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Eat + Drink

The New St. Germain?



Without question, the biggest thing to happen to the spirits world last year besides the legalization of absinthe was the unstoppable success of St. Germain, the elderflower liqueur released in Spring 2007. Bartenders, shop owners—everyone fell in love with it. It was hard not to because it is so damn good—fully flavored, but in a remarkably integrated and tactful way, sweet but not too sweet, incredibly long finishing… just an extremely well-made product for sipping or mixing.

Tea for Two

For those who love eating and drinking as much as they love the one they’re with, try this date on for size. It’s not exactly the always popular white-tablecloth-candlelight-champagne triumvirate, but sometimes the most impressive dates are a little grittier, a little less suavé, but equally compelling. For this, I’d recommend a three-part date, all within one block of the Mission. First, of course, you must start with a drink at Dalva, particularly if you can get into the very dark and very private little room up the creaky stairs. (It’s not always open early on, so maybe this is a drink that should be more of a nightcap than an amuse.)

Saturday’s Fruit Orgy

Seeing how much I love a good bowl of cereal (A Five-Bowl Meal), you’d think I’d have been to Kate’s Kitchen a bunch of times, but the truth is that I hadn’t eaten at this Lower Haight joint until just last week. And now, I plan on bringing this spot into my regular brunch rotation.


Kate's Fruit Orgy

Fighting Palate Fatigue


It’s that time of year, when a high level of fatigue seems par for the course. With the holidays behind us and very few big events to look forward to, mid January usually marks the beginning of a personal hibernation of sorts, one that usually lasts until the start of March, when green things return to the market in earnest and the sun shines at least a few days of the week.

 

The Year Ahead



I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I’m a huge fan of to-visit lists. (I keep a running tally of all the restaurants I want to eat at with me at all times.) Here’s a list of 7 openings that I’m keeping on my radar:

1. Star chefs take on the locavores: Former Fifth Floor chefs Charlie Kleinman and Jake Des Voignes take over Fish and Farm.

2. A jolt of java comes to Mint Plaza: Blue Bottle Cafe is projected to open this month (January).

How Romantic



Wine that Loves, a new wine brand that doesn’t seem to tell where the wine is from, of what grapes it’s made or the vintage. It just makes things easy for you by declaring on the label that it’s the Wine that Loves Pizza. Or the Wine that Loves Pasta with Tomato Sauce.

I’m not joking—that’s what it says on the label. It’s really brilliant as there’s an endless number of possible versions: Wine that Loves Tiki Masala, Wine that Loves Stale Bagel Chips…. Then they could move on to other areas:

Mazel Tov



Good news for the wine industry of Israel. While I have my own opinions about the merit of critic’s points, there’s no question as to the value and importance in the marketplace of high scores from Robert Parker. These scores give the industry the legitimacy that I, among others, have been lobbying for over the last several years. Maybe now I won’t have to trot out that old, “You don’t have to drink Israeli wines just because they’re kosher” column at Passover anymore.

Apple Strudel Done Right

I don’t have extra space to say much this week, other than the fact that on Christmas Day at my friend’s house, I ate one of the best things to ever enter a human mouth: her German mom’s homemade apple strudel. I learned that true strudel is (1) painstakingly difficult to make and (2) more similar in consistency to a baked pasta than a pastry dough. You will probably never attempt this at home, and neither will I, but isn’t it good to know that a recipe this authentic and delicious is being preserved for eternity on the Internet?

Hedy’s Apple Strudel
Makes three strudel rolls, each about 13 inches long.

For the Dough

Are You Hung Over?

Hopefully this was not you on the morning of January 1, 2008.

Without Constraint


Sonoma sparkling wine, meet ma po tofu.

I think I spend the majority of my life stepping backwards into good things. Kind of like an eyes wide shut sort of thing, I guess. If I were the resolution making type, maybe I’d resolve to spend 2008 devoted to mindfulness. But sometimes the surprises are nice.
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