Lou Bustamante

  • Blogs

    March 28, 2014

    Drink of the Week: Ahumado at CHAYA Brasserie

    It's funny how often the things that are the closest to us are the ones we ignore or forget about, while more challenging pursuits are the ones actively chased. I have friends who live in other countries that I see more often than the ones who live an hour away from my house. And there are those pla ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 1, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Ichi-ing for a Drink at Rock Bar

    The neighborhood bar is the new frontier of bartending. I wrote about the divide between dive bar and craft cocktails in last Sunday's Chronicle and how many dive bars suddenly find themselves in prime real estate. Their locations and liquor licenses worth more than their profits, they're being bo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 18, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Savoring Summer's Last Hurrah at Techo de Lolinda

    Without a doubt, we all need a vacation right about now. The days are short, traffic's especially bad, frustration levels are high, and to-do lists grow long. What we all need is an escape, and if going away is not possible, we can still travel upwards. El Techo de Lolinda gets you five stories up ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 11, 2013

    Two Years of Drink of the Week: Hangover Brunch Edition

    When I started working on this column, I never thought that I would get this far. And no it wasn't because I thought I would die or be forced into rehab, but because I simply never imaged there was this much to say. This being the 104th Drink of the Week column, the mathematical two year mark, I tho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 1, 2013

    Making a Lunch Pit Stop at Truck Stop SF

    Our monthly review explores the city's food trucks gatherings, one at a time, breaking down each one with statistics, descriptions of the scene, and vital info to help you plan a trip there. Location: 450 Mission, in the alley Schedule: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Market Info Website: Facebook (h ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 24, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Four Great Food Trucks for Vegetarians

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. A few weeks ago, I met up with some friends at the Fort Mason Off the Grid. At this and other food truck rallies, my brain is wired to beeline it to the meaty goodies: pork belly burg ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 13, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Rolling in the Kati at Kasa Eatry

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: Kasa Indian The Cuisine: Indian rolls and rice plates Specialty Items: Kati rolls (Indian wraps) Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 12 minutes from the end ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 2, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Before and After Cocktail at Quince

    I hesitated as I stood in front of the door, like a nervous, awkward kid gathering enough courage to ask out someone clearly out of his league. I was wearing a t-shirt, jeans, and four days worth of facial hair, the point at which the wild mix of thin and thick patches of stubble give me an appearan ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 30, 2013

    Beats & Eats at Bluxome Street Winery Every Friday

    Our monthly review explores the city's food trucks gatherings, one at a time, breaking down each one with statistics, descriptions of the scene, and vital info to help you plan a trip there. Location: Bluxome St. Winery, 53 Bluxome (at 4th St) Schedule: Varies, but Fridays 5-8 p.m. all of August Ma ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 19, 2013

    Drink of the Week: The Manhattan Project at Prospect

    In theory, even slight variations on classic recipes can result in new cocktails. The sours category of drinks is the easiest example: Take a Margarita, swap out the tequila for gin, and you have a Gimlet. Or use vodka instead and you have a Kamikaze; sub in rum and you have a Daiquiri. This is cl ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 5, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Nee-Guy Spritz at Ramen Shop

    Discussing ramen in the Bay Area brings out strong words and opinions about the different styles, broth, noodles, and that terribly subjective and overused adjective: authentic. It's a word that is abused to describe a very narrow slice of what is really an organic movement and slow collective evolu ... More >>

  • Blogs

    June 19, 2013

    ROKA BAR Preview: Drinking and Eating like a Roka Rolla

    If you've been around long enough, you start to catalog the past lives that certain spaces have had when you see them in a new incarnation. Walking through the dining room of ROKA AKOR to the stairs to reach the downstairs bar, I was struck by the sudden realization that though I had been inside tha ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 24, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Going All In On the Vesper Lynd At the Burritt Room

    Few bars have endured as much turmoil in the scant three years it's been open as the Burritt Room. Despite a parade of very talented bartenders and bar managers moving through, many cocktail menu changes, a grand remodel with the sale of the bar to restaurateur Charlie Palmer, and the addition of a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 22, 2013

    Exploring the New Cocktail Menus at Rickhouse and Blackbird

    We may not get the dramatic announcements of spring's arrival that other parts of the country get, like crocuses jetting out through the snow, but we do get our own subtle declaration of a new season. With asparagus season having peaked, the presence of local strawberries and cherries forecasting lo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    May 17, 2013

    Drink of the Week: The Marshall Manhattan at Nick's Cove

    We were on our way to dinner at Nick's Cove, that cozy collection of cottages and a restaurant on the edge of Tomales Bay and purportedly the place where the barbecued oyster was invented. We were certainly there for oysters, but also to escape the hard landscape of the city for a few hours. The tra ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 23, 2013

    Off the Grid's Picnic at the Presidio: Like a Day in Dolores, But Better Food, Drinks, and Grass

    Our monthly review explores the city's varied food trucks gatherings, one at a time, breaking down each one with statistics, descriptions of the scene, and vital info to help you plan a trip there. Location: Presidio Parade Grounds, near Main Post and Walt Disney Museum Schedule: Every Sunday, 11 a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 9, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Plenty of Bling Without the Grillz at Casey's

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: Casey's Pizza The Cuisine: Old New York-style pizza Specialty Items: Pizza Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 10 minutes from the end of the line to food i ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 5, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Getting Swept Away at Padrecito

    There were close to a dozen glasses in front of me, nearly the entire cocktail menu at the newly opened Padrecito in Cole Valley, all sitting in various states of consumption. The wave of drinks crested with the newest cocktails up front, the older and emptier ones ebbing towards the back, while the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    April 1, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Smoking Out at 4505 Meats

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: 4505 Meats' First Tuesday BBQ The Cuisine: Meat, most likely topped with more meat Specialty Items: Anything out of the smoker Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 19, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: WhipOut Whips Up Some Tasty Sides

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: WhipOut The Cuisine: American cuisine with flair Specialty Items: Sliders and the sides Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 20 minutes from the end of the ... More >>

  • Blogs

    March 15, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Dog and Lion Show at Trick Dog

    You can't help but steal admire the Pantone color swatch book menu at Trick Dog, with the cocktails named after various color names. Each one either refers to the color, like with the Polar Bear ($11, Pierde Almas Puritita Mezcal, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Tempus Fugit Crème de Menthe, angelica tinctur ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 8, 2013

    Drink(s) of the Week: Three Cocktails to Charm the Year of the Snake

    The first night of Chinese New Year begins on Saturday, and while lucky foods like mandarins (to symbolize wealth) and noodles (for longevity and a full life) are traditional, we found three different cocktails to ensure a full year of good luck. Enjoy all three and triple your happiness -- and hope ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 1, 2013

    Drink of the Week: Getting Poached Like a Pear at Blackbird

    Neutral territory is not something you find very often in bars. But what if the bar sits in an intersection where the Castro, Mission, and Lower Haight all meet? Far enough away to be in none of them officially, but near enough to be in all of them is Blackbird, a bar that attracts some of the most ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 15, 2013

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Fryway to Heaven at Architect's Kitchen

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: The Architect's Kitchen The Cuisine: Freshly fried chicken in rice bowls or sandwiches Specialty Items: Fried chicken, donuts Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 21, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Drink #7 at Chambers

    Walking into a place you have known as something much seedier is like running into your old party friends who have become born-again. There's a slight flicker of memories, like ghosts, that crop up seeing that corner where you made out with that friend of a friend that ended up being batshit crazy, ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 10, 2012

    Maker's Mark Pilgrimmage: 24 Hours in Louisville, Kentucky

    The story of how I got into spirits begins with bourbon in the 1990's. I had wanted to learn more about wine, but found the commitment to drink a bottle and the expense a significant barrier for a lone bachelor. A friend of mine had discovered whiskey and insisted I give it a try, and bought me a bo ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 7, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Best Winter Cocktails

    With the rain last week, the cold snap this one, and the holiday visitors streaming in, chances are, you're going to need some liquid cheer at sooner or later. This week, I'm rounding up a few of the best drinks to enjoy this winter around town, whether you need a post-shopping nerve-soother, or war ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 12, 2012

    Drink of the Week: P37 Mary at Parallel 37

    The first thing that you'll notice as you take a sip of the P37 Mary ($14, ancho chili infused vodka, lemon, olive juice, house made tomato water, celery-habañero shrub, fresno chili pickling liquid, pickled vegetables, smoked salt rim) is how much finesse the drink has. Parallel 37 bar manager Cam ... More >>

  • Blogs

    September 7, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Best Warm Weather Cocktails

    As if we needed a more dramatic celestial gesture to signal the start of Indian Summer in San Francisco, Wednesday's dramatic sky -- complete with double rainbow, no less -- was almost as grand an entrance as a skydiving queen of England. With a full 52 entries (yes, a full year) into my tenure wit ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 31, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Sidewinder's Fang at Spoonbar

    Without a doubt, the carbonated cocktail is here. While there is no doubt that soon -- very soon -- we'll see the technique get pushed to some dreadful places, for the moment, this method is adding some fun twists to classic drinks. At Spoonbar in Sonoma, bar manager Cappy Sorentino has been carbon ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 17, 2012

    Drink of the Week: The Kentucky Daiquiri at Hopscotch

    Despite what you might have heard, Hopscotch is neither a Japanese nor a fusion restaurant. Going here with these kinds of expectations will only lead to confusion and distract you from having a great experience. The Japanese influence is there, subtly adding elegance rather than a flamboyant theme. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 15, 2012

    Cocktail Preview: S.F. Street Food Fest and Night Market

    Barely recovered from the food coma of SF Chefs and Outside Lands? Buck up, it's time to grub and drink to your carts content at La Cocina's fourth annual San Francisco Street Food Festival, a celebration and fundraiser chock-full of street food and food trucks. The cocktail bars are being organize ... More >>

  • Blogs

    August 14, 2012

    Food Truck Bite of the Week: Like Right on Rice

    Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks. The Truck: KoJa Kitchen The Cuisine: Korean and Japanese Specialty Item: KoJa Rice Cake Sandwiches Worth the Wait in Line? Yes; the line and service move quickly. It would be easy ... More >>

  • Blogs

    July 13, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Palomaesque at Comal

    Often the most innovative and drinkable cocktails are those that offer simple tweaks on old classics; switching out an ingredient here, adding a small flourish there. It may sound easy, but doing it well and working the countless possible combinations requires a level of skill (or sheer luck) not us ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 24, 2012

    Drink of the Week: A Flight Through Cocktail History

    ​In a brilliant effort to showcase the significant differences spirits can have on a cocktail, Locanda's new bar director Gabriel Lowe (formerly of Beretta and Delerosa) has been quietly adding cocktail flights to the menu. Taking a classic recipe, he presents a triptych of sorts, swapping out bas ... More >>

  • Blogs

    February 10, 2012

    Drink of the Week: A New Orleans Hangover Never Felt So Good

    ​The tiny bar in the back of Ice Cream Bar, the Cole Valley spot that is attempting to revive the lost art of the soda fountain, is unlike most anything I've seen before. The assortment of tiny bottles, each containing a tincture or extract, lined up next to Boston shaker tins suggest a bar, while ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 27, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Bitter Rivers at Hotsy Totsy

    ​We enjoy a well-made cocktail and are willing to wait as long as it takes for it to be made, but sometimes the focus of a bar visit is spending time with friends, not geeking out on cocktails. On busy nights, with patrons five-deep, we want something fast to get us back the socializing, and a sho ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 20, 2012

    100 Years War Cocktail Unites English and French Spirits

    Lou Bustamante​Chasing down the new bar openings around the Bay Area is easier than remembering to revisit those places that have been around for a while. Bar Adagio is one we returned to, in particular because of their talented bar manager, Kristin Almy, who quickly made a name for herself with c ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 13, 2012

    Drink of the Week: Queen Anne's Revenge at Honor Bar

    ​I have a teenage nephew who, in the span of two weeks, went from plump, short kid to tall, lanky young man. It's hard not to have that same kind of slack-jawed reaction to the sudden growth spurt of craft bars springing up in Emeryville, first with Prizefighter and now with Honor Bar. A new proj ... More >>

  • Blogs

    January 6, 2012

    Prey of Thieves, a Cocktail Worth Stalking

    ​With winter's chill just outside the door, the bar at AQ dressed in pale white marble and bare birch branches feels cozy and inviting, as if stumbling into a forest clearing with a full bar. Small puffs of herbal smoke drift upwards as the bartenders blowtorch bay leaves for the Mexican Piano ($1 ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 30, 2011

    La Paloma at Mosto is Must-o

    ​Even though the heart of the bar program at Mosto is the agave spirits by the glass, where a list of over 300 bottles dwarfs the six cocktails, their version of the classic La Paloma ($9, El Jimador Blanco Tequila, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit juice, Jarritos Toronja soda) is excep ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 28, 2011

    Winter Cocktails Liven Up Holiday Spirits

    Lou BustamanteHoliday happiness in the 40 Days cocktail at Wo Hing​With plenty of innovative takes on spiced winter flavors, traditional classics, and celebrations of local seasonal produce, San Francisco bars have the winter cocktails to help you make the most out of what's left of the holidays. ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 23, 2011

    Bartender Brooke Arthur's Holiday Cocktail Recipe

    Lou Bustamante​Part 3 of an interview with BrookeArthur, bar manager at Wo Hing. Part one of the interview is here. Read part two here. Brooke Arthur's Napoleon's Vice, named simply after the image of the French general on the bottle of sherry, is new holiday cocktail on the list at Wo Hing ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 16, 2011

    At Prizefighter, Oaxacan Standoffs Always End Deliciously

    Lou BustamanteThe Oaxacan Standoff--a bar value meal​A shot and a beer isn't an obvious pairing to highlight bartender creativity in a cocktail menu (and no we're never ever, ever going to count a drink where a shot glass gets dropped into a pint of beer), but the Oaxacan Standoff ($6) at Prizefi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    December 9, 2011

    Belden Taverna's Foraged Manhattan Busts a Cap in Your Glass

    Lou BustamanteThe Foraged Manhattan​As the days continue to get colder and shorter, so do my drinks -- my preferences slowly shift from tall, juicy, and shaken, to stiff and stirred cocktails. I'm not alone. For lots of people, winter brings an increasing fondness for aged spirits occurs, with whi ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 23, 2011

    Oakland's Plum Bar Ups the Cocktail Ante

    ​With the opening of Plum Bar, the new project adjoining Daniel Patterson's Plum Restaurant, Oakland has upped the cocktail ante. The bar itself is the focus of the narrow space. The walls are tiled with pages from poetry books, and votive candles hang from the ceiling; the atmosphere is some ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 18, 2011

    Jasper's Orchard Malt Mule Kicks With Holiday Spirits

    Lou BustamanteThe Orchard Malt Mule​The new fall/winter cocktail menu at Jasper's Corner Tap has a lot to like, from old favorites like the Black Cross ($11, black tea infused Smith & Cross Rum, Dubonnet Rouge, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, Angostura bitters), to the powerful Kentucky Two Ste ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 4, 2011

    The King Hippo Cocktail--a Tiki Punchout

    Lou BustamanteThe King Hippo at Rickhouse​Some cocktail recipes begin with inspiration from an old bartending book, culinary pairing, or classic cocktail--others start with up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, and pressing B, A, start. Inspired by a character nicknamed the "Polynesia ... More >>

  • Blogs

    November 2, 2011

    The Week in Drinks: Spirits and Classes

    Lou Bustamante​With four days worth of Halloween partying behind us, it's time to start thinking about the holidays. What better way to prepare than with some education and tastings? This week features a few classes and a great opportunity to taste some new spirits. Mixology 101 at Boothby Ce ... More >>

  • Blogs

    October 28, 2011

    Drink of the Week: Garden Gimlet at Make Westing

    Lou BustamanteThe Garden Gimlet cocktail​When Make Westing first opened up, the indoor bocce courts were the feature that everyone kept mentioning. While they are a nice element in the expansive and beautiful space, bartender Caroline Pagel's Garden Gimlet ($8, gin, cucumber, basil, lime, simple ... More >>

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