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Eat + Drink

A Pub's Life

Change, as we all know, is an inevitable part of growing up. It’s actually one of the greatest, hardest things about growing up, truth be told. So I guess it makes sense that some of the regulars at Magnolia Pub and Brewery—which closed at the end of the May for a complete face-lift and a rebirth as Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery—are having a hard time with the transformation. As owner (and all-around nice guy) Dave McLean wrote in his blog chronicling the construction, “I know some of you are sad and miss some or all of the "old" Magnolia.  I understand and I miss it, too.  Right now, it's all a little strange, honestly, after ten years.

High on the Hog

In a few weeks I’ll be visiting New Orleans for a conference. I haven’t been for a few years—since before Katrina—but I’ve been hearing a lot about the amazing work going on in both farmer’s market and restaurant recovery. I’m looking forward to visiting the Crescent City Farmers Market and hearing from Richard McCarthy at Market Umbrella, who is working to support local farmers and bring healthy food to New Orleans.

Gin and Tonics: The Great Tonic Showdown

One of the recent warm evenings, I decided to pit the two boutique tonic waters now on the market head-to-head. Fever-Tree has been available for more than a year, but Q is just coming into the market and I was sent a sample last week.



Both are trying to make the experience of that classic drink, the gin and tonic, better by improving the oft-neglected role of the mixer. Fever-Tree is made in England, with ingredients sourced from around the world. Q is made, best I can tell, in New York. The gin?

Cheap Eats: Nicaragua Restaurant


First stop on the cheap eats train.

A Drink (and Bar) of One's Own

The other night, while at the 540 Club, one of my friend’s preferred bars on Clement Street, I was reminded that fancy cocktails at trendy bars make for great arm candy, but if you want a real, longterm relationship—one that will always be there for you—you need to invest in two things: A simple drink and a neighborhood wateringhole to order it in.


Skip the cocktails: Some appropriately basic
drinks at the 540 Club in the Richmond.

Martinis: Shaken V. Stirred



The science in this article, which claims that a shaken martini has a measurable advantage in salubriousness over a stirred one, seems highly dubious to me. The article recaps the findings of some British scientists (who probably have too much time on their hands) reviewing research done in 1999 by some Canadian ones (who definitely have too much time on their hands):

A Cucumber Vodka Cocktail: The Watermelon Refresher

Cucumber, perhaps my favorite vegetable, is the supreme food for summer. Light, crisp, a mixture of sweet and bitter, cucumber is just made for eating … and drinking. As my colleague Sara Deseran pointed out last week in her Bits and Bites posting, Square One, the locally masterminded organic vodka company, has just released its cucumber-flavored vodka, and it's a winner. Normally, I don't get particularly excited about flavored vodkas, but this one is novel and very well made.

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



1. Wine on the waves

On Saturday, May 31, from 4 to 6 p.m., enjoy an afternoon on the bay aboard Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidential yacht, the USS Potomac. Fine wines chosen by Foggy Bridge winemaker Daryl Groom accompany seasonal cuisine prepared by Larkspur’s Left Bank restaurant, all against the backdrop of our gorgeous city. Book online for a 20 percent discount at sipsandbitessf.com.


BBQ: Thai'ed Up on Memorial Day

Long ago—like seven years ago—I published my first cookbook, Asian Vegetables with Chronicle Books. (I know, a hot topic. Let's just say it's a good book, but no best seller.) Oddly, based on this book—which has all of two grilling recipes—I was invited to participate in a big grill-fest in Seattle, along with some serious barbecue guys. I was the only woman. And pregnant at that.
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