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Jul 6, 2020 4 min read

This week's tablehopper: WTF SF.

This week's tablehopper: WTF SF.
An array of exquisite oysters at California Fish Market Restaurant, my first oysters in almost four months. Heaven! Photo: ©
Table of Contents

Howdy, gang. I hope you’re staying healthy and keeping your spirits up. I’ll be honest, at this very moment, I’m pretty damn sad. I just finished writing about the closure of Indian Paradox for today’s newsletter, and this all really breaks me up inside. It’s hard to process so many difficult stories of businesses closing, dreams ending, restaurant families struggling, and workers getting sick. My heart goes out to you all.

And then we have today’s discouraging news: “The rates of new COVID-19 diagnoses in San Francisco are currently more than three times above where public health officials would like them to be, according to Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax. Hospitalizations have seen a 25% increase over the past week.” Due to our inability to flatten the curve (come ON, SF, I know we can do better), Mayor London Breed announced today that indoor dining is indefinitely on hold (it was originally and almost unbelievably scheduled for July 13th), and the same goes for bars offering outdoor service (I have a hard time with this one: I wish we could let bars serve outside and give them a shot at survival; but it’s true, people aren’t as careful when they’re drinking. Maybe there needs to be a two- or three-drink maximum. Anyway.). Outdoor dining can continue (for now).

In order to help protect workers and our fellow citizens, please remember you must wear a mask upon arrival at any establishment until you are seated, and to wear your mask whenever anyone approaches your table (server, runner, busser), and if you’re getting up from your table to do anything, like use the restroom, order food, and when you’re leaving. Basically, leave that mask on unless you need to take a bite or sip. Discussing the menu with your date? Leave it on. Telling your friend a hilarious story? Yup, leave it on. Is your server approaching your table with your drinks? Pull that mask up.

Wearing your mask says you care, and acknowledge the absolute privilege it is to sit outside at a restaurant while people risk their lives to make and serve you food and cocktails that you didn’t have to prepare at home. If you can’t honor any of this, or the whole thing seems like too much of a hassle, then stick with takeout or delivery. And no unmasked mingling or gathering while waiting to pick up your food (or get a table)—keep at least six feet away from others. The longer this whole thing painfully drags on, or gets worse, the more we all continue to lose. Enough with the maskholes and people who aren’t respecting space and safety. [me making various emphatic and vulgar Italian hand gestures]

Fortunately, I have a couple friends who have been hermiting at home like me and are committed mask-wearers if they venture outside, so they make excellent alfresco dining partners. Last week, I was invited to check out the new and spacious outdoor dining area and regional Southern/summer BBQ menu at Causwells (don’t miss their dream spare ribs), and on Friday, I visited a brand-new spot in North Beach so I could report on it for you today: California Fish Market Restaurant (details below).

If you want ideas on where to go for outdoor dining, and you play by the rules, be sure to check my @tablehopper Instagram Highlights: Alfresco SF.

And if you’re looking for a new takeout option, check out the Bayview Bistro Food Box, which directly supports Black- and Bayview-owned businesses. Deadline to order is Wednesday at 3pm for pick-up on Friday. This week’s menu just made my stomach grumble—scalloped potatoes! There’s an omnivore or plant-forward box, serving either two or four. They could use some more sales this week!

If you’re looking to get away from the city and all this urban stress and you aren’t on unemployment like 153,000 San Franciscans are, a friend of a friend is selling a 42-acre ranch in Anderson Valley, Mendocino, with extensive space for vineyards and a 2,500-sq.-foot main house, plus a guest house, stables, and lots of potable water. They just reduced the price to $795,000 from $1.15M—hit reply/email me if you’d like to see the full brochure and I can make an intro. Don’t forget to invite me over, okay? There’s a hot tub.

I want to give a big thanks to the Taste newsletter for including the latest episode of the On the Fly podcast with Jay Foster, and we’re going to have another episode posting this week with the one-and-only Sarah Kirnon (Miss Ollie’s)—you won’t want to miss it, so please subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts (they’re all listed here).

You should also take a look at these two articles that highlight the racial discrimination, disrespect, and many challenges BIPOC folks experience working in the wine world and as sommeliers. Definitely read this very personal piece from Miguel de Leon (“It’s Time to Decolonize Wine”) in Punch, and the other piece, (“Black Wine Professionals Demand to Be Seen”), is from The New York Times.

Okay, to end thing on a sweet note: next Tuesday July 14th, I’m moderating an online panel with GIO Gelati at 3pm (for just 30 minutes—it’s short!). We’ll talk about gelato, and will share some news with you—plus all attendees will receive a nice treat at the end. Register for the Zoom here, it’s free. Would be great to “see” you.

Ciao, tutti. Marcia Gagliardi

An array of exquisite oysters at California Fish Market Restaurant, my first oysters in almost four months. Heaven! Photo: © tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Jul  7 2020

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