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Eat + Drink

Friday: Big Night

It’s Friday. Got plans? Lately I’ve been so utterly consumed with the business of getting through the work week that Friday arrives and I haven’t made a single plan. No dinner reservations. No dates with friends. Nothing on the books. A few weeks back, this lack of planning resulted in an epic wait at Beretta. Be advised. So normally I either spend the entire evening at home or venture out for an early drink at my local watering hole (the Latin American Club, for the curious) before calling it a night.

Chateau Montelena: Next, A For-Sale Sign on Mount Rushmore




Not really, but it's quite amazing that two huge, historical and prominent brands have recently been sold to European firms. First, Budweiser, the King of Beers, goes to InBev of Belgium. Now Chateau Montelena goes to the Bordeaux house Cos d'Estournel.

Both were good buys, given the state of the dollar. Still, it's weird that there's not more outrage that our national beer and wine icons are being wheeled and dealed like a used Chevy. Where are the anti-Gall cries of today? What are the new Freedom Fries?

Thomas Keller and Hiro Sone: Umami is Good for the Soul


Thomas Keller and Hiro Sone

On Monday, I attended a symposium on umami called “New Frontiers of Taste”; it was organized in honor of the 100th year anniversary of Japanese Dr. Kikunae Ikeda’s discovery of umami—which is popularly known as the fifth taste. (The others being salty, sweet, bitter and sour.)

The Eat + Drink List: This week's top 7



photo by Stefanie Michejda

1. Master mixology

New Orleans Report: The Mixers Behind the Madness

Several local bartenders attended and worked behind the scenes to help all the events go. For instance, almost every seminar included multiple samples of various cocktails. They had to be made by someone, and at this seminar you can see that the drinks were mixed by Ryan Fitzgerald of Beretta and Thomas Waugh of Alembic.


New Orleans Report: Drinking to Learn

Yes, Tales of the Cocktails was about much more than drinking and eating. It was also about learning about drinking. Just to prove that we indeed did occasionally act studiously, I present you a picture of two SF bartenders, Neyah White of Nopa and Stephen Liles of Boulevard, in class and ready to learn about ancient liqueurs. Unlike most seminars, you will notice, in front of each seat was not a pad of paper and perhaps a glass of water but a mini bottle of Chartreuse and another of St. Germain.


New Orleans Report: Oyster Po'Boys and Abita Beer (to Go)



Just a block from the Monteleone was the famed Acme Oyster House, purveyor of New Orleans seafood since 1910. I stole over there one day by myself for lunch and sat at the bar for an oyster po'boy. Gulf oysters are not my favorite--a little big and mushy for my taste--but they're good when baked, sautéed or, in this case, fried. Despite the sandwich's almost ideal appearance, I didn't love it. Even a whole layer of extra dill pickles didn't save it from being a little bland and soft.


New Orleans Report: A Spirited Dinner at August

Thursday night, I was fortunate enough to have wrangled an invitation to one of the many spirited dinners going on throughout town, in which fine food and cocktails were paired on a fixed menu. Then my good fortune continued as I was able to end up at a table with Jen Colliau (sorry about the blur) of the Slanted Door, John Santer of Beretta, and Jill Santer of Laszlo. Always nice to dine amongst friends in a distant place . . .

New Orleans Report: A Happy Hour to End All Happy Hours

One night at Tales of the Cocktail, there was a massive walk-around happy hour. Bars and bartenders from everywhere had various tables and attendees were free to just stroll around and sample the wares, as I did with fellow SF writer Rebecca Chapa. There must have been at least 50 different drinks to choose from in the crowded and raucous room.

Naturally I was thrilled and surprised to encounter Martin Cate (below), the brilliant tiki mind behind Alameda's Forbidden Island, with his own table, pouring one of the best drinks of the evening.

New Orleans Report: Round and Round the Carousel Bar Goes

Ground zero for Tales of the Cocktail was the Hotel Monteleone, which is where most of the seminars took place and where most everybody stayed (I did not). But ground zero of ground zero was definitely the Carousel Bar, right off the old lobby. As you can see from the place’s publicity shot (below), it's built of an old circus piece.



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