Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Taste of the Nation This Thursday: Top San Francisco Bites and Sips to Benefit No Kid Hungry

Photo Credit: Jena Dodd

Put on your fancy pants because Taste of the Nation is coming to San Francisco's City View at the Metreon this Thursday. In its 8th year, the annual culinary benefit will bring together some of the City's most celebrated chefs to raise money for No Kid Hungry, a campaign dedicated to ending childhood hunger by providing children with healthy food and nutritional programs.

Attendants can nosh on bites from some 56 Bay Area restaurants. This includes dishes from Michael Tusk (Quince, Cotogna), Mark Liberman (AQ, TBD), Thomas McNaughton (flour+water, central kitchen and salumeria), Charles Phan (Slanted Door), David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit), Nancy Oakes (Boulevard), James Syhabout (Commis), Gayle Pirie (Foreign Cinema), and others.

There will also be beverages from wineries, distilleries, and breweries. Plymouth Gin is bringing in bartender Maxwell Britten from Maison Premiere, a James Beard-nominated oyster house and cocktail den in Brooklyn, to pair some drinks with Hog Island Oysters. He'll be mixing up three cocktails: Delta Deanna (Plymouth Gin, lime juice, celery juice, celery bitters, and Mumm champagne), Southern Cross (Plymouth Gin, Muscadet, and orange bitters), and Staghound (Plymouth Gin and Oloroso Sherry).

The event will also host live entertainment and a silent auction with luxury items.

Here are the full details:           
Date: Thursday, March 26, 2015
Location: City View at The Metreon
135 4th St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.; 5:30 to 9:00 p.m. for VIP
Admission: $125 for general admission; $250 for VIP
You can buy tickets here and use the discount code "GETLUCKYSF" for 20 percent off.

Monday, March 9, 2015

How to Make the Tilting at the Windmills Punch from Gitane in San Francisco [recipe]

Tilting at the Windmills

If you caught my recent article on Eater, you know that Gitane in San Francisco recently introduced a new punch menu to its bar program—and boy do those punches pack a wallop (har har). 

Well, if you're wondering how to make those punches at home, you can now make the Tilting at the Windmills punch. The recipe is a modern approach to punch—meaning that it doesn't follow the rigid 19th-century protocol of making punch using a sugar preparation called oleo saccrum and it doesn't follow the traditional pre-Prohibition proportions either ("One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.")

Instead, it is a brew of well-tasting spirits—which may be a welcome method for home bartenders who want a simple but refreshing drink to serve in large batches.

Tilting at the Windmills is a light and refreshing punch that will work well as a before-dinner drink for your party guests or as a communal sipper at a warm spring party on your roof or lawn. The ingredients can be found at your local specialty spirits store. 

If you can't find Cocchi Americano Rosa (a rose aperitif wine, sometimes used as a vermouth), you may try to find a light and spicy vermouth. If your store doesn't carry pineapple gum syrup, you may try a different pineapple syrup or reduce some pineapple juice with sugar to taste. 

Enjoy the recipe!

- Noelle

tilting at windmills 
makes four portions. multiply as needed to fit your punch bowl.
6 ounces pisco
3 ounces cocchi americano rosa
3 ounces pineapple gum
3 ounces lemon juice
Splash of allspice dram
(no more than 1/4 ounce)
Stir first four ingredients together in a pitcher or punch bowl, then add half as much
allspice dram as you think you need. Stir, taste and add more dram if it isn’t
fragrant with spices. You should be able to smell the spice, but treat it like bitters -
too much will ruin the drink. Serve over ice or with an ice ring in your punch bowl.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Meet the Drinks: Fun and Inventive Cocktails at Chino [Pictures Galore]


You could call the Mission District in San Francisco psychedelic. Home to the over 600 murals, the Mission is a canvas for epically large and intensely colorful paintings splashed all over the sides of its buildings. Add in a few spots known for drug exchanges and a newer reputation for hipster play, and it's no wonder everyone is seeing bright spots.

Chino is a playful addition to that colorful scene. Owned by the same team as Tacolicious, Chino offers a take on Asian-inspired food. Fuchsia Dunlop fans and Yelpers, put your fingers down now—this is not an attempt on authentic cuisine. Instead, you'll find a punchy flavors from favorite Asian dishes from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines—stuff like Xiao long bao (soup dumplings), "Chinese-ish pork ribblets," lumpia, "Korean-American rice cakes," and more.



The restaurant decor is fun and zany, full of Christmas lights, strangely hypnotic pictures of senior Asian people against neon backgrounds, exposed brick, and throwback toys from the 90s.

Chino - Danny Louie

The space is filled with mostly dinner tables, but snackers and drinkers can also sit at the prominent bar in the front. An upstairs bar pumps out additional drinks for the restaurant, and the additional seating on the second floor can also serve as a place for a private party.

Chino - Upstairs Dining Room

Danny Louie is the force behind the equally zany cocktail menu. Trained in the cocktail classics at his former post Alembic, Danny makes several plays on old conventions in these inventive drinks without making the flavors too cloying or tart. Like the food, Danny's cocktails are inspired by the Asian theme and make use of a lot of tea as a featured ingredient. The cocktails may not look or sound serious but they are carefully crafted. Danny uses high quality spirit, juices they squeeze themselves, and syrups they make in house.

Chino - Danny Louie

Danny's tweaked the menu since opening, but here are some of the cocktails you can find at Chino:

Chino - Danny Louie

Shanghai Buck
The cold, refreshing drink is a classic Charles H Baker cocktail that many cocktail nerds will recognize. Danny tweaks the original recipe using fresh pressed ginger to create a fruity and slight effervescent drink.

Chino - Shanghai Buck

Old Fashioned
This twist on the most classic of all cocktails uses James E. Pepper rye and swaps in housemade cola syrup (a cross between cola and root beer) instead of sugar. Thankfully, the cola syrup doesn't make the drink to sweet. Danny stirs it down to the perfect dilution, and the drink is well balanced.

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Old Fashioned

Chino - Old Fashioned

Up in Smoke
Laphroaig 10 year, lapsang souchong syrup, Cardamaro, and peach vinegar make up this drink. Lapsang souchong is a famously smokey Chinese tea (so smokey, I once got scolded at a Chinese tea shop for buying it because the store woman thought it was too smokey to be lady like—but whatever! I like it) which pairs brilliantly with the smokey Laphroaig. The peach and cardamaro round out the drink and make it pleasant and approachable for anyone to drink—girl or boy!

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Up in Smoke

So Strawberry
Made of Anchor Hop Head Vodka, Zirbenz Sone Pine liqueur, and strawberry shrub. The name is appropriate because it tastes through and through like strawberry. Refreshing on a warm day.

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - So Strawberry

Drunken Tea Leaf
Danny uses Beckerovka (a spicy Czech spirit that tastes like cinnamon, clove, and Christmas), Sutton Vermouth (made locally in San Francisco's Dogpatch), cold chamomile tea, and vinegary apple shrub. It's a bright and tasty drink that tastes of a crisp fall day. It tastes like a refreshed, cold hot toddy.

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Drunken Tea Leaf

Chinatown Iced Tea
Tell us that even one of these ingredients is not surprising: Baijiu (roughly translated in Chinese as run away—OK, so actually it means rice liquor. I had been warned about this coarse spirit many times while traveling in China, but the Baojing label that Danny uses is actually a delicate expression of it and tastes almost like an Asian pear), almond milk, passion fruit, and Lipton Tea. The drink is served long and is reminiscent of many tiki drinks, but much more nuanced, largely from the almond milk. Frothy, light, and delicious.

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Chinatown Iced Tea

Slushie Machines
Yes, Danny brought in a slushie machine that mixes up two spiked flavors seasonally. They are served in traditional Asian glory—that is, over high quality boba and using plastic cups sealed by a special sealing machine, which you can see to the left of the machine. On this day, there was Boba Fett (vodka, apple, ginger, thai basil, and lemon) and Dr. J (rum, orange, vanilla, and cream), which Danny calls an orange julius for big kids.

Chino - Slushie

Boba Slushie
Sometimes Danny will also make a flavor without the machine, like this creamy variation made of green tea, pineapple, cola syrup, lime juice, denizen rum, house made sweetened coconut milk, and of course boba from Nuts.com.

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Danny Louie

Chino - Boba Slushie

Chino - Boba Slushie

Chino - Boba slushie

9 Volt
Made of Aviation gin, white grape, green tea, and Szechuan pepper. It's easy to drink with just a little pepper at the back.

Chino - 9 Volt

Singapore Sling
Like some other tiki drinks, there is no clear agreement on the recipe for the Singapore Sling, but Danny tweaks Dale Degroff's recipe and the famous Raffle hotel's to create a well-balanced blend of gin, benedictine, cherry heering, citrus, and bitters.

Chino - Singapore Sling

For more pictures of Chino, check out our album here.

3198 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 552-5771