This week's tablehopper: worlds o' flava.


From the one-and-only master of garnish, Scott Beattie (at Meals on Wheels). Huckleberry Gin Punch, with 209 gin infused with huckleberries, Pimm’s No. 1, lemon, cardamom, mirin, sake, rice wine vinegar, and bitters, garnished with chocolate mint and borage. Photo: ©

Is it weird I like this chilly and gray weather? Well, it’s handy for when I’m on deadline, because I don’t feel bad about being inside. Tomorrow I will be back on the road and heading into some Wine Country warmth since I am attending The Culinary Institute of America’s Worlds of Flavor, an international conference with more than 60 chefs visiting from Asia, Europe, and all over the U.S.

This year’s theme is Asia and the Theater of World Menus, so we’ll be learning about rice, ramen, sake, shio koji, kimchi, curry, and a whole lot more. Cool! (There’s a live webcast in case you want to tune in to the general conference sessions.) It will be great to be in St. Helena, and since I am staying with friends in Yountville, I’m fired up to go eat at Ciccio (finally). I’ll also be staying over Friday evening for the grand tasting at the Calistoga Food & Wine event, see you there?

Today’s issue has two in-depth profiles of two exciting openings, Aatxe and Octavia (I visited Aatxe on their opening night on Friday and dined at Octavia on Saturday). Add them both to your hit list.

Sunday was the 28th annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala benefiting Meals on Wheels, and as usual, it was over the top with the best local chefs, bartenders, and winemakers. I’m just editing my photos of the reception now, I’ll be sharing them as soon as I can. A huge round of thanks to gala chef chair Nancy Oakes and all the talented people who made it the special event it is. Am looking forward to hearing how much they raised this year! It’s always staggering. Go SF.

My Sunday only got more decadent with a special dinner at BDK Restaurant hosted by Ruinart, and chef de caves Frédéric Panaïotis. Spicy fried chicken and the exquisite 2002 Dom Ruinart rosé, let me tell you, that was the jam.

So, a couple more quick things. First, my fellow caffeine fiends, here’s my post on on four new cafés around town, have at it.

And I have a big favor to ask! It ends up the developers of my late-night dining app are no longer supporting it, and I’m having a hard time finding someone to transfer all the data into a new app format for me so I can update the damn thing. Anyone have any ideas? I don’t have a lot of dough to throw at this, but would love some support, ideas, or leads. THANK YOU!

I am taking Friday off since I will be in the 707, so have a great week!

Marcia Gagliardi

View tablehopper Newsletter from Tuesday, Apr 21 2015