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Eat + Drink

My Dinner Party Secret: Call A La Turca

The first crackle of a leaf underfoot, and I’m overcome with a mix of excitement (the holidays are coming! the holidays are coming!) and trepidation (the holidays are coming! the holidays are coming!). The excited part of me wants to throw dinner parties, have open houses, bake pies and actually buy wine-glass charms (yes, there's a whole industry around these things). The anxious part of me wants to just stick my head in the sand until January.


Healthy Beer?

We've heard a lot over the years about the health benefits of  drinking wine, but here's the first I've heard about healthy beer .  Rice University researchers are developing a strain of yeast that will produce  the heart-healthy chemical resveratrol as a byproduct of the  fermentation of grain. Resveratrol is the active compound in red wine that supposedly fights heart disease.

My take: Sounds good. Now, if they can only develop lower calorie brew that doesn't taste like Lite beer.

Pisco Sours at La Mar are Good. Really Good.

I visited the enormous new Peruvian sensation La Mar over the weekend, mostly because I  wanted to try their Pisco Sours.  They were terrific. I  don't know what they do for the egg-white foam on the top, which was as firm and lasting as a good brick wall (our server said they use  "pasteurized egg whites"), but the entire drink was delicious. It had  that lovely limey-floral high tone of a good Pisco Sour, the  requisite topping of bitters, and went down incredibly smoothly. I highly recommend.

Paulaner Oktoberfest: Why I Love October

Though the weather for most of this month has been what we crave in July, typically October is my favorite month. Why? Well, I do love that traditional seasonal change, the crisping of the air, the leaves, etc . . . You start to see the autumnal shift in your diet -- apples, potatoes, good oysters. Maybe you start drinking a little red wine. And, lest I forget, football season and the World Series. The best beer in the world for those things--Oktoberfest, naturally--a rich, amber beer with a strong malty character. I love the Paulaner Oktoberfest, which I cheerfully devoured on Sunday while watching those poor 49ers lose to my just-as-poor Seattle Seahawks.

This week: Caramel Apples, Wild Boar and Jam Making

This week's top Eat + Drink events around SF

1. Apple of our eye
If you haven’t made your way over to Cavallo Point cooking school (and the wonderful on-premise restaurant, Murray Circle) yet, here’s your chance: This Friday, precede your night of tricking with a treat from the kitchen—caramel apples! Heirloom apples will be dunked in homemade caramel for a gooey holiday treat. The free event begins at 3:30 p.m. and continues until 5 p.m.; afterwards, you can take your kids to the fancy Marin neighborhoods for their annual candy run.

Cook like Thomas Keller


The other day I read a great article in the Washington Post by food writer Jane Black (free registration may be required), all about how anything Thomas Keller touches turns to gold. Producers clamor to be considered, sending samples of their best butter, cheese, chocolate and pork in hopes that it’ll become part of the pedigreed French Laundry pantry.

Absinthe's Hot Toddy Recipe


I’ve heard that in places where the days are very short in the winter—Alaska, Finland, Iceland—that people drink a lot more. This makes perfect sense to me—I mean, what else are you going to do? Drinking is a good way to defend against cold and darkness, particularly if the beverages in question are hi-test and hot. We’re here to report on a happy little phenomenon sweeping our freezing, fogged-in city: the resurgence of the boozy, hot drink.

Manga Sommeliers and Suitcase Clones

Two good articles in the New York Times yesterday on wine.  The first is on the Japanese manga sensation "The Drops of the Gods," which is a comic book drama about wine tasting with its heroes and anti-heroes being sommeliers. I'd been hearing about the books for quite some time before I finally saw a few copies in a bookstore in Burgundy a few months ago. The works have yet to be translated in English, but there they were in French, which I could generally follow. I stood for 15 minutes in the bookstore, trying to figure out what this wine-soaked melodrama was about.   Apparently they are quite the tastemakers.

The Economy Sucks: Go Out to Eat



Clearly this whole economy thing is confusing us. On one hand, big-name restaurants are going gonzo and offering up packages like I've never heard of before. As Eater reported, "Big Restos Can, And Will, Ignore the Economy." Witness "Dining with the Stars:" For $1900 per couple, you can experience what you might call the ultimate progressive dinner, including Michael Mina, Cyrus and Meadowood.

Then, in the New York Times yesterday, an article in the Dining & Wine section entitled—"Across the Country, Restaurants Feel the Pinch"—reported of NYC: "Many restaurants say more customers are sharing appetizers, buying cheaper wine, ordering less wine and fewer courses, or just not showing up as much." It's a sentiment I've heard echoed by many restaurant owners in SF.

Mangoes From the Gods (i.e. the Mission)


If you're feeling the autumnal doldrums (it was downright brisk outside yesterday) or already weary of of grapes and apples, I have the tropical antidote: Mexico-grown Kent mangoes.

Last September, I wrote here about these mangoes. Tart, creamy and sweet, they represent absolute balance and perfection. The kind of mango that a knife slices through like butter. If a chef could create something so perfect, he would be God, is what I'm saying.
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