Appetite

Appetite: New whisk(e)y releases and WhiskyFest

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I'll take whisk(e)y year round. But as summer evolves to fall, it seems all the more appropriate enjoyed on crisp nights, preferably fireside. Thankfully, WhiskyFest approaches this Friday/5, in the usual massive, underground Marriott ballrooms. Recapping past years, VIP early pours of rare whiskies and seminars tend to be highlights. There's another seminar this week with the legendary, delightful Parker Beam, exploring Japanese Whisky with Suntory brand ambassador Neyah White, and I'm particularly looking forward to beer and single malt pairings with Highland Park brand ambassador Martin Daraz.

There's a number of  new pours this year, including Glenfiddich's Malt Master which I review below, Parker's Heritage Collection release for 2012, the Master Distiller’s Blend of Mashbills (Parker Beam's annual, limited edition releases are among the most exciting American whiskies made), and for the first time ever Nikka Japanese whisky, which I've long had to enjoy when in Europe, as you can't get it here in the US... until this fall, thanks to SF's very own Anchor Distilling here in SF. Anchor is importing Nikka with, as Anchor President David King told me recently, a few more Japanese whiskies to come -- a huge win for whisky lovers like myself who've been longing for more imports from Japan. I sampled Taketsuru 12 year, which will also be poured at WhiskyFest, while Anchor will soon import their 17 yr and 21 yr whiskies.

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In FiDi, a Turkish gem

Perfect lamb, visionary seared branzino, and phyllo delights at Machka

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Cocktail harvest

Appetite: Goose and Gander and The Thomas bring cocktail culture to Wine Country

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Appetite: What not to miss at SF Cocktail Week

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SF Cocktail Week is here once again, drawing out cocktail geeks, spirits aficionados, and those seeking a memorable event or a fine drink.

For those of you who attended last year’s San Francisco Cocktail Week, you know it was jam-packed with some downright magical events, celebrating our city’s rich cocktail heritage and talent that has influenced the cocktail renaissance globally. There's another strong line-up this year, in keeping with the memorable highlights from last year and the year prior.

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Beer for dinner

BEER + WINE ISSUE Two new restaurants foreground tasty brews, and SF's unique new cider bar tickles taste buds

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Tasty reads

Blue Bottle, SPQR, Foraged Flavor....: Fresh new cookbooks to spice up your repertoire

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virginia@sfbg.com

LIT A harvest of cookbooks, some set for release in the fall, some ready for your shelf, cupboard, or bar hot off the press.

THE BLUE BOTTLE CRAFT OF COFFEE: GROWING, ROASTING, AND DRINKING, WITH RECIPES

By James Freeman, Caitlin Freeman, and Tara Duggan

Ten Speed Press

240 pp, paper $24.95Read more »

Dixie

The New Southern restaurant whistles, but doesn't quite sing

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE A fledgling new restaurant is a work in progress, evolving. Often I'll visit restaurants in their opening week, then return three to four weeks later, noticing a marked improvement in rhythm and flow, if not a dramatic change in food (often first food impressions prove to be consistent).Read more »

Jellyfish, oxtail, and more from the Street Food Festival

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The annual Street Food Festival enlivens blocks of the Mission every year with many of our great food trucks, booths manned by the kitchen staff of our favorite SF restaurants, and a few visiting guests -- which at this year's fest on August 18 included my favorite Portland food cart Eurotrash, and the adorable Linda Green of Ms Linda's Catering from New Orleans. Read more »

Mission sandwiched

PB and please -- lunch goes above and beyond with sophisticated sandos

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Two unusual, new Mission sandwich options: one of the city's best restaurants launches lunch with Scandinavian influence (part of the Nordic culinary wave finally reaching the West Coast that includes new restaurant Pläj) , and a low-key panini shop opens, refreshingly real with Middle Eastern touches.Read more »

Appetite: Outside Lands, as seen by a food writer

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This year's Outside Lands, the three-day extravaganza of some of the top musical acts in the world and quality food and drink (this is SF, after all) in the beauty of Golden Gate Park, felt more packed than ever. But despite throngs descending on SF from all over the country that turning Golden Gate Park into a sea of trash -- thanks clean-up crews! -- Outside Lands magic happened each day.Read more »