According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, “plonk” means “cheap or inferior wine.” I have a friend who, as a point of pride, lets me know whenever he is drinking such a beverage. To this I say, “If it makes you happy, more power to you, but I’ll be sure to bring my own bottle next time I come for dinner.” (Perhaps this is why I have not been invited over lately.) Read More
Lone Palm The neighborhood bar is a great place to have a classic cocktail under dim lighting while sitting in a comfy chair at a white-cloth table, and staff members know how to make someone new feel like a regular. There’s no concrete menu and no drink specials written on the mirrored walls, but there’s a profusion of creativity. A couple of palm trees in every corner and the dim lighting make the atmosphere feel like a beach house somewhere much warmer. Read More
Downtown Redwood City, spicing up the city with a salsa competition on Sept. 29, is calling on cooks to register by Friday.
Salsa Tasting & Competition entry fees are $50 in both professional and individual categories and the winner of the People’s Choice award gets $500.
Part of the fifth annual Redwood City Salsa Festival, the contest will feature chefs facing off on site. Read More
Pisco is doing all the right things to stake out a presence in a city with an abundance of focused cocktail bars. The use of fresh ingredients, house-made mixers and an area of specialization—in this case, the use of pisco, a grape brandy ranging in strength from 60 to 86 proof — make it worthy of your happy hour to-do list. The rest of the U.S. is still catching on to the South American liquor that San Franciscans, thanks to Gold Rush-era Chilean and Peruvian immigrants, have been tipping back since the 1850s. Read More
Whenever I venture north (of Marin County that is, not Market Street) I think to myself, “Wow, I should come up here more often.” I’ve been to wine regions in several countries, and as beautiful as Tuscany, Wachau and Douro may be, Northern California is every bit as picturesque. Every August, I attend a friend’s wine dinner in Sonoma. This year, instead of spending the rest of the weekend poolside, I voyaged over to the Russian River to check out some wineries. Read More
You’ve probably heard: After years of stern wrist slaps, The City’s Department of Sanitation finally delivered Tu Lan a killing blow. The iconic dive was shut down in late July, and barring a highly forgiving appeals board, won’t be allowed to reopen. It’s no surprise, to me or anyone who visited this Sixth Street funhouse, that Tu Lan wasn’t the cleanest. Still, the violation list was hard to digest: meat festering on countertops, gloveless staffers scratching themselves and prepping food, a skittering menagerie of roaches and mice. Read More
After my first visit to Pig & Pie on official review business, I kept finding unofficial reasons to go back. One morning, I thought a Sriracha-drizzled egg and sausage roll might disrupt my breakfast bagel rut. After a Friday night whiskey date, it seemed like a slice of pie would hit the spot. And on deadline day, I craved a little Chicago-style procrastination (aka a beef dog festooned with pickled peppers, tomatoes and mustard). Read More
While making mushroom risotto the other night, I ran out of cooking wine. What to do when the guests are a half-hour away? I asked my better half to dip into the white wine box, grab a bottle and pour a glass for me without telling me what it was, as I always taste my samples blind (whether or not they end up in risotto). I took a sip of this slightly golden-colored liquid, sat down to write some notes and asked my co-pilot to grab another bottle; this was way too good for each and every sip not to be enjoyed as a beverage. Read More
Fly Bar In a homey and cultured neighborhood bar, a mixologist plays an important part. Mixed-media artist Ehren Reed works behind the plank at Fly Bar to serve our every need — as a new customer or a friend. With a down-to-earth decor, the bar, which has another location in the Western Addition, offers a convivial experience with the staff, whose dedication comes through in the glass.Fly Bar, 1085 Sutter St, (415) 441-4232, www.flybarandrestaurant.com/sf2 Read More
Lest you think that barbecue is only for carnivores, think again. This is the Bay Area: We know better. Picking up from where we left off last week, I like grilled shrimp with dry, mineral-driven white wines such as grüner veltliner or some of the wines from central or northern Italy. Since I wrote about grüner and Soave recently, my alternative go-to is Casale Marchesi Frascati Superiore 2011 ($14) from Lazio near Rome. Ever so slightly frizzante, it will bring zing to freshly grilled prawns. Read More