What’s Cookin’

Weekly Intro and Updates (Coming in hot...)
September 27, 2022

“Tortellini in brodo” made with eggplant in tomato consommé with basil oil on Flour+Water’s Harvest Moon menu. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello there! This is going to be a short intro letter from me—I had to wrap up my column Monday night so I could hit the road early Tuesday morning for an event in Wine Country. (When you get an invite to SingleThread for an event with Cuzen Matcha that is right at your deadline, if you’re me, you figure it out. Priorities! Whoosh!) So, today’s column is a brisk one. Type tablehopper type!

Wanted to make sure you saw a few fun things on my Instagram feed since I’m eating for thousands of you: if you have a special occasion coming up, or you just feel like a glam night out, take a look at my post about Selby’s in Atherton—we had quite a swell night celebrating my Mom’s birthday last week. Best chocolate cake, ever.

As we move into this early fall period, you can enjoy all this gorg late summer produce in Flour+Water’s Harvest Moon menu, featuring seven courses (and five of them are pasta!); available through October 10th.

I had a craving for Hong Kong-style wonton soup, and enjoyed the version at Noodle Stop, though their housemade chile sauce is what really won my fire-eating heart.

Get some friends together and go have some inventive, flavor-packed dishes at Maybeck’s in the Marina and Copas on Market! If you can swing the $95 “let the chef cook for you” menu at both/either of these places, do it.

A dumpling fest at Bund Shanghai was another fun night out (before seeing The Empire Strips Back, LOL).

Before I sign off, I wanted to be sure you knew about the world premiere of The Art of Eating: The Life of M.F.K. Fisher at the Mill Valley Film Festival, both virtually and in-person. (I’m looking forward to seeing it here in SF at the Roxie Theater.) Oh, and if you’re a creative, or you just adore David Bowie, don’t miss Moonage Daydream before it leaves theaters. It’s a ride!

Ciao for now!
Marcia Gagliardi

September 13, 2022

Have a fun night on the town and see the opulent Moulin Rouge at the Orpheum Theatre (and enjoy a pre-show bite and post-show cocktail somewhere nearby). Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Hello, friends. I got back from Lake Tahoe a week ago, in time for an action-packed week that included checking out the gorgeously restored Peacock Court at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins (it’s truly glam and fabulous), followed by boozy drinks at the Tonga Room (when on Nob Hill…). (If you follow me on Instagram, I shared all these fun visits in my Stories.) My wingwoman and I tried to get a cocktail at the Big 4, but it’s still closed and locked up! So tragic. The Huntington Hotel was supposedly reopening last July, according to some Instagram posts, but obviously that didn’t happen. If anyone has any intel, I’m all ears.

On Friday, I had my heart lifted and mind blown with the scintillating production of Moulin Rouge, running at the Orpheum Theater until November 6th. Do NOT miss this show—especially if you’re a music lover, you won’t believe the mash-ups! The sets are fantastic, and it’s such a sexy show! Enjoy the spectacle, it will take your mind off of things.

If you’re looking for somewhere to eat before or after the performance, check out the special food and cocktail menus at The Madrigal, Villon, and La Bande (they will also be giving away tickets, check their social media accounts!), and One Market has put together a tasty three-course menu with a weekly ticket drawing! Cocktails on the rooftop at Charmaine’s are always a good idea, and Bluestem Brasserie also makes it easy to make it to the show on time with their pre-show ordering. Have a fun night!

With all my running around, I managed to pick up a nasty bug, and have been playing my least-favorite game since Saturday: is it a cold or Covid? (Second only to “monkeypox or mosquito bite?” Ugh.) I’ve been testing myself daily, and fortunately—not really, but yes—it’s a cold. (Such a rarity these days, but it’s kicking my ass.) I woke up without a voice, so I didn’t get to interview a couple folks I planned to speak with for today’s column. Wah wah. I’m wiped out, so it’s back to bed for me, with my noodle soups and golden milk. Blergh. Catch ya later. (And don’t catch this cold.)

Marcia Gagliardi

August 30, 2022

Louisiana blue crab claws in drawn butter at Turntable x Mosquito Supper Club last week. Oh my. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Greetings from Lake Tahoe, where I’m hanging out this week with Fortuna (we’re practicing leash training on the back deck, it’s high comedy). So grateful to be up here in fresh mountain air (and not checking PurpleAir) and sunny skies; the lake is crazy-warm this year.

I’m decompressing from a wild month of work, dealing with some family stuff (including packing up grandma’s house of treasures, big sigh), lots of running around (living up to my name!), and burning off some steam with live music (two full-throttle LCD Soundsystem shows in a week exact a heavy toll).

Over at @tablehopper on Instagram, it’s my week of latergrams—I’m finally catching up on posting about a bunch of amazing meals and experiences. Be sure to check out the incredible noods at the newly open Taishoken on Valencia (I wrote about this project first here).

In a recent post about Ju-Ni’s Handroll Project, I mention I was going to share a couple tips here for how to score a coveted seat at their counter. They open at 5pm (Wed-Sun), and use Yelp Waitlist to manage their walk-in-only crowd. Some folks line up as early as 3:30pm to guarantee they get a spot—if you think you can show up at 6pm and put your name down, there won’t be room and the list will be closed, so save yourself the frustration. But what I do hear is some folks who were on the waitlist give up and bail on their spot, so if you come by around 8:30pm or so, you may get lucky and snag their spot. This would be a good week to try since so many folks are out of town. Good luck!

A project of mine that I’m super-jazzed to see come online is the Oakland Vegan Trail on Visit Oakland! That assignment had me bizzzeeeee! I visited and wrote about 20-plus, fully vegan brick-and-mortar locations, alllll over Oakland. It was an adventure, with some inspiring discoveries (thanks to all my wingmen and wingwomen). Check it out!

I also wrote about my experience researching and writing this guide: A Meat-Eating Writer Hits the Vegan Trail in Oakland (and Finds a Goldmine of Delicious Dishes). So, even if you’re not vegan, you’ll find plenty to enjoy. (There’s additionally a sidebar with some vegetarian spots.) Look for my upcoming post on Instagram with pics and highlights!

I look forward to hitting up Casa Borinqueña next and adding them to the Vegan Trail—tag @tablehopper and @visitoakland in any spots you visit (or want us to know about!). I’m also researching vegan products made in Oakland and available for sale in person, like at a shop or farmers’ market (online doesn’t count)—hit me up with any faves!

OK, gang, it’s time for me to power down and go for a swim—I didn’t come up here to be on my laptop all day. This week’s column is a bit short and easy-breezy: I left out cross streets and other details because boss of me said, “Get off the computer. Go for a swim.” I have the same advice for you. Enjoy the long weekend.

Marcia Gagliardi