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May 16, 2023 9 min read

This week’s tablehopper: top cat. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: top cat. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

Dungeness crab with red endive, granch, and mizithra at brunch at Estiatorio Ornos
Dungeness crab with red endive, granch, and mizithra at brunch at Estiatorio Ornos. Photo: ©

I hope you enjoyed the gorgeous weekend—that sun was such a treat. The Gagliardi fam took our adorable mother to Estiatorio Ornos for their special Mother’s Day brunch—it was such an uplifting atmosphere in there during the daytime (gotta love those coral booths) with live jazz, and they even had a sunny sidewalk area with umbrellas and plants. Here’s hoping Ornos makes brunch a thing, we need glam Greek brunch.

And their Champagne bottle list, oh boy. I was thrilled to see...

Sadly, Sunday evening, things took a distressing turn at home and I had to take my dear Fortuna kitty to urgent care. My poor baby. Fortunately, Fortuna lives up to her name, and this afternoon, she is feeling better and acting more like her usual cute self (just more subdued). Suffice to say, I have been an absolute wreck and short on sleep the past 48 hours. She has been my priority, so today’s column is what it is (and all I had the time and mental bandwidth for).

Sunday was NOT the cat mom Mother’s Day I had in mind. One minute, you have a happy and healthy cat chasing her disco sparkle toy, and the next, she’s mewing in her cat carrier while you’re trying not to drive like Steve McQueen to the pet hospital. Such is life, and I am always humbled by how little control we really have over any of it. (I can’t even fathom how real mothers actually deal with moments like this. Forever in awe.)

Inhaling, exhaling. (And I have been playing Ahmad JamalRIP—nonstop over here, he usually does good things for my mood and nerves.)

As some of you may know, I’m heading to New Mexico for a much-needed vacation at the end of this week. (Thankfully, Tuna will have a full-time petsitter staying with her while I’m away, but first, I’m really hoping baby girl continues on the upswing.)

If everything goes according to plan, you won’t be hearing from me again until after Memorial Day (the next tablehopper column is scheduled for May 30th—I’m taking next week off). I’m definitely going to be waaaaay out of office and soaking in some hot springs—I need a BREAK, now more than ever—so please don’t expect to hear back from me until after the holiday weekend! I hope you get to enjoy a nice pause as well.

Thanks for thinking good thoughts for my sweet Fortuna. Everything is going to be OK! She’s playing with her sparkle toy right now, which means Mom gets to relax tonight. 🙏💫

~Marcia and Tuna 😻

the chatterbox

smash burger from the Horn Barbecue trailer
The smash burger from the Horn Barbecue trailer, one of the best deals in town. Photo: ©

Crushing Sandwiches: A Visit to the New Horn Barbecue Trailer

On Saturday, sis and I headed over to Oakland for even more glorious sun while checking out the new Horn Barbecue trailer parked on their back patio. No long line for barbecue here—you just walk up to the trailer and place your order. Chef-pitmaster Matt Horn is offering a sandwich-centered menu that works in concert with what’s happening inside the restaurant, but is completely different.

Brisket chop cheese.
Brisket chop cheese. Buckle up. Photo: ©

For example, the star of the menu is the brisket chop cheese ($18), which anyone who has been to Philly will quickly recognize. Horn is taking the brisket trimmings from his famed smoked brisket and cooking them in beef tallow and butter, and then folding in American and provolone cheeses, caramelized onions (they do them right here), and Horn sauce, all nestled inside a large Amoroso’s roll (legit!) he gets sent out from Philly. It’s a glorious, smoky, cheesy, decadent situation, so do not attempt this beast alone—it’s a two-person job. I ended up shaking on some hot sauce I had in my bag (swag) to cut the richness, but otherwise, it’s perfection and your next hangover (or bad day) slayer.

The smash burger is made from...

Burnt ends sandwich.
Burnt ends sandwich. (You’re going to use a lot of paper towels.) Photo: ©

Horn Barbecue burnt ends end up in a saucy sandwich ($18), with provolone cheese and white onion—personally, I’d request light on the sauce so you can taste the meat and cheese more. But if you’re a saucy one, go for it. There’s a roll of paper towels on the picnic table, so you can really get into it.

You may also find a smoked turkey sandwich, but not on the day we were there. Also available: some sides ($8), like their potato salad, coleslaw, and mac ’n cheese—I’d request a side of pickles to go with the burger.

If you’re heading to Outside Lands, the Horn Barbecue trailer will be in effect, serving the brisket chop cheese, the burnt ends sandwich, and messy fries. Or, you can easily visit the patio and trailer on a Saturday for some music with your lunch—we loved listening to DJ Davey D play the perfect daytime jams, from some soul to disco to Hall & Oates. Bring a hat and some sunscreen—and your dog. Open Tue–Sat 11am–5pm. 2534 Mandela Parkway at 26th St., Oakland.

A Look at What’s Cookin’ at the Fifteenth Outside Lands (August 11th–13th)

nachos from merkado and marcia gagliardi of tablehopper and Fabien Santos of Merkado at outside lands
Some nachos of amor from owner (and fellow lover of prints) Fabien Santos of Merkado (back at OSL this year with tacos!). Photo: ©

A sure sign that summer is arriving is the release of the various lineups for Outside Lands, from the musical acts (OMG Janelle Monáe yes thank you goddess) to the food (Taste of the Bay Area). There are 96 restaurants this year (OSL’s fifteenth year!) slinging over 700 dishes, and nearly 90 percent of the food lineup is from minority and/or female-led restaurateurs and chefs. Word!

There are 17 new restaurants debuting their festival dishes, like the aforementioned Horn Barbecue trailer with their chopped cheese; Shuggie's Trash Pie + Natural Wine is slinging three kinds of pizza; Lulu Berkeley will be serving falafel nachos, tabbouleh ceviche, and hawashi (eggplant)-stuffed pitas; My Friend Fernando, a pop-up and supperclub out of Oakland, will be making pork milanesa tortas, summer squash tortas, and birria fries; Parche will be offering their Colombian empanadas, shredded beef arepas, and pork belly–loaded yuca fries; SF’s new Piglet & Co. will have Taiwanese hot dogs and lou rou fan braised pork rice bowls; and it’s surprising that it’s their first time, but Trick Dog will be there with their Mission dogs, veggie Mission dogs, kale salads, and husky fries. Woof. La Cocina is offering the La Cocina Taco Tour: one plate with three tacos 🌮 from newer entrepreneurs Alma y Sazon, Bocadito Colombian Snackeria, and Clandestina Cocina (from one booth).

Meanwhile, 79 restaurant are returning, with La Cocina’s El Huarache Loco and Sabores Del Sur back for their fifteenth year! Also coming back: Daytrip and their spicy pork belly or eggplant pesto-Parmesan sandwiches, El Garage’s quesabirrias, Fowl + Fare’s fried chicken sandwich, Om Sabor’s vegan ceviche tostadas and hibiscus flower tacos, Shish Smash smash burgers, and more. Gotta love...

Check the Taste of the Bay Area lineup here (you can see VIP, plus vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, too). Stand by for the wine, beer, and cocktail lineups soon.

Bini’s Kitchen Reopens Their Downtown Location

Bini’s Kitchen family and Chef-owner Bini Pradhan
Bini’s Kitchen is ready to see you back at their original kiosk! Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

Great news for folks back to work around the Financial District: Bini’s Kitchen has reopened their flagship 1 Post Street location (just by the Montgomery Street BART station). Chef-owner Bini Pradhan’s locally adored momos (Nepalese dumplings) with their trademark roasted tomato sauce that brings the flava are back in the neighborhood. Look for a new chicken-filled momo coming soon. Open Mon–Fri 10:30am–2:30pm. 1 Post St. at Market.

Odds and Ends

Pollo adobado tacos with chicharrón de queso (crispy cheese) at Copas
Pollo adobado tacos with chicharrón de queso (crispy cheese) at Copas. Photo: ©

I wanted to link out to some articles and things of interest that could use your attention, plus some events and a hot tip (I see you looking at those tacos):

- If you have a restaurant and offer delivery, take a look at this Mission Local piece about what happened with various businesses after the delivery fee cap was lifted.

- The Mier family of the now-closed La Canasta is sooooo close to hitting $100K for their GoFund Me fundraiser (I wrote about all their family’s unfortunate woes previously in tablehopper), so I just had to mention the fundraiser one more time. This hardworking family deserves to see that milestone. Let’s do this!

- Underscore interviewed Isaiah Powell, who is behind the Dragonspunk collective that is revitalizing community gardens in Bayview–Hunters Point (and providing youth urban gardening education). He is now launching a certified farmers’ market at the Southeast Community Center (1550 Evans Ave.) on Thursday June 1st—you can support his efforts by taking a look at the GoFundMe campaign and by showing up to the market (every Thursday from 3pm–7:30pm). There are also volunteering opportunities. Follow @dragonspunk for updates.

- Did you enjoy my recent Mendocino recap and get inspired to head up there? If you’re a sea urchin lover, you’ll want to consider attending the second annual UrchinFest the weekend of June 16th–18th. There are some free events, a campfire, a dinner, and you can book an all-inclusive, two-night package that includes a guided tide-pooling excursion or a guided diving experience.

- I’m going to be posting on Instagram soon about the tasty tacos and fantastic mezcal I enjoyed at the bar at Copas on Market, which just changed their menu format to highlight Tijuana-style tacos from chef Julio Aguilera. But I wanted to give you a heads-up first that...

2223 Market St. at Sanchez.

the socialite

Dim Sum & Cars flyer
Dim Sum & Cars is rolling through on Sunday May 21st.

Sunday Is All About Dim Sum & Cars

A couple weekends back, I had such a blast checking out all the lowriders at the Mission Street Cinco de Mayo cruise (see my clips and pics here) in between fulfilling my lambassador duties (a thing!) and trying some dishes in the neighborhood for Lamb Jam Restaurant Month (I posted about Reem’s and Prubechu’s dishes here). Food and cars, my kind of heaven. Which is why I was happy to see that coming up this Sunday May 21st is Dim Sum & Cars from the Community Youth Center (CYC) and Portola Neighborhood Association (PNA).

Interesting cars from the neighborhood (including rides from San Pancho Car Club) will be parked at the Bank of the West parking lot, and Imperial Garden Seafood Restaurant will be selling dishes onsite, including their vegan dim sum (har gow and shumai). The PNA has also created a Portola Dim Sum Guide, encouraging attendees to go on a dim sum crawl and try a range of dishes from various local eateries. 11am–3pm. Free to attend; RSVP here. 2675 San Bruno Ave. at Bacon (I should live on that street).

Taste the Rainbow at The Color Dinner

chefs Kristina Liedags Compton and Heena Patel.
Kristina Liedags Compton and Heena Patel. Photo: StarChefs and Eric Wolfinger.

Get your ticket for The Color Dinner, a one-night-only vegetarian collaboration dinner from Besharam’s Heena Patel and Hilda and Jesse’s Kristina Liedags Compton at Besharam on Wednesday May 31st. Each course of the family-style, four-course menu will correspond with a different color, so you know this color-obsessed lady is excited. There will be two dishes per course (like the second course of aloo tikki chaat with fermented kohlrabi and a turmeric hushpuppy), so there will be eight total (joyful) dishes.

Tickets are available on Resy for $150, with seatings starting at 5pm. Optional supplemental beverage pairings will be available. Due to the nature of the dinner, special dietary restrictions cannot be accommodated. 1275 Minnesota St. at 24th St.

the archivist

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