October 2015

October 30, 2015

Chanterelles, hen of the woods, and trumpet mushrooms with huckleberries at Petit Crenn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well look at that, we have some warm weather lined up for Halloween, so all the slutty witches and slutty shirtless bros in short shorts won’t freeze this year. Actually, I am happy for the little kiddies who can go out trick-or-treating and not get their homemade robot costume all rained on.

Since we’re talking about getting rained on, I had not one but two instances of ill-mannered people spilling things on me yesterday. Number one: dude at the StrEat Food Park, poorly managing to balance all of the food he had stacked up, and his salsa container of ketchup falls off his pile, splatters my jeans, foot, and squeezed into the perforated cutouts in my shoe and got all over the inside. I blurted a “shit!” while he could barely muster a “sorry.” I think he’s going to get me a napkin, but no, he gets himself another ketchup and doesn’t pick up the one he spilled and scurries off. Dude, #youredoingitwrong.

Last night, at the (trés fantastique) Hot Chip show at the Fox, Miss Thing is holding two full pints of beer overhead and proceeds to spill her stinky beer all down my neck and back as she clumsily pushes through the crowd. Honey, take a sip before you move through a crowd, and don’t hold beers up overhead like an Olympic torch if you can’t handle them—no one wants an IPA shower. You are not Flo from Alice—you are a klutz. Your chirpy “sorry!” was truly pathetic. And not enough.

What is wrong with people? I’d be horrified if I splattered ketchup on someone or spilled my beer down their back. I’d rush to get them napkins. I would apologize profusely. We all make mistakes moving through this world, but it’s how you handle the cleanup that makes a difference. It says a lot about who you are. Let’s all try harder out there.

(Twice in one day was just too much for me to not vent. Thanks for listening.)

And thanks for voting! You already voted for my piece in the Time Out New York Ultimate New York Life contest, right?!

Yours truly’s post (Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now) is #1 on the page, and will hopefully be number one in votes, because the winner gets an apartment rent-free in New York City for six months and will write for Time Out about New York’s restaurant, nightlife, and city scene. Yes, it would be a dream come true for me!

And it would be the best present for my birthday, which is actually this Sunday, so thank you for voting! XOXO

Have a great fall weekend—and don’t forget to fall back (instead of fall down)!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 27, 2015

One of the many signs in the Bimbo’s 365 kitchen. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s definitely an amazing way to start your week when you find out you are one of the 15 finalists in the Time Out New York Ultimate New York Life contest! I know, wow! Yours truly’s post (Seven things San Francisco restaurants need to stop doing, like, right now) is #1 on the page, and will hopefully be number one in votes, because the winner gets an apartment rent-free in New York City for six months and will write for Time Out about New York’s restaurant, nightlife, and city scene. Yes, it would be a dream come true!

PLEASE TAKE 30 SECONDS AND VOTE FOR MY PIECE. (Really, go ahead and stop reading and do it right now.) Big bonus points if you can share the post, post it on social media, tell your friends, tell your mama, let’s get the hopper to NYC! I’d so appreciate anything you can do to help me win this amazing experience! We have two weeks to vote! Grazie!!

It has been a whirlwind of WHOA over here this past week, starting with co-emceeing (with Brian Boitano!) the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Tour at Bimbo’s 365 Club on Friday night. It was a fantastic event, featuring an all-Italian menu paired with local wines (but Italian varieties!).

One of my favorite parts was actually having access to Bimbo’s early in the evening, with the opportunity to take in all the details of that incredible vintage club. Normally I’m there at a show, when I don’t quite get to notice all the extraordinary touches, from the saucy artwork to the vintage sconces. The absolute highlight, however, was having chef Michael Tusk invite me into the kitchen—what a time capsule! So rich with character; if those walls could talk. Thank you to the entire Bimbo’s staff for hosting this event with such flair. It was a great moment for me as a San Franciscan to be on that stage, something I had never even considered happening. I posted an album here, be sure to take a look!

On Saturday, this city mouse swapped in her platform heels for something more appropriate for the country, and I attended the annual McEvoy Ranch harvest party. It’s always so faaaabulous, with McEvoy wines and everything catered by the inimitable Paula LeDuc, and we lucked out with a balmy October day. Great crowd, music, and more. I’ll have pics posted later this week! Harvest started, so I’m getting ready for my olio nuovo in a couple of weeks.

We’ll see you again on Friday, enjoy the week (maybe I’ll see you at Ottolenghi on Wednesday?). And please don’t forget to vote for my piece, thank you!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 20, 2015

Our table at CUESA’s Sunday Supper got styled with this delicious Devil’s Gulch Rabbit dish by Lazy Bear, which featured snails, turnips, celery root, and celtuce. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Obrigada to everyone who said hello at Friday night’s Perfect Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio event! And hopefully I’ll see some more of you at this evening’s Wine & Spirits Magazine’s annual Top 100 event—of course the weather is perfect, which means the terrace at the Metreon will be the place to be tonight. Bring on the bubbles.

I’m actually doing a double play, as I do, and scooting over to Bar Agricole for the Enrique Olvera event tonight with Omnivore Books to celebrate his new book, Mexico from the Inside Out. (You can still get tickets!) Again, it will be another gorgeous patio party, with snacks, cocktails, y más!

It was also great to see a bunch of you at CUESA’s Sunday Supper, which always pulls out all the stops. There were more than 40 chefs participating, plus winemakers, bartenders, and sustainable farmers at the reception (plus the Schoolyard to Market students!), four-course gala dinner upstairs in the historic Ferry Building, and the auction—the event contributes more than 50 percent of the cost of CUESA’s educational programs to build a healthy food system. Thank you to everyone for such a memorable night, as always.

On Friday, I’m going to be busy getting ready to co-emcee the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Tour at Bimbo’s 365 Club, so we’re skipping the Friday issue and we’ll see you next week. Oh, and you can still get tickets to this all-Italian festa!

Since we’re past deadline and Michelin’s PR doesn’t send things to us in time (if at all) and their website is more about dead 404 links than good ones, you can take a look at the San Francisco Michelin 2016 winners here. Congrats to all.

A presto!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 16, 2015

The cheese platter of my dreams at Les Clos (and yes, there was Époisses on there). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh, hello Friday, so good to see you. This week has been giving my liver a workout; sorry (not sorry), liver! It has also been all about impromptu gatherings, which I love. Tuesday night I went to Doc’s Lab to listen to Duggan McDonnell and Jordan Mackay talk about McDonnell’s new book, Drinking the Devil’s Acre, followed by a late-night dinner at Trestle across the street with friends I didn’t know I was going to see that night, let alone dine with, yay.

Wednesday’s evening hangout at Les Clos turned into a fun gathering. I loved how people just kept arriving at our table—it felt like a night in Europe at my old neighborhood bar. And let me tell you, the new duck confit with hibiscus gastrique and duck fat potatoes is the business. (I also appreciated how the staff sent me home with some much-needed espresso for the morning, too cute. XOXO!)

Last night was the tablehopper supper at 1601 Bar & Kitchen, which you can read all about in today’s issue (you’re going to want to dine there soon, trust), and this evening I’m getting ready to head to the Presidio for the sold-out Perfect Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio event. And then there’s CUESA’s Sunday Supper coming up (also sold out). And lots and lots of exercise the next few days—and some dancing too.

In case you’re looking for some pizza this weekend, there are two new places opening: Caputo is now open for dinner on the Embarcadero, and Delarosa in Yerba Buena. We’ll have details in Tuesday’s tablehopper!

Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 13, 2015

The rare treat (at least in SF!) of razor clams at Bon Marché. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Thanks to everyone who came by the tablehopper table at Litquake on Sunday, bought tablehopper T-shirts (I hope you enjoy wearing them and telling the tales of old SF restaurant and bar history!), and said hello. (Chef Dominique Crenn is looking especially foxy in her Blue Fox sweatshirt.) I even got styled with a bottle of barrel-aged hot sauce from my neighbor, Sosu, some new Guittard chocolate bars, and a rosemary salty dog from 209 gin. Dan Jurafsky, a tablehopper reader, even gave me a copy of his book, The Language of Food (which just came out in paperback—can’t wait to crack into that one). I’m so spoiled. Love and kisses!

Tonight, I am so ready to get my drink on while listening to two of my favorite spirited writers in the city, Jordan Mackay and Duggan McDonnell, who will be discussing Duggan’s new book, Drinking the Devil’s Acre. It all goes down at Doc’s Lab, starting at 7pm. See you? Tickets start at $15 and include two drinks—$40 gets you the book.

This Thursday is the sold-out tablehopper Sri Lankan supper at 1601 Bar & Kitchen with Maisons Marques & Domaines; we look forward to seeing all of you who got tickets!

Friday evening, I’ll be judging and attending Portuguese Pairings in the Presidio, which includes 100 Portuguese wines and food from four food trucks. They are also today’s sponsor, so be sure to check out the amazing ticket price they are offering tablehopper readers (just $35!). My parents and sister will be in tow, so it’s going to be a fun night. Gagliardi powah.

Lastly, here’s a link to a piece I wrote for Blackboard Eats on some of the top recent dishes to appear in SF that you should hunt down. Then again, if you follow me on Instagram, you know many of them already!

Enjoy the sunny weather. Rocktober!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 6, 2015

Now that’s how to start a party: the raw bar at Stones Throw’s industry party last night. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s a miracle today’s column even got written, but that’s where wonder woman/associate editor Dana Eastland saved the day (grazie, bella). Last night I was invited to co-host a thank-you dinner by Stones Throw for all the chefs who have cooked at their Eat Like a Chef/Drink Like a Somm charity series of dinners. I’m normally at my desk on Monday nights burning the midnight oil, but instead, I got to sit across the overflowing table (I blame you, chef Jason Halverson!) from the inimitable Robert Sinskey, with chef Bruce Hill to my right and chef Roland Passot to my left—and a whole lotta prime rib in between all of us. Thanks to the Stones Throw team for the generous feast, and all the chefs and somms who have donated their time to this awesome program!

This past weekend was of course action-packed: I started my Saturday moderating a panel on restaurant innovation at the Bon Appétech conference, and then you couldn’t have come up with more of a 180-degreen turn for where I went to next. After many years of hearing about Angelo Garro’s mythic Renaissance Forge in SoMa, I finally got an invite to his annual spit-roasted pig party. The space dates back to the early 1900s; it’s Garro’s blacksmithing shop and test kitchen and lab and man cave and everything else. It was quite the epic party, with a spit-roasted wild pig that was on the rotisserie for hours (loaded with herbs and fennel), handmade pizzas by Mitchell Rosenthal (Jersey) and his wife Mary Pult (plus ribs from Town Hall), beans and salads and charcuterie and cheese, and of course some homemade wine from Angelo. What a party, it was one of my favorites of the year.

The party was in honor of the latest release of Angelo’s Omnivore Salt (Limone) and his upcoming hot sauces, and if you contribute to his current Kickstarter campaign, you’ll see some great prizes, including the ability to attend the pig roast next year or have a private party at The Forge. Trust, you want any invite you can get to this magical and completely singular space. Take a look at my pictures from the event here.

Another big Italian event I hope you have on your radar is the upcoming James Beard Taste America San Francisco event, a celebration of Italian cuisine called A Night of Culinary Stars on October 23rd. I will be emceeing this epic night at Bimbo’s 365 Club with Brian Boitano (!) and you won’t believe the culinary and cocktail and wine talent who will be there. A few updates: I received word that Sarah Rich (Rich Table) has joined the roster of award-winning chefs that night, and there are only about 30 tickets left! Hop to it.

This week, we have the Blue Angels and everyone else roaring into town for Fleet Week, and I can’t wait for Pop-Up Magazine this Wednesday and the Jamie XX show this Friday, where I will hopefully work off some of this prime rib.

And on Sunday, I really hope you’re going to come visit me at Litquake’s Eat, Drink, and Be Literary event, where I will be selling tablehopper vintage SF restaurant and bar T-shirts and Blue Fox hoodies! Come say hi!

Have a great week.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 2, 2015

Chef William Zonfa twirling portions of Rustichella 90” RAPIDA spaghetti with cream of leeks, DOP saffron from Abruzzo, and guanciale. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Buon giorno! Man, I had quite the carb-tastic time last night—I was invited to attend a special event hosted by Manicaretti and Rustichella d’Abruzzo at the San Francisco Cooking School, always a great cooking class venue.

We got to watch a cooking demo with chef William Zonfa, the Michelin-starred chef from Magione Papale restaurant in L’Aquila, Abruzzo. (If L’Aquila rings a bell, it’s where that horrific earthquake happened in 2009, where 65,000 were left homeless after the quake.) Zonfa opened the restaurant after the quake, so it’s an important part of the city’s rebuilding and economic recovery to have this one-star destination on the map. Of course, everyone appreciated Zonfa’s handsome and good-natured self, but it was the three modern (yet rooted) Italian pasta dishes he presented last night that really made the room officially swoon.

We tried Rustichella’s relatively new 90” RAPIDA spaghetti, which cooks in 90 seconds—I know, unbelievable (hey, when you gotta have your pasta, like, now!). Zonfa coated the piping hot spaghetti with a decadent sauce made from a cream of leeks, DOP saffron from Abruzzo (which he is also an ambassador of), and crispy guanciale. We also had tonnarelli al nero di seppia con scampi e limone candito (black squid ink tonnarelli with sweet prawns and candied lemon)—a delicate prawn tartare topped each nest of tonnarelli, such an elegant dish.

And finally, his spin on a historic dish, Le Virtù, traditionally made in Teramo, Abruzzo, on May 1st, when everyone empties their pantry to makes a minestrone with all the leftover pasta, beans, and the other odds and ends in their larder. Rustichella d’Abruzzo created a special “pasta mista” (mixed pasta) in honor of this tradition, with a variety of shapes that cook at the same time. So you can buy this pasta and create this whimsical dish anytime if you don’t feel like emptying your pantry on the traditional day of May 1st (but I kind of love that idea). Zonfa’s spin featured an array of vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, fried leeks, and kale) for different textures and tastes, with a base of butternut squash for the sauce. Fantastico.

I think my favorite thing I learned was watching Zonfa spin an individual portion of pasta right from the pan in a ladle with a large fork before putting it on the plate, a rather perfect way to portion and present the pasta. So, yeah, a trio of pasta and two wines from Cantina Zaccagnini, now that’s what I call a good evening.

As for another good evening, that’s going to be at the upcoming tablehopper Sri Lankan feast at 1601 Bar & Kitchen in a couple of weeks. The food and wines will rock, read all about it in today’s issue. And don’t delay on your ticket if you’re interested, space is limited!

We also have a 707 update for you, enjoy.

If any of you are going to the Bon Appétech conference this weekend, I’ll be moderating a panel on restaurant tech innovation on Saturday, do say hi!

Happy weekend.

Marcia Gagliardi

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