Saturday, October 11, 2014

Crop to Tabletop Dinner with #PlacerGROWN

It's not very often that I specifically go to a "Farm to Table" dinner. Typically they're expensive and crowded. but when I heard about the Crop to Tabletop dinner that was being put on on PlacerGROWN for just $35 a person, I figured I would go. I bought two tickets and went with my dad (my mom is in Texas, so he didn't want to cook for himself). The dinner was hosted at the top of the peak at Twin Peaks Orchard. We started with a bottle of Popie Wines and some Goat House Brewing beer (alcohol was not included, but $20 a bottle for wine was very reasonable), before dining on farm fresh produce, meats and even dessert. The setting was spectacular, especially as the sun went down. We even made new friends and I was able to see people I've gotten to know at other PlacerGROWN events.

There's still a whole week of activities to go, so be sure to head out to the farms and enjoy the bounty provided by Placer County's many family farms.
Pictures for those with iPads.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Trip to California's Central Coast

I hadn't been to the Central Coast since February 2010, so this trip was a long time coming. It started with a quick wine tasting stop in Paso Robles at Halter Ranch Vineyard, then we headed to San Luis Obispo for lunch at Firestone Grill and to watch the Giants beat the Nationals in Game 1. After lunch and shopping at the Cal Poly Downtown store (I needed some things like a wine glass, trailer hitch cover and hat), we headed to our financial advisor's office and then with him to dinner at Novo Restaurant in Downtown San Luis Obispo. My mom picked the perfect wine, Anniversary Blend from Sterling Vineyards, since their wedding anniversary was the day before, and we enjoyed a fabulous dinner along the San Luis Obispo Creek.

After spending the night in Morro Bay, we did some quick picture taking at Morro Rock and got some great photos of the harbor before continuing our trip by driving through the Cal Poly Campus (a lot has changed in the 10 years since I graduated) to Pismo Beach and then stopped in Solvang to check out California's version of Denmark. Our next stop was the Embassy Suites in Lompoc, but once we figured out that our hotel didn't get the station the Giant's game was on, we headed to Applebee's ... Lompoc's only known "Sports Bar." Our plan was to stay until the end of the game, but we ended up leaving in the 9th inning ... good thing we did, the game went for another nine innings, we ended up closely monitoring our phones for play-by-play information. The decision also meant that we could enjoy Happy Hour at Embassy Suites and a few games on Pinochle.

On Sunday we were off to our final destination, Santa Barbara and the Bacara Resort & Spa. We first drove to the beach in Santa Barbara and then took a quick driving tour of the area (we were just in Santa Barbara during our last cruise, so we actually knew where things were). After our Santa Barbara sight-seeing adventure we headed north to Bacara. It was beautiful from the moment we drove up. I started with a lunch meeting and then we headed to our private cabana at, what I would say is one of the best pools in California. The rest of our trip was pretty amazing too ... wine tasting in the Foley Wine Tasting Room, two dinners on the Terrace of the Bacara Bar, lunch at the Bistro, a 7 mile run for me, and a spa treatment for my parents as a gift from my brother and I for their anniversary.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Napa Valley Rocks and a Sac Republic Championship

In late August I rushed to Napa after the South Napa Earthquake and, less than a month later, the community came together to help those who lost so much. I was able to attend the opening night dinner for Napa Valley Rocks, Nourish Napa! From Morimoto sushi by the pool to a multi-course dinner prepared by Napa's top chefs, it was a great evening of food, fun and moving forward for a city that was hurt, but began to heal very quckily.

After a baby shower and a quick dinner at Pocket Bistro before the game, my family and I headed to Bonney Field at Cal Expo where Sacramento Republic FC also continued their quest for MLS by winning the USLPRO championship in their inaugural season. In front of yet another sold out crowd (although this was also standing room only). With a 2-0 win, great crowd, great time, and amazing city I'm pretty sure Sacramento is #BuiltForMLS.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

#PlacerGrown Week is Coming Soon

Over the last year or so I have been able to get more involved with Placer Grown. It's interesting to learn more about all the items grown in Placer County, once one of the top grape (yes, that means wine) and stone fruit agriculture regions in the world. Now the biggest export is actually rice, but walnuts, grapes (for wine), fruits, vegetables and hops (for beer) are all making a resurgence.

I started my afternoon off with the official event at Wise Villa Winery, where I, along with a few other bloggers and members of the media enjoyed a fabulous lunch with wine pairing. The farm fresh arugula and beet salad was a highlight, but the steak, pork chop, pasta, tuna and wines were all spectacular and enjoyed by all. I even bought a bottle of Wisdom of Wise (their red wine blend) for "Wine Fridays" at my office.

While at lunch a few people had mentioned Goat House Brewing Company just down the road, so ... not being one to miss out on opportunity ... I decided to make the three minute drive to enjoy their beer flight. It was a good decision, eight beers for $18, while talking to great people, including the husband and wife brewery proprietors. I'm looking forward to going back with my dad so he can taste the beers too.

Placer Grown Week is October 11-18, 2014. It includes a variety of events, including a Crop to Tabletop Dinner (I already bought my tickets ... limited quantity available and it's only $35/pp), family fun, farm tours and much more (see below).
Photos for those with iPads.

Family-Friendly Events Offer Farm-to-Fork Fun and Award-winning Wines 

AUBURN, Calif.—The third annual Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week, October 11th through the 18th, will showcase the more than 100 family farms, 20 Placer County Wine Trail wineries and 9 farmers’ markets in the Placer County region.  Families should mark their calendars for family-friendly activities, farm-fresh eats and award-winning wines.

“This is the best opportunity throughout the year to experience the Placer County region’s abundance of farm-fresh food and wine,” notes PlacerGROWN Executive Director Carol Arnold.  “It’s a great way to meet local farmers and ranchers, and experience unique Placer County activities firsthand.”

“The Placer County Board of Supervisors proclaimed Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week in 2012 and the commemorative week has since grown in scope and popularity,” said Placer County Agricultural Commissioner Josh Huntsinger. “We look forward to welcoming back families and friends to join in the celebration.”

The 2014 “Celebrate PlacerGROWN Week” includes four, fun events:
Auburn Wine & Food Festival: Saturday, Oct. 11th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy Placer County wines and dishes sure to delight the palate. Tickets are available at at $45 each; designated driver and food-only tickets are $20 each.

PlacerGROWN Farm & Barn Tour: Sunday, Oct. 12th from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Take part in a free, self-guided tour that includes farms, ranches and vineyards, all spanning the beautiful Placer County countryside. Visit for details.

PlacerGROWN Harvest Festival: Saturday, Oct. 18th from 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, October 19th from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin.
This family-friendly fest includes a pumpkin patch, scarecrow-building contest, farmers’ market, free family movie at dusk and more. Visit for details.

Placer County Farm Bureau Hoe Down: Saturday, Oct. 18th with dinner held at 6:30 p.m.
The 25th annual event includes dinner and a live auction benefiting agricultural students. Call 916-663-2929 for tickets and more information.      

Supported by Placer County, PlacerGROWN is the information source dedicated to educating residents about the freshest agricultural products the region has to offer.  Through its website, social media channels, and other outreach programs, PlacerGROWN connects community members with the farms, orchards, ranches, wineries, nurseries, farmers’ markets and specialty food stores in one of the most diverse growing areas in Northern California. To discover the bounty of agricultural products produced by farmers who call Placer County home, or for more information about PlacerGROWN, visit

Lunch and wine tasting was provided by Wise Villa Winery and PlacerGROWN. I purchased my own bottle of wine to take home and beer tasting. All thoughts are my own.

Food, Wine and Soccer

So I am not sure it can really get any better than that. Great Food, Great Wine, Great Soccer.

From a Masters Winemaker Dinner with Duckhorn Vineyards at The Meritage, featuring an excellent menu, to a run in West Sacramento and two soccer victories, it was an amazing eight days. There were also home cooked meals (salmon with vegetables, and shrimp pasta), a clean oven, harvest of the vineyards behind The Meritage, dinner (well margaritas with a little bit of food) with a friend at Chevy's, a Farm to Fork dinner at River City Brewing Company, happy hour at Florez Bar & Grill, church at Bayside, and something I never thought I would see in Sacramento (but I'm very glad I did) ... a #BuiltForMLS rally with thousands of soccer fans in attendance (and dirty duck fat fries at Low Brau).
Pictures for those with iPads.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Catching Up - Earthquake, Soccer and Camp Out

I haven't been home much over the last few weeks, but it has been fun. I started out with a cooking segment on Fox40 to promote a winemaker dinner with Grgich Hills Estate at The Meritage. Went to Orange County for a few days and got to see all of the hotels that PHG operates in the area, including a construction site in Huntington Beach that will soon be the Pasea. Once back in Napa I enjoyed meeting with Mike Grgich and a fantastic multicourse dinner in the Estate Cave.

Then there were trips to Bayside, a bike ride in Folsom around Lake Natoma, dinner at Trademark Pizza, a 30th birthday party, lots of meals with friends ... and the unexpected, an earthquake in Napa. As soon as I heard about the earthquake I headed to The Meritage, even doing a radio interview with KGO-AM on my way. Although there was not major damage at The Meritage, I and the other staff were busy the day of the quake and for the week after reassuring future guests that they could keep their travel plans. Beyond the earthquake, it was fun to meet with former colleagues during the DoNapa Culinary Crawl in Downtown Napa and to learn about digital photography when cloud cover forced us to cancel our stargazing experience.

Back in Sacramento Camp Bradley welcomed 34 guests on Labor Day Weekend, my dad and I went to a few soccer games to watch the playoff (and hopefully MLS) bound Sacramento Republic FC play at Bonney Field, dinner with family friends, helping River Life Covenant Church get ready for new Sunday School classes, dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, and much more.
Photos for those with iPads.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Hitch, Helicopter and Soccer

I would say it was a busy week, but I think they all are nowadays. I started off on Monday by taking my car to the dealership to get a hitch installed (so I could attach my bike rack) and got the car windows tinted. Wednesday I enjoyed dinner at Flame and Fire in Roseville. Then, beginning Thursday I was in Napa for two days full of pretty exciting meetings talking about new projects and initiatives, plus dinner at Goose and Gander, and I got to see a helicopter land in our parking lot.
On Saturday I took it easy with a five mile run, trip to the gym, church, dinner at Dos Coyotes and saw the Sacramento Republic FC win another game at home. Now time to clean my house, do laundry and pack for another week of fun ... Napa, Newport Beach for two days and more Napa.
Pictures for those with iPads.
Related Posts with Thumbnails