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Eat + Drink

More Pinot: Taste With Me at the Jug Shop or Online

Just a heads up. I have a new book out, Passion for Pinot. In support of it (and wine, and life in general)  I'll be tasting a few Pinots at the Jug Shop tomorrow live  in-store with live people. But everyone else in the world can taste along with me via Twitter Taste Live, a supercool new organization that connects interested people with the producers and tastemakers of all things good to drink, eat, smoke (legally) and, as they say, "anything related to 'tasting'."

California Pinots at their Finest

Eric Asimov, the New York Times' wine writer, has a great article in this week's NYT dining section about the changing style of California Pinot Noir. Asimov declares that he favors a lighter, more subtle, food-friendly style of Pinot and I whole-heartedly concur. But while this style has long been out of favor in this state, it's starting to come back. He hits on a lot of my favorite producers (people we've featured previously in 7x7, I might add) like Au Bon Climat, Copain, Calera and Peay. All these wines are worth trying if you see them in a shop or on a wine list. None of these wines are hard to find.

The Eater Wrap: Bong Su Goes Down, East Bay Rises and the Phan Rumor Mill Churns

Welcome to our exciting new partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his opinionated report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including restaurant openings and closures, jucy rumors, toasty new designs and your usual Yelp idiocy.

Monday Nights, Jardinière, Good Deal

On Monday night, when I was recovering from my vacation by gazing longingly at photographs of the Costa Rican beaches, my intrepid understudy Robin was hard at work at Jardinière, sampling her way through the restaurant's new Monday night menu, a $45 prix-fixed four-course meal (with wine!) with a theme that changes weekly. For the kick-off they served a Oaxacan meal comprised of ceviche, cactus-and-white-bean soup and duck in black mole, concluding with cinnamon churros and Oaxacan hot chocolate. I am a little bit sorry to have missed this one, to be perfectly honest, but another chance—three more, actually—exists. For the remaining Monday nighs in March, here's the line-up:

Katie Christ: The Italian Job, Cookbook Styling and Food Acrobatics

As the second part of our series of guest food bloggers, 7x7 welcomes food stylist Katie Christ. Katie worked as Culinary Producer for the first season of Top Chef and in 2008, she won the first ever Food Network Challenge for food stylists. Tune in to get a taste of Katie's inspirations as she eats and drinks her way through our fair city.

The Eater Wrap: Tavern on the Green Meets the Metreon and Contigo (Finally) Opens

Welcome to our exciting new partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his opinionated report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including hot new openings, hot design renderings and Rachael Ray in flames.

The SF Chocolate Salon: The Good, the Bad and the Guy in the Top Hat

The SF Chocolate Salon is coming up this Saturday. I know this because a month before the salon, we are literally deluged with chocolate samples sent to us, from bars to truffles to chocolate-dipped pretzels covered in toffee chips. (We're on the fence about these. They taste better the hungrier you are and the longer you've been chained to your desk—after dark).

The standouts so far (for better and for worse):

The HIGHS

Solid California Wines for Under $15

Last weekend, Fort Mason hosted the winners of the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 4,000 entries judged by 60 wine professionals. Of the Best In Class winners, we chose seven very affordable California vintages. Troubled times demand good (but not expensive) vino. Print this list out for your next pre-dinner party grocery run.

1. 2006 Mandolin Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, $12.

2. 2007 Mandolin Pinot Noir, Central Coast, $12.

3. 2007 South Coast Winery Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles County and Temecula Valley, $14.

4. 2005 Pedroncelli Estate Vineyard Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, $14

Reconsidering the Zuni Balsamic Bloody Mary

I found myself at Zuni Cafe last Sunday. It was my first visit in months, and the first time on a weekend in even longer. Among other things Zuni is famous for (its chicken, its caesar salad, its shoestring fries, its oysters, its ricotta gnocchi, its espresso granita--jeez, that's a long list) is its Balsamic Bloody Mary.

Nopalito = Good Drinkin'

The other day we braved the crowds loitering outside Nopalito (mostly young, hip, good-looking people, mind you), on Broderick in between Fell and Oak, to get some Carnitas. Yes, Carnitas, that staple of, oh, every single tacqueria and burrito joint in San Francisco. But Nopalito's were supposed to be better, and in fact its entire, authentic Mexican menu was said to be very, very good.

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