April 2014

April 29, 2014
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Shakshuka with merguez sausage at Tasty n Sons in Portland. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there, I’m back from Portland, where I managed to avoid getting caught in any rainstorms. I got to finally taste the famed Pok Pok wings (and other incredible dishes), had a fabulous canelé at the brand-new Philippe’s Bread, visited the brunch mothership of Tasty n Sons, and drank Ninkasi beers while enjoying my cousin’s amazing pulled pork. Put a bird on it! I was in Portland for a wedding, so it was great to hang out with my family and catch up, but I can’t wait to head back there and eat and drink my way through that town; so many good spots!

The day before I left town last week, a friend and I took a two-hour boat ride around San Francisco Bay with Bay Voyager—the weather this week is perfect for it! I have lived here for almost 20 years, but have never had such an exhilarating ride on the bay before. It’s an open boat—a 28-foot custom-built rigid inflatable boat (RIB)—so you catch a lot of water spray. Yeah, it’s a total blast. You get really close to landmarks and captain Charles shared a ton of interesting facts I didn’t know about the bay. Check my Instagram feed or Facebook page for some pics since Facebook doesn’t like to let you see everything I post. They offer a $39 one-hour sunset cruise as well, which would be amazing tomorrow evening, I’m jus’ sayin’. Pack some adult beverages! Pro tip: if you’re doing a day ride, I recommend a quick lunch at Sammy’s Aloha beforehand, and then you can walk on over!

Our gorgeous city isn’t the only thing heating up right now—there are a ton of openings coming up too. We have a few listed in today’s column, and this Saturday, 4505 Burgers & BBQ opens its doors at 10:30am. Smokestack (at Magnolia Brewery) in the Dogpatch is also slated to open on Friday; we’ll have deets on that one next week, along with a bunch of other openings, including Outerlands. Whew.

For those of you with your mother nearby, have you made Mother’s Day reservations yet? No? Well, my 7x7.com piece on five new brunches should come in handy right now (get on it!), and I will also be on KRON 4 this Saturday at 9:15am with my tablehopper hot list, talking about where to go.

Big congrats to the restaurants included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants yesterday, including Daniel Patterson’s Coi, which newly entered the list at 49. Saison was named “one to watch.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, can we talk about a small, female-owned business for a second? Yeah? Great, because this bums me out: our dear Azalina is running short in her fundraiser for a new commercial kitchen since she lost access to the one she was using. People, we all love her food quite a bit, can you please help her reach her goal? The fundraiser ends in four hours! Any amount helps, even $25. I for one would like to see her rock this fundraiser, please help a sister out.

OK, time to punch the clock and enjoy this weather. I hope you get to do the same this week.

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 22, 2014
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Awesome check presentation at TBD Restaurant. Bwok. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy folks. Yeah, I’m back in action after the two-week illness from hell. Finally went for my first dinner out over the weekend, and was nice to hang with the fam on Easter Sunday. I scooted down to San Mateo early so I could make homemade pasta with my dad—I need to get his technique down. We had fava beans from the garden, my mom’s amazing tomato sauce all over the biggest bowl of the thinnest tagliatelle, and roasted capretto (baby goat). My mom hit it out of the park with her lemon chess pie with strawberries and fresh whipped cream on top, so good. Nope, there’s no better dinner table than the one at my parents’. (Although if you’re craving a home-cooked meal, the lovely Veronica Klaus is cooking a home-style dinner at Truck this Wednesday—mmmm, strawberry cake.)

Speaking of family, I was happy to be interviewed by L’Italo-Americano about my background—it was such a thoughtful piece, grazie Ms. Dossetti!

There won’t be a hopper this Friday—I’ll be on a plane to Portland for my cousin’s wedding. Bummer that it’ll be raining all weekend, but what did I expect? Portland! I have a little free time on Sunday, so Pok Pok and Olympic Provisions are high on the hit list. Maybe a fab brunch too (like Tasty n Sons).

If you’re looking for a place to go tonight, please look at the participating restaurants on the Dining Out for Life site first—it’s a one-night event to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. Thanks! And if you’re around on Sunday, don’t forget Cochon 555 is happening.

Happy Earth Day. Don’t forget to turn the lights off.
Marcia Gagliardi

April 18, 2014
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The glory that is pão de queijo. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Bom dia! Since I have been home sick this week, I finally had some time to edit all the photos from my trip to Rio de Janeiro last summer (I took waaaay too many pics), and write up the first jetsetter installment of my weeklong visit there. I know some of you lucky ducks are planning a trip to Brazil for World Cup, so hopefully my Rio adventure can be of assistance to those of you who are going. You can look at my pictures here (I’m slowly but surely adding captions over the next couple of days), and I will have the second half of jetsetter piece in a few weeks (which will include where to get my favorite thing I ate in Rio: acarajé!).

Some other pieces for you to take a look at: over on 7x7.com, I have a recap of the four new pizza places that I have been checking out over the past few weeks, and my weekly Tablehopping column for the Bay Guardian has some more picks for Passover and Easter.

I’m going to be missing the 4/20 contact high on Sunday in SF—I’ll be spending Easter Sunday with my family in San Mateo, and yes, there will be capretto (baby goat). Although I am also really inspired by this video on Gianni.TV about making torta pasqualina, check that beauty out! Buona Pasqua!

One last little tidbit for you: yesterday I ran a sponsored email for Flywheel, which inspired one of those charming “I’m unsubscribing!” emails from a cranky reader. (Excuse me, but tablehopper is free, how do you think I pay the bills over here? Magic?)

But I hope you took a look at the email, because Flywheel is offering $10 off your next ride, whether you have used the service before or not. (Personally, it’s my preferred way to get around right now—the app is much faster than it was. And the drivers rock—they’re cabbies. Use code “HOPBACK” if you’d like to try it again—there are only 50 available!) Anyway, you can read more here. And a sincere thanks to Flywheel for keeping the wheels turning over here!

Have a great weekend, everyone.
Marcia Gagliardi

April 15, 2014
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That’s the stuff: spicy tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Yamadaya. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Today sure is taxing. Financially taxing, ugh. Mentally taxing. Here’s a link to a discussion I chimed in on about soda taxing. And for me, today is definitely physically taxing. I have been super sick for the past nine days and am so over it. Cranky hopper, that is for damn sure. Body ache and unbelievable, headache-inducing sinus pressure? Check. At least I can (kind of) taste and smell again—after five days of being in a total sensation bubble, I was losing my mind. Fortunately I have an appointment with a doc this afternoon, because I’d like to be able to swallow without pain for a change. Whatever this cold from hell is, it’s disgusting. The grossest. Don’t get it. Go wash your hands. Even if you just washed them. Go. Do it again. Don’t touch anything!

Since I have basically been home sleeping and watching movies and changing all my passwords (thanks Heartbleed!) for the past week, I don’t really have a lot to share from the field. Except delivery from Amphawa is pretty good if you’re craving spicy Thai soup, and don’t order from Little Delhi if you want your chicken vindaloo delivered in less than two hours. There, that’s about all I’ve got.

Oh, and no matter how much I like to make fun of all the juice shops opening all over town, the kind folks at the Juice Shop truck in Hayes Valley are so dang nice, and give you good recos on what to order if you’re trying to stay/get/be healthy. Thanks, juice people!

Happy Passover to many of you, and Easter is coming up. Here are some tips for you on Passover and Easter spots, and if you want more ideas, be sure to pick up a copy of the Bay Guardian tomorrow—I’ll have more options for you in my Tablehopping column.

Thanks for letting me whine. Now, let’s get on with why you’re really subscribed to this thing: the news.

Salute!

Marcia Gagliardi

April 8, 2014
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Weekend happiness included this awesome “Heavy Nettle” pie from PizzaHacker. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy heat wave to you. How’s that for great weather for a Giants opening home game? Anyone who is out there today is one lucky duck.

I ended up having plenty of entertainment this weekend, from the rockin’ Odesza show at the Independent on Friday night, to laughing like a lunatic for the entire duration of Shit & Champagne on Saturday night, a combo comedy, drag show, and total ass-kicking send-up of 1970s female revenge/exploitation flicks. Fun-nay!

Speaking of entertainment, attention fellow music lovers, Outside Lands just announced their 2014 lineup—tickets go on sale this Thursday! Flaming Lips, Disclosure, Lykke Li, Cut Copy, Chromeo, Holy Ghost, Tycho, cool. Big Freedia will put on a bouncing SHOW. (I love how I usually don’t care so much about the headliners at these big music events anymore.)

I hope you get to leave work early today. Enjoy this gorg evening with an alfresco cocktail in hand.

Marcia Gagliardi

April 4, 2014
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The amazing English muffin and fried egg sandwich (with Mornay sauce!) at Marla Bakery Kitchen Communal. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, happy Friday to you. We’re starting the weekend breaking some big, exciting news that’s spreading throughout the city right now—my inbox keeps getting emails from people who have heard that Chad Robertson and Liz Prueitt of Tartine Bakery and Bar Tartine are opening a new project in the Heath Ceramics building in the Mission. Check out this breaking story in the chatterbox.

We also have a guest wino today from Charlotte Chipperfield, a bookworm from Pete Mulvihill, and a 707 scout from Heather Irwin. Yup, there’s plenty of weekend reading for you.

I’m also fired up to share my cover story for the San Francisco Bay Guardian this week on where to eat right now in SF; take a look for a recap on all the latest places to open.

If you’re trying to figure out where to have brunch on this upcoming sunny weekend, I have five new brunch places for you to check out as well.

Okay, that enough for you? It’s plenty for me. Enjoy the weekend! Maybe I’ll see you at the Food and Farm Fest? Ciao!

Marcia Gagliardi

April 1, 2014
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Michael Tusk of Quince’s springy dish at the Taste of Italy lunch at GourmetFest 2014. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whooosh, this past week has been a mega whirlwind. Last Wednesday a friend took me to see Venus in Fur at the ACT, don’t miss it! Super sexy and smart. On Thursday, I was busy emceeing the Taste of the Nation event, which raised more than $230,000! Impressive! Thanks to everyone who attended, bid on silent auction items, spun the restaurant roulette wheel, and more. The caliber of chefs and cocktails (and wines and beers) at the event was notable—thanks to everyone who donated their time and product, especially on a Thursday night. Even if you weren’t able to attend, you can still donate to Share Our Strength and the No Kid Hungry campaign here.

Friday morning, I was up and at ‘em early to pack and hop in my car to head down to Carmel-by-the-Sea for Relais & Châteaux’s GourmetFest 2014. The weekend was completely over the top, with lunches and dinners featuring chefs from Relais & Châteaux properties from around the world. From the Taste of Italy lunch to the Grand Cru Bordeaux dinner, the ingredients, dishes, plating, and pairings were definitely luxe. Here’s my photo album recap of the weekend. (Oh, and Carolyn Nugent of Quince wrote this quick missive about her GourmetFest experience and her dessert.)

It was also a wine collector’s dream event: the two tastings I attended (Richebourg with Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, and Krug with Olivier Krug) were some of the best in my life. To learn about these wines from these two gentlemen—coupled with the commentary from collectors and writers in the room—offered rare and fascinating insight. The wines they chose for the tastings: also remarkable. My brain the entire time was something like this: “Duuuuuude. Dude! Duuude. Whoa. Dude.”

There was an after-party each night at Cantinetta Luca, and it reminded me a bit of the last years of the Masters of Food and Wine at The Highlands Inn, featuring a small and intimate scene, with the chance to mingle with chefs and people in the wine industry and big-game collector guests who shared some ridiculous wines. By the end of the weekend, you have new friendships with some really interesting people because there are so many chances to hang out and talk. I also got to hear some awesome stories around the dinner table each night (Brian Canlis of Canlis in Seattle wins for his Dick Cheney story), and scored some faboo tips for the upcoming family trip to France I’m planning for this September.

And then there’s the magic of being in Carmel-by-the-Sea. What a place. I was put up in the charming La Playa Hotel, just a couple of blocks from the beach. The grounds are beautiful—full of flowers everywhere—and I loved the vintage feeling of the place (it was built in 1905 and recently restored—my dreamy bed was all modern, thankfully). You can see why I didn’t want to leave my beach cottage with its garden view. And the friendly staff did a bang-up job handling so many guests over the busy weekend.

I look forward to seeing how the event evolves next year (hopefully the timing won’t be so close to Pebble Beach Food & Wine). Huge thanks to all the organizers for the hospitality, I was very much in awe of my lucky life this weekend. (You can take a look at my pictures of the weekend here.)

I also came home incredibly tired, so this piece on three new cafés I wrote for 7x7.com feels apropos.

Enjoy the rainy weather, see you Friday (unless you’re coming to Beyond Bubbie’s Kitchen at the JCC, in which case I’ll see you tonight!).

Marcia Gagliardi

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