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Eat + Drink

My Summer Vacation

What did I do during my summer vacation? I looked for interesting things to drink, of course. 
For the record, it wasn’t really vacation. It was a day in NYC and a few more days visiting my wife’s family at their summer retreat in western Massachusetts. But traveling is a most exciting way to explore the world of drinking and eating, and I found a few notable things.


RIP Michael Jackson


Michael Jackson, the beer hunter—not the pop star

Having just returned from a short jaunt to the east coast, it’s necessary for me to recognize the passing of a great figure in the world of drink: Michael Jackson, the beer hunter, died on August 30. He had been coping with Parkinson’s and was 65 years old.

Citizen Cake Connections

Sanchia’s one of my best friends in the city. As luck would have it, she’s married to Sean Forsha, the second-in-command under executive chef Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake (and soon Orson). And as if I could get any luckier, Sanchia invited me to dine with her at the newly remodeled Citizen Cake last Tuesday.


Viva Healthy Alcohol!


Dried açaí, Milk of Millennia and VeeV neat

If you haven’t heard about açaí, it’s likely you’ve been living under a rock. After all, Oprah named it her #1 superfood, Dr. Perricone proclaims its anti-aging properties and The Washington Post deemed it “the new pomegranate.” Back in my ultra-healthy days, you’d catch me making smoothies with açaí; these days I’m more likely to be drinking cocktails with it—I’m banking on the hope that the antioxidant punch is still potent in its liquored-up form.

Oh, My Mango

There are truly no appropriate words to describe something that is so indescribably good, so amazingly delicious—but, since it’s my job, I’ll try.



Yesterday, I purchased the above mango from Valencia Farmer’s Market, a little produce market in the Mission District on the corner of 24th and Valencia Street. You might want to know what the variety is (Kent) and where it was grown (Mexico), but really what matters is how it tasted. Let’s just say it was creamy, tart and sweet; as juicy as a nectar-of-the-gods rivulet; yielding perfection that only Mother Nature (and well, maybe a botanist or two) could produce.

God Bless America

Long ago, I got a chance to cook at the James Beard House. (Owned now by the James Beard Foundation, the renovated brownstone that Beard actually lived in serves as the facility for many a big-name-chef dinner and much more.) I certainly wasn’t famous, but it was my class’s graduation from Peter Kump’s New York Cooking School (now called the Institute of Culinary Education), and we were lucky enough to be aligned with the Beard House.

Announcing the latest addictive dish, coming soon to a restaurant near you


Roman-style fried artichokes, will you marry me?

Pauline’s, Wine and Art

Last Friday, my friend Arnold and I practically used up all of our minutes on the phone trying to decide where to eat dinner. We didn’t want to spend a lot of money, or get dressed up, and we wanted something yummy and relatively healthy, so we agreed on Pauline’s Pizza—their salads and pizza toppings are the freshest around, the dough for the thin-crust pizza is handmade daily and their wines are a steal.


These obviously aren't from Pauline's—I forgot my camera

This Is Not a Rosé



It’s actually an old Pinot Noir, a bottle of 1982 Hitching Post from Santa Barbara County. Frank Ostini, the winemaker, gave it to me after a large tasting—he had brought the bottle to open for the tasting but never got to it, so he just handed it off to me. It was his first vintage. I’m not even sure if the wine was released commercially.


Belgium Meets California



I had an interesting opportunity to taste a new beer that’s made by the highly respected Belgian brewery Brasserie d’Achouffe. It’s called Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel. I don't know what all those words mean, but I do know that you don’t often see the term IPA (India Pale Ale) on Belgian beers. Sure enough, this is an interesting hybrid--a Belgian company making a beer for the American market. It’s in the style of a tripel, which the name for a golden-hued, complex mellow style of Belgian beer. Throw in some extra, hyper aggressive hops, and you can start calling it an IPA in hopes of appealing to American fans of beers like the IPA from Racer 5.
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