This week's tablehopper: Santa baby.


The many wonders of hot cocoa never cease to amaze. (At the Sir Francis Drake for holiday tea with Miss Hannah and her dear mother, Ms. Lisa.) Photo: ©

How’s your last-minute holiday shopping going? Is your eggnog consumption where it should be? Has peppermint been making appearances in your snacks? Have you noshed on any latkes? Have you used “ho ho ho” in a sentence or email? Hopefully you can answer positively to all of the above.

I have been loving my morning breakfast of a Gibraltar and a slice of panettone (this year’s is a sweet beauty, an Amarena cherry version from Rustichella d’Abruzzo, che buona!), and my other mornings have been all about my treasured Laudemio olio nuovo on top of soft-boiled eggs and ripped-up pieces of toasted Josey Baker bread (excellent after a night of too much holiday cheer). ‘Tis the season!

I’m fired up to leave town this afternoon, and fortunately it’s an easy hop to San Mateo, where I’ll be celebrating my dad’s birthday tonight with my fam. Tomorrow is a big day, when we’ll be preparing all the dishes for our family’s annual Feast of the Seven Fishes. Not sure how many people we’re cooking for this year, it’s usually around 25. Bring on the anchovy and bread crumb pasta, my favorite.

This past week was unfortunately filled with too many writing deadlines, mamma mia. Glad those are all done so I can get into a deeper holiday frame of mind over here. Saturday was pretty special though: my dear friend brought her five-year-old daughter up to the city so we could show her what San Francisco’s Union Square holiday show is all about, from the kitties in the window at Macy’s to the Neiman Marcus tree to high tea at the Sir Francis Drake to picking out an ornament at Gump’s. (Next year we’ll take her ice skating.)

I also managed to have some adult eggnog time at Kuleto’s (damn is their eggnog amazing), and went to Naked Kitchen Saturday night for their last dinner of the year with chef Alex Ong. I can’t believe I got to have his beggar’s chicken (with Jinhua ham!). Ahhh, it has been too long. Plus other fab dishes, like his roasted crispy pork belly with the most amazing chile-garlic sauce. I’ll let you know the next time he’s doing a dinner, his food is so fantastic.

Sunday night, sis and I got lucky and bought tickets off her friend for the SF Symphony’s holiday show, featuring Charlie Brown’s Christmas (there are still a couple more nights!). What a sweet show. Oh, Vince Guaraldi, your music always gets me into a sentimental holiday mood.

Today’s column includes a post on where to dine for New Year’s Eve, and I also did this post for on New Year’s Eve dinner deals. I’m not sure when my post for 7x7 about New Year’s Day brunch is going up, but I’ll keep you posted on Twitter and the BookFace. Here’s one more for you: I wrote this piece on the best new 25 restaurants of 2014 for Refinery 29.

Oh, and I’m going to be heading to Los Angeles next week for New Year’s Eve! So excited, it has been tooooo long. If you have any recent recos for dining and drinking, please let me know! On my list: Rustic Canyon, Night + Market Song, Petit Trois, Sqirl, Barrel & Ashes, Alma, Bestia, Eggslut, Sycamore Kitchen, Superba, Faith and Flower, still haven’t checked out Bazaar at SLS, and I’m going to need to get some Koreatown time in there, and daily tacos, of course. I’d appreciate any recos on LA places that are floating your boat!

All righty gang, I’ll have a little missive for you next Tuesday, even though I’m leaving town. Yup, the bore will be in your inboxes! Have yourselves a merry little Christmas, and happy holidays. Peace and love and joy to you all.

Champers, the elf

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Dec 23 2014