Category Archives: Hospitality

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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Favorite Wine Country Wedding Caterers

We at Parker Sanpei have noticed a trend in wedding catering over the past several years. With the nation’s heightened interest in all things culinary, many caterers have stepped up their game to turn weddings into mini food and wine festivals. Whether it’s the wild blackberry and elder flower signature cocktail, the candy bar, or the freshest sushi you’ve ever tasted, caterers are pushing the limits of what we understand as wedding fare. Here, we present a few California wine country wedding caterers who are changing the game.

Healthy and Delicious: Culinary Eye, San Francisco

This Bay Area caterer is known for going above and beyond the call of duty with cuisine that’s not only delicious, but nutritious as well. Founded by Chefs Collins Anderson and John Silva, Culinary Eye has made a point of seeking out the most sumptuous ways to make health a priority in their menus, with options for all-organic menus and food sensitivities. Sample menu items include

  • Pepper-Whipped Goat Cheese Tartlets
  • Yuzu-Dressed Microgreens
  • Chili-Ginger Glazed Scallops

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Wild and Free: Thomas Hill Organics, Paso Robles

Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar is known for crafting incredible, inventive dishes from primarily organic, local ingredients, and that philosophy certainly carries over into their catering department. Owner Debbie Thomas is known for encouraging her chefs’ imaginations to run wild, with creative, flavorful dishes like

  • Jerk Pork Slider, Fried Banana and Onion, Citrus-Ale Barbecue Sauce, Chive Crème Fraiche
  • Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Roasted Baby Beets, Macerated Strawberries, Pickled Watermelon, Coconut Cream

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Fun and Interactive: OMNI Catering and Events, Santa Barbara

OMNI takes wedding catering to the -enth degree with its signature stations, which provide guests with a fun and interactive way to “build your own” pho, grilled cheese, schwarma, or quesadilla. Or, for the ultimate culinary experience (provided while the wedding party takes photos, perhaps?) opt for OMNI’s fresh mozzarella bar, in which OMNI chefs make fresh mozzarella in front of guests to pair with a buffet of gourmet oils, vinegars and salt, or craft their own caprese salad. Can you say YUM?!?

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Our favorite food/bev projects right now.

The food and beverage industry is growing, changing, and trend-setting in ways none of us could have imagined even a few years ago. Below, a few of Parker Sanpei’s favorite new endeavors.

Neighborhood Vineyards Project

alemany-1Neighborhood Vineyards is a project to revive San Francisco’s wine-making past by sprinkling the city with community vineyards. In the late 1800’s, San Francisco’s citizen’s began a bold experiment to find grape varieties suited to the state’s many micro-climates. They planted large swaths of vines around the city, kept loving records of their yields and began a journey in wine-making that was cut short by the earthquake and subsequent fire of the early 20th century.

We have humbly taken it upon ourselves to continue this voyage by creating a patchwork of vineyards in small spaces around the city. Our first 1/2 acre vineyard was planted in July of 2013 at Alemany Farm off Highway 280, thanks to the dedication and generosity of many dear friends and cheerleaders.

We must wait together for another three years to sample our city’s terroir. But despair not, dear wine-o-naut, for we journey together. Anticipation of our first vintage need not be agony. We have thoughtfully prepared a flight of wines to comfort you while you wait for the first truly San Franciscan wine in 100 years.

 – www.NeighborhoodVineyards.org

Ember Restaurant, Arroyo Grande, California

Building progress on Ember Restaurant

Building progress on Ember Restaurant

Brian Collins grew up in Arroyo Grande, but would later go on to work at Full of Life Flatbread in Los Alamos and Lido in Shell Beach. Oh yeah, and he also worked for five years at a little place you may have heard of in Berkeley: Chez Panisse. But now he’s back in Arroyo Grande with his very own Ember Restaurant at the corner of Brisco Road and Grand Avenue (in the old Lemos Feed and Pet Supply building), a gorgeous space that serves up Mediterranean cuisine with casual California charm. 1200 East Grand Avenue, Arroyo Grande, California, 93420.

VinConnect

Giorgio Pelissero, Barbaresco producer and partner with VinConnect

Giorgio Pelissero, Barbaresco producer and partner with VinConnect

VinConnect works closely with many leading European wineries to create and manage mailing list and club programs that enable U.S. customers like you to buy wine directly from them (through us).

Each winery has its own mailing list, and offers the wines it selects at the frequency it chooses.  Following your order, your wine is then transferred to the U.S., forwarded along to our warehouse and shipped on to you.

Our mission at VinConnect is to enable American consumers with a passion for Old World wines to connect with and purchase directly from many of Europe’s best estates. This pursuit has received an incredibly positive response from both wineries and consumers alike, and VinConnect has rapidly gone from a flash of an idea into an international business, with dozens of winery partners connected to more than 1000 passionate consumers. The press has noticed as well, with recent profiles in publications such as Bloomberg, The Washington Post and the Huffington Post driving growth on a daily basis.

 – www.VinConnect.com

Dinner Lab

dinnerlabDinner Lab is a membership-based social dining experiment that unites undiscovered chefs with adventurous diners who are looking for something different from the traditional restaurant experience. Whether it happens on the roof of an abandoned building, the floor of a paper mill, or inside a motorcycle dealership, we believe that good people, good food and good drink are the only elements paramount to a memorable meal.

 – www.DinnerLab.com

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A Few of Our Favorite Things

We at Parker Sanpei consider ourselves fortunate to work with some of the most thoughtful innovators in the  food, beverage, hospitality and lifestyle industries.  Here, we profile a few of our favorite things from several clients.

Cocktails at La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant

la-cosecha-menu-21La Cosecha, in downtown Paso Robles, was launched by respected Chef Santos MacDonal of Il Cortile Ristorante.  The style? Laid-back Latin cuisine and progressive mixology.  We are totally smitten with the Peruvian Fizzare cocktail and Manchego cheese fondue with plantain chips.

Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Les Galets Pinot Noir

les galets

Laetitia’s Les Galets Pinot Noir is consistently incredible, and we don’t use that word lightly.  Lately we’ve been enjoying the 2010 vintage with pork roasts and braised lamb.

The stones indigenous to the Galets Vineyard perfectly describe the wine produced, rich in mineral driven notes of chalk and wet limestone, with prevalent dark berry aromas and dried black cherry. The palate shows flavors of tobacco and root beer spice, with structure of lingering velvet and finishing with a gorgeous floral flavor.

- http://www.LaetitiaWine.com

Julie 1

Thomas Hill Organics Chef Julie Simon

If you’ve never dined at Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso Robles, we think it’s safe to say you haven’t lived.  Chef Julie Simon is an ace with fresh ingredients, and what she lacks in years (she’s only in her 20s) she makes up for in verve.  Born and raised in France, she comes by her kitchen mastery honestly, with inventive dishes like her Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Arugula and Carrots Salad, Cara Cara Oranges, Roasted Kumquats, Kumquat Olive Oil, Spicy Harissa, Coriander-Crème Fraiche, and Cumin Almonds.

Villa San-Juliette Sunday music series

villa-san-juliette-patio-sf13So often, we find ourselves at home on a Sunday afternoon wondering what to do, where to go.  Enter Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery in San Miguel, where their outdoor Sunday music series includes easygoing tunes from top-rate musicians, beautiful views in all directions, $1 off wine by the glass and 10% off bottle purchases off VSJ’s featured wine along with a complimentary bread and olive oil appetizer plate with the purchase.

Sanpei Optics Eyewear

glassesEver wanted to design and live out your own personal soundtrack?  Enter Sanpei Optics, sunglasses with a patented ear bud docking station so you can look suave (we like the wayfarer style) and enjoy audio like music and podcasts or talk to a friend via BlueTooth.

Hammersky Vineyards & Inn

hammersky-vineyards-farm-house-sf12When we really start to fantasize about the perfect staycation, Hammersky Vineyard & Inn is the place to be.  As a member of the Paso Robles CAB Collective, Hammersky produces estate Bordeaux varietal wines and boasts a restored 107-year-old farmhouse that welcomes guests to enjoy a gourmet kitchen, large dining room, Wi-Fi, satellite, barbeque and phenomenal outdoor living space.

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Favorite 4th of July dishes…with a twist!

Ah, Independence Day.  A day for fireworks, stars and stripes, and backyard barbecues.  At Parker Sanpei, we love a good 4th of July barbecue, especially if it’s done a bit unpredictably.  Here are some of the recipes that have us yearning to don aprons and stand over the grill (or the stove) this year.

Basil Gimlet

Sunset Magazine, April, 2009

Yield: Makes 2

Ingredientsgimlet

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large bunch basil, coarsely chopped
  • Ice
  • 6 tablespoons gin
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • Basil sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Preparation

1. Make basil syrup: In a large microwave-safe measuring cup, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, and basil.

2. Microwave on high until sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Let basil steep in syrup 20 to 30 minutes, then strain (you’ll have enough syrup for 4 drinks).

4. Fill 2 highball glasses with ice. Into each glass, pour 3 tbsp. gin, 4 tbsp. basil syrup, and 2 tbsp. lime juice. Stir and serve, garnished with basil sprigs.

Tip: Add lemon juice and chilled water to the leftover syrup and serve over ice for basil lemonade.

Cuban Grilled Corn on the Cob with Queso Blanco & Lime

From the August 2003 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine

Servings: Serves 4

Ingredients

corn

  • 4 ears corn in husks, silks removed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup finely grated queso blanco
  • 1 lime , cut into quarters

Directions

In a large saucepan filled with salted boiling water, cook corn in husks for 8 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chili powder, paprika and salt. On a medium grill or in a broiler, grill corn just until char marks are visible on husks. Remove and let cool. Pull back husks and rub corn with butter and sprinkle with cheese and paprika mixture. Serve with lime wedges.

Recommended ingredient: Queso blanco cheese is available at Latin markets or online at cheesemakers.com.

Bacon-Wrapped Burger with Fried Pickles & Slaw

From Better Homes & Gardens (www.BHG.com)

Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

burger

  • 12 slices bacon
  • 6 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground coffee
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 pounds 80 percent lean ground beef
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise or salad dressing
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1/4 cup snipped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 6 sesame seed-topped hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • 1 recipe Fried Pickles (see below)

Directions

1. Line a microwave-safe plate with paper towels. Arrange six of the bacon slices in a single layer; cover with paper towels. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 2 minutes or until partially cooked. Drain on paper towels; cool. Transfer to a large resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl stir together brown sugar, coffee, and garlic powder. Add mixture to the bag. Seal bag; shake to coat bacon. Set aside. Repeat with remaining bacon and remaining brown sugar mixture.

2. Shape beef into six 3/4-inch-thick patties. Wrap two slices of coated bacon around the each patty; secure bacon ends together with wooden toothpicks. Cover and chill for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

3. For coleslaw, in a medium bowl whisk together vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar, chili sauce, and the 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add cabbage, carrot, onion, and parsley, stirring to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

4. Season patties with salt and pepper. For a charcoal grill, arrange medium-hot coals around a drip pan. Test for medium heat above pan. Place patties on grill rack over drip pan. Cover and grill for 16 to 18 minutes or until done (160 degrees F to 165 degrees F)* and bacon is crisp. (For a gas grill, preheat grill. Reduce heat to medium. Adjust heat for indirect cooking. Cover and grill as above.)

5. Place burgers on bun bottoms. Top each patty with coleslaw and Fried Pickles. Add bun tops.

*Tip: The internal color of a burger is not a reliable doneness indicator. A beef, veal, lamb, or pork patty cooked to 160 degrees F is safe, regardless of color. To measure the doneness of a patty, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side of the patty to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

Fried Pickles

Makes: 6 servings

Serving size: 3/4cup

Yield: 4-1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
  • 3 cups sliced pickled vegetables, dill pickles, jalapeno peppers, pepperoncinis, or pitted green olives
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • peanut or vegetable oil for deep-frying

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. In a large resealable plastic bag combine flour, cornmeal, and pepper. Set aside.

2. Drain pickled vegetables and place in a medium bowl. Pour buttermilk over pickled vegetables, stirring to coat.

3. In a Dutch oven or large saucepan heat 2 inches oil over medium heat to 375 degrees F.

4. Place a handful of buttermilk-coated pickled vegetables into the flour mixture in bag; seal bag and shake to coat. Remove pickled vegetables, shaking off excess flour mixture. Using a slotted spoon, place vegetables in hot oil. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp and golden. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pickled vegetables to prepared baking sheet; keep warm, uncovered, in oven. Repeat with remaining pickled vegetables.

Southern Fried Chicken

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen (www.FoodNetwork.com)

4 servings

Ingredients

chicken

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • About 1 cup hot red pepper sauce (recommended: Texas Pete)
  • 2 cups self-rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • House seasoning (see below)
  • 1 (1 to 2 1/2-pound) chicken, cut into pieces
  • Oil, for frying, preferably peanut oil

Directions

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add enough hot sauce so the egg mixture is bright orange. In another bowl, combine the flour and pepper. Season the chicken with the house seasoning. Dip the seasoned chicken in the egg, and then coat well in the flour mixture. Heat the oil to 350 degrees F in a deep pot. Do not fill the pot more than 1/2 full with oil. Fry the chicken in the oil until brown and crisp. Dark meat takes longer then white meat. It should take dark meat about 13 to 14 minutes, white meat around 8 to 10 minutes.

House Seasoning:

  • 1 cup salt
  • 1/4 cup black pepper
  • 1/4 cup garlic powder

Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Grilled Caesar Salad

By Sam Sifton.  Adapted from Alan Ashkinaze, Millesime, New York.
Originally published in New York Times, May 20, 2012

saladFOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 4 anchovy fillets, rinsed and minced
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

FOR THE VINAIGRETTE:

  •  1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 lime, juiced, approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 heads romaine lettuce, tops and bottoms trimmed neatly, the heads cut lengthwise into quarters
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

PREPARATION

1. Make the Caesar dressing. Put the minced garlic into a medium bowl, and add the minced anchovies. Using a whisk, mix and mash these ingredients together until they form a paste. Add the egg yolks and the mustard, and begin to whisk them with the paste. Add a small stream of olive oil while continuing to whisk. Add more olive oil, whisking all the while, until the dressing begins to emulsify. Add the Worcestershire sauce, and continue to whisk until the dressing achieves a mayonnaise-like consistency. Add the red-wine vinegar, whisk to combine, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

2. Make the vinaigrette. Combine the lime zest, lime juice, balsamic vinegar and oil in another small bowl, and whisk to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

3. Make the salad. Drizzle the olive oil over the quartered heads of lettuce. Lightly grill these over a low fire for 15 to 20 seconds on each side, until they have a light goldenness, and remove to a platter. Using a pastry brush or a small spoon, paint the Caesar dressing over the lettuce, making sure to get dressing between the leaves. Return lettuces to edges of grill, sprinkle with Parmesan and cover for 30 seconds to allow the cheese to soften and toast. Remove lettuce to a platter, and drizzle with lime vinaigrette. Serve two pieces each, alongside a steak.

Fig-and-Raspberry Cobbler

Southern Living, July, 2002

Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

cobbler

  • 2 pounds fresh figs, stemmed and cut into fourths
  • 2 pounds fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 (15-ounce) package refrigerated pie crusts

Preparation

Combine half of figs, half of raspberries, and next 6 ingredients in a saucepan, and cook, stirring occasionally, over low heat 40 minutes or until fig mixture is thickened. Stir in remaining figs and raspberries, and remove from heat. Remove and discard cinnamon sticks. Spoon half of fig mixture into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish, reserving other half. Roll each piecrust into a 12-inch circle. Cut 1 piecrust into 1-inch strips; set aside. Place remaining piecrust on top of fig mixture in baking dish. Bake at 475° for 12 minutes. Spoon remaining fig mixture over baked crust; arrange reserved strips in a lattice design over filling. Bake 14 minutes or until golden.

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Our new favorite local spot for live music.

VinaRoblesLogo

We at Parker Sanpei couldn’t be happier to see our friends at Vina Robles Winery opening a new, state-of-the-art concert venue in Paso Robles Wine Country.  Not only do they make elegant California wines with European style, they also know how to put on a good show!

vina robles elevation

The new amphitheater seats 3,300 people amid an oak grove, so it’s appropriate for large acts that attract a lot of attention like Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Hornsby, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.    These acts come to Paso Robles by way of San Francisco-based promoter, Prescient Entertainment, in partnership with AEG Live.  The venue’s concert schedule will run throughout the warmer months (think gorgeous, balmy Paso Robles evenings) May through November.  In addition to their wonderful wines, Vina Robles will also be offering a host of dining options for concertgoers.  The first show of this inaugural season?  The classic rock band YES, performing three records in their entirety on July 6 at 8pm.

Interested in getting tickets?  Check out http://www.VinaRoblesAmphitheatre.com.

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Where to stay in New Cabernet Country.

With the prestigious CABs of Distinction event approaching this weekend (April 27 at Windfall Farms in Paso Robles) we at Parker Sanpei & Associates thought we’d share a handful of our favorite lodging properties in and around Paso Robles, aka “New Cabernet Country.”

Venteux Vineyards Bed & Breakfast

venteux vineyards

Venteux Vineyards Bed & Breakfast is a luxury inn that features Americana farm style. Our rooms offer the appeal of fine country elegance once so prominent along California’s central coast. In the very heart of the Paso Robles wine country, Venteux Vineyards is both an estate winery and premium bed and breakfast. Our Bed & Breakfast Rooms are attached to the Farmhouse Residence by a private entrance off the porch, and our Red Barn is perfect for those wanting a more independent farm stay with all the luxuries of home.

VenteuxVineyards.com

For reservations, phone 805-369-0126 or email bobbi@venteuxvineyards.com.  Venteux Vineyards is located at 1795 Las Tablas Road in Templeton, California.

Hammersky Vineyards & Inn

HammerSky

Immerse yourself in the rich family history and romance upon which HammerSky was founded. Once home to the large family of a pastor and pioneer farmer, the exquisitely restored 107-year-old farmhouse gracefully offers a nod to the past while embracing the comforting amenities of today. This four-bedroom estate offers a gourmet kitchen, large dining room, wifi, satellite, barbecue, and an outdoor living space that invites lounging. Whether traveling with a group of friends or looking for a quiet getaway, you will treasure your stay at the farmhouse and will want to make it a tradition.

- HammerSky.com

For reservations, please email Kim at kim@hammersky.com. Hammersky Vineyards & Inn are located at 7725 Vineyard Drive in Paso Robles, California.

Sundance Bed & Breakfast

sundance

Sundance Bed & Breakfast is the perfect destination for food and wine lovers looking for a quiet getaway paired with an exquisite culinary experience. The B&B provides a delicious choice of sweet or savory gourmet breakfasts to begin each perfect day in paradise! And, as a special bonus for lovers of fabulous food and fine wine, we offer a romantic multi-course “Wine Tasters’ Dinner” created by our resident chef on Saturday nights exclusively for our guests; optionally each course can be perfectly paired with different local wines. Dinners are served in the formal dining room or out on the patio where you can drink in the view along with the wine!

- SundanceBandB.com

For reservations, phone 805-226-2888.  The Sundance Inn is located at 7735 Sundance Trail in Paso Robles, California.

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Easter Brunch Ideas

Spring has sprung on California’s picturesque Central Coast, and we here at Parker Sanpei & Associates are feeling the itch to cook with all the gorgeous greens, asparagus, and herbs sprouting.  Thankfully, Easter is just around the corner!  Here are a few of our favorite Easter Brunch recipes to inspire your table.

Photo by Tim ThumbSpring Shiso Cocktail

DrinkoftheWeek.com | Created by Mixologist Jason Walsh

Inspired by the Spring season, this cocktail has a very clean taste. The base is gin with the distinct flavor of Shiso paired with the coolness of cucumber and fresh lemon juice.  If you’re unable to find shiso, feel free to substitute with fresh mint.

Photo by Roland BelloGlazed Ham With Pineapple Mustard Sauce

Gourmet | April 2007

Remember those baked hams gussied up with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries? There’s a reason they became so popular in the ’50s — pineapple contributes sweetness and a little acid to salty ham. But here, with pineapple juice concentrated into a syrup and combined with thyme and Dijon mustard, the effect is homey, more subtle, and less overtly sweet.

Photo by David Loftus

Asparagus Custard Tart

Gourmet | March 2005

Who doesn’t love eggs, cheese, and seasonal veggies baked into a tender, flaky crust?  Try adding a handful of extra Gruyere or a couple of sliced leeks to boost the delicate flavors in this pretty dish.

Coconut cakeCoconut Layer Cake

Cook’s Illustrated Magazine | March 2001

You may think you’ve had the ultimate coconut cake, but unless it was this recipe, we would have to argue that you’re wrong.  The flavor of coconut permeates everything as a result of including coconut extract, cream of coconut, and sweetened shredded coconut in the cake and even in the buttercream frosting.  Dieters beware.

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Time to get cozy!

Historic Sonoma Wines Get Cozy With Comfort Food

Here in San Luis Obispo County, we are bracing for two big storms to pass through this week, and it’s got us at Parker Sanpei & Associates thinking about getting cozy.  And nothing says cozy like gathering friends around a thoughtfully prepared meal of sumptuous wintry-weather dishes paired with Geyser Peak Winery wines.

Winemaker Ondine Chattan

A flagship Sonoma producer founded in 1880, Geyser Peak Winery is helmed by Winemaker Ondine Chattan, whose long relationship with Geyser Peak vineyards and commitment to food-friendliness shines through in each bottle.

“Ondine’s style has come to define the Geyser Peak flavor profile during her twelve years with the brand,” said Reid Stinnett, VP of Marketing with Accolade Wines, North America.  “Each of her wines is beautifully balanced, with plenty of natural acidity to complement any number of dishes.”

Pairing Geyser Peak Wines with comfort foods doesn’t need to be difficult or fussy. Try a simple white cheddar grilled cheese sandwich on shepherd’s bread with Geyser Peak’s 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. With outgoing aromas of lemongrass, passion fruit, and grapefruit, this Sauvignon Blanc’s crisp acidity cuts through the creamy richness of buttered bread and creamy melted cheese.

For a quiet night in, try pairing the 2008 Geyser Peak Merlot to a rustic meatloaf with mushroom risotto and herb salad.  A soft mingling of cherry, blackberry and pomegranate flavors laced with spice and cedar, the 2008 Merlot is a natural complement to this hearty dish abounding with the woodsy flavors of the season.  Another ideal match?  Beef pot pie in a tender, puff pastry crust.

An indulgent dinner at home with friends might include the award-winning Geyser Peak 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon paired to tender red wine-braised short ribs.  The wine’s juicy black cherry and blackberry flavors are supported by underlying notes of dark chocolate and black pepper, as well as fine-grained tannins – all of which stand up to the pungent, herbal extravagance of the slow-roasted short ribs.  Finishing with a simple cheese plate and seasonal fruit, this meal is guaranteed to warm any home and linger in the memory for many years to come.

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