Dogpatch and Potrero Hill are now On the Grid!

On the Grid - San Francisco

Everyone who’s ever been to a Hearsay dinner has gotten an earful about how much I love our neighborhood. It’s changed a lot in the time I’ve been here (since 2004!)—but luckily, there are some things that even the T line and the hospital and a whole bunch of new construction can’t change. The people who live and work here are some of the coolest, most interesting makers and builders and thinkers and doers in the world. They’re a tight-knit group who always help each other out, and I’m proud to call them my neighbors.

That’s why I was so excited to curate the guide to Dogpatch and Potrero Hill for On the Grid.  On the Grid was launched in April and is quickly becoming a massive international travel guide. It already includes nearly 100 neighborhoods in 21 cities. Each guide is beautifully curated by local designers and creative companies. The project was created by Hyperakt, which is a kickass Brooklyn-based design agency founded by my friend Deroy.

The guide is a bit of a love letter to some of my favorite places in the ‘hood.  And while it’s certainly not a comprehensive list of spots that make the neighborhood great, it did give me an opportunity to shine a little light on some of the people and places that make me feel at home.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed creating it.

Dinner recap: Eastern Mediterranean

Every one of our dinners is experimental. But last month, we tried something completely new: we hosted two dinners on consecutive nights! I was a little nervous about the additional prep, managing two guests lists, and (let’s be honest) the massive volume of dishes… but I think things actually turned out quite well.

Photos courtesy of Airbnb

The first night’s group, sent to us by Airbnb, was super fun. In addition to a handful of people from the company, the table also included several travelers from around the country, all visiting San Francisco and seeking food adventures. It was a real privilege to meet everyone and give several of our guests their first underground dining experience. Also, big thanks to Mike Xia, who was kind enough to take a break from getting his startup off the ground to help us out in the kitchen!

The second evening was a regular ticketed Hearsay dinner, and many of our diners were return guests. It’s really great to see people coming back again and again—thanks for being part of the experiment with us!

This is the menu we presented:

Watermelon, feta, chili
Can Mayol Loxarel “999” Brut Nature Rosat, Penedes

Romano beans, yogurt, dill
Skouras “Zoe” Rosé, Peloponnese, 2014

Smoked eggplant, za’atar
Domaine Sigalas “Aa,” Santorini, 2014

Whole roasted fish, avgolemono
Sipun Zlahtina, Island of Krk, 2013

Bisteeya
Musar “Jeune” Rouge, Bekaa Valley, 2012

Cardamom pistachio ice cream, figs, burnt honey
Yeni Raki

We have several private dinners on the books for October, so look for invites to our next regular ticketed dinner in your inbox in November. Cheers!

Dinner recap: Childhood

I don’t care who you are or where you’re from—everyone has strong food memories from childhood. Some of us think back fondly to summer ice cream cones by a lake. Some people can still taste Grandma’s lasagna or fried chicken. And for more than a few of us, the smell of chocolate chip cookies takes us right back to Mom’s kitchen.

What’s for dinner has always been a big topic of conversation and bonding for my family. When I was growing up, my mom made nearly everything our family ate, from bread to pickles and preserves to peanut butter. She grew herbs in the backyard and took me and my brother along to pick blueberries at the farms nearby. She taught me why you don’t eat tomatoes in December (unless you canned them, which we did) and why you should handle your bread dough as little as possible. And she was my co-conspirator for my very first dinner party—a Big Night-themed, six-course extravaganza for 12 of my friends in high school.

Those memories were the inspiration behind our April 11 menu. For this meal, each dish was a reimagined version of one of my earliest food memories (and in the case of the nuggets dish, memories of one of the foods I was forbidden to eat). My mom even flew in from Portland to help out! She’s an incredible baker, so all of the pastry and breads in the meal were her delicious handiwork.

Here’s the menu we presented. I grew up in Oregon, so the pairings all came from some of our favorite Oregon wineries and distilleries as well:

BREAKFAST (egg and bacon pop tart, hot sauce, maple)
House Spirits Coffee Liqueur

PB&J (foie gras torchon, brioche, three homemade jams)
Trisaetum “Estates Reserve” Willamette Valley Riesling, 2012

EAT YOUR VEGETABLES (asparagus, hazelnut, egg)
Eyrie Vineyards “Estate” Dundee Hills Chardonnay, 2011

LEFTOVERS (salmon, dill, bucatini)
Brick House “The Dragon’s Tale” Ribbon Ridge Gamay Noir, 2013

NUGGETS (chicken, honey mustard, peas + carrots)
Division-Villages “Beton,” 2014

SUMMER (strawberry shortcake)
Clear Creek Grappa Moscato

We’d love to see you at our next dinner. To get an invite, sign up for our mailing list!

Busy Saturday? Seats available for our sherry dinner

Saturday’s dinner is shaping up to be pretty epic—and if you’re the spontaneous type, you’re in luck! We’ve had some cancellations and we still have a few seats available. Email us now to make your reservation.

We’ll be pairing some of the world’s best sherries with each of our six tapas-inspired courses:

    • Boquerones, citrus, black olive
    • Sea bass crudo, Oro Blanco, radish, honey, paprika oil
    • Crispy sweetbreads, potato, braised pea shoots
    • Octopus, spring onion, blood orange, aioli
    • Short rib, savory caramel, slaw, black sesame
    • Cardamom duck egg ice cream sandwich

We learned an enormous amount at SherryFest West in Portland a few weeks ago, and we can’t wait take you on a guided tour of all the major sherry styles: fino, amontillado, palo cortado, oloroso, cream, and Pedro Ximenez. We’re planning to serve several wines that aren’t yet available in California, so this is a unique chance to try something rare and unusual—not to mention very, very delicious.

This dinner is $85, inclusive of wine pairings. Email us now to RSVP!

Reporting back from Sherryfest West 2013

Good things come in barrels. (Obviously.) Therefore, something that comes from many, many barrels must be extra good, right? We went to Portland last week to investigate this theory at Sherryfest West 2013.


Sherry, which is a fortified wine made from palomino grapes in the Jerez region of Spain, sees an awful lot of barrel time when it’s aged in a solera system. A solera is a series of barrels where part of the wine in each barrel is regularly moved to the next stage (or criadera) and replenished with new, younger wine from the criadera before it. This constant partial movement means that by the time wine is drawn out of the last criadera for bottling, it is a mix of wine that is relatively young and wine that can be very, very old—more than 150 years in some of the oldest soleras. During this process, the wine can be aged biologically (under a layer of flavor-producing yeast called flor) and/or oxidatively, by simply leaving the barrels about one-sixth empty to expose the wine to oxygen.

A lot of Americans share an unfortunate cultural memory of sherry as a treacly, cloying after-dinner drink—and a few decades ago, most of what you could buy on the American market probably wasn’t very good. But actually, the vast majority of sherry is completely dry. These dry sherries pair smashingly well with food, providing a range of nutty, saline, and umami tones and occasionally surprising notes like butter toffee, black olive, orange peel, or baking spices. Continue reading