This week's tablehopper: back on tour.

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The first course at Harbor House: vegetables from the ranch in a chilled green garlic broth. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, dear readers. Wow, I just want to start off here by thanking all of you for your nice notes after last week’s missive/PSA, and I was very heartened to hear how much my Covid experience and Paxlovid resources helped inform you (and encouraged you about being extra-careful right now since this thing is definitely not “just a cold”). Well, it ends up there’s another chapter in my Covid saga to share, but this one will be much shorter.

If you’ve been following the news about Paxlovid, there have been some mentions of “rebound cases“—people have felt some Covid symptoms return after their five-day course of Paxlovid, and some have even tested positive again. Incredibly, I was one of those folks—I didn’t test positive again, whew, but I felt my sore throat, body aches, congestion, and complete exhaustion return a couple days after I finished my meds. I couldn’t believe I was feeling pretty bad again.

Two weeks to the day after I first had symptoms, I started experiencing shortness of breath and difficulty breathing—I just couldn’t clear my lungs. It was pretty scary, to be honest. I booked a telehealth appointment with a family nurse practitioner from my doctor’s office and he prescribed me an Albuterol inhaler, which helped my situation massively after my first couple rounds of puffs. I was able to breathe somewhat normally after 24 hours, and it helped clear up my cough in a few days, so I didn’t need to come in for an X-ray of my lungs. The FNP told me he has been seeing a number of patients with the same breathing issues, so if you start feeling a tightness in your chest or shortness of breath, call your doc—don’t suffer through the lingering cough. The inhaler is what helped me finally turn this thing around.

As for the rebound, the way I look at it, I’d rather have a rebound of symptoms than end up in the ICU to begin with, so I’m incredibly grateful I was able to track down Paxlovid, even if it meant going to the ER to get the prescription. It just shows how pernicious this virus is. What a bastard. I am so sorry to hear of so many friends getting sick right now, many for the first time, and this surge in the Bay Area is no joke, so please stay vigilant. Mask up.

Refer to Test to Treat in case you get sick, and once again, this spreadsheet outlines Paxlovid supply around the Bay (and other Covid therapeutics). Do you feel a tickle in your throat? Sniffy nose? Think you have bad allergies? Odds are it’s Covid—don’t depend upon your rapid antigen home test to pick it up for a couple days, get a PCR test to know for sure. Think you’re still immune from the Omicron infection you had in January? Maybe not. (UGH.) Don’t get this thing, sweeties.

Since so many folks are home sick right now, I thought I’d share a few dishes I made (and bought) that helped me feel better while I was home illin’. (It’s tough to be single and home sick, and Fortuna isn’t very handy in the kitchen.) I also have some suggestions of what to do for a friend who is sick since no one is going to ask you to come over. And I included some shows and movies I watched since that’s all I could do for a few weeks. I hope it’s helpful!

Praise the lard, this is all in the rearview mirror now. I can smell and taste (thank goddess) and my cough is basically gone. I’m so grateful I was able to recuperate and get enough energy back for a long weekend in Mendocino—my friend and I were supposed to take this trip just when the pandemic hit, so this past weekend was our make-good getaway. What a stunning weekend to be in Anderson Valley and Mendocino. We had a magical lunch at The Bewildered Pig, revisited my favorite chowder at Little River Inn, a dreamy dining experience at Harbor House, and a fun pizza lunch on the patio at Wickson at The Madrones. We had misty beach walks and breakfast (with farmstead eggs) in our rooms at Glendeven Inn and the Elk Cove Inn (such incredible views), and rode Railbikes up in Fort Bragg! I can’t wait to tell you more about this epic weekend in an upcoming piece—it was so good to get out of my quarantine and into springtime and glorious nature.

Driving home on Sunday, we passed the Apple Farm in Philo, which was fitting since my review of Sally Schmitt’s cookbook, Six California Kitchens, just ran in The Examiner! She also spent her final years in Elk, so I was enjoying her proximity in spirit all weekend. It’s a fantastic cookbook, check it out (it’s being reprinted right now, so stand by)!

And now, I’m excited to head out of town again this weekend, this time for the Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience. The grand tasting is outdoors, along with some other events (there are still tickets available), and the weather is going to be stellar this weekend! See you there?

A couple more quick notes: I wanted to be sure you saw my latest posts on Instagram about the extraordinary sake dinner and tasting I attended last month with Sumi Seo, and an “only in SF” classic lunch at Sam’s Grill (book one of their pandemic-friendly booths or sit on their patio!). You can read more about what’s happening in Belden Place—Sam’s was unfortunately hit by an arsonist in April. I can’t imagine SF without Sam’s, so go pay them a visit.

Lastly, would you believe I just got invited to go on a press trip to Greece (again!) in two weeks? I know, I’m so damn lucky. Happy to take my hybrid immunity on an international trip while I can. I’m going to be in Thessaloniki (hello again, yay!) and Thassos learning about some DOP agricultural products (not feta this time), and I’m adding on some personal days on Skiathos island, because YOLO. (If anyone has any recommendations or friends in those parts, I’m all ears!) Let’s see if I manage to get a column out the day before I leave…things are going to be crazy the next two weeks as I try to get all my work done. We’ll see. And I’ll see ya soon!

Stay healthy and happy.
Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, May 17 2022