February 2014

February 28, 2014
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One of my favorite drinks of all time: the Cherry Bounce at Comstock Saloon. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh yeah, our city is getting one hell of a bath right now. Loving. In case you’d like a little something to warm you up, I just posted this piece on 7x7.com on locally made hot sauces (collect all five!). Here’s the previous post on kimchee and sriracha, in case you missed it. I am so pleased with my current stash o’ hot stuff now—I could practically open a store over here at Hopper HQ.

Last night I hit up a couple of parties, starting with a preview of Charles Phan’s The Coachman, opening Monday (wait until you try their prime rib—they cook it in salt for eight hours, and the horseradish cream has a fun Vietnamese ingredient in it). I also headed to Kitchit headquarters for a party hosted by Williams-Sonoma to launch their new Open Kitchen line of affordable kitchenware and tools. Llano Seco suckling pig three different ways by Nick Rappoport (previously a sous at Outerlands), mmmhmmm, that was a tasty party.

Today’s column includes a jetsetter post on Napa—for those of you looking for a quick getaway, here you go! I’ll be posting a couple more Wine Country overnight trips in coming weeks, stand by. We also have a bunch of Wine Country news for you from Heather Irwin in the 707 Scout. Lastly, Collin Casey has a wino for us on wine importers Cory Cartwright and Guilhaume Gerard of Selection Massale. Cheers!

I’ll be on KRON4 tomorrow at 9:15am with my tablehopper hot list segment on some of my favorite local sandwiches. The timing is perfect, because you can go out and grab one for lunch after you see me talking about them and making you hangry.

Have fun watching the Oscars on Sunday, and in case you don’t want to drive or ride in the rain this weekend, here’s a discount link from this month’s sponsor, Flywheel, offering tablehopper readers $10 off your first ride. Check it out! Be safe.

See you on Tuesday.
Marcia Gagliardi

February 25, 2014
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Dusk at the Delano South Beach pool. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I can’t believe a week ago I was packing my bag for a dream long weekend in South Beach, Miami. All I can say is what the hell took me so long to go back to that beautiful and totally fun place? I ate stone crabs, drank lots of Champagne, swam and sunbathed, and enjoyed plenty of cortaditos. I loved how chatty and friendly everyone was—living in warm weather (and on the beach) totally changes the way people relate. I am already scheming how to live there for a month and really get to know the area. Yeah, I had a great time.

A big bonus was that I was invited as a guest of my cousin, so I had zero press duties over the weekend—I got to just hang out and I didn’t take a single goddamn note. It actually felt like a vacation, how novel. But I did take pictures and snag some menus, so I’ll be posting a mini recap soon of some of the places we ate and drank at (when we weren’t attending SOBEWFF events).

And staying at the Delano was a fricking dream—loved the staff, the all-white rooms, borrowing their beach cruisers to pedal to lunch, and yes, that pool (although I actually preferred the beach—the water was the perfect temperature).

So, back to reality. But let’s keeping talking about hot stuff. Like how about kimchee and sriracha? Here’s the first part of a two-piece article I am writing for 7x7.com on locally made hot sauces, kimchees, and more. I hope you enjoy it!

Next up: here’s last week’s Tablehopping piece for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, with my recap on where to eat, stay, and drink in St. Helena! Maybe it’ll inspire you to take an overnight trip out of town.

Lastly, big congrats to all the James Beard Foundation semifinalists for the 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards! The finalists will be announced on Tuesday March 18th, so stand by; the James Beard Foundation Awards are Monday May 5th.

Alllllrighty, I need to finish unpacking my bag, shake the sand out of all my shoes, and catch up on this pile of email. See you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

February 18, 2014
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A 10th anniversary pizzetta at A16 with black truffle, ricotta, and arugula. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

¡Hola! I hope you enjoyed the three-day weekend. Mine is actually starting on Wednesday, since I am leaving to go on a last-minute trip to Miami! Ends up my dear cousin needed a +1 for some South Beach Wine and Food Festival shenanigans, and, well, who am I to say no? Exactly. I haven’t been to Miami in more than 10 years, so it’s going to be blast to head back to the land of sherbet-colored Deco buildings, café cortados, balmy nights, and I’m sure I’m going to get a medianoche in there somewhere (along with some beach time, and plenty of cocktails, oh you know it).

We have limited time to eat out in between the SOBEWFF events we’re attending, but I’m fired up to hit Pubbelly, Joe’s Stone Crab (sadly no time for that line, so we’ll hit the Take Away!), Yardbird, and we have a big dinner planned at Catch Miami. Our cocktailing lineup is also looking good (maybe even this Dead Rabbit pop-up event at Patpong Road?). Yeah, I’m excited.

I’m also so thrilled to be celebrating tablehopper’s eighth anniversary this week! I’ll be sure to have an extra-special cocktail on Friday the 21st to honor the occasion (am sure Miami can make one with gold leaf or something for me, ha!). Thank you all for all your tremendous support these past years! You keep me inspired.

On Saturday morning, I was at KRON4 for my tablehopper hot list segment on three great date restaurants in the city. Big thanks to The Balm for dispatching their talented makeup artist, Keira Rowland, to do my makeup that early in the morning (normally I have to do it myself, so it was a godsend). The night before was A16’s fantastic 10th anniversary dinner party, so someone definitely needed the touch of a professional after all that Southern Italian wine, heh. (And ladies, you can also experience The Balm’s fab makeovers at their new flagship at 788 Valencia St.)

Oh, and here are some fun links for you. First up, here’s a piece on 7x7.com with the latest coffee spots and cafés to open in SF, and here’s a totally swell New York Times piece on bar lingo in New York bars (I cackled numerous times).

I’m also so happy that a friend’s brand-new quarterly magazine, Dinosaur, is going to be arriving in my mailbox any day now! (Yours truly has a new column in it called “Sex and the Single Diner,” meow!) You can subscribe here—it’s going to be a great assemblage of fashion, music, writers, travel pieces, and more, all geared for my hawt and smart over-40 creative classmates.

Okay, it’s time for me to dig into my closet for sundresses (oh hi, I remember you!) and gold heels. I’ll see you next week!

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 11, 2014
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The lobster Benedict at Spruce. (Have you thought about Valentine’s brunch instead?) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

SF, you’re looking (and smelling) so clean! Someone needed a bath, that’s for sure. So, it’s about that time again, when every restaurant starts being converted into a sea of two-top tables. Whether you are going out for Valentine’s Day dinner this week or not, here are a couple of other full-of-heart things you can do, no partner required.

You may have seen my piece on fantastic local chocolates you could (and really should) enjoy, but what if you knew the chocolate (or flowers) you bought saves lives? For Valentine’s Day, these local businesses are helping to contribute funds to Samahope, a nonprofit that raises funds for heroic doctors who provide life-changing medical treatments to women and children in low-income countries. Check it out!

I also was so impressed to learn that Rainbow Grocery is giving 100 percent of their profits from today through February 13th (up to $30,000) to benefit grassroots relief efforts in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan. Just wow.

Personally, I’m excited about another kind of red (and white, and bubbly) this week, because Thursday is the annual Tre Bicchieri tasting at Fort Mason. Handsome Italian men in suits pouring stunning wines, grazie mille. It also means there are some wonderful winemakers in town this week! Check out these special visits at SPQR and Biondivino (which is also hosting a Le Dix-Sept pop-up with Valentine’s Day treats on Friday, FYI!).

Speaking of Italy, did you catch my piece on Friday about Chianti? Here you go.

Wishing you a lovely week. XOXO!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 7, 2014
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Perfect rainy day food: steamed mussels with tarragon butter and Muscadet at 20 Spot. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well hallelujah, California is doing a happy rain dance right now. I’m thinking a weekend of hot soups and movies is on the docket. (And perhaps freshly flown-in Russ & Daughters bagels. Sunday is a barbecue benefit, although you may want to put on your raincoat for that one.)

In case you’re looking for some new restaurants to hit, here’s my monthly post on 7x7.com on five new restaurants to check out (including the fantastic chicken and waffles for brunch at Victory Hall).

Today’s column features a write-up about my visit to Chianti this past fall (for the Toscana Taste and Beauty program at Il Paluffo)—if you don’t already hate me a lot, here’s even more ammo for you. If you’re looking for an Italian getaway, this is one very special option to consider. And if you just want to look at pictures, here’s my photo album from my visit—captions are underway.

Oh, and I did an overnight in Napa piece for the Bay Guardian—consider it a cheat sheet for your next 24-hour getaway. Heather Irwin also has some 707 news for us in the 707 scout.

Before signing off, I have something for you to please consider signing: this petition to repeal the idiotic latex glove law for restaurant workers and bartenders. It’s misguided on so many levels. Please read it and sign it, thanks.

And have a fabulously soggy weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

February 4, 2014
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One of my favorite dishes at Verbena: sardine and steelhead roe (with a parsnip chip). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

You ready for an issue packed with sneak peeks and openings? Well, you’ve got it. Last week I spent some time checking out new places around town, including the newly opened Second Act Marketplace in the Upper Haight (I’m so glad Second Act isn’t too far from my abode—the red beans and rice at High Cotton Kitchen, the carrot cake at Community Craft, and the piroshki at Anda Piroshki are all great additions to the hood). And then Loló just opened yesterday as well, so go check that out and get your mezcal on.

So, Valentine’s Day is next Friday: here’s a little reminder for you on places we recommend for dinner and here’s a piece I wrote for 7x7.com on fab local chocolates you can get, whether you are buying them for your beloved or your BFF! Everyone loves chocolate (except the dog, of course).

I need to get ready for a panel I am speaking on tonight (“Italian Waves of Innovation”) for Italian Community Services and BAIA at Club Fugazi, so ciao for now!

Marcia Gagliardi

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