The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
April 14, 2015

The Quadraro pinsa at Montesacro. All photos: ©


The front dining area.


Mixed salumi and cheese plate.


The Centocelle pinsa.


The pinsa-making station (and oven).


The original oven dating back to when the space was a bakery.


Looking toward the back of the enoteca.

Do you remember that behemoth vintage oven we showed you back in November, the focal point of ~MONTESACRO~, the Tenderloin/SoMa enoteca from Gianluca Legrottaglie? Well, that former baking beauty is all lit up, and it’s a jaw-dropping backdrop in this exceedingly charming pinseria romana/enoteca that just opened last night on Stevenson (a few doors down from Dottie’s). Legrottaglie, a partner and the wine director at the nearby 54 Mint, is a Roman who wants to pay homage to the Montesacro quarter—a hardscrabble Roman neighborhood where he worked for six years. (He says the Tenderloin reminds him a lot of that place.)

Legrottaglie also wants to introduce San Franciscans to the pinsa, an ancient style of flatbread—he uses Italian soy, rice, and wheat flour that he imports from Rome and is all GMO-free. The dough rises for 72 hours, and the dough balls are stretched by hand with rice flour and pressed to order into an oval shape, topped, and baked in the Cuppone oven for 90 seconds—it yields a crisp crust that is also light, with an enduring flavor that is unlike any dough you have tasted in SF. And since it’s not 100 percent wheat, it’s easier to digest as well (it’s also lower in fat and calories). And you won’t find burnt flour on the crust like you do from a brick oven—the Cuppone is an advanced electric oven that bakes very clean.

This ancient ancestor of pizza was sold outside Rome’s city walls, made by peasants who kneaded cereals (like millet, barley, oats, and spelt), salt, and herbs, and then pressed it (pinsa comes from the Latin for “pressed”) into an oval shape and seared it on hot coals. Let’s just say Virgil wrote about pinsa; is that old enough for you?

But this enoteca balances the past and present remarkably well. As soon as you walk in, it feels like such a discovery, with tall ceilings, a variety of seating areas, and an eclectic style that suits the old space very well. There is a communal table at the front, and tables with colorful vintage chairs from Indonesia in the 1950s that Legrottaglie found (the base of some of the larger tables are old sewing machines). The original colorful floor tiles, which are more than 100 years old, are a cool remnant from the space’s recently uncovered past history as a bakery that was once connected to a restaurant.

The pizza oven is toward the front, purposefully placed there so you can smell the pinsas baking upon entering. Toward the back is a wine bar, equipped with a classic Faema E61, more seating, and the glowing old oven (which is not in use, but lit up beautifully inside—it dates back to 1912-1914 or thereabouts). The walls feature vintage educational scenes from Rome that Legrottaglie actually found locally (one even includes a picture of the school he went to, such serendipity).

Legrottaglie has brought over two Roman pizzaioli, Claudio Gaetani and Alessandro Delle Rose, who have both been making pizzas (and pinsas) for more than five years. On the menu, you will find an array of 10 pinsas, like the capricciosa-like Centocelle ($17, mozzarella, tomato, artichokes, mushroom, olives, egg, prosciutto) and the Montesacro ($16, stracciatella, kale, peperoncini, garum). I can’t wait to return for the Pietralata ($19, mozzarella, bottarga, marjoram, extra-virgin olive oil)—the color of the bottarga they were shaving on top was marigold yellow. Fans of an amatriciana will enjoy the Quadraro ($17, tomato, red onion, pancetta, pecorino). You can cut it into pieces and share, and it’s very easy to pick up with your hands.

Also on the menu: some quality salumi and cheeses (choose 1 for $6, 3 for $15), or go for the mixed platter for $22. There are five kinds of salads, plus an array of vegetables under oil, like zucchini and eggplant, and lunchtime will feature three kinds of classic panini for $11 (including gambuccio e stracchino: prosciutto shank and soft crescenza cheese). There are also some desserts, like pinsa stuffed with Nutella and mascarpone. The menu is designed to be flexible and enjoyed throughout the day and evening, whether you want a small bite after work or dishes to share with friends over wine.

Speaking of wine, the international wine list extends beyond Italy, including other European selections, plus California and even New Zealand. I’m happy with the three sparkling choices, and there are some unique beers as well. Of course Legrottaglie will be pouring wines by the glass that aren’t even on the list, so it’s always good to talk and see what bottles he has open.

Hours for now are 11:30am-2:30pm and 5pm-11pm (we’ll keep you posted on when it’s open continuously all day). Meet your new hangout! 510 Stevenson St. at 6th St., 415-795-3040.


The clean and rustic interior of Octavia. Photo: Aubrie Pick.

Consider this your public service announcement of two big openings that are happening this week; I won’t be covering in greater depth until next Tuesday’s tablehopper. First up, the much-awaited opening of Melissa Perello’s ~OCTAVIA~ is happening this Thursday April 16th. Her new Pacific Heights restaurant (which is opening in the former Baker & Banker and original Quince location) will have a little bit more of everything: more dishes (like squid ink noodles with fennel vinaigrette, green garlic, Marash chile, Cortez bottarga), more seats, and the bigger cellar means more wine selections from beverage director Paul Einbund. Reservations are available starting today, and there will also be seats reserved for walk-ins. Stand by for images and more next week. Dinner nightly 5pm-10:30pm. 1701 Octavia St. at Bush, 415-408-7507.

Opening on Friday April 17th is ~AATXE~ (say “aah-CHAY,” like you’re sneezing with a Spanish accent), the latest project from the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group. Chef and partner Ryan Pollnow partnered with The Bon Vivants to open this Spanish restaurant and bar on the street level of The Swedish American Hall. The menu will highlight Basque tapas culture, communal dining, and dishes with both local and Spanish provenance. More highlights: grower-producer wines exclusively from Spain, plus aperitifs and contemporary cocktails served individually or in a carafe (and there will be a lot of gins and G&Ts too).

You can make reservations for parties of up to four guests, and reservations for the chef’s counter will be available only by calling 415-471-2977 (calls will be accepted starting Thursday April 16th). Walk-ins will find seats at the communal table and bar. Open Sun-Thu 5:30pm-11pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-12am. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.


Baked and steamed pork belly buns from The Chairman. Photo courtesy of The Chairman’s Facebook page.

Fans of the pork belly-filled buns from ~THE CHAIRMAN~ truck will be happy to know there’s a new brick-and-mortar location that just opened in the Tenderloin. Not only can you get the usual bao selections, but Scoop mentions there will be some new bao (like Japanese curry beef) and that you can opt for rice bowls instead of the buns (like a braised short rib bowl with fennel slaw, soy mushrooms, panchan carrots and cucumbers, fried egg, and tempura flakes for $12 plus $2 for an egg). You’ll also find chicken wings with yuzu kosho, a noodle salad, and some housemade fruit sodas. It’s meant to be a quick and casual bite, with just 15 counter seats. Hours are 11am-9pm. 670 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-813-8800


The exterior of Lark. Photo courtesy of Lark.

The Castro has a new wine bar and casual restaurant, ~LARK~, which just opened in the former Brandy Ho’s. Hoodline says the owners, Coskun Abik (Dunya) and partner Sertac Yildizhan, are offering a menu of New American and Mediterranean dishes (you can look at the menu here), which includes feta calamari, mussels, roasted chickpeas, salads, a burger, lamb skewers, and more; there are also some traditional charcuterie and cheese boards. The international wine list has affordable wines by the glass, with flights of three wines of your choice for $15 (whites) or $17 (reds). Open Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Lunch and brunch will be added soon. 4068 18th St. at Hartford, 415-400-4623.

According to some posts on Yelp, there’s a new casual and petite spot in Lower Nob Hill called ~ROVE KITCHEN~. The menu of American comfort food includes a tasty-looking burger and fried chicken sandwich. Looks like it’ll be an easy spot for folks in the neighborhood to swing by for a bite. (Details are slim at the moment.) 678 Post St. at Jones.


The classic Capp’s sign. Photo courtesy of Capp’s Corner website.

After holding down the corner of Powell and Green in North Beach for more than 50 years, ~CAPP’S CORNER~ is serving its last family meal and sadly closing its doors on Sunday April 19th. It’s not the usual situation of raised rent we keep hearing—Hoodline reports the landlord’s attorney made an unreasonable insurance request of owners Maureen and Tom Ginella, and they had to make the decision to close (read the piece for more—the attorney even blew off Governor Jerry Brown who tried to step in and set up a mediator, dude!). Fortunately the couple is planning to retire in Hawaii, but it’s a big loss for a lot of regulars who have been patronizing this old-school hangout for many years. 1600 Powell St. at Green, 415-989-2589.

Back in August of 2014, we reported that ~MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE~ in the Mission would be moving in the fall, but then we learned in November that their lease was extended six months into the spring of 2015. Fast-forward to now, and tragically they were unable to stay in their space any longer and have closed (you can read their farewell note on their Facebook page). Seems the uncle of the landlord wanted the space. Hopefully the mother-and-daughter duo can find a new location, but first, they want to take a well-deserved break for a couple of months. [H/t Eater.] 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

Another old-timer that surprisingly closed is ~CAFE ABIR~, which has been open as long as I have lived in the Western Addition (that would be 20 years, whoa). Hoodline confirms the rumors I heard about the closure and also mentions that the adjoining Corkage wine shop has closed as well. A follow-up post says the owners of the building, the Dajani Group, will be moving Tsunami Sushi into the more spacious Abir location, and adding an oyster bar. As for the Tsunami space (1306 Fulton), which remains open for now, there is talk of opening a spirits lounge, somewhat like the group’s Nihon Whiskey Lounge. We’ll keep you updated. 1300 Fulton St. at Divisadero.

Fans of ~SCHULZIES~ bread pudding in Hayes Valley will be surprised to see the space is being converted into a Project Juice shop, which will also include smoothies, in early June. From badass banana chocolate to kale and ginger. [Via Hoodline.] 364 Hayes St. at Gough.


The patio awaits. And cheese! Photo courtesy of The Cheese School.

Look, you love cheese, and I sure as hell love cheese, so let’s just say “yay” to the return of Cheese Makes Me Happy Hour at the ~CHEESE SCHOOL OF SAN FRANCISCO~. Because we are San Franciscans and no one bats an eye at a cheese happy hour. Good news: after you pay Uncle Sam his blood money on Wednesday April 15th, you can head on over to the happy hour, where a bountiful cheese table will await you, plus some beers and wines to choose from (your ticket includes one glass). Hang out on the patio. Relax. Eat cheese. On Wednesday evenings, from now through June 24th. 5:30pm-8pm. $22 (advance ticket sales close at 3pm the day of the event) or $30 at the door. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St., 415-346-7530.

Next Tuesday April 21st, CUESA will be hosting an interesting panel, Evolving City, Evolving Restaurants, about our current restaurant landscape, with guest panelists Erin Archuleta (partner in ICHI Sushi + NI Bar), Joe Hargrave (owner of Tacolicious, Mosto, and Chino), and Thad Vogler (owner of Bar Agricole and Trou Normand). 6pm-8pm. $10. Tickets here. Port Commission Hearing Room, second floor of the Ferry Building, The Embarcadero at Market St.


Dinnertime at Parties That Cook. Photo courtesy of PTC.

Whatcha doing this coming Sunday? If you aren’t heading to Meals on Wheels or Wok on the Wild Side, we have a couple more options for you. First up, there’s La Gran Pachanga, a fundraiser for Buena Vista Horace Mann K-8 Community School. Families will be making homemade tamales, pupusas, and elotes, plus there will be ceviche from Basa Seafood, dessert from Sixth Course and Tartine Bakery, and more. Plus cocktails, beer, art, a silent auction, and music. Tickets are $25-$30. 6pm-9pm. Public Works, 161 Erie St. at Mission.

The new ~PARTIES THAT COOK~ space (formerly Tante Marie) is hosting a very springy multicourse pop-up dinner on Sunday evening from two Cyrus and Manresa alums, Sarena Stern and Kingsley Fuller. Tickets are $95, 6pm, details here. Don’t forget to bring some wine! 271 Francisco St. at Stockton.

Did you catch my piece about pop-up dinners? It included a mention of Junju, a Korean pop-up by chef Robin Song of ~HOG & ROCKS~ on the next three Sundays, check it out.


The one and only Anthony Bourdain. Photo courtesy of CNN (Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; season five’s Miami episode).

Fans of salty dog Anthony Bourdain will want to set an alarm on their calendar for this Friday April 17th at 9:59am, which is one minute before tickets go on sale on SHN for his nationwide Close to the Bone tour. His SF appearance is bringing him to Davies Symphony Hall on Sunday July 26th at 7pm. Tickets range from $67-$237. You can also call SHN Audience Services at 888-746-1799.

Here’s more on the one-man show: Tony’s appearance will feature “an unyielding, brutally honest monologue reflecting on diverse culture, street cuisine, and his travels to lesser-known locations around the world, followed by an open Q&A session.” Look for a deeper dive than what we currently see on his CNN original series, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown (season five premieres Sunday April 26th, by the way).


The outdoor patio at The Dock and The Beer Shed. Photo: Vanessa Yap-Einbund.

Nosh mentioned an Indian restaurant was moving into the former Captain & Corset space, ~BOMBAY B’S INDIAN BISTRO~, and according to posts on Yelp, it is now open. It seems you can take your pick from two meat curries ($9.95) or vegetable curries ($8.95), which come with rice and salad. There are also some playful dishes like Indian tacos, burgers, kale pakoras, and masala fries. 2212 Broadway at Grand, Oakland. 

If you’re looking for a new brunch spot, ~THE BEER SHED~ (from Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery and chef James Syhabout of Commis and Hawker Fare) is now serving a hangover brunch from 12pm-5pm every Sunday—and the alfresco setting means you’ll get maximum fresh air too. The menu will interestingly be prepared outside as well, with a lot of dishes coming from the grill (like grilled asparagus with a slow-poached egg). And then there’s the al pastor pork chop taco and a deviled egg sandwich. There will be hair-of-the-dog cocktails (including horchata-style rum and milk punch), micheladas, and yes, draught beers from Adam Lamoreaux of Linden Street Brewery. Everything is less than $10.

One more thing to note: the next sunny evening, you’ll want to swing by for happy hour (Tue-Fri 4:30pm-6pm), with $1 off all draught beers, in addition to a $6 house michelada, a $6 seasonal rum punch, and a beer and a shot for $7. The full menu from The Dock will be available after 5pm in The Beer Shed in case you get snacky. 95 Linden St., Oakland, 510-338-3965.

Fans of mezcal won’t want to miss this tasting with Lucia Gonzales from Del Maguey on Wednesday April 22nd at ~DOÑA TOMÁS~. You will be able to taste all nine of the Del Maguey mezcals that Doña Tomás stocks, available in a “copita” ½-ounce taste and a full 1 ½-ounce shot. 5pm-6:30pm, with free snacks like chips and guacamole. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st, Oakland, 510-450-0522.

April 7, 2015

Chef Freedom Rains. Photo courtesy Belga.

Adriano Paganini’s latest project on Union Street now has a name and a chef. The Belgian brasserie has been christened ~BELGA~, and Freedom Rains has been appointed as chef. His previous experience includes Flour + Water, Boulevard, RN74, and Incanto, and he will be bringing a California focus to the Belgian-inspired menu. The menu is all about celebrating hospitality and “conviviality” (a word that’s been turning up a lot lately), with dishes that encourage sharing, like housemade sausages cooked in the wood-fired oven, a rib-eye for two, and his takes on classics like salad Lyonnaise and moules frites.

It will all pair well with beverages, of course, with a substantial beer list of Belgian and Belgian-inspired suds selected by bar manager and cicerone Ryan Murphy (Abbot’s Cellar). There will also be cocktails from Nora Furst, also designed to pair well with food. The space and other menu details are still in development, but we’ll have a closer look soon. In the meantime, check out a rendering of the exterior and get ready for the opening in mid-May. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.


Sausage pizza from Transit. Photo from Traci Des Jardins via Twitter.

Traci Des Jardins has reopened casual café ~TRANSIT~ in the Presidio, after taking it over earlier this year.

The new spot offers an easy spot to grab a bite, coffee and espresso by Equator, pastries, and wine and beer. You’ll find salads, sandwiches, grilled burgers, pizza from the wood-burning oven in the afternoon, and breakfast items, as well as a tightly edited selection of beer and wine on tap; take a look at the menu here. There’s an outdoor patio with views, and indoor seating if it’s too breezy. Takeout is also available. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-7pm. 215 Lincoln Blvd. at Graham, 415-561-5300.


A view into Saison’s kitchen (but this is not the chef’s counter, FYI). Photo: Bonjwing Lee.

If anyone was going to be discriminating about sushi in this town, it would be Saison chef-partner Joshua Skenes. So when he says that someone is the best sushi chef in San Francisco right now, well, it makes you curious, doesn’t it? From now until May 30th (Tuesdays through Saturdays), you can book a seat at ~SAISON~’s eight-seat chef counter for a modern omakase experience from guest chef Jiro Lin, who worked for 11 years at Hamano Sushi in the Castro and trained extensively in Japan at Bikkuri Zuzhi and Maguro Hanamigawa. Josh invited chef Jiro to be a guest chef because of his love of sushi, and he really respects chef Jiro’s craft. Match that with Saison’s impeccable ingredient sourcing, and it’s sure to be a special meal.

The menu changes daily but a typical meal will include an appetizer (like golden caviar), a clear soup made from ichiban dashi, a tsukemono course of Japanese pickles, and then as many courses of nigiri courses as you want, from golden eye snapper to kawahagi with its liver, and then finishing with fruit and tea. Prices begin at $220 for the menu, and partner-wine director Mark Bright is offering customized beverage pairings starting at $100. Prepaid reservations can be made by calling 415-716-6008. For more info and social media links, visit the site.

You’ll also notice someone new on the floor: GM Alicia Boyes, previously at Per Se for seven years. Interestingly, she is the only female general manager of a three-star Michelin-rated restaurant in North America. (Change always starts with one.)


Chef Yoni Levy. Photo by Tienlon Ho.

Fans of chef Yoni Levy’s cooking will be sorry to hear he has departed ~ALTA CA~—he helped open the restaurant. His next step: consulting. Scoop reports his sous chef, David Goody, will be taking over for Levy; he was at Morimoto before coming to Alta CA.


The pastry case at Arsicault Bakery. Photo from Facebook.


At Ichi Kakiya, facing the front. Photo by Darren Samuelson.


Nucha empanadas. Photo: ©

The Inner Richmond has a new bakery, called ~ARSICAULT BAKERY~. It’s owned by baker Armando Lacayo, and the specialty is authentic, French-style croissants and other pastries. They have several kinds of croissants, including plain, almond, and ham and cheese, along with scones, palmiers, and kouign amann. They officially opened last week and apparently sold out of goodies over the weekend! They are also serving Equator coffee, and have an espresso machine coming soon. In the coming months, also look for some additional “cold” pastries, like seasonal fruit tarts. Hours are Mon, Wed-Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm, closed Tue. 397 Arguello Blvd. at Clement, 415-750-9460.

We released all the first look details about ~ICHI KAKIYA~ last week, the new oyster shop from the ICHI crew, and we wanted to let you know they are opening tonight! You can check out the menu here. Hours are the same as Ichi Sushi: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus, 415-814-3877.

After walking by this location numerous times every week (it’s in my neighborhood), the plywood has come down. The Western Addition/Nopa has a new Chinese restaurant: ~KUNG FOOD~. Owner Andy Yan tells me his family used to own Rice and Roll in Pacifica (they like puns, this family), and the chef is their uncle, who has been cooking all over the U.S. for the past 15 years. The menu is primarily Hunan and Mandarin, plus some usual suspects like walnut prawns, Mongolian beef, and let’s not forget crab Rangoon. There are also a few dim sum choices (shu mai, steamed barbecue pork buns) and some Korean-style wings too. Yan mentions the top dishes are their basil eggplant with chicken, chicken lettuce cups, and for vegetarians, their basil meatless chicken (and they will cook vegetarian dishes in separate woks or fryers on request). They have 20 seats and free delivery. Hours are Tue-Sun 11am-3pm and 5pm-9:30pm, closed Mon. 1615 McAllister St. at Divisadero, 415-673-6688.

Last month we mentioned ~SQUARE MEALS~ was opening a takeout space in the former ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Divisadero, which is currently open Mon-Fri 11am-8pm. In addition to the salads, main dishes, soups, and more, one more vendor is on the shelves: Nucha Empanadas. The Argentine-style handmade empanadas come in all kinds of flavors, from classic beef to mushroom and cheese to some breakfast versions, like bacon and egg. You can get three for $9, and you just warm ‘em up at home. Yup, it’s the original hot pocket. (Pro tip: pay attention to which flavor is which and write it on your bag—otherwise when you get home, they will all look the same.) There are also some quiches, Argentine sauces, and alfajores. 1207 Divisadero St. at Eddy, 415-674-1069.


The papered-over window at Old Bus Tavern. Photo courtesy Old Bus Tavern.

Back in August, we reported on ~OLD BUS TAVERN~, a chili-and-beer restaurant opening in Bernal. We’ve got an update on the project, which comes from partners Ben Buchanan, Jimmy Simpson, John Zirinsky, and Tim Symes. They’ll be brewing their own beer (from Buchanan and Zirinsky), including a signature lemon basil saison, as well as offering cocktails. They are still in the process of finding a chef, but expect upscale pub food, with a focus on chili.

The 47-seat space is still under construction and was designed by Thomas Pippin of Lifebox Studios (who also did ICHI Sushi) and Sarah Greenwood Design (who happens to be Zirinsky’s mom, cute!). Peek at a rendering right here. The aim is to offer a comfortable, approachable space to the neighborhood, with exposed brewing equipment and dining and drinking areas to suit everyone. Right now, they plan to open in late June. In the meantime, they are also busy raising mad cash for a side project, a chili-and-beer VW bus! 3191 Mission St. at Fair.


2175 Market Street, the future home of Myriad. MLS photo from Redfin.

It looks like the market trend on Market Street is continuing with another. This one is called ~THE MYRIAD~ and will be located in the Castro. Scoop notes that the partners on the project, Jordan Langer, Pete Glikshtern, and Jeff Whitmore, are working with Forest City, the building’s developer (they also operate Pier 70). The aim is to provide more than “a glorified food hall,” Langer says, which in this case means more of a small business incubator.

Hoodline nabbed some more details on what will fill out the space, and notes that there are already two businesses to anchor it. The first is a butcher shop called Gambrel & Co., which is owned by Langer and already has a location in Redwood City. They are also opening a bar called Mrs. Jones, a partner of Tenderloin bar Jones (also owned by Langer, Glikshtern, and Whitmore), which will offer cocktails made with items available at Myriad. Drink recipes will be printed on cards, if you want to purchase the ingredients to mix on your own at home.

There are 10-15 more spaces still available for other small businesses, ranging from 40-400 square feet. Rents will be $1,000-$2,400 per month, and applications are due May 1st. Tenants will be selected by June 1st. The spaces are entirely modular, which will allow businesses to expand their real estate as they grow too. 2175 Market St. at 15th St.


The unmistakable Hello Kitty Truck. Photo from Facebook.

Ready for a serious wallop of kitsch and cuteness? You’re in luck, because the Hello Kitty Truck is coming to town to promote the ~HELLO KITTY CAFE~, opening in Orange County later this year. We’ve been following along on Facebook since Eater broke the story.

The truck will be appearing at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown on Saturday April 11th, Sunday April 12th, and again on Saturday April 18th, all from 10am-5pm. They will also be making a stop at Santana Row in San Jose on Sunday April 19th. The truck menu includes petit fours, doughnuts, and macarons, all emblazoned with Kitty’s unmistakable hair bow. Meow. Follow along on Facebook for all the details.


“Meat” the Lou Seal hoagie from Deli Board. Photo courtesy of Deli Board.

Baseball season is here (the Giants’ home opener is Monday April 13th), and to add on to our post last week about the new culinary options around AT&T Park, here are a few more for your consideration.

If you miss 1058 Hoagie’s big-ass hoagie, you’ll be happy to hear ~DELI BOARD~ is (re)launching their Lou Seal hoagie on opening day, packed with Genoa salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone, cherry peppers, lettuce, their house Italian dressing, housemade Shum (garlic) spread, and salt and pepper onions, all on Dutch crunch. The Lou Seal is offered for $14 on game days only, so make sure to check the schedule. And yes, you can bring it into AT&T Park. 1058 Folsom St. at Russ, 415-552-SOUP (7687).

James Syhabout (Hawker Fare, Commis, The Dock) is going to be hosting a tailgate party for the home opener on Monday April 13th at the EatWith test kitchen, which is right across from the ballpark. On the menu: oysters (see, this is a classy tailgate), West Oakland Dock po’boys, jerk-spiced chicken wings, smoked beef tri-tips with Korean BBQ lettuce-wrap garnishes and potato salad, and more. $57. The event starts at 11am, game starts at 1:35pm.

One more item: ~G FOOD LOUNGE~, the food truck gathering spot under the 80 freeway (with seating), will be opening a beer and wine bar with some food trucks before Giants evening home games, from 5pm-7:30pm. Look for some promos, like $4 beers. 431 2nd St. at Bryant.


Don’t miss a minute of this party with Eat Drink 365. Photo by Marc Fiorito with Gamma Nine Photography via Facebook.

While Eat Drink SF won’t happen until August 20th-23rd, the organizers have launched something to tide you over: Eat Drink 365, a yearlong membership that offers insider access to quarterly events and curated food experiences, as well as other perks, like a $50 credit with Reserve and a 10 percent discount to Eat Drink SF tickets.

Yours truly has been tapped to help curate some of the events, along with folks on the advisory board like Ceri Smith (wine director of Tosca Cafe and owner of Biondivino Wine Boutique), Thomas McNaughton (executive chef and partner of Ne Timeas Restaurant Group), and Mika Takeuchi (Food Fashionista and brand ambassador for Michelin).

The launch party for Eat Drink 365 is at Natoma Cabana next Tuesday April 14th, with complimentary cocktails, beer, wine, and food from Bacon Bacon. Sign up to join the partay! Membership is $125 a year.


The third annual Food & Farm Film Fest is taking over the Roxie Theater in the Mission soon. From Friday April 17th through Sunday April 19th, catch films about food, farms, and the unique people in both worlds. The festival opens on Friday with a selection of short films, followed by an opening party at Four Barrel on Valencia. The full schedule can be found here, with highlights like East Side Sushi, about a Latina sushi chef, and The Search for General Tso. Each of the films is paired with food from a local chef, which is included in the ticket price. Most tickets are $15; the opening night program is $30. 3117 16th St. at Valencia.


Duck meatballs and cocktails at the bar at Grange Hall. Yelp photo by Robin J.

We reported in January that ~DOPO~ in Oakland was going to be moving to an all-Sicilian menu and 100 percent Sicilian wine list, and now they have announced the new name: ~PALMENTO A DOPO~. They have also eliminated tipping. Everything will be in place starting Wednesday April 15th. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.

We have been tracking the opening of chef Matt Burger’s new project, ~GRANGE HALL~, since we first mentioned it back in June 2014. After some test dinners, the place is now open in the former Barlata in Temescal, with Burger serving as executive chef and Jonathan Moon as owner (for now—the two may officially partner in the future).

The menu changes regularly, but is all about classic American dishes with a modern interpretation, and of course there’s a killer burger. They have a full liquor license, and have brought Jason Huffman (previously of Roka Akor, and an old Chicago friend of Burger’s) to run the bar. He’s stocked more than 100 different types of whiskey, if you’re into that. (Raises hand.) The cocktails are made with lots of in-house elements, including cola, tonic, bitters, and cordials. The drinks are generally old-fashioned in style and will change seasonally.

They are open until midnight six days a week, with a special late-night menu that includes a fried chicken biscuit sandwich and a Chicago-style hot dog. They plan to add Sunday brunch in mid-May (in time for Mother’s Day). Hours are Thu-Sun 11am-2:30pm and 5pm-12am, Mon-Wed 5pm-12am, closed Tue. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland, 510-593-2376.

Great news for the ~MILLENNIUM~ crew: not only did they totally surpass their Kickstarter goal (654 backers pledged $119,003!), but chef-partner Eric Tucker and GM Alison Bagby have also secured the Box & Bells location in Oakland. They hope to open in June, stand by for updates. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot, Oakland.

In the meantime, you can attend their last Southern Comfort dinner on Wednesday April 22nd ($39.99 per person; five-course prix-fixe menu, reservations here), and Millennium’s last night in SF is on Thursday April 30th. You can make reservations now for 5:30pm-11pm; the party is $40 per person, before tax and tip, and includes passed appetizers, full bar, and live music. You will pay upon arrival.  

March 31, 2015

The interior of Ichi Kakiya. Photo by Darren Samuelson.


A tabletop (with the awesome mural). Photo by Darren Samuelson.


At Ichi Kakiya, facing the front. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

If today’s final inspection goes as planned, ~ICHI KAKIYA~ should be opening its doors this Friday for a soft opening. Chef-owner Tim Archuleta and partner Erin Archuleta (who was tablehopper’s very first intern, awww!) of ~ICHI SUSHI~ are opening in their original Ichi location, one that was built to be a raw bar until their busy sushi business outgrew the space. The name means “oyster shop” in Japanese, and it’s not the only thing this 21-seat place will offer.

There will be five kinds of sustainable oysters, both local and from Japan, along with clams and scallops (both from the East Coast and beauties from Hokkaido). Other dishes on the opening menu include Japanese potato salad, a salad with yuba and green olive dressing (want!), house-cured ocean trout, a dish with housemade kimchi and asari clams, and some steamed selections, including shrimp, mussels, and a half crab. Hot picks include a seasonal soup (like kabocha) and miso-marinated cod. Dishes will be different than what you’d find at Ichi, so don’t expect to find any favorites on the menu. Time for new favorites!

The spot is no reservations (remember, it’s 21 seats, with 12 at tables and 9 at the counter—plus there’s a small waiting counter in the front), and will be a fun spot to swing by for a dozen oysters and glass of bubbles, or you can turn it into a full meal. Speaking of bubbles, they will be the primary focus of the wine menu, plus some whites and a rosé will be available. There will be local and imported beer, from Almanac to HenHouse to some Japanese selections, plus four sakes. Space is a premium at this tiny spot, so they have to keep the list tight.

Like at Ichi, they brought on Erik Marinovich to do another custom mural for them. It’s a beaut, with an abstract design of oyster shells (look for the pearl) over a cerulean blue backdrop. The overall space is more a sister than a brother to Ichi, with a slightly feminine style, a subtle tip of the cap to ama, the (typically) female free divers in Japan who dove for pearls, oysters, and shellfish.

We’ll keep you posted on the exact opening date, and you can always follow Ichi Kakiya on Facebook and Twitter.

Hours will be the same as Ichi: Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus, 415-814-3877.


The interior of Aster. Photo by Michael David Rose, courtesy UrbanDaddy.


A dish at Aster. Photo from Brett Cooper’s Instagram feed.

Before we took our little break, we posted an update about Brett Cooper’s new restaurant in the Daniel Patterson Group, ~ASTER~. We just wanted to alert you that it’s officially open, and the menu is live on the website. Dishes include smaller bites like nori puffs with cauliflower mousse and burnt honey vinegar ($6), green garlic “vichyssoise” with a soft egg, olive oil crouton, and pecorino ($13), and larger plates, including black cod with chard leaves and pickled stems, miso levain, 
and smoked cod broth ($33).

Nope, no shortage of creativity from this chef, who I first met when he was working as a sous for Stuart Brioza at Rubicon. He then made his way to Coi, and was chef de cuisine at Saison and executive chef of Outerlands. Like we mentioned in our previous piece, his sous chef is Meghan Clark (Delfina, Aziza, Spoonbar, and Kin Khao) and his pastry chef is Sean Ehland (formerly the executive pastry chef at McCrady’s in Charleston)—this neighborhood restaurant has quite a team. Look for a tasting menu to come soon. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.


The light-filled front lounge area. Photo: Douglas Friedman.


The dining room. Photo: Douglas Friedman.

Last month we mentioned ~BDK RESTAURANT & BAR~ was opening in the former Grand Cafe in the Hotel Monaco, with chef Heather Terhune (previously Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar).

She has put together an American menu with some fun updates, like bacon croutons in an iceberg salad, and avocado and Calabrian chile in the steak tartare. The braised lamb poutine and smoked ham and Brie pop-tarts also sound like good trouble. Mains include pickle-brined fried chicken thighs with coleslaw and mini buttermilk biscuits ($22), spaghetti and meatballs ($21), and I am all over the potato and cheese pierogies ($19) with caramelized onions, sour cream, and dill.

The space got a big refresh from design firm Ken Fulk Inc. (Marlowe, The Battery), and now has an energetically patterned tile floor, leather banquettes in dark butterscotch, and stylish dining room chairs. The dining room has 72 seats (with high-top tables and pub-style booths and banquettes), and there is still a spacious bar and lounge area, with 17 seats at the California granite bar and 20 seats in the lounge. The huge dining room has been converted back to its original ballroom state (it was the grand ballroom of the Bellevue Hotel in the early 1900s).

Bar manager Kevin Diedrich is behind the cocktails (which run for $11-$12), and the wine list will emphasize Chianti (seems Bill Kimpton, the man behind the BDK initials, was a fan). You’ll find wine, beer, and Diedrich’s spin on an old-fashioned all on tap.

Hours are breakfast: Mon- Fri 7am-10am, Sat-Sun 7am-10am; dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm. Bar open daily at 4pm. Brunch is coming soon. 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.


The beautiful jewel box of Bar Jules. Photo from Facebook.

Hayes Valley mainstay ~BAR JULES~is closing, according to Scoop. Owner Jessica Boncutter says the restaurant is doing well, and there isn’t really any issue or drama causing the closure, which has been open for eight years. “It’s nothing financial. Just a decision of mine,” she is quoted as saying, which would seem to tie in to the fact she is eight months pregnant. She mentions that she wanted to sell it to a buyer who would respect the restaurant’s space and spirit. No word yet who that might be just yet, but apparently that news is coming soon.

Bar Jules’ last day is this Sunday April 5th. A lot of diners will be crying into their burgers and baked eggs this week. Best to Jessica and her baby!


A booth at Hapa Ramen. Photo by Erin Conger.

While I was stuck sitting on the tarmac for a couple hours in Cozumel on Saturday (fun times, thanks United), I checked in on Twitter and read the “whoa, dude!” news that chef Richie Nakano was no longer a part of ~HAPA RAMEN~, his project that he has built up over the past five years, finally consummating in a brick-and-mortar location that opened four months ago in the Mission.

Unfortunately Nakano was at odds with his business partner, tech investor Owen Van Natta (who owns Hapa Ramen and the brand—it ends up Nakano sold it in July 2014 for $20K) and director of operations Deborah Blum (who is working with Van Natta on the upcoming Citizen Fox), and the wheels obviously came off the bus.

What has followed is a #hapagate level of social media posts about the shituation, and it’s hard to tell in publicized laundry-airing like this what exactly went down: was Nakano fired, did he quit, were his food costs too high, were management demands unreasonable? Both sides have their versions.

What we do know is Hapa Ramen is now closed, and the partners have other plans for the space. (They have a full liquor license, so you know they’re going to put that to work.) It’s tough for the Hapa Ramen crew who decided to leave, but hopefully they all land somewhere soon. As for the ones who stayed, in a statement by Blum and Van Natta, they say: “Hapa staff was not fired. All but two of Hapa’s line cooks are currently employed by the business; today they’re doing prep work for a tasting related to the concept that will replace Hapa. The management also extended an offer of income to Hapa’s top servers and the kitchen staff to support them during the restaurant’s period of closure.” Again, who really knows.

You can grab your bag of popcorn and read more here and here. 2293 Mission St. at 19th St., 415-202-6333.


The chicken amaranth waffle at Reverb. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

After naming a new chef last month, it looks like the former Verbena has also changed its name and look to go along with the new chef and menu. The restaurant is now called ~REVERB KITCHEN & BAR~ and is intended to be a more approachable, neighborhood spot.

The menu hits all the current SF marks, with dishes like caramelized heirloom carrots, grilled octopus with gigante beans and romesco sauce, a kale salad, and a burger. They are also serving brunch on weekends—check out the brunch menu here.

The beverages are also intended to be more approachable, with a wine list focused on small producers. The cocktail menu offers craft cocktails like the Clearer Conscience (gin, cucumber, housemade thyme-galangal syrup, and dry vermouth) and Tikal (mezcal, tequila blanco, pineapple, celery, quinquina, dry sherry, and lemon), along with classics like the Martinez and the Negroni. There are special brunch cocktails as well, including a Bloody Mary and Angostura fizz. Hours are daily for dinner 5:30pm-10pm and brunch Sat-Sun 10am-2:30pm. 2323 Polk St. at Union.


Outdoor patio at The Yard. Photo courtesy of The Courtyard’s Facebook page.


Pepperoni, baby. A pie from Tony’s Coal-Fired Pizza & Slice House. Photo via Facebook.

Can you smell that? Yeah, it’s the smell of baseball in the air, and with the season starting again, there are some new additions near the ballpark that you can check out. First up, there’s ~THE YARD AT MISSION ROCK~—which is kind of like an 18,000-square-foot version of Proxy in Hayes Valley—featuring an Anchor Brewing beer garden (16 taps!), repurposed shipping containers with various vendors (both food and retail), and events too (follow along on Facebook for updates). It’s located in Giants Parking Lot A, and is open daily and year-round, with hours extended for game days.

Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for The Whole Beast, which has its own container next to the Anchor Brewing beer garden area, serving chef-owner John Fink’s insane lamb gyro, plus a Wagyu beef brisket sandwich, smoked pulled-pork sandwich, and his poutine returns (!!)—fries with lamb gravy, smoked lamb, and sheep’s cheese. And there’s a vegetarian version too. You can wake up from your food coma with some rocket fuel from Peet’s Coffee (open at 7am daily), and there’s also the Courtyard from Off the Grid, featuring a couple of food trucks, a Humphry Slocombe ice cream cart, and even wine. Off a Wine Bus. Which also has a seafood menu, FYI, with dishes like Courtyard Chowder with bacon gremolata, yes please. Open 11am-8pm daily. 3rd St. at Terry Francois Blvd.

Just as we were leaving, we heard some gossip that Tony Gemignani is going to be opening another ~SLICE HOUSE~, this time in the spacious Ironside location, which is now closed. Look for an opening in a couple of weeks. Scoop added that he will additionally be serving calzone, stromboli, and pasta, with a focus on pasta made with ancient grains. 680 2nd St. at Townsend.

Quick reminder: if you’re going to the Giants exhibition games, you can order subs from ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~ and they’ll have them ready for you for a quick pickup. Game season means Merigan’s hours are extending to Mon-Fri 8:30am-7pm (you know they do breakfast, right?), Sat 10am-4pm, and open on Sundays for Giants home games.

One closure to note: Traci Des Jardins is closing her ~MIJITA~ location at the ballpark, it sounds like the Giants Dugout wanted the space. The Ferry Building location remains open, and ditto Public House. (Via Eater.)


A mega feast at Mekong Kitchen. Photo from Facebook.

After Eater reported the story back in February, there’s an update on the former Urban Picnic space in the Castro. Urban Picnic closed last month, after less than a year in business, and now owner Trang Nguyen is reopening it as ~MEKONG KITCHEN~. Chef Tim Luym has been brought on, and the menu offers lots of Vietnamese classics, with additional items to take it up a notch, like marbled tea eggs and oxtail soup. The food photos on their Facebook page are straight-up drool-worthy, and Luym always delivers the mega-flava, can’t wait to check this one out. Hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm, Sun 5:30pm-10pm, closed Mondays. 4039 18th St. at Hartford, 415-346-9700.

~IZA RAMEN~, which has been popping up in the Mission for about a year now, is headed into the Dante’s Table space in the Castro. According to liquor license activity and a tweet, Iza has nailed a permanent home for their popular noodles. No word on quite when Iza’s noodles will be ready for slurping, but hopefully soon. 544 Castro St. at 18th St., 415-285-3848.


Pork belly at Precita Park Café. Photo from Facebook.

There’s a new pair of chefs at neighborhood favorite ~PRECITA PARK CAFÉ~, Chris Seyersdahl (Nopa, Café Claude) and sous Richie Wilim (Charlie Palmer Group in New York). Owners Rachel Herbert and Dana Oppenheim want to push the restaurant’s menu in a more adventurous direction, and Seyersdahl has been experimenting with new menu items. He’s been working on gluten-free breads, housemade pastas, and a wild-sounding Sightglass-infused barbecue quail stuffed with housemade chorizo mac and cheese. Some offerings on the current menu include savory pie with fava leaf pesto, shaved asparagus, black trumpets, chicories, and Parmesan; and apple and ginger braised pork belly, lacopi butter beans, black trumpets, spinach, black garlic soubise, and housemade kimchi. Sustainable ingredients and local purveyors are a big part of the new focus. 500 Precita Ave. at Alabama, 415-647-7702.

Bernalwood caught the news that there is a new Japanese-style curry house coming to Bernal, called ~FUMI CURRY HOUSE~. It’s moving into the former home of Eagle Donuts, on Mission Street. The space is currently under construction, with an anticipated completion date in a month or so—but the opening could take longer, depending on permits. 3303 Mission St. at 29th St.


Noodle soup from Lanxang Kingdom. Photo from Facebook.

~RUSTY’S SOUTHERN~, which we reported on a couple of weeks ago, is now open in the Tenderloin. They’re serving barbecue plates, fried chicken, and other Southern dishes inspired by the Carolinas. 750 Ellis St. at Larkin, 415-638-6974.

Yelp reports are coming in that there’s a new burger place in the Inner Richmond, called ~BUZZ~, in the former Midori Sushi location. They offer grass-fed burgers with interesting topping combinations. There are also several varieties of fries (think sweet potato and garlic), as well as smoothies. 3420 Geary St. at Commonwealth.

It can be hard to find Laotian food in San Francisco, but Eater reports that a new pop-up at Turtle Tower’s Tenderloin location is going to change that. ~LANXANG KINGDON~ will be serving Laotian dishes every Thursday from 11am to 9pm, including weekly specials. The menu includes some unusual dishes, including a snail stew and fried silkworms, alongside a great selection of Laotian salads, noodles, and other dishes like an omelet and a housemade noodle soup. 645 Larkin St. at Ellis, 415-874-5578.

Financial District soup wonder ~SOUP JUNKIE~ is moving to a new, larger location on Montgomery Street. They’ve closed their previous location, and should be opening in the new spot in the next few months, though they are still in the process of getting plans approved with the city. We’ll let you know when they reopen! 100 Montgomery St. at Sutter.

And it looks like there is already a take for the former Soup Junkie space, none other than ~SUSHIRRITO~. This will be the fourth San Francisco location for the local chain, fifth including their Palo Alto location. Though The Onion reports that perhaps a similar concept is moving to the East Bay, ha-ha. 388 Market St. Suite 107, at Davis.

The beginning of spring means the return of ~OFF THE GRID~’s evening Twilight at the Presidio, starting Thursday April 2nd. Every Thursday, catch the food trucks serving all kinds of dishes, along with lit dining cabanas, fire pits, and live music. The variety of trucks will change weekly, and they’ll be on the Main Post Lawn from 5pm to 9pm. Main Post Lawn, at Lincoln Blvd.

Star reader Jason B. wrote in to let us know that ~NATIVE JUICE CO.~ is opening in the former Cafe Metropol in the Financial District. According to their website, the juicery closed their location at 250 Montgomery in late January, but will be reopening this spring at 168 Sutter Street. In the meantime, you can also find them at the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays and at the San Rafael Farmers Market on Sundays. 168 Sutter St. at Kearny.


The New York breakfast of champions. Photo by Nicole Plue (winner of Outstanding Pastry Chef 2010).

The list of finalists for the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards was announced while we were away, and we were happy to return and see a pretty strong SF Bay Area showing. Shout-out to Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski, who are up for Best New Restaurant again, this time for The Progress (State Bird won last time). Kudos to Manresa’s Jessica Largey, nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Outstanding Restaurateur nominations include Cindy Pawlcyn (that has to feel good after the rough year she has suffered due to a car accident) and Michael Mina, while William Werner/Craftsman & Wolves and Belinda Leong and Michel Suas (b. Patisserie) are up for Outstanding Baker, and Trick Dog and Bar Agricole are both up for Outstanding Bar Program.

It makes total sense Quince would be nominated for Outstanding Service, and fingers crossed for A16 for Shelley Lindgren’s Outstanding Wine Program (meanwhile, Rajat Parr was nominated for Outstanding Beer, Wine, or Spirits professional). Up for Best Chef: West are the unstoppable Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski for State Bird Provisions, plus Matthew Accarrino for SPQR, and Corey Lee for Benu.

You can check out all the nominees, which include Restaurant Design, and the Book, Broadcast and Journalism awards, and, of course, Lifetime Achievement, Humanitarian of the Year, Who’s Who, and America’s Classics.

The James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast, and Journalism Awards Dinner is on Friday April 24th at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City, while the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception will take place for the first time at Lyric Opera of Chicago on Monday May 4th. (Which means winners will not be able to pose their medal with an egg on a roll the next morning for their hangover breakfast anymore.)

Speaking of the James Beard Foundation, their scholarship program is an incredible way for aspiring and established chefs to gain some extra funding to further their culinary education. Know someone (maybe you?) talented who could use some additional support to get the skills they need? Applications can be found right here beginning April 1st, and more information on the different types of scholarships can be found here (and there are some great ones, including international, work/study, and wine-oriented options). Good luck out there, you talented people, you!


The interior of the new Equator Coffee & Teas on Market. Photo courtesy Equator.

~EQUATOR COFFEE & TEAS~ is opening their very first location in San Francisco, downtown in the Warfield building, on Wednesday April 1st. The new café is their third location, after two others in Marin County. The offerings include brewed coffee, cold brew, beer, wine, and espresso. They’ve added some interesting tea items to the menu, too, like honey orchard milk, and tea “squashes,” which are fruit tea sodas. I am particularly fired up for their renditions of the shakerato (brown sugar and cream shaken with espresso), including one that incorporates chocolate and scratch caramel.

There are also grab-and-go food options like seasonal salads and parfaits, along with arepa sandwiches with a variety fillings (these are also gluten-free). Check out the full menu here. The space was designed by Boor Bridges Architecture, and features white stone, mahogany, and a mural by artist Mona Caron. Outdoor seating should be coming soon. Hours will be daily 7am-7pm. 986 Market St. at 6th St., 415-614-9129.

Pacific Heights may be getting their very own ~BLUE BOTTLE~ location, Scoop reports. According to owner James Freeman, they are looking at the former Tully’s space at the corner of Fillmore and Jackson streets. It’s still going to be awhile, though. 2453-2455 Fillmore St. at Jackson.


Who will win the pork statue at Cochon 555? Photo from Facebook.

Are you ready to go completely hog wild at ~COCHON 555~? (Careful, that link plays some beats.) The festival of all things pork is just around the corner, and the lineup this year is pretty fab. Sunday April 12th at the Fairmont marks the seventh year that five chefs come together to compete for the ultimate in porcine glory: being crowned the King or Queen of Porc.

Participating chefs this year are David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit), Robin Song (Hog & Rocks), Salvatore Cracco (Trou Normand), Thomas Kalb (Cafe du Nord), and Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table). Each of the chefs will prepare a whole hog menu for attendees and judges, and then voting will determine the winner. The hogs are all heritage breeds from small-scale farmers (including Marin Sun Farms, Front Porch Farm, and Belcampo Meat Co.), to bring attention to the value and importance (and deliciousness!) of responsible ranching. The winner will go on to compete in the national competition in Aspen.

In addition to the main event, you’ll find a hog butchering demonstration with Brian Merkel of Belcampo Meat Co.; a station featuring cheeses from Mission Cheese; an oyster shelf; the “Perfect Manhattan Experience” featuring Eagle Rare, Buffalo Trace, Breckenridge Bourbon, Hirsch, and Luxardo; a mezcal bar with chupitos; the tartare bar with Adam Sobel of RN74; and more. Yeah, they are not messing around.

Tickets are $125 for general admission, or $200 for VIP, which includes early admission and more drinks and experiences and other good stuff. The event runs from 5pm-9pm for general admission or 4pm-9pm for VIP. The Fairmont, 950 Mason St. at California, 678-744-5886.


Cookies at the new B-Side Baking Co. Photo from Facebook.

~B-SIDE BAKING CO.~ from Tanya Holland has opened in the former B-Side BBQ space, according to Scoop. As we reported in February, Holland closed the barbecue spot and replaced it with a bakery from Celeste Scott, the baker at nearby Brown Sugar Kitchen. Each day they will offer a variety of different pastries, like coffee cake, scones, cinnamon rolls, and pies made with seasonal fruit. For now, they are settling in and the space is open daily from 7am to 3pm, but in the coming months the plan is to extend the hours, add additional lunch options, and take advantage of the space’s full liquor license with beverages like Bloody Marys and Irish coffees. 3303 San Pablo Ave. at 34th St., Oakland, 510-595-0227.

An offshoot of ~NICK’S PIZZA~ is coming to Temescal, East Bay Express reports. The new location is called ~NICK AND ARON’S~ and comes from Nick’s owner Nick Yapor-Cox and partner Aron Ford, who has been running the morning pastry scene at Nick’s. The new space is in the former Barkada space, which features two huge gas deck ovens in the kitchen and lots more dining space. This will allow the pair to offer a full-service dining experience, with pizza on the menu, of course, but also salads, sandwiches, and other entrées and appetizers. According to Facebook, they officially opened for lunch and dinner on March 27th, with weekend brunch coming soon. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., 510-250-9538.

We received word that Linda Bradford, Travis Dutton, and Patrick Lynch, owners of Bar 355, have opened a restaurant next door called ~PARLOUR~. Chef Jason Tuley is using a wood-fired oven for pizzas, as well as other dishes including octopus and meatballs; check out the menu here. The bar offers cocktails, wine, and beer, as well. 357 19th St. at Webster, Oakland, 510-451-1357.

The market trend continues, with a new project called ~NEWBERRY MARKET~ moving to Uptown Oakland. The market is moving into the ground floor of Uptown Station, a seven-story 400,000-square-foot retail and office building opening in the former Sears building. Newberry plans to open in summer 2016, with organic groceries and a butcher shop, grab-and-go meals, and household items along with beer and wine. Telegraph Ave. at Broadway, Oakland.

Chowhounds are reporting that Korean restaurant ~YU YU ZA ZANG~ has reopened in the former New Ho Ho space. The new space is larger than their previous location, and Yelpers note that the menu has stayed the same, with seafood soup and noodles as a particular standout. 4871 Telegraph Ave. at 48th St., 510-653-2288.

March 30, 2015

Smoked salmon with avocado and sprouts on a Food Should Taste Good Everything chip. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


Deviled egg salad on Food Should Taste Good chips. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


Dipping that fondue. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


The table is set for our brunch. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


The lively dining room. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


Shakshuka with falafel chips. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.


The perfectly cooked eggs on the shakshuka. Photo: David Paul Morris for Food Should Taste Good.

A few months ago, the PR team representing Food Should Taste Good approached me about writing a fun brunch guide for San Francisco and hosting a customized brunch event highlighting Food Should Taste Good’s products. Who has two thumbs and loves to write and talk about brunch? This lady. And fortunately I was already a fan of Food Should Taste Good’s wide range of GMO-free chips that come in unique flavors (like guacamole tortilla chips, brown rice-peppercorn, and they even have kimchi chips).

When I was trying to come up with a venue for hosting the brunch, the first thing I imagined was the famed Marlowe egg salad on a Food Should Taste Good chip, and then I thought about chef Jenn Puccio’s Welsh rarebit at The Cavalier as another great potential topping. (Yes, it’s fun to brainstorm about events based on what will go well on chips.)

Fortunately chef Puccio thought coming up with a special menu for this brunch sounded like fun, and she hit it out of the park with the flavor pairings. The Cavalier has a beautiful semi-private event room, the Railcar Room, that can hold 40, the perfect number of guests.

We invited a fun group of San Francisco media, bloggers, and influencers for our sunny Saturday brunch. We started with a reception in Marianne’s, the private club room at The Cavalier, with hors d’oeuvres and brunch cocktails, like Pimm’s Cups (The Cavalier makes a great one), Bloody Marys, and mimosas.

We had passed appetizers of smoked salmon with avocado, spices, and sprouts on a Food Should Taste Good Works chip; the Marlowe deviled egg salad with melting provolone and pickled jalapeño on the FSTG peppercorn cracker; and the showstopper was the large chafing dish bubbling with a roasted garlic and cheddar fondue with chives that we got to dunk the FSTG sweet potato kettle chip in. Yeah, it was like a hot tub of cheesy goodness we all wanted to take a prolonged dip in.

It was time for the sit-down portion of the event. The dining room looked great, with the sunlight streaming through the windows and glinting off the brass fixtures and bouquets of springy flowers. I love family-style meals, and the room had a festive feeling (but I also think the Pimm’s Cups were kicking in).

We started with one of my favorite dishes at The Cavalier (which we featured in the brunch guide): the ham and cheese soldiers that you dip into hen egg hollandaise. Mmmmhmmmm. We also had seasonal fruit with acacia honey and mint to balance the decadence.

The favorite dish of the day was chef Puccio’s incredible creation: a Food Should Taste Good falafel chip shakshuka (it was almost like chilaquiles!), with spicy tomato sauce tempered by dollops of yogurt, plus peppers, onions, crispy pancetta on top, and perfectly baked eggs. Everyone was raving over it, and kudos to the kitchen for getting magnificently cooked eggs out all at once for 40 people.

The feast continued with buttermilk pancakes with amaretto and brown butter golden syrup, and the full English platter, loaded with bacon, pork and beef bangers, mushrooms, roasted tomato, and crispy potatoes. Pinkie up, dahling.

We all waddled out of there with Food Should Taste Good gift bags (which had a preview of their new seeded Real Good Bars inside, which will be released in June), and I think we are all hoping chef Puccio keeps that falafel chip shakshuka-chilaquiles dream mash-up dish on the menu. (Pllllleeeeeeeease?)

Thank you to Food Should Taste Good for partnering with tablehopper for this brunch event and the San Francisco brunch guide, I had a blast hosting it! Many thanks to chef Jenn Puccio and the entire Cavalier team for helping me throw such a swell event. And I think we will all be back for brunch at The Cavalier, the food rocked!

March 17, 2015

The sign at Aster. Photo from Instagram.


Smoked trout from a recent test dinner at Coi. Photo from Instagram.

As reported on tablehopper back in September, Brett Cooper has partnered with the Daniel Patterson Group to open ~ASTER~ in the former Beast and the Hare in the Mission. A final opening date has been set for Tuesday March 31st, and though we’ll have menus and photos for you when we return from vacation then, here are some details to feast on in the meantime.

Cooper has assembled his kitchen team, including sous chef Meghan Clark (Delfina, Aziza, Spoonbar, and Kin Khao) and pastry chef Sean Ehland (McCrady’s in Charleston). Unsurprisingly, the restaurant will be impeccably sourcing their seafood, meats, and produce, and the menu will change seasonally. The dishes have a familiar backbone, but often include items prepared in unexpected ways or with unexpected ingredients. Some dishes to look for include potato and nettle dumplings with maitake, peas, and charred scallion, or black cod with chard, miso levain, and smoked cod broth. For dessert, you’ll find a beet crémeux with white chocolate and hazelnuts (beets on dessert menus seems to be a growing trend). To prepare for the restaurant’s opening, Cooper and his team have been hosting pop-up test dinners at Coi, and Chef’s Feed has a cool video from one of them.

Mark Mendoza of the Daniel Patterson Group has developed the wine and beverage list, which focuses on natural and biodynamic wines from international appellations. They’re also going to be using a Coravin system, too, which allows for a large range of options by the glass, including older vintages and more unusual pours. As for the space, which seats 45, designer Scott Kester has created a living garden that is intended to be both casual and elegant. More on that on the 31st. Hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. 1001 Guerrero St. at 22nd St.


The interior at El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.


Rock cod frybread taco from El Capitan. Photo by Jon Whitehead.

~EL CAPITAN~, the new project from Jon Whitehead we mentioned earlier this month, is now open in the former Radius space in SoMa. Mark Furr is running the kitchen, and his menu is inspired by Latin and Caribbean flavors. The restaurant is all about hospitality and fun, with food intended for sharing and pairing with drinks. There are lots of small plates, including multiple varieties of ceviche, grilled octopus with a white bean salad, chicken wings with Cholula-ancho glaze, and fry bread tacos with various fillings. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering family-style platters of large-format meats, including whole fish and an Argentine-style asado. Check out the current menu here.

As for those drinks, right now they’ve got local beer and wine on tap, as well as sangria available by the pitcher and low-proof cocktails. A full liquor license should be landing in late spring too. The newly refreshed space has new paint and new art on the walls and will soon offer a private dining space in “the captain’s room” for groups. Hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-11pm, and there is a happy hour every day they are open from 5pm-6:30pm. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton, 415-525-3676.


The pozole verde from El Pípila. Photo by John Ater.


Sopes from El Pípila. Photo: ©

It’s always fantastic news when another La Cocina business gets their own brick-and-mortar space. Or in the case of Guadalupe Guerrero of El Pípila, her own kiosk in ~THE HALL~ in Mid-Market.

Her story is an inspiring one: she left her native Acámbaro, Mexico, in 1998 and had to make the hard decision to leave her two girls behind while she came to work at a taqueria in Berkeley. (Can you imagine?) After working for 12-hour days, six days a week, for two years (alone, in a country where she didn’t speak the language), she was able to send for her girls.

Flash forward to 2005, when she met Alicia Villanueva of Alicia’s Tamales los Mayas, a fellow immigrant who told Guadalupe about La Cocina. Guadalupe has been a part of La Cocina since 2012, building her catering business and running a successful stand at Off the Grid Fort Mason (and appearing at the Street Food Festival). Her two daughters, Brenda (25) and Alejandra (28) are helping her with the business, which specializes in Guanajuatan recipes. Her pozole verde is extraordinary—it’s her mother’s recipe, which is made with chicken, tomatillo, hominy, and the brilliant addition of bacon. Trust me, you want this in your life. She also makes sopes, in homage to the street food vendors from home, topped with braised nopales. You’ll find these delicious and authentic dishes and more at her new stand at The Hall.

Guadalupe has come a long, long way. Not only can you help support her in this new venture by visiting her new kiosk, but she is also in the final days of crowdfunding her Kiva Zip loan. She only needs about $2,000 left (it’s a no-interest loan!) to help with equipment and first month’s rent. There are just six days left to help! Even $10, $20, will go far. Even if you can’t lend money, please tell your networks about it! Let’s show this amazing woman some support.

Soft-launch hours for now are Mon-Fri 11am-8pm, and every other Saturday. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.


Breton butter croissants at Un Fil à la Patte. Photo by David Carbonell.


Pain au chocolat. Photo by David Carbonell.


Mini baguettes. Photo by David Carbonell.

San Francisco is really lucky with our current bakery game right now, because it’s strong. Due to open late summer in North Beach is ~UN FIL À LA PATTE~ from David Carbonell, a French transplant who has been living in the Bay Area the past five years. His family has been in the bakery business for more than 200 years, because that’s how things roll in France, although he broke from the baking path to study art history, and then to be a journalist and war photographer.

But now the family’s baking roots have tugged Carbonell back. He is inspired by how obsessed San Franciscans are about food, and because he wants to offer baked goods with a real “French taste,” he will only use French ingredients, from the butter to flour. He knows this will be challenging, but he really wants to make it happen.

He will focus on viennoiserie, with speciality pastries, breads, and desserts (he mentions olive bread, cereal bread, and macarons too). Carbonell will also be offering some rare items, like le pain du chat rouge, which means “the bread of the red cat,” a recipe that is more than 300 years old. More than anything, he really wants his bakery to become a daily stop for the people in the neighborhood.

The location was previously a shop, Metis Makers on Grant Avenue, so it will require some permitting hurdles and remodeling. He wants the look to be like a humble “bread depot, where people feel at home, a French corner in the heart of San Francisco.”

As for the name, of course it has roots in the 17th century: it translates as “a string attached at your leg,” which was a reminder to flirtatious married men that they should think before looking at other women. Oh, the French. Look for updates from us this summer. 1314 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.


2227 Polk Street, the future home of House Rules. Photo from Google Street View.

Russian Hill residents will have two new spots opening on the same block of Polk Street, between Vallejo and Green. First up, the former Interior Visions is being transformed into a (currently unnamed) sushi restaurant from the chef-owner of Saru in Noe Valley, Billy Kong, and the chef-owner of Seiya in San Carlos, Kuo Hwa Chuang. The menu will focus on kaiseki and traditional sushi, so don’t expect yet another place with a menu of spicy tuna rolls with cream cheese in them. There will be a sushi bar and tables, about 45 seats in all. The change-of-use has been a long process, but construction is under way and they hope to open in July or August. There will be more details to release soon, like the name, so we’ll keep you posted. 2206 Polk St. at Vallejo.

Across the street in the former Pesce and Uno Dos Tacos will be ~HOUSE RULES~, a new bar from Rick Howard and Noelle Calixto (Eddie Rickenbackers, Campus bar), with Scott Youkilis consulting on the food menu, and Michael Brennan is designing the interior. The opening is looking like mid-April now, so we’ll have more to share in a couple of weeks. 2227 Polk St. at Vallejo.


The fried chicken biscuit at Rusty’s Southern. Photo from Facebook.

An April opening is slated for the new location of ~FISH & FARM~, which is moving into the former Elephant & Castle location in the Financial District. Fish & Farm, which currently is housed in the Hotel Mark Twain, will close that location on March 31st, according to Barbary Coast News. Then, in April, they will reopen in the new space, which is currently being built out. Look for a New American menu with sustainable seafood and meat, along with a full bar, wine, and beer. 424 Clay St. at Battery, 415-474-3474.

Tokyo ramen restaurant Mensho Ramen is opening its first outpost in the United States in May. Scoop reports that chef-owner Tomoharu Shono will call it ~MENSHO TOKYO~, and the menu will resemble the one currently being served at his Tokyo locations, but with additional small plates. 676 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

Rusty Olson managed the bar at Suppenküche for seven years and is now getting ready to open his own place in the Tenderloin, called ~RUSTY’S SOUTHERN~. Hoodline reports that Olson, a native of the Carolinas, has brought on chef Francis Rubio of Biergarten to run the kitchen. The pair plans to serve Southern dishes like fried chicken, barbecue, and shrimp with okra, along with brunch options. The restaurant is actually opening in the ground floor of The City Hope Community Center, and they plan to partner with the center on community service projects and possibly even a vocational training program in the future. They hope to open in late March; in the meantime, check out their Kickstarter campaign and consider contributing.


A plate from Square Meals. Photo from Facebook.


Breakfast tacos from SixFoot20. Photo from Yelp.

The brick-and-mortar location of prepared foods outfit ~LILAH BELLE’S~ on Divisadero is closing, Eater reports, and ~SQUARE MEALS~ is moving in. Lilah Belle’s will remain in operation, but owner Traci Freeman says her customers are more interested in her delivery service than in-store pickup, so she’ll be focusing on online ordering and delivery from now on. Square Meals, in the meantime, is opening as a takeout space today, March 17th, and this summer will add a café similar to their current Polk Street location, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. 1207 Divisadero St. at Eddy, 415-674-1069.

We mentioned a few weeks ago that ~CHEZ MAMAN~ on Potrero Hill is moving from its smaller location (at 1453 18th Street) into the larger Chez Papa Bistrot space on the corner (at 1401 18th Street). Just wanted to let you know the opening is Monday March 23rd! It will have the same menu, with a few additions (and larger tables, of course).

~SIXFOOT20~, the breakfast taco pop-up from chef Raymond Gaston, has secured a brick-and-mortar location and will be opening in late summer, according to Hoodline. He’s been popping up in the Excelsior and other locales around town, with a changing menu of breakfast tacos. Some past manu highlights have included gochujang chicken breakfast tacos, crispy mushroom breakfast tacos, and Dr. Pepper braised pork taco. Gaston will be moving into the former Rising Star Laundry location in the Duboce Triangle, and plans to serve breakfast and lunch both for dine-in and takeout. There will be tacos for breakfast in the morning, and then look for rice bowls at lunch, including a dirty-looking (in the best way) burger on rice with an egg. Gaston is also hoping to roast his own coffee beans in-house, depending on permits. 439 Duboce Ave. at Belcher.


Xiao long bao from Din Tai Fung in Hong Kong. Photo: ©

After years of rumors, it appears that ~DIN TAI FUNG~ is officially coming to the Bay Area with a location in Santa Clara’s Westfield Valley Fair mall. Eater has confirmed that the international chain, which has locations in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Thailand as well as in greater Los Angeles and Seattle, will be opening a large location later this year. According to a Chinese newspaper Eater had translated, the restaurant should open in October and will clock in at about 8,500 square feet with seating for 200 people. And still, get ready for long lines. RELEASE THE XIAO LONG BAO!


Meatball with tare and egg yolk at Yardbird in Hong Kong. Photo: ©


Coffee shochu from Yardbird. Photo: ©

During my whirlwind trip to Hong Kong, one of the places I was most excited to check out was ~YARDBIRD~, since chef Matt Abergel’s chicken game is hella strong. I was lucky to have an hour to hang out with Matt, drink some beers, and get the scoop on the Hong Kong culinary scene before dining at the counter at his crazy-busy izakaya/restaurant. While the chicken yakitori list had upwards of 15 different pieces you could try (neck, thigh, heart, and even tail), and it’s what they’re known for, we also dug the corn tempura, ox tongue, and someone had a bit too much of their Stumptown-coffee infused shochu that they shake up like a shakerato, so it makes you want to, uh, have another.

Since I totally buried the lede here, I should probably mention now that Matt Abergel will be doing a Yardbird pop-up/à la carte dinner for two nights at ~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ on Monday April 27th and Tuesday April 28th. Chef-owner Sylvan Mishima Brackett met Matt last year when he came to do a private dinner at 18 Reasons, and Sylvan helped him source ingredients for the dinner. It will be fun night and rare chance to experience Matt’s yakitori and other dishes (and they are bringing the coffee shochu—be careful).

Reservations can be made only by phone (415-589-7022) or email.


Duck gravy hash browns for brunch at Klyde. Photo courtesy Klyde Cafe & Wine Bar.

Union Square has a new spot for happy hour and brunch. ~KLYDE~ in the Hotel G is now offering happy hour every Monday through Friday from 3pm to 7pm. Select wines are available for $5 a glass or $25 a bottle, with selections from all over the world.

They are also serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30am to 2pm. Dishes include a crab and fried green tomato Benedict ($16), almond brioche French toast with fruit and whipped cream ($9), and bacon-wrapped shrimp and grits ($16); check out the menu here. Of course, Bloody Marys and mimosas are also on offer. 386 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061.

According to a post on Instagram, ~COCKSCOMB~ is now serving happy hour Monday through Thursday from 5pm to 6pm and 10pm to 11pm (love that). Specials include $1 oysters and $5 beer, glasses of wine, and negronis. 564 4th St. at Freelon, 415-974-0700.

~1760~ is now open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2:30pm. You’d best make it a boozy brunch, since their fabulous cocktails will be in full force—check out the brunch drinks here. The brunch menu will change seasonally but currently includes cardamom beignets ($8) and pork belly with kimchi fried rice and egg ($18), along with beverages like the green cardamom fizz (cardamom cream, lime, egg white, club soda, gin, $13) or brunch punch for two (hibiscus, ginger, mint, cinnamon, lemon, club soda, gin or vodka, $25).


The window display at Epicurean Trader. Photo from Facebook.

According to a friendly spy in Bernal Heights, a new specialty market is moving onto Cortland. Bernal Wood caught the news that ~THE EPICUREAN TRADER~ opened on Friday in the former Red Hills Bookstore, and the owners are husband-and-wife team Holly McDell and Matthew Pond.

In an email, the couple says they want to “create a marketplace for San Franciscans to browse, discover, and learn about new and innovative brands in the small-batch foods. We will be focused on high-quality artisan brands with a unique story, packaging and/or flavor combinations.” In many cases, the products they offer are available in San Francisco for the first time, including chocolate from Maverick Chocolate Company and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters from San Diego. Their inventory also includes cheese, charcuterie, and other pantry items, along with wine and beer. Alex Finberg, who has consulted for many restaurants around town, is heading up the wine selection and should be bringing some great selections to the table. Hours are daily 11am-8pm. 401 Cortland Ave. at Bennington, 415-872-9484.

Both SocketSite and The Bold Italic caught the news of a new market coming to the Mission. It comes from Bobby and Dmitri Vardakastanis of Haight Street Market, the family-owned natural food store in the Haight, and Noriega Produce in the Outer Sunset. Their new location will be at Harrison and 17th Street, in the ground floor of the mixed-use 400 Alabama building. With the opening of the third location, the family will be renaming all three locations ~GUS’S COMMUNITY MARKET~ after their father, Gus Vardakastanis, who took the market over from his father in the 1990s. The new location will offer a deli counter, butcher, seafood, and an outdoor space for enjoying a snack. No word on a timeline at the moment, but we’ll keep you updated. 400 Alabama St. at 17th St.


Emporio Rulli’s sfingi. Photo: ©

One thing that definitely does not suck over here is my mail, especially since it sometimes contains edible things for me to try (um, jackpot—well, unless you are trying to eat light, and then it’s pure fricking torture). A week ago, someone from Gary Rulli’s awesome Emporio Rulli baking team showed up with some zeppole (a fried bignè ring, filled with vanilla sponge cake brushed with kirsch, fresh whipped cream, Italian pastry cream, and sour amarena cherries) and my favorite, sfingi (a Sicilian fried cream puff stuffed with homemade ricotta), which they are making in preparation for La Festa di San Giuseppe on Thursday March 19th (just one day only, although the zeppole will be available from Thursday March 19th-Sunday March 21st!). If you know someone named Joe or Joseph, you should buy them one, and make sure you get one for yourself. They are $6.50 each, and they recommend you preorder them by calling 415-924-7478—you can arrange a pickup at one of Rulli’s SF locations.


Exterior of Café Claude Marina. Photo courtesy of AF&Co.

It appears that ~CAFE CLAUDE MARINA~ is closing permanently, after what was supposed to be a temporary closure and refresh in January. Scoop reports that owner Franck LeClerc says that while they intended to reopen with some new décor and an updated menu, he received some very generous offers on the space while it was closed. Turns out, one was just too good to refuse. No word just yet on what might be moving in, or LeClerc’s next project (he hints he’s up to something). 2120 Greenwich St. at Fillmore.

March 10, 2015

Jersey, looking towards the front of the restaurant. All photos: ©


The Little Italy pizza at Jersey.


The Jersey chopped salad.


Beef carpaccio.

Last week I had a chance to attend a friends and family test dinner for ~JERSEY~, the new Italian joint from Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal (Town Hall, Salt House, Anchor & Hope, La Capra). The brothers were Jersey boys, and so while pizza is an important part of the menu, you’ll also find pastas, roast chicken, and more. The chef is Ramona Rillo, who started as a line cook at Town Hall and then was a sous at Salt House.

Starters on the lunch menu include ‘nduja and ricotta on crostini, a fun Jersey chopped salad (complete with salami, provolone, and peperoncini) plus three other salads, and ahi tuna arancini. The dinner menu expands to include a beef carpaccio (they’re using tri-tip from Snake River Farms) topped with fried artichoke and a creamy confit of garlic and anchovy sauce, and meatballs on crostini with tomato sauce and fontina-jalapeño béchamel. Yeah, they’re having some fun.

For lunch, there’s a meatball sandwich, chicken Parm, a Jersey burger (with provolone and pancetta), and you gotta click the menu and check out the Goodfellas sandwich ($13-$15). There are also a couple of pasta dishes: bucatini and clams in red sauce ($10/$17), and pappardelle with guanciale Bolognese ($11/$18) and broccoli di ciccio (nighttime brings gnocchi and squid ink linguine with linguiça).

As for the pizza, there are two kinds. The Jersey style comes in a 14-inch size, and the crust is just soft and elastic enough, with a developed flavor from the long proof they’re doing. (Mitch says the pizza started as a hobby years ago, and his starter is at least six years old.) There’s a Trenton tomato pie, a meaty New Yorker, and we tried the Little Italy, with soppressata picante from Zoe’s, mozzarella, provolone, and a delicious tomato sauce (ranging from $16.50-$19). You can also try the California-style pizza, which is 12 inches and cooked in a hotter oven; there’s a margherita, an asparagus pizza, and a bianca ($14-$16).

Larger dinnertime entrées include roast pork ($23) and a diavola chicken ($19) with toasted bread salad. You’ll also find an easy-to-navigate wine list, full of Italian selections and some Cali picks too, with 15 by the glass. The beer selection is no slouch either, with nine on draught, like Drake’s nitro stout, Fort Point’s Manzanita altbier, and Ballast Point Longfin Lager.

The space (by Sagan Piechota Architecture) was formerly the Toaster Oven, which you won’t even recognize. Now it has a clean and classic industrial-chic look, with exposed brick walls, a long bar (plus counter seating at the front window), dark wainscoting, and an open kitchen in the back, with a punch of Prussian blue on the wall and yet another counter facing the pizza oven.

Reservations accepted. Hours are lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm; a limited menu between 2pm-5pm; dinner Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. 145 2nd St. at Mission, 415-912-1502.


Chef Olivier Roellinger at his outdoor cooking demo. All photos: ©


Chef Michel Bras helping to plate chef Francis Wolf’s dish at the Taste of France luncheon.


L’endive farcie, parfum de truffes, by Michel Bras.


The electric Ernst Loosen at his Mosel tasting and talk.


Bonjour, gorgeous. A 1966 poured en magnum at the Dom Pérignon tasting.


The lineup from the Dom Pérignon tasting.

It was an honor to be invited back to GourmetFest 2015, a weekend-long event in Carmel by the Sea, with some heavy-hitting Relais & Chateaux chefs from around the world, along with top winemakers and sommeliers from France, Italy, and more. I drove down early Saturday morning, in time for the outdoor cooking demo with chef Olivier Roellinger (Les Maisons de Bricourt), who gave an interesting talk about the history of spices and how his use of spices was a challenge to traditional Breton cuisine back in 1982. For the Taste of France lunch that followed, he served a riff on one of his first dishes (John Dory, cabbage, and 14 spices).

Another chef contributing to a lot of buzz at the luncheon was the presence of Michel Bras, who rarely leaves France for events. It was certainly enough for chef David Kinch to drive over for the day from Manresa, carting his first-edition cookbooks by Roellinger and Bras to have them signed. The ultimate fanboy!

Bras’s dish at the luncheon gave almost everyone pause: a beautiful head of endive (cooked so nearly all traces of bitterness were gone), filled with a mix of bread, olive oil, and black truffle, and then napped in an ethereal cloud of a cream sauce and a flurry of more truffle. So deceivingly simple but actually so complex. The 2008 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape paired with the dish was also a smooth talker. The entire lunch was rather special; hop on over here for more pics. And it’s worth nothing the new event venue, Seventh & Dolores, was a nice change and step up from last year’s tent.

After lunch, it was time for a fantastic wine tasting with Ernst Loosen of the Dr. Loosen estate in the Mosel. The man is so vibrant and energetic, the world needs more people like him (I thought he’s like the German Gary Pisoni). He walked us through the terroir, techniques, and a fabulous tasting of Wehlener Sonnenuhr riesling auslese vintages, including 1967, 1976, 1983, 1988 (loved the mushroom notes of this one), 1990, 1998, 2004, and 2011. What’s amazing is these “Erste Lage/grand cru” vines are more than 100 years old, with their original rootstock—they were never hit by phylloxera (the steep slopes and soil saved them). It was a fascinating talk, and if you ever have a chance to hear Ernie speak, you’re in for a treat.

I managed to get a quick and slightly tipsy power walk in along the beach at sunset (what a dreamy location, really) and then it was time to strap the feed bag back on for the Grand Chef Dinner. Highlights included the warm ceviche by Diego Muñoz (Astrid & Gastón Casa Moreyra in Lima), the “risoni all carbonara” by Annie Féolde of Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence), and the 2007 Calera Reed Vineyard pinot noir kept me in my happy place (and it was an honor to have the ever-stylin’ Josh Jensen at our table).

You can guess who slept like a rock in her room at La Playa Carmel—I kept my window cracked to listen to the nearby waves and let in some cool night air (the air in Carmel by the Sea is so bracing and fresh).

Sunday morning, time to rise and shine, time change be damned (of all nights I could have used that hour of sleep). I had a quick cappuccino and egg on toast at Carmel Belle—I needed to lay a little bedrock before walking into the 10:30am Dom Pérignon tasting, led by chef de cave Richard Geoffroy.

It quickly turned into one of the most extraordinary Champagne tastings of my life (I count last year’s Krug tasting and the private tasting I had in September at Louis Roederer as the other two, thus far!). We tasted vintages spanning from 1990 to 2004, and the stars of the morning, three vintages poured en magnum: the complex 1966, the precise 1973, and the extraordinary 1975. It’s so rare to be able to taste these wines, and the fact they were transported directly from the Dom Pérignon library makes it even more special because you know they were stored perfectly. Tasting the difference between the vintages was so illuminating. It was actually quite moving, I’ll admit I got a little misty. And I wasn’t alone—the energy in the room was palpable. I walked out of there feeling like the lucky lady I am.

I managed to snag a few quick bites at the Seafood Grill before heading back home—of course I needed to finish my 24-hour-luxury fandango with freshly shucked oysters from Taylor Shellfish topped with Siberian caviar from Black River Caviar, mmmhmmmm. Champagne wishes and caviar dreams, for real.

Merci beaucoup to everyone who put on this very special event—the caliber of chefs, winemakers, purveyors, and more is quite marvelous, and the smaller scale of it keeps it feeling very special.

For more pictures of the weekend, click on over here.


The 4505 Meats burger. It can be yours. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of exciting updates for you at burger and barbecue heaven, otherwise known as ~4505 BURGERS & BBQ~. First up, starting this Friday March 13th, their late-night cheeseburger window will be up and running. What this means is you can score the Best Damn Cheeseburger Friday and Saturday nights from from 11pm-1am. Oh yeah.

Secondly, in case you were driving or walking by and saw their outdoor patio looking rather construction-y, it’s because their whole shipping container/groovy outdoor seating situation is finally under way! Remember when we initially wrote about the shipping container, complete with indoor and outdoor seating, heaters, skylights, and food runners who will be able to help you with more beers? Well, it’s finally happening! You can read all about it on Hoodline, who says 4505 hopes to have it all ready around the first week of May, just in time for their one-year anniversary. 705 Divisadero St. at Grove.


Legume chaat with radishes, crispy boondi, and Szechuan pepper-verbena goat cheese at All Spice San Mateo. Photo from Facebook.

~GAME~, the restaurant that opened in November in the former Masa’s space, announced a changeup that will happen later this week. The restaurant is owned by Sachin Chopra and Shoshana Wolff, who also own All Spice in San Mateo, and they’ve decided to close Game and reopen as the San Francisco location of ~ALL SPICE~ on Friday March 13th. The All Spice menu is focused on modern American takes on Indian flavors, along with a special chef’s tasting menu. Check out the San Mateo location’s menu here.

To celebrate their grand reopening, they’ll be throwing a party on Thursday March 12th to benefit HandUp from 5:30pm to 8pm. Tickets to the party are just $5 (though you can donate more) and include a complimentary tasting of Chopra’s planned menu. HandUp is a crowdfunding organization committed to helping communities help each other through direct giving. 648 Bush St. at Powell, 415-874-9481.


A pic supplied to us of the always-smiling dine and dasher.

Consider this a heads-up for restaurant owners: I have been receiving multiple emails about a serial dine and dasher, who has a penchant for dining at quality places all over town (reportedly including Bar Tartine, Urchin Bistrot, Locanda, Marlowe, Rich Table, Cavalier) and manages to keep evading that onerous bill-paying part of the dining experience.

I spoke with a few restaurant employees who recounted their experiences with me, which basically goes like this: the diner, who goes by Glenn or Les, will sit at the counter or bar, for lunch or dinner. He’s extremely friendly, introducing himself to neighboring diners and the servers, sweet-talking everyone around him. He will go to the bathroom and outside to smoke numerous times, which gives servers a false sense of comfort when he isn’t in his chair because he soon returns…well, until he’s gone for good.

He is well dressed, middle-aged, orders heavy (lots of wine and cocktails), and extremely smiley. He also seems to not own a wallet. Ahem. Anyway, here’s the additional problem: not enough restaurants are filing police reports on this guy. He has been cornered and the police have been called to pick him up a couple of times, but there aren’t enough restaurants pressing charges to really put a stop to him. (Yet.) And when he gets caught, he doesn’t seem to really care—he just smiles and acts a bit nonplussed by the whole situation. Amazing. So keep your eyes peeled for this grinning charlatan, and let’s stop this cycle of restaurants being repeatedly ripped off by this guy.


The brunch burger at Sweet Woodruff. Photo from Facebook.

Chinatown jook shop Hing Lung closed three years ago, and lots of construction followed, along with a change in ownership. Now, the intrepid Chowhounders who have been closely monitoring the space’s progress are reporting that it’s open. It has a new name, ~CAFE BROADWAY~. No word on the menu quite yet, but here’s hoping for jook! 674 Broadway St. at Stockton.

Back in January, we reported that ~CHARIN~, the haute pop-up from Charles-C Onyeama, had a new home at Stable Cafe. Well, that space flooded back in December (that stretch of Folsom Street has been known to flood regularly), and they had to cancel their pop-ups in January and February. They’re back in business, though, with dinners on Sunday March 15th and Monday March 16th. There are also dinners scheduled for April 19th and 20th, and May 17th and 18th. Check out the menu for March here and make reservations here. The tasting menu costs $128 per person, not including wine pairings and a 20 percent service charge. 2124 Folsom St. at 17th St.

Noe Valley Blog reports that ~HAPPY DONUTS~ in Noe Valley has reopened after a rather mysterious closure. The menu appears the same, and commenters are saying the doughnuts even taste the same. Thank goodness. 3801 24th St. at Church, 415-285-5890.

After a temporary closure in February due to water damage, ~SWEET WOODRUFF~ is reopening on Friday March 13th. According to a post on Instagram, they’ll be offering half-off specials on their grilled cheese, burgers, and soup all day long. 798 Sutter St. at Jones, 415-292-9090.


The famed cruffin from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse. Photo: ©

Noe Valley’s ~NOVY~ opened softly over the weekend, according to their Facebook page. The grand opening is this Saturday March 14th. As we reported in February, the new project is a family affair from John and Vi Gianaras and their two daughters, Kristen and Kathryn. The menu offer meze, burgers, salads, and pasta; they also serve brunch on weekends. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-9:30pm, Sat 9:30am-9:30pm, Sun 9:30am-9pm. 4000 24th St. at Noe, 415-829-8383.

Did you hear about the break-in at ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ last week? If you didn’t, here’s the deal: someone broke into the shop on the night of February 26th and stole all of pastry chef Ry Stephens’s recipes from binders. All their expensive bakery equipment, an iPad, computers, and even cash remained untouched, however. The The New York Times even picked up the story. While the press coverage of the incident can only be good for the bakery’s already surging popularity, Stephens is upset with the break-in, quite understandably. We’re so sorry, Ry, and people, please, stop it. 1042 Larkin St. at Sutter, 415-829-7700.

There’s a new chef and menu at ~LA MOVIDA~, the casual wine bar in the Mission. Now at the helm is Scott Carrelli (he has worked at Bar Agricole and Delfina, and most recently at the Dark Horse Inn in the Excelsior), offering a mix of eclectic California-inspired cuisine. There are plenty of small plates if you’re just looking for a bite to pair with a beer or glass of wine. On the menu: his famed kimchi Reuben, pickled curry deviled eggs, baccala croquettes, a polenta bowl with fonduta and sous vide egg, and mac and cheese with seasonal mushrooms and house-smoked chicken. Look for eight rotating items, with two or three nightly specials. Brunch will be relaunching at the end of March.

A neighborhood friend let us know that ~ALA ROMANA~ in Nob Hill has closed, and Yelp confirms the news. It looks like the space is for lease. 1098 Jackson St. at Taylor.

Remember back in 2013 when we told you about the New Orleans project from the owner of local ~PIZZETTA 211~? Well, ~PALADAR 511~ has officially opened! The Times-Picayune has a full story, along with photos. Congratulations, all! 511 Marigny St. at Decatur, New Orleans, 504-509-6782.


CAAMFest tickets, along with Masumoto Family Farm’s peach sauce on Frozen Kuhsterd. Photo from Facebook.

CAAMFest (which was formerly known as the San Francisco Asian American Film Festival) is taking place Thursday March 12th through Sunday March 22nd in various locations in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. The festival includes lots of great food-related programming, including some screenings you won’t want to miss (more below). There is also a whole lineup of food-oriented events and plenty of films and events to check out. Most tickets are $14 for the general public, $13 for students, seniors, and disabled adults, and $12 for CAAM members; find the full festival schedule and details here.

On Thursday March 19th at 7pm, catch Supper Club at New People Cinema. Director Edmond Wong follows chef Alvin Leung as he visits restaurants in the Bay Area and has in-depth conversations about the food industry and cultural identity. Oh, and there’s plenty of gorgeous food to gawk at, too. Details and tickets here.

The Masumoto peach farm is the focus of Changing Season: On the Masumoto Family Farm on Friday March 20th at the Oakland Museum of California. The screening is at 7pm and tells the story of a year at the family farm in the Central Valley. The Masumotos will be in attendance, and there will be a conversation about the film. Details here, rush only.

These are just few highlights of the festival, but there is tons more to check out. Don’t miss out!


Chef Carlo Middione. Photo by Daniel Bahmani via the New Fillmore.

On Thursday April 16th, ~LUCE~ is hosting none other than chef Carlo Middione and his wife Lisa of Vivande, which shuttered in 2010. (How many memories do I have of eating in that beloved Fillmore restaurant? A bunch.)

The evening begins at 6:30pm with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, followed by a multicourse Italian feast complete with wine pairings. Check out the planned menu here. The dinner is $150 per person and includes all food and beverages, though not tax and gratuity. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. Lobby Level, InterContinental Hotel, 888 Howard St. at 5th St., 415-616-6566.


Chicken, waffles, and scrambled eggs at Gussie’s. Yelp photo by Lily Y.

After reporting the sad news in January of ~GUSSIE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES~ closure in the Fillmore, we were so happy to hear that owner Michele Wilson has secured a location in Oakland. East Bay Express reports that she signed the lease on a space in Uptown Oakland, next door to the Paramount Theatre, and will be rebranding the new space as ~GUSSIE’S SOUTHERN TABLE AND BAR~. They will serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There will also be a full liquor license and a basement lounge space that will feature music and dancing. The menu, though, will remain mostly the same, and prices should stay relatively low, less than $18 per dish. They have to build out the space completely, but are aiming for a September opening. 2021 Broadway at 21st St., Oakland.

Paleo diners and others on restrictive diets rejoice! You now have new place to eat out in North Berkeley, called ~MISSION: HEIRLOOM~ (which is an interesting name for a restaurant not located in the Mission and not associated with Heirloom Café). It comes from husband-and-wife team Bobby Chang and Yrmis Barroeta, and Berkeleyside Nosh has a nice in-depth story on the project from last July. They are striving to make paleo-style food that is delicious in addition to healthful. They are offering bone broths to go as part of their “Counter Basics” line, either for sipping or taking home, as well as serving breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. They are also selling lots of meals to take home for those short on time on Good Eggs.

The partners have also put a great deal of work into keeping their facility as “clean” as possible, including a negative ion air purifier and reverse-osmosis water-purifying system. If all of this is sounding like the pilot episode of Berklandia, well, you’re not wrong. But some of their menu items, like the lamb nettle stew, sounds downright delicious, no matter what you do or don’t eat. Current hours are Fri-Sun, Tue 11am-9pm. 2085 Vine St. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-859-4501.

Preeti Mistry’s ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ has nabbed a full liquor license, is celebrating its second anniversary, and it’s Holi! So many reasons to party! Join them on Sunday March 15th from 11am to 3pm for a good time. All drinks will be $5, and there will be some free food. Be sure to wear white and get lots of colored powder thrown at you!

Jen Biesty of Oakland’s ~SHAKEWELL~ is going to be appearing on television! The Top Chef alum is going to be on The Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, with airings this Thursday, Friday, and more. Don’t miss it!

Steve Carlin, the developer behind Napa’s Oxbow Public Market, has partnered with Jack London Square Ventures and the Port of Oakland to bring ~WATER STREET MARKET~ to Jack London Square in Oakland. The new project is opening at 55 Water Street and will include 32,000 square feet on the ground floor, with additional office spaces totaling 110,000 square feet above. There’s no official timeline yet, but fair to say it’s still a ways out. 55 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland.

March 3, 2015

The table is set for The Family Meal at The Progress. All photos by Eric Wolfinger.


A triumvirate of cocktails (thanks Campari America!).


Magnums of Louis Roederer Brut Premier were poured all night.


Oysters in kimchi mignonette for days.


The mind-blowing uni guacamole.


Nicole Krasinski lighting up the night’s flaming island.



Last December, before the holiday season kicked in, I co-hosted The Family Meal, a chefs-only after-hours spaghettata with Sosh at Locanda, which was a blurry night of Negronis, caviar and SKYY vodka shots, foie gras on gingerbread, mountains of spaghetti, and a showstopping croquembouche for dessert. Yup, the Turtle Tower chicken pho in the gift bags saved more than a few people the next day.

So when Sosh came to me in the new year about planning a sequel, it begged the question: how do you follow up one of the coolest events you have ever thrown? Well, for starters, you throw it at the city’s hottest restaurant (insert Stefon voice here): The Progress, created by two of the city’s most beloved creative forces, Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Fortunately they agreed it was a great idea.

At 10pm on Tuesday February 24th, chefs started rolling into the bar area at The Progress, greeted by the smell of savory pancakes (with Gruyère and grated Périgord truffle) that Stuart was making on a griddle in the back corner of the bar. Thanks to sponsor Louis Roederer, we were also pouring Brut Premier in magnum all night, which you know went swimmingly with the sweet little Kumamotos in kimchi mignonette.

The fine folks from Campari America helped everyone break in the new bar at The Progress, featuring a cocktail menu highlighting their fantastic umeboshi Negroni, plus SKYY martinis with smoked Castelvetrano olive juice, a margarita (made with Espolón reposado tequila, Aperol, guava, fresh lime, bitters) that went down way too smoothly, and our special house drink, the Shark Tail, with Appleton Estate V/X rum, allspice dram, lime juice, ginger, and bitters (thanks to bar manager Bryan Hamann for concocting that tasty little number).

After 11pm, it was eventually time to get everyone seated in the dining room. Chefs got to choose where they wanted to sit, from the spacious side booth tables to the large wood tables in the middle of the restaurant. On each table there were opened bottles of wine from Bedrock and Bodegas Ponce “Reto,” and yes, each table also had their own magnum of Brut Premier. Good times. Let’s do this.

And then the night’s theme of Oceanic Treasure Chest really came to life. Tables were hit with waves of deliciousness, in only the way Stuart and Nicole and their team know how to do it. Family-style plates of uni layered on top of guacamole (with black rice chips) were a undeniable favorite of the night (fingers crossed it ends up on the menu), plus yuba with turmeric-kohlrabi pickle, smelt tempura with lime pickle, the playful papiers des fruit de mer. And then it was the main event: huge platters of seafood curry accompanied by their famed roti (our table was scooping up the curried octopus tentacles with the hot roti right off the plate).

After cleaning up our paws with wet towels, we were greeted by Nicole bearing a blowtorch, setting afire our dessert of Linden Alley jasmine blossom flaming island. Someone also put bottles of Averna on each table. (Okay, okay, it was me.) The night went late for some of us, and really late for others, who shall remain nameless. (Okay, yeah, it was me again.)

Tremendous thanks to The Progress team for letting us host such a special event so soon after their opening—you are amazing! Such pros. It was fantastic for a bunch of chefs to be able to come in and check it all out. The kitchen crushed it! And we know, no pressure having 40 of the city’s best chefs in your dining room all at once, like Melissa Perello, Roland Passot, Dominique Crenn, Thomas McNaughton, Evan Rich, Traci Des Jardins, and Massimiliano Conti—it was also great to see some newer chefs on our local scene hang out and make new friendships.

As our star photographer of the night, Eric Wolfinger, said to me: “Tonight was full of great food and drinks. And lots of hugging.” Seriously, the room was hugging it out all night.

We had another fun gift bag, this time with a jar of furikake-quinoa crunch—I keep getting texts from chefs about dishes they’re shaking it on—plus your dream hair of the dog cocktail from Rye on the Road (The Family Meal Spritz: Campari, SKYY vodka, grapefruit cordial, and rosato), and thanks to Sosh, some Advil. Yesssss.

I have so much gratitude and thanks to Sosh, The Progress, Campari America, and Louis Roederer for enabling me to throw another over-the-top party. It’s an honor to be able to feed and spoil so many chefs who work so hard to feed our city, night after night. And it’s important to bring people together, to sit back, relax, and break bread—it’s hard to build community when everyone is so busy toiling away in their kitchens.

A donation was made to CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture), our local organization championed by many of the chefs in attendance.

Want to see more? Here’s a photo album of the night on Sosh’s Facebook page (pics by Eric Wolfinger), and the invite. Until next time!


The luxurious interior at Dragon Beaux. Photo from UrbanDaddy by Michael David Rose Photography.


The xiao long bao at Dragon Beaux. Yelp photo by Dan B.

The former Video Cafe space on Geary has a new taker, and this time it’s the Ng family, who also owns the Koi Palace restaurants in Daly City and Dublin. This new project is called ~DRAGON BEAUX~ and is rather ambitious. Scoop reports that co-owner Willy Ng wants the restaurant to be more creative than the usual dim sum standby. Inspired by the creative cooking in Hong Kong, he’s been working with younger chefs and even some consultants from Guangzhou to create a menu that isn’t held back by the classics. There are plenty of familiar items of the menu, but you’ll also find squid ink dumplings and frog legs. Cue the weekend lines now.

At dinner, the tables transform into hot pot stations, with a selection of five broths and several different meat and vegetable options. There is also a premium beef menu, which includes Kobe beef from Japan. There are well-considered wine choices; John Vuong, former wine director at Ame, consulted on the wine list. The interior has been extravagantly decorated, too, with multiple dining rooms, each with a distinct look. One room features plum leather seating, while another has cherry blossom wallpaper. Light fixtures are distinct, and there is also a curtained seating area. Hours: dim sum lunch Mon-Fri 11am-3pm and Sat-Sun 10am-4pm, hot pot dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm. 5700 Geary Blvd. at 21st Ave., 415-333-8899.


Exterior photo from the now-closed Café des Amis (photo via Facebook).


Chef Mark Furr. Photo courtesy El Capitan.

The Bacchus Management Group (of Spruce and The Village Pub) is opening a restaurant in the Saratoga Hotel building, Scoop reports. The neighborhood, in the Tenderloin/Lower Nob Hill, is unusual for the group—they’ve typically opened shop in places like Pacific Heights, the Marina, and Woodside. We have been tracking the space for over a year, and there are some additional details over at Eater, where they’re reporting that the group is still waiting on a conditional use authorization from the Planning Department that includes a restaurant and bar with seating for 72, in a 4,200-square-foot space. They aren’t divulging any additional details at the moment, though it may be called The Saratoga (which is the name of the building’s hotel). Time will tell. 1008 Larkin St. at Post.

Speaking of Bacchus Management, we previously mentioned their former Café des Amis space was scooped up by local restaurateur Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Starbelly, Super Duper, Lolinda). Eater now has an update on his plans for the space, which is still unnamed. It’s going to be a Belgian brasserie, with a California sensibility, of course. Think moules frites and steak frites, along with salads, sides, and sausages smoked in-house in a wood-fired oven. Right now, they’re working on renovating the space. They’re opening it up, creating a lighter, airier space, with natural wood and gray tones. The current opening date is set for May 1st. 2000 Union St. at Buchanan.

Jon Whitehead has a couple of new projects coming to SoMa this month. The first is ~EL CAPITAN~, which is moving into the former Radius space. He’s brought chef Mark Furr onboard to run the kitchen, which is exciting. We’ve been fans of his excellent barbecue since the Smoke truck days and his stint at Broken Record, and it sounds like he’s getting ready to have some fun at El Capitan.

The menu will draw inspiration from Latin America and the Caribbean, with lots of small plates for sharing, like ceviche, grilled octopus, and fried plantains. The convivial attitude is reflected in the main dishes, too, which are also intended for sharing. Large groups will be able to order large-format dishes like whole fish, suckling pig, and an Argentine asado, to enjoy family style. They are still working on refreshing the space, but should open in mid-March. A full liquor license is in the works. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton.

Then, in the neighboring former Radius Cafe spot, Whitehead is opening ~CARAFE~ tonight, Tuesday March 3rd. Instead of functioning as a café, Carafe will be more of a wine bar (our previous mention here). 1127 Folsom St. at Langton.

Scoop is reporting that Jay Bordeleau and Kate Bolton of Maven are opening a new restaurant on Market called ~CADENCE~, right next to the upcoming Mr. Tipple’s Recording Studio. Joey Elenterio (Wayfare Tavern, Chez TJ) has been brought on as chef and will be creating a menu of progressive American dishes. The space will seat 90, with a more traditional service format than Maven’s cocktails-with-food style. The current timeline has them opening this summer. 1446 Market St. at Polk.


The mushroom and leek empanada from Frog Hollow. Photo courtesy Frog Hollow.


Blue Bottle at the Ferry Building, with its new look. Instagram photo by Laurel Touby.

The ~FROG HOLLOW~ café in the Ferry Building has made some exciting changes, launching Tuesday March 10th. To start, they now have a beer and wine license and will be serving two beers (Jagged Edge IPA and Hefeweizen Bavarian Wheat), along with two white wines (Bloomfield chardonnay and viognier) and two reds (both from Cline Cellars).

They will also be offering an after-hours menu Monday through Saturday from 5pm to 7:30pm, with special snacks. The menu includes a seasonal pizza, soup, and a housemade cookie plate. They’ve been growing barley on the farm for the last year or so, for Thirsty Bear Brewing, and the barley also shows up in the seasonal soup. To accommodate happy hour diners, they’ve also added some new seating, with sturdier tables and chairs, more planters for ambiance, and even new heat lamps so you can enjoy the view when the fog rolls in. They are also improving the seating in the interior and adding some new double doors to the patio, but that is an ongoing project. Ferry Building, at Embarcadero, Shop #6, 415-445-0990.

According to an announcement on Twitter, the Ferry Building ~BLUE BOTTLE~ is now done with its remodel and is open for business. The space has been designed to help customers order more easily and to increase the speed at which baristas can prepare drinks. Lookin’ good, guys! Ferry Building at Embarcadero, Shop #7, 510-653-3394.


The Fresno chili chicken sandwich from Dusty Buns Bistro. Photo from Facebook.


The exterior of Nourish. Photo from Facebook.

Dustin “Dusty” Stewart and his wife, Kristin, who own local food trucks and a Fresno restaurant, are opening their first San Francisco brick-and-mortar, ~DUSTY BUNS BISTRO~, in the former Source space. Eater caught the news that they are now open. The specialty is sandwiches on freshly baked, soft buns, with options like the bistro burger, a Fresno chili chicken sandwich, and daily specials. In addition, look for soups, salads, and pastries, as well as some new vegetarian and vegan choices. For now, hours are Mon-Sat 11am-7pm, but they plan to add more, including for brunch, in the coming months, along with beer and wine. 11 Division St. at King.

There’s a new health-focused café in the Inner Richmond. It’s called ~NOURISH~ and comes from a group of three friends who met at fitness boot camp and wanted to bring vegan and vegetarian food choices to the neighborhood. The menu offers salads, sandwiches, açai bowls, and toast, along with beverages like smoothies and juices. They also have coffee from Ruby Roast, and tea. Hours are Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 9am-3pm. H/t to Scoop. 189 6th Ave. at California, 415-571-8780.

~DOÑA MAGO~, home of tasty chilaquiles and daily special soups, has moved. They are now residing at the corner of 14th Street and South Van Ness, just a couple of blocks from their previous location. You’ll still find classic Mexican food on the menu, and hours are Mon-Sat 9am-7pm, Sun 9am-5pm. 301 South Van Ness at 14th St., 415-573-8586.


The patio at Trou Normand. Photo from Facebook.

You can now get weekend brunch (and delicious cocktails, of course) at ~TROU NORMAND~. They’re serving it on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 2pm, with dishes like coppa, soft-boiled egg, asparagus, and mizuna ($12) and brown rice porridge with duck confit and poached egg ($15). The full charcuterie menu is also available, and seating on their glass-enclosed back patio is sure to be pleasant.

~HRD COFFEE SHOP~ in SoMa has expanded their hours to include dinner service on weekdays. They’ll now be open for dinner five nights a week, serving their Korean-inspired cuisine. In addition, chef David Yeung is offering two weekly dinner specials; this week it’s a short rib bibimbap and loco moco. They have also applied for a beer and wine license, which should be coming soon. Hours are now Mon-Fri 10am-4pm, 5pm-8:30pm, Sat 10am-4pm (closed for dinner), closed Sun. 521A 3rd St. at Taber, 415-543-2355.


The sign at Sinbad’s. Yelp photo by Ed U.

~SINBAD’S~, the old-school and kind of scruffy seafood place on the water behind the Ferry Building, is closing. I know, fans of the bar (that view!) will be bummed to lose it. According to Scoop, they are in a bit of a dispute with their landlord (the Port of San Francisco) regarding when they will vacate the space. It could be as early as March 21st, though the restaurant is saying they intend to stay until 2016. Because with a name like Sinbad’s, you don’t go down without a fight. 141 The Embarcadero, at Pier 2, 415-781-2555.

In December, Ruchi in SoMa closed, so that the owner could spend more time raising her two children. However, it has reopened under new ownership, and apparently the new owners are calling it ~RUCHI’S~ (with an “s”). In a note on her website, the original owner expresses her concerns that the name was chosen without her permission, and expressly against her wishes, in order to benefit from her reputation. Since she wants to reopen someday after her children are more independent, this is particularly important. Yelpers have already let the restaurant have it, so we’ll see what happens moving forward. 474 3rd St. at Bryant, 415-543-3800.


Over at ~ONE MARKET~, chef Mark Dommen is getting ready to start his popular Weekly Beast series again, and the first one on Friday March 6th will launch with a whole new beast: water buffalo. The series will also include lamb, duck, goat, and more from local farmers, running until April 24th and 25th, when it all wraps up with rabbit from Devil’s Gulch Ranch; you can check out the lineup here. The three-course prix-fixe menu is available for $49 and features dishes that utilize unique cuts of meat from the whole animal (although please note the water buffalo menu is four courses for $59). You can also add wine pairings from local wineries.

It’s that time again: the ~OLIVETO~ Whole Hog Dinners will be from Tuesday March 3rd (that’s today) through Saturday March 7th. The menu includes charcuterie, appetizers, pastas, and even desserts, all using the whole animal. They are also offering a special dish each evening, including saucisson en croûte on Thursday March 5th and bollito misto on Saturday March 7th. Reservations are recommended.


Fried cheese curds sandwich at The Half Orange. Photo from Yelp.

Fruitvale restaurant ~THE HALF ORANGE~ will now be open seven days a week, as of Sunday March 8th. Their new hours are Mon-Sat 11:30am-9pm and Sun 12pm-8pm. They’re also adding a breakfast sandwich to the weekend menu, and given owner Jay Porter’s skill with housemade sausage and meats, it’s sure to be a tasty one. Oh, and hot tip: parking in the BART parking lot across the street is free all day on weekends. 3340 East 12th St. #11 at 34th Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

It looks like old-school late-night staple Giant Burger has reopened, at least temporarily, as ~SPACE BURGER~. According to Scoop, the new owners have only gently updated the space, but are keeping the menu and fab retro architecture. They are no longer open 24 hours, but do offer late-night hours on the weekends. Unfortunately, though, the whole building is being torn down in 18 months to make room for a condo high-rise. The current owner, Ambessaw Assegued, reports that they have been offered a spot on the ground floor when the high-rise opens, so Space Burger will at least be able to stick around. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11am-2am, closed Sun. 2150 Telegraph Ave. at 22nd St., 831-588-7470.

As previously reported on tablehopper, ~MILLENNIUM~ is closing in April. Chef-partner Eric Tucker and general manager Alison Bagby are hoping to reopen a vegetable-focused restaurant in Rockridge soon. They’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary to open the new space, with pledges starting at $25.

At least one of the owners of San Francisco’s Izzy’s Steak & Chops, Sam DuVall, is opening a location in Oakland. East Bay Express reports they’ve taken over the former Vo’s Restaurant space, and liquor license activity says the new spot will be called ~CUBA LIBRE~. There aren’t a lot of details, but it does sound like it will be a Cuban joint. 59 Grand Ave. at Webster, Oakland.

One more little sudsy swig for you: based on this post on Chowhound, we learned the ~FIELDWORK BREWING COMPANY~ tasting room is now open in Berkeley, currently pouring five of their own craft brews, and they have a growler program too. The post mentioned friendly folks, and there are meat and vegetable pasties from The Pie Shop in Oakland in case you need a nibble. You can read more here about the brewery and team (led by head brewer Alex Tweet, previously of Modern Times Beer in San Diego). Open Thu-Fri 4pm-9pm, Sat-Sun 12pm-9pm. 1160 6th St. at Harrison, Berkeley.