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January 2008
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March 2008

Slow Beer Festival

Slow Food SF and the San Francisco Brewer's Guild are having a shindig in Golden Gate Park this weekend. The Slow Beer Festival event postcard caught my eye when I was at the Beach Chalet last weekend. It reminded me of 20 Tank's big mug o'beer. (R.I.P.)


I won't be attending tho it looks like a good time, with 25 local beers, Hog Island oysters, sausage and charcuterie from Fatted Calf and assorted artisan cheeses. The pricing is in line with the local wine tastings I've attended; unfortunately, I can only drink 1.5 pints of beer before I am too full and sleepy to drink more. Even sticking to tiny samplers, I just would not be able to get through enough to justify the cost, especially since I'm not an oyster slurper...

Slow Beer Festival

Saturday, March 1st, 2008 12 noon to 4 PM

County Fair Building - Golden Gate Park
Lincoln Way and 9th Avenue
San Francisco

$50 includes tasting of local beer and local food products.
$75 VIP ticket-includes Goodie Bag and tour of one the local breweries.

SF Cowork Spaces for Freelancers

When I was a freelancer, the only shared workspace in town was the Grotto. It seemed like a magical place and far too serious and unreachable for little old me. So I kugged my iBook to the Canvas Cafe, where I enjoyed wireless access and tolerable coffee whenever I needed to be around people.

Today's Chronicle has a great story on a whole slew of new, more accessible coworkspaces. I would have loved to have a 1- or 2-day-per-week pass to a place like that. It might have even encouraged me to stay freelance for longer rather than jumping back in to corporate work. As an aside, I think I would be a great den mother for a coworkspace. Especially if it had a kitchen...

Mmmm Chili

San Francisco had been cold and blustery for a week or two when I decided I was going to spend last Sunday making chili. Of course that meant it cleared up and we had sunny warm weather all weekend. But no matter-- I made the chili anyway. I am stubborn that way.

Start making your chili 3 or so hours before you wish to be eating it.

  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 12 small carrots, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small chunks
  • olive oil
  • 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can white canellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lb. beef stew meat
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 1 draught can Guiness or other dark beer
  • Chili sauce to taste
  • Taco seasoning or mixed chili seasoning to taste

Start browning your ground beef and your stew meat in separate skillets. Meanwhile, dice your onions and garlic, and add them into a large stock pot, over medium-low heat, that has had olive oil added to it. Dice your remaining vegetables and add them to the stock pot, adding additional olive oil if necessary to coat the additions. Reduce to low heat until your meat has been browned and drained.

Add 1 package of taco seasoning or same amount of chili seasoning (2-3 teaspoons) to the ground beef, plus 3/4 cup water, and simmer for 6 or 7 minutes (until liquid is reduced to thick coating on the meat.) Cut the beef stew pieces into bite-sized pieces.

Add all meat to the stock pot, plus the beans, and stir. Pour in chicken broth and 2 teaspoons chili sauce, stir again, and increase to medium heat. Add in a teaspoon or 2 of chili or taco seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to keep chili simmering. Check every 15 minutes or so and stir. Once the liquid has substantially reduced, add in the can of beer. Simmer another 30 minutes, then taste and add in more chili sauce to taste.

Once you have a dense, dark mass of chili in the pot, with most of the liquid removed, you are ready to eat. Garnish with sharp cheddar, sour cream and diced onions. Makes 4-5 servings.

Where to Lunch in the Financial District

Every time a group of my current and former coworkers tries to get together for lunch in the financial district, dozens of emails fly back and forth while we try to determine what our options are for a tasty lunch. Next time this topic comes up, I am going to zip out with this list of my favorite places to have lunch in downtown SF.

  • Metropol. Yummy European cafe food, friendly service. The grilled salmon and their ever-changing pizzas are my favorites here.
  • Boxed Foods Company. Focused on tasty organic seasonal sandwiches and salads, and with outdoor seating.
  • Yank Sing. Hands-down my favorite place for dim sum. They also have great meal-combos-to-go.
  • Out the Door, the Slanted Door spinoff in the SF Shopping Centre, is a sleek sit down place with fast service -- and without the wait of its parent.
  • Zebulon. Great burgers and grilled sandwiches and my favorite Cobb Salad in SF.
  • Town Hall. I think that every time my friend Carolyn and I have been here in the pest 3 years we've gotten the burger.

Supermarkets as "Lifestyle Stores"

A few months ago, Whole Foods opened a swankier incarnation of itself in San Francisco. With its wine bar, bistro, expanded gourmet takeout etc., it's part of the new "lifestyle store" trend that has now been expanded to...Safeway.

That's right, the former workhorse of grocery stores opened its own "lifestyle store" in Livermore of all places.

I loathe going to your typical fluorescent lit, poorly stocked, supermarket. That's why I frequent the Ferry Plaza Farmers market, Andronico's and my local natural food store, Thom's. And I get deliveries from Whole Foods when I can't make it to any of those places, thanks to the Shophoppers delivery service.

I don't know that a pottery barn makeover would make me spend more time and money at Safeway. I am either in the market for processed foods, or I'm not. Unless this makeover is complete with upgraded produce quality, it may not fly with other flks either.