September 2012

September 28, 2012
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Tuna crudo at Commonwealth with lardo and melon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hola amigos. Big thanks to everyone who wrote in with headache remedies for me—after four days, that damn thing finally took a hike. It made me step back and take a look at my stress level, which has not been ideal lately. I hate this feeling of always being behind: behind in my emails, my Twitter feed, my reviews, my deadlines, my research, my phone calls. (I know I am not alone in this.)

So in an effort to streamline things, I have decided—for real this time—that I am not allowing myself to write reviews that are more than 450 words, which is less than half of what they usually clock in at. There is always so much I want to write about in my reviews: the chef’s story, the ingredients, the design, the details. It’s the stuff I love. But every week, the task is proving too daunting with all the other writing I am doing, so I’m only writing one or two a month. I’m not a fan of staying up until 1am every night at my computer, it’s getting tedious. Besides, I imagine you just want to know where to go and what’s good in a shorter review anyway—no one really has much time these days. So this week is the debut of my first shorter review, I hope you enjoy it.

This weekend I am off to the 707 for a little jaunt and some sun—going to stay with my dear friends in Yountville, and I will be hitting up The Thomas and Goose & Gander. Looking forward to it. Speaking of the 707, we also have a 707 scout update for you.

Before signing off, here’s my weekly post for 7x7.com on four places to go for fabulous biscuits around town. Mmmm, biscuits!

Have a fab weekend,

Marcia Gagliardi

September 25, 2012
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Katsu and tofu buns at Izakaya Yuzuki. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there, amigos. I have to admit, I am in quite a snit—after calling off my weekend’s plans to stay home and fight this lame cold that didn’t seem to want to go away, ever (I think it’s finally gone, what an SOB), I have had a really rotten headache for the past 48 hours. Nothing is working (lots of water, coconut water, rest, Excedrin, Motrin, a bath, a cool washcloth on my neck, the blinds are down, and I even had someone recommend beer). Tonight I have a craniosacral session with a massage at the Kabuki Springs & Spa lined up, thank God. Anyway, if I don’t sound especially perky in today’s column, it’s because I am the opposite of perky. It hurts to laugh. (And don’t get me started on the neighbor’s construction.)

Fortunately I was not suffering from this headache when I was at my dear friend’s wedding on Sunday afternoon (we have been friends since seventh grade!), and then I swung by Izakaya Yuzuki to check out their new Sunday dinner pork katsu and tofu buns (more on these soon!), followed by some filming Sunday night for a new show on the Travel Channel that’s coming this December called Feed the Beast, with host Mikey Roe—we had a lot of fun talking burritos and the late-night dining scene in SF. Yeah, you could say I know a thing or two about late-night eats.

Today I have an exciting peek at Ceri Smith’s fabulous new upcoming wine bar to share, et al., along with pics and the menu for MAU, opening on Valencia this week. There is also a great ticket giveaway in the sugar mama—hop to it.

You hungry for more? Take a look at my piece on Craftsman & Wolves for 7x7 magazine, and today on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about what to order at Troya on Fillmore.

Oh, and this Friday, the latest episode of Hungry In… (the weekly show on YouTube’s Hungry channel that I am a part of) will be posting! Did you see the one last Friday with Citysearch scout Josh Ozersky talking burgers in New York? Helllllo, burgers.

Okay, wish me luck with Operation: Slay Headache. I’m not being very productive. Or perky. Pffft.

Marcia Gagliardi

September 21, 2012
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Mooncake from Eastern Bakery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ah yes, it’s a sunny Friday, and the delightful music of my neighbor’s backyard construction fills my ears with the soothing sounds of hammering and buzz saws and drilling concrete. Oh wait, that’s not just today. It’s Every. Fricking. Day. It’s endless—like my ever-growing hatred for them. This writer is missing her peace and quiet. (Yes, I am ranting.)

It’s time for a drink! If you have been partaking in San Francisco Cocktail Week, you’ve probably been having many. Thanks to everyone who showed up for Italian Happy Hour at Blackbird on Wednesday evening—those were some mighty fine aperitivi and cocktails (cheers to Regina Schauerte and Matt Grippo!). I was just happy to have the excuse to wear my 1960s silk kaftan.

Tonight I’m going to the Legends Awards and tomorrow is The California Altered State Fair by Jupiter Olympus—remember, you can save 20 percent on all main event tickets with code THOPPER. Oh, and be sure to swing by my table tonight at the Legends Awards—I’ll have the fab new tablehopper T-shirts there for you to check out.

Another deal for you from one of our kind sponsors this week: tomorrow is the California Wines Road Trip event at the Ferry Building, featuring more than 100 wines, and California cheeses and salumi from Paula LeDuc Catering, all for only $35. But you, dear reader, get $5 off with code TABLEHOPPER. The event is at 2pm, a perfect pit stop after you finish shopping at the market (and a portion of the proceeds benefit CUESA, how about that).

This week has been kicking my butt with deadlines and events, so I’m going to point you over to a couple of articles if you’re looking for some tasty things to eat. First, my review of Dixie for 7x7 magazine is now online, and I also did my monthly post of five new restaurant openings for your radar on 7x7.com. Tired of reading? You can also listen to me talk about the wicked sandwiches at Bar Tartine’s sandwich shop on this week’s segment of You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio.

Today is also the premiere of Hungry In…, the new web series I’m appearing in on the YouTube HUNGRY channel. Today’s segment features fellow Citysearch scout Josh Ozersky taking us on a tour of New York’s “Hamburger Alley.” Subscribe to the HUNGRY channel and catch a new episode of Hungry In… every Friday!

And last but certainly not least, here’s some 707 scout news for you from Heather Irwin.

Buon weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

September 18, 2012
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Sea scallop with sweet corn, English peas, carrots, and mint at Heirloom Café at the Hirsch Vineyards dinner. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Buon giorno! Am I going to see you tomorrow evening at the Italian Happy Hour event at Blackbird? I sure hope so, it’s going to rock. Festeggiamo! I will also be at the Legends Awards this Friday evening, you comin’? (Click here for a special tablehopper discount code!)

At both events, be sure to swing by my table to check out the brand-new tablehopper T-shirts, featuring vintage SF restaurant and bar designs! Yes, you’ll be able to feel how damn soft these shirts are (we opted for some really nice shirts—I want you looking and feeling good, yo), and you can take a closer look at the cool designs! I have been collecting vintage menus and restaurant ephemera for quite a while, so I’m really excited to see these stylish designs have a comeback on everyone’s oh-so-fine bodies.

Can’t make it to this week’s events? You live out of town? Fret not! Because as of today, the tablehopper T-shirt store is now open! Yup, we have a little online store up and running, with pics of all the tees (and some history too!). Hop on over and check it out. We can ship ‘em right to your front door. It’s like magic!

More news! Check out the new video series I have been busy working on with Citysearch for the new Hungry YouTube channel called “HUNGRY IN” (like HUNGRY IN San Francisco)! I’ll be highlighting some of my favorite places in San Francisco neighborhoods in three episodes (to start). Additional episodes from other Citysearch scouts will cover New York, Austin, and more. The first episode launches with Josh Ozersky this Friday September 21st, but in the meantime, here’s the sizzle reel. Yes, you’ll get to watch me eat on camera, always fun. Big thanks to Farm + Cellar (part of Third Street Works, LLC) for all their assistance in helping me produce and film my episodes!

I am still reeling from my amazing weekend, complete with a dear friend’s dream wedding in Fairfax, another dear friend’s 40th birthday, and the whole weekend was capped off with a pinot-filled Hirsch Vineyards wine dinner at Heirloom Café on Sunday evening. Whew.

Okay, ready to chew on some local news? Let’s get going here! Ciao!

Marcia Gagliardi

September 14, 2012
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Chef Gerald Hirigoyen bringing us Piperade’s infamous beignets. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy. I am so TGIF right now. It’s been a long week of deadlines, but fortunately I’ve had some quality playtime in there too. This week I was able to raise my glass to not one but two restaurants celebrating important anniversaries. First, on Wednesday, I attended a 10-year anniversary luncheon at Piperade in its new (and chic) Lauburu private dining room (hello, hot ticket for holiday parties!). Chef Gerald Hirigoyen positively killed us with a delicious menu (and wines)—here’s to another 10 years to this singular San Francisco restaurant!

Last night I swung by Jardinière for its 15th anniversary—it was a blast to hang out with Pat Kuleto (he always has great stories), see many of the talented chefs who have passed through Traci Des Jardins’s kitchen, and, of course, clink-clink with Eugenio Jardim, one of the city’s most talented (and charming) wine directors. Throughout the night, the Jardinière crew plied us with canapés that represented dishes from the past 15 years. I know, it sounds so arduous! And, yes, I came home properly buzzed. Cheers to you, Jardinière!

Speaking of tying one on, next week marks the kickoff of SF Cocktail Week! Am I going to see you on Wednesday at the Italian Happy Hour at Blackbird? Please do come by—there will be amari, salumi, and more.

I am also giving away a pair of tickets to the Legends Awards on Friday night. Since the contest is for new subscribers, you can forward this email to a friend and tell them to enter (and bring you if they win, of course).

On Wednesday, did you happen to see my piece for 7x7.com on Five Places to Meet for a First Online and Blind Date? Happy hunting out there.

With all the great restaurant anniversaries this week, I was inspired to write up an old-school favorite, Sam’s Grill. Since 1867—that is some notable history. We also have a 707 Scout update for you, check it out.

Have a fab weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

September 11, 2012
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The stunning chandelier at the Opera House. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there, fab folks. Can’t believe one week ago I was trundling back to San Francisco in a cloud of dust à la “playa Pig-Pen,” and now I’m back at my computer, doing my usual Tuesday grind. Of course, I’m now fighting a rotten cold (a friend on Twitter suggested it’s playa SARS, great). Thank God for naps, spicy beef noodle soup from King of Thai Noodle, and Wellness Formula—that stuff is a miracle. I am determined to kick this thing to the curb.

I’ve had quite the reintegration (of course I am still cleaning the dust off my clothes and gear; it takes weeks to get it all packed away, I swear). Friday I had lunch at RN74 (farewell, soft-shell crab!), and that evening I was honored to be invited by a friend to attend the opening night for the San Francisco Opera, now in its 90th year. Rigoletto was gorgeous, from the dramatic de Chirico-inspired sets to the thrilling notes of soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda. My Italian blood was pleased—don’t miss it. Sitting among the swells in their jewels and taffeta was entertaining—a far cry from my high school days when I used to do standing room (how else was I ever going to see Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni sing La Bohème?).

My friend Daniel and I then scooted over to Zuni for a late-night dinner of oysters, the Caesar salad, and, of course, the roasted chicken. Perhaps my favorite part of the night was closing the restaurant out at 1am, with the divine Margrit Mondavi just finishing her meal at a neighboring table. While many people went home after the performance, there’s Margrit, still on the town after the fat lady sang, full of quips and sass. She’s my hero—such vigor!

I was also busy this weekend emceeing at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival on Saturday, filming in the Mission for eight hours on Sunday (more on that soon!), and a fantastic dinner at La Ciccia that night with two fellow paisanas—the appetizer special of chicken gizzards is a winner (winner chicken dinner!), and, of course, the spicy octopus was on the table. There was also a lot of wine, which is what happens there.

Today’s newsletter is all about catch-up from the last couple of weeks since I’ve been MIA (Marcia in Action), so buckle up. Next week is San Francisco Cocktail Week, and I want to be sure you note the Italian Happy Hour I am co-hosting at Blackbird on Wednesday September 19th! Hope to see you there—I’ll be selling my tablehopper T-shirts, FYI!

A few more items of note: did you see this piece I wrote for 7x7.com last week on the city’s best $1 oyster deals? There are SO many (be sure to check the comments)! Have fun.

Also, I posted an album from my Burning Man trip in case you want to see my father in action with his grappa bar, the beautiful sunsets on the playa, the incredible art, big burns, and the many wonderful people I met this year. The pics barely cover it, ah well.

Today is my dear sister’s birthday: Happy Birthday, Erica Rose! Life is so good with her in it—I am so lucky to live just two blocks away from her. (I know, the universe was generous with that placement.)

Lastly, I am sorry to end my intro on a solemn note, especially when September 11th is already such a heavy day, but I was so very saddened last night to read about the tragic accident involving Isaac Mejia of Don Pico’s, one of the first people I met when I launched tablehopper in 2006. Isaac always called me with tips (I have him to thank for turning me on to Doña Tere’s pupusas many years ago), invitations, and comments. Sincere condolences to his beloved family and friends—the man loved hosting people and introducing them to one another, and he definitely loved food. I know the news of his passing affects many.

Take good care,
Marcia Gagliardi

September 4, 2012
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The bow of La Llorona and the moon at Burning Man. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello fabulous people. I have returned from the wild dusty yonder—well, barely. It’s Monday evening as I write this and I’m actually in the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno for the night, taking a break from the long journey returning home from Burning Man. Yes, I am planning to shower at least four times before I hit the road again Tuesday morning, and I’m going to need an airlift to get out of this bed. Cleanup in aisle seven!

My sister and I had the most memorable, fantastic time taking our father to the playa for his first burn. It was our eighth year, and one of the best. He loved it in so many ways, and it was great to see him tooling around with us at night, his trike all lit up in Italian colors. Fortunately sis and I kept our promise to our mother to return our father home in one piece—we had to swear not to break him. I can definitely see where I get my love of people, partying, and carrying on—our father is the original party animal (his custom grappa travel bar with eight of his housemade infusions proved to be very popular). And you know we ate like champs, scarfing down caprese salad, homemade posole, salumi, fava bean spread, and plenty of espresso.

Since I’ve been out of town and gloriously off technology for a week, today’s missive doesn’t have that much news since I need to catch up—next week will be more back to normal. I hope you had a great Labor Day weekend, and wish me luck with all this cleanup! Ay yi yi. Dust dust dust.

Yours,
Marcia Gagliardi

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