Virginia Miller

A tale of two cocktail trends

Aging in barrels and staying fresh in Napa

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virginia@sfbg.com

In the shifting sea of drink menus around San Francisco, one of the world's leading cocktail cities, excellent cocktails have long been the standard rather than the stand-out. Keeping up on trends can be exhausting — but staying abreast of a great mixology culture can be well worth the hefty bar tabs. This week, we examine two new shakes to the cocktail scene that hail from outside city limits — and have us asking the bartender for another round.

 

BARREL AGINGRead more »

Appetite: Island bites, part four

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I spent some brilliant days -- and the first three of five installations in my Hawaiian series -- exploring Oahu. But based on what every traveler I'd ever met had told me, I knew it could only get better with Kauai. This time around, let's talk the restaurant scene on Kauai – next time, I'll feature its hotels and drink. 

But first, the ugly: traffic jams are jarring shocks on the island's east side near Lihue, particularly in Kapaa. One-lane roads at a dead stop along stetches of strip malls are downright irritating. I almost missed my flight home when it took one hour to go 10 miles from Kapaa to Lihue Airport (the day before the same route took 10 minutes). Read more »

Appetite: Our picks from Dry Creek

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Last year's Passport to Dry Creek festival (April 30-May 1) was quite the weekend of hops between wineries in Dry Creek Valley. How was it different than any of the dozens of events in wine country at any given time, you might ask? Read more »

Appetite: Source's vegetarian victories

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Yes, I'm a meat eater. I want animals treated humanely and have loving care and long lives. But I don't feel I could possibly be a full-fledged food writer and not eat virtually everything. Food prejudices are not allowed. My motto: if any culture of the world eats it, I can too (followed by: if I don't like something, I keep eating it until I do).

But leave it to two New York brothers to make a vegetarian meal that's surprisingly hearty, satisfying, and inventive. Read more »

Appetite: Upcoming contests, from Napa cocktails to the ultimate sausage recipe

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It’s a privilege to be part of a food and drink judging panel. One witnesses wild creativity from up-and-coming stars as well as established greats in the field. Competitions are where food geniuses take risks, and step out further than the bounds of set menus sometimes allow. 

Here are two upcoming contests I’ll be judging: one for cocktails up in Napa (wine country bartenders, please apply!) and one in SF showcasing five local chefs creating gourmet sausage recipes. Read more »

Appetite: Juhu's Beach Club

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What's for lunch? Top Chef fans will remember Preeti Mistry from season six of the series. That will surely be one draw to her new pop-up, Juhu Beach Club. But real food lovers will go for other reasons -- namely, her creative Indian street food and home-style cooking.Read more »

The San Francisco-Jalisco añejo

Tequila distiller Don Pilar relies on both sides of the border for his success

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virginia@sfbg.com

DRINKS Tequila is not tequila unless it's made in the Jalisco region of Mexico. So strictly speaking, you're not going to find a local tequila in the Bay Area. But the case of Don Pilar is about as close as you're going to get — his story is written by lines drawn directly between San Francisco and the Jalisco of his youth.Read more »

FEAST: 8 intriguing entrees

Breakfast and dinner are great times for a change

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virginia@sfbg.com

Forget that gourmet mac 'n' cheese, leave behind another night of Neapolitan pizza — it's time to consider a meal that has yet to be repeated all over town. Here are a few that have really turned my head of late.

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Appetite: Island bites, part three

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After a dreamy week in Hawaii, I have a slew of recommendations to share with you in a multi-part series. In part one, I covered farmers market street food in Oahu. In part two, Honolulu's cocktail scene. Now we dine in Honolulu, on the hunt for the best. (Next up, Kauai.)

 

THE SPENDY

Sushi Sasabune:Read more »

Appetite: Lunch with Hoss Vare's inventive Persian-Middle Eastern menu

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Chef Hoss Vare's hugs are famous, as is his warm, inclusive greeting that makes dining at his restaurant Zare at Fly Trap such a pleasure. Plus, there's just no one quite doing what he's doing with Persian, Iranian and Mediterranean foods.

I visited during opening week of his just-launched, casual, weekday lunches served within Flytrap, a project Zare calls Zare's Grill and Grain. Lucky are they who work nearby and can grab to-go meals. But it's worth going out of your way for lunch here (just as it is for a more formal dinner or cocktails at the bar). Read more »