What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
June 21, 2016

Kingfish and osetra caviar tartare with smoked crème fraîche emulsion and roe at Le Bernardin. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I swear, I keep having to pinch myself, and it’s not because I added a new waistline roll from all the pizza, bagels, and cacio e pepe I’m eating out here… I just got home from a spectacular four-and-a-half-hour lunch (whoops) at Le Bernardin (finally got to go!), thanks to the generous invitation from my visiting friend, Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem (or as I affectionately call him, Mayhem). Yeah, it was a deadline day, but when Le Bernardin is a 10-minute walk from your place you’re moving out of in 10 days, you gotta do it.

This past weekend was also a dream: my friend of 25 years invited me out to his summer place in Amagansett. Tooling around in his tomato red ‘66 Duetto brought back all of my summertime Alfa Romeo love, and waking up from a nap on the beach to a snack of potato chips, lobster salad, and Pied à Terre sauvignon blanc is a fricking ridiculous thing. The evening beach snack to end all beach snacks. I guess it’s how they roll in the Hamptons—or at least my friend Aaron (nice work, friend!).

I made it back into the city on time on Sunday to meet my dear literary agent (a former New Yorker) for dinner at Minetta Tavern—I had to finally try that Black Label burger. It was cooked perfectly, and the flavor was on point, but I think we enjoyed the Belgian chocolate soufflé the most. I prefer juicier burgers—always like a couple of drips over my fries, you know?

Last night was another checklist item handled: seeing the Mingus Big Band perform at the Jazz Standard. Goddamn, such screaming talent in that crew. Caught the early show so I still had time to burn the midnight oil and finish writing this column. All in a day’s work, I tell ya.

This weekend will be my first Pride in New York after celebrating it for 22 years in San Francisco. Am thinking of all my gay friends in San Francisco and around the world—it’s especially a poignant one this year. But like everything else I have experienced in New York, I look forward to the adventure and warm welcome this weekend, and honoring the path and fight and journey everyone in the LGBTQ community has taken. Shine on.

With love, support, gratitude, and pride,
Marcia Gagliardi

June 14, 2016

The winners of the World’s Best Restaurant, Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, of Modena’s Osteria Francescana. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there! Greetings from the whirlwind. Did you miss me last week? I was busy hosting my last two tablehopper Vinho Verde events: one in New York (my first event in NYC!) and then I flew home to San Francisco on Thursday to throw the second one with Feastly on Saturday. Take a look at the photo albums: this one is New York’s Malaysian feast with chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices at New York Vintners, and here’s the San Francisco event with Butterfly chef Rob Lam, who cooked a Vietnamese dinner in Feastly’s beautiful loft.

Both events sold out, and were so damn delicious that I would love to be able to offer them again to you! The wine pairings were spot-on for both—so even if you didn’t get to attend, the next time you’re going out for a Vietnamese or Malaysian dinner, you know what to drink! Thank you to all the chefs and somms (Eugenio Jardim and Betsy Ross) and everyone else who helped me pull off these events. Stand by for future tablehopper shindigs!

I am currently running on very little sleep at the moment. I flew in to New York very late on Sunday night and tried to write as much of this column as I could yesterday before running off to attend the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants award show, held for the first time in New York. As you can imagine, it was quite the affair, hosted at Cipriani Wall Street. I got to interview a number of chefs for an article I’m writing for Time Out New York on where the visiting chefs like to eat when in New York (I’ll tweet it out tomorrow)! I felt a definite surge of Italian pride when Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena was named The World’s Best Restaurant 2016. Viva Italia!

I posted a bunch of pics on Instagram and Facebook. I hope you enjoy the snaps from the award show and the raucous after-party at Eleven Madison Park, which rose to number 3 on the list, making it the Best Restaurant in North America, and they won the Ferrari Trento Art of Hospitality Award! As for SF, it was great to see Dominique Crenn receive her World’s Best Female Chef 2016 award and to see the Saison crew break into the Top 50 at No. 27. I felt very fortunate to be there and to cover the event, with so much international talent in the room!

It would take an over-the-top event like that to take my mind off Orlando for a few hours. Kudos to Dominique for her heartfelt words onstage. Let’s all take good care of each other.

With love,
Marcia Gagliardi

May 31, 2016

Keepin’ it real at Barney Greengrass, since 1908. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from sticky New York! It was a pretty sweaty weekend for anyone here, which is why I was thankful for mint juleps and rooftop parties and rosé and the beach (even if it was foggy). And an extra-special shout-out to my A/C and living on the 38th floor at the Ritz Plaza, because I can catch a little breeze in the evening. When I am home for a few nights next week, I’m sure Karl the Fog is going to feel great. Yup, bring on the June gloom!

Some of you are wondering if and when I am coming home! Well, my dream Stonehenge apartment wraps up on June 30th (sniff sniff), and then I’ll be staying at a friend’s place here in New York for the first couple of weeks in July.

But come mid-July, I will be off to Italy! I’m going to be in Rome for a few days, and then learning about artisan pasta-making and Abruzzo with the fine folks of Rustichella d’Abruzzo. Then I’m heading down to Sicily for a week of hard-core vacationing (as in off the grid)—I have been wanting to revisit la bella Sicilia for so long. It’s callllllling meeeeeeee. So if you have ANY tips you’d like to send my way for Palermo, Agrigento, Vittoria, and maybe Etna (I’m planning to head to COS, and Occhipinti, and maybe Graci!), I’m all ears. Thinking I’ll need an agriturismo or two, and some beach time too. Of course. Nothing like swimming in the Mediterranean.

And then I’ll be flying home to SF in time for Outside Lands, which starts on the first weekend of August. (You didn’t think I was going to miss seeing LCD Soundsystem, did you?) I should be home for a month or so, but then yours truly is planning to head back to New York in early September for a couple of months before the holidays. I’m going to try to work out this bicoastal thing. What does it all mean for tablehopper? Worry not! Things are status quo for now!

I’d like to ask one more favor! I am trying to spread the word that I’m hosting my first tablehopper event in New York, next Tuesday June 7th at New York Vintners! We still need to sell a few more tickets! And you have a chance to win some too.

It’s a Malaysian feast with chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices, who is going to be cooking dishes from her home (which are not on her charming restaurant’s menu!), paired with Vinho Verde wines. I’m thrilled to have sommelier Betsy Ross (previously at The Progress in San Francisco) working with me on the event! Tickets here, $80 out the door—thanks for spreading the word to your New York friends for me!

Oh, and I am taking next Tuesday off—with my two events and travel next week, things are a little cray! See ya on June 14th.

Marcia Gagliardi

May 24, 2016

The burger au poivre at Raoul’s. With duck fat fries on the side. And au poivre sauce. HOLD THE PHONE. Or just hold me. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. I’m still recovering from the weekend, which started with this magical performance by Duke Riley, Fly by Night, presented by Creative Time. It was a balmy and still night at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, an incredible backdrop for a unique and memorable performance with 2,000 pigeons swirling in the evening sky with LEDs attached to their legs! Wild. I love surreal moments like that! And I was so lucky the waiting list gods came through. Shazam!

Sunday my friend and I hit up the relatively new brunch at Soho classic, Raoul’s. And you know I had to get their au poivre burger, a spin on their famous steak au poivre, which comes in a limited supply each day and is usually only available at the bar during dinner. The Pat LaFrieda patty is coated in pepper—so good and crusty—and topped with Saint André cheese, the overall richness cut with watercress, red onion, and the brilliant addition of cornichons in there. And then you dunk the burger in the au poivre sauce that comes on the side, which is maybe just for the duck fat fries, but you say fuck it, it’s all getting dunked in there!

Yeah, that is how you start a Sunday Funday, because that burger held me through three disco parties and tea dances until 10pm at night, with wicked-strong gay dranks all day. (And would you believe me when I said this was all research for an article I’m putting together on the best disco parties in the U.S.? It’s true!)

So, the tablehopper and Vinho Verde Vietnamese feast in SF sold out in less than five hours. (What?! Wow, you guys!) But you still have a chance to win a pair of tickets, check out the sugar mama today!

Can you please help me spread the word to your New York friends that I’m hosting my first tablehopper event in New York, on Tuesday June 7th at New York Vintners! It’s in two weeks!

I’m hosting a Malaysian Feast with chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices, who is going to be cooking dishes from her home (which are not on her charming restaurant’s menu!), paired with Vinho Verde wines. I’m thrilled to have sommelier Betsy Ross (previously at The Progress in San Francisco) working with me on the event! Details are below, tickets here—thanks for spreading the word! Mwah!

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 17, 2016

The steamy calm before the storm at Leo Herrara’s awesome crawfish and crab boil! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

What’s going on, people? I must admit I was so glad to be completely on the other coast and miss the hot mess that is Bay to Breakers this past weekend, which usually thrashes my neighborhood. Instead, I had a dear friend in town, and we were doing fun New Yorky things like walking the High Line, eating Black Seed Bagels, going to a crawfish and crab boil in Park Slope, and the highlight of the weekend: catching the Kiki and Herb reunion show, Seeking Asylum! (so damn good!). Now I need to figure out what I’m doing for Memorial Day weekend!

And let’s just cut to the chase here: I am so excited to announce the official dates of the next tablehopper and Vinho Verde feasts! First, any of you folks here in New York with me, I really hope you can attend my first tablehopper event in New York, on Tuesday June 7th at New York Vintners! I’m going to be hosting a Malaysian Feast with chef Mei Chau of Aux Epices, who is going to be cooking dishes from her home (which are not on her charming restaurant’s menu!), paired with Vinho Verde wines. I’m thrilled to have sommelier Betsy Ross (previously at The Progress in San Francisco) working with me on the event! Please mark your calendar, I will post a link to tickets soon!

Next, I’ll be hopping on a plane to SF to host my final event in the series on Saturday June 11th! We’ll be doing a reprise of the amazing Vietnamese and Vinho Verde feast with chef Rob Lam (Butterfly), and Feastly is providing a cool Mission venue! Wines of Portugal U.S. Ambassador Eugenio Jardim will be there to educate us about the wines and charm us!

So those of you who didn’t get tickets in time for the April event, here’s your chance to feast with us—but act quickly, tickets sold out in less than 24 hours last time! More details are below in the column!

I can’t wait to see you, whether it’s here in New York or back in SF!

Marcia Gagliardi