Category Archives: Food Reads

What does the Tablehopper eat in a typical week?

Any SF foodie worth her weight in fleur du sel salt looks forward to Marcia Gagliardi’s zippy tablehopper emails every week. I always scan for her latest reviews and she keeps me updated on wine & spirits events around town. Grub Street San Francisco recently asked Marcia to talk about what she eats on a regular week — keep in mind that this is one sexy lady who reviews restaurants on a regular basis! I quickly clicked ahead to check out her schedule. This particular week included Thanksgiving weekend, so although it was full of treats, it wasn’t full of the typical high-end tasting menus. Still, it was fun to read, as it gives you some delightful ideas on how to eat like the fabulous tablehopper. Oh, and you also get a sense of how she keeps that figure: lots of walking around SF hills and boot camp. My favorite entry?

Saturday, November 27

A morning with Green Menace, and then breakfast was Straus plain yogurt with pineapple, flax, and granola. And an espresso.

I was out running a couple errands, so I stopped off to get two tacos from Rico’s at Belmar La Gallinita Meat Market on 24th Street (they’re only open Friday night, and on the weekend): I got the house speciality, cecina (flank steak), and some suadero (brisket)–topped them with onion, cilantro, and their lip-numbingly-hot rojo salsa. I saw lots of folks ordering the quesadillas, which here are pre-fried tortillas with either brains or chorizo/potato that are warmed up on the plancha–I opted for the latter, which was stupidly good (just watch out for the toothpicks). It’s also smart to bring a little container of salsa to your table so you can dribble it over each bite of the quesadilla.

I went to Humphry Slocombe intending to have a single serving of ice cream (it’s almost kitty corner to Rico’s), but then Sean (one of the business partners) foisted the delicious pumpkin pie ice cream pie on me. Bastard. I brought it home and proceeded to eat a nice honking slice. It’s wicked stuff: pumpkin pie ice cream with five spice that is poured into a gingerbread crust, topped with housemade marshmallow fluff and then browned. Sick. Proceeded to gift the rest to the neighbor and my sister so I wouldn’t eat the damned thing.

Espresso break.

Dinner: headed over to Ragazza with a pal (I love being able to walk to dinner). We had a glass of Prosecco with the chicories with green goddess dressing and sunchokes; roasted Brussels sprouts with lardo; baked rigatoni with butternut squash, brown butter, sage, Fontina, and amaretti crumbs (have mercy, mamma mia); split a Moto pizza, with mushrooms, red onion, sausage, mozzarella, tomato sauce, and Calabrian chilies (vroom); too full to eat dessert, but they sent us home with a slice of the ricotta cheesecake. Do I look like I need cheesecake? Why is everyone giving me pie?

My pal and I swung by Chez Marcia for one of my Manhattans (Old Sazerac rye, Carpano Antica, Angostura bitters, brandied cherries) and then got a cab to go see Bonobo at Mezzanine, where I had a couple more drinks, and then a nightcap back at my place. A Tequila bottle came out. And… scene.”

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 8, 2010 in Food Reads


Tags: , ,

James Suckling to Launch Wine Website

Via The Passionate Foodie


Respected journalist and critic James Suckling teams with Hollywood veteran James Orr to create a groundbreaking website that gives the public a new look at wine, vintners, and vineyards around the world

(November 30, 2010; Los Angeles, CA)—James Suckling, the respected journalist and wine critic who spent close to 30 years as Wine Spectator’s European bureau chief, partners with Hollywood producer, director, and writer James Orr to launch, an all-access pass to the wine world. The newly launched site focuses on delivering wine information in a cutting-edge style—relying on high-quality video, with Suckling giving subscribers a visual guide to wine tasting that goes beyond simple ratings to include tasting notes, vintner interviews, and rare access to wineries around the world.

With Orr behind the camera, Host James Suckling’s extraordinary zeal and wine knowledge is brought to life in exclusive video content, bringing viewers a firsthand account on all aspects of the wine industry. The focus of the website is to report on many of the best wines of the world through tastings in vineyards and in cellars with winemakers, vintners, and owners, which allows viewers to see through their own eyes the place, the people, and the rating process. The site will deliver viewers a new video every day of the year.

“The launch of fills a niche that has been missing in the wine media landscape—merging new media with Suckling’s extensive wine knowledge and industry contacts into an approachable format so subscribers can gain access to wine information like never before,” Orr says. “The site focuses entirely on outstanding quality wines, regardless of price or origin.”

The site is a combination of free and paid content, with both subscribers and non-subscribers having access to written and video posts. Subscribers will have the ability to view premium videos, including exclusive wine ratings, tastings, interviews, and retail and winery visits. Subscriptions to the site are $14.99 per month or $143.90 per year. The site will air at least one new video everyday, 365 days a year. Non-subscribers will be able to read blogs, join discussions on the forum, and watch a selection of videos.

About is the brainchild of journalist and wine critic James Suckling and Hollywood producer, director, and writer James Orr. The focus of the website is to report on many of the best wines of the world through tastings in vineyards and in cellars with winemakers, vintners, and owners, which allows viewers to see through their own eyes the place, the people, and the rating process. The site brings a fresh, new approach to the way consumers receive their wine news and information. Please visit to learn more or to subscribe.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 30, 2010 in Food Reads, Wine


Tags: , , , , ,

Go ahead, pour yourself that second glass, girl

Great news from the field of medicine! From the WSJ:

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and Harvard University used data from the landmark Nurses’ Health Study which started in 1976 and involves more than 200,000 women to look at how alcohol consumption influenced women’s health.

“The new research, presented Monday at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Chicago, suggests women might not have to limit themselves to the one-drink-a-day guideline. A drink is defined as a 12-ounce beer, one ounce of hard alcohol, or five ounces of wine, which is often less than the typical serving in a wine goblet.

“Qi Sun, a Harvard medical instructor, looked at nearly 14,000 women who had survived to age 70. Dr. Sun said he found that 1,499 of the women were free of major diseases like cancer and heart disease and had no physical impairments or memory problems. He looked at the amount of drinking these women had done at midlife, or about age 58 on average. Women who reported having one to two drinks most days of the week had a 28% increase in the chance of “successfully surviving” to at least age 70 compared with non-drinkers. Like other studies, Dr. Sun found women drinking most days of the week were more likely to be healthier than women who drank one or two days a week.”

1 Comment

Posted by on November 17, 2010 in Food Reads, Wine


Funny post – Seven Habits of Highly Annoying Servers

I love this new post from the Citypages blogs about highly annoying servers. My biggest pet peeve is probably when the waiter takes away your dish before you’ve finished eating. And you’ve left some little morsels to scoop up with your bread:

6. The Premature Evacuation
Thank you for snatching away my nearly finished plate of food. I had been looking forward to eating those last, delicious morsels, but you’re right–I really don’t need the extra calories. I’m already full, which is why I set my fork down for a split second, which no doubt gave you the idea that I was done. And I appreciate you not asking me if I was through with my entree, or the bread rolls, or that last couple swallows of wine. That would only have tempted me to answer no. Thanks for saving me from myself. Yeah, thanks very much.

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Food Reads


Don't pay extra for luxury liquor

Pull up to the bar on a busy Saturday night at your latest hot bar or club and you’re likely to get asked which brand of alcohol you want in your drink. Brands have gotten so good at selling us the idea that luxury brands like Ketel One, Level, etc. are more delicious that we’re happy to fork over a few more dollars for a branded experience.

But are you just wasting your money?

Yes, says Brett Arends at the Wall Street Journal, and I agree.

“I recently held a blind taste test comparing super-luxury Grey Goose (I paid $22.99 for a bottle), a brand favored by conspicuous consumers, to another French vodka I happened to see in the liquor store—little-known Pinnacle.

Pinnacle’s cost? Just $8.99 a bottle. (That day there was a money-off voucher, too.)

My handful of tasters couldn’t tell much of a difference.
If anything, they slightly preferred … the cheaper stuff.”

Vodka is a grain or potato liquor that has very little flavor. Add some fruity juices or tonic water, and the chances that you can tell the difference between one brand and the other are nil.

But there is someone who cares about what you drink: the liquor companies. According to Arends, for the behemoth company Diageo, which owns brands such as Ketel One and Smirnoff vodkas:

“Gross profit margins are a thumping 58 cents on each dollar of after-tax sales.”

So keep drinking your fancy vodka, and you’ll keep fattening Diageo’s pocket. Bottom’s up!

1 Comment

Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Food Reads


Harold McGee: Gels, seaweed extracts & meat glues, oh my!

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 15, 2010 in Food Reads, Restaurant Buzz


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Gourmet Magazine may be back?

Steve Heimoff has just shared on his blog that Gourmet Magazine may be coming back in some shape or form. Could this be true? Or are the folks over at Conde Nast merely using the name to brand products at Wal-Mart and Kmart?

I really loved the writing in Gourmet Magazine and I will miss the beautiful essays written by some of the best food writers in the world. I will admit, however, that I have rarely ventured into actually making something from Gourmet magazine. Although I am a pretty adventurous cook (I’ve made my own kimchi, cheese and bread), the recipes in Gourmet magazine had ingredient lists that ran longer than the articles and often included strange items that had to be ordered from the internet. Or they required that the cook slave by the hot stove for 12 hours straight.

Perhaps I am exaggerating, but even though I may not have cooked much from Gourmet, I still loved reading the recipes, salivating over the absolutely stunning photographs and dreaming of actually making the food there someday. It was a loss to foodies around the world when Gourmet closed its pages and I do hope that there is a revival, in some shape or form.


Posted by on April 13, 2010 in Food Reads


Tags: ,