The Envelope Please The California Restaurant Association Educational Foundation recently held its Hall of Fame gala dinner at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. Receiving this year's award for Restaurateur of the Year 2000 was Bill Kimpton of the Kimpton Group. Kimpton is well known for transforming downtown hotels and buildings into European-style hospitality and dining successes -- his empire now encompasses 28 restaurants, including the Grand Café, Scala's Bistro, Postrio, and Harry Denton's Starlight Room. Harry's hat is off to a man who's given so many the chance to start their careers in this town.
I Can See Clearly Now The folks at Cain Vineyard and Winery hosted a premiere tasting of Cain Concept, the first vintage of a new cabernet blend of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and syrah varietals at a poolside lunch high atop Spring Mountain for 25 wine buyers, managers, and restaurant owners from around town. Traci Des Jardins and Doug Washington of Jardiniere served summer tomato boquerones bruschetta, beet and goat cheese tartlette, mesquite grilled quail, wine-roasted plums, and seared foie gras -- then finished with citrus panna cotta, pistachio phyllo, and blueberries. Not bad for an excuse to get out of town on a Tuesday afternoon.