Loews Regency San Francisco Rooftop Bar

On The Blackboard: August 29

By Trevor Felch

Cala’s second anniversary festivities
It’s hard to believe that it was just two years ago that Gabriela Cámara made her SF debut with Cala—the Hayes Valley coastal Mexican restaurant has already become such a citywide fixture. On September 12, 13, and 14, Cala is hosting three mezcal dinner pairings with Amaras Mezcal, now part of SF’s own Anchor Distilling spirits group. Then on September 15, Cala is hosting a late night Electro-cumbia party starting at 10 p.m. that surely will be hopping into the wee hours. The anniversary party is $50 a head, or $120 with the pairings dinner.
Neighborhood: Hayes Valley MAP

Meet the winemaker at Alta MSP
Start the holiday weekend with the third edition of Alta MSP’s (Minnesota Street Project) Meet the Winemaker series, from 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, September 1. Guest of honor Damien Reusch of Phifer Pavitt Winery in Calistoga will be on hand-pouring a 2013 cabernet sauvignon and 2016 sauvignon blanc for guests. The price for the tasting is also very right (free!). Then enjoy the delightfully messy cheeseburger and brown rice puffs with avocado dip from Alta MSP chef—they’re not free, but definitely worth staying for.
Neighborhood: Dogpatch MAP

Taste of Sonoma

Taste of Sonoma
Barbecue is always the headliner for Labor Day, but this year the long weekend is all about wine. One of the year’s key tasting events takes place at Rohnert Park’s Green Music Center at Sonoma State: a weekend of food and wine festivities hosted by the Sonoma Vintners. Friday and Sunday are devoted to special lunches and dinners with winemakers, while the big event is Saturday, September 2. From noon to 4 p.m., thousands of wines from all over the many appellations of Sonoma County will be poured, alongside plenty of food made with Sonoma County ingredients. The weekend is rounded out with wine tours with sommeliers, blind tastings, and more special events.
Neighborhoods: Sonoma MAP

Amaro Apertivo at Locanda
Amaro is one of the major trends at restaurants and bars across the Bay Area, and while they are delicious, they’re just as difficult to wrap your head around—there are just so many genres and types and tastes, with bitter, sweet, and anything in between. To help you figure it all out, SF is fortunate to have one of Italy’s marquee amaro makers, Guiseppe Librizzi of Amara Amaro, visiting the city and ready to talk everything amaro. Amara comes from Sicily and is made with the island’s beloved blood oranges. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, September 13, when Giuseppe will be at the Mission’s excellent Roman destinations, Locanda, for an apertivo hour from 5:30 to 7 p.m. There will be cocktails aplenty, plus Amara-inspired snacks—and the golden opportunity to learn about this specialty from near the slopes of volcanic Mount Etna.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Alba Ray's

Lunch and brunch at Alba Ray’s
Can’t make it to the French Quarter before summer ends? Luckily, the Mission’s swinging NOLA destination is now open in the daytime, so you don’t have to wait until dinner for beignets and a Sazerac. The Wednesday to Friday lunch menu stars sandwiches like po’ boys on the legitimate Leidenheimer’s French bread (the loaf used by the best po’ boy purveyors in the real Big Easy) and a cold cuts stacked muffuletta on a house-made bun. A word of caution: Martinis are just $1 on Fridays. Weekend brunch takes on more of a morning bent with a red beans loco moceaux (white rice, red bean gravy, two sunny eggs, and house-made Andouille), a crawfish omelette, and requisite cocktails, like a superb spicy bloody mary and an elegant French 75.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Duna celebrates all things vinegar
Nic Balla and Cortney Burns’ Central European restaurant on Valencia welcomes writer and photographer Michael Harlan Turkell for a one night-only family-style dinner celebrating his new book about the unique world of vinegar titled Acid Trip: Travels in the World of Vinegar. For $58, diners can look forward to a three-course—but somewhere between 8 to 12 dishes—feast with a variety of house-made vinegars (2014 peach and honey vinegar! 2013 blood orange vinegar!) on Saturday September 9. Duna is, of course, a fitting spot for this dinner because of Balla and Burns’ citywide reputation for being champions of everything fermented, and their extensive larder.
Neighborhood: Mission MAP

Itani Ramen

Itani Ramen expands menu
The name might say ramen but chef-owner Kyle Itani is really turning his year-old Uptown Oakland restaurant into a destination izakaya—that also happens to have terrific ramen on the menu. Dinner is going from counter-service to full-service (lunch remains fast-casual), with a menu that places a heavier emphasis on izakaya bites, ranging from miso black cod grilled on a magnolia leaf to wrap-your-own tuna hand rolls to some of the Bay Area’s standout house-made gyoza dumplings. The décor revamp shifted the bright, buzzy restaurant towards a more traditional Japanese style to contrast with the modern original interior, along with wood-slatted windows and wooden slat screens at the door. A full liquor license will go into effect in the fall, so cocktails are a “coming soon” reason to keep the restaurant on your radar for a night out in this bustling neighborhood or after a show at the Fox Theater.
Neighborhood: Oakland MAP

Loews Regency San Francisco Rooftop Bar
There aren’t many 40 story skyscrapers in this city, and there also aren’t many rooftop bars in SF, but the two come together at the latest high altitude cocktail destination in the FiDi: the recently unveiled “Spirits in the Sky,” a pop-up bar currently running on the 40th floor of the Loews Regency San Francisco. The menu continually rotates and includes a fascinating cocktail smoker—that means you can have a barbecue tasting drink even without mezcal involved. This is no everyday happy hour spot; hours are just 4:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Let’s all collectively ask Karl the Fog to stay away those three nights of the week so guests can sip cocktails with a special sunset and sky view with spirits in hand.
Neighborhood: FiDi MAP

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