Eat + Drink
A sommelier's job includes many things—buying wine, maintaining the list, training the staff—but the most visible of these is his or her wine-pairings menu. The wine pairings are the chance for the sommelier to demonstrate his or her ability to compliment the chef's food without getting in the way and bring both dish and wine to a new level, where the combination is greater than the sum of the parts.
Ordinarily, I am no fan of gimmicky when it comes to eating and drinking. I do not like waiting in line, passwords, secret phone numbers or bars with unmarked phone numbers. So when I heard that a group of chefs and front-of-the-house people, led by chefs Chris Kronner and Danny Bowien (formerly of Serpentine and Farina, respectively) were opening a pop-up Thursday-nights-only supper club in the private room of Bruno's (the unfortunately named "Pussycat Lounge") I feared for the worst. (Full Disclosure: I worked at Chez Panisse with several of the people involved in this project).
Chocolate and caramel, curry carts and cocktails for the road. Mexican fiestas, Hawaiian loco moco and Shanghai Bucks. Where to get goat in the Marina, black-sesame popsicles in the Mission and … Tums (available at any Walgreens).
While I’ve been writing about artisanal mezcal—the smoky, complex, and original agave spirit of Mexico—for years, my articles have often been written more out of the hope of inciting a trend than actually chronicling a real one. But now, I can finally say with confidence that there is a definite mezcal trend occurring.
Our friend the Tablehopper, AKA Marcia Gagliardi, asked me to pass along this notice of her upcoming wine tasting and class. The focus is the wines of Sicily, which are well worth knowing about. Sicily is a vast land will all kinds of different terroirs, from the hot and dry to the cool, lava-dominated soils of the still-active Mt Etna. As in California, all kinds of wines come from Sicily, from the most humdrum of bulk wines to some the most unique and intriguing wines in the world.
Tory Farms returned to the market last Saturday with baskets of their lovely May Crest peaches. The May Crest variety is one of the first to appear for the season and is remarkably sweet and flavorful. Rebecca and Tory Torosian of Tory Farms grow a wide variety of peaches, nectarines, and pluots throughout the season. This week, Rebecca tells me they’ll also have Rose Diamond nectarines and possibly a few of their wonderful apricots.
Who would have thought that San Francisco needed another wine bar? I guess we did, given the kind of slamming business RN74—named after the road that travels up and down the Cote D'Or, the heart of the Burgundy wine region—has been doing since it opened a few weeks back. (A couple of disclaimers: My wife, Christie Dufault, is one of the sommeliers there, and I am good friends with RN74's visionary Rajat Parr, one of the world's foremost Burgundy experts. So take what I say as you will. I also attended a comped "media dinner," but I've also been there and paid straight up for food and drink.) Nevertheless, my enthusiasm is genuine.