Food and Drink

Live Shots: Making truffles with Neo Cocoa at La Cocina

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“Ganache is proof that God loves us,” exclaimed a student with pink and purple hair, as Neo Cocoa founder Christine Doerr rapidly whisked a bowl of melted chocolate and poured it into a metal frame for cooling. We all stood around a huge table at La Cocina, learning how to make Doerr's award-winning chocolate delights, essentially the soft and rich insides of a classic truffle without the hard outer shell. After a quick demo, it was time to get to work ourselves, rolling the chocolate in our hands to form balls and then dusting them in all variety of coatings, from fennel powder to cacao nibs.

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Whiskey punch

Concannon toasts its new Irish whiskey with a good scrap in the Mission and a round of spiked coffee in Livermore

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE An Irish whiskey with a Bay Area connection... Livermore, to be exact? It's true. January saw the release of a brand new whiskey, not a common occurrence in Ireland. What better way to initiate this new release than with a Bon Vivants party?

My recent travels through Ireland, particularly exploring whiskey production in County Cork (from pot still beauties like Redbreast to mass production Jameson), amplified my love for the smooth pleasures of Irish whiskey.Read more »

The cat and the hedgehog

A farewell to furry Stoplight -- and wonderful beef pho at Saigon Express

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS You know who I love? Hedgehog. One year ago today we had our first date, and now we are domestical partners. She calls me root beer eyes. I know it's a compliment because her favorite drink is Abita root beer with bourbon in it, and sometimes she looks at me like that.Read more »

Brews you can use

Magnolia Brewery's head sudster gives us the lowdown on SF Beer Week 2012

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Live Shots: Golden Glass 2012 slow food and wine festival

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Wine was flowing freely at 11 a.m. on Sat/4 for the pre-show press tasting. We had prepped ourselves by carb-loading on whole wheat oatmeal pancakes before heading to Fort Mason for the Eighth Annual Golden Glass festival (which raised awareness and funds for slow food programs) preparing ourselves to indulge in a smorgasbord of carefully vetted, sustainably produced wines. Read more »

An upside

The 49ers have fizzled; pork jowls at Halu can help

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I've been saving something for you. Something special. For a time just like this.

The 49ers have fizzled in the drizzle, and the spring season of dyke football is a long way off. Not to mention spring training. Not to mention Spring.Read more »

Baumé

We'll probably never be able to afford to eat here again, so this review -- including Alba white truffles, suckling pig, and hints of Calvados -- will just have to do.

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE There are meals that live on in memory: dioramas of conversation, heartwarming food, and that misty glow from a fine bottle of wine. Then there are those that are game-changers, the food an elaborate tapestry, weaving complex threads of creativity into an unexpected whole as impacting on the taste buds as to the eye. It borders on art.Read more »

An expert's pour: What and where to drink during SF Beer Week

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Now that Drynuary has basically curled up into a ball and died (take that, seasonal sobriety!), it's time to turn our gaze to SF Beer Week. 10 days of heavyweight gourmet beer drinking lie ahead of us, Bay Area. Even if your hankering for a beer paunch pales in comparison, say, to your desire to fit into your Valentine's Day party dress, you have a responsibility to indulge.

For Beer Week is not just a gustatory pleasure -- it supports what has burgeoned in SF into a thriving biz. Breweries sized from nano to Anchor are filling a six pack near you. Feb. 10-19 will conjure everything from urban beer hikes to beer-and-chocolate pairing events, beer-and-cheese couplings to the finest in bitter ales. Quite recently, we had the pleasure to one-on-one (via email) with David McLean, the mastermind behind all the brews at Magnolia Brewery. This isn't his first time talking with the Guardian about the miracles of local boozing, but this time we've captured his can't-miss picks for hobnobbing and hops that will take place Feb. 10-19 (and yes, they include an stout made with Hog Island oysters). Read more »

Barrel-aged beauties

New barrel-aged spirits for 2012 include 1512 rye and Bols Genever. Plus: our cocktail picks from the revamped lounge at Fifth Floor

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Here are two new barrel aged beauties worth seeking out, plus more to look forward to in 2012.

1512 SPIRITS BARREL-AGED 100% RYE

I've enthused about small production 1512 Spirits (www.1512spirits.com) rye before, crafted by Salvatore "Sal" Cimino with a unique custom still up in Santa Rosa. During the day you'll find him giving shaves and cutting hair in his classic Nob Hill barbershop, at 1512 Pine Street (www.1512barbershop.com).Read more »

A real SF tweet

Missing chickens -- but plucking up the Old Clam House

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I keep buying little plants and killing them. This makes me miss chickens, which are, in my experience, both easier to keep alive and more gratifying to kill. Now that they come from the grocery store, I cook more chickens than ever. Therefore, I would like to have fresh herbs in my kitchen. Therefore, I keep buying these little plants.

And killing them.Read more »