This week's tablehopper: la donna è mobile.


The stunning chandelier at the Opera House. Photo: ©

Hello there, fab folks. Can’t believe one week ago I was trundling back to San Francisco in a cloud of dust à la “playa Pig-Pen,” and now I’m back at my computer, doing my usual Tuesday grind. Of course, I’m now fighting a rotten cold (a friend on Twitter suggested it’s playa SARS, great). Thank God for naps, spicy beef noodle soup from King of Thai Noodle, and Wellness Formula—that stuff is a miracle. I am determined to kick this thing to the curb.

I’ve had quite the reintegration (of course I am still cleaning the dust off my clothes and gear; it takes weeks to get it all packed away, I swear). Friday I had lunch at RN74 (farewell, soft-shell crab!), and that evening I was honored to be invited by a friend to attend the opening night for the San Francisco Opera, now in its 90th year. Rigoletto was gorgeous, from the dramatic de Chirico-inspired sets to the thrilling notes of soprano Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda. My Italian blood was pleased—don’t miss it. Sitting among the swells in their jewels and taffeta was entertaining—a far cry from my high school days when I used to do standing room (how else was I ever going to see Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni sing La Bohème?).

My friend Daniel and I then scooted over to Zuni for a late-night dinner of oysters, the Caesar salad, and, of course, the roasted chicken. Perhaps my favorite part of the night was closing the restaurant out at 1am, with the divine Margrit Mondavi just finishing her meal at a neighboring table. While many people went home after the performance, there’s Margrit, still on the town after the fat lady sang, full of quips and sass. She’s my hero—such vigor!

I was also busy this weekend emceeing at the Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival on Saturday, filming in the Mission for eight hours on Sunday (more on that soon!), and a fantastic dinner at La Ciccia that night with two fellow paisanas—the appetizer special of chicken gizzards is a winner (winner chicken dinner!), and, of course, the spicy octopus was on the table. There was also a lot of wine, which is what happens there.

Today’s newsletter is all about catch-up from the last couple of weeks since I’ve been MIA (Marcia in Action), so buckle up. Next week is San Francisco Cocktail Week, and I want to be sure you note the Italian Happy Hour I am co-hosting at Blackbird on Wednesday September 19th! Hope to see you there—I’ll be selling my tablehopper T-shirts, FYI!

A few more items of note: did you see this piece I wrote for last week on the city’s best $1 oyster deals? There are SO many (be sure to check the comments)! Have fun.

Also, I posted an album from my Burning Man trip in case you want to see my father in action with his grappa bar, the beautiful sunsets on the playa, the incredible art, big burns, and the many wonderful people I met this year. The pics barely cover it, ah well.

Today is my dear sister’s birthday: Happy Birthday, Erica Rose! Life is so good with her in it—I am so lucky to live just two blocks away from her. (I know, the universe was generous with that placement.)

Lastly, I am sorry to end my intro on a solemn note, especially when September 11th is already such a heavy day, but I was so very saddened last night to read about the tragic accident involving Isaac Mejia of Don Pico’s, one of the first people I met when I launched tablehopper in 2006. Isaac always called me with tips (I have him to thank for turning me on to Doña Tere’s pupusas many years ago), invitations, and comments. Sincere condolences to his beloved family and friends—the man loved hosting people and introducing them to one another, and he definitely loved food. I know the news of his passing affects many.

Take good care,
Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Sep 11 2012