Months ago, my sister called me from the back of a cab, distraught, in frantic flight from a wildly uncomfortable date at Supper Club. As my introduction to the place, it wasn’t promising. Nor was the website, a slideshow with the clubby and surreal look you might get if David Lynch were let loose to direct an ad for Virgin America. Scared and curious, I reserved a bed (yes, a bed) at “Food Worship,” last month’s dinner party that guaranteed, if nothing else, lots of blasphemy and sequins. Read More
At the very top of Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Park, I had an epiphany — but not the kind where a spiritual being appeared in a bush and my hair turned gray. I sat on a stone in the shade, looked into the vista where San Francisco lurked somewhere in the distance, and texted a friend in Brooklyn, N.Y., with those eternal words as only Mick Jagger can sing them: “I’m the man on the mountain, come on up.” Read More
Whenever I have friends in town, my motto is: When in Rome ...
In other words, if you want to go to Fisherman’s Wharf, then you’re on your own.
In addition to a movie at the Castro Theatre, a walk on Ocean Beach and, weather permitting, an afternoon in Dolores Park, a top activity — and only for the very special and patient — is a pilgrimage to the Swan Oyster Depot restaurant. Read More
Get cozy in one of the ornate rattan booths, and you might feel like you have journeyed back to a 1930s-era tiki lounge. And while the “Star Wars”-themed pinball machine and flat-screen TVs showing sports and Hong Kong action films serve as reminders of the modern era, one look at the tropical drink menu’s prices will convince you that it’s 1995 — the potent Scorpion Bowl, for instance, serves four and costs just $14. And most of the delightful ice cream and liqueur drinks are just $6.50. Trad’r Sam has been a fixture in the Outer Richmond district since Sam Baden opened it in 1937. Read More
We’re talking Jewish deli, so let’s cut to the chase.
Shorty Goldstein’s thick-cut, moist, properly fatty pastrami nears exemplary status. The only problem? A propensity for pepper. At one lunch, I was unable to finish my sandwich due to an uncomfortably intense mouth sensation leading to an afternoon of water guzzling. Read More
This Mission district spot has received a lot of attention for The Hideout, the “bar within a bar” nestled in its backroom, but there is plenty of action up front at the main bar, where Douglas Stephens plies his trade. He got his start as a bar back at Vertigo in the Tenderloin roughly 10 years ago. When he’s not behind the bar, Stephens enjoys working on his 1968 Chevy El Camino, which has a Darth Vader bobblehead figure sitting atop the gearshift. Read More
I’m starting to get used to the idea that baseball games are no longer just about beer, peanuts, hot dogs and, lest I forget, the game itself.
Over the past few seasons, I’ve been sussing out the wine choices that are available and have always found some worthy recommendations. However, probably the most exciting wine venue in professional sports has come to AT&T Park with Vintage 58, a new wine bar located right behind home plate on the promenade level. Read More
The sign for Kingdom of Dumplings is easily missed. Beneath the large Chinese characters — “Nation of Dumplings,” it proclaims — the English is thin and anemic, like a subtitle. “Kingdom of Dumplings,” it whispers.
Kingdom or nation? No matter. Seekers of soup dumplings, keep your eyes peeled.
There is something about Shanghainese soup dumplings, or xiaolongbao, that make people embark on quests for them, even to the Parkside neighborhood, where there are no decent bars. Xiaolongbao aren’t common, and they’re hard to get right. Read More
Gold Dust Lounge: After the lease expired last year after 47 years in Union Square, the Gold Dust brought its red-velvet bar, damask wallpaper and Old West chandeliers to a new location at Fisherman’s Wharf. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” bartender Phil Smith said of the Union Square closing in May. On any given day, you will find waves of tourists sipping $3.50 Irish coffees and Wharf restaurant workers diving in for a few during the Gold Dust’s industry happy hour from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Even locals, such as the Bovis family owners, hold down the far corner of the bar. Read More
There is a lot to be said for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma counties. It’s scenic, there is an abundance of wineries and it can be a day trip from San Francisco.
However, if you want to spend less time in the car and avoid the hordes of tourists, a trip over the Bay Bridge is all you need to make. It may not have the rows of vineyards, but the East Bay has enough wineries to keep you busy for an afternoon. Read More