Off the Grid Returns, Castagna Reopens and other SF Foodie Updates
By: Marcia Gagliardi
Marcia Gagliardi writes a popular insider weekly e-column about the SF dining scene, subscribe for free at www.tablehopper.com. Out now is her first book, The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion, a groundbreaking new style of guidebook. And check out her new app, Tablehopper’s Top Late-Night Eats, which highlights 95 SF spots serving food past 11pm!
New Happy Hours
There are all kinds of new happy hours for you to check out, starting with “The Stirring Hour” at 1760 on Polk Street, which runs daily from 5pm–6pm. You can get three spiritous cocktails (that aren’t on the usual cocktail menu) for $7, like gin with Strega, dry vermouth, Cocchi Americano, and lemon bitters, and bourbon with Gran Classico, Cynar, and coffee bitters. Stirred spirit-based drinks will also be available for $6 each (think Negroni, Manhattan, martini, or Boulevardier); one light and amber beer will be on the menu for $3 a pint; as well as red, white, and sparkling wines for $7 a glass. Bites include Brussels sprouts with crispy onion and aromatic herbs ($6) and shishito peppers with Castelvetrano olives and hazelnuts ($6).
1760 Polk St. at Washington, 415-359-1212.
Third Rail in Dogpatch just launched their new happy hour, which is Mon–Fri 3pm–6pm, with $2 off all 16 of their house cocktails. There’s also The Rail Shot special for $8: 8 ounces of any tap beer; 1 ounce of either Pueblo Viejo blanco, Four Roses yellow label bourbon, Flor de Caña 7-year rum, or Fernet Branca; and a 1/2 ounce of any of the jerky Phil makes (Red Eye, Jerk, Veg, or Mighty Meat).
628 20th St. at 3rd St., 415-252-7966.
Alta CA has a happy hour Mon–Fri from 4pm–6pm, offering special $5 glasses of wine; choose from a white or a red.
1420 Market St. at 10th St., 415-590.2585.
Over at Greens, lead bartender Christian Zamora has developed an “Arts & Crafts pop-up bar” running Fri–Sun 5pm–9pm. There are cocktails like a Oaxacan margarita with mezcal, tequila, blood orange, cinnamon-cayenne salt, and lime; a Pimm’s Cup; and a rotating selection of “Arts & Crafts” cocktails, four in all. They hope to build enough momentum with the bar program to extend it to every night of the week, but for now, it’s just on the weekends.
Fort Mason, Building A, 415-771-6222.
Castagna Reopens This Week
A little more than a year after a fire damaged Castagna in the Marina, the restaurant and wine bar from co-owners and brothers Jerome (general manager) and Stephane Meloni (executive chef) is reopening sometime this week. The new chapter brings some changes, including a more upscale look, with a menu inspired by Provence, Southern France, and the Italian Riviera. The space’s new look is by Jeon Design, and includes more banquette seating, wood floors, and stone accents.
On the dinner menu, look for ratatouille served in socca, a fennel-crusted Mediterranean branzino, daube à la Niçoise, and fried squash blossoms. At brunch you’ll find egg dishes, including an omelet, eggs en cocotte, and quiche Lorraine. They’re also adding bar seating, outdoor seating, and a happy hour Tue–Fri 4pm–6pm. Hours are dinner Sun, Tue–Thu 5pm–9:30pm, Fri–Sat 5pm–10pm, brunch Sat–Sun 10:30am–5pm (closed Mondays).
2015 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-440-4290.
Verbena Now Serving Brunch
Verbena on Polk Street is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, starting April 5th. The menu offers seasonal dishes, many of them with a twist on the usual selections, including a pork trotter terrine with fried quail eggs and chile oil, and poached eggs with duck ragout and peas. Take a look at the current menu here.
They’re also pouring brunch cocktails, like the Verbena mimosa with orange bitters and Cocchi Americano, and of course a Bloody Mary. Brunch is served from 11am–2:30pm, and you can also enjoy outdoor seating on sunny days.
2323 Polk St. at Green, 415-441-2323.
The TAPAS Grand Wine Tasting Returns on Sunday April 27th
Come to the seventh annual TAPAS (Tempranillo Advocates Producers and Amigos Society) Grand Wine Tasting on Sunday April 27th to experience the most extensive tasting of domestically produced tempranillos and other Iberian varietal wines. Trade and consumers will be able to taste tempranillos, albariños, garnachas, verdelhos, tourigas, and many other varieties, with nearly 40 TAPAS member vintners pouring. Many TAPAS members are limited-production, family-owned wineries and will be pouring small-lot wines that are not widely available (many of the wines will also be available for sale at this event).
The event is 2pm–5pm. Get discounted advance tickets here for $35, or with the seminar for $65. (Sorry, it’s not clear how long these discounted prices are going to be available, so get them now if you’re interested!) Ticket prices will go up to $60 and $95.
Golden Gate Club at the Presidio.
Just Truckin': Off the Grid Returns to the Presidio
If you’re looking for a very San Francisco experience, be sure to check out some food trucks—and here’s a great place to do it. After a winter hiatus, Off the Grid is returning to the Presidio on Sunday April 6th, with both their Sunday Picnic at the Presidio and their Thursday evening Twilight at the Presidio. The events include lots of food trucks and even some local restaurants, along with spectacular views of the Golden Gate. Just make sure to bring warm layers!
On Sundays from 11am–4pm, the Picnic includes both food trucks and local restaurants serving from food stands, including Wise Sons, Del Popolo, and Nopalito. A roving cocktail bar offers drinks “blanket-side,” and you can also buy all the important picnic supplies you’ll need, like croquet, kites, and, yes, extra sweaters and blankets.
As for Thursday evening, Twilight at the Presidio runs from 5pm–9pm and includes cabanas lit with lanterns, fire pits and Adirondack chairs, and live music. Cocktails will also be available, served either right at your cabana or fireside. You’ll find a rotating lineup of trucks, including The Boneyard, Red Sauce Meatballs, and Fins on the Hoof.
Main Parade Ground, Lincoln Blvd. at Montgomery, The Presidio.
Photo from Facebook.
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