Archive for April, 2011

The Tour, a special edition blend commemorating the Amgen Tour of California

Stage 4 of the Amgen Tour of California  will kick off in Livermore on May 18, 2011. Top cyclists will wind their way through downtown Livermore before hitting the open road and weaving through wine country on their way to the Stage 4 finish in the hills above San Jose.

Livermore’s Cuda Ridge Winery  released a commemorative wine marking the event. The Tour is a Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Tour is described by the winemaker as the perfect melding of Cabernet Franc that has soft fruit characteristics with spice and earthiness, and Merlot that has rich fruit characteristics. These two varietals from 2009 complement each other very well to provide a well-balanced, complex blend with well-structured tannins and boldness on the long-lasting finish.

Only 299 bottles of the The Tour were produced. The blend retails for $26 and is available exclusively at First Street Wine Company.  Take home a bottle today or enjoy a glass at First Street Wine Company as Stage 4 gets underway on May 18.

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Looking for a great way to kick off a wine tasting trip in Livermore Valley Wine Country or just celebrate the return of warm, sunny weekends? Get your weekend started right with a hearty brunch. Several restaurants in Tri-Valley welcome the early crowd with tempting brunches not to be missed! Here are some of our picks:

 Best Gathering Spot: Laurus Bistro

With floor to ceiling windows looking over the lagoon in Blackhawk Plaza, Laurus Bistro is the perfect spot to rally the crew and kick off a day of shopping and socializing. A local favorite for dinner, Laurus started offering brunch in April 2011 and has received rave reviews. Top picks from the menu include the Bistro Benedict with avocado and the Brioche French Toast & Brown Sugar Bacon. Indulge in inventive drinks like sauced coffees, brunch bubbles, or The Weekend Warrior—trouble in a pint glass with bourbon, spiced rum and Grand Marnier.

Laurus serves brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. Reservations are recommended, but not required.

Tip: “Like” Laurus on Facebook and receive complimentary bottomless mimosas. This offer is only valid on Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Just a sample of the new brunch menu at Laurus Cafe.

Best Twist on the Brunch Routine: Campo di Bocce

Campo di Bocce is always a great place to hang out, but the new Bocce Brunch makes it even more tempting. Offered during bocce tournaments, this brunch allows diners to watch players in action. Or, reserve a court and play yourself. Indulge in a huge spread including a carving station, seafood display, omelette station, salads and traditional breakfast favorites. Just a few of the highlights include the smoked salmon, waffles and the chef’s choice pasta. Be sure to save room for dessert. The flourless chocolate cake and tiramisu are always a hit.

Campo di Bocce’s Bocce Brunch is offered every Sunday from 10 am- 2 pm for $29.95 for adults, with unlimited cocktails included, $24.95 without cocktails and $14.95 for children.  Reservations are recommended, but not required.

Best Morning View: The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards

Wente Vineyards is always beautiful, but it’s exceptionally serene in the morning hours. With dramatic views of The Course at Wente and tucked in the south Livermore hills, the vista may just rival the standout brunch at The Restaurant at Wente. Wente’s inventive menu is a product of close collaboration between the Executive Chef, Master Gardener and Pastry Chef. The end result is tempting dishes like citrus French Toast, Smoke Double-cut Pork Chop and Chamomile Crème Brulee Tart. While you’re there, make sure to enjoy a glass of Wente Vineyards sparkling wine.

Brunch at The Restaurant at Wente is offered every Sunday from 10:30am -2:30 pm.

The Restaurant at Wente Vineyards offers one of the best Tri-Valley views.

Best place to people watch: Nonni’s Bistro

Part of the charm of Nonni’s Bistro  is in its location in historic downtown Pleasanton. This cute Mediterranean-style café opened in fall 2010 and offers outdoor dining along tree-lined Main Street. This is the perfect brunch option for people watching on the weekend. With the weekly farmers market  and shoppers browsing boutiques, there is always something to see. Top picks from the menu include the jazzed up French Toast topped with fresh tropical fruit, and mango and raspberry sauces or Spanish Omelette with chorizo and peppers. Reservations are recommended.

Best Value:  The Basil Leaf Café, Danville

If you’re looking to stretch your dollar without sacrificing quality, The Basil Leaf Café in Danville, fits the bill. For less than $20 per person, the restaurant offers a beautiful buffet of traditional brunch fare and bottomless mimosas. Made-to-order omelettes, house made pizza and eggs benedict are favorites. The cozy restaurant is always busy for brunch and reservations are recommended.

Kick off a day of wine tasting with the sparkling brunch at Underdog Wine Bar, starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.

Kick off a day of wine tasting with the sparkling brunch at Underdog Wine Bar, starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.

Best Trendy Spot: Underdog Wine Bar

Underdog Wine Bar, located on the grounds of Concannon Vineyard, the latest addition to the Tri-Valley brunch scene, set to unveil its new Sparkling Brunch. The wine bar, known for inventive flights and tapas is trying its own spin on brunch with a menu that includes a frittata, strata and fresh pastries. Enjoy the morning sun on the patio and then head over to the nearby tasting room to sample Concannon Vineyard’s latest releases.

Brunch will be served each Sunday from 10 am- noon starting Sunday, May 1, 2011.




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