This week's tablehopper: comfort food.
Event planning meetings are better with croque-madames (at Le Marais Bakery Castro). Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hello, friends. Greetings from the land of the sleep-deprived. Someone has really been celebrating a bit too much this past birthday week: there were family dinners, dinners with friends, cocktail parties, dance floors. I decided that the Saucy Awards last night was the finale—put a fork in it, it’s done! I know it’s Mezcal Week, but I must remain strong. (At least for a couple of nights…I need to have a meet and greet with a decent bedtime.)
So about last night: I went out on a rare Monday/deadline night (guess who was back on caftan patrol?!) to celebrate at the Saucy Awards, hosted by the GGRA. Was an honor to be on the steering committee this year, and I really enjoyed seeing all the nominees and winners in the house and on the stage (including my fabulous winning date, so proud)! We have such a remarkable restaurant and bar industry, and cheers and thanks to everyone who works so hard to make it great! Clap clap clap!
I have especially been admiring how quickly everyone has rallied to get ChefsGiving Week off the ground—you can read all about this Bay Area fundraiser for NorCal fire relief in today’s socialite. I hope you choose a participating restaurant to support and visit that week, and buy a ticket for the gala on November 19th!
I am also cohosting a tablehopper fundraiser on Thursday November 30th, called Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief. It’s going to be a cozy, midweek, three-course brisket dinner at the new Le Marais Bakery Castro, prepared by chef Michael Siegel, with paired wines and some fantastic baked goods from Le Marais, oh you know it. Take a look at today’s column for all the details. I really hope you can join us, spread the word, and help us with any silent auction donations and volunteers (we need servers!). All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund.
Thankfully, there are a bunch of fundraising efforts happening out there right now. I say buy tickets for people as an advance holiday gift. Dinner dates and wine tastings and galas are the best, especially when the proceeds go to a good cause. Just a thought! Let’s do everything we can to support all these efforts to help our beloved Wine Country (including driving up to visit, go to tasting rooms, buy wine, dine, and stay overnight!).
Hope to see you, and thanks as always for all your support! Marcia Gagliardi
Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Join tablehopper for Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief on Thursday 11/30
It has been a month since the horrific fires ripped through Wine Country, taking 42 precious lives and leaving over 100,000 people displaced and 9,000 homes destroyed. So much loss, so much devastation. It’s hard to fathom, but fortunately the outpouring of support has been a bright light in all the darkness. Everyone has been so generous, with time, supplies, money, food, fundraisers, helping hands, spare bedrooms, and hugs. But we have to keep doing more, giving more, and showing up for these precious people and our beloved Northern California. We have a long road ahead of us to assist in rebuilding, and every dollar is needed.
On Thursday November 30th, I am cohosting a fundraiser dinner with LE MARAIS BAKERY in the Castro, which is generously donating their charming space and event support. We’re calling the event Comfort Food: A Benefit Dinner for Wine Country Relief, and we have chef Michael Siegel, previously of the dearly departed Shorty Goldstein’s in the Financial District (RIP) cooking us a heartfelt, homey dinner. Yup, he’s going to be making his famous family brisket! Michael is a Sonoma County resident and wants to do everything he can to support his neighbors, so we put our heads and hands together to host this event!
It’s going to be a family-style dinner, cozy and friendly, a midweek meal that won’t have you out too late, but you’ll come home with a full belly and warm heart. The Le Marais Bakery Castro location is so inviting, have you been yet? It’s a happy place.
Our dinner is the week after Thanksgiving, so let’s continue with that feeling of gratitude as we sit at communal tables with 60 of our neighbors and friends and break bread (like Le Marais’ wonderful levain)! Maybe you didn’t get to see your friends over the holiday, so why not invite them to get together at our fundraiser? (We’re swapping the turkey with some brisket!)
Michael’s three-course, fall-inspired menu is as follows:
-Arugula salad with Fuyu persimmon, toasted almonds, chèvre, and preserved Meyer lemon vinaigrette
-Pot-roasted brisket (kindly donated by Newport Meat Company), creamy garlic mashed potatoes, watermelon radish and baby carrots, veal demiglace
-Mini fall tarts and cheesecake from Le Marais
If there are any purveyors who can donate product to our dinner (menu above), please get in touch, thank you so much!
We will also be pouring some lovely donated (and local!) wines with the dinner, including Pomebandit 2016 albariño (sustainably farmed in the Sierra foothills—you may recognize the name from Duna’s wine list!) and Artesa’s 2014 Los Carneros pinot noir!
We will be hosting a silent auction as well. If anyone would like to donate a gift certificate, wine, gift basket, product, anything, please get in touch! Thank you! Everything helps!
We also need some extra hands for service! If you can donate your time as a server, we’d really appreciate it!
All proceeds from our dinner will be going to the Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund, which will be directed to North Bay community foundations, service providers, and government partners supporting the low-income communities hit hardest by the fires. Their approach has three phases: relief (3 months), recovery (3-9 months), and rebuild (4-12 months). You can read more here, and if you can’t attend, please consider donating!
Dinner is at 6:30pm, and tickets start at $50, all-inclusive of food, wine, service, and tax. We want everyone to be able to attend, but if you could possibly afford to buy a higher-tier ticket, please do! We want to raise as much as we can! Tickets are also listed at $65, $75, $95, and $150.
If there is another amount you’d like to pay, please let me know! To repeat, it’s a 100 percent donation to Tipping Point’s Emergency Relief Fund. If you need to make your donation tax-deductible, do NOT buy a ticket on Eventbrite—we will need to make special arrangements ahead of time. (Just get in touch.)
Thanks everyone. We know there are a million fundraisers and holiday events to consider, but we’d so love to see you at our table!
Thursday Nov 30, 2017 6:30pm Starts at $50, all-inclusive more info
The Saratoga Launching Sunday Brunch on December 3rd
Well, this is going to be a hot brunch spot. Starting Sunday December 3rd, THE SARATOGA is starting Sunday brunch service (11:30am-4:30pm), which means if you hang out long enough, you can slide right into dinner at 5pm. (I’m also thinking that instead of getting together with friends for holiday lunches and dinners and cocktails, why not do a holiday brunch? And they take reservations!)
The menu from chef de cuisine Francisco Baca is divided into “Snack,” “Sweet,” and “Hearty” sections (you’ll find me there), with dishes like his mom’s mole flautas (made with braised chicken, red cabbage, pico de gallo, and crema); eggs Florentine; steak and eggs; and The TL Omelet, with Taleggio cheese and melted leeks. Hmmm, will it be a breakfast sandwich or the Saratoga burger?
There’s also Baca’s Billionaire’s Bacon, which is thick-cut, house-cured, smoked, and lacquered with a sweet-savory glaze of molasses, rum, and maple syrup. Ka-ching. Over in the “Sweet” section, Texas French toast is made with thick-cut buttery brioche, bourbon syrup, and bacon powder, and the Killer Coffee Cake can be topped with vanilla gelato or St. George NOLA coffee liqueur (good morning).
Of course, barman-owner Brandon Clements has all kinds of options in a new brunch cocktail menu, divvied up into “Bloody,” “Frothy,” “Fizzy,” “Hot and Boozy,” and “Boothby Bowl.” There are three Bloody Mary recipes (classic, root, and verde), and you can get rilly crazy by adding a fried pickle, housemade jalapeño poppers, brisket beef jerky, fried chicken, and more. (And you haven’t even started drinking!) There’s the Cereal Milk Punch, made with toasted corn flake-washed milk, bourbon, brown sugar, and cocoa Krispies! Or gather your friends around a large-format Corpse Reviver No. 2.
One more item of note: Monday November 20th is The Saratoga’s first birthday, with a party in the downstairs bar from 5pm-10pm. It includes free passed appetizers, birthday cake, and half-price specialty cocktails, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Project Open Hand. 1000 Larkin St. at Post, 415-932-6464.
Healthy New Spots: Native Co. in SoMa, Kitava in the Mission
We’re about to kick into holiday gear soon, so it’s a good thing we have a couple of new and healthy spots opening that can help counterbalance the excess. This week, the popular NATIVE CO. has opened their second location (in SoMa!). Owners Caitlin Meade and Nicole Fish are known for their well-made, healthy, market-fresh meals in the Financial District at 168 Sutter Street (and both the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers’ Market and San Rafael Civic Center Farmers’ Market, where they got their start).
They opened their second location in the former Tava space and are serving mostly plant-based and high-energy dishes, which includes breakfast, lunch, and beverages, like made-to-order smoothies, juices, salads, toasts, and soups. (I love the Beet Down, with beet, carrot, orange, lime, ginger, and cilantro.)
They are dedicated to healthy fats, truly sustainable and organic ingredients, and everything is made in-house daily. They are also very eco-conscious in their practices—and committed to deliciousness! There are both indoor and outdoor seating options. Open Mon-Fri 7am-4:30pm. 163 2nd St. at Natoma.
I was driving through the Mission last week and noticed signage up at the former McDonald’s on 16th Street for KITAVA. Eater fills in the details on this new health-focused spot, featuring dishes that are gluten-free, paleo-friendly, and also free of dairy, corn, soy, peanuts, refined sugar, and oils. Ingredients are also pasture-raised, grass-fed, and wild-caught. You can take a peek at the menu here.
They were formerly a delivery service (Mealmade), and you can still get their food delivered, although the minimalist space is pretty cute and worth a visit. A far cry from what was there before, that’s for damn sure. Open Mon-Sat 11am-9:30pm. 2011 Mission St. at 16th St.
Poppin' Up: Media Noche, Chicago's Honey Butter Fried Chicken, and Munchies Cookbook Tour
Fellow Cubano fanatics, you’ll want to check out the new Chefs Cubano series at MEDIA NOCHE, with guest chefs creating a new Cubano on the menu each month, and available daily. The first one is from Telmo Faria of Uma Casa, launching today (Tuesday November 7th) and running for the month of November—his “Bifana” Cubano is a riff on a traditional Portuguese sandwich, with marinated pork loin, sweet pepper and onion sofrito, and arugula ($12.50).
Ryan Pollnow (Ne Timeas Restaurant Group) will be on deck in December, and Liza Shaw (formerly of Merigan’s Sub Shop) and Evan Rich (Rich Table, RT Rotisserie) are coming in early 2018. Ten percent of the proceeds of each sale of the featured chef’s Cubano will be donated to a charity of the chef’s choice; proceeds from sales of Telmo’s Cubano will go to No Kid Hungry.
Here’s a fun one: Caviar, the food delivery service, is bringing Chicago’s Honey Butter Fried Chicken to the East Bay this week, from Thursday November 9th to Sunday November 12th. On the menu: a variety of sandwiches, including the acclaimed Original Fried Chicken Sandwich with fried chicken strips, candied jalapeño mayo, and crunchy slaw; sides like pimento mac and cheese; and fried chicken strips with honey butter or housemade dipping sauces. You can order for delivery anywhere in the East Bay region and/or pick up from the Caviar Commissary in downtown Oakland (478 25th St.), 5pm-10pm. First-time Caviar user? Use my code for $20 off your first order!
On Monday November 13th, prepare for a fun party at MISTER JIU’S to celebrate the release of MUNCHIES’ very first cookbook, MUNCHIES: Late-Night Meals from the World’s Best Chefs. Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu’s), Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski (State Bird Provisions), Daniel Patterson (Daniel Patterson Group), Gabriela Cámara (Cala), and Maya Erickson (previously Lazy Bear) will be cooking, and drinks will be flowin’.
Tickets are $60 and include a copy of the cookbook as well as food and open bar. Sweet! Plus $5 from every ticket will be donated to Farming Hope. 7pm-10pm. 28 Waverly Place.
This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
(Sponsored Event): Sip and Enjoy at the SF International Tea Festival Sunday 11/12
Want to learn more about tea? Already an expert and want to meet fellow tea lovers and talk to the people behind the brands?
Savor and discover hundreds of different teas on Sunday November 12th at the sixth annual San Francisco International Tea Festival. Held in SF’s historic Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero, this event brings tea brands to local tea lovers.
General admission includes a porcelain tasting cup, from which guests can sample different teas from all the vendors at the event. Guests also receive a free swag bag filled with a ton of samples and goodies to continue the experience at home. Industry experts will be giving free lectures throughout the day for guests to up their tea knowledge. Vendors at the festival include The Republic of Tea, Imperial Tea Court, Health-Ade Kombucha, and tons more!
Use code TABLEHOPPER for 20 percent off tickets! (And take a look at the blend-your-own-chai workshop!)
Sunday November 12th 11am-5pm Ferry Building Marketplace One Ferry Building San Francisco, CA 94111
Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Three Wine Events That Also Give Back
We all love to drink great wine, but when you can also do it for charity, well, drink up! Coming up this weekend are a couple of events from Tanya and Andy Booth (owners of The Spanish Table shops), ‘Las Joyas’ Iberian Wine Tastings, featuring some top-notch Spanish and Portuguese winemakers who are coming to the Bay Area for the first time. The first event is Friday November 10th (6:30pm-9:30pm) at the Millennium Tower in SF, and then on Saturday November 11th (1pm-4pm) at the Starline Social Club in Oakland. Enjoy 25 wines, bites, and more. All the wines will be available to order on-site for pick up at a future date at your nearest Spanish Table and at one-time-only prices. Many of these wines are making their first appearance in the United States!
Tickets for Friday in SF are $50; tickets for Saturday in Oakland are $45. Enjoy a special tablehopper $10 discount with code spanishtable10. Each event will also be making donations to Fire Relief Funds and Futures Without Violence.
Next up, Big Night Restaurant Group’s newest wine bar and oysterette PETIT MARLOWE is hosting a Monday Night Wine Dinner Series featuring California winemakers, with 50 percent of profits donated to benefit Tipping Point’s Napa and Sonoma emergency relief fund. Each dinner will feature a special five-course menu with pairings. Monday November 20th is a Thanksgiving Crab Feast with Charles Neal Selections ($150 per person) and Monday November 27th is with Copain Winery’s Wells Guthrie ($150 per person). There is a $30 discount offered to those who reserve seats for both dinners.
And on Saturday November 18th is the 19th annual PinotFest and The Great Big Bacchanalia, where more than 50 top pinot producers from California and Oregon will be at FARALLON. There will be a North Bay fire relief benefit raffle that will be accompanying the tasting, with 100 percent of funds to be donated from tickets selling at $25 apiece or five for $100. Raffle prizes include more than 20 magnums of wine, staycations, and Sophienwald fine stemware. 3pm-6pm. Tickets are $125; more info here.
New Wine Bars in Union Square
The next time you’re downtown (or losing your mind from holiday shopping), there are a couple of new places to get your wine on and take a load off. The former Rouge et Blanc is now HERLEN PLACE from Laurent Manrique and the Café de la Presse team, with co-owner and chef Patrick Albert. The 70-seat spot has a bar, communal table, and sidewalk seating, with lots of natural light and living room-style loungy furnishings.
Expect a vegetable-centric, small plates menu with simple dishes like deviled eggs and whole roasted cauliflower; coffee and brunchy items are available from 8am-2:30pm. Wines by the glass span Old and New World, with many French vintages as well as organic, biodynamic, and/or sustainable selections. Open 8am-9:30pm. 334 Grant Ave. at Harlan, 415-391-0207.
The former Tout Sweet café in Macy’s Union Square is now a wine bar, named, shockingly, The Wine Bar. It’s casual and nothing fancy, but offers a range of Napa Valley wines by the taste, half glass, and glass, along with some salads and choose-your-own platters of cheese, vegetables, and more. You can come by and listen to wine expert Leslie Sbrocco speak about wine pairings this Wednesday November 8th at 5:30pm. The Wine Bar at Macy’s Union Square, Level 3, 251 Geary St. at Stockton.
Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Bay Area Restaurants Rally for ChefsGiving Week, Raising Funds for NorCal Fire Victims
Monday Nov 13, 2017 – Sunday Nov 19, 2017
Hopefully you have seen or heard about ChefsGiving Week, a huge restaurant-driven fundraiser (running November 13th-19th) for Northern California fire relief! It’s a massive effort from San Francisco Bay Area partners to help those in need of temporary and long-term housing throughout Wine Country, with more than 100 restaurants offering special ChefsGiving menus, proceeds from a specific menu item, or hosting a fundraising event or proceeds of sales to support Tipping Point Emergency Relief Fund and Restaurants Care. There are also pop-ups powered by Feastly, before and during ChefsGiving week, for chefs without a permanent restaurant space.
Take a look at and follow @chefsgiving on Instagram for updates on all the partners and what they are offering.
The week culminates in the ChefsGiving Gala on Sunday November 19th (4pm-7pm) at San Francisco’s iconic Ferry Building. The event will showcase 250 wines from more than 50 wineries, with food provided by restaurants located in the Ferry Building Marketplace. Cocktails and bites will be served outside in the CUESA kitchen, Hog Island will provide oysters, and guests can enjoy a cheese and foie gras cave featuring cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and members of the California Artisan Cheese Guild. An inaugural Chef Humanitarian of the Year Award presented by Williams-Sonoma will also be given to a local chef. And a live auction (hosted by Liam Mayclem and Leslie Sbrocco) will help raise even more funds.
Two ticketing options are available: $195 VIP tickets (arrive an hour before general admission at 3pm to mingle with ChefsGiving Week restaurant chefs, enjoy exclusive Champagne tastings and caviar from The Caviar Company) or $125 general admission (4pm).
Huge thanks to Foodie Chap Liam Mayclem for starting this effort, and all the media, marketing, PR, and hospitality folks helping to make this a success! Here’s to hopefully exceeding your $1 million goal!