What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
March 14, 2018

It was a luxe hot pot party at Mister Jiu’s for the return of The Family Meal. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy Pi Day. Which is why I decided it’s totally okay and actually a fabulous thing to be eating a slice of pizza for breakfast today (mmm, from Goat Hill Pizza, score). May the wonders hiding in my freezer never cease.

Did you just do a double take and check your calendar, wondering, hey, hopper, why are you showing up today? It’s Wednesday! No, your eyes do not deceive you. But I bit off a little bit more than I could chew, per usual, and thought I could totally get a column out after coordinating and hosting a 40-person chef dinner on Monday night. Yeah, right. And of course news completely blew up this week. So, here we are, a day later after a certain someone needed to shake off a little late-night mezcal. (Hence the fall down after the spring forward, which is what a friend named a mix CD for me many moons ago, and it makes me laugh every year when it’s daylight saving time again.)

Have a great week. Congrats to all the James Beard Award nominees announced today, from media to best bar program to best chef: west! Cheers!

Now excuse me while I track down that CD.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 6, 2018

That’s one way to get handed a glass of bubbles. Cheers, darlings! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whoooooosh, well, that was an action-packed weekend. Sunday was the 38th annual Academy of Friends gala and Oscar party (there are five AIDS/HIV organizations that will benefit from this year’s gala’s ticket sales), and I was in charge of coordinating the 16 restaurant partners, which were feeding 800 guests that night! I was in awe of watching all the restaurants load in, set up, and bang it out. #beastmode

Tremendous thanks and gratitude to all the restaurant partners that took part: the food was phenomenal! Take a look on Instagram for a recap, from the superlative carnitas tacos from Uno Dos to Nightbird’s waffles with The Caviar Co. caviar, smoked egg yolk, and crème fraîche, plus foie gras pot stickers from Eight Tables, savory cotton candy cones from The Alembic, festive carnival-inspired desserts from Kahnfections, Le Marais Bakery, and Precita Park Café, and…Barbra Streisand! The circus theme was so much fun.

The restaurant community already works so hard and is so short on any free time, so to have them support our fundraiser in such a big way really means a lot. The best way to say thanks is to visit them! Here’s who you can move to the top of your dining rock star list: Gibson, Eight Tables, Nightbird, The Caviar Co., Kahnfections, China Live, Maybeck’s, Uno Dos Tacos, Rooh, Nomica, Mr. Espresso, Perle, Serpentine, The Alembic, Precita Park Café, Bluestem Brasserie, Le Marais, The Saratoga (who made a fab cocktail!), and Goat Hill Pizza (who so generously fed our awesome volunteers)! Big round of applause and so much gratitude. THANK YOUUUUUUU!

March came in like a lion, and how fitting, it’s Women’s History Month! Rawr. Don’t forget La Cocina is celebrating International Women’s Day all week with A Week of Women in Food (March 5th-11th). Take a look at the special dinners hosted at locations around town, pairing La Cocina chefs with local chefs, plus beer and spirits partners.

And next Monday March 12th, don’t miss Jardinière’s new Noches en Mexico series, taking place the second Monday of each month. Sous chefs Christinne Marmolejo and Carlos Trujillo will create a three-course menu featuring cuisine from a specific destination, with beverage pairings included. The 12th is off to the city of Aguascalientes.

All righty gang, I’m still catching up with my damn self, so let’s get to this week’s hopper.

Marcia Gagliardi

February 27, 2018

A beautiful start to an omakase tour de force at the ICHI Sushi counter last week while celebrating tablehopper’s 12th anniversary. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Of course the one Monday I sneak away from my desk to enjoy a special Sardinian dinner at 54 Mint, and the week just blows up with news. Ha! Well, I’m glad I went, even if I’m a little short on sleep, because now I have a new favorite amaro: mirtamaro from Bresca Dorada. And it’s always wonderful to meet the maker, especially when they come from a remote place like Sardinia. Grazie, Paolo Melis, for coming to San Francisco! We had such a fun industry table of Italians and Italophiles.

It gets me excited for Tre Bicchieri next week, when all the Italian winemakers descend on SF, which is also on Festa della Donna, so it’s going to be a very extra kind of day. (Note to self: no morning meetings that Friday.)

Next week, La Cocina is celebrating International Women’s Day all week with A Week of Women in Food (March 5th-11th). Take a look at the special dinners hosted at locations around town, pairing La Cocina chefs with local chefs, plus beer and spirits partners. Book your spot now!

I’m gearing up for a big Sunday: it’s the Academy of Friends gala (you coming?), and the restaurant lineup this year is making me hungry. From Nightbird (in VIP) serving waffles with caviar (provided by The Caviar Co.), smoked egg yolk, and crème fraîche, to my favorite Sichuan “working hands” dumplings from China Live, and all the fun desserts (thanks to the vintage carnival/circus theme!), well, it’s going to be a wonderful night and benefit. Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who is participating (scroll down here to see). Get your ticket for the best Oscars party in town!

And now, I need to get back to my own three-ring circus over here. Bisous!
Marcia Gagliardi

February 20, 2018

Celebrating the Lunar New Year with Martell Cognac at Cold Drinks bar is the right way to roll on a Sunday evening. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh hi. Did ya miss me last week? Sorry I went dark on you, but I was feeling like Princess Leia in the trash compactor with all the work I have going on. The walls were closing in and something was slithering around my ankle—I’m swamped with planning for the Academy of Friends gala happening in two weeks (you wanna try coordinating 15 restaurants?!), I’m hosting a blowout private dinner for 40 guests one week later, and I had an article due for Ambrosia magazine. Ahhhhh! You can see why I needed to hit pause. But, I’m back. Hope you had a wonderful Lunar New Year celebration, Valentine’s Day (mine was more green than red), and three-day weekend!

I’m so ready to pop Champagne tomorrow (well, I am every day, who am I kidding?) because tablehopper turns 12! Whut? I know! And many of you have been reading me all along, so thank you! A friend tells me the 12th anniversary is all about silk and linen (representing luxury and comfort), and I am all about it. Cheers and thanks for all your support! Do me a favor and forward today’s newsletter to some friends and tell them to subscribe—that would be the best anniversary gift, truly! Mille grazie.

More to celebrate: the James Beard Foundation semifinalists were announced, and it’s always great to see our local talent be recognized. Stand by for the list of finalist nominees on March 14th.

All righty then, let’s get to the news. And the champers.
Marcia Gagliardi

February 6, 2018

Celebrating sparkling rosé weather at the Gastropilgrims dinner at Airbnb (featuring spumante brut rosé of nebbiolo d’Alba from 460 Casina Bric). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi chickadees. How’s this gorg weather working for ya? Uh-huh. Yeah. I totally had the best sunset beach walk on Saturday and am already fast-forwarding in my mind to springtime. Some of the blossoming trees are with me on this. My sunny mind-set fit perfectly with the Jamaican vibes over at Kaya in Mid-Market. You really should go and get the Deep Dub cocktail and piri-piri chicken (and swirl soft-serve for dessert) so you can feel the island juju too. (And the price is right.)

I have also been on such a ramen tear lately (I still blame the movie Ramen Heads), be sure to zip through my Instagram feed if you’re looking for some new spots. I’ll be writing about a new and amazing discovery soon—but I gotta go back one more time.

So next week is Valentine’s Day, and most dinners and deals make me want to scratch my eyes out, but Alfred’s is doing a nice offer ($65 for a three-course dinner, with a choice of porterhouse with roasted bone marrow or a filet rossini with black truffle and foie gras butter, to share), or you could have some real fun and attend this cannabis pairing multicourse dinner with The Opulent Chef, whether you’re single, coupled, or going out with your girlfriends for Galentine’s Day—all that and then some! Another aphrodisiac- and bloom-filled night you can check out will be this special Valentine’s Day event about tropical flowers and their sex lives at the Conservatory of Flowers. Heh-heh.

Enjoy the week. Get outside. Drink some beer.
Marcia Gagliardi