Let's all take a moment and give thanks for the return of the Maxfield Parrish "Pied Piper of Hamelin" painting to the Palace Hotel (2 New Montgomery, www.sfpalace.com). Nothing like a good public outcry to stop a hotel group from doing something stupid like selling one of our city's icons. Ahem. The painting has returned from its restoration/spa retreat and is back up behind the storied hotel bar — it's reportedly even more vibrant and stunning than ever (no beer goggles needed). The hotel will be offering a few specials to commemorate the unveiling, too, like a dedicated cocktail and dinner menu. Cheers, Pied Piper!
A few newbies for your radar at the Ferry Building Marketplace: there's the nuevo Rancho Gordo shop, where you can score Steve Sando's amazing beans, plus tortillas made from heirloom corn (have you tried these yet?), chiles, and more. And if you're a fan of Sightglass Coffee, check out its new cart at the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. You can get beans, espresso, and pour-over coffee to help you fuel up before contending with all those shoppers. Look for Sightglass in the back plaza, next to Cowgirl Creamery.
And now it's time for a peek at all the Oakland openings, since the city is en fuego with new restaurants, and it's all just a BART ride away. 510 pals are already digging the Cali cuisine at the 48-seat Homestead (4029 Piedmont, Oakland. www.homesteadoakland.com), with seasonal dishes like baked ricotta, stone fruit — get it while you can! — coppa, and grilled bread, or chile-rubbed, slow-roasted pork with creamed corn and cherry tomatoes. Look for lots of housemade touches, a strong beer list, and architecture fans will be happy to know the restaurant is in a 1920s Julia Morgan building. Sweet.
Chef Donato Scotti (of Donato Enoteca in Redwood City) has opened Desco (499 9th St., Oakland. www.descooakland.com) in the former Borgo. It's a great space, with brick walls. The menu is full of handmade pastas (he knows what he's doing), and Neapolitan pizze and schiacciate, a traditional bread, cooked in a wood-fired oven. Plus there's a full liquor license, and outdoor seating — and both lunch and dinner are now being served. Buon appetito.
Craving some Filipino home cookin'? Visit Charleen Caabay's brand-new, brick-and-mortar restaurant, Kainbigan (2101 14th Ave., Oakland. www.kainbigan.com), for comfort dishes like chicken adobo, pancit, lumpia (of course), and Filipino breakfast — served all day!
BALLIN' ON A BUDGET
New York is going all cray-cray on Cronuts and ramen burgers, but there's actually a local spot that was rockin' the ramen burger first: Nombe (2491 Mission, SF. www.nombesf.com). There are two kinds: either miso-shiitake-blue cheese or soy-cheddar-bacon. The patty is sandwiched inside a ramen noodle bun, that's right a bun made of noodles. It's a meal at $10, and here's the bonus: Wednesdays are Red Red Wine Wednesdays, when all bottles are 50 percent off. Hit it with a thirsty friend.
Love oysters? Not going to Burning Man? Then you don't want to miss OysterFest at Waterbar (399 The Embarcadero, SF. www.waterbarsf.com) on Sun/1, with a variety of oysters on the half shell, small bites from EPIC Roasthouse, Farallon, and Waiheke Island Yacht Club, plus offerings from New Zealand, including beer and wine. The party runs from 12pm–3pm. Tickets are $60, nab 'em on the Waterbar website.