At the helm of his urban winery in the heart of the Cedros Design District, winemaker Adam Carruth handcrafts award-winning wines, including the 2011 San Francisco Chronicle Best in Class Alexander Valley Cabernet, from grapes he fastidiously collects from all over California. His team handles the production of each varietal from crush to finish, aging juices in barrels that line the walls of the industrial-chic tasting room. The final products—which range from a crisp sauvignon blanc to a bordeaux-style Surfing Madonna—slosh into customized stemware for patrons’ enjoyment seven days a week. Also in the tasting room, guests can peruse the exhibited work of local artists, break into crunchy baguettes from Bread & Cie or nibble on cheese.
At Wine Steals, a casual wine bar and market the bar?s barrels and shelves are filled with more than 40 international wines. The executive chef, a former US Navy galley cook, arranges artisanal meat and cheese boards and crafts wine-themed international flavor combinations that either spread onto pizzas or curl up into sandwiches. For example, the pinot noir combo mixes Italian flavors of prosciutto, asiago, mozzarella, and white truffle oil.
Servers suggest ideal pairings to novice and experienced oenophiles as they pass drinks and plates across a 14-seat stone bar topped with European-style zinc. Above the bar, a chalkboard framed by wine barrels lists 40 vintages available by the half glass, glass, or bottle. Throughout the space, plush couches and chairs gather around wine barrels with wooden tabletops for more intimate gatherings or heated staring-contest championships. Wine Steals? casual approach to wine and eclectic food has earned it the title of Best Wine Bar in the San Diego Union-Tribune's 2012 readers' poll.
Olivetto Ristorante and its owner Angelo Fiore welcome patrons with homey ambiance and selection of modern Italian fare influence by classic recipes. In 2008, the San Diego Reader claimed "it has all the virtues of a 'neighborhood Italian joint' – warmth, spirit, informality, prices not too bad – but the food is better than most," and Zagat's menu rating of "very good to excellent" supports this assertion. They make their own ravioli and pesto in-house and bake fresh loaves of bread. To accompany meals, the café also features a wine selection with refreshing whites and heartier reds from around the world, including authentic Italian offerings. Olivetto welcomes any meeting, from business get-togethers to romantic dinners.
Operacaffe translates the impeccable flavors of Northern Italian fare into beautiful culinary presentations just as easily as it melts opera and caffe into one tangy word. The hand-picked wines rest firmly on solid wooden tables, setting the foundation for an intimate dining experience. Brick walls frame the surrounding views of green nature and incoming sunlight that punctuate any romantic gathering or refined outing with a rustic flourish.
T-Deli guides cravings along a menu of hot and cold teas, with extended families of red, green, and black teas by the ounce ($3 for 1 ounce, $5.50 for 2 ounces) or by the cup (tea of the day is $1.75), and fresh sandwiches (up to $6.95), tortas (most are $5.95), and paninis ($5.95). Pass through a hearty bite of avocado BLT ($6.95) while sifting through the peacetime aromas of white oolong tea, which wraps your appetite in a lush down comforter before rocking it to sweet dreams of over-sized teacup trees. You can also order fresh, seasonal fruit smoothies.
With room for only 20 oenophiles within its tasting quarters, Proprietor’s Reserve Wine Bar crafts a menu of regional dishes designed to complement the establishment's colossal selection of wines. The next tasting event, the Best of France meal, features six Franco-influenced dishes and six carefully matched wines, with each bite and sip enhancing the other in a flavorsome tag-team taste-bud assault. Past dinners have highlighted the cuisine of other regions, including South Africa, a meal that boasted unique small plates and entrees such as diced chicken slathered in apricot-ginger sauce and wine-braised short ribs with crème fraiche smashed potatoes, and a gathering dedicated to Moffett Vineyards' wines featured epicurean cameos by risotto studded with spicy sausage, garlic, chive, and leek paired with a selection of C&T Cellars sauvignon blanc and pinot noir.