TABLEHOPPING: Beer at Mikkeller Bar, wine at St. Vincent, coffee at Cafe St. Jorge -- how's that for a liquid diet plan. Plus: elegant knishes? They're real.
This is definitely the year of beer in the Bay Area, and the latest addition to the suds scene is Mikkeller Bar (34 Mason, SF. www.mikkellerbar.com ). Who would have thought the famous Copenhagen beer bar would open a location deep in the Tenderloin? It's a partnership between Mikkel Borg Bjergsø of Mikkeller and Chuck Stilphen of The Trappist and Trappist Provisions, and there's even a hoppy Mikkeller Tenderloin Pilsner on the extensive list, plus three other special Tenderloin-inspired brews. Not to mention 40 taps of rare, international, delicious beers in all — plus two cask handles — and a staff of certified cicerones to school you on the suds. You can also tuck into a variety of dishes, from soft pretzel rolls and pastrami sandwiches to a smoked "char siu" tofu bahn mi and housemade sausage platters. Pull up to one of the 30 seats at the horseshoe bar, or take over one of the blond wood tables with your brew crew.
Our local coffee scene continues to find plenty of ways to keep us perky (ditto this chilly weather and most SF ladies' tatas right now, but that's another story): now open in Bernal is Cafe St. Jorge (3438 Mission, SF. www.cafesanjorge.com ), a Portuguese-inspired café from Andrea de Francisco. She's paying homage to her Portuguese roots with housemade treats like bolo de arroz, especie cookies, and pasteis de nata, plus keepin' it very Ess Eff with some vegan baked goods, sandwiches, and more. Say bom dia with Stumptown Coffee, along with fresh-pressed juices and housemade almond milk.
Strawberries and whipped cream: a winning combo. Ditto cannabis butter and brownies. Along similar lines, coffee and bikes always make for a symbiotic pairing. Which is why it makes absolutely perfect sense that the Public Bikes store (123 South Park, SF.) in South Park has installed a coffee stand on its front porch. Service is provided from Saint Frank Coffee. And to inspire you to pedal (or walk) over, Public is offering all customers a free coffee drink through July 20th. Just mention "Honduras" -- no, not Panama, or Colombia, just Honduras.
It can be expensive to learn about wine, but not at St. Vincent (1270 Valencia, SF. www.stvincentsf.com ) on Saturdays. This Mission restaurant hosts "shop hours" when you can swing by from 12pm–3pm for curated tastings. On Saturday July 20, taste "five aged wines you can afford" for $25, like a Livon Collio merlot "Tiaremate" from 1999 — and in case you love it, it's $30 for the bottle. And Saturday July 27 is Summer Sour Saturday, with a tasting of four wheat beers for $12, including the Sumac Summer Ale, a collaboration with Craftsman Brewing Company.
You may think you know what a good knish is, but just to be sure, you really need to come by Michelle Polzine's brand-new-yet-caught-in-a-time-warp café in Hayes Valley, 20th Century Cafe (198 Gough, SF. www.20thcenturycafe.com ). These are no starchy, sticky gut bombs packed with lumpy potato. Oh hell no. These elegant little beauties come with a crackling, flaky exterior that's almost phyllo-like, and within, a smooth and savory potato-and-onion filling, spiked with caraway, coriander, and a little zhoosh of vermouth. If you manage to nab one hot out of oven, you may cry. Sooth yourself further (or perhaps cry more) over her other treats, like raspberry plum coffee cake, and peach leaf ice cream. Open 10am–6pm daily, closed Mondays.
Marcia Gagliardi is the founder of the weekly tablehopper e-column; subscribe for more attablehopper.com. Get her app: Tablehopper's Top Late-Night Eats. On Twitter: @tablehopper.