What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
May 28, 2020
chubby-chowfun.JPG

The beef chow fun from Chubby Noodle Chinese Takeout will put some fun into your day, I guarantee it. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hey gang. Did you all enjoy that three-day weekend and gorgeous sun? It was pretty epic as far as weekends go, although I will admit I have been a bit blue. Current events are already awful enough, but the news that The Stud was not reopening in its current location was really a punch to my heart last week, and left me feeling lots of feels. I thought I was just going to write something on Facebook—it was originally going to be a personal piece for my friends to read—but I realized I had more of a tribute and a trip down memory lane I needed to commit to virtual paper, and decided to share it here instead. So many memories. It’s a longer piece—which is why you’re getting this on a Thursday, it took some time to spelunk and write—but some of us have a little more time than usual to read right now. See you at the virtual drag funeral on Sunday—I need a heavy veil and a strong drink. My love to all!

It was also awful to see Pier 45 engulfed in flames this weekend. As if it wasn’t already hard enough for our local fishermen and women to survive this brutal coronavirus business climate from hell, and now they’ve suffered tremendous gear losses, including $5M in uninsured crab pots (most had liability insurance, but not property). If our small independent fishermen are going to be up and running when crab season reopens in November, they’re going to need some crab pots, which cost $200 each. Please contribute to the fundraiser if you can, and spread the word.

Want to eat or drink your feelings? I feel you. Don’t forget: tablehopper readers get a special discount to check out any of the businesses in the new Incubator Series at Corridor, from the potato latke chicken sandwich from Schmaltz to awesome banchan from Junju to the new burgers all three businesses just launched. You can either order food for pickup and get a 15-percent discount on your total order (code: HOPPER15), or you can opt for delivery instead and get a special cocktail from AttaGirl Cocktails (Ode to Jerry) for free ($20 minimum order, and you need to put TABLEHOPPER in the notes and they will include the cocktail). There is no limit to using the codes (for now), so you can order multiple times and try all the things. Learn more about some of the dishes I tried and what I recommend on @tablehopper on Instagram.

Speaking of Instagram, if you follow me there, then you know that Gialina has reopened (!), Nopa is offering delivery during the week (whut?), and The Progress and AL’s Place are all making weekend dinners. Check my daily Stories and Highlights for updates! You should also have Chubby Noodle Chinese Takeout, lasagna from Perbacco, and pancakes without boundaries from Hilda and Jesse on your to-eat/takeout list—check my feed for details (or on Facebook here)!

I want to thank all of you for your feedback and support of my On the Fly podcast! I hope you can listen to last week’s inspiring episode with Trinh Banh, a co-founder of Good Good Eatz, an ad hoc initiative that has sprung up to help support Oakland Chinatown businesses in a number of impactful ways during these extremely challenging times. They’re doing some incredible work, please have a listen.

I should have another episode for you before the weekend, please subscribe to On the Fly wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts (like Apple Podcasts) and thank you for rating it and contributing to my virtual tip jar—this show takes hours to produce. Appreciate all your support.

Take good care. Long live The Stud!
XO
~Marcia

May 19, 2020
schmaltz-latke.jpeg

The potato latke grilled chicken sandwich (with brisket sauce!) from Beth Needelman of Schmaltz, part of the new Hi Neighbor Incubator Series. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Happy Tuesday, friends. How are you? Surprised to see me? tablehopper is technically every other week, but I wanted to send out a quick missive today since I have a few important and timely things to tell you about! Most importantly, I’d love to direct your attention to the latest On the Fly podcast episode with Roberta Economidis of GE Law Group on rent relief. It’s a crucial issue right now that has to be addressed (and supported) if restaurants are going to survive the pandemic. (I’d also like to add that this first-person account on Eater Voices is spot-on and a good piece to read to further understand this issue through the eyes of a restaurant owner.)

State Senators Scott Wiener and Lena Gonzalez are working with the Bay Area Hospitality Coalition to update the commercial rent moratorium bill to help small businesses and restaurants with lease negotiations amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn about the amendment to SB939 in this easy-to-understand fact sheet.

Thanks for listening in, and if you’re a restaurant, bar, entertainment venue, or small food business, please access this advocacy toolkit and send a letter of support ASAP to the Senate Judiciary Committee (the first stop for the bill is the Senate Judiciary Committee this Friday May 22nd at 9am). You can also post on social media (if you want something easy to retweet, here’s my recent tweet), and there are scripts for phone messages and more. Thanks for adding your voice to support this legislation.

There’s also a Small Business Town Hall this evening at 5pm with Senator Scott Wiener who will be talking about this legislation—if you want to listen in, register here.

Last week, I posted an On the Fly podcast episode with chef Rob Lam of Perle Wine Bar, Town Square Eats, and the upcoming Lily. Many of you have attended past tablehopper suppers with chef Rob, and perhaps you attended the preview party for Lily, so I know you’ll enjoy listening to his perspective on how he’s grappling with the pandemic’s impact on his three businesses, and what he’s thinking and seeing as he looks ahead.

How are all you home chefs doing? I wanted to give you a few updates to last week’s post: Virtual Cooking (and Cocktail Classes) from F&B Pros. First, my friend Jesse Bloom has added a new and global-inspired Foundations of Flavor cooking series, and Cook with James is teaching a class on how to make a Spanish tortilla de patatas on ChefsFeed this Friday.

More news: check out the upcoming Chefstival from Chefsfeed and SF New Deal, a fun little online extravaganza for this coming Memorial Day weekend. There will be four days of online cooking classes and conversations with over a dozen Bay Area chefs to feature culinary talent who helped launch SF New Deal, like Reem Assil (Reem’s California), Laurence Jossel (Nopa), Pim Techamuanvivit (Kin Khao, Nari), Brandon Jew (Mister Jiu’s), and others. You definitely want to learn about cheeseburgers from Adam Rosenblum (Causwells). Half of the money for the classes will go to the chefs, and the other half will go to SF New Deal to support existing programs that bring meals to San Francisco residents.

I’m also seeing a bunch of Memorial Day special picnic packs and BBQ kits popping up, be sure to check my Instagram Stories and Highlights for daily updates on what you should be eating!

Speaking of which, I’m just about to post on @tablehopper about some really tasty dishes I recently tried from the new Incubator Series from chefs/cooks/sous chefs/bartenders in the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group who are creating and running their own concepts and businesses out of Corridor restaurant, which is closed right now (at Van Ness and Fell). There are modern Korean dishes from Junju, elevated Jewish-American dishes from Schmaltz (see today’s image!), Argentinian and Uruguayan dishes from Ines, plus craft cocktails from AttaGirl Hospitality—read more about each biz here.

tablehopper readers are getting a special discount to check any of this out: you can either order food for pickup (which is the rockstar move) and get a 15-percent discount on your total order (code: HOPPER15), or you can opt for delivery instead (Uber Eats and Caviar are live, DoorDash is coming soon) and get a special cocktail (The Pay It Forward) for free ($20 minimum order, and you need to put TABLEHOPPER in the notes and they will include the cocktail). There is no limit to using the codes (for now), so you can order multiple times and try all the things. Learn more about some of the dishes I tried and what I recommend on @tablehopper on Instagram and Facebook (coming ASAP!).

Another thing to look forward to this weekend: the California Film Institute and Christopher B. Smith Rafael Film Center are putting on a virtual release of the brand-new film, Diana Kennedy: Nothing Fancy, which is all about the feisty, 90-year-old master chef of Mexican cuisine. You can purchase and receive a link to stream the film ($9.99 for a 72-hour window) beginning Friday May 22nd here.

There will also be a live, virtual, Q&A with director Elizabeth Carroll, chef Alice Waters, chef Gabriela Cámara (Cala, Contramar), and New York Times food columnist David Tanis. The livestream conversation is on Saturday May 23rd (5pm Cali time); it’s free, you just need to register here.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who entered the Cheetah sponsored giveaway last week! The winners have been announced, but now it’s your turn to be a winner. Cheetah has kindly offered tablehopper readers $25 off their first order of $50 or more (code: TABLEHOPPER). Whoop whoop! Download the app and order some beef or Impossible burger patties and buns for your Memorial Day BBQ at home, snag some flour (they have it!), and you’ll even find some nice two-ply Charmin TP while you’re shopping their bulk/wholesale and virtual aisles. There are nine contact-free grocery pickup locations around the Bay Area (and counting!). Big thanks to Cheetah for their sponsorship during these financially unstable times—I am so grateful.

Okay, everyone, keep breathing, cooking, taking care of others, and thanks for listening to On the Fly!
XO
Marcia Gagliardi

May 12, 2020
pinoy-lumpia.jpeg

Be sure to check out the amazing meal kit from Pinoy Heritage, and you too can have a lumpia salad for lunch! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, my friends. Well, how was that for an oddball Mother’s Day? We all did the best we could—I know it was really challenging for some, a heartbreak for others. Sending much love to all! I was so grateful to see my sweet parents for the first time in two months, and to be able to hang out as a family, even if we were 12 feet away. I’m so glad the rents have a backyard where we could have a socially distant brunch and drink some bubbles and hang out with the cat. It was so uplifting. We all needed some family time, although my sister and I looked like bandits. (We just stole mint and arugula and fava beans and roses and irises. Oh, and oregano. Ha!)

As you know, I’ve been busy over here with my new On the Fly podcast, and we’ve had some incredible episodes since I last popped into your inbox! There is a follow-up to Joanna Karlinsky’s episode with Fernando Pujals of the Tenderloin Community Benefit District, who talks about the needs of the neighborhood (and how to support Tenderloin restaurants); and it was amazing timing to have a conversation with Jennifer Bennett, a co-owner of Zazie, on the day they were reopening for daily takeout after receiving a PPP loan. She walks us through the anguishing decisions she has had to make to try to keep this SF Legacy restaurant afloat, and what she sees for the future.

It was also great to speak with Karri Kiyuna of Wildhawk, who shares with us the surreal experience of turning a cozy Mission bar into an e-commerce site, and their collaboration with Hilda and Jesse, a wonderful brunch pop-up on the weekends that isn’t like the others! You’ll want to line up an order for the weekend (there’s even a breakfast Negroni).

In case you don’t hear the update in Fernando’s episode, I want to share the heartening news that Sam Mogannam of the Bi-Rite Family of Businesses listened in to On the Fly, and when he heard about the need for water on the streets of SF, he managed to secure a pallet of water for chef Joanna Karlinsky to give out on her food runs, and has also offered the 18 Reasons kitchen to her so she’d have space to cook and store ingredients (and have room for volunteers to help her!), instead of doing everything out of her home kitchen. Thank you SO MUCH, Sam! What a guy, what a heart.

I also want to do a huge thank you to today’s sponsor, Cheetah, who is not only giving away $100 worth of groceries to three lucky tablehopper winners (they have flour and TP, jus’ sayin’!), but they also donated $100 worth of groceries for Joanna to cook with for her meals for the homeless. I’ll be posting some pics on @tablehopper of what she made with her haul (and what I’ve been making at home). It means so much to me to have such an awesome sponsor right now, so thanks, Cheetah!

I’m so grateful for the press coverage On the Fly continues to receive, it helps immensely to get the word out about all these inspiring people and initiatives we cover! The Mercury News wrote a fantastic piece (thanks so much for listening to the podcast, Jessica Yadegaran!), and this interview with me in 48 Hills just went up last night about the future for bars and restaurants.

We were included in this article in Plate featuring our fellow podcasters currently covering Covid-19 and its impact on the hospitality industry, and we also got a nod in the Taste newsletter (do you subscribe?). So appreciated!

I say “we” because I really couldn’t be doing this without the continued support of my producer extraordinaire, Lola Yen, who has been such a formidable partner in helping me post this podcast twice a week. Thank you, Lola! I just recorded our tenth episode last night, and we’ve had 3,000 downloads since we launched! Thanks to all of you for your posts and shares and support (and contributions to the tip jar, you rock).

Please rate us in Apple Podcasts (thanks!) and subscribe (wherever you prefer to listen to podcasts).

Today, I have a quick post about some of our amazing local cooks and bartenders you should be following and learning from. I know everyone is hosting Instagram Live videos with their at-home cooking tips, but these are some real pros who can seriously help you up your game. It’s a special and rare opportunity to have this level of access and be learning so much, I just wish I had the time to watch and cook more. Like my podcast’s name, things are definitely on the fly over here.

One last thing: if you could please read this GoFundMe post about our beloved Cafe Jacqueline—our dear 83-year-old chef-owner Jacqueline Margulis has had some health issues, and her restaurant and family could really use our help.

Thanks for all your support, be well.
Marcia Gagliardi

April 28, 2020
lapalma-sign.jpeg

La Palma is back open! Pick up some of the best handmade tortillas in the Bay, and everything on their menu is delicioso! Carnitas to go, fresh salsas. Mexica-tessen heaven. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, dear readers and friends. It’s our seventh week of stay-at-home in SF. I know, it’s so intense right now. I’m thinking all the good thoughts for you. The best wishes. Sending love and strength and hope and good health vibes. We are all missing each other something fierce! All we can do is take it day by day, sometimes hour by hour. For me, the days have been flying. I’ll be at this computer for too many hours, and then boom, it’s suddenly 8pm and I haven’t made dinner. This afternoon, I am definitely going for a walk.

I will say last Friday evening was especially sweet—my friends and I had a shared meal from Canela together (but apart) over Zoom. I want to suggest this to any of my fellow single dwellers—order the same meal as your friends, and have dinner together! You can choose a restaurant to support for takeout or delivery, and maybe even get the same bottle of wine or beer or cocktail so you can compare notes. It felt halfway normal for a moment.

I want to thank you for all your support of my new podcast, On the Fly by tablehopper. It means so much to see your comments, feedback, downloads, and reviews and ratings on Apple Podcasts (thank you!). I also really appreciate all your kind contributions to my tip jar—you paid for my recording equipment and music and hosting fees, so thank you! I am so grateful. MWAH!

There are so many people in desperate need right now, and I know a bunch of us are strapped, so here’s a free way to help a hopper out: if you can please share my podcast, it really helps support the people and businesses and initiatives featured in these episodes! A tweet, an FB share, an Instagram story, anything is so appreciated.

Big thanks to my fellow SF publications for the great press: Hoodline wrote a very thoughtful piece, and SFist and Eater gave On the Fly nice mentions, grazie!

Since my last email to you, we now have episodes up with Kim Alter of Nightbird, Evan Kidera of Señor Sisig, Geetika Agrawal of La Cocina, and today’s is with chef Joanna Karlinsky. Each one contains inspiring and compelling stories of how they are navigating through this crisis and giving back to the community through some mighty initiatives. I also include some restaurant updates and tips in the Two-Top at the end of each episode.

Today’s episode with Jo is especially important to me. This powerhouse angel has been making meals in her home kitchen and directly feeding the unhoused a couple times a week, from taking care of folks on the streets in the Tenderloin to encampments around town. She talks about what she’s seeing, and noticing, and the most distressing thing I learned from her interview is the lack of access to water that is happening right now. This is seriously alarming.

Please listen in, look at some ways to help linked in the episode notes (including a link to her fundraiser), and I hope we can all think of how to help and act to get more water and support to our neighbors in need. There are so many incredible organizations offering assistance (including St. Anthony’s, Glide, Project Open Hand, Meals on Wheels, The City Eats, Food Runners, SF New Deal, SF-Marin Food Bank, and so many more), and our supervisors are pushing for more support and services from the city, but in the meantime, there are people on the streets who need water. They need a lot of things, but water is crucial.

I’m interviewing Fernando Pujals, the Senior Director of Communications and Clean Operations for the TLCBD (Tenderloin Community Benefit District) for the next episode of On the Fly, and am in touch with District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney and his team, so I’ll be back with further updates and ways to help from these folks who really know and understand the needs of the neighborhood and how to get things done.

In the meantime, I continue to push updates about restaurants that are open, places that are feeding the industry and frontline workers, initiatives, and special menus in my daily @tablehopper Instagram Stories and in my feed (check out this post about La Palma and other 24th Street businesses that are open). Take a look at my Insta highlights for recaps—if you’re looking for a restaurant to support, just whiz through the highlights for ideas. I have them grouped by geography (SF, 510, North Bay, 650), plus some F&B resources and posts with inspiring stores of people doing rad things. (Not on Instagram? I post a bunch on Twitter and Facebook too.)

Speaking of radness, I want to give a special shout-out to my fellow indie publisher, Broke-Ass Stuart, who I know loves this city as much as I do. His team has been doing a great job covering ways to help others and find resources, along with posting cool stories, like this one about artists who are painting plywood of boarded-up businesses around the city. Check out his new COVID tab on his website and join his email list! That way he can send you awesome freebies, weird events, local activism, incredible articles, and gold doubloons (note: one of these is not true). You can also support his team’s community-focused journalism by becoming a member through the BAS Patreon campaign.

Okay, that’s it for today. Like I mentioned in my previous column, I’m taking a break on news updates here while I focus my energy on my podcast for the time being. Thanks for tuning in.

Take good care, please. Keep giving and looking out for others.

XO
~Marcia