Monthly Archives: January 2014

New Year’s Eve Food and Wine

New Year’s Eve is always interesting for the food and wine
choices.  Champagne is a staple,
but what else? 


This year Lori and I spent New Year’s Eve in Santa
Cruz.  Actually, we spent the whole
week in Santa Cruz, and it was great. 
We haven’t relaxed that much in a while.  We saw a bunch of movies, trying to get a head start on all
the ones up for awards.  (American
Hustle was my favorite of the ones we saw.)  We met up with some old friends one night, and got each other
caught up on our lives and our childrens’ lives. 


New Year’s Eve, though, was just the two of us.  We went to Michael’s on Main, one of
our favorites in the area.  We’ve
eaten there a number of times, including hosting a wedding rehearsal dinner
there a couple of years ago.  They
had a 4-course prix fixe menu for the night:


of appetizers, served with a complementary glass of sparkling wine

of green salad or lobster bisque

of steak, salmon wellington or spinach and artichoke raviolis

of cheesecake or chocolate mousse


The appetizers and sparkling wine were nothing to write home
about, or write in a blog about. 
Lori had the salad, which she enjoyed, while I had the bisque, which I
thought was one of the best I had had. 
Not too thick, and plenty of lobster meat.  For her main course, Lori had the salmon wellington, which
was excellent.  I had the raviolis,
also excellent.  And we had one of
each of the desserts, sharing them both. 


We brought a bottle for the evening:  Windy Oaks Estate, 2005 Pinot Noir
Estate Cuvée, Schultze Family Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.  Over the last 10 years, Windy Oaks has
consistently produced great Pinot Noir from their small winery at the southern
end of the Santa Cruz Mountains appelation, and this bottle was right
there.  It worked great with the
delicate fish and vegetarian dishes we ate. 


Another year in the books, a new year before us like an open
stretch of ocean.  We’re hoping for
us, and for you, that the only big waves are seen from a distance, and it’s
smooth sailing (and eating and drinking) in 2014. 





Seafood Risotto and Pinot Noir

The holiday season provides interesting opportunities for food and wine and family and fun.  Here was one of our weekend days in December:  

– Lori took granddaughter Elli to a local (Santa Rosa area) production of the Nutcracker.  Nice little production, front row seats, and great grandmother-granddaughter special time.  

– Daughter-in-law Kim went and got a massage.  Some wonderful me-time for her.  

Winemaker B and his father (that would be me) took care of his son Eden for the afternoon, and took responsibility for dinner.  

On the menu for the evening was Seafood Risotto.  (The recipe can be found on our Food and Wine Pairing page.)  I had never made risotto before, so this was going to be a bit of an adventure.  Lori and I stopped at the fish market on the way up to Santa Rosa and picked up some bay scallops and salmon, both of which looked quite good.  We already had all the other ingredients needed.  Once in Santa Rosa, we all split up to do our thing, as noted above.  This included taking Eden for a walk to the grocery store to get a nice loaf of fresh bread to go with the meal.  Then the cooking started.  

The chef (that would be me again) needed some white wine, both for himself and for the risotto.  So out came a bottle of 2012 Armida Chardonnay, Russian River Valley.  Nice, basic Chardonnay, good bottle to get things started.  Winemaker B pitched in by cooking the fish, and taking care of Eden himself while I cooked.  I found that risotto is a bit of work, as once you put the rice in and start adding the stock, you have to keep on stirring.  It ended up being about 30 minutes of adding stock and stirring, adding more stock and stirring, until the risotto got to the right consistency.  Then the seafood and other ingredients were added in, and we were ready to eat.  

Our younger son, Jacob, his wife Brittany and their daughter Zinnia joined us for dinner.  We had interesting wines to go with our risotto:  

2011 Arista Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

2011 Armida Pinot Noir, Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Yes, two Pinot Noirs made from grapes from the same vineyard.  That was fun!  The wines were quite different, with the Armida having bigger fruit and body, and the Arista being a bit smoother, with better finish.  Both of the wines worked great with the risotto, which turned out good enough for us to publish the recipe.  

It was a great day.  I hope your holiday season went well also.  

Best wishes for a happy, healthy 2014!