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Eat + Drink

Sandwiches, Then and Now

I am prone to food nostalgia. I tend to romanticize great meals of the past—and remember them in painstaking detail (Sara Deseran and I share this odd skill), and then wonder when I’ll get back to taste, say, the great cheeses at Benoit in Paris again, or a loaf of my mother’s Christmas stolen. There’s a particular sandwich that falls into this class—the Cuban sandwich at Chez Henri in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It has the perfect bread, the perfect ham and roast pork, the perfect pickles and the right ratio of filling to roll. It is an extraordinary sandwich, and it is also very far away. So today, when our office ordered lunch from a new Cuban joint around the corner, Paladar, I crossed my fingers and chose the Cuban.

New Chile



Chile is moving beyond its reputation as both the world’s leading supplier of cheap wine and top imitator of Bordeaux. Thanks to its coastal location on the Pacific, Chile gets a lot of cool ocean influence, just like California. Intrepid vineyardists are pioneering out into these coastal locations to bring us a whole new style of wine for Chile and classic “cooler climate” grapes like Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.


The Cheesecake Factory: The Place to Be

Although I’m a big fan of the drink, I usually defer coverage of this category to Jordan Mackay. But when I was asked to judge a sparkling Shiraz cocktail competition last week, sponsored by Hardy’s and hosted by Rye (because Jordan was busy moving), I decided, What the hell—I know what tastes good.

Who Needs Bottled Water?

I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I dread it when I go out to eat, and the server asks: “Bottled or tap?” I always go for tap, but then feel like a second-class citizen, like riff-raff, like maybe I belong at the burger joint down the street instead. But when classy restaurants such as Chez Panisse, Incanto, Poggio, Nopa and Bushi-Tei are taking bottled water off of their menus, I can say “tap!” with gusto.

Carpal Diem

This post on Explore the Pour rang true with me since I've started working a couple of bartending shifts at Cantina. My problem isn't the incessant muddling of mojitos (we get a few orders every night for these, but nothing over the top), but rather the toll of hand-squeezing hundreds of limes, lemons, oranges and grapefruits in a night. The day after a shift, my hands are a bit cramped and in desperate need of a good massage.


Mega-sized rinds

Beer of the Week: Brasserie Dupont Foret



People who read me regularly enough will know that I love Belgian beer. In its infinite complexity and variability, it’s a subject as absorbing and satisfying as any wine region.

A Legendary Lunch



Since I’m moving from the Financial District to Cole Valley, I thought I’d spend one of my final lunches in my soon-to-be-former neighborhood trying out the café everyone’s been raving about: Myth Café.

Up and Out



Rolling hills on one side, ocean on the other.
Between the two, the sweetest berries around.

A Tree Hugger

The oldest tree on Union Street was planted in 1867 and is still standing—in fact, it even has a restaurant named after it. Palmetto, the new restaurant that replaced Home on Union, opened its doors a few weeks ago and probably hopes that some of the tree’s longevity will rub off. The Mediterranean menu is the work of executive chef Andy Kitko, who was most recently sous chef at Aqua and, before that, executive chef at Bar Tartine.

Crustacean Cravings


Crab roll

Food memories have been haunting me lately. Although I’ve made SF my home, there are definitely times (usually the summer) when I toy with the idea of hopping on a plane home to D.C.—Bethesda, actually—for a brief visit. The tomatoes, peaches, corn and cantaloupe that I grew up eating have not met their fresh, juicy, perfectly flavorful match here in California—believe it or not. And then there are steamed Maryland blue crabs with a touch of Old Bay. MMMMMM.
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