In recent past, it was at a vintner dinner at the Ahwanee Hotel in Yosemite.
My current drink of choice:
The Dark and Stormy - it's popular in the Caribbean. You fill a tall glass with ice, add a shot of rum and fill up with ginger beer (which is not beer, but is actually really gingery authentic ginger ale - Reed's, for example). I like to top mine off with a squeeze of lime, which some people think is kosher and others do not; ditto a dash of bitters. It's refreshing and packs a punch!
I really wish I could:
Bake. I've never been a very good baker. Usually I just blame my old oven.
My "Go-to" dinner party dish:
A Platter of sliced Fuyu persimmons, sprinkled with pomegranated seeds and large-chopped walnuts, drizzled with fruity olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Go easy on the oil. This only works in late Fall when persimmons and pomegranates are available. It's easy, gorgeous, and unusual.
My favorite comfort food:
grilled cheese sandwich (cheese must be longhorn cheddar) with tomato rice soup.
My top 5 favorite restaurants:
Table d'hote in Paris. Oswald in Santa Cruz. Sam's in San Jose for barbecue. Gibraltar in Half Moon Bay for Spanish/North African/Med food - best soups I've ever eaten. Also in Half Moon Bay, Pasta Moon. ps Cetrella is overrated, folks.
My most tattered cookbooks:
Joy of Cooking. The page in Norah Ephron's book with the great vinaigrette recipe. The New Basics. My Barefoot Contessa books get a good workout - there's a recipe in one of them for a seafood chowder - oh mama - I don't think I've ever been disappointed with any of her recipes.