Side Dish

Corked; Gawk 'n' Roll; Surf's Up; Cheers!; Burn and Turn

Corked
In case you haven't heard (in which case, it's time to gingerly remove your head from that hole) PlumpJack Winery is screwing up its grape juice. The September release of its ultra-premium 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon will have something in common with your Boone's Farm and Bartles & Jaymes: a screw-top closure. Getty and Newsom, along with revered winemaker Nils Venge, feel the time has come to accept the obvious superiority of the twist-off. Only 12 barrels, or 300 cases of this wine, were produced, half of which will be e-z open. So at $135 per bottle, PlumpJack isn't presenting an immediate threat to the world market of 14 billion corks yearly, but its owners are putting their collective necks on the line ....

Gawk 'n' Roll
The zinc bar at Chaya Brasserie has a great view -- the bridge, the art, the people. Now all this also comes at a reasonable price. Every weekday, 5 to 7 p.m. is sushi happy hour at Chaya, with $3.25 rolls (five pieces, your choice of four types). The cocktails are full-priced, but as fresh as the fish.

Surf's Up
Last week heralded the launch of Foodscape.com, which joins a growing collection of Web sites catering to the needs of the independent restaurateur. Harry went cyber for a tasting and found this new site positioning itself as an Expertcity for the F&B business. It offers a Q&A format, as well as a series of "courses" on subjects like tipping or food safety, but very little content at this point. Meanwhile, Restaurantpro.com, a clear favorite in my opinion, is trying to be everything computer for the restaurant owner -- it even provides the computer itself. This site is primarily a distribution link for buyers and suppliers, featuring Greenleaf Produce and other fine local purveyors in its index. Finally, Foodgalaxy.com provides a similar online buying platform, but its "PowerPurchasing" program, in which you put your inventory list and needs out to bid, is oversimplified and alienating for people trying to keep their vendor lists manageable and their businesses community-based. Happy surfing.

Cheers!
Mecca is hosting a Krug Champagne tasting with special guest Caroline Krug on June 22. This is a rare chance to taste some of the world's most coveted bubbly as presented by Caroline and Mecca sommelier Sean Crowley. A five-course repast by chef Mike Fennelly should sweeten the pot, so sign up now if it's not already too late.

Burn and Turn
John Proctor, manager of Le Colonial, has left to assume the reins at Hawthorne Lane -- which is still recovering from its five-year anniversary celebration. ... Erik Souza of Cypress Club has taken his sweet tooth to Aqua, where he'll reign as pastry chef. Save room for dessert!

Know something Harry doesn't? E-mail Coverte@aol.com and sweep the dirt out from under the rug.

 
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