This week's tablehopper: my kind of wine train.


Part of the lineup of vintage wines I got to taste at PRESS. Photo: ©

Oh, hi. Excuse me while I put down this chicken leg, which has more meat on it than Angelina Jolie’s biceps. One thing I didn’t want to put down last week was my wine glass. I headed up to wine country on Wednesday (in a very cute, red, shiny Fiat 500 I rented for a couple days—fun) for a very special event at PRESS St. Helena to commemorate their new wine cellar, which now has room for 10,000 bottles, and is the largest all-Napa collection of wines in the country. I know, kuh-razy.

Owner Leslie Rudd and his distinguished guests were opening up a slew of vintage cabernets, from a 1974 Robert Mondavi to a 1988 Philip Togni that haunted me. The room swirled with legendary vintners, including Peter Mondavi Sr., Paul Draper, and Warren Winiarski, and I very much enjoyed dining next to Dave Del Dotto, who kept pouring his 2006 Vineyard 887 St. Helena cab for me (smashing with the trio of beef—I don’t know how the kitchen managed to serve so many guests such exquisitely cooked beef all at once). What an event—one for the books.

The next day I swung by Redd Wood in Yountville for lunch with my adorable parents, who were in town celebrating their anniversary. We sat out on the terrace, dining on a delicious little gem salad with winter vegetables and Green Goddess dressing, and a couple stellar pizzas (courtesy of Liza Shaw, who is assisting Richard Reddington in getting the pizza dialed in—the lardo, mushroom, spinach, and Fontina pizza was fab). The place has a cool New York look—reminded me a little bit of the Breslin. Look forward to coming back in the evening for cocktails.

Friday I was invited for a special media luncheon at Betelnut in honor of the launch of author Nina Simonds’ new book, Simple Asian Meals. What a delight to see grand dame Cecilia Chang at the table, along with Patty Unterman and other fun culinary colleagues. Chef Alex Ong and his team did a great job interpreting dishes from the book. So why should I have all the fun? I have a signed extra copy of Simple Asian Meals to give away to one lucky reader! All you need to do is comment on today’s column posted on the tablehopper Facebook page by 11:59pm on Friday March 2nd, and I’ll randomly pick a winner this weekend. But here’s the catch: you’ll have to pick it up (I live in the Western Addition/NoPa). I loathe the post office, sorry.

FYI, I drew the winner for the Whiskies of the World Expo tickets this past weekend, but don’t forget, you can use code tablehopper for $10 off!

Last week, I had one of the tastiest things I’ve eaten under $15 in some time: the off-the-menu French dog at Café des Amis in Cow Hollow. You can only order it at the bar, and the sauerkraut with bacon was so good I was pleading with chef Mark Sullivan to start selling it in jars. I talk all about the housemade French dog, along with the sausages you can order at City Beer Store via Citizen’s Band in today’s episode of You Gotta Eat This on KGO Radio.

Have a swell week,

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Feb 28 2012