This week's tablehopper: more treats than tricks.
Anthony Strong chopping up nasturtiums that were added to butter and poured over Mt. Lassen spring trout (and roe). Yes, it was fantastic. Photo: Victor Wong.
Boo! I hope you’re having a spooktacular Halloween. (I’m looking forward to binge-watching a few more episodes of Stranger Things tonight.) This past weekend was pretty action-packed, starting with emceeing the James Beard Taste America event at the historic Venetian Room in the Fairmont on Friday evening—I called my liger look “Mrs. Robinson goes to the ’70s.” Champagne and caftans. (Yeah, it’s a lifestyle.) What a fun night!
Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of sitting at the chef’s counter for Anthony Strong’s Cibi Cotti pop-up in the Mission. The food and festa were a blast (I’ll be posting some more pics on Insta shortly), but sadly he has to move to a new location (I’ll keep you posted). Sunday was the Curious Cannabis Salon, great seeing so many fab folks there, and let’s just say it was extra-fun shopping at Rainbow Grocery afterward. Heh heh.
Congrats to all the SF Michelin star winners this year, and whaddya know, San Francisco now has more three-star spots than NYC. Ahem. (We already knew we were badass, sometimes it takes the rest of the world a little more time to figure things out.)
There’s a homegrown awards show you don’t want to miss attending: the 2017 Saucy Awards are coming Monday November 6th! The Saucys are the first-ever industry-driven awards recognizing the excellence of the San Francisco Bay Area restaurant, bar, and hospitality community. A total of 21 awards will be presented! Tickets are on sale now at the City Box Office ($149, and they include the awards ceremony and the post-reception catered by Meadowood). You can also vote for the People’s Choice award—voting is open until November 1st.
Speaking of November 1st, it’s a favorite date of mine since tomorrow is my birthday! There will be Champagne. And sleeping in. But really, all I want is my damn camera to come back from the shop. It has been two weeks and I’m going batty. I guess that’s the theme today. You like bats?
Trick or treat! Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
BarVale, a Spanish Concept, Coming to Former La Urbana on Divis
Si, many have been wondering what Adriano Paganini/Back of the House were going to open in the former La Urbana space on Divisadero, and the rumors have proven to be true: it’s going to be a Spanish concept, BARVALE. There will be a tapas bar, with more of a sit-down experience in the dining room, and a Pintxo Room in the former garage. It ends up Paganini has wanted to open a Spanish concept for 10 years, and his plan is finally coming to fruition. They plan to open for dinner on December 7th.
The executive chef is Patricio “Pato” Duffoo, who will be overseeing the menus. The style and pricing will be truly neighborhood-friendly, and California product sourcing will come into play. In true tapas style, plates will be small and meant to share. Look for the grill to be featured prominently. Cold tapas include classics like pan con tomate, tortilla de patata, and piquillos relleno (blood sausage-stuffed Basque peppers), while hot tapas include patatas bravas, gambas (garlic oil-poached, head-on shrimp with preserved lemon), and paella.
The tapas bar is being designed to capture the truly Spanish style of grazing at the bar, whether you’re stopping in for a quick bite before a show at The Independent or meeting a friend for a cocktail. They’re going to be keeping it inexpensive and simple, more San Sebastian than San Francisco.
Jessica Everett is overseeing the bar menu, which will be focused on cava, sherry, gin, Spanish wines, and food-friendly cocktails, including sherry cocktails and Spanish vermouth- and wine-based cocktails, plus four gin and tonics, Kalimotxo (red wine and a cola-based soft drink), and housemade sangria.
Hannah Collins Designs is designing the space, which will pull inspiration from Barcelona—the bar will be a centerpoint, with lots of color, plus warm wood and funky handmade lighting, with a hand-painted illustration of a flamenco dancer by design studio Wall and Wall. The tapas bar will be standing room only and there is a communal table (room for 32 total), and the 65-seat dining room will be outfitted in bright colors and banquettes. Meanwhile, the Pintxo Room (in the former garage) will feature a central bar surrounded by multiple communal tables, perfect for large groups and private parties (room for 50), all tricked out in red (red terra-cotta walls, a red bar, and art too).
Open nightly for dinner, brunch will launch later on. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.
Ayesha Curry's International Smoke Opening This November
A date has been finalized for the opening of Ayesha Curry’s barbecue concept with Michael Mina, INTERNATIONAL SMOKE, opening in the former RN74. Monday November 13th is the official opening date, but if you want the first taste, there’s a fundraiser on November 9th, benefiting No Kid Hungry and The Bread Project. (Guests will be able to mingle with Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry over a cocktail reception with food stations featuring dishes from the upcoming restaurant.)
Look for bold, global dishes that will highlight fire, grilling, and smoke, including Double Duck Wings with jerk spice, sticky mango, and green seasoning; Lemongrass Pork Chop pounded out with the bone in, charred on the grill, and served with stir-fried clams, glass noodles, soy, and lime; Indian Fish Fry with spice-crusted snapper, turmeric pickles, and raita; and Three Little Pigs, featuring three porky preparations, like St. Louis spareribs, Cuban “mojo” ribs, and Japanese miso ribs. It seems different chefs from Mina’s restaurant teams have contributed techniques, dishes, and more.
The bar will feature seasonal cocktails, plus large-format cocktails, and both local and international beers will be available. Los Angeles-based firm Bishop Pass is behind the design, which includes booths in the 80-seat dining room, and the bar will be in the center of the room, with 20 green leather bar stools. There will also be tableside service, a large candle display, and greenery and potted plants around the bar.
Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. Lunch will come soon. Follow @internationalsmoke on Instagram for some pop-up surprises ahead of the opening. 301 Mission St. at Fremont.
Son's Addition Now Open on 24th Street from Industry Vets
Now open for dinner is SON’S ADDITION from husband and wife Nick Cobarruvias and Anna Sager Cobarruvias. He was previously chef de cuisine at Marlowe, and Anna will be the GM (she has been working in restaurants since she was 15).
This 24th Street restaurant features an eclectic and seasonal menu, with dishes like bacon-kimchi deviled eggs with green onion and black sesame seed; uni tostada with charred avocado; and poached chicken and crispy skin with coconut rice and fermented soybean salsa. Larger plates include five-spice braised lamb shank with goat cheese polenta, dino kale, and fried bread-shiso gremolata (just in time for fall). They are also parents and want to offer some family-friendly options, so they have added a kids’ menu that extends beyond chicken tenders.
The wine list was assembled by beverage director Ryan Hess, owner of Vinoteque on Melrose in Los Angeles, with plenty of international selections by the glass and bottle (featuring very vivid descriptions), plus six local beers on tap.
The space was designed with Dan Vickery, with 52 seats (and 24 outside at the five sidewalk tables). The space features an airy look, with white, pale gray, and blue-green tones, plus a reclaimed walnut bar and Mexican tiles.
Hours are Sun-Wed 5pm-10pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-11pm. Brunch service will be coming soon. 2990 24th St. at Harrison.
A Peek Inside Stanlee Gatti's Stylin' Meraki Market
Last week, I paid a lunchtime visit to Stanlee Gatti and business partner Bill Grzywacz’s spiffy new market in the TenderNob, MERAKI MARKET, which I mentioned was coming awhile ago, and now I’m drinking 6 percent milk with my cappuccinos at home and it’s all their fault. (The milk is pure evil and totally divine, from Alexandre Family EcoDairy Farms, the same folks who do the tasty pastured eggs you may have seen around.)
There are all kinds of quality goodies in this high-end market, from gorg produce artfully arranged just so (endive, anyone?), well-sourced and unique pantry items, and both the refrigerated and freezer sections have plenty of things that will catch your eye (including all kinds of stocks, fresh salsas, and housemade butter in a cazuela you can keep). Breads are from Acme, plus croissants and a couple of breads from Jane. Cheese island, check.
There is a counter with freshly made items, from salads and couscous to pâté to sandwiches (a Waldorf-inspired chicken salad, egg salad, and tuna, all $10-$12). Chef Mouhssine Benhamacht (previously Meritage Napa and Spice Market Atlanta in the W) does some seriously good fried chicken available by the piece (it’s brined for 48 hours, air-dried, soaked in buttermilk, floured, and then fried), and you can get a whole roasted chicken for $23, which will feature toasted sesame, herbs, anise, and more tucked under the skin. There’s a beautiful Italian Universal Tuscan grill and rotisserie, just like Cotogna’s—you’ll smell the live fire when you walk in.
Rotating dishes will include chile relleno, pozole, boeuf bourguignon, two kinds of soup (including roasted corn, and another with kale, chickpea, and ham), and more. The menu will change by 75 percent each day, encouraging folks in the neighborhood to come by, whether it’s for lunch, snacks, dinner, or a party. There is also seafood and some marinated meats you can cook yourself. And caviar, naturally.
It’s like a European Bi-Rite Market, and I loved all the terrazzo counters, flooring, and cases. Breakfast and coffee service is in the works. Hours are daily 8am-9pm. 927 Post St. at Hyde, 415-351-1970.
Now Open: Additional Locations of Wise Sons Bagel & Coffee, Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe, Koja Kitchen
Folks who live near Hayes Valley should be pretty stoked with the arrival of WISE SONS BAGEL & COFFEE, now open in the former Artís coffee space from co-founders and brothers Evan and Ari Bloom, and Leo Beckerman. You’ll be able to come by for bagels, bialys, housemade shmears, bagel sandwiches (including the hot pastrami #19 toasted bagel sandwich with coleslaw, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese, an homage to Langer’s Deli in Los Angeles), breakfast bagel sandwiches, a bagel dog, salads, and you can even get their superlative matzo ball soup. Nearly everything is housemade, including their pastrami and corned beef, which are hormone-free. There’s also Stumptown coffee, espresso, and cold brew, as well as teas and juice.
It’s a fast-casual spot (their fifth location), with a look that pays homage to vintage Jewish delis in Los Angeles in the 1960s. The 700-square-foot spot will feature a mural by Amos Goldbaum; there are 20 stools inside and room for 6 at the outdoor tables. Hours are daily 8am-3pm. 537 Octavia St. at Ivy.
Another expansion is QUEEN’S LOUISIANA PO-BOY CAFE, which just opened a location on the Embarcadero at the recently renovated Pier 33 1/2 (the original is in Portola), according to Hoodline. Expect Queen’s Louisiana-inspired menu, with all kinds of po’boys (made on French bread sent from Gambino’s Bakery in New Orleans), gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, and beignets. 33 The Embarcadero, at Pier 33 1/2.
And Hoodline also reports there’s a new location of KOJA KITCHEN in the food court at Westfield Mall, serving their Korean-Japanese dishes like burgers on fried garlic rice buns, bowls, tacos, salads, kamikaze or umami fries, and Korean buffalo wings or their spicy DMZ wings. 865 Market St. at 4th St.
Kinjo Tragically Closed Into 2018 Due to Water Damage
A tablehopper reader let me know the unfortunate news that just after winning their first Michelin star and just shy of a year of being open, the fantastic KINJO on Polk suffered severe water damage from a flood (from an apartment neighbor above). It’s so bad that the restaurant is saying they will be closed until January 15th for repairs, and I’m hearing it will possibly be even later. I’ll keep you posted on repair timing. In the meantime, their sister restaurants Ijji SF, Saru Sushi Bar, and Seiya Restaurant in San Carlos remain open. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo, 415-921-2222.
Brooklyn's The Meat Hook at Nopalito, Breakfast Haps, New Impossible Burger
This Thursday November 2nd, San Francisco is getting some special guests, THE MEAT HOOK from Brooklyn, who will be doing a backyard cookout at NOPALITO’s 9th Avenue location. And it’s an awesome fire relief fundraiser! Free entry. Sausages and drinks will be cash and carry with all proceeds going to UndocuFund. It’s going to be just like a backyard party. Hanging out, eating and drinking, and hopefully not freezing our butts off! Starts at 5pm. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966.
Last month, I got to slay my hangover at LORD STANLEY with their Full English Breakfast, and this Sunday November 5th, they’re doing it again! Come by for a hearty plate with fried eggs, toast, baked beans, black pudding, roasted tomatoes and mushrooms, bacon and sausage (by Thistle Meats), and brown sauce (I wanted a to-go container, it was so good). The Full English is $25. Draft beers, wine, coffee, tea, and fresh juice are available. Served from 11am-2pm. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway, 415-872-5512.
Another option is to either grab an awesome breakfast bag lunch (or you can stay!) for the upcoming Breakfast Club events at Cala on Tuesday November 7th (10am-12pm) or Lord Stanley on Wednesday November 8th (8am-10:30am). Click for tickets ($30) and more details.
For a non-meaty option, TRANSIT CAFE in the Presidio is now serving the Impossible Burger—chef Traci Des Jardins is serving it with roasted tomato, lettuce, and aioli on a Firebrand burger bun. 215 Lincoln Blvd., Main Post, 415-561-4435.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Charmaine's, the Proper Hotel's Swanky New Rooftop Bar, Is Now Open
How did we get so lucky to have a Kelly Wearstler-designed project in San Francisco? It’s just the dose of funky LA glam and international bohemian vintage style we needed to shake up our adverse-to-design-risk city, truth.
Last week, during that last gasp of Indian summer weather and warm nights, I was lucky to get a sneak peek of the new rooftop bar CHARMAINE’S at the San Francisco Proper Hotel. (This is the second part of the project to open, first was Villon downstairs—the all-day La Bande is next and last.)
It’s pretty breathtaking—you won’t believe the unobstructed views from the outdoor tables, complete with fire pits and heaters and striped chairs. The design inside is eclectic and unique, from the seating and eye-catching tables spanning the ’50s and ’70s to the special rugs and carpets, which only add to the low-slung residential feel. There are all kinds of seating areas, with 50 inside and 75 on the patio. It’s a place where you’ll want to hang out with friends. Just pretend you’re at a party at your rich friend’s penthouse (we should all have one of those). It’s going to be the hottest private event buyout, mark my words.
The gents of BVHospitality (Josh Harris, Morgan Schick) have created a cocktail menu around “shit you want to drink on a roof” (LOL), taking some inspiration from places they have enjoyed drinking outside, like Thailand, the Mediterranean, and Paris. All the cocktail names (17 in all) refer to any albums and songs that feature a cover of “Up on the Roof.” Heh.
The cocktails are all $15, from the Proper Cup, a seasonal Pimm’s (right now with blackberry and black pepper, but will be moving to fruits like pear and pomegranate), to really playful executions, like the Express Transit (Jameson Black Barrel whiskey, Cointreau, Earl Grey, whey, lemon, soda), served with shortbread. I loved the inventiveness of the Let Me Touch Your Mind, which is basically a blended piña colada (Banks 5 rum, coconut cream, pineapple, lime) topped with a Negroni. RIDIC! And then there’s my new favorite martini, dear lord is the On the Moon amazing: Grey Goose vodka or Bombay Sapphire East gin, Jardesca white, California Aqua Vitae aquavit, and bay laurel brine, served up with a cornichon. It’s salty and so aromatic and goes down way too easy.
There are some large-format offerings (including one with a supplement of Perrier-Jouët Champagne), and there will be some group packages in the works. You can also look over the wines and California beers.
As for the food menu, look for some mighty tasty bar bites from chef Jason Franey. There’s the Charmaine’s hot dog ($14), with Bavarian mustard, fermented lettuce, and a tender milk and honey bun. We inhaled the beef slider ($12), so juicy and rich, with cheddar cheese, tomato confit, and special sauce. I’m hoping the grilled cheese with smoked sturgeon comes back, I don’t see it on the opening menu. Wah. Anyway. Churros with urfa-spiced chocolate banana dip will be a worthy distraction. And then there’s that view…
Open 5pm-2am. Proper Hotel, 1100 Market St. at Jones, 415-735-7777.
New Projects Include Anchor Public Taps, Lágrimas at Over Proof, White Cap Coming to Outer Sunset
The news that Sapporo bought Anchor Brewing Company was quite the surprise this year, and now there’s a new taproom that seemed to come out of nowhere called ANCHOR PUBLIC TAPS—it just opened about a week ago. You can come to taste The Potrero Project, a collection of beers exclusively brewed in this pilot brewery and bar. The current list includes a pale ale and Berliner weisse, plus classic Anchor brews like their porter, Liberty Ale, and collaborations too (Wild Card Saison with Brewery Ommegang, Anchored at Local with Local Brewing, and Barbary Coast Red Rye Ale with ThirstyBear Brewing). Check the tap list for updates.
There’s plenty of seating, and there are also food trucks scheduled daily, like Señor Sisig and Sam’s Chowder Mobile, plus a calendar of special events, including game nights and more. Open daily 11am-9pm. 495 De Haro St. at Mariposa.
You ready for the fourth and final iteration of Over Proof at ABV? It starts on November 9th and will be called Lágrimas, named after the first hundred or so drops out of a mezcal still. Yup, it’s an homage to the almighty agave, with five (or so) mezcal- and tequila-based cocktails, like clarified goat milk punch, plus some rare selections of mezcals, tequila, raicilla, bacanora, and sotol. Dishes will include mushroom huarache with grilled hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, squash blossoms, and huitlacoche; carne adobada; and blue corn-chestnut tamales with housemade peanut mole and charred sweet potato.
Best of all, Over Proof will be donating a portion of the first week’s profits to charities that are helping to rebuild after Mexico’s devastating earthquakes. So book now. You have until February 24th to experience it, and it’s going to be quite the finale. $75 plus tax, fees, and gratuity. Two seatings every Thu-Sat, 6:30pm and 9pm. (It’s also perfect for private events on off nights, in case you’re looking for something special.)
A new bar project is coming to the Outer Sunset, WHITE CAP, due to open Friday November 10th. Partners Matt Lopez and Carlos Yturria (both surfers) teamed up to create an elevated spot to grab a drink, but it will be less of a sandy surfer hangout and more of a “grown-up” neighborhood bar with well-made cocktails—even though it will be just two blocks from the beach. There will be a regular menu plus eight specialty drinks and changing themes each quarter. Also look for sherries chosen by Yturria and a slushie machine. Shane Curnyn (who did Bar Agricole) is behind the design, which features an L-shaped bar and banquettes. Open daily 2pm-2am. 3608 Taraval St. at 46th St.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
The Civil Eats Celebration Will Highlight the Bounty of the Bay Area
Monday Nov 13, 2017 6:30pm–9:30pm $145–$175 Tickets The Pearl 601 19th St., San Francisco
Now more than ever, we need to support independent media, especially daily news sites like Civil Eats, which reports on the American food system. And on Monday November 13th, you can, since Civil Eats is hosting their second annual celebration and fundraiser at The Pearl.
Some of the Bay Area’s best restaurants and local businesses will be there, including Alta CA, Bi-Rite Market, Namu Gaji, Nopalito, Oliveto, Piccino, and Tartine, plus Llano Seco, Lundberg Family Farms, Pie Ranch, Siren Fish Company, and Straus Family Creamery.
There are some pretty incredible live and silent auction items, such as dinner for two with Michael Pollan at Chez Panisse, a tour of the New York greenmarket with Mark Bittman, a private tour of TomKat Ranch with Kat Taylor, a stay for eight at the original Straus Home Ranch with a Cowgirl Creamery tour, and more.
Last year’s event sold out, so get your ticket now.