The womp, womp, womp of a low flying helicopter sends chills down the spine of residents in my neighborhood, San Francisco’s Outer Sunset. The sound could very well be an emergency response to a desperate man or women being pulled out to sea by the strong rip currents of Ocean Beach. In the past four months four people have died, including two this week and in April the tragic death of two 16 year old boys who were simply wading in waist-deep water. Every year similar incidents occur at Ocean Beach. While the unique geography of Ocean Beach is primarily to blame, the City of San Francisco and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) have continued to bury their heads, refusing to take steps towards improving safety at the beach, costing multiple lives year after year.
My stomach has been in knots recently. The western edge of San Francisco – where I call home – has experienced two tragic accidents in the past week. A teenager was swept out to sea by a rip at Ocean Beach and a three year old boy was critically injured after being struck by a truck. The emotions and pain these two youngsters suffered haunts my thoughts each night while the pain and loss their families are enduring breaks my heart.
After four separate reviews I’d begun to worry that I’d written all there was to write about ginger beer. But during the second half of 2011 my luck began to change as I stumbled upon a handful of new varieties. A chance discovery at Mission Cheese Shop, a couple overlooked gingers, and a bountiful trip to Seattle led to a full cooler of five beverages yet to face the gauntlet that is a ginger beer tasting.
With the product lineup established, an esteemed panel of tasters gathered in San Francisco’s Noe Valley. Representing a cross section of experience, our judges, seven in total included veterans William Lavery, Beatrice Leung, and yours truly along with rookies Andrew Stewart, Peter Rive, Natasha Dvorak, and Wendy Wallin. In order to calibrate each judge’s palette a pre-tasting was undertaken to establish where previous ginger beers had been ranked. The criteria remained the same as our first tasting two years. Each ginger would be sampled solo and next mixed into a Dark ‘n’ Stormy – dark rum and ginger beer over ice. Judges then assigned a score between 1 and 10. Finally, an average score was computed to arrive at an overall total. After weeks of hype we settled down to the task at hand and a couple hours later the results were in.
If you’ve been in San Francisco recently you’ve probably seen posters urging you to vote “No on 23” in the November 2nd election and calling it the “DIRTY ENERGY Proposition”. It peaked my curiosity and lead me to research just what Prop 23 stood for. After digging through the muddy details it became apparent that this was a blatant attack on our environment, strictly to enrich the corporate bottom line.1 It’s also an assault on California’s burgeoning green tech field which is leading job growth in the state.
This bit of work began as a postcard and made its way into a banner hanging from the San Francisco Ferry Building on the occasion of Wikia’s Food & Tech event. The logo was a piece of work we put together for the Healthy Recipes team at Wikia a few weeks ago. The event, which took place on Sunday October 10th, saw a handful of local chefs serving up their culinary delights and an esteemed panel discussing technology’s role in shaping the food we eat. It always puts a smile on my face to see my work placed in the context of tangible moments like these.
It’s been eighteen months since 2 Out of Three’s first ginger beer tasting was held in South Lake Tahoe. In that time the ginger landscape has changed. The old classics, Bundaberg and Cock N’ Bull, have seen their reign as ginger beer of choice challenged by a new breed. So it seemed like the perfect time to hold another tasting. This time the location was San Francisco’s Outer Sunset neighborhood. We gathered the new upstarts (Fever Tree and Goslings) and got our hands on a few classics that eluded us during the first tasting.