October 2017

October 31, 2017

Anthony Strong chopping up nasturtiums that were added to butter and poured over Mt. Lassen spring trout (and roe). Yes, it was fantastic. Photo: Victor Wong.

Boo! I hope you’re having a spooktacular Halloween. (I’m looking forward to binge-watching a few more episodes of Stranger Things tonight.) This past weekend was pretty action-packed, starting with emceeing the James Beard Taste America event at the historic Venetian Room in the Fairmont on Friday evening—I called my liger look “Mrs. Robinson goes to the ’70s.” Champagne and caftans. (Yeah, it’s a lifestyle.) What a fun night!

Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of sitting at the chef’s counter for Anthony Strong’s Cibi Cotti pop-up in the Mission. The food and festa were a blast (I’ll be posting some more pics on Insta shortly), but sadly he has to move to a new location (I’ll keep you posted). Sunday was the Curious Cannabis Salon, great seeing so many fab folks there, and let’s just say it was extra-fun shopping at Rainbow Grocery afterward. Heh heh.

Congrats to all the SF Michelin star winners this year, and whaddya know, San Francisco now has more three-star spots than NYC. Ahem. (We already knew we were badass, sometimes it takes the rest of the world a little more time to figure things out.)

There’s a homegrown awards show you don’t want to miss attending: the 2017 Saucy Awards are coming Monday November 6th! The Saucys are the first-ever industry-driven awards recognizing the excellence of the San Francisco Bay Area restaurant, bar, and hospitality community. A total of 21 awards will be presented! Tickets are on sale now at the City Box Office ($149, and they include the awards ceremony and the post-reception catered by Meadowood). You can also vote for the People’s Choice award—voting is open until November 1st.

Speaking of November 1st, it’s a favorite date of mine since tomorrow is my birthday! There will be Champagne. And sleeping in. But really, all I want is my damn camera to come back from the shop. It has been two weeks and I’m going batty. I guess that’s the theme today. You like bats?

Trick or treat!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 24, 2017

A very happy ladybug. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Good day, sunshine. I just came back from four days in the rain in Washington state, but it was great to be in fresh air, take in some magnificent fall color, hang with the fam, and tour my cousin’s impressive cannabis grow in Eastern Washington during harvest.

I also checked out a number of the recreational shops in Seattle. I swear, what a trip. So many fascinating products, and very local too (of course there had to be a WA cannabis and apple drink). Never thought I’d be seeing anything like this in my lifetime, but here we are. (And just in case you’re curious yourself, there’s a Curious Cannabis salon you can check out on Sunday in SF.)

This week, I have a bit of catch-up news for you, plus many upcoming fundraisers and events I hope you can support. So many people need our help, please consider attending one.

I’m also excited to announce I’ll be emceeing the James Beard Foundation Taste America event this Friday at the Fairmont San Francisco, see you there?

I hope you enjoy this warm evening, I have a beach walk that is imminent and I can’t wait.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 17, 2017

Fab flounder ceviche from Copita at SF ❤️ MX! Instagram photo courtesy of @copitacomida.

Hello dear readers! You hanging in there? My lord, what a week it has been. Everyone is working so hard to help, in so many ways. Not much sleep happening out there. It breaks my heart to see San Francisco full of smoke again today, which only points to how the devastating fires rage on in the North Bay. Fortunately the containment percentages keep rising. But so do the needs for help and support and funds and food. I put together another North Bay fire assistance recap today with some ways you can continue to help. Please take a look, volunteer, give money, share, whatever you can do, keep doing it!

As you are probably well aware, last Friday was our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser, and wow, what a night. Couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support, in so many capacities. A huge round of applause to everyone who donated (so much!!), bought tickets, made cocktails, made food, volunteered, hosted, helped, poured, served, cleaned, loaded in, loaded out, bid, tipped, spread the word, and showed up! I share the total we made in the fundraiser recap below. I know, I’m leaving you hangin’. ;) Muchísimas gracias, I am so thrilled to make this 100 percent donation to our precious México for earthquake relief in the name of San Francisco!

That fundraiser took a lot out of me, so I’m going to catch my breath for a few days before this next round of helping and volunteering for our dear North Bay community. (We’ve got so much work to do.) I’m heading up to Washington tomorrow to visit family (and to experience harvest on a family member’s cannabis farm!). I will be back writing tablehopper in a fuller way next Tuesday. I just didn’t feel particularly enthused writing about restaurant opening news and non-fundraising events this week with all these intense things going on, to be perfectly honest.

Love to all, and so much gratitude for living in a community that is so helpful, generous, and caring. You are all doing a lot of amazing work out there. Heroes!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 10, 2017

Sunset at a friend’s house in Fairfax on Saturday. California, we love you. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. I know we are all reeling right now. Our beloved Northern California is engulfed in flames and smoke and smoldering ashes. We don’t recognize our treasured land and can’t believe what we’re seeing. We’re in total shock. Horror. Everyone is touched directly by this in some or many ways. We’re looking for updates from friends (are they okay, is their dog okay, is their house okay, is their farm okay, is their winery still standing, what do they need, where are they staying?), we’re looking for ways to help, to donate, to feed, to shelter, to comfort.

Social media is a flurry of news and bulletins, and I am filtering and posting what I can. To be honest, it has been close to impossible to focus on my column over the past two days, and it’s hard to care about writing about food news when you’re checking in on people who need help.

I have a short post on some ways to help today, and I know many fundraisers, events, and more opportunites to help are coming—I will keep the post on the tablehopper home page and will update as donation and fundraising events come in. It’s a lot of chaos right now. There are going to be many fundraisers and opportunities to help, in many ways. So many people lost so much. Many lost everything. It’s so hard and heartbreaking to fathom. We’re all going to do the most we can, and then some.

So, in the meantime, I need to continue to see our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser through for Mexico this Friday. I know those earthquakes seem like a lifetime ago, but when I started organizing this fundraiser a few weeks ago, the disasters in Puerto Rico, Vegas, and now in our own backyard hadn’t even started. It’s like the world is falling apart, each incident so utterly horrific in its own way. Everyone needs help.

But people in Mexico are still living outside. Apartments are flattened or simply not safe. People need to be fed. They need access to clean water. Volunteers need assistance. Kids need to go to school. Yeah, Mexico still needs help. Our fundraiser is a 100 percent donation to another 100 percent donation fundraiser.

Tickets to SF ❤️ MX have not been selling as quickly as I’d like to see, and we haven’t had a lot of time to promote. (They are sliding scale and start at just $35.) I have been spending the past two-plus weeks organizing this fundraiser full time, and it’s really hard to imagine the event not selling out after all these incredible donations, all these partners coming together, all this work. We even have the chef and his brother who own Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen in Tyler, Texas, flying in to cook at the event. I KNOW!

You won’t believe the amazing silent auction items, from a VIP tour at this Sunday’s La Cocina Street Food Fest to a dinner for four at Devil’s Gulch Ranch. Beautiful artwork. Quality booze. Gift certificates. People have been so generous.

Can you please help? Can you come? Whatcha doing after work on Friday? Come have a drink and some ceviche and tostadas. Can you buy a ticket for someone who can’t afford it? Even if you can’t attend, can you spread the word? I’d so appreciate it. Gracias. To recap, there are unlimited cocktails from some of SF’s best bartenders made with top spirits, an awesome array of food from local restaurants and La Cocina businesses, bottles of French rosé, beers, and it’s all in the beautiful Cambria Gallery in SoMa. It’s all in tablehopper today.

It will feel good to have everyone together, I’d love to see you this Friday. We all need to give and get some hugs.

Best wishes to all. So sorry for all the unfathomable loss and pain out there. Give give give. And tell everyone in your life you love them.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 3, 2017

One of my favorite ladies at Fonda Margarita in Mexico City—she fed us so well! And with so much love—I remember her coming by to check and see if I liked the chicharrón en verde. XO! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh, you guys, where to begin? I know we’re all reeling right now. So much pain, and suffering, and loss, and frustration, and anger, and shock, and heartache. It’s a lot. Too much. Let’s all be gentle right now. And strong. And helpful. Kind.

I know that doing something can help shift feelings, especially when things feel so out of control. The past week, I have been working hard on putting together a fundraiser for Mexico earthquake relief on Friday October 13th, SF ❤️ MX, and let me tell you, there is a lot of joy to be found when you help out. I have been so ecstatic and grateful for all the generous help and donations and kindness that has been extended to the fundraiser. We started selling tickets last night, and people have been so thoughtful with the sliding scale, it makes me well up.

Back in 1994, I was a recent graduate from UCLA and living in a Hollywood apartment with a couple of roomies. The Northridge quake rolled into town at the ungodly hour of 4:30am (why is it always in the middle of the night?) and scared the living hell out of me. I thought Loma Prieta was bad, but this was really a beast of a quake. For a few moments, when that thing just wouldn’t stop, I thought I was going to die—all I remember was yelling “I’m not ready!” as the apartment crashed all around me. But it finally stopped after 20 endless seconds, and I was okay. My place was pretty thrashed, with huge cracks in the walls you could see outside through—it was red-tagged a couple of days later. I ended up hiring two big strong guys to help me get some of my things out in the middle of the night and loaded all my roommates’ things into storage (they were on a trip to Australia).

After a week of dealing with shock and aftershocks and PTSD and sleeping on my friends’ couches, I decided to head back home to the Bay Area—my dad came down to get me at the word “go.” I lived with my parents in San Mateo for nine months and looked for work until I was able to move into a place of my own in San Francisco in September of 1994—that was 23 years ago.

Thanks to some assistance from FEMA, I was able to get back on my feet with some purchases, like a kitchen table, some dishes, bedsheets. I said to myself that I wasn’t allowed to bitch about paying taxes for 10 years, because that assistance was so immensely helpful in starting over. It was kind of amazing.

It’s why I am so committed to helping Mexico with this earthquake relief fundraiser. Mexico doesn’t have FEMA to help people get their lives back in order. So many people have lost their apartments in the quake, their homes, their shops…let alone the hospitals, schools, and other necessary buildings in their communities. And let’s not even talk about the loss of life and loved ones. It’s so heartbreaking. We need to give them a hand, to show how much we care for our precious neighbors, in spite of our current administration that is fixated on a wall and deportations.

I hope you’ll take a look and read through today’s post about the fundraiser. We appreciate anything you can do to help. Tremendous thanks to Cambria Gallery for hosting it in their beautiful showroom! I will keep updating you on participants and more.

And for those of you coming to this Friday’s sold-out opening party at Donato & Co., I can’t wait to see you!

Con mucho amor!
Marcia Gagliardi

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