What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
December 1, 2020

Had to share my Dad’s masterful turkey-carving job this year, and Mom’s two cranberry sauces and sweet potato soufflé. (Yes, we also had two kinds of gravy, and I’m grateful for it!) Not pictured: the fennel-spiked stuffing, and sissy’s epic red kuri squash/pumpkin pie! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Howdy, friends. I hope you were able to enjoy Thanksgiving in whatever form you had it (or didn’t!) and could downshift over the long weekend while the intensity keeps building around us. Ooof. Breathe. I was so happy to get off Twitter for a couple days and be up in Healdsburg watching sheep, let me tell you. Things have been a bit too 2020 over here: I managed to fracture a wisdom tooth while eating a burger on a crusty Italian roll (ow, damnit!) and had to get it extracted a week before Thanksgiving, THAT was fun. I’m all better now, thanks to the wonderful Dr. Temlock (and tablehopper reader Kia for the reco!), but it definitely forced me to chill out a bit and enjoy a wide array of soft foods, LOL.

Today is Giving Tuesday, as I am sure your inbox is telling you, and I’d love for you to take a look at SF New Deal, the SF-Marin Food Bank, and the new 86 Fund (an emergency fund to support restaurants and help them “weather the winter” to make it to spring), all such worthy places to donate. I know money is tight, but any amount helps take care of others!

Yup, it’s December. Whoa. This tablehopper issue has some holiday suggestions for you, with more to come…I am truly inundated over here with announcements and trying to post as much as I can. If you feel like donating to my tip jar, that will put some “ho ho ho” vibes into Champers the Elf’s holiday work and headquarters. Thanks so much for all your support, always!

One thing that is making me chuckle are the sparkly cannabis-coconut-cacao flakes I’m eating, my own version of California snow, ha-ha! If you follow me on @tablehopper or @mymilligram, I hope you saw the news that MONDO cannabis powder is back (after three years!), one of my favorite cannabis products ever! If you would like to try adding some low-dose sparkles to your day, give it a try (click here for NorCal delivery through my local delivery partner, Sava). MONDO helps me with mood (need it!), energy, productivity, and creativity, and never leaves my desk! You can watch the video with Mrs. Doper (that’s me) to learn more. Feel free to reach out to me if you’re curious or have any questions!

One last thing: stand by for this week’s episode of the On the Fly podcast with Charles Chen, the founder of Basuku Cheesecakes! I’m so excited for you to learn more about everything that goes into making this extraordinary Japanese-inspired, Basque-style cheesecake that is captivating everyone who is lucky to try it. Obsessed! Charles is also a longtime restaurant consultant—it’s a fascinating interview to learn about his background and career path.

I have to sign off since I need to get my bratty Fiat to the mechanic (yes, another thing wrong over here), so I’ll catch ya later. Keep your head up, mask on, stay safe, and please pay a visit to your favorite restaurant this week and order some takeout—they’d love to see you.

Marcia Gagliardi

November 10, 2020

The ridonkulously good Western Addition oysters at The Anchovy Bar. Hear all about them (and many other incredible dishes) in the upcoming On the Fly podcast episode with chef Stuart Brioza! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Whooooohoooooo. What a rollercoaster of emotions we’re on. Breaking the waves. Waking up on Saturday to the news of a Biden and Harris presidency brought such joy and deep relief—the best feeling I’ve had the past eight months, that’s for damned sure. You also don’t realize how much you’ve been holding your breath until you can let it go. (I felt like a human Champagne bottle with a cork flying off!)

Over the weekend, a friend asked how I’ve been doing, and I said I had such a strange feeling of exhilarated exhaustion. I feel like I could sleep for fifteen hours every night, no problem, and the time change only supports me in this desire. I know we’re all sorting through a mix of deep and profound feelings that have been kicked up, and looking at the hard work of healing this nation that lies ahead and reversing so much damage. Here’s to blue skies, instead of toxic orange ones.

And then we have this afternoon’s news that San Francisco is rolling back indoor dining, which is ending Friday night. It’s distressing to read in this press release from the city that since October 2nd, San Francisco has experienced a 250 percent increase in COVID-19 cases, and the number of new cases per day per 100,000 people has more than doubled over the last three weeks. We have to do our part to flatten this surge of cases, batten down the hatches, and ensure the safety of our essential workers and citizens.

This is devastating news for so many restaurants that have expanded operations for indoor dining, so please support your local favorites with takeout, outdoor dining, and any other ways you can, from promotion to your friends to big tips to buying gift certificates. The SFOEWD has thankfully announced some additional assistance to small businesses is coming, take a look for upcoming grants and more.

One big adjustment happening this year is around Thanksgiving. Many folks won’t be returning home to celebrate (wise move), and our gatherings need to be much smaller and safer. Thanksgiving is a big culinary undertaking, and one way you can support local restaurants and businesses is to buy Thanksgiving meals, sides, and pies from them. I’m seeing a bunch of incredible meals and offers, and am posting updates to my Instagram Highlights and Stories daily (look for the trio of turkeys). Gobble gobble.

Thanksgiving this year will also be without Dungeness crabs—the commercial crab fishing season has been delayed until December 1st. And for a good reason—it’s to allow space for humpback whales to migrate south safely without getting entangled in fishing gear. We’ll just have something to look forward to next month (if you don’t have any recreational/sport fisher friends).

Now, some exciting news! I’m so fired up about today’s sponsored event announcement with SipSend and JuNi! Next Thursday November 19th, it’s time to treat yourself! We’re going to be hosting a special virtual tasting event, featuring an over-the-top, omakase-at-home sushi box from JuNi, with five beverage pairings (wine and sake). I’ll be moderating the event with SipSend founder Martin Sheehan-Stross and JuNi wine director Justin Chin. I know this one is a bit of a splurge, but let me be the first to tell you that you deserve it, sweetie! There’s an extremely limited number of boxes and pairing kits, so act quickly. More details below. (And if you want to order more than one beverage pairing kit for yourself, go for it!) Look forward to seeing you—virtually—next week!

More treats for you: this week’s upcoming episode of the On the Fly podcast by tablehopper is with chef-owner Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions, The Progress, and the newly opened The Anchovy Bar. You’ll hear some backstory of what it’s like to open a restaurant during a pandemic (yeah, it’s intense), but it’s also going to be such a hunger-inducing episode—I loved taking a deep dive with Stuart about many of the incredible dishes on the menu. You’re going to love it. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to podcasts and don’t miss it.

Many thanks to Edible San Francisco for including a mention of On the Fly in their recent newsletter, Eat. Drink. Think., and you really should subscribe to this quality newsletter! Editor Bruce Cole curates some excellent tidbits, articles, and more every week. Tasty stuff.

I also want to thank the Financial Times for speaking with me while preparing their article on outdoor dining in SF. See you on the patio!

Stand by for a bunch of posts on Instagram (@tablehopper) from me in the coming days…between following the election and being out of town in LA for my birthday (thanks to all of you for the kind wishes), I have some serious catch-up to do. I’m working slowly, and feeling so utterly distracted. I’m just trying to take it all day by day, like you. It’s all we can do.

Best wishes.
Marcia Gagliardi

October 27, 2020

Don’t miss the chance to experience the SkyStar Wheel, America’s largest traveling observation wheel! 2020 marks the 150th birthday of Golden Gate Park—celebrate by going 150 feet up! Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Inhale, exhale. Ahhhhhh! And argh! I know most of us are really feeling the pressure this week, with Election Day in a week (VOTE! My gawdess, please vote!) and so much hanging in the balance (I can’t EVEN). Do whatever you need to do for self-care and sanity this week, whether it’s a walk on the beach or a nosedive into a wheel of cheese (and/or bottle of wine) or if you’re me, a nightly cannabis aperitif or weed rosé. I try to go to bed laughing every night, and watching an episode of Schitt’s Creek or Broad City and cackling through the nightly stream o’ memes in Mario Diaz’s Instagram Stories usually does the trick. Take good care.

A couple weekends ago, I headed up to Tomales with my sis and a friend for a two-night getaway—thanks to everyone for sending in tips! We had such a great time at the William Tell House drive-in movie (the last showing is a double-feature this Thursday!), feasting on barbecue and burgers on our blanket, and walking home to our cute suite in the inn was too easy! We managed to get two great beach days in (soooo lucky), and snagged a table at Tony’s Seafood, right on the water, the perfect setting for a couple dozen oysters and rock crab claws and fish tacos for brunch. Our dinner on the patio at William Tell House was fantastic, with more oysters (when in Rome…), insanely delicious chowder, and the burger (with Stemple Creek beef) is a thing of beeftastic beauty. I’ll be posting more pics on Instagram soon—I’m playing a wicked game of catch-up right now. Get outta town!

Speaking of, I’m heading out of town again, this time driving to LA with sis for my birthday this weekend. It’s going to be a quick trip—I’ll be staying with a bestie in Silverlake, and definitely tracking down some tacos while I’m there.

SAVE THE DATE: on Thursday November 19th, I will be presenting a unique pairing event, featuring sushi, wines, and sake from Ju-ni, delivered by SipSend! There will be a limited number of spaces, stand by for details in the next tablehopper!

I hope you had a chance to listen to the most recent episode (our twentieth!) of the On the Fly by tablehopper podcast, with community organizer Vinny Eng! Vinny shares about his recent work with the groundbreaking SF New Deal, and please read their impact report that just came out! It offers an important perspective on the current state of our city, the needs of the community, and how we need to show support.

Thanks to all of you who continue to support tablehopper through your generous tips in my virtual tip jar. It means so much, especially during these weeks when I don’t have any sponsorship to help cover my time and expenses.

Lastly, Eat Drink SF is currently running through November 1st, offering extra-affordable SF Restaurant Week-style menus for lunch and dinner at restaurants all over the city. Enjoy a three-course menu at August (1) Five on their new patio for $40; or China Live (also $40); or a $15 lunch at the new Hummus Bodega; or a $40 dinner on the patio at Ristobar (feasting on their fettuccine with lamb ragù); or lunch or dinner on Town Hall’s new plaza seating; or there are a variety of menus from Z&Y Restaurant. Be sure to check out the virtual culinary programming as well.

Okay, it’s time for my daily walk before it gets too dark out, one of the only things keeping me semi-sane these days. Hang in there, everyone. VOTE.

Marcia Gagliardi