Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

WISH YOU WERE HERE – Springtime VACATION deals at the Portola!

Thursday, March 19th, 2015
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There’s no better time to getaway than the Spring in Monterey!  With moderate temperatures, wildflowers in full bloom and endless outdoor activities, your perfect Monterey Bay vacation is just a click away!  The Portola Hotel & Spa has just released their new seasonal packages, and trust me, the fresh coastal air and relaxed atmosphere, is just what the doctor ordered!

WHALE WATCHING PACKAGE

Set out to sea on an amazing, once in a lifetime Whale Watching expedition! The popular Whale Watching Package includes two tickets for a 2 ½ to 3 hour whale watching tour on a fully-equipped, large vessel and an overnight stay in a nautically appointed guest room. Your tour will be led by experienced, Monterey Bay-based Marine Biologists assisting in sea-bird sightings and identification of marine wildlife. Most importantly, don’t forget the camera!

ROMANCE PACKAGE

It’s always the right time for a little romance! Whether taking a sunset stroll on the beach or heading out on a coastal adventure, the Portola’s NEW Romance Package will get your heart a flutter!  As you enter your room, a bottle of complimentary Champagne and decadent chocolate covered strawberries await.  Relax with a Symphony Massage for two at Spa on the Plaza, and be pampered during a 50 minute treatment. In the morning, enjoy a European-style breakfast buffet at Jacks Restaurant…bottomless Mimosas included!

FAMILY PICNIC ADVENTURE

The Monterey Bay is filled with endless open space.  From white sand beaches to whimsical gardens, parks and lush forests, there is no shortage of family-friendly places to picnic and explore. The NEW Family Picnic Adventure package includes an overnight stay in a nautically appointed room, a picnic lunch from Jacks Restaurant, a blanket and the help Portola’s knowledgeable Concierges to find your perfect location where your adventure will begin!

BREAKFAST FOR TWO PACKAGE

There’s nothing better than waking up to the sights and sounds of the coast!  Get the most out of your overnight stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa with our Breakfast for Two Package. Enjoy breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant and bottomless Mimosas, all complemented by a fabulous European-style breakfast buffet.  Sit in Jacks’ nautically inspired dining room or outside, on the cozy pet-friendly heated patio.

FAMILY AQUARIUM PACKAGESave 15% off Regular Rates!

Plan your next family getaway with some of the coolest creatures in the world! Spend your days surrounded by majestic marine life, while taking in the wonders of the Monterey Bay. Experience the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s newest exhibition, “Tentacles: The Astounding Lives of Octopuses, Squid and Cuttlefishes” and explore a dozen live exhibits, including the world’s largest octopus. This ultimate California Family Vacation Package features Monterey Bay Aquarium discounts including two adult and two children’s passes Monterey Bay Aquarium “Two Day Special” passes, as well as breakfast for two at Jacks Restaurant & Lounge (and did we mention, children age 5 and under eat free?!).

 

Ready, set, click!  SEA you in Monterey!

 

Top 10 Reasons to Meet In Monterey

Friday, March 6th, 2015
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Monterey is many things to many people. For the locals, it’s home and a wonderful place to live. For visitors, it offers something for everyone. You can take a solo hike through the trails at Garrapata State Park, explore the many museums with the family, enjoy a romantic dinner with your loved one or tee it up with your favorite foursome. Many people, however, visit the Monterey Peninsula for business. The area is a top destination for meetings because of the varied event spaces, unique activities and some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Here are our Top 10 Reasons to Meet in Monterey (in no particular order)

  1. The Portola Hotel & Spa – What’s better than comfortable rooms, award-winning restaurants and a central location to all the sights and sounds of Monterey. A great home away from home to help you get your work done.
  2. The Monterey Bay – Location, location, location; the old saying goes and the Monterey Peninsula has that covered. It’s called the greatest meeting of land and sea for a reason!
  3. Event Technology – The Portola Hotel offers state of the art internet, video, lighting and sound for events of all sizes.
  4. The Monterey Regional Airport – Located within 15 minutes of Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Salinas, the airport offers multiple flights from the major airlines, as well as an entire section for private and corporate jets.
  5. Green Meeting – It’s a popular request in meeting and event planning and at the Portola Hotel it’s included in everything offered. From the composting of organic waste and earth-friendly plastic and paper goods to an emphasis on environmental awareness during team building and zero waste meetings and events, that’s why the Portola is a LEED®-EB Certified property.
  6. Unique Venues – While indoor meetings are still the norm, more and more planners are looking for new and out of the box locations. Monterey offers several historic outdoor venues including the Custom House Plaza and The Memory Garden, as well as Cali-style beach parties and nautically inspired, private on-site venues.
  7. The beauty of the location is without question, but so is the location! Monterey is centrally located between popular destinations Carmel, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove and it is only a short drive to Carmel Valley or Big Sur. The Portola Hotel is right in the middle of it all as it is within walking distance to the Monterey Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and Downtown Monterey. Perfect for event attendees to get out and see the sights without the hassle of elaborate transportation.
  8. Meeting Space – The Portola offers 22,126 square feet of flexibility with nine rooms ranging from large ballrooms to executive board rooms. Additionally, the Portola is directly adjacent to the spacious Monterey Conference Center which boasts an additional 30,000 square feet of event space.
  9. Let’s Eat – Gone are the days of tired and bland conference food. Award winning Executive Chef Jason Giles heads the Portola’s culinary team that has been wowing meeting planners and their guests for years. Featuring locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, attendees are certain to be impressed by their meals. Additionally, on-site restaurant Peter B’s Brewpub offers house-made craft beer that has been winning medals and tasting competitions since 2012. Brewmaster Kevin Clark works in concert with Giles to create the perfect pairing creating a memorable highlight to conference attendee’s visits.
  10. Something for Everyone – From large conferences to small board retreats and from event accommodations to the perfect wedding, the Portola Hotel & Spa and the Monterey Peninsula really do offer it all. As a one stop shop for any meeting planner, why not make it easy and Meet in Monterey!

Behind the Scenes at the Portola Hotel & Spa

Friday, February 20th, 2015
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This new feature on our Central Coast Living blog will highlight the amazing staff right here at the Portola! From food service to operations, here’s your chance to meet a great group of professionals, who not only love their job, but truly care about the experience each and every individual has, the moment they step through the doors at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay.

The first department I will be featuring is the one and only Food & Beverage crew.  With experience that spans from Grocery Bagging to Food Serving, the Portola’s Food & Beverage team is one of the most dynamic bunch of individuals you’ll ever meet.

 

Kevin Clark, Peter B’s Head Brewer on why he brews and advice for someone looking to start brewing -

“Because I love to be creative and I also really loved beer. Start brewing at home and read some books. Also start drinking other beers you normally don’t.”

 

Kevin Clark bottling beer at Peter B’s Brewpub.

Devin Gray, Food & Beverage Coordinator on why she choose to work in hospitality -

“I went to college with the intention of becoming a Physical Therapist. It didn’t take long to realize that I was on the completely wrong path – I hated my classes, I was squeamish about the work, and I didn’t feel any real connection to the profession. After weeks, months, and finally two years of trying to decide what brought me to Physical Therapy in the first place, I realized that it was really just a desire to make people comfortable and happy. Well, there’s more than one way to reach that goal – I eventually found my way to the College of Agriculture at the University of Missouri, Columbia, where I studied Hospitality Management. One of the most important things that I’ve learned throughout my eight years in hospitality is that your attitude directly affects the guest – for better or for worse. So do what you love, and they’ll (almost) always be happy!”

Jim Bridges, Banquet Manager on advice for someone interested in managing a banquet team -

“Working in banquets it’s important to expect the unexpected. Every client and every meeting is different.  If you start your day expecting changes your will be more prepared to tackle the variety of requests and adjustments of the day.”

Sonny Petersson, Director of Food and Beverage on why he choose to work in hospitality and advice for those in the industry -

“After finishing College in Sweden I moved to London in order to improve my English. The easiest way to get a job was in the hospitality industry, it was there I realized that I loved the industry and what it brings to you. It is a fast paced, cultural, rewarding and so much more industry. Not one day is the same and what I enjoyed the most is seeing instant gratification in the guest’s eyes and body language when you have exceeded their expectations. I have been very fortunate in my career and have worked at so many great places as well as with so many great people. I live and work by this motto – What separates a professional from an amateur is how you recover from a mistake. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we all make them but it is how you recover and learn from one that is important.”

 

Sonny Petersson encouraging guests to relax and have a glass of wine during the holidays in Jacks Lounge.

Franco Vasquez, Peter B’s Brewpub Restaurant Manager on why he choose Restaurant Management -

“Restaurant Management is a very noble profession.  As with any job, there is the good and not so good and, more importantly, it truly is what you make it. My years working in restaurants have been extremely rewarding, exciting and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!  I have had the privilege to work with, inspire (and be inspired by) incredible employees and managers and, hopefully, made a difference in their lives.  I have made thousands and thousands of customers happy by serving the highest quality food I could possibly serve with fast and friendly service in clean restaurants. I’ve met people along the way, customers, employees, managers and superiors that I’ll never forget.  Looking back?  Good stuff. Very good stuff.”

 

Franco Vasquez helping out at Eggstravaganza.

Peter Radler, Jacks Restaurant Manager on why he choose to work in hospitality

“I work in Hospitality because it’s the perfect business if you want to travel. When I was first starting out, I had no idea of the adventures that I would soon be taking. I’ve been in F&B for 32 years, and have had the amazing opportunity to work in Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Colorado, Los Angeles, and now Monterey. I’ve worked in free standing restaurants, in corporate situations, and have even owned my own restaurant. Each position I’ve held has been completely unique, and has taught me that you can work in the industry for years and years and it’ll still find ways to surprise you.”

Jason Giles, Executive Chef on why he choose to become a Chef and his funniest moment in his career

“I got in this field because it allows me to be creative and share my passion for great food with other people. My funniest moment was when I was working 21 days straight, 16 to 18 hours a day while opening a restaurant and falling asleep standing pitting cherries for the pastry station.”

Jason Giles at the Tequila Expo for a live cooking demo.

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!

Downtown Monterey Shopping & Nightlife

Friday, September 19th, 2014
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Just steps outside the Portola Hotel & Spa, Downtown Monterey bustles with vibrancy and life. From the quaint shops, galleries and museums to live music venues and historic landmarks, Downtown Monterey has something for everyone.

Centered around Alvarado Street, Downtown Monterey has a long and storied history. As California’s first capital, many of the buildings hold an important historical significance.  Touted as a living museum, history buffs will get more than they bargained along Monterey’s Path of History. With a number of locations within walking distance from the Portola, you can experience Old Monterey right outside your room.

Monterey’s past evolves into Monterey’s present with wonderful shops throughout the Downtown district. Find the perfect gift for the book lover at one of the area’s four specialty book stores. Carpe Diem, Luminata Books & Gifts, Old Capitol Books and Old Monterey Book Company are sure to have something of interest.

Downtown Monterey also boasts a trio of music stores for the musician in all of us. Music Unlimited and Kurt Heisig Music offer a wide variety of instruments while the Monterey Rock & Roll Experience gives its guests a peek into Monterey’s rock n’ roll past.

Gift Shops abound as do antique and art stores as well as the Monterey Museum of Art, as well as the Museum of Monterey, but don’t be fooled by their quiet nature as the district also offers Bay Bikes for the cycling enthusiast and a well-stocked wine shop – Wine from the Heart.

Downtown Monterey also offers new and vintage fashion for men and women. There are over a dozen boutiques with everything from men’s and women’s clothing to shoes and accessories, the perfect place to pick up a new outfit before heading out for an evening on the town.

The newly remodeled Golden State Theatre is the perfect spot to catch a national headliner or film festival. Formerly a movie house, the venue offers incredible acoustics and hosts a wide variety of national touring and specialty acts. There are also 21 bars and pubs where you can wet your whistle, catch a game or simply enjoy the company of friends and family. Downtown Monterey offers everything from craft breweries and historic watering holes to upscale cocktail lounges and low-key informal bars. With so many choices and with everything within a safe walking distance to the Portola, you’re free to explore.

For more information, visit www.oldmonterey.org. The next time you visit Monterey; plan an afternoon, an evening or two to explore Downtown Monterey. You’ll be glad you did.