Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

Come On Get Happy

Friday, January 9th, 2015
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Jacks Lounge inside the Portola Hotel

The Portola Hotel & Spa and its two dining hot spots, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub have always been known for innovation. Whether it is achieving LEED®-EB certification for the hotel’s commitment to environmental stewardship, Jacks focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients or Peter B’s creative on-site craft brewery, there is always something new and exciting happening at 2 Portola Plaza. So when Jacks Lounge announced a revamped Happy Hour Program, the New Year just got a little bit better.

Jacks Lounge kicks the fun off daily from 4-6pm with brand new menu items featuring $5 small bites like Corned Beef Sliders, Soy Marinated Beef Skewers and Risotto Fritters. Drink specials include $4 well drinks, $6 barrel aged cocktails, $4 house white and red wines and $3 12oz bottled beer. Fridays and Saturdays feature local favorite Dino Vera performing live music in the lounge from 6-9pm. So whether enjoying a quiet bite to eat and glass of wine cozied up to the fireplace in the lounge or unwinding with friends out on the heated pet-friendly patio, Jacks has something for everyone.

Peter B’s Brewpub behind the Portola Hotel

Not to be outdone is the popular Happy Hour menu at Peter B’s Brewpub. From 4-6:30pm daily, drink specials include $4 16oz and $6 25oz house-brewed beers, $4 Margaritas and $6 Long Island Iced Teas. The food choices are wide and varied with dishes ranging from Sweet Potato Fries and Monterey Cali-Mari to The Wing Man (Buffalo Chicken Wings) and Homemade Chips and Salsa. The menu also ventures out of the Monterey Bay with regional specialties like Crispy Cheese Curds from Wisconsin, Fried Pickles from the Deep South and Pacific Cod Ceviche from Baja. A favorite place to chill is out on their pet-friendly patio with comfortable benches, fire-pits and an up-close view of the pub’s onsite brewery operation.

An added bonus for both happy hours, and really any meal for that matter, is the complementary self or valet parking at the Portola. With so many drink and dish options, live music and free parking you’ll be happier for a lot longer than an hour at the Portola Hotel’s Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub!

Monterey, Mimosas, Brunch & More Mimosas

Friday, December 26th, 2014
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There’s just something fabulous about relaxing with a chilled Mimosa on a weekend day that makes me smile and feel completely carefree.  Add a fabulous brunch menu to the mix with great friends and I’m one happy girl!

Jacks Restaurant & Lounge right here at the Portola has recently launched a brand new weekend brunch menu, available from noon-2pm every Saturday and Sunday.  Choose to dine indoors in their sophisticated dining room, or dine outdoors on their heated patio, which is also pet friendly!

Jacks Weekend Brunch Menu is unique, and different from their famous breakfast buffet (also still available from 6am-noon), offering traditional breakfast specialties such as a Texas Benedict, Cinnamon Swirl French Toast and Quiche Florentine, just to name a few.  BUT for those seeking something a bit different, order the Peter B’s Ale (brewed on site at Peter B’s Brewpub adjacent to the restaurant) Chicken Sandwich or Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad.  It’s like the best of both worlds, coming together, thanks to the creativity of Executive Chef Jason Giles. From seafood inspired appetizers to signature entrees, you really can’t go wrong with this new menu; it’s easy and fun and truly has options that everyone in your party will enjoy.

Oh, and did I mention Bottomless Mimosas are only $5.95?

Favorite Holiday Cookie Decorating Tips

Thursday, November 20th, 2014
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Sprinkles, frosting, icing and love – all important components of decorating holiday cookies!  Our Portola Team has offered a few tips to help your cookies sparkle and shine!

 

  • always make sure your cookies are cool and at room temperature before decorating to ensure your decorations don’t melt or run
  • instead of using a colored frosting, drizzle cookies with melted chocolate
  • layer on the frosting; let your base coat of a confectioners sugar glaze completely dry, then begin piping a design over with royal icing to give your cookie dimension
  • using parchment paper, cut out a shape and use it as a stencil on top of the cookie; make sure to have buttercream frosting base, then lay down stencil and apply sprinkles; remove your stencil carefully
  • personalize cookies with a name or special message
  • most importantly have fun!

Savoring the Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
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Guest Post by Sonny Petersson, Portola Hotel & Spa Food & Beverage Director

Food and wine are my passion. I think, breath and live it, every single day.  Whether at work, at home, at a party or restaurant, I literally savor every bite and sip I take, appreciating the process, creativity and time one takes to prepare beautiful food.  Food brings together family and friends and there is nothing better than sharing a delightful culinary experience, especially during the holiday season.    As a native of Sweden, we have many beautiful and traditional dishes that are served during this time of year, here are a few of my all-time favorites!

 

Pickled Herring Paired with Akvavit

Home is where the heart is and pickled herring reminds me of Christmas in my hometown in Sweden. For some it may be an acquired taste, but the saltiness and texture of the herring complement a traditional holiday feast.

 

Turkey with Truffle Cream Sauce paired with Jordan Chardonnay

Maybe not so Swedish, but definitely perfect for the holidays, this savory seasonal favorite becomes transformed with served with a rich and creamy truffle sauce. Literally, you could cover a shoe in truffle sauce and I would eat it (and I’m not joking)!

 

Mincemeat Pie paired with Mulled Wine

This classic dish reminds me of Christmas Mass when I lived in London.  Traditional, rich and very English, I urge you to try a piece or two of this holiday favorite!

 

God Jul och Gott Nytt År

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Locally Inspired

Friday, October 31st, 2014
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Executive Chef Jason Giles, doesn’t only talk the talk, he walks the walk.  Committed to incorporating as many locally sourced and sustainable ingredients as possibly in his menu development at the Portola Hotel & Spa’s two onsite restaurants, Peter B’s Brewpub and Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, Chef Giles is definitely making it happen.

I was recently invited for an afternoon tasting of some of the season’s newest menu items and was in awe of the detail not only taken with the presentation, but in the preparation.  One of my favorite parts of the tasting was learning about how the ingredients were selected and sourced. Even more impressive, was that some of the ingredients were created, on site, in particular Peter B’s own Craft Beer.  Amazing to drink, but even more impressive to have as an ingredient in an entrée and even dessert!

One of the stand-out dishes we were served included a mouth-watering, fall off the bone, U.S. domestic lamb shank. Seared and braised in Peter B’s own Stout Resistance Ale (brewed on-site by Brewmaster, Kevin Clark) with aromatic vegetables, cinnamon and orange zest, this entrée is served over herb whipped potatoes and roasted, local Castroville Brussel sprouts then dusted with parmesano reggiano.

If that wasn’t amazing by itself, dessert was then served – drumroll please…house made Stout Resistance vanilla bean ice cream!  A collaboration with local creamery, KaiLee Creamery, this dessert was not only delicious, but memorable. Served with fresh strawberries and crispy barrel-aged coconut, this creamy treat should definitely be added to one’s culinary bucket list!

So, I invite all to sip, savor and share the next time you have the chance to visit the Portola Hotel & Spa!