June 2014

June 27, 2014

Some of the marvelous nigiri at Pabu, including my favorite bite: the kohada (top of the picture). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

You ready to get your PRIDE on, SF? Sure seems that way with the amazing lists of weekend events I keep seeing, like this excellent one in the Bay Guardian. Just remember to hydrate, people!

Speaking of hydrating, I know some folks are getting ready to head to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in a couple of weeks, and I’ve been getting asked some questions about where to go. I have a backlog of trips I need to write about, so here’s a short jetsetter update of places I went to in between all the shows and performances during Jazz Fest (here’s my original jetsetter from 2008, but fortunately a bunch of places stick around in New Orleans, that’s one of its many charms). I already feel overdue for another visit, that city really gets its golden hooks in you. For my full photo album, click here.

Last night I was at the soon-to-open Pabu for a test dinner, and let me tell you, the exquisite spread of nigiri sushi we had got me so excited for the opening. That Ken Tominaga runs one heck of a sushi counter, we are so lucky to have him here in SF now. Both Pabu and Ramen Bar open on Monday, we’ll have all the details for you in Tuesday’s tablehopper!

And in case you are looking for a few other new options for where to have a business lunch, here’s a writeup I did of five new places!

Have a great weekend, everyone—PRIDE is always one of SF’s most magic weekends, in a city that is already so special.


Marcia Gagliardi

June 24, 2014

At the Soave lunch at Verbena, with the amazing squid dish (check out that black squid ink-infused watermelon peeking out in the middle!). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Damn, I guess Italy won’t be ruining any more of my mornings watching them play in the World Cup. (Big. Sigh.) Sadly, no one was listening to my grandmother’s wise words: “No fighting, no biting!” Meanwhile, I can’t wait to watch USA this Thursday morning! Sunday’s game was so exciting. We continue to update our where to watch World Cup games post, check it out and enjoy! Some great matches are coming up.

So it’s that time of the year when I start using the rainbow emoji a lot more in my texts. Happy Pride, San Francisco! Here’s hoping Karl the Fog decides to go on vacation this weekend, and I wish you all a fabulous time at all the week’s events, marches, parties, brunches, tea dances, happy hours, cuddle puddles, picnics, and shindigs. As David Bowie says, “Let’s dance!”

If you find yourself hungry and you’re in the Mission this weekend, be sure to pay a visit to Los Shucos, the subject of last week’s tasty review (and they’re open laaaaate on the weekend).

Another little tasty tidbit: last week I was invited to a special lunch at Verbena for a very educational tasting of Soave wines, and chef Sean Baker and his team have some exciting new dishes on the summer menu that made for some great pairings. Don’t miss his watermelon and squid salad (it’s a spectacular combo, with a nice kick), and I’d love to have the Little Gem salad with pumpkin seed milk and potato, corn, avocado, and beluga lentils in my life every week. I also need to get over there for weekend brunch!

Speaking of brunch, we have three new options for you in today’s column, plus a bunch of other news bites.

Have a gorgeous week! Happy Pride!

Marcia Gagliardi

June 20, 2014

I know, he’s adorable. A tray of sherry cobblers at Central Kitchen’s Sherryfest event. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

This morning was off to a good start, drinking my cappuccino and enjoying fresh, cream-filled bomboloni while sitting at the counter at Il Casaro in North Beach, the room a sea of Azzurri jerseys. But watching the wheels come off that game with Costa Rica (were Italy’s wheels ever really on?) was painful. Fortunately Molinari was there for me after the game—this half of an Italian combo I am munching right now has special uplifting powers, let me tell you. Get ready to watch the on-fire USA team play against Portugal on Sunday! Here’s our ever-updating listing on where to watch World Cup games!

My week has been really over the top, I gotta confess. Tuesday night was a memorable dinner at Central Kitchen to celebrate Sherryfest West. Jan Pettersen of Fernando de Castilla and Borja Leal of Sánchez Romate poured us some very special sherries, and the food pairings by chef Ryan Pollnow were on point (charred octopus in a marvelous broth with amontillado for the win!). I also need to have more aged finos in my life.

The next evening I was at the Big 4 for dinner, and the room had more energy than I have seen in a long time. It was totally buzzing! There were a lot of industry folks, and I was lucky to have a glass of 1982 Gonzalez Byass palo cortado sent over, just at the perfect moment because it matched beautifully with my bowl of rich bouillabaisse. Kismet.

Last night was ladies’ night: my mom and I went to Nojo in Hayes Valley for a little preshow dinner before seeing Show Boat at the SF Opera. Fabulous production! So much fun, with gorg costumes, and the numbers (both singing and dancing!) were beautiful. Very heartfelt. Check it out if you can, it’s such a buoyant night of musical theater. The audience was fired up.

While I still have “Ol’ Man River” playing in my head, over on 7x7.com, I posted a story about where to enjoy some new Southern treats around town, from chess pie to really tasty grits, check it out.

A few final weekend notes for you! I know, that double cappuccino this morning got me wired and chatty. First off, Marla Bakery is open as of today, so that could be a fun excursion for you, and Sunday is Summer Celebration at the Ferry Building—you can still get discounted tickets with our special tablehopper code! And today’s review of Los Shucos may add a pit stop to your weekend as well!

Have a gorg weekend! Go USA!
Marcia Gagliardi

June 17, 2014

A tasting of the creative low-proof cocktails at Nico. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy! You fired up for another week of World Cup? On Saturday I had a blast watching Italy play with the sea of Italians and Italian-Americans at Il Casaro in North Beach—they’ll be open this Friday for the morning game, serving bomboloni, cornetti, and cappuccinos at 9am. See you there? I have added some more places where you can watch the games here.

This week is also Sherryfest, with some really special dinners with sherry producers at locations around the city, like Central Kitchen, Trou Normand, Bar Agricole, and St. Vincent. Sherry lovers, don’t miss it.

This coming Sunday June 22nd is CUESA’s Summer Celebration, with a fab lineup of chefs, bartenders, distilleries, breweries, and wineries. You know they will all be celebrating our summertime bounty o’ produce. And yay, tablehopper readers get a $20 discount on tickets. Check it out!

See you Friday, enjoy your week!
Marcia Gagliardi

June 13, 2014

The gorgeous Parque Lage in Rio. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy Friday to you! It’s sunny, World Cup is on (yay, Brazil, yay, Mexico for their wins, and whoa there, Spain), and I am definitely in a Brazilian state of mind at the moment. I have some bossa nova playing and today I have my final installment from my trip to Rio, so if any of you are there or planning a trip to that amazing place, I’ve got you covered (the first half of my piece is here).

While I wish I was back in Rio watching the Confederations Cup at Jobi, at least SF has a bunch of places where you can watch the games. I’ll keep updating the list as more info comes my way. Tomorrow, FORZA AZZURRI!

So, it ends up it’s not just World Cup season. It’s also soft-shell crab season, and I have a write-up for you on 7x7.com on some of the best places to score that tasty treat.

Enjoy your weekend!
Marcia Gagliardi

June 10, 2014

On the streets of Rio—this man was amazing to watch. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

What’s that? Can you feel the excitement? World Cup kicks off this Thursday June 12th, and it’s time for people to come up with interesting excuses about why they have to leave the office by 3pm next Monday (USA vs. Ghana!). In this week’s issue, we have a few places listed where you can watch the games, including some brand-new spots, yay.

My dad and sis are heading to Brazil this week to see some games—I know, they are some seriously dedicated soccer fanatics. What an experience to see World Cup in Brazil. If you’re one of the lucky ones and heading to Rio, here’s my recent jetsetter piece on where I went while I was in that amazing city—part two is coming up!

Another thing I’m excited about: I was invited to take over the Facebook page for San Francisco—The Official Guide today, sharing some tips and stories about the city I love so much. Hop on over to check it out, leave some comments, and drool over pictures of dumplings. And if you’re a new subscriber to tablehopper, welcome aboard!

Did you catch my tablehopper hot list on KRON 4 on Saturday? In this month’s segment, I recap four new SF restaurants you should try. In a similar vein, I also have my monthly post for 7x7.com on new restaurants to check out. I know, it’s hard to keep track—I’m here to help.

Have a swell week, everyone. Forza Azzurri!

Marcia Gagliardi

June 3, 2014

Smoked beef tartare with quail egg, fresh horseradish, and buttermilk at The Elite Café. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How was your weekend? It turned out to be pretty dang nice, no? On Friday night, I had a fun jaunt to the Outer Richmond to peek at the soon-to-open Marla Bakery, stand by for details in next week’s column. Later that evening, I also checked out the new chef’s menu at Elite Café—it was fun to go with a fellow SF old-timer and slip into one of the private wood booths, talk about flashbacks. Chef James London is doing some really great things to shrimp and grits, let me tell you.

Sunday was a double play, starting with a multicourse brunch by Ante Meridian at Naked Kitchen (chef Anthony Yang made a delicious rice porridge with togarashi pork). And then that evening was the annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala, benefitting Meals on Wheels. All the chefs, bartenders, and vintners brought their A game to the sold-out event, which raised approximately $2.6 million! Way to go, and special kudos to gala chef chair Nancy Oakes of Boulevard for everything she does to make the event so special.

So, pretty much every week I have someone ask me, “How do you do it all?” The answer is espresso. Ha! For those of you who would like a peek into 24 hours of my crazy but wonderful life, the fine folks at Bacchus Management Group asked me to write a 24-hour diary for their Bacchus magazine, go ahead and check it out.

Speaking of coffee and glorious espresso, have you heard about the screening tonight at the Castro Theatre of A Film About Coffee. It looks like a beautifully shot documentary, see you there? There will be coffee! There will only be tickets sold for a couple more hours, FYI.

Lastly, I want to repeat that this Friday June 6th is the annual Summertini at the Bently Reserve, and there are still tickets left! This event is a fundraiser for ECS and the CHEFS program, which you all know is a cause that does 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, bring your credit card.

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.

Okay, see you Friday, enjoy the sunny week!
Marcia Gagliardi

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