July 1, 2011

“Those two short months in another country and another language had recalibrated my inner compass in ways that lingered with me… I was aware, above all, and at long last, that the world was a broad and grand place and that I was equal to and worthy of my surroundings wherever I went. I was also aware that no one, white or black, could take that from me.” – Thomas Chatterton Williams, “Losing My Cool: Love, Literature, and a Black Man’s Escape from the Crowd”

Recently returned from my adventures through England and Ireland, I am over jetlag and delighted to be home to that only-in-SF, radiant glow on pristine, blue sky days. I packed in some unbelievable memories across the pond, which I’ll share with you in coming weeks.

Winning juleps at London's Hawksmoor chophouse

Top Tastes covers two promising new SF spots, one serving authentic New Orleans cuisine (you know how happy that makes me), the other a 1970’s-meets-modern lounge with surprisingly good food. I also revisit a beach-side setting where the food keeps getting better.

Prepare for a lengthy run-down on London’s cocktail scene in Wandering Traveler. I visited 25 bars ranging from new to classic, highbrow to low – a number of themes emerged in part one of my upcoming series on London and Ireland.

Vegetables shine at Outerlands

In Imbiber, I dine with two European winemakers: one from Austria, one from Bordeaux. It’s time for tea in The Latest as I explore two new tea concepts, from a pop-up high tea to a casual cafe.

I’d love your feedback on any spots visited from my site. As your personal concierge who tells it to you like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).

Let me guide you to the perfect spot,
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Recent entries in my Bay Guardian column:
Splendorini’s Cocktail Creations at Michael Mina
Talking Sustainable Seafood with Gaston Acurio

Dining with 2 European Winemakers
Bar Crawler: Rediscovering North Beach

Tour de Tasting Room – Napa & Sonoma Winemakers

Time for Tea

**Unless otherwise noted, all photos by Virginia Miller**