Field Notes: Restaurant, Hotel and Food News

San Francisco

All the Truffles. And Barolos!

White truffles in hand at Sorrel restaurant, San Francisco
White truffles at Sorrel restaurant, San Francisco

On November 29 and 30, chef Alex Hong and the Sorrel team are hosting a White Truffle and Barolo Dinner. Last year, the Michelin one-star prepared eight courses like turbot with persimmon and matsutake, and spaghetti alla chitarra with preserved lemon. This year, the fifth iteration of the dinner, the optional wine pairing is in collaboration with Giorgio Rivetti, the owner and winemaker of La Spinetta, and their Piedmontese Barolos and Barbarescos. A more natural pairing with truffles simply does not exist.

Reservations here.

Union Square Eats

The Post Room at the Beacon Grand Hotel, Union Square San Francisco
The Post Room at the Beacon Grand Hotel, Union Square San Francisco

If you are reading this, you likely already know that I am bullish on San Francisco and big cities in general. (Naysayers and doomloopers, be gone!). Inside the Beacon Grand Hotel, which opened in summer of 2022, the Post Room, an all-day restaurant and lounge, opened in mid-November.  It overlooks the main lobby and has that same retro-fabulous vibe, with high ceilings, plenty of wainscoting, and oversized windows.

La Accabadora cocktail at The Post Room _ photo credit Brian Molyneaux
La Accabadora cocktail at The Post Room; photo credit Brian Molyneaux

European coastal cuisine carries the day, with dishes of Spanish octopus served with lemon preserve, marcona almonds and romesco sauce; roasted branzino with artichoke, white beans, and pesto; and jamón Ibérico with whipped goat cheese, pistachios and orange vinaigrette. To drink, there’s some signature cocktails and a menu of spritzes (all the rage at the moment), but I’m a whiskey girl so pencil me in for a Sazerac or a Vieux Carré, one of my faves that does not make it onto enough menus.

Eat All Day at The Third Floor (FiDi)

The Third Floor at The Jay Hotel in san Francisco
The Third Floor at The Jay Hotel in san Francisco

Do you remember the old Le Meridian Hotel in the FiDi (at Clay and Battery)? It has been remade into The Jay Hotel and the grand opening is the first week of December. Global design brand AvroKo handled the redesign and the Omakase Group (NIKU Steakhouse, Okane, Dumpling Time, Rosemary & Pine) is handling the eats at The Third Floor, an all-day restaurant and lounge serving three meals a day, cocktails, and modern-yet-traditional afternoon tea. Executive chef Michael Magallenes (Aziza, Mourad) will be handling the menu – take a peek here.

A Taste of Michigan at Hilda & Jesse

From Friday, December 8 through Sunday, December 10, Hilda and Jesse in North Beach plays host to Chef Iliana Regan, owner of The Milkweed Inn, a bed and breakfast located deep in Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. (For my non-Midwestern readers, that’s the triangular patch of Michigan attached to the top of Wisconsin.) It’s a remote locale – off the grid remote – and the Inn is only open in the warmer months. Cooking alongside Hilda and Jesse chef-owner Kristina Compton, chef Regan is planning one five-course dinner on December 8 and two five-course brunches on December 9 and 10.

At dinner, each course will feature two dishes – one from each chef – creating a dialogue of sorts. For brunch, hereby named Collaborative Adventure Brunch, the chefs are leaning into their respective Polish and Latvian roots with a menu centered around a hog from Riverdog Farm.

Tickets for the Friday dinner are here. Saturday brunch tickets are here and Sunday brunch tickets are here

Wine Country

Double-quadruple Truffles at Cyrus

Cyrus chef Douglas Keane doing his thing
Cyrus chef Douglas Keane doing his thing

‘Tis the season for truffles and Geyserville’s one-Michelin Cyrus is double-quadrupling access to the aromatic wonders for one evening only. Friday, December 15 is when chef Douglas Keane and pastry chef Josh Gaulin will create nine courses (dare I say a “novence”?) featuring the season’s funkiest fungi , which can be paired with sommelier Cyrus Schultz’s beverage pairings.

A meal at Cyrus is a journey, and this evening begins with canapés and caviar in the Bubbles Lounge, progressing to the Kitchen Table for a personal interaction with the chefs around the U-shaped communal counter and three dishes – chawan mushi with caviar, tuna sashimi with uni and white truffle tempura, and seared scallop with white truffle and black garlic. Onwards to the dining room for a truffled risotto, A5 Wagyu with shaved white truffles, and truffled Harbison cheese with hoshigaki and sourdough before a grand finale white truffle Mont Blanc in the Chocolate Room. Reservations can be made through Tock.

Sushi is (Finally!) Back at The Matheson

As of December 1, the “middle floor” at Healdsburg’s The Matheson will once again be buzzing. Sushi by Scratch restaurants, the one-Michelin Montecito (SoCal) restaurant from husband-and-wife chef team Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee arrives withtheir innovative 17-course omakase-inspired tasting menu, featuring Phillip’s signature nigiri creations and Margarita’s desserts. Look for hamachi painted with sweet corn pudding;, albacorewrapped in sake-soaked nori and topped with ponzu, fresh wasabi, and crispy onions, roasted bone marrow nigiri seasoned with soy sauce, sea salt, and freshly grated wasabi root, and crispy unagi (wtaf?). I’m told it’s fried in the rendered bone marrow fat from the previous course and then dressed with poblano yuzu kosho, soy sauce, ponzu, lemon, and sea salt. Mind. Blown. Reservations are available on Tock.

The Foley Wine Brand Shuffle

Banshee, one of the brands under the umbrella of the Foley family of wines, is moving from downtown Healdsburg to Geyserville, opening November 30. The property, formerly the tasting room for Foley Sonoma wines, features winemaker Alicia Sylvester’s creations, including the well-regarded pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. Cheese, charcuterie, chocolates and caviar will be available with the flights.

The downtown Healdsburg space previously occupied by Banshee reopens November 24 as The Society: Healdsburg. Though details on the food pairings are sparse, it is a one-stop shop for all things Foley —  Banshee Wines, Chalk Hill Estate, Chalone, Chateau St. Jean, Ferrari-Carano, Firestone, Foley Johnson, Four Graces, Merus, Roth Estate Winery, Silverado Vineyards, Sebastiani, Foley Sonoma, and Three Rivers will all be available for tasting.

Seasonal Sparkle at Chandon’s Tasting Experiences

Honoring its 50th year of making sparkling wines in Napa, Chandon California undertook a complete renovation of its Yountville property and the finishing touches have been completed. Linda Taalman of Taalman Architecture reimagined the expansive indoor and outdoor spaces, creating cozy nooks and wide-open spaces in which to host visitors for sparkling wine tastings and – also new – culinary pairings.  There’s a five-course tasting menu paired with still and sparkling wines and straight-up wine tastings.

For holiday, only available on December 3 and 10, a special wine and food pairing menu of kale Caesar salad and garlic chips (Chandon Brut), roasted salmon with crispy potatoes, carrots, caramelized onions, and herb oil (Reserve Pinot Noir Rosé) and chef’s dessert of the season (Reserve Demi-Sec) is a chance to dig a little deeper – and with a little more sparkle – into the holiday season. All the experiences are here.

East Bay

Pippal: Fast-casual Indian Fare

The culinary team that made ROOH into a sensation in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Delhi, India, opened Pippal on November 18 in Emeryville’s Bay Street complex. The concept here is fast-casual and focuses more closely on India’s regional dishes. Goan chorizo pulao, a rice dish served with fried onion, crispy bacon and garlic raita; mini Idli pepper fries are seasoned with gunpowder podi and curry leaf coconut chutneyandgreen banana seekh kebabs reflect traditions of southern India; Kerala Dungeness crab masala, is considered a delicacy of the region near India’s southerly tip. Cocktails, like the Red Fort (gin, Aperol, strawberry & pink peppercorn) are named for iconic sights across India.