Announcer: A KQED Television production ♪♪ ♪♪ Sbrocco: Another umami bomb Woman: Umami bomb Sbrocco: That’s right Hi. I’m Leslie Sbrocco Welcome to “Check, Please! Bay Area,” the show where regular Bay Area residence review and talk about their favorite restaurants Now, we have three guests, and each one recommends one of their favorite spots, and the other two go check them out to see what they think This week, police officer Jeanette Cazares patrols the streets for arresting eateries to share with her monthly dining group, where food, wine, and laughter are all that matters No doughnuts for this cop Management consultant David Hopkins hails from the other side of the pond He likes to fly small planes in his spare time, a hobby with an altruistic benefit when he’s deployed on missions for the nonprofit Angel Flight West But first, deputy attorney general Char Sachson protects and serves her community and plays in two cover bands When she isn’t lawyering or rocking out, she seeks local places to eat Tucked away in the Tenderloin, her go-to for comfort fare is Rusty’s Southern ♪♪ Olson: Rusty’s Southern is me really sharing who I am and my family and my upbringing in the south with folks here in San Francisco I’m Rusty Olson I own Rusty’s Southern here in the Tenderloin in San Francisco In rural North Caroline where my mother grew up and is essentially farmland, one big that would happen in a lot of the local churches would be annual fundraisers And the farmers that were members of the congregation would each donate a hog, and the men of the church would stay up all night long smoking the pigs, the next day pulling it off the bone, chopping it, tossing it with a nice vinegar-based sauce It’s not pulled pork It’s chopped pork, and any real person from the Carolinas will tell you that that’s the way it’s supposed to be done It’s got to be chopped That really is kind of the cornerstone of Southern cooking, the thought and the care You have to have passion and time to put into it You know, when my guests ask about how we make our fried chicken, I say, “Here’s the recipe. Now when are you going to make this ’cause you need at least 3 days to get started on it.” What I really like to do is, you know, have a conversation with somebody, give them something new that they’ve never had, whether it’s boiled peanuts or a true glass of sweet tea or a great craft beer You’ll never see me happier than when I’m interacting with our guests here ♪♪ Sbrocco: All right. Char, are you a fan of Southern fare? Is this your go-to type of cuisine? Sachson: This is absolutely my go-to cuisine Rusty’s has the quintessential comfort food Their specialty is fried chicken and biscuits The biscuits are buttermilk biscuits They’re a little bit crispy on the outside They’re cooked perfectly, and they are tender and flaky Cazares: We got the buttermilk fried chicken Sachson: Mm-hmm Cazares: Absolutely delicious And it is piping hot, gleaming Fried chicken needs to be gleaming and piping hot Sachson: Right Cazares: The crust was absolutely crunchy, tasty It had sea salt sprinkled on top It’s actually in a sweet-tea brine So it is sweet It is salty It is the perfect blend when you bite into it It also came with collard greens, which were kind of lemony, and they had Carolina hoppin’ john, which is a rice and bean mixture, which was absolutely delicious Those three things just blended together really well Sbrocco: Well, Rusty is from the Carolinas Cazares: Oh, absolutely Sbrocco: So you know there is some authenticity there

Hopkins: I must confess that I have never eaten Southern food before So this was an experiment all around But I did have have the fry basket to start, which was amazing It was the mixed shrimp and vegetables The shrimp were just fantastic I really liked them Well-coated, nicely done There was a lovely dipping sauce on the table, beautiful dish Cazares: we also got the burger, which they only make 12 of every day Sbrocco: That’s right They insist that it’s fresh-ground — Hopkins: That was hysterical, oh yeah Sbrocco: …so if you’re one of the lucky 12, right? Cazares: Yes, absolutely Hopkins: Okay It’s a traditional burger, but my goodness, it was juicy The traditional toppings, the bun was beautiful It just drips in your hand, you know As a fan of burgers, that’s how they should be, messy and delicious to eat I really enjoyed it Cazares: That’s right The meat seemed caramelized Sweet on the outside, and it was a little bit crispy And then you bite in, and it’s just absolutely this tender, beautiful red meat And it was just a perfect burger The french fries, I had to ask They were dusted with Cajun seasonings, but they had a little bit of white truffle oil And I could just barely taste the hint of it But, also, the mac and cheese came in this beautiful cast-iron skillet It had bacon pieces in it But it also had the cheese on top that was just delicious, and we absolutely enjoyed it I don’t think I’ve ever been more full than leaving Rusty’s Sbrocco: And, you know, in terms of the pork barbecue, we’re talking a particular barbecue Hopkins: Well, that’s very interesting to say because in the very best sense of the term, I had never had barbecue quite like it It’s chopped up small It could be a little dry, but there’s sauce on the table You sprinkle your sauce on it They had a vinegar-based sauce, which made it very tart, and just delicious The quality of the pork was outstanding Just tasted delicious with that sauce Cazares: I’m going back for that, David I’m going back for that Hopkins: Absolutely Sbrocco: I saw her mouth watering Jeanette was over there, like Sachson: And they also have the mustard sauce Hopkins: Yeah Sachson: And these are just in little shakers, so you just put on a little bit, and it’s really flavorful, and it adds so much to the pork And you can get the pork as an entree, or you can get it as a sandwich on a brioche Hopkins: Yes Sachson: I have to just say one thing about the chicken-fried steak and the fried chicken You know how sometimes when you get fried chicken, you take a bite, and the crust just flies across the room? This, the crust is so substantial, it stays on it It all stays together somehow, and you get a little bite of crust, and you get a little bite of chicken And the other special treat that they have is the country board You get incredible deviled eggs You get pickled okra, bread and butter pickles You get radishes You get pickled green tomatoes, pimento cheese and crackers, pralines, and you have pork cracklings They’re crispy They’re a little bit salty And then you have a little wedge of some kind of brie cheese — it’s not brie exactly, but it’s from a Moreno creamery — and two kinds of cured meats You know, you order this board thinking, “Well, it’s an appetizer.” No. You’re full when you have finished it Sbrocco: And when you walk into Rusty’s Southern, you get a little something special, don’t you? Sachson: You do Everybody gets a little paper dish of boiled peanuts They’re hot boiled peanuts, and they’re salty, and they’re soft So it’s not like what you get at the ballpark It’s the kind of hot, salty thing you just can’t stop eating Hopkins: And they baked a peach cobbler, which was to die for Just served beautifully, and it tasted absolutely delicious Cazares: And they also have a buttermilk pie, which I had never heard of It’s got a little bit of a lemony flavor, and it’s not, it’s something between a cake and a custard Sbrocco: It’s because you’re not pronouncing it right It’s buttermilk pie Cazares: Pie, yes Sachson: It is pie Sbrocco: It’s pie Hopkins: There was just something about the karma of that restaurant, which made you feel really welcome when you walk in And in my imagination, I think I’d built Rusty up to be at least twice the size he really is But, you know, he has the fully shaved head Cazares: Right Hopkins: …this huge, great beard, a wonderful smile on his face His wife was our server, and the two of them together, you just feel you want to support a young couple trying to make a go of a business, serving great food You just felt good about it, you know, which is great Sbrocco: This is your spot Give us a quick summary Sachson: Rusty’s has scrumptious comfort food and southern hospitality and warmth in the heart of the Tenderloin Sbrocco: All right And David Hopkins: Just beautiful All of the four courses, fries, beer, fry basket, and some chicken, you know? Yeah, what are you gonna do? Sbrocco: All right Jeanette Cazares: I would say for huge portions of modern Southern food, go to Rusty’s Sbrocco: All right If you would like to try Rusty’s Southern, it’s located on Ellis Street at Polk in San Francisco The telephone number is 415-638-6974 It’s open for brunch and lunch Thursday through Sunday, dinner Tuesday through Saturday Reservations are recommended, and the average dinner tab per person without drinks is around $30 ♪♪ Sbrocco: It may seem a world away, but you can sit inside in the garden

or around the firepit at Jeanette’s pick, a beer-drinker’s paradise with 30 taps and a Berkeley twist, kombucha on tap You can’t miss the neon sign for Jupiter Tung: Jupiter is a great place for people to gather and enjoy themselves and socialize It’s the party atmosphere that keeps it really fun to work here I am Jessica Tung, and I’m the general manager of Jupiter in Berkeley Jupiter offers a wide selection of craft beers We have 12 house taps and 22 rotating guest taps We offer everything from sours to barrel-aged items, and just really unique styles of beer We have a kind of fun birthday tradition here Instead of offering desserts, we offer beer chugs Burger: I’m Matt Burger I’m the executive chef at Jupiter So, at Jupiter, our oven downstairs is about 25 years old It’s been with us since the very beginning, and like any old cast-iron pan or good grill, it takes on that extra-smokey flavor of the history, you know, behind it We use a honey-wheat crust here The honey definitely adds a flavor It gets a much better caramelization because of the added sugar We’ve been making the same dough by using the same starter, and they re, you know, do it So it’s been going for 20 plus years now That always adds more flavor Pizza is kind of a blank canvas in a way that you can do a lot of different flavors Stuff that might’ve been an entree at another place could kind of bee a pizza here It’s fun to have people wondering about what’s in it And then that gets them thinking and then that gets them going And they’re, like, oh, I’ve got to go back and try that crust That was really good Then they stay They come back and come back, and then they keep coming for 25 years ♪♪ Sbrocco: All right, Jeanette, I know you like wine Cazares: I do love wine But this is we’re talking beer here at Jupiter, aren’t we? Cazares: We are Beers and ciders Sbrocco: Right Cazares: And I go for their ciders definitely Pomegranate, mango, cherry, there’s always a really great assortment of those, as well I went to college at UC Berkeley, and that is the UC Berkeley digs Full of college students, but also has a really great mix of all kinds of Berkeley people I think everybody can really gather around good pizza and beer Sachson: It’s right across the street from Bart, so it’s easy to get to It’s a great place to meet up So you walk in downstairs, and that’s a dining room There’s a bar along the side, and it’s a beautiful room It’s old and wooden It kind of looks like an old Craftsman There’s the pressed tin on the walls, and it looks really old timey and just beautiful And then you go upstairs, and there’s a whole other dining room We had the best table It was on the edge right at the window that overlooked the garden, and so we could hear the band and see the beautiful garden Of course, you can sit outside in the garden, but you have to hover for a table They won’t put you down for an outside table You just have to stand out there and cross your fingers The building, where it’s situated, there’s not too much wind, which is beautiful if you’re sitting outdoors There are heat lamps, but if you can get a seat around the firepit, I definitely recommended that as your first seating option Very beautiful if you’re on a date because fire lighting makes you look glowing Sbrocco: That’s right Everyone looks lovely This is a very historic place, too Hopkins: Exactly, yes Sbrocco: With the building and the rich history Hopkins: I loved that I learned that from my friend when we went there You know, the thing that I found was so hilarious about that place, I mean, it’s just a tremendous place But it’s quintessentially Berkeley because how often do you go into a brew pub, and you find that they describe the pork as heritage pork? And the chicken as — Sbrocco: Or Petaluma chicken Hopkins: — and Petaluma chicken wings We noticed that And then, of course, the kombucha on tap So we went in there Just a fun place to go The server was great He came right up, discussed all the beers knowledgeably Sachson: We had beer and cheese fondue to start, and then we had the spinach and artichoke dip, which was creamy and warm, and you could really taste the artichoke and the garlic Cazares: We also got the artichoke dip, which I really like because it doesn’t fill you up too much like other ones are very heavy It’s actually a pretty light dip It almost tastes whipped, if you can concur with that Sachson: I do Cazares: Yes Sbrocco: Do you concur? Hopkins: Oh, absolutely Sbrocco: There we go We all concur Sachson: And then we had the Galileo pizza, which had the artichoke hearts and spinach and tomato This pizza has no sauce, and so we said to the server, “Is there no sauce on this pizza?” And she said, “There is no sauce, but I’m happy to bring you a side of marinara.” which she did And it was delicious with or without the marinara Cazares: I always get a beet salad because I love beets, number one Number two, it makes me feel healthy for the meal that I’m about to order The wings are a must because they’re not your traditional buffalo or fried wings They actually put them in the same wood-fired oven as they do the pizzas, and they’re in a soy sauce garlic sweet kind of glaze, and they come with a beautiful house-made ranch And I usually like the wings because I save the ranch for the pizza crust The pizza, I usually get one with full garlic cloves, and they’re roasted, and they’re delicious, but I will tell you I have to be prepared for the next two days because I’m going to be sweating out that garlic It is absolutely —

Sbrocco: Well, as long as the person you’re with is eating the garlic as well, then you’re in good shape Cazares: Absolutely Everybody has to have a slice of that pizza But it’s just a really delicious and chewy texture, crispy on the outside The pizza never is soggy Hopkins: I share your enthusiasm for it because I like to make pizza at home, too, and I thought their pizzas were just absolutely beautiful They had those lightly charred crust just beautifully crisp, and we ordered the pizza with the fennel sausage And it was, I don’t know whether it was Petaluma fennel sausage or not [ Laughter ] Anyway, it was just beautifully tasty Well-done, nicely served, really enjoyed it Cazares: Did any of you have the jalapeno-cilantro sauce because that, it’s a very small piece of the menu, and it’s on the back, but it is absolutely delicious to dip your pizza in or just to add to the pizza It’s acidic, and it’s really garlicky and tangy, and I think it really compliments the pizza You can go ranch one side, jalapeno cilantro on the other Sbrocco: This is called Jeanette style Cazares: Absolutely Yeah, Jeanette style Sbrocco: So when you go and order Jeanette style pizza Cazares: Yes Hopkins: You have to understand that I’m only just recovering from the English tendency to eat pizza with a knife and fork Cazares: Oh, okay Fair enough Hopkins: Now I have to learn to dip it in Cazares: And tomatoes on your pizza Hopkins: Exactly Sbrocco: All right, Jeanette, this is your spot Give us a quick summary Cazares: I would say for groups or friends in a fun, relaxed atmosphere, cold beer, hot pizza Sbrocco: All right And Char Sachson: This place is fun and relaxed It’s really lively Everybody’s in there, and it’s a great place to go and hang out or meet up Sbrocco: Okay And David Hopkins: Yeah, I thought that it was kind of the opposite of what I expected because it’s the noise is not that great It’s friendly It’s warm Sitting around that firepit outside is just delightful Sbrocco: All right If you would like to try Jupiter, it’s located on Shattuck Avenue at Allston Way in Berkeley The telephone number is 510-843-8277 It’s open every day for lunch and dinner Reservations are accepted for groups of 10 or more except on Fridays and Saturdays, and the average dinner tab per person without drinks is around $20 I’m a bubble lover period If it’s sparkles, it’s in my glass…and on my leg One fizz that deserves fame is Franciacorta Franciacorta is the name of a wine and a place located in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region It’s made with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, known as pinot nero, and pinot blanc These are essentially the same grape varieties used in the best sparkling wines around the globe The fine bubbles come from being crafted in the traditional method otherwise known as methode champenoise in France By aging in the bottle and resting for years on the yeast, Franciacorta gains complexity and elegance Price wise, these wines compare with champagne and top California sparkling Personally, I adore the rosé versions like this one from Italy’s heralded house of Antinori and the century’s old Pizzini Franciacorta is a sparkling treasure to discover Cheers ♪♪ Off the beaten path, David’s pick is in Sonoma County, where a pedigreed chef has settled in a quaint, funky cabin Wood-fired cooking produces casually elegant dishes that make the stars shine in Glen Ellen Prepare to be starstruck at Glen Ellen Star Weiswasser: New York City really spoils you You have access to anything you want at any time of day or night Glen Ellen is certainly a more slow-paced country life At 9:00, our town’s done It’s over My name is Ari Weiswasser, and I own Glen Ellen Star When I lived in New York City, I worked in a lot of fine-dining restaurants, and on my one day off a week, I wanted something a little bit more rustic with less rules, really I gravitated toward restaurants that cooked like that They checked in that style They weren’t afraid to almost burn something Restaurants that had wood ovens, really It’s another level of flavor you almost have to discipline yourself not to be afraid of, and so we decided to anchor the middle of the restaurant with a wood oven And it’s positioned so when you drive by the restaurant, it’s the first thing that you see We like to use local wood We have madrone and oak and some vines and things like that and use local produce, as well Over time, we’re using our garden, and we’re using local connections, really, to define our menu We like our servers to bring their own personality into the restaurant Our guests really gravitate towards that They almost become friends, and they request certain servers on certain nights It’s almost like you’re looking forward to eating in a restaurant not just because of the food, but because of whose there and then leaving with just having a great time and not really being able to pinpoint why it was great, ’cause there were so many great things And give them that escape from the day to day Sbrocco: So, David, Chef Ari has quite a pedigree, doesn’t he? Hopkins: Yes, he does

He trained under Daniel Boulud in New York He cooked at Picholine, which is one of my favorite restaurants in New York Sbrocco: One of my faves in New York, absolutely Hopkins: Fabulous place And he’s spent, I think, at least 2 years with Thomas Keller at the French Laundry Sbrocco: I think Chef Ari wanted to strip that, all his classical training sort of fussiness away, and it’s about four ingredients, right He keeps it really simple Hopkins: He’s stripped all the fussiness away, absolutely, but he can’t hide the fact — Sbrocco: The technique, right Hopkins: — that the technique is there It’s really well-known for its vegetables, all of which are cooked in the brick oven Sbrocco: And many of them come from his garden A good portion of them comes from the garden Hopkins: Many of them come from his garden, and of course, with their association with the Benzigers Benzigers is the first — Sbrocco: And that’s his wife, Erin Benziger Hopkins: Yes, Erin Sbrocco: That’s right Hopkins: And, of course, it’s the first winery in the country designated as biodynamics The Brussels sprouts are amazing I mean, you have to really think about booking a confessional with your doctor the next morning because they had these Brussels sprouts cooked in the oven, and then with a brown-sugar bacon marmalade Cazares: This dish is so decadent The outsides are bright green, but the edges are crispy and roasted And then this bacon brown-sugar marmalade — Hopkins: Yes Cazares: … is so sweet and salty and smoky I did not have the Brussels sprouts, but now I will go back and have the Brussels sprouts I had the margherita pizza just because I think margherita is a staple Hopkins: Yes, sure Cazares: And you can kind of judge a restaurant by their margherita pizza But it was absolutely delicious and very crisp, thin-crust traditional Sachson: We enjoyed the pizza margherita It had fresh basil leaves on tip And we enjoyed the tangy freshness of the tomato sauce with the mozzarella And I noticed that my friend and I, that we each just put our crusts on the plate And I thought, “Well, okay We didn’t eat the crust, so maybe it wasn’t, the crust might been a little lackluster.” But it was delicious Sbrocco: You just need the ranch dressing Sachson: We needed the ranch a lot Cazares: And the jalapeno Hopkins: Absolutely Cazares: One on each side Sbrocco: Then you can do the Jeanette Sachson: Yes We started with the rustic sourdough boule, which was baked with spring onions and sprinkled with salt and sumac on top Just moist and crispy on the outside Then we also had the fresh pea soup served with a ricotta gnudi, which is poached ricotta, and it tastes like a dumpling It’s kind of doughy And that soup was bright green and fresh It had a little touch of mint in it, and it just tasted like spring The rib eye was served with roasted potatoes cooked medium rare with a glass of red wine That was just a little bit of heaven Sbrocco: Well, I was just going to ask about drinks You are in the middle of wine country Hopkins: We are in the middle of wine country, and it’s not a huge wine list obviously But it’s very interesting in the sense that it has wines from many different parts of the world It has Rohan wines, Lohr wines, even from Priorat And there’s one Benziger, which is kind of snuck in there So the wines are very carefully chosen, I think, to pair with the different foods Sachson: You can get a glass and a flask Hopkins: Yes, you can Sachson: I said, what’s a flask? I was a little nervous And they said, well, it’s just a glass and a half Hopkins: Yeah Sachson: But it comes in a beaker Sbrocco: Comes in its own little, yeah Hopkins: We cannot leave this restaurant without describing one of their signature dishes, which is the fish It’s a dorade fish, and I don’t know how what magic they pull to do this, but they slice the fish across the back, not on the belly, and they extract all the innards of the fish and the bones from the top And then they stuff it And the stuffings change from time to time, the resources and so on They pop it into the oven, that brick oven, and the skin bubbles up, and it comes out, and it’s perfect Cazares: I love the service That was probably my number-one positive part about the experience I got to sit in the sun-room, which was adjacent to the restaurant, and it feels like an overflow room It felt like we were the only non-locals there People really go there and love the food and really enjoy spending time with their company Only afterwards did I get to walk through the restaurant and go, “Oh, this was what was going on in here.” Sbrocco: You just have to go back with David preferably Cazares: Absolutely Absolutely Hopkins: She’s already invited me to take her there, so [ Laughter ] Sbrocco: And what about desserts? Cazares: Uh, desserts, so they make their ice cream there So we actually tried some of their hand-churned ice cream, and it was the vanilla maple bourbon, which was absolutely creamy, and they serve it in this really delightful little presentation jug Flavorful, and the vanilla bean was really prominent, which I really love Sachson: It’s got a little hint of bourbon It’s not boozy I think a kid might even eat it Cazares: Right Sachson: Maybe they wouldn’t even notice the bourbon And they’d sleep great Sbrocco: All right David, this is your spot Give us a quick summary Hopkins: Just a fun, deceptively simple, delicious food Great choice of wine Just go there Sbrocco: All right, and Char Sachson: Fresh, creative California cuisine in picturesque Glen Ellen Sbrocco: Okay And Jeanette Cazares: I would say if you’re looking for a farm-to-table and a constantly changing seasonal menu, this place is for you Sbrocco: All right If you would like to try Glen Ellen Star,

it’s located on Arnold Drive and Warm Springs Road in Glen Ellen The telephone number is 707-343-1384 It’s open every night for dinner Reservations are recommended, and the average dinner tab per person without drinks is around $50 I want to thank my great guests on this week’s show Char Saxon’s spot wows with good old-fashioned southern hospitality at Rusty’s Southern in San Francisco Dine in or out of the galaxy at Jeanette Cazares’s relaxed, beer-centric location in Berkeley at Jupiter And David Hopkins, whose culinary comet shoots over a small town in Sonoma County at Glen Ellen Star So join us next time, when three new guests will recommend their favorite spots right here on “Check, Please! Bay Area.” I’m Leslie Sbrocco, and I’ll see you then Cheers And cheers to you guys All: Cheers ♪♪ So now it’s your turn We want to hear from you if you visited any of our “Check Please!” restaurants You can post a selfie on Instagram, join the conversation on Facebook, and tweet us anytime And don’t forget to visit our website All the shows are there, along with my wine videos and notes about the wines we drink on-set You’ll also find our fun new web series “Taste This,” where we celebrate food and drinks around the Bay Cheers ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪