This week's tablehopper: progressive.


Lineup at The Progress. A bounty. Photo: ©

While the Bay Area braces for one heck of an impending storm, the past couple of days, I have already had my own kind of whirlwind. On Sunday, what started as an impromptu invitation to view the space of the oh-so-hot and about-to-open The Progress turned into a three-hour in-depth tour, with the opportunity to interview numerous members of the team.

And on Monday, I broke my firm stay-chained-to-my-desk policy (my Tuesday deadline demands it) to photograph the space just hours before they opened their doors for their first friends and family meal. Of course, I wasn’t going to miss an experience like that. I got to witness their lineup with their staff and stay for their first service too—how exciting to be one of the first people to experience their nascent menu in their new, soaring space.

It was one of the most richly colored moments in my career as a restaurant columnist—Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski gave me such an utterly personal and intimate look at their process (and progress), and in quite a vulnerable and thrilling moment: their first service.

So guess who stayed up really late to write about this rare experience? I’m talking 5am. I would have loved the luxury to sit with this piece for a few more days, to tweak and craft it, but there’s nothing quite like a looming deadline to force you to just get the impressions out. Stuart and Nicole entrusted me with an all-access pass to their inspiring new venture, so today’s piece is a deep dive on its many details. The Progress is not something you can just place into a nutshell. A juggernaut demands more than a couple paragraphs.

A profound thanks to associate editor Dana Eastland, who took on the entire rest of the column today—the whole shebang—while I rabbit holed on my Progress report. What a rock star.

I had plans to include a holiday gift guide for you today, but that puppy got moved to Friday. However, I did want to mention that it’s the annual time when you can help bring some holiday cheer to an ECS resident! Although this year they are asking for help in adopting a CHEFS (Conquering Homeless through Employment in Food Services) student and providing a holiday gift, which will mainly be requests for kitchen shoes (clogs, work boots, sneakers—nonslip) or a durable backpack for these culinary students to carry their belongings in. You can contact Mallory Hasick to get a name and exact gift request (you can also call 415-487-3300, ext. 1245). They will need gifts delivered by Friday December 19th if possible. Thanks for helping to take care of others this holiday season!

Okay then, grab your napkin, and let’s get started. Today’s a meaty one.
Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Dec 9 2014