September 11, 2012

September 11, 2012

The bar at Blackbird. Photo from Facebook.

Next week is San Francisco Cocktail Week, and on Wednesday September 19th, I’ll be pairing up with the fabulous Regina Schauerte and Matt Grippo for Italian Happy Hour at ~BLACKBIRD~ in the Castro. Join us from 6pm-10pm for your choice of three different Italian-style cocktails or straight amari, plus charcuterie from Fatted Calf. Delizioso!

You’re encouraged to make like an Italian and come fashionable, but we won’t judge your sneakers and North Face, I promise. I will also be selling some of the fab new tablehopper T-shirts, so bring your cash money, honey! Tickets are $35 in advance, or $40 at the door. Ci vediamo!


This Thursday September 13th, Oregon wines will be taking the Presidio’s Golden Gate Club by storm at Pinot in the City by the Bay. The event is put on by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and will feature 70 wines from Oregon’s wine country. Many of the winemakers will be in attendance, so you’ll have the chance to chat with them about their pours. The event will be focused on pinot noir, the region’s best-known grape, but there will be wines made from other varieties, too, like viognier, roussanne, and melon de Bourgogne.

From 12pm-4pm the event is trade only, and industry folks can register for that portion here. The event will be open to the public from 6pm-9pm, and tickets are $65. Entry includes wine tastes, a logo tasting glass, and a raffle ticket for a trip to the Willamette Valley, with accommodation at the Allison Inn and Spa. The Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop at Sheridan, 415-561-5444.


Some of the beers at Beerunch. Photo by Tchell DePaepe.

On Wednesday September 19th, master cicerone Rich Higgins and beer expert Heather Castro will be kicking off their new beer series, From Ales to Fromage. This first event will be at ~PICCINO~ and will be focused on the farm. Specifically, there will be six farmhouse ales and three cheeses, with pairings to highlight their rustic flavors. Piccino’s wine and beer guy, James Butler, will be on hand along with Higgins and Castro to guide sippers along, and there will also be some little bites provided by Piccino’s pastry chef, Michaela Hug-Nelson. If you can’t make the event, you can still try out the pairings because Piccino will keep them as their rotating chalkboard special for two weeks after the event. Tickets are $45, all inclusive, and the event will take place from 5:30pm-7pm.

Higgins and Castro will continue their From Ales to Fromage pairing series on Thursday November 8th at ~PUBLIC HOUSE~ called “East vs. West,” and Friday January 25th, the series will continue at ~THIRSTY BEAR BREWING CO.~. Details on both these events are spare, but you can check back at Rick Higgins’ website for emerging information.

For an exceptionally locally-sourced beer experience, head over to ~NOJO~ on Monday September 24th for a beer pairings dinner with Almanac Beer Co.. They are both folks that take their farm products seriously (nojo even means farm in Japanese), so this should be a good match-up. Almanac’s co-founders Jesse Friedman and Damian Fagan will be in attendance, chatting about their beers, as will Nojo’s chef Greg Dunmore. On the menu will be five courses, including some dishes not normally on the Nojo menu, like nikujaga, a Japanese-style pot roast, which will be paired with Almanac’s Summer 2010 Vintage Blackberry Ale. Almanac will also be pouring several special release beers, including their Fresh Hop Ale, made from local hops and barley. The dinner costs $75, and includes the five-course dinner and beer pairings. Reservations are available from 5:30pm-10pm, and can be made here.

If you want to get your beer on nice and early in the day, head to ~PUBLIC HOUSE~ on Sunday September 30th for Beerunch. The event will feature beer from MateVeza, which is caffeinated with the South American herb maté, so it’s extra brunch-appropriate. There will also be beers from Magnolia, Mll Valley Beerworks, Bear Republic, and AleSmith, among others. All the beer will be paired with brunch dishes like buttermilk waffles with pulled pork and apricot preserves, or chicken chorizo scrambled eggs. Check out the full menu here. The event is from11:30am-2:30pm, and tickets are $49.


The lovely bar at Heirloom Café. Photo: ©

On Sunday September 16th make your way to ~HEIRLOOM CAFÉ~ for a very special wine dinner. Hirsch Vineyards of the Sonoma Coast will be pouring six of their 2010 wines alongside five courses of chef Matt Strauss’s simple and elegant seasonal cooking. You can take a look-see at the menu and pairings here. The wines will include chardonnay and pinot noirs from multiple Sonoma Coast vineyards. Because 2010 was such a cold year in California, the wines from this vintage have a character distinct from typical California pinot noirs. These pours will likely possess more Old World qualities, including higher acidity and lower alcohol, so all you lovers of European wines who are pretty sure you hate California “fruit bombs” should check it out. Tickets are $105, and include food, wine, and gratuity, but not tax, and the dinner will begin at 6pm.

Then, throughout the autumn, Mick Cameron of Slave to the Grape will be teaching a seven-part series of wine classes at the ~INTERNOS WINE CAFÉ~ in the Richmond. The classes will all be on Sundays at 5pm, beginning on September 30th. The series is all about “The Great Wine Regions of France” and each class will focus on a different (and alliterative!) region, from “Rockin’ Rhone” to “Amazing Alsace.” The class cost varies, from $45 to $55 per person, and includes tastes of four to six wines. Tickets and details can be found here. 3240 Geary Blvd. at Parker, 415-751-2661.


Photo from via Facebook.

Was happy to return home to the news that the ~EAGLE TAVERN~ will end up with gay owners after all! What a turnaround of events, seriously. The new owners are Mike Leon and Alex Montiel; you can read more on Grub Street here and here. This SFBG piece by Marke Bieschke shares they are hoping to reopen by Halloween.

Back in July, I mentioned the Tonic/Bullitt/Mayhem/Rebel crew was taking over ~GOLD STAR BAR~, and Eater now reveals the new name is ~SODA POPINSKI~. Get ready for the décor theme: “Soviet propaganda meets Wild Wild West.” There will be hot dogs and chili on the menu during football season as well. 1548 California St. at Polk.

Over in North Beach, SFoodie reports Justin Deering, previously chef de cuisine at Café des Amis, is now in the kitchen at ~15 ROMOLO~. 15 Romolo Pl. at Broadway, 415-398-1359.