Tablehopper Restaurant Guide: Solid Advice, Delivered in Gal-Pal Prose

Tablehopper-in-chief Marcia Gagliardi drops her Ten Speed-published debut book tomorrow. Over the weekend, we spent a few hours thumbing through an advance copy. Unsurprisingly, it's called The Tablehopper's Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco ($16). The subtitle ― Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion ― is key. Her tome departs from guidebook convention, cataloging eateries by the reasons you'll choose them, not solely by the cuisines they dish up or the neighborhoods they claim. For example, situated way out in the far reaches of the Sunset, Outerlands Cafe is a prime place to head when you're playing hooky from work, somewhere you can savor good levain and a steaming bowl of soup ― ideal ingredients for a cozy afternoon spent avoiding your cubicle's uncomfortable chair and flickering computer screen.

Likewise she recommends Delfina and Quince to people forced to entertain visiting New Yorkers ― “your Chelsea art gallery-owning urban warrior cousin and his fashionista wife with a penchant for pastis.” Hmmm. Our lovably scuzzy Brooklyn-born college buddy with a bustling dog-walking business and a long-standing crush on the white lady would probably be fine with less refined digs, but you get the idea. Gagliardi's book shares her favorite restaurants, and with them, both explicitly and implicitly, her San Francisco stories, those of a woman who arrived 15 years ago, ate obsessively, and found a way to craft a calling out of her favorite hobby. While she leans on some tried-and-true destinations, we like how she encourages tourists to seek out less-traveled gastronomic pleasures ― a T ride over to Dogpatch for phenomenal pizza at Piccino, for example.

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