The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
August 29, 2014
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Cheers to the Ramen Shop’s expansion! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Fellow fans of ~RAMEN SHOP~ in Rockridge will be thrilled to know business partners (and evil culinary masterminds) Jerry Jaksich, Rayneil De Guzman, and Sam White have secured the luggage shop space next door (Rockridge Luggage & Leather Goods at 5816 College Avenue), and will be expanding their footprint. But it’s not going to be a case of knocking down the wall in between the businesses and making it a big restaurant; partner Sam White says they want to keep the intimate feeling of Ramen Shop.

The new space will become an intimate cocktail bar—no food will be served, except maybe a couple of bar snacks—and will double as a waiting area. The current front bar area will become a place for diners to eat, adding 15 precious seats. White says it should help with lessening the overall wait times.

Another big component to all this is they’ll be moving their office over, adding another kitchen, and therefore gaining more storage space for their ingredients (and broth!), which means they’ll be able to move to being open seven days a week (Ramen Shop is currently closed on Tuesdays). Since the gents will be gaining storage space for the kitchen, they expect to be able to expand to being open nightly in November or December, and lunch on the weekends is also being looked at. They get the keys October 1st, and expect the entire addition will be done in late winter or early spring of 2015. For now, they’re gearing up for another trip to Japan in October, so expect them to come back with even more inspiration and ideas.

August 26, 2014
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The cheerful interior and communal table at L’Aviateur. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Window seating at L’Aviateur. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Vegetable “caviar” with pepper-carrot purée and quail egg. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. As we mentioned back in March, there is a new bistro headed to 21st Street in the Mission, called ~BISTRO L’AVIATEUR~. To recap, the project is definitely a family affair, from husband-and-wife team Maha and Vincent Laforge, with Maha’s sons helping out in the kitchen.

I had a chance to attend a friends and family preview dinner on Sunday evening. The small, intimate space feels very warm and welcoming. It’s a cliché, but it truly does feel like dining in someone’s home. The name means “the aviator,” a nod to Vincent’s past as a pilot and the globe-trotting nature of the food. There are fun aviation-inspired decorative elements throughout the restaurant, including an Art Deco lighting fixture, prints of planes, and other pieces of fun memorabilia. The space seats 25, with a bar along one of the large windows and a communal table that can accommodate large groups. Eventually, there will also be sidewalk seating.

As for the food, the menu will change daily, with one salad, one soup, two appetizers, and two entrées (one meat or fish, one vegetarian) available at lunch and dinner, and Tunisian-style tea and pastries available in the afternoon (the kitchen will close from 2:30pm-5:30pm every afternoon, with tea, coffee, pastries, and juice available). The food is French, with influences from all over the Mediterranean, including Maha’s native Tunisia. At the preview dinner, there was a delicious beef bourguignon with mashed potatoes, and a vegetable “caviar” with carrot-pepper sauce and pesto. One of the teas served in the afternoon is mint with toasted pine nuts, and the pastries include marzipan with rose water and North African spices, along with French macarons. There will also be a small, reasonably priced wine selection with both French and Californian choices.

I was struck during my visit by how warm and friendly the Laforges are, and how comfortable their restaurant feels. It’s not high end or groundbreaking, but it’s comfortable, hospitable, and full of heart and soul. It’s also family-friendly, with high chairs for well-behaved children. They plan to open their doors for lunch and tea service on Wednesday September 10th, and hours will be Mon 11:30am-7pm, Wed-Fri 11:30am-9:30pm, Sat 5:30pm-9:30pm, Sun 11am-3pm, closed Tue. Hours may change in the coming weeks as they figure out what works best. 2850 21st St. at Alabama, 415-757-0272.

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Xan deVoss and Barbara Gratta. Photo from Facebook.

More exciting news coming out of Bayview: Xan deVoss of Fox and Lion Bread and Barbara Gratta of Gratta Wines are joining forces to open ~BUTCHERTOWN GOURMET~. It’s going to be a micro marketplace, with a bread bakery and wine bar (each running under their own name), plus a shared grab-and-go case with sandwiches, basic grocery items, and some items to pair with bread and wine. There’s also talk of some pizza nights.

In an email to me, deVoss says, “Barbara and I have been working with Earl [Shaddix] on the Bayview Underground Market for over a year since its inception at All Good Pizza, and from that effort we knew we wanted to create a welcoming atmosphere where families can come get food/coffee/wine or beer and feel a positive sense of community.” They are keen to keep prices low but quality high.

The space has been vacant for more than a year—it was previously a barbershop. But back in the day (say, 1934), it was actually an Italian deli called Babbes & Bogios Grocery, which ties in to the Butchertown Gourmet name, since Bayview used to be called Butchertown. It was a working-class neighborhood where Italians, Germans, Austrians, Portuguese, and other immigrants lived as shipbuilders, butchers, and other tradespeople (deVoss says it’s amazing to see how many immigrants planted fruit trees in yards all over the neighborhood).

Best-case scenario is that it will open in early October; we’ll keep you posted. For now, say hello to the ladies at the next two upcoming Bayview Underground Food Scene farmers’ markets on Thursday September 4th and Thursday September 18th at Pier 70, from 5:30pm-8pm. 5273 3rd St. at Williams.  

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Roy Choi backstage at Mad 2013. Photo by Mikkel Heriba via Facebook.

Anyone attending the MAD Symposium this past week has heard the news that LA’s Roy Choi and SF’s Daniel Patterson have teamed up for a new chain of fast-food restaurants, called ~LOCO’L~ (a bit loco, and local). Scoop reports that the new project will start with two locations, one in Los Angeles and the other in San Francisco’s Tenderloin. After the first two open, hopefully in early 2015, they’ll do a round of investment for expansion. The restaurants are all about offering a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the current fast-food choices, while maintaining low prices.

The idea came about after a talk about hunger Choi gave at the MAD Symposium in 2013, and grew from there. They are specifically hoping to appeal to youth in struggling neighborhoods, with a menu of “smashes” (burgers with beef, whole grains, and tofu) served on buns from Chad Robertson of Tartine. They are still looking for a space but we’ll keep you updated on the project’s progress.

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The Monterey pizza at Coffee Bar. And wood. Because it’s wood-fired pizza, yo. Photo via Coffee Bar’s Facebook.

Some changes over at beer HQ ~MONK’S KETTLE~—they are closing the restaurant on Wednesday September 3rd, and when they reopen two weeks (or so) later, there will be a sidewalk patio with room for around 20 folks, a dual-temperature draft system that will feature 28 lines and a cask engine (5 more than they currently have), and the men’s bathroom is getting an upgrade too. When they reopen, you’ll want to check out Porchbier, a collaboration with Almanac Beer Co. (it’s a session saison made with wheat berries and dry-hopped with Sorachi Ace and Amarillo hops) and a collaborative beer they did with Cellarmaker, Beertender’s Breakfast. Cheers!

Just a reminder that ~HOTEI~ in the Inner Sunset is closing after more than 15 years in business on Sunday August 31st. Owner Steve Fujii, who also owns Ebisu across the street, is slowly retiring after more than 30 years of owning restaurants, though he will continue to operate Ebisu. 1290 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-753-6045.

Also in the Mission: the folks at ~COFFEE BAR~ have started serving pizza from their wood-fired oven on the patio. Selections include the Monterey (mozzarella, Asiago, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, roast garlic, oregano, tomato sauce) for $12. (Pssst, they have been offering some free slices at lunch as they ramp up the program.)

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The pretty cream puffs at Choux. Photo from Facebook.

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The hot pot spread at Little Sheep. Yelp photo by Krystal L.

Back in December, we reported on a new French cream puff bakery opening in Lower Haight called ~CHOUX~. They are officially opening their doors Wednesday August 27th, serving cream puffs with unique fillings like pistachio, passion fruit, and raspberry, alongside more classic choices like vanilla and chocolate. Owner and pastry chef Laura Athuil is from Nice, France, and trained in Paris. Here in San Francisco, she’ll be making the cream puffs fresh daily, and offering coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Hours will be Sun-Fri 10:30am-7pm. 248 Fillmore St. at Haight, 415-528-9673.

Chowhounders caught the opening of ~DIM SUM CLUB~ on Van Ness in Russian Hill, and Urban Daddy snagged some details. The new place is in the Da Vinci Villa hotel, but despite the odd location, it’s serving some delicious dumplings and other dishes, according to initial reports on Chowhound and Yelp. It’s from the same team behind Guangdong Barbecue Tea House, so there are also roasted meats on the menu—you can even order a whole roast pig in advance for a large group. 2550 Van Ness Ave. at Filbert, 415-529-2615.

International Mongolian hot pot chain ~LITTLE SHEEP~, which is well known in San Mateo (and has locations throughout the Bay Area), has opened in San Francisco. The new location is on the second floor of a building in Union Square and offers an extensive selection of meats and vegetables to cook in your hot pot. They take reservations for large groups too. Hours are daily 11:30am-2:30pm and 5:30pm-10:30pm. 405 Mason St. at Geary, second floor, 415-673-9919.

~THE ITALIAN HOMEMADE COMPANY~ is now open in North Beach. It’s a classic Italian deli, with grocery items to take home or flatbreads, sandwiches, and other items to eat there. They are making pasta in-house along with sauces, and importing a variety of goods from Italy, including deli meats, specialty oils, and cheese. Early Yelp reports warn that they do sometimes run out of pasta, so stop in early. Hours are Tue-Sun 9am-8pm. 716 Columbus Ave. at Greenwich, 415-712-8874.

A new frozen custard spot has moved into the former Yotopia space in the Mission, called ~THE VELVET SCOOP~. They’re serving frozen custard scoops, along with concretes (like a milkshake, with mix-ins) and specialty toppings. There will also be a special concrete each day—follow along on Facebook and plan accordingly. 3280 22nd St. at Valencia, 415-757-0735.

For even more dim sum, Glen Park Association reports that ~WIN GARDEN~ is now open. They’re serving dim sum, standard Chinese dishes, and a large selection of vegetarian options; check out the menu here. Open daily 11am-10pm, plus there’s delivery. 2784 Diamond St. at Chenery, 415-333-1331.

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A look at the new Modern Coffee. Photo courtesy of Modern Coffee.

Last month we told you about the big remodel ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ was undergoing, and now the nearly 10-year-old coffee shop and roaster has reopened, and has some new changes to show off. Check our previous post for all the details of the new look, but one thing we didn’t mention is Ritual will now offer a 25-cent discount to customers who bring their own mugs and/or use one of Ritual’s new reusable jars (available for a $2 deposit). The jars can be returned the next day for a clean one—you don’t even have to wash it (but don’t tell your mom). Owner Eileen Hassi Rinaldi wants to reduce the number of paper cups by 50 percent in 2014 and move upward from there. Right on. 1026 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-641-1011.

Farther down Valencia, ~FOUR BARREL COFFEE~ is turning six (!) on Wednesday August 27th and having a fun anniversary party to celebrate. What this means is you can enjoy free coffee from 7am-4pm, and you may want to time your visit for cake at noon (mmm, cake)! There will also be a photo booth, some burgers from 4505 Meats, and music. Four Barrel will be closing at 4pm so they can have their own celebration, so swing on by.

Over in the East Bay, the woman-owned ~SCARLET CITY COFFEE~ has opened their first brick-and-mortar café in Emeryville. Owner Jen St. Hilaire opened the shop with business partner Susanna Handow, which is where you’ll be able to score some beautifully pulled shots of their Northern Italian-style espresso while hanging out at the counter (yes, you get to pretend you’re in Italy and stand and quite possibly enjoy some conversation with the barista and people next to you). SFoodie also mentions the modern bar has some fun science-fiction touches (like pinball machines, and expect some readings from sci-fi authors—St. Hilarie is a self-confessed “sci-fi nut”). Trekkie jokes welcome. Open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm and Sat-Sun 8am-3pm. 3960 Adeline St. at 40th St., Emeryville.

A couple of months ago, we told you that ~MODERN COFFEE~ was opening a second location in Uptown Oakland, and now we’re here to tell you it’s softly open! The space is still a work in progress, but coffee is being served. It’s about the same size as the original (800 square feet, with around 12 seats), with a quartzite counter and custom speakers. You’ll be able to try a variety of coffees from roasters like Stumptown Coffee from Portland, Counter Culture Coffee from Durham, North Carolina, and Northern California’s De La Paz Coffee (SF), Chromatic Coffee (San Jose), and Verve Coffee Roasters (Santa Cruz), plus teas too. For now, it will be open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm. 1814 Franklin (with the entrance at 381 19th Street, between Franklin and Webster).

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Tempura udon for lunch at Pabu. Photo by Kevin McCullough via Pabu.

Downtown’s ~PABU~ is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30am-2pm. The menu is a bit scaled back from dinner, with a selection of small plates, larger dishes, and sushi and sashimi. Look for okonomiyaki with squid and pork belly, tempura udon, and sashimi selections, to name just a few items. Here’s the full menu for your perusing pleasure. 101 California St. at Front, 415-668-7228.

~DARWIN CAFE~ is now offering weekend brunch, Eater reports. The menu isn’t huge, but offers a nice variety for everyone, with sweet choices like waffles and muesli with yogurt and fruit, or savory choices like poached eggs Darwin (that’s creamed spinach, roast beef, and béarnaise sauce, oof) or Turkish breakfast with egg, tomato, figs, kasseri cheese, olives, and toast. Weekend hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10am-2pm, with a “pastry hour” starting at 9am. 212 Ritch St. at Bryant, 415-800-8668.

If you’re looking for a Sunday evening spot, you can now head to ~TWENTY FIVE LUSK~. They are offering a menu of their “greatest hits,” with favorite dishes from the lunch, brunch, dinner, and lounge menus. There’s a lobster eggs Benedict with pancetta, or check out their small dishes like gnocchi with red pole beans, Sun Gold tomatoes, frisée, and black garlic. Brunch for dinner, yes! Dinner is served Sundays from 5pm-9pm.

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A course from the recent Fortress summer fig dinner. Fig, goat curd, vanilla vin chicories, quail egg, lard croutons. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

There are a variety of pop-up events happening in the coming weeks, starting with Sneaky’s BBQ popping up on Monday nights at ~THE RESIDENCE~. According to their Facebook page, the menu includes their famed wings, along with barbecue sandwiches (like their excellent pulled pork) and tacos. 6pm-10pm. (You can keep track of their other pop-up locations here.) 718 14th St. at Church.

Coming up on Saturday September 6th is the Dux Duck Dinner at ~NAKED KITCHEN~, another dinner in the Fortress: Solitude & SF series from Eddie Lau and Luis Villavelazquez. The gents are cooking up a six-course feast featuring duck (including Dux tsukemen with house noodles and roasted duck vadouvan butter); check out the ducky menu here. Dinner is $55 (gratuity included), and pairings are $20 (which you’ll want to do if you love Chablis, or even if you don’t love Chablis). Two seatings: 6pm and 9pm. Tickets here.

Remember when we told you about ~CHARIN~, the pop-up restaurant from Charles-C Onyeama that will be open once a month in Noe Valley? Well, a few more details have emerged: first, Michael Ireland will be doing the wine pairings and will be on the floor at the event (he is currently consulting on the wine list at Verbena and was formerly the wine director at The Restaurant at Meadowood and a sommelier at Benu, Quince, and The French Laundry). So yeah, there will be killer wines. Secondly, the opening dates have been announced: Sunday September 7th and Monday the 8th. Sign up for the newsletter for reservations, cost, and more details.

Greg Lutes has announced he is phasing out of his Kinfolk pop-up brunch and dinners at 903 in Bernal in order to prepare for his new restaurant, which will be called ~3RD COUSIN~. The last dinners will be next week. Mid-October is the targeted opening date for 3rd Cousin; we’ll follow up with more soon. 919 Cortland Ave. at Gates.

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Bites at last year’s Luckyrice Festival. Photo by Richard Patterson via Luckyrice.

Don’t miss the Luckyrice Festival’s visit to San Francisco at the Bently Reserve on Friday September 5th. The event is a celebration of Asian flavors of all sorts, with bites and beverages from some of the best local restaurants and bars. Participating restaurants include Azalina’s, Kin Khao, Dosa, Chino, E+O Asian Kitchen, and Butterfly, to name just a few. In addition, bartenders like Kevin Diedrich of Liholiho Yacht Club, Suzie Robinson of Novela, and Ian Adams of 15 Romolo will be on hand, mixing cocktails from official sponsor Bombay Sapphire EAST gin to pair with the food. Check out the full menu of food and drink here. But, trust us, don’t read it if you’re hungry. Beer, wine, and ginger ale will also be on hand.

The event runs from 8pm-10pm for general admission, with VIP entry at 7pm. Tickets are $88 for general admission and $150 for VIP. Proceeds benefit the Center for Asian American Media. Bently Reserve, 301 Battery St. at Sacramento.

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Chef, writer, and person-you-need-to-know Samin Nosrat. Photo from Facebook.

Local writer, educator, chef, and all-around food expert Samin Nosrat will be at ~DOÑA TOMAS~ on Wednesday August 27th sharing stories from her kitchen and her global travels from 6pm-8pm. She’s a true Bay Area treasure, don’t miss this peek into her world! Tickets are $15. The evening is hosted by Social Eats, a part of the Edible Schoolyard project. Small bites are included, and drinks will be available at the bar. 5004 Telegraph Ave. at 51st St., Oakland, 510-450-0522.

Beginning in September, check out the new PBS series Food Forward. The series is a half hour per episode, with 13 episodes, and aims to redefine the current state of food television. Rather than celebrity chefs or competitive challenges, they series is focused on examining our food system and finding compelling narratives and characters who are changing the way we eat. Check your local listings here.

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The interior at Jack’s Oyster Bar & Fish House. Yelp photo by Michael R.

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The ploughman’s plate at Café Underwood. Photo courtesy Café Underwood.

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Outdoor seating at Café Underwood. Photo via Facebook.

Rick Hackett and Meredith Melville, owners of Jack London Square’s Bocanova, have opened a new restaurant in the neighborhood. It’s called ~JACK’S OYSTER BAR & FISH HOUSE~, and, as the name suggests, it’s all about seafood. Peter Villegas, whose previous experience includes La Mar and Campton Place, is the executive chef, and the menu includes classic seafood dishes like clam chowder, a lobster roll in a housemade pretzel bun (which we mentioned in this 7x7.com piece on new lobster rolls!), and fish and chips. There are also modern classics, like a charred octopus dish with potatoes and piquillo pepper, or squid ink carbonara with bone marrow. Non-seafood choices include a burger and T-bone steak. Take a look at the menu here.

There is a full bar, with a focus on refreshing drinks that play nicely with seafood—think tallboys like the herbaceous “Dill-icious” with blanco tequila, lime, St. Germain, cucumber, dill, and soda. The wine list features a large selection of sparkling wines from around the world, along with local wines on tap, and there is also a selection of local beers.

The space—from architect Michael Guthrie and interior designer Ann Rockwell—has seating for 100. There is a 20-seat raw bar, with custom seating from Berkeley’s Wooden Duck, and banquettes in the main dining area. A semi-private dining room is available for groups up to 36. A collage-style mural on the back wall celebrates Oakland’s waterfront, and outdoor seating offers a view of the bay. Hours are 11am-10pm daily, with reservations for dinner after 5:30pm. 336 Water St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-271-7952.

Speaking of Jack London Square, it looks like a big new project will be landing there in October. It’s called ~PLANK~ and is a dining space and event venue clocking in at 50,000 square feet, indoors and out. It comes from Los Angeles-based Trifecta Management Group and will include entertainment like bowling, bocce ball, video games, and an outdoor beer garden. There will also be food options, offering a wide range of selections for many tastes. 98 Broadway at Embarcadero West, Oakland.

There’s a new hangout in North Oakland we’ve been tracking for quite awhile, ~CAFÉ UNDERWOOD~, and we’re happy to report Dominick Scala has opened its doors. Scala is a former bartender from Dogwood and a freelance writer (hence the hat tip to the famed typewriter in the name), so he understands the kind of third place-meets-coworking space people seek.

There is great coffee from Highwire Coffee Roasters (and there’s also nitrogen-infused, cold-brewed coffee on tap—Scala says it comes out like Guinness, mmmm), Italian-influenced sandwiches, and a rotating selection of housemade and seasonal items like grits, frittata, baked pasta, eggplant Parm, and garbage bread (stuffed with meat and cheese), charcuterie and cheese plates, and yes, there’s WiFi. There will be plenty of outlets, and instead of having to leave your computer at your table to reorder (always a gambling or annoying moment when you have to pack up), servers will come to your table to take your order. And when it’s time to shut the laptop and hang with your friends, there’s quite a curated selection of local beers (including Ghost Town) and wine (like Donkey & Goat).

You’ll find indoor and outdoor seating, plus a mezzanine with rentable chair space (or you can book the entire mezzanine, which has room for about 20). There are many handcrafted touches, from the welding to the woodwork and tiles. Oh, and on the weekend, they had some live music in the evening, and served until 1am. Open Mon-Thu 7am-10pm, Fri 7am-1am, Sat 8am-1am, Sun 8am-5pm. 308 41st St. at Broadway, Oakland, 510-995-6660.

~TAIWAN BENTO~, the Taiwanese-style restaurant we reported on in June, is now softly open, until their Friday August 29th grand opening. They offer Taiwanese-style bento boxes, with options of proteins and sides. While they are softly open, the menu will be limited and the hours will be weekdays 11:30-2:30pm; once open, look for wider menu selections and expanded hours. 412 22nd St. at Boradway, Oakland, 510-250-9858.

If you’re looking for a fun Labor Day but don’t want to cook, check out the second annual Labor Day Barbecue at ~HOMESTEAD~ on Monday September 1st. The buffet-style menu includes baby back ribs, corn on the cob, potato salad, mixed greens, baked beans, and housemade popsicles for dessert. The buffet is $30 for adults and $15 for kids, with beverages available at the bar. Note that they accept cash only. 4029 Piedmont Ave. at Glen, 510-420-6962.

August 15, 2014
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The exterior of Woodward’s Garden. Yelp photo by Ann L.

Some damn sad news from my inbox today: the ladies of ~WOODWARD’S GARDEN~ have announced they will be closing very soon—the date isn’t exactly firm at this time. Sadly it’s one of those stories we seem to be hearing each week: their lease is up and won’t be renewed. Co-chef and co-owner Dana Tommasino tells me they have been looking for a new space for a while, so time will tell what they end up finding. She says, “We feel nostalgic, but also thrilled at the prospect of a new restaurant/project.” They are open to any suggestions.

Chefs and co-owners Margie Conard and Dana Tommasino opened Woodward’s Garden in its quirky Mission location over 20 years ago—in 1992—pioneers at a difficult corner under the freeway at Mission Street and Duboce. But no matter how desolate the location, within, the place is known for being all heart, with their soulful and seasonal cooking, and personal touches like fresh flowers, mismatched china, vintage silverware, and strong sense of community with their regulars.

After the restaurant closes, they plan to put together some pop-up Woodward’s Garden dinners and salons, partnering with artists around town (you can keep track on their website). We’ll definitely keep you posted on any events and once the closure date is confirmed, likely within the next month. For now, you have a little bit of time to go back in for a farewell meal—one that is sure to be meaningful. The ladies have this to share: “We are so grateful to SF and its fine support of our Garden all these years. Can’t wait for the next chapter.” Us too.

August 12, 2014
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A look at the future exterior of Foghorn Bayview, via Facebook.

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Foghorn is moving into the former Jackie Norman campaign space. Photo: Ariana La Porte.

Bayview continues to percolate with new projects, and come this winter, ~FOGHORN BAYVIEW~ will be sounding its horn. The project is from Eric Nyeste (Proof Grainworks), who some may recognize from the Bayview Underground Food Scene, and his friend and architect, Josh Wallace (Mock/Wallace Architects).

The duo envision a neighborhood place that is going to offer breakfast and lunch, one that is primarily “high-quality Southern” in feel. (Nyeste is from Atlanta, and confesses to be really big on making biscuits—look for ‘em to come topped with seasonal preserves.) Rotating dishes will feature seasonal and local produce, and many will be designed to be portable—the feeling is like a bistro-style version of a fast-casual spot, but with quality at top of mind. We’ll be able to share details about the chef, dishes, and more at a later date. Dinner service, evening events, and beer and wine will potentially come later.

Nyeste’s background includes extensive experience as a barista, as well as a bartender. They will be serving De La Paz and pulling shots off a Synesso, and there will also be a “cocktail” bar, but the sodas, coolers, and drinks will be nonalcoholic (but made with just as much creativity, quality ingredients, and care as a craft cocktail).

The duo are excited to be a part of Bayview; Nyeste says, “There are some phenomenal businesses in the neighborhood, and we want ours to tie in to the existing community. Everything we make will be quality, and will also fit in the context of the neighborhood. We want to be accessible and approachable.”

There will be 26 seats, with communal tables. The design and buildout are following sustainable building guidelines, and they are also grateful to the SF Shines program for their assistance with some components of the project, like refurbishing their sign and ADA compliance. They just finished demolition, so November is the current target for opening. 4608 3rd St. at McKinnon.

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Construction at The Hall. Photo courtesy The Hall.

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The vendor stalls at The Hall. Photo courtesy The Hall.

Back in June we broke the news on the marketplace moving into Mid-Market with involvement from Scott Peterson and Ted Wilson of ~FINE & RARE~. Some details of the project have emerged, and we’ve got an update on what’s going on.

First, the space is taking over the ground floor of the new development at 1028 Market Street and will be called ~THE HALL~, after the building’s former incarnation as a billiards hall. There will be a variety of vendors (more on that later), serving food and offering retail options, and restaurateur Matt Semmelhack (AQ, TBD, Mélange Market, Bon Marché) will also be helping with the design and operations of the new project. The space will feature an indoor/outdoor design, with a large outdoor grill. Picnic tables and trees both inside and out will integrate the interior with the outdoor seating, and high, soaring ceilings will keep the space airy and open. The space will have a rustic, industrial feeling, with eclectic touches and different spaces for each vendor.

And about those vendors. First, Fine & Rare will of course be represented, serving sustainable seafood with local and seasonal ingredients. Cassia from the Fuki food truck will be serving Moroccan and Peruvian cuisine, with an emphasis on spices and seasonings. The Whole Beast from chef John Fink will be offering their meat-centric and sustainably raised meats and seafood, with an emphasis on heritage breeds and utilizing every part of the animal. Raj + Singh offer seasonal Indian food with choices for vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike, as rice bowls, plates, and wraps. Little Green Cyclo will also be in the house, with soups that are not normally available on their food trucks, including a pho made with oxtail broth and other choices made from scratch. Dignitá will run a café with coffee, pastries, and snacks. And finally, Anchor Brewing will be running the beer and wine bar.

The space will be open all day, with some purveyors offering coffee and breakfast in the morning, and others focusing on lunch and dinner. The plan is to open in late September, and of course we’ll keep you updated as that gets closer. 1028 Market St. at 6th St.

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The exterior of the new Twofish. Photo from Facebook.

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Morning buns at Twofish in Sea Ranch. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s an update on ~TWOFISH BAKING COMPANY~, the Sea Ranch bakery we announced that is opening a location in South Beach from Margaret Smith and Hilla Ahvenainen. They are officially opening their doors tomorrow, Wednesday August 13th. The new space will offer their rather famous baked goods (they are known for selling out at the Sonoma Coast location), including the signature sticky buns and apricot windowpanes, along with scones, muffins, banana bread, and cakes. There will also be some gluten-free choices. Coffee and espresso is from Equator, whose beans they’ve been using since opening 11 years ago.

At lunch, look for three daily changing salads and a variety of calzones. Smith says they are hoping to revive the calzone (Ben Wyatt would be proud), with lighter choices and fresh toppings. There will be a few options, including “Hylla’s Thrilla” with mozzarella, roasted onion, Mike’s Hot Honey, and soppressata; a white calzone with olive oil, garlic, mozzarella, ricotta, and basil; and a vegan option with garlic, onion, mushroom, artichoke hearts, and olives.

For the moment, they are going to try out these different menu options and see what is popular. In the future, there may also be a breakfast calzone, more dishes at lunch, and weekend hours. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm. 240 Ritch St. at Bryant, 415-970-6965.

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A look into Beso’s dining room. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of Urban Daddy.

The Castro is getting a new Spanish-inspired hangout, ~BESO~, from the folks behind nearby Bisou (no word if Bacio is next). The restaurant opens on Thursday August 14th. Executive chef and co-owner Nicolas Ronan worked with consulting chef and partner Anthony Lemortellec (Boqueria, New York) on the menu of tapas that feature local and seasonal ingredients from their Napa Kitchen Garden in Napa Valley. Dishes include steamed mussels with chorizo, mushrooms with Manchego, steak tartare, and seasonal paellas, plus cut-to-order jamón and Spanish cheeses.

The contemporary 54-seat space was created by Tecta Associates, and the kitchen features some open (glass-encased) areas where guests can watch their food being prepared to order. There are brick walls, a marble tapas counter, small group tables, and a custom communal table made from oak. There are plenty of Spanish and California wines, selected by co-owner and general manager Damien Chabaud-Arnault. Open for dinner nightly. 4058A 18th St. at Castro, 415-801-5392.

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Frito pie from Old Bus Tavern. Photo from Facebook.

A new bar and chili shop is coming to Bernal, called ~OLD BUS TAVERN~. It’s a partnership of Old Bus Tavern, a local brewer, and Barchili, which is currently doing an occasional Tuesday pop-up at Pizzahacker. There will be chili on the menu, of course, and their beer, though no other menu details were available. Barchili appears to focus on regional chili specialties, like Cincinnati-style and Frito pie, and of course they have a chili burger. No word yet on an opening date. 3193 Mission St. at Fair.

There’s a new place for clean eating in the Marina, according to Eater. It’s called ~SEED + SALT~ and comes from owner Mo Clancy in the former Tuttimelon space on Chestnut. She’s partnered with chef Ariel Nadelberg to create a vegan menu with no gluten or refined sugar, including an eggplant BLT, beet burger, and sprouted buckwheat granola for breakfast. It will most be a takeout spot, with only about 14 seats for those wishing to dine in. The opening date is targeted for mid-October. 2240 Chestnut St. at Avila.

~UDUPI PALACE~ has opened a third location in the Marina, according to Scoop. The vegetarian restaurant, which also has locations in Berkeley and the Mission, is known for its dosas, as well as a thali plate that packs a lot of food for a low price tag. 3242 Scott St. at Chestnut.

Liquor license activity tipped us off to the new ~TRUCK STOP~ opening on Duboce in the Mission. Owner King Lei reports that it will be in the same vein as the SoMa STreat Food Park, with trucks and a bar with beer and wine. However, details are still quite sparse: though they plan to open softly within the next couple of weeks, no trucks have been officially signed on. Lei, however, reports that there has been “lots of interest.” 55 Duboce Ave. at Woodward.

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I heard awhile back that the Rosenthal brothers—you know, the ones behind Town Hall, Anchor & Hope, and Salt House—had a new coffee project brewing (har). After a tablehopper tipster sent me a pic of their new café window, well, it’s time to release some details. Mitchell and Steve have partnered up with Hanna Suleiman of Caffè Greco to create ~LA CAPRA COFFEE~. The Rosenthals have been fans of Greco forever, and have talked about opening a café with Suleiman for a long time. But when it came time to figuring out which local coffee to serve, they had a hard time finding something that came close to their love of Italian roasts. So they decided to figure out their own roast!

They have been working closely with a toll (contract) roaster on an Italian-inspired espresso blend and a drip coffee, and have been cupping for months. Things are getting close as they figure out what they like… And we’ll be able to see what made the cut at the end of September (or maybe early October) when they open a café in the Financial District. Sagan Piechota Architecture (Piccino, Blue Bottle) is behind the design, which will feature marble counters, dark wood, and a little bit of seating. Mitch also said he plans to add some sandwiches (but not grab and go) and is trying to figure out how to get their beignets in there (it’s tough because there isn’t a kitchen). We’ll keep you posted on the opening, and who knows, knowing the Rosenthals, they may even start their own roasting facility someday—you know how chefs are. 50 Fremont St. at Mission.

Fans of ~BLUE BOTTLE COFFEE~ will have another spot to get their fix: they’ll be opening a new location in the Financial District, and it’s close to 2,000 square feet. Eater reports the offering will be like Blue Bottle Mint Plaza (think waffles and some other bites to go with your coffee). It should open in a few months. 115 Sansome St. at Bush. (There’s also going to be a location in the Twitter building, actually a kiosk, at 10th and Stevenson—that one is looking like early 2015.)

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A dish from Robin Song’s pop-up at Hog & Rocks. Photo courtesy Hog & Rocks.

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The truffle waffle from Ante Meridian. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Every Thursday this month at ~HOG & ROCKS~ you can check out a special late-night Korean pop-up from chef Robin Song. It begins at 10pm on August 14th, 21st, and 28th, and goes until the bar closes. Menu items are inspired by the street food and drinking culture of Korea, and include bibimbap; a zucchini pancake with soy, peppers, and cress; and kimchi tofu stew with a slow-cooked egg.

On Sunday August 24th, chef Anthony Yang (of Per Se and Michael Mina) is doing his Ante Meridian brunch pop-up at Naked Kitchen from 11:30am-2pm. The four-course prix-fixe menu will be seasonal and costs $40 per person—the man is famous for black truffle waffles, just sayin’. Beverages are BYO, so feel free to bring a delicious bottle of bubbles (or two, depending on how you roll). Get your tickets and check out a sample menu here. 945 Valencia St. at 20th St.

According to an announcement on Facebook, Dogpatch’s ~SMOKESTACK~ is now open for lunch. They now open at 11:30am, so their new hours are 11:30am-12am daily, with the bar staying open until 2am Fri-Sat. 2505 3rd St. at 22nd St., 415-864-7468.

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Looking for a little taste of North Beach, but in the Mission? On Sunday August 24th, ~TRICK DOG~ is hosting a late-night North Beach-inspired Italian dinner with Aviation American Gin/House Spirits Distillery and Imbibe magazine. New chef Michael Logan has put together a menu that includes fritto misto and ricotta and eggplant cannelloni. But wait for the drink pairings! One of them is the “Pizza Negroni,” with mozzarella-washed Aviation gin, Campari, Martini & Rossi Gran Lusso, and tomato water. Whoa. The three-course meal ends with Neapolitan ice cream sandwiches, and the pairing has some grappa in it, oh you know it. Tickets are $55, all-inclusive. Seats are very limited, so reserve your spot quickly. Reservations can be made here. 9pm. 3010 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2999.

If you want to get out of town, check out this farm lunch and estate tour with the ~NOPA~/Nopalize crew on Wednesday August 20th at Devoto Orchards in Sebastopol (it’s first in a series called Seasons—take a look at upcoming events!). You’ll get to taste their heirloom cider, Nopa chef Laurence Jossel will prepare lunch, and pastry chef Anna Lee will provide a morning pastry to go with your Blue Bottle Coffee on the ride up. Depart at 9am, return at 4pm. $150. Tickets and details here.

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The front window at Perry’s on Union Street. Photo from Facebook.

~PERRY’S~ has been on Union Street since 1969 and is celebrating their 45th anniversary this month. Yeah, that’s a good one. They’re having a party on Friday August 15th from 5pm until closing, with live music, guest bartenders, and a chance to play dice with owner Perry Butler. You can read more about Mr. Butler and the iconic bar and restaurant here. There will also be half-price wine all month, and daily specials with the “retro-ish” price of $6.95. Dishes will include classics like London broil and quiche Lorraine. Don’t miss it! 1944 Union St. at Laguna, 415-922-9022.

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The new Corso. Photo by Harry Yuan.

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The darling Montclair Bistro. Photo from Facebook.

Berkeley’s ~CORSO~ has made some changes, including signing on a new chef. Scott Eastman is now at the helm in the kitchen—he’s been there since they opened six years ago. They’ve replaced the kitchen’s large pizza oven with a special charcuterie cooler and a pasta cooker. The menu’s focus has shifted toward housemade pasta, whole animal butchery, and Bay Area style and products. Think Italian technique and inspiration, but with a California sense of adventure and maybe not so many rules—take a look at the new menu here. In addition to some new menu items, like a nightly butcher’s special cut of meat, yogurt-marinated rabbit, and extensive charcuterie choices, they’ve also acquired a full liquor license. The new cocktail list takes its inspiration from vintage cocktails, with Italian influence; take a look here. Hours are Sun-Mon 5pm-9pm, Tue-Thu 5pm-9:30pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10pm. 1788 Shattuck Ave. at Delaware, Berkeley, 510-704-8004.

This Wednesday August 13th, catch a special Italian regional dinner at ~BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE~ from 5:30pm-10pm. Every month, a different region of Italy is highlighted, and this month it’s all about Campania. Their pizzas will still be available as usual, along with some regional appetizers, pasta, and main dishes. If you can’t make it this time around, next month’s dinner will be on Wednesday September 10th, featuring the flavors of Sicily. 3308 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-763-2668.

Oakland’s ~MONTCLAIR BISTRO~ is changing hands at the end of this month, according to a press release we received. After 10 years, chef and owner Henry Vortriede decided to sell the restaurant to Joe Schnell and Tracey Belock, who will be opening it as ~CHOWHAUS~. Montclair Bistro’s last day of service will be on Monday August 25th, followed by a brief closure for remodeling. 6118 Medau Place at Moraga, Oakland, 510-482-8282.

As noted in the Scoop, the Future Bars crew have opened another location of Cask (their spirits and barware store), ~CASK ON COLLEGE~, in the East Bay (near Rockridge). Cask on College also carries wine and beer, and look for tastings too. 3185 College Ave. at Alcatraz, Berkeley,

August 5, 2014
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Pink Zebra powah. Photo via Pink Zebra’s Instagram.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend pointed me to an upcoming pop-up by Jesse Koide (of Mission Chinese Food SF) in Copenhagen called ~PINK ZEBRA SF~ (the name is taken from the ever-present pink zebra headband that he wears). But a recent press release points to a much bigger story: while he’ll be doing the (now sold-out) pop-up at Bento Izakaya in Copenhagen in conjunction with Mikkeller Beer and Chinorocks X Joachim7inch from August 18th-23rd, it’s actually a trial run for his own new concept here in SF, which will open in October. Scoop adds Koide will be opening in Tao Yin, and taking a page from the MCF-Lung Shan playbook, it will be a shared restaurant and kitchen space.

Before cooking for MCF, Koide has also worked at Bar Tartine, Slow Club, Farina, and The Alembic; he will be working with Rio Sakai at Pink Zebra. The Japanese-Mediterranean menu will reportedly be available five nights a week, with an omakase menu served at a sushi counter too. 3515 20th St. at San Carlos.

Over at MCF, Chris Kiyuna of Mission Bowling Club will be taking over, working with Danny Bowien on the menu.

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The namesake agnolotti al plin…with chicken skin! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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A tasting plate of the grilled Spanish octopus. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a preview dinner of the newly opened ~PLIN~, with editorial assistant extraordinaire Dana Eastland in tow. She covered quite a few details about the space in the last tablehopper issue, but I’d like to add that the space now feels much more comfortable and stylish than it has ever been. It has a soothing palette and a clean and contemporary look, courtesy of Alexander’s mother, Joanne Alioto. The addition of the booths creates a nice break in the space, and the tyranny of the conduit is gone. Also, all the flatware, dishes, and stemware were well chosen and chic.

You can look at chef-owner Alexander Alioto’s menu here (although they are playing the House of Prime Rib game and not listing prices on their website). In addition to his well-known raviolo uovo are the namesake agnolotti al plin, with an earthy chicken filling and rich demi-glace, among other housemade pastas. Some lighter dishes include black bass carpaccio, while heartier dishes include well-prepared grilled Spanish octopus, and baby Manila clams and white shrimp over polenta. Some vegetables include roasted beets with ricotta cheese and an enjoyably lighter version (read: not loaded with breading) of eggplant Parmesan. All the dishes will be served as small plates (the ones pictured here were tasting plates for the preview dinner.)

As we mentioned before, there’s a full bar, with some Italian-influenced cocktails (you can check out the list here), and look for a well-selected wine list (with very food-friendly by-the-glass selections) from Master Sommeliers Nunzio Alioto Jr. (Alexander’s father) and Chuck Furuya. The night of the test dinner, we also got a preview of their special reserve list: they were pouring from a Methuselah of 1979 BV George de Latour Private Reserve Napa Valley cabernet, in honor of Alex’s birth year (a very gracious offering to guests that evening).

Once again, hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.

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The interior at Urchin. Photo from Twitter.

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Sweet polenta with blueberries at Talbot Café. Photo from Facebook.

After a car smashed into their storefront earlier this year, it looks like Mission Italian bakery ~JOEY AND PAT’S~ has reopened! Congratulations to everyone; let’s eat some Italian cookies and celebrate. 2499 Folsom St. at 21st St., 415-655-3918.

Eater reports that ~URCHIN BISTROT~ from the Ame and Terra team is now open in the former Wo Hing General Store space in the Mission. The menu by chef Michael Morrison is all about updated French bistro classics, and the cocktail list from Rafael Jimenez Rivera also takes inspiration from France. Hours are Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10:30pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, with possible plans for brunch and lunch coming soon. 584 Valencia St. at Valencia, 415-861-1844.

After our repeated calls and emails went unreturned, it looks like Uptown Almanac got confirmation that the team behind the Royal Cuckoo is opening a store on 19th Street in the Mission called ~ROYAL CUCKOO MARKET~. It will offer liquor choices, as well as some eclectic grocery items, including breakfast goods, ice cream, and other “random items,” according to co-owner Paul Miller. Eventually, they want to offer sandwiches and espresso too. They hope to open next week. 3368 19th St. at Mission, 415-550-6903.

Hoodline reports that ~TALBOT CAFÉ~ in Hayes Valley has reopened after closing for a face-lift. In addition to some new paint and cosmetic upgrades, they are also now serving Sightglass coffee and some new menu items. They’ve even got a Saturday brunch, with savory polenta and waffles. Hours are Mon-Fri 6:30am-6pm and Sat 8am-3:30pm. 244 Gough St. at Hickory, 415-553-4595.

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The exterior of Minako’s current Mission Street location. Yelp photo by Jaydee B.

A tipster wrote in to let us know that ~MINAKO ORGANIC JAPANESE CUISINE~ is moving this fall. Their lease is up this year, and it appears they won’t be able to stay in the current location. But there’s a silver lining! They are already looking at a location at South Van Ness and 14th Street and will likely be moving sometime before November 1st. We’ll update when we have more information. 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore, 415-864-1888.

After about a year doing the lunchtime service at La Movida, sandwich spot ~PAL’S TAKEAWAY~ is returning to its original home in Tony’s Market, Scoop reports. The market’s proximity to San Francisco General Hospital makes it a better location for the takeout operation, and upgrades have been made at Tony’s to keep it legal with the Health Department. They’ll be back at Tony’s as of Monday August 11th. 2751 24th St. at Hampshire, 415-203-4911.

In the meantime, we had a chance to catch up with Michael Meadows, the owner of ~LA MOVIDA~. He says that with Pal’s moving back down the street, they’ll try out other guest chefs and do more lunch pop-ups. They are also planning to offer their own lunch menu, with dinner menu items reworked for the lunch crowd, along with items like sandwiches, salads, and soup, available for dine-in or takeout. He plans to relaunch lunch the week of August 18th. 3066 24th St. at Folsom, 415-282-3066.

According to Castro Biscuit, the ~PICA PICA MAIZE KITCHEN~ location in the Castro is officially closed. A sign went up a few months ago that said the space was closed for repairs, but it now appears that the newest location has closed and is up for lease. Fortunately, you can still get their tasty arepas at the Valencia and 15th Street location. 3970 17th St. at Market.

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An Australian black truffle. Photo by The Truffle & Wine Co. via SPQR.

It might not be truffle season here in the Northern Hemisphere, but in Australia, where it is currently winter, the delicious morsels are in full force. ~SPQR~ is offering a five-course Australian black truffle tasting menu every Tuesday through Friday night, until the end of August. Look for a truffle-stuffed game hen, with chanterelle, savoy cabbage, and puffed rice, and for dessert there’s a torta di zucchini with nectarine, vanilla mascarpone, and truffle gelato. Yes, truffle gelato. Here’s the whole menu. The dinner is $108 per person, with wine pairings available for an additional $62, not including tax and tip. Reservations required.

Every Sunday, ~COTOGNA~ hosts a Sunday Supper, with a prix-fixe menu for $55 and wine pairings for $35. You can check out the upcoming summery lineup here, and while they all look tempting, the one I’d definitely be making a reservation for is on Sunday August 24th, with corn chowder, smoked ham cappelletti, and fried chicken, waffles, and ribs, plus Neapolitan ice cream for dessert! Supper is served from 5pm-9:30pm.

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The scene at last year’s 20th Street Block Party. Photo from website gallery.

Outside Lands is coming up on August 8th-10th, and in addition to lots of musical acts, the opportunities to stuff your face just keep coming. In addition to all the choices we mentioned in June, you can also now check out GastroMagic (you have to use a special voice when you say it), a special stage with demonstrations, performances, and events with chefs (both local and far-flung) from Chefs Feed. My favorite? The Beignets & Bounce Brunch with Big Freedia and Brenda’s French Soul Food (twerking audience members will be awarded with beignets, holla!).

Here’s the lineup, and be sure to note there’s BaconLand within the GastroMagic area, where you can sample bacon from purveyors like Fatted Calf and Tennessee’s Benton’s Bacon. And of course drinks will be available, including choices from Local Edition, Hotsy Totsy, and Alembic. Cheers!

Noise Pop and Ne Timeas Restaurant Group are taking over 20th Street in the Mission on Saturday August 23rd for their annual 20th Street Block Party. From 12pm-6pm, the free festival will stretch from Bryant to Harrison, with food, music, and drinks. You can check out the lineup of musicians here, and plot some of the tasty things you want to eat and drink at participating neighborhood spots like Flour + Water, The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and Trick Dog—here’s the full list. The festival is free to attend, with food and drink available for purchase. This year, there are also VIP tickets available for $95 per person, which includes access to a special lounge above, bites from Salumeria, beer, wine, a T-shirt, and more. Oh, and don’t forget the after-party at Public Works.

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Oysters on the half shell at Oyster Bash 2013. Photo from Facebook.

Don’t miss unlimited oysters on Saturday August 23rd at ~B RESTAURANT & BAR~. From 1pm-4pm, you can enjoy oysters galore (we’re talking 12,000 oysters!) raw on the half shell, grilled, steamed, and fried into po’boy sliders. At 2:30pm, there’s even an oyster shucking contest, and the winner gets unlimited oysters at B Restaurant & Bar for a year (contest open to the first 20 people to register on-site). Tickets are $45 in advance or $65 at the door and include oysters only. Beverages will be available for purchase. 720 Howard St. at 4th St., 415-495-9800.

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A jerk chicken plate from Auntie April’s. Photo from Facebook.

The wonderful Bayview Underground Food Scene Pop-Up Community Market is not only a great place to shop, but you can also get dinner while you’re there. Comfort Foods National, CDXX, and Auntie April’s will all be in attendance (plus breads from Earl’s Bread and Fox & Lion), serving delicious food along with live music, wine, beer, and even mead made right here in San Francisco. The market is every first and third Thursday of the month, from 5:30pm-8pm at Pier 70. Don’t miss it! Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.

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The meat plate from Perdition Smokehouse. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

An announcement on Facebook and a story in the East Bay Express share the very good news that ~DOUGHNUT DOLLY~ is opening their second location on Wednesday August 6th. The new Berkeley outpost will be similar the one in Temescal Alley, with four filling flavors for the fresh doughnuts, coffee, and (this is new) espresso. There are also some new food items in the works. 1313 9th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

According to an announcement on Facebook, ~PERDITION SMOKEHOUSE~ is now open at 12pm on Saturday and Sunday, giving you some extra time to enjoy their very fantastic back patio and beer garden. Hours are Mon-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri 5pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12pm-12am. 2050 University Ave. at Shattuck, Berkeley, 510-900-5858.

Observant Chowhounders caught the news that pizza from Oakland’s ~BOOT AND SHOE SERVICE~ is now available at ~ORDINAIRE~. From 5:30pm-10pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, you can enjoy a pizza with a glass of wine from their lovely collection, just down the street from where it comes out of the oven. 3354 Grand Ave. at Elwood, 510-629-3944.

SF Weekly reports that Japanese curry shop ~MURACCI’S~ is opening their third location in Berkeley, near the UC campus. They aren’t disclosing the exact location at the moment, but they are going to have more space and will add a few more menu items. They hope to open in mid-August.

Just around the block (but very very different) from the new Doughnut Dolly, ~SANCTUARY BISTRO~ opened in Berkeley last Friday, according to Eater. It’s a vegan and gluten-free café, with lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Menu choices include gluten-free waffles, mushroom- and walnut-stuffed poblano peppers with rice, slaw, and mole, and mix-and-match soups and salads at lunch. Take a look at the menus here. 1019 Camelia St. at 10th St., Berkeley, 510-558-3381

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You like booths? Fattoria e Mare has booths for you. Photo via Facebook.

A couple of quick updates that crossed our desk for you 650 dwellers: now open in the former Kuleto’s Trattoria in Burlingame is ~FATTORIA E MARE~, offering Venetian cuisine with California influences. The chef-owner is Pablo Estrada, most recently at Rose Pistola (since 1998!), so expect lots of seafood (fritto misto, seafood stew, grilled local salmon), plus housemade charcuterie and salumi, pasta, and pizza from the wood-burning oven. Cocktails are available, plus many wines by the glass, and there’s a happy hour from 4pm-6:30pm. Live jazz performances are Wed-Sat 7pm-10pm. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-3pm; dinner Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm; brunch Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm. 1095 Rollins Rd. at Cadillac Way, Burlingame, 650-342-4923.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a spot to party, ~VINYL ROOM~ has undergone a serious transformation courtesy of Craige Walters from C. Walters Design. Expect a retro look, with vintage barstools, new booths in the lounge, and an art wall with 50 panels of imprinted artwork of iconic album covers. Sound, lighting, flooring, mirrors, paint, and artwork all got updated as well. In August, Vinyl Room will open daily from 5pm-2am. 221 Park Rd. at Howard, Burlingame, 650-347-7656.

July 29, 2014
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The bar at Plin. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The dining room and entry, as seen from the bar area. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The communal table at Plin, with a floating fish light fixture. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. As noted on tablehopper back in June, chef-restaurateur Alexander Alioto is opening an Italian restaurant called ~PLIN~ on Valencia Street in the former home of Conduit and Another Monkey. It’s opening on Friday August 1st, and we got a first look into the interior.

Alioto has his whole family involved in the project (after all, he is a fourth generation restaurateur), and his mother, Joanne, helped with the interior design (Architects II designed the restaurant). It’s a large space, with seating for 100 in the 3,700-square-foot space. There is also a glass-walled private dining room in back, with seating for twelve. The bar area has about ten seats at the bar, with additional tall tables nearby. In the dining room, a long communal table stretches from the entrance back to the kitchen, while banquettes divide the room into two dining areas, with leather upholstery and walnut tabletops.

The light fixtures are a nod the restaurant’s focus on seafood, with organic shapes that reflect the ocean and its inhabitants. Over the communal table, three lit wire pieces from Jan Pauwels are designed to evoke floating fish, while blown glass pendants over the bar resemble bubbles. The whole front wall is lined with wood-sashed square windows that allow light to stream in, while also providing some distance from the busy street. The back wall, which has a large picture window into the kitchen, has been done in small, iridescent tile that resembles the scales of a particularly fabulous fish (or mermaid, really).

The seafood- and pasta-focused menu includes Alioto’s much-discussed raviolo uovo, as well as the namesake agnolotti dal plin stuffed with chicken, lemon zest, brown butter, and chicken skin. There is also a raw tuna dish with figs, mascarpone cream, and balsamic vinegar, as well as a fried lobster dish with onion and mushroom consommé. (The menu should be posted on the site soon.)

At the bar, Daniel Federico (of Harvard & Stone in Los Angeles) has created a selection of Italian-inspired and seasonal drinks, like the Americano Sour with rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, Cappelletti Aperitivo, lemon, and egg white. Nunzio Alioto Jr., Alexander’s father, and Chuck Furuya are responsible for the wine list, which will include a selection of wines by the glass and half glass, as well as a reserve list.

The restaurant’s hours are Tue-Sun 5pm-11pm. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-655-9510.

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A look into the back half of the upstairs area (pre-construction). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The raw space where the downstairs bar will be located (and more). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Things are once again moving forward for chef Ravi Kapur’s upcoming restaurant project in the TenderNob with partners Jeff Hanak and Allyson Jossel of Nopa/Nopalito—permits have been secured, construction has started (yay), and now it’s time to share a few updates. First off, the team has decided to name the project ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~ after all. (Liholiho has been the name of Kapur’s pop-up around town after he left Prospect a couple years back.) It’s a fun and personal name, connecting him to the name of his uncle’s pop-up in Maui 30 years ago. Kapur says the name helps reference the Hawaiian elements in his cooking style—it’s a nod to his heritage and the lens he now uses to view food and handle ingredients. I’m happy that the cuisine style will be following the path of what we were tasting at Kapur’s Liholiho pop-ups—I thought the food was so exciting, flavorful, and uniquely his, and of course his ingredient sourcing is tops.

Another big piece of news I’ve been holding under my hat is that Kevin Diedrich has been brought on as bar director. Not only is Diedrich a wicked talented barman, but he also shares some ties to Hawaii—his wife is from there—so they all share a strong sentiment of ohana (“family”). Diedrich has wrapped up his involvement at Gaspar Brasserie, and is working some shifts around town in the meantime (you can find him at The European and ABV).

For now, the new target for the opening is late fall/early winter. I had a chance to tour the raw space in the beginning of the year, and it’s a spacious one, with two levels (the bar will be downstairs). The architect is Brett Terpeluk (Farina), and I can’t wait for more details to be released about how the style of the space—it’s assuredly going to be a looker (love the brick walls and skylights). 871 Sutter St. at Leavenworth.

In the meantime, Kapur is going to be cooking a new pop-up series on Thursday evenings in August at ~BLOODHOUND~. This pop-up is called Paniolo Social, and will feature fun, casual, Hawaiian-inspired drinking food: think spicy noodles, yakitori, poke bowls, seasonal sashimi, and aloha dogs. To be clear, these aren’t test dishes for the upcoming restaurant, just Kapur and Bloodhound having some fun. Come by on Thursdays in August, starting at 4pm until they’re sold out (the first one is Thursday August 7th). 1145 Folsom St. at 7th.

You can keep up with updates and more from Liholiho Yacht Club on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Noodle making at Namu Gaji. Photo from Facebook.

It looks like the ~NAMU GAJI~ team is getting ready to open another outpost, this time in Dogpatch. Scoop reports that the new location (which doesn’t have an official name yet) is all about noodles. After their successful Monday noodle nights, and chef/partner Dennis Lee’s experience cooking in the neighborhood at Smokestack, they decided to bring their flavor to a new corner of the city. They won’t be focused on one type of noodle, though many will make appearances, including ramen and naengmyeon, a cold Korean noodle soup.

They’ll have a full liquor license, which means a large selection of not just sake and sochu but also Japanese whiskies and other spirits. The space will seat about 70, though a large portion of the 3,000-square-foot space will become a commissary kitchen for their street food operation and retail products. Right now, they’re hoping to open by the end of the year. 2405 3rd St. at 22nd St.

After vacating his original location in the Usual Suspects Cafe on Broadway, ~KIRIMACHI~ chef-owner Leonardi Gondoputro has found a new place at the Embarcadero Center. He said there is currently a tenant in the space, but he plans to open before the holiday season (ideally November). Not only will he be serving ramen, but there will be both Japanese and local craft beers on the menu. And if all goes well, Leo mentioned he’ll be making his own noodles too. Stand by for more in coming months.

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The interior of the new Ferry Plaza Seafood in North Beach. Photo by Kristian Melom.

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The bar at Ferry Plaza Seafood. Photo by Kristian Melom.

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The dining room at Mason. Photo courtesy Mason.

We told you last week that ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~ was opening in its new North Beach location on Monday July 28th, and now we’ve got some additional details on the new spot. We swung by for a pre-opening party last week, and it’s practically kitty corner to Washington Square Park. The new space seats 49, with room for 11 at the bar and there are some outside tables; it has a minimal look, with elements of the previous location incorporated throughout: the tables are made with marble salvaged from the bar, and the taxidermy marlin and salmon still grace the walls, although now there’s a new salmon mural (by local artist Letty Samonte) too.

Many classics remain on executive chef Joey Ng’s menu, along with some new choices since there is now a kitchen at this location. There is now a larger oyster selection, with six current varieties and an additional six to nine more coming soon (depending on availability). There will also be a rotating meat dish on the menu, and a house-ground burger will make an appearance. There’s a new wine list, with white, rosé, bubbly, and red options, plus six beers on tap, and four by the bottle. There are plans in the works to offer lunch and happy hour in September, too. Right now, hours are Mon-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. Closed Sunday. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, chef Ryan Scott has a new project in Potrero Hill, called ~MASON~. It’s now open, serving Scott’s take on modern pub food. There’s a pizza oven, so look for pies on the menu, like a Margherita with smoked mozzarella ($12), along with small plates like radishes with cracklings, butter, and sea salt ($6) and deviled eggs with bacon, chives, and paprika ($6). Larger plates include choices like gnocchi with sweet corn, pancetta, and uni ($11), and smoked short rib with potato purée, cress, pickled cherry tomatoes, and horseradish ($14). There is also a soft-serve ice cream machine (porter floats, anyone?), local beer on tap, and a wallet-friendly wine list of bottles that top out at $30 (wines by the glass are also available). Hours are Mon-Thu 4pm-11pm, Fri 11am-11pm, and 10:30am-3pm and 4pm-11pm Sat-Sun. 338 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-255-9335.

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The sidewalk seating at Cafe Flore. Photo from Yelp.

There’s some good news to report at ~CAFE FLORE~ in the Castro, a landmark location that has been hosting guests on its garden patio since 1973. I was happy to hear that owner JD Petras has brought on Stu Gerry and Brett Klinker as managing partners, along with silent partner Pat McKune. Anyone who has ever met Stu during his 16 years at Bix will understand why his involvement is great news—there’s a reason he was one of my favorite servers in the city: he really takes care of his guests. While I was sad to lose Stu from the floor at Bix to the world of real estate not too long ago, I’m glad his touch will be felt at Cafe Flore. (Klinker and McKune hail from the Hi Dive, so now we have some experienced industry folks involved.)

The plan is to restore and rejuvenate the space gradually through small changes, like they are now offering beer on tap instead of just in bottles, and you’ll discover there’s new table service instead of having to wait in line to order a refill of your mimosa at the counter. The liquor and cocktail program is getting an update, the menu (by Shellie Kitchen) is getting tweaked (the Caesar salad is back), and look for things to get cleaned up, adjusted, and refreshed in coming weeks.

Stu and the gang know and respect how iconic the venue is, and are “looking to the past to inform their future changes.” Example: the cafe’s original architect, Alfred Finnila, was the chief iron worker for the Golden Gate Bridge, and designed the Bridge Roundhouse (now the visitor and gift center)—well, guess what Flore’s redesigned DJ booth is going to look like? Yup. What will be projected on the walls? How about Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? a cult film that was filmed at Cafe Flore?! Look for changes like this and more in coming months, which means the location’s 24-hour entertainment license and the fact it’s the only place in the city where you can drink alcohol on the sidewalk are going to be fully realized and appreciated (and many of Flore’s weekly events, like Sunday trivia night, will continue). I look forward to having a reason to come back to Flore’s pretty (and heated) patio and seeing some much-needed TLC in effect. 2298 Market St. at Noe, 415-621-8579.

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The exterior of Ritual Coffee. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

A few weeks ago I wandered over to ~RITUAL COFFEE ROASTERS~ for an afternoon iced coffee, and noticed there was quite a bit of construction going on. Owner Eileen Hassi Rinaldi has a big update for us, so let’s get to it. First things first: the shop is closed for the next three weeks or so, but they are hosting a pop-up out of Lost Weekend Video, right next door. You can grab your coffee from 7am-2pm. Nice solution!

It has been nearly ten years since Ritual opened, and Eileen says the poor café was falling apart from all the use (the floors were worn through!). She says the remodeled space will be opened up, and you’ll be able to see clear to the back when you walk in (they are working with Daniel Piechota of Sagan-Piechota on the space). There will be a garden in the back (for viewing only), designed by Daniel Nolan of Flora Grubb Gardens, and Laura Stevenson, a Mission-based artist and fabricator, is doing a really cool neon light fixture/installation. When they reopen, Paul Madonna’s work will be on the walls (it’s the ten-year anniversary of “All Over Coffee”).

The new brew bar is designed to be interactive, and they’ll do their usual V60 drip plus AeroPress (sometimes), as well as brew demos and daily tastings. A second espresso machine is being added, a custom Synesso (pretty rare in the Bay Area), so your espresso drink service will be a little quicker. The pastry lineup will include treats from Mr. Holmes, Sandbox Bakery, and gluten-free items from FlourChylde, and teas are from Song Tea.

One more cool thing: a parklet designed by Seth Boor of Boor Bridges will also be coming, but timing is currently TBD on that component. Congrats on the remodel, Ritual! We’ll see you in August. 1026 Valencia St. at 21st St., 415-641-1011.

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The lobster roll at Farallon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Aperitivo hour at 54 Mint. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last week, I was invited to check out the new lunch service at ~FARALLON~ which officially started today (it’s served in the Jellyfish Lounge and Oyster Bar). Whether you’re looking for a spot for a leisurely “ladies who lunch” kind of vibe, a lunch date, a birthday lunch, or even for a nicer business lunch, this should do nicely.

The lunch menu includes small bites ($6), like Dungeness crab toast with a piquillo aioli, and of course there are a variety of oysters from the oyster bar ($2 each), including Coromandels from New Zealand and Fanny Bays from British Colombia. Caviar service, check. My lunch date and I enjoyed the little gems Caesar salad and the smoked sturgeon with brioche toast (both $10), but the winner was the lobster roll ($18) on a soft housemade brioche roll. The tuna panino ($18) was also very good—it’s a bit like a tuna melt with a layer of Parmigiano-Reggiano inside. The stone fruit galette with amaretto crème fraiche by pastry chef Terri Wu makes for a good finish. And whatever you do, be sure to have some Champagne. Lunch is served Tue-Sat 11:30am-3pm. You can stick around and seamlessly slide into happy hour, which begins at 3pm, with $6 specials on small bites, cocktails, beer and wine. 450 Post St. at Powell, 415-956-6969.

Last week, anyone who attended the tablehopper and Campari America event, Una Serata a Roma, would agree that ~54 MINT~ is the perfect location for aperitivo on their beautiful patio. Well, guess what: starting this week, you can enjoy their new daily aperitivo from 4pm-6pm, with complimentary snacks, and 2-for-1 on all wine by the glass and select beers. You’ll also find some special cocktails for $8 (including Aperol Spritz and the Negroni Sbagliato!). Take a look at the aperitivo menu full of goodies here.

One last thing to note: ~BAR AGRICOLE~ is now serving Saturday and Sunday brunch, starting August 2nd, from 11am-2pm. Other deals you’ll want to take note of include their $6 sandwiches for lunch Tue-Fri, and there’s also an oyster happy hour with $2 oysters Tue-Sat 5pm-6pm and all day on Sunday, along with cocktail, beer, and wine specials that go well with oysters ($6 cocktails, $3 Stiegl lager, and $6 muscadet).

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Your new gameday snack: slices of Tony’s pepperoni pizza. Yelp photo by Reya L.

At a Giants game with a hankering for good pizza? You’re in luck: Tony Gemignani of Tony’s Pizza Napoletana has opened ~SLICE HOUSE BY TONY GEMIGNANI~ in AT&T Park. To start, they’ll be offering cheese and pepperoni slices, with Chicago Italian beef sandwiches and stromboli coming up to bat soon. View Level, Section 314, AT&T Park.

Liquor license activity tells us that ~ELEPHANT SUSHI~ is opening a third location. This one is on Geary in the Tenderloin. 705 Geary St. at Leavenworth.

Getting ready for Outside Lands and all the awesome food and beverages available at the festival? Yeah, us too. If you’d like to skip the cash, and even save a little dough, check out the Paypal app, which allows you to buy all the food and drink you need from your phone, so you can leave your wallet at home. Plus, many vendors are offering $3 off your purchase if you use the app, including Il Cane Rosso, Chino, and Wise Sons. Sweet!

~LONG BRIDGE PIZZA~ in Dogpatch has secured a beer and wine license, making their pies even tastier. There are two beers on tap, along with some in bottles, and wine by the glass. 2347 3rd St. at 20th St., 415-829-8999.

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Brik, salad, soup, a date shake, and cookie from Nudnik Foods. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Some of the dishes at Salvi. Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux via Salvi.

Here’s a cool new pop-up to check out! Starting this Wednesday July 30th, Nudnik Foods is popping up every Wednesday evening at Linea Caffe in the Mission. Chef Dena Ehrlich is preparing fresh, modern Israeli-style food, including a weekly brik (fried meat hand pie), vegan soups, and grain salads. A recent preview menu included ground beef brik with boiled egg, a grilled eggplant and zucchini salad with pinenuts, and carrot saffron soup. There are also date shakes, Linea’s iced coffee, and delicious cookies. The pop-up starts at 5pm and goes until they run out. 3417 18th St. at San Carlos.

After his first pop-up a couple of weeks ago, chef Kevin Castellanos is doing more of his Salvi dinners at Bocadillos on Sunday August 3rd and 17th from 4:30pm-8:30pm. He’ll be serving his modern take on the Salvadorean dishes he grew up eating, including costillas de puerco, or pork ribs with white bean stew, and pupusas made with summer squash and cheese. Check out the menu here, and follow along on Twitter for more updates. 710 Montgomery St. at Washington, 415-982-2622.

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The falafel salad from Liba Falafel’s truck. Yelp photo by Tikisha O.

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The interior at Curbside Creamery. Photo from Facebook.

As previously mentioned on tablehopper, food truck ~LIBA FALAFEL~ now has a brick-and-mortar location in Uptown Oakland too. After closely following the opening with owner Gail Lillian the past few months, we’re happy to report that it is now open! The space clocks in at 1,400 square feet, with a menu much like their truck. The freshly housemade falafel are available either as a sandwich or salad, with an open bar of seasonal toppings that allow maximum customization. Some sample offerings from the current menu include Moroccan carrot, braised eggplant in tomato sauce, and grilled curried peaches—they change weekly. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, and will eventually expand to Mon-Sat 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm. 380 17th St. at Webster, 415-806-5422.

Temescal Alley is getting a brand new ice cream spot, one we’ve been tracking since running a mention last year. ~CURBSIDE CREAMERY~, from owner Victoria Wentworth, has been operating as a mobile ice cream tricycle while the new space in Temescal Alley was under construction. It’s now ready, and the grand opening will be on Friday August 1st. Wentworth specializes in ice cream sandwiches, and also offers lots of vegan ice creams made with nut bases, in addition to seasonal fruit sorbet. She’ll also be offering gluten-free cones, so the tiny space will be able to accommodate lots of dietary restrictions. Don’t worry, though, there will be plenty of classic ice cream. Flavors include bourbon whiskey vanilla, mint stracciatella, and Thai iced tea. A soft serve machine is coming soon, too. Hours will be Tue-Sun 12pm-6pm to start, though they may change in the coming weeks. 482 49th St. at Telegraph, 510-250-9804.

Eater reports that ~BELLY~ is now open in Uptown Oakland. It comes from pair Alice Woo and Alan Chun, who moved here from Southern California. It’s all about the fusion tacos and burritos that are so popular down south, with Asian flavors in the meats and fixin’s. There’s the spicy, honey-roasted pork belly with pickled cucumbers and sesame slaw, or the surf, a panko-fried fish with sesame slaw, avocado, and sour cream. They’ve also got burgers, fries, and salads; take a look at the full menu here. Hours are Mon-Sat 11am-8pm, with later hours coming soon, along with a beer and wine license. 1901 San Pablo Ave. at 19th St., Oakland, 510-839-0000.

Periscope Cellars in the Swan Building in downtown Oakland is getting ready to expand into a full bar, with wine, cocktails, and bar snacks. According to a post on their website, once the expansion is complete the name will be changed to ~DEEP ROOTS RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR~. They will continue to serve Periscope wines, as well as some additional pours from local wineries. While the build-out and remodel continues, the wine bar will be closed; we’ll let you know when the new project reopens! 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland.

July 22, 2014
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Cured hamachi with lemongrass, avocado, pumpernickel. Photo courtesy of Sabrina Huang Photography.

File this one under intimate and intriguing: this fall, Charles-C Onyeama is going to be opening a 15-table restaurant in the Noe Valley/Bernal Heights area, ~CHARIN~, that will only operate approximately one weekend per month. Diners will make reservations online, and a seven- to eight-course tasting menu of haute cuisine will be served. (Each weekend will be designed as a unique experience; the menu will be posted ahead of time on the website.) Wine pairings will also be available.

Onyeama, a self-taught chef, worked as a private chef for three years and then staged at top places like SPQR, Benu, and Manresa (for up to six months at each). He’s a California native, but has spent more than 10 years living in Japan, exploring the culture and cuisine. His team also has experience in top local restaurants, like Saison, Coi, Baume (Palo Alto), and Atelier Crenn.

The space will feature “custom conceptual design pieces” designed by Franc Zamudio (Mod Timber). You can sign up on the waiting list for a spot, which will be confirmed once the opening date is set (reportedly around the end of August or early September). Since there are just 15 tables, reservations will primarily be for parties of two; four-person tables will be available on a limited basis. Stand by for more in the coming weeks.

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Oysters, crab and shrimp cocktail, and mussels at Ferry Plaza Seafood’s previous location. Yelp photo by Tracy T.

As previously reported on tablehopper, after ~FERRY PLAZA SEAFOOD~ left the Ferry Building last year, they found a new location on Union Street in North Beach. We got word that the new space is officially opening its doors on Monday July 28th.

The restaurant has a new team after the move, with an expanded menu and new oyster selections. In addition to fresh seafood, there’s a new beer and wine list designed to pair well with the food. Local beer selections include Fort Point Manzanita and Fort Point Park, as well as Sierra Nevada’s Torpedo and Anchor Steam. In the coming weeks, they will also begin offering happy hour specials, with a menu of small bites like a prawn cocktail, mini crab cakes with heirloom tomato sauce, and crab salad with avocado and micro-mustard green salad. Hours are Mon-Thu 11am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11am-11pm. Closed Sunday. 653 Union St. at Columbus, 415-274-2561.

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A peek into the new Le Marais Bistro space, which flanks the bakery (at left). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Fruits de mer. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Whipped burrata with Armenian cucumber, fried olive, and fennel pollen. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Saffron sciallatielli with clams, mussels, scallops, and tomatoes. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Panna cotta with plum cardamom sorbet. Photo courtesy Le Marais.

A report by Dana Eastland: Last week I had a chance to check out the new menu coming to ~LE MARAIS BISTRO AND BAKERY~ in August. As previously reported on tablehopper, the bakery in the Marina has expanded to include a kitchen and additional seating, and will be serving a bistro-style dinner menu starting within the next few weeks. They’ve brought on a new team in the kitchen, with Nicolette Manescalchi as executive chef, Emily Riddell on pastry, and Ty Mecozzi as head baker.

Mecozzi and Riddell have already been working with the bread and pastry at the café, while the kitchen ramps up for dinner service, which should begin in August. The menu is small and elegant, and Manescalchi is taking inspiration from the many different food traditions along the Mediterranean. She previously worked at A16, where she was immersed in the food of Southern Italy, and told me she has really enjoyed learning more about food traditions from a broader geographic region. There are touches of North African spice, as well as influence from Southern France, and, of course, it all has California’s seasonality and flair.

They’ve got an oak wood grill in the kitchen, which is allowing them to cook over open flame. You can look at the current menu here, but it will be changing regularly. Of course, the produce will change seasonally, but the meat and seafood selections will also shift constantly. Because they are butchering most of their meat in-house from whole animals (and the place is quite small), it’s likely that one protein will be featured prominently on the menu until it’s gone, and then a new animal will show up. In fact, almost everything on the menu will be made in-house, including the pastas, cured fish, and, of course, the bread.

I started my meal with the fresh fruits de mer, with house-cured anchovies and dukka (an Egyptian spice blend with nuts), smoked and fresh oysters, and a Lake Tahoe crawfish crudo. The oysters are smoked by sous chef Leslie Miller-Dancy (she’s the kitchen’s unofficial “smokemaster,” according to Manescalchi) in their liquor and at a very low temperature to preserve their delicate flavor and texture. Other starter-size dishes include the whipped burrata with fried olive, fennel pollen, and cucumber. I was skeptical about whipping burrata, since the texture is so specific and such a part of the burrata experience, but it totally worked.

There is a small selection of pasta on the menu, including the saffron scialatielli with clams, mussels, and scallops. This dish is based on the “celebration” pastas from the Amalfi coast, which are prepared for special occasions. They’ve added saffron to up the ante, too. Manescalchi has a light touch with seafood, and you’ll see it popping up all over the menu, from the fruits de mer to the anchovy croutons on the salad to the salmon en papillote.

Riddell has already been working on pastries at the bakery, as well as some ice creams and sorbets to serve with plated desserts. A plum sorbet with cardamom totally rocked, and there are delightful edible flowers sprinkled all over her creations, so pretty. Again, the focus seems to be on using bold flavors and seasonings, but with a light, delicate touch for balanced results.

Le Marais Bakery and Bistro will open for dinner sometime in August (of course we’ll let you know the exact date), and hours will be Sun-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11pm. The bakery, which is currently open daily 7am-7pm, will begin closing earlier once dinner service begins. 2066 Chestnut St. at Mallorca, 415-359-9801.

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Wrecking Ball coffee. Photo from Facebook.

Local duo Nicholas Cho and Trish Rothgeb of ~WRECKING BALL COFFEE~ now have their own space in Cow Hollow, Eater reports. The pair, who have been working out of Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal, are opening their very own stand-alone shop in the former That Takes the Cake space on Union Street. Mission residents will still be able to get their coffee at the Kitchen Communal, though—they’re not moving out of that space. Rothgeb will serve as the roaster, while Cho will run the barista and brew side of things. Marla Bakery will provide the pastries, and there will be a bar where customers can sit and watch their coffee being made while talking with baristas about the process. They will also have a retail space to sell their beans, as well as Kalita brewing supplies from Japan. Right now, they plan to open Friday August 1st (so soon!), pending inspections. 2271 Union St. at Steiner.

Just can’t get enough coffee? Don’t miss CoffeeCon on Saturday July 26th, a special one-day festival of all things caffeine and coffee. It offers a chance to taste coffee from all over the world, explore different roasting techniques, and learn about different brewing techniques. It’s happening at Terra Gallery from 9am-4pm, and tickets are $20 per person. 511 Harrison St. at 1st St.

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Roli Roti’s famed porchetta. Photo via Facebook.

Some great news for Thomas Odermatt, the CEO of Roli Roti (aka the Maestro of Rotisserie, LOL): after an extensive search, he has found a new (and much larger) commissary in Oakland. What does this mean for us? Odermatt is going to be able expand Roli Roti’s catering service and product lines later this fall, and you’ll be able to get some products at your local grocery store. He’s planning to create small versions of porchetta, offer unique and different cuts of chicken (he’s working on a version of a small chicken porchetta right now, bring it on), and marinated chicken cuts. He will also be serving more salads and sides at the farmers’ markets too. Odermatt has come a long way since his company launched in 2002—Roli Roti now has six food trucks that hit 38 farmers’ markets in the Bay Area. Congrats on your well-earned success, Thomas, and we look forward to more of your delicious and carefully sourced and crafted food.

Looking for a classy brunch spot? The recently reopened ~BIG 4~ is now offering Sunday brunch from 10:30am-2:30pm. The menu has some seriously hearty egg dishes, like eggs in the hole with short ribs, polenta, and jus, or fried with milk-braised pork, cranberry beans, and salsa verde. And who can say no to smoked trout with cucumbers, watercress, pistachio, and crème fraîche? Of course, brunch cocktails will also be available. Take a look at the menu and drink list here.

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Villa Romana. Photo from Facebook.

After almost 60 years in the Inner Sunset, Italian restaurant ~VILLA ROMANA~ has closed, according to Inside Scoop. The family-run business is owned by Antonio and Giulia Accardo, who are both in their 70s and ready to retire, so this is a bittersweet end to the restaurant (the vintage interior is pretty amazing—I wish someone would just come in and keep the space exactly as it is). Their last day was Sunday July 20th, and the Accardos are looking to spend some time with their family. 731 Irving St. at 9th Ave.

~CUCO’S~, the homey Mexican-Salvadorean restaurant in Lower Haight, may have to close. According to Hoodline, Domingo and Carmen Campos have been served with eviction papers and will have to vacate the space within 30 days. The couple’s daughter, Judy, says that they are going to do all they can to either stay where they are or find a new location. In the meantime, stop by and get one of their famed plantain burritos while you can. 488 Haight St. at Fillmore, 415-863-4906.

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Uncle Brother’s fried chicken. Photo by Wes Rowe.

Oh boy. There’s now another place where you can stuff your face with delicious crispy-fried chicken. Wes Rowe of WesBurger and his brother Walker Rowe are going to be serving fried chicken at their new pop-up, Uncle Brother’s Chicken, every Tuesday evening from 6pm-10pm at The Residence. The first one is actually tonight, July 22nd, and will continue regularly from now on. The menu will change weekly, featuring different fried chicken styles from around the world (not unlike the WesBurger concept). This week’s menu features Southern-style fried chicken, with pimento mac and cheese and fried okra. 718 14th St. at Church, 415-797-8866.

On Friday August 15th, ~LA COCINA~ will be gearing up for the San Francisco Street Food Festival on Saturday August 16th (you’ve got it on your calendar, right?) with a Friday Night Fried Chicken Family Meal. It’s all happening from 6pm-10pm at the SoMa STreat Food Park, and promises to be a cluckin’ good time. Here’s how it works: when you arrive, you receive a basket and a full, refillable flask. You walk around, visiting various vendors, and fill your basket with lots of fried chicken goodness. Oh, and maybe nip on that flask a little too. Fried chicken purveyors include the likes of Hopscotch in Oakland, the long lost Korean fried chicken from To Hyang, and Feirinha Gastronomica (hailing from Brazil!). There will also be a ton of delectable sides to check out, like a mac and cheese bar from Baia Pasta and cheese biscuits. Drinks will be from Rye on the Road and Campari. Tickets are on a sliding scale, starting at $50 (includes one drink ticket and unlimited chicken). There are also $75 (two drink tickets) and $125 (open bar) options—get ‘em while you still can! 428 11th St. at 13th St.

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On the half shell at OysterFest 2012. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday August 24th, ~WATERBAR~ is hosting their sixth annual OysterFest on their bayside patio. As you may know, Waterbar has the largest and most eclectic selection of oysters in San Francisco—the event will only feature sustainable oysters. Look for plenty of bites from Waterbar, EPIC Roasthouse, Farmer Brown, Farallon, Fish, and Blue Island Oyster Farm, plus Napa Valley wines and beers (including Anchor Steam, Trumer Pils, and Speakeasy). Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The San Francisco Surfrider Foundation, dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans and beaches. 12pm-3pm. $70. Nonrefundable tickets go on sale on Thursday July 24th here.

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It’s lumpia o’clock. Photo provided by Savor Filipino.

Calling all lumpia lovers, we have a couple of cool events for you to consider. First up, did you know that the chef de cuisine of Spruce, John Madriaga, is Filipino? So who better to learn how to make some delicious dishes from (besides your auntie, of course)? On Saturday August 9th, Madriaga is leading a Flavors of the Philippines Cooking Class. The class will be demonstration style, and will feature Madriaga’s favorite Filipino-inspired pork preparations, with a whole pig from Stone Valley Farm. After class, you’ll sit down for lunch with wine pairings. The menu includes sizzling sisig, lumpia, longanisa de Eugenio (with fried Jidori egg), pork adobo, and crispy pata (deep-fried trotters with pickled green papaya). Tickets are $135. Class begins at 11am.

Mark your calendar for Saturday August 30th, which will be the inaugural Savor Filipino event at Justin Herman Plaza. Did you know Filipinos comprise the second-largest Asian immigrant group in the U.S., second only to the Chinese? One more fact you may or may not know: the Bay Area is home to the highest concentration of Filipinos outside of the Philippines, so you can bet this event will be well attended. The event is free, and will feature chef and author demos, a beer garden (with local beer, wine, and Filipino-style cocktails), music, and of course plenty of ways to get your Pinoy vittles on.

There will be different pavilions serving many specialties, like the Garden Pavilion, with vegan and vegetarian options (like ginataang sitaw, local long beans sautéed with organic coconut milk); a Street Food Pavilion (there will be balut!); a Fiesta Pavilion, featuring party food like lechon baboy (roasted pig) and lumpia; and the Carinderia (“restaurant”) Pavilion will have chicken adobo and kare-kare. There will be plenty of desserts too. A really cool component to the event: all food served will feature humanely raised proteins, sustainable seafood, and organic, local produce. You can read the upcoming list of food items that will be served here. 10am-6pm. Justin Herman Plaza.

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Love eating kimchi and Japanese tsukemono and pickled mustard greens? Then maybe you should learn how to make some of your own. Local author Karen Solomon has a new cookbook out, Asian Pickles: Sweet, Sour, Salty, Cured, and Fermented Preserves, and you can join her at ~OMNIVORE BOOKS~ for her release party on Wednesday July 30th, from 6:30pm-7:30pm. She will make a short presentation, and of course there will be plenty of pickles to taste. Click here for more local events planned around her book launch.

Have you ever thought about how to produce small-batch, bean-to-bar chocolate? Coming up in August is a one-month Chocolate Intensive Course (from August 2nd-August 30th) at the ~FOOD CRAFT INSTITUTE~, designed specifically for entrepreneurs and budding artisan chocolate makers. You’ll learn from a variety of local instructors, $475; payment plans and financial aid available.
 65 Webster St. at Embarcadero West, Oakland.

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

~THE HALF ORANGE~ in Fruitvale opened a couple of weeks ago, but just for lunch. Now that they’ve got their bearings, hours have expanded to 11:30am-8pm, Mon-Fri. You can check out the menu here. They’re still waiting on a liquor license though. 3340 E. 12th St. at 33rd Ave., Oakland, 510-500-3338.

Berkeleyside Nosh reports that ~TOWNIE~ is now open in the former Caffe Venezia. Initially, this one had a liquor license for Monarch Trading Co., but it looks like there is an entirely new team now. Owner Nima Shokat runs the Missouri Lounge and is aiming to offer “a neighborhood bar where people can just come by for a drink and hang out, but also get some exciting food.” To that end, chef Dana Ryan (RN74, Gather, State Bird Provisions) has been brought on to run the kitchen. They’re currently in soft open mode, which means a limited menu is being served, along with cocktails from 5pm until midnight or they run out. 1799 University Ave. at Grant, Berkeley, 510-356-4903.

For those of you looking to put some sushi away at a reasonable price, check out Sushi Monday at ~OZUMO~ in Oakland. From 5pm-9pm every Monday, you can order all-you-can-eat sushi while at the sushi counter for $40 per person. The menu includes some non-sushi options, too, like fried chicken and pork ribs. 2251 Broadway at Grand, Oakland, 510-286-9866.