Posts Tagged ‘Portola Hotel’

For the Love of Pumpkin

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
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 Fall is upon us and that means it’s time for all things pumpkin.  This weekend as I strolled through the grocery store pumpkin flavored goodies filled the aisles.  Pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin cereal, pumpkin scones, pumpkin butter, pumpkin ravioli – you name it!

So I thought I would repost one of my favorite Autumn-inspired baked goodies from the Portola Hotel & Spa’s Executive Chef, Jason Giles – a Pumpkin Roll.  Have fun and let’s celebrate the flavors of Fall!

 

Originally posted, November 14. 2012

When it comes to holiday baking I’m always on the search for something new and different that will “wow” family and friends. I decided to go straight to the top and asked Executive Chef Jason Giles at the Portola Hotel & Spa to share one of his favorites (that was also easy enough for a rookie baker like me) and VOILA, he had the answer! So here it is, Chef Jason’s Pumpkin roll, delicious and completely doable! Enjoy and happy baking!

Chef Jason’s Pumpkin Roll

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (after reducing on stove see below)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

2. Pumpkin filling tends to have high moisture content, so I like to gently cook the pumpkin puree in a skillet over low heat for about 10-15 minutes to remove excess water and intensify the pumpkin flavor.  Cool completely before adding to recipe.

3. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.

4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes.

5. Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner’s sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.

6. Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.

7. When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it and spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

 

P.S. Need a great pumpkin cookie recipe – try another one of Chef Giles’ recipes! Click Here

Fun Fall Activities for the Kids

Monday, October 20th, 2014
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Although California’s warm weather continues, there is the unmistakable feeling of Fall in the air. While we don’t have the same explosion of color that the trees in New England have, our incredible growing climate allows the Monterey Peninsula to have Halloween themed farms and events aplenty this time of year. The kids and especially their parents will be especially thrilled to have so many options within such a short distance.

For a good old fashioned Halloween experience, check out Swank Farms in Hollister or Borchard Farms in Salinas. Swank Farms offers an over the top bevy of Halloween activities including a fantastic corn maze that becomes a haunted event at night and a more relaxed pumpkin patch. It also offers an interactive Kiddy Corral as well as a Pumpkin Catapult and Corn Ear Cannon, bouncy elements and a fully stocked snack shack and store. Check the website for the most current schedule of events and tickets and be prepared to be haunted!

Borchard Farms, home of the giant pumpkins also offers a family friendly corn maze, a spooky ghost town, a haunted barn and a petting zoo for kids of all ages. The ghost town is perfect for the little ones as it is 10 and under only and includes pumpkin bounce houses, a haystack maze, a leap the pumpkins game and plenty of Halloween photo op areas.  The haunted barn is a bit scarier and is great for your older ghosts and goblins.  Both Swank and Borchard Farms are also great for picking up pumpkins and decorations for your home or office.

A more relaxed family experience can be found at Earthbound Farms in Carmel Valley. The organic farm offers a wide range of regular and specialty pumpkins amongst a tranquil setting. The farm includes an expansive selection of other organic fruit and vegetables, as well as premade food and other offerings made on site including ice cream, soft serve and other kitchen goodies. The farm stands also include a cut your own herd garden and a walking labyrinth and an interactive kid’s garden with touchable foliage.

If you’ve already got your fill of farm, you can enjoy the thrill of a pirate’s treasure hunt at the Portola Hotel & Spa in Monterey. The Portola Hotel’s Pirates Program is a great way to engage your little buccaneer while at the hotel and emerge them into a world of high-seas adventure. Guests of the hotel from 3-12 years old can participate for free and will receive a Portola Pirate Bag and a self-guided treasure map so you can hunt for buried treasure.

Or, you can visit Downtown Pacific Grove on October 25th, 2014 for a free family friendly trick or treating event. Between 10am-4pm costumed kids and a responsible adult are invited to take to the streets of Pacific Grove and enjoy candy and toys given out at participating businesses while being entertained by musicians throughout downtown.

There is no shortage of Halloween events throughout the Monterey Peninsula. On your October visit, don’t have a fright, have fun and enjoy the spooktacular times today!

The Fourth Annual Monterey Beer Garden – Brews, Views & More!

Friday, September 26th, 2014
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It’s beer at its crafty, sudsy and tasty best; outdoors and all over! The Monterey Beer Garden is back for its fourth annual installment and this year is shaping up to be best yet. The hop-based festivities start at high noon and run until 4pm this Saturday, September 27, 2014. The event features 15 of California’s best craft breweries including:  event host Peter B’s Brewpub, Alvarado Street Brewery Co., Boulder Creek Brewery, Discretion Brewing, Drakes Brewing, English Ales Brewery, Firestone Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewing Co., Highway 1 Brewing Co., Santa Clara Brewing, Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, Seabright Brewery, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Stone Brewing Co., Tied House Microbrewery, Triple Rock Brewing Co. and Uncommon Brewers.

Located at the historic Custom House Plaza by the bay in downtown Monterey, the Monterey Beer Garden has grown in popularity each year and with this amazing line-up of breweries, it will be sure to be a hit. AND this year make sure to stop by the Schoch Family Farmstead Cheese booth to sample their local cheese aged in Peter B’s very own stout!

102.1 KRML we will be broadcasting live bringing the sounds and fun to all their listeners and rock n’ roll cover band, Velvet Plum will entertain attendees throughout the afternoon. New to the Monterey Beer Garden this year is the photo fun of the Popshots photo booth from Pocketful of Plans and media partner 831 Magazine.

More than just brews, BBQ and fun, the Monterey Beer Garden benefits local nonprofit, Save Our Shores, with a portion of event proceeds going to help keep beaches throughout the Central Coast clean and garbage-free. In addition, the Monterey Beer Garden is sponsored by the Portola Hotel & Spa, Monterey County Weekly and Monterey Signs, all local businesses, dedicated to supporting their community.

For tickets and more info visit www.montereybeergarden.com  and make sure you’re on hand to experience craft beer as it was meant to be.

“Beer here” this Saturday!

Please drink responsibly. The Monterey Beer Garden has partnered with UBER, providing safe rides for all attending, to and from the event.

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.

It’s Easy Being Green – Even on Vacation!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014
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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.