Posts Tagged ‘Monterey Peninsula’

Best Bets for 2014

Friday, January 3rd, 2014
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The NEW YEAR is finally upon us and 2014 promises to be jam-packed with excitement.  With all of the fun you’ll be having, the year is sure to fly by, so don’t waste a moment. Here are some of your best bets for spending the New Year on the Monterey Peninsula and beyond.  From wine tastings to outdoor adventures, the Monterey Bay has something for everyone and is the perfect getaway for the whole family.

Family friendly and fun, the breathtaking 17-Mile Drive is regarded as one of the most scenic drives in the world.  Running from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, this drive features awe-inspiring landscapes and legendary sites, including the Lone Cypress, Spanish Bay, and Stillwater Cove.  17-Mile Drive is perfect for a day of exploration, afternoon drive or a brisk morning jog.  Just don’t forget to bring your camera.

Beloved by Peninsula locals is the Old Monterey Farmers’ Market taking over three and a half blocks of Historic Downtown Monterey every Tuesday afternoon/evening.  Established in 1991 and attracting both locals and tourists, the Old Monterey’s Farmers Market lets you take a spin around the globe in just three blocks, sampling arts and crafts, handmade jewelry, furniture, clothing, food, organic produce, flowers and pastries from local artisans and growers. Rain or shine, you can be certain to find some good food and entertainment.

A prime location for wine enthusiasts from near and far and recently named as a Top 10 Destination by Wine Enthusiast, the Monterey County is home to many vineyards, wine-tasting rooms and festivals.  Year round, you can be sure to find a place to sip delectable samples of some of Monterey’s award-winning varietals. Explore the region’s numerous tasting rooms, experience a guided tour of a vineyard or simply visit one of the many specialty stores, you can experience the rich diversity of tastes available from our local wineries. Check Portola’s very own Wine Trolley Package!

The local region offers plenty of fun for the younger crowd too.  Home to the Monterey Zoo, nothing could be better than a day exploring the animal kingdom on a 51-acre ranch located just off of the Monterey-Salinas Highway.  Home to over 100 wild, exotic, and domestic birds and animals, “Wild Things” promises an afternoon of excitement for the whole family including special rooms available for overnight guests and special events.

For folks who fancy the outdoors, Monterey’s Adventures by the Sea is the perfect way to take advantage of all that the natural beauty the Peninsula has to offer.  Providing options to explore by land or by sea; discover beautiful Monterey Peninsula by bicycle, kayak, or guided tour.  Nothing completes a stay on the Monterey Bay like taking in the majestic sights and historic landmarks of the Peninsula with Adventures by the Sea.

One of the most famous events on the Monterey Peninsula is the internationally renowned Big Sur International Marathon. Whether you’re keen to participate or just enjoy cheering on the runners, this celebrated marathon, taking place on April 27, 2014 is one of the running world’s iconic events. The course traces 26 miles of breathtaking views from Big Sur to Carmel.  Visit the website www.bsim.org for further details and to register online and learn about other races and events throughout the year!

Each year the month of January brings the promise of new adventure and experiences and there is no place better to enjoy them all than right here on the Monterey Bay.

Cheers to a wonderful New Year!

 

 

 

 

Ice Skating by the Bay – Monterey on Ice!

Thursday, December 26th, 2013
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Temperatures are dropping and the snow is falling???

It’s time to lace up those skates and let the winter adventures abound! Well maybe this is true for the folks up in the mountains, but here at sea level, we marvel at a different scene, that of the rugged Monterey Peninsula coastline.  In Monterey we don’t wait for winter to show up, we make the winter wonderland ourselves.

Ice Skating by the Bay brings on the chill, setting up shop at the Custom House Plaza, providing the perfect holiday outing for the whole family.  Set among historic adobes and Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Skating by the Bay is here to help you celebrate the holidays amid a picturesque backdrop like no other.  Whether ice skating is your cup of cocoa, or you just enjoy spectating, Ice Skating by the Bay is set in the perfect location to view the breathtaking ocean, excited passers-by, and jubilant skaters, all the while sipping on your favorite warm beverage.

Found just outside of the Portola’s doors, Ice Skating by the Bay is the perfect outing for guests at the hotel.  Right outside the front door lies a world of wintery excitement and fun to be had.  That’s why Portola is offering a winter package fit for the ice skater within.  Skate for free this holiday season when staying at our hotel; this ultimate family package incudes a one night stay plus ice skating for two.  I guarantee that the time will virtually glide by when you spend it at the Portola, so grab your scarf and grab your gloves; this is a nippy adventure that you won’t want to miss!

November 22nd  through January, 5th, Ice Skating by the Bay is open Monday through Saturday from 11am-10pm, and Sunday from 12pm-8pm, you can learn more online at www.iceskatingbythebay.com/, and visit the Portola’s website to learn more about this fantastic winter package.

Golfer’s Paradise Package

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013
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The game of golf is synonymous with the Monterey Peninsula. Ask anyone around the world about their favorite courses and there are sure to be a couple courses from our local area on the list. Whether it’s the Pebble Beach Resort courses, host to five U.S. Opens and the PGA’s annual celebrity fun fest, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am; the ultra exclusive Cypress Point; or the popular public course at the Pacific Grove Golf Links  - visitors to the Peninsula have more choices than clubs in their bag!

That’s why the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Golfer’s Paradise Package is the perfect way to experience the course or courses of your choice. Centrally located between Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove and the rest of the Monterey Peninsula the hotel has been a favorite of golfers for years.

Once you book this package, simply show your receipt for playing 9 or 18 holes at ANY local course and instantly receive $50 off your stay. Even better are all the additional perks you get with the package including:

  • Nautically inspired guest room
  • Warm homemade chocolate chip cookie upon arrival
  • Complimentary beer tasting flight, appetizer and souvenir growlette from Peter B’s Brewpub
  • Outdoor heated pool, relaxing cabanas & Jacuzzi
  • Complimentary 24 hour fitness center
  • Complimentary golf club storage

The Portola Hotel & Spa has ample space to securely store your clubs keeping your room free of clutter and their Concierge will be more than happy to help book tee times, make transportation arrangements (if needed) or suggest additional activities. With all this and so much more, The Golfer’s Paradise Package at the Portola is truly one of a kind!

Golf on the Monterey Peninsula just got a whole lot better!

 

FIM Superbike World Championship

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013
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Photo Courtesy of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

 Home to one of the world’s most renowned racetracks, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, will be playing host the FIM Superbike World Championship Monterey Round, racing into town, September 27-29, 2013.

Featuring iconic manufacturers like BMW, Aprilia and Ducati, the riders and their teams are racing high-performance bikes so similar to the ones found in the showrooms that you’ll think that they were driven straight from the dealer!  If you have a need for speed and a thirst for adrenaline, this three-day racing extravaganza is one you won’t want to miss.

The racers’ only visit to the United States, the FIM Superbike World Championship is a fantastic opportunity to watch these acclaimed international and acclaimed racers. Coveted as the best in the world, these 25 riders line-up on the starting grid, setting the stage for an entertaining and exhilarating hard-fought race at every turn.  This racing spectacular is bound to be the thrill of the Fall season, leaving the competition in the dust!

Just a 15-20 minute ride from the Portola Hotel & Spa, the FIM Superbike World Championship at the legendary Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is so close you can feel the power of these racing bikes.  Advanced tickets are available online or at the gate, starting at a mere $20 for a Friday-only ticket to $70 for a three-day General Admission ticket.  Visit the ticketing page of the website above for full details on all ticket options, including the coveted VIP packages.

On your marks, get set, go!

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.