The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
November 24, 2015

The oven and counter at Del Popolo. Photo by Joseph Schell.


Jon Darsky and Jeffrey Hayden. Photo by Joseph Schell.


The dining room. Photo by Joseph Schell.


And, of course, the pizza. Photo by Joseph Schell.

If you don’t feel like chasing down the ~DEL POPOLO~ truck for one of Jon Darsky’s superlative wood-fired oven pizzas, now you can enjoy one of his Neapolitan-inspired pies while sitting in his handsome new restaurant in Lower Nob Hill. Look for about five to seven pizzas in all, from a marinara to broccoli with mozzarella, black olive, and ricotta salata di bufala.

But it’s much more than just a chic pizza spot: the expanded menu includes seasonal antipasti, salads, and house-cured meats. There will be six to ten small plates in all. Chef de cuisine Jeffrey Hayden comes from Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland, and you will see his vegetable-centric and market-driven approach in creative dishes like fuyu persimmon and radicchio with pistachio, mint, and yogurt; Yellow Finn potatoes with green garlic, pounded herbs, and lemon; and charred cauliflower with roasted new onions, pickled lime, and poached farm egg. I’m willing to bet the housemade sausage-stuffed Medjool dates with roasted tomato and bacon will be on most tables (Hayden worked at Blackbird in Chicago, so you can bet he was no stranger to the stuffed dates at sister restaurant Avec). There are also a few desserts too.

Darsky’s naturally leavened dough finds philosophical partners in the selections for the wine and beer program, which will highlight naturally fermented selections; Oakland’s Ordinaire Wine Shop & Wine Bar is behind the wine list, while Andrew Merritt—who has worked with Saison, Michael Mina, and Leopold’s Gasthaus—is behind the beer selections.

The 1,700-square-foot space is anchored with a wood-fired brick Acunto oven imported from Italy, framed by a dramatic backdrop featuring a 20-foot arch filled with firewood. Emily Knudsen for Jessica Helgerson Interior Design in Portland, Oregon, is behind the interior and exterior design. The facade’s original detail was revealed, as well as clerestory windows and the original fir floor.

Hours are Sun, Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm, Fri-Sat until 11pm. Del Popolo accepts reservations for parties of four or more on Resy, although it’s primarily a walk-in restaurant. 855 Bush St. at Taylor, 415-589-7940.


Chez Panisse downstairs co-chef Jérôme Waag. Photo courtesy of Jérôme Waag.


Photo from Chez Panisse on Facebook.

Some big news over at ~CHEZ PANISSE~: downstairs co-chef Jérôme Waag will be departing the restaurant in January to embark on a new project of his own in Japan. Waag has worked at Chez Panisse for something like 25 years (he started as a busboy and eventually worked his way up to a sous position) and was appointed co-chef back in 2011 (the position was previously held by David Tanis).

Waag has been traveling to Japan quite often over the past four years, including for an OPENrestaurant event, the unique event series he co-concepted and produced with members of the Chez community and more. He loves Tokyo and its balance of the traditional and the modern.

In a phone call with Waag, he says, “I feel like it was now or never for me to open my own restaurant.” He originally thought about consulting in Japan, but said doors kept opening for him to do his own thing and he felt like he couldn’t say no. He has a couple of partners he’ll be working with—a Japanese chef and an American who lives in Japan—and he plans to move there in the spring. There isn’t a location yet, but he plans to cook in the Chez Panisse style, obviously with Japanese ingredients and influences. He’s looking forward to adapting to his new environment and to “discover myself as a chef.”

He is also really excited by the food history and agriculture of Japan, and how the Japanese are so connected to the land. He says there is a movement of young people who need to take over from the aging population of farmers, and they want to farm sustainably. He can’t wait to explore this larger context, represent some of the Chez Panisse culture in Japan, and “be a part of something bigger there.”

Of his years at Chez, he says he really liked the environment—it was a remarkable opportunity to be able to cook there part-time and explore his creativity and art at the same time (Waag is also an artist). He says, “It gave me a really good, rich life, and the time to do things as an artist.”

Amy Dencler will take Waag’s place, so the two downstairs chefs will be Dencler and Cal Peternell as of the new year. Waag’s last night will be on January 16th, 2016. I so look forward to hearing how things take shape in Japan in the new year for Waag. So exciting. Best wishes!


Homage’s exterior and the alley (which will be getting an upgrade). Photo courtesy of Homage.


Chef-owner David Kurtz. Photo: Brendan Pascoe.


The Homage loaf in progress, featuring three wheats and a three-day ferment. Photo from Instagram.

We mentioned back in June that chef David Kurtz, previously of Maven, was taking over Galette 88’s space in the FiDi to open his own project, ~HOMAGE~. We can now release some details, and FiDi workers, get excited.

The name will make sense upon first glance at the menu, which will pay homage to local farmers by featuring a different farmer every two weeks. Guests will learn about the farmer’s backstory, products, location, and more, while seeing their products highlighted throughout the menu. A concise menu will be focused on soups, salads, and sandwiches, and the ingredients will be highly seasonal and market-driven (obviously).

Sample dishes include a salad of Little Gems, endive, and Treviso; a preserved Braeburn apple and celery root soup; a hard cider-braised heritage pork “Cubano” with Calvados mustard, Swiss cheese, 4505 cured ham, pickled cucumber, and Braeburn apple; and a duck congee, with air-dried smoked duck, roasted spring onions, and Szechuan pepper. As you can see, the menu will stretch across different cuisines and not be limited to just a NorCal style, so don’t be surprised if one day you find a Taiwanese beef noodle soup. Meats will come from Biagio and other quality purveyors, and they will be roasted, braised, smoked, and more. And even though the menu will rotate often, as favorite dishes and sandwiches are revealed, some items will become mainstays on the menu.

A cornerstone of the project is its bread—it will be naturally fermented for three days and baked in-house. And even though Homage is not a bakery, they will also be grinding their own specialty whole wheats on premise for the ultimate in fresh flour, although they will also use local mills for some of their flour needs. There will be a dark-crusted Homage loaf, in addition to rolls and a soft baguette. Sandwiches will always be made to order—no premade sandwiches in a grab-and-go case here.

There will also be a curated retail section, with pantry items like marmalade, pickles, and more on the shelves, plus freshly milled flour and other products.

Kurtz has a fine dining background and is excited to offer something of quality and freshness that’s made with technique to the lunchtime space, while still being efficient and speedy for the busy downtown clientele.

Homage will be open for breakfast, serving coffee (from a variety of roasters), tea, juices, pastries, and hand pies, and offering a robust WiFi, making it a welcoming place for people to hold morning meetings in the sunlit space. In the late afternoon and evening, a happy hour will kick in, with beer and wine, plus small plates, cheeses, and charcuterie.

The 49-seat space is being designed by Gi Paoletti and will feature an open kitchen (it’s also a massive upgrade from the previous kitchen, which just had a crêperie setup—this is much more complex). The space has some industrial elements, but will also have an urban country feel to it, bringing a NorCal farm aesthetic to the city—the reclaimed wood floors will remain, and there will be subway tile too.

There is an outdoor alley that will have seating for 20—it’s going to be painted and made more pleasant with a redwood fence and planters so you don’t have to look at dumpsters while enjoying your lunch. Homage is running a Kickstarter to complete the outdoor space—please consider kicking in some funds so they can offer downtown a great outdoor space to enjoy, and you can enjoy some sandwiches and more as incentives.

Homage will be open Mon-Fri from 8am-9pm, and eventually Sat through lunch will be added. The goal is to open in Q1, ideally February. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook for updates—and, of course, we’ll keep you posted. 88 Hardie Pl. at Kearny.


The exterior of Volta. Rendering courtesy of Volta.

We mentioned not too long ago that Staffan Terje and Umberto Gibin of Perbacco and barbacco were opening a new project, ~VOLTA~, in the former ‘Witchcraft location in SoMa. Here’s a little update for you curious diners, because this modern brasserie is going to open in early December.

The menu will pay homage to France (and highlight chef Terje’s classic French training) while using local and seasonal ingredients, so it will be changing often. Definitely look for Scandinavian influences from Swedish chef Terje as well (think housemade aquavit). There will be classic brasserie selections, older styles of Swedish charcuterie, cold and hot appetizers, shellfish, and entrées.

As for the rest of the team, the chef de cuisine is Keven Wilson, previously at Perbacco for the past three years; the pastry chef is Laura Cronin (also from Perbacco and barbacco); and the lead bar manager is Zachary Gray, who will be offering a menu of seasonal, classic cocktails. Working under Gibin will be co-wine directors Tristan Pitre (Acadia in Chicago) and Kevin Born (Soby’s New South Cuisine in Greenville, South Carolina), who will be focusing on French wines with an emphasis on the Rhone Valley, Loire, and South of France.

It will be a few weeks before we can see the modern European brasserie interior by CCS Architecture, featuring patterned tile flooring, art glass, and brass accents. Volta will be open daily for lunch 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner 5:30pm-10pm. 868 Mission St. at 5th St.


The former Barrique. Photo by Blair Sneddon Photography.

Back in October, we heard a rumor that Lindsay and Michael Tusk were taking over the closed Barrique, which is across the street from Quince. When we followed up, they couldn’t comment on it at the time, but now they confirmed the news with the Scoop, which reports they will in fact be opening a casual bar (beer and wine only) with some bites.

I do know that chef Tusk is definitely inspired by Spanish cuisine and may potentially be integrating some tapas and more on the menu (he’ll be working with Quince sous chef Neil Stetz). Mark Jensen (Jensen Architects), who designed the stunning SHED in Healdsburg, will be designing the 2,000-square-foot space. Look for more details in advance of the spring opening. 461 Pacific Ave. at Montgomery.


Okonomiyaki in a stone pot at Namu Gaji. Photo: ©

The last time I ran into chef Dennis Lee of ~NAMU GAJI~ at an event, he alluded to a project that would be coming soon, one that would launch before Namu Noodle in Dogpatch. Now that the ABC license application has hit the wires, we learn that it’s going to be on Divisadero in the current Jay’s Cheesesteak! And with a name like ~NAMU STONEPOT~, I know I’m not alone in getting excited about what that means (I love their bibimbap and okonomiyaki in a stone pot). Stand by for an update on concept and timing soon. 553 Divisadero St. at Hayes.

Meanwhile, out in Mission Bay, details have emerged on John Caine of Hidive’s plans are for the former Jelly’s, which will be called ~ATWATER TAVERN~. Scoop notes that it will be a multilevel restaurant and bar, with outdoor seating and great views (and very close proximity to A&T Park and the upcoming Warriors stadium). The menu will be all about SF classic dishes (think cioppino) and meats off the wood-fired grill. Executive chef James Versfelt comes from Miami Beach, where he worked at Tony Mantuano’s Lorenzo. As for the name, ATwater refers to the old telephone number prefixes (like BUtterfield 8). They are aiming be open by the Giants’ opening day in the spring. 295 Terry Francois Blvd. at Pier 50. 


The burger at Hamlet. Photo from Facebook.


The beef scallion rolls at Maple Restaurant. Yelp photo by Maple Restaurant.

By Dana Eastland. ~3RD COUSIN~, the brick-and-mortar restaurant from chef Greg Lutes in the former Kinfolk space in Bernal, is now open. According to Facebook, they opened on November 19th, with a menu informed by Lutes’ pop-up, Kinfolk. The dishes are hearty California style, and a chef’s tasting menu is available for $89 per person as well. 919 Cortland Ave. at Gates, 415-814-3709.

Just in time for Thanksgiving shopping, ~GUS’S COMMUNITY MARKET~ is now open in the Mission. The new grocery store comes from the family behind Noriega Produce and Haight Street Market, and we wrote all about it last month. To recap, the full-service grocery store offers a large produce section, butcher and fish counter, cheese section, bulk items, and more—plus a coffee shop and café with Wi-Fi. 2111 Harrison St. at 17th St., 415-431-9300.

The former Horner’s Corner in Noe Valley is now ~HAMLET~, and Eater reports that it’s open. The owner is John Dampeer of nearby Caskhouse, and he’s brought on chef Pei Mew and bar manager Rafael Jimenez Rivera (both from Urchin). Food is all-American with a seasonal, California bent, so think classics like a burger, roasted half chicken, and braised octopus—served not with the ubiquitous white beans but lentils, pork belly, and chard. Peek at the menu here. As for drinks, the full liquor license allows for cocktails that are also focused on classics, like their take on the Aviation (gin, Dolin Génépy des Alpes, crème de violette, and lemon) and the gimlet (Bols genever, lime, and lavender). 1199 Church St. at 24th St., 415-829-3286.

Downtown workers have a new place for lunch by the pound. According to Yelpers, the newest addition to the lunchtime game is ~LIGHTENING FOODS~, which used to have two locations in the Financial District that are now closed. The newest location is on Pine Street, and initial reports cite good salads, fish, meat, and Mediterranean-style dishes. Oh, and dog trays for the buffet. Apparently, that’s a thing. 201 Pine St. at Battery.

Yelpers also caught the opening of ~MOM’S BUN MI~ in the Tenderloin. The latest Vietnamese sandwich shop offers a classic lineup including a combo, as well as pork belly, tofu, and shaking beef, all for $5 or less (always of importance to purists, it seems). There are also spring rolls, and beef stew or curry dip on weekends. 520 Leavenworth St. at O’Farrell, 415-829-8138.

Earlier this month, we reported that Emin Tekin, a member of the family behind Kobani Mediterranean Grill in the Marina and the now-closed Hayes & Kebab, seemed to have taken over the former Gajalee space on Valencia Street in the Mission. Well, turns out they have opened a Mission offshoot in the location, called ~VALENCIA & KEBAB~, not Kobani Grill, like we’d anticipated. Yelp reports are positive, and call out fresh ingredients, good wraps, and abundant platters. 525 Valencia St. at 16th St.

Those fabulous Chowhounds caught the news of a new Szechuan restaurant in the Outer Mission called ~MAPLE RESTAURANT~. Though the restaurant offers lots of takeout staples like lemon chicken and egg foo young, the “house specialty” section of the menu apparently offers Szechuan specialties from the chef, who hails from Tianjin. And don’t be fooled by the sign, which is from the space’s former occupant, Daily Restaurant. 5820 Mission St. at Lawrence, 415-333-7869.

We’ve been tracking the progress of ~SUKA~ since their liquor license hit the wires, and according to Yelp they are now open in the former Sushi Bistro location. The food is American and Indonesian, with breakfast on weekends, and reviews mention gado gado salad and chicken satay, as well as a burger and bacon, eggs, and pancakes for breakfast. 445 Balboa St. at 6th Ave., 415-702-6860.

The Richmond Blog reports that a new Asian small plates restaurant in the Outer Richmond called ~HAWKER EATS~ opened earlier this month. They have a small, handwritten menu focused on street food and small plates, including yakitori, ramen, and a rack of lamb appetizer. 1650 Balboa St. at 18th Ave., 415-221-6288.

The team behind the DNA Lounge has opened a second location of ~DNA PIZZA~, as well as another dance club, called ~CODEWORD~ on Folsom. It’s a bit smaller than the DNA Lounge, so it will function as an incubator for parties that may then graduate to the larger space. And the second pizza location will also be open 24 hours a day. 917 Folsom St. at 5th St., 415-626-1409.


The Original U.S. Restaurant. Yelp photo by Christian B.


Tarts and goodies at Bulka Bakery. Photo from Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. North Beach classic ~ORIGINAL U.S.~ is returning after closing earlier this year. The Chronicle reports that it is being reopened by former general manager Alberto Cipollina and San Francisco Giants Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mario Alioto, though not in the same location. The old location is the future home of Seven Fishes, so they are opening the next U.S. in the former Colosseo space, which seats 120. The plan is to re-create the old location as best they can, and keeping the old school vibe alive. There isn’t a timeline quite yet; we’ll keep our eyes on this one. 414 Columbus Ave. at Vallejo.

Second Act Marketplace on Haight will be adding a new business to their food hall. ~BULKA BAKERY~ is opening in December and will serve coffee from Roast Co. and pastries both sweet and savory. Owner and baker Tatiana Kasatkina will also be making buckwheat cereal, yogurt and granola parfaits, and hot pressed sandwiches. 1727 Haight St. at Cole, 415-999-6012.

There’s a new pizzeria coming to Bernal Heights, called ~RED APRON PIZZERIA~. According to Bernalwood, the owner is Bernal resident Eliza Laffin, who plans to open the doors in January. The restaurant will be “warm, welcoming, and family-friendly,” Laffin says, and the menu includes non-pizza items as well, like salads, piadine, and zeppole for dessert. 3214 Folsom St. at Precita.

There’s Filipino food coming to the Excelsior in December, according to Chowhounds. A new fast-food-style spot called ~CONCHING’S KUSINA MANGAN TANA~ is moving into the former Kuta Bistro and is apparently owned by three women who currently run a catering business. 4994 Mission St. at Italy.


Man’oushe from Reem’s. Photo from Facebook.


By Dana Eastland. A fab tablehopper reader and tipster sent us the news that ~NOETECA~ in Noe Valley has been sold to a new owner. According to a note in the window, the owners have sold it to Michele D’Amico while they focus on the upcoming Mission Brasserie (which they hope to open in May 2016). It appears that D’Amico is keeping the concept more or less the same, though, and an announcement on the Noeteca website says that they closed temporarily on November 15th for about a week for “a peaceful exchange of power and a bit of cleaning,” which means they should reopen any day now. 1551 Dolores St. at Valley.

The Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on Saturdays has a new food vendor, and it’s a good one. ~REEM’S~, an Arab street food La Cocina project from Arizmendi alum Reem Assil, will be serving a flatbread called man’oushe. It’s cooked on a special oven called a saj and is available with a variety of seasonal toppings, along with year-round staples like za’atar, cheese, and sujuk (Armenian sausage). It’s a pop-up stall, so be sure to stop by before December 19th (or find them at the Mission Community Market on Thursday evenings). They’ll be at the Saturday market 8am-2pm. Ferry Plaza, Embarcadero at Market.

While we were away last week, we received an email from Danny Bowien letting us know that ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ has revamped their menu for the first time in, well, forever. Eater has the details, including the news that new chef de cuisine Frank Mitchell worked with Bowien on the new items. The restaurant’s beloved classics remain, like the thrice-cooked bacon with rice cake and the chicken wings, while new items include cumin lamb larb, beef tartare “lettuce cups,” and sweet-and-sour pork jowl. Oh, and of course those new burritos! Here’s the current menu.

Chef Blaine Wetzel (The Willows Inn) and journalist Joe Ray are going to be at ~ORO~ on Tuesday December 1st celebrating the launch of their new book, Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest. The launch party starts at 7pm and includes snacks, cocktails, discussion, and a book signing. Tickets are $75, and books can be purchased separately. 8 Mint Plaza at Jessie, 415-974-1212.


The garden at Grand Fare. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

By Dana Eastland. Yikes. Scoop reports that Oakland’s brand-new ~GRAND FARE MARKET~ has (hopefully only temporarily) closed. According to a note on their website, the closure is “until further notice” and “the market’s current incarnation simply required too much cost to keep up basic operations, and we couldn’t keep it going.” The project just opened two months ago and joined several food hall-style projects in the Bay Area. When we hear what owners Doug Washington and Freya Prowe figure out next for the large (and quite beautiful) space, we’ll let you know. 3265 Grand Ave. at Elwood, Oakland, 510-899-9610.

Chefs Jonathan Tu and Chris Wolff’s Journeymen pop-up will be at Blackwater Station on Monday December 7th, according to East Bay Express, where you can read more about their modern California tasting menu. In addition to their pop-ups, the duo plans to open their own restaurant in the East Bay soon, so this is a good opportunity for them to try out dishes. Dinner seatings are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm, but tickets are going fast, FYI. They’re $60 per person. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.

November 10, 2015

Great China’s famed double-skin dish. Photo: ©


Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs. Photo courtesy of Champagne Henriot.


The superlative Peking duck. Photo: ©


Surf clams. Photo: ©


Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé. Photo courtesy of Champagne Henriot.



Anyone who knows me knows how much I j’adore Champagne (just doing my part to delay the onset of dementia and improve spatial memory—like, where’s my glass?). And I also love any excuse to head to Berkeley for the extraordinary double-skin dish and Peking duck at the Yu family’s inimitable ~GREAT CHINA~, open since 1985, which also offers some of the best wine selections of any Chinese restaurant around. So let’s put it all together and have a fabulous dinner party, right?

I’m thrilled to announce I will be hosting a special Sunday banquet supper at Great China (my first tablehopper supper in the East Bay!), in partnership with the Champagne Henriot, on Sunday December 6th. Champagne Henriot is one of the oldest family-owned and family-managed Champagne houses (founded in 1808!), currently in the eighth generation with Thomas Henriot. James Yu of Great China sometimes pours Henriot by the glass, and it pairs so well with their many elegant (and often delicate) Shandong-rooted dishes (read more in my review here). Also elegant: Henriot’s house style, which is driven by Chardonnay, with long lees aging (it’s rich and focused, with elegance and finesse). Get excited for a night of tasting some gorgeous cuvées!

Take a look at our event’s extensive menu, which highlights many of Great China’s specialties. And we’ll be pouring the Champagne Henriot selections en magnum, always a special treat.

First Course
Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain
Fish Dumplings, Salt & Pepper Prawns, Zhen Jiang Spareribs, Double Skin

Second Course
Champagne Henriot Brut Rosé
Peking Duck

Third Course
Champagne Henriot Blanc de Blancs
Steamed Surf Clams with Garlic Rice

Fourth Course
Champagne Henriot Brut Millésime 2006
Ginger Scallion Crab with Noodles

Final Course
Champagne Henriot Brut Souverain
Cumin Lamb, Ant Climbed the Tree, Walnut Prawns, Snow Pea Leaves with Century Eggs, Guo Ta Tofu, Jasmine Rice

You won’t want to eat much that day, because this supper is a tour de force! We’re going to start at 5:30pm, and to be clear, it will be served family style. This is a banquet!

Tickets for the night are only $70, inclusive of tax and gratuity. (And since it’s the holidays, I will be making a donation to the SF-Marin Food Bank with some of the proceeds.) Hop to it, and I look forward to feasting and drinking exquisite Champagne Henriot with you!

Also worth noting: since we are going to be drinking, anyone coming from SF will be happy to know that the Downtown Berkeley BART station is less than four blocks away.


A test bowl of pork belly and noodles for the upcoming Arsenal. Photo via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. This is some pretty cool news! Los Angeles-based food personality and forager Erik Sun has filed permits for two restaurants in San Francisco. Hoodline caught the news and mentions that there are two separate projects under way: ~ARSENAL~ and ~THE HUNTED~. Based on some social media stalking, it looks like Arsenal will be all about fresh-caught seafood and noodles, while The Hunted will focus on wild game.

Sun is an interesting personality: he writes a blog, The Pursuit of Food and is a hunter, sport fisher, and forager, as well as a partner and sometime chef at Bestia in Los Angeles. He told Hoodline that the first of the restaurants would open in early 2016 and the other next fall, though a Facebook post hints that Arsenal could be open as soon as February. We’ll update as we hear more! Arsenal: 715 Brannan St. at Harriet. The Hunted: 445 Harriet St. at Brannan.


Pizza from Academy, with arugula and an egg. Yelp photo by Jay S.


A Mexi-rice bowl from Chica. Photo via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. As reported earlier this year, there are changes afoot at the former Pizza Inferno on Fillmore. The New Fillmore reports that it’s now softly open as ~ACADEMY~, from chef Nick Pallone and Peter Fogel. They’ve revamped the space, giving it a more open feel, with reclaimed wood tables and an open bar, plus they’ve added a wood-fired oven for Neapolitan-style pizzas. The menu is fun and seasonal, with a section of snacks, cured meats, vegetables, pizzas, and heartier main dishes. There are also 24 beers on tap and a selection of wines. Basically, it’s the perfect before-movie spot, with its location a block from the Sundance Kabuki. 1800 Fillmore St. at Sutter, 415-775-1800.

There’s a new place for breakfast and lunch now open near Levi’s Plaza. It’s called ~CHICA~, and as Hoodline originally reported, it’s a takeout window from chef-owner Maria Esquivel, who has been running a booth at Fort Mason’s Off the Grid. The food is California with Latin influence, or as Esquivel puts it, “American comfort, Latin attitude.” There are polenta bowls, Mexican-style rice bowls, and tortas, plus daily changing soups and drinks including coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. Hours are Mon-Fri 8am-2:30pm. 120 Green St. at Battery, 415-757-0510.

~PICCOLO FORNO~, the new, casual addition to North Beach from the Ideale crew we reported on last month, is now open. Hoodline notes that the new spot opened softly on October 28th and is serving pizza, salads, espresso, pastries, and antipasti all day. Right now, they are waiting on their pizza oven, so they’re closed today but moving forward, hours are daily 10am-10pm. 725 Columbus Ave. at Filbert.


Tacos for lunch at Tacos Cala. Photo courtesy of Cala.

Exciting things keep happening at ~CALA~: today Gabriela Cámara and her team opened for lunch during the week. The back-alley taco spot is called Tacos Cala and is in the back of the restaurant (enter through Hickory Street).

The menu is focused on tacos de guisado, with three different options—meat, vegetarian, and vegan—that will rotate daily. The tortillas are made of corn that is nixtamalized in-house. There will also be aguas frescas, iced horchata coffee, and those who want to hang out at the standing table can order bottled beer and wine by the glass. Hours are Mon-Fri from 11am-3pm. Enter on Hickory Street (between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue).


A look at the Chino artwork and tables (with custom silverware and chopstick containers built into the tables). Photo courtesy of Chino.

I was sorry to hear over the weekend that ~CHINO~ was going to be closing, especially since I was really digging the new direction chef-partner Ron Pei was taking the menu, and Danny Louie’s cocktails were killing it. (Well, it wasn’t for lack of trying—the journey of perfecting the soup dumplings was notable in and of itself.)

SFist was first to report the closure, which happened yesterday (Monday). For now, owner Joe Hargrave says they are going to use the space for private events and pop-ups, and an entirely new concept will be coming in 2016. We’ll keep you apprised.


Fried egg banh mi from Rice Paper Scissors. Photo by Adria Lo via Facebook.

Fans of the banh mi and pho from Rice Paper Scissors will be sorry to hear that Valerie Luu and Katie Kwan are ending their daytime pop-up at ~BRICK & MORTAR MUSIC HALL~—the last day will be Friday November 20th. The good news? You can still catch them for dinner every Thursday at Mojo Bicycle Cafe. Also, the ladies are moving into a new kitchen, which has an event space, so look out for some special dinners in the future! They want to focus on finding their own space down the road, and you should also know that they are available for catering (hello, DIY Pho Bar).

Hawaiian brunch pop-up (and guava malasada pushers) Aina posted on their Facebook page that they are opening in a space in Dogpatch in 2016. Fantastic news! And according to some ABC application activity, it’s going to be in the former Ensoleillé (previously Cup of Blues) location. Stand by for updates in the new year! 900 22nd St. at Minnesota.

Fans of the Carolina-style barbecue from Sneaky’s BBQ will be pleased to know that chef Ben Thorne is now serving the Sneaky’s menu full-time at ~SOUTHPAW BBQ~. Vinegar-based pulled pork, dry-rub ribs, brisket, and chicken are all available—they use hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. Vegan options are also offered, and some Southpaw classics will remain on the menu, including the smoked pulled goat, the Natchez, grit cake, and fried pickles. Come by for some house-brewed craft beers, a cocktail, or a nip of whiskey from their extensive (100-plus) list. And if you come by for Nonprofit Mondays, 10 percent of Monday food sales will be donated to the nonprofit of the month.


Tacos from El Capitan for lunch. Photo courtesy of El Capitan.


Uttapam with eggs for brunch at Dosa. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

By Dana Eastland. SoMa bar and restaurant ~EL CAPITAN~ is adding lunch to their lineup, as of today, November 10th. The new lunch menu includes options like their fry bread tacos with a variety of seasonal toppings, a selection of easy-to-share small plates like chicken wings with Cholula-ancho glaze, roast jalapeño crema, and cilantro, plus popular lunch dishes from the adjacent Carafe Cafe—think a pressed Cuban sandwich, jerk chicken wrap, and squash and kale salad. Lunch hours are Mon-Fri 11:30am-4pm. 1123 Folsom St. at Langton, 415-525-3676.

The Mission’s ~SALUMERIA~ is now serving weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-6pm. The setup is casual and similar to their weekday lunch arrangement—you order at the counter and sit in the courtyard at Central Kitchen or one of the outdoor café tables. The menu includes egg dishes like scrambled eggs with pumpkin, goat cheese, spinach, and chile; or head in a sweet direction with apple cider donuts or the bacon-walnut sticky bun. There is also a selection of brunch cocktails, including the Pacifica and a build-your-own mimosa situation with a carafe of sparkling wine, a half carafe of freshly squeezed orange juice, garden herb syrup, and bitters. 3000 20th St. at Florida, 415-471-2998.

tablehopper favorite ~DOSA ON VALENCIA~ has launched weekend brunch, with lots of dishes including a flavor-packed Kerala egg curry served with chapati; traditional South Indian breakfast items like pongee, a savory rice porridge with lentils, ghee, and chutneys; or the egg and cheese dosa, their classic dosa filled with eggs, cheddar, and mozzarella. There are also brunch cocktails like the Tincho Spritzer with sparkling wine, lemon, mint, and green cardamom or the Hibiscus Sparkler with masala spice. They’re also importing coffee from South India to keep you buzzing all through your meal. Brunch hours are Sat-Sun 11am-3:30pm, only at the Valencia Street location.

Looking for some late-night street food in the Marina? ~LASAN~ has you covered with their Late Night at Lasan menu. It’s available on Fridays and Saturdays from 10pm-2am and is being cooked and served right on the sidewalk. The special menu includes snack items and finger foods, as well as naan wraps stuffed with chicken tikka, lettuce, tomato, onion, cilantro, and cucumber with mint and tamarind chutney and a choice of hot sauce for $8. Or go the fully fried route with a samosa, fries, and pakora combination for $6. Plus, beers are only $4 with food purchase. 3145 Fillmore St. at Pixley, 415-346-4900.


Seating and the Market Board at RN74. Photo courtesy of RN74.

As of this week, ~RN74~ is offering a pretty sweet deal on Sunday evenings. Their new Sunday feast includes eight to ten dishes served family style, for just $45 per person. Right now, the menu is inspired by Burgundy, but the regional inspiration will change every two months. The dinner menu will include three appetizers, followed by main dishes with sides, and a seasonal fruit tart with housemade ice cream for dessert. A $10 supplement will always be available, for those wanting to try a more luxurious dish. Wines from the highlighted region will be selected to pair with the food, available for $35 per 500-ml carafe.


Belinda Leong of b. patisserie, one of the many culinary talents taking part in the 12 Nights of Chocolate. Photo courtesy of Dandelion Chocolate.

You ready to make some hard decisions? Because these cool events will all be vying for your attention. Let’s start with the chance to enjoy some Russ & Daughters toppings on Tartine Bakery malted rye bagels as you thumb through the Mission Chinese Food Cookbook. Yes, you can enjoy a Super Heebster, at ~MISSION CHINESE FOOD~ here in SF! Events are on the mornings of Sunday November 15th and Monday the 16th from 10am-3pm ($60), or come by for dinner on the 16th and enjoy a sneak preview of the new MCF menu, cookies by Momofuku Milk Bar, and beer from Tiger Beer ($85). Read more and get tickets.

Pizza fanatics: Franco Pepe of Pepe in Grani (in Caiazzo, Caserta), lauded as a maker of the best pizza in the world, will be appearing at both ~A16 ROCKRIDGE~ (on November 16th, make reservations here) and ~A16~ San Francisco (on November 17th, resos here) as a guest pizzaiolo, serving a limited run of 100 pies each night. He’ll be importing many of his staple ingredients so that the pizzas meet his specs, an amazing opportunity for those who can’t travel to Campania!

Tuesday November 17th, ~BAR AGRICOLE~ is hosting an Autumnal Feast on the Patio with Full Belly Farm! Drinks and snacks at 6:30pm, dinner at 7pm, which includes a whole roasted lamb served family style, with collards, kabocha squash, pomegranate, almonds, and more. $99.

Warm up with friends on Friday November 20th at ~E&O KITCHEN & BAR~’s first Bottomless Hot Pot Dinner from chef Sharon Nahm, which will include a Lagunitas beer pairing and tasting with certified cicerone Tim Decker from Lagunitas Brewing Company. There will also be appetizers and dessert. Tickets for the evening event are $85 (including tax and gratuity) and can be purchased online here. 6:30pm.

Lastly, get your tickets for some of these ~DANDELION CHOCOLATE~ 12 Nights of Chocolate events with top SF chefs (the events are sweet and savory, and all feature Dandelion’s chocolate). Best of all, proceeds go to benefit the SF-Marin Food Bank.

From the first night on Wednesday December 2nd with Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, Petit Crenn), Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière), Belinda Leong (b. Patisserie), and Alan Murray (Jardinière) doing wine pairings, to an event with Stephanie Prida (Manresa), Shawn Gawle (Quince), Nick Muney (Coi) creating a three-course dessert menu, each one sounds pretty fantastic. December 13th is the finale, with Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Mikiko Yui (State Bird Provisions), and artist-chef Leah Rosenberg doing a night of dinner bites, matcha, a spirited shake, bubbles, and more. Check out all of these amazing events and get your tickets now.


The winners of the Good Food Awards 2015. Photo by Gamma Nine via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. The Good Food Awards has announced the finalists for 2016 in all categories including spirits, beer, cider, and confections. The celebration of American food made with integrity culminates in January, when the winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Friday January 15th at the Herbst Pavilion. Guests include Carlo Petrini of Slow Food, Alice Waters, and Nell Newman of Newman’s Own. Then, after the awards ceremony, don’t miss the awards gala, where the food will be available for sampling. Tickets to the ceremony are $120.

If you can’t make it to the awards ceremony, catch the marketplace on Saturday January 16th. The marketplace takes place at Fort Mason and includes the opportunity to try and purchase the winning products. Many of these items are not available in the Bay Area, so this represents a unique opportunity to try items from around the country. The marketplace runs from 9am-1pm and tickets are $5 per person. For entry at 8am, VIP tickets are also available for $20. Fort Mason, 2 Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


Food Bank photo via Mission Street Food blog.

As we’re ordering turkeys, figuring out who is on pumpkin pie detail, and deciding once and for all on the best green bean side dish, let’s not forget there are a lot of people in our community who could use some help with their holidays. From now until December 31st, the SF-Marin Food Bank needs 500,000 pounds of nonperishable food to help provide 10 million meals during the holidays. (The SF-Marin Food Bank serves 225,000 people each year, which includes families, children, seniors, and individuals living on a low-income budget.)

Let’s share our good fortune to the people in our community who are struggling to make ends meet. There are many ways you can help:
• Donating money: for every $1 donated, the Food Bank can provide $5 worth of food.
• Donating a turkey: the Food Bank hopes to provide 2,500 turkeys over the holidays.
• Volunteering: shifts are available every day of the week. People are encouraged to sign up for January and February, one of the most difficult times to secure volunteers.
• Hosting a food and fund drive. Registration is simple. Host a virtual drive or sign up to have a food barrel delivered to you.

You can find everything you need to know here, thank you for your help! And one more thing: if you can donate money by November 26th, Sutter Health has generously agreed to match your gift, dollar for dollar, up to a total of $50,000. That means your gift of $100 will double to $200, providing enough food for 600 meals. Fantastic.

Want to get something festive for your friends at work or for the kids coming to visit your house over Thanksgiving? How about a dessert with a purpose? For the eighth consecutive year, ~ONE MARKET~ restaurant is partnering with Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area to present the Gingerbread Wishes program. From now until November 30th, you can buy freshly baked gingerbread stars that come with a cookie decorating kit. Each kit costs $10 and includes housemade cookies from pastry chef Patti Dellamonica-Bauler, cream cheese frosting, sprinkles, and candy toppings. And 100 percent of the proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. You can decorate cookies at the restaurant too!

November 6, 2015

Let’s get the hopper to NYC! All it takes is your vote for #1!

You have 10 seconds? Great. Because that’s the maximum it’s going to take you to vote for my piece in the Time Out Ultimate New York Life contest!

Yours truly’s piece, “Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now” is #1 on the page, which makes it even easier to vote for.

If I win (oh please oh please oh please!), I’ll get an apartment for six months rent-free in NYC (um, unheard of) and will write for Time Out magazine on New York restaurants, lifestyle, bars, and more. This would be a dream come true, gang—I have wanted to live in New York for way too long! I’d be honored to represent SF in NYC—I’m already dreaming of the events I’d love to host there with SF chefs. (And I promise, I will come back. And I will keep writing tablehopper, don’t you worry!)

Voting ends Monday night! Please vote (you only need to vote once!), please share, and please know how much I appreciate all your support in this! Really, it takes a village. GRAZIE MILLE! XOXO

November 3, 2015

Ayumi and Kiyoshi Hayakawa at the entrance of their new place, Sushi An. Photo via Facebook.

We reported that former Koo owner and sushi chef Kiyoshi Hayakawa appeared to be opening a project in the Ino location in Japantown based on ABC license activity, and now we can confirm that’s the case thanks to this follow-up post on Chowhound. ~SUSHI AN~ is open as of last week, with Kiyoshi’s wife Ayumi running the front of house.

The Edomae-style menu offers omakase for $80, 12 pieces of omakase nigiri for $75, and a menu of 7 courses of nigiri and kanpyo maki (made with a calabash) for $50. There are individual nigiri selections, and obviously whatever is in season (both locally and at Tsukiji) will be featured. There’s also a catch of the day menu, with a mix of cold and hot selections.

According to the website, An means “a modest cottage where in old times monks and artists rest and spend a peaceful time being isolated from the rest of the world.” They want to create a cozy place that will make their guests feel relaxed and like they are hidden away “somewhere in old downtown Tokyo that makes you right at home no matter where you come from.” This is one counter I can’t wait to visit soon. Beer and sake are available, plus a few wines. Open Tue-Thu 5:30pm-10pm and Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. Japan Center East Mall, Upper Level, 22 Peace Plaza #510, 415-292-4886.


Uni spaghetti. Photo courtesy of Spaghetti Bros.


The interior of Spaghetti Bros. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of UrbanDaddy.


Negroni. Photo courtesy of Spaghetti Bros.

Opening tonight is ~SPAGHETTI BROS.~, the new project we mentioned was coming to the Marina from former Bix and Fog City chefs Erik Lowe and Aaron Toensing.

Their menu is playful and innovative, adding seasonal NorCal ingredients, technique, and refinement to many classic American dishes. You can start with Aaron’s garlic bread, or toasted ravioli and marinara, moving on to a chopped salad, clam linguine with Jimmy Nardello peppers, and spaghetti with uni butter. (But then there’s the orecchiette mac and cheese, with New York cheddar Mornay, and green chile salsa.) You can ramp up with a half chicken, duck breast scallopini, and Swedish meatballs, plus there’s are a couple of large-format table options, too, like a 16-oz. Flannery dry-aged prime New York steak with creamed spinach-delicata squash gratin, l’entrecôte sauce, and rosemary frites.

They’re making all the pasta in-house, and their Josper Grill (a charcoal-fueled oven and grill that can sustain temperatures above 650°F) will be getting a workout. Toensing will be rocking the desserts with housemade gelato, spumoni, and a Hatch green chile-apple pie with a cheddar cheese-flecked crust; here’s the dessert menu.

The bar features some cocktail classics (Boulevardier, La Floridita daiquiri), with Negroni variations as a highlight (courtesy of GM and bar director William Sanders, also a Bix alum). The wine list strikes a good balance between quality and value with both old- and new-world selections, but if you want to bust out with some Bollinger, you can do that too.

The former Republic bar has been given quite the overhaul by designer Michael Guthrie and architect Mark Topetcher. There are four areas: a bar, lounge, main dining room, and private dining room, with seats for 120 in all. There’s a 20-seat, copper-topped bar, red leather banquettes with plaid upholstered backs, an elevated lounge with mocha leather banquettes, and the 50-seat dining room has classic white tablecloths and Thonet bentwood chairs with beige leather seats and tartan upholstered backs.

Hours for the bar are 4:30pm-11pm, with the restaurant open 5:30pm-11pm. Look for some additions to come, like a daytime sandwich shop. 3213 Scott St. at Lombard, 415-400-8500.


The dining room at Barcha. Photo courtesy of Barcha.


Chopped salad. Photo courtesy of Barcha.

We’ve been tracking this project since the beginning of the year, and now ~BARCHA~ has opened at 425 Market Street. This casual, 90-seat Mediterranean bistro comes from the nearby Sens team: owner Kais Bouzidi, executive chef Michel Adams, and beverage director Peter Steiner.

Lunchtime is all about salads, sandwiches, shawarma on housemade Turkish bread, and sides, and starting at 3pm, you can come by for tapas (and tartines), wine, and beer. Dinner begins at 5:30pm, and there’s the option to have a family-style meal—dishes include oven-roasted Australian sea bass ($28) with braised leeks, preserved lemon, and chanterelles; or eggplant and potato brik ($20) with goat cheese, farm egg, chermoula. Dishes feature Turkish, Tunisian, and Spanish influences.

There is a spacious 30-seat patio, as well as a takeout window during lunchtime for simple boxed lunches. The pendant lamps are from Morocco, and hand-painted North African tiles line the bar and surrounding walls. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-close, and Sat 3:30pm-close. 28 Fremont St. (inside the 425 Market Street Building), 415-957-5463.  


The Original U.S. Restaurant. Yelp photo by Christian B.


The exterior of the former Olive on Larkin. Yelp photo by Kathy V.

We saw the application of ~ESAN CLASSIC~ hit the ABC wires with Tom Narupon Silargorn’s name on it (the owner and chef of Lers Ros) for the former Olive space on Larkin. After numerous calls to each Lers Ros, no one could share any details about the new project, but Eater ended up getting a translator to speak with Silargorn, who confirmed this new location will focus on Northeastern Thai (Issan/Esan) cuisine. Look for a late December opening if everything goes well with the remodel and permits. 739-743 Larkin St. at O’Farrell.

Fans of local seafood will be happy to hear Andi and Joe Conte of Water2Table Fish Co. (the amazing sustainable seafood suppliers) are going to be opening a restaurant and fish market in North Beach. And not just any location, but the Original U.S. Restaurant location—and Hoodline mentions that they are North Beach residents, so it’s extra perfect. Scoop reports they are thinking of calling it ~SEVEN FISHES~ (Joe is Italian-American and is obviously well aware of the Feast of the Seven Fishes).

They’ll be hiring a chef to prepare primarily coastal Italian dishes and look forward to being able to try some limited/rare kinds of seafood. There will also be a retail counter with seafood and prepared items like pickled herring, smoked fish, and some take-home items so you can put together a meal quickly. They plan to serve lunch and dinner, and there will be around 50 seats. Spring is the target for the opening. 515 Columbus Ave. at Green.


The bar at Pesce. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

Back in September, we ran the rumor that Yoshi Tome of Sausalito’s ~SUSHI RAN~ was opening a casual concept in the former Pesce in the Castro. While they couldn’t confirm it at the time, we heard from the team that the project is happening and will be “fun, sophisticated, casual Japanese, with a full bar.” They hope to open in early spring of 2016. And while the Sushi Ran team didn’t share a name with us, one of our sources said it will be Nomi Ka, which means “drinks house.” We’ll see how that maps out and will keep you posted. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez.


Roast pork for Sunday supper at Myriad Gastro Pub. Photo courtesy of Myriad Gastro Pub.

By Dana Eastland. Bernalwood reports that the former home of Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack has a new tenant, after the apparently short-lived Aktun. It’s called ~CHICÁNO NUEVO~ and comes from Bernal local Abraham Nunez (formerly of the Emmy’s bar and St. Mary’s Pub). The food is inspired by Southern California, with a particular focus on Nunez’s Chula Vista roots. That means Baja-style fish tacos, three-cheese tamales with chile masa, and queso fundido. Plus, Nunez plans to stay open until 3am on weekends. 18 Virginia Ave. at Mission, 415-583-7641.

It looks like there is a new gyro spot in Noe Valley, called ~LAZEEZ~. According to Yelpers, there are Mediterranean staples, like hummus, shawarma, kefta, and falafel in a casual, clean space. There are a few seats, but it’s mostly a takeout scene. 3915 24th St. at Sanchez, 415-923-8545.

~MYRIAD GASTRO PUB~ is now offering Sunday Supper on Sunday evenings beginning at 5pm. The three-course, prix-fixe menu will change weekly and will feature seasonal, home-style dishes like bacon and cheddar gougères, roast pork with butternut squash purée and huckleberry demi-glace, and vanilla-currant bread pudding with bourbon caramel sauce for dessert. The menu will vary in price from $30-38 per person. 2491 Mission St. at 21st St., 415-525-4335.

As of this Saturday November 7th, ~OFF THE GRID~ is back at Justin Herman Plaza on Saturdays, to celebrate the holidays. From 11am-2pm until January 2nd, a rotating selection of five food trucks will be in the plaza, keeping ice skaters, holiday shoppers, and anyone else well fed. Justin Herman Plaza, Market St. at Embarcadero.

Back in July, we reported that the former Marina location of Udupi Palace had been taken over by a new owner, Emin Tekin, who planned to open ~KOBANI MEDITERRANEAN GRILL~ in its place, along with a location in Berkeley and an unnamed additional San Francisco location. Tekin is also in the family that owns the former Hayes & Kebab, and has been helping his brother relaunch that location when construction on their old location is complete. Now, it appears the additional location mystery is solved: Chowhounds and their Hungry Onion brethren are reporting that Gajalee, the coastal Indian restaurant in the Mission, has closed. Planning documents in Tekin’s name suggest that he is remodeling there and plans to open a third Kobani in the former Gajalee. We reached out to Tekin, but haven’t heard anything back yet. More details when we get them! 525 Valencia St. at 16th St.

Hoodline reports that there’s a new tenant in the former Andy’s Chinese restaurant in the Inner Sunset. It’s called ~KE’S SEAFOOD BBQ~ and comes from owner Randy Quan, a Hong Kong native. The restaurant has grills at each table, but instead of hoods, they use high-tech “smokeless” grills that take the smoke away, below the table. In addition, all of the grill options are seafood, and Quan says he uses many of the same seafood suppliers as high-end sushi restaurants to ensure that everything is fresh. 1358 9th Ave. at Irving, 415-742-4877.

Starting this Sunday November 8th, sister restaurants ~LA CICCIA~ and ~LA NEBBIA~ will be open again on Sundays, making your weekend a whole lot better.

Lunch is now available at ~COCKSCOMB~ Monday through Friday 11:30am to 2pm. The menu includes a bacon-wrapped hot dog and a pork belly and fried clam sandwich, both served with freshly fried potato chips. Plus, their drink menu is available for especially liquid power lunches.


A Junju-style feast. Photo courtesy of EatWith.

After you’re done voting this evening, hopefully you’re available to attend this special dinner at ~TARTINE BAKERY~ in celebration of the Tulum restaurant Hartwood, and the release of Eric Werner and Mya Henry’s new cookbook. Join Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt of Tartine Bakery and Sam Goinsalvos of the upcoming Tartine Manufactory for a casual evening of passed small plates, and Tartine’s bakers will fill the display case with a selection of desserts inspired by the Yucatan. Come by for a feast of dishes, like pulpo tostadas; lettuce cups, chorizo, mint, cilantro, toasted rice, lime, cotija; roasted chicken with poblano and tomatillo tamale; lime tart with lime caramel; chocolate habanero cake with chocolate avocado buttercream, and horchata cake with cream cheese frosting. Yes, please.

8pm-10pm. Tickets are $80 and include food, beverage, a signed cookbook, gratuity, and tax. 600 Guerrero St. at 18th St.

EatWith is launching a new Chef Series, featuring previews for some of this winter’s hottest restaurant openings at their test kitchen. On Monday November 9th is a Junju Preview Dinner with Robin Song (expect Korean dishes with a Cali ingredient spin); Thursday November 12th is a Glena’s Preview Dinner with Michael Gaines (think tacos and margaritas); and Monday November 16th is a Nightbird Preview Dinner with Kim Alter (expect market-driven dishes). Click through to view the menus, and use my link for $10 off your first EatWith dinner.

This Thursday November 5th, ~DELI BOARD~ is doing their fat boy burrito pop-up again, with queso, and chips and salsa. BYOB is encouraged. 6pm-9pm. 1058 Folsom St.
 at Russ.

~MARLA BAKERY~ is hosting a dinner club every other Monday night with their line cook, Gabe Sanders, called Hearth and Cellar. On Monday November 9th, he’ll be doing a Fiesta de Pavo​​, with tacos de pavo (showcasing BN Ranch’s heritage breed turkey), black bean soup, tamales with mole, and more. 7pm. $40 for tickets. 3619 Balboa St. at 37th Ave., 415-742-4379.

On Wednesday November 11th, ~DOSA ON FILLMORE~ is throwing their annual Diwali “festival of lights” celebration. There will be a special three-course Diwali menu with multiple options per course, complimentary Diwali sweets for every table, DJ Jimmy Love spinning Bollywood and Non Stop Bhangra music from 7:30pm-12am, and complimentary henna art from Yogita Sheth. $48 per person (does not include tax and gratuity). Reservations available from 5:30pm-11pm. Book online or call 415-441-3672.  


White truffle + eggs = magic. Photo courtesy of Poggio.

A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned the white truffle dinners coming to Locanda and Delfina, and here are a few more to add to the lineup.

~PERBACCO~ is now shaving Piemontese truffles on a variety of dishes served à la carte—three grams of white truffles are shaved tableside (while they last). Dishes include veal tartare with garlic and Langhe hazelnuts; sformatino di cavolfiore (cauliflower custard with La Tur fonduta); and of course their tajarin (hand-cut tagliatelle) with prosciutto di San Daniele and a 63-degree hen egg.

~POGGIO~’s Festa di Tartufo runs November 11th-22nd. You’ll find classic dishes like raviolo con uovo (ravioli with spinach, ricotta, and soft egg yolk), tajarin, sunny-side up eggs, and other dishes that are all topped with fresh truffles.

~SPRUCE~ is hosting a special multicourse truffle dinner with fantastic wine pairings (you’ll start the night with a glass of Billecart-Salmon, Cuvée Nicolas Francois Billecart 1999) on Monday November 9th. Tickets are $300.

~OLIVETO~’s truffle dinners run November 17th-21st, featuring dishes like creamy fontina sformatino and a house-aged Magruder steak grilled over almondwood embers. Look for some special (and old) house-aged Piemontese wines on the list too.

And in Redwood City, ~DONATO ENOTECA~ is offering a $140 two-course and $200 three-course “Il Tartufo” tasting menu that will be available while supplies last (approximately two or three weeks). (Tasting menu prices could subsequently vary due to market fluctuations.) Dishes include thinly sliced and roasted white veal loin with “Cavour” sauce and tartufo bianco, or large raviolo with egg yolk, ricotta, and tartufo bianco. All items on the tasting menus are also offered on an à la carte basis—guests can have truffle shaved onto any dish of their choice for $50. 1041 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City, 650-701-1000.


Don’t miss the La Cocina Food & Entrepreneurship Conference this weekend. Photo from Facebook.

On Sunday November 8th, ~LA COCINA~ is hosting its fifth annual Food & Entrepreneurship Conference from 9am-6pm. The day of workshops, conversations, and panels on food entrepreneurship includes some of San Francisco’s finest small food business owners, including Robyn Sue Fisher (Smitten Ice Cream), Catherine Trujillo (Rubicon Bakery), and Amy Brown (Marla Bakery). Topics include conversations on making fair labor practices work, sustainability, and how small brands can grow while keeping their soul—peek at the whole schedule here.

Tickets to the conference are $150 per person and include breakfast, lunch, and admission to all panels and discussions. Small business owners are eligible for a 50 percent discount on the cost of admission; apply via email. It’s all happening at The Village. 969 Market St. at 6th St.

In addition to the conference, La Cocina is hosting a bus tour of the city on Saturday November 7th from 8am-3:30pm. Riders will visit various businesses in San Francisco with La Cocina director Caleb Zigas and learn about the many steps in growing a food business, beyond the facade. Of course, each stop includes plenty to eat, and you’ll get the chance to taste delicious food at all stages of business development. Tickets are $100 per person and include the tour and food at each stop. You can also get tickets to both the conference and the bus tour for $235 per person.

Saturday and Sunday November 7th and 8th, get crafty and started on your holiday shopping with a visit to the ~URBAN EPICUREAN FESTIVAL~ at Fort Mason. The festival runs from 11:30am-6:30pm and includes all kinds of locally crafted food items, as well as great workshops on creating your very own DIY items. You’ll find goods from Three Babes Bakeshop, Kika’s Treats, Sonoma Spice Queen, and Sonoma County Distilling Company, along with fun workshops including one on kimchi making, cheesemaking, and crafting cocktails at home; check out the list of workshops here. The Urban Epicurean Festival is free to attend, with items available for purchase. Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd. at Laguna.


Freshly shucked oysters from Sam’s. Photo from Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. Fabulous San Francisco classic ~SAM’S GRILL AND SEAFOOD RESTAURANT~ is celebrating 148 years in business this month. The week of November 9th (through the 13th), they’ll be adding an outdoor raw bar to the restaurant, where raw bar specials will be available all week long. You’ll be able to get a dozen freshly shucked oysters for $14.80, for starters, as well as other specials. The counter is designed as an homage to the open-air market where Sam’s founder Michael Molan Moraghan used to sell his shellfish (he was even dubbed the Oyster King of California).

In addition to their anniversary celebrations, Sam’s is launching a happy hour Mon-Fri from 4pm-7pm outside of their seafood alley. They’ll have drink specials for $7 and shared platters for $11. The dishes will vary daily, but will always include some of their classic seafood choices.


The interior of La Marcha in Berkeley. Photo by Kristen Loken.


The communal tasting table at Oakland Crush. Photo via Instagram.

By Dana Eastland. In September, we reported on ~LA MARCHA~, the upcoming Spanish restaurant from Sergio Emilio Monleón and Emily Sarlatte. It’s now open and serving Spanish-inspired tapas and paella, as well as Spanish wine and sherry, Spanish-style cider, and local beer. Here is the menu, which includes a wide selection of tapas and several paellas. Hours are dinner Tue-Sun 5pm-10pm, with two happy hours, one from 4pm-6pm and another from 10pm-12am. The happy hours include complimentary tapas with drinks. 2026 San Pablo Ave. at University, Berkeley, 510- 269-7374.

There will be an evening of Beer and Soul at ~MISS OLLIE’S~ that you won’t want to miss. On Tuesday November 17th, join chef and owner Sarah Kirnon and cicerone Sayre Piotrkowski for a tasting menu of soulful food and beer pairings. Kirnon has written two menus, one inspired by Miss Ollie, her grandmother, and the other inspired by the great Edna Lewis, who was recently the subject of a wonderful article in The New York Times Magazine. Diners will get to pick which menu they want to try (obviously come in pairs and try both!) and will also sample beers selected by Piotrkowski. Check out both menus here, as well as the beer pairings.

The dinner costs $55 per person, including food, drink, and gratuity, with an early seating at 5:30pm-6pm and a late seating at 8:30pm-8:45pm. Tickets here. 901 Washington St. at 9th St., Oakland, 510-285-6188.

Oakland has a new wine shop in Jack London Square, called ~OAKLAND CRUSH~. The new shop, from owner Erin Coburn, is now open and selling retail bottles of wine from small-production wineries, with a focus on sustainability. In addition to offering a unique selection of wines, the shop will also host community events and tastings, beginning with their Wednesday evening and Saturday afternoon tastings. Each Wednesday, they will offer themed tastings in a casual, social environment, like pinot noirs from around the world, or three different wines from a region like the Loire Valley in France. On Saturdays, the tastings will be more educational, with guest winemakers or importers on hand to talk about their wines. Any wine purchased at Oakland Crush can be opened and enjoyed at the large tables in the tasting area too. Hours are Tue-Sat 11am-8pm and Sun 11am-7pm. 420 3rd St. at Franklin, Oakland, 510-891-1024.

~URBANO LATINO~ is now open in Oakland, serving pan-Latin-inspired dishes from chef Munther Massarweh. Menu items mini carne asada tacos and brick-pressed chicken in mole, while the beverage list includes beer, wine, sangria, and cocktails. There is also a happy hour offered Monday through Friday 4pm-6:30pm and then again after 9:30pm. There is weekend brunch with bottomless mimosas, make-your-own margaritas, and egg dishes. Take a look at all the menus here. 4307 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., Oakland, 510-922-1726.

October 27, 2015

Kimchi fried rice with pork belly and soft-cooked egg. Photo: ©


The Green Cardamom Fizz and Bloody Mary at 1760. Photo: Wes Rowe Photography.


Crab fat congee with crispy pork, soft-cooked egg, and heirloom tomato and corn. Photo: ©


Fingerling potatoes with charred avocado, cilantro, and roasted peanuts. Photo: ©


Cardamom beignets with Thai basil-chocolate sauce. Photo: ©

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT, THANKS EVERYONE! You may have caught the news in tablehopper last week that ~1760~ has announced their chef is Carl Foronda, who is integrating some inspiration and dishes from his Filipino heritage on the menu. I went by for brunch on Sunday, and let me tell you, it’s one of the tastier new additions to our local scene. So let’s do it up and have a tablehopper gathering!

On Sunday November 8th at 12pm, we’ll be hosting a boozy tablehopper brunch at 1760 with Campari America. It’ll be a great way to explore 1760’s menu, and we’ll be taking over the communal table in the front for a family-style feast.

The menu includes an Aperol Sbagliato on arrival (a special creation for our event by bar manager Christopher Longoria), one-eyed jacks with quail eggs, lemon mustard, and bacon; squash blossom tempura with ponzu, katsuobushi, and fennel fronds; and Little Gem salad with buttermilk-wasabi dressing, fried capers, and watermelon radish.

Next up: the crab fat congee (wait until you try this!) with crispy pork, soft-cooked egg, and heirloom tomato and corn; kimchi fried rice with pork belly and soft-cooked egg; and fingerling potatoes with charred avocado, cilantro, and roasted peanuts (this dish rocks). The pairing: the red bell pepper and cucumber Bloody Mary with sriracha, lemon, thyme, and SKYY Vodka.

The last round will be cardamom beignets with Thai basil-chocolate sauce, and to drink, the Green Cardamom Fizz with cardamom cream, lime, egg white, club soda, and Bulldog Gin.

It’s going to be a total tour de force, and the whole meal (with three paired cocktails) will only put you back $65. Seats are very limited, so get your ticket ASAP! For obvious reasons, please don’t drive. Brunch starts at 12pm, and we’ll be there until 2pm or so.

If you have dietary restrictions, you have to let us know ahead of time—since it’s going to be family style, we can’t make accommodations on the fly, thanks. Looking forward to sharing this amazing menu and killer cocktails with you!


Owner David Lynch. Photo: ©


Exterior of St. Vincent. Photo: ©

Earlier this month, David Lynch of ~ST. VINCENT~ in the Mission announced he was going to be changing the format to more of an enoteca/wine bar—with a focus on retail sales—and less of a restaurant. He is unveiling the new format this week, after hosting chef-farmer-author Chris Fischer on Thursday October 29th, who will be cooking from his new Beetlebung Farm Cookbook (you can view the menu and reservation details for the event here—three words: lobster pan roast).

After that inaugural pop-up event, the menu will shift to being more enoteca in style, with all-day appeal. Dishes include tramezzini and salads, plus other small plates, and happy hour will bring some cicchetti and snacks. Lynch is working with Giovanni Airaghi on the menu, a Milanese, whom he met at the Jackson Place Café while he was working at Quince (the man reportedly makes a mean cappuccino). Look for the menu to ramp up even more in coming weeks. And since it will now be easier for guest chefs to come by for pop-up nights, look for more special events to happen in the future as well.

Friday will be a very soft opening, and you’ll probably want to come by on Saturday for porchetta panini (12pm-6pm)—and there will be a casual wine tasting.

While the wine list has always been multinational in style, look for even more Italian wines to be present as the retail part of the business will be coming to the forefront. If you taste something you love, you can buy a bottle and bring it home. (You’ll notice some changes in how the space is now laid out.) What this new retail model also means is that instead of paying a restaurant markup (typically three times) for wines, guests will just pay the retail price plus a $20 corkage fee. So guess who is going to be drinking some screamingly good deals? Yeah, you. There will also be a St. Vincent wine club coming soon, and look for lots of tastings, especially on Saturdays.

Hours will be Mon-Sat 12pm-10pm, so you’ll be able to come in whenever, and there will no longer be the need for reservations (although those will be accepted for large parties). Expect some day drinking in your near future.


The dining room at Iza Ramen. Photo: ©


Kitchen ready for action. Photo: ©


The Iza Ramen crew (chef-owner Ritsuo Tsuchida is in the middle). Photo: ©


Iza Ramen. Photo via Facebook.

After popping up for about two years at Blowfish Sushi, ~IZA RAMEN~ is opening in the former Squat & Gobble in the Lower Haight. Chef and partner Ritsuo Tsuchida—who has also been the chef-partner at Blowfish Sushi in the Mission since it opened—was originally a sushi chef in Tokyo, and he returned to Japan to go to ramen school. He wanted to create a space that has an approachable price point, and after two years of running the pop-up, he has a good sense of the kind of ramen he likes to make (and what his customers like to eat).

His broth is a combination of chicken broth, tonkotsu, and some bonito tuna and vegetable broth. They wanted to purchase their own noodle-making machine, but the sticker shock was too much ($40K), so they may be able to purchase one later on. There is ramen and tsukemen (which comes with a dipping soup), both available spicy or regular, and a vegetarian ramen will be available as well (all $11.50-$12.50). Additional toppings range from spicy kimchi to black garlic oil.

The expanded menu also includes some izakaya-like bites, starting with snacks like housemade pickles, garlic edamame, and hot appetizers like takoyaki, chicken gyoza, and spicy mabo tofu, plus yakitori. Cold appetizers include salmon or Wagyu steak tartare with housemade potato chips, Wagyu tataki, and bincho tuna carpaccio.

Since they have a beer and wine license, you’ll be able to enjoy some good pairings with these dishes (sake too!). And if you want a rice bowl, there’s a hearty one with chashu pork and another with sweet and spicy fried chicken (both $7.50), as well as shrimp fried rice ($8.50).

Interestingly, the Iza weekend pop-up will continue at Blowfish into November, and then in December, the pop-up will be called Ramen JuBay and focus on a tonkotsu broth.

The space has a contemporary look that’s a bit rustic with an industrial touch too. There are 50 seats, primarily at wood tables with metal trim, and there is a long wood banquette along the main wall (they stained the wood on the backrest and bench 10 times). There are two kinds of pendant lights, giving the space a polished look, though it still feels approachable.

The soft opening is this Thursday October 29th for dinner, 5pm-11pm nightly, and then lunch will begin next Thursday November 5th (11:30-2:30pm). Hours will then be adjusted as they get a sense of the neighborhood. 237 Fillmore St. at Haight, 415-926-8173.


The famed barbecue pork roll. Yelp photo by Steve L.


Contemporary meets old school (the tabletops, stools, and numbers on the wall!). Yelp photo by Steve L.

Back in April, we shared details about the new location for old-timer ~SAM WO RESTAURANT AND BAKERY~, reopening in the former Anna Bakery space in Chinatown. After three years of being closed out of their previous ramshackle location (which opened shortly after the 1906 quake), they reopened last week, on Wednesday October 21st. (I was hoping to come by for some noodles and a peek this past weekend, but that unfortunately didn’t happen. Maybe this week!)

But like we reported, the new location has multiple floors (just like the previous location), and they even installed a dumbwaiter (ahhh, nostalgia). You’ll notice other original artifacts in the space, and many of the original menu items, too, from the barbecue pork rice noodle roll to jook to wonton soup. Look for beer and wine to come soon, and the bakery part of the business to ramp up too.

Hours are a bit of a moving target, but for now they’re open Mon-Tue 11am-3pm, Wed-Sat 11am-3pm and 6pm-11pm, closed Sun. The eventual plan is to be open Mon-Tue 8am-3:30pm, Wed-Fri 8am-3pm and 6pm-4am, Sat 10am-4am, Sun 10am-6pm. 715 Clay St. at Kearny, 415-989-8898.


The exterior of The Lab. Photo: Albert Law.


Dinnertime in the cozy space. Photo: Albert Law.


Alejandra Espinosa’s green plantain tostones with poached egg, piquillo coulis. Photo: Albert Law.

Some exciting news for Dogpatch residents (and people like me who love the neighborhood): local social dining marketplace Feastly is going to be hosting weekly pop-ups Wednesday through Sunday nights in Recchiuti’s ~THE LAB~ (previously the cozy Piccino space). Different chefs will be rotating on different nights, so one night could be Robin Song with his upcoming Junju, while the next night might feature Alexander Hong’s Sorrel. It’s a great way to try the food of chefs forging their way to opening a brick-and-mortar location. Prices will range from $32 for two or three courses to $75 for a seven-course meal.

The first event features Robin Song this Friday October 30th (and upcoming Fridays), followed by Brasserie Quito by Alejandra Espinosa on Wednesdays (“a night in France with a hint of Ecuador”), Ichido by Geoff Reed on Thursdays (“fished and foraged omakase,” with dishes like marinated anchovies, heirloom tomatoes, ginger, smoky yuzu kosho aioli, and sesame crostini), and Alexander Hong’s Sorrel (“seasonal and market-driven”; think duck egg raviolo with Swiss chard and ricotta) on Saturdays. Sunday suppers, brunch, and a nightly schedule will be coming soon, including events from La Cocina graduates. Follow the schedule here.

Do note that all dinners are ticketed, so there are no walk-ins. All tickets include tax and tip, and some meals include wine, and some are BYOB. Use my tablehopper link for $10 off your first Feastly meal!

Recchiuti will continue to host his own Taste Project pop-ups, brunches, and third Thursday paella nights. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee.


The interior of ICHI Kakiya. Photo by Darren Samuelson.

Some changes are happening at ~ICHI KAKIYA~, which will be going dark after service (and handing out candy!) on Halloween. Partners Tim and Erin Archuleta will be experimenting with hosting pop-up dinners in the space in early 2016, as well as featuring other collaborations with chefs and friends. You’ll see some of ICHI Kakiya’s crew over at ICHI Sushi + NI Bar, but you should still come by for some final oysters this week. 3369 Mission St. at Godeus, 415-814-3877.


The dining room at Cala. Photo by Chloe List.


Petit Crenn: now making buckwheat crêpes! Photo via Instagram.

Just this past Sunday, ~CALA~ launched Sunday brunch service. It’s a beautiful, airy space, so it will be quite the chic spot for brunch. The menu includes some of the seafood-focused dinner items, like the sopes playeros con pescado adobado, but you’ll also see some meatier items, like torta ahogada with carnitas, and enfrijoladas (black bean sauce-coated enchiladas with chicken and Point Reyes Toma cheese). Also on the menu: DF classics like molletes (a toasted and custom-made Tartine bolillo spread with puréed black beans, melted cheese, and pico de gallo) and chilaquiles rojos o verdes with a fried egg. There is also French toast with Asian pear, walnuts and piloncillo, and fruit dishes like Crenshaw melon with yogurt, honey, and piquin chile. You can come by for brunch cocktails, like the Jamaica with cava and hibiscus, a Mexico City-style michelada, and a Bloody Mary made with St. George pepper vodka, fresh tomato, and chipotle. Served Sun 10am-3pm.

Just this morning, ~PETIT CRENN~ opened its doors for breakfast and lunch. A Breton-inspired breakfast, including buckwheat crêpes, oeufs à la coque, fresh fruit, and pastries from Jane bakery will be served Tue-Sat 8am-11am. Lunch starts at 11am, serving tartines, salads, and a roasted fish of the day until 2:30pm. No reservations. 609 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-864-1744.

Outer Richmond favorite ~CASSAVA BAKERY + CAFÉ~ started serving dinner six nights a week and is now open Wed-Mon nights 5:30pm-9pm (closed Tue). Some dishes on their fall menu include duck liver mousse with port gelée and a raisin-brown butter paste; a miso- and corn-marinated black cod with farro and pickled watermelon radish; and duck confit with stewed cranberry beans and basil “soil.”

~CHUBBY NOODLE NORTH BEACH~ is now serving lunch daily 11:30am-2:30pm (they are also open for dinner 5pm-10pm). (Via Hoodline.) 1310 Grant Ave. at Vallejo.


The exterior of Gus’s Community Market. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The future produce section. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©


The future home of Gus’s Community Market Café. Photo: Dana Eastland. ©

A report by Dana Eastland: Back in March, we shared the news that the Vardakastanis family, who owns Noriega Produce in the Sunset and Haight Street Market, would be opening a new grocery store in the Mission, called ~GUS’S COMMUNITY MARKET~. I had a chance to swing by recently and take a look at their progress and hear about their plans for the space. Dimitri and Bobby Vardakastanis are partners in the market—and Gus’s sons—and they showed me around the new space, which is on the ground floor of a multi-unit building. It’s currently slated to open Wednesday November 11th.

The entrance of the market features a small café, where shoppers (and anyone else) can stop for a cup of coffee, tea, or fresh juice. The space will have plenty of outlets for those wanting to get some work done, and they hope to add some outdoor seating, as well.

When you enter the store from the café, the first thing you see is the large produce section, which the brothers call “the heart of the store.” Their family’s business has always been focused on produce, and the new, larger space will give them the chance to offer new items, depending on the season. They’ve also got a large butcher counter, with plenty of room for their signature housemade sausages, as well as meat from local producers including Marin Sun Farms and Llano Seco Rancho. A locker for dry-aging meat has also been installed, so you’ll be able to purchase aged steaks too. There is an extensive selection of meats available for special order—almost anything can be ordered and on-site in a day or two.

There is also a large commissary kitchen, which will stock their large prepared food section. There is a large salad bar and hot bar area, along with plenty of refrigerator space for other prepared items to take home. The deli will offer sandwiches, salads, and sides, as well as a live sushi preparation counter, which the brothers say has been very popular at their other locations. As for groceries, there is a large portion of the store set aside for bulk items, as well as rows of dry goods and other groceries. They will offer plenty of staples, as well as local products and harder-to-find gourmet items.

Gus’s Community Market is scheduled to open Wednesday November 11th, and hours will be daily 7am-10pm. There is limited parking available, as well as bicycle parking and outdoor seating. 2111 Harrison St. at 17th St., 415-431-9300.


Since it’s fall cookbook season, here are a few chefs and authors on tour you won’t want to miss. On Monday November 2nd is a dinner to celebrate Donabe: Classic and Modern Japanese Clay Pot Cooking (Ten Speed Press), by Japanese home-cooking expert and teacher Naoko Takei Moore and chef Kyle Connaughton (of the upcoming Single Thread in Healdsburg), at ~BAR TARTINE~. It will be a four-course dinner featuring dishes inspired by the book, like sizzling tofu and mushrooms in miso sauce and steam-fried black cod with crisp potatoes, leeks, and walnut-nori pesto. $80 (books and beverages sold separately). Seatings begin at 5:30pm. Call 415-487-1600 for reservations.

On Thursday November 19th, San Francisco will be one of the stops in the six-city North American book tour for The Nordic Cookbook (Phaidon) by Magnus Nilsson (Fäviken Magasinet). Nilsson, Phaidon, and Dinner Lab will be hosting a series of dinners with different Nordic chefs, and San Francisco is lucky to have chef Emma Bengtsson visiting, originally from Sweden but now living in New York (at the two Michelin-starred Aquavit), making her the first female Swedish chef and second-ever U.S. female chef to run a two-starred restaurant.

Nilsson will speak about The Nordic Cookbook at the event, and Bengtsson will be preparing a five-course dinner inspired by the traditional recipes and traditions documented in Nilsson’s book. Tickets are 
$175 per person and includes the five-course menu, beverages, and signed book ($49.95). Seatings are 6:30pm and 8:30pm. Location will be revealed closer to the event.


The deck at Bay Wolf. Photo via Facebook.


Rebekah and Rich Wood of Wood Tavern and Southie. Photo courtesy of Wood Tavern.

After ~BAY WOLF~ closed in September, many were left wondering who would be the next taker for the historic space. It ends up it is Rich and Rebekah Wood of Wood Tavern and Southie, who just signed the lease on Friday. Rich said, “It’s a dream come true” and it ends up the Woods had one of their first dates at Bay Wolf; they also became good friends with Michael Wild over the years.

They plan to open an intimate American brasserie, but they love the quaint nature of the space and that it’s a touch fancy, and want to preserve that. Describing Wood Tavern as the big brother and Southie as the little brother, Wood states this is definitely going to be the girl in the family. Chef-partner and Oakland-born Yang Peng, who started at Wood Tavern as a pantry cook in 2007 and worked her way up to executive chef, will be overseeing the new project.

They will be doing some exterior and interior work on the place and hope to open in midsummer of 2016. There isn’t a name yet, but one thing they will have is a liquor license; they ended up winning in the license lottery, how’s that for good luck? Imagine a martini before your meal, next year! 3853 Piedmont Ave. at Rio Vista, Oakland.

Elmwood neighborhood restaurant ~THE ADVOCATE~ is now serving weekend brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10:20am-2:30pm. The brunch menu includes new dishes like caramelized French toast with huckleberries and dulce de crescenza, or cazuela-baked eggs with peperonata, cannellini, and pickled pepper salsa, as well as popular items from their regular menu, like chicken liver toast and a wood-fired burger. In addition to brunch dishes, you’ll find a selection of brunch beverages, including a rhubarb spritz with City of London gin, Aperol, lemon, rhubarb, and cava, or try their house Bloody Mary with Sobieski vodka, tomato, chipotle, lime, urfa pepper, and escabeche. 2635 Ashby Ave. at College, Berkeley, 510-370-2200.

Chowhound brings word that East Bay ramen pop-up IppoRamen is now appearing at Tokyo Fish in Berkeley, with about five seats at a folding table.

Also via Chowhound: there’s a new banh mi place on the North Oakland/Berkeley border called ~MAI BANH MI~. The reports on Yelp mention friendly owners, good food, and a nice price. 6601 Telegraph Ave. at 66th St., Oakland, 510-788-5755.

Tonight (October 27th), ~ KRONNERBURGER~ is hosting Chris Fischer from Beetlebung Farm on Martha’s Vineyard. He’s doing a dinner promoting his new book, The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook: A Year of Cooking on Martha’s Vineyard (5pm-10pm), and the theme is rabbits. Email to reserve. Also for your calendar: there will be a release dinner with Scribe Winery on November 2nd. 4063 Piedmont Ave. at 41st St., 510-823-2371.


The Pine Cone Diner. Photo via Facebook.

Fans of the classic and kitschy ~PINE CONE DINER~ (and its delicious chilaquiles and pancakes) will be dismayed to hear it has closed after 19 years. No reason was given, but some posts on their Facebook page allude to some restructuring and difficulties finding a line cook. (Point Reyes Light via Eater.) 60 4th St., Point Reyes Station.

October 20, 2015

The old-school interior of Alfred’s Steakhouse. Photo from Facebook.

At first, this headline reads like some very odd or mistaken news. But after chatting with Daniel Patterson Group director of operations Ron Boyd, it starts to make good sense. It ends up Boyd, a San Francisco native, and his girlfriend Kim Alter, another DPG chef, have been fans of the 87-year-old ~ALFRED’S STEAKHOUSE~ for a long time. When they heard it was up for sale, Boyd wanted to make sure this SF classic (since 1928!) was preserved and convinced Daniel Patterson to look into it further with him. After some negotiation, the Petri family decided to sell the restaurant to DPG, after 42 years of ownership—the last night will be New Year’s Eve, and you know that will be quite the blowout party. Alfred’s regulars, make your reservation now.

In January, the restaurant will undergo some freshening up—with some renovations to the kitchen and bar, and new artwork will be added—but it will be mostly the same Alfred’s that we know and love. Boyd and the Daniel Patterson Group are revitalizing this SF traditional space, but also want to be respectful of it and its many traditions.

Anyone who has bought a tablehopper vintage T-shirt has heard the story of how the Blue Fox was where Alfred’s is now. In a fun twist, Boyd’s first externship was at the Blue Fox in 1992, before it closed in 1993—Alfred’s moved from its original location and opened in the current space in 1997.

Boyd appreciates how Alfred’s is one of the most affordable steakhouses in SF and wants to keep it that way. Alfred’s sources their beef (which is steroid- and hormone-free and grass-fed and corn-finished) from Schmidt Family Farms, and that will continue (ditto the steaks being cooked on mesquite/open fire). The menu will integrate a whole animal program, so look for dishes like oxtails and pork shoulder to be integrated into the menu. The three-course “school night” menu tradition will also continue, but look for the vegetables to be upgraded a bit, because it ends up chef Charlie Parker will be coming over from Haven in Oakland to run things. (Parker’s replacement at Haven will be Matt Brimer, most recently at Les Clos, who will be ramping up over the next couple of months during the transition.)

Some other things being discussed: the return of tableside salads and some additions to the bar program. The drinks will definitely remain classically driven, and they will introduce some barrel-aged cocktails. The wine list will get a bit of an update and we may see some news about the huge downstairs wine cellar, but the team hasn’t decided to do anything about it yet—it was quite the private dining room back when it was the Blue Fox.

Many “grazie” to Marco and Al Petri and the entire Petri family for the decades of memories for many guests and regulars in that historic space. 659 Merchant St. at Kearny, 415-781-7058.


The bar area at Caputo. Photo courtesy of Caputo.

By Dana Eastland. ~CAPUTO~, the new restaurant from Marin-based Boca Restaurant Group that we mentioned last month, is now open in South Beach. The food is rustic, trattoria-style Italian with a California sensibility, from chef-partner Sam Ramadan. The kitchen is centered around the wood-fired grill, where much of the food is prepared, including grilled octopus, whole branzino, and lamb. Neapolitan-style pizzas are cooked in the wood-fired oven, and other signature items include a braised lamb tongue, pecorino flan, and a seasonal selection of housemade pastas.

The dining room seats 100, with room for an additional 40 on the patio. There is also a 17-seat marble bar with cocktails from John Oyarzon that run the gamut from classic to contemporary, including an Aperol spritz and a barrel-aged Negroni. The wine list from Paul Einbund is focused on California wines, with some international selections as well. There are 8 wines on tap, available by the glass or carafe, as well as 22 options by the glass, including 3 sparkling options. Take a look at the drink list and full menu here. Hours are Sun-Thu 11:30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm. 100 Brannan St. at Embarcadero, 415-543-9720.


Bar seating at Delarosa’s new location. Photo by Declan Mckerr.


Delarosa’s new downtown location. Photo by Declan Mckerr.

By Dana Eastland. As previously reported on tablehopper, Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group is opening a second location of ~DELAROSA~ in Yerba Buena Lane downtown. The new location officially opened on Monday October 19th and offers casual, Roman-style dining. The menu is intended for group dining, with plenty of dishes to share like spiedini (skewers), pizza, salads, and fritti. There is also a selection of pastas, as well as salads and antipasti.

The new location also offers a full bar, including an aperitivo section with choices like the Miele Julep with honey, grappa, mint, Amaro Nonino, and lemon. There are also cocktails like the Provocateur, with bourbon, lemon, grapefruit, amaro, cacao, and Chinese bitters. There are 15 beers on tap, including local craft brews and some Italian options, like Moretti La Rossa.

The space has room for 40 in the bar area and an additional 80 in the main dining room, plus there are plans to open an outdoor patio for 46 later. The interior is sleek and modern, with colorful touches and wooden accents. Plus, they’re open until midnight seven days a week. Lunch is coming soon; for now, hours are daily 4pm-12am. 37 Yerba Buena Ln. at Market, 415-872-7363.


The future home of Wise Sons bakery. Photo: ©


Overhead view of the space from the mezzanine. Photo: ©


The future retail counter. Photo: ©

Back in July, we reported on ~WISE SONS~ (Evan Bloom and Leo Beckerman’s) upcoming commissary kitchen, production bakery, and Wise Sons Bagel. They’re opening a new space on Fillmore, and we wanted to let you know that things are moving along. Yay.

The 2,200-foot space is built out and they are currently baking babka and rugelach for their multiple locations (which now includes a kiosk at Square that opened a couple of weeks ago, serving a few sandwiches and a salad—and no, it’s not open to the general public). They unfortunately have to resolve a few electrical issues before they can ramp up their entire baking operation and kitchen (and move their smoker over).

The big question is: when can we get the bagels? They have not yet started that part of their operation, and it looks like it will still be at least a month before we can walk into the shop—plan on December. To recap, there will be a retail counter in the front of the bakery where you can order bagels, espresso, baked goods, a few bagel sandwiches, pastrami, fish, and schmears in the grab-and-go case, with limited seats at a few tables and a window counter. Of course we will keep you posted on when you can try their bagels, which will likely arrive at their multiple locations first. Check out the fun logo here! 1520 Fillmore St. at Geary.


Photo via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Yesterday the upcoming ~ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE CINEMA AT THE NEW MISSION~ broke the internet (well, the local one) with its announcement that it was going to be selling tickets to the new Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which will coincide with their grand opening, on Thursday December 17th. Exciting times.

While they sorted out ticketing issues, another piece of news was released: their chef is the one and only Ronnie New, coming over from Comstock Saloon after 2 1/2 years there. New is currently in Austin doing local cuisine research and recon (tough work) and says the food is going to be regional American—similar to their Austin Alamo locations—but there will be some things adjusted for the SF crowd. The new menu will be released in a few weeks or so, but do know this: there will be queso.

It’s looking like quite the team over there, with Isaac Shumway running the cocktail show at Bear vs. Bull, like we reported earlier. 2550 Mission St. at 22nd St.


Margherita pizza from Del Popolo. Photo: Eric Zepeda.

We’re happy to report Jon Darsky has made some progress with his brick-and-mortar ~DEL POPOLO~ location coming to 855 Bush Street; he plans to open mid-November, ideally before Thanksgiving.

Before that happens, he’s running a couple of pop-up preview dinners with Feastly on Wednesday October 28th and Thursday October 29th, in conjunction with his new chef Jeffrey Hayden, previously at Boot & Shoe Service in Oakland (and WD-50 in New York and Blackbird and Alinea in Chicago). Tickets are $39 (use my link for $10 off your first Feastly meal!), and there are seatings at 6pm and 8pm each night; it will be in Dogpatch (the location will be revealed when tickets are purchased).

The menu includes some of the new pizzas, like rapini, fontina, mozzarella, and dried black olives; and another with tomato sauce, Calabrian peppers, housemade sausage (the new operation will be doing their own butchery), and oregano. It will all be prepared in the Del Popolo truck. Some of the non-pizza items on the upcoming menu will also be served, like roasted broccoli di cicco with ricotta salata di bufala and gentlemen’s relish; winter squash roasted over coals with aromatic herbs and goat cheese; smoked bintje potatoes with tonnato, capers, pickled chile, and two kinds of celery; and braised Hoffman Farms chicken with pickled huckleberries, rye, cabbage, and burnt bread. Beer and wine are included!


Khao man gai from Rooster & Rice. Yelp photo by JP N.


The new La Fromagerie location in the Financial District. Photo via Facebook.

By Dana Eastland. Lovers of khao man gai, or the Thai version of Hainanese chicken rice, will be very excited to learn that there is a new San Francisco outpost specializing in the simple yet complex dish. It’s called ~ROOSTER & RICE~, and Yelpers report that they are now open and serving a tight menu with three versions of chicken and rice, including a vegetarian tofu version. Hours are Tue-Sat 11:30am-9pm or until they sell out. 2211 Filbert St. at Fillmore, 415-776-3647.

Last week, we mentioned newly opened ~BEN THAI CAFE~ on Polk Street. Well, now Eater reports that the Ben Thai team is planning an expansion. We reached out and co-owner Tara Benhudjiriras told us that they are expanding into an unused space to the side of Ben Thai. They plan to offer Thai-inspired street food in a grab-and-go environment, with late-night hours to cater to the bargoers in the neighborhood. Dishes include sweet roti with curry dip, tofu fish balls on a skewer, and crispy fried mealworms with Thai spices. 1331 Polk St. at Austin.

Back in May, we reported that Dogpatch cheese café and retail shop ~LA FROMAGERIE~ would be expanding with a new location in the Financial District, and it is now open. In addition to their retail cheese operation, you’ll find a selection of six sandwiches (one will change daily), four salads, and cheese and charcuterie boards. Take a look at the sandwich and salad options here and the cheese and charcuterie here. Hours are Mon-Fri 11am-7pm, and catering is available. 101 Montgomery St. at Sutter, 415-910-5666.


The delicious burger from the Burger pop-up. Photo: ©


The Hot Wes burger. Photo courtesy of Wes Burger.

As we reported last week, yesterday was the last night of the Burger SF Monday pop-up at Cease & Desist from the Causwells fellows (Alvin Garcia and chef Adam Rosenblum), as they ramp up to open their very own brick-and-mortar location in February 2016.

We knew is was going to be near 6th and Market, and Hoodline just revealed the actual address is 998 Market St., in the Warfield building. The new name will be ~POPSONS~, and the menu will be very similar to what you would have experienced as Burger (i.e., an insanely good double cheeseburger, duck fat fries, onion rings).

Also worth noting: next door will be ~WAYSTONE~, a wine bar and lunch spot from Garcia’s partner at Causwells, Tom Patella, and his wife, Allison, due to open in July 2016. You can read more here.

Meanwhile, Wes Rowe has secured a brick-and-mortar location in the Mission for his upcoming ~WES BURGER N’ MORE~ in the former Palacio Latino space. The Austin-born Rowe has been running Wes Burger as a pop-up at Mojo Bicycle Café on Wednesdays, serving many permutations of his delicious all-brisket, coarsely ground patty that he cooks in a cast-iron skillet every week. After consulting on the menu for the Lookout bar in the Castro, owner Chris Hastings has partnered up with Rowe on this next venture, due to open in early 2016. We’ll keep you posted. 2240 Mission St. at 18th St. 


Some of the new dishes at 1760. Photo by Wes Rowe Photography.


And the new cocktails on Christopher Longoria’s seasonal menu. Photo courtesy of Ryan Robles PR.

Some updates at ~1760~: they have formally announced that the chef is Carl Foronda (previously a sous at Sushi Ran), who joined the team after the departure of opening chef Adam Tortosa at the end of 2014. Foronda is integrating some inspiration and dishes from his Filipino heritage, including a version of pork sisig and lumpia, plus dishes like corn coconut ravioli with lemongrass, pimentón, and cilantro, a play on the corn coconut soup he learned while at Sushi Ran. Other new dishes include calamarata with octopus, tomato, cauliflower, and olive, and a bavette steak with wheatberries, bone marrow, and cranberry beans.

Curious about some of these new dishes? Well, mark your calendar for a boozy tablehopper brunch on Sunday November 8th at 12pm—we’ll have details and (limited!) tickets available next week! Yes, there will be Aperol spritzes.

Speaking of booze: 1760 also has a new seasonal cocktail list from bar manager Christopher Longoria, featuring the Fig & Raspberry (Cynar, Disaronno, Angostura, dark lager, rum, lime) and Grapefruit & Red Amaryllis (black pepper, cachaça, Cointreau).

After the departure of chef Zack Freitas from ~THE KEYSTONE~ in SoMa, the new executive chef is Banks White, previously at Minton’s in New York and Five in Berkeley. His new menu (New American with Southern influences—he’s a Texas native) will debut Wednesday October 21st, including Brussels sprout chips with chicken schmaltz aioli, and roasted brassicas with cashew cheese, red quinoa, berbere spice citronette. Brunch with bottomless mimosas ($25 with the purchase of an entrée) launches on Saturday October 24th. Brunch hours are at-Sun 10am-2pm. 68 4th St. at Mission, 415-777-1200.


The brunch spread at Chino, including jook with pork belly. Photo by Wes Rowe.

~CHINO~ is launching weekend brunch this Saturday October 24th. The menu from chef Ron Pei includes xiao long bao ($13), as well as plenty of other items to make your weekend awesome. You’ll find additional dumpling choices, like the insane foie gras XLB soup dumplings ($24) and the morning bao with housemade bacon, omelet, and special sauce ($11). Or try some hangover-helping jook with your choice of wild mushroom and heirloom grains; tea egg, pork belly, and ham hock; or smoked trout with dashi and bonito (all $12).

Danny Louie is cranking out morning-friendly cocktails like the Cool Runnings with Aperol, aquavit, cucumber, lime, and soda, or the Morning Glory with basil-infused Lillet, red bell pepper, truffle salt, celery soda, and Yanjing beer. There are also slushie boba cocktails and, of course, coffee. You can peek at the whole menu here. Brunch is served Sat-Sun 11:30am-3pm (dinner service starts up at 5pm, they’ll be closed in between).


A dish from The Perennial at a recent pop-up. Photo via Sosh.

By Dana Eastland. On Sunday October 25th, catch a pescatarian pop-up at ~IZAKAYA RINTARO~ from the upcoming The Perennial. Chef Chris Kiyuna (Front Porch, Coi, Noma, and Mission Chinese Food) of the forthcoming restaurant will be at the stoves, creating progressive, fresh dishes from impeccable ingredients. The six-course dinner still has seatings available for 8pm and 8:30pm, and tickets are $68 per person (available in pairs for $136) including food, tax, and tip. Beverages will be available for purchase. 82 14th St. at Folsom, 415-231-6267.

Chef and author Michael Solomonov will be in town promoting his new book Zahav, and one of his stops is a special dinner at ~BAR TARTINE~ on Monday October 26th. The family-style feast from chefs Nick Balla and Cortney Burns is inspired by recipes in the book, and everything will be made in-house. Books will be available for purchase at the event, and Solomonov will be in attendance to sign them. The dinner costs $80 per person (available in pairs for $160), and tickets are available at various times beginning at 5:30pm. 561 Valencia St. at 17th St., 510-231-6267.

Joji Sumi, a sous chef at Nopalito, is having a pop-up at the Inner Sunset location on Thursday October 29th, called Through the Kitchen Window. The evening begins at 6:30pm with a selection of (non-Nopalito) snacks like duck liver toast with quince and pickles, followed by a five-course meal that includes seasonal dishes like steamed fish with burnt vegetables, miso, and crispy rice. Tickets are $54 per person for dinner; drink pairings are available for an additional $28. 1224 9th Ave. at Lincoln, 415-233-9966.


White truffle. Flickr photo from Erika Kerekes.

It’s hard to believe that truffle season is already here, but it’s true. Coming up on Tuesday November 3rd, ~LOCANDA~ is hosting Franco Conterno of Poderi Aldo Conterno for an evening of Barolo and truffles. Oh yeahhhh. On the menu: à la carte dishes include a winter squash soup, veal carne cruda, scallops with prosciutto and black truffle brodo, and Carnaroli rice pudding for dessert. Truffles can be added to most dishes that night, and you can order Conterno’s wines by the glass, bottle, or flight. Make your reservation here.

~DELFINA~ will have truffles on the menu from November 16th-19th, available as an addition to many truffle-friendly dishes, plus there will be an expanded selection of nebbiolo. And then Thursday November 19th is Delfina’s 17th anniversary—stop in for a glass of complimentary prosecco.


Bar Crudo’s famous arctic char crudo with horseradish crème fraîche, wasabi tobiko, and dill. Photo: ©

I almost can’t believe ~BAR CRUDO~ is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Monday October 26th. Happy anniversary to owner-brothers Mike and Tim Selvera! The party will start early, as they’ll be opening at 3pm for an extra-long happy hour, which will include their $1 oysters, seafood chowder, and specials on a few of their “greatest hits” from the past 10 years, like the arctic char crudo with horseradish crème fraîche, wasabi tobiko, and dill. Russian River Brewing will be taking over their taps, offering a flight of four beers for just $10. From October 27th through November 1st, you can come in for a special four-course anniversary prix-fixe menu for $45 from executive chef Melissa Perfit.

Another anniversary that Marina dwellers will want to note: ~ACE WASABI’S~ is turning 20 in December, and have rolled out a sashimi special to celebrate. They’re taking 50 percent off both of their seasonal sashimi platters (the 12- or 24-piece option, regularly priced at $25/$45), available Mon-Fri 5:30pm-7pm. 3339 Steiner St. at Lombard, 415-567-4903.


Aeroir: Taste of Place. Photo from Marin Headlands Center for the Arts.

By Dana Eastland. On Thursday November 19th, the Headlands Center for the Arts is hosting a dinner called Aeroir: Taste of Place. Um, sorry, what’s aeroir, you ask? It’s the term used by artist-in-residence Nicola Twilley of the blog Edible Geography to describe the local atmosphere that creates a unique flavor in food.

She is preparing a multicourse dinner with collaborators Zack Denfeld (The Center for Genomic Gastronomy) and Gabriel Harp (CoClimate), and of course it will feature the flavors of the Marin Headlands area. All of the diners’ senses will be involved in the evening, and the event also features special cocktails from The Long Now Foundation’s bar, The Interval, and Campari America. Cocktails begin at 6:30pm, and dinner follows. Tickets are $90 per person. 944 Simmonds Rd. at Rosenstock, Sausalito.


The combo rice bowl from Halal Guys in New York. Yelp photo by Danny L.


Spicy tamarind pork ribs from Ramen Shop, now available all day on weekends. Photo courtesy of Ramen Shop.

By Dana Eastland. Back in February, news hit that New York’s famed ~HALAL GUYS~ has a franchise deal to expand into Northern California, starting with locations in San Francisco and Berkeley. Well, now Scoop is reporting that they’ll be opening in the former Le Regal space in downtown Berkeley. They are currently hiring for the Berkeley location and hope to open in February 2016. Of course we’ll let you know when they are officially open for business. 2126 Center St. at Shattuck, Berkeley.

Taiwan-based chain ~85C BAKERY CAFE~ has opened their newest location in Berkeley. Chowhounds caught the opening, and initial Yelp reports cite a large location, variety of pastries, and lots of tea and coffee options. 21 Shattuck Sq. at University, Berkeley, 510-540-8585.

Tonight, Tuesday October 20th, the tradition of free community pizza night started at Nick’s Pizza is being continued at ~NICK AND ARON’S~. From 6pm to 8pm, all are invited to join them for free pizza, salad, housemade beverages, and a celebration of community. Beer and wine will be available at happy hour prices, and a local DJ will provide live music. 4316 Telegraph Ave. at 43rd St., Oakland, 510-250-9538.

We spotted a post on Instagram saying that ~RAMEN SHOP~ is going to be open for weekend lunch starting this Saturday October 24th. We reached out to co-owner Sam White, who confirms the news and says that the menu will stay essentially the same, with donburi, fried rice, and three varieties of ramen. They’ll be open straight through until dinner, meaning weekend hours are now Sat 11am-12am, Sun 11am-10:30pm.

Earlier this year, we reported on the Albany location of ~PHO AO SEN~, which is in a former Sizzler. The new outpost will open on Friday October 23rd, according to their website. 665 San Pablo Ave. at Portland, Albany, 510-679-5000.

October 16, 2015

The reception featured Chesapeake Bay soft-shell crab and kottu roti to go with our Scharffenberger bubbles. All photos: ©


The egg hopper with Jidori egg and sambols.


Exquisite bites of the house-smoked salmon with burnt onion crème fraîche and turmeric gel.


A hopper favorite: open-faced cold chicken curry sandwich on Pinkie’s baguette.

Last night was the latest tablehopper supper, a Sri Lankan feast at ~1601 BAR & KITCHEN~. I have been a fan of this underrated and soulful restaurant since it first opened, but was so captivated by chef Brian Fernando’s newly launched tasting menu a couple of months ago that I was inspired to host a tablehopper dinner, featuring some of my favorite dishes (you can and should experience the full tasting menu, for $85).

Maisons Marques & Domaines provided our wines for the evening, and we kicked off the reception with two sparkling wines from Scharffenberger Cellars, their Non Vintage Brut Excellence and Brut Rosé Excellence from Mendocino County (which I am going to be moving into heavy rotation for upcoming holiday parties). The kitchen sent out their village salad consommé (an elixir if there ever was one), their silky Hokkaido scallop ceviche (the coconut and lime pickle in this make it a phenomenal bite), mulligatawny soup, soft-shell crab, and what they call the fish cutlet, similar to a small fried ball of brandade. Quite the opening salvo!

We then made our way into the private dining room for our family-style feast. Of course we had to have the egg hopper (with Jidori egg and the flavorful sambols), plus chef Fernando’s trademark kale salad (the black garlic-citrus vinaigrette, toasted coconut, and Parmesan make it an umami blast), and his house-smoked salmon with turmeric gel is the best it has ever been. The Domaines Schlumberger 2013 pinot blanc, Les Princes Abbés (Alsace) was an agile pairing for the three courses—I especially liked the faintest hint of smoke, which tied in with the black garlic, the darker edges of the hopper, and the burnt onion with the salmon.

The next wave of dishes included my current obsession: the open-faced cold chicken curry sandwich on Pinkie’s baguette, plus the local halal goat stew with beets, chèvre mousse, and red basmati, and a dish I hadn’t had before, their fried Yukon gold potatoes with chile-fenugreek vinegar (we were all scooping them up with gusto). The kitchen spoiled us further and sent out the lamb and pork meatballs with Sri Lankan cinnamon, cilantro-almond relish, and Straus yogurt. It was quite an abundant table.

We left the wine pairing up to the diner’s preference: Carpe Diem 2012 pinot noir, Anderson Valley, or the 2012 cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley. I opted for the pinot, which had enough earthiness and dark cherry to pair well with the goat stew, and the acidity helped keep this course from ever feeling heavy.

The finale was the bittersweet Valrhona chocolate custard with toasted curry and coconut lace cookie, paired with Ramos Pinto Cellars Non Vintage Quinta de Ervamoira 10-Year Tawny Porto—I was so pleased we could introduce the room to this historic house, founded in 1880, which has four estates (quintas) in the Douro. We had a lively Q&A with chef Fernando, who came out to tell us more about his background, technique, and intricate dishes.

On a personal note, I was so touched with the warmth and kindness of this particular group, what a special gathering. Thank you to everyone who attended, and especially to chef Brian Fernando and GM Yuliya Thompson and the entire 1601 team! Big round of applause and gratitude to Maisons Marques & Domaines, whose portfolio made this event extra-memorable and elegant. Thanks everyone! See you at 1601 again soon.

(Here’s a little Facebook photo album with pics I took throughout the evening—it was difficult to host while getting pictures of everything we ate and drank, but here are some highlights!)