May 2012

May 29, 2012
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Buckwheat gnocchi with black garlic and peas at Namu Gaji. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Did you have a nice holiday break? Well, good for you, because my ass was home writing this thing yesterday while you were out barbecuing and partying. See how I suffer for you? Ha-ha, nothing like a little guilt trip to start the week. I’m cracking myself up over here. Maybe it’s just cabin fever.

Well, I am doing one massive exhalation right now because after searching high and low, I have found my girl Friday (and Tuesday). That search process was rough, let me tell you. I mean, come on, how can you say no to someone who makes custom (and hilarious) artwork for their job application? Sadly, I couldn’t make an offer to the charming Eliza Kinkz, but hopefully I can recruit her to do some custom artwork for me in the future. Right? So adorable. Thank you to everyone who applied, it means a lot.

I know she is going to cringe right now, but I have to extend tremendous thanks and gratitude to Daisy Chow, my right-hand wonder woman/editorial assistant who has faithfully been with me since she started with tablehopper as an intern back in 2009. Daisy has been instrumental in helping me write and publish this weekly e-column, launch my first book, and assist me in managing more business details than you can even imagine. She treated my business like it was her own, and that’s not a quality you find every day. Daisy has (sadly) left tablehopper to take a full-time position with a start-up (lucky mofos), but will still continue to help out as we ramp up her replacement, the delightful Dana Massey-Todd, whose name you’ll be seeing pop up more in the column. Welcome aboard, Dana. And Daisy, I owe you an eternity of thanks for all your support and help. Meow.

So have you had a chance to pick up the June issue of 7x7? Yours truly has her first two pieces in there, check it out! I also posted my first weekly piece on 7x7.com about the latest alfresco dining spots to open around town—considering the nice forecast this week, it should come in handy.

Lastly, on today’s episode of You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I give an early look at Comal in Berkeley, have a listen.

Okay, back to the salt mines. Enjoy the short week! And in case any of you eagle eyes are wondering why you’re receiving the column a bit early today, my newsletter service is doing a server update this afternoon (at 3pm, how convenient!), so I had to post early.

Marcia Gagliardi

May 25, 2012
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In-room gin and tonic cocktail service at the Mandarin Oriental. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Okay, really wind? That’s about enough. It’s making any woman with long hair or anyone who rides a bike really fussy, and let’s just say I have both of those categories covered. Whatever, I’ll be burning off any of my wind-induced fussiness later tonight on the dance floor.

Personally, I am still reeling from the spectacular Dita Von Teese show at The Fillmore on Tuesday night, what a night to remember for all time! I was also lucky to stay the night at the renovated Mandarin Oriental. Nothing like having a view from the 40th floor—which isn’t very common in our city, it feels so much more New Yorky. The rooms reminded me a bit of the Wynn Las Vegas—very chic, with a calming and neutral color palette (and good art!). The fabulous team there also spoiled me and my cohort with in-room gin and tonic service before we headed out on the town—it was a preview of their upcoming bar program by Priscilla Young in the lounge at Brasserie S&P (stand by for more on that soon). Hell, I really could use some in-room gin and tonic service right now at Hopper HQ.

I am sure many of you have already peeled out for the three-day weekend (good for you), but for those of you still killing time in the office, here’s a little review of Park Tavern—if you’re looking for a new brunch spot to hit up, here’s your target. Oh, speaking of brunch, Slow Club and Serpentine will both conveniently be open on Monday from 10am-2:30pm (but closed for dinner, FYI). Don’t forget there is also a luau on Monday with the Namu gang. Last but not least, I have some 707 news for you, courtesy of new 707 Scout writer Heather Irwin.

Have a swell holiday weekend, see you Tuesday. Oh, and Happy 75th Birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

Marcia Gagliardi

May 22, 2012
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The start of a meal at Central Kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I am going to be such a clock-watcher today, because tonight I’m going to see the gorgeous and glamorous Dita Von Teese perform at the Fillmore. Strip Strip Hooray! (I heard last night’s show was just beyond.) Another thing that is just beyond is the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young, have you been yet? What a show. I went on Friday evening around 5pm and it wasn’t crazy-packed at all (followed by prosecco and a bite at the de Young Café, which stays open later on Friday evenings).

Last week had me hopping all over to check out all kinds of new places: Central Kitchen, Comal, Gioia Pizzeria on Polk, and one of my favorite new sandwich spots, 1058hoagie. Go SF!

Meanwhile, New York is all abuzz with the opening of Mission Chinese Food on the Lower East Side. I also had a bit of fun this weekend watching my worlds collide: Krug and Burning Man. The comments certainly had me more entertained than last week’s episode of Mad Men. Here’s some analysis of the scenario (a total sh*tshow) for those with a lot of free time on their hands.

A couple of event updates. First, are you going to join me and Peter Temkin on Friday June 15th for our salumi class at Ramekins in Sonoma? The lineup of meats we’re tasting keeps getting better and better, check it out!

And many of you know I am a big fan (and supporter) of CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness through Employment in Food Services). The organization’s annual big fundraising event, SummerTini, is coming up on Friday June 8th, and I was lucky to get a discount code for tablehopper readers! Use code tablehopper when buying tickets and get 20 percent off (so that means tickets are $100 versus $125). This special offer ends on Monday May 28th at 11:59pm. Please consider buying a ticket—and you won’t believe the very special auction items, like a trip to Tuscany or dinner for two at six top SF restaurants! (Some go for a very good price, FYI.)

Okay, one last thing: today on You Gotta Eat This, I am talking about the Del Popolo pizza truck. (It could also be on an episode of You Gotta See This!)

All righty then, have a swell week!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia; bonus round: the second “g” is silent in Gagliardi)

May 15, 2012
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Banh cuon at Out the Door—it’s what you want for brunch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Yo yo. How’s your Tuesday treating you so far? My week has already become a pressure cooker, so let’s dive in. All kinds of new projects are happening this week: I was lucky to get some preview pics and tastes at Del Popolo and West of Pecos, and I also had fun last week finally trying the infamous $3 Schmendricks bagel at a launch party. I know, I know, a $3 bagel. But sometimes something is so good you’ll pay more than you want for it—that malty, hand-rolled, and boiled bagel is one of those things. (Follow @Schmendricks on Twitter to find out where you can pick bagels up and kvetch over the price at the same time.)

This week on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about one of my favorite bar bites: the vada pav at Dosa; listen in here.

Considering I am at my absolute heaviest right now (blergh), I found it a bit ironic to be featured in a Bay Area Bites article on How Professional Eaters Stay Balanced. Well, I’m trying to stay balanced—just not always succeeding. Anyway, thanks Stephanie Hua for including me!

In the immortal words of Porky Pig (ha ha), “That’s all folks!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

May 11, 2012
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Cured halibut with grapefruit and the cutest radishes in the world (at Local’s Corner). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello fine folks. You see that 76 in the weather forecast tomorrow? Uh huh. Spring fever in full effect. This is the time of year when I get strong urges to head out of town to Wine Country or the coast, even for a 24-hour getaway, which is what I’m talking about today in the jetsetter. Yup, we’re going to Jack London (and MFK Fisher) country, and heading up to Glen Ellen to check out the dreamy Kenwood Inn and Spa. Commence getaway longing, now.

More springtime: you know the market is going to be gorgeous tomorrow, and Saturday is also CUESA’s 12th annual spring breakfast at 9am and 11am. Click here for a $10 discount for tablehopper readers on the bountiful breakfast, bringing it to $35. Enjoy!

Sunday is Mother’s Day, and I have been reflecting on how blessed I am to have such a loving mother in my life. Truly. It has to be a hard day for those who have lost their mothers, or have become estranged from them, so I want to take a moment to be sensitive to everyone’s possible scenario, and to be grateful for my own. This Sunday, I will raise my glass in honor of all mothers, for bringing us into and guiding us through this world, and the sacrifices they have made for our happiness and well being.

With love,

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

May 8, 2012
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The Dauntless, our Sunday charter to shenanigans. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, hello there. Are you out playing hooky? I’m sure we’re all thinking about it. Fortunately my weekend had me playing outside a fair amount, starting with a Saturday outing with my mother and sis to Out the Door on Bush for brunch (hello banh nam, banh cuon, and congee!), and then we caught the exhibit at the Palace of Legion of Honor, The Cult of Beauty: The Victorian Avant-Garde 1860-1900—it’s very mom-friendly, if you’d like to take yours there this weekend! I also went to tour and visit Central Kitchen and St. Vincent that evening—you’ll see both projects in today’s chatterbox.

Sunday was an over-the-top celebration for my friend’s birthday: a group of us chartered The Dauntless, a 45-foot mahogany cruiser, for a ride on the Bay. We disembarked and picnicked in a field at Cavallo Point—with a spectacular view of San Francisco—and then hopped back on the boat for more cruising. It was pretty breathtaking to pass under the Golden Gate Bridge, a view I hadn’t seen before. Happy 75th birthday, Golden Gate Bridge!

More congrats are in order for all the nominees AND winners at the James Beard Foundation Awards last night, especially Boulevard for finally winning Outstanding Restaurant (after eight Susan Lucci-esque years of being nominated for the category!) and to Emily Luchetti, who was inducted into the Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America. You can read who all the JBF 2012 finalists are here, which also includes the Book Awards, and more.

A few more things to note: first, May is National Burger Month—how convenient, a whole month. You’ll want to listen in to today’s episode of You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio since I talk about where you can celebrate with some tasty burger deals around town.

More meat: did you know I am hosting a salumi tasting class with Peter Temkin (charcutier for Show Dogs, Foreign Cinema) on Friday June 15th at Ramekins in Sonoma? It’s going to be a fun (and informative) event: we’ll be walking you through the ancient craft of charcuterie, discussing the history and different styles of cured meats in Italy, Spain, and France, and giving tips on how to buy, serve, and store them at home. Sample local artisanal salumi, while sipping on some lambrusco. See you there!

Lastly, Thursday is Bike to Work Day, and I’d say it’s a perfect time to get around on two wheels with this gorgeous weather this week.

Ding-ding!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

May 4, 2012
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Scallop crudo by Reform Club at a SPUR benefit. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

TGIFF. Yeah, you know what that extra “f” stands for. (I am currently suffering from some annoying slow computer woes, so that word is on the tip of my tongue this week. Sorry, Mom.) I’ve had some good eats this week, including dinner at AQ on Tuesday night (so happy to see how busy they are on that quiet corner) and a visit to Radio Africa Kitchen in Bayview, also bringing some energy to its corner location.

Last night was a unique event: I was invited to a SPUR (San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association) benefit, Dine + Discover, held in the church/”castle” at 601 Dolores. I have always wanted to go inside that huge building looming over Dolores Park—it did not disappoint. What was additionally unique about the event, besides its primo location, is the catering was done by pop-ups Reform Club, Stag Dining Group, and Rice Paper Scissors. It was a fun twist on the usual catered fare (no satay on a stick here), and SPUR even had Ananas cocktail consulting concoct some pairings for the entrées. Nicely done.

Tonight, all I can say is there’s a dance floor out there with my name on it.

I’d like to bid a sad farewell to my former 707 Scout writer, Deirdre Bourdet, who is going to be focusing more on her Hedonism Ink venture, doing copywriting for wineries, restaurants, and more (so if you need some sharp copy for your business, you know who to contact). Thank you, Deirdre, for all your snappy and smart news from the 707—we all enjoyed your contributions. (Meow.)

Taking Deirdre’s place as tablehopper’s 707 Scout correspondent is Heather Irwin, whose byline you may recognize from BiteClub Eats. Her first piece for tablehopper is today’s update chock-full of Wine Country news. Welcome aboard, Heather!

Up next: who is going to be my girl (or guy) Friday? I’m still interviewing candidates for the position, FYI!

Have fun this weekend, sure to be full of Cinco de Mayo shenanigans (don’t forget Comal opens in Berkeley tonight!) and mint juleps in honor of the Kentucky Derby. Mmmm, I’d like one right now.

And on a somber note, I am going to pour some out and blast Paul’s Boutique today, in honor of Adam Yauch. Rest in peace MCA, you wildly talented and totally groundbreaking mofo.

Marcia Gagliardi

May 1, 2012
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Maccheroni larghi alla pecorara (wide noodles with ricotta and tomato sauce) from the Cooking with Rosetta class. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whew, lots going on out there. Um, Happy May Day. Was very sorry to hear about the senseless vandalization that happened last night in the Mission—am thankful no one was really hurt.

In more upbeat news, congrats to all the chefs, but especially the California chefs, whose restaurants were named in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards yesterday: Manresa and The French Laundry, plus COI and Chez Panisse in the top 100. Some other local chefs were not included who probably should have been, ahem, but no one ever fully agrees with lists (well, except the person making them). Anyway, congrats to all.

I had such a banner weekend, starting with a fab Cooking with Rosetta class on Friday night about Calabrian pastas (pics here). I always love having Rosetta Costantino’s mother around in these classes—reminds me of the ladies on my dad’s side of the family, quick to tap your hand if you’re making something incorrectly. I highly recommend Rosetta’s classes—there’s a pizza-making class on May 4th that has a couple spots open!

Saturday afternoon (what a gorgeous day) was the tablehopper tasting of Languedoc wines—we had a full house in the private dining room of Café des Amis, and Josiah Baldivino taught a great class. Thanks to everyone—based on the smiles, it seems we all had a swell time. Check out the pics here. FYI for those who attended (or those who couldn’t!), you can taste more Languedoc wines tomorrow evening at William Cross Wine Merchants, and at special nights at MICHAEL MINA on May 7th and RN74 on May 14th.

A few pieces of media for you: today on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I highlight the exquisite handmade pastas at SPQR (yes, pasta is on my mind). And the fine folks at The Daily Meal interviewed me about where visitors to SF should go—some spots got cut in the heavily edited piece, but here it is.

Catch you later!

Marcia Gagliardi

(Pssst, Marcia rhymes with Garcia)

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