Friday Night Fun

Friday-Night-Live-from-Sue-Bonzell2

It’s a warm Friday evening in Cloverdale, and some friends and I are brainstorming up a game plan for the night. In the distance the smell of BBQ beckons to me as it wafts through the house. We elect to head downtown and check out Friday Night Live for a change of pace. As we walk by Pick’s Drive-In, I can see the street blocked off to traffic and hundreds of people swarming around the local eateries stands, talking dancing and gorging themselves on all kinds of tasty delights. We locate the Hamburger Ranch stand for dinner; two sandwiches feed the four of us, a welcome surprise and a delicious experience. After clearing our table we walk a few feet over to the front of the stage and begin clumsy dancing to the live salsa music. Before I know the band is done and it’s 10:30pm, we find a place to watch the band pack up as finish our drinks and wait out the exit rush. I am happy to say that the music, food, drinks and vibes were all god. We will definitely be coming back next Friday for more.

By Spencer.

Aug. 28th Locals Salsa Class and Dancing

bachata

Take your first step and find your next one with us. Join us at Locals for a glass of wine to loosen your hips then we will head upstairs for a Bachata and Salsa dance class!

Hector, a native of Mexico City, will be our amazing teacher. No experience necessary just come and have fun and get ready for our new Locals Salsa Club.

Lesson starts at 6:30 for one hour and then we will have free dance time to practice our new moves. Meet at Locals Tasting Room at 6PM. Tickets are $15 and include a glass of wine. Are you in? Call Locals at 707-857-4900 to reserve your spot.

OH HOW SWEET THE SIMPLE LIFE CAN BE (THE SOUTH COMES TO CALIFORNIA WITH A TWIST)

TomatoesRecipeIMG_6035So my sister asked me to think of a recipe that she could pair a wine with that really speaks to summer.

The answer came to me quite easily because here in the south nothing speaks to summer like corn and tomatoes. I don’t know if this is really a tradition of Southern origin but I have been told that it is. But I’ve given it a bit of sophistication as it travels to California.

In Virginia you would find this dish in its simplest form on the back of a flatbed truck after church on Sunday. It would be one of may dishes. Biscuits and ham. Egg salad. Sometimes even a jello mold if tradition is really taking the fore. But enough. The star of the show would be tomatos topped with a mound of sweet corn. But here is how I envision the recipe brought to California:

Shuck the corn and baste it with a little choice California Olive Oil
Grill the corn. Ideally over charcoal but gas is ok, until the kernels begin to char (that’s what brings the sweetness out.)

The tomatoes – leave them alone – if its summer and they’re good (which is the only time to make this dish) they will easily stand on their own two feet. Set them in the sun for a little while and then slice thickly.

Once the charred corn has cooled, cut it from the cob with a sharp knife into a deep bowl. Season the corn – go for it – salt, pepper, olive oil (good stuff) maybe a little finely chopped basil.

Mound the corn on the slices of tomato

Here’s what I would do to make the dish complete. Get some rustic fresh bread. Slice thickly and brush with olive oil and grill. Serve with the tomatoes and corn. Maybe add a fresh mozzarella to the mix

What more could you ask of summer – except a delicious wine pairing to come from my sister

Xocolāt (Chocolate)

semillas de cacao

A little history about chocolate

The History of chocolate begins in Mesoamerica there was evidence of chocolate beverage dating back to 1900 BC, the word chocolate comes from the Nahuatl xocolātl which means “bitter water “and entered the English language from Spanish.

Originally was prepared only as a drink, chocolate was served as a bitter frothy liquid mixed with spices. Both Mayans and Aztecs believed that cacao bean had magical or even divine properties, suitable for use in the most sacred rituals of birth, marriage and death.

Until the 16th century this cacao bean drink was unknown to Europeans, Cristóbal Colón (Christopher Colombus) encountered the cacao bean on his fourth mission to the Americas.

Chocolate is the confectionery match to wine. Perhaps this is because the process of making chocolate is very similar to wine. Both cocoa beans and wine are fermented with the very same type of yeast. No wonder there are so many wine and chocolate lovers!

When matching wine with chocolate you are usually talking about dark chocolate the best ones range from 60% to 85% cocoa, the higher cocoa content the sharper the taste.

Recommended Wines to pair with chocolate

2011 Eric Ross Old Vine Zinfandel Port
Ripe rich fruit from 90 year old “Old Vine Zinfandel” with just a kiss of sweetness, no syrup here. The balance of quality brandy, jammy fruit with plenty of acidity follows through with subtle hints of oak aging explode on the palate.

2009 Pendleton Late Harvest Petite Sirah
A blend of 90% Ponzo Petite Sirah with 10% Cabernet Blanc, dark and jammy, yet seductively smooth.

red-wine-dark-chocolate

Recipe of the week!

Mexican-style Ceviche

Ceviche is one of my favorite and traditional Mexican seafood dishes! It’s refreshing, healthy, light, and perfect with a nice cold white wine. Ceviche is a very popular seafood dish in South America. As summer comes around, ceviche is the perfect appetizer, meal, or snack, you really can’t go wrong! At Locals Tasting Room we have two Sauvignon Blancs that would pair with this dish fabulously, the Treasure Hunter Angel Wings and the Bedarra Beachfront Sauvignon Blanc. See recipe below.

AngelWings
The Treasure Hunter Angel Wings wine

bedarra
The Bedarra Beachfront wine

Ingredients:

1 bag of frozen precooked “salad shrimp”, thawed
3 limes
1 teaspoon salt (can add as desired)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
7 tomatoes, diced
1 cup white onion, chopped
2 serrano chiles, finely diced.
Tostadas

Chop the shrimp and place in a large bowl. Squeeze all of the limes and salt onto the shrimp and set aside for ~ 2 hours. Add remaining ingredients, and stir. Put in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Serve with tostadas.

ENJOY!

Back Camera

ceviche2

Ideas for Reusing Wine Bottles!

Do you drink a lot of vino (wine) and throw away numerous bottles frequently? Well, you’re in for a treat! Here are some fun ways to reuse those empty wine bottles (that we tend to accumulate). Fun, easy, and cheap, what more could we ask for?

Plant Containers: My personal favorite! Just add some beautiful bright flowers, a ribbon, and some water. These plant containers are great for summer decorations and keep the house lively and refreshed!

Vases_Plant containers

Vases: Again, very great house décor!

Plantcontainers2

Gift for any Occasion! This idea is great for birthdays or any sort of gift. Personalize the bottles and make them a unique, thoughtful present for a loved one.

DressUpBottle

Wine nannies: Need a little help watering the plants? The wine nannies are the perfect solution.

WineNanny

Are you a newly engaged bride? Looking for ways to ask your best friends to be your bridesmaids? Just put a picture of you and the selected bridesmaid on the bottle and write the question “will you be my bridesmaid?” Simple, but a sure treat!

Willyoubemybridesmaidsbottels_

Halloween is right around the corner. This is a perfect, fun, holiday decoration! Just wash the bottle and fill with Halloween candy. Trick-or- treat!

halloweenbottles

Pictures retrieved from Google Images.

Corks.

Do you work in the wine industry and have a million spare corks lying around? Or will you be going wine tasting soon? Ask the tasting rooms to give you their corks! They are FREE. We like free things. Below are a few great, quick, and easy ideas for making use of your corks.

Corkboard: Great for leaving house notes or reminders!

corkboard

Frame: Need a nice thoughtful gift for a friend? Cork frame is the answer.

frame

Heart: Great as a house decoration!

heart

Postcard holder: Great for kitchen decorations, place your postcards!

postcards

Coasters: Enough said, too cute!

Coasters

Chalkboard

Chalkboard

Jewelry holder: Great unique idea to get your the jewelry out of the drawers.

Jewelry

Pictures retrieved from Pin Interest and Google Images.

Stay hydrated this summer!

It is recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Water is the ideal beverage that is refreshing, yet has no calories! So why not try easy infused water recipes to make water more appealing. With summer just around the corner, check out these quick water recipes to try at home!

Lemon and Cucumber Infused Water

Ingredients:
1 cucumber
1 lemon
1 lime
Water to fill pitcher
¼ Cup mint leaves
Ice

Thinly slice the cucumber, lemon, and lime and combine with water in a pitcher. Throw in mint leaves and serve over ice! Very refreshing!

infused water2

Strawberry and Blackberry Infused Water

Ingredients: 1 package strawberries
1 small package blackberries (or blueberries)
5 Mint leaves
Water to fill pitcher
Ice
Thinly slice the strawberries and discard ends. Combine fruit and water in a pitcher. Serve over ice and wala!

fruit-infused-water

20 Interesting and Useful Water Facts

1. Roughly 70 percent of an adult’s body is made up of water.
2. At birth, water accounts for approximately 80 percent of an infant’s body weight.
3. A healthy person can drink about three gallons (48 cups) of water per day.
4. Drinking too much water too quickly can lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain.
5. Water intoxication is most likely to occur during periods of intense athletic performance.
6. While the daily recommended amount of water is eight cups per day, not all of this water must be consumed in the liquid form. Nearly every food or drink item provides some water to the body.
7. Soft drinks, coffee, and tea, while made up almost entirely of water, also contain caffeine. Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic, preventing water from traveling to necessary locations in the body.
8. Pure water (solely hydrogen and oxygen atoms) has a neutral pH of 7, which is neither acidic nor basic.
9. Water dissolves more substances than any other liquid. Wherever it travels, water carries chemicals, minerals, and nutrients with it.
10. Somewhere between 70 and 75 percent of the earth’s surface is covered with water.
11. Much more fresh water is stored under the ground in aquifers than on the earth’s surface.
12. The earth is a closed system, similar to a terrarium, meaning that it rarely loses or gains extra matter. The same water that existed on the earth millions of years ago is still present today.
13. The total amount of water on the earth is about 326 million cubic miles of water.
14. Of all the water on the earth, humans can used only about three tenths of a percent of this water. Such usable water is found in groundwater aquifers, rivers, and freshwater lakes.
15. The United States uses about 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day.
16. The United States uses nearly 80 percent of its water for irrigation and thermoelectric power.
17. The average person in the United States uses anywhere from 80-100 gallons of water per day. Flushing the toilet actually takes up the largest amount of this water.
18. Approximately 85 percent of U.S. residents receive their water from public water facilities. The remaining 15 percent supply their own water from private wells or other sources.
19. By the time a person feels thirsty, his or her body has lost over 1 percent of its total water amount.
20. The weight a person loses directly after intense physical activity is weight from water, not fat.
Facts from: http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-facts.html

Seattle Meets Sonoma County

WineRoadLogoAs a Seattleite with numerous West Coast amenities at her disposal—gorgeous topography, picturesque beaches, a necklace of mountains, and three prominent wine regions mere hours away—it’s been hard to justify a trip to California specifically to drink wine. That changed when my friend from Los Angeles called me to coordinate a girls’ wine getaway with the hope we could meet somewhere in the middle. Naturally, Sonoma and Napa were our top choices. Both are renowned for their world-class wines, stunning terrain, fine dining, and luxury lodging. But we wondered: what are their differences and how should we choose between them? Shortly after my friend’s call, I saw The Wine Road was sponsoring a Seattle tasting event with 20 Sonoma-area wineries pouring over 50 wines to benefit a local nonprofit. It was touted as an opportunity to meet the winemakers and discover more about wine. To me, it was a perfect chance to whet my novice palate and garner a clearer picture about California’s esteemed wine regions. TaftStreetMy first stop at the event was Taft Street Winery, located in Sebastopol, California. Manning the table was Taft’s CEO and General Manager, Mike Martini. I asked Mike what a non-local should know about Sonoma and how one should decide between Napa versus Sonoma. Mike had generous things to say about Napa and their decadent, world-renowned Cabernets, but to him, what sets Sonoma apart from Napa is its laid-back vibe. In addition to the delicious, highly regarded wine varietals produced in Sonoma—there’s beer! Just that week, Mike had learned Sonoma County now has 28 craft breweries! At the end of the day, Mike said Sonoma is all about “fun.” Mingling with other guests, I met two California natives now living in Seattle. When I asked the pair their thoughts on Napa vs. Sonoma, they said that they’d watched Napa become chock full of “transplants and trust funders” over the years. It’s changed the feel of the place, they said, and if a person’s looking for a more down-to-earth atmosphere, Sonoma is the place to go. The ladies also informed me about several smartphone apps that are indispensable to have when planning a drinking venture through any wine region. Top of their list for the tech-savvy traveler: “Winery Passport,” “Brewery Passport,” and “Delectable Wine.” From the women, I also learned that “Sonoma” can connote Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County, and Sonoma town. A fact that admittedly shocked this Washington State native. Geyserville.ComSize is certainly a point to consider when planning to visit the expansive terrain of the Sonoma County versus the smaller Napa County. Although it’s smaller, I’ve learned Napa’s notorious traffic jams are as talked about as its wines. Sonoma County is vast and diverse, with three distinct wine regions and 16 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs). When drinking is the primary focus of a trip, it’s suggested that tourists take a bus or hire a private driver to tour the wineries. It was also recommended that my friend and I stay in one of the small towns like Sonoma’s Geyserville or Healdsburg with dining options, wineries, and tasting rooms all centrally located and walkable to lodging. Cruising the tables of The Wine Road event, I noted the many winery placards with Italian names. This far north, it’s rare to hear people talk about the Italian heritage deeply embedded throughout the region.Vaso_di_Marina_WHITE_for Web I spotted uniquely shaped bottles of wine on Jane Portalupi’s table and learned of her grandmother’s tradition of keeping a barrel of homemade vino di tavola on hand in her grocery to pour into any jug a customer brought in. Typically they brought in milk bottles. Jane now sells glass, milk jug-shaped bottles of wine out of her family-owned winery in Healdsburg and on the shelves of Whole Foods – a fitting and poignant evolution. A few tastes in, with glass in hand, I sidled up next to an Amazon executive who’d formerly lived in San Francisco. An avid oenophile with thousands of bottles in his home cellar, he’d spent the ’80s & ’90s servicing the financial accounts of, and making friends with, numerous winemakers from both Sonoma and Napa. He told me he loved the elegance and hospitality production of Napa, but enjoyed the accessibility of Sonoma. Building on my query about the Italian roots so prevalent in Sonoma history, he entertained me with tales of the men of the Louis M. Martini Winery; how an enterprising young Martini got around the strict laws surrounding Prohibition by selling sacramental “home winemaking kits” made out of grape concentrate. Since those heady days of the ’20s, ownership of the Louis M. Martini Winery was handed down through the generations and eventually sold to Gallo in 2002. My new Amazon friend told me the corporatization of many of the Napa-area wineries was also a deterrent for him when choosing between the two regions. Sonoma wineries are still predominately farmer and family owned. sddefaultTalking to the person who actually grows the wine is a definite draw. My final stop was at Pendleton Estate Vineyard & Winery to chat with owner, Michall Pendleton, who was pouring a delicious, full-bodied Cabernet. At Michall’s by-appointment-only winery, he personally hand selects each grape that goes into his award-winning wines. Michall’s been in business since 2005, following an earlier career as a firefighter. He told me if I can’t visit his winery in person, I can sample a variety of his wines at LOCALS, a tasting room in Geyserville which features the wines of eleven hard-to-find gems. It’s that kind of community, down-home spirit and friendliness that makes Sonoma a standout to me. From many of the winemakers like Michall that so generously spoke with me at the event, I got a sense the region is more about personality and passion than pizazz. I left The Wine Road event with lots of answers and an even deeper wish to familiarize myself with the California wine regions. In the days following the event, I read more about Napa and Sonoma and their ongoing rivalry. It reminded me of Seattle and Portland. Each place has a lot to offer, but is distinctly unique in character and attractions. One is not better than the other, just different. In the end, my friend and I decided Napa is going to have to wait a couple more years as laid-back Sonoma is the clear winner for us. I wasn’t able to chat with the winemakers about the outdoor recreational perks of visiting Sonoma, but my table is stacked with a pile of must-read books (see below) to devour before my trip. This Seattleite is greatly looking forward to her long overdue visit.

Some books to check out if curious to learn more about Sonoma and Napa:


A Tale of Two Valleys: Wine, Wealth and the Battle for the Good Life in Napa and Sonoma by Alan Deutschman


Napa: The Story of an American Eden by James Conaway


The Far Side of Eden: New Money, Old Land, and the Battle for Napa Valley by James Conaway


Frommer’s Napa and Sonoma Day by Day

A Simple And Delicious Way to Eat Oysters

Hello bloggers! As summer is just around the corner, we have a nice little recipe for all of our Oyster lovers!

Recipe by Carolyn’s brother Robert Acosta -Lewis

INGREDIENTS:

One Dozen Oysters (or more)

1 Stick butter

Saltines

Siracha

Put the oysters on a sheet pan and heat them over a grill (charcoal or gas is fine) until they just open

Meanwhile melt the butter in a saucepan and then keep it over very low heat.

When the oysters are just open (don’t let them overcook) remove from the fire. Tilt the shell over the butter to pour the juice into the butter. Then open the oyster completely and add it to the butter. Repeat for all oysters.

Remove an oyster from the butter mixture and put it on a saltine. Top with a dot of Siracha.

Oysters

Enjoy!!!