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Restaurants & Bars

Sipping Sicily

While traveling in Sicily, it was hard not to think of wine director Shelley Lindgren and her restaurant A16. Shelley’s done more for the reputation and profile of Southern Italian wines than anyone in the city, perhaps the country. There are lots of regions you’ve never heard of, strange sounding grape varieties, wines with flavors and aromas like you’ve never experienced.

Burgundy in the Big Apple

Along with a few of San Francisco’s top sommeliers like Rajat Parr (Michael Mina), Eugenio Jardim (Jardinière) and my wife Christie Dufault (Quince), I went to New York last weekend for the greatest Burgundy event in North America—La Paulée de New York.

In the Ballpark

As baseball season approaches we’re all aware of the myriad places around the ballpark to drink Vodka drinks (e.g. Paragon), stand and chatter in claustrophobic throngs (Momo’s), etc. But just a block down from where you can guzzle margaritas (Tres Agaves), there is now a place to sip Sauvignon Blanc, munch on risotto balls and rhapsodize about Pinot Noir. The name of the place is District and it brings a touch of sophistication to a neighborhood that needed it.

Movia Magic

The good times always roll when Ales Kristancic (ah-lesh Kris-TON-chitch) of the Slovenian winery Movia comes to town to promote his wine. He is a bald, Baltic ball of fun and brings his lively spirit, passion for wine, and inimitable use of the phrase “tzak, tzak” to town (“tzak” has no real translation, but he uses it when he doesn’t know the proper English verb).

Growth Potential

If you’ve gotten into wine at all in your life, you’re probably aware that German Riesling is one of the most incredible wines in the world (and often a super value), but also incredibly difficult to comprehend. The labels in themselves are phenomenal works of code—and the familiar designations like kabinet, spätlese, etc are indecipherable to most people.

Shaken, Not Stirred

Bartenders around town have been reporting a heightened frequency of orders for the Vesper. This is no doubt because of the popularity of the new James Bond film, which is said to present a harder, more serious Bond instead of that wry, wisecracking guy we all started to hate (I have yet to see the film).

Drink and Be Merry

Welcome to the drinking blog. Every week, I'll be corresponding in this space about all the fun one can have in this town when it comes to imbibing.

One such place—a new spot in the Haight called The Alembic (—might be technically considered a restaurant with a bar, but in fact it is the opposite. Most of the long, narrow space is dominated by a long and generous bar, while the dining area is civilly kept small and to the rear.
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