SOHO’s Executive Chef Zoey Zelinka Is Featured In The Atlanta Business Cronicle!

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Wine & Dine: Soho’s Joey Zelinka learned to love cooking making hoagies

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By   – Contributing writer

 

About 20 years ago, a staffing issue opened up a delicious new world to then-teenager Joey Zelinka.

“Basically when I was 16 or 17 I was a dishwasher at my friend’s mom’s hoagie shop,” recalled native South Floridian Zelinka, now 36 and the executive chef at Soho American Bistro in Vinings. “One day, one of the cooks didn’t show up. I jumped in, and I knew right then this was what I wanted to do. We were super busy. I had been working maybe five feet away from the line, and it never dawned on me to try it.”

Turns out, one person’s absence, along with being in the proverbial right place at the right time, was the perfect recipe to inspire Zelinka to seek a career in a profession that’s proven fulfilling and fortuitous — one he said he can’t imagine life without.

Since that early foray into the culinary world, Zelinka has moved and gained more experience at various restaurants and enterprises over the years, delighting palates and filling bellies in metro Atlanta along the way. His efforts have included pop-up restaurants Junk Food and Babcia’s Fine Polish Food; his executive chef position at The Sound Table on Edgewood Avenue; and his creations at Soho, among others.

He participated in the kitchen incubation program at Joystick Gamebar, also on Edgewood. His Junk Food concept a few years ago included notched-up takes on classic comfort foods, such as the “potato chip taco” featuring a six-hour braised oxtail and other high-quality components, according to the menu posted on Eater Atlanta. The fish in the “fish sticks and shrimp hushpuppies” was bone-in snapper sticks that had been dredged and fried, and included gribiche, described on the menu as “fancy tartar sauce.” One reviewer on Junk Food’s Facebook page proclaimed in 2015 that Zelinka “has an amazing talent and the skills to back it up!”

More recently, five-star ratings and reviews about Soho’s offerings on Opentable.com describe the food as “amazing,” and “absolutely wonderful.”

Zelinka’s culinary education happened in the United States Coast Guard. “I realized that college wasn’t for me and I had to do something.” He started as a food service specialist second class with the Coast Guard, according to his bio on Soho’s website.

Zelinka didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. “I decided the military was the best way to go. My grandfather spent 32 years in the Coast Guard. That made my decision. I think everything was a set-up for what I am today,” he said.

The path definitely has benefits. According to the Coast Guard, the starting salary for food service specialists is $46,595 — that’s more than $11,500 higher than a civilian sous chef — and comes with health insurance, tuition assistance, the Coast Guard’s accredited food service speciality school, and more.

“When I was getting out of the Coast Guard, everyone was telling me ‘Don’t make the Coast Guard your career,’” Zelinka said.

Fortunately, the ingredients for a promising profession came together. “My best friend’s father [the same friend whose mother owned the hoagie shop] was partners with Douglas Rodriguez,” Zelinka said. In the late 1990s, Newsweek had named chef Rodriguez — who claims to be the “Godfather of Nuevo Latino Cuisine” on his website — one of the top 100 people influencing the approaching millennium. Zelinka said he worked as a line cook for about a year and a half at Rodriguez’s OLA restaurant.

While he’s moved on and up since his humble beginnings, Zelinka’s passion for his calling is still as piping-hot as his first stint as a fill-in cook at the hoagie restaurant. The experience “turned the light on for me for sure,” he said.

 

Q. How did you get into the restaurant business? It seemed like the obvious transition when you want to become a chef.

Q. What’s your favorite meal and drink preference, and why? It would have to be a Hoboken Hero with hot peppers at the Hoboken Cafe in Marietta, and a Mexican Coke. It’s just my favorite meal. It’s everything for me.

Q. What are some pantry staples you can’t live without? Hot sauce, from Tabasco to the most obscure Mexican ones.

Q. If you could prepare a meal for anyone in history that you admire, who would it be and what would you cook? [Musician] Brad Nowell, and I’d make burritos.

Q. What career advice would you give to new chefs? Figure out if you love it. If you don’t, get out.

Q. What do you like to cook at home? Breakfast.

Q. Any specific breakfast? Nothing specific, just breakfast.


Name: Joey Zelinka

  • Age: 36
  • Born in: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Lives in: Atlanta suburbs
  • Education: 2002-2003, University of Central Florida; 2003-2007, Coast Guard
  • Current job: Executive chef, Soho American Bistro
  • Prior jobs: participant in the kitchen incubation program at Joystick Gamebar; pop-up restaurant chef/owner of Junk Food and Babcia’s Fine Polish Food; sous chef, American Food and Beverage; executive chef, The Sound Table
  • Family: wife, Jennifer; children, Sophia and William
  • Hobbies: Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer 40,000

Top 5 Ingredients

In order of importance:

  1. Salt
  2. Pepper
  3. Onion
  4. Carrot
  5. Celery

“There’s really no sexy or abstract reason why I chose these. It’s just a matter of functionality,” Zelinka said.

Nothing Spooky for Flight Night: Pork Tapas + Wines!

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🎃 It’s going to be a spook-tacular Flight Night TONIGHT! We’ve got delectable, Chef-crafted pork tapas paired with wines that will give you chills! 😱 Come to your regular haunt at 5:30 to get things started, if you dare…..

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, October 30th, and the wines and their tapas will be available through November 5th.

 

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First, SOHO will pour a Crossbarn Pinot Noir 2017 from Sonoma County.  The winemaker offers,

“Deep purple in color, the wine opens with fresh aromatics of violets, cinnamon spice, orange zest and strawberry jam. The palate is vibrant and rich, with juicy wild berry, baked rhubarb, and baking spice that’s surrounded by velvety tannins. Mouthwatering acidity and attractive mineral notes lead to a long, energetic finish.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Enrico Serafino Nebbiolo d’Alba 2015 from Piedmont. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“Colour: Light ruby red with garnet hues. Nose: Elegant, delightful, with small red fruits and floral aromas. Hints of spices and coffee. Palate: Fine, elegant, medium- to full-bodied and very well-balanced with pleasant tannins and a delightful finish.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Iron + Sand Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 from Paso Robles. Notes on the wine,

“A layered and well-structured Paso Robles Cabernet with black fruit aromas and rich, mouthwatering flavors, balanced with velvety tannins and a lively acidity profile.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

Crossbarn Pinot Noir 2017
100% Pinot Noir
Paired with: Grilled Pork Tenderloin, Red Eye Gravy, Stone Ground Grits

Enrico Serafino Nebbiolo d’Alba 2015
100% Nebbiolo
Paired with: Pork Milanese, Capers, Lemon, Linguini

Iron + Sand Cabernet Sauvignon 2017
Cabernet Sauvignon
Paired with: Mojo Pork Skewers, Plantain Puree

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

We’re Celebrating Vegetarian Delights With Beautiful Wines At SOHO!

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3 Cheers for Flight Night! 🙌🍷This week it’s all about amazing Vegetarian tapas paired with three beautiful complimentary wines. Will you miss the meat? Nope! Come kick this week off with us TONIGHT at 5:30 in Vinings…..

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, October 23, and the wines and their tapas will be available through October 29th.

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First, SOHO will pour a Catena Alta Chardonnay 2016  from Mendoza, AR.  The winemaker offers,

“The Catena Alta Chardonnay presents an intenese greenish-yellow color. The nose offers ripe white fruit aromas such as pears and peaches that are interwoven with delicate citrus and floral notes, such as Jasmine. The palate shows rich and concentrated ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of minerality. The wine finishes long and complex with crisp, mineral acidity.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexander” Merlot 2015 from Colchagua, Chili. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“Color: Ruby red with cherry edge Nose: Red fruit aromas such as cherries and strawberry with fresh herbs aromas and a touch of vanilla. Palate: Silky and elegant attack, medium bodied with plums and cherry flavors.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Gerard Bertrand Kosmos Red Blend 2014 from Languedoc-Roussillon, France. Notes on the wine,

“Kosmos has a deep ruby-red colour. This powerful, elegant and nicely-balanced cuvée is endowed with generous red fruits aromas. The tannins are mature, subtle and the lingering finish is amazingly intense. Kosmos has also an important potential for cellaring.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

Catena Alta Chardonnay 2016 
100% Chardonnay
Paired with: Fried Green Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Smoked Paprika, Tomato Sauce

Lapostolle “Cuvee Alexander” Merlot 2015
95% Merlot, 5% Syrah
Paired with: Wild Mushroom Pasta, Shaved Point Reyes Toma

Gerard Bertrand Kosmos Red Blend 2014
Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, and Marselan
Paired with: Grilled Vegetable Terrine, Bechamel Pomodora

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

Join Us For DELICIOUS Chicken & Red Wine Pairings At SOHO!

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Welcome to Fall Flight Nights! 🍂🍷 Come out and see us in this beautiful cool weather for some fantastically fun chicken tapas paired with red wines! It’s an unexpectedly perfect marriage of tapas and wine, and we can’t wait to see what you think!

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, October 16, and the wines and their tapas will be available through October 22nd.

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First, SOHO will pour a CVNE Rioja Reserva 201from Rioja, Spain.  The winemaker offers,

“Medium intensity ruby in colour with a pink hint at the rim. The nose shows good aromatic intensity with aromas of fresh wild berries and liquorice which are typical of wines made from Tempranillo grapes. These are well integrated with the sweet spice aromas from the barrel ageing process. The palate is soft and marked by silky tannins and a long, fruity and youthful finish.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017 from Burgundy, FR. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“Ruby and medium dark in color. This wine has a bouquet of red cherries, fern, white flowers and spices. On the palate fine toasted notes with honey give way to long lasting notes of black fruits. The tannins are silky and well balanced. The finish is beautiful and full.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Concha Toro Cabernet 2017 from California. Notes on the wine,

“A taut, muscular red, with forest floor notes to the luscious dried berry and cherry tart flavors, accented by olive and tar notes. The juicy finish is filled with baker’s chocolate and white pepper details. Lithe and pure.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

CVNE Rioja Reserva 2014 
85% Tempranillo, 15% Red Garnache, Graciano and Mazuelo
Paired with: Braised Chicken Wontons, Korean BBQ

Nicolas Potel Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017
100% Pinot Noir
Paired with: Grilled Chicken Roulade, Proscuitto, Mozzarella, Sundried Tomato Cream

Concha Toro Cabernet 2017
25% Napa, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Zinfandel, 7% Tannat
Paired with: Braised Short Ribs, Potato, Onion, Beer Mustard Tacos

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

Try Our Beef Tapas & Red Wine Pairings at SOHO!

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For October, we’re turning Flight Night upside down! Rather than pair tapas to featured wines, we’re showing our guests how beef, chicken, pork, fish, and veggies can paired with different, unusual types of wine.  And this week: BEEF….It’s what’s for Flight Night! Let’s enjoy this fall weather (finally!) with some savory beef tapas & beautifully paired red wines. 🍷🍂 Sound good?

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, October 9, and the wines and their tapas will be available through October 15th.

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First, SOHO will pour a La Cartuja Priorat 2016 from Priorat, Spain.  The winemaker offers,

“Sexy, seductive bright, juicy cherry and blackberry notes are supported by lavender and hints of anise and peppery spice on the long finish.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 from Alexander Valley. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“The 2016 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is driven by blue fruit, with aromas of huckleberry and plum. This high-toned wine has savory qualities of baking chocolate and clove. Subtle underpinnings of violet and walnut come across the palate, along with an elegant structure and bright acidity.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Annabella Red Blend 2017 from California. Notes on the wine,

“The 2017 Annabella red blend is bright and expressive right from the start. Aromas of raspberries, cocoa-dusted strawberries, and a hint of freshly roasted coffee leap from the glass. The mouth is jam packed with layers of extroverted flavors – raspberries, red cherry, and milk chocolate supported by structured oak and a well balanced acidity.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

La Cartuja Priorat 2016
70% Garnacha, 30% Carignan
Paired with: Beef Tartare, Kalamata Olives, Goat Cheese, Piquillo Peppers

Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon 2016
85% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Merlot, 5% Malbec
Paired with: Grilled Sirloin, Sweet Potato, Cayenne-Honey, Greens

Annabella Red Blend 2017
25% Napa, 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Zinfandel, 7% Tannat
Paired with: Braised Short Ribs, Potato, Onion, Beer Mustard Tacos

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

SOHO’s Prime Rib Sunday is BACK On October 6th!

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It’s Fall in Atlanta, and you know what THAT means….SOHO’s Prime Rib Sundays are back! It’s a delightful meal that carnivores love sinking their teeth into…..

A neighborhood favorite, on Sundays throughout the Fall and Winter, SOHO hosts its hugely popular Prime Rib Dinner every Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30pm.

For $30 per person, each guest receives a succulent, 12 oz. slow-roasted Prime Rib, a salad, and a choice of side with our homemade SOHO steak sauces! Come cozy up with us, and enjoy the best Sunday Dinner in Atlanta. 

Please call us to make reservations at 770-801-0069, by booking online here: https://www.opentable.com/r/soho-atlanta

🍇 Flight Night: The Finale of Pacific NW Wines!

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Welcome to Fall Flight Nights! 🍁 The finale of Pacific Northwest Wines will finish up this week, and they are the PERFECT picks of New World wines. Chef’s tapas are a win this week too, so come hungry and see us TONIGHT!

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, September 25th, and the wines and their tapas will be available through October 1st.

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First, SOHO will pour a Adelsheim Chardonnay 2016 from Willamette Valley.  The winemaker offers,

“This 2016 Chardonnay features intense aromas of apple, keffir lime, and white flowers with a vein of minerality. The palate shows tremendous balance between bright youthfulness and rich texture. This combination will allow the wine to pair beautifully with a wide range of foods.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Airfield Estate Syrah 2015 from Yakima Valley. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“This dark, concentrated Syrah possesses flavors of dark berry, clove, and white pepper coating the palate with a plush round mouthfeel and leading to silky, smooth tannins on the finish.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Novelty Hill Royal Slope Red 2017 from Columbia Valley. Notes on the wine,

“A bright, medium-bodied wine brimming with wild cherry aromas and layers of dark berry, ripe plum and black cherry flavors that are framed by light tannins and concentrated fruit before giving way to a long, satisfying finish.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

Adelsheim Chardonnay 2016
100% Chardonnay
Paired with: Smoked Fish Dip, Crispy Flatbread

Airfield Estate Syrah 2015
100% Syrah
Paired with: BBQ Quail, Corn & Butter Bean Succotash

Novelty Hill Royal Slope Red 2017
90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cab Franc
Paired with: Beef Sliders, Bacon Jam, Carmelized Onions

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

Savor Our 3 Gorgeous Pacific Northwest Wines At SOHO!

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This day, September 11th, is always a little different; a little harder than the rest of the year. We will enjoy Flight Night as always, but today we raise a glass to all those affected on 9/11, and the strength and commonality that makes us Americans. Let’s sip some wine, reflect, and be kind to ourselves and others!

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, September 11th, and the wines and their tapas will be available through September 17th.

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First, SOHO will pour a Eyrie Vineyard Rose of Pinot 2018 from Willamette Valley.  The winemaker offers,

“Not just another fruit bomb, the aromatics of this wine create an aromatic spectrum ranging from bright strawberries and pink grapefruit, to fresh turned loam and savory herbs. The palate is long and precise with a round, silky texture. The evolving finish compliments and echoes the primary fruit of the palate.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Angela Estate Pinot Noir 2014 from Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“This vintage was drier and warmer than usual, resulting in large, ripe clusters and a lot of it. Yields were almost double in some cases, resulting in four to fve tons per acre! Harvest officially began in early September, nearly three weeks earlier than previous vintages with low bird effects and disease pressure. Pinots from 2014 will display pronounced aromas, deep color, ripe developed favors, with alcohols ranging from 13 – 14%.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Del Rio Claret 2015 from Rogue Valley, Oregon. Notes on the wine,

“Complex and rich, with deep flavors of red raspberry and ripe strawberry flavors, with herbal elements of thyme and rosemary. Framed with toasty oak notes and balanced tannins that provide structure for this rich and elegant blend. Intricately designed for enjoyment now or to be cellared for aging.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

Eyrie Vineyard Rose of Pinot 2018
100% Pinot Noir
Paired with: Poached Shrimp, Mango Mint Salsa

Angela Estate Pinot Noir 2014
100% Pinot Noir
Paired with: Crawfish Ravioli, Blackened Lime Cream

Del Rio Claret 2015
60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet, 5% Malbec and 5% Cab Franc
Paired with: Mini Pork Ramen, Pork Belly, Egg, Noodles

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!

🍷Robust Wines From The Pacific Northwest Are At SOHO!

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🤔 Curious to know what wine pairs well with Fried Pickles? Come in TONIGHT for Flight Night, & sip on our Pacific Northwest wines & some fabulous paired culinary creations to munch on! Chef Joey is cooking up some unique tapas that we know you are going to enjoy as much as we do! It’s almost time; see you at 5:30….

This Flight Night begins on Wednesday, September 4th, and the wines and their tapas will be available through September 10th.

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First, SOHO will pour a Brooks “Amycas” 2017 from Willamette Valley.  The winemaker offers,

“Bouquet: elderflower, clementine, squeezed lemon, starfruit, mint Palate: lime curd, endive, Honey Globe melon, flaked salt, orange blossom Perception: bursting with spring flowers, punchy citrus acidity, and refreshing herbs! This wine evokes the awakening of spring gardens and blossoms on the vine.”

Next, SOHO will pour a Granville “Farmhouse Cuvee” Pinot Noir 2017 from Dundee Hills. The wine is described by the winemaker,

“The Farmhouse is a perfect example of Dundee Hills character. Brimming with succulent red and black fruit, herbaceous with slight cola nuances on a silky frame and deepening through the finish. Effortless drinkability–drink now or later, you won’t be upset either way.”

Finally, SOHO will pour a Chateau St Michelle Cold Creek Cabernet 2013 from Columbia Valley. Notes on the wine,

“Cabernet from this iconic 45-year-old vineyard consistently delivers power, structure and rich concentrated black fruit. The wine offers black cherry flavors and chocolate notes with typical Cold Creek density and user friendly power. This is 100% Cabernet because Cold Creek Cab shines on its own.”

SOHO’s Executive Chef Joey Zelinka has created a suggested tapa plate to pair with each of the wines!

Brooks “Amycas” 2017
30% Riesling, 25% Muscat, 20% Pinot Blanc, 15% Pinot Gris, 10% Gewurztraminer
Paired with: Fried Pickles & Jalapenos, Buttermilk Ranch

Granville “Farmhouse Cuvee” Pinot Noir 2017
100% Pinot Noir
Paired with: Bay Scallop Ceviche, Coconut, Lime

Chateau St Michelle Cold Creek Cabernet 2013
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Paired with: Braised Oxtail, Fried Plantains, Jerk Sauce

Sample each wine in a flight (three three-ounce glasses) for $14.75. Or, pair the flight with a tapa plate for $19.50. Try a full glass of wine and tapa plate for $14. Of course, the wines and tapas are available individually as well ($9.75/glass and $6.75/tapas)

Can’t make it to Flight Night on Wednesday? No worries! While our pairings debut on Wednesdays, they’re available through the following Tuesday, so you have all week to catch up on the featured wines and tapas.

We can’t wait to see you!