August 2021

August 25, 2021
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Another day in Croatia, another beautiful beach. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi there. Don’t check your calendar, it’s Wednesday—yup, I’m a day late with this thing. But you’ll soon see why—I have been burning up my keyboard typing up my two Croatia recaps for you! (7,500 words total and counting…whew.) I know a bunch of you are heading to Croatia over the next month, so I wanted to pull these pieces together quickly for you.

Although, this time, I’m doing things a little differently over here. Today’s missive is about my overall impressions of Croatia, what it was like to travel during a pandemic, dishes to look for, wines to try, beach culture, and more. I also wrote about an emotional encounter I had with the sweetest stray cat while on the island of Vis that broke my heart into a thousand pieces, and the amazing cat rescue/care volunteer organization that helped me, Street Cats of Vis. They’re doing such inspiring work.

For those of you who want my recommendations of where I ate, stayed, and played in Croatia, I have an entirely separate article for you, but it’s behind a paywall. These pieces take so much time to write, edit photos for, find links, and format, let alone the hours of research, emails, phone calls, and outreach to plan my trip. (Thanks to everyone who sent tips!) Since this wasn’t a press trip, I’m putting my list of recommendations behind a paywall to help cover my expenses and time (and pay for the lousy meals I’m saving you from, ha!). I’m asking for a minimum donation of $10 (you can always send more, thanks!) and I will email you the PDF tomorrow (Thursday) morning. (If you think I should send it to you for free, drop me a line!)

The paywall PDF includes eat/play/stay tips for Split, Vis (it’s very in-depth and will make you want to go there!), Dubrovnik, and a couple spots on Hvar and Brač. It also has some additional Croatia travel tips, gulet info, resources, and links.

Please include your email with your payment and I’ll be sending it out tomorrow (Thursday) morning. (If you want to pay me via CashApp, PayPal, or Zelle, just use my marcia@tablehopper.com email, thanks.) Or contact me and we’ll figure it out. Thanks for supporting my work.

You can even throw something in my Venmo tip jar if you found today’s piece to be helpful to your trip planning, or you just enjoyed it. Hvala!

I’m going to be sharing even more Croatia tips and stories in my first Caftaniamo online lifestyle show launching next month! Thanks to all of you who started following @caftaniamo, and I’m going to have more details very soon! I’m just trying to get a bunch of exciting things finalized before I tell you all about it.

I wish I could clone myself so I could also have an installment of all our local news updates for you today as well, especially with this Swan Oyster Depot incident, but there is just one of me, and I’ve been writing at my desk for three long days and nights. I need to do my dishes, answer 200 emails, and go for a walk. Oy!

Ciao for now, take care.
Marcia Gagliardi

August 10, 2021
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Island-hopping in Croatia and caftans go hand-in-hand. Photo: Thao Tran.

Hello, friends! I’m back from three glorious weeks in Croatia and a month away from writing the newsletter. Ahhhhhh. It was deeply restorative to step away from the grind and my overflowing inboxes and DMs and the always bullshit foggy/windy SF July and have such a stunning change of scene. Croatia is incredibly gorgeous—I swam (and floated) in the Adriatic almost every single day of my trip; enjoyed exploring a new culture, language, and cuisine, plus new-to-me wine varieties; dug deep into lots of history; made new friends; walked many back streets and beach trails; took time out for sunsets; and had a blast island-hopping for a week on a glamorous gulet for my friend Matt’s 50th birthday (big wow). It all feels like such a dream. I was posting tons of photos on Instagram and Facebook, so whether you’re planning a trip to Croatia or could use some armchair travel, take a look.

Tremendous thanks to all of you who supported my garage sales before I left—you helped make this trip happen and totally rock. Croatia was delightfully affordable compared to SF—hell, most places are—so I was able to really enjoy some special meals, excursions, and experiences. $6 for a glass of locally made brut nature sparkling wine? You’re speaking my language, Croatia.

A bunch of you have been personally asking me about Croatia: what it was like traveling there, is it safe, where to go, and where I stayed. I’m currently writing up a piece about my trip for my next newsletter, stand by.

But the truly exciting way to learn about my trip is going to be in my upcoming lifestyle show, Caftaniamo! (Yes, it’s a verb!) I’m launching a monthly online show, covering what’s rocking my world, from new restaurants to can’t-miss dishes and drinks, travel stories, my favorite cannabis products, parties, and creative people. The first episode will be all about Croatia, and folks who purchase the all-access pass will get exclusive perks and insider info. I can’t wait to tell you more—stand by for an update with details about the launch VERY soon. You can also start following @caftaniamo on Instagram for updates.

While this was a trip of a lifetime, especially after the past sixteen months we’ve had, it wasn’t all cerulean water and azure skies. Traveling during a pandemic had its own challenges and emotions and concerns, and finding out my parents contracted Covid via a breakthrough infection while I was 7,000 miles away was definitely a low point. Thank goddess, they’re doing well and on the mend, but it was shocking (they’re vaccinated). I go into it more in this recent post on Instagram/FBI hope you have a chance to read it because it’s a cautionary tale about how vulnerable we still are, even if we’re vaccinated. Be careful, sweeties.

It has been downright depressing to return home and see a local spike of Covid cases, hear of numerous breakthrough infections, and watch restaurants and bars temporarily closing due to infections and exposure scares—what a tough and scary time to be working in the industry (again). Even with some restaurants and bars requiring proof of vaccination for indoor service, vaccinated folks are still at risk of getting sick from this highly infectious Delta variant. With this all hitting way too close to home for me, I am currently not dining or drinking inside restaurants and bars. The freedom was so fun while it lasted. But until numbers go down, I won’t be promoting events on tablehopper since I don’t feel very safe doing any of it myself. Sending well wishes to all.

Instead, I’ve been catching up on QT with Fortuna and all the shows I didn’t have time to watch before I left town: Hacks (I binged that way too fast), Mare of Easttown (OMG Kate Winslet, what a helluva actress), and The White Lotus (talk about a pressure cooker). I’m starting Veneno this week, but would love to hear of any of your faves since it looks like I’m going to be spending my evenings at home for a bit.

But here’s one party where I hope you’ll join me, and you don’t even have to show your vaccination card! It’s the Bay Area News Party Facebook Group! tablehopper is joining other independent publications (like Broke-Ass Stuart, 48 Hills, and Funcheap SF) to make sure you stay connected to real, independent local news, events, and more.

Yes, Facebook is evil (for many reasons), and their algorithm hides most of tablehopper’s posts and stories unless I pay them, but it’s still where people get a lot of their news and updates. With this group, you can more easily see what’s happening and read stories from small, hyperlocal, diverse publications with great content. Check it out here. You’ll need to be signed into your Facebook account, and ask to join. (It’s a private group so we can weed out the trolls.) We’ll approve your request, and you can see what it’s like. We’re growing every day and appreciate your support. Join the partay!

I know everything feels majorly sucky right now, but try to enjoy the sun this week, it always helps. Get outside for a walk. I wish you could come over and pet Fortuna, the snuggle monster always wants more! I’m currently leash/harness-training her, so I have a lot of entertainment at the moment.

Real talk: check in with friends and family (or a professional) if you’re having a hard time (or know someone who is struggling)—we’re in another challenging and extremely disheartening moment. So many unknowns and worries and questions and fears. Things are not “fine.” But we’ll get through it if we look out for each other. Sending big hugs and love.

Missed you!
~Marcia

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