Category Archives: Wine

Bay Area Chefs Event, New Seafood Restaurant Coming to Mountain View & More

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

Chef Ross Hanson is one of the featured chefs at the benefit gala for Child Advocates of Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of the chef)

“Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love”

Enjoy gourmet noshes by 15 Bay Area chefs matched with wine and cocktails at the annual “Star Chefs and the Wines and Spirits They Love” fund-raiser, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. April 13 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The participating chefs are:

Executive Chef Ross Hanson, Oak & Rye Restaurant
Executive Chef Philipe Breneman, Lexington House
Executive Chef John Burke, Liquid Bread Gastropub
Executive Chef Jeff Fitzgerald, Dio Deka
Executive Chef Jarad Gallagher, Chez TJ
Chef de Cuisine Anthony Jimenez, The Table
Executive Chef Brad Kraten, Park Place
Executive Chef Lan Le, White Shallot
Executive Chef Randy MustererSushi Confidential
Executive Chef Justin Perez, Justin’s Restaurant
Head Baker Avery Ruzicka, The Manresa Bread Project
Executive Chef Josiah Slone,  Sent Sovi
Executive Chef Nanci Wokas, Hewlett Packard
Executive Chef Chris Yamashita, Brown Chicken Brown Cow
Bee Whisperer Tim Dauber, Bee Friendly

The best dishes will receive a People’s Choice, Chefs’ Choice and Judges’ Choice award. Yours truly is proud to be one of the judges for the evening.

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Macy’s Valley Fair Welcomes the Food Gal and Centonove For a Cooking Demo


If you’re a fan of great Italian food and wine, you won’t want to miss the next cooking demo at Macy’s Valley Fair in Santa Clara at 6 p.m. Tues., Feb. 25. (Excuse the date typo in the ad.)

That’s because I’ll be hosting Chef Carlo Ochetti of the charming new Centonove in downtown Los Gatos, who will demonstrate how to make one of his prized Italian specialties. A native of Italy, Ochetti grew up cooking with his mother, before going on to attend culinary school. He’s the former chef of Il Fornaio in San Jose.

Also joining us will be Lisa Rhorer, Centonove’s owner and sommelier. She’ll not only discuss the finer points of Italian wines, but bring along the specific wine she’d most pair with Ochetti’s dish. Yes, folks, this is a two-fer: You’ll not only get to taste food but also the wine that best goes with it. How’s that for a deliriously good time?

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A Perfect Valentine’s Day Pairing, Dessert For Dinner, and More

A Valentine's Day gift that keeps on giving. (Photo courtesy of Eden Canyon Vineyards)

A Valentine’s Day gift that keeps on giving. (Photo courtesy of Eden Canyon Vineyards)

Eden Canyon’s Perfect Pair

Sure, I’m biased, but I do think that Eden Canyon Vineyards has come up with the perfect pairing for Valentine’s Day.

It’s a signed copy of my cookbook, San Francisco Chef’s Table (Lyons Press), along with a bottle of its 2010 “Estate” Cabernet Sauvignon, which won a gold medal in the 2014 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

The $55.95 “Perfect Pair” gift set is just the ticket to set the mood. Uncork the wine, and cozy up to one another as you leaf through the book together to plan your next cooking adventure or the next Bay Area restaurant you most want to visit.

The winery, the only estate-owned Filipino-American one in the country, is in the Paso Robles Appellation. The wine is made by Danny Villamin and his daughter, Elaine Blackaby.

Presidio Social Club Cocktails To Take Home

If you’ve visited Presidio Social Club in San Francisco, you know they make a mean retro cocktail.

Now, they’ve bottled two for you to enjoy easily at home.

All ready to take home. (Photo courtesy of the Presidio Social Club)

All ready to take home. (Photo courtesy of the Presidio Social Club)

Choose between the Barrel Aged Negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari; or the Barrel Aged Reasons Rye, a blend of rye, punt e mes, Cointreau and orange bitters.

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Gifts for Yourself

Relax with Spiced Wine -- hot, cold or room temperature.

Relax with Spiced Wine — hot, cold or room temperature. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)


If all that cooking, entertaining and shopping over the holidays has run you ragged, it’s time you gave yourself a little present, don’t you think?

Here are a few definitely worth considering.

Spicy Vines

There’s little that’s more relaxing than kicking off your shoes with a glass of red wine after a long, hard day.

Imagine one crafted from Zinfandel, Syrah, Petit Syrah, Granache and a bit of Sauvignon Blanc brandy, and imbued with heady spices to snuggle up with.

That’s what you’ll discover in Spiced Wine by Spicy Vines, which Bay Area founders Crystalyn Hoffman and Anders Pederson modeled after mulled wine or glogg.

Surprisingly, the sample I tried was not the over-powering, ultra-alcoholic, hit-you-in-the-face sweet mulled wine I’m accustomed to. Instead, it’s quite balanced and enjoyable.

At room temperature, the orange, clove and cinnamon are quite evident on the nose. It’s a festive-tasting drink with good structure and flavors of warm baking spices and deep, dark fruit.

When warmed — which you can do easily in the microwave — the citrus become more muted and the tannins more present.

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The Perfect Sip For Fall — From Randall Grahm

Randall Grahm's latest endeavor sparkles.

Randall Grahm’s latest endeavor sparkles.


Randall Grahm, the visionary behind Santa Cruz’s Bonny Doon Vineyard has always followed his own path.

When Chardonnay dominated, he fostered a thirst for lesser-known Rhone varietals.

When he opened his tasting room, it wasn’t in the faux Mediterranean style so en vogue, but a most quirky spot adorned with spaceships.

Now, leave it to him to think outside the box again by veering into the realm of hard-cider making.

His Bonny Doon ¿Querry?, which I had a chance to sample, is not your usual sparkling alcoholic apple cider.

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