Good Eats & Drinks

Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto. (Photo courtesy of Michael Harlan Turkell)

Nosh on a special three-course menu from the Italian countryside every Sunday and Monday evenings this summer through Aug. 31 at San Francisco’s Incanto.

Executive Chef Chris Cosentino changes the prix fixe “Cocina Povera” weekly, highlighting a specific region each time. Price is $30, or $39 with two wine pairings included.

Chef Alessandro Cartumini of Quattro. (Photo courtesy of Chris Schmauch)

Four of Northern California’s best chefs will be serving up specialties at the 27th annual Vintage Affaire June 27 at a spectacular Atherton private estate.

Enjoy the creations of Alessandro Cartumini of Quattro Restaurant and Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto; Daniel Patino of Michael Mina’s Arcadia in San Jose; Xavier Salomon of the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay; and Cal Stamenov of Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. More than 25 of California’s best wineries also will be pouring special vintages.

Live and silent auctions will give guests a chance to bid on rare wines, wine dinners, and special vacation packages.

Tickets are $300 per person. The event benefits Palo Alto’s Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. During the past 26 years, this gala has raised nearly $6 million for the center clinic, counseling, and computer training services.

In this stagnant economy, restaurants and hotels are realizing that more than anything, diners want options and values.

That’s why all Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world are introducing a new bar menu that invites guests to linger, share, and relax. It’s also an attempt to show that even in these tough times, you don’t have to sell the family jewels to afford a bite to eat and a drink to sip at this chain of luxury hotels.

Southern-style barbecue pork sliders. (Photo courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton)

Look for smoked salmon and arugula egg rolls, calamari in remoulade sauce, comforting crab cakes, barbecue pork sliders, and an array of cool cocktails. Items range from $10 to $20.

For another deal, head to Urban Tavern in San Francisco, June 8-12, when the downtown gastropub will allow diners to “pay what they think it’s worth.”

Yes, you got that right. Diners can enjoy up to a three-course meal at lunch. At the end, they’ll be asked to pay what they think the meal was worth. The server will then ring up that amount, plus tax. Lunch can include food, soft drinks, coffee, and tea, but not alcohol.

The offer is limited to 100 diners per day. Reservations are required.

For more bar goodies, sidle up to the one at Zinnia in San Francisco every Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday night for its new “Burger & Brew” special.

Chef Sean O’Brien offers his grilled chuck and chorizo burger on a Dutch Crunch roll with Kennebec fries with a bottle of local beer — all for $15.

Grab a seat at Zinnia's bar for a burger special.

Tiny bubbles will be featured June 12 at Paolo’s in San Jose.

Sparkling wine experts, Tabitha Stroup and Amanda Rehn, will lead a session all about sparkling wines. Price is $35. Reserve a spot by calling (408) 294-2558.

Two weekends in June, taste the best wines of the Santa Cruz Mountains at the Vintners Festival, organized by the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association.

June 6-7, wind your way to 30 locations on the western side of the mountains in Santa Cruz County to partake of wines, complimentary appetizers, and live music. June 13-14, tour 20 venues in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties for more of the same.

Tickets are $30 in advance; $35 at the door. For more information, call (831) 685-8463.

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  • Only recently did Incanto get on my food radar. During the Cupertino lecture, Anthony Bourdain said that Incanto was one of his favorites to eat in the city. It made me want to visit. For $30 and three courses, it seems like a great way to introduce yourself to Cosentino’s style.

  • Cripes, Incanto is one of my favorite places. I’ll have to start venturing out more, and check out some of the other ones you listed.

  • We need a trip up to NorCal. There are a lot of good deals going on!

  • I’m sorry about the demise of newspapers, truly I am, but I can honestly say that reading your blog is like having the local food section every single day. I may not go to the events you describe, but I do have a good sense for what’s on offer, and for that I am most grateful.

  • I have a question: how do you get all these information and personal shots of the chefs and food? Do you try to attend these amazing events, too? heh, that’s the inquisitive journalist side of me!

  • Again with the planning of my social calendar. Thank you 🙂 Your blog is a joy to read!

  • I am hoping to make my very first trip to San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. . . and I will have this post printed out with me!

  • hi. thanks for dropping by our site, we added you to our blogroll ’cause we totally love your blog. thanks.


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