Drink of the Week: Watching the Tequila Sunrise at The Square

Lou Bustamante
The tall, dark, and handsome Tequila Sunrise
Like everything else, cocktails travel in cycles. Drinks that were once standards at your grandparents' and great-grandparents' house became the darlings of the craft cocktail revival, while the drinks your parents enjoyed, became the pariahs. But in recent years, drinks from the '70s and '80s have finally started getting a well-deserved makeover.

Claire Sprouse at The Square (in the old Washington Square Bar & Grill space), was inspired by Rom Fimrite's The Square: The Story of a Saloon to create a menu that issues a pardon and gives new life to those maligned cocktails. "The book outlines the drinking culture in our restaurant space throughout the '70s and '80s, and served as inspiration for our cocktail list," says Sprouse.

See also: Drink of the Week: Getting into a Choke Hold at Tosca
Drink of the Week: Lemon Drop-tini at AQ
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Who Makes the Better Italian Sub: S.F.'s Molinari or Oakland's Genova?

Kate Williams
The Molinari Special on Dutch crunch from Molinari's Delicatessen in North Beach
"This is so not Jersey," my Garden State-bred friend often sighs after we pass yet another disappointing deli, bakery, or slice joint while wandering around the city. The food, and the burly men that serve it, are never quite burly enough, or sweet enough, or deliver with enough gruff to satisfy her nostalgic craving for an East Coast Italian-American experience.

Given much of the Bay Area's decidedly un-Italian culture today, it's easy to forget that North Beach as well as the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland used to be filled with actual Italian immigrants and not just tourists looking to spot those red, white, and green flags painted on the street light poles. Throughout the early part of the 20th century, North Beach and Temescal were each their own actual Little Italy, with likely just as much character as their East Coast counterparts.

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Who Makes the Better Chinese Dumplings: S.F's Kingdom of Dumpling or Oakland's Shan Dong?
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Drink of the Week: Getting into a Choke Hold at Tosca

Lou Bustamante
I recently took a trip to New York City to catch up on a couple of years' worth of new bar openings and my brain couldn't help but make comparisons between San Francisco and New York. The quality of cocktails in both cities is great, and to my taste, neither city is better or worse (in that trajectory up, sometimes things are simply different).

But there is one aspect where New York has the upper hand: the spaces that the bars occupy. Carved out nooks with a patina and atmosphere applied by decades and in some cases centuries, is a look that no amount of reclaimed wood can replicate. It isn't simply about how it looks, but there's also something about the way it feels.

That is part of what makes the bar at Tosca Café so great, a rare space that endured the awkward teenage years of being uncool long enough to become the hottest place in town. Thankfully Isaac Shumway's drinks, like the fantastic Choke Hold ($12, reposado tequila, Cynar, Antica Formula Vermouth, maraschino, orange peel) are on par with the atmosphere.

See also: Tosca Cafe: The New Iteration Is Fabulous -- And Fabulously Expensive
Drink of the Week: House Cappuccino at Tosca
Drink of the Week: Jersey City at Trou Normand

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San Francisco Fried Chicken Company: Even More Hot Thighs in North Beach

Pete Kane

In some circles, there's probably no more damning thing you can say about a restaurant than "it's kinda for tourists," but besides being a shrewd business move more often than not, sometimes it's just a fact. The San Francisco Fried Chicken Company on Columbus Avenue in North Beach fries a mean chicken thigh but is otherwise out of step with the artisanal fussiness wave, and that's OK. Add in the location and it's clear they're not aiming for people who tweet every meal.

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Il Casaro in North Beach is Wonderful in Every Way

Pete Kane
The Norma: mozzarella, tomato, ricotta salata and eggplant 

Il Casaro Pizzeria and Mozzarella Bar is a new Neapolitan addition to the occasionally lackluster strip of touristy, overpriced Italian restaurants in San Francisco's vestigial Little Italy. It is also superb in nearly every way, my only regret being a stomach capacity too limited to sample the mozzarellas.

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Liquor Moratorium Proposed for Broadway

Categories: North Beach

Broadway Street in San Francisco
When you think of Broadway, the first thing you think of is probably bars and strip clubs. However, the street may be about to undergo a huge change.

David Chiu, the President of the Board of Supervisors, has proposed a liquor moratorium for the Barbary Coast neighborhood, which would ban any new bars from opening on the stretch of Broadway between Columbus and Montgomery. This area is currently home to nine strip clubs, four of which sell liquor, and several bars.

Basically, the ban would prohibit any businesses from obtaining any new liquor licenses, called type 48s. Restaurants with a type 47 liquor license, which authorizes the sale of alcohol where food is also sold, would still be allowed to sell liquor for consumption on the

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Drink of the Week: Drinking Inside the Twelve-Mile Limit at Revamped Comstock Saloon

Lou Bustamante
The Twelve-Mile Limit cocktail at the new bar
There is a particular agelessness to Comstock Saloon, perhaps because when it came into this world back in May of 2010 it already had an "old soul." Like people who proudly sported grey hair all their lives, Comstock Saloon doesn't never seems to get older. This doesn't mean it can escape change, though: the addition of the bar in the back of what used to be the dining room came with the departure of opening chef Carlo Espinas (to Assembly in Santa Cruz). With chef Ronnie New settled at the helm, a new bar, and a new lunchtime counter service in the new room, I had myself a perfect storm of excuses reasons to go revisit.

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Drink of the Week: Picking an Orchard Cane at Cotogna

Lou Bustamante
Even in this unusually dry and warm winter, a tiki drink may not have the immediate appeal that may feel combing the beaches in a tropical part of the world. But I'd argue that the citrus, spices, and aged rums common to many Polynesian-inspired tiki drinks are seasonally more appropriately in a California winter than summer.

At Cotogna, lead bartender Kenny Dill makes damn good argument with his Orchard Cane ($12, blend of rums, apple cider, saffron liqueur, cinnamon tincture). Although not tiki outright, the blend of a dark and white rums and cinnamon tincture flavors share enough common DNA that you almost feel like there should be a paper umbrella in the drink.

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S.F. Drinks of 2013: The Best Things We Drank This Year
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Mama's Set to Expand With Second North Beach Location

Yelp/Danster L.
The popular North Beach brunch spot that's always got a line stretching down the block for a chance at their famous Monte Cristo is set to open up a second location in the former Piazza Market on Columbus and Vallejo.

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Sam's Burger Still Going Strong after 47 Years

Rhys Alvarado
His name's Mike, not Sam.
Usually when I'm looking for late-night eats in North Beach I make my way to My Canh, where I satisfy the rice-mongering Filipino in me at a table alone, inhaling a fried pork chop plate topped with a runny egg. But on nights I feel like some conversation at the counter, I head to Sam's for a burger.

If you've been here before, you'd know that the guy commanding the grill in a black cap isn't Sam. He's Mike.

Since 1970, Mike Shawa has been called Sam, after his uncle who first opened the burger counter in 1966. Sam was the first Palestinian transplant that brought Shawa and eventually 50 other family members to San Francisco.

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