The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2012

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Page 37 of 124

ON-PREMISE PATTER Underground Side Project I THE TEQUILA THAT CAME THROUGH THE SIDEDOOR t may seem odd that a tequila brand with a coffi n-shaped bottle and a hand-carved skull cap would be a featured libation at a venue designed to look like a charming English-style cottage. Yet the uniquely packaged Agave Underground Tequila perfectly symbolizes the mission of change that lies behind hip gastropub SideDoor in Corona del Mar, CA. Located within the vintage confi nes of the Orange County dining landmark Five Crowns, SideDoor was launched in 2009 to reinvigorate an elegant eatery known for its old- school primness as much as its traditional cuisine. It was a plan that has worked with great aplomb, as SideDoor's adherence to important trends such as the farm-to-table movement and craft cocktails has enabled its host venue to loosen its metaphorical tie. "We have morphed into something very different from what we were," explains Jim Lombardi, General Manager of both establishments. "People are more educated about food and drink, and we need to make sure that we are constantly think- ing of meeting their needs while also honoring our legacy." Having a libation like Agave Underground on hand con- tributes to this positive outlook. Boasting silver, reposado, and añejo variations—the latter two are aged in Jack Daniels' barrels to produce a slight bourbon-esque qual- ity—the smooth tequila is a key component in SideDoor's daily rotating list of cocktails, which include playful interpre- tations of classic drinks such as the Tequila Sunrise and the Boulevardier. Accordingly, Underground Agave is helping SideDoor achieve its main goal, according to Lombardi. "We want to be known as the place for cool people to hang out," he says. ─Rich Manning KARL'S KORNER The Synergy of Wine and Music: The Front Porch by Karl Wente, Fifth Generation Winemaker Wine and music share many parallels; much like wine, music has a structure and architecture with certain elements playing either supporting or main roles. As part of my family's ongoing commitment to the spirit of independent music, and following up on what is now the sixth year of supporting emerging musical artists, I'm excited to announce The Front Porch Music Series. Our fi rst event, The Front Porch Homegrown Series, will take place on July 14 and Karl Wente. August 4, 2012. We will also be hosting The Front Porch Festival on September 1, 2012. These concerts will be held at our Estate Winery and Tasting Room in Livermore Valley and will feature local Bay Area rising talent. As a musician, I try and weave music into my everyday life with my own band, The Front Porch, which is also where I hang out and compose, jam and unwind either by myself or with friends. These concerts are a great way to introduce new wines and new music to afi cionados. Hope you can join us this summer! june 2012 / the tasting panel / 37 SideDoor has an old-fashioned look but a contemporary gastropub outlook. PHOTO COURTESY OF SIDEDOOR

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