Much has changed since the Summer of Love blossomed 50 years ago, bringing thousands of young people to San Francisco, drawn by an underground culture embracing love, peace and music.
Today San Francisco is known more as an incubator of tech startups than as a cradle of counterculture. The shabby Victorians along Haight Street that were once low-rent havens for the likes of the Grateful Dead now go for well over $1 million.
Even a half century ago, the quest for utopia was fleeting. By October, the “death of the hippie” was marked with a mock funeral in the Haight.
But there are still traces of that psychedelic season, along with a few new attractions rolled out specifically for the anniversary. If you’re going to San Francisco, with or without a flower in your hair, here are a few ways to tune in to the spirit of ’67.
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As a child visiting Nigeria, Kwame Onwuachi desperately wanted to eat beef suya, the country’s ubiquitous grilled street snack seasoned with ground nuts and spices. Except his grandfather forbade it, disapproving of street food.
“It actually made it more appealing,” he says.
Years later, the “Top Chef” alumnus and former cook at New York’s Eleven Madison Park returned to Nigeria and immediately sought out the formerly forbidden delight, making friends with a baggage guy at the airport who took him to his favorite suya spot.
The street vendor scene reminded Onwuachi of Thailand: “A lot of darkness and then, out of nowhere, a pocket of lights with many stalls selling the same thing, but with their own twist.”
There was a man, a grill, a counter covered with newspaper. “One, please!”
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Where does Kirkland vodka come from? Is it Grey Goose slumming under another name? Ketel One? Enquiring minds want to know, including mine. Read on to glean the fruits of a morning spent noodling away on the Internet when I should have been doing unspeakable things to bathroom fixtures.
Continue reading “Love At First Sip: Kirkland Vodka”
Do you like whisky? I like whisky.
You know who else likes whisky? Nick Offerman.
The mustachioed Ron Swanson of “Parks and Recreation” has taken to YouTube a time or two to demonstrated his affection for the water of life.
In his latest outing, Continue reading “Nick Offerman, distiller”
To quote a line from the greatest air travel documentary of all time, I like my coffee like I like my men.* That is to say, sweet and easily located in the morning.
Which means that travel, with its inevitable trek down to a drafty/stuffy hotel breakfast room to forage for that first cup, which most likely is going to be sludgy, small and lukewarm, is not a prospect that appeals. Continue reading “Have kettle, will travel”
Inside Claire Ptak’s white stucco East London bakery, Violet, staff are moving in careful syncopation. From the open doorway to the small kitchen and café, freshly baked feta-sour cream-and-chive scones and herb-laced quiches call to a steady stream of customers who stop to chat with Ptak and admire 5-month-old daughter Frances West, sitting in her lap.
A native Californian, Ptak is a rising star on the culinary scene—hailed by Jamie Oliver as “one of my all-time favorite cake-makers.” But Violet and Ptak are about more than being an of-the-moment patisserie. It is here that she carries out a fairly revolutionary approach to baking—Soft-whipped egg whites! Flour licking!—that sets her apart from the cookie-cutter mold.
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