What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
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

October 3, 2017

One of my favorite ladies at Fonda Margarita in Mexico City—she fed us so well! And with so much love—I remember her coming by to check and see if I liked the chicharrón en verde. XO! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh, you guys, where to begin? I know we’re all reeling right now. So much pain, and suffering, and loss, and frustration, and anger, and shock, and heartache. It’s a lot. Too much. Let’s all be gentle right now. And strong. And helpful. Kind.

I know that doing something can help shift feelings, especially when things feel so out of control. The past week, I have been working hard on putting together a fundraiser for Mexico earthquake relief on Friday October 13th, SF ❤️ MX, and let me tell you, there is a lot of joy to be found when you help out. I have been so ecstatic and grateful for all the generous help and donations and kindness that has been extended to the fundraiser. We started selling tickets last night, and people have been so thoughtful with the sliding scale, it makes me well up.

Back in 1994, I was a recent graduate from UCLA and living in a Hollywood apartment with a couple of roomies. The Northridge quake rolled into town at the ungodly hour of 4:30am (why is it always in the middle of the night?) and scared the living hell out of me. I thought Loma Prieta was bad, but this was really a beast of a quake. For a few moments, when that thing just wouldn’t stop, I thought I was going to die—all I remember was yelling “I’m not ready!” as the apartment crashed all around me. But it finally stopped after 20 endless seconds, and I was okay. My place was pretty thrashed, with huge cracks in the walls you could see outside through—it was red-tagged a couple of days later. I ended up hiring two big strong guys to help me get some of my things out in the middle of the night and loaded all my roommates’ things into storage (they were on a trip to Australia).

After a week of dealing with shock and aftershocks and PTSD and sleeping on my friends’ couches, I decided to head back home to the Bay Area—my dad came down to get me at the word “go.” I lived with my parents in San Mateo for nine months and looked for work until I was able to move into a place of my own in San Francisco in September of 1994—that was 23 years ago.

Thanks to some assistance from FEMA, I was able to get back on my feet with some purchases, like a kitchen table, some dishes, bedsheets. I said to myself that I wasn’t allowed to bitch about paying taxes for 10 years, because that assistance was so immensely helpful in starting over. It was kind of amazing.

It’s why I am so committed to helping Mexico with this earthquake relief fundraiser. Mexico doesn’t have FEMA to help people get their lives back in order. So many people have lost their apartments in the quake, their homes, their shops…let alone the hospitals, schools, and other necessary buildings in their communities. And let’s not even talk about the loss of life and loved ones. It’s so heartbreaking. We need to give them a hand, to show how much we care for our precious neighbors, in spite of our current administration that is fixated on a wall and deportations.

I hope you’ll take a look and read through today’s post about the fundraiser. We appreciate anything you can do to help. Tremendous thanks to Cambria Gallery for hosting it in their beautiful showroom! I will keep updating you on participants and more.

And for those of you coming to this Friday’s sold-out opening party at Donato & Co., I can’t wait to see you!

Con mucho amor!
Marcia Gagliardi

September 26, 2017

The Summer Breeze from the tablehopper brunch at Rooh: No. 3 London Dry Gin, guava, citrus, prosecco. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hiya. Tremendous thanks to everyone who attended the tablehopper Indian brunch on Saturday at the stylish Rooh! It was such a beautiful brunch (have you been yet?), and the No. 3 London Dry Gin cocktails were all beyond fantastic—it was tough to pick a favorite. That bar does such a great job!

You can scroll through some pics on Instagram here, thanks for coming out—such a fun group. I was especially happy to have my family there. Oh, and chef Sujan is going to be collaborating on a dinner at La Mar this Thursday September 28th!

So, coming up next is my first tablehopper East Bay event, next Friday October 6th (6pm-9pm)! I’m cohosting the opening party for the upcoming Donato & Co., and it’s going to be an apericena feast! Read all about it in today’s tablehopper—tickets are moving fast (they are crazy cheap, just $45, and it includes three cocktails/wine!) so don’t delay. Looking forward to hanging out with you.

There are a lot of events going on this coming week, from Mexico fundraisers (please show some support!) to the Tastemaker Collective international chef dinners, including a big party this Saturday evening. (Don’t forget tablehopper readers get a nice discount—read my post for more!)

I also have a tablehopper fundraiser for Mexico in the works for October. As soon as the date and details are finalized, I will let you know! I’m going to need volunteers, food and drink donations, and of course, dear people to buy tickets. Things are already happening and it’s looking great. Thanks everyone. You’re amazing.

Enjoy the beautiful weather this week. I know already I’m playing hooky and going to the beach tomorrow—I’ve been tracking the weather all week and made sure to get my work done ahead of time. Boss of me said go for it. I hope yours does too.

Cheers gang.
Marcia Gagliardi

September 19, 2017

Also part of my health regimen: the Nothing Sacred at Cold Drinks. Hey, it had honey and ginger beer in it. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey there gang. The past couple of hours have certainly been distracting, watching the horror unfold in Mexico City. As earthquake veterans, it’s all too scary and close to home. Our hearts are with you, CDMX!

I am just getting back up to speed after a week of being knocked on my tuchus with a nasty cold that I just couldn’t shake. I did quite the tour of pho and ramen and caldo tlalpeño and turmeric on my toast and in cashew ice cream all damn week, and I think it’s finally left town. Ciao!

Good thing, because this Saturday is the tablehopper Indian brunch at Rooh! There are just four tickets left, which I kind of can’t believe because this elegant meal is a total steal! I’m talking a generous five-course tasting menu, four gorgeous brunch cocktails featuring No. 3 London Dry Gin, tax and tip included for just $68! Whatcha waiting for? And I’m also excited that my cute parents and sister are coming, so you get to meet the rest of the Gagliardi clan! Hop to it!

I’m also thrilled to announce I’m going to be hosting my first East Bay event—I know, about time—to celebrate the opening of the new Donato & Co. coming to Elmwood! The party is on Friday October 6th and is going to feature a ridiculous spread of cocktails and wine and antipasti and pasta and a roasted pig, so get your ticket now! We’re going to introduce you to the magic of apericena, which is no relation to the Macarena, but you’ll need to read today’s post to learn all about it. I look forward to hanging out with a bunch of you as we welcome chefs Donato Scotti and Gianluca Guglielmi to the neighborhood, and they can’t wait to feed you!

I have a ton of news and updates and even more events for you in today’s column, so let’s dive in. And I hope to see you soon. Take good care.

Marcia Gagliardi

September 12, 2017

The thunder and lightning is in this bowl of Rooh’s paneer and red pepper makhani, let me tell you! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy friends. How you guys doing? It’s a tough time in the world right now. A lot to take in. Hopefully last night’s spectacular electric-sky show over the Bay Area helped bring some wonder back for you.

On Saturday, I had the great honor of officiating the union of two oh-so-dear friends, one whom I have known for 17 years! It was a magical wedding in the Shakespeare Garden in Golden Gate Park—you know this English major loved that! It’s a pretty cool thing to marry two people you adore, let me tell you, but I’m also glad the pressure is off—that was intense! Shopping at the Alamo Square flea market on Sunday with sis was a great way to decompress (and cool off in the park). Plus a badass sundae from Bi-Rite Creamery, oh hell yes.

Maybe you’d like a little distraction? I mean, yeah, food is always good for that. I was recruited (read: paid, to be clear!) to be part of the launch of a new app called Jeeyo, which is all about having conversations on all kinds of topics, from your favorite spots in your city to books to coffee. I’m just starting to post over there about brunch spots (pancake chat!) and dim sum (let’s talk XLB!). Download the app (on iOS or Google Play), follow me, and let’s start talking dim sum today! I know you guys have so much info and many tips to share.

Speaking of brunch, am I going to see you at Rooh on Saturday September 23rd? The tablehopper Indian brunch is going to be sooooo good. We’re going to have a fab tasting menu with paired cocktails, and it’s only $68 (with tax and tip included—I know, bonkers!). Less than a third of tickets remain, so hop to it. Details are in the chatterbox today!

I’m still playing catch-up, so expect an in-depth update on China Live’s Eight Tables next week, plus some 510 news and more. I’ve actually had a nasty migraine since Sunday evening, which really needs to leave, like, right now, so let’s just dive in here because I don’t have a lot of gas in my tank, so to speak.

Marcia Gagliardi