table of contents   This week's tablehopper: meownmar.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the regular
it's about time we met
the wino
in vino veritas

the socialite
the starlet
no photos please


MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO 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 the 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 (click here 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,

~Marcia subscribe

the chatterbox
MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Okay, not to start on a negative note, but this purse-snatcher B.S. has got to stop. This lady is out of freaking control. I can’t believe how many more places she has nailed the past few weeks. She was all over the Mission: Andalu got hit, and she also got Tangerine, where she wandered in and said she was looking for a friend—after someone noticed their purse was stolen, members of the staff actually jumped in a car and tried to find her! They win the vigilante award so far. Both times purses were hanging on the backs of chairs. She also hit Regalito, where she was foiled by a waiter who sensed something was wrong and chased her out (she was with another African American woman while at Regalito). (Please see the issue of tablehopper from a few weeks ago for some details and a description about the purse-snatcher thus far; in addition, it seems sometimes she works alone, and other times with companions.)

Another reader reported she stole a purse at Koh Samui and the Monkey, and proceeded to spend two grand at Bloomie’s with the credit card. And yet another reader’s purse was taken off the back of a chair at the Westfield Centre, so if it’s the same person, she was busy shopping and stealing all at once.

Also, I heard this from Dylan MacNiven at Woodhouse, “Regarding the purse snatcher, I know this woman. She came into the Woodhouse in our first weeks and claimed she had some bad takeout. I had personally boxed most of the orders myself and didn’t remember her, but had been working so hard, I thought I might have forgotten. She was persistent about getting a replacement and wanted a cash refund for half of the items (she had no receipt). I ended up giving her some fish and chips to leave because she was making a stink. When I got around to checking the orders from the day she claimed to have come in, there was none that matched and she was long gone. I have since heard from two others that someone matching her description has tried the same thing with other new restaurants. Thanks for pointing this out, hopefully others will come forward and we can catch her.”

Scam artist extraordinaire, and a total thief. She really needs to be stopped. In the meantime, ladies, I’d invest in one of those Euro-style purse holders so you can hang your purse right off your table. I remember seeing them in use at Gary Danko, and a reader reminded me they are all over Europe—restaurants give them away to special clientele (hers has the name of a restaurant in Spain). Cool idea, no? I found this one for only $2.50, although I might upgrade to this one since it can hold up to nine pounds, easily the size off my bag. I’d say buy one for yourself and your girlfriends.

Here’s a fun little tidbit: ~RYAN SCOTT~ of Myth Café was one of the 29 finalists for the next season of Top Chef. Yumsugar had this link to video footage of the 29 finalists talking about why they should be on the show. Scott has still been hard at work at the cafe, so I am going to assume he didn’t make it to the end, but I am sure that’s okay by many because we need him around to make those killer BLTs, ha ha!

Update on some closures: the historic ~DAGO MARY'S RESTAURANT~ in Hunter’s Point closed on Friday, April 27, after 77 years of business. It’s one of those spots I always meant to check out, but didn’t. It’s supposed to reopen in another location in the next two or three years. Here’s more on the closure from a piece in the Chron.

Reportedly the ~FILLMORE GRILL~ has also closed. I wasn’t able to get in touch with anyone before leaving for my trip to find out the what and why. 2298 Fillmore St., between Clay and Sacramento.

~OTTIMISTA ENOTECA~ has to unfortunately close for a month for repairs—basically the floor is rotting out from underneath them. Bummer. It will be closed from June 11-July 10.

I swung by the new location of ~NAAN-N-CURRY~ at the corner of Turk and Van Ness for some take-out last week. Let’s just say my dinner looked like the Exxon Valdez spill got to it, and I’ve seen truck stop bathrooms that were cleaner. The free chai, however, is always nice. 690 Van Ness Ave. at Turk, 415-775-1349.

Next week I promise I’ll have a pile of gossip and updates—I’ve just got way too much going on this week!

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

the regular


Larkin Express
452 Larkin St.
Cross: Turk St.
San Francisco, CA 94102


Mon-Fri 10am-4pm

Entrées $5.50-$7.50

MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Here’s probably the shortest write-up you’ll ever see on tablehopper. I was out for lunch with a chef pal (we were hunting down some eats at a couple ethnic joints) and he brought me to this total hole in the wall. What appears to be just another random shabby Tenderloin deli is actually home to some very authentic Burmese cuisine as well. I heart places like this—you feel like you’re in on a secret.

Walking into ~LARKIN EXPRESS~, you’d think all you can get are roast beef sandwiches or a roast turkey sando or hamburgers, which actually look quite delicious, but the Burmese dishes we tried were good enough to make me want to come back again to try more.

Of course we ordered the la pat dok (tea leaf salad/$5.95)—the flavor of this was quite intense, and I’ve heard the owner gets his tea leaves from a very special source, so they are quite likely the best in town. Sadly there were some tragically out-of-season tomatoes tossed in the mix, and it was a bit oily, but the flavor combination of the dried shrimp, fried garlic, yellow split peas, sesame seeds, peanuts, and lettuce was downright magic.

Also loved our piping hot bowl of moh hinga (fish chowder/$5.50), a thick soup (almost a porridge, really) with rice noodles and a satisfying crunch of fried split peas on top. I want this on my next foggy night. Supposedly the kau swer dok (noodle salad/$5.50) with chicken or dried shrimp is really popular. There are at least 15 more dishes available, from pork meatballs to Burmese bean curd.

Fish cake with special sauce ($7.50) didn’t really rock my house, but the mystery sour greens with shrimp were delish. Why mystery? Because I can’t for the life of me remember what the greens were (guess who doesn’t have her notebook with her while writing this piece, bad girl). Anyway, if you’re into tangy greens, ask for the sour leaves since they weren’t on the menu. I've also forgotten the name of an awesome (and pungent) shrimp condiment we tried, with garlic and onion and a little kick to it—good addition to some dishes.

If you’re not leery of dives, check it out. The owner, Dennis, is about as nice as they come, so don’t hesitate to ask him any questions. He owns another restaurant, the Tennessee Grill out in the Avenues that serves classic American dishes. He works a lot. Which is another reason why I’d like to support this place. Checkity check it!

the wino

MAY 8, 2007 | Karletta Moniz on Chocolate and Booze

Karletta Moniz, The Culinary Muse, is a San Francisco based chef, writer, and food consultant whose passion for chocolate has inspired the creation of her new website, The Art of Tasting Chocolate, and her chocolate tasting and pairing classes. Her client list includes Disney, Neiman-Marcus, Jamba Juice, ABC-TV, and more...

[Note: Her next class is on June 1, 2007 at the Cheese School of San Francisco on Russian Hill.]

I have this theory about how the pairing of chocolate and red wine started. It’s 1970. A couple marketing guys are trying to figure out what to do with a warehouse full of Cold Duck. Valentine’s Day is fast approaching. You know the rest.

Or maybe it happened around the same time that chefs and winery owners started proclaiming that red wine was great with filet of sole and that there was nothing wrong with pairing a Chardonnay with a juicy rare T-bone. And frankly, if that’s what you think tastes great, go right ahead.

But don’t you want to know why some pairings work and others don’t? Wouldn’t you really rather skip the expensive mistakes and go right for the matches made in heaven? Why ruin a $25 glass of Billecart-Salmon Brut Rose Champagne with a milk chocolate truffle? I want a pairing to go beyond just knocking back a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate. I want it to deliver a brand new experience. I want the sum to be greater than its parts. Here are some of my favorites pairings that are guaranteed to take you to the next level:

Port: Never paired chocolate with a libation before? Start with port. Why? It is novice- and pocketbook-friendly. A good bottle of 10 year-old tawny port can be found for less than $25. Pair this with gianduja (chocolate and hazelnut) or a high percentage cacao milk chocolate. Trader Joe’s has a good selection of reasonably priced ports and well-priced chocolate from Valhrona and Scharffenberger.

Sherry: Not just for spinster aunts or English detectives in BBC mysteries. My favorites are the sherries made from the Pedro Ximenez grape variety. A sip of Sandeman Royal Ambrosante Old Solera Pedro Ximenez (aged 20 years) is delicious, a taste of Amedei of Tuscany’s Chuao dark chocolate is bliss. Combine the two and you have entered the realm of the divine where the flavor of dark raisin and molasses are almost overwhelming. It is hard to believe that a glass of liquid and a square of chocolate can deliver so many flavor nuances.

Madeira (Malmsey): For a combination that is smooth caramel bliss, try a Malmsey type Madeira paired with a high percentage cacao milk chocolate like Guittard’s 38% Cacao or El Rey’s 41% Cacao. The sweetness and acidity are a perfect match, as are the slightly viscous mouthfeel of the Madeira and the creamy milk chocolate.

Effervescent: Treat yourself to a glass of the 2005 Accornero Brigantino made with the Malvasia di Casorzo grape (a relative of the Malvasia grape varietal used to make Malmsey). Loads of raspberries and strawberries with a slight frizzante that tickles the tongue and clears the palate between nibbles of dark chocolate-covered strawberries. A very romantic pairing.

Scotch: Go for the smooth single malts with just a hint of smoke. Oban Highland 14 is just the one to pair with the spicier dark chocolates that confectioners are creating these days. A sip of Scotch and a bite of Green & Black’s Maya Gold (dark chocolate, orange, and hot spices) will warm anyone up on a foggy San Francisco evening.

the socialite


Carlo Petrini of Slow Food Visit

May 10–12, 2007

various locations

MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Carlo Petrini, Founder and International President of ~SLOW FOOD~ visits the Bay Area, launching a year-long campaign that will culminate in Slow Food Nation, a large public event to be held at Fort Mason Center in May 2008. Mr. Petrini’s new book, Slow Food Nation, Why Our Food Should be Good, Clean and Fair provides the philosophical underpinnings of Slow Food Nation, the event.

Book Signing, Talk, Food and Wine Reception
Thu., May 10, 2007, 6pm, Cowell Theater, Fort Mason

The event begins at 6pm with a book signing by Carlo Petrini of his new book. At 6:30pm, Mr. Petrini will give a talk after being introduced by Don Novello, AKA Father Guido Sarducci, local comedian and former writer/actor for Saturday Night Live. The talk is followed by a reception with food by Chef Alessandro Cartumini, Four Seasons Silicon Valley, and organic wine by Frey Vineyards.

Tickets are: $16 general public; $6 members of Instituto Italiano di Cultura, Slow Food USA, and Museo Italoamericano, all of whom are sponsoring the event. For tickets, click here or call 415-345-7575.

Book Signing and Talk [Update: CANCELLED]
Sat., May 12, San Francisco, 9am–10:30am, Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, Rear Plaza

Carlo Petrini will sign copies of his new book and give a short talk at the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market. This event is free of charge and open to the public.

There is also a lunch and talk in Sonoma on May 12—for more information, click here.


COCO500's SF AIDS Foundation Benefit

Tue., May 15, 2007

500 Brannan St.
Cross: 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94107


6pm or 8:30pm seatings

RSVP 415-543-2222

$100 per person

MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO COCO500 is hosting a ~FUNDRAISER FOR THE SAN FRANCISCO AIDS FOUNDATION~, a four-course dinner paired with cocktails. The menu came about as a collaboration between Jen Biesty, the chef at COCO5OO, and Scott Baird, the bar manager and creative force behind COCO5OO's inventive cocktail menu.

Take a look at the website for a peek at the menu, which includes a course of fava bean and prosciutto crostini, served with a cocktail of vodka, pastis, lemon, rose hip tea, bitters, and organic sugar.

Established in 1982, the San Francisco AIDS Foundation is one of the oldest and largest community-based AIDS service organizations in the United States. The mission of the agency is to end the pandemic and the human suffering caused by HIV. The AIDS Foundation Members works to achieve that goal by providing direct services to thousands of people living with or at risk for HIV/AIDS, supplying information about HIV treatment and related issues, promoting HIV prevention and awareness in the community, and advocating for sound HIV/AIDS policies at all levels of government.


California Wine Classic

Wed., May 16, 2007

Ritz-Carlton San Francisco
600 Stockton St.
Cross: California St.
San Francisco, CA

Get tickets through the
or call 1-800-241-0758


$65 in advance
$75 day of event
$100 VIP*

*includes an intimate specialty wine tasting with Karen MacNeil

MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO The ~CALIFORNIA WINE CLASSIC~ is a charity event hosted by The Northern California Chapter of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Karen MacNeil, world-renowned wine educator, consultant, and author of The Wine Bible. Guests will enjoy special release tastings from Far Niente Winery, Domaine Carneros, Trefethen Family Vineyards, Domaine Chandon, Vie Winery, Heitz Wine Cellars, and many more fine wineries; Ritz-Carlton chefs will pair lavish delicacies with featured vintages. There is also a silent auction which will feature luxury travel packages, Bay Area dining and entertainment, art, and much more.

MacNeil will present information on fine wines and the art of wine tasting to all guests. True wine aficionados will want to purchase VIP tickets to enjoy a private tasting with her.

The mission of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is to cure and prevent Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis through research, and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these digestive diseases through education and support. For more information, contact CCFA at 800-932-2423 or visit

the starlet

MAY 8, 2007 | SAN FRANCISCO Robin Williams, George Lucas, Nancy Pelosi, and Peter Coyote were all at 2223 for a private party for the SF International Film Festival.

Last week Linda Ronstadt dined with a group at One Market Restaurant, and ex-49er Ronnie Lott also came in with a party of five.

The ever-fashionable Kate and Andy Spade were spotted sipping some spendy champers at the bar at the Campton Place Hotel. Both were in town for some fancy Vogue shindig. Wardrobe notes from the eagle-eye tablehopper reader: “He wore no socks (and sported a sharp black suit), and she was rockin' red tights and fuchsia slingbacks.”

Randy Jackson from American Idol (yo dawg!) was at Salt House.

Lidia Bastianich had lunch at Boulette’s Larder last week. She was wearing very dark sunglasses (yes, how Italian) and chatted in Italian with one of the tablehopper reader’s pals who said she seemed to be very nice.

Lynda Carter (go Wonder Woman!) had dinner at Perbacco. She reportedly looks 40! Maybe those cuffs have anti-aging powers.

Spike Lee dined at Postrio in the restaurant's private dining room on Friday afternoon with other key folks affiliated with the SF International Film Festival (including the Executive Director). (So unless a publicist told me this little tidbit, we would have no idea he was even there!)

Kate Hudson and Owen Wilson managed to sneak in for a last-minute dinner at Millennium.

I didn’t have time to follow up on this, but reportedly both Tom Waits and Natalie Portman have come into Zazie to dine.

B.D. Wong (Tony award winner, SF local-gone-Broadway, starred in Margaret Cho's failed sitcom) was seen having cocktails in the lobby of the St. Regis.

Conan O’Brien was having dinner at Delfina and left around midnight in a black Town Car.