9 Haute Happenings to Add to Your November Agenda

Plates being prepared at the 2015 Taste America event
Plates being prepared at the 2015 Taste America event

As we begin November, the days are getting shorter and shorter, but that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of things to do in San Francisco. It’s quite the opposite—what with the holidays around the corner, there are plenty of delicious food-centric events plus ways to give back to the community.  To inspire you to take advantage of all this beautiful city has to offer, we’re listing this month’s haute happenings. Here are the parties, wine tastings, and events that are on our November agenda.

This Friday, November 4 the James Beard Foundation’s 4th annual event, Taste America, is rolling into town. A Night of Culinary Stars will take place at the InterContinental Hotel and features a handful of local and national chefs. The evening kicks off with a walk-around reception with hors d’oeuvres from chefs including Dennis Lee of Namu Ganji, Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s, and Srijith Gopinathan of Campton Place. Afterwards, guests will sit down to a lavish four-course meal prepared by Anita Lo and Charles Phan. Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie is on dessert duty while Kevin Diedrich is in charge of the night’s cocktails.

Fresh truffles at Perbacco
Fresh truffles at Perbacco

Photo Credit: Eric Wolfinger

If you don’t get your fill of Asian-inspired cuisine on Friday, head to the first of Red Dog Restuarant’s new pop-up dinner series, Coalesce on Saturday, November 5. Chef Lauren Kiino is inviting her friends chef Matt Shepard and Ola Fendert to join her in the kitchen to prepare a Japanese-influenced seven-course tasting menu. Beverage pairings are available and the menu will be inventive, so come ready to eat and drink.

It’s currently white truffle season in the Italian region of Piemonte and from now until November 12, the team at Perbacco, is serving a sensational truffle-centric menu. Executive chef Staffan Terje and owner Umberto Gibin personally select the best truffles from their Italian purveyor, then bring them into the kitchen to create delectable Italian masterpieces. Enjoy sweetbread ragout with foie gras and toasted brioche, agnolotti filled with roasted rabbit and leeks, and risotto with braised veal cheek—all topped with a decadent portion of freshly shaved white truffles.

Actress Maggie Q shows off a animal-inspired bracelet at the 2015 WildAid Gala
Actress Maggie Q shows off an animal-inspired bracelet at the 2015 WildAid Gala

This month’s not to be missed gala—the 2016 WildAid Gala—takes place on Saturday November 12 at the Ritz-Carlton. The theme is An Evening Under the Sea and 16 years of the nonprofit’s tireless work to stop the illegal trade of wildlife will be celebrated. Artisan Alexander Jewell has created an exclusive line of fine jewelry dedicated to endangered species that will be auctioned off at the event. Actor Ian Somerhalder’s conservation work will be awarded and special music guest Nico and Vinz will perform. Last year’s gala raised $44,000 during the live auction—all of which went directly to protecting animals and the reduction of consumption of dangerous wildlife products like shark fin and elephant ivory.

Looking for a night of craft cocktails and crazy entertainment? Head to the 10th Annual Fernet Branca Barback Games on Sunday, November 13. The Regency Ballroom will be transformed into a stadium of sorts with barbacks from the city’s top bars (Park Tavern, Rye, Comstock Saloon, and Trick Dog to name a few) competing in a series of challenges. The barback who can restock the bar, clean up the spill, and change the keg the quickest will win.

Artist Marcus Sakoda created this sketch of Charlotte and her mayors in honor of the Salvation Army luncheon
Artist Marcus Sakoda created this sketch of Charlotte and her mayors for the Salvation Army luncheon

Over in the East Bay, at Comal, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, there will be a special mezcal dinner on Monday November 14. World-renowned agave expert, Iván Saldaña, will be joining Comal’s team. Saldaña will serve mezcal from his Montelobos brand alongside chef Matt Gandin’s Oaxaca-inspired meal. For anyone interested in traditional Mexican cuisines and authentic Latin spirits, the four-course dinner promises to be educational and delicious.

Kick start the holiday season with the Salvation Army at their 13th Annual Holiday Luncheon honoring Charlotte Shultz and her mayors. Former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice is a member of the committee which will celebrate Shultz and her husband, George, and their longstanding support of San Francisco. Beach Blanket Babylon will perform  and all of the funds from the event will support the Salvation Army’s San Francisco-based community centers and support facilities.

Foreign Cinema
Foreign Cinema

Explore the lesser known Napa Valley AVA of the Spring Mountain District at a special walk around tasting on ThursdayNovember 17. The Presidio Golden Gate Club will host 18 wineries from the region (Stony Hill Vineyard, Barnett Vineyards, and Terra Valentine are a few of the participants) and small bites will be served. Current releases, library wines, and barrel samples will be poured and wine lovers will be able to understand what its like to grow grapes on the side of a mountain.

The third Thursday in November marks the annual release of Beaujolais Nouveau, France’s beloved red wine that is enjoyed a few weeks after it has been harvested. To commemorate the occasion, Foreign Cinema’s is throwing a Beaujolais party on November 17. The evening will feature a variety of Beaujolais sipping options, from glasses to magnums and the menu will be French for one night. Order traditional classics like cassoulet and petit salé.