One of my favorite bars in San Francisco is called Blackbird. It’s in the Castro district and whenever I have friends visiting from out of town who happen to be gay and male, I make sure to bring them to Blackbird. The atmosphere is lively and inviting, the cocktail menu is interesting, and the drinks they serve are well balanced and made with seasonal ingredients. There’s also a pool table and a really cool wall covered with old newspaper pages. Last week I went to a tasting of their new menu and sampled their new cold appetizers, Bar Jars.
The cocktail that I went crazy for is a mixture of pear-infused gin, honey, lemon, and Lambrusco (pictured below). I’m obsessed with red sparkling wines and the vibrant color and bubbly texture of this libation was spot on. It was potent, tart, and sweet all at once. Oh and it was so festive! I loved it so much I’m trying to get the recipe, so I can serve it at an upcoming holiday party.
As for the Bar Jars, Larry Piaskowy is the chef behind these genius snacks, which can be found at Blackbird and a few other places around town. They’re mini 4-ounce mason jars filled with delicious dips and scrumptious spreads like chicken liver pate and fava bean hummus. The jars are served with seeded crunchy gluten-free crackers. Piaskowy says he spent a lot of time working on the texture of the spreads and he hits a major home run with the pimento cheese and deviled ham, which were my two favorites. The deviled ham has a whipped texture and wonderful porky flavor. I wanted to lick the inside of the jar to get every last bit of the spread, but being as it was at a formal tasting, I had to be polite and not stick my tongue or finger into the jar!
I also found these jars to be incredibly inspirational. Although they aren’t sold in stores yet, one could easily make their own variation of dips and spreads and package them in cute little jars. Paired with artisanal crackers, they would make an excellent edible gift for the holidays or a superb addition to a picnic menu.