Food and Drink

Appetite: Napa's affordable eats and surprising treats

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After countless weekends in Napa over the years, I'm flush with recommendations for worthy restaurants and hotels. It's not always the most affordable area, but my recent visits north have revealed a number of delightfully reasonable options within the bounds of Napa and Yountville, both new and established. 

They've also uncovered a few unexpected dishes – and in the case of one restaurant with a new chef, a whole range of them. Read more »

Appetite: Island bites, part four

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I spent some brilliant days -- and the first three of five installations in my Hawaiian series -- exploring Oahu. But based on what every traveler I'd ever met had told me, I knew it could only get better with Kauai. This time around, let's talk the restaurant scene on Kauai – next time, I'll feature its hotels and drink. 

But first, the ugly: traffic jams are jarring shocks on the island's east side near Lihue, particularly in Kapaa. One-lane roads at a dead stop along stetches of strip malls are downright irritating. I almost missed my flight home when it took one hour to go 10 miles from Kapaa to Lihue Airport (the day before the same route took 10 minutes). Read more »

Appetite: Our picks from Dry Creek

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Last year's Passport to Dry Creek festival (April 30-May 1) was quite the weekend of hops between wineries in Dry Creek Valley. How was it different than any of the dozens of events in wine country at any given time, you might ask? Read more »

No animals were harmed in the making of this sandwich

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Last week long-time SF vegan restaurant and gathering place, Café Gratitude reopened after a short closure due to remodeling, unveiling not only their spruced-up interior but a new menu that includes old favorites as well as some new creations. 

Included in the new menu is a vegan BLT sandwich. Sounded great, so I promptly traipsed down last weekend. Of course on the restaurant's New-Age, posi-vibes menu this BLT is called “I Am Extraordinary,” with sautéed maple bacon, romaine, tomato, spicy aioli, and avocado on an organic wheat bun. Read more »

Urban homesteaders forge ahead, despite lack of ®

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For years, the Internet has provided a second home to a community of urban farmers diligently tilling their carrots and tapping away on their keyboards about the experience. These people lived with all the peace and prosperity attendant to backyard chickens, rooftop apiaries, and tomatoes canned in plain sight of sidewalks and skyscrapers – until some of their own went rogue.

Pastoralists the blogosphere over erupted in rage this February when the Dervaes Institute, a long-time Internet presence and self-proclaimed authority on the subject of urban farming, sent not-quite-cease-and-desist letters to sixteen other institutions and small businesses, forbidding them from using the term “urban homesteading” without including the fact that the term is the Dervaes' intellectual property. Read more »

WonderCon diaries: Chris Cosentino is... Wolverine's new buddy!

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I had seen chef Chris Cosentino (of Bay Area offal ground zero Incanto, also a The Next Iron Chef contestant and host of the Food Network's Chef Vs. City) in person for the first time a few weeks ago – he'd just made an incredible multi-course meal for a bunch of beer journalists at Anchor Brewery and was racing around, saying hi to people and describing his thought process on the various beer-food pairings. My tablemates, friends of Cosentino, told me he had a comic coming out at WonderCon, or something. So I gave him a shout – hey, dope local angle on the convention, since I knew I was going anyway.

Maybe I should have known when I saw the massive poster of Cosentino in the Ferry Building at the stand of his other business, Boccolone Tasty Salted Pig Parts (signed by the man himself, “pork is the new vegetable,”), a few days later that this was going to be no mere small press comic release.   Read more »

3 reasons to drink Don Pilar tequila

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1. A backstory you can cheers to

Yes, Don Pilar is actual tequila, which means it must be made in Jalisco, Mexico in the lowlands and highlands surrounding the town of Tequila. Now that we have that out of the way, I want to highlight that Don Pilar (a.k.a. Jose Pilar Contreras) is a Bay Area entrepreneur and all-around Latino success story. Read more »

Live Shots: Whole Beast Supper Club Rabbit Tasting Dinner, 3/18/2011

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Growing up, my best friend Suzy Q (then and now) used to raise bunny rabbits in her backyard in Pacifica. In the spring, there would sometimes be two or three new litters at the same time, and we would set up a tent on the lawn and let the dozens of fluff balls run around us in circles. Although many of the bunnies were sold once they got big enough, there were some extremely special ones, like Mr. Casey, who used to ride around on Suzy Q's shoulder like a parrot and who I became the loving godmother of at a full-blown bunny baptism. So, you can imagine my tangle of emotions when I spent last Friday night at a pop-up rabbit tasting dinner at La Victoria Bakery, for a meal with the Whole Beast Supper Club.

The concept of this dining group is absolutely righteous. Eat the whole animal and also try out new parts of plants that you might not have thought of before as edible. The rabbits for the meal were provided by Devil's Gulch Ranch in Nicasio. The farmer, Mark Pasternak, was also at the dinner to see for himself what an all rabbit meal would be like.

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Pie attack? Bike Basket Pies delivers

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See video

Get your fork ready: SFBG videographer Ariel Soto grabs some piping hot slices with Natalie Galatzer of Bike Basket Pies in the Mission

Secret cajun kitchen discovered, evidence of gumbo

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Those who enjoy strolling amidst a certain vibrant stretch of  24th Street in the Mission might be under a common misguided belief that the world is flat and ends east of Potrero Avenue. But just as Christopher Columbus proved the world was round by sailing west, I confirmed this is false by sailing east -- one block east of Potrero, that is. What I found was Tasty’s Creole Cajun Kitchen, a new world filled with rare goods and spices. Among them, signature po’ boy sandwiches, southern brunch specialties, gumbo, red beans and rice, hush puppies, sweet tea, even French rolls flown in from Louisiana. What wonders the new world holds!

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