Food and Drink

Appetite: What's new at Anchor? A lot.

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Inside scoop from Anchor Distilling: A new clear hops spirit, line of Japanese whiskies, rooftop bar, world's most extensive cocktail book library, and more

Anchor Distilling is a local treasure. Fritz Maytag pioneered craft beer and craft spirits in America long before most were even thinking about it. Tracing back Fritz' brewing days to the 1960s puts San Francisco squarely on the map as a leader and trendsetter in beer, while in spirits Fritz -- alongside Jorg Rupf at St. George, and Hubert Germain-Robin of Germain-Robin -- were all pioneering American craft spirits here in Northern California decades before the current renaissance.

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Serendipity, with saba

Everything comes together at Tokyo Teriyaki

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS The number of severed duck heads in my compost bucket currently stands at eight, but I am open to more. Did anyone else accidentally go to Louisiana and shoot some ducks, bring them back, put them in the fridge, and then not have time to deal with them?

If so, I'm here for you. If you want, I'll even share the resultant gumbo. Just ask the de la Cooters.Read more »

The Performant: Drink up, Brunhilde

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Oktoberfest by the Bay pours it on

In vino veritas, aber in bier auch etwas.

Every year when Oktoberfestzeit rolls around, my thoughts turn nostalgic for liter-sized beers, chewy brezeln, and oompah bands playing “Country Roads.” And that this year’s Berlin and Beyond Film Festival fell smack in the middle of Oktoberfest’s traditional 16-day season only exacerbated the quasi-homesickness that feeds my Teutonic obsessions. Having lived for some time in Munich, and hoisted many a Maßkrug on the Wiesn, I’ve purposefully avoided its San Francisco counterpart, Oktoberfest by the Bay, for years. After all, Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest beer festival in the world, boasting more than six million visitors a year, an adrenaline-pumping array of roller-coasters, and mountains of Bavarian food to soak up the rivers of beer. Any other city’s regional edition will naturally far short of this admittedly high mark.

But when it comes to beer fests, is it really the size that matters, or just the beers? I figured I owed it to myself to find out.

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All in the call

"Things we ate included chicken and dumplings (which they call chicken pot pie), and peach pie (which they call peach dumplings)."

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS I won't sleep in a dead man's bed, but I will use his razor to shave my sweater.

"She walks like a little farmer," Hedgehog's gram told Hedgehog while I was not in the room.

Gram, recently widowed, is in a nursing home in Bloomsburg, PA. We visited every day at least once a day while we were there. We brought her fudge from the fair. We brought her caramel corn, corn, "penny candy," and a pork sandwich. I did her nails.Read more »

Aim for these

Delicious destination dishes at Bluestem, Marcella's, and Blackwood

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Most memorable restaurants boasts an overarching standard of quality to their menus. Other times, one dreams of specific items from certain spots. Here are a few places worth trekking out to for unique dream dishes.

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Appetite: New whisk(e)y releases and WhiskyFest

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I'll take whisk(e)y year round. But as summer evolves to fall, it seems all the more appropriate enjoyed on crisp nights, preferably fireside. Thankfully, WhiskyFest approaches this Friday/5, in the usual massive, underground Marriott ballrooms. Recapping past years, VIP early pours of rare whiskies and seminars tend to be highlights. There's another seminar this week with the legendary, delightful Parker Beam, exploring Japanese Whisky with Suntory brand ambassador Neyah White, and I'm particularly looking forward to beer and single malt pairings with Highland Park brand ambassador Martin Daraz.

There's a number of  new pours this year, including Glenfiddich's Malt Master which I review below, Parker's Heritage Collection release for 2012, the Master Distiller’s Blend of Mashbills (Parker Beam's annual, limited edition releases are among the most exciting American whiskies made), and for the first time ever Nikka Japanese whisky, which I've long had to enjoy when in Europe, as you can't get it here in the US... until this fall, thanks to SF's very own Anchor Distilling here in SF. Anchor is importing Nikka with, as Anchor President David King told me recently, a few more Japanese whiskies to come -- a huge win for whisky lovers like myself who've been longing for more imports from Japan. I sampled Taketsuru 12 year, which will also be poured at WhiskyFest, while Anchor will soon import their 17 yr and 21 yr whiskies.

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In FiDi, a Turkish gem

Perfect lamb, visionary seared branzino, and phyllo delights at Machka

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Roll with it

Secret bahn mi joys (and pugilistas) at Kim's Cafe

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS They said it would smell like a hamster cage. And it did, but we persevered. Our instructions were to go all the way to the back of the restaurant — past the cash register and past the kitchen, where there was another, much pleasanter room that did not smell like a hamster cage. And it didn't.Read more »

Haight Street coffeshop plans to Slay at its upcoming Mission location

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Stanza Coffee is expanding past its Haight Street, hole-in-the-wall roots and into the competitive SF coffee scene, with a badass, Bay Area exclusive espresso machine and a new location in the caffeinated-cool Mission district opening next month. Read more »

SFBG TV: Baklava bonding at the Armenian Food Festival

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No lines? Space to move and breathe? This can't be a San Francisco street festival, can it?

But it was. I made a dramatic entrance at last weekend when I was shooting the 55-year old Armenian Food Festival. I floated in like a cartoon character, led by the nose. Yes indeed, I defied all laws of gravity and let my senses guide me to the sizzling kebab meats and free-flowing draft beer, not to mention the whirling dancers and, of course, Armenian eye candy. Read more »