Appetite: Vanilla ice cream, beer-braised short ribs, Mexican portholes, and more

Food-and-drink spots, deals, events and news

Every week, Virginia Miller of personalized itinerary service and monthly food, drink, and travel newsletter,, shares foodie news, events, and deals. View the last installment here.

Lick it up at Xanath. Photos by Virginia Miller.

New openings continue, economy be hanged. Here's a few quick takes on some from the past week:

Oralia's Cafe
From the owners of Mexican, Salvadorean Dogpatch eatery, The New Spot (dig their tasty pupusas and fresh juices) debuts a humble cafe in the same 'hood which serves a mean pastrami sandwich ($7.49), along with other classic deli and salad lunches to go.
2347 3rd St., SF

In the former, tiny Frjtz in Hayes Valley space, Marino moves in a Mexican sit-down restaurant with nautical theme. Anchors and portholes line the walls and besides basic Mexican standards like enchiladas or meat-rice-beans platters, there's Mexican-style seafood chowder (like a cioppino, loaded with mussels, prawns, etc...)
579 Hayes, SF

Another new ice cream shop in the Mission, this one located on prime Valencia Street with a vanilla focus (as the name would suggest), from signature vanilla bean to Madagascar, Tahitian and other variations, straightforward fruit flavors, plus Strauss Family Creamery ice creams.
951 Valencia, SF

Potrero Hill workers have a new day time bistro/cafe (dinner will soon follow) with a range of soups, salads, sandwiches and a 'round the world revolving menu of bites and snacks, starting with Portugal.
350 Kansas, SF

Oakland's artisanal cocktail bars and gastropub spots continue to proliferate, with this new downtown Oakland stop for lunch (coming soon) and drinks. Pair beer-braised short ribs with tequila-focused specialty cocktails, beers from Linden Street Brewery, and Cali wines.
555 12th St., Oakl



Castello di Amorosa Horse-drawn Vineyard Tour and Tasting... and their 6/27 Midsummer festival with wine and jousting!
Castello di Amorosa rises out of Napa soil, an enchanting castle with turrets and dungeons, surrounded by vineyards and rolling hillsides, a snapshot straight out of Italy. Every Saturday, you have the option to book a Clydesdale horse-drawn carriage ride through winding trails and vines, learning about trellises and harvesting. At the end of this romantic ramble, reserve wines and chocolate pairings await. This Saturday comes its annual Midsummer Festival (6:30pm; a pricey $175 per person) - a unique evening which seems ideally suited to the backdrop: jousting, swordsmanship, 13th century fashion, archery, falconry, banquets, and yes, barrel tastings. You certainly don't see the likes of this every day.
Carriage ride and tasting: $68
Saturdays by appointment only
4045 North Saint Helena Highway, Calistoga


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