Field Notes: Restaurant, Hotel and Food News

San Francisco

F^*K the Doom Loop

Schroeder's Oktoberfest on Front Street, San Francisco
Schroeder’s Oktoberfest on Front Street, San Francisco

Starting at 3 p.m. on Friday, September 15th, the block of Front Street in front of Schroeder’s (between Sacramento and California streets) will be closed to celebrate southern Germany’s most popular festival. Yes, it’s called Oktoberfest and it is celebrated the last two weeks of September. Who cares? There will be plenty of German beer, hand-held eats and spätzle (ask me how to pronounce it!) and maybe some lederhosen and dirndls at this historic Bavarian beer hall (it was built in 1893). Eins, zwei, g’zuffa!

The Art of Sushi

Gozu chef Marc Hoffman's dish
photo credit Joseph Weaver

Chef Norihito Endo of Tokyo’s Sushi Ebisu Endo is joining chef Owner and Executive Chef at Gozu Restaurant on September 26 and 27 for a collaboration dinner. Despite growing up in a sushi-ya, chef Endo is celebrated for his non-traditional approach while chef Zimmerman is renowned for his mastery of wagyu and grilled dishes (robatayaki). A traditional kappo-style tasting menu format is planned and Champagne or non-alcoholic tea pairings are available. 

Bier (and Pretzels) Here

Golden Hour at Radhaus San Francsico
Golden Hour at Radhaus San Francsico

As its practiced in Bavaria, Oktoberfest at Fort Mason’s Radhaus celebrates the full two weeks of the harvest festival with specials planned by day of the week. From September 16 – October 3, the Alpine beer hall with expansive views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge will serve its regular menu as well as:

  • Sundays – Smoked bier special
  • Mondays – Bike over for a free cycle team bandanna 
  • Tuesdays – $5 ½ liter bier special
  • Wednesdays – Magic Hour (sunset) cookies
  • Thursdays – Free bier ticket at Magic Hour with your bier
  • Fridays – New Radhaus hat patch release
  • Saturdays – Free face painting (9/16 & 9/30)

Though the new in-house pretzel program is not on the Oktoberfest menu, you can order one or a plate of käsespätzle (ask me how to pronounce it!) any day of the week.

Peace. Love. Soul.

Choco-nut shake at PLS on Post
Choco-nut shake at PLS on Post

The hirsute days of the hippies are long gone but the vibe is having a second life at PLS on Post, the freshest incarnation of the restaurant at Hotel Zeppelin. I, for one, am LOVING the groovy look of the website. Cocktails riff on a ’60’s classic rock theme (I’m looking at you, Ginny Hendrix and Riders on the Storm) while the menu of burgers, shakes and sides feels like it hails from an even earlier era. It’s the good work of chef  Thomas Weibull of Dirty Habit (from partner Hotel Zelos), who crossed Union Square for his new gig. Sweet!

Slurp It Up

hot oyster selection at San Francisco restaurant, Little Shucker

Executive Chef Adrian Garcia (Quince, Benu, Addison) brings heaps of cheffy touches and lots of imagination to the raw bar fare at Little Shucker, which opened August 3 on Fillmore Street. The space is so bright and airy, it took me a moment to recall this used to be a dark, cozy all-day hangout called The Grove. The food matches the breezy vibe with plates of oysters (raw and baked in multiple styles), a lobster roll, smoked trout salad and a few veggie dishes to mix it up a little. There’s wine by the glass and bottle, cider and beer and zero-proof drinks but I’m all in on the spritzes. The Pink Spritz – made with rosé vermouth, aperitivo blend and something called “champagne acid,” – emulated an Aperol spritz in the best way with just the right amount of buzz so I could go back to work after lunch without a headache.

North Bay

Eat. Drink. Shop.

an array of dishes at No|Ma House Cafe and Collective
photo credit Katie Newburn

Offering food for nourishment and education for awareness, NO|MA House Café & Collective opened in downtown Saint Helena on September 1. The work of Ann Backen, the space is one part café with an all-day drinks and counter service menu, an event space, as well as a retail store for home, body, and garden merchandise.  A full menu is planned (lemon ricotta waffles, chopped salad, mushroom tartine) but for now, breakfast treats, coffee, savory bar snacks (trout and dill dip, muhammara), and by the glass wine, beer and cider ease the transition from morning to afternoon.

South of San Francsico

Pumpkin Season Est Arrivé

I know, I know, how did it get to be pumpkin season already? But here we are. And now’s your chance to revel in all things pumpkin with a Michelin star thrown in: Chef Shin Thompson of Los Angeles’ NIKU X earned a Michelin star at his former Chicago restaurant Bonsoirée (closed). As part of the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay’s Global Cuisine Series, chef Thompson, who was raised in Japan, will be cooking at the hotel’s in-house restaurant from September 21-24. At dinner, a seven-course tasting menu while at brunch, the experience includes something similar but with plenty of daylight and a chance to wear something with a more accommodating waistline, perhaps? Reserve both on Tock. The menu has not yet been revealed but I’m thinking pumpkin and tomatoes, tomatoes and pumpkins…this is Half Moon Bay, after all.

Afternoon Tea in the Garden

An array of small bites for Afternoon Tea at Nobu Palo Alto
An array of small bites for Afternoon Tea at Nobu Palo Alto

The tea service at Palo Alto’s Nobu arrived this summer, shortly after the hotel completed its Japanese-inspired Zen Garden.  With burbling fountains and plentiful, precisely-sized greenery, the garden is a reason to sit outside for an Afternoon Tea in the Garden. Bites include everything from lobster salad on shokupan toast and housemade madelines to black cod butter lettuce cups, Nobu style tacos, and the elegant sashimi, nigiri and maki that made Nobu a household name years ago. Reservations can be made via Open Table.

the Japanese garden at Nobu Palo Alto as seen from above
Photo Credit Barbara Kraft