What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
May 15, 2018

Tempura master chef Hitoshi Arai from Tenko in Tokyo, cooking last night at Air Restaurant’s second Bay Area event. Here, he is preparing uni in shiso maki. Have you ever had uni tempura? I hadn’t. (Yes, it was amazing.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey gang! First, I want to say a tremendous GRAZIE to everyone who turned out for the Cento Osteria preopening party a couple of weeks ago—that was a festa! What a spread, from the roasted pig to pizza to pasta—like I said, Donato Scotti and Gianluca Guglielmi are total feeders. The cocktails were flowing, thanks to bartender Casey Carr and team and our sponsor Campari America. And thanks to all of you who came, we raised a nice amount of money for Family House. What a great night. That was a blast. The restaurant is now open, read more in today’s chatterbox!

More reading for you: since tablehopper is now every other week, you can still keep up with weekly news and events in my new column for KQED’s Bay Area Bites, Table Talk. I post them each week on Twitter and Facebook if you want to follow along.

I also wrote this piece on the city’s best steak frites for Blackboard Eats—it’s going to make you want to go eat some, I’m just warning you.

Some of you haven’t heard the news about my new venture, mymilligram, a weekly newsletter I just launched about low-dose and high-quality cannabis products! It comes out every Thursday, and is designed for the canna-curious, the microdosers, the lightweights, and the beginners! There are a lot of amazing products out there which are completely measurable and manageable and can help you feel better and have fun without feeling too high. (I can’t wait to relax tonight when this day is done. I have been working like a beast until 2am the past three nights, and there’s a Level Tablingual with my name on it.)

So, if you want to hang out in person, learn about some of my favorite new products, and hear more about what this low-dose thing is all about, I hope you can join me next Wednesday evening on May 23rd for the first mymilligram educational event.

It’s a non-consumption event, to be clear, which means you could bring your mom and anyone else who wants to learn, but maybe isn’t ready to consume just yet. But since I am the tablehopper after all, there will be lovely wine and some delicious bites prepared by the talented chef Rachel Aronow (formerly at The Alembic). And tickets are just $20. I know! It’s a small gathering, so get your ticket and let’s talk about this amazing plant and fantastic products that are coming out. Let me tell you about Mondo walks! I look forward to seeing you. You can subscribe at mymilligram.com and follow along on the gram at @mymilligram.

Thanks for all your support, and take good care of yourselves. Personally, I have been grappling with the loss of beloved barman Daniel Hyatt over the past couple of weeks, and have written an homage to him in today’s column. Sending my love and big, long hugs to everyone who is missing him right now.


May 1, 2018

Just GUESS how I felt about these colors! (Hot pink and green is totally my jam right now.) This is the rich A5 tri-tip tataki nigiri with a squid ink tuile on the latest tasting menu at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang! I’m baaaaack! Well, for some of you—many of you who have subscribed to mymilligram (my new cannabis brand and weekly newsletter about low-dose products) already heard from me last Thursday! The mymilligram site is live, mymilligram boxes are being delivered around town, @mymilligram is up and running on Instagram, and I’m a happy hopper! Thanks for checking it out and joining me! It means a lot. (Been receiving some fantastic feedback. You rock.) If you subscribed to mymilligram, I’ll be back in your inboxes on Thursday with an amazing product I just looooove: a cannabis condiment! :)

I celebrated the mymilligram launch last week with a gorgeous Friday night LCD Soundsystem show at the Greek, what a night! Felt good to get up from this damn desk and go shake it.

If you’re here after a little break and wondering why tablehopper is every other week now, here’s the update for ya.

I’ve still been doing a ton of food writing: I have my new weekly column at Bay Area Bites on Mondays called Table Talk, which you won’t want to miss. This Monday’s column includes the new meat-and-three menu at Town Hall, my fave hefty deli sandwiches at Limoncello, plus a special guest tempura chef from Japan is going to be cooking at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu May 14th-15th, and there’s a great new happy hour at Lord Stanley, plus a fun Kentucky Derby party at Comstock Saloon!

The prior week’s Table Talk included a look at the swanky new The Beehive, the sad closure of Katia’s (open since 1994, the year I moved to SF!), and did you know you can get steaks from Olivier’s Butchery on the menu at Café de la Presse? Now you know.

I’ll be posting my weekly Table Talk column on the tablehopper Twitter and Facebook channels, so you can keep up with weekly news I (mostly) won’t be covering here in tablehopper. There’s just too much to write, I swear.

We are in the home stretch for ticket sales for this Thursday’s tablehopper preopening party for Donato Scotti’s Cento Osteria on the Embarcadero. It’s going to be a lively evening of Aperol Spritzes, Boulevardiers, Negronis (and Sbagliatos!), wine, wood-fired pizzas, stuffed pastas, antipasti, salumi, roasted suckling pig, vegetable sides, and plenty of fun tablehopper party people.

Just $50, people! And we’re making a donation to Family House—the more tickets we sell, the bigger the donation, so grazie!

Cento Osteria isn’t opening until next week, so you can say you were there first. I’d love to see you! (Thanks to SF Weekly for the nice plug.)

Another article for you: I wrote this post for Blackboard Eats a few weeks ago on some of the best Southern cooking in SF. Lastly, I was posting this interesting Munchies article on social media about the man behind Meyer lemons, check it out, it’s a great read.

Sending lots of support and cheers to all the local folks attending the James Beard Foundation Awards this coming Sunday May 6th! (Congrats to all the JBF Media Award winners!)

See you Thursday!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 17, 2018

I really wish this cocktail from The Beehive was back in front of me, like, right now. Actually, make that two. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang! Greetings from the bunker, where I have been mostly hunkered down working overtime on my new project, mymilligram. (If you missed the big news last week, it’s my new cannabis media brand focused on highlighting low-dose and high-quality cannabis products.)

Thanks to everyone who already signed up for the mymilligram newsletter, you rock! It’s so gratifying to see so much interest and enthusiasm! Meowza! You give me life! (Just like Beyoncé did on Saturday night—I’m still reeling.) I swear, I’m so exhausted working on all this back-end stuff, you wouldn’t believe what goes into launching a website, newsletter, and social media accounts these days, let alone write new content and hold an all-day photoshoot. So if you see any mistakes in today’s issue, take it easy on me, okay? I’m beat. I’m just glad Mercury Retrograde is over, I had plenty of tech shenanigans to contend with, lordy.

If you subscribed to mymilligram last week, you should have received a welcome email earlier today (thanks to all of you filling out the survey, it’s so helpful!), and the first mymilligram intro email will be coming this Thursday 4/19. The first full-feature newsletter and website launch are happening next Thursday April 26th, whoosh!

I also wanted to be sure you saw the news that after 12 years, tablehopper is now going biweekly, so we’ll be dark next week, and back on May 1st. (Sorry if this news is redundant for some of you!)

BUT don’t fret, I’m now going to be writing Table Talk, a weekly restaurant and bar news feature for KQED Bay Area Bites, which is launching next week, so you shouldn’t miss me tooooo much. :) I’ll be including a look at the new Beehive, the swanky cocktail bar opening in the former Range on Valencia verrrrrrry soon.

As promised, today’s issue announces details on the tablehopper pre-opening apericena party at Cento Osteria (coming in May from Donato Scotti). The party is on Thursday May 3rd, and it’s going to be a fun one! Get your ticket soon, these are gonna fly. I’d love to have a Negroni with you.

Taxes were due today, oof, I know many of us are feeling the hit. Fortunately, I have some boozy event options for you in the lush, let the healing begin.

One more event to consider (I didn’t have time to get it in as a full write-up today) is going to appeal to my fellow history buffs: this Wednesday April 18th—which is the anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake—there’s a special dinner at The Palace’s Pied Piper, with a menu inspired by historic Palace recipes from 1909 through today. You’ll also hear from author Denise E. Clifton of Tables from the Rubble, a book that celebrates SF restaurants that arose after the 1906 quake and remain open today. I so wish I could go. Someone should and tell me all about it!

All righty then. In the words of Porky Pig, that’s all folks! I’ll be back in (some) of your inboxes on Thursday!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 10, 2018

One of the 32 neon pieces we got to enjoy while feasting at the She Bends salon dinner last week at The Midway Gallery. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy folks! I’m baaaaack! Finally healthy again. I have been a busy bee over here, getting ready to fill you in on some exciting news… Ya ready? Okay! Let’s start with the big news. On Thursday April 19th, I’m going to be launching my new cannabis media brand: my milligram. It will be a weekly newsletter featuring low-dosage and well-made cannabis products, plus a mention of local events. I’m keeping it very short and topical (just one product per week), but highly informative (ha-ha, the puns!). I’m also going to be launching some subscription boxes! And hosting information-filled events. I’ll share more on all this on the 19th, when I send the first my milligram newsletter. A lot is happening!

You may have noticed on my @tablehopper Instagram over the past couple of years my growing (and more visible) interest in cannabis products and experiences. It’s such an exciting and thrilling space, filled with an incredible community, innovation, and growing access to experience the magical and healing medicine of the cannabis plant in a myriad of ways.

I will be telling more about my journey on the 19th, but I want to share that my relationship with cannabis now is so different from the toking days of my twenties. I have discovered I’m a microdoser in a heavy-hitter world, and through carefully managing my intake through well-made, low-dosage edible products, I have found a great deal of happiness, ease, wellness, creativity, spiritual insight, and plenty of giggles too. I’ve been on such a deep dive of education and exploration this past year, and after a while, I realized I have too much excitement and information to contain it all, so the idea of my milligram was born.

I know a lot of canna-curious folks are out there, wondering how to navigate this new world, and how it may help with something you are dealing with. Some may be returning to cannabis after a looong break (you know, like from the ’60s), and some have never tried it at all. Some folks have only had terrifying and paranoid experiences (I am so sorry about that), and I’m here to say, it doesn’t have to be like that. As someone who is prone to overthinking, you can find a sweet spot of feeling good but not necessarily psychoactivated—or maybe just a little bit (and being okay with that). Feeling in control. Going low and slow.

So, I hope some of you are excited to explore this world with me. It’s such a great time to be a Northern Californian. (Isn’t it always?) I am going to take everything I have learned the past 15 years about how I assess food and drink and apply that to cannabis. Let me guide you to some beautiful products that can help with sleep, or anxiety, or aches, or inflammation, or just help you unwind, make dinner taste really good, and have you laugh harder at your Netflix show too. Let me tell you, my nature walks have been such a joy. Life can be hard, for many reasons, so if I can help guide you to a bit more ease and happiness in your life, then great. I’m on my own journey and would love your company!

Thanks for telling your friends. You can even tell your mom. Because moms are an important part of my product reviewing parameters—I won’t be writing about anything that I wouldn’t give to my own mother. I also want to do my part to help destigmatize cannabis use. That lazy stoner archtype? Nope, it doesn’t fit this busy lady. It’s time to make some new ones, people.

You can sign up at mymilligram.com, and the first issue is going out next Thursday on 4/19—as I like to say, it’s comin’ in low and slow before the high holiday of 4/20. You can also follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

So, what does this all mean for tablehopper? Well, good news: tablehopper will continue! But it’s going to be put on a diet. (THAT was a long time coming, ha.) After 12 years of sending this column every Tuesday, I am going to be moving tablehopper to a biweekly schedule, so you’ll be receiving it every other Tuesday. I’m going to start the new schedule and will go dark on Tuesday April 24th, and will be running it every other week after that.

Still want to get your weekly fill? Well, more good news: I’m going to be writing a weekly feature for KQED’s Bay Area Bites called Table Talk! I’ll be covering the same kind of food news you see in tablehopper, like new restaurant and bar openings, cool events, tasty food tips, and special offers—it will be posted on their site on Mondays. I’m so excited to be writing for KQED Bay Area Bites, and I’ll be sure to point you to my first piece!

So, you now have not just one but three places to read me, covering the culinary, beverage, and cannabis worlds, which, in Northern California, is kind of our own special trinity, right?

OK, so that’s my news! I am really fired up over here. Thanks for your constant support as I stretch my wings, make some adjustments, and take flight on this new venture. I hope you join me.

I will continue to host tablehopper events, oh you know it. Which is why I want to make sure you save the date for an apericena party on Thursday May 3rd at the upcoming Cento Osteria (from Donato Scotti) on the Embarcadero! Details and tickets will be in next week’s issue! I’d love to see you.

Thanks, everyone! XO