"Change the world with everything you buy". This is the tag line behind the inspiring Trade as One, a Northern California-based organization that promotes sustainable businesses in poor, marginalized communities. Whether you look at it as a way of giving during the holidays or as a new year's resolution, it's an ideal time to try a new program that could be habit-forming. Read more »
You received the assignment to bring the wine for Thanksgiving... maybe not as difficult as cooking a turkey, but you want to bring something special without having to give it too much thought. Here are a few last-minute bottle suggestions from various parts of the world and a range of prices. Most can be found at shops like Bi-Rite, K&L Wine Merchants, and Jug Shop.
This year's Indy Spirits Expo, which took place 11/17, was much improved since last year's inaugural festivity, though crammed into the cool, brick-walled nightclub space of The Mighty. This event offers one of the better opportunities I've seen to sample everything from cachaca and pisco, to absinthe and eaux de vie, all in one room, among the best small batch spirits happening in the US and a few places beyond. Read more »
I wasn't sure what to expect at Tuesday night's Single Malt Extravaganza at the Intercontinental Hotel, with the welcome giveaway of Romeo y Julieta and Monte Cristo cigars as take-home treats. Read more »
In my travels last week through the magical land of Tequila, Mexico, I tasted, yes, a ridiculous amount of tequila from a wide range of distillers. After watching it being made and sampling it its homeland, I gained a deeper appreciation than I already had for the agave spirit. Here are three superb but uncommon tequilas only found in Mexico or here in the states with some investigative cunning. Read more »
Sipping an egg cream soda is an all-American, very New York pastime, but nowadays the nostalgic sodas are popping up in increasing numbers in our fair city. I rounded up a trifecta of perfect SF spots to get your cream on, but first a historical rundown.
Though the identity of the creator of the original egg cream is somewhat debated, many credit Louis Auster, a Brooklyn candy store owner in the late 1800s. In his well-researched tome on the history of soda fountains, Fix the Pumps, Art of the Drink's Darcy S. O'Neil says the New York egg cream evolved as a variation on the original milkshakes served at soda fountains in the late 19th century. Read more »
When cocktail historian and Esquire columnist David Wondrichspeaks about drink, you listen -- or read, as the case may be. His latest book Punch, debuts Nov. 2, the first of its kind on the glories and history of the punch bowl. I had the privilege of speaking with Dave over the phone from his New York home. The question at hand: why punch? Or to quote from the book, what makes punch "necessary"? Read more »
Hubbub's the word in the food world this week surrounding the release of the 2011 Michelin Guide San Francisco, the restaurant ranking organization's fifth Bay Area edition. The venerable food institution is entering into its 111th year, having gained a strong following in New York and San Francisco and anticipating an upcoming launch in Chicago (next time, LA).
Hot topics around the champagne cooler? Chez Panisse losing its star and The Restaurant at Meadowood achieving the rare feat of gaining three stars (making it and French Laundry the only Bay Area 'straunts to make the grade). Read on for Michelin Jean Luc Naret's reflections and a list of the Bay's Michelin-honored restaurants for 2011. Read more »
There's mezcal and there's Del Maguey. You may have heard me talk about Del Maguey mezcals and the line's founder, Ron Cooper, in the past. A session with the gentle yet passionate Ron (like his mezcal seminar at 2010 Tales of the Cocktail) is an experience you're not likely to soon forget. Even the way he describes fermentation stays with you: "wild creatures eating sugar, farting carbon dioxide, pissing alcohol!"
I'm leaving for Mexico next week, so sipping Del Maguey was getting me in the south of the border mood -- even though I'm going to Tequila vs. Oaxaca, where most mezcal is produced. For the unfamiliar, mezcal is a spirit made from the heart (piña) of the maguey, an agave plant native to Mexico. Piñas are roasted underground, giving mezcal its distinctive smoky properties. Mezcal is the peaty scotch of tequila, which by definition is a mezcal made specifically from blue agave in Tequila, Mexico. Read more »
In today's Appetite installation, Virginia Miller ranged near and far (in a fabulous pair of vintage pumps, as is her wont) in search of the meatiest hunk of sandwich available for hungry city souls. Sink your teeth into one while watching your -- cross your fingers -- new league champion baseball team. Go Gigantes!