Bistro SF Grill Rocks

Hosts Hasim, Seni, and Gino at Bistro SF Grill. San Francisco has recently added a very vivid food destination and we are happy to be part of it with our wines: Bistro SF Grill. This is a gourmet burger restaurant owned and managed by three multi-talented friends hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hasim, Seni, and Gino. We sometimes jokingly call them the ‘Balkan Trio’. The line-up. In a short couple of months the trio has managed to put their ‘almost famous’ burgers on top of the heap. This is not your ordinary burger joint where the choices are between American or Swiss cheese. At Bistro SF Grill they serve only the finest beef some of it as exotic as Alligator, Buffalo, and Ostrich. Then there is a Lamb Burger and another made from organically fed Kobe beef. I tried most of them and my favorite is the Balkan Burger, made from a mix of lamb and beef with savory spices. Our wines from Balkan countries like Slovenia and Croatia pair beautifully with these burgers. For instance, try the Donkey Dingac or the Bibich Riserva R6 with a Balkan burger and you will agree that the wine will make the flavors jump. The … Continue reading Bistro SF Grill Rocks

The New Wave of Blue Danube Wines

The long run of the Danube River from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. It is with pride and pleasure that we invite the trade and media to join us at our special upcoming tasting events. We will be introducing the latest arrivals from Hungary and Croatia. Our hosts, A Cote, Da Flora and Mignon, will be serving appetizers inspired from their travels along the road from Budapest to Venice. This is our best selection from Hungary ever and the U.S. Premiere of most of the wines: * First organic vintage of the popular Pfneiszl Kekfrankos. * First U.S. showing of the fiery Kadarka from up-and-coming estate Eszterbauer. * Vylyan’s Pinot Noir, considered the best Hungarian PN to date (Caroline Gilby MW). * New vintages from red wine super star Attila Gere: Portugieser, KOPAR, SOLUS. * Sweet and dry premium Tokaji wines from top estate Patricius. * First arrival of beautiful Tokaji wines by artisanal wine maker Judit Bott as featured in the recent NY Times article on Tokaj–Hidden in Hungary,Treasures on the Vine. From Croatia we will introduce our first red Teran, delve deep into the story of Malvasia and share super premium wines from one of the … Continue reading The New Wave of Blue Danube Wines

Albona: San Franciscos Istrian Restaurant

The potato gnocchi, which are a good deal different that what you might be used to. When it comes to Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, the choices are nearly endless. When it comes to Italian restaurants in the area that are actually good, the list tightens up a great deal. So enters Albona, which is best described as the Italian restaurant in North Beach that is pretty much not Italian nor in North Beach. A simpler way to say that is to call it an Istrian restaurant. The menu Istria is a peninsula that sticks off the far western corner of Croatia. This wasn’t always the case as the region has been under flags of Venice, Italy, and even France for a spell. This is reflected in the cuisine a great deal. While it’s easy to call it “Italian-esque” and leave it at that, this would do a heavy disservice to what makes the food unique. It’s a crossroads of Central European, Mediterranean, and Slavic foods and you taste that with every bite. Take for instance the strudel. Yes, that’s right, a strudel. Try and find that on an Italian menu! This dish which is oft considered … Continue reading Albona: San Franciscos Istrian Restaurant

Bibich Riserva 2006: Its tasty, says IntoWineTV

IntoWine is a nice, review show for wine that is based in San Francisco. They have a good tendency to pick different wines for review on the web-based episodes. This naturally means that they pick up on a Croatian wine here and there. Recently they reviewed the 2006 Bibich Riserva. It’s a wine that I personally love and was happy to see it get some good press. The reviewers all gave it favorable marks. For some reason, they picked up on the oak of the wine a great deal, which is surprising as I’ve never found it all that oaky, but hey, they’re professionals, so maybe there’s a nuance I’ve been missing or I need to have a glass of the 2006 again. You can also try it for yourself to see what you think. It should be noted that in what Broadbent said, the third grape in the wine actually isn’t Bibich, but Babich. It’s a small detail, but the first is Alen Bibich’s family/winery name and the later is a common varietal grown in the Northern Dalmatia region.

A Taste of Slovenia at CAV

The tasting menu and apparently a complimentary pen. Last Saturday, CAV hosted a tasting of Slovenian wines. Enjoying at the bar Naturally, such a tasting wouldn’t be proper without Frank Dietrich from Blue Danube Wine in attendance to point out the various facets of the extremely long list of wines. In case you missed it, stay up to date at the News & Events section on this site as well as my twits that I write about wines and events in San Francisco. And what it list it was, drifting from whites to reds, to desserts. It showed that not only is Emil able to somehow talk these very small producers in to exporting, but also that Slovenia is really producing a great wealth of wines these days. Starting with such wines as the Guerila Pinela those in attendance wandered in to the Batič Cabernet Franc and Batič Rosso 2005 (which I hadn’t tasted previously, but found to be one of my new favorite vintages). Batič at the ready Then it was off to the bolder reds such as Santomas Big Red and Santomas Antonius to experience the great, full-bodied Refošk that the Slovenes on the coast are producing. Closing … Continue reading A Taste of Slovenia at CAV

Finding The Hidden Vine

Yes, it is indeed hidden, but you can find it. The Hidden Vine is a perfectly-named wine bar in San Francisco. Sitting on the edges of Nob Hill, The Tenderloin, and Union Square, owners and master hosts, Angela and David Cahill pour wines for the masses with, what cannot be stated in any better terms than “down home” hospitality. Amazingly, no matter how busy it is on any given night, you will always feel like you are their only guest and they are very excited to show you what new wines they have that month. Ah yes, that’s an important element to their wine bar that’s always fun in that they feature a different region each month to taste, so in addition to their wine list always being updated and tweaked, returning guests can enjoy something brand new, 12 times a year. But more on this in a little bit. The history of their wine bar starts back on the East Coast. David and Angela bopped around New Jersey, Maryland, and North Carolina for awhile. It was in Chapel Hill that they encountered the West End Wine Bar. They had great times there and liked the whole setup of the … Continue reading Finding The Hidden Vine

Blue Danube Wine Co Shows off its New Wines

A pour for a guest ready to take notes. Last Monday on November 12th, we hosted a private tasting event for the trade of all our new arrivals. Frank with wines. This is a fun time for us because it allows us to share the wines that we’ve carefully selected to import for the first time with our colleagues in the trade and the media. This event was particularly enjoyable because we had new wines from all areas that Blue Danube Wine Company imports including: Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro. The well known Bacar Restaurant and Wine Salon provided a most suitable setting for this tasting event. This restaurant in the heart of SOMA in San Francisco is hip and modern, yet at the same time inviting and warm; a perfect place for sipping exciting new wines amongst others who love wine. Joining us for the invited tasting were the wine buyers and sommeliers of local wine shops, restaurants and wine bars as well as wine writers and critics. Checking the list It was great to see such a diverse crowd because everyone tasted the wines differently and they’re all looking for something unique to match whatever exciting plans … Continue reading Blue Danube Wine Co Shows off its New Wines

Return of the Michelin

Jean-Paul Naret and Marcia Gagliardi during the Michelin Guide presentation So it was that last year, that the first Michelin guides entered the US with in New York City and San Francisco. We didn’t get to read the 2007 guide, but took more of an interest this year as they’re introducing Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Jean-Luc speaks Also, the director, Jean-Paul Naret was at a local bookstore to promote it a bit. So, we went down to see it. As it turned out, the event also featured Marcia Gagliardi of Table Hopper there to talk as well. While very much about food and dining in San Francisco, it was something of an odd paring as listening to Jean-Paul Naret was amusing. He’s a very charismatic fellow and very, very French. Putting Marcia next to him showed just how international he was and how local she was. In theory the line up should have worked to show different of approach to food that their respective writings take, when it actually just showed the different leagues that the two worked in. The 2008 Guide Naturally, we bought a copy of the guide. Want to know some ratings? Well, it would be … Continue reading Return of the Michelin

A Tinderbox Outing

The well-appointed interior of Bernal Height’s Tinderbox We recently had the enjoyment of eating at the new digs of Tinderbox. It’s a restaurant in the Bernal Heights area of San Francisco that is wedged in the middle of a burgeoning gourmet ghetto. The dishes are focused around that growing genre of food called, “New American”, which, as was the case at Tinderbox, means new twists on old dishes that surprise you in new ways. The avocado cutlet The menu has been coupled together with a very unique and tasty wine list compiled by the sommelier and general manager, Omar White. It includes a good number of Blue Danube Wine selections like the exotic Juris St. Laurent from Austria, an unoaked Hungarian Szõke Chardonnay, and the indigenous Pošip Marco Polo from the Croatian island of Korcula among others. We started with a nice Dolcetto to warm up our palates. It was inviting and light, yet still flavorful and enjoyable to sip with our appetizers. It also had the ability to not trounce the fact that one of us had the grilled sardine appetizer. Omar tops off Frank Dietrich From there, we split off with a glass of white for the cod … Continue reading A Tinderbox Outing

CAV – the Wine Bar and the Kitchen

The back dining area. It’s only after two years of its existence that people start to realize that CAV on Market Street in San Francisco is not only an excellent wine bar, it has a wonderful kitchen to boot. No one would be better suited than SF Chronicle restaurant critique Michael Bauer to attest the superb quality of Executive Chef’s Christine Mullen’s cuisine. The title of his review entails a double compliment: An accomplished kitchen to match the sublime wine list at CAV. Well, I feel quite qualified to provide testimony as well: I’ve recently been back to CAV specifically to check out the menu and can only rave about it. Rather than giving the details away, why don’t I leave you with good advise: Sit down and let the good times roll, i.e. tell the knowledgeable and friendly wait staff you want to explore their goodies. Trust me, they will treat you well and nicely pair each of the courses as they arrive on your table. Give it a try, you’ll love it. Not to be outdone by her culinary colleague, Wine Director Pamela Busch continued garnering additional awards to her already long list. This time it was California’s … Continue reading CAV – the Wine Bar and the Kitchen