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Win Free Tickets to “Taste of Potrero”

Feed Your Soul

Ready to enjoy sips and noshes from Soulva, Hawker Fare, Trick Dog, Dandelion Chocolate, Humphry Slocombe, Nopa, August 1 Five, and so many more, all in one spot for one night only?

You can at the ninth annual “Taste of Potrero,” 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. May 2 at The Midway, 900 Marin St. in San Francisco. Yes, it’s on a Thursday night. But Thursday is the new Friday, isn’t it?

More than 60 of the Bay Area’s best restaurants, bars, breweries and winemakers will come together for this annual fund-raiser for Daniel Webster Elementary School in San Francisco. All proceeds from the event go to the school, providing more than 75 percent of the Home and School Club budget, as well as arts enrichment programs, classroom supplies, computer instruction and literacy professionals. Since 2011, this event has raised more than $760,000 for the school.

Tickets are $150 each for general admission; $250 each for VIP access that allows you early access starting at 6 p.m.

CONTEST: One lucky Food Gal reader will win a pair of free tickets (valued at a total of $300) to the event, which will feature The Morris, Gibson, Dumpling Time, Oren’s Hummus, The Slanted Door, and more.

The contest, open to those who can make it to the event that date, will run through midnight PST April 27. Winner will be announced April 29.

How to win?

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Veer Into Verjus

Portuguese mackerel conserva and a glass of natural wine make a perfect nosh at Verjus.

Portuguese mackerel conserva and a glass of natural wine make a perfect nosh at Verjus.

 

Should you be adding to your Allbirds collection at the trendy shoemaker’s only San Francisco store, you need to pivot afterward to Verjus.

Should you be browsing the stylish watches at nearby Shinola, you need to follow it up by taking a seat at Verjus.

Basically, if you’re anywhere in San Francisco’s Jackson Square — or even farther afoot — you need to make a beeline to this natty new wine bar by Lindsay and Michael Tusk of acclaimed Quince and Cotogna restaurants.

If you know the couple’s two other San Francisco establishments, you know they don’t do anything halfway. Verjus, which opened in January just a short stroll from Quince and Cotogna, takes the concept of a wine bar and improves on it royally with one of the largest collections of natural wines offered in the Bay Area, along with a menu of classic European bistro-type food done impeccably well. Yet the vibe is as laid-back as you’d want. There’s a hidden refinement to everything that bolsters the experience without ever turning it stuffy or pretentious.

The wine bar.

The wine bar.

Vintage slicer.

Vintage slicer.

The fun menu board.

The fun menu board.

I had a chance to see for myself, when I was invited in as a guest of the establishment recently.

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Brunch to the Nines at The Village Pub

Start your Sunday with a French rolled omelet with caviar at the Village Pub.

Start your Sunday with a French rolled omelet with caviar at the Village Pub.

 

This is not one of those brunches where you line up for an hour for dollar pancakes or a Grand Slam special.

Nope, this is brunch done up posh.

At the Village Pub in Woodside, its sumptuous a la carte brunch involves truffles, lobster, caviar and even a mimosa cart wheeled to your table. You will likely drop more on a Sunday morning here than you would at dinnertime at many other places.

But what a way to pamper yourself, friends and family. It is a guaranteed way to feel ultra special on a Sunday. So naturally, when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant, how could I refuse, right?

The dining room just after 11 a.m. on a Sunday.

The dining room just after 11 a.m. on a Sunday.

The mimosa cart.

The mimosa cart.

Take a seat in a burgundy velvet plush chair at a white tablecloth-draped table. The mimosa cart will come by with your choice of Champagne and fresh-squeezed citrus juice.

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Bestia’s Butter-Topped Banana Bread

Half a stick of melted butter gets brushed on top before this banana bread gets a shower of sugar, too.

Half a stick of melted butter gets brushed on top before this banana bread gets a shower of sugar, too.

 

I often kid myself that pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, carrot cake and banana bread verge on being healthy because they contain fruit and veggies.

But who’s kidding who?

Clearly, that con won’t even get off the ground when you’re confronted with “Butter-Topped Banana Bread.”

Yes, two loaves with intense banana flavor, a mountain of walnuts and 1/2 a stick of melted butter drizzled abundantly on top of each one of them.

Uh, there is calcium in butter, right?

This lavish rendition of a staple baked good comes from “Bestia: Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A.” (Ten Speed Press, 2018), of which I received a review copy.

Bestia Cookbook

It’s by husband-and-wife chef team, Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis of Bestia in Los Angeles; and Lesley Suter, the former deputy editor for Los Angeles magazine.

Menashe (executive chef) and Gergis (pastry chef) opened their wildly popular Italian restaurant in the LA Arts District in 2012 long before that area became a destination. They hit a home-run with that first restaurant. That was followed in 2018 by Bavel, their Middle Eastern restaurant that hit it out of the park.

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Valette’s Is A Healdsburg Favorite For Good Reason

A place loved by locals and tourists alike.

A place loved by locals and tourists alike.

 

You know a restaurant has got it going on when it is packed on a Monday night.

The start of the week is typically a sleepy night for most restaurants. But not for Valette in downtown Healdsburg. On a recent Monday night, when I dropped in to dine at the bar solo (paying my own tab at the end), the place was bustling shortly after opening at 5:15 p.m.

Chef Dustin Valette and his brother Aaron Garzini opened the beloved restaurant in 2015 in the same property that their great-grandfather once owned. They turned it into a convivial space, with warm polished wood, big hefty leather bar chairs, and a golden glow from globe chandeliers.

Dustin was off that night. But I did get to meet his father, who in his mid-70s, still flies for the state Department of Forestry, responding to forest fires, including the devastating fires in Napa and Sonoma in the last two years.

Ahi poke that stands out from the pack.

Ahi poke that stands out from the pack.

When Dustin was a kid, his father would take him to school — dropping him off in his plane — because it was quicker than the school bus. How’s that for one cool ride?

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