March 1, 2012

“And one by one the nights between our separated cities are joined to the night that unites us.” – Pablo Neruda

It’s been quite a week: I’ve been in Kentucky, tasting over 50 spirits a day, judging ADI’s (American Distilling Institute) annual awards. Palate fatigue, yes, but also an incredible team of judges and a confirmation that artisanal, craft spirits are growing in this country by leaps and bounds – medals will be announced at ADI’s annual conference in Louisville this April.

Aspiring chef friends, there’s an unusual competition going on with one more week to submit recipes: the winner will develop innovative food products with Safeway‘s Culinary Kitchens team and have their recipe sold in Safeway stores nationwide. They are hosting a cook-off this Spring at my old stomping grounds, the California Culinary Academy, and only two other US locations. I know many of you create some killer recipes – enter on Safeway’s Facebook page.

In this newsletter…

The Latest: Cocktail and food pairings can actually work (lower alcohol, elegant balance are key). Note Lower Haight’s new Maven.

Imbiber: Yet more food and cocktail pairings when revisiting sexy, romantic Gitane, with a new cocktail menu and bar manager.

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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:
Maven, Lower Haight’s new cocktail & food pairing destination
Ice Cream Bar’s 1930’s Soda Fountain Revival
Interview with Russell Davis, Ice Cream Bar’s Soda Fountain Menu Creator

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