May 2007

May 29, 2007

Wow, the fog bank cleared so everyone could have a proper Memorial Day BBQ, or bike ride, or hangover; you know the kind—when you feel guilty about the gorg day you are missing while you drink a Coke and nibble crackers in bed, right? And me? Well, after burning the midnight oil at too many bars and clubs to count this long weekend, I flipped my hazards on and pulled it on over. I also can’t wait to finish writing this column so I can get back into reading Marco Pierre White’s The Devil in the Kitchen (thanks to a star tablehopper reader who stoked me with the book, meow!). Yup, the only table I hopped to this Memorial Day was my kitchen table. Hello, old friend. Did ya miss me?

Okay, so speaking of books and barbecues, since we have Father’s Day coming up on June 17, I thought I’d do another tablehopper giveaway! This time I’m giving away two books from Chronicle Books: one is Extreme Barbecue—Smokin' Rigs and Real Good Recipes by Dan Huntley and Lisa Grace Lednicer, with “in-depth profiles, outrageous photographs, and nearly 100 personal recipes [that reveal] the daring men and women and their crazy homemade grilling apparatuses.” The other is Gentlemen, Start Your Ovens—Killer Recipes for Guys by Tucker Shaw, “the ultimate course in culinary basics, with over 60 recipes for every hour of the day (or night).” Smokin’!

To enter, first, you have to be a tablehopper subscriber, and second, you have to forward the tablehopper newsletter to three pals—just be sure to cc luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com on the email so I know you forwarded it to three folks. No, I won’t be collecting your friends’ emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track of how many folks you forwarded it to. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Sunday, June 3. I will be randomly drawing the two winners and will email you to let you know you’ve won on Monday, June 4. The first winner gets first pick of the two books.

Lastly, I am running a couple “wino” pieces on the ever-controversial topic of corkage policies over the next two weeks—I think it will be interesting to hear a couple perspectives from both sides of the wine list (i.e. from someone ordering off it, and someone who writes them).

Cheers, yo-
~ Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)

May 22, 2007

Okay, this week practically killed me with restaurant gossip. Like, whoa. I need a hand massage after all this typing, or at least more minutes on my cell phone ’cause it practically blew up. I’m sure there are plenty of typos or bad grammar in the chatterbox, and it’s not because I was tipsy (for a change)! Consider it a grammatical game that’s like an erudite version of Where’s Waldo?.

So, highlights of my week: the Meals on Wheels event Sunday evening was pretty damned fun—a total who’s who of local chefs (plus star chef spottings of Charlie Palmer and Thomas Keller) and the after-party generously hosted by Joseph Manzare was a great test to see who can hold their liquor while completely exhausted (everyone worked pretty hard and I have a feeling many were up much earlier than usual on a typical Sunday).

Then there’s SF’s inaugural Cocktail Week, which wrapped up with an event at Absinthe last night—it’s not every night of your life you can have a Manhattan made by Gary Regan. In fact, it was unlike any Manhattan I’ve ever had before—it was totally subtle, and smooth, and balanced. The man is a master of Angostura bitters, what can I say?

And now, it’s lecture time: I don’t even want to count how many people have used tip please and haven’t responded with how their experience was. The number is not pretty. So if you have dined out but haven’t reported back yet, please let me know since I really need your feedback to make this thing work! Remember, if you don’t, you don’t get to make any more tip please requests. (Trust me, I keep track. It’s the Italian in me—we remember things.) Even if you didn’t go to the places I recommended, that’s totally cool—just tell me, thank you!

Rock on,

~Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)

May 15, 2007

This Mother’s Day, both my darling mom and my hip grandma were pretty stoked to see my mug in the Sunday paper. It was a blast to write this piece for the “On the Town” section, highlighting some of my fave spots around the City. Meow!

One quick thing is in regards to the small mistake in the photo caption referring to me as a food blogger. I also saw this quite a bit in the email forwards from those of you who entered last week’s contest (sidebar: thanks for all the nice things you said about tablehopper, so glad you dig it, sorry I can’t personally respond to each of you with my thanks for the oh-so-nice compliments!). So, about this blogging thing. To clarify, tablehopper is actually an e-column, and a website, but not a blog. It’s not an online diary, and I don’t have comments on my site (you have to email me direct if you want to parlez). I love and admire and read a ton of blogs, but FYI, tablehopper isn’t one of ‘em.

Since I have the soapbox out, I want to remind all of you that this Thursday the 17th is Bike to Work Day! I work from home, so it’s kind of anticlimactic, but in case you were thinking about MAYBE riding your bike that day, it’s really the day to try it. Lots of enthusiasm, support, and fun await you. Nervous about riding in the City? I used to be too. Get a Bike Buddy! Since I started riding my bike around town, I’d say I choose my bike over my car five times to one, and it feels great on so many levels, including the booty firming level.

Two-wheelingly yours,
~Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)

May 8, 2007

Okay, I almost went dark on you guys this week since I am currently up in Napa at the muy interresante Taste3 conference during the three days I normally write and edit tablehopper, but I had to at least put a few things together for ya. Yes, I stayed in on that gorgeous Saturday we just had so you would have something to read this Tuesday.

While I’m up here in wine country, I’m checked in to a garden cottage at The Carneros Inn, and can I say oh my? This place is totally sweet. Favorite thing number one: the outdoor shower. Especially during these hot days, it’s dreamy. (However, I'm trying not to think about all the people who have done t nasty in this shower, ha ha.) And it’s kind of fun trying on a West Elm kind of minimalist lifestyle—there is even a rocking chair on my porch. And the glass of rose by the pool on Sunday was also not too shabby.

Okay, so since I didn’t have a lot time to get gossip for you but am in giver goddess mode (random reference—does anyone else remember the hilarious Judy Tenuta?) I am doing a swell prize-a-rama giveaway on tablehopper! I am giving away five groovy prizes:

PRIZE 1: A $100 gift certificate to the tasty Poleng Lounge ( for my past write-up on what you should order!)

PRIZE 2: A copy of Mastering the Grill— The Owner's Manual for Outdoor Cooking, by Andrew Schloss and David Joachim. It will lead you through the Grillmaster’s Manual which teaches you how to master your equipment, technique, ingredients, and flavors (including rubs, brines, marinades and more.)

PRIZE 3: GraceAnn Walden is generously offering a voucher for two people to take her Mangia! North Beach history, cultural, and food tour.

PRIZE 4: A deck of 86 Recipes San Francisco which GraceAnn just edited—it’s a unique collection of recipe cards from the city's most highly-acclaimed restaurants, like Gary Danko, Boulevard, Aqua, and more. (Each card includes a signature recipe along with directions for the home chef and complete restaurant information.)

PRIZE 5: And finally, a copy of Evan Goldstein’s Perfect Pairings. (I wrote about it in the bookworm a little while ago.)

So here’s the deal: one, you have to be a tablehopper subscriber, and two, you have to forward this week’s newsletter to five folks (or more is great, you overachiever you) in order to be eligible to win. Just cc luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com when you forward the newsletter to your pals. No, I won’t be collecting your friends’ emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track of how many folks you forwarded it to. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Sunday, May 13. I will be randomly drawing the four winners and will email you to let you know you’ve won on Monday, May 14. The first winner gets first pick of the prizes, and so on. I hope you get lucky.

Sparkling wine kisses and farmed caviar dreams,


May 1, 2007

As you’re reading this, I am actually on my way back from Palm Springs, probably asleep and drooling in the car after a weekend of mayhem and now in a food coma from scarfing down a Double-Double at In-N-Out. Knowing me, I have lost my voice, I am hungover, I have suntanned shoulders but my nose is pink, and have been talking ad infinitum about how amazing the LCD Soundsystem and The Cornelius Group sets at Coachella were. Since I am writing this the Wednesday prior, this entire scenario is all a projection, but if I know myself at all, it’s a likely portrait.

It feels like eons ago when I was tearing things up in Australia in February with my sis and pal (their aliases are Ranger Rick and Chocolate Mousse—fair dinkum). Here is the first of my recaps about the trip. Although I far preferred Melbourne for its hip culture, peeps, dining, and dranks (more on that de-groovy city soon), I am writing up Sydney first because I have a guest wino (Franck Moreau) from est in Sydney who turned his piece in on time! Sweet as.

Until next week,

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