Sunday, October 23, 2011

Last Burger Sunday of the Year - Why oh Why Does it have to End?

OMG - the incredible Jeff Scott supplied us with the most FABULOUS burgers every other Sunday all summer long for Burger Sundays. But alas, all good things must come to an end. "Sigh." But of course Sarah was there to capture every moment of the last Burger Sunday of the year - how could I miss it??? I was there in full force with my posse, drinking waaaay too much vino :)

First off, we order our burgers (Portabello mushroom burgers that Chef Jeff added not only onions to but wild blue berries to for sweetness - Chef Jeff, we LOVE you!) and we sit down at a picnic bench, only to find out that we're sitting at the "Tannat Table." OMG - it must be kismet as Tannat is my favorite grape of all time. Here's a photo of the Lone Madrone flier of the Tannat Table:

I haven't posted it yet - it's a total exclusive - but here's a photo of myself & Neil at a Burger Sunday earlier this sumer where we drank Tannat in the hot sun - proving that no matter what time, place or temperature, you can ALWAYS drink Tannat - you may pass out, but that's irrelevant. Too funny :)

Since it was a hot day, we started off drinking a nice old bottle of La Mezcia which is a blend of Grenache Blanc & Albarino. It's my favorite white that Neil makes as it s so bright & crisp - perfect for such a hot day!

For round two, Michelle got us a bottle of the Chenin Blanc, which is from 40 year old vines! It is a much "bigger" wine with a luscious, velvety mouthfeel. *Really* good with the burgers. And my goodness - the burgers were just amazing. I cannot think of one way to improve them further - Chef Jeff, you did it again!

The rest of this blog is "easy" as I'm just documenting my buddies for the day :) First off is Deb, my new BFF who is pouring wine for the first time ever! Doesn't she look like a natural? Way to go, Deb! Alongside her is my dear Amanda who works at Lone Madrone:

Then here's a photos of the band: Martin Parish Bands who rocked it for us all day:

Then here's a photos of my "crew" - my "best of the best girls" that keep me sane in the Paso area:

Left to right: Kathy - Sam's sister from OC, SAM - the Queen E.O of Cypher Wine, Michelle, the Marketing/Event Coordinator from 15C, and Lisa, my most favorite partner in crime in the bloggersphere :)

Then here's the gorgeous couple - Neil & Marci (Neil being the winemaker/owner of Lone Madrone):

And here's a photo of my posse all together:

So Sarah is used to bubbles and isn't used to "full on vino" - so I got a bit tipsy partaking in the four bottles that were brought to out table over the course of the afternoon. But that's what makes the last "Burger Sunday" of the year memorable - ahem. (Thankfully I was able to destroy the photos.) Now I just have to wait till next year's Burger Sunday's to start drinking white wine again as I'm dangerous. In the meantime, BUBBLES!!!!  :)

Lots of love to Neil, Marci & Jackie @ Lone Madrone!!! Thanks for the fabulous day - & the bottle of La Mezcia - my favorite white wine of yours :) Much appreciated!

Lone Madrone Winery
2485 Hwy 46 W
Paso Robles, CA

Friday, October 21, 2011

Last Burger Sunday This Sunday @ Lone Madrone!

I'll be there as I can't let the last Burger Sunday of the season pass me by. And I'll probably be blogging, as usual. Come one, come all - this will be a great/crazy Burger Sunday as it's Harvest Festival Weekend!

Burger Sundays @ Lone Madrone Winery 12-3pm
With Burgers (including portabella) by Chef Jeff Scott + great music, fabulous wine & good folks!
2485 Hwy 46W Templeton

See you there!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

I'm high on RAKU Crack!

My dear friend, Stephen Patrick of Stephen Patrick Design designed the interior of the new, fabulous Japanese fusion restaurant, RAKU. OMG! - I mean, I really feel like I was transported back to SoHo, NYC. The place is stunning: so hip and cool, all in a sexy red theme. Stephen is an extremely talented man.

So we crashed the place after I crashed Stephen's Art After Dark Party where Boyfriend & I presented Stephen and his husband Todd with Save the Cocks! t-shirts. You can read about the fun HERE. We had so much fun and had to continue the party, so I finally got the chance to go to RAKU - yay! I've been wanting to go, ever since they opened.

So here we arrive, and Stephen orders us lots of sake and beer to have before we go in. They actually have a pyramid flame, lighting the outside - how cool is that?

Ooo - the Kirren and hot sake were FABULOUS! I had so much fun sitting outside in San Luis on a Friday night - I felt like a very lucky girl.

Our table was ready inside but before we stepped in the front door, I had to get a shot of Stephen in front of his masterpiece:

We walked in. OMG - this place is AMAZING! Totally gorgeous - it sets quite the scene. Can I eat here every lunch & dinner, please? For example, here's the art piece that is the background to the main sushi bar. It's of a tiger and dragon fighting - how gorgeous is that?

Wow. Simply fabulous.

So the backstory: Tony, the owner of RAKU, had RAKU in Grover Beach but wanted to move it to SLO. Stephen used to go to the sushi bar in Grover Beach and thru kismet & common sense, became the one to design the new sushi bar. RAKU means fun in Japanese and my god, did we have fun that night! Fabulous sushi at a reasonable price in a gorgeous setting: who could ask for anything more????

We had waited for a booth so that Stephen could show me the sexy snakeskin fabric. No worries, no snakes were harmed in the making of these booths as they are all plether. But isn't it cool - sexy metallic red & black that sparkles in the low light? Here's Stephen looking sexy, showing it off:

And here's Todd - though you can hardly see him! But what you can see is the fabulous ceiling of umbrellas and lights hanging down - too fun:

Onto the food: Stephen just starts ordering things as he knows the menu and can order the best of the best. Thank you, my dear man. Anytime I go there I will call you for an ordering consultation - everything was exquisite.

We started off with regular edamame which was great, but then moved to spicy/sauteed edamame which was INSANE! Good god - who thought of this! SO good. I'm craving it now as I write this.

We then shared huge bowls of miso soup: REAL miso soup that is actually good for you. That could have been a meal unto itself.

Then comes the sashimi. The salmon was out of this world! I couldn't stop eating it (sorry Stephen!) My god, it just melted in your mouth.

Then roll after roll after roll arrived: I couldn't keep track. Everything was so good - I think I ate until the point where my tummy burst!

Ooo - what's that? There were bottles of volka lit up on the sushi bar. Stephen said, "We're experimenting to see if we want to an exotic martini bar." Hell, yes! I'm up for that! So Stephen brought over one of the vodlka bottles to show me it up close. He lit it all up with his iphone - ingenious :)

What a cool shot! What I'm happy about the most though is that Stephen and I talked about lemon drops, my new favotite drink. He said that he can make an AMAZING lemon drop: Stephen, I'm holding you to it! Let me know when I can come over... and if I can crash the night...ahem.......

Here's Stephen and I all happy with tummies bursting from fabulous food:

And here's a photo of Boyfriend & Todd who laughed it up all night, talking about everything from Save the Cocks! to other things that Stephen and I couldn't understand. As long as the boys were having fun, we were all happy :)

So lucky me, as the night got later and later, Tony the owner decided to hang out with us a bit. All I did was RAVE about his food - I'm his new #1 fan. Here's a hilarious photo of Todd, Tony & Stephen - with Tony being the jokester of the group:

I told Tony his food was like crack -  RAKU Crack! Or else it was like ecstasy which made me insanely happy. Either way, I'm totally addicted, after just one dinner. Get your ass over there stat! You won't regret it. It's sushi of a lifetime.

And if you see Stephen & Todd while you are there, please yell, "Save the Cocks!" at them for me, please :)

Ahem. I need to go there tomorrow @ 7am and wait in line till they open. Yeah, it's that good.

RAKU Japanese Sushi Bar
857 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo

Sunday, October 9, 2011


SAVOR the Central Coast was held last weekend and boy, was it a fabulous day! All the food & wine a Tasting Room Girl could eat & drink - who could ask for anything more?

The day was as gorgeous as gorgeous could be. And lucky me - I was able to go with my dear friend Lisa, who, as you will see, ended up being the most perfect/gorgeous model/sidekick for me for the day :) We arrived, grabbed ourselves a glass of vino and took the first photo of the day together (while we were still sober in the first 5 minutes of arriving.......)

My friend Tina was part of Sunset's "One Block Diet" Contest - meaning that you get your food locally from around "your block." The contest was for folks to gather their neighbors to create the "One Block Diet" Community and then hold a fabulous feast, showing off what they created. Tina, her husband Thomas and her friends made it to the top ten - yay! Her group was named "Bees' Knees" - here's a photo of their board with a bee actually sitting on their logo - too funny - 

Here are Tina & Thomas in front of the board of photos that showed the different aspects of what they did to create the feast:

Teams Bees' Knees didn't win the contest (darn it!) but they deserve a big CONGRATULATIONS for making it to the top ten! It was a lot of work for them - great job, guys!

After the contest winners were announced, Lisa and I started to wander around, specifically looking for our buddies at the 15C booth. (Bubbles? Bubbles? Does anyone have bubbles available? Shoot!) Here's Lisa with my dear Adrienne as well as Doug, Alli's hubby:

So now I was on the hunt to try to find bubbles, but became distracted by all the fabulous food. Wait - who is that? Could it be? Yes! It was Shaun, the head chef from Luna Red. And who was he with? It was Maegen from the Neon Carrot! These are my buddies that I met at the Pinot & Paella Festival - and can you believe it, I was supposed to go to each restaurant and do full blogs on them - though it hasn't happened yet. Oy vey, how time flies......

We continued our search for bubbles, only to run into Bob, Jackie's husband (Jackie works with me at Halter Ranch & is a fellow lover of Herman Story wines.) Bob lost Jackie and was trying to figure out how to find her.... But then he gave up, found some dessert and did "cheers " for the photo. We love you Bob! (Thankfully Jackie & Bob were reunited - but only after about an hour of searching - oy vey....)

Lisa and I were starting to get tired - it was hot....all the was too much...poor us :) But we found our way over to the Vons Beer Garden - hooray! I took a photo of the scene:

And of course Lisa jumped in before I know it for the photo op - she is a total opportunist :) The rest of the day became not, "Where's Waldo?" but, "Where's Lisa???"

So I have to admit, the BEST food of the day was the prosciutto pizza from Vons with fresh arugula & salt sprinkled over the top. Really. Truly. It was the BEST food of the day. And I'm not alone - many of my fellow industry folks said the same thing. After the event, the Vons pizza is all we talked about. Does that mean that the food at SAVOR really sucked, or is VONS frozen Pizza really that fabulous? Thoughts??

OMG! There they are! My best buddies Stephen Patrick & Todd Lemay - yay!! They said, "We just arrived, this is the first place we've gone to and of course, here you are - you're everywhere!!!" I said, "No - you guys could just sense I was here and like a tractor beam, I pulled you in." :) I wish I could have hung out with them more, but they were on the hunt to find good vino (can I blame them?) But I was able to capture this fabulous shot of the three of us before they ran off:

So off Lisa and I go to see what other food & vino we could find. In a buffet line I suddenly hear, "Hey, Sarah!" It's Donna & Tad from The Taste of San Luis! Wow, guys - must we keep meeting in buffet lines like this? Too funny! It was so great to see them again.

Ok. I have to admit - Though I was searching for bubbles, I couldn't find any, and I didn't love a lot of the vino....But thankfully, Clayhouse Wines was there with their Adobe Pink - yay! That's one of my FAVORITE roses ever and will be featured on an upcoming blog. Anyway, my friend, Laura was probably getting tired of me going to her booth over and over again for more of the Pink, but she sure didn't show it. Good Girl!

Now Clayhouse created a stick-on tattoo for their line of Adobe Wines saying "Red, White & Pink!" Here's Lisa rocking her new tattoo - she's looking pretty hot :)

Off to the old historic barn for another, "Where's Lisa?" photo opportunity:

And the barn itself - all I can say is, "wow."

Back on the road again, still looking of bubbles, when I ran into Lindsey & Sarah - my crew from Halter! Don't the two of them look fabulous? I love Sarah's hat - and Lindsey looks so GQ....

Wait...wait...what is that? Could it be? Are those bubbles? YES! they are bubbles!!! Hooray! Domaine Le Mieux was pouring Vin de Pomme - bubbles made from apples! They even opened a bottle just for me - What a fabulous way to end the day :)

"La la la, la la la la la la la la, la la la la la - I just can't get you outta my head, no your love is all I think about" - that was the music playing at the 15C booth after party - hooray! I didn't know after parties happened @ SAVOR, but of course Alli would make that happen :) My favorite bubbles included - yay!

Here's my dear friend Michelle from 15C with Christian from Artisan Restaurant & Ben from Bladerunner Salon:

Ben delighted us with a dance of him dancing on a pole to the music for a good ten minutes. I have video of it all and trust me, it is HILARIOUS!!!!

It was getting a late in the day - too much food, wine & fun - Lisa passed out with her jug wine:

The fact that she passed out is quite ironic as she took one for the team, and stopped drinking hours earlier as she was the designated driver. Thanks, Lisa! I owe you big time! And BTW - you're a fabulous actress :)

I'm so glad that I was able to attend SAVOR this year - it was too much fun! A big thanks to Sunset Magazine for putting it on - we'll be looking forward to next year's event.

After everything, I attended yet another "After party" for the SAVOR event and had lemon drop after lemon drop after lemon drop....I'd blog about the party, but I don't remember it - hahahahahahahahahaha!! But here's a photo of Lisa - I think it says it all!!!!

Isn't she fabulous? Lisa - can you come with me to every blog worthy event? Please???

Long live SAVOR!