March 2008

March 25, 2008

For those of you who celebrate it, did you have a hoppin' Easter? My dad got the thumbs up from the family for cooking the tastiest baby goat ever this year. Braising magic. Plus some pasta al forno, and cannoli for dessert, what's not to love?

I'm fired up to check out a few events this Saturday at the inaugural Pebble Beach Food & Wine shindig, running March 27–30. There are still tickets left for a few of the events, so check it out if you'd like to rub elbows with some celeb chef and winemaker types—a bunch will be there, from Keller to Trotter to Alain Passard and Philippe Legendre making the trip across the pond, plus wine-related events too (Harlan Estate retrospective tasting, anyone?).

As if I don't have enough to do each week, I'm also going to be writing a new weekly column, Foodie 411, for the San Francisco Convention and Visitor's Bureau on their new "Taste" portion of the site. It's launching today, so feel free to check it out!

A couple weeks ago I announced a few Hip Tastes events, and now the talented wino behind them, Courtney Cochran, offered to give away three copies of her fab new book, appropriately named Hip Tastes: The Fresh Guide to Wine.

So, how do you enter to win? Just forward this newsletter to one person (or more, thanks!) and cc luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com when you send it to your peeps—it's best if you explain why you're emailing it to them, and what tablehopper is. I promise I won't be collecting your friends' emails, those will stay private—I just need to keep track that you forwarded it to some folks. The deadline to enter is by midnight, Sunday, March 30. I will be randomly drawing the winners and will email you to let you know you've won. Good luck! And if you don't win a book, you have two weeks to get Hip Tastes for 20% off from our buddies at Green Apple Books.

~ Marcia

March 18, 2008

Thanks to all of you who got current on your tip please feedback. Meow. I get a lot of requests for suggestions on where to eat each week, a few from friends, most from total strangers, some quite confounding, but there’s nothing quite like when you need to come up with your own perfect evening. I want to share what I put together to celebrate my darling mother’s retirement from nursing this past Friday; I wanted it to be quite the epic evening to honor her 40-plus years of nursing. We started at Bix for cocktails (love the Sazeracs there) and appetizers, like their famed potato pillows with caviar and crème fraîche, a refreshing ceviche with cilantro oil and toasted corn nuts (!), the incomparable steak tartare, and crisp fried oysters. Nothing beats the white-jacketed service here, especially if you’re lucky enough to get Stu, the master of tableside flair. My family can’t wait to go back for a full jazzy dinner.

Next, we strolled over to Kokkari for our mains, which turned into a rustic family-style feast of all my favorites: the lamb’s tongues, the taramosalata and pita, grilled octopus, the pikti (a terrine of trotter and head), and of course a whole fish and the famed lamb chops. It was hard to pull ourselves away from ordering the galatboureko for dessert, but fortunately we had quite the finale awaiting us. We ambled to Rubicon, where we finished the evening sharing Nicole Krasinski’s unique and gorgeous desserts, like a palate-cleaning rhubarb sorbet with pine nuts and an elderflower meringue, and the decadent milk chocolate toffee pudding with candied Buddha’s hand and long pepper cream, plus some wonderful dessert wines. Yup, the evening was total tablehopper style, and I recommend trying the itinerary highly if you’re looking for an unconventional and special night of dining, with some much-needed walks in between.

I know St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday (how’s your head?), but in honor of the fab color green, I thought a review of Absinthe Brasserie & Bar was in order. Shall we begin? Let's.

~ Marcia

March 11, 2008

Well, buon giorno. Last night I actually left my laptop for a few hours so I could be a judge with GraceAnn Walden and Jessica Battilana of 7x7 at the Battle of the Chefs at Macy's Cellar. It's a fun event, but as a judge, you're in a tough spot, especially when the competition is between rockin' chefs like Mark Denham of Laiola and Mark Sullivan of Spruce. It was "Battle Chorizo," and Sullivan ended up winning by two points. Kudos to both of them on their fab dishes they put together in 45 minutes—the flavors made me want to return to both restaurants, like, now. The tickets for the next Battle go on sale March 24.

This Saturday I headed up to Petaluma with my dad for the Artisan Cheese Festival—we caught a couple demos and a presentation from the ladies of Cowgirl Creamery. Speaking of ladies… Guys, if you're single and looking for chicks, whether you're a young buck or a silver fox, go to a cheese festival. Seriously. The place was crawling with chicas.

Since we're talking about men, women, and hooking up, be sure to take a look in the chatterbox for a special (and rather racy) giveaway this week. It's also time sensitive, so don't delay!

Oh, and just a friendly little reminder to you folks who have tapped me for a tip please request in the past: if you've already dined out, can you please respond and let me know how it went? There are a bunch of folks who have never responded (you know who you are, ahem), so that means you can't use the service again. Even if you didn't end up using my recommendation, that's totally cool—just let me know!

Cheers my dears,
~ Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)

March 4, 2008

I certainly had fun tablehoppin' around town this past week so I could taste my namesake/100th-issue anniversary cocktails. A big, honkin' thanks to Alembic, Absinthe, Presidio Social Club, and Cantina for concocting the swell swill! Those were some mighty fine dranks, with such clever names. And extra grazie to those of you who tried 'em with me! I loved seeing such cute pics of you enjoying them, thanks for sending! Congrats to Christopher D., who sent a pic of himself sippin' the 100 Tuesdays cocktail at Absinthe—he has (appropriately) won a copy of The Art of the Bar!

Also, congrats to Cecilia who won the tickets to the Artisan Cheese Festival that is happening this weekend in Petaluma. Thanks to all of you who provided suggestions on the reviews you'd like to see next—look for 'em in coming weeks!

Sunday night was the fourth tablehopper supper at Piccino in Dogpatch—what a feast! A bollito misto-sized thanks to the kind and talented crew at Piccino for hosting such an intimate and delicious dinner (I know where I want to host my next birthday dinner party!), and to Donnafugata/Folio for providing stunning wines (the Ben Ryé was a big hit over dessert, no surprise there). Check out our group's list of favorite restaurants—this time we each picked our favorite "high" and "low" places. The next supper will probably be in May, after everyone's tax woes subside. Ack.

Since many will be suffering from diminishing funds in April, this week I'm doing a roundup of three cheap eats places around town, including two that will give you yet another reason to visit the Dogpatch neighborhood for vittles.

Next Monday, I'm breaking my "no leaving the house on Monday night rule" yet again, this time to be one of the judges at the Battle of the Chefs event at Macy's. The competition is between two of the City's best Marks: chef Mark Sullivan of Spruce, and Mark Denham at Laïola. Unfortunately all the tickets for this event are sold out, but the next battle's tickets go on sale March 24; the competition will be between Ian Begg of Café Majestic and Joel Huff of Silks.

Oh, and last week I was interviewed about where I like to eat (and drink) in SF and more by the swank ladies at Splendora—check it out here.

Yup, spring is fast approaching, and if the thought of exposing your Bingo Wings is freaking you out, you might want to check out a freebie Fit Camp class with SF Titans—read all about it in this week's health nut. Maybe we can run stairs together.

Cheers dollinks,


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