Monthly Archives: May 2013

A delicious summer for wine and food in the West.

The strawberries and asparagus have been crowding the market stalls, and peaches are just starting to ripen – it’s definitely an eater’s and drinker’s market out there this summer!  Here are some of the delectable food and wine events we at Parker Sanpei are most looking forward to savoring this season.

Dining Month in Portland

Portland dining month
June is Dining Month in Portland!  Which means that 80 different restaurants will feature a three-course menu for just $29 throughout the month.  We like the looks of
Belgian beer bar Bazi Bierbrasserie, and St. Jack, where the madeleines are fresh from the oven…

Roll Out The Barrels
Our own award-winning San Luis Obispo Wine Country will host its 23rd annual Roll Out The Barrels festival June 20 through 24.  Rather than tell you about it, why don’t we show you?

Los Angeles Street Food Festival
la street food festStreet food –  anything from a cart to a stand, truck to pop-up restaurant – is a movement that really started in Los Angeles, where fiercely authentic regional cuisine and mobility are kindred spirits.  But the only time you can find all of these street food vendors together is at the Los Angeles Street Food Festival, Saturday, June 29th at the Rose Bowl. Just $50 gets you in the door for all-you-can-eat street food at its very best, like La Monarca Bakery‘s Tequila Lime Cake and Cold-Brewed Cafe de Olla.

Central Coast Wine Classic
ccwcHeld July 11 through 14, the Central Coast Wine Classic is not only a celebration of the good life, it is also an education in global wine culture.  Symposia include a French Burgundy session led by renowned collector and Burgundy expert, John Tilson, as well as a session on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon featuring wines from Clark-Claudon, Gandona, Knights Bridge, Opus One, Spottswoode, and Viader.  A sumptuous benefit dinner at Hearst Castle and the much-loved Rare & Fine Wine & Lifestyle Live Auction in Avila Beach make this festival a must for any true oenophile.

California Wine Festival
cwfFor wine and waves, you can’t do much better than the California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara this July 18 through 20th.  A host of beautifully-designed celebrations will mark this three-day festival, but we’re most looking forward to the “Beachside Wine Festival” on Saturday, July 20 at Chase Palm Park Oceanside.

Hit the grassy, palm-lined Chase Palm Park to experience the quintessential California wine tasting event at our 10th Annual California Wine Festival grand finale.  Indulge in this heady, summertime “right of pleasure” and join the afternoon-long celebration – Unlimite tasting of fine wine and foods plus sun, sea, and music.

Sounds pretty spectacular to us.  This event’s ticket price includes all wine and food samples plus an 18 oz keepsake wine glass. $69 in advance, $80 at the gate.


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A perfect month for eggs.

eggWant to get to know somebody? Ask them how they like their eggs and the answer might surprise you.  In our office, the favorite preparations are scrambled with plenty of salt and pepper, over-easy, and hard-boiled.

In case you weren’t aware, we are in the middle of National Egg Month, as declared by the American Egg Board.  According to lore, National Egg Month is in May to encourage people not to forget about the wonderful nutrition and simplicity of eggs after the magic of Easter has worn off!

Cultures around the globe make splendid use of eggs throughout the day, and the humble omelet is considered by many as a gateway to healthy eating.  Here in California, it’s hugely popular to own chickens and enjoy eggs as fresh as can be.  But for those of us without our own backyard coop, we are lucky to have access to Rosemary Farm eggs at our local grocery store.  The next best thing to owning a hen, Rosemary Farms is committed to getting eggs cleaned, packaged, delivered, and into consumers’ kitchens as quickly as possible – often within 48 hours of laying.

How can you tell if your eggs are fresh? It can be hard to tell until it’s too late.  Here are a couple of tricks:

  • Does your egg sink or swim?  Place it in a pot of cold water, and if it sinks and lays down, it’s fresh.  If it sinks and stands up on the bottom of the pan, it’s not fresh, but it’s still safe to eat.  If, however, it floats, throw it away.
  • Crack your egg into a bowl. Is the white thick?  If so, and if the yolk is firm and holds its shape, you know you have a fresh egg.
  • Listen to your egg: If it makes a sloshing sound when you jiggle it, that egg isn’t fresh.
Elizabeth David, circa 1960

Elizabeth David, circa 1960

One of our favorite food writers, Elizabeth David, brought the humble omelette into the American culinary consciousness with her book An Omelette and a Glass of Wine from 1984.  And despite personal egg preferences, we are all seduced by the idea of indulging in a perfectly-prepared omelette with a glass of something crisp like Laetitia Vineyard & Winery’s Brut Rosé on a warm spring evening.

How to make just such an omelette?  Here’s Jamie Oliver’s take.

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An Evening Under The Stars at VSJ

vsjWe’ll admit it: Here at Parker Sanpei, we are just as susceptible to fan worship as anyone, which is why Villa San-Juliette Winery‘s “Evening Under The Stars” dinner  is one we’re not going to miss.

Janelle Arthur

Janelle Arthur

On Saturday, May 18 (over the Paso Robles Wine Festival weekend), Villa San-Juliette proprietors Nigel Lythgoe and Ken Warwick will host a party to remember at the winery, including a surprise guest performance by one of the music industry’s hottest new stars, Janelle Arthur.  (You may remember that Ken and Nigel have a few connections in the entertainment industry…)  We can’t wait to hear Janelle’s country music stylings (she was one of this season’s top five on American Idol!) surrounded by lush gardens and pampered by a delectable dinner of seasonally-inspired fare presented by local culinary star, Chef Maegan Loring of The Lido Restaurant.

As an added benefit, VSJ Wine Club members will enjoy an exclusive pre-party VIP reception and tour of the property with Nigel and Ken.  Can’t wait!  Will you be there?  Get your tickets here and join us.


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Another Hallmark moment? The truth about Mother’s Day.

“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there would be no more wars.”

― E.M. Forster, Howards End

It is a feat of modern sensibility that each one of us working at Parker Sanpei is also a mother.  When we’re not busting our tails to bring trade, media and consumer attention to our very deserving clients, we’re busting our tails to care for our babies at home, both big and small.  Do we love it all?  Yes.  But do we look forward to Mother’s Day, the second Sunday in May, when we can relax with a glass of wine and allow someone else to do the dishes?  Absolutely.

Interestingly, Mother’s Day was not launched in an effort to honor mothers; it  actually began as a day to encourage mothers of all nations to band together for peace.  According to Visual Economics (which also generously designed the image below),

the first North American Mother’s Day was first conceptualized with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870.

Howe penned The Battle Hymn of the Republic 12 years earlier, but had become so distraught by the death and carnage of the Civil War that she called on mothers to come together and protest the futility of their sons killing the sons of other mothers.


However Mother’s Day was originally intended, we love to honor our moms and (in no small way) be honored for our hard work throughout the rest of the year.  Don’t forget to do something a little extra for the special mother in your life this Sunday, May 12.

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DRINK UP: Margarita cocktail

Here on California’s Central Coast, Cinco de Mayo is a pretty big deal.  Try getting a table at a Mexican restaurant on May 5 and you’ll see what we mean.  The wait is usually upwards of an hour, even early in the day.  Do all of these happy revelers know what Cinco de Mayo commemorates?  (Mexican victory over the French in 1862.)  Probably not.  More likely, they just like slurping margaritas.

And who can blame them?  The margarita cocktail is the single most popular tequila-based drink in the US – probably the world.  It is tart, sweet, and salty all at once, with a delightfully simple ingredient list.  Forget those margarita mixes at the supermarket and the margarita machine; Here is the classic margarita recipe, care of  (P.S. We at Parker Sanpei prefer our margaritas on the rocks in an old fashioned glass…)

margaritasThe Classic Margarita
Epicurious | May 2007

Yield: Makes 1 drink

  •  2 ounces tequila made from 100 percent agave, preferably reposado or blanco
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Salt for garnish

Combine tequila, Cointreau, and lime juice in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Moisten rim of Margarita or other cocktail glass with lime juice or water. Holding glass upside down, dip rim into salt. Shake and strain drink into glass and serve.

The history of the margarita is, like so many beloved potables, a bit fuzzy.  According to researchers at Smithsonian Magazine, there are three possible explanations for how the margarita came to be.

One of the most prevalent stories is that Carlos “Danny” Herrera developed the drink at his Tijuana-area restaurant, Rancho La Gloria, around 1938. As the legend goes, Herrera dreamed up the cocktail for one of his customers, an aspiring actress named Marjorie King who was allergic to all hard alcohol other than tequila. To make the liquor more palatable to his fussy client, he combined the elements of a traditional tequila shot—a lick of salt and a wedge of lime—and turned them into a refreshing drink.

Another top contender for the inventor title is Margarita Sames, a wealthy Dallas socialite who claimed she whipped up the drink for friends at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948. Among her well-connected guests was Tommy Hilton, who eventually added the drink to the bar menu at his hotel chain.

According to The Complete Book of Spirits by Anthony Dias Blue, though, the first importer of Jose Cuervo in the United States advertised with the tagline, “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name,” in 1945, three years before Sames claimed to have invented the drink.

We figure the history is unimportant so long as the margarita is fresh.  And while we love a time-tested cocktail, we also appreciate a new twist on an old classic.  Here’s a fun spin from Kathy Casey.

Black and Blue Cadillac Margarita Cocktail

Care of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen™

The Margarita is a delicious cocktail and one of the most consumed mixed drinks on the planet. Taking it up a notch with this classic with a colorful blue coral rimmed glass gives it eye appeal. Launch it into the stratosphere with ice from Glace Luxury Ice and a Grand Marnier Foam using an iSi Cream Whipper and you have something truly special.

  • 1 1/2 oz Milagro Añejo Tequila
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Blue Coral Salt rim


Shake with ice. Strain into a old fashioned glass. Garnish with Grand Marnier Foam and a pinch of black lava salt.

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