I really wish this cocktail from The Beehive was back in front of me, like, right now. Actually, make that two. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hi gang! Greetings from the bunker, where I have been mostly hunkered down working overtime on my new project, mymilligram. (If you missed the big news last week, it’s my new cannabis media brand focused on highlighting low-dose and high-quality cannabis products.)
Thanks to everyone who already signed up for the mymilligram newsletter, you rock! It’s so gratifying to see so much interest and enthusiasm! Meowza! You give me life! (Just like Beyoncé did on Saturday night—I’m still reeling.) I swear, I’m so exhausted working on all this back-end stuff, you wouldn’t believe what goes into launching a website, newsletter, and social media accounts these days, let alone write new content and hold an all-day photoshoot. So if you see any mistakes in today’s issue, take it easy on me, okay? I’m beat. I’m just glad Mercury Retrograde is over, I had plenty of tech shenanigans to contend with, lordy.
If you subscribed to mymilligram last week, you should have received a welcome email earlier today (thanks to all of you filling out the survey, it’s so helpful!), and the first mymilligram intro email will be coming this Thursday 4/19. The first full-feature newsletter and website launch are happening next Thursday April 26th, whoosh!
I also wanted to be sure you saw the news that after 12 years, tablehopper is now going biweekly, so we’ll be dark next week, and back on May 1st. (Sorry if this news is redundant for some of you!)
BUT don’t fret, I’m now going to be writing Table Talk, a weekly restaurant and bar news feature for KQED Bay Area Bites, which is launching next week, so you shouldn’t miss me tooooo much. :) I’ll be including a look at the new Beehive, the swanky cocktail bar opening in the former Range on Valencia verrrrrrry soon.
As promised, today’s issue announces details on the tablehopper pre-opening apericena party at Cento Osteria (coming in May from Donato Scotti). The party is on Thursday May 3rd, and it’s going to be a fun one! Get your ticket soon, these are gonna fly. I’d love to have a Negroni with you.
Taxes were due today, oof, I know many of us are feeling the hit. Fortunately, I have some boozy event options for you in the lush, let the healing begin.
One more event to consider (I didn’t have time to get it in as a full write-up today) is going to appeal to my fellow history buffs: this Wednesday April 18th—which is the anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake—there’s a special dinner at The Palace’s Pied Piper, with a menu inspired by historic Palace recipes from 1909 through today. You’ll also hear from author Denise E. Clifton of Tables from the Rubble, a book that celebrates SF restaurants that arose after the 1906 quake and remain open today. I so wish I could go. Someone should and tell me all about it!
All righty then. In the words of Porky Pig, that’s all folks! I’ll be back in (some) of your inboxes on Thursday! Marcia Gagliardi
You ready to hang out over some aperitivi, salumi, roast pig, and pasta? I think I know the answer! A couple weeks ago, I shared the latest details about Donato Scotti’s (of Donato Enoteca and CRU in Redwood City and Donato & Co. in Berkeley) first SF restaurant coming to the Embarcadero, CENTO OSTERIA, and we get to be the first ones in! We’re hosting a pre-opening apericena party on Thursday May 3rd, and it’s going to be a blast.
If you attended the DONATO & CO. opening party I co-hosted last September, then you know Donato puts out quite a spread! (Italians can’t help themselves—they want everyone to eat!)
You’ll be the first to taste some dishes off the upcoming Cento Osteria menu, which is all about highlighting dishes from the different regions and provinces of Italy. You’ll get to taste housemade pasta (like his famed casonsei, a pasta from his native Bergamo stuffed with sausage, pancetta, amaretto crumbs, grana padano, and garlic) to a variety of pizzas from the wood-fired pizza oven, and roasted suckling pig! There will also be salumi, assorted antipasti, and vegetable dishes aplenty.
You’ll get to experience apericena, a trending style of eating in Italy: a dinner (cena) comprised of antipasti and ample bites and small plates (which is what you find during aperitivo time). It’s one of my favorite ways to eat, and it’s something Donato will be encouraging and bringing to life at Cento Osteria, especially since they have that full bar. Consider this your first apericena! You may have an Italian accent by the end of the evening (if you don’t already)!
To accompany all those tasty bites at the party, we’ll also be offering a few cocktails (courtesy of our generous sponsor Campari America), including Aperol Spritzes, Boulevardiers (my favorite!), Negronis, and Sbagliatos, as well as pouring some wines (prosecco, white, rosé, and red). Your ticket includes three drink tickets!
We’ll be making a donation to our charity partner for the evening, Family House, which serves as a home away from home for families of children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses by providing physical comfort and emotional support, free from financial concerns.
Tickets are only $50 (plus a ticket service fee), which will get you three drink tickets and access to all the delicious food! (Additional cocktails/wine will be available at a very affordable price.) And a donation will be made to charity partner Family House.
The party will run from 6pm-9pm. 21+ only. Get your tickets now, the last party sold out quickly.
See you on Thursday May 3rd! Festeggiamo!
100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero @centoosteria
Thursday May 3, 2018 6pm–9pm $50 + processing fee more info
Last week, I emerged from my writing bunker to attend a preview dinner of SORREL, which just opened last Friday, and what a beaut it is. Anyone who was mourning the loss/move of Nico from Sacramento Street to North Beach will be so happy to see such a stylish and considered (and utterly San Franciscan) restaurant taking its place. Co-founder and chef Alex Hong and co-founder and director of operations Colby Heiman have done a bang-up job of designing the restaurant themselves, and it’s a purr-fect fit for the charming Laurel Heights neighborhood.
Sorrel started as a pop-up (accumulating a tally of 135 dinners!) and now chef Hong gets to really craft an entire dining experience in a dedicated space. His background includes Jean Georges and Quince, and you’ll note some Italian influences in his elegant Northern Californian/New American dishes, which all reflect the height of seasonality and quality local ingredients (plus a few items from their burgeoning roof garden).
A great place to start on the à la carte menu is with the oysters ($4.50 each), with sorrel, oro blanco grapefruit, and Asian pear, and it will be tough to not fill up on the warm sourdough focaccia ($6), which comes the option of a green garlic bagna cauda dipping sauce (uh-huh) or cultured butter (each $3). Vegetables and light fish dishes round out the starters, plus a spring lamb tartare ($16). Everything comes on ceramics from Mary Mar Keenan, and the focaccia’s claypot dish was custom made.
Pasta lovers will be thrilled with the entire column of housemade pastas on the menu, from tortellini in brodo (stuffed with smoked duck) to the downright springy cappellacci in whey, with English peas, mint, green garlic, and sheep’s milk ricotta (both $17). Mains include striped bass ($34) with wild ramps, roasted artichokes, cauliflower, and the perfume of saffron, while meat lovers will find a dry-aged duck for two ($85), brightened with accents of fennel pollen and kumquat. Desserts continue to hit the seasonal notes, like a bright strawberry number with elderflower, black pepper, and white chocolate.
You’re in great hands with wine pairings from beverage director Samuel Bogue (wine director for the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group), from crowd-pleasers to some more esoteric selections (this is a great place to play and explore). You’ll also find some low-ABV/aperitif-style cocktails—perfect to enjoy at the bar along with some bites.
The space is welcoming and chic, from the eight-seat marble bar at the front with ribbons of green in it, to the blue-gray palette, and natural light coming in from the skylights. Down the center of the room are two walnut slab tables (by Ben O’Hearn at Modern Millwork), with large suspended planter boxes overhead and teardrop globe lights hand-blown by Guido Gerlitz at Effetto Glassworks. If you’re on date night, you’ll want one of the small tables that run along the blue-gray banquette (there are 50 seats in all). I loved the chairs, which are as stylin’ as they are comfortable, and the table setting is elegant and well-chosen, from the stemware to the flatware.
You can take a peek into the exposed kitchen in the back, and the private dining room has room for 16, with bold artwork, more globe lights, and a record player, so make yourself at home. You’ll notice the music in the restaurant is a bit upbeat, and the service style is professional but relaxed—you’re supposed to enjoy yourself. And you will.
Open for dinner Tue-Sat 5pm-10pm. 3228 Sacramento St. at Lyon.
A faithful tablehopper reader (thanks, Mike! sent me the news that BOOGALOOS is finally reopening this Wednesday April 18th, after an extended closure (they’ve been remodeling) and then there was a fire and some lease drama last year that fortunately took a turn for the good. Boogaloos has been with us since 1994, welcome back! The Temple of Spuds triumphantly returns!
You can read their happy note in the window here, which also mentions their pop-up at Parada 22 in the Haight during the week is no more, but they will be continuing to offer it on the weekends (9am-3pm). 3296 22nd St. at Valencia.
Great news: Reem Assil (of Reem’s California) has opened DYAFA for lunch service in the former Haven at Jack London Square in Oakland (dinner will be coming later). To recap, the La Cocina graduate is working with Daniel Patterson’s Alta Group on this, her second restaurant.
The name, which means “hospitality” in Arabic, is an homage to how she grew up eating in her Palestinian-Syrian home. At lunch, you’ll find shareable snacks, dips, grain bowls, and salads, plus flatbread wraps that use the signature bread from Reem’s California, which is baked on the saj (a traditional convex griddle used to bake bread). You can survey the menu, which also includes cocktails (featuring Middle Eastern ingredients and flavors), refreshing drinks for daytime, wine, and beer selected by beverage director Aaron Paul.
The 105-seat space features lots of tile, greenery, and colorful ceramic plates. The restaurant also participates in ROC Restaurant Opportunities Center United’s racial equity program. Lunch is served Tue-Fri 11am-2pm. This Saturday April 21st, there’s a fundraiser evening event for The Cooking Project—enjoy appetizers, cocktail tastes, and more. 44 Webster St. at Water, Oakland, 510-250-9491.
Now open next door to COMAL in Berkely is, wait for it, COMAL NEXT DOOR, a casual taqueria serving burritos, bowls, tacos, and three kinds of tortas. There’s Berkshire pork carnitas or al pastor (may I have both?), plus beef barbacoa, achiote-grilled chicken, chile relleno, and more. There are 20 seats, or you can take your food to go. Bonus: two daily rotating aguas frescas will be available, in addition to frozen margaritas and beer. It’s conveniently open all day Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 2024 Shattuck Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510-42-COMAL.
This Thursday April 19th (1:30pm-3:30pm), Jacques Pépin will be at Market Hall Foods at Rockridge Market Hall for a book signing, conversation, and tasting for his books, Poulets & Légumes: My Favorite Chicken & Vegetable Recipesand A Grandfather’s Lessons.
This Saturday April 21st is Kermit Lynch Oyster Bliss, retuning after seven years.
Come join Cadillac Bar & Grill for San Francisco’s biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration Friday May 4th AND Saturday May 5th! Our third annual Cinco de Mayo will be one you won’t want to miss! We will have our favorite Tex-Mex dishes, a fully stocked bar with drink specials, a free photo booth, and free entry all night long!
5pm-7pm: Teatro Flamenco 5pm-8pm: Mariachis 8pm-12am: Somos el Son!
Last year, dive bar lovers across the city were worried over the news that the 500 CLUB was up for sale, and now a friend in the Mission let me know that it has been sold (and heard it could possibly be the whole building and business).
I reached out to the bar but haven’t heard back, so this is an unconfirmed rumor for now. But my source was pretty solid, so we’ll have to see who’s taking it over, and what their plans are before getting worried or too upset. (Fingers crossed for old school SF owners who “get it,” plllllease.) Let’s just hope the process of bringing it up to code (which will have to happen with a new owner) won’t completely thrash the patina of that special bar. Will keep you posted if I hear anything about the new owner. Hit me up if you do! 500 Guerrero St. at 17th St.
NICKIES bar has been holding it down in the Lower Haight for a loooong time (since 1948, as Nickies Barbecue, and then as a reggae spot, dancehall, dive bar, and Irish sports bar for the past 10 years—and has always had the name Nickies), but according to an ABC license transfer and Facebook post, they are closing and new owners are taking over. (I reached out to the bar to find out any closing date info.) And the Nickies name legacy also seems to be ending since the transfer says Haight and Fillmore Trading Company, and it looks like the owner of Kezar Pub is taking it over, so at least a beloved local sports bar is moving in. 466 Haight St. at Webster, 415-255-0300.
After getting your swerve on this Wednesday April 18th at Women Movers & Shakers: Spring Cocktails of the Farmers Market to the Ferry Building (click to my original post for a discount code!), you can follow up with a party with Hangar One in Alameda on Thursday April 19th to celebrate their newest addition to their vodka family: Fog Point. You’ll get to taste this special vodka made from fog catching (it’s true!) and even watch a fog-catching demo (by Chris Fogliatti, no less—maybe he’s Karl the Fog?), plus there will be some Fog-centric cocktails by Runway Spirits, and bites by Blue Heron Catering to keep you from getting too foggy. Your ticket also includes a bottle of this unique vodka! Tickets are $152.98 per person, with additional guest tickets available at only $15 a person (Fog Point bottle not included). Tickets and more here. 5:30pm-7:30pm. 2505 Monarch St., Alameda.
And then on Friday April 20th, if you’re not busy smoking out in the park, you can celebrate the arrival of spring and cherry blossoms with global whiskies in Japantown’s newly remodeled HOTEL KABUKI. This spring whiskey tasting with Reza Esmaili includes these global whiskies from Japan (Fukano, Kurayoshi, Ohishi, Nikka); Taiwan (Kavalan); India (Amrut, Rampur); and Seattle (Westland). There will also be Harajuku Girl Japanese-style rice lager from SF’s HolyCraft Brewery Co. There will be llve art by Helice Wen and beats provided by DJ Billy Vidal. Tickets: $29.95-$49.95. 5:30pm-8pm. Sakura Ballroom. Hotel Kabuki, 1625 Post St. at Laguna.