A year ago, Hunky Beau and I were tootling wantonly around the Iberian peninsula, from San Sebastiàn and Vitoria-Gasteiz in the Basque north to Sevilla and Tarifa in the Andalucian south, leaving a trail of licked little plates in our wake. We dove into exquisitely stacked two-bite prawn pintxos in Bilbao, leafy salads piled high with tiny, transparent angulas (eels) in Barcelona, rabbit paella in Valencia ...Read more »
For a child of East, West, and Middle America, I have an unexpected and profound affinity for the music and food of the South. Traveling in the region, my love grows. Florida conch and stone crab, Tex-Mex and Texas brisket. But when I dream of the South, I think Deep South. Start talking low country and Gullah cuisine, or Cajun and Creole cooking, and I become brutally homesick for a home I never had.Read more »
APPETITE Age is good thing: for wine, whiskey, cheese, wisdom, sense of self... Age deepens, fills out, matures. In the scheme of things, these two restaurants are youngsters — Bar Tartine has been successful since opening in 2005, Txoko was the new kid on the block in 2011. But they've steadily improved: what was exceptional at times last year is now more consistently so. Read more »
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 »
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 »
Because you and yours might be itching for something other than ham, sweet potatoes, and intense family time, we here present a list of restaurants that will be open Christmas Day providing non-holiday-oriented dinners and desserts. Relish in the savory bite-sized flavors of dim sum, or skip the solid food entirely and head to a downtown lounge for a cocktail with friends or solo.
APPETITE We seek wine recommends the year 'round, but never more than the during the holiday season. Here's some affordable sipping assistance for ringing in the new year or decking the halls with friends. (Key local shops like K&L Wine Merchants, Jug Shop, Arlequin, Bi-Rite, or SF Wine Trading Co., may stock these bottles or can likely get them for you).
APPETITE On a recent misty morning in Point Reyes, and then during a Petaluma afternoon inland, I visited two of our most beloved creameries. The damp earth of a dairy farm in dark, early hours is oddly intoxicating, while sampling fresh cheese in various stages of ripening is sheer pleasure. These dairies make me proud of the familial, forward-thinking, humane food practices that have been going strong in the Bay Area for decades.