foodie events

Uncorking the Urban Wine Scene at the Commonwealth Club

I attended a great program at the Commonwealth Club last night -- Uncorking the Urban Wine Scene, a conversation with folks making wine in the East Bay. As a wine lover who only seems to ever trek up to Napa or Sonoma once or twice per year, I was excited to learn more about my hyper local tasting opportunities, and to live vicariously through some everyday wine lovers like me who'd actually found a way to make the leap to winemaker without having a couple million dollars to invest in wine country.

Panelists were Jim Mirowski, Co-founder and Owner, Treasure Island Wines; Derek Rohlffs, Proprietor and Winemaker, Bravium Wines; Sasha Verhage, Winemaker and Proprietor, Eno Wines; and Kathryn Cohen, Proprietor, Eno Wines. Jim and Derek both make wines as part of the Treasure Island wine collective.

Sasha, a founder of the East Bay Vintners Alliance noted that there is strong community support for urban winemakers, with local restaurants and wine shops actively seeking out local winemakers, which makes sense given the Bay Area's locavore focus.

Something I had not thought about that Kathryn brought up during the conversation is local tasting rooms can be a ot more approachable for those new to wine appreciation. I do remember that on my first trip to Napa, when I was barely over legal drinking age, it did feel a little intimidating to go into a well-established winery's tasting room, vying for attention with those older, more well-versed, and certainly more well-heeled than myself. She said that she felt that the casual, inclusive nature of the East Bay's wine scene attracts a lot more diversity in its patrons.

WHile tasting up in Sonoma last week, I'd noticed a couple of wineries had growlers avialable for taking away wine, which had initially surprised me. I'm quite used to seeing them at brewpubs, but think this was the first year they were around enough to notice them, and the proliferation of wine on tap. The panelists touched on these new packaging options, with the consensus being that both options are nice due to less waste and lowering the costs involved.

Now before you start making boxed wine jokes here, think about it for a moment: how many bottles of wine per night does a busy restaurant go through to service its wine by the glass program? Now imgaine istead their having that wine on tap, where it's never stale, and they're not wasting all those bottles. I call that a worthwhile innovation. Sasha, however did say that although he supports packaging innovations, he's "not ready for a capri sun" wine distribution package, which got a good laugh out of the crowd (and especially from the two grandmotherly ladies in front of me who said more than once how adorable they thought Sasha was.)

By the time the conversation ended a little after 7:30, I was too tired to stay for the wine tasting (I know, I can hardly believe it either), but they did have a nice tasting setup that included R&B Cellars, Carica Wines, Dashe Cellars, Urban Legend Cellars, Tayerle Wines, Rock Wall Wine, Treasure Island Wines, Bravium Wines, Eno Wines, Stomping Girl WinesAndrew Lane Wines. The way I'm looking at it is I now have an excuse to set up an East Bay wine tasting day.

2010 Golden Glass Wine tasting and Slow Food Fundraiser


I spent a few hours enjoying the 2010 Golden Glass Tasting at Fort Mason Center with my SO today. It was an easy sell -- buy a ticket for an event that benefits slowfood SF, and get to taste wine and nibble on various artisanal and handcrafted treats? Clearly it was up my alley. And the half priced tickets through bloomspot sealed the deal.

Having been to many wine events at Fort Mason Center, I was struck by how relatively uncrowded the event was. Yes, we had to wait in a 10-person line for claiming our will call tickets, but we were able to easily get up to the tables without anyone shoving us out of their way, and easily caught the eye of those pouring the wine. We even had the opportunity to talk to some of the winemakers and chefs in attendance.

Too often at these events, I feel like a salmon swimming upstream, and feel like I've escaped with my life at the end of a tasting. Today on the other hand, I got to enjoy the food and wine, and be leisurely in making a pass around the floor. I would love it if someone could figure out a way how to retain that sort of a feel in these tastings, while still making the event seem like a good expenditure of time and money for the participating vendors.

Highlights of What We Tasted


Unlike you typical wine tasting which offer up a little bit of bread and possibly some cheese, this event had a number of artisan food purveyors and chefs on hand, which gave you the opportunity to do some food and wine pairings.

  • Perfect crust on the flour+water summer squash pizza, complete with a nice dark blister. They had a wood fired pizza oven out front in the bed of a pickup to make these delicacies. Really need to try to eat dinner there soon.
  • Serpentine and slow club shared a table and had perhaps the tastiest treat of the day -- sliders of roasted pork shoulder with pickled strawberry jam and arugula. Not a combination I would have come up with but perfect as a hand-held taste. It makes me want to start making some pickled jams myself, even if it's just pickled onion jam.
  • A16 had some tender pulled pork on a substantial hunk of baguette. A moist and delicious pork product.
  • The abundance of Italian-inspired food, and the tables of Italian wines already had my brain ready for a vacation even before I had the tiny square of cheese with a drizzle of honey from Marcelli Formaggi. But I am pretty sure I started babbling about how we needed another trip there soon after consuming that amazing honey.


San Francisco was having an unusually warm day (80s), which meant I tasted a lot more whites than usual. And I just could not bring myself to try some wines that looked great (I'm thinking about those amarones) because the heat made the prospect of most red wines seem daunting. That said, my three favorite wines of the day were all reds.

  • Navarro's 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir was my hands-down favorite. I know when I think pinot noir I often think of a substantial wine that needs a hearty dinner to go alongside it, not a sipping wine. But I'd happily drink this lighter than average pinot while cooking dinner. Their dry gewurtztraminer was also superb.
  • At the next table over, Handley's 2007 Anderson Valley pinot noir was another lighter pinot noir stunner. Not that I was surprised since I've been a huge fan of theirs for some time. Unfortunately, they didn't bring along their sparkling wine -- it would have been perfect today.
  • Although I'd done some wine tasting in southern Italy, I hadn't really looked into seeing if the greater Venice area, where I spent half of my last trip to Italy, had wineries to visit. But after having Nicolis' SECCAL valpocella DDC CLassico Superiore, you can BET I am going to look into arranging a private tour next time.

What Could be Improved for Next Year

I do wonder, however, if the lack of signage at Fort Mason was a factor in the sparse attendance. Even I got nervous I'd written down the wrong date on my calendar and pulled out my ticker confirmation to check. The 2-day crystal fair had a few signs up, and the Warhammer 2000 tournament was an easy to stumble upon beehive of activity. But the Golden Glass tasting was at the Center's far corner, and without any signs letting you know it was there until you actually got up to it. I have to think that on a gorgeous day like today, in the 80s, signage throughout Fort Mason Center would have generated some significant foot traffic for them.

Something else I'd love to see is use of those little reusable plates that hook on to your wine glass. Why do I mention this? Because a volunteer/staffer at the event went calling after me as I walked my used plate to the compost bin. I'd used the same plate at two stands, and needed to free up my hand for my wine. I'm actually *not* coordinated enough to carry and eat a plate of food and a glass of wine. At home we have a teeny garbage can + a huge recycle can and a handy compost bucket. I don't drive. I am limiting my carbon footprint! And thus, I don't want an event volunteer giving me  a hard time about ditching my used plate (as an aside, I didn't use another plate at all for the event.)

And finally, slow food events need to get over the little food tickets. No one wants to spend $70 per ticket (full price ticket cost) to get in and receive 5 food tickets, then have to pay another $20 for 5 more tickets for a few more tastes. It was one of my primary annoyances with the slowfood nation tasting here a couple summers ago. None of the food stalls would accept them because clearly they felt the same way as well. Please don't nickel and dime us when we are there in support of this cause we all feel passionate about!

P.S. If you're wondering about the lack of photos from today's event, that's due to my grabbing my small camera at the last second and not checking its batteries. First time in all my years of writing about this stuff that I've made that error, and hopefully will be the last time as well.

Some Seriously Fun Eats at the Eat Real Festival

It's always good to be a Bay Area foodie-- there's a new food festival thunk up every week or two, like the Eat Real Festival, coming to Oakland, California from August 28 to 30.

Similar in spirit to the recent Serious Eats Great American Food festival, Eat Real will feature food+music, but without the trek to Shoreline. The event is free of charge to check out tho presumably the food cart fare is out of your pocket once something catches your eye.

I'm personally most interested in the Beer Shed, curated by David McLean of Magnolia Brewpub and promising a rotating selection of Northern California's best handcrafted IPAs, imperials and cask ales on tap. Yum.

UPDATE: Their twitter feed has started confirming the participants: linden st, magnolia, drakes, moonlight, half moon bay, triple rock, thirsty bear, marin and 21st amendment.

Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Tapas Classes

CUESA, Dacor, and Parties That Cook just announced a series of hands-on cooking classes in their teaching kitchen. The two-hour classes will focus on "tapas with a California and international flair." Recipes include: Crostini of Roasted Asparagus Prosciutto and Teleme Cheese, Fava Bean and Sweet Pea Hummus, and Sweet Pea Galettes with Bacon and Sour Cream.

Wednesday nights this spring (April 1, April 15, April 29, May 6, and May 27).

Classes are $45 per person including 2 glasses of BR Cohn wine.  

Toasting 75 Years Since the Repeal of Prohibition...Huzzah!

San Francisco is a city that loves its libations. So it's probably not really surprising that we're hosting a few Prohibition-repeal events, namely a parade this afternoon led by the 21st Amendment Brewery folks. Details on the events behind the jump.

Continue reading "Toasting 75 Years Since the Repeal of Prohibition...Huzzah!" »

slowfoodnation (better late than never)

HoneyIt's taken me a while to mull through what I wanted to share about slowfoodnation weekend that I hadn't already seen at many other blogs during the event.

A week or so after my birthday, I decided to splurge and buy tickets for my boyfriend and I to go to one of the tasting sessions at Fort Mason. Tickets, at $65 each plus fees, were more expensive than most of the wine tastings I've attended at Fort Mason by $10, and more expensive than any concert I've seen to date (even those Bauhaus Ressurection Tour tickets way back when were cheaper.)

As a former slowfood member, I would drool when I would receive the notices about the Italy tasting events and dreamt of some day planning my vacation to coincide with them. I was hoping this would live up to the idea I had built up in my head about what such an event could be. Did it? In short -- no. I was disappointed. But I do see a lot of potential there, that I hope is tapped if they decide to move forward with another slowfoodnation event.

Pizza The Pros

  • Amazing Pizza. That pizza you are looking at here is in my top 5 most perfect crusts ever list. It was thin and crispy and delicious. And made in an oven that appeared to be built on site for the event, with pizzas assembled by an amazing crew of volunteers. It was worth the half hour wait, especially since we had delicious Magnolia Brewpub cask conditioned beer in hand.
  • Lots of Learning. The honey, coffee and chocolate tastings were tasty, fun and informative. The folks we talked to who were manning the counters in these three areas clearly had passion for their subject matter. I had never really thought about how the time of the year would affect the way the honey would taste, so it was cool to be able to taste three examples of honey from the same bee colony from Spring to Fall. And the cupcake, as seen in the photo at the top of this entry, was the perfect tiny accompaniment.
  • A Visual Feast. Throughout the Pavillions, the eye was engaged with all sorts of food ephemera and lots of educational content.

The Cons


  • Lack of Organization. We came through the gates and were handed our slowbucks (which we thought at the time we would surely run out of) and a flimsy map that showed where each pavillion was located. And that is it as far as takeaways from the event. For $65 it would have been nice to have been able to have taken home educational materials of some sort -- be it a flyer on sustainable raised coffees, or a CD-ROM (or heck even a special URL for downloading) with the content from the educational displays. Some exhibits had interesting informative folks walking you through the flight you were tasting. Others -- including the salumi and the ice cream -- gave you no information about the food you were sampling other than what it was on a basic level. No details on the trends or philosophies behind the producer or the food item.
  • Excessively Long Lines. I never got to read all the cheese-making educational content, and did not get to scope out the cheeses that were being samples because I couldn't handle the though of standing in a line that stretched the length of the display, then half the width of the auditorium and out the door and down the side of the building to the front.
  • Poor Wine Tasting Organization. You could only fight to the front of the meade/sparkling wine area; the rest were unreachable thanks to the cocktail rounds blocking the lines and immovable people who camped at the bar, never stepping back for anyone else to obtain a taste as well. I asked our bartender 3 times for a wine on the list that he said they did not have; my boyfriend finally pointed at the bottle in front of him. We then had the tiniest pour ever of said wine, which the bartender did not know anything about. It was the least informative or accessible wine tasting I have partaken in at Fort Mason. They really should not have bothered.

I expected to leave this event excited about local producers and foods. Instead I had sore feet, went home with many slowbucks unused, and ordered a pizza from Pizza Orgasmica because I was starving after spending hours around so much food (and receiving such tiny tastes of it from the few pavillions in which I could actually suffer the lines.)

I was also disappointed with the attendees. Overall, they were unfriendly (like the couple who rode the bus to the event with us, then couldn't even return a smile when we ran into them inside), and rude (the lady who was saving 5 chairs at a table for her friends in line and wouldn't let us sit there for the 5 minutes it would take for us to eat our tiny salumi tastes.) We did chat with one couple after we finally found a seat; they were aghast at the fattiness of the mortadella slivers my boyfriend had (and was not eating) and were deciding against waiting in that line.

I left feeling even more disconnected with the local slowfood movement. I let my membership lapse after a few years due to the only SF convivium events tending to be last minute (a few days in advance usually), incredibly expensive dinners. I had expected the SF chapter to be ripe with informative educational lectures, farm tours and volunteer opportunities, and fun tastings. I was hoping slowfoodnation would deliver on that. Maybe next year.

Two Days 'til slowfoodnation Kicks Off

While many San Franciscans will be headed out to The Playa for Burning Man this weekend, I am excited about staying home. Why? Because of all the slowfoodnation events this weekend, of course. I have tickets for the tasting pavillion, and plan to hit up the Civic Center as well. Undecided about the workshops-- may just wait and see what is available once I arrive at Fort Mason. Are you going?

Save the Date: CUESA's 2008 Sunday Supper to be Held October 5

Every year, the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA), the folks responsible for the wondrous Ferry Plaza Farmers Market's home at the Ferry Building, holds a bountiful benefit dinner dubbed "the Sunday Supper."

Featuring 50+ of the Bay Area’s best chefs, a dozen regional wineries, two local distilleries, and sustainable farmers from across the state, diners enjoy an hors d'oeuvre reception with 20 hors d'oeuvres stations and a wide variety of cocktails , followed by a four-course meal that highlights the region's delicious artisan-produced foods.

One of these years I am going to brave the crowds for this.

How We Eat Lecture Series at The Commonwealth Club

In conjunction with the slowfoodnation events, The Commonwealth Club has been hosting How We Eat, a series of food related lectures. A few of the ones coming up piqued my interest.

Monday, August 25th @ 5:15 pm
Jenni Ferrari-Adler
Alone in the Kitchen with Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone

Is there a stigma about eating alone? We all cook alone at one point or another. Jenni Ferrari-Adler lets us know that other people are as hung up on it as we are. Her essays make good company: They're meant to inspire, entertain, comfort and provide practical help in the form of recipes for one. Please note: This event will take place at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor. Admission is free for members, $8 for non-members. Check-in is at 4:45 pm. For reservations and information, please call 415-597-6705.

Tuesday, August 26th @ 6:00 pm
Marion Nestle and Davia Nelson
Pet Food Politics and Hidden Kitchens

There's more than meets the eye in that box of Meow Mix. The pet food industry links matters as diverse as global food safety, health policy, international trade, and corporate and governmental influence. Marion Nestle's examination of the 2007 pet food recall developed into an expose that revealed glaring gaps in food safety between the United States and the developing countries that produce the food. She will speak about her research, which follows tainted pet food from its source in China to its destination—feed for pigs, chickens and fish in the United States. Please note: This event will take place at the Commonwealth Club, 595 Market Street, 2nd Floor. Admission is $12 for members,  $18 for non-members. Check-in is at 5:30 pm. For reservations and information, please call 415-597-6705.

Family Winemakers 2008 San Francisco tasting event

Fw2008 It's time for my favorite San Francisco wine tasting event of the year -- Family Winemakers of California Taste 2008.

Not as overwhelming as the ZAP! zinfandel tasting, and with varietals ranging from marsanne to sangiovese, to viogner and back again. This is the place where I have found all sorts of new lovse -- like the Heidrun sparkling mead at the 2005 tasting.

My only constructive criticism about this event every year is I wish for more non-trade tasting hours. Take a look at the printer-friendly version of the participating wineries list and start planning your limited time now.

Personally, my hit list would include:

Sunday, August 24
12:30-2:00 p.m. open to the trade only
2:00-6:00 p.m. open to the public and the trade
Monday, August 25

1:00-6:00 p.m. open to the trade only
Fort Mason Center
TICKETS: Ticket price is $45 in advance, $40 for groups of 10 or more, $55 day of the event, plus ticket fees.

slowfoodnation taste workshops

SO many great sounding events. It's going to be tough to pick just a few...

slow food nation Taste Workshops

Saturday, August 30; 10:00am - 9:00pm | Sunday, August 31; 10:00am - 9:00pm | Cost: $10 - $20 each | Fort Mason Center, Building C

In-depth guided gastronomical and educational experiences led by experts and food producers who share the stories behind the taste.

Each workshop is one-hour long.

Saturday Taste Workshop Schedule

  • 10:00 – 11:00am
    Presidium Coffee Cupping
    Throw a “Slowtail” Party for 6 Friends for Under $60
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm
    The Apple in the Pig’s Mouth
    Rare Flavors of the South
  • 2:00 – 3:00pm
    Tasting California Olive Oil
    American Artisan Cheeses and Microbrews
  • 4:00 – 5:00pm
    Bounty from the Midwest
    Heritage Pork and Sparkling Mead
  • 6:00 – 7:00pm
    Sustainable Stories: Associations of Wine and Food
    Slow Wine & Food Pairings
  • 8:00 – 9:00pm
    Coro Mendocino Wines & Organic Cheeses
    Celebrating American Raw Milk Cheese

Sunday Taste Workshop Schedule

  • 10:00 – 11:00am
    Exploring Coffee and Chocolate Pairings
    Slow Food Meals on a Budget
  • 12:00 – 1:00pm
    Fermented Delicacies
    Northwestern Sips & Morsels
  • 2:00 – 3:00pm
    Mendocino Pinot Noir
    Heirloom Tomatoes with Wines from Lodi
  • 4:00 – 5:00pm
    A Traditional Taste of Southwest Heritage Foods
    Eat It To Save It, Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste
  • 6:00 – 7:00 pm
    Slow Sips & Charcuterie Snacking
    Biodynamic Wines
  • 8:00 – 9:00 pm
    Slow Spirits

SF Cocktail Week

It's been cold and gray in the City off and on for the past few days. But news of the upcoming SF Cocktail week certainly warms my cold, libations-loving heart.

Held May 13-19, and ranging from the free cocktail at the "opening gala", to the cocktail-themed dinners around town on the 15th, it's enough to get me to pull no a sweater and venture out on a weeknight. I'm most tempted by the $15 demonstration of cocktail techniques at the Ferry Building on Wednesday the 14th. Get your tickets through Brown Paper Tickets.


Dine About Town Returns to SF

Once you've recovered from the holidays' overabundance of food, you'll be ready for SF's Dine About Town, January 15-31 2008. If you're new to this annual event, it gives you an excuse to try out one of the City's restaurants at a reduced price. The 3-course Dine About Town menu at the participating restaurants goes for $21.95 lunches, $31.95 dinners. My recommendation from the list is Maya, one of the city's best showcases of fine Mexican cuisine (i.e. this is a place for great mole, not for a burrito.)

Eat Local Challenge in September

My work schedule, combined with our online game's raiding schedule, means it would be pretty hard for me to participate in a month-long "Eat Local" challenge. There's just no way to be sure everything my local Indian delivery place makes comes from locally sourced ingredients, and making dinner at 10 p.m. is not fun for anyone.)

But the September "Eat Local" challenge, which is being co-hosted by Locavores, bears that in mind and gives slackers like me more ways to get into the spirit -- even if we're a few days short on our locally eating. Other ways you can get involved include:

  • Blog about the easy and hard parts of eating locally -- either in your own blog or by sendng posts to their challenge blog
  • Support the challenge by adding the logo to your blog
  • Post photos of your local meals and farmers markets to their flickr group
  • Commit to making 1 all-loacl meal every week in September

Visit the Eat Local Challenge website for more details.

Dine About Town

I am always super excited about the Dine About Town promotion each January in San Francisco. A whole month with reduced prices for 3-course lunches ($21.95) and dinners ($31.95) at a slew of restaurants around town. It usually provides an excellent excuse to catch up with friends after the holidays, or get together a work group for lunch.

But after spending most of a lunch hour pouring over the list of participating restaurants downtown, and their menus, I was bummed. Too many places were offering chicken dishes that remind me of conference banquet food as one of their two entree choices. There weren't that many new places downtown either.

Bah Humbug!

2005 Family Winemakers Tasting

For the first time in half a decade, I attended the Family Winemakers Tasting as a paying guest, rather than volunteering. The plus to paying the $35 in advance tasting fee, rather than tasting and then working a shift, was being able to leisurely taste, with my significant other in tow. The downside, other than the cost, is my notes were less comprehensive than they tend to be when I taste on my own. But I think it was the right decision all around.

The most interesting find of the event was the Heidrun sparkling mead. The avocado sparkling mead actually had a hint of avocados, while the Starthistle sparkling mead tasted as sweet and thick as the everyday Starthistle honey from Marshall's at the Farmers' Market. The one that really won me over, however, was the Ventura County Wildflower sparkling mead which had plenty of effervescence but was a little drier than the others we sampled. I am tempted to buy a case of it to give as holiday gifts this year.

To make navigating the several hundred winery tables more manageable, we decided to focus on Pinot Noir. Exceptions were made only for wineries I love. Interestingly, these exceptions pretty much proved to be less enticing than the newcomer/new-to-me wineries.

On the disappointment side, I wasn't a fan of the 2001 release of the Astrale y Terra "Arcturus" Bordeaux blend which has historically been one of my favorite wines. I was bummed when they discontinued their merlot a few years back, but this blend had made up for it. Another disappointment was Turley's Dusie Ranch zinfandel, which my notes recount as both weird and unpleasant. I'd fallen in love with Turley over a dinner at Delfina a few years back, but haven't tasted anything from them in the past 2 years that can keep that flame alive.

Some favorites:

  • Davis Bynum Winery pinot noir. Made from organic grapes from 7 Russian River vineyards. Nice spicy cherry and plum.
  • Derbès Wines was probably my favorite producer at this event, and a winery I knew nothing about prior to tasting them. Their Les Pinots, a pinot noir and pinot meunier blend, was an outstanding, yummy juicy wine that would be a welcome addition to any dinner. And their pinot noir., which is due to release in November, was lovely, full-bodied and dense. I think I may buy one of each to take with me for Thanksgiving dinner, as these are special wines.
  • Flora Springs had two blends that we tasted. Their always lovely, though pricey, Trilogy was luscious and dark with lots of berry, while the Poggio del Papa, a Sangiovese-based blend, was a lighter, more spicy blend with a delightful floral nose.
  • Fritz's pinot noir was lighter than most of the others we tasted, but still had some dark fruit, but was not at all spicy.
  • Navarro has become a default choice when I want a pinot noir and nam not familiar with anything else on the list, and with good reason. They're consistently good, and under $30 retail.
  • Opolo Vineyards was another new-to-me winery. Like Fritz, they had a lighter pinot noir, but it had a spicy kick to it.
  • Paul Hobbs Winery had a 2003 pinot noir that had some effervescence backed up with dark cherry.
  • Pisoni Vineyards and Winery had a medium bodied Gary's Vineyard pinot noir that I liked quite a bit.
  • Roar Wines was another new favorite, with a spicy Gary's Vineyard pinot noir that, unfortunately, is sold out at the winery.
  • Robert Sinskey's 2002 pinot noir was pretty light with an interesting candy nose and a a dry finish.
  • Toad Hall Cellars was new to the tasting, and had an awesome light, spicy 2003 Carneros pinot noir that had hints of Oak.
  • Truchard is an old favorite that hadn't impressed me my last few times tasting at their winery. This time around, however, their La Storia meritage caught my attention, with its smooth, dark berries.

This tasting was not as crowded as the ZAP! annual tasting, which I attend regardless due to my love of zinfandel. There still wasn't a lot of elbow room, but for the most part you did not have to wait very long to receive pours, and the lines at the cheese and cracker stations were also manageable.

Save the Date: next year's Family Winemakers tasting will be August 20, again at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco.

Another Bay Area Foodie Fundraiser

Open Table is one of the partners promoting a special charitable dining out event, Restaurants for Relief, on September 27, in which restaurants nationwide donate a portion of their dinner sales to Share our Strength's Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. Participating Bay Area restaurants include Boulevard, Bacar, paul k, Jeanty at Jack's, Indigo, Home, Foreign Cinema, and A16. See Open Table's full list.

A Year of Fine Dining for $20

CUESA, the folks who put on the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, are having an amazingly clever (and tasty!) raffle in conjunction with their annual fundraising dinner this year. A $20 Raffle ticket buys you a chance to win one of three packages of gift certificates for 12 dinners around town.

The drawing will be held at their Sunday Supper on October 2, though you need not be present to win. Tickets are available at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Information Booth or by calling 415.291.3276 x.103.

Participating restaurants include:                                  

Boulangerie Bay Bread
Café Rouge
Campton Place
Chez Nous
Chez Panisse
Fleur De Lys
Lark Creek Inn
Le Charm
One Market
Ritz Carlton
Rose Pistola
Teatro ZinZanni
the girl and the fig
Town Hall
Zuni Café