What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
November 24, 2015

The surreal and shiny Museo Soumaya in DF. (Kind of how this Time Out win feels!) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Amigos! I was already on cloud nine from the week I just spent in Mexico City (more on that in a sec), and then today I am named the winner of the Time Out Win the Ultimate New York Life Contest! WHAT?! I know, time to go hit up the corner store for some Lotto tickets.

YOU GUYS!!! I can’t thank you all enough, truly, because this wouldn’t have happened without all your votes, likes, posts, forwards, shares, tweets, and support. Dreams really do come true, and I am in awe of this win, it’s crazy! I have wanted to live in New York since I was 17 and was applying to college (but NYU was ultimately going to be too damn expensive). So New York has always been this nagging thing in my heart and head, and I feel like it’s one big fatalistic push that I get to go (and live there rent-free for six months, unbelievable!).

So what does this all mean for tablehopper? Details are still being worked out with Time Out—I am so thrilled to be writing for them while I am in New York—but my intention is to send out an abridged version of tablehopper while I am there during the next six months. While I won’t be able to report firsthand on how SF restaurants look or taste, I’ll still be able to keep you posted on openings, news, events, and more. And, of course, I will be including some tidbits about what’s delicious in New York so you know where to eat the next time you visit!

I’ll keep you posted on what’s next and my departure date, which is also still being discussed since we have the holidays coming (and I have some events I’m hosting in December!). For now, my new life hashtag is #anythingcanhappen. I’m living proof.

Seriously, thanks gang, I am so fortunate to have the supportive and loving community I do. You make magic happen!

Also magic: MEXICO CITY! What a remarkable place. The kindness, beauty, charm, warmth, and crazy-delicious food really blew my mind. I know some of you followed along my taco trail on Instagram while I was there—thankfully I walked six- to eight-plus miles each day, so I still fit in my jeans (barely). Every day was an adventure—so much to see and experience. The whole trip felt like a big hug. (And I’m so grateful the earthquake yesterday didn’t harm anyone, and I’m also really glad I was home by then, oof. Although I guess that’s like hopping from the frying pan into the fire, right?)

One last note before we dive in: some of you may be scratching your head and wondering why you are receiving today’s newsletter! It’s because you signed up to win the Ultimate Wine Country Getaway contest a couple of weeks ago! Welcome aboard, I hope you enjoy the weekly tablehopper report on SF restaurant and bar news!

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go pop Champagne! [humming “Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today…!”]

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know what I’m thankful for! YOU! Enjoy the holiday!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 10, 2015

1760’s red bell pepper and cucumber Bloody Mary with sriracha, lemon, thyme, and SKYY Vodka. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hola, amigos! I want to thank you all SO MUCH for voting for me these past few weeks for the Time Out Win the Ultimate New York Life contest. I am still waiting for the results. Nope, no pressure, no anxiety, no nerves over here! (Yeah, right.) I’m about to crawl out of my skin! Every email or phone call that comes in is making me jump like I’ve had five cups of coffee. Anyway, I really hope to be sharing some great news soon, because no one can top you guys, you’re such an amazing community! Mwah!

Meanwhile, this is the last tablehopper issue you’ll see for a couple of weeks! I’m leaving for Mexico City this weekend (my first time!) for a week—thanks to all of you who sent over such great tips! We’ll be back in your inbox Thanksgiving week, on Tuesday November 24th. So publicists and people who pitch me, please don’t send anything over for any events unless it’s happening after November 24th, thanks. And since we are running our Thanksgiving post today, that’s all folks! No more turkey news, please and thanks. Gobble gobble.

One project I’m looking forward to covering when I return is the opening of Del Popolo, which officially opens Tuesday November 17th, but I’d say curious pizza-loving people should swing by this weekend for their soft opening (in the evenings).

And something you don’t want to dillydally on is getting tickets for this amazing Champagne Henriot Chinese banquet dinner I am hosting at Great China on Sunday December 6th! The menu and pairings are over the top, check it out. Would be great to celebrate the holidays with you! Tickets just went live. Pop!

Thanks to everyone who came to the tablehopper and Campari America Filipino-inspired boozy brunch on Sunday at 1760! It was all SO delicious. Take a look at the photo album here. Aperol Spagliatos and crab fat congee with crispy pork and Green Cardamom Fizzes, yes to all of it! Be sure to swing by 1760 for brunch soon, it’s tops.

Okay folks, keep crossing your fingers for me, and I look forward to seeing you when I am back from DF! You can follow along on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! There will be taco pics. Heh.

Marcia Gagliardi

November 6, 2015

One of the best porchetta sandwiches I have ever had the pleasure of sinking my choppers into (at the Tartine Bakery after hours party to celebrate Hartwood’s new cookbook). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy fall day to you. Hopefully you’re enjoying your fill of squash soup these days, and persimmons, although I’m pretty damn sad that we won’t be eating any local Dungeness crabs for quite a while. (No one is sadder than the poor fishermen, damn.) Recreational Dungeness crabbing season was supposed to kick off this weekend, with commercial crabbing on the 15th. We’ll just have to see how this one plays out. Washington, we’re gonna be eating all your crabs! (And probably expensive ones at that.) Fie upon you, domoic acid!

I am also yelling “fie upon you!” to my bike, espresso machine, and printer, which are all giving me mechanical difficulties this week, because my car in the shop obviously wasn’t enough of a headache. Maybe I’m just supposed to stay home. Well, at least until I leave for Mexico City next Sunday, arriba! (And if you have any favorite places there you want to send my way, gracias!)

Yours truly has been busy writing some freelance pieces, so apologies for not having more for you today, but I am all (keyboard) tapped out. Take a look at my first piece for Robb Vices, featuring SF’s best sushi counters that you can book a spot for on Reserve—and if you’re inspired to try out the app, use my code EYC1AX for $10 off your first reservation.

I also put together this piece for SF Travel on local craft breweries you can visit and the holiday brews they’ll be pouring.

For those of you attending this Sunday’s (sold-out) tablehopper and Campari America Filipino-inspired brunch at 1760, we’re looking forward to seeing you at this family-style feast! Come hungry and thirsty.

And lastly, I’d love for you to take a close look at my piece in the chatterbox today. Yes, it’s about that Time Out contest I want you to vote for me in! #1!

A presto!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 3, 2015

The ever-beaming Sher at Piccino with a platter of vintage glasses and sparkling Moscato d’Asti. If this doesn’t say festa, I don’t know what does! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween weekend. I had way too much fun going out for a bit as nonna, with a terrifyingly huge bosom, support hose, and an accent as thick as her ragù. Big nonna hugs and cheek pinches for everyone!

Although a few hobgoblins decided to stay overnight and try to mess with my birthday the next day. I woke up to a fraud alert on one of my credit cards (fortunately my bank figured it out quickly). And on my drive home at the end of the weekend—cruising home in the rain listening to KPOO—my clutch suddenly stopped working. What?! I managed to shove it into second gear and do some clever driving home (no hills and lots of revving!), and now I get to wait a week for a new clutch pressure plate. My car is rapidly reassuming that Fix It Again Tony status Fiats were once infamous for, managgia.

But neither of these silly things could dampen the absolutely fabulous birthday weekend I had, which included brunch with my family on Saturday at Piccino, a (hungover) garden party at my dear friend’s house in Bernal with #champagneallday (thanks to all my beloved friends for making that happen), and I preordered some Shegetz bagels in order to have a full-on bagel platter (they were warm when we picked them up on Sunday, heaven!), plus we had sweet treats from Pinkie’s and Little Bee too. The weather all weekend was gorgeous. And you gotta love having an extra hour to party/sleep/celebrate on your birthday. Purr.

Okay, amici, this is the last week of voting for my piece in the Time Out New York Ultimate New York Life contest! Have you voted yet? Thank you!

My post (Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now) is #1 on the page and will hopefully be number one in votes, because the winner gets an apartment rent-free in New York City for six months and will write for Time Out about New York’s restaurant, nightlife, and city scene. So amazing! I would love to rock New York City for six months, but don’t worry, tablehopper will still get written as well.

Thank you for your vote for #1, it means so much to me! And it will just take 10 seconds, promise. Mwah!

Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 30, 2015

Chanterelles, hen of the woods, and trumpet mushrooms with huckleberries at Petit Crenn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well look at that, we have some warm weather lined up for Halloween, so all the slutty witches and slutty shirtless bros in short shorts won’t freeze this year. Actually, I am happy for the little kiddies who can go out trick-or-treating and not get their homemade robot costume all rained on.

Since we’re talking about getting rained on, I had not one but two instances of ill-mannered people spilling things on me yesterday. Number one: dude at the StrEat Food Park, poorly managing to balance all of the food he had stacked up, and his salsa container of ketchup falls off his pile, splatters my jeans, foot, and squeezed into the perforated cutouts in my shoe and got all over the inside. I blurted a “shit!” while he could barely muster a “sorry.” I think he’s going to get me a napkin, but no, he gets himself another ketchup and doesn’t pick up the one he spilled and scurries off. Dude, #youredoingitwrong.

Last night, at the (trés fantastique) Hot Chip show at the Fox, Miss Thing is holding two full pints of beer overhead and proceeds to spill her stinky beer all down my neck and back as she clumsily pushes through the crowd. Honey, take a sip before you move through a crowd, and don’t hold beers up overhead like an Olympic torch if you can’t handle them—no one wants an IPA shower. You are not Flo from Alice—you are a klutz. Your chirpy “sorry!” was truly pathetic. And not enough.

What is wrong with people? I’d be horrified if I splattered ketchup on someone or spilled my beer down their back. I’d rush to get them napkins. I would apologize profusely. We all make mistakes moving through this world, but it’s how you handle the cleanup that makes a difference. It says a lot about who you are. Let’s all try harder out there.

(Twice in one day was just too much for me to not vent. Thanks for listening.)

And thanks for voting! You already voted for my piece in the Time Out New York Ultimate New York Life contest, right?!

Yours truly’s post (Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now) is #1 on the page, and will hopefully be number one in votes, because the winner gets an apartment rent-free in New York City for six months and will write for Time Out about New York’s restaurant, nightlife, and city scene. Yes, it would be a dream come true for me!

And it would be the best present for my birthday, which is actually this Sunday, so thank you for voting! XOXO

Have a great fall weekend—and don’t forget to fall back (instead of fall down)!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 27, 2015

One of the many signs in the Bimbo’s 365 kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s definitely an amazing way to start your week when you find out you are one of the 15 finalists in the Time Out New York Ultimate New York Life contest! I know, wow! Yours truly’s post (Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now) is #1 on the page, and will hopefully be number one in votes, because the winner gets an apartment rent-free in New York City for six months and will write for Time Out about New York’s restaurant, nightlife, and city scene. Yes, it would be a dream come true!

PLEASE TAKE 30 SECONDS AND VOTE FOR MY PIECE. (Really, go ahead and stop reading and do it right now.) Big bonus points if you can share the post, post it on social media, tell your friends, tell your mama, let’s get the hopper to NYC! I’d so appreciate anything you can do to help me win this amazing experience! We have two weeks to vote! Grazie!!

It has been a whirlwind of WHOA over here this past week, starting with co-emceeing (with Brian Boitano!) the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Tour at Bimbo’s 365 Club on Friday night. It was a fantastic event, featuring an all-Italian menu paired with local wines (but Italian varieties!).

One of my favorite parts was actually having access to Bimbo’s early in the evening, with the opportunity to take in all the details of that incredible vintage club. Normally I’m there at a show, when I don’t quite get to notice all the extraordinary touches, from the saucy artwork to the vintage sconces. The absolute highlight, however, was having chef Michael Tusk invite me into the kitchen—what a time capsule! So rich with character; if those walls could talk. Thank you to the entire Bimbo’s staff for hosting this event with such flair. It was a great moment for me as a San Franciscan to be on that stage, something I had never even considered happening. I posted an album here, be sure to take a look!

On Saturday, this city mouse swapped in her platform heels for something more appropriate for the country, and I attended the annual McEvoy Ranch harvest party. It’s always so faaaabulous, with McEvoy wines and everything catered by the inimitable Paula LeDuc, and we lucked out with a balmy October day. Great crowd, music, and more. I’ll have pics posted later this week! Harvest started, so I’m getting ready for my olio nuovo in a couple of weeks.

We’ll see you again on Friday, enjoy the week (maybe I’ll see you at Ottolenghi on Wednesday?). And please don’t forget to vote for my piece, thank you!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 20, 2015

Our table at CUESA’s Sunday Supper got styled with this delicious Devil’s Gulch Rabbit dish by Lazy Bear, which featured snails, turnips, celery root, and celtuce. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Obrigada to everyone who said hello at Friday night’s Perfect Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio event! And hopefully I’ll see some more of you at this evening’s Wine & Spirits Magazine’s annual Top 100 event—of course the weather is perfect, which means the terrace at the Metreon will be the place to be tonight. Bring on the bubbles.

I’m actually doing a double play, as I do, and scooting over to Bar Agricole for the Enrique Olvera event tonight with Omnivore Books to celebrate his new book, Mexico from the Inside Out. (You can still get tickets!) Again, it will be another gorgeous patio party, with snacks, cocktails, y más!

It was also great to see a bunch of you at CUESA’s Sunday Supper, which always pulls out all the stops. There were more than 40 chefs participating, plus winemakers, bartenders, and sustainable farmers at the reception (plus the Schoolyard to Market students!), four-course gala dinner upstairs in the historic Ferry Building, and the auction—the event contributes more than 50 percent of the cost of CUESA’s educational programs to build a healthy food system. Thank you to everyone for such a memorable night, as always.

On Friday, I’m going to be busy getting ready to co-emcee the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Tour at Bimbo’s 365 Club, so we’re skipping the Friday issue and we’ll see you next week. Oh, and you can still get tickets to this all-Italian festa!

Since we’re past deadline and Michelin’s PR doesn’t send things to us in time (if at all) and their website is more about dead 404 links than good ones, you can take a look at the San Francisco Michelin 2016 winners here. Congrats to all.

A presto!
Marcia Gagliardi