Virginia Miller

Appetite: Food, drink and urban hunting


Welcome to Appetite, a new column on food and drink. A long-time San Francisco resident and writer, I’m passionate about this incomparable city, obsessed with finding and exploring its best spots, deals, events and news. I started with my own service and monthly food/drink/travel newsletter, The Perfect Spot , and will pass along up-to-the minute news.


Sumi Sushi reinvents a Castro classic

Sumi Hirose’s restaurant, Sumi, was a Castro stalwart for over 20 years, only recently shuttered. But Sumi is back in the same cozy space, reincarnated as Sumi Sushi, a 20-seat sushi joint with a gold and black color scheme. The menu offers playful rolls like “The Spicy Girl,” plus sashimi or savory cooked plates like bacon-wrapped scallops, and 20 sakes show up on the drink list to pair with sushi. It feels right that the space should stay with the same person – we all need a little reinvention from time to time.
4243 18th Street

Cocktail events:

Feb. 18 – Winter Farmers’ Market Cocktail Night at the Ferry Plaza

The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture is hosting an event this Wednesday that gets cocktail fiends like myself all worked up. The all-star bartender line-up: Elixir’s H. Joseph Ehrman, Sierra Zimmei of Seasons Bar at the Four Seasons, Jardiniere’s Brian MacGregor, Greg Lindgren and Jon Gasparini of Rye and Rosewood, 15 Romolo’s Scott Baird, Eric Castro of Bourbon & Branch, Thirsty Bear Brewing Company’s Alex Smith, and more. …

For a $25 admission price (buy tix online), the bartenders will prepare and serve you two full-sized cocktails (a John Collins and an Old Sydneytown Winter Punch) plus 12 samples of seasonally-inspired cocktails while you nosh on bites from restaurant greats like Beretta, Michael Mina, Conduit, Globe and Zuppa. You’ll even be eligible to win bartending and farmers’ market prizes by casting a vote for your fave drink.

Ferry Plaza Building
San Francisco
Or contact Christine Farren, 415-291-3276 x 103

Feb. 21 – Hands-on artisanal cocktail class with Scott Beattie at the Ferry Plaza

As if Wednesday night’s Ferry Plaza cocktail event wasn’t cool enough, Saturday brings author Scott Beattie and distiller Marko Karakasevic for a $25 interactive class on creating three citrus-based drinks (Meyer Beautiful, “Pelo del Perro or “Hair of the Dog” and Bleeding Orange) while learning about small-batch distilling. Beattie, the man behind the masterpiece cocktails at Healdsburg’s best restaurant (and, I think, one of the country’s best), Cyrus , has also written what has quickly become the industry standard on artisanal cocktails: “Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus” (signed copies if you want ’em at the event). Scott doesn’t just throw together a drink, he creates beauty, perfecting the art of the cocktail with cutting edge garnishes, foams and sugar/salt rims (using seasonal fruit and ingredients from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, of course). Karakasevic brings decades of experience as master distiller (and founder) of Domaine Charbay in Napa, well known for their flavored vodkas but also for whiskey, rum, grappa, ruby port, etc. … Sounds like an ideal Saturday afternoon to me.
2-4 pm Ferry Plaza Building
(in CUESA’s Dacor Teaching Kitchen in the North Arcade)


Feb. 19: Learn about tequila for free: Cortez starts its first Coctail College

Cortez’s chic restaurant and bar is the location for a special kind of cocktail class: the free kind! Pay for drinks ordered but otherwise, education is free every third Thursday of the month, starting this week. They’re on the right track with the first workshop: Tequila is the “subject” and bar snacks are supplied to munch as you “study.” Sorry, but you can’t get course credit for this one.

5:30-7 pm
Hotel Adagio
550 Geary

East Bay News:

Zax Tavern morphs into Sidebar

It wasn’t without a sense of loss that locals saw Berkeley long-timer Zax Tavern, close in 2007. But now, after a wait, the Zax crew just opened Sidebar, a gastropub serving surprisingly affordable plates (like stuffed portobello mushrooms, oven-roasted poussin, double-cut pork chops, all in the $6-19 range). The place wins further points by being open pretty much all day. The bar is stocked with plenty of beers on tap or by the bottle and a cocktail menu from none other than Absinthe’s master-mixologist, Johnny Raglin.

542 Grand Avenue Oakland

Peninsula news:

Palo Alto is spruced up with Mayfield Bakery & Cafe

Spruce is the kind of SF restaurant that shows up on Top 10 lists and gets rave reviews. Palo Alto locals or those who head down the Peninsula can hit a brand new second restaurant, Mayfield Bakery and Cafe. It’s a French cafe-style bistro serving lunch and dinner, as well as a cafe issuing coffee and pastries all day long. Yes, Spruce’s quality level remains but the vibe is decidedly more low-key.
Town & Country Village
855 El Camino Real
Palo Alto

Ransom news:

SF’s first urban hunting club? The Bull Moose Hunting Society is here

Um, a club where for only a $50 one time fee to be a part of the club for life, you can learn the ins-and-outs of safe gun use, the permit process, how to clean, gut, butcher and vacuum-seal your meat… and share quality meat tastings with fellow hunters? Can this be San Francisco? If the Bull Moose Hunting Society has anything to say about it, this’ll be a new kind of breed: the urban hunter who conscientiously prepares and shares his/her spoils of wild boar, pheasant and deer. Join BMHS this Thursday, Feb. 19, for their very first ‘meat and greet’ (yes, I know) at the society’s headquarters.

8-10 pm
561 Baker Street # 8
San Francisco
Contact Nick Zigelbaum with questions: