May 2014

May 30, 2014

It’s always the right time for cocktails at Trou Normand. Photo: ©

Um, excuse me, I’d like a do-over on this weekend’s forecast! We can do better than a high of 65. Of course I just wrote a piece for on the city’s new restaurants with outdoor seating. So, grab your scarf and enjoy yourself. And in case you’d like to tempt yourself with a gorgeous dessert (I know you would), take a peek at this beautiful Paris-Brest at the newly opened Gaspar (you can read about some other new openings in that piece as well).

Speaking of breasts (I have never had the opportunity to make that transition, let’s go with it), today’s review of Trou Normand has all that and then some. We also have a bunch of 707 scout news for you from Heather Irwin, and Pete Mulvihill is putting the worm into the bookworm this week.

I want to do a shout-out to all the cyclists who will be taking off on Sunday for the AIDS LifeCycle ride. You are all so inspiring, have a fantastic journey. You can cheer the riders along the route, and it’s not too late to donate. I really hope to do it next year, Team Hopper!

Also on Sunday: a bunch of folks will be at the sold-out, 27th annual Meals on Wheels Star Chefs & Vintners Gala, always one of the top events of the year. How much will they raise this year? It’s always fabulously staggering.

If you’re bummed you didn’t get your ticket, there’s another wonderful fundraising event coming up on Friday June 6th, the annual Summertini at the Bently Reserve. This event is a fundraiser for ECS and the CHEFS program, which you all know is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart—they do so much to help the homeless population here in SF. The lineup is looking great, with bites from A16, Nopa, Park Tavern, Heartbaker, and Foreign Cinema, plus cocktails from Trick Dog and Cantina. Oh yeah, and fab auction items.

Breaking news: tablehopper readers can buy tickets at a $30 discount off the $130 ticket price. Just use code tablehopper14. I really hope to see you there—it’s a great event, and a crucial fundraiser for their many important programs.

Have a swell weekend, mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 27, 2014

The Little River Inn, all gussied up for Memorial Day. Photo: ©

Welcome back from your three-day weekend—I took mine a day early and headed up to Mendocino with a friend on Friday (this column won’t write itself on Mondays, sadly). The weekend was a fun one, but also a bit conflicting. While it’s absolutely gorgeous up there (seriously, there’s a stunning view everywhere you turn) and we got so lucky with the weather, I also feel like I just emerged from a time warp—one that returned me to 1987 for a few days—in a town that actually wishes it didn’t have to deal with visitors (how very Bolinas). I have been having way too much fun coming up with taglines for the quirky town, like: “Mendocino. It’s not you, it’s us.”

Although I will say hospitality is alive and well at Little River Inn—where we were hosted for two nights and witnessed quite a familial vibe. Seventy-five years in business (and a made-to-order clam chowder that rocks) will do that.

Some high points of the weekend were actually in the journey itself, like stopping at Diavola in Geyserville on the way up and back (that place is always so impossibly good), and I’m digging the cheese (and eggs!) I brought back from Pennyroyal Farm. Also nabbed some good Anderson Valley wines (we visited Roederer Estate and Navarro on the way home—the valley is such a beautiful location). I’ll be sharing more about the weekend soon, it was as comedic as it was scenic.

Enjoy the short week, and I’ll see you Friday.
Marcia Gagliardi

May 20, 2014

One of the many pretty meadows in the Yosemite Valley. Photo: ©

Are you already feeling the itch of the upcoming Memorial Day weekend (I know Chloe is!)? I’m with you. I’m excited to be heading out of town (again!) to Mendocino—I’ll be staying at the Little River Inn, celebrating their 75th anniversary this year. If you have any tips on where to eat while I’m up there, or great pit stops along the drive up, I’m all ears! Has been waaaaay too long since I have last been up there.

This last weekend was the picture of magic—I left town on Thursday to drive up to Oakhurst to stay at the utterly charming Chateau du Sureau. That place is an oasis of charm and European class, I can’t wait to tell you more.

My friend and I spent a full day in Yosemite, and let me tell you, visiting on a non-weekend day in May is the ticket. The park was so gorgeous, and after a full day of having your mind blown with beauty, a prime rib dinner in the grand Ahwahnee Hotel dining room is one hell of a way to cap things off. I posted some pics already on Instagram/Facebook if you want to check out all the gorgeousness.

It was also a sweet trip down memory lane with our visit to Mariposa, where my family used to have our delicatessen and pizzeria, a place of many great memories for me. My sister and I got to be full-on tomboys when we lived there, running around like little mountain kids on our Huffys, swimming in the water hole in the hot summers, and yes, dodging rattlesnakes. Good stuff, all of it.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, San Francisco must be breaking some kind of record with new restaurant openings right now. This week’s issue is chock-full of sneak peeks at a bunch of new spots, and there will be even more next week. To help you keep things straight, here’s my monthly piece on of five new places to check out now, although now there’s something like 17. Pace yourself!

See you on the track.
Marcia Gagliardi

May 13, 2014

A smashing sashimi spread at ICHI Sushi + NI bar. Photo: ©

Mmmmhmmm, it’s definitely sashimi weather. It’s also a perfect moment to eat cherries and peaches, lucky us. It’s also time for me to congratulate myself on saving half of my super burrito from the other night so I could have cold burrito for lunch; it’s an amazing thing, that—I highly recommend it. I also stocked my fridge with cartons of the Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee on Sunday evening in preparation for this warm week, also a smooth move, because those 3pm drowsies are no joke. And did you see my review of 54 Mint on Friday? That’s where you want to be tonight or tomorrow for lunch or in the evening, trust.

Meanwhile, in the complete idiocy department, I’d like to file this upcoming $300 brunch, or as the creators of this atrocity are calling it, BRVNCH, because they’re trying to tap into some Roman decadence BS or something. $2,500 for VIP brunch (i.e., your own server), are you kidding? (Does that come with a Smart car?) People, no—keep that VIP crap in Vegas, thanks. It’s about as stupid as the news that FLAX is closing and going to be demolished to become condos. Actually, that news isn’t stupid, it’s just sad.

As for news-news, well, hang onto your sun hat, because this week’s issue is a doozy. So. Many. Openings. Plus an in-depth peek at the upcoming China Live! We’re going to need to start flying in cooks from the Midwest to staff all these places—as if staffing wasn’t already an issue in this town.

Time for me to blow off my exploding email inbox, leave this hot apartment, and take a walk on the beach. I hope you get to do a little of the same this week.


Marcia Gagliardi

May 9, 2014

Castelvetrano olives at 54 Mint. Photo: ©

Buon giorno! SF, you’re looking so sparkly after your springtime bath last night. The drizzle certainly didn’t dampen the fun at Taste of Potrero last night—it was a packed house at the NWBLK, and even the outdoor patio was full of grazing guests (then again, it’ll take more than some drizzle to stop people from lining up to eat Del Popolo pizza and warm empanadas from El Sur).

What do you have on tap this weekend? Planning to check out one or two of all these new openings we have going on? Maybe a drink at the Big 4? One thing to note: Outerlands is looking like they won’t be opening until Tuesday or so due to some hiccups, sorry if that snags your brunch plans this weekend! You have plenty of options, and of course Sunday is Mother’s Day.

Today’s issue includes my review of 54 Mint, a gem of a place I have been so excited to write about. And with the warm weather rolling in next week, you may want to book your alfresco lunch or dinner reservation now, jus’ sayin’. We also have a wino from Alan Goldfarb, and Heather Irwin keeps us posted on some 707 scout news.

Enjoy the weekend, I swear, it couldn’t get here soon enough. You with me?

Marcia Gagliardi

May 6, 2014

Sunday brunch: fried egg banh mi at Rice Paper Scissors. Photo: ©

Whooooosh, this week could have you dining out at a new place every night, there’s so much going on! Today’s column has a bunch of updates on these new projects for you. We also have some spots for you to consider for Mother’s Day in case you don’t have that dialed in yet—you can also watch my segment from Saturday on KRON4 with some of my picks around the bay.

Last night while I was typing away at this thing, I enjoyed peeking at the James Beard Awards winners flowing in on Twitter (you can see the final list here—and be sure to look at the Book, Broadcast/New Media, and Journalism awards too!). First off, a huge congrats to all the women who won some really big awards this year, like Outstanding Chef: Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles; Outstanding Restaurateur: Barbara Lynch, Barbara Lynch Gruppo (No. 9 Park, Menton, B&G Oysters, and others), Boston; Best Chef: Southeast: Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Downtown Diner; and Best Chef: New York City (Five Boroughs), April Bloomfield, The Spotted Pig. All hail the Goddesses of Food!

Locally, congratulations to Best Chef: West, Daniel Patterson, Coi; Outstanding Restaurant: The Slanted Door, San Francisco; and The Restaurant at Meadowood team for Outstanding Service. Was also happy to see Healdsburg’s Shed win the Best Restaurant Design award, wow. Congrats to all the nominees as well, I hope you had a blast in New York.

Before we dive in here, I wanted to point you to the newly designed tablehopper online shop, where we sell our cute and cool (and super-soft) vintage T-shirts that are based on classic San Francisco restaurant and bar designs, take a look! There is also a hoodie (featuring the Blue Fox!), perfect for our breezy/Karl the Fog-induced SF weather.

Okay, I need to catch my breath here, see you later!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 2, 2014

A straight-up extravaganza of salumi and charcuterie at Trou Normand. Photo: ©

Alas, our warm nights this week have wound down, just when I was enjoying holding meetings in the Panhandle, and digging all my sundresses and sandals out of the back of my closet. Riding a bike in the warm, windless evening air is enough to convert anyone into a cyclist forever. But hey, it’s the weekend, which means the city will be exploding with Derby Day parties, Cinco de Mayo fiestas (and don’t forget, La Rondalla is back open), and even Bluxome Street Winery is throwing a block party on Saturday afternoon.

Also on Saturday: I will be on KRON4 at 9:15am, talking about some Mother’s Day options around the bay in case you haven’t made your reservation anywhere yet.

Further weekend activities: here’s a piece I wrote for the Bay Guardian on some of my favorite wine bars to open recently in the city, because wine o’clock can strike a lot earlier on a sunny Saturday. Right? Right.

Lastly, I did a roundup of five fantastic carby dishes in the city, including some dishes that would be perfect to hunt down for brunch this weekend, like the Adjarian Khachapuri at Anda Piroshki and maple-bacon waffle with an egg at Suite Foods in Bernal.

Today’s issue has a wino from Matt Straus of Heirloom Cafe: he wrote this missive in his restaurant newsletter and I asked to reprint it; we also have a 707 scout report from Heather Irwin, and I’m filing my review of Kin Khao, a restaurant I want to eat at all the time.

Enjoy yourself.

Marcia Gagliardi

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