October 2012

October 30, 2012

The famed iron skillet cornbread at Rutherford Grill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, I certainly wasn’t getting much writing done last night—I was far too riveted to Twitter, the news, and reports from friends on Facebook about what was happening in New York. Poor, poor New York. So many unbelievable images, like this one of Jane’s carousel, which I can’t stop looking at. Best wishes, thoughts, and prayers to all affected by the horrific (and unfortunately named) Hurricane Sandy. What a nightmare. You can help out via a donation to the Red Cross here.

Meanwhile, it feels so odd to be having this gorgeous fall weather, with an enormous parade tomorrow to celebrate the SF Giants. Such is the current contrast of our coasts. I thoroughly enjoyed a much-needed getaway weekend up in Napa Valley with my sis, my cousin, and her man—we couldn’t have asked for a better fall weekend. Some highlights: dinner at étoile at Domaine Chandon, taking my sister for her first trip to the Orin Swift tasting room in St. Helena, brunch on the outside patio at French Blue, taking in the incredible view at Sterling, the smell of harvest in the air at night, and a very meaty dinner at Rutherford Grill (that damn skillet cornbread is so good) after watching the Giants cinch another World Series game on Saturday evening.

Sunday included a kuh-razy brunch feast at Koi Palace (that place is so freaking delicious),and watching the final game of the World Series with my sis, eating takeout Little Star Pizza (hello, Brass Monkey!), and drinking Micheladas, while the city erupted outside. I’m glad I stayed in—didn’t need to witness all that B.S. vandalism and people acting like jackasses, such a buzzkill. Trying to figure out what to do on Halloween (besides attend the parade)? Check out some options here.

This week I’m taking Friday off to head down to LA to celebrate my birthday with friends over a long weekend—thanks to everyone for the tips on recent places to check out. Can’t wait. See you next Tuesday. And take good care, folks.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 26, 2012

The noodle-making station at the (unfortunately named) Kaka Udon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SF has a lot of things in the air right now, including fall and some serious Giants fever! Am loving these World Series games! Things pick back up tomorrow, and in case you’re looking for some spots where you can watch the game with your fellow fans while getting your nosh on, check out my list of six places on 7x7.com.

Speaking of 7x7, perhaps you saw the news on Grub Street that I have stepped away from my role as contributing food editor for the magazine? I will be writing some freelance pieces in the future (like the annual “100 Things to Eat Before You Die” for February’s food issue) and will continue my weekly posts for 7x7.com. Just FYI!

Here’s a little more freelance writing I have done recently: a piece for Club 21 magazine on all the latest places in San Francisco’s dining scene, featuring State Bird Provisions, Bar Tartine, Namu Gaji, Central Kitchen, Saison, and Off the Grid.

This afternoon I am heading up to Wine Country with my sis to hang out with our cousin and her boyfriend—it’s shaping up to be a perfect fall weekend. There will be bubbles (this is what happens when you dine at étoile at Domaine Chandon).

I’m also driving down to Los Angeles next Friday for a Scorpio birthday weekend bash with my wild lady pals—I am long overdue for a visit. I have many spots on my list (including Bäco Mercat, Red Medicine, Short Order, ink.sack for sandwiches, Son of a Gun, and, of course, some Korean and taco joints) but would love to hear any tips on recent LA faves/discoveries I need to check out. Oh yeah, and of course I’ll be paying a visit to Langer’s! Pastrami church!

Enjoy the weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 23, 2012

This is what a burger at Sam’s at 3am looks like. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

San Francisco was so on fire last night, even in that incredible downpour! Let’s go, Giants! It’s going to be an exciting week.

Thanks to everyone who came by my table at the Wine & Spirits Magazine Top 100 Tasting Event last Wednesday—that was quite the event (as it always is). Extra love to the fab folks who brought me a nice taste of Bouchard Père et Fils 2006 Beaune Grèves Vigne de l’Enfant Jésus, aka Baby Jesus’ pantaloons (ha!). Was also a treat to see Bruno Paillard pouring at his table, and the Domaine William Fèvre 2008 Chablis Grand Cru Bougros was almost illegally delicious with the Hog Island oysters. Also, thanks to everyone who bought a tablehopper T-shirt or sweatshirt—I have to say, it’s so cool to see folks running around in them. Love it.

I also had fun this week getting into mischief with the boys, Tommy’s and Sam’s to be exact. The “Tommy’s followed by dinner at Aziza tour” is a wicked one-two, and I have to give thanks to Sam’s for saving my ass at 3am on Wednesday night. I got overserved (again!) at Comstock Saloon and needed to run some interference with a late-night burger.

Hey, do you know what a cecina taco is? Trust me, you want to know. Which is why you should hop on over to watch my Hungry In… the Mission episode on YouTube’s Hungry channel and learn all about it! Look for my spot in the right-hand column. And if you dig it, give it a thumbs-up (I’d appreciate it)! Josh Ozersky also tackles some Chinatown spots in New York in his episode from last week; it’s a good one.

A couple more tidbits: check out my monthly piece on 7x7 for five new restaurants to try, and congrats to the local restaurants getting phone calls right now about their Michelin stars (at this moment, Saison has two stars, Atelier Crenn now has two, and SPQR just earned their first!).

Okay folks, it’s time to rally! Black and orange: it’s not just for Halloween.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 16, 2012

Uncle Frank and my father making pasta at our annual Christmas Eve feast. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi there. Am back from what was a heartbreaking journey to say goodbye to my dear Uncle Frank in his last days. It has unequivocally been one of the hardest, saddest experiences of my life. Nope, am not in the best of spirits right now, and I’m not really one to fake it, so apologies for the heavy intro. (Anyone who went to Saturday’s Lit Crawl event at Craftsman and Wolves expecting to see me hosting it, well, now you know why I wasn’t there. I hope you enjoyed the reading, I was sorry to miss hearing everyone’s travel stories.)

However, tomorrow evening, I will be at the Wine & Spirits Top 100 tasting event, parked at a table with my brand-new tablehopper T-shirts. And, yes, I plan to have a glass of excellent Champagne in my hand—I have someone very special to be toasting. It’s sure to be a lovely evening on the City View at Metreon terrace, come by and say hi.

Further distractions: my first episode of Hungry In… on YouTube’s Hungry channel has aired! Join me as I take you through the Mission to my four top places for breakfast, a sandwich (mmmm, tortas), a snack, and a sweet. All three of my episodes will include some of my favorite authentic places that are all about the immigrant experience in San Francisco—upcoming neighborhoods include Chinatown and North Beach. (Big thanks to Farm + Cellar/Third Street Works in helping me with the production.)

You can do me (and my fellow Citysearch scouts) a big favor by liking the video, commenting (anything to keep all the anonymous haters at bay, I swear), and subscribing to the Hungry channel so you don’t miss upcoming Hungry In… episodes (they air every Friday). Obviously I’d love to film more episodes, along with my other Citysearch scouts, but it’s only going to happen if our videos get a lot of views and likes. Thanks for your support!

Okay folks, that’s about it. Enjoy this beautiful Indian summer heat.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 9, 2012

True blue: watching the Blue Angels from the SkyDeck at the Mandarin Oriental. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I don’t think my weekend had any more room for excitement, from watching the Blue Angels on the SkyDeck (on the 40th floor) at the Mandarin Oriental to tasting some wonderful bourbons and ryes at WhiskyFest to seeing Madonna on Sunday night—although to be honest, drinking Champagne, eating spare ribs, and watching Joan Crawford in Mildred Pierce with my grandma on Saturday night was the highlight (of course).

Am looking forward to this weekend as well: care to join me at Litquake’s Lit Crawl on Saturday night (October 13th)? tablehopper will be hosting an hour at Craftsman and Wolves (from 6pm-7pm) called Out of the Kitchen and On the Road: Local Chefs Share Their Travel Tales. On deck: Daniel Patterson (COI), Richie Nakano (Hapa Ramen), Eddie Lau (Hot Food Porn), and Samin Nosrat (Ciao Samin). Come listen to some fab international food stories from these local chefs and cooks who also write well.

A few more items for you: today on 7x7.com is my column from the October issue about what it takes for a restaurant to become the next big thing, and on You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio, I talk about a couple of my favorite dishes at Citizen’s Band.

Lastly, do you travel to Austin or Los Angeles? (Or perhaps you’re an Angeleno who reads tablehopper, thanks!) Don’t miss the latest episodes of Hungry In…. on YouTube from my fellow Citysearch scouts across the country—the San Francisco episode from yours truly should finally be airing this Friday; subscribe to the Hungry channel and check it out!

Have a swell week.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 5, 2012

Garden party gorgeousness from Copita: butternut squash soup. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

TGI to the mother-flipping F. Like the Blue Angels jets that will be flying overhead the next few days, I am ready for weekend takeoff. Actually, I am ready to go to grandma’s tomorrow to watch old movies and eat pot roast (and, yes, I know how lucky I am not only to have my feisty grandmother still with me, but that she’s just a 35-minute drive away). I am also so ready for WhiskyFest tonight, and hello, Madonna on Sunday! Can’t. Wait.

While I am still lamenting the departure of our glorious heat wave (pllllllleeeaaase, heat, come back for just one more!) and trying to figure out how to fit Karl the Fog with some cement shoes, I was so damn grateful to spend Tuesday evening at a downright dreamy garden party in Sausalito (at Larry Mindel’s stunning hideaway on the hill). Chefs Peter McNee (Poggio) and Joanne Weir (Copita) ensured every guest was overfed with wonderful dishes, and the margaritas and wine flowed. I know, my life can be really rough sometimes. It’s terrible. The highlight of the night, however, was walking down the hill to my car, when my sister and I got to watch that egg yolk-orange moon rise above the Sausalito bay. That was one for the books.

This week I also went to check out The Corner Store (two words: Manhattan milkshake) and last night swung by Piccino to see what interim chef Ravi Kapur was up to (good things, of course, like ricotta and kale gnudi, cured sardines, and stunning local albacore with green tomatoes).

I gotta jam, but I hope you enjoy this week’s review of Rich Table (see, another short review, I kept my word!) and some 707 news. Oh, and if you’d like to see where I went last weekend in Napa Valley, here’s my recap on 7x7.com! Yeah, you get to look at that BLAT again—what a sandwich.

Rock on,
Marcia Gagliardi

October 2, 2012

The insane BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato) sandwich at The Thomas. (And hello, I only ate half.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much I adore the heat, especially warm nights with heavy full moons up in the sky. I must admit I will be missing my Alfa Romeo tonight as I drive across the Golden Gate Bridge (don’t tell the Fiat, she’ll get pissed). The weekend is going to be a nutty one: we’ve got the Blue Angels roaring through town (check out the socialite for a couple of fun food-and-viewing events), and there’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass all weekend. I personally can’t wait to hang out with my grandmother and watch old movies with her (and drink Champagne) on Saturday night, and see Madonna do her thing on Sunday.

My weekend kicked off in fine chocolaty style, as I hopped on a Scharffen Berger-hosted trolley tour on Friday evening to try some treats around the city (we hit up Miette, Goody Goodie, The Ice Cream Bar, and Tout Sweet Pâtisserie). (You gotta check out the ice cream sandwiches The Ice Cream Bar made for us, what a tower of power.) And the trolley was a great way to see the city with fresh eyes, I gotta say. Too much fun. Until we got stuck in Critical Mass, ha.

Saturday I cruised up to see my dear friends in Yountville: I had a late-afternoon salad at Redd Wood, dinner and drinks at Goose & Gander (that Scott Beattie makes some mean cocktails), a nightcap at French Blue, and Sunday brunch (alfresco, how novel!) at the very charming The Thomas in Napa, plus an hour of much-needed pool time Sunday afternoon. It’s amazing what 24 hours away in beautiful Wine Country with wonderful friends and food can do to drop your shoulders.

However, today I do have a heavy head. I want to dedicate this issue to my dear Uncle Frank (who is also my godfather), who is currently undergoing a hateful battle with the big C, and this past weekend was especially rough. My heart breaks. Today is his birthday, and I am thinking of him and raising a glass. I love you Francuzz’, and buon compleanno! As my aunt has been saying, go hug someone today.

Enjoy this evening’s gorgeous warmth—I can’t wait to get out of my apartment. Is it rosé o’clock yet?

Marcia Gagliardi

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