What Not to Do With Beer



Last weekend's SFChefs2010 brought dozens of Bay Area chefs together for a series of seminars and massive taste-fests in San Francisco, where thousands of visitors glimpsed some of the next big things-to-eat, not least of which are white gazpacho and Starbucks instant coffee.

Personal favorites included pomegranate panna cotta and grilled watermelon from the chefs at San Francisco's Cafe Andree Hotel Rex, organic Straus Family Creamery shakes from mindful burger bar Roam, and blue-cheese grits with tomato marmalade from Jamaican-born Chef David Lawrence of 1300 on Fillmore. About five different outfits offered gazpacho, including a white version made with cucumbers instead of tomatoes. A surprising spotlight was the Starbucks booth: Microground in such a way as to preserve the beans' essential oils, the megabrand's new Via Ready Brew tastes startlingly un-instant.

The folks from Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream might have made a few un-friends by serving fizzy little cups of what looked like root-beer floats but were actually beer floats. Dear. God. No.

Oakland's Lake Chalet was one of several East Bay restaurants and businesses represented. The crew from Berkeley-based Trumer Brauerei handed out red poker-chip-sized disks that, planted in soil, will sprout into blue spruce trees. And no, you don't have to water them with beer.