July 2013

July 30, 2013
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Fancy feast: reserve caviar, corn pudding, grilled tomato gelée (in the lounge at Saison). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

You ready to strap your feed bag on for the month of August? It’s shaping up to be a doozy, starting with the kick-off for SF Chefs this weekend (check out today’s sugar mama for a ticket giveaway). Next weekend is Outside Lands (or as my sister and I like to affectionately call it, Outside Lambs), which is as much about the food, beer, and wine as the music.

And then the weekend of August 17th is the Street Food Festival, kicking off with the Night Market on Friday August 16th. (Psssst: for $10 off your ticket, use code tablehopper, but act quickly, because it expires August 1st! After 8/1, use code tablehopper2 and you’ll get $5 off.) Last week, La Cocina hosted a preview of the many dishes and vendors who will be serving that weekend—yeah, it’s going to be another extravaganza. Wear your fat pants or a kaftan.

I had a glorious time hanging out with my family in Tahoe over the weekend—even though I still had too many writing deadlines, there’s nothing like eating sandwiches and drinking cold beers on the beach after a dip in the lake, grilled chicken and summer tomato salads, and catching up on all my magazines (hello, New York magazine from March). I also sleep so well up there, the altitude is like nature’s Ambien, I swear. And the final bonus: picking up peaches from Ikeda’s in Auburn on the way home. Hello, fragrant Elbertas, ripening on my kitchen table.

This week is packed with new restaurant and bar openings and sneak peeks, check it all out. I am not sure I’m going to be in your inbox on Friday—this week is all kinds of crazy.

See you at SF Chefs? Party on.
Marcia Gagliardi

July 26, 2013
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The restored 1954 Gaggia lever machine at Iron & Steam Espresso Bar. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from Lake Tahoe, which is offering plenty to watch: from a crazy downpour and thunderstorms when I arrived yesterday to the always-charming chipmunk TV. Oh yes, and entertainment from my parents’ cats (Merna and Sophie), who also get to enjoy our summer cabin—although they are not digging on the hailstorms. I have been coming to this cabin since I was two, so it’s aways a special feeling to pull into the driveway, the one I remember riding my Big Wheel into, and then my Schwinn, and many happy years later in the Alfa Romeo (gawd, I miss her in the summer), and now, the feisty Fiat (meep meep). Looking forward to a weekend of kicking it with the fam here, one of my most cherished summer rituals.

Today I have a very overdue review of Hard Water (man, I am so behind in my writeups, it makes me kuh-razy), plus Heather Irwin styled us with some 707 news too. Oh, and we announced the winners of the West of the West Wine Festival ticket giveaway, so if you didn’t get an email from us (me lo siento!) maybe you should think about getting a ticket about now…

A few more items for you: on 7x7.com this week, I did a round-up of five recent cafés to open in the city—I had to go over and see the gleaming Iron & Steam Espresso Bar lever machine for myself (a 1954 beauty by Gaggia, and during its loving restoration, its owner Olyver even tricked it out with special lights that change color and blink, hello!).

And since you’d probably like a little dessert, I wrote up a deeeelicious coconut-tapioca number at Hakkasan in my weekly Tablehopping column for the Guardian, check it!

Have a beaut of a weekend—I’m planning on the same. Cheers.
Marcia Gagliardi

July 23, 2013
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Um, yeah, that is close! We even got a wave (from the crew, that is)! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Ahoy! How was your weekend? Did you escape the fog? I embraced it fully on Sunday morning, when I was invited by SKYY Vodka and Campari America to board their spectator boat and cheer on Emirates Team New Zealand at the Louis Vuitton Cup races on the bay. When I visited New Zealand back in March, I got to visit the ETNZ base and got to see the massive AC72 catamaran (and actually sit on it for a picture), but seeing them sail up close is another thing entirely. Very infrequently am I spotted tablehopping on boats (although I do like captain’s hats and sailors), but I am definitely getting into watching these races (even the live coverage on YouTube is pretty cool). Since we were on the water, we had the added bonus of witnessing both the hulking ETNZ boat and Prada’s Luna Rossa come verrrry close to our boat, superexciting.

After being fed lunch and a ton of snacks all day, we got to hang out on the New Zealand base in their Waka Māori pavilion (shaped like a waka, a Māori canoe) and enjoy some cocktails (courtesy of Rye on the Road) while watching the boats get cleaned and dismantled in front of us. What an operation. Oh yeah, and some strapping team members came by to say hello; does it get any better? Epic day for sure. I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding our city hosting the America’s Cup—and it’s not quite the slam-bang event it was intended to be—but watching those wicked-fast catamarans zip across the water is undeniably cool. (And congratulations to team Artemis for getting back on the water this week.)

More zipping: I am going to be heading up to Lake Tahoe this Thursday to spend some time with my fam this weekend at our cabin in Tahoma (been going there since I was a baby, it’s one of my favorite places in the world). And hey, I gotta do what I can to preserve this Rio tan, it’s a rare bird. But I’ll still have another ‘hopper installment for you this Friday, because my office is all virtual like that. Poof.

Today’s newsletter has some sneak peeks for you, and plenty to keep you busy (and fed, and tipsy).

Dig in!
Marcia Gagliardi

July 19, 2013
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You want this: the savory Red Snapper at Waiheke Island Yacht Club. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Sun, is that you? Good to see you. And howdy, readers. This week I have been doing a lot of dining catch-up, from bakery duty (Heartbaker and Le Marais Bakery) to a couple nights on our very busy waterfront, with drinks and pintxos at Coqueta, more drinks and hearty Southern fare at Hard Water, and checking out the new Waiheke Island Yacht Club.

I got inspired tasting some of the Kiwi ingredients at Waiheke Island Yacht Club (and hearing everyone’s accents), and since I am physically home for more than a week (I actually put my suitcase away for the time being, shocking), it was high time to start chipping away at writing up my staggering New Zealand trip. Today’s jetsetter features my visit to Auckland—stand by for future installments on Waiheke Island, wineries and sights on the North and South Islands, and Wellington. I also have a photo album of Auckland posted here.

We have a batch of 707 news for you from Heather Irwin, and in case you want even more reading because you are a glutton for content, I have my weekly post on 7x7.com that is getting a lot of hits and likes: Ten Things I Have Learned About Dining with Restaurant Industry Folks.

I also have my weekly Tablehopping column for the San Francisco Bay Guardian up, with a serious knish close-up for you. (And big congrats to my editor Marke Bieschke, who has just been named publisher, and Steven T. Jones, editor! Cin cin!)

Enjoy the weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

July 16, 2013
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Behold: the soft-shell crab salad special at Fable. (You won’t want to share.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Nothing like having your Rio tan sucked away in mere days of being home, I swear. Thanks Karl the Fog! However, the peaches I have been scarfing on say summer to me, and that was certainly the vibe at CUESA’s Summer Celebration on Sunday evening (my tablehopper table was happily located in the stone fruit section). Thanks to everyone who came by to say hello and learn about our vintage tablehopper tees and hoodies—well, except for the kind but too caffeinated woman who managed to spill her coffee all over one of our shirts. (I know you’re being all eco, but people, please put a lid on your coffee if you’re out and in the mix.)

I had another swell taste of summer on Friday evening over at Fable in the Castro (more details here). They had a special of a soft-shell crab salad on the menu, with spinach, corn, tomato, sherry vinaigrette, and a feisty aioli on the side. Boom. If you are a fellow soft-shell crab maniac like me, call and see if they still have ‘em on the menu—these were sweet, juicy, and really well prepared (chef Jon Hearnsberger has a special secret to how he handles them). Oh, bee-tee-dub, Fable has started brunch on the weekends, you can peek at the menu here (and pray the soft-shell crab stays around long enough to be in your Benedict).

Lots of news catch-up for you this week, plus some new openings too, including a sneak peek of the new La Urbana opening in a month’s time on Divisadero.

Ciao/meow!

Marcia Gagliardi

July 12, 2013
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A vision of summer: the melon salad at A16 Rockridge with a gaglioppo rosé (Savù) by iGreco. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hubba-hubba, I am back! My brain has almost caught up with my body. Or is it vice versa? Anyway, was fun to be back on the track this week, starting with a beautiful spring dinner at the new A16 Rockridge (just wait until you try the Seventh Circle cocktail, with rye, Campari, Calabrese chile, lemon, and honey, and the oh-so-tiny and tasty cavatelli, and smoky montanara pizza). And I loved seeing all of Kelly Tunstall’s gorgeous ladies lit up on the walls! Great vibe in the restaurant too.

Last night was all about checking out opening parties (swing by my Instagram page to see my tour)—today I’m including a write-up of Mikkeller Bar in the lush, which I got to preview last night (it opens this evening).

There are so many openings this month, so my monthly 7x7 piece on five new restaurants to check out now should come in handy.

I also have my weekly Tablehopping column for the SF Bay Guardian up: just wait until you rest your eyes on that breakfast sandwich at Vinyl. Rawr.

We also have a wino piece from Alan Goldfarb on the wine program at Range (which turned eight this week!), and a 707 scout update from Heather Irwin. And a fun starlet for your Friday entertainment. Yeah, plenty of reading to keep you busy.

Hope to see you Sunday at CUESA’s Summer Celebration! I’ll be there selling my vintage tablehopper T-shirts, so come on by!

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

July 10, 2013
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The Bahian ladies (at a food stand in Rio) who made my favorite dish of the trip: acarajé! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Boa tarde! I know, this is a first: a tablehopper on a Wednesday. But yours truly had her Saturday flight from Rio canceled an hour before I was due to leave for the airport, and wasn’t rebooked until Monday night! I know, I could think of worse places to be stranded than Rio. Anyway, here I am, and thank God for my super editorial assistant Dana who was able to track so many of these stories during my delay.

Brazil was quite the adventure—I was so impressed with many of the wineries in the south we visited (guess who was happy to be in the land of sparkling wine!), and I’m really happy my bottle of bubs from Cave Geisse made it home safely in my bag (also pleased my hot sauce didn’t explode, along with my “digestif grappa” from Perini). Whew.

Seeing Italy play against Spain in Fortaleza in a semi-final game in the Confederations Cup is something I won’t forget (although watching the Azzurri lose to a penalty kick was rough), and hello, my solo week in Rio was over the top. What a sultry, stylish city. I’ll be sorting through images and more for a recap soon, but in the meantime, you can check out a ton of pics I took on Instagram and Facebook.

I am definitely dragging right now (16 hours on two planes will do that to a person) and was very content to return to my espresso machine (and how nice, a houseguest left me a bag of Blue Bottle Hayes Valley espresso, aww). Speaking of cawfee, do you remember that panel on local coffee roasters I moderated for the Commonwealth Club? Well, now you can listen to it online if you’re so inclined.

A few more items: I have a few 7x7 posts to share with you, like this one on some of my favorite places to go for a banquet dinner with friends (so perfect for birthdays!), and I also wrote a piece on the best spots for coffee-lunch meetings (something I always struggle with—it’s so hard to find the right spot!).

I also have last week’s column for the SF Bay Guardian linked for you (and what the heck, here’s my SFBG column from the week prior because you need to know about the steak tartare I featured in it).

This Sunday evening is the CUESA Summer Celebration, are you coming? It’s an awesome event—there is more delicious food and tasty wine, beer, and booze than you’ll even know what to do with, seriously. And I’ll be there at a table, so please come by and say hello. It goes without saying that CUESA is a wonderful organization to support, so come on down!

Okay folks, I gotta go—I have a mountain of email to contend with, you can’t even imagine. But I’ll be back in your inbox on Friday.

Tchau!
Marcia Gagliardi

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