Sunday, January 23, 2011

Stars of Santa Barbara

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Scott's Seafood restaurant in Costa Mesa was the venue for this tasting. About 40 producers were there pouring a variety of wines. Several of these people I had seen Saturday at the Pinot Days tasting. This event was put on by "Learn About Wine". I do know if I attend another event sponsored by this company I will bring my own wine glass. The "small" glasses were ridiculous.

Also no water was available unless you went out to the main bar/restaurant and asked for it. The cheese, bread etc was in another room separate from the tasting.

Tasted at several new wineries along with old favorites. They had a silent auction but fortunately for me my purse with all the credit cards was locked in the trunk of my car at Steve's house.

These events are a really good way of checking out new wineries without having to buy a bottle of wine and then find you are disappointed. One winery that I liked was "Carr". I will have to watch out for then at other events.

On the way out to the parking area one of the producers walked by and gave me an unopened bottle of wine. Made the price of the entrance ticket come down more than half. It was a $48 bottle and who can complain about that.

Dinner at the "Thai"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Got home from the Pinot tasting just in time to grab my wine bag and off to the Tantalizing Thai for a dinner with a very small group of people. 6 of us decided at the last minute to go for dinner. The restaurant is being sold and we decided to dine one last time under the old owners. When we got there we discovered that the new owner had already taken over but one of the old chefs was still there temporarily.

Everyone ordered a dish (instead of being pre-ordered for us). We had the Catfish with Apples, The Crying Tiger Steak, Scallops, Lamb, a beef dish (spicy), ribs, pineapple rice, brown rice and white rice. The food is still good.

Will have to back in a few weeks to see how the new chefs and owner are doing. Maybe worse, maybe better and at least we can hope that it stays the same.

I took a bottle of 2005 Roar Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot. There were several more Pinots and a couple of bottles of champagne along with a chardonnay

Pinot Days

Saturday. January 15, 2011

Headed off to the Barker Hangar at the Santa Monica Airport for a Pinot tasting. Paid extra to get a VIP ticket which got me in 2 hours early and had a "tour" of the Sta Rita Hills producers with Wes Hagen of Clos Pepe. This is the second year for this event.

98 wine producers were there, each pouring from 3 to 6 wines each. Naturally you cannot taste much less drink all of them So it was a pick and choose.

The wineries that I tasted from were, Cargasacchi, Clos Pepe (4 year vertical), Gypsy Canyon (beautiful hand blown bottles), Inception, Ken Brown, Loring, Melville, Olivia Brion, Papapieto Perry (his 777 clone was under the table - good wine) Prodigal, Rozak, and maybe a couple of others. But at this time I had more than enough wine, my palate was gone, I had to drive 45 miles home and I had a 5:30 dinner set up.

We definitely go back in 2012. A good venue and the ticket price was reasonable for what you got. The hangar is a hangar. Concrete floors, not too many places to sit, altho this year they did have a small cafe set up with tables and chairs. The acoustics are terrible but with all the loud talking you just seemed to get into the "mood" little faster.


Thursday. January 13, 2011

Tonight 8 of us gathered at Preveza. We had not been back here for several months. Good chance to compare to the Olive Pit which I ate at Tuesday.

We started off with a wide selection of appetizers. Fried Mozzarella, Dolmades, Spanakopita and a flat bread with cheese and smoked salmon. (no longer on the menu you have to ask for it)
Of course after all of this I am full.

I ordered the Poseidon's Shrimp (shrimp with white wine, olive oil, garlic, fresh tomatoes, herbs, shallots, basil & feta cheese). After it was set it front of me I decided it had too much tomato for me to comfortably eat so Ted, gentlemen that he is (sometimes) traded his linguine with fresh clams with me. All the dishes were good.

I have decided that I do like the Dolmades at Preveza better than the Olive Pit. Both are good but I would say the at Preveza they were a bit more elegant and at Olive Pit more rustic. I feel that the lamb chops at the Olive Pit are a better deal, 5 for $18 compared with 3 for $17.

Corkage is $5 so naturally we had 9 bottles of wine. I have to get back into the habit of writing down the wines again. Alas I cannot remember what was brought except for a 2008 Patricia Greene Pinot, An Italian white wine , Tocai Friucano from Palmini, a french champagne, 2007 Loring Rancho Las Vinas Pinot, a Malbec and I brought a 2005 McKeon Philips Reserve Pinot.

Marc tasted the Patricia Greene Pinot and said it was bad. There was nothing wrong with it. Marc thought it said 2003 instead of 2008 and he has a thing about older wines. He also did not like his 2007 Loring Rancho Las Vinas Pinot. I felt it needed a couple of years aging. So the debate goes on. Young against age.

New Restaurant In Town

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A new restaurant opened up 2 blocks from my "Casa". Stopped in tonight to check it out. A Mediterranean Grill called the Olive Pit.

A different concept, cross between a take out and sit down. Lots of tables but you order at the counter and they give you a number to put on your table (shades of Carl's Jr). They then will deliver the food to your table.

The official opening is Saturday so this is a "shake down" week. Cash only till the credit card machines are working. Very limited wine selection at this time. But corkage is only $5 if you want to bring your own. Their wine glasses are the stemless kind. Great for Cognac and brandy but suck for wine.

They seemed to do a big take out business. Desk was busy all evening. I perched on a chair at a bistro table near the kitchen so I could see how the place was being run.

I ordered the Dolmades, 3 for $5.85. These Dolmades had very good flavor but I would call them more rustic. Next I ordered the lamb chops with a choice of two sides. My selection was the grilled mushrooms and the grilled artichoke hearts. I received 5 chops and the 2 sides along with pita bread for $18. The chops were good and not overcooked. I rounded off the meal with a glass of "ok" red wine at $5. The manager gave me a small pour of the owners homemade red wine. Could not place what is was but it was a decent table wine but don't think it will age more than a year.

A definite go back to restaurant. Several dishes I want to try but I think at $5 corkage I will bring my own wine.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mixed Bag For End Of The Year

November and December 2010

Between being under the weather, doctors appointments, tests and surgery I have fallen behind in posting. Since my notes are incomplete this will be a short run down of what has happened the last month.

November 21, 2010 -Gathering of The Flock - Theme was Oktoberfest. Good selection of wines and German Beers. Food was great and a lot of it. The hosts had a German friend cook all the authentic dishes.

December 3, 2010 - Lobster dinner at Stan's. Stan went diving (Pacific Lobsters) and put in a call to me to join him and others for dinner that evening. Good wine, butter poached lobsters with truffles. Doesn't get any better.

December 5, 2010 - My annual Holiday Brunch - Egg Casseroles, Ham, Sausages & Peppers. Lots of Bubbly and juices. Wine. Everyone had a good time. My house was decorated. Tree shimmered and glimmered.

December 11, 2010 - Dinner at Seafood Palace. This is where Henry has been going waiting for Doung Son to reopen. 10 of us gathered. 11 dishes of food. Lots of wine. We even had Sea Slug. Non discript taste. Like Tofu, Sea Slug picks up the flavors of what it is cooked with. Best Kung Pao Chicken I have had. The sauce with clams was great.

December 14, 2010 - Himilayan Grille. Julie took me to dinner tonight so no multiple dishes. I had the Lamb Chau Chau and it was good. Took the leftovers home for lunch the next day.

December 25, 2010 - Had the family including 5 rug rats under the age of 7. Since I was not able to lift anything heavy, dinner this year consisted of Tamales & Pizza. It worked out well. I may do it again next year as it was so easy. No mess. Few dishes. Little cleanup. And the rug rats seemed to like it better than a formal sit down dinner. Opened a few bottles of bubbly and had a good day.

December 29, 2010 - Hosted Happy Hour at my place instead of the local bar we usually go to on Wednesday nights. Having the house decorated made it seem more festive.

New Years Eve - I have never done anything on New Years Eve. I always stay home. Restaurants are over priced, set menus, under staffed. And a lot of people who have over indulged. For me it is a turn off. I don't care for drunks and female drunks are even a bigger turnoff. I have my bubbly, caviar and go to bed early. Christmas is my holiday. New Years Eve I can live without. Have been that way since I can remember. Even as a teenager I would not go out. Sometimes we would go up to the Rose Parade and camp out the night before but that was the extent of my celebration.