This week's tablehopper: thrilla from Manila.
An amuse of an asparagus soup sphere topped with fried beltfish at the Pinoy Heritage pop-up, the subject of today’s review. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hey, you enjoying this quick break in between the storms? I’m hoping to get a quick jog in as soon as I hit send on this thing before the next storm rolls in! SF is looking so fresh and so clean clean today.
I want to get something on your radar for this Thursday March 23rd: did you know No Kid Hungry is hosting the 10th annual Taste of the Nation event at City View at the Metreon? Top SF chefs will be there, including chef chair Melissa Perello (Frances, Octavia), plus fantastic wine, cocktails, and more. Check out the socialite for more!
You have any weekend plans yet? Maybe you’ll want to take a page from my busy book. This Saturday, I’m going to swing by the Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma on my way to Napa—there will be all kinds of tastings, events, demos, and more, all weekend long. Cheese lover heaven, just sayin’.
On Sunday morning, I’m leading a bubbles and brunch at Flavor! Napa Valley at 11am at Domaine Chandon, would love to see you! Host chef Brian Whitmer (VINeleven) will be joined by Richard Blais and Rick Moonen in preparing this fab brunch.
As soon as that wraps up, I am going to be scooting back to San Francisco, but sadly will only be able to make the tail end of the Omnivore Books’ and Bar Agricole’s Tipple & Snack vintage cocktail book fair and party. It’s going to be a fun one (there will be drinks!) happening on the patio at Bar Agricole (Sunday, 3pm-5pm), and some tablehopper vintage cocktail/bar T-shirts will be available! Check out today’s column for more.
One last thing: big congrats to all the final nominees for the James Beard Foundation Awards! SF has some great representation. The big awards gala will be in Chicago on Monday May 1st.
Okay, let’s dive in here. Have a fantastic week! Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Piccino Team Opening a New Dogpatch Project This Summer: Noon All Day
Some great news for Dogpatch—the Piccino family (owners Margherita Stewart Sagan and Sher Rogat and director of operations Kerry Glancy) are busy working on the opening of a new project, NOON ALL DAY, slated to open this summer at 690 Indiana. It will be flanking Esprit Park and the upcoming Dogpatch Arts Plaza, a dead-end street being converted into an arts-focused public pedestrian plaza (at 19th and Indiana) by Build Public, a local nonprofit committed to designing and developing more public spaces. Music, a farmers’ market, and more are also being programmed for the plaza. The location is also conveniently close to the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital and will be a godsend for the many doctors, residents, patients, and visitors.
The space is just 1,1100 square feet—full of glass windows and opening out onto the plaza—and will have around 65 seats. There will be a full kitchen, so it’s almost like a mini restaurant with coffee service. The small and focused menu will be market fresh and seasonal (some ingredients will be coming from a mini farm up in Healdsburg), with six to eight rotating items that will be taking easy inspiration from many cultures, from a curry clay pot dish to fried rice to za’atar making an appearance. There will be braises and homey favorites like chicken soup stracciatella with egg—they’re also taking the famed Piccino meatballs and working on a mini meatball pocket sandwich. Look for special baked things as well: one item they are developing is a seedy and bready cylinder with a runny egg inside.
Leading the kitchen is a blast from the past: Carlo Espinas—who opened the original Piccino as a cook—is back in SF and excited to work with the ladies again. (He’s currently working on menu testing in the Piccino kitchen.)
Hospitality is a big component of the experience—they will have a concierge at the entrance who will facilitate your order. (This person will help direct people to order at the counter, or maybe a guest just wants to pay for an espresso and go pick it up at the coffee counter.) Food will be brought to your table via food runners who will know the ingredients well. There will additionally be an app, which people can order directly from, and have a lunch or afternoon snack delivered, or dinner to take home.
The name is inspired by the fact that noon is often a reset time, a moment to recharge and take a breath, but this place will give you that feeling all day, whether you are coming by for coffee and pastry in the morning or some soft-serve ice cream with housemade toppings in the afternoon. The space (by Sagan Piechota Architecture) is bright and airy, with lots of glass and light wood and pendant lights. There will be a herringbone concrete-tile floor, a counter for seating (along with tables and chairs), and there’s a custom 10-foot refrigerated case with different temperature zones wrapped in marble (it will have some grab-and-go items). Beer and wine will be available, and they are hoping to secure a license for off-premise sales as well, so you can bring that bottle of rosé home that you like so much.
They are hoping to open in the summer, perhaps June or July. Hours will be 6am-8pm daily. In the meantime, you can follow their progress on Instagram at @noonallday. 690 Indiana St. at 19th St.
Coming Soon: Kuma, a Neighborhood Sushi Spot (with Pink Zebra's Ryo Sakai)
If you have ever had the opportunity to sit at chef Ryo Sakai’s counter while he was making sushi at the now-closed Pink Zebra or at Domo in Hayes Valley, you’ll be happy to hear he has partnered with longtime friend Cory Jackson to open a restaurant for the first time together (they started working together years ago at Blowfish): KUMA SUSHI + SAKE.
Kuma will be opening in May at Polk and Post in a former Western Union, and they want to be a neighborhood sushi restaurant that can work for all kinds of budgets. Guests can order à la carte or omakase (4, 8, or 12 courses), and they will even offer vegetarian selections. There will be a strong focus on local seafood (from TwoXSea), with some fish sourced from Japan as well. Dishes will be creative and feature some fun touches, like ochazuke (tea-infused dashi stock poured over rice and kombu-cured fluke) and a spin on chawanmushi with smoked goat cheese. House-fermented pickles will also play a part. (The name means “bear”—Jackson collects little animal figures, and it’s also in homage to the California bear, which has a taste for salmon.)
The 25-seat space is pretty intimate—they’ll actually just start with 18 seats, and it will be walk-in only (no reservations). The spacious bar has 11-12 seats, so guests will be able to enjoy a lot of interaction with the two chefs. The counter will feature an inset sushi case that is lower than usual so guests can see inside. The overall design will be warm and inviting, with natural colors, wood, and galvanized steel, plus there are high ceilings. They will be curing the wood at the front entrance through shou sugi ban, a Japanese technique of charring and preserving wood.
There will be both local and Japanese beers, plus wine and a frequently changing list of sakes. Look for some purposefully affordable picks on the beer list.
Right now they are doing some preview dinners and menu testing on Feastly. The two current dinners are sold out, but keep an eye out for future dates. And I’ll keep you posted on their opening. 1040 Polk St. at Post.
Openings Include Two Taquerias, a Russian Spot, The Epicurean Trader, Smitten
There are a couple of new taquerias that have opened up, starting with LITTLE TAQUERIA in the Inner Richmond. Tacos are $3.50 each, burritos are $9, and platos are $11 (served with rice and beans). You can peek at a menu here, which lists options like slow-simmered beef, lechon (braised sour-orange pork), ground beef with potato, and seasonal vegetables. It has a few counter seats, but true to its name, it’s little, so plan on takeout instead. Hours are daily 11am-4pm. 200 6th Ave. at Cornwall, 415-463-2506.
In SoMa, EL CAPITAN TAQUERIA has opened its doors in the former Citizen’s Band, serving traditional tacos, burritos, tortas, and quesadillas, plus sandwiches, burgers, special plates, and breakfast burritos all day. Menu here. Hours are Mon-Fri 10:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm, Sun 11:30am-5pm. 1123 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-525-3676.
Downtown workers who love pirojki will want to track down PUSHKIN in the International Food Court. The menu lists borscht; split pea soup; beef, chicken, or potato and fried onion vareniki (dumplings); and baked Ukrainean pirojki (like chicken and mushroom, pepperoni, beef, spinach and feta). Hours are Mon-Fri 10am-3pm. 380 Bush St. at Kearny, 415-610-9456.
Last December, I mentioned THE EPICUREAN TRADER was expanding to Cow Hollow with its second location, and it’s now open. You can swing by for everything from craft spirits to gourmet cheese and charcuterie, plus fresh bread from Tartine Bakery (!!), small-production wines, small-batch coffee, hand-blended teas and spices, craft chocolates, oils and vinegars, and other artisanal pantry items. 1909 Union St. at Laguna.
Ice cream, all over da place! SMITTEN ICE CREAM is opening a new shop in the Mission this Thursday March 23rd, which is when you’ll want to swing by for “Pay What You’d Like” on opening day (proceeds benefit La Cocina). Look for limited-edition collaboration flavors to roll out from three local Mission businesses: Samovar Tea Lounge (turmeric gold latte), Mission Cheese (chèvre and apricots), and Dandelion Chocolate (Mission hot chocolate). Each flavor will be on the menu for three weeks. Don’t forget all Smitten ice creams are churned to order on their one-of-a-kind, patented Brrr ice cream machine. 904 and 908 Valencia St. at 20th St.
Sunday March 26th Is Omnivore Books' and Bar Agricole's Tipple & Snack Vintage Cocktail Book Fair and Party!
Maybe you love cocktails. (If you’re reading this column, that’s likely.) Maybe you love cocktail books, and even better, vintage ones. Well, on Sunday March 26th, you can have it all at Tipple & Snack, a vintage cocktail book fair and party courtesy of OMNIVORE BOOKS, to be held on the fabulous BAR AGRICOLE patio.
You’ll be able to peruse unique books covering cocktails from many different eras, all while having unlimited cocktails (yes!) and some snacks too. What kinds of snacks, you ask? How about Gulf shrimp deviled eggs with spring herbs, and chorizo with chimichurri, and fried cauliflower with tartare sauce? All that and more. (Just don’t touch the vintage books with greasy fingers or Celia will want a word with you.)
You’ll also be able to pick up a few of the fun tablehopper T-shirts featuring vintage San Francisco bars, from Tippy’s to Cross Roads, both as regular T-shirts and ultra-soft baseball tees. They’ll be just $20 each!
This afternoon event is only $25; tickets here. Sunday March 26th, 3pm-5pm. Bar Agricole, 355 11th St. between Folsom and Harrison.
Bar Agricole - 355 11th St. San Francisco - 415-355-9400
Cawfee Tawk: Second Andytown Coffee Roasters Opens
The Outer Sunset gained a second location of ANDYTOWN COFFEE ROASTERS over the weekend on Taraval, less than two blocks from the beach. Look for a Kees Van Der Westen Spirit espresso machine, big-batch drip coffee, and a pour-over bar featuring St. Anthony Industries drippers. Fresh pastries, soda bread, and Snowy Plovers for everyone! Not only is this their second café, but owners Lauren Crabbe and Michael McCrory have also moved their roasting operation to a separate location, which means there’s more space at both cafés. Guests can tour and visit the roastery for tastings, as well as buy beans retail and other coffee supplies. The café is open daily 7am-5pm at 3629 Taraval St. at 46th Ave., and the roastery is open Wed-Fri 7am-12pm and Sat-Sun 7am-3pm at 3016 Taraval St. at 40th Ave. [Via Hoodline.]
Closures: Mamacita, The Corner Store, Polker's Gourmet Burgers
A sudden closure this past week was MAMACITA on Chestnut, after 12 years of business. Partners Stryker Scales and chef Sam Josi will reportedly be coming up with another concept for the space, while partner Nate Valentine has moved on to his own new project, August Hall.
I was reading one of my weekly Nextdoor neighborhood updates and learned THE CORNER STORE in Anza Vista/Laurel Heights has closed after five years in business. You can read their farewell note on Facebook. Their burger and butterscotch pudding will be missed by many regulars.
Tablehopper tipster Jason B. sent along a pic of a farewell letter from POLKER’S, which is closing because they lost their lease after more than 20 years on Polk. The sign mentions their last day is April 2nd, and the East Bay’s Troy Greek will be moving in with a fourth location, their first in SF. 2226 Polk St. at Vallejo.
The Corner Store - 5 Masonic Ave. San Francisco - 415-359-1800
Tidbits: Helping Hands for Cassava, Glena's Opens for Dinner, More
There’s nothing like seeing a community rally for a beloved neighborhood restaurant. After the owners of CASSAVA BAKERY + CAFÉ placed a call for help (they ran into some debt from their recent expansion, and winter sales were slow), their customers and friends have sprung into action, contributing $34K of their $50K GoFundMe goal in five days! An article on Hoodline even mentions their landlord offered a cash donation or temporary rent discount, amazing, and neighboring restaurants and businesses have also contributed. They could still use your help, so please consider contributing to their fundraiser (any money you donate is applied to a meal!), or come by for brunch or a midweek dinner soon. Best to you, Yuka and Kris—you’re gonna make it through!
Haven’t been able to make it over to GLENA’S in Dogpatch for tacos and pozole for lunch yet? Owners Michael and Stephanie Gaines are ready to welcome you over for dinner now too. The liquor license is still a couple of weeks out, FYI—margaritas are imminent! Sun-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. 632 20th St. at 3rd St., 415-800-7415.
Congrats to chef Ryan Pollnow (Aatxe), who is now executive chef of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group, while chef Thomas McNaughton is now CEO and culinary director. Pollnow will provide creative and operational direction for Central Kitchen, Salumeria, and Flour + Water, in addition to Aatxe.
Cassava Bakery + Café - 3519 Balboa St. San Francisco - 415-640-8990
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science Coming to SF This Thursday!
Television personality, author, and Food Network star Alton Brown is bringing “Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science” to The Warfield on Thursday March 23rd, 2017 at 8pm. (Please note this date and venue is different from the original listing.)
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.”
New Restaurant Reviews (I'm looking for somewhere new to eat)
Pinoy Heritage (Pop-Up)
There’s a quality ongoing pop-up I wanted to be sure you have on your radar: PINOY HERITAGE, from chef Francis Ang and his wife, Dian. You may recognize Francis as the former executive pastry chef from Fifth Floor, and who was then executive sous chef and pastry chef for Dirty Habit. He is currently consulting on the desserts for Taj Campton Place.
You’ll find the Pinoy Heritage pop-up series on Feastly, which celebrates contemporary versions of dishes from Ang’s native Philippines (he and his wife travel all over the Philippines for inspiration). The tasting menu is an extraordinary deal: for $50, a recent menu spanned eight courses, and it was as delicious and unique as it was abundant. While Ang’s background is in pastry—these will be some of the better desserts you’ll find at a pop-up—his technique-driven savory dishes are just as well executed, full of balance and well-considered depth of flavor, and highlight seasonality in a creative way. Vegetables are front and center in his modern reinterpretations of Filipino classics, and for those of you who only think of Filipino food as fried and porky, well, you are in for a major readjustment.
A recent meal started with an amuse of a molecular sphere of asparagus soup with pear and a little fried beltfish head on top (awesome bite), followed by spears of grilled Delta asparagus on a bed of salted duck egg gribiche, accompanied by rosy slices of smoked duck prosciutto and topped with an herb snow (sorrel, cilantro, parsley, mint). Gorgeous and a total plate-clearer.
Lumpia sariwa is unlike any fried lumpia egg roll you know. This vegetarian version paid homage to spring vegetables (like peas, cress, broccolini) under a thin buckwheat crepe, with earthy notes provided by a black garlic lacy crisp. So elegant.
Each of these dishes were plated beautifully, and Ang and his wife cart all their special plateware for each of their dinners, a laborious component of hosting pop-ups. (They also schlepped over two hefty slushie machines—we started the meal with a spiked coconut slushie topped with pandan jelly, an extra $10 and oh so worth it.)
Vegetables continued to play a leading part with the Alaskan halibut pinangat: the rich halibut was poached in a coconut broth with coconut meat and ginger, served with baby shrimp and curry notes from vadouvan, all wrapped in a Swiss chard leaf, topped with thin slices of kumquats and radish—such a deeply satisfying dish that maintained some lightness with the chard. Even a heavier course of pork adobo (pork belly) came with bacon-braised mung beans—one of the lighter kinds of legumes—topped with little crumbled pieces of chicharon (you could mop it all up with their “monay” housemade bread roll). At this point, we were feeling very, very fed.
Dessert started with a refreshing course of almond jelly with strawberry-rhubarb ice, followed by Ang’s modern and totally captivating spin on turon de banana, topped with a hot chocolate espuma (he even came back around and topped off people’s dessert plates with it, because more is more), along with passion fruit curd and miso caramel ice cream. The final bite was a mango pâte de fruit, an elegant touch you’d only see at higher-end restaurants.
The team puts so much heart into this meal. Each course has a story, and you can see the thought and care that go into each presentation. The quality of the ingredients, the excellent preparation, advanced technique, and the uniqueness of the meal make this an extraordinary deal for $50. Check out the Pinoy Heritage page on Feastly for future dates.
Another thing I really love about these kinds of pop-ups is it’s a good chance to check in with people you may not otherwise cross paths with—we all get to intersect at communal tables. At our dinner, I ended up meeting an amazing woman who manages a culinary training program for inmates at San Quentin, and an industry colleague brought his lovely mom who passed along some very heartfelt advice to me. These connections wouldn’t happen at a table for two at a restaurant, and during these especially challenging times in our current world, we need to encourage all the connection we can. Full belly, full heart—it’s the ticket to happiness.
Pinoy Heritage (Pop-Up) - (various addresses)
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Ruby Skye Closing/August Hall Taking Its Place, Update on Speakeasy Ales
After 17 years of EDM shows with saucer-eyed patrons, RUBY SKYE (or as I have called it, Boobie Sky) is closing in a month or so. Hoodline reports that Nate Valentine (Tipsy Pig, Harper & Rye, Padrecito, and Mamacita) is taking over the massive and historic space (the Native Sons of the Golden West Building). His partners are SnowBall Ventures founders Chad Donnelly and Scott Murphy (no, they aren’t coke dealers, they’re behind the SnowGlobe music festival in Lake Tahoe). They will be opening AUGUST HALL later this year, which will still be a nightclub, but “50 percent EDM/DJ nights, 45 percent rock bands and other live music, and a handful of comedy shows.” There will be an upstairs cocktail bar (the Green Room), and the downstairs Slide is going to be converted into a three-lane bowling alley (The Fifth Arrow), with food from Todd Shoberg, previously of Mill Valley’s Molina. 420 Mason St. at Geary.
After last week’s news that Speakeasy Ales & Lagers was closing its taproom and brewing operation, it ends up it will keep on brewing and selling beer for the next 45 days while a new owner is in line to buy the operation. So Big Daddy IPA is still here for you. [Via Hoodline.]
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored): Wine Trade and Media, You're Invited to a Global Comparative Tasting with Washington State Wine
Attention wine trade, restaurant industry, and media! Join us on Thursday April 6th when Washington State Wine comes to Oakland for a Trade and Media Seminar at Sunset Magazine’s Headquarters in Jack London Square from 11am-12:30pm, with lunch provided.
This is a global comparative tasting of riesling, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon led by Bob Betz, MW, the founder of Betz Family Winery. Panelists for the seminar and tasting include Sara Schneider of Sunset Magazine, Greg Harrington, MS, of Gramercy Cellars, and David Rosenthal of Chateau Ste. Michelle. This seminar is sure to fill quickly. Open to qualified trade and media only. Email (mention you saw it in tablehopper) or call 707-938-9703 with any questions. For those of you who enjoy blind tasting, you especially won’t want to miss this amazing event.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Join Top SF Chefs for the 10th Annual Taste of the Nation This Thursday March 23rd
Thursday Mar 23, 2017 6:30pm–9pm Info/tickets City View @ The Metreon 135 4th St., San Francisco
One of the top culinary events is happening in San Francisco this week: No Kid Hungry is presenting the 10th annual Taste of the Nation event this Thursday March 23rd. Our top chefs and restaurants will be joining together in this event to raise awareness and financial support for hungry children right here in our city. Did you know one in five kids will face hunger this year? Using proven, practical solutions, No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget.
This fundraiser features an incredible lineup, led by chef chair Melissa Perello (Frances, Octavia), with restaurants like Boulevard, Perbacco, Nomica, Aatxe, Lord Stanley, and many more. There will also be wineries, breweries, spirits, and more, plus an auction.
It’s held at City View at The Metreon, 6:30pm-9pm. Tickets: General Admission ($150) and VIP ($250) includes early access as well as complimentary valet parking and premium thank-you gift bag.