Eat + Drink
The recession has made way for people to open restaurants with the same DIY spirit that's inspired the current rash of picklers. Without a doubt, it's given the dog-eat-dog restaurant industry here a softer, more earnest face, infused with that original 70's Chez Panisse idealism. Whether or not this makes for a sustainable business model, the jury is still out. But for now, I'm enjoying watching neighborhood restaurants open here with a true homespun touch and genuine intentions.
Sometimes it's tough to tell if that dusty square behind the Wild Turkey is really swirling or if that third gin and tonic is altering your reality perception censors - i.e., you're so hammered you can't tell a Pissaro from an exit sign. Instead of leaving you to your own drunken devices, we're staking out the city's finest watering holes for the newly instated Weird Art in Bars series. This is clear-eyed, hard-hitting investigative journalism at its finest, folks - at least until the bartender finishes filling my pint glass.
Each week, we bring you our top picks for the best places to booze on the cheap in SF.
1. Invest in Good: The happy-hour titans of Drink Me magazine and City Dish are teaming up for a party at Art's Sushi and Tapas Lounge tomorrow, where attendees' first drink is $1 and drink specials will follow. They'll also have free "tastings" of Ploom, a complicated-to-describe product that involves tobacco, and numerous microfinance and other charities encouraging you to contribute to their projects. RSVP here. (Thursday, May 20, 7-10 pm, at Art's Sushi and Tapas Lounge, 2353 Lombard St., Marina.)
Uncorked! Wine Festival at Ghirardelli Square
Spend a lazy Saturday sampling wines from over 50 of California’s best producers at the fifth annual Uncorked! Wine Festival, presented by Ghirardelli Square and La Cocina. The $50 ticket price includes unlimited tastes, live music, snacks and chef demos; the event runs from 1 to 6 p.m. on May 22. To purchase tickets, visit ghirardellisq.com
This is what amazes me about San Francisco: The fact that when I meet people for the first time, more often than not they know more about food or drink than I do. On the food obsession radar, it turns out, I score shockingly low. One of my neighbors regularly helps his friend to throw 12 person, nine-course meals. Another of my friends hunts for morels and has made his own cheese. Another one hauled a sate grill back from Thailand in his suitcase.
May is one of the most exciting times of year at the market.
Every week it seems there’s a new addition: cherries, apricots, blueberries, raspberries -- it’s hard to keep up with all the bounty. It’s no coincidence, then that it’s also the time of year when we invite the community to join us for a special breakfast to help offset the cost of some of our educational programs. Guests can dig in knowing they’re helping us fund our weekly chef demonstrations, panel discussions and farm tours, as well as visits from guests such as Michael Pollan and Anna Lappe.
It used to be that the only drink preparation you needed to attend Bay to Breakers was practicing a polite request to others for a pull off their keg. Sadly, concepts like "public decorum" and "not urinating on everything in sight" have invaded the race, making it difficult for B2B participants to carry their own booze without risking legal trouble. If you can't or don't feel like coming up with a ten-point system for concealing your race-day tipple, here are a few stops along the route that can provide some needed liquid nourishment:
The Cosmopolitan (121 Spear St.): Situated near the start of the race, the Cosmopolitan is offering quick breakfast bites, orange juice, and (of course) a cash bar for those planning to make the full trek.
So, although I'm down in Mexico working on an article, I was able to spend a day tasting tequila with Tres Agaves' Eric Rubin. In addition to Tres Agaves, Rubin is also involved in a new Mission District restaurant that he's opening with Maverick chef/owner Scott Youkilis. Called Hog & Rocks, it's slated to open next month on the corner of San Carlos and 19th streets. Here's the scoop, straight from Guadalajara.
Why Hog & Rocks?