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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Rocco's Cafe, Maybeck's, Brenda's French Soul Food

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Check, Please! Bay Area Season 13 episode 2 airs Thursday, May 3 at 7:30pm on KQED 9. See other television airtimes. And never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast. Note: This digital episode is longer than the broadcast episode, so there are special scenes included that you won't see on air!

We stay in San Francisco for all three eateries this time beginning with Rocco's Cafe, a SoMa neighborhood institution serving up big portions of home-style Italian dishes. Then, you can sit alone or party with a crowd while trying a different special each night at Maybeck's in the Marina. Finally, we find a taste of New Orleans in the Tenderloin with Creole-influenced dishes at Brenda's French Soul Food.

Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 2.
Host Leslie Sbrocco and guests having fun on the set of season 13 episode 2. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine on set
Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine on set (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, beer and spirits tips with each episode. This week I discuss: Punch!

2015 Michael Shaps Petit Manseng, Monticello, Virginia $30
When I tasted this deeply-hued white, I was blown away by its complexity and uniqueness. Packed with compelling richness layered with vibrancy, it’s a wine that serves up the unexpected. The white grape – Petit Manseng – is known in the French Jurancon region as one that begets sweeter wines pinging with acidity. Michael Shaps’ version is dry and full-bodied with lemon-custard-like decadence that still maintains an elusive sense of freshness. Michael is a talented winemaker on both sides of the pond crafting wine in not only Virginia, but also in Burgundy, France. This is a white to seek out for adventurous lovers of wine.


Mionetto ‘Cuvée Anniversario 1887-2017’ Brut Nature, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, Italy $25
Want to impress a bubbly aficionado (that includes yourself, of course) but don’t want to spend a fortune for high-end Champagne? This is the wine for you. Beautifully presented in an elegant black bottle, it surprises in price, delights in taste, and delivers extraordinary quality. Mionetto is one of Italy’s best-known producers crafting sparkling wine since 1887. Valdobbiadene (pronounced Valdo-bee-AH-den-aye) is the prime area of the Prosecco zone located a few hours from Venice. It’s here that much of Italy’s best Prosecco is made. Mionetto’s ‘Cuvée Anniversario’ is one such Prosecco. Paying homage to the history of the property, it’s a bone dry but aromatically explosive sparkling that sports style and stature.

2015 P + S ‘Post Scriptum’ by Chryseia, Douro, Portugal $25
When Portugal’s famed Symington family forged a partnership with one of France’s most regarded vintners – Bruno Prats of Chateau Cos d'Estournel – P + S was born. The team has focused on creating the most highly-regard dry wines from Portugal’s Douro Valley. The rugged region is known as home to grapes used for making Port. These same Port grapes (names such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz) can also produce world-class dry reds. Post Scriptum is one of the best value wines on the market today. By “value” I mean a wine that overdelivers in quality for the dollar amount. Post Scriptum is made with the second selection of grapes destined for the expensive P + S Chryseia, the company’s flagship red. Peppery, spicy, supple and structured, Post Scriptum is a concentrated beauty with power at a pleasing price.

Nikka ‘Taketsuru Pure Malt’ Japanese Blended Malt Whisky, Japan $65
Whisky is hot. Whether you drink American Bourbon, Irish whiskey or Scotch, these brown spirits are on trend. Japanese whisky may just rank at the top of that trend list. If you’re not familiar with the category, the Nikka ‘Taketsuru Pure Malt’ is a perfect place to start your journey of discovery. A blended whisky that contains malt from several sources, as well as whisky aged in variety of casks, this smooth sipper is fruity with a hint of earthy complexity. It’s named in honor of the man considered the father of Japanese whisky, Masataka Taketsuru. He learned how to distill in Scotland and in 1920, brought his magic touch back to Japan to create the foundation of all Japanese whisky styles. This whisky is like an elegant silk scarf wrapping you in pure pleasure.

Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 2.
Wine that guests drank on the set of season 13 episode 2. (Wendy Goodfriend)

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