What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
September 30, 2014

Now that’s what I call a soufflé. Late-night treat at Bistrot Paul Bert. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Why hello there! Did ya miss me? I think I only missed my bed and my espresso machine, to be honest—I definitely did not miss my desk. I had a fantastique family vacation in France for a couple of weeks, spent in Paris, Champagne, and the Loire Valley. We had Champagne every day, and croissants and cheese also got some heavy airplay (of course). We changed our nickname from the Griswolds to the Gésiers (gizzards), inspired by a particularly fabulous salad I had one evening, but we also got christened “The Bubbles Family,” which cracked me up to no end. It was a trip of a lifetime to be with my parents and sister in such a beautiful country. France rocks my world on so many levels, it was two weeks of beauty overload. Thanks to everyone who shared their tips and recommendations with me. Can’t wait to tell more about our trip soon…

Now that I’m back, today’s issue features a lot of catch-up on stories that broke while I was away. Look for some exciting stories in next week’s issue (including the opening of the new Marlowe, which is happening on Thursday October 2nd).

And just in case you missed these stories in the Bay Guardian while I was gone, here’s one on upcoming fall openings and another on recent brunches to join the scene. Oh, and I ran a recap of where to eat in Rio for last week’s Moveable Feast travel issue, check it.

Let’s dive in here, shall we? I look forward to seeing you out and about. Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

September 5, 2014

The papaya salad at Chubby Noodle Marina. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ugh. Why did we have to lose Joan Rivers? That woman was fearless! No one was too sacred for her to turn her ferocious laser of comedy on. A truly hilarious being whose comedy has had me in stitches for decades. She was inspiring, wildly inappropriate, and unfortunately, so irreplaceable.

Well, one thing that has me in a GREAT mood is this is my last tablehopper transmission until I get back from France. Get me away from this gross inbox that is like a fire hose, please, and à bientôt, desk! We’ll be back in your inboxes on Tuesday September 30th! Again, publicists and industry people, please don’t send any pitches on events happening over the next few weeks, we are going dark dark dark! (Can you tell I’m happy about this? You have no idea.)

You can follow along with my French adventures with my family on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. THERE WILL BE CROISSANTS.

Today’s issue has a few pieces of breaking news, my review of Chubby Noodle Marina, and a 707 scout from Heather Irwin for you. Speaking of the 707, I wrote this piece this week for 7x7.com on ways you can help support Napa right now. Primarily, that means going up there for a visit! They need some visitors, folks. So hopefully my piece on new and hot places and insider tips will inspire you to head on up!

The short workweek, always a thing a beauty. Since the weekend is here, you may want to check out my piece for the Bay Guardian on all the latest brunch options, because brunch and options are two great things together. Yup.

All right everyone, I am signing off—someone is trying to cram three weeks of writing deadlines into this weekend, and it’s not pretty.

See you at the end of the month! Bisous!
Marcia Gagliardi

September 3, 2014

The Countess of Carrak (with aquavit, beet juice, fennel bitters and pollen, egg white, lemon) at The Farmer & the Fox in St. Helena. (An amazing pairing with the cured salmon/beer bread.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How about that stunning three-day weekend? I hope you had a swell one. Me? I got the hell out of Dodge on Sunday and headed up to see friends who are now living in Yountville. We rode bikes, had Champagne on the porch, swam at the Yountville pool, and had a pretty fabulous evening at Cairdean Estate, just north of St. Helena. After trying some of their wines (you know some rosé was in our lineup), we sat down to a gastropubby dinner at the new The Farmer & the Fox, with chef Joseph Humphrey leading the kitchen. The space looks great, the cocktails were excellent, and I’ll be back for their smoked duck wings and popovers, trust. I’ll share more on tablehopper soon.

I had to get back to the city on Monday so I could properly celebrate my 20th anniversary of living in SF. I guess there aren’t many cities where it would feel right to celebrate something like that, but in SF, I think it’s a must. I had a blast meeting up with old and new friends throughout the night, taking a trip down memory lane to Club Deluxe, the Big 4, Tony Nik’s, and a slice of Golden Boy pizza may have made its way into the evening as well. Oh yeahhhhh.

So things are a little bonkers over here at Hopper HQ: I’m trying to get everything wrapped up since I’m heading to France on Tuesday September 9th (mon dieu!). I’m taking a family trip to Paris, Champagne, and the Loire Valley (we’ll be in Sancerre and Vouvray), so excited. It’s going to be a special one, that’s for damn sure. European Vacation, Part II!

So what this means is that today’s issue had to cover a LOT of news since we’re not running any more news issues after this Friday September 5th—we’ll be going dark until Tuesday September 30th. Dear publicists, restaurant owners, and bar folks, please hold back on any time-sensitive news, pitches, and more since I’ll be gone, merci beaucoup!

Okay folks, let’s dive in here since we have a lot to go over. We’ll see you Friday for one last little transmission.

Marcia Gagliardi

August 29, 2014

Hittin’ the Ha-Ra, sometime circa the mid-’90s. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

So, have you already peeled out for the long holiday weekend? Good for you. On most three-day weekends, we don’t really enjoy them so much over here because we’re working in preparation for our Tuesday deadline and post time. But this weekend, we’re doing things differently: we’re taking Monday off (that’s right, uh-huh!), and we’ll be showing up in your inboxes on Wednesday instead. Just FYI on the do-si-do.

Another reason I’m keen to take Monday off is I am going to be celebrating my 20th anniversary of living in San Francisco, holy cow. I’m going to be meeting up with some friends in various spots throughout the evening for some cheersing. It’s fun to brainstorm where to go: I’m thinking of the places I used to practically live in back in the ’90s, like Club Deluxe, the Orbit Room, the 500 Club, Tosca, Maxfield’s, and Dalva. Good times. I might need to hit up a place where I used to throw a happy hour (Knees Up) with some friends (Vertigo, I’m coming for ya!). Alas, Ginger’s Trois, the Red Room, the Redwood Room (the original!), Bruno’s (again, the original), the 7-11 Club, the Detour (so fun), the Cypress Club, and C. Bobby’s Owl Tree are long gone. My liver says hi, thanks for the memories.

Last night, I was enjoying a nightcap at ABV with some friends, and we ended up having a total trip down (fuzzy) memory lane—all of us were old-timers—cackling over clubbing shenanigans at places like the Top, 550 Barneveld, 177 Townsend, DV8 (Dr. Winkie!), and 26 Mix. The Caribbean Zone, what a trip. The Stud will always have my heart, while the EndUp, well, it has a good portion of my shame, ha-ha! Anyway. 20 years, man. San Francisco, I do love your golden handcuffs.

Since we’re all thinking about drinking now, here are a couple of clips for you: first, I wrote this piece for 7x7.com this week on four restaurants that give low-proof cocktails the high-end treatment, and I covered a bunch of pop-up restaurants to check out in my Tablehopping column for the Bay Guardian.

Today’s just a shorty column, the place I was going to review took a left at Albuquerque, and someone has a lot of work to do before heading out of town on Sunday. Have a great weekend, and if you drink anything this weekend, #drinknapa.

Marcia Gagliardi

August 26, 2014

My favorite time of day at Lake Tahoe: the late afternoon. True blue. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi there. I just got back from the land of sky blue water—Lake Tahoe—late Sunday night, totally the inverse to the path of my Burner pals leaving the Bay and heading up to BRC (and what a bummer for anyone who got stuck in that long gate closure, oof). I’m glad I missed that freak rainstorm and hail up at the lake, but more than anything, I’m glad I missed that crazy-early Sunday morning quake, oh lawdy. I am hoping the universe has decided I have suffered through enough of them (Loma Prieta, losing my apartment in the Northridge quake, and, oh yes, let’s not forget Athens in 1999, which was not cute).

I am so so sorry for all the loss and damages so many people (and wineries) are experiencing in Napa and the surrounding area. It’s also so utterly and completely terrifying to experience a quake on that scale (I had PTSD after the Northridge quake for a while). But how amazing to not have a single casualty—so lucky we are. It’s time to get that quake survival kit together, no? I know we’re all looking at our shelves and what’s hanging above our beds right now.

In brighter news, what are your Labor Day weekend plans? (Check out the chatterbox on the tablehopper website for a few ideas.) I’m actually going to be heading up to Yountville on Sunday, so I’m hoping things stay VERY mellow up there. (Fingers and toes crossed.)

Before we dive into some catch-up news, I have a couple fun roundups for you: first, this piece on five new lobster rolls you can find in SF (and the 510), and I was also asked to take part in this Thrillist piece on the best chicken wings in the Bay. Mmmm, wings.

Okay everyone, take good care, enjoy the sun, and I’ll see you Friday.
Marcia Gagliardi