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Forbidden Island Farewell

None of the jokes we could make (i.e. his three-hour tour turned to three years) can mask the sadness we're all likely to feel at the news that the great, great Martin Cate, one of the partners and certainly the soul and the genius behind Alameda's Forbidden Island, is leaving the tiki bar.  If not a Tiki God (sorry), Cate is certainly considered one of the world's top authority's on this overlooked cocktail art form. While tropical and sometimes kitschy, Cate's drinks were always remarkably complex, balanced, and delcious. He told me that he and his partners in the bar, which opened in 2006, " just had different ideas about the the future of the business."

Mardi Gras at Townhall: Oysters and G-Strings

Mardi Gras is coming up next week and Townhall is having its annual Fat Tuesday celebration. Co-owner Mitch Rosenthal recalled last year's celebration: "We shucked 1,900 oysters. It was brutal. There were about six of us, just shucking and jiving." Although for 2008, the restaurant ordered big, fat oysters straight from Louisiana (having grown up there, I like my oysters big, which often slightly horrifies people here who prefer delicate little—i.e. sissy—Kumamotos), they learned a lesson when the $900 overnight shipping bill came. For 2009, the oysters will be sourced locally.

Commonwealth Club Cocktail Smackdown

Come see me moderate a panel on cocktails tonight at the Commonwealth Club. I'll be interviewing several of the city's premier mixologists onstage, and afterwards there is a reception with cocktails created by these bartenders and a vote to see which was the preferred drink. It'll be educational, entertaining and intoxicating. What more can you ask for in two hours?

 

Here's the release:

Cocktails Worth a Thousand Pictures

As the second part of our series of guest food bloggers, 7x7 welcomes food stylist Katie Christ. Katie worked as Culinary Producer for the first season of Top Chef and in 2008, she won the first ever Food Network Challenge for food stylists. Tune in to get a taste of Katie's inspirations as she eats and drinks her way through our fair city.

A Taqueria Revelation, Straight From The DF

just got back from a trip to Mexico. We spent half of the time in Mexico City (smoggy in air but very cool in spirit, especially if you stay in the lovely Condesa neighborhood at my new favorite bed and breakfast, The Red Tree House) and half of the time in Isla Mujeres (that, while beautiful, was a little too full of Hotel California-loving tourists for my taste).

Beyond getting away from it all, I think the main reason to travel is for the revelatory, a-ha moments it can provide. In the case of Mexican cuisine, I had this one: Mexican food is only as good as its salsa.

The Perfect Martini Glass

We recently sat down with designers Philip Wood of CITIZEN:Citizen and Becka Citron to discuss the perfect martini glass.  We set up shop at B Restuarant and Bar, where Don Harbison mixed what he thought was the perfect cocktail for each specific glass.  From the ridiculously inexpensive to the jaw-dropping three figures, each glass is very different and brings something unique to your tabletop (or party!).

1.  Phases martini glass from Rosenthal, $245 each
We like that the glass is unconventional and opaque, and how it really makes you consider the color and contents of the cocktail you'll put it in. 

The Eater Wrap: Early Beard Nominations, Mission Plywood, the Ubuntu Burger and MORE!

Welcome to our exciting new partnership with Eater. For this weekly Friday column, Eater editor Paolo Lucchesi gives his opinionated report on all the restaurant news that's fit to print, including upcoming restaurants, novel eatery concepts, douchiest bars, and Ubuntu's "blood sausage" burger.

First Taste: Nopalito

I don't have many restaurant phone numbers programmed into my cell phone (mostly just the few places I'll order ahead from and pick up on the way home), but last night I added Nopalito's number (415-437-0303) and you might want to, too. Because this new little Mexican cantina from the people that brought us Nopa does not take reservations. They will, however, add your name to a list if you call ahead, a boon when the wait on a rainy Wednesday night at 8 p.m. stumbles into the one plus hour territory.

 

Basque Happy Hour at Bocadillos

I can't say how pleased I was to get the press release from one of my favorite SF restaurants, Bocadillos, that it is now offering a Basque happy hour menu from 5-7. Having visited Basque, Spain for the first time last fall, I can verify that every hour in that wonderful town of San Sebastian is a happy one, especially come evening in San Sebastian, when the town's myriad bars open their doors. Inside, revelers find the txacoli (a light, tart, slightly sparkling white wine) flowing and set platters of the world's tastiest drinking food, pintxos--or tapas, as we know them.

Knife Classes and Cocktail College: This Week's Top Events

1. Heart to Heart
Kick off your weekend by attending the sixth annual Food From the Heart event at the Ferry Building, an evening of music, dancing, food and wine. This year, entertainment comes in the form of gypsy jazz, Tango and a classical music quartet—sample small plates from $2 to 4 per taste and wine pours from $4 to 6. Admission to the event is free; for more information click here.

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