What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
April 25, 2017

And this is just the first page of a vintage Blue Fox menu! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Today is a really exciting day for me—I have dreamed of being able to host a vintage dinner in homage to the Blue Fox restaurant for years! And today, tickets go on sale for what is going to be a spectacular, only-in-San Francisco dinner that we are hosting in the private Owl ‘n Turtle room at Alfred’s steakhouse (formerly the Blue Fox location!). We will be enjoying cocktails courtesy of Anchor Distilling Co. and reserve wine pairings from Robert Mondavi Winery over a five-course dinner featuring vintage recipes and dishes I have tracked down. Plus, we’ll have live piano entertainment on the white baby grand! It will be a time for cocktail attire, sharing stories and memories, and some gorgeous filet mignon. I really look forward to it, see you there!

It’s a buzzy week in San Francisco, with chef Jeremiah Tower in town for a variety of screenings and events to celebrate the release of Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent. I’m looking forward to interviewing him and director Lydia Tenaglia on Thursday (and hosting them at a private industry screening that night!).

Once the whirlwind of this week slows down for a second, it will be great to head up to Wine Country this Saturday April 29th for the kickoff of Long Meadow Ranch’s guest chef live fire series, which is bringing the wickedly talented Zak Pelaccio (Fatty Crab, Fish & Game in Hudson, NY) into town. We’ll be enjoying grilled young favas, oysters, spot prawns, whole smoked pig, and plenty of rosé. There’s quite the lineup of talent this summer, including Jenn Louis, check it out (the series runs through September).

Okay gang, I’ll see you out and about. Cheers!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 18, 2017

Cold killing and garlic-loaded spicy beef noodle soup from King of Noodles. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Okay, sun, we see you! Please stay! I think this is it for the rain, right? Right?! I appreciate the urban jungle going on right now in SF (my god, the succulents are taking over the city!) but I would like to start riding my bike again and ditch the boots.

I guess if I was going to choose a weekend to get sick and spend most of it in bed, this past one was the one. Rainy and gross. Soggy Easter, so sad. Although swapping my family’s badass Easter dinner for a bowl of spicy beef noodle soup wasn’t quite right. Nope. I want a redo!

Sidebar: the proximity of Tax Day followed by 4/20 is making me laugh. What a week.

I wanted to let you know about a special upcoming tablehopper vintage dinner. This one is a biggie. I have dreamed of holding an homage to the Blue Fox for years, and it’s going to be happening on Friday May 12th! And I’m excited to partner with Anchor Distilling Co.—there will be martinis. And Martinezes. (Bring on the Old Potrero!)

But here’s one small snag: the event is going to be held in the private dining room at Alfred’s, which was formerly the Blue Fox! Yes, poor Alfred’s, which suffered an unfortunate basement fire last week. They assure me they are going to be reopening very soon—they’re just cleaning up the smoke damage and fixing the electrical issues, and definitely in time for the dinner. So just sit tight for now, and save May 12th on your calendar. I’ll be posting tickets soon. This is not a night you’ll want to miss. Let’s just say cocktail attire…start planning your swank vintage outfit now!

Marcia Gagliardi

April 11, 2017

Spring frittata and thick slices of peppered bacon served on the old world dining table at Cafe Klaus. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

It’s an eggy week, with Passover already under way, and Easter coming up this Sunday (for some places to go and tasty things to eat, see last week’s post). I should mention a couple of additions, like Easter brunch is also happening at 15 Romolo (Punch Drunk Brunch, uh-huh), and there’s an all-day Italian Easter menu at 54 Mint.

I feel like I got to celebrate Easter a week early with a beautiful brunch at my dear friend Veronica Klaus’s antique-filled bohemian apartment before she leaves us at the end of the month for upstate New York. The table was set with such gorgeous china and silver and linens (I’ll be posting some pics on social this week!). She even played some Satie for us on her piano while we enjoyed a spring frittata and a thick slice of layered chocolate and caramel cake, with fresh air and sunlight streaming into the colorful room. It all felt like quite the San Francisco dream, a rare bird these days.

I have such sadness over her departure, many do—San Francisco will not be the same without my favorite chanteuse. But she’s leaving us for an exciting adventure: she is going to be opening Cafe Klaus in a historic 1860s Greek Revival Lutheran Church on the edge of Sharon Springs, New York, complete with stained glass and frescoes. It’s a huge undertaking and requires a lot of construction and restoration, so I want to point you to her fundraiser if you can help this talented woman manifest her dream. It’s going to be quite the place to visit, I can’t wait to see what she does. New York, you are so lucky to have her!

Whatcha doing tonight? I’m showing up hungry for dinner at Nopa tonight, which will be celebrating the launch of the brand-new Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen cookbook by chef Gonzalo Guzman and Stacy Adimando. Gonzo is back in the Nopa kitchen for a night, adding some à la carte dishes from the cookbook to the menu, like a queso flameado with chorizo out of the wood oven, huarache de cabeza, and a couple of ceviches. Walk-ins are welcome. Adelante…

I’m glad the news decided to slow the eff up a bit this week so I could write today’s review for you about The Morris. It required a bit more time (and word count) to be able to do all the details justice. Just wait until you see the off-the-menu burger I’m spilling the beans on.

Thanks to everyone who keeps sending me Thailand tips for Bangkok and Ko Tao, Ko Samui, and Ko Pha Ngan! Keep ‘em coming! I’ll be there in a month.

Thank you Easter Bunny, bwok bwok!
Marcia Gagliardi

April 4, 2017

Flying high with an Aviation at the new Sequoia (on the fourth floor of Wayfare Tavern—details in today’s lush). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey, happy/unhappy Equal Pay Day! Women make 20 percent less than men, and the wage gap is even greater for most women of color. Did you know the date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year? Ugh. That’s a lot of work. Too much! Let’s get closer to January 1st, shall we? #20PercentCounts

Okay, let me kick my apple box to the side, let’s talk about some really cool things happening in the world of spring cookbook releases! Last week, I was happy to attend the launch party for Desmond Tan and Kate Leahy’s Burma Superstar, a beautiful cookbook that features many classic Burmese recipes (not just from the restaurant). If you want to join in on the fun, Green Apple Books is hosting a party/happy hour on Wednesday at 6pm, with snacks and drinks from Burma Superstar and, of course, books for sale. There is also a Cooks with Books event this Thursday at Burma Love.

This evening is a launch party at Heath Ceramics for Elisabeth Prueitt’s newest cookbook, Tartine All Day, with savory and sweet bites from Tartine Manufactory, live music from Gaucho Jazz, and wine from Uphold Winery (FYI, Uphold Winery donates 100 percent of net profits of Rosé for the Women to women’s rights!) and Manufactory Prosecco Punch. Tickets are just $10, and net proceeds benefit the Homeless Prenatal Program. Come buy a book and get it signed by Elisabeth! 5:30pm-7:30pm. See you there?!

Did you have a chance to peep the fantastic dishes I enjoyed at Dosa on Fillmore last week from their special Bengali menu, featuring many dishes from owner Anjan Mitra’s mother (be sure to scroll!)? They feature a special kind of spicing, with the levels dialed differently, like the clove-forward notes of the Bengali lamb curry. You can check it out from now through mid-April, with dishes like mustard chile halibut (so good with the lemon rice—and don’t be afraid to cut some of that green chile into the mix), the unique poppy seed potato (they’re an unrecognizable bright red in this dish), and the coconut-forward prawn malai curry. You can even come in for one of their excellent cocktails (OMG, the Snapchaat with snap pea!) and an appetizer, like the fried Baiguni eggplant fritters.

Lastly, I am finalizing my travel plans to Thailand in May/June (!!), and it looks like I’m going to be hitting the islands of Ko Tao, Ko Samui, and Ko Pha Ngan at the end of my trip. Would so appreciate any housing/travel/beach/food tips there! Whatcha got? Bangkok too. Thanks to everyone who already sent me intel. Mwah.

Oh, and I have some Passover/Easter hoppenings for you.

Hop hop.
Marcia Gagliardi

March 28, 2017

One of the best abalone dishes I have ever had at Atelier Crenn at a lunch last week with the Basque Culinary Center. The Monterey Bay abalone was thinly sliced and topped with toasted seaweed, aioli, and a sauce made with abalone, served with egg yolk jam and smoked crème fraîche with oyster. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Buongiorno! You feeling some spring fever? I was so happy to be in Wine Country over the weekend—the fields are blankets of green velvet and everything is blooming, it’s all so lush. Saturday I drove to Petaluma for a class on California cheese at the Artisan Cheese Festival—great to get a history refresher on all our cheese pioneers!

I then scooted on over to Napa to check in to the Napa Marriott, a sponsor for Flavor! Napa Valley. But instead of hitting the grand tasting that night, I met up with friends to check out Miminashi in downtown Napa—what a styling space. Really enjoyed our meal, from all the robatayaki from their hearth to a fantastic okonomiyaki. And cocktails. And buckwheat soft-serve with sesame honeycomb and miso caramel, oh yeahhhhhh.

Sunday morning I emceed the final event for Flavor!, Bubbles and Brunch at Domaine Chandon. Chefs Brian Whitmer of VINeleven, Rick Moonen (RM Seafood), and Richard Blais (Juniper and Ivy) took no prisoners, what a spread! Thanks to Domaine Chandon for the beautiful venue and morning full of bubbles!

Don’t put those bubbles away just yet. Congrats are in order for chef Dominique Crenn, who placed 83 on this year’s list of World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards 51-100 winners. Check it out—Benu also placed well, along with The French Laundry, The Restaurant at Meadowood, and Manresa. The top 50 will be revealed at the awards event on Wednesday April 5th in Melbourne.

Speaking of faraway lands…I am so thrilled to share I’m going to Thailand for my first time (finally!) in May! I’m honored to be included on the Thai mission with the organization Pencils for Kids, celebrating their 10th year of providing backpacks, school supplies, and uniform vouchers for children so they can go to school in developing areas in countries like Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. You’re going to be hearing a lot more from me about this amazing organization in the coming months, which has provided 13,755 backpacks to children so far! I’m going to be involved in a San Francisco fundraiser event later this fall and look forward to telling you more.

So, before the mission starts, I’m going early to have a week on my own somewhere beachy and beautiful (it’s going to be hot as hell!) and am then spending a week eating and adventuring my way through Bangkok. I’d love any recommendations for any beachy paradise you know of (but nothing fancy—this needs to be on the cheap!), and Bangkok favorites, of course! The final week, I’ll be heading to the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort in Chiang Rai, our incredible hosts during the PFK mission. I know, what an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime experience. Thanks in advance—as always—for your excellent tips! You guys rock.

See you next week!
Marcia Gagliardi

March 21, 2017

An amuse of an asparagus soup sphere topped with fried beltfish at the Pinoy Heritage pop-up, the subject of today’s review. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey, you enjoying this quick break in between the storms? I’m hoping to get a quick jog in as soon as I hit send on this thing before the next storm rolls in! SF is looking so fresh and so clean clean today.

I want to get something on your radar for this Thursday March 23rd: did you know No Kid Hungry is hosting the 10th annual Taste of the Nation event at City View at the Metreon? Top SF chefs will be there, including chef chair Melissa Perello (Frances, Octavia), plus fantastic wine, cocktails, and more. Check out the socialite for more!

You have any weekend plans yet? Maybe you’ll want to take a page from my busy book. This Saturday, I’m going to swing by the Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma on my way to Napa—there will be all kinds of tastings, events, demos, and more, all weekend long. Cheese lover heaven, just sayin’.

On Sunday morning, I’m leading a bubbles and brunch at Flavor! Napa Valley at 11am at Domaine Chandon, would love to see you! Host chef Brian Whitmer (VINeleven) will be joined by Richard Blais and Rick Moonen in preparing this fab brunch.

As soon as that wraps up, I am going to be scooting back to San Francisco, but sadly will only be able to make the tail end of the Omnivore Books’ and Bar Agricole’s Tipple & Snack vintage cocktail book fair and party. It’s going to be a fun one (there will be drinks!) happening on the patio at Bar Agricole (Sunday, 3pm-5pm), and some tablehopper vintage cocktail/bar T-shirts will be available! Check out today’s column for more.

One last thing: big congrats to all the final nominees for the James Beard Foundation Awards! SF has some great representation. The big awards gala will be in Chicago on Monday May 1st.

Okay, let’s dive in here. Have a fantastic week!
Marcia Gagliardi