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Eat + Drink

Seattle vs. SF

Like many of us, I tend to think of Northern California as the culinary womb of the country—the place where perfect produce is grown, organic chickens run free and bold Cabernets outshine those watery vintages they produce in France. But a recent trip to Seattle instilled a seed of doubt about our status as the capital of all things fresh and local.

No “R” in August



Despite the fact that there’s no “r” in August, the oysters at Hog Island Oyster Company were sure tasting good. Some people like to drink Guinness with their oysters, others prefer Sauvignon Blanc, Champagne or even sake. For me there is one wine for oysters that stands above all others: Muscadet. And thank goodness Hog Island always keeps one on their menu. Fresh, bright, citrus and mineral—it’s the one wine that reliably matches oysters point for point.

Bite or Flight

A few days ago in the office we coined a new phrase (credit to our A&E editor, Melissa Goldstein, must be given): Bite or Flight. I was describing an experience that happens to me when I’m dining out. Full of expectation and anticipation, I sit down in a new restaurant, eagerly open the menu and then…wish that I had chosen a different place to have dinner.

Basil and Booze: The Perfect Summer Combo

Bartenders have been playing around with fresh herbs lately, so I decided to try my hand at it, using basil from my parents garden up in Sonoma, the handle of a wooden spoon as my muddler and some citron vodka as a start. From there, I looked for inspiration on Hangar One’s website, where they have a whole bevy of good cocktail recipes. My final—very popular, I might add—concoction was based on SF bartender David Nepove’s recipe called The Retreat. The only difference is that I only swirled each glass with a good dash of Pernod (the anise-flavor of Pernod perfectly reflects the basil), rather than go for a full ounce. I also added a bit of cointreau to the shaker. If you serve it on the rocks, top with club soda as Nepove does.

A Shower and a Beer

After the El Tesoro tequila anniversary party and the Family Winemakers tasting, my poor liver was more than ready for some serious detox; but the beer-drinking gods, however, had different plans.


Huckleberry Country



It’s no secret that I’m a berry gal—strawberries first, then blueberries, with raspberries and blackberries tying for third. So when I was in Montana last week and saw roadside signs for huckleberry everything—ice cream, pie, pancakes, jam, beer, you name it—I knew I had to try some. Of course, we were in Montana to go backpacking and camping in Glacier National Park, not to go on one of my food-focused benders, so I was more than willing to let the berry thing go. But as it turns out, huckleberry eating was in the cards.

A Birthday to Remember

It was my friend Hannah’s birthday last Sunday, but I got a present too, which was being invited to the epic dinner thrown for her by her boyfriend David—with a huge assist from the amazing team at Rubicon, which opened specially on a Sunday for the occasion.


Getting Things Done



I like this guy’s style. While eating a late-ish dinner at Nopa last week, I noticed this fellow working on his computer in the middle of the restaurant. Though I don’t necessarily approve of working so late, at least he was convivial enough to enjoy one of Nopa’s amazing cocktails while he did it.

Church of Absinthe

I’m not a religious man, but a weekend visit to Absinthe, where I hadn’t been in a while, did feel a little like going to the Unified Church of Libation. See . . .


The light streamed in the stained glass windows.

Thirsty from a long walk from the Embarcadero, I paid tribute to a Pillar of Wisdom:


Where to Eat Right Now

I’ll be the first to admit that I could be considered a bit jaded, especially when it comes to restaurants. Because even in a city as rich, culinarily speaking, as San Francisco, it’s still possible to have a bad meal. In essence, that’s what my job is all about—trying to steer people away from all the bad dinners out there. I take the bullet so you don’t have to.
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