Eat + Drink
I've been working in Union Square now going on 10 years which has gained me some keen insight into eating on the cheap around these parts. Not known for its culinary prowess, this part of town still has some good eats—you just have to pick and choose, even within each restaurant.
1. For blustery days, my new favorite go-to soup is the organic chicken pho at Urban Picnic (a spot that I'd written off until I tried the pho). It's not quite Turtle Tower, but the the slices of chicken are tender, the broth is bold. (Not to mention there are plenty of brain-numbing, US Weekly-type magazines to read while you slurp.)
7x7 Partner Spotlight
When the Trumer Brauerei Berkeley opened its doors in 2004, we worked hard to perfectly preserve the brewing process of our 400-year-old sister brewery in Salzburg, Austria.
We've successfully combined the heritage and tradition of our European roots with the excellence and passion of American craft brewing. So now you can enjoy a TRU European Pilsner imported fresh from Berkeley.
Brewed in your own backyard for your next backyard BBQ.
Well-balanced with a distinct hoppiness and crisp dry finish, Trumer Pils is a perfect pairing for a summer BBQ, dinner party or Sunday afternoon at the park. Pick up a 6-pack today and bring a local home.
Baseball aside, football season is just getting into full swing. For fans, it's important to know where the best bar stools and high-definition TVs are. Liquor.com has highlighted the Mission's very own Elixir as the place to park for those football games you just can't miss, along with a few other spots around the country that serve up football and cocktails in style.
This week, a good proportion on my meals have been between two slices of bread. The sandwich is a satisfying creation, equally suited to breakfast, lunch and dinner and co-opted by nearly every culture in the world.
If you're a fan of whisky, you'll want to hit up one of these WhiskyWeek activities, which all lead up to the annual WhiskeyFest on Friday at the San Francisco Marriot. Expand your knowledge of the spirit at these events:
Thursday is the new Friday. At 1 pm, Jimmy Russell, master distiller at Wild Turkey, will be discussing his life, signing bottles, and educating whiskey devotees on the virtues of Wild Turkey at John Walker & Company on Sutter Street (where all Wild Turkey products will also be 15% off during the event).
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Big Nate's 20th Anniversary: Over in a quiet corner of SOMA, former Warriors center Nate Thurmond has been selling his barbeque to a hungry public for two decades. To celebrate, Big Nate's BBQ is throwing an all-you-can-eat anniversary party, with a cash bar featuring Abita Amber and Mission Blonde Ale, Wrangler Red, Shannon Ridge Sauvignon Blanc and plenty of tasty smoked meat. The price tag? A mere $10-- and Nate will be in attendance for your autograph/photograph needs. (Saturday, October 9, 12-4 pm, at Big Nate's BBQ, 1665 Folsom St., SOMA.)
Lunch at Comstock Saloon for 20 bucks
If you've exhausted the downtown dining options, venture a bit farther to the edge of North Beach, where Comstock Saloon just started serving up a $20 three-course lunch, Monday through Friday from 11:30-2:30 p.m. If you have to take a nap after eating the oyster po'boy and maple-bourbon pudding, that's your business.
Paul Einbund is the wine director of the Slanted Door restaurant group. He's also worked as the sommelier at Frances, Coi and more. Look for him here every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter @pauleinbund.
I was recently in Denver for an immersion class in the wines of New Zealand. The wineries had initially gotten together to send a group of sommeliers to New Zealand for the weekend, but when that didn't work out, they decided to bring New Zealand to us—in Denver! The obvious choice. What I learned on this trip is that the people are great, the food and music are fun and that the wines can be very good but still have a long way to go. Kiwi invasion you ask? Don't trade in your Burgundies just yet, but the winemakers of New Zealand are working hard to make some good stuff.
Here are the wines that I think are great right now.
Kumeu River Chardonnay 2007 ($20) is one of the first great wines from New Zealand. This wine is like white Burgundy but softer and ready to drink on release.
Bars specializing in only one kind of spirit have recently been sprouting up around the country. Liquor.com rounded up the best specialty joints in the nation, and our very own Nihon Whisky Lounge on Folsom Street made the list. If you're a fan of Scotch, the bar offers more than 200 single malts from Scotland, plus blends and whiskies from around the planet, all available by either the taste, glass or bottle.