What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
November 29, 2016
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“Tonno del Chianti” (it’s actually pork, served like a tuna salad!) at Dario Cecchini’s friends and family supper. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang, did you have a nice Thanksgiving holiday? I sure hope so. Big thanks and much gratitude to all the people who had to work this holiday season, keeping us well fed and our BAC set to “party level.” My holiday had a bit of a hiccup with some nasty stomach bug that decided to show up at the worst possible moment (so rude!).

Fortunately I was able to rally for some other spectacular moments, including an overnight getaway to the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay to check out chef Jason Pringle’s new menu (have you seen the gorgeous rooms since the renovation?), the annual truffle brunch with my friend Roberta, and whoa, Dario Cecchini and posse hosted a beautiful private dinner party at Angelo Garro’s Renaissance Forge. Just wow.

Speaking of dinner parties, I have not one but two tablehopper events coming up in December with my chef pal Rob Lam! On Sunday December 11th, we’re hosting Jook Joint, a jook brunch that is going to blow yer mind, and then on Friday December 16th, we’re hosting another one of Rob’s abundant Family-Style Vietnamese Dinners, with wine pairings from Ernest Vineyards. You can read all about each event in today’s tablehopper, and tickets are live on Feastly, so hop to it! The last dinner we threw sold out in 24 hours, so heads up! If you can swing it, come to both!

It’s time for me to fire up the Fiat again (aka Pesca Quattro): I am out the door for the next couple of days, heading to Healdsburg to check out Single Thread (SO EXCITED) and some other cool places up there. But first, that horrible traffic. Oy.

I hope you enjoy today’s column, and I get to see you at these tablehopper events!

Mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 22, 2016
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Okay, so it’s not a turkey, but it’s the superlative honey-soy roasted squab (chim quay) at Bodega Bistro, which is as good as ever. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi gang. You scrambling to finish your work, pack your bags, catch that flight, make that pumpkin pie, dry-brine that turkey? Good luck with all that. Tonight, I’ll be home making our family giblet gravy. Gonna be smelling like some turkey all up in Casa Hopper.

It’s also so good to have such bountiful Dungeness crabs here right now. Sunday supper at Grandma’s had us all cracking around the table, with our glasses full of Iron Horse bubbles. I have a few crab feasts listed in today’s issue, so get crackin’.

Something you’ll want to put on your calendar: I’m going to be hosting two events with Feastly in December with chef Rob Lam! On Sunday December 11th, we’re hosting Jook Joint, a jook brunch that is going to blow yer mind, and then on Friday December 16th, we’re hosting another one of Rob’s abundant Family-Style Vietnamese Dinners, with beautiful wine pairings from Ernest Vineyards. We may have the menus and tickets up this weekend, which I will be tweeting out, and for sure linking to tickets in next Tuesday’s tablehopper. Hope to see you there, and maybe at both if you roll like that!

Something else you should do to treat yo’self is get tickets to Luzia, the latest Cirque du Soleil production. I went to the opening night last week and was totally taken with this story, which is set in Mexico. It’s dreamy, surreal, funny, and, of course, has some mind-blowing acrobatics, sets, and more.

All righty, here’s wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know some of us are having a hard time with the idea of gathering if you have family members on the other side of the political barbed-wire fence. But let this heartfelt message from Van Jones inspire you right now. Stay human. It’s good advice. And the beauty of gathering with friends and family and giving thanks is too important. Thanksgiving deserves our best selves. As my Grandma says, “No fighting, no biting!”

I’m grateful for you!
Marcia Gagliardi

November 15, 2016
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Feels about right: Massimo Bottura’s Oops! I Dropped the Lemon Tart at In Situ. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

[Sorry for the delay in today’s newsletter—my mailing list service went down and it took a few hours to get it fixed, argh!]

It would be the understatement of the century to say this last week was a rough one. I know we are all processing a lot, reading a lot, tweeting, protesting, making calls, posting, getting angry, furious, worried, frightened, crying, exhausted, and a whole gamut of other emotions, all at once. It’s a lot to sort through. I am so grateful I am home with my community, family, and dear friends right now—it would be so hard to process all this away from home.

A few things that have been helping me clear my mind this week: daily power walks (a few of them with sis, or calling people while on my walk), going to see the absolutely riveting Moonlight (there were moments when I had to remind myself to breathe—what an extraordinary and important film), listening to the new and oh so timely A Tribe Called Quest album (loud and on repeat), and special thanks to Saturday Night Live for hitting it out of the park with Dave Chappelle this past weekend—you gotta watch the sketches if you missed it.

We all feel a bit helpless right now, but we’re not. We gotta look out for each other, now more than ever. Smile. Be kind. Start thinking about your alliances, your causes, and what you want to show up for. I have been trying on my new motto: “Heels on, heels in, double down.”

For that reason, I am dedicating today’s column to women. All women. So every piece of news and my two reviews are about supporting the amazing women in our industry (well, except the event announcement about the Tibetan Taste & Tribute fundraiser—but we need their wisdom in this world, so I gave that piece a pass). This isn’t an anti-male statement, but it is pro-woman. Pro-humanity.

Now excuse me while I get back to playing David Mancuso mixes and treasured tracks all day—he was one of the world’s most pioneering figures in dance culture, club culture, disco, and sound engineering, famed for his Loft parties in New York. He made a huge impact, and his message was all about love. Sadly he went up to the big disco in the sky at 72. Terrible timing. It’s so NOT the news I wanted to start the week with. Gotta send him up properly.

Love to you all. So much.
Marcia Gagliardi

November 8, 2016
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Ready to feel at one with the balloons. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I could tell you about a lot of fun things I did this week, but I’m going to leave it up to Instagram to tell those stories.

Really, all I want to say in my note today is PLEASE VOTE. Each and every one of you. Thank you!

I look forward to climbing out of our current pressure cooker and into a magnum of Champagne tonight. See you there?

Marcia Gagliardi

November 1, 2016
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Pretty much my dream donburi: ikura and ocean trout at Karasu in Brooklyn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hola amigos!! I’m back from New York after my monthlong autumn adventure, although with flight delays and just sitting on the plane for four-plus hours, I could have flown to Italy with the time it took to get back to SF. UGH. I won’t even go into the horrors my seatmates were committing. Let’s just say, oh, the joys of air travel! But it’s good to be home: SF looks like it got quite the power wash from all the recent rain. Sparkly!

Today is actually my birthday [confetti blast], so I am happy to be back with friends and family in the 415. Birthday week is shaping up to have some amazing eats and bubbles in it, oh you know it. And dancing. Are any of you going to the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America event this Friday? I’ll see you there! Also, psssst, I was given an exclusive industry discount code—you can get 20 percent off tickets. Just email Keidi from your work address (and mention tablehopper!) if you want to go!

This week’s column has plenty of SF openings and updates for you, and next week, we’ll be looking at even more new openings, like August 1 Five and The Saratoga. There’s a lot going on! Just how we like it.

See you on the track!
Marcia Gagliardi

October 25, 2016
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Spectacular sweetbread dish (with corn and aji dulce) by Negro Piattoni at his pop-up with Joint Venture at Fitzcarraldo in Brooklyn. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from New York, which kicked in some nippy and chilly fall weather this week, brrrrr (tonight’s gonna drop to the 30s!). I’m still here eating and drinking and jazz clubbing and museum-ing and walking my way briskly through the city and kicking up leaves until the last minute, when I board a plane back to SF on Sunday afternoon. Yup, next week I’ll be trading slices for tacos as my core food group. It seemed like a good time to drop my second installment of my favorite restaurants in Manhattan this year, check it out in the new yawker.

Of course the big news in SF today is the Michelin star ratings, you can read the complete list of winners here. Congrats to Quince, who made it to the three-star pantheon, although why Atelier Crenn isn’t in there yet, I will never understand. The meal I had there this spring was fantastique. Read more in today’s column.

Since it’s World Pasta Day, it feels very timely with this exciting piece of news I want to share: after last month’s successful SF Amatrice fundraiser we hosted at 54 Mint, we had both participating restaurants (Delfina, Locanda, Octavia, Montesacro, 54 Mint) and friends (Pizzalina) generously add the funds they raised from their own restaurant amatriciana specials into our overall event and silent auction proceeds, which brings the total to $26,246 that we all raised for Amatrice. We are donating it directly to the town this week through our connection with the mayor. Incredible! I’m so impressed with how much we were able to raise together through everyone’s generosity. Grazie, tutti!

A presto!
Marcia Gagliardi