TABLEHOPPING A destination-worthy bakery, a butcher shop and restaurant rolled into one, and third-wave tea.
Anyone who has fallen in love with the bagels from Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal, or the cookies and breads from one of Marla Bakery's farmers market stands will be happy to know the duo behind all these goodies just opened a brick-and-mortar location in the Outer Richmond. But before you say, "Oh well, I live in Potrero Hill," there's a lot that will make you want to make the trek to Marla Bakery (3619 Balboa, SF. www.marlabakery.com), which is more than just a bakery. Owners Amy Brown and Joe Wolf have been hard at work getting the space together for some time: Wait until you see the custom wood-fired oven (the Marla 2000). And then there's the comfortable dining room, with 26 seats, lots of wood, and hey now, check out that intoxicating aroma of fresh-baked goods. There's also a patio out back, with a garden designed by Paxton Gate (look for the patio to get more dialed in coming weeks).
Marla will take good care of you during the morning, with coffee and bagels and quiche and pastries (don't attempt to do it all at once), and some sit-down breakfast fare, like baked eggs with reduced thyme cream, roasted leeks, sugar snap peas, and Gruyère. Lunch — think farro grain salad, a special version of a club sandwich, and a marinated mushroom sandwich, all made on Marla's own breads. Dinner starts as a Sunday supper on Sun/29. By Tue/1, regular service will be in full effect, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Bonus: Some well-chosen wines, beers, and vermouths are available, all to help encourage day drinking and hanging out. Anytime is a good time for Mexican coffee pot de crème, right?
Whether you're looking for a place to pick up a gorgeous steak to cook at home in your treasured cast-iron skillet, or you'd just like someone to bring a tartare to your table while you sit and look pretty, the new Belcampo Meat Company (1998 Polk, SF. www.belcampomeatco.com) has you covered. Russian Hill neighbors are especially stoked. Belcampo is a unique company: It raises its animals humanely and organically on a farm in Mount Shasta, and it has its own state-of-the-art slaughterhouse facility. The butcher shop (open daily 9am–8pm) looks classic, but the meats and cuts are varied, including pork, beef, poultry, and rabbits. The 34-seat restaurant serves dinner nightly 5:30pm–10pm, and chef Chris Gerwig (formerly of A16 and New York's Pulino's) has more than just meaty options for you. Don't just expect a menu of duck and chicken giblet skewers and fried guinea hen, although you can get those items too. It's a handsome space, with lots of wood and cobalt blue leather banquettes (made from their own steer hides).
Tea aficionados will want to beeline to the new Samovar location (411 Valencia, SF. www.samovartea.com). This branch of the small chain is unique — the soothing and monochromatic interior is modern and eye-catching, designed to highlight the tea-brewing process. Along the counter, you'll see a row of tea-brewing "crucible" machines (no teabags here!), which make the brewing totally visible and engaging. There are a few different teas you can choose from (including black, green, and herbal), and there are also big copper urns where you can get a few ladles of masala chai, creamy and spiced beautifully (a cup is $3–$5). Seasonal cold-brewed iced teas and matcha shots -- and shakes! -- will be available, as well as freshly baked scones, savory and sweet. It's laid out so people can swing by and easily get their tea to go, but there's a bench and ledge where you can linger if you want. (which means you get to enjoy drinking out of a custom ceramic tea cup designed in conjunction with Atelier Dion). Hours are 7am–7pm.
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