January 27, 2009


Did you finally slog through last week’s issue? This one should be a little less time-consuming, I promise. I was all over Dodge last week, including an always-scrumptious sushi feast at Sebo in Hayes Valley on Wednesday, which ended up making me jones for MORE SUSHI, so I went two days later to Takara in Japantown before catching Revolutionary Road (gotta catch up on all my movies before the Oscars). There was a Brunello tasting sandwiched in there on Thursday, too. And some quality beers at Church Key on Grant in North Beach—you been yet?

Saturday afternoon I was home cooking for friends, how novel. On the dinner menu: a spread of preserved lemon and chickpeas on crostini; an Iraqi lamb and eggplant stew (the leftovers last night were even better); a savory pancetta and fregola recipe from Janet Fletcher; and for dessert, Bi-Rite salted caramel ice cream topped with some Cavedoni Botte Piccola balsamico that I picked up from Howard Case. It was like a double-caramel dream. Huh, we never made it to the feta-mint-watercress-cucumber salad. Poor salad. But I made it yesterday for lunch and it was a winner—would go great with beef kebabs.

Sunday my sis and I cruised on up to Sonoma and Carneros, starting with a tour and some bubbles at Domaine Carneros (great way to start the day—and the generous pours you get make the $25 fee practically disappear), then had a tasting across the street at Cuvaison. We cruised into Sonoma for an early Portuguese supper at LaSalette (quite homey and delish), and then caught the Yard Dogs Roadshow at the Sebastiani Theatre, which is why we were up in the 707 in the first place. If you are at all interested in seeing a vaudeville-burlesque-cabaret-freak show, this local troupe is performing tonight in Petaluma at the Mystic Theatre.

Fortunately, this week I have a lot of dancing on the docket (three shows, actually) to balance out the perils of dining out and the ZAP tasting that is coming up on Saturday. Woot.

In this week’s issue, I prove I know where the Sunset is with my review in the regular, and include some ideas for Valentine’s Day in the socialite. Speaking of that poor beleaguered day, here’s a giveaway courtesy of Frank Melis of Golden Gate Wine Cellars. I am giving away five pairs of tickets to a “Wine Tasting Extravaganza” he’s hosting on Valentine’s Day in the private room of the Lakeside Café at 2529 Ocean Avenue at 19th Avenue. The venue might be modest, but the wines aren't! Meet winemakers and taste wines from Marco DiGiulio (Hidden Ridge & Marco DiGiulio); John Schwartz (proprietor of Amuse Bouche, Coup de Foudre, and Vin Perdu); Peter Posert (Gain Bay); Scott Rich (Talisman Cellars); Susan Pey (Pey-Marin, Spicerack, and Textbook); Lioco Winery; Greg La Follette and Stephen Yafa (Segue); Rolando Herrera (Mi Sueño), and others, as well as some unique boutique German producers. The tasting runs from 5pm–8pm, so you can still make it to dinner afterwards. Or perhaps you’re just drinking your dinner (although some hors d’oeuvres will be provided).

To enter to win a free pair of tickets, please forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to a minimum of two buddies, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friends why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, I wish I was 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 January 30th; I will notify the winner over the weekend! If you don’t want to bother with the giveaway and want tickets to the tasting now, you can contact Frank at 415-337-4083. Tickets are $50 per couple, and the fee is waived with a minimum wine purchase.

Good luck, and Happy New Year of the Ox!

~ Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)