6 Ways to Wine and Dine From Home

Alcohol substitute
Courtesy of Free Spirits

We all miss restaurants. And most of us certainly haven’t been eating as well as we would like to now that we are stuck inside. Here are six delicious ways to bring restaurant quality to your table, while keeping health in mind.

For an alcohol-free January

Mill Valley’s own Free Spirits Company has created a revolutionary way to enjoy alcohol-free cocktails. Using a process called distillate reconstruction, the company distills and extracts the essential oils and flavors of natural ingredients like American white oak, European juniper and Mexican blue agave and skips the fermentation step. Those distillates are recombined in ways that honor the nose, taste and mouthfeel of bourbon, gin and tequila (vitamins B3 and B6 and amino acids are added for a little extra lift). Just replace all or part of the spirit in your cocktail with Free Spirits to make a drink free of or light on alcohol. “I look back at each time I drank one too many, and it wasn’t necessarily the alcohol I was after,” says founder Milan Martin. “I wanted a great cocktail, something complex and delicious made just for me.” $37 per bottle

For the exotic make-it-yourself home experience

Unless you have some previous experience with it, most home chefs don’t usually attempt the Spanish party favorite: paella. Mat Schuster, chef/owner at San Francisco’s Canela Bistro and Wine Bar, knew that and so he added mixed seafood, chicken and chorizo, and vegan with mixed veggies paella kits to his meal kit options. Needless to say, the kits became instantly popular. “When it took off as a pickup and delivery item, we realized that people would probably want to make it at home, but in a way that the outcome would be more successful and stress free,” Schuster says. “It’s still the number-one seller.” Prices range from $28 to $55 depending on size and ingredients; paella pans are also available.

For the health nut in the family

What do Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore and Hilary Duff have in common? They have all used Sakara’s signature organic meal delivery program to gain more energy, lose weight, feel less bloated, improve skin clarity and increase focus. The flavorful meals, delivered prepackaged on a customizable weekly schedule, are based on a whole- food, plant-rich diet, full of hydrating and nutrient-dense superfoods. They are also all-organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, and non-GMO and have no refined sugar. “Americans aren’t eating enough plants every day so it’s crucial that we focus on eating fresh, live plants as the number one thing we can do to support
a healthy microbiome,” say co-founders and co-CEOs Danielle DuBoise and Whitney Tingle. $27–$70 a day with weekly subscription

gott's sauces
Photo by Briana Marie Photography

For the home cook looking for an extra kick

Gott’s Roadside, with locations all over the Bay Area, including at Bon Air Center, is famous for its food and, especially, its sauces. After customers kept asking if there was any way to take home the restaurant’s sauces, dressing and dips, Gott’s finally decided to put 13 of them in jars available for sale. Flavors include Ranch, Secret Sauce, Cilantro–Pumpkin Seed Dressing, Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette, Lemon Tahini Dressing, Peanut Lime Vinaigrette and eight types of mayo including Charred Jalapeño Mayo. “What makes our condiments special is our use of fresh ingredients and unique flavor combinations,” says Jen Rebman, culinary director at Gott’s. $4.99 each

For the family who likes a little wine with dinner

A new wine club from sommelier Serena Harkey and Marin chef Roland Passot aims to take the guesswork out of picking the right wine while also allowing customers to enjoy the exclusive feel of wine club membership. The innovative new wine club, LB Cru, offers members one bottle and a recipe, six bottles or 12 bottles a month. And the best part is that pickup, available at Larkspur’s Left Bank Brasserie (and Passot’s other restaurant locations), includes a glass of wine with purchased lunch as well many other membership perks. “Wine doesn’t always have to be expensive or intimidating to be enjoyed,” says Harkey. “Our focus is on providing French and domestic wines that you can’t find in grocery stores.” $35, $120 or $200 per month

For the family that needs easy and healthy delivered

After meeting in France and then falling in love upon returning home to Northern California, Jessie and Laurent started their eponymous San Rafael–based food delivery service in 1981. The goal has always been to provide delicious, handmade food to clients throughout the Bay Area. The ready-to-eat gourmet meals include favorites like Chicken Cordon Bleu, Korean Red Devil Prawns with Garlic Noodles, Coq Au Vin and, of course, the popular Cookie Dough of the Week. Customers can also easily gift meal deliveries to busy family members or those who are ill, and you can even contribute to a community fund. “At Jessie and Laurent, we feel true connection happens around the table,” says partner Rick Graves. “If we can bring our customers comfort and joy through delicious meals, then we’re doing what we set out to do.” $70 minimum order.