table of contents This week's tablehopper: lickety split.

the chatterbox
the word on the street
the lush

put it on my tab
the socialite

the sponsor
this round is on me

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival

hosting provided by

Zojo Media

SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Let me tell you, it's very strange to be writing tablehopper on a Thursday evening. What the heck, I just sent my last column out on Tuesday! But, my trusty designer is off to the playa for a week, so I had to get this hammered out quick and put in the hopper, so to speak. I know, some HUGE news will come out on Monday, and I'll be unable to announce it. Ah well. At least I'll be working on my tan.

imageBesides, the past couple days I have been more entertained with watching cheeky chipmunks, catching up on my stack of Vanity Fair issues, cooking (the farmers' market in Tahoe City was awesome, check out the goods!) and swimming; so I'm just running a mini edition this week. Trying to have some semblance of a vacation, and truth be told, it's been challenging. Next time, I leave the %$#% computer and phone and deadlines far, far away.

Then again, all I have to do is think of all the chefs and cooks and restaurant owners who haven't had a freaking vacation in foh-evah, and my few hours of beach time each day are precious indeed.

So with that, ciao from Lake Tahoe,


subscribe follow me on twitter
the chatterbox

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate FestivalSEPTEMBER 1, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO You all fired up on home canning and kombucha? I know I am. In case you have caught some DIY fever, CUESA (the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is offering a ~SERIES OF DIY CLASSES~ as part of their Preservation Celebration. CUESA is offering classes on fermentation and cheesemaking, plus a day of demonstrations by experts in the food preservation field at the Saturday September 12th market. Check it all out below:

Sauerkraut Made Simple
When: Wednesday September 9th, 5:30pm–7:30 pm
Who: Kathryn Lukas, founder and kraut maker at Farmhouse Culture
What: Kathryn's two-hour fermentation class will include background on the history, science, and health benefits of kraut, as well as a hands-on opportunity to make your own "starter kraut" to take home.
Cost: $30
To register, click here.

Cheese, Please! Making Mozzarella and Ricotta
When: Thursday September 10th, 5:30pm–7:30pm
Who: Travis Flood, Chef at Piccolo Teatro
What: Urban Kitchen San Francisco will be co-hosting this cheese workshop. Travis Flood will lead the class in making mozzarella and ricotta using curd sourced from vendors at the Ferry Plaza. Participants will take home the cheese they make, as well as some curd to practice their new cheese-making skills at home.
Cost: $46 ($16 supply fee, plus $30 class fee)
To register, click here.

Market-to-Table Preservation Demonstrations
When: Saturday September 12th, 10am–11:45am

Who: Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen will demonstrate his tomato-canning techniques, using ingredients sourced from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Karen Solomon, author of Jam it, Pickle it, Cure it, will follow Todd with a demonstration focused on preservation, subject TBD.
Cost: Free to the public!

All events will be held in CUESA's Dacor teaching kitchen in the North Arcade of the Ferry Building.

So you wanna make bread to go with that mozzarella? How about levain? Cool. ~URBAN KITCHEN~ is putting on a class on Thursday September 17th with Cheryl Burr of Pinkie's Bakery, who will teach participants about pain au levain, a sourdough bread, and help them mix dough to take home, along with a starter for future use. She will also lead the class in kneading, shaping, and baking two loaves each (which you get to take home). 6:30pm–8:30pm. $51 ($21 supply fee, plus $30 class fee). Sign up here. Fork in the Road Test Kitchen, 300 DeHaro St., Suite 342 at 16th St.

imageI didn't manage to pick up New York Times ex-restaurant critic ~FRANK BRUNI'S~ new book, Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater, in time for my lake-side reading, but heck, here's the chance to not only pick up a signed copy of the book, but to meet the man himself over dinner. Chef Jennifer Biesty of Scala's Bistro is preparing a four-course Italian dinner (vegetarian option available) on Monday September 14th to honor Bruni's new book. Everyone gets a signed copy of the book, and there's no corkage, so feel free to bring your own tasty bottle of wine (yo, think about who you're dining with—no schlock). 6:30pm–9:30pm. Solo diners, $115; couples $199. Buy tickets and read more here. 432 Powell St. at Sutter.

I thought these Talk And Tasting Events looked unique, especially since they are taking place in the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park (in association with the Conservatory's current exhibition, Edible Expeditions, on view through November 1st). On Thursday September 17th, Seneca Klassen, founder and co-owner of Bittersweet, will host ~A CHOCOLATE EVENING~, and will share information about the botany and cultural history of chocolate. He will then take participants on a "behind-the-scenes" visit to the Conservatory's hidden treasure: a fruiting cacao tree in a greenhouse usually off limits to the public. While participants nibble on five varieties of Bittersweet's unique bean-to-bar Origin Line chocolates, Klassen will discuss the importance of the post-harvesting process and quality finishing. 6pm–7:30pm; $20 per person, register here. Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Dr., Golden Gate Park, 415-831-2039.

The second Talk And Tasting Event is ~A CUP OF PARADISE~ on Wednesday September 23rd. Here's more: "Be carried off to the islands as Pualani, Kaipo, and Maile Daniels, co-owners of Triangle J's 4 Coffee on the slopes of Hualalai in Kona, Hawaii, take you through the growing cycle of coffee and explain the various stages of preparing and roasting the beans. As you sample their lusciously rich and pure organic Kona coffee, the Daniels family will entertain you with traditional Hawaiian song and hula accompanied by ukulele and guitar." 6pm–7:30pm; $20 per person, register here. Conservatory of Flowers, 100 John F. Kennedy Dr., Golden Gate Park, 415-831-2039.

imageIf you're noticing more Aussie wines and ingredients at the Lark Creek Restaurant Group's restaurants, it's because they are doing a month of ~SOUTH AUSTRALIA COMES TO AMERICA~, from September 1st–30th. The promotion will feature South Australian-inspired menus, wines, special events, and gourmet retail offerings at each Bay Area restaurant. (There's also a trip you'll want to enter to win.) For a full schedule of menus, click here.

There is additionally a Macy's Union Square cooking demonstration where you can say g'day on Wednesday September 2nd (6pm–7pm) with Lark Creek Restaurant Group Culinary Director Adrian Hoffman and chef-caterer Vikki Blumenstein demonstrating a few of their favorite dishes from Down Under. And the Commonwealth Club "Bay Gourmet" panel is hosting "Outback to Out West: Sip, Savor and Nibble the Flavors of South Australia with the Experts" on Wednesday, September 9th from 6pm–7pm. The panel will be followed by a food and wine reception. $8 members, $15 non-members. Commonwealth Club; 595 Market Street, 2nd floor.

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

the sponsor

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival

The 14th Annual Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival is September 12th and 13th! Enjoy chocolate delicacies such as chocolate stuffed marshmallows, double chocolate pancakes and Ghirardelli Ice Cream Sundaes. Sip at the Cost Plus World Market Wine Bar, enjoy chef demonstrations by Top Chef Finalist Casey Thompson, and test drive the all new Cadillac SRX. Don't miss the famous hands-free Earthquake Ice Cream Sundae Eating Contest.

All proceeds benefit the San Francisco-based non-profit organization, Project Open Hand. The event is free, but tickets must be purchased to participate in chocolate tasting. Tickets are $20 for 15 samples. Visit for tickets and more information.

the lush

Ghirardelli Square Chocolate FestivalSEPTEMBER 1, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO I thought it was worth noting that if you buy your tickets for ~WHISKYFEST SAN FRANCISCO~ before September 15th, you get a $10 per ticket discount and the shipping is on them, an additional $10 savings. Ticket prices (until September 15th) are $95 for general admission and $140 for VIP admission (one hour early entrance); tickets are all inclusive. The event is on Friday October 16th, from 6:30pm–9:30pm at the San Francisco Marriott. I'll have more info to share on the event soon, but wanted to give you the heads up on the discount! Advance ticket sales only at or by calling 800-610-MALT.

The bar staff at ~RYE~ just got even more talent behind the stick: Jon Gasparini and Greg Lindgren have brought Marco Dionysos and Carlos Yturria on board; Marco will be working Tuesday and Wednesday nights, and Carlos will be there on Thursday evenings. Buckle up. 688 Geary St. at Leavenworth, 415-474-4448.

imageThe ~JOY OF SAKE~ event returns on Thursday September 10th, and this time will be held at Yoshi's San Francisco. 100 gold and silver award–winning sakes from the 2009 U.S. National Sake Appraisal, including junmai, ginjo, and daiginjo labels will be available for tasting, including 49 not available in the U.S. Executive chef Shotaro "Sho" Kamio will prepare a menu with selections including Okinawa rock sugar–braised short ribs with peach compote and yellow onion veal jus; kakiage tempura fritters with fall vegetables, baby shrimp, and Monterey bay scallops; steamed halibut wrapped in konbu seaweed with "dengaku" sweet dark miso sauce; and wood burning–oven roasted American Kobe beef tri-tip with caramelized shallot teriyaki. $50 in advance; $60 at the door. To purchase tickets or for more information, click here or call 888-799-7242. 7:30pm–10:30pm. 1330 Fillmore St. at Eddy, 415-655-5600.

Twice a year, ~A DONKEY AND GOAT WINERY~ throws a big open house party to celebrate their newest wines. There will be six new wines to taste, plus there are always a few older bottles passed around, not to mention a sneak peek of what's to come with barrel samples. There will be live Brazilian-jazzy tunes from the Steve Bennett Trio, and Kevin Best from Oakland's B Restaurant and Bar will be manning the barbecue, showcasing grilled pork spare ribs, plus Comanche Creek farms heirloom tomato salad, Full Belly Farms corn grilled on the cob, coleslaw, and corn bread. 1pm–5pm. $20 in advance, or $30 at the door (cash only). Ticket includes a souvenir Riedel glass. Or save carbon and BYOG (glass) and get $10 off voucher for any wine purchase. Save $10 with advance tickets. 2323 B Fourth St., Berkeley, 510-868-9174.

And more very unfortunate news, a second RIP this month. I was very sorry to learn of the death of ~DOUG MURPHY~, a well-known bar owner in the Castro (Moby's, 440 Castro, and the newly opened Blackbird), who tragically passed away from swine flu at the age of 41. Here's more on the awful and unexpected circumstances from the BAR. Condolences to all of his colleagues, staff, friends, and family mourning their loss right now.

the socialite


Dress For Success
Wed., Sept. 16th, 2009

Bently Reserve
400 Sansome St.
Cross: Sacramento St.
San Francisco, CA



Basic Black tickets: $100

Fashionista: $500 (includes admission, reserved table, and gift bags for four people)

Buy tickets here.

Or call 415-362-0034.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2009 | SAN FRANCISCO Now, at first glance this event seems like it's more about fashion and fundraising, but when I saw the all-female chef lineup, I saw that is was about food as well. ~DRESS FOR SUCCESS SAN FRANCISCO~ is celebrating its fourth year of helping Bay Area women with a stylish fundraiser at the Bently Reserve titled, Success: You Wear it Well.

While Dress for Success is well known for providing women with suits for job interviews, employment retention and empowering women are what make the organization's impact in its respective communities powerful and far-reaching. Dress for Success has assisted over 250,000 women since 1996 with 75 chapters spanning the globe including nearly every major U.S. city.

Success: You Wear it Well will celebrate women by featuring five local female chefs, Jen Biesty: executive chef, Scala's Bistro; Lisa Eyherabide: executive chef, Gitane; Erica Holland-Toll: executive chef, Ducca; Michelle Mah: executive chef, Midi; and Jamie Lauren: executive chef, Absinthe and Top Chef candidate.

Attendees will also be treated to a fall preview fashion show by two designers, Calvin Tran, an established designer with stores in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York, and emerging designer, Melissa Moorcroft, recent recipient of Levi Strauss Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design.

The highly popular silent and live auctions will feature items from well-known hotels, restaurants, and companies such as illy, Neiman Marcus, and the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Guests will also enjoy creative cocktails, wine, and music by DJ Jason Everett.


All content © 2009 Marcia Gagliardi. I am more than happy if you want to link to my reviews and content elsewhere (thanks, glad you dig it), but republishing any part of them in any way, shape or form is strictly prohibited until we talk first. Please take a look at my Creative Commons license for more detail.

To subscribe to this list, please visit

To unsubscribe from this list, click this link.