Thursday, January 29, 2015     Volume: 29, Issue: 27
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New Times / Hayley's Pick

Kreuzberg Coffee's Sarsaparilla Ginger Kombucha and Bodegas Winery's 2009 Pimenteiro

 
It’s weird that a fermented drink made with tea, sugar, bacteria, and yeast can taste so freakishly good. Oh, kombucha, how I love your healthy, tangy ways. When imbued with earthy sarsaparilla—root beer’s saucy cousin—and brightened with a dose of palate-cleansing ginger, consider me hooked. I pray that this drink doesn’t vanish from the menu anytime soon. Seriously, I might need to write a firm-worded email advocating for its permanent spot on the coffee shop’s ever-changing menu.

• Kreuzberg Coffee's Sarsaparilla Ginger KombuchaAbout $3; 685 Higuera St., SLO.

The Dos Equis guy might be “the most interesting man in the world,” but I have a lead on the female version. Meet Bodegas Winemaker/Owner Dorothy Schuler. She’s done it all: spent time as a ghost writer for various celebrities, worked as a newspaper reporter (hey—it can be glamorous!), been recognized as one of the first female erotica authors, and lived in Paris for a time (Note: There’s much more to her, which I plan to weave into a salacious feature story). I’d be insanely jealous of this gal if I didn’t like her so darn much. Schuler’s wine—like her personality—is as bold as it gets, and she prefers using grapes native to Spain and Portugal to get her fiery point across. A good example: Bodegas 2009 Pimenteiro, or “bastardo,” as it’s called in Portugal, is a pepper bomb that makes no apologies for its intense, powerful punch. The grape is actually known by 27 different names, adding to its mysterious allure, and—as you would guess—is only grown by a handful of winemakers across the country. With notes of white and black pepper rounded by a dash of blueberry, this is a “food-unfriendly” selection best paired with dishes that echo the wine’s bossy pepper flavor. Good thing this bottle stands just fine on its own two feet, just like its badass winemaker. Try it at the boutique winery’s downtown Paso Robles tasting room, and stay thirsty, my friend.

• Bodegas Winery's 2009 PimenteiroTasting fee; 729 13th St., Paso Robles.

Sip, sip, hooray! Send drinkable ideas to hthomas@newtimesslo.com.