Portola Hotel & Spa
Meet Arturo Corres

August 6th, 2014
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Meet Arturo Corres; hardworking, takes charge and extremely reliable.  Arturo has been pumping out clean dishes and keeping the kitchen running at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey, California for the past 22 years. He joined the team as an entry level Dishwasher and within a few years, his outstanding performance and high standards for cleanliness showed in every task he was assigned.   Arturo was quickly promoted to Dishwashing Supervisor, a job he takes great pride in, every single day.

Organization and staff management are important to Arturo, especially when he and his team are supplying glassware, china, utensils, pots and pans to the Hotel’s two bustling restaurants and onsite banquet events throughout the property. Arturo is the hub of the Kitchen Department and is not afraid to step in and assist in his fellow team members; in fact he is known to help with plating and numerous other kitchen duties, always with a smile. When the Hotel has a plated dinner for over 750+ people, Arturo often joins the line and never leaves until the last plate is plated, then quickly returns to his cleaning station.

What stands out about Arturo Corres? -  Simple – the ability to get any job done – dishes for 1,100 people? No problem, Arturo’s your man!

Craft Beer
Peter B’s Brewpub Goes Green

August 6th, 2014
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While most of the news in the foodie world revolves around new trends at the table and from the bar, there is a growing movement behind the scenes to move towards a greener restaurant scene and not just the vegetable kind. Peter B’s Brewpub, behind the Portola Hotel & Spa, is at the forefront of this movement and incorporates these environmentally friendly practices just about everywhere.

One of the most visible green efforts from Peter B’s is the sourcing of local, sustainable and responsibly grown ingredients. Executive Chef Jason Giles and Head Brewer, Kevin Clark work diligently to make sure what is served is the best not only for their guests, but for the environment as well. Participation in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program® is also a critical component of the restaurant’s sustainable and green focused efforts. With a location so close to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, it’s only natural that Peter B’s focuses on the best sourcing of seafood possible. Furthermore, all to-go containers and cups are Bio-Pak, which is a compostable material.

Clark takes these green practices to new heights with upgraded brewery equipment and plumbing resulting in a savings of 41,000 gallons of water per year, an important initiative during California’s drought. In addition, he has implemented unique uses for the leftover spent mash utilized to brew his award-winning craft beers. Peter B’s has created a seal-shaped custom dog biscuit for the hotel and restaurant’s furry friends and also donates the remaining mash to local farmers for cattle feed, a process that elongates the use of the material and reduces the carbon footprint of producing the beer.

Most of us would be happy that the food and drinks we are being served are an environmentally responsible choice, but Peter B’s takes it a step further with their Food Scrap Program. Once you have finished that delicious meal, what happens to the scraps? Traditionally, scraps were taken to the local landfill, but Peter B’s, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and the Portola Hotel & Spa participate in the Monterey Regional Waste Management District’s Organics to Energy compost program, where each week, over 2000 lbs. of food scraps and other organic waste is diverted from landfill disposal and after inspection, is mixed with mulch and turned into compost. The methane gas produced during the process is captured and used as fuel to produce energy and the compost is used by local farmers and winemakers to help grow their crops. In addition, all the cooking oil is specially recycled and turned into bio diesel fuel.

So the next time you are enjoying a fantastic meal or house-brewed craft beer at Peter B’s, take a moment to thank your server. Not only for the great food and drink, but for doing everything they can to make the Monterey Peninsula a happier, healthier and greener place!

Craft Beer
Peter B’s Brews & Bites Contest

July 30th, 2014
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And the Winner Is…IPA Braised Carnitas Over Polenta Cakes by Camilla Mann

Peter B’s Brews & Bites Contest

During the month of July Peter B’s Brewpub held one of the coolest contests around town! Rookie chef’s where challenged to design an original recipe for an appetizer incorporating one of the brewpub’s original craft beers.

Three very creative finalists were carefully selected they were (in no particular order):

  • Beer Fondue by Rachel N.
  • IPA-Braised Carnitas over Polenta Cakes by Camilla M.
  • Vegan Beer Caramelized Leek & Onion Dip served with Beer Pretzel Bites by Briana S.

After some serious tasting by a savvy panel of judges during KRML’s live broadcast of Pub Talk with Chris and Merideth from thebeergeek.com and KRML’S very own Mike Hale and Jeff White at Peter B’s on July 30th, Camilla Mann’s recipe for IPA Braised Carnitas Over Polenta was declared the winner in a very close race.

On behalf of the Peter B’s team, thank you to all those that entered and keep on cooking!!

 

IPA-Braised Carnitas Over Polenta Cakes by Camilla Mann

 

 

Legend of Laguna IPA-Braised Carnitas

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless pork, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 12 oz Legend of Laguna IPA
  • 1 T pine honey
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Bring all of the ingredients – except salt and pepper – to a boil in a large, flat-bottom pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until pork is fork-tender, approximately an hour.

Uncover pork; simmer until liquid evaporates and pork begins to brown, approximately half an hour. Continue to cook, for another 10 minutes, until the pork is nicely browned. Shred pork with a fork.

 

Pan-Fried Polenta Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 C polenta
  • 5 C warm water
  • 1/2 C Legend of Laguna IPA
  • 1 T pine honey
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4 C freshly squeezed kumquat juice
  • 4 T butter
  • Freshly ground sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

Bring water, IPA, honey, and citrus juices to a boil in a large saucepan. Add freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring constantly, approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat, stir in butter, and season to taste with more salt and pepper. Spoon into a buttered pan and let cool.

Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight.

To Assemble:

  • Butter
  • Salsa
  • Sour cream
  • Freshly ground salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Melt a pat of butter in a skillet. Slice your polenta into serving size pieces – whatever size you want. I tried both bite-sized and larger. Pan-fry the cakes until a crisp crust forms, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side.

Reheat the carnitas with 1/2 C water in a covered pot, adding more water if needed to keep pork moist.

Place the polenta cakes on your serving plate. Drizzle with salsa. Top with carnitas. Add a dollop of sour cream. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

Weddings
A Memory Garden Memory

July 28th, 2014
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So… it’s not too often that I get personal on our Central Coast Living Blog, but every July I get a little sentimental!  Nine years ago, this month I was walking down an aisle dusted with rose petals at one of the most magical venues in all of Monterey (in my humble opinion)  – the Memory Garden.  I’ll never forget walking through the Portola Hotel & Spa on my way to marry my best friend.  Each step I took through the lobby as the sun was shining through the windows; I was one step closer to becoming Mrs. Thomas.

My husband and I were immediately drawn to the Memory Garden.  The clean white walls of the adobe and enchanted garden were exactly what we had envisioned for our wedding day.  The natural flora and fauna of the garden didn’t really need any extra decorating; it was perfect just as it was.

I remember vividly, as I peeked from the gates before the ceremony, that this was it – my dream wedding, simple, romantic, elegant and quintessential old Monterey. After, we walked hand in hand to Frank Sinatra’s “It Happened in Monterey” (yes I know he’s referring to Monterey, Mexico, but it still worked) and as we gazed back at our family and friends, all was right in the world at that very moment!

Now our walks near and around the garden include our amazing six year old twins, who fondly call it Mommy & Daddy’s Wedding Flower Garden, and every time we take that first step through the gates, my husband and exchange a glance with one another, reflecting on our wedding day.

 

 

 

 

 

Explore Monterey
August Happenings On & Around the Monterey Bay

July 22nd, 2014
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No matter what weekend you decide to make Monterey your summer getaway, chances are there’s a festival just waiting for you to enjoy.  With everything from the Scottish and Greek Festivals to the Watsonville Strawberry Festival, there’s no shortage of good food, fun entertainment and great excitement to be had!

Start off with a weekend of sweet strawberry bliss and the annual Watsonville Strawberry Festival on August 2-3, 2014.  A two-day festival in historic downtown Watsonville, this event showcases the strawberry, one of Monterey County’s most famous crops.  Free admission to all and fun for the whole family, the festival features delicious food, premier live entertainment, an exciting carnival and the beloved gooey strawberry contest.

Also on the same weekend is the 47th Annual Scottish Games and Celtic Festival. This event brings the tartan of Scotland and the green of the Emerald Island to Monterey from 9am – 5pm on August 2-3, 2014. Featuring authentic music, dance and athletic events there are activities galore for the whole family. One of the centerpieces of the festival is the pipe band competition where teams of bagpipers and drummers toe the line to see who is best. Throw in Highland and Irish dancers, as well as arts and crafts and you have an experience not to be missed.

Next, let a quick trip down to Monterey’s historic Custom House Plaza transport you to exotic Greece for the annual Greek Festival.  A favorite event for locals and visitors alike, the Monterey Bay Greek festival offers three full days of Greek culture and excitement, set amid the charming backdrop of Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf.  With free admission you can enjoy a weekend full of authentic Greek cuisine, live music and dancing.  Kicking off Monterey’s beautiful Indian Summer, the festivities, spanning from August 30 -September 1, 2014, will have you feeling Greek in no time.

These are just three of the many exciting August activities on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula. So whether you are a local or a visitor, you’ll have the opportunity to experience some of the more colorful countries and cuisines of the world, Monterey style.

 

We can’t wait to see you here!