What’s Cookin’

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

Now that’s what I call some bacon! House-cured and thick-cut bacon lurve from the Early to Rise Brunch with Feastly. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Every day the past five days, I’m like, “SUN?! Is that you?!” Weekends like the one we just had make me miss my Alfa Romeo something fierce. I actually saw a lady driving a Veloce with the top up this weekend and was ready to yell, “You’re doing it wrong!” People. I hope you all get to hop outside at some point and enjoy the last rays until our ramen weather returns.

Sunday was my dear grandmother’s 88th birthday, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t look better than most 75-year-olds (and Judy has the open-mindedness of most young’uns, I swear). She’s a force. It was a great time to bust out some Gagliardi classics: pasta al forno and a St. Honoré cake from Dianda’s. (Pretty much what I’d request for my last supper.) And lots of bubbles, oh you know it. Who do you think I got my love of Champagne from?

A couple of other parties to have in mind: tomorrow, Wednesday February 15th, is A Library of Libations: Winter Cocktails of the Farmers Market, with literary-inspired winter farmers market cocktails and bites from 20-plus Bay Area bartenders and chefs. I’ll be sure to wear my glasses. See you there?

And I’m getting excited for the upcoming Academy of Friends gala on Oscars Sunday! I have been busy curating the restaurant lineup for the event this year, my first time for this event, and let me tell you, the food is gonna be so great! The theme is Shanghai Nights, and some of our fantastic and generous partners include Liholiho Yacht Club, Mister Jiu’s, Nomica, The Saratoga, Junju, Chubby Noodle, Onsen, Tartine Manufactory, Pabu, The Caviar Co., Motze, DOSA, chef Rob Lam, Salt & Straw, Jane, Parallel 37, E&O, and Cypress Grove Cheese—and a few more to be confirmed! I really hope to see you there—be sure to come by my table and say hello (and find some surprises). Use code AOFtablehopper2017 for a discount on tickets!

Well, the news completely blew up this week, so let’s get to it. Happy Valentine’s Day, lovebugs.

Marcia Gagliardi

February 7, 2017

It may not be raining men, but these Chinese lanterns are nice. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy amigos. You keeping dry out there? I have been hiding in movie theaters (I highly recommend seeing La La Land if you want to forget about everything for a couple of hours) and restaurants (like experiencing the Chinese New Year/Grandma Wu’s menu at M.Y. China—and the showstopping dessert will bring a big smile to your face).

I was hoping to have a piece for you about ROOH today (it opens this Thursday!), but their menu wasn’t ready in time for my deadline, so I’ll share details with you next week. Let’s just say the preview meal I experienced was exciting and fun.

In other news, I decided to run a couple of reviews of two places that are ever-changing: In Situ and Postcards from La Costiera at Mina Test Kitchen. Now that I think about it, MTK would be really fun for Valentine’s Day, in case you haven’t found a spot yet (and the concept wraps up at the end of the month, so the timing is right!). You can read more ideas in my Valentine’s Day post from last week.

Okay lovebirds, I am all out of words for the moment—this week’s issue was a heftier one. I need a drink!

Marcia Gagliardi

January 31, 2017

Lake Tahoe magic hour. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy friends. Hope you are all hanging in there. I was so thankful to head to the mountains over the weekend and escape from the headlines of hate and horror for a while each day. Nothing like nature’s majesty to chill you the eff out. I went snowshoeing (Tahoe XC was a beautiful place to shoe around), and I went skiing for the first time in, oh, 14 years. (Homewood has a pretty sweet lift ticket and ski rental deal, and that view is hard to beat.) Considering it’s where I learned to ski when I was a little girl, it was so fun to be back on the slopes there. Granted, the drive back to SF on Sunday was unspeakably ugly—I have driven to LA faster—but it was still so worth it.

Had a great time with my girlfriends (aka the Powder Puff Girls), cooking up delicious mountain meals and drinking lots of wine (while I kept our flask full of Four Roses bourbon—had to keep our bellies warm, ya know?). The snow level at our Tahoma cabin and on the streets was unbelievable. Let’s just say it was pretty hilarious when I had to clamber over the mound/wall of snow when we arrived Friday evening to get into the cabin. Totally had to take a running start to get over it and have my friend help push my ass over. High comedy, that.

So it’s back to the grind. Many of you are making Super Bowl Sunday plans, and in case you’re looking for where to go on Valentine’s Day, today’s issue has some ideas for you. Or you could always take some inspiration from this cookbook and show your love you really care. Nothing says “I love you” like seafood in a melon basket. Ask me how I know.

Restaurants/publicists, if you’re bummed you didn’t make it in time into today’s Valentine’s Day roundup, drop me a line!

Loving you!
Marcia Gagliardi

January 24, 2017

An array of antipasti at the special Capezzana dinner at Boulevard, all ready to have olio nuovo drizzled on them. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

So how y’all doing out there? We have just gone through a doozy of a weekend—mine started at the Bridge Together demonstration on Friday morning, holding hands with a bunch of amazing folks and forming a chain across the Golden Gate Bridge. And then Saturday’s Women’s March was one of the most flat-out uplifting experiences, full of love, peace, and some rather brilliant protest signs. Way to come together, everyone. Felt so supportive. But we have work to do. And things to remember.

It was kind of a nutty weekend with some rather high-profile food events happening at the same time as the Cheeto’s inauguration, like the Good Food Awards (check out the winners here), and the Fancy Food Show kicked off on Sunday (I was so beat from marching in the cold and rain on Saturday, I couldn’t get myself out of my pajamas on Sunday to head to the show, my only chance to go).

Fortunately I got to hang out with some Italian food importers and purveyors around the dinner table, which is always a preferred place to meet. I have been eating a lot of pasta the past week, that is for damn sure. Embracing the carbs, for many reasons.

I’m heading to Lake Tahoe this weekend with my girlfriends, looking forward to being Powder Puff Girls in the snow. Hot toddies. And probably some pasta.

Take care of yourselves.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 17, 2017

One of my favorite courses at the R.T.B. Fillmore pop-up: tortellini in brodo filled with smoked porcini, with smoked foie gras and ham broth. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, peeps. I hope you had a good weekend, and some of you even lucked out with a three-day weekend (all the Tahoe powder chasers were stoked!). My weekend was a bit low key with some lovely home-cooked meals, I got some art in at FOG Design + Art Fair, did my duty as a San Franciscan and checked out ecstatic dance for the first time, and was thoroughly impressed with a stunning pop-up meal at R.T.B. Fillmore on Sunday evening (more on that soon!).

I just wanted to let any of my fellow vintage San Francisco history buffs know that I am starting to post images from my vintage restaurant postcard collection on Instagram (which get pushed to Facebook and Twitter, so you can follow along there as well)! I hope you enjoy it, and I really hope to hear some stories and fun facts from folks as I add more! (If you want to join me and help support my obsession, consider buying one of my vintage SF restaurant tablehopper t-shirts and Blue Fox hoodies, check ‘em out!)

This week, man, storm’s a-comin’, on many fronts. Cold ones. Let’s all take good care of each other this week. Every week. If anyone is going to the Bridge Together Golden Gate event on Friday, let me know! I’d love to meet up with some folks (I’m a “bridger” volunteer for the event). Bust out the purple!

Marcia Gagliardi

January 10, 2017

The hearty chanko nabe at Motze is here for you. For all of us. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whoa, this rain is no joke. While it’s no fun to go out in, I am loving it for keeping me focused on writing, and it’s inspiring all kinds of home cooking, from Mexican minestrone to boozy chocolate panettone bread pudding.

If you aren’t up for cooking, the best dish you could hope to have in your life right now is the chanko nabe at Motze, which, lucky you, is available for lunch and dinner. Hit it.

At night, Netflix has me sucked into Hip Hop Evolution—so many great stories are told in that series, check it out. I’m also looking forward to attending the special screening of Embrace next Monday—fempire in the house!

Just in case you missed last week’s column, here’s a link to my annual bore/rant. This year was the InstaBore, 10 food images I’m sick of seeing on Instagram.

I’m keeping this week’s intro short and to the point since I’m a bit under the gun timewise! Oy, deadlines! The clock, it waits for no one.

Keep dry, toasty, hunker down, and don’t get sick. I swear, I feel like I am dodging a sea of ill zombies lately. I’m popping Wellness Formula over here like it’s saving my life, which I think it’s currently doing.

To our health!
Marcia Gagliardi