Table Talk: Unique Dinners, Oakland Cocktail Week, a Proper Breakfast

Tuck into a Proper Breakfast all day at Noon All Day. (tablehopper.com)

September is full of special events, from a fried chicken feast on the patio at Starbelly, to the immersive and artistic Nightfishing dinner, to a visiting chef from Oaxaca at August (1) Five, to Oakland Cocktail Week. You can also read about the perfect all-day menu at Noon All Day.

Enjoy a Surrealist Evening at Nightfishing: An Immersive Art and Dining Experience

The Midway SF
900 Marin St., San Francisco
September 12
7pm–9pm
Tickets: $125 (includes wine pairing)

Artwork by Isis Hockenos will practically come to life at the next Nightfishing event at The Midway.
Artwork by Isis Hockenos will practically come to life at the next Nightfishing event at The Midway. (Isis Hockenos)

Looking for a memorable dining experience, one that will remind you that bohemian San Francisco is still alive and well? The Midway in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood has been hosting some unique events that intersect art, food, music, and technology. On September 12, The Midway resident artist Isis Hockenos is hosting an autumn harvest version of her seasonal Nightfishing art and dining experience. It’s more than sitting at a table for a three-course dinner: it’s more like climbing inside one of her paintings (Isis transforms one of the galleries into a three-dimensional, life-sized painting). Crawl through peacock-colored foliage, smell the lanolin of a freshly sheared, crown-wearing sheep, and taste the meat cut lovingly from a rose-colored hog.

Isis' work contains many references to her experience in food production, particularly through a feminist lens, and to her upbringing in West Marin. The Midway Culinary team will execute a menu carefully curated by Isis, using locally sourced food from her community of oyster farmers, cheesemakers, and ranchers. Expect a healthy dash of surrealist delight.

August (1) Five Hosts Spice Knows No Borders, Celebrating Mexican Independence Day with Oaxacan Guest Chef Julio Aquilera

August (1) Five
524 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
Thursday, September 13–Sunday, September 16
Dinner: 5pm–9:30pm (open until 10:30pm Fri–Sat)
Tasting menu: $75 per person (plus tax and gratuity)
Brunch Sat–Sun: 10:30am–2pm
Reservations: (415) 771-5900

The carrot mole dish from guest chef Julio Aquilera of El Destilado in Oaxaca.
The carrot mole dish from guest chef Julio Aquilera of El Destilado in Oaxaca. (Julio Aquilera)

Looking for another unique dining experience? From Thursday, September 13 to Sunday, September 16, the contemporary Indian restaurant August (1) Five is celebrating Mexican Independence Day with a chef collaboration series called Spice Knows No Borders. Chef Manish Tyagi is hosting chef Julio Aquilera from the modern El Destilado in Oaxaca (Julio was executive chef at La Urbana and has also worked at Saison and Waterbar, so he is no stranger to SF). The two chefs have collaborated on a five-course, family-style tasting menu. Highlights include BBQ Carrots with carrot mole, coconut crumble, housemade ginger-nut milk, pickled ginger; Chintextle TUNA tartar with chile pasilla Oaxaqueña, citrus; naan crisp; and Pulpo Negro with squid ink, tare, honey, habanero, kashmiri chile powder, and chile oil.

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Guests can also order dishes à la carte, and there will additionally be some collaborative dishes for weekend brunch.

Plan on Some Bar Hopping and Attending Cool Events During Oakland Cocktail Week

Oakland Cocktail Week
September 15–23
Various locations

Be sure to enjoy a Mai Tai during Oakland Cocktail Week!
Be sure to enjoy a Mai Tai during Oakland Cocktail Week! (Oakland Cocktail Week)

The first-ever Oakland Cocktail Week is happening September 15–23, with over 40 bars and restaurants in Oakland crafting $10 cocktails that tell the story of Oakland. You can visit some favorite places, and check out some spots you’re curious about as well, like Ramen Shop, Dyafa, Farmhouse Thai Kitchen, Cosecha, Grand Lake Kitchen, and many others.

There are also a number of special events, including a cocktail pairing dinner, a Tiki Mai Tai crawl, a workshop on crafting botanical cocktails with bitters and non-alcoholic spirits, a discussion on the mezcal production process, a cocktail competition, and more.

A portion of proceeds from all events will go towards ROC the Bay and their Restore Oakland community center in the heart of the Fruitvale District. The center will include a food business incubator, on-the job restaurant training, and a restaurant facility.

Party on the Patio! A Fried Chicken Feast at Starbelly

Starbelly
3583 16th St., San Francisco
Tuesday, September 18
Tickets: $45
Seatings at 6pm and 8pm

Salute the end of summer at Starbelly’s fried chicken patio party.
Salute the end of summer at Starbelly’s fried chicken patio party. (Sarah Chorey)

Calling all fried chicken lovers! Starbelly's popular patio picnic series is back for the summer on Tuesday, September 18, and it’s going to be a fried chicken feast. You’ll enjoy Rocky free-range fried chicken with some fabulous fixin’s, like jalapeño corn bread and honey butter, heirloom apple and celery root slaw, braised collard greens with housemade bacon, and for dessert, late summer fruit cobbler with buttermilk biscuit topping and whipped cream.

Since Starbelly recently secured a full liquor license, cocktails will be available from lead bartender Christopher Niles, including the Ward 9—a Boston-inspired riff on the classic Ward 8 cocktail—served punch-style for the picnic, and the Gentleman Caller, which is a Starbelly spin on a Manhattan with Sonoma Distilling Company bourbon, Suze and sweet vermouth. Cocktails are sold separately.

Enjoy the All-Day Menu (and Patio) at Noon All Day

Noon All Day
690 Indiana St., San Francisco
Mon–Fri 7am–5pm
Sat–Sun 8am–3pm

The outstanding seasonal rice bowl at Noon All Day.
The outstanding seasonal rice bowl at Noon All Day. (tablehopper.com)

Some of us like to have brunch for lunch, or maybe we’re a late-riser, or just an egg fanatic. At Dogpatch’s Noon All Day, this casual café from the nearby Piccino crew has a menu that’s built for any time of day or appetite. And if you’re craving eggs at 2pm, you can have them in their Proper Breakfast ($15), which comes with two poached eggs, their creamy butter beans, braised greens, toast, and your choice of pork belly or sliced avocado (served beautifully sliced and fanned out), with a spoonful of fermented chile. It’s not only affordable, but is such a homey and satisfying dish, whether you’re nursing a hangover or just craving something comforting. (Their chicken soup stracciatella, $9, with chicken broth whisked with egg, poached chicken, and nettles is a miracle worker for whatever may ail you.)

Over in the healthy camp is their seasonal rice bowl ($14), currently a melange of such beautiful spring peas, cucumber, summer squash, romano beans, mixed with a ginger-scallion sauce and topped with a poached egg (you can ramp up with pork belly or avocado for $3). It’s extra-delicious with a ginger-turmeric spritz.

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The menu offers a variety of small bites (don’t miss the cauliflower potato fritters), sandwiches (personally, I find the pocket sandwiches a little expensive for what you get), salads (the produce is beautiful), and there’s even soft-serve. Come by in the morning for all kinds of house-baked treasures, including their kimchi danish, and on sunny days, their outdoor patio is perfect for a glass of wine (or a housemade chai). Can’t make it out there? You’re in luck, they also deliver with Caviar (use that link for $10 off your first two orders).

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