August 2013

August 30, 2013

The stunning sky on Lummi Island. Photo: ©

Have you already left the office yet? Good for you. If you’re still stuck, well, here’s a little afternoon reading for you, chock-full of just-breaking news, info on the upcoming tablehopper singles event (and how to get tickets!), 707 scout news, and another wino installment about Argentina from Eugenio Jardim! Yup, plenty to keep you entertained.

Are you hanging around this weekend, enjoying the extra parking, shorter lines, and easy reservations? (And probably Karl the Fog too.) Here’s a piece I wrote for with five fun things for you to consider doing on Labor Day in case you don’t have plans yet or are looking for extra shenanigans. Since we’re at it, here’s a link to this week’s Tablehopping column in the Bay Guardian as well!

I am actually hitting the road again (who, me?) and heading up to Healdsburg for an overnight at Jordan, and then the next night at Roshambo Farms. Can’t wait to hang out with my friends, feed some goats, drink good wine, and be in the sun.

No matter where your Labor Day weekend takes you, I hope you find some blue skies, and maybe even some blue water. See you!

Marcia Gagliardi

August 27, 2013

Kylen McCarthy of Pioneer Square Pantry preparing some extremely scarce sockeye salmon on Lummi Island. Photo: ©

Hello there! Can I just say whoa? I returned Monday evening from one of the most memorable food experiences and getaways—I am literally reeling. As you may remember, I left for Seattle last Thursday for a long weekend adventure with the team behind Pioneer Square Pantry. We made a few choice stops around Seattle, but they also brought me to the magical Lummi Island, home of the much-lauded Willows Inn—but funnily enough, we didn’t go there (although I will, another time, and hopefully soon).

My experience was exceedingly unique and highly personal, from going out on that oh-so-pristine water to set crab pots with locals, to having such flavor-packed and fresh-from-the-land-and-sea cuisine prepared by the talented Kylen McCarthy, on the most stunning pottery sourced with his partner, Eva Soroken. The weekend was full of exciting ingredients, and I met so many talented folks in their circle. I don’t even want to attempt to summarize the experience here right now, because it deserves many more words—thoughtful ones. Let’s just say my weekend was an aesthetic overload, so abundant in beauty and soul—I am coming back from the experience feeling very grateful and moved. The Pacific Northwest is really something special, especially right now on the brink of fall. A tremendous thanks to the Scribe Winery family for introducing me to Eva and Kylen!

As for our local community, while I was away, my dear friend Sasha Wizansky officially announced that the upcoming 20th issue of Meatpaper magazine will be the last (for now). Some of you don’t know how integral Sasha has been in tablehopper’s history: she designed my brand identity and the first website, and helped me run the column for many, many Tuesdays. We each launched tablehopper and Meatpaper seven years ago, both on parallel paths with our respective ventures born from passion and our pioneering spirits. Here’s wishing Sasha and everyone who has been involved with or contributed to Meatpaper all the best. I am sure the final issue, “The Future of Meat,” is going to be especially thought-provoking and poignant.

So, remember that tablehopper singles event I hosted a couple of months ago? Well, the next one is coming up on the evening of Thursday September 12th! This one is going to be geared for gay single men who love food and wine, aged 35-55. Stand by for details on the event, the fabulous wine and spirit partners, the menu, and how to get tickets in this Friday’s coming issue!

Lastly, did you catch my piece last week on about my top picks for gluten-free dining? I know it’s a challenge many of you face, so I hope you dig the post.

Okay, it’s time for me to scale this week’s mountain of work. Have a swell week—safe travels to everyone en route to Burning Man, or wherever your Labor Day weekend plans take you!

See you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

August 20, 2013

Hot chicken by chef Carlo Espinas (Comstock Saloon) at the Night Market. Photo: ©

What the hell is going on in the cosmos right now? Not to be all hippie-dippie, but between the heavy full moon and last night’s freaky-deaky dry lightning show, I am ready for unicorn sightings next (no comment on that other thing that can take our city by surprise).

So I am watching my sister and friends prepare to go to Burning Man (good luck with all the prep, sweeties!), and of course am having some twinges of FOMO and sadness about missing the playa this year (and Marco Cochrane’s gorgeous 55-foot piece this year, Truth & Beauty). Le sigh.

But instead, I am opting to recharge with a long-overdue visit to Seattle and Lummi Island! I’m leaving this Thursday, and will be hanging out with Eva Soroken and Kylen McCarthy of Pioneer Square Pantry through the weekend—am very excited to have them show me their Northwest world. I will assuredly be documenting some delicious and gorgeous things on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter this weekend, follow along!

Could you believe the Street Food Festival on Saturday (and the Night Market the night before)? Again, just whoa on the turnout of tasty. Loved the global mix of flava, the creativity, and the nice price for it all. (Can The Whole Beast please open a lamb shawarma shop? That would be fab.) Thanks to everyone who contributed their talents—so much work went into all that food, drink, and organization (La Cocina, you are amazing). And grazie to everyone who stopped by the tablehopper table on Saturday, was great to say hi and hang out. Here’s a link to the tablehopper T-shirts in case you didn’t get a chance to come by (or back!).

I’ll see you next Tuesday—enjoy the sun (and big-ass moon!).
Marcia Gagliardi

August 16, 2013

Gazpacho at Coqueta at the Flavor! Napa Valley preview luncheon. Photo: ©

Happy Friday, people. I am digging this muggy weather and the sun’s valiant attempts to come out and play. We’ll see what happens Saturday at the SF Street Food Fest. Since I was told I am not on the map, the tablehopper table is going to be positioned on 24th Street between Shotwell and Folsom, on the north side of 24th. So if you want to check out a tablehopper vintage t-shirt, buy my book, bring me beer, or just say howdy, that’s where you will find me! Come on by.

Tonight is the Night Market (Still debating about coming? Hopefully my $5 discount code [tablehopper2] will further entice you to buy a ticket.) and I am looking forward to it. Last year, one of my favorite bites was Preeti Mistry’s spin on a vada pav, which makes for a nice tie-in with today’s review of Juhu Beach Club. You like flavor? Well, buckle up, because we are going for a ride.

We also have a wino dispatch from the ever-charming Eugenio Jardim, who is currently gallivanting around Argentina for Malbec Camp. You’ll see more from him in coming weeks! And lastly, for those of you keeping up on 707 news, we have a 707 scout update from Heather Irwin for you (with a juicy rumor about Ken Tominaga of Hana Japanese coming to SF to partner with Michael Mina on a project).

Lastly, over on I have my monthly cheat sheet of five new places to check out this month, and get ready to suddenly crave a buttery, golden, cheese- and ham-stuffed pastry when you look at my weekly Tablehopping column for the Bay Guardian. So sorry to do this to you.

Enjoy the weekend, you may need to wear a kaftan.
Marcia Gagliardi

August 14, 2013

Uni on squid ink brioche, topped with lardo di prosciutto (at a prosciutto di Parma dinner). Photo: ©

Am I messing up your sense of reality with this Wednesday tablehopper? Don’t worry, it really is Wednesday, not Tuesday. I decided to push this a day because some dear friends were getting married in Sonoma on Monday, and I was not going to miss that wedding. I had a nice overnight stay at the El Dorado Hotel, right on Sonoma Square, and their hefty ham and Gruyère omelet was just the thing I needed before hitting the road. (Let me tell you, a wedding of bar owners is serious, painful business.)

Although I was on a deadline from hell yesterday, I wasn’t going to miss a special prosciutto di Parma dinner at Cookhouse with chefs Suzette Gresham-Tognetti (Acquerello) and Staffan Terje (Perbacco). Oh hell no. It was such an utterly delicious meal, and they showcased the prosciutto so creatively, from the tiniest rounds of prosciutto butter melting on top of guinea hen breast to roasted peaches drizzled with prosciutto zabaglione. The kicker was prosciutto gelato sprinkled with prosciutto toffee. Yeah, that meal was beyond.

Also beyond? Seeing Paul McCartney perform at Outside Lands this past weekend. My sister and I were totally enthralled (like the thousands of other festivalgoers, all holding our breath as he played an acoustic version of “Blackbird”). And Karen O. makes me say, “Yeah Yeah YEAH!” What a performer, whoa. Kudos to the organizers and vendors for doing our city proud with all the excellent food, wine, and cocktails, which we all thoroughly enjoyed. (It certainly is a lot easier to pay for spendier well-made food instead of overpriced festival crap. Coachella, take some notes.)

Over the three days, I hit up Outside Lambs twice (for the lamb poutine and the lamb banh mi), plus one of Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers (the banh baby banh), Azalina’s Malaysian nachos, plenty of cocktails (tried Cantina’s and The Alembic’s drinks, and the Bourbon Fix over at The Roundup was in heavy rotation), and paid a couple of visits to Beer Lands and Wine Lands (scored some pink bubs from Scharffenberger—would like to see more sparkling next year!). I attend a lot of music festivals, and this is the only one that serves rillettes, I gotta say.

So, you gearing up for this weekend’s mega-fab food festivities? I am so excited for the Night Market this Friday evening, and Saturday is the fifth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival. Yours truly will have a table there, with our vintage tablehopper t-shirts and hoodies, come say hi! Folsom Street will be the most happening culinary extravaganza, with more than 80 vendors serving incredible food that is all priced less than $8, holy moly. Don’t forget: come with friends so you can share bites, get a passport (you save money and hassle!), and ride your bike! You can also download the app to rate vendors and plan your itinerary. Let’s do it.

I’ll see you on Friday for a quick post before heading to the Night Market. Enjoy the clear skies and be sure to peek at our pretty crescent moon if you can.

Buen provecho!
Marcia Gagliardi

August 9, 2013

Suckling pig (or as I call it, Chinese pork and beans) at Koi Palace. Photo: ©

So you ready to set off the weekend? I am pumped, and so are my bike tires, ready to pedal off to Outside Lands with sis for day one of shenanigans. Today’s lineup is definitely my favorite, with Wild Belle, Jessie Ware, Daughter, Rhye, the Chromatics, Yeasayer, Chic (whatever D’Angelo, but hello, Nile Rodgers!), and let’s not forget Sir Paul! There is also some lamb poutine with the Gagliardi girls’ names on it. It’s on.

If you’re joining me out in the misty fields this weekend, here’s a little recap I did for on seven ways to keep warm and well fed out there.

Today’s issue is pretty packed, with a review of Hakkasan, a bookworm, 707 news, and a wino. I was inspired to (finally) weigh in on Hakkasan after an incredibly delicious dinner I had at Koi Palace this week—it got me thinking about Chinese food in the city, and the spectrum of what is (and isn’t) available here.

One more tidbit: in my Tablehopping column for this week’s Bay Guardian, take a look at my new favorite dish I find myself hankering for a lot these days, rather conveniently named the egg hopper at 1601 Bar & Kitchen. Check it out.

See you next week. Have fun, go find some sun.
Marcia Gagliardi

August 6, 2013

Boxing Room’s table at SF Chefs, serving smothered okra and tomatoes with cracklins on top. Photo: ©

Well, THAT was quite the weekend of debauchery. After moderating a cooking demo on Friday with chefs Al Brown (visiting from New Zealand) and Brad Farmerie (The Thomas at Fagiani’s, Public in New York), and watching Sean Brock (Husk) joke around and cook with Daniel Patterson (Coi), I was more than ready to hit the Friday night tasting tent at SF Chefs. The Plumed Horse styled us with some proper luxury (thanks for the caviar!), while Locanda’s BLT with housemade guanciale and Baker & Banker’s corn vichyssoise were my favorite tastes of summer. Dosa didn’t hold back on the spice with their lamb uttapam, huzzah. I may have visited the Negroni umbrella stand more than once (lather, rinse, repeat), and Rye on the Road made a killer cocktail with Cynar, the cleverly named Thistling Dixie. Good times.

My Saturday workout ended up clarifying how tired I was (guess who unexpectedly took a nap and slept through the afternoon?), but then sis and I put on our dresses and hit the Saturday night tent. Kudos to Bluestem Brasserie for taking that night’s music theme the furthest, and I was really digging the oyster and Bowmore whisky luge, brilliant.

After doing some writing on Sunday, I decided to punch the clock and headed down to San Mateo for a bottle of bubbles and supper with grandma. Pimento cheese, ribs, cheese soufflé, and a salad, with the best company one could ask for. Henry the mutt provided plenty of tableside entertainment (such a clown), and I got grandma cracked out on the new Recchiuti malted milk chocolate sauce, which we had with our vanilla ice cream.

This Friday, Outside Lands is kicking off, and I am crash-coursing on a lot of opening bands I don’t know very well on Spotify. One thing I do know well is the sick lineup of eats, including pozole from Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas, Malaysian nachos from Azalina’s, Big Chef Tom’s Belly Burgers (got to try one at SF Chefs—good stuff), sardine chips from Rich Table (wow, that sounds like a lot of work, go team). You can also warm up with hot chocolate from Charles Chocolates, and in case you had a rough night, you can get started with a fried egg sandwich and hash browns from il Cane Rosso. Some food trucks will also be there, including Bacon Bacon, Hapa SF, and The Chairman Truck. Oh yeah, and don’t forget Outside Laaaaambs! Lamb poutine, I am coming for ya. Beer Lands and Wine Lands, they always keep me feeling good. Like D’Angelo, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s on.

A few additional pieces for you: last week on, I did a roundup of special menus and prix-fixe deals around town, and here’s my piece on “summer” eats and new places for the SF Bay Guardian.

Let’s have a fun Fogust (credit to Karl the Fog for that brilliant portmanteau!).
Marcia Gagliardi

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