|table of contents
week's tablehopper: new year, new dish.
the word on the street
no more in 2008
in vino veritas
the health nut
take a lap, tablehopper
no photos please
1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Howdy
gang, Happy New Year! In an ironic twist of fate, I am writing
this mini-hopper for New Year’s Day a few days in advance,
and guess who has a raging hangover? Damn, I am hurting. It’s
been a few years since I’ve been felled like this. I was
finally able to eat something (at 4pm!), and that’s why I
am grateful yet again for Brazilian pizza from Mozzarella
and a Coke, my angels. If you find yourself in pain today, give
my cure a try—you can thank me later. Just consider my current
condition (painful) field research that is entirely for your benefit.
thing I have a couple folks doing my writing for me this week (thanks
Jerry and Jeremy!). Well, except for some hung over haikus and
the bore, but
I’ve had that piece brewing all year. I’m leaving for
a week in New York this Friday, but you should have a fully loaded ‘hopper
next week! The column, not me, silly. Actually, both are true.
Anyway. Never mind.
Here’s wishing you all a very Happy 2k8
feasting on some cotechino and lentils or Hoppin’ John today!
and clink clink!
|JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Because
I am feeling a little punchy, I decided to do some quick haikus
for this week’s news. Please don’t forget these
are hung over haikus, so if I got some syllable counts wrong, I
don’t want to hear about it. The Excedrin hasn’t kicked
Sangha in Glen Park
is really truly open
Kettle doors open
get your beer on, eats look good
like giant pretzels
stupid fire, poor Globe
reopening this week, cool
turbo timing, no?
Citizen Thai and
The Monkey is closed, kaput
pissed jobless servers
get ready for this
Honeydoo now Swirl Culture
yogurt comes in Feb
crazy rumors build
who is the new chef for Myth
could be ritzy, hmmmm
some booze buzz buzz too
Milk and Honey looking here
plus eats and beer and wine, hic
free wi-fi, tap tap
Sunday Sessions Jan 6, mate
Sydney Sunrise, cheers!
and Farm new chefs
Charlie Kleinman Jake Des Voignes
good guys do good food
Sebo winter break
until January 8
the fish will return
my favorite news
Grant Achatz beats the cancer
heart swells, happiness
next week more for you
big stories and small ones too
this is hard, no mas
a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to
JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Last
year I did a roundup of ten
things I don’t want to see on restaurant menus or in bars anymore,
and man, far too many are still hanging around! Like that damned
bottle service. And truffle oil. Sigh. But we’ve got plenty
to work with for 2008! Let the rant begin.
I Don’t Want to See More of in 2008
love pork as much as the next guy, but all this pork belly
nonsense is getting out of hand (and getting us fat).
- I am so stanca (tired/fatiguée) of panna cotta
and its rainbow of flavors. It’s like last year's crème
brûlée, and the cavalcade of bread pudding before
that. Can I just have some pie?
wines by the glass, that’s great, but do they
have to average $12 each? Jeez. I’m back on the bottle.
we’re on wine, what is up with all the wine
bars opening? It’s becoming a joke. We have a wine bar
in each neighborhood, I think we can stop now. Well, unless
yours is going to be really cool and you’ll serve killer
wines in correct stemware and at the right temperature. (And
pizzerias are coming up close on wine bars’ heels. We’ll
be seeing them on this list in 2009, mark my words.)
this has become my biggest pet peeve: servers and bussers who
say, "You still working on that?" What
am I, a hyena gnawing off the last shreds of meat on a wildebeest
thighbone? That phrase needs to be banished from restaurant lexicon.
Be the change.
I dig salts. It’s
why I have at least ten at home I like to play with. But offering
four kinds on the table to sprinkle on your buttered bread,
or listing them as an ingredient in certain dishes is, uh,
trying too hard.
are open kitchens continuing to be a “hot” design
trend? They are noisy, and there’s a lot I don’t
need to watch (or see, yikes, you did not just drop that towel
on the floor and then pick it up and use it again?). Unless it’s
a gorg kitchen like, say, Myth’s. Perhaps bacar started
a trend by covering theirs up.
thing cropping up in restaurants that pains me is flat screen
TVs. Unless you’re a sports bar, I think
they are ugly, distracting, and playing art house films doesn’t
really constitute good décor.
and nasty soju cocktails are usually so wrong. I’m sorry
you don’t have a liquor license, but do
you really need to create a list of eight saketinis, and for
$9 each? Just do some good Champagne cocktails instead—and
they taste a hell of a lot better.
gotta be said (and it breaks my meat-loving heart), but salumi
has become a runaway train. Some people know what they’re
doing, but many of these entry-level efforts need to stay home.
Just because the meat didn’t rot doesn’t
make that coppa a success, and let’s not even talk about
the fact you’re selling it off at $14 a plate.
Photo by Stefanie Michejda
1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO The Wino: Jerry Cooper on Spanish Cava
Jerry Cooper has worked the last
20 years in San Francisco as a restaurant wine director, retail
sales manager, and wine consultant. He has recently established
his own company, Swirl
a wine/spirits retail store and wine bar in the Castro district,
and has received industry accolades. Jerry sits on the San
Francisco Chronicle Wine Panel, and is a judge at The San Francisco
International Wine Competition, as well as the Best of The
Bay Wine Competition.
Spanish Cava: Delicious Sparkling Wine for the New Year
Cava from Spain is the hottest new sparkling wine, with cava
corks popping all over town in the hippest new restaurants, at
home dinner parties, and at local wine bars. Cava is full of
vivacious, refreshing, effervescent bubbles, and stands up to
the job of New Year’s Day Hangover Cure: Cava
Mimosas. (It usually takes two.)
And when entertaining at home, serving French Champagne is not
always an option at $30 a bottle and up. Meanwhile, cava from
Spain, produced in the méthode champenoise (fermented
in the bottle, just like true Champagne) ranges from $6–$20
a bottle. This is a great value for Champagne-style sparkling
wine that spends nine-plus months en tirage in the cellar.
(Riservas are aged up to two years; cava translates
to “cave” in Spanish.)
Cava is easy to serve at your pre (and post) parties, without
breaking the bank. When dining in or out, cava works well with
a variety of appetizers, from soft cheeses to smoked meats, and
favorite new restaurant in San Francisco is the warm, deliciously
creative, and hip Tinderbox in Bernal Heights. My friends and
I always start with the Colet Blanc de Blanc Extra
Brut Traditionnelle–it is bone dry and adds a refreshing
snap to the complimentary popcorn that quickly arrives at the
table. (This amazing light-as-air popcorn is served warm after
being lightly tossed with a touch of butter, yellow curry, fried
peas, fresh ginger, and shredded celery leaves.) Cava and popcorn
is the rigueur de jour. Try it at home.
Spain’s sparkling wine comes mostly from the Penedes region,
in western Spain, and there are 250 cava producers. The grapes
that are used to make cava are indigenous to Spain: Macabeo,
Xarel·lo (say Zar-rell-o), and Parellada (Par-rey-yah-da).
Cava can be vintage dated or blended non-vintage. Brut (dry style)
is the most popular, but cava is also produced in seco (sweet)
and dulce (dessert) styles.
Cava does not improve while being kept; indeed, it deteriorates
with age. Buy it, store upright in a cool (not cold) place for
as little time as possible, and drink it, preferably in the same
Viudas is a well-known, larger producer in Spain. Their non-vintage
Brut Riserva ($19 a bottle) is excellent, with aromas of baked
fruit, cream soda, and vanilla—the apple and pear
flavors follow into the finish as the bubbles dance on your tongue.
Harder to find is the delicate and deliciously fresh Delapierre
Brut NV, with zesty pineapple and toasty brioche notes. This
sparkler is a top seller at Swirl
on Castro (a great value at $10 a bottle).
rosés are quickly gaining in popularity. Mont-Ferrant
Rosé NV ($20 a bottle) is a blend of garnacha (grenache)
and monastrell (mourvèdre). It’s quite showy, with
aromas and flavors of ripe strawberries and black currants—this
pink sparkler is dry, elegant, silky, and creamy. Also devilishly
pink and delicious is the Juvé & Camps Brut Rosé ($20
a bottle), made from 100% pinot noir grapes. There is nothing
to fear from rosé cavas—they are dry, and refreshingly
So remember cava when thinking of a perfect aperitif, planning
party beverages, or meeting a friend for “a splash” at
your local restaurant bar or your favorite international or tapas
restaurant, ask if they serve a cava by the glass. ¡Salud!
Inside the Kitchen
Jan. 6–April 27, 2008
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
One Miramontes Point Road
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
$90 per student
JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO I know, this in Half Moon Bay, but the ~INSIDE THE KITCHEN~ series
of cooking classes are fab, and feature a lot of SF chefs! This
year’s line up includes Jennifer Biesty, chef, and Scott
Baird, bar manager, Coco500; Traci Des Jardins, executive chef,
and Eugenio Jardim, sommelier, Jardinière; Laurence Jossel,
executive chef, Nopa; Jonnatan Leiva, executive chef, Jack Falstaff;
Kirti Pant, executive chef, Junoon; Ryan Scott, chef, Myth Café;
Gregory Short, executive chef, Masa’s; Staffan Terje, executive
chef, Perbacco; special guest Hung Huynh, winner of from Bravo
TV’s “Top Chef.”
nine classes feature small plates of each recipe, a beverage
pairing, and a recipe booklet to take home. In addition to teaching
a class based on the cuisine of their restaurant, each guest
chef will partner with Navio’s chef de cuisine, Aaron Zimmer,
and offer a one-night-only chefs’ tasting menu that features
signature dishes from both restaurants. You can even make a field
trip/overnight stay of it—just check out my jetsetter
on Half Moon Bay for some tips on where else to eat, stay, and
But, wait, there's more: tablehopper readers get a $10
discount on registration for any class. All you need
to do is enter the promotional code "tablehopper" when
Inside the Kitchen is also a fundraiser for Meals On Wheels of
San Francisco, Inc.
Is it Safe to Eat?
Mon., Jan. 7, 2008
Port Commission Hearing Room
Cross: Market St.
San Francisco, CA
JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO E.
coli, GMOs, pesticides… every week, it seems, news arrives
of the latest potential danger in our food supply. When the very
thing that is meant to nourish us may also do us harm, how can
consumers be conscious without becoming paranoid? A panel of food
safety experts will discuss strategies for making our food safer
and the powerful forces that are keeping the status quo in place.
Learn about the latest advocacy efforts, proposed legislation,
and legal actions that these groups are taking to ensure that our
basic human needs are met without compromising our health. Find
out how your food choices can make a difference.
include C. Noelle Ferdon, Senior Organizer, Food and Water Watch;
Kevin Zelig Golden, Staff Attorney, Center for Food Safety; and Elisa
Odabashian, Director of the West Coast Office, Consumers Union. This
panel discussion about food safety solutions is hosted by the Center
for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA).
1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Yup,
the infamous month of resolutions, when everyone signs up for
a gym membership, embarks on a new diet, or tries to give up
delicious things like pasta and booze. Jeremy
Manning of Titan Fitness wanted
to share ten suggestions for how to stay resolved this year.
Best of luck with all your goals, and may your efforts
last past January 15!
a trainer. Statistics show that individuals who work with a
trainer are 40% more likely to maintain their fitness routine
and achieve both short and long term goals.
realistic goals and don’t
go for broke. Just because you’re ready to change doesn’t
mean change is ready to happen. If it’s taken you years
to put on those extra pounds, they are not going to come off
in a couple of weeks.
your time and be patient with yourself. The biggest obstacle
any of us faces in the gym or at the dinner table is ourselves.
Remember that eating healthy is a gift we give ourselves
and we don’t have to
become the perfect eating machine or elite athlete over night… or
it day by day and focus on the means more than the end. “I
will go to the gym today” vs. “I
will lose 10 pounds today.” ;-)
yourself busy to avoid lethargy and overeating. Busy doesn’t
have to be a 20-mile run. A nice walk at the beach is a great
way to treat yourself while maintaining your progress.
honest with yourself. Before you spend two grand on that
treadmill, ask yourself if you’re
really going to use it. You’ve had legs all your life,
but you haven’t run in how long?
a friend or group with similar goals and fitness levels.
Just be sure everyone is committed to success, not excuses.
for lifestyle change and give into it. The more you resist
the process of living a healthy life, the less likely you’ll
be to achieve it. Don’t
ask why—instead ask when and how.
records of what you’re
eating and measure your food for the first two–four weeks.
This will give you a sense of how much or how little you’ve
been eating, and what proper portions should really look like.
fad diets and exercise trends. The fact of the matter is,
over the years, diets and fads have increased in number,
while obesity has continued to stay on the rise. If these
methods worked, why haven’t they, um… worked?
JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Jean
Tripplehorn was spotted at Yank Sing. She was dining
with her family (her husband and a small child).
Apparently Vincent Gallo is
a regular at Dosa. On his last visit he ordered organic greens
and mango, lentil chicken, Tamil lamb, and spiced tomato soup.
my own eyes I spotted Crispin Glover crossing
Castro Street and heading into Osaka Japanese Restaurant.
content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi.
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