This week's tablehopper: big blue sky.
Louisiana blue crab claws in drawn butter at Turntable x Mosquito Supper Club last week. Oh my. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Greetings from Lake Tahoe, where I’m hanging out this week with Fortuna (we’re practicing leash training on the back deck, it’s high comedy). So grateful to be up here in fresh mountain air (and not checking PurpleAir) and sunny skies; the lake is crazy-warm this year.
I’m decompressing from a wild month of work, dealing with some family stuff (including packing up grandma’s house of treasures, big sigh), lots of running around (living up to my name!), and burning off some steam with live music (two full-throttle LCD Soundsystem shows in a week exact a heavy toll).
Over at @tablehopper on Instagram, it’s my week of latergrams—I’m finally catching up on posting about a bunch of amazing meals and experiences. Be sure to check out the incredible noods at the newly open Taishoken on Valencia (I wrote about this project first here).
In a recent post about Ju-Ni’s Handroll Project, I mention I was going to share a couple tips here for how to score a coveted seat at their counter. They open at 5pm (Wed-Sun), and use Yelp Waitlist to manage their walk-in-only crowd. Some folks line up as early as 3:30pm to guarantee they get a spot—if you think you can show up at 6pm and put your name down, there won’t be room and the list will be closed, so save yourself the frustration. But what I do hear is some folks who were on the waitlist give up and bail on their spot, so if you come by around 8:30pm or so, you may get lucky and snag their spot. This would be a good week to try since so many folks are out of town. Good luck!
A project of mine that I’m super-jazzed to see come online is the Oakland Vegan Trail on Visit Oakland! That assignment had me bizzzeeeee! I visited and wrote about 20-plus, fully vegan brick-and-mortar locations, alllll over Oakland. It was an adventure, with some inspiring discoveries (thanks to all my wingmen and wingwomen). Check it out!
I also wrote about my experience researching and writing this guide: A Meat-Eating Writer Hits the Vegan Trail in Oakland (and Finds a Goldmine of Delicious Dishes). So, even if you’re not vegan, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. (There’s additionally a sidebar with some vegetarian spots.) Look for my upcoming post on Instagram with pics and highlights!
I look forward to hitting up Casa Borinqueña next and adding them to the Vegan Trail—tag @tablehopper and @visitoakland in any spots you visit (or want us to know about!). I’m also researching vegan products made in Oakland and available for sale in person, like at a shop or farmers’ market (online doesn’t count)—hit me up with any faves!
OK, gang, it’s time for me to power down and go for a swim—I didn’t come up here to be on my laptop all day. This week’s column is a bit short and easy-breezy: I left out cross streets and other details because boss of me said, “Get off the computer. Go for a swim.” I have the same advice for you. Enjoy the long weekend.
MWAH! Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
New Openings: Outta Sight Pizza, Señor Sisig, La Société, and More
Fellow pizza fanatics, start your engines: owner Eric Ehler (Fort Point, Mister Jiu’s, Lazy Susan) and his biz partner Peter Dorrance and team are soft-opening the OUTTA SIGHT PIZZA slice shop on Larkin Street in Civic Center/Tenderloin any day now! Follow their Instagram account for the latest updates (I’ll repost anything I see)—sounds like they’ll be soft-opening on some random days until they open for good in mid-September (“Roll by on a weekday, who knows?! We might be selling slices.”)
The shop looks great—all white and shiny and they have some cool local artwork up (“When we first got the space we knew it would be a perfect spot to show off our homies art. Think of it as pizzeria x skateshop x gallery.”) and you know the music will be fly, just like the slices. (I love this pizza so much—it’s thin and New York-style, with such great flavor, and that chef’s kiss SF quality flair.) There are a few diner-style white tables with bentwood chairs and a ledge where you can perch with your slice.
In another post, they say, “The slice pies at the new shop will be a tad simpler then [sic] our current pies at the Fig, but simplicity is in the details. We are particularly stoked on our mushroom pie. It’s garlicky, salty, tangy, cheesey, and of course will have the best shrooms in the biz from Black Diamond Mushroom Co.” I managed to sneak a peek at their slice menu (they’ve been running preview Stories), and it looks like there will be cheese, pep, mushroom, a bianca, and their Madonna (mozzarella, marinara, basil, evoo), The Bear, Lunch Lady, Lisa, and Roy, nine in all. You can order a whole pie too, and a garden salad
And if you like to sit down to a whole pie with a bottle of wine at Fig & Thistle (at 429 Gough St.), fear not, they’re going to keep the pop-up going Tue-Sat as well. As they put it in a post, “Think about it like this — fancy pies in the evening at the Fig, and then big ol slices on Larkin! Pizza all day and pizza your way!” I like it. 422 Larkin St. at Golden Gate.
Fort Point Beer Company just launched their new food concept—a spin on SF-style seafood—at both their Valencia Beer Hall and Ferry Building Beer Garden. Cecile Macasero, former chef de cuisine at Kin Khao and Sea Creatures, developed a menu with dishes like a Dungeness crab roll, Louie salad, Big Cup-a-Cioppino (fully shucked seafood in tomato broth served in an enamel mug), and Rice-a-Roni arancini—all their seafood is wild-caught, sustainable, and local, through partnering with TwoxSea, Aloha Seafood, and Water2Table. Locals know it’s not Dungeness season, but they tracked down some year-round fresh Dungies through Fathom Seafood’s small boats that trap seasonally from California up to Alaska. Can’t wait to try their cioppino-inspired Michelada, featuring my fave summer sipper: their Yuzu KSA Radler. Also: Fort Point’s Ferry Building Beer Garden has doubled its seating area, expanding into the sunny sidewalk.
Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo just opened a location of SEÑOR SISIG in the Ferry Building Marketplace (in what was previously Brown Sugar Kitchen’s spot)—this is their third brick-and-mortar location. New additions on their tasty Filipino-Mexican menu include a vegan chicken sisig option, a sisig torta, bite-sized churros with purple ube-macapuno sauce, and cocktails highlighting Filipino and Mexican flavors. You can sit on the outdoor patio out back, too. Open Mon-Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 9am-8pm, Sun 9am-6pm.
(Get ready for REEM’S CALIFORNIA moving into the Ferry Building Marketplace next—they’ll be opening in the former Cowgirl Creamery location.)
Opening next Tuesday September 6th is LA SOCIÉTÉ in the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown SOMA. It’s the first project from TableOne Hospitality (a spinoff of MINA Group and a partnership between restaurateur Patric Yumul, chef Michael Mina, and Highgate). The chef, Alexandre Viriot, is turning out some pretty gorgeous-looking modern brasserie dishes (he has worked with some French greats, including Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy, and Alain Ducasse). The bar opened already, where they’re serving dinner and cocktails (developed by Phil Collins and Carlo Splendorini) until the dining room opens on the 6th—peep the dinner menu here. I’m ready for the hearth-baked tarte flambée with bacon lardons, sweet onions, fromage blanc, and caraway; and onion soup gratinée with aged Comté and roasted bone marrow with oxtail ragout on the side. Oui! 50 3rd St.
Over in Union Square, BIG ALMA (named in honor of Alma de Bretteville Spreckels, known as the “Great Grandmother of San Francisco”) just opened in the historic Villa Florence Hotel as a pop-up. The kitchen team has reportedly spent time at Daniel in New York, as well as SingleThread, The French Laundry, and Lazy Bear—you can look at their Cali cuisine menu on the site. They’re launching a new happy hour on September 1st (4pm-6pm daily), with some unheard-of prices in 2022: $7 Manhattans, margaritas, and martinis, $7 draft beers, and $7 house wine. Cheers! Open 4pm-10pm daily. 225 Powell St.
Take a look at Marco Senghor’s colorful and spacious BIG BAOBAB in the former Lupulandia in the Mission, now open for morning coffee, West African dishes for dinner, and weekend brunch. And: music! (Of course.) He has been through a LOT these past years, time to show up and say hi to a neighborhood OG. [Via Eater] 2243 Mission St. at 18th St.
Catch Up on These Big Headlines and Updates
I have posted some of these breaking news bits in my Instagram Stories the past couple weeks (do you follow @tablehopper?), here are some big headlines:
Great News Was happy to see a post on Instagram from Pim Techamuanvivit that KIN KHAO is reopening in September in its original downtown location (in the Parc 55 Hotel). Fly back to us, pretty hot wings; hug us tightly, kua kling ribs!
Thanks to the support of supervisor Dean Preston, SF Heritage, and the Legacy Business Program, our precious CLUB DELUXE was able to negotiate a “fair and reasonable lease” after things were at an impasse with their landlord. Big exhale. (You can read all the details of how it went down in this SFGATE article.) The Deluxe is going to take a little break through September 30th to get their paint touched up and “dancing shoes resoled.” We’ll be ready for ya!
Good for Them News The international culinary world was rocked with the news that chef David Kinch is departing his inspiring three-Michelin-starred restaurant, MANRESA, on December 31st. In his post on Instagram, he says: “Starting January 1, I’m looking forward to helping usher in the next exciting new chapter of fine dining at Manresa, to dedicating my time and efforts to The Bywater, Mentone, and Manresa Bread and having the time and freedom to explore some exciting new pursuits, and revisit long-neglected passions.” 20 years, multiple fires, a pandemic…and three Michelin stars. What a run. Enjoy having more time to surf, chef.
Reservations are now available through the end of November on Tock, with December being added soon. The team would love to see you, they’ll be offering some special menus. As for the future of the business and property: “Interested parties may contact John Machado at Colliers International regarding the sale of the real estate and/or the business at 320 Village Lane in Los Gatos.”
Also on Instagram, chef-owner Aaron London of AL’S PLACE suddenly announced he’s closing the restaurant, after almost eight years of serving some of the City’s most creative and playful (yet serious) cuisine. The last day of service was August 28th. Thanks to the always-wonderful team there for so many memorable meals.
CASSAVA has announced their North Beach restaurant opening is on track and they’re targeting early October, so they’ll be wrapping up operations in Cassava Balboa the third week of September—make your reservation to say goodbye, since Yuka and Chris have made the difficult decision to sell the Balboa location instead of keeping it.
Fire Damaged Horrific is hardly strong enough to describe the destructive fire that tore through a large building on the corner of McAllister and Divisadero last week (on August 23rd). It was just a block away from me, and heart-wrenching (and terrifying) to watch. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured, but 13 tenants have been displaced, and it looks like they may not be able to return to the building for a few years (you can read an update about one couple’s harrowing experience and ways to help in their GoFundMe).
Neighborhood hangouts OASIS CAFE and KAVA LOUNGE both sustained extensive water and smoke damage—you can contribute to Oasis Cafe’s GoFundMe here to help them weather this challenging period; Kava Lounge mentions to watch their site for updates. I have also heard there will be a fundraiser for everyone affected by the fire in mid-September with the folks at Mini Bar, stand by for details.
I also saw a post from BAIA in Hayes Valley that they are temporarily closed due to a fire caused by an arsonist (or arsonists) starting other fires in the neighborhood. Ugh. They will reportedly be closed for the next 30-60 days; read more in this SFGATE piece.
Two Upcoming Events: Black Food Summit and Bay Area Chuseok Festival
Wanted to get a couple events on your radar. On September 9th-10th, Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and MoAD’s chef-in-residence Bryant Terry are presenting the Black Food Summit. This will be a unique and expansive gathering of leading Black chefs, writers, scholars, activists, artists, and other creatives for a two-day, public summit that brings to life the themes and ideas of Terry’s critically acclaimed and genre-redefining 2021 book, Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora.
The Summit, taking place Sept. 9th at MoAD and Sept. 10th at TomKat Ranch in Pescadero, CA from 9am-7pm each day, offers a wide-ranging program of panels on writing, publishing, and design; beverages, bites, and sounds with DJs; sessions on contemplative writing, gardening, breathwork, whole hog cooking, and more; and a concluding community supper made by some of the Bay Area’s most talented Black chefs. Check the lineup and get your tickets here.
Also on September 10th, is Korean Center, Inc.’s 4th Annual Bay Area Chuseok (Korean Harvest) Festival, which will be held in-person this year at the Presidio after a two-year absence. The festival will include traditional Korean performances, family-friendly activities, food, music, a silent auction, raffles, and more. A variety of Korean and other food vendors from around the Bay Area will participate in the festival, including Kiss My Seoul, Mama Cho’s BBQ, Kingbob, Noodle Belly, Bobcha, Korner Kitchen, Korner Store, Fermentation Lab, Seoul Bird & Soju, Rice & Cake, Hometown Creamery, Sugarmama Sugarcane, Voltaire Coffee Roaster, Kona Ice, Kinja Sushi, HapaZa, Sams American Eatery, KPop Chicken, and Crazy Block Cheesecakes. The Festival is expecting up to 6,000 attendees this year—those interested in attending can RSVP here (it’s free). 11am-5pm, at the Presidio Main Parade Lawn.
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Bar Piccino Officially Opens
Just a quick note to let you know BAR PICCINO has officially opened in Dogpatch. I originally wrote about this project back in March, you can read allllll the details here. It sure looks great!
Take a gander at bar manager Andi Miller’s cocktail menu here, with five kinds of Negronis—and I can’t wait to try that Cloudview (coconut-washed gin, apricot, lemon, honey, bergamot, bitters, Champagne float). That link also includes bar bites, like crispy maitake ‘shrooms with sweet and sour Calabrian hot sauce; whipped mortadella with pickled cherry, pistachio, and ciabatta toasties; and Margherita’s focaccia. Here’s the N/A cocktail list, with wine and beer. Look forward to checking it out soon, molto carino. Open Sun and Wed-Thu 4pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 4pm-12am. 1003 Minnesota St. at 22nd St.