Eat + Drink
Before you even enter Quince you get a visual of what’s for dinner: A massive window facing the street beckons diners to gaze from the darkness outside into a kitchen glowing with stainless fixtures and copper pots, and outfitted with a centerpiece of a three-ton royal-blue Bonnet stove the size of a studio apartment. The voyeur opportunities Quince’s kitchen offers might be classier than that of the peep shows at the Lusty Lady up the street, but the excitement that it generates in the loin of fine dining aficionados is the same.
Last night, I had the opportunity to sip what amounts to the Holy Grail for many craft beer lovers: a snifter of Samuel Adams Utopias, the ultra-rare beer that the Boston brewery only makes every other year. While it's made from the basic ingredients of beer (hops, malt, yeast, and water), Utopias really stretches the definition of "beer" in every way. It's served uncarbonated, clocks in at 27% alcohol by volume (the average brewski is a mere 5%), and has the look and mouthfeel of nice brandy or cognac. It takes several years to brew and blend, and is aged in whiskey, wine, and cognac barrels.
You’ve driven by Zeki’s, on California and Leavenworth, a million times. But did you know it’s one of SF’s coziest bars? Burnished dark wood, dusky lighting and a roaring fireplace. Weeknights, stop in for a whiskey, and enjoy some tranquility (weekends can be a bit, shall we say, festive).
1319 California St., 415-928-0677, zekisbar.com
Do dessert wine
Perfect for the holidays is Rosenblum Black Muscat, a thick, viscous beauty that smells of candied cherries, blackberries and cinnamon. Chill it ever so slightly and serve with a plate of good cheese.
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.
We've already praised the smart, detailed writing of the Bold Italic, Gannett's new Web magazine, which aims to show SF from new perspectives through lengthy travelogues and hands-on experiences. But it turns out that the Bold Italites are as good at partying as they are at writing: they're throwing their first shindig tonight, a Great Depression-inspired look back at the recession glamour of 1939. A very reasonable $30 gets you two hours of access to cocktails from Distillery No. 209 and St. George Spirits, food from Aidell's, Cheese Plus, and Pacific Puffs, and "paparazzi" snapping your every move. Got some vintage duds on hand?
A Peruvian Primer
Slow Food San Francisco members eager for a Peruvian primer might want to consider snagging at ticket for the “Polishing the Peruvian Palate” dinner at La Mar on November 18. Enjoy the five-course meal in the company of chef Rodolfo Reyes, who will demystify the unusual ingredients. Tickets are $79 (plus $30 more for optional wine pairings) but you must be a member to attend. For tickets and more information, click here.
With so many pioneers in small, craft distilling, SF is a natural fit for Thursday's Indy Spirits Expo. The lineup of liquors is long and varied, ranging from Boca Loca cachaca to Macchu Pisco-- and those are just the South American-style spirits. Handcrafted absinthe, plum-wine liqueur, Chicago-made aquavit, and plenty of good old gin, vodka, and whiskey will also abound. If you want to say hello to the hometown crowd, look for Alameda's Hangar One (we love their blueberry and chipotle vodkas), Petaluma's 3D Spirits (low-proof, tasty rums), and Novato's Square One (cucumber and botanical vodkas).
The World of Flavors conference at the Culinary Institute of America was last weekend. The topic? Street food—but of course!
In the CIA’s high-tech conference rooms and demo kitchens, famous chefs and food writers pondered the singular craftsmanship of street food, the different types of street food, the je ne sais quoi of street food. Rick Bayless who just opened Xoco in Chicago—a torta-driven, street food concept—waxed poetic about the importance of the initial approach to the street food stall: the smells, the sights, even the car exhaust.
We've spent a lot of time thinking about the dual nature of bars and restaurants in SF. Obviously, restaurants with great cocktail, wine, and beer programs abound in the city, but on a busy night, dedicated drinkers can usually forget about snagging a table to drink first and eat second-- with people waiting, most restaurants won't allow lingering, especially if food isn't a priority. On the flip side, it's easy to darken the door of a beloved bar all night, but when it comes time for some ballast, drinkers are usually sent out in search of that late-night slice or burrito. With that in mind, here's our list of a few places where barflies can both drink to their heart's content, with no restrictions on seating, and snag a bite without having to leave. Have a favorite we missed?