This week's tablehopper: Tahoe tawk.
The tomato and mozzarella flatbread sandwich from Tartine Manufactory. (I could use this in my Tahoe beach bag each day.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Greetings from Lake Tahoe, which I am ready to call Armageddon based on the unbelievable number of yellow jackets swarming around up here, but hopefully yesterday’s totally insane hailstorm knocked some out of the game for good. If I see any locusts, I’m outta here. Don’t get me wrong, my weekend hours at Sugar Pine Point were marvy, well, except for swatting away the hornets. I have noted they like my black bathing suit best, so guess who won’t be wearing that one anymore? Hateful creatures. Really, the worst.
It looks like I’m going to head to this craft beer and food truck shindig at Homewood Mountain Resort on Sunday August 28th. Let me know if any of you are out and about and maybe we can share a cold one up here!
So, the city is beginning to empty out as the playa-bound Burners start making their way to Black Rock City (have an amazing time!), which means it would be a great time for you to try to do a walk-in at Liholiho Yacht Club or Al’s Place, or score a reso at Octavia. Good luck!
Today’s column includes a hefty feature on the brand-new Tartine Manufactory, and next Tuesday, expect a piece on Nomica, which is hosting test dinners right now and is potentially opening next week. Looking good!
One more note: today I’m including a new sponsorship option for folks seeking eyeballs and support for their crowdfunding campaigns, whether it’s Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe. Here’s hoping we can help get your businesses funded—feel free to hit me up and ask for more details. Please take a look, and remember, if you support tablehopper sponsors, you support me in producing this newsletter, which has been free to you for 10 years! Grazie.
Okay, it’s time for me to switch over to chipmunk TV for a bit since I already finished all episodes of The Get Down (sigh). See you next Tuesday!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
A Walk Through the Newly Opened Tartine Manufactory
Last Thursday, I walked up to the brand-new TARTINE MANUFACTORY, the line snaking out of the building on day two, full of the many friends and fans of this unique San Francisco company made of some of our very best craftspeople. Tartine is one of our city’s proudest culinary achievements, and now Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt and their talented team have the space they so deserve to do much more of their crafty magic. We’re talking more than 5,000 square feet, flanking the Heath Ceramics factory, for everyone to stretch their wings and work comfortably and thrive (the conditions at the original bakery on Guerrero were cramped to say the least).
It’s many things, but first, it’s a production facility. A bakery. The massive German Heuft oven is right there, front and center. You’ll be able to watch Robertson and his team of bakers, whether they’re managing the loaves coming out of the oven or in the adjoining dough/fermentation room, purposefully built with plenty of windows so you can peek in. There is nothing but top-of-the-line equipment, and the team even has their own grain mills to make their own flours, so expect to see more fresh-milled loaves.
While bread service is ramping up (lots of quality control going on right now as they use the new equipment), bread is sold as it’s available throughout the day, after 11am. Eventually, it will come out regularly, so you won’t have to plan on that 4:30pm pickup time anymore. But for now, if you have your heart set on some country loaf, breads are still available at 600 Guerrero daily after 4:30pm.
There’s a counter where you order, with a case full of tempting goods that are constantly being depleted, refreshed, and depleted again. (This is what happens when you have more than 600 people you’re serving each day.) In the morning, there are items like Fontina, herb, and pepperoni biscuits, and the Danishes of your dreams, like arugula-hazelnut or ham, cheese, and mustard. There’s poppy seed coffee cake and Liège waffles, and you’ll note some of Prueitt’s wheat-free magic in items like flax-apple muffins. Get up early for breakfast, served from 7am-11am. The savory team also offers a few delicious items including two egg sandwiches, toast (of course!), and coddled eggs with trout roe.
Lunch items and afternoon desserts come out at 11am, like the smaller-sized flatbread sandwiches ($12, salami and tapenade, or tomato and mozzarella with squash blossoms) as well as warm sandwiches like porchetta and salsa verde ($16) or a hearty ham and cheese ($12), which are both pretty substantial. (Savory chef Sam Goinsalvos, previously at Il Buco Alimentari in New York, makes a mean porchetta sandwich!) Salads range from Brentwood corn and green bean with Parmesan to Little Gem lettuce with a Caesar-like anchovy dressing (both $9). More goodies will be added in time, like Roman-style pizza, mmhmm. There are also items ready to go, so all you nearby KQED worker bees should be stoked.
Afternoon desserts include a rice pudding tart ($6.50), gateau Basque ($8), and there’s even a wheat-free chocolate cake with raspberry and whipped cream. I have been happy to see the talented Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent (previously Quince and Cotogna) back in the mix, so to speak.
Dinner service will launch in time; there’s also a bar in the corner, where you will find wine, beer, and low-ABV cocktails, plus shrub spritzes, housemade sodas, fresh juices, water kefir, and more. For now, there are beers by Regan Long from Local Brewing Co. on tap and a selection of a few wines for all-day consumption—the offerings will expand over the next few weeks as they ramp up for dinner service. I’m excited to see what wine director Vinny Eng has in store for us (he’s also director of ops, so you can guess who is really bizzee right now). He is also working with beverage manager Ashley Miller, formerly of Plum and Haven (she is developing a menu of items with Liz Prueitt to incorporate the seasonal bounty of fruit and vegetables).
Launching in September is Prueitt’s Tartine Cookies and Cream, which is going to be a dream ice cream counter, with a variety of offerings, including soft-serve. And gelato. And ice cream cakes. You can just imagine.
There is also a coffee bar, the Coffee Manufactory, which ended up revealing some very cool surprises. I was wondering who Tartine was going to partner with for their coffee after the Blue Bottle Coffee merger went south. And whaddya know, they applied their crafty sensibility to it and are roasting their own damn coffee. Of course. Chef-driven roasting, it’s on.
I spent some time chatting with Devin Chapman, the director of coffee retail, who was formerly with Verve Coffee. Actually, a large part of the team was with Verve, including Chris Jordan, Verve’s former CEO, who is COO of Coffee Manufactory, which is actually its own business. They plan to do wholesale business with some accounts, both here in SF and in LA, too, where Tartine is expanding. They will also collaborate with more chefs. (Chad and Liz were present on every cupping.)
The coffee is roasted at a co-roasting facility in Berkeley on a Loring coffee roaster, which uses indirect heat. They are doing three kinds: the 01 is espresso-focused and round, 02 filter is more fruity and floral, and 03 is origin-focused (presently 100 percent Ethiopia, Layo Teraga). You can buy a bag of the 01 for $15.50, the 02 for $15.25, and the 03 for $17.25.
There’s also 00, their single-origin decaf, which, as Chapman puts it, is a nice departure from the usual hot dog water you find with decaf. Ha-ha.
The 01 espresso roast has soft, round flavors, and is balanced. Chapman tells me they are doing a longer-style pull and have dropped the pressure a bit to bring out the roundness while offering clarity of flavor. He also showed me this very cool tool they are using, the OCD: ONA Coffee Distributor—not only does it offer consistency, it’s also much more sanitary. Cool. They are pulling shots off a Mavam, a handmade machine from Seattle.
As far as regular coffee, they are brewing the 02 on a ThermoPro G4—Chapman said he has been using a refractometer to carefully (read: obsessively) monitor the batches.
Chapman is working with Jeremy Brooks, director of coffee roasting, and Maja Vojnovic, director of sales and marketing, both formerly at Verve. He said their ethos is similar to what Tartine did with bread. They want to learn as much as possible, experiment, be excellent, and moreover, they want people to be happy with the product—this isn’t an exercise in personal taste preferences and proclivities. Coffee service is at its own counter in the space, open Wed-Mon 7am-5pm. (Teas are from London-based Rare Tea Company.)
The room was designed by local architect Charles Hemminger, working with Los Angeles design firm Commune Design. It has 96 seats, with a variety of seating areas in the light-filled space. There are camel-toned leather-padded banquettes and booths (the leatherwork was done in the neighborhood), and the tables made of fir are so soft and beautiful—I love that there are some round tables too. The chairs were actually former school chairs and are hella cute.
You’ll note the original fir beams (the building is 102 years old), and the woodwork at the bar by Peter Doolittle is beautiful (the team wanted to use as many local craftspeople as possible). A few additional design notes: the lighting is by Richard Lewis, the kitchen has Calacatta marble counters and (of course) is using Heath Ceramics for all the dishes. Even better: Heath created a special color, Tartine Teal, for the Manufactory. Gorg.
As for the original Tartine location at 600 Guerrero, expect a redesign to happen in 2017. In the fall, and leading up to and after the redesign, the original flagship will continue to offer iconic pastries and introduce new afternoon items into their repertoire.
The Manufactory team continues to evolve their offerings and will be closed on Tuesdays for recipe development, staff training, and to complete final touches to the three-year buildout.
Hours for now are Mon, Wed-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. Follow on Facebook and Instagram for updates as things continue to take shape. Congrats to the team for manifesting this massive undertaking and achievement! Keep on pushing! 595 Alabama St. at 18th St., 415-757-0007.
This Steak Is Juicy: Chef Claude Le-Tohic Partnering with Alexander's Steakhouse
After Joël Robuchon Las Vegas executive chef Claude Le-Tohic left the restaurant earlier this year, word was that he was going to be opening his own project in San Francisco. Mon dieu! I have been keeping tabs on the chef (read: social media stalking), and it looks like he’s involved with … Alexander’s Steakhouse!
He recently did a guest chef appearance at their location in Taipei, and when I asked if Le-Tohic is perhaps a part of Alexander’s Steakhouse project coming to Union Square (the upcoming 165 O’Farrell Street project is supposed to have a fine dining component), all his publicist could confirm is: “I do not have any information on the Union Square project. I can, however, tell you that chef Claude Le Tohic is with the Alexander’s Steakhouse team.” And so the béchamel thickens. Stand by for more.
Alexander's Steakhouse - 448 Brannan St. San Francisco - 415-495-1111
Coming Soon: The Starling, Johnny Doughnuts, Nute's, Split Bread on Polk, The Bird
Let’s take a quick look at some upcoming projects, shall we?
After departing Russian Hill’s 1760, opening chef Adam Tortosa went on to work at badass sushi HQ Akiko’s while formulating plans for his next venture, which will be THE STARLING, coming to Hayes Valley. Tortosa will be joining the SF wave of offering an omakase menu ($79), which will meld traditional Japanese technique and NorCal produce and seasonality (just look at this Santa Barbara uni topped with shiro dashi emulsified egg yolk). Turns out this move toward sushi isn’t so left field, since his background includes an apprentice position under master sushi chef Katsu-ya Uechi. There will also be some small plates available.
According to The Starling’s profile, it will have “hip-hop sensibilities.” Whip whip whap. It’s a tiny spot, with 10 seats at the sushi bar and 20 at tables. Look for a hopeful winter opening; it will be in a new building. 388 Fulton St. at Gough. [Via Eater.]
The same development/building is going to be getting an artisan-made doughnut and coffee shop, JOHNNY DOUGHNUTS, from the Downtown San Rafael doughnut maker (which also has food trucks that visit SF). There will be both indoor and outdoor seating; look for an opening at the end of 2016. 388 Fulton St. at Gough.
Folks in Bernal should be excited that Nute Chulasuwan is taking over 903 Cortland, making her Nute’s Noodle Nights pop-up a permanent thing. We’ll keep you posted on the opening. [Via Scoop.] 903 Cortland Ave. at Folsom.
Russian Hill residents will soon see the former Le Petit Robert/La Boulange corner space opening in September as an all-day eatery, SPLIT BREAD. The founders of Mixt (formerly Mixt Greens)—Andrew Swallow and Leslie and David Silverglide—are behind the café, which has two locations in SoMa. The cafés are more focused on lunch/sandwiches (hence the name). The plan for this location is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with weekend brunch too.
It will offer cashless service, and guests will order at the table, instead of traditional table service. There will be 60-70 seats, outdoor seating, and a very easy takeout system too. Expect egg dishes and plenty of brunch favorites, burgers, salads, crispy chicken sandwiches, and some dinner entrées. Coffee service will be from Four Barrel Coffee, and there will be wine on tap and beer. [Via Hoodline and Eater.] 2300 Polk St. at Green.
Speaking of fried chicken sandwiches, Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Delarosa, Super Duper, Uno Dos Tacos, etc.) is launching his latest SF business, THE BIRD. Based around fried chicken sandwiches made with local, free-range chicken, this SoMa eatery will be opening for lunch and dinner. It’s due to open in a former Melt location in October. 15 New Montgomery St. at Market.
Tidbits: New Silver Star Deli, Mixt News, Mr. Holmes Kiosk Paused
Some news tidbits for you. The lunch crew who used to get their wonton soup at The Silver Star Deli have a new option: bahn mi and spring rolls and vermicelli bowls at NEW SILVER STAR DELI. The new owners are also keeping things affordable: everything is $7.25 and under (here’s the menu). 316 Pacific Ave. at Battery, 415-590-2257.
Downtown workers have probably taken note of the latest and airy MIXT (formerly Mixt Greens) location to open at 240 Kearny Street, the farthest west of the SF locations.
But here’s something you may not know: Mixt is trying out a dinner promotion at their 70 Mission Street location. So for those of you who like to have a big salad for dinner, either at the shop or taking it to go, here’s your opportunity. (Try one of their seasonal salads; I liked the peaches salad with roast pork loin.) You can swing by Monday through Thursday from 4pm-8pm for the later service. Since it’s so close to a lot of transportation, it’s pretty handy. Also, this Mixt location will continue to be open 10:30am-3pm (and is closed from 3-4pm), just so you know.
Remember when we broke the news about the MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE kiosk that opened just outside Workshop Cafe in the FiDi? Unfortunately, they hit a permitting snag, so the stand is on pause at the moment. Stand by for a hopeful reopening date soon. 180 Montgomery St. at Bush.
Since Pete Mrabe won’t be opening his Posole project after all, the latest taker for the former Minako space will reportedly become a NAAN N CURRY very soon. Look for additions like tandoori burritos and burgers to the regular menu. [Via Mission Local.] 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore.
Closures: Market & Rye, Saha
Potrero Hill residents are going to be losing MARKET & RYE at the end of August, after five years of business. Chef Ryan Scott is busy focusing on his new project opening in October, Finn Town—he just hired his chef de cuisine, Jason Raffin (previously Bin 38, Evvia in Palo Alto). Scott has other projects, too, including a new cookbook. The landlord is currently accepting applicants for potential new restaurants. 300 DeHaro St. at 16th St.
An ABC permit transfer reveals that after 11 years, SAHA in the Hotel Carlton has closed and will be replaced by something potentially called Love Crumbs. Saha owners Mohamed and Marmee Aboghanem are actually moving their restaurant to Berkeley, into the recently closed Herbivore location. Since Saha was enjoyable to many vegetarians, their new digs should hopefully be a smooth transition. 1075 Sutter St. at Larkin and 2451 Shattuck Ave. at Haste, Berkeley.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Crowdfunding Ad): Finn Town from Chef Ryan Scott--"Tavern with a Twist" Opening in October
Who wouldn’t want a VIP invite to a pre-opening party catered by an Emmy Award-winning chef? How about bar bites and craft cocktails for two, Champagne and oysters, a behind-the-scenes-kitchen tour, or a weekend brunch with your BFFs? These and more are among the thank you gifts chef Ryan Scott and the team at Finn Town—a new “Tavern with a Twist,” serving up contemporary comfort fare on Market Street between Noe and Sanchez—are offering this fall.
Watch the Indiegogo video (including the totally fun outtakes at the end) and claim your perks today.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Get Tickets for The Speakeasy at Its New Location, Get Into Marianne's, Get Rummy
Did you ever have a chance to experience THE SPEAKEASY, a combination performance (in the spirit of New York’s Sleep No More) and cocktail bar that was styled like a Prohibition-era nightclub? Well, the Boxcar Theatre team has moved from their Tenderloin location (the building they were in has been sold) and just finished a very successful crowdfunding campaign for their new location on Broadway in North Beach. It’s moving into the former Gold Mountain building (where China Live will be), in the theater that was in the basement (but has been empty for 12 years). The new theater is three times the size of the previous Speakeasy location, with a two-story circular cabaret, secret passageways, disguised entrances, and more. So hush-hush!
Pssst, tickets are on sale now through October 30th: previews will run Friday and Saturday nights and select Thursdays. Beginning in October, performances will take place Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30pm and alternate Sundays at 5pm. Tickets are $85-$130. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit here. 644 Broadway at Stockton.
Some changes at the (formerly private) club MARIANNE’S that is tucked behind The Cavalier: the Big Night Restaurant Group crew decided to open it up to the public and just finished a redesign (complete with royal purple walls and built-in leather and zebra banquettes), with new vintage glassware to go with the new cocktail menu too. Guests can order off Jennifer Puccio’s new small plates menu until 9:30pm, which includes crispy stuffed squash blossoms, oysters, and more.
Both walk-ins and reservations are accepted, and previous members still get to enjoy preferential reservations (plus some fun members-only events too). Open Tue-Wed 5:30pm-12am and Thu-Sat 5:30pm-1:30am. Reservations can be made for parties of 2-8 guests. 360 Jessie St. at 5th St.
Rumrunners will want to, er, run to the second annual California Rum Festival this Friday August 26th and Saturday the 27th at SOMArts Cultural Center. You’ll find events, seminars, and tasting rooms featuring “ruminaries” from around the world. 934 Brannan St. at 8th St.
Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
A Cavalcade of Perversion at Piccino
The one and only mustachioed John Waters had lunch at PICCINO with Rena Bransten (who reps his art—which can be seen at her gallery in the Minnesota Project in Dogpatch). Waters was also in town to introduce the screening of his recently restored film Multiple Maniacs at the Alamo Drafthouse on August 19th, which has one more screening this week (on Wednesday).