What’s for Sipper, BRK Dining?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 2 No tags 0
We’ve got the boys of BRK Dining in the hot seat today. Say hello to chef Max Shapiro and sommelier Max Coane. These two create some pretty magical and wine-soaked private dinners. If you’re in LA, you need to get on their mailing list and into one of the seats around their dining table stat! And yes, they have the same name and practically gave the same answers for most of the questions I asked. It’s cute, they’re besties.

Hometown: Max Shapiro- Los Angeles, CA. Max Coane- New York, NY and Santa Monica, CA.

Favorite Fall beverage: Shapiro- Vino all day erry day. Coane- Calvados. Delicious year round, but there is something about apples and fall.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: Shapiro- Rye old fashioned. Coane- Rye Old Fashioned. Classic. If I’m trying to turn it up though it has to be VEP Chartreuse…

Favorite place to grab a drink: Shapiro- Eveleigh (Doctor Kupchinsky knows how to stir a cocktail.) Coane- Eveleigh. Dave is the man, he has an EPIC beard, and they have VEP Chartreuse…do you see a pattern developing here??? Also the private rooftop club at Petit Ermitage. My boy Brian Stewart is the “Spirits Master” there and he makes some killer drinks. He has a barrel aged cocktail “The Lovely Lauren” that is so tasty but its 130% booze so you can’t have more than one…or three.

Favorite toast: Shapiro- Brioche.  Coane- Sourdough. Though Rye may be my favorite bread….Actually my favorite toast would have to be Brioche. If we aren’t talking about breakfast the classic “Cheers” is great so long as there is good eye contact. However amongst friends I have been known to say: “Here’s to you and here’s to me. Best friends we shall always be; and if we should ever disagree…Then fuck you, and here’s to me!”

Favorite post-dinner drink: Shapiro- Fernet or Chartreuse. Coane- VEP Chartreuse. Vegetal as all hell but its one of my all time favorite beverages. I will preach the gospel of Chartreuse to anyone who will listen.

Favorite food and beverage pairing: Shapiro- Weissburgunder and aged raw lamb. Coane- Mark Bright at Saison in SF threw down one of the craziest/best wine and food pairings I’ve ever had. The dish was 60 day dry aged lamb, shaved raw over slow grilled nightshades. Essentially grilled eggplant with the gnarliest (in the best way) gamey raw lamb. He paired it with a Weingut Rebholz Weissburgunder ‘Im Sonnershein’ Grosses Gewächs, 2006 from Pfalz in Germany. Smoky, peachy, mineral. Amazing stuff. It didn’t hurt that Rudi Wiest was standing by the Chef’s counter and telling us all these amazing stories of his years in the wine business, none of which I’m able to reproduce here of course.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink, where would you go? Shapiro- I really want to see what’s going on in Denmark. Coane- Right now I’m really excited about Germany and Austria. While I’m genetically and historically programmed to be afraid of that part of the world, those Prussian’s know how to make laser focused wines.

What’s for sipper? Shapiro- red Burgundy is on the menu tonight . Coane- Well I just got back from two days of CMS exams in Santa Barbara and I’m still sweating out all the wine Eric Railsback poured into my mouth. Seriously there is video of me doing a “layback” over the bar while Railsback is pouring Knoll Riesling straight into my mouth. So I’d like to say I’m not drinking for a minute, but that would be a boldfaced lie. Since we are still tasting all the Spanish wines for SOS I’ll probably bust into some Godello. Bodegas Rafael Palacios makes a killer wine, “As Sortes,” that has this awesome almost Chassagne-Montrachet-ish nose on it. Its nice for someone like me who has a big Burgundian fetish but doesn’t have the bank account required to drink a lot of Burgundy.

Photos by Melissa Ryan

What’s for Sipper, Stevie & Josiah?

I’ve got a San Francisco wine couple treat for you on this edition of What’s for Sipper. Stevie Stacionis is a wine writer and the Director of Communications for Corkbuzz. Her husband, Josiah Baldivino, is head sommelier at Michael Mina in San Francisco. Together, they are the parents of a new online wine show called A Drink with Friends. Watch it! They are funny and smart and have great taste in wine. Did I mention they are funny?


Stevie: “Hometown” is a funny notion. I moved all over growing up, but my “formative” years (middle and high school) were in a suburb of Minneapolis. Today, home is absolutely San Francisco. I will never leave.

Josiah: I started in Jacksonville, Fl, catching water moccasins. Then I moved to a mountain community in southern California, catching lizards. Now I’m very much at home in San Francisco, catching crabs. Not that kind of crabs!
Favorite Spring beverage:
Stevie: Loire Sauvignon Blanc! It screams of spring herbs, vegetables and clean days after a fresh rain.
Josiah: Soda water with lime.
Favorite cocktail or spirit:
Josiah: Manhattan.
Stevie: Tequila!
 Favorite place to grab a drink:
We love stopping in for a quick cocktail or bottle of white Burgundy at Zuni. It’s one of the most iconic San Francisco “scenes,” and you feel all chic, like you’re a part of this great city and its incredible food/beverage community. You can order a heaping plate of their matchstick fries or a bunch of oysters, have your drink, watch the city roll by, and then head back out on another adventure.
Favorite toast:
Toast? Like “way to clink glasses with friends”? Or toasted bread? Not big toasted bread fans here. We usually “clink glasses” by looking in each other’s eyes and making a comment about something we’re grateful for. Usually our health, our family, our incredible friends and community. Looking in the other person’s eyes is very important!!
 Favorite post-dinner drink:
Josiah: Ramazzotti Amaro
Stevie: Madddeeeirrrrraaaa
Favorite food and beverage pairing:
French fries, prosciutto and fines herbes aioli with rosé Champagne. For supreme enjoyment, this must be consumed at the bar at Bar Boulud.
If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink, where would you go?
New Zealand. Or Japan.
What’s for sipper?
Robitussin and hot toddies. We’re sick, damnit. But there’s a bottle of Croatian Zlahtina on standby as we’re pretty floored by the quality coming out of Eastern Europe right now.

What’s for Sipper, Dustin Lancaster?

Dustin Lancaster is the man behind many of Los Angeles’ most popular places to gather for a fine beverage and a bite to eat. In the past few years he has built a mini empire- Bar Covell, L&E Oyster Bar, and The Hermosillo Club. Someone needs to stop being such an overachiever and making me feel like a loser. Mkay?

Hometown:  Deer Creek, Oklahoma

Favorite Fall beverage: Red Wine! All of it.  Every country and region.  Cold weather is red wine weather.

Favorite cocktail or spirit: An Eastsider.

Favorite place to grab a drink: Is it too shameless to plug the new wine bar we opened upstairs above L&E! Too late, just did!

Favorite toast: “To Health.” Can’t ever have too much of that!

Favorite post-dinner drink: I really don’t do after dinner drinks.  Mostly stick with whatever wine I’ve been drinking.  Perhaps a Madeira if the mood strikes or someone orders dessert.

Favorite food & beverage pairing: Sancerre and Oysters.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go? Australia.  Never been but hearing marvelous things about the food and wine culture there.  They are doing some really progressive things on both fronts.  Sounds delicious!

What’s for sipper? Most likely a Pinot from Russian River or Willamette.  That’s what I’m feeling at this exact moment.

Photo by Lauren Wang 

What’s for Sipper, Alie & Georgia?

Hey dudes! It’s time for an introduction, as is typical with this here blog series. Meet Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstock, also known simply as Alie & Georgia. They are two super hilarious ladies starring on their very own Cooking Channel series called Classy Ladies as well as hosting the uber cozy pajama-wearing podcast Slumber Party. They make crazy cocktails and look pretty dang good while doing it.


Current location: Los Angeles

Alie: San Francisco, CA. Please nobody call it Frisco? Okay?

Georgia: Born in Los Angeles, raised begrudgingly in Orange County.

Favorite Fall beverage:

Alie: I was just making a cup of hot green tea and realized that I really missed it all summer. In colder months, my blood is actually 40% green tea.

Georgia: I love a Hot Toddy, which is really just a sick person’s excuse to drink whiskey.

Favorite cocktail or spirit:

Alie: I had a drink at The Office, which is tucked below Aviary in Chicago, and it involved wheated bourbon, tobacco, allspice, pomegranate, maple, and Meyer lemon. It was the most complex and leathery, woodsy beverage I’ve ever had and it’s absence in my life will haunt me forever. I want to go back to Chicago just got this drink. But I’m always open to Negronis in hot weather, and a good sippin’ Sazerac in colder weather.

Georgia: We took a trip to London recently thanks to Plymouth and Beefeater gins, and learned all about the junipery spirit, which was something I had never really enjoyed. That trip changed my mind, and not just because they treated us like freaking royalty. Since then, I’ve been obsessed with gin and tonics. Beefeater 24, Fever Tree tonic, and a slice of lime. Perfection. I enjoy simple, classic cocktails that are mixed well and use quality ingredients (said the girl who created a kettle corn cocktail).

Favorite place to grab a drink:

Alie: Did I mention I’m obsessed with The Office in Chicago? But I also love Eveleigh, which is located on the cultural skidmark that is the Sunset Strip, or Library Bar in the bottom of the Roosevelt.

Georgia: Big Bar in Los Feliz is a great place to grab a well made cocktail and relax in a lovely setting. What I want in a bar changes from day to day, though, so sometimes a dark Mexican restaurant and a strong Margarita (rocks, salt) is all that will do, and I’ve never met a dive bar I didn’t like.

Favorite toast:

Alie: Drunk Oktoberfest chicken Dance. Easy.

Georgia: I can’t take a sip of a drink without clinking glasses, I just love the tradition. Eye contact and a hearty “cheers” or “to life” are also necessary. That said, people who get fancy and say “cin cin” or something pretentious like that drive me crazy.

Favorite post-dinner drink:

Alie: I had Averna and Suze mixed together recently and it was sweet and herby and bitter and wonderful. Pour any amaro in a glass and let me sip it like an old dude and I’m stoked.

Georgia: Anything with bitters works for me. An Old Fashioned is a pretty perfect ending to a nice dinner…or a bad one, too, I guess.

Favorite food & beverage pairing:
Alie: My favorite meals in LA have been by Miles Thompson at the pop-up Vagrancy Project. His pairings are always insanely awesome, but my dream meal involves a perfect delicate seafood dish of his plus a vino verhde. Straight up drooling thinking about it.Georgia: How crass would I sound if I said beer and wings. Very? Ok, then how about an assertive glass of red wine and a huge bowl of squid ink pasta.

If you could travel to one region of the world right now for its food and/or drink where would you go?

Alie: I’ve never been to Spain but hot damn I’d love to be eating and drinking there.

Georgia: I’ve sat here for five minutes trying to narrow it down to just one place. Japan was my first thought, so lets go with that. I love their whiskey and of course their food, and I’m currently obsessed with Yuri Kato’s Japanese Cocktails book.

What’s for sipper?

Georgia: Beer, to be honest. Tonight is the first Giants game of the season and my fiance would leave me if I didn’t participate in the celebrations. At least there’s beer and lots of snacks. Later in the night I’ll be at The Spare Room in the Roosevelt Hotel, so I can sip one of their punches and pretend I’m classy and didn’t eat tons of chips and dip earlier in the evening.

Photos courtesy of Cooking Channel and Megan McIsaac for Storyboard