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Feb 28, 2023 7 min read

This week’s tablehopper: coming in like a lion. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: coming in like a lion. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

cannelloni the sausage factory castro restaurant san francisco red sauce joint
It’s definitely cannelloni weather! Stand by for my upcoming piece on The Sausage Factory. Photo: ©

Hello fabulous readers. Can you believe it’s the last day of February? I KNOW. It’s also the last day of the super-special offer for an annual subscription to tablehopper (for $99)! This is the best price you’ll see, so I would snag it now if you’re on the fence. You’ll be able to receive the full newsletter and access to the entire website archive, plus you’ll get special members-only articles, a free tip please restaurant recommendation, and even more perks.

Thanks for supporting my work, it means so much to know I can continue writing tablehopper (and pay for this entire redesign) with your help. Remember, for many of you, this subscription may be a tax write-off or expensed!

There are other subscription tiers that you can check out here. You can always upgrade your subscription level if you want more access, more perks, and enjoy paying it forward for others (and really want to help me dial tablehopper to 11!).

Thanks to the generosity of all the star Patrons and Super Patrons, I’m able to offer some readers a subsidized annual subscription to the tablehopper newsletter. I'm especially keen on being able to offer this to my fellow broke freelance writers, creatives, culture creators, and restaurant industry folks, or longtime readers on a fixed income. I know some of you have been waiting for the subsidized subscription application, so here you go! This first application window will close on Friday March 17th. Future application periods are TBD and contingent upon additional Patron/Super Patron subscriptions.

Speaking of tablehopper Super Patrons, tremendous thanks to:
-Joan Simon/Full Plate Restaurant Consulting
-The Unofficial Coalition to Bring Back Julius’ Castle

And huge thanks to tablehopper Patrons:
-Dadascope Communications
-Lola Y.

There are other Patrons/Super Patrons who have chosen to remain anonymous, or haven’t gotten back to me yet on how they’d like to be listed 😉, so stand by for more shout-outs soon! Big love and thanks to every single one of you.

March is here and I need a break from this disgusting weather. It’s a lot like this lousy illness that just won’t leave my body (15 days and counting)—I have been exhausted. So yeah, it’s definitely curl-up-and-watch-a-movie weather. I want to point you to Exposing Muybridge, a fascinating documentary I just watched on Prime video about the pioneering photographer Eadweard Muybridge, known for his studies of motion and early work in motion-picture projection. Locally, we also know him for his 1878 panorama of SF and his photographs of the West. He was quite the challenging character, but also so bold and visionary. I adored Gary Oldman’s commentary in the documentary, he’s the best. We need more Gary.

I also started watching Cara Delevingne’s new docuseries, Planet Sex (on Hulu). She explores gender, identity, relationships, and sexuality around the world, and I’m loving how personal, frank, educational, and inclusive it is. Go, sis! Check it out!

Back to food: did you happen to see this wonderful feature on food photographer Eric Wolfinger? He’s no longer living in SF, wah, but is such an integral part of our local food scene—I wanted to be sure you saw it.

OK, it’s time to read your abridged newsletter—just so you know, paid members are seeing a lot more content. So, come on, are you ready to hit that subscribe button? Don’t miss this special annual subscription offer, it ends tonight (midnight on 2/28/23) and is the best price you’ll see!

Thanks for being part of tablehopper’s future.


the chatterbox

crab louie salad popi's oysterette marina restaurant seafood san francisco
Check out this gorgeous crab Louie at Popi’s Oysterette. Photo: ©

New Openings: Popi’s Oysterette

Over the weekend, I got to attend a friends-and-family test lunch at Popi’s Oysterette, the new SF seafood counter in the Marina I told you all about a couple weeks ago. Chef-partner Melissa Perfit is giving us the seafood menu of our dreams (check my Instagram post for some delicious evidence). They’re open daily for lunch this week 12pm–2pm, and next week will stay open straight through to dinner. 2095 Chestnut St. at Steiner.

Tidbits: Next-Level Sandwiches in Hayes Valley

An array of the new sandwiches at Gambit Lounge. Photo: © Wes Rowe.

There are some mighty good-lookin’ sandwiches available during the new daytime service at Gambit Lounge in Hayes Valley (581 Hayes St. at Laguna). Whether you want to dine in (and enjoy a beverage from the bar), sit in the parklet, or get your sandwich to go, the new daytime service is Wed–Sat 11:30am–2:30pm. Owners Edward Calhoun and Cezar Kusik collaborated with Wes Rowe (Wes Burger) on the eclectic and international menu of sandwich badassery, which includes...


Do you work in the restaurant industry? If you have worked an average of at least eight hours a week for at least three months for an employer in San Francisco with at least 20 employees, you have a healthcare benefit account that you can use to cover a range of eligible medical expenses, from dental care to vision to therapy.

Thanks to this informative article in Mission Local, you can read about how to access these funds—and you should do it soon, because the article reports: “Starting in March, San Francisco will begin a three-year countdown, and beginning in April, 2026, the city will close accounts that are inactive for three consecutive years and pocket the funds, according to the Department of Public Health.” Spread the word to friends and family who may not know about these benefit accounts and could use those funds to cover some healthcare expenses.

Ancora Has Sadly Closed in the Mission

dutch baby caviar ancora mission san francisco restaurant
Dutch baby with kaluga caviar, smoked crème fraîche, preserved lemon, shallots, chives, and fried capers at Ancora. Photo: ©

Such a bummer: the upscale seafood restaurant Ancora has closed after seven months of business (it opened in the former Locanda on Valencia). Co-owners Joe Conte and Andi Conte (who run Water2Table) brought on chef Nick Anichini, previously chef de cuisine at Atelier Crenn. There was a lot to love on that menu, and so much care went into the wine pairings and staff training, but they commented to the Chronicle that perhaps they should have done something less upscale. The piece also mentions: “They may reopen the space this spring as a casual seafood restaurant, or sell the restaurant, Conte said.” I hope they figure out a sequel, the seafood they featured was incredible, but the restaurant industry is downright brutal right now. 557 Valencia St. at 17th St.

the sponsor

Get your ticket for the California Artisan Cheese Festival now!

Cheese, Cheese, and More Cheese ... Don’t Miss This Unique Festival!

The California Artisan Cheese Festival is back to three days: March 24th–26th in Sonoma Wine Country! Get your tickets to spend the weekend tasting or just a day exploring California’s finest artisan cheeses, wine, beer, and spirits from local makers, along with complementary accoutrements. The weekend includes Farm and Producer Tours, Seminars and Tastings, a Cheese Crawl, and the popular Artisan Cheese Tasting and Marketplace (this is one event not to miss)!

Buy tickets at and follow @caartisancheesefestival for updates and cheesy pics.

the socialite

pani puri besharam san francisco indian restaurant
Pani puri at Besharam. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

Celebrate International Women’s Day at These Special Events

International Women’s Day is coming up on March 8th, and while I usually celebrate Festa Della Donna at A16 (a marvelous tradition Shelley Lindgren started 18 years ago), I’m happy to see Besharam chef Heena Patel has planned a special Bollywood-themed night celebrating Holi and International Women’s Day as well! The night will feature a family-style menu of dishes inspired by Heena’s memories of going to the movies as a child in Mumbai, with a made-to-order drunken pani puri stand (they are made with a splash of gin!), her incredible khandvi (pinwheel rolls with chimichurri), chili cheese pizza with smoked paneer, and more. The five-course menu is $75, plus there will be wine pairings available from local producer Martha Stoumen. It’s going to be a lively evening, with Bollywood music videos playing in the background. Reservations available for March 8th via Resy. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.

The night before, on Tuesday March 7th, I will be a judge at Merkado in SoMa for My Taco, My Choice!, a Bay Area chef taco competition in support of women’s reproductive rights. Did you get your ticket yet? I hope to see you! $45 in advance via Eventbrite; $50 at the door. Doors open at 5pm for cocktail hour, the event runs 6pm–8:30pm. 130 Townsend St. at 2nd St.

the matchmaker

RFP for Mini Food Hall in Upper Haight

We are looking for a master tenant, preferably a non-profit organization to build, run, and manage a four-kiosk community food hall in the busy Upper Haight corridor. The ideal organization will work with small businesses committed to providing quality, affordable food, have a strong focus on nutrition and sustainability, and have an established record of providing workforce development services in the community. If you are interested in this RFP and believe your organization is qualified to build and run a community food hall, please apply no later than April 13th. More info:

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