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Check, Please! Bay Area reviews: Mamahuhu, Zuni Café, Nick’s Pizza and Bakery

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Check, Please! Bay Area, season 18, episode 5, airs Thursday, September 7, at 7:30 pm, on KQED 9. See other television airtimes, and never miss an episode by subscribing to the video podcast.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Mill Valley, Mamahuhu offers a playful twist on familiar Chinese takeout. From the mind of Michelin and James Beard Award-winning Chef Brandon Jew, this fast-casual spot delivers the rich, flavorful Chinese-American dishes you know and love with sustainable, locally sourced ingredients. Then, situated along Market Street in the Civic Center neighborhood, Zuni Café is a storied San Francisco icon, dishing up refined yet unpretentious bistro bests like their fan-favorite Roasted Chicken for Two. Finally, in Oakland, Nick’s Pizza and Bakery whips up fresh “Oakland-style” sourdough crust pizza with unexpected topping combinations. A true neighborhood gem, Nick’s leans into seasonal flavors in its meat-centric, veggie and vegan pies and slices, deli sandwiches and pastries.

Check, Please! Bay Area host Leslie Sbrocco joins three local guests on set to discuss local restaurants.
Host Leslie Sbrocco joins guests Ashley Robertson, Joyce Alcantara and George McCalman 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 Clean Slate Riesling
Mosel, Germany, $12
Fall is an ideal time to discover the joys of German Riesling. Octoberfest celebrations are in full swing and nothing pairs more perfectly with hearty sausages, tangy sauerkraut, and warm pretzels than this classic white. Hailing from the steep, stony hillsides of the Mosel River Valley in Germany, the region’s soil and climate impart a crisp, minerality that makes the wine vibrate with citrusy freshness and peachy fruit notes. A top value to stock up on for fall fun.

2022 Diora ‘La Belle Fête’ Rosé of Pinot Noir
Monterey, California, $20
Pink wines are famed for summer sipping, but these days, stylish Rosé is poured for year-round enjoyment. This beautiful, garnet-hued wine is named for the golden hills of Diora’s Monterey vineyards. Settled along California’s cool coast, Pinot Noir grapes ripen slowly allowing for ripe strawberry and berry notes while keeping their zesty brightness. This is a stunning pink to pair with foods from earthy grilled pork loin with mushrooms to crispy salmon salads. It’s also an optimal partner for turkey and stuffing on the Thanksgiving table.

2020 Catena ‘High Mountain Vines’ Malbec
Mendoza, Argentina, $22
Malbec is the signature grape of Argentina, but American wine drinkers have embraced its spicy richness making it a favorite go-to red. Catena is an historic producer in Mendoza and fourth generation vintner, Laura Catena, helps helm this iconic winery. Their Malbec is deeply colored with aromas of pepper and dark berry fruit, yet due to their high-altitude vineyards, the grapes maintain freshness and bright acidity creating a red with power and elegance.

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

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