WineCountry Staff: October 2010 Archives

World Series Wines

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What to Quaff With What to Eat While Tuning In
By Courtney Cochran

AT&T Park - home to SF's National-League-topping Giants - is renowned for its fancy game fare (Gilroy garlic fries, anyone?), though beer usually trumps wine as game-viewing-beverage-of-choice at the LEED-certified park.  Still, we know that vinous-inclined ball fans watching from home will no doubt reach for the corkscrew come this evening's World Series kickoff game.  Accordingly, we've put together a few suggested food and wine pairings for those of you who prefer the likes of Zin while taking in our team's next win.

Peanuts
Where would a true ball fan be without this classic game viewing staple?  When tucking into 'nuts, there's nothing more fitting with which to pair them than a crisp sparkling wine.  Why? Its acidity will deftly offset all the salt in this treat, while its bubbly profile and creamy mousse recall beer (though we know bubbly is better!).

*Make 'em gourmet: Upgrade your traditional basic nut to fancy Virginia versions.

Hot Dogs
We can't imagine a ball game without 'dogs.  Accordingly, uncork a fruity, medium-bodied red like Pinot Noir or Cru Beaujolais (for the latter, we like versions from Morgon and Brouilly) when tucking into this meaty treat.  These wines' mellow tannins will stand up to dogs' chewy texture, while their fruity flavor profiles make great foils to the savory taste of this choice game fare.

*Make 'em gourmet: Opt for Polish sausage franks for a richer, beefier taste.

Hungarian Goulahahahahahahash

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goulash.jpgRecipe submitted by Liz Vezer of Vezer Family Vineyard

Visit picturesque Suisun Valley, Napa Valley's neighbor by 6 miles! Cooking Class, Dinner & Tasting with Liz for a special occasion reservation at the Vezer Family Estate ... add an escorted ATV Vineyard tour for the perfect day. Open year-round No Appointment for Mankas Corner or Blue Victorian Tasting Rooms. No Fee Wine Club.

Ingredients:
 
  • 1 Bottle Vezer Family Vineyard 2006 Zinfandel - I personally use 1/2 to drink while cooking & 1/2 to cook in the recipe
  • 4-5lbs lean stew meat - cut into chunks so it absorbs the wine better
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 10-12 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 lbs. Potatoes
  • 2 lbs Carrots
  • 10-12 TBS Hungarian Paprika
  • 3 large containers of beef stock
  • 1/4-1/2Cup Olive Oil (you decide how 'virginal')
  • 2-3 Turkish Bay leaves
  • 2 TBS Sea Salt
Serves approximately 1 tribe or 8 people.

Where to Watch the World Series

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By Deirdre Bourdet

giantsBaseball.jpgNAPA VALLEY, CA - The Giants are in the World Series! Join fellow fan-atics at these wine country spots to cheer on San Francisco's own orange and black.


Calistoga Inn & Brewery. Beer and baseball are a classic pairing, and this downtown Calistoga bar/restaurant/inn also boasts an award-winning microbrewery, which sells 100% of its beers on the premises. Crispy calamari and buffalo wings rub shoulders with steamed mussels, oysters, shrimp cocktail and Dungeness crab cakes on the appetizer menu, and bring a taste of the bay to northern Napa Valley.

With a pint of local brew and bowl full of seafood, you will be more than set for game time. 1250 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga.

Take a Gourmet Retreat

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casaLanaGourmetRetreats.jpgCALISTOGA, CA - What better way to experience the essence of wine country cuisine than with a gourmet retreat? If you are an avid home cook or food enthusiast, then take your cooking to the next level with a culinary vacation in Napa Valley.

At Gourmet Retreats, located in Calistoga, CA at CasaLana B&B, sign up for hands-on cooking classes taught in a professionally equipped kitchen. To ensure personalized attention and one-on-one attention, classes are limited to only 9 participants. They include printed recipe handouts and a generous sampling or meal of the food prepared served with wine/beverage. All kitchen equipment is, of course, provided as well.

Gourmet Retreats offers Culinary Vacations, Boot Camp, One-Day Wine Country Classes, and Gourmet Weekend Retreats as well. Choose from a variety of class lengths ranging from as little as 5 hours to 5 days.

View sample Itineraries for a Culinary Vacation



Bourbon Pepper Tenderloin

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Submitted by Gourmet Retreats at Casa Lana B&B
10 Servings

gourmetRetreats.jpgINGREDIENTS:
  • 3 pounds Beef Tenderloin, trussed
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon achiote powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons fresh cracked black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil, for searing


Submitted by Kenwood Vineyards

October is National Pizza Month, though Americans don't need a special month to indulge in this lunch and dinnertime favorite. An astonishing 93% of Americans eat pizza at least once a month, and every man, woman and child in the country eats an average of 46 slices of pizza per year. Pizza and a glass of wine are a natural pairing, yet few food and wine matchmakers have ever tried this tasty combination - pizza and Sauvignon Blanc.

Pairing pizza and Sauvignon Blanc makes perfect, palate-pleasing sense. While toppings can range from almost nothing to almost everything, tomato sauce and cheese lie at the heart of pizza's scrumptious flavors, and Sauvignon Blanc complements both. Sauvignon Blanc's forward fruit/herb character enhances the herb-infused flavors of tomato sauce, while its crisp acidity serves as a foil to the richness of the cheese.

Calistoga's Bed & Breakfast Morning Treasures

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brannanCottageRecipe.jpgWhy is staying in a bed and breakfast such a treat?? Two words-"The FOOD!". Calistoga is brimming with bed and breakfasts with wonderful, dedicated chefs all showcasing their delectable goodies Click below for these recipes and more....or better yet, just book a room!


Brannan Cottage Inn


Calistoga Wine Way Inn and Craftsman Inn


Chateau de Vie


The Chanric Inn


If you're not a culinary genius in the kitchen or would simply like someone else to be the chef for once,  like we said...book a room!  Right now Calistoga is full of "Sweet Lodging Deals" making this a perfect time to book a fall or winter getaway, relax and enjoy life's little pleasures.  

Last Call for Martini House...

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Martini House sign.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

For nine years, Martini House has been the place for a sophisticated night out in downtown St. Helena.  The romantic garden patio, Pat Kuleto interiors, and semi-secret Cellar Bar offered a comfortable scene for everyone, and chef-owner Todd Humphries' seasonal wine country menu consistently hit the spot in every context.  The restaurant earned a Michelin star in 2008, three stars from the San Francisco Chronicle, and was constantly touted as one of the best special occasion spots in the Napa Valley.  

When the news broke last week that the restaurant had been sold and would be closing October 30, a shock wave of dismay and mourning struck the Bay Area.  Owners Todd Humphries, Pat Kuleto, and Richard Miyashiro have sold Martini House to restaurateurs Brian Bennett and Paul Fleming (a founder of P.F. Chang's and owner of several other successful restaurants), who plan to re-open a new restaurant concept in the Craftsman-style space after a period of closure.  Humphries and Miyashiro are also rumored to be plotting a new restaurant venture, possibly in burgeoning downtown Napa, but Martini House as we know it will be gone at the end of this month.

Bounty Hunter Beer Can Chicken

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BeerCanChickenHiRez.jpgSubmitted by Chef Will Wright, Bounty Hunter Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ

You might have heard about it from a local or seen it on television, now you can make and taste it for yourself! A guest favorite at our Wine Bar & Smokin' BBQ haunt in Downtown Napa, it's not the only draw - sidle up to the bar, or sit on an actual saddle and experience over 40 wines by-the-glass and the best BBQ around.  975 First St., Napa CA www.bountyhunterwinebar.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 lb. whole chicken
  • 1 can of Tecate beer
  • 1 lime, cut in half

  • 5 lb. pre-mixed Cajun spice
  • 1 C fennel seed
  • 1 C coriander seed
  • 1 C white sesame seeds
  • ½ C dried thyme
  • ½ C dried oregano
  • ½ C smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. Coleman's dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
And a few of our own secret spices.  Feel free to add any of your own favorites!
This will make enough spice rub for twelve chickens - store what you don't use in an air-tight container for up to one month in a cool dry place.

Fall Recipes

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PumpkinCurrySoupl.jpgIt's sad to see the summer go, but Fall beckons with a swirl of autumn leaves and delicious comfort foods. Pair your favorite dishes with wine, and you're all set for a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon curled up by the fire or reading a book in your special chair.  See the round up of recipes we found!

Sweet Potato Mash

Pumpkin French Toast

Roasted Salmon w/ Lentils & Bacon

Ziti w/ Portobello Mushrooms

Mortadella and Cheese Panini

Spicy Pumpkin Pound Cake

Pumpkin Curry Soup

Oktoberfest in Wine Country

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wineriesofnapavly.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

Just because Napa is known more for its grapes than its beer doesn't mean beer-lovers should look elsewhere for entertainment.  The number of local breweries is growing, and new opportunities to taste beer alongside (or even instead) of wine are popping up all around, just in time for October. 

The Wineries of Napa Valley tasting room next to the Visitor Center launched downtown Napa's first beer tasting bar at the end of September.  The casual tasting counter (separate from the wine tasting counter for permitting reasons) offers five Northern California artisanal brews on tap, available by the pint for $5 each, or as part of a tasting flight of four, for $8.  The current lineup includes Racer 5 IPA from Bear Republic Brewery, Blue Star wheat beer and Scrimshaw pilsner from North Coast Brewing Company, Boont Amber Ale from Anderson Valley Brewing Company, and an organic California Blonde Ale from Eel River Brewing Company in Humboldt County.  I'm hard pressed to imagine anything more refreshing after a long day of wine tasting than a flight of these effervescent local beauties. 

Spicy Pumpkin Pound Cake

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Seasonal Recipe from Suisun Valley AVA

Tis the season for pumpkins. Take the family out for a fun filled day of pumpkin picking. Save a few for the ghoulish activities around the corner or make some pumpkin treats for everyone to enjoy! See recipe below:

Spicy Pumpkin Pound Cake

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon whiskey or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  2 cups lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin fresh
  • Powdered sugar for dusting the cake

Calistoga's Michelin Star at the Bar

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solbar3.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

I love dining at restaurant bars.  Your server is hardly ever out of reach, there is always something to watch (the bartender, neighboring patrons, the liquor bottles), and the meal experience is far more flexible and forgiving than at a traditional table in the dining room.  Dining alone, ordering plates to share, or ordering just dessert is all perfectly acceptable when you're seated at the bar--and if it isn't, you know you're at the wrong bar.  Dining at the bar also lets visitors to high-end places feel out a restaurant's style without reservations, and with less formality.  When a Michelin-starred restaurant has bar dining, those are the seats I beeline for without a thought to reservations.

The New School of Fish on the Napa River

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Lobster Roll.jpgBy Deirdre Bourdet

The City of Napa straddles the Napa River, once a plentiful source of Chinook salmon, steelhead trout, bass, and sturgeon.  Although the river's edible bounty has diminished with human development of the area, the recent wave of seafood restaurants opening along both banks is restoring some of the river's former glory as the place to go for delicious fish.

Morimoto Napa led the way when it opened in the Riverfront building in August this year, bringing Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's deft and respectful style of seafood preparation.  Pristine freshness, creative compositions, and sophisticated flavors make this the go-to restaurant for sushi lovers in the North Bay.  (See our previous coverage here.)

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