Entries in ‘Food’ Journal

Monterey, California Restaurants

Friday August 1, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

"Joyce Vineyards" carmel, california

Enjoying Joyce Vineyards wine at Carmel Beach, California

Monterey County restaurants may come and go, but wining and dining in this California coastal community never goes out of style. I know this from first-hand experience, as my parents retired to the fairytale Carmel-by-the-Sea in Monterey County and made a hobby out of dining out. There are endless amounts of things to see and do in Monterey, with new wineries and restaurants opening as fast as sardines swimming in the Pacific Ocean.

I like nothing better than to pour a glass of Pinot Noir and kick back on the deck, looking out to the ocean. My husband prefers beer and with names like “Belly Up Blonde Ale” and “Stout Resistance” who could resist trying a growler (that’s a hefty sized beer) from Peter B’s Brewpub inside Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa?

 
 
 
 

"Peter B's Brewpub" sausages

House made sausages at Peter B’s Brewpub, Monterey


 
Monterey Brewpub

Start dinner or happy hour with a jumbo Bavarian pretzel, Monterey Bay Calamari and a beer flight sampler, then move on to house made sausages, served alongside warm German style potato salad, slaw and stout mustard from Peter B’s Brewpub in Monterey.
 

"C restaurant" seafood

Fresh seafood The C Restaurant & Bar


 
Fresh seafood in Monterey

Seafood lovers will find happiness at the C restaurant & bar, housed inside the Intercontinental Clement Monterey on Cannery Row. This luxury hotel offers Monterey Bay views from hotel rooms, the restaurant and bar. Try the lobster bolognaise, grilled arctic char or a grilled vegetable sandwich utilizing local produce. I would be happy sipping a glass of wine by the outdoor firepit, watching the sea otters glide by.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Steps from the Intercontinental Clement is the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Children and adults will find entertaining and educational exhibits on display at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

While it may seem strange to aquarium guests, fresh fish (and other items like pizza and salad) are served inside the Monterey Bay Aquarium at Cindy’s Waterfront restaurant. This is where I learned about the importance of seafood sustainability, through the Seafood Watch program, a continually evolving guide to sustainable fish. Every respectable restaurant and fish monger should adhere to the Seafood Watch guidelines; our world and certainly our oceans would be better for it.
 

"Bay of Pines" restaurant

Bread pudding at Monterey’s Bay of Pines


Monterey nightlife

The Bay of Pines serves American organic cuisine – think salad greens from Salinas valley, organic chicken pan seared with diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives and spring artichoke served with a new potato puree or sauteed shrimp splashed with a cucumber organic vodka cream sauce. Bay of Pines is also the go-to place for live music in Monterey.
 

"Passionfish" sea scallops

Passionfish in Pacific Grove, California for seafood

Pacific Grove dining

Passionfish is one of my favorite restaurants in Monterey County. A local favorite based in Pacific Grove, California, this is the place to dine for fresh, sustainable seafood, served with a passion.
 

"Beach House" Shrimp, "Pacific Grove"

Beach House Firecracker Shrimp, Pacific Grove


 
I had high hopes for Beach House restaurant in Pacific Grove, as the Ocean View Blvd. location, looking out to Lovers Point Park and the water is fabulous. I was tempted to order the salmon, but passed on the fish, marketed as “creative brand certified organic salmon,” as it was not listed on the Seafood Watch program as wild. Instead, I opted for Scampi Monterey served with fresh pasta in a light cream sauce. The crispy firecracker shrimp is a tasty appetizer for the light appetite or sharing with the table. I need to re-visit Beach House next time I’m in the area.
 
"Big Sur Roadhouse" California

Big Sur Roadhouse, serving California cuisine with a New Orleans twist


Big Sur dining

I can never get enough of Big Sur, so when I had the chance to dine at Big Sur Roadhouse, I was excited. Not only is the Big Sur location charming, the patio, with its unique outdoor fire pit table, is colorful and inviting. The personable New Orleans Chef Matt Glazer combines California cuisine with a New Orleans twist. Try the red beans and rice, Big Sur seafood gumbo, a muffaletta sandwich (pictured above) and save room for a Cajun-inspired dessert.

Overnight in Big Sur

If you plan to vacation in Monterey County for several days, be sure to make reservations with Glen Oaks, the owners of Big Sur Roadhouse, Adobe Motor Lodge and the adorable Oak Tree Cottages – no televisions, no pets, no smoking, no problem.
 

crabcake "Quail Lodge" Carmel Valley

Edgar’s crab cake Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley


Carmel Valley wine & dine

Finally, what’s a visit to Monterey Bay without a trip into Carmel Valley? As I mentioned, my parents retired to Carmel back in 1980. When they sold their Carmel Valley condo and bought a house with an ocean view, I lamented leaving the sunshine of Carmel Valley – first world problems, I know! I’m a wannabe Carmel resident living on a freelance travel writer’s salary – these two do not go hand in hand.

Insider Tip

Quail Lodge and Golf Club – where my husband and I held our wedding reception many moons ago – is one of the best value hotels on the Monterey Peninsula. Great rooms and a location that can’t be beat, guaranteed romance. They also serve really good crab cakes at Edgar’s Restaurant.

What are your favorite Monterey County, California restaurants? Article and all photos, except Passionfish scallops, by Food & Wine Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau for restaurant review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Napa Valley Festival del Sole

Thursday July 3, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 1 Comment

"Jamieson Ranch" horse

Jamieson Ranch hosts Napa Valley Festival del Sole

As I have stated many times on this luxury travel blog, I feel blessed to live in Northern California with its endless possibilities of beauty, musical talent, fantastic food and wine, creative artists and wellness practitioners. A wonderful example of these opportunities coming together in one location is Napa Valley Festival del Sole. This annual 10 day summer celebration takes place in numerous venues throughout Napa Valley, California with over 100 wineries participating in this July event.

 

"Cici's Italian Butterhorns" "Taste of Napa"

Cici’s Italian Butterhorns participate at Festival del Sole: A Taste of Napa

 
Festival del Sole Taste of Napa

I had the pleasure of attending A Taste of Napa last July. Festival del Sole guests are treated to nibbles, bites and sips from Napa Valley wineries and culinary creators from Northern California. One of my favorite finds from A Taste of Napa was Lafayette, California-based Cici’s Italian Butterhorns. This mother-daughter duo makes delicious handmade Italian treats.
 

 
Festival del Sole concerts

Concert goers will appreciate the high caliber of musicians and singers drawn to Napa Valley for the opportunity to perform at Festival del Sole. With concerts ranging from Joshua Bell, to the Russian National Orchestra performing in 2013 and a series of young artist concerts sponsored by Bouchaine Vineyards, chamber music afficionados to opera lovers will leave on a satisfied note.
 

"Russian National Orchestra" "Lincoln Theater" "Festival del Sole"

Russian National Orchestra takes stage at Napa Valley Festival del Sole’s Lincoln Theater


Festival del Sole Gala

The annual Festival del Sole Gala at Meadowood Napa Valley is an elegant enchanted garden affair. I have yet to attend this swank gala, as it is a hot ticket at Festival del Sole with a live auction at the end of the evening to benefit Festival del Sole and various local arts education programs. The sold-out gala requests ladies dress in white attire, while gentlemen are required to wear summer dinner jackets.

Festival del Sole lodging

As mentioned above, Napa Valley Festival del Sole is a much anticipated summer event in Northern California. You’ll want to make your Napa Valley hotel reservations in advance, as this is not the festival to drink and drive. I stayed at Napa River Inn when I attended Napa Valley Festival del Sole. Additional hotel partners include properties in Calistoga, Napa, Rutherford, St. Helena and Yountville.
 

"Grape Crusher" sculpture

Napa Valley Festival Sole blends wine, food, music & arts

 
Insider Tip:
While Napa Valley Festival del Sole is not an inexpensive affair, there are several free concerts and events open to the general public – reservations recommended. For additional insider tips follow Northern California Travel Writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter and Festival del Sole @Napafest.

If You Go:
Napa Valley Festival del Sole (888) 337-6272
www.festivaldelsole.org

Article, photos and video courtesy of Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. Cici’s Italian Butterhorns photo provided. I was a guest of Festival del Sole’s Taste of Napa Valley, the Russian National Orchestra performance at Lincoln Center and Jamieson Ranch dinner. All opinions are my own.

Colorado Springs Dining: Broadmoor Restaurants

Friday June 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM | 0 Comments

"Penrose Room" chandelier

Magic happens under the Penrose Room chandelier at The Broadmoor

If I had to pick where to eat my last supper, it would have to be at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. With 19 restaurants, cafes and lounges on the Colorado property, I’d be able to keep my dining options open and wander from restaurant to restaurant like a never-ending progressive dinner. Colorado Springs dining at Broadmoor restaurants offers something for everyone, from vegan options to housemade charcuterie, fresh baked artisan breads, some of the best barbecue in the Colorado Rockies and hand crafted truffles. Let the feasting begin!
 

"Ristorante Del Lago" breakfast

Breakfast at Ristorante Del Lago by Cheyenne Lake


Broadmoor’s Ristorante Del Lago

Designed by restaurant architect Adam D. Tihany, Ristorante Del Lago, located on the ground level of Broadmoor West, reminds me of dining on Italy’s Lake Como. The open air restaurant and bar with its exposed wood beams, terra cotta tile and indoor/outdoor fireplace creates a welcoming atmosphere to break bread with friends and family. To drink up the flavors of Italy start with Sanguinello Campari, Limoncello and blood orange cocktail for $11.75. Check the website for current pricing and menu items.
 

"Summit" restaurant "The Broadmoor"

Summit wine bar

Broadmoor’s Summit

Located adjacent to Broadmoor Hall, Summit restaurant feels like a cocktail party followed with dinner at your best friend’s house. Inspired by Colorado Springs Pike’s Peak, architect Adam D. Tihany blended wood, glass, metal, leather and fabric to give this American brasserie a contemporary feel.

Start your meal with a glass of Summit Sangria featuring Absolut pear vodka, Belle de Brillet liqueur, honey syrup and pomegranate juice with Mendoza Malbec $11.75 followed with a Wagyu beef burger from Eagle’s Nest Ranch, Colorado topped with Maytag blue cheese, radicchio, apple slaw and Summit fries on the side.
 

Charcuterie "Summit restaurant"

Charcuterie platter, Summit restaurant, Colorado Springs, CO

La Taverne at Broadmoor

Located in the Broadmoor main lobby, La Taverne has had a foothold at this Colorado Springs resort since 1939. La Taverne is a restaurant for classic cocktails (I’m looking at you Zombie!) steak lovers and carnivores of all types – they have seafood, too. I ordered the Colorado rack of lamb and was rewarded with my local selection. Our group of four began the meal with the shellfish platter of Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters and smoked mussels. Carb-lovers take note, our party couldn’t keep our hands out of the bread basket. La Taverne also features an ever-changing pie of the day.

Johann Willar, Broadmoor head baker extraordinaire, is a third generation baker from northern France. Willar creates beautiful breads, brioche and buns that are lovingly hand crafted for the entire Broadmoor campus in his bakery.
 

Broadmoor Baker "Johann Willar"

Broadmoor Baker Johann Willar

Another unsung hero is Broadmoor Chocolatier Ana Musia. Musia works magic with her wide array of chocolates – from Felchin – the work horse of the chocolates, to the creamy milk chocolate Valrhona Bahibe. When asked to name her favorite creation, Musia was hesitant to single one out, “I touch a lot of the desserts at The Broadmoor.”

For me, I couldn’t decide between the chocolate crunch bar served at Summit or the peanut butter truffles available for purchase at Espresso News.
 

Broadmoor Chocolatier "Ana Musia"

Broadmoor Chocolatier Ana Musia with peanut butter truffles

Play at The Broadmoor

A six lane bowling alley and game room might keep kids and adults happy in foul weather, but I’ll opt for horseback riding in Pikes Peak national forest anytime. Play restaurant, located in Broadmoor West, will bowl you over with Southwest vegetarian chili, Hawaiian flatbread or burgers and dogs.

I didn’t have a chance to dine at Penrose Room, the only five star, five diamond restaurant in all of Colorado, the English pub Golden Bee or the recently opened Natural Epicurean. As I said, Colorado Springs dining options offer an endless progressive dinner opportunity at Broadmoor restaurants. This isn’t my last supper at The Broadmoor…I’ll be back!
 

flatbread "Play restaurant"

Hawaiian flatbread from Play at The Broadmoor

Insider Tip

If barbecue is your preferred method of cooking you simply must attend Barbecue University with Grill Master Steven Raichlen. This three day interactive grilling course at The Broadmoor will have you re-kindling your connection with your inner caveman in Colorado Springs.

If You Go:
The Broadmoor (855) 634-7711
1 Lake Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906

Article and photos by Food & Wine Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of The Broadmoor for restaurant review purposes. All opinions are my own.