Time for Bloody Marys, Longer Happy Hours & Foodie Events

In the East Bay:

Meritage at the Claremont in Berkeley has made the Bloody Mary into a veritable meal in and of itself.

Sunday mornings, the restaurant sets up a special Bloody Mary bar with nearly 50 ingredients to choose from, including different vodkas, horseradish, hot sauces, pickled veggies, and even beef jerky.

At Sunday brunch, where a spread of Alaskan crab legs, roasted Prime Rib and eggs Benedict is available, the Bloody Marys are $10 each.  There are even non-alcoholic Bloody Marys available at no charge.

Enjoy some of Berkeley’s best eats at “A Taste of North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto,” 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. March 24, at Shattuck Avenue between Hearst and Rose streets.

Restaurants, including Trattoria Corso, Poulet, Saul’s Deli, and Imperial Tea Court, will be offering food and wine tastings.

Tickets are $25. Proceeds benefit Lions Club Community Fund Charities, including the Bay Area Alternative Press and the Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center. For more information, call (510) 540-6444.

This weekend, noon to 4:30 p.m., March 20 and March 21, enjoy tastes of wines right out of the barrels during the “Second Annual Barrel Tasting Weekend,” hosted by the Livermore Valley Winegrowers.

More than 25 Livermore wineries will be offering at least one barrel sample to taste, along with gourmet noshes. Guests also will have the opportunity to pre-purchase some of the barrel wines at a discount.

Tickets are $19 if purchased by today; and $35 if purchased at any participating winery on either day of the event. For more information, call (925) 447-9463.

In Sonoma and the Napa Valley:

Richard Rosenberg of Healdsburg’s boutique Grape Leaf Inn was always intrigued by the stories of his grandfather’s speakeasy that operated during Prohibition. So he decided to create his own in that same spirit.

Prohibition – The Speakeasy Wine Club just opened in Healdsburg. The 30-seat wine bar features a fun clandestine entrance. In the front is a small shop selling wine-related items, including home wine-refrigerators. You enter the actual speakeasy by stepping into an antique phone booth (see photo below) in the corner of the shop. Once inside, you’ll find a secret door to the bar, where you can enjoy hard-to-find wines and 1920s-style beers.

The 17th annual “Taste of Yountville” rolls around 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday, March 20.

White tents will be set up along Washington Street, V Marketplace and Washington Square, where the city’s restaurants and wineries will be offering tastes. Participating restaurants include Bouchon Bistro, Redd, Bardessono and Bottega.

Tasting tickets are $1 each.

In the South Bay and Peninsula:

From March 21 through April 18, Santana Row in San Jose and the San Jose Repertory Theatre have a deal for you: Enjoy a two-course, prix-fixe dinner for two any Sunday through Wednesday for only $24.95 per person at participating restaurants and receive two complimentary tickets to the Rep’s production of “Ain’t Misbehavin’.”

Participating restaurants include Amber India, LB Steak, Sino, and Yankee Pier. For a complete list, click here.

After dinner, take your itemized receipt to the concierge office to receive a voucher for the tickets while supplies last.

Head to Bloomingdale’s at Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, 2 p.m. March 21, for a cooking demo and tasting by Executive Chef Roger Stettler of the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea.

Seats are limited, so RSVP by calling (650) 463-2087.

In San Francisco:

Chaya in San Francisco has turned “Happy Hour” into an all-night affair.

Monday through Friday, the restaurant’s “Happy Hour” now runs from 4 p.m. to closing; on weekends, it’s 5 p.m. to closing. During those times, cocktails are all $5.50. New bar bites also have been added, including chicken satay ($6) and Mediterranean mussels with fries ($8.50).

In that same vein because folks in The City By The Bay must sure like to imbibe a lot, Infusion Lounge in San Francisco also is offering a new extended “Happy Hour” on Tuesday nights, 6 p.m. till closing. Sip $6 mixed premium cocktails, $6 house wines and $4 beers while enjoying live entertainment.

Sundays through Thursdays through the end of this month,  Luella restaurant on Russian Hill in San Francisco is offering all glasses of wine for $5 each. It’s to commemorate its fifth anniversary.

Celebrate spring with an afternoon of gourmet hot dogs, beer and live music, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 25 at Show Dogs in San Francisco.

Nosh on onion rings, “barbeque” fries and mini versions of the restaurant’s signature fare, including organic duck  sausages with kimchi and organic sweet Italian sausages with ancho grilled onions.

Tickets are $20 at the door. Proceeds benefit the nearby San Francisco City Academy, which helps provide quality education to inner-city kids.

Through March, Chez Papa Resto in downtown San Francisco celebrates fresh, spring Delta asparagus by pairing it with black truffles in a special four-course prix-fixe dinner.

Dishes include sauteed black cod with pancetta-wrapped asparagus and brown butter hollandaise; and truffle-stuffed chicken breast with confit leg, pistou potatoes and grilled asparagus.

Price is $60 per person, with a wine pairing available for another $30 per person.

Throughout March, diners in the Oak Room Restaurant and the Lounge of the Westin St. Francis in San Francisco will be asked to donate $1 or more for the water they usually sip for free.

It’s all for a good cause; All the funds raised will go to the UNICEF Tap Project, which works to provide healthy water, sanitation and hygiene programs to children in underdeveloped countries.

Just consider the sobering fact: Just one dollar raised through the program can provide a child with safe water for 40 days.

Calling all bartenders, wait staff, cooks, sommeliers and anyone else who works in the restaurant industry: Epic Roasthouse in San Francisco  has a weekend brunch deal for you.

Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., just bring in a business card or other proof of industry employment to enjoy complimentary house-made pastries and your first mimosa on the house.

Chile Fund-Raiser:

Through the end of this month, Wine.com is partnering with Wines of Chile, a trade organization that promotes Chilean wines, to raise funds for quake-ravaged Chile.

When a bottle of Chilean wine is purchased through Wine.com, the wine retailer will make a donation to Hogar de Cristo, a non-profit that helps the poorest in Chile, and Un Techo para Chile, an organization that builds homes for those in need in Chile.

For every 12 bottles of select Chilean wines sold, Wine.com will donate $100 to those two organizations. For a complete list of wines eligible, click here.

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  • Time for Bloody Marys, I’m in! Foodie events, I’m in too. I need a vip membership for all these wonderful events…I wish they were nearer to me…;)

    All the best,


  • I’m in too! I’d love to take part in all those fantastic events… Unfortunately, I would have to be clones for that effect (and have a big wallet) ;-p.



  • Oooh, so much going on, and I like how you break it out into regions. I read your last item so quickly I thought it said “Chili Fundraiser” and I was so excited to think of a chili cookoff or something. But a Chile fundraiser is still a good cause. Hey, why haven’t anyone done a “Chili for Chile” fundraiser? Must I think of everything? 😉

  • Ah, I wish I had a more flexible calendar to take advantage of all these fabulous events that you identify – there’s just not enough time in the day.

  • Single Guy Ben: I nominate you to put together the first ever “Chili for Chile” fundraiser. Anyone want to second that? 😉

  • Have you visited Luella? $5 glasses is such a steal. The problem is always finding parking on Hyde Street. But once there, you’ve also got the very delicious Za pizza right across the street. Yum!

  • Would a foodie newbie be welcome at this fantastic event? 🙂 I practically live on Shattuck.

  • A bloody mary bar?! how fantastic! What a creative, brilliant novel idea!
    Every of these events are so tantalizing. SF is certainly THE foodie city of USA!

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