Tasting Room Series

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What a whirlwind the past few weeks have been! From almost a week in NJ to over a week in California to arriving home late last night from a long weekend in Puerto Rico, I feel like I have been on the road and in the air nonstop. I’ve loved it. While I do crave routine, there’s something about a change of perspective that is really inspiring and motivating. It’s good to be home though (and planning our next trip, which is to Camden, Maine in just a few weeks!)

While my husband had a conference in San Francisco, I spent my days working on East Coast time, generally 5:00 am Pacific time until around 1:00 or 2:00, then taking time to explore San Francisco on my own, which was so fun. I still have so many blog posts left, but since food is such an important part of this blog, I bring you a quick peek into some of my San Francisco food and drink finds.

Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant San Francisco

Before a very long walk on Ocean Beach and in Golden Gate Park, I fueled up with a Beach Louie Salad at the Beach Chalet. I wanted something super fresh but also something hearty and filling to get me through the day, and this delicious combination did both. The views from the Beach Chalet are stunning, which certainly set the mood for a fun day of San Francisco exploration.

Magnolia Brewery

I walked for four hours straight in the warm California sun, and my reward in Haight-Ashbury was a cold Ripple in Cloud Water beer at the Magnolia Gastropub and Brewery. This cute corner brew pub was a fun stop for me to rest my feet and refresh with a delicious beer and for some people-watching.

Magnolia Brewery  

After a long hot shower when I returned, I headed to a trendy spot, The Cavalier, for solo dinner. I really enjoy dining alone at times. And I immensely enjoyed my black cod with truffle and the incredible half an avocado with pickled fennel, beets, and red onion. It was a heavenly blend of richness and freshness. The restaurant vibe was great, and while I had a great time alone, I would love to dress up and come back with a group.

 Cavalier San Francisco

Wattle Creek Winery

Since I was in California, I of course made time to find a wine tasting room in San Francisco. On another day of walking, I made my way to Wattle Creek Winery, where I started tasting wines, got to the Viognier, and loved it so much I decided I wanted to stop there and have a glass. The tasting room in San Francisco is in the heart of Ghirardelli Square, and with the sun shining, a musician playing nearby, a delicious glass of wine and a friendly tasting room staff, I was one happy traveler.

Wattle Creek Winery

Ghirardelli Square

That night, I opted for takeout and TV. . . walking those San Francisco hills can definitely take it out of you, and the time zone change meant I was ready for bed by 9 most nights! Oasis Grill in the Financial District has been a favorite for tired takeout in the past, and I loved this falafel and eggplant wrap. I have been craving it ever since!

falafel wrap

We spent the next few days in Mendocino at the Heritage House Resort, and when I returned to San Francisco for a work event, finally had dinner at The Slanted Door in the Ferry Building. I had been to San Francisco so many times and never visited this favorite waterfront hotspot, so I was very excited.

I didn’t disappoint! Talk about cravings. . . I want to eat this food every day. Go with a group, and share as many dishes as possible. Four of us put quite a dent in the menu, devouring all sorts of rolls and noodles and crunchy, spicy, fresh vegetables.

We also polished off a bottle of Croatian wine, which was a highlight of the evening.

The Slanted Door

The Slanted Door

Some people may feel that the Ferry Building restaurants are too touristy, but I still love it. There’s some great food, and the views definitely don’t hurt!

Bay Bridge Sunset

Because of the blizzard back at home, I got a bonus day in San Francisco and was not only able to head back to Sonoma for wine tasting at Gloria Ferrer and Anaba, but we also got introduced to a very cool wine bar I almost don’t want to share. . .

High Treason is the creation of two former fine dining somms who have taken their knowledge and experience and opened up a completely chill local wine bar with ridiculously good small plates and a really interesting wine list, which they know inside and out. If we didn’t have to get to the airport, I would have stayed all night. 

 High Treason

High Treason

I’m beyond lucky that my job, my husband’s job, and blogging have allowed me to have so many of the experiences I have had this year. I am definitely happiest with a suitcase packed and travel research notes all over the place!

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Tags: Food, San Francisco, Travel, travel blog, travel media, wine

Sunday dinner makes those dark winter Sundays a bit more bearable. Add in a delicious Navarra Tempranillo, fun people, and a silly dog, and Sunday becomes positively joyful. It’s a tradition I highly recommend starting.

principe de viana reserva tempranillo

 

 

mashed butternut squash

 

roasted vegetables

 

red wine gravy

 

Sunday dinner    

The menu:

Slow roasted pot roast, seared first with garlic and onions, then popped into the slow cooker with a 1/4 cup of red wine, two shots of espresso, black pepper, sea salt on low for six hours

Red wine gravy, made with liquid from the slow cooker and a nice brown roux

Roasted veggies – parsnips, potatoes, and carrots, slow roasted in olive oil, salt, and pepper

Mashed butternut squash

Crusty baguette

Chocolate cake from South End Buttery

Príncipe de Viana Reserva 2011- One of the wines generously sent to me by Navarra Wine, this 100% Tempranillo was one I was waiting to share with some serious wine-loving friends. I knew a roast would pair really well with it, and Sunday dinner in itself is enough of an occasion to bring out the special wine, if you ask me!

Aged in oak barrels, with a deep garnet red color, this lovely wine had notes of cherry and smoky dark chocolate, full of flavor but balanced enough to not overpower our dinner. The menu went perfectly with it, from the umami flavors in the slow cooked roast to the earthiness and bit of spice in the roasted vegetables. The last few sips went to wash down dark chocolate cake, which only brought out the cherry characteristics of the wine. Really lovely.

In this fast-paced world we live in, there’s something so soothing about taking the day to prepare a meal and to share good wine with fun people. Slowing down on a Sunday is definitely one way of dealing with the Sunday scaries if, like me, they tend to dominate the day!

 

Thank you to Navarra Wines for sharing some of their delicious wines with me to pair with food and share reviews with all of you.

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Tags: Navarra, roast, slow cooker, Spanish wine, Sunday dinner, Tempranillo, wine, wine of navarra, Wine Wednesday

Being a Boston food and travel blogger as well as  a publicist/social media consultant has always been an interesting combo for me. It’s definitely helped me to grow my circle of blogger friends and contacts, allowed me to stay in the loop on local media and events, and it’s helped me craft how I want to interact with (and how I DON’T want to interact) other bloggers.

It’s always fun when the two come together in one place, and on Monday that’s exactly what happened. A bunch of Boston bloggers came together at the Olive Connection Brookline ( client of mine since summer 2015) to taste Nautical Gin cocktails and an array of wines that a colleague of mine works with.

Olive Connection Brookline

The event was a casual get-together that allowed bloggers to check out the beautiful gift items that the Olive Connection has for the holidays and to mingle in a festive setting. It was fun!

cheese and charcuterie

Olive Connection is a beautiful store offering so many different artisan food items like charcuterie, pastas, sauces, coffee, tea, and of course olives, olive oil, and vinegar,

rainbow pasta gift  

pasta and sauce They put out a delicious spread of snacks that featured ingredients from the store such as bruschetta, shrimp with amazing artisan cocktail sauce, crudite with a beet horseradish dip, and more.

holiday food spread

And my favorite, brownies made with their blood orange olive oil.

blood orange olive oil brownies

Nautical Gin was on hand with their beautiful bottles of craft American gin, making their signature Gimlet cocktail as well as a festive Gin and Jam cocktail made with local Doves and Figs jam.

For the cocktail recipe, visit the Nautical Gin Instagram page.

 

gin and jam Nautical Gin cocktail

Nautical Gin makes a great holiday gift! Find it in a store near you: http://www.nauticalgin.com/where-to-buy.html

 

Nautical Gin cocktails

All of the wines we tasted were delicious and perfect for holiday entertaining.

Don Melchor

Trivento Golden Reserve

Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem

Peter Zemmer Pinot Noir

St Urbans-Hof Wiltinger

Ferraton Pere et Fils Samorens White

Peter Zemmer Pinot Grigio

Trivento Amado Sur Torrontes

Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Sauvignon Blanc

Grazing on small bites, cocktails, and sips of wine while mingling with really interesting and fun bloggers was a wonderful way to spend a chilly December evening!

Thank you to all of the Boston bloggers who attended and to our hosts the Olive Connection, the wineries, and of course Nautical Gin for the cocktail gin-spiration.

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Tags: bloggers, Boston, Boston bloggers, Brookline, Food, food bloggers, gifts, gin, gourmet, lifestyle bloggers, PR, small plates, social media, wine, wine bloggers, wine tasting, work

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