What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
June 23, 2015

A hefty French 75 (made with sparkling rosé) and the Diablo, both on Beretta’s brunch menu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy Pride, SF! I look forward to kicking things off tonight with a performance by local treasure Veronica Klaus at the Oasis, who will be singing the Peggy Lee songbook, backed by the talented Tammy Hall Trio (there are shows at 7pm and 9pm, in case you’re in the mood for some fantastic entertainment).

The city will be exploding with parties, marches, shows, and more this week. We have a few fun Pride-related items outlined in today’s socialite, but be sure to check out the 48 Hills Ultimate Pride Guide for mucho más! With all this rainbow powah partay action going on this week, yours truly is taking Friday off, so we’ll see you next Tuesday.

Since we’re talking rainbows, we may was well talk kittens too! I am about to head off to go pet some kitties at a media preview at the about-to-open KitTea (trust, I was not turning that invite down!), so let’s just wrap this up right, meow!

Have a faaaaaaaabulous week, everyone!
Marcia Gagliardi

June 19, 2015

A beautiful start to a meal at Lord Stanley: onion petals and sherry vinegar, olives, and a Negroni Sbagliato. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello dearies. Happy Friday to you. I have DJ Koze’s brand-new DJ Kicks album on, feeling some weekend vibes. My sense of freedom started a day early: I was called into jury duty on Thursday morning, and fortunately the stars aligned and I was excused in the afternoon, just in time to go enjoy a honking D. Rubin sandwich (well, half of one) from Deli Board. Silver linings. It was also pretty funny to run into three people I know there. (Hey, misery loves company.) And I love our small city.

This weekend, we have the newly refurbished northern section of Dolores Park to enjoy. (All that fresh grass! Bathrooms! New tennis courts! Benches!) Tonight, our City Hall turns 100. Sunday is the solstice, and also is Father’s Day, although our recap of where to go includes a Saturday pig roast as well!

I know, Sunday is all about dads, and I can’t wait to celebrate mine, but today’s issue includes a little weekend hot sheet I put together, featuring some news and stories all about women, from kickass things they are making, to different ways you can support them, to projects in their honor. And you don’t think I was going to let you miss the first National Kouign Amann Day, did you? Anything to give you a reason to indulge, I’m here for you.

Enjoy your weekend. Charleston, you are on our mind and in our hearts.
Marcia Gagliardi

June 16, 2015

You can have quite the indoor picnic at Les Clos. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy friends. I’m relieved this column even went out today: yours truly is in jury duty purgatory this week. I was concerned I’d be waiting for my name to be called while watching the clock crawl in a jury assembly room instead of cranking on this column with associate editor Dana Eastland. Miracle of miracles, I wasn’t called these first two days—thank goddess—but let’s see what shakes out for Friday. Maybe I’ll see you, maybe I won’t. I’m really hoping I will.

Last Friday’s tablehopper and Patz & Hall Taste of Terroir event was a blast. There is nothing like warm gougères just out of the oven paired with a flute of their sparkling brut, let me tell you. We will be reposting pics on the tablehopper Facebook page very soon (and on Patz & Hall’s Facebook page, obviously!). Cheers and thanks to everyone who attended!

Sunday’s opening day for the 78th season of the Stern Grove Festival totally rocked—our picnic game was strong, the Doobie Brothers brought me back to my childhood, and it also helps to have amazing friends who stake out a grassy spot at 7:30am. Be sure to plan at least one day out there with friends this summer, it’s such a fun SF tradition.

Another SF tradition used to be catching a show at Cafe du Nord. And good news: Du Nord is reopening this Wednesday, but we’ll be reporting all the details in our Friday issue (well, hopefully!)—I wanted to be sure we had some pretty pics to show you of the revamped space.

Last week we lost one of our local culinary characters, GraceAnn Walden. I have some updated details: Rene Prado, a close friend of hers, shares that her funeral ceremony will be this Saturday June 20th at 11am at Ascension Episcopal Church (2420 Tuolumne St., Vallejo). He also had this update to share from the Coroner’s Office of Contra Costa that “she was the victim of a heart attack due to complications of her declining health (falling and hitting her head was of no consequence).” I have a feeling there will be many martinis consumed this Saturday in her honor. Big ones.

Raising a glass,
Marcia Gagliardi

June 12, 2015

Compressed melon salad at Precita Park Café, one of the courses I enjoyed during a burrata-making class there. For the next one, click here. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

TGIF, right? I’m already counting down the hours to having a glass of Patz & Hall’s North Coast sparkling wine in my hands this evening, followed by a gougère from Peter Temkin, at the sold-out (yay!) tablehopper wine tasting tonight. Look forward to seeing you there!

What’s on your docket for the weekend? There’s the new Soul Delicious brunch on Saturday, and you should know that Lord Stanley has opened for dinner (read our preview piece here). Sunday is the CUESA Summer Celebration (tablehopper readers get 15 percent off tickets, and it’s quite the extravaganza of food from 40 restaurants, plus wine and cocktails).

I’m also looking forward to the opening of the Stern Grove season on Sunday afternoon—me and my amigos have a date with a picnic blanket and the Doobie Brothers. Oh yeahhhh.

Speaking of picnics, I had such a stellar picnic for one at the Bar Tartine counter on Tuesday night (and just down the bar, Hugh Acheson, in town for his new book tour for The Broad Fork, was enjoying a similar smashing meal). I felt so good after my dinner, I wish I ate like that all the time.

Well, not alllll the time, because then I wouldn’t get to eat at exciting places like Californios, the subject of today’s review. Heather Irwin also writes in with some 707 scout updates for you.

Have a smashing weekend (my current soundtrack: Eli Escobar, Up All Night). Good luck to the Warriors on Sunday. And I can’t wait to watch Orange Is the New Black at some point, so glad it’s back!


Marcia Gagliardi

June 9, 2015

Darren Crawford of The Devil’s Acre busy pouring Old Pals at the tablehopper North Beach crawl for Negroni Week. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, my fellow lovers of balmy weather (and those who love to hate it and live in San Francisco for a reason). I’m already plotting my evening bike ride to an aperitivo with glee.

Last week was a total blast, thank you to everyone who attended the sold-out tablehopper tour of North Beach for Negroni Week! What a fun group. You can check out the photo album of our tablehopping night here.

Next up: this Friday evening is the tablehopper wine tasting event with Patz and Hall, who make fantastic single-vineyard chardonnays and pinot noirs. We’ll be kicking off our Friday night with some of their sparkling wine as well (with gougères!), and I can’t wait to taste charcutier Peter Temkin’s salumi he custom made (using their pinots!). We have just nine tickets left, join us!

And if you can’t make it on Friday, here’s a piece I wrote for the Patz and Hall blog about five of my favorite things to eat and drink in Sonoma (which includes a visit to their Sonoma House tasting room, of course).

So the international food community is mourning the death of the great Roger Vergé, while our local food community is rippling with the shocking and tragic news that writer GraceAnn Walden has unexpectedly passed away (some posts on her Facebook page say the poor thing fell and hit her head, so awful). All of us in the food gossip game owe this OG a lot—she started the Inside Scoop column in 1991 and owned and ran that beat like a boss. When I started the tablehopper column in 2006, she was very supportive (although I know it was primarily motivated by the fact that I’d be providing some competition to the Chronicle, which had let her go the year before).

This Newark-born broad was brash, funny, opinionated, sharp (both senses), and no one could burn a bridge like her—she was a master of flaming emails (yes, I received a few too) and scathing comments, public and private. But in time she would usually drop her grudge against you and soon be nice, hoping you’d forget the previous bucket of bile she had poured on you. (I now wish I had shaken off the most recent one she lobbed my way sooner.)

As I said to a writer pal, she was a bulldog with a kitten heart. Anyone who read her Yummy Report knows what a lover of animals she was (it’s so sad, her two pooches, Tinkerbell and Bruno Mars, are at The Marin Humane Society in Novato—here’s hoping someone can adopt the two of them). She was a great ally and very supportive of good people trying to make it in the restaurant world. She loved San Francisco so much and showed off its many culinary charms in her food tours. She had stories for days. GraceAnn, you left us way too soon—you still had so many more axes to grind. Condolences to her many friends and family and everyone you knew this spitfire of a lady. The world is much less feisty without her. RIP, GAW.

With a big tip of the cap,
Marcia Gagliardi

June 2, 2015

Housemade fettucelle with veal bolognese and pecorino at Rose Pistola. Yay, carbs! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

So, do you have a Negroni in your hand right now? Or maybe a Negroni marshmallow? A Doughgroni from Mr. Holmes? It is Negroni Week, after all. This Thursday is gonna be all about Negroni ice cream at Humphry Slocombe…and for those of you on the tablehopper Negroni Week North Beach tour, you’ll have a variety of Negronis in your hands. Looking forward to seeing you, have fun out there.

My weekend was definitely not lacking in fun. It started with checking out the updated menu (and cocktails) by chef Steve Walker at Rose Pistola (associate editor Dana Eastland and I were celebrating three years of toiling, excuse me, working together on this column), and then early Saturday morning I hopped on the party shuttle to the sold-out BottleRock, which was definitely the way to travel (I found a last-minute bus ticket on Craigslist, woohoo).

The day was full of sun (yes!), laughs with friends, plenty of cocktails and Cali wine (not cheap, but at least it was good stuff!), Neapolitan pizza from Ca’Momi, and the highlight was seeing Robert freakin’ Plant, who showed us all how to rock it at 66. I can’t believe how many Led Zep tracks he performed (check out the set list)—it was definitely a lifetime highlight for this music lover to see rock ‘n’ roll royalty perform. If you want to jump on tickets for 2016, a limited number of tickets are on sale now—BottleRock 2016 will be on Memorial Day weekend (May 27th-29th).

Sunday I had to wake up early again (this time to get the other kind of lead out) since my dad was picking me up early to hit the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival. The event for us is usually about the Alfa Romeos, although I have to say the picnic spread my dad packs is my other favorite part of the day: he makes bonkers-good sandwiches (we used to own a delicatessen, go figure), brought fresh fava beans from the family garden to snack on with a chunk of goat cheese, a couple of beers, fruit (always), and the clincher is the chilled espresso (made with beans from his friend’s company, Caffè Bona). I can confidently say we had the best lunch at the races (and I had the cutest date).

Just a quick reminder that this Friday is Summertini, an event that benefits CHEFS, the outstanding local program that fights poverty and homelessness through job training and placement in the food industry. There’s also a live auction (check out these prizes!) and a silent auction too—be prepared to be inspired to bid! I really hope you’ll join me at the elegant Bently Reserve—you’ll find some fantastic food and cocktails too. Don’t forget: tablehopper readers can get $15 off general admission tickets with code “tablehopper” at checkout.

Oh, and one more thing, in case you missed it: yesterday, the World’s 50 Best Restaurants released their list of global (well, kind of) winners (you can check it out here). Take it with many grains of Maldon salt (you can read more on why in this NY Times piece). Because really now, any list that doesn’t include Benu or Atelier Crenn in their top 100 is suspect in my book.

Enjoy our blue skies (while they last). June gloom, unfortunately, is a thing.
Marcia Gagliardi

May 29, 2015

At Californios, chef Val Cantu’s “Yerba Buena Fruit Cup.” Photo: © tablehopper.com.

And boom, it’s Friday. That was fast. You know what also was fast? How quickly the tickets went for the tablehopper Negroni crawl in North Beach. Wow. Look forward to seeing y’all next week.

If you missed your chance for a ticket, we can still hang out in a couple of weeks, on Friday June 12th, when we will be exploring the terroir of single vineyards in Sonoma through this special tasting of five chardonnays and pinots with Patz & Hall. There will also be Sonoma cheeses and custom-made charcuterie for the event, because those things rock.

More rock: tomorrow is my one-day party at BottleRock, I look forward to getting the eff out of this gray. June gloom, it sure came to the party early. If you need a little cheering up on Sunday, you should swing by Huxley for brunch and eat some damned toast and drink bubbles, the subject of today’s review. We also have some 707 scout updates for you, which should give you even more ideas about escaping the mist.

Wherever you end up, I hope you enjoy the weekend.
Marcia Gagliardi

May 27, 2015

Tim Stookey putting the finishing touches on a Negroni at Stookey’s Club Moderne. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Wait, what? Why is tablehopper in your inbox on a Wednesday? Because we wanted to enjoy our Memorial Day off too. So here we are, a day later than usual. Hi!

I took full advantage of the long weekend, which included pinsas and Italian vino at Montesacro, two barbecues, Sunday brunch at Huxley (there was toast, oh you know it), dinner at grandma’s (I brought her first pupusas, they were a hit), catching the film Iris, and Monday night burgers at Burger. The weekend was downright delicious, for many reasons.

This coming weekend—which will be here before I know it—is going to rock: I’m hitting up BottleRock on Saturday (there are still one-day tickets available; I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Robert Plant—Led Zep forever!), and am going to the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival on Sunday with my pop (it’s our annual ritual). Vroom.

Today’s column has a feature on Negroni Week, which kicks off June 1st, and yours truly is hosting a tablehopper Negroni crawl in North Beach next Thursday June 4th. Tickets are a fantastically inexpensive $25 and include three Negronis and dinner too! I know! I’m making you an offer you can’t refuse. Hop to it.

Marcia Gagliardi

May 19, 2015

The lightly cured salmon tartine (with horseradish cream) at West Coast Wine. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Did you have a nice weekend? I happily dodged the Bay to Breakers mayhem that was taking over my neighborhood on Sunday and went way over the hill and across town for brunch at West Coast Wine on Union (bubbles and toast, it’s a good thing), and then our lady day continued with Far from the Madding Crowd at the Kabuki, where me and my friend and every other woman and gay man in the room was utterly slack-jawed looking at the far-too-handsome specimen that is actor Matthias Schoenaerts. Dear lord, why did they have to build him like that? Oof.

Sunday night, I was invited to a Sunday Gravy dinner with EatWith (use my link for $10 off your first meal!), which was totally fun (complete with huge bowls of Caesar salad, gnocchi in Marcella Hazan’s tomato-butter sauce, and veal Marsala), and scooted home to watch the Mad Men finale. The past 48 hours has been amazing, reading all these insightful post-show recaps and discussions about the symbolism in the episode (the English major in me lives for this stuff). But the one to read is the New York Times ArtsBeat interview with Jon Hamm about what he thought the last episode meant, enjoy. What a show! It will be missed.

It has been a pleasure reading all the emails and notes from fellow lovers of Lisbon responding to my jetsetter city guide and pictures from last Friday’s issue. You make this column so enjoyable to write, truly. Obrigada.

Have a swell week. We have plenty of options for you to make it rock!
Marcia Gagliardi