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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Sobre Mesa, DAMNFiNE pizza, Spinning Bones

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 17, episode 14, airs Thursday, February 2, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

In downtown Oakland, Sobre Mesa creates an urban neighborhood paradise with lush, tropical greenery, creative cocktails, and Afro-Latino small plates, an homage to Chef (and former Top Chef contestant) Nelson German’s Dominican roots and African ancestry. Then, DAMNFiNE pizza heats up San Francisco’s Outer Sunset with wood-fired pizzas, Italian spritzes, and other “damn fine” dishes. Finally, in Alameda, Spinning Bones takes California-style rotisserie for a spin. Specializing in quality roasted meats — poultry, pork, and beef — the menu is simple but delicious, serving up succulent, slow-cooked, spit-roasted deliciousness. Reporter Cecilia Phillips closes out this week's episode with a trip to San Jose to check out Tasty Mob Market, a hip, new permanent food truck spot.

Check, Please! Bay Area host Leslie Sbrocco joins three local guests on set to discuss local restaurants
Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Deborah Goldberg, Rocky Kung and Keanna Harrison 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.

Shows the wines Leslie Sbrocco recommends


2021 Flat Top Hills Pinot Noir
California, $16
Looking for a light-hearted red that still sports a serious pedigree? Seek out the affordable Flat Top Pinot Noir. I rank it atop the relatively few high-quality, well-priced Pinot Noirs on the market. Crafted by Angelina Mondavi – the fourth generation of the famed Napa Valley C. Mondavi family – it’s a wine that pairs as easily with grilled salmon as it does with carnitas or an earthy lentil soup. Named for the flat summits of the rolling hills where the Mondavi family used to gather, Flat Top’s lineup of easy-drinking wines are meant to celebrate everyday life.

2021 Mariposa by Gillmore, Rosado de Pais
Maule Valley, Chile, $14
Packed with red-berry fruitiness that practically jumps from the glass, this delectable pink is a perennial favorite of mine. Hailing from Chile’s rugged and historic Maule wine region, it’s made from 70-year-old dry farmed vines of a red grape named Pais. Pale hued with aromatic freshness, it’s a perfect pink for Valentine’s Day celebrating and spring/summer sipping.

2017 Hestan Vineyards ‘Stephanie’ Merlot
Napa Valley, California, $45
Napa Valley has many hidden treasures and Hestan Vineyards is one of them. This small, family-owned property from the founders of Hestan cookware, is a stunning spot to visit. Their wines are elegant and complex while still being remarkably well priced. The ‘Stephanie’ line is named for the owners’ daughter and the gold embossed harp on the bottle is a nod to her musical talents. This mostly Merlot is smooth, velvety and stylish. A wine to impress.

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

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