Continuing on in our theme of celebrating FOUR YEARS on The Dish, here is our #3 most popular post of all time: a discussion of heirloom tomatoes including recipes for gazpacho, pico de gallo, and our favorite, tomato jam.
Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:
If your garden is anything like ours, you are seeing a lot of red these days. Hooray for tomato season!
And not just any old tomatoes. The latest and greatest varieties are actually heirloom tomatoes: unhybridized, open-pollinated cultivars with flavor concentration and texture to put that wan, mealy tomato in your grocer’s produce aisle to shame. And with names like “Brandywine,” “Black Krim,” “Arkansas Traveler,” and our personal favorite, “The Mortgage Lifter,” it’s impossible not to wonder about the stories behind these characterful, pretty fruits. They are living history.
Gary Ibsen of TomatoFest
Our friend, Gary Ibsen, ofTomatoFest is our go-to expert on all things heirloom tomato. For this season, Gary offered a whopping 600 varieties of certified organic heirloom tomato seeds from his online shop, and every single seed was harvested by hand at the TomatoFest Farm. That means he personally tastes every single tomato plant…
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Keeping with our celebration of FOUR YEARS blogging with The Dish, we are re-posting our all-time most popular posts, including this history of Mardi Gras (which ends with a recipe for King Cake). Enjoy (again)!
Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:
Mardi Gras in New Orleans
I didn’t grow up celebrating Mardi Gras. All it’s ever really meant to me is New Orleans, debauchery, beads, and college kids throwing up on my front lawn.
But lately I’ve been intrigued by the roots of this strange holiday that’s celebrated the world over. This year’s festivities take place this coming Tuesday, March 8th. So, in preparation, here is a little history, care of my own curiosity and The History Channel website.
First, the origins of Mardi Gras:
According to historians, Mardi Gras dates back thousands of years to pagan celebrations of spring and fertility, including the raucous Roman festivals of Saturnalia and Lupercalia. When Christianity arrived in Rome, religious leaders decided to incorporate these popular local traditions into the new faith, an easier task than abolishing them altogether. As a result, the excess and debauchery of the Mardi Gras season became a prelude to Lent, the 40 days of…
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We at Parker Sanpei can’t believe it’s been four years this week since The Dish went live. Four years! In those four years, we’ve covered everything from the history of Father’s Day and mustards of the world to emergency preparedness and the best music festivals in the west. We’ve also shared personal tastes and memories on everything from our least favorite food trends to how we dropped it all to pursue a love of wine. And speaking of wine, we’ve talked lots, and lots, and lots about wine.
We’ve also met thousands upon thousands of you through a shared passion for food, wine, travel, and hospitality. Thanks for making these four years so delectable!
To celebrate the occasion, we’ll be re-running a few of our most popular posts to date. Enjoy! And happy holidays!
As promised, we are re-running a few of our most popular posts on The Dish in celebration of our FOURTH birthday. Here is our number one most popular post – a very simple one, mind you – on how to select the right wine and dress for your wedding day. Happy re-reading!
Originally posted on THE DISH by PSPR:
It’s the season for weddings, and we’ve been thinking a lot about pairing wedding dresses with wine. (Why not?) The following are some of our favorite pairings:
If you like Laetitia Vineyard & Winery La Coupelle Pinot Noir…
Kate cowl neck gown, inspired by the work of legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn, in hand-washed silk and crepe back satin, with dramatic draped low back and pooled skirt. By Alix & Kelly.
Understated elegance is what Laetitia’s La Coupelle Pinot Noir is all about. With dark fruit and chocolate notes, this full-bodied Pinot Noir is ideal for the woman who prefers the subtle to the spectacular.
If you like Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery‘s Espiritu Chardonnay…
Strapless ruched cream wedding dress with train and satin buttons down the back. by Paloma Bianco.
This wine is the definition of “rustic chic,” with notes of toasted nuts balanced by hints of green apple…
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Filed under Lifestyle, Wine
As the holidays approach, our friends at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery are preparing, as always, to sell heaps of their beloved mèthode champenoise sparkling wine. Sure, sparkling wine is a perfect choice for festive occasions, but dressed up or dressed down, it pairs well with nearly everything. So instead of popping a cork on Saturday night only, why not celebrate the rest of the week, too? After all, Laetitia makes seven different styles of sparkling wine from their coastal estate vineyard in the Arroyo Grande Valley appellation. Coincidence?
- Sunday: 2009 Laetitia Brut Coquard ($35) – At 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, the Coquard shows aromas of freshly baked nectarine tart topped with rich mascarpone, candied lime rind and macadamia nuts. Pair with pumpkin soup.
- Monday: 2010 Cuvée M ($35) – A 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Cuvée M offers notes of lemon shortbread, lime blossom and bread yeast, along with structured apricot jam nuances. Pair with shrimp jambalaya.
- Tuesday: Non-Vintage Brut Cuvée ($25) – Gala apple, streams of bubbles and soft melon notes meet to create this festive sparkling wine comprised of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, respectively. Pair with fried chicken.
- Wednesday: 2011 Brut de Noirs ($30) – 90% Martini 13 Pinot Noir grapes and 10% Chardonnay clones 76 and 4, this sparkler shows luxurious mocha, fresh-baked croissant, and dried cherry nuances. Pair with grilled steak and pepper sandwiches.
- Thursday: 2011 Brut Rosé ($30) – As pretty as it is delicious, this sparkling rosé offers notes of strawberries, watermelon rind, fresh brioche and spices. Pair with salad Niçoise.
- Friday: Non-Vintage X D ($25) – With just a kiss of sweetness, this wine opens up with aromas of honeysuckle, strawberry rhubarb pie and orange zest. Pair with apple crisp.
- Saturday: 2011 Brut de Blancs ($30) – Grapefruit pith and almonds shine in this beautifully golden-straw colored sparkling wine composed of nearly 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Pair with salmon or tilapia.
Laetitia sparkling wines are available for purchase in their tasting room, open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM. For a festive and delicious holiday outing, be sure to check out Laetitia’s annual Holiday Open House when the winery invites guests to sip wine by the fireplace and get their shopping done early, December 5, 11 AM to 7 PM. This year will feature new releases, light snacks, wine gift packs for sale and live music from 4 to 7 PM.
Filed under Cuisine, Wine
Every holiday season, we at The Dish troll the universe for the most compelling, generous and elegant gifts that give back – everything from nail polish to iPhone cases and toys. This year, we went for simplicity and, as always, lots of heart.
Inspired by the gift of three avocados from a poor widow, Three Avocados is a non-profit organization that provides 100% of its net proceeds from the sale of coffee beans to educating and hydrating communities in need of clean water. Sourced from the very same places they serve, Three Avocados sells its rich and robust coffee beans, as well as tumblers, mugs and gifts to bring hope and health to those who need it most.
We love GoodMouth.com first for their awesome (and awesomely affordable) subscription toothbrush program, which delivers BPA-free, high-quality toothbrushes to your door on a monthly basis and then turns around to give two more brushes to someone in need.
Our friends at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery released this beautiful wine (perfect for anyone’s holiday table, by the by) as a means for contributing to local charities. Thus, $1 from every bottle purchased will go to two selected non-profits each year. This year, those recipients are Woods Humane Society and Family Care Network, which builds and enriches the lives of families across the Central Coast.
From fruit grown on our Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard, NADIA Quattro offers aromas of brambleberry, blackberry and saddle leather, and on the palate, strawberry rhubarb pie and cardamom interweave with black licorice and fine-grained tannin.
Not that you asked, but when we were kids, some of our favorite Mister Rogers episodes were those that took viewers to factories that produce everyday things like crayons, graham crackers, or erasers. Today, we at Parker Sanpei are suckers for a good factory tour – they’re fun, educational, cheap (if not free) and if they have anything to do with food, there’s sure to be at least one delicious nibble involved. Here are our four favorites:
Come hungry! Tillamook invites guests to tour its Oregon factory, where cow’s milk is delivered and converted into cheese within 24 hours of arrival. Perks include plenty of tastings (including a cheese curd tasting) and a cafe featuring grilled cheese sandwiches and Tillamook ice cream.
The grey skies in aptly-named Greymouth on New Zealand’s west coast are brightened by Monteith’s, a popular mainstream brewer. Visitors to the factory get an all-access tour, including a cozy sit-down in the taproom and the opportunity to tap significant volumes of Monteith’s beer themselves.
Anyone who has ever witnessed the beautiful art of glass-blowing will appreciate this tour of one of Riedel’s Austrian factories. Tours include an in-depth look at the glass-making process and a comparative tasting in several different glasses.
Considered by many to be the best factory tour in America, the Jelly Belly factory tour takes visitors step-by-step through the process of making its sweet treats with plenty of bean-sampling along the way. Afterward, grab lunch at the Jelly Belly cafe, which sells jelly-bean-shaped hamburgers and pizzas, followed by (what else?) jelly beans for dessert.