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 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
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
- Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for ½ hour, then flip and cook another 45 minutes or until tender.
- Once removed from the oven, remove the skin and discard it and the cinnamon stick. Drain juice and set aside.
- 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.
- Cool and puree in a blender until very smooth
- In a small pan with the rice oil, fry 6 large sage leaves until crispy.
- Drain on paper towels and season with salt.
- Whip crème fraiche to stiff peaks with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and star anise.
- Combine blanched sage leaves, parsley leaves, and olive oil.
- Place in a deli container and freeze overnight.
- Once frozen, zap in Pacojet 2 times and strain (or use a purchased sage oil)
We at Parker Sanpei are an adventurous bunch, but sometimes, the latest culinary trend just doesn’t fly with us. Here are some of our staff’s no-go foods.
Linda: CHICKEN WINGS
“All that fatty chicken skin, yuck.”
“With so many other good greens out there – spinach, arugula – why bother with kale? I think kale is a lie.“
“The balls. They creep me out.”
“Tell me again how I must not have had ‘good’ sushi and I will straight-up hurt you.”
“I’ve used it before in recipes…and then I’ve thrown those dishes in the trash. I just don’t like it.”
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.
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.
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.
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!