May 2017

May 16, 2017
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Alfred’s dug out the Blue Fox valet parking sign for our event! Photo: Blair Heagerty Photography.

That’s what the menu and matchbooks of the former Blue Fox say (“In Pane, Vita; In Vino, Letizia”), and on Friday night last week, there was a whole lot of letizia going on at Alfred’s for the tablehopper vintage Blue Fox dinner. I hope you enjoy the recap in today’s column, and all the fab pics are here. There was a whole lot of warmth and sentimentality in the room that night, and as Marco Petri, former owner of Alfred’s said in an email to me, “What a great way to shake the snow globe of San Francisco’s golden age of dining.” I couldn’t have said it better.

Personally, I had a blast channeling what looked like my mother’s hairdo from her 1960s prom pictures—my beehive French twist was so big driving home from Ginger Rubio Salon I had to crack the sunroof to make room! I look forward to creating future excuses for everyone to dress up.

As many of you know, I am about to leave for Thailand, my first time there! This Wednesday night, to be exact. (Yes, it’s crunch time.) I don’t know how my body is going to react to a 40-degree temperature jump (from 51 to 91!) and let’s not even talk about the humidity. Yeah, I’m going to be a sweaty mess. Sorry, Thai people, I won’t be pretty.

I’m going to be gone through June 10th, so tablehopper will be dark until June 13th. Publicists and restaurant/bar folks, please take it easy on me while I’m away, and no need to pitch me on anything happening until after June 13th, thank you! I will be missing a couple of openings, like Alta in Dogpatch and the new RT Rotisserie, but will fill y’all in once I return. Today’s issue is a big one, I hope it tides you over for a little while.

As far as my trip, I’m going to be in Bangkok for a week, until May 27th, and then am flying to Chiang Rai to start the mission with Pencils for Kids until June 2nd—many thanks to the generous Cathay Pacific and Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort for getting me there and hosting me! Amazing.

Pencils for Kids is celebrating their 10th year of providing backpacks, school supplies, and uniform vouchers for children so they can go to school in developing areas like Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. You can donate to this wonderful organization, which has provided 13,755 backpacks to children so far. I’m also going to be involved in their San Francisco fundraiser event on November 16th, and look forward to telling you more later this summer.

My final week will be in Koh Samui and Koh Tao, where I am going to be certified to scuba dive, so excited. Back to Bangkok for one more night (I know, there’s a song) and then I return to SF on the 10th. It’s going to be such an adventure, and a life-changing experience as well. I’m also really, really glad the Bangkok street food ban was repealed—that would have been tragic!

But don’t be jealous! If you want to enjoy your own taste of Thailand, check out the Chang Sensory Trails unticketed food festival at Fort Mason on Saturday May 27th (12pm-10pm)! Visiting chefs Bo Songvisava and Dylan Jones of Bangkok’s awarded Bo.Lan will be in town, with many local chefs, music, beer, and more! Don’t miss it.

See you June 13th, and thanks for all the great Thailand tips, you guys! Sawatdee-ka!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 9, 2017
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Garden magic at Filoli. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, hoppers. How you doing out there? I feel a little bit like Princess Leia in the trash compactor scene, but I’ve got this. Over the weekend, I led a 28-person group of Brits through San Francisco for a food and cocktail trend tour for two full days (and nights!) and am just catching my breath before this Friday’s tablehopper vintage Blue Fox dinner at Alfred’s!

It’s going to be so special, and there’s an exciting update: even though Alfred’s sadly remains closed because of that dang basement fire a few weeks ago, they are opening just for this event, and we are now taking over the entire restaurant upstairs (and the bar)! What this means is I have more tickets for you that just got released! It’s going to be such a special night, I really hope to see you there. People are getting dressed up, and we’re going to have live music, and stories, and one hell of a menu, with cocktails and wine pairings and more. Let’s raise a glass to old-school San Francisco!

Next Tuesday is going to be my last tablehopper issue for a few weeks—as you may know, I am heading to Thailand for my first time! I’ll be spending a week in Bangkok, and then am going on the 10th anniversary mission with Pencils for Kids to deliver 900 backpacks filled with school supplies and school uniforms to children in schools (many of them orphans, or they come from families who earn approximately $1 per day) in Chiang Rai. It’s an amazing organization, and I am honored to be an ambassador! (You can read more on their site, and any donation goes a long, long way!) I’ll be spending my last week relaxing in Koh Samui and Koh Tao, where I plan to learn how to dive! So excited. It’s going to be one heck of a trip.

A couple of quick notes: fellow charcuterie and salumi lovers, you will want to check out this piece I wrote for Blackboard Eats on all the latest places in SF to score awesome housemade charcuterie.

This week practically killed me with news. I am seriously dazed from how much typing I have had to do the past two days. Pour yourself some coffee, this issue is a beast. I really hoped to run some last-minute Mother’s Day brunch ideas for you, but hopefully today’s post on new brunches will inspire you—there are some good ones in there! (Real quick: you could also go to DOSA on Fillmore for a family-style menu, Leo’s Oyster Bar is open on a rare Sunday, Le Colonial or La Mar’s brunch buffet would be fun, and 54 Mint is offering a nice all-day menu.)

I am trying to transport myself mentally back to Filoli Gardens last week, which hosted one of the dreamiest garden parties I have ever attended, full stop. It was a celebration of Robert Fountain International’s 20th anniversary, and it was on one of those magic warm nights we had last week! I couldn’t believe the grounds—after all the rain we’ve had, everything is on full bloom and blast!

Taste Catering served a spectacular spring-inspired spread, with garden mule cocktails, and I was especially happy to see Eugenio Jardim at the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant-stocked bar, pouring his Émile Leclère Champagne and Ernest Vineyards rosé (yes way rosé). What a treat to be able to bring my mother to this gorgeous fête and soak in all that gorgeousness. You know my wheels are turning about hosting an event there. But for now, all I am thinking of is this Friday at Alfred’s!

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

May 2, 2017
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The sun was just setting while the fires were burning at Long Meadow Ranch’s Live Fire guest chef series this weekend. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It was such a pleasure to watch the James Beard Awards while I was eating my fava bean pasta last night in my caftan (it’s a lifestyle), with the warm spring air (or is this summer?) coming through the windows of my apartment. Spring fever, it’s real.

Congrats to all the winners (and nominees!), but especially to chef Corey Lee for Best Chef: West—it was so well deserved and a long time coming to one of the hardest working chefs in the biz. He’s one of the chefs you almost never see out of his kitchen, and he certainly wasn’t at my after-hours chef party in honor of Jeremiah Tower last week. (Trust me, I tried!) You can read the recap of the JT industry party in today’s hopper. Yes, there was caviar.

That party definitely took a lot out of me, and I’m not just talking about the Negronis. I almost didn’t make it up to St. Helena for the kickoff of the Live Fire series at Long Meadow Ranch with guest chef Zakary Pelaccio, but boy am I glad I got my work done on Saturday and hopped in my Fiat and GTFO. It was a dreamy alfresco dinner, from grilled fava beans to strawberry and cream biscuits; be sure to head to a future one this spring and summer. Someone has warm nights, and it sure isn’t San Francisco. (And I definitely need to hit up Fish & Game when I hop back to New York this summer.)

Okay, so it’s true, no rest for the weary. I’m leading a group of 28 U.K. restaurateurs and bar/pub owners through San Francisco all day and night this Friday and Saturday, so you can only guess at all the things I need to be doing. And writing (I have two deadlines this week). And I leave for Thailand May 18th. Mamma mia. Gotta keep the espresso pumping in my veins for the next two weeks.

One last note for today! Next Friday May 12th is the tablehopper Blue Fox vintage dinner at Alfred’s, and I just released the final 10 tickets, so hop to it! Let’s drink martinis.

Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

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