April 2010

April 27, 2010

It’s Caesar salad time with Pete at Marin Joe’s.

And so my own personal countdown begins: this Friday I hop on a plane to New York, where I will be carrying on for one glorious week. I am super excited to be attending the James Beard Awards for my first time—I was invited by Savory Cities to be a correspondent/live blogger for the event. Yeah, I’m stoked. And boy, is my restaurant hit list long—but I think I’m hungriest for a bowl of ramen at Ippudo, I can almost taste it. Follow my Twitter feed if you want to rubberneck.

Literally the day after I return, I am hosting a tablehopper sandwich social at Purcell Murray on the afternoon of Saturday May 8th. Check it out in the socialite: for $15, you will feast on sandwiches from three of San Francisco’s best sandwich makers, all in one spot. Plus we’ll be enjoying some bubbly. See you there?

In the meantime, the crowd for this Thursday’s two-martini lunch with the tablehopper at Bix is looking like a good one. Happy to see so many people want to hang out and hit the sauce with me in the middle of the day—allrighty then! I’ll be primed and ready for a quick spin at the Taste of the Nation event that evening, and then I have to pack for my Friday morning flight. Oh, and turn in two articles before I leave, hmmm.

Last week I was on wino patrol, tasting natural Italian wines and meeting winemakers like the admirable Arianna Occhipinti at Barbacco (and look at that, I have a review of Barbacco this week!) and taking part in an albariño crawl around the city on Wednesday. On Saturday, I was a panelist for the Greystone Flavor Summit—met a lot of interesting people, and got to invite Paul Bartolotta to grab a turbo dinner that night at the counter at SPQR before he had to catch his flight back to Vegas. I’m always so proud to show visitors our little neighborhood gems. And I didn’t even tell you about the five places I went to on Sunday night for my upcoming Marin Magazine article. Yes, five. Livin’ the vida loca, I tell you.

See you on the track.

Marcia Gagliardi

April 20, 2010

Salmon and ikura wappa meshi at Maki.

Hey, dude. Happy 4/20. As if San Francisco doesn’t already smell like one big doobie, I can only imagine what 4:20pm is going to smell like today. In honor of San Francisco’s favorite stoner chow, I have not one or two but three mini reviews of three very different Mexican establishments in the city. Buen provecho.

Speaking of good appetite, last week’s Hop Dog Happy Hour with CUESA was a blast—many thanks to everyone who cooked, made drinks, and came out to eat and drink. A very special thanks to the CUESA team for organizing it! The faboo Bunrabs posted a detailed photo essay on all the marvy concoctions.

This Thursday April 22nd, I’m going to be at The Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley for a reading and book signing, and Tyler is going to be there with me! Yup, there’s going to be some banter. The talented Jackie Patterson is going to be making a refreshing cocktail, the Spring Cup, featuring Hangar One vodka from St. George Spirits. The event starts at 6pm, see you there?

And a little reminder on the boozy tip that next Thursday April 29th is the two-martini lunch with the tablehopper at Bix, an event in conjunction with Bay Gourmet/the Commonwealth Club. Cocktails and passed apps (hello caviar pillows) kick off at noon, and Jordan Mackay will be there to ask me good questions. You can get your tickets here. (Future book events and dates are all listed here.)

Happy 40th Earth Day this Thursday.

Marcia Gagliardi

April 13, 2010

Last week, my hand of cards was most definitely a full house, starting with Wednesday’s Tour de Champagne at the Bubble Lounge, which was fantastique (particularly enjoyed the brut from grower-producer Dosnon & Lepage). My Thursday evening mingle at 18 Reasons was a blast (thank you Onigilly for the delicious rice treats! Best party treats ever—no fuss, no muss.). There was definitely a lively discussion that occurred at the end of the evening: the 18 Reasons staff posted a piece of butcher paper on the wall, asking “What San Francisco Restaurant Do You Think Is Overrated and Underrated?” (Here’s a photo of everyone’s submissions. Discuss.)

Friday night I headed over to Cavallo Point for dinner with Peter Greenberg and his crew, and had a good time recording a segment for the Peter Greenberg Worldwide show on Saturday morning about “off the brochure” and late-night places to visit in San Francisco. (Of course booze figured prominently in my suggestions.)

After hanging with my 510 readers and grazing on coppa at my signing at The Pasta Shop at Market Hall (thanks for coming by!), my buddy and I hopped into my Alfa and scooted down to Pebble Beach Food and Wine, just in time for our Top Chef Masters Dinner that evening. Rather than go through a big recap, let’s have the pictures do the talking: here are the photos from my whirlwind 24-hour tour down there. I attended the Top Chef Masters Dinner (our table, table 9, was outta-hand fun) Saturday night, the after party, a tasting of vintage Veuve Clicquot on Sunday morning, and then the Grand Tasting event. The festival is total culinary ADD: everywhere you turn, there’s someone you want to talk to, something you want to eat, something you want to drink. Kudos to the organizers for pulling off another spectacular year. And thank god I was wearing my boots on Sunday, because the run in the rain back to my car was like four-wheeling.

Whew, it looks like the great deluge of 2010 is fortunately over because this Wednesday is the Hop Dog Happy Hour with CUESA at the Ferry Building—sorry to report all the tickets are sold out, and the waiting list is long. However, how would you like to attend something sweet (and free) this Friday April 16th? I’m going to be signing books at Fog City News from 12pm-2pm, featuring free samples from the amazing Xocolatl de Davíd. We’ll be tasting the following chocolates: Almond Pimentón, Salted Caramel, and my favorite, the Bacon Raleigh bar (nougat, pecans, fleur de sel, 72% dark chocolate, and bacon-infused caramel—yeah, it’s insane). See you there.

And then this Saturday April 17th, I’ll be doing a book reading and signing at Read Booksellers in Blackhawk Plaza in Danville—a lot of my relatives will be there, so if you want to hang out with the Gagliardis and DeGrazias, come on by—it starts at 2pm. And Thursday April 29th is my two-martini lunch at Bix with the Commonwealth Club—we are totally going to feast. You comin’? The price is right!

Lastly, it looks like I might be heading to NYC for the Beard Awards and general running around the Big Apple the first week of May. Woot. Anyone know of any rooms/sublets/swaps/unoccupied apartments they’d recommend in Manhattan or Brooklyn? I’m trying to avoid the expense of a hotel for the entire week (will be singing the post-taxes blues, no fun), or couch surfing (and I have been turned on to Airbnb.com, thanks!). Appreciate any leads!

See you on the town,

Marcia Gagliardi

April 6, 2010
quince martini.jpg

The Quince Martini.

Guess who was out on a rare Monday night? Yours truly was busy signing books at the Wines of Portugal event (was great to meet a lot of you, thanks for coming over to say hi!), and then I hopped over to Quince to play my part as a special guest for a food-loving lovely lady’s birthday party in the private dining room (I was scheduled to arrive with the dessert course—but alas, there was no jumping out of a cake). My dinner, however, consisted of the house martini and potato chips at the Quince bar, and scarfing a slice of pizza on my drive home at 11pm (I definitely needed some carbo-loaded fuel since I burned the midnight oil to meet my deadline—someone had to write this damned thing).

Much more fulfilling was Easter dinner with my family: my dad not only made the most delicate fettuccine (coated in my mother’s amazing tomato sauce), but then we had such juicy braised capretto (baby goat) with pancetta and peas. Plus my mom made an apple cake with walnuts for dessert (it paired perfectly with some of my dad’s grappa, built for a chilly night). Gotta love the Gagliardi Family Ristorante—my dad was asking why he wasn’t in my book. Let’s just say my Monday leftovers for lunch were primo classe. And I am royally spoiled since all I did this year was show up and chop some crudites for the appetizers (can you sense my guilt?).

Last week’s highlights included a smashing meal at Quince that went late into the night (two words for you: cheese course); a faboo Cooks With Books luncheon at Perbacco (chef Staffan made sure no one left hungry); my reading at Kepler’s in Menlo Park where my high school history teacher surprised me in the audience (followed by a late-night dinner with my mom and sis at Kabul, so delicious); and my Q&A and tasting at Bloomingdale’s with Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe (have you had his sublime duck fat pecan pies yet? Holy cow. And with his brown butter ice cream? Hold me.).

This week is going to continue the “rock the casa” theme: Wednesday is all about bubbles at the Tour de Champagne at the Bubble Lounge; Thursday I will be at 18 Reasons for a tablehopper meet-and-greet (from 7pm-9pm) with bubbles and treats from Onigilly (come on by!), Friday I’ll be staying over at Cavallo Point in order to wake up early on Saturday for the Peter Greenberg Worldwide radio show, and then I’m signing books and sampling treats with you East Bay folks at The Pasta Shop at Rockridge Market Hall at noon (it’s free!), and then I’m hoppin’ in my car to drive down for dinner at Pebble Beach Food & Wine and an overnighter, plus a Champagne tasting and the Grand Tasting on Sunday. There will be lots of coffee consumed this week—call it a hunch.

Since I missed Pebble Beach Food & Wine last year, I am especially fired up to attend this year, it’s quite the event. I was lucky to be invited as a guest of the organizers, but you should know there are some great à la carte tickets available starting at $100 (including a Friday demo with Thomas Keller). And then there are the two Lexus Grand Tasting events that take place in a 60,000-square-foot tent, with bites from 25 top-notch chefs and pours from 200 premium wineries—it’s $175 for a day pass, and the event runs from 12pm-3pm. It’s class-ay.

A little more lowbrow (but just as delicious) is my Hop Dog Happy Hour next Wednesday April 14th. You coming? Tickets are selling quickly. Heck, you get to try four dogs and four cocktails, all for $15! The other one to book a ticket for is my Commonwealth Club two-martini lunch at Bix on April 29th. The menu is rockin’. Check it out in the socialite!

Shall we dive in? Let’s.

Marcia Gagliardi

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