December 1, 2011

“An inordinate passion for pleasure is the secret of remaining young.” – Oscar Wilde

Here’s hoping you had a lovely Thanksgiving, as we rush swiftly on into December. I recently wrote about my philosophy behind my SF Guardian column, now also in print weekly. It’s good being back from my travels for a while to settle into this and savor life at home.

I am giving away two tickets (valued at $125 each) to Epicuria, the kick-off event during ZAP, a major, multi-day Zinfandel wine festival held in SF in January. This event is Thursday, January 26 at The Concourse. It’s a night of tasting, pairing Zins and food, with over 50 wines and food from restaurants like A-16, Fifth Floor, even Swan Oyster Depot and Radio Africa Kitchen, Mustards Grill in Napa, etc… Sign up 5 friends to this twice-monthly newsletter on my home page (or email my contact page to let me know who you’re signing up). I’ll draw a name to win a pair of tickets in January.

Featured Neighborhood visits (and notes early highlights) all the new spots sprouting up in Hayes Valley, from a French grocer with calvados-infused cheese, to a European-style cafe lined with books, opened by two sisters. Imbiber covers four notable cocktail menus, one at a revamped bar with new manager, another an underrated line-up at a Moroccan restaurant, then two releasing new winter menus.

Imbiber, part two, lists five exciting new spirits releases I’d recommend for gift giving or your own pleasure, including a game-changing creme de menthe and creme de cacao. With many recent Wine Country excursions, there’s ever more to share. In Around the Bay, I emphasize a few Napa & Sonoma snapshots, like a family-run coffee shop duo, a new winery with striking views and impeccable food, a winery run by brothers on Spring Mountain evoking a relaxed, non-flashy Napa of days past.
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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:
Contemplating Appetite – philosophy behind my SFBG column
A Spirited Winter – latest bottles, ideal gifts
Scrumptious Mornings – new breakfast spots and winning dishes

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