March 2022

March 29, 2022
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Remember that Sake Omakase pop-up pairing event I told you about in my last column? Well, here’s just one course from it! I’ll be sharing more about this extraordinary experience soon—you definitely want to book a seat with Sumi! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, dear readers. I hope you’re enjoying the spring showers and flowers. We have Easter and Passover approaching next month, and I am just starting to add updates to my Instagram highlights for you. Be sure to keep checking back on those links!

I’m happy to see SF Restaurant Week is returning for a spring run, starting this Friday April 1st through Sunday April 10th. 160 participating restaurants (!) will be offering prix-fixe menus for brunch, lunch, and dinner. To celebrate, we have a fun giveaway for you in today’s column: dinner for two from Pabu and dinner for four from Lazy Susan! Be sure to check out the sugar mama below on how to enter to win!

Also kicking off this Friday is Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center (5pm-10pm), returning after two years of hiatus! I went to a preview last Friday, and you should get excited for quite the twelfth season lineup, with 25 food trucks, in addition to a full bar from Rye on the Road, a wine garden from Kivelstadt Cellars, and live music. Check out some new food trucks, including Vegan Mob, Al Carajo (peep my previous post), and Brazuca Grill (remember the feijorrito feijoada burrito I posted about?), new buckwheat burritos from Borsch Mobile (try the beef brisket or BBQ pulled pork), as well as returning longtime favorites like Señor Sisig and The Chairman (they have a new cumin beef bao with shiso tzatziki that is crazy delicious). More trucks are coming as things ramp up, plus theme nights and more. Wear your puffy coat and fuzzy hat and have some fun in the fog.

How about dinner and then a movie this Friday April 1st? Go see The Automat, a charming documentary directed by Lisa Hurwitz that recounts the lost history of the iconic restaurant chain, Horn & Hardart, which served affordable, quality food to millions of New Yorkers and Philadelphians for more than a century. It’s such a fascinating look at this innovative and progressive company, with layers of storytelling about the American dream. I loved the interview clips with Mel Brooks, what a character, truly, plus Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Colin Powell, and Carl Reiner. Don’t miss it!

It’s playing for a week at the Vogue Theatre, as well as screening at Landmark’s Albany Twin (Albany), Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center (San Rafael), and Summerfield Cinemas, Santa Rosa. View the official trailer here.

Mark your calendar and get your tickets: I’m going to be joining The Cheese School of San Francisco for one of the Cheese Sex Death book tour events! Author Erika Kubick of Cheese Sex Death: A Bible for the Cheese Obsessed will be in the Bay Area for three events: a Marin farms tour, a book tour party (you’ll find me interviewing her there, while we snack on cheese and enjoy adult beverages!) on Saturday April 16th, and Easter Sunday cheese church! We hope to see you at one or all three cheesetastic events!

You should also save the date (and get tickets) for the first Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience, running May 20th-22nd. This three-day celebration will feature the best of Sonoma County food and wines, with special brunches, lunches, and dinners, a grand tasting event, panels, culinary demos, a concert, and parties! Can’t wait to check this out, will share more details soon.

Okay, whoooooosh! It’s time to dive into the news, let’s do this.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 15, 2022
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The Faithful Fool at Bar Iris: Calvados, yuzu sake, green apple, sweet woodruff, fizzy water. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, friends. I hope you’re feeling some tender shoots of optimism now that we have sprung forward, asparagus is here, and the wisteria is blooming in the City. I know we’re all adjusting to the sudden changes of no masks and no vax card presentations at most bars and restaurants in SF, although some places are still choosing to keep those requirements in place to protect their staffs—I just assume that’s what an establishment would like to see at their door until they tell me otherwise. Just ask. It’s all so confusing [waves hands in the air] and we’re all moving at different speeds and levels of comfort.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know I’ve been having a tough couple weeks—my beloved maternal grandmother Judy ascended a week ago, after our family held a weeklong vigil at her bedside. She was a huge influence in my life and heart, so I have been slowly emerging from a fog of grief. Family, friends, and Fortuna have provided great comfort, along with so many wonderful memories. I’m so grateful and feeling like I’m back on the upswing.

But I have to be honest: this week’s newsletter was quite difficult for me to focus on, and then I got nailed with a horrid migraine in the middle of the night, which had me bedridden until late this morning. Beyond rude! Really, I give up. I’m exhausted. There are some pieces about new bar openings (including the Bottle Club Pub, and PCH opens tomorrow) and CUESA’s big name change to Foodwise that I still need to finish writing, but they have to wait—I’m signing off to go back to bed. (It’s kind of the perfect grey day for it.)

Thanks for your understanding—things are not moving at their usual brisk and chipper pace over here. (I know that’s the case for many of us, the world is in such a state of tumult.) I’ll catch up with you soon, with more spring in my step (and on the socials).

XO
Marcia Gagliardi

March 1, 2022
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The breathtaking view from the new Kaiyo Rooftop in SoMa. Order the aptly named (and pisco sour-ish) The Wind Rises. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello friends. Wow, it’s already a new month. How are you hanging in there? This past week’s world news has been brutal to watch and process, and has definitely flattened out my usual effervescence, so please excuse the absence of my typical sass this week. I’m also dealing with a sad family situation (my dear grandma isn’t doing well, our beloved matriarch), so I needed to cut my content short and send this issue early today so I can be with my family, thanks for understanding. I will keep posting about local fundraisers and ways to support Ukraine in my Instagram Stories once I am back online…but in the meantime, World Central Kitchen is doing some heroic work feeding refugees, and can always use your support.

But the world keeps spinning, and there’s always a party somewhere. It’s wild to think Mardi Gras is today (let the good times roll), and so many folks in our local culinary scene are still riding high from their James Beard Award semifinalist nominations, which has to feel extra-good after the past two years of hell they’ve been through. Congrats to all. Restaurant and Chef Awards nominees will be revealed on Wednesday March 16th.

I am also SO HAPPY we get to announce the winner of the Popmenu and tablehopper “Pophop” campaign we launched at the end of last year. Thanks to all of you who nominated local restaurants (and your own businesses!) for the contest—it was really heartwarming to read all the personal notes. Keep reading today’s newsletter to see who won the digital makeover and six months of Popmenu + Boost marketing support! Couldn’t happen to a nicer operator. Thanks for your support of our F&B industry!

Let’s also congratulate Deborah Alvarez-Rodriguez, La Cocina’s New executive director. Read more about this wonderful hire who is taking the baton from Caleb ZIgas, who departed in January 2022, after 16 years with the organization. Here’s to continuing on the path of a bright future.

I also want to do a shout-out for our beloved Vinny Eng, who was nominated to serve as a Community Grand Marshal for this year’s San Francisco Pride! What a well-deserved honor for this wonderful, loving human who does so much for our community! Click here to cast your vote! Poll closes at 12 noon on Tuesday, March 8th.

One last reminder: have you joined me at the new Bay Area News Party group on Facebook? It’s a group of local publications like Broke-Ass Stuart, 48Hills, SF Funcheap, and yours truly, where we share news, events, and more about what’s happening in the Bay. Join right here to keep up on all the latest.

Thanks for reading, take good care of yourself and others, and I’ll catch up with you soon.
Marcia Gagliardi

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