November 2013

November 26, 2013
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A bountiful brunch table at my dear friend Roberta’s house. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Some days, this intro letter of mine is really fun to write. Today, not so much. I have been a bit heartbroken the past couple of days: My dear Great-Aunt Mary left this beautiful earth Sunday morning, and I will say the planet just lost one of its sweetest ladies. She was truly kind, always putting family and others before herself—you don’t find such a guileless and giving heart so much these days. We could all take a page from her book. She graced this world for an amazing 94 years, and 63 of them have been with my Great-Uncle Tony, who just celebrated his 90th birthday. Nope, you don’t hear those kinds of numbers a lot. My heart goes out to him most of all, and their two lovely daughters; my entire family is just broken up over losing one of our precious matriarchs. And try as we might, no one makes a frittata as good as she did. But we’ll keep trying.

I know many of you have left town to travel to loved ones and hometowns for Thanksgiving (safe travels!), but for those of you who are still here in the city, thanks to my fab editorial assistant Dana, we actually have a bit of a column for you today. And in case you want to take advantage of a less busy city, here are five new places you can check out this holiday weekend.

I am so honored to be invited to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner at E+O Asian Kitchen this Wednesday evening. Chef Sharon Nahm is cooking for 40 C.H.E.F.S. students, their guests, and the faculty of ECS for a Thanksgiving Eve dinner!  This is the second year E+O has generously hosted the dinner, and I can’t wait to dine with the students (some have never dined in a restaurant), and it will be great for everyone to experience some new Asian flavors and ingredients. It will be a special evening for sure.

Best wishes to all of you this Thanksgiving holiday.
Marcia Gagliardi

November 22, 2013
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Hollandaise and ham and cheese soldiers at The Cavalier. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy. Friday is here, and our city got a nice bath this week, and an air dry too (what was up with that wind last night?). I’m pretty dang tired, to be honest. Yes, I get tired.

Last night I got to throw a relaunch/welcome back party for my client (and friend!) tuttifoodie.com, who really didn’t want to call it a relaunch party, she said “I just want you to throw a fun party.” It doesn’t get better than that. Oh wait, it does, when Campari America sponsors your event and you get to have the Rye on the Road crew mixing up three insanely delicious (and fall-appropriate) cocktails, plus we had a fun make-your-own bitters station. Three kinds of bao from the new Pan Grill kept the guests upright.

And I need to make sure I always have an eggplant parm from Merigan waiting for me at the end of any future event. What was supposed to be my late lunch turned into the best 11pm dinner ever. Thanks to everyone who came (and a special thanks to my publisher Ten Speed Press for the generous donation of fall titles, which fueled our very successful fundraising raffle for La Cocina!). Hubba.

Tomorrow morning at 9:15am, I’ll be back on KRON4 with my tablehopper hot list, covering where to get some of the best local Dungeness crab dishes in the city. Tune in!

Today we have a preview of Penrose (opening tonight!), plus my review of 20th Century Cafe, and some good 707 news too.

For further reading, my weekly Tablehopping column for the Bay Guardian can be found here, and my weekly post for 7x7.com with five new restaurants to try this month is up—have fun out there!

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 19, 2013
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HomeFarm peach and Champagne vinegar shrub at SHED. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I have a feeling I am not alone in my excitement over the cloudy, rainy skies today. I have been loving this sunny November (kind of crazy, this month), but it’s time for soup, and stews, and hello, it’s crab season! And white truffles. It’s also olio nuovo time—I was happily pouring the latest batch from McEvoy Ranch over my soft-boiled eggs (some pastured beauties from Wyeth Acres I picked up at SHED in Healdsburg) this morning. Thanksgiving is in a week! Whoa.

Friday evening I got to swing by the Vinguard Champagne and sparkling wine tasting—my ideal happy hour. Of course I fell in love with too many bottles. When Pamela Busch puts on a bubbly event, you should go. (She will be teaching a seminar at 18 Reasons on Monday December 9th, check it out.). With some bubs in my belly, I was ready to see the latest Cirque du Soleil production, Amaluna. It was pretty rocking, and a bit more female-centric than usual—totally loved it. There were some really special acts this year (hello, the mobile?). Although everyone on that stage makes you feel like a fat slob, I swear. Anyway, don’t miss it.

On Sunday, I had a fun 24 hours up in Healdsburg—was happy to finally check out the beautiful SHED, and there is nothing like sleeping in one of the feathery, fluffy beds at the h2hotel (hello, old friend!). Eight magic hours of deep sleep. So restorative.

So this week we have a bunch of news, you ready? And I am also planning and hosting a fun cocktail party (with Campari and Rye on the Road) for the newly redesigned Tutti Foodie this Thursday evening, and I will have a few spots to give away in the next couple days! Follow my updates on Twitter and Facebook for how to score a spot! Yes, it will be a fun time.

Okay, have fun finally getting your sweaters and galoshes out.
Marcia Gagliardi

November 15, 2013
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A closer look at the newly opened Merigan’s Italian combo. Yeah, it’s amazing. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Friday Friday Friday! And there’s nary a cloud in sight. Reason number 6,843 why I live in California. This week was chock-full of reasons why I live here, let me tell you. The private dinner party on Tuesday evening with Dana Cowin and the Food & Wine team at Cotogna made me pinch myself (actually, pinch my love handles) numerous times. The parade of uni on squid ink brioche, the famed ravioli, juicy porchetta, lamb of your dreams, jaw-dropping prime rib roast (the very one you’ll see on the December cover), it all made me say, “Damn, I’m lucky” many times, both in my head and to other guests there. Thanks to all for the amazing night!

Fall was in full effect at a beautiful dinner on Wednesday at Tartine Bakery, cooked with soul by Samin Nosrat, highlighting the recipes in Chad Robertson’s stunning new book, Tartine Book No. 3. Heirloom grains in effect! From sablés made with barley and cheddar cheese, to a chard and sheep’s milk ricotta galette with a kamut-kefir crust, to the satisfying and lightly sweet oat porridge bread…it all made me pinch those love handles again.

So, have you had any white truffles yet? I am so ready. Here’s a cheat sheet I wrote up on 7x7.com, with the restaurants that are serving white truffles right now, and which dishes to order! It’s time for tajarin.

I also have my weekly Tablehopping column ready at the Bay Guardian—you have to read about the buckwheat waffle with salmon roe and crème fraîche at Linea Caffe!

Okay, today’s (late) issue has a review of Betelnut for you, and some 707 news to boot.

Buon weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 12, 2013
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A dish from a Californios dinner at Naked Kitchen: Yerba Buena Fruit Cup Under the C. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

So anyone who follows food media has been watching the ripples, nay, waves of rage that followed the release of Time magazine’s “Gods of Food” issue last week. Yes, it was a complete sausage fest, and this is what happens when an inane magazine that doesn’t know enough about the food world spouts off some pretty idiotic decrees about it. You really have to read Time editor Howard Chua-Eoan’s travesty of an interview when questioned by Eater about the reasons for the gross omission of women in numerous areas in the Gods of Food section. Mansplaining at its finest—and worst.

In case you haven’t been following the fallout, there are some really excellent pieces being written that I hope you make some time to read—an important dialogue was lit up, that’s for damn sure. I’d start with this sharp piece on Eater by Amanda Cohen, and in case you need some reminders of the many Goddesses of Food who are kicking ass in this world, please look at this piece on Grub Street (the comments are a must-read). Over at The New York Times, as soon as my deadline is all finished, I’m going to be reading all the pieces in the Room for Debate that just went up about “Why Do Female Chefs Get Overlooked.”

How do we change things? Well, I was thrilled to see this in-depth piece by Sarah Henry for Edible East Bay about the rising tide of Oakland’s badass female chefs come out this past weekend. Now that was some good timing. And here’s a piece by Paula Forbes on Eater about “How Does the Food Media Solve Its Gender-Bias Problem.” There’s a lot of commentary and discussion and articles coming out right now, I look forward to reading more. It’s such important discourse. Bring it on!

Okay, so it’s also time to dive into some news, because we have some cool openings this week, and events, and other things to tell you about. Oh, and if you love white truffles, or are looking for some options on where to dine out for Thanksgiving, here’s my tablehopper hot list segment on KRON4 that aired on Saturday! Please check it out, and likes are always appreciated. Mwah.

Later alligator.
Marcia Gagliardi

November 8, 2013
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Spicy tantanmen ramen at Ramen Shop in Oakland. You want this. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I haven’t been this excited to see the end of a week in awhile—Friday, so glad you showed up! Damn, you look great! I felt like this past week had a chain saw and was out to get me, but I was like, back OFF, Halloween was last week! Way too much running around, meetings, deadlines, and annoying things like my faithful G11 camera finally dying on me (baby, no!!!).

But my week isn’t quite wrapped up yet, because I’ll be back on KRON4 tomorrow (Saturday) morning with my tablehopper hot list! We’re going to be talking truffles and Thanksgiving, uh-huh! Tune in to KRON4 (that would be channel four, people) at 9:15am! And if you are a smart person and still sleeping, I love you—I’ll have a link for you next week.

Today’s issue has a wino, bookworm, and 707 scout news for you. And here are a few more goodies: a recent piece I wrote for 7x7.com on the four latest cafés to open around town, and in case you missed last week’s piece on new brunches, here ya go. Oh yeah, and here are some reminders of some tasty happenings this weekend, FYI!

Over on the Bay Guardian, did you catch last week’s column which included the amazing pollo asado at Don Pisto’s? Trust me, you want to get that chicken. This week’s Tablehopping column is all about the char siu spring rolls at Betelnut, so dang good, check it.

OK, it’s time to deal with these piles o’ paperwork on my desk (and the mountain of email in my inbox). Have a grand weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 5, 2013
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Birthday dream menu: Deep-fried uni with Tabasco rémoulade at Butterfly. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

The food world is reeling with the shocking news that chef Charlie Trotter was found dead this morning at the age of 54. The Chicago chef was a culinary icon, a pioneer, a great talent, and, yes, a notoriously difficult person to work for (but you should also read this piece about how great it was to work for him). Condolences to his family and friends for this unexpected and tragic loss—he touched and influenced so many people in his 54 legendary years.

This past weekend, I was definitely giving thanks for all the wonderful people in my life. Birthdays are a great time to take stock of your life. How lucky to have my grandma here for my (epic) birthday lunch on Friday, and an intimate dinner with sweet friends at Outerlands on Friday night. And how much fun did I have dancing to deep-crates disco with my dear friends at one of my favorite San Francisco clubs on Saturday night? I have been going to The Stud since I moved to San Francisco in 1994, and it was pretty awesome to meet someone on Saturday who was telling me about his memories of coming to The Stud for his first time in 1977! I bow down. (I also bought him a glass of bubbles. Hopefully someone will do the same for me 20 years from now.)

So, I was up late burning the midnight oil on this hefty column—we have a bunch of openings this week. Let’s dive in. I’ll see you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

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