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Eat + Drink

Tool Time

Oenophilia is still such a minority hobby that wine lovers always get excited when someone famous from outside their realm shows an interest. That’s why you can always find articles in Wine Spectator about some football or baseball player or actor who collects wine. Such was the excitement last week, when a dinner was organized around Maynard Keenan, lead singer of the rock band Tool and avowed wine geek and now wine producer.


Dee Vine Wedding

One of my favorite people in the wine industry is Dade Theriot, the owner of Dee Vine Wines on Pier 19. Dade is the most knowledgeable person about his passion—German wines—that I know, and he’s exceedingly generous with them, as he is with all things. He's also a Beethoven fanatic and an all-around eccentric, as was evinced by his wedding in which attendees were invited to come either in formal dress or in early 19th century costume.


Absinthe Arrives



St. George Spirits of Alameda, the good folks behind Hangar One vodkas and all the amazing Aqua Perfecta eaux de vie, recently had me out to preview the long-awaited release of their absinthe. Lance Winters, the distiller, was the mastermind behind this delectable spirit, and he was kind enough to pour the better part of a bottle and talk about the product, its history and how it should be consumed.


Lumpy Gravy Beer

Here’s a quick note that Lagunitas Brewing Co. came out with its latest tribute to Frank Zappa, in the form of a delicious new ale. Lumpy Gravy, named after the 1968 Zappa solo album, is the name of the new beer.



It’s a big, malty brown ale and utterly delicious. Perfect for the season (note: don't drink it too cold). Look for it at City Beer (where else?) and perhaps at other outlets, too.

Punch Drunk Love

During the holiday madness, I find it best to find a balance between non-sober moments and some rather sobering ones.

For the latter, I recommend catching up on your reading. In particular, Michael Pollan’s very good essay, “Our Decrepit Food Factories” in last Sunday’s Times Magazine. It lays out the ramifications of the use of antibiotics in factory farming. This is one way to sober up—really quickly.

Freeze Factor



I’m not sure what’s going on with our weather here, but I’d venture to say that I’m cold about 75% of the day (which comes to about 18 hours, six of which are in bed under lots of covers). I’ve come to accept bundling up when I go outside, but I draw the line at wearing full wintertime gear—a hat, scarf and jacket—when sitting at a table at any given SF restaurant. That’s why I’m echoing Sara D.’s plea in Open-Door Policy:

Restaurateurs: TURN UP YOUR THERMOSTATS!

After Fall Comes ...



After fall comes... winter, of course.

I got my yearly dose of both in about a week, as Christie and I journeyed to Jackson Hole, WY to visit her brother and his family. Jackson was frigid—averaging about 8 degrees the entire time we were there—but beautiful snowscapes with flakes gently falling from the clouds and mountains are the perfect backdrop for . . . serious drinking. And Jackson’s no stranger to that.


Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Life After Christmas


Cheap lunch at A16? Sign me up.

Here is my hint of the week. You’re all probably totally bogged down with holiday shopping, cooking and planning (and traveling!) but this is one of those early bird = worms type of situations that it would be a shame to miss out on. The seventh annual SF Dine About Town is on—January 15-31st. For those unfamiliar with the Dine Around concept, let me explain: participating restaurants offer special menus (for lunch, dinner or both) throughout that period for rock-bottom prices—a multi-course lunch for $21.95, dinner for $31.95.

Napa in Autumn

One of the few disappointing things about living in the Bay Area is the absence of clear-cut and dramatic seasons. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year (favorite month = October), but to get a feeling for it, you have to go up to Napa or some other place where more of the trees and plants actually drop their color-changing leaves. It's the end of the season up there, but there's still some nice action, as these amateurish pics from a recent trip display.



Top 7 Desserts of ‘07

Since I’ve started working here, I’ve noticed that everything in my life now runs in sevens or multiples of seven, so it’s no surprise that when I sat down to reflect on some of my favorite eats this year (2007—seven, get it?), I came up with… surprise… a list of seven. Here’s the rundown (in no particular order):

1. Strawberry rhubarb crisp at Universal Café—I forgot to take a picture of it before diving in; it was that good.


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