Like I said in my preview post, San Francisco is a hub of fresh produce. Better yet, some of the country’s most innovative chefs seem to recognize this, setting up shop all along the peninsula. And with so much good food and so much real talent, it’s hard to taste everything this part of Northern Cali has to offer. Luckily, that’s the whole premise of Eat Drink SF — get the best bites and booze of the Bay in one place so the public can sip and sample the day away.
Now, I’ve struggled with how to describe this event because it’s, in all honesty (and to a writer’s chagrin) hard to capture with words. There’s such a large variety of cuisine and cocktails; it is a bit overwhelming — for the mind as well as the stomach. So I’ve decided the best way to share my experience is with a few photos of my standout samples.
Shrimp Escabeche served with shallots, cilantro, celery, and a coconut foam – The Market
This dish was my first bite of the day. Off to a great start with familiar flavors in a unique combination.
Panzanella Spiedini – Zero Zero
The fresh pancetta brought me back to Italy for sure…Bellissimo!
Simply celebrating summer’s freshest produce.
Pane Al Pomodoro: Grilled Bread, Crushed Early Girl Tomatoes, Ricotta Salata – Pizzeria Delfina
Cheers, guys, but I’m still a major fan of your Broccoli Rabe.
Peruvian Sea Scallop with Corn and Blueberries – Brasserie S&P
Chilled scallops garnished with a corn puree that tastes like sweet buttercream, blueberries for freshness, need I say more?
Someone recently asked me if I liked caviar. My response was that I hadn’t had it enough to like or dislike it. I’d like to update that answer — love it.
White Sturgeon Mousseline (garnished with caviar) – Michael Mina
I never thought I’d have the chance to eat at Michelin-star restaurant Michael Mina. Well, if this bite is any indication of what their full menu features, I better put my name down now. This sample is truly what food critics mean when they say a dish has “balance of flavor” — sweet, salty, sour, spice, and that elusive umami, all tucked into one delicious mouth-full.
Slow Braised Pork & Kimchi, Rice Cake, Seasoned Nori – E&O Kitchen & Bar
The longest line of the day and I can tell you why. While there were quite a few Asian and Asian-inspired samples out there, this one tops them all. Pork meat that just melts in the mouth, fried rice cake delicately coats the palate with oil, while the Kimchi adds just the right amount of funk. And that seasoned Nori? Well, I could just eat a bag of that like potato chips. Brava Chef Sharon Nahm who was working the booth herself — at lightning speed, I might add, keeping up with all of us greedy customers.
Meat Balls Alla Marinara – Spaghetti Brothers
Spaghetti Brothers, Chef Eric Lowe & Aaron Toensing
Chilled Blue Prawn & Cucumber, Brown Butter, Pistachio – Luce
Another bite from a Michelin-star restaurant and tied for my personal dish of the day. Those pistachios added an extra something to this (crunch, body, flavor) — nice touch, Chef.
Smoked Passmore Ranch Sturgeon – The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards
I love me some Wente wine, so I was so pleased to see that their Executive Chef, Chef Mike Ward, was at EDSF representing The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards. And this simple smoked fish garnished with a bit of sweet from the raspberry coulis and a bit of salty with that (oh yes) caviar is the other dish in my two-way tie for the dish of the day.
Chef Mike Ward gets bonus points for posing for a Silly Stacy Selfie. Cheers, friend!
Tasting all this food, yeah you’re going to get thirsty — luckily there was no shortage of craft cocktails, beers, and wines available.
Kalifornia Kolsch – Magnolia Brewing Company
Crisp, refreshing, and light with just a hint of herbaceousness — perfect for the non-beer drinker.
London Punch – SipSmith
Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Earl Grey Tea, vermouth, citrus, and blackberries make up this funky little cocktail. I loved the addition of the Earl Grey tea, which truly added a woodsy aroma and aftertaste. But my favorite part was that you could taste the gin — and all those other elements just uplifted that classic, pseudo-sweet flavor. Well met, mixologists.
Old Tom & The Sea – Anchor Distilling Company
My favorite cocktail of the day goes to the Anchor Distillery’s “Old Tom & The Sea.” Something about the mix of the sweet cherry liquor and the sour lemon juice just felt fun and fresh. And, like the London Punch, there was the right combination of all those other ingredients, and they highlight the purity of the gin. I find so many cocktails work to hide the alcohol, but this one uplifted it and made me appreciate it as a form of produce. Bonus: they gave us the recipe. Adults, try this at home:
.75 oz Anchor Old Tom Gin
.5 oz Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aéro d’Or.
.25 oz Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Cherry Liqueur
.25 oz Lemon Juice
Lemon and cherry flag for garnish.
Flash – The Treasury
A very close second for the cocktail of the day goes to Elisa Gallardo and Carlos Yturria of The Treasury for their gin, kiwi, cucumber and lemon concoction called “Flash.” So refreshing — almost smoothie-esque — this is the drink you’d reach for if you didn’t want to taste the alcohol. There’s enough Gin to add a bit of sweetness to the otherwise sour fruits, but not so much that you felt like you were drinking Gin. So, depending on what you’re looking for in a cocktail, this may be the one for you. Even though there are many options when it comes to alcohol, there are many Fine gins from around the world that can be used to create a variety of drinks, which is interesting and can be done at home. I do enjoy trying new things, so this may be something I might take a look at.
Herbal Spritzer – CUESA
Of course, for those who to prefer to get high on life, there was an abundance of non-alcoholic beverages to sip and savour as well. My personal fav was the make-your-own herbal spritzer booth presented by the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA). A little bit of sparkling water and a shot of rosemary infused simple syrup, and you’ve got a fun mocktail the whole family can enjoy. I’ll drink to that.
But what about the wine, Stacy??? Yes, Wine Enthusiast did present a few wineries to share their current releases. Admittedly, most were common names you could easily find in stores. And why not? If you try something you like, you’re going to want to be able to buy it. But the real wine party was at the SF Wine School presentation theatre.
There were three different classes to attend, but with so much going on I had to choose just one. And this Cali girl just couldn’t deny the opportunity to learn even more about excellent oaky Chards.
Well, they weren’t all oaky, and they weren’t all California either. In fact, we had the opportunity to taste a Chardonnay from France, one South Africa (that was new to me!), and one from California. We learned that different Chardonnays present in a variety of ways depending on how much and what kinds of oak is used during barrel aging. Our presenter, Chris Gaither, AS, even took us through some wine-nerdom as he explained the role of malolactic fermentation. Honestly, I wish the class could have been longer, but I guess I’ll have to start thinking seriously about the CWS cert from SF Wine School. Afterwards I had a discussion with a few friends and thought about running my own wine/alcohol party at home! (safety first, so no one is driving!) The type could change month to month, so starting with red wine sampler packs, then white, onto beer and so on and so forth, it would be nice to try them from all over the world!
Silly Stacy Selfie Featuring: Chris Gaither, AS, Stacy Briscoe, and David Glancy (SF Wine School Founder)
Stacy and David sporting their cute SF Wine School Tatts — Cheers!
For more information about any of the vendors, restaurants, or sponsors, or to learn more about Eat Drink SF, please visit the Eat Drink SF website.
*All photography by Stacy Briscoe*