This is how The Douglas Room pairs party snacks with a whisky tasting: smoky duck confit, Comté cheese, fig jam, and watercress on brioche! Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hey y’all. Thanks to all 40 of you who attended the tablehopper whisky rooftop event on Friday (click for pics!)! What a great group. That was fun.
Of course, “summery” SF tried to blow us off the scenic roof of the Tilden Hotel, but we had whiskies from Bruichladdich and Westland Distillery to keep us warm, featured in badass cocktails from The Douglas Room, with some killer bites too (they even surprised us with duck confit wings, yasss). Thanks to Maison Corbeaux for offering attendees a sweet discount on bottles for their home bar. And I discovered my new favorite cheesesteak at the end of the night. Yup. Go on, The Douglas Room!
The rest of the weekend was spent running around to a friend’s going-away party, another friend’s 50th birthday, a catch-up dinner with yet another dear friend at Montesacro, shooting a new Italian restaurant (featured in today’s column!), and that was just Saturday. Sunday was all about sleeping in (the hopper’s day of rest), a hike in the Oakland hills (check out the cute goats!), and an alfresco pizza dinner on the dog-friendly patio at the new Navi Kitchen. I’ll be posting pics on Instagram this week!
I’m getting ready to head up to Lake Tahoe this week for some family time at our cabin (West Shore, best shore!), and will be up in the mountains working summer hours for the next couple of weeks (well, hopefully—I may have to come back to the fog earlier, we’ll see). I’ll definitely be back in SF for Outside Lands—see you there?
Until next week…ciao! Marcia Gagliardi
Coming to the Marina is ROMA ANTICA, an authentic and casual Italian restaurant that will be focused on serving Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, making it the second location in the city to serve this ancient Roman style of pizza. (Montesacro was the first to bring it to the U.S. There is also a new pinseria in Brooklyn that just opened, PinsaLab.)
The partners are Dogukan Solmaz (most recently the GM at Trattoria da Vittorio) and Roberto Sbaraglia, a Roman whose father has owned a restaurant in Rome, Antica, for the past 30 years (although Roberto’s passion is for cocktails, and he worked as a bartender at a beach bar in Fiumicino). The two met at hospitality school in Rome in 2005 and have been looking for a place in San Francisco for the past three years.
Their chef is Davide Cogliati, who has worked in SF for eight years (at Acquerello, Amarena, and doing some catering), and he visited with Roberto’s father, Marco Sbaraglia, in Rome to learn Antica’s recipes, but Davide is originally from Milan, so there will also be risotto on the menu, oh you know it. Papa will also be making trips out to SF to check on things, as well as a cook from Antica who will come visit when it’s time for the menu to refresh.
They are taking over the former Kobani Mediterranean Grill (previously Cedar Hill) and are going to be open all day. They will even be serving weekend brunch, when they’ll include some American brunch items, like pancakes and waffles, to go along with breakfast pinsa and frittata (and bottomless mimosas, because you kind of have to in the Marina).
The main menu will include a variety of bruschette, soup of the day, salads like panzanella and octopus salad (plus a kale Caesar salad, sure to please the neighborhood), along with calamari (on skewers, sautéed, or fried), stuffed olives (ascolane), burrata, and classics like supplì and porchetta. It also wouldn’t be a Roman menu without stuffed artichokes (when in season)—since they’ll be working with local markets, the menu will reflect what’s in season.
There will be a dough room in the far back, where they will be making handmade pasta. Expect classic Roman preparations of carbonara, cacio e pepe, bucatini all’amatriciana, pappardelle alla coda alla vaccinara, gnocchi, lasagna, and some lesser-known shapes like fiocchetti (little bundles), plus rigatoni boscaiola (“woodsman style,” which usually involves mushrooms and truffles), and seafood pasta. Once the menu is established, look for specials from other regions to appear,
The Mugnaini pizza oven they have is a wood-fired hybrid (with gas) and will be primarily used for cooking dishes like porchetta and specials like eggplant parmigiana. There will be four kinds of pinsa to start (burrata, pork, sausage, and vegetarian), and the dough will be made from soy, rice, and wheat, which is why it’s a lighter style of dough and easier to digest. The crust will be thick and crisp and around an 8-inch size—the price will be $14.
The wine list is being assembled by Berkeley sommelier Zoti Toprak, who will be assembling selections from Italy (of course), France, and some California wines as well. There will be 10 whites, with 5 sparkling and rosés, and 15 reds—wines by the glass will range from $9-$14. Sbaraglia will also be offering some low-ABV cocktails, like spritzes and vermouths.
The space looks great, with windows that open onto the street with some outdoor seating (heat lamps will be coming soon). The space features tiled floors from Italy, a Mediterranean blue banquette, and modern light fixtures from Venice. The custom tables are live edge redwood, and there’s a wall of reclaimed wood. The eight-seat bar in the back is made from Calacatta marble, and the back wall features Italian bricks that are more than 100 years old—they are going to show old Italian movies on it. The entire look is contemporary, welcoming, and has a nice feeling with all the natural materials and color tones. It would work for a casual date or dinner with the family, it’s that kind of place.
They are going to be open all day this Saturday July 29th for a neighborhood welcoming party, serving spuntini and bubbles, and then will be soft opening on August 1st with an abridged menu focused on the Roman classics. Look for an expanded menu on the grand opening on Tuesday August 15th. I’ll keep you posted on the official opening. Hours will be Mon-Thu 10am-10pm, Fri-Sat 10am-12am, and Sun 10am-9pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.
The Absinthe Group’s Boxing Room has completed its transformation into BARCINO, officially opening in Hayes Valley tonight. Absinthe Group executive chef Ryan McIlwraith (Bellota) and chef de cuisine Athman El-Kindiy are behind the Barcelona-inspired concept, which is focused on Catalonian tapas with some creative and local/seasonal flair. (The name Barcino comes from the ancient name for the city of Barcelona.)
The menu includes tapas (like albondigas, Spanish flatbread with foie gras, membrillo, pickled peach, and candied pine nut), plus a raw bar and daily paella (which McIlwraith totally rocks at Bellota). The menu can be viewed here, plus there’s a dessert menu from The Absinthe Group’s new executive pastry chef Michael Aguilar (formerly of the Beverly Hills Hotel and WP24 by Wolfgang Puck). Did someone say churro ice cream sandwich?
Bar manager Collin Nicholas has put together a list of original cocktails, such as the La Caña, with rhum, pineapple, lime, and coconut, and the Barca with secco vermouth, blanco vermouth, and sherry. Bring on the Spanish-style gin tonics and sherries and vermouths (served on the rocks with a slice of orange and an olive), plus Spanish beers, cava served in large-format bottles, more than 50 different bottlings of gin, and sangria blanco on tap.
The 100-seat space was updated by project director Jonny Raglin and Sagan Piechota Architecture (which also designed Bellota) with live greenery and trellises, a brighter look with a white palette, along with custom art pieces, black vinegar barrels, and a hunger-inducing display of jamón legs.
Open for dinner Sun, Tue-Wed 5pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-11pm. 399 Grove St. at Gough.
Coming to Hayes Valley in the former Artís Coffee (which just closed over the weekend) will be another location of WISE SONS DELI. Hoodline reports Wise Sons will be retaining most of the staff. No word on timing (yet) or what will be on the menu. Although we can only hope for the matzo ball soup, bagel sandwiches seem like a sure thing. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.
Thanks to a tablehopper tipster in the Mission, we learned the former Pig & Pie will become a roast beef sandwich place, an import from LA, TOP ROUND ROAST BEEF, known for its menu of slow-roasted beef sandwiches, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, hot dogs, fried sides (like hand-cut curly fries fried in beef fat), and frozen custard. The San Francisco franchise location is slated to open sometime in late August, I’ll keep you posted. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.
No, this isn’t a joke, a prank, nor is it April 1st. Clear the cobwebs and mop away the dust, because the long-closed (we’re talking 15 YEARS, people) Patio space in the Castro will finally reopen, and HAMBURGER MARY’S has been approved to open in that location and hold live entertainment, an integral part of each franchise location. Hey, Mary! The plan is to open after Labor Day, and the live entertainment will include drag performances, DJs, and Mary-Oke Karaoke.
You can read more about the permit hurdles (Hamburger Mary’s had to get an exemption since it’s considered formula retail) and ways they will address any noise concerns (live entertainment can only go until 1:30am) in this post on Hoodline—both of these issues were part of the recent delays, but when Les Natali is the landlord, it’s always something. 531 Castro St. at 18th St.
A couple of unfortunate closures to report, starting with longtimer BOCADILLOS. After 13 years of business, Gerald and Cameron Hirigoyen closed down the North Beach business over the weekend. [Via Scoop.] 710 Montgomery St. at Jackson.
Another closure will be MASON PACIFIC at the end of the month. There was a bit of chef turnover and a fire at the location, and it didn’t seem to quite get its mojo back, although it was a charming space with a great wine list. Look for some wine deals during this last week of business. [Via Eater.]
Mason Pacific - 1358 Mason St. San Francisco - 415-374-7185
While I was sad with the news that CALA is no longer serving brunch (damn, it was so good), Tacos Cala is now open in the back every day from 11am-2pm, and on Sundays, four La Cocina entrepreneurs will pop up serving tacos. Mixiote is up first, from Alma Rodriguez. Mixiotes are made with beef, chicken, pork, or vegetables that are marinated in a rich guajillo chile sauce and wrapped in avocado and banana leaves, cooked slowly in their own juices and nestled inside the wrapped leaves until fork tender. Well then. You’ll find chicken, pork, beef, and soy “meat” mixiote tacos for $3.50 and rice bowls for $8.75 from now through August 6th. Next is Mi Comedor from August 13th-September 3rd, Mi Morena from September 10th-October 8th, and Origen from October 15th-November 12th. 50 Hickory Alley at Van Ness.
In the Mission, SoMa’s COLETTA GELATO is popping up with their bicycle cruiser, serving gelato from inside Harrington Galleries on Valencia Street. Look for upcoming and unusual flavors (including dairy-free and low-sugar options), a rotating selection of housemade cones, and toppings. Open Thu-Sat 12pm-6pm and Sun 12pm-5pm to start, but with plans to stay open until 10pm soon. 599 Valencia St. at 17th St.
Caffeine Tawk: New Saint Frank Coffee Location, Equator, Sightglass, Stonemill Matcha, and Shakeratos
There are so many more places to caffeinate, you ready? I noticed SAINT FRANK COFFEE was posting about their new café and roastery in SoMa, which is now open. Come by the former De La Paz location on Mission and you’ll find an airy and clean look, complete with a white counter and walls contrasting the wood floors and beams, and a skylight. Hoodline shares a few more details: you’ll find typical espresso drink offerings (off a Victoria Arduino Black Eagle espresso machine), plus hot filter coffee, iced coffee, and flights. Outdoor seating will be coming. Open Mon-Fri 8am-4pm and Sat TBD. 1081 Mission St. at 7th St.
Now open on Fort Mason’s Center for Arts & Culture campus in the Gatehouse is the latest café (its sixth) from EQUATOR COFFEES AND TEAS. Boor Bridges Architects designed the space. There’s even a portion of the adjacent parking lot that was transformed into a pedestrian plaza, so you can sip that latte outside after you finish your run on the Bay Trail. Take a look at this post on Hoodline about their innovative Ground Control brewer that employs a vacuum method to brew the coffee. Open Mon-Thu 6am-6pm, Fri 6am-8pm, Sat 7am-7pm, and Sun 7am-6pm. 2 Marina Blvd., Gatehouse, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture.
I had a sneak peek of the soon-to-open SIGHTGLASS COFFEE on Divisadero yesterday, and it’s looking like they may open by the end of this week if inspections go as planned. There will be a takeout window, signature cold beverages on tap (single-origin nitro, cascara shrub, iced vanilla cold brew), pastries and snacks from Neighbor Bakehouse, b. patisserie, and Piccino, and a whole lot more. Expect a full writeup with pics in next week’s tablehopper. Follow @sightglasscoffee for an alert on the actual opening date in the meantime. 301 Divisadero St. at Page.
Coming to the former BAR TARTINE location will be a matcha-centric project, STONEMILL MATCHA, from Japanese founder and CEO Eijiro Tsukada. It will be a café and retail space, with matcha whisked to order, and you can even grind your own tea. Eater reports Tartine will be providing pastries that use matcha, and other Japanese café items will be available as well. Boor Bridges is behind the design and seismic retrofit. They are aiming for the end of year for the opening.
It’s summer, which in Italy means it’s shakerato time (it’s when your espresso is shaken with ice and served all frothy and cold). We can pretend it’s hot out and swing by all COFFEE BAR locations for their cold brew shakerato, featuring Mr. Espresso’s Dark Guatemala CODECH 24-hour cold brew, shaken and served neat (and frothy) with sweet cream and fresh mint.
Newly open in Uptown Oakland is the izakaya-inspired SHINMAI, with a variety of small plates, raw bar selections, and ramen. Owner Yingji Huang (of Montclair’s Kakui) brought on executive chef Jerrod Doss (previously Aziza, Chez TJ, The French Laundry) and co-owner Andy Liu, a former sushi chef at Kakui who is Shinmai’s lead ramen chef (he recently returned from two years in Japan learning about ramen).
The menu includes dishes like broccolini with egg, miso-honey mustard, ikura, sesame; 12-hour sous vide miso BBQ ribs; fried chicken with ginger Worcestershire, miso tartar, gochujang, lemon herbs; and two kinds of ramen (tonkotsu or vegetarian). There are also cocktails (all $10) created by Adam Stemmler of beverage consultancy Farm League Restaurant Group and executed by Shinmai bar manager Brian McMillan (most recently of Sidebar in Oakland), like the Where’s Valdez? with Xicaru mezcal, Angostura amaro, toasted brown rice syrup, lemon, firewater bitters, and nutmeg.
Dinner is served Sun-Mon and Wed-Thu 5pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, closed Tue. 1825-3 San Pablo Ave. at 18th St., Oakland, 510-271-1888.
The opening date is finally set: IPPUDO is opening its first West Coast ramen shop in downtown Berkeley on Friday July 28th. Stand by for more about the menu and hours after the opening. Can’t imagine what the lines will be like for this one. SF will be next! 2011 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley. [Via Eater.]
Beer school sounds fun, right? Especially when you can learn from Master Cicerone Rich Higgins at Mikkeller Bar San Francisco at the appropriately named Rich Higgins Beer School. Classes will allow attendees to taste the spectrum of hop flavors in beer, detect and describe beer off-flavors, and learn how different water terroir can perfect or ruin a beer. Check out the classes and more details here. It all begins in August with four classes, each of which is available separately. Classes will take place on Sunday afternoons in The Sour Room, Mikkeller Bar’s downstairs private space. All class prices include a post-class draft beer of your choice at Mikkeller on the date of class (up to $10). 34 Mason St. at Eddy, 415-984-0279.
On Wednesday August 2nd, it’s the first Oakland edition of CUESA’s popular Cocktails of the Farmers Market series, Party Under the Palms at Jack London Square. There will be an all-East Bay lineup of 15-plus bartenders and restaurants, like the Hotsy Totsy Club, Starline Social Club, and Blind Tiger. Enjoy a night of craft cocktails and bites showcasing stone fruit, melons, berries, tomatoes, and other peak-season produce from the farmers market. Cheers! 5:30pm-8pm. General admission: $50 (until July 30th), last minute: $55. Jack London Square, Palm Plaza (Embarcadero at Webster), Oakland.
EPIC STEAK has been busy with the stars, starting with Lionel Ritchie, who came in to celebrate his birthday with a group of eight friends. He called ahead and asked if the restaurant would stay open for him and his group to come in on the late side after rehearsal (seems he’s obsessed with Epic’s steak sauce). The restaurant took their order over the phone and had it ready for when they arrived at 11:05pm. Gold stars for Epic.