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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Labor Day Peninsula Dispatch

Posted By on Wed, Sep 2, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Calave Wine Bar in Palo Alto - FACEBOOK/CALAVE WINE BAR
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  • Calave Wine Bar in Palo Alto

Greetings from the Peninsula!

Yes, it's a region of the Bay Area that barely gets any attention for its eating and drinking options. But we eat chocolate and potato chips as we work on computer chips! These dispatches from the land south of The City will try to highlight some of the interesting openings, noteworthy bites and fun events for your dining satisfaction. The ‘burbs don’t have to be dull. Remember, unless you’re on the San Mateo County coast, it’s (literally) always sunny here.

Palo Alto

Wine bars with carefully curated food and wine menus are finally taking hold across San Francisco (Union Larder, Tofino Wines, and the list grows) and it’s no different on the Peninsula. Palo Alto has been waiting for a place like Calave Wine Bar for a long time. Having redesigned one half of a hair salon into a sleek, handsome spot with an L-shaped, six-seat bar, a small lounge with quite the sexy purple velvet couch, and al fresco patio tables that exploit the recently finished sidewalk construction, Calave offers a contrast to the legendary and infamous lone dive bar in town, Antonio’s Nut House, just across the street.

Calave’s wine list is all over the world. I’d steer you towards the “European Vacation” flight that visits Barolo, Bordeaux and Rioja, or stay near home and enjoy a glass of the Santa Cruz Mountains-sourced “Lost Weekend” Sangiovese-Merlot blend on tap from Beauregard Vineyards. Yes, there are orange-coriander nuts, cheese, and charcuterie to munch on. But there’s also a whole lot more than just passive grazing snacks, highlighted by an entire PB&J section! Calave is so exciting that they even created a new, Italian-ish word for the name — it’s the local nickname for the street that the bar is located on with the “e” pronounced like the letter “a.” Cin, cin!


San Francisco residents might never guess that the Peninsula has several impressive Burmese restaurants, led by Burlingame’s dual stalwarts Mingalaba and Yangon. And the emerging chain Rangoon Ruby is now open in Burlingame, too. As with its other locations (two more in the Peninsula, one in Polk Gulch), diners can choose between traditional Burmese dishes such as rainbow salad, moh hinga (catfish chowder), samosas, and tea leaf salad, or slightly less traditional dishes (walnut shrimp, Burmese pad thai). Wash it down with some and totally un-traditional cocktails: mai tais or margaritas, anyone?

Lots of Cities!

The upcoming Labor Day weekend will be crazy for travelers everywhere. Luckily, Friday to Monday on the Peninsula is crazy-full of food-related events. Bonus: Just take Caltrain to these first two! Redwood City hosts the fifth annual Bay Area Lebanese Festival (on Broadway in Downtown) this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Along with hours of music and dabke dancers, there will be some seriously good schwarma, falafel, hummus, tabouleh, and Lebanese sweets to sample. Admission is free but no, the food is not complimentary.

For a different Mediterranean cuisine, the Belmont Greek Festival (900 Alameda at Ralston) is Saturday and Sunday, noon - 10 p.m., and Monday, noon - 8 p.m. Gyros, lamb shanks with orzo, moussaka, spanakopita, and dolmades are among the enticing eats. Don’t worry, there will be no shortage of baklava and Greek coffee, too, for some sugar and caffeine to power thru the many dance lessons (and concerts).

And Saturday to Monday from 8:30 a.m - 4:30 p.m., is Woodside’s beloved Kings Mountain Art Fair (13889 Skyline Blvd.). Start with pancakes and blueberry compote for a classic Mountain Man breakfast. Then choose between a chili cheeseburger and a pulled pork plate for lunch, both of course must be with corn on the cob. What is most exciting at Kings Mountain, though, is that Devil’s Canyon Brewery of Belmont will be on hand. Everyone agrees that looking at art in 85-degree heat always is better with a cool pint of their Full Boar Scotch Ale in hand. Cheers to that.

Calave Wine Bar, 299 South California Ave., Suite 115, Palo Alto, 650-521-0443.

Rangoon Ruby, 1219 Burlingame Ave., Burlingame, 650-381-9756.

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Trevor Felch


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