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The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion.

This week's tablehopper: up on the top shelf, click click click.

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Our cat Merna on last year’s tree-decorating day. (So over it.)

Yup, I survived my epic holiday par-tay weekend, although I’m not so sure about my waistline (it doesn’t help matters to think of egg nog as a “Christmas smoothie”). And things are only about to get crazier in the caloric department: it’s my father’s 70th birthday this Thursday (guess who will be eating Fatted Calf porchetta and a surprise from Schubert’s Bakery that night?), Friday is our huge Southern Italian fish fest (seven fishes? More like 10!), and then on Christmas, we’ll start the day with my dad’s homemade (and spicy) Italian sausage, slow-basted eggs, and my mother’s delicious holiday bread (with the possible inclusion of panettone as well). Mamma mia.

The holiday feed bag is brutal, and all this rainy weather is not helping with my daily outdoor exercise. I think some of you will be happy to see the upcoming cleanse options in January in the health nut. And then there are others who will be happy to see the New Year’s Day hangover dining options in the socialite. (And perhaps a few of you will cross over in both of those categories—hey, it’s all about balance.)

Oh, and there’s a cool upcoming wine event I’m doing in January with Jordan Mackay in the lush—would be a nice gift for any winos in your life (hey, I know my audience)! Plus this week’s issue has a special last-minute holiday bookworm by Pete Mulvihill of Green Apple Books. Speaking of books, if you still need stocking stuffers or hostess gifts, I’ll be in town the next couple days and happy to sell and sign the tablehopper guidebook for you (although we’d have to make arrangements for you to pick ‘em up—you can’t pay me enough to go to the post office right now, oh hell no).

Okay, so not to act like a retired woman of 72 with an obsession for cats and Cathy cartoons, but I cannot resist sharing these three holiday videos. First up, the three live cams of the Macy’s SPCA Holiday Windows has been yielding some cute moments watching the kittehs and puppies play (and snooze). Secondly, how the heck did I ever miss this amazing compilation of animals singing “Deck the Halls” last year? And here’s this year’s, “Jingle Bells.” Seriously adorable, funny, and clever.

I am taking this Friday off, but will be back in your inbox next Tuesday. In the meantime, here’s wishing all of you a warm, merry, and bright holiday. And for those of you who celebrate Christmas, Buon Natale!

Sending Season’s Greetings (sassy, boozy ones!),

Marcia Gagliardi

the chatterbox

Gossip & News (the word on the street)
Dec 21, 2010

Marlowe Team Taking Over Moose's/Joey & Eddie's

So, it looks like Original Joe’s will not be moving into the former Moose’s/Joey & Eddie’s after all: it’s time for the ladies to take over instead. Inside Scoop reports Anna Weinberg and Jennifer Puccio of ~MARLOWE~ are going to be partnering with Dave Stanton and taking over the space. The deal is really fresh, so the restaurant doesn’t have a name yet, but it will be like a bigger “brasserie version” of Marlowe, with sidewalk seating, along with a more casual café for walk-in diners. Look for an opening in the summer of 2011. 1652 Stockton St. at Union.

Pasión Slated to Open in the Sunset By December 30th

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Mural by Michael Brennan. All photos by Blair Sneddon Photography.

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A round table built for group dining.

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View of the dining room.

After being closed for almost two years, the PJ’s Oyster Bed space is finally coming back alive with ~PASIÓN~ from chef-owner Jose Calvo-Perez and family (behind local fave Fresca, which has three locations throughout the city). They are aiming to open by December 30th, and with the full bar, you know the pisco will be flowing (there will also be an extensive wine list). The 55-seat establishment has been updated with a chic, modern look, including a bar/lounge area, and a mural by Michael Brennan (no scary Pinocchio in this one, however). In fact, the lounge area in the front, which features about 10 seats and low tables, will be open “after hours” for drinks until 2am Fri-Sat.

Chef Calvo-Perez tells me the menu of modern Latin cuisine will feature good sourcing and ingredients. It includes a wide selection from the ceviche bar, like the Julianna ($12) with eastern fluke, prickly pear mojito juice, mint, rocoto-yuzu juice, and purple corn; erizos y tiradito ($12) with hamachi, sea urchin, basil, rocoto pepper, sesame seeds, pepper, pickled jicama, and Andean corn; and langosta ($15) with Maine lobster, avocado, chives, sweet aji, garlic, tarragon, and plantain chips (you’ll be able to order three kinds for $18, and four for $24). Appetizers range from $9-$14, with dishes like a crispy cangrejo salad ($12) of Dungeness crab, jicama, chayote, green apple, radish, butternut squash, toasted pepita seeds, and pomegranate, and buñuelos de bacalao ($10), salt cod fritters with romesco sauce and honey-lemon aioli.

Mains include some seafood dishes, like paella ($22) and lenguado ($26), which is sautéed halibut, crispy risotto cake, saffron cream, mushrooms, olive tapenade, and piquillo pepper sauce. Meat and poultry ($20-$32) will benefit from the wood-burning grill, with dishes like pollo a la brasa ($20), free range rotisserie chicken, blue potato mash, “solterito” salad, and huancaina sauce; and arroz con pato ($22), rum-cured duck breast, duck confit verde rice, green pea velouté, sarsa criolla, and tomatillo-jalapeño marmalade. There are also a variety of vegetable side dishes ($5-$6), which include yuca fries and tostones (fried green plantains). Lunch will be served Mon-Fri 11am-3pm, dinner Sun-Thu 5pm-10pm, Fri-Sat 5pm-12am, and brunch Sat-Sun 10am-3pm.

Pasión - 737 Irving St. San Francisco - 415-724-5727

January Closures: Coda, and Sweet Jo's Cafe at the JCC

It’s not January yet, but already word of a couple closures is here. Mission Mission reports the live music venue ~CODA~ will be closing on January 1st, “unless they get some miraculous financial help.”

I had to keep this one under my hat for a couple months, but I just received an official note from Joanna Karlinsky telling me that she (along with partner Victoria Smiser) are closing ~SWEET JO’S CAFE~ in the JCC at the end of January. Karlinsky will stay on as consulting executive chef to ensure a smooth transition to the new café that moves in and will start a restaurant consulting business, while Victoria will continue to take specialty cake orders. They are considering looking for smaller digs for just one or two of their brands: Lucky Dawg Ice Cream, Emma Peel’s Pizza Pie, Pressed Sandwiches, Jo-Jo To-Go, Confections Bakery, and of course, Meetinghouse Biscuits & Catering. 3200 California St. at Presidio.

In the Castro: Ike's Reopens and Whole Foods Moving In

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The Ex-Boyfriend (#27) at Ike’s; Yelp photo by Clarence A.

I am keeping this one short since I am sick to death of the story, but ~IKE’S PLACE~ got approval to build out and open in the former Joseph Schmidt space. And that’s all I’m writing about it until it opens, which should be sometime before February 1st. 3489 16th St. at Sanchez.

And ~WHOLE FOODS MARKET~ got approval to open in the triangular block on the southwest corner at Dolores, Market, and 14th Streets (the exact address is 2001 Market Street). The existing building (a Ford dealership) is going to be demolished, and will be replaced by a mixed-use residential-commercial building with 82 dwelling units (there will also be 101 off-street parking spaces located in two parking garages), with Whole Foods on the ground floor, along with outdoor seating. You can check out a rendering on Curbed here.

Beast and the Hare Starts Lunch (and Delivery Soon!)

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Photo from Beast and the Hare’s Facebook page.

According to a post from ~BEAST AND THE HARE~, they started lunch service (it’s to go only) last week, with items like a barbecue pork belly sandwich; a bavette sandwich with sriracha aioli, sautéed greens, and curried onions on ciabatta; a smashed beet, house chèvre, ancho cress, and red wine vinaigrette sandwich; and a fried chicken and spicy slaw sandwich (all $7-$9). Lunch service is Mon and Wed-Fri, starting at 11am, and goes until they run out. (Note: closed Tuesdays.) There is also bike delivery for lunch coming soon.

Beast and the Hare - 1001 Guerrero St. San Francisco - 415-821-1001

Where to Pick Up Holiday Treats

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Cakes at Baker & Banker Bakery.

Just in case you didn’t have your fill at parties over the weekend, or you just don’t have time to bake one more thing, there are a few places around town offering some special holiday treats.

The ~BAKER & BANKER~ Bakery is putting out some holiday desserts, like a dark chocolate peppermint crunch layer cake (6” for $35, 10” for $50), eggnog cheesecake with gingersnap crust (6” for $22, 10” for $48), apple-pear pie with walnut crust, and Meyer lemon meringue pie. Call 415-351-2500.

Just in case you weren’t able to get enough people together for a tamalada, you can swing by either of the ~MIJITA~ locations to pick up pre-ordered tamales for Christmas. Mijita AT&T Park (415-644-0240) will be offering chicken and salsa verde tamales, pork and chile Colorado, rajas (roasted sweet peppers with Oaxaca cheese), or sweet tamales with golden raisins. Mijita Ferry Building (415-399-0814) will be offering chicken or vegetarian (cheese and poblano pepper) tamales. Tamales are $3 each or a dozen for $32 (flavors can be mixed and matched). A side of salsa verde is included in all tamale orders. Order at least 48 hours in advance and pick up at the Mijita location ordered from (AT&T Park Mijita requires 72-hour advance notice).

Joanna Karlinsky’s famous Meetinghouse biscuits are available for pickup every day this week from 8am-7pm at ~SWEET JO’S CAFE~ inside the Jewish Community Center. (Joanna will be making personal deliveries as the holidays get closer.)

Mayfield Bakery & Cafe, a sister restaurant to ~SPRUCE~, and baker of the delicious breads served there, is planning a special delivery of holiday treats on Christmas Eve. There will be bûche de Noël ($65
), panettone ($18.95
), stollen ($12), and a variety of pies (all pies are served in a Pyrex dish for you to keep). Here’s a PDF with the complete list. You can place your order by calling Mayfield Bakery at 650-853-9201 and be sure to mention that you would like to pick up your order at Spruce. The only day for delivery will be Friday December 24th between noon and 10:30pm, otherwise arrangements can be made for pickup at the Bakery in Palo Alto.

Now, what are you going to be drinking with all these treats? I was gifted a copy of the app “Holiday Cocktail Bar” (available for iPhone and Android) with easy-to-make recipes on it for holiday Champagne cocktails, punches, martinis, and toddies developed by Kim Haasarud. (I want to try the salted caramel mocha made with… tequila!) The app is available on iTunes for $1.99.

Rigolo Café Offering a Free Meal to Active Soldiers Home for the Holidays

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Photo from Rigolo Café website.

Just in case you know any active soldiers in the U.S. military who are home for the holidays, they are invited to come to ~RIGOLO CAFÉ~ in Laurel Village for a complimentary meal (an entrée) between December 20th and December 31st. (And now the fine print: must show valid military ID and be currently active. Promotion is good for a one-­time visit and offered only to the individual soldier. Does not include beverages.) 3465 California St. at Locust, 415-876-7777.

Prettying Up Some Petits Fours at Dragonfly Cakes

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An event recap by Daisy Chow, tablehopper editorial assistant.

Perhaps you noticed some gorgeous petits fours in last week’s ‘Hopper Holiday Gift Guide? Well, the good folks at Sausalito-based Dragonfly Cakes also offer classes, and last Saturday, I had the good fortune to be invited to one of their ~PETITS FOURS CLASSES~.

Owner Brooks Coulson Nguyen started off the class with a brief intro to petits fours (these delectable little cakes are like mini layer cakes covered with marzipan and then dipped in chocolate), then demonstrated how to assemble the many layers, all while sharing handy tips on how to make ‘em at home. For the second half of the class, each of the dozen or so students got to dip and decorate as many petits fours as we wanted, choosing from flavors like raspberry and vanilla-orange cake and decorations made of modeling chocolate, not tooth-chipping gum paste. And if you’re like me, you bungle a couple pieces as an excuse to eat them! At the end of class, we got to take home all the fruits of our artistic labor, plus a recipe packet. (See photos from the class here.)

This is a fun class where you get lots of room to be creative without any of the hard work, like mixing, baking, or dish-washing. How nice. (And if you’re looking for a last-minute gift for the home-baker in your life, you can get them a gift certificate for upcoming classes here.)

New Cooking Class/Lunch Series at eVe Restaurant in Berkeley

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Morel, egg, and spinach salad. Photo by Nick Vasilopoulos.

There’s nothing quite like having a chef show you the ropes and teach you some kitchen tips. Husband-and-wife team Christopher and Veronica Laramie of ~EVE RESTAURANT~ in Berkeley are launching a series of cooking classes to be held on one Saturday a month. The class will be limited to 10 students, and will include the option to meet at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market at 10am to pick out produce for the day’s lessons (or you can opt to just be at the restaurant from 11am-2:30pm). Following the cooking class, you’ll sit down for a lunch featuring the dishes you learned to cook. Priced at $75 per person, each class will feature a different theme and involve learning different dedicated techniques, recipes, and the use of special ingredients. Here are the themes: Saturday January 29th: From the Winter Garden; Saturday February 26th: Couples in the Kitchen; and Saturday April 2nd: Peru Meets Bay Area. The sample lunch menu for January 29th includes liver pâté with country bread and pear-date butter, sous vide short rib with root vegetable ravioli, and chocolate soufflé with Meyer lemon and yogurt. To sign up, guests can reserve a spot by calling the restaurant at 510-868-0735. 1960 University Ave. at Milvia, Berkeley.

(One more note: the 28-seat eVe is hosting a special New Year’s Eve menu that highlights “good luck” food traditions and avoids serving any “bad luck” ingredients. The five-course dinner is priced at $70 and includes a glass of Champagne. There are three seatings at 5pm, 7:30pm, and 10pm.)

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the sponsor

This Round Is On Me... (hey, thanks!)
Dec 21, 2010

(Sponsored): You Ready to Eat Your Way from SF to LA?

Acura has cooked up the ultimate California culinary excursion—and you could win. It’s the road trip of a lifetime from San Francisco to LA, from January 27th-February 1st, filled with breathtaking views, fabulous food, and divine wine.

And did we mention the wheels? You’ll ride in the all-new Acura TSX Sport Wagon. Not simply inspired by a sports car, it was created from one. Sleek lines, a 2.4-liter VTEC® engine, and a sport-tuned suspension contribute to its already impressive performance credentials, while best-in-class mpg and an available power tailgate revealing 60.5 cubic feet of cargo space highlight its more practical side.

Enter here by January 17th for your chance to win.

And you’ll be able to follow the adventures of Marcia “the tablehopper” Gagliardi during Dine About Town as she cruises in the all-new Acura TSX Sport Wagon to San Francisco’s culinary hot spots January 15th-31st. Be sure to check out her tasty dine and drive experiences at Foodie 411 in January!

the lush

Bar News & Reviews (put it on my tab)
Dec 21, 2010

Special Tablehopper Event: Learn the Secrets of the Sommeliers with Jordan Mackay!

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Fellow Ten Speed author Jordan Mackay recently came out with his book, Secrets of the Sommeliers (in conjunction with co-author Raj Parr), and I thought it would be fun to host a special tablehopper evening event with Jordan at the ~SAN FRANCISCO WINE CENTER~. I recently took a Champagne class with Jordan there, and learned a bunch of insider tips. So I figured, heck, I wanna learn more—let’s tap into the knowledge base! (All while drinking excellent wine, of course.)

Jordan is going to lead this special class that’s tailored for diners. He will discuss how to approach a restaurant wine list, from how to spot deals to how to work with the sommelier to figure out what you’re looking for (and what you’ll like!). We’ll also talk about trickier issues, like corkage—and corked wines! And I’m sure we’ll learn all kinds of other handy tricks when it comes to ordering wine in restaurants. Be prepared to get finessed.

The class includes small nibbles as well as a tasting of eight incredible wines. Tickets are $75 with an autographed copy of Secrets of the Sommeliers, or $50 without. You will also be able to purchase a signed copy of my book, The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco, separately for $17.50 during the event.

Here’s where to buy a ticket WITH Jordan’s book. And here’s where to buy a ticket WITHOUT Jordan’s book. Space is limited! 6:30pm-8pm. We look forward to seeing you there.

Wednesday Jan 19, 2011
6:30pm–8pm
$75 with book; $50 without book
more info

Black Sheep Is (Softly) Opening on Polk Street

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A couple weeks ago, Eater reported the ~BLACK SHEEP~ was due to open from owners Vanessa and Joe Seidler (it was formerly The Wine Bar). I had a chance to catch up with Vanessa, who said they are just in a soft opening mode, and plan to open on New Year’s Eve as an easy place for people to swing by, and will be open consistently after that.

It’s a small space, designed to be a casual spot for folks in the neighborhood to pop by for a beer, a glass of wine, and maybe a bite to eat, like charcuterie, cheeses, and panini (there will be both a regular and vegan Reuben, and one with hot soppressata, roasted pepper, watercress, and Asiago). The wine list will include both old and new world wines, many of them lesser known and smaller production wines. There will also be around 20 beers, all by the bottle (the place is so small there isn’t room for even one tap), ranging from some local beers to a strong showing from Belgium. There’s a seating area by the windows with a “living room feeling,” a new color scheme of dark and warm colors, plus some tall bar tables, and of course there’s the bar. (There’s also a large “Warhol-esque” black sheep painting on the wall.) Hours will be Sun, Tue-Thu 6pm-11pm, Fri-Sat 6pm-1am, closed Mon. 2032 Polk St. at Broadway.

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the socialite

Shindigs, Feasts, & Festivals (let's party)
Dec 21, 2010

New Year's Day Dining (aka Hangover Patrol)

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The Mexican egg sandwich at ABC in Napa.

Event Info

Friday Jan 1, 2010

Yeah, if you’re out carousing on New Year’s Eve, the odds are excellent you’ll need some sustenance on New Year’s Day, so here’s your recovery list:

~ABSINTHE BRASSERIE & BAR~ will be open (for the first time in a very long time) on New Year’s Day for brunch. The menu includes some à la carte barbecue dishes, like sirloin steak tips, cedar plank Arctic char, housemade Moroccan aged cheddar bratwurst, sides like mac-n-cheese, and of course selections from the raw bar. Bar manager Carlos Yturria will have some special cocktails to help with the vice on your head, like the Aftermath (beef confit tomato juice, Fresno chili, Bloody Mary spice, lemon juice), and a selection of Champagne cocktails. 11am-3pm. Reservations: 415-551-1590.

You can check out the new addition to ~BRENDA’S FRENCH SOUL FOOD~ while recovering with some traditional New Year’s Day dishes of black-eyed peas and collard greens (for money and luck!).

In North Beach, ~DON PISTO’S~ will be hosting a pajama party, serving all-day brunch until 9pm! Mmmm, their evil burger would be a delicious cure.

You’ll be able to get your donut on at ~DYNAMO DONUT~ from 10am-4pm.

Over on the Embarcadero, ~LAFITTE~ will be serving brunch dishes like their Dagwood sandwich, poached eggs and polenta, French pan omelets, and their famous foie gras BLT. For reservations, call 415-839-2134.

~LONG BAR~ on Fillmore is going to be serving classic brunch dishes like corned beef hash and huevos rancheros, along with a pulled pork Benedict, pumpkin French toast, and savory options like a burger and Buffalo chicken meatballs. Served 11:30am-4pm (and this marks the launch of brunch service every Sat-Sun).

In the Mission, ~MAVERICK~ will be offering their regular (and always hearty!) brunch menu from 10am-4pm. Hello, migas. Call 415-863-3061.

Both locations of ~PIZZERIA DELFINA~ are going to be open on New Year’s Day from 12pm-8pm, serving hangover drinks, tons of fried stuff, and meatball heroes (and let me tell you, those meatballs heroes are hella good)!

This sounds right up my alley: ~PRESIDIO SOCIAL CLUB~ will be open all day, serving a special brunch cocktail called “The Ruger” (a Bloody Mary made with hot pork consommé and a spicy tomato mixer).

Need some fresh air? ~SCOMA’S~ is going to have a three-course New Year’s Day lunch menu for $30 per person, with dishes like their famous Dungeness crab cakes and hearty clam chowder, and it includes a Bloody Mary (menu selections here). Complimentary valet parking, score. Served 11:30am-3:30pm. 415-771-4383.

Dine About Town Returns to SF in January

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Event Info

Friday Jan 15, 2010 – Monday Jan 31, 2011
Main site

January is almost here, which means it’s time for ~DINE ABOUT TOWN~, from January 15th through the 31st. Can you believe it’s on its tenth year? You can make your reservations now for a variety of lunch and dinner offers, and there are new additions to the lineup, like Comstock Saloon, Georges Restaurant, Marlowe, and more. Diners may select from more than 100 participating restaurants offering a two-course lunch menu for $17.95 and/or a three-course dinner menu for $34.95. Book here.

There’s also a launch party on Wednesday January 12th, with all proceeds going to Meals On Wheels. The event will be at City View at Metreon, beginning at 6pm. Participating restaurants will provide tastes from their Dine About Town menus, and guests will also be able to sample a variety of wines. Participating restaurants include Bisou Bistro, Comstock Saloon, È Tutto Qua, First Crush, Fish & Farm, Forbes Island, Garçon!, Hyde Street Bistro, Luce, Ponzu, Roy’s, Ruth’s Chris, SILKS, Sociale, Swell, Tommy Toy’s, Urban Tavern, Velvet Room, and Waterbar. Participating wineries and beverage stations include Chateau Montelena Winery, Domaine Chandon, Stolichnaya Vodka, Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, Treasure Island Wines, The Winery San Francisco, and Wente Vineyards. There will also be music by DJ Jamon Iberico (funny!). Tickets are $25 and include a keepsake “San Francisco” wine glass. All proceeds will benefit San Francisco Meals On Wheels. Tickets may be purchased online here. 21 and over; space is limited. 101 4th St. at Mission.

the bookworm

Book Reviews (another place for your nose)
Dec 21, 2010

The Holiday Bookworm: by Pete Mulvihill

Don’t forget: the books mentioned below are available at 20% off for tablehopper readers for two weeks following this mention at Green Apple Books—simply use the code “tablehopper” at checkout (either at the store or online) for your discount.

It’s been a fine year for new cookbooks, so honing a list of the “best” is always hard. Personally, my favorite food and drink book of the year was The Hour, but here are six of the finest fall releases. Bon appetit!

Keys to Good Cooking

Keys to Good Cooking

Harold McGee (Penguin)

Brand new from the author of the classic On Food and Cooking is this fantastic guide to cooking every type of food in the best way possible. Harold McGee gives concise, priceless information on shopping for ingredients, basic preparation, and serving tips. Think of this as the book version of a cooking helpline—if you can’t decide which of a dozen pie recipes will turn out best, or if you forgot exactly how to prepare a poached egg, this book will give you quick, reliable information on how to proceed, and how to prepare and eat foods at their very best. Highly recommended, and utterly indispensable. A must-have for any cook. (Signed copies in-store only.)

The Essential New York Times Cookbook

The Essential New York Times Cookbook

Amanda Hesser (Norton)

Amanda Hesser has tackled the difficult task of winnowing the 150+ years of New York Times archives into 1,000 recipes, and she has conquered. This compendium of home kitchen-tested recipes covers American culinary history, really. This “doorstop” of a cookbook includes a brief (often historical) introduction to each recipe, extensive timelines of food trends in America, menu planning suggestions, and more. It’s an amazing book for the curious cook looking to (re)discover food. You can read more in the review I did for tablehopper here.

Tartine Bread

Tartine Bread

Chad Robertson (Chronicle)

From the baker of San Francisco’s most delicious and unique bread, comes this collection of thorough, accessible, reader-tested bread recipes. This beautifully photographed book includes the inspiring story of Chad Robertson’s search for the perfect sourdough loaf, plus dozens of great recipes that make use of day(s) old homemade bread so you won’t waste any of your delicious creations. (Signed copies in-store only.)

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook

Rachel Saunders (Andrews McMeel)

Jam: it’s delicious. And this book will tell you everything you need to know in order to make it yourself. Rachel Saunders is truly a jam expert, and her book provides an essential, accessible explanation of how jam ‘works’, as well as detailed information about the ways in which fruits can be used and combined to reach their best flavor and texture potential. Filled with detailed instructions, beautiful step-by-step photos, and dozens of unique recipes, this is truly the essential compendium for beginning jam makers and seasoned pros alike.

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers

Cooking with Italian Grandmothers

Jessica Theroux (Welcome Books)

For those of you who were not fortunate enough to grow up with an Italian grandmother who loved to cook, I am very, very sorry. As a consolation, I give you this, perhaps the next best thing. Jessica Theroux traveled throughout Italy and met dozens of Italian women who offered up the very best of their cooking expertise—compiled here into a fantastic volume that rivals even my grandmothers’ recipes. Charming anecdotes pair with each woman’s recipes, making this a great book to read, and cook from.

Heart of the Artichoke

Heart of the Artichoke

David Tanis (Artisan)

This is an excellent cookbook of simple, high quality, delicious recipes from the head chef of Chez Panisse. Comprised of five different menus for each season of the year; an additional section on cooking for larger groups; and a section on simple cooking pleasures for one or two; David Tanis’s food philosophy and wisdom is apparent in each and every recipe. The focus here is on making the best of what’s available, which for Tanis means using local, seasonal produce to create elegant, down-to-earth cuisine.

Happy cooking, and thanks for reading.

the health nut

Gettin' Fit (take a lap, tablehopper)
Dec 21, 2010

Have a Healthy Start to 2011

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Want to start your New Year’s Day on the good foot? There’s going to be a unique ~CLEANSING AND DETOX CLASS~ happening on January 1st in Berkeley from Raw Bay Area. The day will begin with a targeted yoga class meant to get guests moving and eliminating toxins. It will be an all-levels Iyengar yoga class with Heather Haxo Phillips at Adeline Yoga Studio in Berkeley from 11am-1:15pm. Next, participants will attend Cleaning Out: Learn to Detox Naturally. All will gather at Café Gratitude in Berkeley from 2pm-5pm for a course on home cleansing techniques and delicious detox foods.

Shea Lynn Baird, owner of Every Body Cleansing Studio will explain how to rid your body of toxins using very low-cost cleansing techniques at home, and chef Heather Haxo Phillips will then teach students how to make tasty clean foods that will help further shed pounds and toxins. Guests will leave with enough resources for a week-long raw food cleanse conducted on their own or as part of Café Gratitude’s Juice Club. Morning yoga only: $40; afternoon cleansing class only: $60; whole day: $100 (includes all classes and a gourmet raw lunchbox to eat between sessions). Guests must reserve here by December 30th.

Want to go deeper, and with the ongoing support of a group (and a fearless leader!)? Well, put down that rum ball and look at your calendar, because the next ~CORE VITALITY DETOX~ is coming up January 9th-30th! This session is a special holiday recovery program, which is all about working on removing the toxins you oh-so joyfully ingested during holiday feasts and parties, and rejuvenating your constitution. This session will also be focusing on the “evils twins” of metabolic syndrome and adrenal fatigue for the body (and issues of personal sovereignty for the soul). Time to clean, degunk, repair the damage, and reclaim your vitality and power. Register and reserve your slot today with a deposit, space is limited. The last program sold out and this one is going to go fast. (Early bird pricing ends December 27th!)

Classes will be at The Mindful Body in Pacific Heights. You can stop by for one of the free Q&A and health evaluation sessions (on Monday December 27th and Monday January 3rd from 6:30pm-8pm), and check out the movement classes or bodywork as well. It’s a great cleanse program, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

the starlet

Star Sightings in Restaurants (no photos please)
Dec 21, 2010

Private Party Hootenanny at Quince

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Rob Wasserman, Jay Lane, Jackie Greene, Bob Weir. Photo from Facebook.

Last Wednesday, there was quite the epic private benefit at Quince (for Casa de Milagros, which benefits orphans in Peru). Let’s start with the sound stage, complete with Oriental rugs, set up in the middle of the restaurant (I know, wild). A tablehopper reader who attended the fundraiser said there was a performance by Scaring the Children, which includes ~Bob Weir~ (formerly of the Grateful Dead), ~Rob Wasserman~, and ~Jay Lane~~Jackie Greene~ also played with them on the last few songs (I randomly found the setlist here if you’re interested). Some Glide Memorial Church choir members also sang with ~Sara Wasserman~. ~Ronnie Lott~ and ~Dwight Clark~ of the 49ers spoke about the charity, and even ~Joe Montana~ came on the stage in a special surprise appearance (he was having dinner next door at Cotogna).

Joe, Can You Pass Me the Pappardelle?

A tablehopper reader spotted ~Joe Montana~ with his wife Jennifer (and another couple) at Cotogna.

Joe, Can You Pass Me the Angels on Horseback?

A tablehopper reader had lunch at Anchor & Hope and sat next to ~Joe Montana~ and a “beautiful blonde” (who we are going to assume was his lovely wife, Jennifer).

Joe, Can You Pass Me a Slider?

Whaddya know, it’s yet another ~Joe Montana~ sighting! (He’s out on the town more than me and Willie Brown combined.) Anyway, a reader writes, “Was at Marengo on Union on Saturday night and almost choked on my mint julep when I saw Joe Montana and his gorgeous wife walk into the back bar. He hung out for about an hour and a half. Turns out someone was throwing his daughter a surprise birthday party. I ended up chatting with his wife at the bar and she may have been one of the nicest people I have ever met. Way to go Joe!!”

And Joe, Can You Pass Me the Fried Oysters?

Everyone’s favorite quarterback, ~Joe Montana~ and wife Jennifer came in to Waterbar in between Christmas parties.

Smell the Glove

~Danny Glover~ was spotted by a tablehopper reader, who said he “sat behind me yesterday around 1pm at Zuni upstairs, corner window table. He is like a giant in person. There was no mistaking him.”

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