September 2009

September 29, 2009

What the hell happened to me? I woke up on Monday sounding like Kathleen Turner, and while I was initially terrified that I was coming down with a mother trucker of a nasty cold, I also think someone did a little too much carrying on this weekend. I blame the warm weather, my new shoes that were begging to go out and play, knowing too many bartenders and sommeliers, and my sugar high at the Blogher Food conference break on Saturday (the Scharffen Berger chocolate boxes Elizabeth Falkner made are responsible).

This issue is stupidly big: there's a locked and loaded chatterbox, a fresh meat review of Heaven's Dog, a hardhat (on the new Quince!), the starlet, a sugar mama... what the hell, I'm not even going to continue with this intro. I don't want to kill you (or me) with 6,000 words (we are dangerously close to that number), so let's just hop to it.

Huskily yours,
~ Marcia

September 22, 2009

This issue is dedicated to the bright and shiny memory of the life lovin' Don Steele.
You will be so missed by so many.

Whoa, am I on terra firma? Finally, after one hell of a start to the month. I just got back from Spain Friday night, and I think I finally kicked the jet lag after the monster 23-hour journey. My week in Jerez was muy fantastico—I am so fired up on sherry I don't know what to do with myself. I'll be recapping the trip soon, sharing my pics and discoveries from the numerous bodegas I toured (sometimes up to three a day—yup, which meant barrel tastings at 10am), and you know there will be a tablehopper sherry tasting at some point. I managed to eat jamón daily, and even had some Bellota for breakfast (I was also busy falling in love with creamy salmorejo on toast). What a country.






As a food-and-wine warm-up for my trip, I got to attend the Papillon VIII event at Mondavi Winery a few weeks back. Chef Alvin Leung (aka the Demon Chef) of Hong Kong's Bo Innovation had six tables going with two dishes offered at each, all paired with a variety of Robert Mondavi and Opus wines. A fave for me included Iberico ham wrapped around morel-braised vermicelli with saffron foam (I think I ate three of those), and there was a taste of the exotic: "Cheung Fun" of yak milk's cheese wrapped up in rice paper, with the texture of creamy gnocchi. The hit of the event was the side-by-side pairing of xiao long bao soup dumplings, one stuffed with veal cheek topped with truffled caviar, and the molecular version, which popped in your mouth with the tang of vinegar associated with the dish. It was exciting to taste a modern take on Chinese cuisine—more like a teaser, really,

Speaking of Michelin stars, I was dining at The French Laundry the following evening, so you know I was eating like a bird in between the feasts. The gracious service was breathtaking, the room was surprisingly comfortable and lively, and the dishes, well, they varied on the charm-meter for me. I expected more flavor from some, but then others totally delivered with fantastic textures and taste. The presentations were certainly artful. The two visiting sous chefs from Hong Kong at our table promised me some of their images, so I'll hopefully be able to post an album soon enough. I will say this: that oysters and pearls dish really is a thing of beauty.

Hey y'all, thanks for the nice notes about my appearance last week on Eye on the Bay covering street food with Liam Mayclem; we visited Kitchenette, Da Beef, and Little Skillet. If you want to take a peek, the segment is now posted on the website. (Just call me chuckles.)

This week is full of so much news, holy moley—it took over the column. (I obviously had some catch up to do.) I also have a Spanish-themed sugar mama giveaway for you, check it out.

Hasta luego,
~ Marcia
September 20, 2009

So, I am back from the mountains, and if I didn’t have my photoshoot for my book scheduled last week, I would have been making as many excuses as possible to stay up in Tahoe—it’s beyond gorg up there in August. But about the photoshoot: whoa. Talk about tablehopping: I think we managed to hit something like 25 locations around town in two days. Yes, it was insane and grueling, but also thrilling—we got so many amazing shots (oh San Francisco, you make it look easy!). Thanks to all the restaurant, bar, café, deli, and taco truck folks who helped us pull this off!

September 15, 2009

I know, you didn't expect to hear a peep from me, right? Because at this moment I most likely have my nose in a glass of oloroso (I'm in Jerez!) and am not back until this weekend. Well, my faithful bookworm writer, Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books wrote this engaging piece on urban chickens, so I just had to send it along.

It was also important to me to get this out because of the upcoming charitable dinners being planned to benefit Soul Food Farm, which could really use as much help as they can get right now after their devastating fire. There is a Bi-Rite Market dinner in the works—but Sam Mogannam is requesting assistance with donations first (wine, meat, produce): you can read more on how to donate and follow details about the event here. (I am sure other Soul Food Farm events will be posted there as well.)

And on Monday September 28th, Melissa Perello (Frances) is doing a special dinner at Sebo (her last before she opens Frances), with a portion of the proceeds going to the Soul Food Farm Fire Fund. There will be two seatings for the evening: 6pm and 8:30pm. The evening's four-course menu will be priced at $55 per person, and a wine pairing will be available for an additional supplement. These fill up super fast, so email a reservation request and/or request info at monday_night [at] me [dot] com.



Wish I had more time to write up my wine country highlights from the Mondavi/Demon Chef event and The French Laundry, but that will have to wait until next week. In the meantime, here's a pic of the vineyards on Diamond Mountain when I was walking through the lovely Reverie and Diamond Creek properties. Harvest is in the air.

Lastly, I can't believe I am missing the airdate of my first appearance on Eye on the Bay, but I'll just have to catch a re-run of it! Ever-charming host Liam ("the Mayhem") Mayclem and I chowed down at a number of street food locations in San Francisco together, so you can check out our tour' o street eats on Friday September 18th at 7pm on CBS5.

Saludos from España, see ya next week!
~ Marcia

September 8, 2009

So, I am back from the mountains, and if I didn't have my photoshoot for my book scheduled last week, I would have been making as many excuses as possible to stay up in Tahoe—it's beyond gorg up there in August. But about the photoshoot: whoa. Talk about tablehopping: I think we managed to hit something like 25 locations around town in two days. Yes, it was insane and grueling, but also thrilling—we got so many amazing shots (oh San Francisco, you make it look easy!). Thanks to all the restaurant, bar, café, deli, and taco truck folks who helped us pull this off!



The photographer, the talented Ed Anderson, was a total champ (he did the photographs for the A16 cookbook). And luckily we got to eat, drink, and taste the majority of what we shot, so you know I chose well, heh. Like the Guinness float pictured here from St. Francis Fountain. (Looks good on a warm day like today, right? You should try that thing at 11am, let me tell you.) Anyway, it's very cool to see how nicely this book is coming together.

So here's the part of my column when you're going to want to tell me to go to hell. I almost don't want to tell you. I don't even understand the convergence of amazing sh*t happening in my life this week. (Pinch pinch.) Okay, I'm going to come clean with you.

As soon as today's column is posted, I'm scooting up to wine country to catch the second half of the Papillon VIII event at Opus One/Robert Mondavi Winery (can't wait to meet the Demon Chef, Alvin Leung), and am staying up there one more day so I can eat at, er, um, The French Laundry. I'm pretty darn excited, because guess what? This will be my first time dining there! Like many folks, I've been waiting to dine at the Laundry for a long time; I wanted to be sure I went with equally food-and-wine obsessed friends, and I'll be damned, that's exactly what's happening. So glad I held out.

Once I waddle my way back to the City, I'll be home for 48 hours, and then here's where things get really ridiculous: I am then packing my bags and catching a flight this weekend to Spain. Jerez, to be exact (can you hear me lisp it?). I'll be there for a week, touring the bodegas during harvest and learning a ton about sherry. And hunting down some jamón ibérico de bellota, oh you know it. Can't believe I haven't been to Spain since I was 20, so I'm giddy like a teenage girl over this trip.

See why I almost didn't want to tell you about my upcoming week? I know, it's gross. I feel like I just won some crazy culinary jackpot or something. Anyway, I will be Tweeting when I can, and will have a full report on my shenanigans in my column in two weeks—but next Tuesday afternoon you'll only hear the sound of crickets.

I hope you had a swell Labor Day—I was actually home writing this thing all day and night because I know I owed you a beefy column this week. I hope you're hungry.

Hasta luego, amigos.
~ la Marcia

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