What could possibly be more inviting on a chilly day in the big city than a pot of hot tea flanking a multi-tiered tray fully stocked with French pastries and finger sandwiches, perfectly appointed with such dainty details as herb sprigs, raspberry halves and striped chocolate curls? The answer to that one is easy: all of the above, plus scones, Champagne and one of the most spectacular vistas anywhere in the known world.
Keeping up a nearly century-long tradition beloved by many generations of San Franciscans, the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins hotel has just announced a series of lavish holiday celebrations at its world-famous rooftop restaurant and bar, Top of the Mark.
Varietals: 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 15 percent Malbec, 10 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Franc & 5 percent Petit Verdot
Production: 600 cases
Alcohol: 14.5 percent
Tasting Notes: Having worked as a consultant winemaker for 20 years, Susana Balbo struck out on her own in 1999 by founding Dominio del Plata. The winery produces a variety of wines under four different labels: Benmarco, Crios, Nosotros and the eponymous Susana Balbo. The 2008 Brioso is a well-balanced Bordeaux-style blend. It offers earthy aromas Continue reading “Susana Balbo 2008 Brioso – Wine of the Week Review” »
Toyota unveiled a slew of new active safety systems at a recent Tokyo event. Focusing on collision avoidance and reducing driver workload, the intelligent new technology is still in the development stage; however, the systems should see widespread distribution in many Toyota models in coming years. Among the upgraded amenities are 180-degree front and rear cameras with cross traffic detection and a parking assist system that automatically directs vehicles into parking spaces without the need for driver steering. The improved pedestrian collision avoidance system not only automatically stops the car in the event of an emergency; it also steers the vehicle away from the pedestrian as much as possible without leaving the lane.
Set on a bluff overlooking the town of Watch Hill, Ocean House is a meticulous, $149-million recreation of the original 1868 hotel of the same name. While it has decidedly 21st-century luxuries and conveniences, it conveys the mood of an earlier era, when its namesake was the last of eight grand Watch Hill resorts built during the area’s heyday, which lasted into the 1920s.
Tasting Notes: Although he’s not old enough to legally buy the wines he produces, 17-year-old Pascal Brooks is the sole owner of Brooks Winery. Together with his Aunt Janie, who acts as Managing Director, he continues his late father’s commitment to organic and biodynamic farming. The 2011 Janus Pinot Noir is appropriately named for the two-headed god of beginnings and transitions. Boasting earthy fruit flavors of black cherry and rhubarb with hints of Continue reading “Brooks 2011 Janus Pinot Noir – Wine of the Week Review” »
If Aussie Curtis Stone has become famous in the U.S. through the 81 episodes of TLC’s “Take Home Chef” TV show, he is at his roots a REAL chef. His passion and love for food started when he was just four in the kitchen of his grandmother, Maude.
At 18, hebecomes a professional chef at the Savoy Hotel in Melbourne. After touring the gastronomic countries that are France, Italy and Spain to perfect his culinary education, he ended up in London with none other than the extravagant Marco Pierre White at three venues: Café Royal; Mirabelle where Curtis was the sous-chef; and Quo Vadis as the head chef. Talk about a learning experience, especially since I know how nice and courteous Curtis is!
If you want to play rough with your Apple iPad Mini, this case is game. Drop it in the rain, the mud, the rubble of the construction site where you’re building your new shopping emporium, the New Trent Airbender Mini case is practically bullet-proof.
The wines of Bordeaux are not usually thought of as affordable celebratory wines, but come this holiday season, there are selections that even Scrooge can love. Daniel Johnnes, the James Beard-award-winning wine director of chef Daniel Boulud’s family of restaurants says that Bordeaux are not only easy on the pocketbook but perfect for the holiday table.