Follow @tablehopper on Threads!
Learn more
Oct 11, 2023 13 min read

This week’s tablehopper: third time, not a charm. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: third time, not a charm. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

Fukuoka signature cold udon from Katsuo & Kombu
Many of you have already seen this image on @tablehopper, but I just have to do a special shout-out to the Fukuoka signature cold udon from Katsuo & Kombu, a real lifesaver last week. Photo: ©

Hello, friends. I know so many hearts are heavy with the devastating news and images coming out of Israel and Gaza right now. It’s a lot to process. I hope your beloveds are safe. Try to spend some time in nature this week, reach out to loved ones, buy yourself and others some flowers. I always play Chilly Gonzales when things are getting overwhelming (on repeat at Hopper HQ for the past month).

Hi, you’re reading the free version of the tablehopper newsletter. Supporting subscribers get the full newsletter on Tuesdays, with extra insider info and tips, plus a free annual customized restaurant recommendation, and other benefits. Please support independent publications like mine. (17 years and counting, thanks to you!)

Personally, I have been pretty wiped out, it has been a WEEK over here. After my fractured wisdom tooth extraction last Tuesday, I was feeling excessively rundown, and tested positive for Covid. Are you friggin’ kidding me? Talk about insult to injury. It’s my third time tangling with La Puta Rona, and she really has a knack for showing up at the worst possible time. Add on continuing to grapple with Fortuna’s health and anxiety issues (and trying to keep her calm during four days of the Blue Angels blasting the City), dealing with the hassle of getting a prescription for Paxlovid (why such a pain?), and the two of us sweltering in my top-floor apartment in last week’s brutal heatwave, and, well, things were pretty rough. Thankfully, she just finished her second round of antibiotics, and I’m all done with eating soft foods with the metallic Paxlovid taste in my mouth, so, as of today, things are looking up. If you have been trying to reach me, I will get back to you soon.

Many thanks to all the friends who kindly offered to pick things up for me and bring things by (yay, feta and flowers!), so appreciated. I have to tell you, one of my friends has really mastered the art of the care package. I’m telling you this so the next time someone you know contracts Covid and will assuredly be in need of some TLC, here’s some inspiration on what to bring them: along with dropping off my decongestant meds and a vapor inhaler, he included a couple Kevita probiotic lemon-ginger drinks and pills (knowing I’m also on antibiotics for my tooth), turmeric shots, Natura quercetin plus pills (they reportedly help boost immunity and reduce inflammation), blueberries, Roli Roti chicken broth, applesauce (so unexpected and soothing, an inner Mom move right there), and the kicker: a Powerball ticket. So damn sweet. I told him he should run a Covid care package delivery service. May it inspire us all to give good care!

I want to give special thanks to all of you who took advantage of the tablehopper September offer and got yourself a subscription! Welcome aboard! (You’re also really helping with my insane dental and vet bills this month, so an extra-big thanks for your support, truly.)

I’m not very good at resting, and the news cycle doesn’t take breaks, but I did appreciate the opportunity to catch up on some good documentaries this past week. Here are a few that have such compelling stories to tell: 

Donyale Luna: Supermodel, an otherworldly super-being who lived an extraordinary life, albeit a tragically brief and often heartbreaking one. She was the first Black model to appear on the cover of the British edition of Vogue (in March 1966), and you may recognize her from Fellini’s Satyricon. So glad her truly singular story is finally being told in this powerful and personal doc, she was a force. Goddess QUEEN. 

A friend reminded me to sign up for the Kanopy streaming service with my library card, which is where I found a fantastic documentary about gay life and the drag scene in New York in the 1950s. P.S. Burn This Letter Please all started from a box of letters that was discovered in 2014 (fortunately they weren’t burned!), and offers a window into an amazing demimonde of drag pioneers 70 years ago. The fabulously dishy tales are beyond entertaining, and the brave stories of living authentically and surviving are so inspiring. Before you traipse off to your next drag brunch, this is one to watch.

And while I was in Tahoe, I watched Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams, the mind-blowing story about Salvatore Ferragamo’s life, which was all about being in the right place at the right time, with a massive amount of ambition and talent. (On Prime.)

OK, it’s time to wrap this up—I’m wiped out from writing this thing. I’m going to continue to try to keep things in low gear over here for the next few days, but am planning to catch the San Francisco Fall Show at Fort Mason, running Thursday October 12th to Saturday the 14th—it’s always such a visual banquet! And Sunday is Foodwise’s Sunday Supper, I look forward to seeing you there (new tablehopper editorial assistant Savannah Leone Bundy will be with me, so be sure to say hi!). See you soon.

~Marcia and Tuna 🐾

the chatterbox

sandwiches from Iggy’s Place
An array of delicious sandwiches from Iggy’s Place. Photo courtesy of Iggy’s Place.

Iggy’s Place, a Daytime Pop-Up with Lovingly Made Soups and Sandwiches and More, Is Coming to the Outer Richmond

Some great news from two fantastic businesses here in SF: launching mid-month at Wine Bar at Cassava in the Outer Richmond will be Iggy’s Place, a daytime pop-up from the team behind the Borsch Mobile food truck. Iggy is Ukrainian chef-owner Igor Teplitsky, who lives just down the street, and runs the truck with his dynamic wife Anna Flider—I loved meeting and interviewing them for my former KQED column, back in 2018. (You can read more about their background in this excellent J. Weekly piece by Alix Wall.)

Their truck and catering menu has evolved over the years, and Iggy’s Place will feature their homey, grandma-style dishes like chicken soup and their namesake borsch, as well as housemade pirozhi (stuffed and baked buns) with fillings like potato and mushroom, to new-school pulled pork or pulled chicken with house BBQ sauce, to mozzarella and feta with egg and scallions.

Soups and salads are also on the menu. Photo courtesy of Iggy’s Place.
Soups and salads are also on the menu. Photo courtesy of Iggy’s Place.

They were already playing with tradition and multi-cultural influences with their sandwiches back when we met—I was a big fan of their cold cut–style beef tongue sandwich with balsamic-reduced onions, tomatoes, arugula, and a garlic and sriracha aioli. At Iggy’s Place, there will be seven specialty sandwiches on offer, including house-brined turkey, house-brined roast pork, an Italian combo, a house club, a sardine sandwich (with hard-boiled egg, pickles, and more), and a vegetarian option—they all come on breads and hoagie-style rolls by Rize Up Bakery. Don’t want to do a full sandwich? You can also do a half with soup, or half with a pirozhi/bun, or get soup and pirozhi. 

Salads include a Cobb with Green Goddess dressing or arugula with blue cheese and walnuts. And don’t miss trying kvass (a fermented drink), but you can also just get a soda.

They will be open for lunch Mon–Fri 10am–4pm, with weekend brunch soon to follow. The opening is planned for somewhere around October 17th–19th, follow @iggysplace on Instagram for the exact opening date. The couple is excited to feed the neighborhood in such a stylish and welcoming space (and parklet). Also available for takeout or delivery, and catering. 3519 Balboa St. at 36th Ave.

A Bunch of Openings Around Town, from Persian-Mexican to Thai to Vietnamese

bar and lounge at the new Movida in SoMa
The new Movida in SoMa. Photo courtesy of Sixth P Media.

Back in June, writer Tamara Palmer covered the Movida project that’s now open in the former Lord George in South Park, a Persian and Mexican fusion restaurant and lounge (no relationship to the former Movida Lounge in the Lower Haight, or La Movida in the Mission). First-time owner Bobby Marhamat brought on chef Hoss Zaré as executive adviser, along with chef Afrand Nikoukar to design the flavor-packed menu, which includes creative dishes like...

Culinary-driven cocktails from Carlo Splendorini include the León y Sol (tequila, saffron, acidulated orange, orange blossom, citrus, orgeat, Tajín) and the Tala (Cortés mezcal, carrot, dill, poblano chile, serrano tincture, urfa biber). Enticing! There will be DJs and Saturday night parties, plus they will be bringing a high-energy Sunday brunch soon. Open Tue–Wed 4pm–11pm, Thu–Sat 4pm–12:30am. 555 2nd St. at S. Park St.

Hor mok bai tong at the new Oraan Thai Eatery on Geary. Photo via @oraansf.

Over in the Inner Richmond, Oraan Thai Eatery has opened in the former Mescolanza. Back when Mescolanza closed, SF Standard mentioned Pam Nanthawan Kumtongkum is behind this new project when she applied to sell beer and wine. Oraan’s website also lists Karl Holland as a co-founder.

The menu looks deeeelicious, and the presentations look a step above (like hor mok bai tong/steamed mixed seafood in red curry, basil, and Makrut lime leaves in banana leaves). Since everyone is distracted by the nearby Prik Hom (which I liked, but thought it needed more time and another visit before I could write about it), here’s a new Thai place offering “a modern twist of timeless Thai fare” that looks like a good one to check out. Here’s a peek at the dining room. Open Sun–Thu 11am–2:30pm and 5pm–9pm, Fri-Sat until 10pm. 3750 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.

I was so happy to see Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant has successfully relocated from the Financial District and reopened in its new digs in North Beach in the former Bask. Things looked bleak for the family-run FiDi favorite (since 1982!) when landlord SHVO was unceremoniously shoving them out last year when their lease was ending, until Supervisor Aaron Peskin stepped in, and now the second generation will be able to continue to operate the business. And there’s now a cocktail menu, so here’s to a positive new chapter, cheers. Open Mon–Fri 10am–10pm, Sat 11am–10pm. 42 Columbus Ave. at Jackson. [Via SF Standard]

A look at the bar at The Rustic.
A look at the bar at The Rustic. Photo courtesy of a tablehopper reader.

Back in June, I mentioned The Rustic, the new restaurant opening in the former Chow on Church from Chez Panisse alum Zoti Ali Turap (originally reported by Hoodline). It’s now softly open, according to an intrepid longtime tablehopper reader who was walking by last Thursday and saw the doors open. It appears the chef is no longer David Guilloty—it’s now Joseph McColgan (formerly a sous at Perbacco and Fiorella).

The owner has been cagey with sharing details, and the website isn’t up, so here’s a look on Yelp at the Cal-Ital-Med-American menu for now, with approachable dishes like truffle steak tartare, kampachi crudo, handmade pastas, wood-fired pizza, fried chicken, a vegetable tagine, and steak frites. (With Il Casaro just next door, already offering an extensive menu of pasta and wood-fired pizza, I was honestly expecting something a bit different. How much pizza Margherita and bolognese does one block need?)

The back patio at The Rustic
The back patio of The Rustic. Photo courtesy of a tablehopper reader.

The interior design is a bit space-age zany, with metallic padded barstools, starburst lights, a periwinkle phone booth, an illuminated onyx bar, and violet lighting along the picture rail. There’s a patio in the back, with heat lamps and an illuminated tree. 215 Church St. at Market.

Also in the Castro: I just have to mention the seemingly impossible has happened: Badlands has reopened, and Hoodline has the deets and a look inside (featuring a mini and mirrored facelift by C Walters Design). 4121 18th St. at Castro.

Culinary Lion of Napa Valley, Michael Chiarello, Dies at 61

Chef-owner Michael Chiarello at the opening of Coqueta in 2013
Chef-owner Michael Chiarello at the opening of Coqueta in 2013. Photo: ©

Famed Napa Valley chef and charismatic culinary personality Michael Chiarello tragically died on Friday October 6th; a statement from Gruppo Chiarello says that he was “being treated for the past week for an acute allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock” at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where “he spent his final moments surrounded by family and friends.”

One of Napa Valley’s culinary pioneers (along with Sally Schmidt and Cindy Pawlcyn), he made his mark with the iconic Tra Vigne restaurant, which opened in 1987. He went on to write cookbooks, host and act as a judge on numerous culinary television shows and the Food Network, open more restaurants (Bottega, Coqueta, and Ottimo), and launch Chiarello Family Vineyards and NapaStyle.

I loved his passion for Italian ingredients (we shared a Calabrese connection, and I recall he sourced some incredible peperoncino spread for NapaStyle when it first opened), appreciated his readiness to share the technique behind Bottega’s unbelievably tender octopus, and I remember being excited to interview him for an Italian food and wine event at the Osher Marin JCC in 2010.

In 2017, he settled lawsuits that alleged sexual harassment and wage and labor law violations. And so, he leaves a deep but also complicated legacy for some. You can read more in this Napa Valley Register obituary.

Evictions and Closures (Including Avery) Around the Bay

The Grotto after its major remodel in 2018.
The Grotto after its major remodel in 2018. Photo: ©

Another week, another wave of unfortunate evictions and depressing closures around the Bay: SFist picked up the San Francisco Business Times story that the Port of San Francisco started eviction proceedings against The Grotto (previously Fisherman’s Grotto No. 9) and Tarantino’s for unpaid rent. Both are such Fisherman’s Wharf stalwarts: Fisherman’s Grotto dates back to 1935, and Tarantino’s to 1946. The hopeful news is: “Herringbone Tavern Inc. owner, Chris Henry, who also owns both Tommy’s Joynt on Geary Boulevard and Sausalito’s Barrel House Tavern, recently took over both restaurants.” Fingers crossed he can work with the Port and find a way to keep both restaurants open.

Some big news just came out from chef-owner Rodney Wages in the Avery newsletter this morning: “After seven years on Fillmore Street, Chef Rodney and his team have decided to close Avery for new adventures and new challenges. Chef Rodney will oversee the last dinner service at Avery in San Francisco on Saturday, November 4th. We will announce a very special menu for our last night of service soon—but in the meantime, please join us for dinner in October!

 “While we will miss the restaurant in San Francisco and are proud of what we have accomplished here, we are excited for the next evolution of Avery opening this winter in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

 “We will have more to share with our loyal guests and friends as we get closer to our final service. Look out for news of Chef Rodney's new project in Edinburgh, the Avery space in San Francisco, and our blowout final night of service.” 1552 Fillmore St. at Geary.

Mission Local reports the Southwestern West of Pecos will be serving their last queso on October 28th, after 11 years of business on Valencia. 550 Valencia St. at 17th St.

Over in North Beach, Eco Terreno’s Lyon & Swan supperclub (in what was once the Purple Onion) announced their closure on Instagram, after 11 months of hosting all kinds of live entertainment over dinner service. The tasting room is also temporarily closed until October 12th, according to their website. 124 Columbus Ave. at Jackson. [Via Eater]

In Uptown Oakland, Palmetto and their adjoining bar, Kon-Tiki Room, are closing on Sunday October 29th. [Via Eater]

Service Updates: Rise Over Run Is Brunchin’, and More

Rise Over Run’s new brunch spread
Rise Over Run’s new brunch spread. Photo: Patrick Michael Chin.

by Savannah Leone Bundy

Rise Over Run, the chic rooftop bar and solarium at The Line Hotel in the Tenderloin, is now offering a decadent weekend brunch menu, with new twists on brunch classics from executive chef Joe Hou. Guests can look forward to chilaquiles (mapo tofu, tomato, green onion, jalapeño, cashew cream; $18), a special bread basket (bolo bao, butter mochi cake, scallion bacon scones, cultured butter, whipped peanut butter, cream cheese, jam; $18), and, of course, Rise Over Run’s signature fried chicken (Korean hot spice, spicy garlic cream, barbecue sauce, date molasses; $18 four pieces, $24 six pieces), with an optional caviar supplement ($48). 

It wouldn’t be a proper brunch without drinks, so cocktail specialist Danny Louie created updated versions of some brunch cocktail staples, with Something ‘Bout Mary (vodka, fresh tomato, horseradish, garden herbs, citrus; $15) and Te Killa Afternoon (tequila, grenadine, fresh-squeezed orange juice, sparkling wine; $15), and mixed up some zero-proof options like Not Allowed (chamomile, cantaloupe, mint, honey, soda water; $10).  Reservations can be made via OpenTable. Sat–Sun 10am–2pm. 33 Turk St. at Mason.

Also: the sunny Little Shucker in Pac Heights just announced a new happy hour special, available every Wednesday and Thursday from 3pm–5pm, featuring $2 oysters, $6 beers, and $10 wines. 2601 Fillmore St. at Pine. 

White Risotto Negroni at Causwells.
The White Risotto Negroni at Causwells. Photo: Stephanie Amberg of Decanteur Media. 

Causwells has a new beverage menu from the ever-creative Elmer Mejicanos, featuring San Francisco summer–inspired cocktails, like You’re My Boy Blue (blue cheese–infused vodka, dry vermouth, orange bitters, fennel-pickled pearl onion), a White Risotto Negroni (arborio rice–infused vermouth, gin, bitter bianco), and the Baklava Old Fashioned (bourbon, amaro, salted pistachio honey, bitters). Open Mon–Wed 11am–9pm, Thu 11am–10pm, Fri 11am–11pm, Sat–Sun 10am–9pm. 2326 Chestnut St. at Divisadero.

the archivist

Supporting subscribers get to enjoy the weekly archivist feature, with stories and images of vintage SF restaurants, menus, bars, and iconic locations.

follow me on the ’gram

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
You've successfully subscribed to tablehopper.
Your link has expired.
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.
Success! Your billing info has been updated.
Your billing was not updated.