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Apr 20, 2015 30 min read

April 21, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: worlds o' flava.

April 21, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: worlds o' flava.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: worlds o' flava.                    

From the one-and-only master of garnish, Scott Beattie (at Meals on Wheels). Huckleberry Gin Punch, with 209 gin infused with huckleberries, Pimm’s No. 1, lemon, cardamom, mirin, sake, rice wine vinegar, and bitters, garnished with chocolate mint and borage. Photo: ©

Is it weird I like this chilly and gray weather? Well, it’s handy for when I’m on deadline, because I don’t feel bad about being inside. Tomorrow I will be back on the road and heading into some Wine Country warmth since I am attending The Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor, an international conference with more than 60 chefs visiting from Asia, Europe, and all over the U.S.

This year’s theme is Asia and the Theater of World Menus, so we’ll be learning about rice, ramen, sake, shio koji, kimchi, curry, and a whole lot more. Cool! (There’s a live webcast in case you want to tune in to the general conference sessions.) It will be great to be in St. Helena, and since I am staying with friends in Yountville, I’m fired up to go eat at Ciccio (finally). I’ll also be staying over Friday evening for the grand tasting at the Calistoga Food & Wine event, see you there?

Today’s issue has two in-depth profiles of two exciting openings, Aatxe and Octavia (I visited Aatxe on their opening night on Friday and dined at Octavia on Saturday). Add them both to your hit list.

Sunday was the 28th annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala benefiting Meals on Wheels, and as usual, it was over the top with the best local chefs, bartenders, and winemakers. I’m just editing my photos of the reception now, I’ll be sharing them as soon as I can. A huge round of thanks to gala chef chair Nancy Oakes and all the talented people who made it the special event it is. Am looking forward to hearing how much they raised this year! It’s always staggering. Go SF.

My Sunday only got more decadent with a special dinner at BDK Restaurant hosted by Ruinart, and chef de caves Frédéric Panaïotis. Spicy fried chicken and the exquisite 2002 Dom Ruinart rosé, let me tell you, that was the jam.

So, a couple more quick things. First, my fellow caffeine fiends, here’s my post on on four new cafés around town, have at it.

And I have a big favor to ask! It ends up the developers of my late-night dining app are no longer supporting it, and I’m having a hard time finding someone to transfer all the data into a new app format for me so I can update the damn thing. Anyone have any ideas? I don’t have a lot of dough to throw at this, but would love some support, ideas, or leads. THANK YOU!

I am taking Friday off since I will be in the 707, so have a great week!

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Poetry in Motion: Melissa Perello's Octavia Now Open in Pacific Heights


And so it begins… Photo: taken by our charming server!


A view of the dining room facing the kitchen. Photo: Wes Rowe.


The “deviled egg.” Photo: ©


Chilled squid ink noodles at Octavia. Photo: ©


Toast with warm ricotta. Photo: ©


Paccheri with clams. Photo: ©


Looking toward the front of Octavia. Photo: Wes Rowe.

San Francisco is already so fortunate to have the talented Melissa Perello and her restaurant Frances in our collection of culinary crown jewels, and now there is another ruby to add: OCTAVIA. The corner location dates back to the 19th century, and was home to the Meetinghouse, the first Quince, and later Baker & Banker. Now, with the awnings taken down and the heavy carpeting and dark woods removed, it’s an airy and light-filled space. The dining room is larger than Frances and has a variety of seating options, from the more intimate tables in the corners to tables with a view of the open kitchen in the back. There are tall industrial black shelves used as partial dividers, reminding me a bit of a feature I love at Alta. The flower arrangements and display on the wall (from The Petaler) add to the natural attractiveness of the room.

The feeling is immediately comfortable and welcoming, with beautifully patterned wood tables (the wood was reclaimed from attorney Melvin Belli’s home, I hear), nubby cotton pillows on the banquettes, perfect warm lighting emitting from the droplights…the room hits the right notes of American design: a bit Shaker, rustic-chic, and farmhouse residential. Kudos to Michael Baushke of Apparatus Architecture on this transformation. Oh, and private dining will return to the downstairs soon.

Perello is having fun with this menu, and while it’s still rooted in her own breed of Cali cuisine,  she is expanding the flavor profiles and presentation to a style that feels very au courant here. You will find an array of small plates, like chilled squid ink noodles ($6) covered with a flurry of Cortez bottarga. And it wouldn’t be an SF menu without some toast ($5): hers is so pretty, the buttery and golden Josey Baker levain spread with charred spring onion purée and warm housemade ricotta, with sprigs of cress on top.

Egg lovers will gravitate toward the spicy “deviled egg” ($4), the creamy yolk runs into a bed of Fresno chile relish and is covered in a blend of chiles and sesame—it reminded me of Istanbul with its notes of Marash and cumin. Grilled beef tongue ($8) in a bone marrow broth, just yes. You should just cover your table with a bunch of these plates, order one of beverage director Paul Einbund’s vermouth cocktails, and call it a party. Your eyes will be enchanted, your palate abundantly compensated.

True appetizer-sized plates include a vibrant green garlic fumet ($9) made with halibut, and Melissa’s salads are always on point, like one with Bloomsdale spinach ($11), toasted walnut vinaigrette, and Piave Vecchio. Her pasta dish is currently paccheri ($13) loaded with plump clams, shaved garlic, and fennel pollen pangrattato (you want to get this, trust). Larger plates run from stuffed quail to perfectly cooked spring lamb to halibut ($24-$28) and a dry-aged rib-eye (AQ).

Desserts from pastry chef Sarah Bonar are abundant and include a playful creamsicle float with housemade Meiwa kumquat soda ($8) and a toasted fennel pollen genoise ($8) with Albion strawberries and Meyer lemon sherbet, plus three more that will give you pause. Don’t forget the list of Madeiras, either.

We only came in on night three, and were so impressed with the depth of flavors, the balance, and dialed seasoning we found in our feast. Dishes are refined but approachable and rooted—it’s like the elevated home cooking of your dreams, kind of how you’d imagine a French-trained chef would cook at their California cabin on a weekend off. How can something be casual and soigné at the same time? Perello hits it.

Everything is served on gorgeous pottery by Sarah Kersten, who custom made the pieces for the restaurant, joined by well-selected mismatched silver. Service is warm and attentive—regulars will recognize some Frances servers on the floor. The wine list is definitely larger, with plenty of inspired selections for you in all budgets (if you want to go deep and rare, you can here), and is primarily a love letter from Europe. It’s everything you want in a neighborhood restaurant. The experience is so soulful, and leaves you so very content and feeling quite lucky to live in San Francisco. Because we are.

Reservations are recommended, and there will also be seats reserved for walk-ins. Dinner nightly 5pm-10:30pm.

Octavia            - 1701 Octavia St. San Francisco - 415-408-7507

A Look at Aatxe, Now Open in the Swedish American Hall on Market Street


The dining room at Aatxe. Photo: Charlie Villyard.


Pinxtos flight. Photo: Charlie Villyard.


Patatas bravas. You really should order these. Photo: ©


Your new late-night dish: Spanish fried rice. Photo: ©

On Friday April 17th, AATXE (say “aah-CHAY”) opened on the ground floor of the Swedish American Hall and Cafe du Nord, a project in conjunction with the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group and the Bon Vivants. This Spanish- and Basque-inspired restaurant has chef Ryan Pollnow at the helm (he was previously the chef de cuisine at Central Kitchen), and you can expect some Cali flair and ingredients to be integrated in the dishes. Pollnow has traveled and cooked in the Basque Country and is inspired to re-create the region’s convivial feeling around food.

The space is designed to be communal and energetic and is divided into two areas. First there’s the bar, with a marble top and comfortable stools in cordovan with bent cane backs, where you will find some of the Bon Vivants magic, sporting a selection of aperitivos ($10) and cocktails ($12, or $43 in a carafe for your party of four). The Rooster’s Song (Lustau gran reserva brandy, Cappelletti, Byrrh, and tomato tincture) was a deep vermilion, and about as spiritous as a Negroni—a beautiful start. There’s a Big gin and tonic on tap, and wait until you see the back of the menu with the color wheel of gins available. Drink up and make Nick and Nora proud.

There’s a communal table in the back, with tile on the walls that give it the old-world vibe of some of the cool spaces I saw in Lisbon. The second room is where you’ll see the open kitchen, surrounded with eight stools, and then there’s a 50-seat dining room with its classic and handsome look (a white oak herringbone-patterned floor, banquettes, classic bistro chairs, copper-topped tables, and chic trapezoidal light fixtures). Throughout the space you’ll find some ledges where you can stand (and wait). The design is by Claro Design/Stellah De Ville. It took me a little bit to figure out where all this ground-floor space came from: it was formerly the café, and the bar area was where some offices were. Hopefully this helps you feeling less puzzled than I was when you first walk in.

Pollnow’s menu starts with an array of pintxos like borage leaf croquettes and a classic gilda (a spear of anchovy, olive, and a green bean in this case)—you can get all four for $11. (I’d love it if the kitchen sent out platters of them to the bar area for spontaneous snacking.) I’d recommend a sherry for these dishes, and there are also some conservas (mussels escabeche, etc.) that would also play nicely with the aperitivos. There’s housemade charcuterie, like the spicy lomo and a chorizo dark with guajillo chile, and a few Spanish cheeses.

Tapas-sized plates include tender gambas (shrimp) in garlicky oil ($13) and double-fried patatas bravas ($8.50), which turned me around on a dish I have long ago stopped ordering. Pollnow’s version completely rocks. And the Spanish fried rice ($14) shows the kitchen’s playfulness in a dish that is going to become my new late-night craving: diced chorizo, rapini, and salt cod tortilla are mixed into this rice, and it had great texture, almost like a paella’s socarrat. There are some larger cazuelas (lamb albondigas and pork cheek with morcilla chickpeas), $22-$24. There will also be a dessert each night (we had a very pretty crema Catalana) or you can go for their Spanish coffee with rum and cream.

The varied wine selections include a number of smaller Spanish producers, with lots of whites, and range from the delicate to the bold. You’ll be in good hands for pairings.

Dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. Reservations and walk-ins welcome. 2170 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.

Just a quick note: I hear the downstairs Cafe du Nord space is coming along, and they hope to open the bar in a month or so. There will be a different menu than Aatxe, more American in style—we’ll have details on it all soon.

Marlowe Burger Now Open


The new home of Marlowe Burger. Photo by Patricia Chang.


The Marlowe burger, with fries of course. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

A report by Dana Eastland. MARLOWE BURGER from the Marlowe team is now open, in the original Marlowe space—just look for the spray-painted “burger” on the sign. As previously reported, Jennifer Puccio, James Nicholas, and Anna Weinberg moved Marlowe from Townsend to the former Coco 500 space, and originally had plans to open a burger window at the new location, serving burgers and fries to go. However, construction on 4th Street has been so intense and demand has been so high that they decided to open Marlowe Burger instead.

It’s styled like a fast-food restaurant, with lots of steel, bright pops of red, and burgers served in fun foil bags with graphic check boxes indicating the contents. They even have chicken nuggets ($10) with the same slightly fluffy textured meat of the Happy Meal childhood fave. You order at the counter and can get your goods to go or dine on a stool at one of the counters or the communal table.

The menu is tightly edited, with their classic burger ($10.50), a kid’s version ($8), a fried chicken sandwich ($10.50), and some non-sandwich items including fries ($4) and deviled eggs ($2 each). The beer and wine license is in full force, with wines available by the glass (one white, one red, one rosé, all $8 a glass) and beers in cans (prices range from $5 to $7), including selections from 21st Amendment and Anchor.

The doors officially opened on Monday April 20th, and hours are Mon 11am-3pm, Tue-Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 5pm-10pm, closed Sun. 330 Townsend St. at 4th St., 415-974-5599.

Pizza News: Tony's Slice House Now Open on Second Street, Del Popolo Opening a Pizzeria


Upstairs seating at Tony’s Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.


A classic slice from Slice House. Photo courtesy of Slice House.


The Del Popolo truck. Photo: ©

We reported that Tony Gemignani was opening a SLICE HOUSE on 2nd Street, in the former Ironside, and look at that, it’s now open!

The 49-seat, bi-level loft location really didn’t change much, but the menu is definitely all new. You can come by for slices (New York, Sicilian, and grandma-style), and there is also a whole section of the menu dedicated to artisan ancient-grain pizzas (a blend of Tony’s 00 flour, spelt, semolina, sprouted grain, and whole wheat)—available in a 13-inch size—and there’s an ancient-grain pasta salad, too, made with Khorasan wheat. There are a couple of housemade pasta options (bucatini, gemelli), salads, and some apps like chicken wings and coccoli (fried dough balls with salumi and burrata, oh yeah).

It’s worth noting that during baseball games, Slice House will offer a limited menu of slices and sandwiches, all ready for takeout, returning to a full menu post-game. The restaurant will also stay open late after evening games to accommodate fans. Open for breakfast (with a stuffed breakfast sandwich on the menu, with eggs, cheddar, and mozzarella with choice of prosciutto, bacon, or sausage—or onion and sautéed mushroom), lunch, and dinner 8am-10pm daily; brunch service will begin in early May. Beer and wine are also available, plus you can order delivery through Caviar (that link will hook up first-time users with $15 off your order, FYI!). 680 2nd St. at Townsend, 415-872-9680.

An ABC permit filing hit the wires for DEL POPOLO, and sure enough, Jon Darsky is going to be opening a brick-and-mortar companion to his shipping container pizzeria on wheels. Inside Scoop confirms Darsky plans to open the location later this year, and he’ll be adding some other dishes like antipasti and salads too. With Stookey’s Club Moderne conveniently a half block away, this will be the perfect one-two night! 855 Bush St. at Taylor.

Buttermilk Southern Kitchen Soft Opens Today


Jars of housemade preserves line the walls at Buttermilk Southern Kitchen. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


Taps and the bar menu at Buttermilk. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report from Dana Eastland. As we noted in September, the corner of 23rd Street and Bryant is about to get a new spot: BUTTERMILK SOUTHERN KITCHEN. It comes from partners Miguel de Ocampo and Jaime Chavez, who met in culinary school. I had a chance to chat with de Ocampo this week and got some updates on their plans.

The space, a former laundromat, will be softly opening today, Tuesday April 21st. De Ocampo is quick to point out that not only is he a San Francisco native, but they also want the restaurant to fit well within the neighborhood. Almost all dishes are less than $18, and many are less than $10, and they’ve made an effort to hire from within the neighborhood, including a former employee of the laundromat. This is understandable, since they’ve already been tagged with anti-gentrification graffiti and want to avoid some of the drama that befell nearby Local’s Corner.

As the name suggests, Buttermilk is all about Southern food, with starters like a chicken liver pâté served with housemade pickles and marmalade ($8); barbecued prawns with seasonal succotash ($10); and potato chips with pimento cheese dip ($6). For entrées, look for an oxtail hash ($15); chicken and waffles ($14); and a smoked and smothered pork chop ($21). They also have a selection of sides, including mac and cheese ($6); biscuits ($5); and whipped sweet potatoes with goat cheese ($5). As for brunch, some of the same dishes make an appearance, along with a breakfast sandwich ($8); several Benedict varieties ($13-$17); and shrimp and grits ($16). Most items are made in-house, including house-cured bacon and the housemade pickles and preserves that line the walls.

They’ll be open for lunch and dinner during the week, and weekend brunch is in the works. There’s ample outdoor seating, as well as a comfortable bar with eight beers on tap (including selections from Abita, Coronado, and North Coast), wine, and sweet tea. For now, hours are Mon-Fri lunch 10am-5pm, dinner 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun brunch 9am-3pm and dinner 5pm-10pm. They’re currently softly open, though, so those hours may change according to demand. It’s advised to give a call before heading over. The grand opening should come in a few weeks. 2848 23rd St. at Bryant, 415-341-1031.

Spice Jar Coming Soon to Former Local's Corner Space


The sign at Spice Jar. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

It looks like there is a taker for the former Local’s Corner space, which closed late last year. It’s called THE SPICE JAR according to a note in the window of the restaurant, and comes from owner Ryuichi Hamada.

They’ll be serving pan-Asian comfort food, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Think noodles, rice, and spices like garlic, ginger, and chiles, but locally sourced. Details are a bit limited at the moment, but we hear they are planning to open at the end of May. The space is currently papered over, but it sounds like a quick turnaround. They do, however, plan to add a hood to the kitchen so they can have access to a stove, which will be new for the space. We’ll keep you updated. 2500 Bryant St. at 23rd St., 415-829-3668.

Cawfee Tawk: Big, Huge, Mega Blue Bottle and Tartine News, Repose Opens, More Philz


Liz Prueitt and Chad Robertson of Tartine Bakery and Manufactory. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

A report by Dana Eastland. The big news this week is a major merger of two of San Francisco’s biggest players in artisanal products: Blue Bottle and Tartine Bakery. The two businesses both trace their roots to 2002, when Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt opened Tartine and James Freeman started selling his coffee beans. Now, Tartine will become part of Blue Bottle, but will maintain its identity as an independent entity, with Robertson as CEO. Prueitt will remain executive pastry chef. In addition to the upcoming project in the Heath building in the Mission and the new partnership between the two brands in Tokyo, they will also be expanding to Los Angeles and New York (did you just hear the cheers nationwide?). In the coming months, Tartine will begin serving Blue Bottle coffee exclusively, and Blue Bottle will incorporate Tartine breads and pastry into their menus.

As for what this all means, obviously some are already concerned with what this kind of growth can mean for a place as artisanal as Tartine. But it’s also exciting to think about how two such quintessentially Bay Area companies can help each other grow and take our local values global. This also has the potential to be huge for Tartine employees, who will now have different opportunities to grow with the company that wouldn’t have been available before.

The other piece of exciting news here is that BAR TARTINE is being sold to head chefs Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns. Rather than try to keep the restaurant within the larger company, Robertson and Prueitt decided to sell to the pair, according to The New York Times. Congratulations to everyone involved, and we look forward to seeing how these businesses grow.

This being San Francisco, there is plenty more news in coffee land too. Hoodline reports that REPOSE COFFEE has opened on Divisadero. This is the second location for the café, which has another location in Sebastopol. They are serving Ritual coffee and a small food menu of salads, panini, and gluten-free quesadillas, with pastries coming soon. They also have beer and wine. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat 8am-6pm, Sun 9am-4pm. 262 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-874-9110.

It looks like the PHILZ empire is growing, with a location in 5 Embarcadero Center. Hoodline reports that permits for construction have been filed for a space in the building, though no one at Philz is talking about the exact location or their plans, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on this one. 5 Embarcadero Center at Market.

Did you know that local chef Dennis Leary started roasting his own coffee beans? He did! His microroasting operation is called Aleph Coffee, and Sprudge has a fun interview with him on learning to roast; he even hints at a possible café someday.

Coming Soon to North Beach: Belle Cora and Acquolina


The exterior of the former Dell’Uva. Yelp photo by Jk.

Teague Kernan of Tupelo has a new project in North Beach, called BELLE CORA, opening in the former Dell’Uva space. The name refers to the novel by Phillip Margulies about a notorious madam from the 19th century, and Kernan says the restaurant “will be a comfortable, inviting place to come share drinks and food.” Chef John Kenner’s menu will focus on lighter dishes, with an emphasis on vegetable-driven preparations (he’s vegan). Don’t worry, though, they’ll play nice with meatier items, too, and everything will be designed for sharing. The wine list features about 25 bottles from consultant Paulina Krol, and it’s intended to be approachable and affordable. Craft beers will also figure prominently.

The space has been designed with assistance from Julie Brown of Re:Design and will be warm and inviting, with some nods to the neighborhood’s history and old-world ambience. They will be taking full advantage of the restaurant’s great outdoor seating, too—sidewalk tables will definitely be available. The plan is to open in early June, but they are realistic about how long construction and permits may take. 565 Green St. at Columbus.

Hoodline caught the details on ACQUOLINA, the new project moving into the former Café Divine space. It comes from a trio of Italians from Livorno—Rutilio Duràn (who you may recognize from C’era Una Volta Ristorante Italiano in Alameda), Marco Marianelli, and Dario Nicotra—and will be serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. They’ll have eggs and a breakfast pizza in the mornings, with pizza and pasta at lunch. At dinner, you’ll also find meat and seafood plates. The wine list is mostly Italian, with selections priced for everyday consumption as well as special occasion choices. They’ve got a special stone-lined oven for pizza and an imported Stylema machine for espresso. They want to appeal to a broad range of diners, including families with kids and those looking for a date night. The bar is having some adjustments made to it so it will be easier to dine at. They’re currently planning to open the first week of May. 1600 Stockton St. at Union.

Late-Night Dining Spots in SF from People Who Really Know


Pupusas from Los Panchos. Yelp photo by Jose U.


The retro fabulous counter at Orphan Andy’s. Photo: ©


Just try saying no to this pork chop at Vietnam Restaurant after a night on the town. Yelp photo by Debbie L.

Last week, one of my posts for Refinery 29 (The Best Late-Night Spots—Courtesy of Bay Area Night Owls) went live, but unfortunately the editors had to cut some content from my original piece. I am including the people and pieces that got cut here, because there were too many great contributors and fab ideas for late-night eats for me to let them stay on the cutting room floor!

As you (hopefully) know, I have a late-night dining app, with 95 places open past 11pm in SF! While I am trying to get a new app developer so I can update it with all the very latest and greatest spots, there are still a bunch of classic and tasty places on there, so check it out!

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share your favorite spots with me! Thanks for doing your part to support our late-night dining scene. See you on the town!

Name: Sonya Molodetskaya Profession: Fashion advocate, writer for Haute Living magazine, eats out every night Late-Night Spot: Gem in the Financial District—Louie’s Bar (55 Stevenson St. at 1st St.) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: Hidden in the alley, which makes this place intimate, especially in a late hour. Open till 2am and food is served till 1am. Brick interior with great photographs on the walls make this place charming with a twist. Classic bar food, famous for potato skins, fries, and burgers. Great choice of beers. Superchill bartenders and friendly crowd. Did I mention it’s next door to where I live?!

Name: Jeffrey Paradise Profession: Record Player, half of daytime disco group Poolside Late-Night Spot: Los Panchos (3206 Mission St. at Fair) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: For me, this is hands down my favorite late-night food spot; as far as I can tell there isn’t any competition (though I wish there was). I order two cheese pupusas with rice and beans. The pupusas are good, the curtido is great, the superspicy watery salsa is somehow perfect when you’re drunk, the ladies who work there are awesome and don’t give a fuck about you unless you speak a little Spanish, the music is typically blasting, the decor is very festive, etc. It seems like a lot of service industry people who work at Latin bars and clubs and mariachi guys come here after work. I’ve been there when the whole restaurant erupts in song to the banda-type music blasting.

Name: Dottie Lux Profession: Burlesque performer and producer Late-Night Spot: King of Thai Noodle (multiple locations) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: After a night of telling dirty jokes and watching tassels swing I work up quite a hunger. Red Hots Burlesque has four shows a week all over SF and we are always near enough to a King of Thai Noodle. I love that the food here is always fresh and delicious—the hardest part is deciding what to order. I’m a Pisces, so decisions are hard in general, luckily this SF restaurant chain accommodates my ever-changing moods. Noodle, rice, beef, vegetarian; they’ve got it all. The portions are large and sharing dishes is easy. Large and easy; yep, this is the place for me.

Name: Melissa Perfit Profession: Executive Chef, Bar Crudo Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: I love this spot because it stays open till 3am and serves solid Vietnamese food to ease a drunken hungry stomach. A big bowl of pho and some spring rolls are my favorites. You might have to wait 30 minutes for your food, but there’s no shortage of drunken characters to keep you entertained while you wait. The owners of this hole in the wall take no shit while they dish out food into the wee hours.

Name: Mika Takeuchi Profession: Creator of Food Fashionista + Digital Media Marketing Consultant Late-Night Spot: Nopa (560 Divisadero at Hayes) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: Nopa is an obvious late-night choice because it’s consistent, solid, and always satisfies. In the wee hours when your dining choices usually consist of greasy mystery meals, I like that Nopa offers high-quality local ingredients and a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. The wood-baked giant white beans dish is a favorite, along with the smoked trout and grass-fed cheeseburger. And I’m guilty of never leaving without ordering a dessert…or two. The chocolate pot de crème with a touch of sea salt and olive oil is always a sweet way to end the evening.

Name: Marke Bieschke Profession: Publisher, Late-Night Spot: Orphan Andy’s (3991 17th St. at Castro) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: Despite an insane party schedule, I hardly ever go out in the Castro. But the cheap diner is a dying breed in SF. And a 24-hour one, staffed by men in kilts, frying up a juicy double cheeseburger with a fried egg on top, served by itself on a little plate? Pretty much extinct. So I’ll make the trek. (Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night and go.)

Name: Donovan Unks (or The Dapper Diner) Profession: Cancer Research or Semi-Professional Eater and Professional Liver Abuser Late-Night Spot: Vietnam Restaurant (620 Broadway at Grant) 3-4 sentences on why you like it/what you order: I like drinking in North Beach, and late night usually means 2:30am, so lucky for me, Vietnam is open until 3am. While most people go for a burger at the packed Sam’s next door, I duck into Vietnam to watch the old grandma cooking on the grill, because she has to know what she’s doing, right? It doesn’t matter, because I’m too drunk to care. I’ll go with the grilled pork over rice (com thit nuong), crispy imperial rolls (cha gio), barbecued pork banh mi, or beef ball pho, and pray I have money since it’s cash only.

Tidbits: Rangoon Ruby Opens on Polk, Otoro Sushi Expanding, More


Tea leaf salad from Rangoon Ruby. Yelp photo by Andrew W.

As we reported back in February, local mini-chain RANGOON RUBY took over the former Sushi Rock space on Polk Street. According to Chowhounds, the space is now open, serving Burmese staples like tea leaf salad, noodles, and stews. You can peruse the menu right here. 1608 Polk St. at Sacramento, 415-610-4333.

Hayes Valley’s OTORO SUSHI (noisy link warning) is moving to larger digs, according to Hoodline. It turns out that owner Jimmy Shen has been looking for a larger space for a while now, and when neighbors Bai Thong Thai decided it was time to retire, he nabbed the space on Gough. Sushi chef Fukuji Sugai will stay onboard through the move as well. No word yet on an exact timeline or who might be moving into the original Otoro space. 205 Oak St. at Gough, 415-553-3986.

In February, we reported on the opening of TAVARES in the Mason space in Potrero. Now, Eater has additional details of the colorful restaurant, including fun photos. This is the San Francisco outpost of the café, which also has a location in São Paolo. 300 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-558-9461.

New Service: New Format at Local Mission, Breakfast at Jersey


Jersey, looking toward the front of the restaurant. ©

LOCAL MISSION EATERY has made some changes to their menu’s format, Eater reports. Sister bakery Knead Patisserie, which is located in the back of the restaurant, is now running the show during weekday lunch. You’ll find hand pies, savory pastries, salads, and sandwiches at lunch. In the evenings, Local Mission has a newly revamped menu with a new focus on small dishes and snacking, with many items less than $10. They’re also now offering a tasting menu for $58 per person. It starts with a selection of snacks, followed by six courses. A vegetarian option is also available.

According to an announcement on Instagram, pizza shop JERSEY is now offering breakfast. Monday through Friday from 7am to 10am you can try their breakfast items, including a pizza with eggs and a choice of smoked salmon or prosciutto, a breakfast sandwich, and yogurt with seasonal fruit and granola. 145 2nd St. at Minna, 415-912-1502.

A Book Event for the West Coast Road Trip Lover


A report by Dana Eastland: Do you like a good road trip? What about one that involves delicious food stops along the way? Yep, me too! Don’t miss Brigit Binns’s latest book, Sunset Eating Up the West Coast. It’s all about great routes to take for those who like to eat while they travel, and includes fun pictures, hot tips, and fun photos of Ms. Binns and her darling pooch, Stella, on their travels.

I actually had a chance to check it out during a recent road trip to Portland (accompanied by my own black and white pup, no less), and it’s a handy, handsome guide. We ended up having an excellent seafood feast based on the book’s recommendations—but more on that later. The book will be released on Tuesday April 28th. Then, on Saturday May 2nd, Ms. Binns and Stella will be at Book Passage in the Ferry Building from 12:30pm to 1:30pm to celebrate California Bookstore Day. Ferry Building Plaza at Embarcadero, 415-835-1020.

510 News: Changes at Emeryville Public Market, Sequoia Diner Coming Soon


The KoJa combo from KoJa Kitchen. Yelp photo by Keerati C.

Changes are afoot at PUBLIC MARKET EMERYVILLE, which is currently undergoing major renovation. Two new food tenants have signed onto the space’s newly revamped food hall, KOJA KITCHEN and SHIBA RAMEN. (For more information on Shiba, check out this great article from East Bay Express on the owners.) The food hall’s renovation includes new design elements like reclaimed wood, tile, rolled steel panels, and a living wall, in addition to a new children’s play area. The renovations should be completed in late summer. 5959 Shellmound St. at 59th St., Emeryville, 510-652-9300.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that a new diner is opening in Oakland’s Laurel District, called SEQUOIA DINER. It’s opening in the former Full House Café space and is from partners Andrew Vennari and Sequoia Broderson, who both have restaurant experience at places like Camino and Duende. The restaurant will highlight housemade items, like sausage, bacon, bread, pastries, and jam, and local products will be featured. They’ll be open daily for breakfast and lunch, from 8am to 2pm, and plan to open this spring. 3719 MacArthur Blvd. at Loma Vista, Oakland, 510-482-3719.


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This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)

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Live restaurant equipment demonstrations, free valet parking, and thousands of items on sale at ridiculously low prices. Save big on commercial refrigeration and cooking equipment, cookware, china, glassware, shelving, cutlery, sinks, worktables, ice machines, food storage, and more. Factory representatives will be on hand to answer your questions.

Thursday-Saturday, April 23rd-25th, 8am-5:30pm daily. More information at

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Lots of Wine Events, Plus a Beer Shop Bonus and Bar Opening


Tasting at the New Zealand Wine Fair in 2013. Bonus points if you can spot the ‘hopper. Photo from Facebook.


Some of the many fabulous Japanese beers now lining the shelves at Umami Mart in Oakland. Photo: Umami Mart.

Did you know that this Friday April 24th is Sauvignon Blanc Day? It is! There are lots of ways to celebrate, including by getting yourself a glass and using the hashtag #SauvBlanc. You can put your knowledge to work the next day, Saturday April 25th, with the New New Zealand Wine walk-around tasting at Farallon. The tasting goes from 12pm to 3pm and will include pours from 24 of New Zealand’s finest wineries. There will be sauvignon blanc, of course, along with pinot gris, pinot noir, syrah, and more. Passed appetizers from the Farallon kitchen will be served, including many with New Zealand ingredients like smoked salmon, venison tartare, and lamb polpette. Tickets are $50, and the event runs from 12pm-3pm. 450 Post St. at Powell, 415-956-6969.

Then, on Monday April 27th, trade peeps can check out the New Zealand Wine Fair at Fort Mason from 1pm to 4pm. In addition to the walk-around tasting, there will be a seminar on New Zealand wines. Trade RSVP here.  Fort Mason Conference Center Building A, Marina Blvd. at Laguna.

The fab Bi-Rite Spring Wine Blitz is coming up from Monday April 27th through Sunday May 3rd, and you can get ready with a class at 18 REASONS on Thursday April 23rd. The Spring Wine Blitz Preview will run from 6pm to 8pm, and will include tasting of more than 20 of the wines available at Bi-Rite, including many of the wine buyers’ favorites. Tickets are $20 for the general public and $15 for 18 Reasons members.

Did you know that in 2013, approximately 93 percent of the wine grapes planted in California were made up of only eight different varieties? Yeah, crazy. Well, the Seven Percent Solution wants to change all that with a tasting of the other 7 percent, with a special tasting event with Bergamot Alley at the Folsom Street Foundry on Wednesday May 6th from 5pm to 8pm. Participating wineries include Unti, Stark Wine, and Arnot-Roberts. Tickets are $65 per person. Industry folks can also register for the industry portion from 12pm to 3pm. 1425 Folsom St. at 10th St., 415-795-3644.

The fab ladies at UMAMI MART are celebrating their new Japanese bottle shop (the nation’s first, which we told you about here), Bottle System, on Tuesday April 21st (that’s today!) from 6pm to 9pm. The event will include bites from Casa de Kei and music, along with low-octane beverages (their license doesn’t allow open containers on-site, sadly). Be sure to check out the new bottle offerings, including their extensive selection of beer and sake from Japan, which you can bring home and enjoy. 815 Broadway at 8th St., Oakland, 510-250-9559.

Also in Oakland is the opening of a new bar, WOLFHOUND. We mentioned it last year, and now they’re open! It’s primed to be a neighborhood hangout, and a local friend reports that it’s popular and dog-friendly. The E’Ville Eye has some photos, as well as a cool story on the history of the space. 5516 San Pablo Ave. at 55th St., Oakland, 510-338-3023.


707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

All the Culinary Details You Need on This Year's BottleRock Napa Valley


Wine at BottleRock. Photo courtesy BottleRock.


Pizza in the oven at BottleRock. Photo courtesy BottleRock.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Food is the new star of music festivals, and this year’s BottleRock Napa Valley is no exception. From Michelin-starred toques including Masaharu Morimoto, Michael Mina, and Top Chef star Michael Voltaggio to “culinary mash-up moments” with celebs Snoop Dogg, Vernon Davis of the 49ers, and Wavy Gravy, food groupies have plenty to salivate about at the three-day music festival May 29th through 31st in downtown Napa.

In fact, organizers have added a fifth stage to showcase food and wine: The Williams-Sonoma Culinary Stage. The new culinary stage will be hosted by “Foodie Chap” Liam Mayclem of KCBS.

There’s also the food-truck lineup (Bacon Bacon, Curry Up Now, Kara’s Cupcakes), the gourmet food court (Morimoto to La Toque), and wineries (Silver Oak Cellars, Del Dotto Vineyards, Schramsberg Vineyards) that only Wine Country could roll out. If you’re a high roller, VIP sections will offer cult wines and upscale Napa Valley restaurants like Redd, Goose & Gander, and Atlas Social. Platinum VIP tickets will run you between $1,250 and $3,000 versus the general admission cost of $119 per day. Don’t stress if platinum isn’t your jam. However you roll through the festival, you’ll be eating like a rock star. Trust us.

Here are even more delicious details about the culinary lineup from the BottleRock organizers.

The (at least for now) full lineup of chefs slated to participate also include both Bay Area and national names including Iron Chef Marc Forgione, Larry Forgione of the Culinary Institute of America, Mei Lin of Top Chef, 11-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani, Bryan Forgione of Buddy V’s, Rick Moonen of RM Seafood, Oenotri’s Tyler Rodde, and Dario De Conti of Ca’ Momi. There will also be Michelin-star chefs Brandon Sharp of Solbar, Ken Frank of La Toque, and Robert Curry of Auberge du Soleil, and the Williams-Sonoma Chef Collective featuring Sarah Simmons of Birds & Bubbles, Matt Jennings of Townsman, the Bon Vivants of Trick Dog, and Jason French of Ned Ludd.

Expanded food truck and culinary offerings throughout the festival include Morimoto Sticky Ribs, wood-fired pizzas, pork belly sandwiches, Vietnamese shrimp rolls, barbecue, fried chicken, vegetarian, vegan, and more. Culinary hot spots to be showcased include The Thomas at Fagiani’s, La Condesa, Tarla Grill, Taqueria Rosita, Eiko’s, Fume Bistro, Il Posto Trattoria, Eight Noodle Shop, Ristorante Allegria, The Q Restaurant and Bar, Bui Bistro, Napa Palisades Saloon, Smoke Open Fire, Jax White Mule Diner.

Wine and beer will be from Miner Family Wines, Robert Mondavi Winery, Rombauer Vineyards, Clos Du Val, Gia by Gia Coppola, Goosecross Cellars, Round Pond Estate, Aviary Vineyards, Hill Family Estate, Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, JaM Cellars, and JW Thomas Group.

Oh yeah, and there are about 70 bands and performers who’ll entertain you while you stuff your face. You know, if you’re into that. Like Imagine Dragons, No Doubt, Robert Plant (!!), Passion Pit, Cage the Elephant, Gipsy Kings, Capital Cities, Awolnation, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Portugal. The Man, Public Enemy, and more.

Details and tickets online.

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