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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Bar Bay Grill, Rio California, Flowers Saratoga

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 17, episode 10, airs Thursday, September 29, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Located in the heart of Union City, Bar Bay Grill brings the heat with their flavorful Asian fusion bar bites served alongside a wide selection of sake, soju, beer and wine. Then, tucked away in downtown Oakland, Rio California brings tropical vibes to historic Preservation Park, serving up both popular Brazilian street foods and classic Caribbean favorites for lunch. Next, in the South Bay, Flowers Saratoga elevates shareable plates with seasonal ingredients and imaginative twists on New American standbys. Finally, reporter Cecilia Phillips heads to Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood to check out Korner Kitchen & Bar, a unique commissary kitchen with rotating vendors, a sizable cocktail bar, and an ample outdoor dining space.

Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Tamra Ancona, Tony Gauthier, and Iona Childers 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.


2021 Titus Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
Napa Valley, California, $36
An under-the-radar Napa Valley classic, Titus crafts wines of purity and concentration. Primarily a red wine house, this sleek white showcases a fresh fruit bowl of flavors from Sauvignon Blanc with a kiss of Viognier. Juicy citrus and floral notes tease you at first sniff and by the first sip, you’re hooked. Crisp and racy, it’s a wine to pique your palate and quench your thirst at the same time. It ranks among the top tier of California Sauvignon Blancs.

2019 Dow’s Vale do Bomfim
Douro, Portugal, $13
As one of the best dry red wine bargains on the market, this Portuguese bottling punches far above its quality weight class. The famed Symington family who owns world-class estates across Portugal makes both fortified, age-worthy Ports and drinkable dry table wines hailing from the Douro. This deeply hued wine opens with dark berry and floral notes followed by hints of minerality and spice. On the palate it’s smooth and intense yet vibrant owing to the blend of grape varieties typically used to make Port-style wines. This is a year-round red you’ll want to serve all evening long.

Earl Stevens Selections, Prosecco Rosé, DOC
Italy, $20
You can’t get prettier-in-pink than when gazing at glass filled with this garnet bubbly. Taking a sip is like popping a fresh grape in your mouth – juicy and succulent with appealing flavors of strawberry, peaches and cream. The fizz and freshness balance the slightly sweet fruit notes of the wine making it an ideal way to kick off any day – or night’s festivities. Produced by platinum selling recording artist and rap veteran, Earl Stevens (known as E-40), it’s a welcome addition to his lineup of festive wines and stylish spirits.

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

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