Year: 2012

Decorating a Gingerbread Dream House

Decorating a Gingerbread Dream House

Adults and children of all ages gathered at Autumn Express last night to channel their creativity into decorating gingerbread houses.  Artist and gingerbread expert extraordinaire, Michele Simons, led the class in this festive holiday tradition. Michele had already taken care of the hard part – gluing the gingerbread […]



Behind the Wine, Within the Whiskey

Behind the Wine, Within the Whiskey

I learned a lot about libations last weekend while visiting not one but two Elysian Fields of alcohol within a short stroll of each other on the scenic Alameda waterfront. First was the Rock Wall Wine Company, whose Open House on Saturday afternoon featured food […]



Finalists Announced for the 2013 Good Food Awards

Finalists Announced for the 2013 Good Food Awards

Thanks to our friends at Gamma Nine for the awesome photos.  You can find more of their photos from the Good Food Awards here.

Last month, team Epicuring was hard at work helping out with the 3rd annual Good Food Awards judging in San Francisco.  Today, we’re excited to share the news that the finalists have been announced!  We were proud to see that many California entries made the cut, including products from some of the merchants listed in our Epicuring guide.  Find the complete list of 2013 finalists here.

coffee charcuterie

The Good Food Awards recognizes products from all over the country that are not only delicious, but also crafted in a way that is respectful of the environment and local communities.  In fact, director Sarah Weiner explained that many prospective entrants expressed interest in sourcing organic ingredients after learning about the awards.

Our own Susie Wyshak headed up the confections judging, a new category this year.  It proved to be a popular category, bringing in more entries than any of the other eight categories.

Winners of the Good Food Awards seal will be announced January 18, and a marketplace featuring the winning entries will be held the following day in the Ferry Building.  In the meantime, check out all of the 2013 finalists and the winners from previous years!

Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto Food History: A Video Tour

Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto Food History: A Video Tour

Berkeley, California is known as the birthplace of “California cuisine,” at least the kind using farm-direct, simple ingredients. Our friend Frieda DeLackner grew up in this luscious area and captured some of Berkeley’s unique food heritage on a fun short video, taking you on a […]



Craft Cocktails and Wild Wigs for a Good Cause

Craft Cocktails and Wild Wigs for a Good Cause

Wear wigs, win prizes at Wig Out, a charitable post-Halloween hullabaloo at San Francisco’s Parc 55 Hotel on Nov. 2, 2012. Proceeds will go to Slap Cancer and Locks of Love. Guests are urged to sport their craziest wigs to the party. Dance beats will […]



Blood, Bones and Beef Hearts: Where to Eat on (or Around) Halloween?

Blood, Bones and Beef Hearts: Where to Eat on (or Around) Halloween?

It’s that spooky season again. Where to live it up on or around the Day of the Dead? It’s not just about candy anymore — although it is still about blood, bones and Batman masks.

Fear the food trucks. Friday, October 26 is the last time Off the Grid will appear at Fort Mason Center until next March. They’re turning their farewell gig into a Halloween haunt with decorations, live music from Rolling Stones cover band Black Angel, a costume contest (extra points for Stones-related guises) and Halloween specials at 34 food vendors and two full bars. (Hint: beef-heart tacos and pumpkin-cuchinta ice cream.)

Off the Grid is also celebrating Halloween at its North Berkeley market on Halloween night. The theme is slow food and scary meats, with special dishes including sauteed veal kidneys, pig-ear salad, and oxtails with roasted squash.

Good gore. San Francisco’s luella restaurant is serving “Blood, Bones and Flesh” on Halloween. The notable price of $16.66 (OK, it’s not $6.66, but still) buys a glass of Steel Wines Zinfandel paired with savory, saucy riblettes. (See before-and-after photographs above and below, both supplied by luella but highly suspect.) Guests are encouraged to dine in costume.

Sharpen your knives. From Thursday, October 25 through Wednesday, October 31, Yankee Pier Larkspur invites children to its annual pumpkin-carving contest. YPL provides the pumpkins; kids can take their carved jack-o’-lanterns home with them or leave them on display at the restaurant. Prizes will be awarded after winners are announced via Facebook on Halloween.

Back to the future. San Francisco’s luxurious Clift Hotel is hosting a 6th Element Halloween Party on Halloween night with the help of local fav DJs Miguel Migs and Frank Boissy spinning house and dubstep with overtones of jazz, blues, classic rock, funk and soul. Costumes are required for this “retro-futuristic” do which will rage until 2 a.m. in the secluded Redwood Room. Reservations are suggested; email cliftredwoodroom@MHGC.com.

Dead gorgeous. The first Thursday of every month is time for “Rick’s Supper Club” — special dinners designed by chef/co-owner Rick Hackett at Oakland’s Bocanova. November 1’s Supper Club features Day of the Dead-inspired dishes (such as and mushroom-chipotle soup and wilted spinach with tequilla-soaked raisins and pumpkin seeds) and cocktails (think serrano peppers, cucumbers and tomatillos), along with wines from Heintz Vineyards and Winery. Winemaker Charles Heintz will be there to discuss his wares.

Freaky fiesta. Copita in Sausalito — founded by legendary restaurateur Larry Mindel and TV celebrity chef Joanne Weir (host of Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence, author of Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites), and featuring a mostly gluten-free menu — celebrates El Día de los Muertos on Thursday, November 1 with decorations, special dishes (spit-roasted turkey, spicy prune-tequila punch, posole with chicken, tangerine arroz con leche, and more), decorations and other dancing-with-death delights. Traditional pan de muerto and marigolds adorn a Day of the Dead altar.

Tour de freaks. The Espolón Day of the Dead Pub Crawl is a spirit-driven procession through the streets of Oakland’s historic Uptown District on November 1 from 7pm – 11pm. The pub crawl starts at Make Westing, then marches on to Dogwood, down south to Picán, and ends at Luka’s Taproom & Lounge. At every stop, Espolón Tequila will feature a special cocktail created by the mixologists at the establishment in question; fun activities will augment the freaky fun along the way. Bocce-ball temple Make Westing will serve the deadly and delicious Duende (Espolón Tequila Blanco, mango, lime, serrano chile, Grand Marnier, Mexican-spiced rim). Dogwood will serve the Widow’s Kiss (Espolón Tequila Reposado, Vida Mezcal, local honey, lime, house-made hibiscus syrup, with a half black salt rim. Picán will serve Sam Babalola’s VooDoo Punch (Espolón Tequila Reposado, spiced rum, pomegranate juice, orange juice, blood orange bitters). Luka’s, the last stop in the procession, will be serving a Pomegranate Margarita (Espolón Tequila Blanco, agave syrup, pomegranate syrup, salt & sugar rim, fresh pomegranate-seed garnish).

La Mar Masquerade. Also in San Francisco on Halloween night, La Mar Cebichería Peruana celebrates a different holiday, Peru’s national Day of the Creole Song, aka Día de la Canción Criolla. Costumes are encouraged (and their wearers will be rewarded with prizes) and the celebration includes festive decor, seasonal cocktails, music for dancing by a live criolla band, and special dishes augmenting the regular menu created by La Mar’s owner, internationally renowned chef Gastón Acurio.

Anneli Rufus

Bay Area Science Festival Includes Events for Eaters

Bay Area Science Festival Includes Events for Eaters

The 2012 second annual Bay Area Science Festival includes numerous events exploring the neurobiology of nibbling, the physiology of feasting, and other intersections between science and food. At San Francisco’s Castro Theatre on Saturday night, October 27, superstar Food Network chef Alton Brown headlines “Ten […]



Decorating Sugar Skulls for Dia de Los Muertos in San Francisco

Decorating Sugar Skulls for Dia de Los Muertos in San Francisco

Hot off the sugar skull decorating circuit, a dispatch by Susie Wyshak The Sugar Skull Gallery packed in a fun hour of sugar skull decorating today at Autumn Express in San Francisco’s Mission District. The mistress of this time-honored Dia De Los Muertos tradition, Michelle […]



Spirits Rising: DSWE Pop-Up Tour

Spirits Rising: DSWE Pop-Up Tour

A pop-up wine-and-spirits road show
On a sultry San Francisco day:
Our hearts and palates glowed so
At this dazzling display.

We met men who make clever bitters
From lush herbs, spices and fruit,
And celery. (Got the jitters?
They use the seed, not the root.)

The clear pinkgold of sweet dreams,
Eau de vie, sun-kissed in France:
Armagnac Castarède gleams
On the palate: Angels dance.

Secret recipe, Sicilian, 1868:
Pair it with ginger ale: Yes, out of cans.
The latest buzz is that Averna is great
For all grown-up Jägermeister fans.

Grape flowers fashioned into gin
Produce round, spicy, velvety G’Vine.
Eighty to 87.8 proof, with vermouth in
A dry martini, this is quite divine.

Chris Blackwell, reggae-records king,
Makes rich dark rum on the hot isle
Where his forebears were exporting
Coconuts in 1700 with a smile.

Snagging my medal for the most
Unique, exerting irresistible allure,
Was the pure, purple, flowertastic
Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur.

Anneli Rufus

And here’s a souvenir of the pop-up tour — a recipe:

BLUE MOON

60 ml Gin
10 ml Dry Vermouth
10 ml The Bitter Truth – Violet Liqueur
1 dash The Bitter Truth – Orange Bitters
Stir in mixing glass with ice & strain into a cocktail glass.


All images by Kristan Lawson.

San Francisco Cooking School Teaches Culinary Intuition

San Francisco Cooking School Teaches Culinary Intuition

by Laiko Bahrs “When cooking go by your own taste. When baking follow directions.” That’s a quote I wrote long ago to remind myself to follow my intuition in the savory kitchen but read the recipe in the pastry and baking part of the kitchen. […]