Category Archives: Wine

Cheers to the Portland Trail Blazers With Limited Edition Wines

Some very cool labels on these two very cool wines by Adelsheim Vineyard.
Some very cool labels on these two very cool wines by Adelsheim Vineyard.

OK, Warriors fans, don’t hate me for writing about the Portland Trail Blazers.

After all, it’s really two special wines that I’m concentrating on here. And admittedly, I am partial to Oregon pinot noirs, which one of these is.

To celebrate the monumental 50th anniversary of the Portland basketball team, Adelsheim Vineyard, the first winery founded in the Chehalem Mountains in the Willamette Valley, has come out with two limited-edition commemorative wines: a pinot noir ($50) and a chardonnay ($50), both 2017 vintages.

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All Roads Lead to A16 Rockridge

An especially meaty, sweet, tender tasting prosciutto at A16 Rockridge.
An especially meaty, sweet, tender tasting prosciutto at A16 Rockridge.

I have been a fan of A16 ever since it opened its doors in 2004 in San Francisco’s Marina district. But I may have become an even bigger fan now of its younger sister location, A16 Rockridge in Oakland, which opened in 2013.

That’s because parking is a breeze, especially on an early Sunday evening, as when I visited recently. In contrast, visiting the original location will always involve circling the blocks over and over to hunt for a parking space.

In Oakland, I save time in the car to spend more of it comfortably at my seat in the restaurant, done up in rustic-industrial style with exposed brick walls and duct work on the ceilings.

The restaurant, which takes its name from the highway that spans across Italy from Napoli to Bari, specializes in the food of Campania.

The comfortable dining room with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the sidewalk.
The comfortable dining room with high ceilings and large windows overlooking the sidewalk.

Its wine list is also killer. In fact, Wine Director and Co-Founder Shelley Lindgren won a James Beard Award for it. So when our server recommended a half carafe ($26) of the 2018 Terredora di Paolo “Rosaenovae” Montefusco, Avellino, Campania rose, on the warm summer evening, we knew it would hit the spot. And it did with its pale salmon color, and light, dry, minerally-forward character.

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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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Summer’s Finger-Food: Charred Padron Peppers with Goat Cheese and Sage

A pile of just-seared shishitos gets dressed with lovely goat cheese and sage leaves.

A pile of just-seared shishitos gets dressed with lovely goat cheese and sage leaves.

 

Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery in the Sonoma Valley takes pride in everything it does. It grows its own organic olives and Bordeaux varietal grapes, and makes its own olive oil and wine. It’s even won state awards for its sustainability practices.

Moreover, it has its own culinary team, whose talents are on full display in the new cookbook, “Stone Edge Farm Kitchen Larder Cookbook” (Rizzoli), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by John McReynolds, Mike Emanuel, and Fiorella Butron, who are respectively the culinary director, estate chef, and chef de cuisine for the winery.

The winery boasts a restored 1910 farm house, where tastings can be enjoyed by appointment-only, along with options for food and wine pairings, private cooking demonstrations, and private dining events.

The recipes reflect the bounty of produce the estate raises: “Lacto-Fermented Vegetables,” “Asparagus Tempura with Meyer Lemon Aioli, ”Oak Ember-Grilled Pork Chops with Quince Mostarda” and “Cabarnet Sauvignon Grape and Wine Granita.”

Stone Edge Farm cookbook

I gravitated to “Charred Padron peppers with Goat Cheese and Sage,” which also can be made with shishito peppers instead.

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Step Inside The Vault

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

The seafood sampler at The Vault.

 

The iconic Bank of America skyscraper in San Francisco’s Financial District holds a special place in my heart.

It’s where my Mom worked for years at a brokerage firm. And it’s where I’d work high school and college summers in her office for her boss, sorting and filing papers. The company was located on the 32nd floor, high up enough that when the Blue Angels were in town, you could gawk at the planes — and feel a rumble — as they whizzed by the windows practically at eye level. Now, that was something.

It’s been many years since I’ve been back inside that building. But recently, I had the chance, when I was invited in to dine as a guest at the new The Vault, located on the concourse level.

The newest concept by the Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group, it is also quite something to behold. The restaurant group may be known for its relaxed, neighborhood spots — Trestle, Corridor, and Fat Angel — but The Vault, which really is in the bank’s old vault area, is total swank.

As Hi Neighbor partner Ryan Cole told me, “It’s a different crowd than SOMA.”

The place where power people imbibe.

The place where power people imbibe.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

Private liquor lockers for patrons.

That meant a different vibe was in order. After all, the building still houses some of the top financial services firms around. While one could easily still walk in here wearing the usual skinny jeans uniform, you will see far more suit jackets and blazers than you ever would in the South of Market area.

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