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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Eat This: Dragon Beaux's Duck Burrito

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 2:10 PM

Duck burrito - MARY LADD
  • Mary Ladd
  • Duck burrito

Dim sum all day is one reason to check out Dragon Beaux, the newish San Francisco lovechild of the Koi Palace & M.Y. China restaurant empires. Of the scores of items, heed the call of the duck burrito — even if technically this offering is more of a roll versus an actual burrito by California standards.

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Speakeasy Debuts Baby Daddy IPA at Its 18th Anniversary Party

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 2:00 PM


San Francisco’s Speakeasy Ales & Lagers isn’t quite old enough to drink yet, but after 18 years, it’s definitely smoking. To celebrate its 18th Anniversary, Speakeasy has released the delicious new Baby Daddy Session IPA, which packs some serious citrus and pine hop aroma and flavor into a very drinkable 4.7% ABV beer. Not only does it taste great, it’s available in a very nicely designed can that is beach- and park-ready.

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TONIGHT: A Mexican Pop-Up at Wing Wings, with Richie Nakano

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM

  • The Bold Italic

Wing Wings is known for hosting Tuesday night pop-ups with terrific stuff, such as Richie Nakano’s original Hapa Ramen and all the fried Irish things at Gillian Fitzgerald’s Fish & Chips. In that vein, tonight only, Nakano will return to the Lower Haight wingatorium for a Mexican evening of chimichangas, sangria, and a 6.33 layer dip.

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When Is A Rare Bourbon Worth The Price of Admission?

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 8:00 AM

Knob Creek's 2015 Belmont Stakes Commemorative Release - BRAD JAPHE
  • Brad Japhe
  • Knob Creek's 2015 Belmont Stakes Commemorative Release

Threats of an impending bourbon shortage hang like a dark cloud over the whiskey world. Consumers have yet to see evidence of a dwindling supply, however. Quite the contrary, in fact; bottle shops seem to dedicate increasing swaths of real estate to America's native spirit. Considering the time and space necessary for proper barrel-aging, it's nothing short of a small miracle that many exceptionally crafted bourbons of the day retail for well under $40. Then, of course, there are those that command more than 10 times that price. Are they necessarily 10 times better, or is the bottle just ten times prettier? Here are some factors to take into consideration before investing in a premium or potentially rare bourbon to add to your liquor cabinet.

Be mindful of hype. At this point, virtually every whiskey drinker is aware of Pappy Van Winkle and how impossible it is to obtain. Bottles of the 23-year expression can be found online for $200 — empty bottles. If you want a filled one, good luck. You'll need about $4000 and a prayer. But the very same whiskey retailed for $150 just six short years ago. The only thing that's changed since then is that Anthony Bourdain called it the best whiskey on the planet, and irrational hype snowballed from there. Even the younger varieties, like Lot B — aged for 12 years — can fetch $500 at your local liquor shop. As has been well-documented, it's pretty much the same exact juice as W.L Weller 12 Year — a bourbon made at the same distillery, aged for the same number of years in the same exact warehouse. When consumers caught wind of this, the Weller doubled from $50 to $100 a bottle, seemingly overnight. It's still a relative bargain. And probably a smart investment, as it is now tangentially connected to so-called Pappy Mania.

#nofilter - BRAD JAPHE
  • Brad Japhe
  • #nofilter

Age plays a role
in price, of course. But most casual drinkers fail to realize that older isn't always better. The 'sweet spot' for bourbon is commonly accepted to be in the 10-15 year range. Anything older than that risks taking in too much flavor from the oak in which it rests, drowning out the gentler notes of the grain that went into the whiskey itself. Sorry Pappy 23 lovers, but most bourbon distillers would prefer a younger, and far cheaper alternative. 

Limited bottlings can be a smart move for collectors and connoisseurs, alike. Take, for example, Knob Creek's 2015 Belmont Stakes commemorative release. This one-off was on the shelves for a few weeks with a label that will never be reproduced. The juice inside is exactly the same as regular, everyday Knob Creek bourbon. It's a sensationally complex, 9-year-old whiskey well deserving of its $35 price tag. After American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown, bottles of the special release flew off the shelves. Unopened, it's value is likely to increase greatly as a collector's item. Here, though, as is so often the case in high-end spirits, the bottle is more important the juice itself.

Rip Van Winkle Whiskies at Buffalo Trace Distillery - Frankfort, KY - BRAD JAPHE
  • Brad Japhe
  • Rip Van Winkle Whiskies at Buffalo Trace Distillery - Frankfort, KY

If you truly enjoy what's in the bottle, scarcity of supply should be your primary concern. Sometimes a shortage is artificially manufactured, to drive up demand, but other times, a stash of exclusive barrels is "uncovered" in the back of a rickhouse, allowing enthusiasts to obtain an old expression that, once depleted, will never be available again. Such is the case with Blade and Bow 22-Year. It slept for over two decades in Louisville's now-defunct Stitzel-Weller Distillery. Although no new whiskey has been created there since the early '90s, it has served as an operational barrelhouse ever since. It wasn't until recently that they opted to release some of their oldest remaining stock, from which came the undeniably clean, vanilla-rich, Blade and Bow 22. It's already been named "Best Straight [aged two years or more] Bourbon" at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, earlier this year. If you have your eyes set on the elusive Pappy 23, a $179 bottle of 22-year-old Blade and Bow is a sensible — and far more attainable — alternative. The former, although in severely limited quantity, is still released every autumn, the latter is a one shot deal. Imagine how it might be valued once it's gone for good?

As it's appeal continues to broaden amongst the general population, all bourbons potentially run the risk of becoming scarce. So you might as well appreciate your $30 bottles while they last. You can also do your part to stave off disaster: discourage your vodka-drinking friends from ever sampling the brown stuff.

Wild Turkey Rickhouse - BRAD JAPHE
  • Brad Japhe
  • Wild Turkey Rickhouse

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Dogpatch Dive the Sea Star to Become Pet-Friendly

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 4:00 PM

  • Peter Lawrence Kane

The Sea Star, having been around for decades, reopened with a new list of cocktails and a haunted hotel vibe after a fairly extensive renovation last year. The Dogpatch dive had been called the Goat, and its new incarnation was a better fit for a neighborhood that had long since transitioned away from heavy industry to artisanal metalwork.

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Chickens Come Home to Roost: Prop 2 Hits Egg Prices

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 2:02 PM

Battery cages were the industry standard in California until Proposition 2 was approved by voters in 2008. - WIKIMEDIA
  • Wikimedia
  • Battery cages were the industry standard in California until Proposition 2 was approved by voters in 2008.

While egg prices have been rising dramatically across the country due to an avian flu epidemic which has killed some 48 millions turkeys and chickens across the Midwest, California's increase can be traced back to a decision made by the state's voters back in 2008. The chickens, in other words, have come home to roost.

Seven years ago, California voters passed Proposition 2, which mandates that the state's confined agricultural livestock be given sufficient space “to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.” The proposition, which covered sow gestation crates, veal crates, and battery cages, passed with 63 percent of the vote. Farmers had until January, 2015, to bring their facilities up to the law's standards. Farmers argued, however, that the new law was vague in describing just what size the new confinements should be, and – of course – lawsuits ensued.

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Montesacro's Pinsas Are Not Pizzas

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 11:00 AM

The Infernetto Pinsa at Montesacro - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • The Infernetto Pinsa at Montesacro

Hold it. Don’t even think about calling Montesacro Pinseria Romana’s defining dish “pizza.” Stop, now.

Presented as a stretched-out concave oval not unlike the Mexican street food staple “huarache,” only with dough in lieu of masa, Montesacro's is a strong statement on art of pizza — or pinsas, or whatever you desire to call a few toppings on intensely heated crust.

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High Water Brewing Releases Nyctophiliac Dark Sour Ale

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2015 at 10:30 AM

Nyctophiliac Dark Sour Ale - HIGH WATER BREWING
  • High Water Brewing
  • Nyctophiliac Dark Sour Ale

Although it sounds as if it could be some ominous beast from a George R.R. Martin fantasy novel, Nyctophiliac is assuredly real. The latest release from Chico's High Water Brewing is a dark sour ale straddling the divide between deep roasted decadence, and tongue-tickling tartness. Darker ales tend to fall out of favor this time of year, so let's some shed light on why this one's worth seeking out before winter returns.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

Cheers to San Francisco's Emerging Wine Bar Trend & Tofino Wines

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 3:00 PM

Smoked Trout Dip and Some Vino Fun at Tofino Wines - TREVOR FELCH
  • Trevor Felch
  • Smoked Trout Dip and Some Vino Fun at Tofino Wines

A rosé can be tremendously swell with domestic and international expressions every bit as riveting as exalted whites and reds. It can also be, well, the summertime shandy of wine. Beaujolais, by contrast, needs more explanation. A tremendously accomplished region of Southern Burgundy focusing on the Gamay grape, it is not in fact 100 percent Beaujolais Nouveau. Thank goodness. And thank goodness we're given the new Tofino Wines Laurel Heights for making believers in rosé from Beaujolais.

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How Food Delivery Service Thistle Changed The Way I Eat

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 8:00 AM

  • Adrian Spinelli
I am insanely carnivorous.

I have bacon with my breakfast at least every other day. I cook a ridiculous Ducasse method cast-iron New York steak on the regular. I eat so much pho that multiple Vietnamese restaurants in the city know me by name when I walk in.

So when I investigated the Berkeley-based Thistle's organic, primarily plant-based, and locally-sourced “healthy food and cold-pressed juice” subscription/delivery service, I had my doubts.

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