Thoughtul Gourmet Blog

A day of power shopping at Westfield Center, San Francisco, requires regular breaks for sustenance and rest for weary feet. At TAP 415, retail therapy can be quickly and deliciously interrupted in as little as 20 minutes or as long as a baseball game (i.e. all day). Brought to you by the team that turned 25 Lusk into a downtown drinks with eats destination, TAP 415 serves up American favorites in...

Benjamin Cooper's Z.I.M.A.Do you remember ZIMA? ZIMA, the smash hit easy-drinking malt beverage delivered to the world from Coors Brewing Company (now Miller Coors) in 1994, is with us no more (Coors discontinued it years ago) but a mini-revival in the clear, citrusy beverage is well underway. To wit, Brian Felley & Mo Hodges, owners and drink-slingers extraordinaire at the just-opened...

With Christianity’s high holy days just weeks away, wine is on my mind. Wine, a part of Christian religious traditions since its earliest days, deserves a place at holiday tables. A wine made from grapes grown in and around an Italian monastery and used in religious feasts? Bingo!  I recently sampled two wines made near Montefalco in Umbria, Sagrantino de Montefalco and Montefalco Rosso...

You know you have come across a one-of-a-kind restaurant when you and your dining companions speak of the uniqueness of  the experience from the moment you sit down and drape the napkin across your lap until the moment you leave, then continue the conversation on the way home and in bed that night. The Palace, the work of chef Manny Torres Gimenez and his wife, Katerina de Torres, is a...

Stepping onto the grounds at the Cairdean Estate is, at first glance, unremarkable. To the right of the parking lot, heavy machinery stands in front of a wide building. To the left, a series of low-slung buildings sit quietly, as if waiting for something to happen. There is little noise, other than the occasional whoosh of passing cars. Walk into the Estate’s main area, however, and you...

Gluten free oatmeal is nothing new but oatmeals boosted with the nutritive power of matcha are are a new edition to the cereal market. The work of sisters Annette Downing and Susan Downes, Matcha Marketplace is a line of simply seasoned, not too sweet oatmeals. Made with gluten-free rolled oats, the oatmeals are available with or without sugar, each larded with the green tea known as matcha...

Mendocino is known for its laid-back style and all-natural approach. The area’s food scene reflects the innate casualness of the community – everyone is welcome here – yet there are good choices for even the most discriminating diner. For a complete look at my family’s recent visit to Mendocino, take a look at the video.MendocinoBegin your Mendocino adventure in the lounge at the 5200 Restaurant...

Raclette, a dish served during the chilly Alpine winters of Switzerland, Austria, Germany and France, is cheese heated until it begins to melt and bubble. There is a special grill for the dish; sausages and potatoes are placed on top to sear while paddles filled with cheese are placed underneath the heat source. Required in my house are the traditional accompaniments of pickled onions, cornichons...

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