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Visiting an Organic Winery

November 30th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 (Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

Whenever you are near Northern California’s wine country it is time to visit one of the 350 wineries!

I stayed at the Farmhouse Inn, in Forestville, a great location for a quick 15- minute drive to the Michel-Schlumberger Benchland Wine Estate close to Sonoma.  Michel-Schlumberger is an organic winery with an entirely different approach to growing grapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Morris, Vice President of Marketing and Direct Consumer Sales, walked with me on a tour of the vineyards. “In organic farming everything is about building soil health and building nutrients in the soil naturally. Instead of using pesticides or herbicides, our winery uses nature in planting, farming and a lot of different ways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


Everything is special at the Waverly Restaurant- Cannery Casino

November 26th, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

 (Photos by Cannery Casino)

I stopped at the entrance to the Waverly Restaurant and was immediately impressed by the dark wood around the wide doorway.

Inside their elegant setting gave me the feeling this was going to be a meal to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With extra large booths, life-sized paintings across the walls and perfect lighting for atmosphere yet not too dark, I had a chance to look at the menu. What a selection! Waverly’s menu offered many original surprises that are not found anywhere else.

Traditional Turkey Dinners in Victory's Cafe & Cannery Row Buffet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Even the bread was special! As Executive Chef Steve Bacchetta, in charge of all five of the West Side Cannery’s restaurants, explained, “Our trio basket of breads include  White Chocolate Bread prepared with real white chocolate, a rustic almost country, almost sour dough bread and a spicy thin lavash. These complement each other because of the combination of the sweet, sour and spicy flavors.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Illusions

November 11th, 2011 • by admin

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE-

November 5th, 2011 • by admin

SAFETY FOR THE HOLIDAYS GIFTS

 
 
 
 Amidst the holiday excitement, emergency preparedness may be the last thing on our minds, but every home should be prepared with emergency safety kits this winter.
 
 
Co-licensed with the American Red Cross, the TurboDyne series from Etón Corporation (http://www.etoncorp.com/) is a new line of emergency preparedness tech products that provides a user-friendly design and advanced features. 
Blending technology with sustainable, industrial design consisting of expressive details, bold forms, and high contrast colors, the TurboDyne series merits everyday use in addition to emergency situations.Road Torq – self-powered spotlight and emergency beacon designed to help during a roadside emergency; features a retractable, reflective tripod, enabling the device to be used as a spotlight, or stood upright to be a steady or flashing beacon for passing motorists. In addition, the LED is on a folding hinge, allowing the beam to face upright for under-car visibility or sideways to shine on tires.

The Axis and The Rover – safety radios with a much more efficient hand turbine – just one-minute of cranking yields 15 minutes of LED light and/or radio use. In addition to providing a radio signal, the radios in the TurboDyne series also provide an LED light source, clock, and the ability to charge a cell phone via USB.

The perfect holiday gifts for home and vehicles to ensure you’re safe as you celebrate at home or travel for the holiday, the series is available at Brookstone for $40 – $70, depending on item.
  


A Dinner can become a Feast

November 4th, 2011 • by admin

 

Gaviotas Restaurant inside the Sheraton Buganvilias Resort

(Photos shot by Sandy Zimmerman ) 

When we arrived at Gaviotas Restaurant, their setting was startling. Just a few steps from the beach and beautiful Bandaras Bay, Gaviotas was the perfect place to watch the sunset. As we walked in, the atmosphere had touches of elegance with their unique mega- man-sized candles created by overlapping melted candles into an enormous base to place smaller candles. The pianist played ballads and love songs to set the mood. We were already beginning to enjoy ourselves.

Man-Sized Candles made with overlaping melted wax for a Giant Candle Holder

Gaviotas is truly everything you would want in a gourmet restaurant. Instead of simply ordering an appetizer, entrée and dessert from the menu, Roberto Cortez Rosendiz, Maitre Sommelier, and Executive Chef Roberto Alcaraz Linares, created a special five- course menu which provided a sampling of several dishes paired with international wines. What a feast!

You can eat the tree, branches, flowers and cakes!

Sommelier Roberto presented the first course their False Ravioli included scallops, mango, vinegar, Chile and lime gelatin. The light Sauvignon Blanc Rincones Wine from Chile had a fruitiness that paired well with the appetizer. Roberto discussed the details about the preparation of the False Ravioli and the qualities of the Chilean wine which he called “aromatic, soft and sensual.”

I have tasted salmon prepared in many ways but Chef Roberto was so creative for the second course, his Salmon Tart combined the flavors of chopped salmon, green Chile, onions, cilantro, lemon and Tajin, a tangy spicy seasoning.  

The seasoning awakened the salmon without overpowering its flavor. The tart was so tasteful I would have enjoyed it as an entrée. 

Steak & Coconut Shrimp!


From the Farm to the Table

November 4th, 2011 • by admin
Seared Diver Scallop with Mashed Potato and Squash Carpaccio (Photo by Farmhouse Inn) (Art by Sandy Zimmerman)

 My trip to northern California had so many surprises. I was impressed by the Farmhouse Inn, even breakfast was an event!  Yes, Inns are usually known for their breakfast but here they served a complimentary two course made-to-order gourmet meal. 

I had a first course of Donut Muffins and strawberries with golden balsamic vinegar. Then there was a choice from two second- courses. Either Huevos Rancheros (Eggs Rancheros) poached fresh eggs from their own farm along with black beans, chorizo, queso fresco, home- made salsa and fried tortillas or baked Blueberry French toast. The French toast was different from any other French toast I have ever tasted with their nightingale baguette, blueberries, salted pecans, Chantilly whipped cream, blueberry-maple syrup, and cherry wood smoked bacon.  It was so tasty and such a flavorful combination! Another breakfast featured Mascarpone stuffed French toast.

Lamb Chops with herb curry Couscous- (Photo by Farmhouse Inn) (Art by Sandy Zimmerman)

Catherine and Joe Bartolomei, the owners of the Farmhouse Inn, offer such great menus which change daily so you should be ready for spectacular taste treats.  Catherine feels, “A farmhouse is what everyone dreams a farm house could be. The experience we are offering is unique. Our food is wholesome and nutritious.  Most of the time, the eggs are from our own chickens and the produce from our gardens.”

Murals of five generations of the Bartolomei family. (Photo by Sandy Zimmerman)

Joe discussed their Executive Chef, “We have a Michelin Chef who spends half-a-day stopping at 4-5 gardens while getting from his home to work. He returns with boxes and boxes of produce and decides his menu each day. No menu stays longer than a day. The fruit you eat was on the vine eight hours earlier. It is that quick and that fresh.

Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit- (Photo by Farmhouse Inn)- (Art by SZ)

 

 

 


Africa is in California!

November 2nd, 2011 • by Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman) 

I found some very exciting attractions while touring northern California! Safari West is compared to the African Serengeti! The sounds of animals greet you at the entrance.  Safari West is not a zoo.     

Terry, one of the guides, drove me up to the mountains around the 400 acre wildlife preserve in an authentic Safari vehicle.  It was an eerie feeling when he got out to open the gate, drove in and closed the gate behind us. We were in the enclosure with the wild animals! The public must stay in the truck during the tour and are not allowed to walk around.  There were antelopes and giraffes close enough to take their pictures.

 We could see how the animals live in their environment. The rhinos sat sunning and rolling around in the mud but they were too dangerous to allow anyone to enter the gate.  Some of the other dangerous animals were the Cape Buffalos.

Terry discussed interesting background facts, (Continued)



The James Bond Wine Table

May 15th, 2010 • by admin
When you visit Del Friscos, do not miss seeing the most amazing $1.2 million dollar James Bond table. Looking like a normal table at first, Jacque touched her remote control pad and the table suddenly opened to present the James Bond OO7 Films Wine Collection. Eighteen magnums of Cabernet wine from Napa Valley wineries each represent different Bond films. These one- of-a kind bottles are each laser-edged.

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