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Four Barrel: Ready to Rumble

Driving down Valencia on my way to Slow Food Nation on Friday, I spontaneously swerved into the new Four Barrel Coffee, which was just opened by Jeremy Tooker. We’ve covered it aplenty (here and here), but it was my first personal visit. Yes, the Dynamo Donuts tempt from beneath the glass case (I’m still swooning over the spiced chocolate, which is featured in our current September issue) and the slouching patronage is expected (I don’t want to use the H word, but you know what I mean). The back half is where the roasting is being done.

Slow Food Nation: Ritual Roasters Gets Fresh

Today we start a month’s worth of Monday blogs, leading up to Slow Food Nation, which lands on SF this Labor Day weekend. I’m glad the big food festival is happening here, but I’d venture to say that in SF, Slow Food Nation is almost redundant. It’s kind of like putting an Obama bumper sticker on your car. There are Slow Foodies wherever you look.


Ritual Roasters' owner Eileen Hassi and her vacuum-packed baby.

The Milk of the Matter

San Francisco is a good incubator. Ideas take root here, trends grab hold, and before you know it, citizens of our fair city are fairly obsessed. First it was the farmers market, then artisanal foods (charcuterie chief among them) and then coffee—which has reached such a fevered pitch it’s almost ridiculous. In our own pages we’ve written about baristas and roasters, about hi-tech siphons and fair-trade shade grown beans. I would have thought, really, that we have covered this particular topic from every possible angle.


The milk of the matter
Photograph courtesy of Strauscreamery.com

Making Nocino

Green walnuts have made their annual appearance at the farmers markets, which means it's time to make nocino, an Italian liqueur that's traditionally made in summer (if you want to get really pagan about it, the walnuts should be picked on the solstice, June 21, though it's too late for that now) and aged until the winter holidays, when it's used as an excellent digestive. We found these at Alemany Farmers Market, but you can also drive up to Marin, Napa or Sonoma counties, where the trees are plentiful, and pick your own.


Sammy Hagar Does the Cabo Wabo


Lick a little lime, throwin' down: Sammy Hagar tastes tequila.

“The stupidest idea in the world can be the most successful one,” Mill Valley resident Sammy Hagar—that guy formerly known as the lead singer of Van-Halen—explained to me the other day, in reference to the origin of the term “cabo wabo.”

A Drink (and Bar) of One's Own

The other night, while at the 540 Club, one of my friend’s preferred bars on Clement Street, I was reminded that fancy cocktails at trendy bars make for great arm candy, but if you want a real, longterm relationship—one that will always be there for you—you need to invest in two things: A simple drink and a neighborhood wateringhole to order it in.


Skip the cocktails: Some appropriately basic
drinks at the 540 Club in the Richmond.

Square One: Vodka and Now, Cucumber

Ah, cucumber season—it’s almost upon us! (You’ll never hear anyone speak reverently of cucumbers like this by the way, and it’s probably due to the cucumber’s representation in most big supermarkets: huge, bitter, waxy, seedy imposters. I think I'm bitter myself about them, come to think of it.) But soon, the markets will soon be flowing with the real deal. My favorites happen to be the slender, vaguely prickly, Japanese variety that I pick up at the Alemany market.


A Taste of Morocco in SF



My mother's family is Moroccan and to them, everything equals food. Visits from family: food. Saturdays: food. Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays: food. Getting on a plane = packing food. My suitcase from a recent trip to Toronto was, in fact, full of Tupperware containers of couscous, tagines and salads when I got home. Here’s how someone homesick for Moroccan copes:

1. I get preserved lemons from Rainbow Grocery. You can find them in one of the bins at the back of the store, near the olives. I dice them and put them in salads with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, hearts of celery and onion. And a dash of parsley.

Q & A with Absinthe's Jeff Hollinger


Jeff Hollinger in action.
Photo courtesy of Frankie Frankeny.
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