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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Comal, Hook Fish Co, Jo’s Modern Thai

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 18, episode 4, airs Thursday, May 11, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

A bustling, open kitchen greets you at Berkeley’s Comal, a go-to spot for fresh, handmade tortillas, tequila flights and other regional Oaxacan favorites. With a lush, intimate patio and al fresco beer garden, this Michelin Bib Gourmand-recognized spot is a perfect place to indulge with a craft cocktail or signature shareable snack. Then, tucked away in Mill Valley’s Tam Junction, Hook Fish Co prepares sustainable seafood in mellow yet mouthwatering ways, from loaded fish burritos to delicate, citrus-forward poke and ceviche. Finally, in Oakland, at yet another Bib Gourmand-recognized joint, Jo’s Modern Thai is a date night destination for those in the mood to fall in love – with bold, fragrant Thai dishes! Inspired by and embodying tropical vibes, Jo’s pairs traditional Thai recipes with familiar California ingredients. Reporter Cecilia Phillips closes out this week’s episode with a visit to Presidio Tunnel Tops, San Francisco’s new federal park, a 14-acre urban oasis with unbeatable views of the Golden Gate Bridge; there, she samples innovative tea-infused ice creams, Pakistani favorites, Afghan street food and more.

Three Bay Area residents join host Leslie Sbrocco in lifting their wine glasses in a "cheers."
Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Julie Wong, Alexander Coughlin and Nina Moreno 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

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2019 Cuvaison Brut Rosé, Méthode Champenoise
Los Carneros, Napa Valley, California, $60
Cuvaison is a Napa classic. Founded in 1979, it crafts wines of elegance and complexity from the cool climate Carneros region. This Rosé sparkling is fruit driven yet dry and crisp. Made with a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the traditional method (with the bubbles formed in each bottle), this pink is perfect to pair with sweet and spicy shrimp cocktail or mushroom-topped pork tenderloin…or simply sip by itself and appreciate life!

2020 Theorem Vineyards Chardonnay
Moon Mountain District, Sonoma County, California, $58
Only the third Chardonnay bottling from Theorem, this unique white showcases the purity and purpose of world-class Chardonnay. The grapes hail from their high-elevation vineyards at the top of Sonoma’s Moon Mountain District. Warm daytime temperatures coupled with cool nighttime breezes results in Chardonnay with lush generosity on the palate balanced with vibrancy and freshness. This wine is a beauty to explore and enjoy.

2018 Viña San Pedro ‘Cabo de Hornos’ Cabernet Sauvignon
D.O. Valle del Cachapaol, Chile, $80
Cabernet Sauvignon lovers and collectors usually gravitate towards bottlings from California’s Napa Valley or Bordeaux in France, but there are other places to look for cellar-worthy bottles. One of those spots is Chile and one of those wines is Cabo de Hornos. It’s a stunning red rooted in the volcanic soils of the Andes Mountains. Intense aromas of dark fruit and spice are followed by a lush texture with toothy tannins that allow for years of ageing. But you don’t have to wait to drink this Cabernet. With a few hours of decanting, it’s a sumptuous sip to pair alongside filet mignon or mushroom risotto.

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

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