Restaurant Review

State Bird Provisions

Jazzy flights of fancy (and a nice play on that eponymous bird) at this innovative, eclectic Fillmore newbie 

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Baumé

We'll probably never be able to afford to eat here again, so this review -- including Alba white truffles, suckling pig, and hints of Calvados -- will just have to do.

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE There are meals that live on in memory: dioramas of conversation, heartwarming food, and that misty glow from a fine bottle of wine. Then there are those that are game-changers, the food an elaborate tapestry, weaving complex threads of creativity into an unexpected whole as impacting on the taste buds as to the eye. It borders on art.Read more »

Fresh and fancy-free

3 fantastic new thrifty dining options: Chubby Noodle, Roostertail, Galette 88

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Despite all its high-end culinary buzz, San Francisco is loaded with amazing cheap eats (as my colleague L.E. Leone has been documenting for decades for the Guardian). Here are three new places I consider worth adding to your go-to list.

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Shining season

AQ lights up SoMa with high creativity and affordable prices

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE In its opening weeks, AQ in SoMa* reminds me of lauded Commonwealth and Sons and Daughters. At all three restaurants, precision marries inventiveness — at a reasonable cost. AQ's starters are $9 or $13, while entrees are $24. After dining in cities the world and country over, I can vouch that it is rare to see this level of skill and creativity at this price.Read more »

Dishes for a winter's night

From Sonoma duck ragout to creamy chestnut soup; culinary cheer for the chills

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APPETITE As we arrive at the end of 2011, here are a few dishes of soothing comfort for a winter's night from four under-the-radar places.

EGG NOODLES IN A JAPANTOWN CULINARY RESPITERead more »

Contemplating Appetite

Food writer Virginia Miller introduces her new weekly column in the Guardian -- and gives us her favorite restaurant openings of the year

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Confit basteeya, garlicky marrow

Four standout meals: Aziza, Prime Dip Sandwiches, Grill House Mediterranean, and the Haven preview dinner at Plum

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE Here are four recent standout dishes or meals, offering affordable hole-in-the-wall charm or upscale creativity.

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Wine tales

Tasty new wine bars, contemplating Grand Cru at To Kalon, and a lively new book about vino

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virginia@sfbg.com

APPETITE The wine scene never rests, particularly during harvest time. Besides traveling to Bordeaux for harvest a couple weeks ago (where I picked grapes with the harvesters one day in Sauternes), and continued weekends in Napa and Sonoma, I've been savoring the city's latest wine bars, wine books, and a rare panel for Robert Mondavi staff of key Napa winemakers discussing Napa's premier soil.

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Lime Rickeys and sourdough sundaes

Sweet -- and surprising -- explorations at Citizen Cake Ice Cream Parlor, Pisco Latin Lounge, and Jasper's Corner Tap

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APPETITE Though my sweet tooth has diminished over the years, it only means I can't stomach sickly sweet. I still take immense pleasure in a fine dessert. Here are some desserts so good they threaten to surpass the meal that came before.

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Fall fresh

New places, new tastes: Notable dishes at Park Tavern, Canela, and Umami Burger

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APPETITE These three new places just opened; these early dishes jump out.

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