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Sep 12, 2016 16 min read

September 13, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: #SFAMATRICE

September 13, 2016 - This week's tablehopper: #SFAMATRICE
Table of Contents

This week's tablehopper: #SFAMATRICE                    

SF AMATRICE image and website design courtesy of Bureau Jules.

Ciao tutti! I want to keep this week’s intro really short and sweet, because I want your full attention on what I’m promoting this week! On Sunday September 25th, I am cohosting SF AMATRICE, a big fundraiser at Montesacro with a bunch of top SF chefs and Italian restaurants (like Delfina and Piccino!), local businesses, purveyors, and suppliers, all coming together to raise funds for Italy earthquake relief in Amatrice.

While everyone donating funds from selling plates of pasta all’amatriciana is a great thing, and every dollar helps, we’re trying to make an even bigger donation through ticket sales from this all-day event, with a goal of 100 percent of proceeds being donated. It will be quite a spread of antipasti, pinsas, Negronis and Aperol Spritzes from Campari America and Rye on the Road, and wine too. And, of course, there will be pasta all’amatriciana! You know there’s going to be a fun group of folks, and since I’ll be there all day, I’d love to say “ciao!” in person!

You can read more here, but here’s where I really need your help. Can you buy tickets, now? GRAZIE! Can you spread the word on Facebook (please click “interested,” or even better, “going”!) and Twitter (please RT!) and Instagram?

Maybe you can donate your time to help with the event, from serving to cleaning up to greeting people? (The event is 12pm-8pm and divided into two-hour time blocks.) We need extra hands! Maybe you’re a restaurant or shop or you have a lot of wine to donate or you’re just someone who loves to make a lot of food—I’d love to talk with you! We also need compostable plates, cups, and silverware. You can also donate on the ticket page. Anything helps. Please hit reply on this email and let me know how you can help. You rock. So much. Thank you!

I’m leaving for New York in three weeks for the month of October, so it would be great to see you before I leave. Speaking of, I know many of you are planning trips out there, so in today’s New Yawker section, I have some highlights of my favorite New York places I visited this year. Stand by for a whole series of posts!

Baci and grazie mille for all your help and support! It means so much, you guys always blow my mind. XO Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)

Tutti a Tavola! Help Raise Funds for Italy Earthquake Relief at SF AMATRICE on Sunday September 25th at 54 Mint!



Hasn’t it been amazing to see how the restaurant industry has rallied to help donate funds to Italy after the horrific earthquake near Amatrice? So many lives lost, so many buildings destroyed. As San Franciscans in our own shaky city, our hearts go out to them.

While every dollar for eating pasta all’amatriciana around town counts, we want to do something that can have an even greater impact: an all-day event to raise funds for earthquake relief!

On Sunday September 25th, we hope you can join us at 54 MINT for SF AMATRICE: a full day of antipasti from top SF Italian restaurants (including 54 Mint Il Forno, Acquerello, Delfina, Octavia, Palio d’Asti, Piccino, Rose Pistola, and Zero Zero) and partners like A.G. Ferrari, Bi-Rite Market, Cheese Plus, Emporio Rulli, Humphry Slocombe ice cream, espresso from Caffè Umbria, and bread from Josey Baker Bread! There will also be pinsas from MONTESACRO!

We’ll be serving Italian cocktails, including Aperol Spritzes, Americanos, and Negronis courtesy of Campari America and Rye on the Road, and vino (grazie, Fiorella, Folio Fine Wine Partners, Full Circle Wine Solutions, Uva Enoteca, and Scuola di Vino)! And, of course, pasta all’amatriciana (with pasta from Rustichella d’Abruzzo and Manicaretti, products from Lettieri & Co., and tomatoes from Casa de Case—and a leg of prosciutto too)!

The event runs all day from 12pm-8pm, and we are selling tickets in two-hour time blocks (12pm-2pm, 2pm-4pm, 4pm-6pm, 6pm-8pm). There will be different restaurants serving at each time slot, so you don’t have to worry about food running out!

Tickets are $75 per person. Even if you can’t attend, please consider a donation! Or just spread the word! (Here’s the event on Facebook.)

Everyone is donating their time, products, and labor for this event in order for us to be able to donate 100 percent of the ticket price to earthquake relief! All proceeds will be donated to the Comune di Amatrice, and divided among the projects in need in Amatrice. Grazie, tutti!

We look forward to seeing you. Please help spread the word. Post/share on Facebook, tweet/RT, like and repost on Instagram, email your friends. Any help with donations (Italian food, products, wine, beer, compostable plates and silverwarve and cups, extra hands to help serve and clean, promotion) is so very appreciated! Contact Marcia of tablehopper! Baci! See you there! And please, spread the word!

Guests must be 21 and over. Invitation is nontransferable.


               Sunday Sep 25, 2016 12pm–8pm (in two-hour time blocks) $75 (all proceeds will be donated) more info

54 Mint            - 16 Mint Plaza San Francisco - 415-543-5100

Souvla Coming to Valencia, Casey's Pizza Possibly to Mission Bay


Bring on the juicy potatoes (at Souvla)! Photo: ©

Fans of SOUVLA’s awesome fine-casual Greek gyros and salads with spit-roasted meats, evil Greek fries and potatoes (so good), and soft-serve Greek yogurt will be able to indulge at a third location coming to the Mission in early 2017. Founder/CEO Charles Bililies will be opening the Souvla Valencia spot in the former Grub space, on the same block as Craftsman & Wolves, Dandelion Chocolate, and Tacolicious (between 18th and 19th streets). There will be a 100 percent Greek beverage list, including Souvla’s new private label Greek wines in partnership with iconic Greek producers Domaine Skouras and Alexakis Winery. It will be open daily 11am-10pm every day. 758 Valencia St. at 19th St.

SF pizza truck CASEY’S PIZZA may have found his first brick-and-mortar location, after looking for some time. According to ABC activity, the new spot would be at 1170 4th Street, at Long Bridge Street. Stand by for updates.

Tidbits: Fiorella's New Chef, Menus, and Patio, Plus Doughnut Dolly Pop-Up, and Save on the SF Appetizer Passport


The new garden patio at Fiorella. Photo courtesy of Fiorella.


Fiorella’s saltimbocca with sage and prosciutto. Photo: ©


Over in the Outer Richmond, FIORELLA has all kinds of new things to announce, starting with their talented chef, Dante Cecchini, who came over from Marlowe, where he was chef de cuisine.

His new menus are in place, and based on the really delicious brunch I just had this past weekend, you’ll want to visit soon. Don’t miss the banana bread with whipped coconut cream (total stoner food), and his version of saltimbocca with sage and prosciutto seared to a pounded pork loin with a fried egg on top is an awesome spin for fans of country sausage and eggs. You can also get one of their wood-fired pizzas, like the green egg and ham pie with broccoli di ciccio, house-cured pancetta, egg, and fior di latte and ricotta. None of the pizzas are more than $18 at brunch or dinner, which is a very neighborhood-friendly kind of price, all things considered. Save room for the honeyed buttermilk panna cotta. You can see the entire brunch menu here. The dinner menu is here, which now includes wood-roasted chicken, wood-fired octopus, pasta alla chitarra, and Ligurian fish stew.

The other fun component to all this is they just opened their cheerful new 25-seat garden patio, complete with sunny yellow chairs (fog be damned), heat lamps, cedar walls, succulents, and a retractable canvas canopy to shield you as much as possible from Karl the Fog. Plus” projections. One last bonus: Friday and Saturday hours have been expanded to 11pm. 2339 Clement St. at 24th Ave., 415-340-3049.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know that Oakland-based DOUGHNUT DOLLY is doing a pop-up in advance of opening her kiosk (her first SF location) in The Market at the end of this month. You can come by her pop-up this Thursday September 15th from 8am until she sells out—you can try her signature naughty cream and jam doughnuts. 1355 Market St. at 10th Street.

We all love deals, right? And we definitely can guess Broke-Ass Stuart loves some deals, so it makes sense why he’d create the San Francisco Appetizer Passport, offering 22 free appetizers at SF restaurants (but you gotta buy something like an appetizer or drink of equal or greater value to get the deal, yo). Restaurants like Blue Plate, ICHI Sushi, Fénix, WesBurger, and the aforementioned Fiorella are all in there. The booklet is normally $30, but with code eatme10off, it’s only $20. Have fun adventuring. It all expires December 31, 2016, so you need to hop to it.

New Service Includes Lunch at Bellota, Sunday Brunch at Cadillac


The lamburguesa at lunch at Bellota. Photo via Facebook.

Have you had a hard time scoring a reservation at the popular (and very delicious) BELLOTA? Well, lucky you: the Spanish SoMa hot spot is now serving lunch Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm. Chef Ryan McIlwraith’s menu includes a range of salads, montaditos (open-faced sandwiches), bocadillos (warm sandwiches, which includes a lamburguesa), and tapas. For those of you having a leisurely lunch, there are three paellas and some heartier dishes too.  Snacks and drinks are currently available in-between lunch and tapear (4pm-5:30pm), with dinner starting at 5:30pm. 888 Brannan St. at 8th St., 415-430-6580. [Via Eater]

The CADILLAC BAR AND GRILL, which came back from the Cadillac graveyard/Ranch a little over a year ago, is now serving Sunday brunch. You can come in for chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and eggs Benedict, plus that SF favorite, Joe’s Special. Oh yeah, and that other SF fave: bottomless mimosas for $13 with the purchase of an entrée. Sundays 9:30am-3pm. 44 9th St. at Market, 415-554-0181.


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Dispatches from NYC (you talkin’ to me?)

My Favorite Restaurants Where I Ate in New York (Part One)


New York: it’s always lit. All photos: ©


Chomp Chomp’s chye tao kueh (fried radish cakes with shrimp and lap cheong).


Khao soi at Uncle Boons.


A stunning thali plate, part of Babu Ji’s tasting menu.


Russ & Daughters Café knows exactly what you want.


Egg, pancetta, and avocado sandwich at Estela’s brunch.


The LEO at Sadelle’s (eggs with caramelized onion are hiding under that gorgeous layer of house salmon) and a caviar supplement.


The crab and pork xiao long bao at Red Farm.


Cosme’s ayocote bean salad.


The famous husk meringue with corn mousse at Cosme.


“Lettuce cups” with beef tartare and ikura at Mission Chinese Food.


Springlike salad with Battenkill Valley Creamery ricotta at Il Buco.


The rustic interior at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria.

After my six-month stint in New York, when I was eating out as much as my budget would allow (and eating slices in between checks, oh you know it), it’s time to share some highlights of my favorite meals, which include some recently opened restaurants. Yeah, there were a lot, so we’re going to do this in two parts (here’s Part Two).

My pizza list is next—of course that’s a separate piece! Oh, and sandwiches and burgers. You can read up on some bagels here.


Chomp Chomp Just like its name, that’s what you’re going to do at chef Simpson Wong’s West Village Singaporean hawker restaurant. Any place where wafts of fish sauce hit you when you walk in is a great sign in my book. Flavor here is on TILT—wait until you taste all the sambals and side sauces. Boisterous, welcoming style, super-sweet staff. Go for the gruner veltliner for maximum pairing ease. Affordable pricing too. Love, love this place.

Fave dishes: Cereal prawns, murtabak (roti filled with minced beef), BBQ skate wing in banana leaf, chye tao kueh (fried radish cakes with shrimp and lap cheong), and lamb rendang with potato puffs.

Uncle Boons Another tiny place with flava in your face is this Thai gem in Nolita from chefs and owners Matt Danzer and Ann Redding (previously Per Se). Start with beer slushies and make your way through the (rather kindly priced) menu, with lamb laab and their beautiful khao soi with housemade noodles (perfection). The rotisserie chicken beckons—heed its bwoky call. Love the kitschy décor.

Babu Ji You love Indian food? Then get your butt over to Jessi and Jennifer Singh’s fun and funky Alphabet City joint and order the tasting menu (which is also the best way to score a reso), and experience a tour de force of Indian dishes with a light and playful hand, using quality ingredients. Show up starving, leave with leftovers. The tandoori chicken thighs are best in class, and the thali plate will make your eyes pop out of your head. Just wait until you see the yogurt kebabs in a stunning magenta sauce of beet and ginger. Good beer selection, which you access yourself in the fridge. Great sense of hospitality here too.

Danji I really dug this Korean neighborhood spot (it was near my place in Hell’s Kitchen), which features some elevated and fun spins on Korean dishes. The low lighting and cozy vibe would make this really ideal for date night, and chef Hooni Kim’s food is totally meant to be shared—there are even a few dishes designed for two. Extra-great on a wintry night, and my recommendation if you’re going to the theater.

Fave dishes: The trio of kimchi; steak tartare with quail egg; spicy cod roe with quail egg and seaweed over rice; bulgogi beef sliders; and shrimp and scallion pancake.

Russ & Daughters CaféHow civilized, now you can enjoy the sublime smoked and cured fish of this venerable Lower East Side family business (since 1914!) on top of housemade bagels or latkes while sitting down and drinking Champagne which you order from charming chaps in white jackets.

Also fun: blini and the nicest caviar you can afford. And there’s herring. And sturgeon and eggs. Show up with three or four people and do it up and get a platter. But don’t try to walk in on the weekend, you’ll just wait and wait and wait. (This place is worth it, but still.)

Estela A long-standing New York favorite, and for good reason (this was one of my favorite dinners during my time there). Chef Ignacio Mattos understands texture like a boss, and his flavor combinations are fascinating, unexpected, and will make you fight with your tablemates for the last bite. The space is candlelit and you have to be a size 2 to squeeze in between the tables (guys, please get rid of that wood banquette that is the wrong height for the table, seriously, it blows—the same could be said for our snotty server that night, ha-ha), but it’s worth the crush of humanity because this food will haunt you. Chic spot for brunch too.

Fave dishes: dear lord, the ricotta dumplings with mushrooms and pecorino sardo, fried arroz negro with squid and romesco, and the classic beef tartare with sunchoke. For brunch, you have to get the egg, pancetta, avocado sandwich, which comes on a Danish roll (tebirke) made with laminated dough, poppy seeds, and almond cream from Bien Cuit.

Red Farm If you’e a fellow dumpling obsessive, and you don’t mind shelling out a little for phancy dumplings, you gotta head to Joe Ng’s and Ed Schoenfeld’s updated Chinese dumpling spot in the West Village. This is not about dim sum carts and general mayhem, it’s about ordering steamed-to-order dumplings off a menu which you’ll enjoy in a room full of ferns while drinking wine.

Fave dishes: the ginormous crab and pork xiao long bao, the cumin-spiked and pan-fried lamb dumplings, and the five spice chicken dumplings too (especially if you love peanuts)! If you’re hungover, you need the Katz’s pastrami egg roll.

Sadelle’s It’s hard to pass up the charm of freshly baked and lovingly made bagels for brunch with three-tiered towers of gossamer-thin slices of smoked nova and bagel fixings. Really great spot for weekend brunch, one of my favorites, and even if you can’t get a reso, one Sunday I got lucky with a walk-in (it’s pretty big). Read my NYC bagel write-up for more on this spot. Note to self: I really need to return for dinner next.

Cosme It’s kind of a must. Well, it was for me after experiencing the mind-blowing Pujol in Mexico City, and I had to have Enrique Olvera’s tortillas again. The food at this sexy-chic Flatiron restaurant is so damn pretty—just wait until you see the way a salad is arranged. It’s sophisticated and elevated Mexican that doesn’t lose its roots. Chef de cuisine Daniela Soto-Innes is doing a brilliant job, with just enough punches of flavor and chile, and a beautiful use of vegetables.

Fave dishes: cobia al pastor, ayocote bean salad, huarache with razor clams and lime kosho, soft-shell crab with yellow mole, and the husk meringue with corn mousse for dessert (a must—yes, this is a veiled corn smut joke).

Mission Chinese Food I know I’m not the only one who misses seeing chef Danny Bowien running around SF in his shorts, let alone benefiting from his wicked culinary creativity full time. Which is why you need to see what he has unleashed on New York in the Lower East Side. It’s like a psychedelic visit to Chinatown (god love the coral upholstered booths and pink tablecloths and napkins and the fish tank and the ’60s lights and the gold dragons and wait until you see the business card) and you really should get a group together to do it right.

Fave dishes: the “lettuce cups” with beef tartare, miso-cured ikura, and fried onions, which come loaded with herbs. And of course you have to get the thrice-cooked bacon and rice cakes (served with bitter melon and sweet tofu skins) and the cumin lamb ribs. And who knew stir-fried celery could be so amazing? (With sprouted hazelnuts, celtuce, shaved sunchoke, and golden chives, that’s how.)

Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria Bohemian Il Buco (in NoHo) has been a fave for years—it’s the perfect date night destination, midweek dinner spot, group dinner, and in my case, first balmy alfresco dinner outside after a rather cold spring. Also: Chloë Sevigny sighting (can you get more New York than that?).

The menu is always changing, with springlike dishes like creamy housemade Battenkill Valley Creamery ricotta, sugar snap peas, muscat grapes, and green almond. Choice wines, olive oils, and a staff that makes you feel like a regular after your first visit. Amore.

Sister restaurant Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is built for a dream lunch date, with even more outdoor seating, an eclectic multilevel space, and all kinds of dishes to graze on, from house-cured salumi to creative dishes like radish with white anchovy, grapefruit, and walnuts. Roast chicken, pastas, and housemade breads will take you to your happy place.

Here’s Part Two!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)

A Couple Boozy Events, with Bloody Marys and Robert Simonson


Bloooooody Marrrrrrry. Photo courtesy of The Bloody Mary Liberation Party.


The Bloody Mary Festival is back for its third year in San Francisco and the East Bay, this Sunday September 18th. More than 15 bars and restaurants will be offering their variations. Participants include Finnegan’s Wake, The Front Porch, Penrose, Nido, 54 Mint, Plum Bar & Restaurant, 1760, The Dorian SF, and Palm House. There will also be food and drink samples by Cypress Grove chèvre, San Francisco Pickle Company, Kind Bars, Top Hat Provisions, Fusion Jerky, Bandar Foods, and Vampire Vineyards. (But don’t show up expecting a full meal; but there will be drunk people, I imagine, aplenty.) There will also be music. 1pm-4pm. Tickets are $45.The Midway, 900 Marin St. (at Cesar Chavez).

Save the date and get your ticket to schmooze with New York Times writer Robert Simonson, who is in town to host a party for his new book, A Proper Drink, “the first-ever book to tell the full, behind-the-scenes story of the contemporary craft cocktail revival both here and abroad.” BAR AGRICOLE will be hosting the party on their patio, offering unlimited Mediterranean snacks and classic cocktails for $50 (tickets here). Bay Area bartenders featured in the book will also be present. 6pm-9pm. The book will be for sale for an additional cost.

Bar Agricole            - 355 11th St. San Francisco - 415-355-9400

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