What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
October 18, 2016

One of the many magic sunsets from my window in Brooklyn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Sounds like you guys had quite the downpour over the weekend! Well, at least the sun is back out, so you’ll want to head over to Tartine Manufactory for some soft-serve, more on that in today’s column. It’s 81 degrees in New York (whut), and while I had some big plans to write even more today, I just have to go outside for an afternoon walk before temps slip back into the 50s for good this month. Unbelievable! 81. I’ll take it.

I’m here in New York for two more weeks—I have reached my halfway mark in my month in Brooklyn and don’t want this autumn adventure to end! Finally checked out the Cloisters, what a beautiful spot!

Last week’s NYC culinary highlights included dinner at the new Fish Cheeks (a seafood-focused Thai place that is proudly pad thai-free—I have three words for you: coconut crab curry!), trying the udon at Japanese import TsuruTonTan, and celebrating my friend’s 50th birthday at City Island in the Bronx (trust, I was soaking in his Bronx Irish family’s accent like a piece of bread in some clam chowder).

There’s also a fantastic Japanese speakeasy in the back of Walter’s here in Fort Greene, Karasu, where I got to visit my old SF bartender amigo Thomas Waugh. Donburi? More like don-purrrri.

This weekend I had a blast dancing to DJ Harvey at Output again, but man, I really put the hurt on myself—4am last call can be dangerous. Fortunately Caviar rescued me the next day with this beauteous amatriciana pizza from Pizza Superstar (use my special code for $10 off your first two deliveries). Bonus points: they had bottled Mexican Coke. I swear, that stuff is the magic hangover crusher.

One more quick note: congrats to The Morris for opening last night! Release the foie gras dumplings. You can read all about it in my piece on tablehopper.

If any of you New York pals will be at the StarChefs International Chefs Congress (starts Sunday!), let me know! Otherwise, I’ll see all of you virtually next Tuesday, ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 11, 2016

Spicy miso-chicken ramen with Sapporo noodles, roasted pork belly, chile-infused ground pork, ajitama egg, and greens at Ganso. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from Brooklyn, gang! Fort Greene, to be exact. Loving the neighborhood where I am staying this month. It’s full of trees, brownstones, and a great mix of people, and there’s a store with a display of cream cheeses like an ice cream shop. I have been here a week, and have been exploring all over the city, from listening to Rebecca Solnit speak about her latest atlas, Nonstop Metropolis: New York City, in the Upper West Side, to tracking down some incredible ramen nearby. I’ll be here until October 30th; follow along on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for my NYC dispatches.

Since I went dark last week (and it’s a good thing I didn’t plan on sending out a column since the Wi-Fi was knocked out on my Virgin America flight), this week’s missive covers a LOT of catch-up.

I’d also like to include a link to a story I wrote for Blackboard Eats about SF restaurants that give back through charitable programs and more. Always happy to see the big-hearted generosity of the restaurant community.

Have a great week, catch you later! Excuse me while I go chase some fall foliage.
Marcia Gagliardi

September 28, 2016

At SF Amatrice with our guest of honor: the new Consulato Generale d’Italia, Lorenzo Ortona, and his wife, on day six of living in San Francisco (with their pooch, Brie!), with Montesacro/54 Mint’s Gianluca Legrottaglie and his wife, Viviana Devoto. Photo: Blair Haegerty.

And, um, wow. Sunday’s #SFAMATRICE fundraiser for earthquake relief at 54 Mint was my favorite event to host, ever. I am still reeling from all the warmth, kindness, beauty, magic, sentiment, and abundance! San Francisco knows how to help out, and volunteer, and give, that’s for damn sure.

There is no way that event could have reached its fantastic level without all the generous food and wine donations, the chefs and business owners serving their food on a precious Sunday, the fleet of incredible volunteers (who ROCKED!), the valued promotion from the press and local media, the 200-plus guests who bought tickets (!!), the donations, the kind sponsorship of Campari America, our wonderful designer, and most of all, the tremendous hospitality of Gianluca Legrottaglie to host the event at 54 Mint, plus the incredible 54 Mint and Montesacro family who helped pull it all off. Everyone worked so hard, and it was so appreciated by all. By coming together, we did amazing things! And even Mother Nature helped out, giving us the most perfect aperitivo weather imaginable. To be on 54 Mint’s patio at 6pm in that balmy heat was pure pleasure.

Take a look at the wonderful images by Blair Heagerty here (I’d like to note she also donated her time and talent for the event, thank you Blair!).

I’m so thrilled to announce we made $17K in ticket sales and donations, and $2,520 in the silent auction, plus other donations (even the Rye on the Road bar team donated their tips, can you believe those guys?). The total funds raised from the event came to $20,549 (and 60 Euros, ha-ha!). Boom! We beat our goal! Fantastico! One hundred percent of all proceeds will be donated to the Comune of Amatrice—Gianluca is in touch with the mayor about setting up the funds transfer soon.

54 Mint also raised $1,260 in their own amatriciana promotion, and it also looks like Melissa Perello of Octavia and Craig Stoll of Delfina/Locanda will be kindly adding the funds they made during their own amatriciana promotions to the overall donation, so I am guessing we’ll hit $25K when all is said and done. Maybe more, with additional donations. Amazing! We will announce the final amount and dedication soon! Grazie tutti, we did it!

If you weren’t able to attend and feel like chipping in some funds, we still have the donation page up at sfamatrice.com through October 8th! Thank you for any contribution you can make, because anything will help these displaced people rebuild their lives and their completely leveled communities, as they try to heal their hearts, with more than 300 killed. It’s a heartbreaking situation, and one that we understand well, with our terrifying history of earthquakes here. Grazie.

Another way you can help: this Saturday October 1st, the fabulous Viola Buitoni and Baia Pasta founder Dario Barbone are hosting an event at 18 Reasons, An Evening in Amatrice. Please read their heartfelt note about the event and buy a ticket! There are just six tickets left.

I know, you’re probably checking the calendar and are like, wait, Marcia, it’s Wednesday, why am I receiving the Tuesday newsletter today? To be honest, I was so exhausted on Monday after our event, and when the weather is as magic as it was, well, boss of me said, “Get your ass to the beach.” Which is exactly what I did. There were dolphins. It was amazing. So here we are today. Hi.

Many of you know I am heading back to New York for the month of October! I’m so excited. This is my current theme song, although Lenny also nails it. I leave Monday, so there won’t be a tablehopper column next week—but I made sure to pack this one full of extra goodies for you. I’ll be back in your inboxes on October 11th, and returning to SF on October 30th. Hold down the fort for me, okay?

One last quick note: this week I’m writing an article on SF restaurants that give back to the community or environment in some way, from events to after-school programs to running a zero-waste/green kitchen. I have quite a few on my list, but feel free to shoot over any suggestions to me!

Thanks to all of you for providing such a strong and kind community. I only could have pulled off this event here, in my beloved San Francisco.

Marcia Gagliardi

September 20, 2016

SF AMATRICE image and website design courtesy of Bureau Jules.

Ciao amici! As you probably know, I’m crazy busy promoting and planning our big fundraiser this Sunday September 25th, SF AMATRICE, which is now at ~54 MINT~. We are going to be taking over their beautiful patio, Americano in hand. Can’t you just see yourself there? I do!

Our all-day fundraiser has a stellar lineup of SF restaurants, local businesses, importers, purveyors, and suppliers, all coming together to raise funds for Italy earthquake relief in Amatrice. It will be quite a spread of antipasti, pinsas, cheese and salumi, dolci, Negronis and Aperol spritzes from Campari America and Rye on the Road, fantastic wine, and Peroni beer too. And, of course, there will be pasta all’amatriciana!

Imagine yourself at your dream Italian bar for two hours, eating and drinking your favorite Italian dishes, all to your heart’s content. You’d totally spend more than $75 on a spread like this! And there’s no tax and tip to worry about.

We are selling tickets in two-hour time blocks, making it easy for you to swing by, no matter what you have going on. I’ll be there all day! It would be great to see you before I leave for New York for the month of October.

You can read more here, but here’s where I really need your help. Can you please buy a ticket now? GRAZIE! We need to sell this out! We will be donating 100 percent of the funds to the Comune of Amatrice! Can’t make it? You can also donate on the ticket page. Anything helps. Truly.

Can you share the event on Facebook (please click “interested,” or even better, “going”!) and Twitter (please RT!) and like and share on Instagram?

Can you print out this flyer and display it in your shop, restaurant, or place of work? Yes, please!

You rock. Thank you. Grazie mille! Anything and everything helps!

See you Sunday Sunday Sunday!
Marcia Gagliardi

September 13, 2016

SF AMATRICE image and website design courtesy of Bureau Jules.

Ciao tutti! I want to keep this week’s intro really short and sweet, because I want your full attention on what I’m promoting this week! On Sunday September 25th, I am cohosting SF AMATRICE, a big fundraiser at Montesacro with a bunch of top SF chefs and Italian restaurants (like Delfina and Piccino!), local businesses, purveyors, and suppliers, all coming together to raise funds for Italy earthquake relief in Amatrice.

While everyone donating funds from selling plates of pasta all’amatriciana is a great thing, and every dollar helps, we’re trying to make an even bigger donation through ticket sales from this all-day event, with a goal of 100 percent of proceeds being donated. It will be quite a spread of antipasti, pinsas, Negronis and Aperol Spritzes from Campari America and Rye on the Road, and wine too. And, of course, there will be pasta all’amatriciana! You know there’s going to be a fun group of folks, and since I’ll be there all day, I’d love to say “ciao!” in person!

You can read more here, but here’s where I really need your help. Can you buy tickets, now? GRAZIE! Can you spread the word on Facebook (please click “interested,” or even better, “going”!) and Twitter (please RT!) and Instagram?

Maybe you can donate your time to help with the event, from serving to cleaning up to greeting people? (The event is 12pm-8pm and divided into two-hour time blocks.) We need extra hands! Maybe you’re a restaurant or shop or you have a lot of wine to donate or you’re just someone who loves to make a lot of food—I’d love to talk with you! We also need compostable plates, cups, and silverware. You can also donate on the ticket page. Anything helps. Please hit reply on this email and let me know how you can help. You rock. So much. Thank you!

I’m leaving for New York in three weeks for the month of October, so it would be great to see you before I leave. Speaking of, I know many of you are planning trips out there, so in today’s New Yawker section, I have some highlights of my favorite New York places I visited this year. Stand by for a whole series of posts!

Baci and grazie mille for all your help and support! It means so much, you guys always blow my mind.
Marcia Gagliardi

September 6, 2016

The chilled nopales salad at El Buen Comer, which can instantly turn anyone into a nopales lover. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Mmmm, how did that three-day weekend work for ya? Mine included an epic and confetti-loaded Tame Impala show at the Greek, dancing at a Sylvester tribute at Go Bang! at The Stud (please show some support by going there for a drink or two if you can), enjoying a fantastic dinner at El Buen Comer (do not miss their mole verde de puerco!), and binge watching the second season of Narcos (whose weekend release was very conveniently timed with me being under the weather yesterday). First time I’ve been sick in about a year, damn it. I even made it through the New York winter and all those gross subway germs without getting sick. Anyway. I guess that’s what pozole is here for.

Speaking of New York, I just bought my ticket to head back there for the month of October! So excited to see NYC fall. Since you guys are kind of like a magic Craigslist crystal ball, I thought I’d throw this out there in case you know anyone with a room or place available October 10th-21st! Manhattan, Brooklyn, Astoria, Harlem, anywhere…I’m game! Thanks for any leads!

More New York tawk: did you read this engrossing New Yorker article about New York Times critic Pete Wells? It’s SO GOOD.

Lastly, be sure to raise a glass to the inimitable Margrit Mondavi, an inspiring firecracker of a woman who sadly left us last week at 91. Go to a museum this week in her honor. Or stay out late at dinner. Donate money to a cause. Be kind. Take your pick, she was an amazing woman.

Marcia Gagliardi