Archive for the ‘Food & Wine’ Category

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!

Pebble Beach Food & Wine

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
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Spring is in the air and that means breaking out of the winter doldrums and getting outside to enjoy what the world has to offer. If your world is food and wine, then you had better be at the center of the epicurean universe, the Pebble Beach Food & Wine, April 10-13, 2014. If you are not, then you might just miss out on the most comprehensive gathering of celebrity chefs, restaurateurs and industry brands of the year.

In a gluttonous four day whirlwind, over 250 acclaimed wineries, 75 famous chefs and 55 events will converge on Pebble Beach, California for the 7th annual be all to end all in food festivals. Events are divided into categories from Lunch and Dinner to Cooking Demonstrations and Wine Seminars. If you want to take a break and get in a little “exercise” there is even a Celebrity Chef and Winemaker’s Golf Tournament at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Let’s not forget the Marquee Events and the official After Hours gatherings that will only serve to send any attendee over the edge. There is of course the Lexus Grand Tasting Tent that let you experience sips and bites from over 30 chefs and 200 wineries.

Fine beer makes an appearance at this year’s festival with the Best of Belgium Beer Lunch and a beer pairing seminar aptly titled, Brewed for Food in addition to cooking demonstrations from Celebrity Chefs Tyler Florence, Jon Shook, Carla Hall, Donatella Arpaia, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Linton Hopkins, Duff Goldman and Andrew Zimmerman. In addition, there will be a special Tribute Dinner to industry legend Charlie Trotter.

So if you are in the mood to dive head first in for an entire weekend or just nibble around the edges with an event or two, the PBF&W website will give you the info you need to plan your culinary escape with info and tickets: www.pbfw.com. This is a weekend of monumental indulgence not to me missed!

Wine Down at Jacks with Monterey County Wine

Monday, February 24th, 2014
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Home to many of California’s finest vineyards and known for its extensive array of wine tasting venues, the Monterey Peninsula is a premium destination for all things wine.  Recently named as one of Wine Enthusiast’s “Top 10 Best Regions for Wine”, visitors can find everything from vineyards and wine tours to tasting rooms and wine dinners. If you’re looking for the perfect place to relax with your favorite glass of vino or you’re interested in developing a more complex palate, there’s no better place for you than the Central Coast.  With multiple microclimates and varied soil types there are a number of award winning appellations within the Monterey County alone.

 

Featuring several wine tasting venues right outside its doors, the Portola Hotel & Spa is well equipped to fulfill all of your wine-related needs and is the perfect base for exploring all the region has to offer. In fact, you need to look no further than Portola’s own renowned Jacks Restaurant & Lounge to get your wine fix.  Jacks Lounge is the perfect place to unwind after a busy day of work or sight-seeing. Wine Down at Jacks Lounge from 4-6pm, daily and receive 50% off all wines by the glass and 50% off their signature cheese plate.  Better than a “traditional happy hour”, Wine Down at Jacks Lounge provides the ideal atmosphere to relax and renew in style while experiencing the best of Monterey County’s wines.

 

If a sit down dinner is more your speed, visit Jacks for their Wine Dinner series. Every quarter, Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Jason Giles, pairs selections from Jacks menu with vintages from local wineries for an exclusive five course dinner. Each course is designed with the utmost care to perfectly complement the corresponding wine. To truly enhance the experience, each course is described and selected tableside by the wine team representatives.  At only $75 per person, Jacks Wine Diners are a wonderful value! To learn more about these fabulous dinners and events visit www.jacksrestaurantlounge.com