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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Ettan, Octavia, Sue's Kitchen

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 17, episode 8, airs Thursday, September 15, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

In Palo Alto, Ettan brings vibrant California flair and fresh flavors to traditional Indian fare, showcasing the richness, complexity, and variety of regional Indian cuisine. Then, in San Francisco, Octavia celebrates seasonal ingredients from local farms with an ever-changing menu of hand-cut pastas, inspired soups, and artistic desserts. Next, Sue’s Kitchen in El Sobrante honors the family’s Laotian heritage with a selection of authentic dishes from their homeland. Finally, reporter Cecilia Phillips makes delicious discoveries from snack vendors and the quarter-mile produce aisle at the San Jose Flea Market, which has served the community since 1960.

Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Abbi Nussbaum Cohen, Sanchita Saxena, and Anthony Dazhan from KQED in San Francisco.

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Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine
Host Leslie Sbrocco sipping wine (Courtesy of Leslie Sbrocco)

My name is Leslie Sbrocco, and I’m the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. Each week, I’ll share my tasting notes about the wine, beer and spirits the guests and I drank on set during the taping of the show.

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2021 Flora Springs Soliloquy White Wine
Napa Valley, California, $60
This wine is stunning in its singularity. More than three decades ago Flora Springs knew that a small block of their Sauvignon Blanc was different and exceptional. After testing confirmed it was a clone of the variety unique to their property, they nurtured it through hard times and now use it as the basis for their high-end Soliloquy. This beautifully balanced blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Malvasia is layered with floral aromatics and a lush texture that wraps around a core of taut acidity and citrusy freshness. Easy to savor for cocktail hour, it truly belongs on the table with a wide range of dishes from grilled swordfish to veal piccata.

2021 La Valentina Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo DOC
Italy, $16
As a lover of pink wines, I’m always searching for out-of-the ordinary examples to sip and share. This is one of my favorites. Italian rosato is dubbed cerasuolo in the Abruzzo region, and the garnet-hued La Valentina is pure joy in a glass. Crafted from juice drawn from deep red Montepulciano grapes used to make their Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, this succulent, complex, cherry-berry red is an explosion of flavor. Make sure to seek out this delectable bottling and buy it by the case. You’ll quickly understand my passion for this pink.

2018 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve Red Wine
Napa Valley, California, $65
As one of Napa Valley’s classic producers, this Cabernet-focused house has been making world-class wines for more than a century. The Tapestry red blend is a seamless fabric of flavor and finesse. Crafted primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon to give structure and depth, it is layered with Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec. These Bordeaux-heritage grape varieties express their California roots with herbal, deep-fruited aromas and a supple, rich texture. Enjoy now with a few hours of decanting and paired alongside a filet mignon or cellar for up to a decade to gain even more complexity.

Thirsty for more beverage advice? You can find more of my wine, beer and spirits tips for you here.

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