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Adel of a wine shop!

Picture005On our way back from a lovely afternoon of croquet, the lot of us decided to make a pit stop, grab some wine and head back to one of our places for further revelry. Coming up 17th Street toward the Castro, M noted that a certain wine store en route was surprisingly good. Three of us headed in, leaving the remaining three in idling cars outside.

It didn’t take long for us to discover that Adel’s has a remarkable selection. We migrated quickly into the Italians, digging deep to find a haphazard Barolo or Barbaresco. J asked the fella behind the counter if there were any other Italians, and he steered us upstairs — the library. We were astonished by the selection of well-aged, sometimes rare and always well-selected wines. There were few true bargains to be had, but when else are you going to find ’89, ’94, ’97 and ’01 Ridge zins still on the rack?

To appease the impatient idlers out front I sent the above picture via cell to my other half. The reply: Ar1

Adel’s Wine Cellar
1400 Cole St, at 17th

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Sticky wickets

CroquetOne of the things I love most about San Francisco is that spring starts in January with the first blossoming of the black plums, and it’s not uncommon to have the occasional 70┬║ day in February. Somewhat spontaneously, we hooked up with some friends for an afternoon of croquet in Golden Gate Park. (Yeah, I know — only a bunch of homosexuals would be out playing croquet on Super Bowl Sunday!) I won the first round, which is an anomaly, as I generally pretty much suck at croquet. The second round I was so far behind I eventually went on a suicide mission after the poison ball just to put myself and others out of my misery.

Of course, when playing croquet, there is but one cocktail that is uniquely suited to the task: the Pimm’s Cup. Pimm’s is a gin-based liqueur, dark in color and with an herbal and slightly bitter taste. But when you mix it with ginger ale, a squeeze of lemon and a cucumber spear, it becomes a most civilized and quaffable concoction. White V-neck sweater optional.

Pimm’s Cup
2 parts Pimm’s No. 1
3 parts ginger ale
Squeeze of lemon
1 spear cucumber, peeled and seeded

Assemble ingredients over ice and stir with cucumber spear.

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Food blogger smackdown!

Tonight the Commonwealth Club is hosting a member-led forum, Food Bloggers Face Off. I’m intrigued, and intend to go if I can extricate myself from the office in time. The name of the event does make me chuckle, though, equating food blogging with hockey. Will the oven gloves come off? Will it end in an orgy of chipped teeth and fallen souffl├ęs? There’s only one way to find out. The panel comprises:

BRUCE COLE, Blogger, Saute Wednesday
HEIDI SWANSON, Blogger, 101 Cookbooks
PIM TECHAMUANVIVIT, Blogger, Chez Pim
ALDER YARROW, Blogger, Vinography
AMANDA BERNE, Food Writer, San Francisco Chronicle – Moderator

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Cocktails by the pitcher

MargaritaWe love to entertain, and go to great lengths to make sure we’re not slaves to the kitchen when the party starts. For a particularly ambitious event last year, we concocted a few foolproof cocktail recipes that can be made up by the pitcher. This makes it easy on you — and your guests. By giving them ready-made options, it limits the amount of mess from people mixing up their own drinks. For our party we set up the pitchers with little signs, plus bowls full of appropriate garnishes on the side. We’ve even taken to mixing one up to kick off dinner parties. You can buy good lime juice (you want unsweetened, not Rose’s) by the bottle in the Mission for like a buck. I always cut them with a bit of club soda to extend and make them a little less boozy. The recipes are a little strong, but they’re meant to be served on the rocks, so they dilute quickly.

Cosmopolitans
1 1/2 c. vodka
1 1/2 c. cranberry juice
1 c. Cointreau
1 c. lime juice
1/2 can club soda

Margaritas
2 c. tequila
2 c. lime juice
1 c. Cointreau
1 c. (scant) symple syrup
1/2 can club soda
Salt or no salt on the rim — wars have been fought over more trivial matters. Try salting only half the rim (see pic). That way, people can choose whether to sip from the salty side, and it looks cute besides.

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New noshing in Noe?

As our friend and realtor Matt Lanning picked up in his blog, a moratorium that prevented new restaurant licenses from being granted in Noe Valley has been lifted. According to this month’s Noe Valley Voice, three new licenses will be granted for the business district along 24th Street. Adding to that Miss Millie’s pending departure for Oakland creates potential for four new eateries in the ‘hood.

The law was put in place 20 years ago, with the intent of preventing chain restaurants from invading the neighborhood. I think it’s plain that the local population will not tolerate a Denny’s on 24th Street.

I’m pleased. Having lived on the periphery of the Mission for 11 years, I find Noe Valley somewhat lacking in the resto department. I do like Incanto, Le Zinc and Hamano in particular, but on the whole look forward to any additions to the dining scene. Hopefully they will not be plagued by the same abysmal service issues that affect the most recent addition Fresca.

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