August 18, 2009

Hello people. Were you wondering where your hopper was? Remember, it was gonna be a little late today? Anyway, your Tuesday afternoon time-waster is here! It's just as well that my fab designer and I had to start late today, because it gave me time to go to the podiatrist this morning to survey the weekend's dancefloor damage to my big toe. Let's just say electrician in big boots: 1, food writer in high heels: 0. Damn, there goes my new running regimen for the next few weeks—looks like riding my bike (in flip-flops) is gonna be my only option. Pfffft!

So I totally thought I was going to be a lady of leisure last week (ha, when does that happen?), but I didn't get as much of a break as I thought I would—I had to get crackin' on my book edits! Zippy turnaround. Eep. I was lashed back to my laptop.

I did, however, savor a 24-hour break in sunny Santa Cruz—and I can't wait to tell you all about my meal at the Cellar Door Café at Bonny Doon (soon!), which is mercifully close to downtown Santa Cruz, so it has been spared by that hideous fire. If you happen to be anywhere near Santa Cruz, head on over and park yourself at the (so talented) kitchen's counter; thank me later for turning you on to this gem cranking out farm-fresh food that was pure pleasure. Smoked chevre, bring it on. (Photo: whole fried rock cod over summer ratatouille.)

I am turning my book edits in this Thursday, and then I'm off leash again and heading up to Healdsburg for dinner and an overnighter at the Madrona Manor (can't wait), back in SF for a quick re-packing, and then off to Lake Tahoe for my annual getaway, returning in early September in time for my book's photo shoot! Exciting. No Burning Man for me this year—it was just going to be too much. And besides, I have way too many magazines and episodes of Mad Men and daydreaming to catch up on.

Also excited to hustle up to Tahoe in time to attend one of the second annual barn dinners with Moody's Bistro & Lounge, one of my favorite spots to eat at in the Sierras (chef-owner Mark Estee rocks—and he hooks me up with the best damned tomatoes). A four-course meal will be prepared and served this Friday through Sunday at the certified-organic Sierra Valley Farms, featuring just-picked produce in a historic 1936 barn. (If you're interested, the farm tour starts at 4pm, dinner is at 5pm, and it's $100—call Moody's at 530-587-8688 for more.) It's gonna be fantastic.

Thanks to everyone who entered the ticket giveaway for the passes to Papillon VIII! I loved all your answers (especially the one that suggested that Alvin's tattoo says: "I like General Tso's chicken."). Hilarious. The correct answer was: demon chef! The lucky winner is Stuart Zimmerman, who will be enjoying an evening of exquisite bites from the Demon Chef himself, Alvin Leung, plus music and more at Robert Mondavi Winery on September 8th. (Remember, tablehopper readers still have access to purchase VIP and Grand Tasting Passes to this otherwise invite-only and exclusive event; just be sure to mention tablehopper when ordering.)

This week we have a bookworm from Pete Mulvihill. And since I've got way too much on my plate, I'm bowing out of a review; but there's lots going on in this week's column, including some cool news in the lush, check it out.

Work hard, play hard, have fun doing both.

~ Marcia