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Sep 21, 2015 28 min read

September 22, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: surrealistic pillow.

September 22, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: surrealistic pillow.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: surrealistic pillow.                    

My kind of pillow: a massive ricotta raviolo with Mission figs and rosemary brown butter at Gardenias. Photo: ©

Whooooosh, today’s column took me and associate editor extraordinaire Dana Eastland for quite the whirl today. Fortunately, we love espresso and coffee, so things got done over here. (Thank you, Dana!)

Another whirlwind was the SF Cheese Fest on Saturday, an event put on by the California Artisan Cheese Guild. Wow, what a great night—there were more than two dozen cheesemakers in the house, and local beers, wine, salumi, jams, and more. Discovered a few new cheeses, and am already looking forward to the next one.

I have been on a ’60s kick after watching the documentary The Wrecking Crew this past weekend (such a fascinating story—thanks to tablehopper reader Cynthia for the reco!) and digging back into the ’60s archives. Jefferson Airplane in the house (the inspiration for today’s column title) and Harry Nilsson too. Ready to see the Brian Wilson movie (Love & Mercy) next.

Well, our heat wave may have burned out (thanks for the beach time and picnic in the Panhandle!), but I’m still so ready to enjoy the patio at Foreign Cinema this Thursday evening, celebrating their 16th anniversary, with a glass of Chablis in my hand. Bring on the oysters on the half shell and coquilles St. Jacques.

Enjoy the week, see you again on Friday! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Mexico City's Gabriela Cámara Opens Cala in Hayes Valley


The communal table at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.


The communal table in the bar area at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.


The entry, with plants. Photo by Chloe List.


The famed Contramar tostada, now a trout tostada, with chipotle, avocado, and fried leeks. Photo by Chloe List.


Sweet potato with bone marrow salsa negra. Photo by Chloe List.


Halibut ceviche à la Mexicana with avocado. Photo by Chloe List.


The dining room at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.

After much local excitement building up, chef and restaurateur Gabriela Cámara—internationally known for the Mexico City restaurants Contramar and MeroToro—has opened the doors to her first SF project, CALA. The name is Spanish for “cove,” and a fitting one for a restaurant that will be so seafood focused.

The 3,000-square-foot, 90-seat space (for now, it can accommodate even more seats) is quite fantastic: it’s near Hayes Valley and Civic Center, just next door to the Rickshaw Stop on Fell, with the Symphony, Opera, Jazz Center, and more nearby—there isn’t a Mexican restaurant of this caliber in the neighborhood, so its location is quite ideal. The space was a garage that dates back to 1919 and was most recently a recording studio.

Charles Hemminger Architects (State Bird Provisions, SF’s Heath location) worked closely with Cámara on the design on of the restaurant—it has a unique blend of industrialism with a tropical chic to it. When you first walk in, the dining room is separated by a row of fast-growing kangaroo vines that extend to the ceiling, an installation by Jeronimo Hagerman. There’s a semi-open kitchen, demarcated by a wall of textured gold, and the L-shaped limestone bar in the back right corner is equally shimmery with all its bottles. There’s a zinc-topped communal table (with an edge made of brass) and comfortable backed stools that mimic the style of the seats in the dining room (Cámara imported the same seats she uses for Contramar, but used a soft leather the color of turbinado for the seats here). In the center of the room, separating the bar from the dining room, is a fiddle-leaf fig tree (Ficus lyrata), again softening the concrete elements with lush foliage.

The lighting of the space is quite stunning—I love the custom-made barro negro clay orbs from Oaxaca that are suspended from the ceiling throughout the restaurant, with light emitting from the cutouts like a rustic disco ball. The ceiling also has numerous skylights, letting in soft light before sunset takes it away. This is also the first San Francisco restaurant to feature a Constellation Acoustic System from Berkeley’s Meyer Sound Laboratories, with a Libra acoustic image system.

Cámara’s first visit to the Bay Area was when she was a teen, and she remembers her parents taking her to Chez Panisse. Her business partner and the father of her child has been wanting to live abroad, and Northern California bubbled to the top of their list (they had already lived in New York).

A huge help with the project arrived in the form of Emma Rosenbush, whom Cámara met in Mexico City (Rosenbush ran an American brunch pop-up on the weekends, using locally farmed ingredients from somewhat urban gardens) but had moved to San Francisco. Rosenbush reached out to Cámara, acting like an on-the-ground location fixer and helping her find and look at spaces. Rosenbush was so instrumental in the project that she became the project manager, GM, and has a percentage in the business.

Be sure to read this piece on Hoodline about the unique and admirable staffing solution Rosenbush has launched at the restaurant. She used to work at the Prison Law Office in Berkeley, and in an attempt to reduce the rate of recidivism for recently released convicts, Cala has hired and trained a staff that is 70 percent comprised of employees with a prior criminal record. (Rosenbush has been working with the Adult Probation Department’s re-entry branch, Delancey Street, and the Young Community Developers.) It’s so admirable and unique—here’s wishing them much success in this progressive approach.

Cámara has been blown away by the hospitality of the city: “I have been feeling welcomed in the most extraordinary way—everyone has been so generous.” She has close ties with some of the culinary world’s most powerful muses, Diana Kennedy and Alice Waters, and has bonded with Gilbert Pilgram of Zuni. She will easily become the toast of the town—she is vibrant, energetic, and has a keen sense of hospitality. She is so obviously a people person.

Her menu will be focused on local and sustainable seafood, and seasonality will play a big part in what is offered on the menu, plus heirloom ingredients—she has a very Slow Food approach. She is even trying to find an alternative to bringing in limes from Mexico by using housemade fruit vinegars to lend acidity to her dishes. Her famed albacore tostada has morphed into a trout tostada, with chipotle, avocado, and fried leeks, and her pescado a la talla will be on the menu too. But, to be clear, there will be dishes here that you won’t find at Contramar. Nor will they be direct facsimiles of Mexican dishes—her mother is Italian, and growing up with her cooking has a strong influence on Cámara’s cooking style. She says she likes to make pleasurable food, and that is her guiding principle for Cala.

She found a source for native organic white corn in California, and they are nixtamalizing their corn in-house. Wait until you take a bite of a warm tortilla, slathered with a spread made of bone marrow and dried chile, with a mole-like complexity that is a total blast of umami. At a preview party, we sampled a restorative caldo de camarón, halibut ceviche, and there were also some delicious tamales, with the surprise of whole shellfish inside—one had a mussel, still in its shell, and another had a clam, tucked in with chile serrano. There were also sopes with midnight black beans, crema, and ricotta salata—expect plenty of vegetarian dishes on the menu.

Weekend brunch will eventually be a part of the picture, too, serving mollete (a sliced roll topped with beans, cheese, sauce, and pico de gallo), torta ahogada with fish “carnitas,” and more. Cámara is also working with Tartine Bakery on a special bolillo, like a little baguette roll.

The restaurant is currently in a soft opening mode, running a limited preview menu that will expand in the coming weeks as everything ramps up. In about a month or so, there will be a taco stand (Tacos Cala) launched in the back of the restaurant, opening on Hickory Street. The taqueria will be open for lunch, offering soft tacos de guisado, featuring seafood, meat, and vegetable fillings. It will be stand-up style, like you’d find in Mexico, with tacos that are meant to be eaten quickly with your aqua fresca. You’ll also be able to pick up tortillas to bring home. The space will transform into a private dining room in the evenings or be used for spillover from the dining room.

The bar is run by former Blackbird bar manager Regina Schauerte, highlighting mezcal and tequila, of course, plus unusual spirits like aged sotol too. Cocktails will be more on the simple side, but still carefully crafted. The house margarita is made with Amarás mezcal and housemade cane syrup infused with orange and lemon, while a variation on an old-fashioned is made with sotol and finished with spicy bitters and a brandied cherry.

Lauren Feldman—previously at L’Artusi in New York, and for the past three years, working in the hospitality program at Scribe Winery—missed the restaurant world and is managing Cala’s wine list. Since the menu is focused on seafood, she let that be her inspiration for the list, sourcing wines from coastal areas where seafood is central to the diet, like Spain, Southern France, Italy, Chile, and California. Her list features small producers, and ones working with indigenous grape varieties and ancestral farming methods—expect a focus on whites and rosés (you won’t find any pinot noir or cab on her list). There will be about 18 wines available by the glass, or you can go for a carafe or bottle.

Hours for now are Mon-Sat 5pm-11pm.

Cala            - 149 Fell St. San Francisco - 415-660-7701

Betelnut Sadly Closing After 20 Years in Business


The lounge at Betelnut. Photo © Brooke Gray Photography via Facebook.

“Like they say, I guess all good things must come to an end,” says Real Restaurants’ partner Bill Higgins, when returning my call inquiring about the gossip I heard this past week about Betelnut’s closure. It’s sadly true. Twenty years after its 1995 opening, and serving countless minced chicken lettuce cups since, BETELNUT is closing on Sunday September 27th, after lunch and dinner service.

The lease was up, and the building owner did not renew, although the Real Restaurants crew were allowed to run through the summer month-to-month. But now, as we all sadly know, summer is wrapping up and it’s time for them to vacate. Looking back on the 20 years, Higgins shares, “We had a good run, with many periods of glory—the restaurant was emulated by many, and accomplished a lot. And it was a lot of fun. I think we showed many people a great time.” Most definitely. I have many fond (and blurry) memories there, from fantastic group dinners to having former chef Alex Ong’s versions of cha ca la vong and beggar’s chicken (thanks Cecilia).

As for their many talented and loyal employees, Higgins says they are helping the front and back of house find good homes. He quickly added, “The Betelnut staff has been phenomenal. It’s always a hard moment for a restaurateur, but they have been so great, with many staying until the end, for the final hurrah. Truly phenomenal.”

And so, another one of our city’s old-timers exits the stage. The ‘nut was an anchor on Union Street, and it will be strange to have it gone. Thanks for all the delicious meals and hospitality!

Betelnut            - 2030 Union St. San Francisco - 415-929-8855

The Dorian Is Now Open in the Former Circa in the Marina


The dining room (The Drawing Room) at The Dorian. Photo by Michael David Rose, courtesy of UrbanDaddy.


The Circa 1986 cocktail, with gin, Calvados, raspberry jam, lemon juice, and Peychaud’s bitters. Photo by Amy Herold.


The shellfish tower, with Dungeness crab, shrimp, and Miyagi oysters. Photo by Amy Herold.


The Dorian’s house burger, with aged cheddar, “fancy” sauce, and fries. Photo by Amy Herold.

There is quite the swanky new spot to come to Chestnut Street, taking over the former Circa: THE DORIAN. The project is from Anderson Pugash, Benson Wang, and Jack Herr of Palm House, Bergerac, and Audio, plus general partner Guri Walia and advisory partners Austen Afridi and Scooter Simmons.

The menu is all about classic American dishes designed to share, like a chopped Caesar salad, deviled eggs (naturally), shrimp cocktail, and steak tartare, plus mussels and fries, a flat-iron steak, and a burger. The chef is Chris Ricketts, the group’s executive chef. You can look over the menu here.

As for the cocktails, Fifty Fifty Cocktail Co. founder Anthony Parks has put together a crafty menu of classic cocktails and martinis made with premium spirits, from a Gibson to a Martinez, and a Fifty-Fifty made with the addition of a dry manzanilla sherry. For those of you “down with brown,” look for more than 75 fine American whiskeys and plenty of whiskey-based cocktails. Get thirsty while looking at the cocktail menu here. The wine list has a mix of international and local selections, including two rosés and several sparkling choices. It’s also worth noting that they have a solid selection of half bottles and larger-format bottles, for groups of different sizes. Peruse all the options right here.

The space is now airy and bright (some windows were added), with a shimmering chandelier in the Drawing Room (the dining area), with banquettes and booths, plus bright chairs the color of peacock blue and Fornasetti plates on the walls. The room is anchored by a round conversation settee in pistachio. It’s whimsical and fun, with some Victorian and fin de siècle elements presented in a playful way (Shelly Amoroso is behind the design). The spacious main bar (tricked out in brass) is flanked by booths upholstered in faux crocodile, and the peacock color is echoed in the barstools. There’s also the semiprivate mezzanine, now a study, that’s perfect for small groups.

Happy hour will be Tue-Fri 4:30pm-6:30pm, featuring $1 oysters and half-off bottles of rosé and Champagne. Hours: Thu-Sun 4:30pm-12am, Fri-Sat 4:30pm-2am. Brunch will come later this fall. 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-814-2671.

And Now, It's Time for Bar Tartine's New Name: Crescent


Chefs Cortney Burns and Nick Balla. Photo by Chad Robertson via Facebook.

I knew that chefs and now owners of BAR TARTINE, Cortney Burns and Nick Balla, have been working on a new name for the business since they bought it from Tartine Bakery (we originally announced the news here), and now they have decided on a name: CRESCENT.

Talking with Burns about it, she says the name really resonates with them because it summarizes the ebb and flow of things, and the birthplace of civilization and food. It also doesn’t pigeonhole their cuisine and leaves them open and free, which is very much their style. She said to expect more of a sense and definition of the name when they share their new logo and identity. The new name should also be in effect in 90-120 days or so, all contingent upon completing escrow. Looking forward to seeing things take shape for the talented duo.

Bar Tartine            - 561 Valencia St. - 415-487-1600

Caputo Opening in South Beach in Early October


The future home of Caputo. Photo from Google Street View.

We have been reaching out to the CAPUTO team since April, and now they’re finally ready to release some details on the project. Coming to the former Sutra and temporary Slanted Door space, it’s slated to open in early October. As previously reported, the project comes from partners Sam Ramadan and Shah Bahreyni of Boca Tavern and Boca Pizzeria in Marin. It’s a California-style pizzeria and trattoria, with housemade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, and entrées from the wood grill. On the menu, look for fresh Italian options and some unusual proteins like braised lamb tongue. There are also classics from the wood-fired grill, like grilled octopus, porcini-dusted Wagyu steak, and chicken.

There is a full liquor license, and cocktails come from John Oyarzon, while the wine list comes from Paul Einbund and will include both local and international pours. The bar, which offers views of the bay, will have seating for 17, and a front patio offers seating for 40. As for the interior, it seats 100, and the design comes from Michael Brennan (Jardinière, Baker and Banker, Fleur de Lys, Farallon). There isn’t an exact opening date yet, but we’ll let you know when it’s set. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero, 415-543-9720.

Chef News: Laurent Manrique Consulting for Le Colonial, New Chef at La Mar


The veranda at Le Colonial. Photo courtesy of Le Colonial.

In an unexpected turn, chef Laurent Manrique is consulting for LE COLONIAL, working on a new direction for the 17-year-old restaurant (originally noted in Scoop). But it’s ends up that it’s not that surprising when you hear more about Manrique’s background: in 1990, Manrique’s first boss was Le Colonial founder Jean Denoyer, who sent Manrique from New York City to Vietnam in 1992, and that’s where Manrique found Le Colonial’s first chef (which opened in 1998).

Flash forward to a year and half ago, when Manrique was in Vietnam for his honeymoon and visited the Metropole Hotel in Hanoi, reminding him of his original inspiration for Le Colonial. Funnily enough, Le Colonial’s GM, Andre Cortes, got in touch with Manrique soon thereafter—the timing of a collaboration seemed quite right.

Manrique is currently fine-tuning the Le Colonial menu, steering it back to the French-Vietnamese colonial style of cooking it originally offered. Look for dishes like a blanquette de veau made with coconut milk, a pho that will be more like a pot-au-feu, shared dishes like whole fish, and a spin on riz au lait (rice pudding) for dessert. He brought on executive chef Brian Bowen (previously chef de cuisine of Cavallo Point’s Murray Circle, and who also cooked at Meadowood and Mugaritz), saying, “I wanted a younger chef—he is going to bring a light touch and modern techniques.” There are also a couple of Vietnamese ladies in the kitchen who have been there for quite some time, and Manrique said it’s important that they stay—he said their skills are quite special (“You should see how they roll spring rolls!”).

It’s worth noting that the décor will stay as is, which is timeless—the new direction is really about bringing some luster back to the menu. The new menu will be in place in early November; we’ll keep you posted on how it takes shape in the meantime. 20 Cosmo Place between Sutter and Post and Jones and Taylor, 415-931-3600.

Over at LA MAR CEBICHERIA PERUANA, Peruvian native Victoriano Lopez is now the corporate executive chef—he has been working with founder Gaston Acurio for more than two decades at Lima’s Astrid & Gaston; opening La Mar in Mexico City, Madrid, and San Francisco; and Tanta in Chicago. La Mar is turning seven on Monday September 28th, and you can enjoy two-for-one pisco sours and pisco punches all day in the bar.

La Mar Cebicheria Peruana            - Pier 1 1/2 San Francisco - 415-397-8880

Openings from Shido, Massawa, Onigilly, Mateo's Taqueria, El Ají


The newest location of Onigilly. Photo courtesy of Onigilly.

SHIDO, the sushi restaurant we first mentioned was opening in the former home of Buck Tavern on Market Street last May, is now open. Eater reports that the restaurant opened Sunday September 20th. Wilson Ma is the chef, and the menu offers sushi, sashimi, kushiyaki meat skewers, and donburi. The sake list is almost entirely Japanese, and bar manager Karina Sha hints at the possibility of a tasting menu in the future. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-9pm, Friday 11am-10pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. 1655 Market St. at Gough, 415-872-7187.

After closing their Haight Street location in 2010, MASSAWA has reopened, this time in North Beach. Hoodline reports that owner Asmerom Ghebrmicael has taken over the former HRD Smokin’ Grill space on Green Street and will be serving both Eritrean and American dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Eritrean options include meat and vegetable dishes, all served with injera. The breakfast choices are especially intriguing, with choices like shehanafil, or fava beans with tomato, onion, jalapenõ, feta cheese, and bread; and khicha fitfit with silsi, which is pieces of injera cooked with tomato sauce and served with yogurt. There are also American breakfast plates, like omelets and other egg dishes. Hours are 10am-11pm daily. 532 Green St. at Grant, 415-621-4129.

La Cocina alum ONIGILLY opened their third downtown location yesterday, September 21st. The new location offers the same fresh rice balls stuffed with a variety of fillings, including vegetables, seafood, and meat. There are also combinations with miso soup, seaweed salad, or edamame; here’s the menu. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-4pm. 455 Market St. at 1st St., 415-590-2494.

There is a new taqueria in the Mission, according to Yelpers. It’s called MATEO’S TAQUERIA, and it has a fresh modern look. Reportedly, the food is fresh, too, with classic taco and burrito offerings, all made from scratch. Initial Yelp reviews cite fresh flavors and a low grease factor, as well as delicious aguas frescas in rotating flavors. There’s also a cold-brew horchata concoction called cochata. Hours are daily 10am-11pm. 2471 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-648-6000.

Yeral Caldas of Peruvian restaurant Cholo Soy has opened a second restaurant, called EL AJÍ. Mission Local reports that the new location is larger than Cholo Soy, with 15 tables and an expanded menu that includes ceviche, lamb, chicken, and arroz chaufa, or rice fried with egg. 3015 Mission St. at 26th St.

ARMSTRONG BREWING, the South San Francisco brewery previously mentioned on tablehopper, is now softly open, according to Facebook. For now, it’s just beer, but food should be added in early October. Here is the list of beers on offer, and they’ve got a beer garden for enjoying the warm weather too. Soft opening hours are Wed-Fri 5pm-10pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-10pm. 415 Grand Ave. at Maple, 415-745-2739.

Cawfee Tawk: Corridor Coming (with LAMILL), Ritual News, How Cento Is Managing the End of Blue Bottle Wholesale


Coffee from LAMILL Coffee, coming soon at the Corridor Café. Photo courtesy of LAMILL via Hi Neighbor.

Hi Neighbor restaurant group, the team behind Fat Angel, Trestle, and Stones Throw, is getting ready to open a new coffee shop in the 100 Van Ness building (we mentioned a project was coming to the building a couple of months ago). There are actually two projects moving into the building’s ground floor: CORRIDOR and CORRIDOR CAFÉ. Corridor Café is all about coffee, in a partnership with LAMILL Coffee, a Los Angeles-based roaster. The café will offer speciality coffee drinks, many prepared with the same attention given mixed drinks or cocktails (but nonalcoholic), as well as sandwiches and other light lunch items. As for Corridor, it is a fast-casual concept offering lunch and dinner, with wine and beer. Both new spots are slated to open in the winter of 2015. 100 Van Ness Ave. at Fell.

Just in time for our Indian summer and its warm days, RITUAL COFFEE is adding nitrogen-infused kegged cold-brew coffee at their Valencia Street location. They’ve been serving the silky-smooth iced coffee at their Napa Oxbow location all summer, and now we can get a sip in the city too. They’re using their Don Guayo single-origin Guatemalan beans for the brew and then serving it from a pressurized keg. Get it while it’s hot! Or, um, cold. 1026 Valencia St. at 22nd St., 415-641-1011.

Back in June, we wrote about local coffee roaster BLUE BOTTLE discontinuing their wholesale operations. It ends up the last roast date is September 27th. A tablehopper reader wrote in about how one local coffee shop, SPECIAL XTRA, was handling things: they started working on their own signature blends!

I spoke with owner John Quintos (he is also behind CENTO and Vega), and he said he is working with RoastCo (and roaster Julia Lancer) on what they’re calling the Clutch espresso blend, to mimic the darker style of the Hayes Valley Blend they love so much—it is chocolaty and bittersweet. For drip, they came up with African Presence, emulating Blue Bottle’s Three Africans, which is chocolaty with a mild berry finish.

Cento is 100 percent using these new proprietary blends (they are calling the private label Cento Coffee by RoastCo), and by September 29th, Special Xtra 1 and 2 will be 100 percent as they phase out the Blue Bottle. If other shops are interested in carrying these blends, Quintos said they will have the capacity to take on new accounts. He is also working with De La Paz on creating a couple of vibrant blends, both an espresso and pour-over. Look for those to be coming soon. Cento, 331 Ritch St.; Special Xtra, 46 Minna; Special Xtra 2, 138 Minna at John Colins.

New Service Hours at Scotland Yard and Yuzuki


The egg muffin sandwich for brunch at Scotland Yard. Photo by Wes Rowe.

By Dana Eastland. Looking for some fun food for your next, um, wake-and-bake weekend? Look no further than the new brunch at SCOTLAND YARD in the Marina. The menu is full of fun dishes, including chicken and waffle bites with Captain Crunch-encrusted chicken thighs, black pepper-maple caramel, and bread and butter pickles; and the bangers Benedict, an eggs Benedict made with housemade sausage and Worcestershire-marinated tomato. There is also an egg muffin sandwich that looks mighty fine, and their burger will also be available. Of course, there are brunch beverages to help any hangover or party, including a stout float with housemade ice cream. Brunch begins this Saturday September 26th and will be available Sat-Sun 10:30am-3pm. 3232 Scott St. at Chestnut, 415-872-6853.

YUZUKI JAPANESE EATERY has changed their hours. They are now closed Mondays and Tuesdays and have started opening a bit later for brunch (apparently customers weren’t coming in before 11:30am). They’ve struggled to find a second chef to help out, so in the interest of employee health and happiness, they’re cutting back until someone can be hired. Hours are now Wed-Fri 6pm-10:30pm, Sat 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm, Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St., 415-556-9898.

EPIC Steak Opens a New Patio Bar, Glaze Gets a Late-Night Window


The bay views from the Epic Steak patio. Photo from Facebook.

With one heck of a view of the bay, it’s no surprise EPIC STEAK figured out a way to have a new patio bar, opening today (September 22nd). The enclosed patio and eight-seat bar will serve classic and original cocktails by beverage manager Nick Henry, plus food too. The upstairs Quiver Bar will continue, business as usual. 369 The Embarcadero, 415-369-9955.

Marina dwellers have a new late-night option to get their fingers sticky: GLAZE TERIYAKI has a new window that opens at 10pm, serving teriyaki plates (from steak to salmon to vegetarian), gyoza, spicy-yaki chicken wings, and cold soba. Bonus: there are also donuts available by Dynamo Donut, in homage to the space’s former incarnation as All Star Donut. Open Fri-Sat 10pm-1am. 2095 Chestnut St. at Steiner, 415-590-3193.

It's Teatime at the International Tea Festival


Tea in bowls, tins, and pots at the Tea Festival in 2014. Photo from Facebook.

Do you love tea? Don’t miss this chance to taste and learn about the bewitching beverage on Sunday September 27th at the SF International Tea Festival. The event is happening upstairs in the Ferry Building and offers opportunities to try tea from all around the world, see presentations from tea professionals, and win raffle prizes. You also won’t want to miss the Tea Market, where tea vendors will offering tastings of their teas, along with opportunities to learn more about the leaves. The event runs from 10am-5pm, and tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

We’ll be giving tickets away this week, too, so be sure to follow along on Instagram and Twitter for your chance to win! 1 Ferry Plaza, Embarcadero at Market.

It's Cookbook Season! Lots of Great Releases and Events for Your Radar


Fall cookbooks are hitting the shelves, which means lots of great authors and chefs will be in town promoting them. Here are some to check out.

Tonight, Tuesday September 22nd, and tomorrow, Wednesday September 23rd, catch Nancy Singleton Hachisu cooking from her new book Preserving the Japanese Way at IZAKAYA RINTARO. Both nights, there will be seatings from 6pm to 9:30pm, and she’ll be on hand to sign books and talk about her food and writing. The dinners cost $65 per person and will offer a set menu, not including drinks. Reservations can be made by email or by calling the restaurant at 415-589-7022.

On Wednesday September 30th, local chef and author Joanne Weir will be at OMNIVORE BOOKS for a book signing of her latest, Kitchen Gypsy. The book tells the story of Weir’s life as a cook and teacher through stories and recipes. The event is free, and wines from her own winery will be on offer. 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Then, on Thursday October 1st, another local will be at OMNIVORE BOOKS. Duggan McDonnell, bartender extraordinaire and badass writer, will be talking about San Francisco and our cocktail culture while promoting his new book, Drinking the Devil’s Acre. The event is free and includes a cocktail tasting, so don’t miss it. 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Culinary mastermind and icon Ruth Reichl is going to be in town with her new book, My Kitchen Year. She’s having a cocktail party on Tuesday October 6th at BAR AGRICOLE, and you’re invited. The party includes recipes from the book, the opportunity to purchase the book and have it signed, and there will be plenty of cocktails and wine. Tickets are $75 per person, and the 6pm event is already sold out, so don’t delay! Tickets are still on sale for the event that runs from 8pm-10pm.

Meera Sodha is going to be at OMNIVORE BOOKS on Thursday October 8th. Her new book, Made in India, includes more than 130 recipes rooted in her Indian, Ugandan, and British heritage. There’s a section on desserts, too, like a fennel seed shortbread. The event is free and runs from 6:30pm-7:30pm.

Bar Agricole            - 355 11th St. San Francisco - 415-355-9400

CUESA Launches Pop-Up Farmers' Market at Mission Rock


Outdoor patio at The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Courtyard’s Facebook page.

CUESA has partnered with Bank of America and The San Francisco Giants to offer a Sunday farmers’ market once a month at THE YARD AT MISSION ROCK. You can catch it on selected Sundays through the end of the year: September 27th, October 25th, November 22nd, and December 20th. Each market will have a theme, with products and activities built around it. September’s theme is preservation, and the market will offer relevant items from 10 to 15 farmers, as well as 5  restaurants. Plus, there will be cooking demonstrations, tastings, and hands-on kitchen experiences.

For more details on the producers, special events, and schedule for the markets, head here. Each market runs from 10am-2pm. 3rd St. at Terry A. Francois Blvd.

510: A New Sinaloa, Half Orange Update, Little Giant Ice Cream, Pal's Moves East


A plate from Tacos Sinaloa. Yelp photo by Raymond S.

Beloved taco maker TACOS SINALOA has opened a brick-and-mortar location, according to Berkeleyside Nosh. Owner Lupe Bueno has operated three well-regarded taco trucks, and this is the company’s first outpost without wheels. The menu offers tacos and monstrously large burritos, with lots of classic fillings including al pastor and shrimp. 2384 Telegraph Ave. at Channing, Berkeley.

There’s a new place for alfresco dining in Oakland, now that THE HALF ORANGE has completed their beer garden. They’ve added 40 seats outside, an outdoor bar, a television, and they even have some more taps, putting their grand total of draft beers at 13. Oh, and now they’re also serving weekend brunch, Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3340 E. 12th St. at 34th St., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

Back in July, we mentioned new ice cream shop LITTLE GIANT ICE CREAM. The ice cream shop, from owners Kevin Best and Neil Rideout, is making their ice cream from scratch, instead of using a base, which means they are able to create the flavor and texture they want from the very beginning. And according to their Facebook page, it’s now open, serving unusual flavor combinations, many booze-infused. Hic. 1951 Telegraph Ave. at William, Oakland, no phone.

Eclectic sandwich spot PAL’S TAKEAWAY is moving to Oakland to partner with Firebrand Artisan Breads, Scoop reports. The new partnership means that Pal’s will close its San Francisco location on Friday October 9th and will reopen in the multiuse space The Hive later this fall. 2343 Broadway at 24th St., Oakland.

Farm Burger Opens North Bay Location


A burger from Farm Burger. Photo courtesy of Farm Burger.

FARM BURGER, the small, Southern-based chain that opened its first West Coast location last year, has opened another Bay Area location. This time, it’s in San Anselmo, and they’re offering the same responsibly sourced items at reasonable prices (burgers start at $7.75) that can be found at their other locations.

The beef is sourced from BN Ranch, the pork from Llano Seco, and the chicken from Petaluma Poultry, while vegetables come from the Marin farmers’ market. Meat patties are available in classic beef, as well as pork, chicken, and a vegan quinoa and bean option.  There are also special burger combinations, fries, snacks, and milk shakes. For beverages, look for local craft beers on tap, as well as local wines. The full menu is right here, including beverages and a kids’ menu. Hours are daily 11am-10pm. 882 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. at Shaw, 415-785-4802.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): Love Supper Clubs? Take 50% Off Your Next EatWith Experience.

EatWith is a home-restaurant platform that hosts some of the most exciting pop-up dinners in the city, where guests share homemade meals with fellow food enthusiasts at the chef’s home.

What makes EatWith stand out is its variety of unique dining experiences that you won’t find anywhere else. The EatWith dinner menu is carefully crafted by the chef for the most personal and intimate experience. From Mediterranean to Thai cuisine, you’ll definitely find something that fits your palate. Chef Jonnatan Leiva’s meaty porchetta feast is an ode to all kinds of pork and exactly what we need to welcome the fall. More of a fan of spices? This traditional Gujurat home-style dinner is full of Indian dishes that are reserved for hosting special guests.

Get your taste buds dancing! Discover EatWith dinner events and reserve a seat at EatWith with 50 percent off (code: HOPPER50), valid through October 31st.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Sake Day Storms the Armory October 3rd


Love sake? You’ll want to buy tickets now for the 10th Annual Sake Day, happening on Saturday October 3rd at the Armory, presented by True Sake. There will be more than 200 sakes to try from some of Japan’s best brewers, as well as American brands. Some of the offerings are not currently available in the United States, and Sake Day will also offer an opportunity to try them and order them (shipping is free too!). Plus, there are going to be lots of fun activities, like music, a dance party, a photo booth, and food trucks on hand to make sure you don’t go hungry.

It runs from 5pm-9pm, and tickets are $75 in advance or $85 at the door. tablehopper readers can take $10 their ticket with code TABLEHOPPER10. The Armory, 1800 Mission St at 14th St.

Alliteration Alert: Perfect Portuguese Pairings in The Presidio


Portuguese wines, ready for your tasting pleasure. Photo from Facebook.

You know that Portuguese wines are undiscovered, value-rich, and delicious, right? If not, check out tablehopper’s piece on Lisbon from earlier this year, and be sure to check out the Perfect Portuguese Pairings event in the The Presidio on Friday October 16th. Teams of restaurant and retail professionals will be competing to achieve the very best food and wine pairing, along with food trucks Little Green Cyclo, Ceviche & Co., Curveball Slider, and Pacific Puffs. You’ll get to check out the pairings and vote on your favorite, and taste more than 80 Portuguese wines.

Tickets to the event are $60 per person and include tastings of all the wines and bites from each of the food trucks. The event runs from 6:30pm-8:30pm at The San Francisco Film Center in the Presidio. 39 Keyes Ave. at Mesa.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): A Video of You Preparing Your Favorite Italian Dish Could Win You a European Cruise!

Scoma’s is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, and in honor of the milestone, we are holding a national video recipe contest where the winner receives an amazing European cruise for two on Celebrity Cruises.

All the rules can be found here, but here’s the general 411: entrants take a short video of themselves preparing their favorite Italian dish, tag Scoma’s, and post the video on Scoma’s Facebook video contest page. The three entrants with the most “likes” will be flown to SF and participate in a cook-off, where the winner will win a European cruise for two on Celebrity Cruises (value: $6,000). The recipe will also be featured on the Scoma’s menu for the month of December.

We hope to see you on our Facebook page soon! Voting ends October 15th, 2015!

the socialite

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

Litquake's Eat, Drink, and Be Literary Is Not to Be Missed


Chef Dominique Crenn. Photo by Stephanie Hua.

Event Info

Sunday Oct 11, 2015 11am–5:30pm $30 for early bird (available now), $35 in advance, and $40 at the door Litquake information and calendar                        Z Space 450 Florida St. at 17th St.

On Sunday October 11th, San Francisco’s rad literary festival Litquake is devoting an entire day to the interception of food and literature: Eat, Drink, and Be Literary. Obviously, we’re totally excited (which is why we are a media sponsor), and you should be too. The day runs from 11am to 5:30pm at Z Space in the Mission and includes lots of great programming from San Francisco’s best chefs and writers.

There will be panels, tastings, and educational opportunities from Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn), Emma Christensen (The Kitchn, author and recipe editor), Joyce Goldstein (Square One, Chez Panisse, author), Amy Guittard (Guittard Chocolate), Elisabeth Prueitt (Tartine), and Iso Rabins (ForageSF). Oh, and tablehopper will be there selling our vintage T-shirts and happy to share stories about restaurant and bar history in San Francisco. Come say hi!

You’ll have to chance to learn about chocolate, the history and lore of moonshine, foraging and what it really means, and much, much more. There are also tons of cool Litquake events happening throughout the city from October 9th through 17th, including Lit Crawl through the Mission and an Opening Night Celebration on Friday October 9th. Writer and bartender Duggan McDonnell will be talking about the history of San Francisco’s cocktail and bar scene and sharing stories from his new book, Drinking the Devil’s Acre. For all the Litquake events on offer, take a look at the event calendar here and get excited.

Tickets to Eat, Drink, and Be Literary are $30 for early bird (available now), $35 in advance, and $40 at the door. Z Space, 450 Florida St. at 17th St.

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