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Eat + Drink

Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink For Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

1. Ana Mandara's Anniversary: Ana Mandara, the Vietnamese fusion restaurant tucked away in Ghirardelli Square, isn't known to many non-tourists in this town. The impressively huge and done-up space will provide a great backdrop to its tenth-anniversary celebration: purchase one of a number of $10 entrees, including lobster ravioli, Vietnamese dumplings, and barbeque shrimp with garlic noodles, and they'll throw in a free beer, glass of wine, or house specialty cocktail. Don't let the tourists have all the fun. (Daily through April 30th, 5:30-10 pm, at Ana Mandara, 891 Beach St., North Beach.)

Sushi Ran's Sustainable Bluefin Tuna

Yesterday I posted a blog stating that Sushi Ran has bluefin tuna on their menu. I found out today that I was incorrect: Sushi Ran's tuna comes from Kindai University, where they're farm-raising Bluefin. (I noticed that today Sushi Ran's menu wording has changed, making this more explicit.)  Sebo, in SF, also sells this pricey tuna. Although it's certainly a much better alternative, the environmentalist jury is apparently still out. Still, my apologies to Sushi Ran for making the assumption that their Bluefin was wild, rather than ranch raised. 




Extreme Restaurant Makeovers: The Recession's Blessing

I started writing about SF’s food scene during the height of the dot-com boom, but that means I also saw it through the bust, when South of Market looked like a ghost town and restaurants like Azie, which really represented that era to me (cutting-edge $30-plus entrees) closed, and not surprisingly.

Still, I’ve witnessed nothing ravage the city’s restaurant landscape like this current recession. It’s been like a wild fire. But right now, I’m happy to report that there’s new growth: The wildflowers are emerging from the forest floor. (Nothing a writer likes more than an extended metaphor.)

Sports Bars: Beyond March Madness

Even for those who aren't basketball fans, March seems to turn a young man's fancy to thoughts of brackets, no matter how obscure. Whether the competitors are the weird name of the year or various flavors of cake and pie, this has been a banner year for brackets that have little to do with the actual NCAA tournament.

Blue Bottle + Brandy = Firelit Coffee Liqueur

After several years as a sales rep for Bock Spirits, where he helped to introduce Hangar One vodka, Jeff Kessinger decided to branch out and produce his own spirit for the first time, as a gift for friends at the holidays. His wife suggested that he try out her family's coffee liqueur recipe, but when Kessinger found out that the brew's backbone was instant coffee, he knew he could do better. So he did what most caffeine-lovers in the Bay Area do when they need a fix: he headed to Blue Bottle.

Market Watch: What The Chefs Are Buying

Every week, Lulu Meyer gives us the scoop on the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

S*@$-Slinging at Chez Panisse

I wish that this was a joke, but it's not. Two days ago I received a press release from the Organic Consumers Association with the subject line "Picket at Chez Panisse Restaurant." Picket lines? At Chez Panisse? Chez Panisse, that place in Berkeley that does everything right? Oh, California. It seems the OCA will indeed be picketing in front of the restaurant today, on the occasion of the restaurant's 30th birthday (and can we just pause for a moment to recognize that—30 years!).

Pebble Beach Food and Wine: Nice Work If You Can Get It

Whenever I consider grousing about my job, I try to remind myself that, in so many, many ways, I've got it pretty good. It's easier to remember this in early April, when the Pebble Beach Food and Wine Festival is right around the corner and, as an invited member of the press, I have the difficult decision of choosing the events I'd like to attend—a dinner with legend Jacques Pépin, a vertical tasting of some of the finest Burgundies ever made or a mid-morning Krug retrospective? The mind reels.

Lowering the Bar: 5 Places to Drink For Cheap (or Free) This Week

Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.

1. Brown Bag Exhibition: The clothing-boutique-cum-gallery D-Structure is a reliable source of friendly Friday nights floated on free/cheap beer, cocktails, and wine. Their newest art show, Brown Bag Exhibition, is dedicated to starving artists, and features work done on or with cheapo materials. The presence of the booze isn't confirmed, but even if it's not there, you can't expect to name your gallery exhibition "Brown Bag" and not see a few Tecate tallboys wander over from the corner store, right? (Friday, April 2, 8 pm, at D-Structure, 520 Haight St., Lower Haight.)

Eat It: Lots of Lamb, Urban Agriculture and a Slow Food Seder

Edible Art Contest at Omnivore Books

For Omnivore Books’ Edible Art Contest, “participants may enter their favorite food-related books or art, in the form of an “Edible” entry.” Perhaps you’ll recreate your favorite Dutch still life? Or riff on MFK Fisher’s How to Cook a Wolf? The possibilities are endless! Participants can enter for free, eaters only are $5.

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