Who's drinking what? A check around the city's hottest bars revealed vodka is king when it comes to cocktails. At the Elbo Room, the most popular drink is a Cosmopolitan, a mixture of vodka, triple sec, and Rose's lime juice. At the Paragon Bar & Cafe, they're lining up for shots of Paragon Punch: vodka, bluesberry schnapps, a dash of sweet and sour, orange juice, and cranberry juice. Cafe Mars is doing big business with the Martian Martini: Finlandia cranberry vodka, Rose's lime juice, and "a special secret ingredient." Over at the Tonga Room, where they've been concocting cocktails since 1945, however, it's a different story -- one about rum. The drink that outsells all others is the Mai Tai, a mixture of tropical juices and black rum.
Two-year-old Bryan's Quality Meats is known for its sparkling displays of fresh, top-quality meat and seafood. Foodies go there just to feast their eyes upon the soft-shell crabs and ricotta-stuffed chicken breasts, much as art lovers would visit a gallery. In recent months, Bryan's has added sandwiches to its excellent deli, which offers tempting take-home food like rabbit stew, grilled polenta, and vegetarian chili. Dish stopped in last week and picked up a grilled lamb sandwich with pesto and lettuce on rosemary bread. Divine is an understatement. Also on the sandwich tray are grilled marinated rib eye; roasted pork with sun-dried tomato dressing; and the world's greatest meatloaf. All bread is from Grace and Noe Valley bakeries, and top sandwich price is $4. Bryan's, by the way, has great Laurel Village history. The Flannery family, its owners, ran the butcher shop at the Laurel Village CalMart for 30 years.
By Barbara Lane