Chef Prem Tamang Relocating Nepali Restaurant to Bernal’s “South Asian Restaurant Row”

cuisineofNepal

A few weeks ago, Bernalwood received an adorable email from Prem Tamang, the chef and owner of the much-loved Little Nepal restaurant on Cortland:

I have been running Little Nepal restaurant since 2003. The time make me to move to mission and cortland 3486 B mission.

It will be Cuisine of Nepal. I can’t take name of little Nepal because I was leasing this business. When I moved to mission street with new name cuisine of Nepal I would love to put in Bernalwood post so that all bernal Nighbor will know that I moved.

Best regard, prem

“Of course!”we replied. Bernalwood will gladly share the news that Little Nepal is relocating to Mission Street, where Chef Prem will operate under a new name as Cuisine of Nepal.

Last week we received more detail on the move. Cuisine of Nepal will open at 3486 Mission, right across from the intersection with Cortland. The soft opening may happen as soon this Saturday, April 30 (fingers crossed), with the proper grand re-opening festivities scheduled for Saturday, May 14.

Chef Prem’s press release says:

Owner/Chef Prem Tamang announces the Grand Opening of his new restaurant, Cuisine of Nepal, located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street at Cortland Ave. The 30-seat restaurant reflects Nepal’s warm hospitality, where the cozy setting and market-fresh fare are as welcoming as a traditional Nepali home.

Chef Prem Tamang leads the kitchen with a menu that features local seasonal ingredients including neighborhood favorites such as Kukhurako Ledo (Chicken Cashew Curry), Saag Tarkari (Mustard Leaf Curry), and Poleko Khasi (Sizzling Lamb), as well as new specialties specific to Tamang’s home village in Nepal.

Since 2003, Chef Tamang has honed his skills as owner/chef at Little Nepal restaurant, a Bernal Heights gem where the San Francisco Chronicle has urged diners to “discover intriguing twists and variations on traditional South Asian dishes.” Tamang’s warmhearted approach and love of preparing fresh meals can be traced back to his nascent work as a high altitude cooking expert on Himalayan treks in his native country, where he prepared delicious meals at 14,000 feet above sea level for hardy mountain-climbers from around the world. […]

Open six days a week (closed Mondays), Cuisine of Nepal is located in the heart of Bernal Heights’ South Asian Restaurant Row at 3486-B Mission Street (at Cortland), San Francisco, CA 94110. The restaurant is open for Lunch Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm, and for Dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 4:30 – 10:30 pm. Major credit cards are accepted. Catering, Takeout, and Free Delivery are also available.

***OPENING DAY PARTY: The public is invited to join Chef Tamang & staff on Saturday, May 14th, from Noon – 8 pm, as Cuisine of Nepal offers a one-time only $5 Sampling Menu, with a choice of tasting one Appetizer and two Entrees from the day’s special menu plus Rice, Naan,and Lal Mohan dessert. A $2 glass of Wine or Beer will also be available to those 21 and over.***

Did you catch that bit about the Bernal Heights “South Asian Restaurant Row”?

It’s true! The corner of Mission and Cortland will now be home to restaurants representing India (Zante’s and Spicy Bite), Cambodia (Ankor Borei), and Nepal (Cuisine of Nepal). This is great news, because, our South Asian Restaurant Row is a terrific compliment to our NanoTokyo District, clustered just up the street around Mission and 29th Street.

So let us now join together to say: YUM!

Best wishes with the move, Chef Prem, and so glad you’re still a part of our community.

PHOTO: Work-in-progress facade of Cuisine of Nepal, as seen on April 23, 2016. Photo by Telstar Logistics

Tonight! Celebrate a New Ale at the Old Bus Tavern

oldbusbeer2

Your neighbors at the glamorous Old Bus Tavern at 3193 Mission Street (near Valencia) are having a special 4/20 beer event tonight, and they invite you to drop by the brewpub tonight for a taste. There’s even a free Beer Bus to cart you to other beer hotspots nearby.

Neighbor Bennett from Old Bus says:

I wanted to pass along a heads up that Old Bus is hosting Meet the Brewers night on April 20. Here are the details:

Wednesday, April 20th, 6-9pm: Meet the Brewers
We’re hosting Meet the Brewers night on Wednesday, April 20th. We’re going to be pouring our Rye-noplasty Pale Ale through a Randall loaded with Amarillo hops for maximum dankness, as well as debuting our new English-style Mild ale called Into the Mild. Oh, and free apps from 6-7pm!

Also, click here for more information on the free Drink SF Beer Shuttle that will be running from Old Bus Tavern to neighboring breweries.

PHOTO: The new English-style Mild ale at Old Bus Tavern

Isabel Caudillo’s El Buen Comer Restaurant Opening Soon on Mission

caudillo2

A few months back, we told you about the crowdfunding campaign to support El Buen Comer, a new restaurant that will open at 3435 Mission Street (at Kingston) in Bernal Heights.

Well, the grand opening will (finally) happen soon, and San Francisco Chronicle reporter Jonathan Kauffman is so excited he wrote a big profile about Isabel Caudillo, the founder of El Buen Comer. Kauffman writes:

Isabel Caudillo’s first restaurant, El Buen Comer, opens in Bernal Heights next month with 45 seats, gorgeous terra-cotta bowls imported from Mexico, a beer and wine license, and waiters. But her true first restaurant opened in 2001. It was called her living room. […]

It has taken far longer than anyone thought for the restaurant to be ready. The delays have given Caudillo time to apply for loans from the Mission Economic Development Agency, launch a Kickstarter campaign — one donor contributed $15,000, which still floors her — and, most importantly, to feel ready. Her sisters call from Mexico, offering encouragement. Craig and Annie Stoll of Delfina continue to mentor her. So do colleagues in La Cocina who have already opened restaurants of their own.

Much like Caudillo’s living-room restaurant, El Buen Comer’s short dinner menu will center around comida corrida: four daily guisados with soup, beans, rice and tortillas, served family-style. Caudillo is cooking the food she grew up with, the food she knows in her bones, but the zeitgeist has inadvertently joined up with her: More non-Mexicans are searching out guisados, mostly in the form of tacos de guisado, tortillas topped with a few spoonfuls of stew.

Get to know Isabel Caudillo by reading Jonathan Kauffman’s complete profile of her, and start counting the days until El Buen Comer opens. Guisados! Guisados!

PHOTO: Isabel Caudillo by Gabrielle Lurie for The San Francisco Chronicle

A Barroom History of the Odd Mural in The Lucky Horseshoe

luckyhorseshowsign2

Last week, the humble but delightful Lucky Horseshoe bar on Cortland celebrated its fifth anniversary. Hooray! That’s a big deal, because it means that The Lucky Horseshoe can now lay claim to its proud own era at 453 Cortland, a barroom space that has been home to several previous eras of Bernal dive-bar legend.

For decades after World War II, 453 Cortland was known as The Cherokee. (More about that in a moment.) Then the space became Skip’s Tavern, a bar nearby neighbors remember for being rough around the edges and loud at night. Yet Skip’s was also home to some rather incredible blues music and a vibrant culture of its own.

Since then, Lucky Horseshoe has established its own funky vibe, and it retains a commitment to music. It’s friendly and well-maintained, but it’s still the kind of dive a neighborhood can be proud of.  CONGRATS Team Lucky Horseshoe!

Through all this, presiding over all these eras of boozy history at 453 Cortland, is the big, weird mural painted above the front door. It’s a faded, vintage scene of cowboys, Indians, and rolling Western landscapes, and it’s obviously been there for a long time:

Lucky-Horseshoe-interior-slide-3 copy

What’s the backstory on the mural?

Lucky for all of us, Neighbor Vicky Walker from the Bernal Heights History Project is on the case. Neighbor Vicky tells Bernalwood:

Here’s what we know about the mural inside 453 Cortland!

The mural was painted by Harold Vick (1915-?). Here he is as a young man:

Harold-Vick-grew-up-218-Cortland slide 1 copy

Vick-illustrations-slide-2 copy
Later, Harold Vick worked at the Sommer and Kaufmann shoe store on Market Street as a card writer, sometimes listed as an artist. (LOOK at that store. Amazing!)

Harold got married in 1940 and moved to 19 Roscoe in South Bernal. His brother, Melvin, took over The Cherokee and ran it with his wife, Barbara, from 1943 to 1946.

The Cherokee in 1973, from the Max Kirkeberg Collection

The Cherokee in 1973, from the Max Kirkeberg Collection

Harold probably served in World War II. There’s another Harold Vick listed as a survivor of the Bataan Death March, but I haven’t been able to confirm that it’s him yet. In any case, Harold Vick is absent from the city directories from 1942 onward, although his wife, Patricia (Patti/Patsy) is still listed at 19 Roscoe in 1946. And Harold Vick never appears in S.F. directories again.

All that means we can probably assume that Harold Vick painted the Cherokee mural right around the time it was first owned by Melvin Vick.

Lucky-Horseshoe-interior-slide-4 copy

The story is told that the Harold Vick painted for beer money. The drunker he got, the odder the mural in the Cherokee became:

Lucky-Horseshoe-interior-slide-5 copy

The mural in the Cherokee wasn’t Harold Vick’s only barroom masterpiece.  We know he also painted “After Cassino” which hung at 309 Cortland in Duval’s Studio Club.

Duval's-Studio-Club-slide-10 copy

Duval’s Studio Club became Charlie’s, which was a dive bar. That became the Stray Bar, which is now Holy Water.

The mural there was from 1944. My pal Jenner Davis is a former bartender at Charlie’s, and the daughter of Anita Davis, who was Regi Harvey’s partner, who sang all the time at Skip’s. She says: “The scene depicted in ‘After Cassino’ was taken from an original sketch Harold Vick found, singed and burned, in a field as he was crossing it with his platoon during World War II.  Nearby were the remains of the artist who created the sketch, and his unsuspecting female subject, who had blown them both to bits when her plow hit a land mine.”

Here’s a detail from Harold Vick’s ‘After Cassino’:

Charlie's-Club-After-Cassino-slide-12 copy

We’re told that After Cassino’ now lives in the private dining room at Avedano’s.

IMAGE: Hanging the new sign at the Lucky Horseshoe in 2011

Saturday: Feast on the Chicken Parm of the Bernal Ancestors at St. Anthony’s School

stanthonys

St. Anthony’s Church at the corner of Precita and Folsom in North Bernal was founded in the late 19th century by members of what was, at the time, a thriving community of Italian-Americans living in and around Bernal Heights. Today, St. Anthony’s is a focal point for a robust community of Latino-Americans living in and around Bernal Heights, but even today, some older traditions still live on — in form of a deep  and enduring fondness for chicken parmigiana.

Neighbor Nancy invites you to get in on some of that action on Saturday night:

St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception School, at Precita Ave. and Folsom St., has served the Bernal Heights/Mission community since 1894. The K-8 school is affiliated with the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, whose mission is to provide a high quality, value-based education to all children, regardless of income.

The public is invited to the school’s Give ‘Em a Hand dinner on Saturday, Feb. 27, 6-9 pm in the auditorium at 299 Precita. Tickets are $50 at the door, and the event includes a chicken parmesan and unlimited pasta dinner with wine or beer, plus silent/live auctions, raffle prizes and lots of music and dancing. The annual dinner is a welcoming, festive evening for families of the school community and neighborhood.

Proceeds will benefit the school’s technology, art and music programs, as well as tuition assistance for impoverished children. For more information visit us here.

SAIC-GiveHandDinner

PHOTO: Courtesy of St. Anthony-Immaculate Conception School

People Are Talking About 3rd Cousin Restaurant on Cortland

3rdCOusinfacade

Recently, during a stroll on Cortland Avenue, your Bernalwood editor ran into Neighbor David. It was a sunny day, and Neighbor David was in grand spirits, because, he said, he was still high from the amazing dinner he’d had the night before at 3rd Cousin.

As you may recall, 3rd Cousin is the new restaurant at 919 Cortland, that used to be a popup called Kinfolk. 3rd Cousin is owned and run by Chef Greg Lutes, and as with every culinary entrepreneur, his effort to open 3rd Cousin in a permanent location has been an arduous labor of love and obsession. 919 Cortland used to be home to the somewhat less stylish Pizza Express, but now Chef Greg has transformed it into a casual venue for his elegant food with Michelin star aspirations. Crazy, right?

Anyway, when I bumped into him, Neighbor David gushed about the food at 3rd Cousin, which he described as being thoughtful and well-prepared but not too fussy. He said the prices at 3d Cousin are a on the higher side, but the quality of experience made it a worthy indulgence every once in a while.  And he said the desserts were mind-blowing.

3rdCousinmenu

Hmmmmmmm! I thought.

Then, just a few days later, San Francisco Magazine published an article about “Four Restaurants We’re Crazy For.” 3rd Cousin was at the top of the list:

3rd Cousin
Bernal Heights
At the brick-and-mortar incarnation of his erstwhile Kinfolk pop-up, Greg Lutes serves cozy seasonal fare in an austere charcoal-gray dining room. A robust salad of baby mustard greens comes garnished with persimmon, garrotxa cheese, and dehydrated batons of purple yam, while grilled swordfish is rendered addictive by a shower of dukka, an Egyptian spice blend. Lutes’s strengths are best showcased in his savory uni crème brûlée: The caviar-topped number proves that you can teach an old dessert new, and impressive, tricks.

Frankly, I only understood about half of that.

But the point is, when both the critics and an actual man-on-the-street are talking about 3rd Cousin, that’s a strong indication something special is going on there. I’m looking forward to trying it out.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Bernal’s Coco Ramen Leads List of “15 Best Ramen Spots in the Bay Area”

cocoramen

This is a tasty surprise: Coco’s Ramen, the cozy new ramen joint on Mission near 30th Street in Bernal’s NanoTokyo District, made the cut for SFist’s roundup of the 15 Best Ramen Spots in the Bay Area.

They say:

Coco’s Ramen
To get to Coco’s on the Mission strip in Bernal Heights, a spot indicated loosely with a paper sign for “Ramen,” duck inside the more clearly designated Crazy Sushi and hang a left. The two are separate but symbiotically related businesses. In a warm red room, made warmer with a little sake and some steaming broth, snag one of a few tables or a seat at the bar and ask for your old friend tonkotsu [sic] — though the shoyu and curry based options are reason to stray.

Cheaty Bonus Glory: SFist’s list is alphabetically sorted, so Coco’s Ramen appears in the lead position. Yesssssss!

Sounds like Coco’s is finding its groove. Since Bernalwood’s original Coco Ramen taste-test, the restaurant now enjoys four stars and even more gushing reviews on the Yelp.

PHOTO: Tonkatsu ramen from Coco’s Ramen, by Kaitlyn D. on Yelp