Category Archives: Cuisine

LOCAL LOVE, LOCAL FLAIR: Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market Gets An Upgrade

 

DTA001-Logo-1-COLOR-REVERSED-RGB

Three decades after its inception, the world-famous Downtown San Luis Obispo Thursday Night Farmers’ Market is stepping up its game.

Over the next six months, the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association will unveil several improvements that build on the market’s success, including better access and infrastructure; technology that puts shoppers in real-time contact with farmers and their produce; and augmented hands-on educational opportunities for people of all ages.

the-crowds

To celebrate the refresh, on Thursday, April 9th from 6- 9 p.m., the Farmers’ Market is kicking-off with a free, all-city street party that starts with the unveiling of the new Downtown Association farmstand and market information booth. At 6 p.m., Councilwoman Carlyn Christianson will be on hand to christen the farmstand with seasonal produce from the market at Chorro and Higuera Streets, offering drawings and giveaways of new Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market merchandise like trucker hats and tees.

Then at 6:30 p.m. the market’s mascot, Downtown Brown, will lead the way to the first of the Downtown San Luis Obispo Farmers’ Market “Fresh Picked” Concert Series presented by the San Luis Obispo Collection featuring local favorite, The Damon Castillo Band, at the Harvest Stage located in the Union Bank parking lot.

“After an internal review, we realized that there were a few things that we could do to really take our market to the next level,” says Downtown Association Executive Director, Dominic Tartaglia, whose organization oversees the Farmers’ Market. “After thirty-two years holding this event we had to dig deep to see what those improvements were but, ultimately, we developed a strategy to make the user experience more pleasant and the vendors’ experience more profitable. We want this to be a market that locals continue to attend each week and be proud of when they bring guests with them.”

While improvements roll out, the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market will forever remain:

  • all about LOCAL
  • DIVERSE in its offerings and appeal
  • dedicated to HEALTH and WELLNESS
  • honoring of its rich HISTORY
  • an unforgettable EXPERIENCE, and
  • the HEART of San Luis Obispo and the week.

Established to provide the community with a positive gathering space that also supports local businesses, “Thursday Night Promotions” (as it is officially named) began in 1983 when the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association closed six blocks of Higuera Street from 6-9 p.m. to offer entertainment, special activities, food and shopping every Thursday night. Not long after, farmers were invited to sell their harvest and the event soon became known as the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market.

Since then, Thursday Night Promotions has developed into a weekly, year-round street fair that is consistently named among the nation’s best, complete with top-shelf entertainment; abundant local produce, proteins and grains; family activities; delectable prepared foods; value-added products; and a bicycle valet.

Pierre Rademaker

Pierre Rademaker

“Higuera Street is truly this community’s ‘living room,’” says Pierre Rademaker, longtime resident and owner of Rademaker Design, “and Thursday Night has become our way of sharing it with family, friends and visitors.”

Amber Bixler

Amber Bixler

“Every week, I look forward to Farmers’,” says Amber Bixler, owner of Elevenses Mind & Body Therapy. “My senses are stimulated by the aroma of delicious food from the street vendors, the sound of local musicians and the bright colors and textures of locally-grown foods. This is one reason I love SLO: We are a community that fosters family-run farms and businesses. There’s no better way to showcase that support than through our Thursday Night Farmers’ Market.”

Ken Hampian

Ken Hampian

“The Farmers’ Market is an economic and tourism juggernaut, to be sure,” says former City Manager for San Luis Obispo, Ken Hampian. “But more than that, it’s a civic gathering place, an opportunity for local residents to interact.”

Mike White

Mike White

“From day one, the Farmers’ Market has meant so much to us,” says Mike White, owner of Boo Boo Records, one of Rolling Stone magazine’s top record stores in the nation. “Aside from the statewide (and beyond) spotlight it brought to SLO that has resulted in year-round attention, the actual Thursday night spike in business has been huge.  Really, the Farmers’ Market took SLO to the next level in terms of our ranking among small towns in America and Boo Boo’s is forever grateful.”

For more information about improvements to the Thursday Night Farmers’ Market or the April 9th kick-off party, please visit DowntownSLO.com/Farmers-Market or call the San Luis Obispo Downtown Association at 805-541-0286.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle

Laetitia x THO x NYC = OMG

Stop the presses: Our friends at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery recently announced their invitation to join Thomas Hill Organics Bistro’s Chef Christopher Manning to present a dinner at the iconic James Beard House in New York City on Saturday, April 25. (Want to join us? We’ll be there.)

Eric Hickey

Eric Hickey

“A chance to share a taste of the Central Coast at the James Beard House is a true honor,” said Eric Hickey, Laetitia’s President and Head Winemaker, “especially in collaboration with a talent like Chef Manning. His cuisine and Laetitia wines say so much about the beauty and bounty of this place we call home.”

Chef Christopher Manning

Chef Christopher Manning

“Cooking at the James Beard House is a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Chef Manning, who presented a dinner there as Executive Chef of Domaine Chandon’s étoile Restaurant in Napa. “I feel lucky to be invited back, this time representing the Central Coast and partnering with Laetitia and their phenomenal wines.”

The menu for the evening will include:

 Hors d’Oeuvre

Big-Eye Tuna Crudo with Zucchini, Roma Tomatoes, Osetra Caviar, and Lemon Cream on Toasted Brioche
Jamón Ibérico with Manchego Cheese, Olea Farm Olive Oil, and 100-Year-Aged Balsamic on Crostini
Saint Angel Cheese with Pea Tendrils and Bianchetto Truffles in Phyllo Cups
Cognac-Glazed Jumbo Prawns with Piment d’Espelette
Kusshi Oysters with Laetitia Brut Cuvée, Pink Peppercorns, and Lemon Mignonette
LAETITIA BRUT CUVÉE NV

 Dinner

Pan-Seared Dayboat Scallops with Sunchoke Purée, Blonde Frisée, Spring Garlic Vinaigrette, and Oyster Mushrooms
LAETITIA ESTATE CHARDONNAY 2013

Skuna Bay Salmon with Ramps, Marble Potatoes, Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Heirloom Carrots, and Saffron Aïoli
LAETITIA ESTATE PINOT NOIR 2013

Liberty Farms Duck Breast and Leg Confit with Beluga Lentils, Montana Huckleberries, Navel Oranges, Petite Salad
LAETITIA RESERVE DU DOMAINE PINOT NOIR 2013

Wildflower Honey Olives, Broccoli Rabe, Roasted Red Bell Peppers, and Rosemary Glace de Viande​
LAETITIA LA COLLINE PINOT NOIR 2012
LAETITIA LES GALETS PINOT NOIR 2012

D’Anjou Pear Mille-Feuille with Pear Mousse, Pear Brandy Butterscotch, and Almond Toffee
LAETITIA BRUT ROSÉ 2012

The James Beard Foundation is a non-profit organization whose mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. Converted from the home of the influential American gastronome whose name it bears, the James Beard House continues to be a center for celebrating taste, skill, and artistry in American foodways, including a kitchen and dining room to feature up-and-coming talents and as an important meeting place for America’s food community.

Tickets for the dinner are $130 for James Beard Foundation members, $170 for non-members. For more information about Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and Thomas Hill Organics Bistro’s Chef Christopher Manning at the James Beard House on Saturday, April 25, please visit http://www.JamesBeard.org/Events.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle, Wine

Your 2015 Travel Punch List

Last year, we at Parker Sanpei had a lot of fun developing an international punch list for 2014, and this year, we thought we’d try it again. Here are the places and experiences we are most excited about this year, broken up by season.

WINTER: Sundance Film Festival, Park City, Utah

sundancefilm-parkcityThis January 22 through February 1, Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival will once again draw thousands of film-lovers to experience the release of hundreds of new indie movies. Film festivals are often thought of as private affairs for insiders, but tickets are available to Sundance films at just $20 each – a steal when you consider that the directors and actors in the films take the stage after each show to discuss their work. Add to that the charm of Park City, its accessibility to the Salt Lake City Int’l Airport (just 30 minutes away), and its home to some of the world’s finest ski resorts – and powder! – and you have the makings of a dynamite getaway.

SPRING: James Beard House Dinner with Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro, New York City

2011-06-09-minidiningroom3When James Beard, the godfather of American cuisine, passed away in 1985, his colleagues and friends sought to purchase his Greenwich Village townhouse and convert it into something of a performance space for chefs. They enlisted the help of a talented young chef from California, Wolfgang Puck, to craft a multi-course dinner, the proceeds from which would benefit the renovation project; Thus was the James Beard House dinner series born. Today, the James Beard House hosts 250 events each year, one of which will be a dinner celebrating the bounty of California’s Central Coast (Parker Sanpei’s beautiful home) including wines from Laetitia Vineyard & Winery and cuisine from Chef Christopher Manning at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro. The date for the dinner is Sunday, April 27, at 7pm. Tickets are $130 for members and $170 for the public. Reservations will be available mid-January by calling 212.627.2308.

SUMMER: A Taste of Stockholm, Sweden

20100608-lola01Between The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Wallander, and The Killing, the world clearly has an obsession with the dark side of Scandinavian culture of late, and we’re no exception. But what about the bright side? That’s where A Taste of Stockholm comes in. From June 3 through 7, this culinary fête takes place in downtown Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården park with bites from two-dozen of the city’s best restaurants, classes, demonstrations, and performances by top musicians. Afterwards, go back to the dark side with a (Volvo) drive to Ystad and walk in Detective Kurt Wallander’s footsteps…

FALL: 84th Annual International White Truffle Fair, Alba, Italy

alba-international-white-truffle-fair-italy_57135_600x450Worshipers of the elusive tartufo bianco flock from far and wide to the small city of Alba in Italy’s Piedmont region for the International White Truffle Fair each fall. In 2015, the festival will be held October 11 through 16 with a line-up of international chefs, sensory analysis sessions, wine pairing demonstrations and cultural happenings (e.g. a choral competition and a palio for donkeys in the style of Siena’s more famous one for horses) to tickle the heart of the most devoted gourmands and oenophiles. Just remember to bring your wallet. And you might want to take out a loan first.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Lifestyle, Travel, Wine

Celebrating FOUR years: Our most popular posts.

Birthday-Wishes-for-a-Four-Year-OldWe 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!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Hospitality, Lifestyle, PR, Travel, Wine

Seven sparkling wines = seven days a week.

iStock_000014163835Small-holiday-champagne1As 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?

  • PRT_BLABBOAD11_PRTMIDPIC_20140227_112719Sunday: 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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine, Wine

Four favorite foodie factory tours

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:

Tillamook_CheeseFactoryTillamook Cheese Factory, Tillamook, Oregon

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.

IMG_7164Monteith’s Brewing Company, Greymouth, New Zealand

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.

Riedel Glass, Kufstein, Austria

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.

Jelly_Belly_FactoryJelly Belly Factory, Fairfield, California

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Cuisine, Travel, Wine

Crawling inside a chef’s head for fall.

Chef Christopher Manning

Chef Christopher Manning

We at Parker Sanpei are loving the work that new Executive Chef Christopher Manning is doing at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar in Paso Robles. Born and raised in Montana, Chef Manning eventually landed as Executive Chef at the esteemed étoile Restaurant at Domaine Chandon in Napa for seven years and, most recently, Peju Winery, also in Napa. In other words, Chef Manning is legit.

He’s also very generous: We recently moaned over his Butternut Squash Soup and he graciously shared the recipe. We thought our loyal readers might want to have it to rotate into their fall menus. Bon appetit!

Butternut Squash Soup

Chef Christopher Manning, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar

Please note: This recipe is by a chef, and therefore it serves a restaurant’s-worth of people. To convert this recipe to your number of guests, please visit MyKitchenCalculator.com.

 Ingredients:

  • 3 Butternut squash, halved and filament removed
  • 6 Garlic, cloves
  • 1 pint Orange juice
  • 1 1/3 Sugar, dark brown
  • 1 Cinnamon stick, broken into 6 pieces
  • 1 pint Butter, sweet
  • 1 quart Leeks, chopped and white only
  • 1 pint Onion, chopped
  • 4 Apple, Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 gallon Chicken stock
  • 1 1/3 cup Cream, heavy
  • Sea salt to taste
  • White pepper to taste
  • 24 Sage leaves
  • 1 quart Rice oil
  • 1/2 cup Crème fraiche
  • Cinnamon, ground, to taste
  • Nutmeg, ground, to taste
  • Allspice, ground, to taste
  • Star Anise, ground, to taste
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Sage leaves, blanched
  • 1/4 cup Parsley leaves, blanched

Directions:

Soup:

  1. Lay butternut squash skin side down on foiled and lined sheet pans.  Add orange juice, 1 cup dark brown sugar, garlic, and cinnamon stick evenly to the open areas.
  2. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for ½ hour, then flip and cook another 45 minutes or until tender.
  3. Once removed from the oven, remove the skin and discard it and the cinnamon stick.  Drain juice and set aside.
  4. In a heavy bottomed stock pot, place sweet butter, leeks, onion, and Granny Smith apples.  Cook slowly over a medium flame, stirring frequently until very tender.  Do not allow to color.  Add chicken stock.  Bring to a low boil.  Add squash, and the squash juice.  Cook for 5 minutes and add the heavy cream and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Cool and puree in a blender until very smooth

Sage leaves:

  1. In a small pan with the rice oil, fry 6 large sage leaves until crispy.
  2. Drain on paper towels and season with salt.

Crème fraiche:

  1. Whip crème fraiche to stiff peaks with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise.

Sage oil:

  1. Combine blanched sage leaves, parsley leaves, and olive oil.
  2. Place in a deli container and freeze overnight.
  3. Once frozen, zap in Pacojet 2 times and strain (or use a purchased sage oil)

Leave a comment

Filed under Cuisine