December 1, 2009

December 1, 2009

Kudos to owner Martin Cate (formerly of Forbidden Island) for transforming the former Jade Bar into ~SMUGGLER’S COVE~ so quickly. The opening is still on target for Tuesday December 8th, and you’ll find quite the lineup of local bartenders ready to say “aloha” and sling many Caribbean rum-based cocktails, with some tiki drinks as well, 80 in all. As Cate stated to me, the menu is about “celebrating the spirit of rum.” You’ll see local bartenders Jackie Patterson, Dominic Venegas, and Reza Esmaili behind the stick, plus some new arrivals from Los Angeles; Camper English of just wrote about the complete lineup. The decor will have tropical and tiki elements, highlighting a lot of old nautical salvaged materials, and pieces from old tiki bars, like the original Trader Vic’s and The Islander in Stockton. The bar will be open nightly from 5pm—closing (often until 2am).

You just can’t keep a good bar down: even though Cortez Restaurant in the Hotel Adagio has closed, the lobby bar has reopened as ~BAR ADAGIO~, serving cocktails and bar food to the downtown and theater district set. Bar bites include pizzettas ($11—$12), panini ($11-$13, and includes a salad or fries), marinated olives, artisan cheeses, a salumi plate ($15), salads, and a burger ($15). The bar offers a variety of wines by the glass, handcrafted cocktails, and beers. There’s a daily happy hour from 4pm—6pm, with $4 draft beers, $5 well cocktails, a $5 specialty cocktail of the week, $5 glass of house red, white, or sparkling wine (there’s also a $3 can of beer of the week). Open daily at 4pm, with food service 5pm—10pm.

Time to get into some holiday spirit(s). The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), operator of the acclaimed Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, is hosting ~TWO HOLIDAY-THEMED COCKTAIL EVENTS~: a happy hour tasting on Wednesday December 2nd and a hands-on class on Saturday December 5th.

On Wednesday December 2nd, CUESA and the San Francisco Chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) will host an evening of holiday farmers’ market cocktails at the Ferry Building from 5:30pm—7:30pm. Guests will get two full-sized signature cocktails made with Jim Beam bourbon and crafted with early winter produce (think dates, clementines, kumquats, and pomegranates). Also available to taste are eight sample-sized drinks from bartenders Scott Baird from 15 Romolo; Lou Bustamante, bartender at large; Erick Castro from Rickhouse; Darren Crawford from Bourbon & Branch; Tim Gushue from Butterfly; Parker Heineman from Lingba; Trip Hosley from Sauce; Brian MacGregor from Jardinière; Enrique Sanchez from La Mar; Aurora Siegel from Rose Pistola; Aaron Gregory Smith from 15 Romolo; and Sierra Zimei from Seasons Bar at Four Seasons San Francisco. Cocktails will feature Auchentoshan, Batiste Rhum, Cabana Cachaça, Campari, Corzo Tequila, Oxley Gin, Pierre Ferrand Ambre, and VeeV Açaí Spirit (guests will vote on their favorite drinks).

You’ll also be able to graze on hors d’oeuvres, courtesy of local restaurants Butterfly, 15 Romolo, Tacolicious, and CUESA’s market chef, Sarah Henkin. Tickets to “Holiday Farmers Market Cocktail Night” are $30. All proceeds benefit CUESA and the USBG equally. This event sells out, so be sure to get your ticket now!

Then on Saturday December 5th, CUESA will host a hands-on cocktail class with Scott Beattie, author of Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus, and Marko Karakasevic, 13th generation distiller of Charbay Winery and Distillery. Beattie will teach the group how to make three drinks from his book highlighting winter citrus: the Meyer Beautiful (My, You’re Beautiful), the Pelo del Perro (Hair of the Dog), and the classic Margarita. Instruction will include side recipes, garnish how-tos, foams, and rim sugars and salts. Karakasevic will share his vast knowledge of the distillation process, and Charbay’s role as pioneers in the modern American artisan distillery movement. Drinks will feature Charbay’s small-batch spirits and fresh, seasonal fruit from the market. (Scott’s book will also be available to purchase.) Tickets are $40 and include instructions and all drinks. Cheers!

Becky Swanson, who was the wine director at ~DELFINA~ for the past three years, and at the restaurant for five, is going to be moving back to Minneapolis with her boyfriend in the new year. She is talking about opening a wine retail shop, with an education and consulting component. She will still be working at Delfina until the end of December, and then a few bartending shifts each week until her move east. Currently in training to take her place on the floor is Samantha Brennan (yes, of THOSE Brennans, of New Orleans), most recently the wine director at Zinnia and prior to that, Pres a Vi. Since we’re on the topic of Delfina, happy eleventh anniversary!

For the past several years ~SCRIBE WINERY~ vintner, Andrew Mariani, and ~BAR TARTINE~chef, Chris Kronner, have been collaborating on dinners, events, and celebrations in the greater Bay Area. From SF Mission District warehouse/wood-oven feasts to barn-raising/goat roasts in Winters, these always prove to be delicious and memorable nights. On December 2nd and 3rd, Scribe Winery and Bar Tartine invite you to join in on Scribe Winery’s Post-Harvest Celebration Dinner. Using organic ingredients from the Scribe Garden, chef Chris Kronner is composing a four-course menu inspired by Scribe Wines. The menu is still being finalized, but will include wine poached/roasted marrow bones, a chicory salad, and dry-aged rib-eye. MaryLou Jasso (the pastry chef) will also be preparing a dessert. Both Andrew Mariani and his brother Adam will be pouring Scribe’s ‘08 Pinot, the Tartine Cuvee (‘07), and Scribe’s ‘04 Syrah. Please note everybody at the table must have the Scribe dinner menu. The regular dinner menu will also be offered, and those guests are welcome to have Scribe wines by the glass.

Beppe Ca’Viola, AKA “The Dolcetto King,” serves as a consultant for some of the most legendary estates across Italy. And, as it turns out, he’s a talented winemaker himself. ~OTTIMISTA ENOTECA-CAFE~ will be hosting a special dinner with Beppe, showcasing his dolcetto, barbera, and nebbiolo-based wines of the Langhe. And these wines will rock: in 2002, Beppe was named Gambero Rosso’s “Winemaker of the Year” and on the consulting side, in 2008 he had 39 “Tre Bicchieri” estates, including Vietti, Bruno Rocca, Mauro Veglio, Elvio Cogno, Damilano, Silvio Grasso, Euinadi, Michele Chiarlo, Umani Ronchi, Sella & Mosca, and Villa Sparina. To look at the pairings and chef Glen Tinsley’s hearty five-course dinner, take a peek here.


Hooray for bubbles! Photo: ©

~ARLEQUIN WINE MERCHANT~ is hosting their annual Champagne tasting on December 3rd, when top well-known and boutique producers will pour their delectable award-winning Champagnes. The lineup includes Krug, Pol Roger, Gosset, and Ruinart, as well as boutique producers including Jacquesson, Larmandier-Bernier, Paul Bara, Vilmart, and Agrapart et Fils, more than 30 to taste in all. Even better, the bubbles will all be available for purchase at special event pricing at Arlequin Wine Merchant. And when you are ready for a bite to eat after the event, Absinthe Brasserie & Bar next door will be open for dinner until 12am (a good time to finally check out that incredible hot dog chef Lauren is doing, right?).

More Randall Grahm events in town: he’ll be at ~RUBY WINE~ on December 11th for their Friday Night Flights on December 11th. Randall will be pouring his wines and signing his new book, Been Doon So Long. $10 cost includes some great snacks (read: cheese) from Tomales Bay Foods.

~SOCIALE~ will be having a pinot noir dinner extravaganza with wine maker Ross Cobb of Cobb Wines, who will be showcasing nine of his pinots going back to 2003, including Cobb’s 2006 Diane Cobb Block, Coastland’s Vineyard (and how lovely, six of the pinots are 13.5% alcohol or lower). The dinner will consist of five courses paired with the wines.