If the mustache is the measure of a bartender in San Francisco, then the mustache on Craig Lane is the one that every old-hand and newcomer has looked up to since he graced Bar Agricole with his dapper presence in 2010. Ok, maybe it's not so much the mustache, but rather, his near 20 years of cocktailing experience that's the real reason behind his behind-the-bar prowess...but we all know the mustache certainly doesn't hurt. In all sincerity, it's not the mustache or the experience that really separates him from the other distinguished talent in this city. Nor is it the impeccable quality of every drink that he pours - quality is clearly a given here. It's his personable persona, his depth of knowledge, and the way in which every move he makes shows the pride he has in his chosen profession. With many a mixologist in this city, Craig Lane is truly an industry all-star...Continue Reading
You know what I find most exciting about dining out? It's not the dressing up, or chatting with industry folk, or even laughing with close friends. It's the unknown. Whether it be not knowing what's on the menu before walking in the door, ordering a tasting menu dotted with unexpected treats, or flying blind and leaving my meal in the hands of the chef, the things that take me by surprise are the things that stand out the most. So, unlike the typical diner who becomes a regular because of one or two particular dishes that keep them coming back for more, I keep going back to my favorite restaurants because I have no idea what will be on the menu next. All of my favorite restaurants constantly evolve, and there is no better example of evolution than Aziza.
Anyone who has dined at Aziza in recent years knows that, other than its location, the restaurant has undergone some radical changes. The menu moved away from being tied to traditional Moroccan food to one which embraced California cuisine from a Moroccan angle. What that means, in less generic language, is that less emphasis was put on staying true to the exact ingredients necessary to create traditional Moroccan flavors and more was put into building a Moroccan flavor profile using local, seasonal ingredient. Little by little, this shift in philosophy transformed the restaurant's cuisine into what I fell in love with (and wrote about) back in April of last year. Now, over one year later, I'm compelled to write again because, after 10 years, this evolution is still happening: portions are more refined, the proportion of each ingredient on the plate is more balanced, the presentation is, well, exquisite, and the food itself? Let me tell you, it's only getting better...Continue Reading
I've lived in San Francisco for the past four years, a period of time which I fondly refer to as my prime drinking years. I don't say this to give the impression that I'm just a drunken party animal, at least not all the time. I'm pointing this out because when you think about it, there's a pretty large drinking evolution that takes places from your early to mid-twenties. For example, I used to call Blondies and Beauty Bar my favorite bars in the City. I also used to pre-party, down shots, and not know what the hell a "well drink" was. But like most people, my appreciation for good wine, thoughtful cocktails, and bars where you can move without getting mauled by some sweaty, drunk chick, has grown. Not just grown, it's blossomed. After four years of trying a majority of the City's most respected bars, I'm now happy to say that I have a go-to spot where the cocktails are crafted and the people are adults. That bar is none other but Bar Agricole...Continue Reading
I would skip the food car on Amtrak and take the RN74 any day of the week. The restaurant was clearly decorated with the Route Nationale 74 (french road/railway that goes through Burgundy) theme in mind. With luggage tags around the napkins, numbered tables, french dialogue playing in the bathrooms, and a wine board that actually flips like the signs in a train station, the attention to detail (at least in terms of design) is impressive to say the least...
I originally wrote this review 2 weeks after the opening of clock bar (a hot new spot with fancy cocktails!? Of course I was eager to try!), and since have been back twice - mainly because of its convenient location and fairly extensive cocktail menu. Unfortunately however, my original comments have applied to every experience I've had here, so I'm not inclined to do much editing...