What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
December 12, 2017
beefwellington.jpeg

Join me for a beef Wellington and Scotch tablehopper holiday dinner on December 27th at Maybeck’s! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy peeps. These sure are some crazy times. I’m so sorry to see Southern California suffering through such horrific fires like we did a couple of months ago—it’s just too much loss. I can’t believe our Mayor Ed Lee tragically passed away this morning. Condolences to his family and friends and colleagues, that is just so shocking. And then let’s layer everything with the daily drama of “today in sexual harassment…” And bombers. And the fate of net neutrality. And and and… The mind reels. My hazy weekend up in Santa Rosa for the Emerald Cup was a nice break from the daily chaos, that’s for sure.

It can be hard to keep the holiday spirits up. But the holidays really are about coming together, loving and appreciating the people in your life, and looking out for those who are less fortunate. I have been so busy with my last two fundraisers (Mexico, fire relief) that I didn’t really put together a fun tablehopper holiday party…until now! And I want to see you! I have thrown holiday parties in that week between Christmas and New Year’s, and we always have a blast.

So I’m really excited to announce I’m hosting a night of beef Wellington and Scotch (featuring Bruichladdich!) at Maybeck’s on Wednesday December 27th! Classic dishes and cocktails—it’s going to be cozy and belly-warming and yeah, it’s going to rock. We are just finalizing the details and I’ll be posting about the menu and tickets on @tablehopper social in a couple of days (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, take your pick!). Save the date for now, and if you absolutely want to be sure I save you a spot, just email me and I’ll make sure you get first crack at tickets since seating is limited to 25 spots! Cheers!

Are you out of town during that time? Wah! Don’t fret, because I have yet another fun fundraiser event I’m working on (January 17th, save the date!), and it’s going to be a beaut. Read all about the Pencils for Kids fundraiser I’m curating the restaurants for in today’s socialite. You won’t want to miss that one!

Have a great week, Happy Hannukah, happy holidays, and I hope to see you out and on the town, whether it’s at this Thursday’s grower Champagne tasting or my Wellington night or…!

XO!
Marcia Gagliardi

December 5, 2017
lemarais-cheesecake.jpeg

There were platters of persimmon cheesecake at our Comfort Food fundraiser. Thank you for being such generous hosts, Le Marais Bakery Castro! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. Enjoying the sunny weather? I feel like it’s the holidays in LA—it’s so weird seeing Christmas trees and it’s 60 degrees out. Which is why I must have been inspired to start thinking about taking a trip down to Los Angeles for the New Year…currently mulling. It has been way too long since my last jaunt. Feel free to send along any tips and new favorites to help tip the needle to yes!

This weekend is definitely going to be entertaining: I’m heading up to Santa Rosa to experience The Emerald Cup, “the largest, most respected, organic, outdoor, medicinal cannabis competition in the world!” The lineup of vendors is pretty staggering, duuuuuude, and the musical entertainment is a bonus. Bob Moses? Sweet! Looking forward to meeting some great people and checking out so many innovative products. And all the pretty flowers.

I’m also excited to check into the newly updated and totally adorable The Astro motel, a sister project to The Spinster Sisters restaurant, who have kindly been hosting some FEMA-eligible North Bay fire survivors. [Big love.] It’s also great to think of all the people who will be coming to the County this weekend and spending money in the community—the more visitors, the better.

While I’m up north in a purple haze, don’t forget this Saturday is SantaCon. Tread carefully around the city.

I want to give a tremendous thanks to everyone who came to our Comfort Food fundraiser at Le Marais Bakery Castro last week! It was such a special night, one of my favorite tablehopper events yet. The family-style seating in that beautiful space was cozy and fun, and chef Michael Siegel crushed us with deliciousness. We had a beautiful fall salad and probably the best brisket I’ve ever had, with garlic mashed potatoes from the gods. Le Marais doubled down on dessert (persimmon cheesecake, so good!), and the wines from Pomebandit and Artesa were perfect pairings.

We also had such generous donations for our silent auction, which helped us raise a grand total of $4,963 for Tipping Point’s Emergency Relief Fund! Way to go, you guys! Thank you so much to everyone who contributed. It definitely put me right into holiday spirit.

And now…it’s about time for holiday spirits! Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 28, 2017
truffleatbirdies.jpeg

Sunday was one of my favorite annual traditions: white truffle Champagne brunch at Birdie’s! Roberta knows how to set such a beautiful, abundant table. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey gang! Did you shake off that turkey coma yet? I am almost done with my leftovers, and it’s time to say farewell to the giblet gravy until next year. (Sadly, it has said hello to my waistline.) It’s all downhill/uphill from here: we are quickly ascending in the Jabba Zone!

So why not say yes to a brisket dinner this Thursday? You know you wanna! Our Comfort Food fundraiser dinner at Le Marais Bakery Castro just has 10 tickets left! Chef Michael Siegel has created an amazing three-course dinner menu, and we’ll have some lovely wines (thanks Pomebandit and Artesa!), all for just $50 (or more, if you can afford it, thanks)! And the event is a 100 percent donation to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers, and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the North Bay fires. Please help us sell this out, gang! It’s going to be a lovely family-style dinner with friends.

I also want to be sure you take a look at today’s post about the dinner because we have added some awesome silent auction items, thanks to our generous friends! I’m talkin’ wine tastings, tickets to sold-out crab feasts, books, and more! You can do some holiday shopping and know it’s all going to a great cause! I know, how fab. See you there!

One last thing: we need one set of extra hands for service! If you can donate your time as a server, we’d really really appreciate it! Someone had to drop out and we really need one more server, thanks!

Just in case you can’t make it to Thursday’s dinner, and I am cryin’ over it here, there are many other fundraisers and events you can support. This week, I wrote my first piece for KQED’s Bay Area Bites (look for more from me there soon!): This Holiday Season, Please Support These Fundraiser Events for Fire Relief. Be sure to take a look at the great events in there, from Rise Up Sonoma this Sunday to the incroyable Master Chefs of France: Brunch and Book Launch at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay. Good stuff, Maynard.

Also awesome: did you hear ChefsGiving raised a projected $750,000 for the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and Restaurants Care with all their efforts? Way to go, SF! So many people did such generous things for that fundraiser.

There’s a lot going on out there. I hope you are eating your fill of crabs. I sure am. I’m also going to be checking out three new bars opening this week (Snug Bar, Junior, and The Emporium), so look for full write-ups next week (and pics in the meantime on the gram).

Cheers, y’all. Thanks as always for reading and your support!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 14, 2017
munchies-misterjius-fishwich.jpeg

Brandon Jew’s badass take on the Filet-o-Fish at last night’s Munchies party (celebrating the new Munchies cookbook featuring chefs and recipes from Vice’s Chef’s Night Out). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. I hope you have some time on your calendar and a little money in the bank, because there are some amazing events happening this week!

As you know, ChefsGiving Week has kicked off to support North Bay fire victims (here’s my piece from last week), and there are so many restaurants participating, offering special menus, dishes, pizzas, and more! It would be great if you could support them in any way.

And the whole thing culminates in a big gala event this Sunday November 19th, which could really use your support! There’s a VIP Champagne and caviar reception, and you wouldn’t believe the incredible auction items. And all the beautiful wines that will be poured. And cocktails. And cheeses. See you there? Buy a ticket for a friend or client as an early holiday present! (And it’s tax deductible.)

And then I really hope to see you at the tablehopper fire fundraiser dinner at Le Marais Bakery Castro on Thursday November 30th! I’ll let you get through Thanksgiving first. :) We have already sold more than half the tickets (thanks everyone!) and I really appreciate the donations for our silent auction—please keep ‘em coming, thanks! Any servers want to help out? We need a couple, thank you! Look forward to enjoying chef Michael Siegel’s family brisket with y’all.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen my posts about this week’s Week of Italian Cuisine in the World, which has Italian chefs visiting from Sicily and Mantova cooking at A16 and Quince (and the Italian Cultural Institute), plus there are special menus throughout the week at participating restaurants. Check it out!

This weekend I’ll be heading down to the The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay for the latest installment in the Global Cuisine Series, featuring a hands-on cooking class and luncheon with the talented chef Gerald Hirigoyen (Piperade) on Saturday. Can’t wait. Feel like coming along? That place is magic—can’t wait to go for a walk along the coast. And there’s no rain this weekend, yay.

When you need to take a break from all the happenings and cozy up at home, don’t miss the latest Mind of a Chef season, which just launched online on Facebook and features the one and only Danny Bowien (Mission Chinese Food). We may have lost him to New York, but our love remains deep!

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I know. Oy. I put together a post today with ideas on where you can order special holiday dishes, pies, and a few suggestions on where to eat out in case you can’t cook a feast at home. (If you want to advertise your special holiday offering in next Tuesday’s tablehopper, or upcoming issues, hit me up.)

Yours truly is getting ready to dance herself clean at LCD Soundsystem’s show tonight, CAN’T WAIT to be there, with all my friends. Oh baby.

⚡️
Marcia Gagliardi

November 7, 2017
lemarais-croque.jpeg

Event planning meetings are better with croque-madames (at Le Marais Bakery Castro). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, friends. Greetings from the land of the sleep-deprived. Someone has really been celebrating a bit too much this past birthday week: there were family dinners, dinners with friends, cocktail parties, dance floors. I decided that the Saucy Awards last night was the finale—put a fork in it, it’s done! I know it’s Mezcal Week, but I must remain strong. (At least for a couple of nights…I need to have a meet and greet with a decent bedtime.)

So about last night: I went out on a rare Monday/deadline night (guess who was back on caftan patrol?!) to celebrate at the Saucy Awards, hosted by the GGRA. Was an honor to be on the steering committee this year, and I really enjoyed seeing all the nominees and winners in the house and on the stage (including my fabulous winning date, so proud)! We have such a remarkable restaurant and bar industry, and cheers and thanks to everyone who works so hard to make it great! Clap clap clap!

I have especially been admiring how quickly everyone has rallied to get ChefsGiving Week off the ground—you can read all about this Bay Area fundraiser for NorCal fire relief in today’s socialite. I hope you choose a participating restaurant to support and visit that week, and buy a ticket for the gala on November 19th!

I am also cohosting a tablehopper fundraiser on Thursday November 30th, called Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief. It’s going to be a cozy, midweek, three-course brisket dinner at the new Le Marais Bakery Castro, prepared by chef Michael Siegel, with paired wines and some fantastic baked goods from Le Marais, oh you know it. Take a look at today’s column for all the details. I really hope you can join us, spread the word, and help us with any silent auction donations and volunteers (we need servers!). All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund.

Thankfully, there are a bunch of fundraising efforts happening out there right now. I say buy tickets for people as an advance holiday gift. Dinner dates and wine tastings and galas are the best, especially when the proceeds go to a good cause. Just a thought! Let’s do everything we can to support all these efforts to help our beloved Wine Country (including driving up to visit, go to tasting rooms, buy wine, dine, and stay overnight!).

Hope to see you, and thanks as always for all your support!
Marcia Gagliardi