Food and Drink

Appetite: Sipping caramel, tasting pastry breadth at Craftsman and Wolves

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Media hype has been fierce for pastry chef and owner William Werner’s new Craftsman and Wolves, a unique Mission bakery-cafe-patisserie for creative baked goods and sweets, changing sandwiches and salads, Sightglass Coffee, Naivetea, crave-inducing Valrhona drinking chocolate and (you’re hearing right) dreamy, sippable caramel made with salted butter and mini-croissant crostini to dunk.

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Mega Millions

Hitting the fried chicken and pulled pork jackpot at Rainbow Donuts and Smoke Berkeley

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I still have some Berkeley wonders to tell you about. In fact, I've been saving the best for last: fried chicken and donuts at Rainbow Donut, which is my new favorite restaurant — and just down San Pablo from there, my new favorite restaurant: Smoke Berkeley.Read more »

Fresh slices

Gioia, Bakeworks, Del Popolo, Nick's Pizza ... a survey of hot new pizza parlors 

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE San Francisco is obsessed with pizza (particularly the Neapolitan kind). A recent indulgent survey of pie joints took me from Oakland's recently opened Nick's Pizza (www.oaklandstylepizza.com) — the highlight there actually being local Temescal Kombucha in jars — to brand new Bakeworks in Hayes Valley (www.bakeworkssf.com), with its potato quinoa crust pizzas. Big kudos for the Bakeworks business model: providing employment and training to those at risk or with disabilities.Read more »

Hot catch

Ain't no crawfish like a hand-caught crawfish

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Yeah, and part of the idea of going to New York City was to escape New Orleans's heat, which would best be described (for those who haven't been) as hot.

Hot hot hot hot hot.

As luck would have it, best laid plans and all, it was even hotter than that in New York while we were there, squeak squeak, fuckity fuck. It was hot hot hot hot hot hot hot. So as soon as we got back home to hot hot hot hot hot, we went camping.Read more »

Five for summer

Dive into the season with these tasty bites from restaurants new and old

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Time to dive into summer — at least nominally. These five playful dishes recently made an impression, and brought a little sunshine to the table.

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Appetite: Spring weekend in Los Angeles yields intriguing tastes

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I recently returned to my old SoCal stomping grounds for yet another long weekend. This time I stayed at funky, restored motel, The Farmer’s Daughter, gazing over a pool filled with giant rubber duckies, the hotel’s birds greeting me each morning in the lobby. Colorful and quirky, the hotel (with welcoming, engaging staff) is a worthwhile home base, ideally located across the street from the original LA Farmers Market. You won’t find farmers here, rather, it’s a permanent, open air mall of food purveyors.

Though not always gourmet, a few newcomers add foodie cred to the market. However, I hope to never see the demise of old school diners, pie shops and vendors selling unnaturally bright red popcorn and the like – it’s a charming slice of LA history.

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Appetite: Going Big at another menu-less bar

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This week in the paper, Virginia Miller reviewed menu-less wonderbar Rio Grande. Below, her review of a second custom drink haven.

Big's name is somewhat of an oxymoron. This cozy space from the crew behind Jones is a mere few seats and when the bar is full at around 20-25 people, be prepared to wait at the door until space clears (they will text you when it does). After multiple visits, I continue to find the bar staffed by the talented Brian Felley (previously at Fleur de Lys and Garcon), a barback and one other bartender, Mo, who is recently here from burgeoning cocktail town Denver, having worked at the Squeaky Bean. Similar to the aforementioned Library Bar, there's a small herb and produce spread here, while both bartenders are quite  adept at assessing preferences, taking time to craft you "just the thing."

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Rio Grande

New pop-up bar from the Bon Vivants mixes kitsch with quality -- especially if you order the off-menu cocktails

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Appetite: A bright Spring Mountain Sour

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Subtle mixing at Perfect Puree's press event, and a sampling Charbay's new whiskey releases

Thanks to Napa-based Perfect Puree for a recent intimate dinner celebrating Perfect Puree neighbor Charbay Distillery’s new spirits releases at Jasper’s Corner Tap.

The ever-talented Kevin Diedrich (bar manager at Jasper’s) crafted three drinks using Perfect Puree’s fresh, bright purees. In typical Diedrich fashion, subtlety and balance wove together each, from a Thymely Fashioned, vivid with Charbay White Whiskey, Perfect Puree Thyme Citrus puree (one of their new flavors), Galliano and bitters, to a beautifully frothy with egg white Spring Mountain Sour, named after the home of Charbay on Spring Mountain in St. Helena.

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Food trends unite: New Peruvian pop-up on Market Street

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Could it be that tacutacu is the new taco, and cebiche the new calimari? Places like Mochica, Piqueos, and Destino have us surfing a wave of Peruvian food fandom -- and now two SF food trends have merged in happy unity. Chef Christopher Kese have started a weekly gourmet Peruvian pop-up restaurant, perfect for your Wednesday dinner. Read more »