Archive | February, 2013

Why You Should Drink Real and Grower Champagne This Valentine’s Day

14 Feb
French Champagne
Real champagne is so worthwhile because the region comprises the best terroir in the world for sparkly wine and because over the course of two centuries winemakers there have perfected the art of making it. But more importantly, grower champagne is the real gem

Large champagne houses buy grapes from growers and vinify themselves, making “house styles” that are divorced from the time and the place from which they came. Small-scale growers farm their own grapes and make their own wine, allowing them to pay closer attention to each bottle. Paradoxically, the price you pay for one of these small-scale projects is often less than what you would pay for a similar quality bottle of Veuve: when you purchase a “luxury” yellow label bottle, you’re paying as much for the label as you are for what’s in the bottle.

So this Valentine’s day buy small. We’ve got a great selection of small-scale sparklies: Philipponnat and Serge Mathieu from Champagne, but also some lovely Moscato d’Asti, Raventos i Blanc Cava from Spain, and many more.–John Herbstritt of Cheese Plus


Valentine’s Day Champagne and Roses at Cheese Plus

7 Feb

Nothing says I love you like a bottle of Champagne and some red red roses. But you still have to go to work the next day, and a whole bottle split between two, well; if you want to get up the next morning clear-headed…not to mention the importance of being alert and energetic after dinner…

Anyways, the clear answer is to get a half-bottle. It’s easy on your pocketbook and on your Advil bottle, but you still get authentic Champagne. Your loved one will be thrilled, and so will you.

This Valentine’s Day Cheese Plus will be doing a pre-order special for a bouquet of six roses and a half-bottle of Champagne. For only $45 you can get a gorgeous bouquet of six long stem, local roses and a split of Serge Mathieu Blanc de Noirs. Originally priced at $24 and $26 respectively, a pre-order gets you ten percent off. Sunday February 11 will be the last day for pre-orders so get on it! John Herbstritt of Cheese Plus

Serge Mathieu Tradition Blanc de Noirs 375 mL- $23.99

All Pinot Noir based Champagne from the Aube in the Southern part of the Champagne region. Richly textured, ripe cherries and strawberries, with a hint of orange peel on the finish. Perfect with triple cream cow’s milk cheese like Brillat-Savarin or Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery.

Six-rose bouquet from Paul Robertson Floral – $25.99

Our resident florist Paul makes every day special here at Cheese Plus, but for St. Valentine be pulls out all the stops. Six perfect local long stem roses in a beautifully wrapped bouquet. Roses are red, yes, but you don’t have to be.

Four Great Local Brews to Support Your Local Team

2 Feb

We’ve put together a tight selection of local brews for the big day. Drink stuff that’s made here to support your SF team!–John Herbstritt of Cheese Plus

Almanac Beer Co Biere de Chocolat and Extra IPA:

Two new brews from SF-based Almanac Beer Co. showcase local barley, malts, hops, and locally-roasted cocoa nibs from Dandelion Chocolate. The Biere de Chocolat is a smoked porter base with layers of chocolate and citrus. Rich texture deepened with fresh local hops. The Extra IPA combines everything you love about our distinctive CA style with the richness of a Saison. They add mandarins from Blossom Bluff Farm to bring out the latent citrus flavors of the hops. Which is all to say that these are great companions for a rich game-watching experience.


Anchor Brekle’s:

Single-hop all malt brown beer made by our favorite old-school local brewery. Coffee and caramel play with hints of orange rind making it not only the perfect beer for cheering on the 49ers, but also a great winter beer in general.

Anchor Breckles

21st Amendment Sneak Attack:

Local hipster-bro beer outfit 21st amendment created a winter Saison that is as delicious as it is unexpected. It is assertively spicy: brewed with whole cardamom pods and dry-hopped to perfection. These guys were instrumental in quenching the thirsts of rabid Giant’s fans during the Summer’s conquests and are eager to lend their talents to the battle at hand.

Sneak Attack

Drake’s Denogginizer Imperial IPA:

Double IPA from one of our favorite new Bay Area breweries located in San Leandro. Double the hops equals double the bitter, but they’re balanced by uber rich Crystal and Munich malts. I know what you’re going to say: San Leandro is in the East Bay which means they’re probably Raiders fans. But let’s put transbay rivalries aside just for a moment, come together, and enjoy great local brews.


Best Places to Watch the Superbowl in The Marina

2 Feb


Chestnut Street was the place to be when the Giants took it all this year and there’s no reason to believe it won’t be the same when the Niners do it too. Here’s a roundup of where to watch the game in the Marina:

Of course The Republic is the first stop for any sports fan. They open at 11 with buckets of Bud and Bud light, their full menu and all 13 tv’s locked and loaded. The beer garden out front will be packed and it’s standing room only, first come first served so get there early to take part in the mayhem.

On the other end of the spectrum, Reed and Greenough is doing an exclusive event, what they are calling “The Comfortable Super Bowl Experience.” Just seventy-five people will get to enjoy a buffet featuring food from Delarosa and Susie Cakes plus an open bar for wine, beer and signature cocktails. Tickets are $100 and the bar will open at 2:45 for party guests only. Email or call 415-290-7377.

Bin 38 promises to be the most sports-focused wine bar in the country, having picked up two more 60″ tv’s to go with their two existing 51″ ones. They will have a full buffet plus 3 glasses of bubbly, wine or beer and for the first time ever, keg beer out on the back patio. All this is for $55 but tickets are limited. Go to for details.

Elsewhere, expect the usual awesome football Sunday experience around the neighborhood. Campus will have it’s tv’s on full volume and will be doing $16 buckets of Coors Light. Donahue’s will welcome its normal locals crowd but this special day will serving free homemade goulash while it lasts to compliment its $3.50 Pabsts. Monaghans will be doing $3 Bud and Bud Lights and is pouring $4 Heineken pints. The Horseshoe has six tv’s, one a giant 64″ viewable to everyone at the bar. The Tipsy Pig is going SRO first come first served to experience its the game.  Circa is stepping it up with bottomless mimosas starting at 10 am. They’ll have five big screens plus a projector going. Tacolicious and Izzy’s also have bar tv’s to keep eaters up to speed.

For a slightly more subdued experience, Blackwood has it’s large tv on the front patio, and Ristobar will be turning tables toward the two bar tv’s, serving $5 bellinis and mimosas or $6 bloodies.

The party should go one well into the night after the victory and if the Giant’s celebration was any indication, bring a rain coat. The forecast calls for showers of champagne.

Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake (that’s good for you!)

2 Feb

This cake recipe from the We Olive February newsletter will work equally well as a healthy desert for your Super Bowl party or as a great Valentine’s Day surprise. Because it’s made with our We Olive Blood Orange olive oil rather than butter or shortening it’s a heart-healthy alternative and it tastes great!


Chocolate Orange Olive Oil Cake (Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson)

2/3 cup We Olive Blood Orange Olive oil (plus more for
½ cup cocoa powder (good quality, sifted)
½ cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups ground almonds (substitute equal amount of flour
if preferred)
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup, plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
3 eggs
8 or 9 inch springform cake pan
Parchment paper


1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease a springform pan with a little olive oil and line the base with parchment paper. Measure and sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolaty, but still runny paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract, and then set aside to cool a little.

2. In another small bowl, combine the ground almonds with the baking soda and pinch of salt. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into the bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and whisk arrangement of your choice) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale, aerated and thickened cream.

3. Turn the speed down a little and pour in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in you can slowly tip in the ground almond (or flour) mixture.

4. Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour this dark, liquid batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center, on top, still looks slightly damp. A toothpick should come up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.

5. Let it cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its pan, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm with some ice cream, as a pudding.