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Oct 12, 2015 18 min read

October 13, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: so foxy.

October 13, 2015 - This week's tablehopper: so foxy.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: so foxy.                    

The rare treat (at least in SF!) of razor clams at Bon Marché. Photo: ©

Thanks to everyone who came by the tablehopper table at Litquake on Sunday, bought tablehopper T-shirts (I hope you enjoy wearing them and telling the tales of old SF restaurant and bar history!), and said hello. (Chef Dominique Crenn is looking especially foxy in her Blue Fox sweatshirt.) I even got styled with a bottle of barrel-aged hot sauce from my neighbor, Sosu, some new Guittard chocolate bars, and a rosemary salty dog from 209 gin. Dan Jurafsky, a tablehopper reader, even gave me a copy of his book, The Language of Food (which just came out in paperback—can’t wait to crack into that one). I’m so spoiled. Love and kisses!

Tonight, I am so ready to get my drink on while listening to two of my favorite spirited writers in the city, Jordan Mackay and Duggan McDonnell, who will be discussing Duggan’s new book, Drinking the Devil’s Acre. It all goes down at Doc’s Lab, starting at 7pm. See you? Tickets start at $15 and include two drinks—$40 gets you the book.

This Thursday is the sold-out tablehopper Sri Lankan supper at 1601 Bar & Kitchen with Maisons Marques & Domaines; we look forward to seeing all of you who got tickets!

Friday evening, I’ll be judging and attending Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio, which includes 100 Portuguese wines and food from four food trucks. They are also today’s sponsor, so be sure to check out the amazing ticket price they are offering tablehopper readers (just $35!). My parents and sister will be in tow, so it’s going to be a fun night. Gagliardi powah.

Lastly, here’s a link to a piece I wrote for Blackboard Eats on some of the top recent dishes to appear in SF that you should hunt down. Then again, if you follow me on Instagram, you know many of them already!

Enjoy the sunny weather. Rocktober! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Nojo Open Once Again in Hayes Valley (Now Under New Ownership)


The scene at Nojo’s (first) opening party. Photo courtesy of Nojo.

Good news for all the NOJO fans: the restaurant has reopened after its closure in August, now under new ownership! Previous chef-owner Greg Dunmore—who is now the corporate chef for the new owners, AP Company—says the menu will still feature all the Nojo standards, like yakitori of all kinds, beef tendon salad, umeboshi somen with uni, miso-glazed trout, tempura, Nojo fries, avocado salad, and of course the Nojo sundae (yes, the peanut Thunder Crackers return!). Dunmore says that a new ramen concept for the space is slated for the new year, so stand by for more on that.

The hours have also changed: new hours of operation are Wed-Sat 5:30pm to close and Sun 5pm until close.

Nojo            - 231 Franklin St. San Francisco - 415-896-4587

Coming Soon to the Mission: Posole (a Place, Not Just the Soup)


No, it’s not posole–it’s actually Don Pisto’s amazing chicken tortilla soup. Yelp photo by Jonathan T.

Posole fans, this one is for you. Taking over the former and vacant Minako space on Mission will be POSOLE from Pete Mrabe of Don Pisto’s and Chubby Noodle Marina and North Beach (and the former Amante, which he is morphing into Pete’s). He’s going to be serving his rather fantastic posole with classic garnishes (like cilantro and onion) and says he may add in a few other soups, too, like chicken soup and other specials. It’s a tough space because of the limited kitchen, which is why he’s keeping it simple. As he said, “There are all kinds of places that only sell pho, so why not just posole?” Why not, indeed. We’ll keep you posted on the opening after he gets sign-offs. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore.

Changes at St. Vincent and Pizza Orgasmica, Herbivore Closes, Burger SF on Hiatus


Exterior of St. Vincent. Photo: ©


The former Herbivore location on Divisadero. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Some changes (again) over at ST. VINCENT: owner David Lynch is going to be changing the format to more of a wine bar—with a focus on retail sales in the wine shop—and less of a restaurant. Although they will still serve food, it will enoteca-style fare, with tramezzini and more. Scoop reports it’s closed for now during the transition; we’ll have more details when it reopens around November 1st.

The Divisadero location of HERBIVORE has closed, Hoodline reports. The Mission and Berkeley locations remain open, though. 531 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

PIZZA ORGASMICA has closed their Clement Street location, according to a tablehopper tipster—The Richmond Blog has more details. According to a sign on the door, they lost their lease but other locations remain open. No word on what’s moving into the large space now that it’s being vacated. 823 Clement St. at 9th Ave.

Speaking of Pizza Orgasmica, their downtown location in the Embarcadero Center is rebranding, according to Hoodline. It will now be called GOCHEES PIZZA after owner Gina Gochez, who was one of the original partners in the pizza mini-chain and is now the sole owner of this location. There will be other changes, too, including some reworking of the menu items and new training for staff. Embarcadero Center 2, Clay at Front, 415-834-9600.

The crew behind Burger, the social media-savvy Monday pop-up at CEASE & DESIST from the Causwells fellows, is getting ready to open their very own brick-and-mortar location in February. As previously reported, the new location is going to be at 6th and Market, but the exact address is still undisclosed.

To prepare for the new location, they are closing up shop at Cease & Desist after Monday October 19th, meaning you only have one more chance to catch them. Then they’ll focus on R & D and will ramp up some new menu items in preparation for the February opening. In the meantime, you can still get your burger fix at CAUSWELLS or just give your waistband a break for the holidays. Stay tuned for more information on Burger, including their new name and a scavenger hunt giveaway.

Tidbits: Zapata Will Remain (For Now), Elixiria, Neighbor's Corner, More


The coconut “yogurt” parfait at Elixiria. Yelp photo by Elaine N.

By Dana Eastland: After our mention last week of the drama going on with Castro landlord Les Natali and the potential closure of ZAPATA, it appears the long-standing Mexican restaurant may be allowed to stay where they are—for another year, at least. Hoodline reports that Natali and Zapata’s owner Jorge Perez have reached a verbal agreement to extend the lease for a year, which would allow them to save some money and find a new location before leaving their current spot. 4150 18th St. at Church, 415-861-4470.

Yelpers are reporting that there’s a new café for smoothies, shakes, and other raw and vegan items in the Financial District. It’s called ELIXIRIA, and the menu offers smoothies, açai bowls, a parfait made with coconut “yogurt,” nut milk blends, and fresh cold-pressed juices. Don’t worry, they have coffee too. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, 628-444-3149.

Noe Valley has a new corner spot called NEIGHBOR’S CORNER, according to Yelpers. They are serving coffee from Andytown Coffee Roasters, as well as daily changing pastries like a roasted persimmon crème fraîche coffee cake and pear custard cake. They also offer flowers from FloralCultural Society and frozen custard. Right now, they are softly open and hours are Wed-Fri 8am-7pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 499 Douglass St. at 21st St., no phone.

After an unfortunate closure in September, it looks like BODEGA BISTRO has reopened according to a post on Facebook. Hopefully whatever issue they had with the Health Department has been sorted out—permanently.

Hopper (hangover) breakfast sandwich fave LOU’S CAFE has opened a third location, and this time it’s not even in the Avenues—it’s right downtown in the Financial District. Yelpers report the same sandwiches, including the outrageous breakfast sandwich, and easy call-ahead ordering. 100 Pine St. at Front (entrance on Front), 415-283-4777.

The former Chai-Yo on Polk is now BEN THAI CAFE. They are serving home-style Thai food, with influences from both China and Indonesia. The owners are a brother and sister raised in San Francisco by two first-generation Thai parents, one of Chinese heritage and the other Indonesian, and the menu reflects their mom’s melting pot-style of cooking. They are also rocking a solid beer list, with two rotating craft beers on tap and bottle selections like Almanac Saison Dolores and Ninkasi Tricerahops double IPA. 1331 Polk St. at Austin, 415-771-2562.

Bodega Bistro            - 607 Larkin St. San Francisco - 415-921-1218

Preview the Food from Michael Gaines's New Spot (Glena's), Plus Build Your Own Brunch and a Portuguese Feast


Some of the ingredients for the EatWith Glena’s dinner. Photo: Stephanie Page Gaines.

We recently reported on the departure of chef Michael Gaines from Kin Khao, and now we get a peek at what’s coming next from him: GLENA’S, which will be a casual tacos and margaritas spot that’s due to open early next year. He’s from Southern California and grew up on the beach, so you can see where he got his inspiration.

But we don’t have to wait until 2016 to try his food, since he’s hosting a preview dinner at the EatWith headquarters in SoMa on Thursday October 15th! The menu includes deep-fried plantains with sea salt and crema, tacos al pastor, and more for $74. And tablehopper readers get 50 percent off with code HOPPER50, thanks to EatWith’s sponsorship this past month. Buen provecho!

Also from EatWith is this Build Your Own Brunch pop-up this Saturday October 17th at 11am (and at 10:30am on the 24th) from EatWith’s consulting chef, Dimitri Tishlias. Twenty-four guests will get to make their own toasts with toppings like bacon marmalade and sous vide eggs with chile oil, seasonal quiche, and Café du Monde-style beignets and iced NOLA coffee. $35 (cocktails like Ramos gin fizzes available à la carte). Again, tablehopper readers can take 50 percent off with code HOPPER50.

Anyone who craves the flavors and dishes of Portugal (a cuisine that is hard to find here in SF) will want to check out this Portuguese dinner at THE COMMISSARY on Saturday October 17th with guest chef Telmo Faria of Uma Casa. He’ll be serving a seven-course prix-fixe menu (check out the menu here), and Eugenio Jardim (U.S. Ambassador for Wines of Portugal and former Jardinière wine director of 11 years) has paired exceptional Portuguese wines ($72, $32 for wine pairings). There’s also a nine-course option with the chef and winemakers seated at the open kitchen counter and private dining room ($98, $42 for wine pairings). Seatings available at 6pm and 8pm. To make reservations, call 415-561-3600. 101 Montgomery St. in the Presidio on the Main Post.

Party in the (Modern, Gorgeous) Garden at STEM


The scene at the last STEM Garden Party. Photo courtesy of STEM.

By Dana Eastland: The garden patio at STEM is a special place. Not only is it a beautiful example of modern garden design with breathtaking bay views, but it also provides a great deal of the produce for the restaurant. On Thursday October 15th, get a special look  at the Garden Party, an evening featuring pop-ups from local restaurants and bars like Poquito, Public House, and Sea Star, as well as fellow urban farmers West Oakland Woods Farm and other CSA farms like Eatwell Farm and Blue Egg Farm. Plus, Farmscape Gardens, STEM’s garden partner, will be in attendance, leading tours of the garden and even sharing some tips for urban gardeners on growing, harvesting, and cooking with fresh produce.

In addition to an informational day, it’s also a party! There will be plenty of food from STEM and their local restaurant guests, cocktails, bocce ball, and live jazz to keep the party vibe festive. It’s free to attend, and food, drink, and produce will be available for purchase. Catch the party from 4pm-8pm. And the weather is looking good! 499 Illinois St. at 16th St., 415-915-1000.

Film and Food Together on October 24th


Celebrate Food Day on Saturday October 24th with the EatDrinkFilms Festival, which is taking place all day at the Exploratorium and Roxie Film Center. The day begins at the Exploratorium at 11am with “Celluloid Appetizers,” a series of short films, and then continues with a screening of Babette’s Feast at the Roxie and three more food films. All of the films are accompanied by special programming; you can peek at the whole schedule right here. Tickets to the individual films are $14, or you can buy an all-day pass to all four films for $40; get them right here. The Exploratorium, Pier 15, The Embarcadero; The Roxie, 3117 16th St. at Valencia.

510 Updates: Oliveto's Rosticceria, Perdition Smokehouse Closes, Save at Salsipuedes, and More


Oliveto’s sign. Photo via Oliveto.


Interior seating at Perdition Smokehouse. Photo courtesy of Perdition Smokehouse.


The drowned chicken torta at Salsipuedes. Photo: ©

Some news bites from the 510, starting with OLIVETO, which has converted their downstairs cafe into an Italian rosticceria in the evenings. You’ll find fire-roasted or slowly braised meats (like chicken, roast beef, and lamb) and simple vegetable dishes at affordable prices (a serving of meat plus two sides will cost a little less than $20). There will also be a fish stew, vegetarian or meat-based lasagna, and more (the pizza and polenta are staying put). The menu is designed for quick service, but diners can still sit down and linger in case a drink from the new cocktail list is calling you.

Unfortunately, East Bay Express reports that PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE in Berkeley has suddenly and unexpectedly closed. It could be partly related to the departure of chef Mike O’Brien (Eater reported earlier that O’Brien also left owner Chuck Stilphen’s Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco and is now at Monk’s Kettle). Dang, no more brisket and beers on that great patio. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck.

Have you checked out the new SALSIPUEDES from Jay Porter of Fruitvale’s The Half Orange? Well, to encourage folks to come by, if you bring an October 2015 receipt (of at least $20) from The Half Orange when you come to Salsipuedes, they’ll give you 20 percent off your night. Also worth noting: on Tuesday nights, you can get chef Marcus Krauss’s crazy delicious drowned/ahogada chicken torta (with kimchi on it!), plus tempura sea beans and a glass of draft beer for just $20. 4201 Market St. at 42nd St., Oakland, 510-350-7489.

There’s a new chef at GATHER in Berkeley: Tu David Phu, an Oakland native. He was previously a sous at Acquerello, chef de cuisine at Flora in Oakland, and executive chef of the Park Café Group, with numerous locations in San Francisco.

Gather            - 2150 Allston Way Berkeley - 510-809-0400


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): 100 Portuguese Wines + 4 Food Trucks = Fantastic Friday

Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio on Friday October 16th features more than 100 Portuguese wines, four courses (one each!) from Little Green Cyclo, Ceviche & Co., Curveball Slider, and Pacific Puffs (hello, cream puffs!), plus top SF sommeliers to help you discover the tastiest pairings! And the one and only tablehopper will be at the event as a judge!

Tickets include exciting reds and cool white wines from Portugal, plus a four-course food truck dinner: tempura-fried fish taco, braised pork belly and black truffle slider, nine-spiced chicken vermicelli, and a caramel cream puff (!) to pair with Portuguese liquid desserts—all for just $35 for tablehopper readers. Use code THOPPER to get 41 percent off the regular ticket price of $60. See you there!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Attention Wine Lovers: Updates as West Coast Wine Turns One, Wine & Spirits Magazine's Top 100 Returns, More


The counter at West Coast Wine • Cheese. Photo courtesy West Coast Wine • Cheese.


Good times at a past Top 100 event. Photo courtesy of Wine & Spirits.

WEST COAST WINE • CHEESE is turning one, and they are celebrating with some specials and more. On Saturday October 17th, they will be featuring some sparkling wines at ridiculously low prices, both by the glass and by the bottle (like Roederer 2007 L’Ermitage for $12/glass and $48/bottle, which is regularly $80/bottle). Sunday the 18th is the West Coast Taco Truck Pop-Up, when executive chef Ethan Speizer will be serving tacos, guacamole, and chips and salsa, along with beer specials all day. And Monday October 19th is the West Coast Wildfire Fundraiser, when they will be contributing 20 percent of the evening’s proceeds to the Valley Wildfire Fund from the Red Cross. Happy hour pricing (with 20 percent off all bottles) will be extended all night.

And lastly, starting Thursday October 15th, they will finally be able to do retail sales and offer extended hours. New hours will be Mon-Wed 4pm-10pm, Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 2pm-12am, and Sun 2pm-10pm. 2165 Union St. at Fillmore, 415-577-9357.

On Tuesday October 20th, Wine & Spirits Magazine is hosting their annual Top 100 Event, which means you get to taste 200-plus wines, foods from participating restaurants and purveyors (including Atlas Social and Gaspar), and you get a one-year subscription to Wine & Spirits and a complimentary glass from Stölzle. And let’s not forget the beautiful view from the Metreon terrace.

This year’s event features more domestic wineries than ever before and the findings of the Second Annual Sommelier Scavenger Hunt, wherein an international team of sommeliers were sent to different corners of Australia. The Top 100 event is a benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper, supporting their initiatives that fight water pollution.

General admission is 6:30pm-8:30pm, and tickets are $125. Collectors are admitted one hour early, at 5:30pm, and tickets are $170 (you receive a glass of vintage bubbles upon arrival, and the opportunity to taste 10 additional wines). City View at the Metreon, 135 4th St. at Mission.

Lastly, over at LOCAL MISSION EATERY, there’s a new menu, which pairs sections of the menu to wines on their all-California, all-natural list. And every Wednesday will be Rare Wine Wednesday, when they will discount rare wines in their cellar (up first will be Hardy Wallace’s Dirty & Rowdy wines).

Verso Nightclub Opens in Mid-Market This Weekend


The dance floor and marble bar at Verso. Photo courtesy of Verso.


Private tables at Verso. Photo courtesy of Verso.

VERSO, the new nightclub going in the former Sloane, is due to officially open Friday October 16th. Partners Hilary Newsom and Jeremy Scherer of The PlumpJack Group are behind the 14,000-square-foot nightclub in the Mid-Market district, just next door to their recently opened bar, Forgery.

There’s a 20-foot white Carrara marble bar flanking the dance floor, plus a mezzanine level and VIP tables with a reserved dancing area in case you want to avoid mingling with others (and…why go out?). There’s also bottle service and Champagne, and DRC, in case you really need to make an impression (view the list here). Napa-based Shopworks is behind the design, and the sound system is from Dutch company Alcons Audio, their first in the U.S. Open Fri-Sat and private events on the other nights. 1525 Mission St. at 11th St.

Agave Fest at Burritt Room on November 1st


A Burritt Room cocktail; photo by Aubrie Pick.

If you love agave and mezcal, you’ll want to get your ticket for Agave Fest at BURRITT ROOM, an event on Sunday November 1st, so they will also be celebrating Día de los Muertos. There will be cocktails by Josh Trabulsi (Burritt Room), Brian Means (Dirty Habit), Jessica Everett (Mamacita), Summer Jane Bell (USBG), Lucia Creed Gonzales (Prizefighter), Ethan Terry (Bon Vivants), and Kevin Diedrich, who will be mixing drinks made with Don Pilar, Mezcal Amaras, Chinaco, Suerte, Del Maguey, and Tequila Ocho. Chef Luke Knox is also roasting a whole suckling pig, stuffed with chorizo, potatoes, and cactus, plus serving chicken mole, pumpkin tamales, and more.

The event will be 6pm-9pm. Tickets here; tablehopper readers can use code tablehopper for $5 off of the ticket cost ($30). There is also a Día de los Muertos costume contest, with a $500 cash prize, so look good. 417 Stockton St. at Sutter.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): Visit Lost Art Salon on October 22nd

Join us at Lost Art Salon on Thursday October 22nd from 5:30pm to 8:30pm for an evening of New Mexican-inspired food and drink as we present the career retrospective of painter and printmaker Seymour Tubis.

In the mezzanine gallery, Rob Delamater will showcase a new series of works on paper focusing on portraits of artists and their processes called “This Is What Artists Look Like.” There will be the usual good eats, good cocktails, and good company. And we will have the fire pit crackling on the roof with hot chocolate to warm the autumn evening.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

Ninebark and Ca' Momi Now Open in Napa


The dining room at Ninebark. Photo by Garrett Rowland.


The roof deck, looking into the bar at Ninebark. Photo by Garrett Rowland.


Octopus marinated in sweet-and-sour dressing from Ninebark. Photo by Garrett Rowland.


Ca’ Momi Osteria. Photo courtesy of Ca’ Momi.

A report by Dana Eastland: As previously mentioned on tablehopper, the former Fagiani’s/The Thomas in Napa will now be NINEBARK, and the doors are now open. Hospitality and design group AvroKO has brought chef Matt Lightner (New York’s Atera) on to run the kitchen, and they’ve redone the space as a three-level bar and restaurant, complete with a roof deck.

The menu is California seasonal, with high-caliber technique. Lightner plans to smoke, perfume, and grill many of the dishes and is plating some unique salads as well. On the salad front, look for the horiatiki salad with Buddha’s hand, persimmons, peppers, seasonal selections of fresh fruit and produce, local feta cheese, citrus, and olive oil. Lightner is also preparing a selection of seafood, including appetizers like the chicken, shrimp, and ricotta dumplings with gravy of roasted chicken and prawns, smoked bread, and Parmesan. Many of the main dishes are smoked or grilled, like the charcoal-roasted duck with Valencia orange, garden sorrel, and tarragon sauce, or check out the poached and grilled halibut with escabeche, ragout of radishes, fresh and dried nasturtium, and a broth of stewed vegetables.

This being a former bar, there is also a wide selection of drinks from bar manager Andrew Salazar. The drink menu will vary depending on which floor of the restaurant you’re on, starting with classics on the ground floor. There’s a piña colada made with smoked pineapple, white rum, and coconut, or try the sidecar with Cognac, lemon, triple sec, and fig. On the third-floor roof deck, the drinks are all-new creations, like the Route 15 with Mosto Verde Italia pisco, lemon, cream, egg white, orange blossom, and honeycomb, or the Old Ball Game, with popcorn- and peanut-infused rye whiskey, Demerara, and leather bitters.

The space, as mentioned above, has three floors. The first floor has a bar and casual dining area, with a wall of goods and produce on display. On the second floor is the open kitchen, as well as a chef’s table and the main dining room. Then on the roof deck, there is an additional bar as well as more dining space, with lounge furniture and banquettes. Reservations are available, and hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-12am and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-1am. 813 Main St. at 3rd St., Napa, 707-226-7821.

CA’ MOMI has opened a new osteria in downtown Napa (separate from their Oxbow location), complete with certified pizzaiolos and an Acunto Napoli pizza oven. In addition to meticulously authentic pizza, you’ll find a menu from chef and co-owner Valentina Guolo-Migotto that includes antipasti, pasta, and main dishes, all rooted in Italian regional home-style cooking. There is a traditional tortellini en brodo pasta dish, featuring handmade tortellini filled with pork, mortadella, prosciutto, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and nutmeg, and then cooked in housemade capon broth, or try the polenta con coda alla vaccinara, a braised oxtail stew with tomato, soffritto, pinoli, raisins, and Anson Mills polenta.

There is a selection of beer and wine, as well as cocktails featuring Italian and local spirits. Hours are daily 5pm-10pm. 1141 1st St. at Coombs, 707-224-6664.


the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

The Cool Kids at Starbelly

Move over, Kimye: super-amazing wonder ladies Julianne Moore and Ellen Page dined at Starbelly last Wednesday. The pair was in town promoting their new film, Freehold, and apparently they were absolutely delightful. They ordered multiple cheese plates, three different pizzas, and an assortment of appetizers, and Ms. Page even said she wanted to marry her server!

Kick It Up a Copita!

Food Network chef Emeril Lagasse enjoyed lunch at Copita last Thursday. He had the pork belly tacos and steak tacos and managed to knock back a couple of margaritas too. Bam!

Star of the Ice at La Mar

Ice skater, Olympian, and local Kristi Yamaguchi dined with a group at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana last night. She sat at the chef’s table with a group after an event for her charity, the Always Dream Foundation.

Joe, Can You Pass Me a Burger?

Famed 49ers quarterback Joe Montana dined at Campton Place for lunch last week, with his wife Jennifer. The pair each enjoyed a burger.

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