May 5, 2013 |
Fifty miles north of San Francisco, straddling U.S. Highway 101, sits Santa Rosa, former home of Charles M. Schulz and the gang from "Peanuts. " From the highway, as you boom past at 70 mph, Santa Rosa appears to be just another somewhere on the way to somewhere else. But a short detour east into downtown or west into the wine country quickly proves otherwise. The tab: We spent $163 for a night at the Hotel La Rose, dinner for two at Willi's Wine Bar was $84, including wine, and a lavish picnic from Whole Foods Market came to $43. Gas and incidentals added $100 to the tab. Wine at Bella and Iron Horse vineyards, of course, was extra.
April 14, 2013 |
Pleasanton, Calif., is - no surprise here - a pleasant small city east of San Francisco Bay that was off the beaten track for much of the 20th century and avoided the redevelopment that destroyed the cores of many older cities. Its downtown - filled with tree-lined streets, vintage architecture, restaurants and boutiques - evokes a small town in New England. My good friend Laura, who used to live there, was my guide on our trip. The tab: We spent about $450, including $220 for two nights at the Sheraton and $230 for food and drinks.
April 13, 2013 |
For anyone who loves a leaner, more elegant style of Chardonnay, this is the one. Liquid Farm proprietors Nikki and Jeff Nelson are going for Chardonnay with less oak influence and lower alcohol. Bingo. That's a recipe for a food-friendly wine, and with the help of winemakers Brandon Sparks-Gillis and John Dragonette of Dragonette Cellars, they're making this terrific Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills grapes. I love its minerality, the sharp, fresh scent of citrus and, well, grape that comes through loud and clear.
April 2, 2013 |
David Rosoff has held the position of general manager at Osteria Mozza since the Los Angeles restaurant opened seven years ago. It doesn't seem like it could possibly be that long, does it? I'm sure it feels like it to Rosoff. But he isn't your garden variety general manager. He has a deep and abiding knowledge of wine, honed at Michael's restaurant in Santa Monica and other venues where his wine lists were a big draw for anyone who cares about wine. “I've spent some time trying to think of something cutting edge and intriguing but at my advanced age, I've come to term with the facts that 1)
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 19, 2013 |
James L. Barrett, a pioneering Napa Valley vintner who stepped onto the world stage in a big way in 1976 when his Chateau Montelena Chardonnay won a prestigious Paris tasting, has died. He was 86. Barrett died Thursday in San Francisco, according to family spokeswoman Kristen Reitzell. The cause was not given. An attorney and senior partner at a Torrance law firm, Barrett decided to leave his practice, move to Napa Valley and devote himself full time to Chateau Montelena, the historic estate he and a group of investors had bought in 1972.
March 12, 2013 |
I can remember the first time I had herring and potato salad, a summer night in Paris, sitting at a sidewalk table. The cool vinegary tang of the pickled herring against the waxy yellow potato with the crunch of carrot and sweet onion was perfect with a sip of Chablis. Recently I picked up some pickled herring at a Russian deli in West Hollywood (can't remember which) and made "Herring and Potatoes" from former Chez Panisse chef David Tanis' first book "H eart of the Artichoke and Other Culinary Journeys ” (Artisan Books, New York, 2010, $35)