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Nectar Wine Lounge or Cav Wine Bar

I am a huge fan of CAV and go there regularly. I have only been to Nectar in the Marina once (there is also one in Burlingame) and I thought the printed descriptions of the wines were a little simple for my taste, but I brought a new wine drinker there and she understood and appreciated them. As a regular at CAV, I have learned a lot about wine from the staff and am very used to Pamela's wine notes on the menu. I also find the food at CAV to be consistently delicious.

Chinese Chicken Salad is there a really great one?

Definitely outing myself here since chains are not very 'houndish, but I've been to The Cheesecake Factory three times in recent years and the only thing I've ever gotten there is the CCS. It's HUGE (even the "lunch" portion) and it has a ridiculous mound of those noodles on it. I like 'em, but I still take half off or I can't even get to the salad. Maybe I'm inebriated with shopping fever when I go there, but I have to say I love it. It is the same every time. Cheesecake Factory is on the top floor of Macy's Union Square.

laiola report

Dropped into this new spot in the Marina last night with two friends. They do not take reservations, so we showed up early (5:30). There were definitely seats to be had throughout our stay there, but I don't know if this will remain the case, because this place is great!

They are still waiting on their beer & wine license, but you can go around the corner and get a bottle at Nectar for 10% off and they'll pour it for you at the table. Or, use it as an excuse to bring something special from your own wine rack at home. We did both.

All the tables are high tops which I don't mind, but it is a bit unusual. The only bathroom is practically in the kitchen itself which could be a problem as they get busier. The wait staff is casual, but very helpful and friendly. The menu is mostly tapas, I'd say about 15 choices, plus 4 types of charcuterie, 4 larger plates and three desserts.

On to the food---VERY delicious! Best was medjool dates stuffed with chorizo and wrapped in bacon, served on a wooden skewer. The minute we finished them, and practically still chewing, ordered a second skewer. Also amazing, peaches "a la plancha". Perfectly ripe and flavorful wedges of peach wrapped in jamon and grilled served alongside a tasty, generous pile of tiny arugula. Ordered a second plate of that too. The wild boar salami on the charcuterie plate was awesome, but the other three meats were also delicious. The only misstep was too much dressing on the little gems salad. We had another four tapas plates and then my friends shared a goat's milk cheesecake surrounded by sliced nectarines and topped with crushed pistachios. They ate it in about two minutes.

We all left very happy. Laiola is on Chestnut & Fillmore. Go there soon--this place is going to get crazy busy for sure.

Best Macaroni and Cheese

I like the one at Park Chalet on the Great Highway (the one downstairs, not the upstairs Beach Chalet). It comes in an individual ramekin of a generous size and has bits of truffle and pieces of roasted chicken. Service there can be slow, but I usually sit at the bar to avoid waiting too long.

Fever Tree Ginger Ale - where to buy it?

Just got 4 packs of the ginger ale and the bitter lemon this weekend. All flavors were on sale for $4.99 at BevMo in Colma (where Target is) as of Saturday. I also got a bottle of the Tanqueray Rangpur gin to mix with it like KQED suggested.

Where to chow and watch Champions League?

I will be watching it at The Chieftain at 5th & Howard. The food is decent and there is no cover since it's on ESPN2. Mad Dog in the Fog on Haight St. at Steiner will also be showing it. You pay $10 at the door, but they give you $10 in coupons. Just there version of a drink minimum. You can use the coupons on food too, but I've never eaten there.

english beer on tap in bay?

Jack's in The Cannery has Fullers ESB on tap and dozens of others. The Cheiftain at 5th & Howard has Smithwick's (and some great chow to boot). There is a magazine (free at Jack's) called The Celebrator full of essential info for beer lovers. Current issue is called "19 years of Beers and Cheers".

Places for a quick bite near the Castro Theater

I couldn't find a real link, just citysearch, etc.. Crave has a full bar and all small plates, not big entrees. The servers recommend that two people share four or five items. It's definitely high-calorie/down home stuff (sliders, mac & cheese, etc.), but very tasty and reasonably priced. I can't wait to go again.

Next Question: Chinese Lettuce Cups in the Bay Area?

I absolutely love the lettuce cups at Betelnut in the Marina. Everything there is really good.

Happy hour in SF

For totally greasy all-you can-eat Asian standard fare (don't miss the ribs) for $7 plus happy hour drink prices go to the Tonga Room in the Fairmont Hotel (entrance on California St.) Here is the ridiculously long link to their site with lots of info

Places for a quick bite near the Castro Theater

How about Crave on Market St. It's a comfort food place and kind of a scene, but everything we had was tasty. It's right on Market St. near Castro, past the gas station.

gOOd fine dining lunch in SF?

How about Palio D'Asti?
Here's a lunch menu:
I've always enjoyed and it looks to be in your price range.

Bachlorette Party from Arizona - Suggestions

Asia SF was the first thing I though of too, but if you are going to club-hop in SoMa afterward, and I assume you are wine-lovers given the Napa plan, might I suggest CAV Kitchen & Wine Bar at 1666 Market.
The staff is awesome and crazy dress would not be a problem. Then you could catch a quick cab ride to DNA Lounge, Cat Club, Luna Lounge, etc.

Got a gift certificate to Roy's: help!

I went there for DAT 2 years ago. Sorry I don't have more up-to-date info and this isn't seafood, but I had an amazing molten chocolate cake dessert there. I do remember being pleasantly surprised by the food and service at the time, considering it is a chain.