What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
February 20, 2018

Celebrating the Lunar New Year with Martell Cognac at Cold Drinks bar is the right way to roll on a Sunday evening. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Oh hi. Did ya miss me last week? Sorry I went dark on you, but I was feeling like Princess Leia in the trash compactor with all the work I have going on. The walls were closing in and something was slithering around my ankle—I’m swamped with planning for the Academy of Friends gala happening in two weeks (you wanna try coordinating 15 restaurants?!), I’m hosting a blowout private dinner for 40 guests one week later, and I had an article due for Ambrosia magazine. Ahhhhh! You can see why I needed to hit pause. But, I’m back. Hope you had a wonderful Lunar New Year celebration, Valentine’s Day (mine was more green than red), and three-day weekend!

I’m so ready to pop Champagne tomorrow (well, I am every day, who am I kidding?) because tablehopper turns 12! Whut? I know! And many of you have been reading me all along, so thank you! A friend tells me the 12th anniversary is all about silk and linen (representing luxury and comfort), and I am all about it. Cheers and thanks for all your support! Do me a favor and forward today’s newsletter to some friends and tell them to subscribe—that would be the best anniversary gift, truly! Mille grazie.

More to celebrate: the James Beard Foundation semifinalists were announced, and it’s always great to see our local talent be recognized. Stand by for the list of finalist nominees on March 14th.

All righty then, let’s get to the news. And the champers.
Marcia Gagliardi

February 6, 2018

Celebrating sparkling rosé weather at the Gastropilgrims dinner at Airbnb (featuring spumante brut rosé of nebbiolo d’Alba from 460 Casina Bric). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi chickadees. How’s this gorg weather working for ya? Uh-huh. Yeah. I totally had the best sunset beach walk on Saturday and am already fast-forwarding in my mind to springtime. Some of the blossoming trees are with me on this. My sunny mind-set fit perfectly with the Jamaican vibes over at Kaya in Mid-Market. You really should go and get the Deep Dub cocktail and piri-piri chicken (and swirl soft-serve for dessert) so you can feel the island juju too. (And the price is right.)

I have also been on such a ramen tear lately (I still blame the movie Ramen Heads), be sure to zip through my Instagram feed if you’re looking for some new spots. I’ll be writing about a new and amazing discovery soon—but I gotta go back one more time.

So next week is Valentine’s Day, and most dinners and deals make me want to scratch my eyes out, but Alfred’s is doing a nice offer ($65 for a three-course dinner, with a choice of porterhouse with roasted bone marrow or a filet rossini with black truffle and foie gras butter, to share), or you could have some real fun and attend this cannabis pairing multicourse dinner with The Opulent Chef, whether you’re single, coupled, or going out with your girlfriends for Galentine’s Day—all that and then some! Another aphrodisiac- and bloom-filled night you can check out will be this special Valentine’s Day event about tropical flowers and their sex lives at the Conservatory of Flowers. Heh-heh.

Enjoy the week. Get outside. Drink some beer.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 30, 2018

One-time-only special lobster tonkotsu (with medium-thick wavy noodles!) at the opening party for Ippudo. (I really hope those noodles come back though.) Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hi. Excuse me, let me put down these chopsticks for a moment and wipe my chin so I can say a proper hello. I swear, after watching a screener of the upcoming film, Ramen Heads, all I can do is think about ramen. It’s a good thing I had just come from the opening of the brand-new Ippudo when I watched it at home later that evening, with a belly full of wavy noodles.

But two days later, I was back at it, slurping at Sozai on Friday night, and I’m going to Daly City tonight for another bowl. (Follow along on Instagram if you want to know where.) And I have a ramen lunch date at Marufuku in Japantown this Thursday. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

You can catch the premiere of Ramen Heads at the Roxie Theatre during the SF IndieFest (February 1st-15th)—more details here. Join me in the obsession. It’s such a marvelous film to watch. I really really need to go to Japan, it kills me that I haven’t made that happen—yet.

But for now, I am thinking about Russia! I’m going with my dad for World Cup this June-July, fingers crossed we get some tickets in the random-selection draw tomorrow! More than 4 million tickets were requested, so it’s daunting. But I am an optimist! And will be hitting you up for recos once we figure out what we’re doing. So excited.

Okay, back to my noodles. And hopefully pelmeni soon.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 23, 2018

Have you experienced lunch at Izakaya Rintaro? You should. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello my fellow food lovers. I know this past weekend was a busy one for a lot of folks in the biz, with both the Good Food Awards and Fancy Food Show happening (and many food industry peeps visiting from out of town and trying to score reservations at the city’s hottest restaurants). Friday night was the Good Food Awards, complete with vegan protestors taking the stage (with one of them escorted offstage by Alice Waters herself—I guess that counts for double points?!), with mountains of cheese and salumi at the after-party (I guess that’s negative points for the vegans?).

You can see the list of the 2018 winners here, and I posted some pics of some fabulous new product discoveries from the Good Food Awards mercantile I attended on Saturday. Here’s to all the makers!

Saturday night, I got dolled up with my fellow vintage SF-loving friend (I swear, we must have been friends in the 1940s) and went to check out the renovated Fisherman’s Grotto on the Wharf, now known as The Grotto. We enjoyed some Wharf classic dishes (great Louie and cioppino) and their fish and chips is tops. The space looks fantastic. We’ll be back for live music in the Sinatra Lounge one of these upcoming Tuesdays, see you there.

Sunday Funday evening was all about the Italians, starting with an aperitivo party with Manicaretti Italian Foods to celebrate founder Rolando Beramendi’s new Autentico cookbook (and taste lots of magical olio nuovo), followed by Casa de Case’s annual warehouse dinner party, featuring their imported Italian products, with many of the producers in the house! (And the local restaurants and chefs that use their products at the table.) What a night.

You know what was also amazing? Seeing so many of you at our Pencils for Kids fundraiser last week! Thank you all so much for your support—we had a full house, and the food and drinks and wines were fantastic. Thanks so much to everyone who helped raise money to support the education of so many children in Bali, Myanmar, and Thailand! You warmed my heart! If you can all please support our event partners, that would be so appreciated. They were so generous.

This week, I have plenty to keep you as busy as me. I hope you’re hungry—or you’re about to become hungry.
Marcia Gagliardi

January 16, 2018

Yes, I am ready to bring this fragrant cocktail to my nose and lips! We’ll be serving the House of Painters, courtesy of our generous sponsor, Rémy Cointreau, at the PFK fundraiser event Wed evening. Photo: Dominic Alling.

You smell that curry in the air? The turmeric? The freshness of shiso? And kumquats! Or how about the fruity rosé, or the enticing smell of coffee? All these gorgeous fragrances (and more!) will be perfuming the air at our Pencils for Kids fundraiser party tomorrow, and I really hope you will be there to enjoy all the flavors with us! Read all about it in today’s tablehopper, and don’t miss the part about the pair of tickets we are giving away to Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific in the raffle! Epic!

And if you can’t make it, you can always donate a backpack with school supplies for children in Thailand, Bali, and Myanmar. Thank you for all your support and help spreading the word to your food-loving and altruistic friends, I really want us to sell this out! Sawatdee-kaaaaa!

I have been busy promoting this event the past week, but was happy to sneak in a couple great art experiences, including a fun visit to FOG Design + Art fair (did you go?) and the Oakland Museum for the trippy Nature’s Gift exhibit by FriendsWithYou before it ends on the 21st. Color therapy for the win!

Okay, I have a LOT to do, so let’s dive in here. I really hope to see you tomorrow! Thanks again. Mwah!
Marcia Gagliardi