This week's tablehopper: it's definitely rocktober.
The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai at Besharam, which comes with pani-puri water! Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Whooosh! How you doin’? I feel like I have flames coming off me, the past few weeks have been non-freaking-stop. I had an outstanding visit to New York: the weather was truly epic, my friends’ wedding was so sweet and special, and I was fortunate to squeeze in a few visits with some of my beloved pals out there. I got nailed with a nasty stomach bug while I was out there (how’s that for the worst timing—there is definitely something going around), but I did manage to get a few sweet meals in, like Lalou and La Mercerie. It was also fun to check out Montesacro’s fab location (and full bar and kitchen!) in Williamsburg, toss back some East Coast oysters, and got my cruffin on at Supermoon Bakehouse. If you’re into new food and beverage and wellness products, don’t miss a visit to the well-curated Pop-Up Grocer, which is running through this month in the Bowery.
Now, what are your plans this weekend? This Saturday October 12th is the 10th anniversary of the La Cocina Street Food Fest, and you can use this link or my code (Tablehopper) for free entry (or $20 off VIP)! It’s going to be such a great event (it always is), don’t miss a single bite!
You a fan of breakfast for dinner? Me too! Monday evening, I’ll be at the Hilda and Jesse pop-up at Marla Bakery, get your ticket!
Mark your calendar/get your ticket for the WCR (Women Chefs and Restaurateurs) Spotlight Event on Monday November 4th, honoring the one and only Joyce Goldstein, with some amazing tastes curated by chefs Kelly Fields (NOLA), Amanda Cohen (NYC), Elizabeth Falkner, and more (the lineup is amazing)! I just found out I’m going to be co-emceeing with Liam Mayclem, so it’s going to be a rowdy good time. Join us!
Lastly, I have to do a special thank you to everyone who joined us for the tablehopper spirited supper at Besharam a couple weeks ago. It was such an incredible meal! Chef-owner Heena Patel blew our minds, from our first bite of drunken pani puri to the spectacular Andhra fish stew, what a heartfelt Gujarati feast. Thank you, Heena, and the fab Besharam team!
If you couldn’t make it and want to experience an abridged version of our event menu, Besharam is offering a family-style menu for just $50. Incredible. Get some friends together and check it out before they come to their senses.
Our generous sponsor, Mount Gay Rum, cooled us down with the GLIF (Good Looking Indian Friends) welcome punch with Mount Gay Black Barrel, Besharam-spiced iced tea, peaches, and citrus (I want a glass of it right NOW) and Besharam’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel, cilantro syrup, lime, pani-puri water) was the party hit I expected it to be. Don’t miss that cocktail!
Now I’m thirsty. Cheers, gang. Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Dear Inga Now Open in the Former Farina, Featuring Eastern European-Inspired Dishes
As soon as you walk into DEAR INGA, you’re greeted with the light smell of smoky goodness, giving you a hint of what’s on chef David Golovin’s Eastern European-inspired menu (bring on the smoked fish and New York strip). I stuck my head in just as they were about to hold their friends and family night a couple weeks ago, but sadly I was leaving for NYC early the next morning and couldn’t stay for dinner (or take pics).
But the space looks great: the bone structure of the beautiful and airy Farina is still there—with the huge windows that face 18th Street and the skylights, and some of the stunning marble work—but none of the corrupt juju that the previous owners infected the space with, ahhhhh. Ciao, bad vibes!
Seth Boor of Boor Projects has introduced many wood elements, adding a bit of a playful mid-century feeling with some of the fixtures. The tabletops feature a fun, multi-colored patchwork, and there are tones of blue and grey throughout, like the teal tiles under the bar and the wainscoting. Oh, and cute plants. SF old-timers will recognize pieces of the location’s original Anna’s Danish Cookies sign in the front tables.
The “new old world cooking” menu is so appetizing, with plenty of dishes to share, lots of comfort food (bring on the pork and beef-stuffed cabbage!), and new-style dishes too, like scarlet runner bean croquettes with sour plum sauce and cultured cream aioli. Golovin is known for his sausage-making skills, so don’t miss those.
Desserts include plum poppy cake, a sundae with frozen kefir, chocolate cake with fig leaf jam and cream, and a plate of adorable cookies and sweets (click through to see it).
Inspiration from the team’s (Liholiho Yacht Club’s Ravi Kapur and Jeff Hanak) travels to Georgia not only come through on the menu, but also on their wine list. And then there’s the cocktail list! Expect some dill, caraway, and beets to make some savory appearances.
Look for the awesome roofdeck to open at a later date. At least there’s outdoor seating for now where you can enjoy these warm evenings. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. Brunch is coming soon. 3560 18th St. at Guerrero.
Aziza Now Reopening on Monday October 21st in the Outer Richmond
In a surprise turnaround, Mourad Lahlou is going to reopen his beloved AZIZA in the Outer Richmond, after closing it back in 2016 for a remodel. Aziza originally opened in 2001, an homage to Lahlou’s mother, and was the first Moroccan restaurant in the U.S. to be awarded a Michelin star. He was going to reopen it as Amara with chef Louis Maldonado, but that didn’t pan out (Maldonado is now at Gibson in downtown SF).
So, the new Aziza. It’s meant to be a comfortable gathering place, and both the menu and radically redesigned space reflect this new direction. The menu will feature shareable small plates and large-format entrées. Old faves like the chicken basteeya, beef cheek tagine, and hand-rolled couscous will return, with new dishes as well (Lahlou is working with Mike Daly, director of culinary operations, and chef de cuisine Frank Hanes).
A new addition will be weekend brunch, with dishes like shakshuka with kefta meatball, fudgy yolks, sweet potato, and spicy tomato; and feather-light Moroccan pancakes with stone fruit compote and orange blossom butter, which is brushed on top of the pancake to settle into each of the bubble divots as it’s on the griddle.
Aziza was always known for its culinary cocktails, and bar director Alex Okarka will be behind the new list. Tara Patrick, wine director of both Mourad and Aziza, is building the wine list.
The space now has higher ceilings and natural light, with dark wood floors, Moroccan tile, a 12-seat, communal, live-edge wooden table, and banquettes covered in black-and-white cowhide with a plum leather base. The bar is now in its own room, with 15 seats at a curved, poured concrete bar with teal tile. The back room offers a more private (and verdant) dining experience, with plush green banquettes and palm print wallpaper.
Aziza reopens on Monday October 14th. UPDATE: THE REOPENING IS NOW MONDAY OCTOBER 21ST. Hours will be daily 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm. 5800 Geary Blvd. at 22nd Ave.
Openings Include The Greenwich, Family Cafe, Konomama, Sunset Cantina
Big Night Restaurant Group has finished their transformation of Cow Marlowe into THE GREENWICH, now offering a “Hamptons-in-the-Marina” style and a lighter menu from chef Jennifer Puccio as well (check it out here). Open for happy hour 4:30pm-6pm and 10pm to close; dinner Wed-Sun 5:30pm-close; brunch coming October 26th: Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 3154 Fillmore St. at Greenwich.
Now open in North Beach is FAMILY CAFE from Ray Lee (Akiko’s Restaurant), Jessica Furui (former sake director at Ozumo), and chef Tadayuki Furui (most recently of Soba Ichi). Come by for a menu of homestyle classics, like katsu chicken sandwiches, hearty salads, curry rice, and daily specials, plus Mr. Espresso coffee drinks, matcha, baked goods, and more; they hope to secure a beer and wine license so Jessica can serve her sake magic. There’s a cozy atmosphere that is meant to inspire people to linger, come on by. Open Mon-Sat 11am-6pm; coffee and tea at 10am. 362 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo. [Via Chronicle.]
There’s a new curry shop on Geary from the former chef of Ken Ken Ramen called KONOMAMA. Chef Takahiro Hori partnered up with Yoshuke Takahashi (Ramen Underground), who was running a curry shop called Back Room in this location, but it has been given a design refresh. Look for some vibrant and healthy curry plates, which come with side salads and vegetables (even if you’re ordering the BBQ pork rib and croquette plate), with some vegan options too. Open Tue-Fri 11:30am-3pm and 5pm-9pm, Sat 11:30am-9pm, Sun 11:30am-5pm. 4601 Geary Blvd. at 10th Ave. [Via Eater.]
Over in the Outer Sunset is the newly opened SUNSET CANTINA in the former Pisces California Cuisine location. On the menu: Mexican street food (tacos, elote), fried shrimp with yucca fries, a chorizo and beef hamburger, and a full bar of tequila and mezcal cocktails. 3414 Judah St. at 39th Ave.
Tidbits: Tsuta Ramen Is Softly Open Now, New Menu at Manny's, Midnite Bagel
Just in case you were excited to check out the upcoming TSUTA, the first U.S. location of the Michelin-starred ramen shop, they are actually softly open right now in advance of their October 20th grand opening. According to this post) on Yelp, they are serving 300 bowls of ramen (limited menu) each day, starting at 5pm. (People have been lining up a couple hours before, although another Yelper had better luck on a Sunday and just had a short wait.) 135 4th St. at Mission.
Over at Farming Hope at MANNY’S in the Mission, you’ll find a new menu from Farming Hope’s new culinary director, chef Larry Feygin, who has worked in some top restaurants (Lazy Bear, Alinea in Chicago, Daniel Berlin in Sweden). The primarily plant-based menu is designed to be affordable, nutritious, flavorful, and approachable—an average meal costs $10, and everything on the coffee menu is under $4. You’ll find a Mediterranean-focused menu, with shakshuka, frittata, breakfast flatbread, toasts, soup, salad, and bowls.
Farming Hope is a non-profit community organization providing transitional employment and training in the culinary industry to unhoused and low-income people in our community. Please show them some support! Hours: Mon-Fri daytime menu 8am-3pm and cocktail bites menu 4pm-10pm; weekend brunch Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. 3092 16th St. at Valencia.
Have you had a chance to check out the MIDNITE BAGEL pop-up? It’s now running on Fridays at Tartine Bakery, starting at 6pm. These naturally fermented bagels from are so good (peep my past order here). Pre-order here. 600 Guerrero St. at 18th St.
Closures Include Dosa on Valencia, Miller's East Coast Deli, Hooker's Sweet Treats, Castagna, Rosamunde on Haight
It was a shocker to learn that after 15 years on Valencia, DOSA ON VALENCIA was closing (the last day of service was September 30th). Co-owner Anjan Mitra attributes the closure to the oft-cited issues of rising rent, labor costs, SF employer mandates, and food delivery services, basically all the things killing small restaurants right now—and they had a full liquor license. Read more in their post on Facebook. Thanks for all the years of feeding us—fortunately Dosa on Fillmore is still open, and Dosa by Dosa in Oakland. [Via Eater.]
After 18 years on Polk Street, MILLER’S EAST COAST DELI closed on September 23rd. Owner Robby Morgenstein did not comment on reasons for the closure. [Via Hoodline.]
Also nearby, I learned that HOOKER’S SWEET TREATS is going to be closing soon. David Williams has been serving his awesome caramels, baked goods, bread pudding, and coffee to the Tenderloin neighborhood for nine years, but a multitude of reasons have added up to force him decide to close the café. If anyone is interested in purchasing the brand, drop him an email. No word on when the closure is happening (it’s soon), you can track it on Twitter. 442 Hyde St. at Ellis.
CASTAGNA in the Marina is closing at the end of October after eight years in business. Owner Stéphane Meloni is returning to France, and the space is reportedly becoming a fast-casual restaurant. [Via Chronicle.]
Folks were dismayed with the news that Lower Haight’s ROSAMUNDE SAUSAGE GRILL had suddenly closed, but a follow-up report announced that former employee Christine Blunck will be opening Berliner Berliner in the space (she was born in Berlin), and will still serve sausages (and Tuesday burgers), plus some new additions. The grand opening is October 31st, in time for “Hallow-weenie.” Hours will be 11am-10pm. And she was able to keep the original staff! Rosamunde in the Mission and Oakland remain open. 545 Haight St. at Fillmore. [Via Hoodline.]
This one is a damn shame, since I grew up with it (my Dad’s service station was right down the street): after 60 years in business, Redwood City’s WOODSIDE DELI has closed its doors. Original owner Dan Galinetti sold the business in 2017 to Kyle Vogel, a longtime customer, who closed the business for a remodel. He reopened, but then his landlord proposed a 52 percent rent increase, and couple that with issues with staffing and healthcare costs, and it all means this precious deli is no longer with us. Thanks again to the Galinetti family for all the years of cold cuts and their epic Godfather sandwiches—sadly it wasn’t the same without you. [Via Chronicle.]
510 Updates: Brenda's Oakland Now Open, and Many More Spots
After announcing the upcoming opening of BRENDA’S in Temescal one year ago, look who’s now open! Brenda Buenviaje and Libby Truesdell have opened Brenda’s Oakland in a new building, the Maya, at Broadway and 41st. It’s fast-casual/counter service, offering the best of their signature items, like beignets, brunch items, fried chicken, and a bunch of po’boys (with some new ones too). Here’s the breakfast menu and lunch too.
Since the area is more residential, they have some kid-friendly additions like milkshakes and a kid’s menu, and will soon offer some family meals (with chicken!) to bring home. Hours: Wed-Mon 8am-3pm (closed Tue) for now, serving breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and then adding supper/dinner service (until 10pm) soon. 4045 Broadway at 41st St., Oakland.
For a complete list of September openings (and closures) in the East Bay, check out this detailed Nosh post, which includes TARTINE BAKERY’s opening in Berkeley’s Graduate Hotel, and THE LEDE from Chez Panisse’s Cal Peternell.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored Event): Limited Tickets Available to Pinots & Plaid Luxury Wine Tasting
On Saturday October 26th, Pinots & Plaid will feature 25 leading pinot noir producers from Northern California, and invites wine lovers, foodies, and luxury connoisseurs to enjoy fine wines paired with high-end cuisine by Ryan Scott 2 Go Events in the historic, stunningly restored, Hibernia Bank Building in San Francisco.
Producers will include: Anthill Farms Winery, Blue Farm, Bucher, CIRQ, Clarice Wine Co., Cobb Wines, Copain Wines, Coursey Graves, Dunstan, Dutton Goldfield, Freeman Vineyard & Winery, Gary Farrell, Hyde Estate, Kutch, Lando, Maggy Hawk, Peay Vineyards, Red Car, Reeve, Roederer Estate, Sangiacomo Vineyards, Sojourn Cellars, Stewart Cellars, Texture Wine, Three Sticks, and Williams Selyem.
A VIP reception sponsored by San Francisco Magazine and Roederer Estate will feature sparkling wine by Roederer Estate and caviar from The Caviar Co. 2pm-3pm VIP only, 3:15pm-5:30pm VIP lounge.
Tickets: GA are $115 and VIP are $185. Use code tablehopper for an additional $10 savings off tickets! VIP 2pm entry, GA 3pm-5:30pm.
Saturday October 26th Hibernia Bank 1 Jones St. San Francisco
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Fort Point Beer Opens a Spiffy New Taproom on Valencia
Last Friday, I attended a preview of the new Fort Point Beer Company taproom, FORT POINT VALENCIA, and it’s quite a looker (and taster). You won’t recognize the former St. James Brasserie space—Fort Point Beer Company’s creative director, Dina Dobkin, created a sleek, stylish place, with natural light from the skylights, round communal tables (there are smaller tables in the back), a monochromatic palette that gets hit with bright pops of color—like the custom neon pieces by Peterson Neon, the blue entrance and table stands, and the back archway of red—and check out the sunken beer taps and chic light fixtures. They also did some stealth sound paneling so you can hear yourself think.
You’ll find a tap list of 12 Fort Point beers, plus 7 guest drafts (including experimental, draft-only beers from Black Sands Brewery), and 2 ciders. And there’s a pretty sweet wine list too, with minimal intervention producers—it’s like a secret wine bar.
Executive chef Eric Ehler (previously Mister Jiu’s) is putting out such a creative and delicious menu, with elements of Chinese cuisine, Cali freshness, and basically all the things you want while drinking beer, like dill chips with fluffy Millionaire’s Dip, a pork chop bun on Dutch crunch that is going to own you, and his famed cheeseburger, which he became known for while at Black Sands (there’s also a yuba club sandwich). Of course you’re going to get the party bread, and I definitely had a moment with the egg salad tartine on rye topped with corned beef tongue and chicken liver.
Open daily 11am-12am. 742 Valencia St. at 18th St.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored Event): Wharf Fest Returns Oct. 19 with Famous Chowder Competition and Live Music
On Saturday October 19th, 10 beloved Fisherman’s Wharf restaurants will battle for the coveted honor of Best Chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf at Wharf Fest. (Fog Harbor took the title last year.) Beer and wine tastings are also offered. The competition and tastings are 12pm-3pm.
In its seventh year, a new addition to the festival this year is a FOUR-HOUR, ticketed, open-air, benefit concert featuring supergroup The Side Deal, featuring Grammy-winning artist Charlie Colin of Train, Stan Frazier of Sugar Ray, and brothers Joel and Scott Owen of The PawnShop kings. 4pm-8pm.
Tickets and packages start at $40. All proceeds of the event will directly fund the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District nonprofit 501(c)(3) and the Wharf Cares program.
2 Jefferson St. San Francisco