Darren Crawford of The Devil’s Acre busy pouring Old Pals at the tablehopper North Beach crawl for Negroni Week. Photo: © tablehopper.com.
Hello, my fellow lovers of balmy weather (and those who love to hate it and live in San Francisco for a reason). I’m already plotting my evening bike ride to an aperitivo with glee.
Last week was a total blast, thank you to everyone who attended the sold-out tablehopper tour of North Beach for Negroni Week! What a fun group. You can check out the photo album of our tablehopping night here.
Next up: this Friday evening is the tablehopper wine tasting event with Patz and Hall, who make fantastic single-vineyard chardonnays and pinot noirs. We’ll be kicking off our Friday night with some of their sparkling wine as well (with gougères!), and I can’t wait to taste charcutier Peter Temkin’s salumi he custom made (using their pinots!). We have just nine tickets left, join us!
And if you can’t make it on Friday, here’s a piece I wrote for the Patz and Hall blog about five of my favorite things to eat and drink in Sonoma (which includes a visit to their Sonoma House tasting room, of course).
So the international food community is mourning the death of the great Roger Vergé, while our local food community is rippling with the shocking and tragic news that writer GraceAnn Walden has unexpectedly passed away (some posts on her Facebook page say the poor thing fell and hit her head, so awful). All of us in the food gossip game owe this OG a lot—she started the Inside Scoop column in 1991 and owned and ran that beat like a boss. When I started the tablehopper column in 2006, she was very supportive (although I know it was primarily motivated by the fact that I’d be providing some competition to the Chronicle, which had let her go the year before).
This Newark-born broad was brash, funny, opinionated, sharp (both senses), and no one could burn a bridge like her—she was a master of flaming emails (yes, I received a few too) and scathing comments, public and private. But in time she would usually drop her grudge against you and soon be nice, hoping you’d forget the previous bucket of bile she had poured on you. (I now wish I had shaken off the most recent one she lobbed my way sooner.)
As I said to a writer pal, she was a bulldog with a kitten heart. Anyone who read her Yummy Report knows what a lover of animals she was (it’s so sad, her two pooches, Tinkerbell and Bruno Mars, are at The Marin Humane Society in Novato—here’s hoping someone can adopt the two of them). She was a great ally and very supportive of good people trying to make it in the restaurant world. She loved San Francisco so much and showed off its many culinary charms in her food tours. She had stories for days. GraceAnn, you left us way too soon—you still had so many more axes to grind. Condolences to her many friends and family and everyone you knew this spitfire of a lady. The world is much less feisty without her. RIP, GAW.