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Eat + Drink

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.

Tasty Bites


Nemo Librizzi schools taste-makers on the ins and
outs of a good restaurant soundtrack.

Three Syrahs

JC Cellars is small winery located in Oakland and run by Jeff Cohn, former winemaker for Rosenblum, and his wife Alexandra. A Rhone-wine specialist--meaning he works mostly with Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne--Cohn also makes a bit of Zinfandel.


86 Rules of Boozing

Modern Drunkard is a truly great magazine, and these 86 Rules of Boozing should be posted like government certificates above every bar. You will see how true these rules ring, and reading them will transport you back to moments of drinking past. Some are just little jolts of wisdom and advice. Number 50 is particularly pithy. ("Never brood in a dance bar. Never dance in a dive bar.")

I also like #29, "If you owe someone twenty dollars or less, you may pay them back in beer."

Wine in Time


Wine in Time discussion panel
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