Eat, drink, be merry. Repeat
There’s nothing like dining out after a hard day at the office. A delicious meal featuring richly prepared food and carefully selected wine is a wonderful treat. City dwellers, around the country, now welcome new flavors and ingredients to their dining choices. Cities like Minneapolis and Columbus are suddenly hitting the scene, topping a new list of the “Five Secret Foodie Cities” by Forbes. In the San Francisco Bay Area, a top foodie city for many years, dining choices run from comfort food to exquisitely prepared portions of exotic items like uni, sweetbreads, and lamb cheeks. The mantra here is “Fresh. Sustainable. Local.” While many of the top restaurants hold Michelin Stars like The French Laundry, Quince, and Gary Danko (SF Station), many more are up and coming. Commonwealth, a true neighborhood gem in San Francisco’s Mission District, delivers exquisitely prepared dishes at modest price. Currently on the menu is a delightful scallop dish featuring hearts of palm, popcorn puree, pea greens, and yuzu kosho milk. The dish is elegantly served on rough porcelain and decorated with tiny edible flowers. The atmosphere is California casual–no jacket required. The servers are relaxed and pleasant, and thoroughly versed with knowledge of ingredients and preparation. Believe me, it’s divine. Places like Commonwealth make me tend to agree with 1World voters; Sixty-seven percent prefer casual fare to high-end dining.
At the same time America’s interest in food increased, our wine production and consumption has skyrocketed. There are currently more than 8000 producers of wine in North America. While early production began on the West Coast in the 50s, States like New York, Virginia, and Texas are blossoming as wine producing regions. On a recent trip to Edna Valley, near San Luis Obispo, California, I was delighted to taste the specialized varieties of the region–both mature and juvenile varieties like Syrah, Chardonnay, and Albariño. I couldn’t help picking up some of the excellent wines at Bailyana and Saucelito. Prices ranged from $12 to $48 and the tasting was free if a bottle was purchased. The bottles we chose averaged about $18. I decided that while the higher priced vintages were very good, they would likely need storing for 5+ years to reach their peak. My motto with wine: love the one you’re with. Every bottle of wine has a purpose. Even a $5 bottle can make a fantastic sangria. Besides, most 1World voters agree. Fifty-five percent say they can’t tell the difference between a $15 bottle of wine and a $50 bottle.
Finding a wonderful bottle of wine or a great spot to dine is always the biggest challenge. Just drop us a line in the comments section. Oh, and don’t forget to vote on our polls. Your vote really does count!
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