Monthly Archives: January 2014

Seductive Wine and Cuisine Ideas for Valentine’s Day

When it comes to romance, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery has the wine covered. Beautifully, we might add.

45_1bfa589a1e7e8eaa18eb401498656fe5From its ideal position on California’s picturesque Central Coast, Laetitia offers a wide array of wines from estate fruit that have been seducing palates for over thirty years. Whether it’s their traditionally-crafted sparkling wine or lusty Pinot Noir, Laetitia knows how to flirt. And with February 14th swiftly approaching, Laetitia Vineyard & Winery employees have weighed in on how they’re planning to woo their Valentine with a special meal paired with (what else?) Laetitia estate wine.

  • Sara Nesper, Vineyard Accounting and Contracts Manager, plans to pick up a freshly-baked baguette and a wedge of Abbaye de Belloc sheep’s milk cheese to pair with the nuanced flavors and aromas of Laetitia Single Vineyard La Colline Pinot Noir.
  • Vice President Vineyard Operations, Lino Bozzano, cooks up homemade chile rellenos with pasilla peppers grown in the Laetitia employee garden. After fire roasting and peeling the peppers, he stuffs sharp cheddar into each and fries them in a light batter before serving alongside the well-structured and aromatic Laetitia Whole Cluster Pinot Noir.
  • Viticulturist Dave Terry goes cozy and casual with a bottle of sumptuous NADIA Trio (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot blend) and orders a pizza.
  • Randy Wilkerson, Senior Accounting Associate opts for pink bubbles – Laetitia Brut Rosé – with surf and turf, a baked potato and green beans.
  • And don’t forget the chocolate! Kylie Burd, Hospitality & Vineyard Accounts Payable likes her dark chocolate fondue paired against the dark fruit and spice notes in the Laetitia Reserve du Domaine Pinot Noir.

To celebrate this Valentine’s Day in effervescent style, Laetitia is offering a three-year vertical of its popular Brut Rosé (2008, 2009 and 2011, as the Brut Rosé wasn’t made in 2010) for $76.50 plus tax ($69 for Wine Club). Visit the Laetitia Vineyard & Winery tasting room or to order.

MAMA_WalnutTruffleThe winery is also holding a chocolate and wine pairing on Feb 13th featuring San Luis Obispo artisan chocolatier, Mama Ganache. On Thursday, February 13, from 6 to 8 P.M., guests will taste ten chocolates made especially for pairing with Laetitia and NADIA Wines, including: 

Tickets to this indulgent event are $25 or $20 for Wine Club members. Guests must be 21 and over. To reserve, please call 805.474.7641.


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Delicious wintry happenings in Paso Robles


Thomas Hill Organics Wine Bar & Bistro

We at Parker Sanpei are convinced that everyone longs for a neighborhood eatery where fantastic, simple, fresh cuisine is served with the warmth and hospitality of a private host.

For us, that place is popular Paso Robles eatery, Thomas Hill Organics Bistro & Wine Bar (THO). While their food, ambiance, and drinks menu have always been non pareil, a full docket of new events makes this a better time than ever to sit back and relax with THO. A few new happenings:

  • Chef Julie Simon

    Chef Julie Simon

    Supper Club Wednesdays
    From 5 to 9 PM each Wednesday through April 1, Thomas Hill Organics Chef Julie Simon will concoct a themed four-course dinner menu, served family-style. While the seasonal THO menu will always be available, guests won’t want to miss Chef Julie’s thoughtfully-crafted menus and the warmth of shared dishes in a communal atmosphere. These fixed-price dinners are $30 per person, and suggested wine and beer pairings are available for an additional purchase. Weekly themes are publicized via email the weekend prior, and reservations are highly recommended.

  • Monday Burgers and Beer
    Monday nights from 5 to 9 PM, come indulge in a burger and beer, THO-style! Whether it’s beef or veggie, each natural-ingredient, made-to-order burger comes with an offer of $1 Firestone Double Barrel Ale fresh from the tap.


  • 777 Happy Hour
    Monday through Friday, THO offers a 777 Happy Hour, including $7 wine and sake cocktails, $7 appetizers from Chef Julie’s creative kitchen, all from 3 to 7 PM.

For more information on happenings at Thomas Hill Organics in Paso Robles, please visit

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A Refreshing Take on Winemaker Dinners

Il Cortile Ristorante’s “Reverse Winemaker Dinners” Put Wine Front and Center

827bb6b412944a9c43a307a5d7f7650eOur good friends at Il Cortile Ristorante in Paso Robles Wine Country will once again welcome top local wineries to offer guests a unique take on food and wine pairing this winter season.

Each Wednesday in January and February, the downtown Paso Robles fine dining establishment will hold “Reverse Winemaker Dinners,” in which Chef Santos MacDonal crafts seasonal three-course menus to complement a handful of very special local wines.

Carole and Chef Santos MacDonal

Carole and Chef Santos MacDonal

“Unlike a traditional winemaker dinner, where the winemaker selects wines to pair with a meal, we wanted the food to come to the wine, so to speak,” said Owner, Carole MacDonal. “We are fortunate to live in a region that boasts such wonderful wines and talented winemakers. This is our way of honoring their craft.”

The Reverse Winemaker Dinners will be held on Wednesday evenings, and each Wednesday will feature a different local winery. Once guests select a varietal from the featured producers’ handful of wines, Chef Santos will then “reverse” it and create a three-course meal to complement the flavors and textures of the wine chosen. This unique evening is offered at $40 per person, plus the cost of wine which will vary depending on the varietal chosen.

See you there!

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Paso Robles CAB Collective: Revved Up and Ready for 2014


Our friends at the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC) recently announced the dates, venues and new format for their second annual CABs of Distinction event.

After the success of the inaugural CABs of Distinction event (launched last year to celebrate and promote Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux wines produced in Paso Robles, California) and the increased momentum from Paso Robles being named Wine Region of the Year by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, the PRCC has geared up for even more exciting events in 2014.

Set for April 22 through 26, 2014, CABs of Distinction events will take place in locations across the Paso Robles AVA with enhanced sommelier, media, trade and consumer experiences.

Sommelier Events

The first-ever CAB CAMP is a three-day, all-inclusive opportunity for 20 sommeliers and key buyers to go in-depth with the Paso Robles AVA .

  • Tuesday, April 22: Vineyard and winery tours of PRCC member properties, a winery-hosted lunch at Vina Robles, and tasting and dinner at DAOU Vineyard & Winery.
  • Wednesday, April 23: Vineyard and winery tours, a winery-hosted lunch at ADELAIDA Cellars, and an En Primeur tasting at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom with barrel tastings from the as-yet-unreleased 2013 vintage, followed by winery-hosted dinners across the Paso Robles AVA.
  • Thursday, April 24: A vintner panel discussion, opportunities for lunch with PRCC member wineries and a library/rare and reserve tasting will be followed by a barbecue at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery.


Media & Trade Events

  • Wednesday, April 23: En Primeur tasting at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom with barrel tastings from the as-yet-unreleased 2013 vintage, followed by winery-hosted dinners across the Paso Robles AVA.
  • Thursday, April 24: A vintner panel discussion, opportunities for lunch with PRCC members and a library/rare and reserve tasting at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom, followed by a barbecue at JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery.
  • Friday, April 25: PRCC members will be hosting various events throughout the day. This is an open day for self-directed vineyard tours. Wineries will also be hosting winemaker dinners at wineries and in Paso Robles’ most sought-after restaurants.

Consumer Events

  • Friday, April 25: PRCC members will be hosting various events throughout the day. This is an open day for self-directed vineyard tours. Wineries will also be hosting winemaker dinners at wineries and in Paso Robles’ most sought-after restaurants.
  • Saturday, April 26: The CABs of Distinction Gala will be held at River Oaks Hot Springs in Paso Robles and will include tastings of PRCC member wines paired with artisanal cheese and Charcuterie chosen by Fromager Zina Miakinkova. Decadent catered lunches will be provided by notable Paso Robles restaurants and caterers (Robert’s Restaurant, Crush Catering and Avant-Garde) and will be served in the CAB Bistro; chocolate tastings, live music, a barrel-making demonstration and glass etching will also be included. Luxury VIP tickets are available to attend an exclusive panel discussion, enjoy a multi-course gourmet lunch provided by Thomas Hill Organics and continuous access to the VIP Lounge where desserts and drinks will be available throughout the day. Premium-Reserve VIP tickets are available for entry to an Early Access tasting as well as access to the VIP Lounge throughout the day.

Tickets for the CABs of Distinction event can be purchased at The web site now includes member winery details and contact information, trade tools, and the PRCC blog for extended member features, harvest reports and other news.

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The West’s Best Comfort Food Restaurants

Much as we’d like to believe we have seasons here in San Luis Obispo, the truth is, we don’t. Witness New Year’s Day, 2014, in which each of us spent time either in shorts and/or flip-flops. A travesty, we know.

But sometimes we long for the taste of a hearty, comforting meal, enjoyed before the warmth of a crackling fire. When such cravings hit, here are our favorite West-side restaurants in which to indulge.

Black Cat Bistro, Cambria, California

black_cat_bistro_logoIf the quaint Central Coast hamlet of Cambria wasn’t charming enough, Deborah Scarborough’s Black Cat Bistro has certainly thrown it over the edge. Located in Cambria’s East Village, the Black Cat Bistro was established in 2004 with a tasteful, French-infused menu and elegantly cozy decor. Dishes to swoon over include Braised Lamb Shank with pearl couscous, currants, cinnamon and kale; and a Duck Confit & Stonefruit starter with Happy Acres chevre, shallots, pepitas, cilantro, bread crumbs, and apricot-habanero glaze. Don’t miss the Central Coast-heavy wine list. 1602 Main Street, Cambria, CA 93428

Wolf Lodge Inn, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho


Just east of beautiful Coeur d’Alene in Idaho’s panhandle, housed in a wide-roofed red barn, is a fantastic example of The Great American Steakhouse. While the Wolf Lodge Inn’s decor is down-home with snow shoes hung on the wall, stuffed game heads, and even a life-size Indian mannequin, the food is legit. Thick steaks are cooked on an indoor wood pit barbecue, and the baked potatoes are truly Idaho-enormous. All entrees are served with, among other delectables, Krebel bread, which is not unlike an unglazed donut. Who’s complaining? 11741 E Frontage Rd. Coeur D Alene, ID 83814

Park Chow, San Francisco, California

park_restaurantCan you imagine such a thing as healthy comfort food? Park Chow can, and has been serving some of the tastiest “healthy comfort food” from it’s tucked-away San Francisco’s Inner Sunset spot since 1997. Favorite menu items to enjoy beside their roaring fireplace include a steaming bowl of Smiling Noodles of Chicken & Shrimp with bok choy, mushrooms and fresh curry; and the organic beef pot roast. We think of it as the ultimate neighborhood eatery, all the more for its breakfast/lunch/dinner/late-night service and kid-friendliness. 1240 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94122

Le Pichet, Seattle, WA

cover_pichet01This Pike neighborhood bistro is our definition of refined comfort. The ambiance is simple and très francais, just like the menu, which features plenty of charcuterie, mustards, cheese, freshly-baked bread, and roast meats.  The meal we dream of when the temperature drops? La poulet rôti à votre commande – roast chicken with apples and potatoes, cooked to order, alongside a crock of simple red wine, bien sûr1933 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101


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