SF Chefs. Food. Wine. SKYY Cocktail Competition Announces Finalists

24 07 2009

Six of the Bay Area’s finest bartenders made it through the qualifying round for the Skyy’s the Limit Cocktail Competition after their Campari cocktails beat out the competition.  Whether due to the versatility of Campari or the local talent of San Francisco’s finest, there was not a bad cocktail to be found in the mix — competition was fierce.  Judge and celebrated chef Joey Altman commented, “I have to say that even being a Campari drinker I was blown away by how versatile Campari was in the hands of these amazing bartenders! From Ginger to Black Berry, From Rye to Tequila, each drink was distinctive and delicious!”.  Other judges were Danny Ronen, creator of the BIT for Tasting Panel Magazine, and industry veteran Steven Oliver.  The judges enjoyed the competition so much that they each agreed to judge during the main event, Altman is also the entertainment for the SF Chefs. Food. Wine. Urban BBQ with his Back Burner Blues Band.

After sipping all the cocktails the judges came up with the top six who will compete live in the tent at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. August 6 and 7, 2009.  The two top mixologists chosen from these two judgings will go head to head on the final day of SF Chefs. Food. Wine. to receive the title of Best Cocktail of SF Chefs. Food. Wine. 2009.  Each of the rounds in the tent will include a secret ingredient to be unveiled live to the contestants, so the challenge is even greater.

Cocktails will really take center stage at SF Chefs. Food. Wine. at classes, the main tent and especially the Opening Reception featuring some of the greatest “Bar Stars” and the Saturday Night Urban BBQ on Union Square.  The concert will highlight nine of San Francisco’s best cocktail bars, all under one roof!  Sample from 15 Romolo, Bar Agricole, Bourbon and Branch, Cantina, Conduit, Elixir, NOPA, Rye and Smuggler’s Cove.   Get a taste of San Francisco spirit!  Straight, Stirred or Shaken!


SKYY Campari Cocktail Winners Moving on to the TENT at SF Chefs. Food. Wine.

Scott Baird (15 Romolo) for the Spaghetti Western

Joel Baker (Bourbon and Branch) for Lucia Bosé

Borys Saciuk for the Zapatista

Brandon Skaggs (Cortez Restaurant and Bar) for the Famer’s Crush

Carlo Splendorini (Gitane Restaurant and Bar) for The Black Ginger Dutchman

Nick Varacalli for Oscar’s O.J.

 For complete recipes go to www.sfchefsfoodwine.com

Buy tickets now!  Readers of my blog receive a discount, enter friendsfamily09 at checkout.


Visa Signature® is the presenting sponsor.  From benefits that save time to benefits that help to safeguard purchases, Visa Signature helps cardholders get the most out of life. In addition to a choice of numerous airline, hotel and other premium reward partners, cardholders enjoy access to around-the-clock complimentary concierge services; epicurean events and reservations at the hottest restaurants; premium merchant offers; and access to exclusive events such as the Olympics, Super Bowl and the Tony Awards, as well as preferred access and seating at local sporting events, concerts and movie screenings. Visa Signature cardholders receive special perks and savings at SF Chefs.Food.Wine.

SF CHEFS. FOOD. WINE. is the premiere interactive urban food and wine weekend experience set in the epicenter of culinary innovation – celebrating notable chefs, vintners, culinary personalities, regional ingredients and Northern Californian flair. Union Square, August 6-9, 2009. More information can be found at http://www.sfchefsfoodwine.com.

San Francisco Food Nation

3 09 2008

I went by the Slow Food Nation events this weekend just to check it out and see what the deal was.  I had trouble getting in as press (Rebecca Chapa’s life on the D List coming soon), as they were overbooked, but was able to help the spirits folks out as a volunteer on Saturday.  The Slow Food group is near and dear to my heart as they sponsored me and nine other New Yorkers to head to Piedmont, Italy for a twenty-one day stint, back in 1993.  We visited and tasted through the regions best wineries and wrecked havoc on the area, but that’s a story for another time.  They took such great care of us, so I am glad to see them making strides in the U.S.

San Francisco is clearly the right place to hold such an event, we tend to have great consideration for the environment, interest in where our food comes from is almost second nature, so it is not a far stretch to get some avid foodies to an event like this.  It was a hard choice, but I did pull myself away from the SF Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market for a Saturday and headed to Civic Center to check out the free offerings of Slow Food.  Things got off to a bit of a late start, but we were able to stroll around the gorgeous Victory Garden, and we came across my favorite Huarache Loco stand that was already open at 10 am, so we got our Blue Bottle New Orleans Style Iced Coffees (without the lines we normally experience at the Farmer’s Market) and ate our delicious blue corn huaraches.  The stands were a bit random, for example our favorite Happy Girl Kitchen Co., from whom we normally get an amazing heirloom tomato salsa, was only serving pickles.  It seemed to me more an exhibition than a realistic food market, as my friend Marcia at www.Tablehopper.com said, there were no eggs to be found.  We found ourselves running off with some corn, a tomato (no basil that I could find) and some great books we picked up at the Point Reyes Books booth.

Then I headed off to Fort Mason to check out the rest of the event.  At the entrance of the pavilion one was immediately struck by a snail made out of bread and the aroma of a clay oven.  Inside the displays were gorgeous, the area was divided into many small sub areas featuring different commodities, honey, pickling, ice cream, charcuterie (I couldn’t even get close), spirits, wine, chocolate, coffee, etc.  Volunteers were not allowed to taste the food, and that was just as well considering there were long lines at most booths, but the displays were stunning.  Possibly the most organized area was Spirits where tasters lined up to try a variety of cocktails and cocktail and spirit folk were on hand to answer questions.  Julio Bermejo of Tommy’s Mexican restaurant helped answer tequila questions.  Well-known SF bar owner Greg Lindgren (Romolo, Rye and Rosewood) was on hand managing the flow and seemed to have it under control.  Another area that seemed very organized and efficient was the beer pavilion.  Outdoors it was breezy but sunny and Dave McLean, brewmaster at Magnolia was on hand to offer tasting advice.  Three beer trucks provided beers from draft, cask or bottle.  He spent some time with us discussing the cost of hops and its effects on small brewers.  Overall it was a great day, highlighted by food, spirits and people who get as excited about them as I do.  Thanks to Carlo Petrini for bringing this movement to the US.  www.slowfoodusa.org