Untapped San Francisco writer Ali Miller discovers  new favorites and revisits old ones in her travels around the greater Bay Area in this week’s Tap This.  

What I’m playing: I’m a violinist in the Oakland East Bay Symphony, and spent last week rehearsing and performing in downtown Oakland’s beautiful art deco Paramount Theatre. The symphony has a very “Untapped” personality: our programs are always a dynamic mix of old and new, and the audience is much more diverse than you’d typically imagine at a classical music concert. Last week’s concert began with two modern pieces and ended with Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony–a serious workout to play, but incredibly beautiful!

What I’m reading: I found a used copy of Fuschia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper  while browsing the shelves at SF’s wonderful independent bookstore Green Apple Books. The book, which came out a few years ago, chronicles the writer’s adventures as she immerses herself in Chinese food and culture. Her experience as the only non-Chinese student in a cooking class in Sichuan Province is particularly entertaining.

My favorite new spot:  I visited  Comstock Saloon in North Beach this week and enjoyed some classy cocktails in an Old West atmosphere. Comstock also has excellent food, and my friends and I ordered the tasty fried chicken and tater tots on the “Honky Tonk Sunday” menu.

My favorite old spot: I grew up in Aptos (near Santa Cruz), and always enjoy going back there to visit my family. I usually also end up visiting the famous Gayle’s Bakery near Capitola Beach. Gayle’s offers everything from delicious pastries and sandwiches to fully-prepared meals. On sunny weekends, it’s packed with hungry beach visitors. They also happen to make gorgeous wedding cakes, which was the happy reason behind this particular visit!

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