April 2019

April 16, 2019
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A baklava nest, part of a finale course at The Table at Merchant Roots. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, gang. How are you? Yesterday was quite the double gut punch, watching Notre-Dame de Paris burn (utterly horrific, supremely awful) while my money flew out of my bank account to Uncle Sam (no uncle of mine). I was feeling pretty wiped out last night while writing this beast of a column—at least there’s always house music to lift me up (sorry for the heavy bass, neighbors!).

But, today is a sunny day, the cathedral is still standing, and I’m grateful for all the fun experiences I’ve had the past couple weeks. Last week was Bi-Rite Market and 18 Reasons’ spring fundraiser, Master Chefs at Home, to benefit their Cooking Matters program, which offers free cooking and nutrition education classes to more than 3,500 low-income, Bay Area kids, teens, adults, and families each year. It was such an uplifting event, honoring the many people who help run and support the program. Want to help? You can volunteer, host, or donate!

I was also so fortunate to attend the over-the-top, pre-opening party for Dandelion Chocolate (OMG, the dessert table), experience the abundant and creative Stylin’ the Saloon tasting menu at Comstock Saloon (for $55, you gotta check it out), and attended a cannabis product launch party with Eric Wareheim pouring Las Jaras in the mix as well. It helps make my writing and work weekends less onerous, I tell ya. Monday is my Saturday.

Things are about to get a little loosey goosey over here—I have a big mymilligram project I’m working on, along with a quick trip to the Midwest to do some cannabis consultation, zip back for the Hall of Flowers, and then would you believe I’m going back to Greece in the first week of May? I think Aphrodite and Athena are pulling some serious strings for me, and I am not going to question it! Thank you, goddesses!

I’ve been invited to cover the Corfu Food and Wine Festival, and am so excited to visit that beautiful island, keep learning about Greek food and wine, and practice my Greek some more! I know, my life.

So, I don’t know when I’m going to get another tablehopper out over the next month—the time to write is a bit scarce (ditto any sponsors). I’m doing my best, but there’s only so much espresso I can drink (thanks for helping, HelioRoast)! Maybe I’ll be able to put out a mini midweek hopper or something. I’m waiting to hear what the Oracle at Delphi has to say. Back atcha soon.

Thanks for reading, and here’s wishing a happy Passover, Easter, and spring to you.

Thank you Easter Bunny, bwok bwok!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 2, 2019
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This happened often on #fetatrip. This was after our tour of the A.S. Kalavryton cooperative, enjoying lunch at To Spiti tis Marios in Kalavryta. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Kalispera! I’m back from a couple magical weeks in Greece, where I learned all about Greek PDO (protected designation of origin) feta, and tasted it at every meal for about six days. Let’s just say I have an entirely new perspective on one of my favorite cheeses, and I’m on the hunt for any barrel-aged PDO feta we can find! (If you have a shop in the Bay Area—or know one—selling barrel-aged PDO feta from Greece, please drop me a line—I heard Cheese Plus in SF has some!) I’ll be writing more about all things feta soon—and I know a bunch of you were following along at @tablehopper—but in the meantime, you can take a look at some of the dishes our group tried in this Planet Cheese post from Janet Fletcher.

I also spent a week in Athens on my own, touring incredible ruins and museums daily, trying a bunch of souvlaki, seafood, natural wines, Greek yogurt (sheep’s milk, baby!), I fell in love with trahana, and got my daily fill of Greek coffee and frappés. Thanks to everyone who sent recommendations! It was a truly incredible trip—the Greeks were so hospitable and kind, and who knew late March would be so idyllic? Spring had sprung in Athens, and I soaked up every wildflower and all the rays of sunshine. I also returned home with one of my heaviest bags yet. Shout-out to Athena for protecting my suitcase from the beagle at Customs.

Before we dive into today’s catch-up issue, I wanted to be sure you saw this piece that posted just before I left town that I wrote on the women blazing San Francisco’s canna-culinary scene. Yes, it was a fun piece to research. There are some talented women you should know about in that article!

I was also so pleased to be included in George McCalman’s latest “Observed” column, featuring Zuni’s magnificent 40th birthday celebration. Pop!

Big congrats to all the local talent included in the 2019 James Beard Foundation Award nominees! The Awards Gala will take place on Monday May 6th!

Okay, that’s it for announcements, let’s jump in!
Marcia Gagliardi

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