Staff members at Locanda, part of Valencia Street’s flourishing restaurant corridor since it opened 19 months ago, have just sat down at the bar for their preshift meeting. Managers review different aspects of the site’s interior design since it’s a common source of questions from customers (for example, the cubic-looking tiles are from Heath Ceramics, and you’ve probably eaten off of their plates if you dine in San Francisco regularly; the artist behind the wolf pictures, Meagan Donegan, has a twin, so there is typically a mirror image of the subjects appearing in her work). Read More
These days, it takes an awful lot for a San Francisco restaurant to fly under the radar. Professional food writers, bloggers and dilettantes hunt for secret gems with the doggedness of a search-and-rescue team.
So how can you account for Peña Pachamama, a charming and unique North Beach restaurant that has plugged along for more than a decade without attracting notice? Read More
Long a favored aperitif in Italy, prosecco has caught on in the U.S. in a pretty big way. This is mostly good, as it gives consumers an inexpensive sparkling wine option. It also has helped to pry more people’s minds and mouths open when it comes to Italian wines in general. Read More
There was a time when Chile was touted as the best place to go for inexpensive cabernet sauvignon — the Nordstrom Rack or Loehmann’s of the wine world. I, however, have had a hard time getting on board with Chilean cabernet as a whole, as it has often left me feeling “meh.” Read More
Ever since the convenience store near my house shuttered, I’ve been playing a game with my ladyfriend, Sarah.
The rules are simple: Pick a new business venture, and talk about how we’d make it work in the empty storefront.
I’m gunning for a whiskey bar, or maybe something with puppies, but Sarah is adamant about her idea: a late-night dessert bar in the style of New York’s ChikaLicious, or Pix in Portland, Ore. She imagined she’d be the first in The City. Read More
‘Can’t a little restaurant have its chance at being themselves, without people’s expectations and desires [messing] up the whole damn thing?”
Someone wrote this on my first negative review, as part of a lengthy comment that boiled down to: “Hey, at least they’re trying!”
Company, a new restaurant on the Mission-Noe fault line, is certainly trying. Though the sterile name may seem like an afterthought, the owners are putting a lot of sweat equity into their menu. Read More
A few blocks south of Cesar Chavez Street, and a few doors up from San Francisco’s only gun shop, you can find a former dive bar wading into the craft cocktail scene. Iron & Gold, known as the Argus a year ago, has added salvaged wood paneling, stylish mining lights and several dozen bottles of specialty liquor to turn a dimly lit Mission hangout into a dimly lit Mission destination. Read More
By now, we’ve all heard that wine experts sometime can’t tell red from white in blind tastings. I considered these findings after interviewing Anthony Lucero, director of an in-progress movie about making sushi.
He’s been studying sushi for a couple of years and is amazed by all the subtle variations. What kind of vinegar is used to prepare the rice? Is the fish overly chilled? If the chef slices a few millimeters too thick, will your sashimi be less tender, or more? Read More
For a place that’s been around as long as the Golden Gate Bridge, nothing much besides the owner has changed in this Chinatown dive. Same Buddha shrine behind the bar. Same oversized lantern, frayed by the sands of time. Same murals of bonsai landscapes. A basement room is available to rent for private parties. On any given day, the bar attracts an early wave of tourists and an evening surge of neighborhood locals looking to catch a buzz. Regulars slam cups on the bar during games of liar’s dice. Guys drink sweet Chinese whiskey with ginger beer backs. Read More
Right around now, people start thinking about which wines to serve with the bird. First, don’t wait until the last minute unless you like lines. The day before Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for wine shops.
You can go in so many directions depending on how you cook your turkey. But to keep things somewhat simple, let’s assume you are a traditionalist and are going to roast the turkey in the oven using the usual seasonings. On my end, I’m going to start with a time-honored Thanksgiving wine: Beaujolais. Read More