Category Archives: Spirits/Cocktails/Beer

Sate Your Thirst and Appetite at Smokestack

A sampler at Smokestack.

A sampler at Smokestack.

 

Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing Company in San Francisco specializes in B2B operations.

That’s beer-to-barbecue to you and me.

Think the usual suspects of ribs and chopped pork. But also the out-of-the-norm pastrami. Yes, New York deli-proud pastrami.

The soaring warehouse-like space in the Dogpatch neighborhood sports a bona fide brewery in the back, and a barbecue joint in the front that features an expansive bar complete with shelves of liquor stacked so high, the bartenders need to climb a tall wooden ladder to reach the top ones.

Done up in an abundance of reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and steel pipes, it’s a festive spot that draws a crowd, as I witnessed recently when I was invited in to dine as a guest.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

On the top shelves is a zany display of assorted rubber work boots.

You order at the counter, then find a seat among the several communal tables, until your food is brought to you.

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Join the Food Gal and Dan Gordon of Gordon Biersch For A Cooking Demo

MacysDanGordonYou know you’re in for a rousing good time when Dan Gordon is in the house.

Join me when I host the South Bay’s famed brewmeister and founder of San Jose’s Gordon Biersch Brewing Company for a cooking demo, 2 p.m. Aug. 21, at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara.

Gordon recently revamped his original Gordon Biersch restaurant in downtown Palo Alto, turning it into Dan Gordon’s, which specializes in barbecue and brewski.

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Sent Sovi Transforms Into Relish Gastro Lounge

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

An adult root beer float at Relish Gastro Lounge.

 

The hushed atmosphere and the white tablecloths have been jettisoned. And a whole new concept and personality have taken hold.

Sent Sovi in downtown Saratoga was Chef David Kinch’s stepping stone to even greater accolades as he went on to establish the Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos.

Chef Josiah Slone purchased the restaurant from Kinch, and for nearly 13 years kept the fine-dining ambiance, but with his own spin on it.

Now he and wife Khin Khin Slone have overturned that format, and launched a much more casual restaurant in its place.

Relish Gastro Lounge debuted in February with its reclaimed wood tables, color-changing lights, and soundtrack of rock and jazz. I had a chance to check it out a couple weeks ago when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant.

RelishSign

The tap system.

The tap system.

The wine preservation system.

The wine preservation system.

You’ll find 20 wines by the glass (preserved with the same argon gas system Sent Sovi used), along with 24 beers on tap. The menu, headed up by Chef Timothy Uttaro, former Sent Sovi sous chef, is made for sharing.

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Trou Normand — A Carnivore’s Delight

The "small'' beef chop at Trou Normand.

The “small” beef chop at Trou Normand.

 

Sure, you can choose a salad or veggie sides at Trou Normand in San Francisco’s South of Market district.

But really, this restaurant is all about the meat.

Local heritage breeds, whole-animal butchery, and up to 40 different kinds of house-made charcuterie and salumi offered daily are its hallmarks.

It is the younger sister restaurant to Bar Agricole, both founded by Thad Vogler. Executive Chef Salvatore Cracco, who heads the kitchen and butchery program, was the former butcher and sous chef at Bar Agricole.

They’ve turned the historic Art Deco Pacific Telephone Building space into an airy, industrial-hip environment with an unfinished ceiling, marble tables, over-sized tufted leather banquettes, and cool cafe artwork.

The light fixtures.

The light fixtures.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

The bar with its iconic artwork.

A couple weeks ago, I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. Naturally, my husband, aka Meat Boy, tagged along. After all, this carnivore’s paradise is right up its alley.

The restaurant is named for the northern French tradition of enjoying a small glass of brandy, usually Calvados, between courses to settle the stomach and awaken the palate. Gotta love the French, right?

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Bourbon Steak Scores at Levi’s Stadium

The bourbon cart at Bourbon Steak at Levi's Stadium.

The bourbon cart at Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium.

 

There is no pussyfooting around this.

Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara is not inexpensive. It’s a special-occasion place. It’s where you go when you’re dining on an expense account to sink your teeth into an 8-ounce Snake River Farms rib cap for $110 or a Japanese A-5 Kagoshima rib eye for $34 per ounce (with a 3-ounce minimum required).

It’s not a place you’d head to every night. But then again, you couldn’t anyway. Because the restaurant is situated right on the ground level of the 49ers’ stadium, you can’t get into either Bourbon Steak or Bourbon Pub (the contiguous casual eatery) when the Niners are playing home games — unless you are a game ticket holder. In fact, the whole restaurant and pub becomes the ultimate gourmet tailgating extravaganza on game days — but only for season ticket-holders who pony up $5,000 each for the 10-game season. After the game ends, the restaurant and pub are open to any ticket holder.

Similarly, if One Direction, Taylor Swift or any other concert or special event is holding court at the stadium, you can’t get into the restaurant or pub, either, unless you have a ticket to said event.

Got all that?

I think you can guess whose autograph this is.

I think you can guess whose autograph this is.

How many other famous signatures can you spot?

How many other famous signatures can you spot?

The stadium field.

The stadium field.

When dining there, it pays to call for a reservation or to at least check the Levi’s Web site beforehand to make sure no events are happening the night you want to visit. Be mindful that the restaurant is open only for dinner; the pub is open for lunch and dinner.

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