November 2011

November 29, 2011

A stunning display at the annual McEvoy Ranch harvest party. Photo: ©

So have you made it through your Thanksgiving leftovers yet? I had the last of my turkey stock with some tortellini for lunch today, but thank God the giblet gravy and stuffing is all finished. That sh*t will get you f-a-t in just three artery-clogged heartbeats. Am also thanking the stars for the gorg weather this week—we can run in the park and ride our bikes to our hearts’ content—literally.

Since one of my favorite combinations is bike riding and dining, I wanted to let you know about a special auction item at this Sunday’s Winterfest, the annual fundraising event put on by the SF Bike Coalition! There are many silent and live auction items, but the one to look for is #150, a progressive dinner avec moi (on bikes!). Thanks to the thoughtful donations of Bar Tartine, Foreign Cinema, and Locanda, we’ll have quite the night (and since those restaurants are ridiculously close, it won’t be a strenuous ride from place to place with a full belly). Winterfest will also have music, beer and wine, and other event treats. Hope to see you there!

Now that we’re getting into the holiday swing, I have a bunch of special holiday news and events for you in upcoming weeks, starting with today’s installment of holiday lunches, teas, and a gift bazaar from La Cocina in the socialite, in addition to some great tasting events in the lush (along with some big news!), and a 707 holiday report.

Let’s party!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 22, 2011

Toffee apple pie from Three Babes Bakeshop. Photo: ©

You already have your bib on? Or are you busy doubling up on your workout routine right now, making smoke pour off the treadmill at your gym? Perhaps both—they do seem inextricably intertwined. My Thanksgiving this year is going to be a quirky one—we are delaying our family feast a day (until Friday) because my sis has to work on Thursday. I really don’t care what day it’s on—it’s all about having the family around the table.

So the one-day delay provided me the opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do: volunteer on Thanksgiving. Fortunately the fine folks at ECS had a spot for me in the kitchen at one of their shelters on Thursday. Considering the ridiculous (over) abundance in my life, I’m so grateful for the chance to give back AND spend time with my family this holiday.

There are a lot of ways you can help and give thanks this holiday season—I received word from St. Anthony’s that they are gearing up to serve 4,000 Thanksgiving meals this week. Yeah, that’s a lot of turkey—4,800 pounds, to be exact. You can pull up for St. Anthony’s 23rd annual curbside donation drive, running through November 24th, and is kicking back up again December 17th-24th. You can donate clean, cared-for warm clothing, canned or dried bulk foods, and monetary donations—the donation valets, clad in bright red jackets, will gladly greet you curbside at 105 Golden Gate at Jones on weekends 9am-3pm, and weekdays 8am-6pm. Be sure to pay them a visit.

Before signing off, since there is a frenzy of people talkin’ turkey out there, I have to share some internet gold with you: first, you can’t miss local treasure Mary Risley of Tante Marie’s Cooking School with her video Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven. I was laughing like a lunatic over this video SFoodie posted of an aggressive and rather creepy turkey stalking a newscaster. And lastly, there are a lot of “what to pair with Thanksgiving dinner” articles out there, but when it’s written by sommelier Eugenio Jardim of Jardinière, well, I read it. Check it out on YumSugar.

Okay fabulous people, have a wonderful time with family and friends this week. Be safe, give thanks, and enjoy all the love and good feelings. And pie.


Marcia Gagliardi

November 18, 2011

Truffle and tajarin at Oliveto. Photo: ©

Hi there. Here’s your Friday installment with a jetsetter piece on what I did in Vegas. I know, it’s supposed to be a secret, but that wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Exactly. I also posted a photo album of my 48-hour trip (well, an edited one, heh), check it out!

Guess what I was eating for breakfast the other day? Yeah, pumpkin pie. This is why my job sucks, I have to do research like that. Terrible. If you are getting overwhelmed with everything you need to do for Thanksgiving, or perhaps you can’t bake to save your life, take a look at my updated Thanksgiving list, now including more options from local folks selling delicious pies for the holiday. But a couple have an ordering deadline of today, so don’t delay, yo!

More turkey talk! Big thanks to 7Live for having me on the show yesterday to talk about restaurants where you can have Thanksgiving and holiday meals out. It’s funny, my dad and I got into a big discussion about how a restaurant is the last place you’d find us on Thanksgiving or Christmas, but many people have different situations, from not knowing how to cook to living in super-small apartments and suddenly having nine relatives in town. So for those of you looking for options on where to go, here’s a link to the show, plus my current where-to-eat-on-Thanksgiving list.

Whatcha doing this weekend? Here’s a little tip for ya. Last night I dined at the bar at Oliveto, enjoying a number of dishes on their truffle dinner menu, which is due to wrap up on Saturday. But guess what? Oliveto should still have some white truffles left over into Sunday, so even if you didn’t score a table for this week’s dinner, you should still be able to enjoy some truffles on Sunday (sit at the bar!). Even better: Oliveto is selling them at the wholesale price ($10/g). One more tip: chef Jonah Rhodehamel makes wicked tajarin, along with hen tortelli with fonduta Val d’Aosta, which is what you’ll want to cover in truffles. Chef also surprised us with lamb “fries,” my first time to partake in that, uh, delicacy. Move over sweetbreads, they were amazing! (And also off the menu, so no guarantees they will be available.)

Okay y’all, have a good weekend! Keep toasty and, if you so desire, toasted!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 16, 2011

The beautiful Bartolotta. Photo: ©

Did you miss me yesterday at 3pm? You didn’t think I was going to come back from Vegas alive, did you? Well, I did—and I’ll have a quick recap of my trip for you in Friday’s issue, because I ate some mighty tasty dishes, let me tell you! I had a fabulous 48 hours, and am excited to head back there soon—there’s a lot I need to check out.

So, there is also a whole lot happening seasonally right now: we have Dungeness crab any day now (we just need the fishermen to decide on a price), we have white truffles galore (check out all these special truffle dinners around town—we have added even more to the list), and tomorrow is the celebration of Beaujolais Nouveau!

And, of course, there’s the big one: Thanksgiving is next week! In today’s issue, you will find some of our picks of places serving Thanksgiving dinner around town, along with a few purveyor tips and tricks for those of you preparing Thanksgiving at home.

I will actually be on 7Live tomorrow (Thursday) to talk Thanksgiving and other holiday options—tune in at 3pm!

See you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 11, 2011

The delicious vada pav at Dosa on Fillmore. Photo: ©

Why hello there. You enjoying the 11-11-11 juju? This week has been over-the-top fantastic, from a Haven preview dinner while perched at the counter at Plum in Oakland (can’t stop thinking about chef Kim Alter’s gossamer-thin fettuccine with pancetta and egg), to lunch at Dosa on Fillmore and the riveting Pop Up Magazine event on Wednesday night (followed by a late-night dinner of French onion soup at Absinthe—and of course the soft garlic pretzels were on our table), to a home-cooked meal last night, paired with quite the lineup of old Burgundy. (Sommeliers in your life can bring you the best of times, and the worst of times—fortunately last night was all about the best.) Tonight I’m throwing a little gas on the fire: it’s going to be a night of tablehopping with two dear bartender pals in North Beach—yeah, bring on the hurt!

So, I was very mistaken in thinking my birthday was going to be relegated to a week. It has rapidly become apparent that it’s going to be a month of total liver punishment. Ends up some friends are whisking me off to Vegas on Sunday for a 48-hour whirlwind—we’re going to see Don Rickles (so excited), and of course there is some serious eating to be done. Does Virgin offer dialysis on the plane ride home?

So what does this mean? It means tablehopper won’t be showing up in your inbox until Wednesday. I know, so weird. But who am I to turn down a trip to Vegas? Exactly.

For today I have a little fresh meat for ya, plus a bookworm. And since misery loves company, there’s a lush mention for you as well.

See ya next Wednesday!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 8, 2011

My afternoon bite at Zuni on my birthday. Really, what more does a lady need? Photo: ©

Thank God birthday week is officially over—I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end. Sorry, liver. Sorry, brain. Sorry, waistline. It was just as well that I took last week off—with my computer in the shop for three days, I wasn’t going to get much done anyway. And now guess who is paying for it? Yeah, you AND me, because today’s column is a hefty mofo.

One of last week’s highlights was going to listen to Adam Gopnik speak at the JCC (I took full advantage of having Monday night off!), and I even got to tip him off on where to eat when he was done signing books (I sent him to Cotogna, and I guess he liked the cranberry bean soup). Nothing like creating your own starlet sighting. :)

Um, whoa, temperature drop! Such psycho weather. Are you already plotting where to get some soup tonight? I totally grabbed some posole from Nopalito last week—that was one satisfying dinner.

And you’re gonna go vote, right? Right! More than anything, I’m just happy the onslaught of political phone calls (like at 8pm on a Sunday, really?) and the fliers in my mailbox are all finally, truly coming to an end. Stop the insanity.

Okay folks, let’s dive in here. And keep toasty!

Marcia Gagliardi

November 1, 2011

The glorious Peking duck at Hong Kong Lounge. Photo: ©

I know, I know, I said I was taking the day off. But of course I had to send out a little something-something. In fact, today’s sugar mama is not the only treat for you—I also received word that tablehopper readers can get $20 off the upcoming beer class this Sunday by Rich Higgins at the Boothby Center, part of the series of classes I wrote about last week! This Sunday’s class is on English beers, check it out (and use code “tablehopper” for $20 off!).

How was your three-day Halloween weekend? By Monday, I was having a hard time telling who was in costume and who was just a freak. Go SF. I also want to commend the city for providing us with beach-worthy weather on the first of November. Hasn’t happened in years, how fantastic. I am soooo vibing the 11.1.11. action today. Feels like an auspicious way to start my 40s.

In other news, I can’t believe I went out for yet another dim sum feast on the weekend, this time to the inimitable Hong Kong Lounge on Geary. Nothing quite like starting the day with a barrage of dumplings, plus a Peking duck on the table as well, one of the best in town. Decadence! And it rang in at $82 for four people—hot. And trust me, we waddled out of there. Let’s just say I didn’t eat again until Sunday morning. But today, well, today is all about Champagne!

See you on Friday! XOXO!

Marcia Gagliardi

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