One-time-only special lobster tonkotsu (with medium-thick wavy noodles!) at the opening party for Ippudo. (I really hope those noodles come back though.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hi. Excuse me, let me put down these chopsticks for a moment and wipe my chin so I can say a proper hello. I swear, after watching a screener of the upcoming film, Ramen Heads, all I can do is think about ramen. It’s a good thing I had just come from the opening of the brand-new Ippudo when I watched it at home later that evening, with a belly full of wavy noodles.
But two days later, I was back at it, slurping at Sozai on Friday night, and I’m going to Daly City tonight for another bowl. (Follow along on Instagram if you want to know where.) And I have a ramen lunch date at Marufuku in Japantown this Thursday. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
You can catch the premiere of Ramen Heads at the Roxie Theatre during the SF IndieFest (February 1st-15th)—more details here. Join me in the obsession. It’s such a marvelous film to watch. I really really need to go to Japan, it kills me that I haven’t made that happen—yet.
But for now, I am thinking about Russia! I’m going with my dad for World Cup this June-July, fingers crossed we get some tickets in the random-selection draw tomorrow! More than 4 million tickets were requested, so it’s daunting. But I am an optimist! And will be hitting you up for recos once we figure out what we’re doing. So excited.
Okay, back to my noodles. And hopefully pelmeni soon. Marcia Gagliardi
Good news: the massively delayed Tamale Lady restaurant has a new targeted opening, possibly April 2018. The Chronicle caught up with Virginia Ramos and the contractor for all the latest. You can read up on all the red tape and retrofitting, or just keep on sitting tight. Ramos has been missed, and it will be so great to finally see her in her dream location. This year! 2943 16th St. at Capp.
Wow, the Thursday night Mission Community Market is taking a big step, with CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture)—the nonprofit operator of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco and Jack London Square Farmers Market in Oakland—taking over operations on April 5th, when it reopens for the season. Look for more educational programming, support for local farmers and small businesses, healthy foods more accessible through the Market Match program, and customer service, plus more farms, producers, and prepared food sellers in time. All of the market’s current sellers will be invited to continue their participation in the market. It will run 4pm-8pm. Bartlett St. at 22nd St.
Fellow lovers of the flavor-packed Eastern Mediterranean dishes at TAWLA should know they have just launched Sunday brunch. You can enjoy dishes like their omelet Levant (za’atar, sweet onions, kashkaval, feta) and bayd bi awarma (baked eggs, lamb confit, fenugreek), plus two kinds of shakshuka: either white (braised greens, sheep’s milk feta, herbs, lemon) or red (tomato, baharat, maras). And then there are their house breads, seed breads, and cheese-stuffed borek, plus stuffed pide (just 12 daily!). Or order the Turkish breakfast (kahvalti), offering you bites from the entire menu and unlimited bread. Sign me up! This brunch is the stuff of my dreams. Sundays 11am-2pm.
Have you had a chance to check out NOON ALL DAY yet in Dogpatch? (You can read the in-depth tablehopper report here.) It can be a bit of a schlep for some, but the Hole Mole breakfast pastry is reason enough to head over. And starting on Saturday February 10th, they will be open on the weekends too! Adjust your brunch, lunch, linner, and dinner plans accordingly. Open 7am-8pm, Sat-Sun will be 8am-3pm to start. 690 Indiana St. at 19th St.
Love tofu? Then you’ll want to attend this event with Hodo Soy’s founder, Minh Tsai, in conversation with J. Kenji López-Alt at JCCSF on Monday February 5th. Dinner includes dishes from Kim Alter, Nightbird; Nick Balla, Duna; and James Syhabout, Commis, Hawker Fare, Hawking Bird.
Cheese lovers, you don’t want to miss the annual California Artisan Cheese Festival, March 23rd-25th, with seminars with world-class cheese experts, pairing demos (including wine, beer, and cocktails), field trips, and more. Take a look now, because some events fill up quickly. Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Rd., Santa Rosa.
Sunday is the Super Bowl, and it’s officially the day of snacks and wings and queso. Whether you’re watching the game with friends, or perhaps enjoying a bowl of queso all to yourself in bed, here are some options.
The folks at COMSTOCK SALOON are offering quite the pregame on Sunday February 4th, which is also in celebration of Emperor Norton’s 200th birthday. Just like Comstock’s “Free-Lunch Friday” promo, a pork belly Benedict will be free with the purchase of two adult beverages on Super Bowl Sunday. Comstock will be open for special hours that day (12pm-5pm), and the full menu will be on offer. You can even reserve a table—so civilized.
So about that queso. The evil genius Wes Rowe of WESBURGER ‘N’ MORE has all the things you want: queso, loaded queso tots, a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, and, of course, The Hot Wes (his trademark burger with onion rings, queso, and pickled jalapeños). They will be open for takeout or you can order via Caviar from 11:30am-10pm.
You know who else is offering wings that day? 4505 BURGERS AND BBQ will be making wings that you can preorder. Or you can come by and watch the game on their patio—or have them delivered (in SF and Oakland!). They are also offering Game Day Chile con Queso (with Hatch green chiles), which you are supposed to dip their chicharrones into. Dear lord. $9.95 (add chopped brisket for $2).
And even SOUVLA Nopa will be featuring feta-brined wings as a Caviar delivery exclusive (11am-10pm). You get a dozen wings tossed in housemade wing sauce with a side of hot sauce and Greek cheese dip for $14. And they are making “super fries” too (topped with harissa-spiked yogurt, feta cheese, and pickled red onions, with your choice of spit-roasted chicken, lamb, or pork). You’ll want to put in your preorder before game day because last year they sold out!
Some quick bites and new openings for you, starting in SoMa: CHULLO NEPALI INDIAN CUISINE has opened on 3rd Street, serving momos, home-style Nepalese dishes, Indian favorites like tikka masala, items from the tandoor, and more. Open Mon-Sat 11am-10pm. 474 3rd St. at Stillman, 415-543-3800.
More Indian: a second location of RAAVI (the original is in North Beach) has opened in Mid-Market. You’ll find classic North Indian dishes, but it seems they also have some housemade pastries and cakes too. Open daily 11am-10pm. 1063 Market St. at Taylor, 415-222-9696.
Another second location story: the Turkish Tuba on Guerrero has opened TUBA EXPRESS MEDITERRANEAN KEBAB & GYRO on Nob Hill, serving a variety of hot and cold mezes, soups, salads, kebabs, and entrées, plus beer and wine. Open daily 10:30am-10pm. 1550 California St. at Polk, 415-563-4043.
I was sorry to see a tweet over the weekend announcing the closure of the THREE TWINS ice cream shop in the Lower Haight, but good news, their other locations will remain open and they will still be available in grocery stores! Whew, don’t take away our lemon cookie. You can read a note from founding twin Neal Gottlieb here about the why (a rent increase was part of it). 254 Fillmore St. at Haight.
Just in case any of you fantasized about sinking your choppers into one of the wagyu cutlet sandwiches from the Tokyo-based Wagyumafia (raises hand), sadly they will be opening in New York instead of SF. Wah. Eater reports ORG (Omakase Restaurant Group) owners Kash Feng and chef Jackson Yu will still be opening their steakhouse, butcher shop, and udon restaurant at One Henry Adams, it’s just that they didn’t want to exclusively carry the high-end Wagyumafia beef at the butcher shop—they wanted to have more of an array of suppliers and meats for customers. (But ORG will continue to carry their wagyu for their restaurants and the butcher shop. And a Kobe beef cutlet sandwich will still be coming, later in 2018.)
There’s a lot happening in the 510, so let’s take a look. First up, THE HALAL GUYS just opened a location in Berkeley. You can tuck into this New York street institution’s platters and sandwiches and cover it all with their famous white and hot sauce (btw, the hot sauce is really really hot, so go slow). The late hours will help them feed you when the food is truly at its best: when you’re tipsy. Sun-Thu 10am-12am, Fri-Sat 10am-2am. 2126 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley. (And if you’re too drunk to leave your couch, you can have it delivered to you via Caviar; here’s my code for a $20 discount on your first delivery.)
Another expansion to the East Bay is the opening of SF’s ITALIAN HOMEMADE COMPANY in the former AG Ferrari in Berkeley’s Elmwood district. You can dine in or do takeout of their housemade pasta dishes, plus there are sandwiches (piadine), salads, and a grocery area (here’s the menu). My recos: their tortellini (such a treat to find some made with a traditional meaty filling), their ridiculous pasticciata sauce (a bolognese with béchamel), and the lasagna! 2905 College Ave. at Russell, Berkeley.
As if RAMEN SHOP isn’t already giving us all the deliciousness, but they have also launched a weekend Japanese breakfast menu. In an interview with Inside Scoop, they explain it’s a spin on the Japanese breakfast of shioyaki trout, tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet), and miso soup with shimeji mushrooom, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach), and grated daikon. You’ll also find fried eggs with housemade longanisa sausage and garlic fried rice, brunch cocktails, and more. Sat-Sun 10am-3pm.
More brunch: KRONNERBURGER is serving brunch every Fri-Sun (11am-3:30pm). You’ll be tempted by a breakfast biscuit, a smoked trout and egg bagel, sweet potato pancakes, and a whole lot more, plus $8 cocktails. 4063 Piedmont Ave. at 41st St., Oakland.
Also in Oakland, UNDERWOOD BAR & CAFÉ has reopened with a new managing team (Christopher Parks, Stacy Vella, and Adam Hinojosa), menu, updated space, and more. You can come by for coffee and pastries in the morning, lunch, and dinner, with small plates, snacks, salads, housemade charcuterie boards, and sandwiches, plus wine, craft beer, and cocktails. Open 6am-11am for coffee service, 11am-3pm for lunch, 5pm-10pm for dinner service, and 10pm-2am for beverages and a late-night food menu. 308 41st St. at Broadway, Oakland.
Smell that deliciousness in the air? EQUATOR COFFEES has opened a seventh café, this time it’s their first in the East Bay, close to Lake Merritt. It was built into a recycled shipping container, with community tables and a retail store. They are sharing the space with Urban Remedy, maker of delicious salads, juices, snacks, and more. Cyclists, runners, and power walkers, here’s your spot to refuel! Open Mon-Thu 6am-6pm, Fri 6am-7pm, Sat 7am-7pm, and Sun 7am-6pm. 175 Bay Place, Oakland.
Have you tried 4505 BURGERS & BBQ’s delivery pop-up in the East Bay yet? They’re running this special with Caviar until they open in the Laurel District this spring. So, Oakland residents, you can now get dinner delivered Wed-Sat (5pm-9pm). You can order their special/secret menu Big Mac (double cheeseburger with a Frankaroni), or you can stick with their brisket, chicken, pork (plate or sandwich or large format), sausages, classic sides and sauces, and Frankaroni. You can also get any sandwich Roger style (add a quarter pound of sausage to any meat sandwich, oy). First-time Caviar user? Use my code for $20 off your first order!
More burgers: at GATHER in Downtown Berkeley, they’re running a special at the bar (5pm-9pm). For $20, you get a Mindful Meats burger with housemade pickles, cheddar, onion, aioli, fries, plus a draft Westfalia Red Ale from Fort Point Brewery and a shot of Evan Williams bourbon. (There’s also a gluten-free version of the burger available.) It’s like an adult Happy Meal.
(Sponsored Event): One Market Restaurant Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary with Legendary Chefs' Dinner Gala
Co-founder and managing partner Michael Dellar, chef-partner Mark Dommen, and GM-partner Larry Bouchard invite you to a taste of 25 Years of One Market Restaurant. Legendary chefs, including Bradley Ogden, George Morrone, Patti Dellamonica-Bauler, and Adrian Hoffman—who made the fabric of the restaurant from day one—come together to celebrate this historic Silver Anniversary. Enjoy an all-inclusive evening, beginning with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a seated five-course dinner with extraordinary wine pairings. Each One Market chef will create a course highlighting the best of their offerings while at the helm. All for just $165.
This grand night will be filled with even more superlatives, including a performance by the internationally renowned jazz songstress, Paula West, an original One Market employee. And a portion of the ticket proceeds will benefit the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
For more information and to purchase your tickets, click here.
Last week, I popped by a preopening party for the revamped Hotel Kabuki bar, and it’s quite a looker (the hotel just finished a $31 million renovation). I know I’ll be hosting some future meetings there, especially in the lobby—it has a fun residential style, full of interesting books and eclectic objets. There’s a large communal table near the bar, and the outdoor patio will open with fire pits in a few months.
Head bartender and beverage director Stephanie Wheeler (previously at Hojoko at The Verb Hotel in Boston and Three Dots and a Dash in Chicago) has crafted a list of Japanese-influenced cocktails, from the Yomogi Tonic (fresh pear and lime juices, housemade white miso-honey syrup, and Mixwell dandelion tonic, garnished with candy made in-house from the pulp of the juiced pears, a no-waste approach that is also reflected in their quality paper straw choice from Aardvark Straws) to a personal favorite, the Golden Tea Milk Punch (served in a teapot, with Nikka Coffey Gin, Giffard Vanilla, Japanese Sencha green tea, honey, turmeric, and coconut milk). Talk about a flu buster. The next time someone wants to meet for tea, this will be my suggestion. (You can also order it cold.) Japanese whisky and sake and beers will also be available, as well as a Japanese tea ceremony (from a custom bar cart) in the afternoon.
There are also some food options, from a Japanese bento breakfast and breakfast buffet to small evening bites like shishito peppers with avocado cream and serrano peppers, chicken karaage, plus okonomiyaki and a chicken katsu slider. Happy hour is daily 4pm-6pm. Bar hours Sun-Thu 4pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. 1625 Post St. at Laguna.
Man, it’s time to pour out the strongest vodka soda you’ve ever had, because THE GANGWAY—the city’s oldest continuously operating gay bar—has officially closed and transferred their liquor license to the new owner (Sam Young, who is behind the nearby and completely non-gay Kozy Kar). The new project is listed as Young’s Kung Fu Action Theatre & Laundry. I never heard back from Young on his plans for the space back in August, when we first learned he was buying the bar, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
I was sorry to see all the posts from my friends over the weekend. There are a bunch of memories (many of them hazy) from that spot, which was open all day, so you can just imagine. 841 Larkin St. at Geary, 415-776-6828.
The talented and stunning Lupita Nyong’o came in to BROWN SUGAR KITCHEN last Friday and enjoyed some of Tanya Holland’s superlative waffles. Holland writes she was “even more beautiful and gracious in person!”