Fitness, Food, Wine & Travel

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Firehouse Restaurant and Silver Oak Produce a Legendary Evening of Food and Wine

On Friday, October 28th, The Firehouse Restaurant hosted a wine dinner that spanned five decades of Silver Oak Cabernet and can only be described as illustrious. I will try to recount the evening to the best of my ability, though there really are no words for the magnificent epicurean journey to which guests of the event were treated.

Upon arrival, patrons were led to a private dining area with a giant fireplace and long, majestic dining table facing the courtyard. We were given a glass of 2017 Twomey Sauvignon Blanc to kick off the evening, as well as a passed crab cake appetizer.


The wine smelled of citrus and honeysuckle. Andy and I sat in front of the fireplace to enjoy our wine and ruminate about the magnitude and importance of this dinner’s occurrence, as other guests appeared.



The menu was led by Executive Chef Stephen Ashley and the wine was directed by Sommelier Daniel Hatch. It would be remiss to leave out Mr. Mario Ortiz, the former sommelier for The Firehouse, as it was under his command the bulk of the wine for the evening was purchased from Silver Oak Vineyards.

The wines and courses expressed in the order they were served are as follows (Please excuse the brevity in my notes, I was taking them very stream-of-consciousness and on my iPhone, while still trying to be present in the moment.)


AMUSE-BOUCHE:
STERLING IMPERIAL CAVIAR, BLINI, CRÈME FRAÎCHE, CHIVES


It’s always a treat to indulge in caviar, especially perched on a perfect blini with the perfect essence of griddle, as well as crispy on the outside and soft/springy in the middle.


2002 Silver Oak Napa Valley
Wow. Green bell pepper, very soft tannins. Incredible mouthfeel, like velvet. Almost better as a drink alone.

1986 Silver Oak Napa Valley
More acidic less tannin. More fruit and a little more earth on the nose.



FIRST COURSE:
VENISON CARPACCIO
SMOKED AND ESPRESSO-CRUSTED CERVENA VENISON LOIN, FRISÉE, BABY ARUGULA, DRIED CHERRIES, ASIAGO CHEESE, PICKLED RED ONIONS, EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

This was my favorite course of the evening. I happen to love carpaccio, and this version was one of the best I have ever enjoyed. The meat was perfectly seasoned and sliced and the flavor of the cherries, cheese and pickled onions were a symphony in the mouth. Sweet, salty, acidic, and juxtaposed texture. All the components I strive for in a balanced dish.


1986 Silver Oak Napa Valley
Super earthy on the nose. Incredible blend of fruit and relaxed tannins on the palate. Color was perfect, no defects. Just incredible to taste an exceptional wine that was made before I was born. It’s even better after some air!! Wow.

1995 Silver Oak Alexander Valley
It was so exciting to taste wine from the year I graduated high school. Balanced, acidic, dark, lots of oak. Perfect with the steak (fourth course). Good that they paired this year with the steak as it is still structured enough to do so. Later, upon pairing with the blue cheese on my potato (which I also dipped my bites of steak into), it was phenomenal!


SECOND COURSE:
MUSCOVY DUCK
CELERIAC PURÉE, SHAVED NANTES CARROTS, RE-HYDRATED CHERRIES, CHICKEN OF THE WOODS MUSHROOMS, PUFFED RICE, FIVE SPICE JUS

This dish was my least favorite, however, I will say that it was because the duck on my plate did not get rendered to my liking. Nonetheless, the flavors of this plate were still in incredible harmony and the celeriac purée was decadent.


THIRD COURSE:
FILET OF WHITE STURGEON
LOCAL SUNCHOKE PURÉE, WHITE DELTA ASPARAGUS, FORAGED MUSHROOMS, HERB POWDER

I do love a good sunchoke preparation, because I don’t see it on menus that often. The puree,  the asparagus and the mushrooms painted an earthy backdrop for the generous portion of sturgeon mounted on top. The fish was seared and cooked perfectly and again, the textures and flavors of the third course were impeccable.


2018 Silver Oak Alexander Valley
Floral, soft and medium acidity. Grippy tannins, but expected in a younger wine. Terrific fruit and aging potential.

FOURTH COURSE:
MISHIMA RESERVE AMERICAN WAGYU RIBEYE
ROGUE RIVER BLUE CHEESE TWICE-BAKED POTATO, OVEN-BRAISED FENNEL,

MARCHAND DE VIN
I was not expecting such a mammoth portion of steak for the final savory course, but leave it to the Firehouse kitchen staff to “tout donner” or in English, “give it all”! The steak was fatty and rich and the potato was wickedly capped in blue cheese. The fennel (my favorite element on the dish) had soaked up the red wine reduction so much it was like eating a fabulously candied licorice onion!


FIFTH COURSE:
SWEET POTATO CRÈME BRÛLÉE
HOUSE-MADE TOASTED MARSHMALLOW,
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE, SPICED PECANS

What a beautiful rendition of a timeless dessert, with a wonderful autumn motif. The house-made marshmallows completely made the presentation both impressive and lavish.

I want to express my gratitude to everyone involved in the production and execution of this wine dinner, including the entire staff of The Firehouse Restaurant. It was an occasion I will never forget.

A l’amour, à la vie, à la bonne chère et au bon vin !


Farm to Fort is This Saturday, October 22 at Sutter’s Fort!

Photo by Francisco Chavira.

⁠This Saturday’s inaugural Farm to Fort will bring four hours of beer, wine, and spirits tasting along with bites from local restaurants and food trucks to historic Sutter’s Fort this Saturday, Oct. 22. ⁠

Local Restaurants and Food Trucks
Enjoy signature bites from local restaurants and food trucks while sampling sips from an array of wine, beer, and spirits.

Bites
Eat + greet with your friends while tasting bites of classic dishes from local restaurants and food trucks to see what sets them apart from other establishments.

Entertainment
Guests will enjoy a special performance by artist David Garibaldi (check out his work)! He will create two paintings that will be up for auction during the event.

Music
Award winning DJ Eddie Z from Sacramento will be onsite playing tunes all night long. He knows people and he knows music!

The Venue
Sutter’s Fort was a 19th-century agricultural and trade colony in the Mexican Alta California province. The site of the fort was established in 1839 and originally called New Helvetia by its builder John Sutter, though construction of the fort proper would not begin until 1841.

Beneficiary
The generosity of attendees and vendors benefit Runnin’ for Rhett. Runnin’ for Rhett owns Farm to Fort, and 100% of the event proceeds directly fund our Youth Fitness Program allowing thousands of children each year to participate. Find out more about Runnin’ for Rhett and our Youth Fitness Program here.

VIP: $125

  • Admission into F2F VIP hour 6-7m, & GA 7-10 pm
  • Unlimited token-less tastes from all of our brewers, vintners, and distillers. Bites provided by local restaurants and food trucks.
  • VIP bag with a bottle of DRINJK wine, Prescribed Burn Hot Sauce, and…?

General Admission: $85

• Admission into F2F from 7-10 pm
• Unlimited token-less tastes from all of our brewers, vintners, and distillers. Bites provided by local restaurants and food trucks.

Get your last-minute tickets on https://farmtofort.org.



Consistency is Key

Well, it’s been nearly three months since the bikini show, and I am still hovering around my stage weight, except I am stronger now than on competition day, and I have a lot more energy.

It’s very hard to get into this sort of shape (this lean), but oddly, if you are just consistent with these two things, you can stay in shape:
1. Keep an honest food journal (I use My Fitness Pal) and a caloric deficit*.
2. Be active, stay active (for me that means lift 5 times a week and get a daily step count of 12,000).

*I try and meet specific macro goals, a higher protein, lower carb approach. One day a week, I splurge and don’t really track my calories, and a few nights a week I will drink (vodka or wine), but I carefully track six days out of seven. I no longer drink alcohol every night. I will have a Zero Sugar A&W instead. 😉

I try and do things socially where I am permitted to bring my own food. If you are on a weight loss/weight maintenance journey, it is much easier to be in a social situation when you don’t have to be pressured to “eat the birthday cake” or “partake in the office donuts”.

The third thing with which I have been supplementing my diet and exercise is Rockstar Skinny Gal Thermogenic Fat Burner. It was designed to assist with weight loss and boost energy. I have been taking Rockstar Skinny Gal for about three weeks, and it’s really helped me go the extra mile in my workouts and given me stamina throughout the day.

My biggest fear was putting on a ton of weight post-bikini competition, but with the help of consistent food journaling, a great workout routine, and Rockstar Skinny Gal in my tool box, I know I can maintain my “runway” look as long as I want! You can order some to try for yourself by clicking on this LINK!

Disclaimer: I was paid to try Rockstar Skinny Gal, results will vary from person to person. My opinions on the product are my own, and I really do LOVE it!


Meals and Weight Loss Tools

This is one of my colorful and tasty dinners from pretty early on (Thursday, April 14th) in my bikini competition training, and right after I started working with my coach Jodie Yuncker @jodiejfit_ifbbpro with FitBody Fusion.

At the time, I had 1,456 calories per day at my disposal, and my macro breakdown looked like this: 145g Protein, 120g Carbs, 44g Fat.

This meal is “Chicken Muffins with Rutabaga Fries” (331 Calories = 29g Protein, 40g Carbs, 8g Fat. The recipe for the Chicken Muffins (no flour or grains actually in the recipe–the name comes from the muffin pan you bake them in) is from The Protein Chef and is available on his website. It’s pretty much just canned chicken, eggs, and cheese with a few herbs and spices for flavor. A very attractive recipe for a low carb or keto diet person.

The “fries” are just chopped up rutabaga (to make them look like French fries) that I prepared in my air fryer–and if you are doing any type of weight loss program or competition prep, I HIGHLY recommend you invest in an air fryer!! It makes veggies crispy with hardly ANY added oil/calories, just a “shhhh shhhh” with your favorite aerosol oil spray so you aren’t spending all of your fat grams on cooking oil.

One more thing… I just LOVE the MyFitnessPal app. It’s so genius, and if you do it right, fail safe for weight loss, but you MUST also invest in a FOOD SCALE and you must BE HONEST with yourself and log every bite you eat. I say that in all caps because I AM YELLING AT YOU if you are on a diet and trying to keep a food journal WITHOUT a food scale. Another tip: Set the scale to “grams” versus “ounces” for ultimate accuracy.

That’s all for today… In summary, if you are looking to lose weight for any reason: Create a food journal (preferably one with an app so you can log on the go), get an air fryer, and get a food scale. You can get ALL of these combined for under $100 total, so I don’t want to hear about the expense. If cost really IS an issue, you can also pick up used items, and the basic My Fitness Pal app is FREE. Make nothing stand in your way. xo


The Day I Met My Coach…

Though I did a lot of things wrong in the early days of training for the bikini competition, I DID do something right.

On April 9th, I attended Spectrum Fitness Productions IFBB Pro League/NPC Northern California Golden State Championships to check out the show and to see if I REALLY wanted to compete. I mean, I thought I did, but I wanted to be sure.

In tandem with the show there was a posing seminar the night before, and I attended that, too. I really wanted to see the “behind the scenes”.

In attending the seminar and show, I was also going to try and meet others there/find a coach/find out more information. I had spoken with a few coaches in the weeks leading up to that, but was still coaching myself and sort of flailing…trying to figure out what my lifting/workouts/cardio would be. I was actually doing WAY TOO MUCH cardio and still running everyday, which is NOT how you train for a bodybuilding competition of any kind. I’ll get to that in a future post.

This post is about my coach, who I chose and met on April 9th. Jodie Yuncker @jodiejfit_ifbbpro, IFBB Pro Bikini Athlete and Coach for Fit Body Fusion. This is the routine she did during the Golden State show and shortly after she left the stage and was done with her portion of the show, I got to meet her. I just want you to see what I saw that day on the stage. The beauty and the grace. What really attracted me about her though, was her personality during the posing seminar. She was energetic, funny and cute!

After the Pro Bikini portion of the show, I had a chance to meet her. I told her about my crazy idea of participating in the Spectrum show on June 11th (to be held at the same venue) and that I would be turning 45 years old two days prior to it (June 9th) which would make me the youngest in the 45+ age division. I don’t know, but she probably thought I was a little “cray cray” and my idea was a little nutty. However, within 3 days of meeting, I was reporting to her as my coach and had a brand new workout plan as well as a nutrition plan to pair with it. I became an athlete with Team Fit Body Fusion!


In the Beginning…

…I did it all the WRONG way. 🤷🏻‍♀️

By the end of March, I had decided I would begin to train for the Spectrum Fitness Productions IFBB Pro League/NPC Northern California Bikini Competition on June 11th.

I didn’t realize that I needed to FIRST build up muscle and my body mass in general and THEN take off the body fat. To anyone out there that is sort of already lean and not very muscular, do not do what I did. It is VERY HARD to build muscle and LOSE body fat at the same time because the body needs to have a caloric surplus to GAIN muscle and a caloric deficit to LOSE fat. 🤦🏻‍♀️

But, at around 120 pounds, I began coaching myself (both nutrition and workouts) and started my “bikini” diet of 12 weeks with a daily calorie intake of 1,518, with a macro breakdown like this:
175g Protein • 124g Carbs • 40g Fat

Looking back, the calories were about right, but I was already depriving myself of too many carbs, which results in a less than stellar performance in the gym/not enough energy to lift heavy weights. 😩

Despite my mistakes early on, I did do a few things correctly and I did research HEAVILY. The idea of being in a bikini competition became my new pet project. I started listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, following multiple people on social media that are coaches, athletes, etc.

I’d like to take this post to thank a few people from whom I gleaned a lot of information during my “self coaching” period of time. Thank you to @stephdorworth @paulrevelia @miss_ally.bobally @pnbapro_figure_mama3 @theremingtonjames @willtenny @teamelitephysique @lisettehoward_fitness @rahul__kamat — I learned useful information from every single one of you!

Pictured above is one of the dinner meals I made from time to time and I was still drinking wine every other night at the time: 2 ounces vodka (& diet soda of choice) and 10 ounces wine (roughly 2 glasses). This little number is BBQ chicken breast tenders with Ray’s No Sugar Added Original BBQ Sauce, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Acorn Squash. The meal clocks in at around 400 calories total, 54g Protein, 31g Carbs, 10g Fat.


I Dream of Bikini…


So this is where I started. Sort of. Resting b*tchface notwithstanding. 🤷🏻
I am going to be “vulnerable” (I guess is the right word) over the next few posts if that is OK with all of you. I also hope the people that follow me for food and wine will indulge me a bit and enjoy
another type of content for a while.
👙
These are the “before” pictures I took after I had already decided to do a bikini competition and I had been dieting, exercising, lifting, and coaching myself for three weeks. The pics were taken on March
25th–I had “officially” set off on my journey on March 14th, but had cut back on food and wine when we got back from Las Vegas on March 8th.
👙
Why did I do it? Well, why not? I guess I wanted to do something challenging, something that not everyone does, and something that would put me in the best shape of my life at the oldest I have ever been. And to be honest, I actually love how regimented the whole thing is. I always say you grow the most when you are the MOST uncomfortable.
👙
So I’m going to play this in reverse, from March until yesterday’s competition. I hope you enjoy my posts on this little ride I took out of my comfort zone and I hope it inspires you to get off the couch and live your life like there’s no tomorrow. My husband just said, “that sounds cliché” and it does. But, there’s so much out there to do and so little time. I’m NOT talking about just exercise. I’m talking about travel, or anything you think you “can’t” do for whatever reason. Here’s the thing, you WON’T if you don’t ever TRY.


Crackling Eggplant Slices with Cheesy Aubergine “Butter”

Today I competed in the Loomis Eggplant Festival Cooking Contest and won 1st place with my (original recipe) eggplant dish: Crackling Eggplant Slices with Cheesy Aubergine “Butter”. The name is derived from the incredible texture of the breading, and I also used “eggplant” in the name twice without actually doing it. Aubergine is the word for eggplant typically used in old world Europe. I also used eggplant twice in the recipe. First, with the fried slices, second, with the eggplant “butter”/spread on the top.

The thing is though, I was the only participant in this year’s contest. So, while I was happy to take home the 1st place certificate, participant ribbon, and the $100 cash for winning, it did not feel all that special to win by default. I was surprised that absolutely no one else entered!

What felt great was walking in downtown Loomis, and seeing a few hundred people out having a good time. The weather here at the end of September/beginning of October is next to perfect, and there were lots of families taking advantage of that and having good old-fashioned fun at the festival. I wish my mom had been there with me today to see it, but she lives in Ohio and absolutely does not like eggplant!

The cooking contest organizer (Mary Jane Perkins) encouraged me to come back next year, and I certainly hope to do so, even though I am not sure I could top my creativity this year or back in 2008 when I made a CAKE with eggplant and won 2nd place.

Here’s my “winning” recipe from today. I hope you’ll try it for yourself. If you do, please let me know what you think.


Crackling Eggplant Slices with Cheesy Aubergine “Butter”
Appetizer Category (Serves 6-8)

Eggplant Spread:
1/4 Cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/4 Cup Cream Cheese
2 Tbs Butter
1 Roasted Eggplant with Skin Removed
Lemon Juice
Sea Salt
You can prepare eggplant spread a day ahead of time. Slice an eggplant. lengthwise and drizzle it with olive oil. Roast in the oven at 425 for 45 mins and discard the skin. Scoop out the roasted flesh and place in a food processor with the mascarpone cheese, cream cheese, butter, lemon juice, and sea salt. Pulse until completely blended. Set aside.

Fried Eggplant Slices:
1 Eggplant Sliced into Rounds
1 Cup Crushed Pork Rinds
1 Cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
2 Eggs
Cracked Pepper

Combine pork rinds, cheese, and almond flour to create the “breading”. You’ll want to place the “breading” in a shallow container that will allow the slices to be dipped in. Slice the eggplant into rounds and salt, laying on paper towels to allow the excess moisture in the eggplant to seep out for 10 mins.

Beat the eggs in a bowl and when the eggplant has drained, dip the slices into the egg, and then into the breading.

Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to bake, or prepare the slices in the air fryer. 350° in the oven until browned, or 370° in the air fryer for about 10 minutes.

Garnish:
Fresh Dill
1/4 Cup Pine Nuts
1/4 Cup Capers

Meanwhile, fry the capers in olive oil until they become crispy and drain. Toast the pine nuts in a shallow pan until they become nice and toasty.

Top each fried/baked eggplant slice with some of the spread, and garnish with the crispy capers and toasted pine nuts. Top with fresh dill. Serve.


For the Undecided: My Recall Newsom Letter to 19 Newspaper Editors

I wrote the following a few weeks ago and sent to 19 different newspapers across California in the hopes it would be published as an op-ed piece in at least one of them (since it is a little long to be a letter to the editor). Of course, since the L.A. Times and the McClatchy rags are all pro-Newsom, it’s a little delusional of me to think I would stand a chance getting published. In fact, the Times and the Sacramento Bee sent me a rejection letter. And I was even rejected by two different editors (who I won’t mention by name) at the Sac Bee. I consider it a compliment.

Since I am a little impatient and time is of the essence, I decided I would use my own platform to publish my letter and use my own social media to push out, even though this blog and my audience is mostly interested in food, wine, and travel. Apologies in advance for this slight diversion. It will be over soon and I will go back to my normal content. Possibly from another state if Newsom is not recalled.

I have never been very vocal about politics in California, as I feel it is a losing battle. I am a registered Libertarian, and I am typically not liked (or trusted) by Democrats or by Republicans. I believe a lot of people in California say they are democrats or liberals because they want to be accepted by others. Most folks want to be looked at as “a good person” and someone who “does the right thing”. It’s a giant popularity contest in which I have no interest. You can clique-ity clack yourself on out of here. I do not care if I get canceled. I do not care if I am liked. I am completely used to being the freak, the weirdo, the outcast, the black sheep… But this time I am voting RED, baby!

So now it’s time for me to speak up if only for a moment. California, its residents, and virtually all of its small businesses are completely doomed if Gavin Newsom stays in office. He has FAILED our state on every level. If you care at all about the life you have now or had prior to his governorship, you will stand with me and vote “yes” on this recall.

-Kristy Harris, September 8th


My Letter to the Editor(s):

If you are voting “NO” on the recall, then this letter is not intended for you. You can skip to the next column or try your hand at today’s Sudoku puzzle.

I never thought much about our Governor until around April of 2020. Mind you, I did not help elect him in 2018, but I was supine and unsurprised when the “Gav Man” won the election. We are after all, a very blue state and apparently glutton for punishment.

I consider myself to be a reasonable person. So, when the “two weeks to flatten the curve” approach was announced, I was completely onboard to stay home (other than running outside for exercise instead of visiting my already shuttered gym). It was three weeks into the two weeks that I found myself looking at Gavin Newsom during his daily press conference with a bit of ambiguity. It dawned on me that he seemed to be enjoying the spotlight a little too much.

Many people turned on Gavin Newsom following his infamous dinner at The French Laundry in November of 2020, but my resentment towards him commenced all the way back in April of the same year. It’s around that time I realized the “State of Emergency” he had declared on March 4th, followed by the Stay-At-Home order on March 19th, was just a foothold on the way to declare himself king.

I was not fond of the way he began slinging executive orders like a pancake brunch cook (conveniently, while the Legislature was recessed for seven weeks). His 37 Executive Orders altered 175 state laws, completely sideswiping any of the lawmaking process.

My fury culminated on June 18th when the state-wide mask mandate was put into effect. Of course, make it mandatory to wear a mask right after you close a deal with China to produce them and profit from it. I’m only surprised the mandate did not specifically require N-95s, but maybe that would have been a little too obvious.

If I kept going on about why Gavin Newsom needs to go, it would prohibit me from telling you about the solution to him. That person is Assemblyman Kevin Kiley.

I have been following Kevin Kiley since June of 2020, over a year before he became a candidate to replace Newsom. It was at that time he and James Gallagher took Gavin Newsom to court and won, just one day before my birthday. For the first time, I felt like there was someone fighting for the people. I subscribed to Kevin’s blog “Capitol Quagmire” to get updates on the court cases, but really for entertainment purposes. Any person who could write so cleverly and deliver a weekly burn on the Governor was going to automatically gain me as a fan.

In January of 2021, Kiley wrote and published a book called “Recall Newsom, The Case Against America’s Most Corrupt Governor”. The book was released before Kiley had seriously considered running as Newsom’s replacement, and all the book’s profits went to the recall campaign. As I read over it, I can’t help but believe the man who wrote it must be destined to take the wheel.

Kevin Kiley is a graduate of Harvard (BA), Yale (Law Degree), and Loyola Marymount (Master’s in Secondary Education).

Before being elected to the State Assembly in November of 2016, Kevin was a Deputy Attorney General who represented the People of California in cases involving convicted felons. He has since authored legislation to protect victims of crime and support law enforcement. Assemblyman Kiley is ranked 100% by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association for his work in fighting new taxes and his support of Prop. 13. He does not take any funding from special interest groups, and he is the only 100% citizen-backed California elected official.

California needs a person who has already worked across party lines. Someone who will not forget the people who elected them. Someone who supports medical freedom of choice and upon election will immediately end the State of Emergency in California. Someone who knows good ideas don’t require force.

It was what Kevin Kiley said at a recent campaign speech that also got my attention:

“It’ll be back to basics. That will be the order of the day. Pave our roads, store our water, manage our forests, maintain our grid, fund our police, do the things government is supposed to do, do them well, and do nothing else.”

For non-Republican voters Kiley says, “Take a chance on change. If you don’t like the way things turn out, you can always vote for a return to corruption and racketeering next year.” I am a Libertarian, but still feel that Kevin Kiley is the appropriate choice to repair the hot mess that is current state of California.

It seems uncomplimentary to refer to Mr. Kiley as a waste management technician, but I am sure once elected he’ll be ready to take out the trash that is Gavin Newsom.

Assemblyman Kevin Kiley is the brightest, most qualified candidate for the job and will be able to go to work for all Californians on day one. I hope you will join me in voting YES on the recall of Gavin Newsom and voting for Kevin Kiley for Governor of California. 

Kristy Harris
Curtis Park, Sacramento

August 29th, 2021


Zamir Gotta of A Cook’s Tour, No Reservations, and Parts Unknown, Visits Sacramento!

Zamir Gotta’s Peacemaking Happy Hour featuring his Zamir Vodka was held on July 16th at Easy Diner and Bar in Sacramento. Guests were treated to samples of his Russian vodka, Russian themed appetizers, and a question and answer session with the audience.


Zamir also took photos with several guests and auctioned off 3 autographed bottles of his peacemaking elixir. The following is a few snippets of video of the event, as well as some photos I cobbled together taken by myself and friends who were there. What a fantastic and memorable evening!

Special thanks to Elizabeth Barthel for the videos and taking the cover photo of this video.

Zamir Gotta’s Website: https://zamirgotta.com/
Zamir on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zamirgotta/
Zamir on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ZamirGotta

Enjoy Zamir Vodka at Easy Diner & Bar:
1725 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95818

Easy Diner & Bar Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/easy.diner….
Easy Diner & Bar Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Easy.Diner.Bar


A Wine and Art Lover’s Dream: Vannatta Winery & Gallery

Do you love wine and art? I know I do! What a treat it was to visit Vannatta Winery and Gallery (located in Elk Grove, about 25 mins from Sacramento). In this episode of Table Talk with Kristy Harris, I interviewed Steve Vannatta, the owner and winemaker, and Liliana Rodriguez, the winery’s artist, wholesaler, and marketing manager.

Find Vannetta Winery online here:
https://www.vannattawinery.com

And on social media here:
Instagram:
https://www.instagram.com/vannattawine/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/vannattawinery


Life with Alopecia: My Makeup Routine

Happy #transformationtuesday
In a quest for authenticity in a world full of filters and special effects, I present to you today my makeup routine (before and after). This is how I do my makeup any time I leave the house other than to go to the gym or run errands (during which I don’t mind being seen au naturel). It’s in essence a makeover on a daily basis, although for my mental health, I try to build in a few days a week during which I go makeup free and accept the person in the mirror without any modifications.

A little background: It’s been nearly 20 years since I lost my hair to Alopecia Universalis. It began in spring 2002… I had a moderate to severe case of acne, mainly affecting my chin and jawline. The acne problem was painful, and I couldn’t mask it with makeup, so under a dermatologist’s care, I began a treatment of antibiotics. The drug regimen worked, but eventually I reacted to the drug I was taking (minocycline). I was admitted to the hospital in July and misdiagnosed with Lyme disease. The physician to which I was assigned prescribed doxycycline, and I was given it intravenously, which ultimately led to a more severe reaction. Once the IV was removed, I recovered almost immediately, and after another week, I was released from the hospital.

Three months later (October), I noticed the hair on my arm was missing, and then a few days later, my eyebrows and eyelashes started to shed. Eventually, the hair on my head began to fall out and by Christmas there was hardly anything left.

Links to the makeup and hair piece I used in the video:

Acne Safe Priia Stick Foundation

Acne Safe Liquid Foundation

Acne Safe Powder Foundation

Setting Powder

Setting Spray

Eyebrow Pencil

Eyebrow Paint

Eyebrow Hairs

Eyeliner

Eye Shadow

Lashes

Lash Glue

Lip Liner

Lip Gloss

Hairpiece


Paint, Drink, and Have Fun at Pinot’s Palette

Happy Monday! It’s a new week and time for a brand new episode of Table Talk with Kristy Harris!

In this episode, I interview the owner of Pinot’s Palette in Elk Grove, Stacey Van Lente. Pinot’s Palette is an upscale Paint and Sip destination in Old Elk Grove, just a short drive from Sacramento.

Join them for a perfect night out – enjoy drinks, music and hanging out with your favorite people while you paint! It’s as fun for first-time painters as it is for experienced artists. Their slogan is Paint, Drink and Have Fun!


Pinot’s Palette Elk Grove
Website: https://pinotspalette.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pinotspaletteelkgrove/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PinotsPaletteElkGrove


Table Talk with Kristy Harris Interviews Zak’s Bar & Grill in Rancho Cordova

Happy Wednesday! Just writing to let you know there’s a new episode of Table Talk with Kristy Harris available on my YouTube channel, and I am excited to partner with Zak’s Bar & Grill on their UNMASK-QUERADE event on July 30th!

For more details and to learn about their Zak Attack Burger challenge, tune in below.


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.