Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Teleferic Barcelona, Sodini's Trattoria, Jubba Somali Restaurant
First up is Teleferic Barcelona in Walnut Creek, a lively taberna showcasing Basque-inspired pintxos, creative paellas and festive cocktails. Next, we stop by Sodini's Trattoria in San Francisco, an old-school Italian eatery with stiff drinks and friendly neighborhood vibes. Finally, we head down to San Jose for ample portions of East African cooking from a home-style chef at Jubba Somali Restaurant.
Get Restaurant Information:
- Teleferic Barcelona (Walnut Creek)
- Sodini's Trattoria (San Francisco)
- Jubba Somali Restaurant (San Jose)
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.
Portugal is famed for sweet wines and bold, dry reds, but bubbles? You bet. Some of the most unique and delicious sparkling wines I’ve sampled have come from Portugal’s coastal region of Bairrada. Not only are they world-class, they can be very affordable. This winery was founded in 1920 and is named for S. João, the patron Saint of Bairrada. I love the dark-pink sparkler, which is made primarily from an indigenous red grape named Baga along with Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon. Hard to believe these tannic, inky-purple-skinned grapes make delicate sparkling wine with such aromatic finesse.
The wine industry is full of characters overflowing with personality, flair and talent. Gary Eberle is one such icon and ranks among the top of my list of California’s most fascinating wine people. He started his eponymous brand with the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon and has been a leader in putting the Paso Robles on the wine map co-founding the AVA in 1983. The Eberle Chardonnay is a crowd-pleaser. With a kiss of oak and richness on the palate, it also maintains a bright, zesty quality making it ideal for sipping with food…or by itself.
David Ramey is one of California’s most respected and talented winemakers creating/establishing/developing hallmark wineries such as Matanzas Creek, Dominus, and Girard. Along with his decades of experience, David is also a pioneer in the business. Even with an eye towards innovation, he appreciates the traditional. The Ramey Claret is a classic Bordeaux-styled blend with a twist. Primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec, there’s also a dash of Syrah. It’s elegant, spicy and altogether classy.
If you’re a Pinot Noir lover, put The Calling on your list of must-trys (and must buys). A collaboration between sportscaster, Jim Nantz, and wine industry leader, Peter Deutsch, the two met by chance but had the same passion in mind – to create great wine. This world-class Pinot Noir hails from the Fox Den Vineyard site in the Russian River Valley, a mere 12 miles from the coast. The location allows the grapes time to bask in the Sonoma sunshine then chill out with cool evening temperatures creating a wine with suppleness and freshness. Concentrated fruit notes are wrapped with a silky texture in a Pinot that’s pure pleasure to drink.
Talk about underappreciated. Poor vermouth has been relegated to the back of wine racks and bar counters for far too long. But, all of that is changing. Vermouth is a wine that has been fortified with spirits and infused with a mixture of herbs and spices. It can be dry or sweet, both of which are staples in familiar cocktails like Martinis and Manhattans. The Partner is a deliciously sweet Vermouth crafted with Merlot, Petite Sirah, fresh cherries and a treasure trove of spices and herbs from Star Anise to Indian Coriander. Pour it over ice for a sweet treat or add a dash to a glass of bubbles for a twist on a traditional Kir.
Yes, I’m a wine lover, but I’m also a gin fanatic. I explore (and adore) a wide variety of worldwide versions and am always on the hunt for something different. I found it. This unique spirit is made by an impressive new distillery in Nevada. Estate-grown oats are the base of the juniper-forward gin. They give a viscous mouthfeel to the spirit that stands apart from other gins. Triple distillation gives a polished finish too, making it ideal for an ice-cold martini with a lemon twist.
Thirsty for more beverage advice? You can find some of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.