Posts Tagged ‘kids’

Thanksgiving at Jacks Restaurant (Leftovers Included!)

Friday, November 8th, 2013
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When the autumn leaves start falling and all the turkeys go into hiding, Americans across the country starts to tingle with anticipation because we all know that the most widely celebrated, and undoubtedly the coziest, holiday is right around the corner.  With all of the fuss and preparation, though, Thanksgiving can become a time of stress and exhaustion (and we’re not just talking about the unavoidable post-feast food coma), leaving little room or care to meditate on the real meaning of the holiday, to consider what we’re all truly thankful for.

This year, Jacks Restaurant at the Portola Hotel & Spa wants to help put the “Thanks” back in Thanksgiving!  Why not escape the stress of the holiday season and get away to beautiful Monterey?  A perfect backdrop to appreciate the blessings in life, press pause and enjoy the exhilarating winter chill and the majestic Monterey coastline with your family to help you put things back into perspective and really get into the holiday spirit.  And as for your Thanksgiving feast, our acclaimed restaurant Jacks has it covered.

Featuring a mouth-watering four-course menu, you can enjoy all of your favorites dishes with a new gourmet twist, like our luxurious sourdough stuffing, fluffy whipped potatoes, and our perfectly seasoned green beans with crispy shallots, not to mention a wonderful selection of holiday inspired desserts from our decedent dessert display.  You won’t have to lift a finger to enjoy all of the fun, food, and feelings that this holiday has to offer – plus the staff at Jacks will pack up your leftovers so you can continue your feast on Friday!

Leave it all to the team at the Portola and Jacks and enjoy the holiday the way it was meant to be spent, basking in the love of family and appreciating life’s bounty.

Visit Jacks website to tantalize your taste buds with a preview of our full menu and to get all of the details for this offer to be truly thankful for.

Summertime Chillin’ & Grillin’

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
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Nothing says summertime like a backyard BBQ. From the first sizzle of a perfectly seasoned steak on the grill, everyone enjoys one of the most revered of summer pastimes. Chef Jason Giles, Executive Chef at the Portola Hotel & Spa and the brains behind the menus for Jacks Restaurant & Lounge and Peter B’s Brewpub, loves backyard BBQ’s and has graciously shared his favorite summertime recipe with Central Coast Living.

All great recipes share one core aspect, which is the quality of ingredients. According to Chef Giles, meats that are a bit higher in fat will cook better on the grill because the marbling in the meat keeps it moist and full of flavor, he personally recommends the following cuts:

  • Rib-Eye
  • New York Strip Loin
  • Skirt Steak
  • Tri Tip
  • Flank Steak

Chef Giles has a few tips that he always follows when preparing the meat.  He recommends that the meat be seasoned/marinated for a few hours before cooking to allow it to soak up the flavor of the marinade.  For a little extra zip and pizzazz, try his famous Season Salt:

  • ½ cup Kosher Flake Salt
  • 3 Tbsp. Ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. Smoked Paprika
  • 1Tbsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1Tbsp. Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp. Cumin
  • 1 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper

This seasoning is great for beef, chicken or pork. Once the ingredients are mixed together, they need to be stored in a clean, dry glass jar.

Now that the seasoning is taken care of, it is important to focus on the best way to grill the meat. Make sure that the grill is nice and hot – if it is too cold, the meat will just steam. When the grill is warmed up pull the meat out of the refrigerator and let it start to come up to room temperature to ensure an even cooking time. Always be prepared to season the meat with salt and pepper, even if the marinade has a ton of flavor the meat will most likely benefit from a sprinkle of salt and a dash of pepper.  Once the grill is nice and hot, cook the meat to about 10-15 degrees below how it is usually grilled and let it rest for 15-20 minutes after cooking.

When the perfect steak is cooked, Chef Giles recommends adding the popular Argentinean sauce, Chimichurri as a side condiment:

  • 1 bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 leaves fresh basil chopped fine
  • 3 mint leaves chopped fine
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 3 garlic cloves minced ( or grated on a micro planer)
  • 1 ½  cup Olive oil
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

To create the sauce, mix all the ingredients in a bowl EXCEPT the lemon juice.  Let it sit in a bowl for at least an hour to allow the flavors to marry together.  Just before serving add the lemon juice and taste for seasoning. It is important to add the lemon juice last, as it will discolor the herbs if added at the beginning. 

Your friends and family will think you’ve been a master of the grill with this simple recipe and cooking tips from your secret summertime BBQ hero, Chef Jason Giles.

Aquarium for Two Package

Thursday, March 7th, 2013
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Photograph Monterey Bay Aquarium©

It’s easy to find adventure when you are traveling by yourself, with your significant other or with friends, but finding something exciting to do with your family that keeps your interest can become an adventure in and of itself. That’s why the Monterey Bay Aquarium is such a great choice. Not only is it located right on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, on historic Cannery Row, but it is chalk full of amazing and educational exhibits and interactive activities for kids and adults alike.

The fabulous Jellies Experience is now open and there are countless other interesting this to experience and explore. There is the Splash Zone that allows kids of all ages to engage with ocean inhabitants and feedings at each of the exhibits and countless other things to do. The Portola Hotel & Spa offers a wonderful Aquarium Package for Two. Not only is the Portola within walking distance to the Aquarium, but this package has it all! With the Portola Hotel Aquarium for Two Package, you get a nautically inspired and elegantly appointed guest room of your choice, two adult Aquarium tickets good for two consecutive days and the Portola’s famous warm homemade chocolate chip cookie upon arrival. Additionally, you also receive a delicious breakfast buffet for two at Jacks Restaurant and complimentary use of the fitness center. Guests can also purchase additional tickets right at the front desk and the Portola’s friendly and knowledgeable staff has a host of other activities and family-friendly things to do. It’s important to remember that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is more than just a place to look at the creatures of the ocean. They are one of the foremost research facilities in the world and are the stewards of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch® Program.

So the next time you are looking a fun-filled family getaway that gives back, look no further that the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Aquarium for Two Package. You’ll be glad that you did, and so will the fish!

The “Best Weekend in Monterey”

Monday, December 24th, 2012
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With the holiday season and winter finally here the special events and happenings in Monterey are as plentiful as relatives and leftovers. Choosing what to do and where to go can be overwhelming, so your friends here at Central Coast Living have put together, in our humble opinion, an itinerary for what we would like to think of as the “Best Weekend in Monterey” during the holidays.

The weekend starts off on Friday afternoon with a relaxing walk along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Unwind and enjoy the breathtaking views of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as you walk or bike along the coast. From Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, it’s just over two miles of paved and rolled trail with views of Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Hopkins Marine Station and the stately Victorian-era homes lining the way Lovers Point Park of Pacific Grove.

After working up an appetite, return to Fisherman’s Wharf and explore the shops and restaurants while sampling some of California’s freshest seafood.  Evening activities can include theatric or musical entertainment at one of Monterey’s many venues or depending on the weekend of your visit, holiday-themed activities including various tree lightings, historic tours of seasonally decorated buildings and special cultural and wine events.

Saturday brings a day full of activities and none greater than the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  Whether a couple or a family, you are sure to be amazed by the variety of exhibits and hands-on educational opportunities. There are so many interesting areas that you might want to take two days to fully explore the Aquarium, but if one day is all you have time for, be sure to check out their newest exhibit, The Jellies Experience. You’ll learn what makes the jellyfish one of the most intriguing animals on land or sea. With the Aquarium behind you, stroll along historic Cannery Row and immerse yourself in the world of John Steinbeck while shopping and taking in the sites.

There is no better way to enjoy a trip to Monterey during the holidays than with a visit to Ice Skating on the Bay. Located directly behind the Portola Hotel & Spa on the Custom House Plaza, the seasonal ice skating rink is open from 11am – 10pm Monday through Saturday and from 12pm to 8pm on Sunday’s. After reliving childhood memories or creating new ones with your kids, head over to the Portola Hotel & Spa for your choice of dinner options. Jacks Restaurant offers an upscale dining experience featuring locally sourced, sustainable ingredients throughout the menu and an impressive wine list, all created under the expert culinary eye of Executive Chef Jason Giles. If you are in the mood for something more laid back, then relax in Peter B’s Brewpub. As Monterey’s only craft brewery features a delicious pub fare with a wide variety of beer brewed directly on site. Brewmaster Kevin Clark’s award winning seasonal brews pair perfectly with the menu and with 15 HDTV’s you are sure to find the game of your choice.

While Sunday may be the day of your departure you can still experience much more in Monterey. Walk historic Alvarado Street just steps from the Portola and treat yourself to pastries and coffee at one of the many café’s and then immerse yourself in the history of Old Monterey along the self-guided Path of History. You’ll encounter a variety of historic buildings and landmarks detailing Monterey as the first capitol city of California. With so much more to offer, the Monterey Peninsula must be experienced in more than just a weekend. Check back with us throughout the year as we give you tips and ideas on how to experience the seasons and the scenery of Monterey and beyond!

First Night Monterey

Friday, December 7th, 2012
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New Year’s Eve always brings a sense of hope and optimism about the year ahead. Figuring out what to do, that makes everyone in the family happy can be a bit of a challenge. First Night Monterey solves that problem in one fell swoop. The event offers something for the young and the young at heart and takes place throughout historic downtown Monterey. Now in its 20th year, First Night Monterey is a community celebration of the arts that kicks off at 3pm on December 31, 2012. Over 25 performance sites, most of which are indoors, feature a wide variety of music, interactive art, dance and fun. The alcohol-free event focuses on family fun with kid friendly activities and themed events. The event kicks off with the Opening Ceremony on the lawn of Colton Hall and Pacific Street. Kid’s Night Out begins at 3:30pm with interactive art activities, face painting, artists, puppet theatre, folk music and magic. Then the Twilight Procession progresses down Alvarado Street at 5:30pm. Musical performances range from Reggae to Classical and Jazz to Hip Hop. Performances also include dance, art and written and spoken word. The Grand Finale starts at 11:15pm and rings in the New Year at midnight.

The Portola Hotel & Spa offers a fun First Night Package that includes two adult First Night “All Access Buttons”, a nautically inspired guest room, warm homemade cookie upon arrival and is one of the best spots on the Peninsula, especially on New Year’s Eve! With its location on Custom House Plaza, the Portola Hotel is the perfect venue to explore the sights, sounds and good times of First Night Monterey.

Ring in the New Year with the Portola Hotel & Spa!