tablehopper
table of contents   This week's tablehopper: the 312.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the jetsetter
get outta dodge
the wino
in vino veritas

the bookworm
another place for your nose
the socialite
shindigs/feasts/festivals
the starlet
no photos please

 

JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Mamma mia, what a week. I managed to get in a dinner at Avec in Chi-town, wish I could airlift it and plunk it down in SF, what a great vibe, concept, and vittles—check it out in this week’s jetsetter. I am already working on my Nawlins write-up for y’all—that dear city totally won my heart, broke my heart, and clogged my heart a bit too. I was blown away with the Southern hospitality and the strong spirit and strength of everyone I met, from shopkeepers to bartenders to cabbies to servers to strangers on the streetcar. The stories I heard and the things I saw really made this trip bittersweet—it all resonated very deeply. I will be sharing more soon.

Tales of the Cocktail was one hell of an event—if you can, you should seriously consider going next year. In an upcoming jetsetter recap I’ll have all the reasons why, but let’s start with Saving the Sazerac and supporting this one-of-a-kind city in its efforts to rebuild. New Orleans needs all the help it can get.

Duggan McDonnell of Cantina is this week’s guest wino (perhaps I should call this week’s column “the drunk?”) with a special recap on Tales of the Cocktail. I mentioned last week that he’s hosting a pisco event this Saturday at Cantina. If you want to hang out and hear some NOLA stories, including why Duggan’s new nickname is Shotzi, we’ll be hanging out at the bar Saturday evening over some pitchers of pisco punch (I’m drinking, he’s pouring).

And WHOA people, I can’t believe how quickly that the tablehopper supper filled up! De-groovy. Can’t wait to meet you and feast with you. For those who couldn’t get in, I’d say the “signs point to yes” (a la “magic 8-ball”) that I’ll be hosting a supper at another cool venue in September, so stand by.

Also, this week is the second installment of the bookworm from our pal Pete over at Green Apple Books. Don’t forget that any books he mentions are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following the review—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

I am off to Lake Tahoe for four days of “detox” and sleep and salads. No muffalettas (sadly yet thankfully) are in my immediate future. (I am going to ignore the fact that Delessio Market & Bakery, a mere three blocks from my apartment makes them.)

Take care y’all!

~Marcia subscribe


the chatterbox
JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO I know some of you out there love hot Cubanos as much as I do. (The sandwich, silly.) Well, you downtown workers are officially stoked because the former Banana Hut on Kearny is now ~PALADAR CAFÉ CUBANO~, a project from Rita Abraldes, the co-founder of Charanga in the Mission, and Vicky Khan, who worked there as well. Paladar takes its name from paladares, which in Cuba are small family-run restaurants that serve home-style Cuban cooking. This place offers a nice twist, using organic, local, and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. Paladar just opened last Monday and is serving what sounds like an awesome lunch, with five kinds of bocadillos (sandwiches) including the afore-mentioned Cubano ($8.75), made with Niman Ranch roast pork and ham. There is also picadillo Cubano estilo Elena ($10.50), which is Niman Ranch ground beef seasoned with aromatic sofrito, and served with white rice and sweet plantains; and sancocho Colombiano ($11) a beef rib and chicken stew with corn, potatoes, yuca, plantains, and spicy ahogado sauce. ¿Tienes hambre? Just don’t get your heart set on dinner because they are only open for lunch Mon–Fri 11am–3pm. 329 Kearny St. at Bush, 415-398-4899.

See, I did get some work done last week! I actually got to hear this tasty tidbit after a big walk-around spirits tasting at Tales. As ~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ approaches its tenth anniversary (no easy feat in this town), some changes continue. Not only is new executive chef Jamie Lauren up and rocking her new menu, but GM Jeff Hollinger and bar manager Jonny Raglin are going to be opening up a new bar with Absinthe’s owner, Bill Russell-Shapiro. (Hollinger and Raglin have been talking with Russell-Shapiro about the idea for the past year or so.) The bar will be more of an affiliation than an extension of Absinthe; it will be a different vibe and concept, but still a place that will celebrate classic cocktails and feature new ones inspired by the classics. (For more on the classics and their offspring, have you ever have a chance to peek at the fab book, The Art of the Bar, written by Hollinger and Rob Schwartz? There’s a reason why it won “Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book” at Tales this year!) The new bar concept is being described as a grand saloon of the pre-Prohibition era, a grand time for cocktails, but since a space hasn’t been locked in yet, there will still be some fine-tuning of the idea and execution (it will also have a name, obviously). Expect a focus primarily on gin and whiskey.

Hollinger’s GM duties at Absinthe will be winding to a close in the coming month or thereabouts so he can focus on the new bar’s business plan and location search, but you can still expect to see him popping in to handle private events and the like; Absinthe is in the process of searching for a new GM now. Raglin will also (eventually) be stepping back from his bar management role, but they will both be keeping a watchful eye on Absinthe, upholding its reputation as one of the city’s prime destinations for cocktails. I will be keeping you posted on developments, like the new bar’s name and location once it’s all final, but for now, let’s hope for an opening in early 2008. Purr.

While I was away getting saucy in New Orleans, I missed a couple big openings. First up is ~LAÏOLA~, which unfortunately can’t serve wines off their fab list just yet, but hopefully in the next couple weeks. In the meantime, you can take advantage of their BYOB (or as I like to say, BYOGV, GV is for “good vino”) policy, with no corkage for the time being. You can visit Nectar Wine Lounge just around the corner on Steiner, which has a retail license and has offered to give customers a 10% discount off retail wine sales when you tell them you are eating at Laïola. Sweet. Once Laïola’s beer and wine license issue is resolved, you can enjoy their house blend of Borracho y Loco, and wine-based cocktails made by Camber Lay of Frisson and Range bar fame. 2031 Chestnut St. at Fillmore, 415-346-5641.

Was also sorry to miss the opening parties of ~ENRICO’S~, but will be making my way in there soon to check out the new look, menu, and vibe. And dranks. Way to go on the team saving a San Francisco icon, and from what I’ve heard, they have done it right. Open for dinner (for now) Mon–Sat—extended hours will be coming later. 504 Broadway at Kearny, 415-982-6223.

~METRO KATHMANDU~, the new Nepali small plates concept that moved into the former Le Metro Café space on Divisadero just opened last Tuesday. Nothing is over $10, and they are open Tue–Sun until 1am. 311 Divisadero St. at Page, 415-552-0903.
  
As the Miyako Hotel in Japantown morphs into Joie de Vivre Hospitality’s Hotel Kabuki (it should reopen after a major remodel this November), the hotel’s DOT Bar and Lounge is becoming ~O IZAKAYA LOUNGE~, with a hoped-for opening of October 1. The chef is Nick Balla, who worked as a sous under Paul Arenstam at Americano, another JDV hotel restaurant (in the Hotel Vitale). O will offer mid-priced Japanese-influenced shared plates with a California spin (don’t call it fusion). Balla recently spent two weeks staging in a bunch of restaurants and izakayas in Japan. His approach will be simple and modern, putting together dishes like pickled saba with fresh wasabi, beets, and cucumber; braised pork belly with kimchee (yes, kimchee is Korean, but is popular in Japan) and mushrooms; and a version of kamonasu, a dish of duck and eggplant (cured in duck fat) with grated daikon and red shiso jus. Yes, my mouth just watered. Balla will even be using local seaweed in his seaweed salad. There will also be a separate bar menu, with items like a burger made with organic beef, and chicken wings.

Michael Guthrie & Company (he also designed Myth, Bix, and Tra Vigne) is designing the 90-seat restaurant—there are also two communal tables, and room for 20 at the rounded bar in the center. O will have a minimal style, with comfy surroundings and hues of reds, orange, and elements like glass embedded with reeds. The look will also celebrate the Japanese fascination with baseball, with sports team baseball art, like large graphic screens of vintage Japanese baseball cards facing the street, and flat-screen TVs above the bar where guests will be able to watch U.S. games, and games broadcast from Japan. There aren’t many casual places in the area with a full bar where you can hang out and eat, so it definitely will fulfill a niche. There will be breakfast for hotel guests, but otherwise it’s dinner only, and will be open late night plus weekend afternoons. 1625 Post St. at Laguna.

Ugh, this is totally the pits: poor ~BRUCE HILL~ of Bix and Picco wrecked on his bike last week while track racing at Thunder Hill—and going 70 mph. Thank goodness he’s okay, but he broke his ankle (the talus—oh, it only connects the leg and the foot!) and now has four screws holding it all in place. So lousy. He’s interacting with his chefs before service each day and is very confident they’ll be doing an excellent job over the next few weeks while he is stuck keeping his leg elevated. Such a drag. I am selfishly hoping Bruce will be up for hosting a four-course Champagne feast he is scheduled to hold at Picco Restaurant in Larkspur on August 20 with Jerry Horn, AKA Dr. Champagne. I had a great time at Jerry’s last shampoo event at Scott Howard—talk about some swell bubblies. Like, ridiculous. If you want to buy tickets to the event, they are $150 (including tax and gratuity) and space is limited to 18 guests. Get in touch with Jerry directly at 415-497-7693 or email him at drchampagne@comcast.net. Heal up and feel better, Bruce!

So, wrecks are the pits, and closures are the pits, too. That cursed space on Van Ness has struck again, and has now gobbled up ~HUE L’AMOUR~. The owner was the nicest person, sorry they didn’t make it. 2080 Van Ness Ave. at Pacific.

~VIGNETTE~ in the Orchard Hotel on Bush Street has also closed. According to a goodbye note on their website you can visit owner-GM Stephen Walker and chef-owner Jason Yeafoli at their year-old restaurant in Pacifica, Barolo.  

~NUA~ in North Beach has started up some weekend brunch for you eggheads. The menu includes bruschetta with scrambled eggs, braised chard, and sausage; and a leek, onion, and herb frittata, plus items more on the daytime side of things, like grilled tuna or lamb brochettes. And, of course, a burger. There are also some libations like Bellinis and the Shady Shandy, made with Bundaberg ginger beer, fresh lemon and lime, and a lager float. Sat–Sun 10:30 am–2:30 pm. 550 Green St. at Jasper Place, 415-433-4000.

In the “rise and shine” news department, ~JAMIE MCCORMICK~, of Blue Bottle kiosk and Piccino fame, and the former bartender and barista of Oliveto for nine years, has moved to New York. Now, I don’t typically mention news outside of San Francisco city limits, let alone the eastern seaboard, but anyone out there will be beyond stoked to know homeboy is opening a café called Abraco (it means embrace in Portuguese), which is want you’ll want to do to him after he makes you a pretty coffee. He took over a little falafel shop (all 9 x 18 feet of it) with some investors/partners who are all Bay Area musical alumni, and will be opening a coffee bar with all kinds of good morning eats, like frittatas, house-made yogurt, and fresh-squeezed juices as the seasons provide. Elizabeth Quijada of Suspicious Suppers fame and recently the head baker at Babycakes (a bakery in NYC where you can find awesome sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, vegan treats) is putting together a sweets menu with treats like olive oil cake, almond spice cake, deep fried ricotta fritters, zeppole and the like. During the day they will do panini, and in warm months, gazpacho. At night they will cater to the bar crowd (there are five bars across the street) with patatas bravas, warm olives, and made-to-order crisps (potato chips) plus house-made ketchup and garnishes for ‘em. Yup, it all sounds mighty tasty (and convenient). As for what kind of coffee they will serve, it’s still being finalized. Abraco will be opening on August 13th. Congrats, and rock it, Jamie! 86 7th E. 7th St. at 1st Ave.

And in closing, this fully broke my heart yesterday. This statement below was forwarded to me—it’s from ~GRANT ACHATZ~, by way of his publicist. As many of you know, Achatz is the incredible chef of the cutting-edge Alinea in Chicago, winning restaurant of the year by Gourmet in 2006, and admired worldwide for his inventiveness and talent.

I wanted to personally report that I have been very recently diagnosed with an advanced stage of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the mouth. I have consulted several prominent physicians and will likely begin aggressive treatment within the next few weeks. I remain, and will remain, actively and optimistically engaged in operations at Alinea to the largest extent possible. Alinea will continue to perform at the level people have come to expect from us -- I insist on that. I have received amazing support from friends, family, and everyone who has thus far been told of the disease, and I look forward to a full, cancer-free, recovery.

I had the honor of meeting Achatz at the Masters of Food and Wine in Carmel this year (pictured here)—he was kind, funny, and delightfully absent of any chef puffery. Pete Wells of the New York Times had a chance to connect with him yesterday—here’s more on the Diner’s Journal blog. I know there are people around the world whose hearts are going out to him. Here’s wishing him all the best in his fight—may he recover swiftly like the brave and lovely soul he is.

Got a hot tip? You know I'd love it (and you). Just reply to this email!

 
the jetsetter

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Avec
615 West Randolph St.
Cross: Jefferson St.
Chicago, Illinois 60661

312-377-2002
website

Mon-Thu 3:30pm–12am
Fri-Sat 3:30pm–1am
Sun 3:30am–10pm
Bar closes Mon–Fri at 2am, 3am on Sat, 12am on Sun

Small plates $5–$14
Large plates $14–$20

 

JULY 24, 2007 | CHICAGO, ILLINOIS When in Chicago for only one night and with maybe three hours to spare, where do you eat din din? SF chef pals gave me a chorus of ~AVEC~! Avec! Avec! (Not to be confused with Tora! Tora! Tora!) Blackbird, Avec’s more refined and mod older sister, which is literally next door, also got high votes. It was clear I wouldn’t have the time (unfortunately) to experience a multi-course extravaganza meal at Alinea or Moto. Avec it was.

This modern and minimalist restaurant is a like a long shotgun space, a wooden rectangular box sporting a Scando-sauna look: large slats of wood along the walls and floors, angular wood communal tables with bench seating, and a glowing installation of green wine bottles along the far back wall. There is a long stainless steel bar (like 50 feet or so) that runs like a ribbon along the length of the space, offering ringside seats right in front of the gleaming stainless kitchen and blazing wood oven that burns at 700 degrees where the pilot light fires away. There are some wickedly bright fluorescent light fixtures beaming down their merciless light on all the tables, but for some completely odd reason, it works.

The place smells delicious—like a country hearth. Chef Koren Grieveson’s menu is built to share, and with the friendly communal table setup, you will most likely end up trading bites with your neighbors who are nestled right next to you (we did). The menu has all kinds of gutsy and hunger-inducing dishes, like the famed chorizo-stuffed Medjool dates ($9) that are wrapped in smoked bacon and rest in a deep piquillo pepper and tomato sauce. Scrumptious little buggers.

We ended up sticking with choices off the small plates menu, like the red pepper and tomato braised haddock ($12) with slices of caper berries, bits of bacon, and mustard greens on top—totally mopped up the delish sauce with the bread that’s made in house. Our fave was our order of crostini ($8) topped with a hummus-like mash of English peas, and topped with a dressed mix of pea shoots, pickled lemon, red onion, watercress, and ricotta salata. So fresh, electric green, and gorgeous flavor.

The only clunker was the crispy chicken leg and thigh ($9) that had stunningly crisp skin, but the seasoning was AWOL. We did enjoy the accompanying salad of fingerlings, grilled scallions, frisee, and piquillos, however. Lots of dishes show a handcrafted touch, from house-made pork sausage to salumi to linguine.

Our neighbors were kind enough to share some bites of their crispy focaccia ($14) that was more like a pressed and flat sandwich with a thin exterior of crust that shattered just so (man, that oven is something special) and an interior of taleggio, truffle oil (I’ll forgive it here), and fresh herbs.

Because so many piping hot dishes are sailing out of the oven (Hot! Don’t touch!), Avec has some cool presentations, like casuelas with a pretty patina, cast iron mini-skillets, and petite All-Clad paella pans that are served on Japanese-esque little wood ledges.

We tried a couple desserts, but the cheese service is really where it’s at, with your choice from a list of 15 formaggi (choose three for $15) and accompaniments like quince paste, date cake, and fig mostarda ($6).

And what to go avec all this bounty? Yes, fab wines! This food is built for wine pairing, and vice versa. Really enjoyed perusing (and drinking) off the list of wines from Spain, Italy, France, and Portugal. A bunch are available in 250ml pours, so you really get to commune with a wine for a bit, or share it with your friend for small DIY tasting flights. Cool Riedel glassware too (the wine glasses are stemless, and come poised over your carafina of wine). There’s also a full bar that is open later, after the kitchen closes.

I totally dug this place, and would undoubtedly be a regular here if I could. Now I see why some chef pals love it so—it really feels like a chef’s restaurant, from the food to the vibe to the look to the hours. Service was friendly and everyone was cool. Total hodgepodge of guests in the restaurant, from an older couple to our left to some chicas enjoying a (Monday) ladies night out to our right.

I can only imagine how slammed it gets on the weekend—it was totally popping late on the Monday night we dined there. I was also informed the outdoor seating is pretty coveted, especially when people get off work and come over for some liquid (and solid) sustenance. Oh, and no reservations are accepted, so be prepared to wait unless you are there on the early side, or later.

Other Chi-town places I wish I had time to visit/have on my list for next time:

Blackbird

Alinea

Moto Restaurant

Frontera Grill (although the website totally scares me—time to update their site, yikes)

Portillo's for a dog and garbage salad (I guess it’s one of those things you just have to experience and not question too much)

Hot Doug's, The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium (yup, that’s what it’s called!)—was told they serve duck fat fries on the weekend!

Mr. Beef at 666 N. Orleans Street for an Italian beef sandwich or the combo (with sausage and beef), double dipped

Garrett on Michigan Ave. for popcorn

The Violet Hour for Milk & Honey-esque style and drinks, 1520 N Damen Ave., Wicker Park, 773-252-1500

 
the wino
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Shotzi and Hurl savoring a Singapore Sling at the Swizzle Stick Bar.

JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO A Reflection Upon Academic Alcoholism By Duggan McDonnell, A.K.A. The Shot Nazi, A.K.A. ‘Shotzi’

Thirteen San Franciscans descended upon the Big Easy for the Fifth Annual Tales of the Cocktail event held at the historic Hotel Monteleone from July 18–22. Most of us made it back in one piece.

Designed for both the industry professional and the casual consumer alike, Tales presented an incredibly wide range of seminars, tastings, and workshops. Picture this: five days chock-full of education about all matters cocktail-related, plus a generous fundraising effort for the city of New Orleans, AND a damned good time. No wonder I’ve got the sweats today.

I attended Tales primarily as a gun-for-hire for Boca Loca Cachaça (a delicious cane rum distillate about to hit San Francisco) teaching a tasting seminar and cocktail workshop. However the occasion was much more than that. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet colleagues within my profession as well as reacquaint with old friends hailing from all points across the States, and Europe. Imagine experiencing the world of pisco, the history of tiki drinks, nouveau elderflower cocktails, multiple Pimm’s Cups, and fattening your wallet with more business cards than even George Costanza could stand—all before 6pm.

(Before I prattle on, bragging as I do; I must admit that I’m not feeling all that well. In fact, if I could, I’d have my liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, and all other gut-organs to be exorcised and power-washed, bleached, and boiled, then gently returned to their original functioning status. Lord, have mercy.)

Speaking of George Costanza, there were plenty of New Yorkers in the house. Such heroes in the Industry such as Dale DeGroff and Gary Regan, David Wondrich and Audrey Saunders led seminars and lounged poolside just like everyone else. It was amazing for me; like downing a double-shot of Star-struck followed by a buffet of talent always waiting to be feasted upon. New York and New Orleans each possess separate but equal statuses as great drinking cities. And to meet and interact with such an array of working talent was for me comparable to meeting John Cusack a decade ago (Lloyd Dobler, anyone?), and thanking him for affecting my generation. (Which, we all know he did.)

A surprising and very rewarding element of conversation that I kept hearing throughout my visit was how innovative San Francisco is in culinary cocktail development; that San Francisco leads the way in imagination while the rest of the nation waits, watches, and then figures out how to catch up. Folks! This is amazing news!

I was quoted in the September 29, 2005 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle as saying, "I'm willing to go out on a limb and say San Francisco is the best cocktail city in the nation." That’s nearly two years ago, and now (I’m willing) to admit there was a touch of bravado in my tone. Translation: I want San Francisco to be the best cocktail city in the nation. Who knows whether any kind of ‘best’ can or even should be quantified, but it sure feels good to say ‘I’m from San Francisco,’ and be immediately greeted with such a compliment.

And while we’re throwing out compliments, please congratulate the folks at Bourbon & Branch for winning Best New Cocktail Bar of the Year, and Jeff Hollinger, General Manager of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar for Best New Cocktail Book for writing The Art of the Bar.

On Saturday, I asked Simon Difford, publisher of DiffordsGuide, “What time did you leave the bar last night?”

“About 5:30...” he said.

“How’d you get home?”

“I walked,” he replied.

“Do you happen to know what time I left?” I said.

“5:30.”

“And how did I get home?”

“You walked,” and then added with a wicked grin. “With me.”

Ouch.

On a more serious note, I spent some time with New Orleans local Ms. Lu Brow, Beverage Manager for Café Adelaide and The Swizzle Stick Bar. Even from spending just a few days in the city, it’s clear that New Orleans is still very much a wounded city. Lu’s persona is one of classic Southern hospitality and New Orleans charm. She relayed a story of a woman thanking her after the Hurricane for having held a cocktail party for charity a few years prior. The money raised went toward teaching underprivileged girls a number of life skills, including how to swim. When this woman thanked Lu, she said; “Because of you my girls can swim. And in Katrina, we were able to get out. Because of you, my girls lived.” That’s what Tales of the Cocktail is all about: giving back to New Orleans via one its greatest exports: the culture of cocktails.

I’ll be putting in a lot of hours behind the stick, slinging drinks, working hard with my hands and on my feet, and if ever I begin to feel sorry for myself, I’ll remember Lu’s words. And if you’d like, come on down to Cantina, and toast the citizens and the drinkers of New Orleans. They’ve got a good idea going.

 
the bookworm

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JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO By Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books

I’m excited to recommend two books today—one inspired by the sunny summer weather (even in the usually-foggy Richmond!) and one inspired by my inner dork.

The first is a scrumptious book by local “sweetie” Emily Luchetti (currently the pastry chef at Farallon), fittingly titled A Passion for Ice Cream. It includes recipes for making your own ice cream, but also goes further with chapters on ice cream sandwiches, cakes, pies, milkshakes, and more. It’s straightforward, handsome, and complete. I had great success with the gingersnap lemon ice cream sandwiches—ridiculously yummy. (Also, a certain popular ice cream store that opened in the Mission about a year ago was spied buying this very book…)

The inner geek in me has to spread the word about Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Hervé This. The title says it all, but it’s important to know that this book is very digestible (sorry): each chapter is a two- to four-page lesson in the complicated and fascinating interaction between food and science. Examples? “Why the textures of vinaigrettes determine their color; why Champagne ages more quickly in small bottles; how chewing slowly deepens the perception of odorant molecules in cooked food.” You get the picture. A must-have and very readable bathroom book for the curious cook.

If you dare to try both books, be sure to invite some pals over to try your s’mores ice cream cake with cappuccino-chocolate chip ice cream, then wow them with your explanation of why mashed potatoes made with milk stick less than ones made with water. The ice cream cake is sure to prevent your pals from calling you the dork that you are.

Thanks for reading.

 
 
the socialite

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A Feast of Cheese and Chocolate
Sun., August 5, 2007

Sur La Table
77 Maiden Lane
(off Union Square)
San Francisco

6pm–9pm

$75 per person

order tickets

JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Those scheming folks at Parties That Cook! really have evil minds. They are putting together an event called ~A FEAST OF CHEESE AND CHOCOLATE~, an event that will bring together Wil Edwards, cheese maker, and Karletta Moniz, Cocoa Tutor and publisher of The Art of Tasting Chocolate, who will help you navigate the ins and outs of making cheese and tasting chocolate. Yes, pure evil! Mwah ha ha!

The party begins with a glass of wine (please bring a bottle to share with the group) and a special cheese platter featuring artisan cheeses. Wil will talk about the origins, styles, and tasting profiles of cheese from around the world, followed by a cheese-making demonstration. Karletta will lead you through a multi-sensory tasting of two different chocolates while explaining the difference between single origin and single variety cacao, and what the words Forastero, Trinitario, and Criollo relate to.

Then it’s your turn to create tapas-style appetizers and desserts using chocolate and cheese in delicious pairings. The Parties That Cook! professional chefs will divide everyone into teams to prepare original recipes which feature dishes like tartines of goat cheese with melted Manjari chocolate and chicken taquitos with chocolate mole and melted queso fresco.

Guests don’t need cooking experience to attend. The price includes cooking instruction by Wil, Karletta, and the Parties That Cook! chefs, tapas using the freshest ingredients, and the camaraderie of cooking with new friends! After the event, digital photos and the recipe packets are emailed to the group. Please bring a bottle of wine to share with your group.

 
the starlet

JULY 24, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Frances McDormand was spotted having dinner at Farina.

And since I was in Chicago, I have a firsthand report of seeing Antoine Walker of the Miami Heat hanging out with his posse in the bar at the Sofitel. All I can say is the folks who robbed him at gunpoint a couple weeks at his home in Chicago have some serious cojones because he is seriously HUGE. Like a sequoia.