My preferred birthday trinity: Champagne, caviar, and a colorful caftan! Cheers, darlings!
Why, hello there. I know some of you have wondered if my flapper zombie Halloween costume became permanent, but I’ve just been fully immersed in celebrating Scorpio season! My birthday was November 1st, and this past week has been full of family dinners, fun visits with fellow Scorps and friends and family in town, a gorgeous St. Honoré cake from Rulli, yacht rocking, surprises, Champagne wishes, and caviar dreams! It was so nice to step away from social media and email and writing for a week and fully enjoy being in the moment(s). Going to the Balboa Theater to see The French Dispatch on my rainy birthday was pure delight, but getting a bout of food poisoning late that night from a sandwich I ate was downright rude. (Ya win some, ya lose some.) Anyway, I’m feeling so much love and gratitude for all the wondrous people in my life—this includes you!
This week’s catch-up column is full of news and exciting openings, although a few things slipped through the cracks (I took that Xfinity outage on Monday night as a sign I was supposed to go to bed and push my deadline a day, ha!). I was hoping to have a write-up for you about the new Le Fantastique in Hayes Valley, but that has been tough to pin down. Their soft-opening reservations are open and here are some pics to inspire you! Just go and have caviar éclairs and bubbles and have fun! I’ll have a post about it soon, along with some other cute new openings I am behind on sharing.
A couple weeks ago, I hosted a livestream discussion with Upstream Solutions and an awesome group of panelists called Reusables Win in SF—it was so informative and inspiring. I hope all food service businesses and operators can visit their page—it has a recording of the livestream and resources so you find information on why switching to reusables is one of the best decisions you can make for your bottom line, customers, and the planet. You can easily get in touch with ReThink Disposable—the free technical assistance they offer has helped over 250 Bay Area restaurants achieve between $3,000-$22,000 annually in savings (!), while preventing tons of waste from entering our streets, oceans, and landfills. Check it out!
One last thing: Thanksgiving is in two weeks (I know, I knowwwww) and there are a bunch of amazing menus, dishes, pies, and more that our local restaurants and food businesses are preparing for the holiday. Go ahead and visit my Thanksgiving Stories on Instagram for ideas—I’m uploading new updates daily! Act early since everything is a bit wonky this year!
Okay gang, I’m off to experience the new Bungalow Kitchen in Tiburon tonight (fun!). So glad the weather is absolutely gorgeous right now! Enjoy it! Mwah!
Some exciting news from the Acquerello team: they’re transforming the former 1760 on Polk into SORELLA, which means “sister” in Italian (it’s like Acquerello’s little sister who is chic and fun). Look for cocktails, cicchetti (Venetian snacks and bar bites), and an Italian menu from Acquerello’s team of chef Suzette Gresham and Giancarlo Paterlini (and chef de cuisine Seth Turiansky), chef Denise St. Onge (formerly Greens), and Sean Talley, with Gianpaolo Paterlini consulting on the wine list. You’ll be able to graze on a variety of Italian snacks, like arancine, polpettine, grilled octopus, spiedini, and other bites at the bar (they’re also working on a fried pizzetta!), or sit down in the dining room for a more substantial meal, with pasta and lots of vegetable dishes.
They have brought on Manhattan Zodiac, a woman-owned and operated cocktail consultancy from Yana Nogid and Katya Skye to develop the cocktail menu, which will feature unique Italian spirits and speciality amari (I look forward to trying a Sorella Sour). The bar was extended three feet and will be easier to hang out at, plus there will be other updates to the room, including a fun neon sign of the charming Sorella logo.
The plan is to open around 5pm during the week (they’re thinking Wed-Fri), and serve a delicious brunch on the weekend (plus offer evening service), with an early Sunday supper. Look for an opening Wednesday December 1st—follow their Instagram for updates and I’ll share more in coming weeks. 1760 Polk St. at Washington.
After avidly following Corey Lee of Benu’s latest project on Instagram for months (and he shared the idea for it years ago), I was so happy to see the email announcement when reservations were finally open for SAN HO WON (if you follow @tablehopper’s Instagram Stories, you would have gotten the jump on the news—all the reservations are waitlist-only for now, with some seats at the counter available for walk-ins, good luck! I’ll be dining there in a few weeks and can’t wait to post about it.).
This new, minimalist, Korean charcoal barbecue restaurant is in the former Blowfish in the Mission, offering a casual and convivial dining experience, with a menu that “is rooted in home cooking and traditional flavors but embraces local ingredients and modern techniques.” Lee is collaborating with Jeong-In Hwang on the project, who has been working with him since 2016 and is leading the menu development. Throughout the pandemic, they were testing dishes and offering a variety of monthly menus for takeout, pretty much one of the few bright spots during those dark days. And now, guests will be able to enjoy grilled meats fresh off their central BBQ stove—like center cut prime beef tongue, house double-cut galbi (short rib), and chunjang-glazed pork ribs—grilled over solid lychee wood charcoal produced specifically for the restaurant.
You can make your way through a variety of appetizers, specialty banchan, soups and stews (it’s not all traditional—I can’t wait to try the kimchi jjigae pozole with pork belly, hominy, avocado, radish, and cilantro), gamasot rice dishes (cooked in the traditional Korean cast-iron pot), large-format dishes, and there’s also a tasting menu for $88 if you just want to be in their hands. Check out the menu here. Eater took some images of the space here. I’d sign up for San Ho Won’s mailing list for reservation updates and expanded hours (starting November 17th, they’ll be open for dinner Wed-Sun 5pm-9pm and until 10pm Fri-Sat). 2170 Bryant St. at 20th St.
Congrats to chef Kristina Liedags Compton and co-owner Rachel Sillcocks on getting their first brick-and-mortar breakfast restaurant open, HILDA AND JESSE, after popping up for months, fundraising, hand-delivering and selling their trademark Pancakes without Boundaries (a double stack of fluffy pancakes topped with delightfully smoky seasonal fruit) at Bi-Rite Market and Nighthawk…it has been a journey and a hustle. But now, their uniquely styled, retro-inspired diner (designed by Noz Nozawa of Noz Design) is open on the corner of Union and Powell in North Beach with an all-day menu, an international brunch tasting menu (three courses for $45), a list of sparkling wines, and low-ABV cocktails, including a fun spin on an espresso martini.
The menu is much more than what it seems at first glance: the “avocado toast” has a base of a tempura-fried sweet potato topped with sour cream and onion dip, finished with dill and horseradish, while the steak and eggs will feature dry-aged ribeye from Cream Co., served with herbaceous soft-scrambled eggs and finished with a tomatillo-mustard jus. Take a peek at sample menus on their site. There will also be fun vintage plateware, family portraits of Hilda (Compton’s grandmother) and Jesse (Sillcocks’ grandfather) created by artist Daisy Patton, and more unique touches.
The brunch tasting menu is available Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday nights (brunch for dinner!). À la carte is available on Fridays and for walk-ins Saturdays and Sundays. Open Fri-Sun 9am-2pm, Mon dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm. The space will also host future pop-ups and can be rented for community or private events in the evening. 701 Union St. at Powell.
Radio Africa Kitchen Reopens, Son's Addition Relocating, Tommaso's Returns After a Fire, Keiko à Nob Hill Closes
After being closed for the duration of the pandemic, chef-owner Eskender Aseged has reopened the dining room of RADIO AFRICA KITCHEN in Bayview. During the pandemic, Radio Africa cooked meals for the community with Great Plates Delivered and SF New Deal, as well as offering takeout family meals, but now his neighbors and regulars can come in for lunch in person Tue-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm! 4800 3rd St. at Oakdale.
Thanks to a tip from a hawk-eyed tablehopper reader, I learned that Anna Sager Cobarruvias and Nick Cobarruvias have closed their 24th Street location of SON’S ADDITION after five years in the neighborhood. They’re looking for a new location where they can have full liquor, stand by for updates. In the meantime, they’re busy with their latest venture, Otra, a popular and oh-so-delicious Mexican restaurant and bar in the Lower Haight.
I’m happy to report TOMMASO’S in North Beach (since 1935, people!) has reopened after a kitchen fire last month. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but they did have to close for a few weeks while waiting for materials. They also had to rebuild their outdoor Shared Space last September after a fire truck hit it, so they’ve had an extra-rough go this pandemic. Come by and show some support for this SF classic—they extended their annual Mushroomfest to run through November, with specials like lasagne with porcini and pizza quattro funghi. Open Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm. 1042 Kearny St. at Broadway.
A longtime tablehopper reader let me know KEIKO À NOB HILL has closed. The hidden-away, Franco-Japanese restaurant from chef Keiko Takahashi originally opened in 2011, and owner (and husband) Seigo Takei’s extensive wine collection was a favorite of many of the city’s vintage-bottle chasers. 1250 Jones St. at Clay.
Some quick opening updates for you, starting with FLORI’S in Russian Hill, serving Salvadoran and Mexican dishes, ranging from pupusas to ceviche, mole, tacos, and burritos, plus beer, wine, frosé, and sangria. Open Tue-Thu 12pm-9pm, Fri 12pm-10pm, Sat 2pm-10pm, and Sun 12pm-8pm. 2360 Van Ness Ave. at Green.
The awesome HUMMUS BODEGA I love their falafel pita sandwiches) has opened a second location in SoMa in the Frena Bakery and Cafe (they are sharing the space), offering indoor dining, takeout, and delivery. Mon-Thu 11am-8pm. 132 6th St. at Minna.
The former Coin-Op space in SoMa is now THRILLER SOCIAL CLUB from Kingston Wu (Wilder, Westwood), with a variety of vintage midway games, a playful menu from Stag Dining Group (think BBQ pulled pork deviled eggs, a butter and bacon lobster roll, and some creative pies will be coming out of the wood-fired pizza oven, including a CPK-inspired Peking duck pizza!), and cocktails to help get your Skee-Ball swerve on. Open Wed-Sat 4pm-close. 508 4th St. at Bryant.
There are some new Japanese spots opening around the city, including SUSHI SATO from the Mins Group (Sushi Hon, Tamashisoul, BarnZu, Sushi Hakko) in the former Bitters, Bock, and Rye space in the Tenderloin. The Hoodline piece mentions they’re offering a variety of hot and cold dishes, as well as à la carte sushi or tasting menus, plus there’s going to be an on-site beer brewing program from Dave McLean (the founder of Magnolia Brewing) and a full bar, Bar Kuro. Open Tue-Wed 5pm-11pm and Thu-Sat 5pm-12am. 1122 Post St. at Polk.
Over in Mission Bay, MACHIYA is serving sushi and skewers grilled on Japanese charcoal, with sake and beer. Open Mon and Wed-Sat 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm. 570 4th St. at Brannan.
And in the Mission, there’s ICHI NI SAN SUSHI serving a variety of saucy maki rolls and pretty straightforward nigiri, plus bento boxes and appetizers. Open daily 11am-9pm. 3230 22nd St. at Mission.
Last week, a good friend let me know something was up at OLIVETO in Rockridge, and a couple days later, Nosh broke the news that co-owners Bob Klein and Maggie Blyth Klein have decided to retire after 35 years (although Bob will continue his Community Grains project). Oliveto has been such a seminal part of our local Cal-Italian culinary scene, with so many notable chefs who have come up and out of that kitchen. The Kleins are reportedly planning to go full-tilt until the end of the year, with truffle dinners, a “destination Oceanic Dinner,” and more—they have a huge community of neighborhood regulars, so it’s going to be quite the ongoing send-off. Best wishes to the Kleins for everything they did to make it through the pandemic. Stand by for more announcements and be sure to book a reservation for a farewell meal.
Any of you who follow @tablehopper on Instagram have heard me crowing about the over-the-top delicious fried chicken sandwiches from Will Allen of Oakland-based pop-up Fowl + Fare. When I interviewed him about his sandwiches and business a month ago, I was dismayed to hear about the many constraints and limitations he was dealing with. He mentioned he was on the hunt for a location that he could turn into more of a home base, and after introducing him to Alexeis “Lexi” Wolff Filipello of THE LODGE on Piedmont, they found a fit and he’s going to start cooking out of their kitchen December 1st!
Will is going to be open during the day for takeout (he’s thinking 11am-3pm), and then serving food for bar patrons five or six nights a week, something like 5pm to midnight or so. This will be all fine-tuned in coming weeks, but he’s thinking of launching with his classic citric hot chicken and lemon pepper fried chicken sandwiches, Fowl fries, and will be coming up with some bar bites to start. Delivery will also be added, and, of course, he’ll be offering new specials in no time because he can’t stop, won’t stop (he has 57 international fried chicken combinations, and counting). The Lodge is open Sun-Wed 5pm-12am and Thu-Sat 4pm-2am. 3758 Piedmont Ave. at West MacArthur, Oakland.
He’ll be popping up at Deli Board (1058 Folsom St.) this Thursday November 11th from 6pm-9pm or until sold out, which will happen, so preorder your sandwich here! And then he’s back in Oakland serving his birria tacos (yup, he makes those too) and his sandwiches and more for lunch Sat-Sun 11am-2pm. (His last day of service in Jack London Square will be Sunday November 28th, FYI.)
Will has also been popping up at AltoVino in Russian Hill in SF (here’s the birria fried chicken sandwich he made on a recent appearance) and will be there Tuesday November 16th. Follow his Instagram for menu updates and more, he’s good about posting his whereabouts until he lands permanently at The Lodge.
Meanwhile, Filipello has been busy transforming her other beautiful downtown Oakland bar, DOGWOOD into a new concept and vibe to reflect the changing times. Honk your clown nose, it’s time to meet STINKY’S BAR. Filipello has collected all kinds of clown memorabilia, robots, vintage toys, musical bears, and other quirky and circus-themed items for years, and is excited to trot them out to help create an energetic, engaging, and unique atmosphere at the bar, which we could all use a dose of right now. She wants to foster a “fun queerdo vibe, with no mean people, and no mimes.” Ha!
There will be theme nights with music, variety shows on Sundays, and there’s going to be a 25-seat theater in the back room in early 2022! She and her husband want the Dogwood Theater to be a community space where local filmmakers can screen their work and have viewing parties without having to over-pay a cinema to do so. They will also screen B movies, documentaries, BIPOC- and queer-made films, and more. Guests will be able to enjoy free popcorn while sitting in some amazing vintage green velvet theater chairs with a cocktail, it sounds like a blast.
Stinky’s bar menu will be keeping some Dogwood cocktail classics on there, with seasonal slushies made with fresh fruit and good booze, and tasty grilled cheese and other sandwiches. Stinky’s should be opening around Thanksgiving, follow their Instagram for updates and hours. 1644 Telegraph Ave. at 17th St., Oakland.
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It has been so great to continue to see some of our classic SF cocktail bars come back from 17 months of hibernation, starting with TRICK DOG, which reopened on Halloween (and yes, that is Jennifer Colliau of the Interval at Long Now and Small Hand Foods who has joined the team). While founder Josh Harris and chef Timmy Malloy launched the interim concept of Quik Dog a little over a year ago—offering takeout Mission hot dogs, fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and the famous kale salad—Trick Dog’s conceptual cocktail menus, lively vibe, and talented bar team have been missed. You can take a look at their latest masterwork here. It’s time for a drink. Open daily 4pm-12am. 3010 20th St. at Florida.
Meanwhile, SFGate caught the reopening of BOURBON & BRANCH, last week. According to B&B’s post on Instagram, “Reservations are available for the Main Bar and can be booked through Yelp. The Library will be open to all. We will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 6pm-midnight, Friday-Saturday from 6pm-2am.”
I loved reading in this other post that their awesome landlord, Chuck Custer, waived their rent for the entire pandemic—how’s that for an uplifting landlord story? Amazing. They did some updates and renovations to the space and menu, and according to a comment, it also sounds like Wilson & Wilson will be reopening soon. 501 Jones St. at O’Farrell.
Inner Sunset folks have a new craft beer and natural wine bar called THE RED TAIL in the former Inner Fog location. It was designed to be a chill spot for folks to hang out, discover a new wild-fermented wine from Sicily, watch the game, and there’s also a Shared Space out front. They’re going to be adding more light bar snacks as well. There are four owners: Conner Frederick, Joel Armijo, Wesley Wakeford, and Ben Sapone, who has owned The Flying Pig in the Mission for the past 10 years (two of the other owners worked for him there). The Red Tail is open Mon-Thu 3pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 1pm-12am, and Sun 1pm-11pm (hours subject to change). 545 Irving St. at 7th Ave.
I imagine some of you have been wondering how to check out Ken Fulk’s beautiful St. Joseph’s Art Society in SoMa, and this Three Cups of Nouveau Party on Saturday November 20th should be just the ticket! Broc Cellars, Martha Stoumen Wines, and Scribe Winery will be celebrating the release of each winery’s 2021 nouveau-style wine. There will also be a DJ and a party atmosphere; bites will be available for purchase. Proof of full vaccination and valid ID required for entry. $60. Tickets here. 6pm-9pm. 1401 Howard St. at 10th St.
Midway Culinary and Whisky EDU travel the globe to bring you exciting combinations of spirits and savory foods. Learn about boutique distilleries and quality international brands while noshing on expertly paired tastings from executive chef Luis Lagos at our World Whisky Pairing event.
When you arrive, you’ll be greeted with our signature Glenmorangie X Welcome Cocktail.
MENU: Four courses and eight whiskies:
Appetizer Octopus carpaccio or Sunchoke carpaccio
Salad Trío of squash soup with herb-Parmesan crostini
Entrée Veal osso buco with polenta and chanterelles or Roasted cauliflower with polenta and chanterelles
Dessert Bourbon pie
WHISKIES: Alley 6 Rye, Lip Service: Grenache Finished Rye, Penderyn Myth, M&H Elements Sherry, Westland American Single Malt, Duncan Taylor: The Octave Drumblade, Garrison Brothers Bourbon, and Port Charlotte.
Thursday November 18th, 6:30pm-9:30pm The Carousel at The Midway (indoor event) 900 Marin St., San Francisco Ticket Price: $78 (available via Tixr) 21 and over.