In my household, there is no argument as to what our most favored cocktail is.
But there is disagreement over whose drink of choice it was first.
Let’s just say that I’m convinced I chose the Negroni way before my husband did.
After all, he can’t even tell you why he likes it. But I can. It’s all about that delightful bitter orange taste that does it for me, like that of the prized rind of Seville oranges in marmalade.
So when a review copy of the new “San Francisco Cocktails” (Cider Mill Press) landed on my porch, it was the perfect excuse to make at home the satisfying sip I usually order out.
This fun book is by my friend and colleague Trevor Felch, a Bay Area food and drinks writer who has assembled 100 San Francisco cocktail recipes and the stories behind them. Holy moly, just imagine the tipsy time testing all of those.
In 2016, Carlo Mondavi — yes, grandson of Robert Mondavi — created the Monarch Challenge to bring attention to the plight of the beautiful Monarch butterfly, whose population has been devastated since the advent of Roundup.
Every year since then, he and his brother Dante have produced a limited rosé through their RAEN Winery in Sebastopol to bring attention to this environmental calamity befalling this invaluablepollinator, and to inspire other like-minded vintners to do the same.
I had a chance to try a sample of this year’s 2021 Monarch Challenge North Coast Rosé ($30), sales of which will benefit the conservation organization, the Xerces Society, and Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue, dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating sick or orphaned wildlife.
Produced from RAEN Pinot Noir grapes and old-vine Grenache, all farmed organically, this pale salmon wine is an exuberant expression of strawberries and raspberries, with a hint of guava. It is crisp, tangy, and laced with minerality. It’s pure deliciousness.
Opened barely a month ago, it’s already drawing crowds, as evidenced by what I saw last Wednesday night when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant. Even at 5 p.m. on a school night, every seat was taken at the eye-catching bar done up in glazed emerald tiles, along with about half the tables.
Kaiyo Rooftop is the sister property to Kaiyo restaurant in the Cow Hollow neighborhood, both of which specialize in Nikkei cuisine, a blend of Japanese and Peruvian In fact, a similar Kaiyo restaurant is expected to open on the ground floor of the hotel by the end of the year to serve more substantial fare like its Union Street sibling. In contrast, Kaiyo Rooftop’s menu is designed to be more bar food. Even so, it’s ample food for a meal.
Just be sure to dress in layers, and don’t forget a scarf or hat, too. That’s because the winds can be fierce up top, and the chill will definitely set in once the sun goes down, despite heaters being all around.
If there’s any doubt that Covid has long entered the everyday lexicon, look no further than the new Teleferic Barcelona in downtown Los Gatos, where the new Prime Wellington gets its own vaccination tableside.
It’s all in good fun — and flat-out deliciousness — of course. When the golden pastry-wrapped roll of mushrooms duxelles and braised short ribs is set down, it actually gets injected with a metal syringe filled with jus to make it more flavorful, and no doubt immune to any dryness.
After two years of untold pandemic upheaval, you deserve a meal full of verve and playfulness that takes you away from any troubles. Teleferic Barcelona is just the place to do that, as I found earlier this month when I dined outdoors as a guest of the restaurant.
The Los Gatos location is the third U.S. outpost for the Spanish restaurant group, joining ones in Walnut Creek and Palo Alto.
It was supposed to open in September 2021, but like everything else, was delayed by supply-chain issues. Much of its furnishings, which came from Barcelona, were stuck on container ships for six months.
Girly yet sophisticated, it fairly bursts with bright strawberries and raspberries with just a twinge of ginger on the finish. Crisp and zingy with plenty of acidity, it’s a blend of 65 percent Pinot Noir and 35 percent Chardonnay.
This nonvintage sparkling wine, of which I received a sample, is right at home, be it at a romantic holiday dinner or a casual backyard get-together. It’s sure to make any occasion feel that much more festive.
Cheers: Did you know that La Crema was founded in 1979 in Sonoma County, when most wineries in California were focusing on Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and turning a blind eye to Pinot Noir? It took the late-great winemaker Jess Jackson and his wife Barbara Banke, founders of Kendall-Jackson Winery, to shine a spotlight on Burgundian-style Pinot Noir with a cool climate, single-vineyard focus with their La Crema wines.
Lagunitas Hoppy Refresher
What has hops, brewer’s yeast, but no alcohol? And isn’t beer or even non-alcoholic beer?
This uncanny, clear beverage pours with a thick foamy head just like beer, as I found when trying sample bottles. But it doesn’t try to mimic the taste of beer whatsoever.
Instead, it is its own thing — akin to sparkling water in texture and weight on the palate. It’s quenching and refreshingly dry, with a moderate hoppy bitterness on the finish and unexpected bursts of mango, orange and grapefruit on the palate.