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You Say It’s Your Birthday

photography by Stefanie Michejda

Last week I attended a fellow Capricorn’s birthday party at Martuni’s (4 Valencia St., 415-241-0205) and—this just in—discovered I loved Martuni’s. I guess it’s not that much of a shock: I love martinis, finding the letter ‘u’ in unexpected places and pretty much anything retro-kitsch so why it took me this long to get there in the first place is itself a bit of a mystery.

Blue Light Special

With a family that firmly believes in “wine-thirty” (in the Deseran clan, that would be 5:30 pm—the time of day considered late enough for our nightly bottle, or two, to be uncorked), I’m always looking for reasonably priced selection to pull out of the cupboard. And lucky for me, the deal of the century is going on right now at Good Life Grocery Store (448 Cortland St., 415-648-3221) in Bernal Heights, just up the street from my house.

Greatest Hits

photography by Stefanie Michejda

Sadly, this is my last blog entry for 7x7. After a year and a half at the magazine, I’ve decided to pursue another career path.

Some people might think I’m crazy. Whenever I’ve told a new acquaintance that I write about restaurants and food, the usual response is, “That’s my dream job!” And it truly has been an incredibly cool job. I’ve met and interviewed some really interesting people, have gone to fun events, and have eaten at some of the city’s best restaurants.

Hot Stuff

I recently returned from Paris, and I want to share with you a very European and delicious way to warm up your winter. As you know, we Americans love coffee: tumbler-size containers of espresso and steamed milk, carried with us nearly everywhere we go. The French aren’t like that. When you order a coffee, you get a little cup that looks like it belongs in a tea party. Even when you specify “café crème”—i.e. add some milk please—you barely get six ounces of liquid.

For Art’s Sake

Thanks to my office’s Union Square location (and my job of course), I’m a frequent visitor to 49 Geary. I rarely, however, manage to time my visits to First Thursdays—the one evening out of each month when SF’s downtown galleries roll out the wine-in-plastic-glasses treatment for the city’s aspiring arterati.

Clinton Fein's "Torture"                                                 Chris Tallon's "Six Pack"

Growth Potential

If you’ve gotten into wine at all in your life, you’re probably aware that German Riesling is one of the most incredible wines in the world (and often a super value), but also incredibly difficult to comprehend. The labels in themselves are phenomenal works of code—and the familiar designations like kabinet, spätlese, etc are indecipherable to most people.

Living on the Edge

When Cecilia Chiang ( asks you to dinner, you know you’re in for a grand event—full of multiple courses and many toasts—no matter how highfalutin or no-nonsense the restaurant. In the case of an end of December meal, I found myself driving a bit white-knuckled, through fog and rain to get to KL Restaurant (4401 Balboa Street at 45th Street), a Cantonese spot that I’d never heard of. Cecilia leaned over to whisper to me “You don’t see Americans here!”—which was true, barring my parents who had come along, as well as food writer Patricia Unterman, a true eater who’s traveled the world over.

Golden Egg

Lately the humble egg, normally reserved for breakfast, has gotten a lot of play at the dinner table at some of the city's best restaurants. In fact, one of the best creations I'd tasted last year was Vernon Morales' poached egg with bacon ice cream at the unfortunately-now-shuttered Winterland.

Vintage 415's Heaven & Hell NYE Party

photography by Drew Altizer and Heather Wiley

Jace Levine, Taylor Brekke

Brooke Arthur, Mandana Sakvans, Camilia Bjama

Christmas Recap

As everyone who had the bad luck to be in our office right before Christmas already knows—thanks to mass emails begging for a pudding mold, an instant-read thermometer and/or a food processor—this year I decided to make a plum pudding. (I can’t help it. I grew up in New England.)

Here’s a tip for other recovering East Coasters: Dried citron is damned hard to find, at least if you try the usual “gourmet” suspects, like Sur La Table, Williams-Sonoma, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Whole Foods did have some very nice candied lemon, but who really came through? Good old Safeway.
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