This is cocktail heaven — a place where there is no menu, just bliss. At Big, cocktail artisans craft drinks based on your mood; your spirit of choice; or what kind of funky goblet, coupe or crystal you’d like it poured into. It’s part art, part science, part telepathy. And it’s a throwback to the glory days behind the stick. “That’s exactly what we’re doing here: pouring what makes people happy,” said bartender Christian Clark. The warm, candlelit bar with white marble countertops is anchored by a plethora of fruits and herbs at each end. Read More
Like flowers, rosé wines are starting to bloom. Yes, it is the season, and producers know that there has been a growing demand. I’ve tasted some really good stuff, but the prices are rising.
The $10 rosé is not totally gone, but is much more scarce, I’m afraid. And as I write about different types of rosé over the next few months — and for those who are fans, there is a trove of jolly pink wines waiting for you — be prepared, as it is no longer uncommon to see rosé in the $20 price range.
Today, though, is all about value.
First, here are a few general tips: Read More
At Hard Water, Charles Phan’s whiskey bar on The Embarcadero, the whiskeys are arranged high up a 20-foot wall and there’s a ladder for the bartenders to reach the highest ones. It’s a towering shrine to brown liquor, one that outshines the accompanying food.
That’s not to say the New Orleans-inspired menu doesn’t have its head-turners.
The oysters Saint Charles, dressed in cayenne and butter, turned out to be a perfect companion to the whiskey — or whiskeys, who’s judging? — of your choice. Read More
It’s rare that a bar’s drink menu completely reflects one bartender’s obsession, but that’s the case at Mum’s, the bar and restaurant attached to Japantown’s Hotel Tomo. “I’m crazy for hamsters,” says bartender Mana Yasuda. That sentiment is reflected in the cocktails she creates, which have names such as Hamster on the Beach, Mexican Hamster, Hamster Sundae and Gloomy Hamster. This zaniness fits in perfectly with Tomo’s expression of hotel as pop culture art object. Read More
Imagine it’s 1980. Made famous by the jingle “Riunite on ice, Riunite that’s nice,” lambrusco is everywhere. A fizzy, sweet red wine, it accounts for three of every 10 wines exported to the U.S. While berated by critics, it is consumed en masse in Emilia, Italy, where it is largely made by cooperatives and consumed in discotheques from San Francisco to Ibiza. Read More
I have a serious thing for sandwiches.
My first job as a teenager was making sandwiches at a deli, and that set my path forever. Cities I’ve visited around the world are defined by the sandwiches I’ve eaten there. Whenever I delve into a great dish at a fancy restaurant, at least 10 percent of my brain is thinking, “How could I turn this into a sandwich?”
So when I heard that V-105, run by ex-Garibaldis chef Daniel Martes, was creating some of the best sandwiches in San Francisco, I hit the ground running. Read More
The Palace Hotel has been in the news lately because of its decision to remove the iconic Maxfield Parish mural “The Pied Piper” from the wall behind the bar that bears the painting’s name. But due to public outcry, the painting — which is valued at several million dollars — will soon return to its traditional place. Long before Parish was commissioned to create “The Pied Piper,” the bar was home to the man who wrote the book on bartending — literally. William T. Read More
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