January 2018

January 30, 2018
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One-time-only special lobster tonkotsu (with medium-thick wavy noodles!) at the opening party for Ippudo. (I really hope those noodles come back though.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi. Excuse me, let me put down these chopsticks for a moment and wipe my chin so I can say a proper hello. I swear, after watching a screener of the upcoming film, Ramen Heads, all I can do is think about ramen. It’s a good thing I had just come from the opening of the brand-new Ippudo when I watched it at home later that evening, with a belly full of wavy noodles.

But two days later, I was back at it, slurping at Sozai on Friday night, and I’m going to Daly City tonight for another bowl. (Follow along on Instagram if you want to know where.) And I have a ramen lunch date at Marufuku in Japantown this Thursday. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

You can catch the premiere of Ramen Heads at the Roxie Theatre during the SF IndieFest (February 1st-15th)—more details here. Join me in the obsession. It’s such a marvelous film to watch. I really really need to go to Japan, it kills me that I haven’t made that happen—yet.

But for now, I am thinking about Russia! I’m going with my dad for World Cup this June-July, fingers crossed we get some tickets in the random-selection draw tomorrow! More than 4 million tickets were requested, so it’s daunting. But I am an optimist! And will be hitting you up for recos once we figure out what we’re doing. So excited.

Okay, back to my noodles. And hopefully pelmeni soon.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 23, 2018
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Have you experienced lunch at Izakaya Rintaro? You should. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello my fellow food lovers. I know this past weekend was a busy one for a lot of folks in the biz, with both the Good Food Awards and Fancy Food Show happening (and many food industry peeps visiting from out of town and trying to score reservations at the city’s hottest restaurants). Friday night was the Good Food Awards, complete with vegan protestors taking the stage (with one of them escorted offstage by Alice Waters herself—I guess that counts for double points?!), with mountains of cheese and salumi at the after-party (I guess that’s negative points for the vegans?).

You can see the list of the 2018 winners here, and I posted some pics of some fabulous new product discoveries from the Good Food Awards mercantile I attended on Saturday. Here’s to all the makers!

Saturday night, I got dolled up with my fellow vintage SF-loving friend (I swear, we must have been friends in the 1940s) and went to check out the renovated Fisherman’s Grotto on the Wharf, now known as The Grotto. We enjoyed some Wharf classic dishes (great Louie and cioppino) and their fish and chips is tops. The space looks fantastic. We’ll be back for live music in the Sinatra Lounge one of these upcoming Tuesdays, see you there.

Sunday Funday evening was all about the Italians, starting with an aperitivo party with Manicaretti Italian Foods to celebrate founder Rolando Beramendi’s new Autentico cookbook (and taste lots of magical olio nuovo), followed by Casa de Case’s annual warehouse dinner party, featuring their imported Italian products, with many of the producers in the house! (And the local restaurants and chefs that use their products at the table.) What a night.

You know what was also amazing? Seeing so many of you at our Pencils for Kids fundraiser last week! Thank you all so much for your support—we had a full house, and the food and drinks and wines were fantastic. Thanks so much to everyone who helped raise money to support the education of so many children in Bali, Myanmar, and Thailand! You warmed my heart! If you can all please support our event partners, that would be so appreciated. They were so generous.

This week, I have plenty to keep you as busy as me. I hope you’re hungry—or you’re about to become hungry.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 16, 2018
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Yes, I am ready to bring this fragrant cocktail to my nose and lips! We’ll be serving the House of Painters, courtesy of our generous sponsor, Rémy Cointreau, at the PFK fundraiser event Wed evening. Photo: Dominic Alling.

You smell that curry in the air? The turmeric? The freshness of shiso? And kumquats! Or how about the fruity rosé, or the enticing smell of coffee? All these gorgeous fragrances (and more!) will be perfuming the air at our Pencils for Kids fundraiser party tomorrow, and I really hope you will be there to enjoy all the flavors with us! Read all about it in today’s tablehopper, and don’t miss the part about the pair of tickets we are giving away to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in the raffle! Epic!

And if you can’t make it, you can always donate a backpack with school supplies for children in Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. Thank you for all your support and help spreading the word to your food-loving and altruistic friends, I really want us to sell this out! Sawatdee-kaaaaa!

I have been busy promoting this event the past week, but was happy to sneak in a couple great art experiences, including a fun visit to FOG Design + Art fair (did you go?) and the Oakland Museum for the trippy Nature’s Gift exhibit by FriendsWithYou before it ends on the 21st. Color therapy for the win!

Okay, I have a LOT to do, so let’s dive in here. I really hope to see you tomorrow! Thanks again. Mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi

January 9, 2018
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This is how to begin a meal: chef Adam Sobel’s warm zeppole topped with caviar, uni, and lardo at the Mina Group’s new Cal Mare in Los Angeles. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whooosh, the city just had quite the power wash, and it’s not just the rain I’m talking about. Today’s hopper is a bit of a beast of catch-up of two weeks’ worth of news while I was away for the holiday, and there’s even more in line for next week with upcoming projects. Ya with me? Good.

Did you catch last week’s issue, with my annual rant, the bore, of 10 things I don’t want to see in the new year? It has been pretty funny how many readers are sending me pics of torched sushi, their shared hatred of shiitakes (and ditto red bell peppers that turn up unwanted in too many dishes), and enjoyment over stemless wineglasses getting called out. I love you guys.

Hitting the wires today is my latest piece for Blackboard Eats on seven rad dishes you should eat right now, have fun. Bone marrow flan, I see you.

Speaking of rad dishes, I have received the final lineup of what our guest chef partners are making for our fundraiser party for Pencils for Kids next Wednesday January 17th, and the cocktails and wines too! And coffee! And it’s gonna rock! You know how well fed (and beveraged) you are at tablehopper events, and since I was in charge of the food and drink for this event, it’s going to be one heck of an Asian feast, from turmeric sausage from Esan Classic to oxtail stew with soft Hodo Soy tofu (bun bo Hue style) from Perle Wine Bar to black sesame kouign-amann from B. Patisserie! I know, bonkers good.

And then there’s the raffle! (Um, two round-trip tickets to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific!) Take a look at the updated post in today’s socialite. Please come, and thank you for supporting this event—it’s going to do a lot of good to help support the education of 2,200 amazing kids (and you’re going to have a fun evening while doing so!). We kept tickets for this event at a very affordable $75 so more people could attend. You know I want to sell this out! Let’s do this. Sawatdee-kaaaaaaaaa!

One more note for my fellow lovers of art, design, interiors, and more: don’t miss this week’s FOG Design + Art Fair at Fort Mason, running January 11th-14th. I always find a lot of inspiration and visual enjoyment at this event—check the schedule for talks and more.

All righty, let’s get to it!
Marcia Gagliardi

January 2, 2018
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This is how to do New Year’s Day dinner in LA: Dan Tana’s! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy New Year, sweeties! I know so many people are greeting 2018 with open arms. I am wishing you so much happiness and abundance and good health this year (and I found a big ole glass to raise to you!). Let’s rock.

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles, where I’ve been having a total blast catching up with friends, eating all kinds of pasta and French onion soup, and New Year’s Day dinner was in a booth at the classic Hollywood hangout Dan Tana’s, with a table covered in a red-and-white checkered tablecloth and hearty plates of chicken Parm and toasted ravioli and Manhattans. One of the better starts to the New Year I’ve had in a while (and a total hangover crusher). Filing that one away for a reunion.

I have also been down here touring local dispensaries and checking out the local cannabis scene and products. Recreational sales is so exciting—I kind of can’t believe it’s happening. Even though prohibition has ended, there are still some things that are underground, like cannabis dinners, which is the subject of my latest piece for KQED’s Bay Area Bites. Yeah, the hopper got a little high at a recent one. Tabletoker.

Another article I recently wrote was for Via, featuring the top 10 restaurant openings in SF in 2017 (with some casual spots I liked too). Take a look and see if you’ve visited them all. We’ve had some quality openings this past year.

We had such a fun and festive tablehopper holiday dinner a couple of days after Christmas at Maybeck’s, with beef Wellington, Scotch cocktails and pairings from Bruichladdich, and such a fun crowd. The highlight for me was that our little raffle over dinner raised $543 for the SF-Marin Food Bank! Tremendous thanks to everyone who attended and so generously contributed, and especially to Bruichladdich and the Maybeck’s team who rocked the evening out of the park.

Sad you missed the party? You can head over for grower Champagne and fried chicken tonight, or beef Wellington Wednesday tomorrow! (And the Blood and Sand we enjoyed at our dinner is on the bar menu right now and was a total crowd fave.)

Or here’s an idea: you should buy a ticket to the upcoming Pencils for Kids fundraiser on Wednesday January 17th that I have been working on! We have a wonderful lineup of restaurant, spirit, and wine partners, and it all goes to an amazing cause: providing children in rural areas with school supplies and helping to support their education. Take a look at today’s listing and get your ticket! Thanks for spreading the word and supporting this event—every guest helps tremendously. I need your help in selling this out, thanks everyone!

Okay gang, it’s also time for my annual rant, the bore, of 10 things I don’t want to see in the new year. I kind of can’t believe I have been writing that kvetch piece for 10 years—and I know many of you have been reading it for that long too! Thanks for being such dedicated subscribers.

I’ll be back with the news and more next week. Cheers and best wishes for now! XO!
Marcia Gagliardi

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