Category Archives: Cuisine

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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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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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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Singer-songwriter A.J. Croce comes to Wine Country

salon roux logoWe at Parker Sanpei have always loved the people and service at Salon Roux in Paso Robles – but now we love them even more.

This full-service salon and spa located in the heart of wine country recently announced a special benefit concert to celebrate its fifth anniversary featuring singer-songwriter, A.J. Croce, with special guests, The Janks, to benefit Studios on the Park’s “Kids Art Smart” program. Presented under the stars at Castoro Cellars Winery, the concert will be held Saturday, August 23. The event begins at 6:30 p.m.

ajcroce_salon_roux_concert

Croce, son of legendary singer-songwriter Jim Croce, began his career at age 18 opening for B.B. King, and has since spanned genres from jazz to Americana to blues to pop. He has been seen and heard on national television including Jay Leno, David Letterman, and MTV, and received glowing press from The Wall Street Journal, Rolling Stone and People Magazine. Croce’s eighth studio album, “Twelve Tales,” was released by Compass Records and recorded with six legendary producers including: Allen Toussaint (Dr. John, Eric Clapton); the late “Cowboy” Jack Clement (Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash); Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Los Lobos); Tony Berg (Fiona Apple, Bob Dylan); Kevin Killen (Elvis Costello, Peter Gabriel), and Greg Cohen (Tom Waits, John Zorn). Additionally, “Twelve Tales” includes a song Croce wrote with legendary songwriter and musician, Leon Russell.

Croce’s last performance in Paso Robles was in support of Jon Anderson of YES. He’s received stellar reviews including a sentiment by Willie Nelson who said “The future of entertainment is in good hands.” Salon Roux Proprietor and Concert Coordinator, Jacque Leonard, calls Croce’s music, “jaw-droppingly, amazingly great.”

A. J. Croce

A. J. Croce

“Salon Roux holds a party every year to celebrate our anniversary,” said Leonard. “For our fifth year, though, I wanted to do something that gives back to our community that has supported us. The ‘Kids Art Smart’ program brings children to Studios on the Park to paint, draw and get creative, Monday through Friday. I know that if I hadn’t been in art classes through school, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Our goal is to raise enough support for “Kids Art Smart” through this benefit concert to cover their costs for the coming school year.”

“Kids Art Smart” brings local elementary students to Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, directly utilizing the artists studio setting for unique art education studying and creating works of art in mediums such as ceramics, collage, oil pastels, printmaking, and watercolor. Since 2011, more than 4,000 public elementary students have visited Studios on the Park for hands-on professional art classes completely free of charge and during school hours. Ordinarily these students (47 percent of whom are considered low-income and at-risk) receive no formal arts education.

Individual tickets to the benefit concert are $50 each. VIP tables include wine and dinner, and are $250 for two people, $500 for four people and $750 for six people. Tickets are available for purchase at Salon Roux by calling 805.239.9499 or by emailing info@salonroux.com.

Additionally, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro will be serving a dinner consisting of Paella accompanied by organic mixed greens, roasted seasonal vegetable and date flan tartlets for $15. Castoro Cellars wine will also be available for purchase.

For more information on this must-see concert, please visit http://www.salonroux.com/concert.html See you there!

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WORLD CUP: I’ll drink to that!

BrazilOur post from June 4 shared how our friends at La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant in Paso Robles are celebrating the World Cup with flavors from this year’s host country, Brazil. We also mentioned that the popular eatery would create an ad hoc cocktail menu for the quarter finals, which are now well underway.

For Tuesday’s match, the cocktails included

Brazil
Caipirinha – caçacha, St. Germaine, limes, turbonado syrup

vs.

Germany
Vitus Shandy – Vitus Hefenweizen, lemon juice, simple syrup

And for yesterday’s match, the competitors were

Argentina
“Frenet About It” – Frenet Branca, Coca-Cola

vs.

Netherlands
Nethertini – brandy, citronage, lime juice, simple syrup, orange bitters

La-Cosecha-Bar-and-RestaurantThis Saturday, the match is between Brazil and the Netherlands, and Sunday, it’s Germany vs. Argentina. The team from Parker Sanpei will be at La Cosecha, showing our spirit with a cocktail that roots for our favorite team! To learn how to join in the fun, visit http://www.LaCosechaBR.com or call 805.237.0019.

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Our favorite “little rascal.”

2013-ArneisOur friends at Burbank Ranch Winery recently received gold medals for their 2013 “Little Rascal” Arneis from two prestigious competitions: the 2014 Orange County Fair Commercial Wine Competition and the 2014 Central Coast Wine Competition, Five County Fairs.

Despite its floral aromatics and appealingly full body, Arneis is a white wine that is too rarely found in New World winemaking. In fact, Burbank Ranch is one of only two known producers of Arneis in the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA).

“Arneis is called a ‘little rascal’ in Italy’s Piedmont region for being challenging to grow,” says Fred Burbank, proprietor of Burbank Ranch. “In Paso Robles, however, Arneis grows like a weed. It’s surprising that we don’t see more of it here, considering how well it does in this climate and what a terrific wine it produces.”

Typically a medium- to full-bodied white wine, Arneis is upstaged by Piedmont’s more famous red wines, namely Barolo. But many consumers don’t realize that a small portion of Arneis has historically been used to soften the tannins and concentration of Nebbiolo grapes in Barolo, much like Viognier seasons Syrah in traditional Côte-Rôtie wines from the Northern Rhône. Since the 1990s, varietal Arneis has gained a following for its often gregarious aromas of ripe pear and white blossoms, plush texture and generous weight.

PiedmontGrapes for the 2013 Burbank Ranch Arneis were harvested from the estate early, in September, and fermented in stainless steel to preserve focus and acidity. The result is a dry, full-bodied white wine with aromas and flavors of bright pear, apple, honeysuckle, and white peach, with a structured, mineral finish.

A perfect transition wine between seasons, Arneis pairs well with a wide variety of dishes, including, notably, the cheese plate at Burbank Ranch Bistro in downtown Paso Robles. The “Little Rascal” Arneis would also beautifully complement a simple pasta with butter and fine white truffle shavings or any number of delicate seafood dishes.

For more information about Burbank Ranch Winery and Bistro, please visit http://www.BurbankRanch.com.

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Trend: SAKE MIXOLOGY

THO_HR-157Our friends over at Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar are taking their commitment to vibrantly original farm-to-table cuisine behind the bar with a new cocktail menu featuring alternatives to spirits like sake and sherry. We were lucky enough to attend their recent cocktail kick-off party to taste the lineup, and let’s just say Thomas Hill Organics is the place to be this summer.

Developed by innovative mixologist, Matthew Hanson, the new cocktail menu puts a twist on classic cocktails like The Margarita and The Old Fashioned using fresh produce from Thomas Hill Organics’ diverse network of local farms. And, just as THO dishes offer a “melting pot” of global inspiration, each cocktail boasts flavors from across the world that complement one another for a taste experience unlike any on the Central Coast.

Debbie Thomas

Debbie Thomas

“We had been experimenting with creative mixology by offering Mimosas and Bellinis made with Cava and fresh squeezed juices, and the response was overwhelmingly positive,” said Debbie Thomas, proprietor. “The new cocktails blend seamlessly with our approach to food: fresh, seasonal, local, and inventive. We can’t wait to share them.”

The star ingredient of the new THO cocktail menu is definitely sake, the Japanese alcoholic beverage made from fermented rice. “Sake is an amazingly versatile medium with as rich and diverse a history as wine,” said Hanson, who enjoys anchoring cocktails in sake for its pleasant brothy or savory qualities.

“While sake, and the cocktails we have derived from its use, pair well with many foods, specifically those high in acidity that benefit from the rounding capabilities of its umami characteristics, sake itself does not have the same tradition of food pairing in Japan that wine enjoys in the Western world,” said Hanson. “In many instances, the best sakes are those which don’t interfere with the food. What I’ve done is attempt to bring it to the foreground, both in the cocktail itself, and what those cocktails complement on the Thomas Hill Organics menu.”

Examples of fresh sake cocktails at THO include The Lemon Drop, The Margarita, The Mojito and The Ginger Grant, an elegant concoction of Momokawa Diamond Sake, fresh ginger, lychee purée, Cava, and candied ginger.

Pouring shot-sized samples of sake and sherry cocktails for the kick-off party

Pouring shot-sized samples of sake and sherry cocktails for the kick-off party

Sherry, Spain’s dry fortified wine, has enjoyed periods of extreme popularity in the United States, and is trending high in eateries and bars across the country. “Sherry shares a bit of that umami with sake,” said Hanson, “but carries with it a subtle salinity and nuttiness and the benefit of oak barrel-ageing, making it an excellent lower-alcohol substitution for whiskey in many circumstances.” The current THO sherry cocktail offerings include The Sherry Julep, made with Sangre y Trabajadero Oloroso sherry, fresh mint, orange bitters, raw sugar, and topped up with a splash of Cava.

For more information about the new cocktail menu or to make a reservation, please visit ThomasHillOrganics.com.

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