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Eat + Drink

Spruce It Up

Spruce the long-awaited bar and restaurant on Sacramento Street in Laurel Village opened a couple of months ago. I finally had time to stop by and check out the cocktails and wine list at its exceedingly lovely bar.


A Shot and a Beer for Breakfast



This photo was taken at 11 a.m. in the morning. I know that the idea of me having a shot and a beer at that early hour confirms many people’s suspicions about me, but this was a special occasion. In fact I had worked behind the bar at Cantina from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., come home and stayed up all night working on a story for Wine and Spirits magazine. Actually, I slept for two hours and got back up at 4 a.m. and kept working. I finished the story between 10 and 11 that morning, and then it was time to have a drink and go to bed.

Learning to Let Go


Her name was Lolo, she was a showgirl

The Last Days of Tomatoes

We went to the farmer’s market last weekend and bought a 20-pound flat of tomatoes ($35 from the lovely people at Ella Bella farms), as it’s one of the last weekends of dry-farmed early girl tomatoes this year. The tomatoes get softer and sweeter at the end of the season, but you want them a little earlier than that—when they still have great acidity.


Philadelphia Freedom

I enjoy comparisons. Comparisons, after all, are what we use to make most decisions. “Do I want oatmeal or pancakes for breakfast?” To decide, you mentally compare the two. “Should I continuing dating Jake, or is it just going to end badly, like Jack did?” Again, you compare. “Do I take the high-paying but boring job or the low-paying creative job?”

Talk, Eat, Listen


Michael Pollan is all smiles and ready for his big dinner at Fort Mason.

I’d make a horrible revolutionary. I don’t have the myopic focus of an Alice Waters or the drive of a Michael Pollan. Last night, I set down the latest Gourmet magazine, which focuses on the “farm-to-fork” movement, with a sigh. Instead of being moved, as I was a few years back, I felt tired. Even worse, I felt compelled to do something bad—like eat a pineapple.

Cal-Mex Hits Maine

I’m always reminded that some of the best things are the most unexpected. Happy accidents, I think they're are called, and they seem to occur most just when you stop looking. I spent last week touring around the great state of Maine, visiting farmers and checking out local restaurants (did you miss me?) and in the process was reminded of the greatness of serendipity.

Vino Volo

If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I’d buy a first-class, around-the-world airplane ticket, then I’d invest the rest (yeah, right). Traveling ranks as one of my favorite pastimes, even after 9/11 when airports have become such a pain in the ass. I do appreciate how businesses are working to make the long layovers more bearable. Once I even got a mani-pedi at the Xpress spa in SFO’s international section, but usually I try to minimize the time I spend there to getting a burrito at Andale.


Beer from Beyond

And then, a brand new, very exciting discovery . . . new beer, also from NZ.



It’s called Moa, and I’ve been hearing about it for a few years now. The founder and brewer is Josh Scott, the son of the famous winemaker Allan Scott from the Marlborough region. I’m sure Josh is a talented winemaker in his own right, but we should be happy he turned his attention to beer—as these are unique and exceptional.

Wine From Beyond

Actually, from Down Under in New Zealand, a couple of things worth mentioning:

First, a spectacular bottle of Pinot from Palliser Estate. When it’s on, I think Martinborough is currently the most consistent and best pinot region in New Zealand, and Palliser is one of the producers there that I really love. Richard Riddiford, the pugnacious and often obstreperous owner, is a real wine visionary, an amazing character and a gracious host who entertains guests with cannon firings and meditative wine drinking at the grave of his late, lamented dog.


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