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
I love introducing The Chubby Noodle to new friends. “Who knew you could get such good food in a dive bar?!?” they ask. I smile and nod, imagining I look wise (but possibly just self-satisfied and smug).
So upon bringing some newbies there recently, I was surprised to find a very limited menu — no ramen! — and a meal that fell shy of my high praise. Our server told us things had been chaotic, and wasn’t sure what the future held. Say it isn’t so! Read More
Built shortly after the 1906 earthquake and fire, this historic building has been a saloon since 1907. A plaque outside proudly proclaims it “one of the last of the Barbary Coast saloons — site of the infamous Billy Goat saloon operated by pigeon-toed Sal.” Bar manager Karri Cormican notes that it still has a white-tile spittoon trough that runs the length of the bar under customers’ feet. Vintage 1916 punkah tropical fans rotate above a mixed crowd of locals sitting at the bar, which is made of “flaming” mahogany. Read More
Who could have imagined there would ever be such a thing as a poor man’s sauvignon blanc? While there have always been expensive versions of this grape made in France’s Bordeaux region, there was a time when the Loire Valley, New Zealand and California offered a lot more value.
Value, of course, means a wine has more quality than the asking price. I don’t think many of the wines coming from, say, Sancerre in France are overpriced, but they are no longer deals. Read More
Some diners will steer clear of any Bayview restaurant, without knowing (or wanting to know) the details. And I’m sure Eskender Aseged was well aware of that risk when he planted his flag deep in the heart of Third Street.
Aseged was one of The City’s first pop-up chefs, haphazardly feeding thousands of San Franciscans in cafes and Mission backyards. So when his brick and mortar opened in Bayview this spring, he had a built-in fan base, and plenty of hype to go with it. Read More
It just might represent the new face of a South of Market beset by construction. Los Angeles-based interior designer Yasmine Farahani and the lounge’s owners spent three years renovating the space long occupied by Annie’s Social Club, a divey karaoke bar. Inside, you’ll find a chic interior carefully sculpted around the concept of four elements that make up qi, or the energy and balance of the universe. Read More
Continuing with last week’s theme, finding good wines by the glass has changed dramatically since the days of Hayes and Vine, the wine bar I co-founded in 1994. As both a wine drinker and wine professional, I love going to other people’s establishments, where I can learn something. Like restaurants, some wine bars are better than others, but there is a Bubba Smith-size handful of them that are doing a great job. Let’s take a tour. Read More
This narrow and dimly lit tavern in Hayes Valley offers bibliophiles and connoisseurs of classic cocktails a chance to chat about literature over drinks. Its monthly book club, which meets the last Wednesday of every month, revolves around novels relating to either San Francisco or booze. And if you want access to the $5 specialty cocktail associated with said book club, you had best bring the book. You do that, and Michael Cecconi will serve you a cocktail with a twist — a drink you aren’t likely to get anywhere else. Oh, and they cater, too. Read More