Join me for a beef Wellington and Scotch tablehopper holiday dinner on December 27th at Maybeck’s! Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Howdy peeps. These sure are some crazy times. I’m so sorry to see Southern California suffering through such horrific fires like we did a couple of months ago—it’s just too much loss. I can’t believe our Mayor Ed Lee tragically passed away this morning. Condolences to his family and friends and colleagues, that is just so shocking. And then let’s layer everything with the daily drama of “today in sexual harassment…” And bombers. And the fate of net neutrality. And and and… The mind reels. My hazy weekend up in Santa Rosa for the Emerald Cup was a nice break from the daily chaos, that’s for sure.
It can be hard to keep the holiday spirits up. But the holidays really are about coming together, loving and appreciating the people in your life, and looking out for those who are less fortunate. I have been so busy with my last two fundraisers (Mexico, fire relief) that I didn’t really put together a fun tablehopper holiday party…until now! And I want to see you! I have thrown holiday parties in that week between Christmas and New Year’s, and we always have a blast.
So I’m really excited to announce I’m hosting a night of beef Wellington and Scotch (featuring Bruichladdich!) at Maybeck’s on Wednesday December 27th! Classic dishes and cocktails—it’s going to be cozy and belly-warming and yeah, it’s going to rock. We are just finalizing the details and I’ll be posting about the menu and tickets on @tablehopper social in a couple of days (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, take your pick!). Save the date for now, and if you absolutely want to be sure I save you a spot, just email me and I’ll make sure you get first crack at tickets since seating is limited to 25 spots! Cheers!
Are you out of town during that time? Wah! Don’t fret, because I have yet another fun fundraiser event I’m working on (January 17th, save the date!), and it’s going to be a beaut. Read all about the Pencils for Kids fundraiser I’m curating the restaurants for in today’s socialite. You won’t want to miss that one!
Have a great week, Happy Hannukah, happy holidays, and I hope to see you out and on the town, whether it’s at this Thursday’s grower Champagne tasting or my Wellington night or…!
XO! Marcia Gagliardi
Earlier this year, I reported on the upcoming NOON ALL DAY project opening in Dogpatch from the Piccino team (owners Margherita Stewart Sagan and Sher Rogat and director of operations Kerry Glancy), and now it’s time to look around, because they are officially opening their doors on Monday December 18th (although they are soft open now)! (Fun fact: Piccino first opened on December 18th in 2006, so that’s pretty darn special.)
The sunny space features an all-day menu, perfect for breakfast on the go or if you want to grab a table, all the way to lunch and early dinner. Chef Carlo Espinas, who was the original chef at the very first, teeny tiny Piccino, has created a menu that is very flexible, whether you want to graze or have a more substantial plate, or perhaps some bites to go with your wine; the vegetable-centric menu also has plenty of meaty add-ons. His dishes hit notes of Mediterranean flavors, with Cali seasonality, some Italian lineage, and a little bit of Asian flair thrown in there too. Their beautiful vegetables are coming from their own little but mighty farm up in Healdsburg, which is also supplying Piccino.
The salads are well thought out and satisfying, from a kale salad ($12) with radish, yuba, tahini, and togarashi to a perfect fall-winter salad with braised squash ($10), golden beets, ginger, Medjool dates, sunflower seed brittle, and pomegranate. You can easily add a poached egg ($3), or maybe you want half an avocado ($4), and then there’s the braised Stemple beef, with sauerkraut, baby turnips, and caramelized onion ($9).
There are some delightfully homey dishes, like the chicken soup stracciatella ($9) with nettles and whisked egg (it’s Margherita’s recipe), which you’re going to want delivered to you the next time you’re sick, trust me. The braised butter beans on toast ($13) was everything I want on a chilly or rainy day, with sautéed greens, fermented chile, and a poached egg.
Sandwiches feature beautiful sesame bread from Pain Bakery (like a glorious grilled cheese with Fontina, nettles, and sauerkraut), and there are pocket sandwiches made with pizza dough from Piccino, perfect for holding the Piccino meatballs ($14) with crushed tomato and Grana Padano. If you’re a fan of bitter greens, the Noon style ($12) comes with a poached egg you break inside the pocket and have it meld with the greens and curtido (and a little zip of chile oil).
I can also see myself coming up with excuses to head over for a glass of wine so I could eat the Scotch olives ($6), diabolically delicious fried and stuffed Castelvetranos with housemade sausage and fromage blanc inside, with crushed tomato sauce you dunk them into. Gah! So good. There are cauliflower potato fritters ($5) that are fluffy and crunchy and magically gluten-free (they’re made with potato flour and flakes). And hummus gets a serious upgrade with their kabocha squash version ($11). It’s love.
The team definitely wanted to cater to the neighborhood, which includes the many doctors, residents, patients, and visitors to the nearby UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital—whether you’re a nurse getting off work in the morning, or visiting a patient and want to bring them some food, or you just happen to be hungry at 3pm and craving meatballs, you are set. Everything is designed to be portable (and to hold up too).
And we haven’t even ambled over to the pastry case! Pastry chef Sarah Hipwell (who is also running the show over at Piccino—she started in July of this year) is doing some serious magic. Her background spans Lucques in L.A., Birch and Barley in Washington, D.C., four-plus years at Lafayette in New York, and she is very inspired by the work she has done on organic farms, from Australia to Hawaii. She likes to use all natural colors, so the purple you see in her stunning taro-coconut danish is from taro root powder.
Bring on the laminated dough! You’ll want to make your way through the case and come back each morning, for the kimchi danish with Fontina cheese (so good) to the Holy Mole with an egg in the center and Fontina cheese to the charcoal mushroom danish with goat cheese filling. Plus a seasonal danish with a ricotta filling, currently topped with paper-thin zucchini.
For dessert, there’s a spiced chocolate mousse verrine with cinnamon cream, Earl Grey cake, Straus vanilla soft-serve with toppings, and a wicked cookie made with Valrhona Dulcey chocolate that has a marvelous cakey texture. You’ll find a full lineup of coffee and espresso drinks, courtesy of Sightglass Coffee.
The light-filled space is full of windows and sliding doors, with 24 seats inside and up to 52 outside. There is a sunny patio which flanks the Dogpatch Arts Plaza, a dead-end street converted into an arts-focused public pedestrian plaza (at 19th and Indiana) by Build Public, a local nonprofit committed to designing and developing more public spaces. Noon All Day is also just across from Esprit Park, so you can grab a bench when the weather is nice and enjoy your coffee while watching dogs run around.
There are seven taps, with beer and wine, from local brewers like Harmonic Brewing, and there is a special pinot noir from Tatomer that is their own—there will be some half bottles of wine and bubbles too.
The space is just 1,100 square feet and is bright and airy, and even though the room is full of windows, the design by Sagan Piechota Architecture is warm and welcoming. The tables and counter are made by Sea Level Woodworks, from an Austrian oak used throughout (also on the slatted ceiling), and there is some Carrara marble too (they even chose their slab!). The herringbone floor in black and white concrete tile is lively and electric and works well with the modern, Edison-inspired suspended bulbs that feature laser-cut glass, with LEDs inside. The look made me feel like I was in Milano—zippy and chic.
It’s a fine-casual experience, and a concierge at the entrance will manage the line and facilitate your order. Food will be brought to your table via food runners and some groovy technology (no table signs here). There will also be delivery on Caviar soon. Hours will be Mon-Fri 7am-8pm, and Sat-Sun will be coming soon. (If you want to work at Noon All Day, here’s their ad!) 690 Indiana St. at 19th St.
The shenanigans just continue: first at FARINA, and now FARINA PIZZA & CUCINA ITALIANA, which just got evicted by U.S. Marshals. Seems the group doesn’t like to pay rent (which they hadn’t paid since 2015!), vendors, wages, and other bills.
And now there’s a, er, misguided concept that wants to take over the former Farina space on 18th Street: YASS, a members-only, LGBTQ co-working and social club from Brian Tran. The problem is the project is backed by Peter Thiel’s firm, Founders Fund. Yass, actually, no, the local LGBTQ community isn’t too keen on Trump-supportin’ Thiel, and that includes his money. How about starting an LGBTQ club with investors that are more in line with the right values? A lease reportedly hasn’t been signed yet, so let’s hope this concept goes back to the drawing board. And someone needs to burn some palo santo in that space stat, get some good juju flowing in there. 3560 18th St. at Dearborn. [Via Eater via The Guardian.]
Farina - 3560 18th St. San Francisco - 415-565-0360
Some unfortunate news for Western Addition/Nopa peeps: MOJO BICYCLE CAFE is closing on Friday December 22nd, after 10 years of business. Earlier this year, owner Remy Nelson closed the bike shop in the back, and now we’re losing the entire café. Wah. And Mojo was also home to some incredible pop-ups, like Wes Burger and Rice Paper Scissors. Thanks for all the bike work and gear and espresso shots over the years, Remy! [Via Hoodline.]
Also on Divis, the two-year-old REPOSE COFFEE has closed and will be replaced by NATIVE TWINS COFFEE, a first-time café from identical twin sisters from Marin who have a granola business. They will be adding more food options, and Hoodline reports they will be open in a couple of weeks. 262 Divisadero St. at Haight.
An SF longtimer has sadly closed: BRAINWASH. The combination café, laundromat (which is sadly becoming as endangered a species as the dive bar), and open-mic comedy spot has closed after nearly 30 years in business in SoMa (Susan Schindler opened it in 1989). The construction of the condos being built next door really messed with BrainWash’s walk-in business, and now another funky SF spot is gone. 1122 Folsom St. at Langton. [Via Hoodline.]
On Valencia, there’s a new shop from FELLOW, where you can try out their coffee and tea products (including pour-over kettles, drippers, and glassware). There is also a “playground” where you can try them out—the hands-on area has four brew stations. You can take a look at the mural that details different tasting notes and see how your pour-over coffee is tracking. Coffee from five local roasters (like Linea Caffe, AKA Coffee, and Andytown) are currently featured, but they will be curating beans from five different roasters around the world each month for customers to brew in store or purchase for home. There’s some wooden stadium seating for people to sit on with their coffee, and for classes and educational events. Look for weekly classes from baristas, roasters, and growers. Open Mon-Sat 11am-7pm and Sun 12pm-6pm. 820 Valencia St. at 19th St.
It’s the time of year when my inbox is utterly flooded with holiday meals, events, and more. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! :) I’m just going to put together a quick cheat sheet for you here, have fun out there!
Events: This Thursday December 14th, BUFFALO THEORY is hosting an event to collect toys for The San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program. All guests will have the opportunity to have a photo op with Santa Claus while enjoying complimentary appetizers. Those who donate an unwrapped new toy will receive a raffle ticket for each toy they donate for a chance to win prizes! 5pm-9pm. 1735 Polk St. at Washington.
If you’re doing some holiday shopping downtown, Off the Grid is hosting their annual Winter Walk every day through December 31st from 8am-9pm. Come by for seasonal food and drinks (yes, with alcohol!), pose for #awkwardfamilyphotos, and check out special holiday performances and interactive holiday experiences. The pedestrian plaza runs a two-block stretch of Union Square on Stockton Street (between Ellis and Geary). Check out the lineup of events and food vendors here, which includes Johnny Doughnuts, Del Popolo, RoliRoti, and more.
Up in St. Helena, ACACIA HOUSE by Chris Cosentino at Las Alcobas Napa Valley is hosting an amazing holiday series (from December 18th-24th) with stellar guest chefs: Feast of the Seven Cultures. The guest chefs include Roland Passot (La Folie, San Francisco) representing France; Traci Des Jardins (Jardinière, San Francisco) representing Mexico; Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo (Fat Rice, Chicago) representing Portugal; Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec, Big Star, and most recently, Publican Anker, Chicago) representing Germany; Jamie Bissonnette (Toro, Boston) representing Spain; Staffan Terje (Perbacco, San Francisco) representing Italy; and Chris Cosentino (Acacia House, St. Helena) representing California. Each chef will create a one-night-only tasting menu featuring both plated and family-style dishes. Click here and scroll down to see each menu, they are incredible. Did someone say sweetbread schnitzel?
Dinners are $190 per person (excluding tax and gratuity) with an optional beverage pairing for $95. Two seatings are available at 5pm-6pm and 7:30pm-8:30pm. A portion of proceeds from the dinners will go to Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund. And you should seriously consider staying the night so you can just amble to bed after dinner. 1915 Main St., St. Helena, 707-963-7004.
And don’t forget to save the date for the tablehopper holiday dinner, featuring beef Wellington and Bruichladdich at MAYBECK’S on Wednesday December 27th! Details coming to @tablehopper on social media ASAP!
It’s Hanukkah, which means it’s time to get your latkes on. You can avoid the oil fry-up if you want and pick some up at Bi-Rite Market, Luke’s Local, and Market Hall Foods in the East Bay. Also: don’t forget the brisket. Or get the Wise Sons latke kit on Good Eggs. And WISE SONS DELI also has sufganiyot!
For the entire month of December, Traci Des Jardins will be selling her famous tamales at MIJITA, a holiday tradition. You can order roasted pork, or grilled poblano peppers with Oaxacan cheese, both served with guajillo sauce. Each tamale is $5, and get one free tamale with each dozen purchased. Place your order here and pick up at Mijita!
Now open in the former Blackwater Station is James Syhabout’s fast-casual khao mun gai spot, HAWKING BIRD. For $12.95, you get khao mun gai made with free-range, organic, vegetarian-fed chicken from small and local family farms. The poached chicken (cooked in a rich broth) is served with chicken fat rice, cucumber, cilantro, and a ginger and fermented soybean sauce on the side. There’s a fried chicken sandwich made with a thigh (and there’s a fried tofu version), or you can get it over chicken fat rice or salad. Plus, there are a bunch of side dishes, from fried tots to garlic noodles to an egg you can add to your KMG—and chicken broth, which here is being sold as an extra. Fortunately, nothing is more than $12. Tue-Sat 11:30am-3pm. According to the EBX, look for extended hours and beer and wine in the new year. 4901 Telegraph Ave. at 49th St., Oakland.
Dosa has expanded to Oakland, and on Friday December 15th, Anjan and Emily Mitra are opening DOSA BY DOSA, a fast-casual and all-day spot with cocktails, chai, and espresso drinks (they are using Mr. Espresso) in The Hive. Look for a menu of their signature dosas, tandoori kebabs, and salads (like a tandoori lamb kebab salad); they are serving breakfast (until 11am) to dinner daily. I’m also happy to see they are serving freshly squeezed sugarcane juice, a refreshing treat I fell in love with in Mumbai. Nora Furst (Uma Casa) is the bar manager and has created new cocktails for the location, including slushies.
The 3,600-square-foot space (with room for 112) has a marketplace feel, with high ceilings and a lot of light, plus vibrant murals and a view into the busy open kitchen. There are communal tables and outdoor seating. Look for upcoming events with local musicians, DJs, and more. Open daily 8am-10pm. 2301 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland.
Also at The Hive: the folks at DRAKE’S DEALERSHIP are having fun with their new Wake + Drake weekend brunch service (served Sat-Sun 10am-12:30pm). The menu includes The Duck ‘n Syzurp ($16), a savory Belgian waffle topped with duck confit, candied orange, pistachio butter, and maple syrup (add a duck egg for an additional $2), and Pizzaquiles ($13), a breakfast pizza with braised short rib, enchilada sauce, cotija cheese, poached duck egg, and crispy tortillas. There’s Red Bay nitro cold-brew coffee on draft, plus bottomless beermosas (OJ plus beer), micheladas, and Brass Monkeys (made with Drake’s 510 malt liquor). 2325 Broadway at 23rd St., Oakland, 510-833-6649.
And lastly, you can help NYUM BAI with their brick-and-mortar plans; check out owner Nite Yun’s Kickstarter here, which has some nice Cambodian food rewards for you! Pledging just $30-plus, you’ll get lunch, which includes a bowl of her Phnom Penh noodle soup and a beverage! She plans to open in early 2018.
Don’t tell the other months, but December is our favorite at Bi-Rite Market. With so much good food, good wine, and good people to celebrate, what’s not to love? Our shelves are stocked with this year’s best foodie gifts, and our chefs have planned flavor-packed holiday menus, like Vegetarian Enchiladas and Braised BN Ranch Beef Brisket.
Then when you realize New Year’s is right around the corner, click over to Bi-Rite Catering and get the crew to prepare your Cheesemonger’s Choice platter along with some Butternut Squash Arancini…and maybe one or two other delectable bites.
P.S. The annual Wine Sale (20 percent off any 12 bottles or more) ends December 24th, so there’s still time to snag some for this year’s Secret Santa exchange.
Wednesday Jan 17, 2018 6:30pm–9:30pm $75 Tickets Cambria Gallery 1045 Bryant St. between 8th and 9th Streets
As many of you already know, I visited Northern Thailand this past May to be a part of the 10th anniversary mission of Pencils for Kids, Inc. It’s an amazing nonprofit that raises funds to deliver backpacks filled with school supplies and uniforms to children in Myanmar, Indonesia, and Thailand every year. In 2017, PFK delivered more than 2,200 backpacks to children in need!
My visit to the villages in Chiang Rai to help deliver backpacks this year was incredibly moving, and as someone who cherishes my education and independence, it felt good to help encourage access to education for others less fortunate. And it’s why I’m helping Pencils for Kids with their annual fundraiser in San Francisco this year, with 100 percent of the event proceeds going directly to supply children with backpacks.
As an Honorary Chairperson and Ambassador for Pencils for Kids, I’m curating the restaurants and wine and spirits for their fundraiser event in San Francisco on Wednesday January 17th, 2018: Small World. Big Flavors. We are hosting the event at the stylish Cambria Gallery in SoMa (the same fab place where I hosted the fundraiser for Mexico in October!). I’m so excited for us to be back there; it was the perfect party pad, with wonderful hosts!
We’re going to be hosting a walk-around tasting with restaurant partners making Asian street food for the event. So far we have the new Perle Wine Bar in Montclair joining us (chef Rob Lam is going to be making an assuredly tasty Vietnamese dish for us!), the Burmese Grocery Cafe (which has a new location in Jack London Square in Oakland), Cassava (I hear a rumor they’ll be making some Japanese-inspired ribs!), and Indian Paradox (one of my favorite hidden gems on Divisadero for Indian street food—and they just launched brunch!). We also have Cambodian Nyum Bai joining us—Nite Yun will be serving a salad (she is opening her brick-and-mortar location in 2018!). And you can check out the flavorful Thai-Laotian dishes from the new Esan Classic (from the Lers Ros team)!
You’re definitely going to want to save room for dessert, because Belinda Leong of B. Patisserie is going to be making something sweet!
I will keep updating you as we add more partners and confirm dishes! (If you want to be a part of this event, please email me!)
There will also be cocktails (courtesy of our generous sponsor Rémy Cointreau) and beautiful wines kindly provided by Chambers & Chambers (those of you who came to the SF Loves MX fundraiser remember those two gorgeous French rosés!). The fine folks at HelioRoast are also going to be offering coffee service—you’ll get to taste their local, microroasted coffee! If there is someone who would like to donate beer for the event, please get in touch!
We will also have a silent auction and raffle with some fantastic items (we’re happy to have any contributions!) and a goodie bag!
Tickets are only $75 (the event is 6:30pm-9:30pm), and since it’s a tablehopper event, you know you’ll be well fed (and beveraged, heh) while doing a whole lot of good. Maybe buy a friend a ticket for a holiday gift? I really hope to see you on Wednesday January 17th, 2018!
If you are unable to attend, but would like to make a donation, please visit PFK’s donation page, thank you!