Food & Drink

3 spring cocktail trends

Sip on this season's haute new libations, from wine cocktails to fizzy bottled daiquiris 

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Spring imparts new life and lush green after winter rains. It also ushers in a glut of new cocktail menus, emphasizing the best produce of the season and exciting new trends.Read more »

7 vegan and gluten-free indulgences

FEAST: Superlative eats for limited diet, charcuterie to quesadillas

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True, at first glance a vegan and gluten-free lifestyle sounds like a joke from Portlandia's Allergy Pride Parade. Wave those flags high, besmirched friends. But here's a non-snarky thought: for some people, it's just life. They have actual allergies to gluten and/or dairy.Read more »

7 pretty tea parties

Pastel china, raised pinkies, and steamy pots: these are the city's best tea houses

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caitlin@sfbg.com

Unbeknownst to those whose primary haunt is dingy dive bars and the bottom of a margarita glass, there are as many kinds of tea houses in San Francisco as one-night stands.Read more »

4 Spanish treats

FEAST: From octopus terrine to gambas a la plancha, tapas is no time to tap out

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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 »

The hunt for authentic Bay BBQ

FEAST: Join in on a -- successful -- hunt for stand-out sauces and beautiful brisket

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virginia@sfbg.com

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 »

Two on the rise

The evolution of Bar Tartine and Txoko's European flair -- chilled cherry soup to Basque cider 

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virginia@sfbg.com

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 »

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 »

Brews you can use

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

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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 »

Easy honors

The East Bay cocktail scene continues to rise with Honor Bar and the New Easy

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