Category Archives: Spirits/Cocktails/Beer

Sorrento Limoncello From A Carmel Restaurateur

The family recipe for this limoncello dates to 1902.
The family recipe for this limoncello dates to 1902.

Rich Pepe may have grown up in New Jersey, but his family’s southern Italian roots have lived on deliciously since his grandparents emigrated here.

His upbringing, surrounded by a large extended family who made their own wine, jams, breads and pastas, had a profound impact on him. Indeed, after arriving on the Monterey Peninsula, Pepe worked as a baker, and eventually purchased the historic Carmel Bakery in Carmel-by-the-Sea. He, his wife and two sons now oversee half a dozen Italian-inspired establishments in the area. Besides the bakery, they include Little Napoli, Bistro Italian; Vesuvio; and Peppoli at Pebble Beach.

If that weren’t enough, he also makes his own limoncello. PepeCello is hand-crafted in small batches in Sorrento, using only certified organic Sorrento lemons.

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Check In For A Dose of Wellness At the Stanford Court Hotel

Presenting the "Maude,'' made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.
Presenting the “Maude,” made with rooftop honey at the Stanford Court Hotel.

San Francisco’s Stanford Court Hotel is buzzing — in more ways than one.

Last year, the Nob Hill hotel added an apiary to its rooftop terrace just outside its Seven Stills restaurant. Now, it’s reaping the sweet rewards of those bee hives — from honey that’s accenting fun offerings on the menu.

I had a chance to try a few recently, when I was invited as an overnight guest of the hotel.

The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
The restored, 3-ton penguin statue by Beni Bufano graces the entrance.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
Depictions of horses owned by industrialist Leland Stanford decorate the lobby.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.
The night-time skyline view from one of the rooms.

Take a seat at the bar or one of the tables in the restaurant that’s open to the lobby to order one of the specialty cocktails ($15 each) that are all named for movies that were filmed in San Francisco.

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SF Bakesale for Planned Parenthood, Mixology Fun & More

Get your sweet tooth on at this wonderful bake sale for a great cause. (Photo by Molly Decourdreaux)
Get your sweet tooth on at this wonderful bake sale for a great cause. (Photo by Molly Decourdreaux)

Zuni Cafe and Guittard Chocolate Team Up With A Host of Bakers For A Grand Bakesale

Get your sweet fix — and support a worthy cause — at the “SF Bakesale for Planned Parenthood,” 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 13 in Rose Alley between Gough and Market streets (behind Zuni Cafe) in San Francisco.

Modeled after a similar event in New York City, this local one is presented by Annie Callahan of Zuni Cafe and Amy Guittard of Guittard Chocolate Company. It will feature a tantalizing array of baked goods for sale by some of the city’s top restaurants and bakeries. A live auction also will be held, with one of the items up for bids a dinner at NOMA Copenhagen.

All proceeds will benefit Planned Parenthood NorCal and Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates.

Among those baking the sweet treats are: Atelier Crenn, Bi-Rite Creamery, Boulevard, Cala, Che Fico, Frances, Liholiho Yacht Club, Mister Jiu’s, Nightbird, Quince, Rich Table, Saison, Tartine Bakery, 20th Century Cafe, and Zuni Cafe.

Unable to attend the event, but still want to help? A GoFundMe site has been set up to take donations.

Mixology Classes From The Mulberry Guy

You know him as the Mulberry Guy, the farmer who brings prized, fresh-picked mulberries to sell at the Palo Alto Downtown Farmers Market in the summertime. Now, Kevin Lynch is putting a newfound hobby to work — he’s hosting mixology classes in his backyard full of mulberry trees.

Kevin Lynch is known for his home-grown mulberries. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)
Kevin Lynch is known for his home-grown mulberries. (Photo by Carolyn Jung)

Lynch and his wife are both teachers, so they know how to instruct so that the lessons stick.

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Selby’s Sizzles — Even Before It Opens

Halibut with Robuchon potatoes at the new Selby's.

Halibut with Robuchon potatoes at the new Selby’s.

 

You know a restaurant has got it going on when nearly all of its 48 main dining-room seats are already booked solid for the next two months and its private dining rooms already are sought after for Christmas soirees — and it hasn’t even opened its doors yet.

Such is the case of the hotly anticipated Selby’s in Redwood City on the edge of Atherton, which officially opens to the public on Tuesday, July 23 to serve dinner nightly.

It’s the latest project by the Bacchus Management Group, which also operates nearby Michelin-starred The Village Pub in Woodside, The Village Bakery & Cafe in Woodside, Pizza Antica in San Jose’s Santana Row, and Mayfield Bakery & Cafe in Palo Alto; as well as Michelin-starred Spruce, and The Saratoga, both in San Francisco.

The 10,000-square-foot property on El Camino Real has been various restaurants since 1938, most recently Chantilly’s. For more than a year, including four months of construction, the Bacchus Group labored to completely transform the interior into a sumptuous establishment, as I saw when I was invited in as a guest of a media preview dinner last week.

The main dining room on the first floor.

The main dining room on the first floor.

The mixed media "Golden State'' art work created by Lost Art Salon proprietor Rob Delamater hangs above the fireplace.

The mixed media “Golden State” art work created by Lost Art Salon proprietor Rob Delamater hangs above the fireplace.

The swank bar.

The swank bar.

Local artist Magnus Scheven's focal point chandelier.

Local artist Magnus Scheven’s focal point chandelier.

Dark emerald mohair covers the walls not only to add luxury, but act as a sound dampener. I dare you to not spend at least a few moments caressing the walls (yes, really) that feel like plush velvet to the touch. Real gold leaf glitters on the back wall of the bar, as well as the ceiling of the restrooms. There’s even a secret poker room upstairs that doubles as a private dining room.

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Sneak Peak Taste of Midsummer At Plaj

"Wine & Flowers'' cocktail on the new midsummer menu at Plaj.

“Wine & Flowers” cocktail on the new midsummer menu at Plaj.

 

In Scandinavia, midsummer begins June 22. And it’s a very big deal.

After a long, harsh winter of darkness with a mere four hours of light per day if you’re lucky, Scandinavian residents get rather giddy when summer approaches. Can you blame them?

Swedish-born Chef-Owner Roberth Sundell offers up a taste of that exuberance from his home country by presenting a special midsummer menu at his Plaj restaurant in San Francisco.

Located inside the boutique Inn at the Opera hotel, Sundell opened the restaurant in 2012 with his wife Andrea to showcase modern Scandinavian cuisine with California influences. They followed that up in 2017 with the fast-casual Stockhome in Petaluma.

Plaj is a phonetic spelling of the word “play.” And that’s just what the couple wants you to do when you visit this intimate dining room.

The bar.

The bar.

The dining area beside it.

The dining area beside it.

Recently, I was invited along with other media to try some of the offerings on the new midsummer menu, which will be available June 19-25.

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