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Oct 31, 2016 12 min read

November 1, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: city slicker.

November  1, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: city slicker.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: city slicker.                    

Pretty much my dream donburi: ikura and ocean trout at Karasu in Brooklyn. Photo: ©

Hola amigos!! I’m back from New York after my monthlong autumn adventure, although with flight delays and just sitting on the plane for four-plus hours, I could have flown to Italy with the time it took to get back to SF. UGH. I won’t even go into the horrors my seatmates were committing. Let’s just say, oh, the joys of air travel! But it’s good to be home: SF looks like it got quite the power wash from all the recent rain. Sparkly!

Today is actually my birthday [confetti blast], so I am happy to be back with friends and family in the 415. Birthday week is shaping up to have some amazing eats and bubbles in it, oh you know it. And dancing. Are any of you going to the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America event this Friday? I’ll see you there! Also, psssst, I was given an exclusive industry discount code—you can get 20 percent off tickets. Just email Keidi from your work address (and mention tablehopper!) if you want to go!

This week’s column has plenty of SF openings and updates for you, and next week, we’ll be looking at even more new openings, like August 1 Five and The Saratoga. There’s a lot going on! Just how we like it.

See you on the track! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Motze from Bar Tartine Duo Now Open on Valencia


Your table is ready is Motze. Photo via Facebook.

After last week’s news about Nick Balla and Cortney Burns leaving BAR TARTINE, we can look and see what they’re up to with their new venture, MOTZE, which is now open.

As I previously mentioned, they opened quickly and on the fly in the former Herbivore, and since the lease is only for 1 1/2 years, they didn’t want to sink too much into it. Cooks will be running food from the kitchen, with a manager and a couple of “guides” overseeing the room.

But let’s take a look at the menu, because that’s why you’ll be coming here: to feast. The three-course set menu is $58 (tip included) and is served family style—and if you have any dietary restrictions, they’ll take care of you. Right now you’ll start with rainbow trout nare zushi with fresh wasabi, and seed bread with cultured butter, avocado, trout roe, and honey truffle. Expect waves of dishes to follow, with many of their housemade ingredients, from miso to soy sauce. They are continuing their exclusive relationship with Full Table Farm in Yountville—whatever they deliver, the restaurant works with, which eliminates a great deal of waste, and sparks a lot of creativity.

The beverage program will also have handcrafted touches, from rice spirit cocktails infused with grains, fruits, and vegetables to their nonalcoholic sodas on tap (zero waste is a big component to what they’re doing).

Open Tue-Sat 5:30pm-close. 983 Valencia St at 21st St., 415-484-1206.

Service Updates: Tartine Manufactory Launching Dinner, Cala Brunch Changes, Nopa Shortens Hours, More


A corner of the dining room. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.


The dining room at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.


Shoyu ikura at Ijji. Photo via Facebook.

A few things to note around town, starting with the impending dinner service at TARTINE MANUFACTORY, served Wed-Sun 5:30pm-10pm, starting Wednesday November 9th. This week, they are doing a warm-up series of five dinners, and even though all the tickets are gone (dagnabbit), you can still get a sense of some of the dinner menu items from chef Sam Goinsalvos, like housemade ricotta, beets, serrano chile, rye crisps; oyster stew, bacon, leeks, potato, scallop cream; beef heart and hanger steak tartare, black trumpet mushrooms, fried shallot, nasturtium crackers; and skillet roasted chicken, leeks, sherry vinegar, hazelnuts, rapini, anchovy, Calabrian chile. I’ll take it all, thanks. We’ll share the actual à la carte menu next week. Get ready to make some reservations, like, now! 595 Alabama St. at 18th St.

Starting this Sunday November 6th, CALA will no longer serve brunch on Saturdays—it will be on Sundays only (11am-3pm). Bonus: for the month of November, they will be offering a half bottle of Champagne and a half-dozen oysters for $40 to all brunch guests. Pop!

There are a few sure things in life, like death and taxes, and we thought scoring a burger at NOPA at 1am was another one, but be prepared for your sense of reality to take a beating. As of now, Nopa’s owners decided to curb the closing hour Sun to Thu to midnight, while Fri and Sat will still stay open until 1am. Scoop’s piece quotes partner Jeff Hanak: “It wasn’t an easy decision. We’re just trying to look at the health of the staff and the longevity, just looking at the sustainability of it, making sure staff is not leaving at 3:30 or 4 in the morning.” Thanks for all the late-night burgers and keeping us fed all these years!

A bit farther down Divisadero, the recently opened IJJI from chef and co-owner Billy Kong (Saru Sushi) and Kua Chuang (Seiya in San Carlos) has upgraded the menu to a 19-course omakase format, which includes 5 starters, 13 pieces of nigiri, and a soup. It’s now $135 and excludes beverages, taxes, and gratuity. There are just 15 seats: 8 at tables and 7 at the sushi bar. Seatings are 5:30pm and 8:30pm, plus a 10pm seating on Fri and Sat. Yup, this is the new Divisadero. 252 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-658-7388.

Meet Sofia Café, a New Neighborhood Hangout in the Former Café Sophie


Empanadas Argentinas at Sofia Café. All photos courtesy of Sofia Café.


Tri-tip Angus beef with vegetables.


Panqueques de dulce de leche for dessert.

The sweet little Café Sophie closed down not long after getting its beer and wine license, but fortunately there’s a new taker for the space, Nelson Jameson, who is opening SOFIA CAFÉ in its place (one of his two daughters is named Sofia). Jameson is Argentine, and so is his chef, Pablo Gimenez Melo, who was most recently at the nearby Hearth.

The plan is to initially open for coffee service, breakfast, and lunch, daily from 7:30am (or 8am) to 4pm or so—as they get their feet wet, they will adjust hours. There will be egg dishes and sandwiches, and Melo has been busy making housemade pastries. Proyecto Diaz will be supplying the coffee. Although in a few months, look for some Honduran coffee that Jameson has access to through a colleague who has a finca there; he will have Proyecto Diaz roast the beans for him.

Lunch will be inspired by the seasons and farmers’ markets; it will be clean comfort food, from housemade ravioli to a hearty plate of tri-tip Angus beef, with grilled vegetables, chimichurri, and organic cherry tomatoes, or Patagonian-style lamb shank with baked vegetables on the weekend. Menu plans include an eggplant sandwich with provolone, baby arugula, and olive oil, and another with ham, kale, tomato, cheddar, eggs, and mayo. Look for a daily soup, salads, and empanadas, too, including classic beef, and another with mozzarella, tomato, and fresh basil. Got a sweet tooth? Check out the panqueques de dulce de leche.

Once things are under way, the plan is to launch a happy hour, with a few tapas, Argentine and local wines, beer, and more. Jameson wants to create a relaxed and pleasant vibe, with music too. The whole point is to be a neighborhood place, so they will make any adjustments as needed. Dinner service will also be added—I’ll keep you posted on this next stage.

Jameson is a general contractor, and this is a personal project; he is opening Sofia because he wants to create a space for friends and neighbors to love. They will open Monday November 7th for breakfast and lunch. 3463 16th St. at Church.

New Chefs and Menus at Salt House and Chambers Eat + Drink


Chef Evan Gotanda makin’ magic at Salt House. Photo: Hardy Wilson.

After celebrating its 10th anniversary, SALT HOUSE owners Doug Washington and brothers Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal announce a new chef, Evan Gotanda, who was previously chef de cuisine at Anchor & Hope and also worked in LA at Bastide, Patina, and Celestino Drago’s restaurant group. His new menu features housemade pasta (like beet top ravioli, baby beets, goat cheese, pine nut gremolata) as well as some dishes that pull from his Japanese heritage (roasted cauliflower, radish, soy mayo, roasted cashews, kabocha squash, furikake), plus other international inspirations. Many housemade items are forthcoming, like kimchi and vinegar.

Over at CHAMBERS EAT + DRINK in the Tenderloin, partner Isabel Manchester has brought on chef Yosuke Machida (previously executive chef at Ame). Some new dishes on the seasonal menu include confit of octopus with chorizo, butter beans, preserved Meyer lemon, shiso, and Castelvetrano olives; and a beet salad with persimmon, chicory, Parmesan, horseradish, and a balsamic vinaigrette. He has also added a tasting menu. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-496-5178.

Culinary Events, Including Truffle Time, Cocco Nomura from Japan, a Luau, and More


White truffle. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

You smell that in the air? That’s right, it’s white truffle season, and local restaurants are making it rain! Come by PERBACCO from November 1st-12th for their Piemontese dishes, including the classic, tajarin: hand-cut tagliatelle with a guinea hen ragù  and 63°C hen egg. Pricing will reflect the market price of truffles.

Over at DELFINA, they are hosting their White Truffle Dinners November 14th, 15th, 16th, and on the 19th, which is also a celebration of their 18-year anniversary! Reserve your table now.

IZAKAYA RINTARO is hosting a special guest from Tokyo, Cocco Nomura, who is well known in food circles in Japan. She will be teaching some cooking classes and will be accompanied by her daughter, Yuri Nomura of Restaurant Eatrip in Harajuku. Tickets are still available for Sunday November 6th, and a Monday block of tickets just opened up too. $150. 15 students per session, which will include hands-on instruction followed by lunch. 11am-2pm.

Want to experience a Hawaiian luau? Executive chef Sharon Nahm of E&O KITCHEN AND BAR is hosting a luau-themed night on Thursday November 10th. Check it out here. $60 all-inclusive (includes three courses and drink pairings!). 6:30pm.

The seventh annual Fall Chocolate Salon is Tuesday November 15th, at a new venue, the Hotel Kabuki. There will be 30 chocolatiers, confectioners, wineries, and other culinary artisans, and even a film screening, chef and author talks, and more. Check out the full lineup. 10am-5pm. Advance tickets $20, $25 at the door. 1625 Post St. at Laguna.

Closures: Pinkie's Bakery, The Advocate in Berkeley


Photo from Pinkie’s Bakery.

It was already a bummer to learn that PINKIE’S BAKERY in SoMa had closed, and now owner Cheryl Storms has closed the Bernal Heights shop too. Thanks for all the treats over the years! (Via Eater.) 833 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

Meanwhile, across the Bay, Nosh reports THE ADVOCATE in Elmwood has closed. Owners John Paluska and Andrew Hoffman (they are also behind the successful Comal in Berkeley) decided to close it after being open for a little bit over a year and have put the restaurant and the business up for sale. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): New Cooking Classes at San Francisco Cooking School

Whether you’re looking to amp up your holiday cookie game, tackle homemade ramen, finally master a killer cioppino, or perfect classic paella, San Francisco Cooking School has a new winter schedule of classes with something for every level of cook.

You’ll find a huge variety of skills-based classes plus lots of holiday help too—we’ve even got the chef from Plow coming by to teach you how to make a brunch menu at home that includes those insane potatoes! Or, if you really want to impress your friends and family, maybe Pastry Fundamentals is the way to go (holiday pies and stacked layer cakes anyone?).

Hands-on? Of course. Killer instructors? Only the best. A meal AND wine? Always. Gift Certificates? Got those too!

Look forward to seeing you in the kitchens soon.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Booze News, from New Cocktails at the Tonga Room to Mezcal Week


The Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar. Photo via Facebook.


Photo from last year’s Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle; photo via Facebook.

If you’re a fan of umbrella drinks, rainstorms, and Polynesian music, then you’ll want to sidle up to the new cocktail menu at the TONGA ROOM, the first update in three years. You’ll now find two sections: Classic Tiki (including the 1934 Zombie, the exact recipe that Don the Beachcomber used when he first created the cocktail in 1934!) and Modern Tiki. Have fun, pace yourself, and no jumping in the pool. 950 Mason St. at California, 415-772-5278.

Oh man, SF’s tiniest little bar, the BLACK HORSE LONDON PUB is in a financial shituation (it’s a little vague about what’s going on). Read more on Hoodline. Here’s the GoFundMe page—they are hoping to raise $120K by February 2017. 1514 Union St. at Van Ness.

In the good news department, not only was the LONE STAR SALOON the first gay bar to be granted Legacy Business status by the city, now it’s being safely sold to two longtime Lone Star bartenders with a long-term lease (Charlie Evans and Bruce Jennison), which means its future is a bit more solid and going into the right hands. (Via SFist.) 1354 Harrison St. at Dore.

Mezcal fanatics, prep thy livers! Mezcal Week returns to SF to run November 6-13th, with participating bars and restaurants. The event Mezcal: Mexico in a Bottle is Sunday November 13th. Check out both links for more!

Wine lovers, I didn’t forget about you. This Saturday November 5th, the SAN FRANCISCO WINE SCHOOL is hosting a fifth anniversary party. There will be a blind tasting, grand tasting, and special guests! Don’t drive to this one. Hic. Tickets: $125-$185. 3pm-7:30pm. 415 Grand Ave., Top Floor, South San Francisco, 650-763-1324.


the sponsor

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

(Sponsored): These Dames Can Cook. And Write.

Join us for A Literary Feast.

Thirty of the world’s best-selling cookbook authors gather in one place to sip, sample sup, schmooze, and sign.

San Francisco boasts more award-winning cookbook authors than any other world-class city, and most of them happen to be women. And most of them happen to be members of the venerable international culinary organization Les Dames d’Escoffier.

On Sunday November 13th from 3pm to 6pm in the Grand Hall at San Francisco’s Ferry Building, many of the world’s best-known cookbook authors will gather to share insight, inscribe cookbooks, and offer tastes of their favorite recipes. Rarely do so many culinary leading lights—Teri Sandison, Paula Wolfert, Dorie Greenspan, Joyce Goldstein, Carol Field, Diana Kennedy, Leslie Sbrocco, Amy Guittard, and Georgeanne Brennan, among many others—gather in one place to offer you tastes from their cookbooks and pour you a glass of wine.

Funds raised through the sale of $10 advance tickets ($12 at the door) will benefit the Culinary Scholarship Fund of Les Dames d’Escoffier San Francisco. For more than 30 years, the organization has supported aspiring women chefs, authors, scholars, and hospitality professionals.

Advance tickets are available online here.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

Bitchy Brunch

Truth teller and nasty woman Chelsea Handler had brunch at FOREIGN CINEMA this past weekend with her family, celebrating her sister’s birthday. Love how she lovingly calls out her “auntie, who is even more of a bitch than I am.”

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