Eat + Drink
Yesterday, Jason Wilson of the Washington Post wrote of his experiences using wine--specifically the Yellowtail wine from Australia that he disdained--in cocktails and finding it pretty darn good. In the article he says our own SF bartender Neyah White of Nopa mixes Croft Pink, a new-styled port wine, "in an ice-filled highball glass with gin and orange bitters, then tops it with ginger beer." Does that sound good to your or bad? Could you imagine using your favorite Napa Cab in a drink or would you just prefer to drink it straight? Wine can be a harmonious blender, but it's definitely less alcohol and concentration than a spirit.
Any chef in town that recognizes SF Chronicle food critic Michael Bauer (the majority) knows Michael Murphy’s face almost as well. Murphy is not a food writer but he holds sway for one reason: He’s Michael Bauer’s longtime partner and fellow diner for many a review meal.
If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.
Even though we know full well that lists—to-do lists, top-10 lists, lists of the best things to eat—are just a clever marketing ploy used by magazines to, well, sell magazines, we're just like everyone else: we fall for them every. single. time. Do I think the UK-based Guardian knows more than I do about what is good, culinarily speaking, in San Francisco? Judging by the speed with which I clicked on their "50 Best Foods In the World" list, the answer is yes.
You Say Tomato, We Say Get Busy
Though it’s hard to believe now, the drizzly days of an SF winter are just around the corner. Since we believe the best offense is a good defense, we suggest that you load up your pantry with home-canned tomatoes. Come on! All the cool kids are doing it! Pre-order your 20 pound boxes of San Marzanos, Early Girls (20# for $28) or Beefsteaks (10# for $15) from Mariquita Farm, then pick them up in the Mission on Saturday, September 19. You must order by this Thursday, September 17—email your request to ladybugbuyingclub.gmail.com and they will respond with the pick-up location.
A Bird In Hand
Behind every great bartender, there's probably a great barback. If nothing else, this I have learned in my short, two-year foray into the world behind the bar. At Cantina, I sometimes get to work with a great one: a kid named Anson Stahl. What more could you ask? When he's on his game, he's there handing me glassware and bottles to make a cocktail before the customer's even finished ordering. Ice, replacement bottles, straws, napkins, fresh fruit are never a worry. When I'm in the weeds, he's there pulling beers, pouring shots. The main reason he's not a full-time bartender is that he's too valuable as a bar back. (Sorry Anson!) Good help is hard to find.
The other day, my coworker went to the coffee shop around the corner from our office to get a bagel. While there, she noticed an oversized bin of fresh, juicy, sliced tomatoes. "Oh" she said, motioning to the tomatoes,"can I have a slice of tomato on my bagel?" An innocent enough request, it would seem—she described what happened next as a kind of Curb Your Enthusiasm moment, as the women behind the counter flat-out refused the request. "No," she said. "I can't." And then, the line that even in the second-person retelling had me outraged—"I've been instructed not to cater to the customer." Thud.
These days the Tonga Room—the Fairmont Hotel's thatched-walled, indoor-raining temple of Tiki Kitsch—finds itself in more danger, more often than Elisha Kuthbert’s ever-threatened Kim Bauer on the first season of 24. The current state of the historic bar's impending closure has the Fairmont turning it and the 28 stories above it into condos.