Monthly Archives: September 2013

A Few of Our Favorite Things

We at Parker Sanpei consider ourselves fortunate to work with some of the most thoughtful innovators in the  food, beverage, hospitality and lifestyle industries.  Here, we profile a few of our favorite things from several clients.

Cocktails at La Cosecha Bar + Restaurant

la-cosecha-menu-21La Cosecha, in downtown Paso Robles, was launched by respected Chef Santos MacDonal of Il Cortile Ristorante.  The style? Laid-back Latin cuisine and progressive mixology.  We are totally smitten with the Peruvian Fizzare cocktail and Manchego cheese fondue with plantain chips.

Laetitia Vineyard & Winery Les Galets Pinot Noir

les galets

Laetitia’s Les Galets Pinot Noir is consistently incredible, and we don’t use that word lightly.  Lately we’ve been enjoying the 2010 vintage with pork roasts and braised lamb.

The stones indigenous to the Galets Vineyard perfectly describe the wine produced, rich in mineral driven notes of chalk and wet limestone, with prevalent dark berry aromas and dried black cherry. The palate shows flavors of tobacco and root beer spice, with structure of lingering velvet and finishing with a gorgeous floral flavor.

Julie 1

Thomas Hill Organics Chef Julie Simon

If you’ve never dined at Thomas Hill Organics in downtown Paso Robles, we think it’s safe to say you haven’t lived.  Chef Julie Simon is an ace with fresh ingredients, and what she lacks in years (she’s only in her 20s) she makes up for in verve.  Born and raised in France, she comes by her kitchen mastery honestly, with inventive dishes like her Pan Roasted Alaskan Halibut, Arugula and Carrots Salad, Cara Cara Oranges, Roasted Kumquats, Kumquat Olive Oil, Spicy Harissa, Coriander-Crème Fraiche, and Cumin Almonds.

Villa San-Juliette Sunday music series

villa-san-juliette-patio-sf13So often, we find ourselves at home on a Sunday afternoon wondering what to do, where to go.  Enter Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery in San Miguel, where their outdoor Sunday music series includes easygoing tunes from top-rate musicians, beautiful views in all directions, $1 off wine by the glass and 10% off bottle purchases off VSJ’s featured wine along with a complimentary bread and olive oil appetizer plate with the purchase.

Sanpei Optics Eyewear

glassesEver wanted to design and live out your own personal soundtrack?  Enter Sanpei Optics, sunglasses with a patented ear bud docking station so you can look suave (we like the wayfarer style) and enjoy audio like music and podcasts or talk to a friend via BlueTooth.

Hammersky Vineyards & Inn

hammersky-vineyards-farm-house-sf12When we really start to fantasize about the perfect staycation, Hammersky Vineyard & Inn is the place to be.  As a member of the Paso Robles CAB Collective, Hammersky produces estate Bordeaux varietal wines and boasts a restored 107-year-old farmhouse that welcomes guests to enjoy a gourmet kitchen, large dining room, Wi-Fi, satellite, barbeque and phenomenal outdoor living space.


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Four Delicious Days to Savor

When it comes to defining our lifestyle here in the West, Sunset Magazine certainly has the scoop.  From cooking and gardening to travel and tastemakers, since its inception in 1898, Sunset has honed in on what makes life on the Left Coast so splendid.  We still get a monthly thrill finding each beautifully-curated issue in our mailbox.


So imagine our delight when Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast came to town several years ago in partnership with Visit San Luis Obispo County.  Imagine four days of Sunset Magazine jumping off the page with cooking classes, adventure tours, gardening demonstrations and winemaker/brewer dinners up and down the beautiful, bountiful Central Coast.  That’s what the annual SAVOR festival is like.  It just pummels you with incredible experiences, one after another after another. This year’s festivities run September 26 through 29, with highlights including:

  • Lasso the Wild West at the Madonna Inn – Roping and wrangling seminar for all experience levels at the storied Madonna Ranch, including Santa Maria-style lunch.trail-rides
  • Sunset on the Sand in Pismo Beach – Cocktails, cooking demos, family-style dinner and wines paired by Sunset Wine Editor, Sara Schneider, followed by beachfront bonfires and s’mores and live music under the stars.
  • Main EventSanta Margarita Ranch provides the backdrop for hundreds of wineries, breweries, restaurants, farmers, gourmet purveyors and ranchers to show their wares and demonstrate their craft.  Seminars include a cooking demonstration by celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio of ink., “Pickling and Preserving the Garden’s Harvest with Farmer Ralph Johnson and Chef Pandee Pearson,” and how to take the best travel photos with your smart phone.sunset

For more information about Sunset’s SAVOR the Central Coast, please visit

We’ll be there.  Will you?

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Wine-ding off the Map

Sure, we love Napa, Willamette and Walla Walla, but sometimes a change of pace is in order.  As the light changes and the leaves begin to turn, we at Parker Sanpei yearn to pack a picnic, take a drive (or a flight!), and experience something new.  Here we offer a few of our favorite off-the-beaten-path wine trails.

Snake River Valley, Idaho & Oregon

Melanie Krause and Joe Schnerr of Cinder Wine in Garden City, Idaho

Running over the border between two states, the Snake River AVA was Idaho’s first and Oregon’s sixteenth to be established.  The area’s 15 wineries sit at 2,500 to 3,000 feet above sea level, making for a more drastic diurnal swing (the difference between a day’s highest and lowest temperature) than that of any other region in the Pacific Northwest.  Wineries like Ste. Chapelle Winery in Caldwell are reminiscent of Bordeaux, while those like Sawtooth Winery in Nampa look an awful lot like New Zealand.  And the varietal that really shines here? Ask for Riesling.

Fredericksburg Wine Road 290, Texas Hill Country

Wine Road 290

Driving along Wine Road 290

While Orbitz Travel called this the “2nd most visited wine region in the US only behind Napa,” we still consider Wine Road 290 an out-of-the-way wine jaunt.  This casual and eclectic trail is just 90 minutes from both Austin and San Antonio, and boasts 13 wineries on a 45-mile stretch of Texas’ Highway 290.  We especially like the beautiful Francophile style of Becker Vineyards in Stonewall.

Back Roads Wine Trail, Northern Kentucky

Baker-Bird Winery

Despite being famous for its bourbon, Kentucky is one of the oldest wine regions in North America. Winding through pastoral farmland and rolling bluegrass hills, the Back Roads Wine Trail is known for growing Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Traminette, and Vidal Blanc.  We recommend the historic Baker-Bird Winery in Augusta, which was established by German immigrants from Baden in the mid-1800s, and is the oldest commercial estate winery in America on its original land.

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Flavors to Fall for.

The kids are back in school, the grapes are coming in, and the light is changing.  If that wasn’t enough to tell you it’s fall on the Central Coast, the menu from our beloved Il Cortile Ristorante in Paso Robles will.


A few highlights from Chef Santos MacDonal’s seasonal menu:


Sweet corn and goat cheese “sformato”
Sweet corn and goat cheese soufflé with a light heirloom tomato sauce 

Pan roasted quail with prosciutto filled tortellini in a sweet wine reduction

(you have to love any restaurant that devotes an entire section of its menu to mozzarella)

Crostini con burrata, carmelized fennel and pancetta in a balsamic reduction

Mozzarella Tasting
Fresh burrata, mozzarella di bufala and mozzarella di gioia del colle with crostini and olive oil


Pappardelle al cinghiale
Homemade pappardelle with wild boar

Pappardelle al aragosta
Squid ink pappardelle with a lobster ragu finished with salmon roe


Costate di agnello
Rack of lamb roasted in a aromatic herb sauce

Vitello ai funghi porcini
Veal chop with porcini mushroom sauce, finished with truffle oil


Have we whetted your appetite yet?  Visit or call 805.226.0300 to make your reservation. Buon appetito!

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