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Dec 19, 2016 14 min read

December 20, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: the land of nog.

December 20, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: the land of nog.
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: the land of nog.                    

Buckwheat doughnuts with whiskey crème anglaise at The Morris. (Not for Santa, but for me!) Photo: ©

How y’all doing on there in the land of pumpkin spice, eggnog, and peppermint? I was pretty damn happy in the land of grower-producer Champagne last Thursday at Arlequin Wine Merchant’s annual Champagne Celebration—if you need to pick up some special bottles for the holiday, they have you covered with some beauties!

We missed some of you at our Family-Style Vietnamese feast with chef Rob Lam and Ernest Vineyards last Friday, that was such an awesome night! Was so good to see you and enjoy chef Rob’s fantastic bun rieu with you. And wings. And skewers. What a feast! That’s why we work with Feastly. :)

I’m getting ready to head down to my family’s place, since Saturday is our big fish fest/Cenone for Christmas Eve. Bring on the baccalà and mussels and anchovy and bread crumb pasta (sadly that treat is only once a year). There are some places I listed in the Bay Area hosting their own version of the Cenone (also known as La Vigilia or Feast of the Seven Fishes), and one more to add is Mina’s Test Kitchen, where I experienced their seafood-centric (and very delicious) Postcards from La Costiera menu last week—ends up they are hosting a seven fishes feast as well, and lucky you, the superb spaghetti alle vongole is on the menu. Buon appetito!

In today’s column, I’m listing a bunch of places where you can go for New Year’s Day brunch, it’s a pretty fun lineup. I was hoping to have time to list New Year’s Eve spots as well, but pretty much every single restaurant is doing something, so I say think of your favorite places and check ‘em out. If I find some time later this week to list something, I’ll blast it on social media for ya (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram).

So, this is a little bit of behind-the-scenes/under-the-hood tech news (and why I have been extra-busy this week) but I’m really excited to announce we have moved tablehopper to a new mailing list service (Emma), and this is the first newsletter with the new system! Look for some cool features to come in the near future, including a new newsletter layout (yassssssss), but for now, I just wanted to mention it in case there’s any email funkiness that happens today. I’m hoping the data transfer happened perfectly, but there was a little bit of a time gap between the two systems, so you never know. Please let me know if you notice anything off or have any issues to report! Hopefully it went smooth like buttah.

One last note: I’m taking next Tuesday December 27th off for a holiday break, so the next tablehopper issue will be on Tuesday January 3rd (with my annual rant, the bore, of 10 things I don’t want to see in the New Year, oh you know it).

What I do want to see more of in the New Year is YOU! It has been so great to see a bunch of you at recent tablehopper events, thanks for coming and for all your support. Even though I was away in New York for most of the year, it has been great to catch up and get to know many of you.

There are so many things to be grateful for this holiday season. A big one on my list is my community. I love and appreciate you all so much—you bring such happiness and joy to my life, so I want to send my gratitude and best wishes to you and yours. Enjoy some time sitting by the tree, or your fireplace, or your menorah, or your winter solstice candles, or just with the people you love—they have so much light and warmth to cast, and so do you. Shine on.

Buone feste and see you in the New Year! XO! Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Sushi Shifts: ICHI Sushi Downsizing Back to Original Location, Jiro Lin Buys Hamano


The Archuletas, Tim and Erin, of ICHI Sushi. Photo via their GoFundMe page.


Jiro Lin. Photo: ©

Here’s an update from our dear ICHI SUSHI friends: it ends up chef-owner Tim Archuleta has been going through some rough health issues the past few months (he just had a major surgery on Sunday and is thankfully on the mend), and so Tim and his wife Erin have made the hard decision to downsize their operation. They are going to sell the current ICHI location and move back to their smaller space at 3369 Mission Street, which they still own; they plan to reopen in January 2017. When Tim is ready to get back behind the sushi counter, it made more sense for him to be able to ease back into a space that is more manageable sizewise (and stresswise).

Here’s where we can all help out: Tim’s lengthy hospital visit has racked up some burdensome bills, and it would be amazing to show some support to the wonderful Archuletas and donate to the GoFundMe page their friends set up for them. There is also going to be a fundraising party on Monday January 16th, so save the date.

The last night of service in their 3282 Mission Street space will be New Year’s Eve, so maybe you can come by for what is going to be quite a party. They’ll be serving a classic omakase-style sushi menu, and you can pony up for some rare and exciting sake pairings and more. Dinner service starts at 5:30pm; reservations here.

While they will keep many of their beloved crew, they are also actively searching to secure placement for the rest of their skilled team. Their swell space at 3282 will go on the market with CGI Retail and they are excited to offer it up to a new generation of small business owners. Here’s wishing the Archuletas all the best for 2017. Heal up, Tim—day by day, you’ll feel better. We love you and can’t wait to see you laughing behind your counter and doing the sushi voodoo that you do.

More news about another one of our city’s skilled sushi chefs: Jiro Lin, who was previously at HAMANO for 11 years but then partnered for a while with Joshua Skenes at Saison on an exquisite sushi counter experience, Jiro SF. Lin is back at Hamano, but Eater reports he is now the owner. He’s going to be doing some remodeling in the new year (and adding some seats at the sushi bar), and also wants to offer a high-level omakase experience, but not at the mega inflated prices we’re seeing around town. He’s aiming for 12-15 pieces for $90-$150, plus some small plates, or an all-fish menu for $48-$55 for 8 pieces and $75-$90 for 12. While this omakase experience isn’t in place just yet, probably in March or so, you can always get in touch with Jiro and request it ahead of time (text him a week in advance at 650-291-1585 with your party size, date—you’ll need to provide some credit card information too). 1332 Castro St. at Jersey, 415-826-0825.

ICHI Sushi            - 3369 Mission St. San Francisco - 415-525-4750

Chez Marius Now Open in Noe Valley


The exterior of Chez Marius. Photo courtesy of Chez Marius.

tablehopper was the first to report on the opening of CHEZ MARIUS in the former Le Zinc in Noe Valley, and as of this week, the bistro is now open. Chef-owner Laurent Legendre of Glen Park’s Le P’tit Laurent is offering a menu that is Provençal-inspired, with classics like bouillabaisse, mussels, and escargots, with bistro favorites like foie gras, onion soup, and of course steak tartare—take a look here.

You’ll find some low-ABV cocktails and aperitifs, and they expanded the back patio seating (which is also dog-friendly, by the way). Chez Marius is open for lunch Wed-Fri (11am-2pm), dinner nightly (5:30pm-9:30pm, until 10pm Fri-Sat), and brunch Sat-Sun (9am-3pm). 4063 24th St. at Noe, 415-757-0947.

Lunch at Una Pizza and Lots of Bernal News, Including Where to Buy Tartine Bread


The Roy G. Biv at pop-up Eye of the Avocado. Photo via Instagram.

Some updates around town, starting with the news that UNA PIZZA NAPOLETANA is now serving lunch Wed-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. [Via Eater]

Up in Bernal Heights, there’s a new pop-up happening at the former Sandbox/Pinkie’s called EYE OF THE AVOCADO from Jes Taber. Menu items include some pretty insane-looking breakfast/brunch/lunch sandwiches, like the Roy G. Biv brioche breakfast sandwich, with an egg, picked onions, purple carrots, arugula, herb butter, optional bacon, and you kind of have to get avocado on a sandwich like that. There’s also egg, Cabot cheddar, onion, and herb sauce on brioche, panko mac and cheese, curried egg salad, and more, including coffee and pastries. Wed-Sun 8am-2pm. 833 Cortland St. at Gates, 415-361-8383.

But this pop-up may not be long for this world, since BLACK JET BAKING CO. is reportedly hoping to be able to purchase and move into the space by February (they are currently holding a Kickstarter to raise funds). It would be a dream for owner Gillian Shaw to take over the space, so here’s wishing them lots of luck on bringing their “pop tarts” to Bernal.

More Bernal news: it ends up THE EPICUREAN TRADER is one of the first accounts to be selling Tartine bread, like their country loaf, seeded rye, whole wheat sesame, and oat porridge—it’s delivered warm in the morning Fri-Sun. (THE MARKET in the Twitter building is another location—and they’re selling beans from the relatively new Coffee Manufactory too.) So wow, you don’t have to necessarily schlep to the Mission and go stand in line!

And even more good news: THE EPICUREAN TRADER is expanding to Cow Hollow and opening a second location in late January/early February on Union Street (between the Bus Stop Tavern and La Boulangerie). The store will be slightly larger than their current store, with a much greater focus on gourmet cheese and charcuterie. They will also be working to hold their title of being named the Best Spirits Store in the Bay Area by having the largest range of craft spirits in the city, with a particular focus on allocated and hard-to-find craft whiskeys, Scotch, and mezcal.

Wine lovers will be happy to know they have teamed up with two sommeliers that currently run some of the top wine shops in Berkeley to lead their wine program, which will continue to focus on high-quality, small-production wines. Other items on the shelves include small-batch coffee, hand-blended teas and spices, craft chocolates, oils and vinegars, and other artisanal pantry items. PLUS they will be able to deliver anywhere in the 7x7 area within an hour through Instacart. 1909 Union St. at Laguna.

Chef Shuffles at Black Cat, The Commissary, and Mason Pacific


The downstairs revue stage. Photo: Kelly Puleio.

After numerous reports on problems with the food and menu at the BLACK CAT, they have finally announced a new chef, Alicia Jenish-McCarron. She was previously at Grand Cafe, the Au Bon Repas group (which includes Gitane), and most recently at Kitchit, and she is excited to return to the restaurant world. She is adding some new menu items, like a kale and Brussels sprouts salad, Moroccan lamb meatballs, and porcini and chicken roulade, and plans to launch her full menu mid-January. [Via Eater.]

Some news in the Presidio: Traci Des Jardins, the Presidio Trust, and Bon Appétit Management Company have announced that Rogelio Garcia is now the executive chef at  THE COMMISSARY. His background includes Angéle (executive chef), sous chef at Calistoga Ranch, and chef de partie at The French Laundry—his journey has been an inspiring one, starting as a dishwasher in high school in Yountville and working his way up from there.

He has also launched the Open Kitchen dinner series, when guest chefs prepare a four-course prix-fixe menu ($85) focused on a single ingredient (on first Mondays). January is an exception because of the holiday, so it will be on January 9th, and the ingredient will be truffles, jus’ sayin’. Guest chefs are Val Cantu (Californios), Dave Cruz (Little Gem), and Jamie Simpson (chef liaison of the Culinary Vegetable Institute at The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio). Connie Green will also be in the house.

Over at MASON PACIFIC, the recently hired chef, Max Mackinnon, has left after five months. We’ll just have to see what’s next for the location. [Via Eater.]

Mason Pacific            - 1358 Mason St. San Francisco - 415-374-7185

Closures: Green Heart Foods


The Bowl at Green Heart Foods. Photo via Facebook.

I know some fans of the organic and well-made smoothies, salads, and other dishes from GREEN HEART FOODS will be sad to hear CEO Lisa Chatham has decided to close their Mission café this Thursday December 22nd. They will be continuing their catering business, and Hoodline notes that you can still order their food through Uber Eats and Postmates, and the “Brite Bites breakfast parfaits and The Bowl (a quinoa, sweet potato and black bean bowl) will continue to be sold at EHS Pilates on Valencia Street and at the FiDi’s Hermanos food kiosk (650 California St.).” 3321 20th St. at Folsom, 415-800-8910.

the sponsor

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


(Sponsored Event): Curry Up Now and Mortar & Pestle Bar Open New Year's

Skip the expensive tasting menu this New Year’s Eve and hit up Curry Up Now for Deconstructed Samosas and Sexy Fries. All restaurant locations (San Francisco, San Mateo, San Jose, Palo Alto) and Mortar & Pestle bars (San Mateo, San Jose) will be open regular hours.

And if you’re able to crawl out of bed New Year’s Day, a Tikka Masala Burrito is the perfect cure for that post-New Year’s Eve hangover. Hair of the dog? Head to Mortar & Pestle Bar for some tasty cocktails. All restaurants and bars open regular hours New Year’s Day as well.

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Holiday Cheers


Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: ©

This Wednesday December 21st is the shortest (and darkest) day of the year, and EL TECHO is hosting a Winter Solstice party on its (covered and heated) roof from 4pm-close (10:30 pm). There will be three $5 cocktails from El Techo/Lolinda bar manager Alvaro Rojas, including the Agua Quemada (served hot!), with black tea-infused mezcal, aged cachaça, all-spice, lemon, molasses, hot water; (no es mi) Presidente, with Haitian rum, Cognac, curaçao, French vermouth, cherry; and Ponche de Almendras, with mezcal, amaretto, cherry heering, orgeat, lime, grapefruit. All proceeds from cocktail sales (from the special cocktail menu) will be donated to La Cocina; first come, first served. 2516 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-550-6970.

This is definitely the week to enjoy holiday cocktails, and I’m happy to see that STOOKEY’S CLUB MODERNE is going to be putting together a punch bowl of Tom and Jerry cocktails around 10:30pm to 11pm or so on Christmas Eve. Come on by, but last call is at 12:30am. 895 Bush St. at Taylor.

the sponsor

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


(Sponsored Event): Celebrate New Year's Eve with Porchetta and Champagne at CRU

Looking for a delicious way to celebrate the end of 2016 and kick off 2017? Come to our recently opened wine bar, CRU Wine Bar and Merchant in Redwood City, from Donato Scotti of Donato Enoteca.

We will be serving a whole porchetta with housemade focaccia and herb sauce (just $12 per plate) with plenty of Champagne and bubbles. No expensive prix-fixe menu here! Everything is à la carte, and you can order off the regular menu too. No reservations needed, either! We’ll be open 8am to 11pm; porchetta starts at 5pm. 900 B Middlefield Rd., Redwood City, 650-362-3535.

the socialite

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

Where to Eat (and Recover) on New Year's Day


Breakfast banh mi from Rice Paper Scissors. Photo: Behind the Food Carts.


The Moët & Chandon Champagne Tree at Loews Regency San Francisco.

Event Info

Sunday Jan  1, 2017

Some folks need to spend their New Year’s Day in bed with some Vicodin, a vape, and (hopefully) you found some leftover pizza. But this year, New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, so intrepid folks who are up to venturing out for brunch will have some pretty great options, check it out.

Rice Paper Scissors is hosting their sixth annual New Year’s Day brunch at BLACK SANDS BREWERY in the Lower Haight from 10am-3pm, serving turkey bao, pot stickers, breakfast banh mi, and the best thing of all: their Hanoi-style beef pho. There will be coffee, beer, and bar drinks by Black Sands, including their collaborative Saigon Saison, made with black, brown, and roasted rice!

HOG & ROCKS knows how to do a proper hangover brunch, with a menu that has eggs Benedict, chorizo migas, chicken and waffles, duck confit French toast, a burger, and $5 mimosas ($20 carafes plus one free refill), brunch cocktails, and more. Large groups welcome, but reserve! 11am-3pm.

SPRUCE is serving their usual Sunday brunch menu, plus a few extra-special dishes, including a butter-poached lobster Benedict and dry-aged New York strip steak and eggs. PHANCY. And black Périgord truffles and caviar service will also be in the maision. 10am-2pm.

ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR will be open on New Year’s Day, serving their usual brunch menu, plus the addition of a beef brisket poutine with a six-minute egg, chanterelles, spinach, cheddar Mornay, scallions, and french fries. Um, yeah. And then there’s the Ginger Rogers, which is the perfect hair of the dog. Open 11am-3pm, last reservation at 2pm.

The new ELITE CAFÉ will be open an extra hour on New Year’s Day, serving eggs Benedict and Champagne juleps, NOLA rancheros and Ramos fizzes, and breakfast biscuits and French 75s! Plus oysters and Champagne and deviled eggs and martinis—and even more! Open 9am-3pm.

Feel like a Bloody Mary brunch buffet? BRASSERIE S&P is offering a brunch buffet with smoked salmon, omelets, bacon tarts, and an extensive Bloody Mary Bar. $75 per person; reservations available from 10am-3pm. Be sure to check out the Champagne Christmas Tree, made with 62 individual magnums, which would come out to 745 glasses of bubbly. (Which you may feel like you consumed the previous night.) There will also be the option of ordering à la carte.

A swanky New Year’s Day brunch buffet is at the TOP OF THE MARK at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco. Brunch includes oysters on the half shell and assorted caviar with warm blini, an omelet and waffle station, rock shrimp eggs Benedict with Choron sauce (tomato-spiked béarnaise—see, I looked it up for you), roasted Kurobuta pork loin, and a side of piano. $109, $59 per child (ages 4-12). Reservations required, call 415-616-6941.

The folks at MKT RESTAURANT at the Four Seasons are hosting a New Year’s Day brunch buffet for $90, with bottomless mimosas or Bloody Marys for an additional $30. 10am-2pm.

If you want to do a pop-up, I noticed this Feastly brunch: Istanbul Modern: Sultan’s Brunch, with seatings at 11am and 1pm.

PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB will be serving brunch dishes like challah French toast, brioche beignets, burgers, and bubbles! Reservations accepted. 10am-3pm.

Getting up late? How about dinner? For something a little more traditional, YUZUKI in the Mission will serve à la carte dinner menu items, osechi and ozoni, that are traditionally served in Japan on New Year’s Day. The restaurant’s regular menu will also be available.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)

He Got Game--and the Octopus

Last Thursday evening, Denzel Washington came into PERBACCO for dinner with the cast of Fences (Jovan Adepo, Mykelti Williamson, Stephen Henderson) and Constanza Romero, the widow of the writer of the play. The film was being premiered at the Curran Theatre, and the group came in to quickly eat while the audience watched the film, and then needed to return to the Curran for Q&A.

One cute happening: there was a private event in the room behind where they were seated. Once Denzel noticed that the guests were trying to take pictures, he went into the room and chatted for a while. I’m also told he enjoyed the octopus and had the Raviora as a main course. No alcohol for him—he ordered a regular Coke.

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