The Chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
September 28, 2016
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A look into the dining room at The Morris. Photo: Leo Gong.

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The smoked duck. Photo: Leo Gong.

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Chef-partner Gavin Schmidt (left). Photo: Leo Gong.

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A beaming Paul Einbund. Photo: Leo Gong.

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Test dinner at The Morris. Photo: Leo Gong.

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Exterior of the iconic building. Photo: Leo Gong.

Paul Einbund has been planning and plotting his own project for years, while sharing his talents as a sommelier at top SF places like Frances, Octavia, Slanted Door, and Coi (and building up his collection of rare wines and spirits as well). He’s also had his chef and partner lined up for five years, Gavin Schmidt, who he met when they were both working at Coi (Schmidt was chef de cuisine). Schmidt has also worked at Elisabeth Daniel, Campton Place, Blanca Restaurant in San Diego, and trained under Laurent Gras. He enjoys whole-animal butchery and reportedly has quite the hand with charcuterie. (I even hear he’s working on a country ham, Cali style, swapping out the Virginia molasses for other ingredients—stand by for more on that.)

And now, it’s time for Einbund to open the doors to ~THE MORRIS~, which, as I see it, is a neighborhood restaurant from people who know their shit. It’s opening in the former location of the ultimate neighborhood restaurant, the Slow Club, which Erin Rooney opened back in 1998 in the Media Gulch/Potrero Flats. It still has that great Slow Club DNA, but the update from architect Charles Hemminger and designer Scott Kester has given it a new and fresh feeling. The vibe is meant to be playful and comfortable, backed up with skilled service and quality products.

The dining room tables, from Earl Gonzalez, are now topped with white ash that was whitewashed, and the bar stools are by furniture maker Fyrn. There is a clever divider from the bar to the dining room made of mother-in-law’s tongue plants that you can still peep through. They took a lot of care to install sound-dampening materials since the room was notoriously loud (even the slats on the ramp to the dining room actually help diffract sound). Einbund’s wife, Vanessa Yap Einbund, is known for her crafty design ways; she made some denim coasters and even the wine list has a denim cover, with a fun neck tag (like on a shirt) that says Booze & Stuff. San Francisco designer Evan Kinori designed the uniforms.

Looking at Schmidt’s menu, there are some fun nibbles like shrimp toast and chicken and foie dumplings (sold by the piece), and I can totally see myself posted up at the bar for some of his charcuterie (rabbit terrine, pâté de campagne, tête de cochon, fennel salami) with some cocktails. There’s also a selection of cheeses, and score, they have Tartine bread on the menu (great neighbors to have—they wheel over their wagon each day to pick some up). Schmidt’s food is dialed to be full of flavor and seasoning, the kind of food you want to drink with.

The opening menu has seasonal picks like tomato salad with melon, almond, and burrata, and blistered wax beans with grilled squid and chile lime. Four mains include lingcod, grilled Berkshire pork, and sausages, all $28 and under. And then there’s the sure-to-be-a-showstopper smoked Muscovy duck with pomme rosti and roasted root vegetables, which Einbund says is an abundant dish (half $48, whole $96), inspired by their desire to have something iconic on the menu, like the Zuni chicken. Dishes are easy to share, but you can easily have a meal for one if you want to go that route too.

Of course, the wine list is a major focus here. On the back of the dinner menu, Einbund will be listing his preferred wines of the moment, whether it’s sparked by a selection that goes particularly well with something on the menu, or something he’s excited about (which happens often—like being fired up over four domestic chenin blancs that he said taste like French chenin). Take a look at the biodynamic calendar and lunar cycle notations on the menu—yup, extreme geekery here. Einbund explains, “Over the course of my career, I have learned everything affects wine. Some taste better when the moon is full. I like to consider when to drink a delicate old wine that is fragile. We are paying attention to everything.” So for those of you who like to geek out, you can see if it’s a leaf, root, fruit, or flower day. And if you like to drink wine out of Zaltos (and not everyone does), there’s that option too.

House wine is an important thing to Einbund—he’s known for implementing the “pay only for what you drink” practice (measured by the centimeter) at Frances, which is also how they will charge here. He is a big proponent of California wines that are young, fresh, and affordable. But if you are looking for something old world, or aged, or you really want to splash out or do some spelunking, then you’ll want to ask for the main list, which is deep, with some real finds tucked in there. Madeira is another one of Einbund’s passions.

As for the eight-seat bar, Einbund is known for his love of Chartreuse, and you can bet it’s on the cocktail list, namely in the form of a Chartreuse slushy ($10). He worked with some mighty talented folks in the biz (who prefer to remain nameless) on fine-tuning the classic cocktail recipes. He wants the list of seven drinks to remain pretty set, so they can continue to tweak the cocktails until they hit a Japanese level of execution, with one exception: look for the slushy to get swapped out for a hot toddy in the cooler months.

The Morris (named after Einbund’s father) is due to open on Monday October 3rd. Hours will be Mon-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-10:30pm. Look for Sundays and weekday lunch to be added, plus brunch and later hours are possible too. 2501 Mariposa St. at Hampshire, 415-612-8480.

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Babu Ji’s yogurt kebabs in a stunning sauce of beet and ginger. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The dining room at Babu Ji in New York. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

One of my favorite meals while in New York was at ~BABU JI~, offering an inventive and updated version of Indian cuisine. So I was beyond happy to learn the unexpected news (originally via a tweet from Zagat) that owners and husband-and-wife team Jennifer and chef Jessi Singh are coming to SF! (The restaurant first opened in Melbourne.)

Their NYC tasting menu was full of outstanding dishes, like their jaw-droppingly beautiful yogurt kebabs, the abundant thali plate, and some of the best tandoori chicken I’ve had in ages. They will reportedly be taking over the Nostra space on Valencia; stand by for more details soon. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St.

Another Indian import is coming, this time to Civic Center: ~AUGUST 1 FIVE~. Owner Hetal Shah, a partner in Red Hot Chilli Pepper in San Carlos, is bringing over chef Manish Kumar Tyagi, previously at the acclaimed Rasika in Washington, DC, and Taj Hotels and Resorts. The restaurant is due to open this fall, and the menu will be inspired by Northern Indian regional cuisines and feature seasonal influences and modern techniques. Don’t look for the usual suspects of tikka masala and butter chicken, however—they will be introducing other dishes beyond the typical curries. There will also be cocktails and a global wine list. Craige Walters (Black Cat, Hecho) is redesigning the 90-seat space (previously O3 Bistro & Lounge), which will be refined but inviting. The name is in reference to the date of India’s independence from British rule. 524 Van Ness Ave. at McAllister.

As for what will be moving into the former Betelnut, we previously mentioned Adriano Paganini’s restaurant group, Back of the House, was taking over the space, and now they have revealed it’s going to be a contemporary Mexican restaurant.

The menu will feature traditional dishes from Mexican states spanning the Gulf to the Pacific (so, um, that’s a lot of ground, but we’ll see what they focus on). Family recipes, masa ground on-site (by hand!), and roasted meats by the pound (carnitas) are mentioned, plus small plates like sopes and crab tostadas, as well as other starters, salads, mains (whole-roasted fish), and more. Chef-partner Luis Flores of Uno Dos Tacos has been playing a big part in the concept, taking several trips to Mexico with Paganini. There will also be traditional and craft cocktails, with a focus on mezcal and tequila (of course), and pitchers. Always dangerous. Stand by for more on timing and the name soon. 2030 Union St. at Buchanan.

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The Big Easy at Powder, with Vietnamese coffee snow, toasted almonds, chocolate sauce, and sweet milk glaze. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The cheerful Powder shop. Photo courtesy of Powder.

There’s a new frosty and fluffy treat for you to try on Divis, ~POWDER~. Previously serving their NorCal version of Taiwanese shaved snow at Off the Grid, owners Mimi Hanley and David Chung now have a cute brick-and-mortar shop.

They freeze their premium ingredients (filtered water and organic Straus Family Creamery dairy) into ice blocks, and then shave them off to order and serve with toppings of your choice. You can get light and fluffy ribbons of their trademark black sesame flavor (SO GOOD), Vietnamese coffee, horchata, and strawberry, with toppings like TCHO chocolate crumbles, mochi, seasonal fruit, local honey, and traditional sweet milk glaze (condensed milk), which is housemade. They’re happy to make suggestions in case you can’t decide which combo to get (check out their S’nome Picks). And even though it looks like a lot, it’s really light, with about half as many calories as ice cream (thanks to the high water content). The sizes are regular ($4.50) and large ($5.50), with toppings that range from 50-75 cents.

The airy space is petite, but there’s the parklet just outside (they share it with neighbor Repose coffee shop). Open Tue-Sun 12pm-10pm. 260 Divisadero St. at Haight.

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Some of the brunch gorgeousness at Gardenias. Photo via Facebook.

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The Perfect Storm at The Lunchpad: over-easy egg, Swiss, caramelized onions, spinach, and chipotle remoulade on pain de mie. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The Lunchpad. Photo courtesy of The Lunchpad.

The ladies at Lower Pac Heights’ ~GARDENIAS~, Dana Tommasino and Margie Conard, have launched weekend brunch! The menu (go ahead, take a look) will shift up a bit weekly, but the recent version includes a soft scramble with tarragon, chives, and Fontina (um, heaven), and pork pozole verde with a fried egg. And then there’s the socca cake with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, roasted fennel, tatsoi, herbed tahini, shaved Parmesan, and a poached egg, because that’s how they roll. Some toasts, salads, and sweeter options like a mixed grain porridge complete the story, and a grilled burger and even more light (low-ABV) cocktails will be coming soon.

They are serving Sat-Sun 10am-2pm, and don’t forget that lovely back patio with flowers and vines, a little oasis of peace and quiet. 1963 Sutter St. at Fillmore, 415-621-7122.

Hayes Valley’s ~THE LUNCHPAD~—the lunch spot from biz partners Adam Hubbell, Mark Hubbell, and Chris Snowden inside of Noir Lounge—have zhooshed up their brunch service with booze and a dedicated bartender. Serving Sat-Sun 11am-2:30pm, there is a full bar, where you can snag The Brunchpad Bloody (complete with a piece of their candied habanero bacon). On the weekend brunch menu: huevos rancheros, a breakfast biscuit (a housemade cheddar jalapeño biscuit), and biscuits and gravy. You can also order their sandwiches, from their Green Eggs & Ham to their Teamster (roasted turkey, pastrami, Swiss, Dijon sweet and slaw, garlic aioli, and Grandpa’s pickles)—I could only finish half that monster when I took it to the beach. Football fans: there are big-screen TVs to watch sporting events (there’s also a private room available for rent with an oversize screen). 581 Hayes St. at Laguna, 415-522-6647.

~BARZOTTO~ just started serving daily lunch specials, which includes a meatball sandwich on a crusty baguette with provolone and housemade giardiniera ($10), their porchetta on sourdough with peperonata and mustard ($12), a chicken sandwich on sourdough with Green Goddess dressing, pickled onions, and bacon ($11), and squash tartine on six-grain loaf with delicata squash, crescenza, and balsamic radicchio ($10). Lunch is served Mon-Fri 11am-3pm.

And now, on the opposite end of the spectrum, it’s worth noting that ~SAISON~ is now open on Monday evenings, 5:30pm-9:30pm (via Eater). 178 Townsend St. at 5th St., 415-828-7990. 

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The center of Volta’s dining room (with such fantastic tile). Photo via Facebook.

Damn it, I hate hearing when a place from good operators closes, and in this case, it’s the nine-month-old ~VOLTA~, the French and Scandinavian beauty from Umberto Gibin and Staffan Terje. Scoop reported they closed on Sunday September 25th.

A note on Volta’s Facebook page states: “We thought our unique concept and sleek design could counter some of the innate challenges of operating within the current San Francisco restaurant climate but the numbers tell us we were wrong. Ultimately, the financial reality of operating a business in a still-evolving urban location overshadowed the incredible talent and hard work of our tireless team. We appreciate all the support and understanding as we put this magnificent restaurant to rest. Through this challenging time, we are more thankful than ever for the success we have found at our other restaurants, Perbacco and barbacco, and hope you will come visit us there sometime soon.” Seems sales dropped precipitously in the summer, starting in August, down 70 percent. Oof. And so the myriad challenges of opening a restaurant in the Mid-Market neighborhood continues.

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Don’t miss Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

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At 2015 Cochon Heritage BBQ SF. Photo: Gamma Nine/COCHON 555.

Unfortunately I won’t be in town to have a table at Litquake’s Eat, Drink, and Be Literary event this year, but you should totally swing by to listen to and meet a variety of food writers, chefs, personalities, and more, including Novella Carpenter, Martin Cate of Smuggler’s Cove, and the delightful Margo True of Sunset Magazine. There will also be some food and beverages to taste, signings, and more. It all happens Sunday October 9th, 11am-5:30pm. $40. (Read more about Litquake here.) The Chapel, 777 Valencia St. at 19th St.

There are some pretty cool films that involve food at the Mill Valley Film Festival (October 6th-16th), including Ella Brennan: Commanding the Table, Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent, Paris Can Wait (by Eleanor Coppola), and Theater of Life (about Italy’s Massimo Bottura).

Brady Lowe returns to SF with his Cochon 555 on Sunday October 16th, which features five SF and Oakland chefs in a heritage whole hog culinary competition, plus five additional chefs serving some barbecue, from Korean to African braai to asador. It’s going to be a street fest on 22nd Street, hosted at Magnolia Brewery and Smokestack, with music (including DJ Kool Keith), cocktails, cheeses, a pie pop-up, and boutique wines. General admission tickets start at $100, with early admission VIP tickets for $150 and music-only tickets for $50. Magnolia Brewery in Dogpatch, street closure on 22nd between 3rd and Illinois. 3pm for VIP, 4pm for general admission, and 7pm for music only.

There is also a warm-up to the main event on Friday October 15th, Cochon 555 Asian Speakeasy, with Tu David Phu, formerly of Gather; Shawn Naputi of Prubechu; Francis Ang, formerly pastry chef at Dirty Habit; Tim Luym of Buffalo Theory; and Jacob Kwan-Rosenbush, formerly of Stock in Trade. There will be six courses of Devil’s Gulch Ranch pork, wine from Silver Oak Winery, and cocktails. It’s a charity dinner to raise money for Piggy Bank, a farm-in-the-making benefitting heritage breed pig farmers and culinary schools. 8pm. $85. The Tradesman. 753 Alabama St. at 20th St.

September 20, 2016
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Imagine yourself on this patio on what is going to be a SUNday, Negroni in hand. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Did you see the weather forecast for this Sunday September 25th, the day of our SF AMATRICE event? No? It says APERITIVO WEATHER, people. That’s right, it’s going to be 81 degrees as we’re on the ~54 MINT~ patio drinking Aperol spritzes, Americanos, and Negronis courtesy of Campari America and Rye on the Road.

We’ll also be enjoying arancini all’amatriciana from Delfina, squid ink noodles with bottarga from Octavia, tramezzini from A.G. Ferrari, pinsas from ~MONTESACRO~, and pasta all’amatriciana from chef Mattia Marcelli of 54 Mint. Yeah, it’s going to be amazing and you really should be there. (The event was previously going to be at Montesacro, but we moved it a block over to 54 Mint!)

The turnout of donors has been incredible, but what we need is a turnout of ticket BUYERS. That’s why I’m talking to YOU. I know, $75 isn’t cheap, but this is a fundraiser, with 100 percent of proceeds being donated to the Comune of Amatrice to help them rebuild after the horrific Central Italy earthquake, which completely leveled their city. Can you imagine? Yes, we can. Which is why we want to sell this event OUT!

Let’s break this down, shall we? For $75, you have two hours of unlimited Italian cocktails from Campari America, more beautiful wines than you’ll know what to do with, and Peroni beer, plus coffee from Caffè Umbria. If you were at a bar, drinking and hanging out for two hours, that would easily be $65, before tax and tip.

And then we’re adding in antipasti, cheeses, salumi, pasta, pinsas, dolci, and even ice cream from Humphry Slocombe—yeah, it’s quite a spread! Abbondanza!

See, you get a lot for $75. I know, it makes you want to buy some tickets, doesn’t it?

We also wanted to make this easy to swing by, even if you already have plans that day. The event runs all day from 12pm-8pm, and since we’re selling tickets in two-hour time blocks (12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, 4pm-6pm, 6pm-8pm), you can take your pick. There will be different restaurants serving at each time slot, so you don’t have to worry about food running out!

Here are even more precious restaurant donors taking part: 54 Mint Il Forno, Acquerello, Palio d’Asti, Piccino, Rose Pistola, and Zero Zero, and partners Bi-Rite Market, Cheese Plus, Emporio Rulli, and Josey Baker Bread! Pasta is being donated by Rustichella d’Abruzzo and Manicaretti, plus cases of tomatoes and cheese from Casa de Case (and a leg of prosciutto!) and Lettieri & Co.

The generous vino donations from Casale del Giglio, Cherio, Fiorella, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Scuola di Vino, Siena Imports, and Uva Enoteca are fantastico!

Even if you can’t attend, please consider a donation! Or please, just spread the word! Every post counts! (Here’s the event on Facebook to share.) Can you print out this flyer and display it in your shop, restaurant, or place of work?

Everyone is donating their time, products, and labor for this event in order for us to be able to donate 100 percent of the ticket price to earthquake relief! Grazie, tutti!

We look forward to seeing you. PLEASE help spread the word. Post/share on Facebook, tweet/RT, like and repost on Instagram, email your friends.

Any help with donations (Italian food, products, a barista to help with coffee, extra hands to help serve and clean, promotion) is so very appreciated! Contact Marcia of tablehopper! Baci! See you there! And don’t forget, spread the word! I look forward to hugging you on Sunday!

Guests must be 21 and over. Invitation is nontransferable.

#SFAMATRICE

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The classic Elite Cafe sign. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux Photography (via Faebook).

After running our little teaser about ~THE ELITE CAFÉ~ reopening very soon, it ends up that they are targeting October 3rd for the opening. To recap, Andrew Chun of Schroeder’s (Sidecar Hospitality) took over the 35-year-old restaurant space earlier this year.

The chef is Sidecar’s executive chef and NOLA native, Chris Borges. He’s going to stay true to the place’s New Orleans roots, with dishes like duck gumbo and crawfish étouffée (available in two sizes), and of course oysters on the half shell, with seasonal Gulf oysters. The famous Meetinghouse biscuits will remain on the menu (I heard from their creator, Joanna Karlinsky, that she was over there teaching the team how to make them). You can get them with jam, and there will be biscuit sandwiches featuring fried chicken, ham hocks, and blackened catfish (two for $12). Some salads, include a kale salad with smoked onions, figs, and pecans dressed with a satsuma vinaigrette, and a muffuletta chopped salad with Little Gems.

Brunch will be served, starting at 9am on the weekend, with New Orleans eggs rancheros and bananas Foster French toast.

Bar director Kevin Diedrich (Pacific Cocktail Haven/P.C.H) has added a frozen drink machine for frozen Irish coffees, and his version of a Sazerac, Hurricane, and other spins on classics. Beverage director Mauro Cirilli (Press Club) will oversee the wine list.

The interior got a refresh from BCV, but the mahogany booths and crown molding from the place’s 1928 origins are still there to be honored, so don’t worry. There’s a new bar top and booth tabletops crafted from Carrara marble, and there are three brass-topped communal tables now too. There’s also a 70-inch television for big games, but otherwise it’s hiding behind a mirror when not in use.

I’ll keep you posted on more as the opening arrives. 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-346-8400.

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At Waxman’s Pizzeria: prosciutto, ricotta, balsamic, arugula pizza. Photo via Facebook.

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The counter at the newly open Scullery. Yelp photo by Jason L.

Some openings around town include ~WAXMAN’S PIZZERIA~, which opened next to Waxman’s restaurant in Ghirardelli Square. The menu includes some fried apps and some main dish salads. There are also sandwiches like the JW chicken salad sandwich (which includes Jonathan Waxman’s famous chicken), a meatball sandwich, and some appetizing pizzas, like chicken, corn, cherry tomato, Fontina; shrimp, Grana, salsa verde, chile; and Nueske’s bacon, potato, Grana, aioli. There’s also a kid’s menu and wine for mommy. Plus, a patio. Open Tue-Sat 12pm-9pm, and Sun 12pm-5pm. 900 North Point St., Ste B-201B, at Polk, 415-226-1244.

A cute, new, and little coffee shop has opened up in the Tenderloin, ~SCULLERY~, featuring coffee from Sightglass, plus cold brew and nitro coffee, toast from The Midwife and the Baker (topped with avocado, or cream cheese, or spicy PB&J, or Welsh rarebit with McQuade’s chutney), and some pastry goodies from Jane, like a sausage croissant. Menu here. Open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. 687 Geary St. at Leavenworth, 415-440-4497.

~CHERIMOYA 2~, a Vietnamese café, is open in the Sunset, serving banh mi, spring rolls, garlic noodles, bowls, and more. The original is in Burlingame. Open Wed-Mon 11am-7pm. 2110 Irving St. at 22nd Ave. 415-650-3009.

There’s a new Korean spot in the Excelsior/Mission Terrace, ~HWARO~, with a playful menu like Korean quesadillas and hangover soup, along with some classics (jap chae, seafood pancake). Open for lunch Mon-Fri 11am-2pm, dinner 5pm-10pm, Sat 4pm-10pm, and Sun 4pm-9pm.4516 Mission St. at Harrington, 415-859-7111.

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A kamayan feast at Pampalasa. Photo via Pampalasa.

Some closures to report on, starting with ~ PAMPALASA~ in SoMa. Back in May, we mentioned owner Jennifer Villamin was going to have to move (the rent is too damn high), and it looks like it’s closing any day now. Here’s hoping she finds another location for her Filipino kamayan dinners. 1261 Folsom St. at 8th St., 415-590-3251. (Via Scoop.)

Also sad: Les Natali won’t extend ~ZAPATA MEXICAN GRILL~’s lease in the Castro, so it’s closing next month. (Via Hoodline.)

~VALENCIA ST. KEBAB~ is closed. (Via Mission Local.)

A tablehopper reader reports: “Marina update: ~GIPSY DARLING~ has been closed for over a month, it’s only available for private events. ~SCOTLAND YARD~ has also been closed for a month or so.”

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For those who like to think about their food and drink, you won’t want to miss this next installment of La Cocina’s F&B: Voices From the Kitchen, which is all about Brains. The storytelling event includes Jessica Koslow of LA’s Sqirl, Kat Kinsman (senior food and drinks editor at Extra Crispy and founder of Chefs with Issues), Barb Stuckey (president and chief innovation officer at Mattson), and many other brainy folks.

It all happens on Friday September 30th at Swedish American Hall. Check out the full lineup, get your ticket ($45), and see you there! There will be cocktails, making this a no-brainer. 6pm-8:30pm. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez.

September 13, 2016
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PLEASE NOTE WE HAVE CHANGED THE VENUE TO 54 MINT! SEE YOU ON THE PATIO!

Hasn’t it been amazing to see how the restaurant industry has rallied to help donate funds to Italy after the horrific earthquake near Amatrice? So many lives lost, so many buildings destroyed. As San Franciscans in our own shaky city, our hearts go out to them.

While every dollar for eating pasta all’amatriciana around town counts, we want to do something that can have an even greater impact: an all-day event to raise funds for earthquake relief!

On Sunday September 25th, we hope you can join us at ~54 MINT~ for SF AMATRICE: a full day of antipasti from top SF Italian restaurants (including 54 Mint Il Forno, Acquerello, Delfina, Octavia, Palio d’Asti, Piccino, Rose Pistola, and Zero Zero) and partners like A.G. Ferrari, Bi-Rite Market, Cheese Plus, Emporio Rulli, Humphry Slocombe ice cream, espresso from Caffè Umbria, and bread from Josey Baker Bread! There will also be pinsas from ~MONTESACRO~!

We’ll be serving Italian cocktails, including Aperol Spritzes, Americanos, and Negronis courtesy of Campari America and Rye on the Road, and vino (grazie, Fiorella, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Uva Enoteca, and Scuola di Vino)! And, of course, pasta all’amatriciana (with pasta from Rustichella d’Abruzzo and Manicaretti, products from Lettieri & Co., and tomatoes from Casa de Case—and a leg of prosciutto too)!

The event runs all day from 12pm-8pm, and we are selling tickets in two-hour time blocks (12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, 4pm-6pm, 6pm-8pm). There will be different restaurants serving at each time slot, so you don’t have to worry about food running out!

Tickets are $75 per person. Even if you can’t attend, please consider a donation! Or just spread the word! (Here’s the event on Facebook.)

Everyone is donating their time, products, and labor for this event in order for us to be able to donate 100 percent of the ticket price to earthquake relief! All proceeds will be donated to the Comune di Amatrice, and divided among the projects in need in Amatrice. Grazie, tutti!

We look forward to seeing you. Please help spread the word. Post/share on Facebook, tweet/RT, like and repost on Instagram, email your friends. Any help with donations (Italian food, products, wine, beer, compostable plates and silverwarve and cups, extra hands to help serve and clean, promotion) is so very appreciated! Contact Marcia of tablehopper! Baci! See you there! And please, spread the word!

Guests must be 21 and over. Invitation is nontransferable.

#SFAMATRICE

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Bring on the juicy potatoes (at Souvla)! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Fans of ~SOUVLA~’s awesome fine-casual Greek gyros and salads with spit-roasted meats, evil Greek fries and potatoes (so good), and soft-serve Greek yogurt will be able to indulge at a third location coming to the Mission in early 2017. Founder/CEO Charles Bililies will be opening the Souvla Valencia spot in the former Grub space, on the same block as Craftsman & Wolves, Dandelion Chocolate, and Tacolicious (between 18th and 19th streets). There will be a 100 percent Greek beverage list, including Souvla’s new private label Greek wines in partnership with iconic Greek producers Domaine Skouras and Alexakis Winery. It will be open daily 11am-10pm every day. 758 Valencia St. at 19th St.

SF pizza truck ~CASEY’S PIZZA~ may have found his first brick-and-mortar location, after looking for some time. According to ABC activity, the new spot would be at 1170 4th Street, at Long Bridge Street. Stand by for updates.

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The new garden patio at Fiorella. Photo courtesy of Fiorella.

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Fiorella’s saltimbocca with sage and prosciutto. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Over in the Outer Richmond, ~FIORELLA~ has all kinds of new things to announce, starting with their talented chef, Dante Cecchini, who came over from Marlowe, where he was chef de cuisine.

His new menus are in place, and based on the really delicious brunch I just had this past weekend, you’ll want to visit soon. Don’t miss the banana bread with whipped coconut cream (total stoner food), and his version of saltimbocca with sage and prosciutto seared to a pounded pork loin with a fried egg on top is an awesome spin for fans of country sausage and eggs. You can also get one of their wood-fired pizzas, like the green egg and ham pie with broccoli di ciccio, house-cured pancetta, egg, and fior di latte and ricotta. None of the pizzas are more than $18 at brunch or dinner, which is a very neighborhood-friendly kind of price, all things considered. Save room for the honeyed buttermilk panna cotta. You can see the entire brunch menu here. The dinner menu is here, which now includes wood-roasted chicken, wood-fired octopus, pasta alla chitarra, and Ligurian fish stew.

The other fun component to all this is they just opened their cheerful new 25-seat garden patio, complete with sunny yellow chairs (fog be damned), heat lamps, cedar walls, succulents, and a retractable canvas canopy to shield you as much as possible from Karl the Fog. Plus” projections. One last bonus: Friday and Saturday hours have been expanded to 11pm. 2339 Clement St. at 24th Ave., 415-340-3049.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know that Oakland-based ~DOUGHNUT DOLLY~ is doing a pop-up in advance of opening her kiosk (her first SF location) in The Market at the end of this month. You can come by her pop-up this Thursday September 15th from 8am until she sells out—you can try her signature naughty cream and jam doughnuts. 1355 Market St. at 10th Street. 

We all love deals, right? And we definitely can guess Broke-Ass Stuart loves some deals, so it makes sense why he’d create the San Francisco Appetizer Passport, offering 22 free appetizers at SF restaurants (but you gotta buy something like an appetizer or drink of equal or greater value to get the deal, yo). Restaurants like Blue Plate, ICHI Sushi, Fénix, WesBurger, and the aforementioned Fiorella are all in there. The booklet is normally $30, but with code eatme10off, it’s only $20. Have fun adventuring. It all expires December 31, 2016, so you need to hop to it.

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The lamburguesa at lunch at Bellota. Photo via Facebook.

Have you had a hard time scoring a reservation at the popular (and very delicious) ~BELLOTA~? Well, lucky you: the Spanish SoMa hot spot is now serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. Chef Ryan McIlwraith’s menu includes a range of salads, montaditos (open-faced sandwiches), bocadillos (warm sandwiches, which includes a lamburguesa), and tapas. For those of you having a leisurely lunch, there are three paellas and some heartier dishes too. Snacks and drinks are currently available in-between lunch and tapear (4pm-5:30pm), with dinner starting at 5:30pm. 888 Brannan St. at 8th St., 415-430-6580. [Via Eater]

The ~CADILLAC BAR AND GRILL~, which came back from the Cadillac graveyard/Ranch a little over a year ago, is now serving Sunday brunch. You can come in for chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and eggs Benedict, plus that SF favorite, Joe’s Special. Oh yeah, and that other SF fave: bottomless mimosas for $13 with the purchase of an entrée. Sundays 9:30am-3pm. 44 9th St. at Market, 415-554-0181.

September 6, 2016
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The classic Elite Cafe sign. Photo: Molly DeCoudreaux Photography (via Faebook).

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Tacos from Glena’s. Photo courtesy of Glena’s.

Looks like the reopening of ~THE ELITE CAFE~ is getting close. According to a post on Facebook, they are aiming to open the week of September 19th.

Based on their Instagram feed, oysters and fried chicken will be on the menu, plus red beans and rice with house-pickled pork and grilled andouille, as well as other Cajun and Creole favorites.

We’ll keep you posted. (To recap, Andrew Chun of Schroeder’s took over the 35-year-old restaurant space earlier this year.) 2049 Fillmore St. at California, 415-346-8400.

Good news: chef Michael Gaines (Kin Khao, Central Kitchen, Manresa) has found a location for his taco and margarita place, ~GLENA’S~ that he’s opening with his wife, Stephanie Gaines. It will be taking over the former The New Spot space in the Dogpatch and is aiming for early 2017. It will be open daily 11am-11pm. 632 20th St. at 3rd St.

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Recipe testing: a meaty medianoche. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

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Recipe testing! Ceviche. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

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Recipe testing! Empanadas. Photo courtesy of Media Noche.

Anyone who has traveled to Miami, or even better, Cuba, has hopefully enjoyed a medianoche (midnight) sandwich, with layers of roast pork, ham, mustard, Swiss cheese, and dill pickles pressed inside sweet egg bread that is not unlike challah (a Cubano is on a crustier style of bread—here’s a pic of one I had at Margon’s in New York).

So here’s the good news: a couple of SF restaurant industry ladies—Madelyn Markoe (Tacolicious, Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen, Boxing Room) and Jessie Barker (Nopa, Tres Tequila Lounge & Mexican Kitchen, The Tavern at Lark Creek)—are going to be opening ~MEDIA NOCHE~, a fast-casual Cuban counter, where they will be serving classic medianoches, plus some fun versions, such as a fried chicken Cubano. There will also be snacks, like empanadas and croquetas.

They are working with Telmo Faria (who has his upcoming project Uma Casa, but was previously with Tacolicious) as their culinary consultant, and the trio is in Miami right now doing some delicious research. They will be integrating a lot of inspiration from their travels, but look for some local ingredient influences too.

They are just finalizing a spot right now and are in lease negotiations, and since they signed an NDA, they can’t share where it is just yet. But if this location works out, it will have around 30-35 seats and outdoor seating. They also plan to stay open until midnight Fri-Sat. And there will be quite a lively Little Havana vibe, with music and a colorful design, and some communal seating to keep things social and fun. Beer and wine and coffee served in the Cuban tradition are all part of the plan.

We’ll be able to release more info soon—and stand by for news about some pop-ups they’ll be doing at Birba in Hayes Valley in October.

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The former Verbena’s front door. Photo by Carmen Troesser.

Back in May, we noted the folks behind Andalé (you know, the place you get a breakfast burrito before hopping on a plane at SFO) were taking over the former Reverb/Verbena space in Russian Hill on Polk.

Details have now been released: the Andalé Management Group project is called ~MEZCALITO~, and it will be a mezcal bar with Oaxacan-influenced small plates by chef Matt D’Ambrosi, working with chef Julio Aguilera of Oaxaca’s El Destilado. Dishes will range from Marin Miyagi oysters with smoky Champagne mignonette to an octopus tostada with grilled octopus, peanuts, potato salad, carrots, and celery on a housemade tostada, plus al pastor pork belly tacos and milanesa (breaded pork loin). Save room for the Mexican chocolate tres leches with Mexican chocolate, figs, and whipped cream.

Bar manager Guadalupe Jaques (Monsieur Benjamin, Barbacco) has created a mezcal-centric cocktail list, with a strong selection of mezcal for those who like it neat. Happy hour will be daily 5pm-6:30pm, with specially priced cocktails, wine by the glass, and shot-and-beer combos.

Architecture & Light designed the space with natural wood accents, and there are flat-screen TVs in the bar. Patio seating and weekend brunch are coming soon. It’s due to open Wednesday September 14th. Open nightly 5pm-12am. 2323 Polk St. at Green.

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Enjoy happy hour on the patio at La Fromagerie. Photo courtesy of La Fromagerie.

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The dining room and counter at Barzotto. Photo via Facebook.

FiDi workers, you should know that starting Thursday September 8th, ~LA FROMAGERIE CHEESE SHOP~ is starting a happy hour from 4pm-7pm. You can enjoy a flight of three wines and cheeses with matching jams and honey and wood-fired bread for $19 (there are more than 40 wines and cheeses to choose from!), or grab your friend and have two glasses of rosé and an apéro platter for two with Délice de Bourgogne triple cream, 12-month cave-aged Gruyère, saucisson sec (French salami), cornichons, and wood-fired bread for $29. 101 Montgomery St. at Bush.

The newly opened ~BARZOTTO~ in the Mission has launched weekend brunch, with dishes like baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce and brioche French toast stuffed with mascarpone and topped with roasted strawberries and lemon zest. Orange-grapefruit mimosas and nitro coffee, check. Served Sat-Sun 11am-3pm. 1270 Valencia St. at 24th St., 415-285-1200.

Scoop reports ~VOLTA~ has discontinued lunch, although brunch continues on the weekend. Lunch may return during the holidays.

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The interior of the (former) Spaghetti Bros. Photo by Michael David Rose Photography, courtesy of UrbanDaddy.

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The papered-over windows at Radish. (Photo courtesy of a tablehopper reader.)

A couple of quick notes: Aaron Toensing and Erik Lowe of ~SPAGHETTI BROS.~ have changed the name to ~MAYBECK’S~. Seems the impression of the original name was too casual for what they’re doing, and there’s more than spaghetti on the menu. The Inside Scoop notes the name is in honor of Bernard Maybeck, who was the architect who designed the Palace of Fine Arts. 3213 Scott St. at Lombard, 415-400-8500.

I have been hearing some rumblings about issues at Mission brunch hot spot ~RADISH~, and according to a tablehopper reader, it looks like they have closed. “You may have already heard, but Radish closed about 10-12 days ago. They papered up the windows over the weekend making it somewhat official. The word in the neighborhood is that the landlord is going to try to sell the commercial unit (where Radish was). There have been lots of brunchers walking near Radish all weekend looking very confused in search of bottomless mimosas nearby.” The property owner, Dattani and Co., is no stranger to Ellis Act evictions, which happened at Radish’s building before. 3465 19th St. at Lexington.

Was sorry to hear chef Justin Simoneaux has left ~BOXING ROOM~ and returned to his native New Orleans. Eater reports that his longtime sous chef Athman El-Kindiy (formerly Bar Crudo) is taking the reins.

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Gyukotsu ramen at Yuzu Ramen & Broffee. Photo courtesy of Yuzu.

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The spacious patio at Yuzu Ramen & Broffee. Photo courtesy of Yuzu.

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

There’s a new ramen house that opened in Emeryville over the weekend, ~YUZU~, with 48 seats, both inside and outside on their patio. The partners are Steven Yamaji, Nori Itasaka, and Scott Sada, and they are focusing on different broths (beef, pork, chicken, lamb, and vegetable) made in-house and all from grass-fed and pasture-raised animals, or with organic or local vegetables. They are making their own noodles too. There is also gluten-free and vegan ramen, plus some side dishes—check out the menu. And then there’s what they’re calling broffee—four kinds of bone broth (or stock, ahem), which they’d like to encourage people to drink in the morning like coffee. Open for lunch Mon-Sat 11:30am-3pm (last order at 2:30pm) and dinner 5:30pm-9pm (last order at 8:30pm). 1298 65th St. at Hollis, Emeryville, 510-853-1525.

There’s a new spot coming to Rockridge in late September, ~DUCHESS~, doing triple-duty as a café, pub, and local watering hole. Wine professionals Caroline Conner—who was also a former assistant pastry chef at Nopa—and Chris Strieter (co-founder of Sonoma County’s Senses Wines) brought on chef Candice Caris (previously corporate dining at Google, Apple, and Nvidia). Look for California-inspired pub fare and all-day service: there’s going to be coffee and pastries in the morning (including a “sausage and egg Duch-Muffin” and cinnamon rolls), lunch and dinner service and snacks in between, and weekend brunch (with sourdough waffles with chestnut almond cream, bourbon baked apples, and maple syrup ). And WINE. And craft cocktails (thanks to consultant David Curiel of The Hideout). And craft beer. VerSacrum Design (Trick Dog, Causwells, Huxley) is designing the space, which includes an outdoor patio and two full-service bars. Hours will be Sun-Wed 6am-12am and Thu-Sat 6am-2am. 5422 College Ave. at Manila, Oakland.

Chef-owner James Syhabout has closed ~THE DOCK~ in West Oakland, and Scoop reports he will be reopening it next year in partnership with Adam Lamoreaux, who was a founder of next-door neighbor Linden Street Brewery (he left the company a couple of years ago). Since Linden Street is leaving at the end of this year, The Dock will be taking over the space so Lamoreaux can be head brewer and add a brewing component to the project—it will be a taproom, brewery, and restaurant, serving casual pub-style food. Live music is also being discussed. Meanwhile, The Beer Shed will keep its tasting room, beer garden, and bar menu up and running during construction. 95 Linden St. at 3rd St., Oakland. 

After the rapid closure and the departure of consultant Dominique Crenn from Antoinette at The Claremont Club & Spa, the space’s latest incarnation has opened, ~LIMEWOOD BAR & RESTAURANT~. You can look at chef Joseph Humphrey’s (The Advocate, Cavallo Point, The Restaurant at Meadowood) dinner menu here, which looks really good. 41 Tunnel Rd., Berkeley, 510-549-8585.

Even though we don’t have the SF Street Food Festival this year, fortunately the Eat Real Festival returns to Jack London Square for its eighth year, September 23rd-25th, and is presented by the Food Craft Institute. There will be local vendors and food stalls, demonstrations, tastings, workshops, food trucks, an urban county fair, and more. The festival is free, and everything is priced at $8 or less. There are also adult beverages, with $10 tasting flights, sommelier demos, and “meet the brewer” panels. Friday 1pm-9pm, Sat 10:30am-9pm, Sun 10:30am-5pm. Jack London Square (65 Webster Street, west of Embarcadero), Oakland.

One more note: Off the Grid is now happening on Sundays at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Downtown Berkeley, starting Sunday September 11th. There will be eight food trucks, plus live music, beer, and more. 11am-3pm. 1900 Allston Way, Berkeley.

August 30, 2016
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Nomica’s beef tartare with cornichon purée, hon-wasabi, and green plantains. Photo via @nomicasf on Instagram.

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Hitachino waffle with matcha butter and truffled maple. Photo via @nomicasf on Instagram.

It looks like ~NOMICA~ in the Castro should be opening this week, hopefully, if the permit sign-off gods behave. (This is the project from the Sushi Ran team: Yoshi Tome, Paul Quinn, and Mynor Morales.) In the meantime, I’m happy to show you the latest menu (with pricing) of this exciting addition to the neighborhood.

In a previous report, I mentioned chef Hiroo Nagahara, a Tokyo native, will be offering a fresh take on Japanese cuisine and ingredients (no sushi here). There will be small and large plates, both hot and cold, all designed to share. While the food will be technique-driven (he worked for Charlie Trotter), it will still be comfortable. Think rustic but focused, like Dungeness crab donabe rice served tableside—an homage to his time at the Michelin three-star Kagurazaka Ishikawa in Tokyo—served with crab miso, marinated salmon roe, and mitsuba.

Before you head on over (or make your reservation), you may want to call ahead at least 24 hours for the whole chicken in brioche with miso butter, shiso chimichurri, and chicken essence (serves four). Right? Granted, it’s $100 (making it one of the most expensive chickens in SF), but it serves four, and will sing your favorite song to you, so there’s that. And I can’t wait to try the gyoza-farce (filling) stuffed chicken wings, with yuzu kosho and chile oil. And “cubed” karaage chicken. And Hitachino waffle with matcha butter and truffled maple.

You can look at the cocktails here, with awamori (a spirit from Yoshi’s native Okinawa) playing a part on the menu, plus the sake list and wine list.

We’ll update you on social media (Twitter) once it’s officially open, which could be any minute. Dinner nightly 5pm-11pm. 2223 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-655-3280.

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Chef Anthony Strong; photo by Eric Wolfinger.

After 11 years with Delfina Restaurant Group, group executive chef Anthony Strong is leaving at the end of September. He has been busy over the years, first at Delfina, then opening Locanda, as well as expanding Pizzeria Delfina to its four current locations.

What’s next? Scoop reports he is working on opening his own Bay Area restaurant, but there aren’t any details to share at the moment. Delfina’s Craig and Annie Stoll have been aware of his impending departure since the beginning of the year, so it’s not a surprise, although it’s a big change—and now they need to hire a replacement. Stand by for details on all of this as things take shape, and best to you, Anthony! Looking forward to seeing what’s next.

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The Pine Street location of La Boulangerie de San Francisco. Yelp photo by J W.

After we ran the initial story that ~PIZZETTA 211~ was opening a new Mediterranean-focused project on the corner, a follow-up to our piece adds that owner Jack Murphy, working with chef Mel Lopez, probably won’t be opening the project until summer 2017. The menu, which we mentioned will highlight pasta and seafood, will feature family-style options, with dishes from a wood-fired oven, and they are also aiming for it to be affordable.

Hoodline brings news that Osha Thai’s chef-owner Lalita Souksamlane is going to be adding a new concept to the Osha empire, opening ~LAO TABLE~, focusing on the Laotian cuisine that is actually her heritage (she reportedly grew up in northeastern Thailand, bordering Laos). She will be converting a SoMa Osha Thai into the new concept. Look for an opening in mid-September. 149 2nd St. at Natoma.

Fans of Pascal Rigo’s former La Boulange will be happy with the news that he’s opening a ~LA BOULANGERIE DE SAN FRANCISCO~ in October in the Financial District at 222 Sutter Street at Kearny. He is reportedly going to have seven total open by next summer. [Via Scoop.]

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Dishes at Old Bus Tavern’s new Saturday brunch. Photo: Zejian Shen.

Some new service for you around town, starting with Saturday brunch at Bernal’s year-old ~OLD BUS TAVERN~. Think oatmeal-maple pancakes with brown butter syrup, seasonal berries, praline, and oatmeal crunch, and a pulled pork eggs Benedict (menu here). Don’t forget they have full liquor, so you can get things started with their Bloody Maria (with okra-infused tequila) or one of their house brews. Plus: patio. Saturdays 11am-2:30pm. 3193 Mission St. at Valencia, 415-843-1938.

~AATXE~ wants you to get happy with their $1 pintxos and other happy hour prices, like $4 cañas (small beers), $8 for their special gin & tonic, and $8 for certain wine offerings. Available daily 5:30pm-6:30pm in the dining room or bar. 2174 Market St. at Sanchez, 415-471-2977.

~DELAROSA~ is launching happy hour for the first time at both their locations (2175 Chestnut Street and 37 Yerba Buena Lane). You’ll find $6 (and under!) cocktails (including an Aperol spritz) and wines by the glass, beer, pizzette, and antipasti (including fried artichoke hearts and arancini). And at Yerba Buena Lane, they now have a patio, just in time for Indian summer (but there are heaters, windscreens, and blankets for our typical blustery evenings). Mon-Fri 4pm-6pm.

In a refreshing move that is quite the opposite of most SF restaurants right now, ~BAR TARTINE~ has actually lowered their prices: the fantastic prix-fixe/friends-and-family menu is no longer $78, and is now $58 (it’s three courses, and as abundant as ever), while the wine pairing has dropped to $32 from $46. Now, that’s what you call a neighborhood restaurant! [Instagram via Eater.]

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A cheese plate at Cheese Fest. Photo from Facebook.

Here’s a quick roundup of special dinners, events, and more happening this September:

If you’re around Labor Day weekend, ~HOMESTEAD~ in Oakland is hosting a Sunday Supper BBQ on September 4th from 4:30pm-8:30pm. Think chopped salad, baby back ribs, smoked brisket, corn on the cob, baked beans, Texas toast, traditional fixings, and strawberry shortcake. The three-course prix-fixe is $55 (there’s a children’s portion at half price). 4029 Piedmont Ave. at 40th St., Oakland, 510-420-6962.

Saturday September 17th is the second annual SF Cheese Fest, featuring 24 California Artisan Cheese Guild member cheese companies, plus cured meats, pickles, jams, sauces, craft beer (Magnolia Brewing, Fort Point Beer), and wine from CACG member Herb Lamb Vineyards. I went last year and tasted some great cheeses and really enjoyed speaking with many cheesemakers. Expect to see Cowgirl Creamery, Marin French Cheese, and Point Reyes Farmstead joined by artisan makers such as Bleating Heart, Nicasio Valley Cheese, and newcomers such as Chevoo and Pazzo Marco, among others. Tickets: $84 and include unlimited food and drinks. Limited “Bring a Friend” tickets are $149 for two, available through Wednesday August 31st. Get your ticket soon! Social Hall SF, 1270 Sutter St. at Van Ness, 6pm-9pm.

The fifth annual Wing Wings Chicken Wing Eating Contest is coming up on Saturday September 17th during the Eat Trill Fest, a daylong music and food event at the brand-new Spark Social Food Park in Mission Bay (the contest will run from 2pm-5pm).

Wing Wings needs some donations of raffle prizes since this is a big fundraiser! Donations of any kind are welcome and appreciated, from items to gift bags, services, gift certificates, or otherwise. Homeless Youth Alliance is the recipient of this year’s fundraising efforts. Please email Lisa or Christian if you are able to donate a raffle prize. They are also looking for contestants! The entire fest runs 11am-10pm. 601 Mission Bay Blvd N. at 3rd St.

Sunday September 18th is an Autumn Belgian Beer Dinner (more like a supper, really) at ~BEL~, with quite the lineup of dishes and beers (check it out here). $160 per person, tax and gratuity included. 2pm-6pm. Call to reserve a spot: 415-206-1000. 3215 Mission St. at Fair.

On Wednesday September 21st, ~PRUBECHU~ is doing another one of their whole roasted pig parties, with live music and a release of their craft beer collaboration with Good Beer Company (including one made with soursop!). It’s all you can eat, and a 4-ounce taste of each beer will be included with the roast pig dinner. $120, all-inclusive of tax, tip, music, beer, and food. Only 34 tickets, hop to it! Doors 6:30pm, dinner 7pm. 2847 Mission St. at 24th St., 415-952-3654.

August 23, 2016
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Co-founder Chad Robertson. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

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Magic loaves. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

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A corner of the dining room. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

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The line at the end of the day. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The new coffee from Coffee Manufactory. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

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The Mavam. Photo courtesy of Coffee Manufactory.

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The bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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You should see this lit up at night! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Warm ham and cheese sandwich. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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Part of the kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

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The airy main dining area and bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Last Thursday, I walked up to the brand-new ~TARTINE MANUFACTORY~, the line snaking out of the building on day two, full of the many friends and fans of this unique San Francisco company made of some of our very best craftspeople. Tartine is one of our city’s proudest culinary achievements, and now Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt and their talented team have the space they so deserve to do much more of their crafty magic. We’re talking more than 5,000 square feet, flanking the Heath Ceramics factory, for everyone to stretch their wings and work comfortably and thrive (the conditions at the original bakery on Guerrero were cramped to say the least).

It’s many things, but first, it’s a production facility. A bakery. The massive German Heuft oven is right there, front and center. You’ll be able to watch Robertson and his team of bakers, whether they’re managing the loaves coming out of the oven or in the adjoining dough/fermentation room, purposefully built with plenty of windows so you can peek in. There is nothing but top-of-the-line equipment, and the team even has their own grain mills to make their own flours, so expect to see more fresh-milled loaves.

While bread service is ramping up (lots of quality control going on right now as they use the new equipment), bread is sold as it’s available throughout the day, after 11am. Eventually, it will come out regularly, so you won’t have to plan on that 4:30pm pickup time anymore. But for now, if you have your heart set on some country loaf, breads are still available at 600 Guerrero daily after 4:30pm.

There’s a counter where you order, with a case full of tempting goods that are constantly being depleted, refreshed, and depleted again. (This is what happens when you have more than 600 people you’re serving each day.) In the morning, there are items like Fontina, herb, and pepperoni biscuits, and the Danishes of your dreams, like arugula-hazelnut or ham, cheese, and mustard. There’s poppy seed coffee cake and Liège waffles, and you’ll note some of Prueitt’s wheat-free magic in items like flax-apple muffins. Get up early for breakfast, served from 7am-11am. The savory team also offers a few delicious items including two egg sandwiches, toast (of course!), and coddled eggs with trout roe.

Lunch items and afternoon desserts come out at 11am, like the smaller-sized flatbread sandwiches ($12, salami and tapenade, or tomato and mozzarella with squash blossoms) as well as warm sandwiches like porchetta and salsa verde ($16) or a hearty ham and cheese ($12), which are both pretty substantial. (Savory chef Sam Goinsalvos, previously at Il Buco Alimentari in New York, makes a mean porchetta sandwich!) Salads range from Brentwood corn and green bean with Parmesan to Little Gem lettuce with a Caesar-like anchovy dressing (both $9). More goodies will be added in time, like Roman-style pizza, mmhmm. There are also items ready to go, so all you nearby KQED worker bees should be stoked.

Afternoon desserts include a rice pudding tart ($6.50), gateau Basque ($8), and there’s even a wheat-free chocolate cake with raspberry and whipped cream. I have been happy to see the talented Alen Ramos and Carolyn Nugent (previously Quince and Cotogna) back in the mix, so to speak.

Dinner service will launch in time; there’s also a bar in the corner, where you will find wine, beer, and low-ABV cocktails, plus shrub spritzes, housemade sodas, fresh juices, water kefir, and more. For now, there are beers by Regan Long from Local Brewing Co. on tap and a selection of a few wines for all-day consumption—the offerings will expand over the next few weeks as they ramp up for dinner service. I’m excited to see what wine director Vinny Eng has in store for us (he’s also director of ops, so you can guess who is really bizzee right now). He is also working with beverage manager Ashley Miller, formerly of Plum and Haven (she is developing a menu of items with Liz Prueitt to incorporate the seasonal bounty of fruit and vegetables).

Launching in September is Prueitt’s Tartine Cookies and Cream, which is going to be a dream ice cream counter, with a variety of offerings, including soft-serve. And gelato. And ice cream cakes. You can just imagine.

There is also a coffee bar, the Coffee Manufactory, which ended up revealing some very cool surprises. I was wondering who Tartine was going to partner with for their coffee after the Blue Bottle Coffee merger went south. And whaddya know, they applied their crafty sensibility to it and are roasting their own damn coffee. Of course. Chef-driven roasting, it’s on.

I spent some time chatting with Devin Chapman, the director of coffee retail, who was formerly with Verve Coffee. Actually, a large part of the team was with Verve, including Chris Jordan, Verve’s former CEO, who is COO of Coffee Manufactory, which is actually its own business. They plan to do wholesale business with some accounts, both here in SF and in LA, too, where Tartine is expanding. They will also collaborate with more chefs. (Chad and Liz were present on every cupping.)

The coffee is roasted at a co-roasting facility in Berkeley on a Loring coffee roaster, which uses indirect heat. They are doing three kinds: the 01 is espresso-focused and round, 02 filter is more fruity and floral, and 03 is origin-focused (presently 100 percent Ethiopia, Layo Teraga). You can buy a bag of the 01 for $15.50, the 02 for $15.25, and the 03 for $17.25.

There’s also 00, their single-origin decaf, which, as Chapman puts it, is a nice departure from the usual hot dog water you find with decaf. Ha-ha.

The 01 espresso roast has soft, round flavors, and is balanced. Chapman tells me they are doing a longer-style pull and have dropped the pressure a bit to bring out the roundness while offering clarity of flavor. He also showed me this very cool tool they are using, the OCD: ONA Coffee Distributor—not only does it offer consistency, it’s also much more sanitary. Cool. They are pulling shots off a Mavam, a handmade machine from Seattle.

As far as regular coffee, they are brewing the 02 on a ThermoPro G4—Chapman said he has been using a refractometer to carefully (read: obsessively) monitor the batches.

Chapman is working with Jeremy Brooks, director of coffee roasting, and Maja Vojnovic, director of sales and marketing, both formerly at Verve. He said their ethos is similar to what Tartine did with bread. They want to learn as much as possible, experiment, be excellent, and moreover, they want people to be happy with the product—this isn’t an exercise in personal taste preferences and proclivities. Coffee service is at its own counter in the space, open Wed-Mon 7am-5pm. (Teas are from London-based Rare Tea Company.)

The room was designed by local architect Charles Hemminger, working with Los Angeles design firm Commune Design. It has 96 seats, with a variety of seating areas in the light-filled space. There are camel-toned leather-padded banquettes and booths (the leatherwork was done in the neighborhood), and the tables made of fir are so soft and beautiful—I love that there are some round tables too. The chairs were actually former school chairs and are hella cute.

You’ll note the original fir beams (the building is 102 years old), and the woodwork at the bar by Peter Doolittle is beautiful (the team wanted to use as many local craftspeople as possible). A few additional design notes: the lighting is by Richard Lewis, the kitchen has Calacatta marble counters and (of course) is using Heath Ceramics for all the dishes. Even better: Heath created a special color, Tartine Teal, for the Manufactory. Gorg.

As for the original Tartine location at 600 Guerrero, expect a redesign to happen in 2017. In the fall, and leading up to and after the redesign, the original flagship will continue to offer iconic pastries and introduce new afternoon items into their repertoire.

The Manufactory team continues to evolve their offerings and will be closed on Tuesdays for recipe development, staff training, and to complete final touches to the three-year buildout.

Hours for now are Mon, Wed-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat-Sun 8am-5pm. Follow on Facebook and Instagram for updates as things continue to take shape. Congrats to the team for manifesting this massive undertaking and achievement! Keep on pushing! 595 Alabama St. at 18th St., 415-757-0007.

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Chef Claude Le-Tohic’s guest chef visit at Alexander’s Steakhouse in Taipei. Photo via Facebook.

After Joël Robuchon Las Vegas executive chef Claude Le-Tohic left the restaurant earlier this year, word was that he was going to be opening his own project in San Francisco. Mon dieu! I have been keeping tabs on the chef (read: social media stalking), and it looks like he’s involved with … Alexander’s Steakhouse!

He recently did a guest chef appearance at their location in Taipei, and when I asked if Le-Tohic is perhaps a part of Alexander’s Steakhouse project coming to Union Square (the upcoming 165 O’Farrell Street project is supposed to have a fine dining component), all his publicist could confirm is: “I do not have any information on the Union Square project. I can, however, tell you that chef Claude Le Tohic is with the Alexander’s Steakhouse team.” And so the béchamel thickens. Stand by for more.

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One of Adam Tortosa’s creations at Akiko’s: caviar and potato chip sushi. Photo via Instagram.

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Rice noodle and crispy pork belly tom yum from Nute’s Noodle Nights. Photo via Facebook.

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Split Bread’s crispy chicken sandwich. Photo via Facebook.

Let’s take a quick look at some upcoming projects, shall we?

After departing Russian Hill’s 1760, opening chef Adam Tortosa went on to work at badass sushi HQ Akiko’s while formulating plans for his next venture, which will be ~THE STARLING~, coming to Hayes Valley. Tortosa will be joining the SF wave of offering an omakase menu ($79), which will meld traditional Japanese technique and NorCal produce and seasonality (just look at this Santa Barbara uni topped with shiro dashi emulsified egg yolk). Turns out this move toward sushi isn’t so left field, since his background includes an apprentice position under master sushi chef Katsu-ya Uechi. There will also be some small plates available.

According to The Starling’s profile, it will have “hip-hop sensibilities.” Whip whip whap. It’s a tiny spot, with 10 seats at the sushi bar and 20 at tables. Look for a hopeful winter opening; it will be in a new building. 388 Fulton St. at Gough. [Via Eater.]

The same development/building is going to be getting an artisan-made doughnut and coffee shop, ~JOHNNY DOUGHNUTS~, from the Downtown San Rafael doughnut maker (which also has food trucks that visit SF). There will be both indoor and outdoor seating; look for an opening at the end of 2016. 388 Fulton St. at Gough.

Folks in Bernal should be excited that Nute Chulasuwan is taking over 903 Cortland, making her Nute’s Noodle Nights pop-up a permanent thing. We’ll keep you posted on the opening. [Via Scoop.] 903 Cortland Ave. at Folsom.

Russian Hill residents will soon see the former Le Petit Robert/La Boulange corner space opening in September as an all-day eatery, ~SPLIT BREAD~. The founders of Mixt (formerly Mixt Greens)—Andrew Swallow and Leslie and David Silverglide—are behind the café, which has two locations in SoMa. The cafés are more focused on lunch/sandwiches (hence the name). The plan for this location is breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with weekend brunch too.

It will offer cashless service, and guests will order at the table, instead of traditional table service. There will be 60-70 seats, outdoor seating, and a very easy takeout system too. Expect egg dishes and plenty of brunch favorites, burgers, salads, crispy chicken sandwiches, and some dinner entrées. Coffee service will be from Four Barrel Coffee, and there will be wine on tap and beer. [Via Hoodline and Eater.] 2300 Polk St. at Green.

Speaking of fried chicken sandwiches, Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Delarosa, Super Duper, Uno Dos Tacos, etc.) is launching his latest SF business, ~THE BIRD~. Based around fried chicken sandwiches made with local, free-range chicken, this SoMa eatery will be opening for lunch and dinner. It’s due to open in a former Melt location in October. 15 New Montgomery St. at Market.

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A look at the chicken banh mi from New Silver Star Deli. Yelp photo by Albertino M.

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The new look for Mixt (and shop on Kearny). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some news tidbits for you. The lunch crew who used to get their wonton soup at The Silver Star Deli have a new option: bahn mi and spring rolls and vermicelli bowls at ~NEW SILVER STAR DELI~. The new owners are also keeping things affordable: everything is $7.25 and under (here’s the menu). 316 Pacific Ave. at Battery, 415-590-2257.

Downtown workers have probably taken note of the latest and airy ~MIXT~ (formerly Mixt Greens) location to open at 240 Kearny Street, the farthest west of the SF locations.

But here’s something you may not know: Mixt is trying out a dinner promotion at their 70 Mission Street location. So for those of you who like to have a big salad for dinner, either at the shop or taking it to go, here’s your opportunity. (Try one of their seasonal salads; I liked the peaches salad with roast pork loin.) You can swing by Monday through Thursday from 4pm-8pm for the later service. Since it’s so close to a lot of transportation, it’s pretty handy. Also, this Mixt location will continue to be open 10:30am-3pm (and is closed from 3-4pm), just so you know.

Remember when we broke the news about the ~MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE~ kiosk that opened just outside Workshop Cafe in the FiDi? Unfortunately, they hit a permitting snag, so the stand is on pause at the moment. Stand by for a hopeful reopening date soon. 180 Montgomery St. at Bush.

Since Pete Mrabe won’t be opening his Posole project after all, the latest taker for the former Minako space will reportedly become a ~NAAN N CURRY~ very soon. Look for additions like tandoori burritos and burgers to the regular menu. [Via Mission Local.] 2154 Mission St. at Sycamore.

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The fried egg sandwich at Market & Rye. Photo via Facebook.

Potrero Hill residents are going to be losing ~MARKET & RYE~ at the end of August, after five years of business. Chef Ryan Scott is busy focusing on his new project opening in October, Finn Town—he just hired his chef de cuisine, Jason Raffin (previously Bin 38, Evvia in Palo Alto). Scott has other projects, too, including a new cookbook. The landlord is currently accepting applicants for potential new restaurants. 300 DeHaro St. at 16th St.

An ABC permit transfer reveals that after 11 years, ~SAHA~ in the Hotel Carlton has closed and will be replaced by something potentially called Love Crumbs. Saha owners Mohamed and Marmee Aboghanem are actually moving their restaurant to Berkeley, into the recently closed Herbivore location. Since Saha was enjoyable to many vegetarians, their new digs should hopefully be a smooth transition. 1075 Sutter St. at Larkin and 2451 Shattuck Ave. at Haste, Berkeley.