Hello, happy sunny day to you. Thanks to all of you for the sweet birthday wishes and messages last week! Truth be told, my great Uncle Tony’s 100th birthday (!) this past weekend was the real celebration. What an inspiration.
I hope I’m going to see some of you at Tuesday night’s Show & Tell with Tony Bravo at Four One Nine (it’s such a cool space!). I have a fabulous caftan all picked out, and am looking forward to a martini! Or two. (As Herb Caen oh-so astutely noted: “Martinis are like breasts, one isn’t enough, and three is too many.”) It’s going to be a lively conversation and more, get your ticket here and see you there!
I want to get a few more special events this week on your radar. I’m so excited for this Thursday (November 9th), when my fellow sybaritic Scorpio chef Jeremiah Tower is in town for a collaborative Foreign Cinema x Stars dinner (Can you believe he just turned 80? Break out the Salon!). Reservations sold out in minutes (and actually crashed OpenTable!), but you can experience the evening’s menu, cocktails, and curated wines at Foreign Cinema’s bar, or at sister bar Laszlo, where there will be live piano music, and fun-lovin’ people who fondly remember Stars. Fab! Menu highlights include Judy Rodgers’ ricotta gnocchi, baked portabello with black Périgord truffle mascarpone, and duck x 3. 5pm–10pm.
This weekend, November 11th–12th, chef Heena Patel and the Besharam team commemorate Diwali with a two-night “Eat With Your Hands” dinner feast featuring thali-inspired savory and sweet offerings, over 20 bites and dishes. $95 per person (with beverage pairings for $45); a portion of proceeds will benefit World Central Kitchen. Reservations available on Resy.
Also this Saturday is the chic, holiday marketplace of your dreams. MARCHÉ will feature 50+ women-owned and women-led brands in the fashion, design, jewelry, art, beauty, and culinary spaces, including luxe throws by Coyuchi (such a great gift), cashmere socks from Haven Well Within, textiles and home essentials by Shoppe Amber Interiors, a soothing hiver vert candle by LAIT, Starling Fine Jewelry, rosé from mother-daughter Lorenza Wines, skincare items from Doré, and so much more. Looking for the perfect white shirt? (Always.) Check out Frank & Eileen. Take a peep at all these makers and more on Marché’s Instagram. There will also be coffee, pastries, wine, snacks, and more. Hosted at the historic The Bridge Yard in Oakland, 10am–4pm. Tickets on Eventbrite for $15 pre-sale, $18 at the door.
“Congrats on 29 years in SF! Just a note to say I absolutely LOVE your content and really value your recs and insights. Thank you! Also, I legit lol’d and felt so seen when I read your shout out to Larkin Bros. I am a HUGE fan and weirdly aggressive in telling everybody I know about how great they are. They've saved my ass so many times when SF streets ate my tires... Who knew a shared love of a killer tire shop would give me one more reason to love tablehopper!? Cheers and thanks again for all the great recs.” This confirms it: tablehopper reader fan mail is the absolute best.
I want to send you a quick deliverability note, since some of you have occasional hiccups with receiving the hopper newsletter in your inbox!
- If you use Gmail, be sure to drag the tablehopper newsletter out of the promotions folder and into your primary inbox to train it. (If you use Apple Mail, you can add tablehopper to your VIP list—exactly where it belongs, LOL—and add tablehopper to your favorites if you use Outlook.)
- Another fix is to save/add marcia@tablehopper to your address book!
I hope this helps make sure you see every tablehopper newsletter!
Lastly, I want to dedicate today’s column to the golden memory of Aubrie Pick, who tragically left us last week (she bravely shared her battle with an aggressive form of lymphoma in August, although she was quietly fighting it since March). (SFGate just posted this obituary.) Her death is shocking and heartbreaking—the tight San Francisco food scene is in mourning right now. She took so many incredible images of restaurants, and food people, and cookbooks, and products, and lifestyle shots. You should read this post by Andrea Nguyen about what it was like working with Aubrie on her cookbooks. Not only was Aubrie wildly talented, but she was the consummate professional, and dove deep into her projects.
Aubrie was also one of the kindest people, she just radiated. An absolute joy to work with. I was so lucky to have her shoot one of my holiday events, Top It Off with Louis Roederer Champagne at Marianne’s, almost 10 years ago. Her images were gorgeous, she beautifully captured the vibe and the people and the Champagne moments. I wanted to include this picture she took of me and my sister, one of my favorites of us, ever.
It’s so bleak when an extra-bright light is dimmed—I know things just don’t make sense when terrible things happen to golden people. It’s brutal, and makes you question everything. Sending so much love to her sweet family: she leaves her beloved Erik and their precious child, Romy. They could really use your support right now, there is a GoFundMe for the medical bills and memorial costs—anything remaining will go to Romy.
Sending big, long hugs to everyone who was touched by Aubrie’s light. May we all do something kind in her honor.
An Early Look at 7 Adams (and How to Score an Impossible Reservation, Only for Supporting Subscribers!)
A week ago, I was invited to a preview/test dinner at the new 7 Adams from the former Marlena chefs (husband-and-wife team David Fisher and Serena Chow Fisher), who have partnered with the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group (The Madrigal, MAMA Oakland, Trestle, and The Vault) on this new project. The 52-seat restaurant just opened in the Gardenias location in Japantown/Upper Fillmore—this neighborhood keeps poppin’! It’s wonderful to see the Fishers bounce back so strongly after they tragically had to step away from Marlena back in July after a dispute with the owner. Onward and upward!
The new design turnaround was impressively fast—they worked with Kellogg Architects, Inc. on the contemporary update. The space has some Mid-century modern and nautical elements, with walnut wood-paneled walls, sleek furnishings, pendant lights and sconces that look like sails (or fluttering handkerchiefs), with modern and amorphous shapes inset in the ceiling and wall cabinet behind the six-seat marble bar. When you walk in, you’ll note the light blue chef’s counter at the heart of the restaurant, flanking the open kitchen. The padded banquette seating and dining room chairs definitely have Mid-century modern DNA, and each table has a petite dark orange light that adds a little pop of color. The back patio is covered and heated, and seats up to 14.
The Michelin-starred Marlena was known and adored for its affordably luxurious tasting menu, and the team has put together something even better for 7 Adams (the name references Fisher’s childhood address in upstate New York). One item that has come over is the milk bread with cultured butter, a delight to munch on while looking over the menu.
The five-course, seasonal tasting menu ($87) begins with two courses; the opening menu includes charred broccoli di ciccio with a rich sauce gribiche and shaved almonds, and a cool bowl contains slices of bright, kombu-cured kampachi in a dashi-based vinaigrette, with notes of toasted kombu oil, horseradish, yuzu gel, and shiso oil. Pew pew.
The third course includes your choice of a housemade pasta, like red kabocha squash caramelle with confit chanterelles, a toasted sunflower seed pesto, and smoked chive and basil oil. Our favorite was the flavor-packed tagliatelle, served with a braised lamb shoulder ragù and shaved matsutakes, custom-built for the cool season. If you feel like upgrading, there’s the option of little clouds of ricotta gnudi with black truffle, poached new crop chestnuts, and Parmesan (+$18).
The main courses were both fantastic: the juicy slices of cage-free chicken breast (and the wing) are stuffed with farce under the skin, and finished with a decadent chicken jus, with salsify poached in stock; paying homage to chef David Fisher’s hometown is a fancy Buffalo sauced-wing, a fun flavor surprise.
The perfectly pan-roasted black cod comes with a beurre blanc-like mussel-butter sauce, and the creamed Brussel sprouts are outrageously good (I want this recipe). The table will share two sides family-style (it’s a fun touch that keeps things from feeling too fancy): a smoky farro verde with honeynut squash purée and mascarpone cheese, and a binchotan-grilled wedge of arrowhead cabbage that is glazed with a savory fish sauce caramel and garnished with apple.
So often, appetizers are more interesting than main courses, but not here—both mains were stellar. Note that vegetarians can be accommodated with options on arrival, but vegans should call ahead to see.
For dessert, Serena Chow Fisher offers the choice of hojicha opera, a dreamy sponge cake with coffee butter cream and chocolate crémeux and compressed pear, or the spiced apple crumb cake with satsuma snow and a taste of her Jack & Remi orange-bay leaf ice cream.
The talented Steve Izzo assembled the wine list, with a focus on French and Italian producers, with some New World selections (12 wines are available by the glass). Launching soon will be the chef’s counter (with six seats) offering a special tasting menu.
Like I mentioned in last week’s column, tablehopper supporting subscribers have access to a very special perk: 10 lucky subscribers are going to score reservations to 7 Adams! The restaurant is fully booked for the next 28 days, so big thanks to 7 Adams for holding back reservations for star supporting subscribers!
Open Mon–Thu 5:30pm–9pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–10pm, Sun 5pm–9pm. 1963 Sutter St. at Fillmore.
Quick News Updates: Quince Announces Reopening Date, New Taker for the Luna Park Space
The Return of Lord Stanley, with a Californian “Bistro de Luxe” Sensibility
After two years of monthly rotating chefs-in-residency from around the world for their Turntable at Lord Stanley concept, owners Carrie and Rupert Blease have returned their Michelin-starred Lord Stanley restaurant to a consistent concept that is now primarily French, with some California and Korean influences thanks to longtime chef de cuisine Nathan Matkowsky, who is now executive chef.
I got to experience the new tasting menu ($130, and so worth it) after the last heatwave we had a few weeks ago. Thankfully, wine director Louisa Smith always pours me something bubbly and refreshing and unique to try (in this case, Maison Crochet Pet’ Native Blanc of Auxerrois from the Lorraine region of Northern France). We were well-primed for the Shellfish course, a poached oyster in a punchy shiso and butter lettuce wrap (with pickled ginger and horseradish), served with a vintage engraved glass filled with a chilled and savory tomato water (an absolute elixir)—after a hot day at the beach, this dish was the most refreshing opening salvo. So palate opening. Divine.
The next course (Crustacean) was equally beguiling, with poached shrimp in court bullion that are then chilled, with thinly sliced Persian cucumber marinated in sake and olive oil, gochugara chile crisp, mizuna, and smoked trout roe. The textures (the shrimp, the roe) and the temps (the warming heat of the chile crisp against the cool shrimp) made this dish haunt me, I have to return for another hit. Louisa brought it all home with Stagiaire’s Plastic Stars & Paper Moons viognier.
We went off-script and added a course of escargots off the à la carte menu ($21), with delightfully crisp breadcrumbs in the garlicky parsley butter. We really don’t have a bunch of quality French bistro options in town, so it’s such a treat to tuck into a well-executed, classic dish like this one.
Back to the tasting menu: there’s an option to upgrade ($40) with a Caviar course: a wild Maine scallop and Yukon gold potato galette in a swirling petal shape (echoed in the adorable scallop plate), with a dollop of crème fraîche and Tsar Nicoulai caviar on top. It’s Champagne time! Laherte Frères chardonnay blanc de blancs brut nature was the move.
We said farewell to summer with the peachy palate cleanser, and dessert is like a trip to a Parisian pastry shop—pastry chef Harper Zapf is running with it! You even get a little history lesson on the pâtisserie menu. Will it be a delightful dacquoise (raspberry, pistachio, cream cheese mousse), oui, or the rarely seen and always ordered (in my case) Paris-Brest (almond, crème mousseline, pâte à choux)? We j’adored both. Zapf was so excited over the new copper molds his father made him for the choux “tire”—do you know the fun history of this item?
During a time when a full-on pastry program feels like an endangered species at restaurants, it’s so refreshing and joyful to see such dedication to a beautiful offering. You’re also going to be served some romantic truffles, which I typically like to enjoy the next day.
You can also order these sweets à la carte from the takeout window (Tue–Sat noon–9pm)—what a great thing to bring to someone as a gift. I need to try the “cheese course” next, a mille-feuille aux fromages, with mousse made of Apricity cheese, layers of Belford blue, and pepper jam, with Rockflower cheese grated on top. Mon dieu!
Another item of note:
The table settings are as lovely as ever, with new plates with black or gold rims and vintage glassware shimmering in the flickering candlelight. Such a dialed date experience. I always enjoy their playlists here, too. Book yourself a lovely night out.
Meanwhile, the Turntable concept lives on with pop-ups in L.A. and Turntable at the Flamingo Resort in Santa Rosa this November. Guest chefs will still occasionally reappear at Lord Stanley, but I’m thrilled to see this current Bistro de Luxe format stay put for a bit. Dinner Tue–Sat 5:30pm–10pm. 2065 Polk St. at Broadway.
Andina Finds a Permanent Home in Hayes Valley
by Savannah Leone Bundy
After a highly successful summer residency at B-Side, Venezuelan pop-up and La Cocina incubator alum, Andina, has officially become a partner in the space—chef-owner Victoria Lozano will manage the kitchen and food menu from here on out. As of November 3rd, the fast-casual dining room is offering lunch, dinner (including half-off of select cocktails during happy hour from 7pm–9pm), and weekend brunch.
The lunch menu will highlight chef Andina’s renowned arepas, along with rice bowls and classic Venezuelan snacks (think empanadas, tostones, and fried cheese), while the dinner menu offers tapas-style Venezuelan street food, such as cochino frito (marinated and fried pork, steamed yuca, avocado sauce; $16), patacón (fried green plantains, shredded beef, coleslaw, salsa rosada; $14), and vuelve a la vida (seafood cocktail with plantain chips; $16). For brunch, guests can enjoy dishes like the traditional desayuno criollo (Venezuelan scrambled eggs, black beans, ham, avocado, arepas; $17), bollito de maíz (sweet corn tamal, crema, cotija cheese; $11), and chupe de pollo (chicken soup, corn and cheese arepa; $13).
Andina is open Wed–Fri for lunch from 11am–3pm, Thu–Sun for dinner from 5:30pm–9:30pm, and Sat–Sun for brunch from 11am-3pm. 205 Franklin St. at Fell.
Closures Include Classic Rue Lepic, Vico Cavone, and Uptown
A reader wrote in to let me know the longtime and classic French restaurant Rue Lepic has closed. The Lower Nob Hill restaurant opened in 1964, and owner and chef Michiko Boccara has operated the romantic bistro (complete with roses on the tables) for the past two decades. Past celebrity guests include Robin Williams, Yoko Ono, and Michael Keaton, but the restaurant’s roster of diehard regulars are the real stars. My tipster mentioned Boccara was selling the place, but I couldn’t find any real estate listings. I reached out via an email I found, but haven’t heard back. The website is down and their phone number is disconnected, so I couldn’t get any more details. If anyone has any intel, let me know. I have always loved the iconic pink neon corner sign. 900 Pine St. at Mason.
Over the weekend, I was sad to spot this post on Instagram announcing the sudden closure of Vico Cavone, the Neapolitan restaurant that opened in the former Firewood in the Castro just two years ago. The post (from co-owner Alessandro Raimondi) cites legal and operational issues with his co-owner Sanaa Hams (who filed the suit)—this Hoodline post gets into more details about the lawsuit. What a sad ending, this queer-owned neighborhood restaurant will be missed for its authentic Italian dishes and fun events. I mean, Billy Porter just ate there a couple weeks ago! 4248 18th St. at Diamond.
Did you know the Uptown bar in the Mission is almost 40 years old, and a Legacy business? Pretty notable for a dive bar. Sadly, this longtime corner bar is closing when its lease ends in early January 2024, according to Mission Local. Business just never picked up enough after the pandemic, and the group of bartender-owners who took over after original owner Scott Ellsworth died in 2014 have made the difficult decision to close. Support your local dive bar! 200 Capp St. at 17th St.
Thanksgiving Dinner Options, Plus Takeout, Too
Coming up in just two weeks (on Thursday November 23rd) is Thanksgiving, ay yi yi. Since it’s such a daunting meal to cook, especially if you’re in a tiny SF apartment, here are some quick ideas for you on where to enjoy Thanksgiving out at a restaurant instead. You can leave it to the professionals!
One Market is offering a classic four-course dinner, with butternut squash soup, baby beet salad, and roasted Diestel turkey with cornbread-sausage stuffing, root vegetables, and shallot-thyme gravy (or spit-roasted Berkshire pork loin, or a vegetarian option), and a variety of desserts. $95 per person, while children 10 and under are $49 per child. (You can also pre-order Thanksgiving to go.)
Got family in town who want to enjoy beautiful Tiburon? Book a table at The Bungalow Kitchen, featuring a multi-course, prix-fixe menu from 2pm–8pm. Enjoy slow-roasted heritage turkey (or porchetta), with pumpkin mille feuille for dessert. $105 per person (plus tax and gratuity); kids menu available.
During the pandemic, I ordered the Thanksgiving dinner from Lily, which was abundant (so. many. sides.) and crazy-delicious (loved the Vietnamese curry pumpkin soup, and the salt-baked Diestel turkey was so juicy!). You can enjoy it at the restaurant for $88 (plus tax and 20 percent tip) or pre-order it for takeout.
Montesacro Marina and Walnut Creek will be open 12pm–8pm on Thanksgiving Day for a family-style spread (reserve), and are also offering a takeout option for $42/person, with a vegetarian menu as well.
And Now, Some More Thanksgiving Takeout Options!
by Savannah Leone Bundy
For those hosting, but *not* cooking, here’s a list of some of the best takeout Thanksgiving meals the Bay Area has to offer:
Brenda’s has a French soul food Thanksgiving dinner kit, featuring a whole brined turkey and all of your fall time faves with a New Orleans twist (think andouille and cornbread dressing)—and they didn’t forget the famous cream biscuits! (FYI, Brenda’s French Soul Food will also be open for brunch on Thanksgiving Day 9am–2pm, reservations only.)
Cassava’s to-go feast includes a whole turkey, along with innovative takes on holiday staples, like ribeye mac and cheese, burrata scalloped potatoes, and quince-cranberry sauce.
Spruce has a classy and classic menu with familiar comfort dishes, Parker House rolls, three different pie options, and birds ranging from 10–22 pounds.
Of course, Greens Restaurant has vegetarians covered, with an à la carte takeout menu available for pre-order through November 15th (noon) via this takeout form. Think Tassajara wild mushroom terrine, cornbread stuffing, and Star Route Farms baby lettuce salad, and sweet treats, too. Orders will be available for pickup on Wednesday November 22nd.
Abacá has cooked up three Filipino-inspired Thanksgiving pies—buko pandan, pumpkin kalabasa cheesecake, and a savory beef kaldereta pie—available for pre-order now.