Food and Drink

Appetite: Delicious new cuisine and cocktail reads

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Fermentation and distillation, hot plats and sugar cones, sweet creams and brokeasses ... These eight books were released this spring, and are among the best of what has landed on my desk this year:

TRADITIONAL DISTILLATION: ART AND PASSION
by Huber Germain-Robin

Anyone who knows US craft distilling knows Hubert Germain-Robin, one of the pioneers in the American craft distilling movement. He was making world class, French-style brandies (he is French, after all) since the early ’80s right here in Northern California at Germain-Robin, which he co-founded, an example to generations after him of what true, elegant brandies should be. As he states in the introduction, "When I came to California in 1981, I realized the unbelievable potential of the New World, with such diversity in grape varietals, microclimates, and less demanding restrictions than there are in France."

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Is it Saturday yet? 5 (vegetarian-abled) Street Food Festival snacks we can't wait for

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The Bay's press has been salivating ever since July 26, when La Cocina's Street Food Festival hosted a passel of media types at Fort Mason Center with tables upon tables of the snacks that we'll all get to freak out over at the festival on Sat/18. Read on for some of our favorite snacks that we're having a hard time holding off on until Saturday. Read more »

Pläj

Traditional Swedish dishes interpreted with a fresh regional spin

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE The world has become hooked on New Nordic cuisine in recent years, thanks to Copenhagen's Noma, often referred to as the world's best restaurant for three years straight, sparking a global interest in all things Scandinavian and a new generation of chefs.Read more »

14 excellent establishments for Olympic watching

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The Olympics might have originated as an an ancient Roman display of physical beauty and premier strength, but this is 2012, the point now is the eating, drinking, voyeurism, and generally being inactive that the Games give you an opportunity to enjoy. With the big show taking place in pub-happy London this year, you can pass off your bar tab as the price one pays for cultural authenticity. After all, it might take a pint at the Phoenix to fully appreciate rower Henrik Rummel's well-endowed disaster. So cheers to the fact that while records are broken and teenagers' dreams are being dashed in Olympic Park, we can chill with our buddies and crack up at professional divers' faces. Party like an Olympian -- need a drinking game to pass the time? -- with this list of fine establishments that showing the games if you ask nicely, satisfying both your appetite and burning need to watch ridiculously fit people sweat in spandex. Read more »

Appetite: Under the stars in Guerneville

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Amid towering redwoods, summer heat, and parties along the Russian River is the small town of Guerneville, one of Sonoma’s most unique towns, with its vibrant gay community, laid back river culture, and haunting redwood state park. On a recent idyllic summer weekend, barbecues and live, twanging bands added color to the bustling main street.

Foodies have a destination cafe-restaurant in Guerneville's Big Bottom Market, which was opened last summer by co-owners Michael Volpatt and Crista Luedtke (the latter owns neighboring boon hotel + spa and boon eat + drink restaurant). Read more »

Liver or leave 'er

Love in a pretzel at Salumeria

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Kayday came back down to town and for letting her stay in our bottom apartment, she treated Hedgehog and me to Chinese food, and just me to Japanese. The Japanese was at Izakaya Yuzuki, which I can see out my window right now cause it's just across the street, kitty-corner-wise.

Small plates. Big bucks. Not the kind of place I would ever dare to go to if there weren't at least a 67 percent chance of someone else picking up the check. In this case there was a 100 percent chance.Read more »

Live Shots: SF Street Food Festival 2012 preview

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The SF Street Food Festival has become such a delight in the summertime. (This year's takes place on Saturday, August 18.) A chance to sample wonderful treats from the around the world (many developed in the test kitchens of entrepeneurial incubator La Cocina), transporting your taste buds to the far reaches of yumminess. The festival can get crazy crowded, so to help you out, here's a list of some fave vendors to make a beeline for:

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Appetite: Southern taste adventures in Louisville, KY

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Kentucky: land of bourbon, the Derby and Mint Juleps. I’m ever delighted to return to the South, although I’m connected to some areas more than others (ah, New Orleans, my love). I recently spent a week in Louisville, on the judging panel for ADI’s (American Distilling Institute) annual awards. It was an honor to judge with key spirits and cocktail industry folk, spending days tasting (blind, of course) through the latest in a broad range of small US craft spirits – winners here.

In my off time, I roamed Louisville, from downtown to Bardstown Road. Louisville is a small city, not exactly visually beautiful or dense like other US cities, but its distinctly Kentuckian treasures do unfold. The historic Brown Hotel was my home base, its player piano welcoming me with strains of Gershwin and old world elegance in the beautiful lobby.

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Maverick

The seven-year-old favorite's New Southern cuisine improves with age (and a new chef).

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Opened on July 13 way back in 2005, Maverick is a longtimer by modern day restaurant standards. I'd posit that it's better than ever with new executive chef Emmanual Eng, brought on last year by owners Scott Youkilis and Michael Pierce (who is also the general manager and wine director). In contrast to its more casual, younger sister Hog and Rocks, Maverick's food has grown more sophisticated and focused over the years.Read more »

Eat these words

It's all a yummy breakfast hot mess at Little Griddle

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS One by one I am finding my old friends and hugging them. Last night at the Giants game, for example, I found El Centro, who — by the time you read this — will have sailed to Alcatraz and swum back to San Francisco. I'm so proud and impressed, and excited because, assuming she doesn't drown and/or get eaten by sharks on her way home, there's going to be a barbecue after at her house.

El Centro will be my second friend to have attempted this feat; not the barbecue, the swim.Read more »