What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
May 24, 2016
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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
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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!

Bisous!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 10, 2016
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A tower of power at Sadelle’s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy amigos. Spring decided to finally show its face for a couple of days here in New York. I say, “It’s about damn time, beeeeeeach! Where you been?!” Felt so good to hang out with my friend in Union Square, sitting on a bench under the trees at the end of the day on Sunday, kickin’ it after an action-packed weekend that included late-night jazz at Smalls, seeing the Sylvester Mighty Real show (was in New York one night only, until it launches on Broadway in 2017!), late-night dinner at Le Coq Rico (some of you may have eaten at l’original in Paris!), and a glorious late Sunday bagel brunch at Sadelle’s. Yes, there was a lot of late going on this weekend.

I have another pal coming in hot on Friday, so it looks like a repeat of late-night shenanigans are imminent, reaching an apex on Sunday when we go to the Kiki & Herb show that I magically managed to get tickets for (they haven’t performed in a decade!). Now I just need to get lucky with Hamilton, I tell ya.

Last night, I took a break from my deadline to call in to Slow Living Radio, who kindly invited me to be a guest for the first half. (You can listen to an archive of the show here.) Was a pleasure to talk about all the good things going on in the San Francisco cuisine scene right now, and a bit about my background and why I started tablehopper too. Thanks for having me on, Sally and Stephen!

Today’s hopper is much, much bigger than I wanted it to be, so I completely failed in writing up a couple of NYC spots for you to check out. Ugh, maybe next week!

Baci!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 3, 2016
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At Coi: the absolutely stunning turbot with “scales” made of root vegetables by chef Matthew Kirkley. Double rainbow! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey gang! I’m back in NYC, after 10 glorious springtime days in SF and a week in Washington state for a visit with Wines of Washington and my cousin’s wedding—thanks WA for also being so generous in delivering some spring weather!

Today in New York is cloudy and perfect writing weather, which is what I have been doing a LOT of the past few months. (Fortunately I brought a bag home of the new Side Door espresso from Ritual’s new Haight café to keep me chuggin’!) So did you hear a giant whoooooooosh sound last night? That was me sending the third and final 18,000-word chapter to Louis Vuitton for their 2017 San Francisco guidebook. I’m still working on a few smaller things, but dear lord, the beast has left my life! I’m looking forward to having more time to explore this city—the time is passing so quickly.

A highlight of my trip home was dining at Atelier Crenn, what a magical meal. Dreamy. So I was even more thrilled to hear the news that Dominique just won the San Pellegrino World’s Best Female Chef title (the World’s 50 Best Restaurants will be released on June 13th at a ceremony here in New York). And the first episode of the new season of Chef’s Table airs on Netflix on May 27th, which Dominique is profiled in. Can’t. Wait. (You can watch the trailer here.)

Last night, as I was writing my column, I had the James Beard Foundation Awards on, and I can’t believe SF got the big ole goose egg. Our city is so en fuego right now! Whatever, we don’t need awards to validate how amazing SF’s culinary scene is, and yes, many of the other winners were so well deserving. (The full list of winners is here.) And don’t miss a look at the 2016 Book, Broadcast & Journalism Award winners too.

But you really should take the time to watch this video in homage to Leah Chase of Dooky Chase’s in New Orleans, who won a Lifetime Achievement Award, and also get inspired by this video of Humanitarian of the Year, Father Greg Boyle. Both of them make us all look like a bunch of slackers, I tell you.

I may not have attend the JBFA event, but I am definitely looking forward to being back at the Beard House for dinner tomorrow night: Matthew Dolan of SF’s Twenty-Five Lusk is serving a dinner, Bay Area Seafood Sophisticate. Well then—pinkie up, darling!

Did you know this Friday May 6th is the seventh annual International #SauvBlanc Day? I will be celebrating at Cull & Pistol over some oysters, looking forward to it.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! Sorry I didn’t get a roundup to you of places in time. We mention a couple of options in tablehopper today, and at this point, I’d say OpenTable’s list is your best friend. :)

I’ll have a lot more about events and other food news next week—someone has a LOT of catch-up to do, bags to unpack, and deadlines to meet. And a cold is trying to come on, and I’m like, uh, no. Been healthy for all of 2016 and I intend to stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

Mwah!

Marcia Gagliardi

April 19, 2016
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Celebrating sakura season with Japanese sea bream, cherry blossom, and cherry leaf at Atelier Crenn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s true, there’s no place like home. After my first three months in New York—which I have been LOVING—a girl starts to miss things like her family, friends, Bi-Rite, Golden Gate Park air scented with eucalyptus and ganja (tomorrow is 4/20, get ready), English peas and strawberries, and toast from Josey Baker.

It has been so good to be back in SF this past week, and I got so damn lucky with this weather!! What a dream to leave the jacket at home and wear open-toed shoes to dinner at Mister Jiu’s on Saturday, and ride my bike to brunch at Fiorella on Sunday. Can’t wait for the Giants day game this Thursday!

It was also a treat to see so many of you at the Meals on Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala on Sunday evening. Big congrats to MOWSF for breaking yet another record and raising a whopping $3.3 million, which translates to 650,000 meals for homebound seniors in every neighborhood of San Francisco. Fantastic. The event was gorgeous, with so many flowers everywhere, and of course the crowd offered plenty of excellent people-watching.

The primary reason I came home this week was to host the tablehopper and Vinho Verde Vietnamese dinner (with Feastly) on Friday evening. Now that was a fantastic meal—chef Rob Lam crushed us, and Eugenio Jardim totally charmed us! Check out some pics here. I’ll be coming back again on June 11th to host a second one—look for an announcement soon on tablehopper.

I’m in town and furiously trying to finish this Louis Vuitton SF city guidebook research and copy (thanks coffee!) until next Monday morning, and then I’m flying up to Washington to spend some time with Washington State Wine and celebrating my cousin’s wedding next weekend!

Am heading back to NYC May 1st, which is when you’ll start seeing New York restaurants back in my Instagram feed. Heh. Can’t wait for Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan to open there! Amazing.

My crazy travel and deadline mean I’ll be going dark next week, so you won’t see a tablehopper issue until Tuesday May 3rd (publicists, please take note!). It has been great seeing many of you out and about, thanks for the warm welcome home.

Love and kisses!
Marcia Gagliardi