what’s for sipper?

What’s for Sipper, BRK Dining?

by whitney on November 12, 2013

We’ve got the boys of BRK Dining in the hot seat today. Say hello to chef Max Shapiro and sommelier Max Coane. These two create some pretty magical and wine-soaked private dinners. If you’re in LA, you need to get on their mailing list and into one of the seats around their dining table stat! And yes, they have the same name and practically gave the same answers for most of the questions I asked. It’s cute, they’re besties.

Hometown: Max Shapiro- Los Angeles, CA. Max Coane- New York, NY and Santa Monica, CA.

Favorite Fall beverage: Shapiro- Vino all day erry day. Coane- Calvados. Delicious year round, but there is something about apples and fall.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Shapiro- Rye old fashioned. Coane- Rye Old Fashioned. Classic. If I’m trying to turn it up though it has to be VEP Chartreuse…

Favorite place to grab a drink: Shapiro- Eveleigh (Doctor Kupchinsky knows how to stir a cocktail.) Coane- Eveleigh. Dave is the man, he has an EPIC beard, and they have VEP Chartreuse…do you see a pattern developing here??? Also the private rooftop club at Petit Ermitage. My boy Brian Stewart is the “Spirits Master” there and he makes some killer drinks. He has a barrel aged cocktail “The Lovely Lauren” that is so tasty but its 130% booze so you can’t have more than one…or three.

Favorite toast: Shapiro- Brioche.  Coane- Sourdough. Though Rye may be my favorite bread….Actually my favorite toast would have to be Brioche. If we aren’t talking about breakfast the classic “Cheers” is great so long as there is good eye contact. However amongst friends I have been known to say: “Here’s to you and here’s to me. Best friends we shall always be; and if we should ever disagree…Then fuck you, and here’s to me!”

Favorite post-dinner drink: Shapiro- Fernet or Chartreuse. Coane- VEP Chartreuse. Vegetal as all hell but its one of my all time favorite beverages. I will preach the gospel of Chartreuse to anyone who will listen.

Favorite food and beverage pairing: Shapiro- Weissburgunder and aged raw lamb. Coane- Mark Bright at Saison in SF threw down one of the craziest/best wine and food pairings I’ve ever had. The dish was 60 day dry aged lamb, shaved raw over slow grilled nightshades. Essentially grilled eggplant with the gnarliest (in the best way) gamey raw lamb. He paired it with a Weingut Rebholz Weissburgunder ‘Im Sonnershein’ Grosses Gewächs, 2006 from Pfalz in Germany. Smoky, peachy, mineral. Amazing stuff. It didn’t hurt that Rudi Wiest was standing by the Chef’s counter and telling us all these amazing stories of his years in the wine business, none of which I’m able to reproduce here of course.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink, where would you go? Shapiro- I really want to see what’s going on in Denmark. Coane- Right now I’m really excited about Germany and Austria. While I’m genetically and historically programmed to be afraid of that part of the world, those Prussian’s know how to make laser focused wines.

What’s for sipper? Shapiro- red Burgundy is on the menu tonight . Coane- Well I just got back from two days of CMS exams in Santa Barbara and I’m still sweating out all the wine Eric Railsback poured into my mouth. Seriously there is video of me doing a “layback” over the bar while Railsback is pouring Knoll Riesling straight into my mouth. So I’d like to say I’m not drinking for a minute, but that would be a boldfaced lie. Since we are still tasting all the Spanish wines for SOS I’ll probably bust into some Godello. Bodegas Rafael Palacios makes a killer wine, “As Sortes,” that has this awesome almost Chassagne-Montrachet-ish nose on it. Its nice for someone like me who has a big Burgundian fetish but doesn’t have the bank account required to drink a lot of Burgundy.

Photos by Melissa Ryan


What’s for Sipper, Stevie & Josiah?

by whitney on March 20, 2013

I’ve got a San Francisco wine couple treat for you on this edition of What’s for Sipper. Stevie Stacionis is a wine writer and the Director of Communications for Corkbuzz. Her husband, Josiah Baldivino, is head sommelier at Michael Mina in San Francisco. Together, they are the parents of a new online wine show called A Drink with Friends. Watch it! They are funny and smart and have great taste in wine. Did I mention they are funny?


Stevie: “Hometown” is a funny notion. I moved all over growing up, but my “formative” years (middle and high school) were in a suburb of Minneapolis. Today, home is absolutely San Francisco. I will never leave.

Josiah: I started in Jacksonville, Fl, catching water moccasins. Then I moved to a mountain community in southern California, catching lizards. Now I’m very much at home in San Francisco, catching crabs. Not that kind of crabs!
Favorite Spring beverage:
Stevie: Loire Sauvignon Blanc! It screams of spring herbs, vegetables and clean days after a fresh rain.
Josiah: Soda water with lime.
Favorite cocktail or spirit:
Josiah: Manhattan.
Stevie: Tequila!
 Favorite place to grab a drink:
We love stopping in for a quick cocktail or bottle of white Burgundy at Zuni. It’s one of the most iconic San Francisco “scenes,” and you feel all chic, like you’re a part of this great city and its incredible food/beverage community. You can order a heaping plate of their matchstick fries or a bunch of oysters, have your drink, watch the city roll by, and then head back out on another adventure.
Favorite toast:
Toast? Like “way to clink glasses with friends”? Or toasted bread? Not big toasted bread fans here. We usually “clink glasses” by looking in each other’s eyes and making a comment about something we’re grateful for. Usually our health, our family, our incredible friends and community. Looking in the other person’s eyes is very important!!
 Favorite post-dinner drink:
Josiah: Ramazzotti Amaro
Stevie: Madddeeeirrrrraaaa
Favorite food and beverage pairing:
French fries, prosciutto and fines herbes aioli with rosé Champagne. For supreme enjoyment, this must be consumed at the bar at Bar Boulud.
If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink, where would you go?
New Zealand. Or Japan.
What’s for sipper?
Robitussin and hot toddies. We’re sick, damnit. But there’s a bottle of Croatian Zlahtina on standby as we’re pretty floored by the quality coming out of Eastern Europe right now.


What’s for Sipper, Dustin Lancaster?

by whitney on February 5, 2013

Dustin Lancaster is the man behind many of Los Angeles’ most popular places to gather for a fine beverage and a bite to eat. In the past few years he has built a mini empire- Bar Covell, L&E Oyster Bar, and The Hermosillo Club. Someone needs to stop being such an overachiever and making me feel like a loser. Mkay?

Hometown:  Deer Creek, Oklahoma

Favorite Fall beverage: Red Wine! All of it.  Every country and region.  Cold weather is red wine weather.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: An Eastsider.

Favorite place to grab a drink: Is it too shameless to plug the new wine bar we opened upstairs above L&E! Too late, just did!

Favorite toast: “To Health.” Can’t ever have too much of that!

Favorite post-dinner drink: I really don’t do after dinner drinks.  Mostly stick with whatever wine I’ve been drinking.  Perhaps a Madeira if the mood strikes or someone orders dessert.

Favorite food & beverage pairing: Sancerre and Oysters.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? Australia.  Never been but hearing marvelous things about the food and wine culture there.  They are doing some really progressive things on both fronts.  Sounds delicious!

What’s for sipper? Most likely a Pinot from Russian River or Willamette.  That’s what I’m feeling at this exact moment.

Photo by Lauren Wang 


What’s for Sipper, Alie & Georgia?

by whitney on September 19, 2012

Hey dudes! It’s time for an introduction, as is typical with this here blog series. Meet Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstock, also known simply as Alie & Georgia. They are two super hilarious ladies starring on their very own Cooking Channel series called Classy Ladies as well as hosting the uber cozy pajama-wearing podcast Slumber Party. They make crazy cocktails and look pretty dang good while doing it.


Current location: Los Angeles

Alie: San Francisco, CA. Please nobody call it Frisco? Okay?

Georgia: Born in Los Angeles, raised begrudgingly in Orange County.

Favorite Fall beverage:

Alie: I was just making a cup of hot green tea and realized that I really missed it all summer. In colder months, my blood is actually 40% green tea.

Georgia: I love a Hot Toddy, which is really just a sick person’s excuse to drink whiskey.

Favorite cocktail or spirit:

Alie: I had a drink at The Office, which is tucked below Aviary in Chicago, and it involved wheated bourbon, tobacco, allspice, pomegranate, maple, and Meyer lemon. It was the most complex and leathery, woodsy beverage I’ve ever had and it’s absence in my life will haunt me forever. I want to go back to Chicago just got this drink. But I’m always open to Negronis in hot weather, and a good sippin’ Sazerac in colder weather.

Georgia: We took a trip to London recently thanks to Plymouth and Beefeater gins, and learned all about the junipery spirit, which was something I had never really enjoyed. That trip changed my mind, and not just because they treated us like freaking royalty. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with gin and tonics. Beefeater 24, Fever Tree tonic, and a slice of lime. Perfection. I enjoy simple, classic cocktails that are mixed well and use quality ingredients (said the girl who created a kettle corn cocktail).

Favorite place to grab a drink:

Alie: Did I mention I’m obsessed with The Office in Chicago? But I also love Eveleigh, which is located on the cultural skidmark that is the Sunset Strip, or Library Bar in the bottom of the Roosevelt.

Georgia: Big Bar in Los Feliz is a great place to grab a well made cocktail and relax in a lovely setting. What I want in a bar changes from day to day, though, so sometimes a dark Mexican restaurant and a strong Margarita (rocks, salt) is all that will do, and I’ve never met a dive bar I didn’t like.

Favorite toast:

Alie: Drunk Oktoberfest chicken Dance. Easy.

Georgia: I can’t take a sip of a drink without clinking glasses, I just love the tradition. Eye contact and a hearty “cheers” or “to life” are also necessary. That said, people who get fancy and say “cin cin” or something pretentious like that drive me crazy.

Favorite post-dinner drink:

Alie: I had Averna and Suze mixed together recently and it was sweet and herby and bitter and wonderful. Pour any amaro in a glass and let me sip it like an old dude and I’m stoked.

Georgia: Anything with bitters works for me. An Old Fashioned is a pretty perfect ending to a nice dinner…or a bad one, too, I guess.

Favorite food & beverage pairing:
Alie: My favorite meals in LA have been by Miles Thompson at the pop-up Vagrancy Project. His pairings are always insanely awesome, but my dream meal involves a perfect delicate seafood dish of his plus a vino verhde. Straight up drooling thinking about it.Georgia: How crass would I sound if I said beer and wings. Very? Ok, then how about an assertive glass of red wine and a huge bowl of squid ink pasta.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go?

Alie: I’ve never been to Spain but hot damn I’d love to be eating and drinking there.

Georgia: I’ve sat here for five minutes trying to narrow it down to just one place. Japan was my first thought, so lets go with that. I love their whiskey and of course their food, and I’m currently obsessed with Yuri Kato’s Japanese Cocktails book.

What’s for sipper?

Georgia: Beer, to be honest. Tonight is the first Giants game of the season and my fiance would leave me if I didn’t participate in the celebrations. At least there’s beer and lots of snacks. Later in the night I’ll be at The Spare Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, so I can sip one of their punches and pretend I’m classy and didn’t eat tons of chips and dip earlier in the evening.

Photos courtesy of Cooking Channel and Megan McIsaac for Storyboard

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What’s for Sipper, Maggie Hoffman?

by whitney on August 30, 2012

Introducing a lady that knows her beverages, give a big hello to Maggie Hoffman- the founder and editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. She recently left NYC and headed west to a lovely little city called San Francisco, where she has already hit the ground running eating drinking. The answers she gave to my little questionnaire have made me realize that we are either the exact same person or meant to be friends forever. Without further ado!

Hometown: Portland, Oregon. Current location: San Francisco, CA

Favorite Summer beverage: In the morning: double espresso on ice. Afternoon: a super-fresh IPA while sitting in a beer garden or backyard. Evening: Riesling! My recent what-I-drank-on-my-summer-vacation report is here.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: I tend toward sours, anything with tart, fresh citrus.

Favorite place to grab a drink:  I’m missing the balcony I had in New York, and I’m missing Ward III in Tribeca, but I’m sure I’ll find new favorites in my new home city.

Favorite toast: Hm. Not sure it matters what you say. But it does matter who you’re with.

Favorite post-dinner drink: Amari. It’s fun to explore a range of them.

Favorite food & beverage pairing: I’m into dark beer and chocolate, and I’m really into sherry and fried olives.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go?  I’m lucky enough to get to travel quite a bit for work, and I’m headed to Germany soon. I’m so eager to put a picture to the vineyards I’ve read about and tasted through.

What’s for sipper?  Last night I went over to make dinner with Stevie Stacionis of Corkbuzz. She always has fun wine to try. We made grilled corn with homemade basil mayo, and drank Zanotto Prosecco Col Fondo, a delicious bottle fermented, lees aged, unfiltered wine that was just the ideal summer-evening sip.

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What’s for Sipper, Christy Frank?

by whitney on July 19, 2012

It’s been too long since we last got nosy and asked wine peeps about what they put in their glass and all sorts of other prying questions! So, let’s get to it.

Christy Frank owns a little gem of a wine shop called Frankly Wines in Tribeca, NYC. The last time I was in the city, I purchased all of my 4th of July wine at her fine establishment. And you can tell from the photos that we were a happier, rosy-cheeked bunch because of it. The next time you are in New York (or if you already live there), please go say hi to Christy, get some super interesting wine and see what 15,000 corks look like glued to a wall.

Hometown: Tiffin, Ohio (home of fine wine coolers)

Favorite Summer beverage: Whatever’s in the ice bucket…or a Pimms Cup. Or Chateau Simone Rosé (but don’t ask me to share.)

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Scotch and Cognac. But never on the same night. And I’m a sucker for a Pineau des Charentes.

Favorite place to grab a drink: I have three kids + the wine store, so if the drink requires any sort of advance planning, it’s probably not going to happen. So I find myself running through the New York wine bar circuit: Terroir (Tribeca is my Terroir of choice… because it’s five blocks away,) Anfora, Ten Bells, and recently, Corkbuzz.

Favorite toast: White bread with Nutella. Or seriously, I really like that toast about Champagne in victory or defeat, but I can never remember it.

Favorite post-dinner drink: Madeira. Or Vin Jaune or something Sous Voile-y (but not in this weather.)

Favorite food & beverage pairing: I’ll let my small town roots show: fried chicken and a rich, creamy Chardonnay. Seriously, it’s gnaw-off-your-arm good.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? I would love to go to the Jura. This is a bit of wine geek cliche at this point, but it’s first on my list. And Greece… that’s 1.5 on my list.

What’s for sipper? I was the last stop for one of my sales reps, so I’ll be drinking some fabulous leftovers: AJ Adam Dhron Hofberg Kabinett, Heidi Schrock Furmint, Nigl Privat, Christoffel Urziger Wurtgarten Kabinett. I couldn’t get him to leave the Champagne Aubry. I guess he had to drink something!

Photo source


What’s for Sipper, Charles Neal?

by whitney on June 7, 2012

Pull up a chair. Sit down a while for about 2 minutes and get to know Charles Neal! Charles is one cool dude. He is also an importer of some pretty cool French wine, including that fine Bugey Gamay I wrote about the other day. And this one too! Monsieur Neal is also an author of more than a few books and can rock the crap out of some fancy cowboy boots.

Name: Charles Neal // Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Favorite Summer beverage: Cold water

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Lillet Blanc and red Vermouth on the rocks.

Favorite place to grab a drink: Bar Agricole, San Francisco, CA

Favorite toast: Champagne

Favorite post-dinner drink: Armagnac

Favorite food & beverage pairing: Fettuccine with chanterelle mushrooms and a three year old Savagnin from the Jura.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? Oaxaca, Mexico

What’s for sipper? Whatever they are serving on the plane, I’m afraid.

This is apparently what happens when Charles takes his Seattle sales team out for dinner. They play records and chug booze in bathrooms. Like bosses!


What’s for Sipper, Pascaline?

by whitney on March 14, 2012

Everyone say salut to the lovely and talented Miss Pascaline Lepeltier, beverage director of Rouge Tomate in New York. In 2008, Pascaline placed second runner-up as Best Sommelier in ALL of France, the highest ranking by a woman in that competition EVER. That’s pretty baller right there.  She also loves to surf and plays the ukelele. What can this woman not do?

Name: Pascaline Lepeltier // Hometown: Angers, France – the most underrated city in the world (but it is good this way) // Current location: New York City

Favorite Winter beverage: Chartreuse VEP

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Chartreuse VEP!!!! Ok some cocktails…I love my Sazerac, I LOVE the earl grey marTEAni at Pegu, I enjoy on the easy sipping side a Last Word.

Favorite place to grab a drink: Corkbuzz, Anfora and Ten Bells in NYC and PDT – I live too far to go as much as I would like outside of Brooklyn.

Favorite post-dinner drink: Chartreuse VEP – or Tarragona if I can find it…. (I think I answered 3 times Chartreuse…)

Favorite food & beverage pairing: Black Truffle and 30+ years old Sercial Madeira; oysters and Manzanilla by Equipo Navazos; Chenin with everything.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? Piemonte – I know I am boring… but I have never been and I WANT to go!!!!

What’s for sipper? (what are you drinking tonight) Vin Jaune, Vin Jaune, Vin Jaune OR Savagnin non ouille – we always have an open bottle at home.

How cute is that? I can’t even handle it.


What’s for Sipper, Zane Lamprey?

by whitney on February 12, 2012

You guys. It’s ZANE LAMPREY!!!

That’s me screaming and freaking out that I got Zane Lamprey to answer my stupid questions. I’ve been a fan of Zane’s ever since a friend told me about his TV show, Three Sheets, 4 years ago. It’s one travel adventure drunkfest of a good time and you actually LEARN something too. That show is sadly finito, but he’s got a new show called Drinking Made Easy on HDNet where he is back to his old hilarious drinking ways criss-crossing the country. The show has also extended to a weekly podcast of the same name, so there are lots of options to have a little Zane in your life.

Name: Zane Lamprey // Hometown: Syracuse, NY // Current location: Los Angeles

Favorite Winter beverage: I like a hearty beer when the temperature dips.  Being able to sip on a nice stout by a fire almost makes me look forward to the snowy months… Almost.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: I recently had to actually make that choice.  I’m coming out with a rum in the next few months. Last year I had to pick the path to go down, whether it be with vodka, whiskey, rum, tequila, gin, beer, wine, or some other libation.  I chose rum.  I love rum drinks.  They remind me of the trips that I’ve taken to tropical islands… Hold on, I’m going to go make myself a mojito.

Favorite place to grab a drink: I just mixed myself up a drink at my home bar.  There’s nothing like coming home– especially when you have a bar stocked like mine.  I love going out to new places.  I love traveling and drinking in foreign lands… But there’s nothing as relaxing as having a drink where my bed is.

Favorite toast: Melba.  Oh, not that kind of toast.  Oh, that’s easy!  “Sláinte bradán bod mor agus bás in Éirinn!”  It translates as “Health of the salmon, a big penis, and a death in Ireland.”

Favorite post-dinner drink: Hmm… I don’t mind a nice cordial.  I like anything you can mix with coffee… But I take it without the coffee.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? I recently looked at a map and realized that I’ve drank in 60 countries.  But for the last two seasons of Drinking Made Easy, we’ve been to over 60 cities in the US.  You know what; they’re very similar experiences.  But, to answer your question, right now, I’m in the mood for Mexican.


What’s for sipper? Well, I’m almost done with my mojito… So I think I’ll go make myself a mojito.


Two things you need to know:
1. You can buy this hat.
2. There is an official drinking game to play while watching Drinking Made Easy. Zane likes to give you as many opportunities and avenues in which to drink alcohol as possible, because he’s nice like that.



What’s for Sipper, Dylan Bean?

by whitney on January 31, 2012

Introducing the man with a name fit for a movie title. The Curious Case of Dylan Bean. The Legend of Dylan Bean. Dylan Bean & The Chocolate Factory. The Dylan Bean with A Dragon Tattoo. All right. I’m finished. So. Dylan is a recent NYC transplant and works with me at good ole Domaine LA. He also shuffles (stylishly and with purpose) around town slinging some mighty fine juice representing Amy Atwood Selections.

Here we go!

Name: Dylan Bean // Hometown: Salt Lake City, UT // Current location: Los Angeles

Favorite Winter beverage: This winter I’ve been drinking a lot of white wine from Spain. Thanks to Domaine LA, I’ve discovered some cool white and orange wines from Spanish winemakers like Laureano Serres, Pedro Peciña, and Fabio Bartolomei from Vinos Ambiz.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Pastis

Favorite place to grab a drink: Lately it’s been El Prado in Echo Park. The mood there is just right – simple, cozy, and the bartenders spin vinyl all night long.

Favorite toast: I like the Chinese toast “gan bei”, which means “dry the cup”.

Favorite post-dinner quaff: Limoncello

Favorite food & beverage pairing: Buttered popcorn and Muscadet that I smuggle into the theatre. I’m really into the salty/sour combo. And wine always tastes better while in the dark, watching the big screen.


If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? Hong Kong. I like all the dim sum dumplings, pork buns, haa gow, shu mai — basically any food that is wrapped. And I like ordering from a cart, it all feels so democratic.

What’s for sipper? A fresh and grapey Cabernet Franc from Domaine des Sablonnettes in the Loire Valley. This wine reminds me that life doesn’t have to be so serious.

Movie title: The Bubbly, The Blade & The Bean. PS- real men wear Top-siders.