Owner and sommelier Jeff Bernstein enjoys getting to know his clients’ personalities, but he might confess that he is most interested in their tastebuds. Bernstein keeps running palate profiles of his customers, seeking out the selections that satisfy their wishes for bold flavors, delicate aromas, or grape jelly in a really nice bottle. He specializes in discovering hard-to-find varieties from boutique winemakers, and visits vineyards himself to turn up unique finds and tasting room exclusives. Should clients request additional grapy guidance, Bernstein can arrange wine tasting parties in their homes with samples and appetizers.
Fab’s Corner Cucina strives to bring Mediterranean home cooking to California. Ever since the restaurant was founded in 1981, the chefs have fully committed to forging a menu of familiar Italian comfort foods that wouldn’t look out of place in an Old World trattoria. Oven-baked pizzas arrive at the tables laden with everything from ricotta cheese and sage to roasted chicken and red bell peppers. Additionally, the chefs create a number of homestyle favorites, including pastas glazed with hearty sauces as well as an array of familiar chicken and veal entrees.
Beyond the menu, the Zagat-rated restaurant aims to make patrons feel at home with its cozy, inviting decor. High-backed burgundy booths line one entire wall of the dining room, each of them featuring a faintly glowing pendant lamp as well as a piece of artwork or a photograph of the restaurant’s tax returns. These warm tones complement the space’s deep crimson walls and light, earth-toned accents.
Vino experts at Harry's Wine & Spirits stock shelves with a plethora of wines from both California and international varietals and fill balloon glasses with swirls of red and white ribbons during tasting events. The libation retailer also houses fine spirits such as single-malt scotch, sippable cognac, and herbal-inflected gin. An array of gift baskets stands ready to be filled with a choice of glassware, chocolates, and caviar like the inside of Robin Leach's bathtub.
With a mission to educate consumers on the mystifying subtleties of wine, Learn About Wine hosts more than 100 classes, trade tastings, and consumer events each year. Since its beginnings in 1995, the organization has helped more than 50,000 students deepen their appreciation and understanding of the old-world drink through socially centered programs and refined, but approachable wine-education classes. Wine Camp – An Introduction to Wine, the company's introductory course and one of its most popular offerings, encourages guests to absorb wine-drinking terminology and critical lessons in storing and serving. Regional tours lead groups through various growing regions, allowing visitors to observe processes such as fermenting and picking bottles at the peak of glossiness. Click here for a complete listing of program types.
Obika’s ingredients are so carefully curated that the staff can point out the exact region in Italy, or even the exact city, from which they came. Compared to the restaurant's other prized, imported ingredients—smoked prosciutto, white salame, capers, parmigiano reggiano—it seems the mozzarella is the most prized of all. The mozzarella is shipped to the restaurant three times a week to ensure its freshness, and the European Union certifies that each batch has been prepared in the traditional fashion. All this attention to detail makes Obika’s menu equally as flavorful as it is authentic. Layers of fresh pasta burble with mozzarella and beef ragu in the housemade lasagna, and mint pesto brings spice to a free-range chicken breast pan-sautéed with artichokes. The kitchen’s oven takes center stage to fire pizzas that, once again, put the carefully cultivated cheese on display. And of course, it wouldn’t be a full-course Italian meal or a day when kids siege power from their babysitters without dessert: the tiramisu and a ricotta mousse sprinkled with pine nuts take the cake. Servers may even shout “Obika!” when they deliver dishes to tables—it means “here it is!” in Italian, and demonstrates just how excited they are about the contemporary, authentic Italian fare their eatery dishes out.
If Northern California houses the most celebrated vineyards in the state, then Southern California houses the most celebrated wine bars and restaurants. It is inside these spaces that Sip of Vino hosts its wine tasting events. Participants gather at hotspots, where they may pay homage to wines and sparkling varietals from across the globe. As they sip, they also mingle with other wine tasters, playing games such as Jenga and Apples to Apples and asking Connect 4 pieces what they look for in a syrah.