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The Tablehopper’s Guide to Dining and Drinking in San Francisco: Find the Right Spot for Every Occasion.

This week's tablehopper: swelling with pride.

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Cheers (in Chelsea).

Why hello there. I know, what the hell am I doing in your inbox so late on a Friday? Well, this damned jetsetter piece I just finished doing on New York was kind of a monster. Oy. And I was determined to get it out today, even if that meant it’s late in the day. It doesn’t help matters that my poor little MacBook Pro practically has smoke coming out of it, I’ve been working it so hard. I’m trying to move quickly, but things are mooooving slooooow.

Oh, and I wasn’t able to get all my scrumptious NYC pics uploaded to Flickr in time. That’s a whole other beast. Whatever. One thing at a time. I’ll tweet later this evening when they’re up—I always think they make a nice companion to the jetsetter pieces.

I have some other tidbits for you, including some 707 Scout entries, a sugar mama giveaway, and this marks the return of the wino! My buddy Alex Fox is going to be doing some ongoing tasting notes for us in coming weeks called Re-Wined—today is the first installment, I hope you dig it. It made me thirsty.

Okay, I’m signing off—it’s time for me to get lost in Flickr land with these pictures of New York.

Have a swell Pride weekend, everyone! I am so ready to kick things off! You? Rock!

Marcia Gagliardi

the jetsetter

Getaways (get outta dodge)
Jun 24, 2011

New York, New York

You know one thing I’m grateful for? Friends who plan their weddings in ~NEW YORK~ in June, that’s what. What an amazing time to be in the city, and of course I had to stay for a few extra days to charge around and stuff my face.

A few non-related-to-food things you should check out in case you’re heading to the Big Apple in coming months: do not miss the Met’s Alexander McQueen show, Savage Beauty, what a marvel. The best fashion installation I’ve ever seen. The Picasso and Marie-Thérèse show at the Gagosian Gallery was also one to see. And the other thing that blew my mind was Sleep No More, the creepy and engaging theatrical production in a building in Chelsea that was like a cross between The Shining, the Exploratorium, and Eyes Wide Shut. Some of the best $80 I’ve ever spent. Don’t miss it.

You can view my complete photo album on Flickr here.

Birreria
200 5th Ave. at 23rd St.
212-229-2560
birreria.JPG I went to check out the latest addition to the Batali-Bastianich empire, Birreria, which is perched on top of the Eataly building. Ended up being the perfect Sunday supper destination in my post-wedding, hungover state. There will soon be three cask-conditioned beers brewed on the rooftop from the brewmasters of Dogfish Head, Del Borgo, and Baladin, and in the meantime, there’s quite the lineup of beers on tap (9) and bottled (20). My friend and I tucked into a carafe of the DFH Festina Peche ($14), while working our way through some killer mushroom dishes, like fried shiitake ($15) with sage and a marsala reduction drizzled on top (we attacked this), and the roasted maitakes ($15) with a pecorino sardo cream sauce with asparagus and peas. (Whoa.)

Beer. Meat. Bring it on. The mixed salumi plate ($21) had some gems, including a coppa piccante and garlicky soppressata. The sausages (all $19) are freaking fantastic, like the rich cotechino and the biroldo, a Toscana-inspired blood sausage. I liked how the cotechino was served: sliced and seared, so you get that crispy-fatty goodness in each bite, and you get some mustard and a choice of one side, from kraut to potato salad. And one of my dining partners was ready to double down on the beer-braised pork shoulder ($19), he loved it that much. I really enjoyed the airy space, and while I’ve been told the lines to get in can be insane, we literally walked in on Sunday evening.

Tía Pol
205 10th Ave. at 22nd St.
212-675-8805
tiapol.jpg I have been wanting to go to Tía Pol for far too long, and it ended up being a dream spot for lunch on a warm day. It’s a long and narrow slip of a space, so I can imagine it’s just as packed in the evening as I’ve heard it is. But for a midweek lunch? We waltzed right in. The Spanish menu is full of all the things you want to eat in warm weather: boquerones ($12) and deviled eggs made with smoky pimentón de la vera ($3 for three), all alongside big glasses of rosé, of course.

We also dialed in on a few more tapas, like the wicked paquetitos de jamón ($9): little triangular bundles of artichoke and manchego wrapped in serrano ham. Dude. The lengua a la plancha ($8)—veal tongue topped with pickled red onion on toasted baguette, was another decadent hit—while the piquillo peppers ($7) with potato salad and tuna were the only clunker dish—just kind of bland compared to everything else. Dessert finished strong: leche frita ($6), Basque-style balls of fried custard accompanied by drunken cherries. Seriously, hold the telefono. All in all, it was a fun little side trip to Spain while on the streets of Chelsea, and it’s right by the High Line, so you can enjoy a buzzed paseo after your meal.

Cookshop
156 10th Ave. at 20th St.
212-924-4440
cookshop.JPG My friends and I tucked into a hearty brunch here before cruising around the Chelsea galleries one afternoon. It’s a good brunch spot, with a spot-on bloody mary, and be sure to get some ricotta beignets ($11) (made with Di Palo’s ricotta) for the table while waiting for your order. My friend’s chilled beet soup ($8) was marvelous, and I ate every last bite of the radicchio and escarole salad ($10), nicely dressed in an anchovy-garlic vinaigrette with a flurry of Parmesan and breadcrumbs. My friend and I split the poached eggs with housemade pork sausage ($14) over Anson Mills grits (which were smooth but desperately needed some salt). I liked the airy space, the cheerful gingham shirts on all the servers, and the seasonal brunch menu is exactly what you want, from huevos rancheros to salads to a burger.

Mercato
352 W. 39th St. at 9th Ave.
212-643-2000
mercato.jpg I wouldn’t necessarily go far out of my way to seek this place out, but boy was I pleased this cozy trattoria was directly across the street from where I was staying. I had a charming solo meal at the bar late in the evening, dining on rustic southern Italian dishes like garlicky rapini over a fava bean purée ($10), and trenette al pesto trapanese ($14), another garlicky dish with a rarely seen pesto made of almonds, garlic, tomatoes, and basil—delicioso. I liked how the menu had a variety of unique pastas, from Sardinian malloreddus to some Pugliese dishes (which is where I was told the owner is from). Super-friendly bar staff, and I ended up getting great tips on various Italian places to check out from a local in the neighborhood who sat next to me (I returned the favor by introducing him to Carpano Antica). Loved the bar setup—so New York.

Arthur Ave.—The Bronx
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Before I flew to New York, my dad gave me a nudge, “Be a good girl. Go to Arthur Avenue and bring your father back some Crotonese from the Calabria Pork Store.” I was thinking to myself, “Now, when the hell am I going to have time to schlep all the way out to the Bronx to get some cheese?” On my first night sitting at the Mercato bar, my drinking partner Peter said the same thing: “Have you ever been to Arthur Ave.? It’s the real deal. You gotta go.” Armed with some great pointers from Peter, I decided to head out for a Monday excursion to score my dad some loot for Father’s Day. It was so worth the hour trip—that place is full of culinary gold.

I started with lunch in the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, an enclosed bazaar of sorts. I was told to hit the Café al Mercato in the back for a slice of pizza—I loved the thick rustic style, and the eggplant and tomato sauce slice I picked (after much mulling, let me tell you) was so packed with flavor. I enjoyed my lunch next to firemen (hot) and old Italian guys gossiping at the (classic) red-and-white checkered plastic tablecloth tables—too legit to quit. I also scored a reproduction of the Romagna in Bocca book for $20 at a neighboring stand (the Mount Carmel Gourmet Food Shop), and was so sorry I wasn’t staying much longer, because I wanted to cook the fresh fusilli and cavatelli they had on the counter.

I swung by the Madonia Brothers Bakery to pick up my dad some black pepper and fennel taralli, and on a whim, ordered some amazing-looking amaretti cookies. Let me tell you, they proved to be the best amaretti I’ve ever had. I’m ready to call and order a huge box of them, seriously.

I walked into the Morrone Pastry Shop to grab an espresso, and picked up a couple sfogliatelle to bring home. But when I looked at the pastry case and saw they had pesche (peaches), I had to order one. It’s a pastry I only see in Calabria—it’s a cream-filled pastry with a pink exterior that is dyed with maraschino to make it look like a peach. (There’s a recipe for them in Rosetta Costantino’s My Calabria book, and here’s a blog post someone did outlining how to make them). Sadly my pesca tasted a bit old, but it was still nice to be reminded of how much I love these pastries. Gotta set aside an afternoon to make them, soon.

So, the highlight of the trip was definitely my visit to the Calabria Pork Store. Mother of God, you walk in there and the first thing you notice is the exquisite smell of meat curing. Spicy meat. The ceiling is covered—literally covered—with hanging soppressate; it would be a perfect scene for a vegetarian nightmare, right out of Seven. I had a great chat with the owner, and ended up getting $60 worth of sausages (cash only, of course) and the requested Crotonese cheese for my dad. (I also couldn’t resist getting a caciocavallo that was hanging behind the counter—so glad I got it, it was creamy and sweet.) The hot soppressata is amazing, such sweet pork fat, and I loved their version of ‘nduja, a bit firm but full of peperoncino. I also got a soppressata with fennel, another amazing sausage. These guys kick so much ass with their salumi, it tastes right out of the old country. (I didn’t get any of their pancetta calabrese since my dad makes his own.) If there is a salumi cave in heaven (and in my own personal heaven, there certainly is), well, then this is the place it was modeled on.

Yakitori Totto
251 W. 55th St. at 8th Ave.
212-245-4555
yakitoritotto.JPG Another place long on my to-try list has been Yakitori Totto, a hidden-away restaurant in Midtown (you have to look for a small sign and climb up a narrow staircase from the street to get to it). We had a short wait (the place is tiny) and then started ordering a parade of dishes, like the delicious Totto soup ($7) with chicken meatballs and mushrooms; ikura don ($11), salmon roe over rice; and a really interesting dish: bainiku and nagaimo isobemaki ($10), little “sandwiches” of pickled sticky yam with a shiso leaf inside—you pick it up and wrap it with a slice of nori. Not for everyone, but my friend and I dug the texture and flavors.

The house specialty, true to its name, is yakitori. Sadly the kitchen ran out of the prized chicken oyster, so we had the momo ($3, thigh) instead, along with our favorite of the night, the shishito tsukune ($4): shishito peppers stuffed with ground chicken meatball. There were a few dishes that fell short, but it was overall a fun, funky, and packed little spot to catch up with a friend over Sapporos late into the evening. And props to a restaurant for finally doing what I have wished all restaurants would do: put toothpicks in the frickin’ bathroom. Which is exactly where they should be.

Roberta’s
261 Moore St. at Bogart St., Brooklyn
718-417-1118
robertas.JPG I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it to this much-recommended Brooklyn outpost this trip, but Roberta’s late hours (nightly until 12am) blessedly made it possible. And I would have missed out on my favorite dish of the entire trip: fried soft shell crab ($18) with spicy mayo and fresh herbs. So simple, but so sweet and fresh: total crustacean perfection. Of course we had to have one of the pizzas from the roaring pizza oven in the open kitchen—while the banana hammock was tempting (ha ha), we did the Specken Wolf ($14) with mozzarella, speck, mushrooms, onion, and oregano. Couldn’t stop eating the damned thing, and the taste of the char from the oven on the bready crust was fantastic. There’s a spacious outdoor area with a huge garden (impressive), so we couldn’t resist ordering a salad of miner’s lettuce ($14) with maitake mushrooms, bottarga, and Taleggio cheese.

Loved the low-key vibe of the place—felt like it was the neighborhood clubhouse, with young (and kinda drunk) couples sharing a pizza and canned Budweisers, while my friend and I were a bit more bougie with our fizzy bottle of Fattoria Il Gambero Bonarda. I am so coming back for an early evening dinner (or brunch!) so I can check out the gorg garden. And a tablehopper reader tells me the off-the-menu Cortez pizza is hella tasty (spicy tomato sauce, chorizo, cilantro, radishes, and a “crazy good creamy cheese”). It’s just a quick ride on the L train, don’t let the Brooklyn address deter you from this fab spot.

Colicchio & Sons—The Lot on Tap
Entrance on 30th St. between 10th and 11th Aves.
thelot.JPG My friend and I swung by this makeshift outdoor beer garden for a quick drink and a bite before heading over to Sleep No More, which was just a couple blocks away. I was fired up to see the Taim falafel truck was parked there (green olive falafel? yay!) along with a couple other trucks, so you can nosh on something over a pint of Sehr crisp pilsner from Sixpoint Craft Ales (there are fives beers and wines each that you can choose from). This place will assuredly blow up during the summer.

Szechuan Gourmet
21 W. 39th St. at 5th Ave.
212-921-0233
szechuangourmet.JPG My New York spice-loving pal is madly in love with this outpost of all things Szechuan, and boy did this joint bring it. Went in with a friend for a late lunch of their double-cooked pork belly with chile leeks ($7.60), shreds of smoked tofu with Asian celery ($6.95), and incredible dan dan noodles ($4.95) with minced chile pork. Each dish was spectacular—balanced flavor, and just enough heat that you got a little sweaty but could still taste your food. Total mother lode of flavor here, the price is right, and super-nice staff. I need to come back with a posse of eight and turn this place out.

The Dutch
131 Sullivan St. at Prince St.
212-677-6200
thedutch.jpg Nothing like filling up on a monster fried lunch before getting on a long plane ride home, right? I was thrilled to be able to check out Andrew Carmellini’s latest project in SoHo, primarily because I had my heart set on the fried oyster slider I’ve been reading so much about on Twitter. Well, that little treasure had been swapped out with a soft shell crab sandwich ($16) instead, with a yuzu-tobiko sauce, and a side salad of red watercress. Now that’s what I call a sandwich—move over fried chicken. (And move over lousy slice of tomato I had to rescue the sandwich from.) On the lighter side, the crab salad in a bloody mary sauce—bright with tarragon from the Green Goddess dressing—was also fantastic. The creamy avocado base brought it all home.

Okay, the fries, the fries! I think they’re the best fries I’ve ever had. Seriously. They almost shatter, but still have a slight tender chew to them, with a lovely golden exterior. Our server couldn’t tell me anything more about them except they’re cut in house. Uh, okay. Anyway, get them. We also loved the fried chicken ($19), juicy and even better with a few shakes of the housemade hot sauce—let me tell you, the leftovers made the best dinner I’ve ever had on a plane ride. Oh, and don’t fail to ask for their by-request-only scallion-cornbread with whipped butter.

The tavern-brasserie look is a bit Keith McNally-ish, and made for a fun lunch destination. I’ve heard it blows up at night, and I can believe it. I’m coming back for their famous pie. And more fries. And yes, that’s a threat.

Two more random bites:

Fresh mozzarella from Sergimmo Salumeria (a small little deli that makes fresh mozzarella every two hours)—their sandwiches also looked great.

Sable from Zabar’s (I can’t go to NYC without a visit to their fish counter)—and did you know you can score a free Zabar’s mug if you sign up for their mailing list? Now you do.

You can view my complete photo album on Flickr here.

707 scout

Wine Country Buzz (it’s what happens there)
Jun 24, 2011

Big Bottom Market: How Could We Leave This Behind?

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Big Bottom Market exterior; photo by Walter White.

A tablehopper.com exclusive by 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Whether you’re a fan of Spinal Tap, women’s weekends, bears, or Russian River pinot, Guerneville’s new ~BIG BOTTOM MARKET~ has something for you. G-town maven Crista Luedtke (of boon hotel + spa and boon eat + drink) and food and wine enthusiasts Kate Larkin and Michael Volpatt are opening a high-end market and deli in the epicenter of the Russian River fun zone in mid-July.

This is Guerneville’s answer to the Dry Creek General Store: local artisans’ pastries, breads, and deli meats rubbing shoulders with hyper-local produce from the boon gardens and the store’s own olive oil, sea salt, and wine. The owners describe the setting as “lumberjack chic,” with reclaimed wood from local barns, concrete countertops, and an irreverent, sexy vibe.

The sandwich options at the market’s deli are locally inspired (and named), like the “Parson Jones,” which involves turkey, arugula, spicy chipotle jam, and havarti in a wicked four-way on a crunchy roll from Village Bakery in Sebastapol, as well as the more exotic “Colonel Armstrong” featuring curried chicken from Zoe’s Meats in Petaluma. In addition to the regular deli menu, every month a local chef or celebrity will create a special sandwich for the market that reflects the guest’s personal predilections. The first guest sandwich-maker will be local supervisor Efren Carillo, who reportedly is keeping his footlong completely under wraps until the great reveal at the opening.

Big Bottom plans to carry the ingredients for its deli creations on its grocery shelves as well, and to make the recipes available so you can replicate the experience at home … except for Crista’s mom’s recipes for the sweet and savory biscuits, which will not be released to anyone, under any circumstances. Partner Michael Volpatt says, “No offense to Kara [whom he’s known since the fourth grade], but the biscuit is the new cupcake.” I can’t wait to check out the “Seabiscuit” with smoked trout, crème fraîche, and chives. Hello, lover….

Naturally, this little wine country market is going to have a serious collection of Sonoma County appellations in the booze aisle, plus a monthly “Foreign Exchange Student” from abroad to keep things fresh and exciting. Thursday evening tastings led by the winemaker of the featured wines will also add some intimacy to the tasting experience, and the chance to ask whatever questions pop up.

Big Bottom Market opens mid-July in downtown Guerneville. Hours will be 7am-7pm Sun-Thu, and 7am-9pm Fri-Sat. Check it out. 16228 Main St. at Church, Guerneville.

Update: As a tablehopper reader and her six-year-old learned the hard way (cackling at the store’s signage within earshot of a resident), locals reportedly used to call the whole Guerneville area “Big Bottom.” You can’t make this stuff up.

Silverado Resort Freshens Up for the Season

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The historic manse; photo courtesy of the Silverado Resort.

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Foie gras torchon at The Royal Oak; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

The ~SILVERADO RESORT~ needs no introduction for those who live in Napa Valley. The gorgeous 1870s mansion house and old-money aura are an institution that’s been around as long as anyone can remember. Outside the valley, folks know Silverado for its supporting role as the “Del Oro Spa and Country Club” in the ’80s soap opera Falcon Crest, and as the host of the Senior PGA tour and numerous professional and celebrity tennis tournaments. Thanks to new owners Johnny Miller and his partners, the Silverado Resort is currently enjoying a multi-million dollar renovation aiming to restore the resort to the full height of its former glory.

Not surprisingly for a golf legend, Johnny Miller kicked off the renovation with a total redesign of the north golf course, extending tee boxes, replacing bunkers, and generally making the course eligible to host championship play once again. The north course overhaul is all done already, with new Mini Cooper-like golf carts, state of the art pro shops, and updated condo-style accommodations all in place to make a visit to the resort feel more like a historic vacation destination than a bad flashback.

The fabulous mansion at the heart of the resort goes in for its facelift sometime in the next 24 months, but the food produced there is already experiencing a rejuvenation at the hands of new chef Jeffrey Jake. Jake is a Napa native (a Vintage High School grad), the former chef at The Lodge at Pebble Beach, as well as the former executive chef for The Carneros Inn. He now oversees the Silverado’s banquet dining, the all-day menu at The Grill, the contemporary bar nibbles at the Lounge, as well as the more formal dining at ~THE ROYAL OAK~, the resort’s flagship restaurant.

The Royal Oak has been around for almost 30 years, and yet I had never personally eaten there until the resort invited me in to check out the new menu. I attribute this shocking omission mostly to the fact that Royal Oak is only open Thursday through Saturday nights (and only during the high season, April to October), but also to my fear that the menu would be straight out of Calvin Trillin’s La Maison de la Casa House. I am relieved to report that with Jake at the helm, The Royal Oak is in fact producing some very tasty contemporary cuisine.

The restaurant’s shockingly small kitchen means that the menu leans toward simple, ingredient-driven dishes: think poached shrimp with spicy cocktail sauce, oysters on the half shell, Dungeness crab fritters, charbroiled meats, and à la carte steakhouse staples. Despite the classic simplicity, Jake’s modern touch is evident throughout the menu. Charred, perfectly seasoned steaks and delicate seafood arrive from the 2,500-degree Montague charbroiler with your choice of sauce: roasted shallot-sea salt butter, green peppercorn, soy-lime, salsa verde, or Point Reyes blue cheese butter. Tiny roasted beets nestle into luxurious burrata, sheltered by a thicket of watercress leaves dressed with 50-year-old balsamic vinegar. Pistachio-crusted foie gras torchon gets ultra-seasonal with a dab of rhubarb marmalade and a tangle of pickled spring onions and baby chard leaves … a perfect balance of tart, rich, sweet, and salty.

The dated dining room is slated for a makeover soon, but in the meantime, gaze eastward at the pastoral beauty of the golf course, or dine outside on the patio terrace during warmer weather for the ultimate country club feel.

And now I need to rave about the unbelievable Royal Oak servers, many of whom have been working at Silverado for two or three decades. The seamless elegance of these pros transport you to a more gracious era when dishes were finished and carved tableside, and people actually dressed for dinner. I wanted to order something totally old school—maybe steak Diane or sole amandine—just to watch these guys put on their show.

Jake says he plans to phase out many of the old-fashioned menu fixtures over time, but a nostalgic part of me hopes he hangs on to at least some of the classics. The long history and exceptional staff at Royal Oak offer something utterly unique in Napa, perfectly suited to the Silverado Resort’s dramatic setting. Let’s hope the restaurant’s future evolution retains the magic of that legacy. 1600 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa, 707-257-0200.

P.S. The Spa at Silverado just across Atlas Peak Road offers the full panoply of modern services, as well as a sweet afternoon “Happy Hour” deal in the Salon Monday-Friday from 2pm-6pm. For $25, you score an express manicure or pedicure (or both for $45) along with a complimentary glass of Champagne and all-day guest privileges in the gym, pool, and spa. 1605 Atlas Peak Rd., Napa, 707-257-5555.

the wino

Guest Wine & Spirits Writers (in vino veritas)
Jun 24, 2011

Alex Fox on Re-Wined

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Alex Fox. Photo by Chris Andre.

Alex Fox has worked as a manager and sommelier in several of San Francisco’s finest restaurants, including Gary Danko and the dearly departed Myth. He has wine certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers and an Advanced Degree Certificate with Distinction from the Wine Spirits Education Trust (WSET). In 2007, he was nominated for a James Beard award as the top sommelier in America. He is currently the GM and wine director for Bar Tartine. For more beverage bliss, follow Alex on Twitter @wineomite.

Re-Wined is a non-denominational, equal opportunity (beer and spirits are welcome) and ongoing column for tablehopper, designed to liberate, refresh, and titillate readers with a monthly review of the best and brightest alcoholic beverages to hit the Bay Area. Massage your livers because I’m coming for you.

Less is More

As the temperature rises we all seem to downsize; less clothing, less inhibitions, and in beer and wine terms, less alcohol and lower, cooler serving temperatures that refresh rather than enervate. Here are some picks for this week’s warmer weather.

Beer:

Uinta “Sum’R”, American Blonde Ale, Utah, 4.8% alc.
Uinta is the only 100% wind-powered business in Utah. This organic beer is brewed in a smooth, crisp, gently toasted style called “American Blonde” (a California specialty in more ways than one) unique to the domestic craft brewing industry. The beer drinks like a light, refreshing lager with aromas and flavors of subtle barley, watercress, and light citrus.

Linden Street Black Lager, Schwarzbier, Oakland, 5.2% alc.
This beer is brewed straight out of Oakland by up-and-coming beer rock star (he has the ZZ Top beard to prove it) Adam Lamoreaux. It is the freshest beer you can find in the Bay Area as production, storage, and shipping are all managed in the same location. More often than not, Adam will personally deliver the beer. The Schwarzbier style is dark in color from heavily roasted malts like a richer porter or stout, but with lower lager alcohol contents. Adam’s black lager is light and drinks like an X-rated iced coffee with aromas and flavors of dark cocoa and fresh coffee bean. 

Wine:

Tocai Friulano/Ribolla Gialla/Chardonnay Blend, Massican “Annia,” Napa Valley 2010
Don’t be a hater, not all Napa Valley whites taste like the wine equivalent of a Louisville Slugger baseball bat. This 230-case production offering from Dan Petroski, the assistant winemaker at Larkmead and DuMOL, pays homage to the high-altitude, aromatic white blends from northeastern Italy. This crisp, mineral-driven wine absolutely shimmers with aromas of orange blossom and green melon, followed by melon, apple skin, and green almond notes on the palate.

Teran, Terzolo, Istria, Croatia 2008
Drinking a delicious wine for $50 is way better than drinking a bad wine for $50. However, what truly warms the cockles of my Hebrew soul is finding a wine for $15 dollars that I can roll to the BBQ with and lay waste to the various animal-themed labels vying for attention on the picnic table. It’s even better if it’s a cool wine from a less heralded wine region made from a grape that I can actually pronounce. The grape Teran is native to the Istrian peninsula at Croatia’s northern border with Slovenia and Italy. What separates this wine from the herd is how good it tastes when eating the herd. The wine is light on its feet at 12.8% alcohol, but packs a punch with aromas and flavors of honeysuckle, mild coppa, and red and black cherries.

the sugar mama

Giveaways (get some)
Jun 24, 2011

(Sponsored): Win Tickets for the American Lamb Jam!

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All ewe lamb lovers are invited to the second annual Lamb Jam San Francisco on Sunday July 17th at the Golden Gate Club! From 3pm-6pm, celebrated Bay Area chefs will compete to prepare the best local lamb dishes in all the land, paired with wines from Paso Robles, for an afternoon of feasting and fun. Guests will learn about lamb through a butchery demonstration by local shepherd Don Watson and chef Matthew Accarrino from SPQR.

Celebrate Paso Robles wines with emcee Liam Mayclem, host and a producer for CBS5 TV’s “Eye On The Bay,” and chefs Antelmo Faria (Tacolicious), Banks White (FIVE, Berkeley), David Bazirgan (Fifth Floor), Dino Vazquez (Eastside West Restaurant & Bar), Eric Berg (Wente Vineyards), Jeff Mall (Zin), Jeffrey Lunak (Morimoto Napa), and more.

Two lucky tablehopper readers will each win a pair of tickets to the event: all you need to do is forward today’s tablehopper newsletter to one friend (but even more would be so very fabulous), then Cc: or Bcc: me at luckyme@tablehopper.com so I know you sent it—I promise I won’t use anyone’s email address. The deadline to enter is Monday June 27th at 11:59pm. I will notify the winner on Tuesday. Good luck!

In case you don’t want to risk not winning a ticket, and tickets selling out (which they will!), buy your tickets now!

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