SF Bay Area Restaurant Bites: Black Friday, Hanukkah, Truffles And More


Photo Credit: Courtesy RN74

The San Francisco Bay Area restaurant scene is hauter than ever these days. There’s so much going on, that we even have a hard time keeping up. That’s why we’ve rounded up some of the upcoming exciting offerings and changes going on, starting with RN74’s Black Friday offerings and including Hanukkah, a to-die-for truffle dinner at La Toque and a new wine bargain at Trace.


Black Friday isn’t just for shoppers. Dine at Michael Mina’s RN74 on Friday, Nov. 27 to take advantage of deals as well. From 5:30 to 10 pm on Black Friday, RN74 guests will enjoy an edited dinner menu that includes some of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, cocktails, wine and beer, all offered for 20 percent off! Though RN74’s full menu will not be available, the discounted dinner menu will include favorites such as the Crispy Scale Red Snapper, Autumn Matsutake Tart, Schmitz Ranch 12 ounce NY Strip, Smoked Bone Marrow, Burgundy Escargot Croissants, Sugar Pumpkin & Shrimp Bisque and more. A select group of wines, cocktails and beer will also be available at a discount, while the complete bar menu is available at full price. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 415-543-7474.


On Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., new restaurant Oro, located in San Francisco’s Mint Plaza, welcomes two-time James Beard winning chef Blaine Wetzel of The Willows Inn and award-winning journalist Joe Ray for a special evening celebrating the highly-anticipated release of their cookbook and travelogue, Sea and Smoke: Flavors from the Untamed Pacific Northwest. Throughout the evening, guests will enjoy a selection of small bites as well as craft cocktails inspired by the cookbook. Tickets are available for $75 per person (includes passed appetizers, cocktails, discussion and book signing) and can be purchased via Table8.


On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Chef Joanne Weir – James Beard award-winning cookbook author, international cooking teacher, award-winning PBS-TV host and producer, and owner of Copita Tequileria y Comida – joins the team at Gitane for a one-night only dinner featuring dishes from her new book, Kitchen Gypsy: Recipes and Stories from a Lifelong Romance with Food. Gitane is a culinary incarnation of its French translation, Gypsy – making it the perfect setting to host this special dinner. Culinary Director Chris Jones will work hand-in-hand with Weir to create a special four-course menu including, Shellfish Fritters with Meyer Lemon Mayonnaise, Halibut and Squash Ribbon Skewers with Pistachio-Mint Salsa Verde, Arroz con Pollo, and for dessert, the Poached Pear and Polenta Tart.  Cocktail pairings will be available for an additional $25, including the Windfall with pisco, lemon, grapefruit and cayenne, and the Fame & Fortune with rye, Antica, Aperol and orange.  Joanne will be in attendance and signing copies of her book, which guests can purchase for a special price of $25. The full menu will also be available. For reservations or more information please call (415) 788-6686 or visit gitanerestaurant.com.

Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen

In charming Healdsburg, Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen has introduced an all-new Sonoma County Focus dinner and tasting series, with each event concentrating on one of the region’s most celebrated winemakers. These deep dive evenings commence with a pre-dinner tasting of unique, interesting and hard-to-find wines directly from the winery, and conclude with a four-course dinner in Dry Creek Kitchen presented by Executive Chef Andrew Wilson with pairings and explanations provided by the winemaker. The next one is Dec. 4 and features Benovia Winery, producer of small lot, superbly balanced, artisan wines that are some of the best Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and Zinfandels hailing from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County and Sonoma Coast. The remaining schedule for the Sonoma County Focus Dinner & Tasting Series is January 8 – Merry Edwards, February 5 – Failla and April 8 – Hartford. The cost for the four-course dinner with paired wines is $105, or partake in a pre-dinner tasting from 4 to 5 p.m. as well for $125. Tax and gratuities not included. Reserve: dck@hotelhealdsburg.com or call 707-431-0330.


La Toque
La Toque

La Toque

Say “ciao” to one of the world’s foremost truffle authorities when Chef Ken Frank of Michelin-starred La Toque, located within The Westin Verasa Napa, welcomes guest chef Carlo Zarri from Hotel Ristorante San Carlo in Cortemilia, Italy, for a magical evening of Italian truffles and wine on Wednesday, Dec. 9. This will mark Chef Carlo’s fourth visit to La Toque for this event where the chefs collaborate to offer guests a decadent menu showcasing fresh black and white truffles and hazelnuts from Carlo’s home in Piedmont, Italy. Chefs Carlo and Ken will present a five-course tasting menu featuring both White Magnatum and Black Uncinatum from Alba, a small town in Piemonte, long known as one of the most renowned truffle regions in the world. La Toque’s Wine Director Richard Matusczcak will be pairing Italian and local wines with each course. This popular event will begin with a welcome reception at 6:30 p.m. with dinner beginning at 7 p.m. The five-course meal will be offered at $150 per person with a wine pairing option for an additional $62. Reservations can be made in advance by calling La Toque at (707) 257-5157 or visiting www.LaToque.com.

Bluestem Brasserie

Celebrate Hanukkah at Bluestem Brasserie, where owners Adam and Stacy Jed are excited to offer special holiday themed additions to the regular dinner menu for one night only on Thursday, Dec. 10. Executive Chef Jeff Banker has recreated classic Hanukkah dishes, including Braised Brisket with winter vegetable ($30); Latkes with smoked trout, horseradish creme fraiche, and pickled beets ($17); and Matzoh Ball Soup ($9). The regular dinner menu will be available all night as well. Pair your Hanukkah meal with a glass of wine or one of Bluestem’s signature cocktails for a wonderful holiday experience.

Canela Bistro & Wine Bar

Celebrate the festival of lights with Owner/Chef Mat Schuster, who will be cooking up a delicious Spanish-inspired Hanukkah menu. From Tuesday, Dec. 8 through Sunday, Dec. 13, enjoy a pre-fixe menu comprised of Spinach and Leek Potato Pancakes with smoked salmon, homemade apple sauce, and smoked paprika crème fraiche; Piquillo Glazed Beef Brisket with noodle kugel; and Honey Dipped Bunuelos with ground walnuts and candied orange peel for $42 per person – dreidel included. Pair with a Spanish wine flight for the full holiday experience. Special Hanukkah dishes will also be available a la carte.

The Dorian dining room and bar
The Dorian

Photo Credit: Courtesy The Dorian

The Dorian

The Dorian, the newest haute spot in San Francisco’s Marina neighborhood, has added a Saturday and Sunday brunch–served from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.–to its offerings. Among the notable debut brunch offerings from Chef Chris Ricketts are Huckleberry Scones with lemon; Grilled Shrimp Chop with butter beans, apple, carrot, avocado and a Champagne vinaigrette; Souffléd French Toast with huckleberry and apple; Steak and Eggs Flatbread with sunnyside-up egg, aged cheddar cheese and Dorian hot sauce; and a Mini Royal Burger Slider with peekytoe crab, black truffle and gem lettuce. Unchanged is The Dorian signature dinner focus on shared plate classic American fare with highlights such as a Seafood Tower; Mussel Fries “Death in the Afternoon”; Steak Tartare with smoked quail egg, grilled sourdough and tomato jam; and a Ribeye with bourbon steak sauce. doriansf.com


Tired of paying outrageous restaurant prices for wine? Then you’ll want to take advantage of the W San Francisco’s new Wine Down Weekends, which allows diners at the hotel’s signature restaurant, TRACE, to purchase bottles of California wine from the restaurant’s cellar at suggested retail pricing during dinner service every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. With over 100 wines to choose from, Wine Down Weekends seeks to provide one of the city’s best wine deals. The ideal is to encourage you to experiment and experience new wines that you may have not otherwise tried due to the pricing. A selection of prestigious wines available with TRACE’s Wine Down Weekends includes:

  • 2006 J. Shram by Schramsberg retailed at $120 (originally $190)
  • 2012 Robert Sinskey, Vin Gris of Pinot Noir retailed at $31 (originally $68)
  • 2012 Cakebread, Napa Valley Chardonnay retailed at $52 (originally $95)
  • 2012 Quintessa, Rutherford, Napa Valley retailed at $170 (originally $362)
  • 2012 Justin Isosceles, Paso Robles retailed at $70 (originally $147)

Wine Down Weekends at TRACE is available Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Sunday from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. The special promotion is not valid on venue buy-outs. For reservations at TRACE, call (415) 817-7836 or email TraceSF@whotels.com.

Table 8

Looking for that perfect holiday gift for the foodie on your shopping list? How about a membership into the Table8 Dining Club, a program providing exclusive access to the most coveted restaurant reservations and culinary events in cities across the country, offered by acclaimed restaurant reservation platform Table8. The $95 yearly membership includes:

  • Unlimited access to Table8’s network of guaranteed last-minute, prime-time reservations at over 100 of the most in-demand restaurants nationwide—including hotspots available only to Dining Club members
  • Seating priority at waitlist-only restaurants
  • Invitations to specially curated culinary experiences and not-to-be-missed pop-ups
  • Seats at first-look “friends and family” dinners for highly-anticipated new restaurant openings
  • VIP tickets/member pricing to food festivals and local food happenings across the country

Table8 Dining Club membership preview events have included everything from an intimate roof-top meal at the home of Food & Wine Best New Chef Ricardo Zarate; to a private tasting at Miami’s hottest new restaurant, Alter, before it opened to the public; and a multi-course collaborative dinner hosted by four of Chicago’s top chefs, honoring the late Chef Charlie Trotter. Memberships to the Table8 Dining Club can be purchased by downloading the free Table8 iPhone or Android app, and through table8.com.

Quattro Restaurant

Quattro Restaurant, located in the newly enhanced Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley, has turned Sunday brunch into a weekly event you won’t want to miss. With Sundays long regarded for indulgence, recovery and connecting with loved ones, Quattro is offering a whole new concept called Q Brunch Club that is sure to please the whole gang. The extravagant brunch includes bottomless prosecco, choice of appetizer, choice of entrée and a fine selection of house-baked pastries from the dessert buffet. Guests can savour Quattro’s signature dishes such as juicy pork belly benedict, tart and tangy lemon ricotta pancakes or the house favourite, chicken and waffles. Specialty cocktails include sparkling elderflower lemonade, Pamplemousse and the quintessential Q Bloody Mary. The newly re-vamped Quattro Brunch is served Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2:30 pm. For reservations, call 650-566-1200 or book online.