February 2017

February 28, 2017
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The first step in feeling Fesstive is a vintage silver ice bucket full of Fess Parker Winery’s 2014 Fesstivity blanc de blancs! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Lawdy, this weekend almost did me in. And no, I wasn’t celebrating Mardi Gras early. I came down with some crazy food poisoning Friday evening, oof, and was worried I wasn’t going to be able to rally by Sunday evening for the Academy of Friends fundraiser event and Oscars party. But fortunately things turned a corner and it all worked out! Wow, it was quite an event. What a great crowd! People were DRESSED. Way to go, SF—so snazzy and fun.

I had a busy time with my sis and dear friend Danny pouring three cases of Fess Parker Winery’s 2014 Fesstivity blanc de blancs sparkling wine for all the guests—what a perfect party wine to pair with all the food being served. And thanks to everyone who subscribed to tablehopper that evening, welcome aboard! We also were giving away a $150 gift certificate to China Live. I’m hoping the lucky winner gets back to me soon or I’ll have to choose another winner! Nudge nudge.

It was my first year curating the restaurants for the event, and all I kept hearing all night was how amazing the food was, the best ever—so you rocked it, gang! Tremendous thanks and gratitude to all the restaurants who participated: it was a big ask, with a lot of pieces (I heard Pabu/The Ramen Bar rolled 1,500 temaki hand rolls!), and on a Sunday no less, which is a rare night off for most restaurant industry folks. We all appreciate your contribution so much—proceeds from the event will be donated to six HIV/AIDS service organizations. I also want to thank everyone who donated gift certificates to the silent auction, so generous. I’ll let you all know the final tally once I hear how much the event earned.

You can see pics on Instagram of some of the dishes. I was so busy pouring bubbles at my table that I wasn’t able to snap pics of everything. (And sadly I wasn’t quite up to trying everything either but it all looked so good. My body was like, “Can I just have some toast and water, please and thanks?”) Anyway, your support and participation meant so much to everyone there and involved with the event, mille grazie.

I want to do a shout-out to all the restaurants and partners who served Sunday evening because they so deserve your business and support: Liholiho Yacht Club, Dabba, Mister Jiu’s, Chubby Noodle, Nomica, Motze, Tartine, Dosa, The Saratoga, Mestiza Taqueria, Onsen, Parallel 37, Okane, Salt & Straw, E&O, Perle, Pabu/The Ramen Bar, Jane, Bluestem Brasserie, The Caviar Co., Cypress Grove Cheese, Hot Cookie, and Slanted Door. BOOM.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend and you missed your chance to snag tickets for my preview event at China Live next Saturday (sorry, that wait list is longer than the number of guests we have attending!), I’m happy to announce I’ll be emceeing the Bubbles and Brunch event at Flavor! Napa Valley on Sunday March 26th, see you there? Let’s drink some bubbles, yo.

In case you’re looking for some Mardi Gras options tonight, here’s my post from last week. Another option this week is the reopening of Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center on Friday evening—I’ll have a post about the new lineup, vendors, and dishes for you next week.

All this talk about sparkling wine has made me thirsty. Ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 21, 2017
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Here’s one way to end a perfect meal at Alfred’s: spumoni! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I love it when a birthday coincides with my column’s Tuesday publishing date—because guess who is turning eleven today?! It’s crazy but true, this tablehopper has been here eleven years for you! (Yes, that rhymed. I have nothing but surprises for you.) Thanks for all the support over the years, I really have the best community of readers, this I know!

So shall we celebrate? Let’s enjoy a special tablehopper preview party at China Live (on Saturday March 11th). There will be cocktails from Duggan McDonnell and Anchor Distilling Co. and delicious dishes and more. I only have 20 seats available, so hop to it! China Live, the hotly anticipated Chinatown culinary destination, is opening their first floor this Thursday—I’m going to be checking it all out and reporting back on the project next week for you.

This past weekend was the perfect time for Netflix to release the latest season of Chef’s Table, don’t miss it. The episode with Korean Buddhist monk and chef Jeong Kwan is one of my favorites ever.

Also, big congrats to all the chef and restaurant 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists—we’ll hear who the final nominees are on Wednesday March 15th. The awards gala will be in Chicago on Monday May 1st. (The 2017 James Beard Media Awards will be announced on Tuesday April 25th at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City.)

Have a great week, and if you are attending the Academy of Friends this coming Sunday, please be sure to come visit me at the tablehopper table! You know I’ll be having some bubbles. I had a great time curating the restaurant lineup this year, we have some remarkable participants joining us, so I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 14, 2017
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Now that’s what I call some bacon! House-cured and thick-cut bacon lurve from the Early to Rise Brunch with Feastly. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Every day the past five days, I’m like, “SUN?! Is that you?!” Weekends like the one we just had make me miss my Alfa Romeo something fierce. I actually saw a lady driving a Veloce with the top up this weekend and was ready to yell, “You’re doing it wrong!” People. I hope you all get to hop outside at some point and enjoy the last rays until our ramen weather returns.

Sunday was my dear grandmother’s 88th birthday, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t look better than most 75-year-olds (and Judy has the open-mindedness of most young’uns, I swear). She’s a force. It was a great time to bust out some Gagliardi classics: pasta al forno and a St. Honoré cake from Dianda’s. (Pretty much what I’d request for my last supper.) And lots of bubbles, oh you know it. Who do you think I got my love of Champagne from?

A couple of other parties to have in mind: tomorrow, Wednesday February 15th, is A Library of Libations: Winter Cocktails of the Farmers Market, with literary-inspired winter farmers market cocktails and bites from 20-plus Bay Area bartenders and chefs. I’ll be sure to wear my glasses. See you there?

And I’m getting excited for the upcoming Academy of Friends gala on Oscars Sunday! I have been busy curating the restaurant lineup for the event this year, my first time for this event, and let me tell you, the food is gonna be so great! The theme is Shanghai Nights, and some of our fantastic and generous partners include Liholiho Yacht Club, Mister Jiu’s, Nomica, The Saratoga, Junju, Chubby Noodle, Onsen, Tartine Manufactory, Pabu, The Caviar Co., Motze, DOSA, chef Rob Lam, Salt & Straw, Jane, Parallel 37, E&O, and Cypress Grove Cheese—and a few more to be confirmed! I really hope to see you there—be sure to come by my table and say hello (and find some surprises). Use code AOFtablehopper2017 for a discount on tickets!

Well, the news completely blew up this week, so let’s get to it. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovebugs.

XO!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 7, 2017
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It may not be raining men, but these Chinese lanterns are nice. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy amigos. You keeping dry out there? I have been hiding in movie theaters (I highly recommend seeing La La Land if you want to forget about everything for a couple of hours) and restaurants (like experiencing the Chinese New Year/Grandma Wu’s menu at M.Y. China—and the showstopping dessert will bring a big smile to your face).

I was hoping to have a piece for you about ROOH today (it opens this Thursday!), but their menu wasn’t ready in time for my deadline, so I’ll share details with you next week. Let’s just say the preview meal I experienced was exciting and fun.

In other news, I decided to run a couple of reviews of two places that are ever-changing: In Situ and Postcards from La Costiera at Mina Test Kitchen. Now that I think about it, MTK would be really fun for Valentine’s Day, in case you haven’t found a spot yet (and the concept wraps up at the end of the month, so the timing is right!). You can read more ideas in my Valentine’s Day post from last week.

Okay lovebirds, I am all out of words for the moment—this week’s issue was a heftier one. I need a drink!

Bisous!
Marcia Gagliardi

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