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Jul 26, 2023 12 min read

This week’s tablehopper: triple cherry. (free)

This week’s tablehopper: triple cherry. (free)
Table of Contents

what’s cookin’

An homage to Arpège. Lightly cooked organic egg, maple syrup, sour cream, uni bottarga. El Papagayo at Turntable at Lord Stanley
Lightly cooked organic egg, maple syrup, sour cream, uni bottarga (an homage to Arpège) from the El Papagayo tasting menu at Turntable at Lord Stanley. Photo: ©
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Hello, readers! I hope you’re out and about, enjoying some of these recent sunny days in the City (until the wind picks up, ha-ha). I can’t wait for my annual Tahoe time in August, trust. Counting the days until I get to jump in the lake!

But in the meantime, I have enjoyed checking out some new spots, like Bar Gemini (read more in today’s chatterbox) and visiting the latest chef in residence at Turntable at Lord Stanley, chef Javier Rodriguez from his Modern Argentinian restaurant, El Papagayo in Córdoba, Argentina—he’s at Turntable through August 5th. He’s offering a tasting menu ($132) and an à la carte menu, which are changing daily. A few components on the tasting menu didn’t completely hit, but overall, there were some really inspired dishes and creative ingredient pairings. Don’t miss the egg on the snacks menu, an homage to the Arpège egg—the best $6 you can spend; the yellow tomato gazpacho with green olive granita (!); the beautifully plated sea bass with cauliflower, white chocolate, endive, and hazelnut; and beg the team for the charred bread and humita. We enjoyed the wine pairings from wine director Louisa Smith—she always turns me on to something new and fantastic, like the 2021 Ruth Lewandowski ‘Mahlon’ arneis from Fox Hill Vineyard that I need to track down.

You can swing by the to-go window (Tue–Sat 12pm–9pm) for traditional Argentinian dishes, like a sandwich de milanesa, and again, do not miss the humita with smoked provolone and spicy green onion sauce (it’s the most comforting and creamy corn pudding, a rustic dish you’ll find in northern Argentina, and so so delicious). I’ll be posting some pics this week on @tablehopper.

Speaking of the socials, are you following me on Threads? I’ll be posting more once they launch the desktop version.

You may have noticed a new byline over here under the last two the archivist pieces…I’m thrilled to introduce you to tablehopper’s new editorial assistant, Savannah Leone Bundy. We were connected through the Les Dames d’Escoffier organization (yours truly is a Dame)—she was the recipient of the Etoile d'Escoffier Scholarship in 2022, and was looking to expand her food writing horizons. She has quite the culinary background, with a degree in pastry and years of home and professional cooking under her belt. An Oakland resident, Savannah is always looking for tables to hop on both sides of the Bay. Look for more upcoming pieces from her, plus some East Bay discoveries, and more. A warm welcome to Savannah!

I have some fun summery content for you today, including a recipe in my first #hopperathome feature (which I occasionally hashtag on Instagram when I’m posting about something I’m making at home), and a writeup on Greek cherries from my trip last June! Stone fruit all day, every day over here right now. (Especially since I received the bountiful stone fruit mystery box from Feed last week! Don’t forget you can use code tablehopper25 for $25 off your first—or second—Feed order.)

One final note: I want to thank Linda Zavoral of The Mercury News for including me in this piece about the Michelin Guide awards for California. It’s always fun to have people say, “I saw your name in an article…” (and not because I wrote it).

Enjoy the week! Get outside!

the chatterbox

gorgeous tones and textures of Bar Gemini.
The gorgeous tones and textures of Bar Gemini. Photo: ©

The Newly Opened Bar Gemini Is Out to Win Most Beautiful Natural Wine Bar

How to have a perfect Sunday afternoon? Swing by the new Bar Gemini in the Mission, just four blocks away from Gemini Bottle Co. wine shop, also from founders Alex Pomerantz and Dominique Henderson. It’s a gorgeous space on the ground floor of The Madelon building (Osito is right around the corner, and George!), with a few outdoor tables (perfect if you have a pooch), and room for 40 inside.

A look into the stylish Bar Gemini.
A look into the stylish Bar Gemini. Photo: ©

It has a natural-glam look that is going to make your eyes pop, with warm redwood panels and elements throughout, stunning peacock-colored plastered walls, and high ceilings. You can grab a caramel leather stool (a chic and comfortable one) at the jaw-dropping, custom terrazzo bar by Mark Rogero of Concreteworks, or nestle into the custom wood-slatted and padded booths by Adam Alspaugh (of Black Crate Design), who also did the lighting. There’s a lattice drop ceiling by Sam Buchanan, who sourced all the redwood and fabricated the millwork for the bar. Pomerantz worked with interior designer Margaret Ruiz of The Strand Design, and it’s so gorgie. It’s the kind of stunning space that you want to linger in, and would be perfect for a nicer date. The music is well-curated, so you’ll drop right in to a smooth and soulful groove. And just so you know: the space is available for private events! (Take a look at my Reel on Instagram for a video of the beautifully crafted bar.)

Henderson spent over a decade in wine at Quince, A16, and Rich Table (where she ran the wine program for three years), while Pomerantz is the founder and winemaker of Subject to Change Wine Co. and the co-founder of the festival Wine From Here: A Celebration of American Natural Wine. They’re happy to be able to continue to showcase their passion for natural wine with this new bar, offering an extension of hospitality that goes beyond the retail experience of a wine shop.

Vermouth aperitifs
Vermouth apéritifs. Photo: ©

You can start with a couple different vermouth-based apéritifs by David Ruiz of nearby Junior (the Chit Chat is served up, with Cocchi Torino Extra Dry, Amontillado, Cap Corse Quinquina Blanc, lemon; while the Natty Dice is in a vintage horoscope highball glass on the rocks: Cappelletti Insorti Aperitivo, red sparkling wine, bitters, orange; both $13).

Two natural sparkling wines (in Gabriel-Glas stemware).
Two natural sparkling wines (in Gabriel-Glas stemware). Photo: ©

There are 12 wines by the glass and carafe (equal to a half-bottle), from the quenching 2022 Maloof L'Eau Epicée pét-nat of riesling and gewürztraminer from Willamette Valley ($19), to a 2022 Subject to Change ‘Preconcieved Notions’ skin-fermented muscat (orange wine) from Mendocino, which gave me a refreshingly different perspective of muscat. (Everything is served in Gabriel-Glas stemware, the sexiest wineglass.)

Look for a rotating list of limited-edition natural wines on tap from local winemakers to plenty of European selects in bottle. All the wines we saw listed by the glass were zero/zero (denoting no additives—like sulphur—or subtractions in the winemaking process). Prices range from $13–$20 for a glass, $26–$40 for a carafe, and bottles start at $39. The bottle list is full of discoveries from under-the-radar to wider-known producers, curated by Henderson and operations manager John Parent. They want the experience to feel inclusive and for guests to feel comfortable asking questions, so ask away! (Or just select and drink your wine quietly, your choice.) There are also 8 beers and ciders, and nonalcoholic offerings.

Pomerantz and Henderson partnered with nearby Ernest chef-owner (and friend) Brandon Rice on the small plates, which include...

grilled cheese with Olympia Provisions ham.
Photo: ©

Reservations accepted for the six-person booth; everything else is on a first-come, first-served basis. Hours for now are Wed–Fri 5pm–11pm, Sat 5pm–12am, Sun 3pm–9pm. 2845 18th St. at Bryant.

A Mixed Bag of News About Closed Restaurant Sequels and Spaces

exterior of Just for You Cafe in Dogpatch
The exterior of the former Just for You Cafe. Photo courtesy of Just for You.

Some quick updates for you: with the news of the upcoming Giuliana’s Just for You Cafe opening in Dogpatch spreading across town, I received this email from Arienne Landry, the former owner of Just For You Cafe, which closed in April: “You may have heard that Just For You Cafe will reopen sometime in August. While this may be welcome news to fans of the signature breakfasts and New Orleans favorites that we made popular, there’s more to the story.

Everyone was saddened when the restaurant’s 33-year run came to an end and we were unable to find a buyer to continue the business. Now months later, someone has signed a new lease at that address and intends to build their business on the legacy of the Just For You name.

Through the decades, we always did our best to do right by our customers, employees, and the neighborhood. The new leaseholder may not be breaking the law, but this unsanctioned use of our name sure doesn’t feel right. Thank you for all the years in what was a very special place. I wish you the best. ~Arienne”

Sadly, talks between Landry and new owner Mike Tufo about usage of the Just for You business name (and brand equity) didn’t go well. It’s a shame there wasn’t a feel-good passing of the torch for this one. 732 22nd St. at 3rd St.

On a more uplifting note, I caught this sweet bit of news that former chef and co-owner Leslie Carr-Avalos of Universal Cafe (which closed in 2021) has opened Universal Cafe & Bar with her sister, Julia Carr, in the Central House Hotel in Germantown in Hudson Valley. Looks lovely! Happy to see it live on. Those guests are going to be really stoked if and when brunch starts.

Former Queens employee Meegan Nguyen and her partner Linh Dan Le are popping up in the closed Queens Inner Sunset space with Open Book Project, offering a menu of Vietnamese American coffee drinks and snacks, plus wine, beer, books, and zines. Come by for pandan cold brew or an egg coffee from now through November. Open Thu–Mon 8am–2pm and 5pm–9pm and Tue 8am–2pm. 1235 9th Ave. at Lincoln. [Via Eater]

the socialite

Chinese Italian roast pork hoagie (on a Rize Up East Coast hoagie roll).
Chinese-Italian roast pork hoagie (on a Rize Up East Coast hoagie roll). Photo: © Jim Sullivan.

Industry Folks: You’re Invited to a Pizza Party (with Pizza Fries and Hoagies and Drinks)!

By Savannah Leone Bundy

On Tuesday August 1st, the Tenderloin’s Outta Sight Pizza and Tenderheart are collaborating on an Industry Pizza Party (7pm–10pm) at Tenderheart. The one-night affair will feature signature pies from Outta Sight’s Eric Ehler and Tenderheart’s chef Joe Hou, including the playfully seasonal Corn Cheese Square Slice (Brentwood corn, hondashi ranch, negi) and a BLT Slice; the Prime Time Slice, a sweet and spicy twist on a classic pep slice with burrata, jalapeño, pickled red onion, and truffle honey; the Kimchi Square Slice (white kimchi, lardo, mozzarella); and pizza fries smothered in gochujang ragù and mozzarella cheese. A can’t-miss item: Chinese Italian Roast Pork Hoagie (Rize Up East Coast hoagie roll, five-spice pork belly, hot mustard, Chinese broccoli).

Along with live music by R&B and Ribs, the party will also offer one made-to-order and three ready-to-drink cocktails by Gamaasan Cocktail Co. (by Danny Louie of Tenderheart and Mister Jiu’s) in partnership with Denizen Rum. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to TL nonprofit GLIDE. Guests who can’t attend Tuesday’s festivities will be able to find the slices available the following week at both Outta Sight Pizza and upstairs at LINE SF’s rooftop spot, Rise Over Run. 970 Market St. at Turk.

the sponsor

savor the azores trip details
Two spaces just opened up! Pack your bags and come hungry.

Savor the Azores for a Week with Chef Telmo, Departing August 31st!

Indulge your palate on this savory journey through the Azores islands with chef Telmo Faria of San Francisco’s renowned Portuguese restaurant Uma Casa, who is a native Azorean! During the weeklong trip, you will visit local markets and some of the nicest eateries in town, taste locally produced wines and foods and spirits, and learn about Azorean cheeses and winemaking, as well as Azorean culture, architecture, and history.

In this chef-led, food and wine–focused tour, you will take in the dramatic scenery, and taste your way through the regional specialties of the “triangle” islands: Faial, São Jorge, and Pico. An archipelago of islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this Portuguese paradise is sure to capture your hearts (and stomachs!), and create lifelong memories.

You will have an amazing time with chef Telmo, while getting an insider’s view of the Azorean food scene. Read more in this Forbes article. Trip limited to 16 travelers—two spaces just opened up, so jump on this if you can! Details and more here.

the jetsetter

Cherry trees in the orchard
Cherry trees in the orchard just outside the Agios Loukas cooperative facility. Photo: ©

The Charming Taste of Europe: Cherries from Greece

Last year, I was invited on a press trip to Greece by The Charming Taste of Europe, part of a campaign designed to showcase some of the E.U.’s quality agricultural products available for export to the U.S. and Canada. This particular trip highlighted Greek kiwis (you can read what I learned!) and cherries. Since I’ve been eating a ton of cherries right now during peak stone fruit season, I wanted to share this post about my visit to the cherry cooperative and orchard during my trip. (It would have been cruel to write about cherries during our lousy winter.)

trees heavy with cherries ripening
The trees were heavy with cherries ripening. Photo: ©

In early June, we visited Rachi Pieria, a small village in Northern Greece, where a star agricultural product is their cherries (the area has an optimal growing climate and soil, and was previously known for growing tobacco). It was such a beautiful place to visit during cherry season, seeing the trees loaded with ripening and ruby red fruit, with the dramatic presence of Mount Olympus in the distance.

Mount Olympus
The cooperative is very close to Mount Olympus. Photo: ©

We visited Agios Loukas, an agricultural cooperative that was founded in 1978, with the purpose of creating a cherry grove for its members—each member has their own small piece of land (about 1–2 hectares). It can be expensive to cultivate cherries, but the Ministry of Agriculture and agronomists helped develop best practices for the cooperative, and it soon became prized for its cherries.

Today, the cooperative has over 200 members, and the grove has expanded to over 270 acres. Trees are always being replaced with new ones, and some of the cultivars they plant are Sweet Early, Burlat, C1, Early Star, Grace Star, Black Star, Crunchy Vasilelades, Lapins, Ferrovia, and Sweet Heart. It was fun to talk cherries with the president of the cooperative, Dimitrios Ntouros—I wish I could have brought Bing and Rainier cherries to him to taste and compare.

Cherry inspection time on the production floor of Agios Loukas
Cherry inspection time on the production floor of Agios Loukas. Photo: ©

We got to visit the facility’s production area and see it in action with freshly picked cherries coming in. As soon as the cherries are hand-harvested, they are cleaned in cool water, inspected, sorted into four sizes, flash frozen, and then refrigerated. The different varieties the cooperative cultivates are planted at different altitudes and ripen at different times, so processing is easier to manage since it’s not all coming in at once. A wider cultivation period also makes it better for export to markets outside of Greece, like Germany, France, and Italy; they were even reaching Dubai, India, and Singapore with their “Cherries from Rachi Olympus” before the pandemic, and now the cooperative is focusing on the U.S. and Canada.

Freshly picked and washed cherries from Rachi Olympus
Freshly picked and washed cherries from Rachi Olympus. Photo: ©

The cherries we tried were plump, meaty, juicy, and sweet, the kind you want to eat fresh out of hand while at a summer picnic or for an afternoon snack. Greeks love their “spoon sweet" cherry preserves—which I enjoyed with yogurt in the morning—but it’s typically made with sour cherries, and served as a spoonful with a glass of ice water as a refreshment. 🍒


tuna and tomato pasta
Quick and easy summertime dinner vibes. Photo: ©

the archivist

This week at the archivist, we’re honoring Lotta’s Fountain, a gift to the City from Gold Rush–era It-Girl and beloved entertainer, Carlotta “Lotta” Crabtree.

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