This week's tablehopper: happy places.
The Thai green curry and barbecued oysters at Nick’s Cove, with their barrel-aged Boulevardier. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hello, folks. How’s this short week treating you? My Memorial Day was spent working, but at least it was on a cannabis and food project (living my best life!). I was asked to create a recipe for a dinner party highlighting Flow Kana’s new Farmer’s Reserve series, so I spent the day test-driving and photographing my recipe: Marinated Goat Cheese Herby Appterpizer (that is not a misspelling, it’s me being goofy—the recipe is designed to highlight the terpenes in cannabis flower). Even if you don’t enjoy cannabis, the recipe would be a good one for parties (or just to have in the fridge for snacks or salads or pasta!). Let me know if you try it!
If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen my latest adventures in my happy places: the newly reopened Tosca Cafe, the bar at Nopa for their iconic cheeseburger (indoor dining is back!), Besharam for Heena’s new vegetarian menu, and last weekend, I was up at Nick’s Cove and soaking in the Tomales Bay magic. I love it there so much. (Don’t miss their special Table With a View cookbook launch brunches this summer!)
I’m still working away on my apartment renovation, and my lady lair is lookin’ good! There was a small issue with my brand-new, blush-lilac, brushed-velvet sofa/chaise, so if anyone is looking for a swanky, stylish sectional for their small apartment, I’m selling one at a fabulous price! (The new one arrived and Fortuna lurves how soft it is.)
I’m going to be holding a two-day garage sale NEXT weekend (June 12th-13th), selling a TON of vintage clothes (and new lewks, too), Burning Man fashions, accessories, shooz, housewares, books, and trinkets! (I will also have the remainder of the tablehopper t-shirts there if you want to see them in person—many thanks to all of you who have been buying them online, I appreciate the support!) I will announce sale details soon on social media—be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for updates!
I’m hustling to make this garage sale a success because it’s going to be a fundraiser for my upcoming trip to Croatia in July! I can’t believe I have an international trip on my calendar, and to a place where I have never been (but been wanting to go to for yearssss). My dear friend from my freshman year in college (my first gay friend!) is hosting a group of us on a gulet for a week (!) for his 50th birthday, touring Croatian islands and places like Primosten, Sibenik, Skradin and Krka National Park, Kaprije, Vis, Hvar, and Brac. If you have any recommendations on where to eat or drink or things to check out in those places (or other things to add to the itinerary, it’s flexible!), we’d be so grateful! You guys always amaze me with your recos. It’s a two-way street over here!
I’ll be staying in Split for a few days, and am planning on renting a car to tour around Croatia after the boat trip, so any recommendations on villages, beaches, food destinations, wineries, or people I should meet would be amazing. (More ballin’ on a budget than bougie, thanks.) My sis is going to come out to join me (!) and we’re going to the Defected: Croatia music festival in Tisno, OMG. It’s my dream lineup of house and disco DJs. (If you know anyone going, I’d love to hook up with any SF or international friends!) Talk about a YOLO summer trip. After this past year, I’m so ready for fun and sun.
Of course, I’m already fretting over the time away from my precious Fortuna, and am looking for any vetted/recommended apartment and cat sitters who gypsy around and stay at people’s places. I have a few leads and ideas—I want my beloved empress to have all the love and care and attention she deserves while Mom is off tearing things up (Croatia is my own scratching post, ha-ha!). I actually cried a little my first night away from her while I was at Nick’s Cove, so let’s just say someone is very attached to her baby girl. (Okay, I’m obsessed, but if you had this sweetie snuggle monster curled up next to you every morning, you would be, too.)
I need to get ready for a presentation I’m giving tonight on microdosing cannabis for health and happiness, yay, so I’m signing off, but before I do, I just want to be sure you’re watching High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America on Netflix with Stephen Satterfield! Extraordinary storytelling and cinematography. It’s deeply moving. Don’t miss it.
Happy June, may there be more sun than gloom. HAPPY PRIDE MONTH, my favorite time in SF. Can’t wait to see y’all, I have missed you so much!
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Openings Include Itria, Bao (Dim Sum in the Mission!), Torraku Ramen, Nick the Greek
In a previous issue of tablehopper, I mentioned the new ITRIA opening in the former Obispo space in the Mission, and hey now, it’s open. They’ve starting with pan pizzas, which have been selling out, so don’t get mad like you didn’t know. There are also salads, meatballs, and much more will be coming when indoor dining begins later this summer. (Their tiramisù looks awesome by the way, made with Vietnamese coffee and mascarpone mousse.) Hours are Wed-Sun 5pm-8:30pm for takeout/delivery for now. 3266 24th St. at Capp.
There’s a new dim sum joint in the former Piri Picante space on Valencia called BAO, something that should do well in the Mission. The menu has Cantonese classics like har gow and shumai (and the baked-to-order charsiu bao and dan tat/egg custard tarts look great), plus a couple kinds of xiao long bao soup dumplings (including crab), along with some new-style dumplings, like kimchee-beef potstickers, and Instagram-ready swan puffs and sweet lava bao (and “mango corn” for dessert). You can view the menu here. The interior has a contemporary and updated look, with basket-lantern lights, a dumpling room with a window, and there are indoor and outdoor tables. Open daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-9:30pm (until 10pm Fri-Sat). 590 Valencia St. at 17th St.
TORRAKU RAMEN at the base of Potrero Hill (which was originally a ramen truck) has opened a second location in the Marina, serving ramen, yaki soba, katsu sandos, and donburi. Open Tue-Sun 11am-3pm and 5pm-8pm, until 9pm Fri-Sat. 1449 Lombard St. at Van Ness.
Over in the former Beit Rima in Westlake Center Daly City is a new location of NICK THE GREEK, a fast-casual Greek spot with other locations around the Bay Area. You’ll find gyros, souvlaki, pita sandwiches, bowls, salads, and a burger. Open daily 11am-10pm. 507 Westlake Ctr., Daly City.
Coming Soon...Wine Bars from The Epicurean Trader, Noodle in a Haystack Finds a Spot, and More
Some quick updates of projects that are coming soon…
A hopper reader let me know the folks at THE EPICUREAN TRADER have taken over the lease from La Boulangerie next door to their location on Union Street, and will be opening the walls between the two spaces to expand their grocery offerings, as well as have a full café and wine bar. But first, they plan to open their Ferry Building wine bar in just a few weeks (which was delayed by the pandemic), then an alfresco Ferry Building wine bar in the former Viva La Tarte space, with expanded outdoor seating around July 1st; Union Street is likely mid-July.
At all locations: in the mornings, they will focus on espresso drinks, health-driven smoothies, pastries (Tartine and Craftsman & Wolves, including The Rebel Within), breakfast sandwiches, bagel sandwiches, açai bowls, parfaits, and more, while lunch will bring European-style baguette sandwiches, toasted panini, empanadas, and salads. Evenings will bring a selection of four different styles of cheese and charcuterie platters: French, Italian, Spanish, and local-themed; crostini and gourmet conservas, tapenades, and more that they sell in their retail market, all designed to pair with DIY spritz flights (sparkling wine served with a selection of seasonal shrubs, syrups, and garnishes for you to play around with and make your own creations), local and natural wines (including a local wine flight with esoteric varietals), local craft beers, sake, and low (and no-ABV) cocktails with wine-based aperitifs, vermouth, and sherry as the base. These wine bars will be a great place to meet a friend for a glass and some small bites before eating at a local restaurant in the Ferry Building, Hayes Valley, or Cow Hollow, or a great place for to enjoy wine and cheese. Stand by for opening updates.
I have been a huge fan of Clint and Yoko of pop-up Noodle in a Haystack’s incredible ramen they have been cooking out of their Daly City home for years, and couldn’t be happier with the news that they have found a brick-and-mortar location in SF! They’ll be opening in the recently closed Konomama location on Geary. Look for an opening this fall; they will continue with their coursed menu format (I miss those deviled eggs!) and offer two seatings a night. This couple needs our support to get this project off the ground, so please check out their Kickstarter, which will get you priority seating perks and more. Read more on their Kickstarter page and in this piece in the Chronicle. 4601 Geary Blvd. at 10th Ave.
[UPDATE: Due to an incorrect ABC listing, it ends up The Brixton will not be opening a location in Hayes Valley, but it will be a new pub/tavern concept from Hat Trick Hospitality in the fall, name TBA.] According to ABC license activity, THE BRIXTON will be opening a third location in the Stacks location in Hayes Valley. They’re transferring a Type 47 license—from Brick & Mortar Music Hall, which is supposedly reopening soon, huh—which means The Brixton will have full liquor to accompany their bar food-driven menu and brunch. 501 Hayes St. at Octavia.
Berkeley’s DARYOUSH PERSIAN CUISINE is bringing their koobideh to San Francisco’s Chinatown/Union Square at 580 Bush St. at Stockton.
A tablehopper reader sent me a photo of a “specialty Italian pasta shop” coming to Divisadero called PASTA BROS., offering fresh pasta, sauces, pizza, ready-to-eat meals, and dessert. I couldn’t find many details online, but we know they aren’t Italian since they mention “raviolis” on their sign (ravioli is already plural), so we’ll just have to see what happens over there, LOL. 1734 Divisadero St. at Bush.
Grants from SF New Deal and CUESA Launches Produce Delivery!
I wanted to make sure you saw these announcements from some of our favorite SF organizations. First, SF New Deal just launched an exciting grant opportunity for SF-based small businesses that have been financially hit by the pandemic (not just restaurants—any small business in the city can apply, like bookstores, retail stores, nail salons, or any type of impacted small business is encouraged to apply).
SF New Deal is distributing 400 $2,500 grants, totaling $1,000,000 going back into the SF economy and helping to alleviate some of the debt businesses are suffering from. A March 2021 SF New Deal survey of San Francisco restaurants found that the number of restaurants facing debt, as well as the amount of debt, has increased significantly. 60 percent of restaurants are currently in debt, compared to 34 percent in March 2020, the start of the first shelter-in-place order. On average, debt nearly doubled, increasing from $62,000 to $114,000.
Individuals can apply for their own business to receive a grant or can nominate a small business for the grant. The application submission period ends June 30th, 2021. Grant award announcements will be made by July 31, 2021.
Since we’re talking grants, I also wanted to be sure you saw that Templeton Rye launched the Templeton Distillery Strong Spirited Entrepreneur’s Grant program, awarding three small businesses $10K each! You have until July 11th to apply. Have a nip of their new 10 Year Single Barrel Rye Whiskey for inspiration.
Do you have a tough time making it out to the CUESA Ferry Plaza Farmers Market? Well, you can now order from their new online marketplace: Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Delivered, in partnership with The FruitGuys, who deliver throughout the Bay Area. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of fresh, peak-season produce from local farms (we’re talking dream produce here), learn about their growing practices, and, in turn, help farmers sell more of their produce. This past year has been particularly hard on many small farms who endured restaurant closures and reduced farmers market foot traffic. Place your order now for a Saturday delivery!
Closures Include Out the Door Fillmore, Two Old-Timers on the Wharf, Homestead in Oakland
A tablehopper reached out to me a month ago, letting me know he heard OUT THE DOOR on Bush Street in Pacific Heights wouldn’t be reopening. I reached out but wasn’t able to get any confirmation from the team until a month later, when they announced it publicly on their Instagram feed. Such a bummer, OTD was one of my favorite breakfast or lunch meeting spots, and their sriracha fried chicken was such a fave. We’ve had 11 years of many wonderful meals there. The only sister restaurant that remains open is The Slanted Door at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, and we’ll have to wait for The Slanted Door to reopen at the Ferry Building after its remodel is complete. 2232 Bush St. at Fillmore.
In Fisherman’s Wharf, it appears both CASTAGNOLA’S (the oldest restaurant on the Wharf, since 1916) and TARANTINO’S are permanently closed. [Via Broke-Ass Stuart]
Over in Oakland, the chef-owners of the nine-year-old HOMESTEAD, Liz and Fred Sassen, have decided to throw in the kitchen towel on the sit-down part of the restaurant (they will have their last dinner service mid-June), but will continue to offer The Humble Sandwich, their sandwich and salad pandemic pivot, until they decide their next move and lifestyle change. 4029 Piedmont Ave., Oakland. [Via Nosh]
East Bay Updates (So Many Great New Projects!)
I kept running out of time and didn’t include any East Bay updates the past couple columns, ugh, but let’s dive in! It’s June gloom time, so head on over to Backyard at Broc at Broc Cellars to escape the fog and wind. You can enjoy wine tastings and snacks provided by the nearby Standard Fare, and restaurants will be popping up, like A16 and their pizza truck (June 18th and July 16th). Take a seat at custom, handmade patio furniture from The Long Confidence, who also made Broc’s new hand-blown glasses, and enjoy your alfresco evening with pals. Open Fri-Sun, reservations available via Tock. Friday is open to the public for walk-in availability. 1300 5th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.
I was so happy to see chef Mona Leena Michael (previously Dyafa), otherwise known as The Mana’eesh Lady, maker of incredible Palestinian baked goods and more, has the keys to her first brick-and-mortar location! She has been popping up during the pandemic and slinging her magical pillowy manousheh, but is on hiatus while she prepares her Berkeley location at 10th and Camelia—she hopes to open by this summer. She will be calling the restaurant LULU. Stand by for more!
A few months ago, I mentioned Dominica Rice-Cisneros was about to open her latest restaurant, BOMBERA in Oakland’s Dimond, and she has soft-opened with takeout service Fri 4pm-8:30pm and Sat 11am-8:30pm. You can take a sneak peek at the menu here (all subject to change) and hours will be expanding in time. It seems their Facebook page has the most recent service updates. I’ll have more updates soon as things take shape over there! 3459 Champion St. at Lincoln, Oakland.
The Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group (Trestle, The Vault) announced they’re partnering with Stevie Stacionis and Josiah Baldivino of MAMA OAKLAND to restructure and reopen the neighborhood restaurant (it ends up they all worked together for Michael Mina up until 2013, so the gang is getting back together). Hi Neighbor’s newsletter states: “Chef Jason Halverson will be leading the charge in developing an updated version of MAMA’s original concept. Still keeping the prix-fixe notes, and building upon our expertise from Trestle, we will add in options for family style entree proteins such as whole-roasted branzino, chicken Parmesan, and more. Don’t worry, the signature sugo & meatballs will be available daily as part of the prix-fixe.” And you know the wine list will continue to rock, since Stevie and Josiah are behind Bay Grape wine shop. Look for a reopening in mid-June or so. 388 Grand Ave. at Staten, Oakland.
You can catch up on a bunch more openings (and closures) in this recent Nosh post.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Get the Last of the tablehopper Vintage T-Shirts!
I recently found a couple boxes with the last of the tablehopper T-shirts! All the shirts are based on vintage designs and graphics from old-school bars and restaurants in San Francisco (hmmmm, someone can’t stop collecting vintage menus and ephemera over here), so you can show your city some love too. Oh, and they’re super-soft and flattering. And most are on sale!
There are five in all, whether you want to go classic with the Blue Fox or sassy with Players Club or boozy with The Camel and Cross Roads (ride that bottle!). Click the links for a little story about each place too…
The unique designs are all printed on quality cotton t-shirts that have a nice fit for both men and women—and did we mention they are super-soft? Tees are $25 or less. Order online right here and I can get these in the mail to you ASAP.