It’s SAVOR time!

Google “Savor the Central Coast” and the first autocomplete option to comes up is “Savor Central Coast VOLUNTEER.” Indeed, everyone is trying to get in on SAVOR.

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Co-sponsored by Sunset Magazine and the San Luis Obispo County Visitors and Conference Bureau, SAVOR the Central Coast calls itself a food and wine festival but it’s quite a lot more than that. SAVOR is a celebration of the fact that SLO County encapsulates what it means to live in the West. It’s educational, enlightening, and applicable. Looking to build or buy a chicken coop? SAVOR’s got the best models on display at the Main Event (complete with clucking inhabitants!). Want to learn how to save tomato seeds for next year’s garden? SAVOR offers workshops taught by passionate seed-savers. Want to experience an abalone farm in Cayucos? Or horseback riding in Cambria? Or foodie secrets in Arroyo Grande? SAVOR is your guide.

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The Main Event is just what it sounds like: a big deal. Here’s how SAVOR explains it:

The Main Event invites you to experience an epicurean and adventure playground where you can taste, sip, and indulge. The historic Santa Margarita Ranch hosts this two day extravaganza on September 27 and 28 showcases celebrity and master chefs, Sunset experts, brew masters, as well as local fishermen and artisanal food producers from throughout California.

Enjoy unlimited food and wine tasting as you wander the Marketplace where over 100 wineries, restaurants, and food purveyors invite you to sample delicious food and drink. Relax with a locally brewed beer while you listen to live music in the Estrada Garden. Learn from the experts at the Farm to Table Stage or have fun with a mini tour through your favorite coastal region at the Travel and Adventure Stage.

Stroll through the Central Coast Pavilion and sample award-winning wines from the Sunset International Wine Competition. Make sure to reserve your spot in Chef Central and Winemaker Central, offering in-depth educational seminars throughout the weekend, allowing you to explore your favorite topic at a deeper level. Cost is $25 per seminar with the purchase of your main event ticket.

For more information on this year’s SAVOR the Central Coast, including a full schedule of events, please visit http://www.SAVORCentralCoast.com.

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Hearst Castle and Thomas Hill Organics party like it’s 1922.

Last weekend, our beloved friends at Thomas Hill Organics presented a winemaker dinner with DAOU Vineyards at Hearst Castle that took our breath away. And we’re not just talking about the view.

Chef Christopher Manning and his team offered one of the most beautiful menus we’ve ever encountered – and we’ve seen quite a few – from a mobile kitchen with no running water. (The term “glamping” was mentioned more than once.) The theme for the dinner was The Great Gatsby, which everyone ran with, guests and hosts alike. Each element was perfection, from the weather to the setting, the wine, and especially the food. Thanks to Debbie Thomas and Chef Manning for allowing us to crash this once-in-a-lifetime event!

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A Taste of Concrete

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Last week, we pulled Winemaker Matt Ortman away from the daunting frenzy of harvest at Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery to talk concrete fermentation tanks. Tasting through the Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah currently spending time in VSJ’s concrete cones and cubes, we gained a real appreciation for this method. Thanks to Matt for making time to get “heavy duty” with us.

 

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Good reads for food/bev lovers.

While fall isn’t exactly in the air here on California’s Central Coast, it’s definitely on the calendar, and that means we at Parker Sanpei are yearning to cozy up with a good book. Fortunately for those of us obsessed with food and drink there’s no shortage of fascinating reads on the subject. Below, a few of our favorites.

heatHeat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany, Bill Buford

We’ve loved Bill Buford since the first time we read him in The New Yorker. But this book, about his (mis)adventures in Italian cooking, is by far our favorite of his works.

PubMan Walks Into A Pub: A Sociable History of Beer, Pete Brown

Called “an extraordinary tale of yeast-obsessed monks and teetotaling prime ministers; of exploding breweries, a bear in a yellow nylon jacket, and a Canadian who changed the drinking habits of a nation,” this book feels like meeting a friend at the pub – an incredibly knowledgeable, interesting, and funny friend who happens to love beer.

ParisThe Judgement of Paris, George M. Taber

California vs. France. And the winner is? We all know the story of the famous Paris tasting of 1976, but this book by the only reporter present brings the whole scene (and the fallout) vibrantly to life.

provenceProvence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, Luke Barr

This book is like our culinary/literary fantasy come true: a table set in the South of France surrounded by iconic figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones. Only this actually happened, and it changed the course of American cuisine forever.

ReichlComfort Me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table, Ruth Reichl

If Provence, 1970 was our fist culinary fantasy, Berkeley, 1978 is our second. In Comfort Me With Apples, Ruth Reichl details her relationships with Alice Waters, Colman Andrews, and Wolfgang Puck, among others, woven together with personal remembrances and epic meals.

napaNapa: The Story of an American Eden, James Conaway

From our friend Jim Conaway comes the remarkable story of what made Napa the kingdom of American wine that it is today, including stories from the many families who built its foundation (Gallo, Mondavi) to the new aristocracy.

Homemade LifeA Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table, Molly Wizenberg

From the author of one of our favorite food/life blogs, Orangette, comes this beautifully crafted collection of stories and recipes from her childhood in Oklahoma, years abroad in Paris, and working-girl-singlehood in Seattle.

 

 

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Emergency preparedness, Wine Country style.

It’s unfortunate that it takes a 6.0 earthquake in Northern California to remind us how important emergency preparedness is, but Wine Country is also Earthquake Country and Fire Country. Our hearts go out to all those who were injured,  lost treasured belongings and the wineries who lost so much fine juice.

We at Parker Sanpei talk a lot about living the good life, and that includes living informed and prepared for when disaster strikes. Here we revisit what to do in case of an emergency and how to prepare in advance.

The American Red Cross, recommends a 3-step approach to emergency preparedness.

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1. GET A KIT

We love the American Red Cross’ spreadsheet shopping list for building your own preparedness kit (Emergency Preparedness Shopping List), but you can also purchase one directly from their website. Either way, your family’s kit should contain items that enable you to provide comfort for everyday scrapes or treat life-threatening emergencies.

A standard preparedness kit should include the following items (see here for more a more detailed list):

  • Water
  • Food
  • Medications
  • Radio
  • First Aid Kit
  • Personal Documents
  • Contact Info
  • Map
  • Money
  • Clothing
  • Sanitary Supplies
  • Pet Supplies
  • Tools

2. MAKE A PLAN

Planning ahead will help you have the best possible response to disaster. We like the Red Cross’ PDF on making a plan to share with family. In short, when preparing for a disaster, always:

  • Talk with your family.
  • Plan.
  • Learn how and when to turn off utilities and how to use life-saving tools such as fire extinguishers.
  • Tell everyone where emergency information and supplies are stored. Provide copies of the family’s preparedness plan to each member of the family. Always ensure that information is up-to-date and practice evacuations, following the routes outlined in your plan. Don’t forget to identify alternative routes.
    Include pets in your evacuation plans.

As an element of your preparedness plan, choose an out-of-area contact for all family members to call in case of an emergency. Include the contact on your Emergency Contact Card. Your contact should live far enough away that he or she will not be affected by the disaster. You should also:

  • Predetermine meeting places to save time and minimize confusion.
  • Select two meeting places:
    • Right outside your home; e.g., in cases such as a home fire.
    • Outside your neighborhood or town, when you cannot return home or you must evacuate.

3. BE INFORMED

Get info: During a disaster, it’s important to understand the different ways you can obtain information. Make sure you and each member of your family is familiar with the following ways to receive information:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • NOAA Weather Station
  • Printed Notices
  • Telephone/Text Messaging
  • Local Emergency Warning Systems
  • Person to Person

Know your region: Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur in your area, and what to expect from them. If unsure, call your local American Red Cross chapter for more information.

Action steps: If you find yourself in an emergency situation, stay calm and follow these emergency action steps:

  • Check the scene and check the person
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number
  • Care for the person based on the conditions you find (to find CPR and First Aid classes in your area, click here).

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Get your sparkle on, Santa Barbara-style.

At this year’s Wine Bloggers’ Conference, we met a new kindred spirit in Liz Dodder, author of CaliCoastWineCountry.com.

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“My name is Liz and I’m a drinker, eater and traveler. I’m a food & wine blogger, writer, photographer, recipe developer, web designer, social media maven and Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW).”

Liz is also a zealot for sparkling wine and has put together the first sparkling wine guide for Santa Barbara County. Have a look.

Sparkling Wine Map SB

According to this map, Santa Barbara County is host to ten places where sparkling wine is sampled. (Looks like our weekend just filled up!) Furthermore, Liz is working on another sparkling wine guide for San Luis Obispo County, and says there are several more wineries selling bubbles than we ever would have imagined. (Looks like our September just filled up!)

For questions or info on how to get printed copies of this map in your tasting room, contact Liz via CaliCoastWineCountry.com.

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Going LOCAL with VONS

Thomas Hill Organics

Thomas Hill Organics

Our friends at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles are partnering with VONS to celebrate their new “LOCAL” initiative with a multi-course dinner and wine pairing on August 14 at 6:45 pm. The program connects VONS shoppers to their agricultural and culinary community through in-store features of locally-produced ingredients and value-added items.

vons.logoThe launch celebration at Thomas Hill Organics will include five courses of sumptuous, locally-sourced cuisine paired with the wines of DAOU Vineyards & Winery, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Halter Ranch Vineyard and Tablas Creek Vineyard. Furthermore, an all-star lineup of winemakers and winery representatives will be present, including Georges and Daniel Daou, Steve Lohr, Steve Peck, Jason Haas and Kevin Sass.

 – MENU -

PASSED APPETIZERS

Prosciutto Wrapped Belgium Endive with D’Affinoise Brie Crab Ravigote in Tartlette with Apple Tarragon Slaw

Served with Halter Ranch Rose, J. Lohr 2013 Carol’s Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc,

DAOU 2013 Grenache Blanc and Tablas Creek 2012 Côtes de Tablas

FIRST COURSE

Seared Dayboat Scallops

Pickled Apricot & Ginger, Scented Jasmine Rice, Cucumber Ribbons, Ras al Hanout Broth

Served with Tablas Creek 2011 Esprit de Tablas Blanc

SECOND COURSE

Crispy Duck Breast

Pomegranate Molasses, Roasted Loo Loo Farms Carrot, Maria’s Japanese Eggplant Puree, Spiced Greek Yogurt

Served with Halter Ranch 2011 Syrah

ENTREE

Tournedos of Filet Mignon

Organic Potato Pave, Crispy Kale, Braised Scarlet Turnips, Truffled Natural Jus

Served with DAOU 2011 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

DESSERT

French Chocolate Tart

Chocolate Ganache, Mr. Drew’s Berries, Coulis

Served with J. Lohr 2011 Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon

Joebella Coffee

We’re so proud of our community and friends who make it a point to carry the LOCAL banner. Bravo!

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