table of contents This week's tablehopper: new year, new dish.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the bore
no more in 2008
the wino
in vino veritas

the socialite
the health nut
take a lap, tablehopper
the starlet
no photos please

JANUARY 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 di Bufala 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.

Good 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.

imageHere’s wishing you all a very Happy 2k8 (2008)—I hope you’re feasting on some cotechino and lentils or Hoppin’ John today!

Cheers and clink clink!

~Marcia subscribe
the chatterbox
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 in yet.

Sangha in Glen Park
is really truly open
Latin Japanese

Monk’s 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
wooing bartenders

Coffee Bar hello!
plus eats and beer and wine, hic
free wi-fi, tap tap

South starts Aussie brunch
Sunday Sessions Jan 6, mate
Sydney Sunrise, cheers!

Fish 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

Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

the bore

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.

What I Don’t Want to See More of in 2008

  1. I love pork as much as the next guy, but all this pork belly nonsense is getting out of hand (and getting us fat).

  2. 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?

  3. 35 wines by the glass, that’s great, but do they have to average $12 each? Jeez. I’m back on the bottle.

  4. Since 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.)

  5. Ok, 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.

  6. Hey, 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.

  7. Why 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.

  8. Another 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.

  9. Saketinis 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.

  10. It’s 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. 


the wino


Photo by Stefanie Michejda

JANUARY 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 on Castro, 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 roasted nuts.

My 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 week.

Segura 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).

Cava 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 versatile.

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!

the socialite


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
Parking $5

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.”

The 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 piece on Half Moon Bay for some tips on where else to eat, stay, and play!

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 registering.

Inside the Kitchen is also a fundraiser for Meals On Wheels of San Francisco, Inc.

Is it Safe to Eat?
Mon., Jan. 7, 2008

Ferry Building
Port Commission Hearing Room

Cross: Market St.
San Francisco, CA


6:30pm reception
7pm discussion


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.

Panelists 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).
the health nut

JANUARY 1, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Yup, it’s 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!

  1. Hire 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.

  2. Set 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.

  3. Take 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 at all.  

  4. Take 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.” ;-)

  5. Keep 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.

  6. Be 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?

  7. Find a friend or group with similar goals and fitness levels. Just be sure everyone is committed to success, not excuses.

  8. Plan 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.

  9. Keep 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.

  10. Avoid 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?
the starlet

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.

And with my own eyes I spotted Crispin Glover crossing Castro Street and heading into Osaka Japanese Restaurant.

All content © 2008 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.To subscribe to this list, please visit

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