April 15, 2008

Yesterday was full of cocktail competitions. At Conduit, there was a great turnout for the ~USBG NORTHERN CALIFORNIA REGIONAL COMPETITION~ (guests munched on lamb burgers, soft pretzels, and foie gras crème vanilla profiteroles). First place was Carlos Yturria ("Voluptuous"), second place was Collin Clark ("Clarkwork"), and third place was Tony Devencenzi ("Thyme Out"). Best technical performance: Joe Parilli ("The Reza-Rection"). The USBG national competition will be in Long Beach May 2–4. Congrats and good luck to all!

Over at Cantina, the battle was on for the best Averna cocktail! The top 10 semi-finalists who were competing at the ~AVERNA HAVE COCKTAIL COMPETITION~ included Jacques Bezuidenhout, Shaher Misif, Neyah White, David Shenaut, Jeff Hollinger, Thomas R. Waugh, Manny Hinojosa, Ronaldo Colli, Francesco Lafranconi, and Victoria D'amato-Moran. The cocktails, using Averna as a base ingredient, were judged on their taste, presentation and originality. The two winners were Jeff Hollinger and Thomas Waugh, who will be joining two winners from New York and one from Miami on a trip to Sicily to compete in the finals at the Averna distillery. The grand-prize winner will receive a $1,500 American Express gift card. Bravi, ragazzi!

On April 28th, Duggan McDonnell, AKA Shotzi, from Cantina is teaching a cocktail class, ~FROM SPICY TO SWEET~, with La Cocina. He will lead attendees in a class designed to pair Latin-style cocktails with a variety of sweet and spicy foods from Central to South America. All participants also get a handful of recipe cards and useful information, just in case you forget some of the recipes on the way home. Isabel Pazos from El Buen Comer and Dilsa Lugo of Los Cilantros will be providing the vittles. Tickets are $120 for drinks, dinner, and a chance to get behind the bar. And a large portion of your ticket is tax-deductible. E-mail caleb [at] lacocinasf [dot] org or sign up at Brown Paper Tickets. 6:30pm–8:30pm. 580 Sutter St. at Mason.

Sunday, April 20th, there is a ~PIEMONTE WINE TASTING SEMINAR~ at Ottimista Enoteca-Cafe. Wine director Don Jost will lead an in-depth tasting and discussion on the region of Piemonte, covering the basics of Piemonte's history, geography, cuisine and native grapes as you taste six different Piemontese wines paired with a variety of traditional dishes. Cost: $55/per person, includes educational materials, wine tasting, and small plates. 3pm–5pm. To sign up, call or email melissa [at] ottimistasf [dot] com. 1838 Union St. at Octavia, 415-674-8400.

Attention singles: Parties That Cook and Crushpad announce the launch of ~COOKING CRUSH~, an evening of wine tasting and cooking for singles. The official kickoff event will take place Thursday, May 1st, at Crushpad's state-of-the-art winemaking facility in San Francisco. You'll get a tour of the winery, an explanation of key steps in the winemaking process, try some comparative barrel tastings, and then have a cooking lesson. Singles will be split into coed teams to work on an array of dishes designed to pair with the wines (yes, you get to eat them when you're done preparing them). After the event, copies of the recipes, digital photos, and email address aliases will be sent to the group. Can't make this one? Cooking Crush events will be offered on a monthly basis in San Francisco. Visit the site or call 1-888-907-2665 to purchase tickets to Cooking Crush. Tickets are $95 per guest, space is limited. 6pm–9pm