What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
September 1, 2015

Ritzy room service: pancakes! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi there. Did you miss us? My week in Tahoe was just what my summer-craving self needed, with a daily bike ride and dip in the lake, cooking summery meals for dinner, catching up on my pile of magazines (I think I went through something like 50) and some excellent movies and documentaries (don’t miss What Happened, Miss Simone?—it floored me). And lots of sleep, that was awesome. There is nothing like mountain air to knock you out—although the little squirrels were a bit rambunctious at night on our cabin’s roof. Dudes, get some sleep!

I also had a fun 24-hour getaway to the lap of mountain luxury: a revisit to the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. That property is such a great resort (perfect for families, if you have the money), and we had a fun birthday dinner for a friend at Manzanita in one of their big booths—the restaurant is such a looker. (And check out the lamb and herbed gnocchi I had with wild mushrooms, mixed legumes, smoked lamb jus, and shaved pecorino.) The beds are some of the best in the biz—I slept like a rock. (And I totally had pancakes for room service breakfast in the morning, oh you know it—I didn’t want to leave!).

But now I am back from the mountains, and associate editor Dana Eastland and I had quite a bit of catch-up to do with today’s newsletter, oof. One piece of really exciting news (well, for me): I am going to be co-hosting the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Tour in October with Brian Boitano at Bimbo’s 365! I KNOW. Too excited. And the lineup of chefs is great—check it out in the socialite!

One more item: as some of you may know, I have been writing for San Francisco Travel over the years, and now they made a fun video with me, highlighting three of my favorite classic San Francisco restaurants: Yank Sing, Sam’s Grill, and the Big 4 (you can watch it on the tablehopper Facebook page). It was a blast to shoot (and we lucked out with the best weather that day), and even Bellina my little Fiat gets a cameo. I hope you enjoy it.

So Labor Day is here (yay)—we’re going to be back in your inbox next Wednesday instead of Tuesday since we’d like to take Monday off like the rest of you. Our deadline can wait a day! Am strongly considering brunch at Wise Sons on 24th Street (which will be open on Monday and serving brunch all day!). Pastrami and eggs, I hear you calling me.

Have a great loooooong weekend.
Marcia Gagliardi

August 21, 2015

7 of the 16 tacos at EDSF’s Taco Knockdown last night. And one very cute taco shirt (and man wearing it). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hola, amigos. Last night’s Taco Knockdown—the opening event for this weekend’s Eat Drink SF—definitely fulfilled my taco quotient for the week. As a judge, I had to taste 16 tacos, but we’re talking about tacos made by badass San Francisco chefs, so all of us had to remember to taste and not finish them. Congrats to Trick Dog for winning judges’ choice for their outstanding birria de chivo, and Dosa won people’s choice for their duck vindaloo taco in roti, inspired by a Frankie (an awesome street food wrap you can find in Mumbai). I was sad to come home last night and realize I was out of Brioschi, Italy’s amazing version of Alka-Selzter (the Italians know a thing or two about indigestion).

Inhale, exhale. And tonight begins wave two of Eat Drink SF’s festivities, the grand tastings. There are still tickets for Friday’s and Saturday’s grand tastings (although the cocktail class I am co-hosting on Saturday afternoon is sold out, sorry everyone!)—don’t forget to use code TABLEHOPPER for a special discount. There’s also an Aperol spritz brunch party at Foreign Cinema on Sunday that is going to feature many Italian-inspired dishes.

Today’s issue is the last one you’ll see from me until September 1st. Since I got rained out of my Tahoe vacation six weeks ago, I’m going back up to try for round two this Sunday. Looking forward to a week of grilling and chilling. And crappy cell service. And catching up on my writing, and reading. And avoiding email. And hopefully enjoying plenty of sun. Because Fogust is not my jam, even after living here for 21 years.

Safe travels to all the Burners heading up for TTITD (That Thing in the Desert). I’m missing being out there. Although Burning Man with bugs sounds so strange. Mosquitos? Crazy. But every year, it’s always something out there. Many things.

Marcia Gagliardi

August 18, 2015

More New Mexico chile awesomeness: the casareccia pasta dish with spicy pork ragù at Gioia Pizzeria on Polk has chile in it. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hopefully you are all still relaxed from our absolutely gorgeous weekend (although that earthquake yesterday morning was kind of a buzzkill way to start the week). I can’t believe I actually got into the water at Ocean Beach on Saturday. Watching a pod of dolphins swim along the shore was pure magic (we were all glad they weren’t sharks, trust).

Also magic: being able to swing by Mollie Stone’s on Sunday and pick up a box of freshly roasted Hatch chiles, what? Check out future roasting dates around town here. (And the cream cheese with Hatch chiles mixed in that I also picked up for Sunday brunch? Kind of awesome.)

Not awesome: wrecking on my bike last week at 17th and Church (that shitshow of MUNI tracks and the bike lane have no business being near each other, truly—thanks to the kind strangers who helped me out, and especially the one who hugged me, you are the sweetest human being). And what is up with no glass bottles in Dolores Park, are you kidding me? Makes #roséallday a little challenging, especially if we’re talking about rosé bubs here. SF, get it together.

One way we are definitely getting it together is this coming week for Eat Drink SF! Things kick off on Thursday August 20th—I’ll be judging at the Taco Knockdown and co-hosting Classic Cocktails: The Art, Stories, and Up the Sleeve Tricks with Leilani Vella from Sipsmith Gin on Saturday at 2pm. (Get 15 percent off the cocktail class with promo code SIPGIN.) And don’t forget: use code: TABLEHOPPER for an extra discount off Grand Tasting and VIP Grand Tasting tickets! Who loves you?

Mwah. 💋
Marcia Gagliardi

August 11, 2015

Outside Lands lunch: the spicy Japanese-style tater tots from Nojo and my $20 glass of Scharffenberger sparkling rosé (cough). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I’m still bopping my head from the long weekend, what an incredible lineup of music (and food, hello!). Outside Lands completely rocked: it felt pretty special to be able to see D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Tame Impala, Django Django, Caribou, Hot Chip, and of course sing along to Elton John. Watching people perform live is such a game changer—newish discoveries (for me) like Dan Deacon, First Aid Kit, and Leon Bridges fully charmed.

A special shout-out to 4505 Meats for their insanely good cheeseburger, the pastrami cheese fries from Wise Sons, and the spicy Japanese-style tater tots from Nojo! Festival food at its finest. Love seeing all the La Cocina businesses there too. And bless Spicy Pie for always having a piping hot slice of cheese pizza ready for you at the end of the night—that thing saved me Sunday night. Thanks, good buddy.

I’m always happy to nab a Sierra Nevada Outside Lands Saison from Beer Lands and had some rather good cocktails too—go SF. Wine Lands will take all your money (the markup was pretty crazy), but at least you’re not spending it on crap wine, which is often the case at other festivals. (I’d like to request more sparkling wine throughout the festival next year, thanks for listening, Ranger Dave!)

Outside Lands sets quite the example for how a music festival can be. The CamelBak water stations are brilliant—anything to avoid more plastic water bottles on this planet, seriously. Sure, some of the 60,000-plus people can behave pretty badly (people, pick up your trash, come on now) and I felt like the cigarette smoking was a lot worse this year (people, quit while you’re ahead), but I also saw a fair amount of kindness and courtesy too, so not all is lost with this world. Every night, I was quite in awe of the fact I could pedal my bike home from such a massive event in our beautiful park in just 20 minutes. Pure delight. Can’t wait to see who and what is on deck for next year! I’ll have my pics all edited and posted for you by Friday—too much going on at the moment, oy.

This weekend, it’s time for the next big festival: the SF Street Food Festival, which will be in its new Dogpatch location at Pier 70. Take a look at our recent recaps here and here for all the latest, and don’t forget the five-course spit roast on Saturday night! There are still some passports left, too, hop to it. See you there!

One last thing that made me chuckle: if you have been following the Chef’s Table series on Netflix, you’ll crack up at this send-up—I did!

Chow for now!
Marcia Gagliardi

August 7, 2015

The beef tongue buns at Liholiho Yacht Club, truly one of the city’s best bites. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Welcome to the weekend, dollinks! I’m currently packing up my shoulder bag, lacing up my boots, and getting ready to pedal over to Outside Lands. Let the three days of music, delicious food, cocktails, craft beer, and shenanigans with friends begin! Am already humming “Bennie and the Jets.” Happy to see the sun breaking through before lunchtime, although I know Karl the Fog will be lurking nearby, ever-ready to crash the party. #Iseeyou

Today is the last day of the #tablehoppertakeover on Caviar. I hope you got a chance to try one of the Fastbite lunch and dinner dishes I selected this week, and put that $5 off coupon to work (use code: TABLEHOPPER—it expires tonight)! Remember, first-time users can get $15 off your first order! Who loves you?

This week, I had my mind blown (yet again) with a fantastic meal at Liholiho Yacht Club (that place is like the hottest muscle car firing on all cylinders), and really enjoyed checking out the brand-new Petit Crenn—you can read all about it on Tuesday!

Have a fantastic weekend,
Marcia Gagliardi

(And since I have been getting “Marsha-ed” a lot lately, it’s Marcia, rhymes with Garcia. Smooch.)

August 4, 2015

A steak and potatoes plate from a friend’s birthday brunch feast at Huxley this past weekend. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Welcome to Fogust, and to honor the occasion, I even saw a few raindrops this afternoon. I’m sure this weekend at Outside Lands will offer enough sun, mist, wind, and clouds to keep things extra interesting (and wardrobe-challenging). The OL mobile app just came out, and while I’m figuring out which acts to see, what’s also (always) interesting is the lineup of food vendors. This year, Wine Lands is cashless, which will make it much easier to get your wine on (click that link to see how it works). And here’s who will be pouring at Beer Lands. Check out our additional OL update in the chatterbox!

This Wednesday evening, I’ll begin some party warm-up exercises at CUESA’s Getaway in a Glass: Summer Cocktails of the Farmers Market. And tablehopper readers get 15 percent off if you use this link, get on it!

I’m also going to be attending a preview of Dominique Crenn’s Petit Crenn in Hayes Valley this week and will be telling you all about it in next week’s tablehopper. You should know, however, that reservations are live on the site if you want to snag a table now.

If you follow me on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, take your pick), you may have noticed this week’s #tablehoppertakeover I am doing with local delivery service Caviar! I hope you get a chance to try my daily picks for their Fastbite service, and this week you can use code TABLEHOPPER for $5 off (first-time users, you get $15 off)! Yeah, so that Italian combo tomorrow from Merigan just got even more appealing, right? Check out today’s sponsor for all the details, plus there’s a fun contest too.

One last thing before signing off: I was featured in Frank Garza’s fun San Francisco People Podcast, talking about everything from how I got my start as a restaurant columnist to the philosophy behind tablehopper to some of my favorite places in my neighborhood. Have a listen here, and subscribe for future episodes!

See you Friday!
Marcia Gagliardi

July 28, 2015

Chef Sophina Uong’s best in show dish at Lamb Jam. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Actually, I’d just prefer some rosé all day, but brosé has been making me laugh for a few weeks, so let’s run with it. Hope your weekend was quality. Mine had some Amy bookends, starting with being completely gutted by Amy, the Amy Winehouse documentary (if you even remotely enjoyed her music, really, don’t miss it—and I wish every single paparazzo had to watch it so they can see how awful they are to people who are in distress) to catching Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck with a gal pal. I’m still mulling it over—there were some brilliantly uncomfortable comedic moments to shake up the usual rom-com format, but I could have done without the melodrama. But wow, Tilda Swinton!

One of my favorite things about seeing flicks at Sundance Kabuki is getting the spicy tan-tan noodles at Waraku, so that happened too. Post-movie cocktails at The Progress, like the Shiro Drink, also a good move.

Sunday I was a judge at Lamb Jam, where I was completely blown away by second-time-winning chef Sophina Uong’s spin on a Burmese rainbow salad, with spicy lamb shoulder, corn pudding, seeds, legumes, nuts, and more. Wonder if she’ll put this on the menu at Berkeley’s Revival Bar + Kitchen? Here’s hoping.

Thankfully one of my fellow judges had some Ziplocks in her purse (now that’s a true food writer) and I brought home the leftover lamb belly pastrami by Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, which made the most amazing BLT the next day, let me tell you. (Hey, Thirsty Bear, you listening?)

Okay, the sooner I get this column done, the sooner I can hunt down a glass of something cool and refreshing. Have a swell evening. Ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi