandwiches, THE COACHMAN is now serving a daytime sandwich menu Wed-Fri 11am-2pm with choices like fried chicken or smoked brisket. 1148 Mission St. at 8th St., 415-813-1701.

It sounds like another late-night dining destination has bit the dust in this early-to-bed town. KIN KHAO has ended late-night service as of Monday October 6th and will now be closing at 11pm every night. Citing concerns about staffing, public transportation, and long shifts, they’ve had to start closing earlier, despite being busy at night. For more on the challenges of San Francisco’s late-night dining scene, read this story I wrote for 7x7 in 2012. Sigh.

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

Cawfee Tawk: Red Door Coffee, Nano Café, and Catahoula's Kaffeegarten in Berkeley


Red Door Coffee at 111 Minna. Yelp photo by Cath M.

Founder Eiming Jung of 111 Minna is planning a new location for RED DOOR COFFEE, which he is launching with David Mabry and Michelle Delaney. It’s opening in a new space at 1st Street and Howard, which will include a lounge area and small kitchen. Lunch will be provided by 1601 Bar & Kitchen (tablehopper readers know we’re a fan of chef Brian Fernando).

Visitors to the café will find a designated public space in the building and an open-air plaza where they can sit and enjoy their Four Barrel coffee. There will also be Wi-Fi (and outlets). The Red Door Coffee service at 111 Minna will continue, but when the space is closed for private events, people now have the option to head to this new location. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat 8am-1pm; once their application for a beer and wine license goes through, there will be happy hour from Mon-Fri from 5pm-8pm or so. Look for an opening in mid-October. 505 Howard St. at 1st St.

NANO CAFÉ is now open in the Mission, according to Yelpers. They’ve got espresso, coffee, tea, and pastries, with the possibility of sandwiches coming soon. 564 South Van Ness Ave. at 17th St., 415-203-0362.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that the sadly closed Sketch Ice Cream space on Fourth Street has become the CATAHOULA KAFFEEGARTEN. It’s the second outpost of Timber Manhart’s Catahoula Coffee Company, a Richmond-based roasting operation. He aims for balance in his roasting and offers both signature blends and single-origin beans. They’re pulling espresso along with coffee, though there isn’t a pour-over option. Right now, there are just pastries and coffee, but the space’s large kitchen may be put to work as a sort of community space for pop-ups and other local business looking for cooking space. 2080 4th St. at Addison, Berkeley, 510-235-0525.

Special Dinners and Pop-Ups: Fortress, Sugarfoot Grits at Wing Wings


A course from the recent Fortress summer fig dinner. Fig, goat curd, vanilla vin chicories, quail egg, lard croutons. Photo: ©

Don’t miss chefs Eddie Lau and Luis Villavelazquez of Dux at their next Fortress: Solitude pop-up. The next one is on Saturday October 18th, with a dinner celebrating all the bounty of autumn. You can check out the menu here; it looks like a winner. There are seatings at 6pm (only two tickets left) or 9pm, and tickets are $55 per person, with wine pairings for an additional $20. It’s all happening at Naked Kitchen. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

Every Saturday morning in October, you can truly rise and shine because you will be able to find Sugarfoot Grits at WING WINGS from 8am-11am. They’ll be serving Southern breakfast classics, including their delicious grits, with eggs and bacon. And of course there will be coffee! Don’t miss it.

Wing Wings            - 422 Haight St. - 415-834-5001

Closures: Woodward's Garden, Baker & Banker, Empress of China, Drake's Bay Battle Ends


Exterior photo by Craig Lee.


The magical view from the Empress of China (never mind what else may be happening in the bar…). Photo: ©

Last week, I was sorry to learn that WOODWARD’S GARDEN has closed its sweet doors for good, after more than 20 years of soulful cooking for us. In our previous piece announcing the closure, we mentioned chefs and co-owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino will be doing some pop-ups, salons, and more while they search for a new location. We’ll keep you posted. Enjoy the break, ladies, and thank you for all the memories and great dates there!

Lori Baker and Jeff Banker have decided to close their five-year-old restaurant, BAKER & BANKER, reports Scoop. The Pacific Heights restaurant will close on Sunday October 19th. The couple cites multiple reasons for the closure, including a desire to spend more time with their two young children and the challenges of finding enough staff. They’ll be back though: after some time off and a chance to ponder their next move, they hope to be back on the food scene, though it is not clear yet in what capacity. As for what will move into the space, negotiations are under way with a new tenant but no word on who that might be.

Chinatown icon EMPRESS OF CHINA is closing at the end of this year, according to a report from SF Gate. The five-story behemoth, which opened in 1966 and is most famous for hosting weddings, is being sold, perhaps to make room for office space. Damn, one of my favorite “secret” places for a cocktail with a stunning view is leaving us. 838 Grant St. at Clay, 415-434-1345.

This is a sad story. After an ongoing battle with the National Park Service, it appears that Drakes Bay Oyster Company has reached a settlement and will cease operations at the end of this year. The federal government will then be responsible for removing all on- and offshore equipment from the site. Though the farm is no more, the owners plan to open Drakes Oyster House restaurant in the Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness.

Let's Raise Some Funds for Important Causes While Eating Delicious Food


Chefs hard at work at Actions Speak Louder Than Pink 2012. Photo by Zoe Christopher via Facebook.

Breast Cancer Action is an organization that advocates for action against breast cancer (not merely awareness) and demands more transparency and accountability in breast cancer fundraising. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s a great time to have a thoughtful discussion on the topic. On Tuesday October 21st, they’ll be throwing their fourth annual ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN PINK: FOOD FOR THOUGHT event at Terra Gallery in SoMa. The four-course dinner comes from chefs like Eric Tucker from Millennium Restaurant, Sascha Weiss and Susanne Stampke from The Plant Café Organic, Jonathan Sutton and Tony Ferrari from Hillside Supper Club, and Katherine Toy from Flora. The events goes from 6pm-9pm and tickets are $125 for individuals, or $1,000 for a table of eight.

The National Kidney Foundation is hosting its Annual Authors Luncheon on Saturday October 25th at the Hilton Union Square. Authors include chef Christopher Kostow of Meadowood and non-food authors like Susan Vreeland and Kelly Corrigan, along with Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington. It is all emceed by KQED’s own Michael Krasny. The luncheon is from 10am-3pm; tickets are $135 per person, $1,300 for a table, and table sponsorships begin at $2,500. Proceeds benefit the National Kidney Foundation. 333 O’Farrell St. at Taylor, 415-543-3303 for tickets and information.

Some Street Fairs on All Sides of the Bay


Pasta for days at the North Beach Bazaar 2013. Photo from Facebook.

This year is the 95th annual NORTH BEACH BAZAAR, a Columbus Day celebration of Italian culture and heritage. It takes place in the churchyard of Saints Peter and Paul, just across the way from Washington Square Park, on Saturday and Sunday October 11th-12th from 11am-7pm. In addition to lots of fun activities like bocce, batting cages, a salami toss (!!), and Halloween crafts stations, A16 will be there (Shelley Lindgren is a co-chair of the event), serving pizzas out of their wood-fired pizza truck, along with beverages from Rye on the Road and Campari. On Sunday evening from 5pm-7pm, you can get a cioppino dinner from A16 for only $20, including salad and tiramisu. 666 Filbert St. between Stockton and Powell.

On Sunday October 12th, catch the annual ROCKRIDGE OUT & ABOUT FESTIVAL from 12pm-6pm. The festival includes food and drink from Rockridge Market Hall merchants like the Pasta Shop, the Cheese Counter, and Marin Sun Farms. On the Chef Stage, check out demonstrations like a Parmesan wheel cutting or a dessert demo from A16 Rockridge. There will also be live music, dancing, and autumnal activities for kids like pumpkin pairing and a prize wheel. College Ave. between Claremont and Manila, Oakland.

On Thursday October 16th, enjoy the heat at the RED HOT ROUNDUP from 5pm-8:30pm. The celebration of spice and fire is happening at Bay Meadows, the former racetrack, and is a fundraiser for the San Mateo Fire Department’s Burn Foundation fund. October is fire prevention awareness month, so go get yourself schooled! You can nab a spot in the Beat the Heat Hellfire Challenge, where you’ll compete against firefighters eating spicy foods. Lots of food trucks will be in attendance, as well, if you prefer to eat like a semi-civilized person. Check out vittles from Red Sauce Meatballs, Little Green Cyclo, and Naked Chorizo, plus beer from Grape and Grain. Tickets are $5 for adults, free for kids, and $20 to participate in the Hellfire Challenge. Paddock Park, Derby Ave. at Baze, San Mateo.

News in the 510: Zella's, Woods Bar & Brewery, Plank, B-Dama, Aunt Mary's


The exterior of the new Woods in Uptown Oakland. Photo courtesy Woods.

La Cocina alum Dionne Knox has opened her first brick-and-mortar location of ZELLA’S SOULFUL KITCHEN in the Mandela Foods Cooperative, Scoop reports. Knox has been serving her California-style soul food through her catering business and with prepared items at Whole Foods, but now you can find her dishes at breakfast and lunch, with dinner service coming soon. There’s a Beauty’s bagel with cream cheese and biscuit breakfast sandwich at breakfast, and a selection of salads and sandwiches at lunch. Soon, dinner will be added, with a rotating selection of comfort food plates; take a look at the menus here. Current hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 10am-4pm, evening hours coming later. Inside Mandela Foods, 1430 7th St. at Mandela, Oakland, 510-452-1151.

WOODS BAR & BREWERY is getting ready to officially open its doors on Saturday October 11th. The project, from Jim Woods of Woods Polk Station and Cervezeria in San Francisco, moved into the former home of Rocsil’s Shoes in Uptown Oakland and will offer 12 beers on tap, most of them brewed in small batches on-site plus a few local guests. In addition, they’ve got an enclosed patio with a fireplace and a newly-restored mahogany bar. Hours are Sun-Wed 5pm-11pm, Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-1am. 1701 Telegraph Ave. at 17th St., Oakland, no phone.

PLANK, the dining space and event venue in Jack London Square we told you about in August is planning a grand opening for Friday October 10th. The large space offers lots of activities (and room for up to 1,000 people), including bowling, bocce, video games, and an outdoor beer garden, along with a menu of plates designed to share like pizzas, chorizo fundido, and crab cakes. 98 Broadway at Embarcadero West, Oakland, 510-817-0980.

East Bay Express reports that Japanese restaurant B-DAMA has reopened in the Swan’s Marketplace building. They’re serving lunch and dinner, with items like rice bowls, grilled meats, and uncut sushi rolls called gaburi. Hours are Mon-Sat 11:30pm-2pm and 5:30pm-10pm, closed Sun. 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-251-1113.

There is also news from East Bay Express that AUNT MARY’S CAFE has reopened after moving across the street from their old location. They’re now in the former Clausen House Thrift Shop location, next to Hooper’s Chocolates. They’re still transitioning a bit (no liquor license quite yet, and espresso is on hold due to a machine issue), but you can still pop in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Hours are Tue-Sun 8am-3pm, Thu-Sat 5:30pm-9pm. 4640 Telegraph Ave. at 47th St., Oakland, 510-601-9227.


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Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Special Wine Dinners: Peay at Foreign Cinema, Hanzell Tribute at Heirloom


Bob Sessions. Photo from Hanzell Vineyards’ Facebook page.

Ready to drink some wine? FOREIGN CINEMA is hosting Andy Peay of Peay Vineyards on Thursday October 16th as guest sommelier. He’ll be pouring special bottles all evening, as well as two flights of selections from their 2012 vintage. The special bottles and flights will be available during regular dinner service, from 5:30pm-11pm. The regular menu will be available, and reservations can be made here.

HEIRLOOM CAFE will be commemorating the life of Bob Sessions, an icon of the wine world who passed away in May, on Sunday November 16th. Wines from Sessions’ Hanzell Vineyards will be poured all evening, with vintages dating as far back as 1981. The dinner will include eight (well, eight and a half) courses, each paired with two wines, and capped with a Champagne toast the Mr. Sessions’ life and legacy. The dinner begins early, at 2pm, with the toast at around 6pm. Tickets are $200 per person and include all food, wine, tax, and gratuity.

Beer Time: NotOberfest, Almanac at theLab, Burritt Room


Almanac Beer Co. has been up to lots of tricks this fall, and you can catch them at a bunch of upcoming special events. First, the NotOberfest is taking over St. Gregory’s Cathedral on Friday October 17th from 6:30pm-9:30pm. Lots of breweries will be in attendance, including Anchor, Drake’s Brewing, Henhouse, and Ballast Point. Plus, 4505 Meats will be on hand serving all kinds of meaty treats. Tickets are $60 per person and include all the beer tastes and meat you can manage. 500 De Haro St. at Mariposa.

As previously reported, the Recchiutis have changed concepts at THELAB, and now you can catch Taste Project dinners and special events there. On Friday October 10th and Saturday October 11th at 7pm, catch a special tasting dinner with Almanac, including multiple savory and sweet courses to pair with Almanac’s fall beers. Check out the menu here and nab a ticket here. Tickets are $95 per person, including all food and beer pairings.

You can also try out some Almanac beers at the BURRITT ROOM AND TAVERN on Friday October 10th from 6pm-8pm. Tickets are only $25 and include three bites with pairings. 417 Stockton St. at Sutter, 415-400-0561.

theLab            - 801 22nd St. San Francisco - 415-489-2881

Mishaps, Cars, Bartenders, and Ways to Help


The freshly repaired Monkey Bar at Comstock Saloon. Photo courtesy Comstock Saloon.

How many times have bartenders helped you out of a jam, given you advice, or just poured you a drink without judgment when you really needed one? Well, recently a couple of bartenders in this town have suffered some injuries, so let’s pay it forward and help them out too. Here’s how.

The Monkey Bar at COMSTOCK SALOON was damaged last month when a driver plowed through the front and into the bar. After closing for repairs, the bar has reopened, with a special menu called “The Toughest Bar in San Francisco” and featuring drinks like a Sidecar, Drive-Thru Daiquiri, and the Skrewed Driver. It’s not all funny, though: Tyler Schweppe, a bartender who was in town visiting from Rhode Island to learn about San Francisco’s cocktail culture, was injured in the crash. He suffered a leg fracture and lacerations, and the bar will be donating $1 from every drink sold off the new menu to his medical expenses (and time away from work).

Another bartender has run into some trouble this week too. Eater reports that Roberto Chicas, a bartender at THE CAVALIER, was beaten on the head with a hammer by his UberX driver on his way home from work last month. Chicas fortunately survived the brutal attack, but may lose sight in his left eye and will need multiple reconstructive surgeries.

There are a few ways to help him and his family pay for his medical treatment. First, stop in at Louie’s Bar for a “Chicas’ Special” (that’s a beer with a shot of Fernet), and they’ll donate $1 to Chicas. Second, head to Twenty Five Lusk on Sunday October 12th for a special fundraiser from 2pm-5pm. It’s $35 per person at the door, and then there will be an open bar, with beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks, along with a silent auction. Anything helps, so please consider attending, donating to the auction, and spending money at the auction. Our thoughts are with Chicas and we are sending him all our positive thoughts for a speedy recovery!

Twenty Five Lusk            - 25 Lusk St. San Francisco - 415-495-5875


the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

The House That Jacques Built


Jacque Pépin (center) with the ‘hopper (right) and friend Gregory Wells (left). Photo by Marc Fiorito of Gamma Nine.

Jacques Pépin—who is in town to shoot his next and final public television series, Heart & Soul, here at KQED Studios—has been busier than the tablehopper with his dinners around town! La Folie was the place to be last Wednesday—he was there with Mary Risley of Tante Marie (toasting her retirement) and Barbara Fairchild, the former Bon Appétit editor. They were accompanied by Gerald Hirigoyen and his wife Cameron (of Piperade and Bocadillos). A tablehopper reader, who was celebrating her anniversary at another table, said the party was there for quite awhile (well over three hours!). Well done! It was a busy night, because at yet another table, Chuck Williams was celebrating his 99th birthday in style.

Msr. Pépin was also spotted at PROSPECT with a large group (hosted by the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco). He wore a snazzy rainbow tie, how very SF!

The ‘hopper also got to chat with Msr. Pépin at CUESA’s Sunday Supper this last weekend. The incredible icon made lots of very talented guest chefs happy (and shy!)—what a pleasure to have him in town.

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