Big chef change news: chef Ron Siegel is now the executive chef of Michael Mina (252 California Street, 415-397-9222) after eight years at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. I talked with Michael Mina, who is tremendously excited to be working with Siegel again — Mina first hired Siegel in 1991 as a line cook at Aqua. Yeah, that’s some history. Siegel is one of the City’s most talented chefs, with a background including Masa’s, Charles Nob Hill (where he was named a best new chef by Food & Wine magazine), and, of course, being the first-ever American chef to win the Japanese Iron Chef competition.
Siegel and Mina have always maintained a good friendship, and when Mina’s most recent chef de cuisine, Michael Davis, wanted to leave and head back East, Mina contacted Siegel. Siegel was excited, saying it would be his dream job, and he’d love to return to where he started.
The two chefs are already writing menus together; Mina said, “It’s so easy — and fun! It’s great because we already know each other so well. We have a great history of collaboration.” Guests should expect new and exciting creations developed by both chefs independently, as well as those they will create together. Both share a strong affinity for Japanese cuisine; stylistically they are quite simpatico.
“It will be nice for the staff to have Ron on board,” Mina said. “He builds a great family in his restaurants. I told him, ‘Expectations are high, brother!’ But this is exactly the kind of stage he needs to be on.”
I know I am not alone in my excitement to see what these two powerhouses put to-gether in that beautiful restaurant. Buckle up.
Bakery updates: Yigit Pura of Top Chef: Just Desserts has been busy opening Tout Sweet Pâtisserie in Macy’s Union Square (3rd floor, 415-824-8688), featuring a variety of sweet and savory treats. In the mornings, find freshly made breakfast pastries, yogurt parfaits and sandwiches; at lunch, soups, salads, quiche, and sandwiches (Pura’s B3 sandwich with bread, butter and burrata sounds particularly insane). In the fabulous Italian custom-made pastry cases are macaroons, petite gâteaux (small cakes), and layered parfaits called verrines, as well as celebration cakes to take away. The store fills 1,500 square feet with a design Pura says was inspired by his “inner child,” hence the bright raspberry color palette. He sought to balance the design with Parisian decadence and California innovation and modernity, which includes extensive shelving for the retail items. Seating for up to 20. Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.–7 p.m.
The 98-year-old Victoria Pastry Co. (formerly at 1362 Stockton Street) has completed their move to the heart of North Beach across from Washington Square Park (700 Filbert Street, 415-781-2015).
Hours for now are Sunday–Thursday 7 a.m.–7 p.m. and Friday–Saturday 7 a.m.–8 p.m. (or 9 p.m.—time will tell).
A new bakery is coming to the Marina: Le Marais Bakery (2066 Chestnut Street). Patrick Ascaso and his wife Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso will open their artisanal, organic bakery in late fall inspired by the boulangeries Patrick loved while growing up in Paris. It will have locally sourced ingredients — think breads, pastries, scones, quiches, sandwiches, and pissaladière (an onion and anchovy tart similar to a pizza). They are currently in demolition and have discovered many of the building’s original features, like a great skylight.
Burgers: Now open in Pacific Heights is the second location of Roam Artisan Burgers (1923 Fillmore Street, 415-800-7801). The new spot features the same well-sourced burgers, delicious house-made sodas, and rockin’ Straus Creamery milk shakes available at the Union Street location. In the burger department, look for the addition of ostrich meat. The birds are sourced from O.K. Corral Ostrich Farm and join a lineup of patty options: grass-fed beef, free-range turkey, all-natural bison, and house-made veggie. There are also beer and vino on tap, including the spicy Allagash White, a dry Rosé of Grenache from Boat Dock, and a variety of red wines. Daily 11:30 a.m.–10 p.m.
And for your brunch radar: both Dixie (One Letterman Drive, 415-829-3363) in the Presidio and Original Joe’s (601 Union Street, 415-775-4877) in North Beach have launched weekend brunch. Have fun out there.