Skip to Navigation Skip to Content

Eat + Drink

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.

Basement Dining

There are quite a few holiday traditions that I’m not entirely sure about, and those having to do with shopping are the most perplexing. I don’t understand why, for example, people head to the mall on “Black Friday” and then grumble about the crowds—similarly, I don’t understand why everyone heads back to the mall to return gifts the day after Christmas. I mean, wouldn’t you rather be sitting at home, gazing at the tree and eating cookies? Well, now you know where to find me. But I guess some people just don’t like to spend that much time at home with their families. In which case—if you must, you must.

Really Good Things

I like dining out more than the average person, so I’m probably well suited to my current job. I check out restaurants the way some people check out performances and, I like to think, there is something performative about a dining room in the swing of things—the house lights dimmed, everyone in costume, reciting a script, of sorts, to a packed house. Doing a round-up of some of my favorite comestibles of the year is hard. We live in a good food town. So, in the spirit of ending the year on a high note, I offer the following.

Here, 7 things I could eat (and drink) again and again:

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.


Daily Newsletters

Essential SF knowledge in your inbox

Subscribe to 7x7
Renew
Give a Gift
FAQ's