Australian riesling can be a hard sell. German-riesling drinkers might be satisfied with Austrian and Alsatian renditions of this grape, but often turn up their noses when it comes to versions made outside Europe.At the other end of the spectrum, many folks think all riesling is sweet — as is often the case with phenomenal wines from Germany — and shy away from it no matter what.If the latter describes you, or you are one of the people who falls somewhere in between these two extremes, I have two words for you: Australian riesling. Read More
The Giants madness that overtook The City through October has hardly lessened, and now the big payoff moment has arrived: the home opener for the World Series champs.
Today’s game will kick off with the raising of the 2010 World Champion flag. Saturday night, the team will be presented with World Series rings, and on Sunday, Buster Posey receives his Rookie of the Year award.
To keep culinary decisions, at least, under control, here’s my 2011 ballpark food roundup. After all, a fan has to eat. Read More
North Beach's O’Reilly’s Irish Pub and Restaurant is a little bit of Ireland, lively and comfortable, where during St. Patrick’s Day and other festivities perhaps more Guinness flows than in any other Irish bar in California. Owner Myles O’Reilly, who was once in the novitiate, calls the eating of Drake’s Bay oysters — a staple of the pub’s annual Oyster Festival in May — a “communion with the sea.” A mosaic of photographs and memorabilia cover the side walls, and the back wall features a mural of Irish literary greats, whose eyes watch over patrons. Read More
Located a half-block from AT&T Park, the spacious bar Paragon is a popular watering hole packed with Giants fans sporting orange and black on game days, and with a hip, South Beach crowd after work. The lively outside patio, which is separated from the bar by a roll-up door that is open when it is nice outside, is a particularly sweet spot to sit, offering a view of the park and fans streaming by. The adjoining restaurant features loftlike ceilings and leather dining booths. Read More
The acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. Chanan Kamen, who ran the famous pasta station at the first little Quince, happens to be chef Mike Tusk’s cousin.Now Kamen has opened his own ebullient place, Osteria Coppa, a gift to San Mateo and worth a trip from The City. It inhabits a simply converted double storefront downtown, a few blocks from the Caltrain station.Kamen’s cooking just plain makes me happy. His pasta dishes, like his mentor’s, are all about the noodle — noodles that have such springy, teasing yet satiny texture, they enthrall the mouth. Read More
Imagine you are a visitor from space and you want to try California pinot noir.You might want to stop at Earth’s concierge located just one light-year from San Francisco for some advice. If I were on duty, I’d think about it for a minute — after all, there are the Russian River, Anderson Valley and Carneros — but ultimately, I’d probably tell you to point your spaceship in the direction of the Sta. Rita Hills. Read More
In our 21st-century, hyper-local culinary world, we strive to eat ingredients produced as close to us as possible, but we also celebrate regional cooking from all corners of the world. This can leave us in a jam. Sometimes it’s just too difficult or expensive to cook authentic food far away from its source.Haltun, a six-month-old “Mayan” restaurant appropriately located in an un-hipsterized corner of the Mission, features dishes from the Yucatan. Its owners and staff all come from a single village, Oxkutzcab, about 60 miles south of Merida. Read More
For a generation, newspaper columnists and locals have bemoaned the changes that have swept through North Beach. Yet, some neighborhood institutions remain the same, and some are even better. One of the best is Gino and Carlo, an unpretentious Italian bar founded in 1942 just a block off Columbus Avenue. Ron Minolli, a bartender and part-owner, has been a fixture at the bar for more than 30 years and knows all the regulars, and often their parents and grandparents, too. The place isn’t a time warp, though. Read More
The pinnacle of Italian wines, nothing could be more apropos than Barolo to wrap up this series.It often takes Barolo years to become accessible, even in average vintages, but its greatness becomes evident years after the vintage when it has had a chance to mature into one of the most complex wines made anywhere. 2004 was an enigma, though, as many of these wines, while still bambinos, are showing very well right now. Read More
Malaysia, the fecund equatorial state on the bulging tip of the Thai peninsula, looms large in the consciousness of every self-respecting food lunatic in America.Fans of The Fatty Crab in New York, Betelnut in San Francisco, Banana Island in Daly City and Asian hawker food in general (the antecedents of our cart-food culture) should know that Malaysia, not Singapore, has the best street eats in the world. Read More