March 2018

March 27, 2018

One thing I was not going to miss was the opportunity to try chef Tomita-san’s tsukemen at a special lunch at Ramen Shop last Friday. You can read more on my Instagram post (at @tablehopper). Photo: ©

Hi there. Greetings from my sick crypt—she has risen! And how fitting, right before Easter! I thought I had a horrible cold but no, surprise (!), it was the flu! Seriously, what the hell. I’m on day 11 (or is it 12?) over here, and really over it. No more soup, please! But I have finally turned the corner on this damn thing. People, wash your hands like you have OCD—you don’t want this, it’s a beast (and I had a flu shot!). I say don’t touch anyone or anything for another month. Ha-ha. Anyway, take care of yourselves out there. I’m trying to do the same.

I managed to get some stories together for you today, but am moving pretty slow, so you’re getting it a little late. And I’m not feeling particularly funny either—more fussy than anything. Hopefully the jokes and sass will return next week. At least I have an awesome giveaway for you.

Wishing you all a happy Passover, Easter, and sunny week. Spring is here!

Hop hop. Cough cough.
Marcia Gagliardi

March 20, 2018

My bowl of chicken soup with kluski. And eggs. And vegetable juice pulp. And fennel fronds. Photo: ©

Happy first day of spring—yeah, and it’s raining and I’m on day four of a really stupid cold that decided to come in for a landing after my full-throttle seven days last week. I have been lucky all winter, so I guess my number was up. Fine. Chicken soup with kluski (thanks Bob for the noodles!) and buttermilk pancakes have been my feel-better friends. I was joking that I needed one of those whale/Shamu lifters to get out of bed this morning. As a friend noted, gravity is so much fkn worse when sick. Rude, gravity! Rude!

I was hoping to get some Easter/Passover options in today’s issue, but my body said bed was a better option. But you need reservations, so here’s last year’s post for some ideas since most places tend to repeat their holiday offerings. I will quickly add that 54 Mint has a great Easter menu, and 15 Romolo does an annual boozy Easter brunch.

In the East Bay, newbie Donato & Co. is doing a delicious and affordable Easter menu, and my buddy at Perle Wine Bar in Montclair is doing a bang-up Easter brunch menu. And there’s always OpenTable for Easter options. Buona Pasqua, tutti!

Oh, and Comal’s sixth annual Mexican-inspired Passover seders are April 2nd and 3rd. Rock cod “gefilte” fish cakes with chipotle aioli? Awesome.

Okay, it’s time to clock out here. I have a hot date with my Kleenex box. Until next week!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 14, 2018

It was a luxe hot pot party at Mister Jiu’s for the return of The Family Meal. Photo: ©

Happy Pi Day. Which is why I decided it’s totally okay and actually a fabulous thing to be eating a slice of pizza for breakfast today (mmm, from Goat Hill Pizza, score). May the wonders hiding in my freezer never cease.

Did you just do a double take and check your calendar, wondering, hey, hopper, why are you showing up today? It’s Wednesday! No, your eyes do not deceive you. But I bit off a little bit more than I could chew, per usual, and thought I could totally get a column out after coordinating and hosting a 40-person chef dinner on Monday night. Yeah, right. And of course news completely blew up this week. So, here we are, a day later after a certain someone needed to shake off a little late-night mezcal. (Hence the fall down after the spring forward, which is what a friend named a mix CD for me many moons ago, and it makes me laugh every year when it’s daylight saving time again.)

Have a great week. Congrats to all the James Beard Award nominees announced today, from media to best bar program to best chef: west! Cheers!

Now excuse me while I track down that CD.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 6, 2018

That’s one way to get handed a glass of bubbles. Cheers, darlings! Photo: ©

Whoooooosh, well, that was an action-packed weekend. Sunday was the 38th annual Academy of Friends gala and Oscar party (there are five AIDS/HIV organizations that will benefit from this year’s gala’s ticket sales), and I was in charge of coordinating the 16 restaurant partners, which were feeding 800 guests that night! I was in awe of watching all the restaurants load in, set up, and bang it out. #beastmode

Tremendous thanks and gratitude to all the restaurant partners that took part: the food was phenomenal! Take a look on Instagram for a recap, from the superlative carnitas tacos from Uno Dos to Nightbird’s waffles with The Caviar Co. caviar, smoked egg yolk, and crème fraîche, plus foie gras pot stickers from Eight Tables, savory cotton candy cones from The Alembic, festive carnival-inspired desserts from Kahnfections, Le Marais Bakery, and Precita Park Café, and…Barbra Streisand! The circus theme was so much fun.

The restaurant community already works so hard and is so short on any free time, so to have them support our fundraiser in such a big way really means a lot. The best way to say thanks is to visit them! Here’s who you can move to the top of your dining rock star list: Gibson, Eight Tables, Nightbird, The Caviar Co., Kahnfections, China Live, Maybeck’s, Uno Dos Tacos, Rooh, Nomica, Mr. Espresso, Perle, Serpentine, The Alembic, Precita Park Café, Bluestem Brasserie, Le Marais, The Saratoga (who made a fab cocktail!), and Goat Hill Pizza (who so generously fed our awesome volunteers)! Big round of applause and so much gratitude. THANK YOUUUUUUU!

March came in like a lion, and how fitting, it’s Women’s History Month! Rawr. Don’t forget La Cocina is celebrating International Women’s Day all week with A Week of Women in Food (March 5th-11th). Take a look at the special dinners hosted at locations around town, pairing La Cocina chefs with local chefs, plus beer and spirits partners.

And next Monday March 12th, don’t miss Jardinière’s new Noches en Mexico series, taking place the second Monday of each month. Sous chefs Christinne Marmolejo and Carlos Trujillo will create a three-course menu featuring cuisine from a specific destination, with beverage pairings included. The 12th is off to the city of Aguascalientes.

All righty gang, I’m still catching up with my damn self, so let’s get to this week’s hopper.

Marcia Gagliardi

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