Top Tastes & Events from Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience 2023

In the small downtown of Healdsburg, Healdsburg Wine & Food Experience (HWFE) just hosted its second year, May 18–21, 2023, featuring a range of events highlighting some of Sonoma County’s best food and wines. From a region that grows some of the best produce in the nation, local produce is highlighted in the food, while the Queen grape is showcased at every turn — plus a few cocktails, too.

Here were the standout tastes and events this weekend: Read more →

May 15, 2023

— Popi’s Oysterette: An idyllic new, all-day neighborhood SF-style oyster bar.
— Mattina: A new all-day cafe that doubles as idyllic neighborhood Cal-Italian restaurant.
— East Meets West: Old world wines paired with Japanese food at two Michelin-starred restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Read more →

A New All-Day Cafe That Doubles As Idyllic Neighborhood Restaurant: Mattina

SPQR opened back in 2007, but it wasn’t until Matthew Accarrino came on board as chef in 2009 that it quickly became a top pasta restaurant in the nation — and one of multiple Italy-worthy pasta destinations in San Francisco.

So it was good news, indeed, to hear Accarrino and team were opening their first casual restaurant and all-day cafe, Mattina, on April 1, just around the corner from SPQR in Charles Phan’s former Out the Door space. Think coffee, house pastries and biscuit sandwiches all day, and a full lunch menu, soon to be available at dinner. Read more →

Idyllic New Neighborhood Oyster Bar: Popi’s Oysterette

San Francisco’s history is interlaced deeply with seafood. Dungeness crab. Local halibut. Anchovies. Tomales Bay oysters. It’s in our blood and roots. SF’s style of seafood oyster bars are its own.

Popi’s Oysterette, just opened in the Marina from chef/partner Melissa Perfit, a former “Top Chef” contestant who cooked at my beloved Bar Crudo since back in 2005 in its original space (which I still miss). She was asked to run Popi’s by Tacolicious owners Joe Hargrave and Mike Barrow, who also brought on partner/general manager Davin Affrunti, formerly of Larkspur’s Hog Island Oyster. Read more →

May 1, 2023

— The New, Dark, Moody, Lush, Unique Aphotic Restaurant: Wildly sustainable seafood and house-distilled cocktails in one of the most exciting new openings of the year thus far.
— April Eats: 8 SF & Oakland spots winning with cocktails AND food.
— Eating & Drinking Around Raleigh-Durham: My 12-stop North Carolina restaurant and bar guide.
— Rare Isaan Thai Platters Hidden Off A FiDi Alley: The new Hed VeryThai reviewed.
— DISTILLER Bottle Column: This issue I review rum, shochu, gin, Scotch whisky, mezcal, RTDs (ready-to-drink canned/bottled drinks), port, bourbon whiskey. Read more →

Hed VeryThai: Rare Isaan Thai Platters Hidden Off A FiDi Alley

Hed (Isaan for ‘to make’ in an authentic way) VeryThai just opened late January 2023 hidden in a downtown Financial District alley off Kearny Street, focused on Isaan Northeastern Thai cuisine. But unlike many in town serving dishes from that region, Hed VeryThai serves food in khao gaeng style. While that broadly translates to curry over rice, it’s a platter of mini-bowls of complementary dishes, playing off contrasting flavors and textures. Read more →