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May 16, 2016 14 min read

May 17, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: it's party time!

May 17, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: it's party time!
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: it's party time!                    

The steamy calm before the storm at Leo Herrara’s awesome crawfish and crab boil! Photo: ©

What’s going on, people? I must admit I was so glad to be completely on the other coast and miss the hot mess that is Bay to Breakers this past weekend, which usually thrashes my neighborhood. Instead, I had a dear friend in town, and we were doing fun New Yorky things like walking the High Line, eating Black Seed Bagels, going to a crawfish and crab boil in Park Slope, and the highlight of the weekend: catching the Kiki and Herb reunion show, Seeking Asylum! (so damn good!). Now I need to figure out what I’m doing for Memorial Day weekend!

And let’s just cut to the chase here: I am so excited to announce the official dates of the next tablehopper and Vinho Verde feasts! First, any of you folks here in New York with me, I really hope you can attend my first tablehopper event in New York, on Tuesday June 7th at New York Vintners! I’m going to be hosting a Malaysian Feast with chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices, who is going to be cooking dishes from her home (which are not on her charming restaurant’s menu!), paired with Vinho Verde wines. I’m thrilled to have sommelier Betsy Ross (previously at The Progress in San Francisco) working with me on the event! Please mark your calendar, I will post a link to tickets soon!

Next, I’ll be hopping on a plane to SF to host my final event in the series on Saturday June 11th! We’ll be doing a reprise of the amazing Vietnamese and Vinho Verde feast with chef Rob Lam (Butterfly), and Feastly is providing a cool Mission venue! Wines of Portugal U.S. Ambassador Eugenio Jardim will be there to educate us about the wines and charm us!

So those of you who didn’t get tickets in time for the April event, here’s your chance to feast with us—but act quickly, tickets sold out in less than 24 hours last time! More details are below in the column!

I can’t wait to see you, whether it’s here in New York or back in SF!

Bisous! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Join tablehopper for the Second Vietnamese Feast with the Wines of Vinho Verde on June 11th!


From our first event: Banh Xeo (Pork Belly and King Crab Crêpe). Photo: Erin Conger.


We’re here to make sure you have a great time! Chef Rob Lam, the tablehopper, and Eugenio Jardim! Photo: Erin Conger.


Some of the Vinho Verde wines we poured at our first event. Photo: Erin Conger.


Dessert course from our first event: Lychee Shaved Ice, Almond Tofu, Kumquat, and Brandied Cherry. Photo: Erin Conger.


Remember that amazing Vietnamese and Vinho Verde dinner I hosted in SF a month ago with Feastly that sold out in less than 24 hours? Well, if you missed out, here’s your chance to attend, because we’re doing it again!

I am so thrilled to be hosting this event again—and I will be flying from New York back to SF for it! On Saturday June 11th, this will be the third and final event in a series I am hosting that will feature Asian chefs cooking their favorite dishes and authentic home cooking, paired with the versatile Portuguese wines of Vinho Verde. And since we’re partnering with Feastly, we’re going to be dining in a cool and unique location in the Mission too!

This event, a Vietnamese feast, is with chef Rob Lam of Butterfly, who is also a dear friend and one of my very favorite people to dine out with (his palate is amazing). I have been lucky to enjoy some of his home cooking and dishes you won’t find on the menu at Butterfly, so now it’s your chance to try his seriously delicious Vietnamese cuisine.

Rob was born in Vietnam, and when his family moved to Southern California after the fall of Saigon, his mother opened a restaurant called Vien Dong, just outside of Los Angeles, so restaurants are in his blood. And since Rob cares deeply about using quality ingredients, expect some soigné touches, like king crab and pork belly in your banh xeo crêpe (!).

We also have a very special guest this evening: sommelier and wine educator Eugenio Jardim, winner of Sunset Magazine’s 2010 Sommelier of the Year Award! Eugenio is known for his warm and charming ways (and fabulous Brazilian accent) and deep knowledge of wine, especially Portuguese wine. He’ll be teaching us all about the wines of Vinho Verde throughout the evening.

Vinho Verde wines are like no other in the world. Located in the northwestern part of Portugal, the lush green landscape lends itself to the production of young, refreshing wines that are extremely versatile partners for all kinds of food, which is why we wanted to show you how well they will pair with a multitude of Vietnamese dishes. Best known for white wines, Vinho Verde also produces reds, rosés, and sparklers—all of which offer one of the best wine values on the market. Get ready to discover something new!

The event will begin at 6:30pm for passed appetizers (like oc rieu/periwinkle shots with nuoc cham foam and Vietnamese cilantro) and wines from Vinho Verde. You can view the menu here—we’ll be posting the wine pairings soon.

The sit-down dinner begins around 7:15pm, and I hope you arrived hungry, because it’s going to be a feast (take a look at the menu here). There will be three courses of authentic and flavorful dishes—including the famed Cha Ca Thang Long (turmeric grilled catfish with rice noodles and herb salad) and Bun Rieu (Dungeness crab, egg, and tomato noodle soup with fried tofu and shrimp cake)—with some served family style. With each course, you’ll get to enjoy two wines from Vinho Verde; there will also be a dessert course. We’re planning to wrap up around 9:30pm, but you can expect to linger a bit longer.

Tickets are available on Feastly for just $75, all-inclusive. Yes, this is a steal, so don’t delay on getting your seat! (And first-time Feastly diners, you can use my code for $10 off!) I can’t wait to see you, especially around a table covered with delicious food prepared by one of my favorite chefs! See you!

               Saturday Jun 11, 2016 6:30pm–9:30pm (ish) $75, all-inclusive more info

Le Chat Rouge Bakery Opening in North Beach Saturday May 21st


Look for the red building and you will find Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.


A selection of viennoiserie you’ll find at Le Chat Rouge. Photo courtesy of David Carbonell.

Good things can take time, but man, David Carbonell has been waiting to open his North Beach bakery for more than a year, weaving his way through a quagmire of city permits and more. And now he’s about to open. Exhallllinnnnnggggggg. When we first reported on the project, it had a different name, and fortunately he decided to go with something a bit easier to remember: LE CHAT ROUGE.

The name is inspired by le pain du chat rouge, meaning “the bread of the red cat,” from a recipe that is more than 300 years old, which will be on offer. There will be an array of viennoiserie, including a frangipane almond croissant, chocolate twist, hazelnut roulé, and breads, including baguettes and pain pochon sarrasin (buckwheat bread). There will be madeleines made with baratte butter from Normandy, and macarons too. He is very committed to it being a very French bakery, with almost all of the ingredients imported from France.

The space has a rustic look, full of woods and vintage touches, including old bikes and more. The grand opening is scheduled for this Saturday May 21st. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-7pm. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.

Summer Projects: Buffalo Theory, Second Mateo's Taqueria


Chef Tim Luym. Photo via CAAMFest’s Facebook page.

A quick update for you on a couple of projects opening later this summer. First up, chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) is partnering with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) to open BUFFALO THEORY on Polk Street in early summer. The neighborhood restaurant will focus on quality craft beers (30 on tap), and Luym will be creating a menu of bar bites that take inspiration from “drinking food” from around the world, like Filipino pulutan (bar bites), Spanish tapas, and izakaya-inspired dishes from Japan. The staff will be highly trained on the beers. The 116-seat restaurant will have a concrete-top bar, private room, and communal tables. Hours will be Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 4pm-12am. 1735 Polk St. at Washington.

Fans of MATEO’S TAQUERIA in the Mission will have a new and second location to score owner Matt Ishak’s tacos and burritos when he opens a Mid-Market location this summer. Hoodline reports he’ll be opening in one of the four new spaces at 1455 Market Street, the building that houses Uber and Square. 1455 Market St. at 11th St.

Cawfee Tawk: Sightglass Opens at SFMOMA, Blue Bottle to Former Jeremy's, St. Clare, More


A look at the new Sightglass café counter at SFMOMA. Photo courtesy of Sightglass.


The St. Clare line from Saint Frank. Photo via Instagram.

Along with the very exciting opening of SFMOMA is the new SIGHTGLASS COFFEE café at the museum, their third location. You’ll find the coffee bar on the third floor in the new Photography Interpretive Gallery, near the grand atrium and John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Sightglass developed a special blend just for SFMOMA, available as espresso or drip. You will be able to watch your coffee be prepared for you at the drip bar (or your espresso pulled), and the menu features special single-origin releases, nitro and vanilla cold brew on tap, loose-leaf teas, and sweet and savory treats. Open Mon-Wed and Fri-Sun 10am-4:30pm, Thu 10am-8:30pm. 151 3rd St. at Howard.

Also in SoMa, BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE has applied to open a café on the ground floor in the former Jeremy’s space in South Park. Hoodline reports they hope to open in the fall (right around the time that ghastly construction should all be finished) and would only serve coffee, not food. 2 South Park at 2nd St.

SAINT FRANK is popping up in the FiDi in a space inside the SPUR building. Founder Kevin Bohlin is calling the socially minded project St. Clare and is partnering with Not for Sale, which fights human trafficking and slavery. St. Clare is working with Not for Sale’s Reinvent program and training young women to be baristas at the café. For this sister brand, they are also “working in places like Thailand to source coffee, with the goal of driving an economic alternative to slavery for families in extremely difficult situations” (you can read more here). As for the coffee, it’s roasted a bit darker, and a portion of sales is going to SPUR. Could this project be any cooler? Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm. 654 Mission St. at New Montgomery.

The Richmond blog reported BLUE DANUBE is back open after closing due to renovations and water damage a year ago. Open daily 7am-10pm. 306 Clement St. at 4th Ave.

Fried Chicken Deals and Free Food, Oh Yeah!


The fried chicken plate at farmerbrown. Photo via Facebook.

Happy birthday to FARMERBROWN, which just turned 10 (and therefore shares the same awesome anniversary this year with tablehopper and Nopa). In honor of hitting the big 10, to celebrate, they are rolling back the price of their fried chicken entrée to $14.95 for the month of May. It’s normally $22, and it includes white and dark meat, ham hock collard greens, and shells and cheese. Mmmmmm. Happy Birthday, farmerbrown! Keep on keeping it real.

Whatcha doing on Friday May 20th? PLATE in the Marina is going to be giving away one free Fit Plate per person (a $14 value), which includes a choice of one entrée and two side dishes. The healthy takeout eatery is celebrating their first anniversary, which includes 30,000 plates served. Come to the Plate store, sign up for a free Plate Rewards account, place your order, and voilà. You can then take your Plate home, warm it up, and dinner is served! It’s worth noting there are other Plate locations (they also deliver citywide), but for the promotion, you have to come to the Marina location in person. From 2pm until all the Plates are gone. 3251 Pierce St. at Chestnut.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Changes Behind the Bar at Loló, Champagne O'Clock with Eugenio Jardim


The Perfect Stranger at Loló. Photo: Brandon Tran.


The Quesilo (yes, that’s Parmesan on top). Photo: Brandon Tran.

Fans of the wonder duo behind the bar at LOLÓ, David Gallardo and Leon Vasquez, will be sorry to hear Gallardo is leaving SF to go travel the world and find a new nest in a few months. As a proper send-off, the gents have launched a new spring/summer cocktail menu, their last together, with 12 new cocktails on the 21-strong list.

Per usual, there is no lack of creativity, like the Perfect Stranger (Lo-Fi dry vermouth, Ford’s gin, oloroso sherry, jalapeño brine, and celery bitters, clarified with goat’s milk), inspired by a late-night staff meal when they realized the flavor of goat cheese and jalapeño would work well in a cocktail. And then there’s the Quesilo (bell pepper-infused gin, sherry, lemon, ruby port, egg white, topped with Parmesan cheese and black pepper)—yup, it sounds like cacio e pepe on top, the kind of drink you want to eat. And then you can have a good laugh over the names, like the Devil’s Dandruff and Mexican Zombie and Wet Dawg. Where’s the Vaya con Dios?

Champagne lovers, you’ll want to pop by the FERRY PLAZA WINE MERCHANT this Wednesday May 18th—the one and only Eugenio Jardim (whom any of you who attended the tablehopper Vietnamese and Vinho Verde supper will remember well!) will be pouring five special R.M. (Récoltant Manipulant, or grower-producer) Champagnes from the Esprit de Champagne portfolio. Click here for the lineup.

Come by 4:30pm-7:30pm and taste some very special cuvées he has selected. The flight is $32—anyone who purchases the flight can take 15 percent off any of the five wines you will assuredly fall in love with. One Ferry Building, Shop 23, Embarcadero at Market, 415-391-9400.

the socialite

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

SummerTini Returns on June 3rd to Benefit CHEFS


Auction time with Greg Quiroga at SummerTini 2015. Photo via Facebook.

Event Info

Friday Jun  3, 2016 6:30pm–10pm Tickets                        The Village 969 Market St., San Francisco

One of the most important fundraisers of the year is coming up on Friday June 3rd: the 12th annual SummerTini, a benefit to support ECS (Episcopal Community Services) and CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services), who are doing strong work to eliminate homelessness. CHEFS is a seven-month culinary training program that gives formerly homeless participants the professional skills needed to enter the food-service industry.

Enjoy bites and cocktails from more than 30 top restaurants and bars, including Michael Mina, Parallel 37, Oro, Presidio Social Club, Commonwealth, Loló, 1760, Huxley, La Mar, Bluestem Brasserie, and Dosa, among others. Specialty cocktails will be provided by Tonic Beverage Catering, as well as tastings from breweries and wineries. The dynamic Leslie Sbrocco, host of KQED’s Check Please! Bay Area, will emcee the event.

Don’t forget to bid on some incredible live and silent auction packages, including one-of-a-kind travel and dining experiences. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in the silent auction from anywhere in real time, either while enjoying the gala or in the comfort of their own home with the mobile bidding service HandBid.

The party starts at 6:30pm at The Village, in Mid-Market: 969 Market St., between 5th and 6th Streets.

Event production will be provided by Bash Creative. Lead sponsors include CPMC and Zendesk, and entertainment sponsors are SnapFiesta and DJ Justin Milla.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

Miminashi Opens in Downtown Napa, Plus Southside, Geyserville Gun Club Bar & Lounge, and Changes at Hog Island Oyster Farm


A look at the new Southside in Napa. Photo: Jorgen Gulliksen/Linea Found.


The Boat Oyster Bar at Hog Island in Marshall. Photo via Hog Island’s website.


Pisco punch with pineapple cordial and lime at Geyserville Gun Club Bar & Lounge. Photo via Facebook.

Some quick 707 tidbits for you, starting with the opening of MIMINASHI in Downtown Napa from Curtis Di Fede, previously Oenotri. This izakaya restaurant is a departure from his Italian cookery (while still sourcing top-quality ingredients), with a menu featuring ramen, yakitori, noodles, rock cod karaage (deep-fried) with chile-garlic crème frâiche and Tokyo negi, and a whole chicken with daikon, cayenne, and dashi.

Dinner is Sun-Thu 5pm-11pm and Fri-Sat to midnight. The bar is open until midnight with a limited menu. Cocktails, beer, Japanese  ice cream, and more are available, and daily lunch service plus a takeout window will begin in June. 821 Coombs St., between 2nd and 3rd streets, Napa, 707-254-9464.

A new café has opened in Napa called SOUTHSIDE, offering a Cali-Latino menu for breakfast and lunch (think Dutch baby pancakes, chilaquiles, Cubanos, farro salad) and there’s a patio, lunch to go, coffee from SF’s Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters, plus Kilogram tea, and local beer and wine—special dinners will be in the works too. Owners Morgan and Irma Robinson are also behind Smoke Open Fire Cooking catering kitchen. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 2770 Old Sonoma Rd., Napa, 707-492-3733.

Looks like there are some changes at the The Boat Oyster Bar at HOG ISLAND OYSTER FARM in Marshall. According to this post on Bite Club Eats, “Seating [at The Boat Oyster Bar] is now reservation-only and no outside food or beverages are allowed.” And reservations are limited to 90 minutes, so, uh, slurp quickly?

There will be tableside service at the tables from servers, with a menu (which includes the raw and barbecue oyster selection, two salads, cheeses, and charcuterie, plus wine and beer). And if you’re a no-show? There’s a $10 charge per person. Open Fri-Mon 11am-5pm, by reservation only.

Fortunately, the reservation-only/shuck-your-own picnic area remains unchanged. You can keep booking in advance for $5 per person for three hours and BYOB. Whew. The hard part is getting a reservation… 20215 Shoreline Highway, Marshall, 415-663-9218.

A 707 friend let me know Dino Bugica of Diavola has opened GEYSERVILLE GUN CLUB BAR & LOUNGE, offering bar bites, blue plate specials, and classic cocktails. 21025 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-814-0036.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

A Light Roast, But Feeling the Bern

The team at Sightglass Coffee in SoMa was pretty stoked to be visited by Bernie Sanders last week, who dropped in for a coffee with his wife Jane.

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