What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
July 12, 2016
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The massive serving of rigatoni in Frankie’s famous ragù at F & J Pine in the Bronx (you even get your own meatball). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ciao ragazzi! I’m down to my last few days in New York, and am leaving on Saturday for Rome, and then Abruzzo, and then Sicily: heading to Palermo, Scopello, Agrigento, and Vittoria (can’t wait to finally visit COS and Occhipinti!). If you have any tips on places to eat or visit in these Sicilian towns and areas, feel free to send ‘em along since we’ll be driving all over—and thanks to all of you who already sent me ideas! So appreciated. It’s going to be so hot in Rome, mamma mia.

I fly back to SF in time for Outside Lands, and tablehopper won’t be back in your inbox until August 9th! I know, that’s a long time. But vacation is going to be so sweet. Ahhhhhh.

I just wrapped up a phenomenal week in New York with my sis, who came to visit. Nothing like having a guest in from out of town to go do all the things you’ve been wanting to do, and who loves to eat! We escaped the heat wave and spent a glorious day in Cherry Grove, we took a tour at the Tenement Museum and a (free!) Greenwich Village tour with the Village Alliance (highly recommend it!), we ate a ton of dim sum (RedFarm, Nom Wah, and The Bao), pizza (Di Fara, Bleecker Street), nova and bagels (at Russ & Daughters Cafe), martinis at the Russian Tea Room, coffee cocktails at Kobrick Coffee Co., a stellar (har) dinner at Estela (one of my top meals here), tried a cronut, danced at Mister Sundays, shopped, toured the Met (HAD to see the Psycho house), visited a relative’s restaurant in the Bronx (F & J Pine), and the finale, enjoyed eggs Benedict at its birthplace, the Waldorf Astoria, before it closes for changes and a renovation in 2017. WHOOSH. Fortunately we walked more than 10K steps a day, more like 13K, so we didn’t become complete blimps.

I still have a few more days of running around here, trying to see and do as much as I can before I fly out—like have a drink at the Four Seasons before it closes Saturday. What an amazing six months, thanks New York! Karl the Fog, I’ll be home soon.

See y’all in August, ciao for now!
Marcia Gagliardi

June 28, 2016
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The brilliant frozen Negroni at Alta Linea. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there! Greetings from humid New York, where my hair is growing in volume by the hour. It’s also a bit wind-tossed and partied out from all the Pride festivities I hit this past weekend, my first New York Pride! The Drag March on Friday was beyond faaaaabulous, and moving too, my favorite part of the weekend. But Sunday night’s 718 Sessions boat party on the Hudson with Danny Krivit playing while (literally) cruising by the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline dotted with rainbow spires was pretty damn dreamy. Great bookends for the weekend, wow. I also got some beach time in on Saturday at Gunnison Beach, the most lively nude beach I have ever visited. What a scene! The East Coast just keeps on delivering mad flava, I tell ya.

In the spirit of Pride, I was also so happy to see two pieces I have been working on for Time Out USA go up this past week about the DJs and promoters around the US who are keeping the classic disco spirit alive at their fantastic parties, and their favorite classic disco tracks (with some great commentary from the DJs about why they love ‘em). If you’d like a hip-shakin’ soundtrack (and disco education!), you gotta listen through this piece. Thanks to everyone who helped me pull this one together!

Would you believe it’s my last week in my prize-winning apartment at the Ritz Plaza and my last day at Time Out New York is this Wednesday?! Where did the time go? So insane. No brakes on this thing!

I’m going to be staying at a friend’s place in Manhattan for a couple of weeks before flying to Italy on July 16th (can’t wait), and soaking in my last moments of warm New York nights, dance floors, pizza slices, and bagels. It’s also a good time to be eating all these cold noodle dishes. I’ll be back in San Francisco for the month of August before looking for a sublet and heading back out to New York for September and October. I’m gonna be bicoastal, baby! I need both SF and NYC in my life.

Speaking of bicoastal, take a peek at this fun piece I wrote for Caviar about my favorite pizzas I have tried on Caviar in New York and East Coast-style pizzas you can get delivered in SF. I’ve had much fun exploring the wild world of New York delivery out here, and I can’t believe I was able to order an entire pizza from the iconic Joe’s to my door. Like, whoa. And so dangerous. Heh heh. If you haven’t tried Caviar yet, use my code for $20 off your first two deliveries ($10 off each)! I know I have created many New York slice cravings for you SF readers, so hopefully this helps scratch the itch!

Okay, I have a lot of packing and storage to figure out, so it’s time for me to boogie. I’m taking the Fourth of July holiday off like the rest of you, so no tablehopper next week, and I will be back in your inboxes on July 12th, my last column before my Italian vacanze.

Enjoy the colored fog! (There’s actually a cute eyeglass donation petition about this.) I’m hoping to actually SEE fireworks this year. How novel.
Marcia Gagliardi

June 21, 2016
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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
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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