This week's tablehopper: paint it (orange and) black.

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The famed iron skillet cornbread at Rutherford Grill. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

Well, I certainly wasn’t getting much writing done last night—I was far too riveted to Twitter, the news, and reports from friends on Facebook about what was happening in New York. Poor, poor New York. So many unbelievable images, like this one of Jane’s carousel, which I can’t stop looking at. Best wishes, thoughts, and prayers to all affected by the horrific (and unfortunately named) Hurricane Sandy. What a nightmare. You can help out via a donation to the Red Cross here.

Meanwhile, it feels so odd to be having this gorgeous fall weather, with an enormous parade tomorrow to celebrate the SF Giants. Such is the current contrast of our coasts. I thoroughly enjoyed a much-needed getaway weekend up in Napa Valley with my sis, my cousin, and her man—we couldn’t have asked for a better fall weekend. Some highlights: dinner at étoile at Domaine Chandon, taking my sister for her first trip to the Orin Swift tasting room in St. Helena, brunch on the outside patio at French Blue, taking in the incredible view at Sterling, the smell of harvest in the air at night, and a very meaty dinner at Rutherford Grill (that damn skillet cornbread is so good) after watching the Giants cinch another World Series game on Saturday evening.

Sunday included a kuh-razy brunch feast at Koi Palace (that place is so freaking delicious),and watching the final game of the World Series with my sis, eating takeout Little Star Pizza (hello, Brass Monkey!), and drinking Micheladas, while the city erupted outside. I’m glad I stayed in—didn’t need to witness all that B.S. vandalism and people acting like jackasses, such a buzzkill. Trying to figure out what to do on Halloween (besides attend the parade)? Check out some options here.

This week I’m taking Friday off to head down to LA to celebrate my birthday with friends over a long weekend—thanks to everyone for the tips on recent places to check out. Can’t wait. See you next Tuesday. And take good care, folks.

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Oct 30 2012