On The Blackboard: December 5

By Trevor Felch

Ugly Sweaters and a special dinner at Ad Hoc
Break out the ugly sweater for dinner on Sunday, December 17 at Ad Hoc—the three ugliest sweaters will receive Ad Hoc gift cards. In addition to the chic wardrobe theme, diners will enjoy a seasonal four-course, $55 menu in the usual Ad Hoc family-style fashion where the menu is revealed the morning of the meal and has creative riffs on hearty comfort classics for a main course and dessert, plus a salad and cheese. Also, diners who bring a donation for Toys for Tots will receive a free holiday-themed cocktail.
Neighborhood: Yountville MAP

Off the Grid’s Winter Walk Returns
Since Union Square is San Francisco’s shopping epicenter, December is an extra hectic time here. Luckily, for the fourth year in a row, the city has laid out artificial grass and created snow-capped covering what is usually the never-ending Central Subway construction project. Union Square Business Improvement District and Off the Grid have partnered to bring holiday programming, along with a host of performances and games for kids, rotating roster of mobile food creators like Cochinita’s Mayan cuisine and Drums & Crumbs Southern comfort food. The bar, run by Off the Grid and Rye on the Road, is the place to go to forget your credit card balance. Pouring excellent hot and cold cocktails (try the Rock & Rye Toddy), plus what is honestly one of the best wine by the glass and beer tap lists in Union Square, it’s a great holiday outing destination to combine with shopping and ice skating, or just for a normal Monday lunch with a side of holiday cheer. Winter Walk closes on New Years Eve.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

Plaj

Julbord Celebration at Pläj
Chef-owner Roberth Sundell is a native of Stockholm, Sweden and ready to show San Franciscans what a Swedish holiday season feast is all about his Hayes Valley Cali-Scandinavian spot, tucked inside The Inn at the Opera. On the next two Sunday nights, December 10 and 17, and Monday, December 11, Pläj’s Julbord starts with house-made glog then presents several courses of herring, gravlax, cold meats and terrines, mustard-baked ham, Swedish meatballs, ginger-glazed ribs, and sausages, concluding with Santa’s rice porridge, which hides an almond—and whoever finds it is a given a task by the entire table. The whole food and glog ensemble is $70, and that’s a downright steal for the amount of food and the quality of cooking at one of SF’s most under-the-radar fine dining destinations.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP


E&O Kitchen and Bar’s 12 Taps for 12 Days
Move over 12 Days of Christmas—E&O, the two-decade old Union Square pan-Asian classic created the 12 Days of Beer and Cheer this year, starting December 12. Each night has a different NorCal brewery taking over the taps, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to North Bay fire victims. Pints are available on their own or paired as a $12 snack pack with lapsang souchong tea deviled eggs, spiced bar nuts, and furikake popcorn.
Neighborhood: Union Square MAP

Toast to EPIC Steak’s Champagne Hour
The waterfront meat-centric restaurant, EPIC Steak, combines two of the finest things in life—bubbles and spectacular Bay Bridge lights views—for the return of its Champagne Hour, like a regular happy hour except with actually great drinks at discounted prices. Mark your calendars because every Wednesday starting this week, Veuve Clicquot is 50 percent off (!) by the glass, bottle, and half bottle. The festivities begin with a ceremonial Champagne bottle sabering, for some real holiday cheer.
Neighborhood: Embarcadero MAP


International Smoke

International Smoke Launches Happy Hour
You can’t get a reservation at the city’s hottest new restaurant until early 2018, but don’t worry, the bar takes up half the space of the revamped former RN74 space on the ground floor. The globe-spanning barbecue and grilled foods menu by Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry just launched a compelling happy hour menu running weeknights from 4 to 6 p.m. Highlights include individual ribs for $2.50, $4 char-grilled oysters, and $8 pickle backs in creative flavors like Moroccan with turmeric and curry. In addition, you’ll find snacks like fries, chile-garlic hominy, and addictive buttered curry cornbread with jalapeño butter.
Neighborhood: SoMa MAP

Recchiuti Hot Chocolate For Cold December Days
Let’s be honest: It’s always hot chocolate weather here in Karl the Fog’s home city, but December really is the season to curl up with a nice warm mug of cocoa. This chilly holiday season is even brighter because Recchiuti Confections, one of the city’s most talented chocolate artisans, now offers dark hot chocolate to-go for visitors at their Dogpatch boutique, Recchiuti at TheLab. A six-ounce mug is $5 and comes with a torched house-made vanilla bean marshmallow. What could be a merrier holiday pairing than hot chocolate and one of the city’s top chocolatiers?
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP

Al’s Place Starts Noodles at Nine
Not that anyone in San Francisco needs to come up with a reason to visit Al’s Place, but we’ve got another one for you: they just launched Nine O’Clock Noodle Bowls at, yes, 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights. The price seems steep for noodle bowls ($25 to $30) but remember, Aaron London is one of the most talented chefs in San Francisco, and these are anything but ordinary. With noodles made daily in San Jose as a base, the bowls include a host of produce from Al’s Place’s garden and might include close to 10 ingredients, like persimmon, chanterelle mushrooms, blistered squash, fish sauce-caramelized trout, 35-day dry-aged steak, pickled Brussels sprout leaves, and countless other options. It’s a three-course meal in a noodle bowl. The restaurant sets aside most of the seats on these nights for walk-ins, so don’t worry about making a reservation, unless you want the regular menu earlier in the evening, in which case you still need to start planning right about now. The rest of us will take advantage of the noodle bowls.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

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