The Domesticated Cupid: Cooking up weekday romance (with wine)

Christine Moore/ Special to the Town Crier
Spaghetti and meatballs makes for a romantic and simple dinner.

If only Cupid, that mischievous cherub of love, had enrolled in a home economics course instead of archery. His doing so would have allowed him to wield a needle and thread – stitching lovers’ hearts together rather than zinging couples with bow and arrow.

Nonetheless, I’m convinced that within the endless dirty dishes, kids’ sports schedules, monthly bills, piles of laundry and work trips, romance lurks even after that first zing. While grand gestures of love are noteworthy, sustained care for one another is the stuff of all the greatest relationships. Simple acts of kindness scattered throughout domestic life stoke the passions of love, and demonstrate how two hearts can become one in life.

Raise a glass of red ale on Valentine's Day

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
Rod And Reel, a collaboration between Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery and Libertine Brewing Co., was brewed with Swedish Fish candies in the boil.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday when everything is red – roses, hearts, valentine cards and, of course, beers. Following is a selection of red-colored ales to match the decorations on your Valentine’s dinner table.

Rod And Reel

Because candy is a big part of many Valentine’s Day celebrations, it only seems appropriate to include a red ale actually brewed with Swedish Fish candies. Rod And Reel is a collaboration between San Francisco’s Seven Stills Brewery & Distillery and San Luis Obispo’s Libertine Brewing Co. A very clear copper-red in color with a rocky khaki head of foam, the beer has an aroma that actually captures the sweet strawberry-cherry character of the candies. The brewers also included significant amounts of El Dorado hops, which contributes additional cherry character to the aroma and flavor, though on the palate the watermelon notes from the hops are even more dominant. The beer has relatively low carbonation, and malt character doesn’t really come through, nor does the hop bitterness. As a result, the brew is somewhat one-note, with the fruity sweetness lasting from the initial impression all the way through the finish.

Pliny the Younger: A quick primer from the Town Crier's beer columnist

Courtesy of Russian River Brewing Company
Russian River Brewing lays out the ground rules for line etiquette and logistics on Facebook each year as beer devotees wait to try a Pliny the Younger at its source.

Russian River Brewing Company more than doubled its production of its ever-popular Pliny the Younger Triple IPA this year, from 160 barrels to 350 barrels. However, the beer will likely still be difficult to come by, and supplies are likely to go fast at any place pouring the beer. Following are a few locations in the South Bay/Peninsula/SF where you might be able to enjoy a sip in the latter half of SF Beer Week.

• The Rose & Crown, Palo Alto

Restaurant roundup: Tea, coffee shops open; Persian on the horizon

Photos by Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Tre Monti, left, the Italian restaurant on Los Altos’ Main Street, opened over the holidays. Rose Market, right, a Middle Eastern grocery and deli, awaits its reopening in Mountain View.

Long-awaited eating establishments opened throughout Los Altos over the holiday season, ranging from bubble tea to Venezuelan fare. But one anticipated Persian eatery remains a work in progress.

Brut IPAs combine Champagne dryness with IPA hop intensity

Derek Wolfgram/Special to the Town Crier
San Francisco’s Social Kitchen and Brewery, the originator of the Brut IPA style, produces Puttin’ on the Spritz.

Brut IPA is a relatively new beer style, developed in late 2017 by Kim Sturdavant of San Francisco’s Social Kitchen and Brewery.

Indulgent dessert: Panna cotta with a wholesome, nutty twist

Rita Held/Special to the Town Crier
Refresh the Italian treat panna cotta with the addition of dark chocolate and pecans.

A new year often means it’s time to try something different, whether it’s travel, an exercise plan, a wine or cooking up something new in the kitchen.

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