September 10th, 2014
America is a country founded on the ideals of inclusion and acceptance. Our forefathers were immigrants and since we first formed our country in 1789, the United States has seen a steady stream of new and wonderful citizens making a home on our shores. As a nation, we have reaped the benefits of a diverse population and today enjoy the cultural offerings of a wide variety of peoples.
But, is there a cultural offering recognized the world over as truly American? You have to look no farther than the musical expressionism of Jazz to answer that question. Born in the South during the late 1800’s and evolving out of the call and response singing of African field workers, Jazz has formed the basis of modern popular music from rock and rap to R&B and Reggae.
One of the greatest things about Jazz is that it not only defines culture, but mirrors it as well. As an art form based upon improvisation, it is constantly redefining itself and nowhere is this more apparent that the 2014 edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival.
To experience the genesis of this cultural phenomenon and its offshoots, check out the festival, at September 19-21, 2014 at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center. Now in its 57th year and widely regarded as the one of the local region’s best festivals, the Monterey Jazz Festival boasts a history and lineup of artists that cannot easily be found anywhere else. Three days of music, food, education and fun are headlined by the incomparable Herbie Hancock on Friday the 19th. The Festival’s modern genesis continues with Saturday headliner, The Roots, the house band for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and one of the best bands in the land, brining a modern twist to the super-soul of Philly and traditional groups of New Orleans.
The Festival is about more than good music and a good time. Proceeds from the event benefit local music education programs and the NextGen Jazz Festival which showcases some of the best Middle School, High School and College bands, combos and choirs in the country. The winners of the Next Gen are invited back to the Festival and have the honor of playing with their heroes to a packed audience.
So don’t miss your chance to see some of the world’s best Jazz musicians celebrate this true piece of American culture at the Monterey Jazz Festival. And a One and a Two…
September 4th, 2014
In 2014, just about everything has a touch of green thrown in. Not outfits mind you, but environmental protection and sustainability. From the food we eat and the cars we drive to the packaging of our products to the water we drink, everything is about making the world we live in a better place for us, our children and our children’s children. While much of our green practices are undertaken at home where we have the most control, a growing number of travel destination are also joining the effort.
The Portola Hotel & Spa is at the forefront of this movement on the Monterey Peninsula. As one of Central California’s first U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) Silver LEED®-EB (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design for Existing Buildings) Certified hotels, the Portola has implemented a host of initiatives focused on the well-being of the environment and is one of the region’s most environmentally-friendly places to stay and eat! Learn more!
LEED Certification refers to a rating system by the USGBC that considers everything from the materials used to build a building to the way a business disposes of their garbage. Everything is taken into account and the staff at the Portola has embraced these initiatives. The hotel’s entire food service operation, which includes Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, Peter B’s Brewpub and their room and event food service teams participates in the Food Scrap Program. Scraps have traditionally been taken to the local landfill, but now, as part of the Monterey Regional Waste Management District’s Organics to Energy compost program they are repurposed. 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.
The hotel and its restaurants also participate in the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s Water Wise Best Management Practices Program. Each room is outfitted with water efficient fixtures including showerheads and sink aerators, as well as high-efficiency toilets. Display cards in every room also remind guests to help conserve water and energy by hanging up towels that they want to reuse during their stay. The Portola has also installed water efficient clothes and dish washing machines and multiple water saving devices in departments throughout the hotel. These water wise practices not only help to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint, but also save water during the current California drought.
Throughout history, visitors to the Monterey Bay area have continually marveled at its beautiful scenery and environment. Don’t you owe to yourself to help preserve that gift for generations to come? Stay GREEN at the Portola Hotel & Spa.
August 27th, 2014
There’s nothing better than locally grown, fresh produce. I am so fortunate to live here in Monterey County where the bounty is endless. One of my favorite treats of the season is fresh Heirloom Tomatoes, both beautiful to look at and amazing to eat! Serving as the inspiration for our upcoming Brewer’s Dinner at Peter B’s Brewpub on September 4th, the possibilities are endless when it creating new recipes and menus.
Visit your local Farmer’s Market or Farm Stand and take a moment to try this recipe, it will quickly become a favorite!
- Seasonal Heirloom Tomato Salad -
- 2-3 Large Heirloom Tomatoes cut into wedges, salted and peppered
- 5-6 Mix of Cherry Tomatoes cut in half and tossed in sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
- 1Tbs Bacon Pesto (bacon, basil, walnuts, garlic, butter, salt, pepper)
- 1Tbs Basil Oil
- 2 Grilled Treviso
- 3 leaves of Basil
- 1 slice Grilled Bread
- Shaved Saba Cheese
Take sliced heirloom tomatoes and top with mix of cherry tomatoes tossed in a sherry vinaigrette, grilled Treviso and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with a bacon basil pesto, top with shaved cheese and serve over grilled bread.
August 20th, 2014
As a true coastal gal, there is nothing I love more than a good nautical theme. The crispness of navy blue and white accented by hints of gold have forever been a favorite color combination of mine. It was a match made in heaven when the team at the Portola Hotel asked me to contribute to their blog as editor – as their seaside sanctuary is known from far and wide not only for its fabulous accommodations, but amazing décor and their panache for finding the perfect nautical accents is second to none!
When I approached the design team at the Portola for some tips on incorporating a nautical theme into my home, here were a few fun ideas they shared:
-Make it personal – use life preservers, sea shells, vintage clocks/compasses or old flags and personalize them with a name, date or location, welcoming guests to your space
-Explore antique shops and flea markets for vintage model ships that can be displayed as statement pieces for all to enjoy
-Oversized rope is your friend; wrap lamps, vases or table bases and quickly transform something ordinary into the perfect nautical accent
-Find nautical hardware for drawers and doors swapping out old, boring pulls and knobs with nautical whimsy
-And don’t forget, you can never have enough navy and white – especially stripes, thick and thin
So no matter where you live, it’s easy to bring in a nautical theme. AND if you’re like me, the search for DIY projects is never-ending! My friend, Holly at 504main.com created a fun and simple way to bring a nautical flair to your home with her Nautical Knot Vases.
August 13th, 2014
Portola Hotel & Spa lobby.
Whether you are a classic car aficionado like Jay Leno or just a casual observer, there is nothing like seeing the glimmering shine of a freshly detailed car or hearing the roar of an engine coming to life. Celebrities of the human and automotive kind will be on hand August 11-17, 2014 during the Monterey Peninsula’s Car Week. What was once a couple of events has transformed into an entire week of automotive excess with no less than 25 separate events including shows, auctions, rallies and entertainment. Most of the action centers on the major viewing competitions and the various auctions. From the tony Pebble Beach Concourse d’ Elegance and the horsepower and miniature might of Downtown Pacific Grove’s Little Car Show, to The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the RM Auctions Sports & Classics of Monterey auction, the multitude of offerings is almost too many to fathom.
The Portola Hotel & Spa is not only right in the thick of the action, but it also plays host to the RM Auctions Sports & Classics auction event. With secure covered parking and a number of alternate transportation options right at your fingertips, classic car owners or fans of the cars themselves can easily access any of the events around the Peninsula. As headquarters for Friday and Saturday’s RM auctions the Portola’s restaurants will be featuring special hours with Peter B’s opening for lunch at 11am on Thursday August 14th and Jacks Restaurant open for Dinner until 11pm on August 14th & 15th and Jacks Lounge open until 1am Thursday through Saturday.
If you need a break from the rev of the engines, the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is located just outside the Portola Hotel & Spa. Wander along some of the most beautiful coastline in the country before returning back to the action. So put the top down and motor into the Monterey Peninsula for what some say is the greatest gathering of steel and wheels in the world. Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula is an event not to be missed!