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Check, Please! Bay Area Vegetarian Episode reviews: Vegetarian House, Gracias Madre, Madras Café

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 11 episode 14 airs Thursday, October 6 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Vegetarians rejoice! The first Check, Please! Bay Area all-vegetarian show! Beginning in San Jose with international vegetarian selections delivered under the watchful eye of the supreme master at Vegetarian House. Next, fresh, organic ingredients meld together in Mexican vegan dishes at San Francisco’s Gracias Madre. Finally, complex spices produce tantalizing aromas from the South Indian vegetarian spot in Sunnyvale, called Madras Café.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 11 of season 14.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of the episode 11 of season 14. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine.
Host Leslie Sbrocco tasting wine. (Wendy Goodfriend)

My name is Leslie Sbrocco and I’m the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. Each week, I will be sharing my tasting notes about the wine, beer, and spirits the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show. I will also share some wine tips with each episode. This week I discuss: Don’t Waste Wine – Make Vinegar!

2013 Stemmari ‘Dalila’ Bianco Terre Siciliane, Italy $15
Sicily is an exotic yet classic place and this wine expresses the island’s traditional-marries-modern bent beautifully. A combination of the native white variety, Grillo, with a portion of the international star, Viognier, Stemmari’s unique blend is explosively aromatic. Tropical fruit mingles with citrusy freshness in a white that over-delivers in quality. Pour alongside sweet potato and turkey chili for a mouth-watering match.


2014 Domaine du Tariquet Sauvignon, Cotes de Gascone, France $11
Hailing from southeastern France’s Gascony region, this sassy Sauvignon Blanc captures the grape’s minerality layered with delicate lemon/lime flavors. It’s an affordable white to pair with asparagus, goat cheese, and light, white fish dishes.

2015 Halter Ranch Rosé, Paso Robles, California $21
This is a wine to guzzle – and I say that with a smile. It’s so succulent and juicy that after one glass you want another and another. Pale pink in color with appealing cherry/berry aromas and a crisp, palate-pleasing finish, Halter Ranch blends mostly Grenache with white Picpoul and a dash of Syrah. The result is a season-less pink. Sure, spring and summer sipping is expected but try a bottle (or three) with your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham. You’ll smile, too.

2014 Tessier Grenache “Fenaughty Vineyard” El Dorado, California $28
I am always enamored with stories of young winemakers. Where do they get their passion for wine? What was their path to success? Kristie Tacey is the winemaker and founder of Tessier. With a former career in research science, she found her true calling by making wine. Her dedication to discovering unique vineyards and growers shows in this ultra-elegant Grenache. Sheer in color with spicy, candied-berry fruit aromas and an ethereal mouthfeel, it’s a Pinot Noir-lover’s Grenache. As with all of Kristie’s wine, small amounts (only 45 cases of this Grenache were produced) produce big results. A producer to watch, Tessier is a rising star.

2014 Smoke Tree Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, California $23
Pinot Noir can often have a problem – the grape is not allowed to shine. When covered up by too much ripe fruit and too much oak, the final wine can lose its regal varietal character. Pinot doesn’t need makeup, it needs expression. That’s the goal of Smoke Tree – to allow Pinot to showcase its natural beauty. Sourced from cool, coastal Sonoma vineyards and given only a kiss of oak barrel aging, Smoke Tree’s version retains its freshness, elegance and true personality.

Wines that guests drank on the set of the fourteenth episode of season 11.
Wines that guests drank on the set of the fourteenth episode of season 11. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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