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Dec 11, 2014 9 min read

December 12, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: #hellastorm.

December 12, 2014 - This week's tablehopper: #hellastorm.
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This week's tablehopper: #hellastorm                    

Amazing rainy weather vittles: beef short rib potpie at Huxley. Photo: ©

Man, NorCal got one hell of a bath yesterday. Stormageddon didn’t keep me from going out, though: last night I had some wine and cheese (and meats too) at the new Tender (pssst, it would be a great spot for a first “getting to know you” date) and then headed over next door to the intimate Huxley for a delicious dinner (the beef short rib potpie was exactly what the weather called for). For anyone with rained-out basements, fields, first floors, or floating cars, I hope things turn around quickly for you—there was some crazy water damage out there, man!

One phoenix I am really happy to see rising from the ashes is Manresa, which just announced that they are opening up their reservations book on Monday December 15th after being closed since that horrible fire in July. And how apropos, the first reservations will be for New Year’s Eve. Here’s to a bright 2015 for David Kinch and his talented crew.

Meanwhile, thrilled would be an understatement for what I was feeling when I read this fun post by the fantastic Kate Krader—the restaurant editor of Food & Wine—about the tablehopper-Sosh chef party I hosted last week at Locanda. (We’ll have to make sure she is out here for the next one!)

And since it’s totally eggnog season, here’s a post I wrote up for on some tasty eggnog options around town (including a couple that are egg-free, can you believe it?). Cheers!

Have fun this weekend as the city explodes with holiday parties. Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

The Hopper Holiday Gift Guide for People Who Like to Eat and Drink


The colorful and old school calendars from Roosevelt Tamale Parlor.


Sweet dreams are made of these pepperoni.


The fully loaded gift box from Luke’s Local.


The very sexy Gabriel-Glas universal wineglasses.


Sherry the book and sherry the beverage. Photo from Merchants of Beverage.

If you are looking for some ideas on what to get the gourmand in your life (or just a sibling who happens to be bonkers for pizza), here are a few holiday gift ideas that have caught our eye (and fancy).

Our main man Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books did an excellent roundup of holiday cookbooks for you to check out (and don’t forget: tablehopper readers get 20 percent off—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout, either at the store or online, for your discount). Shop local!

One more book to add: there’s a new companion to last year’s Arts & Eats book by Susan Kay and Teri Hauswirth: the Arts & Eats Oakland Cookbook. This clever book with a mission features recipes from 25 Oakland restaurants, including A16 Rockridge, Cosecha, Dopo, Flora, Fusebox, Hawker Fare, Juhu Beach Club, Kronnerburger, Miss Ollie’s, Pizzaiolo, and Ramen Shop, paired with art from Creativity Explored artists.

All proceeds from the book will benefit Creative Rescue, an organization devoted to rescue animals, and Creativity Growth, an artists’ organization for developmentally disabled adults in Oakland. Copies are available online, at some local bookstores, or the Creative Growth Art Center. A steal for $20.

Good news: The ROOSEVELT TAMALE PARLOR—which has served Mexican food since 1922—has brought back their colorful calendars, and they’re just $10. It’s a fun way to show and share local (and Mission) pride. 2817 24th St. at York.

Pizza bed? Pizza bed! For your ultimate pizza-lovin’ fanatic, all you need to do is contribute to this Kickstarter and you can preorder a pizza bed set—with a duvet cover, sheets, and pillowcases—which will be delivered (in a pizza box, natch) a couple of months later. Now eating pizza in bed can hit an entirely new level. So meta.

There are gift baskets (i.e., a random hodgepodge of rose-scented body lotion and bath salts—no, hopefully not that kind—with a porcelain swan to put next to your bathtub) and then there are gift baskets (see these below). If you have an office you need to send a thank-you to, take a look at this year’s baskets from Nana Joes and Luke’s Local. The Nana Joes basket is packed with Michelle Pusateri’s awesome granola, fab cookies, Tony’s trail mix, granola bars (love them), and orange-spiced mixed nuts (and everything in the basket is vegan and gluten-free). You can order it on ($40) and, or pick them up at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, San Mateo Market, and Temescal Farmers Market.

The folks at Luke’s Local artisan food delivery service are offering three curated gift boxes, and they come in a handmade redwood box. What’s great is you can have them delivered too (serving San Francisco, South Bay, and the East Bay)! The boxes come with an array of locally made goodies, like Nosh This Almond Crack, 4505 chicharrones, and there’s some seasonal fruit in there too (move over, Harry & David). Take your pick from three different boxes ($40-$80); available now through Friday December 19th.

Have you had a chance to check out LES CLOS yet and enjoy a glass of wine? Because if you have, you probably freaked out over their gorgeous Gabriel-Glas wineglasses. (I sure did.) It ends up Les Clos is selling two-pack gift boxes of these mouth-blown “universal” Gabriel glasses, the “One for All” lead-free crystal wineglass from Austria. $110. (Hey, at least you can use them for everything.)

The folks at Merchants of Beverage are also offering some great gift packages, like this set of two Zalto flutes with a bottle of 2000 Krug (ohhhh yeahhhh) or with a bottle of André Clouet rosé instead (another fabulous bottle). I also dig this Celebration of Sherry package, with three sherries curated by Talia Baiocchi and her brand-new book, Sherry.

If you’re looking for ideas on new spirits/beer/bartending books to gift, my pal Camper English at Alcademics had this handy recap of recently published books.

For the burgeoning wino in your life, Charlotte Chipperfield of The Wine Key (you can read her wino piece on tablehopper here) is offering a new online wine course starting in January, The Wine Foundations. It’s a four-week virtual wine course designed to be an introduction to the world of wine, covering everything: the vineyards, winemaking, how to taste, food and wine pairings, and more. It’s designed for individuals who love wine and want to learn more, but aren’t aspiring to become wine professionals. $125. And you can drink from home while “studying.”

Lastly, if you’re thinking of gifting someone a gift certificate to a restaurant, please consider buying a restaurant gift certificate. These $50 gift certificates result in a $5 donation (enough to feed 15 people!) to the SF-Marin Food Bank.

You can get gift certificates to these restaurants: Ame, Aziza, Bar Agricole, Boulevard, Camino, Coi, Commonwealth, Cotogna, Delfina, Foreign Cinema, Frances, Humphry Slocombe, Ichi Sushi, Jardinière, Locanda, Mission Chinese Food, Namu Gaji, Nopa, Nopalito, Outerlands, Pizzeria Delfina, Prospect, Quince, Rich Table, and State Bird Provisions. They can be ordered online (Bi-Rite Market and Bi-Rite Creamery are available online only) or you can pick them up at Linea Caffe/Lt. Waffle (3417 18th St. at San Carlos).

Happy Holidays, everyone!

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)

Cindy Pawlcyn Returns, Plus Three Alarm Grill, Pork Belly Biscuits, and Hannukkah Dinner


Cindy Pawlcyn is back with a new menu and a new chef, Jim Leiken. Photo courtesy of Cindy Pawlcyn.


Chilled English pea soup with Dungeness crab at Chalkboard. Photo Heather Irwin/


Backyard in Forestville will host a Hannukah dinner even your Bubbe would love on December 17th. Photo courtesy of Backyard.

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

Napa chef Cindy Pawlcyn, who was injured in a car accident earlier this year, is back in action! She and new CINDY’S BACKSTREET KITCHEN chef, Jim Leiken (a Daniel Boulud veteran), have created a new menu for the St. Helena restaurant that includes grilled Spanish octopus with Rancho Gordo cranberry beans, duck leg confit cassoulet, and a wood-oven pork shoulder. Old favorites like the Chinatown duck burger, rabbit tostada, and the adult grilled cheese are also still available. This month, they’re celebrating A.B.C. (Anything but Chicken), featuring game birds from small local farms, including guinea hens, partridge, quail, pheasant, and squab. Delish. 1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena; 707-963-1200.

Three Alarm Grill Opens: Midwestern weenies have arrived in Guerneville! And this corn-fed flatlander couldn’t be more excited to take a bite. THREE ALARM GRILL, which opened on December 5th, is serving up wet and messy Italian beef on a bun, hand-cut fries, and of course, a classic Chicago dog made with Vienna sausage (natch) that’s topped with mustard, onions, neon green relish, tomato, and pickles so authentic that you’ll think you’re at Wrigley. Ya can’t have a serious dog without chili, so they’ll will be serving up their signature beef chili on top or by the bowl (no word on whether it beats Cincinnati’s Skyline). What we’re especially loving is the funnel cake for dessert. For you hippy Californians, there are salads, cedar plank salmon, and chicken breasts. Uff da! Open Thurs-Mon 11am-9pm. 16218 Main St., Guerneville.

Pork Belly Biscuits, Y’all: There’s nothing more awesome than a happy hour with food and booze that actually, uh, makes you happy. In Healdsburg, CHALKBOARD is stepping up the post-cubicle party with a lineup of snacks and cocktails that already have us smiling. Just $6 gets you warm pretzels with cheddar cheese sauce, hamachi crudo, Dungeness crab tater tots, pork belly biscuits, or a fried chicken sandwich. Pair up another George Washington and Abraham Lincoln for a figgy Negroni, or a classic daiquiri, martini, or old-fashioned (plus a white and red wine). Heading up the new bar program is Nathan Grise Myers, so give him a shout if you’re happy and you know it. Happy hour is 4:30pm-6:30pm every day except Saturday. 29 North St., Healdsburg.

Light the Menorah: BACKYARD in Forestville celebrates Hannukah with their annual feast on Wednesday December 17th. The menu features matzo ball soup, smoked halibut salad, braised brisket, potato latkes, and Bubbe’s kugel. $55 per person; reservations recommended. 6566 Front St., Forestville; 707-820-8445.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)

(Sponsored): Sriracha2Go Is a Must-Have Accessory for All Sriracha Lovers


Every Sriracha lover has been out to eat and muttered the words, “You know what this needs?” Well, you no longer have to worry, as no matter what time of day, Sriracha will now be by your side. Sriracha2Go is a real thing and is a must-have for all Sriracha addicts!

All you have to do is fill your empty Sriracha2Go bottle with your favorite Sriracha (or other condiment, for that matter!), and you’re set to go. Clip it to your key chain, slide it in your pocket, or toss it in your purse—you’re now ready to add Sriracha to your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between. And at just around 1.5 ounces, they’re even TSA-approved for flights!

At any time, refill your bottle and continue eating your Sriracha-loving heart out.

Pretty much everyone loves Sriracha, so why not grab a 10-pack at a discounted price for all your office gift needs or stocking stuffers? We won’t tell if you keep a couple for yourself. Check out all the package offers right here.

Five tablehopper readers will win one Sriracha2GoTo bottle (retail value: $7) to keep life spicy. To enter to win, all you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous), and add a note to your friend(s) about Sriracha2Go, your favorite dish to douse in hot sauce, or why you read tablehopper, or all of the above! Be sure to Cc: or Bcc: me at so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Friday December 19th at 11:59am. We’ll notify the winners soon thereafter and get your Sriracha2Go on its way to you! Good luck!

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