Virginia Miller

Appetite: Breaking bar news -- MacGregor joins Jasper’s

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We’ve been anticipating the opening of Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen (slated for late July/early August) in the former Ponzu space downtown. With news of Chef Adam Carpenter helming the “upscale tavern-inspired” kitchen and none other than Kevin Diedrich as Bar Manager (who you’ve heard me talk about since early Burritt Room days), it’s sure to be an exciting opening all around.

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Appetite: 3 restaurants to watch

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Here are two new places that just opened, showing a lot of promise… and one that keeps getting better.

Sexy ’70s foodie lounge : CHAMBERS EAT+DRINK

The Phoenix Hotel has long exuded rock star hipness. Its prior restaurant was more bar than food destination… and it really wasn’t memorable on the drink front, though the mid-century motel poolside setting is special. The pool remains, now with cactus wall and bright orange chairs. Drinks, though decent, still aren’t worth a special trip, but the food is. Read more »

Appetite: Time for tea

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Ever a fan of a civilized (and delicious) respite for afternoon tea, here I present to you two divergent ways to raise your pinky in the city.

Kettle Whistle at Burritt Room: A gourmand's pop-up tea

Currently scheduled to take place on the last Saturday of every month through October, Kettle Whistle launched its inaugural tea this past week in the spacious back room of Burritt Room's turn-of-the-century-style bar, tucked upstairs in the Crescent Hotel. Read more »

Appetite: Dining with two European winemakers

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There's nothing quite like dining with the person who made the wine you're drinking -- intimate and focused, it gives one a special insight into what's in one's glass. Earlier this month, I met with three Napa-Sonoma winemakers. Recently, I had the chance to spend time with two Europeans from the unparalleled regions of Bordeaux and Kamptal. Look for these wines in local wine shops -- or ask that your shopkeeper stock them, they're that good.

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Appetite: Splendorini's cocktail creations

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I've got to concur with the Chronicle’s five choices for its 2011 Bar Stars. Between this column and my Perfect Spot newsletter, you’ve heard me talk about drinks made by all five bartenders chosen (like Kevin Diedrich and Alex Smith). Read more »

Appetite: Sustainable seafood with Gaston Acurio

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The average American still doesn't know enough about sustainable fish. Most of us eat whatever is on the menu with little to regard to where it’s sourced, its health properties (or lack thereof) -- totally unaware if the creature we're eating is endangered or close to it. Consider this Appetite your 101 on the latest happenings in sustainable fish -- and a primer on how to make sure your seafood dinner is safe for the waters of the world. Read more »

Make a splash

BAR CRAWLER: Rediscovering North Beach's plethora of charm at a dozen bars

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Tour de tasting room

BARCRAWLER: Three personal pours in wine country

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virginia@sfbg.com

For establishing intimacy and focus, there's nothing like sitting down to a meal and tasting with a vintner when you want to catch a glimpse of the vision and inspiration behind their wines. I recently had the chance to do just that with several local winemakers in Napa and Sonoma — and don't worry, I took good notes.Read more »

Appetite: Island bites, part five

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Kauai: dreamy island respite, painfully beautiful, truly relaxing (other than east side traffic!) Last time, I covered restaurants and cheap eats, and killer cocktails on the island. This time, the final post in the series, I'll focus on the best places to stay, and more on libations from coffee to rum.

 

HOTELS

Grand Hyatt Kauai, Poipu Beach:

Do yourself a favor and stay at Grand Hyatt Kauai. A resort in the full sense of the word, it is its own world unto itself. From lava rock waterways and multiple levels of pools (including a salt water-sand pool), to its world class spa, Anara, and open air couples cabanas, you leave here feeling as if you've truly had a vacation. Read more »

Appetite: Napa's affordable eats and surprising treats

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After countless weekends in Napa over the years, I'm flush with recommendations for worthy restaurants and hotels. It's not always the most affordable area, but my recent visits north have revealed a number of delightfully reasonable options within the bounds of Napa and Yountville, both new and established. 

They've also uncovered a few unexpected dishes – and in the case of one restaurant with a new chef, a whole range of them. Read more »