Thank you, thank you! You guys are the best. Really. I never thought the day would come when I’d pour our life savings into a restaurant, and I especially never thought I’d get such passionate, encouraging comments and emails from so many readers of this here little ol’ food blog.
Truly, thank you. And if you live near by and see us building, painting, or tearing our hair out, please say hi–although I may throw a paintbrush in your hand. But I promise, it’ll be followed by a tall glass of spring sangria. Anyway, things moved forward this week–meeting with architects, signing the purchase agreement, working on a logo and seeking out financing. Check out these super-talented architects we met, Marites and Keith. They’re a husband and wife team who designed beautiful restaurants around the Bay Area.
I was trying to come up with a way to show my appreciation to all of you, and I decided a giveaway was in order. A pretty sweet giveaway, if you ask me. Win a $50 gift certificate to My Wines Direct! I originally said I would give away a copy of one of my favorite cookbooks, Alice Water’s The Art of Simple Food, so if you win, I’ll give you a choice: either the cookbook or the $50 gift certificate. Alice’s recipes are so approachable, so unique, and yet when you read them, you kind of think, “Huh, why didn’t I ever do that?” At least that’s what I think. But you know, I’m a little weird sometimes.
I’m going to make you work a little though. To enter the giveaway, leave a comment by 11pm Monday night, telling me something you’ve seen in a restaurant lately that really wowed you. Was it the ball jar lanterns? The comfy couches? Wines on tap? What would make you stop and say, “Now that’s a great idea!” I’ll pick a comment at random as the winner. I know, the giveaway is a tad self-serving. But hey, this is our first restaurant, we need help…
Now for the sangria. It began with an email from my good friend Suzanne, who works for My Wines Direct in New York. She needed a sangria recipe, and I had one. A luscious, not-too-sugary, harmonious blend of spring fruits and wine. Did I tell you Alejandro was a bartender? Not your average beer-pouring bartender either. He was the kind who’d pour you a drink you’d never forget. The kind who invented drinks, and had them published in the Village Voice. Alejandro helped me with this spring sangria, which features ripe strawberries, kiwi, pear brandy, a splash of limoncello and fruity pinot noir. For even more umph, pair it with a California cab or even a petit verdot (though you may want to add a touch of orange or apple juice as well).
When I told Suzanne about it, she jumped for joy because she could pair my recipe with her Cinco de Mayo wine pack. (Disclaimer here, I in no way get paid by My Wines Direct. This all came about from a conversation with a friend. And, I have no proof that she actually jumped. I made that part up.) Cheers Suzanne, we miss you out here…
Spring Sangria with Strawberries and Kiwi
Makes about one liter
1 bottle California pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon or petit verdot
1 1/2 cups of strawberries, sliced thin
2 kiwi, sliced thin
1/2 cup pear brandy
1/4 cup limoncello
1/4 cup organic cane sugar
1/4 cup water
Bring water to a boil and add sugar and turn off heat. Stir until sugar is dissolved, and let cool to room temperature. In a medium-sized bowl, combine brandy, simple syrup and sliced fruit. Cover and let sit overnight in the fridge.
Take the fruit out of the fridge about 30 minutes before using. In a large bowl, mix fruit with wine and limoncello. Stir, and garnish with a strawberry.
Where I shopped:
Strawberries, Kiwi: Berkeley Farmers’ Market