Eat + Drink
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Holiday Shopping Soiree: If you have a few cocoa hounds on your nice list, consider heading over to Leland Tea Company tonight to sample the wares of local providers Neo Cocoa, Clarine's Florentines, and Jade Chocolates, along with other, non-chocolate artisans. They'll have free sparkling wine and appetizers for attendees, and $1 of your $5 entry fee ($6 at the door) will support Larkin Street Youth Services. RSVP here. (Wednesday, November 17, at Leland Tea Company, 1417 Bush Street, Polk Gulch.)
Making mole right is a science, and when it's done to a T, it's a beautiful thing. The Mexican sauce (whose origins are claimed by Oaxaca, Puebla and Tlaxcala), usually concocted with nuts, seeds, chocolate, plantains, grapes, garlic, onions, and a bevy of chili peppers, spices and herbs gets a starring role at tonight's Mole To Die For contest at the Mission Cultural Center. At the contest's 6th year running, you'll get to taste dozens of different moles (they'll also offer small plates of chicken smothered in green mole) and vote for your favorite.
Kings of Pastry at Balboa Theater
Looking for some pie-baking inspiration? Maybe you'll be tempted to take up your rolling pin after watching Kings of Pastry. The documentary follows three French pastry chefs on their journey to try and win an award from the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France (a very high distinction). Thrills! Spills! Chocolate! Sugar! The movie opens tonight at the Balboa.
The word "Expo" doesn't usually have positive connotations: a failed Home Depot spinoff, a failed Canadian baseball team, and myriad obligatory corporate functions come to mind. This holiday season, however, there's one expo that everyone can get behind: the Indy Spirits Expo, which brings a host of independent liquor producers to SF for a night of sampling. This year's Expo is tomorrow (Wednesday), so grab a big meal and get ready to find some gifts to give (or receive) come December.
Hard times plus the approaching holidays make for diminishing bank accounts, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be able to take a load off at your local bar, have a drink, commiserate with your fellow nine-to-fivers or get wild and crazy on the cheap.
7x7 is looking for someone who dreams of carnitas, snubs the steamer, finds themselves at El Farolito for a super carne asada at 10 am and back again at 4 in the morning, knows everyone by name at Cancun and thinks SoCal burritos are for losers. We're looking for someone that uses the word slab, has special foil unpeeling techniques and has created personal Excel file ranking their favorite burritos in the city. We want someone who thinks they can name a burrito with their eyes closed.
The chosen burrito expert will be called upon to be on a panel of five esteemed judges—including two of SF's best chefs—for a 7x7 burrito-off and photo shoot, which will run in our February food issue.
Break out the Celebration Ale: this year marks the 30th anniversary of Chico's Sierra Nevada brewery, which was founded in 1980 by Ken Grossman and is currently the nation's second-largest microbrewery (after Samuel Adams). To celebrate, Grossman has embarked on five beer collaborations in the past year, beginning with Life & Limb, produced in partnership with Dogfish Head (read more about it here). Life & Limb was followed by four specially designated Sierra 30 beers, released over the course of 2010.
This weekend on November 20-21, a big, shiny new wine event is coming to Fort Mason, just in time for holiday celebrations and present-giving. The SF Vintners Market transforms the pier space into a massive tasting room where over 200 wineries from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Russian River Valley and beyond will be pouring and selling their bottles.
Now that we've provided you with Turkey 101 (you have ordered your bird, right?), it's time for our Pie Primer. Because, really, when you think about it, if you have a great finale to the meal, your guests will forgive any transgressions that occur before dessert (for some holiday "horror" stories, click here).
Tartine Bakery has a full compliment of holiday pies and breads. Maybe you want a classic pumpkin, an apple nougatine, or a frangipane tart with cranberries and orange zest (all $38)? Yeah, we didn't think you were planning to make that one at home. You can also preorder bread (country, walnut and olive with herbes de provence), cornbread, gougeres and a host of other delights.