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Big Rick

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Fun things to do all over California Wine Country!

Hear Big Rick talk about these topics and more. Listen to his show every Sunday Noon-6pm to hear more about the best of wine country!

More information at the links


Have a new Alexa smart speaker? Here is how to listen to My Wine Radio.

Use your voice to turn on the My Wine Radio skill.

Say “Alexa enable My Wine Radio” then just say “Alexa play My Wine Radio” to listen.


Explaining coronavirus to kids


How To Make Hand Sanitizer


Silenus Winery Binge Pairings

Game of Thrones and 2015 Ideology Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Why it Pairs: a dark heavy red with the Lannister lion right on the label

 Parks and Recreation and 2017 Ideology Rosé
Why it Pairs: Treat Yo Self 2017!!!

Scandal and 2015 Danais Merlot
Why it Pairs: Enjoy a big glass right alongside Olivia Pope

The Big Bang Theory and 2018 Banjo Nebbiolo
Why it Pairs: This unfined and unfiltered, native yeast, carbonic maceration, Beaujolais style red is perfect for the nerd in you.

 The Bachelor/The Bachelorette and 2017 Thorn Hill Pinot Grigio or 2018 Silenus Pinot Blanc
Why it Pairs: Find your perfect match!

Big Little Lies and 2018 Silenus Pinot Noir
Why it Pairs: This seemingly innocent pinot noir transforms on the palate into a gorgeous, seductive, feminine wine that pairs beautifully with murder, mystery, suspense, and intrigue. One sip of this wine will instantly transport you to Monterey, California and the world of Big Little Lies.

 Gossip Girl or Sex and the City and 2018 Silenus Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon
Why it Pairs: A classy feminine rosé that will bring out your inner glam.

Mad Men and 2018 Jana Riesling
Why it Pairs: It’s not an Old Fashioned, but this dry German-style wine is a nod to Blue Nun, a popular wine of the time; although there are no nuns in this show.

 2016 Silenus Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
For this wine, you should turn off the TV, prepare a beautiful meal, and have a romantic evening with your loved one(s).


So You Want to Have a ‘Star Wars’ Marathon? George Lucas Has the Correct Order to Do That In

Right now, the outside world is a bit of a mess, to say the least. And while a movie about intergalactic war and space wizards isn’t any less chaotic, there truly isn’t a wrong time to binge-watch Star Wars. Everyone has a preference on which trilogy is the best or how best to watch them, but what does George Lucas say is the best order? If you’re going to conduct a self-quarantined Star Wars marathon, it’s best to hear how the creator himself suggests to watch them.

 “Start with one,” Lucas said in 2015, according to The Independent. “That’s the way to do it right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. That’s the way they’re supposed to be done. Just because it took a long time to film it doesn’t mean you don’t do it in order.”


Binge worthy shows to watch

The Outsider

Adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about the investigation of the gruesome murder of a boy in the Georgia woods and the mysterious force surrounding the case.

THE MOST DANGEROUS ANIMAL OF ALL: SEASON 1

Based on The New York Times best-selling book of the same name, The Most Dangerous Animal of All is a four-part documentary series on FX that explores one man’s search for the father who abandoned him, only to uncover the worst: he believes his father is the Zodiac killer, one of the most infamous serial killers in American history.

INSIDE BILL’S BRAIN: DECODING BILL GATES

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates opens up about his childhood, business career and passion for improving the lives of people in the developing world.

HIGH FIDELITY: SEASON 1

Though it skips the occasional beat, High Fidelity’s fresh take on a familiar track is as witty as it is emotionally charged, giving a curmudgeonly charming Zoë Kravitz plenty of room to shine.

“There Has Never Been a Better Time to Finally Watch The Sopranos”


Where to Watch Free Movies and TV Shows Online

If you’re still paying for cable and streaming services every month, you should check out the free options for watching your favorites.


Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce

If you are stocking up on some pantry basics this simple tomato sauce can be used with pasta, as a soup base, or for lots of things. You can use this when you make it, store it in the fridge, or freeze this for later. I like to use puree but whole or chopped tomatoes in a can are fine you just have to crush them before you cook it. I use my hands to squeeze them smaller.

It is a good basic sauce that can be used as is or you can add to it to your liking.

1 28 oz can of tomato puree (get the kind with just tomatoes as the ingredient)
salt
dried basil
tomato paste (optional)
sweetener (optional)

Heat the tomato puree at medium then bring down to low to simmer.
add 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
add 1 teaspoon of dried basil
let it simmer for 10 minutes
That’s it! All done!

unless if wanted
add salt a pinch at a time stir it in and taste
add sugar or a sweetener a 1/2 teaspoon at a time
to add more thickness and tomato flavor add tomato paste 1 tablespoon at a time


Great Deals in California Wine Are Coming

Slackening demand and a two-year California grape glut means a boon for bargain hunters, even as wineries soften the blow by ripping out vines.


The Taste with Doug Shafer
A new podcast series from Doug Shafer about the people behind the food and wine you love.


Where to see giant redwoods in Sonoma County

In today’s fast-paced world, standing next to a living being that’s more than a thousand years old can be unexpectedly quieting.

Luckily for us in Sonoma County, that experience is within fairly easy reach.

Several native tree species here, like the black oak and Douglas fir, can live for five, even 10 human lifespans. But by far the eldest trees are sequoia sempervirens, the coast redwoods.

In a few local spots, some trees have managed to survive nearly 2,000 years


20 California road trips Sonoma County residents love

Road trips are a great way to see this Golden State of ours but we’ve taken enough of them that sometimes it feels like there is nowhere else to go.

For some fresh ideas, we reached out to readers and Press Democrat staff to find out their go-to destinations for a quick trip.


From spirits and beer to wine, Alameda is your East Bay hub for drinking

With so much to sample, it’s best to not try and conquer Spirits Alley in one trip. One journey can be dedicated just to beer, with options including Almanac Beer Co. and the Rake at Admiral Maltings, which is situated just east of Spirits Alley’s main drag. Faction Brewing remains a popular spot, with its expansive outside patio and vintage pinball machines in its indoor tasting room.

The tasting rooms for St. George Spirits and Hangar One Vodka add a whole other level of imbibing. At St. George Spirits, which is housed in a sprawling hangar, $15 gets you a tasting of six spirits including vodka, gin and liqueurs. The nearby Hangar One distillery offers six tastings for $16, along with a chocolate or cheese pairings for $50.


Budweiser Wants Drinkers to Give Its New Nitro Cans a Shake

New Budweiser Nitro Gold—the brand is going the nitrogen route

…now nitrogen beers—though still only a tiny percentage of beer sales—are more common, with many brewers looking to take advantages of the differences: Most beers are carbonated, causing explosive bubbles that can attack your palate; finer nitrogen bubbles quickly push to the head of a beer, creating a smoother drinking experience more comparable to lightly-carbonated cask brews.


Cafe Society: Julia Child’s Santa Barbara will be focus of culinary weekend March 13 to 15th

A portion of the weekend’s proceeds will benefit The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit that offers grants and scholarships.


Peek Season: Whale Watching Off San Diego Will Thar-She-Blows You Away

More than 20,000 gray whales are making their annual migration in a traffic corridor off San Diego’s coast, the longest migration of any mammal. Their lanes are most congested from about mid-March to late April.


Jewish Deli Food Is Having a Moment in LA
From porkstrami to ceviche-topped bagels, chefs are redefining the cuisine

Six years after Wexler’s brought house-cured salmon back to Grand Central Market, four years after Ugly Drum sparked a pit-smoked pastrami craze at Smorgasburg, and two and a half years after Freedman’s started carving glazed brisket tableside in Silver Lake, new takes on Jewish deli food are suddenly showing up everywhere from sit-down restaurants to weekend pop-ups. Deli-inspired fare is one of the most exciting things to eat in LA right now.

Why the resurgence? Well, first there’s the cultural significance of delis in LA. The city’s best-known institutions date back close to a century: Canter’s opened in 1931, with Langer’s and Factor’s not far behind in the 1940s. Visit any of those beloved joints today and you’ll still find bustling crowds digging into bagels and lox, matzo ball soup, and corned beef, brisket, and pastrami sandwiches (or, in the case of Langer’s, the iconic No. 19). Suppliers like meat purveyor RC Provisions and A-1 Eastern Homemade Pickle go back several decades too, so the nostalgia factor is strong. And, of course, deli food is delicious. But industry experts point to more than that.

“I feel like Jewish food never goes out of style. It is the ultimate chicken soup for the soul”
Micah Wexler, who arguably started the trend back in 2014, says, “Outside of the Jewish food thing, there’s always the pendulum swing from fine dining to comfort food. I think that the new place the pendulum has swung to right now is chefs cooking what’s in their souls and celebrating it.”


Forbes magazine and travel guidebook Frommer’s have both named Sonoma County one of the best places to visit this year.

In 1875, horticulturist Luther Burbank referred to Sonoma County as “the chosen spot of all this earth.” 145 years later, he’s not alone in his views. In addition to locals and visitors with an affinity for this area, several publications are big fans. In recent years, Sonoma County has been featured in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, The Evening Standard, The Sun, among others. And now, Frommer’s travel guidebook and Forbes magazine have both named Sonoma County one of the best places to visit in 2020.


from pasowine.com

The 5 Best Paso Robles Wineries to See Live Music

Music and wine are a natural pair, but if you pair Paso Wine alongside of some of the most talented musicians around then you’ve got a perfect pairing. A pairing that will make forever memories; to share with your family, post on Instagram, maybe give friends FOMO, and to plan your next trip to Paso Robles Wine Country.


from Robb Report

McDonald’s Made a $100,000 Shamrock Shake to Celebrate Its 50th Anniversary

The fast food chain is celebrating the big anniversary with a 20-karat gold cup.


Cakebread Cellars Winery Leap Year Dinner: Leap, hop and waddle!

Saturday Feb 29 Rutherford

In celebration of the day that keeps our calendars – and our kitchens – aligned with the seasons, the Cakebread Cellars Resident Chefs have invited three of our favorite game purveyors to present a menu that leaps, hops and waddles! Chris Hughes of Broken Arrow Ranch, Mark Pasternak of Devil’s Gulch Ranch and Jim Reichardt of Sonoma County Poultry will be on hand to share the history of their properties and the practices that helped them become leading purveyors for fine dining establishments in Napa Valley and beyond. Paired with Leap Year vintages of Cakebread Cellars wines, the experience will have you jumping for joy!


Niner Wine Estates SIP for Scholars

Friday Feb 28th Paseo Robles

A community funded scholarship for high-school and college students whose parents work in our members’ vineyards and wineries. Since its inception in 2015, the fund has awarded over $75,000 in higher education scholarships based on academic excellence, financial need and community involvement. Participating Wineries: Ancient Peaks Winery, Baileyana, Castoro Cellars, Center of Effort, Halter Ranch, Lafond Winery & Vineyards, McIntyre Family Wines, Niner Wine Estates, Shale Oak Winery, and Tolosa.


Check Out the Best Leap Day Deals and Freebies

Those with and without birthdays on February 29 can indulge in free food and cheap hotel stays.

Leap day only comes once every four years on February 29, but it’s a special opportunity to score freebies and other great deals. Some are meant to help leap day babies celebrate their rare birthdays. However, other offers are available to everyone!


Clevelandclinic.com Coffee is healthy for bones!

For all those folks who drink lots of coffee and are concerned about the health effects of coffee, this is good news,” he said. “It appears to show that coffee is, in general, probably good for bone health.”


Best Ramen Spots in Sonoma County

Noodle soup translates into warmth and happiness in just about any language, but in Japan, it’s called ramen.


from nypost.com

Winemaker Dave Phinney — whose runaway wine hit, The Prisoner, sold for $40 million a decade ago — is branching into food. He plans to start pairing fried chicken with wine and whiskey on Mare Island in Vallejo


V. Sattui Valen-Wines Weekend

Splash of V. Sattui Sparkling Wine – Friday, Feb 14 – Sunday, Feb 16
Chocolate Confection Pairings – Friday, Feb 14 – Sunday, Feb 16

Presidents’ Wine Weekend

The 24th Annual “Presidents’ Wine Weekend” in Calaveras County opens the doors to discovering wineries, wine experiences and special events in the Gold Rush town of Murphys, CA.


Winter White Wine Festival

Mendocino County Fairgrounds Boonville February 22—23, 2020

Experience a 40-year tradition of celebrating white wine, including Alsace-style wines, at the Anderson Valley Winter White Wine Festival.


AT NAPA’S ANNUAL PRUNING CONTEST, EXPERT COMPETITORS SHINE

…Renteria Vineyard Management’s Carina de la Cruz, who placed first, and Number One Vineyard Management’s Fabiola Rojas, who had placed fourth. On the men’s side, Joseph Phelps’ Vineyards Manual Tellez placed first, Beckstoffer Vineyard’s Isaac Gutierrez and
Narcizo Maciel placed second and fourth, respectively, and FARM Napa Valley’s Rene
Alejo placed third.


De La Cruz, who said she’d been doing vineyard work for five years, said she was
elated to have placed first. She’d use the check to pay her bills, she said, as she fingered
the specially-made belt buckle awarded to first-place winners.
“I’d previously worked in the restaurant industry, but I came to field work because I felt
like working outside agreed with me,” De La Cruz, who commutes from Woodland to
Napa County every day, said in Spanish. “I thought I wasn’t going to like it, but I love it
– and here I am.”


When it comes to wine, Monterey has euro chic

In 1919, Charles Tamm came upon remote hills in Monterey County that reminded him of his homeland in Burgundy, France. Homesick, he planted his French grape seeds in what he guessed, rightly, was similarly volcanic soil. Today, the Chalone Vineyard still grows grapes on those original vines, producing wines with the terroir of their ancestral lands. When Chalone brought its Chardonnay to the 1976 Judgment of Paris for a blind tasting, it beat its French competitors.

To visit Chalone’s tasting room is both to connect to that past – to drink the wine of those 100-year-old grapes – and to participate in the future of winemaking. As I learned on a recent trip to Monterey’s wine region, Chalone radically overhauled its process for making Pinot Noirs in 2016. It eliminated any maceration – a bold move in the wine world – to create a Pinot with less tannin and more acid that it expects to age beautifully. The process is far from settled, though, and I had the chance to eavesdrop on their ongoing debate.

Why, I asked Chalone’s winemaker Gianni Abati – whose title should really be “wine guru” – can’t you say definitively which process produces the best wine? The scientist in me (I was a physicist before I was a writer) wanted clear answers and believed they must exist, but Monterey’s growers and makers don’t lack for scientific training or an analytical bent; Gianni was a pharmacist before he was a vintner.

There are simply too many variables, he said: the grape variety, soil, drainage, slant of the sun, number of cloudy vs. sunny days, exact date of harvest. And that’s just to get the grapes.


Grab Your Girlfriends and Spend a Weekend Drinking Wine in Vintage Campers at This Scenic Vineyard

In the hills of central California, family-owned and operated winery Alta Colina has created a most clever setting for a group getaway. Owner/winemaker Bob Tillman and his daughter Maggie took time after our wine tasting (more on that later) to take us through their property among oak trees, rows of grapevines, and stunning views to the “Trailer Pond” — five vintage campers set on the edge of a pond in the shadow of Alta Colina’s hilltop vineyard.


People Are Freaking Out Over This Chipotle Hack That Gets You A Meal For Less Than $4

Going out to eat isn’t the cheapest habit in the world. While I firmly believe that buying food that someone else expertly made for you is one of life’s few pleasures, we’re always looking for cheaper alternatives. One TikTok user shared their Chipotle hack for getting a meal for less than $4 but not everyone is buying it.

TikToker @llamassc vlogged her experience visiting Chipotle recently where she got her “$3.95” meal. The video, which was reported on by In The Know, follows her ordering a kid’s meal cheese quesadilla, which she says comes with three sides, as well as salsas and chips. Pro tip: She says you have to order the salsas after the sides so they don’t count as sides themselves.


 

This Costco Fan Website Shares All the Best Unadvertised Clearance Deals

There are those who love Costco, and then there are those who really love Costco. You know the type. They’re a part of all the secret Costco Facebook groups, they’re constantly tracking #costco on Instagram, and they’re always telling you the incredible deals they received at their favorite grocery store. And then there are the Costco fans that go above and beyond with Costco97.

Unaffiliated with Costco, Costco97 is a website that tracks and shares Costco deals, especially those that Costco hasn’t advertised itself. It’s a place for wholesale club evangelists and deal-hunters to scope out sale offerings before making the drive to their local store. How useful does that sound!


 

Cheers to the wine country of Paso Robles

About halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles is the dusty, unobtrusive town of Paso Robles, what has become known as a haven for cowboys and wine drinkers. An unlikely mix to be sure, but somehow it works here. Paso is an incredibly diverse wine region with a range of soils, climates and over 40 grape varietals. So it only makes sense that it is like the wild west of wine country – where winemakers boldly experiment with techniques, style and grape varietals.

My mom and I made the trek from Orange County to Paso Robles, an area that surprisingly neither of us had visited before. At our hotel in the heart of Paso Robles, we were immediately welcomed by the friendly doorman, who escorted us into the cozy lobby. If this was our first taste of Paso Robles, I knew we would be in for a treat.


Lodi Wine & Chocolate Weekend

Sunday February 9th
Enjoy handcrafted Lodi wines and delicious chocolate treats as you embark on a self-guided tour between more than 50 participating wineries.


 

Madera Wine & Chocolate Weekend

Sunday February 9th Madera
The Madera Wine Trail’s family wineries will host the 18th annual “Wine & Chocolate Weekend” on February 8 through 9, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do something unique for Valentine’s Day and enjoy a quality wine tasting experience! Receive a keepsake wine glass to use at *participating wineries. Your ticket includes wine tasting and chocolate sampling. There will also be live music, gift shopping and delicious food available from food trucks and caterers around the Wine Trail!

Visit a region that has been winemaking since the late 1800’s! Visitors can expect a unique local adventure with special activities beyond wine tasting including winery tours, live music concerts all weekend, food, shopping of local handcrafted gifts, beautiful scenic views and relaxing outdoor patio lounging.


 

Wente Rose All Day

Sunday February 9th
To celebrate the release of the new vintage of Niki’s Rosé, join us for a tasting and pairing of four different Wente Family Estates expressions of Rosé.

Walk the beautiful grounds of our Arroyo Road Estate as we pair Rosé perfectly with delectable bites in different locations across the property. You’ll be tasting in our historic sandstone caves, among the barrels of our Tirage, and more!


Presidents’ Wine Weekend
February 15—16, 2020 Murphys

The 24th Annual “Presidents’ Wine Weekend” in Calaveras County opens the doors to discovering wineries, wine experiences and special events in the Gold Rush town of Murphys, CA.


Blendfest On The Coast

February 20 – 23, 2020 in San Simeon and Cambria

THE ONLY WINE EVENT DEDICATED TO BLENDS
Experience a taste of Paso Robles Wine Country on the beautiful California coast. Paso Robles BlendFest on the Coast will take place February 20 – 23, 2020 in San Simeon and Cambria with a selection of exciting events. Paso Robles’ winemakers love to blend wine, mixing varieties to craft something unique and delicious. BlendFest celebrates the traditional and unconventional blended wines, throughout the weekend.


Madera Chocolate and Wine Weekend Feb 8 and 9

The Madera Wine Trail’s family wineries will host the 18th annual “Wine & Chocolate Weekend” on February 8 through 9, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Do something unique for Valentine’s Day and enjoy a quality wine tasting experience! Receive a keepsake wine glass to use at *participating wineries. Your ticket includes wine tasting and chocolate sampling. There will also be live music, gift shopping and delicious food available from food trucks and caterers around the Wine Trail!

Visit a region that has been winemaking since the late 1800’s! Visitors can expect a unique local adventure with special activities beyond wine tasting including winery tours, live music concerts all weekend, food, shopping of local handcrafted gifts, beautiful scenic views and relaxing outdoor patio lounging.

Plan to taste and take home award-winning wines! Participating wineries will have a large selection of excellent wines to choose from, many with special pricing during the event.


 

Rose All Day Wente Livermore Feb 9

To celebrate the release of the new vintage of Niki’s Rosé, join us for a tasting and pairing of four different Wente Family Estates expressions of Rosé.

Walk the beautiful grounds of our Arroyo Road Estate as we pair Rosé perfectly with delectable bites in different locations across the property. You’ll be tasting in our historic sandstone caves, among the barrels of our Tirage, and more!


The 15 Most Underrated Beers in the World
List has beers from Ft Bragg, Portland, Seattle, Chico

Hardly a week goes by anymore that isn’t accompanied by a beer release hailed as the next best thing. This makes it all too easy to forget the many exceptional ales and lagers that have stood the test of time. So we asked 15 brewers from across the country to name a beer they consider underrated. The results run the gamut of styles, and include at least a few surprising answers. When was the last time you had one of these beers?


Jameson Is Releasing A Cold Brew Flavor That’s Perfect For Your Next Irish Coffee
What’s better than coffee and whiskey?

There is a limited cannon of drinks that are deemed acceptable to drink at brunch. Sure, you can have a Mimosa or Bloody Mary, which are delicious, but other than that, your choices are slim. While I fully support your right to have a vodka soda with your pancakes, Jameson is coming out with a new cold brew whiskey that was made to take its rightful place on your brunch table.

Jameson announced that it’s releasing Jameson Cold Brew, a whiskey blended with the taste of cold brew coffee. While you may have spiked your morning cup of joe with straight whiskey before, this was made to pair with all of its flavors exactly.

It’s made with 100% Arabica Beans from Brazil and Colombia, so it tastes like toasted oak, dark chocolate, and, of course, coffee. The whiskey is made to be enjoyed in an espresso martini, on its own, or poured right into a glass of cold brew.


The 12 Best Dishes at the Ferry Building Marketplace

Seated at the edge of the bay, with a sweeping view down Market Street, the San Francisco Ferry Building is not only an architectural landmark and major transit center, but is a dining destination for this food-obsessed city. Built in 1898 as a hub for trains and ferries, New York architect A. Page Brown designed the clock tower after one in a cathedral in Seville, Spain, and created an interior of soul-lifting arches and skylights. Today, it’s mostly known as a sanctum for local food — home to what is probably the Bay Area’s most prestigious farmers’ market and an emporium for food and beverages made by local artisans, feeding hungry travelers and locals alike.

The shops that line the indoor marketplace include such celebrated restaurants as the Slanted Door, Boulettes Larder, and Hog Island Oyster Co. But there are lower-profile food vendors, too, as well as everything from fresh produce to nut brittle to sourdough bread and cheese — whatever you’d need to assemble the perfect little picnic, pick up a quick snack, or take home ingredients for dinner.

Feeling overwhelmed by the huge crowds of locals or frustrated by slow-moving sightseers? Here’s our guide to the Ferry Building Marketplace’s greatest hits.


Las Vegas Weekend Guide for Angelenos, Winter 2020
A quick hit guide to everything Sin City, all in one handy place

Heading to Vegas for the weekend? Planning a trip in the near future? Eater is here for you. This monthly guide covers the very best of Sin City, from the latest restaurant and bar openings to all things nightlife.


Driving for Lyft or Uber? Here’s Why You May Want to Consider a Dash Cam

Say you’re a new rideshare driver still getting the hang of things. It’s prime time Friday, and you just picked up a passenger after a night on the town. Things are going well. Then you notice the passenger is slurring their words before – uh oh – they puke all over your back seat.

If you want to keep driving, you now have to clean up — but not before taking multiple pictures of the damage and not too long after the passenger leaves. That costs money and supplies.

And the time it takes you to scrub your back seat is equivalent to missed earnings because you would have otherwise been taking fares.

For drivers, situations like this, or worse, are worth being prepared for.

In Uber and Lyft advice groups, drivers caution not to expect that the companies will handle things for you. When it comes to damage or cleaning claims, drivers report passengers tend to get the benefit of the doubt unless the driver has hard proof.

Compiling that proof, taking photos, submitting a claim – that all takes additional time, time you could have spent making money. But there is a way to make that process simpler.


 

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Big Rick’s Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl of Chili recipe

Yes this makes a super bowl of chili. I would get in legal trouble if I combined the first 2 words before “of chili” but it does go well with watching the “big game.”

It is not 5 Alarm hot. It really doesn’t need that much heat. If you like it hot then add heat after you have some in your bowl or play around with the heat as you make it. I don’t make it hot because that way everyone can have some no matter their spicy heat tolerance.

I promise this doesn’t lack any flavor and everyone has always liked it from kids to senior citizens.

You might be surprised by some of the ingredients (pumpkin?) but trust me it works!

It uses a lot of cans so it is pretty easy to make and the simple version takes about an hour and 30 minutes including prep. If you make your own beans from dry it will take longer. I suggest cooking them in advance and adding them during the last 10 minutes to heat up. Otherwise they can get mushy.

You can make it in advance and reheat and you can freeze it. If you don’t want meat just leave it out. If you don’t want beans leave them out.

Big Rick’s Crowd Pleasing Super Bowl of Chili

1 pound ground sirloin (ask the butcher to grind it for you it is a much better option than hamburger)

1 cup diced onion (red or white)

1 cup diced green bell pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled, minced

⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you want to add some heat I usually leave it out)

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes (I like the San Marzano Tomatoes Peeled Whole I buy at Safeway. I drain off 1/2 a cup of the juice in the can. In the winter I think canned tomatoes are better then the fresh)

1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste

1 can (15 ounces) 100% pure pumpkin (This is a key ingredient. It makes the chili thick and kind of creamy. It won’t taste like pumpkin. Don’t get the pumpkin pie filling!)

1 bottle (12 ounces) beer (I like Red Stripe or Modelo)

1 can (15 ounces) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

(Cans are easy and work fine but if you have time make beans from dry. I love Napa’s Rancho Gordo beans. In the photo I used their Yellow Indian Woman Beans. The beans made from dry make a huge difference in the chili. You can make them the day before and add them late in the chili cooking to reheat them.)

3 tablespoons chili powder (I only use Gebhardt Chili Powder. It beats anything I have ever made or bought. It is full of flavor, not spicy hot, easy to find, and Mr. Gebhardt is part of the great history of Tex-Mex cooking and chili.)

1 tablespoon ground cumin

¼ cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

¾ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream

3 to 4 green onions, sliced on the bias

4 cups of shredded cheddar cheese or your favorite

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain fat.

Add onion, green pepper, and garlic to cooked beef and continue to cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables soften.

Add crushed red pepper flakes, if desired, and cook an additional 1 minute.

Add whole tomatoes and juices, crushing tomatoes by hand into bite-size pieces, tomato paste, pumpkin, beer, kidney beans, pinto beans, chili powder, cumin, and brown sugar.

Cover and continue to cook on low heat for 45 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vinegar and salt. It won’t take much of either but both are important. I usually end up adding about a tablespoon balsamic vinegar and a teaspoon of salt.

Serve with sides like hot sauce, sour cream, cheese, and sliced green onions.

this is based on a recipe by: Darlene Zimmerman, MS, RD for Heart Smart®, Henry Ford Health System.


Three Intriguing TED Talks That Relate To Wine

Gary Vaynerchuk—’Do What You Love (No Excuses)’ [March, 2010; 15 minutes long]
Filmed at a Web 2.0 Expo 2008, Vaynerchuk mentions how he developed his work ethic at his family owned liquor store, which provided him with the discipline to turn his Wine Library TV videos into a huge success. That, in turn, provided him with the ability to build a business advising others on building platforms and brand identity.

Joseph Pine—’What Customers Want’ [2004; 14 minutes]
Pine, an author and business coach, mentions wine tangentially in this talk as being ‘an experience,’ or a memorable event people enjoy, just as they might enjoy the experience of going to Disneyland, or visiting a theme restaurant, or a boutique hotel, or taking a journey.

Benjamin Wallace— ‘The Price of Happiness’ [2008; 14 minutes]
Wallace (and his editors) decided he would sample some of the most expensive foods, wine and experiences in the world before he remarked about their possible value. These included eating an 8 ounce Kobe rib eye steak (for $160; ten years ago) and (later) white truffles, visiting a $30,000/night hotel room suite in Manhattan (he visited, but did not stay), trying a $125 bar of soap made from silver nano particles, owning and wearing an $800 pair of Japanese jeans (made from handpicked organic Zimbabwean cotton hand dipped 24 times in indigo), finding the merits of a set of Honma Japanese golf clubs costing $57,000, drinking coffee that retails for $600 a pound, using a $5,980 toilet, sleeping in a $64,000 Swedish bed, test driving a $1.5 million Italian Bugatti vehicle and sampling 1947 Cheval Blanc wine (‘linseed oil aromas,’ he said, followed by a taste with port richness. Overall—he was not impressed).


Ben and Jerry’s Netflix ice cream
No, Netflix is not making food. Well, not really. They have, however, collab’d with Ben & Jerry’s to concoct a flavor that’s best consumed while binge-watching the streaming service. NETFLIX & CHILLL’D is packed with peanut butter ice cream, fudge brownies, and the pièce de résistance of sweet and salty pretzels to make the “perfect indulgent treat to catch up on your favorite Netflix shows.” As pervasive as Netflix, itself, the Ben & Jerry’s brand will unleash the flavor- and calorie-rich blend in 20 countries, a record for the godfathers of frozen delights. Look for NETFLIX & CHILLL’D to sell in February (along with a non-dairy version), so start planning those shows you’ve been just waiting to watch.


New Alexa devices announced at CES including a shower head!
Now that this year’s CES event has wrapped up and we’ve seen everything from the OnePlus Concept One phone, to new Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches, and a ton more, we’ve taken some time to pull together all the products that debuted with Amazon Alexa support. This year, there were significantly more Alexa-enabled gadgets than what we saw at CES 2018 and CES 2019 — great news for anyone who wants to dip their toes into the Amazon-connected ecosystem. We have more than 50 different products to check out, so let’s dive right in.


Sammy Hagar and Guy Fieri Dish on Their New Tequila and Their Desert-Island Drinks

Liquor brands and celebrities have long had symbiotic relationships, though, and that seems particularly true when it comes to Mexican spirits. Teremana Tequila — a brand owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson — is scheduled to launch in March. Pop star Nick Jonas and designer John Varvatos collaborated with Stoli Group to make Villa One tequila. Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul from “Breaking Bad” released Dos Hombres Mezcal last fall. And now restaurateur and television host Guy Fieri and rock star Sammy Hagar have teamed up to create Santo Tequila Blanco.

The collaboration between these two entrepreneurial friends makes sense on multiple levels. Both men have rowdy, bombastic personas, both are restaurateurs with multiple concepts, and they’re both enthusiastic consumers of agave spirits. Their Santo Tequila Blanco is an unaged (white) tequila made with 100 percent Blue Weber agave from the Jalisco highlands. It’s earthy and citrusy with white pepper, spice, and floral notes.


Who actually makes Costco’s Kirkland beer?

Costco has had enormous success in carving out its grocery… clothing… gas… just-about-everything empire in the United States. One of the secret weapons behind their enormous success has been their signature Kirkland brand. Kirkland products account for a huge percentage of Costco’s sales and cover everything from Kirkland liquor to diapers to their popular protein bars.

Naturally, Costco also sells beer under the Kirkland name, and it’s done so with very mixed results among Costco shoppers and beer drinkers. Perhaps you’ve found yourself sipping on a Costco craft brew and wondered, “Who makes this stuff anyway?” Psst, we have a secret: It’s not Costco.


Temecula Valley Annual Barrel Tasting Event
January 25—26, 2020 Temecula

Start the New Year with us! This once-a -year event offers ticket holders a self-guided taste and tour of Temecula Valley, Southern California’s Wine Country voted as One of the Top 10 Wine Destinations in the World by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2019!


Crab Feast Mendocino 2020
1/24 – 2/2
Join the festivities with a ten-day extravaganza of events dedicated to our favorite crustacean, Mr. Crabby! Shrug off those winter blues and indulge in fine seafood, wine, beer, and more. Enjoy family-style crab and and cioppino feeds, gourmet crab-themed dinners, crab and wine pairings, whale watching and crab fishing adventures. There is a Wine Competition showcasing our sparkling liquid assets and the ever popular Crab Cake Cook-Off that highlights the talents of our county’s chefs. Unplug with us in beautiful Mendocino County and stay a night or two, or even more, in some of the most unique lodging properties in Northern California!


Zinfandel Experience 2020
San Francisco January 30—February 1, 2020
Dine, Learn, Enjoy, Taste with legends and emerging rock stars of Zinfandel. ZinEX is a three-day wine and food extravaganza attracting wine lovers from around the world.


Which Meal Kit Delivery Service Is Right for You?
Whether you’re on a specific diet or want the most budget-friendly option, there’s a kit that can meet your needs.

Subscription boxes as a whole have grown in popularity over the last decade, but meal kit services are in a league of their own. What began as packages of preportioned ingredients and recipes has now evolved to include not just traditional meals, but smoothies, snacks, and even boxes geared toward kids.

With so many choices, how can you decide on the best meal kit delivery service for your needs? It’s doubtful you want to sign up for every service out there to find your Goldilocks box, so we’re here to help.


Paso Robles named one of the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2020. Here’s why

New York Times writer Danielle Bergament compares the city to Tuscany and mentions L’Aventure and Adelaida wineries, Hotel Cheval, Hotel Piccolo, Les Petites Canailles and the soon-to-be completed Paso Market Walk as attractions for travelers.

“The city has turned the good life — of wine, olive oil, cheese and boutique hotels — into an identity,” Bergament writes.


Check Out These Hidden Gems In Napa Valley

Situated in northern California just one hour from the bigger cities of San Francisco to the north and Sacramento to the south, Napa Valley is well known for being home to a number of world-class wineries that offer tours, tastings, and beautiful views all around.

The Valley also boasts a number of well known restaurants and resorts to visitors who want to retreat for a quiet get away from the hustle and bustle of busier California destinations. There are a number of well known tours that are hosted year round to their most well known facilities, but for visitors who want to see a different side of Napa Valley, there are local secrets that are sure to please.


Millennials like White Claw better than wine — and it’s shaking up the alcohol industry

Americans are buying less wine for the first time in 25 yearsAmericans have been drinking less alcohol overall, with teetotaling trends like Dry January and Sober September encouraging people to periodically give up the sauce. And those who still do imbibe are either opting for lighter, low-calorie alternatives, such as hard seltzers like White Claw or Boston Beer Co.’s SAM, +0.21% Truly, or they are indulging in hard spirits such as mezcal and Japanese whisky.


Winemakers on What Makes Wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands Distinctive?

The Monterey Bay winds (that so deserve a name, like Mistral, sirocco, or zephyr), soil, cool temperatures, fog, elevation, clones, and accumulated knowhow of the viticulturalists and winemakers meld to produce the SLH style of wine.


Rutherford AVA Leads the Way in Sustainable Winegrowing

Rutherford Dust Society Announces 100% Participation in Napa Green Land Program

The Rutherford Dust Society (RDS), the twenty-five-year-old organization of growers and vintners in the Rutherford appellation, announced today that all of their landholding members are now active in the Napa Green Land program, making Rutherford the first appellation association to achieve 100% participation in the sustainable winegrowing certification.


10 Great Filipino Restaurants in and Around Daly City
Adobo, silogs, and halo-halo reign supreme in this stretch of the Peninsula known as Little Manila


Financial tips from Star Wars

If the Deal Turns to the Dark Side, Cut Your Losses

Make Sure You Have a Long-Term Plan

Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

more at the link!


5 Things to Buy in January (and 4 Things to Wait On)

Expect strong discounts on fitness equipment and winter apparel, but hold off on upgrading your laptop or smartphone.

BUY Gym Memberships and Fitness Equipment, Winter Clothes, Spring Travel including cruises, Bedding, Holiday Decor

WAIT Toys, Smartphones, Laptops, Video Game Consoles


Deals at Yountville locals night (open to non locals!)

2 for 1 tastings Free corkage meal specials and much more every Wednesday


From CNET more Alexa tips

Set up your new Amazon Echo like this
Amazon’s Alexa assistant will only be as helpful as you let it be, so do these 11 things first.

The weirdest things your Amazon Echo can say and do


Burning Man exhibit brings playa to Petaluma, no dust necessary
Marin artists part of playa exhibit in Petaluma

For the longest time, the only way to see the amazing art at Burning Man — the annual nine-day spectacle that includes artistic performances, installations and music in the Nevada desert — was to attend the event itself.

But the notorious dust storms, heat, crowds — more than 70,000 people attended in 2018 — and pricey admission, assuming you can even get a ticket, keep many people away.

Which makes the “Petaluma to the Playa” exhibit at the Petaluma Arts Center, through Jan. 25, such a treat for burners and those who will never be burners. Curated by Mill Valley’s Freddy Hahne, it features wildly creative sculptures, photographs, jewelry, artifacts, maquettes and interactive artworks all made by North Bay artists, including several from Marin.

The goal, he says, is to give people a taste of what Burning Man is like.


Yountville chocolatier Chris Kollar of Kollar Chocolates on Chopped Jan 7

Season 42, Episode 1 Sweet and Salty Success
The chefs get a sweet and salty theme and are tasked with perfectly harmonizing the quintessential flavor pairing on their plates. In the first round, the competitors must combine a Moroccan pie and a sugary take on bacon. A classic fair snack and an imaginative breakfast food are included in the entree basket. And the judges are hoping for creative, beautiful desserts made from a puzzling final sweet and salty basket.


WINE ENTHUSIAST Our 10 Most Searched Wines of the Year, Ranked by Traffic

After sorting through more than 1.6 million searches, we compiled the most sought-after bottles on Winemag.com. And to prioritize wines still available to purchase, we kept it only to reviews published in the past year.
The results were decidedly democratic. Just two bottles cost more than $25, and the most-searched wine of the year is $17. Domestic bottles reign supreme, with California Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir dominating the list.


Air Fryer Fried Ice Cream!

A perfect summer snack: Home cook reveals how she used her Kmart air fryer to make air-fried ice cream

A home cook used the Kmart air fryer and Crunchy Nut cereal to make ice cream. She rolled cricket-ball-sized scoops of ice cream in cinnamon and the cereal. The woman said she then let it freeze for several hours and ‘cooked’ it.

People online said the air-fried ice cream recipe was a ‘game changer’.


Bloomberg Pursuits – Where to Go in 2020
The 24 destinations that will be especially hot this year—and the data you need to plan your trip.

The best way to plan a trip is to think about what you love to do and when you need a break—not which destination you have yet to check off some list. With these key points in mind, we tapped our network of in-the-know editors and global correspondents to deliver two dozen inspiring spots that will be particularly enticing this coming year.

Among them are far-flung places you may have never considered, such as the nomadic villages of Kyrgyzstan, the archaeological ruins deep in Guatemala, and the pristine landscapes of Lombok, Indonesia. There are also sleepy beach towns getting glammed up by posh hotels, or classic cities revitalized by hot restaurants and fresh cultural institutions. And if you’re looking for a chance to commune with the great outdoors or go on an animal adventure, we’ve got those, too.

In interactive graphs accompanying each destination, you’ll find exclusive, week-by-week hotel pricing data from Google and intel from our most trusted travel experts. Tap or hover over them, and you’ll get specific insights for each spot.

All that’s left is for you to pick your favorite. Bon voyage!


Wine and Chocolate Tasting

Acumen in the Napa Valley now offers Wine and Chocolate Tasting Thursdays through Sundays in partnership with Napa’s Annette’s Chocolates. Learn about chocolate production while sampling three PEAK Cabernet Sauvignons paired with six chocolate selections. Reservations must be made online or by phone 72 hours in advance.


73 Delightful Places to Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Los Angeles

Ring in the New Year at these diverse LA restaurants and bars


Hermosa’s ’70s-Themed Coffeehouse Lands a New Spot in Redondo

Hi-Fi Espresso, the new Redondo Beach coffeehouse touting waffle dishes called “Brock Landers” and “Chest Rockwell” from the film Boogie Nights, opened a second location this month. This time, the owners took their love of the 1970s culture and coffee to Redondo’s Riviera Village.

Jeff and Karen Prugh debuted Hi-Fi in Hermosa Beach in late-2017, and the new spot resembles the coziness of its sister cafe at 800 square feet. But Redondo has a full-kitchen and expanded all-day menu. Hi-Fi Redondo sports breakfast, savory bowls, salads, soup, toast, and the aforementioned waffles. They’ll rotate the menu with the seasons, and offer tea and kombucha.


Get Crackin’: The Bay Area Dungeness Crab Heatmap


San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade and 5k December 26th

The scenic, bayside streets of downtown San Diego will come alive with the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Hilton! As always, this exciting family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams, and a procession of enormous balloons – more than any other parade! Over 100,000 street-side spectators will enjoy the parade along with a nationwide television audience. Street side viewing of the parade is free!

Parade festivities will begin in the television area with the National Funding 5K Run/Walk.


Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center

Nutcracker and Charlie Brown Christmas


Sacramento 6p and 7:30p
Old Sacramento’s 7th Annual “Macy’s Theatre of Lights”

The free outdoor performances artfully mix the historic charm of Old Sacramento with state-of-the-art sound and lighting technology


Napa Wine train Santa Train trips

1.5-hour train ride through beautiful Napa Valley
Enchanting musical entertainment and games bring the kids!
Hot cocoa and freshly-baked cookies on board during the return to the station
Other beverages and snack boxes available

Giving back during the holiday season is important to us. That’s why we’ve partnered with the Napa Valley Food Bank for this event. In support of the food bank, we ask that each guest bring a non-perishable item to donate, and we will collect the items at the station.


Santa Rosa 3pm today

Sing-Along Messiah Jackson Theater at Sonoma Country Day School

Ring in the season at Sonoma County’s annual Sing-Along Messiah, featuring orchestra, soloists, and an on-stage chorus for an afternoon of enjoyment. Copies of the music are available.


Santa Rosa 4 to 6 today

Montgomery Village Chanukah Festival


Petaluma Today 4:30

CHANUKAH AT THE RIVER Menorah Lighting

The festival of Chanukah teaches us about the power of light over darkness and right over might.
Join in the celebrations at the fifth annual Grand Menorah Lighting at the Petaluma River! The event features the Mega-Nine-Foot Menorah, the Great Chanukah Gelt Drop,  a spectacular Fire Juggling Act, latkes, donuts, and chocolate “gelt.” Participate in a Chanukah craft, face painting, and the photo-op with Life-Sized Dreidel! Enjoy music, the grand raffle, and more.

✡ Special Chanukah Giveaway for first 50 Kids!


Petaluma City Lights Driving Tour

Beautifully decorated homes adorn the neighborhoods of downtown Petaluma through the month of December. Maps and addresses for a self-guided tour are available online or at the Petaluma Visitors Center.


Monterey

Ice Skating by the Bay

Celebrate the holidays amidst the scenic coastline at Ice Skating by the Bay’s seasonal ice skating rink located in Custom House Plaza behind Portola Hotel & Spa. Skaters can spend the day in a winter wonderland right by the Bay.

Christmas At The Wharf

Festivities will include holiday entertainment, free visits with Santa, wandering characters including holiday princesses, and a dazzling array of holiday lights and decorations including a 23-foot Christmas tree. Be sure to stop by the Wharf Tent for complimentary hot chocolate, coffee, hot apple cider, and delicious holiday cookies.

If you’re a Monterey County resident, bring your ID and get 2 hours of free parking in the Waterfront Lot November 29 – December 24 courtesy of the City of Monterey.


Check out the Santa Barbara County Christmas Bird Count Information


Paso Robles Saturday Dec 21st Victorian Teddy Bear Tea

The Snow Queen & King, Mrs. Claus, Santa Claus, the elves and Victorian friends invite local youth and their families to the Annual Victorian Teddy Bear Tea. Event features music, storytelling, gingerbread cookie decorating, candy canes, pictures to color, and door prizes. Seating is limited, so get your tickets in advance!


Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf Association presents Christmas on the Wharf on Fridays (4pm-9pm), Saturdays (9am-9pm), and Sundays (1pm-6pm), December 6-22, plus on Monday, December 23, 10am-5pm.

Festivities will include holiday entertainment, free visits with Santa, wandering characters including holiday princesses, and a dazzling array of holiday lights and decorations including a 23-foot Christmas tree. Be sure to stop by the Wharf Tent for complimentary hot chocolate, coffee, hot apple cider, and delicious holiday cookies.

If you’re a Monterey County resident, bring your ID and get 2 hours of free parking in the Waterfront Lot November 29 – December 24 courtesy of the City of Monterey.


The Nutcracker in Yountville 2 shows Saturday and 1 show Sunday

Napa Regional Dance Company’s beloved production of The Nutcracker is back for its 19th season! Join Clara and her Nutcracker Prince on an enchanted journey through the Snow Flake Forest to The Land of Sweets with the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier in this timeless holiday classic.

Enjoy the larger than life scenery, dancing toy soldiers, Harlequins, mischievous mice, sparkling snowflakes and a magnificent Christmas tree as the ballet unfolds to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score. This sumptuous performance is a feast for the senses.

We are also delighted to announce that Lincoln Theater is partnering with Napa Regional Dance Company and guest Conductor Steven Thompson to bring live music by Symphony Napa Valley to this year’s production. With over 30 dancers, 50 musicians, 12 actors, elaborate scenery and incredible costumes, The Nutcracker promises to be a heartwarming experience for audiences young and old.


Santa Rosa at the Charles M. Schulz Museum

Saturday December 21st Holiday Gift-Making Workshop

Sign up your little elves to make a variety of fun and creative gifts to give for the holidays, including lavender bath bombs, sweet smelling sugar scrubs, a homemade photo holder, and more! Recommended for children ages 5–12.


Kelseyville Saturday December 21st

Come to the Ely Stage Stop Christmas Fair and Marketplace! There will be local artists’ handcrafted items for sale including custom jewelry, handbags, beauty items, wood creations and more. Also enjoy hot food in the Barn, and hayrides (weather permitting). Bring your cameras for photos with Santa too.


2019 Downtown Sacramento Ice Rink Open daily through Jan. 20


Turkey Time!

Here are some turkey cooking ideas.

Yes I have roasted a frozen turkey and it always comes out very good if not quite great. It is better than many turkey dinners I have had in my life. All you do is unwrap it and put it in the oven. Check the link for details.

This year I am not making a full turkey but a sous vide turkey breast with this recipe.

The Turkey Math link has good details on roasting a turkey and getting everything ready to time out for dinner.

And if you want to try out your Instant Pot for making your Thanksgiving turkey and more check the link below!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I Cooked A Frozen Turkey (Not Fake News)

I have now done this 5 times. Each time I did it the same way. Each time I have had very good results. Oh and FWIW Williams-Sonoma has a read on cooking a frozen turkey (read the comments on how well it works)

Turkey Day Math: Let experts tell you how to cook your bird and sides on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Dinner may be the most iconic meal in American culture. It also may be the most stressful to prepare. How big should your turkey be? How long should you cook it? How long do you thaw it? What about a brine? And the gravy? And sides?

Yikes.

Fear not, Bird Day chefs. NJ Advance Media talked to some of the biggest names in New Jersey cuisine to take the guesswork out of preparing your turkey.

How to make easy Thanksgiving dinner in under 1 hour using an Instant Pot

Roasting a turkey used to mean hours of pacing and peering into the oven. But thanks to a trendy kitchen gadget, home cooks can now make a beautiful brown bird in a mere hour.

“It’s definitely 100 percent possible,” food blogger Jeffrey Eisner tells The Post. The 38-year-old Astoria resident, who runs a recipe blog called Pressure Luck Cooking, is on a mission to prove to that you can make an entire turkey — as well as stuffing and gravy — in an Instant Pot, the superspeedy electric multicooker that’s taken over American kitchens the past two years.

“It’s a new way of cooking,” says Eisner of the pumped-up pressure cooker. “When you have an appliance like this that can do it all, why not push the limits to see if it can make a turkey?”

In a hurry but don’t have an Instant Pot? Here is a 1 Hour Turkey recipe!


2 good reads from Tim Fish at Wine Spectator

Winemakers Keep It Real on Thanksgiving

Asking winemakers what they’re drinking on Thanksgiving is Wine Writing 101, an enjoyable exercise for the first few years but then it grows stale, as much for the vintners as the writer.

“Hey, what’s the perfect wine for the most idiosyncratic meal of the year?”

Who needs that kind of pressure?

So, of course, I asked them anyway. Since taking over Wine Spectator’s Oregon and Washington tasting beats a few years ago, I’ve gotten to know whole communities of winemakers. Their new perspectives are a refreshing complement to what California winemakers bring to the table.

The rules were simple. Keep it chatty and lighthearted, and above all, keep it as real and true as possible. Recommend one bottle, specific vintages preferred, and no fair naming your own wine.

I asked some of my favorite winemakers to play along, and I was impressed by how poignant some of their responses were. Enjoy, and have a great Thanksgiving!

The Broke Millennial’s Guide to Thanksgiving Wine Values

When I was in my twenties, I didn’t have a lot of cash leftover for wine. I may not be a Millennial, but I know the feeling. Some things never change.

But that’s no reason to be a skinflint on Thanksgiving when you head back to the folks’ house or grandma’s, or even sit down with a group of friends. It’s a holiday. Splurge … proportionally.

If you’re a smart shopper you can find plenty of better-than-average wines that sell for $15 or less. It helps to be open-minded. Don’t expect Napa Cabernet or a Burgundy, but look to some of the lesser-known regions and mass-produced bottlings and you may be surprised.

I’ve pulled together 10 wines that will suit just about any Thanksgiving feast, and they’re tasty enough that no one will consider you cheap.

Just be sure to peel off the price tag.


Wildly popular food truck Nash & Proper to open downtown Sacramento restaurant

The word is out about Nashville style Hot Chicken in Sacramento. Coming soon Nash and Proper will have their own restaurant! For now check out the website that has a calendar with all their Food Truck locations.

Here is what sactownmag.com says about them.

Co-owned by Cecil Rhodes (of food truck Cecil’s Taste) and Jake Bombard, Nash & Proper serves hot chicken in classic Nashville fashion (the “Nash” in the name is a nod to Music City, where this particular style of fried chicken originated)—brined and double-fried, dripping with cayenne-red juices, nestled on a bed of white bread and topped with pickles. The “Sammich” version, which had its pilot run last year at Cecil’s Taste, features a fried chicken thigh piled with cabbage-jalapeño slaw, pickle brine vinaigrette and a sadistically spicy fuego sauce.


Ok you might not go to LAX to eat but if you are there people say the food isn’t too bad. They have a lot of variety and even a food truck area!

Read about Cassell’s Hamburgers, Asian Street Eats by Chef Hung Huynh, Cole’s (famous French Dip sandwich), ink.sack, Border Grill, plus a list of places by the terminal.

Where to Eat at LAX, Holiday 2019 Edition

From horrendous traffic getting to the airport to inefficient security lines and unplanned delays, traveling can be a real headache. Fortunately for frequent flyers, LAX has made some major improvements to its dining scene over the last few years, with solid options available in each terminal. Additionally, the introduction of LAX-it means there’s food trucks to explore while waiting for rideshare services. Here now are the very best places to dine at LAX.


Pop-Up BBQ Legend Is Opening His First Restaurant, and It’s a Brisket Wonderland
Matt Horn’s new brick and mortar, Horn Barbecue, will give Central Texas-style meats a permanent home in Oakland.

When barbecue pop-up sensation Matt Horn opens his Oakland brick-and-mortar restaurant in the coming weeks, you can expect the crowds to flock for his Central Texas-style brisket. That supple and spectacular dry-rubbed brisket, smoked for 16 to 18 hours over California white oak, will no doubt be the main event for a lot of guests. But there will also be many other meats sold by the pound and in sandwiches as Horn demonstrates his range and reverence for American barbecue.

hornbarbecue.com

He’ll have turkey, chicken, pulled pork, and pork ribs at the West Oakland restaurant known as Horn Barbecue. He’ll make hot links and also beef-and-garlic sausages that pay homage to Texas pitmaster Robert Patillo. On Saturdays, he’ll serve big beef ribs and whole-hog barbecue. Horn and his wife, Nina, will prepare sides like mac and cheese, pit beans, potato salad, collard greens, slaw, and black-eyed peas.


Craft Beer Thrives in the Heart of Napa Wine Country

Napa Valley has long been devoted to the products of the grape, but the region actually played a pivotal role in getting the craft beer revolution off the ground. New Albion Brewing launched the microbrewery trend in adjacent Sonoma County in 1976, inspiring a wave of delicious and potent alternatives to pale industrial beer.

There’s a symbiotic effect between the hops and the vine, since making beer requires the same creative and perfectionist drive as wine. As the saying about thirsty winery workers goes, “It takes a lot of beer to make good wine.”


Lodi leads California wine regions in sustainability

Lodi is home to around 90 wineries, just a handful of them corporate. The big players may exploit most of Lodi’s grapes, but the 85 wineries that generally can qualify as “boutique” is where most of the dynamic action is taking place in the area.

…“Lodi Rules,” the state’s first independently certified winegrowing program aimed at balancing environmental, economic and social concerns. That first year, six families farming 1,455 acres agreed to subscribe to 100 standards concerning pest, soil, water and other management practices to enhance sustainability. Today, 85 families farming 24,200 acres adhere to the standards, representing more than a fifth of Lodi’s winegrape acreage.


Paso Robles is getting a new Mexican restaurant owned by a Napa chef

A restaurant owner with ties to famed restaurant The French Laundry will bring a new Mexican eatery to the Paso Market Walk public market.

Finca — owned by Patrick and Stephanie Aguirre of La Taquiza Fish Tacos in Napa — will be the Spring Street market’s flagship merchant, according to a Thursday news release.

The restaurant will be located in a restored historic farmhouse that almond grower J.H. Van Wormer built on the property in 1890.


Explore Santa Cruz Mountains on a California Wines Road Trip

California’s many beautiful wine regions offer an extraordinary variety of wines and experiences to enjoy. To help visitors explore them all, Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trips series highlights a different region each month. This month, take a trip to the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains wine region, known for its wooded peaks and small, family-owned vineyards tucked into serene hillsides. The diverse microclimates allow growers to cultivate a variety of winegrapes, but the region is known primarily for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.


If San Francisco Neighborhoods Were Dogs

They’re at the table next to you at your corner coffee shop. They’re sitting next to you on the bus. They’re even surfing in competitions now. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in San Francisco — it takes no time to realize that San Francisco loves its dogs.
And you’ve heard the stat: there are more dogs in this city than children. This got me thinking about the many stereotypes and vaguely written articles out there that attempt to describe what the neighborhoods that define this quirky city are actually like.


California’s Top 10 Collectible Wines

…we gathered secondary market data on dozens of wines to calculate the most collectible California bottlings today. We considered wines whose first vintage was at least 15 years ago, those widely regarded to hold or improve in quality with time, ones traded most frequently in the U.S. and abroad, and bottlings with high price appreciation, calculated by comparing release prices and future resale figures compiled by Liv-ex.

Read on to discover the state’s top 10 blue-chip bottles, ranked by the average rate of their six-year appreciation.


Wine lovers take note: Temecula, California, is the next Napa Valley

There’s a good chance that even if you know about Sonoma and Paso Robles and California’s other iconic wine-producing regions, you haven’t heard of Temecula. Of some 3,900 wineries in the state, fewer than 50 lie within the 33,000-acre Temecula Valley American Viticultural Area, and just 1,300 of these acres are devoted to vineyards. Temecula hasn’t always had the best reputation with wine aficionados from up north scoffing at the amateurs making jug wine for Angelenos traveling via party bus. But after a decades-long ascent, it’s on the cusp of bigger things. With a legion of new wineries and winemakers, the region is earning recognition for sophisticated wines, bottling Spanish and Mediterranean varietals suited to Temecula’s hot days, cool nights, and afternoon breezes rolling in 22 miles from the Pacific Ocean. In head-to-head contests, Temecula winemakers regularly beat their counterparts from up north. Earlier this year, Wine Enthusiast magazine named Temecula one of the 10 best wine travel destinations in the world.

Just before a roundabout, I hit the brakes; all of Temecula stretches before me. It’s time to go and uncork some bottles.


The Taco King of South Central LA – Street Food Icons

VIDEO at the link

Keith Garrett of All Flavor No Grease sells his take on Mexican street food out of his food truck in South Central Los Angeles. He makes quesadillas, tacos, and burritos filled with chicken, steak, shrimp, or all three. Keith grew up in Watts, a neighborhood in South LA. After selling weed for years, he used his entrepreneurial instincts to start a candy shop, which he morphed into a taco stand in front of his mom’s house before turning it into All Flavor No Grease. Now, AFNG is a South LA institution that has been lauded by rappers like The Game, Problem, Bow Wow, and the late Nipsey Hussle. Keith’s inspiring journey to becoming a street food icon is one of the most memorable of the series.


Rolling Stone MUSICIANS ON MUSICIANS
Billie Joe Armstrong & Billie Eilish

Though Dookie came out seven years before Eilish was born, you can see why she would love it. Its themes — boredom, anxiety, self-doubt — are ones she takes to twisted extremes on her own breakthrough, When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Eilish, 17, has been listening to Green Day since she was nine. Her older brother and musical collaborator, Finneas O’Connell, was such a huge fan that as an early teen he emulated everything about Armstrong, down to the “little undone tie and the guyliner.” “He was basically a downgrade of you,” Eilish says. “Well,” Armstrong says, laughing, “he’s an upgrade now.”

20 Essential Thai Restaurants in Los Angeles
Pad Thai, sour sausages, and boat noodle soup

With its rich culinary traditions and hyper-regional fare, Thailand is home to some of the most delightful and crave-worthy foods on the planet. LA’s tremendous Thai population means that Angelenos are never more than a stone’s throw from excellent renditions of pad Thai, sour sausages, and boat noodle soup. From Thai Town to the Valley and beyond, here now are the 20 essential Thai restaurants in Los Angeles.

Thai Elvis is not dead. But he may not be the one you’re thinking of

Manuel Toi GB — yes, that’s his actual name — sat calmly at a table at the Siri Thai Cuisine restaurant in Burbank on a recent Saturday and waited his turn to take the small stage at the back of the dining room. The restaurant, which serves both northern and southern Thai dishes, is in a small shopping center off Burbank Boulevard, next to a dog groomer and an Edible Arrangements. It’s one of many Thai restaurants in Los Angeles that features a small stage for entertainment — some Elvis or Britney Spears covers while you eat your green curry.

On this particular Saturday, the narrow restaurant was packed with about 100 diners, all there to eat dinner, celebrate the restaurant’s three-year anniversary and listen to Toi GB, one of Thailand’s most popular Elvis impersonators, sing.

At 5-foot-2, Toi GB is a thin but sturdy man who may or may not be in his 70s. Like most performers, he prefers to keep his age a secret. He favors faded denim tuxedos. He wears his jet-black hair with deep, bushy sideburns. Gem-studded rings fit for a fistfight all but engulf his fingers. And even when he’s not in his Elvis garb, he has a period look about him; it’s always as if he’s just walked off the Opry stage in 1954.

“And now, Elvis Presley,” bellowed a woman from the stage, her silhouette illuminated by rotating red, orange and yellow lights.

Peter Luger given zero stars in brutal New York Times review

New York institution Peter Luger has been ripped as a washed-up, overpriced scam in an excoriating zero-star review by the New York Times.

The blistering critique by the newspaper’s restaurant critic Pete Wells plunges in the steak knife — describing the South Williamsburg eatery’s porterhouse as “far from the best New York has to offer.”

Peter Luger owners rip brutal, zero-star New York Times review

Peter Luger’s owners and staff are not taking a brutal New York Times zero-star review lying down — telling The Post they won’t be beholden to food trends and the whims of the Gray Lady.

“We know who we are and have always been. The best steak you can eat. Not the latest kale salad,” Peter Luger co-owner Jody Storch said Tuesday in the wake of the blistering critique by Times restaurant reviewer Pete Wells.

‘What does the New York Times know anyway!’ Defiant New Yorkers and hungry tourists flock to Brooklyn’s Peter Luger steakhouse the day after stinging zero-star review and say it DOES have the best steak in town (even if the waiters are a bit rude)

Peter Luger steakhouse in Brooklyn was busy when DailyMail.com visited on Wednesday lunchtime, a day after the New York Times’ scathing review
Diners were happy with their meals and said the Times’ rebuke was unfair
Veteran waiters said the review was ‘too personal’ and downright ‘wrong’
Among customers were tourists from Japan, Florida and Australia
They all enjoyed their food and said the prices, though steep, were justified
Retired NYPD cops and long-standing customers with Peter Luger credit cards were also there to show their support

The Champagne Myth
Bubbles may feel special, but sparkling wine shouldn’t only be for celebrations

Ariel Arce, the founder of Air’s Champagne Parlor in Greenwich Village, among other trendy spots, wants people to take bubbles seriously, but she doesn’t put them on a pedestal, either. That means she doesn’t reserve Champagne for special events. “I don’t really like to classify Champagne as celebratory anymore,” she says. “We have a real revelation with people drinking sparkling wine for every and all occasions. Yes, there is something special about bubbles in anything — sparkling water is more festive than still water — but it’s a well-thought-out and produced wine.”

This already happened but sounds like it was fun!…

Big Kahuna Burger From ‘Pulp Fiction’ Pops Up in Hollywood Next Week
Burgers, loco moco fries, shakes, and swag

Los Angeles is overrun with branded food stunts these days, from faux museums dedicated to a particular dish to media-savvy pop-ups attached to cultural properties like Good Burger from the show All That. Fat Sal’s, the overstuffed sandwich makers in Hollywood, have gotten into the mix before, and now for Halloween the group is transforming its corner address off Highland into a Big Kahuna Burger from the movie Pulp Fiction.

Much like in years past, Fat Sal’s plans to its dining area to fit the new temporary theme. Expect a grassy Hawaiian-tinged awning and overt nods to the 1994 film everywhere, including slogans (“Now that is a tasty burger” or “That’s that Hawaiian burger joint”) and an image of Jules Winnfield, the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the Tarantino flick. A separate area will be turned into the pawn shop from the film as well, and diners will be able to check out merchandise in that space.

The whole thing is very temporary, of course — meaning customers should expect long lines and lots of photo opportunities. Big Kahuna Burger runs only on Wednesday, October 30 and Thursday, October 31, from 11 a.m. to close both days.

Unprecedented Movement on Mojave Desert Fault Capable of Magnitude 8.0 Earthquake: Caltech Study

The earthquakes that hammered the Southern California desert near the town of Ridgecrest last summer involved ruptures on a web of interconnected faults and increased strain on a major nearby fault that has begun to slowly move, according to a new study.

Ruptures in the Ridgecrest earthquake sequence ended a few miles from the Garlock Fault, which runs east-west for 185 miles from the San Andreas Fault to Death Valley.

The Garlock Fault has been relatively quiet for 500 years. It now has begun a process called fault creep and has slipped 0.8 inch since July, the research found.

The study by geophysicists from the California Institute of Technology and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory was published in the journal Science on Thursday, coinciding with the implementation of a statewide earthquake early warning system for the general public.

Southern California’s largest earthquake sequence in two decades began July 4 in the Mojave Desert about 120 miles north of Los Angeles.

A magnitude 6.4 foreshock was followed the next day by a magnitude 7.1 mainshock and then more than 100,000 aftershocks.

Zachary Ross, assistant professor of geophysics at Caltech and lead author of the paper, said in a statement that it was one of the most well-documented earthquake sequences in history.

Ross developed automated computer analysis of seismometer data to detect the huge number of aftershocks with precise location information, Caltech and JPL said in a press release.

Here’s a Quick Way to Make Soup from Nearly Any Fall Vegetable

Now that the seasons have changed, it’s time for cozy-weather vegetables and dishes. First among them, of course, is soup, which harnesses magical powers. When the temperatures dip, soup is there with plenty of warm and comforting goodness in every spoonful. But you don’t need a complicated recipe, or cans of stuff from the grocery store. Fall is full of fantastic produce that’s easy to turn into soup at home. Just use this easy-to-remember no-recipe formula.

Paso Robles Is A Wine Region With A Fascinating Climate And A Punk Rock Edge

But what sets Paso Robles apart from Napa Valley et al, beyond just the punk mentality, is a peculiarity in the area’s climate caused by a small but consequential geological formation, a low-lying segment of the Santa Lucia mountain range. Take a seat at Paso Robles’ dive bar, the Pine Street Saloon, and you’re likely as not to find yourself next to a winemaker expounding on the virtues of the Templeton Gap. The same conditions that draw cold air inland off the Pacific and cools the Bay Area is present in Paso Robles year-round, thanks to this phenomenon, which roughly tracks state highway 46 and becomes a veritable wind tunnel of cold air every afternoon.

Baja Wine Should Be a Bigger Deal in the U.S.

You’re probably familiar with the Big B’s of winemaking: Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Barolo. But Baja? Maybe not. The Mexican peninsula isn’t very well known in the U.S. for its wine, but a group of young winemakers is trying to help the region get the viticultural love it deserves.

Tresomm was founded in 2017 by Taylor Grant, Conner Mitchell, and Christopher Miller. The trio first met through the Los Angeles sommelier community, and after a group jaunt down to Mexico, their shared passion for Baja’s viticultural diversity led to talks about starting a vineyard. After numerous glasses of wine and a life-changing meeting with one of the region’s wine pioneers, the group was all in.

How San Diego Became a Natural Wine Haven

Welcome to opening night for Nat Diego 2019, the third time that natural wine producers, importers and advocates have descended on this Southern California city. One of the capitals of the country’s craft beer movement, San Diego has also cultivated quite a natural wine scene. Bars like The Rose and Vino Carta promote unique bottlings from across the globe, while hometown producers like J. Brix, Vesper, and Los Pilares turn San Diego County fruit into fresh fun.

“Once you get hooked on what natural wine can be when it’s good, exciting and vibrant, there’s no going back,” says Chelsea Coleman, who worked at The Rose when it was a “normal” bar for three years. In 2014, she became co-owner and immediately shifted to sustainably sourced, gently handcrafted wines.

“Gradually, it has taken hold, and people are paying attention now,” she says. “Beer nerds are into crazy aromas and lots of flavors. That can be leverage when you’re trying to introduce new things to San Diego.”

Boldly going where no palate has gone before: A Star Trek wine tasting

What is it about alcohol and Star Trek? We’ve had the Star Trek: The Next Generation 30th anniversary beer, the James T. Kirk Reserve straight bourbon whiskey, and Ten Forward vodka, named after the Enterprise lounge, with each bottle containing traces of “vodka from space” (technically Earth’s mesosphere).

But arguably the most anticipated Trek happening of 2019 involved the announcement of a new series—Star Trek: Picard. Slated to debut in early 2020, the show picks up with the beloved captain retired to his vineyards before life intervenes. So naturally, in honor of the series and Picard’s true passion, we now have Star Trek Wines, a collaboration between CBS Consumer Products and Wines That Rock.

These 3 Central Coast wineries are among the best in the world, magazine says

Three Central Coast wineries are among the world’s best, according to Wine & Spirits magazine.

Tablas Creek Vineyard in Templeton, Deovlet Wines in San Luis Obispo, and Chanin Wines in Lompoc were all named to the magazine’s 2019 Top 100 Wineries list, alongside wineries from France, Italy, Spain and Australia.

Wine & Spirits magazine said its panels and critics perform blind taste tests of more than 11,000 wines from around the world, and the top 100 wineries are chosen based on the wines with the “highest scores and the most consistent showing throughout the year.”

A Death in Flavortown: Guy Fieri’s First Restaurant, Tex Wasabi’s, Has Closed

In 1999, a 31-year-old Guy Fieri, not yet the Founding Father of Flavortown, opened his first Tex Wasabi’s restaurant with his then-business partner, Steve Gruber. For almost two decades, that spot in Santa Rosa, California, served a combination of what it called “Rock-n-Roll Sushi” and barbecue, described on the menu as assorted arrangements of pork, sushi rice, French fries, and mayonnaise-based sauces.

On Monday, their era of “Gringo Sushi”—their words—came to an abrupt end, not with a bang, but with a sign taped to the restaurant’s window and a newly deactivated website. “After nearly 20 years, we are sorry to announce that Tex Wasabi’s had closed its doors,” the sign read. “Thank you to all for your support and patronage over the years.”

There’s No Chili Like Texas Chili and These 10 Recipes Do It Best

Lindsay Mattison writes – If your chili has beans, I’m simply not interested. Why take up space in a perfectly spiced homemade chili with beans? In my opinion, that’s the difference between a good chili and a great recipe. The best Texas chili recipes say “No, thank you!” to the pinto beans and “Yes, please!” to lots of brown, seared beef and spicy chiles swimming in spicy sauce.

Yes, red chili is where it’s at, and there are a ton of recipes out there. We scoured the internet to find the best of the best Texas chili recipes (and automatically disqualified any recipe that added beans). So pull out your Dutch oven or slow cooker, bake up a side of cornbread, and get ready with your sour cream, green onion, and cheddar cheese toppings. It’s time for a chili cook-off!

Nike’s self-lacing Huarache can be controlled with Apple Watch and Siri

The Adapt Huarache features the brand’s FitAdapt technology, which Nike claims will “update and evolve along with the user.” This isn’t a Nest thermostat for your feet; the motorized lacing unit won’t analyze your habits and adjust accordingly. It will, however, offer users more convenient control than previous versions of the Adapt technology. The Nike Adapt BB featured smartphone control, but the Adapt Huarache will also connect to Apple Watch and Siri for even faster changes. Presets will make it even easier to switch from a relaxed fit while sitting at your desk to a secure hug for running sessions.

Sneakerheads might be disappointed by the aesthetics of the Adapt Huarache, as it takes some major deviations from its namesake: While the angular silhouette of the original Huarache looks decidedly ’90s, the Adapt version of the sneaker takes on a more streamlined appearance. That said, the Adapt Huarache is more stylized than the Adapt BB, and its Adapt unit doesn’t look out of place or tacked on like the Nike Hyper Adapt.

The Nike Adapt Huarache will hit Nike’s apps and select stores on September 13th in grey and yellow colorways. The MSRP has not been announced, but the Nike Adapt BB launched at $350 in January 2019, so the new model will likely be positioned at a similar price point.

‘Taste-Tester’ Bear Munches on Pinot Noir Grapes at California Vineyard

It’s coming up to harvest time at the Navarro Winery in California, but they’re happy to share some of their more delectable pinot noir grapes with a local bear. In fact, they positively encourage it, having put in “bear ladders” to allow wildlife through their vineyards. CCTV footage from the winery shows their nighttime visitor helping itself to the pinot grapes on a number of occasions in recent weeks. Aaron Bennett, of the winery, told Storyful the bear in this video has been visiting for a few years. “We’re happy to share a few grapes every season,” he said. The vineyard’s cameras also record bobcats, mountain lions, foxes, and coyotes traversing the land, Bennett said.

The Best Things To Do During a Trip To Napa Valley, According to Local Winemakers

Skip that “Sideways”-inspired schedule and fill your next Napa trip with these expert tips.

Napa Valley, aka the adult version of Disneyland for wine aficionados, is best known as a travel destination that’s ideal for experiencing California’s greatest grapes. (I mean, it is the holy grail of Cabernet Sauvignon, right?) But while enjoying fine wine is undeniably the highlight of the Napa experience, there’s plenty of other activities to indulge in when you’re not touring wineries.

Some Tiny House links

Escape takes the wheels off with trio of non-towable tiny houses

Over the years Escape has offered lots of different tiny houses, from ultra-portable compact models to supersized XL versions with room for a family. With its new EscapeSpace, the firm takes the wheels off and offers a trio of sheds/tiny houses that are suitable for multiple uses, including as an extra bedroom or a home office.

Want something bigger?

Amazon Is Now Selling A Prefab Tiny Home With A Loft That Sleeps 7 People

the SLEDhaus, a 572 square foot wooden structure that is straight-up stocked with A+ features

Considered a “luxury retreat” by the creators at Irontown Homes, the SLEDHaus boasts an open floor plan (yes, even in a tiny home) and a loft so spacious that it can sleep up to—wait for it—seven people. I repeat: seven people.

want to try out a Tiny House?

9 tiny houses in Silicon Valley that you can rent on Airbnb

Wine Coolers Are Making a Comeback – Bartles & Jaymes Selling Canned Wine Drinks

“We started having discussions about what the reinvention of Bartles & Jaymes [looked like] and kicked off product development about two years ago,” says Stephanie Gallo, E. & J. Gallo’s chief marketing officer.

If Bartles & Jaymes had managed to improbably survive America’s craft beer revolution, the bourbon explosion, and $15 cocktail mania, it had finally made it to what E. & J. Gallo saw as another wine cooler-friendly era. As you may have heard, hard seltzer is the hottest thing… What if E. & J. Gallo could go back to using wine…and then slip this wine cooler onto millennial and sub-millennial refrigerator shelves alongside White Claw and Bon & Viv?

Gott’s Opens Gas Station Convenience Store for Doughnuts and Sandwiches in St. Helena

Patrons of St. Helena’s landmark gas station, Napa Valley Petroleum, can now fuel up on a whole lot more than gas. Local winemaker and restaurateur Joel Gott of the Gott’s Roadside burger chain, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary, has opened a sophisticated and contemporary convenience store behind the pumps in a long-vacant retail space. Simply named the Station, the new store features a robust coffee menu and fresh, relatively healthy grab-and-go items for breakfast and lunch.

“The St. Helena food scene has gotten a little stale, so I think any new business that can breathe some life into this town is needed,” says the Station general manager Emelie Poisson. It’s true that St. Helena’s Main Street hasn’t welcomed a new dining concept in quite some time, and the town’s fast-casual lunch and breakfast options are limited to spots like Model Bakery and Sunshine Market. “In talking to people and walking around, everyone is liking it, everyone likes the bright space, and just that it’s something different in town.”

Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival
September 27—29, 2019
Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, Sonoma
Includes both adult and youth grape stomps!

Downtown SLO Sip ‘n Saunter
Friday, September 27 Downtown SLO’s 3rd annual Sip ‘n Saunter takes place at multiple Downtown venues on Friday, September 27 from 5-8:30 PM! Sip ‘n Saunter is a memorable evening of beverage and food tastings offered in Downtown San Luis Obispo’s diverse shops and locations.

Arroyo Grande Harvest Festival
September 27—28, 2019
Downtown Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Grande
Join the Ag Harvest Festival Grape Stomp!

Temecula Valley Crush
Saturday, September 28
Monte De Oro Winery, Temecula
The ONE and ONLY event showcasing the wines of 30+ member wineries in one location!

3rd Annual Eat Drink Play Los Gatos, a community event featuring Fine Wine, Craft Brews, Local Food, Live Music FREE Saturday, September 28

Why Mexican Wine Is No Longer a Restaurant Novelty

For most American wine drinkers, Mexican wine appeared seemingly out of nowhere. One day, we were content drinking Tecate, margaritas and mezcal, and the next, sommeliers were pouring tastes of Tempranillo-Nebbiolo blends that showed big fruit and a touch of sea salt.

The Unified Theory Of Cooking With Beer has just 1 simple rule

While pairing beer with specific foods falls midway between an art and a science, there’s far less effort involved with cooking with beer as an ingredient. I’ve both cooked and baked with beer, and while the latter requires precision and forethought—it is baking, after all—the former is mercifully simple. Keep one key rule in mind, and you’ll hardly ever be led astray.

That one rule, which I’ll call my Unified Theory Of Cooking With Beer (trademark pending), will serve you well in 95% of your cooking-with-beer experiments:

If the beer is brown or amber in color, not too hoppy, and tasty enough for you to drink, you can cook with it.

The young natural wine mavericks of Santa Cruz

Stirm, Bell, Jelks and Mayeaux each has his or her own wine label, bound by common threads: a love for the Santa Cruz Mountains and a devotion to natural winemaking. It would be easy to lump this group into the same category as a cooperative, a model commonly practiced in Europe to share equipment and reduce costs for inexpensive wines. It would also be easy to compare the group’s facility to a custom crush, the shared winery model common throughout California.

Singing The ‘Friends’ Theme In Minor Key Transforms It Into An Intense Ballad

A “Friends” fan, distraught over the news that his beloved show is leaving Netflix, performs the theme song like it’s an 80s ballad.

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Tiger Woods, Justin Timberlake team up to raise millions for Bahamas Hurricane relief

On Tuesday, Woods announced the creation of the ONE Bahamas Fund “in support of Hurricane Dorian relief, recovery and rebuilding efforts.” Woods teamed up with singer and actor Justin Timberlake, along with Nexus, RBC and the Albany, Bahamas, in the joint effort.

“We’ve established the #onebahamasfund with a challenge gift of $6 million, matching dollar for dollar the next $6 million raised,” Woods wrote on Twitter. “Help us turn this first $6 million into $12 million, and join our efforts to restore and rebuild The Bahamas.”

You can make a donation to the ONE Bahamas Fund at onebahamasfund.org

Think You Can’t Find Affordable California Cabernet? Think Again.

California produces bold Cabernet Sauvignon renowned around the world. And while Bordeaux may be Cabernet’s spiritual home, if the Judgment of Paris taught us one thing, it’s that California produces bottles that are easily on par with the famed French region.

Some of the most notable examples come from Napa. But the cost of grapes from the valley are often notoriously high, which means it can be difficult to find a budget-friendly bottle.

So today we wanted to shine a spotlight on both well-known and often unsung areas that are producing Cabs whose prices will keep you and your wallet happy and showcase all that this state has to offer.

Your Definitive Guide to NFL Wines and Winemakers

As the fanbases for wine and football grow to overlap, 14 teams have official wines, while retired Hall-of-Famers are making their own plays on the grape field.

Football season is finally here again, and the match-up we’re most excited about is wine and the NFL. With the 2019 season, more teams than ever have announced official wine partnerships, bringing fall-friendly Cabernets and victory sparklers to stadiums and living rooms. Players across the league are discovering wine and flaunting their bona fides, from Panthers QB Cam Newton’s sommelier stylings to Vikings rookie linebacker Cam Smith, who interned at Melville Winery in Lompoc, Calif., between summer workouts when he was at USC.

And then there are veterans: QBs Dan Marino and Drew Bledsoe, coach Dick Vermeil and late owner Lamar Hunt, who started the American Football League and coined the term “Super Bowl,” are just a few of the gridiron pros who founded wineries that have been making increasingly ambitious and respected wines.

We Asked 20 Beer Pros: What Are the Best Trends in Beer Right Now?

In the beer industry, as any other, haters gonna hate. Still, there’s a lot to love in beer. And so VinePair canvassed brewery employees and community leaders across the country to share what they love most about the industry right now.

Spoiler alert: A lot of industry members we spoke to are over the moon about a certain crisp, bottom-fermented beer style. Beyond that, however, brewers are celebrating both classic and experimental styles, and a few even admit to falling for some unexpected trends.

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The 2019 Original Lobster Festival

The Long Beach Original Lobster Festival returns for its 23rd year of providing Fresh Live Maine Lobster, prepared to mouth-watering perfection in the World’s Largest Cooker. You can dance away the calories to a variety of popular artists throughout the day on the dance floor, enjoy tasty eats in the food court, kick back in the VIP Lounge, take a Free Souvenir E-Photo, check out the Arts & Crafts booths, catch some sports action at the Live Sports Tent, explore the live reptile exhibit, sip on adult beverages (beer, wine, specialty drinks — infamous Signature drink “Screaming Lobster” and Margaritas), and sing a tune at the Karaoke Lounge with a Live Band (Fri. & Sat. night). There is something for everyone, including kids, Magic Show (as seen on America’s Got Talent), Face Painting, Games and Inflatable Bounces.

Large Scale Vineyards Now Reaping Huge Benefits from Innovative Bird Deterrence Device

For more than 42 years, vineyard managers and growers have benefitted from revolutionary bird deterrence practices developed by Falcon Crop Protection that have either reduced or completely eliminated the extensive damage that can result from bird encroachment at the winery or in the field.

The company may be best known for its Falcon FrightKites, self-launching kites in the shape of large birds of prey that frighten small birds away from valuable vineyard fruit the moment they are spotted.

Wine harvest underway for Northern California vineyard

It’s grape harvest season in Northern California, and growers are busy picking this year’s crop.

Clarksburg, California, just 20 miles outside of Sacramento, is one location where the harvest is well underway.  At Merwin Ranch Vineyard off Jefferson Boulevard, they’ve spent many evenings and mornings clearing leaves and shaking vines for grapes.

“Here we harvest both by hand and by machine,” said Tom Merwin, vineyard owner. “We usually reserve our crop harvester for our larger clients and hand harvesters for smaller batches.”

Merwin Ranch Vineyard sits on 134 acres of property and yields about 11 different types of grapes. “We produce about 1,000 tons of grapes which turns into about 80,000 cases of wine,” said Merwin.

You Can Winery Hop Through Napa and Sonoma in a Vintage VW Bus

Travelers from around the globe come to visit California’s idyllic Wine Country each year to sample the region’s best vino, indulge at Michelin-starred restaurants and bike through the picturesque countryside. However, we recently stumbled upon an experience that was a little more our speed—and in our price range—VW bus tours through Sonoma, Napa, Temecula and Healdsburg.

West Wine Tours offers day trips to three of Sonoma’s best wineries—Ram’s Gate, Winery Sixteen 600 and Larson Family Vineyards—accompanied by a freshly made lunch from a local chef. In classic California fashion, all lunches are gluten- and nut-free, and special dietary requests can be made beforehand.

Now Is The Time To Start Your Wine Collection (Even If You Don’t Drink Wine)

It also means that some currently released wine could be discounted, to move through the vintage in preparation for what’s to come. It might take a bit of hunting, but these wines are out there and will continue to be made available. (Hint: McMillan was impressed by something he found at Trader Joe’s, but he didn’t leak specifics to me.)

This is exciting for any wine consumer, but it’s especially attractive to younger people, price-conscious shoppers and just-starting-out wine drinkers. As McMillan says, now is the time to stock up and build a mini-cellar that hits above its weight. “Bring them out in a few years and tell the story at a dinner party,” he suggests.

Lake County Winegrape Harvest Gets Underway with Its Flagship White: Sauvignon Blanc

Kelseyville, Calif. August 28, 2019 – The 2019 Lake County winegrape harvest is underway and growers in the high-elevation winegrowing region are once again pleased with this year’s growing conditions and optimistic about the grape quality.

Many of the region’s growers and vineyard managers are anticipating an earlier-than-normal harvest, which was unexpected given the region’s wet spring and relatively cool early season temperatures. However, by midseason, more normal temperatures prevailed, making for consistent, and in some cases, even early ripening.

“It’s been a really beautiful growing season,” said Debra Sommerfield, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission.

Central Coast Wine Region Fueling Tourism, Jobs and Economic Vitality

More than 200 wineries in Santa Barbara County serve wine made from more than 50 grape varieties that are grown in the county. The economic value of harvested wine grapes was $121 million in 2018, according to the recently released crop report compiled by the Santa Barbara County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

In 2015, Paso Robles AVA and Greater San Luis Obispo County reported 1.56 million tourism visits to wineries. Wine revenue was a whopping $732 million from San Luis Obispo County wine.

10 Great Grape Stomps for California Wine Month

If you’ve always wanted to stomp grapes like in “I Love Lucy,” then California Wine Month this Sept. is the best time to do it! Wineries all over the state offer grape stomp contests so you can crush your competitors and celebrate with wine, food, music and more! To help you pick the one that’s right for you, Wine Institute—the resource for all things California wines—compiled these ten great grape stomps and close-up harvest experiences.

An early look at California’s 2019 wine harvest

The 2019 wine harvest is underway in California — just barely. And while it’s still too soon to understand what sort of a vintage 2019 will be, the early reports from winemakers throughout the state are promising.

Savory Kentucky Beer Cheese

Wine isn’t the only thing that pairs well with cheese. It’s much faster to brew beer than to create an aged Merlot, and it opens up a world of pairing possibilities.

This recipe for Kentucky beer cheese is a cousin of pub cheese, pimento cheese and fromage fort. The difference here is it’s packed with a splash of soy sauce for umami, while additional flavor is provided by a dash of mellow ancho chili pepper. It’s part dip, part spread and all deliciousness. Stock up on buttery crackers, saltines, crudités or pretzel sticks to serve at your next barbecue, picnic or party.

Why Weed and Wine Have More in Common Than You Think

Cannabis and Cabernet have a lot in common. Jamie Evans came to that realization while she studied viticulture at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

Evans, a 2018 Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 honoree, applied information she learned in classes on sensory evaluation to cannabis. In 2017, she launched The Herb Somm and began to host private cannabis tastings and culinary events in California in 2018. The events focus on terpenes—the aromatic compounds found in the plant—and how the unique profiles of various strains of marijuana can best pair with wine and food.

“Cannabis is just as complex as wine,” she says. “There are a lot of similarities in the aromas and the flavors of cannabis and wine. Even the terroir of wine can be applied to cannabis.”

Iconic 1980s cars featured at NostalgiaCon

On display check out three different versions of “Doc” Brown’s De Lorean-based time machines like those in Back To The Future, a Ghostbusters ambulance and more. The show will take place September 28-29 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

White Claw Fever!

As hard-seltzer fever continues to sweep the nation, three new brands hit the market in the past two weeks alone, clamoring to capture a piece of a market anticipated to reach $2.5 billion by 2021. Read this about taste-tested hard seltzers from 9 popular brands and ranked them from worst to best.
“Better than actual seltzer,” another said. “Love the real fruit taste.”
Long live the summer of White Claw.

What it takes to become a Level 1 Somm

A 70 question multiple choice exam is designed to test a breadth, not a depth, of knowledge at this level. As many questions about Austrian wines as there were about Oregon, Washington and California, together.

Grapes Behind Favorite Wine Blends

Read about these wine blends like Bordeaux left bank and right bank, the Southern Rhône G-S-M blend, Champagne blend plus blends from Italy Portugal many more

Bordeaux winemakers forced to promote rose and white wines as young drinkers abandon red

Louise Descamps, 28, an assistant television producer, said: “It’s a change in lifestyle from our parents’ generation. They used to drink mainly red wine at dinner, but we tend to drink more at bars or parties. My friends and I drink more rosé or white. I still enjoy reds from time to time, but only ever with dinner.”

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Livermore: The laid-back California wine country you didn’t know about

After a year in Sacramento, here are our beer columnist’s top 10 beers

Temecula area to get hundreds of high-end hotel rooms, new winery

The Matrix is returning to theaters to celebrate its 20th anniversary
‘Whoa’

Lonely model gives up on dating, marries her golden retriever

Star Trek Fans Can Soon Enjoy Official Chateau Picard Wine

Suisun Valley’s Harvest Celebration set for Aug. 25

The Walking Dead’ Bourbon Arrives This Fall
The Walking Dead Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a partnership with Diageo

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