What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
January 16, 2018

Yes, I am ready to bring this fragrant cocktail to my nose and lips! We’ll be serving the House of Painters, courtesy of our generous sponsor, Rémy Cointreau, at the PFK fundraiser event Wed evening. Photo: Dominic Alling.

You smell that curry in the air? The turmeric? The freshness of shiso? And kumquats! Or how about the fruity rosé, or the enticing smell of coffee? All these gorgeous fragrances (and more!) will be perfuming the air at our Pencils for Kids fundraiser party tomorrow, and I really hope you will be there to enjoy all the flavors with us! Read all about it in today’s tablehopper, and don’t miss the part about the pair of tickets we are giving away to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in the raffle! Epic!

And if you can’t make it, you can always donate a backpack with school supplies for children in Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. Thank you for all your support and help spreading the word to your food-loving and altruistic friends, I really want us to sell this out! Sawatdee-kaaaaa!

I have been busy promoting this event the past week, but was happy to sneak in a couple great art experiences, including a fun visit to FOG Design + Art fair (did you go?) and the Oakland Museum for the trippy Nature’s Gift exhibit by FriendsWithYou before it ends on the 21st. Color therapy for the win!

Okay, I have a LOT to do, so let’s dive in here. I really hope to see you tomorrow! Thanks again. Mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi

January 9, 2018

This is how to begin a meal: chef Adam Sobel’s warm zeppole topped with caviar, uni, and lardo at the Mina Group’s new Cal Mare in Los Angeles. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whooosh, the city just had quite the power wash, and it’s not just the rain I’m talking about. Today’s hopper is a bit of a beast of catch-up of two weeks’ worth of news while I was away for the holiday, and there’s even more in line for next week with upcoming projects. Ya with me? Good.

Did you catch last week’s issue, with my annual rant, the bore, of 10 things I don’t want to see in the new year? It has been pretty funny how many readers are sending me pics of torched sushi, their shared hatred of shiitakes (and ditto red bell peppers that turn up unwanted in too many dishes), and enjoyment over stemless wineglasses getting called out. I love you guys.

Hitting the wires today is my latest piece for Blackboard Eats on seven rad dishes you should eat right now, have fun. Bone marrow flan, I see you.

Speaking of rad dishes, I have received the final lineup of what our guest chef partners are making for our fundraiser party for Pencils for Kids next Wednesday January 17th, and the cocktails and wines too! And coffee! And it’s gonna rock! You know how well fed (and beveraged) you are at tablehopper events, and since I was in charge of the food and drink for this event, it’s going to be one heck of an Asian feast, from turmeric sausage from Esan Classic to oxtail stew with soft Hodo Soy tofu (bun bo Hue style) from Perle Wine Bar to black sesame kouign-amann from B. Patisserie! I know, bonkers good.

And then there’s the raffle! (Um, two round-trip tickets to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific!) Take a look at the updated post in today’s socialite. Please come, and thank you for supporting this event—it’s going to do a lot of good to help support the education of 2,200 amazing kids (and you’re going to have a fun evening while doing so!). We kept tickets for this event at a very affordable $75 so more people could attend. You know I want to sell this out! Let’s do this. Sawatdee-kaaaaaaaaa!

One more note for my fellow lovers of art, design, interiors, and more: don’t miss this week’s FOG Design + Art Fair at Fort Mason, running January 11th-14th. I always find a lot of inspiration and visual enjoyment at this event—check the schedule for talks and more.

All righty, let’s get to it!
Marcia Gagliardi

January 2, 2018

This is how to do New Year’s Day dinner in LA: Dan Tana’s! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy New Year, sweeties! I know so many people are greeting 2018 with open arms. I am wishing you so much happiness and abundance and good health this year (and I found a big ole glass to raise to you!). Let’s rock.

Greetings from sunny Los Angeles, where I’ve been having a total blast catching up with friends, eating all kinds of pasta and French onion soup, and New Year’s Day dinner was in a booth at the classic Hollywood hangout Dan Tana’s, with a table covered in a red-and-white checkered tablecloth and hearty plates of chicken Parm and toasted ravioli and Manhattans. One of the better starts to the New Year I’ve had in a while (and a total hangover crusher). Filing that one away for a reunion.

I have also been down here touring local dispensaries and checking out the local cannabis scene and products. Recreational sales is so exciting—I kind of can’t believe it’s happening. Even though prohibition has ended, there are still some things that are underground, like cannabis dinners, which is the subject of my latest piece for KQED’s Bay Area Bites. Yeah, the hopper got a little high at a recent one. Tabletoker.

Another article I recently wrote was for Via, featuring the top 10 restaurant openings in SF in 2017 (with some casual spots I liked too). Take a look and see if you’ve visited them all. We’ve had some quality openings this past year.

We had such a fun and festive tablehopper holiday dinner a couple of days after Christmas at Maybeck’s, with beef Wellington, Scotch cocktails and pairings from Bruichladdich, and such a fun crowd. The highlight for me was that our little raffle over dinner raised $543 for the SF-Marin Food Bank! Tremendous thanks to everyone who attended and so generously contributed, and especially to Bruichladdich and the Maybeck’s team who rocked the evening out of the park.

Sad you missed the party? You can head over for grower Champagne and fried chicken tonight, or beef Wellington Wednesday tomorrow! (And the Blood and Sand we enjoyed at our dinner is on the bar menu right now and was a total crowd fave.)

Or here’s an idea: you should buy a ticket to the upcoming Pencils for Kids fundraiser on Wednesday January 17th that I have been working on! We have a wonderful lineup of restaurant, spirit, and wine partners, and it all goes to an amazing cause: providing children in rural areas with school supplies and helping to support their education. Take a look at today’s listing and get your ticket! Thanks for spreading the word and supporting this event—every guest helps tremendously. I need your help in selling this out, thanks everyone!

Okay gang, it’s also time for my annual rant, the bore, of 10 things I don’t want to see in the new year. I kind of can’t believe I have been writing that kvetch piece for 10 years—and I know many of you have been reading it for that long too! Thanks for being such dedicated subscribers.

I’ll be back with the news and more next week. Cheers and best wishes for now! XO!
Marcia Gagliardi

December 19, 2017

Holiday cheers! The Collective at Serpentine (Cocchi Americano Rosa, mezcal, celery bitters, flash-chilled celery). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well well well…did you survive the biggest holiday party weekend? That was a doozy, starting with the Arlequin Champagne tasting on Thursday evening, and things didn’t quite stop until Sunday night at The Battery at 10pm. (Liver, I am SO SORRY!)

I’ve been doing a ton of writing in between the hangovers, including my first piece of cannabis coverage for KQED’s Bay Area Bites: The Twelve Days of Edible Canna Christmas. I also went to a Cannaisseur Series dinner on Saturday, look for a piece on that soon! (If you have any favorite cannabis and food events, like Curious Cannabis Salon’s recent CBD dinner, let me know!)

I am taking next week off so I can hang with my cute family, so today’s column is a bit of a doozy. I wanted to make sure I got some New Year’s Eve and Day events listed for you! I’m hosting my beef Wellington and Scotch (featuring Bruichladdich!) holiday dinner at Maybeck’s next Wednesday December 27th (just three tickets left!) and will then be heading down to L.A. for a few days of running around and New Year’s Eve. I’ll be sending my annual edition of The Bore on January 2nd, excuse me while I sharpen my pencil…and nails. Ha-ha.

This Thursday (happy solstice!), I’m so excited to be heading up to the Acacia House at Las Alcobas Napa Valley in St. Helena for one of their Feast of the Seven Cultures dinners. This one will be with guest chef Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec, Big Star, and most recently, Publican Anker, Chicago), representing Germany. You can read more in my post here; the dinners run through December 24th!

Lastly, please mark your calendar for Wednesday January 17th, which is when I’m helping to host the Pencils for Kids fundraiser, Small World Big Flavors, featuring Asian street food, cocktails from Rémy Cointreau), and beautiful wines provided by Chambers & Chambers!

I’m so thrilled to announce Nyum Bai will be joining us. (Nite Yun is opening her Cambodian brick-and-mortar restaurant in 2018, and you can support her Kickstarter here—check out that amazing Stockton food tour, wanna go?!)

Our other generous guest restaurants include the new Perle Wine Bar in Montclair (chef Rob Lam is going to be making an assuredly tasty Vietnamese dish for us), the Burmese Grocery Cafe (which has a new location in Jack London Square in Oakland), Cassava (they’ll be making some Japanese-inspired ribs), and Indian Paradox (one of my favorite hidden gems on Divisadero for Indian street food—and they just launched brunch). Get your ticket here and we look forward to seeing you then!

Have a happy and merry holiday season—enjoy this special time with family and friends. I have so much to be grateful for, and a big part of that is all your kindness and support. I look forward to a shining 2018 with you.

Warmest wishes, much love, and have fun eating allllll the latkes and panettone!
~Champers the elf

December 12, 2017

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…!

Marcia Gagliardi