What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
April 17, 2018

I really wish this cocktail from The Beehive was back in front of me, like, right now. Actually, make that two. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang! Greetings from the bunker, where I have been mostly hunkered down working overtime on my new project, mymilligram. (If you missed the big news last week, it’s my new cannabis media brand focused on highlighting low-dose and high-quality cannabis products.)

Thanks to everyone who already signed up for the mymilligram newsletter, you rock! It’s so gratifying to see so much interest and enthusiasm! Meowza! You give me life! (Just like Beyoncé did on Saturday night—I’m still reeling.) I swear, I’m so exhausted working on all this back-end stuff, you wouldn’t believe what goes into launching a website, newsletter, and social media accounts these days, let alone write new content and hold an all-day photoshoot. So if you see any mistakes in today’s issue, take it easy on me, okay? I’m beat. I’m just glad Mercury Retrograde is over, I had plenty of tech shenanigans to contend with, lordy.

If you subscribed to mymilligram last week, you should have received a welcome email earlier today (thanks to all of you filling out the survey, it’s so helpful!), and the first mymilligram intro email will be coming this Thursday 4/19. The first full-feature newsletter and website launch are happening next Thursday April 26th, whoosh!

I also wanted to be sure you saw the news that after 12 years, tablehopper is now going biweekly, so we’ll be dark next week, and back on May 1st. (Sorry if this news is redundant for some of you!)

BUT don’t fret, I’m now going to be writing Table Talk, a weekly restaurant and bar news feature for KQED Bay Area Bites, which is launching next week, so you shouldn’t miss me tooooo much. :) I’ll be including a look at the new Beehive, the swanky cocktail bar opening in the former Range on Valencia verrrrrrry soon.

As promised, today’s issue announces details on the tablehopper pre-opening apericena party at Cento Osteria (coming in May from Donato Scotti). The party is on Thursday May 3rd, and it’s going to be a fun one! Get your ticket soon, these are gonna fly. I’d love to have a Negroni with you.

Taxes were due today, oof, I know many of us are feeling the hit. Fortunately, I have some boozy event options for you in the lush, let the healing begin.

One more event to consider (I didn’t have time to get it in as a full write-up today) is going to appeal to my fellow history buffs: this Wednesday April 18th—which is the anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake—there’s a special dinner at The Palace’s Pied Piper, with a menu inspired by historic Palace recipes from 1909 through today. You’ll also hear from author Denise E. Clifton of Tables from the Rubble, a book that celebrates SF restaurants that arose after the 1906 quake and remain open today. I so wish I could go. Someone should and tell me all about it!

All righty then. In the words of Porky Pig, that’s all folks! I’ll be back in (some) of your inboxes on Thursday!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 10, 2018

One of the 32 neon pieces we got to enjoy while feasting at the She Bends salon dinner last week at The Midway Gallery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy folks! I’m baaaaack! Finally healthy again. I have been a busy bee over here, getting ready to fill you in on some exciting news… Ya ready? Okay! Let’s start with the big news. On Thursday April 19th, I’m going to be launching my new cannabis media brand: my milligram. It will be a weekly newsletter featuring low-dosage and well-made cannabis products, plus a mention of local events. I’m keeping it very short and topical (just one product per week), but highly informative (ha-ha, the puns!). I’m also going to be launching some subscription boxes! And hosting information-filled events. I’ll share more on all this on the 19th, when I send the first my milligram newsletter. A lot is happening!

You may have noticed on my @tablehopper Instagram over the past couple of years my growing (and more visible) interest in cannabis products and experiences. It’s such an exciting and thrilling space, filled with an incredible community, innovation, and growing access to experience the magical and healing medicine of the cannabis plant in a myriad of ways.

I will be telling more about my journey on the 19th, but I want to share that my relationship with cannabis now is so different from the toking days of my twenties. I have discovered I’m a microdoser in a heavy-hitter world, and through carefully managing my intake through well-made, low-dosage edible products, I have found a great deal of happiness, ease, wellness, creativity, spiritual insight, and plenty of giggles too. I’ve been on such a deep dive of education and exploration this past year, and after a while, I realized I have too much excitement and information to contain it all, so the idea of my milligram was born.

I know a lot of canna-curious folks are out there, wondering how to navigate this new world, and how it may help with something you are dealing with. Some may be returning to cannabis after a looong break (you know, like from the ’60s), and some have never tried it at all. Some folks have only had terrifying and paranoid experiences (I am so sorry about that), and I’m here to say, it doesn’t have to be like that. As someone who is prone to overthinking, you can find a sweet spot of feeling good but not necessarily psychoactivated—or maybe just a little bit (and being okay with that). Feeling in control. Going low and slow.

So, I hope some of you are excited to explore this world with me. It’s such a great time to be a Northern Californian. (Isn’t it always?) I am going to take everything I have learned the past 15 years about how I assess food and drink and apply that to cannabis. Let me guide you to some beautiful products that can help with sleep, or anxiety, or aches, or inflammation, or just help you unwind, make dinner taste really good, and have you laugh harder at your Netflix show too. Let me tell you, my nature walks have been such a joy. Life can be hard, for many reasons, so if I can help guide you to a bit more ease and happiness in your life, then great. I’m on my own journey and would love your company!

Thanks for telling your friends. You can even tell your mom. Because moms are an important part of my product reviewing parameters—I won’t be writing about anything that I wouldn’t give to my own mother. I also want to do my part to help destigmatize cannabis use. That lazy stoner archtype? Nope, it doesn’t fit this busy lady. It’s time to make some new ones, people.

You can sign up at mymilligram.com, and the first issue is going out next Thursday on 4/19—as I like to say, it’s comin’ in low and slow before the high holiday of 4/20. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

So, what does this all mean for tablehopper? Well, good news: tablehopper will continue! But it’s going to be put on a diet. (THAT was a long time coming, ha.) After 12 years of sending this column every Tuesday, I am going to be moving tablehopper to a biweekly schedule, so you’ll be receiving it every other Tuesday. I’m going to start the new schedule and will go dark on Tuesday April 24th, and will be running it every other week after that.

Still want to get your weekly fill? Well, more good news: I’m going to be writing a weekly feature for KQED’s Bay Area Bites called Table Talk! I’ll be covering the same kind of food news you see in tablehopper, like new restaurant and bar openings, cool events, tasty food tips, and special offers—it will be posted on their site on Mondays. I’m so excited to be writing for KQED Bay Area Bites, and I’ll be sure to point you to my first piece!

So, you now have not just one but three places to read me, covering the culinary, beverage, and cannabis worlds, which, in Northern California, is kind of our own special trinity, right?

OK, so that’s my news! I am really fired up over here. Thanks for your constant support as I stretch my wings, make some adjustments, and take flight on this new venture. I hope you join me.

I will continue to host tablehopper events, oh you know it. Which is why I want to make sure you save the date for an apericena party on Thursday May 3rd at the upcoming Cento Osteria (from Donato Scotti) on the Embarcadero! Details and tickets will be in next week’s issue! I’d love to see you.

Thanks, everyone! XO


April 3, 2018

May I rest my head upon these potato croquettes? These golden osetra–topped little wonders were made by Nancy Oakes for The Women of Food dinner at Petit Crenn last week. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi, peeps. (Did you have plenty of those this past Sunday?) So, I thought I had fully risen from my sick crypt after that nasty flu, but would you believe I got knocked down with some horrific food poisoning just a couple days after I finally left my apartment? WTF! My friend asked if someone put a hex on me. (Was it you? Ha-ha.) I went from a week of binge watching Babylon Berlin to falling back into bed for another three days and bingeing on Wild Wild Country with my curtains down while SF was enjoying that gorgeous heat wave. Shout-out to Coca-Cola and jook. And THC, it’s a miracle worker for nausea.

Fortunately, I was able to rally for Easter Sunday lasagna with the fam. It’s my favorite dish evah, and I was willing to put up with some stomach gurgles to have some real food (and the best food!) after two weeks of soup. Finally had my first espresso today, things are getting back on track. She has risen! Again. Hopefully for real this time.

I want to say thanks to all of you who participated in our two sponsored giveaways the past two weeks for tickets to SFFILM (San Francisco International Film Festival) and the special preview/salon dinner of the She Bends neon show at The Midway Gallery with Azalina’s this Thursday. I just wanted to urge you to take a look at both events since the ticket giveaways are over, but the events are so very cool and have room for you! I’m really looking forward to having some of Azalina’s rendang chicken while admiring the art of 32 neon artists this Thursday and seeing the film my friend produced this Friday, Hal. Join me? I’m taking extra hugs right now, thanks.

One last thing (a teaser!): I’m going to have some personal (and exciting!) news to share with you next week, thanks as always for reading and your support.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 27, 2018

One thing I was not going to miss was the opportunity to try chef Tomita-san’s tsukemen at a special lunch at Ramen Shop last Friday. You can read more on my Instagram post (at @tablehopper). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi there. Greetings from my sick crypt—she has risen! And how fitting, right before Easter! I thought I had a horrible cold but no, surprise (!), it was the flu! Seriously, what the hell. I’m on day 11 (or is it 12?) over here, and really over it. No more soup, please! But I have finally turned the corner on this damn thing. People, wash your hands like you have OCD—you don’t want this, it’s a beast (and I had a flu shot!). I say don’t touch anyone or anything for another month. Ha-ha. Anyway, take care of yourselves out there. I’m trying to do the same.

I managed to get some stories together for you today, but am moving pretty slow, so you’re getting it a little late. And I’m not feeling particularly funny either—more fussy than anything. Hopefully the jokes and sass will return next week. At least I have an awesome giveaway for you.

Wishing you all a happy Passover, Easter, and sunny week. Spring is here!

Hop hop. Cough cough.
Marcia Gagliardi

March 20, 2018

My bowl of chicken soup with kluski. And eggs. And vegetable juice pulp. And fennel fronds. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy first day of spring—yeah, and it’s raining and I’m on day four of a really stupid cold that decided to come in for a landing after my full-throttle seven days last week. I have been lucky all winter, so I guess my number was up. Fine. Chicken soup with kluski (thanks Bob for the noodles!) and buttermilk pancakes have been my feel-better friends. I was joking that I needed one of those whale/Shamu lifters to get out of bed this morning. As a friend noted, gravity is so much fkn worse when sick. Rude, gravity! Rude!

I was hoping to get some Easter/Passover options in today’s issue, but my body said bed was a better option. But you need reservations, so here’s last year’s post for some ideas since most places tend to repeat their holiday offerings. I will quickly add that 54 Mint has a great Easter menu, and 15 Romolo does an annual boozy Easter brunch.

In the East Bay, newbie Donato & Co. is doing a delicious and affordable Easter menu, and my buddy at Perle Wine Bar in Montclair is doing a bang-up Easter brunch menu. And there’s always OpenTable for Easter options. Buona Pasqua, tutti!

Oh, and Comal’s sixth annual Mexican-inspired Passover seders are April 2nd and 3rd. Rock cod “gefilte” fish cakes with chipotle aioli? Awesome.

Okay, it’s time to clock out here. I have a hot date with my Kleenex box. Until next week!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 14, 2018

It was a luxe hot pot party at Mister Jiu’s for the return of The Family Meal. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy Pi Day. Which is why I decided it’s totally okay and actually a fabulous thing to be eating a slice of pizza for breakfast today (mmm, from Goat Hill Pizza, score). May the wonders hiding in my freezer never cease.

Did you just do a double take and check your calendar, wondering, hey, hopper, why are you showing up today? It’s Wednesday! No, your eyes do not deceive you. But I bit off a little bit more than I could chew, per usual, and thought I could totally get a column out after coordinating and hosting a 40-person chef dinner on Monday night. Yeah, right. And of course news completely blew up this week. So, here we are, a day later after a certain someone needed to shake off a little late-night mezcal. (Hence the fall down after the spring forward, which is what a friend named a mix CD for me many moons ago, and it makes me laugh every year when it’s daylight saving time again.)

Have a great week. Congrats to all the James Beard Award nominees announced today, from media to best bar program to best chef: west! Cheers!

Now excuse me while I track down that CD.

Marcia Gagliardi