Eat + Drink
I got turned on to sparkling sake when I was in Tokyo last fall to do a spot-check on the A16 there, which opened in September. I go three or four times a year to talk to the cooks about new recipes and see how things are running. We were at this yakitori place in Ginza, some seriously down and dirty spot that’s a celebration of the chicken. They put all parts of the chicken on a skewer—tail, neck, gizzards. But we started the meal with sparkling sake, and that’s how I got introduced to it.
I'm not really a breakfast person. Rather, I am not a going out to breakfast person. Nothing irritates me more then waiting on line, early on a weekend morning, to eat overpriced eggs and cold toast. Like Peter Meehan wrote today, "I think there’s value in putting money aside to go out to a place that's doing something cool rather than overpaying for a meal that's better at home." He was talking about homeburgers—hamburgers made at home—but he could just as easily been talking about pancakes, fried egg sandwiches and home fries.
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Harlem at the Ambassador: Though the name may bring to mind New York's struggling neighborhood, this Harlem is actually a Dutch drink that resembles Jagermeister. The brand managers have been handing out samples guerrilla-style to folks around town (just a few weeks ago, we were unexpected recipients in a neighborhood bar), but they're making a scheduled stop to give away free shots and Harlem-Red Bull mixers at the Ambassador this Friday. After 11, you can get the Harlem Red Bulls for $5-- a great drink or alternate-universe sports-team name. (Friday, March 19, free drinks 9-11 pm, at The Ambassador, 673 Geary St., Tenderloin.)
St. Patrick’s Day at Orson
You could go to a rowdy pub and get splashed with green beer, or you could opt for a kinder, gentler celebration at Orson, where the menu will include beer-and-cheddar soup with soda bread crackers, corned beef and cabbage and coffee parfaits with whisky-chocolate centers. The meal is $55 (plus optional beer pairings); call 415-777-1508 to make last-minute reservations.
While pondering what to blog about today, I looked out at the pale wash of clouds over the day's blue sky and while there might be some pressing chef gossip, what's on my mind right now is spring: the apricot jam I'm going to make, the sour cherry pie I'm going to perfect, the green garlic, the peas, the morels, the asparagus!
Last weekend I had a great meal at Church & State in Los Angeles. My dining companions and I sat there, in the center of the dining room amidst a swirl of activity, and I felt the happiest I'd been in a restaurant in quite some time. Everything was great—great energy, smart servers, terrific food—but there was also some indescribable brilliance that made that spot feel special. Restaurants—even good restaurants—don't always have this magic ingredient, and while we worked out way through bacalao fritters, escargot, perfect John Dory, we tried to figure out what it was.
Oh, St. Patrick’s Day. How we love your lucky leprechaun jigs, green beer and authentic Irish pinching traditions.
To celebrate this debaucherous holiday, we’re holding another 7x7 Flash Mob, so grab those camera phones and snap whatever you’re doing throughout the day on March 17. Sitting on the sidelines of the parade? Guzzling pints at the pub? Eating a killer plate of corned beef and cabbage? Just email your photo to our Flickr group at email@example.com to be featured on 7x7’s site. Be sure to include a title in the subject line and a short description of where you are with your email address in the body (so we can let you know when your photo's up and if you've won a $100 gift certificate to Harris’ restaurant).
Sure, green beer is kinda gross and Irish car bombs are a bit fratastic, but what other day can you go out, down a Guinness and say, “Kiss me, I’m Irish” without getting slapped? The sophisticated amongst us may choose to stay couch-bound Wednesday, but for those who want to revel, there’s no shortage of solid pubs. Here’s where you might find us quaffing a few.
1. The Irish Bank
Tucked away at the end of a dirty alley, this pub is a favorite of the downtown after-work crowd. Indoors or out, you’ll get a little taste of Europe in the heart of SF. 10 Mark Ln. at Grant Ave. (Union Square), 415-788-7152