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Restaurants & Bars

Lumpy Gravy Beer

Here’s a quick note that Lagunitas Brewing Co. came out with its latest tribute to Frank Zappa, in the form of a delicious new ale. Lumpy Gravy, named after the 1968 Zappa solo album, is the name of the new beer.



It’s a big, malty brown ale and utterly delicious. Perfect for the season (note: don't drink it too cold). Look for it at City Beer (where else?) and perhaps at other outlets, too.

After Fall Comes ...



After fall comes... winter, of course.

I got my yearly dose of both in about a week, as Christie and I journeyed to Jackson Hole, WY to visit her brother and his family. Jackson was frigid—averaging about 8 degrees the entire time we were there—but beautiful snowscapes with flakes gently falling from the clouds and mountains are the perfect backdrop for . . . serious drinking. And Jackson’s no stranger to that.


Million Dollar Cowboy Bar

Cocktails on the Fly



I feel remiss, as I don’t know that I’ve done anything yet to promote one of the Web’s most engaging cocktail resources and one of the most creative and talented bartenders I’ve ever met.

La Gitana at Laiola



Two Saturdays ago, the incessantly rainy one, I finally made it to Laiola, though it took a bus from Union Square and a splashy mad dash in the rain down five puddle-ridden blocks to get there. Owner Joe Hargrave greeted my dripping pate inside the door, pulling a clean napkin off the shelf so I could dry off. The restaurant was packed and filled with a warm, convivial hum. The napkin gesture alone might have been enough to at least place this joint on my good side. But there was more.


Cocktails with Camper

At the Macallan dinner (the name of the house is actually The Macallan, so perhaps that should be “the The Macallan” dinner, I was seated next to San Francisco’s most dogged cocktail blogger and freelance journalist, Camper English. After dinner, I had plans to make some rounds and convinced young English to come along. We caught a cab and flew down to St. Marks, and the unlikely cocktail bar, PDT.


Jim Meehan behind the bar

Wings ‘N Things



I’m not a huge connoisseur of the buffalo wing and can’t say much of the phenomenon that catapulted that dish onto every sports bar menu in the country. But I do enjoy a well-prepared piece of chicken every now and again.


When Barflies Get Together

In last week’s post, Birth of a Great Lunch, I showed you what happens when sommeliers get together to celebrate—in this case a baby shower for imminent father Paul Roberts. Old, fine wines are uncorked, and civilized discussion occurs over the dinner table.


Any Given Sunday

I was born a fan of the Seattle Seahawks and there’s nothing I can do about it. We have a love-hate relationship—I hate to get too excited about them, because they always let me down, and they love to let me down.

I don’t often get to see the ‘hawks on TV, as you need a dish or some expensive TV package to get out-of-town games. But this year, I’ve got a solution . . . going to watch football at Elixir in the Mission.


(Taken with my phone.)

Congrats to Jon and Jill



Outside of Absinthe last Wednesday, I happened to run into Bourbon and Branch’s great bartender Jon Santer in a tux.

“What’s going on?” I asked him, shaking his hand. Just then I noticed the beautiful and finely dressed woman standing next to him.

“I just got married,” he told me.

“Today?” I gasped, incredulously.
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