Category Archives: Wine

The Last Harrah at Landmark Manresa

Porcini and dry-aged beef served arrestingly at Manresa.
Porcini and dry-aged beef served arrestingly at Manresa.

It’s said that all good things must come to an end.

So apparently, must all great things, too.

When Chef-Owner David Kinch announced that he would be closing his Michelin three-starred Manresa in Los Gatos at the end of this year, it was a seismic jolt felt ’round the culinary world.

But after a glittering 20-year run, including the last three rocked by the turmoil of a global pandemic, he felt the time had come.

Although he will continue with his more casual concepts of Manresa Bread, the Bywater, and Mentone, come 2023 the South Bay will no longer boast a Michelin three-starred establishment. The property is up for sale. While Kinch says he has a few projects in mind to consider next, it’s a good bet that it will be a long time — if ever — that a restaurant exists in these parts that will draw discerning diners from all over the world in numbers like this one has.

I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy several superlative meals at Manresa over the past two decades. While I’ve mostly dined outdoors since the pandemic hit in 2020, I couldn’t pass up the chance to dine indoors there one final time.

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Dining Outside at Rooh, Palo Alto

The paneer chili roll embellished with Middle Eastern katifi at Rooh in Palo Alto.
The paneer chili roll embellished with Middle Eastern katifi at Rooh in Palo Alto.

When Rooh opened in downtown Palo Alto in January 2020, it announced itself with live-fire, modern Indian fare in splashy surroundings. Thankfully, it not only survived the global calamity that hit a mere two months later, but continues to take Indian cuisine to new heights now.

It even added a parklet for outdoor dining. That’s where I dined recently when I was invited in as a guest of the restaurant on a chilly weeknight. With plenty of heaters, though, as well as thoughtful floral decorations, the parklet was plenty comfortable. Even on a Wednesday, it was filled with diners, as was the dining room.

Husband and wife, Vikram and Anu Bhambri, who got their start in the tech industry, opened their first Rooh in San Francisco in 2016. It, too, is still going strong, along with locations in Columbus, OH, and New Delhi.

The comfortable parklet on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.
The comfortable parklet on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto.

Executive Chef Sujan Sarkar oversees all the Rooh locations (except the Chicago one), with Chef Apurva Panchal in charge of the Palo Alto locale.

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 23

When you're in the mood for sparkling wine -- but not its effects -- grab a bottle of Joyus.
When you’re in the mood for sparkling wine — but not its effects — grab a bottle of Joyus.

Joyous Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine

It looks like sparkling wine or Champagne. It’s packaged in an elegant bottle complete with a cork, cage and foil. And it’s beautifully effervescent in a glass.

But Joyous Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine is indeed non-alcoholic. It’s made like wine, but with the alcohol removed to become “dealcoholized.”

Launched during the pandemic, it’s the creation of Seattle’s Jessica Selander who proudly has 17 years of sobriety.

This is no cloying Martinelli’s trying to stand in for wine, as I happily found when trying a sample. Instead, this wine is a balanced blend of varietals, mostly Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, French Colombard, Chenin Blanc and other whites, Selander noted in an interview with Sip Magazine.

It even won bronze at the 2021 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

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What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 22

Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.
Meaty ribs and Malbec are a pairing made in heaven.

2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec

Years ago, I remember reading an article in a wine magazine that mentioned how sommeliers could always spot an industry person dining in their restaurant: The tell was that they were the ones who were likely to order the Gruner Veltliner or Malbec on the wine list.

In a world where so many people stick to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, these two varietals definitely deserve a whole lot more love.

As someone married to a man whose nickname is Meat Boy for his carnivore leanings, Malbec has truly become a favorite in our household.

So, when I received a sample of the 2019 Secret Ingredient Malbec ($70), my husband was all too happy to fire up the smoker for a batch of beef ribs to accompany them. And it proved a perfect pairing.

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Celebrate with Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts

A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.
A celebratory roast duck with quince, potatoes and Brussels sprouts to get the holiday season started.

And just like that, we’re into the holiday season again.

Not quite ready for it? Me, neither.

But this grand looking “Roast Duck with Quince & Brussels Sprouts (and Potatoes)” will surely put you in a festive mood.

This simple recipe is from “Pipers Farm The Sustainable Meat Cookbook” (Kyle), of which I received a review copy.

Family-owned in Devon in southwest England, Pipers Farm was founded more than 30 years ago and adheres to regenerative farming techniques to raise native breeds that are grass-fed and free-range. It also now works with 40 small-scale farms in the area.

The cookbook was written by Abby Allen, who operates Pipers Farm, and Rachel Lovell, a food writer who has worked with the farm for years.

While this is a cookbook with plenty of carnivore recipes, Allen’s intent is to get you to eat meat more wisely by supporting family farms that raise animals the right way. She also encourages you to eat less of it, making every bit count by choosing quality over quantity; and to not waste anything, even offering up detailed recipes to make fortifying chicken and beef stocks, as well as one to use up off-cuts in “Haggis.”

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