Archive for category Restaurant (and other) Reviews

5-Minute Friday (comfort food)

No prefab meal for tonight’s 5 Minute Friday!  Because Mrs. Vino is in the mood for comfort food.

For some reason I’ve been craving the comfort food of my childhood – a Tuna Melt with Tomato and a pickle!  Thank goodness this great meal can be put together in 5 minutes.  And, I have the perfect pairing for it – our brand new, not-released-to-the-tasting-room-yet 2011 Pinot Grigio Rose.  I make my tuna salad with Greek Yogurt instead of Mayonnaise to lighten it up a bit and add a bit of diced celery and green onion for texture.  The yogurt adds a bit of brightness and freshness to the tuna.  It’s still plenty creamy, though.  So the really crisp 2011 Pinot Grigio Rose is perfect to pair with it.  Oh yeah, and if this is truly my comfort meal, there has to be potato chips!  And, if you spritz your chips with Truffle Oil – it goes from good to gourmet!  The salty, earthy truffled chips really bring out the fruit character of the wine.  Watch the blog next week for Mrs. Vino’s experiences with her brand new microwave potato chip maker (AWESOME) and learn about one of her new obsessions.

It really doesn’t matter how simple the meal – a good wine pairing will elevate it to gourmet (well, the Truffle Oil doesn’t hurt, either).

So here’s my question to you all – Do you have a 5-Minute comfort food?  And, if so, what is it!

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Thank you, Termites!

As some of you know, Casa d’Vino was recently treated for a termite infestation.  I think I owe a giant “Thank you” to the termites because that treatment led us to a stay at the Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort.  We’d heard so many good reviews about the property from our guests – and, of course, The Gardens of Avila is one of our favorite restaurants so it was a no-brainer to decide where to stay.  We hadn’t had a vacation in several years so our 2-day getaway was really important to us. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful location, better service or a more relaxing stay.

We scored a West Meadows Suite (Thank you, Marina) which is almost larger than the condo we vacated.  The highlight – a private hot tub on the deck.  Over the course of our two days, we managed 6 soaks in the hot tub (perhaps a new Sycamore Mineral Springs record??).  At the end of the stay we were pruny, but happy!

We still had to work, so we didn’t have as much time to explore as we would have liked.  We did get an opportunity to walk around the facilities which look

The Labyrinth

absolutely beautiful.  And we walked the labyrinth and Meditation Garden, which I just loved.  I am in the process of framing some of the photos I took in the meditation garden as they make me relax just by looking at them. My only regret was that we didn’t have enough time for a class in the Yoga Dome (OK, actually I didn’t have enough time, I can’t really see Mr Vino doing Downward Dog)!

The Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort is a GREAT place to stay if your are visiting Avila!

We had already taken advantage of Restaurant Month to dine at The Gardens, so we decided to mix it up a bit.  We enjoyed dinner at the Custom House one night and the Ventana Grill on the second night.  Both meals were absolutely incredible and I’ll do review in a future blog.

I’m so glad we stayed very local.  It just reminds me of what an exceptional place Avila Beach is.  Avila Beach is the perfect destination for relaxation.  It is filled with amazing friendly, efficient, helpful people.  The hotels and restaurants offer a superior experience and are definitely worth visiting.  In these challenging economic times, it’s so important to support our local businesses.  Please make an effort to dine at our great local restaurants, get away at our fabulous local hotels, and, of course, enjoy the many diverse local wineries.

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Five Minute Friday

Welcome to a new feature in The Practical Kitchen – 5 Minute Fridays!

As much Mrs. Vino enjoys her time in the kitchen, there are just days when it is just NOT gonna happen.  I’ve discovered a couple of things:

1.  There are some really tasty pre-cooked dinners out there that can be microwaved in 5 minutes.
2.  When those meals are paired with the right wine, it elevates the whole experience to something special!
3.  If you light a couple of candles and play some nice music while you are eating your 5 minute meal and suddenly you aren’t as tired anymore.

Morovino is now doing live music on Friday evenings from 5 – 7 p.m.  This means that Mrs. Vino usually gets home around 8 p.m. and is way, way too tired to cook.   So every Friday, The Practical Kitchen blog will feature a different prefabricated 5 minute meal paired with a different local wine.  If you have favorite pre-cooked meals, I’d love to hear about them.

Costco’s Monterey Gourmet Foods – Seafood Lasagna paired with Peloton Cellars 2010 Albarino

I always approach prefabricated seafood a bit cautiously.  But the Monterey Gourmet Foods Seafood Lasagna offers really tasty, tender shrimp, scallops and fish.  The sauce is creamy, the noodles are tender, it has great seafood flavor and it’s not overly salty.

Peloton Cellars 2010 Albarino is an amazingly crisp, full bodied white that  has the perfect balance of acidity and creaminess to pair with the lasagna.  It’s beautiful Citrine color sparkles like a jewel in the glass.  It has great citrus notes and a lightly floral nose that I just love.  But if you want to try this wine, hurry.  I believe Peloton is almost sold out of it!

So fire up the microwave, light the candles, turn on some George Winston or Liz Story, take a deep breath and . . . enjoy.

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