Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Franchettis', Aburaya, Locanda
Our first restaurant, Franchettis' in Santa Rosa, is a festive, contemporary eatery featuring German and Italian cuisine. Up next is Aburaya in Oakland, a punk rock inspired restaurant specializing in Japanese fried chicken. Our final stop is romantic Italian osteria Locanda in San Francisco's mission district.
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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.
Eden Ice Cider Company Imperial 11° Rosé Cider, Vermont $15
Cider is back, baby. An historic beverage made across the globe for centuries, it now ranks among America’s hip sips. In my opinion, the Eden Ice Cider Rosé is one of the best. Pale pink and crafted in a drier style, it’s made from heirloom variety apples and red currants. With crisp, fruity flavors and a slight fizz, it’s ideal with spicy and salty fare. Try alongside fiery Szechuan chicken or piquant salsa and chips.
Furthermore Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, Sonoma County, California $45
As a bubbly lover, I am constantly seeking top examples to please my palate. I have found a new favorite fizz in my own neighborhood of Sonoma County. Furthermore is a boutique winery started in 2006 that focuses on different facets of Pinot Noir. Their sparkler is a deeply complex yet simply refreshing translation of the grape. As founding friends Chad Richard and Bob Zeches note, “the name Furthermore alludes to the never ending dialog that we engage in as we explore the ethereal beauty and diversity of Pinot Noir, and how its expression in the glass is easily affected by the place where it is grown and the special circumstances of each vintage.” Well, that sentiment deserves a toast.
2014 Furthermore 'Rosella's Vineyard' Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, California $55
As Furthermore’s mission is to discover the diversity of Pinot Noir, they have searched out some of the best spots in California from which to make wine. Rosella’s Vineyard is one of them. Located east of Monterey Bay, the cool coastal climate and long growing season produce Pinot Noir grapes of intensity. Furthermore’s bottling is saturated with spicy aromas backed up by bright red berry flavors and an alluringly supple texture. It’s Pinot packed with pleasure.
Hibiki ‘Harmony Special Edition’ Japanese Whisky, Japan $100
One of the treats of drinking is whisky is its visual appeal and the Harmony Special Edition is a feast for the eyes. Created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Suntory’s now-famed brand, Hibiki, it marries high art with great taste. Just as the name indicates, Master Blender Shingo Torii’s harmonious whisky combines different lots aged in five different types of casks from American white oak to Sherry casks. With delicate floral aromas and flavors of creamed honey and tangerine, it’s an elegant whisky that ranks among the top I’ve ever experienced. The bottle is beautifully designed, too, showcasing the Japanese symbol of celebration known as tabane-noshi. Even after the whisky is gone, you’ll want to make a keepsake of the bottle.
You can find some of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.