The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
January 20, 2015
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Partners Ravi Kapur, Allyson Jossel, and Jeff Hanak. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Aloha. The first thing you’ll see. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The exterior. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Spacious two-tops across from the bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The brand-new and cheerful yellow kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Chef de cuisine Nana Guardia and chef Ravi Kapur. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The comfortable group seating across from the kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Walking through the gate at the soon-to-open ~LIHOLIHO YACHT CLUB~, the first thing I noticed was the word Aloha in blue tile at my feet, embedded in the penny tile entrance. It definitely sets the tone for this place, one that has such heart and family at its core. Chef-partner Ravi Kapur is opening this exceedingly personal restaurant, partnering with longtime friends Allyson Jossel and Jeff Hanak of Nopa and Nopalito, who are both SF natives. They are all seasoned pros, deeply entrenched in our restaurant scene and local community. And if everything goes as planned, they will be ready to open the doors and host us for dinner and drinks in the last week of January.

It’s an airy, welcoming, and cheerful space, such a long way from the empty room I first saw back in July of last year. The space dates back to 1916, and was a market from the 1930s until its brand-new incarnation as a restaurant.

There are three dining areas, with 80 seats in all. The front room has high ceilings with two skylights over the bar made of cold-rolled blackened steel (by Ferrous), with 10 seats, and 4 at the lower ADA counter. The floor is laid with blue three-tone Moroccan cement honeycomb hex tile, and the spacious two-top booths of raw sugar pine could actually fit four good friends willing to cozy up together, which is kind of the point here. The front bar area will be no reservations, so there’s room for people to mingle, drink, and eat, including a standing ledge. (It’s worth noting a lot of soundproofing and acoustic treatments were installed throughout the space to manage the potential din.)

As you look at the communal table with the modern cord-and-metal chandelier above (by Brendan Ravenhill), the dove gray plaster walls, the three-legged steel stools with contoured wood seats (also by Brendan Ravenhill), you realize how bright and fresh and clean it all feels. Nothing is reclaimed, except for the exposed brick walls, really—otherwise it’s all new, and looks crisp and neat. Architect Brett Terpeluk has done a hell of a job.

In the center of the space is the bright and open kitchen, outfitted in mustard yellow tile by Fireclay, creating a warm and friendly glow. Just across the kitchen along the wall are larger booths (that seat four to six), also in pine, eventually extending into two-tops toward the back, with vintage school chairs, oak floors, and more pine tables with banquette seating along the left. The pendant lights have a copper trim on them, and the mirrored-top bulbs help create a soft light. The windows in the back look out onto a backyard, which will eventually be landscaped, and the tree will be all lit up, but it won’t be a space where guests can mingle. Below, there will eventually be a private dining room and private bar, with room for 18-24.

Ravi will be joined in the kitchen by his longtime right-hand woman, chef de cuisine Nana Guardia, who has been working with him for almost nine years; Penelope Lau (Craftsman + Wolves, Jane) is the pastry chef. Since the crew just got into their kitchen for the first time on Friday, things are definitely in development at the moment, so there’s no menu or dishes to really share right now, but some pics on the LYC Instagram page should give some hints. When talking about the style of food to expect at Liholiho, Ravi said it’s about being delicious and fun and vibrant, and it will be easy to share, but also fine to just have on your own too.

Anyone who attended the Liholiho Yacht Club pop-ups over the past couple of years will have a sense of Kapur’s freestyle cuisine that defies definition (I explored this in a piece for 7x7), one that is rooted in his Hawaiian heritage, which also integrates migratory elements from India and China (his grandmother, a great cook, was Chinese). And then there’s his love of Northern California produce and ingredients, which was explored deeply in his eight years at Boulevard and then Prospect. I’m excited to crack into this next chapter of Ravi’s cuisine. For now, we’ll just have to sit tight and wait and see what’s in the table of contents.

While Kevin Diedrich was originally slated to be the bar manager, he left the project earlier this year. Overseeing the bar is Nopa and Nopalito’s Yanni Kehagiaras, who will be creating 8-10 original cocktails, but to be clear, these will not be heavily garnished tiki drinks. The bar will have a well-curated selection of spirits, with some special Japanese whiskies.

The word hospitality kept coming up as I spoke with the team. Jossel and Hanak will be working with GM Rachele Shafai (A16) to help create a warm service style that will be an extension of the kitchen’s aloha spirit. Also from the Nopa family, Lulu McAllister is overseeing the wine selection, dividing the menu into “Old Friends” and “New Friends.” Old Friends will include some classic varieties and international wines, while New Friends will feature some eccentric or newer winemakers; you could find a chardonnay under New Friends, but it would be from a new producer. There will be 10-12 wines by the glass, with 75-80 bottle selections. There will additionally be a strong focus on sake (all available by the glass), with a strong selection of beer (eight on tap) and by the bottle.

The Lower Nob Hill address feels ideal for this very San Franciscan restaurant, which is located in such a uniquely San Franciscan neighborhood. Excited neighbors keep passing by to peek in, with many giving a thumbs-up and a smile. Dinner will be served nightly until 10pm-11pm or so. Expect an update from me with final details right around opening time.

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The 18th and Alabama corner of the Heath Ceramics building. Photo by Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Last April, we reported on the big, exciting, new project coming from Tartine Bakery in the Heath Ceramics building. Obviously, some time has passed, giving the team time to shape their ideas and now this piece in 7x7 has new details to share, starting with the reveal of the project’s name: ~THE MANUFACTORY~. The current targeted opening date is summer, and it will continue to have what we first mentioned: an all-day café, a restaurant, and bakery, plus space for culinary projects and visiting chefs.

New details about the restaurant portion include the hiring of a chef, Sam Goinsalvos, previously at Il Buco Alimentari in New York and The Ordinary in Charleston. I was also happy to read Vinny Eng will be assembling the natural wine program. The space will be designed by LA-based design firm, Commune.

Additional things to look forward to: Elisabeth Prueitt will be making ice cream, and returning to making preserves and pickles too.

Now, to the bread. The bakery production area will be visible, featuring both a mill and custom Heuft oven from Germany, and there will be a wood-burning oven as well (pizzas are imminent). Since The Manufactory will be taking on all the bread baking, acting like a commissary, it means Tartine Bakery will discontinue making bread on-site. The overextended space will be closing to renovate and make some changes to its layout, from adding a new chocolate room to reconfiguring the café space. 7x7 also mentions the overall bread output should double in size. Country loaves for all!

The article also mentions Tartine’s upcoming projects in Tokyo, London, and potentially New York, so take a look. Expect even more details on everything in coming months. Corner of 18th St. and Alabama.

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The exterior of Hawker Fare on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Well, this one is happening quickly: chef-owner James Syhabout is opening the second location of his Oakland-based ~HAWKER FARE~ on Valencia Street next Tuesday January 27th (with a soft opening on Saturday January 24th).

To recap, he is taking over the former Amber Dhara. Though we weren’t allowed to take any pictures, we did peek at the interior. It’s bright and cheerful, and appears designed to evoke the outdoor dining/night market experience so common in Thailand. There are picnic tables throughout, covered with oilcloth tablecloths, and brightly painted Tolix-style seating. One wall is adorned with rockabilly records, while the wall leading up to the second-story bar is covered in woven rugs of various sizes and designs. The overall effect is eclectic and very fun, with lots of vibrant color and a casual vibe.

The menu is inspired by the Isaan region of Thailand and Laos, take a look. There will be many new dishes, with new flavor profiles, ingredients, and preparations. The menu is broken down into categories: Khong Ghin Len (Snacking Dishes); Larb, Yum, Som Tum (Aromatic & Spicy Salads); Gaeng (One Pot Dishes—Soups, Stews, Curries); Jaan Piset (Specialty Dishes); Ahhaan Yang (Grilled Items); Khao (Rice); and a limited selection of Jaan Phat (Wok-Tossed Dishes). Syhabout is working with chef de cuisine and Bangkok native Supasit “O” Puttkaew, and Hawker Fare Oakland’s chef de cuisine Manuel Bonilla will assist in the transition.

Food will be served family style and will come out as it’s ready. You will also be encouraged to eat with your hands, and ideally you come with a larger group. The food will also be served on enamel and plastic plates, just as it is in Southeast Asia. You can read more in this article about Syhabout’s inspiring trip to Thailand in 2014.

There is a downstairs bar, The Bar at Hawker Fare, with cocktails by Wizard Oil Co. bartender duo Christ Aivaliotis and Troy Bayless, who are behind all the cocktails at Syhabout’s restaurants. They also opened Duende, consulted for 1601 Bar & Kitchen, and are currently working on Mourad too.

An additional component to the project is the upstairs cocktail bar, Holy Mountain, which is opening on Friday February 6th. The first cocktail menu will refer to Carnival and Mardi Gras, spanning New Orleans, Haiti, Trinidad, and Brazil with cocktails like the Batida, the De La Louisiane, and the Hurricane. There will also be a selection of bar bites (like pork rinds and Syhabout’s amazing roasted peanuts) and the occasional additional food offering “hawked” from a tray.

Dinner hours are Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5:30pm-11:30pm, Sun 4pm-9pm. Hawker Fare bar hours are Tue-Thu 5pm-12am, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, Sun 5pm-9pm. Closed Mondays. Weekend lunch will be launching on Saturday February 7th, 12pm-3pm. 680 Valencia St. at 18th St., 415-932-6193.

A couple more things: Syhabout also updated the look of his original Hawker Fare in Oakland (the graffiti is dunzo), and he is also in the thick of his Dine About Oakland Public Schools initiative. Each week, a different Oakland public school will benefit, with 5 percent of all bills at all of his restaurants (Hawker Fare, The Dock, and Commis) donated to that designated school. We missed the week of donations to Claremont Middle School, but January 18th-24th is Cabot Elementary, and January 25th-31st is Oakland Tech. That’s a generous gift, chef! 

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The exterior of The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.

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The wine and beer bar at The Market on Market. Photo by Asta Karalis.

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The café’s blue tiled wall. Photo by Asta Karalis.

Opening Wednesday January 21st is the first wave of food businesses in Market Square, aka “the Twitter building.” Last Friday, I took a quick tour of ~THE MARKET ON MARKET~, which has a 22,000-square-foot floor plan, complete with a grocery store, numerous prepared food and beverage options (although it’s far from a food court as we know it), a butcher shop, chocolatier, and much more.

It’s actually the first of three upcoming locations of The Market: in spring, The Market on Polk will be opening at 1650 Polk Street, and then The Market on Main will be opening at 201 Folsom Street in January 2016. The founders are Bruce Slesinger and Tom Collom (Small Foods, Bruce and Tom Architects), plus Chris Foley and Richard Hoff.

The food market features well-stocked shelves of organic produce and quality products, and some are so niche you won’t find them elsewhere. The salad bar is organic, and there are also some hot dishes and prepared foods, like soups and roasted meats. You’ll find many more prepared foods at a taco bar; pizzeria (both Neapolitan and California style); a tapas bar with Mediterranean-style small plates; a sandwich bar (including a hot Cubano, and to be clear, I am talking about the sandwich); a deli counter with charcuterie, salumi, and quality cheeses; a bakeshop with breads made on-site (from Adam Becker, previously Bacchus Management Group), plus pastries and sweets; a Japanese sushi, deli, and raw bar (with four kinds of oysters, plus nigiri sushi, maki, crudos, salads, soup, and vegetables), helmed by sushi chef Yasu Ueno; and there’s a café serving Four Barrel coffee, plus sandwiches, salads, and other grab-and-go options for lunch and dinner. The butcher shop will feature only humanely raised meats, like pork from Becker Lane and lamb from Stemple Creek. You can buy and drink wine and beer at a wine/beer bar, plus there are retail options too.

Additional tenants with their own shops include Azalina Eusope’s first brick and mortar, Azalina’s Malaysian (opening on February 2nd, more on this soon!), a Blue Bottle Coffee kiosk (coming to Stevenson, off 10th Street), Nuubia (a San Francisco-based artisan chocolatier, Lionel Clement, specializing in responsibly sourced chocolate confections, truffles, and candy bars, plus ice cream), and cold-pressed juices from Project Juice. There’s also an extensively stocked EO Products store, where you can even mix your own lotion and refill your soap bottles, and you’ll find flower bouquets from Farmgirl Flowers.

Up next: the bar and restaurant, Dirty Water, followed by Bon Marché Bar & Brasserie from the AQ team, and the Cadillac Bar & Grill this summer. Open daily 7am-10pm (although some vendors, like the butcher shop, won’t open until 9am). 1355 Market St. at 10th St.

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The bar at Atlas Tap Room. Photo from Facebook.

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The charcuterie board. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

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Bacon deviled eggs. Photo courtesy Atlas Tap Room.

The partners behind SoMa’s Archive Bar & Kitchen, which opened last December, have opened a new spot next door. It’s called ~ATLAS TAP ROOM~, and opened officially on Monday January 19th. They’re offering eight beers on tap, all from California, along with snacks to pair with the beer. For food, think cheese, charcuterie, deviled eggs, and pretzels—here’s the menu. For beers, there are options like Scrimshaw, HenHouse, and Fort Point. There are also some large-format bottles for after-work groups and six wines on tap. Wines are all available in four- or six-ounce pours, and there are always three whites and three reds. The options will change, but they’ll hail from all over. Right now, there are selections from Italy, California, and Austria. There will also be 18 bottled wines available by the glass. Here is the full drink list.

The space is designed to be warm and comfortable, with steel, brick, and wood surfaces. There is a chalkboard reporting the day’s beer selections, and a map theme (Atlas, get it?) informs the decorative items. For now, hours are Mon-Fri 4pm-10pm, but they plan to open all day with grab-and-go lunch in the coming weeks. Eventually, hours will be Mon-Fri 11am-10pm, with the possibility of Saturday hours. 606 Mission St. at 2nd St., 415-872-9278.

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Prawns Riviera at Manos Nouveau. Photo from Facebook.

~MANOS NOUVEAU~ had reopened in the Castro after leaving its Mission digs (it was replaced on 22nd Street by Californios). Manuel Montalban and Gualberto Nic Camara are partners in the restaurant, and met while working at Fresca on Fillmore. The menu is Latin-French, with both small and large plates. Small dishes include Latin chicken meatballs, ahi tuna ceviche, and black bean soup, while large dishes include salmon with chimole rice, and seared duck breast with a Maya kun (pumpkin) sauce. Take a peek at the menu here. Hours are 5pm-10pm Tue-Sun. 3970 17th St. at Market, 415-872-5507.

We reported in December that the recently closed ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ would be popping up in the former To Hyang space in the Inner Richmond. Now, The Bold Italic is reporting that the pop-up has opened as of today, Tuesday January 20th, and will be occupying the space for a year. Yay, Dennis! Now we just need to find To Hyang a new spot. 3815 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave., 415-474-5569.

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Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, founders of New York’s Ovenly Bakery, will be in San Francisco on Wednesday January 28th for an evening of cocktails and bites with Stag Dining and Heath Ceramics. The evening includes tasting plates inspired by their new book, Ovenly. Spiced sweet and savory recipes will include Dungeness crab bao with pickled celery and mayonnaise, and beef tartare with walnut crisp, apple, and blue cheese aioli. There will also be cocktails and dessert. The evening runs from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Tickets are $75 per person and include food, beverages, and a signed copy of the book. Yeah, that’s not too shabby! 1900 18th St. at Alabama, 415-361-5552.

This is sad news, along with an excellent cause. ~SEVEN HILLS~ is hosting a benefit for local cheesemaker Craig Ramini of Ramini Mozzarella. Ramini, who makes true domestic buffalo mozzarella at his dairy in Tomales, has been battling cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatment, which has forced the dairy to stop operations for the time being. To help raise funds to keep the dairy in business, the restaurant will be doing a three-course prix-fixe dinner on Tuesday February 3rd. The dinner costs $75 per person, with proceeds going to Ramini, and reservations can be made by calling the restaurant. 1550 Hyde St. at Pacific, 415-775-1550.

~CROSSBURGERS~ in Oakland has started doing pop-ups with Boucherie Meats, and they have one coming up on Friday January 23rd. The pop-ups are designed to bring some life and activity to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza after nearby workers leave at the end of the day, from 6pm until 9pm, with outdoor activities including a funk band and a magician. Crossburger’s owner Eddie Blyden has more tricks up his sleeve, too, and wants to make the plaza feel a bit like a carnival for the community to enjoy. There will be beers for $3, charcuterie from Boucherie, and gumbo, with more large-format meats in the works. Blyden mentions the possibility of whole roasted lamb or pig, as well as goat stew in coming months. The pop-ups are happening twice a month, with the next one Friday January 23rd followed by one on February 6th. 300 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Suite 150, at 16th St., Oakland, 510-817-4463.

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The cart for bollito misto at Poggio. Photo courtesy of Poggio via Facebook.

~CATHEAD’S BBQ~ is celebrating their third anniversary on Saturday January 24th with a big party for rib lovers everywhere: the Second Annual Rib-Off from 12pm to 6pm. The event brings together competitors from all over San Francisco, including 4505 Burgers & BBQ, Southpaw, Smokestack, and Baby Blues.

You’ll get to vote on whose ribs are the best (it’s hard work but someone has to do it), and there will also be live music from the The Soft-Offs (CatHead’s house band), Toshio Hirano, and The Pot House Shindies. Plus, there will be a biscuit eating contest and raffle, beer from Fort Point Beer Co., and a portion of the proceeds will go to Saving Grace cat rescue. Tickets are $12 for general admission, which includes a beer and a raffle ticket, or $25 for all-access, which includes a rib and side from each competitor, a beer, and a raffle ticket. 1665 Mission St. at Plum, 415-861-4242.

This sounds like a special night not to miss: ~NAMU GAJI~ is hosting a night of all-you-can-eat Korean barbecue on Monday January 26th. They’ll be setting up one large communal table in the middle of the restaurant, with lots of side dishes, kimchi, and meat. You’ll find galbi, pork belly, pork ribs, and more, made with Devil’s Gulch pork and Masami beef, along with all the Hite beer you need (until they run out). There are seatings at 5:30pm and 8pm (only one ticket left for the later one, get on it!). Tickets are $74 per person, including all food, beer, and tip (tax not included).

It’s winter, and that means it’s time for the return of the bollito misto cart at ~POGGIO~. The annual tradition is based on a classic Northern Italian meat stew, and the presentation at Poggio is fun. They bring a special cart (imported from Italy) around to your table, and serve different cuts of meat tableside with a selection of sauces and condiments. Meats include brisket, oxtail, and cotechino sausage, all perfect for chilly weather. The bollito misto is available every evening at dinner from Wednesday January 21st through Monday February 2nd and costs $19 per person.

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The seared chorizo for brunch at Beso. Photo from Facebook.

Haight Street’s ~SPARROW~ has started serving weekday brunch, according to Hoodline. They’re now open Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 3pm, serving a menu of both breakfast and lunch dishes. In the breakfast category, there are eggs, a granola yogurt parfait, and French toast, while the lunch portion of the menu has sandwiches and a burger, along with a selection of salads. From 3pm to 6pm, they are now offering a midday happy hour until they open for dinner at 6pm, perfect for a pick-me-up during an afternoon of vintage-clothing shopping. 1640 Haight St. at Clayton, 415-622-6137.

~BESO~ in the Castro is now offering weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 3pm. The Spanish-inspired selections include revueltos de gambas (scrambled eggs with shrimp, Guindilla pepper, brioche bun, mixed greens, and patatas bravas) and seared chorizo with chickpeas, a fried egg, and salsa verde. There are also brunch beverages like mimosas and sangria. 4058 18th St. at Hartford, 415-801-5392.

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The exterior window at Box and Bells. Yelp photo by R S.

Oakland’s ~BOX AND BELLS~ from James Syhabout is now closed, after just over a year in business. Scoop reports that the restaurant, which served classic American pub-style food, didn’t seem to find a good niche in the neighborhood. Syhabout also owns Hawker Fare, Commis, and The Dock, which remain open. 5912 College Ave. at Chabot.

~BARRACUDA SUSHI~ in the Castro has closed, Hoodline reports. Apparently, it will reopen in February as ~MANDU~ from the same manager, Nam Kim, with a different concept. Look for pan-Asian street food, with an environment that evokes the sidewalks and alleyways of Asia and food from chef Daniel Sudar of nearby Slurp Noodle Bar. At first, they will only be open for dinner (that’s right, no more bottomless mimosa brunches) and will then expand hours as they go. 2251 Market St. at 16th St.

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The interior at Dopo. Yelp photo by Miguel E.

We received a newsletter from ~DOPO~ in Oakland letting us know that they’ll be making some changes in the coming months. Namely, they’ve decided to focus solely on Sicilian food and wine moving forward, instead of offering items from all regions of Italy. The menu will shift to reflect this, of course, with a new format built around preset daily menus of small antipasti, served both hot and cold. Their pizza and pasta will remain and are intended to be enjoyed after the antipasti offerings. As for wine, they will adjust their wine list to include producers from Sicily. Fantastico! Bring on the frappato. 4293 Piedmont Ave. at John, Oakland, 510-652-3676.

January 13, 2015
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Neighbor Bakehouse from the outside. Photo from Instagram.

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Chocolate claws and savory tarts at Neighbor Bakehouse. Photo from Instagram.

Fans of the superlative baked goods by Neighbor at cafés around town will be thrilled to know owner-baker Greg Mindel has moved into new digs in Dogpatch, giving him enough room to have a walk-up shop now! Meet ~NEIGHBOR BAKEHOUSE~, now in the AIC (American Industrial Center) on 3rd Street.

There’s a full exhibition kitchen, so you can take a peek at their process while you make some hard decisions on what to order. There will be his croissants, of course (oh, that twice-baked pistachio-blackberry one), savory tarts, and look for cookies, scones, and muffins coming soon. And there will be bread, which is in short supply in the neighborhood since there’s no grocery store. Mindel is also going to eventually add a pastry case, offering some European and American selections, too, including carrot cake and a chocolate layer cake. He also mentioned that sandwiches, salads, and some grab-and-go options are in the works as well, which will extend business hours.

There’s coffee service from De La Paz, so you can get espresso and drip, and look for a dedicated coffee window to come soon. While there isn’t room for seating inside, there are some picnic tables outside. Hours for now are Mon-Sat 6:30am-11:30am or so. Mindel says the best selection will be at 7am, and they are doing multiple bakes throughout the morning so people can eat the just-baked goods—he said it makes him happy to be able to offer that unique experience. Yeah, hot, fresh-out-of-the-oven croissants, is there anything better? 2343 3rd St., Suite 100, at 20th St.

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The exterior of Great Hunan (located in a 1911 building) that is the future home of Trestle. Image via Google.

Back in October, we reported that some ABC license activity pointed to a new project from Stones Throw’s Ryan Cole and Jason Kirmse (also of Fat Angel) going into the Great Hunan space in Jackson Square.

The team has now released some information about their forthcoming project, ~TRESTLE~. The Hi Neighbor group, the newly established San Francisco-based restaurant group behind Fat Angel and Stones Throw, is behind the project, which includes the aforementioned Ryan Cole and Jason Kirmse, plus Cyrick Hia, Tai Ricci, and executive chef Jason Halverson.

The daily-changing menu will focus on elevated interpretations of comfort cuisine, and the format will be a three-course prix-fixe for $35, with an option to add additional courses for $10 each. As for the name, the press release explains that a trestle is “defined as one of the earliest interpretations of a dining room table.” Dinner will be served nightly. We’ll have more details to share on the 49-seat space in the coming weeks. The targeted opening is late March 2015. 531 Jackson St. at Columbus.

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The interior at Verbena. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

We were sorry to read in Scoop that one of our favorite chefs, Sean Baker, is leaving ~VERBENA~, where he is also a partner. He’ll be transitioning out of the restaurant over the next couple of months, apparently, while he ramps up for a new project and the restaurant finds a new chef. No details are available about the cause of the split, but it is certainly a shame for those of us who loved Baker’s food there. We can’t wait to hear (and try) where the talented Baker goes next, and we’ll see what talent moves into the Verbena kitchen.

~MARLA BAKERY~ has a new chef de cuisine, Duncan Holmes, previously of Sons & Daughters. He will be working on daily changing menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and in true San Francisco style, he is committed to using seasonal, local ingredients. He’ll also be working on their family-style Sunday suppers, which will be happening on a monthly basis. Stay tuned for more on that soon. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.

It looks like ~RANGE~ will be returning to its roots later this month. According to Scoop, chef Rachel Sillcocks will be leaving on January 18th to work on her own projects, and owner and original chef Phil West will take over in the kitchen. Look for many of his classics, including the famed coffee-rubbed pork shoulder on the menu. 842 Valencia St. at 19th St., 415-282-8283.

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A burger from VeganBurg. Photo from Facebook.

We’ve been waiting for final details on the one for a while, and can now confirm: Trish Tracey of Ramblas and Thirsty Bear will be opening her restaurant, ~MYRIAD GASTROPUB~, in the recently closed Nombe in the Mission. They’ve begun the process of securing permits, the liquor license, and staffing, and hope to open this summer. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St.

Hoodline reports that Haight Street is getting a new option for vegan eaters, in the form of ~VEGANBURG~. The Singapore-based chain is moving into the long-vacant former All You Knead space, and this marks its first venture in the United States. Their menu lists a variety of burgers, all completely vegan, with lots of different toppings and patty options, plus vegan desserts and sides. 1466 Haight St. at Ashbury.

The Kimpton Group has a new restaurant moving into the former Grand Cafe space in the Hotel Monaco in March, called ~BDK RESTAURANT & BAR~. It will be an American-style tavern, with approachable food and drinks, and focused on hospitality (it’s named after Kimpton’s founder, Bill Drennon Kimpton). 501 Geary St. at Taylor, 415-292-0101.

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Quince’s fresh pasta hanging at the 21POP display, complete with a wood stove, at 2014’s FOG. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This week is the second annual FOG Design+Art fair (January 15th-18th) at the Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion, with more contemporary and modern design and art than you’ll know what to do with. There are a variety of talks, conversations, presentations, films, and more, and there will also be some pop-up dining options from Cotogna and Jane Coffee Lounge (serving baked goods, sandwiches, and Stumptown Coffee and Red Blossom Tea, local wines, and more). Cotogna’s Michael and Lindsay Tusk have created a pop-up/sit-down restaurant, with communal seating and a menu that includes a mozzarella antipasti bar, soups and salads, sandwiches, agnolotti dal plin, and Tuscan fried chicken. Oh yeah, and French Onion Gruyère soup (get it, FOG). Open 11:30am until closing. Tickets for the FOG Design+Art fair are $15 online and $20 at the door. Fort Mason Festival Pavilion.

~CHARIN~, the haute pop-up from Charles-C Onyeama we told you about in July and August, has landed a permanent home at Stable Cafe. The pop-ups will still be happening every three or four weeks, with seating for 34 diners per evening. Dinner will be $95 per person, not including wine pairings, and the next dinner will be on Sunday January 25th and Monday January 26th. To stay on top of upcoming dinners and menus, join their mailing list. 2128 Folsom St. at 17th St.

A new Ethiopian restaurant has opened in the Tenderloin, called ~TADU ETHIOPIAN KITCHEN~. Early Yelp reports are positive, with mentions of friendly service, vegetarian-friendly platters, and even an option for gluten-free injera. Hours are daily 11:30am-9pm. 484 Ellis St. at Leavenworth, 415-409-6649.

Fans of one of our finest local specialties (that would be crab cioppino, duh) will want to head over to ~BAR AGRICOLE~ on Sundays for chef Melissa Reitz’s special cioppino nights (while local Dungeness crab season lasts). For $50, you’ll get a salad, cioppino, and dessert, and the service fee is included in that price, FYI, so don’t be crabby.

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The dining room at Marlowe, the perfect setting for brunch. Photo by Eric Wolfinger.

On Saturday January 17th, ~MARLOWE~ will begin serving weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2:30pm. The menu offers chef Jennifer Puccio’s seasonal take on classic American dishes, including tomato-baked eggs with lamb, chickpeas, artichokes, Swiss chard, and yogurt, or French toast soldiers with vanilla bean crème anglaise and caramel dipping sauce. Take a look at the brunch menu here. And remember, their new location has a full liquor license, which means brunch cocktails like the Marlowe Reviver with Solerno blood orange, lemon, Fernet-Branca, and prosecco. Here are all the boozy options.

Mission ramen hot spot ~ORENCHI BEYOND~ will begin serving lunch Tuesday through Sunday starting Saturday January 17th, according to Eater. They’ll be open from 11:30am-1:30pm, which should hopefully help alleviate some of the crazy evening lines to get a bowl o’ noodles. 174 Valencia St. at 14th St.

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Osha Thai on Union Street. Photo from Facebook.

According to a post on their Facebook page, the Union Street location of ~OSHA THAI~ closed on Sunday January 11th. Their other (many) locations are still in operation, though. 2033 Union St. at Buchanan.

Some big changes in the Lark Creek Restaurant Group: Moana Restaurant Group (which has Piatti, Sonoma’s El Dorado Kitchen, Milf Valley’s Molina, and other restaurants in its portfolio) has now taken over the management of nine of Lark Creek’s restaurants: Lark Creek Steak and Cupola Pizzeria in San Francisco; Lark Creek Walnut Creek; Yankee Pier in Lafayette and at Terminal 3 San Francisco International Airport; Parcel 104 at the Santa Clara Marriott; Lark Creek Grill at Terminal 2 San Francisco International Airport; Lark Creek Blue at Santana Row in San Jose; and Lark Creek Newport Beach. Moana will also be handling the marketing for One Market, but the restaurant will remain independent.

Moana CEO Tim Harmon and President Jon Swanson will continue to work with Lark Creek’s CEO Michael Dellar on the direction of the Lark Creek restaurants as well as the reconcepting of Fish Story in Napa, which will debut in the spring (more to come on that front soon).

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Domestic ‘nduja. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Fileja Calabresi from Bella Italia. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Savory yogurts from Blue Hill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Grady’s cold brew. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

On Sunday I hit up the Winter Fancy Food Show, which is always a staggering undertaking, with more than 80,000 international food and beverage products displayed in both the north and south halls of Moscone. I only had one afternoon, so I surfed the aisles and cut through the crowds like a fast shark, looking for obvious prey. A few products I enjoyed sinking my teeth into were:

  • The new/about-to-be-released sriracha potato chips (using sriracha “rooster sauce” from Huy Fong Foods), and they’re also releasing a sriracha seasoning (deviled eggs and popcorn will never be the same). And you know about their sriracha popcorn they made with Pop! Popcorn, right?
  • This was kind of mind-blowing: there’s a new buffalo mozzarella made in the U.S., but using milk from water buffalo in Campania. I. KNOW. Angelo + Franco will also be selling the milk soon in small frozen 500-ml blocks (or more)—your mozzarella-making at home, or ice cream, or whatever, is gonna have a whole new level of game.
  • The salumi from New York’s Charlito’s Cocina were new to me—especially enjoyed the dry beer salami and chorizo.
  • Always good to taste the cured meat products from Daniele, Inc.—they do an excellent domestic prosciutto.
  • Holy crap, I saw the biggest chub of ‘nduja at the Lettieri & Co. booth. It’s from ‘Nduja Artisans in Chicago, and this very authentic spicy spreadable pork from the heavens is actually available at The Pasta Shop, and hallelujah, this product isn’t sold in a jar. Bonus: the pork is hormone-free.
  • Also on the Calabria tip: I discovered this line of pasta called Bella Italia, which offers a regional line of pasta shapes, including fileja Calabresi. I couldn’t believe it. They also had cicatelli Molisani, busiate Trapanesi, and more. Not sure who carries this line locally, but it was cool to see!
  • Oh man, someone needs to pick up this line of mustards by Domaine des Terres Rouges imported by HPS Epicurean—their absinthe mustard was beautiful, and I would totally find many uses for their tandoori mustard (it made me want to make an Indian mustard chicken with it). While I typically like a hotter mustard, these had an appealing delicacy and balance. And fortunately they sell them on Amazon (until someone local picks them up).
  • While visiting the HPS Epicurean booth, it was great to see Victoria D’Amato-Moran and preview her new (and complex) line of Cent’Anni Spirit Syrups, coming soon to BevMo and Dean & DeLuca.
  • The enthusiastic guy manning the Pollen Ranch booth—which features hand-harvested pollen—got me hooked on their dill pollen. This stuff is so fragrant (my purse smelled like the small sample they gave me all day), and they have a whole line of fennel-based products, rubs, and salts.
  • I love kefir, and Sierra Nevada Cheese Company has added this new release to their line of grass-fed milk products, plus there’s grass-fed Greek yogurt too.
  • Also on the yogurt side, I tried savory yogurts (tomato, sweet potato, butternut squash) from Blue Hill. I dislike sugary fruity yogurts, so these were kind of rad.
  • No one let me have the Red Clay containers of pimento cheese in my house, they’d barely last a day. I’d spread it on everything. DANGEROUS. Bonus: they use rBGH-/rBST-free cheeses.
  • Of course had to taste some of the products in the new Nancy’s Fancy line: gelati and sorbetti from LA’s Nancy Silverton. Sadly they weren’t sampling the trademark butterscotch budino flavor, but the coconut stracciatella was mighty tasty, ditto the chunky salted peanut butter—both had great mouthfeel.
  • The show was totally dominated with ice creams. Additional shout-outs to the Intelligentsia Black Cat espresso from Jeni’s, and strawberry balsamic sorbetto from the Maine-based Gelato Fiasco (their espresso chip was also notable). The inventive flavors from Brooklyn-based Phin & Phebes were awesome (ginger ice cream with ginger cookies with lemon icing filling, and banana pudding ice cream with vanilla wafers, whut?). Oh yeah, and St. Benoit (of the fantastic yogurt) is now making boxed ice milk.
  • These tins from Grady’s contain tea bags of cold-brew coffee that you can just throw into a pitcher of water and have New Orleans-style cold brew 12 hours later! So ingenious. Great flavor. I’m all over it!
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So much cheese. Photo courtesy Artisan Cheese Festival.

The ninth annual ~CALIFORNIA ARTISAN CHEESE FESTIVAL~ lands in Petaluma on March 20th-22nd, with lots of fun cheesy activities including farm tours (these sell out quickly!), seminars on topics like cheesemaking and cheese and beverage pairings, and the not-to-be-missed tent tastings. Each of the activities offers an opportunity to try out great local cheeses, talk to the farmers and makers who create them, and learn about even more ways to enjoy cheese in your daily life. Because more is more.

A full schedule of activities can be found here, and tickets can be bought here. Details vary per event, but ticket prices begin at $45 and most events take place at the Sheraton Sonoma County. 745 Baywood Dr. at Marina, Petaluma.

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The colorful salads at Liba Falafel. Photo from Facebook.

The latest project in Swan’s Marketplace has arrived. As we previously reported, it’s an extension of Periscope Cellars from Brendan Eliason, and offers a wine bar called ~DEEP ROOTS WINE BAR~ alongside ~HEN HOUSE~, the food side of the operation from Celeste Cooper and Ally Lopez (reported in Scoop). On the regularly changing menu you’ll find a small selection of pizzas, salads, and a heartier daily dish. As for drinks, they’ve got wine, low-alcohol cocktails, and Hamm’s (and only Hamm’s) for beer. Hours are lunch Wed-Fri 11:30am-3pm, dinner Wed-Sat 5pm-9pm, and brunch Sat 10:30am-3pm. 907 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-229-4399.

~LIBA FALAFEL~’s brick-and-mortar location is now open for dinner from 5pm-8pm Monday through Friday, according to a post on their Facebook page. They’ll be serving their usual incredible array of seasonal salads and toppings, get it! 380 17th St. at Webster, Oakland, 415-806-5422.

We’ve been tracking on Facebook the second location of ~TRUEBURGER~ on Broadway in Oakland and it looks like it’s now open. The menu offers a basic selection of burgers, including a vegetarian mushroom option, plus fries and milk shakes with various mix-ins. Hours are Tue-Sat 11am-3pm, with dinner hours coming soon. 4101 Broadway at 41st St., 510-883-8808.

ABC license activity and Yelp reports are saying that neighborhood fixture ~TAIWAN RESTAURANT~ in Berkeley is closing. 2071 University Ave. at Shattuck, 510-845-1456.

January 6, 2015
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The dining room. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Banquette seating. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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A view of the bar and open kitchen, with a lounge area to the left. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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Kampachi aguachile served on a vintage plate. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Now open in the Mission is ~CALIFORNIOS~ from chef Val Cantu, who previously hosted pop-up dinners at Naked Kitchen. It’s his first brick-and-mortar restaurant, and his wife, maître d’ Carolyn Cantu (formerly with Ken Fulk’s design firm), has created quite a chic space.

The entire experience is designed to be a bit mysterious and abstract: the restaurant has frosted windows and cryptic signage, and diners aren’t presented with a menu. It’s a tasting menu ($57, seven courses), and even when you receive the menu at the end of the meal, there isn’t much in the way of description—it’s basically just a list of words. So control freaks may have some problems with the format, but personally, I think it’s fun to be in the chef’s hands. (If you have issues with ingredients and allergies, I’d let the restaurant know when you make your reservation—and there is a vegetarian option.)

Cantu’s style is said to be “an avant-garde and reimagined interpretation of Mexican cuisine,” and his cooking experience includes Sons & Daughters, along with Pujol in Mexico City and Uchi in Austin. You’ll see some nods to Mexican ingredients, dishes, and techniques, and there’s a Californian and seasonal bent to his cuisine as well. I attended a test dinner, and already one week later, the menu has evolved and changed, which is in keeping with his creative style.

Our meal included Cantu’s spin on chips and salsa (with fermented chile pepper paste); a pomegranate granita with blueberry purée pudding, white chocolate, and “pop rocks”; kampachi aguachile with thinly sliced radishes and jalapeño (served on a fun vintage plate); chicken soup in a rich grain broth and pickled turnips; his version of barbacoa (tender beef tongue braised in black garlic) with a clever pairing of avocado and wasabi; and a few desserts, including blood orange yogurt and Mexican wedding cookies. The very personal food is modern, experimental, and playful, with a number of different temperatures and plating styles as well.

You can opt for wine pairings ($35), chosen by beverage director Charlotte Randolph (French Laundry), or survey the list for wines from small-scale vintners, plus beers and ciders too. Linea Caffe and Red Blossom Tea Company make up the coffee and tea menu.

The intimate and dimly lit space is perfect for a date: it’s like a funky study that would belong to a cool gallery owner, with tufted leather banquettes in a soft tobacco, black paneled walls, eclectic art (including a fun piece in the washroom), and modern chandeliers. But it’s not a romantic environment: the hip-hop and rap soundtrack keeps it feeling pretty urban. There’s an open kitchen with seating at the counter, with 25 seats in the dining room in all.

Open Tue-Fri 5:30pm-10pm, Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. It’s worth noting there’s a $40 cancellation fee if you cancel your reservation less than 24 hours before your seating. 3115 22nd St. at Mission, 415-757-0994.

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The dining room at Shizen. Photo courtesy Shizen.

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The dining room at Shizen. Photo courtesy Shizen.

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The exterior view of Shizen. Photo courtesy Shizen.

A report by Dana Eastland. The team behind Tataki sustainable sushi restaurants has a new venture opening this weekend, called ~SHIZEN~. Instead of focusing on sustainable seafood, the new project is all about sustainability in another way: the food is completely vegan. The menu offers sushi, izakaya-style grilled items, and ramen. Partner Kim Lui, a founding chef of Tataki, is the chef, and partner Casson Trenor reports that the aim in the kitchen is to give vegetables and vegan dishes the same level of attention and respect as seafood. To that end, they’ve built a sushi counter and will be offering daily specials prepared according to seasonal availability, so diners can select vegan nigiri-style choices.

They’ve also got a ramen menu, which took some doing. They’ve worked hard to develop a broth that uses no pork and are making egg-free noodles in-house daily. They’ve even managed to create “egg” and “chashu” toppings. There are also izakaya-style skewers, including a smoked bean curd version, or one with shishito peppers, plus grilled corn on the cob with togarashi, lime, salt, and pepper.

There is beer, wine, and sake in the beverage department, though the details of the list are still being worked out and the selections will be refined in the coming months. Hours are 5pm-10pm, though that may change as they learn more about the neighborhood and work out more kinks. The current plan is to open their doors by Friday January 9th, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to call ahead to make sure they’re open if you’re headed over. 370 14th St. at Julian, 415-678-5767.

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Exterior photo from Café des Amis’ Facebook page.

January is here, and, sadly, that means some closures to report. ~CAFÉ DES AMIS~ closed it doors on Sunday January 4th, after opening in 2010 on Union Street. A press release from Bacchus Management Group, which owned the café, cites problems securing a lease as the ultimate cause of the closure. The hope is to reopen in a new location at a later date, but in the meantime, they are working to make sure all the staff can transition into new positions at the group’s other restaurants.

~THE ABBOT’S CELLAR~ is closing at the end of the month (the last day of service is dinner on Saturday January 31st). The three partners, Christian Albertson, Nat Cutler, and Adam Dulye, opened the beer-centric restaurant in 2012. Moving forward, Albertson and Cutler will continue as partners at Monk’s Kettle, while Dulye will move on to another project. The partners cited issues with labor costs, profitability, and sustainability in the restaurant’s demise, despite its critical successes. Between now and January 31st, they will be open Tue-Sat.

The funky places on Divisadero continue to close, and the latest on the chopping block is ~KK CAFE~, according to Hoodline. The story is all too familiar: (the adorable) owners Jack and Margaret Chang can no longer afford the rent increases and upgrades required if they want to stay. They’ll be closing on Tuesday January 13th, but the news isn’t 100 percent bad. They hope to launch a business to distribute their famed peanut milk, with the help of their son Jon, after closing. Best of luck to the Changs, and be sure to stop by soon and get your fill of peanut milk and a burger. 252 Divisadero St. at Haight, 415-626-6188.

The sad news continues, with the report from Eater that ~GUSSIE’S CHICKEN AND WAFFLES~ has closed. Yelpers are reporting that they closed due to ongoing flooding issues, but will reopen in Oakland. 1521 Eddy St. at Fillmore.

We received notice that ~MASON~ in Potrero has also closed. Chef-owner Ryan Scott, who also owns ~MARKET & RYE~ next door, opened Mason in July. Despite only a few months in operation, Scott reportedly received “an offer that he couldn’t refuse” for the space, according to a press release. 338 De Haro St. at 16th St., 415-255-9335.

And just a quick reminder: the end of 2014 also meant the end of ~EMPRESS OF CHINA~. The iconic grande dame failed to secure a long-term lease after the building that houses the restaurant was sold; for more details on the sale, check out this article from The Examiner. 838 Grant St. at Clay.

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The Blue Bottle Ferry Building location. Yelp photo by Adam S.

There are changes afoot at ~BLUE BOTTLE FERRY BUILDING~. The space, which currently consists of the main café space and the north side “secret window,” is getting some upgrades to keep coffee service efficient. There will eventually be three points for ordering coffee, three espresso machines, a brew-by-scale brew bar, and new countertops. From now until Friday January 30th, the north side window will be closed and affogatos, parfaits, Liege waffles, sandwiches, and salads will not be available. Then, from February 2nd through 27th, the main entrance will be closed and all ordering will be done through the north side window. Hours remain the same during the remodel. You can find more details on the remodel here. 1 Ferry Plaza #7 at Embarcadero.

Joe Wolf and Amy Brown of ~MARLA BAKERY~ have another outlet for selling their fabulous baked goods: the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Every Saturday from 8am-2pm you can find their breads, pastries, and cookies in the south driveway. Yeehaw. 1 Ferry Plaza at Embarcadero.

Oakland’s ~JUHU BEACH CLUB~ is coming west, with a new pop-up at the Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market starting January 15th. They’ve got a bright pink tent (you can’t miss it), and they’ll be slinging chef Preeti Mistry’s flava-packed street food for lunch from 10am-2pm. Their signature pavs will be available, including the Pork Vindalated, Sloppy Lil’ P, and some new choices they’ll be trying out. In addition, you’ll find special bhel salads using fruit and vegetables from the market and a seasonal fruit lassi with Straus yogurt. 1 Ferry Plaza at Embarcadero.

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Housemade granola and yogurt with fruit at Huxley. Photo courtesy Huxley.

A new year, a new brunch: ~HUXLEY~ is now offering Sunday brunch from 11am-2:30pm. The new menu, which you can check out here, includes their avocado toast with uni, seaweed, and sesame, as well as braised pork with fried eggs, lentils, and radish, or French toast with apple butter and walnuts. There are also ice cream options, including a Sightglass coffee ice cream with coffee brittle. 846 Geary St. at Hyde, 415-800-8223.

Mornings in SoMa just got a lot better: ~MERIGAN SUB SHOP~ is now offering breakfast sandwiches from 8:30am-10:30am Monday through Friday. The menu is still being finalized, but a photo of one with griddled mortadella, egg, salsa verde, and ricotta hit their Facbeook page over the weekend. Yeah, get it.

Hoodline reports that you don’t need an app for all your delivery needs, after all (who knew?). Turns out, you can just make an old-fashioned phone call to ~ROOM SERVICE~ in the Inner Sunset, and they’ll deliver what you need to your door. The convenience store offers a wide selection of beer, wine, spirits, snack foods, and household staples, and owner Daniel Flores reports that one of their top sellers is ice cream. Of course. The minimum order for delivery is $30, with a $5 delivery fee, free delivery for orders over $50. 900 Irving St. at 10th Ave., 415-566-7666.

As of Monday January 5th, ~COFFEE BAR~ has joined the wintertime flavored coffee madness, but with a special San Francisco twist. Two local pastry chefs, Laura Cronin (Perbacco/Barbacco) and Jessica Sullivan (Delfina Restaurant Group) were invited to create a special beverage to raise money for Meals on Wheels.

Cronin’s creation is the seasonal winter mocha with orange, cinnamon, vanilla, Valrhona dark chocolate, Neapolitan espresso, and fresh whipped cream, and is available at the Financial District locations: 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-397-2233; and 433 Kearny St. at California, 415-795-1214. Sullivan’s creation is the Bicerin, made with Gianduja drinking chocolate, Neapolitan espresso, hazelnut crema, and Gianduja shavings, and is available at the Mission location: 1890 Bryant St. at Mariposa, 415-551-8100.

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Rosetta Costantino’s calzoncelli con ceci. Photo from Facebook.

Nothing brings joy to the January doldrums like a serious feast, Italian style. You won’t want to miss this special dinner celebrating the food and wine of Calabria on Thursday January 29th at ~VIA UNO~ in Half Moon Bay. The dinner is a collaboration between chef Giuseppe Sarubbi and author Rosetta Costantino, who are both from the same Calabrian town, and is a celebration of Costantino’s books on regional cooking. The four-course dinner includes many regional dishes, including ‘nduja crostini and sagne chine, a fresh layered pasta dish. Check out the full menu here. The dinner is $80 per person, or $110 with wine pairings. It begins at 6:30pm, and you can reserve your spot by email or by calling the restaurant. 2810 Cabrillo Highway North at Roosevelt, Half Moon Bay, 650-560-8858.

~HILLSIDE SUPPER CLUB~ is celebrating their second anniversary on Monday January 19th with a four-course prix-fixe dinner at 7pm (and hey, one of the courses will include that particular poultry liver that rhymes with trois!). The dinner is $68 per person, with an option for wine pairings for $32; reservations can be made here. 300 Precita Ave. at Folsom, 415-285-6005.

December 23, 2014
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The bar at 398 Restaurant & Bar. Photo by Kelly Puleio.

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A cocktail at 398 Restaurant & Bar. Photo by Kelly Puleio.

A report by Dana Eastland. There’s a follow-up to the October opening of Klyde in Union Square. It’s called ~398 RESTAURANT & BAR~, and, like Klyde, it’s in the Hotel G but is a separate project. Klyde’s Sam Fechheimer is the chef here, as well, with a menu of European-inspired dishes. The charcuterie selection is extensive, with pâtés and terrines made in-house, and entrées include pastas, meats, and salads.

There’s also some big news (ha) behind the bar: Brian Felley and Mo Hodges of the short-lived Big are running the show on the cocktail side of things. These new digs are actually large, clocking in at 124 seats, and the pair will still be shaking up their creative and flavorful concoctions. The drinks and food will be designed to play well together, so think cocktail-friendly food and vice versa.

The interior is a mix of industrial and raw with polished accents. The banquettes are upholstered with blood orange velvet to give a plush vibe, while raw beams and the original and distressed plaster ceiling keep everything from getting too fussy. The back bar has botanical wallpaper, which echoes the many ingredients in the cocktails, and Holophane-style lights, with polished dark wood stools and a pewter-toned bar.

398 Restaurant & Bar officially opened on December 19th. Hours are daily 5pm-11pm. 398 Geary St. at Mason, 415-654-5061.

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The dining counter at Delfina. Photo: Eric Wolfinger.

Big news on 18th Street: replacing chef de cuisine Brian Gremillion, who was at ~DELFINA~ for four years, is Edward Higgins, most recently at Bix. His background includes NYC’s Craft, Hearth, and Insieme, plus Ekki at the Four Seasons Hotel in Marunouchi, Japan, and Palo Alto’s Quattro. Chef-partner Craig Stoll confirmed Higgins starts at Delfina on January 7th and says, “We’re super excited to have Edward join our team and looking forward to an awesome, collaborative 2015.”

We contacted Bruce Hill for news on Edward Higgins’ replacement at Bix, and should have something to report in the New Year.

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The vacant 65 Club space on Taylor; Loco’l is moving in to the grocery space in the foreground. Photo via Phantom Coast’s Facebook page.

An update on Daniel Patterson and Roy Choi’s ~LOCO’L~ for you: they are opening their first location of their fast-food concept right in the Tenderloin, at Turk and Taylor to be exact. I drive by that corner often and have noticed a lot of construction, and wondered what was going in after the Phantom Coast project fell through.

As we mentioned before, Patterson and Choi will be offering a healthier, more sustainable alternative to the current fast-food choices, while maintaining low prices. They are specifically hoping to appeal to youth in struggling neighborhoods, with a menu of “smashes” (burgers with beef, whole grains, and tofu), rice bowls, and other dishes featuring fresh ingredients.

Scoop reports the 3,200-square-foot location was a former corner store, and Patterson’s architect for all his restaurants, Scott Kester, will design the space. There will also be a commissary kitchen for Patterson and Sasha Bernstein to hold classes for The Cooking Project, a nonprofit that teaches cooking skills to kids and young adults from the Tenderloin community. They hope to open in the summer, with other locations following in LA and possibly Oakland. Way to go, guys. 57 Taylor St. at Turk.

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The dining room at Burma Love on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

Well, it turns out we didn’t have all the correct information in our piece last week from the Burma Superstar team on their new project in the Mission. However, we got some new intel this week, so here’s an update for you. The new restaurant is actually going to be called ~BURMA LOVE~, and while Burma Superstar is known for its everyday, classic Burmese dishes, the menu here will include dishes that you’d find at a family feast, with an emphasis on seafood. They mention the dishes will be a bit spicier and more concentrated in flavor. (Although you will still find some of the favorite dishes from Burma Superstar on the menu too.) The plan is, as we reported, to open after Christmas. 211 Valencia St. at Duboce, 415-861-2100.

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The exterior of La PanotiQ, now open on Chestnut. Photo from Facebook.

Back in August, we reported on the new La Capra Coffee in SoMa from the brothers Rosenthal of Town Hall, Salt House, and Anchor & Hope. Their expansion in the neighborhood continues, with a new pizza joint called ~JERSEY~. As the name would suggest, it’s a New Jersey-style, full-service pizza place. Pies will be the focus, but other dishes will also be available, Scoop reports. The current timeline is a February opening. 145 2nd St. at Minna.

Adding to the bakery madness in town is ~LA PANOTIQ~ in the Marina. As previously reported, this is the second location of the small bakery chain, which started in Campbell. Chowhound caught the opening, which appears to be just one of several planned outposts, including Noe Valley, Berkeley, Livermore, and Mountain View. The menu offers soups, sandwiches, salads, and pastries, as well as coffee and tea. 2234 Chestnut St. at Pierce, 415-525-3625.

A friend sent in this tip: Bayview has a new place for breakfast and lunch, called ~SIMPLY DELISH~. Apparently, the owners originally planned to open a larger Thai restaurant in the same building, but then the developer offered to give them a good deal on the corner space, too, as long as they agreed to offer affordable lunch and dinner options (the building houses low-income seniors). So, Simply Delish is open now, and a larger Thai restaurant is in the works. Early Yelpers report good curry and Thai dishes, as well as American-style diner breakfasts. 5668 3rd St. at Armstrong, 415-529-1649.

Eater reports that banh mi mini-chain ~DINOSAURS~ has opened a fourth location in SoMa. Yelpers report that the space has a pinball machine, in addition to their menu of salads, rolls, and sandwiches. 18 Boardman Pl. at Bryant, 415-701-1421.

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The Nombe interior. Yelp photo by Claudine C.

Up on Potrero Hill, French restaurant ~CHEZ PAPA BISTROT~ is closing at the end of the month. Owner Jocelyn Bulow says he plans to keep the corner space, according to Scoop, but no word on what might be up his sleeve. His other restaurants, Chez Maman and Papito, each have a location in Potrero and Hayes Valley and remain open. The last day of service for Chez Papa is Wednesday December 31st.

Also closing on Wednesday December 31st is Japanese izakaya ~NOMBE~. Well, it’s not closing, exactly, but will no longer be functioning as a restaurant, according to Scoop. Owners Gil Payne and Mari Takahashi cite family illnesses as the reason they can no longer keep up with daily operations, but they are holding onto the space and will be using it for cooking classes, including sessions on sake, ramen burgers, and sushi. Check out the class schedule here.

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Image courtesy of Chubby Noodle.

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Chubby Noodle’s jook with hickory-smoked bacon. Photo via Facebook.

Your weekends are about to get dim-summier and rowdier with the arrival of the bottomless dim sum weekend brunch at ~CHUBBY NOODLE MARINA~, starting Saturday January 3rd. For $37 (plus tax and tip), you will have 90 minutes to enjoy bottomless dishes and four or five beverages, too, ranging from draft Sapporo to their cold tea to probably some mimosas.

The starting menu will be divided into five sections: dim sum (pork buns, shrimp and cilantro dumplings, shu mai), noodles (expect Hong Kong-style chow mein, rice cakes in XO sauce, wonton noodle soup), soup (hot and sour, crab and corn chowder), rice (their amazing fried rice, and jook with smoked pork and a poached egg), and sides (bok choy, pea shoots, eggplant).

Knowing chef-partner Pete Mrabe, these initial dishes will change up a bit. He plans to start with 12 the first weekend, and then ramp up with new ones each week, eventually getting the menu count to 25 (five dishes in each section). You’ll check off on a piece of paper which dishes you want. Depending on the size of your group, you may need to order double—your server will advise you.

Bonus: since tables will be timed for 90 minutes, reservations will be available (via SeatMe or Yelp). You can hop over to their website right now and book your table. Brunch will be served 10am-3pm, and with these new hours, they will be open continuously on Sat-Sun through dinner.

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The dining room and bar at PianoFight. Photo from Facebook.

A report by Dana Eastland. The plot keeps thickening at the former ~CAFE DU NORD~ space and the ~SWEDISH AMERICAN HALL~, the multilevel entertainment, food, and beverage complex on Market in the Castro. As reported in October, many partners are involved, with a few different projects. A Basque-inspired restaurant, Aatxe, from the Ne Timeas Restaurant Group (Flour + Water, Salumeria, Central Kitchen) is in the mix, while downstairs will be an entertainment venue with food and drink operated by Ne Timeas and the Bon Vivants (Trick Dog).

Now, Eater reports that the Swedish American Hall, the upstairs entertainment space, will be operated by Noise Pop, the programmers behind Treasure Island Music Festival, the Noise Pop Festival, and the 20th Street Block Party. Actually, the whole project is starting to seem like 20th Street North, with many of the same partners. Anyway, the Hall will now serve as the headquarters for the Noise Pop Festival, as well as other local and national acts throughout the year. No word yet about food and drink service in the space, which should reopen February 2015. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.

The Tenderloin has a new comedy, food, and beverage venue in the former Original Joe’s location. Eater reports that it’s called ~PIANOFIGHT~ and has multiple venues: a 5,000-square-foot theater space upstairs, a 3,000-square-foot basement, plus a full bar and restaurant. All told, there are two theater spaces and a cabaret stage, along with multiple dressing rooms and rehearsal spaces. The bar and restaurant offers classic American food, like burgers, corn dogs, and fried items. Drinks are simple: just a few classic cocktails, plus beer and wine on tap. The bar and restaurant is open 4pm-12am daily, with special late hours after shows. Here’s the show calendar. 144 Taylor St. at Eddy.

One more note about music and sound: ~OLIVETO~ in Oakland has installed a new sound system in partnership with Meyer Sound. It’s not exactly a music venue, but it is a novel new way to explore sound in restaurants. Meyer Sound, whose work can be found in multiuse spaces like Zellerbach Hall and Jazz at Lincoln Center, have taken a two-pronged approach here: there’s a passive sound system (called Libra) and an active one (called Constellation) that help to control and optimize the diner’s experience of sound. Libra uses sound panels (beautifully printed with photographs by Deborah O’Grady) to minimize sound, while the Constellation system uses a special “reverberation algorithm” and 18 microphones to adjust the sound experience in the dining room. Now, this all may sound a bit fussy, but the overall effect is basically that you can hear your tablemates perfectly, and everything else in the dining room fades to a pleasant, quiet hum. Which is really the dream, isn’t it? The system was installed in anticipation of a new series of programs in the Oliveto dining room, too, including lectures, workshops, and musical performances. That programming is yet to be launched, but when it does, you won’t miss a whisper.

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The artist formerly known as Dine About Town is back, but this time it’s called ~SAN FRANCISCO RESTAURANT WEEK~ and is presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association instead of San Francisco Travel. It runs from Wednesday January 21st through Friday January 30th, and there have been a few changes to the program too. They’ve partnered with OpenTable and have officially named the SF-Marin Food Bank as a charity partner, meaning the bank will receive $0.25 per cover during Restaurant Week.

So, the food: two-course lunches are available for $25, three-course dinners are $40, and a new option, the discovery menu, is $85 including beverage pairings. The discovery menu is intended to offer a chance for restaurants to get a little more creative, and for diners to try something new. For example, Hog & Rocks is offering a special whiskey dinner with High West whiskey, while AQ will be doing a “Roots” dinner with a Roots soundtrack and root vegetables on the menu. Participation, menus, and hours vary by location; full details will be released on their website January 5th. Confirmed participants include Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar, RN74, and Waterbar. To celebrate the new partnership, some restaurants will also be offering additional specials on drinks and appetizers, in addition to the prix-fixe, so look for that.

If you’re really into Restaurant Week and end up visiting four or more restaurants, post a picture (including the menu) to their Facebook page, and you’ll be entered to win one of many gift certificates to local restaurants.

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The East Bay restaurant scene has been running full tilt the last few years, and ~OAKLAND RESTAURANT WEEK~ is a great way to try new places without breaking your (holiday-bruised) bank. It runs from Thursday January 15th through Sunday January 25th. More than 75 restaurants are participating, including Juhu Beach Club, Box and Bells, Penrose, and A16 Rockridge. Check out the full list here—it’s a doozy. Prix-fixe menus will be available at lunch and dinner, with three different prices: $20, $30, or $40 per person. Hours vary per restaurant, so be sure to check the website for details, where you can also make reservations and search by neighborhood.

December 16, 2014
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The dining room at Burma Love on Valencia. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The bar area. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

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The bar. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.

A report by Dana Eastland. Update: we received more information from the folks behind Burma Superstar, and it ends up we weren’t given all the information. This project is actually called ~BURMA LOVE~ and, while it is the same owners as Burma Superstar, the concepts are different.

It has been almost three years since we first reported on ~BURMA SUPERSTAR~ coming to Valencia Street, and after numerous check-ins with the staff (and Karl Hasz for construction updates!), we’re happy to say the opening will be just after Christmas. This is the fourth location for the local chain, joining the original on Clement Street, in addition to outposts in Oakland and Alameda.

The space is polished and comfortable, with a wall of warm-hued scallop tile in the dining room and bar. The scallop motif is repeated in a metal open-work wall against the back wall that separates the kitchen from the dining area without completely closing it off. The tables and chairs are made of warm, smooth wood, while the banquettes are a cool gray leather and the floor is a gray poured concrete. There are some Burmese antiques and objects throughout the space, as well.

The menu doesn’t differ from their other locations, but there is the exciting addition of a full liquor license and therefore a cocktail menu. Cocktails are all priced at $10 and are not overly complicated. Check out the Green Point (rye, sweet vermouth, yellow Chartreuse, and Angostura and orange bitters) or the Momo (tequila, lime, fresh tamarind juice, and Cointreau). There is a separate bar area off to one side, which is certainly welcome given the restaurant’s popularity and famously long wait times.

They’ve begun with some friends and family dinners this week while the kitchen ramps up for an opening planned just after Christmas. Some finishing touches are still being added to the space, as well. When they do open, hours will be 5pm-11pm daily, and lunch will be added in a few months. We’ll let you know! 211 Valencia St. at Duboce.

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The interior of Hogwash. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography courtesy UrbanDaddy.

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The impressive taps at Hogwash. Photo courtesy Hogwash.

A report by Dana Eastland. ~HOGWASH~, a new beer hall downtown, became the latest place for suds when it opened on Saturday December 13th. As we first mentioned in September, this beer bar comes from owners Nick Rothman and Paula Thompson, and offers a major selection of beers on tap (Rich Higgins assembled the list). There are 30 in all, from far and wide, including Hitachino White Ale (Japan), Fuller’s London Porter (London, believe it or not), and Monk’s Café Sour (Belgium). There are also lots of domestic taps on offer, including locals like Almanac, Lagunitas, and Magnolia. Here’s the whole list, with a handy glassware guide, too. The beer selection will change often, but the goal is to make sure that it is well rounded and that there is something for everyone, from the intense beer nerd to the casual sipper. Thompson emphasized that they are focused on hospitality and welcoming everyone, because really, beer is all about socializing, right?

The space was designed by Lauren Geremia of Geremia Design and has a modern, sleek feel, with warm touches. Eater snapped some great pictures last week, if you’d like to see a slideshow. There is a lot of oak and steel, as well as some warm brick touches and mod white paneling on the walls that keep it from falling into the ubiquitous reclaimed-everything trap we see so much of. The stunning high ceilings have been stripped to reveal exposed timbers, with modern globe light fixtures and wall sconces keeping the space geometric and clean. The taps behind the long wood bar are backed with marble, too, which is one of the touches that makes the space feel more sophisticated than the average beer hall.

There’s food, too, mostly in the form of housemade sausages and snacks. Morgan Hamm of Le Beau Market crafted the menu, which includes a breakfast-style pork sausage served with a fried egg, a lamb sausage, and even a vegetarian option made with squash and barley. There are also salads and a few snack bites like fries, pretzel bites, and fried pickles. Check out the menu right here. For now, they are open daily 6pm-1am, but plan to add lunch service soon. 582 Sutter St. at Mason, 415-361-5500.

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Justin and Jerad Morrison of Sightglass Coffee. Photo: Michael O’Neal.

The Divisadero Corridor is about to have another icon of our local coffee roasting scene join the coffee klatsch: ~SIGHTGLASS COFFEE~ is going to be opening a café in the former KJ Produce Market on Divis at Page. I spoke with brothers Justin and Jerad Morrison, who just returned from a sourcing trip to Ethiopia, and they confirmed the news—they just secured the space a couple of months ago. They have actually been talking to the landowner for more than a year and are so excited to be opening one of their cafés so close to where they live (they both live nearby).

Their plans for the 2,000-square-foot space (it’s double the size of their recently opened Mission location) are still being fine-tuned, but one thing they are very sure of is they want to maximize it as much as they can. They are keen to create a space that will accommodate as many people as possible, giving the community a place to hang out and enjoy getting together over a cup of something delicious—which means there won’t be roasting on site. Justin alluded to a couple of fun features that will be coming, but they can’t reveal just yet what those things are. #teaser

Boor Bridges will continue to be their architect of record for this location, and it looks like they will have access to the space in early February—it’s currently being structurally upgraded. Realistically, we can hope to enjoy a shot of Owl’s Howl around the end of summer. Hoot! 301 Divisadero St. at Page.

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The exterior at Weaver’s. Yelp photo by Susie W.

Hoodline reports that the Castro has yet another spot for caffeination, ~WEAVER’S COFFEE & TEA~. It’s the second location from the San Rafael-based roaster John Weaver, who was a roaster at Peet’s before starting his own company. The glassy space is in the same building as Fitness SF and also has a patio out front that should be open in the spring. Hours are Mon-Thu 5am-12am, Fri 5am-11pm, Sat 5am-10pm, Sun 6am-9pm. 2301 Market St. at Noe, 800-328-1178.

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The interior of Lale. Yelp photo by Cherylynn N.

Hoodline reports that the former Villa Romana, which closed earlier this year after almost 60 years, has reopened as ~LALE~. The fabulously vintage space has been completely redone, sadly, and the result is rather generic, though reportedly the enclosed back patio has been revamped, which is nice. The owner is Suzan Sarikurt, who is looking to her Turkish heritage for inspiration. The menu offers breakfast dishes like omelets and eggs Benedicts, as well as Turkish-inspired lunch options including wraps and flatbreads. They are also doing a lot of baking in-house, with many daily specials on offer. Recently, housemade English muffins and jam were on the menu. Hours are 8am-3pm daily; dinner service should be coming soon. 731 Irving St. at 9th Ave., 415-566-8814.

David Lawrence and Monetta White of ~1300 ON FILLMORE~ have a new project in the works, according to ABC license activity. Scoop reports that details are slim (there’s not even a name yet), but that a barbecue project is rumored (considering the name on file is Black Bark, it makes me hope for some brisket). We do know that the location is across the street from 1300 on Fillmore, and they hope to open in April. 1325 Fillmore St. at Ellis.

As reported last month, the Tenderloin’s ~BURMESE KITCHEN~ had to close after a landlord dispute. In an interesting turn of events, it looks like Burmese Kitchen will now be opening in the former To Hyang space, which closed earlier this year, also due to landlord issues. The Burmese Kitchen website calls the move a temporary pop-up, but they’ve also applied for a liquor license, which seems to suggest a more permanent situation. 3815 Geary Blvd. at 2nd Ave.

Here’s some very unfortunate news: it seems that the Fire Department had to pay a visit to ~TBD~ twice last Thursday. Eater reports that their fire suppression system went off during a corporate holiday party around 7pm in the evening, spraying the kitchen with foam and setting off lots of alarms. The Fire Department came and gave them the all clear, though they did have to send all the guests home. Then, around 1am, employees at AQ saw smoke coming from the building. It looks like there was a fire between TBD and neighboring De La Paz Coffee Roasters, and both buildings sustained significant fire and water damage. TBD is closed until further notice, though they hope the repairs will only take a week (though it’s a big week, with holiday parties and festivities). De La Paz is also closed, but will be roasting at Four Barrel in the meantime, so there shouldn’t be any issues with their bean distribution. 1077 Mission St. at 7th St., 415-431-1826.

This one just came through just in time for inclusion today, and it’s an inspiring one. ~HULI HULI HAWAIIAN GRILL~ is opening in Bayview early next year. The project is run by Project Bayview, a residential ministry committed to helping people in the neighborhood stay on track and building community within the neighborhood. Director Shawn Sanchez, who hails from Bayview, says they wanted to fund the ministry’s projects through work, so the idea for the restaurant was born. They’ve been working on the back garden of their building (it’s more than 100 years old), as well as the interior, and plan to open in February 2015. The food is Hawaiian-style barbecue, using high-quality meats and produce. They’ll also be offering healthful vegetarian options, including a kale salad. To keep everything accessible, they’ll keep menu prices around $8. Sanchez said that though they do have a good story, they want to be known first for their excellent food and inclusive atmosphere, and the story is secondary. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on this project’s opening! 4100 3rd St. at Hudson.

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The pulled pork sandwich on farmerbrown’s new lunch menu. Photo from Facebook.

~FARMERBROWN~ is now open for weekday lunch, Monday through Friday from 11am-2:30pm. It’s really nice to see them get some daytime action, after holding down that corner for so many years. On the menu, you’ll find their seasonal soul food, including the famed fried chicken and waffles, and salads and sandwiches including a pulled pork sandwich and a burger. This also means that the bar will be open all day, beginning at 11am until closing, serving drinks and snacks like barbecue chips, pickled okra, and spiced nuts. In April, they plan to add weekday breakfast, too—score!

Looking for a good brunch spot for groups? ~THE HALL~ is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2pm. All the vendors have special brunch menus on offer, with dishes like baked Moroccan French toast, a goat cheese and egg tagine, and classic eggs Benedict. They’ve also got bottomless mimosas, micheladas, and shandies for $10.28, and live music. Fun! 1028 Market St. at 6th St., 415-558-8293.

~RAMEN SHOP~ is now open on Tuesdays from 5pm-10:30pm, which means they can now take care of your noodle-slurping needs seven days a week.

Things really are changing around here. ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ is now accepting reservations, according to a tweet.

December 12, 2014
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The colorful and old school calendars from Roosevelt Tamale Parlor.

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Sweet dreams are made of these pepperoni.

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The fully loaded gift box from Luke’s Local.

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The very sexy Gabriel-Glas universal wineglasses.

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Sherry the book and sherry the beverage. Photo from Merchants of Beverage.

If you are looking for some ideas on what to get the gourmand in your life (or just a sibling who happens to be bonkers for pizza), here are a few holiday gift ideas that have caught our eye (and fancy).

Our main man Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books did an excellent roundup of holiday cookbooks for you to check out (and don’t forget: tablehopper readers get 20 percent off—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout, either at the store or online, for your discount). Shop local!

One more book to add: there’s a new companion to last year’s Arts & Eats book by Susan Kay and Teri Hauswirth: the Arts & Eats Oakland Cookbook. This clever book with a mission features recipes from 25 Oakland restaurants, including A16 Rockridge, Cosecha, Dopo, Flora, Fusebox, Hawker Fare, Juhu Beach Club, Kronnerburger, Miss Ollie’s, Pizzaiolo, and Ramen Shop, paired with art from Creativity Explored artists.

All proceeds from the book will benefit Creative Rescue, an organization devoted to rescue animals, and Creativity Growth, an artists’ organization for developmentally disabled adults in Oakland. Copies are available online, at some local bookstores, or the Creative Growth Art Center. A steal for $20.

Good news: The ~ROOSEVELT TAMALE PARLOR~—which has served Mexican food since 1922—has brought back their colorful calendars, and they’re just $10. It’s a fun way to show and share local (and Mission) pride. 2817 24th St. at York.

Pizza bed? Pizza bed! For your ultimate pizza-lovin’ fanatic, all you need to do is contribute to this Kickstarter and you can preorder a pizza bed set—with a duvet cover, sheets, and pillowcases—which will be delivered (in a pizza box, natch) a couple of months later. Now eating pizza in bed can hit an entirely new level. So meta.

There are gift baskets (i.e., a random hodgepodge of rose-scented body lotion and bath salts—no, hopefully not that kind—with a porcelain swan to put next to your bathtub) and then there are gift baskets (see these below). If you have an office you need to send a thank-you to, take a look at this year’s baskets from Nana Joes and Luke’s Local. The Nana Joes basket is packed with Michelle Pusateri’s awesome granola, fab cookies, Tony’s trail mix, granola bars (love them), and orange-spiced mixed nuts (and everything in the basket is vegan and gluten-free). You can order it on Nanajoes.com ($40) and Goodeggs.com, or pick them up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Mateo Market, and Temescal Farmers Market.

The folks at Luke’s Local artisan food delivery service are offering three curated gift boxes, and they come in a handmade redwood box. What’s great is you can have them delivered too (serving San Francisco, South Bay, and the East Bay)! The boxes come with an array of locally made goodies, like Nosh This Almond Crack, 4505 chicharrones, and there’s some seasonal fruit in there too (move over, Harry & David). Take your pick from three different boxes ($40-$80); available now through Friday December 19th.

Have you had a chance to check out ~LES CLOS~ yet and enjoy a glass of wine? Because if you have, you probably freaked out over their gorgeous Gabriel-Glas wineglasses. (I sure did.) It ends up Les Clos is selling two-pack gift boxes of these mouth-blown “universal” Gabriel glasses, the “One for All” lead-free crystal wineglass from Austria. $110. (Hey, at least you can use them for everything.)

The folks at Merchants of Beverage are also offering some great gift packages, like this set of two Zalto flutes with a bottle of 2000 Krug (ohhhh yeahhhh) or with a bottle of André Clouet rosé instead (another fabulous bottle). I also dig this Celebration of Sherry package, with three sherries curated by Talia Baiocchi and her brand-new book, Sherry.

If you’re looking for ideas on new spirits/beer/bartending books to gift, my pal Camper English at Alcademics had this handy recap of recently published books.

For the burgeoning wino in your life, Charlotte Chipperfield of The Wine Key (you can read her wino piece on tablehopper here) is offering a new online wine course starting in January, The Wine Foundations. It’s a four-week virtual wine course designed to be an introduction to the world of wine, covering everything: the vineyards, winemaking, how to taste, food and wine pairings, and more. It’s designed for individuals who love wine and want to learn more, but aren’t aspiring to become wine professionals. $125. And you can drink from home while “studying.”

Lastly, if you’re thinking of gifting someone a gift certificate to a restaurant, please consider buying a Sharetable.org restaurant gift certificate. These $50 gift certificates result in a $5 donation (enough to feed 15 people!) to the SF-Marin Food Bank.

You can get gift certificates to these restaurants: Ame, Aziza, Bar Agricole, Boulevard, Camino, Coi, Commonwealth, Cotogna, Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Frances, Humphry Slocombe, Ichi Sushi, Jardinière, Locanda, Mission Chinese Food, Namu Gaji, Nopa, Nopalito, Outerlands, Pizzeria Delfina, Prospect, Quince, Rich Table, and State Bird Provisions. They can be ordered online (Bi-Rite Market and Bi-Rite Creamery are available online only) or you can pick them up at Linea Caffe/Lt. Waffle (3417 18th St. at San Carlos).

Happy Holidays, everyone!