April 2009

April 28, 2009

I can’t believe I was out of town for yet another sunny weekend–this time I was up in St. Helena researching an upcoming piece for tablehopper (and for another project I’ll share with you in a moment). If you have a chance to head up to wine country during this magical spring season, jump on it.

Highlights from my weekender included a visit to Schramsberg (I had no idea the winery’s history was as extensive as it was, quite remarkable); a high-falutin’ wine tasting (Atelier) at Acme Fine Wines with winemakers Andy Erickson, Celia Welch Masyczek, and more in the mix (you can read the Napa Man’s detailed recap of the event here); a tasting at Orin Swift’s arty-chic headquarters; a break from all the wine with a lunch at Go Fish that was delightfully paired with sake; and I had my first burger after weeks of just saying no thanks (that cloth napkin burger quest really did me in) at Taylor’s. Lip smackingly delicious. The view from my patio at the Wine Country Inn was quite peaceful and pretty. And I will never, ever tire of sleeping in the dream beds of Meadowood.

After 48 hours of complete and total hedonism, I came home and promptly started a three-week detox/cleanse. (I know, what a send-off. Hey, if you’re gonna do something, do it right.) No, the Dalai Lama has nothing to do with this decision. You can read all about my upcoming three weeks of monk-like existence in the health nut. Yeah, it was about time that section returned–I had to find a flashlight first. (Cough.)

So, ya ready for some big news? I am pretty damned excited about finally letting this one outta the bag: I just finished signing a contract for my first book! It’s going to be a tablehopper guidebook to dining and drinking in the City and outlying areas (title forthcoming). The award-winning Ten Speed Press will be publishing it, and the book is going to be released in spring 2010. I’ll share more about the concept later, but there is definitely going to be a twist to differentiate it from the other guidebooks out there.

I’m incredibly excited, as you can imagine, and also going to be incredibly busy for the next few months writing this thing (my manuscript is due in July). What does this all mean? Well, I am definitely going to be less available over the next two months. I will need to make this column a bit shorter (well, I will try); I won’t be attending as many events; I won’t be answering as many emails, or at least keeping my replies short and sweet… You get the drift. Gotta buckle down, batten down the hatches, and write, write, write. So thanks for supporting me in this very exciting next chapter (har), and for inspiring me to do all this in the first place!

All right, it’s time for me to go munch some carrots and drink green tea.

Yours in health and happiness,


April 21, 2009

As some of you may remember, I am just getting back from four days of sun and music and heat (triple -digits, wooo!) and pools in the desert, so this week is a super-short issue. Looks like you had some nice weather yourself. Why thank you, yes, I enjoyed the much-needed break—Coachella is one hell of a good time.

Thanks to guest jetsetter and bookworm writers, I actually have a bit of a column for you to read today. Oh yeah, and there are some starlet sightings too. Next week I’ll share details on the latest news, like the opening of Mina’s RN74 this Friday, the upcoming opening of Bar Crudo on Divisadero, and the unfortunate temporary closure of Postrio this June.

This week I am looking forward to checking out Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation on Thursday, and am hoping the gorg weather continues when I head up to St. Helena for an overnighter and the Atelier tasting at Acme Fine Wines on Saturday (along with a whirlwind tour of eateries and wineries, natch).

Since I shouldn’t be the only one with quality wine in my immediate future, let’s do another giveaway, shall we? Check out the wine tasting event below in the new section the sugar mama, which is where you’ll find tablehopper giveaways from here on out!

Happy Earth Day tomorrow.

~ Marcia

April 14, 2009

Looking back on my culinary excursions last week, it was the week of Little Bunny Foo Foo: I had rabbit pot pie at Mission Beach Café (and a full-tilt-boogie with dessert—j’adore the lemon velvet cream pie, whoa), and rabbit and liver sausage the following night at Poggio (plus lamb’s brain ravioli with ricotta—extraordinary). Huh, I also had some tasty wabbit at Nopa. Methinks the tablehopper has an affinity for animals that hop (and hoppy beers).

You’d think I had rabbit on Easter as well, but no: my family feasted on capretto (baby goat) with peas and my father’s house-made pancetta, and our stupidly delicious lasagne, stuffed with house-made soppressata, little slices of sausage, baby meatballs, my mother’s incomparable tomato sauce, plus slices of hard-boiled egg, and a slew of cheese. This dish would be my last meal ever, no doubt about it. Good thing we only make it a couple times a year, or it really would be my last dish.

I want to welcome all the new subscribers who hopped aboard after hearing me on Forum with Michael Krasny last week on KQED. If you missed it and want to check it out, you can listen to the show here. My fellow fab guests included Michael Bauer, and Meesha Halm of Zagat. We chewed the fat in a quick-fire fashion on a variety of topics and then took live calls; with a room full of restaurant hounds, we could have turned the show into five hours, I swear.

One topic was cheap eats, so I thought for this week instead of doing a review, I’d just do a recap of 10 ideas for cheap eats for y’all (it’s also an easy way for me to link to some of the places I mentioned in the segment—some of you were asking me about them). Another thing that came up is the recent rise of street food. And being in San Francisco, of course we have some clever additions to the scene. Since I got a lot of emails asking about the whereabouts of things like the Magic Curry Kart, I am supplying some links to the latest ad hoc culinary happenings below in fresh meat. I hope you dig it.

We have a very cool wino this week, written by Michaël Engelmann, who just won the title of Best Sommelier in America last week. Check it out—it’s a compelling account of the competition.

It’s a new month, which means another book giveaway from the award-winning Ten Speed Press. This month I am giving away three copies of Takashi’s Noodles by Takashi Yagihashito to three lucky tablehopper readers. All you need to do all you need to do is forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to one buddy, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, I am so not kidding!), and CC or BCC luckyme@tablehopper.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. Deadline to enter is midnight Sunday April 19th—I’ll notify the winners with noodle slurping in their future next week.

Speaking of next week, as I mentioned, yours truly is heading off to Coachella this Thursday for some fun in the sun. And next Monday I will be kicking it poolside instead of writing this beast of a column. Yup, the tablehopper is having a mini getaway, and I intend to enjoy every single sun- and cocktail- and bass- and treble-filled moment of it. So next week’s issue is going to be a shorty (unlike this week’s, jeez Louise), written by guest jetsetter and wino and bookworm writers, yay. I’ll also be off email for a bit, so don’t expect me to get back to you until next week.

Let’s rawk!


April 7, 2009

This weekend it was clear, Spring has sprung. All you had to do was look at the farmers’ market and Dolores Park on Saturday to confirm it. I had fun riding my bike all over town this weekend—highlights include Jordan Mackay’s reading (Passion for Pinot) and wine tasting at Omnivore Books (read below in the chatterbox for a cool tip about Omnivore!), linner (that’s lunch-dinner) at an outside table at Phat Philly (read all about it in fresh meat), and the Festa di Primavera at the Ferry Building.

The Festa was a bounty o’ bites, but my very favorite was the crostini slathered with ’nduja from Boccalone, a spicy pork spread from Calabria (it’s the stuff I mentioned last week that was in my friend’s Italian gelato). Boccalone literally just released the ’nduja—after the event I promptly went downstairs to the salumeria to buy some. Although I’m going to top off my future crostini or panini with a dollop of TuttoCalabria hot spread sauce—the hotter the better, I say.

This weekend was perfect beer-drinking weather. So for this week’s giveaway, I have two tickets to a private VIP tasting party celebrating the 2008 winners of the Samuel Adams American Homebrew Contest. The party is next Thursday April 16th from 6pm–8pm at Tiernan's in Fisherman’s Wharf, so don’t enter unless you can make it (and you’re over 21, duh)! You’ll be able to sample the winning brews, meet the brewers and the winners (the two winning consumer homebrewers were from the Bay Area, beating out 1,500 other entries, go Cali), munch off a buffet of food, and did I mention there will be beer? Mmmmm, beer.

To enter to win the pair of tickets to this private party, all you need to do is forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to one buddy, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, I am so not kidding!), and CC or BCC luckyme[at]tablehopper[dot]com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. Deadline to enter is midnight this Friday April 10th—I’ll notify the winner over the weekend.

Oh, and for any of you homebrewers who want to take your shot at entering this year, you can submit American Homebrew Contest entries from April 15th–May 1st, 2009.

A few housekeeping notes: so who is the kind soul who “parked” the tablehopper page on Twitter? I’ve been trying to reach you and would love to hear from you, thanks yo!

And while I am bummed to be missing this year’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine event, I can’t wait to get out of dodge and head down to Palm Springs for Coachella. I leave next Thursday, and will be hitting the Saturday and Sunday shows. Does anyone have some below-cost tickets they need to unload, or VIP access they can style me and my cohort with? Awwwww yeah! I figured it couldn’t hurt to put it out there, you never know. You know where to find me.

Oh, and tablehopper was featured on the Malou Review (thanks ladies!), but yeeouch, they called me Mar-sha. Oh well—I guess they didn’t get the “Marcia rhymes with Garcia” memo. They must have been fans of The Brady Bunch. You can click the link to watch the segment.

Happy Easter (cheep cheep!) and Passover, people!


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