This week's tablehopper: back on tour.
The first course at Harbor House: vegetables from the ranch in a chilled green garlic broth. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy, dear readers. Wow, I just want to start off here by thanking all of you for your nice notes after last week’s missive/PSA, and I was very heartened to hear how much my Covid experience and Paxlovid resources helped inform you (and encouraged you about being extra-careful right now since this thing is definitely not “just a cold”). Well, it ends up there’s another chapter in my Covid saga to share, but this one will be much shorter.
If you’ve been following the news about Paxlovid, there have been some mentions of “rebound cases“—people have felt some Covid symptoms return after their five-day course of Paxlovid, and some have even tested positive again. Incredibly, I was one of those folks—I didn’t test positive again, whew, but I felt my sore throat, body aches, congestion, and complete exhaustion return a couple days after I finished my meds. I couldn’t believe I was feeling pretty bad again.
Two weeks to the day after I first had symptoms, I started experiencing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing—I just couldn’t clear my lungs. It was pretty scary, to be honest. I booked a telehealth appointment with a family nurse practitioner from my doctor’s office and he prescribed me an Albuterol inhaler, which helped my situation massively after my first couple rounds of puffs. I was able to breathe somewhat normally after 24 hours, and it helped clear up my cough in a few days, so I didn’t need to come in for an X-ray of my lungs. The FNP told me he has been seeing a number of patients with the same breathing issues, so if you start feeling a tightness in your chest or shortness of breath, call your doc—don’t suffer through the lingering cough. The inhaler is what helped me finally turn this thing around.
As for the rebound, the way I look at it, I’d rather have a rebound of symptoms than end up in the ICU to begin with, so I’m incredibly grateful I was able to track down Paxlovid, even if it meant going to the ER to get the prescription. It just shows how pernicious this virus is. What a bastard. I am so sorry to hear of so many friends getting sick right now, many for the first time, and this surge in the Bay Area is no joke, so please stay vigilant. Mask up.
Refer to Test to Treat in case you get sick, and once again, this spreadsheet outlines Paxlovid supply around the Bay (and other Covid therapeutics). Do you feel a tickle in your throat? Sniffy nose? Think you have bad allergies? Odds are it’s Covid—don’t depend upon your rapid antigen home test to pick it up for a couple days, get a PCR test to know for sure. Think you’re still immune from the Omicron infection you had in January? Maybe not. (UGH.) Don’t get this thing, sweeties.
Since so many folks are home sick right now, I thought I’d share a few dishes I made (and bought) that helped me feel better while I was home illin’. (It’s tough to be single and home sick, and Fortuna isn’t very handy in the kitchen.) I also have some suggestions of what to do for a friend who is sick since no one is going to ask you to come over. And I included some shows and movies I watched since that’s all I could do for a few weeks. I hope it’s helpful!
Praise the lard, this is all in the rearview mirror now. I can smell and taste (thank goddess) and my cough is basically gone. I’m so grateful I was able to recuperate and get enough energy back for a long weekend in Mendocino—my friend and I were supposed to take this trip just when the pandemic hit, so this past weekend was our make-good getaway. What a stunning weekend to be in Anderson Valley and Mendocino. We had a magical lunch at The Bewildered Pig, revisited my favorite chowder at Little River Inn, a dreamy dining experience at Harbor House, and a fun pizza lunch on the patio at Wickson at The Madrones. We had misty beach walks and breakfast (with farmstead eggs) in our rooms at Glendeven Inn and the Elk Cove Inn (such incredible views), and rode Railbikes up in Fort Bragg! I can’t wait to tell you more about this epic weekend in an upcoming piece—it was so good to get out of my quarantine and into springtime and glorious nature.
Driving home on Sunday, we passed the Apple Farm in Philo, which was fitting since my review of Sally Schmitt’s cookbook, Six California Kitchens, just ran in The Examiner! She also spent her final years in Elk, so I was enjoying her proximity in spirit all weekend. It’s a fantastic cookbook, check it out (it’s being reprinted right now, so stand by)!
And now, I’m excited to head out of town again this weekend, this time for the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience. The grand tasting is outdoors, along with some other events (there are still tickets available), and the weather is going to be stellar this weekend! See you there?
A couple more quick notes: I wanted to be sure you saw my latest posts on Instagram about the extraordinary sake dinner and tasting I attended last month with Sumi Seo, and an “only in SF” classic lunch at Sam’s Grill (book one of their pandemic-friendly booths or sit on their patio!). You can read more about what’s happening in Belden Place—Sam’s was unfortunately hit by an arsonist in April. I can’t imagine SF without Sam’s, so go pay them a visit.
Lastly, would you believe I just got invited to go on a press trip to Greece (again!) in two weeks? I know, I’m so damn lucky. Happy to take my hybrid immunity on an international trip while I can. I’m going to be in Thessaloniki (hello again, yay!) and Thassos learning about some DOP agricultural products (not feta this time), and I’m adding on some personal days on Skiathos island, because YOLO. (If anyone has any recommendations or friends in those parts, I’m all ears!) Let’s see if I manage to get a column out the day before I leave…things are going to be crazy the next two weeks as I try to get all my work done. We’ll see. And I’ll see ya soon!
Stay healthy and happy. Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Covid Tips from the Hopper: What to Eat (and Watch), and How to Be a Good Friend
With so many folks getting sick right now, I figured I may as well share some of my favorite things I ate and drank to feel better while I was home with Ms. Rona for three weeks. Luckily, I didn’t lose my smell (or taste), nor did my appetite really diminish—food was definitely my comfort. May some of these dishes bring the same to you. Please note some of my links below have discounts for first-time users, and I make an affiliate referral bonus with your order, so thanks in advance.
-As a single lady living solo, you gotta figure out how to take good care of yourself. Fortunately, I was able to place a couple orders with Good Eggs to get fresh groceries delivered (get their Savoy spinach, kale, broccolini) and they have a bunch of bone broths you’ll want to have around. They also have some good house soups—I loved their kale soup with smoked linguiça and potatoes for something more substantial, and I added extra kale to it.
-For breakfast, I went back to my Dad’s Italian farmer roots and made stracciatella soup for quite a few mornings. Warm up some chicken broth, add fresh spinach leaves, and then beat two eggs with salt, pepper, a pinch of peperoncino, and grated pecorino, and then gently drizzle and stir the eggs into the broth like an egg drop soup. So restorative.
-For lunch and dinner, I needed something easy and clean and I was trying to stay away from dairy since I was so congested. Time for dumpling soup! I would warm up some broth, add chopped scallions and freshly minced ginger, and then add a combo of different greens (bok choy, broccolini, and/or spinach) and throw in some frozen dumplings that I boiled separately, maybe some noodles too, occasionally an egg. Top with sesame oil and chile crisp. Eat. Slurp. Go back to bed.
-I’m so grateful I had placed some orders from small delivery services like Locale and Pastel before I knew I was sick. From Locale, I love the alllllll the noodle kits from Kagawa-ya Udon Noodle Company, like creamy kabocha chicken udon, kitsune udon, and their hearty niku udon (get extra sous-vide soft boiled eggs to drop into your soups). They also sell Roli Roti’s tasty chicken and beef bone broths. Don’t miss the dumplings from Dragon Beaux.
-From Pastel (not just a sponsor, I love their service!), I was way into Chiang Beef Noodle soup (don’t forget the extra pickled mustard greens), laksa from Dabao Singapore (get extra marinated soy eggs), and the massive kyay oh si chet khao swe (Burmese dry noodles) from Love Khao Swe (I turned it into two meals). They also have fancy dumplings from Dumpling Club, treat yo’self. I see they added pozole rojo from Donaji, awesome. (You’ll need someone to pick up your treats at a Pastel pick-up point.)
-I tried to avoid delivery, but sometimes you just gotta get the caldo tlapeño from Nopalito—chicken consommé, seasonal vegetables, garbanzo beans, avocado, queso fresco, and chipotle adobado. (Get a second order to have around, trust.) The matzo ball soup from Wise Sons is another good one.
-I was drinking a bunch of turmeric and ginger (golden milk) drinks, check out my post here.
-For some reason, I got a mad craving for sweets while I was sick. My friend dropped off a trio of cupcakes from Noe Valley Bakery for me, the only cupcakes I like to eat. Check out these cookies I got on Pastel, so good.
-Shoutout to cannabis for helping with the muscle aches—I used topicals on my shoulders, back, and legs; took a couple baths with cannabis bath salts; and ate plenty of low-dose edibles to chill out and watch movies. Add Maat Apothecary infused spiced honey to your tea! Use my code mymilligram on Sava for a $30 discount off your first delivery.
Do you have a friend who’s sick and want to help them out? Get them a gift card to any of these delivery services. My friend gifted me an Instacart credit, so sweet, and I was able to treat myself to a bouquet of flowers from Bi-Rite Market (flowers really help elevate one’s mood!) along with their fantastic chicken noodle soup (it’s so damn good).
-I was sent some beautiful teas from Art of Tea—their Wellness Collection has some winners (Breathe, Bright-Eyed, and Endurance are all lovely and resorative).
What to Watch: Here’s what I watched, in no particular order: Minx (so fun), the final season of My Brilliant Friend (gah, so damn good), Tokyo Vice (covered my eyes during the gross violent parts), The Gilded Age (great escape), Bridgerton (of course), Russian Doll, Julia, Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness, The Muppets Take Manhattan (yes, I was stoned), Rocky (flashback time), and What We Do in the Shadows (always makes me laugh). I watched The Andy Warhol Diaries before I was sick, it’s absolutely brilliant.
Feel better, take care, rest.
(Re)opening This Week: Handroll Project from Ju-Ni Team
The team behind Michelin-starred Ju-Ni in NoPa is due to open their latest project, HANDROLL PROJECT this Wednesday May 18th, the first hand roll sushi bar in SF. They held a soft-opening period (which was predictably busy AF), but sadly had to halt their trial run last week when some team members got sick with Covid (we’re seeing this a lot right now, it’s like December and January all over again—hopefully their staff is feeling better).
When they resume service, the menu will feature 10 different types of temaki/hand rolls, as well as specials and small plates, and a small, curated list of wine, sake, Japanese beers, and non-alcoholic beverages from GM and beverage manager Alice Lee. This casual concept from executive chef Geoffrey Lee and partner Tan Truong is designed to be approachable and fun, while still featuring quality sourcing and ingredients.
The menu has 10 different types of hand rolls, including salmon and sesame (ikura, bonito flakes), spicy tuna (shiso, shichimi aioli, cucumber, gari), spicy kani (tobiko, negi, miso aioli), smoked hamachi (shiso, negi), chef’s poke hand roll (chef’s choice poke, ikura), creamy scallop (tobiko, negi, spicy miso aioli, avocado), and toro takuan (fatty tuna, pickled radish, shiso, negi). The hand rolls will be available in sets of five, seven, and ten. Chef Lee will also offer specials including A5 wagyu (garlic chips, shiso, chives), smoked uni and ikura (smoked Hokkaido uni, ikura), and ikura and ankimo (salmon roe, monkfish liver pâté).
Located in the former AL’s Deli in the Mission (really, this time, this corner space’s curse has gotta end!), there are dual counters on either side of the restaurant with seating for 16 guests, murals from local artist The Apexer, and an airy, modern feeling. No reservations, walk-ins only (use Yelp Waitlist), open Wed-Sun 5pm-9pm. Look for lunch and takeaway kits later. 598 Guerrero St. at 18th St.
New Openings Include The Palm Court, Mom Dumpling, Elephant Sushi Hayes Valley, Aedan Fermented Foods, Savor, and Much More
Before we dive in here, have you seen pictures of the new THE PALM COURT restaurant at RH (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) San Francisco’s new gallery at Pier 70? Whoa, it’s like Vegas just dropped off a live-fire restaurant inside the historic Bethlehem Steel Building in Dogpatch, with two wine bars and a rooftop garden, complete with Medjool date palms and chandeliers and a whole lot of Taos taupe. Meet influencer headquarters for the next six months. (Maybe RH will finally launch an Instagram account?)
Sadly, the menus read pretty safe instead of scintillating. Lunch includes a $32 rotisserie chicken salad (with tragically chopped chives) and a $14 wood-grilled cob of corn side dish—just hope someone else invited you to your lunch date (unless you happen to be completely loaded, and you won’t even blink at a $16 butterscotch brûlée, which hilariously says “no words” underneath it, my thoughts exactly). You can view the other menus here and more images in this Eater piece. I still want to check the space out—it’s a jaw-dropping project—but I hope that menu steps up and gets interesting, especially at those prices. Open daily 10am-9pm. 590 20th St. at Illinois.
There are some mighty fine-lookin’ dumplings coming out of the new MOM DUMPLING in Park Merced (they have an original location in Pleasanton). I’m already plotting my first visit ASAP, stand by for a field report on @tablehopper on Instagram very soon! The menu’s main event is all their housemade dumplings, like five kinds of steamed XLB (xiao long bao) and Chinese spinach bao, to pan-fried dumplings, like sheng jian bao (SJB) pan-fried pork dumplings (which look amazing) to potstickers. There are a variety of appetizers, soups, and noodles, like dan dan noodles and braised beef brisket noodles, plus some main dishes (walnut shrimp, Mongolian beef, ma po tofu). Open 11am-8:30pm. 31 Cambon Dr. at Cardenas.
Over in Hayes Valley, ELEPHANT SUSHI has opened their third location in the former Little Gem. There’s a full bar, with creative, low-proof cocktails from beverage consultant Elmer Mejicanos (of Red Window low-proof fame), like an elephant spritz and yuzu highball. The extensive menu from chef Temuujin Batkhu includes sushi bites like the Beastie Boys (uni, ankimo, quail egg) and 10 pieces of nigiri for $56, as well as a flaming sea bass dish, and seasonal dishes like soft-shell crab right now. Open Wed-Sun 5pm-9:30pm. 400 Grove St. C1 at Gough.
It’s always wonderful to see a La Cocina incubator business graduate to a brick and mortar, and the latest business to do so is Aedan Fermented Foods, a traditional Japanese koji company from Mariko Grady, who just opened AEDAN KOJI KITCHEN. She has been making umami-packed, koji-based food products since 2011—Mariko sold her fermented products to friends to fundraise for victims of the tsunami in Japan.
At her new Mission koji storefront, she’s selling products like her miso paste and shio koji (all-purpose marinade), plus bento boxes ($15-20) for a to-go lunch. Similar to the bento boxes she sells at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, they will include a base of rice and dishes made with her products, like tofu, chicken, fish, or mushrooms marinated in shio koji, miso soup, sagohachi cucumber pickles, or tamagoyaki (a Japanese homestyle omelet). There are also some drinks, including warm barley and hojicha teas, and I can’t wait to try her drink made from amazake, an all-natural Japanese sweetener made with koji and rice, flavored with cardamom, turmeric, or ginger. Mariko will also be offering monthly classes on making miso and cooking with koji on first Sundays of the month. Open Tue-Fri 10:30am-2pm. 613 York St. at 18th St.
I was so happy when a tablehopper reader told me Mohamed Aboghanem (of the former Saha in the Hotel Carlton and then Saha Berkeley) has opened a vegetarian Middle Eastern café in the former Martha Brothers coffee shop in the Inner Sunset called SAVOR. You’ll find vegetarian sandwiches on griddled lavash, salads (including fattoush), falafel, a Mediterranean platter, and a tasty-looking dish called malfoufa (instead of a beef-stuffed cabbage roll, it’s made with potatoes, onion, sage, and mustard), served with babaganoush and a side salad. There are also a variety of bagels and toppings, from vegetarian to vegan options. Open daily 9am-2pm for now. 401 Irving St. at 5th Ave.
Noe Valley has a new Japanese restaurant, DASH JAPANESE TAPAS & SUSHI in the former Bacco (the original is in San Mateo). On the sushi side of the menu, you’ll find nigiri (can’t beat six pieces of chef’s choice with a California roll for $28, or five pieces of special nigiri for $36), plus maki, temaki handrolls, and donburi. But then there are the tapas Dash is known for, like the Top Secret (spicy tuna on crispy rice) or raw oysters with sea urchin. The extensive menu also includes soup, salads, and more traditional Japanese appetizers (karaage, tempura, yaki onigiri), and ramen and udon. You can make a dinner set for $22 as well. Open Mon-Thu 5pm-9pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-9:30pm. 737 Diamond St. at Elizabeth.
Over on Broadway in Chinatown is a new Thai-Vietnamese spot called SPORK serving Asian fusion brunch items like pandan waffles with fried chicken, Thai iced tea French toast, a tom yum omelette, and bo luc lac (stir-fried and diced tenderloin with onions and hoisin) with sunny side up eggs, potatoes, and garlic toast. There are also savory dishes for dinner service, like fried crispy sole with eggplant curry sauce. Open Wed-Sun 10am-2:30pm and 5pm-9pm (no dinner service on Sun). 631 Broadway at Grant Ave.
Coming Soon: Mamahuhu to Noe Valley, Midnite Bagel, Cafe Flore Returning, and More
Folks in Noe Valley are gonna be happy with the news that Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s and Ben Noore and Anmao Sun will be opening a second location of Inner Richmond’s MAMAHUHU in the former Toast on 24th Street location (vacant since 2019). Bring on the Chinese American dishes, like beef and broccoli, and their sweet and spicy chicken sandwich. The fast-casual format will continue. Noe Valley Voice reports they hope to open before the end of the year, maybe by November. 3991 24th St. at Noe.
Opening soon in the Inner Sunset is MIDNITE BAGEL, which is due to open its retail shop and café on Monday May 23rd (via Eater). Owner Nick Beitcher will be offering his whole-grain and very sourdough-bready bagels, some breakfast pastries (don’t forget: he was the former head baker at Tartine), and coffee service. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7:30am-4pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm. 646 Irving St. at 8th Ave.
Thanks to Castro man-on-the-street Michael Petrelis for tagging me in a tweet that announced CAFE FLORE is coming back (thank goodness) and new owner Serhat Zorlu, a “Turkish-German emigre” will be selling coffee at the storied location. Honestly, it’s one of those special, iconic spaces (since 1973!) that we just can’t afford to lose. Grateful for the fantastic news, look forward to being able to update this with more details soon. 2298 Market St. at Noe.
Here’s another great comeback story about HAMBURGER HAVEN (since 1968!), a beloved local diner that is reopening in the Inner Richmond. 800 Clement St. at 9th Ave. [Via SFGate]
Over at Ghirardelli Square, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is unveiling a newly redesigned flagship store on Friday May 20th as it celebrates its 170th anniversary. GHIRARDELLI’S CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE STORE will showcase new chocolate offerings and experiences, with chocolatiers handcrafting chocolate bars on-site (a first for the brand) and their hot fudge. Guests can order from a full fountain menu, which, of course, features Ghirardelli’s World Famous Hot Fudge Sundae. And then there’s that beautiful view. The 5,000-square-foot space was reimagined by Bay Area design firm Eight Inc. (which designed the original Apple stores); they included tiles from Heath Ceramics, vintage advertising, and hand-painted murals. Hours are Sun-Thu 9am-10pm, Fri-Sat 9am-11pm.
One more coming soon item: Carrie and Rupert Blease of the recently launched TURNTABLE at Lord Stanley have announced the latest lineup: June will have the duo back in the kitchen serving fish and chips out of the to-go window, a full tasting menu, a four-course midweek menu, and Sunday Suppers in the dining room. Look for an extra-special menu on June 11th, celebrating Lord Stanley’s seventh anniversary!
July brings chef Daniel Burns (a Halifax Nova Scotia native) of Luksus in Brooklyn, known for his Michelin-starred restaurant, the first to only offer beer pairings (without any wine or spirits on the menu). August will have chef Melissa Martin of New Orleans’s famed Mosquito Supper Club will be taking up residence for the month, offering her “Gulf Coast-swamp-Cajun” cuisine. Reservations for July will become available at the end of May, and reservations for August will be available at the end of June.
Nyum Bai Closes Original Location, Johnny Doughnuts Moving, 24th Street Cheese Company Is for Sale
Across the Bay, chef-owner Nite Yun has announced the end of her five-year lease for NYUM BAI, and her decision to quietly close her deeply personal Cambodian restaurant in Fruitvale. There will be a farewell event soon, and she is planning to reopen in a new location—the ‘60’s Khmer rock will play on.
Fans of JOHNNY DOUGHNUTS will be sorry to learn they recently closed their Hayes Valley location, but there’s some good news in this mention: “We are in the process of finalizing our lease for the new location and will share the news with you very soon. While we transition to our new SF neighborhood you can find us every Friday evening at Off the Grid at Fort Mason Center.” Their Marin Country Mart location remains open. Stand by for details soon, and it sounds like there will be a new limited edition flavor, depending upon who wins this flavor nomination contest (you have until May 20th to enter), and the winner will receive a free dozen doughnuts every month for a year. Dangerous!
Noe Valley Voice reported owner Charles Kung of 24TH STREET CHEESE COMPANY is putting the business up for sale, after more than 36 years of business. All inventory is currently 30 percent off. 3893 24th St. at Sanchez.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Meet Fiorella Sunset's New Clandestine Cocktail Bar: Bar Nonnina
Fiorella owners Boris Nemchenok and Brandon Gillis just keep on pushing—opening Wednesday May 18th is BAR NONNINA, a hidden-away rooftop bar inside Fiorella’s new Inner Sunset location. The standing room-only bar (with room for 14) has its own cocktail list and bar snacks, including the Slushy di Modena (a Lambrusco slushy) made with Italian gin, Piedmontese amaro, Sicilian blood orange liqueur, lemon, lambrusco, and shaved ice from a Japanese ice machine; Colapesce: kombu-infused vodka, dry vermouth, hickory-smoked olive brine; and Sophia Loren: tequila, grapefruit, elderflower, lime, Prosecco (there are six in all from Fiorella Group bar director Dylan Henry). You can order a cocktail flight ($25) that includes three mini cocktails (or enjoy three cocktails and three small plate pairings for $75).
Fancy snacks from Fiorella Sunset chef Scott Schneider include cheesy potato croquettes, an Italian steak tartare, and a salad of frutti di mare (mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, colatura vinaigrette). I’m also happy to see a version of the Venetian sgroppino on there, a wonderful after-dinner or late-night drink, here called the Scorppino, with lemon sorbet, Prosecco, and chamomile-infused grappa. You can always book dinner for before or after your visit.
The space (designed by STUDIO by Lark) includes a green marble cocktail bar and communal, bar-height wood tables, plus a fireplace, pastoral mural wallpaper, and a vintage Italian chandelier, all hiding behind a pocket door. Reservations recommended. Open Wed-Sun 5pm-10pm. 1240 9th Ave. at Lincoln.
WINeFare Is Coming Up on June 4th (a Tasting from 40 Womxn-Owned, Natural Wineries and Importers)
Coming up on Saturday June 4th in San Francisco is The Vinguard’s signature event, WINeFare, a wine tasting event featuring 40 womxn-owned natural wineries and importers who will be pouring at the Haight Street Art Center. In addition to hundreds of wines, there will be ciders, co-ferments, and rice wine. WINeFare was the first and quite possibly remains the only wine tasting event in the world featuring womxn in the natural wine movement.
The Vinguard is from founder Pamela Busch, who opened the second wine bar in San Francisco in 1994, Hayes & Vine (I loved that place) and later, CAV Wine Bar & Kitchen in 2005. She started the (now nonprofit) The Vinguard in 2013, inspired by and in response to the discrimination she experienced (sexism, homophobia, and agism) in the wine industry throughout her career. The Vinguard created WINeFare in 2018 to give womxn in natural wine a platform for their work as they were often shut out and sidelined. WINeFare provides a safe haven and space for womxn at wine tastings where everyone feels respected and valued. Read more about what makes WINeFare different.
Don’t miss this event, whose slogan this year is: Make Wine, Not War on Womxn’s Bodies. Cheers to that. Tickets are $45; discounts are available for essential workers, educators, students, seniors, and food and beverage industry workers. 1pm-5pm, Haight Street Art Center, 215 Haight St. at Laguna.