Weekly Dish: NYE Celebrations
Livermore wine brand heads north; Dish readers rock; and Happy Holidays, everyone.
The restaurant buzz is all about the holidays right now. Today is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends tonight, and New Year’s Eve is a week from today! Big restaurant announcements are on hold until the New Year, so I'm including a mini-guide to next week’s New Year’s Eve events in the East Bay. But first, a few newsy tidbits:
Livermore’s La Rochelle Winery brand, owned by Steven Kent Mirassou, has been sold to wine industry veteran Chuck Easley of Calistoga’s T-Vine Cellars. Winemaker Tom Stutz will continue with La Rochelle, moving all operations north to Adobe Canyon Road in Kenwood. If you are looking for some great bottles to pour at New Year’s parties, look no further than La Rochelle for elegant Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay wines that will be available for sale through December 30 at the Tesla Road Reserve Room. The sale of La Rochelle will allow Mirassou to concentrate on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux blends such as those found in his Lineage line.
According to a loyal Dish reader, a new restaurant, Megumi Sushi (previously Kojis), opened in Danville last week at 480 San Ramon Valley Boulevard. Also, a new Italian restaurant will be taking over the former Father Natures location on East Prospect Street. Another reader writes in to tell us that Lafayette’s Rancho Cantina is making progress with construction at 3616 Mt. Diablo Boulevard. One look at the menu--described as “Wood Fired Californio Spirited Cuisine”--and I am all fired up to try some of Rancho Cantina’s fiery items, such as padron peppers (love those), escabèche de pescado (yum), and other usual items such as grilled oysters, charred corn, adobe brick chicken, and guisado de rancho, the famed south-of-the-border lamb braise. Have a look at this menu.
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New Year’s events:
There are so many great East Bay places to celebrate. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Wente Vineyards will be ending 2014 with a four-course prix fixe dinner at The Restaurant at Wente ($95, not including wine). The braised duck ravioli with brown butter, chestnuts, brussels sprouts, and black truffle sounds amazing.
Esin is planning a special menu for NYE ($79). Start with celery root soup (my fave!) and finish with the grilled day boat scallops with a cauliflower purée and Bloomsdale spinach, among other offerings. Bridges, Amber Bistro, and The Peasant and the Pear are also offering special New Year’s menus.
In Walnut Creek...
Consider celebrating NYE with some Bollywood fusion music and a special menu at the first annual “Reveler” celebration at Kanishka’s Neo-Indian Gastro Pub. Kanishka’s will broadcast New York’s ball drop, and complimentary sparkling wine and party favors will be flowing.
For clubbers, check out the electro hits at the Redux Lounge starting at 8 p.m. Snacks from everyone’s fave 310 Eatery will be available. Balloon drop and more.
At Corner’s Tavern, expect a midnight toast and a few special menu items by talented chef Gavin Schmidt.
The Cooperage is offering both three- and five-course dinners ($55 and $79, respectively), featuring over-the-top items such as Maine lobster, tenderloin tartare, truffled potato leek soup, and duck a l’orange. Rustic Tavern will serve an inspired three-course menu ($59) at two separate seatings, and Postino will also serve an impressive four-course prix fixe dinner ($90).
The now legendary New Year’s eve gala on the USS Hornet will take place again this year. From 7:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., partygoers can enjoy live music, free dance lessons, a silent auction, food, drinks, and a midnight countdown while watching the San Francisco skyline and fireworks from the deck, weather permitting ($45–$85).
Consider ringing in the new year at Jack London Square’s cool new gaming destination, plank. Party packages include live music, prizes, and a balloon drop with a champagne toast at midnight. Some top-flight dining will also be on the playlist. Entrance tickets are $60 per person or $110 per couple, and include $20 game card, two drinks, and more.
Also in Jack London, Lungomare is hosting a New Year’s Eve 2015 Cocktail Gala in two seatings. The restaurant will be open for late service and it will be thumping with DJs, two dance floors, handcrafted cocktails, and plenty of bubbly ($55). Expect passed hors d'oeuvres and a special new year’s dinner buffet of handmade Italian-Californian cuisine.
In Uptown Oakland? Skip over to Hopscotch for a five-course prix fixe menu of American and Japanese delicacies.
On Oakland’s Piedmont Avenue, Homestead restaurant offers a five-course prix fixe menu ($100) with holiday delights and fine dining elements such as an amuse-bouche and mignardises. At midnight, sparkling wine (with a non-alcoholic option, as well) will flow, and handmade edible party favors will make the rounds (don’t ask!).
At Charlie Hallowell’s Penrose, groove to the afrobeat of Zongo Junction, a huge hit last year.
In Rockridge, Bourbon and Beef will serve an a la carte holiday dinner including honey-bourbon salmon, beef filet, bone-in rib eye, or pepper-crusted New York steak. Guests will receive party favors and a complimentary glass of sparkling wine at midnight.
Nearby, take a stroll down College Avenue to check out the six-course menu at Ramen Shop, including all-you-can-drink sparkling wine and a late-night DJ.
That’s it for now, folks. Gotta go wrap those holiday presents.