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Eat + Drink

Dept. of Silly Products, II



An electric martini maker? This should insult every bartender—or really anyone with use of his or her arms. Is it that hard to stir a martini or shake a margarita? C’mon!

What I Drank on Christmas Eve

I drank sake and a beer on Christmas Eve. We decided to get the homey stuff—pan-seared steak, Caesar salad, a bottle of Napa Cabernet—out of the way on the 23rd while watching season four of The Wire. The Cab was a rather unromantic wine, but still really good.



On Christmas Eve, we went for Sushi at Ebisu. It was packed and convivial, and the walk there and back through SF’s quiet, deadened streets was simply beautiful.

Dept. of Silly Wine Products Part 1

I gotta get one of these “wine enhancers.” I love the idea of using crystals and metals to “balance tannins and astringency of young wines,” but I’m even more excited that it has a similar application for coffee.

Like Mother, Like Son



I promise I won't grow up to be a chef.

There are certain things that can make a mother’s heart melt—especially when you think you have something to do with it. Like the fact that my 2 ½ year old son, Moss, loves to “cook.” It must be genetic, right? He spends a lot of time in front of his little wooden “stovetop” and “oven,” from which the other day he proudly pulled out his stuffed piggy which he'd been cooking—the same one that he also sleeps with (in my head I was making whole hog jokes, but I didn’t think he’d get it).

The Notebook

I had a little holiday lunch with Daniel Patterson, the cerebral chef and owner of Coi, last week. We didn’t have any remotely foamy or fancy. He just sat in the tattered, faux-velvet chairs at Punjab Kebab, catching up with me and happily polishing off his very uncerebral chicken curry.

 
Daniel preparing for Madrid Fusion.

Christmas Cheer

Eating out is one of my favorite things to do, except on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day—that’s when I’ll actually make my way to the kitchen. While reading Four-Star Feasts, I couldn’t help thinking that while the menus of these acclaimed chefs sounds good (I’m definitely clipping the Cajun shrimp recipe), my family’s traditional meal—turkey, dressing (most call it stuffing), sherry sweet potatoes, sesame spinach and a few other dishes that change according to my mood each year—is equally deserving of the four-star feast title. I do the veggies and my mom takes care of the turkey. So, I’m off to cook and eat.

Top 7 in '07

My favorite local dishes of 2007, in no particular order:

1.    At Ducca, gnocchi with chunks of oxtail, jus and … a genius move … red grapefruit.


Ducca's oxtail gnocchi.

2.    At South, the bushman’s plate, an Aussie version of antipasto: especially the tempura-coated mussels.


The bushman's plate at South.

They've Got Sol

As if cozy accommodations, free cruiser bikes and aromatic, bake-yourself mud treatments weren’t enough, Solage Calistoga, the new wine country hotel, has also got a fabulous restaurant—Solbar, headed up Chef Brandon Sharp, who comes by way of Gary Danko and French Laundry.

Solbar has a casual vibe, but the attention to detail and execution that goes into the menu is anything but. You can almost feel Chef Sharp and his team sweating it out in the kitchen while you sip a nice Viognier and gaze at the modern sculpture-cum-fireplace.


Solbar's beef short ribs.

7 Memorable Meals of ’07

After a year of what felt like non-stop eating, I thought I’d reduce my many (many) meals into a concise list of the seven most memorable. As you’ll see, some are old standbys while others couldn’t be duplicated—at least not without considerable effort.

Here goes, my year in review:

Live Uni – Just-out-of-the-water uni at Sushi Groove

The uni was so fresh, it was still moving.

Spice Is Nice – 5 Spices, 50 Dishes cooking class

Beignets at Brenda’s

Last Wednesday morning was rainy to say the least, but a winter deluge wouldn’t stop this online team from trekking to the Tenderloin for our holiday breakfast. That’s right, we dined in the Tenderloin—but no need for pity here—there’s a little gem of a spot known as Brenda’s French Soul Food on Polk between Eddy and Turk.
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