Restaurant Review

A shot of warmth

New cocktail and bite combinations to light up winter nights

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Let's be clear: the Bon Vivants crew's newly opened Trick Dog in the Mission — featuring a cocktail menu modeled after a Pantone swatch book — is the hot food and drink destination of the moment (see my early review on the Pixel Vision blog at SFBG.com). But slipping at the bar at these three restaurants, ranging from elegant to festive, offers some of SF's best cocktails with incredible bites on a long winter's eve.

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Banchan, ramen, and squid innards

Intriguing Asian hotspots Muguboka, Ramen Shop, and Roku arouse the senses

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Authentic Asian cuisine of every category is one of California and the Bay Area's strengths, with constant new openings, including Richmond's mellow Daigo Sushi (www.daigosushi.com) and Szechuan outpost Chili House (www.chilihousesf.com). These three spots stand out for one (or a few) reasons.

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Island breezy

Tasting Jamaican at Back A Yard and Miss Ollie's

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virginia@bayguardian.com

APPETITE Although I'm not an island girl, I crave sorrel — that cinnamon-spiced, rosy-purple juice made from the petals of a sorrel plant — or multi-colored Scotch bonnet peppers, both common in the Caribbean and ideal together, the sorrel cooling off the pepper's scorching heat. One of my closest friends is Jamaican and we've been exploring local Caribbean food for years, despite the lack of abundant local options.Read more »

Capo's

The new restaurant from Tony's Pizza Napoletana serves pizza and Italian treats you can't refuse

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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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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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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 »

Sweet rollin'

The Bay's best new (and classic) bagels and doughnuts

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If on a winter's night ...

Swedish chef Magnus Nilsson and Coi's Daniel Patterson cook up a spectacular rustic feast

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