What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
November 14, 2017

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

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

October 31, 2017

Anthony Strong chopping up nasturtiums that were added to butter and poured over Mt. Lassen spring trout (and roe). Yes, it was fantastic. Photo: Victor Wong.

Boo! I hope you’re having a spooktacular Halloween. (I’m looking forward to binge-watching a few more episodes of Stranger Things tonight.) This past weekend was pretty action-packed, starting with emceeing the James Beard Taste America event at the historic Venetian Room in the Fairmont on Friday evening—I called my liger look “Mrs. Robinson goes to the ’70s.” Champagne and caftans. (Yeah, it’s a lifestyle.) What a fun night!

Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of sitting at the chef’s counter for Anthony Strong’s Cibi Cotti pop-up in the Mission. The food and festa were a blast (I’ll be posting some more pics on Insta shortly), but sadly he has to move to a new location (I’ll keep you posted). Sunday was the Curious Cannabis Salon, great seeing so many fab folks there, and let’s just say it was extra-fun shopping at Rainbow Grocery afterward. Heh heh.

Congrats to all the SF Michelin star winners this year, and whaddya know, San Francisco now has more three-star spots than NYC. Ahem. (We already knew we were badass, sometimes it takes the rest of the world a little more time to figure things out.)

There’s a homegrown awards show you don’t want to miss attending: the 2017 Saucy Awards are coming Monday November 6th! The Saucys are the first-ever industry-driven awards recognizing the excellence of the San Francisco Bay Area restaurant, bar, and hospitality community. A total of 21 awards will be presented! Tickets are on sale now at the City Box Office ($149, and they include the awards ceremony and the post-reception catered by Meadowood). You can also vote for the People’s Choice award—voting is open until November 1st.

Speaking of November 1st, it’s a favorite date of mine since tomorrow is my birthday! There will be Champagne. And sleeping in. But really, all I want is my damn camera to come back from the shop. It has been two weeks and I’m going batty. I guess that’s the theme today. You like bats?

Trick or treat!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 24, 2017

A very happy ladybug. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Good day, sunshine. I just came back from four days in the rain in Washington state, but it was great to be in fresh air, take in some magnificent fall color, hang with the fam, and tour my cousin’s impressive cannabis grow in Eastern Washington during harvest.

I also checked out a number of the recreational shops in Seattle. I swear, what a trip. So many fascinating products, and very local too (of course there had to be a WA cannabis and apple drink). Never thought I’d be seeing anything like this in my lifetime, but here we are. (And just in case you’re curious yourself, there’s a Curious Cannabis salon you can check out on Sunday in SF.)

This week, I have a bit of catch-up news for you, plus many upcoming fundraisers and events I hope you can support. So many people need our help, please consider attending one.

I’m also excited to announce I’ll be emceeing the James Beard Foundation Taste America event this Friday at the Fairmont San Francisco, see you there?

I hope you enjoy this warm evening, I have a beach walk that is imminent and I can’t wait.

Marcia Gagliardi

October 17, 2017

Fab flounder ceviche from Copita at SF ❤️ MX! Instagram photo courtesy of @copitacomida.

Hello dear readers! You hanging in there? My lord, what a week it has been. Everyone is working so hard to help, in so many ways. Not much sleep happening out there. It breaks my heart to see San Francisco full of smoke again today, which only points to how the devastating fires rage on in the North Bay. Fortunately the containment percentages keep rising. But so do the needs for help and support and funds and food. I put together another North Bay fire assistance recap today with some ways you can continue to help. Please take a look, volunteer, give money, share, whatever you can do, keep doing it!

As you are probably well aware, last Friday was our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser, and wow, what a night. Couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support, in so many capacities. A huge round of applause to everyone who donated (so much!!), bought tickets, made cocktails, made food, volunteered, hosted, helped, poured, served, cleaned, loaded in, loaded out, bid, tipped, spread the word, and showed up! I share the total we made in the fundraiser recap below. I know, I’m leaving you hangin’. ;) Muchísimas gracias, I am so thrilled to make this 100 percent donation to our precious México for earthquake relief in the name of San Francisco!

That fundraiser took a lot out of me, so I’m going to catch my breath for a few days before this next round of helping and volunteering for our dear North Bay community. (We’ve got so much work to do.) I’m heading up to Washington tomorrow to visit family (and to experience harvest on a family member’s cannabis farm!). I will be back writing tablehopper in a fuller way next Tuesday. I just didn’t feel particularly enthused writing about restaurant opening news and non-fundraising events this week with all these intense things going on, to be perfectly honest.

Love to all, and so much gratitude for living in a community that is so helpful, generous, and caring. You are all doing a lot of amazing work out there. Heroes!

Marcia Gagliardi

October 10, 2017

Sunset at a friend’s house in Fairfax on Saturday. California, we love you. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. I know we are all reeling right now. Our beloved Northern California is engulfed in flames and smoke and smoldering ashes. We don’t recognize our treasured land and can’t believe what we’re seeing. We’re in total shock. Horror. Everyone is touched directly by this in some or many ways. We’re looking for updates from friends (are they okay, is their dog okay, is their house okay, is their farm okay, is their winery still standing, what do they need, where are they staying?), we’re looking for ways to help, to donate, to feed, to shelter, to comfort.

Social media is a flurry of news and bulletins, and I am filtering and posting what I can. To be honest, it has been close to impossible to focus on my column over the past two days, and it’s hard to care about writing about food news when you’re checking in on people who need help.

I have a short post on some ways to help today, and I know many fundraisers, events, and more opportunites to help are coming—I will keep the post on the tablehopper home page and will update as donation and fundraising events come in. It’s a lot of chaos right now. There are going to be many fundraisers and opportunities to help, in many ways. So many people lost so much. Many lost everything. It’s so hard and heartbreaking to fathom. We’re all going to do the most we can, and then some.

So, in the meantime, I need to continue to see our SF ❤️ MX fundraiser through for Mexico this Friday. I know those earthquakes seem like a lifetime ago, but when I started organizing this fundraiser a few weeks ago, the disasters in Puerto Rico, Vegas, and now in our own backyard hadn’t even started. It’s like the world is falling apart, each incident so utterly horrific in its own way. Everyone needs help.

But people in Mexico are still living outside. Apartments are flattened or simply not safe. People need to be fed. They need access to clean water. Volunteers need assistance. Kids need to go to school. Yeah, Mexico still needs help. Our fundraiser is a 100 percent donation to another 100 percent donation fundraiser.

Tickets to SF ❤️ MX have not been selling as quickly as I’d like to see, and we haven’t had a lot of time to promote. (They are sliding scale and start at just $35.) I have been spending the past two-plus weeks organizing this fundraiser full time, and it’s really hard to imagine the event not selling out after all these incredible donations, all these partners coming together, all this work. We even have the chef and his brother who own Villa Montez and 1836 Texas Kitchen in Tyler, Texas, flying in to cook at the event. I KNOW!

You won’t believe the amazing silent auction items, from a VIP tour at this Sunday’s La Cocina Street Food Fest to a dinner for four at Devil’s Gulch Ranch. Beautiful artwork. Quality booze. Gift certificates. People have been so generous.

Can you please help? Can you come? Whatcha doing after work on Friday? Come have a drink and some ceviche and tostadas. Can you buy a ticket for someone who can’t afford it? Even if you can’t attend, can you spread the word? I’d so appreciate it. Gracias. To recap, there are unlimited cocktails from some of SF’s best bartenders made with top spirits, an awesome array of food from local restaurants and La Cocina businesses, bottles of French rosé, beers, and it’s all in the beautiful Cambria Gallery in SoMa. It’s all in tablehopper today.

It will feel good to have everyone together, I’d love to see you this Friday. We all need to give and get some hugs.

Best wishes to all. So sorry for all the unfathomable loss and pain out there. Give give give. And tell everyone in your life you love them.

Marcia Gagliardi