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Aug 21, 2017 13 min read

August 22, 2017 - This week's tablehopper: let's eat (and drink)!

August 22, 2017 - This week's tablehopper: let's eat (and drink)!
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: let's eat (and drink)!                    

The winner of our tiki cocktail garnish competition at Forbidden Island. Obviously. Photo: ©

Hey there, hopefully you can read this and your eclipse glasses didn’t turn out to be faulty. Last week, I co-hosted a tiki party with Mount Gay Rum on the back patio at Forbidden Island, check out the fun pics from the talented Blair Heagerty. It ends up everyone got pretty crafty since we hosted a tiki glass decorating and garnish competition. We also had a special guest: Mount Gay Rum’s master blender Allen Smith, who taught our guests all about blending. Good times.

This week, the parties don’t stop! Starting this Thursday evening is the first event for Eat Drink SF—I’ll be emceeing the sold-out Taco Knockdown, see you there? It’s taco time! The Grand Tasting sessions kick off on Friday evening, with more during the day and evening on Saturday, and wrapping up Sunday afternoon (with a performance by the GLIDE Ensemble and a surprise from the Golden State Warriors
)! EDSF has quite the lineup of local talent—from the chefs to bartenders, with 30 restaurants featured per grand tasting—and always draws a crowd that likes to have a good time. Check today’s sponsor listing for a special tablehopper discount code on EDSF tickets, even VIP tickets! Tickets are moving fast… I’d love to see you. Let’s partay.

Bookending the weekend will be the Techmunch conference this Friday (I’ll be on a panel discussing food trends—there are still tickets!) and Sunday afternoon I’m heading up to Napa Valley for Cochon555’s Heritage Fire at Charles Krug Winery (my first time—I’m almost always away in Tahoe). It’s gonna be meaty, smoky, and hot. And fun.

Have a great week—the sun’s out, and it’s Amaro Week! (Like I need an excuse to drink amari.)

XO Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Openings: Roma Antica, J Bird (from Jonathan Waxman), Top Round, Kaiju Cooks


Roma Antica, opening in the Marina, has an airy and contemporary look. All photos: ©


One of Top Round’s beefy sandwiches. Photo via Facebook.

You read all about the opening of ROMA ANTICA in the Marina last month in tablehopper, and I wanted you to know it’s now open! You can look at the dinner menu here, which is focused on Roman pasta (handmade) and pinsa, plus lots of appetizers, and some big plates like porchetta, saltimbocca, and eggplant parmigiana—and plenty of wines by the glass to go with it all. Here’s the lunchtime menu, perfect to reenact a real Italian pranzo. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-9pm. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.

After getting things ramped up, J BIRD is now up and cluckin’ in Ghirardelli Square. The fast-casual concept has opened in Waxman’s, which was such a huge space the team decided to trim it down and open this chicken stand in the location. Owner Jonathan Waxman is famous for his roast chicken, but the J Bird menu also offers fried chicken and hot and cold sides, plus sandwiches, salads, and picnic baskets if you want to get something to go. Plus there’s pie. You can hang out on the terrace with gingham-covered tables (and covered seating). Waxman’s will continue to be closed for renovations, stand by for more on that. J Bird is open Tue-Thu and Sun 11am-7pm, Fri-Sat 11am-8pm. Delivery is also in the works. 900 North Point, Suite B201 B at Larkin, 415-226-1244.

I previously broke the news about LA’s TOP ROUND ROAST BEEF coming to the former Discolandia (and Pig & Pie) space in the Mission, and it’s opening this Saturday August 26th. Top Round is 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, plus some vegetarian items too. Breakfast is also served, with LA’s Lamill Coffee. Hours will be 8am-9pm daily. 2962 24th St. at Alabama.

There’s a new offshoot of Kaiju Eats in the 
Inner Richmond called KAIJU COOKS, serving a variety of Japanese appetizers (gyoza, skewers, sake clams) and nine kinds of ramen, from kimchi to kara-age, plus lunch specials. Open Tue-Sun 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-9:30pm. 1650 Balboa St
. at 17th Ave., 415-221-6288.

Changes at Dottie's and Wise Sons at CUESA, Caffè Trieste in Danger


Dottie’s back dining room. Photo courtesy Dottie’s.

Brunch institution DOTTIE’S TRUE BLUE CAFE is going to have new owners. Chef-owner Kurt Abney has been trying to sell the location for some time, and when I saw the ABC ownership transfer hit the wires, I reached out to him for the story. I wondered if the folks behind Z&Y were taking over, but he confirms in a note on the window it’s going to a young couple and he will be working with them in the transition. Thanks for the 20-plus years of making all that cornbread and those awesome pancakes! 28 6th St. at Stevenson.

Some changes from the WISE SONS team: they will no longer be at the CUESA Tuesday and Thursday markets at the Ferry Building (today was the last day), but they will continue to have their stand there on Saturdays.

And in the “oh no” category, there is a lawsuit that threatens North Beach’s 62-year-old CAFFÈ TRIESTE. It stems from a family feud, you can read more in Hoodline. Let’s hope they sort this out, it would be such a shame to rob SF of this historic cafe. Come on, fam, figure it out. Papa Gianni is turning in his grave over this. 601 Vallejo St. at Grant.

Oldies Forbes Island, Buca di Beppo, and Chaya Close, Plus Others


Forbes Island, with its shuttle, in the Pier 39 marina. Photo via Facebook.

Wow, quite the slew of old-timers just closed, starting with the ever-quirky FORBES ISLAND, the floating barge disguised as an island that has been in the Pier 39 marina for over 20 years. It seems owner Forbes Kiddoo (the best sailor name ever) has retired), and we’ll have to stand by to learn where the island will end up next. Anyone want to buy an island? It comes with a lighthouse. And a beach. And palm trees. And a dining room that’s like a ship. And a tiki bar. Hmmmm. [Via Inside Scoop.]

Another quirky closure is BUCA DI BEPPO, after 20 years. The building is going to be turned into office space. 855 Howard St. at 5th St.

And then fusion outpost CHAYA on the Embarcadero has also shuttered after 17 years (its lease was not renewed). 132 The Embarcadero at Mission.

Lastly, Hoodline reports Vietnamese MEKONG KITCHEN in the Castro has closed. Farewell, spicy oxtail pho. 4039 18th St. at Noe.

A tablehopper tipster also let me know that MEN OH TOKUSHIMA RAMEN and SHABUWAY in the Inner Richmond (which were just next door to each other) have closed. The other Shabuway locations remain open. 5120 Geary Blvd. at 16th Ave.

510 News: A Look at Perle Wine Bar, Donato & Co. Coming, Souvla Delivery, Red Bay Coffee


Oysters suprême with uni, salmon caviar, black truffle perlage, and foie gras brûlée at Perle. Photo: ©


Fried oyster deviled eggs (with smoked trout roe and Calabrian chile relish) at Perle. Photo: ©


The French onion dip burger at Perle (with a milk bun). Photo: ©


The sleek wine bar at Perle. Photo: ©


Chef Donato Scotti. Photo: Nadia Andreini.

Over the weekend, I took a field trip to Montclair to check out my chef buddy Rob Lam’s menu at his new spot with Marcus Garcia (previously wine director for Fleur de Lys), PERLE WINE BAR. It’s designed to be a comfortable place, whether you’re dining with friends or snagging a couple seats at the spacious bar for date night (it was previously Pour Wine Bar & Bistro).

The menu is rooted in French bistro classics, with a focus on seafood, and Lam weaves some of his Vietnamese and Italian touches throughout the menu (after closing Butterfly earlier this year, he took some time to stage at Acquerello and brush up on some other techniques—you may remember him from the Jook Joint pop-ups we did back in November!).

You’ll find an array of housemade charcuterie (the tête de cochon and foie gras torchon are excellent) and there’s a selection of cheeses as well, so you can come in for just those and a glass of wine. Take your pick from a variety of “pearls,” from caviar service to oyster shooters in acqua pazza, and for a bite of luxury, you have to get the oysters suprême with uni, salmon caviar, black truffle perlage, and the kicker: foie gras brûlée.

Bites like fried oyster deviled eggs, smoked salmon toast (with crème fraîche whitefish—it’s like your dream bagel!), and a decadent dish with bone marrow, steak tartare, and black truffle caviar are all unique and perfect bites to pair with wine. Fortunately, Garcia has plenty of ideas for you.

Larger dishes include Pernod mussels (so plump and sweet) with petite meatballs and saffron rouille; linguini alle vongole (topped with clams casino); and a rich onglet steak with pommes dauphinoise (au gratin, baby). The French onion dip burger comes with a housemade milk bun that really makes it all come together—I could totally see myself plunking down at the bar here by myself, with just the company of this fine burger and a glass of wine.

Take a look at the menu here—Lam is still developing it and always tinkering (the space has only been open this past month), but you’ll get an idea. Same goes for the extensive wine cellar—Garcia has something for all palates and budgets, but if you feel like splashing out a little, this would be a place to go for it. Dinner Tue-Sun, starting at 5:30pm. 2058 Mountain Blvd., Montclair Village, Oakland, 510-808-7767.

Due to open in the former Advocate in Elmwood in late September is DONATO & CO. from Donato Scotti (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City, and Desco in Oakland) and his chef partner in this and future projects, Gianluca Guglielmi. The two met back in 1999, when Guglielmi was executive chef, food research, and development, and vice president at A.G. Ferrari Foods, but lately he has been cooking at his Ristorante La Berlera in Riva del Garda since 2010 with his wife and son.

Donato & Co. will feature contemporary, rustic Italian cuisine highlighting housemade pasta and local seafood and meats cooked over live fire. There will also be a selection of seasonal salads, vegetarian, and vegan dishes, and look for some special sweets (it ends up Guglielmi has quite the passion for Italian pastries). There will be 20 wines by the glass, with a focus on Italian imports, plus French and Northern Californian producers, and many small-production wines. Cocktails will be Italian-inspired, with fresh juices and small batch spirits.

Chef Scotti and his longtime restaurant designer Anna Klint of Iron Skirt are designing the space, which includes a 20-foot bar and seating for 120 guests in the main dining room. And then there’s that state-of-the-art Constellation and Libra acoustic system from Berkeley’s renowned Meyer Sound they inherited with the space, which makes for the best dining room acoustics. It will be open for lunch and dinner Tue-Sun plus weekend brunch. I’ll keep you updated on the opening. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley.

East Bay folks: if you are always a little jealous of SF’s ability to order the lamb rotisserie salad or pork gyro from SOUVLA for delivery—and believe me, you should be—you get your chance to order Souvla for delivery via Caviar (that link will get you $20 off!) Thursday August 24th-27th! East Bay residents (in El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda) will be able to order for dinner starting at 5pm. Pro tip: order the juicy potatoes and add them to your salad. You’re welcome.

Congrats to RED BAY COFFEE on getting their roastery and coffee bar open in Fruitvale. Details in East Bay Express. Open Mon-Fri 7am-4pm and Sat-Sun 9am-4pm. 3098 E 10th St. at Fruitvale, Oakland.

Chef Ron Siegel Opens Madcap, San Anselmo Lets Out a Cheer


Shima aji, oboro kombu, melon, radish, kombu salt. Photo courtesy of Madcap.


The bohemian style of Madcap. Photo courtesy of Madcap.

Chef Ron Siegel has been a well-known chef at some of SF’s finer establishments (Michael Mina, The Dining Room at the Ritz Carlton, Masa’s, Charles Nob Hill, and Aqua), as well as Yountville’s The French Laundry, and now after two decades of working for others, he has opened his first solo restaurant, MADCAP in San Anselmo.

You can order à la carte (menu here), but there’s also a chef’s tasting menu ($80 for 8 courses). Dishes will feature Siegel’s technique-driven style, with plenty of Japanese influences (one of his trademarks). In addition to the wine and international beers (look for some Japanese selections), there are also some seasonal sake cocktails, like the Chiyo Chiller, with Choya umeshu (plum liqueur), lemonade, sparkling water, and mint.

The 47-seat space was previously Lincoln Park Wine Bar and was completely remodeled with some help from designer Michael Brennan, now featuring Venetian plaster walls, chandeliers, dark wood tabletops, and velvet banquettes, plus there’s a cozy bar with a marble countertop. The design was meant to be approachable but still sophisticated and destination-worthy. Open for dinner Mon and Thu 5:30pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10pm, Sun 5pm-9pm (closed Tue-Wed). 198 Sir Frances Drake Blvd., San Anselmo, 415-453-9898.


the sponsor

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

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Tickets are on sale now. To get special pricing, use code: TBLHPR17. Don’t miss out and see you there!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

Upcoming Rum and Whiskey Events


You will definitely see some umbrella drinks at the California Rum Festival. Photo via Facebook.

September has a couple boozy events for you, starting with the third annual California Rum Fest on September 8th-9th at SOMArts Cultural Center. There will be more than 40 premium rum brand expressions featured from around the world. The two-day event includes an industry session and consumer grand tasting, and a Rum Bazaar on day two, with tropical rum cocktails created by some of SF’s best bartenders, items for sale, and more.

September 8th consumer grand tasting ticket: $70 (includes complimentary pass to the Rum Bazaar); 5pm-9pm. September 9th Rum Bazaar: $5 general admission, cocktails at an additional cost; 12pm-5pm. The event benefits the Operation Helping People (O.H.P.) Foundation, a group focused on youth mentoring in the Bay Area.

On Sunday September 10th, THE DORIAN is hosting a Gone With The Whiskey Whiskey Fest. There will be a pig roast and some rare and exotic whiskies to taste (yes, including a range of Pappy Van Winkle bourbons). Tickets range from $55-$75. 3pm-7pm. 2001 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-814-2671.


the socialite

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

The San Francisco Luckyrice Asian Food Festival Returns Friday September 8th


One of the lucky-looking tables at Luckyrice San Francisco 2016. Photo courtesy of Luckyrice.

Event Info

Friday Sep  8, 2017 VIP 7pm–10pm, GA 8pm–10pm $88 GA, $150 VIP Tickets                        Bently Reserve 301 Battery St. San Francisco

Luckyrice, the Asian food festival that tours around the country, is back in SF on Friday September 8th. This year they are doing something a little different, making SF the first-ever, plant-based feast (although there will be a few vendors using fish and/or dairy in their dishes). The city’s best Asian and Asian-influenced chefs will showcase their interpretations of vegetable-forward cuisine, from more traditional examples like shojin-ryori, the Buddhist vegetarian cuisine, to more contemporary creations.

Participating restaurants include M.Y. China, Pabu, China Live, ICHI Sushi, and Azalina’s. You’ll also try special ingredients from purveyors like Half Moon Bay Wasabi Farm, plus drinks from Suntory Whisky Toki (Toki Highballs), sake, Asahi Beer, and more from other partners like wines from Wines of Germany.

It all goes down at the Bently Reserve. Tickets are $88 for General Admission and $150 for VIP (you get one hour of early entry). Guests who purchase tickets with an American Express Card receive addition perks.

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