Field Notes: Restaurant, Hotel and Food News

San Francisco

Drink All the Sherry

Thought I am admittedly a little late to the Sherry Week party (it starts today!), this week offers expanded opportunities to explore Spain’s most underrated beverage, including 25 bars around San Francisco with expanded tasting opportunities and other fortified wine-focused fun.

At San Francisco’s best-known sherry- (and vermouth) focused watering hole, El Lopo, you can set up a private sherry tasting with the owner, play Sherry Week Bingo, sign up for a class, or play Sherry-Oke (stand up and sing for $5 glasses of sherry the rest of the evening) any night this week. My go-to karaoke is “Walk Like an Egyptian” by the Bangles but maybe this week, I’ll shake it up with “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” by Julio Igelsias (here he is with Willie Nelson). You can’t really dance to it but maybe a song from a famous Spaniard is right for sipping sherry?

Wine Dinners at the Four Seasons San Francisco

MKT restaurant at Four Seasons San Francisco with iconic city views
MKT restaurant at Four Seasons San Francisco with iconic city views

MKT Restaurant & Bar at Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco is launching a new monthly wine dinner series this month. Leading things off is a collaboration with Merryvale Vineyards on Friday, November 10. Executive chef Ken Tanaka is planning a five-course menu with pairings poured by Merryvale winemaker Andrew Wright.

Menu highlights include:

  • Roasted Beef & Cured Salmon Napoleon with Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay
  • Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir
  • Espresso Crème Brulée with Merryvale Antigua

The panoramic views of downtown from the restaurant’s perch five floors above market Street add to the appeal. Tickets are available via OpenTable.

TyFlo Goes All-in On San Francisco

Chef Tyler Florence is such a recognizable part of the Food Network universe, they don’t even bother updating his page anymore. Never mind, because chef is tackling San Francisco’s downtown restaurant scene in his spare time. Florence, a long-tome San Francisco restaurateur at Wayfare Tavern in the FiDi and Miller & Lux at the Chase Center in Mission Bay, is opening two cafes, one savory, one sweet, to be known as Miller & Lux Provisions, in Union Square. The first opens today (November 6) with a second across the square opening shortly.

Chef also recently took the reins at the former Town Hall in SoMa, with plans to open in early 2024.  Here’s to hoping chef’s popovers are available at each location.

North Bay

Chef Ricky Moore Drops by the CIA in Napa

chef Ricky Moore, photo credit Forrest Mason

The man awarded Best Chef: Southeast by the James Beard Foundation in 2022 for his Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham, NC is coming to Napa. As part of the CIA’s Alumni Guest Chef Series, chef Ricky Moore (class of ’94) will prepare a four-course sustainable farm-to-table dinner at The Grove at Copia in downtown Napa on November 11.

The menu, created in collaboration with Moore’s chef de cuisine, Chef Deborah Mullin, will utilize the bounty of Copia’s gardens and includes:

  • Wood-fired oysters with caramelized fennel and rosemary crumbs
  • Crisp skillet corn flats with braised greens, fatback sauce and garden chow-chow
  • Grilled BBQ-spiced halibut (or cauliflower) or hazelnut and spinach-crusted halibutwith winter squash puree and pomegranate-beet sauce
  • Grapefruit Curd Tart with frangipane-raspberry jam 

Spice up the Veterans’ Day holiday weekend with a reservation.

Calistoga with Food & Wine

The vibe at SolBar at Solage includes comfy couches, perfect for lounging on while sipping wine and eating light bites at Calistoga Wine & Food
The vibe at SolBar at Solage

Calistoga Food & Wine is a one-stop walk-around celebration of the Calistoga food and wine scene. Held on November 18 at Solage Resort & Spa’s onsite restaurant, Solbar, this year’s event reaches a bit deeper into Napa’s food community and includes fare from up- and down-valley restaurants like TRUSS, Lovina, Little Saint, and Bear. Chateau Montelena headlines the more than 30 wineries in attendance. Desserts, by Calistoga’s Fi & Me Baking Co, are 100% gluten-free – yay!

Tickets are here.

South Bay

New Greek Eats in Los Altos

With continuous service from lunch through dinner and live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, Barbayani Taverna in downtown Los Altos is the newest addition to Dino Tekdemir’s restaurant group (Austrian Naschmarkt in Campbell and Palo Alto, Turkish Anatolian Kitchen in Palo Alto). Executive chef/owner Chef Allen Isik’s menu includes regional classics like moussaka, spanakopita, and dolmathes as well as seaside staples like whole fish preparations, Greek lobster linguini, and grilled octopus.

The white-washed space, including a large patio, features bright blue accents, reminiscent of the buildings found along the Greek coast. Greek wines are a prominent feature and yes, ouzo steps in for rum in some of the cocktails, including a mojito. I’m game to try the Greek old-fashioned (Metaxa, orange bitters, and Angostura bitters). 


Field Notes Pause for the Holiday Season

November 20 will be my last Field Notes of 2023. I pivot my blog’s eating and drinking coverage in December to my Foodie, Boozy, Bubblicious and (new!) Cookbook gift guides. Field Notes will resume after the holiday season.