Meow! And I really mean it! Those of you who follow me on Instagram already know about the latest addition to Hopper HQ: Miss Fortuna von Chonk! I drove up to Oregon last week to adopt this beautiful and feisty cat—I know, I know, go ahead and call me crazy cat lady, but I knew she was the one. I just can’t believe this absolute love bug was left to fend for herself by her previous owners. Her foster paw-rent took exquisite care of her the past three months, and now we’re settling in (hella snuggles) and getting to know each other (and which toys she likes).
She appears to be a Chausie-domestic shorthair mix, which I’m learning all about, and is guesstimated to be around three-five years old. If you have any tips about your favorite SF vet or raw food diets or whatever kitty intel you feel like sharing, I’m all ears. (So is she—her cute little pricked-up ears keep cracking me up.) I’m so grateful for my new furry sidekick and chonky shadow (although someone is annoyed with my deadline, she wants to play)! I’m so glad she enjoys binge-watching “Call My Agent” with me, ha! More of that tonight. Bella Fortuna!
It was so great to see the American Rescue Plan (finally) pass through the House and Senate, with $28.6 billion in funding for a grant program to support independent restaurants and bars. YES! Release the funding!
I’m also so heartened to see San Francisco ease into our second week in the red tier, marking the return of indoor dining (at 25 percent capacity), and Alameda County, Solano County, and Santa Cruz County have also just moved into the red tier. Some restaurants are waiting until their entire staff is vaccinated before reopening indoor dining (I will not grow tired of seeing vaccination pics, keep posting them!), and others are taking it slow because any tier setbacks are downright devastating for business. Please keep respecting mask guidelines and social distancing so we don’t slip! We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the first stay-at-home order for SF, and I know it’s bringing up a lot of feelings for folx. So much has happened in one year. Stay strong, stay resilient, stay respectful, and let’s keep moving toward that light on the horizon.
A few things to note in SF under the new Health Order: outdoor dining no longer has to adhere to the 10pm curfew, although indoor dining has to cease service by 10pm (customers can finish their meal by 10:30pm); indoor dining tables are limited to members of one household, up to a maximum of four people; and outdoor dining now allows for members of three households, up to six people per table.
One place that could really use your help is Japantown. It’s dire over there. Please visit and support Japantown businesses in any way you can, from takeout to shopping. Thank you for paying a visit.
A big “merci!” to today’s sponsored giveaway, Smiirl, who is giving away three of their clever social media Counters! Check it out and nominate your favorite restaurant or small business to enter to win one! Thumbs up!
I’m going to get back to catching up with my insane inbox, under the watchful green eyes of my new supervisor.
Ciao for meow! Marcia Gagliardi
It really is the end of an era: there’s an online auction this week of the entire contents of our 157-year-old landmark, the CLIFF HOUSE. The three-day auction is March 11th-13th, and is selling everything from the kitchen contents to vintage Sutro Baths swimsuits to lithographs and signed movie star photos. It’s such a shame to have that collection of ephemera and memorabilia scattered and bought by the highest private bidders.
The SFWeekly reports there is an effort, “spearheaded by a community history nonprofit, the Western Neighborhoods Project, and two local fine art galleries, the effort, dubbed Save the Cliff House Collection, aims to raise enough money to buy some of the collection’s most culturally valuable objects at the auction and preserve them for the public for years to come.”
You can make a tax-deductible donation that will help save some key items from the auction from disappearing into private collections, and will help “stabilize the artifacts, determine their best long-term display in the neighborhoods, and develop educational programming that keeps the memory of The Cliff House, Sutro Baths, and Playland at the Beach close.” Please take a look and spread the word.
There’s a new dim sum takeout spot in the Outer Richmond, DIMDODUC, offering classic dim sum like har gow, pork siu mai, chive dumplings, cheung fun (steamed rice rolls), century egg congee, and sesame balls. Their BBQ pork buns look especially crackly and GBD (golden-brown and delicious). 3398 Balboa St. at 34th Ave.
Jay Roberts of Flybird (which is known for delicious, international versions of fried chicken sandwiches and salads—I love the Jalisco chopped salad) has launched a new concept, Katsu Kitchen, which still features chicken breaded with their house spice blend and panko and then fried, but is now served over rice with housemade Japanese curry, fukujinzuke (a tangy relish), and sesame slaw, all made in-house from scratch. The curry has such deep and complex flavor, it really pops, and that’s because he’s using some higher quality ingredients from Greg Dunmore at The Japanese Pantry, as well as making their own curry blend from organic spices.
You’ll find chicken katsu (or vegetarian) curry bowls and sandwiches; the sandwich is actually more of a dip—it comes on such a squishy French roll, and you dip it into the curry! Plus: there are furikake fries. Available for delivery or pickup at 1 Maiden Lane, Mon-Fri 11am-2pm.
You’ll find a new and affordable Korean spot for lunch in the Fillmore, KITCHEN WOORI, now open in the former Hollywood Cafe. There’s gimbap (maki-style rice roll filled with a variety of seasonal vegetables and your choice of proteins), all kinds of bibimbap, soup of the day, and some lunch boxes (dosirak) with beef bulgogi, spicy pork, or a tonkatsu-style cutlet. Open daily 10am-3pm. 1545 Fillmore St. at Geary.
The former Saigon BBQ in Brisbane has closed, and the Tang family has reopened it in the Outer Sunset as SAIGON BBQ NOODLE HOUSE. You’ll see pho and bun bo hue and banh mi and garlic noodles, and a whole lot more on their extensive menu, but they are prized for their com tam (broken rice) plates. Open daily 11am-9pm (8pm on Sunday). 1936 Irving St. at 21st Ave.
I swung by the new Mexican spot in the Castro for weekend brunch, SANTERÍA, which opened in the former Finn Town, and they just launched their full menu, which you can check out. You won’t want to miss consultant Samantha Kharma’s and new bar manager Briana Santiago’s new cocktail list, which offers some well-composed combinations, like the La Botánica (St. George Terroir gin, mezcal, Ancho Verde, cucumber, basil, aloe, lime). You can enjoy their chilaquiles and cocktails in their outdoor Shared Space, which has a fun, loungey vibe, and they’re also opening indoor dining. Happy hour is launching soon. Open Sun-Thu 11am-9pm and Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. 2251 Market St. at Sanchez.
I was happy to read this profile of a new coffee roaster, shop, and retailer in the Bayview, TALLIO’S COFFEE & TEA. Read all about this community-minded business in this Eater piece and show them some support. Open Mon-Sat 6am-3pm and Sun 7am-3pm. 4732 3rd St. at Oakdale.
Want a taste of the delicious food that will be coming from the seven women of color-owned businesses in La Cocina’s upcoming Municipal Marketplace? The answer is YES! They just launched a community food box celebrating Women’s History Month, and the boxes will come with a seven-course meal that feeds four with leftovers, and is available in vegetarian or omnivore options. $120. You can see the menus and order here. The deadline to order is March 19th, with pick-up at The Municipal Marketplace (101 Hyde St., SF) and delivery on March 26th!
This Thursday March 11th marks the return of the Mission Community Market at 22nd and Bartlett Streets, now in its eleventh year. CUESA welcomes two new vendors: Bolita (a new maker of fresh masa, tortillas, sopes, salsas, and guisados) and Alexandre Family Farm (a regenerative family farm offering pastured milk and dairy products). Other recent additions include Norte 54 (Mexican baked goods, pan dulce) and Fox & Lion Bread Co. (bread and pizza). Read more about opening day here. Customers using CalFresh (EBT/SNAP) benefits at Mission Community Market can double their dollars (up to $10 per market day) through the Market Match program, which offers free market coins redeemable for fruits and vegetables. 3pm-7pm.
Well, heck. After 10 years of holding down the corner of Haight and Steiner in the Lower Haight, MAVEN is closing at the end of March (their last service will be Monday March 29th). In a heartfelt post on Facebook, owner Jay Bordeleau shares: “Maven was unable to find a reasonable path forward with our landlord. The phrase, ‘Such a total bummer,’ is beyond an understatement. […] COVID19 caused 10 people to lose their jobs a year ago. And now, the hardest part about this decision is five more people losing their gainful employment during a pandemic because of a needed business decision. I’m mad. I fought as hard as I could for their jobs and it still wasn’t enough.” Such a big ugh.
Maven was a great first date spot, and such a neighborhood hangout. They also had a cocktail called the Oxford Comma, which should speak to any writer’s heart. Come by for a last drink and their burger with Angostura bitters. Open Tue-Sun 4:30pm-9.30pm. 598 Haight St. at Steiner.
Over in the Mission, a big piece of 22nd Street’s gypsy-bohemian vibe has gone silent with the closure of THE REVOLUTION CAFE, according to this piece in Broke-Ass Stuart. It was always like a lively European café street scene, with violins or congas or Balkan beats on the patio nightly at The Rev. The piece mentions owners Andre and Jennifer Larzul are remaining silent about the closure, but “a group of about 9-10 regulars have been discussing the possibility of taking it over, but there is nothing concrete.” One can only hope, there was no place like it. 3248 22nd St. at Bartlett.
Cheese, cheese, and more cheese… Get your tickets now before they sell out for this year’s virtual California Artisan Cheese Festival on March 14th and March 26th.
Order your Grand Tasking Kit (aka instant cheese party in a box) to join the California Artisan Cheese Festival’s virtual Grand Tasting! Each kit includes 10 amazing CA cheeses (at least 4 pounds!), crackers, jam, and chocolate, and a ticket to the virtual Grand Tasting on 3/26 (at 5pm) for behind-the-scenes farm and creamery tours, pro tips and tricks to cook and pair cheese, hosted by Food Network Star and cheese champion Duskie Estes. Free shipping within the continental US. Order your tasting kit + Grand Tasting ticket by 3/15 or before they sell out to support your local cheesemakers!
Join the Virtual Bubbles Brunch Cooking Demo on Sunday March 14th at 10:30am with La Crema Winery Chef and Cheese Specialist, Tracey Shepos Cenami. You’ll get recipes, a shopping list, and demonstration for irresistible cheese-inspired brunch dishes. Cook alongside or sit back and enjoy the show. Purchase by 3/12 and get ONE FREE ADMISSION to next year’s Artisan Cheese Festival Marketplace in Santa Rosa, March 2022.
The pandemic has been particularly brutal on our local bar scene, but you gotta love that hope really does spring eternal, and in this case, it’s a plant-loving bar called PROPAGATION, opening in the former Tonic’s second location (on Post) in Lower Nob Hill. Co-owners Heather Hoffman (an SF bartender of 15 years: Ruby Skye, Jones, Public Works, and her own Raise the Bar cocktail catering and consultancy) and her wife Lauren Nguyen (a designer: R3 Design and bona fide plant lover) are creating a neighborhood-friendly hangout, one that’s a bit grown-up, but not too too. Plants will abound, from the tropical troughs o’ plants in their outdoor Shared Space to the leafy wallpaper in the well-appointed bathrooms. There will also be nice lighting and lots of custom touches.
The list of playful and some garden-centric cocktails (think: salad in your glass!) are designed to be delicious but not super-serious, like an açai-and-Champagne piña colada, a red snapper (like a Bloody Mary, but with gin—and you can get a mini snap so you don’t get too full), and a pistachio cream-topped Irish cold brew (sign me up). There will be wines by the glass and on tap (like The Day Project, which also raises money for various causes) and Heather mentions they will always have a beer on tap from Standard Deviant. There will also be cold brew from Ikon Roastery, Lev’s Kombucha, and a variety of pop-ups supplying bites, starting with their friends at Papito Hayes (they’re excited to be able to support the local community and friends).
They hope to get final sign-off from the Health Department to open next week in time for St. Patrick’s Day, so let’s find a lucky clover for them. Otherwise, they’ll be open when they can open Thu-Sun 2pm-2am—they want to be able to provide a space for people to hang out in the afternoon (a 2pm happy hour is coming!) and late for folx getting off work who have nowhere to hang out in our current ghost town. I will post on Instagram as soon as they’re open, otherwise, give these lady bar owners a follow at @propagationsf and cheers to that! 895 Post St. at Hyde.
In one of the more resilient stories of the year, bar owner Kevin Diedrich still managed to open his new bar project, KONA’S STREET MARKET just days after a devastating electrical fire at his other bar, Pacific Cocktail Haven (PCH). When I saw the opening on Instagram, I was like, “Whuuuuuuut, this guy!” He’s working with Brian Means at KSM, collaborating with Sidecar Hospitality (the team behind Schroeder’s restaurant, the Press Club, and PCH.) You can read more backstory in this SFGATE piece if you are so inclined.
The cocktails are inspired by street markets from all around the world (Europe, Middle East-Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific), with international ingredients and spirits to match, like the Hard to Say Dubai (Wyoming whiskey, apple brandy, Montenegro, prickly pear, citrus, absinthe, bitters), Save Me a Piece of That Corn! (Espolon Blanco tequila, falernum, Averna, atole de elote, horchata), and the Nippon Cooler (Toki Japanese whisky, aloe, watermelon, osmanthus, citrus, bitters, soda).
For now, there are a limited number of sidewalk seats, available only by reservation, and cocktails will also be available to-go. KSM is open Tue-Sat 3pm-7pm. 32 3rd St. at Stevenson.
The Smiirl realtime Instagram and Facebook Counters are brilliantly simple: they display the follower or like count of your restaurant’s social media account, in real time. That’s it!
The engaging Counter has mechanical flaps that produce a subtle sound every time it flips to a new number. It ends up giving your social media accounts a physical presence you never would have imagined, and encourages your customer to follow your account right then and there. Your Facebook or Instagram account becomes a conversation starter, helping you grow in an authentic way!
Started in Paris, France, restaurants and businesses around the world have adopted the Counter to boost their social media. Take a quick tour on Smiirl’s Trustpilot profile and you start understanding how the Counters got some sort of cult-like status in parts of the world. People just fall in love with them!
Three Bay Area restaurants and small businesses can enter to win a Facebook or Instagram Counter! The winner gets to choose! Nominate or tag your favorite café, pizzeria, corner restaurant, or small business! Retail value: $389 each.
To enter to win, all you need to do is visit this post on Instagram!
Three lucky winners living in the Bay Area will be randomly chosen on Tue March 16th, 2021 (at 10am, Cali time). Your Smiirl will be mailed to you. Good luck!
Don’t want to wait to see if you’ve won? Enter promo code TABLEHOPPER for 20 percent off your own Counter!