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Feb 2, 2015 33 min read

February 3, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: yum cha-cha-cha.

February  3, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: yum cha-cha-cha.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: yum cha-cha-cha.                    

The start to an elegant lunch at Yan Toh Heen at InterContinental Hong Kong, complete with an eye-popping jade place setting. Photo: ©

Hi there! I am back from Hong Kong, a place that completely rocked my world on so many fronts. I had the best dim sum of my life (trust, I ate ALL the dumplings), the best jook, learned so much about Cantonese cuisine, and I was blown away with the level of hospitality and kindness I encountered (and not just in the high-end establishments I went to). For someone who really values good manners, I was in heaven in Hong Kong—I encountered so many levels of politeness, an incredible feat in a place with such population density. I loved the efficiency of so many things too—the underground was awesome. The three hotels I stayed in (Upper House, Mandarin Oriental, and InterContinental Hong Kong) were each fabulous in their own unique way. I know, I was so spoiled on this trip!

I’m editing my 2,000 photos right now, stand by for my recap soon. In the meantime, you can catch up on my tablehopper Instagram or Facebook page if you’re curious! Warning: don’t look if you’re at all hungry.

Meanwhile, I am back and in fifth gear. Early this Saturday evening, I’m hosting that tablehopper cocktail crawl I alluded to before I left! We’ll be hitting three bars in North Beach, featuring spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio, and there will be heavy apps too. Don’t want anyone to go hungry, not on my watch! Space and tickets (available on Sosh) are limited, and for $65, it’s pretty much a total steal for such a Barbary Coast bash. Hope to see you Saturday! It’s gonna be quality! And fun, duh.

This week we have a bunch of news to catch up on, and I can’t believe how many more new openings are happening. Bizzeee. We ran an in-depth piece on Liholiho Yacht Club before I left, but wanted to be sure you saw their hunger-inducing menu, now live on their website.

I also wrote this post for Refinery 29 on the most anticipated openings of 2015 (so far), hopefully it can help you keep track of everything. Fortunately I also wrote this piece for on seven new cafés in town, in case you need an extra boost. I sure did the past few days, although let me tell you, flying Cathay Pacific will have you feeling fresher on arrival than any other airline I have flown. And, um, they serve quite delicious dim sum in business class, how fantastic is that?

But it’s good to be home. Am looking forward to the rain this weekend, and tucking into some quality cocktails and pot roast poutine with y’all on my Saturday cocktail tour!

Cheers! Marcia Gagliardi (And it’s about that time for a little reminder: this Marcia rhymes with Garcia.)

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Get Your Ticket to the tablehopper North Beach Cocktail Crawl This Saturday Evening, with Anchor Distilling Company!


Okay, so this exact cocktail isn’t on our tour, but it should still make you thirsty. Photo courtesy of Anchor Distilling Company.


Just before I left town for Hong Kong, I mentioned I had an awesome night on the town in the works, specifically a tablehopper cocktail crawl through North Beach with Anchor Distilling Company! So, are you ready to join us this Saturday February 7th? We’re kicking things off early at 5:30pm, so you can still raise Cain later in the evening if you’re so inclined (we should be all wrapped up by 8:15pm or so). I was originally calling this a “winter warmer,” and since that groundhog gave us six more weeks of winter and we have a rainy weekend in the forecast (yay!), I’d say the name is on point. Let’s get our heat on!

We’re going to start the progressive night at the brand-new Devil’s Acre, where we’ll kick things off with a classic SF cocktail, Pisco Punch, made with BarSol Pisco. Then it’ll be time to scoot across Columbus to Comstock Saloon, where we can snack on their fab pimento cheese while they prepare another classic, the Martinez, made with Anchor Distilling Old Tom gin and Luxardo maraschino. And to keep you from getting hungry (hello, this is a tablehopper tour), we’ll be served pot roast poutine by chef Ronnie New. Oh yeah.

All aboard, it’s time for the last stop: 15 Romolo, where we’ll sit down for further savory munchies (mushroom flatbread) and their Sioux City Milk Punch made with Old Potrero whiskey. I know this is a Barbary Coast kind of night, but you don’t think I’d be uncivilized and leave you without dessert, do you? It’s time for some boozy Luxardo Amaretto di Saschira bread pudding!

The whole evening is just $65, all-inclusive (I KNOW), and the fine folks at Anchor Distilling will be sending you home with a gift bag! Sweet. There will also be a quick educational component at each stop, talking about the history of the drinks, spirits, and places we’re visiting.

You can purchase tickets on Sosh—but tickets are very limited, FYI! There will just be 20 of us total, and half of the spots are already taken up, so hop to it! And I repeat, they’re just $65. (To be clear: any additional cocktails are your responsibility. And for goddess’s sake, you better take a cab.)

We’re meeting at the first stop, Devil’s Acre, at 5:30pm: 256 Columbus Ave. at Broadway. Don’t be late! I look forward to seeing you there. Let’s raise our glass—filled three times with quality spirits from Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio—to some great North Beach destinations together. Cheers!

               Saturday Feb  7, 2015 – Saturday Feb  7, 2015 5:30pm–8:15pm or so $65 more info

AL's Place from Chef Aaron London, Now Open on Valencia Street


Chef-owner Aaron London. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The airy dining room. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux.


The Ms. Brown cocktail at AL’s Place. Photo: ©


Mr. Blue (Cardamaro, Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters). Photo: ©

Opening this Friday February 6th for dinner is chef-owner Aaron London’s long-time-coming solo restaurant, AL’S PLACE. After his time at Ubuntu in Napa, the chef has been looking for a space in SF to call his own, and as we previously mentioned, he has transformed the former South End Grill ‘n’ Bar on Valencia.

It’s now an airy and cheerful spot, with a light turquoise floor that is reminiscent of a hue you’d find on a fridge from the 1950s. The exterior is a bright cornflower blue—you can’t miss it. There are plenty of windows (with lots of light coming in, thanks to the south-facing orientation), with vibrant artwork on the walls by Jessica Fleming. There are 45 seats (eye-catching and colorful Jean Prouvé replicas) matched with plywood tabletops, plus a bar/chef counter in the back (featuring stools by Sean Dix and originally created for YardBird in Hong Kong, which I was recently sitting in), and there are 20 outdoor seats next to some raised beds as well, which will come in handy when brunch launches in a few weeks. Eventually there will be some headlamps added to make outside more cozy too. Because, SF.

London will obviously rocking the NorCal seasonal, local, organic, vegetable-centric tip, with plenty of attention on seafood, and he also wants the menu to strike a note of affordability for the neighborhood as well. The menu is broken down into composed dishes, about four or five in each section: smaller bites, warm/hot, cool, and then sides, which are actually the meat dishes (the rest of the menu is seafood- and vegetable-heavy). Small bites are priced around $5, composed dishes between $11-$18 per dish, and sides $15-$20.

Dishes include lightly cured trout, pickled green fig, torn potatoes, fava leaf; black cod crusted with black lime and roasted black lime powder with winter citrus and sunchoke curry; and a side of hanger steak with crab shell butter and sherry vinegar. The menu should be live on the site any day now. Look for that oh-so-SF balance between precise food and a casual atmosphere.

A unique component to AL’s is they may only have a beer and wine license (with a well-selected wine list that isn’t too spendy either—Sam Bogue from Central Kitchen consulted on it—plus plenty of Belgians on the beer list), but the team really took time to develop a low-ABV cocktail menu, thanks to bar manager Alex Phillips, who London worked with while he was working behind the bar at Locanda (he was also the bar manager at Camino).

I was given a sneak peek of the low-proof cocktail list, which are all named after characters in Reservoir Dogs (and no, one of them is not Victor the Cleaner). You can start your meal with a couple of spritzes, like Mr. White (Cocchi Bianco, prosecco or cava, orange bitters, and fruit, like blood orange), served over a big, gorgeous hunk of hand-cut, clear ice. A fuller-bodied choice is Mr. Pink, made with Cappelletti, Cocchi Rosa, and seltzer.

I was quite taken with the sherry cocktails, especially Ms. Brown (manzanilla, Dolin Dry, Cocchi Torino, grapefruit bitters), while the nutty Mr. Blonde really highlights the oloroso on the finish, with Bonal and five-year-old cherry bitters that Phillips just found in his cabinet, providing some oomph to the drink.

You can finish your night with Mr. Blue, which has a touch of bitterness and a richer style thanks to the Cardamaro, plus Vergano Americano, Dolin Blanc, and mandarin bitters. All are $10. Here’s the beverage menu.

There are also a couple of fantastic nonalcoholic options, including the tangerine and vanilla cream soda (which features a half ounce of cream and tastes just like a 50-50 bar in a liquid form), and a concoction made from pomegranate syrup and blood orange, with lemon and seltzer.

London was really hands-on in all facets of the restaurant, from custom designing the aprons with Alternative Apparel (including diagonal pockets for tweezers and more in the front so they don’t fall out when bending over, a special phone pocket, a custom fit around the neck with snaps, and a bit of stretchy material as well) to customizing the bar rail (inspired by things he learned while bartending) to making a really comfortable dish pit (London was once a dishwasher). His kitchen is Tokyo-small and really tight but features many design shortcuts and improvements. London is happy to have some folks in his kitchen he has worked with before. You’ll also spy GM Liz Subauste working her magic on the floor. The team is ready and raring to go.

Opening Friday February 6th. Open Wed-Sun 5:30pm-10pm (and until 11pm Fri-Sat). 1499 Valencia St. at 26th St., 415-416-6136.

Mourad, Now Open on New Montgomery


The dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.

One of the bigger openings this year has arrived: MOURAD, logging in at an eye-popping 258 seats in the historic 140 New Montgomery/Pacific Bell building designed by Timothy Pflueger (which also houses Trou Normand). This is chef-owner Mourad Lahlou’s second restaurant under his sole ownership, his first being Aziza, which he opened in 2001 in the Outer Richmond.

Any Aziza regulars can attest how the self-taught chef’s cuisine has evolved over the years, and this new project will continue his exploration of where Northern California ingredients and traditional Moroccan dishes intersect. A sample menu has items that read simply (“Mackerel: herb jam, rye panisse, puntarelle, sorrel”), but one look at images of his modern Moroccan dishes reveals a complexity of preparation, presentation, and flavors. There is also a tasting menu for $150.

Lahlou has brought on chef de cuisine Chris Kajioka, who worked for Ron Siegel when he helmed the Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco, and later for Per Se in New York, Aziza, Willows Inn on Lummi Island in Washington State, and Vintage Cave in Hawaii. He has a contemporary French style with a Japanese sensibility. Look for more on the native Hawaiian’s upcoming project, Restaurant CK, later this year.

Joining the team is Master Sommelier Alan Murray, formerly at Masa’s; cocktails are by Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless of Wizard Oil; and Melissa Chou (Aziza) will also run the pastry show at this location.

Lundberg Design designed the contemporary two-level space. You’ll see Moroccan influences and motifs (a great deal was inspired by a trip Lundberg and Lahlou took to Marrakesh) paired with modern touches like a suspended steel and glass wine bridge that houses a backlit wine cellar. There’s also a spacious lounge and bar area.

Open nightly for dinner 5:30pm-10pm. 140 New Montgomery at Mission, 415-660-2500.

Sous Beurre Kitchen Opening on February 5th


The dining room at Sous Beurre Kitchen. Photo by Patricia Chang.


The open kitchen and dining room. Photo by Patricia Chang.

A report by Dana Eastland. After months of popping up at Sugarlump coffee shop, chef Michael Mauschbaugh is opening a brick-and-mortar location of SOUS BEURRE KITCHEN on Thursday February 5th. The new spot is just down the street from Sugarlump, at 24th Street and Potrero, and offers cuisine inspired by Provence, but with Northern California ingredients and flair. The name translates to “in butter” in French, which is definitely a good sign.

The menu will change daily, with à la carte options, or you can opt for the five-course tasting menu. Sample winter dishes include pressed breast of pheasant with turnip, wild mushrooms, spelt risotto, and jus; or Mendocino uni with consommé, celeriac timbale, mustard greens, and house-cured trout roe. Look for pasta dishes and charcuterie on the menu, as well, along with classics like beef tartare, bouillabaisse, and bavette steak.

Sous Beurre Kitchen is also one of many local restaurants to do away with the traditional tipping system for service. Instead, labor costs and taxes will be built into the price of each dish, allowing all employees to be compensated fairly. As for the space, it was designed by Said-Jon Eghbal, whose previous work includes Rich Table and The Monk’s Kettle. The 74-seater is intended to be approachable, with soft gray walls, French oak, white marble, and brass elements, as well as antiques and objects found during Mauschbaugh’s trips to France. There is also a communal table was was custom-built by Mauschbaugh’s father out of French oak.

The doors will officially open on Thursday February 5th, and hours will be Mon-Sat 5:30pm-10pm. 2704 24th St. at Potrero, 415-874-9831.

Hurrah, Azalina's Now Open in The Market on Market!


Azalina’s laksa with hand-pulled noodles (and it’s vegan!). Photo: ©


The opening menu board at Azalina’s. Photo: Johanna Mansor.


An opening day visit by chef Alex Ong means big smiles. Photo: Johanna Mansor.

Congrats to Azalina Eusope, who opened her first brick-and-mortar spot this past Monday, AZALINA’S, which we told you was coming in a story we broke a year ago. She is in the new Market on Market (“in the Twitter building”) that we wrote about a couple of weeks ago.

You can come by for her handcrafted and soulful Malaysian dishes, loaded with bright and complex flavors and colors and California touches, from 11am-10pm. She is a fifth-generation Mamak street food vendor and is proud to make her sauces by hand, as well as her noodles, dumplings, and more (they will be made at and transported from her commissary kitchen).

The opening menu includes her incredible laksa, Malaysian pineapple tea salad, hokkien mee (handmade noodles with shrimp), roasted chicken rice, and nasi lemak with beef curry. There’s also a pear iced tea, and fermented sticky rice with coconut cream for dessert.

There is a small counter with some seats along the window and another overlooking the kitchen, and there is some outdoor seating on a back patio garden area, which also has a roof. Look for some fun outdoor events in the future, like movie screenings and bonfires. 1355 Market St. at 10th St.

Upcoming Project Blast: Kim Alter to Hayes Valley, Jason Fox to Mint Plaza, Adriano Paganini Takes Over Café des Amis, and More


Exterior photo from the now-closed Café des Amis (photo via Facebook).

A bunch of new projects are coming down the pike—2015 is coming in hot! First up, here’s the great news that Kim Alter (previously Haven, Plum), who will still be working in conjunction with DPG (Daniel Patterson Group), has found her SF location: in the former Stelline and Las Estrellas in Hayes Valley. Scoop reports it will have around 40 seats, and she’ll be offering a casual tasting menu. Stand by for more details in the coming months—she is also hoping to score a liquor license as well. 330 Gough St. at Hayes.

I’ve been wondering who was finally going to take over the Thermidor space in Mint Plaza, and it’s chef Jason Fox of Commonwealth, who is working with restaurant consultant Timothy Felkner (Vigilante Hospitality). Scoop reports it will be a casual format (featuring small plates and larger dishes too), with more Mediterranean flavors and full liquor. Look for a summer opening. 8 Mint Plaza.

There’s a new taker for the former Café des Amis space in Cow Hollow: restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Lolinda, Delarosa, Starbelly, El Techo, Uno Dos Tacos, and Super Duper Burgers). While there aren’t any details to release about the concept just yet, expect a gathering spot that will be more casual than Des Amis, and there’s talk of a spring/early summer opening. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Last Thursday, Presidio’s Transit Cafe closed it doors, according to Scoop. The new taker for the space is none other than Traci Des Jardins, who’s in the middle of a bit of a Presidio takeover, with her recent openings, Arguello and The Commissary. Look for coffee, pastries, and other quick takeout options once the new spot opens. There’s no name yet, but in the interim a food truck called “The Transition” will be parked out front Monday through Friday from 7am to 2:30pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Graham.

IKE’S PLACE is continuing their expansion into the East Bay with a new location in Emeryville. The new spot is set to open this summer in the upcoming Hollis@Powell housing development. Then, here in San Francisco, owner Ike Shehadeh is opening a spot on Mission Street between 18th and 19th, serving pizzas and burgers in addition to sandwiches. Hat tip to Scoop.

Shah Bahreyni and Sam Ramadan of Marin County restaurants Boca Tavern and Boca Pizzeria have nabbed a restaurant space at 100 Brannan Street. The former home of Sutro, Slanted Door, and La Suite will become Caputo, according to Scoop, with a full liquor license and California-style Italian food. It’s a big space, with 180 seats (60 of them will be on the patio). No word on a timeline yet. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero.

Chefs on the Move: Florio, Academy, Game, Rose Pistola, Citizen Fox


Colin Dewey, the new chef at Florio. Photo by Devin Moore.

Exciting news: FLORIO on Fillmore has a new chef, the talented Colin Dewey. He most recently worked at Zero Zero with Bruce Hill, and returned this winter from a cooking sabbatical in Italy. Prior to Zero Zero, he worked with Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali. His new, Italian-focused menu at Florio will launch on February 16th, with  housemade pastas and his own take on bollito misto. Florio classics like steak frites and roast chicken will remain, though the general focus of the menu will turn toward Italy, not France. Dewey plans to use local and seasonal ingredients, and everything will be made in-house, including sausages, preserves, and gelato.

And in case you were wondering where Nicholas Pallone, the previous chef at Florio, was headed, Eater just reported that he is opening his own spot on Fillmore, just a few blocks down from Florio in the Pizza Inferno space. His new place will be called ACADEMY BAR & KITCHEN and will focus on Neapolitan-style pizzas cooked in the wood-fired oven. He’ll be doing everything in-house (anyone sensing a theme here?), including curing his own charcuterie, brewing vinegar, and milling flour. Inferno is currently slated to close March 1st, and Academy plans to open in mid-April. In the meantime, Pallone has a Kickstarter campaign going to raise $50,000 to help with construction. 1800 Fillmore St. at Sutter, 415-775-1800.

GAME, the restaurant from Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff (All Spice San Mateo) that opened in November, has a new chef. Opening executive chef Zack Freitas has left, and Chopra himself will be running the kitchen from now on. A press release says the split is amicable, and Chopra will be launching a new menu in the next couple of weeks. Chopra says, “I’m happy to be able to execute my original vision for Game.” As for Freitas, there’s no word as to where he might land next. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.

North Beach’s ROSE PISTOLA has a new executive chef: Steve Walker. Walker, who previously worked as chef de cuisine at Corso in Berkeley, plans to honor the restaurant’s history while also bringing some fresh perspective to the daily changing menu. The restaurant will continue to focus on housemade pastas and whole animal butchery, with new dishes like house-cured bresaola and braised artichokes alla romana. 532 Columbus Ave. at Union, 415-399-0499.

CITIZEN FOX, the upcoming brewery and beer incubator, has found an executive chef. Kevin Schuder, whose previous experience includes Millennium, Izakaya Yuzuki, AQ, and his very own vegetarian and vegan pop-up in Oakland, Veg 388. The project, which has lots of local names involved, including restaurateur Deborah Blum (partner in Beretta and Starbelly), master cicerone and brewmaster Rich Higgins, bar consultant Chris Lane (Ramen Shop), and general manager Danielle Seiple, is currently slated to open this summer. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.

Florio            - 1915 Fillmore St. San Francisco - 415-775-4300

Closures: Millennium, The Coachman, Source


Some of the Millennium crew in the restaurant’s dining room. Photo from Facebook.

After more than 20 years in business, high-end vegan restaurant MILLENNIUM is closing. A note explaining the closure mentions that the Hotel California space was recently purchased by Seattle-based Pineapple Hospitality, and they will not be renewing the restaurant’s lease. However, chef-partner Eric Tucker and general manager Alison Bagby are apparently planning to open a new restaurant with a plant-based focus somewhere else in Bay Area, either in San Francisco or the East Bay. Millennium’s last day is April 30th, so you have a couple of months to get in there before they close for good. As for Tucker and Bagby’s plans, we’ll let you know when we hear anything.

While I was away in Hong Kong, a few tablehopper pals let me know that Charles Phan’s British pub concept, THE COACHMAN, was going to close on Friday January 30th. The restaurant opened last March and struggled to find a niche, until shuttering. No word on what Phan’s plans are for the space in SoMa, which also used to house Heaven’s Dog. 1148 Mission St. at 7th St.

Another punch for our city’s vegans: Eater reports that vegetarian and vegan restaurant SOURCE has closed. After four years of business, it seems they simply weren’t able to make ends meet. Business partners and brothers Mitchell and Adam Fox will continue to run their Berkeley outpost, SOURCE MINI. 11 Division St. at De Haro.

Millennium            - 5912 College Ave. Oakland - 510-735-9459

Tragic Mission Fire Destroys Lives, Businesses


The fire damage at Mission Market, which housed Wise Sons commissary and many other businesses. Photo from Instagram.

A report by Dana Eastland. As many of you have probably heard by now, last Wednesday January 28th a terrible fire destroyed a building at the corner of 22nd Street and Mission. The building had apartments on the third floor, offices on the second, and many businesses housed on the ground floor, and the repercussions have been, simply, awful. One resident of the building, Mauricio Orellana, was killed in the blaze, and dozens of long-term Mission residents were displaced by the fire. That would be tragedy enough for the community, but the businesses on the ground floor have also suffered greatly.

Mission Local, whose offices were destroyed on the second floor, has a moving tribute to Orellana, the victim of the fire, as well as a comprehensive list of charity funds and the various ways you can help. Anything you can offer helps.

As for the businesses affected, we’re hearing the most about the commissary kitchen for Wise Sons Deli, which included a bagel machine Leo Beckerman and Evan Bloom purchased and were testing out for production. The pair is quick to note that they are recovering, and many residents and businesses were more severely affected. Their 24th Street and Contemporary Jewish Museum locations are still open, and they are working hard to get their baked goods back in production. Other businesses destroyed in the fire include locally owned small businesses Antojitos Salvadorenos Aminta and La Altena.

Just yesterday we got the word that hopper favorite Los Shucos had to close as well. Owner Sofia Keck had hoped her business was safe (she’s in the adjoining building, not the one that burned) and had planned to offer her kitchen to businesses affected by the fire. However, after a walkthrough with city and insurance inspectors, it became clear that water damage had essentially destroyed the space. They are currently closed until further notice.

UPDATE: Sofia Keck wrote to let us know that while she is rebuilding her shop, she has secured space in a commercial kitchen and will be continuing her catering operation. She is also going to be donating ten percent of all proceeds from direct catering will be donated to business owners affected by the fire because she’s amazing like that. Book your catering events here and help this community rebuild.

It’s been a difficult time for businesses in this part of the Mission. Just a few months ago, a fire on Mission Street between 22nd and 23rd destroyed several buildings and businesses, and many are yet to reopen. Again, anything you can do to help the displaced residents helps, and support your local businesses by eating at them as soon as they reopen! We’ll let you know when that is, of course.

Our thoughts are with all the families and businesses affects, and our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mauricio Orellana at this time of overwhelming loss.

Los Shucos            - 3224½ 22nd St. San Francisco - 415-366-3868

Tidbits: Another Lou's, Tycoon Thai, The Flying Falafel, More


The killer breakfast sandwich at Lou’s. Photo: ©

LOU’S CAFE, the Inner Richmond sandwich shop that rocks an excellent spread and killer breakfast sandwich, has opened a second location in Parkside. Initial Yelp reports say that menu is the same as the Geary location, but there’s a bit more space to spread out and enjoy your tasty sandwich. 1508 Taraval St. at 25th Ave., 415-682-4083.

The former Pop-Up Cafe location in the Tenderloin has become TYCOON THAI. The primarily Thai place also specializes in Laotian dishes, according to early Yelp reports. It looks like the interior has a spare, modern look, with some neat modern graphic design. 620 O’Farrell St. at Leavenworth, 415-796-3391.

For good falafel downtown, check out newly opened THE FLYING FALAFEL. The tiny outpost offers vegan falafel sandwiches, along with lots of gluten-free options. Yelpers are reporting that the owner is friendly and the pita bread is warmed in a steamer to keep it warm and fluffy. 1051 Market St. at 6th St., 415-964-1003.

The hopper noticed KISU, a new Japanese spot in the Financial District. It’s focused on sushi bowls, at least according to Yelpers. It sounds like you create your own bowl using a list of choices, including rice, sauces, and fish. 493 Pine St. at Kearny, 415-678-7722.

A new Italian café in North Beach tweeted us about their opening in December. It’s called CAFÉ DIMMI TUTTO and is the project of Grace LaGoce and Francesco Signorile. They want to offer excellent espresso, with an Italian sense of hospitality, where customers are encouraged to linger and talk to their barista; for more information on their vision, check out this article. They’re importing Saicaf beans from Italy and have even created a special ice cream and coffee concoction called the “dimmi cremino,” using a special blending machine, according to this article on the new spot. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-6pm. 473 Broadway St. at Kearny, 415-987-0714.

San Francisco will soon have a new place for Burmese food, this time on Polk Street. Chowhounders and Good Bad SF caught the closure of Sushi Rock, and it looks like RANGOON RUBY is moving in. The small Bay Area chain has locations in Palo Alto and San Carlos, with a fourth headed to Burlingame. No word on the exact opening; we’ll keep an eye out. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento.

New Service: Lunch at Gitane, Dinner at Stem, Bacon Bacon Evenings


Wood-fired pizza for lunch at Gitane. Photo from Facebook.

As of January 26th, GITANE is open for lunch Monday through Friday. The new lunch menu is focused on utilizing the kitchen’s wood-fired oven, with thin-crust pizzas, a selection of salads, and larger entrées. The menu will change frequently, but current offerings include a Romanesco pizza with pickled onion, nettle pesto, and goat cheese ($14); roasted chicken salad with butter lettuce, radish, bacon, and Green Goddess dressing ($14); and squid ink pasta with crab, chile oil, and bread crumbs ($22). The full wine list and beer menu will also be available. Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm.

The newly opened Dogpatch restaurant and garden STEM is now open for dinner Monday through Saturday. The new dinner menu has a large selection of shareable dishes including a charcuterie board ($18), pork and beef meatballs ($12), and roasted cauliflower with farro in citrus vinaigrette ($12). There are also larger dishes including a grilled pork chop ($26) and a selection of pizzas. They’ve also expanded their cocktail program for the evening hours, with new drinks like the Dogpatch Sunset (209 gin, fruit extract, sparkling wine) and the Vin 09 (housemade chai, rum, cream, mint). The restaurant’s beautiful edible garden and heated patio will offer seating, as well as the inside dining room. Dinner is served Mon-Sat 4pm-9pm, with happy hour Mon-Fri 3pm-4pm. 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

According to a post on Cole Valley SF Blog, local porky purveyor BACON BACON is now going to be open later and into the evenings. Along with the expanded hours come some new menu items (rumors are even swirling about vegetarian options) and beverage choices. Hours will now be Tue-Sat 7am-7pm, Sun 8am-3pm, Mon 7am-2pm. 205a Frederick St. at Ashbury, 415-218-4347.

Gitane            - 6 Claude Ln. San Francisco - 415-788-6686

Pop-Ups: Press 12, a New Project from Jake Godby, Shorty Goldstein's Hits the Farmers Market, More


The pastrami sandwich from Shorty Goldstein’s. Yelp photo by Vicente G.

Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe fame is launching a bakery project with partner Jewel Zimmer of {cocoa}, called PRESS 12. The Bold Italic caught the news, and reports that they will be popping up outside Four Barrel on Saturdays from 11am through 2pm until they find a permanent home. Their first pop-up included such inventive and over-the-top choices as duck fat Chex Mix, double-chocolate togarashi cookies, and Elvis monkey pie (with stout, honey, caramel, and cornmeal). As for that name, apparently it refers to the nickname “Press 12 Girls” that Condé Nast employees used for Vogue employees, who resided on the 12th floor of the Condé Nast building in New York. Follow along on Twitter for updates. 375 Valencia St. at 15th St.

Downtown’s SHORTY GOLDSTEIN’S is popping up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, now through April. The menu offers a few breakfast selections, including a gravlax bagel ($10) and challah French toast ($10), along with sandwiches for lunch. Look for pastrami ($11), corned beef ($11), and schmaltz-poached turkey ($10) (bonus: you can add foie gras to any sandwich for $10, or make it a Rachel!), along with classic sides like matzo ball soup and latkes. Take a look at the full menu here. They’ll be there 8am-2pm. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero.

Emily Lai, a local chef who used to work at Fatty Crab and Sam Mason’s Tailor in New York and now owns The Rib Whip food trucks locally, has a pop-up on Wednesday February 4th at BIONDIVINO. It’s called Masak Masak and is focused on Lai’s Malaysian-inspired cuisine. Dishes include a stuffed tofu curry with shrimp, and chawanmushi; here’s the menu. Biondivino’s Ceri Smith will be offering wine pairings by the glass, as well, which you won’t want to miss. The pop-up will be from 5pm-10pm. 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.

Let's Play Seafood! Shrimp Boil at Anchor & Hope, Crab Week at Americano


Crabs! Photo courtesy of The Whole Beast and Bernal Supper Club.

The fourth annual Shrimp Boil is coming to ANCHOR & HOPE on Wednesday February 11th. The partnership with Beer Week is a shrimpy fest, with all the shrimp you can eat and all the beer you can drink. Participating breweries include Fort Point, Golden Road, Thirsty Bear, and SF Brewing Co., offering plenty of suds to keep you going. The party is only $40 per person, with two seatings (5pm and 7:30pm); reservations can be made by calling 415-501-9100.

Dungeness crab season is still going strong, and AMERICANO is the place to get crackin’. From now until Sunday February 8th, they’ll be hosting Dungeness Crab Week, with a special menu including crabby treats like crab salad sliders ($14) in the bar area and  whole Dungeness crab with butter, salsa verde, and chicory salad ($28) in the dining room. Poseidon Vineyard’s pinot noir “Rosé for the Bay” will also be available by the glass or bottle. Fifty percent of proceeds from Dungeness Crab Week sales will be donated to San Francisco Baykeeper to support their work on behalf of local clean waters.

Americano            - 8 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-278-3777

510 News Bites: No Tipping at Homestead, Haven Reopens, Analog, Flour & Co.


Homestead’s Liz and Fred Sassen, ready to host you (sans tips, thank you). Photo via Facebook.

Another local restaurant is doing away with tips, and this time it’s HOMESTEAD in Oakland. East Bay Express reports that they are raising prices about  20 percent across the board and banning tips on March 2nd. Ultimately, partners Liz and Fred Sassen hope that the overall cost of dining out will be the same, and that it will equalize the take-home pay of the floor and kitchen. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., 510-420-6962.

Speaking of restaurant trends, HAVEN has reopened after a brief closure, with a new (and au courant) menu format and revamped interior decor. According to Oakland Local, chef Charlie Parker is now offering a family-style prix-fixe that encourages diners to interact, not unlike the restaurant’s original format under Kim Alter. The menu will change nightly, with meat-focused and vegetarian options. The bar area will serve cheese, charcuterie, and pastas à la carte. Take a look at a sample menu here. The dinner menu is $45 per person Monday through Thursday, $60 per person Friday through Saturday. Hours are daily 5:30pm-10pm.

We’ve been tracking this for awhile, and now it’s open. Sean Asmar, who runs the kitchen at Bender’s Bar in San Francisco, has a new spot in Oakland called ANALOG. Instead of focusing on newer technologies, Analog (as the name suggests) is all about celebrating VHS tapes and record players. The menu, much like the kitchen at Bender’s, is all about simple comfort food, with some surprising twists. There are sandwiches, like the pulled pork with smoked gouda. Vegans and vegetarians will find something, too, with their selection of meatless sandwiches like a vegan “Rachel”; here’s the menu and beer list. Hours are Tue-Fri 10am-2pm and 5pm-2am, Sat 5pm-2am, Mon 5pm-10pm. 414 14th St. (at Franklin), 510-682-1824.

Emily Day is opening a second location of her darling Nob Hill bakery FLOUR & CO. in Berkeley this summer. The new location will continue to offer her pastries and baked goods made with “the good stuff” (that would be flour, eggs, butter, and quality produce), but the larger kitchen means she’ll be able to try out some new things too. Here’s more in her blog post about the expansion. Congrats, Emily! 1398 University Ave. at Acton.


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the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Stookey's Club Moderne Now Open and Shaking Up Swell Cocktails


Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: ©


The busy bar at Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: ©


The 20th Century at Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: ©

On Saturday evening, I swung by the brand-new STOOKEY’S CLUB MODERNE, which has opened its doors in the former Yong San Lounge (and short-lived The Royal Tug Yacht Club) in Lower Nob Hill. It was an especially swanky time to come by since owners Tim Stookey (formerly at Presidio Social Club) and siblings Leslie and Aaron Cole were holding a private party, with members of the Art Deco Society of California in all their Deco finery in attendance. I think I saw Dashiell Hammett there. I could be mistaken.

Neo-speakeasy this is not—it’s a post-Prohibition themed bar, evoking the 1930s-1940s with its Streamline Moderne look and sound (the music was from an extensive private collection, featuring some rare recordings of the period). There are glamorous and gleaming silver sconces, a multicolored linoleum floor (and bar top), and you’ll notice more vintage design details and artwork in the coming weeks. They also did some modern upgrades: all beer and wine are on tap and much of the lighting is energy-saving LED. Another eco touch: you won’t find any plastic in your glass since they use paper straws and bamboo skewers.

The white-jacketed bartenders can shake up a variety of cocktails featuring spirits appropriate to the Deco time period, with a number of SF classics (pisco punch, Irish coffee, and the mai tai) and highballs too—all served in vintage glassware. You can take a look at the cocktail list and bar menu here. Don’t miss the 20th Century, with its whispering notes of cacao, and Stookey’s trademark 100 Reasons Rye (James Pepper rye, Punt e Mes, Cointreau, Regan’s orange bitters, $13). Almost all the other cocktails are $11, sweet.

Open Tue-Sun 4:30pm-2am. Welcome (back?) to the neighborhood! 895 Bush St. at Taylor.

Let's Learn About Wine and Booze and Beer! While We Drink It


The bar at Flora. Photo from Facebook.

Check out the Wines of South America at the JCCSF on Monday February 9th with master sommelier and author of the book Wines of South America, Evan Goldstein. He’ll be presenting wines from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, and talking about the various regions and climates and what to look for when purchasing bottles. The event begins at 7pm and tickets are $35 and include the talk and tasting. JCCSF members receive 10 percent off the ticket price. 3200 California St. at Presidio, 415-292-1200.

In Oakland, FLORA is now offering cocktail classes at their bar. Matty McGee, the bar manager, will be leading two two-part series. Each class will be on Sunday evenings from 5pm-7pm, and costs $75 for a single class or $125 for both classes in the series. Classes are limited to ten students, so you’ll get lots of attention and instruction. The first series begins on Sunday February 8th and ends on Sunday March 8th, and is all about Old Fashioneds and Manhattans. YES. Learn about the history of these old-school drinks and about the importance of bitters in each drink. You’ll even make your own bitters to take home. Then, on Sunday April 12th and Sunday May 17th, learn about the difference between West Coast and East Coast Palates with different recipes for gimlets, martinis, and Tom Collins. Full details on each series as well as tickets are right here. 1900 Telegraph Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-286-0100.

Don’t forget San Francisco Beer Week begins on Friday February 6th. Don’t miss the opportunity to try beer from tons of local brewers, attend workshops, pairing dinners, and more. The full schedule of happenings is here, with highlights like a Magnolia Brewing dinner at Bar Crudo, a Belgian beer and dim sum pairing at Mama Ji’s, and a yeast flavor profile workshop at Triple Voodoo Tap Room, for your deep beer nerd needs. Go out there, lather up, and get sudsy! Beer Week runs until Sunday February 15th; locations and prices of events vary.


the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)

Valentine's Day Options That Won't Break Your Bank (Or Your Mind)


Hearts forever. Photo: ©

Event Info

Tuesday Feb  3, 2015 – Sunday Feb 15, 2015

By Dana Eastland. Look, Valentine’s Day can be a challenging night to eat out, and it’s coming up on Saturday February 14th. But there are ways to do it that won’t make you crazy. Here are some of our picks to keep the overpriced tasting menu and hearts and flowers insanity at bay.

The ever-fabulous Juanita MORE! (who is also well known as an excellent cook) will be hosting a special evening at HECHO with seatings at 5:30pm, 7:30pm, and 9:30pm. The prix-fixe menu includes an appetizer, salad, choice of entrée, and dessert, and beverages can be purchased from Hecho; here’s the food menu. This isn’t couples-only, either—they have tables for groups of four or six, as well as a communal table where single diners are encouraged (email to reserve a spot at the communal table). Reservations can be made here, and the dinner is $55 per person including food. 2200 Market St. at 15th St., 415-926-5630.

SoMa wine bar LES CLOS is offering a four-course prix-fixe for Valentine’s Day, for just $48 per person. The menu includes an entrée choice of poussin for two or petrale sole for two (cute!). Optional wine pairings are available for an additional $48 per person. Reservations can be made by emailing the restaurant. 234 Townsend St. at Lusk, 415-795-1422.

MARLA BAKERY is doing a nicely priced five-course prix-fixe for $50 per person. New chef Duncan Holmes’ menu starts with a Kusshi oyster, and includes a foie gras mousse with kumquat marmalade and savory walnut cracker. Check out the menu here. You can also purchase a special confections box for $16, made in-house by co-owner and wizard Amy Brown. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.

So this isn’t exactly on Valentine’s Day, but that could be a good thing if the big day doesn’t work for you. FRONT in Potrero is hosting an artsy tasting for the adventurous only, called Inter-courses. Har. We said adventurous! The tasting courses will be interactive and artistic, and created in collaboration with artist Leah Rosenberg. Cocktails will be served between each course, as well. Tickets are $60 for a table for two, including all food, cocktails, and an edible memento to take home. Tickets are still available for the 6:30pm seating on Thursday February 12th and the 8:30pm seating on Friday February 13th. 150 Mississippi St. at Mariposa, 415-437-6822.

Also on Friday February 13th (oooh) is a Modern Turkish Dinner at NAKED KITCHEN from the folks at Troya. The dinner is actually a fundraiser for the Clinic by the Bay, and tickets are $85 for communal seating or $135 for the chef’s table. Tickets include a five-course dinner and wine pairings; chef’s table diners also get a special amuse-bouche.

Then, on Saturday February 14th, Naked Kitchen is hosting a special brunch with chef Anthony Yang. The Valentine’s-themed installment of his Ante Meridian series will feature four courses of Yang’s inventive food, with a menu that will be revealed on the day of the event. Brunch begins at 11am and tickets are $55 per person, and include brunch and one glass of sparkling rosé. Other beverages are BYO. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

For a nice daytime option, SPQR is offering a four-course prix-fixe at lunch on Valentine’s (remember, it’s a Saturday) for $48 per person. (Then, at dinner, it will be a five-course prix-fixe for $90 per person.) Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-771-7779.

Go retro and sweet with a treat from THE ICE CREAM BAR—or you can even take something to go. They’re offering a variety of specials all weekend, from Thursday February 12th through Sunday February 15th. They’ll be serving a special baked Alaska with passion fruit ice cream and rum caramel sauce; heart-shaped ice cream sandwiches; and This Drink Is My Date at the fountain, with Allagash Curieux bourbon-barrel-aged ale over butterscotch, milk chocolate, and banana puddin’ ice creams, all topped with caramelized banana, whipped cream, and a cherry. Whoa. That’s definitely worth going steady for (or maybe you were looking to get pinned?). 815 Cole St. at Frederick, 415-742-4932.

Over in Oakland, DOPO is offering a prix-fixe, three-course menu of simple Italian classics, including a lasagna of pork sausage and ricotta; check out the full menu here. The dinner is $50 per person, and wine pairings will be available as well. Seatings are 5:30pm, 7:30pm, and 9:30pm, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. Plus, they are even saving some tables for walk-ins. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.

Once again this year, LUKE’S LOCAL is offering everything you need to eat well at home and impress your sweetie. You can choose from one of three dinner kits: fresh rigatoni with winter vegetables and Truffle Tremor cheese ($29); herb roasted chicken with bread salad ($29); and filet of beef with bordelaise sauce, chanterelles, and potatoes ($45). They’ve also got all the accoutrements, including bouquets of flowers (for only $15 each), cookie dough from Black Jet Baking Co., a cupcake kit, and much much more. Delivery is free if you spend more than $50, so all you’ll need to do is find a bottle of wine.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Rock-A-Fella at Park Tavern

Hip-hop superstar, businessman, and, oh right, Mr. Beyoncé, was espied by a reader at Park Tavern the week of January 21st. Unfortunately, the restaurant couldn’t confirm Jay-Z was there, but our spy was quite sure. Because he was apparently trying to go unnoticed (and who can blame him, really?), we weren’t able to get any details on his visit, but we hope it had to do with these secret Swedish music-streaming deals.

Pinstripes at the Park Tavern

Park Tavern had a big week with Big Apple icons. Derek Jeter was also spotted there by a spy the week of January 28th. Again, the restaurant couldn’t confirm, so maybe he’s enjoying his retirement as an undercover diner with the Michelin Guide. Gosh, we hope so.

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