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Eat + Drink

Golden Hour



I took this shot outside of Golden Boy Pizza in North Beach. The photo is not the greatest—as I sort of just snapped it as I was walking by—but I like its Hopper-esque feel. And I like its evocation of counter dining—one of my favorite ways to eat. There’s nothing like a beer and a slice at a crowded counter late at night.

Golden Boy Pizza
542 Green Ave.
415-982-9738

Seek Nua Experiences



After several months of trying, I finally made it by my friend David White’s  new (less than a year old) restaurant and wine bar Nua.

First of all, chef Anna Bautista’s menu was really excellent: we dined happily on such things as grilled octopus and chickpea salad, piquillo peppers stuffed with brandade and sardines with an eggplant caponata.

But what I’ve always admired about David White is his palate and his enthusiasm for the often overlooked wines of the world. He has a nose for well-balanced, interesting and—most important—well-priced wines. His list is full of them.

Muscadet with Soul



More famous as the classic vinous accompaniment to oysters than as a wine in and of itself, Muscadet has a fairly shoddy reputation. Most people consider Muscadet to be a bland, light-drinking, unmemorable wine. And—to be fair—most Muscadet is exactly that.

But there are exceptions. And this wine is one of them. Domaine de l'Ecu is probably the best producer in the region, making fully biodynamic wines that are true wines of minerality and terroir. The Domaine’s owner, Guy Bossard, makes three wines, each expressive of a different soil type: granite, gneiss and orthogneiss.

Okra’s A-OK at Namu


Grilled okra with miso aioli

I’ve never liked okra, until now. It could be because the only okra I’ve ever really tried has been greased up and deep-fried—and fried food rarely appeals to me. So, the other day when I went to Namu and my friend insisted I try their grilled okra, I (very) grudgingly agreed.

No Reservations


Anthony Bourdain's made a career based on No Reservations

People are always asking me to tell them about restaurant trends here in San Francisco. But for the most part, San Francisco is a decidedly untrendy city. Stylish, yes. But trendy, which implies a kind of flash-in-the-pan lemming-like following—not so much. Thankfully. But I’ve noticed a recent micro-trend in the world of restaurants, and I’d love to hear your opinions about it: The no-reservations phenomenon.

Taking the Fifth


The spirits course

Over the summer I got to know the two young chefs—Charlie Kleinman and Jake DesVoignes—who were promoted to top status after the departure of Melissa Perello. They’ve been running the Fifth Floor for most of the year.

The news is out now that, for some reason, the hotel hired Laurent Manrique to take over the famed destination restaurant, and he has in turn installed his choice, Jenny Lorenzo, in the head spot. (All this I learned from the most excellent Tablehopper, by the way.)

Jordan Turns 35

Family-owned and operated Jordan Winery celebrated its 35th birthday at its Alexander Valley digs with a lot of great food and wine, and I was lucky enough to get in on the action.

Jordan has always put a stress on its wines being food-friendly, so it was no surprise that as soon as our first glass of wine was in hand—a 2005 chardonnay—a parade of plates started streaming out of the kitchen. First up, a gelee of Japanese cucumber topped with Transmontanus Rex (aka Idaho white sturgeon) caviar. Fast on its heels came little pillows of Peruvian scallop served ceviche-style with salty caps of osetra caviar. I had three helpings, they were so good.

Independent Spirits

Tomorrow is one of the coolest shows of the year—the Independent Spirits Festival. Small-production, artisanal spirits are the name of the game, as these are some of the most exciting and delicious products on the market. I’m especially looking forward to seeing Ron Cooper, importer and mastermind behind Del Maguey mezcals (the greatest agave products on the planet), who I’m interviewing next week.

You can only buy tickets online today. Print out your confirmation and bring it to the W Hotel at 6:30 p.m. for the start of the show. It’s only $78 for a chance to sample hundreds of amazing products.

My Post-Vacation Vacation


Wine bottles and flowers at Quattro

I lucked out last week. After getting home from Cartagena at 1 a.m. on Monday morning, all I had to do was put in five days of work, then I was off again for a night at the Four Seasons in Palo Alto followed by a Sunday in Healdsburg and a relaxing Columbus Day off.


Sens and Sensibility

The one and only drawback to Sens, the new restaurant that draws on talent from several trustworthy corners of our local food universe—a general manager and sommelier from Kokkari, chef from Plumpjack Café and pastry chef from Citizen Cake and French Laundry—is getting to it, via an elevator and hallway buried within the promenade level of the mall-ish Embarcadero 4 building. But the location pays off once inside, where your view from the dining room or spacious patio is of swaying palms lined like sentries in front of the iconic Ferry Building.
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