Paleo & Primal Food, Wine, Travel & Living

Uncategorized

Check Out Sacramento’s Newest Restaurant: Easy Diner & Bar

In this episode, I interview the owners/staff of Sacramento’s newest restaurant, Easy Diner & Bar. They’re the same team behind the Bambi Vegan Tacos food truck. We chat about the food (there’s BOTH vegan AND non-vegan options) and drinks (full bar!) they offer, kitchen life, and the impact of late chef and travel journalist Anthony Bourdain.

Easy Diner & Bar is going to be hosting a special event on July 16th, from 5-8pm, featuring Zamir Gotta who was the former travel companion to Anthony Bourdain. Zamir will talk about his travels with Anthony and there will also be a Q&A. VIP admission ($40) is at 5pm, General Admission ($25) is 6pm.

Program will be 6:30pm-8:00pm. Two drinks of your choice are included with both ticket types.
Peacemaking Happy Hour with Zamir Gotta TICKETS:

Easy Diner & Bar Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easy.diner.bar/

Easy Diner & Bar on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Easy.Diner.Bar/


Primal Sweet Potato Salad Recipe and Pinot Noir Wine Pairing

Learn how to make my killer (and healthy) sweet potato salad recipe (that happens to also be PRIMAL!) and pair it with a 2018 Owl Box Pinot Noir from Grocery Outlet.

Recipe Ingredients:
3 to 4 medium-sized white sweet potatoes, peeled cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp yellow mustard
Dash of paprika
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped (optional)
4 slices thick-cut cherrywood or applewood bacon

Recipe Preparation:
Cook the bacon in the microwave and drain on a paper towel.
Cover potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool slightly. Combine the yogurt, vinegar, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add potatoes, fennel slices, onion, eggs, then the bacon.

If you like a little chill on your potato salad, you can refrigerate for about a half hour. However, I like mine room temperature so I pretty much eat the salad right after I put it together.


Local Winery Hosts Mask Burning Extravaganza

This just in! I just received this press release from The Northern Region of Libertarian Party of California, so I am sharing it with all my freedom loving, wine drinking friends! Cheers to liberty and taking off those silly face coverings.

-Kristy Harris, Madame Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party of Placer County
aka Lady K, aka cavegrrl


CAMINO, CA (June 17, 2021) Crystal Basin Cellars, an award-winning Camino winery in the El Dorado region of the Sierra Foothills, is celebrating the end of the state mask mandate by co-hosting a “Mask Burning Extravaganza” celebration with the Northern Region of Libertarian Party of California this Saturday, June 19th, 2021 from 1:00-4:00pm at 3550 Carson Rd, Camino, CA 95709.  This event is being organized as a way serve as an opportunity for healing by sharing stories with friends and neighbors, in addition to fun family friendly activities, including music by “Character Assassins,” a dunk tank featuring a Governor Newsom impersonator, display of the work of local artists and more.

The event is free, open to the public, no reservations required.  Everyone is invited come celebrate health, freedom, liberty and the good lives we lead in this peaceful act of civil disobedience. “No matter what last minute changes the governor may issue, it doesn’t matter, the show will go on! We are DONE!” said Mike Owen.  “If you too, are ready to say goodbye to this time in history; the public is welcome to celebrate freedom by burning your mask in a healing ceremony with friends, and good wines, in a peaceful setting.”

During the state mandated lock down, every time Crystal Basin Cellars became compliant with the latest “law,” Governor Newsom would arbitrarily and capriciously change the rules, resulting in the banishment of customer contact from this small family business multiple times since March 2020. The stress from this constant fear of losing their life’s work caused serious health complications for Mike Owen, the founder, who recently underwent a bypass operation. While Owen is still convalescing from his surgery, he feels it is very important to burn the masks that represent this traumatic time in history. We want all who were adversely affected by state mandated restrictions may all heal and move on” said Owen, who will be attending the event for a limited period on Saturday.

The Northern Region of the Libertarian Party of California is pleased to cosponsor this event so that the public can share their stories, as many have all been the victims of capricious government restrictions for over a year. “We encourage you to use this moment as a time to heal from the trauma of this last year and remember the most valuable lesson of all,” said Jia Christopher, Northern California Regional Coordinator for the Libertarian Party of California. “That personal liberty and individual rights are fragile, and we must stay dutifully committed to protecting ourselves and our neighbors from statism, because as we have now experienced, our rights are precious and can easily be taken away. Let’s celebrate life, prosperity and freedom!”

About Crystal Basin Cellars

Crystal Basin Cellars boasts the best team in the Sierra Foothills. You can be assured that their focus is on creating the most flavorful wines from local fruit. Our main hospitality team players provide a wine tasting experience that is one part fun, one part information, and a price-to-value that is second to none. We call our style of service “legendary foothill hospitality!”

All of our red wines are crafted from grapes grown within 30 miles of our winery, in the El Dorado appellation. Our growers bring us 15 different red grape varieties and we process them from grape to bottle in our historic facility. Access to such a wide variety of grapes allows us to create varietal wines from individual grapes. Our wines are regularly awarded medals in major wine competitions, helping guide our efforts at creating the most flavorful wines from our unique, high-altitude growing environment.

About the Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party (LP) was founded in 1971 and is the third largest political party in the United States. The Libertarian, Democratic, and Republican parties are the only political parties that appeared on the ballot in all fifty states this past November. The LP seeks to expand personal freedoms, dramatically reduce taxes, decrease interference in the economy, and avoid meddling in overseas conflicts. The LP of California is an affiliate of the national Libertarian Party; learn more at www.ca.lp.org.


Air Fryer Recipe: Hot Honey Bacon Wrapped Chicken

AIR FRYER RECIPE Hot Honey Bacon Wrapped Chicken with WINE PAIRING: Clerget Grande Cuvée Sparkling Wine


Recipe:
Serves 8-10 people
(depending if you are eating as an appetizer or main course)

Ingredients:
3 Pounds Chicken Breast Tenders
24 ozs. (about 2 packages) Applewood Bacon
2 Teaspoons Paprika
2 Foil Lined Pans
Air Fryer or Oven Set to 350°F

Hot Honey Sauce
1 Cup Honey
2 Teaspoons Yellow Mustard
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1 Tbs Red Pepper Flake

Steps:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Coat the chicken breast tenders with the paprika, then wrap each piece with one slice of bacon. Put each wrapped piece on a tray you have lined with aluminum foil (prep tray). Continue until you have wrapped all the pieces.

Place bacon wrapped chicken in the air fryer at 350-360°F or bake in the oven. It will take about 10 mins in the air fryer and about 20 in the oven.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare the hot honey sauce by combining honey, mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, and the red pepper flakes. Stir until well combined.

Remove all the chicken from your air fryer and place on to the other foil-lined tray. Then brush the hot honey sauce generously over each piece.

I like to serve the chicken on a nice platter over a bed of arugula.

Wine Pairing:
For the wine pairing, any dry to off dry sparkling wine will do. I found the Clerget Grande Cuvée (a French bubbly made in the Charmat method) at Grocery Outlet for $5.99. A Spanish Cava or an Italian Prosecco would also be an excellent pairing. Cheers!

TICKETS FOR PEACEMAKING HAPPY HOUR WITH ZAMIR GOTTA on July 16th:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/peacemaking-happy-hour-with-zamir-gotta-tickets-156145412131


Former Anthony Bourdain Travel Companion Zamir Gotta to Visit Sacramento on July 16th


Life can be a bit surreal. I have been an Anthony Bourdain fan for nearly the past twenty years, and like many people, felt gutted when we lost him the day before my birthday, June 8th, in 2018. Celebrity deaths don’t typically get a reaction from me, but this time I was completely shocked.

I sent my condolences to Zamir Gotta via Twitter, who was Anthony Bourdain’s travel companion in several episodes of “A Cook’s Tour”, “No Reservations”, and “Parts Unknown”. I did not really know Zamir, but wanted him to know he was not alone in the devastation he felt in the loss of his friend.

A few months later, Zamir sent out a tweet looking for a writer for his autobiography. I responded, even though I didn’t think anything would come out of it. Soon though, we were chatting over the phone and though I never got to meet Anthony Bourdain, I felt a great connection through Zamir. I remember being deeply depressed over Anthony’s death, and the new friendship with Zamir, (along with a lot of time) eventually helped me get through the sadness and loss.

I never met Anthony Bourdain, so I was quite puzzled as to why I felt like I did. I guess it was because I, like millions of others, let him into our homes so we could join him on his travels. We learned from his programs, while also being entertained by him.

A few months ago, Zamir touched base with me again on Facebook and expressed interest in organizing a movie screening (the Anthony Bourdain bio will be released in theaters on July 16th) and a meet and greet in Los Angeles. I said that I probably would not be able to make it, but to let me know if he would be in San Francisco and I would definitely show up for that. Then he asked me about Sacramento, and before I knew it, I was helping him plan the event I’m writing about now…. I mentioned the word surreal earlier, and this is why! As Zamir was Anthony Bourdain’s “fixer” in Russia, I am now Zamir’s “fixer” in Sacramento. And I am honored. So without further ado, here are the details of our event:

Zamir Gotta will be coming to Sacramento! Following an early afternoon screening of Roadrunner at The Tower Theatre (movie times are not yet posted), we will be hosting a Meet and Greet and Q & A session at Easy Diner and Bar (1725 I Street). Please join us for Peacemaking Happy Hour with Zamir Gotta on July 16th from 5-8pm!

Tickets are $25 for regular admission and $40 for VIP admission. They do not include the movie screening at Tower.

VIP ticketholders will have early admission and have a chance to have their photo taken with Zamir, and two drinks (house wine, well drink, or beer) included in their ticket.

General admission will include Zamir’s travel stories, the Q & A segment of the program, and two drinks (house wine, well drink, or beer) included with their ticket.

VIP admission is at 5pm, General Admission is 6pm. Program will be 6:30-8:00pm.

There will be extra drinks and food for purchase on site (not included in admission).

We will also be raffling a bottle of Zamir Vodka, signed by Zamir, as well as some other swag items!

You can buy tickets ON EVENTBRITE HERE. If you have questions about the event, please feel free to contact me via the contact page on this website!


My Interview with Lori at Sheldon Wine Shop & Greg Vaughn, 23 Wines

Do you like wine? Do you like baseball? Well, have I got a show for you!

Catch a brand new episode of Table Talk with Kristy Harris featuring Lori Alaniz of Sheldon Wine Shop and special guest Greg Vaughn of 23 Wines and former MLB player!!

In this interview, we discuss the Sheldon Wine Shop, and why it’s a hidden gem (hint: it’s located inside a gas station!)

Greg Vaughn joins us later in the show, to tell us about his wines and how you can meet him TOMORROW, June 2nd at Sheldon Wine Shop for a wine tasting and bottle signing!


Cook and Sip with Cavegrrl

Happy Monday!

I wanted to let you know (again) about my new YouTube channel, Table Talk with Kristy Harris. On my channel, I have started a companion video series called “Cook and Sip with Cavegrrl”.

In this series, I’ll be making a recipe that is budget friendly, healthy, and pairs well with wine. My focus will also be making food that is gluten free and happens to be paleo or primal. I want to show you how easy it is to make healthy and nutritious food.

As far as the wine pairing goes, sometimes I will show some samples of wine that have been sent to me for promotion and review, and sometimes I will select a wine that is a bargain find.

Though it took several hours to edit yesterday, I am hoping I will be more efficient in my time with filming and editing next time, and that way I will be able to deliver more content.

So here it is…. my latest work. Please enjoy, and if you do, please click “like” on the video and hit the “subscribe” button. Thanks so much for your support!!

How to make AIR FRYER Beef Koftas with Deconstructed Ratatouille with a Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Pairing (Replica “Just Right” Cabernet Sauvignon)


I Started My Own Show!

Wow. I forgot how much I love to make things! I am really proud of my first effort, and I hope you will enjoy watching as much as I did producing the first Table Talk with Kristy Harris.

My first guest is my husband, Andy Harris, who will also be my frequent co-host! During the interview, we talk about the Paleo diet, his car collection, and of course our favorite topic: WINE! Speaking of wine, thanks to Replica Wine for sponsoring my first episode. Next time, I will make sure the bottles are moved so the are not so much in my face the whole time. 😦

I basically learned Adobe Premiere Pro over a few days and edited two different camera angles. We captured the sound with a device called a Zoom Podtrak P4. I probably spent about 4 hours total editing it, but that’s only because I had such a learning curve and so much trial/error. I also added a lot of photos (I had to dig through my collection to find) and text overlay. Next time will be much faster!

If you like the video PLEASE give it a thumbs up below it, and subscribe to my channel. Thanks in advance for your support!


Table Talk with Kristy Harris Coming Soon!

Happy Friday!
I finally decided to go for it and start my own video podcast.

I’ll be discussing my usual topics: food, wine, travel and fitness, and I will also be welcoming guests to sit at my dining room table and chat over a glass of wine.

I’ll be kicking it off in a few weeks, and I would really love it if you would subscribe.

To subscribe to my channel, please click here and hit the SUBSCRIBE button. See you soon!


Coconut Milk Braised Chicken with Cauliflower, Quinoa, Brown Rice, and Pumpkin Seeds


I’m a big fan of saving money, and for that reason, I love going to Grocery Outlet a few times a week to see what kind of deals I can find on food (and wine)!

They have an organic section with healthier packaged items and quite often, I am able to find organic meats in there, too, like the Rocky and Rosie organic drumsticks ($2.29/lb.) and thighs ($3.99/lb.) I bought yesterday. I already had the coconut milk from another shopping trip (2 cans for 50 cents!) and planned on cooking with it with whatever meat I found.

In the freezer section I found a bag of rice blend (Quinoa, Brown Rice and Pumpkin Seeds) and a bag of cauliflower rice, as well as some frozen peas. I ended up combining a little of all three (to lower calories and carbs) for a rice blend that I served with the chicken.

The chicken recipe I made is one of the easiest I have ever prepared, but it’s not my recipe. Today I give credit to Epicurious for a wonderful recipe I actually followed to the letter, except for the oven temperature/time (I baked my chicken at 385°F for one hour). My only complaint with the recipe is that it isn’t spicy enough. I would make it again and add some red pepper flakes and perhaps a touch more ginger.

Pro tip: I use the lemongrass paste out of a squeezy bottle and ginger paste from a jar. It’s a little more expensive, but the paste can be put in the fridge and lasts over several recipes, so you don’t have to keep buying it or cutting it up.

Ingredients
1 (13.5-oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste
2 lemongrass stalks, tough outer layers removed, lightly crushed
1 (2″) piece ginger, peeled, smashed
6 garlic cloves, smashed
4 chicken legs (thigh and drumstick; about 3 lb. total)
Kosher salt

Garnish:
Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
cilantro leaves with tender stems,
cooked rice
lime wedges (for serving)

Directions:
1. Place a rack in top third of oven; preheat to 400°F. Stir coconut milk and curry paste in a 3-qt. baking dish to combine. Add lemongrass, ginger, and garlic.

2. Season chicken with salt (hold back a bit since curry pastes often have a lot of salt). (I used a bowl to mix the coconut milk/curry paste ingredients together and then poured them over the chicken in a glass baking dish). Bake, occasionally spooning liquid over, until chicken is browned, tender, and cooked throughout, 60–75 minutes.

3. Transfer chicken and sauce to a platter. Top with coconut flakes and cilantro. Serve with rice and lime wedges alongside.


A Girl Scout Cookie Sugar Rush: Part Two


In the current issue of Outword Magazine, I wrote a piece on making dessert from Girl Scout cookies. Today I am sharing the second recipe from that article, and my husband’s favorite of the three treats I made (the third recipe will be in the next issue of Outword Magazine, coming March 11th): Toast Yay! Fudge. This recipe features the newest Girl Scout cookie: Toast YAY! This recipe is also one of the easiest things I have ever made. The only tricky part is melting the white chocolate, as it burns easier than milk or dark chocolate does. You can also substitute Lily’s Sugar Free White Chocolate Chips (sugar free and made with Stevia) to reduce the sugar content and carbs in the recipe (there will of course still be sugar in the condensed milk and in the cookies themselves).

Ingredients:
1 Package Toast Yay! Girl Scout Cookies, broken into large pieces
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons butter
2-2/3 cups white baking chips
1 tsp vanilla or maple extract

Directions:
Line an 8-in. square dish with aluminum foil; coat with cooking spray.
Place half of the broken cookies in pan.
In a heavy saucepan (use a double boiler if you are concerned about burning the chocolate), combine the milk, butter and chips; cook and stir over low heat until chips are melted.
Remove from heat; stir in vanilla or maple extract.
Pour over cookies in pan. Sprinkle with remaining cookies.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Cut into squares..

PS: You can buy Girl Scout Cookies until March 28th, so please do! Just go to www.GirlScoutCookies.org and enter your zip code. You can also text COOKIES to 59618 (message and data rates may apply. Text STOPGS for STOP, HELPGS for help).


A Girl Scout Cookie Sugar Rush: Part One

Professionally, I work for Outword Magazine in Sacramento as a graphic designer, photographer, editor, and occasional writer. In their latest issue I wrote two recipes, one of which I will share with you today: Lemon “Lemonades” Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce.

I know you might be thinking, “I am on the right website? I thought this was a health website. I thought she was gluten free…” Well, sometimes it’s OK to eat the cookies or the cheesecake, as long as you don’t eat all of it. I’m still 90% gluten-free, and still rarely eat desserts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t bake anymore or share treats from time to time. I was pretty hardcore for a few years, but I missed baking and creating crazy treat combinations, so the last few years I’ve come back to it. I’ve also managed to maintain my size, so weight gain is not a big problem anymore. My husband (who has the best metabolism of anyone I have ever met) does a great job of eating everything I make, so it’s not laying around tempting me. I also know the work I have to do at the gym to burn it off, and I would rather not spend more time at the gym than I already do.

PS: You can buy Girl Scout Cookies until March 28th, so please do! Just go to www.GirlScoutCookies.org and enter your zip code. You can also text COOKIES to 59618 (message and data rates may apply. Text STOPGS for STOP, HELPGS for help).

Lemon “Lemonades” Cheesecake with Raspberry Sauce
Crust Ingredients:
1/2 sleeve Girl Scout Shortbread/Trefoils
1/2 sleeve Girl Scout Lemonades Cookies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Zest of 1 Lemon
2 Tsp lemon juice
1/2 stick of butter, melted

Filling Ingredients:
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 sleeve Girl Scout Lemonades Cookies

Raspberry Sauce Ingredients:
2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries
1-3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Crust Directions: Preheat oven to 325°F (300°F for convection ovens). Crush the two varieties of Girl Scout Cookies in a plastic bag with rolling pin or in a food processor, then transfer the crumbs to a bowl. Add the flour, zest, lemon juice, and then the melted butter and stir until mixture comes together to form a dough. Press the dough into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan and set aside.

Filling Directions: Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer until blended. Add eggs; beat just until blended. Pour into crust. Bake 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool. Refrigerate 3 hours.

Raspberry Sauce Directions:
In a saucepan, combine the raspberries, 1-3/4 cups water and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Mash raspberry mixture and strain through a fine sieve into a 2-cup measuring cup; discard seeds. Add water if needed to make 2 cups puree. Return to the saucepan. Combine cornstarch and remaining water until smooth; gradually stir into raspberry mixture. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; cool completely. Spread over cooled cheesecake, and if desired, decorate cheesecake with Girl Scout Lemonade Cookies!


I’ve Always Wanted to Be a Chef…

I’ve always wanted to be a chef, but never went all in because I was too busy trying to make a living as a graphic designer for the last 22 years. I went to culinary school for a brief period of time, but only finished one semester.

In the past, I auditioned for Cupcake Wars, and two other shows on Food Network. I came close to getting on the show Cooks Vs. Cons, but when it came to logistics, I think they went with someone local to New Jersey where the show is filmed. I have appeared on a few local morning shows, as well as performed cooking demonstrations at the California State Fair, and the Auburn Mandarin Festival.

Just today I saw a contest that I would like to win, and even though it would be a long shot, it’s like the saying goes, “You can’t win, if you don’t enter…”

So that being said, take a look at my pics below for your consideration, and then please vote for me for Favorite Chef. I could win a feature in Bon Appetit magazine and $20,000. I would use the $20,000 to start my catering business and buy space and equipment.

Thank you.

You can vote for me HERE.


Carmel’s Most Charming Hotel By the Sea: Hofsas House Hotel

Last month (November), we were invited to visit Carmel and to stay at The Hofsas House Hotel, a family-run Bavarian-style boutique inn that celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 2017!

The hotel is as welcoming as it was during my first stay there in 2013 and has undergone some major renovations (new paint and outdoor carpeting outside the rooms) to keep her looking as pink and fabulous as ever!


As the beautiful, wood-carved sign above says, The Hofsas House Hotel has a heated pool… but did you know they also have saunas? I never realized during my two previous stays there were saunas at the hotel, and I just loved using them after my workouts this visit!

The Hofsas House Hotel is located within walking distance of everything Carmel has to offer, including a stunning beach, fine restaurants and shops, and wine tasting. It provides a peaceful respite and European charm just minutes from Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and Pacific Grove. The Hofsas House Hotel‘s 38 spacious, one-of-a-kind rooms boast European comfort and lovely views, not to mention amenities like fireplaces, private balconies, wet bars, kitchens, and patios.

As for our particular accommodations, the room we stayed in at The Hofsas House Hotel had a big comfy bed, fireplace, heated tiles in the bathroom floor (which I didn’t know I needed, but I do, thank you!), and a kitchenette equipped with mini-refrigerator, microwave, sink, and giant coffee pot, which is so necessary for people who don’t want to talk to anyone without coffee first—um, me!! There is even a countertop and barstools for in-room dining. Let’s not forget, there’s also an ocean view from room 45! Why aren’t you here yet?

Treat yourself with the Monterey Wine and Cheese Pairing upgrade at The Hofsas House Hotel (for $30), and you’ll have a bottle of Monterey Wine, two engraved wine glasses, and a cheese plate from the Cheese Shop Carmel ready for you.
🍷
We enjoyed this bottle of 2017 Scheid Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir and two selections of cheese:
1. Fromage D’Affnoi–A brie-like cheese that hails from the Pilat Regional Park in France’s Rhone-Alpes.
2. Mt. Toro Tomme: A firmer cheese named after Mount Toro, which is one of the more prominent summits in the nearby Sierra de Salinas mountain ranges–Tomme refers to a cheese that is made to reflect the terroir of the product made.)


🧀The Cheese Shop Carmel (since 1973) sells countless other varieties of cheese, as well as wine and other gourmet foods. They are located in Carmel-by-the-Sea at Ocean and Junipero.


🍷Scheid Vineyards (since 1972) has a tasting room also located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, just blocks away from the Hofsas House Hotel, and they are open Sun-Thurs 12pm-6pm, and Fri-Sat 12pm-7pm.

 

LUGANO SWISS BISTRO
During our visit to Carmel, we enjoyed dinner at Lugano Swiss Bistro, a not-so-easy to find restaurant located in The Barnyard Shopping Center off of Rio Rd. Typically, we like to walk to dinner someplace nearby our hotel in Carmel-By-The-Sea, however, after returning from a visit to Switzerland back in July, we were longing for another authentic fondue experience and the decor we had seen in Europe. Through some internet research, I found Lugano Swiss Bistro. Not walking distance from The Hofsas House Hotel, but a quick drive and we were there.

Andy and I ordered the Swiss Original Fondue with Sausages. It is served with house salad, dipping bread, steamed vegetables, and apples. We also ordered a bottle of 2017 Bernardus Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands), because let’s face it, Pinot Noir is a very versatile wine to drink with an eccentric dinner like this one.


LA BICYCLETTE
Every time we visit Carmel, we stop at La Bicyclette for lunch/brunch. Nothing beats sharing a bottle of sparkling rosé in the early afternoon… especially when I can pair it with eggs! I had their brunch du jour, and Andy had a lamb tagine dish. If you go, yes, there will probably be a wait. But it’s because it’s that good.




Once you get a table, you’ll get excellent and knowledgeable service, and there’s actually a sommelier on staff! Why am I not shocked to find out the same owners operate Casanova? (Also a must-visit restaurant in Carmel-By-The-Sea.) Tip: Lookout on the hours, they close in the late afternoon for a while and then re-open for dinner guests.

BIG FISH GRILL
On the second night of our trip to Carmel and Monterey County, we visited Big Fish Grill for a hosted dinner on the Monterey wharf. The restaurant is located at the very end of the wharf, and offers rustic charm, classic seafood dishes, and offers some of the best views in Monterey.

Andy and I shared a crab cake appetizer. I ordered the Pacific Rockfish, and Andy ordered the Blackened Salmon. Our wine selection was a 2017 Hahn Pinot Noir. I should note that there is a “locals” special served daily for $13.95. The special includes a choice of Clam Chowder or Mixed Green Salad. You can also add on a glass of house wine or beer for $3.99.



FRIAR TUCK’S


Our last stop in Carmel was Friar Tuck’s on the corner of Dolores and 5th. I immediately fell in love with this time capsule of a 70’s “greasy spoon”. It was established in 1978, and I don’t think ANYTHING has changed since! There was so much charm in everything from their coffee cups, to the mural on the wall, to their wood-carved sign out front. They specialize in breakfast and lunch, egg-specially omelets (13 to choose from on the menu)! Served with toast (no gluten-free here) and Friar Potatoes, our breakfast platters were so good, I have to make this spot a tradition every time I visit Carmel!



Many thanks to our host hotel, The Hofsas House Hotel, for inviting us back to Carmel and allowing us to experience a new adventure each time!



The Hofsas House Hotel is located on San Carlos Street, north of Fourth Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. For more information or to book your room, call (831) 624-2745 or visit www.hofsashouse.com. You can like them on Facebook here, follow them on Instagram here, and follow them on twitter here.


My Top Five Tastes of the San Francisco 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show


A few weeks ago, my husband Andy and I attended the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show put on by the Specialty Food Association. The show is basically the Superbowl of the food world, and the biggest tasting event I have ever attended with items ranging from snacks to cheeses, meats, candies, chocolates, specialty food items, spirits, wines and more!

It’s a great excuse for Andy and I to travel to San Francisco for the day and meet the people behind the products (many of the inventors or creators of the items are there to represent themselves or their brand), foreign and domestic. It was also another way to temporarily satisfy my wanderlust by visiting the booths assigned to items from other countries. Andy went vegan for January, so he was limited on what he could taste, but I was there to sample it ALL… especially the charcuterie and cheeses I don’t normally buy because of the price… and the calories! 😉

After tasting through the entire show in about 4 hours (we moved quickly), I came up with a countdown of my 5 favorite products from the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show, why I liked the food/product, and most importantly, where YOU can find it!

5. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky
Since Andy went vegan for January, we were scanning the show specifically looking for anything he might be able to eat, as well as a vegan product I liked enough to write about it here. I was contacted via email before the show about Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, so I was happy to find their booth and try their offerings.

What is it exactly?
It’s a vegan “jerky” made from shiitake mushrooms. The idea for the jerky was born when its founder Michael Pan was traveling throughout Malaysia visiting extended family. While on his trip, he was offered a rich, savory snack that he thought was a pork-based snack. He discovered that it was a family recipe featuring shiitake mushrooms, and he liked it so much, he wanted to share it with the world!

My Taste:
I tasted the Applewood BBQ flavor. It was very tasty and well-seasoned. It also had the mouth-feel of a real jerky. It did, however have a strong mushroom flavor. Since I like mushrooms, I was fine with that. If I were vegan, I would definitely buy it as a substitute because it has the umami flavor of a meat jerky. The flavor I tasted was smoky, salty, and sweet, and overall pretty yummy.


Where Can I Buy It?
Here’s a link to all the flavors they produce. You can buy the jerky directly from the company on their website. You can also enter your zip code here to see what stores close to you carry the product.


4. Calivirgin Olive Oils
Number four on my list is Calivirgin Olive Oil, and not just one oil in particular, but I was lucky enough to sample several of them. Calivirgin was founded by the Coldani Family, and their headquarters are located at Coldani Olive Ranch. All of the extra virgin olive oil is estate grown, they don’t use any pesticides, and all of their products are organically and sustainably produced. AND a bonus for Sacramentans and Bay Area residents, Calivirgin is a local company! They are located in Lodi, California.

My Taste:
At the show, I was given a Mini Bottle Set that contains 100 mL bottles of the following products: Lusty Lemon Olive Oil, Guilty Garlic Olive Oil, Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Calivinegar Barrel-Aged Balsamic, and Bountiful Basil Oil. I haven’t sampled all of them yet, but I have had the lemon and the basil oils. I used the basil kind to put an extra boost of basil flavor in a vegan pesto I made for my husband! It was excellent.




Where Can I Buy It?
You can buy their products by calling 209.210.3162 or directly from their website HERE.

 

3. Pecan Oil by The Art of Pecan
Counting down to my third favorite taste of the 2019 Fancy Food show. This spot belongs to Pecan Oil, produced by The Art of Pecan.

This brand of pecan oil is unique because it’s pressed from American native (wild) pecans, which have been untouched by fertillizers and pesticides. The resulting flavor is sweeter, and more buttery, and the oil itself has more nutrients. It has a high smoke point (470°F) and can be used as a complete butter substitute. You can find out more information about the oil HERE.

My Taste:
WOW! So incredibly rich, and tasted JUST like drinking pecans. If you are thinking, “Why would I want to drink pecans?” Well, believe me, you do. The flavor is was deep and buttery and would make anything taste good. So much better than some of the other oils I have tried.

Where Can I Buy It?
You can snag some Pure Pecan Oil HERE. It’s $18 for an 8 ounce bottle.

 

2. Counting down to number two, we have the line of meats I tried made by COVAP Specialty Meats & Cheeses!
I would be lying if I didn’t say the Fancy Food show is a forum where the Spanish meat and cheese producers get to show off (in a good way)! Just take a gander at that leg below! It’s from an acorn-fed 100% Iberian pig with a long curation time.

My Taste:
It was one of the most satisfying and silky tastes of Iberian ham I have ever tasted. I would die to have a little slice of this every evening with a big glass of tempranillo.

Where Can I Buy it?
You can buy an entire leg, or you can buy it pre-sliced directly from their website HERE.


I also had the opportunity to try the above chorizo and blood sausage (morcilla) from the same manufacturer! I want to thank the host of the COVAP booth, Juan Ballesteros for allowing me to try each one. Last month, I tried blood sausage (morcilla) for the first time in Portugal and actually liked it! I was so happy to see it at the Fancy Food Show at the COVAP display and I am hoping to work with them on a future food and wine pairing post highlighting food and wine from the Iberian Peninsula.

Where Can I Buy It?
To see ALL the products in their online store (including their cheeses, sausages, ham), you can click HERE.

And… The Number ONE spot in my 5 Best Tastes of the 2019 Winter Fancy Food Show goes to…

1. Sartori Cheese’s Espresso Bellavitano Reserve Cheese


SAY WHAT?
You’re rubbing COFFEE on my CHEESE?!? Oh yes, they are. Just hear me out…
Sartori
is a fourth-generation family owned and operated company and they make a full line of artisan cheeses. I actually try and stuff as much as I can into my mouth and in my purse each time I visit their booth. Is that bad? Now that we have an understanding that I really like their stuff (I miiiight have their Merlot BellaVitano in my fridge right now), let’s talk about the particular product they make that gets my Fancy Food #1st place:

My Taste:
OK… let’s talk about the Espresso BellaVitano. Yes, they actually rub freshly-roasted espresso into the aged cheese. It’s insanely good because the espresso has a bitter note and the cheese is nutty and sweet. It doesn’t seem like it makes sense, but it does. And, I didn’t really shove extra cheese into my purse. 😉

Where Can I Buy it?
Lucky for you, you can buy it online along with several other mouthwatering cheeses at the Sartori Online Cheese Shop HERE. Feeling really cheesy? A 20 lb wheel will cost you $317 dollars, but you can get a more reasonable size (5.3 oz) for only $7.75.

OK, that’s all I’ve got for now… Cheers and happy eating!


About the Specialty Food Association

The Specialty Food Association is a thriving community of food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs. Established in 1952 in New York, the not-for-profit trade association provides its 3,800 members in the U.S. and abroad the tools, knowledge and connections to champion and nurture their companies in an always-evolving marketplace. The Association owns and produces the Winter and Summer Fancy Food Shows, and presents the sofi™ Awards honoring excellence in specialty food. Learn more at specialtyfood.com.

Specialty Food Association Media Contact:
PR Department, (646) 878-0130, press@specialtyfood.com

Facebook: Specialty Food Association
Twitter: @Specialty_Food
LinkedIn: Specialty Food Association
Pinterest: @specialtyfoodassociation
Instagram: @specialtyfoodassociation


5 Exciting New Food Destinations in Sacramento

Guest Blog Post by Alana Savard

It seems like there is always something new popping up in the Sacramento area! Here are some of the newest eateries, food trucks, and breweries to check out in Sacramento. Whether your ideal is a laid back environment or you’re more into a high energy spot, there’s something that you and your group will enjoy checking out. Looking for a way to visit them without dealing with traffic or parking? This Sacramento and Napa Valley Party Bus offers the perfect solution to all of the inconveniences that often come with a night out on the town.

Bambi
This food truck serving Sacramento is serving up vegan goods! These tacos are ridiculously flavorful, and you will not be missing meat at all. They also have a delicious menu of hand crafted frozen fruit pops to choose from. Their schedule is listed on their website, and can often times be found at Two River’s and the Our Street Night Market.

The Other Side
There are never enough beer destinations in Sacramento! You will primarily find comfort food on the menu here. The panic fries are the perfect mix of flavors. They also fill growlers here for you to take home and enjoy!

Maya Traditional Mexican Cuisine
Traditional and authentic Mexican food is the focus at this new restaurant downtown. We love the infusion of classic and creative flavors on the menu. It has a charming, rustic interior that gets pretty busy, especially during the weekend. Don’t miss out on their amazing margaritas during happy hour, as it’s a total steal.

Bru Co Taproom
Here’s a new taproom located in downtown Sacramento! We love the cheery, bright atmosphere and their varied selection of brews to choose from. Their selection changes daily, and there are also wine options if you are not a huge beer drinker. If you have any questions about their selection, the staff is happy to give you information and help you make the best decision.

World Fare
Here is another new food truck that is serving Sacramento, and they’re focused on creating a menu that represents all different cuisines! You can really take your taste buds on an adventure sampling the food here. Some of the dishes include Thai noodle salad, a Mediterranean meatloaf sandwich, Asian pulled pork sliders, and an Indian madras wrap.

And speaking of wrap, that’s a wrap for us now! Here’s to trying something new everyday. Cheers!


Me and You and One Year Later: The SCNA Wine Tasting and Silent Auction

I am assisting in planning the Curtis Park Wine Tasting & Beer Garden and Silent Auction 2018, set for October 6th this year, and here’s a little on why this event means so much to me. Here’s a throwback post from September of 2012!

Hope you will join us as a restaurant participant, winery participant, or as a guest of the event. We will have some fun new details very soon to come and I will update you here when tickets are available for this year’s event! Cheers. 🙂

cavegrrl.com

The SCNA Wine Tasting and Silent Auction is just around the corner. It will be held on October 6th, 2012, from 4-7pm at the Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park.

Just to let you all know, this event is kind of major for me. 😉 Last year at the tasting, I met the love of my life! 🙂

Now, I didn’t go WITH my love to the 2011 event, I actually MET him there. Like, he just so happened to be there! How weird is that nowadays? Until then, I had been meeting people via an internet dating website and not having much luck at all. Then all of a sudden, somehow, someway this guy (with all these things in common as me) happened to be single and in the right place at the right time…I am still sort of shocked at my luck!

I had two tickets to…

View original post 1,443 more words


Alcatraz-Themed Parc 55 Provides an Elegant Escape to San Francisco

My current (and much more glamorous than my previous) job has me working events in San Francisco every couple of months, and I have had the privilege to stay overnight on those evenings (as opposed to driving almost 90 miles home to Sacramento post-party). During the first two events, I stayed at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, and for the last two events (and the subject of this blog post) I stayed at Parc 55, which is right down the street from the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, and also a Hilton property.

I refer to Parc 55 as an Alcatraz-themed hotel, because the entire lobby is decked in memorabilia from “The Rock” such as movie posters, and items collected from the famous prison. However, this hotel is nothing like Alcatraz, and it boasts 1,024 luxurious rooms and countless amenities for all guests. There are also nods to Alcatraz on the menu of the hotel’s main restaurant, dishes such as the “Jailbird Chicken Sandwich” and the “Impossible Escape Burger.”

Location is key and serves as quite an amenity at Parc 55, because you can literally see all of San Francisco from some of its 32 floors that offer breathtaking views of the City and the Bay. The hotel is walking distance to Cable Cars, Union Square, and the Moscone Convention Center. There are many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, or if you prefer to stay at the hotel, there are three onsite dining venues: Cable 55 Restaurant and Lounge, Kin Khao, and Barbary Coast.

Here is a photo of my room (which was located on the 32 floor). Just out that window were gorgeous views of iconic buildings and landmarks for which San Francisco is so well known.



I could have spent all day staring outside. I don’t know what it is about San Francisco and its tall buildings, but I love looking at them. Here are a few photos I took from two different rooms during my visits.

Skyline ThreeSkyline OneSkyline FourSkyline at Night

After my work gig, I came back to my room and this lovely bottle of Chardonnay was waiting for me.  The hotel also left some chocolate covered strawberries in my room refrigerator, too. Thanks to the Parc 55 marketing team for making my stays so very pleasant.

Welcome WineStrawberries

There is no room service at Parc 55, however, it you can satisfy your hunger at one of its aforementioned restaurants. On both evenings, I visited Cable 55 on the lobby/reception level of the hotel. Below is a peek of their menu. Giant thumbs up for offering several gluten-free options! It’s always a good thing when I can’t decide what to order because everything looks so incredible!

Cable 55 Menu

The evening of my first stay, I decided on Vincent’s Burger (angus beef, thick-cut pepper bacon caramelized beer onions, Fiscalini cheddar) on a gluten-free bun with a green salad* on the side.

*I am still on my French Fry moratorium (put into place post-Las Vegas trip because I had so many French Fries there I will never need to eat them again)!

Burger Gluten Free Bun

I also enjoyed a glass (and a half) of Martin Ray Rosé of Pinot Noir with my burger. The restaurant offers a glass and a half option (this one was $17) for those who want a little more than a glass, but do not wish to buy an entire bottle. I was really tired and hungry from the work event, so this meal was really comforting and one of the better burgers I have had in a restaurant. Vegetarians, fear not, as Cable 55 now offers the Impossible Burger on their menu!

Martin Ray Rose

On the evening of my second visit to the restaurant, I chose the Cobb Salad (with romaine lettuce, chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, heirloom cherry tomatoes, Kalamata olives, avocado, and Point Reyes blue cheese) and paired it with a glass of Mionetto Avangarde Brut.

Cobb Salad

Because I had to get up early the next day and return to the office in Sacramento, I returned to my room for the night. Below is me in the lobby of Parc 55 in one of my favorite dresses! I love dressing up for work events!

Selfie

The next day, I hit gym at Parc 55, 55 Fitness, to workout before returning to Sacramento. 55 Fitness is a nice gym, and bigger than most hotels with several treadmills, bikes, elliptical machines, and also equipped with free weights and a few weight machines.

Fitness Center

Check out was a breeze at Parc 55. I checked out a few minutes before 11am, and texted a code on my valet card to signal I was ready to leave. My car was ready for me when I arrived outside. This is just another amenity of extreme convenience available to hotel guests.

Though my stays were short, it’s always a treat to visit San Francisco and take in the views. I still can’t believe I live so close to such a world-reknowned place.

I am looking forward to staying at either Parc 55 or the Hilton San Francisco Union Square on my next visit to San Francisco!

Disclosure: I was given a media rate on May 10th and May 15th at Parc 55, my review and my opinions are my own.


California Hilton Hotels Have the Key to an Unforgettable Summer Escape

Here’s a press release from my friends at Hilton Hotels, California, announcing a special offer for guests this summer!


California Hilton Hotels Have the Key To an Unforgettable Summer Escape

From San Diego to San Francisco, Collectible Hilton Key Card Unlocks Exclusive Experiences and Discounts Throughout the Golden State

CALIFORNIA –  Hilton hotels in California are offering guests the key to splash into summer with the launch of a California Road Trip package, designed to let travelers experience the best of this iconic getaway destination. Travelers who book the California Road Trip package at over 70 participating Hilton hotels will enjoy complimentary breakfast or premium WiFi as well as exclusive discounts to popular attractions they can “unlock” with a collectible key card.

Designed by Kelsey Quitschau, a watercolor artist, each California Road Trip Hilton key card depicts the distinctive destination in a beautiful painting. Guest can collect all four cards as they travel up or down the coast, enjoying endless sunshine, amazing cities, best-in-class beaches and incredible natural beauty of California. These collectible cards can also be used to receive discounts at local dining, entertainment and attractions.

In San Francisco, guests who book the California Road Trip package can benefit from free Bi-Rite ice cream and sandwiches, a complimentary drink at DOUGHP SF, and discounts at the Exploratorium, GoCar and Anchor Steam Brewery. In Los Angeles, receive exclusive offers on the Catalina Express, the Aquarium of the Pacific, The Jazz Bakery and more. In Orange County, guests can enjoy discounts at select retailers in the Anaheim Packing District, The CAMP and Center Street Anaheim. Guests staying in San Diego can explore diverse cultural offerings with exclusive Hilton discounts at over 20 local museums, as well as unlock a complimentary harbor cruise with Flagship Cruises or a discount at Everyday California, offering the “Original La Jolla Kayak Tour.” There are other opportunities to explore exclusive Hilton discounts on unique local experiences throughout the Golden State.

Participating hotels include some of Hilton’s most iconic properties as well as hotels from the company’s upscale brands like Embassy Suites by Hilton and DoubleTree by Hilton and quality, value-driven accommodations like Hampton by Hilton and Homewood Suites by Hilton. Travelers can soak up the sun at Hotel del Coronado, Curio Collection by Hilton, celebrating their 130th anniversary, catch Disneyland’s nightly fireworks at Hilton Anaheim, see and be seen at The Beverly Hilton, and look out onto the Golden Gate Bridge from Hilton San Francisco Union Square.

The California Road Trip package is available for travel between April 23 and September 30, 2018 and can be booked by visiting Travel.Hilton.com/HiltonRoadTrip.

About Hilton
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company, with a portfolio of 14 world-class brands comprising nearly 5,000 properties with more than 812,000 rooms in 103 countries and territories. Hilton is dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company by delivering exceptional experiences – every hotel, every guest, every time. The company’s portfolio includes Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio – A Collection by Hilton, DoubleTree by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Embassy Suites by Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages an award-winning customer loyalty program, Hilton Honors. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose exactly how many Points to combine with money, an exclusive member discount that can’t be found anywhere else and free standard Wi-Fi. Visit newsroom.hilton.com for more information and connect with Hilton on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube.

 

 

 


A Duo of Delightful Wines to Try

One benefit of having this website is that I am often sent complimentary bottles of wine to try so that I will write about them and give my opinion. It makes my job even easier when I actually like the wine and am enthusiastic about recommending it!

This was such the case with the pair of wines I present to you in this post: a bottle of Vivanco Tempranillo Blanco, and a bottle of Vivanco Tempranillo Garnacha.

I was highly intrigued by the Tempranillo Blanco, because though I have had my fair share of Tempranillos (red wine) I had never tasted a white one. This wine is actually a blend of 60% Viura, 20% Malvasia, 20% Tempranillo Blanco. It is entirely fermented in stainless steel, which makes this wine fruitfully crisp. I would recommend this wine as a starter glass with appetizers such as cheese, or other tapas of some sort–Tortilla Española and Gambas al Ajillo come to mind. I was really impressed with the wine’s quality vs. the price. If you care to know, the wine scored 89 points in Wine Spectator. You can find Vivanco Tempranilla Blanco online here. As I write this, it’s only $9.99 per bottle. Wine.com also sells it, but they are currently out of stock.

The second wine I tried was the Vivanco Tempranillo Garnacha. The wine is a blend of 85% Tempranillo, and 15% Garnacha. It’s a true deep pink versus a pale salmon color, but it is still a dry wine (as sometimes a darker color can indicate a sweeter rosé). This rosé is made using a method called “free-run”, a term used to describe the release of juice from the grapes (after they are harvested) as a result of the weight of being stacked on one another (and before any pressure is applied to crush them). This is a good wine to enjoy with tapenade or a salade Niçoise, paella, and grilled chicken or fish. It also scored 89 points in Wine Spectator. You can find the Vivanco Tempranillo Garnacha online here. As I write this, it’s only $8.99 per bottle.


You can find Vivanco Wines on Facebook here, follow them on Twitter here, and on Instagram here.

*I was sent these two complimentary bottles of wine so that I might share my thoughts about them with my readers. Photos of the wine and opinions on the wine are my own.


Headed to Santa Rosa for WBC17

Andy_harneylane
This weekend, Andy aka (@curtisparkandy, on twitter, and pictured above) and I are headed to Santa Rosa for the Wine Bloggers Conference!

This year will be the conference’s 10th, and it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country. We are looking forward to meeting new writers and reconnecting with the ones we met last year.

It is particularly meaningful to me to attend this year because the conference is being held in the area most damaged by the fires that recently took place. It will be wonderful to play tourist in this area and promote this region just when they need us most. I feel it is my duty to serve the area because this wine country (Napa/Sonoma) is the very reason I moved to California. I fell in love during my very first visit to the region in 2003 and moved not far away to Sacramento in 2004 (also a growing hub of food and wine with its close proximity to Amador, Lodi, Napa, Capay, Dunnigan Hills, and more).

Thirteen plus years later I will discover even more of the Sonoma region along with my husband and hundreds of other bloggers. Our itinerary and agenda for the weekend is very exciting for anyone the slightest bit nerdy about the grape.

I am especially happy to be reunited with Elizabeth of Traveling Wine Chick tomorrow and our Oregon friends Neal and Alyse of Winery Wanderings for the Thomas George Estates wine dinner on Friday. I’m sure our interactions won’t be limited to those events, because we just love all three of those awesome people! We even stayed with Neal and Alyse for a few days last June and ran a half marathon in Eugene! Have to burn those wine calories somehow… 😉

While I am at the conference, I am also actively promoting one of my lady bosses, SG Coaching and Consulting. With over 35 years of experience, the SG team creates custom-tailored programs to fit your winery needs. They provide detailed analyses and work with you to make improvements that can will get people into your doors and make your business successful. They offer Digital Marketing, Event Planning, Front Office Improvements, Recruiting and Hiring, and Wine Club Management.

Friday Excursions
    
So let’s do this, Wine Bloggers Conference 2017!! Let’s get together this weekend, taste a lot, encourage tourism, learn from each other, inspire each other, network, and taste a lot more. Andy and Kristy Harris from cavegrrl.com are thrilled to participate and share the experience on this blog as well as our social media channels.

See you there! Cheers 🙂


Andy and Kristy’s Wedding Celebration: My Thoughts

Taken by Morinico Photography

Sharing this playlist with all of you, as the songs mean so much to us.
Thank you to all who joined us in our celebration. We love you.

Special thanks to Cristian Morinico and Morinico Photography.

Here is a link to all of the pictures captured that day:
Kristy & Andy’s Wedding Celebration

Cake by Pushkin’s Bakery and Floral Decoration done by Relles Florist.
Food catered by Florez Bar & Grill.
Event venue: Caverna 57.

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect party or better guests, and I was so lucky to have my mom with me. Thank you, Diana Hicks for traveling so far to be by my side to help me with my dress and to listen to my vows as I said them to Andy. I know it’s a hard trip, but I love it when you come see me and I TRY to keep you entertained for a couple of days.

Thank you to my loving and supportive husband. You really are the best and I got to be queen for a day TWICE! 🙂  I hope you enjoyed everything as much as I did.

Lots of happiness and memories to come!


We’re Married! (Part Three)


Forgive the RBF (resting b*tch face) in the photo. Quite honestly, I’ll never forget how happy and excited I was when I took it. It was taken in our hotel room at the SLS Las Vegas, right before we left for the Mon Bel Ami chapel for our ceremony. Andy was in the bathroom and I had just finished getting ready myself. It was finally about to happen. I know, we’re on installment part three of the wedding in Las Vegas, and I still can’t believe it.

But first (a little earlier in the day) we had a little lunch with drinks at the Foxtail Pool and bar at our hotel. This lunch/drinking session was both the best and the worst idea ever. Why? Well…. we had this great drink (Absolut Frozen Lemonade) with vodka and lemon in it. It was probably one of the best drinks I have ever had. Best of course meaning overwhelmingly yummy and best also meaning highly intoxicating! Was it OK to get completely wasted before walking down the aisle? Probably not, but we kiiiinda did. And there was the great food we had with the adult beverage! I ordered the Ahi Poke Tacos and Andy ordered the Caesar Salad with Shrimp.



Oh those tacos, though! They had a yuzu crème fraîche and a truffle soy sauce. Yes, I think everything in Las Vegas has truffle or truffle flavoring involved. 🙂


After our lunch, we headed back up to the room to nap. Though, I don’t think I napped because I had to start getting ready for the ceremony. I gave myself SO MUCH TIME because I wanted my hair and makeup to be perfect. I decided on my Amore Brittany in Medium Brown, and decided to set her the night before in foam rollers.

I remember being very nervous, only because I thought something might go wrong. I was completely ready to get married to Andy… just super concerned about my dress, hair, makeup… then also worried about the place where we had chosen to get married… was it going to be as nice as it looked online? Was anyone going to be there to marry us when we showed up?

Yes. There were people there when we arrived to the Mon Bel Ami. Fun fact: The chapel is located about 3-3.5 blocks away from where you have to go to get your marriage license. We took care of that the day before, though. 🙂

Here’s a look inside the chapel at Mon Bel Ami in Las Vegas. It was just what we needed to get the job done! A big thanks goes out to the staff at the Mon Bel Ami. They really made everything perfect for our special day.

And in case you missed it (HINT: you did because it was just the two of us!!) Here’s the ceremony itself:



My bouquet that was included in the wedding package we bought.

And that was it! We were married and now on to more important things! Like EATING DINNER! 🙂 Seriously, though, I remember sitting in the car after the ceremony and taking a deep breath and just feeling joy. And taking note of that feeling so that I could remember it forever no matter what happens.

We decided to celebrate/have dinner that night at Top of the World in the Stratosphere Hotel. I mean, why not wear your ceremony garb and have your wedding dinner rotating 844 feet in the air!

On the way to the restaurant (in the lobby and casinos of the Stratosphere) people saw us (obviously by our clothing just married) and called out to us/cheered to us their congratulations. It was a beautiful scene! One man even stopped us to take selfies before we took the long elevator ride up to the restaurant. I wish I knew who that guy was… I would have loved to see those pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I took so many from our table, but here are just a few of the view (followed by a rundown of what we had for dinner). 🙂

 



We were there just before the sun started to set and I believe we were able to go around almost 3 times and see the 360° view of Las Vegas. It was just stunning. And Andy looked stunning…


More deep breathes. This man is my husband now! I can’t believe it! This calls for bubbly! And not just any bubbly, but Champagne in an awesome looking bottle!



 
Our somm for the evening gave us excellent service. He found out in about 2 sentences that we are two of the biggest wine geeks around, so he stayed at our table for some time to chat. I hope we go back someday and see him again.

Our dinner itself began with the Crab Cake (Lump crab, jicama and green papaya slaw, Asian vinaigrette, Peppadew aioli) followed by a duo of Carpaccio & Tartare (Australian wagyu, Peppadew aioli, truffle salt, lemon). Notice how they snuck in truffle AGAIN?!? Ha! It’s so Las Vegas.



More views. Happy sigh.

Then it was the Colorado Rack of Lamb for Andy (Hoisin orange sesame glaze, crispy rice cake, Las Vegas grown Swiss chard, demi-glace)

And the Organic Half Chicken for me! (Semi-boneless chicken, roasted Yukon Gold potato, corn salsa, crème fraîche, demi-glace).

I am pretty sure we stuck with the bottle of Champagne and then had wine by the glass. Andy ordered this mango sorbet for dessert. The red object in the glass is actually plastic, not isomalt (ingredient used in cake decorating).

 

We also snapped a few pictures of each other during dinner. What a handsome guy!

Ready to dive into some chicken!!

That ring looks so GOOD on him! 🙂 This was taken AFTER I tried to eat the plastic thingy that was indeed NOT sugar or isomalt.

I’m Mrs. Harris, it’s official! 

Hello, World! Presenting Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Andrew Harris. 

And I took this photo of me right before bedtime. What a perfect, beautiful, sacred, day! And the best part is there are so many more to come. We decided that day we would come back to Las Vegas every year on our anniversary because it was just so much fun and so memorable.

I am happy and content like I never was before. Thank you, Andy.



And that’s it. We closed the door to our room at the SLS Hotel the next morning and this is the parting shot. See you next year!

And they lived happily ever after…


Mason on the Steve Harvey Show!

Check out my friend Mason Partak and his appearance on the Steve Harvey show. Mason has raised money to help his school learn how to make and serve healthier lunches! 🙂

Mason Partak

View original post