FEAST: COAST BY BIKE I spent my vacations on my bicycle this summer, pedaling from southern Oregon to San Luis Obispo and looping through the Santa Cruz Mountains on three separate bike tours, covering almost 1,000 miles over three weeks, fully loaded with camping and other gear.Read more »
FEAST: WESTERN NEIGHBORHOODS Vacations are expensive. But if you're a Bay Area cat hankering for new eats to explore, check out a magical, far-off foggy place many call the Outerlands: San Francisco's oft-ignored Inner and Outer Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods. (And yes, there's even a restaurant called Outerlands at 4001 Judah, serving local, organic food.)Read more »
FEAST: PARIS Our first night in Paris was the stuff of foodie dreams: digging into steak tartare and downing natural wines with Autour d'un Verre restaurant co-owners and chefs Vikki Perry and Kevin Blackwell — at another well-known restaurant, Les Fines Gueules, where the conversation flowed freely, and the couple's young daughter and pet dog under the table rounded out the comfortable, friendly atmosphere.Read more »
FEAST: ITALY There are 22 Caravaggio paintings in southern mainland Italy, and we were determined to feast our eyes on every last one of them this past May. (We got up all the way up to 21: one was on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art.) As important: We would eat and drink a wide path to each painting, leaving no plate unlicked in that famously delicious part of the world. Here are some highlights.
When it comes to tasting mezcal, the experts have some generally accepted rules. Chief among them is that "you should never taste more than four together," cautioned Oaxaca's Graciela Carreño of Mezcal Real Minero at the Mezcal: Mexico In a Bottle event, held at Public Works, Sept. 14. It's usually good advice: With the spirit's alcohol content regularly topping 50 percent ABV, and its flavor components so nuanced yet so varied from one bottle to the next, it can be hard to distinguish mezcal's finer points when your tastebuds are aflame with intense spice, smoke, and minerality.
But when you're staring down nearly 20 of the world's absolute best mezcal brands in one room, each of which has at least three or four different offerings on hand (if not plenty more), heeding that first caveat is a patent impossibility.
TABLEHOPPING Lovers of fine wine are going to prick their ears up over this one: Mark Bright (Saison) is opening Bright's Les Clos (234 Townsend, SF; www.lesclossf.com), a wine bar in SoMa, and let's just say there will be Burgundy. A lot of it. Plus some fantastic French dishes from Shawn Gawle, previously the pastry chef at Saison, who also has great savory skills as well.Read more »
FOOD AND DRINK If you've ever tasted a fine mezcal, you know it's a special thing. Bright, complex, spicy, smooth, smoky, minerally — mezcal is a spirit bursting with character. So it's no wonder that after more than four centuries of distillation, it's picked up its share of catchphrases. "Para todo mal, mezcal; para todo bien, también." (For everything bad, mezcal; for everything good, the same.") "Sip it, don't shoot it." "You don't find mezcal; mezcal finds you."Read more »
THE WEEKNIGHTER Sometimes it happens. PR companies take me out, feed me, and get me boozed up. All with the hope that I will write about the place that's feeding/boozing me. Sometimes I write about the place, sometimes I don't. I make no promises other than I promise to consume the food and booze that's put in front of me. I imagine I've had worse lifetimes, but I wouldn't know.Read more »