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Eat + Drink

Pinot Daze

I’m leaving the wine expertise to Jordan, but judging by this weekend, I’ll venture to say that Pinot Noir is still hot.



On Sunday, I went to the third annual Pinot Days down at Fort Mason. The turnout was impressive—with more than 3,000 fellow garnet-teethed, purple-lipped pinot lovers sipping and about 200 wine producers (mostly from California and Oregon) pouring. With guide and glass in hand, my friend and I worked our way through the crowds and tasted our way around the pavilion.

Deer-Free Sushi

Last Tuesday, I met my friend Tasha at Sebo—her hands down favorite sushi restaurant in the city, and maybe even the world. It was a timely visit since I had just read “Waiter, There’s a Deer in My Sushi”—one of the most emailed New York Times articles that day—about how chefs in Japan are dealing with the tuna shortage. Anyway, one extreme solution was to use smoked deer meat for its maguro-red color (ew). Horsemeat was another solution, but I’m not going there.

Cidre



That's how the French say "cider," and it was in France where I learned about this beverage that I still love. Traveling with my parents as a teenager, I was not allowed to drink much with them, besides a taste of wine or beer. But sometimes the rules were lifted when it came to cider, which I quickly learned to enjoy for its dryness, essence of apple flavor, bubbles and, yes, the little buzz.

Your Hardworking Sommeliers

Last Saturday night, a group of sommeliers gathered together for what is a unique San Francisco tradition--the late-night sommelier blind tasting.

That our hardworking restaurant wine professionals will bother to assemble at midnight on a Saturday—each bearing a bottle or two of expensive, classic wine to give to his or her comrades blind—for the purpose of learning and understanding is admirable.


Paul and his sister, Noah, Allen and Jean-Laurent Vacheron                           

Classic Crunch Cocktail with a Twist

Here is a version I created of a classic drink: the Champagne Cocktail. This one employs blackberries, which I quartered and marinated in Cointreau for a half hour. The rest is just as simple.



Champagne Cocktail

Drop a sugar cube into the bottom of a Champagne flute
Drench it with several dashes of Angostura bitters
Top with Champagne or some other sparkling wine
Drop in a few blackberries

It’s a good drink for brunch—that is, if you're not nursing a hangover with a Bloody Mary.

Two-Buck Gold

Speaking of competitions, this absurd and alarming story will be generating waves throughout the wine world.

Two-Buck Chuck, aka Charles Shaw, Chardonnay—famous for being one of the cheapest wines in the world—won the gold medal for best Chardonnay at the State Commercial Wine Competition in Sacramento. It was voted in a blind competition by a panel of wine industry professionals.

Sometimes You Feel Like a 'Nut


Photograph courtesy of Scott Peterson

People continually ask me what my favorite restaurant in the city is, and I’m always at a loss to answer. I have favorite diners, favorite pizza joints, favorite five-stars, favorite neighborhood spots, favorite classics, favorite newcomers, and finally, the most important and difficult category: favorite places to take visiting out-of-towners.

Berry, Berry Nice


Patrick's Garden Berries

Jessica just asked me if I’m becoming the “fruit blogger.” I suppose there are worse things to be accused of. I’m admittedly a little bit obsessive. I love my peaches so much that I have a self-imposed ration, which guarantees me a peach a day until the farmers market rolls around again. For me, breakfast without a peach is just a big disappointment.

Land of Giants


Behold, a 68 pound cabbage.
Photograph by Bob Hallinen/Anchorage Daily News

This may be the last you’ll here from me. No, I’m not quitting—I’m just headed to Alaska. Maybe I’ve just read too many books and Outside Magazine articles about the back-country, about bear attacks, freak snow storms and innocent San Franciscans that get lost in the woods and eaten alive by black flies, but I feel convinced (OK, semi-convinced) that you can check into Alaska, but you may never check out.

A Taste of Some of the Other Drinks

Now that you know the winner, here’s my take on the other drinks. Stay tuned for the official recipes, to be posted over the next few days.


H.

H. from Elixir infused his vodka with chai and added fresh strawberry and lychee liqueur to make an extremely complex and surprising drink. 


Alberta
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