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Openings: A Taste of Mexico in Los Altos

Photo courtesy of Aubrie Pick.

El Alto

170 State Street, Los Altos |  elaltolosaltos.com

Traci Des Jardins’ much-anticipated restaurant, the newest addition to the State Street Market food complex that opened last summer, debuted in late March. A 2019 New York Times article, published around the time the French-trained chef shuttered fine-dining San Francisco establishment Jardinière, noted that she was planning to focus more on Mexican cuisine (her mother’s family is from the Mexican state of Sonora). El Alto’s California-Mexican fare appears to represent this pivot. At Des Jardins’ maiden Peninsula venture — where Robert Hurtado is the chef de cuisine — the menu offers sharable items such as queso fundido and Impossible albondigas; several salads and aguachile with scallops as starters; and main dishes ranging from a trio of tacos to a confit duck leg accompanied by an apricot mole. And since we’re big fans of Burlingame-based It’s-It, the ice-cream sandwich on El Alto’s dessert list, made with horchata ice cream and bananas, immediately caught our attention. The restaurant includes a bar, lounge and chef’s table, housed in a contemporary space designed by San Francisco architecture firm Gensler. (A speakeasy, situated below El Alto, is coming soon.)

Anthem Bed & Bath

3252 Sacramento Street, San Francisco |  antheminteriors.com

No, you’re not imagining things: Anthem Bed & Bath is back on Sacramento Street. “During the height of COVID, we decided to scale back when our lease was up,” explains Janelle Loevner, who along with her husband, Kirk, founded Anthem Home in 2008 (they now have locations in the City, Burlingame, Menlo Park and Healdsburg, with another forthcoming in Marin). But, she continues, “we realized how much we missed the customers and the beautiful linens made by our favorite vendors.” So the couple converted 2,000 square feet that housed their office as well as Wisteria Decorative Prints into a bed-and-bath-centric emporium that just bowed next door to the original Anthem Home. (Wisteria moved across the street last summer.) In addition to housewares, like bedding from Fino Lino and SDH, the new shop carries apparel such as Danish fleece layering pieces from Henriette Steffensen and a collection of silk-cotton pajamas made exclusively for the retailer (“The fabric makes for the best sleeping,” says Loevner). The proprietor further enthuses: “Anthem has a certain design aesthetic that works with a lot of homes and tends to be the place to find that certain something you had been looking for or didn’t even know you needed!”

Off the Grid

2 Marina Boulevard, San Francisco |  offthegrid.com

Starting this month, San Franciscans can once again get their food truck fix at OTG: Fort Mason Center. Billed as the “largest recurring nighttime street food festival in California,” the market returns after a two-year hiatus. Its 12th season runs through November 11, with more than two dozen food trucks along with a full bar and live entertainment, every Friday, 5 to 10 p.m. It will feature only food trucks — no tented pop-up vendors as in previous years — and the plan is to cast a broader geographical net to include those based beyond the Bay Area. According to OTG founder and CEO Matt Cohen, favorites like Señor Sisig, Capello’s Barbecue and Southern Comfort Kitchen will return, potentially joined by purveyors of Latin fusion, Nashville-style fried chicken, vegan soul food and dumplings. “We’re curating a selection of food trucks for monthly theme nights,” says Cohen. “Whatever night you come, what’s sure to be true is we want to create a selection of food options that will be truly exceptional for every taste and preference.”

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