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Eat + Drink

What I Learned on My Cocktail Cruise


Cantina's Tropic of Sazerac.

Tuesdays with Tori

Along the information highway, there are endless recipe stops, so it’s nice when someone takes control of the wheel and lets you kick back.

Tori Ritchie (my former boss from my days back at SF mag, the author of many cookbooks, the former host of Ultimate Kitchens on the Food Network and a regular guest cook on CBS’s Early Show), has just launched Tuesday Recipe, a website that’s very much like Tori herself: to the point, decidedly unfrou-frou and refreshingly free of bells and whistles.

Tonic Boom

Since the subjects of gin and tonic water have been coming up repeatedly, I thought I would add a plug for one of the best and most needed products I’ve seen come around in quite some time: Fever-Tree tonic water.



Bad tonic water is a major thorn in the side of any serious gin drinker. Indeed, I had to give up the G&T when I first moved to SF, because tonic water everywhere was off the gun, which made for flat, awful drinks. Even the tonic in bottles wasn’t so great, and choice is limited to Schweppes, basically.
   

Summer Drinking


Zuni's cocktails

Summer’s just around the corner, and heat spells like last week’s are good reminders of the absolute perfection of drinking a light, refreshing aperitif on a warm, sunny evening before dinner.

My top 5 restaurant bars for aperitif cocktails are:
5. Ame
4. Americano
3. Slanted Door
2. Perbacco

Pomander Recipe from Yountville's Bouchon



I went to Napa last week and stopped by Bouchon in Yountville to check out the cocktail list. It’s a truly lively restaurant and bar, and I was particularly enchanted with the Pomander, a drink dominated by flavors of clove and spice, yet incredibly refreshing and delicious at the same time.

Pomander Recipe:
2 oz Hangar One mandarin blossom vodka
1 oz aquavit
1 oz Velvet Falernum
1 drop essential oil of clove

Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice, shake gently for 6-10 seconds and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Bushi-tei's Blossoms

Growing up in the D.C. area, I didn’t realize how special cherry blossom season was until I left. Even fall foliage in New England (where I went to college) doesn’t compare. So when I found out that bushi-tei restaurant in Japantown had a four-course prix fixe meal in honor of cherry blossoms, I took action. Unfortunately for me, I’m not the only one who pounced on this unique offering of cherry blossoms mingled with wild shrimp, a brined cherry leaf stuffed with tuna tartare, veal loin stuffed with dried cherries and a cherry mousse with cherry compote.


Cherry blossoms in D.C.

Taste3 on Drinks

I was fortunate enough to attend the Taste3 conference in Napa last week. Sponsored by the Robert Mondavi company, the gathering of food, wine and art minds from around the world is supposed to be a sort of culinary TED conference and—if you have an extra $2-grand and consider yourself a die-hard foodie—is well worth your time and money. Great thinkers, scientists, story tellers, cooks, taste makers and thinkers gather together for two days of awesome talks on everything from bees and mushrooms to terroir, food blogging and new kitchen inventions. And you can rub elbows with the speakers at several lunches and dinners.

What’s Not to Like?

Here’s a reason why I think the Bay Area is so awesome: We believe. We believe in a community that cares about its food and drink.

What’s special about this picture? No, it’s not that Rajat Parr, Michael Mina’s wine director, at the Golden State versus Utah playoff series. It’s the fact that the beer he is holding (which was mine) is a Trumer Pils—one of my favorite brews, crafted distinctly right here in Berkeley.

It was a good game and a great beer.

Gordo Gorditas


New kid on the block.

Back when I lived on the East coast, far from the pupuserias and taco trucks that now signal I’m almost to my block, I made a few attempts at home-cooked Mexican food. I propped my Diana Kennedy and Rick Bayless cookbooks open, making haphazard substitutions and best attempts. I’d like to tell you that every meal was a slam-dunk, dear reader, but truth is we ate a lot of bland pinto beans and lame versions of “carnitas.”

Hometown Girl Makes Good

Well, all we have to say is that it’s about time.


Courtesy of James Beard Foundation.
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