BY LUCIA CHUNG
My New Year’s resolution has never been to eat less or eat healthy. Luckily, it seems like the universe is in agreement with my way of living, if the following month’s food/wine/beer events are any indication. With that in mind, I’ve created some belated resolutions that are more in line with what’s going on in January 2012.
Resolution 1: I will not allow my love/cravings for sugar to negatively impact my relationship with my friends/family/people in general.
Taking place at the fabulous Mezzanine, Cupcake Challenge is an event where cupcakeries from all over the Bay get down and dirty in the cutest, most decadent way possible. Having all of these adorable mini-cupcakes on display would usually give me tunnel vision and make me completely unaware of the people I’m shoving out of my way, so it’s good that I’ve made the resolution above. The general populace should be safe.
Insanity aside, attendees and a panel of judges will decide the winner of this year’s SF Cupcake Challenge. With all the creative entries, it looks like making a decision definitely won’t be easy. If you want a quick preview, take a look at this video of the LA Cupcake Challenge. (Skip to 1:41 for an image of the most maniacally happy kid I’ve ever seen.)
Resolution 2: Become a wine/beer/alcohol snob by any means necessary (drinking a lot).
BEER & SPIRITS GARDEN AT THE GOOD FOOD AWARDS MARKETPLACE | FERRY BUILDING 2F | Saturday, January 14 11am-2pm | Cost: $12
Now, Resolution 2 doesn’t actually do justice to this Good Food Awards tasting event, since these awards honor responsible food crafters that have put a lot of effort into creating sustainable products. BUT, since 15 award-winning beers and spirits will be available for tasting, I stand wholeheartedly by my resolution. The $12-ticket gets you 5 tastings as well as entry into the Good Food Awards Marketplace, which is open in the Ferry Building on Saturday only from 9am to 2pm. In the marketplace, you’ll find businesses from all over the US that have been honored by the Good Food Awards. Products on sale will include salted and cured meats, chocolate, cheese, coffee, pickles and preserves. Many of these items will probably find their way onto the shelves of Williams & Sonoma, the Cowgirl Creamery and other high-end retailers, so getting them straight from the vendors is definitely the best way to go!
While definitely the priciest of the events, ZAP’S 2012 Zinfandel Festival is also the swankiest. Each day features a full-fledged culinary/wine-filled extravaganza. On the 26th, ZAP will be taking over the Concourse Exhibition Center at 8th Street and Brannan Street with Epicuria. The $125-ticket (that’s the non-member price, members get in for $95) affords you the opportunity to sample 50 food and wine pairings from some some of the finest restaurants and vineyards around (Bin 38/Dry Creek Vineyard, Fifth Floor/Klinker Brick Winery, and Swan Oyster Depot/Peachy Canyon Winery just to name a few). On the 27th, Flight (wine tastings up the wazoo) has already been sold out, but you can still grab a $225-ticket to the Vegas-inspired Winemakers Dinner at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square, which is a benefit event featuring wine, dinner and both a live and silent auction. Top it all off on Saturday, the 28th, back at the Concourse Exhibition Center with the Grand Tasting event. From 2pm to 5pm, you’ll be able to sample hundreds of Zinfandels and rub shoulders with the winemakers themselves. Tickets to this last event are $49 for members, $59 for nonmembers, and $69 at the door.
Resolution 3: Save money on travel by broadening my horizons through food!
Hosted by the charming Franco Finn, this event features a pro and amateur competition that pits three chefs in each division head to head. The chefs will be required to prepare a four-course meal that includes one adobo (pork/chicken braised with vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, onions, herbs/spices) dish. Avid home chefs can also participate by entering the pili nut showcase, in which you show off your skills by bringing in your own pili nut dish.
Now, no food event would be complete without the opportunity to eat something, so those who want to have something to nibble on while they’re watching the showdown should purchase the $20 food coupons. Vendors at the event include Intramuros, Mama Sita’s, Señor Sisig, Yumsilog and Irma’s Pampanga Restaurant among others.