Food and Drink

We go together

Appetite: Ringing in 2013 with notable new pairings

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APPETITE A celebratory or comforting drink is just what we crave at this time of year. When it comes with an excellent bite, even better. Here are a few of the most noteworthy drinks, winter cocktail menus, and dishes in SF as 2012 passes into 2013.

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Appetite: More tantalizing sweet spots

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Last week, I indulged my sweet side with a romp through several notable new candy stores and dessert offerings -- here are several more to dive into:

While we await the menu launch at the new Dandelion Chocolate factory (read more in my recent chocolate article), the beautiful space sells Dandelion's exquisite bars, and boxes of collaborative chocolates with two other local greats, Feve Artisan Chocolatier and Kika's Treats.

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Sweet tooth

Appetite: Miso sesame rice crispies, chocolate-dipped peanut butter cupcakes, eggnog latte frozen custard, and more new sweets on the scene

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Earthy, savory desserts call out to me. Despite my diminishing tolerance for excessive sugar, ice cream and gelato remain my biggest weaknesses, and I'm as appreciative of baked goods and balanced, unique desserts as I ever was. There are a slew of new and noteworthy Bay Area sweets on my menu — and a couple older places worth revisiting. (Visit the Pixel Vision blog at SFBG.com to read about six more.)

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Dishing 2012

Appetite: 2012's top new restaurants brought surprise tastes, culinary depth

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virginia@bayguardian.com

APPETITE The past year saw a number of openings I hope will be around for years to come — here is my list, in order, of my favorites. As ever, my goal is to include more affordable spots alongside midrange or upscale openings, considering range and uniqueness. It being December, I cannot strictly cover the calendar year so, with each choice open at least two months, the opening date range goes back to October 2011 for a full year.

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Appetite: 10 best spirits launched in 2012

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Each year holds a range of interesting spirits released from around the globe. As the craft spirit industry continues to explode, there were many exciting newcomers this year. Here are some of the best of what's crossed my desk in 2012.

FORD's GIN ($27)The 86 Company is a new venture from spirits and cocktail world stars Simon Ford (former International Brand Ambassador for Plymouth Gin), Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric (owners of New York's Employees Only bar, authors of Speakeasy). Just last month, they released Caña Brava Rum (a Panama rum, aged 3 years), Aylesbury Duck Vodka, and Ford's Gin. It's the gin I've been mixing with at home in every kind of cocktail from a basic gin and tonic to complex Ramos Gin Fizz.

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Boy Howdy

Rollin out the red carpet in Hollywood, and eating it up at Sabina's Restaurant

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS This.

CHEAP SPORTS

by Hedgehog

I love my editor/column hostess. And not just because I'm domestically partnered to her (though that helps). Read more »

Orexi

West Portal's delicious, midrange, homestyle Greek secret is out

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virginia@bayguardian.com

APPETITE West Portal has long warmed my heart. Maybe it's the removed setting, tucked in the shadow of Twin Peaks where T line ends and the M emerges. Or it's a sense of stepping back in time to a 1970s San Francisco, a sleepy area unfazed by trends and hipsterization. It's a family neighborhood, residential and small town in feel — and like any corner of our city, has its food gems, like old school blue cheese buffalo burgers at charmingly dated Bulls Head, or vividly fresh sandwiches and salads at the original location of Market and Rye.Read more »

SFBG TV: Dinner with Cassava

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See video

"This place just sort of fell into our lap" says Yuka Ioroi, who opened the Richmond neighborhood's Cassava Cafe and Restaurant earlier this year with husband Kristoffer. "We always wanted to have our own restaurant, but also wanted to start small with a cafe. So we thought, why not just serve a limited-seating dinner?" Read more »

Appetite: Learning from the best, eating like royalty at Flavor! Napa

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All photos by Virginia Miller

Flavor! Napa is a five-day food and wine festival that took place last weekend in its second annual incarnation, potentially the definitive event representing the wines of the region, and the chefs and cooking that make this grouping of small towns and countryside one of the great culinary and wine destinations in the world.Read more »

Sattdown strike

It's hard to find good help these days 

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le.chicken.farmer@gmail.com

CHEAP EATS Dang it, my sports writer has gone on strike. Over something really stupid, too. Really really stupid. How stupid? A couple columns ago, I changed her spelling of youse to yous. Why?

Oh, you escape my meaning entirely, don't you?

Youse. Yous. The former preferred by Hedgehog, whereas I like the latter.Read more »