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Aug 30, 2023 10 min read

This week’s tablehopper: my blue heaven. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: my blue heaven. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

Meek’s Bay, Lake Tahoe
Meek’s Bay, Lake Tahoe. Photo: ©

Greetings from gorgeous Lake Tahoe, where I have been spending the past week at our family cabin in Tahoma (AKA Stayhoma). I had a bit of a hairy drive last Monday coming up through the summit on I-80—it ends up my storm tracking was off a bit, and Hilary hadn’t completely left the area. I hit a crazy patch of weather—it was absolutely dumping rain—and had to put my wipers on full blast. (I was so glad I got new tires on my Fiat just the week prior, oy.) I was also thankful my baby girl, Fortuna, knew Mom was tense and stayed put in her cat bed—I didn’t hear a peep out of her. Of course, everyone up here is grateful for the rain—it helps tamp down (some) worry about summer fires since everything just got a serious dousing. Looking good, Tahoe!

Things finally warmed up for good beach and swim time by Thursday—the lake is utterly stunning. The water level is so high, and the water is as clear and crisp as ever. But, fall is arriving early, and it’s supposed to rain this weekend. Ugh! (I feel bad for Burners getting more rain this Friday, such a mess.) So much for a sunny Labor Day weekend up here. I guess I’ll be watching more movies, and diving deeper into my stack of books, not the worst thing (thank you so much to my friend Darwin who gave me Fairyland).

Speaking of flicks, since I’ve had free time up here in the evenings (such is life in Stayhoma), I wanted to mention a couple great movies I just streamed. On Netflix, there’s the trippy, smart, satirical-Blaxploitation-meets-sci-fi Who Cloned Tyrone, with clever societal and cultural commentary, plus some snappy and hilarious dialogue. And Ya No Estoy Aquí/I’m No Longer Here is devastatingly beautiful, with so much style and heart and authentic storytelling. It follows the journey of 17-year-old Ulisses from the gang-dominated streets of Monterrey, Mexico, to trying to survive in New York, centered around a soundtrack of and love story with cumbia. So good.

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Today’s column has a bunch of events that will hopefully inspire you to go out and have some tasty fun. Many thanks to tablehopper editorial assistant Savannah Leone Bundy for stepping in with three pieces this week while I’m on my part-time vacation. I really want to enjoy every hour of this limited sunny weather while I can!

Wishing you a fab Labor Day weekend, may it be full of rosé and relaxation.

Chipmunk 🐿️ chirps!

the chatterbox

Gumbo Social gumbo with rice
You know you want a bowl of Gumbo Social’s deeeeelicious gumbo. Photo: Don Bowden of American Legal Video Services, courtesy of Gumbo Social.

New Openings Include Gumbo Social (Officially!), Mini Potstickers (Awwwww), and More

In the last tablehopper issue, I mentioned chef-owner Dontaye Ball of Gumbo Social’s 40th Birthday Bash is coming up on Sunday September 3rd (an all-you-can-eat seafood boil at the Outer Sunset Farmer’s Market & Mercantile). And now, he shares the great news that Gumbo Social is officially permitted by the City of San Francisco to open. Visit his first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Bayview for all kinds of his stellar gumbo and po’boys and more (and pick up some frozen gumbo to stash in your freezer). Open Wed–Sat 12pm–8pm. 5176 3rd St. at Thornton.

Some more new openings around town include Mini Potstickers...

I enjoyed this Hoodline piece about Willkommen beer hall in the Castro (from Black Hammer Brewing) updating and expanding their menu, thanks to chef consultant Matthew Dolan (25 Lusk). 2198 Market St. at Sanchez.

Queer Women–Led Hospitality Group to Open New Café and Bar in SoMa

low-ABV cocktail at the new DACHA Cafe + Bar.
The Hibiscus Electro Punch at the new DACHA Cafe + Bar. Instagram photo via @dachaprojects.

by Savannah Leone Bundy

Couple Katya Skye and Suki Skye (Manhattan Zodiac, a cocktail consultancy behind projects such as Sorella) are proud to announce their newest venture, DACHA Cafe + Bar, located in SoMa coworking space, Trellis.

The café, described as “a modern refuge in the City where you’ll find nourishment and community,” offers classic Eastern European pastries, modern coffee drinks, and a curated low-ABV and alcohol-free cocktail menu, including Katya and Suki’s personal favorite, the Lychee Pop (Sabé vodka, elderflower, lychee, lime, rhubarb, bubble boba; $16) and the Ruby Mule (red wine, tamarind, lime, ginger beer, cardamom; $16).

Guests can also expect a series of pop-up events and offerings hosted in partnership with other women- and POC-owned businesses from around the Bay Area, such as ube bread pudding by Kapwa Baking Co, Filipino-Jamaican patties by Tasty Tings, CBD-infused products by Malaya Botanicals, and mini-glam sessions from SF hairstylists.

DACHA’s grand opening, hosted in partnership with ACE Collective by Kultivate Labs, kicks off on Tuesday September 5th at 8am, and will extend a 10 percent discount on coffee drinks to all Trellis members and their guests. Open Mon–Fri 8am–3pm. 981 Mission St. at 6th St.

Coming Soon: Arsicault Bakery to Mission Rock, Vacant to Vibrant Pop-Ups in September

Closures and Moves

exterior of Gracias Madre on Mission Street
The exterior of Gracias Madre on Mission Street. Photo courtesy of Gracias Madre via Facebook.

Mission Local reports Gracias Madre, the vegan Mexican restaurant from Matthew and Terces Englehart (Cafe Gratitude) that opened in the Mission in 2009, has closed due to multiple factors (the pandemic, economic conditions in the City, Mission Street blight [via SFGate], staffing issues, and more). You can read their farewell letter on their site. 2211 Mission St. at 18th St.

Just in case you missed the news, Automat closed over the weekend. Chef-partners Matt Kirk and David Barzelay (Lazy Bear) opened the NoPa café and restaurant in the former Green Chile Kitchen two years ago, and share this in a farewell letter on their website and Instagram: “But it has been tough to operate a casual restaurant in San Francisco that is sustainable for its employees, affordable for its customers, puts out high-end food made from scratch, but also works financially. In the two years we’ve been open, we were not able to find that balance. So Automat is closing.” Their garlic pretzel focaccia and baguette will be missed! 1801 McAllister St. at Baker.

After pulling shots in SoMa since 2008, John Quintos of Cento Coffee Bar is closing up shop and moving to FiDi in the about-to-open Center for Architecture + Design in the historic Hallidie Building. The new café will be Système D, “named after the French term for adaptability and creating resourceful solutions.” The opening is September 8th, hours will be Mon–Fri. Cento will assuredly be missed in SoMa. 140 Sutter St. at Montgomery.

This Friday Is I ♥️ SF at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center

A roundup of food trucks at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center.
A roundup of food trucks at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. Photo courtesy of OTG.

I had to include this one since anything celebrating SF classics is right up my alley: this Friday September 1st, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center is hosting I ♥️ SF. This is the first of eight themed food parties between September 1st–October 27th (view the full lineup here), each featuring a different roster of food trucks, a full bar, live music, dance performances, and more. This Friday will celebrate SF classics from Boudin, Scoma’s, Gold Mirror, and SF cocktails (time for a Tommy’s Margarita and Irish coffee!).

There’s also a new VIP village of 8 reservable booths called Gather, where you can reserve a booth for four people ($100/person) for 90 minutes, and a server will place and pick up your food and drink orders—no waiting in lines! This Friday’s I ♥️ SF event will offer a five-course feast, plus an optional beverage pairing, details and tickets here.

Upcoming themes include a taco takeover, a Filipino feast, a K-Pop + kimchi party, and more. 5pm–10pm. 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco.

La Cocina Is Back with a Tasty Outdoor Event: Tacolado 2023

tacolado event info

by Savannah Leone Bundy

On Sunday September 24th, La Cocina (the SF nonprofit behind La Cocina Municipal Marketplace—the country’s first women-led food hall—and the La Cocina Incubator Program) is hosting their first public outdoor event since the beginning of the pandemic. Tacolado is a mashup of helado (Spanish for ice cream) and tacos (Spanish for, well, tacos) and this party is going to be an epic celebration of the two.

From 11am–5pm, guests will enjoy beer, wine, and cocktails, music and dancing, and the taco and ice cream stylings of a group of dynamic La Cocina entrepreneurs, including...

General taco sale tickets ($18 until Aug. 31st, $21 thereafter) will get you three of the tacos of your choice, with the option to add on a helping of ice cream nachos ($6 until the 31st, and $7 after), while premium tickets ($200 ’til the 31st, and $220 after) provide an ultra-exclusive, unlimited taco experience with expedited entry and bar access, an ice cream dessert, three complimentary drinks, raffles—and did we mention unlimited tacos??

The outdoor function will be held at Spark Social SF (601 Mission Blvd. North at 4th St.) and all proceeds are going directly back to the La Cocina organization and incubator program, which helps establish and grow business by low-income food entrepreneurs and focuses on providing resources to women from communities of color and immigrant communities.


Hestan Culinary NanoBond skillet
A Hestan Culinary NanoBond skillet. Photo courtesy of Hestan Culinary.

Take 20 Percent Off Top-Notch Hestan Culinary Skillets: September Skillet Event, 8/31–9/12

As a certified egg fanatic, I feel like I’m constantly on the hunt for the perfect skillet. I have tried more nonstick skillets than I can count, and they usually end up failing me within a year, even with gentle cleaning, and I hate how wasteful that is. There are just some things you really need a nonstick skillet for (bonjour, omelet). I was due to hunt down yet another skillet, when the marketing folks for Hestan Culinary happened to reach out, and offered to send me one of their top-selling ProBond Professional Clad Stainless Steel TITUM® Nonstick Skillets. Great timing!

A Hestan Culinary ProBond skillet.
A Hestan Culinary ProBond skillet. Photo courtesy of Hestan Culinary.

I requested the 8.5-inch size, and my new skillet is blowing any past pans outta the kitchen. That viral feta fried egg recipe? I can make it without any of it sticking to the pan. Fried eggs? They cook evenly and quickly, and I can’t believe how much heat the pan retains after you turn the burner off. (The triple-bonded construction with exclusive ProCore™ heats 35 percent faster than typical clad cookware.) The way the pan is designed means you get 20 percent more surface area—I’ll take it. Hestan claims to be 22 times more durable than other nonstick pans, so I’m hoping this proves to be a long-term relationship.

My favorite feature: you know the two rivets where the handle attaches that always and annoyingly get food residue stuck to them? Yeah, say ciao, because Hestan’s rivets are flush with the pan. Brilliant.

Wanna check out one of their high-quality skillets? Maybe you’re already a Hestan devotee. Mark your calendar for Thursday August 31st to September 12th, which is Hestan Culinary’s once-a-year sale, the September Skillet Event! Take 20 percent off any skillet from Hestan Culinary’s NanoBond, ProBond, CopperBond, and Thomas Keller Insignia collections (you can read on their site which line is right for you). Sale pricing will be available on the Hestan Culinary website (many of the skillets include free two-day delivery) and on Amazon (click here for skillets). Pick out your skillet now, and get ready for the sale on 8/31!

Here’s more from Hestan Culinary: “Handcrafted in Italy and based in Napa Valley, Hestan Culinary offers cookware built with thoughtful innovation and meticulous craftsmanship for a lifetime of beautiful performance. Unmatched in their lightweight design and durability, and with 20% more surface area than competitors, these skillets will last through a lifetime of cooking. Hestan worked with acclaimed chefs to develop a seemingly impossible type of cookware: Heavy-duty durability. Lightweight maneuverability. High-performance heat conduction. Low-maintenance beauty.”

the socialite

blocks of cheese
Image courtesy of California Artisan Cheese Festival (via Facebook).

8th Annual SF Cheese Fest is ‘A Homecoming Celebration for Cheese Lovers’

by Savannah Leone Bundy

On Saturday September 23rd, the City’s 8th annual Cheese Fest (in support of the California Artisan Cheese Guild) will take place at the Ferry Building.

From 6pm–9pm, guests can expect an evening of plentiful artisan cheese samples from California makers, specialty food offerings from local faves, and an open bar serving unlimited California beer and wine. VIP ticket holders can start the party early at 5pm, with an exclusive cheese tasting hosted by Alyssa Gilbert (Graze + Gather), along with cocktail (or no-ABV) pairings from Wheyward Spirit and Fever-Tree.

Executive director of the California Artisan Cheese Guild, Valerie Miller, says this year’s festival “feels like a homecoming celebration for cheese lovers and industry leaders alike,” and “showcases the extraordinary cheesemaking traditions and innovations happening in our home state of California.”

Discounted early bird tickets (two for $176) are available for just a few more days, but regular-priced general admission and VIP tickets are on sale (until sold out). Be sure to follow along @CACheeseGuild for more details and updates.

the starlet

Sam Smith chow(der)ing down at Pier Market. Instagram photo via @pier39

Well, here’s one advantage to getting the newsletter a day later: a starlet sighting just rolled in! Sam Smith was spotted having clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl with a beer 🍻 a few days ago at Pier Market at PIER 39! (Smith was playing full-on SF tourist with a visit to Alcatraz as well.) They were in town for their Gloria Tour at Chase Center on Monday August 28th.

the archivist

Since a bunch of folks are on vacation and on the road this week, I thought it would be fun to dig up this postcard of the former Caravan Motor Lodge, now The Phoenix Hotel...

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