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Restaurants & Bars

Getting Things Done



I like this guy’s style. While eating a late-ish dinner at Nopa last week, I noticed this fellow working on his computer in the middle of the restaurant. Though I don’t necessarily approve of working so late, at least he was convivial enough to enjoy one of Nopa’s amazing cocktails while he did it.

Church of Absinthe

I’m not a religious man, but a weekend visit to Absinthe, where I hadn’t been in a while, did feel a little like going to the Unified Church of Libation. See . . .


The light streamed in the stained glass windows.

Thirsty from a long walk from the Embarcadero, I paid tribute to a Pillar of Wisdom:


Yo La Tengo



One of my favorite bands in the world is Yo La Tengo, to whom I came relatively late with their album I Can Hear the Heart Beating as One. Or at least that’s the album that put me over the edge. (The first time I remember hearing about them was when I was a freshman at Swarthmore and some of the sophomores who were way, way cooler than I was were going into Philly to hear a YLT show. I had no idea who the band was.)

A Very Good Year

If you haven't yet heard, 2005 was a stellar year in Beaujolais, a great wine region that has largely been forgotten in the modern vinous rush. The reason this place has been overlooked might be because it makes a lighter style of wine from a grape that no one talks about. Anyway, in 2005 the wines are not light, but are perfect medium-bodied wine. They have some tannic grip and loads of dark plummy fruit. I like them slightly chilled.


Almost Old Enough to Drink

Toronado, San Francisco's number one beer institution, celebrated its 20th anniversary on Saturday, meaning that it's only one year away from being alcohol-legal.


Revelers at Toronado.

It was a packed affair, as people spilled out into the streets, happily warmed by all sorts of great Belgian, German and, of course, local beers. Toronado's reputation as one of the best beer bars in the entire country is secured—as was proven to me a couple of years ago when I met a bartender who had traveled out all the way from Boston just to do a stint there.

Port of Call: Wood Tavern



I journeyed to the Rockridge area the other night to check out Wood Tavern, founded by Rich and Rebecca Wood—the former owners of Frascati in Russian Hill. Housed in the space that was formerly Grasshopper, it’s a shame this place isn’t in SF—it’s good eating and mighty good drinking.


A Legendary Lunch



Since I’m moving from the Financial District to Cole Valley, I thought I’d spend one of my final lunches in my soon-to-be-former neighborhood trying out the café everyone’s been raving about: Myth Café.

The Hemingway Daiquiri

Ernest Hemingway, July 21, 1899 - July 2, 1961

As was pointed out by one of the genial, twittering, PR birds so constantly abuzz in my ear, this is the week of Hemingway's birthday (and the anniversary month of both his death and birth).

Hemingway's contributions to many fields are in no need of enumeration here. But the man did stamp his identity on the cocktail with his favored way of taking the drink.

The Daiquiri is named for a Cuban mining town where an American engineer came up with the simple formula of lime + rum + sugar (hmmm, hard to imagine that had never been done before) that worked so beautifully that it became canonical.

Port of Call: Farina



I visited this new Italian outpost in the Mission yesterday (just one block from that classic but still vibrant Italian outpost, Delfina).

The design is gorgeous. I loved the shelves of wines and wine glasses that separate the bar area from the dining room. The warm lighting and off-white walls suffuses the entire space in a gorgeous glow the color of fresh, organic cream. Tables and chairs have beautiful wood, and there is rustic marble placed throughout the restaurant.

Tequila Shots


The bar at Colibri

Most people think of tequila as a shot or an ingredient that gives a margarita its kick, but it’s actually unique in the spirits world. While it's distilled just as vodka or whisky, the fact that it comes from a plant (instead of grain) that has to ripen gives it qualities that are wine-like. That’s what make it one of the most complex and diverse spirits on the planet.
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