Phan fandom: Slanted Door chef Charles Phan has been particularly busy the past few months. His cookbook, "Vietnamese Home Cooking" (Ten Speed Press, $35, 256 pages), is a finalist for two prestigious International Association of Culinary Professionals awards, and he just opened the New Orleans-inspired South at SF Jazz cafe at the new SF Jazz headquarters (mmm, muffuletta, gumbo and ... crispy alligator?). Now Hard Water, Phan's new NOLA-influenced bar and bistro on San Francisco's Pier 3, is set to open next week with the promise of "food, drinks, brown spirits" -- with a whiskey bar and cocktails designed by Slanted Door bar manager Erik Adkins.

Charles Phan’s latest ventures include South at SF Jazz and the about-open Hard Water on San Francisco’s Pier 3.
Charles Phan's latest ventures include South at SF Jazz and the about-open Hard Water on San Francisco's Pier 3. (Keith Seaman)

Sourdough in Silicon Valley: Gold Rush-era sourdough titan Boudin is expanding its Silicon Valley presence with a new Boudin SF cafe and bakery opening March 21 in Cupertino. The eatery is rolling out a more streamlined version of its lunch and dinner takeout service -- kind of a web-to-go 2.0 -- and offering free bread for a year to the first 100 sourdough lovers to line up on opening day. Well, the first 99. The first spot in line is reserved for West Valley Community Services. The new place will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, until 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and until 8 p.m. Sundays at 20682 Stevens Creek Blvd. Details: www.boudinbakery.com and www.boudinwebtogo.com.

A modern steakhouse takes shape: The closing of Bonny Doon's Le Cigare Volante at the end of last year took plenty of people by surprise, but chef Ryan Shelton, whose resume includes stints at the Michelin-starred Chez TJ (one star) and Baume (two), has landed very nicely. He's set to open the new Palo Alto Grill, a modern steakhouse, with restaurateurs Luka Dvornik and Bruce Schmidt in a matter of weeks. This is comfortable turf for Dvornik and Schmidt, whose now-shuttered Lavanda Croatian was just up the street. The Palo Alto Grill will be opening at 140 University Ave.; keep tabs on the progress at www.paloaltogrill.com.

Send your South Bay and Peninsula restaurant tips to Linda Zavoral, lzavoral@mercurynews.com.