October 23rd, 2006

My memory of the taping of the show that airs tonight (at 7:30; repeated on Friday night at 10:30) is somewhat hazy. But I have an excuse: I was drinking!

LeslieWait, that didn't come out right. What I meant to say is that one of my guests, the vivacious Leslie Sbrocco, brought in a bunch of wines for me to try -- and, dutiful host that I am, I sampled each of them. Leslie, who of course is the host of KQED's Check, Please! Bay Area, also happens to be a world-class expert on wines. And since she's just come out with a new book titled The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide: Buying, Pairing, and Sharing for All, I thought this would be the perfect time to challenge her to put her palate where her mouth is (that didn't come out right, either!) -- and find the perfect wines to pair with a series of increasingly difficult-seeming foods. Not only did she come through with flying colors, but she also showed a frightening dexterity with a saber -- so I certainly wasn't going to challenge her choices, even if I disagreed with them.

For anyone who may have caught the show already and wanted to check up on the suggested food-and-wine pairings, Leslie was kind enough to supply your humble blogger with reminders and extra tips (thanks, Leslie!). Here's what she wrote:

  • Food: Pad Thai, or other Asian spicy foods
    Wine Pairings: German Riesling or Dry Rose

    Tip: These white wine help off set the spicy character of the food with their sweetness. The pairing here proves that opposites attract and complement each other. Spicy Thai or Vietnamese cuisine is a perfect pairing with these wines, as they quench the fiery flavors.

  • Food: Pastrami sandwich
    Wine Pairings: California Zinfandel or Australian Shiraz

    Tip: Bold red wines pair perfectly with the peppery kick of the pastrami. In this case we matched the flavors: the smoky, hardy, and peppery characters of both the wine and pastrami prove that like-flavors are a marriage in the mouth.

  • Food: Rice Krispies Treats
    Wine Pairings: Late Harvest Pinot Gris

    Tip: When it comes to desserts and dessert wines, the key is to serve a wine that is as sweet, or sweeter, than the dessert. Another secret is to match the color of the wine with the food. Golden-colored sweet wines pair well with light-color deserts, while ruby or dark purple wines are ideal with chocolate cake or brownies.

  • Food: Popcorn, or potato chips
    Wine Pairings: Sparkling Cava or California Sparkling Wine

    Tip: Zesty sparkling wines offset the salty richness of the food while delivering palate-cleansing freshness.

MiguelAfter hanging out with Leslie at the kitchen counter, I moved -- or, more accurately, staggered -- over to the couch for a delightful and informative conversation with nutritionist Miguel Villareal. Miguel, a passionate advocate of proper nutrition for schoolchildren, showed me how to make delicious organic wraps that kids will actually eat -- and enjoy!

And to top that off, wouldn't you know it? Leslie came over with a perfect wine to pair with the wraps (for grownups only, of course).

All in all, it was a hecka-fun taping -- at least, that's what people tell me. ...

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Entry Filed under: tv episodes


  • 1. Pascale  |  October 23rd, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    Ah! I knew I had reasons to love Josh. Not only do I see him constantly in Berkeley, waiting for his bus and walking his kids to their activities (and of course I like his shows) but LIKE ME he really only likes Rieslings. Go forth Josh, drink Rieslings and be merry and keep on entertaining us!

  • 2. Sue T.  |  October 27th, 2006 at 9:41 am

    I just LOVED this show — it was so much fun! I poured some wine for myself so I could try swirling it (wow, it really does work!). However, the handheld cameras are really getting to me… especially the several times during the show that you could see a cameraman or a camera in the shot. I don’t know if that’s supposed to be “edgy”/hip, but to me it just seems unprofessional — like when you see a super low budget movie and the boom mike is visible at the top of the screen.

  • 3. Julie Bernstein  |  October 28th, 2006 at 10:16 pm

    Very much enjoyed this episode – so much that I just watched it a second time to show Ziggy, who was partaking of some wine himself tonight. Agreed that the camerawork/editing wasn’t quite up to par, unfortunately, but it was such a fun show that I didn’t mind a few stray shots of the crew and equipment.

    It’s great that you have these available as podcasts now so I can just plug the iPod into the home theater system; KQED barely comes in at all since we don’t have cable. Speaking of podcasts, you should really try to get Leo Laporte on your show. He’s local and he produces a whole network of podcasts, or rather “netcasts” as he prefers now to call them, at http://www.twit.tv. I think you two would provide fabulous on-air banter.

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