This week's tablehopper: torque.


Raw and blanched asparagus salad with carrot soubise and lemon-goat cheese vinaigrette at Grand Café. Photo: ©

Well, happy gorgeous Friday to you! Spring fever in effect, just as we spring forward on Sunday. And I definitely have a spring in my step (and soon in my shocks), because I am off to San Jose to pick up my brand-new, red, shiny, Fiat 500 Sport. I was explaining to a friend it’s kind of like when you lose a precious cat: I needed to find a playful new kitten to distract me from the loss of my beloved Alfa Romeo. I know, I know, it’s just a car—but when you love to drive as much as I do, it’s more than that.

The timing couldn’t be better, because tomorrow morning I am heading up to the magnificent Kenwood Inn and Spa in Sonoma for a self-imposed business retreat with a friend (I’m calling it Vision Quest 2012). Things have been so busy with tablehopper, I haven’t had time to step back and map out all these ideas I have for the business. So this weekend, it’s time to open the sunroof, put the pedal to the metal, and get outta Dodge.

I have to say, what an inspiring week packed full of inspiring women it has been: the EWIP (Exceptional Women in Publishing) 2012 Women’s Leadership Conference featured some influential speakers (and new contacts), followed by dinner at Grand Café with my friend, the visionary Rachel Cole. New executive chef Alicia Jenish has made some welcome changes to the French brasserie menu, lightening things up significantly (loved the asparagus salad, and bouillabaisse).

And yesterday was International Women’s Day, which I annually celebrate at A16’s Festa della Donna, a wonderful, local culinary tradition. Joyce Goldstein was the honored guest chef, and her menu of rustic crostini, asparagus and Dungeness risotto, and cocoa-crusted shortribs braised in red wine was fantastic alongside the wines of Lorenza Sebasti Pallanti of Castello di Ama (I fell in love with the 2009 “Al Poggio” chardonnay/pinot grigio from Gaiole in Chianti—what a smashing pairing with the risotto). It was so heartwarming to see the table of three generations of the smiling Goldstein family, with Joyce at the head, while wine director/owner Shelley Lindgren buzzed around the room, pouring wines and greeting guests (mostly tables of women, or savvy men taking their ladies out). A memorable evening celebrating memorable women; I raised my glass (again and again).

As you can tell, I’m on cloud nine right now. Cue the birds singing.

Thanks to 707 Scout writer Deirdre Bourdet for today’s stories—some exciting things happening in wine country. And I promise you’ll have a review from me next week. Scout’s honor.

Have a delightful weekend!

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Friday, Mar 9 2012