Eat + Drink
Like an alcohol-related hangover, the best cure is the hair of the dog—in this case, more traveling. Since most of us can’t ask our bosses for time off right after returning, the next best alternative is to treat yourself to your favorite vacation-like activities in your own hometown. The best thing about doing this is that you know all the good spots to hit.
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.
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.
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.
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.