This week's tablehopper: say cheeeeeeese.
A wedge of Gorgonzola the size of a cake. (At the annual Casa de Case Cena al Magazzino.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy, gang. You ready for me to make you hongry? I’m already thinking ahead to my dinner tonight at 1760, with ribollita, and pappardelle with duck ragù on their current Winter in Tuscany prix-fixe menu. I also enjoyed such a delicious “wintertime in California” menu on Sunday evening at Del Popolo, check out the goodies here. And I don’t know about you, but it’s chicken Parm weather, and there’s nothing better than splitting a brand-new chicken Parm sub from Great Gold with a friend. They are only delivering sandwiches (no dine-in) at lunchtime (Mon-Fri 10:30am-3pm). (Their Italian combo was also a winner.)
A little over a week ago was the Fancy Food Show and Good Food Mercantile, with thousands of products to taste (and some to avoid, LOL). I posted some highlights over on Instagram if you’re interested in what’s the latest, and here’s my recap piece for Food Spark on some of the trends and ingredients I noticed at both shows.
It was also time for the annual Cena al Magazzino, generously hosted by beloved importer Casa de Case in their warehouse, and what an incredible feast it was. (I know many of us had Colin Dewey in our hearts that night.)
Also on the sentimental tip: don’t miss this remarkable film (and documentary), Honeyland. I saw it as a final show at the Clay last week, and can’t stop thinking about it. It’s such an extraordinary film. You can order it online, or even better, support one of our other Landmark theaters and catch it at the Opera Plaza.
Have a good week—maybe I’ll see you at the crab feed this Saturday? Read on for more!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
The Legendary La Folie Closing in March After 32 Years on Polk Street
Francophiles, Russian Hill residents, longtime SF diners, fans of tasting menus, and many former chefs and cooks who came through the kitchen at LA FOLIE were dismayed with the news yesterday that chef-owner Roland Passot and his wife Jamie have decided to close the restaurant and La Folie Lounge on March 14th, 2020.
They opened the restaurant 32 years ago, in 1988, providing a highly personable, contemporary French fine dining experience for their guests, an elegant setting for countless special occasions. Chef Roland embodies the spirit of a true French host—always in the kitchen, circulating the room, and even popping into the lounge next door to see who’s in. And La Folie is a family affair: Roland’s brother, Georges, a sommelier at La Folie, was often the first face you’d see when you walked in (they share the same Lyonnaise twinkle in their eye).
But chef is turning 65, and is ready to “turn the page,” and start doing other things, like work on a memoir and cookbook (he has 50 years of cooking tales to share); lead culinary tours to France, Spain, and Italy; and he will continue to be in partnership with the Vine Dining family of restaurants: Left Bank Brasserie in Larkspur, San Jose, and Menlo Park; LB Steak and Meso in San Jose; and an upcoming LB Steak in San Ramon (he is looking forward to hosting some pop-up dinners, too). He wants to have time to “think about ourselves”—his wife Jamie had cancer two years ago and is now thankfully in remission, and it’s time for them to be free of the constant demands of running a restaurant and enjoy life more.
I heard some rumors that Roland was trying to sell La Folie around the end of last year, and he is still hoping for a young chef to take it over and continue the legacy of this special place on Upper Polk; he said when they first moved in, there wasn’t much going on in the neighborhood, and some people thought it wasn’t a good idea to open there—funny how he proved them wrong. Over the years, of course there were ups and downs, but he knows they’ve had such a good run. The restaurant goes on the market this week.
So much talent has been trained and come through La Folie’s kitchen (it’s a chef’s legacy!) and the floor, and they have some truly longtime staff—some have been there for 20 years, and chef says they are going to help all of the employees find good placements. A big loss will be the departure of wine director Robco, our Rob Renteria, always ready with a friendly smile and mischievous laugh as he pours you something fantastic. He has been there for the past seven years—no word on his next stop, but his fan club will find him.
Merci to the La Folie family for all the hospitality over the years. And thank you for teaching me who Bernard Loiseau was vis-à-vis the frogs’ legs that were on the menu, back when I came into the restaurant for my first time when I was writing for Gayot in 2008 or thereabouts. Even through the menu, Roland would teach. Enjoy this new phase in your life, chef.
La Folie - 2316 Polk St. San Francisco - 415-776-5577
Bakery Sequels: Arsicault and Devil's Teeth, and Daily Driver, Too
The second location of famed croissant-maker ARSICAULT BAKERY has opened in Civic Center, an offshoot of the original Inner Richmond location. But now, owner Armando Lacayo has much more production space to work with, which means he’ll be expanding the current lineup of croissants, croissants, kouign amanns, and chocolate chip cookies to include tarts, quiches, napoleons, and sandwiches on housemade baguettes and country loaves. But first, he wants to settle in to the new location and make sure everything is coming out perfectly. Visitors will find some seating, with more coming outdoors soon. And for now, less of a line. Open Mon-Fri 7am-2pm. 87 McAllister St. at Leavenworth. [Via Chronicle]
Meanwhile, the taker for the Marla Bakery space in the Outer Richmond has been revealed: the Outer Sunset’s DEVIL’S TEETH BAKING COMPANY is going to be opening a second location! Owner Hilary Passman will be bringing her famed biscuit breakfast sandwiches, quiches, and other baked goods for breakfast and lunch service. Look for an opening in February, more details soon. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave. [Via Eater.]
If you’ve been craving the wood-fired bagels (and butter) from DAILY DRIVER, but find the Dogpatch location a little tough to get to, you can now pick some up at their new bagel shop in the Ferry Building Marketplace. You’ll also find their housemade cream cheese, quark, wood-fired pretzels, simple bagel sandwiches, and coffee from Red Bay Coffee.
But this pop-up isn’t at a kiosk: they’re using a 1984 Chevy shorty panel van that rolls out every morning and rolls back in at night. (The team donates a portion of sales to Project Wreckless, an auto shop in The Bayview that teaches at-risk kids the craft of restoring old cars.) They are exploring options to build out a permanent space in the Ferry Building, but for now, the van shop is open every day from 6am to 6pm.
Changes Afoot at Allegro Romano...and More
According to an ABC license transfer, the chef-owner of Ideale in North Beach, Maurizio Bruschi, is possibly taking over ALLEGRO ROMANO from another fellow Roman, Lorenzo Logoreci. I reached out to Ideale and Maurizio’s business partner, Giuseppe Terminiello, for confirmation and more information, but didn’t hear back in time for my deadline. In the meantime, entertain yourself with the recent spate of one-star reviews on Yelp about the cranky proprietor—sounds like someone forgot about the “allegro” in their business name. 1701 Jones St. at Broadway, 415-928-4002.
After being temporarily closed for the past nine months, it looks like BUTTERMILK SOUTHERN KITCHEN in the Mission has closed for good. According to a tablehopper tipster, the space was getting cleaned out this past weekend, and the awning now says YU SAN FONG. If anyone has any intel, do tell! 2848 23rd St. at Bryant.
Bonita Opens in the Castro
The former Squat & Gobble in the Castro is now the second location of BONITA TAQUERIA Y ROTISSERIE, serving rotisserie chicken, tacos, burritos, bowls, quesadillas, nachos, tortilla soup, salads, sides, and weekend brunch (Fri-Sun) with bottomless mimosas. You’ll also find micheladas, sangria, beer, and more. I tried confirming the hours from their other location in the Marina, but no dice—let’s assume it’s 11am-10pm like their original location for now. There’s plenty of outdoor seating as well. 3600 16th St. at Noe.
Time to Feast: Crab Feed This Saturday, Special Guests at Tartine Manufactory, Pencils for Kids Fundraiser
The 8th Annual Crab Feed is this Saturday February 1st at The Alice Collective in Oakland, featuring fresh Dungeness crabs from our local fishermen, plus bottomless mimosas and endless beers will be flowing. You’ll enjoy sourdough garlic bread, a seasonal mixed green salad, housemade garlic noodles, and the main event: fresh Dungeness crabs with drawn butter and lemon, with chocolate chip cookies for dessert (if you have any room left).
There are two seatings: 11am to 1pm and the second at 2:30pm to 4:30pm. Tickets will sell out, so get yours ASAP! $80. Proceeds from the Crab Feed will benefit The Golden State Salmon Association. The Alice Collective, 272 14th St. at Alice, Oakland.
Chef Nico Peña of TARTINE MANUFACTORY is hosting a Winter Chef & Winemaker Dinner Series through March 2020. Book your table for these special one-night collaborative menus through OpenTable, and select the prix-fixe menu once you’re seated.
Tonight ( Jan. 28) is Little Frances with Erin Pooley; Feb. 11: Stirm Wine Co. with Ryan Stirm; Feb. 9: Tartine Bread Team Pizzeria Night; Feb. 25: Martha Stoumen Wines with Martha Stoumen; Mar. 1: chef Joseph Sasto ; Mar. 15: chef David Yoshimura, Restaurant Nissei. Seatings available from 5pm-9pm. 595 Alabama St. at 18th St.
Pencils for Kids is hosting their annual fundraiser to help children in Bali, Myanmar, and Thailand attend school on Thursday February 6th, Small World, Big Flavors, at DZINE. Get your ticket for a walk-around tasting featuring Chibog, Curry Up Now, Esan Classic, Nick’s on Grand, Helio Roast, and more, plus wine pours, a silent auction, and a raffle. Tickets are $75, and the evening begins at 6:30pm. If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate to this worthy organization, please click here. 128 Utah St. at Alameda.
(Matchmaker): Bamboo Sushi Now Hiring for an Executive Chef
Bamboo Sushi, the world’s first sustainable sushi concept, is now open in City Center Bishop Ranch! We are seeking an experienced and highly energetic leader to partner with their front-of-house counterpart in delivering an amazing culinary experience while continuing to grow our mission of sustainability within the community.
To learn more about this opportunity, follow the link.
(Matchmaker): KAIYŌ Is Now Hiring a General Manager
KAIYŌ is the food and drink experience of the Japanese journey in Peru. It is an exploration of these two cultures, immersed in regional ingredients, notable flavors, and skilled preparation to delight your senses. From fresh ceviche and sashimi to grilled scallops and wagyu, our food tells a story on the palate.
To learn more about this opportunity, follow the link.