Sixteenth Street between Valencia and Guerrero in SF is packed with good food and longtime dive bars. As classic cocktail dens and mixology menus are the norm rather than the exception in this town, it’s easy to forget that some of our great ‘tenders continue to serve the quality drinks we crave without fuss. On this stretch of 16th, there are two spots in particular that have a lot going for them, including cocktail talent.
As with any bar, who is tending makes a difference and these gifted few craft their own robust creations while nailing down boozy classics. Chat them up about what they’re working on lately or ask for one of these recent pleasures, including a rare, single barrel bourbon collection.
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.
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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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."
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.