March 2015

March 31, 2015

Gringas: al pastor tacos with cheese melted on flour tortillas from the incomparable Mister Taco in Cozumel. Photo: ©

Hola chicos y chicas. Am back from Cozumel, where my sis and I ate all the tacos. Al pastor for the win, again and again and again. We are now hooked on sopa de lima (gonna make it real soon). Piña colada sundowners were a daily thing (so good with a banana whipped in there), and the turquoise water was beyond gorgeous. We cruised around the island in our Chevy rental beater (we called her “La Chevita”), and I actually read a non-food-related book. (It was called China Dolls and was about three Asian women’s experiences in pre- and post-World War II San Francisco. I dug all the historic details about Chinatown and their [fictional] experiences as performers at Charlie Low’s Forbidden City nightclub!) It was a real vacation, and I felt so lucky to have that time to chill out and do things like watch Tequila Sunrise (which our Spanish channel had inexplicably changed the title of into something ridiculous) in bed while drinking crap imported sparkling wine from Germany (it’s all we could find).

Just before I left town late Saturday night, yours truly hosted a big invite-only brunch event for 40 people at The Cavalier highlighting Food Should Taste Good chips (maybe you saw some of my pics on social media of the amazing falafel chip shakshuka-meets-chilaquiles?). Chef Jenn Puccio rocked a very tasty menu for us, you can read my event recap here.

More on brunch: I recently wrote this piece for Refinery 29 on 10 new brunch dishes you need in your life right now. (Have you had the everything croissant at Neighbor? Get on that.)

Baseball season is also here in two weeks, so let’s talk about hot dogs. Here are four new hot dogs you can get around town.

We have a lot of news to catch you up on here—Dana and I have been typing like madwomen for the past two days—so let’s get to it! See you on Friday.

Marcia Gagliardi

March 17, 2015

A springtime Sunday brunch with Veronica Klaus. Photo: ©

Top o’ the afternoon to you. Hopefully your livers have had enough of a break from Saturday until now to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day all over again. Although truth be told, all these pics I’m seeing of Shamrock Shakes are just making me crave a matcha shake.

Today is the picture of gorgeous, but it doesn’t mean I am still totally excited to get the hell outta Dodge and head to Cozumel with my sister late Saturday night! It’s going to be a real vacation for a change—I’m planning on beach, tacos, snorkeling, books, tacos, cervezas, sun, tacos. Kind of excited for bad Wi-Fi. Like, really excited.

What this means is this is the last you’ll hear from us until we return in your inboxes on Tuesday March 31st. The fabulous Dana, our associate editor, who is as equally fatigued from getting this column out every week, is going to be heading up to Portland, getting her fill of Pok Pok wings and Le Pigeon. We’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

Publicists/restaurant owners, you know the drill: please don’t pitch us anything unless it’s happening in April, thanks!

In the meantime, here’s my monthly cheat sheet on of five new restaurants to open on the local front.

Before signing off, I also wanted to point your attention to a couple very worthy fundraisers that could use your help. First, Loco’l is just a few days away and $5,000 short on their Indiegogo, please take a look. And in today’s chatterbox, don’t miss our post on El Pípila, which is also in the final days of crowdfunding their Kiva Zip loan. Guadalupe only needs about $2,000 more (it’s a no-interest loan!) to help with equipment and first month’s rent. Thanks for keeping everyone’s dreams going, everyone!

I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, adiós!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 10, 2015

The belle of the ball: 1975 Dom Pérignon poured en magnum at GourmetFest 2015. Photo: ©

Howdy, friends. Hope your weekend was marvy. It was pretty epic weather, that’s for damn sure. I had a 24-hour jaunt down to Carmel for GourmetFest 2015, and man, did that live up to its name. I have a full recap of the extravaganza in today’s chatterbox, and a photo album here.

Before heading out of town, I swung by Off the Grid for a preview tasting of their Friday evening event at Fort Mason, which is back in action. We could not have asked for better weather, seriously. Tablehopperette and I tasted piping hot momos from Bini’s Kitchen, some fantastic matcha cheesecake and tea drinks from T. Epiphany, Italian sausage and pepper buns from Happy Dumplings (fun), and fans of the 3-Sum Eats truck will be happy to know their truck is back with their fried chicken sandwiches. The new bar setup from Rye on the Road is as awesome as their drinks (Early Spring Julep for the win), and don’t forget you can pre- or post-party at The Interval as well.

Wanted to make a quick note here that hopper associate editor Dana Eastland is road trippin’ to Portland toward the end of the month, and she’d love to hear any recommendations you might have! Where to dine, where to wine, whatever you’ve got, in Portland or along Highway 1. Email her your recos here, and thank you!

Ciao ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 6, 2015

Shrimp chips and whipped salt cod with smoked roe at Mister Jiu’s pop-up at Mission Chinese Food this week. Photo: ©

Is it 5pm yet? Is it 6pm yet? Whatever time you get to punch the clock today, I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I think the majority of the city will be heading to Fort Mason for the reopening of the Friday night Off the Grid hootenanny, see you there? Tomorrow morning I have to be up bright and early to head down to Carmel for Gourmet Fest, it’s going to be an epic weekend. #therewillbeDomPérignon

Don’t forget, Sunday is International Women’s Day, and A16 and Piccino are celebrating Festa Della Donna in style! To all the ladies in the house, the ladies, the ladies…

I have been dealing with even more iMac woes (dear lord, please make it stop), but fortunately I was back up and running in time to get today’s column together for you. I have a quick jetsetter recap of my New Year’s trip to Los Angeles, plus an awesome sugar mama giveaway of two tickets to an invite-only tablehopper brunch in a couple of weeks. Thinking of heading to the 707? Heather Irwin has some ideas for you in 707 scout.

I also think you’ll enjoy this week’s piece I did for on four SF wine bars where the food is as destination-worthy as the wine!

Cheers and ciao!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 3, 2015

At the Grandes Pagos de España wine tasting at Absinthe, chef Ryan McIlwraith’s (preview) tosta de chuleton: sliced porterhouse steak with tximi-txurri and bone marrow hollandaise. I KNOW. Photo: ©

Howdy amigos. Thanks to everyone for the nice notes and well wishes on tablehopper’s nine-year anniversary, you rock. But now we need to do a special shout-out to chef Roland Passot, who is celebrating La Folie’s 27th anniversary today! Bravo, chef!

Speaking of celebrations, today I have a recap and photo evidence of the amazing Family Meal chefs-only event I co-hosted with Sosh last week at The Progress. I can’t believe I got throw a second one! And at The Progress, are you kidding? Everyone in that room was feeling damn lucky. I wish I could have invited 100!

I am really looking forward to this weekend, and it’s not just because we spring forward! Saturday morning, I’ll be driving down to Carmel for Gourmet Fest, because when Michel Bras is leading a lunchtime demo, you clear your calendar and show up (amIright?). There are a number of stellar events (it all starts on Thursday!), with food and wine luminaries like Gaia Gaja, Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, Ernst Loosen, Tetsuya Wakuda, and many Relais & Châteaux Grands Chefs from around the world. There are tickets remaining for some events—which includes tastings, lunches, dinners, demos, and more—and you can even come down for a day trip (although I’m happy to be staying a night at the charming La Playa Carmel again). Hope to see you there!

Okay, don’t hate me for leaving town again, but I’m going to actually be taking a real vacation and am heading with my sis to Cozumel for a week in the sun later this month. If you have any recos on where to eat (can’t wait for the seafood) or the best snorkeling, I’m all ears, thanks!

Have a swell week, see you on Friday!
Marcia Gagliardi

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