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Dec 19, 2013 8 min read

December 20, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

December 20, 2013 - This week's tablehopper: sleigh bells ring, are you listening?
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This week's tablehopper: sleigh bells ring, are you listening?                    

Tom and Jerry’s Christmas house on 21st Street, one of my favorite things about San Francisco. Photo: ©

Hey there, hi there, ho ho ho there. I know everyone is crazy busy right now, but I hope you’re taking some time out for a little holiday cheer and QT with friends and family. I love this time of year so much. A few highlights from this week’s holiday gallivanting: Tuesday night, I went to check out Desco in Old Oakland, which has an elegant holiday look right now. The housemade casonsèi stuffed with pork and amaretto crumbs and the pork osso buco are ideal wintertime dishes—ditto the baked paccheri, a deluxe version of Italian mac and cheese with cauliflower and egg, just whoa!

Wednesday was the second year of my unofficial Holiday Spirits Tour, a night that included a visit to the Santas at Brass Tacks, Tom & Jerrys at Elixir, a stop at Tom and Jerry’s Christmas house on 21st Street, a late dinner at Trick Dog (the boneless chicken wings, hell to the yes) and their oh-so-tasty Trick Nog, and a nightcap by the fireplace at the Big 4—had to say farewell (for now). What a blast. Documentation of the evening’s shenanigans can be found on my Instagram page. (A version of last year’s tour can be found here.)

Last night was really memorable: a friend and I went to see The Pianist of Willesden Lane at Berkeley Rep, and I am still reeling from that incredible performance. So moving. Tickets are hard to come by, but if you get a chance to go, don’t miss it. It also meant we got to eat at Ippuku, always such a treat. That place pays true homage to chicken, from the yakitori (so glad our server told us about the chicken neck special) to the broth in the ramen they make (although I didn’t spring the tartare on my dining partner).

We all have a million errands to run, but my article on may be a big help, featuring three places that offer unique delivery options in the city, from a holiday roast to Champagne to gifts from independent SF shops, all brought right to your door! One more: many of you responded to my post on Tuesday about Joanna Karlinsky’s biscuits (thank you!!) but in case you missed it, that’s another thing you can have brought right to you. And chili! Yee haw.

So, this is the last tablehopper I’ll be writing until just after the New Year! I’m going to be taking a break to enjoy some free time to be with my family and work on some personal projects. But before we sign off, we have a roundup for you on where to dine out on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! I’ll be back in your inbox on January 3rd with the bore (heh heh)! (Publicists and restaurant owners, plllllease don’t pitch me on anything unless it’s for January 7th or later, thanks a mil.)

Have a very happy holiday, and for those of you who bought tickets to Top It Off, I’ll see you on Saturday the 28th at Marianne’s, can’t wait! Pop!

This has been such a special year! Sincere thanks and immense gratitude for all the abundance, kindness, generosity, and support.

Happy/merry! Marcia Gagliardi (AKA Champers the elf)

the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)

Where to Dine on New Year's Eve


Photo: ©

Event Info

Tuesday Dec 31, 2013

New Year’s Eve marks the end of 2013, and also the end of the WAIHEKE ISLAND YACHT CLUB pop-up in San Francisco. They’re not going out quietly; in fact, they’re celebrating with a big bash on New Year’s Eve. “The Last Supper” is a tasting menu with optional wine pairings. There are two seatings available: 5:30pm-6pm is a five-course tasting menu (wine pairings $70) while the 8pm-9:30pm is seven courses ($90 wine pairings). Both seatings are $120 per person. Meanwhile, “The Last Party” kicks off at 9pm and includes unlimited cocktails, wine, and canapés. Tickets are $100 until December 22nd, then they’re $150 until December 28th, and after that you can snag them for $200. If you are a Last Supper guest, tickets for The Last Party are $80. Pier 29, 1256 The Embarcadero, 415-956-1048.

For a night out that won’t clobber your wallet, check out the family-style dinner at MAVEN. For $40 per person you get a dinner that includes duck sliders and truffled apple gnocchi; an additional $40 gets you four cocktail pairings from Kate Bolton (you definitely want to say yes to that). Reservations are available from 5pm-9pm.

Oh, sushi sounds good, doesn’t it? Make your way to ICHI SUSHI for a special prix-fixe dinner of sushi, oysters, and Japanese dishes. Dinner is $120 per person, with sake pairings for an additional $35. Make your reservations by email.

Don’t miss the party at COMSTOCK SALOON, where $69 gets you a five-course dinner that includes a 45-day-aged rib-eye. There will also be plenty of bourbon and bubbles, and live music from “Ms. Katy and her band of hillbilly heathens.” Bring it on! Reservations are available from 5:30pm-11pm.

Who doesn’t love a whole roasted pig? Ring in all that is porky at HI LO, where they’ll be roasting a whole pig and serving it with sides and fixings. The best part? Tickets are $90 per person and include tax, tip, and all you can drink cocktails. Boom.

FOREIGN CINEMA is going tropical this year, with a Sexy Tiki bash. The four-course, Polynesian-themed menu will be accompanied by live music, and Elvis Presley’s Blue Hawaii will be the film of the evening. Cost is $95 per person, not including tax, tip, or beverages.

For a killer meal, don’t miss the nine-course tasting menu at SPQR for $148. Optional wine pairings will also be available. Reservations can be made by email or by calling 415-771-7779.

There’s also a great menu going at COCO500, where you’ll find a delicious-sounding four-course dinner for $85, with wine pairings for an additional $35. Each course has two options, too, which is always nice. Details and reservations here.

Well, by now you know that BAR TARTINE is a great choice for any special dinner, and New Year’s is no exception. They are offering a menu of Japanese-style okazu, or small plates. You have the option of ordering à la carte, or select the whole thing as a prix-fixe menu for $82 per person. Dishes include nettle and matsutake mushroom custard, or clams with smoked broth and grated radish, to name just a couple. There are just a few reservations available from 6pm-11pm, and there’s a toast at midnight.

If you need more ideas, be sure to visit this comprehensive New Year’s Eve dining list on OpenTable!

The Best Spots for New Year's Day Recovery


It’s Bloody Mary o’clock. Photo: ©

Event Info

Wednesday Jan  1, 2014

Ow, what were you thinking? Here are some places to help heal you on New Year’s Day. CHAMBERS EAT + DRINK is offering a recovery brunch, along with requisite beverages from their three full bars on New Year’s Day. Brunch is served from 10:30am-3pm, and seating will be available by the pool, weather permitting. 601 Eddy St. at Larkin, 415-829-2316.

One of my favorite things to eat the morning after a big night out is chilaquiles, and one of the best makers of them in town, SANJALISCO, will be open on New Year’s Day! I always go for the Veronica (with nopales). And there will be birria too! 901 S. Van Ness Ave. at 20th St., 415-648-8383.

NAMU GAJI will be rocking a brunch menu of both sweet and savory options, many of them with their signature Korean-inflected flava. You’ll also find mimosas by the glass or pitcher, micheladas, and Bloody Marys. No reservations.

The Marina’s BIN 38 is serving their “Classic Rock Sunday Brunch” on New Year’s Day, plus everyone who comes in between 11am-3pm gets a free mimosa or glass of bubbles. They’ve also got bottomless mimosas for $14. 3232 Scott St. at Lombard, 415-567-3838.

For a whole lotta pancakes, check out the pancake brunch at BLUESTEM BRASSERIE. There are bottomless mimosas available, in addition to a whole slew of other cocktails, and a menu of non-pancake items, too. Take a look at the menu here.

Head out to the Sunset for a fried chicken and mimosa brunch at THE PIZZA PLACE ON NORIEGA. Each plate comes with three pieces of chicken, potato salad, collard greens, and a biscuit from Devil’s Teeth Baking. Brunch starts at 12pm and goes until they run out. 3901 Noriega St. at 46th Ave., 415-759-5752.

For a fun and fancy time, CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT is offering a brunch menu with an Indian twist, like the local Dungeness crab naan with pullet egg, potatoes, and fines herbes relish ($28) or duck samosa with tomato butter ($24). There are also some more traditional brunch choices, too. All diners will receive a complimentary glass of bubbly, can’t argue with that.

THE FRONT PORCH will be offering some of their great comfort classics to get you through the day, like chicken and waffles, po’ boys, and burgers. Their bar will be cranking out some good (and mighty important) liquid assistance, too. 11am-3pm.

RICE PAPER SCISSORS is going to be serving brunch on New Year’s Day at Brick and Mortar in the Mission. From 11am-3pm, check out fried mochi dumplings, a breakfast banh mi, and pho. 1710 Mission St. at Duboce.

Head to Sausalito for lunch at POGGIO, to make resolutions with a great view. They’ll be open for lunch and dinner, with plenty of pastas and recovery cocktails to keep you going.

Oakland’s HOPSCOTCH will have a selection of comforting brunch food on New Year’s Day, including a pork belly Benedict, hangover hash, and kimchee fried rice. Reservations are available. 1915 San Pablo Ave. at 19th, Oakland, 510-788-6217.

Don’t want to leave your bed? Get yourself back into shipshape with hangover cure kits from FLOUR & CO.. The kits are $14 and include an English muffin sandwich, seasonal fruit salad, and Stumptown cold brew. They will be sold on December 31st, so pick one up and you’ll be all ready to take on the morning. 1030 Hyde St. at Pine, 415-992-7620.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

A Truffled New Year


The annual truffle dinner at La Toque begins in January. Photos courtesy of La Toque.

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

It’s that special time of year when menus pay homage to the much-adored truffle. One of our favorite menus is at LA TOQUE in Napa, where beginning on Friday January 10th (through early March), chef Ken Frank will feature fresh black truffles with every one of the six courses on his menu.

Among the offerings are ravioli with black truffle butter, scallops and lobster with truffle, oxtail and chanterelles with truffle (a match made in heaven), stuffed chicken wings with truffle macaroni, the fragrant Mt. Tam cheese with truffles, and a truffled mascarpone cannoli with roasted hazelnuts. Each course is available with special wine pairings. The menu is $200 per person, and an added $85 with wine. 1314 McKinstry St., Napa, 707-257-5157 for reservations.

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