July 8, 2008

July 8, 2008

Here's on update on ~CLOCK BAR~ by Michael Mina, opening next Tuesday July 15th in the Westin St. Francis hotel in Union Square. The team includes GM Matthew Meidinger, bartender Marco Dionysos (formerly of Tres Agaves), and seasoned bar team Ray Cortez Brown, Estanislado Orona, and Maren West. CLOCK BAR will showcase the standards and classically-inspired cocktails (ranging between $10–$14), not quite reaching some of New York's $20 cocktail price tags, but getting up there. That said, the list is the kind I want to work through from top to bottom, with classics like the Aviation and a Pisco Sour, and the San Francisco Sazerac made with Old Potrero Rye really speaks to me. I've never had a Mary Pickford, which I gotta try. Not particularly because of the Montecristo rum, maraschino, pineapple, and grenadine combo, but because it reminds me of the cheeky bartender from the Cypress Club who used to call me Mary Pickford. Ahhh, memories. There is also a list of 300 wine selections assembled by Mina Group wine director Rajat Parr.

There is a menu of small plates created by Michael Mina and chef Chris L'Hommedieu. I took a look, and it includes a chopped salad with lobster, pancetta and Banyuls vinaigrette; a soft-shell crab po' boy; lamb tenderloin panini, and hello grilled Wolfe Ranch quail with "wild man" mixed greens, grilled peaches, and spring onions.

There are two columns serving as the central focus of the space, topped with ticker clocks showing the time in New York, Rome, Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris and Chicago. The clocks are a reference to the name of the bar itself, inspired by the famous Magneta Grandfather Clock in the main lobby of the hotel that has been a central meeting place in San Francisco since 1907. Open daily 4pm–2am. The Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell St. at Post, 415-354-2735.

Domaine Select Wine Estates is hosting a ~MOON AND MINIMAL INTERVENTION PRODUCED WINE TASTING~ at William Cross Wine Merchants tomorrow (Wednesday July 9th) from 6pm–9pm. You can read more about the event here. $15 per person. William Cross Wine Merchants, 2253 Polk St. at Green, 415-346-1314.

Don't forget next Sunday July 20th is ~PICCINO'S ROSÉ AND PIZZA FESTIVAL~! Piccino will throw open its doors from 11am–5pm; they will crank up the ovens, prep the pizzas, and chill a wide variety of French, Italian, Spanish, and California rosés selected to complement their thin-crust pizzas and salads. Pours will be by the glass and bottle, and, for those who wish to sample widely without getting loopy, they will also be offering 2.5 oz. tastes. With luck, some warm weather will roll in, too. Heck, it's usually pretty darned nice out in Dogpatch anyway. 801 22nd St. at Tennessee, 415-824-4224.

La Cocina and Duggan McDonnell (AKA Shotzi) of Cantina are hosting ~THE MODERN MIXOLOGIST: USING SUMMER'S BOUNTY TO INVENT YOUR OWN DRINKS~ on July 28th from 6:30pm–9pm at Cantina Bar and Gallery. You'll be learning to make up to five cocktails, getting behind the bar and making 'em with farmers' market fresh and premium Latin ingredients, plus you'll be set up with fish tacos and fresh salsas that will keep you from spilling all over yourself. 80% of your $125 event fee is tax-deductible. Buy tickets here. 580 Sutter St. at Mason.

New Belgium Brewing Company (makers of Fat Tire Beer) are having their wild annual bikes and beer festival, ~TOUR DE FAT~, on Saturday July 19th. The event kicks off at 9am with a bike parade, and then there's the Afternoon Ballyhoo (two parts bike rodeo and one part circus), starting at noon. There will be all kinds of entertainment, and I'm not just talking about the crowd. And here's the best part: it's FREE. All proceeds from beer sales ($5 for 16 oz.) will benefit the San Francisco Bike Coalition, and The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Read the site for details on the various events. Tour de Fat runs from 9am–4pm at Speedway Meadow in Golden Gate Park.

For you recipe contest lovers: "Amateur chefs across the country are invited to submit their favorite original recipe for the ~RÍAS BAIXAS ALBARIÑO FOOD AND WINE PAIRING CONTEST~. This year, contestants will try to please the palates of talented celebrity judges including winner of Top Chef Season One, Harold Dieterle. So, put on your little white toque and get cookin'. One grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 William-Sonoma gift card and a dinner for two at Perilla, Harold Dieterle's restaurant (valued at $200). Two runners-up will each receive a $250 William-Sonoma gift card. All three winners will receive a selection of Albariño wines. Contest ends October 15th, 2008. For featured recipes, rules, and more information, visit riasbaixaswines.com."

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