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Aug 8, 2016 14 min read

August 9, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: gypsy queen.

August  9, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: gypsy queen.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: gypsy queen.                    

Raw gamberi rossi from one of my favorite meals in Sicily (at Da Vittorio in Porto Palo). Photo: ©

Ciao, tutti! Yes, your tablehopping zingara (gypsy) is back in San Francisco for the next month or so before I head back to New York for another stint. And I have some visits planned to Lake Tahoe and Sebastopol in the meantime, because this SF “summer” weather is already chapping me, and I have only been home for four days. It’s a good thing the sun is out today because I was on the brink of looking up flights back to Italy, not kidding. But I have also been SO HAPPY eating Mexican food every damn day since I have returned, from tacos to super burritos to ceviche to chilaquiles. Missed you, salsa! And you too, lacinato kale.

Many of you were following along on Instagram and Facebook as I ate my way through Roma, Abruzzo, and Sicilia for almost three weeks—it was sooooo good to be back in the land of pasta twice a day, freshly caught fish, dark espresso, sweet prosciutto, wine wine wine, blue waters, balmy nights, ancient buildings, and kindness everywhere we went. Italia, you warm me to the depth of my heart and soul, I swear. I loved exploring Abruzzo (that region is such an underexplored gem, people!), and my time spent with Rustichella d’Abruzzo was so informative, I can’t wait to share some highlights of what I learned about pasta with you!

I know some of you started getting some serious Italia pangs with all my pics. If you’re feeling a bit capricious, you should book the last few spots in Viola Buitoni’s upcoming culinary trip to Lucca this September 17th-25th—September is always my favorite month to be in Italia, and flights aren’t too horrendous either. Email her and drop the tablehopper name to get 10 percent off your trip! Buon viaggio! And if there’s room in your suitcase for me, let me know, k?

Who went to Outside Lands this weekend? Man, that was a tour de force. Remind me to build in a few more days to get over jet lag before I ever hit it like that again, jeesh. LCD Soundsystem really brought it, Duran Duran and Lionel Richie delivered such sweet and fun nostalgia, and Lana Del Rey was a vision. Was also great to reconnect and see so many of you! Extra thanks to Azalina’s, Three Babes, and Stones Throw for warming me up and putting some gas in my tank with their tasty vittles! Mmmmmeatballs. I love how spoiled we are with the quality food and drink choices at this festival, thanks for all the hard work—SF rocks.

If you feel like you missed out on some special eats this weekend, well, I have a treat for you. Check out this piece I did for Caviar on secret off-menu items at SF restaurants! Did you know about the cherry poppers at Merigan, or bacon fries at Bacon Bacon? Now you do. And you can order them right to your door! Use my special code and get $10 off each of your first two orders.

One more for ya: one of my last pieces for Time Out while I was in New York was for their Time Out San Francisco site on the 25 best restaurants in San Francisco. Yeah, that was a tough one to narrow down, but you gotta start somewhere.

You ready to dive in to some news from the past few weeks? Okay! Let’s.

I look forward to seeing you soon, mwah! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Black Cat, a New Supper Club, Now Open in the Tenderloin


Some of the swanky seating at Black Cat. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


A sampling of dishes. Photo: Kelly Puleio.


The downstairs revue stage. Photo: Kelly Puleio.

I’m always happy to hear about new venues offering live music, and this recently opened Tenderloin supper club, BLACK CAT, has a dinner menu, cocktail lineup, and wine list that will get your attention as well. New York restaurateur Fritz Quattlebaum and local operations partner Khalid Mushasha (formerly Lolinda) have assembled quite a team for this project, including chef Ryan Cantwell (Zuni, Chez Panisse), bar manager Gabriel Lowe (Locanda, Beretta, and The Battery), and wine director Eugenio Jardim (formerly of Jardinière).

The modern supper club menu includes pan con tomate; two kinds of meatballs, latkes, and potpies; and a Black Cat double brisket patty melt with Munster, Swiss, and pickled and caramelized onions on Jewish rye. The Black Cat is also the only restaurant in San Francisco to carry oysters from The Marshall Store on Tomales Bay. There are cocktails, large-format low-ABV punches, and house sodas, and Jardim’s well-selected wine list includes 90 bottes, with many grower-producer Champagnes (view the wines by the glass here).

Craige Walters (Blackbird, Hecho) designed the two-level space, which has high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a basement where you’ll find the revue stage, plus velvet-backed banquettes, cabaret tables, and eclectic seating and lighting; there are bars on both levels. Local artist Joe Keefe and photographs from nearby Jessica Silverman Gallery also contribute to the artsy décor.

Dinner nightly until 1am, and there’s a limited bar menu until 1:30am. You can come by for a drink and bites, or a full meal; you need to make reservations for the nightly shows downstairs. Brunch will launch later on. And for those of you who want to brush up on some history, you can read about the original Black Cat here, which played an important part in San Francisco’s gay and bohemian roots over the last century. 400 Eddy St. at Leavenworth, 415-358-1999.

Tidbits: Adventure in Food and Wine, New Central Kitchen Menu, Lafayette Reopens, Stoner's, Hatch Chile Roasts, More!


Pizza at Adventure in Food and Wine. Photo via Facebook.

You’ll find a new wine and beer bar serving pizzas, flatbreads, salads, and small plates on 24th Street called ADVENTURE IN FOOD AND WINE. The charcuterie and cheese plates look lovingly assembled! Open Mon-Thu 3pm-11pm and Fri-Sun 3pm-12am. 3331 24th St. at Bartlett, 628-444-3430.

CENTRAL KITCHEN has launched its new menu and format, which includes family-style dining, more pasta dishes, and items from the new wood-burning hearth; take a look here. There were some updates and changes to the interior as well.

It was a damn shame that the vintage diner LAFAYETTE COFFEE SHOP was unceremoniously forced out of its long-standing Tenderloin location on Hyde back in March, but there’s good news: the owners have reopened in a new location on Larkin. You can once again get an affordable breakfast all day, plus their famed roast turkey on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and prime rib. Open daily 7am-10pm. 611 Larkin St. at Eddy, 415-441-4884.

There’s a new sandwich shop called STONER’S next to Philz in the Tenderloin, which is also serving bagel sandwiches and wraps. Sadly the humor stops at the name—nothing on the menu is very funny. I mean, come on, at least name a sandwich “The Dude.” Duuuuuude. Open Mon-Fri 6am-3pm and Sat 9am-3pm. 752 Van Ness Ave. at Eddy, 415-913-7753.

North Beach now has a Yucatecan joint called PANUCHOS, serving poc chuc, panuchos, and cochinita pibil, plus some taqueria standards like quesadillas and burritos. Open Mon-Sat 12pm-3am. 620 Broadway at Grant Ave.

Fans of New Mexico Hatch chiles should know Mollie Stone’s Markets are hosting Hatch chile roasts again at rotating Bay Area locations—it all starts Sunday August 14th at the Castro market, 10am-2pm. (You can preorder if you want to be sure you get a bag.) Pro tip: this spice lover found the medium roast to be plenty hot! They let you taste test to decide how hot you wanna go. They make the best addition to a breakfast taco, and then there’s green chile pork stew, and and and…

Cawfee Tawk: New Equator Coffees & Teas Café Opens in SoMa


The new Equator in SoMa, hanging out with a Frank Stella! Photo courtesy of Equator Coffees & Teas.

Marin-based Equator Coffees & Teas has opened a second San Francisco location (in SoMa) in a 8,700-square-foot public space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and three beautiful works of art by Frank Stella. You’ll find plenty of seating and community workspace too.

There are all kinds of espresso drinks (including shakeratos!), batch-brewed coffee, single-origin coffee, and teas. Or maybe you’d like a half bottle of wine or beer? You can get that too. Food options include grab-and-go sandwiches, salads by Urban Remedy, yogurt parfaits, quiches, and more.

This would also be a great time to give a shout-out to Equator for being named National Small Business of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Association, a first for a LGBT-certified company. [Fist bump.] Open Mon-Fri 7am-6pm. 222 2nd St. at Howard.

Closures: Nob Hill Grille, Drewes Meats


The former corner location of Nob Hill Grille. Yelp photo by Kevin Y.

Longtime star tablehopper intern Rebecca Kinney let us know the approachable and easygoing NOB HILL GRILLE has closed. According to a sign in the window, it said: “Thank you for your 10 years of support, it has been an amazing ride.” 969 Hyde St. at Pine, 415-474-5985.

Another sad chapter in the DREWES MEATS story, which was one of SF’s oldest butcher shops (more than 100 years old!): Inside Scoop reports the shop is closed and the owner is being evicted for nonpayment of rent. The property owner is hoping to find another tenant to run it as a butcher shop; fingers crossed, we shall see if someone can return it to its former glory. 1706 Church St. at Day, 415-821-0515.

Cool Culinary Events Include La Lucha de La Cocina, Motze Mondays at Bar Tartine, and a Summer Picnic Party


It’s time for the Summer Picnic Party at the Marin French Cheese Company creamery. Photo courtesy of Marin French Cheese Company.

Whatcha doing this weekend? On Saturday August 13th, La Cocina is hosting La Lucha de La Cocina, a taquiza (i.e., taco party!) and lucha libre (yes, there will be pro masked wrestlers!) at Pier 70. The party runs from 3:30pm-10pm, with the lucha libre spectacle from 5pm-7pm. Since there won’t be the Street Food Fest this year, here’s your chance to taste $2 regional tacos, traditional Mexican antojitos, and more Latino treats and foods from La Cocina chefs and other partnering chefs—more than 20 in all! There is also a mezcal tasting arena courtesy of the Mezcalistas, cocktails, beer, art exhibitions, live music, Donald Trump piñatas (THWACK!), and a dance party following the main event. Tickets here.

As if BAR TARTINE chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns weren’t busy enough, they now have a second restaurant concept in the works, Motze (and FYI, there isn’t an update on the transformation of Bar Tartine into Crescent just yet). Since they don’t have a location for Motze just yet, they are going to be hosting a Monday night dinner series in the meantime, Motze Mondays. And no, it isn’t a spin on matzoh: the name is in honor of a fifth-century Chinese philosopher, Motze.

The family-style menu will include a range of bites like salmon belly in chrysanthemum sauce and black koji and flaxseed crackers with salmon roe, followed by larger dishes like chicken fat dumplings with egg and shiso, and eggplant with rye shoyu, plus some sweets (like quince steam cake). $58 per person (excluding tax and tip), beverages additional. 5:30pm-10pm. Reservations here or call 415-487-1600.

This gray weather is definitely depressing, so get out of town and enjoy a casual summer picnic—with cheese! Marin French Cheese Company is hosting their second annual Summer Picnic Party on Sunday August 21st from 11am-3pm. You’ll be hanging out on the scenic grounds surrounding the Marin French creamery, 10 miles west of Petaluma. There will be live music, interactive cheesemaking and beekeeping demos, artisan foods, local craft beers, wine, and plenty of local cheeses, charcuterie, jams, pork sliders from Devil’s Gulch Ranch, and more. The event is kid- and pet-friendly. Tickets are $12.50 (not including food and drinks).

510 Update: Grand Fare Market Reopens, Changes at The Pasta Shop and Off the Grid


Charcuterie, salads, and other options are fit for rosé all day on the patio at Grand Fare Market. Photo courtesy of Grand Fare Market.


The new indoor seating at Grand Fare Market. Photo courtesy of Grand Fare Market.

After abruptly closing for a reconcepting and remodel after just a couple months of business, GRAND FARE MARKET has reopened in Oakland with a new approach. Owners Doug Washington and Freya Prowe have simplified the experience, which now has guests ordering food and paying in one location—you can have your food brought to you at a table, or have it to go. Online ordering with curbside pickup and delivery is coming soon. Seating has also been added inside (50 seats), although now is the time to enjoy the beautiful garden patio (which also has new heat lamps).

Starting at 7am (daily), you can come by for Linea coffee and housemade pastries. The full menu starts later in the day and is available until 7pm (expect later hours soon). There are sandwiches like avocado toast with sesame seeds, pomegranate syrup, and Maldon sea salt on levain; a BLT with house-cured bacon, heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and basil aioli on grilled levain; and a porchetta number with chow chow and herb jus on rustic Italian. Salads include garden lettuces with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, pickled onions, goat cheese crostini, and red wine-mustard vinaigrette; or spinach and chicken with pine nuts, currants, Point Reyes blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.

Small plates like creamy cauliflower mac and cheese with buttered bread crumbs or eggplant Parmesan with basil pesto are available, plus there are larger plates like polpettone meatloaf braised in savory tomato sauce with mashed potatoes, or salmon corn cakes with herb salad and basil aioli. Expect items off the rotisserie too.

You can also shop for an array of local and organic epicurean products, including Baia pasta, cheeses and housemade charcuterie, oysters, wine, and beer. There are also gorgeous floral bouquets and more at Freya Prowe’s Brother & Sisters Flower Shop (she has been producing floral design events for 20 years). Open Mon-Sat 7am-9pm and Sun 7am-8pm. 3265 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-899-9610.

Quick name change alert: THE PASTA SHOP in Oakland and Berkeley (a Bay Area institution for nearly 30 years) is changing its name to Market Hall Foods, the parent company and e-commerce site. Signs are set to go up on Tuesday. There are no other changes—it’s the same great food and owners.

Another quick programming note: Off the Grid at the Emeryville Public Market will no longer be every Saturday afternoon—it’s going to become a monthly food truck festival on third Saturdays. This Saturday August 13th is the last weekly one, and Saturday August 20th will mark the start of the new programming, with a wider variety of food trucks, curated live music performances, and community partnerships. Look for children’s activities, local performers, and more.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science Coming to San Francisco!

Television personality, author, and Food Network star Alton Brown is bringing “Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science” to The Nourse Theater on Sunday March 19th, 2017.

Eat Your Science is a live culinary variety show where Brown mixes together science, music, and food into two hours of pure entertainment. Fans can expect “all-new everything, including songs, new comedy, new puppets, and bigger and better potentially dangerous food demonstrations.” Critics and fans have raved about the interactive components of Brown’s shows. He promises “plenty of new therapy-inducing opportunities during our audience-participation segments. Plus, you’ll see things I’ve never been allowed to do on TV.”

Tickets go on sale this Thursday August 11th at 10am.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

New Wine Bar Scopo Divino Now Open in Lower Pac Heights


The bar area at the new Scopo Divino. Photo courtesy of Scopo Divino.

There’s a new wine bar that opened in Lower Pacific Heights called SCOPO DIVINO (in the former Food Inc. space). The international wine list has more than 1,000 bottles, with a focus on Burgundy, and a range of selections from the approachable to the obscure. They are using the Coravin system to pour tastes; there are also wine flights and beers too. First-time owner Tim Hayman brought on Erik Reese (Mayes and Catch) to consult, and there’s a rather extensive and sophisticated food menu, with daily oysters, bruschette, small plates, and of course cheese and charcuterie. The chef is Mark Cina (formerly Monsieur Benjamin and Benu).

It has a cozy residential style, with an alder wood bar, tapestried lounge chairs and sofas, and artichoke print wallpaper by William Morris & Co. Regulars and neighbors will want to check out their Club Divino membership program: for $15 each month, members get 20 percent off all wines ordered on-site and 24 percent off all takeaway. One thing to note, since you’ll be drinking and may not notice: “10 percent will be added to all checks for San Francisco City ordinances and to provide a living wage to all employees.” Open Wed-Sun 3pm-late (kitchen is open until 10pm). 2800 California St. at Divisadero, 415-928-3728.

Beer-Focused Openings: Buffalo Theory, BuzzWorks, Standard Deviant Brewing


A sampling of dishes at Buffalo Theory. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.


The bar (and screens!) at BuzzWorks. Photo courtesy of BuzzWorks.

Beer lovers continue to find plenty of places to indulge in this city, starting with the newly opened BUFFALO THEORY on Polk Street. Chef Tim Luym (Poleng Lounge, Attic) partnered with Ted Kim (Steins Beer Garden & Restaurant in Mountain View) on this neighborhood restaurant with quality craft beers (30 on tap)—the staff is highly trained on the beers, so geek out to your heart’s content. Luym put together a menu of affordable and bold bar bites that take inspiration from drinking food from around the world, like Filipino adobo chicken wings and a Japanese chicken katsu sandwich. There are 116 seats, with a bar, communal tables, and a private room. Open Sun-Wed 4pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 4pm-12am. 1735 Polk St. at Washington, 415- 829-8226.

A while back we mentioned the sports bar BUZZWORKS that was opening in SoMa, and it’s now open. The deets: 30 screens, 40 beers on tap, more than 100 bottles and cans of beer and cider, wine, snacks, pinball, foosball, and video arcades too. You can come by and watch the Olympics, MLB, and the NFL (soon). Open Sun 12pm-12am, Mon-Tue 1pm-10pm, Wed-Sat 1pm-12am. 365 11th St. at Harrison, 415-558-1533.

I was driving down 14th Street last week and noticed a sign for STANDARD DEVIANT BREWING, which Hoodline shares is a new project from friends Mark DeVito, Paul Duatschek, and Dave Azzam. You can come by the brewery and try their kolsch, extra pale ale, porter, and Belgian blonde on tap (more coming soon), with food from Sneaky’s BBQ and other rotating trucks. The former auto body shop will continue to get tricked out, but for now, there is a redwood bar, picnic tables, and pinball machines. Hours are Fri 4pm-11pm, Sat 12pm-11pm, and Sun 12pm-9pm. Follow ‘em on Facebook for updates. 280 14th St. at Mission, 415-509-4230.


the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Oh, Hello, Adele, Would You Like Eggs Benedict This Morning?

San Francisco was graced with a visit from songbird Adele, who reportedly brunched at Zazie in Cole Valley—she was in town for her concerts in San Jose and Oakland (via Hoodline).

Where the Greatest Female Tennis Player of All Time Likes to Eat

This star sighting sailed in over the net a few weeks ago while I was away, but here goes anyway, because SERENA! The one and only Serena Williams came in for dinner at The Village Pub in Woodside with a party of six. The party dined in the back corner and made their way through the menu, ordering the cacio e pepe pasta, kampachi crudo, soup, halibut, New York steak, duck, and scallops. They drank all wines by the glass and coffee. Love!

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