Monthly Archives: June 2013

Best Father’s Day Ever

Father’s Day is an interesting “holiday”.  Usually I don’t worry too much about it.  A card for my dad, and a phone call to him, are usually the extent of my responsibilities.  My theory on Father’s Day is that our wives care so much about getting their recognition on Mother’s Day (deservedly so!) that they project this same level of caring onto us for Father’s Day.  Well, not that I don’t like Father’s Day, but I’m not sure I’d miss it if it were to disappear from the calendar. 


Unless all Father’s Days start to turn out like this most recent one, which wasn’t a Father’s Day, but a 3 day process. 


First there was the Sunday, the actual day of Father’s Day.  First, Lori dropped me off at Oakland Coliseum to meet Brandon and Jacob and oldest grandchild Elli for an Oakland A’s baseball game.  It wasn’t Elli’s first game, but she did have a pretty good time at the game.  And while the boys were going and getting us some food and beer, we managed to get a reasonably good self-photo of the two of us.  (Degree of difficulty is a bit higher on this because of my ancient phone.)  We stayed through the 5th inning, when the A’s took the lead for good over the Mariners.  Then we headed out, all of us heading up to Santa Rosa, to have dinner with their wives, and the other grandchildren (at the table with us, but at 4 months and 6 six weeks old, they really didn’t participate), and my wife, who had driven up there after dropping me off.  Great barbeque rib dinner, with everyone contributing a dish.  The new recipe was from daughter-in-law Brittany, who cooked potatoes wrapped in bacon.  Essentially this was medium sized red potatoes, quartered and wrapped in a slice of bacon, then baked for 45 minutes.  Oh yeah.  Add in a bottle of 2011 Armida Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Goldmine Vineyard, and it was a great meal.  Only 1 glass though, since I was driving home. 


The next day I drove back up to Napa Valley, for a round of golf with Brandon.  It was customer appreciation day from a couple of his vendors, and they set up a golf tournament at Eagle Vines Golf for their customers.  Bruce, the Armida co-owner, was supposed to go with Brandon, but he couldn’t.  So my next Father’s Day present was a beautiful day playing golf, where all I had to do was buy the raffle tickets for their benefit event.  Great way to spend the day. 


Then on Tuesday, since Sunday was with the kids and Monday was golfing, Lori made a special Father’s Day dinner.  Serious comfort food:  meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peas.  One of my all time favorite meals from when I was small.  Add in a bottle of 2011 Auriga Zinfandel, El Dorado (“Uncle Bud and Chuck’s favorite” it says on the label), and it was a great cap off to my 3 day Father’s Day celebration.  By the way, this was another very good Auriga wine.  They are fast becoming our go-to winery for the Sierra Foothills


I don’t think this one will be topped any time soon.







Monterey Wine Festival 2013

Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf


We had beautiful weather
this past weekend, so Lori and I set out for Monterey and the Wine
Festival.  To be specific, the
37th Annual Monterey Wine
.  Really?  They’ve been doing this festival for
that long?  We went on Saturday,
which was the chowder tasting day of the festival.  (I think Friday was oysters and calamari; neither are on
Lori’s top 10 list, or even top 100.) 



The festival was held in the
Custom House plaza, just a 2 minute walk from
Fisherman’s Wharf.  Seemed to be pretty well attended.  Probably other people looked at the
weather report and decided to come out. 
We met one couple that lived in Modesto.  They looked at the weather forecast – 105 degrees in
Modesto, 75 in Monterey – and dropped their 2 year old off with grandparents
for the weekend.  Well done! 


Here are my highlights from
the festival:



   US Foods, a food products supplier to restaurants,
had the my favorite traditional (New England) clam chowder.  Thick with real ingredients, not just
corn starch, great flavors, clams. 
Really good. 

a restaurant from Long Beach, had the my favorite non-traditional chowder.  Their chowder had the traditional base,
but instead of clams and potatoes, it was gravlox, asparagus and dill.  The gravlox gave the chowder a slightly
smoky flavor, the asparagus added it’s flavor as well as a nice crunch, and the
dill set off both. 


Gladstone’s table at the festival



Ranch Winery
2010 Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains, Meadowridge
Vineyard.  Nicely balanced, with
some fruit competing with a slightly earthly flavor, not too heavy a body.  It rocked when paired with the
Gladstones gravlox chowder.  There
are some nice Pinot Noirs coming from Santa Cruz Mountain vineyards; I’ll add
this to the list.  Their tasting
room and winery is a little off the beaten path in Capitola, next to Santa
Cruz; we’re going to drop in next time we’re in the area. 

2011 Montagna-Mare, California Central Coast.  Opolo is a Paso Robles area winery,
that we found a few years back when tasting Zinfandels from that area.  This wine is 56% Sangiovese, 44%
Barbera.  Not a wine to lay down
for years, but for drinking now – with pizza, maybe some pork or chicken
dishes, especially with some spices – this will work well. 


Look for this festival next
year.  Pairing really good wine and
food with Monterey is a great way to spend a day. 







Sauvignon Blanc, Lamb, Cabernet Sauvignon

My parents, who live in Los Angeles (still in the same house where I grew up), came up North recently.  There was a baby naming for our new grandson:  Winemaker B now has a 3 year old daughter and a newborn son.  With the naming on a Sunday, the parents came up on Saturday and stayed over.  Which meant a nice dinner Saturday night. 


So I went into my recipe file to see what I hadn’t cooked yet, and came up with Moroccan Lamb Pot Pie With Phyllo Crust.  Ground lamb, veggies, spices, into a casserole dish, cover with phyllo dough, then into the oven.  I thought it was going to be easy, and it was.  I thought the prep would be quick, and it wasn’t.  Fortunately we opened up a bottle of wine and some cheese while I was cooking, and since we have an open kitchen everyone could gather and chat while munching.  This initial bottle was a 2010 Armida Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc.  This was Winemaker B’s first harvest at Armida, and he made a Sauvignon Blanc that when initially released reminded us that he’d spent time in New Zealand.  But this Sauvignon Blanc has changed, has mellowed, has become a more balanced wine in the 2 years since it was released.  (We’ve opened another bottle of this since then, with the same results.)


So we were really enjoying the wine and cheese, and the lamb pot pie went into the oven after Lori did her thing with the phyllo dough (I don’t do dough), and it was time to open the bottle of red and decant before dinner.  The red was a 2002 Franciscan Oakville Estate Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  And adding to my timing mistakes with cooking, I waiting too long to open the Cab, not giving it as much time as it needed to open up before dinner. 


But … all was apparently forgiven when the lamb came out of the oven and the meal was served.  The pot pie was great, the wine eventually did open up and went great with the lamb dish.  This is definitely a meal for special occasions, and we’ll cook it again.  But with better timing. 


P.S.  Thanks to our friends Peter and Diana for the Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a gift a few years ago for our 50th birthdays.