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Eat + Drink

National Ice Cream Month


Me and a giant gelato in Sorrento

Battle of the Chefs, Take 2



It’s that time again—another Monday, another Macy’s Industry Night “Battle of the Chefs,” with me as guest judge. I had a great time at the last event, which pitted Noah Tucker of Brick against Eric Hopfinger of Circa—let me tell you, there was some ego involved!

All in the Family

I usually go home for Christmas, but when my brother goes to his in-laws’, my parents fly out here from D.C., and we spend the holiday wine tasting, eating out and getting pampered at the Sonoma Mission Inn. That was the case this past year. Feeling extra adventurous, we decided to take a day trip to the Anderson Valley—fast becoming my favorite wine-tasting locale—and that’s how I discovered Esterlina, a family owned and run winery up in Philo.

GATOR-IFIC


Gator's gumbo.

Soul food. Those two words go so well together. Down in San Mateo (a nice little drive to a walkable and charming Main Street when you feel like getting out of the city for the evening), chef Glenn “Gator” Thompson, an Oakland native, recently opened Gator's Neo-Soul Café. The new space is airy, modern, very warm. Last Friday, a lone musician sang the blues at just the right volume throughout the meal. And if you sit at the chef’s counter abutting the open kitchen, Gator will likely come chat you up.

Let Us Entertain You


Sweating it out: Hubert Keller DJs with Frenchy Le Freak

I've been thinking a lot about cooking shows and their hosts lately (in particular, for our upcoming August food issue—stay tuned and you’ll see why).

What makes someone so popular? What makes a show click?

Gourmet Dating

I’m pretty sure I might be single for life, but that doesn’t mean I’m not open to meeting new people—of course, you won’t find me online dating any time soon (not that there’s anything wrong with it). So when I was offered a chance to attend Gourmet Dating with Parties That Cook last Sunday, I snapped it up.


Turning up the heat

Cocoa-Crazy



I’m making (eating is more like it) my way through Fort Mason. First it was the Slow Food event, next was Pinot Days and just this past weekend was the Chocolate Salon—the first major chocolate show to take place on the West Coast in years.

The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease


Flight Essentials: Pedigreed Peaches

I’ve been meaning to recount this story for a few weeks now, ever since I returned from Alaska. You know how flying can be the most terrible, soul-sucking, depressing experiences ever? And you know how terrible it is to watch poor souls jockeying for the precious few amenities offered by the bankrupt airlines?

Gary Farrell Sighting

I went up to Healdsburg for the 25th anniversary dinner for Gary Farrell winery. Gary Farrell, the winery, if you don't know, is one of the top, top producers of Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It's one of my faves. But Gary Farrell, the man, is also famously reclusive and shy. He never leads tours of the winery, never shows up to tastings and, generally, makes no appearances.

Though there are pictures of him here and there, I've always questioned whether or not the image in the photos was really Mr. Farrell or just some actor that they got to pose as him. I even began to question whether he even existed or if the idea of this reclusive winemaking genius was just a clever marketing ploy.

Tequila's Madre

Those who know me know that mezcal is one of my favorite spirits. What is it? It's known as the mother of tequila—that is, mezcal is what was produced in Mexico before tequila became a region or an entity. In fact, tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila. (To be tequila, it has to be produced in one of the designated regions.)

Anyway, the point of this post is to say that mezcal had earned a bad reputation as rotgut stuff that will make you hallucinate, which is nothing but hooey. The fact is that ever since one company started marketing mezcal with a little worm in the bottom of the bottle, the quality and expectations for the brand have gone way downhill. While tequila ascended, mezcal descended—mostly because of marketing.
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