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Mar 21, 2023 12 min read

This week’s tablehopper: carb heavy. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: carb heavy. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

Wolfe Ranch quail Mister Jiu’s san francisco restaurant
The spectacular roasted Wolfe Ranch quail (stuffed with glutinous sticky rice and housemade lap cheong) on the new menu at Mister Jiu’s. Photo: ©

It’s yet another blustery and soggy day in the city, but hey, happy spring! Bring on the peas and morels and asparagus. And strawberries. And tulips. And sun. (Please, come back!)

This week’s column is packed full of food news, but I want to cover some culchah first! Join me next Thursday March 30th for “The Way We Were,” a show at Lost Art Salon (245 S. Van Ness Ave. #303) that will present classic San Francisco paintings and vintage Bay Area scenes by local historic artist Freeman Sargent (1912–1990). Locations including North Beach, the Filbert Steps, Union Square, Sea Cliff, and Ocean Beach will be highlighted in the work. The evening will also include sculptures by Yeon and David Warner.

North Beach scene by Freeman Sargent
Circa 1940s North Beach scene by Freeman Sargent (1912–1990). Image courtesy of Lost Art Salon.

There will be music, a seasonal pomelo-soju cocktail, and classic focaccia from Liguria Bakery (guess who’s idea that was, LOL). Also: think about making a reservation at nearby Rintaro for after the show! This free event is from 6pm–8:30pm, with a brief art history talk at 6:15pm. I’m co-hosting this local art soirée and hope to see you there!

Of note: tablehopper subscribers will be offered an exclusive opportunity to receive a complimentary gift certificate toward works in the show. Become a paying subscriber and you’ll be able to see details in next week’s newsletter (March 28th). Perks, baby!

I want to do a shout-out for a fellow indie publisher and freelance writer, Tamara Palmer, who just launched a new Kickstarter for her next California Eating issue, as well as other zines (including recipe e-books on dumplings and more, a cool vintage rave flyer zine [yes!], and a hip-hop 50th anniversary album guide, word). You can pre-order different items, including a bespoke veggie recipe e-book designed just for you around an ingredient or pop culture theme of your choice (I hear someone already wants a recipe book based on The Wire, love it).

One last thing before we dive in here… I know everyone has been obsessed with The Last of Us, but meanwhile, I’ve been immersed in the charming series, The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House on Netflix. It takes place in Kyoto and gives you a heart-shaped window into the world of maiko (young apprentice geisha, known as geiko in Kyoto)—it feels like a visit to another time. The series tells so many sweet stories of youth, friendship, love, family, dreams, and yes, food (wait until you see ever-smiling Kiyo tenderly and reverently prepare the homiest dishes every episode, it will make you want to book a flight to Japan immediately). This show has been my favorite thing to watch before going to bed over the last couple weeks (there are nine episodes)—it’s meditative, richly detailed, and offers a gentle way to slow down and observe a unique microcosm of Japanese culture and tradition.

Speaking of slowing down, I’m taking a last-minute overnight trip up to Calistoga to soak in some mud and mineral waters at the newly updated Dr. Wilkinson’s later this week. I can’t wait to step away from the laptop for a momentito (and it will be so great to get my green chile on at House of Better since I know I’m not the only one missing Green Chile Kitchen here in the city!). Yay, this bizzee lady is having a spa day!

Okay, we have me covered, but let’s talk about what and where you’re eating next. I see dumplings and fresh pasta in your future. 🔮 Oh, and don’t miss the incredible king salmon fish and chips I posted about at Daily Driver!


the chatterbox

fresh pasta case
The bountiful bronze-pressed pasta case at Pasta Supply Co. Photo: ©

Let’s Take a Firsthand Look at Pasta Supply Co., Opening This Week

My Saturday was busy tablehopping to new businesses, including a preview visit to  Pasta Supply Co. for a tour of the pasta playground from owner Anthony Strong. (Here’s my sneak peek video, in case you missed it over the weekend.) The selection is beyond impressive, with 25–30 kinds of pasta, like bronze-pressed rigatoni and bucatini and campanelle, all made fresh daily ($8.50 for a 10-ounce box); shelves of egg-based pasta like garganelli and tagliatelle and handmade pasta like corzetti; and filled pasta, including artichoke ravioli that are a clever spin on Duarte Tavern’s 50/50 artichoke and green chili soup, chicken-mushroom agnolotti, and salt cod tortelli.

There are 9–12 sauces of your dreams, like tomato vodka, smokey pork sugo, tuna-caper, mushroom sugo, beef cheek sugo, and more. I love how the pasta and sauce portions are perfectly matched, so you don’t have to worry about not having enough of one or the other. Vegans and vegetarians have great options.

stuffed pasta housemade sauces pasta supply co
This is what heaven looks like. Photo: ©

Montesacro is making some rustic breads for them (including pan’terra—Anthony always has to make some clever jokes—and the pan’musica is coated with Gaeta olive). The expansive case also has meatballs (made with pork belly and short rib, or Impossible), sliced culatello, ’nduja, truffle butter, some cheeses, and pantry  items they like to cook with, like anchovies and shio koji. Strong’s Midwestern roots will be repped with butter from Hope Creamery in New Hope, Minnesota, and award-winning Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, along with shelves of California and Italian wines, and pasta-making supplies and instruments if you feel like cranking out your own at home.

retail display case pasta sauces and products
The retail side of the business. Photo: ©

The space has a great feeling (Anthony did the design and the majority of the construction himself), and he’s really looking forward to seeing you. Be sure to check out his Kickstarter to help get this baby off the ground. (He’s also doing some wholesale business.) He has nudged the opening up from this weekend to...

Open daily 10am-5pm. Stand by for updates on upcoming dinner service in April, delivery, and more at @pastasupplyco. 236 Clement St. at 3rd Ave.

Chef Matthew Accarrino’s Mattina, an All-Day Restaurant in Pacific Heights, Is in Soft-Opening Mode

mattina cafe area restaurant
Mattina’s front café area. Photo: Stephanie Amberg.

On Saturday, I also swung by Mattina (Italian for “morning”) for its soft-opening breakfast service running this past weekend. This (eventual) all-day, Cal-Ital café/restaurant from SPQR’s chef-owner Matthew Accarrino is opening in the former Out the Door on Bush Street, just around the corner from SPQR. He’s slowly rolling out morning service first, with coffee from Saint Frank Coffee and milk from Double 8 Dairy (there’s a locally foraged candy cap mushroom latte).

As for pastries, there’s an array of savory scones (black garlic and cheddar, kale and mushroom, lemon poppy) and rustic biscuits that have a moment on the charcoal grill before getting San Daniele prosciutto (fresh off the hand-cranked slicer) and cheese tucked inside, or housemade jam (strawberry-rhubarb is coming) and butter. This weekend, Accarrino tells me they’re going to be offering eggs on the biscuits, because that is clearly the logical next step.

There are also some cheffy cookies, like red miso butterscotch, double chocolate, or oat and gold raisin (with wild fennel and grated carrot)—the team has developed 48 cookie flavors they’ll be featuring.

Accarrino shares this neighborhood-focused concept has been developing in his head for the past 10 years, and he has been looking for the right space—who knew it was going to be right around the corner? The Out the Door location had the charcoal/wood grill element he wanted (they’ll be able to hang whole birds over the hearth), with a spacious kitchen. There’s a café area in the front with round café tables and seating at a window counter, while the main dining area features large banquette booths that run along the side wall upholstered in dark grey and cream, plus counter seating that faces part of the kitchen. The space has a calming palette and natural-modern feeling, with blond cane furniture and panels, sliced pebble flooring in the café area, and a stunning dark espresso marble coffee counter.

seating at mattina and a kitchen counter
Mattina's counter seating and banquette booths. Photo: Stephanie Amberg.

The upcoming all-day menu for lunch and dinner will feature spiedini (skewers) off the charcoal grill, salads, and vegetables, and a pasta program that will be simpler than SPQR, but using the same level of ingredients and technique. Accarrino describes the flavors and cuisine here as fun and inventive, but still classic and comforting. There’s a pizza oven, which they’ll be using for baking pastas, blistering seasonal vegetables, and preparing dishes like whole fish (other large-format items will also be offered).

In the afternoon, there are plans for aperitivo service, featuring different vermouths on a bar cart, with snacks. It’s designed to be a place where people can gather, and no matter what time of day or how hungry they are, the menu will be flexible enough to accommodate what they’re feeling. Maybe you just want a treat? There will be housemade Double 8 Dairy gelato, with flavors like...

For now, they’ll be doing another breakfast service this Fri–Sun 8am–2pm (or sold out), and then expanding service slowly into lunchtime, with evening service coming later. Follow @mattinasf for updates. 2232 Bush St. at Fillmore.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Seafood-Focused Aphotic Opens Tonight in SoMa

dining room table at aphotic
The dramatic dining room at Aphotic. Photo courtesy of Aphotic and bread & Butter.

After closing Palette in February, chef Peter Hemsley is opening Aphotic in its place tonight, March 21st. The new, seafood-focused, fine dining concept will highlight seasonal seafood “sourced directly from aquaculture practitioners, traditional fishermen and women, and boutique artisans whenever possible.” The 10-course tasting menu (starting at $230) features rockfish (in a crudo with grapefruit, wasabi, and garum), abalone, skate, prawn (prawn risotto with uni and crab head foam), and others, ranging from underutilized fish to luxury seafoods. The Greek-influenced name means “without light,” referring to the depths of the sea where less than one percent of sunlight can reach, as well as chef Hemsley’s quest to shed more light on sustainable and traceable seafood sourcing.

The dining room (designed by chef Hemsley and designer David Middleton) is also dark and dramatic like the deep sea, with black walls, dim lighting, and shou sugi ban detailing (a Japanese technique of charring wood to preserve it) from John Liston—and 2,500 pounds of driftwood line the bathroom walls (there’s also an amazing driftwood installation in the private dining room).

New to the bar are in house–distilled botanical spirits (derived from locally foraged, native ingredients, such as eucalyptus, bay, juniper, and lavender), thanks to their special liquor license. Bar director Trevin Hutchins has designed the cocktails to complement the menu’s oceanic flavor profile. The extensive wine list (nearly 7,000 bottles and almost 100 vintages) will highlight coastal wines of the world. There’s also a bar menu available. Open Tue–Sat 5:30pm–10pm. 816 Folsom St. at 4th St.

Fire Up the Food Truck Engines: Off the Grid at Fort Mason Is Back

food trucks fort mason off the grid
The rodeo of food trucks at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. Photo courtesy of Off the Grid.

Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center returns this Friday March 24th for its 13th season, and whaddya know, it isn’t supposed to be raining! There will be 50-plus food creators; new additions include Lady M luxury crêpe cake truck, Mimbo House (West African food inspired by Cameroonian roadside eateries), and Tokachi Musubi (Hokkaido-style musubi from a La Cocina entrepreneur), as well as the new Pop Up Project, a section of 18 rotating foodmakers who will serve their specialties out of dedicated parklets (like Bolita: Masa y Mas, Fish & Bonez, Eko Kitchen, and Edith’s Pie). Cocktails, wine, live music, DJs, and some SF breeze (bundle up) will all be there. All ages and pups welcome. 5pm–10pm.

Celebrate Black Women Makers at Pop-Ups on the Plaza on Saturday March 25th

This Saturday March 25th (9am–2pm), celebrate Bay Area Black women makers and Women’s History Month with a day of delicious food and community at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and Ferry Terminal Plaza (south of the Ferry Building).

Enjoy handcrafted food from 15 Black women-owned businesses, plus cooking demos, family activities, and music. Savor crab-and-shrimp lumpia and jambalaya balls from Lil’ Alijo, soul-fusion ribs from Smoke Soul Kitchen, Hella Hyphy Nachos from Tha Mf’n Vegan, seasonal organic juices from MelanAID, bourbon caramel bread pudding from Yes Pudding, and much more!

Entry is free, and food and drinks will be available for purchase. See details and menu teasers here.

fresh meat

Truly Special Shanghainese Dumplings That Are Worth the Trip

This is for my fellow dumpling fiends. We have a slew of new dim sum places opening around town (it’s like dumplings are the new ramen), and some are definitely better than others—here’s one of them! Last May, I wrote about the opening of Mom Dumpling in Park Merced (their original location is in Pleasanton), and sis and I finally went on a dumpling excursion to check it out.

wines of portugal wine tasting

Try Wines from 25 Different Producers of Portugal at a Walk-Around Tasting on March 30th

An exciting wine experience is coming to San Francisco on Thursday, March 30th! It’s the Wines of Portugal Walk-Around Tasting for all wine-loving consumers. Discover over 25 different wine producers at the event, along with Portuguese-inspired hors d’oeuvres, and live entertainment. Whether you prefer rich, full-bodied red wines or perfectly balanced white wines, this is an event you won’t want to miss!

Mark your calendars for March 30th from 6pm–8pm at the Julia Morgan Ballroom for this event brought to you by Wines of Portugal and its partner, Black Wine Professionals. Be sure to reserve your spot and use code “THSF”. You’ll also be able to purchase bottles on-site from Flatiron Wines. Enjoy!

the lush

bar exterior heartwood awning financial district
The exterior of the soon-to-open Heartwood. Photo: ©

A Quick Preview of Heartwood, Opening Soon in the Financial District

Just last night, I left my desk for a quick excursion to a pre-opening party at Heartwood, the new downtown bar from Tristen Philippart de Foy, Arnold Eric Wong, Phil West, and Steve Werney, the team behind the nearby The Treasury, Third Rail (Dogpatch), and The Beehive in the Mission. The bar is in the former Marengo on the Alley, which was once Gio’s (from 1987 to 2013)—I was happy to run into Gio’s daughter Marina Costabile at the party, the location holds so many memories for her.

Bar manager Casey Carr (The Treasury, Batch & Brine) has created an enticing cocktail list of 11 cocktails, like the...

The space was inspired by the nearby redwood park below the Transamerica Pyramid, and the decór and ingredients will pay homage to trees and nature in various ways. They’re going to be open from Mon–Fri 12pm–10pm and Sat 5pm–12am (which sounds unusual for a FiDi bar, but the team has found people are booking The Treasury for private parties on weekends). You can read about the landlord dealings in this SF Business Times article. Stand by for additional details and the opening date, possibly next week. 531 Commercial St. at Sansome.

the madrona healdsburg
The Madrona. Photo: Matthew Millman.

Emily Martin Events Presents Women in Wine Dinner at The Madrona Healdsburg

Emily Martin of Emily Martin Events and The JetSetting Fashionista presents a Women in Wine Dinner at The Madrona Healdsburg on Saturday April 15th (6pm–9pm). Guests will enjoy an evening of delicious food paired with spectacular wine, celebrating women in wine at Healdsburg’s newest luxury hotel and culinary hotspot: The Madrona.

Guests will enjoy a four-course dinner under the stars in the Madrona Valley Oak Garden, paired with acclaimed wines from the female winemakers of Lambert Bridge Winery, Seppi Wines, Sutro Wines, and Trombetta Family Wines.

More info on Emily Martin Events. Tickets available on Tock.

the matchmaker

Incomparable Opportunity for a Café/Wine Bar Entrepreneur in the Heart of the Mendonoma Coast

Located in Point Arena, Mendocino, 215 Main Street is a stunning masonry building that beckons you in with its long wooden bar and brick walls awash in history and light. One of the first buildings rebuilt after the 1927 fire—and recently serving as a café/wine bar that was loved by locals and travelers alike—this standout property is brimming with possibility. The nearby restaurants, brewery, theater, and boutique hotel may be some of the local coastal attractions, but 215 Main is poised to become a treasured destination. For more information, call Andrew (707-882-2434) or click here.

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