February 2009

February 24, 2009

As planned, last week was a total tasty blast, and included Tuesday’s -LIOCO dinner at Conduit and the “Three on Five” beverage battle/sommelier smackdown at Fifth Floor. Let me tell you, it’s tough to agree or even disagree with a somm sitting next to you with a custom-designed cloche around their neck that says “Lord of All Sommeliers.” (Yes, I am talking about you, Paul Einbund, oh Lord.)

It was beginning to smell like a cheese cave over here at tablehopper HQ with all of your entries to the Artisan Cheese Festival contest. Thank you everyone who wrote in! I now have a bunch of ideas for new-to-me cheeses to hunt down. Looks like some favorites amongst you cheese heads are Brillat-Savarin (says one reader, “It’s like crack in a rind!”—I couldn’t have said it better), Mimolette (“Who wouldn't love a cheese created by mites!”), fabulously stinky Epoisses, La Tur, Humboldt Fog, and Manchego. Plus one vote for American cheese, heh. For those who didn’t win but still want to go, you can read all the event details here.

It’s time to think green, and I am not talking all eco and Hybrid and reclaimed wood, my friends. What I’m talking about is a total festa del pesto! I am going to be hosting a special tablehopper event at Farina on the evening of Thursday March 5th, and it was designed with our current hard financial times in mind. Read all about it in the socialite, and I hope to see you there! Let’s feast at the festa!

And now, in the “completely blown away” department, it ends up my ad sales rock star, Kate, totally pulled the best three-year anniversary surprise on me, and secretly asked some of my colleagues and industry friends (and generous sponsors!) to sign an imaginary tablehopper birthday card of sorts. She sprung the document on me yesterday, chock-full of warm-fuzzy comments. Awwww shucks. [Insert big ole blush here.]

It’s ultimately quite embarrassing (and not very humble) to publish nice things about yourself, but I am including the kind regards at the end of this week’s chatterbox since that was the point of it all. What a gift. Purr purr. Thank you all SO much for the sweet words and wishes and support—it makes all my late Monday nights oh-so worth it. I feel very fortunate to work with such fab folks.
And thank YOU Kate, you stinker! You’re gonna get it.

Laissez le bon temps roulez!


February 17, 2009

Man, it’s raining a bunch out there. Might be a good time to ready the meat ship. Yup, mateys, you heard right. I haven’t laughed this hard in, oh, a week.

The wet conditions may not have me riding my bike so much these days (sob), but that’s when my four-wheeler comes in handy because I am on the town in full force this week. On the docket tonight is the LIOCO wine dinner at CONDUIT—if you’re looking for some tasty wining and dining, you should come on by (details here).

There are all kinds of smackdowns happening this week, including the sommelier battle at Fifth Floor on Wednesday, and for those who want to drink their dinner, there’s a bartender smackdown tonight, check it all out in the lush.

My Thursday might entail the wine-tasting event with Bottlenotes, or perhaps the happy hour at MR Barber Shop from 5:30pm–7:30pm with ICHI. (Ladies, I hear there are some cute gents at this happy hour, FYI). Maybe I’ll hit both. Wherever I end up, it’s gonna be a par-tay, because I will be celebrating the day I quit smoking many moons ago. Haven’t touched a stick in years. I just want to give props to anyone out there who has left or is trying to leave the nico-demon (or at least thinking about it)—yes, it’s the hardest thing to do, but the best thing to do, so do it.

And this Saturday, tablehopper turns three! I know, yo! It’s my power week, ha ha. As for commemorating the anniversary, well, there’s lots of good (and new) stuff in store, stand by.

In the meantime, I wanted to have you save the date: on Thursday March 5th I will be co-hosting a special event at Farina, and let’s just say it’s going to be easy on the pocketbook, and heavy on the pesto. Yup, quite irresistible. I’ll be sharing all the details in next week’s column.

Time for another giveaway! This week I am giving away a pair of tickets to the Sunday Marketplace on March 22nd from 11am–4pm at the Artisan Cheese Festival in -Petaluma. The festival runs from March 20th–23rd; you can read all about it in the link above, and I’ll be mentioning more next week. To enter to win, all you need to do is email me the name of your favorite cheese at luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com. Deadline to enter is midnight this Friday February 20th. Good luck, cheese heads!

How did your official date weekend go? Did you blow it? Did you stay in? Or maybe you’re on a roll and need a strong follow-up destination. No matter, let’s take a twirl at Gitane in fresh meat, a place designed for a titillating tête-a-tête.

Love and kisses,


February 10, 2009

Hey there, were you giving thanks for the rain this weekend? I sure was. - I was also giving thanks to the people who enabled me to make a perfect Sunday brunch: a plate of Soul Food Farm eggs slow-basted in marvelous bacon fat. And about that bacon: it was a bacon gift that was hand-delivered earlier that week from chef Ryan Farr. That bacon ruled. Damn, now I’m ruined.

I also give thanks for this sharp nose of mine (the nose knows, it always knows!). There is nothing like the smell of someone walking down the street with a hot pizza in a to-go box, right? Immediate Pavlovian salivation sets in. And truth be told, envy. But true happiness is when that pizza box belongs to YOU. Sunday night I merrily walked and sniffed my way home while carrying a box of Little Star deep dish from Little Star Pizza (light on the garlic). Happiness is... a hot pizza. It’s as simple as that.

Speaking of hot boxes (hey, it’s the week for ’em), are you excited to learn who won Fork & Spoon’s Hot Box giveaway mentioned in yesterday’s sponsored email? See, you can win cool stuff from tablehopper-sponsored emails, yet another reason why you should read them, heh. Anyway, congratulations to tablehopper reader and now winner Jeffrey Langewisch! Woot! Just call 415-552-7130 to claim your prize!

Bummed you didn’t win? Fret not. The nice folks at Fork & Spoon have decided to offer tablehopper readers $25 towards your own Hot Box—now it’s only $125. Call Fork and Spoon for more info and to order yours (by Thursday at the latest!) at 415-552-7130.

Want another giveaway? Okay, you got it, sugarplum. It’s time for the monthly Ten Speed Press book giveaway! This month I am giving away three copies of the River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to three lucky tablehopper readers. All you need to do is forward this week’s tablehopper newsletter to one buddy, but even more would be so very fabulous. Just tell your friend(s) why they would dig a subscription to the tablehopper e-column (if you call it a blog, you are disqualified, I wish I was kidding!), and CC or BCC luckyme[at]tablehopper[dot]com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. Deadline to enter is midnight this Saturday February 14th. Good luck!

This week is a beast of an issue, including a recap of last week’s CHEFS dinner in the regular and a bookworm, so let’s get to it. Oh yeah, and wait until you see who was all over San Francisco last week—read all about it in the starlet. Yay, A-list sightings!

In closing, I dedicate this issue to my remarkable grandmother, Judy, who is turning 80 years young this Thursday. My life would have been pretty dull without this extraordinary and one-of-a-kind woman. She has taught me so many important life lessons, including getting me hooked on Champagne early on, the joy of eggs Benedict or a no-holds-barred BLT, and to “live, love, laugh,” just as her necklace charm said that I remember her wearing. I raise my glass high to you, Mom! Happy 80th birthday!

And Happy Valentine’s Day, all!


February 3, 2009

Happy belated Groundhog Day. No idea how to really celebrate that one. Anyway. Thanks to everyone who entered to win tickets at the wine tasting on Valentine’s Day at Golden Gate Wine Cellars—I guess you all like to drink or something. I hope the winners enjoy the vinos, cheers. Speaking of wine, I joined the purple-teethed masses and attended the ZAP tasting this Saturday. Zin freaks are a very particular bunch, with a definite penchant for patterned shirts and unusual accessories, so I decided to share a little photo show from the event. A ZAP recap, if you will.

Guess what? Yours truly has been featured in one of “The Perfect” videos on CHOW.com, highlighting what I think is a perfect dish. Hint: it’s green. And the chef who makes it has the cutest accent.

-This week I’m doing a different kind of jetsetter—this one is actually covering a few places in our backyard. Back in November, I went on a “vintage tour night” with a friend, hitting up a couple classics in the 650. Feel free to put on Frank or Dean while reading it.

This Thursday I am thrilled to be hosting another dinner for the current session of the CHEFS (Conquering Homelessness Through Education in Food Service) group. I’ll be co-hosting the evening with chef Ryan Farr, who has been working as an instructor for the program. We’re fired up to have the dinner at Poleng Lounge—executive chef Timothy Luym will be cooking up quite a special feast, and since he just returned from his travels to the Philippines, I imagine we’ll have some cool new spices and ingredients to try.

I wanted to once again pass along many thanks to so many of you who helped contribute funds last year to host this dinner. Since the last one at Bambuddha Lounge was generously covered by the restaurant, I’ll be applying some of the $1,600.00 we raised through tablehopper to this dinner. I’ll be sure to share a full recap and photos next week! Thanks for helping to make this happen.


~Marcia (rhymes with Garcia)

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