Food & Drink

The fix

Emily Luchetti's Classic Stars Desserts
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› paulr@sfbg.com

For a longtime pastry chef, Emily Luchetti holds notably clear-eyed views about dessert. The sweet course, she writes in the introduction to her new cookbook, Classic Stars Desserts (Chronicle, $29.95), "is important for our emotional well-being and tastes better when we don't feel guilty about eating it." To assuage this guilt, we must accept that "we cannot eat desserts all the time" (let alone start meals with them, and yes, you got the memo). Read more »

Why a cherry?

Which wine goes with chili?
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Chili, most of us would probably agree, is beer food rather than wine food — if we are to make such odious distinctions — and that would make a winery an unlikely setting for a chili cook-off. Still, wineries can have their chili-friendly atmospherics on early-summer afternoons; the air is warm and fresh but not hot, and small planes drift through it on their way to and from the Petaluma airport, just a few flat miles away, across the vineyards. Read more »

Patisserie Philippe

Le deli
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paulr@sfbg.com

Most of us have our favorite bistros, boîtes, bakeries, and pubs — but patisseries? That seems a little precious, and maybe hard to pronounce. And fattening, since patisseries are all about pastries, and pastries are all about — or largely about — butter and eggs and sugar, with some flour and yeast thrown in, not to mention chocolate, more often than not. Read more »

Like breathing

Hide-a-way Cafe
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Oh, I gave up on Internet dating a long time ago. Like: March? Then, on June 1, this:

My response to his personal ad left him breathless, he said, because blah blah blah. (I'm paraphrasing.) But he definitely said "breathless." I know because I peed my pants when I read it. To leave someone breathless ... that's big. Read more »

A stitch in time

Stay sharp and slow down ... or suffer kitchen knife collateral damage
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› paulr@sfbg.com

Today's lesson — do as I say, not as I do — pertains to knives. What I say is what all sensible people say: keep your knives sharp; keep the tips of your fingers bent under the knuckles when chopping, mincing, dicing, and so forth; and, most important, do not rush. I rushed, and I paid, by slashing my ring finger with the 10-inch chef's knife I had perhaps neglected ever so slightly. The result was a scene of carnage and gore the likes of which I hadn't seen since the long-ago TV footage of Rockingham and Bundy, plus four stitches. Read more »

Myconos

Opa!
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paulr@sfbg.com

Our town, for all its glories, does have its little shortages here and there. We are, in particular, not as rich as some of the bigger cities in the "littles" and "towns" that give those great metropolises their distinctive scents of ethnic potpourri. Oh, we do have a Chinatown and a Japantown, and our Little Italy can be found living under a pseudonym in North Beach. Read more »

Bras and barbecue

Subway
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le_chicken_farmer@yahoo.com

CHEAP EATS Mountain Sam has many last names; I don't think I've ever seen the same one twice. My personal favorite, because it's the only one I can remember right now, is Two Bears.

I met Mountain Sam and his wife, Mountain Veronica, at an open mic in the Castro called Retool and Grind. I sang about Sonoma County and being a chicken farmer. I sang the one that gives directions to my shack, and they came up to me after and said, "We're neighbors!"

First I thought they meant they lived close to each other. "Good. Read more »

Dining listings

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Welcome to our dining listings, a detailed guide by neighborhood of some great places to grab a bite, hang out with friends, or impress the ones you love with thorough knowledge of this delectable city. Restaurants are reviewed by Paul Reidinger (PR) or staff. Read more »

Grapes of steel

Man can't live on reds alone
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› paulr@sfbg.com

If the wine gods should decree that I must no longer be permitted any whites, I would weep — but survive too. While it may be true, as Deuteronomy instructs, that "man does not live by bread alone," he — or we or I — surely could make do with red wine only. The charms of red wine are considerable and inescapable, from the gracious lean strength of a good pinot noir to the cherry-and-pepper bouquet of a côtes du Rhône or zinfandel in its prime. Red wine is, somehow, gravid with life itself.

And yet ... Read more »

Caffe Bella Venezia

Hostel territory
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paulr@sfbg.com

The world traveler might arrive in some strange foreign city eager to find enlightenment at the table — to suss out the city's most interesting and revealing restaurants and ponder the cultural clues they offer — but first there is the matter of jet lag. The world traveler has an urgent need for a good night's sleep and perhaps a meal that's somehow authentically local but not too difficult: not too expensive or far away or served at a place that's difficult to get into. Read more »