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drinks

Because the Night

Last week the Westin St. Francis  implemented a really great idea: a more civilized version of happy hour. Just like its predecessors, this happy hour occurs between 5 and 7 p.m. (Tuesdays through Saturdays) and is a good deal for the money. But this one takes place in Caruso’s, the St. Francis’ refined lobby bar, instead of a noisy pub, and features delicate amuses-bouche instead of buffalo wings—plus a touch of wine education.

I Dream of Chocolate


Drinking up dreams.

As the office insomniac, I had the honor of testing out a new locally made product this week: Dreamerz, a flavored milk spiked with melatonin, that supposedly promotes restful sleep. It’s made right here in Mill Valley  and besides melatonin, it contains a recently patented, naturally derived milk-based protein called Lactium.

Quiet Riot


Riotwine founders Josh Duyan and Nathan Kennedy

This is what I hate about wine (or rather, some of the people that sell it/review it/drink it and make that bubbly noise in their mouth much too loudly and too often):

Descriptions like:

Scotch to Start, Bacon for Dessert


photograpy by Frankie Frankeny

I’m a big fan of liqueurs, and an even bigger fan of food photographer Frankie Frankeny, so when she invited me to an “Amber Tasting Lab” at her SoMa studio last Monday, I was there—along with a few dozen of the city’s best bartenders and pastry chefs. They were making samples of cocktails and desserts they’ve created using Macallan Amber: a liqueur made from Macallan single malt scotch, flavored with pecan and maple.

Fat Chance


photography by Stefanie Michejda

Next year is the last year for the annual Masters of Food & Wine event in Carmel that draws top chefs, vintners and foodies from all over the world. In anticipation of that, neighboring Pebble Beach Resorts (pebblebeach.com) this year hosted its first annual Food & Wine Weekend at Casa Palmero, two days of feasting that can’t possibly be summed up, except in these Top 7 highlights. Two more upcoming weekends will focus on the food and wines of Italy (February 2–4) and France (March 9–11).

Blue Light Special



With a family that firmly believes in “wine-thirty” (in the Deseran clan, that would be 5:30 pm—the time of day considered late enough for our nightly bottle, or two, to be uncorked), I’m always looking for reasonably priced selection to pull out of the cupboard. And lucky for me, the deal of the century is going on right now at Good Life Grocery Store (448 Cortland St., 415-648-3221) in Bernal Heights, just up the street from my house.

Hot Stuff



I recently returned from Paris, and I want to share with you a very European and delicious way to warm up your winter. As you know, we Americans love coffee: tumbler-size containers of espresso and steamed milk, carried with us nearly everywhere we go. The French aren’t like that. When you order a coffee, you get a little cup that looks like it belongs in a tea party. Even when you specify “café crème”—i.e. add some milk please—you barely get six ounces of liquid.
 

The Great Coffee Debate

I was having dinner at Eos last night with five friends, all of whom I admire for their taste and intelligence. One of them mentioned that a barista at Ritual Coffee Roasters (ritualcoffeeroasters.com) had been quite unhelpful as my friend struggled to find the correct lingo for a cappuccino (known as a “short single cap” at Ritual, pictured below in a photo taken by our photo editor, Stefanie Michejda).


 
“That is taking coffee way too seriously,” I said.
 
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