This week's tablehopper: all over, under, and on the town.

quince martini.jpg

The Quince Martini.

Guess who was out on a rare Monday night? Yours truly was busy signing books at the Wines of Portugal event (was great to meet a lot of you, thanks for coming over to say hi!), and then I hopped over to Quince to play my part as a special guest for a food-loving lovely lady’s birthday party in the private dining room (I was scheduled to arrive with the dessert course—but alas, there was no jumping out of a cake). My dinner, however, consisted of the house martini and potato chips at the Quince bar, and scarfing a slice of pizza on my drive home at 11pm (I definitely needed some carbo-loaded fuel since I burned the midnight oil to meet my deadline—someone had to write this damned thing).

Much more fulfilling was Easter dinner with my family: my dad not only made the most delicate fettuccine (coated in my mother’s amazing tomato sauce), but then we had such juicy braised capretto (baby goat) with pancetta and peas. Plus my mom made an apple cake with walnuts for dessert (it paired perfectly with some of my dad’s grappa, built for a chilly night). Gotta love the Gagliardi Family Ristorante—my dad was asking why he wasn’t in my book. Let’s just say my Monday leftovers for lunch were primo classe. And I am royally spoiled since all I did this year was show up and chop some crudites for the appetizers (can you sense my guilt?).

Last week’s highlights included a smashing meal at Quince that went late into the night (two words for you: cheese course); a faboo Cooks With Books luncheon at Perbacco (chef Staffan made sure no one left hungry); my reading at Kepler’s in Menlo Park where my high school history teacher surprised me in the audience (followed by a late-night dinner with my mom and sis at Kabul, so delicious); and my Q&A and tasting at Bloomingdale’s with Jake Godby of Humphry Slocombe (have you had his sublime duck fat pecan pies yet? Holy cow. And with his brown butter ice cream? Hold me.).

This week is going to continue the “rock the casa” theme: Wednesday is all about bubbles at the Tour de Champagne at the Bubble Lounge; Thursday I will be at 18 Reasons for a tablehopper meet-and-greet (from 7pm-9pm) with bubbles and treats from Onigilly (come on by!), Friday I’ll be staying over at Cavallo Point in order to wake up early on Saturday for the Peter Greenberg Worldwide radio show, and then I’m signing books and sampling treats with you East Bay folks at The Pasta Shop at Rockridge Market Hall at noon (it’s free!), and then I’m hoppin’ in my car to drive down for dinner at Pebble Beach Food & Wine and an overnighter, plus a Champagne tasting and the Grand Tasting on Sunday. There will be lots of coffee consumed this week—call it a hunch.

Since I missed Pebble Beach Food & Wine last year, I am especially fired up to attend this year, it’s quite the event. I was lucky to be invited as a guest of the organizers, but you should know there are some great à la carte tickets available starting at $100 (including a Friday demo with Thomas Keller). And then there are the two Lexus Grand Tasting events that take place in a 60,000-square-foot tent, with bites from 25 top-notch chefs and pours from 200 premium wineries—it’s $175 for a day pass, and the event runs from 12pm-3pm. It’s class-ay.

A little more lowbrow (but just as delicious) is my Hop Dog Happy Hour next Wednesday April 14th. You coming? Tickets are selling quickly. Heck, you get to try four dogs and four cocktails, all for $15! The other one to book a ticket for is my Commonwealth Club two-martini lunch at Bix on April 29th. The menu is rockin’. Check it out in the socialite!

Shall we dive in? Let’s.

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Apr 6 2010