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Eat + Drink

Sicily's COS winery: New Wine in Very Old Containers



I recently became reacquainted with some of my favorite wines in the world, the wines of COS, a small producer from the southeast corner of Sicily in the DOCG region of Cerasuolo di Vittoria. A year and a half ago, I was fortunate enough to visit this property and spend some time with its owner, Giusto Occhipinti (below).



Some of his wines, such as the bottle pictured here, are unusual in that they're fermented and aged not in steel tanks or in wooden barrels but in terra-cotta amphorae.

Domaine Tempier Rose: Sunday in the East Bay with Jonathan

Last weekend, Christie and I ventured to the East Bay for a dinner party at the house of Jonathan Waters, the wine director of Chez Panisse. As with any trip to a foreign land, we prepared by getting all the necessary shots and vaccines and loading up our vehicle with water, dried and canned goods, ammunition and flares. We hardly ever go to the East Bay, so you've got to prepare for the worst.

Luckily, none of the above would be necessary. Jonathan put out an unbelievable spread. The pièce de résistance was a huge, vegetarian paella that he expertly cooked over a roaring backyard fire.


Tcho: Beta Chocolate from the Founder of Wired

You know how sometimes you’re confronted with something that is so over your head it’s embarrassing? This is a familiar feeling for me. I felt it through every math class of high school, during a conversation with a friend who works as an industrial designer for venerable pie-plate company Pyrex (I thought we’d have so much in common—I like pie, he designs pie plates! All was going fine until he started to talk polymers) and, most recently, while reading the website for SF-based chocolate company Tcho.


The chocolate revolution will be digitized.

Slow Food Nation: Ritual Roasters Gets Fresh

Today we start a month’s worth of Monday blogs, leading up to Slow Food Nation, which lands on SF this Labor Day weekend. I’m glad the big food festival is happening here, but I’d venture to say that in SF, Slow Food Nation is almost redundant. It’s kind of like putting an Obama bumper sticker on your car. There are Slow Foodies wherever you look.


Ritual Roasters' owner Eileen Hassi and her vacuum-packed baby.

Trans fats: Yea or Nay?

We got talking in the office yesterday about the trans fat ban in California, recently passed by good old Arnold Schwarzenegger (this was after a breakfast of donuts, mind you, and a heated discussion on the topic of Sara's post yesterday,"fried on the inside.") The ban calls for trans fats to be phased out of restaurants by 2010 and bakeries by 2011 and brings to mind an important question: Can you legislate good health?


Somewhere out there, a hydrogenator sits idle.
photograph from bantransfats.com

Fried On For Size

I’ve always got some food idea up my sleeve: a restaurant I’m never going to open, a bakery I’m never going to launch, the greatest pizza delivery on earth that will never be. The cookbook I’m never going to write is called Fried on the Inside. My working subtitle is something to the effect of: Heaven is a Place Where Soft and Crunchy Meet. (Although soft must proceed crunchy by just a second, you understand. It's all about order.)

The Eat + Drink List: This Week's Top 7




photo by Platon

1. We are how we eat

The Milk of the Matter

San Francisco is a good incubator. Ideas take root here, trends grab hold, and before you know it, citizens of our fair city are fairly obsessed. First it was the farmers market, then artisanal foods (charcuterie chief among them) and then coffee—which has reached such a fevered pitch it’s almost ridiculous. In our own pages we’ve written about baristas and roasters, about hi-tech siphons and fair-trade shade grown beans. I would have thought, really, that we have covered this particular topic from every possible angle.


The milk of the matter
Photograph courtesy of Strauscreamery.com

Welcome to Michael Chiarello-land


Michael Chiarello in the raw space of his upcoming
Yountville restaurant.


I’ve met some TV stars of the culinary sort: Mario Batali (ok, I didn’t really meet him; like a stalker, I snapped a picture of him as he was riding a bike during the Aspen Food & Wine Classic), Jacques Pepin, Martha Stewart, Cat Cora and Tyler Florence. Interestingly, some seem to keep up their persona off camera (Tyler, Martha, Cat), while Jacques Pepin was a whole different person. Much more serious and political and just pretty damn cool—not at all the sweet French grandpa you never had.

Friday: Big Night

It’s Friday. Got plans? Lately I’ve been so utterly consumed with the business of getting through the work week that Friday arrives and I haven’t made a single plan. No dinner reservations. No dates with friends. Nothing on the books. A few weeks back, this lack of planning resulted in an epic wait at Beretta. Be advised. So normally I either spend the entire evening at home or venture out for an early drink at my local watering hole (the Latin American Club, for the curious) before calling it a night.
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