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Eat + Drink

Campton Spices It Up



I want to make this clear: Srijith, the executive sous chef of Campton Place Hotel restaurant, is not the kind of guy who's made his career cooking up a curry of the day. Before he arrived in SF, he was a chef at Deep End—an award-winning Conde Nast restaurant in the Maldives where the menu is Mediterranean.

Tuna and Beans

My good friend—Sandro Rossi (former Oakland cafe owner, food and wine savant) from our porcini mushroom adventure—was kind enough to drop off a bag of caponi beans and some bottles of Da Capo wines from Italy. (Seriously, life is good.)


School Spirit

Wine classes in the city abound. You can learn about reds and whites in any number of places, from City College to the CCA to multitudes of smaller, private institutions. But if you wanted to learn about spirits and cocktails there has been no organized way to do that. Until now.

Conduit: An Early Report


Conduit's sleek interior.

7 Things in Food

Check out these 7 things—all happening this week.

1. Green delivery: This is the first full week that Grub Hub—online delivery guide and ordering service—is purchasing carbon offsets for every delivery.

2. Dine like it’s 1998: In celebration of 10 years in business, Absinthe is rolling back prices on signature dishes and cocktails from January 20 to February 1.

3. Go ‘shroomin’: Black Truffle dinner at Palmetto is tonight (January 22 at 7 p.m.). Start with beef carpaccio and shaved celery salad, move to pasta, then roasted guinea hen and finally a duet of desserts.

The Fifth Floor Goes to Gascony


Chef Laurent Manrique is getting back to his roots.

Chefs get excited about things: “The Bay Area is almost the same latitude and longitude!” Laurent Manrique, the chef of Aqua and now consultant to the Fifth Floor, was telling me the other day, referring to the likeness of our geography to his native homeland, the Gascony region of France. They have a wine country (OK, so theirs is Bordeaux, one of the most famous wine regions in the world), forest, mountains (OK, theirs is the Pyrenees), and an ocean in close proximity—and so do we!

Santa Cruz Root Beer



My quest to find the perfect root beer continued with this oddity, purchased at the Ashbury Market. As you might expect, my quest will continue. This organic root beer is clear. Wearing its lack of artificial coloring on its sleeve might allow Santa Cruz to feel morally superior, but, come on, root beer should be brown and served in a frosty mug. (OK, I’m the one who put it in a wine glass.) Anyway, the flavor was not particularly rooty. It was more gingery and spicy. It’s drinkable, but not really satisfying as a root beer. Next!

Brooke’s Benefit



Last week’s benefit at Cantina for bartender Brooke Arthur of Range was a big success. The bar was packed, as so many people turned out to donate and raise a glass in support of her and her recovery.


Cantina’s Staff Appreciation Party

We had the holiday, no, staff appreciation party for Cantina employees and friends last week. What was supposed to be a leisurely Sunday lunch followed by a mellow bar crawl  for us to hang out together beyond the confining box of the bar didn’t go as planned.

We went to Bodega Bistro— one of my favorite restaurants in the city—for lunch. Unfortunately, lunch was planned for 2 p.m., but the kitchen shuts down at 2:30. So instead of eating slowly and in a relaxed manner, we sort of pounded the food, as well as the copious amounts of wine we brought (most of which we left to the good staff of the restaurant, which closed while we were still there, though they mercifully let us stay and continue to make fools of ourselves).
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