This week's tablehopper: moon over my hammy.

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Dusk at the Delano South Beach pool. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

I can’t believe a week ago I was packing my bag for a dream long weekend in South Beach, Miami. All I can say is what the hell took me so long to go back to that beautiful and totally fun place? I ate stone crabs, drank lots of Champagne, swam and sunbathed, and enjoyed plenty of cortaditos. I loved how chatty and friendly everyone was—living in warm weather (and on the beach) totally changes the way people relate. I am already scheming how to live there for a month and really get to know the area. Yeah, I had a great time.

A big bonus was that I was invited as a guest of my cousin, so I had zero press duties over the weekend—I got to just hang out and I didn’t take a single goddamn note. It actually felt like a vacation, how novel. But I did take pictures and snag some menus, so I’ll be posting a mini recap soon of some of the places we ate and drank at (when we weren’t attending SOBEWFF events).

And staying at the Delano was a fricking dream—loved the staff, the all-white rooms, borrowing their beach cruisers to pedal to lunch, and yes, that pool (although I actually preferred the beach—the water was the perfect temperature).

So, back to reality. But let’s keeping talking about hot stuff. Like how about kimchee and sriracha? Here’s the first part of a two-piece article I am writing for 7x7.com on locally made hot sauces, kimchees, and more. I hope you enjoy it!

Next up: here’s last week’s Tablehopping piece for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, with my recap on where to eat, stay, and drink in St. Helena! Maybe it’ll inspire you to take an overnight trip out of town.

Lastly, big congrats to all the James Beard Foundation semifinalists for the 2014 Restaurant and Chef Awards! The finalists will be announced on Tuesday March 18th, so stand by; the James Beard Foundation Awards are Monday May 5th.

Alllllrighty, I need to finish unpacking my bag, shake the sand out of all my shoes, and catch up on this pile of email. See you Friday!

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Feb 25 2014