I went out to get a cup of java in Java and ended up on an infernal coffee odyssey through the Indonesian archipelago.
Stretching out like a Komodo Dragon some 6,400 kilometers across the Ring of Fire, from the coffee plantations and wild orangutans of Sumatra to the primary rainforests and decorative penis gourds of Irian Jaya, Indonesia is the ideal launching pad to crash land into some of the most dramatic sights in Southeast Asia. They include the ancient ruins of Buddhist Borobudur and Hindu Prambanan in Islamic Java, the multicolored volcanic lakes of Keli Mutu in Christian Flores, and the famed three-meter-long monitor lizards of Komodo that swallow entire goats whole: the prototypes, perhaps, of the Chinese dragons of legend.
Indonesia encompasses over 13,000 islands with 336 ethnic groups and a borderless rainbow babel of different languages, cultures, and traditions. In addition to coffee-colored Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists, this most densely populated café on earth (180 million) holds more Muslims than all the Middle East. Linking the islands is the lingua franca of Bahasa and an underlying songline of history: ancient animist religions are uniting threads that cross oceans, adding new meaning to the word “multicultural.” Here some Muslims drink beer and arak in addition to java; some worship Buddha, Vishnu, Krishna, and Jesus in addition to Allah; while others leave offerings to good and evil pagan spirits (tourists included). In fact, clutched in the talons of the mythical Garuda, the national airline and state crest, is the motto “Unity in Diversity.”

I departed from the Calcutta-like chaos of the capital Jakarta, a fascinating hellhole of over 9 million people, to explore the potent brews and heady smokes of Java, the volcano capital of the world. In the old Dutch section of Batavia (Kota), amidst modern skyscrapers stuck like clean syringes into a diseased dreamscape of old colonial monuments and nightmarish overcrowded kampungs, I entered the 19th-century Café Batavia on Fatahillah Square, the most atmospheric coffeehouse in Java, to keep from going troppo in the equatorial heat.

Unlike Amsterdam’s coffeehouses, which hardly ever sell coffee, the recently renovated Café Batavia offers no exotic hashish menus, nor even spicy Indonesian food, though it features colonial elegance and raffish 1930s atmosphere. Here you can quaff down the three main varieties of Indonesian coffee, in order of strength: Sumatra coffee, Bali coffee, and Java coffee—an indication of island style not bean origin. Indo coffee, like Turkish coffee, is mixed straight into the water. All wait for the psychic sludge to settle to avoid sporting roguish pencil-thin Errol Flynn mustaches of coffee grinds.
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How “java” became synonymous with coffee is frothed with mystery, though not a difficult one to filter out. During almost 350 years of Dutch rule, Indonesia was the world’s largest coffee producer and the proverbial bottomless cup for the Dutch East Indies Company. Without Indonesia, the Netherlands would have gone Dutch and remained a small European country below sea level, noted only for its tulips. The term “java” was probably a slang corruption brought back by English pirates, like that of brandy for brandewijn (burnt wine).

Getting from the urban epicenter to the outer limits by public transport, be it by overcrowded bus, bemo, or becak, is not so much a magical mystery tour as a year of living dangerously. But at least there is one place left in the world where you can light up, anywhere! Eventually I got to Banjar, said goodbye to the family that had been assigned seats on my lap, downed a cuppa at the station, and discovered that maybe eight hours later there just might be an onward connection. Stuck in a remote backwater like this, a Western orang bulan (moon person) always excites a crowd of staring locals. Where once upon a time children would have fled from a bearded Belanda (Hollander), screaming “Papa Beard!”—a mythical bogey man with five o’clock shadow that Indonesian parents use to frighten their kids—now they are more likely to shout out, “Hello Mister! Hello Mister!” regardless of one’s gender.
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In Pangandaran, a sleepy south Javanese coastal fishing village, the entrance is guarded not by Cerberus but by a becak mafia charging a whopping wad of rupiahs to pedal you down the asphalt Lethe leading to the peninsular Pangandaran Nature Reserve. Here the Lonely Planet Café has a superb beachfront location, where friendly Muslim fishermen and their families pull in their nets, while in the distance the Call to Prayer wafts from yellow-domed mosques that shine like fried eggs in the sun. At dusk you can see the moon rising and the sun setting at the same time through a smoky cloud of fruit bats. The Lonely Planet serves standard java and Indo grub like nasi goreng (fried rice), mie goreng (fried noddles), ayam sate (chicken sate), and gado gado (salad with peanut sauce). Locals come here, though, to down fresh seafood. It’s also a good place to practice your Bahasa (originally a Malay trading language), one of the easiest tongues in the world to tame—no past or future tenses, only the laid-back present. The plural is expressed by repetition, i.e., “kopi kopi” equals two or more cups. Saya mau satu kopi? (I me one coffee?)
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Pangandaran is also just far enough away from Indonesia’s most notorious offshore volcano to almost feel safe. The last time Krakatau blew its top was in 1883, with the force of several hydrogen bombs, stirring up tidal waves that killed more than 35,000, and hurling debris into the sky which caused vivid sunsets seen around the world.
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In Yogyakarta, the cultural capital of Java, I brought my addiction past the Sultan’s kraton, the colorful bird market, and the manic Malioboro street vendors hawking batik shirts and sarongs, wooden and leather Wayang Kulik puppets, and demonic-looking White Monkey masks, until I finally unearthed the Café Sosro. Pulling back a curtain of Gudang Garam clove cigarette smoke, I looked around at the eclectic assortment of heavy wooden tables and chairs and the hip East-West clientele daytripping to the haunting, hypnotic strains of gamelon music. That’s good java. I even had a second cup, and looking up I noticed I was late.
Yogya (pronounced “jogja”) is close to one of the largest concentrations of Hindu/Buddhist monuments in the world, including the ancient ruins of Dieng Plateau, Prambanan, and Borobudur, which rank up there with Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and Burma’s Pagan. On full-moon nights at Prambanan’s open-air theater, you can see the Ramayana Ballet. In the amphitheater under the stars with the floodlit Shiva temple as backdrop, the moonlit stage is filled with over 200 hundred elaborately masked and costumed dancers acting out Hindu legends. They create a spectacle of clashing monkey armies, stilted giants, crouching midgets, and lithe acrobats sinuously swaying like snakes, defying geometry by contorting their limbs and bending back their fingers in impossible angles—all to the rhythm of the royal Javanese-style gamelon orchestra of gong players, drum thwackers, and whining nasal divas. This could be the highlight of any trip to Indonesia. Saya jalan jalan ku bulan (I walk walk to the moon).
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On the way to Bali I made one last Java stop at Gunung Bromo, Indonesia’s most spectacular active volcano, within hopping distance of the Java Sea. Intrepid travelers, their heads humming with caffeine, trek three kilometers across the moonlit moonscape, following a firefly trail of flashlights to the volcano. At the summit the crowd witnesses the spectacle of the fat yellow sun peeking over the rim of an alien planet, before its puckered crater lips take a prurient sip of Bromo-seltzer brew. Mountain Bromo High.
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Goodbye Java. Bali Hai. Many Indonesians take their vacations in Bali just to ogle all the sun-worshipping tourists. Still Bali doesn’t evoke the Isle of the Gods so much as the Isle of of Australian Surfies at Kuta Beach, the Mad Max Spring Break City from Hell. Get your T-shirts here at Kuta’s Hard Rock Café! Leaving this Ozzie Outback of hawkers and tourists, hookers and addicts, all partying at the all-night discos, pick-up joints, and thunder domes, I finally ventured into the lush interior of paradise lost with its terraced rice paddies, palm trees, and smoking volcanoes. Like the Balinese, I wanted to look towards the mountains and away from the sea, which is believed, for obvious reasons, to be the source of evil spirits—most of them on package tours. At first, though, it was quite unnerving to be traveling towards these magic mountains on a luxury bus crammed with German-speaking tourists, passing temples and walls emblazoned with swastikas, until I remembered that these ancient mystic Hindu symbols were stolen by the Nazis, perverted for their own deadly uses.

Arriving in low-key Lovina, famous for its two-dollar full-body massages on black sand beaches, I settled down at the Café Malibu for espressos and brownies and waited to see if there would be any odd effects while listening to a homegrown band blasting Nirvana covers. The days of magic mushroom omelettes and psychedelic sunsets are over in Bali, now that it’s Indonesia’s number-one tourist attraction. The brownie was just a brownie. I decided to instead follow the Lombok Lizard Man—a grinning two-headed totem pole that bears an uncanny resemblance to a schizo Bart Simpson doll.
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On the slowboat to Lombok, leaving from the idyllic white sand harbor of Padangbai, Bali, I met a victim of the government’s enforced transmigrasi program, wherein overcrowded Java is relieved by pressuring citizens to flee to farflung outer islands. This unwilling expatriate of the world’s largest mass migration wanted to practice his English: “I Muslim,” he said, pointing to his fez-like black felt kopieh, “but Lombok has many Hindu, Catholic, too, and also Wektu Telu.” What what? I thought.
“Wektu Telu. They say they Muslim, but they infidel. Dangerous you go their villages with no guide. I make good guide, very cheaps. They eat all that comes from Allah. They eat porks. They eat EVERYTHING.”

This made me reluctant to drop in on a remote village tea party as an uninvited dinner guest. Instead I shipwrecked myself on Lombok’s Gilli Islands with an arak hangover and the sky displayed like a kaleidoscope of cheap batik sarongs for sale on the beach. The three coral-fringed paradises of Gilli Air, Gilli Meno, and Gilli Trawangan offered Lord Jim wannabees much more than great snorkeling, white sandy beaches, and picturesque rides in horse-drawn dokars. A long-time budget backpackers hangout, this was supposedly the place to do shrooms. Without any hallucinogenic prompts, though, anybody can see, like, these strange blue lights (phosphorescent plankton) that mimic overhead stars washing ashore under moonshadow anyway. Nothing to do here but sing along with local long-haired guitar-strumming Gilligans gazing into the eyes of solo women travelers, singing old Cat Stevens songs. Occasionally the rumble of Lombok’s lava-spewing Gunung Rinjani breaks the silence like an overboiling pot in an Olympian diner.

The closest thing to a good cup of gilli is to be had at the isolated Good Heart Café (Gilli Meno), ideal for watching bleeding ulcerated sunsets and slipping into a dream—until friendly insect-eating geckos sound the alarm in the rafters. All water is pumped in by boat, so every cup of joe tastes vaguely of Drano; caffeine buzzers will quickly crash here. Better to cruise back south to Lombok proper with the retro migration of unladen European swallows and smiley-faced flower punks to a place called Kuta (nothing like Kuta, Bali), which features Indonesia’s most incredible beach (Tanjung Aan) and an attractive-looking café called The Cockatoo. Here I traded in my mild Gilli Belly for the much more severe Lombok Landslide. After that it was high time to get my insides straightened out and hop back like a hot-footed fakir to Bali for that much needed coffee break.

In Ubud, the cultural center and food capital of Bali, I went to see a cremation. Following the colorful and noisy procession down the street, the corpse held up in an elaborate wooden bier, we soon arrived at the ceremonial site. A crush of rubbernecking tourists strutted around like fighting cocks with autofocus eyes. Balinese mourners laughed and joked and cheered, and posed for videocams. As with any other spectator sport, enterprising locals sold peanuts and cold drinks as the stiff was laid out on the funeral pyre and torched up, bursting into flames. The Balinese believe the deceased move on to a new and improved reincarnated future, depending on their behavior in this life. In Hindu Bali, death is a party.
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I desperately needed a coffee to drive away the bitter after taste of ghosts, and at the Café Lotus near the Monkey Forest Sanctuary (chock full o’ monkeys), I finally achieved coffee nirvana: the ultimate cup of java. Inside I heard more American accents than were to be found perhaps in all Indonesia. It was almost like a Manhattan coffeehouse, but with a view of an idyllic lotus pond and a Balinese temple. I ordered a cappuccino, and my stomach—not used to such potent brew—threatened to erupt like Ugung Batung, the holiest active volcano in Bali (fittingly dubbed the Navel of the World). I’d achieved the ultimate high in the former coffee capital of the universe. In what Indonesians sometimes call the Land Under the Rainbow, I shot up like a rocket through the caffeine roof of the world, my tongue frothing with exploding stars, and I tried to set the night on fire.

It had been several years since, my husband, John and I had visited Niagara Falls, New York. While it is impossible to improve on the falls they are spectacular we were really impressed with the Seneca Niagara Casino. A winning addition to Niagara Falls. The accommodations are great, the spa is spa-ctacular, but gaming is not the only winning activity. We ate at the Koi, Western Door Steakhouse and La Cascata creating a winning dining trifecta. The winners were the Chang Mai Lettuce Wraps for an appetizer, Seafood Cioppino as a main course, and decadent Peanut Butter Snickers Pie for dessert.
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From the hotel it is only a short walk to Niagara Falls State Park, America’s oldest state park. No visit to Niagara Falls is complete without a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Upon returning from the Maid of the Mist we almost missed the spectacular 40-minute presentation “Legends of Adventure” in The Niagara Adventure Theater, covering the history and legends of the falls with incredibly realistic photography of people going over the falls. Each day we visited a different area of Niagara County: Lewiston, Old Fort Niagara, and the Lady of Fatima Shrine. And, each evening we returned to relax with an excellent meal at the resort.
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I favor Asian cuisine and fell in love with their Koi Restaurant where they had recently introduced a noodle bar but my favorite thing on the menu was the Chang Mai Lettuce Wrap. It makes a wonderful appetizer or healthy light meal.

 

Chang Mai Lettuce Wrap
3 oz chicken breast, minced
1 oz tricolor bell peppers, medium diced
1 oz white onion, medium diced
1 oz Hoisin sauce
2 oz oyster sauce
2 oz dark Soy sauce
a pinch sugar
½ head iceberg lettuce, halved
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
A few bean sprouts and thinly sliced carrots for garnish Sambal oelek and hoisin sauce make great dipping sauces.
Stir fry the chicken at medium temperature, set aside. In the same wok/pan sauté the peppers and onions for 2 -3 minutes until half cooked. Add oyster sauce, sugar and soy sauce in the pan with the vegetables. Mix well, remove from heat. To serve: 1 sheet of iceberg lettuce topped with minced chicken, diced vegetables, bean sprouts, carrots and a touch of sambal oelek. Wrap the stuffed lettuce and it’s ready to enjoy.
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Another evening we dined at the La Cascata Italian restaurant. The menu
has a unique concept with all the soups one price, the same one-price concept continues with the appetizers, salatizers (salads served with a half portion appetizer), pasta bowls, signature dishes, and desserts. The Seafood Cioppino with fresh veggies, basil pesto and fresh mozzarella cheese served with grilled flatbread was John’s favorite.

 

Seafood Cioppino
16/20 shrimp
20/30 scallops
20 littleneck clams,
20 mussels
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallots
6 blanched fingerling potatoes, halved
4 blanched carrots, sliced
4 blanched celery stalks, sliced
5 blanched asparagus spears cut in half
1 cup white wine
1 cup tomato saffron broth
2 tablespoons butter
4 leaves, basil, chiffanade
salt to taste, pepper to taste, oil, enough to coat pan
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Add oil to sauté pan. When the pan is hot add the seafood, salt and pepper. Sauté for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and shallots, sauté for another minute. Then deglaze the pan with the chardonnay and saffron tomato broth and bring to a simmer. When broth reaches a simmer add the celery, carrots, potatoes, and asparagus. Cover. When the clams are open and the other seafood is cooked, add the butter and basil and cook until butter is melted into the broth. Serve in a bowl with the vegetables in the middle. Arranging the seafood around the vegetables. Then pour the broth over the seafood and vegetables. Best served immediately.

No meal is complete without dessert and one of the best places for desserts is The Western Door Steak House, one of the few restaurants in Western New York to win the Four Diamond Award. Our dinner was a winning combination that started with Chilled Seafood Deluxe with an amazing array of lobster tails, shrimp, oysters, clams and Alaskan king crab with cocktail sauce & shallot mignonette. All seafood is flown in fresh daily. Luckily we ordered a small because their meals include the highest quality steaks, and something we hadn’t seen on a menu for a couple of decades: iceberg lettuce wedge updated with marinated red onion and blue cheese dressing. But the winner in our estimation was the dessert:
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Snickers Peanut Butter Pie.
2 oz butter
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1 egg
1 ¼ cup peanut butter
Beat butter, sugar and peanut butter until smooth. Add egg and flour. Mix well. Roll out crust, put in pie pan, bake at 275F for 10 minutes. Cool.

 

Peanut Butter Filling
1 pound butter
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add peanut butter and vanilla, mix well.

Ganache
10 ounces dark chocolate
5 oz heavy cream
Simmer heavy cream in a pot. Take off heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir constantly until smooth. If chocolate is not completely melted put back on stove on low heat stirring constantly. Add peanut butter filling layer to the cool crust. Lastly spread the ganache in a thin layer over top of pie. Let cool until ganache hardens, slice and enjoy.

Trifecta dining is a winning combination at the Seneca Niagara Casino and the dining is destined to get even better if that is possible. They have partnered with Niagara County Community College to create the Niagara Culinary Institute in downtown Niagara Falls. For more information check senecaniagaracasino.com and niagara-usa.com.

Photography by Yuri Krasov

Roughing it at Yosemite has been a favorite pastime of seasoned nature lovers from all over the world for the last 100 years or so. The massive granite mountains, spectacular waterfalls, groves, lakes, and meadows of the paramount national park in Northern California attract hikers, rock-climbers, skiers, and other happy campers all year round. For the rest of us, chicken to slumber in a frost-covered tent or climb Half Dome with a candy bar and a water bottle for nourishment, there is a much more accommodating activity at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel.
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Every winter, hundreds of guests come here from near and far, some for ten years in a row, for the annual culinary vacation, Chefs’ Holidays. Coming to Chefs’ Holidays 2012 for the very first time, I signed up for the first session, which started a week after the New Year’s Day. In the round up of eight three-day sessions, California chefs seemed to prevail in the glorious line up, joined by their counterparts from New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, and other cuisine centrals.
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Staying at the Ahwahnee, filled with the original furnishings, photographs, and artifacts, is a big part of the event. I was immediately smitten with the unique charm and character of the hotel first built in 1927 at the side of a 10-million-year-old rock, and true to the essence of Yosemite – the way it used to be – before it started accepting 10 000 cars a day. From my room view, to the wall and floor details, to the communal spaces with stained-glass windows, aged armchairs, patterned rugs, and roaring fireplaces, to the traditional morning coffee and afternoon tea with fresh-baked cookies – everything seemed to be designed to please and enchant.

The Ahwahnee is a AAA Four-Diamond hotel listed on the National Registry of Historic Places and a member of Historic Hotels of America, but it retains its immediate intimacy and a friendly feel, perhaps, unchanged since its early days.
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Our Chefs’ session featured Kent Rathbun of Abacus, Jasper’s, and Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen in Texas; Brian Streeter of Cakebread Cellars in Napa, California, and Annie Sommerville of Greens in San Francisco. The distinguished chefs presented their star dishes during culinary classes for the guests, and Chef Rathbun prepared the gala dinner at the session closing. He was doing the first cooking demo of crabmeat and white truffle oil-stuffed deviled eggs spiked with Creole seasoning and lemon juice. Chef Streeter introduced his caramelized onion and walnut biscuits with blue cheese butter. Being a California Wine Country winery chef, he supplemented the tasting of his delectable biscuits with some Cakebread Cellars wines.
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Chef Sommerville – a master extraordinaire of vegetarian fare, demonstrated an elaborate step by step preparation of Mexican tartlets with roasted winter vegetables. Rustic cream cheese dough with masa harina was filled with fire-roasted poblano chilies, butternut squash, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, cheddar cheese, herbs and spices. Pumpkin seed and cilantro salsa topped the tartlets. After the classes and Q and As, every guest took home the chefs’ recipes in hopes to recreate them at home.
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Our tour of the Ahwahnee kitchen presented a ginormous operation working like a well-oiled mechanism and involving boxes of pomegranates, sticks of butter, vats of muffin batter, and trays of chopped clams and mussels. The five-course gala dinner paired with wines and served by candlelight was yet to come.

By 6 p.m. on the closing night, formally dressed guests started to arrive at the world-famous Ahwahnee dining room. A long-standing hotel rule requires formal wear for dinner, and the guests seem to enjoy and follow it without exceptions. Tables were set with ivory tablecloth and napkins, silverware for every course, and multiple wine glasses.
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For the first course, Chef Rathbun treated the foodie crowd with Niman Ranch maple-glazed bacon and scrambled duck eggs. Crispy seared black bass with caramelized cauliflower and persimmon-pomegranate brown butter came second. The third course was a grilled Manchester Farm quail with jalapeno cornbread pudding and pozole tortilla sauce. Cappuccino-cured Cervena venison with white cheddar potato and Abacus house steak sauce compiled the fourth course. For dessert, a chocolate and roasted sweet potato pecan pie was topped with cinnamon ice cream.
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Instead of the usual trip north to Napa or Sonoma, why not head east from San Francisco to the Livermore Valley for a day of good food, delicious wines and great golf? It’s often overlooked as a destination, but should be high on anyone’s list of San Francisco Bay Area getaways – even if it’s just for a day. The verdant Livermore Valley has plenty of history here – Robert Livermore, for whom the town was named, was as interested in growing grapes in the 1840s as he was in raising cattle and horses. Concannon and Wente vineyards date to the early 1880s. And the Livermore Valley was the first in California to label Petite Sirah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc as varietals. As soon as my husband and I exited the freeway, the landscape changed, and farm land and pastures quickly came into view. We cruised through the center of town on our way to the scenic Tesla Road area – most of the vineyards either line this road or are a short distance from it.
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Historic Murrieta’s Well is where we started our adventure. It’s named for Joaquin Murrieta, a gold-rush era outlaw who liked the water from the property’s artesian well. In the 1880s, cuttings from France were planted. Today, seasoned winemaker Sergio Traverso blends an array of exquisite estate wines. Set amongst vines and flowers, the old stone winery building (dating from 1889) houses the modern tasting room with its exposed beams and high ceiling. Local timber and gravel from a nearby creek were used in its construction. Highlights of our visit included the 2008 Anniversary Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo) and the Touriga Nacional 2009 (Touriga Nacional, Petite Sirah, Barbera) from the Los Tesoros de Joaquin label. The Spur (red blend) and the Whip (white blend) are the only two wines sold outside the winery.
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The hip Underdog Wine Bar was our next stop literally minutes away since everything is relatively close. Designed more like a sleek lounge, this hip tasting room offers about 50 international wines by the glass. To complement the wine, the menu features small plates highlighting local ingredients.

The epicurean experience started with the lively Cupcake Vineyards Prosecco (one of Underdog’s emerging brands). With the stunning Ahi tuna tartar tower (served with cucumber, avocado, radish, cilantro, wonton chips) we paired the 2007 Darcie Kent “West Pinnacles” Pinot Noir. And for dessert, the Concannon Petite Sirah Port was extraordinary with the Valhrona chocolate tart with coffee bean caramel and grey salt.
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Tasting Concannon wines at the Vineyard tasting room was next up. (The recently refurbished building houses Underdog as well.) It’s now the fourth generation of the family that is actively involved in all aspects of the winery. And Concannon has the boasting rights as the founder of America’s first Petite Sirah. We loved the Conservancy wines. 100% of the grapes are grown on land in the Livermore Valley protected by a trust that preserves it from urban development. New in this series is the 2009 Crimson & Clover, a rich and complex Petite Sirah blend.
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We savored Steven Kent & La Rochelle Wines at the Steven Kent Winery, known for single vineyards of Cabernet Sauvignon, and its sister winery, La Rochelle, known for Pinot Noir. But don’t overlook the delicious 2008 “Merrillie” Chardonnay, named for Steven’s grandmother. While at the tasting room, enjoy flights paired with a cheese platter. The 2005 Steven Kent Cabernet Sauvignon and the three 2008 La Rochelle Pinot Noir (from the Russian River, Sonoma and Santa Lucia Highlands) exemplify the beauty of the handcrafted wines.

Our final stop for the day was Wente Vineyards where sustainability is integral to all of its operations and the smart way of doing business for the fourth and fifth generations of the family. I tasted wine at the Vineyard Tasting Room and my husband played the Greg Norman-designed golf course. We then met up for dinner at The Restaurant.

Here’s the report from The Course: The layout has everything – long holes, intimate three pars, doglegs, uphill treks and downhill glides. From several points on the course, there are wonderful views of the surrounding vineyard. Perhaps most notable is the eighteenth hole, which features a double fairway, spliced by a stream, followed by a carry over more water to the green. The key to full enjoyment at Wente is to play from the right set of tees, and there are six different tee boxes on each hole. The course stretches from just under 5,000 yards (red tees) to almost 7,200 (black). The conclusion: The Course should be on your list, whether you are a serious golfer or a golfer who is serious about good wine.

In the intimate tasting room, I tried one delicious wine after another. Favorites include the 2008 Reliz Creek Pinot Noir, the 2007 Small Lot Syrah and both the Nth Degree label 2009 Chardonnay and 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon.

We enjoyed wine country cooking at The Restaurant – simple flavors and locally grown ingredients – in a beautiful setting overlooking the vineyards. The seasonal menu changes weekly. Each course was paired with a Wente wine (the wine list favors California though there was an Oregon Pinot Blanc and a Spanish Cava).
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Luscious potato gnocchi was first up served with radishes, fava beans and sheep’s cheese in a green garlic broth and the 2009 Small Lot Pinot Rosé. Then the 2009 Nth degree Syrah was matched with the lusciously rich braised beef short rib, pearled barley risotto and glazed baby carrots. For dessert it was lemon pudding cake and the 2007 Small Lot Late Harvest Riesling – the perfect mix of delicate and sweet.

The Livermore Valley is down to earth; it’s friendly, and it’s close by. The October weather is usually beautifu, and the food and wine are always tempting. Definitely worth a visit.

The origin of the word Chianti can be attributed to the Etruscan term clante, a common name given to a person in that language or to the Latin verb clangor, referring to the noise of the battle. During the Middle Ages there were fierce battles between Florence and Siena over control of that part of Tuscany. The warring parties built castles and fortresses, which in peacetime were converted to the present day villas and stately homes.

The Black Rooster is the symbol of the whole Chianti region. Florence wanted to fix the boundary line with Siena through the Chianti region and Siena asked to settle the affair by arbitration. A horseman would set out at cock’s crow from their respective communities and gallop down the highway. Where they met would be the frontier. The Sienese selected a fine, much-pampered white rooster. The Florentines chose a black rooster and gave it so little to eat that on the appointed day it began to crow long before dawn. As a result, the Florentine rider set out early and met the other horseman at Croce Fiorentina – only 12 miles away from Siena. The boundaries of Chianti Classico are Florence in the north, mountains on the east, Siena in the south and Pisa in the west encompassing an area of about 100 square miles.
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In 1716 the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo the 3rd established with an edict the boundaries of the Chianti wine’s production zone. That proclamation is the first legal document in history delimiting a winemaking area. It was a forbear of the DOC (Controlled Denomination of Origin). As the phylloxera epidemic swept over Europe there was a new interest in Chianti. In May 1924 a group of 33 vintners in Chianti assembled at Radda in Chianti to establish a voluntary association to defend and promote their wine. They adopted the name Consorzio per la difesa del vino tipico del Chianti (Consortium for the defense of the typical wine of Chianti and its brand name of origin) and now it’s known as the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico.

In 1932 the Chianti region was delimitated to its current 173,000 acres. Of the 25,000 acres of vineyards about 17,500 are destined for Chianti Classico DOCG. There are also 20,000 acres of olive plantations. Oak and chestnut forests cover 2/3 of the area. The soil is galestro, layered limestone and sandstone with much clay and chalk. It has a continental climate with 23-25F degrees the low temperature and 86-95F the high, receiving 27 to 31 inches of rain annually. The altitude ranges from 820 to over 2,000 feet. The wine produced there was given the suffix Classico to distinguish the original from the other Chianti wines made outside the historical production zone.
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By order of the ministerial decree of 1932, the territory for the production of generic Chianti wines was divided into six new zones, Classico among them. Only after decades of its tutelary consortium’s endeavors to get exclusive recognition for Chianti Classico was official approval given in 1996 for separate production rules for the Chianti Classico appellation, transforming Chianti Classico from a sub zone in the “Chianti” denomination to an independent denomination.

The decade of the 1950’s was not a good time for Chianti. The wines that were being produced at that time were of such poor quality that the consensus among the residents was to turn the vineyards into grasslands. At that time there were only 4 famous vintners that produced Chianti Classico Wines – Antinori, Brolio, Frescobaldi, and Ruffino. Almost all of the other wine makers sold their product in bulk.

In the 1960’s the Chianti Classico Wine industry was in a state of transition. Numerous tenant farmers in the area were walking away from their land to find jobs in town while the larger land owners were selling off their farms to new residents that relocated to the area. Some of these new landowners re-planted the vineyards using the coltura promiscua, which means that rows of grain and olive trees were alternated between rows of grapes. Most Chianti was shipped in squat bottles enclosed in a straw basket, known as a fiasco. Now, most Chianti is bottled in the traditionally shaped wine bottles.
To match Reuters Life! WINE-ITALY/FRESCOBALDI
In 1984, DOCG status (highest rank for premium Italian wines) was awarded to the Chianti Classico Wine region. Basically, this required that the wines had to be approved by a tasting panel. A Chianti Classico may be made from a minimum of 80% Sangiovese grapes (up to 100%). The other 20% can be native red grapes such as Canaiolo and colorino or international varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. Beginning with the 2006 grape harvest it was no longer permitted to use white grapes such as Trebbiano or Malvasia, as formerly they were allowed to a maximum of 6%.
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In 2005 the Black Rooster trademark (previously the symbol of the Consortium members) became the emblem of the Chianti Classico appellation and was made compulsory on all bottles of Chianti Classico. To be labeled Riserva the wine has to have alcohol of 12.5% and matured for a minimum of 24 months, at least 3 of which in bottle. There are 570 Chianti Classico Consortium members, and the US at 27% is the number one market, followed by Italy at 24% and Germany at 12%. In 2010 production of Chianti Classico was over 7 million US gallons. In 2005 the black rooster (previously the symbol of the Consortium members) became the emblem of Chianti Classico. In early June the Chianti Classico Black Rooster Festival includes music, art, history, food and of course wine tastings.

Super Tuscan is a marketing term used to describe wines that don’t follow the official DOC/DOCG rules for the particular region. These rules specify where the grapes must come from, which grapes must be used and occasionally how long they must be aged in order to be called Chianti or Chianti Classico. In the 1970s some producers (notably Antinori) started making wines which didn’t follow these rules because they were using other grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah instead of Sangiovese). As a result they could only be designated as vino de tavola (table wine), the lowest designation in the Italian system. A Super Tuscan can contain anything and indeed can have no Sangiovese. Now they have a new designation IGT, Indicazione Geografica Tipica, to indicate a higher level of quality wine than vino da tavola but which doesn’t follow the DOC/DOCG rules. Super Tuscan labels can have information as to region (i.e. the label on Sassicaia will say Bolgheri) but they cannot carry the official DOC/DOCG designations of Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, etc.
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Ornellaia is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Petit Verdot. (Tenuta dell’Ornellaia)
Sassicaia is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25%Cabernet Franc. (Tenuta San Guido)
Solaia is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Sangiovese. (Antinori)
Tignanello is 80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. (Antinori)
Super Tuscans can cost $40 to well over $100 per bottle. I have enjoyed many Chianti Classico Riservas that are the equal of their Super Tuscan cousins.

Pat Savoie and yours truly were the only Americans invited by the Italian Trade Commission and the Chianti Classico Consortium to spend five days in the region. There were journalists from 15 other countries present. We stayed at the My One Hotel in Radda and every morning we tasted wines from up to 20 producers. In three days we visited 10 producers including: Rocca delle Macie, Fontodi, Castello di Volpaia and Castello di Brolio.

For More Information-
www.myonehotel.it/ita/radda
www.italtrade.com
www.chianticlassico.com
www.classico-e.it

Ron Kapon
The Peripatetic Oenophile www.ronkapon.com

Even in the depths of winter, Wichita, Kansas, is an inviting destination. My wintry escape included a traveling Broadway show, museums, dining, a Cowtown Christmas and quality comfort in an expansive historic Hotel. Over the decades, I have seen several theatrical events at Century II, Wichita’s modern convention and entertainment venue, and it was my starting point in planning my weekend get-a-way. Having never seen the show and needing a humorous musical entertainment, I booked a ticket to see the traveling, “Young Frankenstein.” It was performed admirably, and despite the inevitable comparison to the movie, it held up rather well as an evening’s respite from reality.
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The convenience of my hotel stay at the Drury Broadview Hotel, across the street, added to my pleasure as did the perfect meal at its adjoining restaurant AVI. My filet was prepared to my directions as was the three blue cheese olive Stoli Martini, which got the evening off to a fine start. Completing the meal it was hard to choose from the dessert offerings of: Carrot Cake with German Chocolate Ice Cream, Chocolate and Orange Vanilla Cream Brule, Apricot Almond Goat Cheese-cheesecake, or a Chocolate covered Cranberry Chipolte bread pudding with Mixed Berry ice cream. But I did.

Besides the complete renovation of the Drury’s interior, the free extras of Internet, a hot buffet breakfast, the offerings of 3 free cocktails at their evening breakaway ~ complete with heavy additional treats that might include hot dogs, macaroni and cheese and nachos ~ made the reasonably priced stay even more of a pleasure. Of course the pool, exercise room and hot tub along with covered parking let you know you were an appreciated guest.
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The highlight of my weekend’s theatrical entertainment was the surprise virtuosity of the Diamond W Wrangler singers at the Empire House Christmas Dinner at the living history Old Cowtown Museum. Their close harmonies ~ reminiscent to the “Sons of the Pioneers”~ along with tongue in cheek humor and a sufficient western style meal made the evening worth the effort to venture out in the cold. I was there during a Santa Claus visit, with his lap a venue for good little girls and boys, along with singing in the western church ~ complimented by guitars and dulcimers courtesy of the Great Plains Dulcimer Alliance and Acoustic Treasures ~ and wandering in the moonlight over boardwalks past wooden storefronts and Victorian styled houses lit by kerosene lamps, set the stage for a congenial wintry outing.
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Wichita has a number of exceptional museums and galleries, including the Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum with its authentic recreation of an 1890 Wichita Cottage; the work in progress Kansas Aviation Museum with its collection of everything aviation; the Museum of World Treasures with everything from pre historic dinosaurs to Hollywood movie memorabilia, and the Wichita Art Museum where I saw the traveling exhibit of “Supremes” gowns. While the gowns have traveled on, check out their web site for current exhibits.
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A visit to Hat Man Jacks, in the historic Delano district, will custom fit your head to the appropriate covering for comfort, utility, and most expertly for an appealing appearance. Jack is the couture of men’s hats. He also has an extensive knowledge of early Wichita, and his stories are not only educational on frontier Chisholm Trail times, but entertaining. Ask him to tell you about the Amazon Run, in the bawdy days of Delano, when it was a rough and tumble cowboy respite at the end of the Chisholm Trail.
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And there is more to share of Wichita, yet space doesn’t allow, so please explore :

www.gowichita.com and asking for their visitor guide.
Drury Plaza Broadview – https://druryhotels.com/content/broadview.aspx
Wichita Historical Museum – www.wichitahistory.org
Diamond W Wrangler singers – www.diamondWwranglers.com
Wichita Art Museum – http://wichitaartmuseum.org/
Hat Man Jacks – www.360wichita.com/ClothingApparel/HatmanJacks.html
Kansas Aviation Museum – http://www.kansasaviationmuseum.org/
AVI – www.360wichita.com/Restaurants/Steakhouses/AVI.html
Century II – www.century2.org/
Museum of World Treasures – www.worldtreasures.org

If you thought Sandwich, Massachusetts was the birthplace of sandwiches in America, you may be surprised to find it is really the home of historic glass manufacturing factories. Along the scenic Cape Cod coast is the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company museum in no other than Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Sandwich was given its name after Sandwich, England and is an area chosen because of its shallow waters and shipping capabilities. There were other glass factories in New England during the industrial revolution but the name Sandwich always intrigued me so I visited the glass museum while touring “the Cape”.

As I walked through the building, I marveled at over 6,000 pieces of glass on display and many of them reminded me of my grandmother’s salt shakers, sugar bowls, cologne bottles and vases kept in her curio cabinet. Pink, amber, violet, green and red were hand painted on the designs and a special process enabled the vibrant colors to be infused into the glasses in later
times. Some of the works I saw in the various display cases looked to be from Ireland and Great Britain and I wondered why they would be in this Americana museum. Turns out, the company recruited and hired knowledgeable glass makers from Ireland and England and they left their imprint in America with this booming business of its day.

Women joined the work force, too, making stoppers for bottles, painting, etching and staining glass works. I viewed a special exhibit about the women who had worked in the factory including pictures from the 1800’s and the glass works they hand crafted. There are continuously changing exhibits and I found out more about glass blowing, shaping, pressing and design within the museum than I learned from any history books.

The civil war changed the success of the glass making factories and more competition came from other states eventually shutting down the Boston and Sandwich Glass company. The museum gives a person the opportunity to see
firsthand the process for creating and shaping glass with a 20 minute video and demonstrations by a glass blower showing different techniques. On the way out, the gift store sells glassworks from local artists and a curator is on hand to identify the antique items since there are no markings on the older pieces. Christmas time is especially bright and colorful with twenty
glass blowers making ornaments to decorate the indoor Christmas tree.

Children are given a treasure hunt brochure to find the early handmade glass and pressed glass in display cases with items such as fly traps, roosters, hats, sitting hen and vases. As they exit, the children are given a small package of marbles made on premises, not from China.

Glass works tell a history of bygone times and reaching for Grandma’s lacy glass candy jar made me realize how factories evolved into our current daily lives.

Photography by Yuri Krasov

Planning a weekend retreat in Monterey County, California, I couldn’t imagine how many discoveries were waiting at every turn of the road. Sunday was a prime time to taste some wine along the gorgeous Carmel Valley Road (www.montereywines.org), and the drive itself was a treat. Chateau Julien Wine Estate in Mid-Valley (www.chateaujulien.com) is a real chateau with castle towers, stained glass windows, rose gardens and noble wines. I liked 2006 Black Nova II – a full bodied proprietary blend of 60% zin and 40% syrah, produced in limited amounts of 300 cases and distributed only on premises.
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However, my favorite was Carmel Cream Sherry – a sweet blend of Palomino, Tokay and Madera grapes fortified with brandy and thoroughly indulgent – also produced in limited quantities of 100-150 cases, and also distributed only at the winery. Bernardus Vineyards & Winery in Carmel Valley Village www.bernardus.com) is best known for its excellent Santa Lucia Highlands pinot noirs but takes special pride in estate Bordeaux blends, named Marinus (the owner’s middle name).

At Joullian Vineyards Tasting Room, also in Carmel Valley Village (www.joullian.com) we compared very different but equally pleasing 2009 Roger Rose Chardonnay and 2009 Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay from the cool Salinas Valley and then tasted some estate 2007 Sias Cuvee Zinfandel, made of grapes growing 15 miles from the tasting room.
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At 1833 Restaurant (www.restaurant1833.com) opened in Monterey only a few months ago, Executive Chef Levi Mezick creates little miracles with the season-inspired menu. His Jerusalem artichoke soup, braised lamb shank served over a light version of cassoulet, and grilled pork chop, complimented by creamy grits, were all stellar in preparation.

The place is also famous for its rich history. Built in 1833, the two-story adobe house belonged to an English sailor James Stokes, who was a self-taught doctor and pharmacist. He liked to socialize with the local celebs, treated their ills, and eventually became a mayor of Monterey. They say the doc killed only eight patients during his career, which was not that bad, considering…

In his late years, Mayor Stokes hired a live-in pianist and a fellow party-lover, Hattie Gragg, now long dead, who is said to still arrive in the house as a ghost to slam doors in her former bedroom and put salt into wine glasses.
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In the dark, my husband and I headed for the night to Safari B&B at Vision Quest Ranch (www.visionquestranch.com) in nearby Salinas. Charlie Sammut, the proprietor, manages several establishments on its territory, from EARS (Elephants of Africa Rescue Society) to Wild Things – an exotic animal training facility.

We slept in an authentic African bungalow, though comfortably furnished and equipped with all the modern conveniences. At night, we heard a lion’s roar, and in the morning we met all the wild things there were.
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Butch, the elephant, delivered breakfast croissants to our tent. He thoughtfully brought along some row potatoes and carrots, so I could treat him in return. Later, we sipped our coffee on the deck, watching him play with his buddy zebra.
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Nadia, the Siberian lynx and Bamboo, the squirrel monkey, came to visit, accompanied by Vision Quest animal trainers. Then my husband raced Fred, the African ostrich, along the fence. That was not intentional. Yuri went on his morning jog, and Fred, a rather competitive and territorial creature, dropped everything and just took on running after him back and forth.

Before checking out we joined a tour of the 50-acre facility. Wild animals tours are offered to the public daily at 1 p.m., and anyone can join them. Gracie, the resident cat, followed us all along the tour, visiting her extended family – lions, tigers, puma, leopard, and ocelot. We drove to Carmel by the Sea, and made it to the Carmel Wine Walk (www.carmelcalifornia.org) before closing time.
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Galante Vineyards Tasting Room (www.galantevineyards.com) is famous not only for its estate pinots, merlots, and cabs, but for the fact that the owner Jack Galante’s grandfather founded Carmel! In sinc with the family tradition, Galante was the first tasting room to open in Carmel in 2006.

Caraccioli Cellars (www.caracciolicellars.com) a newly open chic facility with contemporary design, showcases its sparkling wines – 2006 Brut Cuvee and 2006 Brut Rose, the latter subtly enhanced by 2% of still pinot noir, and also some crisp chardonnay and silky pinot noir.

Wrath (www.wrathwines.com), on the first level of Carmel Plaza, is the newest winery, just a couple of months in existence. Its facility is shiny-new and elegant, and its pinot, char and syrah come from sustainably-grown estate fruit and from other vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands.
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My favorite taste was of the Noble Wrath late harvest sauvignon blanc – sweet as honey, but with a distinct aroma of grilled green pepper on the nose.

To round up our wine tasting adventure in Carmel by the Sea, we headed to Figge Cellars (www.Figgecellars.com) – an innovative tasting room sharing a space with Winfield Gallery of contemporary art. The winery is well-known in San Francisco, as Figge wines are being served at Gary Danko, Fleur de Lys, Garcon, and other upscale restaurants, and the gallery represents a number of SF Bay Area and Monterey County artists.
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At Little Napoli (www.chefpepe.com) steps away from all the tasting rooms, we tried Chef Pepe’s Famous Garlic Bread, made after a 100 y.o. family recipe; fresh seafood Zuppa di Pesce; Sierra Foothills lamb chops, and my perennial favorite, Eggplant Parmigiana.

A short drive to the town of Marina brought us to the Sanctuary Beach Resort (www.thesanctuarybeachresort.com) for the night. A place like no other, Sanctuary Beach Resort occupies 19 acres of succulent-covered sandy dunes of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary.
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The bungalows of the resort are located practically on the endless beach – home to several endangered species of birds, reptiles, insects, and plants. To make their survival easier, the resort asks its guests to leave their cars in the parking lot, and use golf carts to move throughout the property.

Next morning, walking on the beach, I couldn’t help but feel that the sanctuary extended to us, humans, as well as to other species. The serenity of the place made me feel calm and protected and well-rested – as if here, in Monterey County, was my true home.

More information: www.Seemonterey.com.

As you make plans for a weekend getaway, keep this in mind: Carmel and Monterey are a quick two hour drive south of the San Francisco. For those with an appetite for some of the best wine tasting and gastronomic treasures around, it’s time to get going. Recently, my husband and I made the trip – staying in unique properties and enjoying the verdant region with its knock-out views.
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Monterey’s historic Cannery Row was our starting point. Don’t dismiss this out of hand as “too touristy.” The area is steeped in history as the epicenter of Steinbeck country. It’s the ideal place to jump start the fun. We checked into the InterContinental The Clement Monterey – the perfect location (for us and the car). The modern hotel sits on Monterey Bay (and a national marine sanctuary) and fits into its seaside locale with a weathered exterior and boardwalk. The interior is upscale and inviting and the rooms are comfortable, spacious, loaded with amenities and many have views of the main street and the scenic bay (some with balconies). From here, it’s a quick walk around town.

 

We strolled over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, inhaling the salty sea air along the way. This popular venue inspires conservation of the oceans through “teaching” exhibits of sea life. From sharks to jelly fish, sea turtles to penguins, there are wonderful displays to be discovered, including the reinvented Open Sea wing.

 

For lunch, we tried the Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant – Cindy Pawlcyn’s latest adventure serving up fresh, local and sustainable creations. Every seat has Bay views – all the better because with borrowed binoculars and a guide, you’ll be able to identify the birds you spot. Hog Farms grilled asparagus, wild Pacific Dungeness crab cakes and the Thai style mussels are hits.

 

Afterwards, we set out on the Cannery Row Wine Walk. Each tasting room has a unique vibe and friendly staff.
A Taste of Monterey (representing more than 70 wineries): Don’t miss the 2007 Cobblestone Chardonnay and Boëté’s 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and 2006 Reserve Cabernet Franc.
Scheid Vineyards: Find great Reserves, especially the 2007 Chardonnay and 2006 Claret. Their 2008 50/50 is a unique Cabernet/Syrah blend.
Baywood Cellars: Try the sweet wines – the 2003 Symphony Late Harvest, 2000 10-year Tawny Port and the Grappa Limoncello.
Pierce Ranch: The 2010 Albariño 2007 Tourbillon and 2007 Tempranillo are outstanding.

 

Dinner that night was at the hotel’s C Restaurant, where we experienced a spectacular view of the marine sanctuary, the setting sun and the endless ocean. The restaurant is an avid follower of the Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program – you eat only what’s sustainable. Since local ingredients rule, we opted for the smoked trout sashimi with radishes, cured lemon and miso-yuzu vinaigrette, pork shank terrine with Dungeness crab and beluga lentils, and caramelized day boat sea scallops served with a porcini mushroom-leek stew. We paired local wines with each delectable course. It was an easy elevator ride home to be lulled to sleep by crashing waves and glow from the fireplace.

 

The sunrise over Monterey Bay the next morning was stunning. On our way south to Carmel, we stopped at Morgan Winery, tucked into a shopping area just outside of downtown. Bright and airy, taste both Morgan and Lee Family Farm wines including the 2008 Double L Syrah and the 2008 Garys’ Pinot Noir.

 

From there, it’s a five minute drive to the picture perfect (and one of the pet friendliest) towns – Carmel-by-the-Sea. This charming enclave is home to shopping, galleries and cafes.
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Carmel’s scenic beach is a must see. Then it was lunch at Cantinetta Luca with its colorful interior, brick lined walls and wood-burning oven. The classic Italian food is simple and rustic. We ate the best grilled king prawns with corona beans, roasted peppers and salsa verde as well as house made salumes and a funghi pizza with criminis, spinach and gorgonzola. All this was matched with vibrant Italian wines; it was heaven.

 

Wine tasting in Carmel is easy – stroll the streets and courtyards and stop along the way. Figge Cellars: The 2009 Pelio Chardonnay, 2006 Syrah and 2008 Paraiso Pinot Noir are not to be missed. Cima Collina: Favorites include the 2005 Hilltop Estate Pinot Noir and 2009 Tondre Grapefield Riesling. Caraccioli Cellars: Love the 2006 Brut Cuvee, 2008 Chardonnay and 2007 Pinot Noir. Galante Vineyards: Enjoy the 2005 “Blackjack Pasture” Cabernet, 2008 “Olive Hill” Petite Sirah and an interesting blend in the 2007 Grand Champion.
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The lush Auberge Carmel is nestled in the midst of downtown. It is a serene and beautiful French country oasis. This Relais and Châteux offers luxe accommodations in a boutique setting. The landscaped courtyard was awash in bright flora and a lovely place to relax. Each of the 20 rooms is distinctive; all boast rich fabrics, warm interiors and large bathrooms (some with soaking tubs).

 

Dinner at L’Aubergine, the cozy 12-table restaurant in the hotel was memorable. Four luscious courses featured ingredients delivered by local farmers. The amuse bouches were awesome, especially the English pea sponge cake with pea purée and pea shoots.
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Luscious hamachi with sea beans, sea water, bonito jelly and uni was just one of the four courses. Others included ocean trout with crispy skin and halibut with sea lettuce, oyster and pig tail. And the international wine selections were incredible. We ended the delicious evening with a strawberry cream cheese parfait.

 

Next morning, the full breakfast (included with our room) gave us the fuel to make the scenic drive home.

 

It’s always the time to visit Monterey and Carmel. You know you’ll eat, drink and sleep well!