October 2011

October 28, 2011
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A bounty of fall sweet treats at Chez Panisse. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, happy Champagne Day to you! I am already plotting when to pop a split of Henriot that is waiting for me in the fridge. After this week of snafus, boy do I need it. All kinds of things went haywire. Good news: my Gaggia espresso machine has returned to the homestead. All praise the caffeine gods, I am back in the saddle. The bad news: I need to bring my Mac into the shop for a couple days so they can get her healthy again. Um, how am I supposed to get my work done? Am really not a fan of that solution. At all. Where is that Champagne? Let me drink some while I think about this….

But since I firmly believe in not working on my birthday (as boss of me, I am allowed to make these kinds of proclamations), I’m just gonna take it as a sign that next Tuesday November 1st is the perfect day to bring my computer into the shop. I’m officially taking the day off, happy birthday to me. Hey, you only turn 40 once.

In the meantime, I have been invited once again to co-host the radio show Edible Escapes with Anthony Licciardi on Sunday! Please tune in from 11am-1pm on KSFO 560AM. In honor of Halloween, I think we’re gonna be working on a sugar high that day.

Another thing for your radar: last night, I was invited to a launch party/dinner at Chez Panisse for Tamar Adler’s new book, An Everlasting Meal. Imagine M.F.K. Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf for our generation. I know, intriguing. I just wanted to let you know she’s doing a reading at Book Passage at the Ferry Building this evening at 6pm before heading back to NYC, come on down! Here are some pics from the lovely dinner last night.

So, today’s newsletter has a fabulous guest wino (Maria Hunt) in honor of Champagne Day (pop!), and a few other tidbits since I won’t be in your inbox with any news until next Friday. Oh, and since Halloween parties are already underway, here’s an updated listing of some Halloween-related activities for ya. Boo.

Happy Halloween everyone, see you next Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 25, 2011
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Celtuce course at COI. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ugh, I am totally on pins and needles right now—my beloved MacBook has crashed twice in the past 24 hours, and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to get the newsletter out in time. Or at all. Whew. Of course my computer chose a terrible time to misbehave. Let alone the fact I had to bring my over-worked espresso machine into the shop yesterday as well. I can’t have the coffee and the computer fail me at the same time—then again, one is inextricably linked to the other, a total Möbius strip of how I get my work done. Anyway, here’s hoping I don’t have a complete meltdown here at hopper HQ, wish me luck!

The other folks on pins and needles today: Michelin star-hopeful chefs all over the San Francisco Bay Area and wine country. The announcements have been trickling in over Twitter this afternoon as the chefs receive their individual phone calls. Big congrats to all the winners.

This town certainly has some wicked talent. Saturday I must have been out to hurt (and humor) myself, starting with a dim sum feast at Koi Palace in Daly City, and then Saturday evening I had my finest meal yet at COI—each course was as gorgeous to look at as to taste. Still thinking about it.

Okay, I have a scary pileup of errands and calls and email to handle, so here’s bidding you a fabulous week! Ta!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 21, 2011
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Stunning sunset view from the St. Francis Yacht Club. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How y’all doing? I know I wasn’t the only one feeling jumpy yesterday. Was really grateful earthquake number three didn’t show up at 4am in the morning. I already went through that in the Northridge quake—no need for a repeat performance of the mad dash out of the house in a nightie and mismatched shoes. Not my favorite look. I have a feeling a lot of people will be updating their earthquake kits this weekend (I’m in that camp). Right? Do it.

Since I am still playing a monstrous game of work/email/life catchup after my trips, fortunately someone else who has been on the road was available to write up today’s jetsetter piece. Chef Eddie Lau of The Summit shares his stories and pics while eating his face off during a recent trip to Montreal. Yup, there will be bagels. And poutine. And Au Pied de Cochon. Loosen up a belt buckle and have a read. We also have a 707 Scout post today that should make you both a little thirsty and hungry.

And for a little Friday playtime, here’s Cheese or Font?! Yup, time suck alert. The weekend is shaping up to be a sunny one, enjoy.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 18, 2011
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One of the many fab tables at Le Dîner à San Francisco. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Why hello there. Sorry there wasn’t a Friday issue for you—due to some tech stuff that was out of my hands, I couldn’t get this puppy to send. Ack. Did you have a stellar weekend? Enjoy the heat and the full moon bonanza? I was ready to ride my bike around the city all night last Thursday (which is something you need to do after eating the fried boudin balls at Boxing Room).

I couldn’t believe the perfect timing of Friday night’s alfresco Le Dîner à San Francisco—amazed I didn’t freeze in my white cotton kaftan after all (you can check out some pro pics of the event here and a TV segment here). It was a stunning scene, with everyone dressed in white on the rather French-looking music concourse in Golden Gate Park with the fountains and benches and trees (and music!)—a great venue choice for one hell of an adult picnic.

I enjoyed reading (alongside the lovely Connie Green, Dabney Gough, Daniel Duane, and others) at the new 18 Reasons for Litquake on Saturday, followed by a delicious dinner at the bar at Bar Tartine (the sunchoke soup was just what I needed—totally came down with a $%&# cold this weekend). Sunday morning I pumped myself full of cold medicine and was a guest co-host for Edible Escapes on KSFO 560AM, and then drove down to San Mateo to be with my family for a special white truffle dinner at home (we normally aren’t that opulent, but someone—cough—just returned home from Piemonte).

Fortunately I am staying in tonight to recuperate, but Wednesday is the media preview party for Charles Phan’s Wo Hing General Store (finally, the great Oz is letting us in), and on Thursday, I’m looking forward to listening to Gabrielle Hamilton in conversation with the inimitable Kim Severson at City Arts & Lectures (there are still tickets available!). And I’m already looking forward to Portishead this Friday—but I’ll hopefully be in your inbox before the show!

Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 11, 2011
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Buon giorno! The stunning view from my room at Il Boscareto. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Um, wow. I could use upwards of 20 different pictures for today’s intro image. This last week in Piemonte was simply extraordinary. It was my first time visiting the region, and I was blown away with the beauty of the Langhe—Italy in the fall is something else. Same goes for the extraordinary wines (what a life, quaffing Barolo and Barbaresco and arneis daily), the elegant cuisine, and the absolute flurry of white truffle from Alba with each meal was over the top. And after a week of sleeping on the fantastic bed (and linens) at Il Boscareto, let’s just say my bed at home feels like a bunk bed at camp. I can’t wait to write this trip up soon. And it was so much fun to be speaking Italian again—my brain was whirring. But … it’s also good to be home. And it’s high time to work off a month of absolute and utter decadence, mamma mia. Halp.

In the meantime, it was a good thing my flight from Italy got me in on Sunday evening, because I was able to escape my computer yesterday and listen to Ferran Adrià speak to a sold-out audience at the Castro Theatre (here’s a pic for ya—yeah, I was lucky to be just three rows back, thanks to a friend who saved me a seat!). I was a little concerned about having enough energy in my jet-lagged state to stay awake, but the barrage of inspiring images and his high level of verve kept me wide awake, and the audience rapt (I think almost every chef in town was there). It was less of an interview, and more of a TED-like presentation on cooking, vision, cuisine, excellence, and creativity (a word he’s not a fan of). I especially enjoyed his thoughts on the many stages and iterations and concepts an original idea can take, and his belief in sharing information and ideas. We also got a sneak peek of the upcoming ElBulli Foundation (kind of like a thinktank/ideation center and recipe archive), and the majority of guests walked out of there with a copy of his latest book, The Family Meal. For details on where he dined while in San Francisco, check out today’s starlet entry.

This Wednesday I’ll be heading over to the Wine & Spirits Top 100 tasting, always one of my favorite wine events of the year. And just like last year, it looks like we’re slated for some beautiful weather this week. Friday, my friends and I will be at the Le Dîner à San Francisco, which should be a fun one, and Saturday I’ll be participating in a Litquake event, do come by!

Enjoy the sun! Ci vediamo!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 4, 2011
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Paso Glow dinner at SAVOR. © tablehopper.com.

I can’t believe I’m boarding another airplane today, and to Italia no less! It’s been almost exactly 10 years since I’ve been in il bel paese, and to say I’m excited is a mere blip on the understatement scale. I will be touring Piemonte for the next week, the land of Barolo, Barbaresco, Moscato d’Asti, and guess what will be coming into season while I’m there? Yes, the famed tartufo bianco d’Alba! Tajarin, you wicked pasta, come to me! Fingers crossed we get to go on a truffle hunt—would be a fantastic thing to cross off my bucket list. Of course I’ll be tweeting while I’m there, I hope you don’t hate me too much once I’m home in a week.

This past weekend, because I didn’t have enough to do (yeah, right), I scooted down to Paso Robles for Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast event. Saturday night was Paso Glow, an alfresco dinner in the Paso Robles park—an impressive dinner by chef Jeffrey C. Scott considering how many guests were attending (the produce from Thomas Hill Farms was spectacular). Sunday I was a judge for the cocktail smackdown event between SF and LA. Congrats to bartender Erik Adkins, representing our fair city, and winning the contest!

I’m back next Sunday, just in time to catch Ferran Adrià on Monday at the Castro Theatre (sorry, the event is sold out but I am seeing some tickets floating around). In the meantime, have a swell week, whether you’re going to WhiskyFest, FallFest, Fleet Week, or Little Dragon (sorry I had to give up my ticket—they put on such a great show!)!

I managed to miraculously crank out a column for you in this week of catch-up and travel and taxes. Someone is gonna be sleeping on the plane, let me tell you.

Ciao, ragazzi!

Marcia Gagliardi

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