One of the 32 neon pieces we got to enjoy while feasting at the She Bends salon dinner last week at The Midway Gallery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy folks! I’m baaaaack! Finally healthy again. I have been a busy bee over here, getting ready to fill you in on some exciting news… Ya ready? Okay! Let’s start with the big news. On Thursday April 19th, I’m going to be launching my new cannabis media brand: my milligram. It will be a weekly newsletter featuring low-dosage and well-made cannabis products, plus a mention of local events. I’m keeping it very short and topical (just one product per week), but highly informative (ha-ha, the puns!). I’m also going to be launching some subscription boxes! And hosting information-filled events. I’ll share more on all this on the 19th, when I send the first my milligram newsletter. A lot is happening!
You may have noticed on my @tablehopper Instagram over the past couple of years my growing (and more visible) interest in cannabis products and experiences. It’s such an exciting and thrilling space, filled with an incredible community, innovation, and growing access to experience the magical and healing medicine of the cannabis plant in a myriad of ways.
I will be telling more about my journey on the 19th, but I want to share that my relationship with cannabis now is so different from the toking days of my twenties. I have discovered I’m a microdoser in a heavy-hitter world, and through carefully managing my intake through well-made, low-dosage edible products, I have found a great deal of happiness, ease, wellness, creativity, spiritual insight, and plenty of giggles too. I’ve been on such a deep dive of education and exploration this past year, and after a while, I realized I have too much excitement and information to contain it all, so the idea of my milligram was born.
I know a lot of canna-curious folks are out there, wondering how to navigate this new world, and how it may help with something you are dealing with. Some may be returning to cannabis after a looong break (you know, like from the ’60s), and some have never tried it at all. Some folks have only had terrifying and paranoid experiences (I am so sorry about that), and I’m here to say, it doesn’t have to be like that. As someone who is prone to overthinking, you can find a sweet spot of feeling good but not necessarily psychoactivated—or maybe just a little bit (and being okay with that). Feeling in control. Going low and slow.
So, I hope some of you are excited to explore this world with me. It’s such a great time to be a Northern Californian. (Isn’t it always?) I am going to take everything I have learned the past 15 years about how I assess food and drink and apply that to cannabis. Let me guide you to some beautiful products that can help with sleep, or anxiety, or aches, or inflammation, or just help you unwind, make dinner taste really good, and have you laugh harder at your Netflix show too. Let me tell you, my nature walks have been such a joy. Life can be hard, for many reasons, so if I can help guide you to a bit more ease and happiness in your life, then great. I’m on my own journey and would love your company!
Thanks for telling your friends. You can even tell your mom. Because moms are an important part of my product reviewing parameters—I won’t be writing about anything that I wouldn’t give to my own mother. I also want to do my part to help destigmatize cannabis use. That lazy stoner archtype? Nope, it doesn’t fit this busy lady. It’s time to make some new ones, people.
You can sign up at mymilligram.com, and the first issue is going out next Thursday on 4/19—as I like to say, it’s comin’ in low and slow before the high holiday of 4/20. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
So, what does this all mean for tablehopper? Well, good news: tablehopper will continue! But it’s going to be put on a diet. (THAT was a long time coming, ha.) After 12 years of sending this column every Tuesday, I am going to be moving tablehopper to a biweekly schedule, so you’ll be receiving it every other Tuesday. I’m going to start the new schedule and will go dark on Tuesday April 24th, and will be running it every other week after that.
Still want to get your weekly fill? Well, more good news: I’m going to be writing a weekly feature for KQED’s Bay Area Bites called Table Talk! I’ll be covering the same kind of food news you see in tablehopper, like new restaurant and bar openings, cool events, tasty food tips, and special offers—it will be posted on their site on Mondays. I’m so excited to be writing for KQED Bay Area Bites, and I’ll be sure to point you to my first piece!
So, you now have not just one but three places to read me, covering the culinary, beverage, and cannabis worlds, which, in Northern California, is kind of our own special trinity, right?
OK, so that’s my news! I am really fired up over here. Thanks for your constant support as I stretch my wings, make some adjustments, and take flight on this new venture. I hope you join me.
I will continue to host tablehopper events, oh you know it. Which is why I want to make sure you save the date for an apericena party on Thursday May 3rd at the upcoming Cento Osteria (from Donato Scotti) on the Embarcadero! Details and tickets will be in next week’s issue! I’d love to see you.
Thanks, everyone! XO
The partnership between La Cocina’s Incubator Program graduates and Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group continues with the excellent news that the talented Heena Patel (of Rasoi) is going to be taking over the Alta location at Minnesota Street Project in Dogpatch. She will be opening a restaurant called BESHARAM, which translates to “shameless”! The name is inspired by the fact that at 50, she’s following her own dreams and doing something she has always been too scared to do: open her own restaurant. (“Besharam,” her Indian aunties would whisper.) And on Friday May 11th, that’s when Patel will shamelessly open her first restaurant.
Patel spent her childhood in Gujarat and her teenage years in Mumbai, followed by a life in London when she married, and then, with her own children, in the United States. She has been in La Cocina’s Incubator Program the last five years and has gained a reputation for her incredibly flavorful and innovative food. “When Heena cooks,” chef Traci Des Jardins said after hosting a pop-up at Jardinière featuring her food, “I look up. She takes ingredients that I know well and reintroduces them to me. It’s an excitement that’s rare in our industry.”
At Besharam, look for local grains and seasonal produce in her khichadi, and updated pav bhaji for lunch. Dinner will be family style, bringing Gujarati hospitality and flavors to the forefront, with a focus on vegetables in dishes like malai kofta with cashew pakoras and paneer dust, or her signature gunpowder over uttampam with spring greens. Also on offer: cocktails and wine pairings from Patel’s husband, Paresh, and the Alta bar team.
The Alta Group will provide infrastructure and ROC United systems for staff and management. Another collaboration is the upcoming Dyafa from Reem Assil of Reem’s California, opening in the former Haven in Oakland. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.
Thanks to a star tablehopper reader, Paul G., I learned about the new business opening in the former Wooly Pig Cafe space in the Inner Sunset. It’s going to be YO TAMBIÉN CANTINA from couple Isabella Bertorelli and Kenzie Benesh.
They will be bringing their tropical-local vibes (they have hosted pop-up dinners and been a part of collaborations in the past), offering Venezuelan-Californian tropical food, from sandwiches (think pulled pork, spicy plantains, güasacaca sauce, and salsa picante inside an arepa) to bowls, plus baked goods and breakfast items. They are dedicated to seasonal, organic, and local produce (they are tight with Full Belly Farm) and are extremely excited to open. They are currently targeting late May/early June. Looking forward to meeting these badass mujeres and trying their food. Follow along on Instagram for now. 205 Hugo St. at 3rd Ave.
After almost a year of delays (and two years in the making!), the FROZEN KUHSTERD team got in touch to let me know they are hosting their soft opening for their new Lower Haight shop (opening in the former P-Kok space) this Saturday April 14th. They will be open over the weekend from 12pm-9pm (Sat-Sun), and then the next few weekends as well. They will have eight flavors of their West Coast-style frozen custard, plus two nondairy options daily, and they have a few new items up their sleeve too. Maybe you’ll need to go by and see just what that is! 791 Haight St. at Scott.
It’s definitely still hot pot weather in our city (isn’t it always?), and this new Mongolian hot pot restaurant that just opened in the Inner Richmond looks really tasty: DNM HOT POT (with a spiffy interior as well). There are a variety of soup bases (like spicy, mushroom, tomato), meats (lamb, beef, meatballs), vegetables and tofu, sauces, and sides. You can also start with some BBQ lamb ribs. Fire it up! There are also some noodle combination lunch specials. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1115 Clement St. at 12th Ave., 415-668-8666.
Tasty Tidbits: Breakfast at City Counter, Brunch at Bar Vale, Smokebread (by Duna), Portland's Lardo Pop-Up
Downtown workers (or at-home workers who order delivery): you have a new option for breakfast and it’s all going down at CITY COUNTER! Chef Sean Thomas has been putting together some menu winners, including a spin on East Coast BEC, The Breakfast Toasty. It comes with egg, potato, and sharp white cheddar on Acme bread. You can also get carnivorous and add ‘nduja, housemade brown sugar merguez sausage (whut), or bacon.
And then there’s My Jewish Husband, an everything-spiced gougère loaded with gravlax, bay leaf cream cheese, and a caper and charred onion relish. Or try a multigrain porridge with Umbrian farro, black barley, and Arborio rice with local asparagus, lavender-fennel goat cheese, and a soft-boiled egg (and you can add on crispy smoked bacon, because why not?).
A lighter option includes The Day Maker (seasonal fruit with orange blossom yogurt and gluten-free black quinoa-cashew granola), or you can succumb to Marla Bakery pastries (croissants, coffee cake). There’s Linea drip coffee or organic teas. Breakfast is available Mon-Fri 7am-10am.
And you can come back for dinner, served until 7pm Mon-Tue and until 9pm Wed-Fri (or you can bring the spiced chicken meatballs with harissa tomato sauce and toasted Acme bread home with you). Also coming soon: outdoor seating! 115 Sansome St. at Bush.
BAR VALE in Nopa just launched brunch, offering dishes like morcilla pudín with sunny eggs, frisée, and manchego ($14) and chorizo hash, two fried eggs, and chorizo vinaigrette ($14). French toast gets a Spanish accent with sherry custard, date syrup, almonds, banana, and cream ($11). Check out the entire menu here. You can also order hot and cold tapas.
And you know bar manager Jessica Everett has some new low-ABV cocktails and eye-openers for you, like the Pasatiempo with cold-brew coffee, Licor 43, Ancho Reyes, and stout. Served Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 661 Divisadero St. at Grove.
Some updates at DUNA: chef Nick Balla is morphing the concept into Smokebread (by Duna), starting this Wednesday April 11th. The menu will feature their amazing house-smoked potato flatbread (made with sourdough starter and organic wheat flour and cooked on a cast-iron pan, (inspired by Hungarian langos) topped with their mezze and combinations like cumin sausage with yogurt and sprouted mung beans, or their brilliant lentil croquettes with saag and pumpkin seed tahini. (It’s like a flatbread pizza that you roll up into an awesome sandwich.)
There will be four sandwiches, and they will continue to offer two of their popular and juicy spoon salads, and of course, plenty of mezze sides, pickles, and preserved items. Open Wed-Sun at 5:30pm. 983 Valencia St. at 21st St.
Have you always wanted to try a sandwich from Portland’s famed LARDO? (I have.) Well, they are going to be popping up for the first time in SF at THE PEARL on Friday April 27th from 5pm-9pm. Your $15 ticket gets you a sandwich (they will be serving a half dozen of their signature sandwiches—it’s enough to make me want to collect all six) and hand-cut fries, and Oregon’s Fort George Brewery will be serving beer. A portion of the proceeds will benefit No Kid Hungry/Chefs Cycle, helping to end childhood hunger in America. 601 19th St. at 3rd St.
Well folks, the time has arrived for HOG & ROCKS to announce their official closing date, which will be this Saturday April 14th, after they serve their last brunch and dinner. Scott Youkilis says their burger and chicken sandwich have experienced record sales the last couple of weeks, as it seems everyone is trying to get one last one. Best wishes to everyone, here’s their farewell note (scroll down). Coming up next in the space will be Anthony Strong’s new project.
Just a block away, a friend let me know KEN KEN RAMEN has closed—here’s their farewell sign. Eater caught the liquor license transfer, mentioning Ramenwell will be moving in (it’s owned by Harold Jurado, formerly a Chicago chef—at Chizakaya—who is now living in SF and working at Bon Appétit Management Company). Stand by. 3378 18th St. at Mission.
Some new bars are coming soon, starting with a new pop-up project from Traci Des Jardins, who will be hosting a semipermanent bar in THE PEARL in Dogpatch, Sunday through Wednesday nights. It’s going to be called School Night, and Eater writes that it will open at the end of April. There will be cocktails from Arguello’s fantastico bar director Enrique Sanchez, who will assuredly be featuring agave spirits—and some whiskeys too. Mexican snacks, check. Stand by for more deets in the coming days. 601 19th St. at 3rd St.
Over in Cow Hollow, there’s a pisco- and Japanese whisky-focused bar in the works, highlighting Nikkei cuisine (the Japanese-influenced food and drink you find in Peru—and on the menu at La Mar locally). This new project is from John Park, a partner in Whitechapel and Novela, and it will be opening in the former Ottimista Restaurant and Bar on Union. Eater found a classified ad mentioning it will be open nightly and will offer weekend brunch. Stand by for updates. 1838 Union St. at Laguna.
Mezcal lovers: do not miss this event from the Mezcalistas, Mezcal Cocktail Mission on Sunday April 15th. It’s a mezcal cocktail competition at TRES (3pm-6pm), with some amazing contestants from up and down the West Coast and amazing judges as well. The goal: to create the seminal mezcal cocktail, like the way a margarita screams tequila, or a Mahattan screams rye whiskey. Next up will be the East Coast heat on April 23rd, and then the six finalists will be flown to Mexico City for the grand finale on May 14th. Tickets: $15 pre-sale, $20 day of event. 130 Townsend St. at 2nd St.