May 1, 2016

“… what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen. Repent just means to change direction — and NOT to be said by someone who is waggling their forefinger at you. Repentance is a blessing. Pick a new direction, one you wouldn’t mind ending up at, and aim for that.” – Anne Lamott

Grant Achatz sabering a bottle to celebrate with a small group of us in the basement of his new restaurant Roister at 2am, post JBF Awards

Grant Achatz sabering a bottle to celebrate with a small group of us in the basement of his new restaurant Roister at 2am, post JBF Awards

I am in Chicago all week, researching restaurants and bars, here for the James Beard Awards (JBFA), an exciting, red carpet night of the Oscars of the food world, as it’s often referred to — and a nonstop slew of events and parties around it.

The were a few unforgettable moments, from meeting a longtime food hero of mine, Leah Chase (more on her inspiring story here), to being in the basement of 3 Michelin-starred chef Grant Achatz’ brand new restaurant Roister (where I also dined this week), for a Beard Awards after party and an intimate 2 AM sabering of a Champagne bottle by Achatz himself to celebrate their win for Alinea as Outsanding Restaurant of the year. But there was no moment as powerful as the important speech given by Father Greg Boyle when awarded Humanitarian of the Year for his inspiring Homeboy Industries in LA, an organization we supported way back when I worked for an inner city nonprofit.

This issue:

Top Tastes6 New Chefs Reinvigorating Bay Area Restaurants: 6 restaurants worth revisiting with fresh menus and new chefs.
Top TastesApril Openings: From upscale Chinese-SF cuisine to lush burgers — and on to two stellar new cocktail havens — which new openings are worth visiting… and why.
Top TastesMarch Openings: Exquisite nigiri tasting menus and Indian street food paired with wine — my top two openings of the month.

Here is my national feature on top gin cocktails around the country now, from Philly to LA. And at Food Republic, my latest article on the revolving menus and themes at Michael Mina’s excellent MINA Test Kitchen, including interviews with Mina and the current chef.

As your personal concierge who tells it like a good friend would, I also create personalized itineraries: trips, meals, explorations (under “Services“).


CLICKABLE LINKS to Social Media & Articles:
Food Republic
Zagat SF Editor
Editor, Distiller Magazine Drinkwire
SF Bay Guardian Critic (Weekly Column: 2009-2013)
Where Magazine
Freelance: Whisky Magazine UK, The Times London, Eater, Tasting Panel Magazine, PureWow, Spoonwiz, Drink Me Magazine, Citysearch, NBC’s The Feast, Blackboard Eats, Tasting Table, Grubstreet

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