~ANA MANDARA~ has let well-regarded sommelier Joanna Breslin go, a belt-tightening move that I'm sorry to say we will continue to see happening more around town. Breslin was brought on a month after the restaurant opened in 2000--Larry Stone created the opening list, and under Breslin's guidance, Ana Mandara has received numerous awards for its wine list over the years. The torch is being passed to assistant sommelier Ryan Williams, who Breslin has been mentoring. Meanwhile, Breslin is going to be doing some teaching at PCI (the Professional Culinary Institute) in Campbell while she considers her options. 891 Beach St. at Polk, 415-771-6800.
Sometimes I get tired of reading about chocolate and wine pairing events, but when you have Michael Recchiuti guiding the tasting, I'll cut some slack. The event, ~AN EVENING OF CHOCOLATE AND WINE~, will be held at Luce restaurant tomorrow, Wednesday October 22nd, with Amy Currens, wine director of the InterContinental San Francisco. The cost is $59 per person, all-inclusive. 5:30pm-7:30pm. InterContinental Hotel San Francisco, 888 Howard Street at 5th St., 415-616-6633.
~RUBY WINE~ in Potrero Hill finally received their tasting license, and will begin tastings (Friday Night Flights) this Friday October 24th, with Carl Sutton of Sutton Cellars. Future tastings will include Dr. Jerry Sepps from Storybook Mountain, Robert Perkins from Skylark, Chris Brockway from Broc Cellars, and Daniel Madero from Kermit Lynch, who will be pouring Champagnes just in time for the holidays. This Friday's tasting will be $10 for four tastes. Depending on the tasting, the fee will range from $10-$20. 5pm. 1419 18th St. at Missouri, 415-608-7660.
On Monday October 27th, Conduit is hosting the competition for the West Coast challengers for the ~MARIE BRIZARD COCKTAIL CHALLENGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP~. The local challengers include Sierra Zimei, Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco; Joe Wrye, Waterbar; Camber Lay, Epic Roasthouse; Tim Stookey, Presidio Social Club; Joel Baker, Bourbon & Branch; Jackie Patterson, Zinnia; Brian Mac Gregor, Jardinière; and H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir. Chef Justin Deering will be offering some tasty hors d'oeuvres, and there will also be some nice cocktail sips and drinks as well, thanks to the contenders and bar manager Reza Esmaili. Now, this is a restaurant/bar industry invite-only event, but I have been extended four spots to give away to tablehopper readers. Just hit me back at luckyme [at] tablehopper [dot] com with your favorite drink (and where you like to get it) by midnight this Thursday the 23rd, and I'll conduct the drawing this Friday morning (on the 24th)--I'll contact the two winning folks, and each winner can bring one guest. The competition begins promptly at 5pm, elegant attire suggested. And for you driving types, there is a tended lot directly across the street from restaurant--I just hope you have a designated driver if that's the case. 280 Valencia St. at 14th St., 415-552-5200.