April 2008

April 29, 2008

So glad I made it home from Chicago in time to enjoy the gorg weather over the weekend. My trip to Chicago was super-short, with no time to play, really, but I did manage to wiggle a dinner in at Blackbird (freaking delicious), and Frontera Grill (lucky for me it was cochinita pibil night!). I even got a pic of Mister Bayless, who was in the restaurant that night. Gotta head back to Chi-town soon and take a week to run around—it was torture to be there and not be able to experience that super-cool (and whoa, so clean!) city. Thanks anyway to all of you who sent recos!

Before heading out there last Tuesday, on Monday night I had a chance to peek at Anchor & Hope (bite highlights include some stunning Beausoleil oysters, the fried Ipswich clams, and stuffed clams with basil), and then scooted on over to Uva Enoteca, a nice little slice of NYC here in the city. Can’t wait to go back to both and hang out.

Had a good time on the radio on Sunday on A Matter of Taste with David Michael and Rachel Cane—will let you know the next time I’m on (in May). We chatted about Sebo, Spork, the new chef and dishes at Tsar Nicoulai, and I was asked if there is an off-limits time of day for egg consumption (uh, never!).

Oh, and thanks to all of you who entered to win the $100 gift certificate to Troya! Bummer I was only giving away one prize! Congrats to tablehopper reader Alicia A. who won–enjoy your din din.

Have a swell week,
~ Marcia

April 22, 2008

So when you’re reading this, I’ll actually be on a plane headed to a consulting gig in Chicago this week. I won’t have much free time, but Blackbird and the Violet Hour for cocktails are top o’ my list. And hopefully Portillo's for a dog and garbage salad (I’m 100% class, really).

Wanted to share some fun news: starting this Sunday, April 27th, I’m going to be a monthly guest on A Matter of Taste, a food and drink-oriented radio show with David and Rachel Cane. I’m scheduled to go on at 5pm, but the show airs from 4pm–6pm. Tune in to Green 960AM and I’ll be recapping some highlights of where I’ve been gallivanting and what I’ve been lovin’ around town lately.

Wanted to give a shout-out to the nice CCSF culinary students I met while I was at the Wok on the Wild Side event Friday night—keep up the great work!

Oh, and for those of you who adore abalone, or just want to learn more about it, here’s a link to an article I recently wrote for Edible San Francisco called “The Abalone Rangers”—look for it in this month’s April/May Fish issue, which I think is on newsstands now!

Lastly, I’m doing a giveaway of a $100 gift certificate to Troya Restaurant, featured in this week’s the regular. (The certificate is not redeemable for cash, and excludes the gratuity.) Just forward this newsletter to two pals (or more, thanks!) and cc luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com when you send it to your peeps—it's best if you explain why you're emailing it to them, or at least include something about tablehopper.com. I promise I won't be collecting your friends' emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track that you forwarded it to two or more folks. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Sunday, April 27th. I will be randomly drawing the winner and will email you to let you know you've won next week. Good luck!

Happy Earth Day.
~Marcia

April 15, 2008

So are y'all looking good with a little sun-kissed color? Weekends like the one we just had are moments when I seriously relish my convertible, and give thanks that we live so close to the coast—I actually hit the beach both days.

Another thing I give thanks for is the sometimes incredible edible mail I get. So much better than just bills and credit card applications, let me tell you. (I know, I know, now you really hate me.) But I do end up discovering some great products this way. One of them became a winning snack for me and my beach buddies this weekend: the new flavors of popchips (sea salt and vinegar and salt and pepper). I am not really into chips (my waistline is challenged enough) and I am definitely leery of low-cal products made with ingredients I don't recognize. Not to sound like an infomercial, but I had to share! These taste seriously good, are all natural, and are a shockingly low 4g of fat or so for an entire bag. Extra awesome with an ice-cold beer (sand not included).

A couple other delicious things I've recently discovered:
~I tried the Harvest Song preserves from Armenia at the Fancy Food Show a couple years ago (apricot is so good, ditto on walnut, and peach!), and have been hooked ever since (I pick 'em up at Rainbow). They just came out with a gorg plum preserves version, been delish on my morning toast! No preservatives, or pectin. Just fruity goodness.

~I was eating a bit too much of the Marin French Blue from Marin French Cheese Co./Rouge et Noir this weekend, a super creamy (try triple crème, hello) Brie and mild blue that was deliciously soft after I let it sit out for a bit. A blue that acts like a Brie, which is already the company's champion cheese. Wicked with some wine (I was tossing back some syrah).

~Oh, and I just have to say I recently enjoyed the best darned eggs ever, from Soul Food Farm in Pleasant Valley near Vacaville—I picked up a dozen from the Fatted Calf retail shop at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa, and yes they were $7, and yes, the yolks reminded me of the eggs I used to get in Italy. I cherished each and every fried and poached egg I made for those two weeks, worth every penny.

And hey, thanks to all of you who entered the Comedy for Kids contest—I know that was a hot ticket. Congrats to Ken A. who won the pair o' tickets! I'll be doing more giveaways soon!

Catch ya on the flip side,

~Marcia

April 8, 2008

Well, is the joke on you, or is the joke on me? Last week, in my April 1st issue, I said it was my last tablehopper, but revealed it was an April Fool’s Day joke in the end of the first paragraph. So no, I’m not going anywhere just yet. But thank you all for the 150-plus emails of concern, kindness, support, and inquiries of “what the hell?” I even got a condolence card in the mail. Awwww.

So the larger question is this: if you’re not making it past the fifth sentence of my petite tomes (would you pay more attention if they were tommes?), why am I even writing this thing? Ha ha! But seriously, you skimmers, look for shorter columns, starting today! Yeah, right. Well, I will try.

Now that we have my faux retirement (I’m going to start bolding more) out of the way, how apropos, let’s celebrate with a humor-related giveaway. Coming up on Friday, April 25th is Comedy for Kids, a big-ticket comedy event hosted by Dana Carvey (choppin’ broccoli!) and friends, preceded by a cocktail reception and a celebrity chef dinner with Daniel DeLong and Margaret Grade, the chef/owners of Manka’s Lodge, plus Gordon Drysdale, and Elizabeth Falkner (Orson, Citizen Cake), and hosted by Joey Altman. There is also an after-party with Joey Altman's band and great food tables from Miette, little laura's sweets, Umbria, and an open bar with specialty cocktails. Pretty swell, no? It’s a huge fundraiser for kids with autism.

I am giving away a pair of tickets to the dinner and comedy show (worth $1,000 each, uh huh!)—just forward this newsletter to three pals (or more, thanks!) and cc luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com when you send it to your peeps—it's best if you explain why you're emailing it to them, and what tablehopper is. I promise I won't be collecting your friends' emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track that you forwarded it to three or more folks. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Friday, April 11. I will be randomly drawing the winner and will email you to let you know you've won. Good luck!

And now, let’s hop to it,
~ Marcia

April 1, 2008

Hello dear readers. This is a hard thing to write, especially after two years of dedication to this venture, but sadly this will be the last tablehopper issue to show up in your inbox. Not sure if I'll be able to start it up again at a later date. I hope to, but I'm currently just too busy with other writing gigs to keep this thing going. I want to thank you all for your support, and also wish you a very happy April Fools' Day.

Sorry, I'm a cretin. But what the hell, I had to do something. It was either that, or some made-up gossip, like Marisa Churchill taking over Julius' Castle, or a fake starlet entry, like Fabio being spotted at the Ambassador. Anyway, let's proceed.

Ahhhh, springtime—loving everything in bloom, HATING my allergies right now. Ack. I know I am not alone. But I have to strongly recommend a mini road trip for anyone who can swing it right now, even to get out of town for the day. It's a dreamy season to do it. I hit the Pebble Beach Food and Wine event on Saturday, and immensely enjoyed my drive down the coast along Highway One. I longed to pull over in Pescadero for a taco, pick up some artichokes at numerous fruit stands, and chill out over a glass of wine at Bonny Doon, but I had to keep on truckin'. The event itself was quite the splashy affair, with a tent bigger than Cirque du Soleil's (and carpeted), and lots of "star chefs" roaming about. I spotted the Top Chef triad of Ts (Tom Colicchio, Tre Wilcox [damn, he has some guns], and Ted Allen), but my absolute favorite moment was seeing Jacques Pépin! (He had women literally swooning around him—he was so gracious and charming. He's the man.)

I was especially happy to see tables commandeered by non-TV chefs/personalities at the Lexus Grand Tasting, like Susan Spicer (Bayona, New Orleans), Joel Huff (Silks), Michael Ginor (Hudson Valley Foie Gras), Mark Estee (Moody's Bistro, Truckee), and Kendra Baker of Manresa did a lovely rhubarb and coconut parfait. I also attended a seminar, a vertical tasting (1998–2006) of Pisoni wines, which was also fantastic, due in no small part to the antics of Gary Pisoni, the Wolfman Jack of Wine as far as I'm concerned. Ahwoooooo.

Speaking of liquid persuasions, I decided to break out the booze news and new bar/club mentions from the chatterbox—you'll find it all in the "lush" section now. Hic.

Ciao/meow,
~ Marcia

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