March 2014

March 25, 2014

The cochon de lait po’boy at High Cotton Kitchen (at Second Act Marketplace). Photo: ©

Hey there, so, whatcha have on tap this week? Are you coming to the Taste of the Nation event on Thursday? I sure hope so. It’s going to be a great night (the lineup of chefs is pretty rad), and I am excited to be emceeing the event! See you there? In case you don’t have your ticket yet, use code TOTNSF14IND for a special 20 percent discount. (Don’t have enough scratch? You can also volunteer to help with the event.)

This weekend is the pretty swank Gourmet Fest in Carmel-by-the-Sea, which I will be driving down to on Friday. So there won’t be a Friday hopper this week—I will be on the road trying to make it in time to the Taste of Italy lunch, oh you know it. There are still some tickets available for some of the events, in case you’re looking for an excuse to get out of town this weekend.

Last weekend I was on KRON4 talking about some of SF’s best doughnuts. Speaking of sweets (and bacon), if you wanted to try the bacon Twix we had in the tablehopper Sidecar last week, you can now get them at Pinkie’s Bakery. Score.

Ciao for now!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 21, 2014

A selection of treats from Sweetmue. Photo: ©

Oh yeah, spring is officially here, and today’s column is definitely feeling it: I have a review of Verbena for you (n.b., their brunch is coming very soon!), and our bookworm from Green Apple Books’ Pete Mulvihill is also very vegetable-focused. Asparagus and green garlic are in full effect.

On the carb side of things, I just posted a piece on this week on the best bagels you can find in San Francisco. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. After everyone complaining that you can’t find good bagels in this town, it was time to take a closer look at how good we actually have it.

This Saturday, I’ll be on KRON4, sharing my tablehopper hot list on some of the city’s best (and most evil) doughnuts; tune in at 9:15am!

A couple more notes: I’m happy to announce I am going to be the emcee of Taste of the Nation next Thursday March 27th. Have you bought your tickets yet? The event will feature bites from AQ, Frances, Alta CA, Rich Table, Fog City, and more, plus pours from local winemakers and brewers, and cocktails from St. George Spirits. Yeah, all great stuff. The event is a benefit for the very important Share Our Strength organization, whose noble goal is to not have any of our nation’s children go hungry. Please come and support this great event. We even have a discount code for you—hope to see you there!

One more area where I hope you can help out: Bay Leaf Kitchen is in the last days of its fundraiser to send SF kids to summer camp, and help teach children and families how to grow, cook, and eat real food. Maybe you can throw them a few bucks? They’re down to their last few days and need your help. Thank you!

Ciao ciao! Kiss kiss.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 18, 2014

A pre-Prince (at the Fox!) feast at Hawker Fare. Photo: ©

Whoa, busy day on the Twitter, blowing up with congrats to all the final nominees for the upcoming James Beard Foundation Awards in May. Big congratulations to all the writers, chefs, blogs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, bar managers, and more on your nominations, and am happy to see such a strong Bay Area turnout.

Today’s column is packed with so many new openings—you’re going to be busy checking them out for a while. And since the weather is just so damn gorgeous, maybe it’s time to hit the road? Here’s my latest Wine Country getaway column for the San Francisco Bay Guardian on some of the latest places to open and where to go in Healdsburg.

Coming up on Tuesday April 1st is a very sweet event at the JCCSF that I am excited to be a part of: Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen: A Celebration of Mothers, Grandmothers, and Food. The panel is going to be emceed by Joey Altman, and my fellow panelists include Craig Stoll and Traci Des Jardins, talking about our grandmothers, mothers, and others who have shaped our lives and cooking.

It ends up I have not one but two pairs of tickets to give away to tablehopper readers! All you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to two friends (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friend(s) about Beyond Bubbie! Be sure to Cc: or Bcc: me at so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Sunday March 23rd at 11:59pm. Hope to see you there!

Have a swell week, dollinks.
Marcia Gagliardi

March 14, 2014

The Windshield (mezcal, rye, amaro, lemon) at Loló. Photo: ©

Happy Pi Day, happy Purim tomorrow, happy St. Paddy’s Day weekend, and congratulations to all of us who live in the Bay Area, because this weekend is gonna be a beaut. Tonight is the reopening of Off the Grid at Fort Mason, it’s sure to be a fun one because the weather is ridonkulous. And if you’re looking for some new restaurants to check out, here’s my monthly post on with five new spots that just opened.

So, this is a fun thing: did you know there is a tablehopper car you can hail from now through March 21st on Sidecar? And did you know that when you ride in it, you get free bacon Twix custom made by Pinkie’s Bakery in SoMa? I KNOW. I asked owner-baker Cheryl Burr to make a custom bacon cookie for me, and she was like, how about bacon Twix? Yes to that. I also have the car tricked out with some lights and special beats, utz utz.

First-time Sidecar riders get $15 off their first ride with code TABLEHOPPER. And if you post a pic and tag it #TastemakerTakeover, you will be entered to win a month of free rides, meep meep! Have fun out there, and be sure to request the tablehopper car in the app this weekend.

Today, we have a review of one of my current obsessions (Merigan Sub Shop), some 707 news, and the lovely Chris Baggetta has an inaugural wino for us on stemware, check it out.

OK, I need to start warming up my dance moves, because yours truly is going to see PRINCE tomorrow and I am pretty fricking excited. Beyond.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 11, 2014

And just like that, spring is all up in our business. 73 degrees on Saturday, I see you! Commence alfresco activity plotting, now. Longer days, yes! More bike rides, also in the cards.

How was your weekend? Did you go score some doughnuts? (Yes, I will take the blame for any cravings you suddenly have.) Mine had some fantastic food highlights, like these insane dumplings at Dumpling Kitchen; the weekend brunch-only Adjarian khachapuri (pictured) at Anda Piroshki at Second Act, a Georgian treat made with feta, mozzarella, and a fresh egg on top—it’s a street food treat Anda remembers eating when she was a teen, and it’s cheesy deliciousness all baked in a little canoe made of her piroshki dough; dinner at Oakland’s Hopscotch included their Yonsei oyster with ikura and uni, it’s so damn good; and Sunday was a brunch with Four Roses Bourbon at Zero Zero. Nothing like starting your Sunday comparing their single barrel with the small batch, hubba. And have you had the casareccia at Zero Zero? I need to figure out how to make prosciutto bread crumbs, stat.

All righty, let’s dive in here. We have plenty of restaurant updates for you (look for a lot of new openings in next week’s issue!), booze news, an upscale food and wine event in Carmel, and our own Dana Eastland had some fun writing up today’s starlets for you.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 7, 2014

Some of the delightfully over-stuffed brioche donuts by Mr. Holmes. Photo: ©

Sunny day! Has me plotting what to do tomorrow, which is gearing up to be even warmer. Hell to the yes. I have a couple of options for you, depending on whether you’re a savory person (check out four of my favorite sandwiches right now) or maybe you want to hunt down some doughnuts! Here’s a roundup I just did for on the city’s best doughnuts, including some newbies, like the bacon brittle number by A Spoonful of Sugar and the soigné ones by Bespoke Doughnuts, both available this weekend.

There’s also Festa della Donna at A16 on Saturday, and more badass lady action at Speed Rack on Sunday!

Today’s issue has some 707 scout news, and our wino by Alan Goldfarb on Tosca Cafe’s wine list inspired me to burn some extra midnight oil this week and get a review written up to accompany it (and it also inspired today’s title).

I know, I am so far behind on writing up some of our city’s newest places—hopefully some of you are following along on the tablehopper Instagram feed for highlights of my favorite dishes lately. To be honest, there’s only so much time I have for writing tablehopper each week—the rest is dedicated to running the business, and all the other outlets I write for. Oh yeah, and my firehose email inbox. Anyway. Pant pant.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 4, 2014

The yum kai dao (fried duck egg “salad”) at Kin Khao. Yum indeed. Photo: ©

Are we all done dissecting the Oscars yet? There was a lot to cover with my amigos the past 24 hours, from the usual fashion discussion (so. many. boring. dresses.) to plastic surgery (I’d read this) to aging to whether Harrison Ford had a stroke or is just a big stoner. No comment on the sexist heroes montage. #hollywoodfail (But Lupita could have been in it, what a shining star.) I also got a kick out of Beth Spotswood’s recap on Slow News Day, go Beth.

Okay, let’s get back to food, something a lot of people in that Dolby theater could use a bit more of in their life. On Saturday, I was back at KRON4 with my tablehopper hot list, talking one of my favorite topics of all time: sandwiches. Here are four of my current favorite sandwich spots, although I’m thinking I’ll need to do a follow-up soon.

More video, more food. Although this isn’t about stuffing your face. Project Open Hand has been delivering meals in the Bay Area since 1985, and they are looking to replace one of their delivery vehicles (it’s literally held together with duct tape!). Watch this video about all the miles they’ve driven helping out folks in our community, and consider donating to their Indiegogo campaign. Thanks!

Happy Mardi Gras, folks. If you need a reminder of some places where you can get your gumbo and good times on tonight, here you go.

Enjoy your week, see you Friday.
Marcia Gagliardi

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