December 2012

December 21, 2012

Is that Santa’s sleigh? Nope, it’s a Tronco di Natale (yule log) from Rulli! Photo: ©

Howdy. I’m sure a bunch of you have already left the office, and many are schlepping to airports and spending time in security lines and short-term parking lots (my sympathies). I’m getting ready to do some serious battle, excuse me, holiday shopping tonight at Macy’s; wish me luck. Am saving a trip to BevMo for the end of the night—trust, this is strategic.

Attention shoppers. Did you catch that holiday gift guide I ran on Tuesday? Here you go. Need book ideas? Pete Mulvihill from Green Apple Books has you covered. And just in case you have any last-minute shopping for the gourmand or stylish person in your life (or hopefully both), don’t forget you can swing by The New Black’s holiday pop-up that I curated through tomorrow! There are tablehopper vintage T-shirts, and last-minute shopping and stocking stuffers from Jarred, INNA Jam, Socola Chocolates, Nana Joes Granola, and more. 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St., 10am-6pm through December 22nd.

So check this out. It ends up tablehopper Tuesday happens to fall on Christmas and New Year’s Day, so guess who decided to take some time off? Yes, moi! I am going dark on December 25th and January 1st. I actually have some longer pieces I’ve been trying to find the time to write, so am going to focus on those instead, am excited. It’s also why you’re getting a couple news tidbits today before I sign off. The hopper will be back in your inbox on Friday January 4th, and full time with news on Tuesday January 8th. So publicists, restaurant and bar owners, and anyone with a holiday event you want me to promote: please hold back on that email, ‘cause mama is going dark!

All right dear readers, thanks so much for all your support this past year. I am always so grateful for your kind words, hot tips, and shared enthusiasm for all things delicious in this wonderful city. Remember to be nice and tip big this holiday season—the restaurant and bar industry is working hard through the holiday so you can enjoy yours. Wishing you a very merry Christmas and happy holidays—and a very happy New Year. Let’s do it up in style, with gratitude and grace.

With love,
Marcia Gagliardi

December 18, 2012

A closer look at Tom and Jerry’s massive tree on 21st Street. Photo: ©

Brrrr! I know, we’re such babies here—it dips below 50 degrees and we start cryin’. But my Edwardian building is so unkind in the winter—at least my red wines here in my apartment are showing nicely. I’m actually glad it was a chilly night when I took my dear friend out for my first unofficial tablehopper holiday spirits tour last week—check it out in the lush.

This past Saturday I co-hosted BLK Saturday, a holiday pop-up event I helped curate. (Here’s a nice recap with some lovely pics.) The lineup of food makers and vendors I invited was awesome, and even if you missed the event, all the goods are still available!

You can swing by The New Black from 10am-6pm (now through Saturday) for some great last-minute shopping and stocking stuffers from Jarred, INNA Jam, Starter Bakery (there are just two left of their incredible panettone!), a fab holiday selection from Socola Chocolates, olio nuovo from McEvoy Ranch (limited supply), Nana Joes Granola (wait until you try the new chocolate-covered Tony’s trail mix), and the brand-new “cereal thrillers” from sideshow by Nicole Plue, which you can only get online for now unless you come on out!

The full line of tablehopper vintage restaurant T-shirts is also there, so you’re able to check out all five designs. There are also some fashiony items—from bags by Basil Racuk to clothes by N.I.C.E. Collective. You can come by for lunch from a couple food trucks at Mission Dispatch (just next door!) and get some shopping done. The New Black, 1999 Bryant St. at 18th St., 10am-6pm through December 22nd.

Today I also have some last-minute holiday gift ideas for the food and wine lovers in your life, plus some fantastic holiday books for your consideration in the bookworm.

Lastly, if you want a break from all the holiday fare, check out my list of five new restaurants to check out this month on I had a fab business lunch last week at Hakkasan—it was packed with industry folks enjoying holiday lunches. It’s an ideal location because it’s close to downtown shopping. And don’t forget the $29 lunch deal I mentioned last week!

Soooo, it’s been a very hard week for the U.S.—the world, actually. I was scheduled to send out a tablehopper issue on Friday but it just felt tacky and wrong—which is why today’s is such a hefty one. The world has been crying over the innocence lost in Connecticut, and I know that heartbreaking event has reshaped all of our perspectives on many things, from guns, to family, bravery, mental illness, schools, and yes, the holiday. So many things to think about and process. Thoughts and prayers to all of the families and friends suffering from the utterly horrific tragedy. We are all so, so sorry for their suffering. Their pain and loss are unfathomable. And so our forthcoming actions and changes in this country will be fueled by our commitment to making sure nothing like that can ever, ever happen again.

Sending love, see you on Friday.

Marcia Gagliardi

December 11, 2012

The best brunch in the world: white truffle shaved over soft-scrambled eggs and toast. Photo: ©

Did you enjoy your summery weekend? So weird seeing people buy Christmas trees in shorts. Although it was definitely good and rainy when I was up in Healdsburg last Tuesday checking out all the new places to eat up there. Crazy delicious food, from the absolutely stellar fried chicken at Pizzando, some of the best moussaka I’ve ever had at Taverna Sofia, fab tapas like shishitos and chorizo or Dungeness crab fideuà at the stylish new Bravas, killer aperitivi and thin-crust pizza at Campo Fina, and gumbo and fried okra at The Parish. I was also ready to move into my room at the H2Hotel—the Japanese deep-soaking tub outfitted in Heath tiles was just beyond. I could get used to having Flying Goat French-press coffee in the tub each morning, let me tell you.

I’m actually headed back up to Healdsburg this Friday for the last installment of the 2012 Supper Club series at Copain Wines, with Momofuku chef David Chang cooking that night (I’ve had this on my calendar for months, am thrilled it’s finally here). Looking forward to the selections from winemaker Wells Guthrie, and guest sommeliers Robert Bohr (founder of Grand Cru Wine Consulting, New York) and his wife, Jordan Salcito (wine director of Crown Restaurant, New York).

Have you been drinking your fair share of bubbly this holiday? I was blown away (yet again) with the wines at Arlequin Wine Merchant’s annual Champagne tasting last week, and was happy to discover the crazy good deal of the Saint-Chamant blanc de blancs NV (which is hand riddled!) for only $43.20 with that night’s deal, and is now $48. Can’t wait to crack it. There are some other swell steals as well (like the Philipponnat Brut Royale Reserve for $45, or the Gonet-Medeville Brut Tradition 1er Cru NV for $38)—you should swing by if you’re looking for quality bubs for host/party gifts. Or for yourself. Or me.

As I enter week three of the lamest cold in the world, I am becoming an expert on soup delivery, like Hunan wor wonton soup and hot and sour soup, and eating way too much of the turkey pozole I made. Although I did take a nice break from spicy soups to check out the new menu from chef Robin Song at Hog & Rocks—you can really see his Haven/Plum pedigree. Oh, and remember that special holiday Feast menu I mentioned they’re doing? You get wagon wheel-leek ash gougères draped in lardo with it, hello.

And, yeah, check out those soft-scrambled eggs on toast that are utterly blanketed in white truffle that I had at my friend’s house on Sunday. All I can say is I wish all belated birthday brunches were that good, holy cow. I am so spoiled.

This week, I have much holiday madness for you, I hope you’re ready. Are you eating your fill of latkes? I have missed out thus far, although this Bubala Please video (Making Latkes) made me laugh so hard I hardly mind. And if you put A Dave Brubeck Christmas on the hi-fi, be sure to pour out a little eggnog for the man.

Lastly, are you coming to the BLK Saturday holiday pop-up this Saturday in the Mission?! I curated some wonderful products by local food vendors, come on by! There will be bubbles, and musique, and tacos from Tango & Stache! And the space is marvelous, trust.


Marcia Gagliardi

December 4, 2012

The she-crab and corn chowder soup at St. Vincent. Photo: ©

I hope you are perky and powered up, because this week’s hopper is a hefty one. I wish I was in the perky camp—am on DAY NINE of this mother-effing cold that doesn’t want to decamp from my life (I know, again, so ridiculous). I am the queen of pozole and tortellini in brodo right now, I swear. Whatever, I am still heading up to Healdsburg this afternoon for an overnight trip (looking forward to checking out some new spots up there, and sinking into my bed at the h2hotel). There is also a Flying Goat macchiato with my name on it tomorrow morning. My assistant suggested I should put the “heal” in Healdsburg. I like it.

A few notes: congrats to all the local businesses who are finalists in the 2013 Good Food Awards! The 100 winners will be announced on January 18th, 2013, followed by a 15,000-person Good Food Awards Marketplace on January 19th. (More details will be available soon.)

Thanks to Daily Candy for this interview with me for their “Woman Behind the Blog” series (although I know you all know tablehopper isn’t a blog, cough). I get to talk about my dream dinner party guests, food trends for 2013, and more. I also enjoyed reading this interview with Camper English of Alcademics on Eater about the current state of our local cocktail scene. Fascinating stuff.

Okay, I need to hop in my car and start scooting up the 101—this impending rain is going to make it slow going. And hey, I hope to see you Friday at the La Cocina Gift Bazaar! It’s gonna be a good time.

Have a swell week.

Marcia Gagliardi

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