Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

holiday

Evergreen Escapes Wacky Quacky Holiday Lights and Wine Tour

Are you in Seattle for Christmas/New Years or will you be traveling there? If so, I want to tell you about a fantastic holiday venture that will delight any food and wine lover! The Wacky Quacky Holiday Lights and Wine Tour!

Evergreen Escapes has teamed with Ride the Ducks of Seattle, Fall Line Winery, and Maven Meals for a ride through downtown Seattle to view the prettiest light displays, followed by the ultimate food and wine experience at the Fall Line tasting room.

Lights Tour: This is the ceiling of the vehicle. All decked out for the holidays!! The vehicle is semi-open, so bundle up and cover up with the blankets provided in the vehicle (the DUKW ‘Duck’ — an amphibious landing craft developed by the U.S. Army during World War II) on the tour.

This is Macy’s display, which is right across from the Mayflower Park Hotel where we stayed.


Trees in Occidental Park were dressed in sweaters!
De-boarding the amphibious. I loved this kid’s Angry Birds hat.
Then it was into a HEATED caravan 🙂 and onto Fall Line Winery for the food and wine pairing (don’t worry, the kid was not on the wine portion of the tour and only there for the duck!)
The winery name: The owner of Fall Line, Tim Sorenson, and his wife Nancy Rivenburgh are both avid skiers, and the name Fall Line worked because a perfectly balanced skier will leave behind a “fall line” on a slope.
After 4 years of winemaking studies and apprenticeship, they founded Fall Line Winery in June 2003 and in 2004, moved it to the South Seattle neighborhood of Georgetown (its present location.)
Really cool map of Washington AVA’s was on the wall.

The tasting room was decorated so pretty with lights and little herb baskets (containing rosemary and sage). The lights in the room were turned down and the tables were lit with candles.

Food (provided by Seattle’s Maven Meals) and wine for the evening were set up at three stations. The first station (the Snoqualmic Pass Station) featured this table of appetizers which included locally made Beecher’s Cheeses, cured meats, an olive tapenade, and a roasted vegetable spread. The wines for this course included a 2008 Red Mountain Artz Vineyard Bordeaux-Style Blend and a 2008 Yakima Valley Boushey Vinyeard Bordeaux-Style Blend.

Tim Sorenson, the winemaker.

At the Crystal Mountain Station, a Carnival Squash Lasagna layered with a sage bechamel sauce and cheeses was served with a garlicky grilled broccoli. This pairing included two more wines, the 2008 Red Willow Vineyard – Yakima Valley and a 2009 El Otro – Yakima Valley Tempranillo with which the BF absolutely fell in love (before he found out it was rated 92 points in Wine Advocate)!

Station 3 was Hurricane Ridge and a Brandied Cranberry Short Rib served with Whipped Garlic Red Skin Potatoes. We sampled this dish while sipping a 2009 Exhibition – Yakima Valley (my favorite wine besides the Tempranillo served at the earlier station, and a blend of
46% cabernet franc, 34% merlot, 16% cabernet sauvignon, 4% tempranillo). The last wine of the evening was the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon – Yakima Valley.

Dessert was a duo of Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and a Bittersweet Chocolate Cake. They went over very well with the crowd around me as I had another glass of the Exhibition instead. I really want to stress that no one was left hungry and the portions were sizable. If there was something left on the table and you wanted another taste, you were welcome to have it. The same goes for the wines.

And here’s Tim at the end of the evening, adding up all the wine my BF bought!
A whole case of Tempranillo, and another case of mixed wine.

Do you want to get in on this tour and wine/food tasting fun?? There are still seats remaining for December 23rd and December 30th! You can book your experience here. Also, if you are a participant on the Holiday Lights and Wine tour, you will receive a 15% discount on a purchase of three bottles of wine or more.

You can find Evergreen Escapes on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Ride the Ducks is on Facebook here and on twitter here.

Fall Line Winery’s Facebook page is here.

Maven Meals is on Facebook here and on twitter here.


Herradura Tequilas for a Last Minute Gift Idea

Last week, the reps at Herradura Tequila sent me a sampling of their line (loved the bottle and the horseshoe logo!), and I think it’s a great gift idea especially if you don’t know the recipient that well (gift exchange, gift for new boyfriend or girlfriend). And…it’s also a nice little gift for yourself. 😉 By this time of the holiday season (since it practically now starts around Labor Day), most of us are ready for it to be over. What is better at the end of a long day than relaxing by the fire with a nice adult beverage?

Herradura has four tequilas on the market, and I sampled three of them:

The Herradura Silver/Plata is aged 45 days in white oak barrels. This is the type of tequila to buy the person who likes to make margaritas or other mixed tequila drinks. A touch of lime and salt enhances the slight notes of oak. Its alcohol content is 40%.

Herradura Reposado (“rested”) is rested for 11 months (nine more than category standards) and is slightly caramel in color. Its alcohol content is also 40%. The flavors are a little more developed and drop hints of vanilla and cinnamon.

Herradura Añejo (“aged”) is aged two years in white oak barrels and its alcohol is 40%. It has an almost spicy and smoky flavor and is light amber in color. This is the kind of tequila I enjoy slightly warmed (like one would a brandy) and sipped slowly from a snifter.

Herradura is a sister tequila to el Jimador. You can find their full line of products here.

To find a store in your area that carries Herradura Tequila, you can use this locator on their website. Local to Sacramento, you can find it at BevMo. You can also purchase Herradura online by following this link.

Herradura’s Facebook page can be found here.

Happy Holidays to all! Relax and enjoy life, it’s way too short!!


Custom Holiday Meals from Whole Foods

The Holiday Order Station at Whole Foods Sacramento, at the left entrance of the store. 
On Wednesday, I was invited to pick up a sample holiday dinner from Whole Foods Sacramento. They wanted me to help spread the word on how they can take the hassle out of cooking for your holiday gatherings. I was sent a list of some of the items that are included in a typical holiday meal, such as: a small organic pre-cooked turkey, a Field roast stuffed en croûte, Health Starts Here stuffed acorn squash, Health Starts Here posole soup, Glazed sweet potatoes, Broccoli cheddar potato gratin, a Pumpkin pie, Wine, and Holiday Flowers. 
As many of you know by now, I don’t eat a lot of things on that list at all. I follow the Paleo diet, which is gluten, grain, and dairy free. It might seem a little extreme to avoid all of those items (even during the holidays, which are traditionally all about eating and celebration), but it is so worth it to me because I am doing well maintaining my weight loss by eating this way. I remain so focused on my athletic performance and just feeling healthy everyday I am on the planet! Life is too short to have medical issues, especially ones you can fix by eating clean! 🙂
Since a lot of the selections did contain corn, gluten, sugar, etc, I asked the marketing contact if we could put together a special meal and speak to all the people out there who have gone gluten free. People like me who are very selective and care about every bite. She agreed, and I am so happy to show you what Whole Foods can put together for you. It’s completely guilt free eating and the only thing you might miss about the meal is cooking all of it… if you like to cook like me. 😉
Here is the full spread they put together all laid out on the table. As you can see, it was spectacular. My list of Gluten/grain, and sugar free items were as follows: Crudite, fruit, & cheese, Organic Turkey, Brussel Sprouts with Shallots and Pecan, Roasted Root Vegetables, Wine, and Organic Flowers.
The crudite included broccoli, tomatoes, carrots, green bell peppers, celery, and a dip in the center. I tasted a little and it had sour cream base, but it was not the typical unappetizing ranch you find on a vegetable plate. This had more of a delicate scallion flavor. Of course, I avoided it because as far as dairy is concerned, I save myself for cheese!! 🙂 And vegetables this fresh taste great on their own.

This is the organic turkey. Preparation is so simple because the turkey is already cooked when you buy it. All you have to do is thaw it out and then bake it. I picked up my meal from the store at around 2pm, and simply continued to thaw the turkey before placing it in the oven at around 7pm. It was ready to eat by around 7:45 or so. The meat was delectable and so tender. I believe organic meats are the only way to go!!

This is the side of roasted root vegetables, it contained parsnips which are one of my favorite vegetables EVER!! It also has carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, and pecans. Wow. Pretty much my favorite things coming together on the plate. I make a dish pretty similar to this, so I wasn’t surprised to love it so much.
These are the roasted Brussel sprouts with shredded cabbage. Since sprouts are a form of cabbage, the dish was a neat little duo because of the two different textures. And pecans are like candy to me. Another wonderful side.
This is what my plate looked like all put together. 
And then, the cheese! Since I don’t do sugar of any kind anymore, cheese is my true indulgence, and I eat fruit to keep away any major sugar cravings. This little cheese and fruit tray was so pretty and contained a few different cheeses: some bleu, a brie, and two other cheeses that were spreadable. The tray also contained blackberries, strawberries, grapes, and blueberries. Then there were wonderful Marcona almonds, walnuts, and little bars of compressed fig in the box. 
Everything I ordered was perfect and packaged up so nicely. There was also a bottle of nice Riesling in the mix. Whole Foods has a great selection of other wines as well. Chardonnay or Pinot Noir would also be a great match for all this food.

To learn more about the holiday menu selections, you can go to http://holidayworthsharing.com You can also follow Whole Foods on Twitter @WFMNorCal Tag #WholeForTheHolidays for a chance to a win a turkey dinner! There will be one winner a week. Good luck!

To order your holiday meals you can go to: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/shop and to see a complete holiday forum with recipes and tips for a perfect party, you can go here:
http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/holidays/


Pinotlicious Wines: Part One

I recently had the opportunity to try the 2009 Sonoma Coast Vineyards Freestone Hills Pinot Noir
I liked the wine so much that I am ready to extend my upcoming Napa trip up Highway 29 so I can visit a tasting room in Healdsburg that carries more SCV wines along with several other labels. Access to wines like these is exactly why I came to California.
The wine retails for around $40, so it’s certainly not an everyday wine, but well-suited for occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. The wine is deep garnet in color, and soft and velvety with a wonderful finish. It’s fruity enough to bring together the different flavors of the meal, but also worth drinking by itself.
The 2009 Freestone Hills is a 100% pinot noir combining grapes from three vineyards: Bella Sonoma Vineyard, (72%), Petersen Vineyard, (20%), & the Salmon Creek Block, (8%). It was aged 16-months in 60% new French oak, and has 14.3% alcohol.
You can find this wine in Chico at the Mangrove Bottle Shop, in San Francisco at Soma Wines and Spirits, and in Healdsburg at the Vintage Wine Estates tasting room. You can also buy it online from the winery’s website here.