Posts Tagged ‘Food & Wine’

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.

Monterey Rock & Rod Festival

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014
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Going strong since 2006, the Monterey & Rod Festival is back in town.  Take a trip back in time this week, May 9-10 and experience the iconic era of rock and roll.  Let the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival act as your own personal time machine and enjoy the era that gave us malt shops and sock hops. This fantastic combination of live Rock n’ Roll music from the 50s and 60s and displays of the classic cars that defined their decades, there’s a reason the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival is a beloved and much anticipated event on the Peninsula.

A perfect event for car buffs and vintage lovers alike, this celebration of 50s and 60s-era music and custom and classic hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and trucks, this festival is more than just a good time. The festival helps to raise much-needed funds to support the Gateway Center of Monterey County.  With food and vendor arcades set up around the Monterey County Fair Grounds the Monterey Rock & Rod Festival promise top notch entertainment and has the little edge of nostalgia to bring you back to the good old days.

Enjoy a Friday night Sock Hop at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center and a full weekend of car shows and live entertainment at the Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey.  Musical entertainment throughout this two-day festival includes Terry Sylvester, formally of The Hollies, Ron Dante of The Archies and Monterey’s own Chicano All-Stars and so much more!

So, don’t miss out on this weekend of hot rides and catchy beats, we look forward to seeing you there!

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

Portola Team Profile: Meet Executive Chef, Jason Giles

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014
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One of the great culinary institutions on the Monterey Peninsula is Jacks Restaurant & Lounge, led by Executive Chef Jason Giles. The full service restaurant, located inside the Portola Hotel & Spa is more than just a run of the mill eatery serving middling hotel fare. Jacks has won countless awards for food, wine and location during its history, and continually is evolving to keep up with the latest trends in the culinary world.

Inspired by his mother’s love of cooking and culinary heavyweights Jacques Pepin and Julia Child, Chef Giles enrolled in the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco and following graduation, headed north to Sonoma where he worked at the Grill at the Sonoma Mission Inn, which is now known as the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa. Chef Giles then moved south to the Pebble Beach Resorts where, as Sous Chef, he played an active role in the development and opening of Stillwater Bar & Grill.

Giles is at the helm of all the Portola Hotel & Spa’s culinary operations, including menu development for the hotel’s two restaurants, Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, as well as the creation of menus for in-room dining, banquets and special events.

As Executive Chef, Giles hand selects local produce and ingredients, many of which are brought in from the nearby Salinas Valley (better known as the “Salad Bowl of the World”) and fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay arrives daily. As a true believer in the “green food” movement, Chef Giles supports local farmers, fishermen, ranchers and dairymen, while adhering to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program. He also utilizes 100% Harris Ranch Beef, as well as other hormone and chemical free meats.

In 2013, Chef Giles launched a fabulous Oyster Bar and Live Action Kitchen in Jacks Lounge, where guests can enjoy freshly prepared oysters and Champagne by the glass, while watching the Portola’s culinary team prepare appetizers and salads.

So if you are a local or a traveler from far away and you are in the mood for a wonderful meal, come by Jacks Restaurant & Lounge or Peter B’s Brewpub and experience the culinary skill of the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef Jason Giles.

Come to Jacks and savor the local flavor!