What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
March 17, 2015

A springtime Sunday brunch with Veronica Klaus. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Top o’ the afternoon to you. Hopefully your livers have had enough of a break from Saturday until now to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all over again. Although truth be told, all these pics I’m seeing of Shamrock Shakes are just making me crave a matcha shake.

Today is the picture of gorgeous, but it doesn’t mean I am still totally excited to get the hell outta Dodge and head to Cozumel with my sister late Saturday night! It’s going to be a real vacation for a change—I’m planning on beach, tacos, snorkeling, books, tacos, cervezas, sun, tacos. Kind of excited for bad Wi-Fi. Like, really excited.

What this means is this is the last you’ll hear from us until we return in your inboxes on Tuesday March 31st. The fabulous Dana, our associate editor, who is as equally fatigued from getting this column out every week, is going to be heading up to Portland, getting her fill of Pok Pok wings and Le Pigeon. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

Publicists/restaurant owners, you know the drill: please don’t pitch us anything unless it’s happening in April, thanks!

In the meantime, here’s my monthly cheat sheet on 7x7.com of five new restaurants to open on the local front.

Before signing off, I also wanted to point your attention to a couple very worthy fundraisers that could use your help. First, Loco’l is just a few days away and $5,000 short on their Indiegogo, please take a look. And in today’s chatterbox, don’t miss our post on El Pípila, which is also in the final days of crowdfunding their Kiva Zip loan. Guadalupe only needs about $2,000 more (it’s a no-interest loan!) to help with equipment and first month’s rent. Thanks for keeping everyone’s dreams going, everyone!

I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, adiós!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 10, 2015

The belle of the ball: 1975 Dom Pérignon poured en magnum at GourmetFest 2015. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, friends. Hope your weekend was marvy. It was pretty epic weather, that’s for damn sure. I had a 24-hour jaunt down to Carmel for GourmetFest 2015, and man, did that live up to its name. I have a full recap of the extravaganza in today’s chatterbox, and a photo album here.

Before heading out of town, I swung by Off the Grid for a preview tasting of their Friday evening event at Fort Mason, which is back in action. We could not have asked for better weather, seriously. Tablehopperette and I tasted piping hot momos from Bini’s Kitchen, some fantastic matcha cheesecake and tea drinks from T. Epiphany, Italian sausage and pepper buns from Happy Dumplings (fun), and fans of the 3-Sum Eats truck will be happy to know their truck is back with their fried chicken sandwiches. The new bar setup from Rye on the Road is as awesome as their drinks (Early Spring Julep for the win), and don’t forget you can pre- or post-party at The Interval as well.

Wanted to make a quick note here that hopper associate editor Dana Eastland is road trippin’ to Portland toward the end of the month, and she’d love to hear any recommendations you might have! Where to dine, where to wine, whatever you’ve got, in Portland or along Highway 1. Email her your recos here, and thank you!

Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 6, 2015

Shrimp chips and whipped salt cod with smoked roe at Mister Jiu’s pop-up at Mission Chinese Food this week. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Is it 5pm yet? Is it 6pm yet? Whatever time you get to punch the clock today, I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I think the majority of the city will be heading to Fort Mason for the reopening of the Friday night Off the Grid hootenanny, see you there? Tomorrow morning I have to be up bright and early to head down to Carmel for Gourmet Fest, it’s going to be an epic weekend. #therewillbeDomPérignon

Don’t forget, Sunday is International Women’s Day, and A16 and Piccino are celebrating Festa Della Donna in style! To all the ladies in the house, the ladies, the ladies…

I have been dealing with even more iMac woes (dear lord, please make it stop), but fortunately I was back up and running in time to get today’s column together for you. I have a quick jetsetter recap of my New Year’s trip to Los Angeles, plus an awesome sugar mama giveaway of two tickets to an invite-only tablehopper brunch in a couple of weeks. Thinking of heading to the 707? Heather Irwin has some ideas for you in 707 scout.

I also think you’ll enjoy this week’s piece I did for 7x7.com on four SF wine bars where the food is as destination-worthy as the wine!

Cheers and ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 3, 2015

At the Grandes Pagos de España wine tasting at Absinthe, chef Ryan McIlwraith’s (preview) tosta de chuleton: sliced porterhouse steak with tximi-txurri and bone marrow hollandaise. I KNOW. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy amigos. Thanks to everyone for the nice notes and well wishes on tablehopper’s nine-year anniversary, you rock. But now we need to do a special shout-out to chef Roland Passot, who is celebrating La Folie’s 27th anniversary today! Bravo, chef!

Speaking of celebrations, today I have a recap and photo evidence of the amazing Family Meal chefs-only event I co-hosted with Sosh last week at The Progress. I can’t believe I got throw a second one! And at The Progress, are you kidding? Everyone in that room was feeling damn lucky. I wish I could have invited 100!

I am really looking forward to this weekend, and it’s not just because we spring forward! Saturday morning, I’ll be driving down to Carmel for Gourmet Fest, because when Michel Bras is leading a lunchtime demo, you clear your calendar and show up (amIright?). There are a number of stellar events (it all starts on Thursday!), with food and wine luminaries like Gaia Gaja, Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, Ernst Loosen, Tetsuya Wakuda, and many Relais & Châteaux Grands Chefs from around the world. There are tickets remaining for some events—which includes tastings, lunches, dinners, demos, and more—and you can even come down for a day trip (although I’m happy to be staying a night at the charming La Playa Carmel again). Hope to see you there!

Okay, don’t hate me for leaving town again, but I’m going to actually be taking a real vacation and am heading with my sis to Cozumel for a week in the sun later this month. If you have any recos on where to eat (can’t wait for the seafood) or the best snorkeling, I’m all ears, thanks!

Have a swell week, see you on Friday!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 24, 2015

In yo’ face! The Banh, Baby, Banh at Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SF, why you so pretty today? Fresh air, clear skies, plum blossoms scattering on the sidewalks and perfuming our city, a cute songbird chirping outside my window, asparagus at the markets…spring is here, and I’m feeling it.

Another thing I was feeling was totally irked with how the Academy Awards completely overlooked Joan Rivers in their In Memoriam tribute. Really, you couldn’t boot the marketing executive listed (who I am sure was a wonderful person, no offense) for the grande dame of the red carpet? Please.

More award tawk: there was some excitement rippling through the industry last week with the announcement of the James Beard Foundation Restaurant and Chef Award Semifinalists. Congrats to all! On Tuesday March 24th, we’ll hear who the final nominees are for what will be the 25th anniversary of the awards (which will be taking place for the first time in Chicago on Monday May 4th).

OK, yours truly has a lot more on her plate than usual, literally and figuratively, so I won’t be in your inboxes again until next week. This upcoming week is gonna be a pressure cooker. Tax time really sucks for us self-employed/freelance/boss of me types, ya feel me?

Ciao for now. Mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 20, 2015

Kanpai! The rich and robust sake flight at Yuzuki. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Welcome to your weekend, you’re almost there. I don’t know about you, but I have a Lunar Night Market and a Scotch party in my not-too-distant future. Don’t forget, you can check out some new bagels (from Earl’s Bread) on Sunday!

And then there’s the Oscars on Sunday—I’m pretty excited about spending my Kitchit credit to have a Kitchit Tonight chef come over to cook and serve me and my friend dinner in bed as we watch the show. How fun and decadent is that? They even do the dishes. My idea of a perfect, lazy Sunday (because it has been a week). There will be Champagne.

Another reason I’ll be chugging some bubbles this weekend: can you believe tablehopper is turning nine tomorrow? I know, what the hell. Thanks to all of you for your support all these years! So can I ask a favor? The most helpful thing you could do for me is tell a friend or two about tablehopper. I understand some of you like to keep it to yourselves as your secret dining weapon, but new subscribers are always warmly welcomed here. Thanks for spreading the word!

So originally I was going to write up three short blurbs on wine bars I have been loving lately, but as I started writing about La Nebbia, it morphed into a full review, so here we are. Heather Irwin also has some 707 bites for you.

Enjoy the weekend, pop!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 17, 2015

A Sazerac and baked oysters Simoneaux at Boxing Room. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hopefully you got enough vitamin D flowing in your system this past sunny weekend so you don’t care about this chilly and gray Mardi Gras. Whatever, we’re not under five feet of snow like other cities, so let the good times roll. Here’s a little roundup of some places where you can go get your Hurricane or king cake on tonight.

I started my Mardi Gras party early: on Saturday night I went to Boxing Room for a late-night burger (perfection) and Sazerac (remember, they now have a full liquor license!), and I was not going to pass up the baked oysters Simoneaux—named after the chef—who bakes them with tasso, trinity, and Parmesan cheese (I think it’s obvious that you don’t want to miss ‘em).

Earlier that evening, I went to check out a new SoundBox performance, Sticks & Stones, just behind Davies Symphony Hall. Whoa, what a cool new addition to our musical scene, it felt so very now. The space—normally used for rehearsals—is incredible: huge vaulted ceilings, cool clubby lighting and projections, comfortable lounge-like seating. There’s a full bar, and the musical artists are right in front of you in various spots throughout the room. It was a really unique musical experience. The next shows are March 6th-7th and April 9th-10th. Get your tickets ($25), this is a hot one.

And a happy new year to you: the lunar new year starts this Thursday February 19th! Here are some places where you can celebrate the year of the ram (or sheep or goat or Mongolian gazelle, whatever you prefer) in the coming week.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 13, 2015

The hi-low katsu with cheese at Rintaro (a kind of deliciously dirty dish elevated with excellent Riverdog chicken). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, my fellow spoiled citizens of the Bay Area. Yeah, that’s a 72-degree forecast we’re looking at for this weekend in SF. Hell to the yes. Time to start plotting where you want to have brunch outside (because that’s how we do it here in February).

This Saturday is Valentine’s Day (my inbox won’t seem to let me forget that for 10 minutes, as I get pummeled with so many chocolate, cocktail, and “very special prix-fixe dinner with oysters and steak and molten chocolate cake!” pitches). We recently did a little V-Day dinner and dessert roundup for y’all, but I also just posted this piece with fun Valentine’s Day options for my fellow single folks too. Yup, I’m looking out for all of you.

Today’s missive is a quick read, with my review of the charming Izakaya Rintaro, and we have a 707 Scout update for you too.

Hearts and flowers for all of you!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 10, 2015

The glorious Martinez at Comstock Saloon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Did you notice the big alcohol shortage this weekend in North Beach? You can blame the tablehopper Barbary Coast cocktail crawl with Anchor Distilling Company, ha-ha. Saturday evening, a group of us gathered at the brand-new Devil’s Acre to kick off the night with pisco punch, and then headed to Comstock Saloon for a Martinez and bites, followed by 15 Romolo for their Sioux City Milk Punch and more vittles. Yeah, we were feeling good. We also learned a bunch about the neighborhood, each bar’s interesting history, and cocktail history, too, love it.

I posted a mini photo album of the night here, and there are pics on Instagram as well. Thanks to everyone who came! Let’s do it again.

I hope you all have a nice national pizza day yesterday? I unknowingly celebrated early on Sunday, because I thoroughly enjoyed a margherita at the counter at La Nebbia (they have a new pizzaiolo, FYI). And let’s not forget their supremely awesome selection of prosciutto and jamón, mamma/mama mia.

Our city will be full of a bunch more Italians this week, since Tre Bicchieri is this Thursday. I’m going to try to swing by for a few quick tastes before scooting down to San Mateo for my fabulous grandma’s birthday (an event that trumps everything).

This week there is mercifully less news than last week—well, for now, we should have some good stories to share next week. Although we do have some cool booze news for you, and some socialite action too: Chinese New Year and Mardi Gras are coming up! And if you need some help with Valentine’s Day ideas, we’ve got that too.

Enjoy the week! See you Friday.
Marcia Gagliardi

February 6, 2015

It’s meat pie weather! With pork belly, snails, and a suet crust (you can handle it). At Cockscomb. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oooh, rainy day! Windy! Drama! Love it. I’m actually heading out in this mess for an invite I couldn’t turn down: a tasting of Masi Agricola wines (with Raffaele Boscaini) paired with dry-aged beef from Flannery Beef at Perbacco. I know, right? Golden. My weekend is starting early.

Which is why today’s issue is a shorty. Tuesday’s practically crushed us over here anyway. But Heather Irwin has a bunch of catch-up 707 news for us, I hope you get inspired to take a road trip or day trip soon—it’s such a great time of year to hang out in Wine Country.

So it’s officially SF Beer Week, but for those of you who fancy a cocktail this weekend instead, we have just one ticket left on Sosh for the tablehopper North Beach cocktail crawl with Anchor Distilling this Saturday evening. We’re starting early: 5:30pm at the new Devil’s Acre, and then heading to Comstock Saloon and 15 Romolo (we’ll also have some tasty food for you at the two latter locations!). I am rerunning the event announcement today so you can check out all the tasty details—based on the RSVP list, I already know it’s going to be a fun group. Because, hello, we’re talking about tablehopper readers. Duh.

In case you’re mulling over Valentine’s Day options, here’s our post in case you missed it on Tuesday. And here are a couple of fun pop-ups this Saturday: Shorty Goldstein’s starts their series of appearances at the CUESA farmers market at the Ferry Building, and Press 12 is popping up at Four Barrel. Both worth going out in the rain for.

One more tidbit: I have my monthly post on 7x7.com for you on five new places to check out this month in case you need a quick cheat sheet of what’s new in town. Good stuff.

See you Tuesday.
Marcia Gagliardi