Cellar Rat: Read all about my first harvest season here.
When the price of a burrito in Healdsburg bypassed that of a burrito in the Mission, I knew it was time to hightail it from my hometown to the big city. That was four years ago, and I hadn’t pictured heading up north again any time soon. This summer, though, I was offered a job as a seasonal cellar worker . . . Read more
Buenos Aires, city of elegant contradictions.
Beautiful, decrepit, hedonistic, and temperate. Buenos Aires is a city of charming contradictions. You’ve heard about the steak and the Malbec, but . . . Read more
Meaty meat for discerning meat-lovers—offal, charcuterie, pork belly, steaks—had another strong year in 2007. London’s Fergus Henderson’s newest offal missive, Beyond Nose to Tail, was published. In-house charcuterie programs at restaurants such as the reopening Pestalozzi Place (St. Louis), the newly meat-centric Earth & Ocean (Seattle), and the new Proof (DC) showed a meaty art form that’s as healthy as ever. Chris Cosentino, a San Francisco chef whose love of offal has led him to create dishes like blood gelato, got a star turn (albeit a losing one) on Iron Chef. Awareness of meat-oriented Community Supported Agriculture harvest co-ops grew: In Berkeley and Boston, among other places, members purchase shares in an animal that’s raised sustainably and slaughtered humanely, a commitment that’s more expensive, substantial, and rewarding than buying a few pounds of meat from a grocery store. And the journal Meatpaper launched, with arty, well-written features tapping into the zeitgeist.
Driving down clogged Highway 29 through California’s Napa Valley, it’s impossible not to notice how each winery tries to be bigger, better, and more expensively European than the next. Fake Tudor mansions neighbor Tuscan-ish “villas,” which sit next to concrete “chateaus.” Since the 1980s, Napa has become a competition of ostentation. Ingredients in restaurant dishes are outnumbered only by the guests frantic for a reservation; wineries hawk their wares for the price of a small car; and everyone seems to think that the bad oil painting/metal sculpture/puffy paint sweater for sale is redeemed by the fact that its subject is a grapevine.Sure, Napa can be a corny alcoholic playground, but it’s also one of the most geographically beautiful areas of the country. There’s great food, wine, and even art. Napa is an expensive place to visit, there’s no getting around it. But it’s entirely possible to pick your battles.Here’s our guide to the other Napa: restaurants that aren’t overpriced or overly touristy, wineries where it’s possible to have an intimate tasting experience, bars where waiters go to drink, taquerias where Mexican vineyard workers eat lunch, and gorgeous picnic spots.