San francisco restaurants

New appetizers from Haus support closed restaurants in San Francisco

There’s a lot of effort right now to support restaurant workers who have closed due to the coronavirus shutdown. One caught my eye: a campaign by Haus, the Sonoma County appetizer producer, called Restaurant Project.

I’ve been interested in Haus since it launched a year ago with the kind of instant millennial appeal and venture capital buzz that rarely accompanies wine products. It’s the work of Healdsburg couple Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht, who before the Haus ran a wine label called Alysian that made very delicious vermouth. Haus is vermouth – that is, flavored and fortified wine – but the company prefers the term aperitif because, as Helena says, “it’s such a new world for American drinkers, and at what do we want to make it difficult for people?”

Think European flavored wines like Lillet, Carpano Bianco, and Dolin Blanc, and you’re kinda Haus. An important point of differentiation, however, is that Haus products tend to be considerably less sweet. It’s basically wine + neutral brandy + cane sugar + a mixture of roots and leaves and fruits and flowers – cocktail complexity with an ABV barely above table wine.

We’ll dive into the full story of Haus another time (I think his wild success can tell us a lot about how we drink today), but in this week’s newsletter I turn my attention to the Restaurant Project, a limited edition appetizer series they launched to raise money for temporarily closed restaurants. So far, Woody says, they’ve donated about $160,000 to the program’s 13 restaurants, which include hip and high-profile establishments like Momofuku in New York, JuneBaby in Seattle and Kismet in Los Angeles.

Three San Francisco restaurants are in the running: State Bird Provisions, Rich Table and Mister Jiu’s. Each restaurant’s appetizer incorporates ingredients that feature in the kitchens, often drawing inspiration from a specific dish – Mister Jiu’s version, for example, is meant to recall the restaurant’s roast duck, with ginger, lapsang tea and black cardamom added to standard Haus Chardonnay. based.

“We know how fragile the restaurant economy is,” says Helena. “They are not designed to withstand a months-long shutdown.” They just wanted to help. Woody worked with the chefs to devise recipes for a restaurant-branded appetizer, and then Haus gave the restaurants all the proceeds from the sales after covering his costs.

Already, State Bird Provisions has received nearly $10,000, says Chief Stuart Brioza. He didn’t go into the collaboration with the expectation that it would generate a lot of revenue – “I was more charmed by (Woody and Helena) and their willingness to work hard”, he says – but ” every dollar right now is a big dollar that’s being taken in. Like every restaurant in the country, “we’re just working towards breaking even.”

The project came to fruition quickly – from idea to launch it took two weeks, says Helena – and it will be completed quickly too. They will stop taking orders for Restaurant Project bottles on July 10. (Haus’ main line of appetizers, which comes in flavors like Bitter Clove, Rose Rosé and Citrus + Flower, will remain in production.)

Here are Haus’ Restaurant Project’s three San Francisco efforts. All are available for purchase online at; $80 for each two-pack.

what i drink

The flavors of roast duck at Mister Jiu inspired an aperitif collaboration with Haus.

John Lee / Special for The Chronicle

Haus x State Bird Provisions (18%): It’s the color of a Provençal rosé – a hue that might be called “onion skin” in some circles – and is meant to evoke State Bird’s homemade lemonade, as well as seasonal strawberry and lemonade desserts. rhubarb that pastry chef Nicole Krasinski would serve if the restaurant was open right now. The sweet aroma of Meyer lemon comes through strongly on the nose, and the additions of rhubarb, rose petals and strawberries put it firmly in the realm of tart, leafy and nearly underripe fruit. It tastes like summer in the same nostalgic, childhood-reminiscent way that a dinner at the State Bird does. Brioza recommends serving it over sparkling water with a small dollop of gin.

Table Haus x Rich (18%): The key note in this very light and fluffy appetizer is shiso leaf, an ingredient known to make appearances in the cocktails of Rich Table bar manager Larry Piaskowy. The delicate, minty, barely spicy taste of shiso is complemented by additions of chamomile, lemon zest and coriander. Textually, there’s a slightly syrupy viscosity here, which pairs well with a splash of sparkling water. The drink transports me to the bright dining room of Rich Table, where the late afternoon always seems to linger until dinnertime.

Haus x Mister Jiu’s (18%): It was chef Brandon Jew’s idea to bring together the flavors of the restaurant’s roast duck, Woody says, but he wanted to push the smoke. “I like going to hotel bars with fireplaces and drinking Laphroaig,” Woody says of the vibe he was looking for. There’s definitely a smoky (perhaps even peated?) element to the aromas here, and the lapsang tea ingredient comes through not only in flavor but also in texture, imparting a tannic bite. The ginger is here at its spiciest and fiercest form, its heat trailing through to the finish.

what i read

• In Wine Enthusiast, Cha McCoy details how Lisbon’s natural wine bars and boutiques have become community spaces for expats around the world.

• How can the wine industry begin to make itself more inclusive for people of color? In San Diego magazine, Nia Gordon has some ideas.

• Shakera T. Jones offers insight into how the beverage industry can foster alliance — which is not only the right thing to do, she says, but it’s also good for business.

• Omar Mamoon had the brilliant idea of ​​combining a martini, who loves salty and brackish toppings, with a gilda pintxo, a skewer of anchovies, olives and marinated peppers very popular in northern Spain. The result? The Gildatini.

• Piquette, a drink obtained by combining grape marc with water and then fermenting it, is on the rise with natural wine producers. Sydney Love explains the phenomenon, which can be translated as something “refreshing, low-alcohol (and) conscientious”, in Wine & Spirits.

• A French company is appealing a court ruling in the UK over its non-alcoholic sparkling wine product called ‘Nosecco’. Unsurprisingly, the makers of Italian sparkling wine Prosecco weren’t thrilled with the name.

• I absolutely loved this story in the National about Fawn Weaver, who fell down a historical rabbit hole after learning that Jack Daniel had learned to distill from a slave named Nearest Green. Weaver has since created a whiskey company in tribute to Green. (The story earned its author, Elizabeth Dunn, a nomination in the beverage writing category of this year’s Association of Food Journalists Awards; I’m also a finalist.)

Drinking with Esther is a weekly newsletter from The Chronicle’s wine critic. Follow us on twitter : @Esther_Mobley and Instagram: @esthermob