Eat + Drink
This past weekend, I ventured from our 49-square miles to Freestone for a spa day. My friend and I had this getaway in the works for a long time. The spa (Osmosis) is the only one in the country that offers cedar-enzyme baths, and I’m a sucker for the out-of-the-ordinary. After 20 minutes of sitting in 130-degree fermenting wood, we each got a 75-minute massage in little pagodas situated near a serene meditation garden. Needless to say, we worked up an appetite (even after sharing a spectacular sticky bun from Wild Flour Bread beforehand).
There are certain things you don't say no to: Like an invitation to an intimate multicourse dinner cooked by Thomas Keller, paired with Opus One and Mondavi cult wines, hosted by three generations of the Mondavi family at their estate located on top of a hill off of the Silverado Trail. To this, you say yes (knowing that some of your friends will be filled with a mix of envy and resentment and find your job obnoxious).
Perhaps one of the reasons my zeal for WhiskyFest was a little subdued was that I had had a whiskyfest of my own the night before with my old pal, Jameson. The occasion was a performance by the Pogues, who played four straight nights at the Fillmore last week.
Half my blood is Scotch-Irish, meaning that when I get enough whiskey in me and hear the familiar reels of Irish folk-punk as spun by the Pogues and bellowed by their bibulous lead singer Shane MacGowan, I start to reflexively bounce off the f’in walls.
So, WhiskeyFest went down last week. As usual, the giant trade and consumer show had a ton of scotch, bourbon, Irish whiskey and more, arrayed on table after table in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency.
There were lots that I’d tasted before, but standing out for me was a new distiller’s edition from Lagavulin, Stranahans Colorado whiskey, and the wheated malt from Buffalo Trace.
It’s not often that I suffer from restaurant fatigue, but when I do, a night in is the only cure—which, on Friday, meant that my weeklong plans of (finally) getting over to SPQR had to be put on hold. Luckily I had a ready-to-cook meal kit from Cook! SF and a few good bottles of wine handy to lure my pal Lisa away from SPQR and to chez Sarah’s instead.
If you ask me, lots of restaurants these days seem indistinguishable from each other. Interiors boasting chocolate hues, exposed brick walls, dark wood floors, marble-topped bars, vaulted ceilings and Edison lamps, with menus highlighting the ubiquitous small plates trend (that I thought was ending, but was wrong). You know what I’m talking about. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but sometimes a girl craves something more unique.
By root on October 26, 2007 10:07 AM
My parents tell a legendary story (which we kids have all heard, by now, a half-dozen times) about going to a game supper one fall night in Vermont. There, curiosity piqued, they tried squirrel, bear, moose and deer, raccoon and grouse. They enjoyed everything, left the dinner full and happy, and then awoke in the middle of the night, stomachs rolling, sick. Was it the bear?
While on Lower Haight last night I stumbled upon a new restaurant called Baghdad Nights (682 Haight St., 415-861-6111) with elaborate, colorful signage and a flyer advertising belly dancing in the window. Turns out it’s a new (and as far as I can tell, SF’s only) Iraqi restaurant, staffed by Iraqi-Americans—each last one of them super-friendly and attentive.