Food and Drink

Appetite: What not to miss during SF Cocktail Week 2011

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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, bar talent and innovation. Monday begins the fifth annual Cocktail Week, bigger than ever, with numerous national and local brands represented, an extensive schedule of seminars, parties, events, and the first ever Legends Awards honoring key contributors in the field.

I’d recommend Cocktail Week certainly for aficionados (cocktail/spirits geeks), but equally for the curious or those who just plain love classy, transporting events.

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Bottoms up!

Naked wines, rogue brews, family vines, upcoming booze to-dos: Drink with us through the luscious Beer and Wine Issue

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Rarely do we need an excuse to drink here at the Guardian, but we found some damn good ones for Autumn 2011. Raise a glass, willya?

>>ROGUE PAIRINGS The boys from Pacific Brewing Laboratories match local suds with local snacks for your culinary explorations

>>GET NAKED Exploring the natural wine movement from right here in San Francisco Read more »

Appetite: tucking into Chefs Night Off

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Chefs Sarah and Evan Rich (who also happen to be husband and wife), come with a fine dining, creative pedigree cooking in kitchens of the caliber of Coi, Quince and Michael Mina. On August 29th, I attended their first Chefs Night Off pop-up dinner at Radius, and they are also hosting pop-up Fried Chicken Dinner at Rebel Bar (check their Facebook page for dates).

Their four-course, market-fresh dinner was peppered with amuse bouche/bites and palate cleansers between courses that showcased their inventiveness without being fussy.

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Suds on sea legs: A photo journey through Brews on the Bay

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All photos by Allen David

"Fuck the wine industry! I mean, I drink wine like everybody else." Brenden Dobel, brewmaster at Thirsty Bear Brewing Company may be tipsy -- but then again, we are on a boat.

A bigass boat in fact -- the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, one of the mere two Liberty ships still afloat from the batch of 2,710 that were constructed during WWII. But we were pretty far from Normandy on Saturday; the O'Brien was hosting Brews on the Bay, a celebration of San Francisco's alcoholic beverage of choice. Read more »

Getting started with Sour Flour

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See video

Raise it up! SFBG videographer Ariel Soto-Suver drops in on a delectable bread-baking basics class with Danny Gabriner of La Victoria Bakery in the Mission.

Appetite: 3 new gins from St. George's

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Consistently, St. George Spirits (also Hangar One) wears the crown for renegade inventiveness. As I wrote last year, Lance Winters, master distiller, and distillers Dave Smith and Chris Jordan, lead the way in out-of-the-box creativity. Never have I seen the like of their test tube apothecary of experimentation where they'll try anything, from foie gras and beef jerky, to carrots and fresh Dungeness crab, to see what works as a spirit.

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Appetite: Refreshing the Starlight

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Sampling the new, revamped Harry Denton's Starlight Room cocktails. All photos by Virginia Miller

Tonight, September 6th, Harry Denton's legendary Starlight Room will reopen, revamped, with brand new menus and look. Though the space wasn't quite ready for a sneak peek, I was able sample a few of the cocktails that will be on offer from bar manager Joel Teitelbaum's winning menu.

Grouped together by time periods, the menu starts with the 1600s and punch, ending with Starlight Room classics from great bartenders who have launched from here over the years (like Tony Abou-Ganim, Marco Dionysos, Jacques Bezuidenhout). Other sections include The Jerry Thomas Years (1860's), The Dry Years - Prohibition (1920-1933), and Dark Times (1980's - this one with updated versions of '80's hits like the Fuzzy Navel).

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Appetite: 3 to watch -- new restaurants, noteworthy bites

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Open for a matter of weeks or months, these new spots show promise with dishes I'm still thinking about...

LE BORDEAUX - French sausage
The new Le Bordeaux, tucked away in North Beach, holds some subtle surprises. General description: ultra-traditional French bistro fare in a Euro cafe with woodsy, rustic country lodge feel. It's a blessedly mellow respite for lunch or dinner. The winning dish thus far is Boudin blanc ($18), that light, gentle white pork sausage I love so, common in France as well as in New Orleans cuisine.

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Appetite: Oompah and bratwurst in Larkspur

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Think towering redwoods, smoky aromas of sausages, onions and peppers wafting from a grill, German beers on tap from a cooler, and a darling oompah band of elderly gentleman playing with spunk and skill. Enter the just-launched-this-week Biergarten at the Tavern at Lark Creek. For a short jaunt from the city to Larkspur, it feels worlds away.

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Buche on a bike? Dreams come true, courtesy of El Taco Bike

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Why does Alfonso Dominguez, owner of Oakland's Tamarindo, La Calle, and partial owner of Era Art Bar and Lounge, spend his free time hawking tacos from a bike? An avid cyclist and owner of six different bikes himself, we got the idea talking to him last week that Dominguez built El Taco Bike to prove it was possible in the first place.

We're in full support. Too few snack foods come off the back of bicycles these days. Read more »