What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
September 18, 2018

You think you’re about to bite into a briquette, but really, it’s Gaggan’s taste story about a samosa you’d find in India’s chai parlors. (And it was one of my favorite courses of the meal.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from Santa Rosa, where I’m up here for a two-day cannabis trade show (Hall of Flowers)—and we got to listen to a rousing keynote from Gary Vaynerchuk last night. So cool.

After you read through today’s column, I want to be sure you also hop over for more news and events in this week’s Table Talk column (which includes a tip on where to find fab falafel in the Lower Haight, an awesome dumpling deal, and the Musica Marin Festival), and last week’s column includes a hands-on curing class, an awesome event this Friday about SF’s post-Quake restaurant history (see you there?), how to score a free scoop of PB&J ice cream from Humphry Slocombe, and should get you inspired to track down the bodacious double cheeseburger at The Board. Also: don’t forget Oakland Cocktail Week is happening through the 23rd!

Last week, I attended the #50BestTalks (a program from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants), with talks from chefs Dominique Crenn, Enrique Olvera, Daniela Soto-Innes, Lara Gilmore, Gaggan Anand, and Virgilio Martínez—take a peek at my post about Lara Gilmore’s talk, which I found particularly inspiring. The after-party and sneak peek of Angler was pretty fabulous—am excited for the upcoming opening.

A side benefit to having these chefs in town was a special and over-the-top pop-up dinner at Eight Tables, where chef-owner George Chen hosted chef Gaggan Anand from Bangkok (Gaggan is number one on Asia’s 50 Best list). Gaggan is famous for his emoji menu, which is the only clue you have to what the dishes will be (until you’re taking your first bite—many of the dishes are not what they seem). It’s playful, unexpected, full of storytelling, and so very delicious (especially with some elevated wine pairings). I can’t believe I got to experience it in Bangkok, and now another version one year later in SF. Kudos to both Gaggan’s team and the entire Eight Tables crew for pulling off such a sophisticated and complex one-night-only tasting menu. I think everyone was having a lot of fun, and not just the guests.

Okay, I need to get back to scouting some new products for mymilligram. See you in a couple weeks!

Marcia Gagliardi

September 4, 2018

My favorite time on the shore of Lake Tahoe, at the end of the day (I’m usually the last one to leave). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Welcome to September! Hopefully Fogust is in the rearview mirror. I know a bunch of you are shaking the playa dust off, while others are getting the sand out of your shoes. Me? I’m doing some serious exfoliating after a week in the high-altitude air (and sun, yay) of gorgeous Lake Tahoe. Chipmunk TV was awesome, as was having a grill to cook on each night, and that full moon last week was the business.

If today’s column isn’t packed with enough news for you (it’s a lot!), I have two Table Talk columns for you too. This week’s Table Talk features a fried chicken feast on the patio at Starbelly, an immersive and artistic Night Fishing dinner, a visiting chef from Oaxaca at August (1) Five, and don’t miss Oakland Cocktail Week! You can also read about some of my fave items on the perfect all-day menu at Noon All Day.

Last week’s Table Talk is also full of some fab food events, including the SF Cheese Fest, Eat Real Festival in Oakland, a special INFORUM talk with chef José Andrés, an Agave Girls night of tequila with Joanne Weir at Copita, and you can recover from all the overindulging with some khao mun gai (chicken fat rice).

I also had fun writing (and researching!) this piece for Bay Area Bites: 5 Cannabis Beverages to Keep You High-Drated. Cheers.

There’s a very exciting guest chef coming to San Francisco on Thursday September 13th: Gaggan Anand from Bangkok’s Gaggan! It was one of the most playful meals I have ever had (and currently number five in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants). He’s joining forces with George Chen and Eight Tables (recently named one of Time Magazine World’s Greatest Places!) for a very special meal, a 15-course tasting menu! The emoji menu will be in the house!

It’s a charity dinner to support Chefs for Change, which runs 24 programs sponsored by more than a dozen chefs from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Tickets are extremely limited and $550 per person, inclusive of the multicourse dinner, a Champagne reception and paired wines, tax, and service charges. Tickets will be available starting Wednesday September 5th at 12pm PST.

You should know the nominations for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association’s third annual Saucy Awards are now open! This is your chance to nominate your favorite restaurant and bar folks for 19 awards—and it’s not just SF, there are seven eligible Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Sonoma). Mark you calendar for the Saucy Awards on November 12th.

Lastly, I have to do a big shout-out to my fabulous copyeditor Jane Tunks, who has been helping me edit this tablehopper beast for YEARS. Today is her last day of editing enslavement on Tuesdays—she is moving on to full-time work. I remain ever so grateful for her watchful eye, deep food knowledge, and incredible editing skills. I crank out so much content each issue, and knowing she was looking over it all has always given me such peace of mind. So, expect a little less perfection over here (ha-ha) moving forward. Thank you, dear Jane!

I haven’t seen many of you lately, maybe we can clink glasses at this Thursday’s Around the World wine tasting? It’s going to be quite the tasting!

Okay, gang, let’s get into this week’s issue. Enjoy the short week!
Marcia Gagliardi

August 21, 2018

A summer evening dinner at A16 with Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore (this summer squash and torchio pasta course with Grana Padano, preserved egg yolk, and lemon was a stunna with the Sommariva). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

How’s it going out there? Did everyone recover from Outside Lands? That was a blast (per usual) and totally kicked my butt—on Friday alone, I walked 20K steps around the park. And then there’s the bike ride there and back! The fempire weekend of Florence, Janelle, and Janet was so awesome, Beck really brought the visuals (like WOW), the cocktails were flowin’ (special thanks to my party buddies, Hendrick’s and Jim Beam), plus there was some really special sandwich love from Tartine Manufactory (OMG that grilled cheese) and Son’s Addition’s pinnacle of munchies vittles. And then there’s the natural beauty of Golden Gate Park, the ultimate backdrop, no filter needed but totally enhanced by some of my favorite treats from mymilligram. Thanks to everyone for all the hard work that goes into pulling off that massive event.

I know a bunch of you are frantically preparing and packing to head to the playa. I wish I could say the same, but a week relaxing in Tahoe while working part-time is as close as I will physically get to the desert. I couldn’t really do Russia AND Burning Man, try as I might. Speaking of, did you catch my big Russia recap in the last tablehopper issue? Take a break from the horrible news stories and read about the people and food instead. What a country.

I have a couple more recaps for you, and you don’t want to miss these! Be sure to read my Table Talk column on KQED’s Bay Area Bites for details on Tuezday Noodz and Breadbelly (which some of you noticed in my Instagram feed a few weeks ago!). Indian food lovers, do not delay on grabbing a meal at Ritu, and check out an amazing Farming Hope fundraiser happening at Mister Jiu’s. And a clambake! And a Cubano.

Want to explore some great places to buy wine? I just wrote this post for Blackboard Eats on SF’s seven best wine shops that offer something extra.

Since we’re talking extra, check out this post I wrote on mymilligram about the Wine & Weed Symposium I attended a couple of weeks ago (plus the Terpenes and Terroir dinner I attended).

This weekend (August 24th-26th) is the annual Eat Drink SF, our city’s extravaganza of food, cocktails, wine, and more. There are daytime and evening tasting sessions with some of SF’s best restaurants, bartenders, and purveyors, don’t miss it.

Here’s wishing you a great upcoming Labor Day holiday, I’ll see ya in two weeks when we all return. I hope you get some sun on you.

Marcia Gagliardi

August 8, 2018

One of the four horses on Anichkov Bridge and Stroganov Palace in St. Petersburg. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi, peeps. Yeah, this week’s column is a day late, but sorting through 1,500 images of Russia can do that to a lady. Looks like I bit off more than I could chew (not the first time).

As promised, this week includes my recap of my three-week trip to Russia with my dad for World Cup. There were some big cultural learnings and observations that happened on this trip while running all over the country for six matches. It was an adventure and an unexpectedly wonderful and memorable trip—it just took some extra work. Russia took me by surprise, and it wasn’t just about how tasty the food was (it’s a good thing I like pickled things and smoked fish and dill).

Today’s piece was written in a bit of a stream of consciousness kind of style—I have so many images and impressions in my head, and I wanted to write them down while they were still bright. It’s not a short piece (maybe save it for the weekend!), and since I didn’t have a copyeditor today, don’t be surprised if you find some errors. I’ll be posting a larger album of my edited photos soon, complete with some fun World Cup pics. What a trip!

You ready for Outside Lands this weekend? I am (I’ll be sporting this fanny pack, say high). I’m sharing my round-up of food and drinks on my hit list for the weekend, be sure to tag @tablehopper on the ‘gram if there’s something you’re really loving that you think I should check out. So ready for Janelle. And Florence. And Miss Jackson if you’re nasty.

What I was digging last week was the Wine and Weed Symposium in Sonoma (and the summer dream Terpenes and Terroir dinner from TSO Elevated Events and The Herb Somm at Healdsburg Shed afterward. I’m working on a piece right now, but in the meantime, take a look at this recap from The Herb Somm about what cannabis can learn from wine, and what wine can learn from cannabis.

A couple more posts for you: you won’t want to miss this week’s Table Talk on Bay Area Bites, including a first look at the new Farmhouse Oakland (you want to go), and last week’s column included a recap of some North Bay openings and Lotus SF on Mission Street.

Lastly, I know a lot of folks are making Robuchon potatoes this week. RIP, chef. One of the greats.

One last thing: if you are looking for a way to help victims of the Mendocino and Lake Fires, there is a Wildfire Fund set up with North Coast Opportunities here and a couple more listed here (the CCF Wildfire Relief Fund and Operation USA), along with some resources.

Take good care. See you in a couple weeks.
Marcia Gagliardi