Eat + Drink
For those of you who work downtown and crave Blue Bottle coffee, the walk to Mint Plaza (not to mention the ever-present line out the door) can sometimes be enough to make you want to give up altogether. Rescuing Union Square from coffee desert status is Grand Prix, a Blue Bottle-slinging pop-up shop in Azul Lounge operating Monday through Friday from 7:30 am to 4 pm and weekends from 9 am to 3 pm.
Today only, these guys are giving free coffee to scooter riders (the name "Grand Prix" is an old Lambretta model), so get your afternoon caffeine fix if you've got one.
A romantic picnic on Bernal Hill is my kind of Valentine’s. Climb to the top with a bottle of prosecco and Tell Tale Preserve’s Heart cloth bundle of V-Day goodies, and you’ve got a simple (and dreamy, if you time it right with the sunset) date. Inside a Japanese furoshiki, the passion-coffee caramels are perfectly soft and chewy, but the standout is a small Weck jar of passion-olive oil curd. It's tart, creamy, and easy to spread on the short loaf of chocolate brioche that comes in the set (along with dark chocolate passion bonbons). $75 at Tuesday and Saturday’s Ferry Building Farmers Market and online.
Thursday, Feb. 10
Lately, mixed drinks have gotten quite serious—enough, anyway, to inspire courses like Bar Adagio’s Cocktail College. Learn to make bitters, infusions, garnishes, and two vodka concoctions. It’s free, and it starts at 6 p.m. and goes on until 8 p.m. Reserve here. 550 Geary St.
Friday, Feb. 11
Last fall, we published the 10 Best Lunches Under $10 in Union Square. It was so popular, we figured why not do every neighborhood? Rather than attack this subject as outsiders, we're approaching a hyperlocal dweller from each 'hood to give us their picks—in this case 7x7 contributor Antonia Richmond.
San Franciscans are pretty, ahem, vocal about food, so sound off in the comments about what you'd add to this list.
I really love yakitori. I tend to go to the Inner Richmond’s Halu, a family-run restaurant that has the feel of some place in Japan. I’ve been to Japan twice, and every time I go, I hit all the yakitori bars. It’s not just chicken on a stick. Each part of the chicken is cooked separately over hardwood charcoal, and it’s just so focused. They’ve achieved mastery.
My boyfriend will tell you that chocolate doesn't last more than an hour at our house—especially if it's a solid bar of something dark, very dark. But the nine-piece box from Au Coeur Des Chocolates (hand-dipped in Dogpatch) made me pause—enough to slow down for two whole days and appreciate the jewel-like bonbons, each no bigger than a stamp, with their delicate, air-brushed designs. There's something artful about the speckled ginger, the way the geodesic shell snaps and gives way to spiced, dark, and smooth ganache with wild honey. My eyes went for the passion fruit heart covered in fine white couverture; the buttery shell perfectly balances the bright, creamy fruit.
I've lived in the city since 1993 and since 1996, all of my editor jobs have required me to keep track of the restaurant scene. Generally, I have a smug sense of myself as someone that knows this scene pretty well.
Until I'm proven wrong. Which is pretty often for someone so smug.
Take the other night.
My husband and I recently moved to the cusp of Castro and Noe which has caused us to have to shed our usuals. Ten years in Bernal Heights made for usuals such as La Taqueria for tacos, Blue Plate for neighborhood restaurant needs, Argus for drinking and Emmy's Spaghetti Shack for kids' night out.
As part of SF Beer Week, Anchor Brewing is opening its doors February 16th for an invite-only 140th anniversary party and unveiling of their newest brew, Brekle's Brown Ale. Wanna go? 7x7 would like to invite 5 newsletter subscribers chosen at random to join us at Anchor (we'll pick 5 people who are signed up at random).
Beer lovers, rejoice! SF Beer Week is almost here, bringing nine days of suds-related fun and excitement to our fair city. From tastings to brewer meet-and-greets to pairing dinners, there's plenty to see and enjoy over the course of the week, and covering it all would be impossible. To help you navigate the festivities, here are a few events that caught our eye.
Housekeeping note: We've been getting a lot of anxious comments from readers interested in getting in on 7x7's party at Anchor Brewing, but that info isn't ready yet. Look for it on the site soon.
Sometimes you want to venture outside the usual plate of carne asada tacos. To satisfy those urges to the extreme, drop by La Oaxaqueña, a legit bakery and restaurant that serves Southern Mexican delights like grasshopper tacos and fried tarantula tortas.
Owner Albino Carreno says the crunchy grasshoppers are rife with protein and vitamins. The tarantulas, which they're currently out of but will have again in March, are fried whole and sandwiched between fresh-baked bread. Their taste and texture? Akin to that of a softshell crab.