December 1, 2012

“The affinity comes before the bottle, but the wine amplifies the affinity. Is it just the alcohol? That feeling of well-being inherent in a glass or two of wine? Nobody likes to talk about the buzz factor, but clearly that’s a part of the wine experience. I don’t mean intoxication, inebriation or drunkenness. But alcohol is an essential part of wine. It adds a warmth and conviviality to the experience… Good wine, shared with friends and family, with a good meal, offers so much more than a buzz. It increases happiness, augments a sense of well-being, and can even comfort sadness. Of course, one can experience all of these feelings with loved ones standing in a garden or holding hands. But if you love food and wine, the emotional and social sustenance of sharing them with your friends and family takes on an almost spiritual dimension.” – Eric Asimov, How to Love Wine

Winter – and the end of 2012 – is here. I hope you had a rich Thanksgiving with those you love and experience more joy, community, comforting food and drink over December’s holidays.

The LatestGreek Comfort Food: There’s far too little Greek food in SF and even less of the quality kind. This is where West Portal’s new Orexi steps in.

Wandering Traveler Grass Valley & Nevada City: These neighboring Gold Country towns, in the Sierra Foothills not far from Tahoe, evoke old European villages by way of California’s Old West. I share 12 reasons to love them both.

On the TownFlavor! Napa Valley: Photo highlights of Napa’s week long food and wine extravaganza.

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Recent entries in my Bay Guardian column:
Greek Comfort – That SF rarity, Greek dining, in West Portal
Flavor! Napa Valley – The second annual week of the best food & wine of Napa, in photos
Sea Change – Seafood-focused restaurants with new chefs & menus

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