Introducing SodaCraft

April 20th, 2011

Photo by Jordan Ching

For the past few months, I’ve been regularly brewing sodas for the New Taste Marketplace, each month combining sugar, fresh hand-squeezed juice and yeast to create fermented sodas.  These sodas had a light sweetness character, loads of fresh fruit flavor, and were a great compliment for the creative and unusual wares of the market. To my delight and surprise, I found myself selling out of sodas and even garnering a little bit of local media attention for them.  Each month I refined my process, improved my recipes, until I had something I think I think is really great, and worth putting a name on.  Which brings us to now.

Introducing SodaCraft.


We make handcrafted sodas using local and sustainable produce. All of our draft sodas are lightly sweetened with cane sugar.  We aim to be on tap at local farmers markets and street food events in San Francisco.

With the help of the always delicious and foul-mouthed Hapa Ramen, I’ll be floating a little soda making test balloon this Saturday at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market to see how they fair in the big leagues.  So stop on by – I’ll be in the back at the Hapa Ramen stand, dodging flying pickles and noodles to pour my sodas.

On tap this Saturday: my Ginger Beer, made with fresh juiced ginger, eureka lemons, cane sugar and bakers yeast. The fresh ginger juice provides a floral bite (this is not a ginger beer for the faint of heart.  Ginger lovers only.)  Along side it will be Fennel & Navel Orange, a bright soda bursting with spring flavors – a great match for a bowl of ramen or a Ryan Farr cheeseburger.

So come on by the Ferry Building this saturday for a soda and bowl of ramen.  You won’t be disappointed.

PS – My outstanding logo was designed by Damian Fagan, who also happens to be the other half of Almanac Beer. Speaking of Almanac – our license was issued by the ABC this week!  We’re now scheduling our first bottling run, and WILL have bottles on the shelves this summer. For reals.  Check out Almanac’s twitter feed to stay on top of upcoming launch events and dinners.

SF Chefs Unite Dinner

April 14th, 2011



Every once in a while, I end up working on a project where I look around at the people I’m working with, and think “how did I sneak in here, and when are they going to find out I’m an impostor?”  This is one of those projects.

This collaborative six course dinner is a virtual who’s who of up and coming San Francisco chefs.  Over the six courses, these chefs will be refracting Japanese flavors through the lens of San Francisco food, putting their own personal spin on classic, and not so classic dishes. Each course will be paired with either wine, beer, sake or a cocktail from some of the most exciting drink slingers in town (plus me.)

For my part, I’m working on some very exciting beer pairings for the occasion, along with some of my homemade sodas, for those who want something a little less boozy.

Want a peek at the future of San Francisco restaurants with a Japanese twist? Come join us at the CCA for an unforgettable dinner for a great cause.

Essential details:
May 7th & 8th
$150 per person all inclusive

6:00pm Cocktail Reception
7:00pm 6-Course Japanese Inspired Tasting Menu
with Wine/Sake/Beer/Cocktail Pairings

100% of proceeds will go to the Northern Japan Earthquake Relief Fund created by the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Northern California ( where all the proceeds will go to local non profit and community organizations in Japan.

Featured Chefs
Chad Newton, FK Restaurants & Hospitality
Danny Bowien, Mission Chinese Food
Richie Nakano, Hapa Ramen
Michael Black, Sebo
Robbie Lewis, Bon Appetit
Jordan Grosser, Stag Dining Group
Jake Godby, Humphry Slocombe

Cocktails, Beer and Wine by:
Scott Baird & Josh Harris, Bon Vivants
Jesse Friedman, Beer and Nosh
Erik Ellestad, Underhill Lounge
Alex Fox, Bar Tartine
Alex Finberg, Farina

To reserve your seats, visit

Eat Retreat

April 11th, 2011

Anvil Ranch

Fish Butchery

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to attend Eat Retreat, a new food-themed retreat weekend at a ranch in the hills north of San Francisco.  Modeled on Phoot Camp, the goals of the weekend are at once nebulous and incredibly simple: gather a bunch of creative people together for a weekend around a central theme of food, shake well, and serve.  Thirty-three of us arrived for the weekend, a bit unsure of what exactly to expect.  I had volunteered for beer czar duty, and came with a car overflowing with local craft beer, along with a few kegs of yeast fermented soda.  I also came prepared to teach an “intro to beer course” with a tasting, walkthrough beer styles, and ingredients.  Others came similarly prepared with their own areas of expertise. Gastronaught brought a suckling pig and yogurt starters. Inna Jam came prepared to explain pectin and how it works. Others brought cameras, guitars, and their own knives.

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Hapa Cupcake

April 1st, 2011

Last week, when I visited Hapa Ramen to help break down a whole pig, Richie let me in on a new project he’s working on.  He was at first a tad bit reluctant to let the cat out of the bag, but with a bit of coaxing, he’s onboard to let you, loayl Beer & Nosh reader, on on what the next big thing for Hapa Ramen is.

And it’s not Ramen.


It’s cupcakes.  But not just any cupcakes: Hapa Cupcakes.


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CBC 2011

March 28th, 2011

Brian Hunt

This past weekend I attended the Craft Brewers Conference, hosted for the first time in San Francisco.  Media badge in hand, I enter the conference with a dual agenda. As a local beer and food blogger, I was excited to see how discussions on beer and food were being explored and pushed forward.  If these are the discussions on what would be happening next, I hoped to pull out trends and themes that illuminate the industry.

Plaza Room

Then there is my other agenda: I’m starting a brewery and this was one of my first peeks behind the curtain, into the world of professionals that I aim to join.  There is a lot of beer knowledge at this conference, and I wanted to tap into it.

So, what did i find?

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Pig Breakdown with Hapa Ramen

March 21st, 2011



Hapa Ramen is getting in on the whole animal game for their ramen and porky side dishes and add-ins.   If it’s can’t be made into it’s own dish, or rolled up in some indulgent charcuterie project, it ends up in the stock pot.

“I’m NOT doing it for love of the whole animal, or any other romantic idea like that.  My price on pork bellies went up.” Richie of Hapa Ramen explained to be as he sawed the pig in half with a giant hacksaw.

Richie’s utilitarian attitude aside, there is something fun about breaking down a whole animal.  I even got in on the action, separating out a loin, stripping the silver skin off, and learning about the differences between a japanese and french boning knife, both of which are on hand and used in the Hapa Ramen kitchen (how is that for an on the nose representation of their cooking?)

So join me won’t you, for a photo-tour through a pig breakdown?  Vegetarians might want to look away, and carnivores might want to be sure to read this on a market day, so you can satiate you porcine cravings.


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Another Flour + Water Beer Dinner

March 16th, 2011

Communal Table


I have a pretty strict policy around here regarding press releases: I don’t like ’em, and I don’t run them on this blog.  But, for every rule there is an exception, and here is the one for this rule.  Hot off the heels of cooking an amazing beer dinner for Almanac, Flour + Water is back at it again with another Dough Room dinner for another lucky twelve beer lovers. When a Chron rising star chef asks you to help promote a beer dinner, you through your stupid rules out the window and plug it.  They’re teaming up with Linden St Brewing and Cherry Voodoo for what I’m sure will be an outstanding meal.   The dough room specialty is tableside risotto, which isn’t available on the regular dining room menu.  It’s amazing.

Here are the details:

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Handmade Sodas + BBQ

March 9th, 2011

This coming Saturday, I’ll be back at the New Taste Marketplace again, slinging homemade sodas along with a slew of other local vendors.  We’ll be at the usual spot on the corner of Mariposa and De Haro, across the street from the Anchor Brewery from noon till 5pm (or until I run out of soda.)

On tap, I have an particularly great line up this week:

My usual “take no prisoners” Ginger Ale, made with eight pounds of fresh squeezed ginger and eureka lemons, Good ‘ol Southern Boy Sweet Tea Soda, and Meyer Lemon and Fennel Fizz, made with backyard meyer lemons.  Not my backyard mind you, I don’t have one.

All of my sodas are handmade with fresh ingredients, and naturally carbonated using yeast, just like fine champagnes and craft beers, but without the alcohol. They’re served fresh on draft for $3 each.

But, what to eat with these fine beverages? If you’re anything like me, there is only one real answer: Barbecue.  At this particular market, there is a whole lot of it, an abundance of riches.  The New Taste Market is going to be overflowing with the greatest food since the creation of fire: real barbecue, cooked slow over real hardwood smoke until it’s falling apart tender.  Yum.

Mexican Style BBQ Photo by Sonya Yu

Selling smoked deliciousness will be:

Dontaye Ball with Good Foods Catering.  Dontaye will be serving BBQ pulled pork, BBQ chicken and his Modern BLT with tomato jam and spicy mayo.  I love that BLT.  I’m starting to drool on my keyboard a bit while typing this. I interviewed Dontaye on camera a while back – you can check it out here.

More into texas style smoked brisket? Then Dan has you covered with his Slow Hand BBQ.  Look for it parked out front, perfuming everything in sight with smokey goodness. He has some great BBQ sauce on hand, but his brisket doesn’t need it – they’re perfect the way they are.  (The ribs are great too.)

Or maybe you want a more international flare? De Humo Mexican Smokehouse Cuisine by Molly Raney (pictured above) is the new kid on the block, and she’s been making great sandwiches at every New Taste Market since the first one.  She tops her smoked pork shreds with a homemade mole sauce, and a spicy slaw with just the right amount of heat. Sure it isn’t traditional, but I dare even a purist to try this and not smile.  The smoke shows through, and is enhanced by the addition of the mole sauce.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll end up trying a little bit from all three.  I love a good BBQ throw down, where the real winner is me, since I get to eat a mountain of BBQ.  And If you’re still hungry, you can try the public unveiling of 3.141 Pies.  I’ve tasted some of his early test pies, and they’re tasting great.

Looking over this week’s line up, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few others I’m particularly excited about: Lamb belly tacos from Gastroclub, Pickles from Rachel & Rachel (We’re hardcore pickle fanatics in my house, and these are exceptional,) House-roasted coffee from Old Skool Cafe, and artisan pasta from Baia Pasta.  Oh, and Bacon Crack from Nosh This.  That stuff is just as addictive as it’s name implies, and is particularly good with a dark beer.   I could go on listing here, but you get the idea.  The full lineup is online here.

Now I’m hungry.  Saturday can’t come soon enough.  See you there!

NYC Miscellaneous

March 7th, 2011



It’s time to get back to focusing on San Francisco, so I’m just sticking the last few items from my trip to New York here in a big photo post. Includes Shake Shack, Lunch at Jean George, Brooklyn Brewery and Russ & Daughters.  Enjoy!

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Fatty Cue, NYC

March 2nd, 2011

With SF Beer Week in the rear view mirror, I’m trying to get caught up on some blog posts.  I’ve still got a backlog of pictures from my January trip to New York City.  One of the Highlights: Fatty Cue in Williamsburg, specializing in southeastern style BBQ.



After a brisk walk through a orthodox Jewish neighborhood, the restaurant was easy to pick out: it was the one with no hebrew sign, and instead, a pig. Upon sitting down the waitress asked if we have any food allergies.  “No” we replied, “Good – there is shellfish is just about everything.”   My kind of place.

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