Virginia Miller

Lunch hour, part 2

Great new midday meals at Wise Sons, Square Meals, Seoul Patch, and New England Lobster

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Last week we covered four notable new lunch spots. This week, we round off the list with four more.

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Lunch hour

Pheasant hot pockets, beef cheek ramen, and inventive veggie fare -- your mid-day meal just found flair

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Lunch-hour quality advances around town with a slew of notable openings or recently launched lunch menus. In a two part series (click here for part two), here are some of the best new mid-day meals.

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Gitane

Gypsy-spirited Gitane continues to be the Bay's go-to for adventurous cocktails and sexy atmosphere

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE While I miss the sophisticated, out-of-the-box cocktails of former bar managers Carlo Splendorini and Alex Smith (they both continue to craft excellent drinks, Splendorini at Michael Mina, Smith at Honor Bar), I am pleased to say Gitane, one of the sexiest spots in all of SF, is still a drink-worthy location. I'd be remiss not to likewise return to the Moroccan and Spanish-influenced menu that chef Bridget Batson has been rocking for years.Read more »

Maven

Superb cocktails and eclectic, well-paired dishes at this new destination restaurant in Lower Haight

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Ice Cream Bar's soda fountain revives the '30s jerk

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In this week's Appetite food and drink column in the paper, I relished the opportunity to return to a time of delicious handmade fountain drinks at Cole Valley's new Ice Cream Bar (albeit with some innovative contemporary flavor twists). In between sips of wild cherry phosphate, I got to talk to Russell Davis, the bartender who developed the fantastic soda fountain program, about the soda jerk revival -- and got him to share some of his sassafras secrets.

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Ice Cream Bar

Step into the Wayback Machine: this new Cole Valley spot serves a panoply of delicious soda fountain treats

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE I was born of another time. As much as I wouldn't trade the rights and access of today, I hunger for the romance, artistry, and intellectual pace of eras gone by. As a child, I grew up on classic films and whitebread shows like Father Knows Best, where youth hung out at soda fountains listening to the jukebox. Naturally, I was delighted upon hearing a retro-inspired soda fountain was opening near my home.Read more »

State Bird Provisions

Jazzy flights of fancy (and a nice play on that eponymous bird) at this innovative, eclectic Fillmore newbie 

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Whiskey punch

Concannon toasts its new Irish whiskey with a good scrap in the Mission and a round of spiked coffee in Livermore

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE An Irish whiskey with a Bay Area connection... Livermore, to be exact? It's true. January saw the release of a brand new whiskey, not a common occurrence in Ireland. What better way to initiate this new release than with a Bon Vivants party?

My recent travels through Ireland, particularly exploring whiskey production in County Cork (from pot still beauties like Redbreast to mass production Jameson), amplified my love for the smooth pleasures of Irish whiskey.Read more »

Appetite: Alchemical delights at Science of Cocktails 2012

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Although the Science of Cocktails event may be on hiatus next year due to the Exploratorium's big move to the Embarcadero, this year's party is worth highlighting. Attending since the inaugural event three years ago (check out my previous review here), I enjoy Science of Cocktails more each year.

I'm not sure if the new VIP area added much other than a bird's-eye view from above with a few additional (but minimal) bites and drinks, the bulk of food being downstairs. Options were more enticing than ever in the ideal museum space, where one can interact with exhibits, kid-free, cocktails in hand. The cavernous space easily holds hundreds of people without feeling packed.

Drinks were poured by some of the Bay's best bartenders and distillers, sporting white lab-coats, delivering concoctions from test tubes, beakers and hand-crafted contraptions. Cocktails were served in pre-bottled, liquid nitrogen, jello, even powdered forms. (Let us not forget the shiny, porcelain toilet spouting Speakeasy beer).

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Baumé

We'll probably never be able to afford to eat here again, so this review -- including Alba white truffles, suckling pig, and hints of Calvados -- will just have to do.

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE There are meals that live on in memory: dioramas of conversation, heartwarming food, and that misty glow from a fine bottle of wine. Then there are those that are game-changers, the food an elaborate tapestry, weaving complex threads of creativity into an unexpected whole as impacting on the taste buds as to the eye. It borders on art.Read more »