Quick Bites: Wine pairings put in Office's outbox

Wine boutique
Tessa Leung is opening Tessa's Office, a wine boutique, next to Sontes.

Want to pick up a new or unusual wine for that dinner party, but you're not sure where to find it?

Step into Tessa's Office.

Sontesowner Tessa Leunghas been special-ordering wine and making food pairing recommendations for years at the restaurant, but this week, she officially opened Tessa's Office, a new wine boutique set in the front corner of Sontes, at 4 Third St. S.W., Rochester.

"We've done retail out of the basement for a little bit, but now, we've moved it upstairs into a visible, physical shop," Leung said.

Just like Sontes is a great restaurant to try new wines, Tessa's Office will stock the lesser-known standouts.


"The reason I wanted to open the shop is that when you go to a big place, you wonder if anyone has tried it, or if it's any good," Leung said. "All of the 60 different wines we stock are wines I've tried and really like — it's a culmination of years of tastings. There are so many wines from small-producing wineries that can get lost. But this boutique is so small, nothing really gets lost."

Besides wine, Tessa's Office also carries a few beer selections, apertifs and liquors. Leung also is partnering with Ainsley Jonesat The Doggeryjust down the street for some hard-to-find craft cocktail ingredients, as well as exclusive recipes. People's Food Co-opis another partner in the boutique, and Tessa's will be selling their meats and cheeses.

"Eventually, we want to graduate to making wine-and-cheese baskets that are ready to go," Leung said.

Leung will be in the shop most of the time, especially to start, in order to help you make a decision, give you tasting notes and recommendations on pairings.

"My staff will also be really well-educated and can stand in for me as well," she said.

Tessa's Office hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. on Fridays. She'll also be open on Saturdays, but hours are to be determined based on demand.

Aamuse yourself

After opening to rave reviews a few weeks ago, Aamuse marketat the downtown First Avenue Food Courtremains a bit of a secret mystery to Rochester. But if you haven't been in to visit manager Bre Holtanyet, you're missing out.


This week, ZZest Market and Café Chef Erik Paulsonadded a smoked (local) beef brisket sandwich to the Aamuse menu. And in the best news I've heard all day, they'll soon be adding fresh pulled mozzarella to the downtown offerings. It's made of curd from Wisconsin, then pulled to order on site. They'll have it in both a sandwich and as a salad/appetizer. I finally had some at ZZest a couple weeks back, and I'm still thinking about it. Run, don't walk. If you don't love fresh mozzarella, I don't know if we can be friends, but Aamuse has a full cheese case and charcuterie as well. Go ahead and be your own hero: Pick up French bread, cheese and prosciutto on your way home.

Don't forget, every afternoon at Aamuse, you can treat yourself to gourmet popcorn for just $1. They have crazy-cool flavor combinations daily. On Fridays, it's truffle popcorn day.

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